1) Bitcoin, the digital currency, hit an all time high of $41,000 per coin, but Bitcoin as well as the other cryptocurrencies, has a history of volatility and is unregulated. After hitting a record high in December of 2017, Bitcoin plunged 50% the first month of 2018. There are now warnings that Bitcoin is a massive bubble waiting to collapse in the near future. There are upsides to cryptocurrencies, such as the need to not deal with a bank, but it also makes the currency’s future uncertain. The biggest risk to owning Bitcoin is the possibility of being banned, and this has already been done with other cryptocurrencies. The IRS considers Bitcoin property, not currency, which means there are tax consequences. If you hold the bitcoin for a year or less, any trading profits are taxed as short-term gains, at the same rates as ordinary income. But if you hold it for more than a year, your profits are taxed as long-term capital gains, at rates of 0% to 20% in 2021 depending on your income level. The IRS has more recently been going after cryptocurrency holders who aren’t reporting their digital currencies.
2) Fears of a Bitcoin bubble bursting increased as Bitcoin fell with $170 billion dollars wiped out in 24 hours as Bitcoin pulls back by over 11% from a day earlier to $35,828.06. The sell off of cryptocurrencies comes after a huge rally and perhaps signaling some profit-taking from investors. The $40,000 mark could have been a trigger for profit-taking.
3) Americans are asking what really happens when there’s a 50-50 split in the senate? With the vice president a democrat, the democrats hold the narrowest possible majority which leaves some major obstacles and mine fields for the party. The senate cloture rule requires 60 members to end debate and vote on most topics, which in practice will allow the republican to filibuster much of the democrats’ legislative agenda. This is how the 50-50 split is likely to work in real life, the first hurdle is the organizing resolution, which determines everything from committee membership and staff budgets, to who gets the best office space. But in these hyper-partisan times, agreeing on even the rules of the road may be tricky. In theory, senate democrats could change the cloture rule and abandon the need for 60 votes, which would kill the filibuster. There will be further problems when the votes are not along party lines, and senators vote their minds.
4) Stock market closings for – 13 JAN 21:
Dow 31,060.47 down by 8.22 Nasdaq 13,128.95 up by 56.52 S&P 500 3,809.84 up by 8.65
1) Reports are that Biden will unveil plans to spend trillions of dollars in pandemic and economic relief money this next week. Biden is introducing several members of his economic team, after data shows the U.S. economy has lost jobs for the first time in eight months as a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic has again shuttered restaurants and other businesses. Biden is calling for raising the minimum wage to $15, and for sending out $2,000 in direct cash payments. Biden claims that economic research confirms that with today’s crisis, especially with such low interest rates, taking immediate action, even with deficit financing , is going to help the economy. Biden also say they are looking into other economic relief actions that can be taken unilaterally, including extending a pause on repayments of federal student loans.
2) US naval aircraft carrier groups still rule the seas, but both Russia and China have plans to change that as they strive to expand their blue water navies, by developing new weapons that could threaten America’s dominance. For instance, it is reported that China launched two ballistic missiles that hit a moving target ship in the South China Sea thousands of miles from their launch sites. The Russian navy conducted its third test launch of it’s hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile that was launched from a frigate. The missile reached a speed of Mach 8 before hitting a target more than 200 miles away. These tests are the latest indication that American aircraft carriers, long viewed as kings of the seas, may soon face a real threat to their existence.
3) Iran has told South Korea not to politicize the seizure of their vessel, while demanding the release of $7 billion dollars in funds frozen amid U.S. sanctions. Additionally, Iran has denied all allegations that the seizing of South Korea’s tanker and its 20-member crew amounted to hostage taking, claiming instead it was Seoul who was holding Iran’s funds hostage. The vessel was seized based on an Iranian court order for ‘environmental pollution’, however, the ship’s Busan-based operator, said there was nothing to indicate that before the seizure of the vessel that Iranian authorities were probing possible violations of environmental rules.
4) Stock market closings for – 12 JAN 21:
Dow 31,068.69 up by 60.00 Nasdaq 13,072.43 up by 36.00 S&P 500 3,801.19 up by 1.58
1) The cryptocurrency Bitcoin plummets the most since March as a stronger dollar and investor nerves strip off nearly $140 billion in the cryptocurrency market cap, renewing fears that Bitcoin may be a bubble waiting to burst. But Bitcoin is still up roughly 89% over the past month. Other cryptocurrency coins, such as XRP and Litecoin, have shed about 18% each. Bitcoin hit a record high last week above $41,000, driven by the combination a weaker dollar, economic optimism, and a wave of bullish sentiment toward cryptocurrencies as big-name investors and investment banks touted a potential for huge gains this year, with the stronger dollar and higher bond yields triggering a plunge in Bitcoin and gold prices.
2) Trump has been permanently barred from the platform Twitter, resulting in$5 billion dollars in losses in market value, with Twitter stock dropping after the barring of the President. Twitter stated they permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence. Trump, who had about 88 million followers, generated enormous publicity for the platform with his controversial and incendiary tweets over the past six years. As a result, Twitter’s stock fell as much as 12% on Monday thus the decline of $5 billion dollars from Twitter’s market capitalization. Investors are worried that the Trump ban will erode interest in the platform and lead to boycotts among those who see the decision as politically motivated and a way to silence a major conservative voice.
3) Fears are growing that a bigger stimulus may be seen as the ‘peak of this bubble’ resulting in a market correction or worst. Some think that with the Democrats set to take control of both the House and Senate, perhaps President-elect Joe Biden will be less likely to spook markets with tax ambitions. Biden has promised $2,000 stimulus checks if the Senate turned blue, so now the question is what will happen? For millions of Americans, it’s been a painful waiting game already, they having subsisted with minimum money since losing their jobs from the pandemic. Joe Biden made the promise that if Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock turned the senate blue that would end the block in Washington and allow the $2,000 stimulus checks to immediately go out the door to people who are in real trouble.
4) Stock market closings for – 11 JAN 21:
Dow 31,008.69 down by 89.28 Nasdaq 13,036.43 down by 165.54 S&P 500 3,799.61 down by 25.07
1) Boeing Aircraft Co. has reached a $2.5 billion dollar agreement to settle the criminal charge that it defrauded the U.S. government by concealing information about the troubled 737 MAX. This is the ill-fated jet airliner involved in two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. The airline manufacturer entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and in turn, the Justice Department will dismiss the charge against Boeing. This settlement caps a two-year criminal investigation into the two MAX crashes. This settlement will have no bearing on any pending civil litigation. In addition, Boeing will pay a $243.6 million criminal penalty. With the penalty and the fund for relatives, Boeing says it expects to pay an additional $743.6 million dollars for the fourth quarter of 2020.
2) The cryptocurrency Bitcoin is at an all-time high in 2021, one coin now worth $36,000. It has doubled its value in 30 days. Bitcoin is the first and biggest cryptocurrency, which started up in January 2009, and eleven years after its invention, the total value of all Bitcoins in the world is around $359 billion. The Bitcoins are long, unbreakable codes stored in clouds or computers. Bitcoins were invented at the height of the 2008-9 financial crisis. The idea is a type of money that didn’t depend on the traditional banking systems. Cryptocurrency is popular in countries with inflation.
3) Venture capital backed companies in the United States raised nearly $130 billion dollars last year, setting a record despite the COVID-19 pandemic, up 14% from 2019, while the number of deals is down 9% to 6,022. The so-called mega-rounds, which are deals that are $100 million dollars or higher, also hit a record amount and number, with $63 billion dollars raised in 318 deals. However, there is a big drop in the very early stage investment called the seed money stage. The trend of big investments doesn’t look like it will slow in 2021 as there is a lot of capital chasing investments. It’s expected that 2021 is going to be a banner year for many tech companies.
4) Stock market closings for – 8 JAN 21:
Dow 31,097.97 up by 56.84 Nasdaq 13,201.98 up by 134.50 S&P 500 3,824.68 up by 20.89
A technologically advance people will displace a lesser people. Which is what is actually happening now.
James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM
For ten years now, I have been studying and writing about the mechanics and driving forces of modern insurrections, in particular the threat of people losing their livelihood by technology displacement. AI (Artificial Intelligence) experts predict that in the next 15 to 25 years, half the jobs in America will disappear because of technology. This isn’t something new, for decades people have been pushed further and further down because of technology displacement. For years, politicians have bemoaned how wages of American workers are not increasing, the politicians being too poorly educated in a world of technology to appreciate that the low wages is because machines are doing the work. As seen on Wednesday, people are now ‘mad as hell’ and their fuze is growing dangerously short!
Watching the news and the ‘nonsensical dribble’ expounded in TV interviews shows just how ill prepared members of the Congress and governments are to address the problems now facing Americans. Just how very little real understanding senators and congressmen have of the problems so many Americans have and why they are so very angry! That’s also apparent by how you never hear a peep in the political discourse about obsolete people and how a preponderance of Americans have been, and continue to be, pushed out of the social economic system (the tent people) by technology- which is why so many of those Washington demonstrators are so angry.
While many of the Washington’s self appointed elitist condemn, denounce and even ridicule those angry people, when earlier they were surprisingly quiet about the riots of ANTIFA and BLM, showing how they’ve grossly failed to understand that those groups are actually one and the same as those Washington rioters. They are all people being pushed out of the social economic system . . . pushed out of the world they were born into and belonged to, pushed out the same way as the Native American’s were two centuries ago. Pushed out by an advanced technology people only to be left out in the cold. This is indicative of the quality and caliber of the people sent to govern us. Just as the Indian’s were very angry over being pushed out of their world, the demonstrators this last year are just as angry and filled with resolve to push back.
The bulk of the people in Congress are lawyers or political science studies, which I consider to be just a watered down lawyer. Reading the law is the education of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Reading the law is the education of the 16th, 17th and the 18th centuries, and that’s the crux of the problem! We have these 18th century people charged with leading us into the 21st century, but it is simply beyond their abilities. Indeed, most can’t ‘solve’ their way out of a wet paper bag, they are so poorly educated.
The gun control proposals made by many in Congress is proof positive of just how technologically backwards and behind so many of them are. The most primitive technology still prevalent in the world, and they seriously suggest they can actually control and limit it. The gun problem is a world problem with one gun for every four humans, and that’s because the manufacturing of guns is such a low level technology. Just like alcoholic beverages and elicit drugs, being unable to control the demand means the technology cannot be controlled. Another example is the ridiculously long bills the Congress passes, recent examples being the health reform act (Obama Care) with about 2,700 pages, and the stimulus bill with almost 6,000 pages. Both are indicative how little real thought was given to the problems, just a room filled with lawyers writing up a preponderance of legalese for other lawyers to litigate later.
This deficiency isn’t something new, for on the day of his retirement (1987), Speaker Tip O’Neill (a Democrat) stood on the steps of the Capital and warned about those ‘sound biters’, the new generation of politicians who were very skilled at using the news media for their political careers … and very skilled at little else. And everything he tried to warn us about has come true. We don’t have problem solvers to govern us, instead we have entertainers, celebrities and personalities, and recent history shows how very deficient they are at addressing the problems Americans face. With members of Congress vying for TV camera time to whine and complain about the state of the people, who they have been so instrumental in creating by their non-performance, it’s obvious that reform is needed, indeed necessary.
When asked what needs to be done about obsolescence of people and their displacement by technology, my answer is always the same:
‘Until you have a functioning government, you’re going to do absolutely NOTHING!’
To reform the government means creating an environment conducive to get the quality and caliber of people needed to address the obsolescence and displacement of Americans. That change means the adoption of four constitutional amendments, which are:
The Four Constitutional Amendments
1) A line item veto by the President of appropriation bills.
2) Term limitations for congressmen (5 terms) and senators (2 terms).
3) An amendment forbidding anyone to participate in any election, in coin or in kind, for
which they cannot qualify to vote in.
4) The house and senate to have the power to fire any federal employee by a simple
majority vote, with no presidential veto.
An expanded description of these four amendments, as well as other articles about the displacement of Americans and their obsolescence by technology, can be found on my website www.peopleobsolete.com in both html and .pdf formats, which can be printed out on paper.
Despite all the condemnation and complaining of what happened at the Capital, nothing will be done with the people who presently govern us. The necessary balance for a modern government to function must be restored, and that means those four amendments. Otherwise, the real problems driving the street violence in America will only continue to grow and spread, irrespective what their political persuasion or believes may be. To solve the problem, the ‘forcing function’ of being pushed out of America must be addressed, and that means having the kind of people with the education and intellectual skills necessary to analyze and resolve problems . . . people who can come up with real viable solutions instead of the proverbial BS and sound bites that also cultivates the same dysfunctional state of the Forth Estate. To be able to create more than just illusions or images of ‘no problems’ or ‘problems solved’.
But the present situation presents the American people with the opportunity to get those amendments adopted. The present Washington environment, that has produced this and other recent riots by the negligence of Congress, is the swamp that President Trump promised and tried to drain, but without any actual structural changes, permanent draining is not possible. No amount of complaining or political rhetoric in front of television cameras is going to quell the anger which has been building for so many years.
So who’s to blamed for the DC riot? The Congress for failing to be the ‘Congress’ . . . for failing to do their job, for failing to work the problem! So . . .
1) The price of oil advanced as shrinking U.S. crude inventories added to expectations of a tighter global supply outlook after Saudi Arabia surprised the markets by pledging to reduce production for the next two months. Gasoline demand is falling to its lowest level since late May, spelling trouble for refining margins as a tighter global crude balance and straggling demand crimp profits for processing a barrel of oil. Saudi Arabia has decided to reduce crude output in February and March as part of an OPEC+ supply agreement. With the outlook for crude oil supply suddenly looking tighter, the oil options markets have grown less bearish.
2) A top scientist explains why a more infectious coronavirus variant is a bigger problem than a deadlier strain, with the deadly coronavirus having now mutated. One variant, called B.1.1.7, is more infectious, and has forced the UK into national lock down, with the variant having also been discovered in several US states, as well as other countries around the world. However, the new variant does not appear to be more deadly, so existing vaccines should also work against it. A really severe disease that one person gets won’t necessarily have as much impact as a lesser disease which a huge number of people get. While not any more deadly the new mutant B.1.1.7 is much more infectious, and is to blame for the surging numbers of people infected, filling up UK hospitals that forced the national lock down. It is estimated to have a 71% higher growth rate than other variants.
3) North Korea’s supreme ruler Kim Jong Un has announced a military expansion, but it is unclear if Pyongyang plans to ramp up its nuclear program too. This could put pressure on the incoming Joe Biden administration just when it is most vulnerable. North Korea plans to boost its military capacities in defiance of international sanctions, as well as a new five-year economic plan, admitting the previous program has failed. It’s unclear just what the military expansion will involve.
4) Stock market closings for – 7 JAN 21:
Dow 31,041.13 up by 211.73 Nasdaq 13,067.48 up by 326.69 S&P 500 3,803.79 up by 55.65
1) With the ravages of the new coronavirus, Los Angeles County has been so overwhelmed it is running out of oxygen. Arizona now has the nation’s highest rate of coronavirus hospitalizations. In the Atlanta area, nearly every major hospital is almost full, prompting state officials to reopen a field hospital for the third time. This last week, new deaths and cases have increased by more than 20 percent, for a total of more than 355,000 fatalities and 21 million infections. But the toll on hospitals is more critical. Southern California is running low on ICU beds, ventilators and morgue space. But the greatest shortage is oxygen. The sheer number of patients has placed such a strain on oxygen systems that some hospitals are struggling to provide adequate air pressure and flow into patients’ lungs. But expanding the oxygen supply doesn’t solve the problems, because of the volume being pumped, some of the pipes start to freeze up. Also you start running out of oxygen tanks that patients need to be discharged and sent home. As cases increase ICU beds get full, ER gets backed up, ambulances have nowhere to take patients. There’s severe, chronic staffing shortages, while elective surgeries get canceled so the ability to care simply degrades.
2) It is being reported that President Trump privately admits his defeat, but he wants to continue brawling for attention, so Trump has kept up a flurry of activities to pressure other Republicans to aid his effort to block Biden’s presidency. But one factor political pundits are overlooking is the state of the economy that Biden will inherit. Many are expecting the economy to make a strong quick recovery, but with the whole western economies going into massive deep debt, the likelihood of sever economic problems, that are worst than the 2008 downturn, looms large. The chances of Bidens new administration turning things around for America are very, very slim. And when there are economic problems, the President gets blamed even if it’s not his fault, so the new President will soon be in trouble with the people turning against him. Whether by design or accident, the charges of election fraud will most likely become an ‘albatross’ tied around Biden’s neck. For while the people now want to ignored the questions of voter fraud and corruption, as public opinion diminishes, that ‘albatross’ will hang heavy pulling his presidency down.
3) Communist China continues its backslide into a repressive totalitarian regime with the arrest of dozens of Hong Kong democracy activists and opposition politicians for violating the city’s controversial national security law, in what appears to be the largest roundup yet under the China imposed legislation. The Chinese justify the law which bands subversion, terrorism, secession and collusion with foreign forces, but the law has mainly been used against non-violent political opponents and dissidents.
4) Stock market closings for – 5 JAN 21
Dow 30,391.60 up by 167.71 Nasdaq 12,818.96 up by 120.51 S&P 500 3,726.86 up by 26.21
1) Because of the very rapid spreading of the new coronavirus variant, England will enter its toughest nationwide lock down since March. For at least six weeks schools will be closed and people can leave home only once a day for exercise. Because of the number of people in hospitals reaching a new height the British threat level has been raised to its highest level of 5. People must now only leave home for work, if it is impossible to work from home, and for essential food and medicine. School study will be online until mid-February. All non-essential retail and hospitality businesses are closed, but restaurants and other premises will continue delivery of takeaway food but not alcohol. Places of worship can remain open, including communal worship, subject to social distancing.
2) The first stimulus payments from new the coronavirus relief bill are now on the way. However, the aid won’t suffice for many. The $300 check additions to unemployment are half the amount of the old Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation pay outs, which lapsed in late July. Since then, aid recipients have been getting by on state unemployment assistance, which can pay less than the minimum wage when calculated on an hourly basis. But workers will receive just over a third of last spring’s CARES package, which paid out $600 per week for four months compared to $300 for 11 weeks now.
3) Google workers have formed their first-ever union, a rare step for the tech industry that also represents the biggest and most organized challenge yet to the company’s executive leadership. This is the first union at a major tech company and it’s for and by all tech workers. So far, 226 workers have signed union cards with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), one of the country’s largest labor unions. While the pandemic made it more challenging to hold those meetings face-to-face, the shift to remote work, in some ways, made it easier to organize. The workers could theoretically mount a strike, though that would be a challenge and there are no current plans to do so. The union’s formation comes after years of rising employee tensions over the company’s business and operational decisions, such as work with the defense sector, plans for a censored search engine in China, and the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims.
4) Stock market closings for – 4 JAN 21
Dow 30,223.89 down by 382.59 Nasdaq 12,698.45 down by 189.83 S&P 500 3,700.65 down by 55.42