All posts by todeidei

21Jun/17
civil war republicans democrats

Is a Civil War Coming to the US?

After the last weeks shooting of GOP Congressional members, there’s an air of urgency rising on the streets of America. Much of the prior politically motivated violence had been isolated to rallies and protests, but now things are becoming personal.

While preparing for the annual baseball game between Republicans and Democrats, shots rang out, striking six different individuals. Among those who sustained injuries were GOP Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Congressional staffer Zack Barth (works for Rep. Roger Williams of Texas) and GOP Representative Roger Williams of Texas. All of the victims are expected to survive.

The only fatality was the shooter, one James Hodgkinson, who died after the shootout at the hands of law enforcement. Prior to the shooting, witnesses stated that Hodgkinson was very agitated and spouting out angry opposition to GOP policies.

This is not the first time violence has been perpetrated against members or supporters of the Republican party. Throughout the election cycle in October of last year, there were many occasions when President Donald Trump supporters were confronted going in and out of political venues. Notable attacks were reported in San Jose, California in June of last year and in areas of Berkeley.

It was October of 2016 that the firebombing of Republican Party headquarters in Orange County was reported, promting North Carolina. Gov. Pat McCrory to comment that the attack was a pure “attack on our democracy.”

While differing sides have certainly had their issues throughout the years, it’s hard to recall when such a level of violence was used to deliver a message. As the popularity of President Trump continues to wane and violence continues between supporters of differing ideologies, one can only be concern that things will soon hit critical mass. For now, the recent shooting only served to bring all Congressional leaders together, at least for the time being.

13Jun/17
Bitcoin surging

Bitcoin is Surging

For anyone who is unaware of exactly what Bitcoin is and how it is traded, it might be a good time to seek a quick education into the nuances of the world’s top crypto-currency. Compared to bullish stock markets in the US, London and parts of Asia, nothing could possibly compare to the 200% increase Bitcoin has experienced in just the last five months.

Currently, Bitcoin is trading at just over $3,000 per coin. The price continues rising to record levels on a daily basis. In the process of this meteoric rise, the valuations for other crypto-currencies are also experiencing substantial growth as investors seek to find the ones that will be able to compete with Bitcoin as a viable means for exchange.

According to Brian Kelly, CEO and founder of BKCM and a CNBC contributor, crypto-currency is “in the first years of what is likely to be a multi-year bull market. Of course there will be corrections and even crashes along the way, but bitcoin is here to stay.”

This shouldn’t come a surprise to investors that have seen Bitcoin increase in popularity throughout many portions of Asia. The primary reason for the currency’s increase in price over the past few months in because the Chinese government formally approved it as a form of legal tender for goods and services. This is further complimented by the fact Japanese lawmakers are looking to make similar moves.

Many folks are waiting to see how quickly financial markets and merchants in the US are going to begin accepting Bitcoin and other digital currencies as a legitimate form of currency. To date, the Federal Reserve and many banking organizations have Bitcoin under close examination. Should the US Federal reserve decide to recommend acceptance of any digital currencies, one can expect to see a massive explosion in the valuation of any digital currency deemed to be legitimate.

05Jun/17
london tragedy trump travel ban support

As London Deals With Tragedy, Trump Takes to Twitter for Travel Ban Support

Being a leader that never misses an opportunity to take advantage of a tragedy, United States President Donald Trump used the recent terrorist act in London, England to create support for his now defunct travel band.

While some of the details may still be unclear, it appears that a series of knife and track attacks may be related to recent terrorist activities in Europe. As Trump continues to pursue support for a travel ban he has been trying to get through the court systems, he is again calling for passage of temporary laws that would prohibit immigration from as many as six different Muslims countries.

The tweet from President Trump came at 7 p.m. Eastern Time this past Friday: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” The tweet hit Twitter while the details of event were still being sorted out.

The dispute over the proposed travel ban relates to an assumption being made based on some of President Trump past rhetoric. While the President has the power to implement some emergency laws aimed at protecting the country, the courts have determined he has submitted the travel ban order based on religious affiliations, which violates certain rights listed in the Constitution of the United States.

As seven innocent dead victims and three suspects were being pulled from the carnage related to a van being driven into a large group of pedestrians, followed by series of fatal stabbings, Trump immediately assumed it was the work of terrorists and went to work on his message.

The above incident also resulted in another 48 people being injured. The final body count could have been much higher had London police not arrive quickly on the scene to shoot and kill the suspects.

31May/17
german leader merkel odds US Uk

German Leader Merkel at Odds With US and UK

After expressing her dissatisfaction with events and meetings that occurred at the recent G-7 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear she no longer believes her country can rely on long time allies. Without naming names, it would appear she was referring to fragmented relationships with the post Brexit UK and the United States. It should be noted that the seven member countries, which included the US, UK, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, and Italy, left Merkel feeling as though she was standing alone in her positions related to world issues.

After developing strong relationships with former US President Barack Obama and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the German leader has had difficulty dealing with current leaders such as US President Donald Trump. Unfortunately, the issues would seem to go much deeper than a differing ideology.

In recent months and weeks, Trump has been very critical of Merkel’s stance on immigration. He has also called out German automakers on a variety of issues. As the criticism has mounted, Merkel stated, “The times in which [Germany] could fully rely on others are partly over. I have experienced this in the last few days. We Europeans really have to take our destiny into our own hands.”

In what would appear to be a further shift in German diplomacy, Merkel has made an effort to show support for new French President-elect Emmanuel Macron. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since both leaders show an affinity for liberal causes such as global warming and open immigration policies.

Fortunately, the rest of EU remains optimistic about ongoing relationships with the UK and the US. According to EU Council President Donald Tusk:

“What I am absolutely sure after this meeting is that despite some extraordinary … expressions, behaviors, etc, etc, our partners in the G7 are much more responsible than the first impression after the election in the United States.”

22May/17
North Korea missile May 20 2017

North Korea Continues Missile Launches

As tensions continue building over North Korea’s build up in nuclear arms project, another missile launch as confirmed on May 20 by representatives from South Korea. The statement issued by the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff read as followed:

“North Korea launched an unidentifiable projectile to the East Sea from Bukchang area in South Pyongyang Province at 16:49 today.” (The East Sea is also referred to as the Sea of Japan.) The South Korean statement later added, “The projectile flew 500 km [310 miles] and ROK and U.S. are now analyzing its details [sic]. ROK military is closely monitoring North Korean provocative trends and maintaining highest military readiness.”

After the South Korean statement, Commander David Benham, a U.S. Pacific Command spokesman, issued the following statement on behalf of the White House: “U.S. Pacific Command detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean missile launch at 09:59 p.m. Hawaii time May 20. The launch of a medium range ballistic missile occurred near Pukchang. The missile was tracked until it landed in the Sea of Japan. We are working with our Interagency partners on a more detailed assessment. We continue to monitor North Korea’s actions closely. U.S. Pacific Command stands behind our ironclad commitment to the security of our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) assessed that the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.”

While North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continues to taunt the US and neighboring South Korea, the international community continues to levy sanctions on Jong-un and his people. While the sanctions are creating issues, nothing seems to be deterring North Korea from further missile launches. To date, this is the 7th recorded missile launch in 2017. As long as Jong-un acts with defiance, there seems to be little chance of mediation.

16May/17
laptop ban us homeland security

US Homeland Security Looking at Wider Laptop Ban

With terrorists threats increasing throughout the air travel industry, The United States Department of Homeland Security is looking at a total ban on in-cabin computers (tablets, laptops) on designated flights. The proposed flights affected originate from 10 countries from within Europe and Africa. The ban would require all computing devices to be checked through as luggage.

If this policy is put in place, frequent travelers are going to face a major change in the way they travel. Not only will they have to endure long flights without any form of distraction, sans the airline’s movie list, but they run the risk of having their devices damaged or stolen by baggage handlers. Flight insurance would most likely cover the cost of such an incident, but who wants to get off a flight and have to head to the nearest mall for a new computer? Never mind that important data could be lost.

While the ban would only affect airlines originating in those 10 countries into the US, the likelihood the ban would eventually be expanded to include other countries would increase. There’s even a possibility Homeland Security could impose the ban on domestic flights should even one threat be exposed.

When contacted for a comment, several major US airlines (United Airlines (UAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) nor American Airlines (AAL)) could not be reached. In anticipation of this type of ban throughout the world, several proactive airlines are allowing travelers to gate-check their devices, lowering the risk of theft and damage. There’s even a possibility the items could be stored in the cabin under lock n’ key with the airline staff. Among these airlines, which include Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, efforts are being made to offer loaner laptops, which would be controlled as the airlines property.

Stay tuned for more information on this proposed ban.

08May/17
macron victory france presidential election

Macron Claims Victory in France’s Presidential Election

With France facing significant issues related to unemployment and immigration from Muslim countries, the country’s citizens went to the polls in round two of the presidential election. As the dust cleared, Emmanuel Macron was the decided victor. The announcement came after the polls closed on a bitter fight between Macron and the far right candidate Marine Le Pen.

After Donald Trump’s victory in the US and Brexit’s victory in the United Kingdom, there were great concerns among populist leaning political figures that the tide had turned and a nationalist movement was sweeping the world. As a self-described centrist, Macron was able to strike a major victory among politicians who still favor liberal causes like open immigration policies.

Macron is a successful 39-year old businessman who decided to start his own centrist party and a run towards the presidency only a year ago. His victory serves as another clear message that tradition political concerns across the globe are under great pressure from people who want to see significant changes in the way their countries are being run.

While he never made a formal declaration of support, US President Trump was known to have been supportive of Le Pen’s tough stand against the continued immigration policies that have been creating significant problems between France’s borders. In an official statement out of the White House on behalf of the President, “We congratulate President-elect Macron and the people of France on their successful presidential election. We look forward to working with the new President and continuing our close cooperation with the French government.”

For now, liberal factions can breath a sigh of relief. In support of Macron, former US President Barack Obama just last week issued a video in support of the new French leader. In the video, he made clear the importance of the election by saying “Because the success of France matters to the entire world.”

01May/17
millenials debt

Millennials and Debt

The United States is very much a debtor nation. From the country’s governmental debt to personal debt, the numbers are sitting at staggering levels. According to a report released by the organization UBS, the nation’s consumer debt currently sits at around $3.6 trillion, that’s trillion. Even more alarming is the fact it continues to rise month after month, year after year.

At that level, the US debt sits at 20% of GNP, which is reaching levels that are unsustainable. A closer look at the number indicates that millennials (21 years old to 34 years old) are responsible for $1.1 trillion of the total consumer debt amount. The causes of millennial debt reaching such limits are two-fold, college debt and an inability to or unwillingness to live within their means.

The college debt issue is not new, yet is still threatens to undermine the stability of the US economy if not addressed in the immediate future. According to New York Fed President William Dudley, “continued increase in college costs and debt burdens could inhibit higher education’s ability to serve as an important engine of upward income mobility.”

As for consumer debt, recent improvement in the situation is becoming more apparent. As millennials find themselves facing unmanageable debt issues, they are beginning to address the root causes of their problems. While they tend to still want to overspend on big ticket items, they are learning the benefits related to frugality and waiting for the lowest and best prices.

One trend that warrants monitoring relates to auto leasing. According to the UBS report 32% of millennial are foregoing car purchases in favor of leasing. While it certainly offers a lower priced option for transportation, they are having to walk away from leases without a meaningful asset to show for their efforts. With student debt so high, something has to give.