Why the case for Bitcoin at $340 is not that crazy after all

Originally posted on PandoDaily:

Life on Bitcoin

Bitcoin went on another massive price run yesterday, hitting an all-time intraday high of $328 on the Mt. Gox exchange, and closing the day at $310, up nearly 17.5 percent. Today, it’s already up another 11 percent to $344 (as of 8am PST). There’s no single explanation for the massive rise, other than more people apparently believe that the price of bitcoin will continue to go up than go down. In other words, it’s speculative.

A more interesting question to ponder, however, is whether bitcoin is in a bubble that is bound to pop, or is the price appreciation healthy and sustainable based on its link to gains in the general awareness and desirability of the cryptocurrency as a value store? There are strong cases in both regards.

For historical context, the last time bitcoin went on a massive run up in price over a short time was in…

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Bitcoin Price Skyrocketing

Bitcoin price is currently over $350 per coin. The recent move far exceeds the previous highs of $266 seen in April. It appears that demand has been increasing in China.

Is this a bubble or is the price going even higher? The supply is very limited so bubble of not, I wouldn’t rule out $500 in the not too distant future. I will keep you informed of further bitcoin price moves.

Bitcoin Price Again Trading Above 200

In April of this year, Bitcoin hit an all time high of $266 per dollar. This was during the time of the crisis in Cyprus. If you recall, at that time depositors in Cyprus banks had trouble withdrawing money and ultimately some lost significant portions of their deposited funds.

At that time, as the Bitcoin price moved up, there was speculation that Russian depositors who used Cyprus to store money offshore, were now turning to bitcoin. After the crisis was resolved, the price declined more than 60%, falling below $100.

Since that time Bitcoin slowly recovered and began trading above $100. The price has since been trending upward with the price now $203.

Is Bitcoin headed for another crash or is it heading higher? Only time will tell, but I believe over time the trend has only been higher. The supply is very limited and Bitcoin offers an alternative to fiat currencies and is easily moved over the internet. It will be very interesting to see the price a year from now. Caveat: I own a couple of Bitcoins that I purchased around $100. I basicly bought them and socked them away, but I did so knowing the price could one day be closer to 10 than 100.

I believe the future of Bitcoin depends on more widespread adoption. That being said, transactions denominated in Bitcoins already number in the billions of US Dollars.

Ted Cruz Failed To Disclose Ties To Caribbean Holding Company

Originally posted on Swampland:

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz potentially violated ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with a Caribbean-based holding company during the 2012 campaign, a review of financial disclosure and company documents by TIME shows. The relationship originated with a $6,000 investment Cruz made more than a decade ago in a Jamaican private equity firm founded by his college roommate.

When Cruz later reported the financial relationship in 2013, he failed to comply with Senate rules requiring full identification of the holding company and its location, triggering an inquiry by Senate Select Committee on Ethics staff and a second amended disclosure. After additional inquiries by TIME this week, Cruz said he is now in the process making further corrections to his disclosure.

Cruz told TIME Thursday that the initial failure to report the financial relationship was an oversight that he corrected last May on his own initiative in…

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I Propose The Government Shutdown Act

Sadly this law would never be passed. But I would like to propose The Government Shutdown Act. Here is how the law would work:

In the event of a government shutdown or an impasse on raising the debt ceiling:

1) All members of the house and senate must report within 24 hours to the floors of the house and senate. Failure to do so is considered an act of resignation and the member is removed from office.

2) The doors to both chambers are sealed. 10 Port-A-Johns are placed on the floor of the senate and 25 on the floor of the house.

3) Members are allowed only to keep literally the clothes on their back. No briefcases, purses or luggage of any kind and of course no changes of clothing.

4) Simple meals of soup and bread are served 3 times a day.

5) Each member is issued a wash basin, tooth brush, tooth paste 2 gallons of water, any required medication and an army blanket.

6) Members are not allowed to leave their floor until a bill is passed either funding the government, raising the debt ceiling or both, depending on the situation. Leaving the floor is considered resigning one’s office. Those who resign are ineligible for running for either branch of congress for life.

7) Members receive 0 pay from the time the doors are sealed until a bill is passed ending the shutdown, raising the debt ceiling or both.

OK, I know such a law would never be enacted and is probably unconstitutional. However, there should be some price congress must pay. This last time around they cost the economy 24 billion dollars. Ted Cruz is already talking about shutting the government down again.

At the very least Senators and members of congress and their staffs should receive no pay during a shutdown. It would be nice to have a parliamentary system where both houses could be dissolved and a snap election called.

As it is, we have the 2014 election. Anyone voting for republicans who wish to shutdown the government or who think a default by the US is no big deal, deserve the continued crises and disfunction such a vote would bring.

Fukushima’s Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant Again Shows Vulnerability to Mother Nature

All the problems from the Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant stem from one cause: underestimating the power of mother nature. The sea barriers to stop a tsunami were built too low and the giant tsunami following the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 3/11 easily swamped the plant, triggering the current crisis.

On Sunday, heavy rainfall caused highly contaminated water containing strontium-90 to overflow the containment areas surrounding the 1000 storage tanks at the plant. The operator, Tepco, estimated there would be 30-40mm of rainfall, when actually over twice that amount (100 mm) fell.

“Our pumps could not keep up with the rainwater. As a result, it flowed over some containment areas,” said Tepco
spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai.

Tepco said it will increase the number of pumps and lay an additional 10km of piping to prevent such an overflow from happening again.

This incident shows the main problem with nuclear power in a country like Japan. Japan has a much higher incidence of natural disasters, such as typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides and volcanic eruptions. Japan’s population is also highly concentrated with 127 million people living in an area the size of California.

Japan should abandon nuclear power for good. Nuclear power plants may run safely for decades, but all it takes is one bad day. Japan also has no place to store all the waste produced from its reactors. The government wants to build waste processing plants, but no local government wants such a facility built in their area.

Japan should focus its attention on safer, more environmentally friendly forms of energy and abandon nuclear power. Such a move may raise the cost of energy, but it would also raise the safety of the Japanese people and prevent more Fukushimas from happening.

Here’s How Much The Government Shutdown Cost The Economy

Originally posted on Swampland:

$24 billion.

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The Government is Open The Hall is Closed

After 16 days of partisan bickering, reason and sanity have prevailed over the politics of extremism and extortion. When early Thursday after President Obama signed a bill to open the government and raise the debt ceiling. Earlier the Senate passed the bill 81-18 and the House followed passing the bill 285-144.

It should be noted that the majority of House Republicans voted against the bill. After causing the crisis by refusing to fund the government, and with the reputation and creditworthiness of the United States in dire jeopardy, they put party and their agenda above the good of the country. If there was any doubt about how far out of touch the Republican Party is with the wishes of the American people, this vote clarified with laser like focus where the Republicans stand. The Republicans were willing to do anything to get what they wanted regardless of the harm caused to America.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to see just how the 9 members of the Hall of Shame voted on this bill to stave off disaster.

1) Congressman John Culberson -R Texas Voted Nay

Culberson to remind you was the fellow who compared shutting down the government to the heroic passengers who confronted the hijackers on 911. Apparently to this moment, he is gripping his butter knife and shouting “Let’s Roll!”

2) Congresswoman Michele Bachman -R Minnesota Voted Nay

Ms. Bachman was the lady who spoke of how happy the Republicans were about shutting down the government. Well the government is open and the debt ceiling raised. Double bummer huh Michele?

3) Congressman Marlin Stutzman -R Indianna Voted Nay

Stutzman is the felliw who said Republicans needed “to get something” although he didn’t know what that something was. He is now pouting cuz the mean old president didn’t give him anything.

4) Congressman John Boehner -R Ohio, Speaker of the House Voted Aye

Boehner speaking to a radio show in Ohio said “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.” Apparently in Boehner’s view, putting the country thru 16 days of turmoil, hurting our economy, damaging our reputation and bringing us to the brink of disaster, represents fighting the good fight. I call it dangerous, irresponsible brinkmanship. And yes he did vote aye and he didn’t block the vote from being taken, but he will get no kudos from me for that. He should have allowed a vote from day 1 and saved the country from all the unnecessary trauma and turmoil. Boehner in my mind should lose his speakership. He should lose his seat in the house and go back to being a janitor. Then he can clean up messes instead of making them.

5) Congressman Paul Ryan -R Wisconsin Chairman of the Budget Committee Voted Nay

Ryan was the man who advocated solving the crisis by having a budget conference and adopting entitlement reform in an op ed piece in The Wall Street Journal. The law that he voted against sets up just such a committee, even putting Ryan on as a leader. Apparently Ryan isn’t interested in negotiating unless he has a gun at the fellow’s head. His vote against staving off economic calamity does show one thing very clearly. America made the right choice when they rejected him as vice president. This man is completely unfit for office.

6) Congressman Ted Yoho -R Florida Voted Nay

Yoho speaking about not raising the debt limit said this: “I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets.” I don’t think I need to say more. This fellow is just clueless.

7) Senator Ted Cruz -R Texas Voted Nay

He was one of the driving forces behind the whole Republican strategy of shutting down the government. After the vote he was vowing to continue the fight against Obamacare. Sadly, we haven’t heard the last from Cruz. He will continue to be a negative force in politics until the good people of Texas vote him out of office. Fellow Republican John McCain said it best when he called Cruz a “whacko bird.”

8) Congressman Eric Cantor -R Virginia House Majority Leader, Voted Aye

Cantor voted aye but like Boehner he will get no praise from me. HR 368 changed the rules so that no other person but Cantor or his designee could use a parliamentary procedure to bring a vote on a resolution to open the government. He and Boehner refused to allow such a vote, instead subjecting the country to 16 days of needless suffering.

9) Congressman Steve Stockman -R Texas Voted Nay

Stockman was the fellow who spoke of the need of congress to listen to the people. This man himself is stone deaf when it comes to listening to the American people. The American people overwhelmingly wanted an end to this entire sad escapade but not Stockman. He voted nay.

So there we have it. Of my 9 members of the Hall of Shame, 7 voted against the bill to avoid a default and open the government. The other 2 Boehner and Cantor could have called a vote any time during the crisis and ended it, but refused to do so until America was brought to the edge of disaster. I believe my 9 choices proved themselves worthy of their badges of shame.

Sadly, we face another deadline in a few months. Cruz is already saying he won’t rule out another government shutdown. If that happens, the Hall of Shame will be re-opened for new members.

The 9th Inductee to the Hall of Shame

Hopefully this Republican inflicted damage to our nation and economy will soon be over, but until that happy moment, I will continue inducting members to the hall of shame. Sadly it’s difficult to choose with so many deserving candidates.

Today’s worthy inductee is Republican congressman representing Clearwater, Texas, Steve Stockman. Stockman is one of the Republicans who decided the continuing resolution to fund the government must be used to defund Obamacare.

Speaking of his brilliant strategy, Stockman said, “Americans want Congress to do two things, work together on our national fiscal crisis and stop Obamacare. It’s time Congress started listening to them.”

I’m sorry Mr. Congressman, but you are the one not listening. Americans wanted two things from Congress, to keep the government open and to raise the debt ceiling. Your strategy to blackmail America isn’t working.

And working together on our national fiscal crisis? Hmmm, and the way to do that is by creating a huge totally unnecessary crisis, that is raising unemployment, shrinking the economy and decreasing tax revenues? I took a macroeconics course in university. I must have missed the lecture on how shrinking the economy shrinks the deficit.

You manufacturers of this and other crises love telling us what the American people want, even as you go about doing what we don’t want. Americans are fed up with having a circus in Congress every 6 months. We are tired of the politics of extortion that is now the Republican strategy of governing.

For causing needless, unwanted pain to our beloved country and for just being an overall bonehead, I hereby induct you, Steve Stockman into the Hall of Shame. I hope in the future you will start listening to what the American people want. It’s not so difficult really. All we want is an end to all this dysfunction and for members of Congress to do their jobs.

The 8th Inductee to the Hall of Shame

Today’s inductee is a man whose hypocrisy has reached a level rarely seen in American history. I am speaking of Virginia Congressman and House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor.

In an op ed piece for The Washington Post. Cantor had this to say:

“For three years, Congress and the White House have been building to this moment. Not the debt limit or Obamacare specifically, but this clarifying moment of Washington dysfunction. President Obama has led us here by continually thwarting the will of Congress and dismissing its role in our constitutional republic. This must end.
The president not only has refused to negotiate on issues of debt and spending but also has mocked the very idea of engaging with Congress. President Obama has repeatedly made clear that he feels it is beneath the office of the presidency to work in a bipartisan way with the legislative branch.”

Wow Mr.Cantor, how terrible that someone would thwart the will of congress and not be bipartison. But that is exactly what you and the house republicans have done when you passed HR368.

Under the normal rules of the house, any member of the house can make a motion to vote on a senate resolution, but on October 1st, the republican dominated rules committee passed HR368. HR368 removed the privilege to call for a vote from any member of the house and gave that privilege solely to the majority leader (Eric Cantor) or his designee.

So here we have Cantor piously lecturing the president of the United States about not acting in a bipartisan way and thwarting the will of congress, when the Republicans purposely rigged the rules so that Cantor alone can call the vote to end the shutdown. Is that acting in a bipartisan way, Mr. Cantor? You respect the will of Congress so much that you made it impossible for them to vote without your permission. You know that such a vote would end the government shutdown before you could advance your partisan agenda.

You speak of Washington dysfunction, when you are the poster boy for Washington dysfunction. You sir are a hypocrite pure and simple. I am aghast that you would have the nerve to write such an op ed accusing the president of the very acts you yourself have blatantly committed.

For hypocrisy, demagoguery, and being a very sad excuse for a congressman. Eric Cantor, you are hereby inducted into the Hall of Shame.

For those who would like to learn more about HR368 and how the republicans rigged the game, you can watch this video. http://youtu.be/0Jd-iaYLO1A

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