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17 августа, 03:05

Colleges Offer Courses On "Queering" Children & The Bible

Authored by Caroline Ryan via Campus Reform, This school year, students across the country will attend courses on “Queering the Bible,” “Queering Childhood,” “Queering Theology,” and similar topics. Students at Pomona College in Claremont, California, for instance, will have the opportunity to enroll in a brand new course titled “Queering Childhood,” which will examine “the figure of the Child and how this figuration is used by politics, law, and medicine to justify continued cultural investment in reproductive heteronormativity and productive ablebodiedness.” The course description explains that students will examine the childhoods of “queer and crip children,” as well as “childhoods against which the figure of the Child is articulated,” with reference to work related to “gender studies, childhood studies, disability studies, and queer theory.” Colleges are not only attempting to “queer” childhood, they are teaching students to “queer” Christianity and religion in general, as well. This fall, Eugene Lang College will offer a course titled "Queering and Decolonizing Theology,” where students will explore topics such as “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community,” and “transgender Christs.”   “Christian theology is often depicted as a violent colonial force standing in particular opposition to LGBTQI lives. However, over the last 30 years people of faith, activists, and theorists alike have rediscovered what is queer within Christianity, uncovered what is religious within secular queer communities, and used postcolonial theory to decolonize lived religious practices and theologies,” the course description asserts. According to the college, the course “explores secular philosophies of queer and postcolonial theory as well as their critical and constructive application to religion,” focusing on topics like “the sexual ethics and ritualization found in the S&M community, transgender Christs, and the mestiza (or mixed) cultures of Latin America.” Similarly, students at Harvard Divinity School will be able to attend a course on "Queer Theologies, Queer Religions" this fall, which will explore the “project of ‘queer theology’” and how it relates to “larger aspirations of queer religion or spirituality in America.” In this course, students will begin by “sampling the efforts to revise traditional Christian theologies in order to accept or affirm same-sex loves.” After that, they will move on to examining “forgotten possibilities in historical engagements between advocates of homosexual rights and established religious bodies (chiefly churches and synagogues).” “We will consider the boundaries between queer theology and queer theory or between it and other political theologies,” the course description explains.  “We will test the boundaries of ‘Christianity’ while considering the varied forms of queer religion outside familiar religious institutions—in spirituality or spiritualism, in magic or neo-paganism, in erotic asceticism.” Swarthmore College students, meanwhile, will survey “queer and trans* readings of biblical texts” during a course titled "Queering the Bible,” which will introduce them to “the complexity of constructions of sex, gender, and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times.” “By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and trans* theoretical approaches,” the description promises, “this class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the [B]ible—and religion—says about gender and sexuality.” The University of San Francisco is also getting into the act with a course on "Christian Feminist Theology" that aims to “develop an understanding of how feminist scholarship provides one fruitful means towards reappropriation of central Christian insights about God.”  The course will facilitate “critical reflection upon the experience of God, and insights from feminist thought,” according to the description. In a similar vein, students enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s "Gender, Sexuality, and Religion” course “will read religion through a variety of feminist and queer theory lenses- exploring the key characteristics of diverse feminist analyses of religion, as well as limits of specific feminist approaches.” “In this course we will learn about women’s and men’s rituals, social roles, and mythologies in specific religious traditions,” the course description explains. “We will also look at the central significance of gender to the field of religious studies generally, with particular attention to non-binary genders.” To that end, the course will address questions such as “How important are the gender differences in deciding social roles, ritual activities, and spiritual vocations?” and “How does gender intersect with nationality, language, and politics?” Campus Reform reached out to each of the schools mentioned in this report for additional comment on the courses in question, and is currently awaiting responses. This article will be updated if and when any of them provide a statement.

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17 августа, 02:45

New Mexico Jihad Compound Mysteriously Destroyed By Authorities

New Mexico authorities have executed a court order to destroy an encampment where the son of a famous New York Imam ritualistically murdered his three-year-old son and trained nearly a dozen other children to commit school shootings, according to Taos, NM prosecutors.  The decision to raze the compound is the latest controversial development in the case, after New Mexico judge Sarah Backus on Monday ordered four out of five alleged Muslim extremists free on a $20,000 "signature bond" (meaning they didn't have to pay), including the suspect in his son's murder, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj.  NBC News reports that police seized an RV where eleven children and five adults lived in what was described as squalor, while also bulldozing the entrance to an underground tunnel where the decomposing body of three-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahha, kept there in the hopes that he would resurrect as Jesus and use his psychic powers to help the group target "corrupt institutions and people" with "violent actions." Ammo and a bulletproof vest were discovered at the scene after the camp was broken down.  NEW DEVELOPMENT: Authorities have partially bulldozed the #NMCompound - trailer that was the main dwelling on the property has been dragged out and seized. ammo/bulletproof vest/paperwork remain. @NBCNews pic.twitter.com/yGDV1I8wYa — Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) August 15, 2018 Judge Backus drew harsh rebuke from prosecutors, law enforcement and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who said she "strongly disagreed" with the decision to release the suspects on signature bail. "Unfortunately, it highlights how extreme the New Mexico Supreme Court has been in dictating pretrial release for all kinds of dangerous criminals."  THREAD: This week we were given rare access inside the NM compound where authorities think children were getting weapons training to carry out school shootings. This is part of the tunnel that extends out from the property. @NBCNews pic.twitter.com/1tuGlkeHzX — Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) August 11, 2018 Backus - who survived a petition to replace her in 2016 with a "Qualified judge," wrote that the State of New Mexico "apparently expected the court to take the individuals’ faith into account" in determining whether or not the defendants accused of operating a radical Islamic training camp pose a danger to the community, notes the Daily Caller.  pic.twitter.com/czeS90TCpj — Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) August 14, 2018 Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said that during the initial serving of the search warrant, their tactical team came upon children holding boxes of ammo, and at least one child was armed when he was found. The defendants' attorney tried to downplay the "heavily armed" portion of the case.   While cross-examining of Hogrefe, the suspects' defense attorneys each took their chance to try and distance the suspects as far from the weapons as possible, and the connotations of violence they imply. One defense attorney suggested it's "prudent" that children learn how to use firearms safely, which Hogrefe agreed to. The sheriff also confirmed that Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the legalities surrounding the occupants' possession of firearms.  Another defense attorney pointed out, and Hogrefe confirmed, that the compound's occupants did not shoot at the tactical team as they raided the compound. He did say, however, that Morton was "struggling" and "resisting" while being arrested by deputies. -KOB.com For her decision to free the suspects, Backus says she has received over 200 threats, including death threats, which resulted in the evacuation of a New Mexico courthouse on Tuesday.  Backus has received more than 200 threats, according to Barry Massey, a spokesman for New Mexico Courts. Callers have threatened physical violence against Backus, including some people who threatened to slit Backus' throat and smash her head, Massey said. People also lashed out on social media and also threatened court staff, Massey said. -CNN Backus has been called an "Islamic terrorist sympathizer" and a "disgusting garbage human," according to Massey. 

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17 августа, 02:25

Hyperinflation Has Destroyed Venezuela

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Authored by Alex Deluce via GoldTelegraph.com, Has coffee become an unattainable luxury? It is if you live in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas. In July, the price of a cup of coffee was 2 million bolivars. In a country where the minimum wage has been raised to 3 million bolivars, coffee has become as unaffordable as food, housing, clothing, and medicine. Venezuela is in crisis mode. Ninety percent of citizens live in poverty conditions. Most of them have lost up to 25 pounds due to lack of food. Call it the Maduro Quick Weight-Loss Plan. President Maduro, who has blamed everything but his own socialist policies for the economic disaster, points out that he has raised the minimum wage to 3 million bolivars. For Venezuelans, this is utterly meaningless when prices are doubling every 18 days. Economists predict that hyperinflation will hit an unprecedented 1,000,000 percent by the end of the year. The Bolivar can be officially considered without value. It is easy to forget that just a few decades ago, Venezuela was one of the richest countries in South America. It had the world’s largest oil reserves and plenty of gold. Along came President Chavez and his populist policies and schemes to redistribute the wealth. Following years of overspending and inflation, his successor, President Maduro, has continued those policies, except there is no more wealth left to distribute. In a recent election many consider rife with fraud, Maduro’s win has ensured six more years of hellish disaster for Venezuela. He has announced that he intends to fight hyperinflation by removing five zeroes from the bolivar. His announcement did not include an explanation of how devaluaing the valueless Bolivar, even more, will help the country. Venezuela has gone beyond an economic disaster and is now in a humanitarian crisis. Without food or medicine, the country won’t be able to survive. At this time, it is being propped up by Russian and Chinese aid. Don't think #Gold is important? 🇻🇪🇻🇪 In Venezuela, an ounce of the yellow metal would have gone for 211 million bolivars—an increase of more than 3.1 million percent from just the beginning of the year. People with #Gold has successfully preserved purchasing power! pic.twitter.com/6bD2RNJNmo — Gold Telegraph (@GoldTelegraph_) August 13, 2018 Venezuela has sold off most of its gold reserves to pay off debts. The country barely has any gold left in reserve. Its massive oil supplies were once its largest export. Now, the country has announced that it will export only one million barrels of oil a day next year, down from three million barrels a day in 2011. Where has all the wealth gone? Between government mismanagement and corruption, no one can say. Of course, President Maduro and his massive army, hired to protect him, aren’t starving. They may be the only ones. Millions of Venezuelans are fleeing the misery, crossing the borders to any country with jobs and food. Families fortunate enough to have family jewelry is selling them. Other are mining for gold illegally. Illegal gold mining, mostly gold dust, constitutes 90 percent of Venezuela’s current gold production. This illegal gold can be sold at a fraction of the going price. Selling gold, whether legal or illegal, is the only hope any Venezuelans have to obtain food, medicine, or for an escape across the borders. When a currency loses its value, gold can make the difference between life and death. While it is difficult to imagine a scenario more horrendous than present-day Venezuela, it is good to remember that all global fiat currency is losing in value. The price of gold may fluctuate, or sell on the black market of half its price, but gold will never lose its actual value. For many in Venezuela, gold is the last chance for survival.

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17 августа, 02:05

"This Is A Very Dangerous Outbreak" WHO Chief 'Worried' Over Ebola In DRC

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The director of the World Health Organization (WHO) is urging a ceasefire between armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as raging conflicts in the region have hampered efforts to stop a new Ebola outbreak which is transmitting freely, reports the Daily Mail.  So far 41 deaths had been reported as of August 1 between the DRC's North Kivu province, including the cities of Beni and Mangina.  As the death toll in the outbreak declared on August 1 in DRC's violence-wracked North Kivu province hit 41, the World Health Organization chief also called for the rapid roll-out of an unlicenced drug being used for the first time to treat Ebola patients. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva he feared conditions on the ground in the eastern province had created "a conducive environment for the transmission of Ebola." -Daily Mail Ghebreyesus, who traveled to the hot zones in Beni and Mangina in recent days, says that while he was worried before his trip - since his return "I am actually more worried."  The latest outbreak now encompasses 57 probable and confirmed cases of Ebola in the DRC's 10th outbreak since 1976, when the disease was first identified near the DRC's Ebola river.  Beni was the scene of a 2016 massacre in which at least 64 people were killed by militants, bringing the toll to over 700 dead since October 2014. in North Kivu, health workers are being forced to navigate their response among more than 100 armed groups, and Tedros said that there have been 120 violent incidents since January alone. He said the region was sprinkled with so-called "red zones", or inaccessible areas. -Daily Mail "That environment is really conducive for Ebola ... to transmit freely." "We call on the warring parties for cessation of hostilities, because the virus is dangerous to all. It doesn't choose between this group or that group," according to Ghebreyesus.  Meanwhile, there are currently 1,200 people living in the Mangina hot-zone who may all receive vaccinations after at least seven health workers were infected with the disease.  In a bid to halt the virus's lethal advance, DRC health authorities said Tuesday that doctors in Beni had begun using a prototype drug called mAb114 to treat patients. The treatment is "the first therapeutic drug against the virus to be used in an active Ebola epidemic in the DRC," the health ministry's directorate for disease control said. Developed in the United States, the prototype drug is a so-called single monoclonal antibody -- a protein that binds on to a specific target of the virus and triggers the body's immune system to destroy the invader. -Daily Mail The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said in May that it was launching the first human trials of mAb114 to test for tolerance and safety. The WHO's Ghebreyesus, meanwhile, said that five patients have received the unlicensed drug thus far, and that WHO is pushing for the roll-out "to speed up as much as possible."  The experimental drug comes on the heels of an unlicensed vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, which was used during another DRC Ebola outbreak earlier this year after it was deemed safe and effective in trials during the 2013-2015 pandemic in West Africa. The vaccine is credited with playing a significant role in stopping the spread of Ebola throughout Equateur province, and is expected to be particularly useful during this new outbreak.  So far, 216 people - mostly front-line heal workers, have been jabbed with the vaccine since last week. 

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17 августа, 01:45

No Seller - Not Even China - Can Disrupt US By Selling Treasurys...But The "Why" Ain't Good

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Authored by Chris Hamilton via Economica blog, I often read that China may retaliate against US trade sanctions by further decreasing their US Treasury holdings, sending Treasury yields significantly higher, thus blowing out US deficit spending on interest payments.  Trouble is, Chinese Treasury holdings peaked in 2014 (on an annualized basis) and have been declining since.  The Chinese have not only ceased accumulating US Treasury debt, despite continued record trade surplus' with the US resulting in significant dollar surplus', but have been decreasing their holdings.  All this, according to the Treasury International Capital (TIC) system. But this postulation that the Chinese could wound the US via selling a portion (or all) of its Treasury holdings (as Russia recently did) is submarined by the recent actions of the Federal Reserve.  I say this based on the magnitudes greater accumulation and subsequent dumping of specific maturities of US Treasury debt done by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve accumulated almost $800 billion in 7 to 10 year US Treasury debt (red line, chart below) from 2009 to 2013, and then subsequently dumped $600 billion from early 2014 through the most present August 2018 data.  And the impact on the 10 year yield (blue shaded area, chart below)...essentially zero.  Yes, while the Fed rolled off and/or sold off 7 to 10 year holdings, they were busy buying short term debt.  But this still meant someone had to step up in duration and buy all that longer duration debt the Fed no longer wanted. To put the relative size of China's 7 to 10 year holdings in perspective to the Fed's like holdings, the chart above estimates that a third of Chinese Treasury holdings (likely an overestimation) were of the 7 to 10 year variety (gold line).  The Fed has already rolled off / sold off 1.5x's more 7 to 10 year debt than the Chinese even have.  The impact on the 10 year Treasury yield while the Fed plus China sold off / rolled off a combined $650 billion of 7 to 10 year debt...essentially zero!!! But to explain why the yields did not react (and likely never will), I have to take a step back and highlight the changing underlying population and demographics that are driving this. Population / Demographics The 25 to 54 year old US population and employment among them (and subsequent capability to consume) consistently grew in the post WWII period until 2000.  But in 2000, the population growth decelerated (brown line, chart below) and employment among them significantly fell (blue line).  The 25 to 54 year old population has only minimally grown since 2000 and not grown at all since 2007...but employment among the core (that makes up 70% of the US workforce and pays the vast majority of the Social Security taxes) is essentially right where it was in 2000. To broaden the view, check the 15 to 64 year old US total population (red line, chart below) versus year over year changes in that population (blue columns).  Obviously, the peak year over year population growth took place in 1998 (adding 2.7 million persons in that year alone) but growth has decelerated over 80% since that peak growth.  The heyday of fast growing populations (at least, those under 65) and increasing quantities of employees, tax payers, and/or consumers has run its course...yet politicians and the Fed still target and tout economic growth, as if nothing had changed.  However, the continued growth in US employment (and consumption) is simply mathematically running out of able bodies (Detailed HERE).  Plus, the population growth estimates through 2030 shown below are premised on continuing significant rates of immigration.  Absent a significant net inflow of immigrants, the under 65 year old population will be in outright decline.  Of course, the changing population growth and demographics (particularly among the populations that do the vast majority of consuming) is a global issue (Detailed HERE). Conversely, the 65+ year old population really began rocketing upward about 2008 and will hit its year over year peak growth in 2024.  The population of 65+ year olds will increase by 20+ million from '18 through '30 versus an increase of less than 4 million among the 15 to 64 year olds.  But worse still, over half that growth will be among the 75+ year olds.  This will be the death knell of many poorly thought out programs premised on perpetual growth. This has resulted in a debt fueled "extend and pretend" frenzy.  The chart below shows annual 15 to 64 year old US population growth (yellow line) versus stacked columns showing annual consumer, federal, and corporate debt growth.  One has to be very highly compensated to miss the explosion in debt tied to the slowdown in core population growth. Federal Debt and the Intra-governmental Trust Fund First, a look at US federal debt, split between US Public debt (marketable) and US Intra-Governmental debt (Social Security and other trust fund surplus').  Up to 2007, the Social Security and other federal trust fund surplus' were mandated to purchase and hold US debt, to the tune of 44% of total US debt.  But since 2007, federal debt issuance has been skyrocketing while the pace of IG purchasing continues decelerating.  This means 85% of Treasury debt issued since '07 has been marketable (marketable debt has risen $10.6 trillion versus a $1.8 trillion increase among the IG trust funds).  This is a clean tripling of marketable debt and the IG trust funds will peak and begin declining likely prior to 2020, and 100%+ of all Treasury debt will be marketable from that point forward. Which is to say, the remaining three sources of buying will have to really step up their appetite for US debt.  But foreigners and the Federal Reserve have already ceased buying (net), and the sole buyer remaining is the domestic public (domestic insurers, banks, mutual funds, pensions, etc.). Foreigners From 2000 to 2007, foreigners purchased $1.3 trillion in net Treasury debt but from 2008 through 2014, foreigners stepped up to the plate nearly tripling their holdings, buying $3.8 trillion in net debt.  However, since late 2014, foreigners have not only ceased buying US debt (net) but have followed the Fed's lead and are presently net sellers. Focusing on the three largest foreign holders of US Treasury's; China, Japan, and the BLICS (Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, Cayman Islands, Switzerland).  China holdings peaked way back in 2011 while Japan and the BLICS peaked as QE ended and have been declining since.  Upon the termination of QE, foreigners simply lost their appetite for US debt. Below, a close up on the BLICS.  What is noteworthy is the great scramble in these shadow banking capitals, particularly during each of the recent financial upheavals.  And judging by the sharp movements again taking place in these unregulated, off-shore shells for hot money...things are again (perhaps not surprisingly) in upheaval. Federal Reserve The chart below details the size and shifting maturities of the Treasury's held on the Federal Reserve balance sheet from 2003 to present.  The total holdings of Treasury's tripled and the Fed has now decreased total holdings from the peak by about $130 billion.  However, the maturities held on their balance sheet have radically changed.  The Fed has maintained nearly all their 20 to 30 year holdings. sold off two thirds their 7 to 10 year holdings, while initially buying in bulk 1 to 5 year but now piling into less than 1 year debt. The Fed (and foreigners) ceased buying and turned to net sellers by 2015 as the IG trust fund buying continued decelerating against ramping Treasury issuance.  This meant there was only one buyer left, the domestic public.  But for domestic buyers, the spread between short term borrowing and long-term yields was falling from over 250 basis points in early 2014 to the current 26 basis points (grey shaded area in the chart below versus Fed's shifting holdings). Essentially, the utilization of leverage to enjoy the spread of borrowing short to buy long nearly evaporated while the relative benefit of buying short has outweighed the risk of going long.  But we are to believe that as the Fed went on a short duration buying spree since 2015 (purple line below) coupled with a 7 to 10 year dump (yellow line) domestic sources piled into 7 to 10 year US debt (unleveraged?) to soak up the flood of assets destined to underperform inflation?!? Domestic Public So who among the domestic public is buying all that 7 to 10 year unleveraged debt, destined to underperform inflation?  Not banks, or insurers, or state and local pensions...no, according to the Treasury Bulletin its a group originally intended as a catch all for the rounding errors, "other".  So "other", with an assist from mutual funds, is saving America from having to face an interest rate Armageddon!?!  The Treasury Bulletin defines "other" as follows; "includes individuals, Government-sponsored enterprises, brokers and dealers, bank personal trusts and estates, corporate and non-corporate businesses, and other investors."  Make of that what you will, but I'm pretty confident buying 7 to 10 year debt, at this point, would be a quick means to significantly underperform and thus, real buyers wouldn't do so...which means it's a buyer(s) without profit motive that is "extending and pretending" our current economic and financial system for as long as possible.  How much further this can go is difficult to say...but the shrinking number of  winners and growing numbers of losers is more easily calculated. Conclusion: In short, Bernie Madoff would blush at the farce that is now the US Treasury market (further manipulating all downstream interest rate sensitive markets).  A little lie or meddling led to more lying and more meddling...and suddenly the free market no longer exists.  It should be clear that a buyer without profit motive is intervening in the Treasury market to maintain a bid and sustain continued low rates on US debt...all this because America has matured but those in control still want to synthetically maintain growth rates (hello China) via unrestrained debt issuance.  Regardless how much debt the US issues and how few buyers remain, don't look for interest rates to rise in kind.

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17 августа, 01:25

Second Tesla Whistleblower Alleges Mexican Cartel Drug Trafficking Ring At Nevada Gigafactory

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No sooner did Charlie Gasparino at Fox Business News drop the bomb today that Tesla's legal team is "bracing for billions of dollars in potential liability from private lawsuits" than a second proposed SEC formal whistleblower has now entered the picture, and according to Jalopnik, drumroll, he alleges that Tesla failed to let shareholders know that the DEA had previously uncovered an alleged Mexico-based drug trafficking ring involving "large quantities" of cocaine and crystal meth at the company's Nevada Gigafactory. The situation looks like it could be quickly spinning out of control at Tesla. Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that the board, who so far has come off as heavily sedated and generally missing from the picture, was finally apparently at odds with CEO Elon Musk about his use of Twitter and the potential liability he may have brought onto the company. It was then proclaimed by numerous former SEC attorneys on various news networks that SEC action based on Musk's "go private" Tweet is likely unavoidable. These sentiments were echoed today by a former SEC attorney on streaming financial news network Cheddar.  Then, on Wednesday, whistleblower Martin Tripp (before he decided to delete his Twitter account  due to hacking) took to the social media platform and dropped a list of Model 3 VIN numbers that he claims are vehicles carrying punctured battery packs. Now, after all of that, a former employee named Karl Hansen, who worked for Tesla's security and investigations division has sought formal whistleblower status with the SEC. What Hansen alleges is very different than what Tripp has claimed – and potentially just as serious. Hansen's complaint was filed on August 9 and was released by whistleblower attorney Stewart Meissner, the same attorney who is representing Martin Tripp. Jalopnik was first to break the story. Among his allegations is one that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration apparently revealed substantial drug trafficking by Tesla employees at its Nevada Gigafactory and that the company failed to disclose this to shareholders. Hansen alleges that the company received written notification from the DEA in May that there may be a trafficking ring involving "significant quantities of cocaine and possibly crystal methamphetamine" on behalf of a Mexican drug cartel at the Gigafactory. As an investigator, Hansen notified the company in early June that he had “corroborated connections between certain Tesla employees at the time and various alleged members of the Mexican drug cartel identified in the DEA report as located in Mexico, that he urged Tesla to disclose his findings to law enforcement and to the DEA task force, but that Tesla refused to do so and instead advised him that Tesla would hire ‘outside vendors’ to further investigate the issue,” according to the Jalopnik article. After reportedly notifying three supervisors, he claims that the company‘s Board of Directors, comprised of people like Elon Musk's brother Kimbal Musk, was ultimately not notified of the findings.  Hansen also allegedly discovered that $37 million worth of copper and raw materials were stolen from the Gigafactory earlier this year. He was reportedly told to also not report this theft to law-enforcement. Shortly thereafter, in mid July, he was terminated. This sounds similar to claims made in early May by another ex-employee who claimed that they were also terminated for exposing theft at Tesla. Jalopnik, which also broke that story, reported the story of Daniel Trinh, who allegedly received good performance reviews at his job until 2017, a point when he claims he went to Tesla's human relations department to report the theft of auto parts, such as wheels and tires, by another manager of the company: Daniel Trinh worked as an Operations Associate Manager at Tesla’s assembly plant in Fremont, California, up until his termination last October, according to the complaint filed on Tuesday in Alameda Superior County Court. He received positive performance feedback from supervisors until 2017, when he raised concerns to his supervisors and Tesla’s Human Resources department “about theft of auto parts, including wheels and tires, by another manager,” the suit alleges. Trinh alleges the stolen parts “were likely to cause significant losses to Tesla’s customers.” He also complained that Tesla’s alleged “failure to properly track customer inventory was likely to result in theft losses.” “Tesla’s management team and HR department ignored Plaintiff’s complaints, and failed to properly investigate them,” the suit says. “Rather than taking proper responsive action, Defendants management team set about a course of action with the purpose of setting Plaintiff up for termination.” In the suit, he blamed the theft on the company‘s inability to properly track inventory – a similar complaint to the mismanagement of inventory claim being launched against the company by whistleblower Martin Tripp. The lawsuit alleged that Tesla failed to address Trinh's complaints and instead sent him on a track to be terminated, not unlike what Hansen is claiming. Trinh alleged that after he brought reports about potential theft to Tesla HR, he was given a performance evaluation that was full of "misleading, inaccurate and deliberately false accusations" about his job performance. According to the Jalopnik, the second whistleblower Hansen also said that after the departure of alleged saboteur Martin Tripp, the company installed special equipment at the Gigafactory to capture cell phone communications made by its employees.

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17 августа, 01:05

Why The Quota System Is One Of The Worst Ways Of Regulating Immigration

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, When it comes to the immigration debate, very few people advocate for either totally closed borders or totally open borders. However, as soon as it is admitted that at least some movement across borders ought to be allowed — or that at least some of the migrants are to be regulated — the question quickly arises: which migrants are to be allowed, and which are to be prevented entry? Rhetorically, this problem is often dealt with today by an appeal to government authority. Namely, it is often stated that "legal" immigrants are fine, but "illegal" immigrants are bad. This, of course, misses the point. The question still remains: which immigrants ought to be considered legal and which illegal? What ought to be the standard of determining legality? The History of "Undesirable" Migrants In the nineteenth century, immigrants were said to be either desirable or undesirable based on specific traits. Immigrants that were determined to be unable to work, mentally ill, prone to criminality, or likely to become dependent on state assistance were deemed undesirable. This was — at least in theory — applied across the board, regardless of country of origin. Prior to the 1880s, this determination was usually made by state or local authorities. And those who were deemed undesirable could also be deported. These sorts of laws go back to pre-Revolution times and even back to England in some cases, where "poor laws" were introduced to regulate vagrants and what we would today call "welfare recipients." Local governments were empowered to prevent the local poverty-relief funds from being overwhelmed by new residents looking for what we'd today call "social benefits." State-based restrictions on movement, for example, were written into the Articles of Confederation which noted interstate movement was not guaranteed to "paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from justice." Later, states that received large numbers of foreign migrants, such as Massachusetts and New York, focused on refusing entry to people suspected of being mentally ill, physically disabled, potential paupers, or criminals. Note, however, that these laws set out specific criteria for individual persons. Those who were deemed able to support themselves and be no burden on the public purse were allowed to stay. Even national policy — most of which failed to gain passage in Congress — directed federal officials to ensure that new immigrants "were not paupers, nor convicts." Thus, it is not surprising that Gerald Neuman concludes in his survey of nineteenth-century immigration policy: "Neither Congress nor the states attempted to impose quantitative limits on immigration" [emphasis in the original]. Later Attempts at Quotas The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 signaled the first attempt by the federal government to enact general peacetime exclusions of people based on group membership. But even that idea did not work its way into the first broad national policy found in the Immigration Act of 1891. The 1891 legislation continued to stick to the policy of excluding people based on undesirable traits found in individuals. Historian Hidetaka Hirota lists the criteria: The 1891 law also expanded the excludable category to cover people with mental defects and insanity, paupers and people "likely to become a public charge," people with contagious diseases, people convicted of a felony of other crime involving "moral turpitude, polygamists, and assisted emigrants" — making all of them deportable. It was only in the twentieth century that federal policies then turned toward quota systems. The Immigration Act of 1917 expanded bans on immigrants from Asia, above and beyond the Chinese exclusion. Sticking to the policy of individual litmus tests, however, the new legislation also required literacy tests of new immigrants. With the 1924 Immigration Act, however, true quotas were introduced for the first time. The quota was set at three percent of the total population of the foreign-born of each nationality in the United States as recorded in the 1910 census. This put the total number of visas available each year to new immigrants at 350,000. The restrictions did not apply to migrants from the western hemisphere. But why set the quota as a percentage of foreign born as recorded in the census? Is this based on any objective standard? Of course not. It's a number pulled out of thin air by politicians. Moreover, adopting an arbitrary number for the "correct" number of immigrants from a certain country is akin to declaring a quota for the "correct" number of shoes to be imported into the country. Nor are government agents qualified to determine the "correct" number of tons of steel or pounds of sugar allowed into the country. Those who support such quotas will nevertheless often attempt to mask their arbitrary nature by claiming anyone who opposes quotas is for totally open borders. But, as Neuman noted, the border-control scheme that prevailed during the nineteenth century — one that refused entry to presumed paupers and criminals — was anything but an open-borders situation. There is no denying that the border controls were difficult to enforce. Much of this was due, however, to the technological limitations of the time.The tools available to states and towns in identifying those who were ill or disabled were extremely limited. Moreover, it was difficult to determine ahead of time if new migrants were likely to become dependent on state services. To deal with this state governments began to require bonding from those involved in the importation of migrants. Neuman writes: Beginning in 1820 ... Massachusetts returned to the colonial system of demanding security from masters of vessels when their passengers seemed likely to become paupers. The 1820 statute required a bond to indemnify the town and the Commonwealth for expenses arising within three years with respect to any passenger lacking a settlement in the Commonwealth who was considered liable to become a public charge. This law was later modified in 1837, including new provisions under which the master was forbidden to land without bond any alien passenger found upon examination to be within a group of categories of persons presenting a high risk of becoming a public charge, including those with mental or physical disabilities. The bonding requirement went even further in 1852 when: the state authorized officials to demand bond or a higher commutation payment to cover passengers whom they judge to present an intermediate risk of future indigence ... [after the bonding requirement for intermediate-risk migrants was abolished in 1872] Bonding of high risk passengers continued ... as did a newer requirement of bonding by corporations importing labor into the state. Similar laws were adopted in other port cities, especially New York, and applied in attempts to minimize costs associated with new migrants turned paupers. The focus, of course, was not on overall numbers, but on avoiding costs associated with new migrants who were unable or unwilling to support themselves. Unlike a blanket quota system, the targeted approach is more rational, non-arbitrary, and attempts to get at the true heard of most political objections to immigration — namely, that new migrants will become a drain on public amenities or engage in criminal behavior. Given the problems and expense of general enforcement, however, it's easy to see why the Massachusetts legislature turned to bonding as shifting the burden of pauper immigrants to those who "sponsored" them in some way. The Individual Approach Is Better Indeed, a system of sponsoring migrants through bonding has potential as a far more reasonable means of ensuring that new migrants are actually being invited into the destination country, and will not become public charges. Tho Bishop, for example, has examined this issue in light of refugees, but it can be applied to all sorts of migrants. Ryan Khurana has also written on the potential for sponsorship-based migration policies. After all, if an employer, family members, or church organization wishes to invite a new migrant into the country to work or live, a basic respect for the rights of private property and free contracting would prohibit the state from interfering. However, if there remains a concern that the new migrants might live off the public purse, the strategy of bonding would be far less disruptive and arbitrary than government-invented quotas on how many migrants are to be allowed entry. If migrants go on the public dole, or engage in criminal behavior, bonding would allow for the taxpayers to recover their costs from the sponsors. The migrant in question would presumably be deported for breaking the bonding agreement. The superiority of this system over the general quota system is evident since it would allow for private organizations to freely engage with employees, contractors, and family members who would be arbitrarily excluded under a quota system — even if they did not engage in criminal behavior or fail to support themselves financially. Some anti-immigration hardliners might nevertheless take exception to this, claiming that it is administratively too costly. By arguing this, however, they would essentially be making the collectivist claim that private property rights can be voided for entire groups of people based on assumptions about one small portion of the group. We hear similar arguments when opponents of physical cash claim cash ought to be abolished because some people use cash for criminal enterprises. There's no denying that some criminals use cash. Is this therefore justification for destroying the property rights of all users of cash? Clearly not. Nevertheless, arguments in favor of broad quotas or outright bans on migrants based on group membership employ this essential logic.

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17 августа, 00:45

Pompeo Forms "Iran Action Group" To Coordinate All Iran Strategy, Reports Directly To White House

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday that the United States has formed an "Iran Action Group" within the State Department to guide Washington's post-nuclear deal policy. The group will coordinate all activity and policy related to Iran, including inter-agency initiatives after President Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal in May.  Pompeo told reporters the action group would be "directing, reviewing and coordinating all aspects of the State Department's Iran-related activity." It is to be headed by current State Department director of policy planning Brian Hook, who will in turn report directly to Pompeo. Hook has been a lead negotiator attempting to pressure European allies to significantly alter prior commitments related to the international deal.  "Our hope is that one day soon we can reach an agreement with Iran but we must see major changes in the regime both inside and outside of its borders," said Pompeo, and added, "The Iranian people and the world are demanding that Iran finally act like a normal nation." Echoing prior statements which suggest the administration could be exploring ways to foster regime change, Pompeo said the State Dept. is committed to a "whole of government effort to change the Iranian regime behavior." Hook also addressed the briefing, saying he'll be guiding an "elite teams" of foreign affairs officials to implement a "new strategy" which "addresses all manifestation of the Iranian threat and the new Iran Action Group will be focused on implementing that strategy." Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook: The #Iran regime has been a force for instability and violence. Our new strategy addresses all manifestations of the Iranian threat, and the new Iran Action Group will be focused on implementing that strategy. pic.twitter.com/IkZbK4ri6a — Department of State (@StateDept) August 16, 2018 The group, Hooker said, will "play a critical role in leading our efforts within the Department and executing the president's Iran strategy." This will chiefly include attempting to ensure European and other allies conform to the White House's re-imposed sanctions to stop what it has called Iran's "malign activities" in the Middle East. This will involve ratcheting up pressure to curb European imports of Iranian oil, especially as a November 4th deadline approaches in which sanctions will be reimposed on those still still dealing with Iran.  Since Trump's pullout of the JCPOA, the US has demanded a complete renegotiation based on new terms while accusing Tehran of still seeking nuclear weapons, something which the European Union has balked at, refusing to comply. But the new "Iran Action Group" is sure to also continue previously revealed plans for regime destabilization, including a US-sponsored 24/7 Farsi-language channel to combat Tehran's "fake news" in order to push back one what Pompeo earlier in the summer described as "the long-ignored voice of the Iranian people". And in early July it was revealed that a high level joint US-Israeli "working group" had already been meeting for months which involved top White House and State Department officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton, which reportedly held informal strategy sessions discussing scenarios of pursuing regime change in Iran. Axios reported at the time: "Israel and the United States formed a joint working group a few months ago that is focused on internal efforts to encourage protests within Iran and pressure the country's government." Pompeo's new initiative appears to be a formalization of plans connected with the joint working group, worrisome for the fact that both Bolton and the Israelis have long advocated for the US to wage preemptive war on Iran.  On Monday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that Iran would never enter direct alks with the Trump White House, stating in a tweet, "THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S.". With Iran's economy plummeting, and with Washington formalizing inter-agency cooperation for further action targeting Tehran, it appears the two sides could be headed toward an Iraq-style collision course — whether this takes place months from now, or years.

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17 августа, 00:25

Matt Taibbi Warns Censorship Does Not End Well

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Two weeks ago, Matt Taibbi warned in Rolling Stone that social networks are too big and broken to properly function, and any “fixes” will only create more problems. Since then, amid more permanent and temporary bans and 'timeouts', things have got worse and Taibbi is back to warn America that censorship does not end well... Excerpted from Rolling Stone, How America learned to stop worrying and put Mark Zuckerberg in charge of everything... Last week, we saw another flurry of censorship news. Facebook apparently suspended VenezuelaAnalysis.com, a site critical of U.S. policy toward Venezuela. (It was reinstated Thursday.) Twitter suspended a pair of libertarians, including @DanielLMcAdams of the Ron Paul Institute and @ScottHortonShow of Antiwar.com, for using the word “bitch” (directed toward a man) in a silly political argument. They, too, were later re-instated. More significantly: Google’s former head of free expression issues in Asia, Lokman Tsui, blasted the tech giant’s plan to develop a search engine that would help the Chinese government censor content. ... Few Americans heard these stories, because the big “censorship” news last week surrounded the widely hated Alex Jones. After surviving halting actions by Facebook and YouTube the week before, the screeching InfoWars lunatic was hit decisively, removed from Apple, Facebook, Google and Spotify. ... Collectively, all these stories represent a revolutionary moment in media. Jones is an incidental player in a much larger narrative. Both the Jones situation and the Facebook-Atlantic Council deletions seem an effort to fulfill a request made last year by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Last October, Facebook, Google and Twitter were asked by Hawaii Senator Mazie Hizono to draw up a “mission statement” to “prevent the foment of discord.” ... After Trump’s shocking win in 2016, everyone turned to Facebook and Google to fix “fake news.” But nobody had a coherent definition of what constitutes it. Many on the left lamented the Wikileaks releases of Democratic Party emails, but those documents were real news, and the complaint there was more about the motives of sources, and editorial emphasis, rather than accuracy. When Google announced it was tightening its algorithm to push “more authoritative content” last April, it defined “fake news” as “…blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information.” ... It isn’t clear, but within short order, a whole range of alternative sites (from Alternet to Truthdig to the World Socialist Website) started complaining about significant drops in traffic, apparently thanks to changed search processes. ... Now that we’ve opened the door for ordinary users, politicians, ex-security-state creeps, foreign governments and companies like Raytheon to influence the removal of content, the future is obvious: an endless merry-go-round of political tattling, in which each tribe will push for bans of political enemies. ... The most ominous development involves countries asking for direct cleansing of opposition movements, a la China’s search engine, or Tel Aviv’s demands that Facebook and Google delete pages belonging to Palestinian activists. (This happened: Israel’s justice minister said last year that Facebook granted 95 percent of such requests.) ... Americans are not freaking out about this because most of us have lost the ability to distinguish between general principles and political outcomes. So long as the “right” people are being zapped, no one cares. But we should care. Censorship is one of modern man’s great temptations. Giving in to it hasn’t provided many happy stories. Read the full detailed story here...      

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17 августа, 00:07

Mass-Casualty Incident: Dozens Overdose On Synthetic Marijuana In New Haven

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The Office of Emergency Management in New Haven, Connecticut, has reported a mass casualty incident involving at least 71 people who have overdosed from synthetic marijuana with 52 of them near a Connecticut city park, authorities said late Wednesday. A majority of the overdoses were located in the vicinity of the New Haven Green, a park near Yale University, throughout the day Wednesday, according to officials. An official told CBS News that 25 overdoses occurred within a three-hour span and that some overdoses were “in multiples of 4-6 at a time.” All of those overdoses were in the area of the New Haven Green, said Rick Fontana, the city’s director of emergency operations. At the height of the mass casualty incident, emergency medical services resources, such as personnel and equipment, were overwhelmed by the number of victims stretching across the 16-acre park. No deaths were reported but officials said two people suffered life-threatening symptoms. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) quickly revealed that the drug was K2, a synthetic cannabinoid, that induces a marijuana-like effect when smoked. The DEA also said there were no additives in the K2. CBS affiliate WFSB-TV reported that the Department of Public Health delivered 50 doses of Narcan, to replenish the supply after first responders went through an entire stockpile the night before in New Haven. The local broadcaster adds that three arrests have been made. Fontana told CBS that the city’s 911 dispatch started receiving calls just after 8 a.m. about possible overdoses at the park. First responders found multiple individuals suffering from “a multitude of signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, semi-conscious and unconscious states.” “Two individuals had life-threatening symptoms, and the others had non-life-threatening symptoms,” he said. Paramedics were forced to permanently station themselves at Connecticut’s New Haven Green on Wednesday as the number of people falling unconscious or vomiting increased following a mass K2 overdose (Sorce/ Daily Mail)  At the height of the situation, emergency crews were sprinting across the 16-acre park from victim to victim as the number of those falling unconscious or vomiting increased (Sorce/ Daily Mail)  Those who were treated were suffering from a range of symptoms, including vomiting, hallucinations, high blood pressure and shallow breath (Sorce/ Daily Mail)  Police believe the person responsible for the overdoses may have been given out free samples of the K2 drug  (Sorce/ Daily Mail)  At one point, officials estimate that four to six people were dropping from overdoses at the same time and 25 of the overdoses happened within a three-hour stretch (Sorce/ Daily Mail)  A total of 71 people were rushed to various hospitals suffering from apparent overdoses. Another five people refused medical treatment (Sorce/ Daily Mail)  Officials said the patients were “all different ages” and that Narcan was administered to some. NBC Connecticut Reporter records the moment when first responders arrived to find one man overdosing on the drug. Moments earlier first responders rushed in to help another man that #NBCCT photographer @trevor51977 saw fall to the ground on the New Haven Green #NBCCT pic.twitter.com/Pud0JjubYD — Justin Schecker (@jscheckerNBCCT) August 15, 2018 Here is another incident that was captured on social media. Bodies are literally dropping all around me from suspected drug overdoses despite massive effort by #NewHaven cops & fire. I've never seen anything quite this bad happening at once. [email protected] #CTnews pic.twitter.com/bQhlmNMkw7 — Mario Boone, Jou. (@MarioBooneTV) August 15, 2018 WTNH News 8 reports from the scene to find a massive police and emergency crew presence. At least 45 people overdose on K2 on #newhavengreen One arrest is [email protected] has a look at the chaos in downtown #NewHaven as first responders rushed from patient to [email protected] pic.twitter.com/cBpWSwOZIN — Scott McDonnell (@ScottMcDonnell_) August 15, 2018 Large police presence continued into the overnight. The New Haven green, which borders Yale Univ, has been the scene of at least 76 overdoses. @amy_hudak is reporting the story. This has been going on for 24 hours. Police suspect K2 laced with fentanyl. pic.twitter.com/shkh6Zlts3 — Ann Nyberg (@AnnNyberg) August 16, 2018 Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy released a statement Wednesday evening highlight the “very real and serious threat that illicit street drugs pose to the health of individuals”: “The substance behind these overdoses is highly dangerous and must be avoided. The state Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services have been assisting New Haven officials throughout the day. I have spoken with Mayor Harp and assured her that the state remains committed and ready to assist their response efforts wherever needed.” New Haven, Connecticut, Mayor Toni Harp’s statement said: “Today New Haven was on the front lines of a coast-to-coast struggle to combat the public health menace of illicit distribution and use of what appear to be tainted street drugs … I’m extremely grateful for the timely and effective work of first responders who helped revive, transport, and save these victims. I’m also grateful to the state Department of Public Health for its quick response to our request for additional doses of Narcan, the antidote administered to several of those afflicted.” Maybe America has a drug problem? 

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16 августа, 23:48

Peter Schiff: "We Are Seeing A Lot Of Warning Signs" Of A Financial Crisis

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Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com, Just like the financial crisis of 2008 which investor Peter Schiff accurately predicted, there are warning signs again that are being ignored.  “We are seeing a lot of warning signs people should be worried about, but again they’re dismissing them, much the way they did 10 years ago,” Shiff said. Schiff is known for his “doom and gloom” market predictions, yet he’s been spot on in the past.  And our current debt-based system is unsustainable to the point that a severe global economic crisis is imminent – we just don’t know when the global bubble will burst. Once again, Schiff is trying to warn people, because the signs are there, but who’s listening? “We’re seeing a lot of warning signs people should be worried about, but again they’re dismissing them, much the way they did 10 years ago. You know, we’re getting close to the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis. Remember, the whole thing started in August of 2008. Here we are August 2018, 10 years later. I think we’re heading for an even bigger crisis and the same people are even more clueless.”  –Peter Schiff A big problem that could compound the next financial crisis is one Schiff continues to point out: Americans are flat broke. “Real wages, despite the 2.7% increase, real wages are actually down during that year. In fact, this is the biggest drop in real wages in six years. Now to hear Donald Trump talk, or anybody else talk, real wages are soaring, right? Everybody is getting a raise. They’re not. Inflation – consumer prices are rising faster than wages,” Schiff said in his recent podcast on the subject of the state of the economy. Wages have been stagnant especially in the face of inflation. Rising interest rates will also harm those already living paycheck to paycheck.  There are a lot of people buying stuff on credit. In fact, the entire economy is built on working-class debt and a system which transfers wealth to the elites from the workers.  Schiff is hard on Donald Trump too, and rightfully so.  Lower taxes are always a good thing, the lower the better, in fact.  But Republicans refused to cut any government spending while instead, increasing it to the point of running massive deficits, making them worse than Democrats when it comes to being fiscally conservative. The cold truth is that a back-up plan is needed, and most Americans don’t have that.  Many would be in some serious trouble during a financial downturn, and the country is most definitely headed that way. -SHTFPlan As Peter put it, America is the real Turkey... "All the people who are willing to skewer Turkey because it’s doing exactly what the United States is doing yet they don’t recognize the same problems that are building in the US.”

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16 августа, 23:31

SEC Is Probing If Musk Tweeted About Tesla Deal To "Crush The Shorts"

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With every passing day, it is becoming increasingly likely that Musk's "funding secured" tweet could end up the costliest in history, and could potentially land him, or others, in prison. Last week, before it was confirmed that the SEC had opened a probe into Tesla, by sending the company a subpoena inquiring into Musk's actions, we wrote that "the biggest risk for Musk is if regulators find that he made a statement only intending to goose his company’s share price, or as he likes to put it, "crush the shorts." Under US securities law, companies and corporate officers can (and will) be held liable for making misstatements or omitting information that shareholders need to make informed investment decisions." It now appears that the SEC is also wondering the same thing, because the WSJ reports that the SEC is now investigating whether Musk "intentionally misled investors when he tweeted about the proposal in a bid to hurt short sellers by driving up Tesla’s stock price." The line of inquiry comes as the regulator is pressing Tesla directors for details on how much information Musk shared with them before he tweeted last week about a potential deal to take the company private, the WSJ reports citing a person familiar with the matter. And, as has been extensively discussed here in the past week, establishing what the board knew and when is key to the SEC’s probe because if Musk didn’t show the board a relatively firm deal with potential investors, it could indicate that the conversations weren’t as far along as he suggested when he tweeted that he had “funding secured” for a deal. It would also confirm that Musk's only intention was to, indeed, "crush the shorts", however by manipulating public perception about what was already decided. And since we already know that Musk did not have a firm deal in place, and funding was certainly not "secured", it is up to the SEC to demonstrate that there are no individuals who are "too eccentric to prosecute" for the simple reason that anyone who intentionally misleads shareholders - even Elon Musk - can be charged with fraud under U.S. securities laws. On the other hands, if Musk can show he had a basis to make the statement—such as advanced talks with the Saudi fund or a promise from them to fund the deal—regulators would be less likely to allege that his statement was misleading or false. Then again if Musk elaborate on that statement, he already would have, which is why TSLA is now trading below where it was when the Saudis announced their 5% stake. Meanwhile, Musk's alleged fraudulent tweet has already made the Urban Dictionary. You might have a Reg FD problem if: Your CEO's deal announcements become Urban Dictionary fodder....$TSLA pic.twitter.com/tJ0MGzeshz — Donut Shorts (@DonutShorts) August 16, 2018