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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 23rd of September 2019

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Macro Thoughts

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23-SEP-2019 :: Streaming Dreams Non-Linearity Crude Oil; @netflix

Last week I wrote about the Oil Markets and it was this comment by the
Houthi Spokesman referencing Dubai and Abu Dhabi

"If you want peace and security for your facilities, and towers made
of glass that cannot withstand one drone, then leave Yemen alone,"

which streamed into my consciousness. And I was thinking to myself
about what sort of discount should be applied to the Burj Khalifa
because frankly I place more credibility on the utterances of the
Houthis than their adversaries.

And then in some major non-linear jujitsu move, William Goldings' 1964
novel ''The Spire'' started to spin in my mind. I studied ''The
Spire'' at ''A'' level and it made a big impression on me. The Spire
is a 1964 novel by the English author William Golding. "A dark and
powerful portrait of one man's will".  it deals with the construction
of the 404-foot high spire loosely based on Salisbury Cathedral; the
vision of the fictional Dean Jocelin. In this novel, William Golding
utilises stream of consciousness writing with an omniscient but
increasingly fallible narrator. Dean Jocelin is the character through
whom the novel is presented. Golding utilises the stream of
consciousness technique to show his, Lear-like, descent into madness.

The first chapter begins with Jocelin holding the model of the spire
and laughing: "He was laughing, chin up, and shaking his head. God the
father was exploding in his face with a glory of sunlight through
painted glass, a glory that moved with his movements to consume and
exalt Abraham and Isaac and then God again. The tears of laughter in
his eyes made additional spokes and wheels and rainbows. // Chin up,
hands holding the model spire before him, eyes half closed; joy –
"I've waited half my life for this day!"'

It doesn't quite make sense, or it doesn't make immediate sense. In
Golding's opening sentence we read "God the Father was exploding in
his face …" which is initially as enigmatic as it is dramatic – until
it is resolved as a metaphorical description of sunlight streaming
through a stained glass window. The delay is important. There is a
semantic lag, a slight, postponed understanding throughout The Spire.

And then My mind flipped further back to 2001

You remember those twin statues of the Buddha that I told you about?
Carved out of a mountain in Afghanistan, that got dynamited by the
Taliban back in the spring? Notice anything familiar?"
"Twin Buddhas, twin towers, interesting coincidence, so what."
"The Trade Center towers were religious too. They stood for what this
country worships above everything else, the market, always the holy
fuxxing market." [Thomas Pynchon]

And by the way, my conclusion remains we are at a Peacock Throne
Moment for the House of Saud and that markets and Folks tend to miss
inflection points and therefore I have a supreme conviction around the
Oil markets and am conducting my own operations and only on a need to
know basis. The Shah of Shahs ended up in Panama all on his lonesome
looking out to sea and there is another Fellow not unlike the
fictional Dean Jocelin with a $500m Yacht called the Serene who will
most likely looking out to Sea in the not too distant future.

I stuck ''non-linearity'' in my headline for good reason and You will
need to indulge me. My Mind lept to an Article I read in 2012
''Annals of Technology Streaming Dreams'' by John Seabrook January 16,

“This world of online video is the future, and for an artist you want
to be first in, to be a pioneer. With YouTube I will have a very small
crew, and we are trying to keep focussed on a single voice. There
aren’t any rules. There’s just the artist, the content, and the

“People went from broad to narrow,” he said, “and we think they will
continue to go that way—spend more and more time in the niches—because
now the distribution landscape allows for more narrowness.”

And this brought me to Netflix. Netflix spearheaded a streaming
revolution that changed the way we watch TV and films. As cable TV
lost subscribers, Netflix gained them, putting it in a category with
Facebook, Amazon and Google as one of the adored US tech stocks that
led a historic bull market [FT] Today Netflix faces an onslaught of
competition in the market it invented. After years of false starts,
Apple is planning to launch a streaming service in November, as is
Disney — with AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Comcast’s NBCUniversal to follow
early next year. Netflix has corrected brutally and lots of Folks are
bailing big time especially after Netflix lost US subscribers in the
last quarter. Even after the loss of subscribers in the second
quarter, Ben Swinburne, head of media research at Morgan Stanley, says
Netflix is still on course for a record year of subscriber
additions.Optimists point to the group’s global reach. It is betting
its future on an expansion outside the US, where it has already
attracted 60m subscribers. And this is an inflexion point just like
the one I am signalling in the Oil markets. Netflix is not a US
business, it is a global business. The Majority of Analysts are in the
US and in my opinion these same Analysts have an international ''blind
spot'' Once Investors appreciate that the Story is an international
one and not a US one anymore, we will see the price ramp to fresh all
time highs. I, therefore, am putting out a ''conviction'' Buy on
Netflix at Fridays closing price of $270.75.

We started with the Hydrocarbon Economy and arrived at the Information
Economy and therefore allow me to conclude with the Digital Economy
and and an excellent report via UNCTAD which pronounced

The digital economy continues to evolve at breakneck speed, driven by
the ability to collect, use and analyse massive amounts of
machine-readable information (digital data) about practically
everything. Global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, a proxy for data
flows, grew from about 100 gigabytes (GB)per day in 1992 to more than
45,000 GB per second in 2017.  And yet the world is only in the early
days of The data-driven economy; by 2022 global IP traffic is
projected to reach 150,700 GB per second, fuelled by more and more
people coming online for the first time and by the expansion of the
Internet of Things (IoT). The power of platforms is reflected in the
fact that seven of the world’s top eight companies by market
capitalization use platform-based business models. The economic
geography of the digital economy does not display a traditional
North-South divide. It is consistently being led by one developed and
one developing country: the United States and China.For example, these
two countries most strikingly,  account for 90 per cent of the market
capitalization value of the world’s 70 largest digital
platforms.Europe’s share is 4 per cent and Africa and Latin America’s
together is only 1 per cent. Seven “super platforms” – Microsoft,
followed by Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tencent and Alibaba −
account for two thirds of the total market value.

Countries at all levels of development risk becoming mere providers of
raw data to those digital platforms while having to pay for the
digital intelligence produced with those data by the platform owners.

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Dubai's main airport closed on Sunday for 15 minutes on suspected drone activity, Emirates airline said. @business.

At least two flights were diverted to nearby airports in the United
Arab Emirates after Dubai International’s closure, the airline said.

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Bleeding Edge is a novel by American author Thomas Pynchon, published September 17, 2013

The novel is a detective story, with its major themes being the
September 11 attacks in New York City

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Mohammad Reza Pahlavi 26 October 1919 - 27 July 1980), was the last King (Shah) of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979

Mohammad Reza Shah took the title Shahanshah ("King of Kings")[4] on
26 October 1967. He was the second and last monarch of the House of
Pahlavi. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several other titles,
including that of Aryamehr ("Light of the Aryans") and Bozorg
Arteshtaran ("Commander-in-Chief"). His dream of what he referred to
as a "Great Civilisation" (Persian: تمدن بزرگ‎, romanized: tamadon-e
bozorg) in Iran led to a rapid industrial and military modernisation,
as well as economic and social reforms.[5][6]

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Shah of Shahs Ryszard Kapuscinski

Shah of Shahs depicts the final years of the Shah in Iran, and is a
compelling meditation on the nature of revolution and the devastating
results of fear. Here, Kapuscinski describes the tyrannical monarch,
who, despite his cruel oppression of the Iranian people, sees himself
as the father of a nation, who can turn a backward country into a
great power - a vain hope that proves a complete failure. Yet even as
Iran becomes a 'behemoth of riches' and as the Shah lives like a
European billionaire, its people live in a climate of fear, terrorized
by the secret police. Told with intense power and feeling, Kapuscinski
portrays the inevitable build-up to revolution - a cataclysmic
upheaval that delivered Iran into the rule of the Ayatollah Khomeini.

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Annals of Technology Streaming Dreams John Seabrook January 16, 2012

“This world of online video is the future, and for an artist you want
to be first in, to be a pioneer. With YouTube [read Reuters Insider] I
will have a very small crew, and we are trying to keep focussed on a
single voice. There aren’t any rules. There’s just the artist, the
content, and the audience.”

“People went from broad to narrow,” he said, “and we think they will
continue to go that way—spend more and more time in the niches—because
now the distribution landscape allows for more narrowness.”

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$NFLX is a must watch. @TaviCosta

Now diverging 25 pct pts from Nasdaq!
It’s the first FANG stock...
1) below its 200 DMA;
2) with a death cross set up;
3) breaking down from a multi-year support;
Is this an inflection point for stocks?
Still trades at 106x EV to FCF estimate for 2022!

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15-JUL-2019 :: This is indeed a quite incredible moment in monetary policy making where the markets have led Policy Makers by the nose into a situation of "Voodoo Economics" plain and simple

Specifically, with respect to the United States, stoking up the Fire
with rate cuts is a very dangerous situation because according to my
calculations, the FED will need to be raising rates into the Election,
something that will turn Trump apoplectic I am sure.

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24-JUN-2019 :: Wizard of Oz World

If you were to look at the US economy in isolation, you’d have to say
such a forecast is absurd. The economy has some soft spots but
unemployment is at multi-decade lows and consumer spending holding up.
The US two year note which is at around 1.75% is the financial
instrument which is the purest signal.
We are in ‘’nose-bleed’’ territory. This is ‘’Voodoo Economics’’ and
just because we have not reached the point when the curtain was lifted
in the Wizard of Oz and the Wizard revealed to be ‘’an ordinary conman
from Omaha who has been using elaborate magic tricks and props to make
himself seem “great and powerful”’’ should not lull us into a false
sense of security.

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30-year yield vs. core CPI at its lowest level since 1980s! @TaviCosta

LT yields near record lows.
Inflation at a decade high.
Central banks easing massively.

Home Thoughts

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"I tell you, money can't build your spire for you. Build it of gold and it would simply sink deeper." - William Golding, The Spire

“The most solid thing was the light. It smashed through the rows of
windows in the south aisle, so that they exploded with colour, it
slanted before him from right to left in an exact formation, to hit
the bottom yard of the pillars on the north side of the nave.
Everywhere, fine dust gave these rods and trunks of light the
importance of a dimension. He blinked at them again, seeing, near at
hand, how the individual grains of dust turned over each other, or
bounced all together, like mayfly in a breath of wind. He saw how
further away they drifted cloudily, coiled, or hung in a moment of
pause, becoming, in the most distant rods and trunks, nothing but
colour, honey-colour slashed across the body of the cathedral. Where
the south transept lighted the crossways from a hundred and fifty foot
of grisaille, the honey thickened in a pillar that lifted straight as
Abel’s from the men working with crows at the pavement.” ― William
Golding, The Spire:

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The world you see is just a movie in your mind Jack Kerouac

The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
Rocks dont see it.
Bless and sit down.
Forgive and forget.
Practice kindness all day to everybody
and you will realize you’re already
in heaven now.
That’s the story.
That’s the message.
Nobody understands it,
nobody listens, they’re
all running around like chickens with heads cut
off. I will try to teach it but it will
be in vain, s’why I’ll
end up in a shack
praying and being
cool and singing
by my woodstove
making pancakes.

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Dictators: the great performers @NewStatesman H/T @hofrench
Law & Politics

The paradox of the modern dictator is that he must create the illusion
of mass support while turning the population into a nation of
terrorised prisoners endlessly condemned to faking enthusiasm for
their oppressor.
Frank Dikötter, a brilliant historian with a prize-winning trilogy on
Mao’s China behind him, takes eight of the most successful
20th-century dictators: Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim
Il-sung, Nicolae Ceausescu, Papa Doc Duvalier and Mengistu, and shows
with chilling brevity and clarity how this is done.
The road to dictatorship is depressingly predictable. Once power is
stolen, the problem is to keep it. Anyone who might develop a separate
power base must be struck down.
Eradicate rivals, rule through force and fear. Trust no one,
particularly family, friends and the army. Keep everyone on their toes
with random executions, unpredictable policy changes and imaginative
public tortures. So far, so historic.
 It could be a Shakespeare play. What distinguishes modern tyranny,
Dikötter argues, is the cult of personality. Total control of the
information space keeps the modern dictator in power.
Each dictator’s story is told one by one. They overlap and learn from
each other, but all learn from Mussolini, pioneer of modern political
theatre and master of propaganda.
Actor, stage manager, orator and self-publicist, Mussolini allowed his
ideology to remain vague while spending more than half of his time
curating his image.
Italy was a newspaper with Mussolini writing the front page every day.
He knew that a picture of him taking flying lessons was worth any
number of carefully argued editorials.
After his first propaganda radio broadcast in 1925, 40,000 free radios
were distributed to elementary schools between 1933 and 1938. By the
onset of the Second World War, subsidised sets numbered 800,000 and
loudspeakers had been installed in town squares. His message was
The dictator must establish omnipresence. “Like a god, he observes you
from every angle,” wrote a French journalist. There was no escaping
the godlike gaze even in the bathroom, where Mussolini’s image was
moulded into bars of soap.
The lights were kept burning all night in his office. The legend of
his all-seeing eyes was intensified by Goth-style eye make-up in
posters, newsreels and the publicity shots included with his
“personal” replies to 1,887,112 individual petitions.
Mussolini considered himself the greatest actor in Italy. His
performances were rehearsed endlessly in front of the camera. He was
jealous of Greta Garbo.
Hitler too spent hours watching himself in the projection room. He too
kept the lights on all night in his office and sold radios below
production price. He deployed portable pillar radios to blare out the
party message at rallies but otherwise didn’t develop much that was
new in terms of saturation propaganda techniques.
Like Mussolini, he overstated troop numbers, bussed in crowds, faked
news, doctored photographs and inflated supporter numbers. Like
Mussolini, he flooded the country with his image.
Even after Stalingrad, when everything including paper was rationed
and the people starving, four tonnes of paper a month were earmarked
for his official photographer, pictures of the Führer being considered
“strategically vital”.
If Hitler did things bigger than Mussolini, Mao did things bigger
still. Seven factories were built in Shanghai alone, with a total
surface area of three football pitches, to print portraits, posters
and the Little Red Book, published in 1964.
Factories producing red ink worked round the clock, but still ran dry.
Plastic production was diverted from necessities like shoe manufacture
to producing the shiny cover of the Little Red Book.
The story of badge fever under dictatorship is probably the most
ludicrous. It would be funny if it did not make such tragic clowns of
whole populations.
Under a dictatorship, a badge pinned just above the heart provides
visible proof of the obedience of the citizen, who fervently hopes the
little disc will prove a magic amulet against his or her random
persecution or execution.
Badges proliferated under Stalin and Kim Il-sung, but peaked under
Mao. Fifty million were produced per month in 1968 and a thriving
black market sprang up.
Underground factories emerged, often fed by the same government
organisations that were producing the legitimate badges. Spurred by
the profit motive, competitive badge production in Communist China
became a form of capitalism.
As aluminium became ever scarcer, the people were robbed of their
everyday necessities, such as buckets, pots and pans.
Once they were gone, bigger things disappeared. Factory machines were
stripped of their aluminium parts, disabling industry and causing Mao
to roar; “Give me back my aeroplanes!”
Dikötter’s relentless cataloguing of the sort of banality that warps
everyday reality under dictatorship sharpens the horrors we already
know about.
His subject is not the huge, senseless waves of unpredictable terror,
torture, purges, famines and wars.
Rather, he shows us the nuts and bolts, the small processes by which
communities are torn apart and individual humanity is systematically
dismantled by the destruction of truth and logic, followed by the
sowing of confusion and terror to produce docile, atomised individuals
whose ecstatic praise of the regime, prompted by fear, transforms all
sections of society into liars.
The resulting insecurity keeps the dictator in place, making a coup
almost impossible. In a landscape of fake news where everybody is
counterfeiting belief, who can you trust as co-conspirator?
The dictator must never be predictable. This would engender a feeling
of security both at home and abroad. In 1940, Mao promised “a
multi-party system, democratic freedoms and protection of private
Two years later, he smartly reversed the policy with the Rectification
Campaign, which uprooted anything privately owned, including
independent thought.
Witch-hunts, denunciations, inquisitions, executions and purges
resulted in the triumphant announcement that the Rectification
Campaign had guaranteed ideological and political unanimity in the
And so finally, in 1945, he got what he wanted: his thoughts were
enshrined in the party constitution.
This is the state all dictators aim for. It gives the green light to
an unlimited cult of personality. Loyalty has been transferred from
the creed that put him in place, to loyalty to the person himself.
Mao’s Communist Party, like the Bolsheviks, Mussolini’s Fascists and
the Nazis, was held together not so much by a programme or a platform
but by a chosen leader.
Once he has reached a degree of security at home, the dictator must
establish his reputation as a good egg abroad. Another wearisome
pattern emerges.
Enter the useful idiot, the foreign influencer who can be fooled by
fireside chats and a tour of carefully curated Potemkin countryside
populated by merry peasants.
Who wants to believe that millions were killed and entire cities
starved into submission? Certainly not George Bernard Shaw, the
best-known useful idiot.
Bamboozled by Stalin on a visit to Russia in 1931, Shaw was thereafter
determined to keep the scales on his eyes, dismissing real news as
fake and continuing, despite the evidence, to worship nice, sweet
“Uncle Joe”, for the next 20 years until he died in 1950, breathing
his last beneath a portrait of his hero.
England was Mussolini’s useful idiot. He was hailed by Winston
Churchill as “the greatest lawgiver among living men” and greeted at
Victoria station by “a screaming mass of humanity, blinded by the
flashes of the photographers’ cameras”.
Churchill also said some complimentary things about Stalin, but that
was during the wartime Yalta Conference, so allowances might be made.
Mao’s useful idiot was an American journalist called Edgar Snow. Mao
instructed that “security, secrecy, warmth and the red carpet” be
rolled out for Snow. They duly were.
Every sentence of Snow’s 1937 book, Red Star Over China, was examined
and, if necessary, amended by Mao. It became an international
Kim Il-sung similarly manipulated the American Harrison Salisbury.
Ceausescu’s impressive use of Richard Nixon – “He may be a commie, but
he’s our commie!” – and the journalist Michel-Pierre Hamelet resulted
in him receiving the Order of the Bath from our own dear Queen.
Doc Duvalier used the American Herbert Morrison, who described him as
“a dedicated honest individual who is trying to help his people”.
Once credentials are established abroad, and the international tiger
is off his back, the dictator is much safer at home. Constantly and
inexorably, new purges unfold.
The greater the misery the greater the propaganda, and the greater the
tyrant’s insecurity. Even as terror increases and millions are
displaced and starved, a peculiar pattern emerges: the dictator writes
a book. Other people’s books get burned as the vanity project
Mao composes terrible poems with titles such as “Revolution is Not a
Dinner Party”.
Papa Doc writes Essential Works and demands that everyone should learn
at least three-quarters off by heart when 90 per cent of the
population are illiterate.
Hitler has already written Mein Kampf by the time he comes to power
and rests on his dubious laurels.
Stalin knows when he’s beaten and tinkers with poetry while relying
mostly on a ghost writer to secure his literary immortality.
Mao has greater success with the Little Red Book, printed in a
palm-size format to fit into a soldier’s hand to take to war, just as
Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra had been printed for German troops
to take to the First World War and The Great Gatsby for American
troops in the Second.
Presumably, they all served equally well as loo paper.
Dictators are never afraid of lying. The examples in the book are
endless. In 1922, Mussolini threatened to send 300,000 blackshirts to
Rome, though only 30,000 existed.
Duvalier declared, “My government will scrupulously protect the honour
and civil rights which constitute the joy of all free peoples,” during
his inauguration in 1957.
Within weeks his secret police had purged his rivals and were
executing 11-year-olds.
Finally, the dictator takes the place of God. In a post-religious
century, faith in a providential leader serves as a substitute for
Shrines to Lenin and Stalin sprang up in the traditional Red Corner in
Russian houses, where icons used to hang. Mao asked wonderingly, “What
is wrong with worship?”
But it is Papa Doc Duvalier in Haiti who doesn’t just allow himself to
be put there. He grabs God’s reins, claiming to be a voodoo spirit and
naming his militia the Tonton Macoutes – bogeymen within the
iconography of the voodoo religion.
Macoutes carried a gun and dressed like ghost-gangsters, servants of
death in shiny suits, dark glasses and homburg hats.
Within a year, Duvalier claimed to have a force of 25,000 under his
command (they probably never numbered more than 10,000).
A macoute was an informer, a neighbourhood boss, a bully, a torturer
and a pillar of the political regime.
Few were paid and they used their power to extort, intimidate, rape
and murder. They reported back to Duvalier, who dressed like Baron
Samedi, spirit king of the dead, in top hat, tailcoat and dark
Given to mumbling sinister incantations, the Doc encouraged rumours
that he used the hearts of his murdered enemies to strengthen his
He eventually came to believe that he was God, declaring himself “the
word made flesh”, invulnerable to bullets and machine guns because “I
am already an immaterial being”.
That no one tested the statement was Haiti’s tragedy. As was the fact
that America under John F Kennedy was well aware of everything that
was going on and knew that a small force might easily topple the
regime, but backed off after the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco, when the CIA
tried to overthrow Fidel Castro.
Curiously, Doc Duvalier used Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, Lion
of Judah and King of Kings as his useful idiot. Selassie’s blood runs
like a thin red thread through these stories.
In 1935-36 he was toppled from his throne by Mussolini, thus providing
el Duce with a great moment of glory. Restored by the British in 1941,
Selassie helped establish the Organisation of African Unity and
in 1966, he visited Haiti, where Duvalier was projecting himself as
spiritual leader of the black world; “… the Living Sun… who has
lighted the revolutionary conscience of the blacks of the American
continent and of the universe”.
Selassie gave Duvalier some flattering quotes that were substantially
bulked out by fake ones.
Returning to his own country, Selassie died in mysterious
circumstances aged 83, probably smothered by the final dictator in
this book, Mengistu Haile Mariam, who had the emperor’s remains buried
underneath his office and ruled Ethiopia from there, placing his desk
right above the corpse, a gruesome anecdote but no worse than many in
this catalogue of horrors.
What makes a dictator in the first place? Dikötter does not delve
about in childhoods. He gives two reasons for this. One: most
childhood legends are complete fabrications by the time the tyrant has
come to power.
Two: to precis, many of us have appalling fathers but we don’t all
turn into Hitler.
Cautious, he goes so far as to identify one psychological quality –
lack of empathy, combined with ruthlessness. Every dictator punishes
at random and every dictator takes major decisions on his own.
All the dictators in the book are men. Could a woman become a
dictator? Certainly they could, Dikötter assures us, they just haven’t
yet had the equal opportunity, and Eva Perón doesn’t quite make the
This is a wonderfully moving and perceptive book, written by a very
brave man. Dikötter lives in Hong Kong, where he is chair professor of
humanities at the university.
His books are banned in China. He is not afraid to describe Xi Jinping
as recreating a dictatorship on the Leninist model.
Robustly, he dismisses anxieties concerning Western institutions
today. Dictators are indeed anti-experts who surround themselves with
sycophants promoted regardless of experience or knowledge, and this
may ring some bells.
Trump may lie, Boris Johnson may have said he wanted to be world king,
but to mention dictatorship in the same breath is to trivialise.
What we are living through is democracy in action. But we’d better not
forget that power can easily be stolen. Eternal vigilance, after all,
is the price of liberty.
Sue Prideaux is the author of “I Am Dynamite! A Life of Friedrich
Nietzsche” (Faber & Faber)
How to Be a Dictator: The Cult of Personality in the Twentieth Century
Frank Dikötter

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The official plan of UK's main opposition party, with the nation riven by Brexit, is that it will contest an election without taking a position on Brexit, win that election and then make up their minds whether they want Brexit or not @johnauthers
Law & Politics

The official plan of UK's main opposition party, with the nation riven
by Brexit, is that it  will contest an election without taking a
position on Brexit, win that election (how they do that is unclear),
and then make up their minds whether they want Brexit or not. I

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Just back from a 6,000km journey through Houthi, government and separatist south Yemen @mck_beth
Law & Politics

On the way we met dozens of people who shows how cholera, hunger and
airstrikes have destroyed their lives. Stories out next week.

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Hezbollah says Iran would destroy Saudi Arabia in any war @Reuters
Law & Politics

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon’s Hezbollah warned Saudi Arabia on Friday
against betting on a war against Iran because it would destroy the
kingdom and said Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates should halt the
conflict in Yemen to protect themselves.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim group,
also said new air defenses could not easily defend Saudi Arabia from
the type of drones used in a Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi oil
Tensions have spiked in the region since the attacks that officials in
Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran, which has denied
involvement. Responsibility was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, an
Iran-aligned group fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war.
Hezbollah is a heavily armed Shi’ite group set up by Iran’s
Revolutionary Guards in 1982 and a major part of a Tehran-backed
regional alliance.
“Don’t bet on a war against Iran because they will destroy you,”
Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
Noting that the attack had initially halved Saudi oil output, he
added: “Your house is made of glass and your economy is made of glass.
Like the glass cities in the UAE.”
Nasrallah said the attacks on the Aramco installations showed the
strength of the Iran-backed alliance and that new air defenses could
not easily defend Saudi Arabia given its size and the maneuverability
of the drones used.
New air defenses would “be very expensive and it will be of no use”,
he said. His advice to both Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab
Emirates was to instead stop the war in Yemen.
Noting threats by the Houthi movement against the UAE, he added: “The
thing that will protect the installations and infrastructure in Saudi
Arabia and the UAE is halting the war against the Yemeni people.”

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Saudi Arabia up in Flames: Riyadh Is Headed for a Major Disaster Strategic Culture Foundation H/T @KetanVora4
Law & Politics

On Saturday September 14th, Yemen’s Houthi rebels announced that they
had conducted a massive attack on several Aramco plants in Saudi
Arabia, including the largest oil refinery in the world in Abqaiq,
using 10 drones.
On Twitter, dozens of videos and photos showed explosions, flames and
the resulting damage.
The move is part of a retaliatory campaign by the Houthis in response
to the indiscriminate bombings conducted by the Saudi air force over
more than four years.
UN estimates speak of more than 100,000 deaths and the largest
humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.
The Saudi kingdom finds itself in an increasingly dangerous situation
as a result of the retaliatory capacity of the Houthis, able to
inflict severe military and economic damage on Riyadh with their
missile forces.
Estimates suggest that Riyadh is losing something in the region of
$300 million a day from the Houthi attacks.
On Sunday September 15, a spokesman for the Saudi oil ministry spoke
of damage that is yet to be calculated, possibly requiring weeks of
Meanwhile, Saudi oil production has halved following the Saturday attack.
With a military budget of $200,000, the Houthis managed to inflict
damage numbering in the billions of dollars.
The withdrawal of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from the conflict
in Yemen, driven by their desire to improve relations with Tehran, and
the impossibility of the United States intervening directly in the
conflict, has created significant problems for the House of Saud.
The conflict is considered by the UN to be the largest humanitarian
crisis in the world, and Trump has no intention of giving the
Democratic presidential contenders any ammunition with which to attack
Bolton’s dismissal could be one of those Trump signals to the deep
state stating that he does not intend to sabotage his re-election
hopes in 2020 by starting a new war.
This reluctance by Washington to directly support Israel and Saudi
Arabia has aggravated the situation for Riyadh, which now risks seeing
the conflict move to its own territory in the south of the country.
The Houthi incursions into Saudi Arabia are now a daily event, and as
long as Riyadh continues to commit war crimes against innocent Yemeni
civilians, the situation will only worsen, with increasingly grave
consequences for the internal stability of the Saudi system.
Saturday’s retaliation is the real demonstration of what could happen
to the Saudi economy if Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) refuses to sit down
and negotiate a way out of one of the worst military disasters of the
contemporary era.
The invincibility of US weapons systems is only in Hollywood movies
The Houthis have in recent months managed to strike their targets in
Saudi Arabia dozens of times using different aerial means. This
highlights once again the total failure of American air-defense
systems in the country.
In contrast, the multiple Russian anti-aircraft systems in Syria have
achieved a 100% success rate with regard to interceptions, managing to
disable (through electronic warfare) all the drones, mortars and
missiles launched by jihadists against Russia’s bases in Tartus bases
and Latakia.
Mike Pompeo blames Tehran for the Yemeni attack on Saudi Arabia, of
course without offering any proof. Riyadh and Tel Aviv are
increasingly isolated in the Middle East.
Washington is only able to offer tweets and paranoia about Iran to
help its allies, given that a direct intervention is seen as being too
risky for the global economy, not to mention the possibility of the
conflict becoming a wider regional conflagration that would sink any
chance of reelection in 2020 for the present administration.
Trump, Netanyahu and MBS are concocting a witches’ brew that will
bring about a disaster of unprecedented proportions to the region. It
is only a matter of time before we see the baleful consequences of
their handiwork.
There is some talk doing the rounds that the Saudis conducted a
false-flag attack on their own oil refineries, a hypothesis that
enjoys a superficial plausibility.
The resulting increase in the price of oil could be seen as having a
positive effect on Aramco’s share price, it is true. But for the
reasons given below, this hypothesis is actually not plausible.
The Houthis develop their own weapons, assisted by the Yemeni army.
Used drones would cost less than $20,000 a piece. The military embargo
on Yemen (enforced by the US and UK) has created a humanitarian
disaster, limiting food and medicine.
The delivery of weapons by sea therefore seems unlikely. As repeatedly
stated by Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, as well
as representatives of Ansarullah, Tehran has no influence on the
The Yemeni response is part of an increasing asymmetric logic, which
has as its primary objectives the halt to Riyadh’s bombings of Yemen
by increasing the costs of doing so such that they become
The obvious pressure point is the 20 billion barrels in strategic reserves.
There is no need for a false flag to blame Iran for the work of the
Houthis. The corporate media is enough to have the false accusations
repeated without the help of the Israelis or US-based neocons.
The Saudis are more cautious, even if unable to decide how to proceed.
In Yemen, they have no more cards to play: they do not want to sit
down and deal with Ansarullah, Tehran is unassailable, while Tel Aviv
is pushing for a conflict, with Riyadh offered to be sacrificed.
I have been writing for months that, sooner or later, an event will
occur that will change the regional balance in a possible conflict
with Iran.
This happened on Saturday, when half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production
was brought to a halt by an attack.
There could not be any worse news for the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists.
If the Houthis could inflict such damage using 10 drones, then Tel
Aviv, Riyadh and Washington must be having conniptions at the thought
of what the Iranians would be capable of doing in the event that they
themselves were attacked.
Any power (in this case the US and their air-defense systems) and its
close ally would do everything to avoid suffering such a humiliation
that would only serve to reveal their military vulnerabilities.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow is seen by many in Israel as a
failure. It is confirmed in Tel Aviv that the Zionist state’s recent
attacks in Syria have been quashed by Russian intervention, sending an
unambiguous message to Netanyahu.
Netanyahu and MBS, I reiterate, are heading towards the political
abyss. And given their inability to handle the situation, they will do
everything in their power to draw Washington into their plans against
It is all certainly vain. But in the coming weeks, I expect further
provocations and tensions in the Middle East.

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16-SEP-2019: Drones Strikes Deep Inside the Kingdom
Law & Politics

Last week was the Anniversary of 9/11 and it is increasingly apparent
that More Americans are questioning the Official 9/11 Story As New
Evidence contradicts the Official Narrative [MintPress News]
The overwhelming evidence presented now demonstrates beyond any doubt
that pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries — not just airplanes
and the ensuing fires — caused the destruction of the three World
Trade Center buildings, killing the vast majority of the victims who
perished that day. The Official Narrative around the assassination of
JFK has been similarly debunked. Two great American Writers have
touched on this
Don DeLillo in his book Libra "There is a world inside the world."
"There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is
the sum total of the things they aren't telling us."
Thomas Pynchon in Bleeding Edge “No matter how the official narrative
of this turns out," it seemed to Heidi, "these are the places we
should be looking, not in newspapers or television but at the margins,
graffiti, uncontrolled utterances, bad dreamers who sleep in public
and scream in their sleep.”
Events in Saudi Arabia this weekend has been interpreted every which
way and allow me to try and interpret the events outside the Echo
Chamber that is the Saudi paid PR machine and the reflexive Pompeo
''Iranians under the bed'' standard response.
It has been reported that a swarm of ten armed and explosive Drones
struck at the heart of the Kingdom's Oil industry. The strikes were on
Saudi Arabia's 7 million barrel per day Abqaiq processing complex and
its second-biggest oil field, Khurais, Saudi Aramco describes its
Abqaiq oil processing facility there as “the largest crude oil
stabilization plant in the world.” Abqaiq is perhaps the world’s most
important oil installation. According to the @EIAgov the plant has a
capacity of more than 7 million b/d or about 8% of the world's total
oil production [Energy Intelligence]. Most of the oil produced in the
country [Saudi Arabia] is processed at Abqaiq before export or
delivery to refineries. Saudi Aramco is assuring the World it can
restore output quickly but has admitted that the production shutdown
amounts to a loss of about five million barrels a day, the people
said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil. The
kingdom produces 9.8 million barrels a day. I cannot recall an attack
of this severity in the Kingdom ever.
The Houthis took responsibility for this attack. U.N. investigators
have previously pronounced that the Houthis’ new UAV-X drone, likely
has a range of up to 1,500 kilometres (930 miles). Secretary Pompeo
immediately dismissed the possibility that these drones originated
from Yemen and blamed Iran. More worryingly for the Kingdom are
reports of cooperation by people in Saudi Arabia. It may well be that
drones were launched from inside Saudi Arabia and that their launch
point was far nearer to the targets than publicly assumed. Neither
option is a good one. If the Houthis did launch the attack from the
Yemen, it speaks to the fact that nowhere in the Kingdom is safe and
the Houthis have achieved an asymmetric balance, which is quite
extraordinary. In November 2017, I wrote of how the then 30-year-old
Crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman MBS had arrived on the
scene and immediately launched an unwinnable war in the Yemen. It will
be a cake walk MBS said over in a week he said and they will be
throwing rose petals at our feet. Abu Dhabi's MBZ saw the writing on
the Wall and stop lossed his Yemeni Adventure. It is clear now that
the ''Yemen War has become Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam (or Soviet Union’s
Afghanistan or indeed U.S. version of Afghanistan)'' @JKempEnergy and
that the ''The kingdom has thrown everything into conflict but failed
to achieve a decisive military advantage and favourable political
endgame'' More worrying for the Kingdom is the second scenario were
these Drones might have been launched within the Kingdom which would
be signalling that the Houthis might well have teamed up with the
Saudi Shia who represent up to 25% of the Population and have been
ground down viciously by the House of Saud, characterised as Apostates
and whose Leaders have been beheaded and crucified.
Zerohedge is speculating that this is a false Flag attack designed to
ramp up the Price of Oil in order to grease the way for the Saudi
Aramco IPO. If this is true and I put the probability at zero then the
Crown Prince is I am afraid insane for who would buy a share of a
company when its major installations are not secure but under severe
attacks? The Saudi Aramco IPO is now dead in the Water. The Surge in
the Oil Price [which I will get to momentarily] will have zero effect
on the IPO because now the overwhelming geopolitical question is
around the longevity of the House of Saud and its Crown Prince who is
of course the Proud Owner of Leonardo Da Vinci's Salvatori Mundi which
means Saviour of the World and according to Robert Baer has so. many
enemies that he sleeps on his $500m yacht the Serene off Jeddah. The
much commented on Orb is of no help now. If the Houthis have tapped
into the Saudi Shia, the House of Saud in my opinion is on its last
legs. This is a Big Call and needs to be understood for that. No
amount of paid PR or kind words from Trump can finesse this. Over the
Weekend, so many of the Oil Watchers I follow were saying we must wait
for the Official Saudi comment. Let me tell you this for free. Saudi
comment is worthless, irrelevant and paid for.
The Oil Markets open on Sunday evening.
On June 17th this year I wrote [quite presciently I must admit]
''All global markets have become liquidity Traps. The Oil Markets
trade 24 hours but in the early hours is when Gremlin Wizards and
Djinns [The Quran says that the Djinn are made of a smokeless and
"scorching fire", They are usually invisible to humans, but humans do
appear clearly to Djinn, as they can possess them. DJinn have the
power to travel large distances at extreme speeds and are thought to
live in remote areas - so now You Know] stalk the Exchanges like the
FX Markets. Therefore, we could very well see a Price Spike. One Touch
is the Way to go''
I reckon we could jump as high as $80.00 which would be a +45.00% leap
versus Fridays closing price before we trade back to about +10% with
would be about $60.00+ as Trump unloads Crude from the Reserve. So Big
Price Spike then retracement but then if we do get within 10% of
Fridays closing Price of $54.83, then you need to get long. The
production shutdown amounts to a loss of about five million barrels a
day and is a big deal.
In May I wrote about Iran and I quoted Hunter S. Thompson who
described The Edge [and I was describing Iran as being at the Edge]
“There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who
really know where it is are the ones who have gone over''
My Mistake was to think Iran was at the Thompsonian Edge whereas it is
clear now that it is the Kingdom.

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@realDonaldTrump's Penchant for Lies Offers a Way Out of War With Iran @thedailybeast @csdickey
Law & Politics

PARIS—Does Donald Trump really want irrefutable, iron-clad proof that
Iran staged a devastating attack on Saudi Arabia last Saturday?
Probably not. At least not to talk about publicly. Empirical truth is
not his thing. And in this case that might be for the best. Indeed,
lies could make the difference between war and peace.
Looked at the Middle Eastern way, Iran’s thin veil of denial offers an
opening for Trump: a way to avoid a full-scale conflagration or
complete humiliation. All week long, Trump has taken it, and Tehran
has even praised his restraint.
Asked by CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh if he thought Trump is “gun-shy,”
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said no, that he believed Trump
has been the subject of many attempts to drag him into a war with
Iran, but has resisted.
“It doesn’t mean somebody is gun-shy in order to avoid starting a war
based on a lie,” Zarif said, rather archly. He meant the “lie” that
Iran blew up the biggest petroleum processing plant in the world and
cut off 5 percent of global supply, which is by all indications the
The Saudis, too, despite fairly damning physical evidence, have been
careful to say Iran was behind the attack but not that Iran launched
Meanwhile, Trump, clearly signaling he has no taste for a third Middle
Eastern war going into the election year, tells the Saudis he’ll be
happy to stand back and watch them fight it, which he probably knows
they are not about to do.
When armies in the Middle East square off against each other and
Armageddon approaches, which is fairly often, the traditional language
of statecraft is not that of Sun Tzu but of the suq: a marketplace of
deception, overbidding, and denials where victories rarely are
complete, defeats even more rarely acknowledged.
And Donald Trump, God knows, is comfortable in the twilight zone of
truth, where fact exists on a spectrum of the believable, the
sellable, the convenient. Which is to say that, even without any
intellectual background in the arid hills of the Holy Land or the
viscous waters of the Gulf, Trump has an instinct for the importance
of face-saving deception, especially when the face being saved is his
As The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake wrote a couple of years ago in
rueful wonderment, for Trump “plausible deniability is a way of life.
The ability to pretend he didn’t actually say what he seems to have
just said is something Trump has weaponized and exploited,” and he “is
actually pretty good at this.”
“Throughout the course of his presidency,” Blake wrote, Trump “has
repeatedly gone right up to the line of doing something he cannot
possibly explain, while always leaving himself an out—enough plausible
deniability for the people who think he’s great to go right on
thinking that.”
Some buttoned-up Pentagon official told CBS News this week that Iran’s
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved the attack on the
Saudis’ Abqaiq facility “but only on the condition that it be carried
out in a way that made it possible to deny Iranian involvement.”
Probably the official thought that was a damning indictment.
Not so. If Iran wanted a full-scale war, it would have attacked
directly. And if it had wanted complete anonymity, it would have used
better frontmen than the increasingly clientized Houthi rebels in
What it wanted in fact was to operate in the shadowland of deniability
that everybody in the region understands.
Spectacular as it was, with flames shooting into the Saudi sky and
devastating economic damage, the Abqaiq and Khurais oil-field attacks
were calibrated carefully.
As far as we know, and as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pointed
out, nobody was killed.
There was no blood. In any consideration of a casus belli that counts
for a lot. And the Iranians certainly remember that when they openly
shot down an American drone, killing no one, Trump decided not to hit
back in order to avoid human casualties.
The “I know you know I know you know” game is as old as the Middle
East, and all the players, including Israel, know how to play it.
Messages are sent through proxies with limited attacks, including
terrorism and assassinations, and messages are received but
responsibility is not officially acknowledged. “Deniability” allows
those who’ve been hit to respond short of all-out war or abject
When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an Iran-basher from way back,
tries to point the finger more directly at Tehran, using language that
might make war unavoidable, Trump pulls him back.
(Trump fired National Security Advisor John Bolton for his
unrestrained bellicosity, as it happens, just days before the Abqaiq
“It has to be said the current explosive situation is Trump’s own
towering fxxk-up.”
When South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham opines, as if over a glass of
sweet tea on a sweaty day, that Trump’s measured reaction so far is
seen by the Iranian regime as “a sign of weakness,” Trump responds
that he has lots of options, a powerful army, and could do things he
calls “dastardly”—a word that suggest he doesn’t like those things and
doesn’t want to do them, which probably is true at a minimum for
political reasons.
For the factual record, however, it has to be said the current
explosive situation threatening a vast war, a massive surge in oil
prices, and a global recession is Trump’s own towering fxxk-up.
His campaign rhetoric in 2016, well adapted to audiences he learned to
cultivate as a patron of professional wrestling, dubbed the Obama
administration’s hard-won agreement with Iran “the worst deal ever” in
the world.
Never mind that it stopped for years Tehran’s chances of developing
nuclear weapons, Trump vowed to throw it out.
Once in office, Trump discovered the co-signatories—Britain, France,
Germany, Russia and China—thought the deal worth keeping, contending
that if there were other issues, like Iran‘s proxy forces all over the
Middle East and its missile development, they could be negotiated
It galled Trump that the Iranians observed the nuclear agreement to
the letter, and he finally decided in May 2018 the only way to keep
his promise to get a new deal was to crash the old one by pulling out
of it and ratcheting up economic pressure on Tehran.
(Privately, allies were told the U.S. expected, or more likely hoped,
Iran would nevertheless continue to abide by the agreement’s terms, a
situation that lasted more than a year, in fact.)
Trump’s foreign-policy trademark is the use of the weaponized dollar,
forcing other countries to bend to his will through tariffs or
sanctions, not military action.
He figures if you take away their butter you don’t need to use your
guns. But it was always obvious that some of his targets, unable to
fight back on financial turf, would turn to what the military calls
kinetic action, which is what we saw last Saturday.
Can deniability restore the peace that Trump’s sanctions, Saudi
impetuousness and Iranian drones have torn asunder. That isn’t clear.
But Trump already has shown on many fronts that his willingness to
accept the implausible denials of his adversaries goes way beyond
anything we’ve seen in modern American history.
Trump has been willing to accept the denials of Vladimir Putin about
Russia’s well-documented efforts to subvert American democracy. He has
accepted the denials of Kim Jong Un when the North Korean is accused
of bad faith in the nuclear deal that Trump touted highly but has
failed to deliver.
Why would Trump not accept the denials of Iran about the Saudi attack?
He might even go ahead and meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, if such an
encounter can be arranged. It would be great theater, just the kind
Trump loves.
Indeed, as he tries to extract the United States from the disaster he
precipitated, maybe Trump thinks all of this passes for smart
statecraft. And maybe it’s not quite as crazy as it sounds.

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US 'Weaponizing' Dollar
Law & Politics

"The dollar is a weapon and Trump is relishing his financial warfare
strategies," Mr. Satchu told Sputnik.
"Trump's aggressive foreign economic policy is the signature success
of this administration. It is highly effective — look at Venezuela to
see its most extreme output. Iran is in a similar bind. China is in
retreat notwithstanding some bravura talk. Trump can keep it up. It's
working a treat," Mr. Satchu told Sputnik.

International Markets

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1004
Dollar Index 98.571
Japan Yen 107.65
Swiss Franc 0.9911
Pound 1.2458
Aussie 0.6771
India Rupee 70.9375
South Korea Won 1194.21
Brazil Real 4.1484
Egypt Pound 16.2795
South Africa Rand 14.8995

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And once NY Fed is done with this exercise, it may want to quickly found out flip side of equation: which banks were so desperate for liquidity last week they not only risked being seen using Fed's overnight repo operation @zerohedge
World Currencies

And once the NY Fed is done with this exercise, it may want to quickly
found out the flip side of the equation: which banks were so desperate
for liquidity last week they not only risked being seen using the
Fed's overnight repo operation, which in this day and age of $1.4
trillion in excess reserves carries the same stigma as using the
Discount Window in the days before the Lehman failure, but did so by
oversubscribing the Fed's $75 billion repo facility for 3 days
straight. In short, one or more banks are in dire need of just over
$75 billion in liquidity, and the Fed better figure out who they
are... before some financial reporter does, prints their name for the
whole world to see and starts what may soon be the biggest bank run
since the financial crisis.

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7-SEP-2018 :: A decade after Lehman
World Currencies

My career in the financial markets was in what is called ‘’The repo
market’’ and described: ‘’Over here are investors with cash that’s not
doing anything profitable at the moment. Over there are banks with
tons of bonds and a need for ready money. The so-called repo market is
where the two sides meet. Repurchase agreements make up an essential,
if esoteric, piece of financial plumbing. By providing a place where
assets can be pawned for short-term loans, a healthy repo market helps
a wide range of other transactions go more smoothly. But a repo
meltdown was a crucial part of the financial panic in September

I then ran a customer financing desk, where we would finance hedge
funds and all. We expanded the business to include all the G7 markets
and even Emerging Mar- kets. All through the second half of the 1990s
onwards, one of the most profitable trades was at quarter-end with
Lehman Brothers. Lehman were renowned for playing the leverage game at
300 and 400 to 1 but at quarter end would need to show a much reduced
leverage Ratio and we would enter into ‘’repo’’ transactions with them
which were characterised as Index-linked Swaps. Subsequently and much
later these were called Repo 105s.


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Crude Oil Chart @BodhiTreeCIO 58.50

Emerging Markets

Frontier Markets

Sub Saharan Africa

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#Zimbabwe in new move to stop its currency plunging. The central bank places trading controls on FX bureaus to "bring sanity" to the market

Authorities will "immediately mobilise resources to enforce
compliance". This sounds a lot like Nigeria in 2015/16

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Robert Gabriel Mugabe (1924-2019)

Most of Zimbabwe’s citizens are ‘’born free’’ the fight for
independence was real but is no longer relevant is it?
We are grateful to all those iconic leaders who liberated our
continent of which Mugabe is one but at what price? Fighting for
independence is not the same as building an economy which provides
opportunity for all its citizens.
As some African leaders laud Mugabe today, @PastorEvanLive argues:
“There can be no mixed feelings, misconceptions or complications about
Robert Mugabe’s legacy. He presided over the destruction of millions
of people’s lives over a span of 37 years.”
Emmerson Mnangagwa who was eulogising Mugabe as a Revolutionary Icon
has failed and is frankly as untenable as his erstwhile Mentor.

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JAN-2019 :: "money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised."

“Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any
system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient
system of mutual trust ever devised.”
“Cowry shells and dollars have value only in our common imagination.
Their worth is not inherent in the chemical structure of the shells
and paper, or their colour, or their shape. In other words, money
isn’t a material reality – it is a psychological construct. It works
by converting matter into mind.”
The Point I am seeking to make is that There is a correlation between
high Inflation and revolutionary conditions, Zimbabwe is a classic
example where there are $9.3 billion of Zollars in banks compared to
$200 million in reserves, official data showed.
The Mind Game that ZANU-PF played on its citizens has evaporated in a
puff of smoke.
‘’The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle of history’’ and
also said “If the crowd disperses, goes home, does not reassemble, we
say the revolution is over.”
What is clear to me is that Zimbabwe is at a Tipping Point moment.

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25-FEB-2019 :: Zimbabwe finally overhauled its dysfunctional,''whack'' and even Voodoo FX regime.

Zimbabwe finally overhauled its dysfunctional,''whack'' and even
Voodoo FX regime.  Zimbabwe’s government dropped its insistence that a
quasi-currency known as bond notes are at par with the dollar as it
overhauled foreign-exchange trading and effectively devalued the
securities. While the government has previously insisted that bond
notes and RTGS dollars are worth the same as U.S. dollars, the units
currently trade at between 3.66 and 3.8 to the dollar respectively on
the black market [Bloomberg] “The introduction of a Zim dollar will be
just in name, but the RTGS$ is essentially the Zim dollar.” Tendai
Biti is predicting a 6-8 range whilst the Government is looking for it
to appreciate to 2.5 which is best characterised as ''Hail-Mary''
economics. This is the right move but I would definitely be short at
2.5, if it ever gets there which is entirely unlikely.

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If you're wondering what on earth is happening in #Egypt right now and why, here's some quick background. @MHassan_1

On September 2nd, a former contractor working with the Egyptian
military released a video online accusing president Sisi and his close
companions of rampant corruption in the construction industry, and of
robbing him of over 200 million Egyptian pounds.
The man, Mohamed Ali, who is also an actor, released a series of daily
videos detailing specific projects Sisi, his wife, and several other
top generals were involved in - which included using state funds to
build personal palaces and hotels.
The videos gained massive traction in Egypt, and were watched by
millions each day, giving Mohamed Ali a sudden and overwhelming
following, and prompting him to continue criticising the Egyptian
government and its economic and political failures.
Keep in mind that under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, opposition and criticism
has become virtually impossible. Activists are jailed. Opposition
parties shut down. Journalists arrested without charge. Simply posting
anti-government messages on social media can get you jailed and
So for many, Mohamed Ali, who had fled to Spain a year before
releasing the videos, quickly became a rallying figure and a voice who
spoke directly to Sisi without hesitation. He also knew his secrets,
having worked closely with him for years.
Last week, Sisi did something unusual. He directly responded to
Mohamed Ali's claims during a youth conference. He admited that he did
build palaces using state funds, but denied he was corrupt and claimed
it was all for the country's good.
This didn't go down well. People were furious. And Mohamed Ali used
the momentum to call on people to take to social media and demand Sisi
resign. If that didn't happen, they should protest for 1 hour on
Friday night. Which is tonight.
No one knew what to expect tonight. People were terrified of going out
and facing threats of violence and arrests at the hands of the police
and army like we've seen before. Protesting under Sisi is banned, and
activists have received lengthy sentences for taking part before.
People also remember well what happened in 2013 in Rabaa, when police
and soldiers opened fire on supporters of then-president Mohammed
Morsi, killing at least 1000 in a single day.
But people did come out, energised by Mohamed Ali's videos, and
desperate to release their anger after years of oppression, fear and
economic woe. What we saw tonight hasn't happened since 2013, and
could spell the beginning of the end of Sisi's reign.
What happens now is anybody's guess. Mohamed Ali has repeatedly called
on other top military figures, like defence minister Mohamed Zaki, to
detain Sisi himself. He's also suggested many in the army were fed up
and would support the protesters.
What we saw tonight was still a few hundred or thousand people out on
the streets, a far stretch from the millions in 2011 or 2013 that
prompted the army to move.
But if what Mohamed Ali suggests is true, there could be factions
within the army ready to take control sooner rather than later, and
what that spells for both Sisi and the future of the country is
anybody's guess.
With Sisi out of the country and on his way to the UN General Assembly
in NY right now, we saw a surprisingly restrained police force on the
streets. Though that could change if the protests continue.
For now Egyptians have taught themselves two important lessons
tonight. 1) They can break through the barrier of fear tightly wound
by the army over the last 6 years. 2) The energy of the 2011
revolution still lives.

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Chinese-built port in Kenya's Lamu to be launched in November @XHNews

MOMBASA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese-built port in Kenya's Lamu
is expected to be launched in November, an official said on Friday.
Daniel Manduku, managing director of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) told
journalists in Mombasa that China Communications Construction Company
has so far completed the first berth.
"We will commission the Lamu port which will be the second commercial
seaport for Kenya in November," Manduku said.
He said that the construction of the second and third berths will be
completed in 2020.
"The port will initially target transshipment cargo that is destined
for smaller ports in the eastern African region," said Manduku. KPA
hopes to attract cargo that is destined for Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam,
the port of Beira in Mozambique, as well as those in Mauritius and
Manduku said the seaport will offer attractive port charges and
infrastructure to lure imported cargo destined for the region.
He said that the supporting infrastructure to transport cargo from
Lamu into the interior of Kenya by either road or rail is yet to be
According to KPA, the Lamu port will have the capacity to handle
larger sea vessels as compared to the existing port of Mombasa due to
its deep natural waters.
"With the new seaport, Kenya will be able to handle ships with a
capacity of 8,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) compared to
6,000 TEUs currently, "said Manduku.
He said the first three berths of the seaport will be funded by the
government, while additional berths will be undertaken by the private
sector. ■

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Lamu and the Muslim Admiral Zheng He

Of course, the first engagement between China and Kenya, occurred in
the c15th, when the Chinese Admiral Zheng He [a Muslim and a Eunuch]
visited the Swahili coast. Naturally, the Chinese have been keen on
ventilating the story of Zheng He's c15th visit because it is a Soft
Power Gift Horse. You will recall the discovery of Chinese DNA on Pate
Island and the story is that the DNA belonged to Chinese Ming sailors
who were shipwrecked and then married the local women.

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06-AUG-2018 :: The Indian Ocean Economy and a Port Race

Today from Massawa, Eritrea [admittedly on the Red Sea] to Djibouti,
from Berbera to Mogadishu, from Lamu to Mombasa to Tanga to Bagamoyo
to Dar Es Salaam, through Beira and Maputo all the way to Durban and
all points in between we are witnessing a Port race of sorts as
everyone seeks to get a piece of the Indian Ocean Port action. China
[The BRI initiative], the Gulf Countries [who now appear to see the
Horn of Africa as their hinter- land], Japan and India [to a lesser
degree] are all jostling for optimal ‘’geo-economic’’ positioning.

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On an YTD basis, the shilling has depreciated by 2.0% against the dollar [without factoring in positive carry] @CytonnInvest

Improving diaspora remittances, which have increased cumulatively by
8.9% in the 12-months to August 2019 to USD 2.8 bn, from USD 2.6 bn
recorded in a similar period of review in 2018

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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September 2019

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