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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Friday 09th of July 2021

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The 21st century will be one of mad markets. Nearly every imaginable thing, from your attention to your time, will be monetized and tokenized by 2050. @erikphoel
World Of Finance

Neighborhoods will experience flash booms and crashes. In-game tokens will surge and crash. Tulip frenzies will be rife.

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09-MAY-2021 The Markets The Lotos-eaters
World Of Finance

On 8th March when the Bears had gotten hold of the US 10 Year, I wrote that I expected the 10 Year to target 1.45% well we got real close on Friday before the market reversed 

Ten- year yields initially plunged to a more than two-month low of 1.46%, then reversed to end the day at 1.58%. However, I am resetting my target Yield to 1.25% now.

Given the volume of money Printing and the extraordinary stimulus I have to say that the US Recovery is actually really weak and I believe it will be very short lived and the Penny will drop soon with the Bond Market and the Shorts will be forced to cover.

The Consensus View appears to be that the Global economy is going to accelerate big time and that its going to BOOM! 

I beg to differ

Furthermore The Central Banks are in a corner. 

They have fired a lot of bullets and even if there was a meaningful bounce they cannot raise rates.

Here is why central banks are trapped and cannot raise rates even if inflation rises: @dlacalle_IA Feb 2 

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“Derivatives,” Alvin said. “I don’t speculate about the future, I trade it.” @NewYorker
World Of Finance

And they were cross‑linked and interwoven and resold in large bundles, “future on future,” Alvin said, handing me a paper towel. 
“Forget about the forces of the free market, my friend. Commodity prices no longer refer to any value, past or present—they’re just ghosts from the future.”

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Dilip Kumar This interview, the truth-to-power -- and above all, the humility @BabaGlocal

This interview, the words, the grace, the clarity, the politics, the charm, the chin-up, the courage, the conviction, the dignity, the wisdom, the experience, the character, the truth-to-power -- and above all, the humility

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― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

“I dream that I have found us both again,
With spring so many strangers' lives away,
And we, so free,
Out walking by the sea,
With someone else's paper words to say....

They took us at the gates of green return,
Too lost by then to stop, and ask them why-
Do children meet again?
Does any trace remain,
Along the superhighways of July?” 

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Malik is described as the dreaded overseer of Hell. @aaolomi

The angelic custodian of hell is Malik. In describing Muhammad’s journey through the heavens during the Miraj, Ibn Abbas says all the angels smiled upon meeting the Prophet except for Malik, for Malik never smiles.

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Higher in the celestial realm is the Angel of Death. @aaolomi

Though not given a proper name in the Qur’an, the angel is commonly named as Azra’il.
The narrations about the Angel of Death are many and varied full of fascinating details.

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The Pandemic Is a Portal

Is it really social distancing if we are all surrounded by djinn asked @aaolomi and I thought to myself we are all djinn now.
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.

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Regime Change Is Not an Option in China @ForeignAffairs
Law & Politics

The relationship between China and the United States is the central drama of global politics today. 

It captures and defines the current era: great-power rivalry, ideological competition, the diffusion of advanced technology, and the weakening of U.S. hegemony. 

Dealing with China is shaping up to be a far more significant challenge for U.S. policymakers than competing with the Soviet Union ever was. 

Not only is Beijing more capable than Moscow was during the height of the Cold War, but China’s sprawling economic footprint makes it a far more difficult rival. 

A sharply segregated global economy allowed the United States to contain the Soviet Union, but China today is the top trading partner of over 100 countries, including many with close links to the United States.

This perplexing combination of intensifying competition and growing interdependence has sparked a searching conversation in the United States about how to approach China. 

The debate has taken a dangerous turn in recent years. 

Beginning in 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger, among others, started speaking about putting pressure on the Chinese Communist Party in ways that many interpreted as calls for regime change. 

Pompeo, slamming Beijing’s “new tyranny,” memorably declared: “If the free world doesn’t change, communist China will surely change us.” 

Distinguishing between the Chinese people and their regime, Pottinger urged the former “to achieve citizen-centric government in China” as an antidote to the CCP.

This rhetoric is rooted in a strain of thought that contends that the characteristics of a regime—rather than the country’s national interests or its position within the international system—determine state behavior. 

Reflecting this perspective, Zack Cooper and Hal Brands recently argued in Foreign Policy that because “acute Sino-American antagonism will persist so long as a powerful China is governed by the Chinese Communist Party,” 

U.S. policymakers may need to help bring about “long-term changes in Chinese power or in the way China is governed.”

Such arguments resonate across the U.S. political spectrum. President Joe Biden’s team has kept ideology at the center of its evolving China strategy, highlighting Beijing’s draconian crackdowns in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. 

The Biden administration has stopped well short of pursuing regime change as an explicit goal, but the president’s description of a “battle between the utility of democracies . . . and autocracies” reflects an acceptance of some measure of ideological struggle.

Although ideological competition may be inevitable, targeting the CCP is not only a highly impractical strategy but also a dangerous one. 

Any attempt at regime change would likely fail and impose long-term costs on U.S. efforts to shape Chinese behavior. Few U.S. allies and partners would support undermining the Chinese party-state—blunting perhaps the most important tool in Washington’s strategic arsenal. 

Such an approach would isolate the United States and intensify its already deep rivalry with Beijing. Instead, Washington should focus on changing Chinese behavior, not the CCP.

Advocates of a strategy to change the Chinese regime argue that the CCP’s singular interest in hanging on to power drives China’s repressive internal politics and international assertiveness, including its efforts to damage liberal norms and institutions. 

In this view, the party’s illiberal character makes it a uniquely coercive and predatory actor. 

Then U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien articulated this point in a 2020 piece in Foreign Affairs in which he argued that “the CCP’s ideological agenda extends far beyond the country’s borders and represents a threat to the idea of democracy itself.”

This analysis, however, ignores additional factors that motivate Chinese behavior. 

Even before the CCP came to power in 1949, for instance, China often acted like an aggressive imperial power, coercing its neighbors to accept its regional hegemony and seeking (but frequently failing) to institutionalize a system of deference to Chinese preferences. 

The balance of power between China and nearby governments, elite politics within China, and the reactions of China’s neighbors to Beijing’s demands, among other factors, all interacted in complex ways to produce assertive behavior.  

Although updated for contemporary circumstances, these dynamics remain relevant today. 

Any strategy that focuses primarily on targeting the CCP itself would therefore fail to significantly alter Chinese behavior. 

Even if the United States tried to transform the character of the Chinese party-state—by, for example, targeting CCP leaders through sanctions and supporting internal challenges to the government—success would be far from guaranteed. 

Such an approach misdiagnoses the sources of Chinese assertiveness, and it would lock Beijing and Washington into a dangerous and spiraling conflict.

Any effort to hurt the CCP from the outside would also be unlikely to secure the support of the Chinese people and would instead reinforce loyalty to the party, especially among the large, growing, and ambitious middle class. 

Many in China would see such a campaign as an attempt to impede the country’s long-delayed rise and recall the Western interference that kept China weak and divided throughout the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. 

The specter of revived U.S. imperialism at a time when Chinese suspicion of the United States is at an all-time high could supercharge Chinese President Xi Jinping’s popularity and push him to take even more ambitious actions abroad, to the detriment of U.S. interests and broader peace and security throughout Asia.

An attempt to topple the CCP would also undermine U.S.-Chinese cooperation on issues that require a modicum of partnership—including responding to Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs and addressing climate change. 

What is more, an aggressive strategy would reduce Washington’s ability to handle the most contentious issues in its relationship with Beijing, including the status of Taiwan.

The most important reason to avoid obsessing over China’s disagreeable regime, however, is that this fixation threatens a core U.S. advantage: Washington’s wide network of partners and allies. 

Building and sustaining international coalitions that constrain Chinese actions will be vital for any attempt to alter Beijing’s behavior. 

Coordinated action among U.S. allies, partners, and friends is crucial, for example, to combating China’s exploitative economic practices and deterring potential military aggression throughout Asia. 

And the hard reality facing Washington is that most U.S. allies and partners are not interested in regime change in Beijing. 

Most assume it is impossible, and others view it as counterproductive. Instead, most want to profit from their economic relations with China as its economy grows and diversifies. 

They want to limit Beijing’s assertive behavior abroad, but they have little desire to undermine the Chinese government at home.

A U.S. strategy centered on regime change would therefore face serious problems bringing partners on board and could potentially damage Washington’s larger efforts to orchestrate an effective balance of power both in Asia and around the world. 

If the United States loses sight of this central goal, it will be less able to resolve international problems and impose real costs on China.

The United States should not ignore the CCP’s egregious actions at home and abroad. Nor should U.S. officials pretend that they are indifferent to the harmful character of the Chinese government. 

Competition between the two states over ideas of governance, both domestic and international, is clearly emerging. 

But Washington should stay focused on confronting the regime’s threatening behaviors instead of launching a crusade against the CCP itself. 

This means prioritizing the creation of an international environment that collectively balances, binds, deters, and shapes China’s choices.

Such a strategy requires nurturing states that are, at a minimum, not vulnerable to Beijing’s pressure and, at times, willing to push back against Chinese coercion and predation. This involves forging coalitions on important issues such as technology transfers, deepening trade integration among friendly capitals, and ensuring that allies such as Australia and Japan are both willing and able to counter potential Chinese military actions in the Indo-Pacific. It could also entail articulating explicit norms of acceptable international behavior, legitimizing them through multilateral institutions, and, if necessary, enforcing them with U.S. military power. Constraining Beijing’s behaviors in this way, rather than targeting the regime, offers the best hope for strengthening the rules-based international order that protects the United States’ vital interests.

What matters is whether Washington can alter Beijing’s actions and conduct.
A practical approach aimed at altering China’s behavior will also inevitably focus on preventing Beijing from undermining fundamental U.S. diplomatic, economic, technological, and military interests. 

To achieve this, Washington could target a wide range of activities, including Chinese efforts to abuse the international trading system, steal advanced technologies from the United States and its allies, intimidate U.S. partners, project Chinese influence abroad, and promote Beijing’s hybrid market-authoritarianism as an alternative to the liberal order.

Opposing these activities does not, however, entail an exclusively confrontational relationship or mean that all bilateral competition will necessarily be zero-sum. 

Still, this strategy inevitably presumes some form of competitive coexistence between Beijing and Washington, with both sides constantly jockeying for advantage and influence around the world. 

Such a relationship may be simultaneously dynamic and disruptive, but that outcome would be preferable to overt conflict, which would be the inevitable result of a U.S. policy that set out to deliberately destabilize the governing regime of a peer competitor.

Ultimately, what matters is not whether the United States can change China’s motivations but whether Washington can alter Beijing’s actions and conduct. 

Such an approach might make only tactical progress: neither the brutal character nor the revisionist impulses of the CCP are likely to change. 

But as long as Washington shifts how Beijing thinks about its interests and how it pursues them, the United States can protect the broader liberal international order—and that would be victory enough.

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7 OCT 19 :: China turns 70

“Longing on a large scale makes history.” wrote Don DeLillo and these words streamed into my consciousness as I watched the celebrations in Tiananmen Square, which were marking the 70th anniversary of Chinese Communist Party rule.
Xi Jinping and the party were seeking to project national power and confidence on a grand scale. Nothing and nobody was going to rain on this parade.

The pomp and pageantry included a parade that involved 15,000 soldiers and sailors, 160 planes, 580 tanks and other weaponry including what 

Hu Xijin [President Xi’s trusted mouth-piece] described as ‘’This is the legendary DF41 ICBM. But it is not a tale. Today it is displayed at Tiananmen Square I touched one about four years ago in the production plant. No need to fear it. Just respect it and respect China that owns it’’.
”No force can stop the Chinese people and the Chinese nation forging ahead”, he said.
The President for Life was seeking to project a sense of inevitable forward motion and a fulfilment of the promise that Mao Zedong made on the founding of the People’s Re- public of China on October 1, 1949 that China would stand up.
They have “stood up.”

Xi’s model is one of technocratic authoritarianism and a recent addition to his book shelf include The Master Algorithm by Pedro Domingos. 

Xi is building an Algorithmic Society.
“Chinese Dream,” the catchphrase embodying the party’s aim to be- come a global power by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People Republic of China. In a way, this is also nothing new.
But Xi has taken the propagation of ideology and the cult of personality to extremes not seen since the days of Chairman Mao. 

 “Unity is iron and steel; unity is a source of strength,” 

“Complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable trend..no one and no force can ever stop it!” he added.
I am sure Xi sees Hong Kong and Taiwan like a virus and he is looking to impose a quarantine just like he has imposed on Xinjiang. The Chinese Dream has become a nightmare at the boundaries of the Han Empire.
The World in the 21st century exhibits viral, wildfire and exponential characteristics and feedback loops which only become obvious in hind-sight.

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The Afghan government now only controls 21% of land @ASBMilitary
Law & Politics

Afghanistan: 188 of 407 districts are fully controlled by Taliban- another 135 are contested. Taliban has gained 10% of land extra in the last week alone. The Afghan government now only controls 21% of land


Like a Hot Knife through Butter

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Moutstuart Elphinstone in 1839 on the impossibility of occupying Afghanistan: @DalrympleWill
Law & Politics

Moutstuart Elphinstone in 1839 on the impossibility of occupying Afghanistan: "... I have no doubt you will take Candahar &Cabul and set up Shuja.... but maintaining him in a poor, cold, strong &remote country, among a turbulent people like the Afghans, it seems to me hopeless."

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Mullah Omar: I am considering two promises. One is the promise of God, the other is that of Bush. The promise of Bush is that there is no place on earth where you can hide that I cannot find you. We will see which one of these two promises is fulfilled.
Law & Politics

VOA: Do you know that the US has announced a war on terrorism?
Omar: I am considering two promises. One is the promise of God, the other is that of Bush. The promise of God is that my land is vast.
If you start a journey on God's path, you can reside anywhere on this earth and will be protected...
The promise of Bush is that there is no place on earth where you can hide that I cannot find you.
We will see which one of these two promises is fulfilled.

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He was mocked for saying this. @SriniSivabalan @srinivasiyc

he was very prescient about India and what is now happening in the World. 

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Almost all #COVID19 restrictions are set to end in England on July 19. @dgurdasani1 @TheLancet

Almost all #COVID19 restrictions are set to end in England on July 19. A group of scientists and health experts outline 5 key concerns and urge delaying complete re-opening until everyone—including the young—is better protected. @dgurdasani1 @TheLancet

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―They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences

―In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences.

A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.

But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they have taken no precautions.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1830
Dollar Index 92.473
Japan Yen 110.08
Swiss Franc 0.9160
Pound 1.3766
Aussie 0.7426
India Rupee 74.6575
South Korea Won 1148.28
Brazil Real 5.2597
Egypt Pound 15.688
South Africa Rand 14.3211

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Pump-and-Dump Schemes Go Digital “Everybody I know has gotten rug-pulled.” @business
World Currencies

You remember The Money Chant: Matthew McConaughey thumping his chest, talking fools and money before — sniff! — a little lunchtime “tootski.”
Titan Maxamus has been there. Well, not there, in a “Wolf of Wall Street”-style boiler room. 

There on the other side — as the mark. Titan Maxamus knows the game. All the brazenly cynical players do. 

In Scorsese’s cinematic bender of sex, drugs and stocks, it’s called the pump and dump. In today’s cryptocurrencies, it’s known as the rug pull.
Maxamus thinks he got rug-pulled the other month in some sketchy digital token called — wait for it — Safe Heaven

Like countless dreamers in today’s memeified markets, he’s been gambling $50 here, $100 there on what are known as Shit Coins, obscure digital something-or-others being minted by the thousands. This stuff makes Bitcoin look good as gold.

One moment, Safe Heaven was flying. The next, it was crashing. Maxamus (that's his online persona. His real name is Glenn Titus), can’t prove anything. 

But he suspects what, in retrospect, seems forehead-slappingly obvious: some small-time hustler created Safe Heaven with a few deft keystrokes, hyped the hell out of it — and promptly cashed out. 

Telegram, a popular instant messaging app that’s become a major crypto boiler room, immediately fell silent. 

The Safe Heaven Telegram group, once thronging with rocket emojis and Elon Musk GIFs, was deleted. The Safe Heaven Twitter account hasn’t been updated since May 28.

“Everybody I know has gotten rug-pulled,” says Titus, a 38-year-old butcher in Salem, Oregon. “You know, you win some, you lose some. Hopefully, win more than lose.”
It might sound like a joke, given the crypto meltdowns of late, but serious money is at stake here. Billions — real billions — are getting pilfered annually through a variety of cryptocurrency scams. The way things are going, this will only get worse.
Back in the Wall Street Dark Ages — six, 12, 18 months ago — these sorts of shenanigans were mostly associated with shlocky brokerages like the one depicted in the 2013 Wolf. 

In those halcyon days before GameStop, Dogecoin and the rest, schlubs on Long Island might pitch ridiculous over-the-counter stocks to the gullible.
Nowadays crypto hustlers and star-gazers like Titan Maxamus have established a weird symbiotic relationship. 

It seems to capture everything that’s gone wrong with money culture, from Reddit-fueled thrill-seeking to conspiracy theorizing to predatory wheeling-dealing. 

The rug pull is only one play. There’s also the gentler soft rug, the crypto version of getting ghosted on Hinge. And the honey pot, which functions like a trap. 

Old-fashioned Ponzi schemes, newly cryptodenominated, have swindled people out of billions too.
At times the result can start to resemble the Agatha Christie mystery classic “Murder on the Orient Express”: The who in this dunnit is somehow everyone. Grifters will grift. 

But like Maxamus, many marks actually expect to get snookered once in a while. 

Both sides, the swindler and the swindled, are in on this one. Elaborate social-media systems have sprung up to flag potential trouble, not only to avoid it but maybe even to profit from it.
Many who feel they’ve been ripped off just shrug. They chalk it up to the cost of doing crypto, the price of buying a lottery ticket that maybe just might hit that big jackpot.
Titan Maxamus says he’s still in the money, swindlers be damned. And he’s not giving up. 

He’s got anywhere from $20 to $1,000 in dozens of different meme coins. (A recent pick, Blue Lighting, looks like it fell victim to a honey pot — more on that later).
“People have a fear of missing out on the next big thing, so they’re just dumping money here and there,” Maxamus said with earnest understatement, just before Bitcoin and Shit Coins began to crater recently. 

He concedes his own FOMO lured him into a rug-pull or three. “I guess you never know,” he reflects. “That’s part of the risk you take.”

The list on Tokensniffer.com runs on and on. Six minutes ago, CatRocket. One hour ago, MoonMiner. Three hours ago, GoldenShiba. Four hours ago, EverRise. So it goes, hour after day after week after month, in a sort of running Trip Advisor review of bad crypto experiences

They all appear under the same heading: “Latest Scams & Hacks.” Tokensniffer, aptly named for Shit Coins, claims to have tracked 42,071 tokens and 2,250 scams or hacks. 

That was as of June 16. More than 200 supposed stings were logged by users during the first two weeks of June alone.

Just how many of these coins have actually been rug-pulled, soft-rugged or otherwise manipulated is anyone’s guess. 

The website was developed in October 2020 by a software-engineer-cum-crypto-trader. He is 44 years old and lives in the western United States. Like many players in crypto, he prefers to remain anonymous.
The idea for Tokensniffer came to him after he fell victim to rug pulls himself. 

His website scrapes data about new meme tokens from popular social media channels and scans the source code. 

Sometimes users also flag tokens that aren’t in the system. Tokensniffer functions a bit like a virus scanner looking for malicious code patterns. 

A “smell test” program searches for vulnerabilities. Clones of existing meme tokens are often a red flag. 

Most recent scams — the site flagged 450 in in one recent 30-day period — were honeypots. 

Those tend to be easier to spot because of their code, Tokensniffer’s creator says. Rug pulls are more complicated.
Some crypto wolves work alone, others in packs, and almost all use online aliases.
Such supposed safeguards aside, people are getting scammed in growing numbers. 

So far this year, over $2.6 billion has been grabbed, according to Chainanalysis, a New York-based blockchain researcher. 

That figure doesn’t include a giant Ponzi scheme that just came to light in South Africa. Local authorities put the haul at $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin. 

Gob-smacking as all of this might sound, these numbers in fact represent a marked decline from 2019, when fraudsters walked away with an estimated $9 billion.
But here’s a key difference: the sheer number of people getting hoodwinked. With a few outsize exceptions, most crypto scams seem to be getting smaller. That’s the good news. 

The bad news is that there are more of them, and more people are getting stung. 

From 2019 to 2020, the number of victims has jumped 48% to an estimated 7.3 million, a figure approaching the official population of Hong Kong. 

Between the last three months of 2020 and the first three months of 2021, the number of unique scams rose nearly 18%, to 1,335, according to Chainalysis
Most individual scams are so small that the authorities don’t bat an eye. Regulators around the world tend to prioritize cases involving lots of money, or violations that seem particularly egregious. 

Cases involving less than $100,000 tend to get a pass, and buyers have little incentive to chase after fraudsters on their own. Most swindlers simply disappear. 

The phenomenon is big, growing — and global. Some crypto wolves work alone, others in packs, and almost all use online aliases. 

Even people who are in on the same scam don’t necessarily know their accomplices true identities.
“You can’t draw blood from a stone,” Paul Sibenik, lead case manager at CipherBlade, a Blockchain investigation company, says of trying to get your money back. 

“If there’s nothing left or if the loss wasn’t that high, nailing down the people behind these scams vary case-by-case.”
CipherBlade, founded in 2018, hasn’t taken on any meme-coin scam cases — yet. Sibenik expects business to roll in as more people give meme coins a whirl, lose their shirts or both, and the inevitable lawsuits pile up.
“There is going to be consequences,” Sibenick says, “but it’s not going to happen quick.”
Sibenik goes on: “There’s so much financial opportunity. It’s definitely not a single or even a small group of people.”
Where are they all?
“All over the world, really,” Sibenick says.
The word went out on Twitter: Safetrade was supposedly “rug proof.” The person or persons behind it couldn’t cut and run. An account that promotes meme coins, Crypto Gems, was urging their followers to get in — and get in fast. (Crypto Gems didn’t reply to messages from Bloomberg; whoever is behind it couldn’t be reached.)
It was April 10, a Saturday, and Safetrade was getting buzz across social media. People were saying this looked like the next “it” coin. 

Robert Turner placed $50 on Safetrade through PancakeSwap, one of the most popular decentralized exchanges for meme coins.
A couple of days later, the rug got pulled. Or at least that’s what Turner thinks happened. 

He was monitoring Safetrade on Poocoin.com, a scatologically named crypto platform, when the price collapsed to nearly zero in less than a minute. He checked the Safetrade Telegram group. Deleted. Members had been kicked out.
That’s when things got really weird. Minutes later, Turner got a private message from someone on Telegram. The person was offering to help recover his money. All Turner had to do was transfer any remaining tokens from his digital wallet to theirs.
“You need to send the remaining balance of the Safetrade to the burn wallet we will assign you too,” the anonymous user wrote to him. 

“This is a professional issue, I’m not going to scam you, I’m here to resolve this issue.”
Turner, a 42-year-old software engineer in Melbourne, Australia, smelled trouble. He didn’t do it. Turner says his tokens were worth pennies by that point. But then, pennies can add up. 

“If he was able to collect enough from various people, they could be worth quite a bit,” he says of the supposed Good Samaritan.
Then there was Mooncharge — what now looks like a “soft rug.” That’s when the creator of a coin project jumps ship and abandons efforts to promote his or her creation. 

Often, this essentially renders a coin worthless. Turner bought $50 worth of Mooncharge in April after reading about the coin on Reddit. Before long, he was left high and dry. Here’s what happened:
The admin of the Telegram group, presumably Mooncharge’s creator, promised fans in April that he was working on a new version of the coin. 

“We will keep everyone posted on Mooncharge v2,” the person wrote, using shorthand for Version 2. “Get ready this will be mental.”
“V2?” Moonchargers on Telegram were confounded.
“Anyone want to tell me what is happening. Have we been scammed?” one asked.
“I’m down $600 from 20-30 minutes ago, what happened,” said another.
By early May, the admin of the group was still insisting Version 2 was on the way. 

“Stay tuned,” the admin wrote. Then: nothing. As of July 1, no further updates had arrived.
“The token essentially became worthless after that,” Tuner says. He held on for a bit, hoping that V2 might materialize, and then sold what was left of his Mooncharge. “Everyone still lost their money,” he says.
Ben Ghrist knows all about crypto scams. He’s lives at his parents’ home in Roanoke, Texas, and, for the moment, is trading meme coins as a full-time job. 

At 35, Ghrist is a millionaire in Safemoon, a billionaire in Kishu Inu and Sanshu Inu and a trillionaire in Keanu Inu. 

He’s got money in at least 15 different coins, with about a quarter of his $25,000 “portfolio” in Dogecoin, the one created as a joke back in 2013 and known for its Shiba Inu mascot.
Ghrist suspects he’s gotten rug-pulled, soft-rugged and even fallen victim to a honey pot — when a seemingly legitimate coin sets up a trap, like the inability for investors to sell once they’ve bought in. 

Ghrist says he wanted to trade the momentary 1000% gain of a coin launch called Space Jupiter but couldn’t sell for about 20 minutes. 

He says the creators of the coin eventually re-enabled selling, but only after the coin price had slumped and after he suspects they had taken gains for themselves.
“It’s pretty much hit-or-miss wherever you go,” says Ghrist, who typically works from his bed with two laptops. He says he’s pulled all-nighters and worked 48 hours straight moiling for meme-coin gold.
In picking his meme coins, he considers a range of factors to minimize risk. 

One is the number of social media accounts a coin has (legit coins, he says, tend to have more than dodgy ones). 

Another is whether those accounts are public or private (he says public is safer than private): how much time those accounts spend chatting with investors (more is better than less). 

Then he looks at what’s happening in Telegram groups, known in meme-coin-speak as “shilling groups.” 

When the whole package looks slapdash, that’s a bad sign, he says.
Ghrist feels scammed at times, but he’s pressing on too. “When I feel that fear of losing my money, because I know I might, I also balance that with I might make five times my money or three times my money,” he says. 

“You can literally do 30 times or more if you if you get a coin that lasts more than a day.”

The biggest crypto heist on record came to light only recently, and it appears that one was neither a rug-pull nor a soft-pull nor a honey pot. It looks like an old-fashioned Ponzi scheme

In April, two bothers in South Africa said their crypto investment platform had been hacked. Then they vanished — along with an estimated $3.6 billion of Bitcoin. 

Lawyers who’d been working for the men, Raees and Ameer Cajee, said on June 29 that they were no longer representing them and didn’t know where they were. 

The previous record-holder involved the Chinese crypto wallet and exchange PlusToken. 

According to Chinese authorities, PlusToken users were bilked out of more than $2 billion in another Ponzi scheme. Last November, the ringleaders were sentenced to between two and 11 years in prison.
Mostly, though, authorities around the world are struggling to keep pace. A decade after Bitcoin was created, regulators are still grappling with how to police cryptocurrencies when the whole point is that they operate without governments or central banks. 

As more institutions and ordinary investors dip their toes into crypto — and, despite all the wild gyrations, more probably will — new scams are bound to emerge.
“Cryptocurrency is entering a new phase,” says Kim Grauer, head of research at Chainalysis. 

Technology is improving. Trading is getting easier. Institutions and ordinary investors who once wouldn’t go near crypto are bound to take a long view and give it a try at some point. 

The Bank for International Settlements, the central bank for central bankers, just laid out tough capital standards for banks looking to deal in Bitcoin. 

It was a nod to the patently obvious — Bitcoin is risky — but also a recognition of cryptocurrencies’ new place in the financial order.
The Wolves of Crypto know all this, too. Somewhere out there, The Money Chant runs on.
During the pandemic in the U.S., boredom, social media and old-fashioned greed has had people running in and out of crypto and meme stocks. 

Elon Musk tweets, and prices soar or swoon. Michael Burry, of “The Big Short”-fame, has been warning all of this could all go horribly wrong. 

An estimated 10,000 new coins have been minted this year. Who can say how many will turn out to be shams? 

So many Shit Coins are flying around out there, and prices can be so volatile, that many people can’t even tell if they’ve been scammed. 

The bad guys often cover their tracks by blending identifiable cryptocurrencies with anonymous ones, an old money-laundering maneuver known as “mixing” or “blending.” 

They engage in “peel chains,” which involve skimming a little crypto here, a little there, and routing it to different digital wallets on different exchanges.
And Jason Gottlieb, a partner in New York at the law firm Morrison Cohen, whose practice focuses on regulatory enforcement and cryptocurrencies, says some people tar particular coins for their own nefarious ends. 

“You also have purely malicious people who go on and they say project X is a scam because they’re actually working for project Y that’s a competitor, or they’re working for trolls,” Gottlieb says.
This is much is sure: no one complains when they’re making money. It’s when people start losing money — and lately, many have been — that they scream they’ve been taken.
“When the price goes up, people don’t ask as many questions,” says Tyler Moore, a cybersecurity professor University of Tulsa who’s studied cryptocurrency scams. “And then you see the flip side when things go down.”

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5-FEB-2018 :: These became known as the “halcyon days,” when storms do not occur.

Wikipedia has an article on: halcyon days and it reads thus,
From Latin Alcyone, daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx. When her husband died in a shipwreck, Alcyone threw herself into the sea whereupon the gods transformed them both into halcyon birds (kingfishers).
When Alcyone made her nest on the beach, waves threatened to destroy it. Aeolus restrained his winds and kept them calm during seven days in each year, so she could lay her eggs.
These became known as the “halcyon days,” when storms do not occur. Today, the term is used to denote a past period that is being remembered for being happy and/or successfuL

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The Lotos-eaters

"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land, "This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon."

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Turning To Africa

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''

Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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Last week, this culminated in a stunning defeat for one of Africa’s largest and best-equipped armies, as Ethiopian troops were routed by Tigrayan fighters and paraded as humiliated captives @HoFrench.

This is surely not the last shoe to drop, but what shoe will be next?

Will the present unstable stalemate between Tigray and Ethiopia brought about by the latter’s cease-fire declaration evolve into an outright civil war and bid for secession? 

Or will other components of an old imperial confection that remains poorly integrated decide to make their own bids for self-rule, whether the well-armed Amhara of the country’s west or the peoples of the far south, long relegated to an afterthought in both the country’s politics and economic development?
Ethiopia’s uncertain future speaks to Africa’s overriding challenge today: the crisis of its biggest states, few of which can be said to be performing well, and some of which teeter close to failure

Almost 600 million people, or nearly half of the continent’s population, live in its five most populous nations: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa. 

But in a pattern that has now been in place for most of the independence era, which took off at the start of the 1960s, most of the continent’s bright spots—whether for their good news political stories (think democracy in Ghana) or sustained fast economic growth (in recent years, Rwanda is often touted)—has come from Africa’s relatively small states. 

Because of their size, they have little impact on the continent’s aggregate fortunes. 

Finding the right recipe for Ethiopia, or putting Congo or Nigeria on a strong footing, by sharp contrast, would help move the needle for entire subregions—and indeed for the continent as a whole.
As much as it struggles with its imperial legacy, Ethiopia’s leaders have had a hard time renouncing heavy-handed, top-down control, and indeed these two realities—an imperial hangover and lingering authoritarian reflexes—would seem to be closely related.
Abiy surprised Ethiopians and the entire world when he released political prisoners and relaxed police state-type controls on his nation upon taking power, but he has tightened things again since then, ironically moving in this direction after receiving one of the Western world’s greatest accolades, the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2019. 

He is said to have been told by his mother of a prophecy that he would be a great ruler one day. 

But being a great ruler in a country as fragmented and complex as Ethiopia may require relinquishing some of the traditional urge for control

The moment for empires has passed, and the choice that looms today would seem to be a federation that devolves more power to its regions under more democratic mechanisms—or a wider breakup of the country into the constituent parts of an old kingdom.

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February 1st 2021 ‘The genie out of the bottle’ @AfricanBizMag

It’s impossible for the state to manage a guerrilla war up there and at the same time manage to control the rest of the country.

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November 8, 2020 @PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

Ethiopia which was once the Poster child of the African Renaissance now has a Nobel Prize Winner whom I am reliably informed

PM Abiy His inner war cabinet includes Evangelicals who are counseling him he is "doing Christ's work"; that his faith is being "tested". @RAbdiAnalyst

@PMEthiopia has launched an unwinnable War on Tigray Province.

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We need to crack down on the people that are misemploying social media, including the Ugandans abroad. I call upon security to look into this. It must be stopped, get these people. @KagutaMuseveni

We need to crack down on the people that are misemploying social media, including the Ugandans abroad. Many are now using it to spread baseless and tasteless news with total abandon. I call upon security to look into this. It must be stopped, get these people.

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President @EdgarCLungu bids to postpone poll @Africa_Conf

Political violence, Lungu's ill-health, rows about Kaunda's burial, and rampant Covid make for a grim backdrop ahead of the general election

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A general view of Estcourt Correctional Centre, where South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma is being held Estcourt, South Africa, July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Siyabonga Sishi

"This is not a moment of celebration or triumphalism, it is a moment of restraint and to be human," Lamola said, promising Zuma would be treated like any other inmate.

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@MultiChoice Africa Faces $4.4 Billion Tax Claim From Nigeria @business

Nigeria’s tax authority asked lenders to freeze MultiChoice Group Ltd.’s local bank accounts to recover 1.8 trillion naira ($4.4 billion) in alleged tax arrears.
The decision came after South African-based MultiChoice refused to grant access to its servers for an audit, Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service said in statement on Thursday

MultiChoice Nigeria and MultiChoice Africa breached all agreements with tax authorities by refusing to communicate and blocking access to their records, according to the FIRS
The entertainment group, which has operations across Africa, has not received formal notification about the tax matter, MultiChoice said in a statement. 

“The matter is apparently based on unfounded allegations that MultiChoice Nigeria has not fully disclosed all existing subscribers to authorities. We have engaged openly with FIRS and the engagements are ongoing.”
MultiChoice fell by as much as 7.4% at close in Johannesburg, lowest since March 2020. The volume traded exceeded three times the daily average for past three months.
It’s not the first time Nigerian authorities have tried to penalize a South African company over tax matters. 

The Nigerian unit of South Africa telecommunications giant MTN Group Ltd. faced a $2 billion tax claim from the nation’s Attorney General before it was dropped last year.
This “speaks to an inefficient tax system in Nigeria and the earlier the government wakes up to its responsibilities in terms of tax collection, the better for the country,” 

Tajudeen Ibrahim, analyst at Chapel Hill Denham said by phone. 

“I think Multichoice will take steps to ensure that they are able to access their accounts, by sitting down with the government to address the grey areas and ultimately settle whatever the disagreements are,” Ibrahim said.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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July 2021

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