Looking at the Lugansk People’s Republic November 11th Election | The Vineyard of the Saker

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14-11-18 07:18:00,

by GH Eliason in Novorussia for The Saker Blog

For the November 11th election, I was asked to be a part of the International Election observer team Lugansk People’s Republic. It was an experience I won’t forget. Representatives from over 20 countries participated. Political views were represented across the spectrum from conservative to liberal to socialist to progressive.

Although some of us were a little suspicious of others political views, what became clear quickly was everyone was committed to the democratic process.

As I got to know the some of the observers, it became clear we were all committed to making sure Lugansk had interference and corruption free elections. It’s important to me that Lugansk Republic people have a future and they get to decide it.

When everything was said and done, it can be said without a doubt the government officials in Lugansk were as committed as we were to upholding those same ideals. They proved to be transparent and helpful throughout the preparation, transport, and making sure we could do the job they needed us to do.

While we were there for the elections, they wanted to make it clear to all the international observers why they needed to have elections in the first place. These issues are very real and in the civil war Ukraine is pressing, democratic elections is the one thing both Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics can do to ensure the survival of their people and the viability of their countries and economies in the future.

Making sure the election is up to international standards was the priority we all shared. We knew this election was going to get more scrutiny than 2016 Clinton-Trump.

With that in mind we checked everything from the locks on the ballot boxes to the number of ballots that could be put in at one time. Unlike some western countries, passports are checked against registered voter lists so proof of their legitimate right to vote is verified every time.

I spoke with one of the International observers that participated before and he said this time was an improvement because even the locks matched and it could not be mistaken for tampering.

Why is this election lawful?

If you live in a society with a constitution there is a general principle that governments adhere to.

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Coca-Cola Looking To Produce Pot-Infused Drinks

Coca-Cola Looking To Produce Pot-Infused Drinks

17-09-18 07:41:00,

Coca-Cola, which started out in 1886 offering a cocaine-infused tonic for medicinal purposes, may become the latest major brand to enter the marijuana market, after Bloomberg reports that the Atlanta-based company has been monitoring the cannabis industry for potential partnerships. 

In particular, the company is said to be looking at drinks infused with CBD – the non-psychoactive cannabis compound that treats everything from pain and inflammation to epilepsy, but doesn’t get you stoned. 

The Atlanta-based soft drinks maker is in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to develop the beverages, according to a report from BNN Bloomberg Television. –Bloomberg

“We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world,” said Coca-Cola spokesman Kent Landers. “The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time.”

The discussions with Aurora are focused on CBD-infused drinks to ease inflammation, pain and cramping, according to the BNN Bloomberg report. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the chemical in the pot plant often used for medicinal purposes, and doesn’t produce the high that comes from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. There are no guarantees of any deal between Aurora and Coca-Cola, according to the report. –Bloomberg

News of the potential partnership with Aurora sent shares skyrocketing as high as 23% on Monday, while other pot-stocks felt the good vibes as well. Canada’s Tilray was among the winners, after recently getting hammered after Politico reported on Thursday that Canadians may face a lifetime ban from the United States for admitting to pot use. 

Getting in on the liquid green gold rush

Coke joins several other beverage makers trying to capitalize on cannabis as their traditional businesses slow. 

Last month, Corona beer brewer Constellation Brands Inc. announced it will spend $3.8 billion to increase its stake in Canopy Growth Corp., the Canadian marijuana producer with a value that exceeds C$13 billion ($10 billion).

Molson Coors Brewing Co. is starting a joint venture with Quebec’s Hexo’s Corp., formerly known as Hydropothecary Corp., to develop cannabis drinks in Canada. Diageo PLC, maker of Guinness beer,

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It’s Looking A Lot Like 2008 Now…

It’s Looking A Lot Like 2008 Now…

05-02-18 07:41:00,

Did Friday’s market plunge mark the start of the next crash?

Economic and market conditions are eerily like they were in late 2007/early 2008.

Remember back then? Everything was going great. 

Home prices were soaring. Jobs were plentiful.

The great cultural marketing machine was busy proclaiming that a new era of permanent prosperity had dawned, thanks to the steady leadership of Alan Greenspan and later Ben Bernanke.

And only a small cadre of cranks, like me, was singing a different tune; warning instead that a painful reckoning in our financial system was approaching fast.

It’s fitting that I’m writing this on Groundhog Day, as to these veteran eyes, it sure has been looking a lot like late 2007/early 2008 lately…

The Fed’s ‘Reign Of Error’

Of course, the Great Financial Crisis arrived in late 2008, proving that the public’s faith in central bankers had been badly misplaced.

In reality, all Ben Bernanke did was to drop interest rates to 1%. This provided an unprecedented incentive for investors and institutions to borrow, igniting a massive housing bubble as well as outsized equity and bond gains.

It’s worth taking a moment to understand the mechanism the Federal Reserve used back then to lower interest rates (it’s different today). It did so by flooding the banking system with enough “liquidity” (i.e. electronically printed digital currency units) until all the banks felt comfortable lending or borrowing from each other at an average rate of 1%.

The knock-on effect of flooding the US banking system (and, really, the entire world) in this way created an echo bubble to replace the one created earlier during Alan Greenspan’s tenure (known as the Dot-Com Bubble, though ‘Sweep Account’ Bubble is more accurate in my opinion):

The above chart shows the Fed’s ‘reign of error’. It began with the deeply unfortunate sweeps program initiated at the end of 1994 (described below), proceeded to the echo bubble that itself broke in 2008 with even greater damage done, and all of which has led us to where we are today.

Note the twin panics of 2016 on the above chart. 

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