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15 Shocking Videos Expose The Reality Of Surviving The California Wildfires

October 17, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

The Northern California wildfires are fast-moving, unpredictable, and for some, unsurvivable.

The videos below will show you what it’s really like, trying to survive an ever-changing inferno…and why you shouldn’t wait for the official evacuation order.

A lot of folks have been critical, saying blithely, “They knew there was a fire. They should have evacuated.” It’s important to understand that it doesn’t always work like that with wildfires. Armchair quarterbacking is easy. Fleeing when the car your driving literally catches on fire and the smoke is blinding you is not.

First of all, fires move rapidly. You can be in no danger whatsoever and just see a fire on the distant horizon, and then minutes later, it’s at your back door. Secondly, they change courses. Many times, the fire gets ahold of some new fuel – like a home, tall grass, or trees, and the course veers in that direction. Finally, high winds have propelled these fires rapidly and fanned them to new heights. Every fall, California has something called the “Diablo Winds.” These are seasonal gusts that can reach as high as 80 mph and cause extremely high fire danger. When coupled with existing fires, it’s nothing less than the perfect storm.

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October is often the worst month of the year for wildfires in California. Not only is it the time when the Diablo winds (or Santa Ana winds in Southern California) kick up, but it’s also the driest month. California has a long dry season. It isn’t unusual to go without a single drop of rain from May through the end of October. Because of this, all the lush grass that grows during the spring rainy season is dried, crisp, and tragically perfect fuel.

In situations like this, there is often little to no warning before the fire is roaring through your property. The fire may be miles away and heading in the opposite direction one minute, then turn on a dime. Then suddenly, you find yourself directly in the path of an inferno. If you’re lucky, you escape unscathed with your life but lose all your worldly possessions. Many people have not been lucky.

15 large wildfires are blazing through Northern California’s wine country. 40 people are confirmed dead, hundreds are missing, more than a 100,000 have evacuated, and nearly 6000 homes and businesses have been completely burned to the ground. Thus far, the damage estimate is more than 3 billion dollars.

The following videos and stories show you what the Northern California wildfires are really like.

This video is shot from a fire engine from Berkeley, California on the day Santa Rosa burned. It gives you the firefighters’ firsthand view of the destruction and the speed with which it was wrought.

This video shows the utter devastation from the wildfires and includes clips of people escaping with only their lives.

These two roommates left with their dogs as the fire jumped the hill behind their home, narrowly escaping death. (Strong language)

This police officer’s body camera shows the terrifying scene when he was helping people evacuate.

This couple described their escape as being like “driving through hell.”

This video shows multiple clips of people fleeing the blaze as embers rain down and the billowing smoke gets closer. They are trappd on the freeway in slow-moving traffic.

In one tragic story, a family tried to evacuate by car. Their car caught on fire and they had to take off on foot to try and outrun the blaze. They got separated in the smoke. A 14-year-old boy burned to death and the other members of the family are burned over more than half their bodies. The mother and daughter were found by a neighbor and the father was found by paramedics. (source)

In a story with a happier ending, a farmer tried to evacuate his dogs but one refused to go. Odin, a Great Pyrenees, stayed with his herd of goats. The owners were positive they’d never see their beloved dog again, but when they returned to the farm, they discovered a slightly singed Odin with every member of his herd unharmed. This very good boy had even picked up a few baby deer. (source)

Haunting drone footage shows what Santa Rosa looks like after the fire.

While I strongly recommend evacuating in a situation like this, one man stayed behind and managed to save his home and his neighbor’s home from the wildfire.

Along the Napa/Sonoma border, these residents scrambled for safety and barely escaped with their lives. There were fires in all directions, blocking escape routes. People had to choose whether to drive through blinding smoke or flames.

This couple survived a wildfire they couldn’t escape by taking refuge in a neighbor’s swimming pool for SIX hours as the fire blazed all around them.

Another couple who tried to take refuge in a pool was not so fortunate. The woman died in her husband’s arms after 60 years of marriage.

This family’s dog ran away in a panic and they had no option but to leave. They returned home, certain their beloved pup had perished, but then they found this:

These interviews tell the stories of more narrow escapes.

This aerial footage gives you a better idea of what firefighters are dealing with during these widespread blazes.

More than eleven thousand firefighters are pushing themselves to the limits of their endurance to contain these fires, but they aren’t able to directly respond and save people. As the mayor of Calistoga said in a press conference to the few who opted to ignore evacuation orders, “You will NOT be given life safety support at this point. You are on your own.” Exhausted firefighters are grabbing moments of rest when they can.

In some areas, civilians, farmers, and construction crews have taken a stand to protect their homes from the infernos.

The story of the Capell Valley community is one that was repeated in neighborhoods and valleys across Northern California’s wine country this week, as dry conditions and high winds fueled multiple fires in Sonoma, Napa, Yuba and Mendocino counties.

 

It was not only firefighters who stood in the path of the blazes, but civilians too. Contractors, skilled construction workers and even former wildland firefighters came out of the woodwork to run bulldozers and drive multi-thousand gallon water tenders on twisty and damaged back roads.

They picked up what tools and equipment they could and tried to save their neighborhoods….

 

This wasn’t the first time Gil Pridmore had fought a fire in those hills. He spent years as the boss of a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection bulldozer crew and fought the 1981 Atlas Peak Fire.

 

He used this experience to help lead a team of 30 people to cut multiple layers of firelines on the rim of the valley.

 

When flames would breach their lines and encroach on houses, the goal was to get the house “in the black,” or completely surrounded by burned areas so there was no fuel left to catch fire. (source)

They managed to save all but one home in the valley.

A few things to learn from the California wildfires

There are lessons to be learned from these videos (and 5 years of living in fire-prone California.) Wildfires happen in other parts of the United States as well, and it’s important to be prepared before the first spark.

You need a fire kit in your vehicle at all times. Things to include:

  • Swimming goggles: This will protect your eyes and help keep you from being blinded by smoke
  • Respirator masks: This doesn’t mean you will be able to breathe if the fire sucks all the oxygen from your environment, but it will help to filter out some of the smoke so you aren’t disabled by a coughing fit.
  • Fire extinguisher: In a worst case scenario if your vehicle catches on fire, you may be able to put it out if you attack while the blaze is small.
  • Welding gloves: Remember the guy who burned his hands opening a gate? Welding gloves will offer some protection from hot surfaces.

And here are some tips.

  • Do not wait for the official order: In some parts of Sonoma County, people are questioning why an evacuation alert never came. While officials do their best, YOU are the person who is responsible for your family’s safety. (source)
  • Have more than one escape route: In situations like this, you will often find your escape route blocked. Have more than one way out. Figure these out ahead of time and now when you are fleeing for your life and blinded by smoke.
  • Evacuate large animals ahead of time. If possible, evacuate your livestock before the emergency becomes a crisis. In a situation like this, animals can be fearful and uncooperative. Get your livestock to safety first, because if you have to rush out like many of these families did, you’ll have to leave them behind, helpless. I shared good news stories above, but a friend of mine in California went to help out with veterinary rescue. There are far more bad news stories.
  • Leash or crate pets early on: They will be affected by the same kind of panic. A normally well-behaved pet could rush off into danger, leaving you to make the choice to leave them behind or risk your family’s lives trying to save them.
  • Grab your dirty clothes hampers: If you have time to grab a few things unless you have just done laundry, grab dirty clothes hampers. They’re likely to have several days of clothing from the skin out, PJs, and socks, saving you time from searching for all those things individually.
  • Keep precious items and documents in one area: Make sure irreplaceable things are kept together. We have a decorative trunk near the door into which we can sweep precious mementos. Important documents are backed up in the Cloud, which means we don’t have to spend time packing those.

The fires are beginning to be contained, and firefighters say they are gaining an edge. Two out of three of the most destructive fires are more than 50% contained. Some people in Sonoma will be allowed to return to their homes today – or what’s left of them. Winds have lightened, but the weather will still be hot and dry until Thursday when there is a small chance of blessed rain. (source)

I wish those in the affected areas the very best.

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North Korea Warns “Nuclear War Could Break Out At Any Moment”

October 17, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Less than a day after South Korean and US naval forces kicked off their latest round of joint military drills, which are slated to run until the end of the week, North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador claimed during a fiery speech at the UN General A…

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Kobe Steel Scandal Goes Nuclear: Company Faked Data For Decades, Had A “Fraud Manual”

October 17, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Last week we reported that in the latest instance of criminal Japanese corporate malfeasance, Japan’s third-biggest steel producer admitted falsifying data about the quality of steel, aluminum, copper, iron powder and other products it sold to customer…

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Black Monday 2.0: The Next Machine-Driven Meltdown

October 16, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authord by Ben Levisohn via Barrons,
In the rise of computer-driven trading, some hear echoes of the stock market’s 1987 crash. Beware the feedback loop…

Black Monday. Although the event to which those two words refer occurred 30 years ago, th…

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“This Is The Catalyst For Everything”: Deutsche Sees Only Two More Rate Hikes Before The Fed Loses Control

October 16, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In his latest weekend note, One River CIO Eric Peters discussed, among other topics, what he thought would be the nightmare scenario if not for the current, then certainly next Fed chairman: a world in which despite the Fed’s best intentions (and we use the term loosely), the Fed continued to hike rates without any perceptible increase in wages and thus, long-term inflation expectations. The result would be a failure to raise bond yields, which would provide further ammo for stocks to keep rising ever higher into what even the Fed tacitly admits is increasingly an asset bubble. This is how Peters described the ominous dynamic that would lead to major headaches for the next (and perhaps current, if Yellen remains in her spot) dynamic:

“Global profits are rising, unemployment is falling, growth is up” said the strategist. “Yet bond yields seem unable to jump.” US 10yr bond yields are 2.27%, Germany 0.40%, Japan 0.05%. “The cyclical surprise is that the Phillips curve finally kicks in, just as everyone gives in.” US unemployment is 4.2%, a 17yr low. Germany 3.6%, a 37yr low. Japan 2.8%, a 23yr low. “And the biggest structural surprise is that technology has rendered wage inflation a phenomenon for the history books.” “But if we don’t see a sustained cyclical jump in wages, then yields won’t go up. And if yields don’t go up, then the asset price ascent will accelerate,” continued the strategist. “Which will lead us into a 2018 that looks like what we had expected out of 2017; a war against inequality, a battle for Main Street at the expense of Wall Street, an Occupy Silicon Valley movement.” He paused, flipping through his calendar.  “Then you’ll have this nightmare for the next Federal Reserve chief, because they’ll have to pop a bubble.”

Today, picking up on this divergence between rising short-term rates, and an inability – and unwillingness – of the long-end to reprice higher which continues to manifest itself in a flattening of the yield curve, where today the 2s10s pancaked to the lowest since the financial crisis…

… a move which continues to be ignored by markets…

… was Deutsche Bank’s derivatives strategist Aleksandar Kocic who confirms what Peters said, and argues that “for anything to happen, long rate has to move higher.” Taking a slightly different angle than Peters however, who focused on the structural deflationary forces which prevent the curve from steepening, Kocic frames a move higher in longer yields as one which underscores the trap the current (or future) Fed chairman is in: any notable steepening would be an indication of the Fed potentially losing control, or as Kocic puts it “possible missteps in monetary policy unwind” and a “disorderly unwind of the bond trade”, with the end result being an explosion in pent up volatility: “this is the risk that would be probably impossible to control, its trigger being either excessive deficit spending or inflation. “

As a result, Kocic writes that the Fed “has an uncomfortable (and complicated) task in this context: Fed needs to raise rates in order to prevent rates rise. What must not be, cannot be: Inflation cannot be allowed to develop because it would be no way of avoiding dramatic rise in rates. If the Fed embarks on aggressive hikes in order to fight inflation, rates would rise. If the Fed stays behind the curve, the market would bear steepen the curve. Either way, the long rates go up.”

Which, ironically, as Peters explained, is precisely what needs to happen to avoid the continued blowing of a massive equity bubble,or to summarize: the market finds itself in an increasingly unstable dysequilibrium in which on one hand the stock bubble grows ever bigger, while on the other, a normalization in equities is intimately linked to the Fed losing control of the yield curve. And, as Kocic has claimed on prior occasions, the ultimate catalyst that can trigger an end to this “metastable” market state is inflation. The outcome, in either case, would be explosive.

Here is Kocic:

With abundant liquidity, Fed transparency, and “predictable” political shocks, we have entered a regime of noisy status quo whereby the only temporary source of transient bid for gamma could be triggered by possible missteps in monetary policy unwind. However, even that seems to be relatively unlikely and, even if it happens, episodic at best. The largest, and possibly, the only risk capable of resetting the vol higher is the tail risk associated with bear steepening of the curve and disorderly unwind of the bond trade. This is the risk that would be probably impossible to control, its trigger being either excessive deficit spending or inflation.

 

It is precisely the severity of this problem that prevents return of volatility. Current monetary policy is focused on the management of the underlying tail risk and the Fed transparency and gradual hikes are all about the reduced maneuvering space that has remained after almost a decade of stimulus. Fed has an uncomfortable (and complicated) task in this context: Fed needs to raise rates in order to prevent rates rise. What must not be, cannot be: Inflation cannot be allowed to develop because it would be no way of avoiding dramatic rise in rates. If the Fed embarks on aggressive hikes in order to fight inflation, rates would rise. If the Fed stays behind the curve, the market would bear steepen the curve. Either way, the long rates go up.

Going back to the increasingly flatter curve, this is what Kocic defines as the “maneuvering space” left for the Fed. One look at the chart above confirms that said space is getting increasingly smaller. A flat, or worse – inverted – yield curve would imply game over. Here is Kocic again, who points out that the steepness of the curve is the “market’s playground”, in which “everything that can happen, has to happen inside this space”… a space which is curently a paltry 60 bps and shrinking every day:

The gap between the Short term rate expectations and the Long rate represents the remaining maneuvering space that the Fed has left. This gap defines the playground for the markets — everything that can happen, has to happen inside that space. This gap is narrow, currently at 60bp .

Mechanistically, this is logical, as the longer the current business cycle continues without a recession – and some immaculate increase in productivity and r-star – the flatter the curve become:

If the Fed has a long way to go into the cycle, the back end remains steep. However, as the hikes approach the final destination (the Long rate), the curve will continue to flatten reflecting the declining inflation expectations. These are pure mechanics of the Fed cycle. These stylized facts are illustrated in the Figure 14.

 

This is also a problem, because all else equal, the Fed has at most two more rate hikes before it loses control. In the interim, it somehow has to reprice both risk premia and vol higher… but without crashing equities, forcing a new easing cycle, which may include not only more QE but also NIRP:

“Given where long rates are, Fed appears as overly hawkish – it has only two more hikes to go and, for volatility and risk premia to reprice higher, the gap has to widen. As is appears unlikely that the Fed will be cutting rates any time soon, the gap could widen only if the Long rates sell off.”

And, as noted above, “for anything to happen, 5Y5Y sector has to move higher”, however the $6.4 trillion question is whether this sell off in long rates will be violent or controlled. As Kocic concludes, “This is the catalyst for everything.”

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Stocks Surge To Moar Record Highs But Taylor Chatter Spooks Bonds, Dollar, & Gold

October 16, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Another day, another record high…

 

To begin – ‘Murica, fuck yeah!!

 

North Korea headlines and ‘John Taylor For Fed Head’ headlines prompted some turmoil in FX markets, bond markets, and commodity markets… but stocks didn’t even blink…

 

Trannies were worst with Small Caps clinging to unch but GS, AAPL, JPM, and TRV accounted for 100% of the points gains in The Dow…

 

The machines really wanted Dow 23,000 amid a very chaotic day in VIX land today…

 

Small Caps continue to tread water… (1509, 1511, 1508, 1512, 1510, 1504, 1508, 1507, 1505, 1503, 1502) even as earnings expectations tumble…

 

Bank stocks soared today – loving the collapse in the yield curve…

 

Healthcare stock were hit again on Trump’s “Getting away with murder” comments…

 

Treasury yields rose on the day but notably bear flattened with the front-end drastically underperforming…

 

The Dollar Index rallied on the day led by AUD and CAD weakness (odd on a strong commodity day) and cable tumbled on May’s comments…

 

WTI Crude (and Brent) surged overnight to 2-week highs on Iraq ‘invasion’ headlines but WTI was unable to hold above $52…

 

Gold’s bounce after CPI last week – extending its post-Golden-Week gains – stalled today after John Taylor headlines…

 

Copper made headlines – hitting a 3 year high, surging after China’s Golden Week holiday ended and ahead of this week’s National Congress to prove everything is awesome in the red ponzi…

Which as we noted earlier – raises the question – is copper overdone or do 10Y Yields need to explode 75bps higher…

 

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Taleb Explains How He Made Millions On Black Monday As Others Crashed

October 16, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Former trader and author of best-selling book “The Black Swan” sat down for an interview with Bloomberg News to mark the upcoming thirtieth anniversary of the stock-market crash that occurred on Oct. 19, 1987 – otherwise known as Black Monday.

Taleb famously supercharged his career – and earned a considerable sum of money (though turns out it was less than Taleb felt he deserved) – thanks to his trading profits from that day, which he said were in the “tens of millions of dollars.”

But what did he trade, and how? And furthermore, what was going through his head as he watched the market crumble around him?

Answering a question about what specific strategies he employed, Taleb explained that he relied on “tail options” – contracts that, because they were way out of the money, could be purchased for negligible sums – and placed most of his bets in “professional” markets like currencies and Eurodollar futures.

“The dollar of course collapsed. Dollar-yen options – we had options we had bought for $10,000 in inventory that were selling for 17 million.

 

The thing was going…it was out of control. The big payoffs weren’t in the main, big currencies, but in the ones where the move was a big surprise like Eurodollar or yen. The Swiss franc also had high volatility.”

Asked why the movements in currency and fixed income markets weren’t as heavily covered as the moves in the stock market – which is where the bulk of that day’s carnage unfolded – Taleb said it’s because these markets are strictly for professional traders. Few middle-class investors traded bonds or owned foreign currencies outright back – but everybody seemed to own stocks.

“Because it was a professional market…it was the largest market, fixed income, at the time…but only professionals talk about these things. And all the professionals that were around then are dead…Everybody talks about stocks because people invest in stocks.”

Taleb declined to disclose how much First Boston – the investment bank at which he was employed – paid him for his success that day, though he did say that, because most of his colleagues lost money, the sum was smaller than he had hoped.

“I remember the P&L. In today’s terms for the firm it would be something substantial. But at the time, compensation wasn’t the same. It was in the mid-tens of millions. I made $60, $70, $80 million in one day.

 

First Boston treated me very well. The problem was that it was still a common system where everybody had to share…and everybody had lost money except for me and one other fellow.”

Taleb said he vividly remembers Oct. 20, the day after the crash, when, he said, nearly all of his counterparties were outbidding his offer for his options positions by massive margins.

He specifically remembers trading with famed commodity speculator Richard Dennis, whose hedge fund went bust that day.

“I remember the [October 20], I get on the phone…and I remember there was a fellow called Richard Dennis who went bankrupt that morning at the open. There was a rally in interest rates and the guy was short eurodollars…he lost his $50 million fund…they were liquidating the thing. And I remember I had a huge delta in eurodollars. I remember then vividly offering something on the phone and filling it considerably higher. So, the guy in the pit, I’d say let’s sell here and he’d sell higher. It was like the movie trading places…all morning I remember we were selling above our offers.”

Taleb says the events of Black Monday left a lasting impression on him. His success made him brash and overconfident. But it also confirmed his view that the market’s approach to calculating risk failed to take into account the possibility of “six sigma” moves like the Black Friday crash. Indeed, that trend has only worsened with the advent of ETFs and high-frequency trading, which many market strategists believe increase the likelihood of chaotic selloffs like the May 2010 flash crash.

“After the event, I knew that all this stuff you learn in class, the Black-Scholes model, is useless…”

Asked what was going through his head when equity valuations were plummeting all around him, Taleb replies that he was so focused, he wasn’t able to process the enormity of that day’s events while they they were happening. All of his attention was focused on executing trades.

“When you’re trading, it’s like being in a battle. It’s like TV. When I’m watching TV, I don’t know what’s happening during the episode. It’s not until later that I find out. I was in a state of heightened concentration.”

It wasn’t until a colleague pointed out the magnitude of the move that Taleb began to understand that this might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Someone came to me and made a remark…something like don’t they know that six sigmas are something you only observe once in your lifetime?”

Indeed, it would be 20 years before Taleb would book similarly outsized profits after he joined a handful of contrarians in shorting the market ahead of Lehman Brothers’s September 2008 bankruptcy filing.

As for the extreme focus he exhibited on that day, Taleb said there have been a handful of occasions where he has had to maintain a monk-like level of focus for a prolonged period. He cited the invasion of Kuwait as one example, saying he arrived at First Boston’s office at 2 am, and remained in a state of concentration for 15 or 16 hours.

Ultimately, he says, traders are still underestimating the likelihood of another flash crash. Given the fact that realized volatility recently fell to record lows, this year’s relatively placid equity market has fostered a widespread sense of complacency in markets.

But that could all change in 24 hours’ time.
 

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Should The Middle Class Pay More For A Loaf Of Bread Than The Poor?

October 16, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

Iowa seeks to become the first state to dump Obamacare in favor of a state-run program that will allegedly lower costs.

I suggest Iowa’s replacement plan can’t work. My reason pertains to the title question.

With efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act dead in Congress for now, a critical test for the law’s future is playing out in one small, conservative-leaning state.

 

Iowa is anxiously waiting for the Trump administration to rule on a request that is loaded with implications for the law’s survival. If approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it would allow the state to jettison some of Obamacare’s main features next year — its federally run insurance marketplace, its system for providing subsidies, its focus on helping poorer people afford insurance and medical care — and could open the door for other states to do the same.

 

Iowa’s Republican leaders think their plan would save the state’s individual insurance market by making premiums cheaper for everyone. But critics say the lower prices come at the expense of much higher deductibles for many with modest incomes, and that approval of the plan would amount to another way of undermining the law.

 

Iowa calls its request a stopgap plan that would allow the state to opt out of the federal health insurance marketplace, HealthCare.gov, for 2018 and create a state-run system that its insurance commissioner says would lower premiums for the 72,000 Iowans who currently have Obamacare health plans, including 28,000 who earn too much to get subsidies to help with the cost.

 

But the cheaper premiums would come with a big trade-off: higher out-of-pocket costs. The only option for customers would be a plan with deductibles of $7,350 for a single person and $14,700 for a family. The proposal would also reallocate millions of federal dollars that the health law dedicates to lowering costs for people with modest incomes and use the money for premium assistance to those with higher incomes, no matter how much money they make.

 

The individual insurance market is particularly fragile in Iowa, partly because the state has allowed tens of thousands of people to keep old plans that do not meet the health law’s standards. Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, the state’s most popular insurer, are both withdrawing at the end of the year. The only insurer planning to remain, Medica, is seeking premium increases that average 56 percent, blaming Mr. Trump’s ongoing threats to stop paying subsidies known as cost-sharing reductions that lower many people’s deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Wellmark has said it will stay if the stopgap plan is approved.

 

“What we are trying to address is a really large number of people being priced out,” said Doug Ommen, the state’s Republican insurance commissioner.

No Medical Insurance Available

Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield will both pull out of Iowa starting in 2018. Only one insurer, Medica, plans to remain. But Medica wants a 56% premium hike. Wellmark will stay if the stopgap plan is approved.

If the stopgap plan is not approved and Medica does not get approval for a 56% premium hike, the state will have no providers for individuals or families not in a corporate plan.

Step in the Wrong Direction?

Is this a good idea or a bad idea? The alternative might be no insurance providers to choose from.

But what percentage of families can afford $14,700 if something happens?

The proposal adds subsidies based on federal poverty levels to make things more affordable for low-income earners.

Federal Poverty Levels

Sock it to the Middle Class

Individuals making more than $48,240 and couples making more than $64,960 get crucified under the plan. The stopgap plan table shows why.

Cliff Synopsis

  • An individual, aged 25 making up to 150% of the poverty level ($18,090) will pay $108 per year.
  • An individual, aged 25 making up to 301%-400% of the poverty level ($48,240) will pay $792 per year.
  • An individual, aged 25 making up to 401% of the poverty level ($48,241) will pay $3,516 per year.
  • An individual, aged 60 making up to 150% of the poverty level ($18,090) will pay $300 per year.
  • An individual, aged 60 making up to 301%-400% of the poverty level ($48,240) will pay $2,136 per year.
  • An individual, aged 60 making over 400% of the poverty level ($48,240) will pay $9,504 per year.
  • A couple, both aged 60, making over 400% of the poverty level ($64,960) will pay $9,504 per year.

In addition, an individual would have a deductible of $7,350. A family would have a deductible of $14,700.

The article claims “The proposal would also reallocate millions of federal dollars that the health law dedicates to lowering costs for people with modest incomes and use the money for premium assistance to those with higher incomes, no matter how much money they make.”

The posted table says otherwise.

Fatal Flaw

The fatal flaw in the plan should be obvious. Those making over 400% of the poverty level will opt out.

Those pie-in-the-sky premiums of a mere $300 a year for those aged 60 making the poverty level will never cover costs because a huge percentage of those making over 400% or the poverty level will opt out.

Should the Middle Class Pay More for a Loaf of Bread?

A major flaw in Obamacare is the notion that everyone should pay the same price. Under the plan, young and healthy millennials overpaid, effectively subsidizing older and/or physically obese persons. The millennials opted out.

The Iowa plan may capture millennials, but because of the screw job on the wealthy, those making over 400% of the poverty rate will drop out.

Effectively the state said if you can afford to pay more you must pay more.

Imagine grocery stores charging $15 for a loaf of bread if you make $48,241 but only 48 cents if you make up to $18,090.

The idea is preposterous.

Insurance for those older should cost more than those younger. Insurance for unhealthy individuals should also cost more. But that’s where it has to stop.

Obamacare is blowing up because it seeks to redistribute costs in a way that cannot possibly work. The Iowa replacement plan will fail for similar reasons. One plan screwed the young and the healthy, the other screws those the state deems to be able to afford to be screwed.

That cliff is a mere $48,240 for individuals and $64,960 for a couple.

A couple making $64,961 would have to pay over $24,000 out of pocket before insurance covered a dime.

This is a huge screw-job not on the wealthy, but on the middle class!

 

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Bernanke Backs ‘Ripple’ At Blockchain Conference: “The Tech Is Promising”

October 16, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Two months ago we noted former Fed chief Ben Bernanke’s apparent flip-flop since leaving office as he agreed to be the keynote speaker at a blockchain conference.

Having warned in 2015 of “serious problems” with bitcoin due to its “instability” and “anonymity”…

[Bitcoin]’s interesting from a technological point of view. We’re in a world where the payments system is evolving quickly and new approaches to managing payments are proliferating, and some of the ideas around bitcoin will no doubt be useful in doing that.

 

But I think bitcoin itself has some serious problems. The first is that it hasn’t shown to be a stable source of value. Its price has been highly volatile and it hasn’t yet established itself as a widely accepted transactions medium.

 

But the real serious problem that it has is it’s anonymity, which is a feature, and is also a bug, in that it has become in some cases a vehicle for illicit transactions, drug selling or terrorist financing or whatever. And you know, governments are not happy to let that activity happen, so I suspect that there will be oversight of transactions done in bitcoin or similar currencies and that will reduce the appeal.

But Bernanke told an audience at Ripple’s Swell event in Toronto today that:

“…new technology like blockchain or electronic currencies can be used to improve” global payments, and added that Ripple’s technology is “promising” as they work with regulators.

As a reminder, Ripple is considerably different from Bitcoin. That’s because Ripple is essentially a global settlement network for other currencies such as USD, Bitcoin, EUR, GBP, or any other units of value (i.e. frequent flier miles, commodities).

To make any such a settlement, however, a tiny fee must be paid in XRP (Ripple’s native tokens) – and these are what trade on cryptocurrency markets.

In other words, Ripple runs on many of the same principles of Bitcoin, but for a different purpose: to serve as the middleman for all global FX transactions. If it can successfully capture that market, the potential is high.

*  *  *

Mor details on what Bernanke said to come, but for now Ripple prices are rising…

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Bill Blain: “This Time It Really Is Different! The Machines Have Taken Over And They Will Never Sell”

October 16, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Submitted by Bill Blain of Mint Partners
Forget the Known Unknows, its the shocking surprises that are going to get us

“Bubbles don’t grow out of thin air, they have a solid basis in reality. But, reality is distorted by misconception..”

And it’…

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