Disgusting Bitcoin Scam Swipes $1.6 Million from Victims Life Savings

By CCN: A man from the English channel island of Jersey just wanted to buy bitcoin. In actuality, the unfortunate victim gave away an eye-popping $1.6 million in life savings to crypto scammers. The Jersey Evening Post reports the thieves promised the victim 1,500% returns on his investments.

According to the Post, a spokesperson for the Jersey Financial Services Commission said:

“The victim was engaged for over an 18-month period and they were able to build trust prior to getting the victim to send the greater amounts.”

Detectives and other employees at the U.K. National Crime Agency say it is highly unlikely the islander’s money will ever be recovered from their investigation.

$1.6 Million Bitcoin Scam Victim Was an ‘Experienced Investor in Cryptocurrencies’

bitcoin jerseybitcoin jersey

Jersey police aren’t confident the victim will ever see the $1.6 million he thought he was investing in bitcoin again. | Source: Shutterstock

Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum issued a report about the bitcoin scam. They urged islanders to stay vigilant. The forum has also been warning that islanders have been targeted by email scammers who say they’ve taken control of the user’s webcam. The scammers demand payment or threaten to publish embarrassing videos of the victims.

One thing that stood out about the Jersey Evening Post’s report was its claim that the victim was “an experienced investor in cryptocurrencies.” For all that “experience,” he was swindled out of $1.6 million in an online scam.

This seems to stretch credulity. An experienced investor would likely recognize the obvious signs of a scam. On the other hand, experienced con artists can be very persuasive and convincing. Just look at Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme swindled billions of dollars from wealthy celebrities.

The Jersey Financial Services Commission alleges the bitcoin investment scammers won the Jersey man’s trust gradually over time. They convinced him to invest greater and greater amounts. They say the con artists used the names of reputable U.K. companies to bolster their reputation.

Crypto Scams Continue to Abound

bitcoin scambitcoin scam

Scammers go where the money is, and increasingly, the money is in crypto. | Source: Shutterstock

Earlier this week, police saved two men from a scam involving crypto at a mall in Singapore. These scammers allegedly claim to be Chinese government agents. They tell victims they are under investigation for an international crime. Then they order them to transfer bitcoin to the scammers’ wallets.

Many scammers take cash and tell victims they’ll use it to invest in bitcoin. Others target their victims’ cryptocurrency directly. That’s because there’s a lot of money in cryptocurrency. Scammers go where the money is. The crypto industry is also a new space, mostly devoid of the brand capital that mainstream firms have built over decades.

That’s trust that has been well rewarded in so many cases. Misplaced trust, however – out of laziness, ignorance, or carelessness – leaves investors exposed to loss.

A cursory review of cryptocurrency groups and pages on social media and online forums readily evidences the number of scams posted online every day in the bitcoin and crypto spheres. These posts tend to resemble the scams that probably dominate your email spam folder. But whether the payment medium is Western Union or bitcoin, there’s an underlying red flag – the scammers want you to send them money.

Even a child knows from old nursery tales that if you wander into the woods and see a giant house made entirely out of candy, you should pause to consider that it might be too good to be true.

Civil Rights Groups Sue Tennessee Over New Law That Puts Voter Registration Drives At Risk

Civil rights groups sued Tennessee on Thursday over a controversial new law that will subject voter registration groups to potential fines and criminal penalties, saying the measure is unconstitutional, vague and will intimidate people from helping others sign up to vote.

The lawsuit was filed the same day Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed the law, which is set to take effect Oct. 1. It will allow officials to penalize paid voter registration drives that turn in 100 or more incomplete applications with fines of $150 to $2,000. If 500 or more deficient voter registration applications are submitted, the groups could be fined up to $10,000.

The law also mandates that voter registration drives turn in applications within 10 days of collecting them. It requires paid voter registration drives to register with the state and to put a disclaimer on any public voter registration material that it is not endorsed by the Tennessee secretary of state. Anyone who knowingly violates those provisions could be subject to a class A misdemeanor, punishable in Tennessee with up to nearly a year in prison, a $2,500 fine or both.

Those provisions will stifle the work of groups across Tennessee who register voters, lawyers wrote in a complaint filed in federal district court in Nashville. The law is not clear on what exactly constitutes an incomplete application and what kind of communications require a disclaimer, they say. That vagueness will hurt voter registration groups because they won’t be able to know for certain what is permissible. Lawmakers also subjected only paid voter registration workers to the bill, exempting volunteers without giving a reason for doing so.

Voting rights activists say a new voter registration law is intended to make it harder to vote in reaction to a surge of vote

Voting rights activists say a new voter registration law is intended to make it harder to vote in reaction to a surge of voter registration applications last year. Opponents protested the bill in the state House on April 15 in Nashville.

“Because of their vagueness, overbreadth, and undue burden, these provisions will chill Plaintiffs’ voter registration efforts, which have focused on traditionally disenfranchised communities — African-Americans and other minorities, college students, and low-income voters,” the complaint says.

The pending law, lawyers say, violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of due process and the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of association.

A number of states require groups that want to register voters to undergo training. But Mark Goins, the state’s election coordinator, said Tennessee could be the first state to impose civil penalties for handing in incomplete forms, according to The Associated Press.

“Tennessee’s law is one of the most restrictive voter suppression measures that we have seen this year. This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to discourage and deter people from helping others to register to vote,” said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which filed the suit on behalf of the state chapter of the NAACP, and three other groups that do voter registration work. “There is no basis for the law’s draconian provisions that will chill basic First Amendment rights.

This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to discourage and deter people from helping others to register to vote
Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Tennessee has some of the worst voter turnout and voter registration rates in the United States. Activists say the new law is a direct response to a successful effort by a group called the Tennessee Black Voter Project to register tens of thousands of voters last year. Officials in Shelby County, home of Memphis, complained they were overwhelmed by the number of applications. The group turned in about 90,000 voter registration forms last year, Tequila Johnson, who led the effort, previously told HuffPost.

Lee defended the bill on Thursday, saying it was necessary.

“This bill was presented because of actual circumstances that were meant to confuse the integrity, or to create a lack of integrity in the voting process,” Lee said, according to The Associated Press. “I think we want to provide for fair, for genuine, for elections with integrity, and that’s why I signed the bill.”

Johnson told HuffPost in April that voter registration drives often get incomplete forms because organizers seek voters on the street, at concerts and in other places where they’re busy and might fill out a form quickly. 

Exclusive: Army Investigating Soldier’s Alleged Leadership In Neo-Nazi Terror Group

An active-duty soldier in the U.S. Army is under investigation for his alleged leadership role in a neo-Nazi terror group, a military official has confirmed to HuffPost.

Last month, independent journalist Nate Thayer published an article identifying 22-year-old Corwyn Storm Carver as a recent leader of the Atomwaffen Division, a violent, Charles Manson-worshipping, white supremacist group whose members and supporters were implicated in five murders in 2017. 

Carver is a private first class in the 1st Armored Division, stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

“I can confirm that Pfc. Carver is an active-duty Soldier stationed here at Fort Bliss,” Lt. Col. Crystal Boring, a spokeswoman for the 1st Armored Division, told HuffPost in a statement. “There is an ongoing investigation into this matter, and per Army policy, additional information cannot be released until adjudication.”

The investigation will likely look into whether Carver’s alleged membership in Atomwaffen violated Army regulations regarding extremist activity and discrimination.

News of the investigation into Carver comes after two recent HuffPost reports identified 11 other members of the military who are currently being investigated for their ties to a separate white nationalist group called Identity Evropa.

The problem of white nationalists in the armed forces is severe: A Military Times poll in 2017 found that nearly 25 percent of people in the U.S. military have encountered white nationalists within its ranks.

Extremism experts and law enforcement officials have long expressed deep concern about white nationalists in the armed services, who they say pose a dangerous threat to civilian populations in the U.S. A 2008 FBI report warned that “extremist leaders seek to recruit members with military experience in order to exploit their discipline, knowledge of firearms, explosives and tactical skills as well as [in the case of active-duty military] their access to weapons and intelligence.”

Just last year, an Atomwaffen leader named Brandon Russell, who was in the Florida National Guard, was sentenced to five years in prison after law enforcement found explosive materials at his home. (They also discovered a framed photo of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in Russell’s bedroom.)

Having Atomwaffen members in the military is especially alarming, said Keegan Hankes, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Atomwaffen Division, he said, is “a cell-based radical terror group” that is “advocating for violent revolution, so it’s a tremendous concern that [Carver] would get training in warfare from the U.S. government.”

On the left, a photo of Carver posted to the Facebook account of the 1st Armored Division. On the right, a selfie posted to a

On the left, a photo of Carver posted to the Facebook account of the 1st Armored Division. On the right, a selfie posted to an Instagram account connected to Corwyn Storm Carver, in which he wears a Charles Manson T-shirt. (The Instagram photo was provided to HuffPost by journalist Nate Thayer.)

Thayer, the independent journalist, uncovered Carver’s alleged role in Atomwaffen after obtaining the group’s online discussion logs.

He also found social media accounts connected to Carver, including an Instagram account in which Carver posted a selfie wearing a Charles Manson T-shirt. Manson, whom the Atomwaffen Division idolizes, was a murderous white supremacist cult leader who died in prison in 2017. (Carver’s selfie on Instagram matches a photo of Carver posted to the Facebook page of the 1st Armored Division.)

A Tumblr account connected to Carver included what appears to be a photo of himself in a mirror, wearing Army shorts and an Army T-shirt and throwing up a Nazi salute. His face is blocked by a skull-and-bones illustration frequently used online by Atomwaffen members.

Reached for comment, Carver hung up after a HuffPost reporter identified himself. (“He did tell us you called him,” Lt. Col. Boring told HuffPost.) Subsequent text messages to Carver went unanswered. 

Thayer reported that Carver used the pseudonym “Vass” in the Atomwaffen message groups.

Those messages as “Vass” often expressed admiration for Nazis and other mass murderers.

“Imagine if young SS members and Hitler youth were given free range by Hitler to go into the country and root out all the old aristocrats (who by in large betrayed the Nazis) and all the old way of thinking,” Carver allegedly wrote in one message. “Would have been great.”

In another message, Carver allegedly wrote that it “would be a nice great thing” if “all the Jews disappeared tomorrow.”

In June 2017, Carver allegedly wrote that Dylann Roof — the white supremacist who massacred nine black worshippers at a Charleston, South Carolina, church — was “kinda low tier lol. Shooting up a geriatrics in a church is soft target shit, the reasoning and action isn’t bad.”

Carver also allegedly posted about his service in the military. “First sergeants are officially all homosexual Jews who will die during the revolution,” he wrote.

Three days before that message, he appeared to make another chilling statement.

“Soldiers, criminals and workers make the best Nazis,” he allegedly wrote. “Just a fact.”

Florida Poised To Require People With Felonies To Repay Debts Before They Can Vote

Florida Republicans are poised to approve a measure that would allow people convicted of felonies to vote only if they repay all their financial obligations or if a judge or victim waives the debt.

The bill passed the Florida Senate on Thursday evening, and the Florida House is set to vote on it Friday, the latest step in a high-stakes battle over who will get to vote in Florida. Voters in the state last year overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to repeal the state’s lifetime ban on voting for people convicted of most felonies once they’ve completed “all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.”

Amendment 4, as the referendum is known, could affect an estimated 1.4 million people in the state, but civil rights groups and Democrats say Republicans are trying to limit its impact and effectively impose a poll tax on people who want to vote again.

Republicans argue that completing one’s sentence includes repaying any restitution, fines and fees ordered by a judge. The measure the Legislature appears likely to approve would require complete repayment before someone can vote, but would allow someone to vote if a judge converts their obligation to community service hours they then complete. A judge, or the person or entity to whom the obligation is owed, could also waive it entirely.

Before Floridians approved the constitutional amendment, the only way someone could get their voting rights back was at the discretion of the governor. Under former Gov. Rick Scott (R), there was a backlog of thousands of people waiting to get a hearing, which could take years.

Giving the courts authority to waive fines and fees for voting purposes could create a tremendous backlog, Stanford Blake, a former Miami-Dade circuit court judge told the Miami Herald.

“If you have potentially 1.5 million people [seeking changes to their sentence], is that going to create such a backlog that each court would have to designate a judge to hear all the applications for a waiver?” he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union expressed similar concerns about how the process would actually play out.

“The legislature just created the same roadblocks that were in place when returning citizens had to go through the clemency process to get their rights restored,” said Kirk Bailey, political director of the ACLU’s Florida chapter. “They have created more delays and assured denials to the right to vote for people who are eligible under Amendment 4.”

Desmond Meade, the head of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the main group that successfully pushed for a measure to

Desmond Meade, the head of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the main group that successfully pushed for a measure to repeal Florida’s lifetime voting ban. Lawmakers are now poised to pass a law critics say would mute the impact of the referendum.

Senate Republicans also eliminated a key provision from the bill that advocates had pushed for and said would make it easier to vote. An earlier version of the Senate measure would have allowed people to vote if a judge converted their fines and fees to a civil lien ― something done when someone demonstrates they can’t pay their financial obligations. The measure that passed Thursday would not permit Floridians with felonies who have outstanding debt to vote, even if a person’s sentence were converted to a civil lien.

State Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican closely involved in pushing the Senate bill, defended the measure during floor debate Thursday.

“I think we’re constitutionally bound to include all terms of sentence … and I think via this legislation, we are doing our constitutional obligation to define those undefined terms in the amendment,” he said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Later, the Sentinel reported, Brandes appeared apologetic.

“Obviously, you know my heart is in a different place and would love to go farther,” he said. “I have gone as far as I can, as far as this bicameral process will let us go, to seek mercy over sacrifice.”

Desmond Meade, who led the group that pushed the amendment, expressed optimism Thursday evening that there was room to further negotiate with lawmakers.

The legislation is “morally wrong,” Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, said in a statement.

“Limiting voting to those who have large bank accounts to pay financial obligations will have unequal treatment based on personal economic wealth and is unfair to citizens of all races,” she said.

The Florida House is set to vote on the measure approved by the Senate on Friday. It will then go to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for approval. The governor’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment on the bill.

Once the measure becomes law, there is likely going to be litigation over the issue. The ACLU strongly maintains that Florida lawmakers are improperly meddling with the constitutional amendment voters approved and that the measure does not need legislation to be implemented. Dale Ho, who leads the ACLU’s voting rights project, has already indicated the group is likely to sue to stop the law Republicans pass.

The Senate and House bills are “overly broad and extend far beyond the plain language of Amendment 4 or what any reasonable person would conclude the voters intended when they passed Amendment 4,” Micah Kubic, the executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement. “These bills are a blatant legislative overreach and an example of state legislators substituting their views for the those of the people of Florida.”

Florida Republicans have repeatedly dismissed the suggestion that their legislation violates the state constitution. Lawmakers have repeatedly pointed to comments made during a hearing at the Florida Supreme Court in 2017 when a lawyer for advocates said completing one’s sentence included repaying any fines and fees a judge ordered as part of it.

The 24th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from imposing poll taxes, but nine states explicitly require people with felony convictions to repay financial obligations before they can vote again, according to a 2016 report. The 14th Amendment gives states the power to disenfranchise people for crimes.

Landmark HIV Study Finds That Treatment Lowers Virus Spread To Near Zero

A groundbreaking new HIV study has found that there is “effectively zero” chance for people receiving antiretroviral treatment to spread the virus that causes AIDS, which is still linked to around 1 million deaths globally every year.

Researchers involved in the massive study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, believe this could be the definitive study on whether current antiretroviral drugs are effective at stopping HIV.

“Our findings provide conclusive evidence that the risk of HIV transmission through anal sex when HIV viral load is suppressed is effectively zero,” the study authors wrote, noting that transmission through anal sex is one of the most efficient ways for the virus to travel between partners. 

The research studied around 1,000 male couples across Europe in which one partner was HIV-positive and receiving treatment with antiretroviral drugs. Over the course of eight years, there was not a single case in which an HIV-positive patient in the study transmitted the virus to their partner.

Though 15 of the subjects did become infected with HIV throughout the course of the study, the researchers concluded through genetic testing that those men contracted the virus through sex with an outside partner. 

Antiretroviral drugs like these are our best chance of stopping the spread of HIV, researchers concluded Thursday.

Antiretroviral drugs like these are our best chance of stopping the spread of HIV, researchers concluded Thursday.

Such conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of the drugs “is necessary to promote the benefits of early testing and treatment and to tackle stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation laws that continue to affect HIV-positive people,” the authors wrote.

The research helps expand on the findings from a 2011 study, which had a majority of male-female couples, about the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs, researchers added. 

The Lancet provided a formal comment on the study from Myron Cohen, a physician with the University of North Carolina’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases. These important findings, he said, should “serve to inspire and challenge us” to overcome the roadblocks that prevent HIV-positive people from receiving treatment.

“It is not always easy for people to get tested for HIV or find access to care; in addition, fear, stigma, homophobia, and other adverse social forces continue to compromise HIV treatment,” he said. 

According to the United Nations, there were around 37 million people living with HIV in 2017, but only around 22 million of them were receiving antiretroviral treatment. 

That same year, nearly 2 million people were newly diagnosed with the virus and around 1 million died from AIDS-related illnesses. 

You can read the full study here

Jay Inslee Unveils Ambitious Green New Deal-Style Climate Proposal As 2020 Race Heats Up

Jay Inslee unveiled a sweeping plan Friday to all but eliminate planet-warming emissions from power plants, automobiles and new buildings, becoming the second contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination to release a climate policy this week.

The Washington governor, who is making climate change the primary focus of his inaugural White House run, said his nearly 2,900-word “100% Clean Energy for America Plan” is the first of a series of policies he intends to roll out before the first Democratic primary debate in June.

The plan calls for shuttering all coal plants and setting a national clean electricity standard that requires 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030, leaving room for gas plants equipped with technology to capture and store heat-trapping pollution. It proposes rapidly building out electric vehicle infrastructure and mandating that all buses and new light- and medium-duty vehicles produce zero emissions within a decade. The platform lays out nine separate policies to eliminate emissions from heating, cooling and appliances in new buildings by the end of the next decade.

It’s by far the most ambitious set of climate policies yet proposed, and it comes closer than any other legislative blueprint to the goals outlined by advocates of a Green New Deal. The plan is sparsely detailed and includes no price tags or funding proposals. But it cites existing city- and state-level policies as examples, anchoring a self-described “moonshot” plan to tangible models and bolstering Inslee’s case that, as a governor, he has more executive experience than most of his 2020 rivals.

The policy outline, announced Friday before a news conference in Los Angeles, comes four days after former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) released his own 2,500-word climate proposal. O’Rourke’s plan laid out a four-pronged approach that includes executive actions to curb emissions, increase energy efficiency and halt new fossil fuel leases on federal lands; mobilizing $5 trillion over 10 years to invest in clean energy; mandating net-zero emissions by 2050; and ramping up federal grants to vulnerable communities.

The proposal, O’Rourke’s first since entering the presidential race, earned mixed reviews. Vox called it “the most robust” proposal in the 2020 fray. New York Magazine shrugged it off as “blandly inoffensive.” Both Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the face of the Green New Deal, and Sunrise Movement, the grassroots group driving the issue, criticized O’Rourke’s plan for setting too slow a timeline for transitioning from fossil fuels. O’Rourke, whose past support for Republican bills that boosted fossil fuels and his donations from oil and gas executives drew climate activists’ scorn, described his plan as “the most ambitious in the history of the United States.”

That was true until Friday.

It’s difficult to juxtapose the two candidates’ proposals, said Greg Carlock, the researcher who authored last year’s Green New Deal blueprint from the leftist think tank Data for Progress.

Beto O'Rourke, another 2020 candidate, released his own climate plan at Yosemite National Park on Monday.

Beto O’Rourke, another 2020 candidate, released his own climate plan at Yosemite National Park on Monday.

“They’re not comparable in how they approached it,” Carlock said.

The most obvious differences are the dollar figures and the timelines.

O’Rourke promised “structural changes to the tax code to ensure corporations and the wealthiest among us pay their fair share,” and he earmarked “more than $1 trillion” for tax incentives, “more than $3 trillion” for federal clean-energy financing and “more than $250 billion” for research and development. Inslee suggests diverting fossil fuel subsidies ― estimated at $20.5 billion per year ― to fund his efforts but focuses instead on the existing costs of damage from climate change, noting “at least $240 billion per year during the past decade,” a figure forecast “to rise to $360 billion per year in the coming 10 years.”

Deadlines for decarbonization, scientists often say, are relatively arbitrary aspects of emissions policy to which activists give outsize attention because they help to illustrate the scope of the climate crisis. The year 2050, for example, is widely cited as it marks the middle of the century. The year 2030 ― another eye-catching number ― became the favored benchmark for truly ambitious climate policy last October when the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a dire report detailing the unprecedented emission cuts required to keep global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Beyond that point, the destruction wreaked by extreme weather and sea-level rise is expected to top $54 trillion, cause the deaths of millions of people and wipe out countless animal and plant species.

The IPCC report determined that the world must cut gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide by roughly half by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

O’Rourke’s plan promises to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. That’s a problem, say advocates, because emissions from China, India and Indonesia are still growing at a rapid clip as those countries industrialize and lift millions of citizens out of poverty. The United States, by contrast, owes its tremendous wealth to the fact that it’s historically responsible for more emissions than any other country, thus the speed of the U.S. transition to zero carbon should outpace that of developing economies. Guided by that thinking, Inslee’s three-pronged proposal sets 2030 deadlines.

But what really sets Inslee’s plan apart from O’Rourke’s is its clearer roadmap for how to implement its goals, Carlock said.

Borrowing heavily from the highly praised 100% clean electricity bill Inslee signed in his own state last month, the governor promises to set a national standard that would require utilities to retire all coal-fired power plants and rapidly build more solar farms and wind turbines over the next decade. By 2035, the proposal calls for “all-clean, renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation.”

To meet those goals, Inslee proposes enacting new refundable tax credits, opening more federal lands to renewable energy development and “accelerating the evolution toward performance-based utility regulation that rewards utilities for delivering affordable, reliable, and zero-emission electricity.” The federal government could finance large-scale projects directly through existing programs such as the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service and the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program, according to the plan. An Inslee administration would provide “direct grants for clean energy projects developed by non-profit and community organizations, local governments, and academic institutions.” The proposal provides no dollar figures.

But the top source of climate pollution in the United States is vehicles. Under President Donald Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation proposed reversing Obama-era fuel economy standards that promised to cut oil consumption by 12 billion barrels and halve tailpipe emissions. Inslee proposed not only undoing that reversal but also requiring that all new light- and medium-duty vehicles sold produce no emissions.

Electric vehicle incentives were a cornerstone of Inslee’s pollution reduction policy in Washington, where he vowed to put 50,000 new zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2020. Inslee himself boasts of driving an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. His national plan calls for expanding tax credits for electric vehicles, providing federal funding to replace all public and school buses with electric alternatives, and making “significant new federal investments to support a diverse and robust American” manufacturing base.

The ashen ruins of a building in Paradise, a Northern California town leveled by the Golden State's deadliest wildfire in his

The ashen ruins of a building in Paradise, a Northern California town leveled by the Golden State’s deadliest wildfire in history last November.

Physical real estate rarely gets as much attention in the climate debate as power plants, industrial farms or cars and trucks. But commercial and residential structures, heated by oil and gas burners, made up nearly 12% of U.S. emissions in 2017, EPA data shows, larger than the entire agriculture sector.

Inslee proposes a national “Zero-Carbon Building Standard” by 2023 that will serve as a guideline for state and municipal building codes and provide incentives for landlords to “rapidly adopt sustainability.” The proposal cites the city of Los Angeles’ rollout this week of a Green New Deal program that mandates all new buildings to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and gives existing structures until 2050 to make the retrofits required to match.

Inslee proposes “dramatically” increasing federal funding for such retrofits, and linking energy and climate pollution standards to expanded federal support for new construction projects through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Community Reinvestment Act. The plan specifically calls for “renewing federal funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program” and promises to direct federal agencies to tighten energy efficiency standards for appliances such as water heaters and clothes dryers.

What’s missing from the governor’s proposal is notable. The plan promises “guaranteed support for workers” displaced by the transition from fossil fuels and specifically calls for “family wage” jobs and union labor, but it offers few specifics. It only whiffs at “pollution-reduction strategies” for a host of other emission-heavy sectors, including heavy-duty vehicles, aviation and shipping. The proposal doesn’t include ideas to expand public transit or densely built, affordable housing. Nor does it mention agriculture at all, despite the increased focus that Inslee’s 2020 rivals Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are putting on corporate farming giants and rural antitrust issues. Foreign policy, a key arena for the world’s mightiest military power to shape climate efforts, isn’t part of this proposal.

An Inslee spokesman said this proposal was just the first of many and “there’s a lot more coming” in the weeks ahead.

Inslee is running far behind in a crowded field of more than 20 presidential contenders. He’s polling at less than 1%. The environmental newswire E&E News’ headline on a writeup of Inslee’s CNN town hall last month described the governor as “pleading” for more supporters in an attempt “to save his candidacy.” Climate change is becoming a top concern for Democratic voters ―  Monmouth University’s poll of Iowa Democratic voters last month found the issue was second-most important being health care ― but single-issue campaigns rarely go far in presidential races.

But it’s early in the race, and the governor is making a splash in his own ways. Last month, he started a petition to demand that the Democratic National Committee schedule a debate exclusively focused on climate change and urged his rivals to back him up. So far just two ― Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Julián Castro, the former housing and urban development secretary, have answered his call.

Bitcoin Jumps 4% to New 2019 High Boosted by $20,000 Trigger Indicator

By CCN.com: The bitcoin price has increased from $5,341 to $5,587 on Coinbase, getting close to surpassing a 2019 high at $5,594. In some crypto major markets, the bitcoin price surged past $5,600.

The bitcoin price is up around 4 percent in the past 24 hours (source: coinmarketcap.com)

According to Peter Brandt, a technical analyst and a best-selling author, a technical indicator called the Factor’s benchmark weekly moving average (MA) has formed a similar structure it showed in 2015.

“The last time Factor’s benchmark weekly MA was in the current profile of turning from down to up was in Nov 2015 just as $BTC began its move from $340 to $19,800,” Brandt said.

Bitcoin’s strong performance comes amidst the iFinex scandal is being played out, a case in which the office of the New York Attorney General alleged Bitfinex of mismanaging $900 million of Tether’s cash reserves in an attempt to “cover-up” an $850 million loss.

Can Bitcoin Sustain the Momentum?

Year-to-date, since January, the bitcoin price has risen by 50.91 percent from around $3,700 to nearly $5,600.

Although the upside price movement of bitcoin in recent months is largely believed to have been triggered by technical factors, fundamental factors such as the rising transaction volume of the dominant cryptocurrency as well as increasing institutional interest could have affected the asset.

Last month, cryptocurrency research firm Diar reported that the volume of bitcoin transactions on the blockchain has increased, achieving a 10-month high. The noticeable increase in the usage of the cryptocurrency indicated an overall rise in the interest towards the sector.

“Still, however, monthly US Dollar value transacted on-chain has reversed the downtrend with April hitting a 10-month high. But this remains, in all likelihood, the cause of trading increasing due to Bitcoin’s recent price surge rather than actual use-case,” researchers at Diar wrote.

Over the coming months, for bitcoin to realistically move past key resistance levels, strong stimuli would have to emerge to fuel the momentum of the asset.

Already, in the past 48 hours, the real volume of bitcoin which is calculated by evaluating the volume of 10 exchanges with more than $1 million in legitimate daily volume such as Kraken and Binance, spiked to $540 million.

In early March, Bitwise Asset Management estimated the daily spot volume of bitcoin to be around $270 million. As of May 3, OnChainFX shows a “Real 10” volume of $540 million, exactly two times of the volume recorded in March.

If the relatively large daily volume of bitcoin can be sustained in the upcoming months and the inflow of institutional capital throughout the year meets the expectations of investors, BTC is anticipated to maintain its momentum.

Institutions May Be the Next Catalyst

On May 2, Fidelity Digital Assets, a subsidiary of the world’s fourth-biggest asset manager with $2.14 trillion in assets under management, said in a research paper that over the next five years, the number of institutional investors that invest in the crypto market is expected to increase.

The study also discovered that about 22 percent of institutions already invested in the crypto market in some ways.

“According to the survey, about 22% of institutional investors already have some exposure to digital assets, with most investments having been made within the past three years. Four in ten respondents say they are open to future investments in digital assets over the next five years,” the research found.

While the rate in which institutional capital flows into the crypto market in the foreseeable future remains unclear, major financial institutions are seeing solid demand from institutional investors.

Click here for a real-time bitcoin price chart.

Warren Buffett Buys Amazon Stock; is Rat Poison Bitcoin Next?

By CCN.com: Berkshire Hathaway just bought its first Amazon shares, Berkshire founder and CEO Warren Buffett revealed to CNBC Thursday night. On the eve of an annual Berkshire shareholders meeting in Omaha, Buffett told CNBC that someone at Berkshire’s asset management desk just invested in some Amazon shares, but “it wasn’t me.”

“One of the fellows in the office that manage money… bought some Amazon so it will show up in the 13F.”

Amazon stock purchase a first for Warren Buffet


Warren Buffett is wrong about Bitcoin – just like he was wrong about Amazon. | Source: Shutterstock

The stake in Amazon is a first for the multinational investment conglomerate. Although Warren Buffett has had strong words of praise for Jeff Bezos and his company’s business, the Oracle of Omaha has mysteriously held off on taking a stake in the e-commerce giant since its IPO in 1997. Buffet jokingly reassured his personality isn’t changing:

“I’ve been a fan, and I’ve been an idiot for not buying. But I want you to know it’s no personality changes taking place.”

The about face on Amazon isn’t completely out of the blue. When asked in 2017 on CNBC’s Squawk Box why he hasn’t invested in Amazon shares yet, Buffett gave a one word answer: “Stupidity.” Last year in an interview with CNBC, Warren Buffett said:

“The truth is that I’ve watched Amazon from the start and I think what Jeff Bezos has done is something close to a miracle, and the problem is if I think something is going to be a miracle I tend not to bet on it.”

Warren Buffett ‘Blew it’ by not investing in Amazon

amazon crypto binanceamazon crypto binance

Warren Buffett told CNBC he “blew it” by not investing in Amazon earlier. | Source: Shutterstock

Then after CNBC’s Becky Quick asked Buffett if he would finally jump into Amazon stocks as he did with Apple 36 years after the computer and smartphone company’s initial public offering, Buffett revealed that he has been held back by the sting of regret that he didn’t bet big on Amazon at his earliest opportunity. He says he “blew it.”

“It’ll probably be tough. I’ve probably got so many psychological problems with the fact that I didn’t do it that it’s very hard to do it.”

Warren Buffett’s slow and steady approach to investing has certainly won the race of investment finance for him. When he finally relented in 2016 after years of waiting to invest in Apple, Berkshire Hathaway went all in with a $1 billion surprise blitz of 9.8 million Apple shares during a downturn in Apple sales and share prices.

Could Buffet change his mind on bitcoin?

bitcoin cryptobitcoin crypto

Warren Buffett has called Bitcoin “rat poison squared” in the past, but he does appear very willing lately to reassess his investment positions. | Source: Shutterstock

That could certainly make you wonder exactly how much “some Amazon” means when Warren Buffett says it. Although Buffett’s warded off any speculation that he’s undergoing any personality changes, if he’s finally opened up to Apple and Amazon in the space of three years, maybe the Oracle will change his mind about Bitcoin too. Yes, despite labeling the cryptocurrency ‘rat poision‘ a year ago.

After all, Bitcoin has enjoyed massive year over year growth in its annual price floor, and a flourishing, mature, multi-billion dollar industry at an advancing level of market adoption has grown up around Bitcoin. At this point, the original cryptocurrency is looking more and more like the kind of sound, conservative investments for long term growth that Buffet likes.

Tesla is the Greatest of All Time with a Fitting Horn Due, Boasts Elon Musk

By CCN.com: Just because Elon Musk is wearing an SEC muzzle on Twitter, doesn’t mean he is taking a hiatus. Instead, the Tesla boss is going full-troll and tweeting about anything and everything (except of course financial details about his car company). His latest rib-tickler is a humorous plan to change Tesla car horns to sound like a goat, and not just any goat.

Musk hints at Tesla’s greatness

That’s right, the Taylor Swift “Trouble” Goat is in his cross hairs, and what a gloriously funny alternative that would be to the monotonous sound of regular horns in traffic. Reading between the lines, it is obvious what he is inferring here. Using the popular acronym, G.O.A.T or “Greatest Of All Time,” he is suggesting that his cars are the best ever. The SEC will certainly be pleased he is keeping his positivity under the cloud of an emoji, and not hard numbers.

The Musk Twitterverse’s subtle reference was lost on a number of his followers. One even took the opportunity to slyly ask for other farmyard sounds. Naturally, ever a man of his people, Musk appears happy to oblige.

As much fun as this all is, it did distract a little from the main Tesla headline on Thursday.  The company believes there will be serious shortages of metals used to construct batteries for electric vehicles. Copycat moves from different car manufacturers diving headlong into EVs is accentuating this problem.

Two reasons why Elon Musk is right

If we follow the presumption that Mr. Musk is suggesting Tesla cars are the best, he has two strong arguments. Firstly, they are the most celebrated electric cars ever made because they were pioneers in this field. They make an incredible product and it’s arguable that Musk has created a brand that sits alongside Apple, as the most iconic of its generation. Secondly, if you put them up against regular gas-powered cars, they are quieter, apparently safer, often quicker and loaded with far more tech. As my neighbor put it about his own Model S, Tesla is the new car that keeps getting newer, due to all the downloadable updates.

Elon Musk, TeslaElon Musk, Tesla

Elon Musk is loving the freedom to be silly on Twitter | Source: Reuters/Kyle Grillot

Amidst all the noise it is easy to lose perspective of what Elon Musk has achieved with Tesla. No-one has ever scaled a car company at the breakneck speed he has. To get it to be worth more than GM and Ford at one point was a staggering achievement. Tesla fans typically overreact to negative news stories because they care so much about seeing the brand succeed. Elon is guilty of this too. However, it is this attitude that has dragged Tesla from a Roadster that didn’t work to the top-selling luxury car in the USA

Elon Musk believes Tesla make the greatest cars of all time, and he wants the horn to prove it. Alternatively, he just really likes that goat’s rendition of Taylor Swift.

NASA Says Faulty-Aluminum Scam Ruined 2 Missions, Cost It $700 Million

A former NASA subcontractor has agreed to pay $46 million after it was found to have knowingly sold faulty aluminum to the space agency and other businesses over 19 years. The scam resulted in two failed launch missions and more than $700 million in damages, NASA said.

Hydro Extrusion Portland, formerly known as Sapa Profiles Inc. (SPI), agreed to the fine after admitting to falsifying thousands of test results on aluminum extrusions that were sold to hundreds of customers, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

“Our partners at NASA and in the military ― as well as hundreds of private businesses ― put their faith in the integrity of this supplier and the structural integrity of its products,” said special agent in charge Loren “Renn” Cannon of the FBI’s Portland field office. “For almost two decades, this company’s greed violated that trust. Today’s proposed resolution is an important step to repairing the harm done.”

Faulty aluminum was responsible for the launch failures of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory missions in 200

Faulty aluminum was responsible for the launch failures of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory missions in 2009 and 2011, the space agency said.

NASA blamed the faulty materials for the launch failures of its Taurus XL launch vehicle that was used in the agency’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission in 2009 and its Glory mission in 2011.

In the case of the 2011 launch of the Glory Earth-observing satellite, a protective clamshell covering on the Taurus XL rocket was found not to have separated as planned after launch. With the covering intact, NASA said, the rocket was too heavy to get the satellite into orbit and both the rocket and satellite plummeted into the Pacific.

A rocket carrying the Glory Earth-observing satellite, shown in this drawing from NASA, launched on March 4, 2011, but failed

A rocket carrying the Glory Earth-observing satellite, shown in this drawing from NASA, launched on March 4, 2011, but failed to place the satellite into orbit, sending both plummeting into the Pacific, NASA said.

Former SPI lab supervisor Dennis Balius admitted to routinely falsifying and instructing other employees to falsify test results during his employment from 2003 to 2015. He was sentenced last August to three years in prison for mail fraud and ordered to pay more than $170,000 in restitution, the Justice Department said.

The company said in a statement that it learned about the altered test records in 2015. “Certain employees” at its Portland, Oregon, plant were responsible, SPI said, and it stopped the misconduct “immediately,” terminated the employees and reported the misconduct to U.S. government officials and SPI’s customers.

SPI was also suspended as a federal government contractor in 2015.

NASA said investigators with its Launch Services Program helped unravel the aluminum scam after undertaking a multiyear investigation into the failed launches.

“NASA relies on the integrity of our industry throughout the supply chain. While we do perform our own testing, NASA is not able to retest every single component. That is why we require and pay for certain components to be tested and certified by the supplier,” said Jim Norman, NASA’s director for launch services. 

Norman lamented the “loss of more than $700 million, and years of people’s scientific work,” and added: “It is critical that we are able to trust our industry to produce, test and certify materials in accordance with the standards we require. In this case, our trust was severely violated.”

The company will pay $34.1 million in combined restitution to NASA, the Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency and commercial customers, as well as forfeit $1.8 million in ill-gotten gains, the Justice Department said.