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Nasdaq (NDAQ.O) is poised to launch a platform for foreign exchange trading which it says would make the $5 trillion-a-day global market more transparent and would diversify its own business, a top executive from the stock market operator said.
Nasdaq Co-President Hans-Ole Jochumsen, one of two presidents who are both second in command of the tech-oriented stock market operator, told Reuters the FX trading platform is ready to be tested with banks although a launch was more likely in 2016.
Authorities in the United States and Europe have fined major banks more than $10 billion for failing to stop traders from trying to manipulate foreign exchange rates on the largely unregulated forex market.
"There are two main problems in retail FX markets. How can customers be sure they receive the correct price and secondly the counterparty risk," said Jochumsen, also the head of Nasdaq's transaction business.
"The criticism of banks and the fines show the market is not transparent and compliant and it speaks for it to be organized more like a stock market," Jochumsen told Reuters at the stock exchange in Copenhagen which is owned by Nasdaq.
Stock exchanges globally have been positioning themselves to take leading roles in foreign exchange as regulatory pressures force banks to move more trading onto exchanges, which tend to be more transparent than traditional phone-based trading between brokers.
The counterparty risk became real in January when losses from the surprise move by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to end its currency cap against euro nearly crippled brokerage FXCM (FXCM.N) while online forex broker Alpari UK was forced into administration after suffering heavy losses on the Swiss franc.
Copenhagen-based foreign exchange brokerage Saxo Bank last week said the SNB's move cost it 700 million Danish crowns ($109 million) and booked a loss of 485 million crowns for the first six months in 2015 due to that cost.
Jochumsen declined to say when exactly Nasdaq will launch the FX platform but said it was likely to happen in 2016.
"We have a system ready that banks can test in their own systems but we don't want to launch it before we have enough banks committed to secure sufficient liquidity," he said.
He did not see why most currency pairs such as EUR/USD, GBP/USD and USD/CHF could not trade on a system similar to the stock market where banks add bid and ask prices every day.
Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) in July beat out U.S. commodities and currency exchange operator CME Group (CME.O) in an auction to buy the Germany-based foreign exchange trading platform 360T for 725 million euros ($842.4 million).
And in March, BATS Global Markets, the No.2 U.S. stock exchange operator by volume and the largest pan-European stock market operator, closed its acquisition of FX trading platform Hotspot from KCG Holdings (KCG.N) for $365 million.
But while Nasdaq's aim is the same – to enter the lucrative world of FX trading – its plan differs by building its own platform rather than buying one.
Competing electronic forex trading platforms include EBS, owned by ICAP PLC (IAP.L), and FXall, owned by Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO) (TRI.N), the parent of Reuters News.
Citigroup (C.N) is the leading foreign exchange trading bank with a market share of 16.1 percent, according to the Euromoney FX Survey 2015.
Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Barclays (BARC.L) remained in second and third spots, but their market shares fell to 14.5 percent from 15.7 percent and to 8.1 percent from 10.9 percent, respectively.
In July, Nasdaq launched the "NFX" platform for trading energy derivatives such as oil, gas and power futures.

Nasdaq is heavily exposed to the level of activity on the stock market and Jochumsen said he hopes the decision to target energy futures market and the FX market will diversify Nasdaq's business more.
Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 25, 2015, 2:49 am
It’s quite interesting indeed when both progressives and conservatives seem to be nostalgic for those good ol’ days in the 1950s, for different reasons, of course.Conservatives want to go back to the nuclear Leave It to Beaver family and what not while liberals like to talk about those 90-percent tax rates that we owe our prosperity to. Or something like that. We’ll focus on the latter for the time being.
Bernie Sanders noted that “When radical, socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, I think the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent.” Paul Krugman said the same thing as did Michael Moore in his film Capitalism: A Love Story and you’ll see this factoid repeated on countless memes floating around the Internet.
However, what a tax rate is and what is actually paid are two very different things. Indeed, in 1955, the only people paying 90 percent (actually 91 percent) were thosemaking over $3,425,766 when adjusted for inflation. And these are marginal rates, so they only paid that on any earnings above that threshold.
Tax law has changed a lot over the years. As you can see by looking at the top marginal rate versus the inflation-adjusted top income bracket for those filing jointly from 1950 until 2013:
Top marginal rate versus the inflation-adjusted top income bracket
Source: Tax Foundation.
Today, there are seven tax brackets. In 1989, there were only two. In 1955, there were an utterly ridiculous twenty-four different tax brackets.
Regardless, one should ask how much the rich were actually paying. It should be noteworthy that back in the 1950s, the government wasn’t actually collecting any more in tax revenue as a percentage of GDP. There’s something called Hauser’s Law, which basically states there is a maximum threshold on how much the government can tax out of its population. I think this “law” is no such thing. If the government really wanted to expropriate more, it could do so. But Hauser’s Law based on the fact that in pretty much every year since 1950, the government has collected between 17 to 20 percent of GDP in taxes. Here are the government tax receipts compared to the top marginal tax rate:
Total Tax Receipts vs Top Marginal Tax Rate
Sources: Tax Foundation and Tax Policy Center.
As you can see, no matter what the rate has been, the tax receipts have pretty much been the same. Whether or not you can raise the amount collected is really immaterial here, the only thing that matters is what has happened (particularly when tax rates were over 90 percent) and it’s pretty much always been the same.
Of course, there are a lot of other taxes than personal income taxes. Still, tax receipts from personal income taxes have consistently been between 7 and 9 percent. In 2014, they were 8.1 percent. Furthermore, as you can see, the chart looks pretty much the same when looking at personal income tax receipts and the top marginal tax rate.
Income Tax Receipts vs Top Marginal Tax Rate
Source: Tax Foundation.
But who is paying these taxes a liberal might retort? Has the burden fallen more on the middle and lower classes? Well, no. In fact, the percentage of taxes paid by the highest quintile of income earners has steadily gone up since 1980. In 1980, the top 20 percent paid about 55 percent of all income taxes. Today, it’s just shy of 70 percent. The same goes for the top 1 percent, which went from about 15 percent in 1980 to just shy of 30 percent today.
The first of many reasons that this was the case is that we need to look at the effective tax rate, not the top marginal tax rate. So for example, if I make $20,000, I owe 10 percent under today’s tax code, but only on any income over $18,450 (filing jointly). So I only owe 10 percent of $1550, or $155. Yes, my marginal tax rate may be 10 percent, but my effective tax rate is 0.78 percent.
A study from the Congressional Research Service concludes that the effective tax rate for the top 0.01 percent of income earners during the period of 91-percent income taxes wasactually 45 percent. Given that the top bracket is so much lower today ($3,425,766 in 1955 vs. $413,200 in 2015), the 39.6 percent top marginal rate probably yields something pretty close.
Some of this was because corporate rates have always been lower than 50 percent. And as Alan Reynolds noted, when the personal income tax rates were reduced, it “… induced thousands of businesses to switch from filing under the corporate tax system to filing under the individual tax system.” In other words, many rich people kept their money in corporate entities when personal tax rates were higher.
Another major factor was the myriad of deductions and loop holes that used to be available. Many of these were eliminated by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which by no coincidence coincided with the biggest rate deductions. For one, interest had previously been deductible on all loans. After the act, it has only been deductible on home mortgages.
But what was probably the biggest lost deduction for wealthy individuals was the elimination of deductions on passive investment losses on real estate. Before 1986, wealthy individuals would often buy real estate with no hopes at all of it cash flowing. That wasn’t the point. The point was that real estate is depreciated every year in the eyes of the IRS. Even though in the long run, properties usually go up in value, the IRS assumes that every twenty-seven-and-a-half years a property’s value will depreciate to zero.
This “loss” can be written off. So, for example, say a man earning $100,000 a year buys a property worth $275,000. He rents out the property and breaks even on it. The tax code allows that person to write off $10,000 as a loss which he can count against his income for that year. So now he only has to pay taxes on $90,000. If he owned ten such properties, his income would be zero, at least according to the IRS.
That deduction is now gone for everyone but “active” real estate investors, or those who invest in real estate as a career.
Indeed, one former tax accountant even made the case that there were so many deductions, loop holes and the like in the pre-1986 tax code that “… there was a massive amount of tax fraud at all income levels under the old code. It was so bad and so common that most people took pride in telling others how they cheated on their taxes.”
I’ll leave how true that statement is to the reader, but from what I’ve heard, it sounds about right.
Regardless, the simple fact is that the rich never paid 90 percent of their income in taxes or anything even remotely close to that. Unfortunately though, some memes die hard.
Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 25, 2015, 2:18 am
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Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 23, 2015, 5:06 pm
NOVEMBER 20, 2015
In the wake of the Paris attacks, Europe is being pulled in two directions at once. On the one hand is the rise of localist nationalism in the form of border closings, border fences, and Euroskepticism. On the other hand is the rise of renewed militarism as the French state calls for even more aggressive foreign policy from its European allies in the name of security. In some ways, these two trends appear to be at odds, but they are really just different expressions of nationalism.

European Countries Closing their Borders

Even before the Paris attacks, the European Union faced rising skepticism and opposition over its immigration policies. Writing in the UK IndependentJohn Lichfield noted that
North vs south; east vs west; Britain vs the rest; German leadership or German dominance. The refugee crisis is like a diabolical stress test devised to expose simultaneously all the moral and political fault lines of the European Union.
As the wealthier (and therefore more politically powerful) nations of western Europe handed down edicts as to how migrants shall be spread around Europe, some of the less powerful nations revolted and began to refuse migrants.
Meanwhile, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Macedonia all began building walls to keep out migrants. Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania have all threatened to do the same.
Late last month, Polish voters elected a new Euroskeptic, anti-immigration government that has pledged to renew opposition to Brussels’ diktats on immigration and national borders.
And then, in the wake of Paris came an even bigger blow to the Europhile plans for a borderless Europe. France, a longtime leader in the European Commission’s efforts to force migrants throughout Europe — called for a suspension of the Schengen Area, the “borderless” zone in Europe through which travelers and migrants may move unimpeded.
In practice, the Schengen Area had shown serious strain even before the Paris attacks occurred. In addition to Eastern European resistance, Sweden introduced border checks in early November. Finland, in response to neighboring Sweden’s policy of accepting large numbers of migrants, began border checks of its own.
In response to France’s request, in an effort to save at least a remnant of Schengen, the Dutch delegation has suggested a “mini-Schengen.” Recognizing that a geographically unified Europe has long been a key component of the plan to build a European megastate, some in Europe are seeing benefits in a reduced version of Schengen, even if it means, as the Daily Mail reports, “kicking out” several members, including Spain, Italy, and Greece. Most of the current Schengen EU members from eastern Europe would be excluded as well, including Poland and Hungary.
Many European elites continue to express confidence in the current expansive version of Schengen, and claim that any changes will be temporary. Clearly, however, any pull back in Schengen is a sign of political weakness on the part of Europhiles, and is a significant step backward in terms of the political unification of Europe. How long before a Mini-Schengen is followed by a “Mini-European Monetary Union” with roughly the same borders?
If Brussels decides that Spain and Italy are not integral to Europe’s core in regards to Schengen, what’s to prevent a similar conversation when the next sovereign debt crisis rears its head in southern Europe?
In fact, any move toward a Mini-Schengen may prove what the smaller countries of eastern Europe have been claiming all along: it’s rich, western Europe versus everybody else.
But rich, western Europe isn’t immune to the localist, nationalist tide either. The Paris attacks have given new voice to nationalist parties in Germany and Europe, and the attacks have further aided France’s nationalist parties and their chief spokeswoman, Marine LePen. Also, dissenters from the Europhile line have been calling for border closings with renewed vigor in Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
A lack of confidence in the European Commission appears to be spreading, and is weakest outside the core of the wealthy west. Even within the “core,” though, political unification of Europe is facing some of the strongest headwinds it has seen in decades.

Western Europe Looks to Increased Militarism

While Europe may be fracturing on domestic affairs, there are few signs of a European willingness to abandon its aggressive military stance in regard to Russia, Africa, the Middle East, and the world in general.
Europhiles have dreamed for years of creating a unified “EU army,” and thanks to the Paris attacks, things are looking up. In the wake of the attacks, according to the UK’s Express, French President Hollande “invoked Article 42.7 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which states that if a member state ‘is the victim of armed aggression on its territory’ then the 27 other member states are obliged to provide aid and assistance ‘by all the means in their power’.”
This is being played up as a turn away from NATO, but that is only partly true. France, especially, has longed for a way to draw upon the military resources of its allies while not having to submit to the NATO bureaucracy.
This goes back at least to the 1960s when de Gaulle failed to get NATO help putting down rebellions in France’s colonies. In response, de Gaulle expelled NATO troops from French soil, built up France’s nuclear stockpiles, and removed France from NATO’s central command structure.
Always committed to aggressively and militarily exploiting its former colonies in Africa and the Middle East, the French state may have finally found the opportunity it needs to create an international military organization that can be dominated by France.
After all, when we’re talking about a possible European military, what we’re really talking about is a French-British-German military, with some token participation from other smaller countries. The UK, France, and Germany are among the world’s biggest spenders on military hardware, and it would be much easier for the French government to wield out-sized influence among only a handful of European governments, than within NATO.
So don’t be fooled. The Telegraph may be claiming that NATO was “shunned” at a recent meeting of European states, but Europe has no intention of abandoning NATO any time soon.
Europe has long freeloaded off the American taxpayer via NATO to ensure the global status quo for European elites, keep the European welfare states humming, and ensure that Europe need not worry about any unwanted diplomatic or military influence from Russia or China.
NATO’s war in Libya, for example, rather conveniently helped reduce Chinese influence which had been rising in North Africa at the expense of French and Italian interests.
Similarly, NATO’s presence helps ensure that European powers (and the Americans) can continue to antagonize the Russians without having to worry about any serious reprisals. In the case of any real conflict, the American taxpayers will pick up most of the tab.
Nevertheless, from the European point of view, a Euro Army offers a chance at renewed international influence for European states. If the Europeans can go their own way in “destroying ISIS,” Europe may be able to carve out its own sphere of influence in the oil-rich region, separate from those of the Americans and Russians.

European Union: Getting Smaller before it Gets Bigger?

The borders of Europe are indeed being redrawn. But, it would be premature to declare the project of European unity imperiled. Rather than full dissolution, it seems we’re more likely to see the EU retreat to its wealthier core in northern and western Europe. The newly expelled southern and eastern European countries would serve as buffer zones for migrants while allowing more freedom for the former “Great Powers” (i.e., UK, Germany, and France) to re-assert themselves as global players under the pretense of anti-terrorism.
Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 21, 2015, 12:54 am
Late last month, we introduced you to “Mr. Chen”, a catch-all for the operators of tiny storefronts and kiosks in China who can either get you some tea and a Snickers bar, or smuggle millions out of the country, whichever you prefer. 
“Mr. Chen” is part and parcel of China’s vast underground bank network which Chinese use to circumvent Beijing’s capital controls.
Officially, you’re only allowed to move $50,000 per year out of China, but there are any number of ways to get around that limit. One popular method - until Xi began to crack down that is - was the UnionPay end-around, which entails making what amounts to a fake purchase for something like, say, an expensive watch, and receiving cash from the merchant instead of merchandise. The underground bank method is more complex than that, but not by much. As WSJ explained in October, “large sums are divided into legally allowed amounts and then channeled out of the mainland via hundreds of bank accounts controlled by the underground banker.” Alternatively, “underground banks can match yuan deposited with them on the mainland with equivalent amounts in foreign currency paid into a client’s bank account elsewhere: Give the underground bank a sum, and a matching sum appears in Hong Kong, minus a cut of anywhere between 0.3% and 3%. No money physically or electronically crosses the border; the match is built on networks on both sides controlled by the underground bank.”
As we mentioned earlier this month when, courtesy of Bloomberg, we presented “5+1 Ways To Smuggle Billions Out Of China,” this is an underground business and so things don’t always go as planned, something a “Mr. Chan” (with an "a") discovered when he attempted to move CNY63 million out of the country via “Mr. Chen” (with an "e") only to find that once the transaction was complete, he only had CNY8 million left. That’s a pretty hefty fee even in the world of money laundering and so, Chan reported “Chen” to the authorities. The subsequent investigation led to the arrest of some 31 people and netted 1,087 accounts holding some CNY12 billion. 
Those arrested were never heard from again. 
Well, we're not sure if some other "Chan" got robbed and subsequently ratted on "Chen", but whatever the case, Chinese authorities have broken up another underground bank - more specifically, the largest such operation in the country which allegedly handled some $64 billion in illicit FX transactions. 
As Bloomberg reports, “more than 370 people have been arrested or face lawsuits or other punishment in the case centered in eastern Zhejiang province.” According to the details from Xinhua, it took police more than a year to sort the whole thing out, but by the time it was all said and done, 1.3 million transactions were scrutinized and 3,000 accounts were frozen. According to Jinhua City Public Security Bureau of Economic Investigation Detachment Vice Captain Zhang Hui, it took 35,000 sheets of paper to print out all of the evidence.
The group’s “Mr. Chen” is a guy called Zhao Mouyi, and as Bloomberg goes on to detail, he “set up more than 10 companies in Hong Kong from 2013 and transferring more than 100 billion yuan through so-called non-resident accounts, which are used by offshore companies in China when they are transferring money abroad.” 
Amusingly, HSBC - the global bastion of money laundering - assissted Zhao in exchanging yuan for foreign currency. Here's the account from The People's Daily (Google translated):
Hui said that unlike traditional underground banks by domestic and foreign "knock" level account transfer of funds approach, this is the first case of the use of the case to commit the crime of domestic accounts NRA found that the use of NRA accounts management loopholes and no foreign exchange purchase limit features, bypassing the foreign exchange regulation, the RMB cross-border transfer accounts directly through the NRA, hit the accounts provided by the "customer" in the settlement after HSBC and other banks.
Well, if you're going to launder money (because that's basically what this is... you're taking an illicit sum and via a series of transactions rendering it free and clear) we suppose you might as well go with the guys who have the most experience.
HSBC didn't comment.
We suppose the only question now is whether anyone will ever hear from "Zhao" or any of his accomplices again.
You can expect this crackdown to continue unabated. The market believes (rightly) that Beijing is targeting a much larger deval going forward as the economy continues to falter. That means the pressure on the yuan isn't likely to dissipate in a meaningful way. Indeed, as Goldman noted a few days ago, based on the sum of outright spot transactions and freshly entered (but unsettled) forward contracts, FX outflow was about US$26bn in China during October, composed of US$24bn in net outright spot transactions and US$2bn via net forward transactions. In other words: capital is still flowing out of China. 
As long as the pressure on the yuan is there, "Mr. Chen" will be around, white-haired, peering out from behind the candy and trinkets - and Xi will keep trying to stop him.
Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 20, 2015, 7:48 pm
In the wake of the barbaric Paris terror attacks, everyone is arguing over what we should do to stop further terrorism.
Some say we need more war against Islamic countries … or more spying … or more crackdowns on our liberties.
In reality – despite what the talking heads may say – the methods for stopping future attacks are well known …

I. Stop Overthrowing the Moderates and Arming the Crazies

We know it’s a difficult concept to grasp, but if we want to stop terrorism we should – wait for it – stop supporting terrorists.
Specifically, we’re arming the most violent radicals in the Middle East, as part of a really stupid geopolitical strategy to overthrow leaders we don’t like (more details below). And seethisthisthisthis and this. And – strangely – we’re overthrowing the moderate Arabs who stabilized the region and denied jihadis a foothold.
Indeed, the U.S. and its allies are directly responsible for creating and supplying ISIS.  As an internal Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document produced recently shows, the U.S. knew that the actions of “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey” in Syria might create a terrorist group like ISIS and an Islamic CALIPHATE.
Indeed, the former head of the DIA explained:
It was a willful decision [by America] to … support an insurgency that had salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood ….
If we want to stop terrorism, we need to stop supporting the terrorists.

II. Stop Supporting the Dictators Who Fund Terrorists

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest sponsor of radical Islamic terrorists.  The Saudis have backed ISIS and many other brutal terrorist groups. And the most pro-ISIS tweets  allegedlycome from Saudi Arabia.
According to sworn declarations from a 9/11 Commissioner and the Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry Into 9/11, the Saudi government backed the 9/11 hijackers (see section VII for details).
Saudi Arabia is the hotbed of the most radical Muslim terrorists in the world: the Salafis (both ISIS and Al Qaeda are Salafis).
And the Saudis – with U.S. support – back the radical “madrassas” in which Islamic radicalism was spread.
And yet the U.S. has been supporting the Saudis militarily, with NSA intelligence and in every other way possible for 70 years.
In addition, top American terrorism experts say that U.S. support for brutal and tyrannical countries in the Middle east – like Saudi Arabia – is one of the top motivators for Arab terrorists.
U.S. and NATO-supported Turkey is also massively supporting ISISprovided chemical weapons used in the jihadi’s massacre of civilians, and has been bombing ISIS’ main on-the-ground enemy – Kurdish soldiers – using its air force.  And some of the Turkish people also seem to be unsympathetic to the victims of terrorism.
The U.S.-backed dictatorships in Qatar and Bahrain also massively fund ISIS.
So if we stop supporting the tyrannies in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Bahrain, we’ll get a two-fold reduction in terror:
(1) We’ll undermine the main terrorism supporters

And …

(2) We’ll take away one of the main motivations driving terrorists: our support for the most repressive, brutal Arab dictatorships
What a concept!

III. Stop Bombing and Invading When a Negotiated Settlement Is Offered

The U.S. rejected offers by Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to surrender … and instead proceeded to wage war.
Security experts – including both conservatives and liberals – agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and increases terrorism. See thisthisthisthisthis,thisthis and this.
For example, James K. Feldman – former professor of decision analysis and economics at the Air Force Institute of Technology and the School of Advanced Airpower Studies – and other experts say that foreign occupation is the main cause of terrorism. University of Chicago professor Robert A. Pape – who specializes in international security affairs – agrees.
So negotiating peaceful deals will drain the swamp of terrorists created by war and invasion.

IV. Stop Imperial Conquests for Arab Oil

The U.S. has undertaken regime change against Arab leaders we don’t like for six decades. We overthrew the leader of Syria in 1949, Iran in 1953, Iraq twice, Afghanistan twice, Turkey, Libya … and other oil-rich countries.
Neoconservatives planned regime change throughout the Middle East and North Africa yet again in 1991.
Top American politicians admit that the Iraq war was about oil, not stopping terrorism (documents from Britain show the same thing). Much of the war on terror is really a fight for natural gas. Or to force the last few hold-outs into dollars and private central banking.
And the U.S. military described terror attacks on the U.S. as a “small price to pay for being a superpower“:
A senior officer on the Joint Staff told State Department counter-terrorism director Sheehan he had heard terrorist strikes characterized more than once by colleagues as a “small price to pay for being a superpower”.
Remember, Al Qaeda wasn’t even in Iraq until the U.S. invaded that country. And the West’s Iraq war directly led to the creation of ISIS.
If we want to stop terrorism, we have to stop overthrowing Arab leaders and invading Arab countries to grab their oil.

V. Stop Drone Assassinations of Innocent Civilians

Top CIA officers say that drone strikes increase terrorism (and see this).
The CIA – the agency in charge of drone strikes – even told Obama that drone kills can increase terrorism.
If we want to stop creating new terrorists, we have to stop the drone strikes.

VI. Stop Torture

Top terrorism and interrogation experts agree that torture creates more terrorists.
Indeed, the leaders of ISIS were motivated by U.S. torture.
Once again, we have a very current example: Charlie Hebdo-murdering Frenchterrorist Cherif Kouchi told a court in 2005 that he wasn’t radical until he learned about U.S. torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
If we want to stop creating new terrorists, we have to stop torturing … permanently.

VII. Stop Mass Surveillance

Top security experts agree that mass surveillance makes us MORE vulnerable to terrorists.
Indeed, even the NSA admits that it's collecting too MUCH information to stop terror attacks.
Stop it.

VIII. Stop Covering Up 9/11

Government officials agree that 9/11 was state-sponsored terrorism … they just disagree on which state was responsible.
Because 9/11 was the largest terror attack on the U.S. in history – and all of our national security strategies are based on 9/11 – we can’t stop terror until we get to the bottom of what really happened, and which state was behind it.
Many high-level American officials – including military leadersintelligence officials and 9/11 commissioners – are dissatisfied with the 9/11 investigations to date.
The Co-Chair of the congressional investigation into 9/11 – Bob Graham – and 9/11 Commissioner and former Senator Bob Kerrey are calling for either a “permanent 9/11 commission” or a new 9/11 investigation to get to the bottom of it.
The Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee (Bob Graham) said that the Paris terror attack, ISIS, and other terrorist developments are a result of failing to stand up to Saudi Arabia and declassify the 9/11 investigation’s report about Saudi involvement in 9/11:
The 9/11 chairs, Ron Paul, and numerous other American politicians have called for declassification, as well.
Again, others have different ideas about who was behind 9/11. But until we get to the bottom of it, terror attacks will continue.

Stop Throwing Bodies In the River

Defenders of current government policy say: “we have to do something to stop terrorists!”
Yes, we do …
But we must also stop doing the 8 things above which increase terrorism. We have to stop “throwing new bodies in the river.”
But the powers-that-be don’t want to change course … they gain tremendous power and influence through our current war on terror strategies.
For example, the military-complex grows rich through war … so endless war is a feature – not a bug – of our foreign policy.
Mass surveillance is about economic and diplomatic advantage and crushing dissent.
Supporting the most radical Muslim leaders is about oil and power … “a small price to pay” to try to dominate the world.
A leading advisor to the U.S. military – the Rand Corporation – released a study in 2008 called “How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida“. The report confirms what experts have been saying for years: the war on terror is actually weakening national security (see thisthis and this).
As a press release about the study states:
“Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism.”
We, the People, have to stand up and demand that our power-hungry leaders stop doing the things which give them more power … but are guaranteed to increase terrorism against us, the civilian population.
Postscript:  It’s not yet clear whether any of the terrorists were “refugees”, and some say that ISIS WANTS to stop all refugees from leaving Syria and Iraq. However, we also take therisk of infiltration of refugee groups by terrorists very seriously.
The bottom line is that we have to stop throwing new bodies in the river, so that we drastically reduce the amount of terrorists in the first place.
Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 19, 2015, 2:45 am
Westerners have a deep history of a culture of myths (see Joseph Campbell).  We love to believe in Santa Claus, "The American Dream," the Tooth Fairy, housing market always goes up, and countless others.  So it's easy for us to be 'terrorized' by a myth; that hiding behind every corner are evil 'terrorists' waiting to blow themselves up because 'they hate our freedoms.' 
Already, evidence surfaces that doesn't match our traditional image for what a terrorist act should look like, as pointed out by George Washington's article on ZH:
What do you think? False flag? Light-skinned, clean-shaven ISIS jihadis who went undercover to carry out the terrorist attack? Or local Europeans who were radicalized into jihad?
Postscript:  The Mirror also notes that the terrorists looked like professional soldiers:

“I would describe him as tall, with dark hair and also quite muscular.

They looked like soldiers or mercenaries and carried the whole thing out like a military operation.
Military operation or not, let's take a step back how we got here, for those who can read and don't have a TV.
World War 2 and it's climax defined the modern age and the century.  It is the most significant event, historically speaking for the last 500 - 1000 years.  How this event shaped the markets and modern capitalism; specifically - global trade, Forex, emerging markets, the concept model of the nation-state, and in one word - a complete paradigm shift.  
Before WW2, nation-states waged war - these wars were all different but had several distinct characteristics.  There was always a winner, the winner basically wrote the terms of the agreement to end the war (taking various resources or land for themselves); it was usually financed through taxes or Rothschild type loans, and both sides were well defined.  Even when mercenaries participated, it was clear whose side was who.  Also it was clear, what the war was about - there was no 'false flag' events.  People mostly participated in war for survival, because they were forced to, or needed money and enlisted, or because their king told them to and they obey.  There was no TV, internet, or cameras attached to missiles.
After WW2, only one single country remained intact, with infinite industrial capacity that easily switched to the consumer economy.  The United States of America had lost millions of lives in WW2, but the US was never invaded, factories remained, cities were not burned and bombed, a baby boom quickly expanded the population.  Resources were plentiful, and for 20 years the US was basically the only industrial superpower in the world.  This eventually led to the US Dollar based global Forex & payments system as we have today.  Breton Woods certainly would not have been in New Hampshire had it not been for this post WW2 dominance.  For all its benefits, this circumstantial gift left with it a seed of destruction; the military industrial complex.  
Because now for the first time in history - war became a business.  Corporate America knew how to profit from war, in all manners.  Wall St. cozied up to Washington to form what would become the most powerful alliance of business & government in history (that ironically was a lot stronger form of Facism that these same forces destroyed in Europe a generation prior).  
The peace after WW2 presented a problem for the military industrial complex - if there was no war, how could they profit from the war machine?  Enter Vietnam and George Morrison (father of Doors singer Jim Morrison):
Daniel Ellsberg, who was on duty in the Pentagon the night of August 4, receiving messages from the ship, reported that the ship was on a secret electronic warfare support measuresmission (codenamed "DESOTO") near Northern Vietnamese territorial waters.[12] On July 31, 1964, USS Maddox had begun its intelligence collection mission in the Gulf of Tonkin. Captain George Stephen Morrison (father ofDoors singer Jim Morrison) was in command of local American forces from his flagship USS Bon Homme RichardMaddox was under orders not to approach closer than eight miles (13 km) from the North's coast and four miles (6 km) from Hon Nieu island.[13] When the SOG commando raid was being carried out against Hon Nieu, the ship was 120 miles (190 km) away from the attacked area.[13]
So now we had a nice little war, where we could sell bell helicopters, and created the modern model for making 'war business.'  After Vietnam it was easy to create an enemy.  Fast forward several conflicts and enter the ultimate enemy: Terrorists.  Terrorists are the dream of Neocons, warmongers, and anyone profiting from the war machine - because they are not connected to any 'country' - are always changing, nearly impossible to identify, have motives no one clearly understands, and can easily be bribed and manipulated to carry out the whims of Washington (in the case of Washington supported ISIS, to disrupt the Assad regime who has been on the black list since Libya.)  Who are Terrorists?  They can be anyone, operate anywhere, and always can be blamed on any mistakes made.  Plane crash, false flag - must be Terrorists!  They are the perfect enemy for the 'war machine'.  And the middle east - a perfect playground.  "Washington" now can be replaced with some proper term for 'global alliance' enter recently to this game Russia, just learning how profitable war can be.
Because practically, war is outdated.  A conventional war between any 2 nuclear powers would only create utter devastation, calculating which side would be more devastated is pointless, as the fallout would spread around the globe.  Also, countries such as Russia, the US, Germany, UK, have no real state enemies because of this, so keeping and maintaining a standing army of any kind - completely wasteful (except to keep the domestic population controlled by fear and opression, and the occasional cleansing of the genetic herd via in theater operations).  Hence the need for terrorists.
In other words, false flag or not - Terrorists are the last frontier for the war machine created (and thus the modern Forex system).  It's impossible to kill them, as they are an idea.  To end 'terrorism', we must end the war machine - dismantling this is very tricky!  Who are the real terrorists, suicide bombers, or news anchors constantly 'terrorizing' the population by making them afraid and worried around every corner a bomb will explode.  If we can overcome this huge mental challenge, we can really create a global panacea, a world without war, without currencies, without fraud.
Just like with any system, the war machine needs our support.  To stop it - we need to stop being afraid, stop believing in it! Stop participating in it!  (But that's not practical, because we like it.  It's entertainment!)  So the philosophical question of the day is:  Do you believe in Terrorists?  At least have some decency if you do - don't tell this fairy tale to your children.  Maybe they'll grow up in a better world.
The odds of your being killed by a terrorist are practically zero. So I say, relax and enjoy the show.
You have to be realistic about terrorism. Ya gotta be a realist: Certain groups of people – Muslim fundamentalists, Christian fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists, and just plain guys from Montana – are going to continue to make life in this country very interesting for a long, long time. That’s the reality. Angry men in combat fatigue talking to God on a two-way radio and muttering incoherent slogans about freedom are eventually going to provide us with a great deal of entertainment.
Especially after your stupid fuckin economy collapses all around you, and the terrorists come out of the woodwork. And you’ll have anthrax in the water supply and sarin-gas in the air conditioners; there’ll be chemical and biological suitcase bombs in every city, and I say, “Enjoy it, relax! Enjoy the show! Take a fuckin chance. Put a little fun in your life.”

To me, terrorism is exciting. It’s exciting! I think the very idea that someone might set off a bomb in Macy’s and kill several hundred people is exciting and stimulating, and I see it as a form of entertainment! Entertainment that’s all it is. Yeah! But – but I also know most Americans are soft, frightened, unimaginative they don’t realize there’s such a thing as dangerous fun. And they certainly don’t recognize good entertainment when they see it. I have always been willing to put myself at great personal risk for the sake of entertainment. And I’ve always been willing to put you at great personal risk for the same reason.
As far as I’m concerned, all of this airport security, all the searches, the screening, the cameras, the question it’s just one more way of reducing your liberty and reminding you that they can fuck with you any time they want, as long as you put up with it. As long as you put up with it. Which means, of course, any time they want. Because that’s what Americans do now. They’re always willing to trade away a little of their freedom for the feeling, the illusion–of security.   -GEORGE CARLIN
If state-sponsored armies left the middle east permanently (Now speaking of the US, UK, 'coalition of the willing' and now Russia), including the US support of Israel, 'terrorism' as we know it at least, would cease to exist.  We've been sold a load of snake oil, that somewhere lurking in the shadows of these elephant oil fields, are crazed muslims who believe in killing infidels.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!   
When a company is discovered for wrongdoing - often a boycott can succeed in getting their attention (the other alternative, being lawsuits & litigation).  It is not different with the war machine.  It feeds off our energy, our fears, which determines our need to finance and support the military through taxes and other means (and supports our local TV companies through advertisements).  The point is that there is no winning 'the war on Terrorism' - it's a paradox.  It's a genius invention by the war machine akin to "Terminator" films - now for every $1 we put into the military the profit can be $2 or $3 - because the more wars we launch in the middle east, the more terrorists are created, thus a need for even more security & war spending.  If even a small % of our tax dollars was funneled through various CIA shells to finance ISIS (even if the purpose was to overthrow Assad or other Terrorists) - technically speaking it is financed by the American taxpayer (at least in part).  Again, technically speaking - that would put the US Government on the OFAC list (which they publish) - and would be severe AML violations.  All these paradoxes are the ultimate 'fog of war' to enable the war machine to go on, now a self-replicating artificial intelligence of its own.  The ultimate paradox - this situation has made it impossible to stand up against the defense industry (literally) - ensuring it's nearly infinite survival.  
Or - here's an investing idea - if you think this is all a bunch of left wing nonsense - time to go long Defense stocks!  And at least you won't have to worry about any class action lawsuits or other problems with an angry and disgruntled public (they can be disapeared by outsourced foreign sub-contractors).
Think about this next time you're listening to 'riders on the storm'.
"Riders On The Storm"
Riders on the storm
Into this house we're born
Into this world we're thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out on loan
Riders on the storm

There's a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin' like a toad
Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If you give this man a ride
Sweet family will die
Killer on the road, yeah

Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 19, 2015, 12:45 am
Editors Note:
GoldCore believe that blockchain technology will revolutionize the world of finance, payments and money and may have an impact on the world on a scale of that of the internet.  Hence, the need to keep an eye on this very important evolving technology that has ramifications for us all.
If you thought the internet was disruptive, well you ain't seen nothing yet ... the blockchain cometh!
Charlie Morris is the editor of Atlas Pulse - a newsletter focusing on gold, bitcoin, blockchain and disruptive technology.. He has written an excellent article looking at bitcoin, the blockchain and the ramifications for banks and our financial system.
Symbols for Gold, Bitcoin and Silver - Atlas Pulse
by Charlie Morris
Bitcoin’s had one hell of a year.
The price of a single bitcoin recently touched $500, which is three times higher than it was in August this year. That’s one hell of a move in a short space of time and I’m going to try and put that into context.
In November 2013, there were just over 12 million bitcoins in circulation and the price touched $1,200, meaning the network was briefly worth $14.4bn. This new form of electronic money had high hopes and some felt it would genuinely catch on as it had the potential to challenge the existing system in global payments.
Bitcoin clearly got ahead of itself and the excitement about the future of money took a turn for the worse.
There were scandals such as the loss of bitcoins at the MT Gox exchange (a bitcoin trading platform), the closure of the Silk Road website (drugs and other bad things) and the banning of bitcoin wallets by Apple (users could no longer transact on their phones).
The lowest ebb came in January this year when the network value briefly dropped below $ bn, a 77% contraction. Many high profile commentators wrote off bitcoin and predicted a future value below $1.
Today the bitcoin network appears to be alive and well. It recently saw total daily transaction volumes rise above $300m. This growth in usage from $50m per day in the summer has caused the price to surge. At $500 per bitcoin, the network value recently touched $7.4bn.
This resurgence is all the more surprising because there have been so many barriers in its path. Regulators have put bitcoin businesses under heavy scrutiny and most banks have refused to deal with them, despite being legitimate and innovative enterprises. In fact, George Osborne showed public support for bitcoin and wants Britain to be a hub for these disruptive technologies.
Before we go into further detail, let’s take a step back and remind ourselves what bitcoin actually is.
In simple terms, bitcoin is electronic cash. It was created on the Internet by ‘miners’ and can be transacted with anyone else who has a bitcoin ‘wallet’. It can’t be copied, cut or pasted, nor can they be minted to infinity.
As I said, there are 14.8 million bitcoins in circulation, and each day approximately 4,000 new coins are created. In exchange for validating all of the transactions carried out by the community, the miners receive the new coins plus some transaction fees. Yesterday’s payout to the miners was roughly $2m. Yes, you read that correctly.
Given the vast rewards, this process is highly competitive and if you want to mine bitcoins, you’ll need a super computer bigger than GCHQ’s and Nasa’s combined; I’m not exaggerating.
The miners work hard for their money and their primary task is to validate a ‘block’ of transactions every ten minutes (or by my calculations, every 9 minutes and 41 seconds on average). In financial terms, they carry out the ‘settlement’ for bitcoin and perform record keeping functions.
There are roughly 153 blocks created each and every day. They stack up on top of each other and, since bitcoin’s birth on 3rd January 2009, this process has occurred over 382,000 times. Hence the phrase ‘blockchain’ as the transaction data is stored as a ‘chain of blocks’.
The true genius of bitcoin is that it has been built using a database that was designed to transact, whereas a traditional database was designed to store information.
Financial transactions use traditional databases that were invented decades ago. In order for them to transact, they dive inside the computer, find the data they are looking for, change it and then climb back out. That system has worked well, but now the world has something better.
With a blockchain, instead of finding and changing the data, the system continuously adds new layers whilst the past records remain unchanged. This has improved speed, security, transparency and record keeping whilst simultaneously slashing costs.
Crucially, the bitcoin ecosystem is operated by the ‘invisible hand’. There are no employees or maintenance staff behind it. Ask a bank how many people sit in their IT department and the answer will be in the tens of thousands. Bitcoin has survived for nearly seven years with no employees whatsoever, just an open-source community of coders who implement periodic improvements.
Crucially, the bitcoin network is ‘de-centralised’. A bank may backup its database several times, but for bitcoin, there are 5,625 copies (at the last count), known as ‘nodes’. In order to shut down bitcoin, you would need to destroy every single one. That would mean a coordinated effort from 90 different countries including Zimbabwe, Russia and Iran. Good luck with that; the bitcoin network is here to stay.
What can you do with bitcoin?
You can spend it in a growing list of places although, I readily admit, it is far from mainstream. As I said on my recent podcast, I managed to buy a glass of wine in Chamonix and a cup of coffee in Shoreditch, but little else.
That has hardly changed the face of money, but entrepreneurs have created credit cards that transact using bitcoin. That means it is potentially acceptable whenever you see the Visa or Mastercard symbol.
Wall Street has seen this blockchain technology and has taken it into the fold. The banks that intend to survive know that if they don’t take the lead, they’ll die. Those that fail to take an interest will get left behind and so there’s much at stake.
The recent surge in price from $160 in August to $500 was an explosive move. The FT has attributed this to a Russian pyramid scheme called MMM, that has taken off in China. I’m sure this explains much of the recent exuberance, but underlying that, is a self-sustaining network that enjoys underlying growth.
Speculative flurries will come and go but what I am interested in is the trend. If the real usage of bitcoin grows, the price can only rise. We should think of bitcoin like a technology stock where the value is directly related to the size of the network.
Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 18, 2015, 10:39 pm
Barclays has been hit with a $150m penalty for allegedly using its foreign exchange electronic trading platform to automatically reject client orders that would have been unprofitable for the bank, and lying to those clients about why their transactions were turned down.

The New York Department of Financial Services also ordered Barclays to fire the global head of electronic fixed income, currencies, and commodities automated flow trading as part of a settlement announced Wednesday, Gina Chon reports in Washington.

The findings are another embarrassment for Barclays, which has already paid the largest fine, $2.4bn in May, out of the multiple Wall Street firms that have been investigated for manipulation of the $5.3tn forex markets.

Wednesday's settlement brings the total Barclays has paid to DFS alone for forex probes to $635m.

The Barclays probe also doesn't bode well for other banks facing similar investigations by DFS for their forex electronic trading platforms, such as Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Société Générale.

US regulators have also been increasingly targeting automated and high frequency trading, and the Barclays settlement reflects one of the first major cases involving algorithms for an electronic trading platform.

"We are pleased that Barclays worked with us to resolve this matter," said Anthony Albanese, acting superintendent of DFS. "This case highlights the need for greater oversight and action to help prevent the misuse of automated, electronic trading platforms on Wall Street, which is a wider industry issue that requires serious additional scrutiny."

In a statement, Barclays said it continues to co-operate with other ongoing investigations and to manage related litigation risks as previously disclosed.


Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 18, 2015, 5:56 pm
Prepping has not only gone mainstream, it's infected even the billionaire culture as referenced recently on a ZH article:

When it comes to “prepping”, many among the elite take things to an entirely different level.  As you will see below, the elite are willing to pay big money for cutting edge home security measures, luxury bomb shelters and superyacht getaway submarines. Some of the things that the elite are demanding for their own protection go beyond even what we would see in a James Bond film, and serving the prepping needs of the elite has become a multi-billion dollar business.  Meanwhile, the media outlets that the elite own continue to mock the rest of us for getting prepared.  All the time we see headlines like this one that appeared in a major American news source: “Preppers: Meet the paranoid Americans awaiting the apocalypse“.  Well, if we are paranoid for setting aside some extra food and supplies for the future, what does that make the people that you will read about in this article?
Financial prepping has been the mantra of the 'hedge' fund community since it started to exist.  Instead of just blindly buying stocks and hoping the market always goes up, 'hedge funds' provided a 'hedge' in case the market actually didn't go straight up.  Of course, this is now just for lazy investors, now it's possible to buy options for almost any situation, and insurance companies will sell insurance for anything - even being abducted by aliens (over 30,000 policies sold in Europe according to Geico).
Description of the prepper & background
So let's take the average prepper, metaphorically speaking.  You have your safe house, stockpile of supplies, food, ammo, tools, toilet paper, shortwave radios and other electronics powered by cranks, etc. etc. etc. (depending on how deep your infection).
Financially speaking, you keep your savings in a combination of cash (US Dollars, Euros, and Swiss Francs), gold, silver, bitcoin, and bearer bonds.  If you are really savvy, you're holding the paper on several nearby farms in a fair deal whereby they pay down their principle in cash and interest & fees in milk, beef, and in the summer vegetables.
You own several properties in the names of charities you've setup just for this purpose... ok you get the idea.  Take it to the extreme.  The estute prepper has done all this and more - he's ready for anything!
The problem
Now the calamity comes - whether it be a global pandemic, alien invasion, terrorists, the United Nations with foreign troop invasion - take your pick.  It's really bad, but you survive - because you are ready for anything!  So now you've survived - NOW WHAT?  
Do you come out of your bunker after the smoke has cleared?  What will you do all day?  What will other survivors do?  Will you try to communicate with other preppers?  What if in the process of that communication - you discover that you are a little more prepared than they, and they trick you into a meet whereby they kidnap you and force you at gunpoint to give up your safe location and supplies?  
What if there is a secret group of 'anti-preppers' who are right now preparing for ways to steal from preppers, based on their security flaws and lack of planning?  
What if there is a group right now setup by the government, who is monitoring preppers, that within 24 hours of said 'calamity' will be taken into custody (or otherwise dealt with).
What is to stop the military from seizing your supplies, and forcing you to join their chain gang?  
The problem is that in order to really be 'prepared' - one must strive to be a stronger fighting force than the strongest army in the world (be it whatever you think in your opinion) because in a real crisis, the only currencies are 1) intelligence and 2) accelerated lead.  Accelerated lead is a quickly depleting resource whereas intelligence can grow and be self-replicating.  
Prepping generally speaking is a good thing, to use example of global pandemic - if everyone in the world is prepared and follows WHO guidelines, the pandemic will not exist!  Probably the same could be true with financial markets.
The point here is to realize that like with anything - the popularization of 'prepping' has warped the purity of the concept.  
The idea itself - very noble.  But in practicality, in reality, if there is an apocalypse, where are you going to go shopping with your gold and silver coins?  
Especially in America where we like to do things to extremes (like eating for example) - we've taken prepping to a new fangled art form.  But it's this 'new level' that is the snake oil - not the concept of prepping.
Just in case
Mossberg sells a package "Just in Case" that includes survival kit, shotgun, all neatly packaged in a waterproof tube (that also can double as a flotation device).  It's a great analogy for the prepping movement.  It's a great thing to have - JUST IN CASE.  99% of buyers of this will never use it.  
Financial Prepping
What can one do to financial prepare themselves?  This completely depends on the situation, and depends on the extent you want to prepare for.  As a general rule, you just want to be more prepared than your neighbor, but only a little.  That means - forget about the kevlar suit that can withstand 1,000F burns, or the bitcoin wallet that can only be opened with one time pad; each hidden in 2 secure locations in Europe.
Also, forget this naive idea about hoarding physical gold or cash - as if it will help you.  You're just painting a target on your back!  Where will you spend this cash?
Some reasonable prepping steps to be a 'pure prepper' 
  • Have a healthy options portfolio
  • Take the other side (even if you don't agree with it)
  • Invest in some really crazy ideas - if everyone you know says 'don't do it - it's crazy' - DO IT!
  • Invest and trade LOCALLY, at least a little.
  • Keep multiple accounts open with different TYPES of brokerage firms/banks - not only the same institution where your 401k is.  Not all of them will die.
  • Participate in some class action lawsuits for securities or similar cases - even if you won't get a big payout.  When the dollar bubble really pops, you'll have a friend who can help you get 20 cents on the dollar from Bank of America.
  • Make some foreign connections, who may not be in the same predicament as most in America
  • As much as possible, try to do things for yourself.  Having your deck resurfaced?  Do it yourself!  Do your own research - don't rely on a service (and certainly not your broker!)  
  • Educate yourself!  Learn a foreign language, or study that course in wreath making you've been putting off for so long.  Remember, although the world is a large place - the majority of nuclear fuel rods are made by hand by Samurais in Japan:
Although Japan Steel Works is a major corporation with 5,000 employees, it also maintains a samurai sword blacksmith, in a small shack on a hill above the factory in Muroran, where a single craftsman still hammers steel into broadswords, as the company has done since 1917.
Just remember.  For those who think the apocalypse is coming - there are just as many who believe it's already here.  Just ask some Detroit residents.  
Looks like the Zombies have already invaded and destroyed our cities.  

Author: Elite E Services
Posted: November 12, 2015, 4:52 pm