Financial sources feeds

Not long into Trump’s presidency, he announced his plans to increase the country's defense budget in 2018 by 54 billion dollars. The extra money is seen as necessary in order to "rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America at a time we most need it". Whether justified or not, this extra outlay will take the U.S. even further ahead of the rest of the world in terms of outright military spending.

The infographic below shows how the current budget compares to the world's other top spenders. 

Infographic: Defense: The U.S. Outspends These Countries Combined | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2016 U.S. defense spending outstripped that of China, Russia, UKFrance, Japan, Saudi Arabia and India combined. When it comes to spending as a share of own GDP, the United States' huge output naturally brings them down the rankings somewhat. Of the top outright spenders, Saudi Arabia is way ahead, with an estimated 10 percent.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 8:15 am

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

The markets appear giddy over the election prospects of Emanuel Macron in France.

Equities are up along with bond yields. Gold is down.

Macron won round one of the French election Sunday and will square off against Marine Le Pen in round two on May 7. He is widely expected to win round two, becoming the next president of France.
 

Policy Advancement

Can Macron Save the World? Save France?

Let’s phrase this a different way. Can Macron advance his policies?

I would ask the same question if Marine Le Pen were expected to win. Macron will not have a mandate. Neither would Le Pen if she were to win.

Certainly, the EU would prefer working with Macron. With Le Pen at the helm, France could throw Brexit negotiations for a loop.

internally, Macron has his work cut out for him. Here are their policies as described by the Guardian.

Macron Policies

Remake the “failed” and “vacuous” French political system; relax labor laws; cut business taxes; reform unemployment system; encourage social mobility; cut public spending (but boost investment); shrink public sector; reduce the number of MPs; establish eurozone government; hire 10,000 more police and gendarmes.

 

He says: “I will work over the coming fortnight so that together we can gather as many people as possible around my candidacy. The strength of this coming together will be decisive for the government. The challenge this evening is not to vote against a person, but to decide to break completely with a system that has been incapable of responding to our country’s problems for 30 years.

 

Le Pen Policies

Policies: Priority for French nationals in jobs, housing, welfare; extra tax on foreign workers and imports; proportional representation in parliament; negotiate with EU for return of “full sovereignty” including the franc; in-out referendum on EU membership; cut immigration to 10,000 a year; restrict nationality rights; hire 15,000 police; create 40,000 more prison places.

 

She says: “The French people now have a very simple choice: either we continue on the path to complete deregulation, or you choose France.

Questions

  1. Would the French parliament go along with relaxing labor laws? Cut business taxes?
  2. Would the parliament allow a referendum on the Euro?

If the answers are no and no, then what’s changed?

The real battle over the survival of the eurozone will take place in Italy, not France.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 7:30 am

While Hawaiian officials are pushing to re-open fallout shelters, the people of another island (considerably closer, and well within range) are actively preparing for a worst case scenario from North Korea. As Reuters reports, sales of nuclear shelters and radiation-blocking air purifiers have surged in Japan in recent weeks as North Korea has pressed ahead with missile tests in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

Japan is well within range of already-tested North Korean missiles...

 

And that has prompted aoring demand among the Japanese people...

A small company that specializes in building nuclear shelters, generally under people's houses, has received eight orders in April alone compared with six orders during a typical year. The company, Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, based in Kobe, western Japan, also has sold out of 50 Swiss-made air purifiers, which are said to keep out radiation and poisonous gas, and is trying to get more, said Nobuko Oribe, the company's director.

 

"It takes time and money to build a shelter. But all we hear these days, in this tense atmosphere, is that they want one now," Oribe said. "They ask us to come right away and give them an estimate."

 

A purifier designed for six people sells for 620,000 yen ($5,630) and one designed for 13 people and usually installed in a family-use shelter costs 1.7 million yen ($15,440).

 

Some orders for the shelters were placed by owners of small-sized companies for their employees, and others by families, Oribe said.

 

A nuclear shelter for up to 13 people costs about 25 million yen ($227,210) and takes about four months to build, he said.

 

The shelter his company offers is a reinforced, air-tight basement with an air purifier that can block radiation as well as poisonous gas. The room is designed to withstand a blast even when a Hiroshima-class nuclear bomb exploded just 660 meters away, Oribe said.

Concerns about a possible gas attack have grown in Japan after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliament session this month that North Korea may have the capacity to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.

And the Japanese government is now urging local governments to hold evacuation drills in case of a possible missile attack, heightening a sense of urgency among the public.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 6:45 am

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Venezuela is a naturally rich nation. It’s ranked seventh worldwide for biodiversity and has the world’s largest reserves of oil. This is a country that deserves, more than most, to thrive. However, as in all countries, it passes through economic cycles and, when on a downward curve, would-be leaders take the opportunity to claim that the “greedy rich” have sent the economy into a tailspin (which can sometimes be the case) and that the solution is to adopt a collectivist approach to governance.

In 1989, Venezuela was experiencing a downturn. Riots broke out, followed by two attempted coups in 1992. The following year, President Pérez was impeached for embezzlement of public funds and the red carpet of opportunity was rolled out for the charismatic former coup participant Hugo Chávez. He took office as president in 1998. A new constitution was drawn up in 1999 and, as in so many countries previously, the people enthusiastically welcomed the new collectivist regime.

When people can vote on issues involving the transfer of wealth to themselves from others, the ballot box becomes a weapon with which the majority plunders the minority. That is the point of no return, the point where the doomsday mechanism begins to accelerate until the system self-destructs. The plundered grow weary of carrying the load and eventually join the plunderers. The productive base of the economy diminishes further until only the state remains.”
– G. Edward Griffin

As in all collectivist experiments, the new entitlements meted out to the population had to be funded somehow and, as is customary, those who create the wealth in Venezuela were required to pay for its distribution to those who were less productive.

In the beginning, this form of theft appears to work well and, not surprisingly, many of the supporters of Mister Chávez saw him as the messiah of the common man. Unfortunately, as is always the case, bleeding the wealth from those who create it makes it increasingly difficult for them to continue to expand the creation of it and, as the wealth continues to be drained, contraction eventually takes place, making the entire nation poorer in every way.

At some point the collectivist system begins to unravel and, as luck would have it, the unravelling for Venezuela coincided with the death of its cherished leader.

In 2013, former bus driver Nicolás Maduro was elected as his successor. Two months earlier, the currency had been devalued to combat increasing shortages of basic goods and Venezuela fell into recession within a year of Mister Maduro taking office. By 2016, he declared a state of national emergency and proceeded to institute a series of knee-jerk responses to increasing economic decline, which would, to some degree, appease the struggling populace, but which would, ultimately, exacerbate the problem.

As conditions have worsened, Mister Maduro’s “solutions” have become increasingly desperate. (Editor’s note: Jeff Thomas has provided commentary on Venezuela’s decline in several editions of International Man: “Watch the Movie,” Jan. 2014, “Venezuela, the Sequel,” Dec. 2016, and “A Chicken in Every Pot,” Dec. 2016.)

In so doing, he hasn’t exactly been creative. He has, instead, resorted to all the classic measures that have been used by collectivists before him. The unfortunate conundrum for a collectivist leader is that the real solution is a return to the free-market system and no leader is going to admit that his entire raison d'être has been based upon a false premise.

It’s important to note that, in any nation, the populace tends to believe that their leader’s efforts, however flawed they may have been, were intended to serve the people well. However, this is almost never the case. I’ve known many political leaders personally and can attest that, regardless of the nation they represent, their concern is almost entirely for their own personal welfare and advancement. In fact, those who are pathological in this pursuit are very often the most successful in rising to the top, by virtue of their heightened determination and obsession with self-aggrandizement.

And so, Mister Maduro has relied on ever-increasing price controls, capital controls, devaluation of the national currency, takeover of private sector industry, and governance by decree. Each of these measures, in every instance, served to send the Venezuelan economy spiraling further downward.

The result has been a decline in the creation of wealth, the cessation of production of many essential goods, the overtaking of factories by the military, a dramatic increase in crimes of desperation, the alienation of overseas business partners, purchasers, and vendors, and an inability to pay international debt.

This last failure has led to an ironic situation. Although the national currency is in a state of hyperinflation, Venezuela cannot pay for the shipments of new, higher-denomination bank notes it has ordered from printers overseas, as the inflated currency is not trusted by the printers.

At this point, if the leader of a country truly had any loyalty to his country or compassion for his people, he would most certainly have resigned, as he is clearly unfit to lead.

But this almost never occurs. Whether the leader is Josef Stalin, Juan Perón, or Fidel Castro, no matter how dire the conditions become for the populace, the leader steadfastly refuses to relinquish the reins. What occurs instead is that he maintains his own personal level of lavish lifestyle, circles the wagons, continues or expands upon the measures that have caused the destruction, and becomes more autocratic.

It’s important to understand that it’s highly unusual for the leader to capitulate at this point. Almost invariably he will opt for the country to go down in flames around him rather than relinquish power.

That being the case, we now observe that Mister Maduro, having run out of rabbits to pull out of the hat, has made the decision to sell the golden goose that was responsible for the creation of wealth in the first instance—oil.

Seventy percent of Petropiar is owned by the state-run Petróleos de Venezuela, and 30% by its overseas partner, Chevron. The government has now offered to sell a portion of its shares to the Russian Rosneft, along with a stake in the rights to extract oil from the premium-grade Orinoco Oil Belt. This, of course, is no less than a stab in the back for Chevron. (Rosneft faces sanctions from the US, which, of course, Chevron does not.)

Venezuela has also expropriated shares belonging to ConocoPhillips, for which it has not yet paid, at the same time as they’re negotiating with a Japanese investment bank to obtain further funding.

Each of the above has been undertaken in a desperate attempt to pay external debt, which, until the present, has allowed the Venezuelan economy to continue to function. It also allows for the emergency delivery of gasoline to keep Venezuela in motion. Although Venezuela has eighteen of its own refineries, they’ve also fallen victim to the economic crisis and without emergency gasoline supply from overseas, thousands of workers will be unable to report for work to keep what remains of the economy functioning.

And so Mister Maduro, in order to buy a bit more time in the presidential mansion, is selling the golden goose. For those who wonder why it’s so often the case that a nation that’s been knocked down economically rarely rises up again within the same generation, the answer is manifestly clear in Venezuela. Leaders on the way out tend to sell or destroy virtually all that’s of value within the country, eliminating the resources through which a recovery may be possible, even if the country then returns to a free-market system.

*  *  *

The situation in Venezuela is extraordinarily toxic. But a similar pattern is playing out in major countries around the globe. For too long, careless governments have used shortsighted strategies to prop up major world economies and prolong their time in power. This can only go on for so long… In this urgent video, Doug Casey and his team reveal why an unprecedented global financial disaster is now inevitable—and what you can do to protect yourself. Click here to watch it now.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 6:00 am

Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via SHTFplan.com,

Following the money is always the key and crucial element to determining the “probable cause/modus operandi” regarding to globalist actions.  Although there are many who believe that President Trump is the panacea to all our problems, even they may perhaps admit that there are forces other than the President that drive our country, as well as the world.  The shadowy cabal of globalists, Bilderbergers, bankers, and other secretive organizations bent on a “union” of totalitarian control are almost too numerous to count.

There are many things the President does not know.  This is intentional on the part of the moneyed interests that control the very fabric of our society.  The interests are corporate, political, and religious: a three-level tier of control over all the facets of human society.  Just as one individual person cannot “dominate” one of these sectors, the sectors themselves cannot dominate.  They are forced into a symbiotic relationship rooted in commensalism, where each of these “parasites” benefits the other two.

The problem lies in the fact that these interests are elitists who believe in the forced imposition of their philosophies upon the masses.  They also believe in “culling the herd,” and maintaining a servile population at minimum levels to carry out all menial labor and industrial production (the Deltas and Epsilons of Huxley’s Brave New World) as they direct.  Patiently these elitists have been awaiting the day when their “1984” society is a reality, crafting and shaping it all along throughout the decades.

The numbers of humanity pose a problem, because they cannot effectively eradicate all necessary without a large-scale plague or a war, and after such an event, the planet itself might be unsustainable.

The key question for them: how to kill off about 6 to 6 ½ billion people without destroying the world?

The most efficient way would be with a limited nuclear war that destroyed enough key targets to minimize postwar effectiveness of the major powers, in a manner that does not irradiate most of the warring nations.  The key to the entire equation is to take down the United States.  The EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) is the weapon of choice.  This would paralyze all the infrastructure, leading to (as so eloquently outlined in the book “One Second After”) mass die-offs and the reduction of populations to pre-industrial societies.

The shielded and stocked communities of the elite could just sit back and allow the populations to destroy themselves and whittle down the numbers.  After a time (most likely already estimated and predetermined), mercenary forces of the elitists could emerge to mop up the remnant, enslaving and subjugating them completely.

The question isn’t whether this is in the works: it is.  The elite have been following such plans as revealed in the Iron Mountain Report, and the moneyed interests have been crafting their plans long before House wrote Philip Dru, Administrator, as he and Wilson created the Federal Reserve and laid the roots for the cancer that is pervasive and underlying the thin veneer of our phony, Hallmark-Card society.

The numerous articles about the millionaires and billionaires forming “intentional communities” and compounds/complexes for the purpose of surviving an apocalyptic event/societal collapse are not inaccurate.  The widespread reports of tunnel complexes, nonstop truck deliveries, and the diversion of taxpayer-funded government resources to secret locations throughout the United States are not inaccurate.  Jesse Ventura was investigating many of these matters before the moneyed interests put a stop to his actions and he retired from the field without fanfare.  Everyone who has exposed or threatened to expose them has either been marginalized or destroyed.  Just as people search for the “one” hero, they are also easily manipulated to focus upon “one” villain, such as a Kim Jong-Un, or a Bashar al-Assad.  Substitute the name “Emmanuel Goldstein” for either of them before the Two-Minutes Hate is conducted.

Fast forward to now.  The bottom line is that when different factors come together “coincidentally” the probability for action by the elites and the point of no return is increased exponentially.

They haven’t ushered in their era yet; they will not until they’re certain they can pull it off, but they will eventually make a play for it.

These power-brokers will not commit themselves in the gamble unless they’re sure of a win.  For this reason, it is important to monitor the hot spots for those convergent points to know when something is likely to occur: when the possibility exists, and the probability increases.  One of those points of convergence is this week.

The North Koreans are supposed to test another nuclear device on or about the 25th of this month.  “Coincidentally,” that EMP “drill” named Operation Gotham Shield is supposed to run through April 25th, and possibly a little longer.  Coincidentally, there was a power outage in three different U.S. cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City on Thursday.  Coincidentally, Russian bomber and intelligence-gathering aircraft have been flying test runs along the coast of Alaska, for four days straight with the U.S. and even Canada scrambling fighters to intercept.  Coincidentally, the Russians claim to have electronic devices with an EMP-type effect, already used against the USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer with Tomahawk missiles back in November of 2014.  Coincidentally, the U.S. naval armada is set to arrive in the waters off the Korean coast on April 26th… right in line with the EMP drill “Operation Gotham Shield.”

All these factors point toward a false flag.  If the opportunity to pull such a false flag off arises, they will seize upon it.  Trolls without number try to disparage this concept… the “nothing has happened yet, therefore nothing will happen” crowd.  The ones who are so certain that all of this is just “fear porn” or a “sham” of some kind…don’t pay their nonproductive and perhaps remunerated redundancies any mind.  The whole point is to be aware of what is going on and try to survive it.

Be that “10th man” as outlined in the film World War Z, and consider what the herd has been conditioned not to consider, and it might improve your chances to survive what is coming: what the elites have planned and will trigger with a False Flag.

“No matter how improbable it may seem, the tenth man has to start thinking with the assumption that the other nine are wrong.”

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 3:25 am

America's snowflake millennials aren't used to being told 'no', especially by their parents.  Perhaps that's why, as we pointed out a few days ago, more millennials than ever are now living at home with mom and roughly one quarter of them don't even both to enroll in classes and/or find a job (see "A Quarter Of Millennials Living At Home Neither Work Nor Study").  But, when it comes to racking up massive student loans for their lazy, millennial, snowflakes, we suspect a healthy portion of about 3.5 million Baby Boomers are wishing they had a do-over to do just that.

Unfortunately, rather than making some difficult decisions about affordability and/or forcing their kids to pay for their own education, Baby Boomers have incurred nearly $100 billion in student loans so that little Johnny and/or Susie could get that Anthro degree they always wanted. 

In fact, as the Wall Street Journal notes today, so-called "Parent Plus Loans" have soared over the past 15 years as parents have increasingly found it impossible to cover college tuition costs.

Parent Plus, created by Congress in 1980, allows parents to borrow to cover tuition and living expenses—often after their children borrow the maximum in undergraduate federal loans, capped by law at $5,500 a year for freshmen, $6,500 for sophomores and $7,500 for juniors and seniors. There is no limit to how much parents can borrow. Supporters say the program ensures students can go to schools of their choice.

 

When it comes to federally subsidized student loans the underwriting standards put even the no-income, no-doc mortgages of 2005 to shame.  Just take the case of Sherry McPherson as an example.  Per the WSJ, McPherson was able to secure $100,000 in student loans for her son and herself to attend a trade school  despite "her shaky credit and unemployment."  Adding insult to injury, for taxpayers at least, McPherson has already refinanced her loans into one of Obama's "income-driven plans" which "sets her payments at zero while she is unemployed."

Sherry McPherson took out Parent Plus debt in 2006 so her son could enroll in a seven-month certificate program at a Seattle for-profit school that teaches commercial diving. She was an unemployed single mother with thousands of dollars in credit-card debt, a car loan and a subprime credit score. She had just retired from the Army after suffering an injury in Iraq.

 

The school, the Divers Institute of Technology, told Ms. McPherson she needed to borrow nearly $16,000 to cover remaining tuition after her son maxed out on undergraduate federal loans, she recalls.

 

Ms. McPherson, now 50, remembers telling the school’s financial-aid administrator she wouldn’t be approved because of her shaky credit and unemployment.

 

“She looked at me and said, ‘Look, all we need is your Social Security number,’ ” recalls Ms. McPherson. “They approved me in three minutes.”

 

She hasn’t worked since, partly because she attended college and graduate school herself. Her Parent Plus balance has more than doubled. Combined with her own student loans, she now owes more than $100,000 to the federal government.

 

Ms. McPherson has refinanced into an income-driven plan, which sets her payments at zero while she is unemployed.

And while it may sound outrageous, McPherson's story is hardly an anomaly with over 40% of student loans originated in 2009 - 2013 going to subprime borrowers, more than double the subprime mix of the mortgage market in 2005.

 

Now, just as these parents are entering their retirement years, a record number of them are having their Social Security and pension payments garnished to pay for student loans that they never had a prayer of being able to afford.  In fact, as of September 2015, more than 330,000 people, or 11% of borrowers, had gone at least a year without making a payment on a Parent Plus loan and over 40,000 of them were having their income garnished by the federal government. 

The number of Americans who had wages, tax refunds or Social Security checks reduced because of unpaid student debt increased 71% between September 2010 and September 2015, according to the GAO. About 41,000 Parent Plus borrowers were among one million student-loan recipients who had checks garnished in the 2015 fiscal year. The government garnished the Social Security checks of 173,000 borrowers from student-loan programs in 2015, up from 36,000 in 2002.

 

Of course, it's not just parents that are defaulting on student loans.  Roughly eight million Americans owing $137 billion are at least 360 days delinquent on federal student loans, nearly the number of homeowners who lost their homes because of the housing crisis.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration recognized that the Parent Plus loan program was saddling 1,000s of people with loans they could never repay back in 2011 and took steps to curb lending to "high-risk" individuals.  Then, Cheryl Smith of the United Negro College Fund apparently reminded Obama that making financial decisions based purely on financial metrics is racist, so he promptly reversed his own rules.

The program checks only a borrower’s past five years of credit for major blemishes such as bankruptcy or foreclosure, and the past two years for delinquency on debts of more than $2,085.  Consumer counselors are hearing from borrowers who make as little as minimum wage but borrowed tens of thousands of dollars and now can’t repay.

 

Obama administration officials, worried Parent Plus was heaping debt on high-risk borrowers, put in place tighter restrictions in 2011. But after schools argued stiffer underwriting would prevent many students from covering tuition, thus reducing college access for minorities and poor students, the administration rolled back the new rules.

 

“Without this program, our fear is that many of these families would be getting private loans at less-favorable terms or less-favorable repayment options,” or they wouldn’t be able to cover tuition at all, says Cheryl Smith, head of government affairs for the United Negro College Fund.

Of course, we suspect the Obama administration decided it was better to seek taxpayer forgiveness than permission as James Kvaal, Obama's top education advisor and a man who undoubtedly was part of the decision to loosen lending standards admits: “At some point, we’re going to have to realize that a bunch of loans that have been made are not going to be repaid."

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 3:00 am

Authored by Alex Thomas via TheAntiMedia.org,

Late last week, lawyers representing the Cherokee Nation filed a lawsuit against major pharmaceutical companies, claiming they have pumped dangerous painkillers into Native American communities in Oklahoma. The Washington Post obtained a copy of the court filing and reported that the companies are accused of breaking laws by failing to prevent the diversion of pain pills to the black market.”

Specifically, the suit claims the corporations “turned a blind eye to the problem of opioid diversion and profited from the sale of prescription opioids to the citizens of the Cherokee Nation in quantities that far exceeded the number of prescriptions that could reasonably have been used for legitimate medical purposes.” With the markets bursting with pain pills, the drugs quickly found their way onto the black market. Lawyers for the Cherokee Nation posit that the companies bear some of the responsibility for that “opioid diversion.”

The claim the opioid crisis has caused the Cherokee Nation to incur “increased spending on law enforcement, medical facilities, drug treatment centers and foster and adoption programs,” the Post reported.

Attorneys hope that by filing the suits in tribal court, they will be able to gain quicker access to records that could show distinct negligence on the part of major drug companies. The suit names McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen, which together control 85% of prescription drug distribution in the United States. Walgreen’s and CVS are also included in the suit.

In late 2016, an investigative piece by the West Virginia Gazette reported that the same three companies supplied more than half of all pain pills statewide” while West Virginia was in the throes of a massive opioid crisis. In one county, AmerisouceBergen went from distributing 292,000 pills to 1.2 million pills in a single year. In a statement, Amerisource passed the blame, saying doctors and pharmacists — not the companies — were to blame.

In reference to the Cherokee Nation lawsuit, AmerisourceBergen issued a statement similar to their West Virginia defense, claiming the issue of opioid abuse is a complex one that spans the full healthcare spectrum, including manufacturers, wholesalers, insurers, prescribers, pharmacists and regulatory and enforcement agencies.” However, Cherokee Attorney General Todd Hembree didn’t seem to echo the drug companies’ sentiments. He claimed the corporations’ “main goal is profit, and this scourge has cost lives and the Cherokee Nation millions.” The West Virginia Gazette article reported that the CEOs of the three major companies have collectively been paid $450 million in the past four years.

Like the lawsuit leveled against the companies in West Virginia, the Cherokee lawsuit charges the companies, commonly referred to as “the big three,” with pursuing “unfair and deceptive practices.”

These defendants really had the ability to limit the number of deaths and the level of addiction if they just followed the law,” said Richard Fields, a lawyer for the Cherokees.

The lawsuit alleges that in 2015, the companies pumped enough drugs into the Cherokee Nation to provide every adult and child with 955 5mg pills.” In West Virginia, that number was 433.

And the companies have put their earnings to good use, filling the pockets of politicians they hope might be sympathetic to their causes. The Center for Responsive Politics showed that AmerisourceBergen gave $20k to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and over $10k to Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — both of whom have loud voices in Washington DC.

The Cherokee Nation’s lawsuit is unlikely to be the last filed against the “big three,” as the opioid crisis sweeping the nation shows no signs of slowing down. A fact sheet published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine states that “heroin overdose deaths among women have tripled [from 2010 to 2013].”

Principal chief of the Cherokees, Bill John Baker, said, “[T]ribal nations have survived disease, removal from our homelands, termination and other adversities, and still we prospered. However, I fear the opioid epidemic is emerging as the next great challenge of our modern era.”

The lawyers filing cases against the companies are hoping the multi-billion dollar corporations will start taking responsibility for the drugs they sell.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 2:35 am

In light of the recent spate of emergency drills and nuclear attack
preparedness plans
across the United States, it seemed notable that an unknown amount of stolen radioactive material has prompted the head of national emergency services to issue an alert today in nine Mexican states.

A vehicle carrying mobile industrial radiography equipment filled with Iridium-192 was stolen in the city of Tlaquepaque in the state of Jalisco, and as Reuters reports, the alert and search for the stolen material covers the states of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacan San Luis Potosi, Durango and Zacatecas, according to a post on Luis Felipe Puente's Twitter account.

??Alerta en #Jal, #Col, #Nay, #Ags, #Gto, #Mich, #SLP, #Dgo y #Zac, por fuente radiactiva robada . Si la ves repórtala al 911 y no la abras. pic.twitter.com/Z9L93BG1Bo

— Luis Felipe Puente (@LUISFELIPE_P) April 24, 2017

Puente encouraged people with information about the stolen material to report it but added: "don't open it."

Somewhat shockingly, theft of radioactive material in Mexico is a somewhat of a common occurrence. Last year a container of radioactive substance used for industrial X-rays was also taken along with a car. Similar occurrences also happened in April 2015 and in July 2014. In December 2013, thieves – apparently unaware of the contents of their heist – stole a vehicle containing medical equipment with highly radioactive cobalt-60, a material that could be used to produce a “dirty bomb,” according to the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 2:16 am

We all knew it was coming and now it has finally been confirmed that the Senate's favorite Socialist will introduce legislation later this week calling for a $15 federal minimum wage.  The pending release of the bill was confirmed earlier today by Bloomberg's Josh Eidelson.  Apparently co-sponsored by fellow liberals, Senator Murray, Keith Ellison, Bobby Scott and Raul Grijalva, the bill will call for a $15 federal minimum wage to be fully implemented by 2024.

Bernie Sanders, Sen. Murray, Keith Ellison, Bobby Scott, Raul Grijalva et al will unveil bill Wednesday to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2024

— Josh Eidelson (@josheidelson) April 24, 2017

 

For those silly 'math' people out there, that's a mere 107% increase in minimum wage over just a few short years, which we suspect will at least slightly outpace inflation over the same period.

As our readers are undoubtedly aware, Bernie has long been an advocate of the $15 "living wage." The Daily Caller provided some background on the other sponsors' efforts to meddle in labor markets.

Murray has pushed for a federal minimum wage increase in the past, introducing the “Raise the Wage Act” in April 2015. The legislation called for the federal minimum wage to be increased from $7.25 to $12 an hour by 2020. The bill never made it far in the Republican-controlled Congress, but Murray has remained a leader in efforts to increase the federal minimum wage.

 

Ellison lost narrowly to Perez in the DNC chairperson race and remains a favorite among liberal activists. The progressive Minnesota-Democrat is a favorite among unions, and has been a strong advocate for the Fight for Fifteen movement.

 

Grijalva, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) with Ellison, was a part of efforts by the CPC to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in the summer of 2015. Shortly after Murray’s efforts, the CPC introduced the “Pay Workers a Living Wage Act” in July 2015.

 

Scott joined Murray in sponsoring efforts to get the minimum wage to $12 per hour in 2015, arguing (at the time) that a $12 minimum wage was much more politically feasible at the time.

We've written extensively about the unintended consequences of higher minimum wages, namely the pink slips that seem to come shortly after their implementation.  So rather than rehash all of the stats, for those interested, here are a few of our favorite articles on the topic:

Of course, given that Democrats don't control a single branch of the federal government at the moment, and the socialist party has never controlled a single branch to the best of our recollection, we're going to go out on a limb and guess that Bernie's bill won't get passed anytime in the immediate future.  That said, at least he's one step closer to getting a bunch of fast food workers fired, and we're sure they really appreciate all his hard work. 

Minimum Wage

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 2:10 am

In what may the flip-flop that resonates the most among his core voter base, Trump said that contrary to recent reports that the White House demands funding for Trump's proposed wall along the Mexican border be part of the spending bill - which has become a wildcard whether the government is shut on Friday night or not - Trump said on Monday that he is "open to waiting until later this year" to secure funding for said wall, a flop that would clear the way for Congress to strike a deal to avoid a government shutdown on Saturday, the WSJ reported.

On funding the border wall, Trump said he could get it this week or the administration could come back to it in September.

— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) April 24, 2017

As recently as Monday morning, top administration officials had indicated the president wanted to include money to begin building a wall along the Southern border in the bill needed this week to keep the government running after its current funding expires at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, which is also the president’s 100th day in office.

However, during a reception with conservative media at the White House on Monday night, when Trump also unveiled the 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber, the president addressed the issue and indicated his willingness to wait and "flexibility" whether the wall is funded in this spending bill or one that will be needed in late September.

Trump punting on the issue of wall funding will remove one of the last remaining hurdles facing congressional Democrats and Republicans hammering out the five-month bill they must pass this week to avoid a partial government shutdown.

And with the debate over the border wall effectively over for the time being, lawmakers should now be able to come to an agreement on the spending bill relatively quickly. Both Democrats and Republicans had signaled they were willing to increase money for the military and for broader border security before administration officials last week indicated that Mr. Trump would press for money to begin building the wall.

While there had been little appetite among Republicans on Capitol Hill to demand funding now for the border wall specifically, rather than offer a general boost for tighter border security, the big winners will be Democrats, whose votes will be needed to pass the spending legislation in the Senate; they had made it clear they would oppose a spending bill that included money to start building the border wall.

To be sure, Schumer was delighted:

"It’s good for the country that President Trump is taking the wall off the table in these negotiations,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said in a statement Monday night. Earlier Monday, Mr. Schumer had said the wall was a “nonstarter” for Democrats. “Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiators can continue working on the outstanding issues,” he said.

Democratic votes will be needed, because Republicans hold just 52 seats in the Senate, where spending bills need 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles. House GOP leaders will also likely have to rely on some Democratic help, since some conservative Republicans are expected to oppose it.

Republicans will also be content: many members of the GOP had indicated they would be satisfied with a spending bill that included money for means of strengthening security along the border other than a wall. “Border security’s the main issue—whether that includes a wall or technology, drones, or repairing what we have,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) said Monday evening. Ms. Capito said she wasn’t interested in risking a shutdown over the border wall.

“I’m not going to risk a shutdown over anything,” she said.

Other Republicans echoed that their top priority was making sure they crafted a spending bill that could clear both chambers before the government runs out of money. “I wouldn’t mind funding the wall, but it’s a question of what we can do up here, what’s doable,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Indeed, it seems that almost everyone is a winner except those Americans who actually believed Trump would "build that wall" as he promised on virtually every stop of his campaign tour.

Well, there is hope: he may still do it in late September. However, since the tensions between Democrats, Republicans and Trump will be the same, if not worse then making an agreement even more unlikely, please don't hold your breath.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: April 25, 2017, 1:50 am

NFA News Releases

March 6, Chicago—National Futures Association (NFA) has permanently barred Redding, Calif. commodity trading advisor Samico Worldwide Markets, Inc. (Samico) and its principal and sole associated person, Thomas Gasparini, from membership and from acting as a principal of an NFA Member.
Posted: March 7, 2017, 4:59 am

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Posted: April 10, 2017, 1:37 am
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Posted: March 15, 2017, 8:41 pm
(GLOBALINTELHUB) — 3/11/17 —
The news, even the ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative news’ has been reduced to the bottom of the Maslow pyramid, personalizing things while dismantling the small amount of journalistic integrity that existed.  The only next lower step is name calling “you are stupid-head, poopy face” or throwing food.  Liberals are angry that Trump won, Trump supporters are angry that liberals are so angry, blacks are angry because one of their own is out; women are angry because a “Man” is President, what’s next?  When will protests and holidays be labelled as big “Pity Parties” where protestors gather with psychologists and beat cotton dummies with rubber bats, all while wearing protective gear, monitored by ‘government specialists’ – I can see it now.  It’s an extension of the ‘cry rooms’ from Universities; sections of major cities can be closed for these ‘necessary events’ where angry people will get out their feelings in a controlled setting without damaging real property or getting themselves arrested.  You think it’s a big joke, do you – checkout these startups offering services to ‘break things’ for a fee:  The Smash Shack;  Anger Room – Relieve Stress & Anxiety | Anger Room™ | “Nothing You Expect, Everything You Deserve”
Where is national coverage of these businesses – these guys need to get on Shark Tank there’s a national need here.  Parts of Detroit can be used for a mass destruction in controlled ‘riots’ like they did for the Zombie apocalypse trend.
Unfortunately it seems, that’s just about all the unenlightened uneducated masses are good for, so you can’t fault the globalists too much for trying to turn them into good worker consumer zombies.
There’s a lot happening in the ‘backoffice’ of America, Inc. that we’re seeing the surface of the big iceberg such as the Vault7 revelations, and more goodies to come.  We’re still catching up to previous data dumps such as the CIA releasing electronic access to a huge amount of records previously not online. CIAs role in financial markets EXPOSED by documents release.
What impact all this will have is unclear – what is clear is that we’re on the precipice of a major paradigm shift, that from an ‘old model’ to a ‘new model’ speaking from the perspective of systems theory, which is really the best objective perspective.  Robots are simply the catalyst ushering in the paradigm shift.  The idea of ‘manufacturing jobs’ is widely misunderstood by luddites that populate the mainstream – they will have us believe that the idea of a resurgence in US manufacturing is a bad move, i.e. we’re building the wrong economy, and reverting back to a 50s style system.  But this just shows the lack of understanding on their part, the world has changed in the last 10 years, checkout this clip from leftist Bloomberg: Trump’s Plan to Bring Back Manufacturing Isn’t Crazy – Bloomberg View
 But there are plenty of other reasons to want to bring supply chains back to the U.S. High-value-added manufacturing — robot factories pumping out goods — creates jobs for Americans in other ways. As economist Enrico Moretti explains in his book “The New Geography of Jobs,” high-tech manufacturing creates higher-paying service-sector jobs in a local area. The dollars that come into a town with a robot factory get spent on doctors and waiters and personal trainers, and the money circulates throughout the community, leaving everyone better off.
from another article:
Moretti demonstrates that there really are two Americas — one that’s healthy, rich and growing, and a second that’s increasingly being left behind. The two nations-within-a-nation are divided not so much by region or race or religion, but by the kinds of industries they support. Those cities and towns that are home to innovative industries — information technology, pharmaceuticals, advanced manufacturing and the like — are wealthier, healthier and safer, while the places without these industries are steadily declining.
Checkout this chart “Vanishing Blue Collars”:
The book fails to mention the fact that there were ALWAYS two Americas, USA was founded by a group of rich white male slaveowners who said all men are created equal.  But the demographic trend away from manual labor exploitation is exemplified well, although the point here is not about booming tech centers vs. rural economic deserts – it’s about the changing world and how robots really are replacing mundane tasks.  Those without skills in I.T. or computers will be left unemployed or on the dole chronically.  This is why – ahem – Republicans – ahem – you can never ever touch the welfare state, it’s about a class of technologically redundant workers, white or black or latino all the same.  You can’t take away food stamps, medicaid, and other programs – these people are not going to be the innovators of tomorrow, and without food they’ll simply riot and cause trouble – better keep them fat and happy and watching TV popping pills.  Seriously.  And the good news – money can easily be printed and given to them at a very low cost (about .01 per $100 electronically).
Robots are better, robots don’t make mistakes, robots can go places man can’t go (like inside Volcanoes, deep under the sea, and so on).  Don’t forget about software robots, that we speak about when talking about trading.  Algorithmic trading is far superior to human trading – 10 years from now will anyone ‘trade’ their own account?  Or they will just ‘trade’ robots – buy and sell various algorithms that work well.
The point here is that what we are seeing is not a political trend at all.  The Clinton ‘pay for play’ model of politics is outdated, they are cave-men banging there clubs and grunting around a fire.  While Trump doesn’t represent technology per se, he represents business – and as traders know, the market itself has an intelligence, maybe the markets are the first form of Aritificial Intelligence.  So what’s going on is that the demographic shift is allowing a pro-business and thus pro-technology shift which will allow business and technology to thrive.  In fact, the idea of ‘politics’ is outdated too – why can’t all this be organized online – like the markets?  Because the 10% of the population that doesn’t have computers?  The good news is like the market, we’ve been proven, that intelligence finally wins; because what is unnatural cannot continue – if your car has no gas, you’ll stop driving.  Physics is really simple.
What’s happening is a massive paradigm shift into a new paradigm where the ‘old model’ is being transitioned to a ‘new model’ – this is seen in business, politics, medicine, education, construction, engineering, and basically all fields.  The CIA was a product of World War 2, as eloquently explained here on Zero Hedge by Dr. Steve Pieczenik, the CIA was a byproduct of World War 2 and was created by real spies that had a real purpose, and it served its purpose well – against a real enemy (Hitler).  (Of course, the CIA was created after the war but it was based on the spy network that fought Nazi Germany).  Dr. Pieczenik notes intelligently that the current generation of Rockefellers, and would be world dictators are not interested in world domination or one world government plans created by their parents and grandparents.  The CIA, sort of died when its founders died; and the new generation turned it into something else – instead of serving the purpose for which it was originally intended, it was used to further special interests, build the business of the military industrial complex, and most recently influence domestic political elections.  It’s just another example of this old model vs. new model paradigm shift – it’s become outdated, it should be closed.
The idea of a ‘spy agency’ needs to be re-evaluated in the context of modern society, where there are cameras everywhere and instantaneous global communications that are all recorded by NSA.  Maybe a new, modern agency will be a team of trained analysts and ‘hackers’ commissioned for good purposes, such as monitoring electronic communications for crimes, terrorism, violent acts, and other behaviors to be stopped.  In any case, whatever it looks like – one thing is clear – it will be run by robots, not humans.
Posted: March 13, 2017, 2:42 am

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Posted: March 3, 2017, 3:15 am
The world is not as we think.  We are taught one thing, but it is far from the truth.  Meanwhile, we must pay fees, taxes, and work harder for more and more money – because money is always worth less and less.  The only way out from this rabbit hole, is through knowledge and education.  Splitting Pennies is the conversation starter for this new paradigm we're moving into on this planet.


I’ve been in the Forex business for 15 years, and in that time I’ve learned about the extremes surrounding the most important market in the world.  Forex literally determines the value of every book sold in the world, every financial transaction – yet the majority know very little about it.  Splitting Pennies is an entertaining introduction to the mechanism how Forex works, history of money, and education about monetary policy from Forex perspective.  The work itself is not groundbreaking – but if it was understood by the masses, it would literally increase financial literacy, and increase the standard of living.  Whether readers are financial professionals, teachers, the average consumer, business people, politicians, or students; Splitting Pennies will change the way you think about money in a positive way. 

Sincerely,

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Posted: February 17, 2017, 2:20 pm
Economist-mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb contends that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts
After predicting the 2008 economic crisis, the Brexit vote, the U.S. presidential election and other events correctly, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the Incerto series on global uncertainties, which includes The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, is seen as something of a maverick and an oracle. Equally, the economist-mathematician has been criticised for advocating a “dumbing down” of the economic system, and his reasoning for U.S. President Donald Trump and global populist movements. In an interview in Jaipur, Taleb explains why he thinks the world is seeing a “global riot against pseudo-experts”.
I’d like to start by asking about your next book, Skin in the Game, the fifth of the Incerto series. You do something unusual with your books: before you launch, you put chapters out on your website. Why is that?
Putting my work online motivates me to go deeper into a subject. I put it online and it gives some structure to my thought. The only way to judge a book is by something called the Lindy effect, and that is its survival. My books have survived. I noticed that The Black Swan did well because it was picked up early online, long before the launch. I also prefer social media to interviews in the mainstream media as many journalists don’t do their research, and ‘zeitgeist’ updates [Top Ten lists] pass for journalism.
The media is not one organisation or a monolithic entity.
Well, I’m talking about the United States where I get more credible news from the social media than the mainstream media. But I am very impressed with the Indian media that seems to present both sides of the story. In the U.S., you only get either the official, bureaucratic or the academic side of the story.
In Skin in the Game, you seem to build on theories from The Black Swan that give a sense of foreboding about the world economy. Do you see another crisis coming?
Oh, absolutely! The last crisis [2008] hasn’t ended yet because they just delayed it. [Barack] Obama is an actor. He looks good, he raises good children, he is respectable. But he didn’t fix the economic system, he put novocaine [local anaesthetic] in the system. He delayed the problem by working with the bankers whom he should have prosecuted. And now we have double the deficit, adjusted for GDP, to create six million jobs, with a massive debt and the system isn’t cured. We retained zero interest rates, and that hasn’t helped. Basically we shifted the problem from the private corporates to the government in the U.S. So, the system remains very fragile.
You say Obama put novocaine in the system. How will the Trump administration be able to address this?
Of course. The whole mandate he got was because he understood the economic problems. People don’t realise that Obama created inequalities when he distorted the system. You can only get rich if you have assets. What Trump is doing is put some kind of business sense in the system. You don’t have to be a genius to see what’s wrong. Instead of Trump being elected, if you went to the local souk [bazaar] in Aleppo and brought one of the retail shop owners, he would do the same thing Trump is doing. Like making a call to Boeing and asking why are we paying so much.
You’re seen as something of an oracle, given that you saw the 2008 economic crash coming, you predicted the Brexit vote, the outcome of the Syrian crisis. You said the Islamic State would benefit if Bashar al-Assad was pushed out and you predicted Trump’s win. How do you explain it?
Not the Islamic State, but al-Qaeda at the time, and I said the U.S. administration was helping fund them. See, you have to have courage to say things others don’t. I was lucky financially in life, that I didn’t need to work for a living and can spend all my time thinking. When Trump was running for election, I said what he says makes sense to a grocery store owner. Because the grocery guy can say Trump is wrong because he can see where he is wrong. But with Obama, he can’t understand what he’s saying, so the grocery man doesn’t know where he is wrong.
Is it a choice between dumbing down versus over-intellectualisation, then?
Exactly. Trump never ran for archbishop, so you never saw anything in his behaviour that was saintly, and that was fine. Whereas Obama behaved like the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was going to do good but people didn’t feel their lives were better. As I said, if it was a shopkeeper from Aleppo, or a grocery store owner in Mumbai, people would have liked them as much as Trump. What he says makes common sense, asking why are we paying so much for this rubbish or why do we need these complex taxes, or why do we want lobbyists. You can call Trump’s plain-speaking what you like. But the way intellectuals treat people who don’t agree with them isn’t good either. I remember I had an academic friend who supported Brexit, and he said he knew what it meant to be a leper in the U.K. It was the same with supporting Trump in the U.S.
But there were valid reasons for people to be worried about Trump too.
Well, if you’re a businessman, for example, what Trump said didn’t bother you. The intellectual class of no more than 2,00,000 people in the U.S. don’t represent everyone upset with Trump. The real problem is the ‘faux-expert problem’, one who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and assumes he knows what people think. An electrician doesn’t have that problem.
Is the election of Trump part of a global phenomena? You have commented on the similarity to the election of Narendra Modi in India.
Well, with Trump, Modi, Brexit, and now France, there are some similar problems in those countries. What you are hearing is people getting fed up with the ruling class. This is not fascism. It has nothing to do with fascism. It has to do with the faux-experts problem and a world with too many experts. If we had a different elite, we may not see the same problem.
There are other similarities, to quote from studies of populist movements worldwide: these leaders are majoritarian, they build on resentment, they use social media for direct access to their voters, and they can take radical decisions.
I often say that a mathematician thinks in numbers, a lawyer in laws, and an idiot thinks in words. These words don’t amount to anything. I think you have to draw the conclusion that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts. I saw it with Brexit, and Nigel Farage [leader of the U.K. Independence Party], who was a trader for 15 years, said the problem with the government was that none of them had ever had a proper job. Being a bureaucrat is not a proper job.
As a businessperson, you have a point about experts and pseudo-experts who you say are ‘left-wing’. How do you explain the other parts to the phenomenon that aren’t economic: the xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, etc.?
I don’t understand how a left-wing person can defend Salafism, or religious extremism. In a democracy, you can allow people to have any view, but they can’t come with a message to destroy democracy. Why should people who come to the West come with a message to finish the West? This is where the discourse goes haywire. So in Yemen, the [Saudi] intervention is good, but the intervention [by Russia] in Aleppo shouldn’t be allowed. I don’t think Trump was racist when he said Mexican criminals shouldn’t be allowed into the U.S.; he was targeting criminals. If you are Naziphobic, you are not against Germans. If I oppose Salafism, I am not an Islamophobe. Obama also deported Mexicans and refused to accept immigrants.
Is anti-globalisation a part of this sentiment?
I am not anti-globalisation, but I am against big global corporations. One of the reasons is what they cost. Today, every project sees cost overruns because these projects have to factor in global risks as well. In nature there is an ‘island effect’. The number of species on an island drops significantly when you go to the mainland. Similarly, when you open up your small economies, you lose some of your ethnicity or diversity. Artisans are being killed by globalisation. Think of the effect on so many artists who have been put out of work while people are buying wrinkle-free shirts and cheap mobile phones. I’m a localist. The problem is globalisation comes through large global corporates that are predatory, and so we want to counter its ill-effects.
Where do you see the world moving now? Further right, or will it revert to the centre?
I don’t think it will go left or right, and I don’t know about the short term. But I think in the long term, the world can only survive if it lives like nature does. Many smaller units of governance, and a collection of super islands with some separation, quick decision-making, and visible implementation. Lots of Switzerlands, that’s what we need. What we need is not leaders, we don’t need them. We just need someone at the top who doesn’t mess the system up.
Posted: February 7, 2017, 9:53 pm
NFA bars New York retail foreign exchange dealer Forex Capital Markets, LLC and its principals Dror Niv, William Ahdout and Ornit Niv from membership
February 6, Chicago—National Futures Association (NFA) has barred New York retail foreign exchange dealer Forex Capital Markets, LLC (FXCM) from membership. NFA also barred FXCM principals Dror NivWilliam Ahdout, and Ornit Niv from membership and from acting as a principal of an NFA Member.
The Decision, issued by NFA's Business Conduct Committee (BCC), is based on a Complaint issued by the BCC and a settlement offer submitted by FXCM, Dror Niv, Ahdout and Ornit Niv. The BCC found that FXCM, Dror Niv and Ahdout engaged in numerous deceptive and abusive execution activities that were designed to benefit FXCM, to the detriment of its customers. The BCC also found that FXCM and Dror Niv provided misleading information to NFA. Finally, as a result of a number of significant supervisory failures, the BCC found that FXCM, Dror Niv, Ahdout and Ornit Niv failed to adequately supervise the firm and its employees.
FXCM has had a long history of disciplinary actions involving, among other things, deceptive and abusive execution practices to benefit FXCM to the detriment of its customers. NFA's BCC has authorized four prior Complaints against FXCM. In 2011, FXCM was charged with engaging in asymmetrical price slippage practices and ordered to pay a $2 million monetary sanction and not engage in the types of deceptive and abusive practices detailed in NFA's 2017 Complaint. More information regarding FXCM's disciplinary record is available by using NFA's BASIC system, which is accessible through NFA's website.
The 2017 Decision will become effective on February 21, 2017, and FXCM will withdraw from NFA membership within 15 days of February 21, unless this 15 day period is extended by the BCC.
NFA thanks the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for its assistance.

Posted: February 7, 2017, 3:02 am
Pension Funds represent the retirement accounts for basically 99% of the working class.  Because they don't have many choices, unlike Ultra High Net Worth Individuals.  Global Pension Assets stand at a staggering $35 Trillion according to Willis Towers Watson:

  • At the end of 2015, total pension assets were estimated at USD 35.4 trillion, which represents a decrease of 0.5% compared to USD 35.6 trillion at the end of 2014
  • Pension assets relative to GDP reached 80% in 2015, which represents a decrease of 4% from the 2014 ratio of 84%
  • The largest pension markets are the US, UK and Japan with 62%, 9% and 8% of total pension assets in the study, respectively

USD 35.4 Trillion is a lot of assets, no matter how you look at it.  In any systemic analysis we often forget about such huge pools of capital.  Mostly, these assets are sitting in stocks and bonds, some real estate - all traditional.  They don't invest in alternatives (because of regulatory rules, mostly).  
In what may be the most stunning move in the asset management space in years, the WSJ reports that Harvard University’s endowment, which manages just shy of $36 billion, will undergo a "radical overhaul" in the way the world’s wealthiest school invests its money by outsourcing management of most of its assets and lay off roughly half the staff in the process.
According to the WSJ, about half of the 230 employees at Harvard Management Company will leave as part of a sweeping change by the university’s new endowment chief, N.P. “Narv” Narvekar. This means that the endowment will shut down its internal hedge funds and let go traders by the middle of the year. Additionally, the internal team in charge of direct real-estate investments is expected to spin out into an independent entity that Harvard is expected to invest with. Only management of Harvard’s natural resources portfolio and passively managed exchange-traded funds will remain in house.
Many fund managers and traders often scratch their heads at how something can be possible, when there is an apparent sea of consistent strategies offering moderate, if not conservative, returns (like 20% per year.)
But such funds like Harvard and Calpers are rife with politics, and staffed with people that generally don't understand markets.  Of course there are exceptions - but having a $30 Billion loss without any hedging in place - well, that's really unprofessional, to say the least.
Of course, once again, who suffers?  It's not going to be the Pension managers, or the hedge funds they 'outsourced' to manage the funds - it's the beneficiaries - working people.  Retirement plans, pension plans - can blow up.  Or in the best case, as is the case now, they can dwindle down so poorly to the point that retirees get only a fraction of what they are expecting.
There's really no solution to this problem, except for working people to stand up to their pension managers - which they do from time to time, but the Pension Funds are staffed with a political Chinese Wall of staffers with 'quick answers' to shut down their inquiries.  
With the renovations Trump is doing to the system of American Government - is the public pension system next?  Harvard's move may be a sign of things to come.  And it needs reform, losing $30 Billion like Calpers is at best, shameful.  At worst, illegal.
Posted: January 28, 2017, 8:45 pm

Summary

Blockchain to revolutionize financial services.
Overstock's competitors are very successful, now Overstock has an edge.
Company is moving fast and furious in disruptive tech.
Overstock.com appears to be one of the many overlooked tech stocks that is extremely undervalued. As we said in an article last year, based on several key business elements, we believe (NASDAQ:OSTK) is a value buy and a long term play. While day to day operations, earnings, and other variables keep this stock off the radar of most investors, there can be a day that puts Overstock.com on the map - which can happen any day. It can be a news release related to a blockchain related order, or a new contract where Overstock.com is supplying the technology to a huge vendor.
Here's one reason why we believe this company is overlooked. Even in December, when the company received exposure on equities.com, the description failed to mention blockchain or overstock.com's other tech assets:
Overstock.com Inc is an online retailer offering closeout and discount brand and non-brand name merchandise, including bed-and-bath goods, home décor, kitchenware, watches, jewelry, electronics and computers, apparel, and designer accessories.
Overstock.com Inc. is based out of Salt Lake City, UT and has some 1,900 employees. Its CEO is Patrick M. Byrne.
It is true, that Overstock.com's core business is, and has been, online retailing. But Overstock.com isn't likely to take over Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) anytime soon. But Overstock.com has diversified into so much more than online retailing. Blockchain and related technologies, are no doubt going to be the game changer technology in financial services in the coming decade.
See a recent release about Overstock.com's blockchain technology:
Overstock.com, Inc. (OSTK) has reached a new milestone in its efforts to bring Wall Street and bitcoin pioneered crypto-revolution closer. The world's first trading portal for the exchange of securities on blockchain technology is ready and has been built by Overtstock.com's majority-owned fintech subsidiary t0. Overstock.com recently announced approval of a non-transferable rights offering by its board of directors which allows its stockholders of record to purchase shares of its preferred stock, including preferred shares to be issued and traded exclusively on a registered alternative trading system using the t0 issuance and trading platform.
Like much disruptive technology, it's hard to see which company will be 'the one' that leads the herd in tech that most agree will be a dominating factor in the future of an industry. For every Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) there's a hundreds perhaps thousands of failures. But Overstock.com has a track record of success, and isn't any neophyte when it comes to the markets.
Posted: January 13, 2017, 3:20 pm
(GLOBALINTELHUB) – There’s been a lot of discussion lately on the ‘internets’ (The internet is a medium which was invented by Al Gore and named ‘internets’ by George Bush) about CIA mind control, and CIA propaganda techniques being heavily used in the campaign to deceive the public about Russian ‘hacking’ and to create false enemies like ‘terrorists’ such as the alleged mind controlled shooter (shooter admits he was ‘mind controlled’ by intelligence agency, eyewitness claims there were at least three other “sleepers,” shooters, with high-powered rifles shooting into crowd » Intellihub):
 Santiago, who was arrested in January and waiting to stand trial in March on criminal charges, recently showed up to an F.B.I. office in Anchorage unannounced seeking help.
Santiago told the F.B.I. he thought he was being mind controlled, possibly by the U.S. government or the C.I.A. and admitted hearing voices, which Santiago said told him to study “extremist materials on the Internet,” the New York Times reports.
This is no surprise as those following this topic for years know that this is a common method used by the CIA originally developed during the 60’s most notably but not exclusively through a program known as MK Ultra.  You can read more about this in this book: Virtual Government: CIA Mind Control Operations in America.
The fact is that the CIA, as a branch of America, Inc. is simply the arm of a business.  It’s a subversive division of a huge corporate enterprise called America, Inc. which has turned everything into a business, even politics.  Health care is a ‘business’ now and even there is something called the ‘restaurant industry’ – where people used to cook now even that has been outsourced to corporate America Inc.  The CIA and it’s games are no different – they are simply a well funded group that protects American business interests at home and abroad (with a flat world, who is to say there are not reasons the CIA needs to operate domestically, for example terrorist cells in Florida, foreign owned corporations which is nearly 50% of all US corporations… )
We explain the connection between the CIA and the markets in our book Splitting Pennies.  The CIA works for the banks.  Banking, is simply the most profitable business in America.  There are nearly 10,000 banks in USA.  In previous times, the CIA worked for other corporations such as The United Fruit company, ending in a coup in Guatemala in 1954.  It’s not a conspiracy, it’s not a secret, it’s just business.  The connection between the CIA and America Inc. is fairly simple, it’s explicit, obvious, and useful for American business.  Now, the modus operandi is the information war – the war for your mind – which is largely fought on the battlefield of the internet.  So the CIA backed Facebook, Google, and other data-collecting internet ventures through their VC arm (ironically, the only non-profit VC fund in Silicon Valley) In-q-tel.  Of course, early stage investment comes with one condition – management has to sign an NDA that protects ‘classified’ investors CIA, NSA, etc.  And their other condition – to provide them with ‘data’ as they request it.
Those in financial services know quite well how quickly the FBI can shut down your offices, and most financial professionals are given training about Patriot Act compliance and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) training always includes the humorous ‘terrorist identification training’ – bankers are supposed to ask their clients if they are terrorists, and report any suspicious activity to FinCen.  The reality of these programs is they do not stop any terrorist financing they only stop Americans with dogs with strange names like “Dash” and serve as a potential threat to ‘fake news sites’ (anyone can be reported as a terrorist, without any evidence – and because of new rules you are guilty until proven innocent).  Fortunately this power isn’t being used YET but it exists, and it’s there.  They’re still using the planting child porn trick which seems to work well because how can you prove that you didn’t plant it, everyone who actually is a pedophile hides the fact that he is.
The CIA was a business from day one, but it has rapidly evolved and changed with the times.  It’s first several significant clients were Oil Sheik states, leading to the extremely economically positive Nixon US Dollar / Petro Dollar deal currently supporting the US Dollar today; opening up the seizure of huge assets in Latin and Central America for US and UK corporations; and in the last 20 years the creation of a new generation of vassal states like Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, and the final attempt at Syria which is a huge failure.  Now, the CIA has simply shifted to adapt to the new world, their focus is now the information war, mostly on behalf of their banking clients, but also the information war can be used to create “Arab Spring” or even to fake a hacked election as we’re seeing now with this Wag the Dog style campaign.  A major difference in the CIA’s project “Russian Hacked the Elections” and other campaigns is this is one of the first large domestic, politicized campaigns.  Few Americans would critisize the agency for working hard for the taxpayer getting that Oil we are so thirsty for, or for helping US companies plunder foreign assets.  We have big appetites and as a net importer we need the spice to flow.
But here they may have crossed the line, getting themselves involved in domestic politics is an obvious conflict of interest and interesting abuse of power (as the Democrats still hold the keys to the kingdom for another few days).  Trump says he’s going to revamp the intelligence aparatus – we’ll see what happens when he’s in the Oval Office.
If you’re an ECP / QEP or from another country checkout these great investment strategies from Fortress Capital CTA & RIA.  Due to the wacky Dodd-Frank regulations half of Wall St. can only offer their services to non-US citizens, and billionaires.  
Posted: January 7, 2017, 6:45 pm
Posted: January 7, 2017, 12:06 am
2016 was a bad year for hedge funds, pension funds, and university endowments.  In fact, the last several years have been horrible.  But until now, there haven’t been many alternatives.  Hedge Funds became popular for investors who wanted to achieve more than the 4% or 6% offered by traditional managed investments like mutual funds.  Although their history evolved from the idea of ‘hedging’ the market (hedge funds could sell AND buy, can you imagine?) this quickly evolved into an asset class where managers employed strategies based on mathematics in order to achieve above than average and above than expected returns.  And some private funds such as Renaissance do very well year in and year out – continued to this day.  But the majority suffer from strategy fatigue, and failure to bring in a new generation of ‘quants’ that can do anything more than copy, paste, and cold call.  If we skip all the Soros bashing about how he manipulates politics (which, on the surface, is not a bad investing strategy if you have the money to do it, and to control both sides – this is a Rothschild invention not a Soros invention) – the Soros family of funds outperformed their peers by a significant multiple.  These funds were trading the markets, unlike what some may want us to believe.  Some of their policies to ‘influence’ foreign markets (historically, from the 80s) may have been seen as unethical – and it may be.  But the returns have always been spectacular.  We’ll see soon if Robert can continue the family legacy of great returns – it looks like – yes he can!  
But the few examples of extraordinary funds with consistent returns like Renaissance, they’re an anomaly.  The industry in general has suffered from poor returns, which when combined with the standard 2/20 fee model – can be disastrous for investors’ confidence.  Bloomberg ran a story recently with verbage such as "The year Big Money ditched Hedge Funds:
“There has been a massive blowback from public pension funds and private endowments,’’ said Craig Effron, who co-founded his Scoggin Capital Management nearly 30 years ago. An investor told him recently that many chief investment officers are so fed up that they would prefer to entrust their cash to a trader who charged no management fee, over one who did, even if they expected the latter to make them more money.
Public retirement plans from Kentucky to New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island have decided to pull money from hedge funds. So did a state university in Maryland and other endowments. MetLife Inc. and other insurers followed suit. Money-losing firms were forced to reduce their fees. Client withdrawals ($53 billion in the last four quarters) drove some managers out of business, including veteran Richard Perry, who until recently had managed one of the longest-standing and better-performing firms.
It's not surprising that investors - especially institutional investors, are abandoning such strategies.  As they say in trading, 'you're only as good as your last trade.'  According to Barclay Hedge Fund Data, 2016 is a little better than 2015, but not much:
4.89% is a good return, but it's not much better than you can acheive with traditional mutual funds or tax free munis.  Certainly it's not a compelling reason to drain your IRA from the markets and invest with hedge funds.  But, this is just an average, there are strategies out there that overperform this index, such as this one.
The California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) is about to report the world’s largest public employee pension suffered an actuarial investment loss of $30.8 billion last year.
CalPERS manages the defined pension plan investments and record keeping for 3,007 California state and local government entities. The pension plan is also responsible for paying the pension benefits to 611,078 retirees and will eventually be responsible for paying retirement benefits to another 868,713 active and 335,908 inactive government workers.
Despite Governor Jerry Brown last summer demanding CalPERS immediately “lower its investment risk and volatility of returns” by reducing its “assumed” annual investment return from 7.5 percent to 6.5 percent, the CalPERS board voted 7- 3 on November 15, 2015 only to slowly reduce the investment return expectation over the next decade.
Practically, the slow death of the hedge fund industry is merely a milestone in its evolution.  Just like robotic strategies are now replacing traditional managers with a suit and tie, the structure of investments is evolving, too.  Hedge Funds aren't going to go away anytime soon, but how they are structured, how the fees are charged, and the strategies that they use, will rapidly change in 2017.  For example, some strategies such as managed accounts have a fee structure that charges only a percentage of profit, called 'performance fee' - with no other fees.  See one example the Magic FX strategy, for QEP/ECP US investors only - which charges a 30% performance fee from the profit.  In this model, if the strategy doesn't perform for investors, there is no fee.  This type of pay for performance model has been around for years, but will become more useful in a climate of diminishing returns and investors angry at paying fees for getting no results or even losing money.  It really is crazy, why investors should pay managers millions of dollars for losing money - it just shows how programmed investors are by traditional media, as we explain in Splitting Pennies the book.
While clients have only pulled a net 2 percent of assets so far, Tony James, the president at Blackstone Group, the largest investor in hedge funds, predicted in May that the industry would shrink by roughly a quarter over the next year. Hedge fund closures (782 in the first nine months) are on track to be the most since 2008, and startups (576) the fewest.
Any manager still standing applauds a smaller industry. Less money under management means fewer crowded trades and more chances to find the elusive alpha. Interest rates on the rise in the U.S., while still near zero or negative in the rest of the world, should also help. The Trump presidency, which promises less regulation, more infrastructure spending and the potential return of prop trading by banks, could also be a boon.
Where will the assets go?  The alternative investment industry is large - institutional funds, pension funds, hedge funds, are but a small part.  According to Barclay Hedge, there are 342 Billion in Managed Futures:
And, although the change from Q2 to Q3 of 2016 is a small percentage of @ $9 Billion, it is a positive figure, and shows that managed futures is one place funds are flowing into.  CTAs, CPOs, and other types of managed investments that have a track record should all benefit from the poor performance of traditional managers, especially those which don't charge a management fee.  But in any scenario, investors only started to loathe the management fees when performance suffered.  When performance is good - who doesn't mind paying for it?
And finally - it may shed light on the still standing FX manager industry.  While these hedge funds have suffered volatile returns, losses, and fee congestion - some FX managers have continued to perform year in and year out with the use of complex algorithms, that work in FX but not in other markets.  Now may be the time for institutional investors to take another look at such algorithmic FX strategies.
Here's a list of books to add to your bookshelf to enlighten yourself.
Posted: January 2, 2017, 12:03 am
Fortress Capital is an IB, CTA, and RIA with a focus on Foreign Exchange.  Fortress offers Forex managed accounts that can be executed at your preferred MT4 broker, or at one of ours (See our flagship strategy Global Alpha FX).


For traders who want to improve their trading or business owners who want to understand Forex better, we also offer a unique Forex Education Course “Introduction to Foreign Exchange” where students receive actual trading robots to trade their own account, and a hardcopy of Splitting Pennies book, and much more.


Our Magic FX Strategy didn’t have a losing month in 4 years of live trading.  You can learn more at www.magicfxstrategy.com or visit our website Fortress Capital Inc. at www.fortresscapitalinc.com 


For traders who trade their own account, money managers, trade rooms, or trade groups, Fortress offers a desktop signal service with 70% accuracy.  We offer a free 30 day trial to prove to you how accurate these trade signals are https://fortresscapitalinc.com/forex/vortex-signal-system/  because we know you’ll be hooked on Vortex signals.  And the best part – it doesn’t matter where they are executed (on any broker).


Fortress also offers FX hedging services, deliverable payments for businesses who do regular FX payments, business loans, and much more.  




Posted: November 30, 2016, 3:52 am
Our technology & development company Vector Informatics has put together an ecommerce site for R&D of emerging internet technologies (recently, we've been exploring emerging payment alternatives) PleaseOrderIt.com  

Today is Black Friday, America's commercial holiday - the 'real' Thanksgiving.  Today, millions of Americans will buy things they don't need with money they don't have to impress people they don't know.  Well, if you want to avoid the melee, shop online at Pleaseorderit.com checkout our Black Friday specials here.  Pleaseorderit.com also has free stuff, online specials, free trials - and more!


Posted: November 25, 2016, 8:33 pm
You asked for it, we delivered.  EES has released the Penny Splitter strategy, as featured in our best selling book Splitting Pennies - for the Meta Trader 5 platform.  Check it out here in the MQL5.com marketplace.
Penny Splitter (PS) is a strategy that trades on a single pair, every x pips, with a small trade, betting on a trend reversal. PS has very simple logic; If the pair is going up it sells, and if the pair is going down, it buys. It uses small trades and gradually increases by counting (i.e. 1,2,3,4,5,6); and thus 'legging in' to a trade rather than trying to pick the perfect entry point.



Posted: October 24, 2016, 2:14 pm
Joe Gelet, author of Splitting Pennies, was interviewed on Destiny Survival podcast, by John Wesley Smith.  Checkout what he had to say about the interview, at his site www.destinysurvival.com:

Joe and I had no trouble filling the time allotted to us for DestinySurvival Radio. He’s quite knowledgeable and explains things thoroughly.
When I asked him to define Forex, it might sound at first like he’s going down a rabbit trail. But he’s not. Listen carefully to what he says about the U.S. dollar and foreign exchange money markets, and it will make sense. Throughout his book he layers on finer points describing Forex.
Here’s how massive Forex is.
Forex is the driver of the global economy. It supercedes nation states, politics, even religion. It’s not governed by law, but by trading principles.
Our Federal Reserve plays a large role in Forex, as do other central banks.
In the book he asserts it’s irrelevant as to who owns the Federal Reserve.Things are what they are. We owe it to ourselves to know a little something about how the system works.
It’s startling to think our Federal Reserve can create money from nothing, and we accept it as such. Yet this plays a significant role in inflation, which affects all of us. Joe and I talked about this and explored what it means to have a fiat money system.
Even though the Fed can create money from nothing, it wouldn’t be wise to print ourselves out of debt. Nor would it be a good idea to go into default.
But about that ever present fiat money…
This may sound shocking to some, but Joe asserts in his book that the U.S. dollar isn’t backed by gold but by bombs. You won’t want to miss what he has to say about this during our conversation. If you’ve paid attention to the news for the past 10-15 years, you’ll observe he’s not saying anything we don’t already know.
To me all of this is terrifying. We’re living in a world whose system is based on feathers and fairy tales.
Does that mean the many dire predictions about a sudden economic crash are sure to come to pass?
Not as Joe sees it. Or at least not in the way most sensationalists would have us believe. That’s because there’s no good alternative to the dollar.
What does Joe mean when he says banks can’t do without the economy, but the economy can do without banks? We discussed that. And I think it bodes well for us, should we end up in the midst of the proverbial postapocalyptic scenario one day.
And what about Bitcoin and other alternate currencies? They’ve been touted as revolutionary and independent of the big banking system. But are they? Listen to Joe’s comments and draw your own conclusions.
If you make financial investments, Joe offers what seems to me to be a reasonable solution. But what if you can’t invest?
If you had $1,000 to put toward getting prepared, what should you do? I think you’ll be surprised by Joe’s advice. (Hint: It’s a practical position I have taken for quite some time.)
Joe’s goal is to help you and me be better prepared financially. Thus, his book. You may also want to see SplittingPennies.com.
You can listen to the podcast on YouTube by clicking here, or press play below:


Posted: October 23, 2016, 1:29 am
There's still a large percentage of the American population that doesn't understand money.  That's why we released our book,Splitting Pennies - to explain how the financial system works.  FX continues to remain a mystery to voters, although it may be the most important issue that can make or break the US economy in the next 10 years.  The election is a political metaphor to the lie being sold in ecomomics; the Establishment has convinced us that, price inflation is from retailers - it's small business that causes inflation.  Not monetary supply.  Another $20 Trillion USD, it doesn't create inflation.  Take a look at this chart and close your eyes and imagine, where this mass of Trillions of USD flows:
$20 or some odd Trillion (who needs to count, at such levels) inflates markets, inflates prices of consumer goods, it pushes the value of the US Dollar down.  All of these effects are plainly obvious, you don't need a degree in high finance to understand this.  But, through a complicated system of 'programming' - they have somehow blinded people into believing what they see on TV, and questioning things which are not on TV, as some sort of 'internet conspiracy.'
If you believe everything you see on TV, you might want to checkout this book: A People's History of the United States; in fact - this is a MUST READ for any investor, as it explains history from 'another' side, the side of the people.  Is TRUMP a 'people's' movement?  One thing is certain, TRUMP has blown a hole in the illusion world many have been living in these past few years.  He's exposed the corruption, and how the system has failed.  The system really did work, it's not a cliche, but these were different times.  You see, History is written by the winners, by the rich, by the haves - not the have nots.  Who is Gore Vidal?  If Bush hadn't stolen the 2000 Presidential Election from his cousin, Al Gore, everyone would remember this name.  There are, like Gore Vidal, many Americans who are part of the Elite but are not so stupid, so corrupt, so greedy, so evil - like the rest of the crowd.  In fact, there are many.  But no one knows them - because they aren't part of the social control mechanism.  They don't sell well.  Who is Howard Zinn?  Who cares - turn on the TV.
One victim of this programming system are the executives running Sketchers corporation (SKX) whose stock dropped 17%, due to a number of factors, but - well they admiteed "I know nothing about Currencies" on the conference call.  Losing millions for no reason, at least it's not helpful for investors' confidence.
Additionally, the negative currency translation impact on our international wholesale and retail sales for the quarter was $15.9 million. We believe that our international business represents the greatest growth opportunity with many countries continuing to show strong sales increases in the quarter, including China at over 50%.
"Currency Headwinds" are nothing new, but it seems corporate America still hasn't warmed up to the fact that there is something called FX, and it's possible to protect yourself from such changes, and it's called hedging.  Heck, they can learn the basics from our booktake this course, or open an account for only $1 at Oanda and get world-class analysis for free.  But it's easier to write it off as "Currency Headwinds" a popular topic at cocktail parties, and the leading excuse for losses.  Remember "Inflationary Pressures" was an accounting-speak psuedo excuse for losses?  The department of financial language modification is capitalizing on people's lack of knowledge of FX, and thus created "Currency Headwinds" as the new go-to phrase when your international business has a big red hole and you need to save face.  By using this excuse, it will guarantee them a post-employment job at the Fed, because they were quoted in a major news source saying the keyword "Currency".  This is an especially necessary mark on their Resume in case they worked their way to the top, and didn't go to Yale or Harvard B-school.
Even though TRUMP isn't talking about FX, maybe it's really a big metaphor.  This election has shown us so far how ridiculous and unprofessional the Establishment is.  Never before have they been so sloppy, so bombastic, so irrational and vulgar, with their manipulation tactics - and shown it all in detail on social media!  The fact that, after all this - people still vote for Democrats, shows either their utter stupidity, or their blind faith, and agreement that evil is good, corruption is good, war is good.  Maybe they really are reptiles running our planet, if such people exist (if they really are 'people').  
In either event, TRUMP already has won the information war.  Never before has a non-establishmentarian been in the spotlight with a full audience, outlining all the corruption and manipulation and anti-American activities of the Elite.  Any businessman in America knows it, either they are profiting from it, or they are angry about it.  But not all people know - just like people don't know about FX.  We should thank TRUMP for starting this conversation, they can kill insiders - but they can't kill us all.  
In terms of actual political measures that Trump would propose and/or enact, he listed the following six:
  1. "A Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress."
  2. "A hiring freeze on all federal employees."
  3. "A requirement that for every new federal regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated."
  4. "A 5-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government."
  5. "A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government."
  6. "A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections."
Bravo!  But these measures, they are a direct attack on the current pay for play 'business' that's been created in Washington.  It's really a great and noble idea.  Making a business out of power - brokering is not a business at all.  Politicians are supposed to be civil servants, not power monsters, grifters, or agents of foreign powers (i.e. Israel, Rothschilds, etc.)  But are these measures practical?  The octopus has tentacles everywhere, and they will stop at nothing to maintain their power and the status quo, even if it means suspending elections, martial law, starting a war, alien invasion, name it.  Don't be surprised to see anything in next 2 weeks.  In the meantime, get prepared!
Don't forget that, politicians depend from one important entity - The Fed - for money.  They need your votes, but more importantly, they need money.  When Obama needs money, he doesn't beg from donors, he picks up the phone "Hello Fed?  Yes, I need $100 Billion.  For what you ask?  I'm starting a War, I mean, (cough cough) I'm worn out.. Just need to pay bills of American people.  10 minutes?  Thanks, you're the best."  
Here's a good free Forex lesson:  Guess which is the "REAL" Monopoly money, in the true sense of the definition:
Posted: October 22, 2016, 7:52 pm
The Euro "will collapse" as it is a"house of cards" warned Otmar Issing, the founder and creator of the euro in an extraordinary interview on Monday.
euro_drachmaPaper currency - Euro paper notes and Greek drachma note
In the explosive interview with the journal Central Banking, Professor Issing, said "one day, the house of cards will collapse”  as the European Central Bank (ECB) is becoming dangerously over-extended and the whole euro project is unworkable in its current form.
The founding architect of the monetary union has warned that Brussels' dream of a European superstate will finally be buried amongst the rubble of the crumbling single currency he designed.
“Realistically, it will be a case of muddling through, struggling from one crisis to the next. It is difficult to forecast how long this will continue for, but it cannot go on endlessly," he told the journal Central Banking in a remarkable deconstruction of the EU project.
The respected economist launched a withering attack on so called eurocrats and German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, accusing them of betraying the principles of the euro and demonstrating scandalous incompetence over its management.
And he savaged the whole idea of a federal "United States of Europe", saying the attempt to push through federalisation in a stealth manner "by the back door" has turned the very foundations that the currency was built on into a complete mess of patchwork legislation, into which it is sinking fast.
As is frequently the case when there is substantive damaging criticism about the EU and ECB from respected and authoritative sources, the interview was treated in quite an Orwellian manner. It completely ignored and not reported by most state run media in Ireland, the UK and EU.  Most state run media is overwhelmingly pro-EU and continues to ignore the serious problems and growing risks posed by the single currency and the undemocratic EU to the citizens of Europe. Nor was it reported in most corporate media in the EU which also tends to ignore all reasonable criticisms of the EU, ECB and especially the euro.
The explosive interview has been covered extensively in the more "right wing" euro "skeptic" media in the UK in papers such as The Telegraph and The Mail which means that most people in the EU will not even be aware of Otmar Issing's very real and reasonable concerns and the growing risks posed to the currency they use in their lives every day and their very way of life.
gold in euros_2016Gold in Euros - 5 Years
The coming collapse of the euro is seems inevitable. The question is when rather than if. It gives us no pleasure to say so as the collapse of the euro  will be financially painful for family, friends and people and companies in all EU nations.
The euro has even greater challenges than sterling which has collapsed more than 43% against gold this year. It is only a matter of time before market participants and foreign exchange traders' focus, moves from sterling to the 'not so single' euro. Then the euro will see a similar depreciation and devaluation in the coming months.
Gold will again fulfill its primary role which is as a hedge against currency devaluation. As it has done in the UK and many other nations in recent months and indeed has done throughout history.
Gold and Silver Bullion - News and Commentary
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Gold Prices (LBMA AM)
18 Oct: USD 1,261.65, GBP 1,031.15 & EUR 1,145.33 per ounce
17 Oct: USD 1,252.70, GBP 1,029.59 & EUR 1,139.58 per ounce
14 Oct: USD 1,256.15, GBP 1,028.79 & EUR 1,140.08 per ounce
13 Oct: USD 1,258.00, GBP 1,029.93 & EUR 1,141.76 per ounce
12 Oct: USD 1,255.70, GBP 1,024.53 & EUR 1,139.05 per ounce
11 Oct: USD 1,256.40, GBP 1,021.58 & EUR 1,130.76 per ounce
10 Oct: USD 1,262.10, GBP 1,016.62 & EUR 1,129.71 per ounce
Silver Prices (LBMA)
18 Oct: USD 17.65, GBP 14.37 & EUR 16.03 per ounce
17 Oct: USD 17.40, GBP 14.30 & EUR 15.83 per ounce
14 Oct: USD 17.47, GBP 14.28 & EUR 15.86 per ounce
13 Oct: USD 17.59, GBP 14.40 & EUR 15.95 per ounce
12 Oct: USD 17.44, GBP 14.23 & EUR 15.83 per ounce
11 Oct: USD 17.48, GBP 14.26 & EUR 15.78 per ounce
10 Oct: USD 17.78, GBP 14.31 & EUR 15.92 per ounce

Recent Market Updates
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- “Gold Is A Great Hedge Against Politicians” – Goldman
- Sell Gold Now – Time To Liquidate Gold ETF, Pooled and Digital Gold
- Gold In GBP Up 43% YTD – “Massive Twin Deficits” To Impact UK Assets
- Ron Paul Says “Gold Going Up” Whether Trump Or Clinton Elected
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- GBP Gold Rises 1.3% as Sterling Slumps On ‘Hard Brexit’ Concerns, Up 36% YTD
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- ECB Refused “To Answer Questions” – Deutsche Bank “Systemic Threat” Is “Not ECB Fault”
Posted: October 18, 2016, 9:07 pm
The war on intelligence is in full swing.  It's game time.  They've been planning this for years.  As we explain in Splitting Pennies, the world isn't as it seems, in fact - the world is a great big illusion to many.
In case you're not following this trend, since the 1980's the Elite in America have invested heavily in what one expert calls the "Dumbing Down" of Americans, basically, a coordinated effort to make Americans stupid.  To get the gist of this program, you'll want to checkout this book The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.  It lays the groundwork for what decades later will become full scale intelligence warfare - it's the war for your mind.  You see, the Elite, as rich and powerful as they are - they don't force anyone to do anything, physically.  There's this pesky thing now, called "FREE WILL" and sadly, few choose to follow this (they prefer, to do what is told to them on TV, or have their opinions formed for them).
Being covered here on Zero Hedge in an unprecedented fashion, never before have we seen the inner workings of how the Elite manipulate elections in America.  During previous presidential elections, there wasn't such internet penetration.  Also, the majority of people now carry smartphones, able to capture odd moments, or record 'secret' conversations, like this election official admitting to busing voters around to vote again and again.
There's two issues high level planners are using to manipulate the vote.  But let's give credit where credit is due.  They're doing a great job, but at the consent of voters - and most of this 'manipulation' is actually legal.  They are preying on the general stupidity and laziness of people.  The first issue, is the artificial 'race war' that's being created - that's a topic for another article.  The second issue, is the perceived threat of Russia.  Russia never was a threat and never will be, economically, militarily, or otherwise.  But it has throughout history, from time to time, served as a convenient enemy (such as during the 'Cold War').  Where to begin?  
Wall Street has long had a unique and fascinating relationship with Russia.  Currently, Wall St. dominated by Russian programmers (physically that is, they live and work in NY).  This relationship was most interesting however, when a group of Wall St. Bankers saw opportunity in revolution, and provided needed financing to a group of rag tag intellectuals known as the Bolsheviks.  If you're not up to date on this situation, this book is a MUST READ: Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution.  Not only does this book tell the tale of how Wall St. financed what would later become the Soviet Union, it also serves as a good example of 'how the world really works.'
Today's topic is more artificial - there's no situation with Russia.  It's completely contrived.  The Democratic party, in collusion with the entire establishment against Trump, has created a situation where "Russia is Bad" playing on the fears of older boomers who remember sitting under their desks in school during bomb raid drills.  Even though many have grown up to realize it was all lies during the Cold War - not all have.  And even those smarter boomers have deep seeded mistrust of Russians in the back of their subconscious planted long ago, by the social control mechanism.
Point 2.  It's impossible for Russia to 'hack' the election and fix the results.  But, this is a meme that needs to be implanted because it's actually the DNC that's planning to fix the elections, with their establishement friends at Diebold.
Point 3.  Trump has no business with Russia.  The threads they weave to build this link are so weak they are almost silly.  Trump sold a property to a Russian oligarch in Palm Beach.  He has sold thousands of properties, in New York and South Florida, statistically, any number of those properties could be Russian owned.  There are 3.3 MILLION RUSSIAN-AMERICANS this is not a small number.  Unlike previous generations of immigrants, modern Russian-Americans may keep ties to Russia especially with family.  It's actually surprising that Trump hasn't done MORE business with Russians in America, especially regarding properties, as this has been one demographic that's been naive to the real estate bubble, snapping up high end properties in NYC, Miami, and LA.  It looks as though, journalists were 'told' to make a connection, and then it was regurgitated throughout the establishment controlled media.
So what is their game?  Problem-reaction-solution.  What's the problem?  Russia wants to take over the world (or something like that, but since Soviet Union collapsed this argument is very weak).  What is mostly people's reaction?  Fear, confusion, and flight to safety - or at least, perceived safety.  What's the solution?  An establishment character, a 'Clinton.'  Bill Clinton was in office at a time when the Soviet Union collapsed, and was highly disorganized.  Of course, just like we said in previous articles, Bill Clinton was not responsible for the boom of the 90s, and he wasn't responsible for a weak Russia.  But the way this social control paradigm works, it works on subtle references, subliminal messages, deeply implanted subconscious memes - and when you hear a 'bell' you raise your right hand and say "I pledge allegience to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands.."
Trump is being painted as a traitor - an anti-American, Pro-Russia (which means, pro-Criminal in their programming speak).
Russia Slams "Unprecedented, Insolent" US Cyber Threats, Vows Retaliation  This is perhaps the most embarrasing, ridiculous moment for a Vice President who is helping the democratic party get another one of their own elected, by being a key player in this anti-Trump/Russia meme.  WARNING - TO THOSE READERS WHO HAVE CHILDREN, YOU MAY WANT TO CENSOR THIS CONTENT AS IT CAN LEAD TO ADULT-STUPIDITY.
Russia in this case is a bystander, they're just again a convenient enemy.  But are they really?  As we've seen in the complex black hole Syria, the enemy of my enemy, is my friend.  It wouldn't be surprising if Democrats had a deal with the Kremlin, 'look mean - wave your arms around, speak in large words with a loud voice' and the translator inserts in English "I will destroy American Culture, burn your villages and steal your potatoes!"

To clarify, Russia is not a threat to US democracy.  Russia has severe problems of its own.  Russia is not going to hack the elections.  Russia is being used as a 'proxy issue' in order to confuse voters into voting for Clinton, the establishment candidate. 
Posted: October 17, 2016, 1:12 am
I recently watched the recent Noam Chomsky documentary, Requiem for the American Dream, and it was excellent. I highly recommend everyone watch it since it provides a historical roadmap for how positive change happens. Lessons that we will all need to put into practice in the coming years if we want to take the world off its current collision course with disaster.
With Chomsky already on my mind, I was excited to see an article published yesterday at AlterNet titled, Noam Chomsky Unravels the Political Mechanics Behind His Gradual Expulsion From Mainstream Media.
Here’s what we learned:
Ralph Nader and leading linguist Noam Chomsky engaged in a much anticipated discussion in early October on Ralph Nader Radio Hour. The two raised questions about changing the media narrative in a totalitatian-like state, and how Chomsky got dismissed from the mainstream altogether.

“How often have you been on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times,” Nader asked Chomsky.

For Chomsky, the last time was over a decade ago.

“[I was asked] to write about the Israeli separation wall, actually an annexation wall that runs through the West Bank and breaking apart the Palestinian communities… condemned as illegal by the World Court,” Chomsky told Nader.

Chomsky would later pen a similar piece for CNN on the 2013 Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. But Chomsky has never been interviewed on the network; Nor has he appeared on NBC, ABC or CBS.

“How about NPR and PBS, partially taxpayer-supported.. more free-thinking and more tolerant [outlets]?” Nader wanted to know.

“I’ve been on ‘Charlie Rose’ two or three times,” Chomsky told Nader, adding that he had a curious story about a particularly Boston outlet for NPR based in Boston University.

“They used to have a program in their prime time news programs all things considered some years ago at 5:25… maybe once a week or so, a five-minute discussion with someone who had written a new book and there’s a lot of pressure,” Chomsky began.

NPR was going to allow Chomsky to present his book, “Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies” (1989).

“I  got a call from the publisher telling me when I should tune [in at 5pm] and I never listened [before], so I tuned in [and] there was five minutes of music… I started getting phone calls from around the country asking ‘What happened to the piece?'” Chomsky remembered.

He didn’t know.

“I then got a call from the station manager in Washington who told me that she’d been getting calls and she didn’t understand it because it was listed… she called back saying kind of embarrassed … that some bigwig in the system had heard the announcement at five o’clock and had ordered it cancelled,” Chomsky explained.
This is not what a free press looks like.
The irony of Chomsky’s media criticism being dismissed by the media is not lost on the former MIT professor, who remains constantly awed by America’s level of censorship.

“Any one of the former Bush-Cheney warmongers like Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton and others have gotten far more press after they’ve left federal positions; in the New York Times The Wall Street Journal the Washington Post,” Nader said.

And unlike Chomsky, “They’ve been on television public television, NPR and they have a record of false statements; they have record of deception, they have record of pursuing policies are illegal under our Constitution under international law and under federal statutes such as criminal invasion of Iraq and other adventures around the world,” Nader pointed out.

But the media problem permeates thouroughly throughout other industries, like education and government.

“Now a society that operates in a way where propaganda is not only emanating from the major media but it gets into our schools, the kind of courses are taught, the content of the history, is a society that’s not going to be mobilized for its own survival, much less the survival of other countries whose dictators we have for decades supported to oppress their people,” explained Nader.
Below you can find Nader’s full interview of Chomsky as well as the trailer for the documentary, Requiem for the American Dream.


    Posted: October 13, 2016, 7:26 pm
    While markets wait for the election, getting closer by the day- one big question - in fact maybe the most important question - What is Trump's plans (if any) for Fed policy?  As we explain in Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex - Fed Policy (Monetary Policy) TRUMPS any regulation, domestic political policy, corporate policy, or social movement.  In fact - the only thing more powerful than Fed policy is a nuclear arsenal (which is why - there is a correlation between the most powerful currencies and the most powerful militaries).
    The BIG Question
    Even TRUMP supporters don't know the answer to this question - because Trump never explicitly said it.  Maybe Trump doesn't understand Fed policy.  He is sure of himself that he understands debt.  Maybe he does know - but also knows that the people don't know so it's pointless to talk about it.  Whatever is the case - we don't know where Trump stands on the one issue that will determine America's economic fate one way or another - Fed policy.  Will the Fed continue Quantitative Easing?  Will radical Fed policies clean up a junk filled economy (for example, by raising rates to 10%) ?  Will Trump nationalize the Fed?  (Maybe - that's what the Elite are worried about!) - Let's make one thing perfectly clear.  He can do it!   99% of 'folks' don't understand what the President really does, what his powers are, for example the President is more of a 'ceremonial' and 'cultural' leader than anything else.. But Trump would have the power to do something like this if President.  Would he do it?  Something like this - just as an example - would transform Wall St. and the US economy completely.  Maybe, as we've covered in previous articles, this is THE REAL DEBATE going on right now at the Fed, and behind closed doors on Wall St.  
    Let's take a step back, and understand how far Presidential power stretches.  A great President, maybe one of only great Presidents-  Richard Nixon - Created the Forex market as we know it today.  In one swift move, Nixon defaulted on Bretton Woods and in the same moment, defaulted on his Gold obligations, and made the US Dollar the World's Reserve Currency.  For detailed info about Nixon checkout this book.  Practically, although Nixon stiffed the French and other potential Gold customers that wanted payment in Gold - the world didn't have many other choices.  For example, had France been stronger in that time, we'd all be using French Francs instead of USD.  Anyway, Nixon's actions were a pro-Fed, pro-USD move- whether this was calculated or not is irrelevant.  The fact is that, the USD is really the only "One World Currency" in operation today, and will be for the forseeable future.  
    In case you are not following the way the world really works, Read this book: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.  This is a MUST READ for any trader, investor, economist, businessman, politician, lawyer, or anyone interested in the world.  The point here is that, yes - it's true.  The Fed Chairman is the most powerful person in the world, because they control the money supply, the amount of US Dollars in the world, and the interest rates.  But - Trump could oust-em!  What does Trump think about the current Fed?  Well, he's not happy with Fed policy, and says The Fed and in particular Chairman Yellen "Should be Ashamed"-
    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday accused the Federal Reserve of keeping interest rates low for political reasons, the latest in a string of often contradictory critiques of the nation’s central bank.
    The Fed vehemently defends the setting of its influential interest rate as independent of political considerations — a principle that is considered fundamental not only to the Fed but for central banks around the world. Yet speaking on CNBC, Trump said Fed Chair Janet L. Yellen should be “ashamed” of keeping interest rates so low for so long.  “She’s obviously political and doing what Obama wants her to do, and I know that’s not supposed to be the way it is,” Trump said.
    The latest such comment came Monday, when Trump responded to a question from a reporter about the potential for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike this year. “They’re keeping the rates down so that everything else doesn’t go down,” Trump said, according to reports. “We have a very false economy.”  “At some point the rates are going to have to change,” Trump added. “The only thing that is strong is the artificial stock market.”
    There we go- we have our answer.  At least, we have a hint on the answer.  But the BIG QUESTION remains - will Trump simply put in his own chairman - or abolish the Fed altogether?  Wouldn't that be something.  Either way it seems Dollar Up for a Trump victory.  Put your limit orders in now - Open a Forex Account.
    Posted: October 13, 2016, 7:25 pm
    Warning to investors - traditional markets are flawed.  In one of many hypothetical futures, not so far in the future, FX may be the only game in town.  As we explain in Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex - it's FX that drives the world, not stocks, bonds, commodities, or real estate.  Let's take a quick look at some of the cracks in traditional markets.
    HFT Market to collapse, or drastically change
    During the credit crisis HFT snuck in a huge business for themselves in the stock market via Reg NMS by manipulating 'order types' and 'latency'.  Well, that's all starting to unwind.  Top HFT firms are fearful that the SEC is about to 'spill the beans' according to Bloomberg:
    Some of the biggest electronic traders are complaining that a new test in the U.S. stock market will compromise their top-secret strategies, one of their most valuable assets.  Citadel Securities and KCG Holdings Inc. are among a chorus of brokers questioning elements of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission experiment, which began Monday, designed to whip up more trading in small companies. Their complaint is that the test will force firms to publicly expose detailed trading data with only the thinnest veil of anonymity, allowing competitors to reverse engineer how their prized trading algorithms work.  For high-speed trading firms, complex computer code is the secret weapon for profiting from the market. Some brokers say they fear that in their test, regulators won’t sufficiently mask their publicly reported trading data.  “It’s going to take someone exactly three seconds to figure out who’s who,” said Jamil Nazarali, head of execution services at Citadel Securities, which is the market-making arm of billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel LLC. Trading firms will “likely change their behavior to protect their intellectual property,” making the test’s results less meaningful, he added.
    Big Banks collapsing - SOON
    Previously to the "DB Crisis" - Europe's biggest bank, Douche Bank, is now probably insolvent at best, and at worst - will form a black hole so big that it will suck half of the worlds banks and assets into it when it implodes.  DB isn't just a bank, it's a financial powerhouse - a superbank.  For example, if you've ever bought a currency ETF, it was probably offered by DB:
    Hmm.. only 35 ETFs in the USA.  Anyway, creating an ETF isn't easy.  DB is registered in almost every country in the world, yes even in Malta.  They are in thousands of businesses.  Unwinding this behemoth will take decades.  Unraveling all of their crimes, money laundering, scandals, and derivatives is practically impossible.  Just one example of a $10 Billion dollar liability, in this case, just money laundering:
    Almost every weekday between the fall of 2011 and early 2015, a Russian broker named Igor Volkov called the equities desk of Deutsche Bank’s Moscow headquarters. Volkov would speak to a sales trader—often, a young woman named Dina Maksutova—and ask her to place two trades simultaneously. In one, he would use Russian rubles to buy a blue-chip Russian stock, such as Lukoil, for a Russian company that he represented. Usually, the order was for about ten million dollars’ worth of the stock. In the second trade, Volkov—acting on behalf of a different company, which typically was registered in an offshore territory, such as the British Virgin Islands—would sell the same Russian stock, in the same quantity, in London, in exchange for dollars, pounds, or euros. Both the Russian company and the offshore company had the same owner. Deutsche Bank was helping the client to buy and sell to himself...Although the bank’s headquarters remained in Germany, power migrated from conservative Frankfurt to London, the investment-banking hub where the most lavish profits were generated. The assimilation of different banking cultures was not always successful. In the nineties, when hundreds of Americans went to work for Deutsche Bank in London, German managers had to place a sign in the entrance hall spelling out “Deutsche” phonetically, because many Americans called their employer “Douche Bank.”  
    On the other side of the pond, Wells Fargo - previously one of America's 'trusted' banks, "Main St. bank" - is collapsing after the market learned that their great sales figures were based on a house of cards that was, well, fraudulent.  If you're not aware or not following this crisis, checkout this article for a simple explanation.
    Real Estate Market Shaky, at best
    There are a lot more apartments available for purchase these days in Manhattan. And fewer people are buying. Sales of previously owned condominiums and co-ops fell 20 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier as potential buyers grew cautious amid more choices, according to a report Tuesday from appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. There were 5,290 resale apartments on the market at the end of September, 53 percent more than the number available in late 2013, the lowest point for listings.
    The swelling inventory is providing an opportunity to New Yorkers shut out of a market in which construction has been dominated by ultra-luxury condos aimed at the wealthiest buyers. Resales, particularly those priced at less than $1 million, were in chronically short supply in recent years, and those that made it to the market sparked bidding wars. Now, more owners are listing apartments to profit from climbing values, and they’re finding lots of company.  “Rapidly rising prices over the years have pulled more sellers into the market hoping to cash out,” Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, said in an interview. “But buyers are more wary. There isn’t the same intensity of activity to burn through the new supply.”
    What's next?  
    Hedge Funds, not capitalizing on the turmoil, and even losing
    In fact, this has been the year investors wanted to do anything but try to pick stocks. Active fund managers had their worst first half ever, with fewer than one in five beating a basic market benchmark, according to data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch that go back to 2003.Stock pickers were done in by two major factors: following the crowd and an uneven pattern of correlations among stocks. The 10 most-crowded stocks lagged the 10 least-owned by a whopping 18 percentage points, which BofAML called "an atypically high spread."
    So what's left?
    Forex Markets to dominate the next 20 years
    There's always Forex algorithms, which Wall St. simply afraid of, because they don't 'control' the FX markets.  Some FX strategies perform month in and month out like clockwork, a pension fund's dream - but why go with something that works when it's politically correct to lose with hedge funds (it's good for jobs, right?).
    The point is that, FX is a money market - and a super set of other markets.  If the stock market completely crashes like 50%, investors will still have trillions in cash.  It will even create a dollar shortage.  But that cash has to go somewhere.  Some, will go to Euros, Swiss Francs, and other 'money'.  Bitcoin isn't a percent of a percent of a percent, although certainly money will flow into Bitcoin.  Bitcoin isn't viable alterantive to major FX currencies simply because of acceptability.  It's not possible to pay for goods in foreign countries in Bitcoin - but many accept US Dollars.  Until that changes - or until the United States of America ceases to exist as a country (which is probably the only event that could really obliterate FX markets) - then, FX is going to be the only game left in town.  Why?  Because, the US Dollar is supported by bombs.  As long as the US Army has enough gas in their tanks, and munitions in their supply, you can bet dollar markets will function.  Other markets, like real estate, don't have such protection.  But there's a good reason for that.  Because all markets DEPEND on FX.  Without a dollar market, the stock market couldn't exist.  If you want to be Wall St.'s next HFT firm, you first need to fund an account WITH DOLLARS.  
    So, although many markets teetering on the brink of implosion, FX looking stronger than ever, and until there's a viable alternative (which considering alternatives, China, Russia, Bitcoin, etc... not a real solid candidate next 20 years) we can expect FX supremacy and US Dollar Hegemony for the long term.  So, if you're still naive to the realities of FX - now's a great time to start learning!

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-04/alert-markets-implode-only-fx-will-be-left
    Posted: October 5, 2016, 2:28 am
    It isn't often such a clear market signal is painted such as the impending real estate market collapse.  It doesn't take sophistocated algorithms or an MBA from Harvard to add up the math and the data and see that we're on the precipice of a historic real estate asset cliff; and that the market is waiting for an 'event' to tip it over.  That event, it can be Hurricane Matthew.  That means this can all unfold THIS WEEK.  For those of us who have been following this trend for a long time (like, more than 10 years) this isn't news, it's just the obvious result of bad planning and decades of building a foundation on the wrong things (this is an educational metaphor - Real Estate Investors built their knowledge on the wrong ideals, the false axioms, and thus - invested in the wrong markets, on markets build on soft, unstable foundations...).
    As we explain in Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex; the entire world's economy, both micro and macro, can be explained through the prism of monetary policy.  Or in other words, if you master FOREX, you can master any market, because all markets are denominated in Forex.  Or in yet other words, markets are only able to function as a derivative of money markets - which Forex is.  
    Bubbles have persisted for years, but this last bubble that caused the 2008 crisis was based on real estate.  For a long time, US real estate prices always went up; until they didn't.  So what changed in 2008?  Enter Quantitative Easing, a program designed by the Fed to create 'liquidity' in the market that was otherwise illiquid.  Starting out buying 'toxic' assets no one wanted, now the Fed has a diversified portfolio of many assets, much of which is real estate.  This is not the only thing propping up the real estate market.  Also, the Fed has given banks and hedge funds HUGE access to cheap capital, or free capital, in large quantities.  Let's take the world's largest, as the best example; Blackstone, with $100 Billion + to invest in real estate:
    Blackstone, helmed by global head of real estate Jon Gray, is the largest real estate private equity firm in the world. Since raising their first opportunistic real estate fund in 1997, Blackstone has been a dominant player in the industry with their simplified opportunistic philosophy of “buy it, fix it, sell it”. Just this month, Blackstone real estate surpassed a staggering $100 billion in assets under management. As part of a push towards a longer hold, core plus strategy, they recently closed the largest ever PE real estate fund at $15.8 billion. Furthermore, Blackstone recently acquired Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower, which they plan to enhance through value add renovations and a repositioning of the tower’s retail space.
    Well, not all $100 Billion is invested in Real Estate, but remember, they are leveraged, so they don't buy for cash, so it's not known what they're real 'real' estate portfolio is.  Between the Fed buying MBS (Mortage Backed Securities), Hedge Funds & Private Equity Funds like Blackstone, and your typical foreign buyers fleeing corruption or a crashing economy in their own market - real estate is highly inflated.  This is of course, exaggerated in niche areas; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boston, New York, Miami, Greenwich CT, and many, many others.  Just take a look at what you get in Ohio for $4M and what you get in San Francisco for $4M.  Hmm... Something doesn't add up here.  People in CA shocked at non-CA market values.  Hmm... and there's high state taxes in CA, and pollution, a water drought, and fallout from Fukushima irradiating the crops and population, explosion of cancers.  Where do I sign?  
    Years ago, analysts said that in 50 years Florida will be underwater.  Real Estate investors didn't feel that their feet were wet, so they ignored this.  Well, these analysts were wrong - it's happening much, much, much faster.  Miami-Dade County is going to be hit the hardest.  If you don't know about this issue, read this article here "A Rising Tide" :
    “This whole beautiful landscape’s going to change,” he said. Miami Beach consists of a long, low barrier island accompanied by a scattering of manmade islets. It’s one of the lowest-lying municipalities in the country, and its residents are leading the way into the world’s wetter future. Along the island’s low western side bordering Biscayne Bay, people have come to dread full-moon high tides, when salt water seeps into storm-drain outlets and the porous limestone that provides the island’s foundation, forcing water up and out into the streets and sidewalks and threatening buildings and infrastructure. And Miami Beach is just one small part of a region that’s in big trouble. If sea levels rise as projected, no major U.S. metropolitan area stands to rack up bigger losses than Miami-Dade County. Almost 60 percent of the county is less than six feet above sea level. Even before swelling of the seas is factored in, Miami has the greatest total value of assets exposed to flooding of any city in the world: more than $400 billion. Once you account for future sea-level rise and continued economic growth, Miami’s exposed property will far outstrip that of any other urban area, reaching almost $3.5 trillion by the 2070s. The sea level around the South Florida coast has already risen nine inches over the past century. Among experts, the optimists expect it to edge up another three to seven inches in the next 15 years and nine inches to two feet in the next 45 years. More pessimistic (some say increasingly realistic) predictions say the rise will be much faster. Even the very gradual rise of recent decades will make extensive infrastructure reengineering necessary—Mowry’s job. However, according to a report published by the Florida Department of Transportation, it will become difficult, expensive, and maybe impossible for these efforts to keep up with the accelerated sea-level rise that is actually expected. 
    Miami is spending $500 Million building walls and drainage to address this problem.  Read the 2012 Presentation in PDF here.  But will it be enough?  And what about Hurricanes?  A Category 5 hurricane can have a storm surge of 20 - 30 feet, such as Camille in 1969.  Storm Surge is when the water rises, completely - that means the ocean will rise 24 feet (Read about it here).  Matthew, if it struck Florida, would really be Biblical.  Billions of Dollars in damage would occur, just from the storm.  And this information is not 'priced in' to this already 'frothy' market, just see spring articles about Miami's real estate crash herehere, and here.
    The other info that you need to know, since the early 90's, the US Government manipulates the weather.  If you're not up to date on this topic, you can read about it here in this groundbreaking book Chemtrails, HAARP, and the Full Spectrum Dominance of Planet Earth.  Or for a simple primer on Geo-engineering, checkout No Natural Weather: Geoengineering 101.  Then, why would they allow a hurricane to smash into South Florida?  Who knows, but if you want to look at the strange correlation between military events and Hurricanes, take a deeper look at 911 and Hurrican Erin - This book Black 911 is a great start.
    Matthew is now heading toward Jamaica, at which point it may settle down; Jamaica has mountains which Hurricanes don't like.  But Florida is being warned.  
    Traders, tomorrow's trade is easy; put in your buy limits above the MAs on HD, LOW, and get ready to short homebuilders, and other South Florida real estate companies.  This week is going to be a wild ride for real estate, regardless if Matthew hits FL or not.
    The market now is quiet, sales are down 80% in some areas (i.e. Greenwich, CT "Billionaire Capital"), but the panic selling hasn't started yet.  An event such as a Hurricane in FL, or a big Earthquake in CA, can be the tipping point that starts it.
    This will hit the rent market too - as values collapse, rents will too.  Not only that, but a bad economy will put pressure on renters and their ability to pay.  This recent bubble, in both housing values, rent prices, and other assets - is just that.  A bubble.  It will pop.  And as we saw in 2008, each time the bubble bursts, the drawdown is a little deeper.  But real estate in particular recovered with the help of the Fed and numerous Fed players, as this was a political victory as well as an economic one.  It was seen as helping Main St. as well as Wall St.
    There's other investments, other ways to make money than real estate, such as Forex algorithms.  But it seems that as usual, investors will need to have a huge loss before learning this lesson.  
    Pain - is the only real teacher!
    Posted: October 3, 2016, 4:52 am