Financial sources feeds

Submitted by Alice Salles via TheAntiMedia.org,

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil cost Brazilian taxpayers $4.6 billion, conservative estimates show. But once related expenses covered by the Brazilian government are factored in, the overall costs hit the $12 billion mark, which equates to about 0.72 percent of Brazil’s national budget.

Prior to the Olympics, however, the Brazilian government had already spent BR$39.5 billion on infrastructure, or about $12 billion. Stadiums and urban projects designed to ensure the country was ready for the sports event were built, but aside from the events scheduled for 2014 and 2016, there seemed to be little to no demand for such public investments, which prompted the country to wonder whether the expenses were worth the trouble.

Now, as these same structures are left to rot, the documented decay becomes a symbol of government waste, not only because the investments weren’t meant to stand the test of time, but also because the Brazilian government’s lack of concern for the taxpayer is not the main story. It is, in fact, just a footnote.

Like many others, the government ignored the economic realities of the country, betting on inflation and cronyism in order to throw an unforgettable party.

A Party Worth Going Broke For: How Brazil ‘Paid’ The Olympic Bills

Due to backlash over former President Dilma Rousseff’s economic policies, a nationwide movement supporting impeachment targeted her for, among many other things, raising government spending without accounting for the increases.

Due to the government’s lavish spending prior to the World Cup and Summer Olympics, Rousseff was afraid of suffering the consequences for increasing spending without hurting other government projects as a result, which would have forced the president to be upfront about her expenses. This led to a move that provoked chaos among consumers simply because banks were forced to put money into circulation that wasn’t backed by anything.

Instead of giving the money to banks so they could then cover social projects, pensions, and welfare programs, Brazil’s Treasury Department simply promised banks they would pay them back down the road. Thus, money meant for other projects remained in the treasury, allowing the federal government to spend it with other matters. This move guaranteed that financial institutions keeping an eye on the government’s budget wouldn’t know that banks hadn’t been using the money coming from the Treasury. This allowed banks to distribute sums associated with welfare and other social programs without depleting the government’s funds. As more cash was put into circulation by the banks and the federal government due to the World Cup and Olympics-related expenses, the value of Brazilian money tanked. To the consumer, that translated into lower purchasing power, making it more difficult for the poor to stock their pantries.

With the government’s out of hand expenses prior to the World Cup and Olympics, the Brazilian people suffered the ultimate blow because the government robbed them of their money’s purchasing power, all because the president didn’t want to admit she had gotten out of hand.

Now that the structures built for the world to see are rotting away, the low-income Brazilian continues to suffer. The only solution to this matter is to unleash currency control from the Brazilian central bank, removing its responsibility for financial policies from the hands of the federal government. Only then will the federal government be powerless in creating more debt and inflation, keeping it from playing with the Brazilian taxpayer’s hard-earned money.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: February 22, 2017, 7:00 am

The Department of Homeland Security released on Tuesday documents translating President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security into policy, providing details on how it will prosecute undocumented immigrants and criminal immigrants, repealing nearly all of the Obama administration's guidances, and bringing a major shift in the way the agency enforces the nation’s immigration laws.

As the WSJ notes, "almost everybody living in the U.S. illegally is now subject to deportation, and more undocumented arrivals at the southern border would be jailed or sent back to Mexico to await a hearing rather than released into the U.S." according to the new guidance.

“The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” the enforcement memo says. “Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”

Secretary John Kelly's two memos expand raids and the definition of criminal aliens, while diminishing sanctuary areas and enlisting local law enforcement to execute federal immigration policy. 

The memos still outline priority groups, starting with serious criminals. But the priorities are much broader and include people charged with crimes who haven’t been convicted, people guilty only of immigration-related crimes such as using false documents, and anybody who an immigration officer believes is a risk to public safety.

While DHS officials said they wouldn’t target otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants and don’t plan roundups of illegal immigrants, and said their limited resources would still require a focus on those people who pose a public-safety risk, they also said that people who don’t fall into a priority group aren’t exempt from deportation, and the DHS memo says exceptions would be made on a case-by-case basis.

Previously, under Obama guidelines, undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes were the priority for removal. Now, immigration agents, customs officers and border patrol agents have been directed to remove anyone convicted of any criminal offense. That includes people convicted of fraud in any official matter before a governmental agency and people who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.” The only Obama-era guidances left in place were those relating to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

According to the NYT, the policy also calls for an expansion of expedited removals, allowing Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to deport more people immediately. Under the Obama administration, expedited removal was used only within 100 miles of the border for people who had been in the country no more than 14 days. Now it will include those who have been in the country for up to two years, and located anywhere in the nation. The change in enforcement priorities will require a considerable increase in resources. With an estimated 11 million people in the country illegally, the government has long had to set narrower priorities, given the constraints on staffing and money.

Some more details from the NYT:

In the so-called guidance documents released on Tuesday, the department is directed to begin the process of hiring 10,000 new immigration and customs agents, expanding the number of detention facilities and creating an office within Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help families of those killed by undocumented immigrants. Mr. Trump had some of those relatives address his rallies in the campaign, and several were present when he signed an executive order on immigration last month at the Department of Homeland Security.

 

The directives would also instruct Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the Border Patrol, to begin reviving a program that recruits local police officers and sheriff’s deputies to help with deportation, effectively making them de facto immigration agents. The effort, called the 287(g) program, was scaled back during the Obama administration.

The memos were decried by immigration advocates, and face resistance from many states and dozens of so-called sanctuary cities, which have refused to allow their law enforcement workers to help round up undocumented individuals.

“These memos lay out a detailed blueprint for the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants in America,” Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said Tuesday in a statement. “They fulfill the wish lists of the white nationalist and anti-immigrant movements and bring to life the worst of Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric.”

Senior Homeland Security officials told reporters Tuesday morning that the directives were intended to more fully make use of the enforcement tools that Congress has already given to the department to crack down on illegal immigration. The officials emphasized that some of the proposals for increased enforcement would roll out slowly as the department finalizes the logistics and legal rules for more aggressive action.

According to Bloomberg, the memos could further inflame tensions between the U.S. and Mexico, which has advised its citizens living in the U.S. to take precautions in the face of Trump’s new immigration policy. DHS is considering employing a rarely used law to return people who traveled to the U.S. illegally through Mexico back into Mexico, even if they are not Mexican nationals. Officials said that returning Central American refugees to Mexico to await hearings would be done only in a limited fashion, and only after discussions with the government of Mexico, which however would most likely have to agree to accept the refugees.

While nothing in the directives would change the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides work permits and deportation protection for the young people commonly referred to as Dreamers, officials made clear that the department intended to aggressively follow Mr. Trump’s promise that immigration laws be enforced to the maximum extent possible, marking a significant departure from the procedures in place under President Barack Obama.

That promise has generated fear and anger in the immigrant community, and advocates for immigrants have warned that the new approach is a threat to many undocumented immigrants who had previously been in little danger of being deported.

Meanwhile Trump, who said during his campaign that he would cancel the program, has since changed his stance, calling those covered by DACA “incredible kids.” “The DACA situation is a very, very -- it’s a very difficult thing for me because you know, I love these kids,” Trump said at a Feb. 16 press conference. “I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do and you know, the law is rough.”

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: February 22, 2017, 4:55 am

James O'Keefe of Project Veritas is set to unleash holy hell Thursday on #FakeNews network CNN. Well, he didn't exactly say it was CNN, but it was heavily implied. Apparently the network has a mole...

O'Keefe is known for undercover sting operations which have led to such bombshells as the DNC's paid agitator network, the outing of "DisruptJ20" / Antifa organizers which took place comet ping pong - and netted three arrests (including a suspected pedophile), and most recently New Hampshire election fraud.

Today O'Keefe was interviewed on Sean Hannity's radio show where he revealed that a major network has been "stung"

O'Keefe: In the next 48 hours, Project Veritas, like Wikileaks, will be releasing hundreds of hours of tape from within the establishment media. Our next target is in fact, the media.

 

Hannity: How long have you been working on this?

 

O'Keefe: We've had people on the inside come to us. Just like Julian Assange has people come to him, we've had people, sources come to us and give us information, and we're going to be releasing it "Wikileaks Style" this week.

Moments later:

Hannity: Can you give us a hint what organizations are going to be impacted by this?

 

O'Keefe: It's one that Trump has really been talking about, you can probably use your imagination.

 

Hannity: So, it's CNN...

Listen here:

James O'Keefe reveals to Sean Hannity that a "Wikileaks Style" release of information is coming on Thursday. #FakeNews #CNN likely target. pic.twitter.com/fd0B2fcYz5

— ZeroPointNow (@ZeroPointNow) February 22, 2017

In other words, a closeted Trump supporter working deep inside hyper-liberal CNN just gave O'Keefe a ton of behind the scenes footage of "The Most Trusted Name In News." My guess is we're about to hear a bunch of establishment media puppets revealing their extreme hatred for the sitting President of the United States.

Remember that time CNN employees were laughing about Trump's plane crashing? If O'Keefe's release is anything along these lines, popcorn sales are about to go through the roof...

@CNN jokes about Trump's plane crashing during the election. Stay Classy. pic.twitter.com/e4KNcQBPAj

— ZeroPointNow (@ZeroPointNow) February 22, 2017

Author: ZeroPointNow
Posted: February 22, 2017, 4:39 am

Submitted by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

In just two weeks as president of the United States, Donald Trump has given indications of how he intends to tackle various international political situations. So far we have observed the controversy over Iran, the events related to NATO, rapprochement with Russia, escalation in Ukraine, silence on Syria, the US special-forces operation in Yemen, verbal clashes with the EU, and the absence of further criticism of China. This first article will focus on the he US deep state’s possible sabotage attempts of the Trump presidency.

Tensions continue to rise unabated in the first two weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, as more decisions come across Trump’s table. While we have seen many executive orders and pieces of legislation, most regard domestic politics, which is a core focus of the Trump presidency. On the other hand, in foreign policy, Trump seems to be using the common tactic of many politicians, which involves much talk and little action. Since US foreign policy has been a mess for quite some time, militating against common sense, taking little action can actually be a positive thing, the best thing a US president has been able to do in almost thirty years! If there is one thing that is clear to everyone about Trump’s way of doing things following two weeks in office, it is that it is completely different from his predecessor, especially in relation to the press and his willingness to engage with it.

The use of executive orders looks more and more like a weapon to flood the press and news agencies with talking points concerning domestic policies, leaving little room for particular pressure on foreign policy from the media establishment. It almost looks like a tactic of guerrilla warfare to overwhelm the mainstream media. It could and probably is also a PR stunt to show the American people he is doing what he promised. Stunt or not, acknowledging the power of the media in creating a pretext for war, and therefore putting a stop to the drums of war, is one of the first key marks of his success.

The main problem continues to be the ongoing war with the US deep state, something that will not be going away anytime soon, and a campaign that may have entered a new stage against the Trump presidency.

Sabotage or Incompetence?

The first two weeks of the new presidency have already provided a few significant events. The operation that took place in Yemen, conducted by the American special forces and directed against Al Qaeda, has reprised the previous administration. Being a complex operation that required thorough preparation, the new administration thereby had to necessarily represent a continuation of the old one. Details are still vague, but looking at the outcome, the mission failed as a result of incompetence. The American special forces were spotted before arriving at al Qaeda’s supposed base. This resulted in the shooting of anything that moved, causing more than 25 civilian deaths.

The media that had been silent during the Obama administration was rightfully quick to condemn the killing of innocent people, and harsh criticism was directed at the administration for this operation. It is entirely possible that the operation was set up to fail, intended to delegitimize the operational capabilities of the new Trump team. Given the links between al Qaeda, the Saudis and the neoconservatives, something historically proven, it is not unthinkable that the failure of the operation was a consequence of an initial attempt at sabotaging Trump on a key aspect of his presidency, namely the successful execution of counter-terrorist efforts against Islamist terrorism.

Another structural component in the attempts to undermine the Trump administration concern the deployment of NATO and US troops on the western border of the Russian Federation. This attempt is obvious and is one of the strategies aimed at preventing a rapprochement between Washington and Moscow. The EU persists in its self-defeating policy, focusing its attention on foreign policy instead of gaining strategic independence thanks to the new presidency. It is now even more clear that European Union leaders, and in particular the current political representatives in Germany and France, have every intention of continuing in the direction set by the Obama presidency, seeking a futile confrontation with the Russian Federation instead of a sensible rapprochement.

Europe continues to insist on failed economic and social policies that will lead to bankruptcy, using foreign-policy issues as diversions and excuses. The consequences of these wrongheaded efforts will inevitably favor the election of nationalist and populist parties, as seen in the United States and other countries, which will end in the destruction of the EU. For the US deep state and their long-term objectives, this tactic has a dual effect: it prevents the proper functioning of the EU as well as significantly halts any rapprochement between the EU and the Russian Federation. The latter strategy looks more and more irreversible given the current European Union elites. In this sense, the UK, thanks to Brexit, seems to have broken free and started to slowly restructure its foreign- policy priorities, in close alignment to Trump’s isolationism.

Finally the most obvious attempt to sabotage the administration can be seen in the events in Ukraine. Unsurprisingly, Senators Graham and McCain, two of the deep state’s top emissaries, visited Ukraine at the beginning of the year, prompting Ukrainian troops to resume their destructive offensive against the Donbass. The intentions are clear and assorted. First is the constant attempt to sabotage any rapprochement between Moscow and Washington, hoping to engulf Trump in an American/NATO escalation of events in Ukraine. Second, given the critical situation in Europe, is the effort to push Berlin to assume the burden of economically supporting the failing administration in Kiev. Third is the increasing pressure applied to Russia and Putin, as was already seen in 2014, in an effort to actively involve the Russian Federation in the Ukrainian conflict so as to justify NATO’s direct involvement or even that of the United States. The latter situation would be the dream of the neoconservatives, setting Trump and Putin on a direct collision course.

The new American administration has thus far suffered at least three sabotage attempts, and it is the attitude Trump intends to have with the rest of the world that has spurred them. In an interview with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, Trump reiterated that his primary focus is not governed by the doctrine of American exceptionalism, a concept he does not subscribe to anyhow. The religion driving democratic evangelization looks more likely to be replaced with a pragmatic, realist geopolitical stance.

This is how one could sum up Trump’s words to Bill O’Reilly:

«There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers», Trump said. «Well, you think our country is so innocent?»

What the deep state refuses to accept is that they have lost the leading role in educating the rest of the world on humanitarian issues related to the concept of democracy. The main actors of the deep state clearly understand the negative implications for them personally in economic and financial terms associated with the abandonment of the pursuit of global hegemony. For over a hundred years, no US president has ever placed their country on a par with others, has ever abandoned the concept of a nation (the US) «chosen by God».

In an article a few weeks ago, I tried to lay the foundations for a future US administration, placing a strong focus on foreign policy and revealing a possible shift in US historic foreign relations. In a passage I wrote:

«Donald Trump has emerged with in mind a precise foreign policy strategy, forged by various political thinkers of the realist world such as Waltz and Mearsheimer, trashing all recent neoconservative and neoliberal policies of foreign intervention (R2P - Right to Protect) and soft power campaigns in favor of human rights. No more UN resolutions, subtly used to bomb nations (Libya). Trump doesn’t believe in the central role of the UN and reaffirmed this repeatedly.

 

In general, the Trump administration intends to end the policy of regime change, interference in foreign governments, Arab springs and color revolutions. They just don’t work. They cost too much in terms of political credibility, in Ukraine the US are allied with supporters of Bandera (historical figure who collaborated with the Nazis) and in Middle East they finance or indirectly support al Qaeda and al Nusra front».

The recent meeting in Washington with Theresa May, the first official encounter with a prominent US ally, revealed, among other things, a possible dramatic change in US policy. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom expressed her desire to follow a new policy of non-intervention, in line with the isolationist strategy Trump has spoken about since running for office. In a joint press conference with the American president, May said: «The era of military intervention is over. London and Washington will not return to the failed policy in the past that has led to intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya».

During the election campaign, Trump made his intentions clear in different contexts, but always coming from the standpoint of non-interventionism inspired by the concept of isolationism. It is becoming apparent that these intentions are being put into action, though the rhetoric regarding Iran has become alarming. In typical Trump fashion (which contrasts with the Iran issue), the situation in Syria is normalizing and the initial threats directed at China appear to have been put aside. The case of Iran is a different and complex story, requiring a deeper analysis that deserves a separate article. What will gradually be important, as the Presidency progresses, is understanding the necessity to distinguish between words and actions, separating provocations from intentions.

Conclusions and future questions

There is a whole list of Trump statements that are seen as threats to other countries, primarily Iran. The next article will further explain the possible strategy to be employed by Donald Trump to fight these attempts to sabotage his administration, a strategy that seems to be based on silences, bluffs and admissions to counter the perpetual attempts to influence his presidency. If one wants to place weight on his words during the election campaign, it should be taken into consideration that Trump won the election thanks to the clear objectives of wanting to avoid a further spending spree on destructive wars. This priority was made clear and expressed in every possible way with the adoption of an America First policy, especially regarding domestic policy.

The bottom line is always that Trump has the ability and willingness to be resilient to the pressures of the deep state, focusing on the needs of the average American citizen, rather than caving in to the interests of the deep state such as intelligence agencies, neocons, Israel lobby, Saudi lobby, the military-industrial complex, and many more. It is only in the next few months that we will come to understand if Trump will be willing to continue the fight against war or bend the knee and pay the price.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: February 22, 2017, 4:05 am

If eight years under Obama rule, 6 of which included Republican majorities in Congress, taught us anything, it's that Presidents have fairly broad authority to govern through executive orders and rules changes implemented at the 100's of government agencies responsible for overseeing our every move.  Fortunately for the Trump administration, this broad Presidential authority extends to immigration laws and, despite his recent defeat in the 9th Circuit, grants the executive branch of the federal government broad authority on vetting immigrants and enforcing immigration laws.  Per Bloomberg:

The law vests the president with broad authority over immigration, said Austin Fragomen, whose Manhattan-based Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy is the biggest U.S. law firm focused on immigration. Trump hasn’t wasted time tapping his power.

 

The Department of Homeland Security oversees almost two dozen agencies that determine who enters and leaves the U.S., including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and Citizenship and Immigration Services. The agency has an annual budget of $41 billion and more than 229,000 employees. Trump has broad discretion to use the money and employees as he sees fit without seeking approval from Congress.

In the wake of the 9th Circuit's decision to overturn his "immigration ban", Trump initially drew a hard line via the following tweet vowing to continue the litigation of the controversial executive order.

SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017

 

That said, in a fiery, surreal press conference hosted last week, he drew a slightly more subdued tone saying that his administration was working on a revised immigration executive order which would be "tailored to the 9th Circuit decision" (see "In Fiery, "Surreal" Press Conference, Trump Launches War On The Media").

But, irrespective of how new executive actions on travel bans play out, the fact is that the President of the United States has fairly broad authority under the Constitution to vet new immigrants coming into the country and enforce federal laws once they're here. 

Of course, one option is to simply ramp up the hiring of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to crack down on those currently residing in the country illegally.  As we've noted before, the Trump administration has already said it will hire 10,000 incremental ICE agents and utilize local law enforcement agents as well.

The president wants to bolster that force, saying he’ll hire 10,000 more agents and use state and local law enforcement as immigration officials. As part of the executive order, Trump vowed to strip funds from so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with his crackdown. Several state attorneys general have vowed to fight that initiative.

 

"He can essentially unleash ICE officials to enforce however they choose," said Cristina Rodriguez, a Yale Law School professor, referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Moreover, absent policies that target specific groups of immigrants based on nationality, religion, etc., which as the 9th Circuit recently confirmed becomes far more complicated, the executive branch has fairly broad authority to vet incoming immigrants as they see fit. 

The president can instruct State Department and ICE officials to tighten criteria for letting people into the U.S. and to increase searches at the border, where agents have much more freedom to rifle through people’s belongings than police inside the country. Trump has said the order will hasten adoption of “extreme vetting” procedures.

 

Trump has “very broad authority” to tighten entry requirements, particularly if he avoids policies that unfairly single out Muslims or other groups, Fragomen said.

 

“The only restraint on doing that now is we want to facilitate visitors and people coming to visit the U.S. and facilitate global business,” he said. “But the U.S. could be much more strict in terms of the screening process.”

Meanwhile, just as President Obama demonstrated by raising the caps, Trump also have fairly broad authority to lower the caps on refugees admitted into the country, a power which he has already utilized by reducing the 2017 target to 50,000 from Obama's 110,000.

Of course, no matter what powers the Constitution affords the President, rest assured that disaffected liberal lawyers, flush with cash from George Soros and others, stand ready to challenge the every move of the White House for the next 4 years.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: February 22, 2017, 3:40 am

How does one value financial knowledge? Finance as both a topic and industry has been holding huge secrets guarded by the most rich and powerful in the world for hundreds of generations. Why don’t they teach these secrets to the masses? It’s the same reason a magician doesn’t reveal his tricks. But just like children are fascinated with the skilled magician pulling the rabbit out of a hat, adults are fascinated with the financial wizardry of financial experts. We show you in our simple to follow introductory course that finance and investing is not magic. Just like the magician, financial experts simply are well trained, and follow a financial philosophy of their choosing (there are several) such as “Value Investing.” Due to the internet, obtaining this knowledge is possible for anyone in any place at any time. It’s not necessary to go to an expensive Business school like Harvard or Wharton anymore (although, you won’t make high level connections anywhere else) to gain financial knowledge. You can do it in the comfort of your own home.

The study of knowledge is known as Epistemology, roughly defined as:

Epistemology studies the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief. Much of the debate in epistemology centers on four areas: (1) the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to such concepts as truth, belief, and justification, (2) various problems of skepticism, (3) the sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief, and (4) the criteria for knowledge and justification.

This definition provides a great template of how to understand what is financial knowledge and how to value it. If one knows how to take a dollar and turn it into two – this certainly is priceless. But there’s a big spectrum of financial knowledge, ranging from Wall St. genius to understanding personal finance and how to properly file taxes. The problem of the valuation of an investment strategy for example, it is binary – either it works, or it doesn’t. The difference between a 15% return and a 17% return is not statistically significant. But how to look at the mathematics of a return, and determine the difference between Bernie Madoff and George Soros? That’s priceless.

The importance is to understand the ‘gestalt’ of what markets are, how finance works, that is – practically. Any system can be analyzed and understood by looking at its components and how they behave together. The specialization of finance has confused the larger view, with experts teaching micro-subjects like how to trade Candlestick patterns, or ‘how to make money’ using these simple tools. Making money is sometimes easy – many people stumble upon good luck and money falls into their hands. Not losing money, that is very difficult – something very few rich people and businesses can achieve. Only a full understanding of how markets operate globally, will make you a great trader – as well, will protect you from losing. Not losing is the big secret to financial success. It’s why investors are so concerned about risks. If one can simply not lose, ultimately what’s left will be profits and growth. Tools such as understanding risk, and even quantifying risk (as much as possible) are priceless.

Building a financial knowledgebase is like building a house; the first step is to make a blueprint (usually by hiring an architect) and laying a strong foundation. By having a strong foundation, the building materials of your knowledge (wood, stone, clay) are not as important. With a ‘basement’ which is the modern day equivalent of a bunker, you’ll be able to withstand any tornado or storm that may rock the markets and the economy. Having a defense line, financially speaking – is the most important tactic in any personal finance strategy. For businesses too, but most business does this intuitively (not relying on a single customer or single product line). Tools like hedging, even if simple – can be extremely powerful. Preppers take things to the extreme but provide a great living example of how everyone should act regarding their financial portfolio – hope for the best and prepare for the worst. A portfolio should be like a castle – capable of withstanding any disaster, war, or siege.

It’s true that the world’s Elite engineer financial disasters like stock market crashes to seize the wealth of the growing middle class. It’s like culling the herd for fresh competition. But the good news, seeded into this system are the tools to protect you and even profit. For the first time in history, anyone can access the same tools the Elite have used for centuries to maintain their wealth and seize the wealth of others. This knowledge can also help you in your career, in your business, in your portfolio, or for your retirement.

There’s never been a better time than now to build financial knowledge for yourself. Whether you are wealthy and want to protect your wealth, or are not and want to grow your portfolio and become wealthy – a solid financial understanding of business and the markets is the first step towards achieving real financial self-actualization.

With our system as a whole, top-wards down approach, you’ll learn to understand your business better, by understanding where money comes from, how it’s exchanged, how it’s valued, loaned, securitized, packaged and repackaged. Money has become the most virulent electronic commodity in the world and is the least talked about. Learn FX, and learn how all markets work, and the foundation underpinning the global economy, at Fortress Capital Trading Academy www.fctradingacademy.com

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Author: globalintelhub
Posted: February 22, 2017, 3:17 am

Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security... This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.”—Historian Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45

Brace yourself.

There is something being concocted in the dens of power, far beyond the public eye, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of this country.

Anytime you have an entire nation so mesmerized by the antics of the political ruling class that they are oblivious to all else, you’d better beware. Anytime you have a government that operates in the shadows, speaks in a language of force, and rules by fiat, you’d better beware. And anytime you have a government so far removed from its people as to ensure that they are never seen, heard or heeded by those elected to represent them, you’d better beware.

The world has been down this road before.

As historian Milton Mayer recounts in his seminal book on Hitler’s rise to power, They Thought They Were Free, “Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people?—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the 'national enemies', without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.”

We are at our most vulnerable right now.

The gravest threat facing us as a nation is not extremism—delivered by way of sovereign citizens or radicalized Muslims—but despotism, exercised by a ruling class whose only allegiance is to power and money.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

America is burning, and all most Americans can do is switch the channel, tune out what they don’t want to hear, and tune into their own personal echo chambers.

We’re in a national state of denial.

Yet no amount of escapism can shield us from the harsh reality that the danger in our midst is posed by an entrenched government bureaucracy that has no regard for the Constitution, Congress, the courts or the citizenry.

If the team colors have changed from blue to red, that’s just cosmetic.

The playbook remains the same. The leopard has not changed its spots.

Scrape off the surface layers and you will find that the American police state is alive and well and continuing to wreak havoc on the rights of the American people.

“We the people” are no longer living the American Dream.

We’re living the American Lie.

Indeed, Americans have been lied to so sincerely, so incessantly, and for so long by politicians of all stripes—who lie compulsively and without any seeming remorse—that they’ve almost come to prefer the lies trotted out by those in government over less-palatable truths.

The American people have become compulsive believers.

As Nick Cohen writes for The Guardian, “Compulsive liars shouldn’t frighten you. They can harm no one, if no one listens to them. Compulsive believers, on the other hand: they should terrify you. Believers are the liars’ enablers. Their votes give the demagogue his power. Their trust turns the charlatan into the president. Their credulity ensures that the propaganda of half-calculating and half-mad fanatics has the power to change the world.”

While telling the truth “in a time of universal deceit is,” as George Orwell concluded, “a revolutionary act,” believing the truth—and being able to distinguish the truth from a lie—is also a revolutionary act.

Here’s a truth few Americans want to acknowledge: nothing has changed (at least, not for the better) since Barack Obama passed the reins of the police state to Donald Trump.

The police state is still winning. We the people are still losing.

In fact, the American police state has continued to advance at the same costly, intrusive, privacy-sapping, Constitution-defying, relentless pace under President Trump as it did under President Obama.

Police haven’t stopped disregarding the rights of citizens. Having been given the green light to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip, shoot and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts, America’s law enforcement officials are no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace. Indeed, they continue to keep the masses corralled, under control, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.

SWAT teams haven’t stopped crashing through doors and terrorizing families. Nationwide, SWAT teams continue to be employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activities or mere community nuisances including angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession. With more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans for relatively routine police matters and federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions, the incidence of botched raids and related casualties continue to rise.

The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security haven’t stopped militarizing and federalizing local police. Police forces continue to be transformed into heavily armed extensions of the military, complete with jackboots, helmets, shields, batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, assault rifles, body armor, miniature tanks and weaponized drones. In training police to look and act like the military and use the weapons and tactics of war against American citizens, the government continues to turn the United States into a battlefield.

Schools haven’t stopped treating young people like hard-core prisoners. School districts continue to team up with law enforcement to create a “schoolhouse to jailhouse track” by imposing a “double dose” of punishment for childish infractions: suspension or expulsion from school, accompanied by an arrest by the police and a trip to juvenile court. In this way, the paradigm of abject compliance to the state continues to be taught by example in the schools, through school lockdowns where police and drug-sniffing dogs enter the classroom, and zero tolerance policies that punish all offenses equally and result in young people being expelled for childish behavior.

For-profit private prisons haven’t stopped locking up Americans and immigrants alike at taxpayer expense. States continue to outsource prison management to private corporations out to make a profit at taxpayer expense. And how do you make a profit in the prison industry? Have the legislatures pass laws that impose harsh penalties for the slightest noncompliance in order keep the prison cells full and corporate investors happy.

Censorship hasn’t stopped. First Amendment activities continue to be pummeled, punched, kicked, choked, chained and generally gagged all across the country. The reasons for such censorship vary widely from political correctness, safety concerns and bullying to national security and hate crimes but the end result remained the same: the complete eradication of what Benjamin Franklin referred to as the “principal pillar of a free government.”

The courts haven’t stopped marching in lockstep with the police state. The courts continue to be dominated by technicians and statists who are deferential to authority, whether government or business. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s decisions in recent years have most often been characterized by an abject deference to government authority, military and corporate interests. They have run the gamut from suppressing free speech activities and justifying suspicionless strip searches to warrantless home invasions and conferring constitutional rights on corporations, while denying them to citizens.

Government bureaucrats haven’t stopped turning American citizens into criminals. The average American now unknowingly commits three felonies a day, thanks to an overabundance of vague laws that render otherwise innocent activity illegal, while reinforcing the power of the police state and its corporate allies.

The surveillance state hasn’t stopped spying on Americans’ communications, transactions or movements. On any given day, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether it’s your local police, a fusion center, the National Security Agency or one of the government’s many corporate partners, is still monitoring and tracking you.

The TSA hasn’t stopped groping or ogling travelers. Under the pretext of protecting the nation’s infrastructure (roads, mass transit systems, water and power supplies, telecommunications systems and so on) against criminal or terrorist attacks, TSA task forces (comprised of federal air marshals, surface transportation security inspectors, transportation security officers, behavior detection officers and explosive detection canine teams) continue to do random security sweeps of nexuses of transportation, including ports, railway and bus stations, airports, ferries and subways, as well as political conventions, baseball games and music concerts. Sweep tactics include the use of x-ray technology, pat-downs and drug-sniffing dogs, among other things.

Congress hasn’t stopped enacting draconian laws such as the USA Patriot Act and the NDAA. These laws—which completely circumvent the rule of law and the constitutional rights of American citizens, continue to re-orient our legal landscape in such a way as to ensure that martial law, rather than the rule of law, our U.S. Constitution, becomes the map by which we navigate life in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t stopped being a “wasteful, growing, fear-mongering beast.” Is the DHS capable of plotting and planning to turn the national guard into a federalized, immigration police force? No doubt about it. Remember, this is the agency that is notorious for militarizing the police and SWAT teams; spying on activists, dissidents and veterans; stockpiling ammunition; distributing license plate readers; contracting to build detention camps; tracking cell-phones with Stingray devices; carrying out military drills and lockdowns in American cities; using the TSA as an advance guard; conducting virtual strip searches with full-body scanners; carrying out soft target checkpoints; directing government workers to spy on Americans; conducting widespread spying networks using fusion centers; carrying out Constitution-free border control searches; funding city-wide surveillance cameras; and utilizing drones and other spybots.

The military industrial complex hasn’t stopped profiting from endless wars abroad. America’s expanding military empire continues to bleed the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour). The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. Yet what most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense.

The Deep State’s shadow government hasn’t stopped calling the shots behind the scenes. Comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes, this government within a government continues to be the real reason “we the people” have no real control over our so-called representatives. It’s every facet of a government that is no longer friendly to freedom and is working overtime to trample the Constitution underfoot and render the citizenry powerless in the face of the government’s power grabs, corruption and abusive tactics.

And the American people haven’t stopped acting like gullible sheep. In fact, many Americans have been so carried away by their blind rank-and-file partisan devotion to their respective political gods that they have lost sight of the one thing that has remained constant in recent years: our freedoms are steadily declining.

Here’s the problem as I see it: “we the people” have become so trusting, so gullible, so easily distracted, so out-of-touch and so sure that our government will always do the right thing by us that we have ignored the warning signs all around us.

In so doing, we have failed to recognize such warning signs as potential red flags to use as opportunities to ask questions, demand answers, and hold our government officials accountable to respecting our rights and abiding by the rule of law.

Unfortunately, once a free people allows the government to make inroads into their freedoms, or uses those same freedoms as bargaining chips for security, it quickly becomes a slippery slope to outright tyranny. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican at the helm, because the bureaucratic mindset on both sides of the aisle now seems to embody the same philosophy of authoritarian government.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is what happens when you ignore the warning signs.

This is what happens when you fail to take alarm at the first experiment on your liberties.

This is what happens when you fail to challenge injustice and government overreach until the prison doors clang shut behind you.

In the American police state that now surrounds us, there are no longer such things as innocence, due process, or justice—at least, not in the way we once knew them. We are all potentially guilty, all potential criminals, all suspects waiting to be accused of a crime.

So you can try to persuade yourself that you are free, that you still live in a country that values freedom, and that it is not too late to make America great again, but to anyone who has been paying attention to America’s decline over the past 50 years, it will be just another lie.

The German people chose to ignore the truth and believe the lie.

They were not oblivious to the horrors taking place around them. As historian Robert Gellately points out, “[A]nyone in Nazi Germany who wanted to find out about the Gestapo, the concentration camps, and the campaigns of discrimination and persecutions need only read the newspapers.”

The warning signs were definitely there, blinking incessantly like large neon signs.

“Still,” Gellately writes, “the vast majority voted in favor of Nazism, and in spite of what they could read in the press and hear by word of mouth about the secret police, the concentration camps, official anti-Semitism, and so on. . . . [T]here is no getting away from the fact that at that moment, ‘the vast majority of the German people backed him.’”

Half a century later, the wife of a prominent German historian, neither of whom were members of the Nazi party, opined: “[O]n the whole, everyone felt well. . . . And there were certainly eighty percent who lived productively and positively throughout the time. . . . We also had good years. We had wonderful years.”

In other words, as long as their creature comforts remained undiminished, as long as their bank accounts remained flush, as long as they weren’t being discriminated against, persecuted, starved, beaten, shot, stripped, jailed and turned into slave labor, life was good.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

As Primo Levi, a Holocaust survivor observed, “Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”

Freedom demands responsibility.

Freedom demands that people stop sleep-walking through life, stop cocooning themselves in political fantasies, and stop distracting themselves with escapist entertainment.

Freedom demands that we stop thinking as Democrats and Republicans and start thinking like human beings, or at the very least, Americans.

Freedom demands that we not remain silent in the face of evil or wrongdoing but actively stand against injustice.

Freedom demands that we treat others as we would have them treat us. That is the law of reciprocity, also referred to as the Golden Rule, and it is found in nearly every world religion, including Judaism and Christianity.

In other words, if you don’t want to be locked up in a prison cell or a detention camp—if you don’t want to be discriminated against because of the color of your race, religion, politics or anything else that sets you apart from the rest—if you don’t want your loved ones shot at, strip searched, tasered, beaten and treated like slaves—if you don’t want to have to be constantly on guard against government eyes watching what you do, where you go and what you say—if you don’t want to be tortured, waterboarded or forced to perform degrading acts—if you don’t want your children to grow up in a world without freedom—then don’t allow these evils to be inflicted on anyone else, no matter how tempting the reason or how fervently you believe in your cause.

As German theologian and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed, “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: February 22, 2017, 3:15 am

Michael Moore, the ultra-liberal documentary filmmaker who infamously predicted a Trump victory well before election night last November by stunningly calling Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania for the Republican nominee, has since had a noticeably difficult time processing the victory that he, himself, predicted long before anyone else.  Meanwhile, Moore's inability to come to terms with Trump's presence in the White House has since resulted in his very public broadcast of multiple nervous breakdowns over various social media outlets for all to see. 

In fact, his latest "episode" came just last week when Moore lit up the Twittersphere asking Trump "What part of "vacate you Russian traitor" don't you understand?" while threatening that "We can do this the easy way (you resign), or the hard way (impeachment)."

Um, @realDonaldTrump -- It's now noontime in DC & it appears you are still squatting in our Oval Office. I gave u til this morning to leave.

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 14, 2017

What part of "vacate you Russian traitor" don't you understand? We can do this the easy way (you resign), or the hard way (impeachment).

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 14, 2017

 

But apparently random social media rants and continuous calls for Trump's resignation are no longer sufficient for Moore who has unilaterally taken it upon himself to organize "The RESISTANCE", a very 'clever', crowd-sourced calendar featuring all of the anti-Trump rallies being organized by disaffected Hillary supporters all around the country. 

A few minutes ago, I launched RESISTANCE CALENDAR! A one-stop site for all anti-Trump actions EVERY DAY nationwide: https://t.co/c0W7beDdzF

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 20, 2017

Resistance

 

Meanwhile, in Facebook rant announcing the project, Moore describes the calendar as a "24/7 clearinghouse of the already MASSIVE resistance to Trump, to the Republican Congress, and, yes, to many of the spineless Democratic politicians out there."

GOOD NEWS FRIENDS! I've promised you a one-stop site, a clearinghouse of all actions -- a RESISTANCE CALENDAR -- where you can find EVERY upcoming action, protest, march, sit-in, town hall, anti-Trump, pro-democracy event in all 50 states! A site where YOU can post your own action so all can see it. A place where you can quickly go and check it daily, ensuring that you don't miss any event in your area to stop the Trump madness.

 

So, right now, I and a team of graphic designers are launching the RESISTANCE CALENDAR!

 

In addition to you finding events in your area, we want you to be able to post any local actions you're aware of. So much is happening so fast it's hard to keep track of all the actions popping up -- but our intention is to do just that. Every day. A 24/7 clearinghouse of the already MASSIVE resistance to Trump, to the Republican Congress, and, yes, to many of the spineless Democratic politicians out there. We welcome all resisters across the movement to use this tool. It's completely free. There's no big "funder" or group behind it. There will be no ads, no commercialization, no fundraising lists -- all the stuff we hate. Just you, me, the volunteers donating their time to keep it going and the World Wide Web. BOOM!

 

I sincerely hope this is a huge help and that all of you use it! Sign up on Facebook and Twitter now -- and please tell your friends about it. Take a moment to add all the local events you know of. And remember -- All hands on deck! It's the only way we're going to beat him and lessen the damage he's doing. Our goal is his removal from office -- and the defeat of any politician who isn't with us. WE ARE THE MAJORITY.

We must admit that we were previously somewhat dismissive of Moore's 2AM twitter rants calling for Trump's resignation.  That said, now that he has a calendar, we clearly see that he means business...

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: February 22, 2017, 2:50 am

Submitted by Llewellyn Rockwell via The Mises Institute,

Some of our assumptions are so deeply embedded that we cannot perceive them ourselves.

Case in point: everyone takes for granted that it’s normal for a country of 320 million to be dictated to by a single central authority. The only debate we’re permitted to have is who should be selected to carry out this grotesque and inhumane function.

Here’s the debate we should be having instead: what if we simply abandoned this quixotic mission, and went our separate ways? It’s an idea that’s gaining traction — much too late, to be sure, but better late than never.

For a long time it seemed as if the idea of secession was unlikely to take hold in modern America. Schoolchildren, after all, are told to associate secession with slavery and treason. American journalists treat the idea as if it were self-evidently ridiculous and contemptible (an attitude they curiously do not adopt when faced with US war propaganda, I might add).

And yet all it took was the election of Donald Trump for the alleged toxicity of secession to vanish entirely. The left’s principled opposition to secession and devotion to the holy Union went promptly out the window on November 8, 2016. Today, about one in three Californians polled favors the Golden State’s secession from the Union.

In other words, some people seem to be coming to the conclusion that the whole system is rotten and should be abandoned.

It’s true that most leftists have not come around to this way of thinking. Many have adopted the creepy slogan “not my president” – in other words, I may not want this particular person having the power to intervene in all aspects of life and holding in his hands the ability to destroy the entire earth, but I most certainly do want someone else to have those powers.

Not exactly a head-on challenge to the system, in other words. (That’s what we libertarians are for.) The problem in their view is only that the wrong people are in charge.

Indeed, leftists who once said “small is beautiful” and “question authority” had little trouble embracing large federal bureaucracies in charge of education, health, housing, and pretty much every important thing. And these authorities, of course, you are not to question (unless they are headed by a Trump nominee, in which case they may be temporarily ignored).

Meanwhile, the right wing has been calling for the abolition of the Department of Education practically since its creation in 1979. That hasn’t happened, as you may have noticed. Having the agency in Republican hands became the more urgent task.

Each side pours tremendous resources into trying to take control of the federal apparatus and lord it over the whole country.

How about we call it quits?

No more federal fiefdoms, no more forcing 320 million people into a single mold, no more dictating to everyone from the central state.

Radical, yes, and surely not a perspective we were exposed to as schoolchildren. But is it so unreasonable? Is it not in fact the very height of reason and good sense? And some people, we may reasonably hope, may be prepared to consider these simple and humane questions for the very first time.

Now can we imagine the left actually growing so unhappy as to favor secession as a genuine solution?

Here’s what I know. On the one hand, the left made its long march through the institutions: universities, the media, popular culture. Their intention was to remake American society. The task involved an enormous amount of time and wealth. Secession would amount to abandoning this string of successes, and it’s hard to imagine them giving up in this way after sinking all those resources into the long march.

At the same time, it’s possible that the cultural elite have come to despise the American bourgeoisie so much that they’re willing to treat all of that as a sunk cost, and simply get out.

Whatever the case may be, what we can and should do is encourage all decentralization and secession talk, such that these heretofore forbidden options become live once again.

I can already hear the objections from Beltway libertarians, who are not known for supporting political decentralization. To the contrary, they long for the day when libertarian judges and lawmakers will impose liberty on the entire country. And on a more basic level, they find talk of states’ rights, nullification, and secession – about which they hold the most exquisitely conventional and p.c. views – to be sources of embarrassment.

How are they going to rub elbows with the Fed chairman if they’re associated with ideas like these?

Of course we would like to see liberty flourish everywhere. But it’s foolish not to accept more limited victories and finite goals when these are the only realistic options.

The great libertarians – from Felix Morley and Frank Chodorov to Murray Rothbard and Hans Hoppe — have always favored political decentralization; F.A. Hayek once said that in the future liberty was more likely to flourish in small states. This is surely the way forward for us today, if we want to see tangible changes in our lifetimes.

Thomas Sowell referred to two competing visions that lay at the heart of so much political debate: the constrained and the unconstrained. In the constrained vision, man’s nature is not really malleable, his existence contains an element of tragedy, and there is little that politics can do by way of grandiose schemes to perfect society. In the unconstrained vision, the only limitation to how much society can be remade in the image of its political rulers is how much the rubes are willing to stomach at a given moment.

These competing visions are reaching an endgame vis-a-vis one another. As Angelo Codevilla observes, the left has overplayed its hand. The regular folks have reached the limits of their toleration of leftist intimidation and thought control, and are hitting back.

We can fight it out, or we can go our separate ways.

When I say go our separate ways, I don’t mean “the left” goes one way and “the right” goes another. I mean the left goes one way and everyone else — rather a diverse group indeed — goes another. People who live for moral posturing, to broadcast their superiority over everyone else, and to steamroll differences in the name of “diversity,” should go one way, and everyone who rolls his eyes at all this should go another.

“No people and no part of a people,” said Ludwig von Mises nearly one hundred years ago, “shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want.” So much wisdom in that simple sentiment. And so much conflict and anguish could be avoided if only we’d heed it.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: February 22, 2017, 2:25 am

As we reported last night, just days after the media mocked Trump for his allegations of major problems with Swedish migrant policies, the president was vindicated after a violent riot broke out in the borough of Rinkeby, also known as "little Mogadishu." Now that the incident is over, in their "post-mortem" Swedish officials confirm that riots erupted in the "heavily immigrant Stockholm suburb" Monday night, as masked looters set cars ablaze and threw rocks at cops, injuring one police officer, Swedish officials said.

The violence erupted just days after President Trump was ridiculed during a Saturday campaign rally for mentioning Sweden alongside a list of European targets of terror. Trump later said his “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden” remark was in response to a Fox News report on the country’s refugee crime crisis that aired on Friday evening.

"Sweden. They took in large numbers [of refugees],” Trump added at the Florida rally. “They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

Sweden’s official Twitter account – which is operated by a different user each week – tweeted at Trump on Monday morning: “Hey Don, this is @Sweden speaking! It’s nice of you to care, really, but don’t fall for the hype. Facts: We’re OK!”

Events just hours later refuted that optimistic assessment.

The violence in Rinkeby began around 8 p.m., when officers arrested a suspect at an underground station on drug charges, The Local reported. A group soon gathered, hurling rocks and other objects at officers and prompting one cop to fire his gun “in a situation that demanded he use his firearm,” police spokesman Lars Bystrom said.

Swedish press photographer assaulted in Rinkeby riots https://t.co/0VBQ9eezIR pic.twitter.com/T03q5PyOb4

— The Local Sweden (@TheLocalSweden) February 21, 2017

Hours later, the Rinkeby riots began, with a second wave starting around 10:30 p.m. Seven or eight cars were set on fire and many stores saw looting, The Local reported. A photographer from media outlet Dagens Nyheter said a group of 15 people beat him as he tried to document the chaos. Swedish Police were forced to fire warning shots at the unidentified group of rioting protesters, who set cars on fire, throwing stones at police and looting local stores.

A police officer was injured during the clashes, forcing law enforcers to fire several warning shots at the crowd, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT reported, citing a local police spokesperson.

A policeman investigates a burnt car in Rinkeby, Sweden February 21, 2017

The silver lining is that “nobody has been found injured at the scene and we have checked the hospitals and there hasn’t been anyone with what could be gunshot wounds,” Bystrom added.

“I was hit with a lot of punches and kicks both to my body and my head. I have spent the night in hospital,” said the photographer, who was not named. "It looks like a war zone" he added.

The rioting ended just after midnight.

No arrests were made; however, reports were filed on three violent acts, violence against a police officer, two assaults, vandalism and aggravated thefts, authorities said.

Firefighters survey the scene in the suburb of Rinkeby where riots erupted on Monday night.

As we reported last night, Rinkeby is the same area where an Australian "60 Minutes" crew was attacked by a group of men in April 2016. The film crew was attempting to enter a so-called “no go zone,” which authorities deny they use as a label. Rinkeby, however, has been officially classified as one of 15 “particularly vulnerable” areas across Sweden.

The country's prime minister, Stefan Lofven, said Monday, "Yes, we have challenges like all other countries. There's no doubt. We have a situation in the world where 65 million people had to flee their countries last year, the year before that. 65 million. So that's a war for us together." He also said Sweden was investing more in housing, technology and its welfare system.

Reports of rapes in Sweden jumped 13 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year, and reports of sexual assaults were up 20 percent, according to preliminary data from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. Recent migration to Sweden hit its peak in 2015 with more than 160,000 asylum applications. It dropped to almost 30,000 in 2016.

The mainstream media, so eager to mock Trump's "error" on Saturday, has been oddly delayed in reporting on last night's Swedish violence.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: February 22, 2017, 2:11 am

NFA News Releases

February 16, Chicago—NFA's Board of Directors approved the appointment of Carol Wooding as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at its February 16, 2017 meeting in Chicago. Ms. Wooding will assume the General Counsel's duties from Thomas Sexton, .
Posted: February 17, 2017, 4:59 am

Elite Forex Blog - Market Research & Analysis

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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
- Property Bubble In Ireland Developing Again
- “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
- Gold Trading COT Report “Means Lower – Then Much Higher – Prices Coming”
- Currency Shock Sees Sterling Gold Surges 5% In One Minute “Flash Crash”
- Top Gold Forecaster: “As Quickly As Gold Fell” May “Rally Back” on Global Risks
- Gold Buying ‘Opportunity’ After Surprise 3.4% Drop
- Deutsche Bank “Is Probably Insolvent”
- GBP Gold Rises 1.3% as Sterling Slumps On ‘Hard Brexit’ Concerns, Up 36% YTD
- Why Krugman, Roubini, Rogoff And Buffett Hate Gold
- 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
    In case you didn't know, facts about Pizza
    Pizza is actually America's favorite food.  The Atlantic covered a DOA report that showed the cheesy stats:
    Like football, pop music, and democracy itself, pizza follows in the long American tradition of things that began overseas before the United States imported, violently altered, and eventually defined the institution. Although the first pizza shops didn't open in the U.S. until the early 20th century, hundreds of years after the original Neapolitan pies, we now spend $37 billion a year on pizza, accounting for a third of the global market. The obsession deepens. On any given day, about 13 percent of Americans eat pizza, according to a new report from the Department of Agriculture. One in six guys between the ages of two and 39 ate it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner today. In part due to this obsession, per capita consumption of cheese is up 41 percent since 1995. Drawn from the report, here are seven facts about Americans and pizza, presented free of moralizing comments about whether or not it is healthy or sensible for the American diet to consist so overwhelming of bread adorned with tomato-cheesey gloop.
    Pizza, is actually an AMERICAN food, brought to America by the Italians.  Pizza was invented in Italy, but in Italy, Pizza is completely different, and not very popular.  In fact, Pizza is most popular in America.  It's more American than Apple Pie.  Check it out:
    In 1905, a slice of pizza cost five cents. During the Depression, when families did not have much money, pizza became popular with everyone in the United States. Families were eating different types of pizza on the east and west coasts. A thick-crust pizza was called double-crust pizza or west coast pizza. When they had a large exhibit about pizza at the Texas State Fair, more people inquired about this food than any other.The first recipe for pizza appeared in a fundraising cookbook published in Boston in 1936. The recipe, for Neapolitan pizza, was made by hand. Dough had to be hand-stretched by pizzaiolos and housewives until it was half an inch thick. The pizza had cheese, tomatoes, grated parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Surprisingly, the dough was not made by hand, but cooks were told to buy it at a good Italian bake shop.However, pizza was mostly limited to Italian immigrant communities until after World War II, when American soldiers returning from Italy still wanted their pies. Popularity spread, and various American styles developed. Pizzeria Uno is credited with the invention of the Chicago deep dish pizza in 1943. This is known as tomato pie and was baked in rectangular pans in bakeries. Its crust was extra thick and it had seasoned tomato puree and was dusted with Romano cheese before it went into the oven. Some eventually had meat and thick cheese, and it was so thick, it often had to be eaten with a knife and fork.
    The American Dollar is collapsing
    From five cents a slice to $20 a Pizza.  What happened?  During this time, the US Dollar went down by more than 95%.  Let's take a look at one of America's favorite Pizzas, Numero Uno Pizza.  For those of you who have not had the pleasure to live in the greater Los Angeles area, where Numero Uno has had 95% name recognition, Numero Uno Pizza is a household name.  Interestingly, Numero Uno was founded in Los Angeles right around the time Nixon created Forex; 1970.  We've obtained an old Numero Uno menu (we think though, it's from the 80s) that shows prices from that time:
    Wow!  .85 House Wine, less than $5 for a Carafe!  
    Now take a look at prices we've lifted from current NU store sites, such as Numero Uno Palmdale:
    The most popular NU pizza is the S5 "Slaughterhouse 5" which currently stands at $16.95.  We confirmed with the manager of Palmdale location that indeed; prices are due for a rate hike in January.
    From $10.85 to $16.95 isn't too bad, Pizzaflation is not nearly as bad as inflation in other markets, most notably, real estate, groceries, coffee, and other items.  Using an inflation calculator, $1 in 1970 is about $6.21 today.  If the menu is from 1985, the S5 should be $24.29.  Other NU stores have it priced at $19.99.  In any case, for older folk, $20 is a lot to pay for a Pizza, in their mind.  But that's only because of memory, of times past.  Inflation is a slow subtle tax.  From a 'real dollar' perspective, Numero Uno Pizza is cheap.
    Let's understand the second component of inflation that's less obvious - the deterioration of QUALITY.  You can get a Pizza today for $5 - but it's a bunch of crap.  Like any product, you get what you pay for.  This part of inflation, the decline in quality, is less obvious but more damaging.  Every year, products get a little worse and worse.
    The real cause of Pizzaflation
    Real analysts must always seek the CAUSALITY  
    Inflation happens only for one reason:  Central Bank prints more currency.  More currency, chasing the same or fewer goods and assets, makes the price go up.  It's really simple!  QE (Quantitative Easing) has been rampant in recent years.  Fortunately for consumers, most inflation has happened in financial markets, real estate, and other markets.
    In our household, we measure inflation with the "Burrito Index": How much has the cost of a regular burrito at our favorite taco truck gone up?
    Since we keep detailed records of expenses (a necessity if you’re a self-employed free-lance writer), I can track the real-world inflation of the Burrito Index with great accuracy: the cost of a regular burrito from our local taco truck has gone up from $2.50 in 2001 to $5 in 2010 to $6.50 in 2016.That’s a $160% increase since 2001; 15 years in which the official inflation rate reports that what $1 bought in 2001 can supposedly be bought with $1.35 today.
    If the Burrito Index had tracked official inflation, the burrito at our truck should cost $3.38—up only 35% from 2001. Compare that to today's actual cost of $6.50—almost double what it “should cost” according to official inflation calculations.
    Since 2001, the real-world burrito index is 4.5 times greater than the official rate of inflation—not a trivial difference.
    Between 2010 and now, the Burrito Index has logged a 30% increase, more than triple the officially registered 10% drop in purchasing power over the same time.
    Those interested can check the official inflation rate (going back to 1913) with the BLS Inflation calculator by clicking here.
    My Burrito Index is a rough-and-ready index of real-world inflation. To insure its measure isn’t an outlying aberration, we also need to track the real-world costs of big-ticket items such as college tuition and healthcare insurance, as well as local government-provided services. When we do, we observe results of similar magnitude.
    The takeaway? Our money is losing its purchasing power much faster than the government would like us to believe.
    It's important for consumers to understand, Pizzaflation is not caused by Pizza makers.  Numero Uno actually is doing a great job keeping prices low, because their food cost, rent, and other costs, are all exploding parabolic.
    Los Angeles has the highest rent burden in America:
    Overall, rents in Los Angeles have doubled since the 1970s:
    But of course, that's not counting other various fees, taxes, increased regulatory costs, increased insurances due to higher crime rates, and other factors.  Pizzaflation has hit Los Angeles hard, creating a 'double whammy' for businesses like Numero Uno.  And with LA's median income flat since 1970, it makes one wonder who can afford a $20 Pizza.  But the remaining Numero Uno stores are mostly packed and have great reviews, so it seems that it takes something really Magic to survive the pressure of the Fed.
    To learn more about how the Fed decreases the value of the US Dollar via Quantitative Easing, checkout Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex - your pocket guide to make you a Forex genius!  
    Posted: September 30, 2016, 9:19 pm
    Illustration by Mario Wagner

    Oscar winners, sports stars and Bill Gates are building lavish bunkers — with amenities ranging from a swimming pool to a bowling alley — as global anxiety fuels sales and owners "could be the next Adam and Eve."

    Given the increased frequency of terrorist bombings and mass shootings and an under-lying sense of havoc fed by divisive election politics, it's no surprise that home security is going over the top and hitting luxurious new heights. Or, rather, new lows, as the average depth of a new breed of safe haven that occupies thousands of square feet is 10 feet under or more. Those who can afford to pull out all the stops for so-called self-preservation are doing so — in a fashion that goes way beyond the submerged corrugated metal units adopted by reality show "preppers" — to prepare for anything from nuclear bombings to drastic climate-change events. Gary Lynch, GM at Rising S Bunkers, a Texas-based company that specializes in underground bunkers and services scores of Los Angeles residences, says that sales at the most upscale end of the market — mainly to actors, pro athletes and politicians (who require signed NDAs) — have increased 700 percent this year compared with 2015, and overall sales have risen 150 percent. "Any time there is a turbulent political landscape, we see a spike in our sales. Given this election is as turbulent as it is, we are gearing up for an even bigger spike," says marketing director Brad Roberson of sales of bunkers that start at $39,000 and can run $8.35 million or more (FYI, a 12-stall horse shelter is $98,500).
    Adds Mike Peters, owner of Utah-based Ultimate Bunker, which builds high-end versions in California, Texas and Minnesota: "People are going for luxury [to] live underground because they see the future is going to be rough. Everyone I've talked to thinks we are doomed, no matter who is elected." Robert Vicino, founder of Del Mar, Calif.-based Vivos, which constructs upscale community bunkers in Indiana (he believes coastal flooding scenarios preclude bunkers being safely built west of the Rockies), says, "Bill Gates has huge shelters under every one of his homes, in Rancho Santa Fe and Washington. His head of security visited with us a couple years ago, and for these multibillionaires, a few million is nothing. It's really just the newest form of insurance."
    A hidden door by Creative Home Engineering leads to a secret passageway that connects to an underground bunker.
    Rising S Bunkers installed a 37-room, 9,000-square-foot complex in Napa Valley for an Academy Award-winning client that rang in at $10.28 million, with a bowling alley, sauna, jacuzzi, shooting range and an ultra-large home theater. Swimming pools, greenhouses, game rooms and gyms are other amenities offered. This year, on another Napa Valley property, the company constructed a $9 million, 7,600-square-foot compound with horse stables and accommodations for 12, along with four escape tunnels leading to outlets on the estate, multiple hidden rooms — in case "you let someone in whom you do not fully trust," says Lynch — and an aboveground safe house "disguised as a horse barn." The company also is designing a $3 million bunker for "a major sports figure from Southern California."
    The company's best-selling bunkers for L.A. are 10 by 50 feet, start at $112,000 and have their own power sources, water supplies and air-filtration systems: "These complexes accommodate families of four or five and are self-sustaining," says Roberson, adding: "You can pretty much put a palace underground anywhere there is physically enough room." Regardless, Ellia Thompson, chair of land use practice at Ervin Cohen & Jessup in Beverly Hills, notes that zoning guidelines vary throughout L.A., so one should check with the city department of building and safety about permits: "A special permit may be required if you are digging out more dirt than certain basement quantities."
    Business has doubled in the past year at Ultimate Bunker, which just built a $10 million complex on a 700-acre property a few hours north of Minneapolis for a client "known for television, who has his own show," says Peters. Two 1,000-square-foot bunkers (one for storage) are connected by 300 feet of tunnels to the main 6,800-square-foot home as well as three guesthouses that each boast a $200,000 bunker "to take care of his family and friends," says Peters. "It's like an underground mansion with more mansions on top of it."
    Al Corbi, president and founder of S.A.F.E. (Strategically Armored & Fortified Environments), with offices in West Hollywood, says that his most spectacular projects were $100 million subterranean residences, one for a global venture capitalist and the other for an East Coast developer to mimic the Universal CityWalk promenade, with a pizzeria and wellness outpost that, he says, "resembles a Burke Williams day spa." Corbi says both bunkers protect from nuclear holocaust (8 feet of soil blocks radioactive fallout), pandemic (a positive-pressure air system with HEPA filters keeps contaminants out), electromagnetic pulses and solar flares (using a metal encasement), among other threats. "Power technology has improved tremendously thanks in part to Tesla and lithium-ion batteries that only degrade a maximum of 10 percent after 30 years," says Corbi. "And now there is food with a 25-year minimum shelf life. [The owners] could be the next Adam and Eve." (Note to L.A. chefs, however: The rations are grim, ranging from beef Stroganoff to chili.)
    When it comes to the details of secret passageways and hidden doors, many in Hollywood turn to Arizona-based Creative Home Engineering. "We've seen year-over-year growth of about 20 percent, but perhaps more telling is an increasing percentage of clientele who need their secret door to employ high-security features," notes president Steve Humble, who says before, 60 percent of secret doors in cigar rooms, home theaters, children's bedrooms and the like were for novelty value. "Nowadays, 80 percent are used for security. In the past year, I have performed installations inside two nuclear-protected complexes with more than 10 secret doors each, one in the L.A. area owned by a plastic surgeon."
    Film fantasies play a part in the choice of secret entrances. "Many of my clients come to me knowing what movie secret door they would like duplicated," says Humble, who cites as top inspirations Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Batman and James Bond franchises, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Goonies, on which a popular access control device that "requires that a certain sequence of notes be played on the piano to get the door to open" is based. There's also Get Smart: "At this moment, we are converting a phone booth [inside a private residence] so that when the user dials the correct number, the back panel opens to grant access to a secure area." He adds: "I can tell you that we've built secret doors for many of the most recognizable and highly awarded directors and celebrities in Hollywood. There are a lot of Oscars and Emmys tucked away safely behind my secret doors."
    1. A floor plan for an $8.35 million, 6,000-square-foot bunker from Texas company Rising S Bunkers includes a decked-out game room.
    2. The largest swimming pool that Rising S has built measures 40 feet.
    3. Fitness rooms are a must to compensate for a lack of outside activity.
    4. Natural light tubes and ultraviolet LED lamps promote growth in underground gardens of consumable plants and vegetables.
    5. Theaters seat as many as 20 people and come with 10-foot screens.
    6. Rising S has seen garages with 15 vehicles, including Rolls-Royces, muscule cars and armored personnel carriers (one client has three).
    Posted: September 29, 2016, 1:49 am
    The Elite have invested billions of dollars over a period of 60 years to create a population of semi-conscious happy consumers in the US (and are attempting to do so globally).  The form changes from time to time, but the essence is the same: don't mess with the status quo.  As we explain in Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex - this is no where more obvious than financial services.  In fact, a large part of the 'dumbing down' campaign is designed to make you fire from the right brain, and the reptilian brain (ribbit).  That means they encourage sports, violence, and basically anything vulgar and stupid.  It's not only designed to destroy your family, it's designed to destroy a civilization.  And it's working!  For those who are curious about this mega-brainwashing-system that went into place during the 50's and 60's and now has a complete domination over almost all aspects of American life, checkout the following books: Virtual Government: CIA Mind Control Operations in AmericaPopulation Control: How Corporate Owners Are Killing Us.
    The Real Debate
    Part of this social control paradigm they've created is turning politics into a big circus-style entertainment.  TRUMP fits the bill perfect here, as our entire political system has become a big reality show.  Tonight's event, used to be one of much intellectual rigor.  To understand what 'debate' is - read this book "Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric" - a MUST read for any intellectual, trader, thinker, or someone who enjoys to understand how things work.  Modern politicians, don't bother to read this book, it will only ruin your career (you shouldn't read in fact, just practice smiling and saying what it says on the teleprompter).
    There is practically no difference who the President is anymore.  Even Trump who is like the 'Trump' card, the wildcard candidate, could not likely greatly change the Corporatocracy currently running Washington, or he'd risk imploding it and in the process bankrupting himself.  Unfortunately, there isn't any 'fix' for the system, so no matter how crafty and clever candidates like Trump may seem, even Nuclear war couldn't shake the resolve of the lunatic psychopaths running the world.  The only thing that could really change the system, would be mass non-cooperation (say, 100 Million people stay at home, turn off their TVs.  It would cause a revolution).  With the constant flow of drugs, money, and cheap entertainment, ("the spice must flow") it's guaranteed that for the current generation, the bread and games approach will work.  As long as they're kept fat and happy, they're happy to line up for the slaughter.
    The REAL Debate, doesn't happen on TV.  It happens at the Federal Reserve Bank (Or, at the private Residence of some Rockefeller level bankers) - these debates involve topics such as who will be the next Fed Chairman, what country will the US invade next, and what the interest rate policy should be?  (The debate about interest rates, that doesn't last long, not more than a few seconds, long enough for everyone to murmur 'agree' or 'ditto').  And here, in these private chambers, is where the REAL failure happened.  Some Rockefeller sidekick, like Helicopter Ben, will have some popular warped theory about how negative rates are good to stimulate growth, so the valves should be turned on full.  Fast forward almost 10 years, and the same Elite group finally realized that, economically speaking, it makes more sense to give money to people, not banks.  If by strange chance, those advisors with that realization, could have been in the meeting we call The Real Debate, maybe QE wouldn't exist, we'd live in a different world, a more real world, based on real numbers and not aritifically inflated data.  But, we don't live in that world so it's pointless to think about. 
    The Real Debate, happens everyday in the FX markets.  Traders on one side (the buy side) push hard to topple their counterpart, the sell side.  That's the Real Debate.  You can watch it live for only $1 Click here to start to watch the real debate for only $1.
    Politicians don't call the shots anymore.  If they ever did, is another question.  The Real Debate, it's happening right now on Zero Hedge.  Turn off your TV - and join!
    If you want to get started looking at investing, checkout Fortress Capital Forex
    Posted: September 28, 2016, 1:07 am
    The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission fined a Russia bank $6 million Monday for executing "fictitious and noncompetitive" Russian Ruble - U.S. dollar futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
    The CFTC brought the enforcement action against VTB Bank, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Russia, and its subsidiary VTB Capital PLC.
    VTB Capital is a U.K.-incorporated bank.
    The CFTC’s order required VTB Bank and VTB Capital to jointly and severally pay a $5 million civil penalty.
    VTB Bank didn't have the capital base to hedge a large position in ruble - dollar contracts, the CFTC said.
    So between December 2010 and June 2013, VTB Bank and VTB Capital executed on the CME over 100 block trades in RUB/USD futures contracts, with a notional value of about $36 billion.
    The purpose of the trades was to transfer VTB’s cross-currency risk to VTB Capital at prices more favorable than VTB could have obtained from third-parties.
    VTB Capital then hedged the cross-currency risk in OTC swaps with various international banks.
    That allowed VTB Bank to accomplish through risk-free, non-arms-length transactions in the futures market what it couldn't do through the swaps market.
    The block trades were fictitious sales, the CFTC said. They were done without risk to VTB Bank and reported by the CME at prices that weren't bona fide prices.
    Non-competitive and fictitious trades violate CFTC rules.
    VTB is the former Vneshtorgbank. The Russian government controls most of the stock in VTB. The Bank of Moscow is VTB's biggest subsidiary.

    The CFTC said VTB Bank and VTB Capital cooperated with the U.S. investigation.
    The UK Financial Conduct Authority helped the CFTC in the investigation.
    _____
    Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He'll be the keynote speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016.
    http://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2016/9/23/cftc-fines-russia-bank-5-million-for-36-billion-of-phony-rub.html 

    OPEN A FOREX ACCOUNT - YOU JUST MIGHT GET LUCKY
    Posted: September 24, 2016, 3:19 am