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Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Duran,

Click here for part one:  The Rise of the Round Table Movement and the Sad Case of Canada (1864-1945)

Click here for part two: Milner’s Perversion Takes Over Canada (1945-1971)

Our first two installments have dealt with the origins of the Deep State in North America by reviewing the creation of the Rhodes Scholarship/Chatham House network at the end of the 19th century and the infiltration of indoctrinated scholars into every governing branch of western society. We traced the key players in this Oxford-based network who were formed with the intent of fulfilling the will of Cecil Rhodes to “form a church of the British Empire” and undo the effects of the American Revolution as a global phenomenon. We also saw how these networks worked closely with another early “think tank” called the Fabian Society in order to advance an agenda that required the destruction of the sovereign nation state system which had been founded upon the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. This was exemplified by the 1999 “Chicago speech” of Fabian asset Tony Blair when he stated that the world must now embark upon a “post-Westphalian order” setting the stage for 9/11 and the new era of regime change that was soon unleashed. In the following report, we will look at the origins of the Fabian Society, by examining some of its founding members and governing philosophy.

The Nature of the Beast

Polarization is the name of empire. If a society can be kept under the control of their belief in what their senses tell them, then the invisible structures governing their behaviour will remain mystical and unknowable. More importantly than that, those intentions shaping such structures towards a pre-determined goal will also remain unknowable. If unknowable, then beyond the reach of judgement, and if beyond the reach of judgement, then unchangeable. This has been the great secret of empire since the days of the Babylonian priesthood and Babylon`s whore Rome, since whose collapse, three more incarnations have manifested themselves in the forms of the Byzantine, Venice and Anglo-Dutch empires. This is the dynamic at the heart of what has today come to be known as “the Deep State”.

With the 15th century rediscovery of the efficient power of self-conscious reason as a knowable and self-developing potential in the soul of every human, the renaissance-humanist conception of mankind had blossomed. With that conception of imago viva dei (1) led in large measure by the unique discoveries and life`s devotion of Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1460), a revolution in science, art and statecraft occurred. Natural law both in the sciences, in the arts and especially as a standard when shaping physical economic policy became accessible to self-consciousness.

With such discoveries came new principles of self-organization, such as the 1648 Peace of Westphalia that not only put an end to the oligarchy`s 30 year religious warfare, but established the principle of `The Benefit of the Other` as the basis of national sovereignty. From the 1648 Peace, a new platform was created upon which the next great revolution could begin with the 1776 American Declaration of Independence. With the 1776 Declaration and 1789 Constitution, a nation founded upon life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was instituted for the first time amongst men. By 1791, Alexander Hamilton, First Treasury Secretary and Benjamin Franklin protégé established his American System of Political Economy with his 1791 reports on the National Bank, Public Credit, and most importantly the Subject of Manufactureswhere Hamilton defined the purpose and value of economic planning, not according to “pleasure/pain, utility or money”, but rather “to cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted.  Even things in themselves not positively advantageous, sometimes become so, by their tendency to provoke exertion. Every new scene, which is opened to the busy nature of man to rouse and exert itself, is the addition of a new energy to the general stock of effort.”

This American System was the effect of rigorous studies of Platonic texts such as the Republic, and the French Cameralist (aka: Dirigist) economic school as applied by such leading organizers of the Westphalian Treaty as Cardinal Mazarin, and France’s Finance Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert, not to mention their spiritual heir, the great scientist and statesmanGottfried Leibniz. Nearly written out of today’s history books, these men played a direct role in the formation of the early colonies of the Americas and New France. In his 1984 So You Wish to Learn All About Economics?a modern representative of this tradition, Lyndon H. LaRouche (1923-2019), credits Leibniz as also having been the founder of the science of Physical Economy and intellectual inspiration for the American System (2). Virtually every nationalist American president who attempted to revive this system throughout the coming two centuries, including President Trump today had to contend with Britain’s deep state structures within America itself.

Marx and Smith: Two Imperial Reactions to American Progress

Our most recent 500 years of universal historyhave been principally driven by the British oligarchy`s burning fear of the applied truth of these discovered principles of self-organization of mankind as a whole. Every innovation by the British Empire since that time, has been effected specifically with the intention of undoing the truth that such singular leaps in potential imply for humanity`s true destiny.

In order to obscure the truth of the American System`s success and even existence as an idea, two programs were formulated by liars and fools directly under the pay and control of the leading priests of the British Empire. The first was known as Adam Smith`s doctrine of Free Trade as elaborated in his 1776 Wealth of Nations. The second was Marx`s doctrine of Communism as elaborated in his 1867 Das Capital. Wealth of Nations was a response to the American Revolution, and served as a framework to convince the new republic to abandon plans at developing manufacturing and remain agrarian, emphasizing individual liberty/pleasure but not the well-being of the whole. In Smith’s doctrine, national rights to protectionism against the dumping of cheap goods and directed credit were antagonistic to “self-regulating marketplaces”. Inversely Marx’s Capital was produced as a response to the `2nd American Revolution` of 1865 and served as a sophistical argument to attempt to control the industrialization built up by the Hamiltonian American System since 1791.  Das Capital focused on the utilitarian “Good” of the whole at the expense of the individual.

Both systems of Smith and Marx were not only grounded in a radical empiricism (belief in the validity of sense-impressions), but also empiricism`s necessary corollary: that mankind is in essence no more than 1) his material flesh and 2) his ability to adapt to his material environment, both political and physical. Thus, contrary to the Renaissance humanist view that premises mankind’s essence on his soul and capacity to express his creative personality by discovering and changing the laws of the universe for the better, the empiricist of the left or the right, concludes that mankind is actually a beast. Creative leaps of progress in the arts and science which apparently separate man from the biosphere, and permit for the increase of the productive powers of labour without intrinsic limit must be assumed by the empiricist to be merely chimerical anomalies which must be kept as obscure as possible from the mass of the human cattle.

By Marx’s day, Darwin’s thesis of natural selection as the effect of a constant struggle for existence had provided new fuel for the imperialist’s world view and had fed Marx’s thesis. After reading On the Origin of Species, Marx sent a personally signed copy of Das Capital to Darwin in 1873 and had a German edition dedicated “In deep appreciation for Charles Darwin”.

Both systems also share the common lie that since universal principles are unknowable, that the only metrics a society is permitted to use in judging value are some mixture of “pleasure” and “utility”. Of the two, Smith was much more explicit in his writings on this point. In his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), he writes:

 “Hunger, thirst, and the passion which unites the two sexes, the love of pleasure, and the dread of pain, prompt us to apply those means for their own sake, and without any consideration of their tendency to those beneficent ends which the great Director of nature intended to produce by them.”

Fabianism: Fascism from the Left

It is a fact that cannot be missed by the honest intellect that recent history has been shaped by agencies operating outside of the general field of perception of the majority of the population. As previous reports have documented, such agencies have expressed themselves in the form of two polarities operating from one Oxford mind during the first years of the 20th century. Those two operations were the Round Table Movement catering to the so called “new right” anglophiles of the world on the one side, and a “new left” sect known as Fabian Socialists on the other. Through their various manifestations over the century, both organizations have worked together to create structures of thought, belief and law which lock their victims into a world where creative improvement of man and nature mediated by self-conscious reason is abandoned.

In this world of no change, the ugly fact of diminishing returns cannot be avoided since no new resources except those that are already in practice can come into being. In this system of scarcity, the ugly necessity of sterilization, and murder of the unfit based on material considerations (both genetic and environmental) becomes real, and the laws of Malthus become hegemonic. This process of decay has become more popularly known as “Entropy” or “The Second Law of Thermodynamics” (3), and has become treated by a language developed as an outgrowth of the belief called “systems analysis”. The hegemony of systems analysis today is due directly to the Fabian Society networks and Rhodes Trust allies working through both Soviet and Western systems throughout the Cold War.

The Fabian Society was founded by an elitist clique of Darwinian propagandists in 1884 who saw Karl Marx’s newly published system as the perfect vehicle to carry Darwin’s logic into the belief structure of the masses. In fact, all members were devout racists obsessed with the problem of convincing mankind to submit to racial cleansing along the lines prescribed by Herbert Spencer’s Social Darwinism and Francis Galton’s field of Eugenics. Both Spencer and Galton were closely directed by Thomas Huxley’s X Club, at this point entirely in charge of imperial science policy. The eerie Fabian Symbol features a wolf wearing sheep’s clothing.

The most prominent founding members were Sidney and Beatrice Webb and George Bernard Shaw. This group was soon joined by various influential aspiring priests of the British Empire, namely leading Theosophist Annie Besant, Huxley protégé H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, Arthur Balfour, and the founder of Geopolitics Halford Mackinder. The name “Fabian” was chosen for the Roman General Fabius Maximus (aka: The Delayer), who’s fame is founded on having beaten Hannibal by never engaging in direct combat, but rather by sheer endurance and attrition. In the founding Fabian document it was written:

“For the right moment you must wait, as Fabius did most patiently, when warring against Hannibal, though many censured his delays; but when the time comes you must strike hard, as Fabius did, or your waiting will be in vain, and fruitless.”(4)

The Fabian society program focused on broad social welfare programs such as universal health care, mass education, and better working conditions which were designed to attract the disenfranchised masses. Under the Fabian program, such programs held no substance in reality, as the true means to justify their creation was banned a priori (aka: scientific and technological progress). That is, the activation of self-conscious reason in all members of society.

This ruse was thus designed to merely bring the will of the lower classes under the deeper influence of a ruling oligarchy via the promise of “democratic socialism” and a naïvely utopian “end of history” ideal. All the masses have to do in order to receive their treats, is to accept being governed by a scientific priesthood which will manage their lives and eventually kill them if they are deemed too numerous or troublesome to maintain. This priesthood will manage pre-existing wealth in such a way as is expedient to placate the mob, but will not allow the creation of new wealth via the activation of the powers of mind as that would force the changing of the parameters of the fixed channels of the system which they seek to manage as gods. The controllers of Fabian Socialism are not, nor have they ever been “democratic socialists”, but brutish social Darwinists. As theosophist Annie Besant said to the Indian Congress party:

“But the general idea is that each man should have power according to his knowledge and capacity. […] And the keynote is that of my fairy State: From every man according to his capacity; to every man according to his needs. A democratic Socialism, controlled by majority votes, guided by numbers, can never succeed; a truly aristocratic Socialism, controlled by duty, guided by wisdom, is the next step upwards in civilization.”(5)

Without a genuine commitment to scientific discovery and the unbounded increase of the productive powers of labour, as laid out clearly in the American System of Political Economy, then no promise of social welfare measures are durable. Any such handouts will necessarily result in a Ponzi-pyramid crisis which will, by its very nature, force the logic of triage and thus fascism onto the dupes that “democratically” permitted its hegemony. All current arguments to cut social security, pension plans, health care, and education are derived from this function. The rise of environmentalism as a “new post-industrial religion” today pushed by a Green New Deal has a blood curdling agenda of depopulation behind its nominal socialist costume.

Working closely with leading figures of Oxford, and especially the Rhodes Trust, the Fabians set up their own school with Rothschild funding called the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1895. The ideological framework employed by both the LSE and Oxford agents were always formulated by Cambridge, which to this day remains the core intellectual hive of the empire’s rotten ideas. Oxford and LSE continue to exist primarily for the purposes of setting up programs which “apply” those “pure” ideas formulated in Cambridge into general practice in the interests of the ruling oligarchy. Prominent Fabian controllers who recruited young talent at the LSE were Frederick von Hayek, Bertrand Russell, John Maynard Keynes, and Harold Laski.

Five years after LSE was established, the Labour Party was created as the official Fabian political party. Its function was essentially take over the role of the left from the Liberals in opposition to the Conservative government which had previously been the two hegemonic parties in Britain. One of the most perverse members of the movement, playwright George Bernard Shaw laid out the method of permeation which had governed the Fabian success in permeating influential socio political institutions:

 “Our propaganda is one of permeating – we urged our members to join the Liberal and Radical Associations in their district, or, if they preferred it, the Conservative Associations – we permeated the party organizations and pulled all the strings we could lay our hands on with the utmost adroitness and energy, and we succeeded so well that in 1888 we gained the solid advantage of a Progressive majority full of ideas that would never have come into their heads had not the Fabians put them there.”

This is exactly what was done. Over this century, the LSE has conditioned dozens of heads of state, tens of thousands of civil servants and several generations of academics.

In Canada this process was replicated in 1931 when the “Fabian Society of Canada” was created by 5 Rhodes Scholars and dubbed the League of Social Reconstruction. It quickly created a pro-eugenics political party called the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in 1932 which changed its name to the NDP in 1961. Many of its core controllers took over the Liberal Party after the purge of pro-American system statesman C.D. Howeand his allies after 1957.

More cabinet officials under Barack Obama had studied at Oxford and LSE than its American counterparts Yale, Harvard or Princeton (6). This is the essence of the Deep State which has sought to overthrow President Trump ever since he became a serious candidate in the 2016 elections.

This method of “permeation” is analogous to a virus taking over the white blood cells of a victim. At first, the virus’ presence in the system is hardly noticeable, but when organs begin to unexpectedly malfunction, the thoughtless person may foolishly choose not to seek help, but wait for the immanent point at which he is past the point of no return. This infection has taken place thousands of years ago, and while humanity produced bursts of potential led by creative genius over the generations, mankind still has not learned his lesson.

Throwing off Zeus’ Shackles

It is of absolute necessity that now, even at this late date, the lessons of past mistakes are learnt before the lawful outcome of this virus runs its course and kills its host. The essence of mankind’s troubles is not derived by any defect in our nature, or our “greedy yearning for progress”. It is not due to our fixed “selfish nature”, nor will our problems be resolved by adopting a “sustainable” system of zero technological growth under “Green New Deals”. Such a system only exists in the delusional mind of an oligarch or their victims, but not in nature. If such a system were to be imposed on our 21st century society, a genocide magnitudes greater than anything Hitler could have dreamed will be the result.

So let us put away such Fabian theories as “man-made global warming”, and “zero growth green technologies” which will produce only famine, war, and chaos. Let us instead rediscover the identity which was inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s discovery of electric fire. The quickest path to reawakening this identity within the greatest portion of the species is by engaging in such great projects the Belt and Road Initiative, embarking upon a total nuclear power renaissance, and returning to John F. Kennedy’s vision for unbounded space exploration as Presidents Trump, Xi, and Putin have all made national priorities. If the nature of humanity is to truly live as made in the image of the creator, then adapting like an animal to the unchangeable and unknowable cycles of nature is not compatible with our purpose.

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BIO: Matthew J.L. Ehret is a journalist, lecturer and founder of the Canadian Patriot Review. He is an author with The Duran, Strategic Culture Foundation, Fort Russ. His works have been published in Zero Hedge, Executive Intelligence Review, Global Times, Asia Times, L.A. Review of Books, and Matthew has also published the book “The Time has Come for Canada to Join the New Silk Road” and three volumes of the Untold History of Canada (available on

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Appendix: The Fabian Society and Round Table: Eugenics by Another Name

The Fabian Society: Eugenics From the Left

In case any doubts yet linger that the Fabians or their Rhodes Trust counterparts on the so-called “right” have advanced their agenda in order to apply genocidal eugenics programs on a scale unimagined by even Hitler, then simply read their own words, and judge for yourself. 

“The moment we face it frankly we are driven to the conclusion that the community has a right to put a price on the right to live in it … If people are fit to live, let them live under decent human conditions. If they are not fit to live, kill them in a decent human way. Is it any wonder that some of us are driven to prescribe the lethal chamber as the solution for the hard cases which are at present made the excuse for dragging all the other cases down to their level, and the only solution that will create a sense of full social responsibility in modern populations?”

-George Bernard Shaw, Prefaces (London: Constable and Co., 1934), p. 296

“I believe that now and always the conscious selection of the best for reproduction will be impossible; that to propose it is to display a fundamental misunderstanding of what individuality implies. The way of nature has always been to slay the hindmost, and there is still no other way, unless we can prevent those who would become the hindmost being born. It is in the sterilization of failure, and not in the selection of successes for breeding, that the possibility of an improvement of the human stock lies.”

-H.G. Wells in American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 10 (1904), p. 11

“We may perhaps assume that, if people grow less superstitious, government will acquire the right to sterilize those who are not considered desirable as parents. This power will be used, at first, to diminish imbecility, a most desirable object. But probably, in time, opposition to the government will be taken to prove imbecility, so that rebels of all kinds will be sterilized. Epileptics, consumptives, dipsomaniacs and so on will gradually be included; in the end, there will be a tendency to include all who fail to pass the usual school examinations. The result will be to increase the average intelligence; in the long run, it may be greatly increased. But probably the effect upon really exceptional intelligence will be bad.

Eugenics has, of course, more ambitious possibilities in a more distant future. It may aim not only at eliminating undesired types, but at increasing desired types. Moral standards may alter so as to make it possible for one man to be the sire of a vast progeny by many different mothers. … If eugenics reached the point where it could increase desired types, it would not be the types desired by present-day Eugenists that would be increased, but rather the type desired by the average official. Prime Ministers, Bishops, and others whom the State considers desirable might become the fathers of half the next generation…

If we knew enough about heredity to determine, within limits, what sort of population we would have, the matter would of course be in the hands of State officials, presumably elderly medical men. Whether they would really be preferable to Nature I do not feel sure. I suspect that they would breed a subservient population, convenient to rulers but incapable of initiative.”

Bertrand Russell, “ICARUS or the Future of Science” (1924)

“Galton’s eccentric, sceptical, observing, flashing, cavalry-leader type of mind led him eventually to become the founder of the most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists, namely eugenics.”

-John Maynard Keynes on Galton’s Eugenics, Eugenics Review 1946

“Political unification in some sort of world government will be required… Even though… any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable.”

-Sir Julian Huxley, UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy. 1946

The Round Table: Eugenics from the Right

“I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence, look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives. I contend that every acre added to our territory means in the future birth to some more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence. Added to this the absorption of the greater portion of the world under our rule simply means the end of all wars, at this moment had we not lost America I believe we could have stopped the Russian-Turkish war by merely refusing money and supplies. Having these ideas what scheme could we think of to forward this object.”

-Cecil Rhodes, Confession of Faith, 1888

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

-Winston Churchill to the Peel Commission, 1937

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 4:05 am

A horrific story has sent shock and panic through Pakistan, further entering global headlines at the end of this week: Pakistani police are holding a doctor on suspicions that he intentionally infected over 500 people, including 400 children, with the HIV virus.

The investigation began after an HIV epidemic was uncovered in an urban district of Pakistan's south starting in February, and after over ten families accused a local doctor of treating their children with used syringes.

Local residents have flocked to makeshift testing clinics after the scandal hit headlines, via the AFP.

From there, attention focused on a child specialist in the small city of Ratodero named Muzaffar Ghangharo, who himself reportedly has Aids, and may have infected hundreds with HIV using contaminated needles, but he claims he didn't do it intentionally, which a police investigation is now trying to determine. 

According to Al Jazeera the HIV outbreak has sparked a wave of national panic

Parents flock to screening rooms set up at a makeshift clinic to get their children examined for HIV in a village in southern Pakistan, where hundreds of people have been allegedly infected by a doctor using a contaminated syringe.

At least five different screening rooms have been set up in the last month in the village of Wasayo on the outskirts of Larkana in Sindh province.

"They are coming by the dozens," says a doctor at the makeshift clinic, beset by a lack of equipment and personnel to treat the surging number of patients.

Historically, the Islamic conservative country has long had a low prevalence for HIV, but reports this week say it's now spreading at an "alarming rate". 

Families in rural areas impacted, but with little resources and only access to hospitals with poor sanitation practices, are outraged and desperate according to reports. 

The child specialist Muzaffar Ghangharo is due in court on May 21st, with Pakistani doctors telling reporters they've counted the total number of infected related to his clinic at a stunning figure of over 500 people, which includes at least 437 children

Pakistani police are investigating whether a doctor intentionally infected over 500 people, including 400 children, with the HIV virus


— EHA News (@eha_news) May 18, 2019

A local police officer involved in the investigation told The Guardian of the suspect's confession: “He said that he didn’t do anything intentionally. Ghangharo said that in his statement to police. [But] four kids have died and their parents have blamed the doctor for killing them.”

Reports further say the child doctor's professional credentials are unknown at this point. "For the sake of saving money, these quacks will inject multiple patients with a single syringe. This could be the main cause of the spread of HIV cases," one local health official said

Health workers are now mass screening residents of Sindh province, where the outbreak is concentrated, and have reportedly already tested 16,000 in the past couple months. The province's Aids control program director identified that after testing thousands, which identified hundreds of infected, “Sixty per cent are children less than five years.”

Muzaffar Ghangharo has been in jail awaiting trial as the investigation focuses on whether he intentionally infected over 500 people with the deadly HIV virus. Image source: EPA via The Sun

Some of the personal family accounts are absolutely gut-wrenching, such as the following

A few months ago, Fatima Emaan came down with a persistent fever. So her father, Syed Shah, took the infant to a few doctors, including a local child specialist in Ratodero, a small city in Pakistan’s south.

But the visits seemed only to worsen the 16-month-old girl’s condition. In February, a doctor told Shah his daughter was presenting the symptoms of HIV. On 1 March, her results came back. “They double- and triple-checked it and told us that Fatima is suffering from HIV,” Shah said.

Shah says his daughter was the first child to be diagnosed in what has become an HIV epidemic in the district...

The shocking incident has spotlighted hospital and medical practices and sanitation especially in remoter parts of Pakistan.

This includes complaints of high numbers of unqualified doctors along with the "reuse of syringes, unsafe blood transfusions, and other unsafe medical practices" according to an expert on infectious diseases,  Bushra Jamil, at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, in an interview with Al Jazeera.

Nationwide, Pakistan’s health ministry has put the total figure of registered HIV cases at 23,000 — which is tragically expected to grow after the latest crisis. 

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 3:40 am

Submitted by Priceonomics

Each year, the annual Revenue Per Employee rankings for the S&P 500, the 500 largest American companies listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ are relased. Revenue Per Employee (RPE) can be a measure of how efficiently companies utilize human capital. In this report, we will examine the top performers and the worst performers and compare to our rankings from last year.

Before we dive into the company rankings, we looked at the average Revenue per Employee by sector, to see from a broader perspective which industry has the highest human capital efficiency.

Energy & Utilities remains the top performing sector in terms of Revenue per Employee and the only sector with an average Revenue per Employee greater than $1M. Healthcare, Mobile & Telecommunications, and Financial Services sectors are also performing well.

In addition to the absolute numbers, we also analyzed the average growth rate across sectors since FY17.

All sectors saw positive growth in Revenue per Employee in FY18 compared to FY17. Food & Beverage, although the lowest performer in terms of Revenue per Employee at $95K per employee, had the highest growth at 22% year-over-year. Energy & Utilities, the top performer for FY18 Revenue per Employee at an average of $1.7M per employee, also exhibited high growth at 12% year-over-year.

Next, we look more closely at how specific companies are performing. The table below shows the top 25 companies by Revenue per Employee (Revenue per Employee) in 2018 in the S&P 500, along with how their Revenue per Employee compared to 2017.

Energy company, Valero Energy Corporation, tops the chart at $11.4M in Revenue per Employee at the company. Energy companies, in general, dominate this ranking for their human capital efficiency, with 17 out of the top 25 companies in the Energy sector, including Phillips 66Cabot Oil & GasEOGHollyFrontierONEOK, and Exxon Mobil. Three Healthcare companies, AmerisourceBergenCardinal Health, and McKesson, appear on the list, as well as two Financials companies, Everest Re Group and CBOE Holdings. The sole Technology company to appear on the list of top 25 companies by Revenue per Employee was video subscription giant, Netflix.

In contrast, the table below shows the 25 companies with the lowest Revenue per Employee in 2018 in the S&P 500, along with how their Revenue per Employee compared to 2017.

Similar to the rankings in 2017, Consumer Discretionary companies top the rankings of worst performing companies in terms of Revenue per Employee. These companies typically require larger employee headcount to staff brick-and-mortar locations to support their operations. For example, food service companies, like Darden RestaurantsChipotle Mexican GrillStarbucks, and McDonald’s, all appear at the top of the rankings with the lowest Revenue per Employee. Similarly, as we explored in our previous report, consultancy companies, like Accenture and Cognizant, require large teams to staff engagements and performance is largely tied to how many consultants they have to offer services to clients.

Next, we look at which companies are making the largest increases in their human capital efficiency. The table below shows the 25 companies with the highest growth in Revenue Per Employee in 2018 compared to 2017.

Nektar Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company, tops the list with 219% growth in their Revenue per Employee since 2017. Energy companies, which were the top performers in terms of absolute numbers, also rank highly for growth in Revenue Per Employee. Interestingly, Yum! Brands, parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, was able to increase their Revenue per Employee by 70.8% in the past year. However, this was actually due to a large decrease in headcount from 50,354 in 2017 to 32,076 in 2018, according to their annual reports. 

The table below shows the 25 companies with the greatest decline in Revenue Per Employee in 2018 compared to 2017.

Two payments companies, Total System Services (known as TSYS) and Global Payments, appeared high on the list for largest decline in Revenue per Employee since 2017. Hasbro, the large toy manufacturer, saw an 18.2% drop in Revenue per Employee in the wake of the Toys-R-Us liquidation. The Healthcare sector, although with high performance in absolute numbers of Revenue per Employee, did also see large decreases in Revenue per Employee, representing 7 out of the 25 worst performing companies.

Finally, we look at Technology companies to see which out of the S&P 500 Technology companies had the highest Revenue per Employee for 2018.

Apple led the rankings, as the only Technology company with over $2M in revenue generated per employee at the company. Facebook and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, both appeared high on the list with over $1M in revenue per employee. Overall, the average RPE for the Technology sector was just under $700,000 and these Technology companies saw 7.3% growth on average from 2017 to 2018. 

Key takeaways:

  • The fastest growing companies in terms of Revenue per Employee from 2017 to 2018 were: Nektar TherapeuticsPioneer Natural Resources CompanyPVHCabot Oil & Gas Corporation, and Sempra Energy. Each saw over 70% growth in Revenue per Employee since the previous fiscal year, with Nektar Therapeutics topping the ranking at 219% growth. 

  • Energy companies continue to have high revenues compared to employee headcount, representing almost 70% of the top 25 companies with highest Revenue per Employee. Energy & Utilities also had the highest average Revenue per Employee on the sector level, and also saw high growth since FY17.

  • Consumer Discretionary companies have high requirements for human capital to support revenues and therefore, have low Revenue per Employee. Food & Beverage companies, including franchise restaurant companies, had the lowest Revenue per Employee on the sector level, but did see high growth at 22% since FY17.

Note: We excluded a handful of organizations, primarily real estate investment trusts, from our rankings to eliminate a skew in our data, as these companies have very high revenues and low employee headcount due to the nature of their business. The companies we excluded from the list include: Host Hotels & ResortsWelltowerHCPFederal Realty Investment TrustVentasRealty Income CorporationBoston PropertiesAlexandriaDuke Realty GroupKimco Realty Corporation, and Regency Centers 

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 3:15 am

California's housing affordability crisis is getting worse. Affordability in San Francisco is now at 10-year lows, and only one in five households can afford to purchase a median-priced single-family home in the Bay Area. The crisis has driven many people onto the water, living on makeshift boats, outside marinas, and wealthy communities.

The floating homeless population in wealthy Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Strait from San Francisco, has doubled in the last five years to over 100. The community of 200 barges, sailboats, and other vessels comprise of people who are employed but can't afford to live on land, jobless folks, the homeless, and some people who are mentally ill. Boat life for them isn't easy:

"It's not a free ride. It's a lot of effort to be out here," said Kristina Weber, who moved onto a 54-foot vessel she purchased for $15,000 because she couldn't afford to rent in Sausalito. 

Wealthy people on land warn that the floating homeless community is devastating for their community. Weber and her neighbors told The Wall Street Journal these people have brought crime and poor sanitation to their area.

Residents complain that boats sometimes break away from anchor lines in storms, drift into waterfront homes, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Local authorities have called these seafaring homeless "anchor-outs," because they permanently anchor their vessels outside marinas and shore communities that is a direct violation of the law. Floating homeless communities have also sprung up in overpriced coastal regions from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Law enforcement removed 40 boats along the Oakland waterfront in 2013 and nine were taken away last month, said Brock de Lappe, harbor master for five Oakland marinas.

"They are taking over a public resource," de Lappe said.

Beth Pollard, executive director of the Richardson's Bay Regional Agency, said many of these floating homeless communities started showing up in the waters between the Marin County cities of Sausalito and Belvedere in the last several years.

Pollard and her organization aren't pushing these folks away from the area, but instead helping them secure their boats to more stable anchors.

Jim Robertson, a homeowner in Marin, said these boats have collided with his shore home 16 times over the last two decades, including one time that cost $20,000 to repair his dock.

"Nobody is looking for special treatment, just the enforcement of laws on the books," Robertson said.

His neighbor, Connie Strycker, said the homeless would paddle ashore in dinghies asking for food and water. "They're all filthy, because they have no place to bathe," said the 86-year-old.

Sausalito Police Chief John Rohrbacher said many of the homeless are inexperienced on the water.

Weber said living on the water is very difficult. The 40-year-old uses a dinghy to travel to shore for supplies.

Greg Baker, who lives alone in a 41-foot sailboat, has been on the water longer than anyone in the Marin area. The former tugboat captain said there are too many homeless people on the bay operating vessels with no experience at all.

Baker is leading an effort through a community association to educate the homeless on how to become better operators on the water.

He said that moving isn't an option for him.

"There are two ways I'm leaving: in a black body bag or handcuffs," said the 80-year-old.

While many San Franciscans cannot afford overpriced homes, this latest trend of housing communities springing up on the water with ragtag vessels is a sign of the times: the housing affordability crisis is progressively getting worse.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 2:50 am

Via Cliff Mass Weather and Climate blog,

There have been a number of media stories this week about a major threat to weather prediction:  the sale of electromagnetic spectrum for new 5G cellphone service.   The problem is that some of the wavelengths being auctioned off for 5G are critical for an important class of weather satellites, with 5G signals potentially undermining our ability to forecast the weather.

Currently, 4G cellphone technologies provide roughly 100 megabits per second (100 million bits per second) of communication speed, while the proposed 5G service could achieve 10 gigabits per second (10 billion bits per second).  Downloading movies and animations would be much quicker, with hardwired connections becoming less critical for most uses.

But to achieve such service one needs a larger communications highway, which means the use of more of the electromagnetic spectrum.   Electromagnetic energy, such as radio, microwaves, and visible light, are characterized by ranges of wavelength and frequency.  The use of these wavelengths is controlled by our government, which can auction off specific frequency/wavelength bands.

Among the spectrum recently auctioned off by the FCC for 5G is a band of frequencies near 24 GHz (GHz is gigahertz, or a billion cycles per second).   Unfortunately, this is close to 23.8 GHz, a frequency in which water vapor emits microwave radiation and which is used by weather satellites to determine the three-dimension properties of the atmosphere.  And that information is very important for providing the description of the atmosphere that is required for numerical weather prediction.

Why weather satellite information is important for numerical weather prediction

Numerical weather prediction, the foundation of all weather forecasts, depends on securing a comprehensive, three dimensional description of that atmosphere--known as the initialization.  The better this initialization, the better the forecast.

One of the key reasons why modern numerical weather prediction has gotten so good is that weather satellites now provide 3D data over the entire planet.  Even over remote oceans and the polar regions.  Roughly 95% of the total volume of weather information now comes from weather satellites.

Before weather satellites, radiosondes were the main source of weather information above the surface

And the most important source of weather information is from a collection of satellites that contain microwave sounders.  These satellites observe the earth by sensing microwave radiation being emitted by water vapor, liquid water, ice, and the surface.

The amount of radiation being emitted can be related to temperature.  And different wavelengths/frequencies reveal the conditions at different levels of the atmosphere.   To put it another way, by sensing emissions at various wavelengths, one can secure a profile of temperatures at various levels in the atmosphere.  Kind of like have radiosondes (balloon-launched weather observations) everywhere.  Very valuable information

The Microwave Sounder Unit on the AMSU-A satellite

What is the most valuable of all satellite observations?

Satellites with microwave sounders like AMSU-A (see below).  That platform ALONE contributed to a 17% reduction in forecast error in the European Center global model (the world's best)

AMSU A looks at the atmosphere in 15 wavelength/frequency bands or channels,  including sensing the atmosphere at wavelengths that the atmospheric water vapor has peaks in emission (see below).

Channel 1 is at 23.8 GHz.   The problem is that the FCC has sold off 24 GHz, which is very close to 23.6 GHz.   And if the 5G transmitters aren't very high quality, with little spread to neighboring frequencies, they could well interfere with the microwave weather satellites.

Why?  Because the weather satellite have very, very sensitive receivers because they are trying to sense the weak microwave emissions of atmospheric water vapor.  These sensors could be overwhelmed by the active TRANSMISSION in nearby wavelengths by thousands of 5G cell tower transmissions or other sources.

And the problem is even worse than that.  The FCC is planning to auction off more wavelengths/frequencies, some of which are close to other wavelength/frequency bands used by the weather satellites.

The potential harm to U.S. and worldwide numerical weather prediction by interfering with the 23.8 GHz band is certainly real, but difficult to quantify exactly. 

First, it will depend on the characteristic of the 5G transmitters and to what degree they will contaminate the nearby weather observation bands.

Second, it depends on how many wavelength bands would be affected.

Third, cell phone coverage does not include the entire planet.  One analysis suggests that only 34% of the earth's surface has cell phone coverage, suggesting that roughly 90% of the planet would be clean of interference (71% of the earth's surface is covered by water).  But if plans to establish satellite-based 5G on commercial ships and aviation come to fruition, the problem would be much worse.

NOAA, NASA, and U.S. Navy are quite concerned about this issue, with the Navy writing a strong statement of the potential harm.  On Thursday, NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs warned of a potential loss of  1/3rd of current forecast skill.  These warnings need to be taken seriously.

The key now is to have close coordination between the FCC and NOAA/NASA/DOD, as well as other international players, to ensure that spectra close to the weather observing frequencies are not used and, if there are, investments in high-quality transmitters, with effective filters, are required by law. 

Improved forecast skill derived from weather satellites has had huge positive impact on saving lives and property, and in fostering economic growth.  Reasonable actions must be taken to protect the value of weather observations from space.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 2:25 am

With the economic expansion almost a decade old, the unemployment rate has fallen to five-decade lows, and real wage growth has modestly expanded.

President Trump has touted today's economic environment as "the greatest economy ever," despite a new study showing 40% of Americans struggle to afford housing, utilities, food and or health care.

The findings from the Urban Institute highlight the vast amounts of wealth inequality that has developed across the country since the Great Recession.

The Federal Reserve's monetary policies of the past ten years attempted to generate the wealth effect: by driving the valuations of stock, bonds, and real estate higher, so that people would feel wealthier.

However, 58% of people don't own stocks, and another 35% don't own real estate - which means many Americans didn't fully participate in the sextupling of the stock market and the doubling of real estate prices.

Forty percent of Americans (ages 18 to 65) experienced two or more financial hardships in 2018, statistically the same from 2017. The study concentrated on the first two years of the Trump administration, as well as trying to understand if the debt-fuelled tax cuts would benefit the working class.

The study noted Trump's economic policies hardly alleviated financial stresses experienced by middle/lower-class households last year.

"The modest declines in hardship during the current favorable economic environment suggest further progress will require additional policies to raise and stabilize incomes, offset the cost of essential expenses and protect families against adverse financial shocks," the study said.

The Washington D.C.-based think tank surveyed more than 7,500 adults over the last several years about whether they had difficulties paying for housing, utilities, food or health care.

The difficulties encountered by households were related to stagnating personal incomes, the think tank said. "It is also important to consider the cost of major expenses such as housing, utilities, child care, transportation and health care" on household budgets, it noted.

About 20% of households had food insecurity and medical expense challenges over the last year.

Almost 33% of households that earned at least twice the federal poverty level (annual income of $50,200 for a family of four) warned they struggled with affording basic items. Households complained that medical and food costs were the most significant strains on their wallets. About 14% of households said they struggled with medical bills or couldn't afford health insurance because of the surging cost.

The study said, families, earning less than twice the federal poverty level (annual income of $50,100 for a family of four) are enduring the most financial hardships today. Nearly 60% of those surveyed said they could hardly pay their bills, with 53% reporting more than half their income was spent on housing expenses.

So while the "greatest economy ever" could be true for the top 10% of households that own a majority of the financial assets, a large swath of households with limited to no assets have been left behind and are currently struggling to survive. 

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 2:00 am

Authored by Christopher Mellon, op-ed via The Hill,

Since 2015, dozens of Navy F-18 fighter jets have encountered Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAPs) - once commonly referred to as UFOs - off the East Coast of the United States, some not far from the nation’s capital. Encounters have been reported by other military aircraft and civilian airliners elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad, too, including videos shot by airline passengers.

What these UAPs were and who was flying them - whether friends, foes or unknown forces - remains a mystery. Yet careful examination of the data inevitably leads to one possible, disturbing conclusion: A potential adversary of the United States has mastered technologies we do not yet understand, to achieve capabilities we cannot yet match.

It is long past time for Congress to discover the answers to those questions, and to share at least some of its conclusions with the public.

The U.S. government came a large step closer to confirming the reality of UAPs when the U.S. Navy acknowledged in late April that:

There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated airspace in recent years.”

But first, members of Congress and the public need to become familiar with the facts.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to gauge the overall level of UAP activity, since military personnel rarely report their encounters for fear of damage to their careers. Even when reports are filed, the information generally is ignored because nobody “owns” the UAP issue, and the various commands and agencies involved have not shared information on UAPs.

It remains to be seen whether the Navy’s new UAP reporting process will be emulated throughout our massive, almost feudal security apparatus in which the barons sometimes spend more time protecting bureaucratic turf from rivals than protecting U.S. territory from adversaries. Thus, any genuine solution to the UAP issue must address the issue of interagency coordination and collaboration.

The good news is that America already possesses vast sensor networks, ranging from the depths of the oceans to the harsh bleakness of space, capable of collecting the requisite information. All that Congress need do at this juncture is to require the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to review the UAP issue and deliver a report providing a comprehensive assessment. This report should include not only an estimate of the situation but a description of the structure and processes required to ensure effective collection and analysis going forward.  

The Trump administration should be free to provide the report at whatever level of classification it deems appropriate. One entity with which I am involved — To the Stars Academy (TTSA), an organization of former U.S. intelligence and national security experts analyzing the UAP phenomenon — has placed notional legislative language on its website to facilitate this discussion. While some modest manpower costs might be incurred, the TTSA proposal does not require new Defense Department funding. It also averts the spectacle of public hearings and the attendant risk of injecting partisanship or grandstanding into the process.

Why should Congress act? In the first instance because it is Congress’s job to raise, organize and fund the military. It can hardly do so without being fully aware of the threats we face. Indeed, that is why we have a law requiring written notice to Congress of serious intelligence failures. Most Americans would no doubt agree that our inability to identify scores of mysterious aircraft repeatedly violating restricted U.S. military airspace in recent years is a shocking failure. But there is no need to wrangle over compliance with intelligence oversight laws. The Navy’s recent admissions regarding UAP intrusions provide more than adequate grounds for requiring a written report to Congress.  

Perhaps we’ll learn that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not idly boasting when he bragged, more than a decade ago, that Russia’s “newest technical systems will be capable of destroying targets at an intercontinental distance with hypersonic speed and extreme maneuverability.” While it seems unlikely that Russia — or China — has pulled that far ahead of the U.S., there is no reason to leave this to chance. And while the Navy’s announcement seems to eliminate the prospect that these vehicles are secret U.S. military aircraft, perhaps we’ll find that Elon Musk has some amazing new toys.

It is not just that the UAPs which military pilots are encountering are strange — no paint, rivets, wings, antenna, safety lights, transponders or exhaust — they sometimes are so fast and maneuverable that they defy our understanding of physics. For example, some of these vehicles appear to withstand forces of acceleration far greater than maximum design limits of any man-made aircraft. No wonder some military witnesses — often, pilots who are scientists or engineers themselves — actually lean towards the hypothesis that they are not from this world. Like all good scientists, these pilots recognize that our theories must adjust to facts and new information, however daunting, not the other way around.

If our best minds were brought to bear to study the technology confronting us, much as the Japanese did in the 1850s when confronted by Admiral Perry’s fleet, then unprecedented technological breakthroughs could occur in short order. For example, the fact that these craft do not seem to produce exhaust, yet fly vast distances at immense speeds, could provide technical solutions to our energy crisis.

Some of America’s finest aviators and air defense personnel are trying to get our attention. They are not panicked — but they are right to be concerned. It seems clear the facts demand further action. In light of the facts, a mere report requirement seems a very modest response to potentially disturbing new national security information.

If UAPs turn out to be toys of Elon Musk’s making, we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief. If they are Russian, we’ll be glad we took action now rather than kicking the can down the road. If we learn that someone else’s more advanced version of our Voyager spacecraft has reached Earth, then this humble measure will forever transform our understanding of the universe and man’s place within it.  

By any measure, the effort required to prepare a report for Congress seems to be a bargain.

*  *  *

Christopher Mellon served 20 years in the federal government and was deputy assistant Defense secretary for intelligence from 1999 to 2002, and for security and information operations from 1998 to 1999. From 2002 to 2004, he was minority staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence under Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). He is a national security affairs adviser for To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science and a consultant to HISTORY’s nonfiction series, “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation,” which premieres May 31.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 1:35 am

With the entire US agriculture sector facing a 1980s style farm crisis downturn and record debt levels, demand for new tractors is set to collapse as farmers hang on to old Deere & Co. equipment, reported Bloomberg.

Heavy flooding in the last several months across the Midwest, a deepening trade war with China, depressed commodity prices, skyrocketing fuel costs, declining land values, and massive debt loads have squeezed farmers so much that Deere slashed production last week to deal with the downturn.

Deere executives on an earnings call last week warned that shipments of its tractors would decline by 20% YoY in 2H19.

"Until there's some kind of stability on crop prices or a resolution on the trade front, farmers will continue to repair equipment as best they can or go to used markets," said Chris Ciolino, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. "When we do get stability, the replacement cycle will kick back into gear."

Bruce Clark, a senior vice president at Moody's Investors Service, said the farm crisis had shifted Deere's credit rating to negative.

"Deere's plans to reduce production in its core Ag business to levels below retail sales, which will strain sales but also control the field inventory, are characteristic of the company's approach to contend with operating stress and cyclical downturns," Clark said.

Executives told investors fundamentals will deteriorate in 2H19.

There could be widespread pain across the Midwest in 2H19. Over $76 billion of corn and soybeans are in storage, according to the Farm Bureau, as China slashes imports of grains from North America amid a deepening trade war.

Josh Jepsen, director of investor relations for Deere, said it's too early "to say we've seen permanent shifts in production or market share globally" due to the trade disputes.

Matt Arnold, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co., said, farmers, replace tractors in cycles. Following three years of declines, Deere's revenue growth turned positive in 2017. Arnold indicated the industry still has room to grow, which could last into the early 2020s.

"Investors are overly focused on the near-term downturn in the agriculture economy, while not appropriately pricing in Deere's long-term growth opportunities," Arnold said in a note Friday.

If trade disputes continue to escalate and no resolution is seen by 2H19, the replacement cycle for farmers could be several years out, likely to send Deere's equity to the $100-80 range.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 1:10 am

Forget years of perfect grades and diligent study, often at the expense of a personality. Computer-science majors at Northeastern University face perhaps the most difficult test they've ever encountered; improv class

Bryan Wehner, left, and Edwin Cowart during an improv class at Northeastern University in Boston. PHOTO: KAYANA SZYMCZAK FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Yes, in order to receive their diploma, Northeastern is forcing these natural introverts to come out of their shells and sperg out in front of a room full of classmates, according to the Wall Street Journal

"We saw a lot of hysterics and crying," when the class was made mandatory in 2016, said Carla E. Brodley - dean of the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. 

The university says the class is one way to "robot-proof" computer-science majors in order to help them beef up their underdeveloped adulting skills, according to university president Joseph E. Aoun, who believes that empathy, creativity and teamwork will help students develop a competitive advantage over machines in an era of artificial intelligence. 

Instructor Samantha Richert leads students last month during a session of “The Eloquent Presenter” class at Northeastern University in Boston. PHOTO: KAYANA SZYMCZAK FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

"I put it off to the end," said recent computer science and mathematics graduate Colin Mullaney, describing the unique hell of being dropped into a lion's den of emotions. 

As part of the dreaded class, he mimicked elephant noises, imitated Michael Jackson dance moves and had to grunt in front of classmates while playing the role of a Viking rowing a boat.

Like all computer-science majors at Northeastern, Mr. Mullaney was required to take a course in theater and improv. And, like others, “I was afraid,” he said. He fought off anxiety by trying not to think about it outside of class. -WSJ

The class forces the bona-fide computer nerds to bring out, or at least emulate, their inner alpha - overcoming crippling fears of interacting with other humans, face-to-face, in front of a bunch of other people. The course requires public speaking, lecturing on nontechnical topics, and speaking gibberish such as "butuga dubuka manala phuthusa," according to the WSJ's Sara Castellanos. 

Zach Lowen postponed it until his senior year. On his first day, he had to pretend he was ice skating and walking on hot sand. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, where is this going?’” he said.

Mr. Lowen didn’t get stage fright while miming a scene of betrayal between warring drug cartels. But he turned stiff during a mock interview in front of a video camera. “I wasn’t sure where to look,” he said. The professor asked him “who was holding me hostage,” Mr. Lowen recalled. -WSJ

"I don’t know what’ll happen, what I’ll say, or how people will react," said junior CS major Caitlin Wang, who says she likes to plan and prepare - making improv quite scary

Wang has found herself playing Sima in a 30-second version of "The Lion King," and singing a portion of a TED Talk given by "Eat, Pray, Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert. 

"I had no idea what tune I should have been singing," said Wang. 

Human Rube Goldberg Machine

The students were at one point forced to make a human cringe-ipede, assembling themselves into a human Rube Goldberg Machine in which "The touch of an arm would set another person’s leg in motion, and the leg would initiate the movement of someone pretending to turn a wheel." 

"I couldn’t figure out how this was going to relate to what I was going to be doing full-time," said Tiffany Seeber, a 2016 grad who now works for Uber - and says she sometimes strikes a "power pose" before presentations using skills she learned in the class. 

"I don’t know any software engineer that doesn’t have to do presentations," she said. 

Dani Calacci, who took the class in 2016, is co-founder of workplace technology startup Riff Learning Inc. He said the absurdity of the class helped students learn to bond. One assignment required him to help a classmate stretch to stand up straight. “I really enjoyed it, actually,” he said.

Other professionals agree that improv can teach the teamwork and communication required of working with others. Many software applications now are built in small teams, a collaboration of engineers, writers and designers. -WSJ

Over 800 Northwestern CS majors have taken the class, which also involves awkwardly staring into a classmate's eyes for 60 seconds unless someone laughs first. Another activity requires students to tell a joke. 

Catherine McLean, left, and Eric Gift perform an improv warm-up last month at Northeastern University in Boston. PHOTO: KAYANA SZYMCZAK FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

"The stereotype is that we can’t talk to people and we’re nerds and wear hoodies," said Catherine McLean who was initially skeptical about the course, only to find that she learned to better use her voice's volume and pitch, as well as the ability to hold casual conversations with people on topics which she was not an expert. 

Who knows, maybe one of them will end up on TV:

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 12:45 am

Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, Gamestop, Bed Bath and Beyond, Caribou Coffee, Jamba Juice, and Crate and Barrel all have something in common: they will start taking Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Gemini Dollars. This is possible by a revolutionary payment network called Flexa, built using cryptocurrencies, which allows mainstream consumers to spend their digital assets at brick and mortar stores across the US.

According to The Verge, consumers pay for items using Flexa's app, Spedn, which generates a QR code that consumers scan at the checkout register. Upon the scan, the merchant receives instant payment in dollars, and the equivalent amount of cryptocurrency is debited from the consumer's cryptocurrency wallet.

Flexa mentioned on its website that it believes the existing payments infrastructure, established five decades ago, is completely broken. Cash alternatives, like credit and debit cards, are insanely costly per transaction for merchants and are prone to cyber attacks.

Instead of "bolting cryptocurrency payments on top of debit cards," the payment processor company said it took a new approach: built out thousands of new connections with tens of thousands of merchant point-of-sale terminals nationwide in 2018, to bypass the existing payments infrastructure and allow cryptocurrency-based payment authorizations directly to merchants.

The new payment authorizations are called "flexcodes," and starting last week, consumers can now use Spedn at major retail stores across the country.

With the world of payments is evolving, Flexa could be part of a massive shift towards cryptocurrency point-of-sale terminals at major retailers. 


Meanwhile, as of Sunday morning, Bitcoin was up 10%, tagging 8,137 at 6:45 am. Since the December 2018 low of 3,157, the non-fiat currency has moved up 159% in 152 days, but still well off its ATHs of 20,000 in December 2017.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: May 20, 2019, 12:20 am

NFA News Releases

April 9, Chicago—NFA has ordered Ryan Litfin, former associated person and branch manager of the Eden Prairie, Minn. Branch office of East West Global, LLC to not reapply for NFA membership for five years.
Posted: April 10, 2019, 4:59 am
April 9, Chicago—NFA has ordered Highland Park, Ill. commodity pool operator East West Global, LLC and its principal and associated person Luke James Adrian to jointly pay a $75,000 fine.
Posted: April 10, 2019, 4:59 am

Elite Forex Blog - Market Research & Analysis

Pre IPO Swap 5/5/2019 – (New York, NY) — With Lyft, Uber, Pinterest and others going live, we’re now looking further down the line to companies that are still some time away.  Today we’ve added Cabify and Go Jek both non-US offerings in a similar space.  But when we say ‘similar’ it means exactly that – they are both in the same industry as Lyft and Uber but clearly different models and they are exclusively outside the US market.
Go-Jek was founded by Nadiem Makarim, a native Indonesian, who holds degrees from Brown University and Harvard Business School.  He worked at McKinsey and Co. consulting for three years before starting Go-Jek from a tiny call centre with only 20 ojek drivers, who later became recruiters. As a loyal ojek user, Nadiem discovered that ojek drivers spend most of their time waiting for customers, while customers waste time walking around looking for an available ojek. Go-Jek was built to solve this problem, by providing a platform where drivers and riders can connect efficiently and allowing those drivers to improve their income.
Cabify was founded in May 2011 by Juan de Antonio, a Spanish entrepreneurtelecommunications engineer, and graduate of Stanford University.[6] De Antonio was motivated to create a transportation network company after receiving negative market feedback (high upfront costs) when trying to introduce electric vehicles in European cities.
If you’d like to learn more contact us or sign up @ 

Posted: May 5, 2019, 4:14 pm
Q&A with Yubo Ruan: Prospecting the Blockchain Landscape for The Future’s Hidden Gems
The Crypto bubble has popped but like the .com bubble that produced Google, Amazon, and others – we are now seeing the survivors emerge from the ashes.  We sat down with one asset manager in an exclusively Crypto fund from Asia to hear his thoughts on the market and we asked him some pointed questions.  Although that US readers are skeptical about Crypto as it has pretty much crashed and burned to the ground here, we must remember the world is a big place and in Asia and Europe there still is a budding Crypto community.  In fact, readers of our past posts may think we are skeptical about Crypto as an asset class but that’s not the case.  The problem has been that 99% of ICOs went down by 99% and that’s an indisputable fact.  But even in our mandate for project Crediblock we maintain that we will evolve niche markets, one of them being Crypto.
The blockchain and crypto ecosystem globally has long since grown out of its Wild West phase and has started to resemble something more akin to the broader tech sector.
One of the biggest milestones in this evolution is the enthusiastic entrance of institutional capital into the market. As traditional venture capital firms turn to crypto, the sector has started cultivating its own VC funds, helping blockchain expand its reach and thrive.
Even so, the past year has been rough for crypto. An extended bear market continues to sap the sector of many promising projects and has weighed heavily on crypto’s overall value. Nevertheless, things are not as bleak as they may seem, according to some industry experts.
Since we have founded Pre IPO Swap we have been inundated with requests of all kinds, but we have often crossed the VC community – and that community is hot into Crypto.
So we had a unique opportunity to sit down with Yubo Ruan, the founder of 8 Decimal Capital, a VC fund that invests in both blockchain equity and tokens. He shared his views on the current state of the market as well as where he believes it’s headed.
Can you share a little about your investment strategy? How do you determine the projects which are worthy of capital allocations?
Generally, the team behind a project is our most important criteria. Some of the backgrounds we look for include previous experience at tier 1 tech companies like Facebook or Google, as well as tier 1 crypto firms like Coinbase, Ethereum, and EOS. We also look for entrepreneurs who have successfully exited previous endeavors, or who simply exhibit strong knowledge and familiarity (what we would call “geniuses”).
The second criteria we look for is the size of the market being disrupted—the larger the potential, the better for us. Of course, there are other factors we consider: market fit, competitive advantage, business model, “painkiller vs. vitamin”, forward projections, and so on. Overall, we look to invest in projects that could shape the industry’s future, and eventually, the world.
Are you concerned about the viability of blockchain projects as the current bear market drags on?
There’s no doubt that the bear market is a formidable challenge for many blockchain and crypto-related projects, but it is also an opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors to really focus on fundamentals and uncover the use cases that are truly viable. This is an interesting period in which the successful use cases and proofs-of-concept in blockchain will begin to emerge and drive innovation in the period ahead. We are anticipating the release of several more dApps over the coming years, with some representing true breakthroughs. That will help gradually restore faith in the sector and drive adoption back to positive levels.
How do you view the current coin ecosystem? Who are some winners and losers?
The losers in the sector are those that have completely shut down, either due to failure to deliver the product, a lack of viable use cases, or simply a poor business model. The winners are more often those that follow their roadmap, delivered their products and expended or even produced significant revenues during the bear market. Binance is a great example of a company that released multiple products and kept expanding through the current down period. Other examples include protocols that promised a mainnet and delivered, such as Cosmos and Ziliqa.
Which five coins do you believe, with good certainty, will still exist in five years?
First and foremost, Bitcoin—it’s the first cryptocurrency and has received the most PR over the past decade. Even if it fails to reach real adoption, people would still probably collect and trade it as an artifact. Ethereum is too big to fail and is also the most mature and widely used blockchain in the industry. It already has a thriving ecosystem of tools, developers, L2 solutions, and protocols. It is also backed by a large number of supporters, including Consensys, and will likely keep expanding its reach while concurrently upgrading its tech.
Stablecoins are also likely to survive, as they are purposeful and necessary for the ecosystem. I can’t really comment on specific coins as they all involve some degree of risk due to their centralization or failure to peg their price close enough to $1. Even so, stablecoins are an essential component for traders to mitigate volatility, and in dApps to be used as programmable payment currency (for instance, many DeFi apps already use Dai for transactions).
It’s hard to pick out other ones. Looking at it historically, Litecoin and Ripple have steadily been among the top 10 coins in terms of market capitalization since 2013, while several others have lost their position. From this perspective, they may remain popular five years from now.
How is the Silicon Valley investor community reacting to the stream of wrongdoings and ethical violations that emerged at the peak of the ICO craze?
Many of the projects that popped up during the ICO craze were pure marketing ploys—they were based simply on ideas and whitepapers. Naturally, this created an opportunity for bad actors to enter the market and hide their wrongdoings and violations, as most retail investors stopped questioning teams’ legitimacy at the height of the ICO rush. Silicon Valley has largely focused on building the technology and adoption, instead of pure marketing.
Talk about your current portfolio—which projects are you most excited about?
We’re equity token holders—along with Pantera Capital, DHVC, Breyer Labs, and a few others—of Coinsuper, and we recently invested in the company’s exchange token (CEN). We’re excited about our investment as CEN has transitioned from an inflationary (transmining system) to a deflationary (burning mechanism) model. This fundamentally alters the token’s value, especially as more utilities and scarcity are introduced to CEN over time.
Additionally, Coinsuper CEO Karen Chen comes from a strong financial background (she’s the former president of UBS China, CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in China, and the Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank), and she’s’ currently working on making Coinsuper one of the first and most heavily regulated digital asset exchanges in Asia.
Considering the team, the backers, and the company’s roadmap, we think CEN token is undervalued compared to several other exchange tokens in the space, and we see significant potential for future appreciation.
What is the most exciting blockchain project, currently?
We think Cosmos is an interesting project, as it utilizes Tendermint’s BFT consensus protocol, allows for staking, and is a potential solution for cross-chain transactions through a peg zone. Binance built their DEX using Tendermint and the Cosmos SDK to provide near-instant finality and potentially allow for cross-chain exchanges in the future. If the solution proves to be viable, it could be a game-changer for the DEX world, but could make other DEX’s, protocols, and even some DeFi projects obsolete.
What are blockchain’s remaining challenges in terms of mass adoption?
Crypto currently has less than 1% global adoption (there are between 50 and 100 million crypto users worldwide), which puts the sector closer to the “innovators” bracket than the “early adopters” bracket. The main challenges preventing adoption include education, user experience, scalability, and killer use cases.
In terms of education, the general population may have heard of Bitcoin, but they rarely understand blockchain as a concept. Moreover, cryptos have received a lot of negative coverage over the past few years, and there is a real need to educate the broader population on the benefits and positives the technology is capable of delivering. Already, companies like Coinbase and Binance are actively creating content to educate and convert the next wave of crypto users.
User experience still varies too much from project to project. The technology still needs to be abstracted to be more accessible for mainstream users. The current process of interacting with blockchain creates a lot of friction and requires a deep well of foundational knowledge (what are public and private keys, terms like gas and transaction fees, and more). Compared to traditional payment methods like Venmo or PayPal, they still pose too many roadblocks, and have significantly higher risks that accompany key management and transactions.
When it comes to scalability, blockchain remains a tough puzzle. The technology needs to expand more rapidly and effectively to handle the amount of transactions needed for mass adoption, and to allow more complex use cases to realistically emerge. Finally, the sector needs a killer use case. We need a project or product that is ten times better than any existing solution to truly incentivize users to learn and eventually adapt their behaviors.
Posted: April 30, 2019, 3:56 pm
Global Intel Hub 4/20/2019 Basel, Switzerland — Zero Hedge Exclusive — This may sound like a sci fi movie plot – but as you read on, you will see that this story will prove the adage that often truth is stranger than fiction.  Before getting into the gory details, we need a bit of history so let’s go back to the year 1984.  In this year two movements began which at the time were not likely connected, which will be the topic of this article.
  1. The Human Genome Project 
  2. The Bradley Amendment 
What happened in 1984 Major News Stories include Indria Ghandi assassinated, DNA profiling developed, Virgin Atlantic Starts Operations, Grand Hotel Brighton Bombing, Union Carbide Pesticide plant in Bhopal India leaks lethal gas, McDonalds Restaurant Shooting Leaves 20 dead. The Aids Virus is identified it is not the worldwide problem it is today. Following on from the PC Apple releases the Macintosh computer. Following the Widespread Famine in Ethiopia many of the top British and Irish USSR pop musicians join together under the Name Band Aid and record the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. Following the boycott by the US of the Moscow Olympics the soviet block boycotts the Los Angeles Olympic games. Recession continues to be a problem in the US and 70 US Banks fail in just one year.
Note the historical use of the word ‘profiling’ – a term that wouldn’t be heard with DNA for another 30 years.  The Human Genome Project was ostensibly about mapping your DNA which is, at least scientifically – all of who you are.
The Human Genome Project was a 15-year-long, publicly funded project initiated in 1990 with the objective of determining the DNA sequence of the entire euchromatic human genome within 15 years.[5] In May 1985, Robert Sinsheimer organized a workshop to discuss sequencing the human genome,[6] but for a number of reasons the NIH was uninterested in pursuing the proposal. The following March, the Santa Fe Workshop was organized by Charles DeLisi and David Smith of theDepartment of Energy’s Office of Health and Environmental Research (OHER).[7] At the same time Renato Dulbecco proposed whole genome sequencing in an essay in Science.[8] James Watson followed two months later with a workshop held at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.  In 1990, the two major funding agencies, DOE and NIH, developed a memorandum of understanding in order to coordinate plans and set the clock for the initiation of the Project to 1990.[16] At that time, David Galas was Director of the renamed “Office of Biological and Environmental Research” in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and James Watson headed the NIH Genome Program. In 1993, Aristides Patrinos succeeded Galas and Francis Collins succeeded James Watson, assuming the role of overall Project Head as Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Human Genome Research (which would later become the National Human Genome Research Institute). A working draft of the genome was announced in 2000 and the papers describing it were published in February 2001. A more complete draft was published in 2003, and genome “finishing” work continued for more than a decade. 
Many have heard about the project but there are a few facts you probably don’t know that we’d like to elaborate on here.  First, did you know the entire thing was sponsored by the US government with a final bill of about $5 Billion USD?  You’re probably asking why the US Government wants a map of your DNA (well, some of you may be asking – others know why).  The second thing you probably don’t know is that the project was headed by accused racist James Watson the profound scientist who actually discovered DNA in the first place.
James Watson is a great example of the irony of how the Elite twist science and opinion to mold public consent.  Chomsky calls this “Manufacturing Consent” which really should be the motto on the door of various TV editorial offices.  James Watson is a scientist that’s not politically correct.  He has been revoked of all his credentials because he stated the facts, that there are 3 human races which are genetically different, each with their own peculiarities.  Of course it was only offensive when he said Africans are less intelligent:
Dr Watson’s remarks “in full”. Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really”. He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true”. … 
At a conference in 2000, Watson suggested a link between skin color and sex drive, hypothesizing that dark-skinned people have stronger libidos.[65][90] His lecture argued that extracts of melanin – which gives skin its color – had been found to boost subjects’ sex drive. “That’s why you have Latin lovers,” he said, according to people who attended the lecture. “You’ve never heard of an English lover. Only an English Patient.”[91] He has also said that stereotypes associated with racial and ethnic groups have a genetic basis: Jews being intelligent, Chinese being intelligent but not creative because of selection for conformity, and Indians being servile.[92]
In a politically correct world, you can’t call a man a man – a man is a ‘non-woman’ and all people are equal.  This is the same twisted double speak that applies to the degradation of our education system, with the policy that ‘everyone deserves an A’ which is possible when you lower the testing standards.  This is the same Elite group that has twisted “Paternity Science” into “Paternity Ethics” that means it is ethical to lie to children about who their parents really are.  In this brave new world, it’s a crime to tell a child that your father is actually not your father.  It’s better to let them live with the lie.
And now we come to the second phenomenon that has been metastasizing since 1984 – The Bradley Amendment:
In United States law, the Bradley Amendment 1986, Public law 99-509 42 U.S.C. § 666(a)(9)(c). Requirement of statutorily prescribed procedures to improve effectiveness of child support enforcement. Bill Bradley requires state courts to prohibit retroactive reduction of child support obligations. Specifically, it:
  • automatically triggers a non-expiring lien whenever child support becomes past-due.
  • overrides any state’s statute of limitations.
  • disallows any judicial discretion, even from bankruptcy judges.
  • requires that the payment amounts be maintained without regard for the physical capability of the person owing child support (the obligor) to promptly document changed circumstances or regard for his awareness of the need to make the notification.
But, like any other past-due debt, the obligee may forgive what is owed to them.
When past-due child support is owed to a state as a result of welfare paid out, the state is free to forgive some or all of it under what’s known as an “offer in compromise”. The state and government agencies are non-profit organizations. … Bobby Sherrill, a Lockheed employee in Kuwait from North Carolina, was captured by Iraqis and spent nearly five months as an Iraqi hostage. Sherrill was arrested the night after his release for not paying $1,425 in child support while he was a hostage.
For those in Finance, it will shock you to learn that under the Bradley Amendment, child support is the only thing that you can go to prison for – debt related.  Although the ACLU is again on the hunt with twisted agendas about Debtors Prisons, by matter of fact and law, child support is the only debt that can cause a bench warrant to be issued for your arrest and you can be imprisoned (even if you finally pay!):
Consequences for Non-Payment of Child Support: Because child support is essentially a court order, a non-custodial parent who is not making these payments will be found in contempt of court. They are informed of the contempt charge in writing and ordered to appear in court. If the parent does not appear, a bench warrant for their arrest will be issued. Even if the parent does appear, they may still be sent to jail if they cannot provide adequate proof that they could not make the child support payments, rather than simply being unwilling to do so.
“Adequate Proof” of being held captive by Iraqi warlords during time of war wasn’t a burden of proof in the case of Bobby Sherrill.  It’s also the only way a court can garnish your wages, seize your assets, take tax refunds, and even suspend your driver’s license!  Let that sink in a little.  Only the IRS has similar powers, but unlike Bradley claims, the IRS provides a set of rules and methods to avoid things like asset seizure and wages garnishment.  For Bradley cases there ARE NONE.  It’s important to understand this difference.  As powerful as the IRS is – there is an entire industry built around dealing with the IRS and in fact it’s possible to negotiate big tax payments down to reasonable levels.  There are a number of options.  For child support cases there are NONE.
Now like with all draconian laws an argument will be made that it’s just a way to get deadbeat dads to pay what they owe.  Who can argue with that?  Well let’s use the argument about the IRS.  The IRS gets people to pay.  They will even send the jackals to Switzerland and corrupt an entire government just to shake down 100 seriously delinquent taxpayers.  So the aggressiveness of the Bradley Amendment is not only unconstitutional it’s much worse – it’s modern slavery.  Because it’s not about the cases where parents are guilty – it’s about cases where they are not; or where they are NOT EVEN THE FATHER.  Imagine this scenario:
In the late 1990s, Andre Chreky already was a star hairstylist with his own salon. But he reached new heights after he was profiled in Washingtonian magazine and it became known that his clients included first lady Laura Bush. Soon after, Chreky said, a former receptionist began showing up at his shop on K Street NW, demanding money.
“You have a child,” the woman, Adele Doudaklian, 43, of Gaithersburg, told him — a teenage son he had never met. He ordered her out.  Doudaklian did not return phone calls to her home. Chreky said he dated her several times in the early 1980s but stopped long before Doudaklian’s son, Andrew Lucas, was born in March 1986.  When the paternity action was brought in early 2003, Chreky said, he thought the DNA test would end the whole episode.  Instead, Chreky was ordered to pay $1,715 a month in child support, plus health insurance premiums, after LabCorp’s report said he was the father. By the time Lucas turned 18, Chreky had paid $25,000. (Even after he won the case, Virginia law did not allow him to get the money back.)  Chreky pleaded his case to the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement and then in an appeal to Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. But LabCorp’s “99.99 percent” finding was too tough to overcome. In fact, under Virginia law, 98 percent is automatic proof of paternity.  This spring, his case landed in Fairfax County Circuit Court in a full-blown trial. Douglas S. Levy, one of Chreky’s attorneys, said Chreky offered to take another DNA test before his trial. But the state rejected the offer, he said.  So Chreky’s attorneys hammered LabCorp’s experts, mostly about what the lawyers saw as two errors on the lab report. The director of LabCorp’s DNA identification testing division, Gary M. Stuhlmiller, said in a sworn report that he had arrived at his conclusions after comparing Chreky’s DNA with a database of the Moroccan population. Chreky is a native of Morocco.  But at trial, Stuhlmiller acknowledged that LabCorp did not have a Moroccan database.  Chreky is no scientist. He said he just knew that this was something he needed to fight. Most people don’t have the means to contest a “99.99 percent” finding. His wife, Serena, said the couple spent more than $200,000 to fight the case.
So after this poor guy spent $200,000 to fight this – only to win what they always knew was the truth – this woman was a lying financial criminal attempting to steal money from someone she knew who she felt had money.  Is Chreky able to get legal fees or anything back?  No.  Is this woman prosecuted for fraud?  No.  Can he sue for damages? No.

The connection between these 2 events

Scroll forwards 30 plus years into the future (today) and we’re seeing people thrown in jail for sitting on a park bench or being picked up by an Ambulance.  Fortunately, many of them have been released.  But the US justice system in particular, is a Dinosaur in this field – perhaps intentionally.  Yes, it appears this is all part of a greater plan.  While rights activists have been partying and congratulating themselves, the Elite have been busy shaping and developing a more sinister and more subtle method of control:  A global DNA grid backed by Draconian undefendable laws like the Bradley Amendment, enforced on a county and city level.  Heck, it’s a great way to control men – because all it takes is a crazed accusation by a woman (and who doesn’t believe a victimized woman in today’s world) – to ruin someone’s life whether it be financially, a character witness, or something even more complex such as the case against Julian Assange.
“Hitmen” used to be mostly male, mostly olive skinned, mostly with a particular accent – but no more.  Those days are gone.  The Vinny you once knew is now poolside at the Tropicana living life (permanently retired).  Now the “Hitman” has become the “Hitperson” which is politically correct speak for “Hitwoman.”  Basically, the Elite have created an Artificial Intelligence net in order to control you.  The basis of this net is a Matrix-like DNA network so intertwined in our society the Department of Justice (DOJ) has its own Commission on the topic, the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. The National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence was established by the Attorney General to maximize the value of forensic DNA evidence in the criminal justice system.
The FBI maintains a database of more than 13 Million DNA profiles, and publishes some of this information online:
The National DNA Index (NDIS) contains over 13,674,427 offender1 profiles, 3,435,350 arrestee profiles and 915,052 forensic profiles as of January 2019. Ultimately, the success of the CODIS program will be measured by the crimes it helps to solve. CODIS’s primary metric, the “Investigation Aided,” tracks the number of criminal investigations where CODIS has added value to the investigative process. As of January 2019, CODIS has produced over 451,781 hits assisting in more than 440,381 investigations.
You’re probably thinking – how do they get my DNA?  First, they are getting it when you are arrested (not always, but there is a growing law enforcement participation in Rapid DNA).  Second, they are getting it if you are incarcerated for ANY crime.  Third, they have wholesale agreements with companies like 23andMe, and others.
As the New York Times reports:
“The science-fiction future, in which police can swiftly identify robbers and murderers from discarded soda cans and cigarette butts, has arrived. In 2017, President Trump signed into law the Rapid DNA Act, which, starting this year, will enable approved police booking stations in several states to connect their Rapid DNA machines to Codis, the national DNA database. Genetic fingerprinting is set to become as routine as the old-fashioned kind.
Referred to as “magic boxes,” these Rapid DNA machines – portable, about the size of a desktop printer, highly unregulated, far from fool-proof, and so fast that they can produce DNA profiles in less than two hours – allow police to go on fishing expeditions for any hint of possible misconduct using DNA samples.
Journalist Heather Murphy explains:
“As police agencies build out their local DNA databases, they are collecting DNA not only from people who have been charged with major crimes but also, increasingly, from people who are merely deemed suspicious, permanently linking their genetic identities to criminal databases.”
Suspect Society, meet the American police state.

Global Conspiracy (Business Plan) to enslave you via your DNA

Some people may be thinking – that if you have nothing to hide – then why the privacy concerns?  Because you can be found guilty of a crime you didn’t commit, because like Anderson you were in an Ambulance an hour before a dead guy.
But it’s not only that.  You can be a fake father victim in a paternity fraud scam that not only dupes you out of hard earned money there are far deeper implications.  Or you can be stopped from becoming a Supreme Court Judge (that didn’t work though, as we exposed the fraud).
Many believe that the Elite practice various forms of the Occult.  Because they mostly control the media and obviously if these Secret Societies really are a Secret than as George HW Bush said “I can’t tell ya because it’s a secret” they probably have a mechanism to keep the secret, and certainly aren’t broadcasting details of their goings on ‘tonight at 11’.   We’re not going to delve into this topic but we just need to mention one example in the greater context of things.  What is Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and a bunch of other powerful people (all male) doing for 2 weeks in the forest of California at Bohemian Grove  dressed in animal suits dancing around a huge bonfire? On July 15, 2000, controversial radio show host Alex Jones and his cameraman, Mike Hanson, snuck in and shot footage of the Cremation of Care ceremony.[25][26]
The Grove is particularly famous for a Manhattan Project planning meeting that took place there in September 1942, which subsequently led to the atomic bomb.   The breadcrumbs lead to a Global plot dominated by [unknown] business leaders, government agencies, and various dark forces.
It is for this reason why we mention Bohemian Grove at this stage of the article, because this was the birthplace of the Manhattan Project, one of the most game-changing projects in the history of the world.  We will reveal in further articles how complex the spider web is woven – how millions of people are impacted on a personal level – and how this is just the beginning of a Terminator style Artificial Intelligence grid which has nothing positive in mind.  Our alternative history thesis is that since the French Revolution, the Elite have employed a number of subtle and less tangible methods and systems to profit and retain control at the same time.  This has been evolving later with the abolition of physical slavery, only to have this replaced by the industrial revolution, whereby millions were economic slaves with absolutely no workers rights.  During time the social control paradigm employed by the Elite evolved even more – and hit a peak in 1970.  It was at this time they employed a number of non-violent methods developed in the 1960’s such as Manufacturing Consent (via the Media), and even direct mind control via Television (TV) and non-lethal weapons such as beam weapons, genetically modified foods, aerial spraying, HAARP and HAARP v2.0, and finally what we are faced with now – a complete grid of your DNA which is who you are.
When a plane crashes or is about to – they don’t say ‘people’ they say ‘souls’ (we have 22 souls on board) regardless of your beliefs, your DNA is who you are.  Not only the government is using this DNA grid without your permission that is just one bright example, there are many others.  Corporations are now using this data and developing products which are genetically designed just for you.  Unlike genetically modified foods which are benign compared to this – we are talking about something very personal!  And the fact is that no one forces you to eat GM crap (which is by the way illegal in the European Union) – there are many organic stores that sell healthy alternatives even in rural America.  But the DNA fraud is forced down your throat, such as the case when you are either:
  1. Accused by a stranger of being the father of a child that’s not yours .. OR
  2. Being randomly accused of a crime that you didn’t commit.. OR
  3. A political ‘soft’ assassination such as was tried with Julian Assange and Brett Kavanaugh
And of course it doesn’t end there.  Even if you don’t submit your DNA – according to their flawed methodology – they don’t need it.  They have a ‘statistically sufficient’ sample of the Global population because enough of your cousins and 2nd cousins have already submitted.
Years ago people were concerned about tracking via chip implants.  It never took off.  But DNA surveillance is much more powerful and much more scary.  Imagine a world where your every movement is tracked, not by your electronic communications – but by the natural shedding of your own DNA through microscopic skin flakes and more.
Ironically, the Rapid DNA Act of 2017 was signed into law by a President who previously was afraid to shake hands (as is common in American business and social life).
We’ve had whistleblowers for Military abuses (Chelsey Manning) when will someone come forth about the above?  In further articles we are going to expose the DNA fraud which includes paternity fraud and abuse, privacy abuses, and abuses a new science that hasn’t been around long enough to have laws evolve around it (Genomics).
Something good did happen in 1984, Phil Collins wrote some of his best classics.  This one steals the Gestalt of the time, and now too:

In conclusion, there is at least one place where you can get unbiased tests, which will be revealed in further releases of this information.  This article is just a teaser of things to come.  With Julian Assange now in custody, the world needs a new army of the next generation wikileaks which is about information, nothing more.
In honor of DNA day we will be celebrating and giving credit where credit is due.
Gary and other Satanists involved in this plot to steal your soul will be in good company in Hell.  While this is being perpetrated on a global scale by a US publicly traded company, the main HQ for operation steal your soul is from the South.  Maybe these folks just need some Jesus in their life.  Or less drinking (or more).  They say in the South you’re either a drinker or a Bible beater.  Well Gary, we will see.

Reference Articles

Posted: April 21, 2019, 1:40 am
The economy of the 2020s will be more volatile, and recessions could be more extreme. The collision of automation in the workforce will trigger economic disruptions far more significant than what seen in agriculture to industry (1900 to 1940) when nearly 40% of the workforce was displaced.
In the next ten years, automation may eliminate 20% to 25% of current jobs, or about 40 million, crushing the bottom 90% of Americans the hardest.
Boston Dynamics is at the forefront of developing new automation technologies.
The Waltham, Mass.-based company has released a new video of its warehouse robot, a  "mobile manipulation robot designed for logistics. Handle autonomously performs mixed SKU pallet building and depalletizing after initialization and localizing against the pallets."
Dubbed Handle, the robot uses an on-board vision system with a large suction cup arm to track boxes and then move them to a pallet. The video below shows several robots in a warehouse moving boxes to a pallet and conveyor belt, a task that would typically be completed by humans. 

“When Handle places a boxes onto a pallet, it uses force control to nestle each box up against its neighbors,” Boston Dynamics said. “The boxes used in the video weigh about 5 Kg (12 lbs), but the robot is designed to handle boxes up to 15 Kg (30 lbs). This version of Handle works with pallets that are 1.2 m deep and 1.7 m tall (48 inches deep and 68 inches tall).”
Warehouse workers probably won’t have to worry about Handle taking their jobs anytime soon. That also means the more than 600,000 Amazon employees, mostly fulfillment center jobs, are safe for now but could be in jeopardy in the next 3 to 5 years.
The next phase of automation has begun, and it will accelerate in the years ahead. Forty million Americans are at risk of losing their jobs to automation by 2030.
Posted: March 31, 2019, 1:03 am

Palantir wins competition to build Army intelligence system

The Army has chosen Palantir Technologies to deploy a complex battlefield intelligence system for soldiers, according to Army documents, a significant boost for a company that has attracted a devoted following in national security circles but had struggled to win a major defense contract.
Industry experts said it marked the first time that the government had tapped a Silicon Valley software company, as opposed to a traditional military contractor, to lead a defense program of record, which has a dedicated line of funding from Congress. The contract is potentially worth more than $800 million.
The Army’s decision to go with Palantir, which was co-founded by Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor and sometimes adviser to President Trump, brings to a close the latest chapter in a fierce competition.
In March 2018, the Army chose Palantir and Raytheon to vie for the next phase of the Distributed Common Ground System (or DCGS-A, for Army), which lets users gather and analyze information about enemy movements, terrain and weather to create detailed maps and reports in real-time. The system is designed to be used by soldiers fighting in remote, harsh environments.
But critics within the Army and in Congress have for years complained that DCGS-A cost too much and didn’t deliver the intelligence and capabilities that soldiers needed. Some soldiers said the system was too hard to use and searched for alternatives.
Many became backers of Palantir, which sells to governments and businesses, including in the financial and health care sectors.
Palantir and its advocates argued that their software was cheaper and could meet all the Army’s requirements. But Army brass defended their decision to pay for a custom-built platform.
In 2016, Palantir successfully argued in court that the government was required by law to consider purchasing commercial products, when available, rather than custom ones.
That sent the Army back to the drawing board and led to the face off between Palantir and Raytheon.
Before his death. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) praised the new approach on Twitter, noting that after the Army had already spent $3 billion in development costs, “it was time to find another way.
Raytheon and Palantir were allowed to test their respective software platforms with a live audience of soldiers, who told them what they liked and didn’t and what they would change. The two companies then refined their offerings to suit the Army’s needs.
Traditionally, the government first chooses a company to build a system according to a set of detailed requirements. But this approach let the Army take both companies’ products for a test drive before settling on the winner.
“The Army changed its approach to acquisition,” Doug Philippone, a former Army Ranger who leads Palantir’s defense business, said in an interview.
He said the company was always confident it could win if it were allowed to adjust its technology after getting feedback from soldiers, who he said put the software through a rigorous test, even parachuting out of airplanes with reinforced laptops containing Palantir’s software.
Chris Johnson, a spokesman for Raytheon, said the company was disappointed in the outcome. “We will wait for the Army’s de-brief to understand their decision.”
The Army did not provide a comment for this story.
Raytheon and Palantir may compete for subsequent phases of work on the program.
Unlike most Silicon Valley start-ups, which aim to make their fortunes building consumer applications and software, Palantir at its founding set its sites on Washington, believing that its data analytics tools would find an eager market among U.S. spy agencies and the military, which are constantly trying to manage ever-expanding streams of information.
Philippone said the Army win had validated Palantir’s strategy.
“We founded the company around solving this particular mission,” he said.
The company faced initial skepticism from investors, who thought it couldn’t overcome entrenched bureaucratic interests and what they saw as political favoritism that led the Pentagon to spend billions every year with the same small group of Beltway contractors.
“Everyone told us we should stay away from Washington because it was corrupt and we didn’t know how to play golf with senators,” Joe Lonsdale, a Palantir co-founder, said in a 2011 interview.
The company got an early investment in 2005 from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm, which tries to quickly develop technologies that the intelligence agency might use.
The In-Q-Tel connection helped Palantir get meetings with U.S. officials and intelligence analysts, and even test its software with the CIA’s counterterrorism center, according to people familiar with the matter.
Palantir Technologies, a Silicon Valley data analytics company founded by Trump adviser Peter Thiel and with roots in the CIA-backed In-Q-Tel venture capital organization, has won a major Army contract worth up to $800 million, CNBC has confirmed.
It’s the first time the venture-backed company has been named a “defense program of record.” Programs of record are essentially the biggest, multi-year projects awarded by the Pentagon.
The contract would require Palantir to build an intelligence system to aid soldiers in remote environments, called an Army Distributed Common Ground System, known as a DCGS-A. It was previously reported by the Washington Post.
Palantir, which has been rumored to be close to an initial public offering, beat out Raytheon, a more traditional defense contractor without Palantir’s Silicon Valley roots, a departure for the Army in terms of its biggest contracts.
“While we are disappointed in the Army’s decision on this initial delivery order, it represents a relatively small number of systems. We will actively compete for future delivery orders as we continue to work closely with the Army to help them meet their intelligence needs,” said Maureen Stevens, a Raytheon spokeswoman, via email. Stevens said Raytheon was awarded a DCGS-A 10-year contract last March, part of a “multiple delivery” plan by the Army. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The deal would dwarf Palantir’s most recent government contracts, including a $222 million award in 2016 from the Department of Defense’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM). That sole-source award was for a technology and logistics software and support project called “All-Source Information Fusion, ” meant to bring together intelligence and other information gathered by SOCOM, which oversees the special operations units of all branches of the U.S. military.
Palantir’s customers have included top-tier banks, government agencies, health-care firms and manufacturers in the automotive and aerospace industries. The company provides tools for visualizing and making use of huge swaths of data, using proprietary software. Financial industry analysts have been monitoring Palantir as an IPO candidate for 2019.
Thiel co-founded Palantir in 2003, and was the company’s largest shareholder at its last round of funding in 2015, which valued it at $20 billion. The iconoclastic tech investor is worth $2.5 billion according to Forbes, and earned his fortune as an early leader of PayPal and investor in Facebook, where he sits on the board of directors. He was a prominent supporter of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, and has advised the administration informally on technology and science since then.

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Posted: March 28, 2019, 3:21 pm
It's too late to undo Brexit votes, but according to polls many voters probably would have changed their votes had they known the economic damage Brexit would have caused.  Now it appears that the locals are restless, and they feel its doom and gloom no matter what happens, according to surveys.
Recent survey results published by Money Transfer Comparison highlight a very fractured outlook for the United Kingdom’s economy amongst respondents as the extended April 12th deadline for the British exit from the European Union approaches.  The survey, which collected responses from 2,552 British citizens, underscores the highly divergent views for the economic outlook amongst respondents.   Data collected by research analytics firm Corus uncovered the following:

-Only 11% of respondents who voted “Leave” in the referendum believe the UK economy will flourish during the 2 years following Brexit, while less than 7% of all respondents believe that will be the case
-Over 60% of respondents surveyed who voted to “Leave” believe the economy will either stay the same as before or worsen
-Approximately 48% of all respondents believe that the economy will worsen over the next two years if Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit agreement is advanced
-More than 54% of all respondents believe that the economy will worsen if a “no-deal Brexit” unfolds
-Nearly 52% of all respondents believe Prime Minister Theresa May mishandled the Brexit situation
-Slightly more than 55% of all respondents are dissatisfied with how Parliament has handled the situation

Interestingly, in the event of approval of the May Brexit agreement, the highest proportion of respondents, whether “Leave” voters or otherwise, believe that the economy will be the “same as before” in the following 2 years.  However, that figure drops below both the “doom and gloom” and “taking a small hit” economic scenarios forecast in the case of the “no-deal” Brexit.

Apart from highlighting the general level of frustration with public officials responsible for overseeing Brexit negotiations, the survey indicates that “Leave” voters are increasingly concerned about the economic outlook. This development might be another affirmation of the growing dissatisfaction with elected officials and the widespread discontent over the failure to reach an exit consensus.

Additionally, “Leave” voters are increasingly echoing exit concerns voiced by leading economists, with more believing that the “doom and gloom” outcome will come to fruition relative to the scenario whereby the economy is “flourishing”. Nonetheless, a comparison of the survey results with the recent performance of the UK Pound suggests that financial markets are deviating from increasingly negative public sentiment.

According to Money Transfer Comparison, this divergence might be attributable to financial markets and investors discounting the more extreme possibilities of a “hard Brexit” or “no-deal Brexit” which would align with the more polarized viewpoints underscored in the survey.  Nonetheless, the survey emphasizes that public sentiment does not necessarily mirror economists’ expectations. 

With all the uncertainty that remains in place ahead of the Brexit deadline, these more extreme scenarios still have a possibility of unfolding, potentially weighing on the Pound’s value despite financial markets increasingly discounting the likelihood of a disorderly EU exit.

The Trade

Here the trade is short GBP/USD because this negative bias is not priced in to the GBP/USD, in fact in the face of a gigantic crisis, GBP/USD has held up well.  So is Brexit really a crisis?  Government officials are preparing for the worst, including putrefying stockpiles of rubbish that can breed diseases and worse:

Government officials are preparing to deal with “putrefying stockpiles” of rubbish in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to documents leaked to the Guardian.  If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March, export licences for millions of tonnes of waste will become invalid overnight. Environment Agency (EA) officials said leaking stockpiles could cause pollution. The EA is also concerned that if farmers cannot export beef and lamb, a backlog of livestock on farms could cause liquid manure stores to overflow. A senior MP said the problems could cause a public health and environmental pollution emergency. An EA source said: “It could all get very ugly, very quickly.”  The emails leaked to the Guardian were sent to EA staff, asking for 42 volunteers to staff crisis management centres that would deal with incidents. On Tuesday the chief executive of the civil service revealed plans to move up to 5,000 staff into an emergency command and control centre in the event of no deal.
As you can imagine, that’s just one potential issue there are many.  So let’s take a look at the GBP/USD chart:


If we are to take into account the polls referenced above, GBP/USD could be much weaker.  The strategy here is not to sell the GBP/USD outright but to buy Puts deep out the money.  That’s as a protection and as an alpha generator.

The political fall out

In the UK the Political class is clearly out of touch with the voters, in an eerily similar situation to what happened in the US during the last Presidential election.  Just moments before official results came in, the mainstream media had Hillary Clinton winning in a landslide.

But unlike their US counterparts, UK officials are at least preparing for an end game scenario, including revamping plans to evacuate the Royal Family out of the blood and gore that may develop in the cities:
If rioters take to the streets of London following a hard Brexit, a Cold War plan to evacuate the royals to an undisclosed location in the countryside would be immediately implemented.  The Queen and other senior royals will be evacuated from London in the event of riots triggered by a no-deal Brexit, under secret plans being drawn up by Whitehall.  Emergency proposals to rescue the royal family during the Cold War have been "repurposed" in recent weeks, as the risk continues to rise of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal before next month’s deadline.

Whatever happens it looks like doom and gloom, according to the polls.  It seems that no matter what is negotiated the British economy will suffer.

There is a price to pay for Freedom.  When the United States separated from the United Kingdom, it took a long time for the economy to stand on its own.  The United Kingdom is itself a super state comprised of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  By the UK joining the EU they completely lost their sovereignty and some say their identity.  But for many Britons, the economic downturn which may last only years is a small price to pay to be British once again.

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Posted: March 25, 2019, 7:07 pm
The Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press. Russiagate just destroyed it...
Note to readers: in light of news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation is complete, I’m releasing this chapter of Hate Inc. early, with a few new details added up top.
Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.
As has long been rumored, the former FBI chief’s independent probe will result in multiple indictments and convictions, but no “presidency-wrecking” conspiracy charges, or anything that would meet the layman’s definition of “collusion” with Russia.
With the caveat that even this news might somehow turn out to be botched, the key detail in the many stories about the end of the Mueller investigation was best expressed by the New York Times:
A senior Justice Department official said that Mr. Mueller would not recommend new indictments.
The Times tried to soften the emotional blow for the millions of Americans trained in these years to place hopes for the overturn of the Trump presidency in Mueller. Nobody even pretended it was supposed to be a fact-finding mission, instead of an act of faith.
The Special Prosecutor literally became a religious figure during the last few years, with votive candles sold in his image and Saturday Night Live cast members singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” to him featuring the rhymey line: “Mueller please come through, because the only option is a coup.”
The Times story today tried to preserve Santa Mueller’s reputation, noting Trump’s Attorney General William Barr’s reaction was an “endorsement” of the fineness of Mueller’s work:
In an apparent endorsement of an investigation that Mr. Trump has relentlessly attacked as a “witch hunt,” Mr. Barr said Justice Department officials never had to intervene to keep Mr. Mueller from taking an inappropriate or unwarranted step.
Mueller, in other words, never stepped out of the bounds of his job description. But could the same be said for the news media?
For those anxious to keep the dream alive, the Times published its usual graphic of Trump-Russia “contacts,” inviting readers to keep making connections. But in a separate piece by Peter Baker, the paper noted the Mueller news had dire consequences for the press:
It will be a reckoning for President Trump, to be sure, but also for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for Congress, for Democrats, for Republicans, for the news media and, yes, for the system as a whole…
This is a damning page one admission by the Times. Despite the connect-the-dots graphic in its other story, and despite the astonishing, emotion-laden editorial the paper also ran suggesting “We don’t need to read the Mueller report” because we know Trump is guilty, Baker at least began the work of preparing Times readers for a hard question: “Have journalists connected too many dots that do not really add up?”
The paper was signaling it understood there would now be questions about whether or not news outlets like themselves made a galactic error by betting heavily on a new, politicized approach, trying to be true to “history’s judgment” on top of the hard-enough job of just being true. Worse, in a brutal irony everyone should have seen coming, the press has now handed Trump the mother of campaign issues heading into 2020.
Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base. As Baker notes, a full 50.3% of respondents in a poll conducted this month said they agree with Trump the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.”
Stories have been coming out for some time now hinting Mueller’s final report might leave audiences “disappointed,” as if a President not being a foreign spy could somehow be bad news.
Openly using such language has, all along, been an indictment. Imagine how tone-deaf you’d have to be to not realize it makes you look bad, when news does not match audience expectations you raised. To be unaware of this is mind-boggling, the journalistic equivalent of walking outside without pants.
There will be people protesting: the Mueller report doesn’t prove anything! What about the 37 indictments? The convictions? The Trump tower revelations? The lies! The meeting with Don, Jr.? The financial matters! There’s an ongoing grand jury investigation, and possible sealed indictments, and the House will still investigate, and…
Stop. Just stop. Any journalist who goes there is making it worse.
For years, every pundit and Democratic pol in Washington hyped every new Russia headline like the Watergate break-in. Now, even Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is out, unless something “so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan” against Trump is uncovered it would be worth their political trouble to prosecute.
The biggest thing this affair has uncovered so far is Donald Trump paying off a porn star. That’s a hell of a long way from what this business was supposedly about at the beginning, and shame on any reporter who tries to pretend this isn’t so.
The story hyped from the start was espionage: a secret relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian spooks who’d helped him win the election.
The betrayal narrative was not reported at first as metaphor. It was not “Trump likes the Russians so much, he might as well be a spy for them.” It was literal spying, treason, and election-fixing – crimes so severe, former NSA employee John Schindler told reporters, Trump “will die in jail.”
In the early months of this scandal, the New York Times said Trump’s campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence; the Wall Street Journal told us our spy agencies were withholding intelligence from the new President out of fear he was compromised; news leaked out our spy chiefs had even told other countries like Israel not to share their intel with us, because the Russians might have “leverages of pressure” on Trump.
CNN told us Trump officials had been in “constant contact” with “Russians known to U.S. intelligence,” and the former director of the CIA, who’d helped kick-start the investigation that led to Mueller’s probe, said the President was guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” committing acts “nothing short of treasonous.”
Hillary Clinton insisted Russians “could not have known how to weaponize” political ads unless they’d been “guided” by Americans. Asked if she meant Trump, she said, “It’s pretty hard not to.” Harry Reid similarly said he had “no doubt” that the Trump campaign was “in on the deal” to help Russians with the leak.
None of this has been walked back. To be clear, if Trump were being blackmailed by Russian agencies like the FSB or the GRU, if he had any kind of relationship with Russian intelligence, that would soar over the “overwhelming and bipartisan” standard, and Nancy Pelosi would be damning torpedoes for impeachment right now.
There was never real gray area here. Either Trump is a compromised foreign agent, or he isn’t. If he isn’t, news outlets once again swallowed a massive disinformation campaign, only this error is many orders of magnitude more stupid than any in the recent past, WMD included. Honest reporters like ABC’s Terry Moran understand: Mueller coming back empty-handed on collusion means a “reckoning for the media.”
Of course, there won’t be such a reckoning. (There never is). But there should be. We broke every written and unwritten rule in pursuit of this story, starting with the prohibition on reporting things we can’t confirm.
#Russiagate debuted as a media phenomenon in mid-summer, 2016. The roots of the actual story, i.e. when the multi-national investigation began, go back much further, to the previous year at least. Oddly, that origin tale has not been nailed down yet, and blue-state audiences don’t seem terribly interested in it, either.
By June and July of 2016, bits of the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which had been funded by the Democratic National Committeethrough the law firm Perkins Coie (which in turn hired the opposition research firm Fusion GPS), were already in the ether.
The Steele report occupies the same role in #Russiagate the tales spun by Ahmed Chalabi occupied in the WMD screwup. Once again, a narrative became turbo-charged when Officials With Motives pulled the press corps by its nose to a swamp of unconfirmable private assertions.
Some early stories, like a July 4, 2016 piece by Franklin Foer in Slate called “Putin’s Puppet,” outlined future Steele themes in “circumstantial” form. But the actual dossier, while it influenced a number of pre-election Trump-Russia news stories (notably one by Michael Isiskoff of Yahoo! that would be used in a FISA warrant application), didn’t make it into print for a while.
Though it was shopped to at least nine news organizations during the summer and fall of 2016, no one bit, for the good reason that news organizations couldn’t verify its “revelations.”
The Steele claims were explosive if true. The ex-spy reported Trump aide Carter Page had been offered fees on a big new slice of the oil giant Rosneft if he could help get sanctions against Russia lifted. He also said Trump lawyer Michael Cohen went to Prague for “secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers.”
Most famously, he wrote the Kremlin had kompromat of Trump “deriling” [sic] a bed once used by Barack and Michelle Obama by “employing a number of prostitutes to perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show.”
This was too good of a story not to do. By hook or crook, it had to come out. The first salvo was by David Corn of Mother Jones on October 31, 2016: “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.”
The piece didn’t have pee, Prague, or Page in it, but it did say Russian intelligence had material that could “blackmail” Trump. It was technically kosher to print because Corn wasn’t publishing the allegations themselves, merely that the FBI had taken possession of them.
A bigger pretext was needed to get the other details out. This took place just after the election, when four intelligence officials presented copies of the dossier to both President-Elect Trump and outgoing President Obama.
From his own memos, we know FBI Director James Comey, ostensibly evincing concern for Trump’s welfare, told the new President he was just warning him about what was out there, as possible blackmail material:
I wasn’t saying [the Steele report] was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [redacted] and that we were keeping it very close-hold [sic].
Comey’s generous warning to Trump about not providing a “news hook,” along with a promise to keep it all “close-held,” took place on January 6, 2017. Within four days, basically the entire Washington news media somehow knew all about this top-secret meeting and had the very hook they needed to go public. Nobody in the mainstream press thought this was weird or warranted comment.
Even Donald Trump was probably smart enough to catch the hint when, of all outlets, it was CNN that first broke the story of “Classified documents presented last week to Trump” on January 10.
At the same time, Buzzfeed made the historic decision to publish the entire Steele dossier, bringing years of pee into our lives. This move birthed the Russiagate phenomenon as a never-ending, minute-to-minute factor in American news coverage.
Comey was right. We couldn’t have reported this story without a “hook.” Therefore the reports surrounding Steele technically weren’t about the allegations themselves, but rather the journey of those allegations, from one set of official hands to another. Handing the report to Trump created a perfect pretext.
This trick has been used before, both in Washington and on Wall Street, to publicize unconfirmed private research. A short seller might hire a consulting firm to prepare a report on a company he or she has bet against. When the report is completed, the investor then tries to get the SEC or the FBI to take possession. If they do, news leaks the company is “under investigation,” the stock dives, and everyone wins.  
This same trick is found in politics. A similar trajectory drove negative headlines in the scandal surrounding New Jersey’s Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who was said to be under investigation by the FBI for underage sex crimes (although some were skeptical). The initial story didn’t hold up, but led to other investigations.
Same with the so-called “Arkansas project,” in which millions of Republican-friendly private research dollars produced enough noise about the Whitewater scandal to create years of headlines about the Clintons. Swiftboating was another example. Private oppo isn’t inherently bad. In fact it has led to some incredible scoops, including Enron. But reporters usually know to be skeptical of private info, and figure the motives of its patrons into the story.
The sequence of events in that second week of January, 2017 will now need to be heavily re-examined. We now know, from his own testimony, that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had some kind of role in helping CNN do its report, presumably by confirming part of the story, perhaps through an intermediary or two (there is some controversy over whom exactly was contacted, and when).
Why would real security officials help litigate this grave matter through the media? Why were the world’s most powerful investigative agencies acting like they were trying to move a stock, pushing an private, unverified report that even Buzzfeed could see had factual issues? It made no sense at the time, and makes less now.
In January of 2017, Steele’s pile of allegations became public, read by millions. “It is not just unconfirmed,” Buzzfeed admitted. “It includes some clear errors.”
Buzzfeed’s decision exploded traditional journalistic standards against knowingly publishing material whose veracity you doubt. Although a few media ethicistswondered at it, this seemed not to bother the rank-and-file in the business. Buzzfeed chief Ben Smith is still proud of his decision today. I think this was because many reporters believed the report was true.
When I read the report, I was in shock. I thought it read like fourth-rate suspense fiction (I should know: I write fourth-rate suspense fiction). Moreover it seemed edited both for public consumption and to please Steele’s DNC patrons.
Steele wrote of Russians having a file of “compromising information” on Hillary Clinton, only this file supposedly lacked “details/evidence of unorthodox or embarrassing behavior” or “embarrassing conduct.”
We were meant to believe the Russians, across decades of dirt-digging, had an emptykompromat file on Hillary Clinton, to say nothing of human tabloid headline Bill Clinton? This point was made more than once in the reports, as if being emphasized for the reading public.
There were other curious lines, including the bit about Russians having “moles” in the DNC, plus some linguistic details that made me wonder at the nationality of the report author.
Still, who knew? It could be true. But even the most cursory review showed the report had issues and would need a lot of confirming. This made it more amazing that the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, held hearings on March 20, 2017 that blithely read out Steele report details as if they were fact. From Schiff’s opening statement:
According to Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who is reportedly held in high regard by U.S. Intelligence, Russian sources tell him that Page has also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin (SEH-CHIN), CEO of Russian gas giant Rosneft… Page is offered brokerage fees by Sechin on a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company.
I was stunned watching this. It’s generally understood that members of congress, like reporters, make an effort to vet at least their prepared remarks before making them public.
But here was Schiff, telling the world Trump aide Carter Page had been offered huge fees on a 19% stake in Rosneft – a company with a $63 billion market capitalization – in a secret meeting with a Russian oligarch who was also said to be “a KGB agent and close friend of Putin’s.”
(Schiff meant “FSB agent.” The inability of #Russiagaters to remember Russia is not the Soviet Union became increasingly maddening over time. Donna Brazile still hasn’t deleted her tweet about how “The Communists are now dictating the terms of the debate.” )
Schiff’s speech raised questions. Do we no longer have to worry about getting accusations right if the subject is tied to Russiagate? What if Page hadn’t done any of these things? To date, he hasn’t been charged with anything. Shouldn’t a member of congress worry about this?
A few weeks after that hearing, Steele gave testimony in a British lawsuit filed by one of the Russian companies mentioned in his reports. In a written submission, Steele said his information was “raw” and “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified.” He also wrote that (at least as pertained to the memo in that case) he had not written his report “with the intention that it be republished to the world at large.”
That itself was a curious statement, given that Steele reportedly spoke with multiple reporters in the fall of 2016, but this was his legal position. This story about Steele’s British court statements did not make it into the news much in the United States, apart from a few bits in conservative outlets like The Washington Times.
I contacted Schiff’s office to ask if the congressman if he knew about Steele’s admission that his report needed verifying, and if that changed his view of it at all. The response (emphasis mine):
The dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and which was leaked publicly several months ago contains information that may be pertinent to our investigation. This is true regardless of whether it was ever intended for public dissemination. Accordingly, the Committee hopes to speak with Mr. Steele in order to help substantiate or refute each of the allegations contained in the dossier.
Schiff had not spoken to Steele before the hearing, and read out the allegations knowing they were unsubstantiated.
The Steele report was the Magna Carta of #Russiagate. It provided the implied context for thousands of news stories to come, yet no journalist was ever able to confirm its most salacious allegations: the five year cultivation plan, the blackmail, the bribe from Sechin, the Prague trip, the pee romp, etc. In metaphorical terms, we were unable to independently produce Steele’s results in the lab. Failure to reckon with this corrupted the narrative from the start. 
For years, every hint the dossier might be true became a banner headline, while every time doubt was cast on Steele’s revelations, the press was quiet. Washington Post reporter Greg Miller went to Prague and led a team looking for evidence Cohen had been there. Post reporters, Miller said, “literally spent weeks and months trying to run down” the Cohen story.
“We sent reporters through every hotel in Prague, through all over the place, just to try to figure out if he was ever there,” he said, “and came away empty.”
This was heads-I-win, tails-you-lose reporting. One assumes if Miller found Cohen’s name in a hotel ledger, it would have been on page 1 of the Post. The converse didn’t get a mention in Miller’s own paper. He only told the story during a discussion aired by C-SPAN about a new book he’d published. Only The Daily Caller and a few conservative blogs picked it up.
It was the same when Bob Woodward said, “I did not find [espionage or collusion]… Of course I looked for it, looked for it hard.”
The celebrated Watergate muckraker – who once said he’d succumbed to “groupthink”in the WMD episode and added, “I blame myself mightily for not pushing harder” – didn’t push very hard here, either. News that he’d tried and failed to find collusion didn’t get into his own paper. It only came out when Woodward was promoting his book Fear in a discussion with conservative host Hugh Hewitt.
When Michael Cohen testified before congress and denied under oath ever being in Prague, it was the same. Few commercial news outlets bothered to take note of the implications this had for their previous reports. Would a man clinging to a plea deal lie to congress on national television about this issue?
There was a CNN story, but the rest of the coverage was all in conservative outlets – the National ReviewFoxThe Daily CallerThe Washington Post’s response was to run an editorial sneering at “How conservative media downplayed Michael Cohen’s testimony.”
Perhaps worst of all was the episode involving Yahoo! reporter Michael Isikoff. He had already been part of one strange tale: the FBI double-dipping when it sought a FISA warrant to conduct secret surveillance of Carter Page, the would-be mastermind who was supposed to have brokered a deal with oligarch Sechin.
In its FISA application, the FBI included both the unconfirmed Steele report and Isikoff’s September 23, 2016 Yahoo! story, “U.S. Intel Officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.” The Isikoff story, which claimed Page had met with “high ranking sanctioned officials” in Russia, had relied upon Steele as an unnamed source.
This was similar to a laundering technique used in the WMD episode called “stove-piping,” i.e. officials using the press to “confirm” information the officials themselves fed the reporter.
But there was virtually no non-conservative press about this problem apart from a Washington Post story pooh-poohing the issue. (Every news story that casts any doubt on the collusion issue seems to meet with an instantaneous “fact check” in the Post.) The Post insisted the FISA issue wasn’t serious among other things because Steele was not the “foundation” of Isikoff’s piece.
Isikoff was perhaps the reporter most familiar with Steele. He and Corn of Mother Jones, who also dealt with the ex-spy, wrote a bestselling book that relied upon theories from Steele, Russian Roulette, including a rumination on the “pee” episode. Yet Isikoff in late 2018 suddenly said he believed the Steele report would turn out to be “mostly false.”
Once again, this only came out via a podcast, John Ziegler’s “Free Speech Broadcasting” show. Here’s a transcript of the relevant section:
Isikoff: When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, you know, we have not seen the evidence to support them. And in fact there is good grounds to think some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven, and are likely false.
Ziegler: That’s...
Isikoff: I think it’s a mixed record at best at this point, things could change, Mueller may yet produce evidence that changes this calculation. But based on the public record at this point I have to say that most of the specific allegations have not been borne out.
Ziegler: That’s interesting to hear you say that, Michael because as I’m sure you know, your book was kind of used to validate the pee tape, for lack of a better term.
Isikoff: Yeah. I think we had some evidence in there of an event that may have inspired the pee tape and that was the visit that Trump made with a number of characters who later showed up in Moscow, specifically Emin Agalarov and Rob Goldstone to this raunchy Las Vegas nightclub where one of the regular acts was a skit called “Hot For Teacher” in which dancers posing as college Co-Ed’s urinated – or simulated urinating on their professor. Which struck me as an odd coincidence at best. I think, you know, it is not implausible that event may have inspired...
Ziegler: An urban legend?
Isikoff: ...allegations that appeared in the Steele dossier. 
Isikoff delivered this story with a laughing tone. He seamlessly transitioned to what he then called the “real” point, i.e. “the irony is Steele may be right, but it wasn’t the Kremlin that had sexual kompromat on Donald Trump, it was the National Enquirer.
Recapping: the reporter who introduced Steele to the world (his September 23, 2016 story was the first to reference him as a source), who wrote a book that even he concedes was seen as “validating” the pee tape story, suddenly backtracks and says the whole thing may have been based on a Las Vegas strip act, but it doesn’t matter because Stormy Daniels, etc.
Another story of this type involved a court case in which Webzilla and parent company XBT sued Steele and Buzzfeed over the mention their firm in one of the memos. It came out in court testimony that Steele had culled information about XBT/Webzilla from a 2009 post on CNN’s "iReports” page
Asked if he understood these posts came from random users and not CNN journalists who’d been fact-checked, Steele replied, “I do not.” 
This comical detail was similar to news that the second British Mi6 dossier released just before the Iraq invasion had been plagiarized in part from a thirteen year-old student thesis from California State University, not even by intelligence people, but by mid-level functionaries in Tony Blair’s press office. 
There were so many profiles of Steele as an “astoundingly diligent” spymaster straight out of LeCarre: he was routinely described like a LeCarre-ian grinder like the legendary George Smiley, a man in the shadows whose bookish intensity was belied by his “average,” “neutral,” “quiet,” demeanor, being “more low-key than Smiley.” One would think it might have rated a mention that our “Smiley” was cutting and pasting text like a community college freshman. But the story barely made news.
This has been a consistent pattern throughout #Russiagate. Step one: salacious headline. Step two, days or weeks later: news emerges the story is shakier than first believed. Step three (in the best case) involves the story being walked back or retracted by the same publication.
That’s been rare. More often, when explosive #Russiagate headlines go sideways, the original outlets simply ignore the new development, leaving the “retraction” process to conservative outlets that don’t reach the original audiences.
This is a major structural flaw of the new fully-divided media landscape in which Republican media covers Democratic corruption and Democratic media covers Republican corruption. If neither “side” feels the need to disclose its own errors and inconsistencies, mistakes accumulate quickly.
This has been the main difference between Russiagate and the WMD affair. Despite David Remnick’s post-invasion protestations that “nobody got [WMD] completely right,” the Iraq war was launched against the objections of the 6 million or more people who did get it right, and protested on the streets. There was open skepticism of Bush claims dotting the press landscape from the start, with people like Jack Shafer tearing apart every Judith Miller story in print. Most reporters are Democrats and the people hawking the WMD story were mostly Republicans, so there was political space for protest.
Russiagate happened in an opposite context. If the story fell apart it would benefit Donald Trump politically, a fact that made a number of reporters queasy about coming forward. #Russiagate became synonymous with #Resistance, which made public skepticism a complicated proposition.
Early in the scandal, I appeared on To The Point, a California-based public radio show hosted by Warren Olney, with Corn of Mother Jones. I knew David a little and had been friendly with him. He once hosted a book event for me in Washington. In the program, however, the subject of getting facts right came up and Corn said this was not a time for reporters to be picking nits:
So Democrats getting overeager, overenthusiastic, stating things that may not be [unintelligible] true…? Well, tell me a political issue where that doesn’t happen. I think that’s looking at the wrong end of the telescope.
I wrote him later and suggested that since we’re in the press, and not really about anything except avoiding “things that may not be true,” maybe we had different responsibilities than “Democrats”? He wrote back:
Feel free to police the Trump opposition. But on the list of shit that needs to be covered these days, that's just not high on my personal list.
Other reporters spoke of an internal struggle. When the Mueller indictment of the Internet Research Agency was met with exultation in the media, New Yorker writer Adrian Chen, who broke the original IRA story, was hesitant to come forward with some mild qualms about the way the story was being reported:
“Either I could stay silent and allow the conversation to be dominated by those pumping up the Russian threat,” he said, “or I could risk giving fodder to Trump and his allies.”
After writing, “Confessions of a Russiagate Skeptic,” poor Blake Hounsell of Politicotook such a beating on social media, he ended up denouncing himself a year later.
“What I meant to write is, I wasn’t skeptical,” he said.
Years ago, in the midst of the WMD affair, Times public editor Daniel Okrent noted the paper’s standard had moved from “Don’t get it first, get it right” to “Get it first and get it right.” From there, Okrent wrote, “the next devolution was an obvious one.”
We’re at that next devolution: first and wrong. The Russiagate era has so degraded journalism that even once “reputable” outlets are now only about as right as politicians, which is to say barely ever, and then only by accident.
Early on, I was so amazed by the sheer quantity of Russia “bombshells” being walked back, I started to keep a list. It’s well above 50 stories now. As has been noted by Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept and others, if the mistakes were random, you’d expect them in both directions, but Russiagate errors uniformly go the same way.
In some cases the stories are only partly wrong, as in the case of the famed “17 intelligence agencies said Russia was behind the hacking” story (it was actually four: the Director of National Intelligence “hand-picking” a team from the FBI, CIA, and NSA).
In other cases the stories were blunt false starts, resulting in ugly sets of matching headlines:
Washington Post, December 31, 2016.
Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2017.
Trump Campaign Aides had repeated contacts with Russian Intelligence,” published by the Times on Valentine’s Day, 2017, was an important, narrative-driving “bombshell” that looked dicey from the start. The piece didn’t say whether the contact was witting or unwitting, whether the discussions were about business or politics, or what the contacts supposedly were at all.
Normally a reporter would want to know what the deal is before he or she runs a story accusing people of having dealings with foreign spies. “Witting” or “Unwitting” ought to be a huge distinction, for instance. It soon after came out that people like former CIA chief John Brennan don’t think this is the case. “Frequently, people who are on a treasonous path do not know they’re on a treasonous path,” he said, speaking of Trump’s circle.
This seemed a dangerous argument, the kind of thing that led to trouble in the McCarthy years. But let’s say the contacts were serious. From a reporting point of view, you’d still need to know exactly what the nature of such contacts were before you run that story, because the headline implication is grave. Moreover you’d need to know it well enough to report it, i.e. it’s not enough to be told a convincing story off-the-record, you need to be able to share with readers enough so that they can characterize the news themselves.
Not to the Times, which ran the article without the specifics. Months later, Comey blew up this “contacts” story in public, saying, “in the main, it was not true.“
As was the case with the “17 agencies” error, which only got fixed when Clapper testified in congress and was forced to make the correction under oath, the “repeated contacts” story was only disputed when Comey testified in congress, this time before the Senate Intelligence Committee. How many other errors of this type are waiting to be disclosed?
Even the mistakes caught were astounding. On December 1, 2017, ABC reporter Brian Ross claimed Trump “as a candidate” instructed Michael Flynn to contact Russia. The news caused the Dow to plummet 350 points. The story was retracted almost immediately and Ross was suspended.
Bloomberg reported Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s Deutsche Bank accounts; the subpoenas turned out to be of other individuals’ records. Fortune said C-SPAN was hacked after Russia Today programming briefly interrupted coverage of a Maxine Waters floor address. The New York Times also ran the story, and it’s still up, despite C-SPAN insisting its own “internal routing error” likely caused the feed to appear in place of its own broadcast.
CNN has its own separate sub-list of wrecks. Three of the network’s journalists resigned after a story purporting to tie Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund was retracted. Four more CNN reporters (Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus) were bylined in a story that claimed Comey was expected to refute Trump’s claims he was told he wasn’t the target of an investigation. Comey blew that one up, too.
In another CNN scoop gone awry, “Email pointed Trump campaign to WikiLeaks documents,” the network’s reporters were off by ten days in a “bombshell” that supposedly proved the Trump campaign had foreknowledge of Wikileaks dumps. “It’s, uh, perhaps not as significant as what we know now,” offered CNN’s Manu Raju in a painful on-air retraction.
The worst stories were the ones never corrected. A particularly bad example is “After Florida School Shooting, Russian ‘Bot’ Army Pounced,” from the New York Times on Feb 18, 2018. The piece claimed Russians were trying to divide Americans on social media after a mass shooting using Twitter hashtags like #guncontrolnow, #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting.
The Times ran this quote high up:
 “This is pretty typical for them, to hop on breaking news like this,” said Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, a company that tracks online disinformation campaigns. “The bots focus on anything that is divisive for Americans. Almost systematically.”
About a year after this story came out, Times reporters Scott Shane and Ann Blinder reported that the same outfit, New Knowledge, and in particular that same Jonathon Morgan, had participated in a cockamamie scheme to fake Russian troll activity in an Alabama Senate race. The idea was to try to convince voters Russia preferred the Republican.
The Times quoted a New Knowledge internal report about the idiotic Alabama scheme:
We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet…
The Parkland story was iffy enough when it came out, as Twitter disputed it, and another of the main sources for the initial report, former intelligence official Clint Watts, subsequently said he was “not convinced” on the whole “bot thing.”
But when one of your top sources turns out to have faked exactly the kind of activity described in your article, you should at least take the quote out, or put an update online. No luck: the story remains up on the Times site, without disclaimers.
Russiagate institutionalized one of the worst ethical loopholes in journalism, which used to be limited mainly to local crime reporting. It’s always been a problem that we publish mugshots and names of people merely arrested but not yet found guilty. Those stories live forever online and even the acquitted end up permanently unable to get jobs, smeared as thieves, wife-beaters, drunk drivers, etc.
With Russiagate the national press abandoned any pretense that there’s a difference between indictment and conviction. The most disturbing story involved Maria Butina. Here authorities and the press shared responsibility. Thanks to an indictment that initially said the Russian traded sex for favors, the Times and other outlets flooded the news cycle with breathless stories about a redheaded slut-temptress come to undermine democracy, a “real-life Red Sparrow,” as ABC put it.
But a judge threw out the sex charge after “five minutes” when it turned out to be based on a single joke text to a friend who had taken Butina’s car for inspection.
It’s pretty hard to undo public perception you’re a prostitute once it’s been in a headline, and, worse, the headlines are still out there. You can still find stories like “Maria Butina, Suspected Secret Agent, Used Sex in Covert Plan” online in the New York Times.
Here a reporter might protest: how would I know? Prosecutors said she traded sex for money. Why shouldn’t I believe them?
How about because, authorities have been lying their faces off to reporters since before electricity! It doesn’t take much investigation to realize the main institutional sources in the Russiagate mess – the security services, mainly – have extensive records of deceiving the media.
As noted before, from World War I-era tales of striking union workers being German agents to the “missile gap” that wasn’t (the “gap” was leaked to the press before the Soviets had even one operational ICBM) to the Gulf of Tonkin mess to all the smears of people like Martin Luther King, it’s a wonder newspapers listen to whispers from government sources at all.
In the Reagan years National Security Adviser John Poindexter spread false stories about Libyan terrorist plots to The Wall Street Journal and other papers. In the Bush years, Dick Cheney et al were selling manure by the truckload about various connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda, infamously including a story that bomber Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Prague.
The New York Times ran a story that Atta was in Prague in late October of 2001, even giving a date of the meeting with Iraqis, April 8, or “just five months before the terrorist attacks.” The Prague story was another example of a tale that seemed shaky because American officials were putting the sourcing first on foreign intelligence, then on reporters themselves. Cheney cited the Prague report in subsequent TV appearances, one of many instances of feeding reporters tidbits and then selling reports as independent confirmation.
It wasn’t until three years later, in 2004, that Times reporter James Risen definitively killed the Atta-in-Prague canard (why is it always Prague?) in a story entitled “No evidence of meeting with Iraqi.” By then, of course, it was too late. The Times also held a major dissenting piece by Risen about the WMD case, “C.I.A. Aides Feel Pressure in Preparing Iraqi Reports,” until days after war started. This is what happens when you start thumbing the scale.
This failure to demand specifics has been epidemic in Russiagate, even when good reporters have been involved. One of the biggest “revelations” of this era involved a story that was broken first by a terrible reporter (the Guardian’s Luke Harding) and followed up by a good one (Jane Mayer of the New Yorker). The key detail involved the elusive origin story of Russiagate.
Mayer’s piece, the March 12, 2018 “Christopher Steele, the Man Behind The Trump Dossier” in the New Yorker, impacted the public mainly by seeming to bolster the credentials of the dossier author. But it contained an explosive nugget far down. Mayer reported Robert Hannigan, then-head of the GCHQ (the British analog to the NSA) intercepted a “stream of illicit communications” between “Trump’s team and Moscow” at some point prior to August 2016. Hannigan flew to the U.S. and briefed CIA director John Brennan about these communications. Brennan later testified this inspired the original FBI investigation.
When I read that, a million questions came to mind, but first: what did “illicit” mean?
If something “illicit” had been captured by GCHQ, and this led to the FBI investigation (one of several conflicting public explanations for the start of the FBI probe, incidentally), this would go a long way toward clearing up the nature of the collusion charge. If they had something, why couldn’t they tell us what it was? Why didn’t we deserve to know?
I asked the Guardian: “Was any attempt made to find out what those communications were? How was the existence of these communications confirmed? Did anyone from the Guardian see or hear these intercepts, or transcripts?”
Their one-sentence reply:
The Guardian has strict and rigorous procedures when dealing with source material.
That’s the kind of answer you’d expect from a transnational bank, or the army, not a newspaper.
I asked Mayer the same questions. She was more forthright, noting that, of course, the story had originally been broken by Harding, whose own report said “the precise nature of these exchanges has not been made public.”
She added that “afterwards I independently confirmed aspects of [Harding’s piece] with several well-informed sources,” and “spent months on the Steele story [and] traveled to the UK twice for it.” But, she wrote, “the Russiagate story, like all reporting on sensitive national security issues, is difficult.”
I can only infer she couldn’t find out what “illicit” meant despite proper effort. The detail was published anyway. It may not have seemed like a big deal, but I think it was.
To be clear, I don’t necessarily disbelieve the idea that there were “illicit” contacts between Trump and Russians in early 2015 or before. But if there were such contacts, I can’t think of any legitimate reason why their nature should be withheld from the public.
If authorities can share reasons for concern with foreign countries like Israel, why should American voters not be so entitled? Moreover the idea that we need to keep things secret to protect sources and methods and “tradecraft” (half the press corps became expert in goofy spy language over the last few years, using terms like “SIGINT” like they’ve known them their whole lives), why are we leaking news of our ability to hear Russian officials cheering Trump’s win?
Failure to ask follow-up questions happened constantly with this story. One of the first reports that went sideways involved a similar dynamic: the contention that some leaked DNC emails were forgeries.
MSNBC’s “Intelligence commentator” Malcolm Nance, perhaps the most enthusiastic source of questionable #Russiagate news this side of Twitter conspiracist Louise Mensch, tweeted on October 11, 2016: “#PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & #blackpropaganda not even professionally done.”
As noted in The Intercept and elsewhere, this was re-reported by the likes of David Frum (a key member of the club that has now contributed to both the WMD and Russiagate panics) and MSNBC host Joy Reid. The reports didn’t stop until roughly October of 2016, among other things because the Clinton campaign kept suggesting to reporters the emails were fake. This could have been stopped sooner if examples of a forgery had been demanded from the Clinton campaign earlier.
Another painful practice that became common was failing to confront your own sources when news dispositive to what they’ve told you pops up. The omnipresent Clapper told Chuck Todd on March 5, 2017, without equivocation, that there had been no FISA application involving Trump or his campaign. “I can deny it,” he said.
It soon after came out this wasn’t true. The FBI had a FISA warrant on Carter Page. This was not a small misstatement by Clapper, because his appearance came a day after Trump claimed in a tweet he’d had his “wires tapped.” Trump was widely ridiculed for this claim, perhaps appropriately so, but in addition to the Page news, it later came out there had been a FISA warrant of Paul Manafort as well, during which time Trump may have been the subject of “incidental” surveillance.
Whether or not this was meaningful, or whether these warrants were justified, are separate questions. The important thing is, Clapper either lied to Todd, or else he somehow didn’t know the FBI had obtained these warrants. The latter seems absurd and unlikely. Either way, Todd ought to been peeved and demanded an explanation. Instead, he had Clapper back on again within months and gave him the usual softball routine, never confronting him about the issue.
Reporters repeatedly got burned and didn’t squawk about it. Where are the outraged stories about all the scads of anonymous “people familiar with the matter” who put reporters in awkward spots in the last years? Why isn’t McClatchy demanding the heads of whatever “four people with knowledge” convinced them to double down on the Cohen-in-Prague story?
Why isn’t every reporter who used “New Knowledge” as a source about salacious Russian troll stories out for their heads (or the heads of the congressional sources who passed this stuff on), after reports they faked Russian trolling? How is it possible NBC and other outlets continued to use New Knowledge as a source in stories identifying antiwar Democrat Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian-backed candidate?
How do the Guardian’s editors not already have Harding’s head in a vice for hanging them out to dry on the most dubious un-retracted story in modern history – the tale that the most watched human on earth, Julian Assange, had somehow been visited in the Ecuadorian embassy by Paul Manafort without leaving any record? I’d be dragging Harding’s “well placed source” into the office and beating him with a hose until he handed them something that would pass for corroborating evidence.
The lack of blowback over episodes in which reporters were put in public compromised situations speaks to the overly cozy relationships outlets had with official sources. Too often, it felt like a team effort, where reporters seemed to think it was their duty to take the weight if sources pushed them to overreach. They had absolutely no sense of institutional self-esteem about this.
Being on any team is a bad look for the press, but the press being on team FBI/CIA is an atrocity, Trump or no Trump. Why bother having a press corps at all if you’re going to go that route?
This posture all been couched as anti-Trump solidarity, but really, did former CIA chief John Brennan – the same Brennan who should himself have faced charges for lying to congress about hacking the computers of Senate staff – need the press to whine on his behalf when Trump yanked his security clearance? Did we need the press to hum Aretha Franklin tunes, as ABC did, and chide Trump for lacking R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the CIA? We don’t have better things to do than that “work”?
This catalogue of factual errors and slavish stenography will stand out when future analysts look back at why the “MSM” became a joke during this period, but they were only a symptom of a larger problem. The bigger issue was a radical change in approach.
A lot of #Russiagate coverage became straight-up conspiracy theory, what Baker politely called “connecting the dots.” This was allowed because the press committed to a collusion narrative from the start, giving everyone cover to indulge in behaviors that would never be permitted in normal times.
Such was the case with Jonathan Chait’s #Russiagate opus, “PRUMP TUTIN: Will Trump be Meeting With his Counterpart – or his Handler?” The story was also pitched as “What if Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987,” which recalls the joke from The Wire: “Yo, Herc, what if your mother and father never met?” What if isn’t a good place to be in this business.
This cover story (!) in New York magazine was released in advance of a planned “face-to-face” summit between Trump and Putin, and posited Trump had been under Russian control for decades. Chait noted Trump visited the Soviet Union in 1987 and came back “fired up with political ambition.” He offered the possibility that this was a coincidence, but added:
Indeed, it seems slightly insane to contemplate the possibility that a secret relationship between Trump and Russia dates back this far. But it can’t be dismissed completely. 
I searched the Chait article up and down for reporting that would justify the suggestion Trump had been a Russian agent dating back to the late eighties, when, not that it matters, Russia was a different country called the Soviet Union.
Only two facts in the piece could conceivably have been used to support the thesis: Trump met with a visiting Soviet official in 1986, and visited the Soviet Union in 1987. That’s it. That’s your cover story.
Worse, Chait’s theory was first espoused in Lyndon Larouche’s “Elephants and Donkeys” newsletter in 1987, under a headline, “Do Russians have a Trump card?” This is barrel-scraping writ large.
It’s a mania. Putin is literally in our underpants. Maybe, if we’re lucky, New York might someday admit its report claiming Russians set up an anti-masturbation hotline to trap and blackmail random Americans is suspicious, not just because it seems absurd on its face, but because its source is the same “New Knowledge” group that admitted to faking Russian influence operations in Alabama.
But what retraction is possible for the Washington Post headline, “How will Democrats cope if Putin starts playing dirty tricks for Bernie Sanders (again)?” How to reverse Rachel Maddow’s spiel about Russia perhaps shutting down heat across America during a cold wave? There’s no correction for McCarthyism and fearmongering.
This ultimately will be the endgame of the Russia charade. They will almost certainly never find anything like the wild charges and Manchurian Candidate theories elucidated in the Steele report. But the years of panic over the events of 2016 will lead to radical changes in everything from press regulation to foreign policy, just as the WMD canard led to torture, warrantless surveillance, rendition, drone assassination, secret budgets and open-ended, undeclared wars from Somalia to Niger to Syria. The screw-ups will be forgotten, but accelerated vigilance will remain.
It’s hard to know what policy changes are appropriate because the reporting on everything involving the Russian threat in the last two to three years has been so unreliable.
I didn’t really address the case that Russia hacked the DNC, content to stipulate it for now. I was told early on that this piece of the story seemed “solid,” but even that assertion has remained un-bolstered since then, still based on an “assessment” by the intelligence services that always had issues, including the use of things like RT’s “anti-American” coverage of fracking as part of its case. The government didn’t even examine the DNC’s server, the kind of detail that used to make reporters nervous.
We won’t know how much of any of this to take seriously until the press gets out of bed with the security services and looks at this whole series of events all over again with fresh eyes, as journalists, not political actors. That means being open to asking what went wrong with this story, in addition to focusing so much energy on Trump and Russia.
The WMD mess had massive real-world negative impact, leading to over a hundred thousand deaths and trillions in lost taxpayer dollars. Unless Russiagate leads to a nuclear conflict, we’re unlikely to ever see that level of consequence.
Still, Russiagate has led to unprecedented cooperation between the government and Internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, all of which are censoring pages on the left, right, and in between in the name of preventing the “sowing of discord.” The story also had a profound impact on the situation in places like Syria, where Russian and American troops have sat across the Euphrates River from one another, two amped-up nuclear powers at a crossroads.
As a purely journalistic failure, however, WMD was a pimple compared to Russiagate. The sheer scale of the errors and exaggerations this time around dwarfs the last mess. Worse, it’s led to most journalists accepting a radical change in mission. We’ve become sides-choosers, obliterating the concept of the press as an independent institution whose primary role is sorting fact and fiction.
We had the sense to eventually look inward a little in the WMD affair, which is the only reason we escaped that episode with any audience left. Is the press even capable of that kind of self-awareness now? WMD damaged our reputation. If we don’t turn things around, this story will destroy it.
Get great stories like this and more at Global Intel Hub - home of the real news.

Posted: March 24, 2019, 8:51 pm
The great bitcoin bull market of 2017 wasn't the first bubble in the pioneering digital currency's brief lifespan, and it might not be the last, but to this day, these losses still hurt, and what's worse, for many of those who had chosen to hold on, coins have been stolen or lost thanks to hackers and con artists, who for years operated with near-impunity (though this is finally beginning to change).
For these (and myriad other) reasons, attempts to legitimize bitcoin have largely floundered. Trading in bitcoin futures has fallen off a cliff, while the SEC has continued to resist the creation of a bitcoin-focused ETF. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all was the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which allowed anyone with a brokerage account or IRA to gain exposure to bitcoin (but for a massive premium). During the crash, it delivered huge losses.
Yet, since the beginning of the year, desperate bulls have found some justification to keep hanging on. Over the past few months, the digital currency has slowly crept higher. A drumbeat of negative headlines, including one warning that the majority of bitcoin exchanges had likely turned a blind eye to suspicious activity, have had little impact.
Still, suspicions endure. Whether it's Bitfinex using tether to prop up bitcoin prices, or a handful of 'whales' colluding to push prices in their favor, theories about widespread manipulation in the bitcoin market have festered for years.
And in the latest blow to crypto's credibility, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday - citing data from a research firm that has been closely monitoring trading activity across dozens of exchanges - that the vast majority of bitcoin trading volume is an illusion - likely faked by the exchanges themselves using cunning trading algorithms to give customers the false impression of a deep, liquid market.
Oddly enough, Bitwise Asset Management, the firm that carried out the analysis, sent its findings to the SEC with the hope of convincing the regulator to finally drop its opposition to a bitcoin ETF (the firm is hoping to launch one that would limit trading to exchanges that don't manipulate trading volume).

Over the course of four days in March, Bitwise analyzed the trading activity at 81 exchanges, and discovered suspicious patterns that analysts said suggested that much of the activity was being generated by programmatic trades intended solely to the inflate the exchange's perceived volume. This, in turn, helped the exchanges game the rankings on websites like CoinMarketCap (which, in theory, should lead to more business), the analysts concluded.
The San Francisco-based company submitted its research to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with an application to launch a bitcoin-based exchange-traded fund. The study, made public Thursday, is an attempt to alleviate the agency’s longstanding concerns that a bitcoin ETF would leave investors exposed to fraud and market manipulation.
Bitwise’s fund, if approved, would be based upon the 5% of trading it considers legitimate, said Matthew Hougan, Bitwise’s head of global research. That volume comes from 10 regulated exchanges that can verify that their trading data and customers are real. This slice of the market, he said, is well regulated, transparent and efficient.
"I hope everyone sees there is a real market for bitcoin," he said.
When Bitwise ran its analysis, it found that 71 of the 81 exchanges it examined harbored activity that appeared fraudulent. Of the $6 billion that changed hands during the study, Bitwise calculated that only $273 million in volume appeared legitimate. The overwhelming majority of the fraudulent activity appeared to take place on newer, unregulated exchanges like Coinbene and BiBox, two of the examples listed by WSJ.
Some of the suspicious patterns Bitwise identified included a surprising number of trades being executed within the bid-ask spread, buy and sell orders cancelling each other out, and volumes that were steady throughout the day (rather than registering peaks and valleys during normal trading hours).
Bitwise created a program to collect and analyze trading data across 81 exchanges, looking for patterns that exemplified both real and artificial trading. It concluded that 71 of the 81—or 95% of reported volume—are questionable, with patterns that indicated the trading on them appears manufactured.
Of the roughly $6 billion in reported daily volume during four days in March, the firm calculated that about $273 million was legitimate.
On regulated exchanges such as Coinbase, Gemini, BitFlyer and Poloniex, trading followed certain patterns, according to the Bitwise report. Trading volume, for example, rose and fell at predictable times coinciding with working and sleeping hours. Smaller trades were more frequent than larger ones, and many were in round numbers. All those patterns reflect how human traders think and act.
By contrast, the dozens of unregulated exchanges that have cropped up over the past year show different trading patterns. Buy and sell orders appear in pairs, with one neutralizing the other. Trades are almost always executed within bid and ask prices, indicating a lack of the more haphazard decision-making one would expect from human traders. There are very few small or round-number trades. Volume is consistent across the trading day.
The unregulated exchanges also show massive volume. Coinbase, the largest of the regulated exchanges, had average daily volume of around $27 million in the first week of March, when Bitwise collected its data. By comparison, CoinBene, a newer exchange that first appeared in October 2017, reported $480 million in daily volume over the same period. Yet CoinBene’s website attracts far less traffic than Coinbase, which is in 55,097th place by Amazon’s Alexa ranking service, compared with 1,500th for Coinbase.
Of course, if such a large percentage of trading in bitcoin, the oldest cryptocurrency, and the one with the broadest appeal, is fraudulent, just imagine what that means for the alt-coin market.
Posted: March 23, 2019, 11:11 pm
Global Intel Hub 3/17/2019 (Zero Hedge Exclusive) -- This recent shooting in NZ was not just a 'shooting' it was a crossing of the Rubicon into a new sea of Orwellian fear and loathing.  As we explain in our book, NOTHING is as it seems.  Everything is about OPTICS and what really goes on is largely disregarded.  New Zealand is a testing ground:
For years New Zealand has been utilised by app developers, social media companies and software developers to test new technologies, but the risks and benefits for Kiwi consumers and businesses remain unclear. Ged Cann reports.  If you want to test it, come to New Zealand.  That's the mantra overseas, where New Zealand's advantages as a testing ground have been common knowledge in the international tech industry for decades, according to one world-wide developer.
Alright but so what?  The fact remains that 90% of tech innovations come from the Military.  Also there is a growing problem for the Military as the enemy du jour, Terrorists, are becoming far less common, for a number of reasons including but not limited to the success of firms like Palantir.
Fake News is just the left angry that they couldn't lie their way into the White House - what we really need to be concerned about is Fake Wars.  Internet Censorship in New Zealand existed far before the shooting.  The draconian call to delete the horrid video from your personal computer can only be for one reason - they don't want people looking at this again and again and realizing there are facts that don't match up with reality.
911 was a complete control job.  Social Media practically didn't exist and internet penetration was nothing like it is today.  In 2001 people didn't have HD camera in their pocket that could live stream events as they happen.  Tactically speaking 911 was even sloppy, as some footage showed things that probably shouldn't have been there - but it was a HUGE JOB, equivalent of David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear.
There are a number of analogous facts shared by the attack on the North Korean embassy in Spain and the terror event in Christchurch which suggest that the same team was involved in both incidents. In both cases the perpetrators showed that they were well versed in "breach and clear" tactics against buildings filled with people. In both cases the buildings were cleared efficiently and quickly even though the goal of the North Korean incident was focused on intelligence gathering as opposed to mass murder. Aerial analysis of the North Korean embassy in Spain, the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre show that all buildings are of similar size and each would have required the same know-how and training to breach.
Remember though that because the internet is completely censored in New Zealand on an ISP level, it means that at some level, they 'allowed' this video to be broadcast.  That type of Censorship wasn't possible in the Las Vegas mass murder concert shooting.
Is this a 'test run' for the new War 3.0 of the future?  Fake Wars: Race wars, proxy wars, information wars, and 'fake threats' ?
One thing does reek of false flag is the NZ Government's immediate reaction to clamp down on internet freedom and gun laws, although it's still unclear where the Shooter obtained these weapons from as he would have probably failed a background check with his recent travels to Pakistan (a huge red flag).
One thing about NZ is that it's easily controlled for 2 reasons - it's far removed from the rest of the world and if they control the internet they basically have a lock down on what's going on inside NZland.
Fake Wars means wars engineered by high tech Military outfits like Cubic Simulation Systems.  
Guys this is important this is the new battlefield.
There is never going to be a 'traditional' war like we had World War 2.  There is no threat from China or Russia.  The Nuclear arsenals of the Nuclear powers prevent any kind of real war from happening again.  There is enough Nuclear fire power on this planet to not only destroy Russia completely that even mosquitos will not survive, we could literally blow up the planet Earth into little bits and all float together into space for a final romantic voyage into the nothingness of space.  All this at the press of a button.  Let's hope that the AI systems aren't connected to the Nuke systems!
Military spending in the United States is about $700 Billion and that's just what's on the books.  If you include countries in the Five Eyes - it's much more.  Realistically we are talking about $3 Trillion per year in USD globally by US and friends.  But it's good for the economy giving birth to companies like Google, Facebook, and so many other opportunities to make investors rich beyond their wildest dreams.  That's the 'buy in' - so first you have to suffer.
Earlier this year, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – which along with the United States are members of the “Five Eyes” alliance – came together to collectively attribute to Russia what may be the most costly cyber attack in history. This public affirmation provided a rare glimpse into the depth of defense cooperation among the world’s English-speaking democracies.
Formalized in 1955, Five Eyes collaboration has proven a remarkable success both throughout the Cold War and in the post-9/11 era of counterterrorism. The informal alliance has until now remained rooted in intelligence sharing. However, in a world of complex and rapidly evolving security challenges, the Five Eye countries should consider a new area of shared focus: leveraging the commercial technology sector to address common national security concerns.
What that means in 'Plain English' 5 countries got their stories straight for the public.  The answer was "Blame Russia" and the reason was that because with the kind of tools the CIA and NSA has developed they can put Russian fingerprints on virtually any Cyberattack coming out of DC.  Did I just say that out loud?
So to what end?  What is the reason for this horrible mass murder in a Mosque?  At this point we only have circumstantial evidence so let's not jump to any conclusions.  Let's stick with facts.
  • This is the worst attack on peaceful Muslims in their own holy place
  • New Zealand is the most anti-Gun jurisdiction in the world - it's impossible for a normal citizen to obtain and keep a firearm in this place
  • New Zealand is the country with the most internet Censorship in the western world, beaten only by China and North Korea
  • NZ is controlled by the Crown.  Unlike other British Territories like the Bahamas for example, NZ never declared their 'independence' and the Queen is the Queen of New Zealand, visits there, and technically owns all the land.
  • Property in New Zealand is mostly bought 'freehold' (update: should be "leasehold" but the point is that you don't really own it) in that you have a 99 year renewable lease and you never actually 'own' the land like you do in other places.  That may seem like a simple technicality but the fact is there would never be a Rockefeller story in NZ if you discovered $100 Million worth of Gold on your land you can bet you would only get a pittance finders fee for it.  God save the Queen.
Under the Crown Entities Act, Ministers are required to "oversee and manage" the Crown's interests in the Crown entities within their portfolio (sections 27 and 88). The board of the entity has the key role in ensuring the entity is achieving results within budget. This is done by a monitoring department on behalf of the Minister unless other arrangements for monitoring are made. Monitoring departments make explicit agreements with their Minister, setting out what monitoring they will undertake and how they will do it. Crown entity boards should also facilitate clear and transparent monitoring, for example, by providing the Minister and monitoring department with good information on which to make judgements about performance.
Of course, the Reserve Bank, offices of Parliament are completely independent, wink wink righty ho.
Let's take a look at the Kiwi Wall in a little more granular detail to see what's going on here and why this may have been a test run for a larger plot:
The Department of Internal Affairs maintains a hidden list of banned URLs and their internet addresses on a NetClean WhiteBox server, which as of 2009 contained over 7000 websites.[12] The DIA then uses the Border Gateway Protocol to tell ISPs that they have the best connection to those internet addresses.[13]
When a user tries to access a website, the ISP will automatically send their data through the best connection possible. If the user is trying to access a website hosted at an internet address that the DIA claims to have the best connection to, the ISP will divert the traffic to the DIA.[13]
If the website the user is trying to access is on the DIA's list of banned URLs, then the connection is blocked by the WhiteBox server.[13]The user instead sees a filter notice page and has the option of getting counselling or anonymously appealing the ban.[14]
If the website is not on the list of banned URLs, then the DIA transparently passes on the data to the actual website and the user is left unaware that the request was checked.[13]
The happy face is, as you can imagine, pictures of tourists enjoying those expensive bottles of Marlborough white wine riding horses or rich Americans fly fishing.  What is on the 'banned' list?  You guessed it - anything the government or 'ahem' the Crown decides.
So this is much deeper than in the US where the Media is completely controlled by the left - in NZ they control information on a router level!  
So as you can see - in a world where information can be snapped away with an HD cam which is in everyone's pockets, this was the perfect place to run a 'test' of a Military mission of the new kind.
Let's be clear we are not promoting violence.  We believe actually in the dismantling of 90% of the Military as it is useless wasted money.  Keep the nukes, keep the 'banks not tanks' approach and we can spend money on building things that help people with diseases for example or help people live longer or better.  
911 just wouldn't be possible today - or at least to say using the tools that were used back then.  Perhaps with the decline of 'real' Terrorists, this is training for a new generation of artificially created enemies, whether they be 'Nazis' or other types of extremists.  What's clear as more and more info is released it seems as if this was a pro hit job.
And about the gun control debate, this puts to shame anyone that claims banning guns can prevent such attacks, as there is no place in the world that is more strict about Gun Control than New Zealand.  Kiwis are modern Guinea pigs:
IN MEDICINE, trials are conducted on guinea pigs, rats, mice and rabbits. In digital businesses, tests are performed on New Zealanders. Their country is proving the perfect location for software firms, social networks and app developers discreetly to try out and refine their products. Take Microsoft, which last year made New Zealand its first test market for Sway, a new app that helps users create websites, and which has since been released into other markets. Other big technology firms, including Facebook and Yahoo, also use New Zealand as a development lab, as do games companies and small startups.
One wouldn't think of New Zealand as the perfect Terrorist training camp.  But with the internet censorship, its remote location - it appears to be perfect.  We'd like to wish them good luck, but it's unlikely this article will be read inside of the Kiwi Firewall.
To get 'real news' checkout Global Intel Hub.  To support real journalism visit our sponsors UBUY.ME Alpha Z Advisors Pre IPO Swap
Posted: March 19, 2019, 3:16 am
The small town of Aurora, Illinois – best known for being Wayne‘s hometown in Wayne’s World – has another peculiar appeal to its location: it is one of the closest places that high frequency traders can get to the $63 billion CME Group exchange, where futures and derivatives on commodities and US treasuries trade making it a mecca for HFTs seeking to frontrun slower orderflow. That makes local real-estate extremely coveted, as detailed in a recent Bloomberg follow up to Michael Lewis' "Flash Boys"
The story is familiar to anyone who has been reading this website for the past decade, or leafed through Michael Lewis' HFT thriller: the closer traders can collocate to the CME, the more likely they are to shave off milliseconds from their trades, resulting in frontrunning of slower orderflow that can net them millions. For instance, this small brick hut is owned by New Line Networks a joint venture of HFT giants Jump Trading and Virtu Financial: the two paid $14 million for the land just to be close to the CME Group.

Not happy with the arrangement, Chicago HFT titan DRW Holdings wishes to be even "faster" than Jump and Vitru, and plans to move just a few yards closer to the exchange, having recently put an antenna on a light pole. Next to that is yet another light pole that has been rigged with antennas owned by McKay Brothers, an Oakland-based company. Meanwhile, on nearly all the roads in the area, trading companies have erected antennas or rented space on towers and poles, all of them littered with white circular dishes to try and get closer to the CME data center, all for the purpose of frontrunning slower traders, even if there are still no lasers to be seen, unlike what a visitor to the NYSE in Mahwah, NJ can observe.
As Michael Lewis first hinted in 2014, the real-estate scramble around the exchange had become a turf war between rival HFT corporations until one company decided it was going to do something about the constant jostling back-and-forth between high frequency traders. Dallas-based CyrusOne, which owns the CME center, decided last year that it would finally end the scramble for real-estate by putting up a 350 foot tall wireless tower that would allow anybody to rent space on it. It’s closer than any trading firm could get to the center and targeted putting everybody "on equal footing"... in exchange for a very generous fee to CyrusOne, of course.
And although the tower has room for about 35 satellite dishes but, to this day, remains unused.
Why? Because yet another smaller company, Scientel Solutions LLC, has announced plans to build its own tower about 1000 feet east of CyrusOne's tower, which CyrusOne says would block its own "line of sight" to downstream microwave dishes, and interfere with its communication to and from the CME data center. To prevent this potentially catastrophic development, CyrusOne sued to block Scientel's tower.
And with the litigation ongoing, Scientel's development site remains 2.6 mostly vacant acres that house only a trailer, a portable toilet, and a pile of metal poles.

Amid the legal fray, elected officials in Aurora find themselves confused, trying to figure out which projects should be approved and which projects should be rejected. It appears that the elected officials didn’t initially understand the weight of the decisions that they were making in approving and rejecting these towers. For instance, Alderman Bill Donnell described his technological know-how by saying: “I came from being a guy who didn’t know where the cloud was to realizing speed matters. I didn’t realize being a millisecond faster was all that important."
Actually being a nanosecond faster is just as important, hence the litigation: microwave networks rely on line-of-sight transmissions as microwaves need to be able to "see" the dish they are communicating with. Because of the Earth's curvature, the signal must be relayed from towers that are spaced apart generally every couple of miles. Companies like McKay say that they can process a trade from Aurora to Carteret, location of the Nasdaq data center, or Carteret to Aurora, in 4 milliseconds.

Back in March 2016, when it appeared that HFTs are starting to cannibalize one another, the CME sold its data center building for $131 million. The local government thought it had the issue squared away when it required CyrusOne to lease space to traders on its tower at "fair market rates". The intention was to “equalize wireless access to the CME.”
But when mayor Richard Irving took office, Scientel caught his attention with the company's proposal. They said that they wanted to move their headquarters from another Illinois town to a patch of land near the CME data center. They claimed they would bring 50 jobs at a $100,000/year average salary if the city allowed it to erect a 195 foot tall communication tower on the site. At the time, they pitched it to the city as a way to get more value from the fiber optic ring Aurora had built over the past decade.
They didn’t mention doing business with traders at all.
What they also didn't mention is that by erecting a tower blocking the CME's own microwave "line of sight", it would instantly crush the value of the tower that CyrusOne had built in hopes of collecting millions in rental fees from HFT traders. Instead, should Scientel end up building its own "mega tower" (one which makes the CME's own frontrunning contraption obsolete), it would be the recipient of all those millions in HFT squatting fees.
To this day, the case is still ongoing.
You can red Bloomberg's full long-form write up on the story here.

Posted: March 10, 2019, 3:34 am
Two years ago, when profiling the world's most successful hedge fund in history, Bloomberg stared like this:
Sixty miles east of Wall Street, a spit of land shaped like a whale’s tail separates Long Island Sound and Conscience Bay. The mansions here, with their long, gated driveways and million-dollar views, are part of a hamlet called Old Field. Locals have another name for these moneyed lanes: the Renaissance Riviera.
That’s because the area’s wealthiest residents, scientists all, work for the quantitative hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, based in nearby East Setauket. They are the creators and overseers of the Medallion Fund—perhaps the world’s greatest moneymaking machine. Medallion is open only to Renaissance’s roughly 300 employees, about 90 of whom are Ph.D.s, as well as a select few individuals with deep-rooted connections to the firm.
The fabled fund, and we are of course talking about Renaissance Technologies' employees-only Medallion fund, known for its intense secrecy and "black box"-like mystery of what actually goes on there, has produced about $55 billion in profit over the last 28 years, making it about $10 billion more profitable than funds run by billionaires Ray Dalio and George Soros. What’s more, it did so in a shorter time and with fewer assets under management. Just like Berie Madoff, the fund almost never loses money. Its biggest drawdown in one five-year period was half a percent.
“Renaissance is the commercial version of the Manhattan Project,” says Andrew Lo, a finance professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and chairman of AlphaSimplex, a quant research firm. Lo credits Jim Simons, the 78-year-old mathematician who founded Renaissance in 1982, for bringing so many scientists together. “They are the pinnacle of quant investing. No one else is even close.”
Yet while many have tried to emulate and reverse engineer Medallion's success, nobody has come close to the inner workings of the world's most successful money machine.
At least until Wednesday, when fabled code-breaker and Renaissance founder, Jim Simons spoke at MIT, at the second of three talks about his iconic career; the talk, which followed last week’s conversation about mathematics and precedes next week’s on philanthropy, attracted an overflowing crowd that included MIT investing chief Seth Alexander. Andre Stern of the U.K.’s Oxford Asset Management introduced Simons.
Simons launched Renaissance after leaving academia and in 1988 started the Medallion Fund, which through last year generated an unrivaled annual average return of about 40 percent, according to calculations by Bloomberg. “That’s net of fees,” Simons said in response to a question from a reporter.
As discussed here extensively in the past, while Renaissance manages money across a handful of funds, the in-house only Medallion evokes the greatest mystery, and as Bloomberg notes, it employs trading strategies to predict price changes in global markets that over three decades no one on Wall Street has been able to replicate. That’s why the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission came calling after the Bernard Madoff scandal broke in 2008, Simons said.
“They did study us,” said Simons as he spoke about his career in money management. “Of course, they didn’t find anything.”
What was more unique, is that the traditionally media-shy Simons offered a some clues into what sets Renaissance apart:
At the core of the company, which employs about 300 people, Simons said "is a great computing system, good scientists and low turnover." Employees, who get a piece of the profits, sign non-disclosure agreements when they are hired and non-compete contracts after a couple of years on the job.
“It’s fun to work there,” Simons said in a question and answer format led by MIT professor Andrew Lo, who started the quant fund AlphaSimplex Group. “People get paid a lot of money." Some, like former co-CEO Robert Mercer may not find it that much fun to work there, but that's why he recently quit the firm.
According to Simons, the East Setauket-New York company never stops improving its models as it tries to stay a step ahead of the competition, which has flourished in recent years as quant firms attracted more assets than traditional, fundamental shops. Simons stepped down as head of the company in 2010 but remains as non-executive chairman. He said he meets with the company monthly, encouraging management to keep hiring good, young scientists.
Sharing some more details into the company's "secret sauce", Simons said that the Medallion strategy is continually being reinvented, though some parts have remained for as many as two decades. Initially launched as a systematic, trend-following fund that traded in commodities markets, it was losing money after the first six months. So the fund was completely revamped.
Still, the company realized after about 15 years that there were limits on how much Medallion could manage without pushing markets too much, Simons said in a conversation after the talk. So Renaissance finished booting outside investors in the fund in 2005, and since then has sought to limit its size.
While Simons refused to say how much Medallion has in assets, Bloomberg calculations put it at about $10 billion. Simons did say there is about $45 billion in the firm’s other funds, which are still open to outside investors, and generate far smaller returns than Medallion.. They employ longer-term trading strategies, so the funds haven’t delivered the same level of returns as Medallion.
“Yes inefficiencies do get traded out, but the market is dynamic,” Simons said, quoted by Bloomberg, in response to a question from the audience. “There’s room for new inefficiencies to materialize. We keep finding new things and throwing out old things.”
After his talk, students descended on the former mathematician who had broken ground in the field decades ago, winning the American Mathematical Society’s Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry in 1976.
In the middle of the scrum, Simons vaped, producing a cloud of smoke as he answered more questions.
Below we publish a video recording of the first part of Simons' three part presentations, discussing the role of mathematics in money.
art presentations, discussing the role of mathematics in money.
Posted: March 8, 2019, 3:49 am
From Zero Hedge:

Theresa May's "victory" last week when MPs backed the Brady amendment, giving May a Parliamentary mandate to renegotiate her withdrawal agreement with the EU, has been short-lived. As Irish and EU officials dig in their heels and continue to insist that they won't allow modifications to the text of the deal, Wall Street banks have been raising the probability of a no-deal Brexit while some analysts have warned that May has inadvertently boxed herself in: By taking a delay of Article 50, and therefore removing the possibility of a "People's Vote" (second referendum), the prime minister might have set herself up for failure, as Brexiteer MPs appear ready to pull the ripcord on a no-deal Brexit.
As we've noted time and time again, thanks to the efforts of No. 10 Downing street and a network of economists and business groups, the British people have been conditioned to believe that a no-deal Brexit will result in Britain transforming into a "Mad Max"-style hellscape complete with shortages of basic goods and civil unrest that could necessitate a declaration of Martial Law.
Warehouses will quickly run out of fresh vegetables, medicine and other basic goods. The UK's highways will become clogged with lorries waiting for their turn to clear new customs checks. And the financial services industry will struggle to clear trades and perform other basic functions. One recent report even warned that a no-deal Brexit could lead to "thousands of deaths" from mass hunger.
As if all of this wasn't bad enough, a series of reports published this weekend added to Briton's anxieties.
The Independent reported the severing of ties between EU and UK security agencies as a result of a 'no deal' Brexit.
Rob Price, head of the Acro criminal records office, said access to EU conviction records was "critical" to deciding whether to release or detain a foreign suspect. Without them, the UK could be forced to allow dangerous criminals to roam the streets.
"Now is the time for people to really understand this is not just something you can pass off and say 'it will be alright'," Mr Price said. "Politicians use the term ‘sub-optimal’ and what does that mean? It means high risk and less secure."
And while UK law enforcement agencies are "trying their best" to build a backup system, without access, "stuff will get missed." The UK makes 600 requests to foreign law enforcement agencies every day, and of these, roughly two-thirds are for Europeans. Because of the cooperation agreement, responses from Europe can take one to two days. But the lag time for agencies outside of Europe can be longer than three months.
As it stands, the agreement allows the UK access to ECRIS, the European Arrest Warrant, Schengen Information System II and other systems. This access will be maintained until the end of the transition period (the end of 2020), so that would give the UK some lead time to negotiate replacement agreements.
"We’re going to have to explain that to the public at some point, we may even have to explain that to victims and witnesses."
"Somebody may be arrested for shoplifting here but back home they could have a serious conviction. There could be a reason why they are here."
And while Acro said he's working to set up bilateral agreements, completing security cooperation agreements with individual members of the EU27 could take a long time.
“In a short timescale we’re not going to be able to get 27 agreements,” Mr Price said. "Bilaterals are a lot slower, a lot clunkier. ECRIS is a really important part of our business – turning that off is going to have a significant impact on our ability to make this country safer and to make European countries safer as well."
And as if rampant crime wasn't enough of a concern, a more immediate concern could be a "garbage crisis" in the heavily populated streets of the Southeastern UK, the area in and around London. Because if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on March 29, export licenses for livestock and the millions of tonnes of waste that the UK exports to the EU could become invalid "overnight," according to the Guardian.
The result could be nothing short of a public health emergency. Not only would the UK lose the ability to export its trash, increasing the likelihood of polllution seeping into its water supplies, but a backlog of livestock could cause manure overflows.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March, export licences for millions of tonnes of waste will become invalid overnight. Environment Agency (EA) officials said leaking stockpiles could cause pollution.
The EA is also concerned that if farmers cannot export beef and lamb, a backlog of livestock on farms could cause liquid manure stores to overflow. A senior MP said the problems could cause a public health and environmental pollution emergency. An EA source said: “It could all get very ugly, very quickly."
The emails leaked to the Guardian were sent to EA staff, asking for 42 volunteers to staff crisis management centres that would deal with incidents. On Tuesday the chief executive of the civil service revealed plans to move up to 5,000 staff into an emergency command and control centre in the event of no deal.
It would also open the door to criminal fraudsters seeking to exploit the situation.
"No deal would be a green light to criminal fraudsters and create a public health and environmental pollution emergency. EA officials should not carry the can for the failings of government to get a deal through and this shows how hollow the prime minister’s promises were about protecting the environment if we leave the EU."
But in what was perhaps the most outlandish entry in the "Project Fear" project, two UK newspapers, the Daily Mail and the Times of London, led their Sunday editions with stories about plans to move the Queen and the royal family out of London to a "secure location" if a no-deal Brexit results in public unrest -  a plan we're calling "Operation Gan-Gan Drop".
If rioters take to the streets of London following a hard Brexit, a Cold War plan to evacuate the royals to an undisclosed location in the countryside would be immediately implemented.
The Queen and other senior royals will be evacuated from London in the event of riots triggered by a no-deal Brexit, under secret plans being drawn up by Whitehall.
Emergency proposals to rescue the royal family during the Cold War have been "repurposed" in recent weeks, as the risk continues to rise of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal before next month’s deadline.
Still, during times of abject hysteria, some MPs - notably arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg - have spoken up to remind Britos that while there would be a degree of economic fallout from a hard Brexit, it would be "survivable," according to Sky News.
"It seems to me we have got to guard against two things. One is an irrational pessimism that says that everything will be a catastrophe and irrational optimism which says everything will be okay.
But the way things are going, if May wants to successfully whip up the votes for the version of her Brexit deal that has already been voted down by a historic margin, she is going to need to try a little harder.
Posted: February 3, 2019, 8:08 pm
Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.
Before the fateful day of January 22, fewer than one in five Venezuelans had heard of Juan Guaidó. Only a few months ago, the 35-year-old was an obscure character in a politically marginal far-right group closely associated with gruesome acts of street violence. Even in his own party, Guaidó had been a mid-level figure in the opposition-dominated National Assembly, which is now held under contempt according to Venezuela’s constitution.
But after a single phone call from from US Vice President Mike Pence, Guaidó proclaimed himself president of Venezuela. Anointed as the leader of his country by Washington, a previously unknown political bottom-dweller was vaulted onto the international stage as the US-selected leader of the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves.
Echoing the Washington consensus, the New York Times editorial board hailed Guaidó as a “credible rival” to Maduro with a “refreshing style and vision of taking the country forward.” The Bloomberg News editorial board applauded him for seeking “restoration of democracy” and the Wall Street Journal declared him “a new democratic leader.” Meanwhile, Canada, numerous European nations, Israel, and the bloc of right-wing Latin American governments known as the Lima Group recognized Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.
While Guaidó seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, he was, in fact, the product of more than a decade of assiduous grooming by the US government’s elite regime change factories. Alongside a cadre of right-wing student activists, Guaidó was cultivated to undermine Venezuela’s socialist-oriented government, destabilize the country, and one day seize power. Though he has been a minor figure in Venezuelan politics, he had spent years quietly demonstrated his worthiness in Washington’s halls of power.
“Juan Guaidó is a character that has been created for this circumstance,” Marco Teruggi, an Argentinian sociologist and leading chronicler of Venezuelan politics, told The Grayzone. “It’s the logic of a laboratory – Guaidó is like a mixture of several elements that create a character who, in all honesty, oscillates between laughable and worrying.”
Diego Sequera, a Venezuelan journalist and writer for the investigative outlet Misión Verdad, agreed: “Guaidó is more popular outside Venezuela than inside, especially in the elite Ivy League and Washington circles,” Sequera remarked to The Grayzone, “He’s a known character there, is predictably right-wing, and is considered loyal to the program.”
While Guaidó is today sold as the face of democratic restoration, he spent his career in the most violent faction of Venezuela’s most radical opposition party, positioning himself at the forefront of one destabilization campaign after another. His party has been widely discredited inside Venezuela, and is held partly responsible for fragmenting a badly weakened opposition.
“‘These radical leaders have no more than 20 percent in opinion polls,” wrote Luis Vicente León, Venezuela’s leading pollster. According to León, Guaidó’s party remains isolated because the majority of the population “does not want war. ‘What they want is a solution.’”
But this is precisely why he Guaidó was selected by Washington: He is not expected to lead Venezuela toward democracy, but to collapse a country that for the past two decades has been a bulwark of resistance to US hegemony. His unlikely rise signals the culmination of a two decades-long project to destroy a robust socialist experiment.

Targeting the “troika of tyranny”

Since the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez, the United States has fought to restore control over Venezuela and is vast oil reserves. Chávez’s socialist programs may have redistributed the country’s wealth and helped lift millions out of poverty, but they also earned him a target on his back.
In 2002, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition briefly ousted Chávez with US support and recognition, before the military restored his presidency following a mass popular mobilization. Throughout the administrations of US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Chávez survived numerous assassination plots, before succumbing to cancer in 2013. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, has survived three attempts on his life.
The Trump administration immediately elevated Venezuela to the top of Washington’s regime change target list, branding it the leader of a “troika of tyranny.” Last year, Trump’s national security team attempted to recruit members of the military brass to mount a military junta, but that effort failed.
According to the Venezuelan government, the US was also involved in a plot, codenamed Operation Constitution, to capture Maduro at the Miraflores presidential palace; and another, called Operation Armageddon, to assassinate him at a military parade in July 2017. Just over a year later, exiled opposition leaders tried and failed to kill Maduro with drone bombs during a military parade in Caracas.
More than a decade before these intrigues, a group of right-wing opposition students were hand-selected and groomed by an elite US-funded regime change training academy to topple Venezuela’s government and restore the neoliberal order.

Training from the “‘export-a-revolution’ group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions”

On October 5, 2005, with Chavez’s popularity at its peak and his government planning sweeping socialist programs, five Venezuelan “student leaders” arrived in Belgrade, Serbia to begin training for an insurrection.
The students had arrived from Venezuela courtesy of the Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies, or CANVAS. This group is funded largely through the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA cut-out that functions as the US government’s main arm of promoting regime change; and offshoots like the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. According to leaked internal emails from Stratfor, an intelligence firm known as the “shadow CIA,” “[CANVAS] may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle.”
CANVAS is a spinoff of Otpor, a Serbian protest group founded by Srdja Popovic in 1998 at the University of Belgrade. Otpor, which means “resistance” in Serbian, was the student group that gained international fame – and Hollywood-level promotion – by mobilizing the protests that eventually toppled Slobodan Milosevic. This small cell of regime change specialists was operating according to the theories of the late Gene Sharp, the so-called “Clausewitz of non-violent struggle.” Sharp had worked with a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, Col. Robert Helvey, to conceive a strategic blueprint that weaponized protest as a form of hybrid warfare, aiming it at states that resisted Washington’s unipolar domination.
Otpor at the 1998 MTV Europe Music Awards
Otpor was supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID and Sharp’s Albert Einstein Institute. Sinisa Sikman, one of Otpor’s main trainers, once said the group even received direct CIA funding. According to a leaked email from a Stratfor staffer, after running Milosevic out of power, “the kids who ran OTPOR grew up, got suits and designed CANVAS… or in other words a ;export-a-revolution’ group that sowed the seeds for a NUMBER of color revolutions. They are still hooked into U.S. funding and basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;).”
Stratfor revealed that CANVAS “turned its attention to Venezuela” in 2005 after training opposition movements that led pro-NATO regime change operations across Eastern Europe.
While monitoring the CANVAS training program, Stratfor outlined its insurrectionist agenda in strikingly blunt language: “Success is by no means guaranteed, and student movements are only at the beginning of what could be a years-long effort to trigger a revolution in Venezuela, but the trainers themselves are the people who cut their teeth on the ‘Butcher of the Balkans.’ They’ve got mad skills. When you see students at five Venezuelan universities hold simultaneous demonstrations, you will know that the training is over and the real work has begun.”

Birthing the “Generation 2007” regime change cadre

The “real work” began two years later, in 2007, when Guaidó graduated from Andrés Bello Catholic University of Caracas. He moved to Washington DC to enroll in the Governance and Political Management Program at George Washington University under the tutelage of Venezuelan economist Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, one of the top Latin American neoliberal economists. Berrizbeitia is a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund who spent more than a decade working in Venezuelan energy sector under the oligarchic old regime that was ousted by Chavez.
That year, Guaidó helped lead anti-government rallies after the Venezuelan government declined to to renew the license of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV). This privately-owned station played a leading role in the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez. RCTV helped mobilize anti-government demonstrators, falsified information blaming government supporters for acts of violence carried out by opposition members, and banned pro-government reporting amid the coup. The role of RCTV and other oligarch-owned stations in driving the failed coup attempt was chronicled in the acclaimed documentary, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
That same year, the students claimed credit for stymying Chavez’s constitutional referendum for a “21st century socialism” that promised “to set the legal framework for the political and social reorganization of the country, giving direct power to organized communities as a prerequisite for the development of a new economic system.”
From the protests around RCTV and the referendum, a specialized cadre of US-backed class of regime change activists was born. They called themselves “Generation 2007.”
The Stratfor and CANVAS trainers of this cell identified Guaidó’s ally – a street organizer named Yon Goicoechea – as a “key factor” in defeating the constitutional referendum. The following year, Goicochea was rewarded for his efforts with the Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, along with a $500,000 prize, which he promptly invested into building his own Liberty First (Primero Justicia) political network.
Friedman, of course, was the godfather of the notorious neoliberal Chicago Boys who were imported into Chile by dictatorial junta leader Augusto Pinochet to implement policies of radical “shock doctrine”-style fiscal austerity. And the Cato Institute is the libertarian Washington DC-based think tank founded by the Koch Brothers, two top Republican Party donors who have become aggressive supporters of the right-wing across Latin America.
Wikileaks published a 2007 email from American ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield sent to the State Department, National Security Council and Department of Defense Southern Command praising “Generation of ’07” for having “forced the Venezuelan president, accustomed to setting the political agenda, to (over)react.” Among the “emerging leaders” Brownfield identified were Freddy Guevara and Yon Goicoechea. He applauded the latter figure as “one of the students’ most articulate defenders of civil liberties.”
Flush with cash from libertarian oligarchs and US government soft power outfits, the radical Venezuelan cadre took their Otpor tactics to the streets, along with a version of the group’s logo, as seen below:

“Galvanizing public unrest…to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez”

In 2009, the Generation 2007 youth activists staged their most provocative demonstration yet, dropping their pants on public roads and aping the outrageous guerrilla theater tactics outlined by Gene Sharp in his regime change manuals. The protesters had mobilized against the arrest of an ally from another newfangled youth group called JAVU. This far-right group “gathered funds from a variety of US government sources, which allowed it to gain notoriety quickly as the hardline wing of opposition street movements,” according to academic George Ciccariello-Maher’s book, “Building the Commune.”
While video of the protest is not available, many Venezuelans have identified Guaidó as one of its key participants. While the allegation is unconfirmed, it is certainly plausible; the bare-buttocks protesters were members of the Generation 2007 inner core that Guaidó belonged to, and were clad in their trademark Resistencia! Venezuela t-shirts, as seen below:
Is this the ass that Trump wants to install in Venezuela’s seat of power?
That year, Guaidó exposed himself to the public in another way, founding a political party to capture the anti-Chavez energy his Generation 2007 had cultivated. Called Popular Will, it was led by Leopoldo López, a Princeton-educated right-wing firebrand heavily involved in National Endowment for Democracy programs and elected as the mayor of a district in Caracas that was one of the wealthiest in the country. Lopez was a portrait of Venezuelan aristocracy, directly descended from his country’s first president. He was also the first cousin of Thor Halvorssen, founder of the US-based Human Rights Foundation that functions as a de facto publicity shop for US-backed anti-government activists in countries targeted by Washington for regime change.
Though Lopez’s interests aligned neatly with Washington’s, US diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks highlighted the fanatical tendencies that would ultimately lead to Popular Will’s marginalization. One cable identified Lopez as “a divisive figure within the opposition… often described as arrogant, vindictive, and power-hungry.” Others highlighted his obsession with street confrontations and his “uncompromising approach” as a source of tension with other opposition leaders who prioritized unity and participation in the country’s democratic institutions.
Popular Will founder Leopoldo Lopez cruising with his wife, Lilian Tintori
By 2010, Popular Will and its foreign backers moved to exploit the worst drought to hit Venezuela in decades. Massive electricity shortages had struck the country due the dearth of water, which was needed to power hydroelectric plants. A global economic recession and declining oil prices compounded the crisis, driving public discontentment.
Stratfor and CANVAS – key advisors of Guaidó and his anti-government cadre – devised a shockingly cynical plan to drive a dagger through the heart of the Bolivarian revolution. The scheme hinged on a 70% collapse of the country’s electrical system by as early as April 2010.
“This could be the watershed event, as there is little that Chavez can do to protect the poor from the failure of that system,” the Stratfor internal memo declared. “This would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate. At that point in time, an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs.”
By this point, the Venezuelan opposition was receiving a staggering $40-50 million a year from US government organizations like USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy, according to a report by the Spanish think tank, the FRIDE Institute. It also had massive wealth to draw on from its own accounts, which were mostly outside the country.
While the scenario envisioned by Statfor did not come to fruition, the Popular Will party activists and their allies cast aside any pretense of non-violence and joined a radical plan to destabilize the country.

Towards violent destabilization

In November, 2010, according to emails obtained by Venezuelan security services and presented by former Justice Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres, Guaidó, Goicoechea, and several other student activists attended a secret five-day training at the Fiesta Mexicana hotel in Mexico City. The sessions were run by Otpor, the Belgrade-based regime change trainers backed by the US government. The meeting had reportedly received the blessing of Otto Reich, a fanatically anti-Castro Cuban exile working in George W. Bush’s Department of State, and the right-wing former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
At the Fiesta Mexicana hotel, the emails stated, Guaidó and his fellow activists hatched a plan to overthrow President Hugo Chavez by generating chaos through protracted spasms of street violence.
Three petroleum industry figureheads – Gustavo Torrar, Eligio Cedeño and Pedro Burelli – allegedly covered the $52,000 tab to hold the meeting. Torrar is a self-described “human rights activist” and “intellectual” whose younger brother Reynaldo Tovar Arroyo is the representative in Venezuela of the private Mexican oil and gas company Petroquimica del Golfo, which holds a contract with the Venezuelan state.
Cedeño, for his part, is a fugitive Venezuelan businessman who claimed asylum in the United States, and Pedro Burelli a former JP Morgan executive and the former director of Venezuela’s national oil company, Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA). He left PDVSA in 1998 as Hugo Chavez took power and is on the advisory committeeof Georgetown University’s Latin America Leadership Program.
Burelli insisted that the emails detailing his participation had been fabricated and even hired a private investigator to prove it. The investigator declared that Google’s records showed the emails alleged to be his were never transmitted.
Yet today Burelli makes no secret of his desire to see Venezuela’s current president, Nicolás Maduro, deposed – and even dragged through the streets and sodomized with a bayonet, as Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi was by NATO-backed militiamen. 
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
.@NicolasMaduro, jamas me has hecho caso. Me has fustigado/perseguido como @chavezcandanga jamás osó. Óyeme, tienes sólo dos opciones en las próximas 24 horas:

1. Como Noriega: pagar pena por narcotráfico y luego a @IntlCrimCourt La Haya por DDHH.

2. O a la Gaddafi.

Escoge ya!
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Update: Burelli contacted the Grayzone after the publication of this article to clarify his participation in the “Fiesta Mexicana” plot.
Burelli called the meeting “a legitimate activity that took place in a hotel by a different name” in Mexico.
Asked if OTPOR coordinated the meeting, he would only state that he “likes” the work of OTPOR/CANVAS and while not a funder of it, has “recommended activists from different countries to track them and participate in the activities they conduct in various countries.”
Burelli added: “The Einstein Institute trained thousands openly in Venezuela. Gene Sharpe’s philosophy was widely studied and embraced. And this has probably kept the struggle from turning into a civil war.”
The alleged Fiesta Mexicana plot flowed into another destabilization plan revealed in a series of documents produced by the Venezuelan government. In May 2014, Caracas released documents detailing an assassination plot against President Nicolás Maduro. The leaks identified the Miami-based Maria Corina Machado as a leader of the scheme. A hardliner with a penchant for extreme rhetoric, Machado has functioned as an international liaison for the opposition, visiting President George W. Bush in 2005.
Machado and George W. Bush, 2005
“I think it is time to gather efforts; make the necessary calls, and obtain financing to annihilate Maduro and the rest will fall apart,” Machado wrote in an email to former Venezuelan diplomat Diego Arria in 2014.
In another email, Machado claimed that the violent plot had the blessing of US Ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker. “I have already made up my mind and this fight will continue until this regime is overthrown and we deliver to our friends in the world. If I went to San Cristobal and exposed myself before the OAS, I fear nothing. Kevin Whitaker has already reconfirmed his support and he pointed out the new steps. We have a checkbook stronger than the regime’s to break the international security ring.”

Guaidó heads to the barricades

That February, student demonstrators acting as shock troops for the exiled oligarchy erected violent barricades across the country, turning opposition-controlled quarters into violent fortresses known as guarimbas. While international media portrayed the upheaval as a spontaneous protest against Maduro’s iron-fisted rule, there was ample evidence that Popular Will was orchestrating the show.
“None of the protesters at the universities wore their university t-shirts, they all wore Popular Will or Justice First t-shirts,” a guarimba participant said at the time. “They might have been student groups, but the student councils are affiliated to the political opposition parties and they are accountable to them.”
Asked who the ringleaders were, the guarimba participant said, “Well if I am totally honest, those guys are legislators now.”
Around 43 were killed during the 2014 guarimbas. Three years later, they erupted again, causing mass destruction of public infrastructure, the murder of government supporters, and the deaths of 126 people, many of whom were Chavistas. In several cases, supporters of the government were burned alive by armed gangs.
Guaidó was directly involved in the 2014 guarimbas. In fact, he tweeted video showing himself clad in a helmet and gas mask, surrounded by masked and armed elements that had shut down a highway that were engaging in a violent clash with the police. Alluding to his participation in Generation 2007, he proclaimed, “I remember in 2007, we proclaimed, ‘Students!’ Now, we shout, ‘Resistance! Resistance!'” 
Guaidó has deleted the tweet, demonstrating apparent concern for his image as a champion of democracy.

On February 12, 2014, during the height of that year’s guarimbas, Guaidó joined Lopez on stage at a rally of Popular Will and Justice First. During a lengthy diatribe against the government, Lopez urged the crowd to march to the office of Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz. Soon after, Diaz’s office came under attack by armed gangs who attempted to burn it to the ground. She denounced what she called “planned and premeditated violence.”
Guaido alongside Lopez at the fateful February 12, 2014 rally
In an televised appearance in 2016, Guaidó dismissed deaths resulting from guayas – a guarimba tactic involving stretching steel wire across a roadway in order to injure or kill motorcyclists – as a “myth.” His comments whitewashed a deadly tactic that had killedunarmed civilians like Santiago Pedroza and decapitated a man named Elvis Durán, among many others.
This callous disregard for human life would define his Popular Will party in the eyes of much of the public, including many opponents of Maduro.

Cracking down on Popular Will

As violence and political polarization escalated across the country, the government began to act against the Popular Will leaders who helped stoke it.
Freddy Guevara, the National Assembly Vice-President and second in command of Popular Will, was a principal leader in the 2017 street riots. Facing a trial for his role in the violence, Guevara took shelter in the Chilean embassy, where he remains.
Lester Toledo, a Popular Will legislator from the state of Zulia, was wanted by Venezuelan government in September 2016 on charges of financing terrorism and plotting assassinations. The plans were said to be made with former Colombian President Álavaro Uribe. Toledo escaped Venezuela and went on several speaking tours with Human Rights Watch, the US government-backed Freedom House, the Spanish Congress and European Parliament.
Carlos Graffe, another Otpor-trained Generation 2007 member who led Popular Will, was arrested in July 2017. According to police, he was in possession of a bag filled with nails, C4 explosives and a detonator. He was released on December 27, 2017.
Leopoldo Lopez, the longtime Popular Will leader, is today under house arrest, accused of a key role in deaths of 13 people during the guarimbas in 2014. Amnesty International lauded Lopez as a “prisoner of conscience” and slammed his transfer from prison to house as “not good enough.” Meanwhile, family members of guarimba victims introduced a petition for more charges against Lopez.
Yon Goicoechea, the Koch Brothers posterboy and US-backed founder of Justice First, was arrested in 2016 by security forces who claimed they found found a kilo of explosives in his vehicle. In a New York Times op-ed, Goicoechea protested the charges as “trumped-up” and claimed he had been imprisoned simply for his “dream of a democratic society, free of Communism.” He was freedin November 2017.
Hoy, en Caricuao. Llevo 15 años trabajando con @jguaido. Confío en él. Conozco la constancia y la inteligencia con la que se ha construido a sí mismo. Está haciendo las cosas con bondad, pero sin ingenuidad. Hay una posibilidad abierta hacia la libertad.
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David Smolansky, also a member of the original Otpor-trained Generation 2007, became Venezuela’s youngest-ever mayor when he was elected in 2013 in the affluent suburb of El Hatillo. But he was stripped of his position and sentenced to 15 months in prison by the Supreme Court after it found him culpable of stirring the violent guarimbas.  
Facing arrest, Smolansky shaved his beard, donned sunglasses and slipped into Brazil disguised as a priest with a bible in hand and rosary around his neck. He now lives in Washington, DC, where he was hand picked by Secretary of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro to lead the working group on the Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis.
This July 26, Smolansky held what he called a “cordial reunion” with Elliot Abrams, the convicted Iran-Contra felon installed by Trump as special US envoy to Venezuela. Abrams is notorious for overseeing the US covert policy of arming right-wing death squads during the 1980’s in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. His lead role in the Venezuelan coup has stoked fears that another blood-drenched proxy war might be on the way.
Cordial reunión en la ONU con Elliott Abrams, enviado especial del gobierno de EEUU para Venezuela. Reiteramos que la prioridad para el gobierno interino que preside @jguaido es la asistencia humanitaria para millones de venezolanos que sufren de la falta de comida y medicinas.
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Four days earlier, Machado rumbled another violent threat against Maduro, declaring that if he “wants to save his life, he should understand that his time is up.”

A pawn in their game

The collapse of Popular Will under the weight of the violent campaign of destabilization it ran alienated large sectors of the public and wound much of its leadership up in exile or in custody. Guaidó had remained a relatively minor figure, having spent most of his nine-year career in the National Assembly as an alternate deputy. Hailing from one of Venezuela’s least populous states, Guaidó came in second place during the 2015 parliamentary elections, winning just 26% of votes cast in order to secure his place in the National Assembly. Indeed, his bottom may have been better known than his face.
Guaidó is known as the president of the opposition-dominated National Assembly, but he was never elected to the position. The four opposition parties that comprised the Assembly’s Democratic Unity Table had decided to establish a rotating presidency. Popular Will’s turn was on the way, but its founder, Lopez, was under house arrest. Meanwhile, his second-in-charge, Guevara, had taken refuge in the Chilean embassy. A figure named Juan Andrés Mejía would have been next in line but reasons that are only now clear, Juan Guaido was selected.   
“There is a class reasoning that explains Guaidó’s rise,” Sequera, the Venezuelan analyst, observed. “Mejía is high class, studied at one of the most expensive private universities in Venezuela, and could not be easily marketed to the public the way Guaidó could. For one, Guaidó has common mestizo features like most Venezuelans do, and seems like more like a man of the people. Also, he had not been overexposed in the media, so he could be built up into pretty much anything.”
In December 2018, Guaidó sneaked across the border and junketed to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to coordinate the plan to hold mass demonstrations during the inauguration of President Maduro. The night before Maduro’s swearing-in ceremony, both Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called Guaidó to affirm their support.
A week later, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rick Scott and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart – all lawmakers from the Florida base of the right-wing Cuban exile lobby – joined President Trump and Vice President Pence at the White House. At their request, Trump agreed that if Guaidó declared himself president, he would back him.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met personally withGuaidó on January 10, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, Pompeo could not pronounce Guaidó’s name when he mentioned him in a press briefing on January 25, referring to him as “Juan Guido.”
Embedded video
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just called the figure Washington is attempting to install as Venezuelan President "Juan *Guido*" - as in the racist term for Italians. America's top diplomat didn't even bother to learn how to pronounce his puppet's name.
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By January 11, Guaidó’s Wikipedia page had been edited 37 times, highlighting the struggle to shape the image of a previously anonymous figure who was now a tableau for Washington’s regime change ambitions. In the end, editorial oversight of his page was handed over to Wikipedia’s elite council of “librarians,” who pronounced him the “contested” president of Venezuela.
Guaidó might have been an obscure figure, but his combination of radicalism and opportunism satisfied Washington’s needs. “That internal piece was missing,” a Trump administration said of Guaidó. “He was the piece we needed for our strategy to be coherent and complete.”
“For the first time,” Brownfield, the former American ambassador to Venezuela, gushed to the New York Times, “you have an opposition leader who is clearly signaling to the armed forces and to law enforcement that he wants to keep them on the side of the angels and with the good guys.”
But Guaidó’s Popular Will party formed the shock troops of the guarimbas that caused the deaths of police officers and common citizens alike. He had even boasted of his own participation in street riots. And now, to win the hearts and minds of the military and police, Guaido had to erase this blood-soaked history.
On January 21, a day before the coup began in earnest, Guaidó’s wife delivered a video address calling on the military to rise up against Maduro. Her performance was wooden and uninspiring, underscoring the her husband’s limited political prospects.
At a press conference before supporters four days later, Guaidó announced his solution to the crisis: “Authorize a humanitarian intervention!”

While he waits on direct assistance, Guaidó remains what he has always been – a pet project of cynical outside forces. “It doesn’t matter if he crashes and burns after all these misadventures,” Sequera said of the coup figurehead. “To the Americans, he is expendable.”
Posted: January 31, 2019, 3:18 pm
In a rare deep-research expedition, Global Intel Hub has uncovered what could possibly be one of the biggest stock manipulation scams of all time.  The reason this case is so monumental is because it flies in the face of 'regulation' that claims to 'prevent fraud and manipulation' when this is happening on a public market!  
First let's have a little background - the stock is Revlon (REV) and the source article is here: Raiders of the Lost Corporate Ark: Revlon
Revlon is controlled by a single insider for 30 years billionaire Ronald Perelman.
Perelman has developed in his career a method of hostile takeovers that dates far before Revlon.
Due to a rule, if he is able to get 90% of Revlon he'll get voting rights of all 100%.
The float (available shares for purchase) is low 2.29 M, almost all of which are held short.
Recently, Barna Capital purchased a 2% stake, putting the institutional control above 10.1%, making a Perelman takeover impossible.
We wanted to dig deeper so we contacted the source on this article, Barna Capital.  What they had to say blew our mind (although we know markets are manipulated, it's one thing to say it and another thing to dissect the technicalities of how the manipulation works, and see it in real time).
Information we collected from Barna Capital (some of this copied from source article)
We asked Chief Strategist of Barna Capital Egor Romanyuk a single question:  How can you prove that Revlon (REV) is being manipulated?  He provided a detailed answer, over the course of several days of back and forth communication, paraphrased here:
Today is one of those days. Right off the open an algo starts selling 100 shares into the bid. The spread is 3%. If I place a bid higher than last sale, let's say 500 shares. It will sell me 500 shares. And will sell 100 shares at whatever bid is lower than last. This is just bluntly manipulation.  It's just moving share price lower. It's only job.

Take a look at lv2 for instance. There's at least a 5 to 1 ration ask to bid at all times. Strange for a stock that doesn't exist for sale.

When Perelman buys stock, his 15k algo buys move the stock from 50 cents to a dollar. When 8 buy 15k shares. The stock usually goes down. So I'm working against a short. And he's not.

About 2 million shares out the remaining float is in ETF. So that basically not tradable as they only rebalance their portfolios and do not trade actively. That lease roughly 500k shares tradable period. With 2.6 million already shorted. Magic i suppose 🙂
Also Barna confirmed that Mittleman and the other shareholders are not allowing their stock for borrowing - which means the short seller can only be Ronald Perelman (RP).

Take a look at this Level2 window for REV in which you will see a wall of offers:
barna revlon level 2
Source: Barna Capital
As you can see, there are offers on multiple exchanges, NYSE, BATS, EDGA, ARCA, and BYX - all at the same price. At another point in time, you can see even more offers:
level 2 revlon manipulation evidence
Source: Barna Capital
To get to the bottom of this we interviewed Egor Romanyuk, Chief Strategist of Barna Capital. He told us:
Today is one of those days. Right off the open an algo starts selling 100 shares into the bid. The spread is 3%. If I place a bid higher than last sale, let's say 500 shares. It will sell me 500 shares. And will sell 100 shares at whatever bid is lower than last. It's just moving share price lower. It's only job. And here's one more thing. When the algo buys stock, the 15k algo buys move the stock from 50 cents to a dollar. When I buy 15k shares, the stock usually goes down. So I'm working against a short.
If you think this is an anomaly, let's look at the Level 2 from the previous day:
revlon manipulation
You can see on the screen there is a wall of sell orders. But the float is so small, who can be the seller? We don't know for sure, as data is not transparent; however, the point is there is a short interest here. That short interest - caught in a squeeze - could be forced to panic cover driving REV through the roof. That's how a short squeeze by definition works.
So why would the majority owner of a stock manipulate it lower?  
Now for a small background on RP - he has a history of Corporate Raids and his own Wikipedia page: (see below from 'controversies' section) - 


In the late 1980s, Perelman was accused of engaging in greenmail.[72] "Greenmail" occurs when someone buys a large block of a company's stock and threatens to take over the company unless he is paid a substantial premium over his purchase price. In the case of someone with a reputation as a corporate raider, the mere act of buying up shares could send a company into a panic and investors into a buying frenzy.[73] Perelman insists he seriously intended to buy every corporation he bought into.[74]
He was first accused of greenmail in late 1986 during a run at CPC International when he bought 8.2% of CPC at around $75 a share and indirectly sold it back to CPC through Salomon Brothers a month later at $88.5 a share for a $40 million profit. Both CPC and Perelman denied it was greenmail despite appearances to the contrary, including what looked like an artificial price increase by Salomon shortly before they sold Perelman's shares.[75]
Another accusation of greenmailing levied against him was the best-known and stemmed from his attempt to purchase Gillette in November 1986. Perelman opened negotiations with a bid of $4.12 billion. Gillette responded with an unsuccessful lawsuit and public insinuations of insider trading. Perelman accumulated 13.8% of Gillette before he made what he would later call the worst decision he ever made and sold his stake to Gillette later that month for a $34 million profit. Gillette had put word out that Ralston Purina had agreed to buy a 20% block of stock, making any attempt by Perelman to buy Gillette much more difficult. Perelman decided to sell his share to Ralston Purina, but before he did so Gillette's executives called him up, asking if he'd sell his shares to them and they'd sell the shares to Ralston Purina. He sold his shares to Gillette and Ralston backed out of the deal.[76]


In April 2001, M&F Worldwide bought Perelman's 83% stake in Panavision for $128 million. This would be unremarkable except that Perelman controlled M&F Worldwide and the price paid for his stake was four times market value. At the time, M&F Worldwide was a healthy company with an excellent balance sheet while Panavision was bleeding red ink. M&F Worldwide's other shareholders cried foul, alleging the only person who stood to benefit from the deal was Perelman and took their complaints to the courts.[77] Perelman insisted the deal was an excellent one and in the best interest of the shareholders because Panavision was well-positioned to profit from the move to digital cinematography.[78]The share price tumbled from six to three after the deal and reflected M&F Worldwide shareholders' lack of confidence.[79] Perelman tried to pacify M&F Worldwide's shareholders with a $15 million settlement, but the judge rejected it as grossly inadequate. Ultimately, Perelman agreed to undo the deal.[80]

Fred Tepperman

Perelman hired Fred Tepperman as his CFO after Tepperman left Warner Communications in 1985. Starting with Pantry Pride, Tepperman worked on every single business deal Perelman orchestrated throughout Tepperman's seven-year stint at MacAndrews & Forbes. Tepperman's tenure came to an abrupt end just after Christmas in 1991 when Perelman fired him for being derelict in his duties. Tepperman had been distracted, he claimed, by caring for his Alzheimer's-afflicted wife of 30 years. A clause in Tepperman's contract entitled him to a large portion of his salary and benefits in the event of an injury that prevented him from being able to work; Tepperman claimed he had suffered such an injury, albeit psychologically, as a result of the effect his wife's condition had on him. His demands totaled $30 million. That number stems partially from Tepperman's salary, which started at $275,000 and rose to $1.2 million in 1990[81] and partially from his large benefits package.[82] Perelman was quick to file a countersuit for fraud, claiming that Tepperman had sneakily changed the company's retirement plan in such a way that Tepperman would personally gain millions of dollars.[81] It took over three years for the case to make it to court. The case ended with a sealed settlement.[81]
Now fast forward to the Revlon case, in which RP has a single goal - take the company private.  He wants to buy the remaining shares for as low price as possible.  If this seems outlandish, just take a look at his career.  But really the proof is in the analysis of the trading data - there is no possible way that anyone other than RP can loan shares out which are keeping the price artificially deflated.  
What's the end game?  A potential short squeeze is one, and RP should thank us for exposing this situation as a short squeeze could create a huge profit for him, as he owns more than 84% (plus or minus a few points here) of the entire Revlon.  
If this were a penny stock, it wouldn't be news.  But Revlon is a huge brand name and it trades on the NYSE which is owned by the ICE, based in Atlanta, GA.
Here goes the ICE, being cautious about Crypto because it can be 'manipulated' where they have good ol' traditional stocks being manipulated right under their nose!
For traders this is a buy signal for a potential squeeze.  For lawyers and securities activists, this is a must watch as this case unfolds into a potential game changer for regulated markets.  One thing is clear, with the internet and move towards transparency and democratization of markets - everything will be exposed in the end.  
This conversation is being recorded, on multiple layers - starting with your ISP!
For groundbreaking intelligence and REAL news, checkout Global Intel Hub.  Props to our friends at Pre IPO Swap that broke this story on SA first - great work guys.
Posted: January 30, 2019, 4:22 am
Pre IPO Swap (New York, NY) 1/29/2019 – Pre IPO Swap wants to explain to investors how important it is to get on the cap table and why it matters.  First let’s explain what is a cap table – it is basically the ledger of shares in a private company.  That means it is the list of who owns what stock.  That’s it!  It looks something like this:
Image Source:
The idea is simple, however this fact is obfuscated from investors for a very nefarious and greedy reason.  Pre IPO Funds which offer access to Pre IPO companies do allow you to participate in the investment but only as a passenger.  They, their fund name, are the ones whose name will be on the cap table – NOT YOU.
They take 20% of your profits, charge other fees like exit fees – and strip you of your shareholder rights.  They may give you your rights should a bad situation occur – but why should investors sign away their shareholder rights in the first place?
Pre IPO Swap is not a fund so that means if you buy shares of Lyft you will buy directly from the seller, and subject to a minimum investment will be placed on the cap table with all the other shareholders.  Your name may even appear in the Prospectus (this would depend on many factors too complicated to explain here).
Note that Pre IPO investing is for accredited investors only.
We want to also point out that getting on the cap table isn’t for anyone special – it’s for all investors.  Access is not ‘restricted’ – it is just that you have to know what it is and know how to get it.  Get it directly @ Pre IPO Swap.
Posted: January 29, 2019, 2:13 pm
Pre IPO Swap – (New York, NY 1/26/2019) – Pre IPO is when you transact shares of a company which is about to become a public company, a process known as IPO.  The Pre IPO market is for accredited investors only.  Popular names currently on the table include Lyft, Palantir, SpaceX, Klarna, Pinterest, and Stripe.  This is well known.
What is NOT known is how most companies are structuring this transaction.  They create a fund to do it.  So investors are actually making an investment into the fund – NOT into the shares.  What’s the difference?  Well for one, if something goes wrong – you have no rights.  Second, there are more fees – including but not limited to 20% of your profits.  And an exit fee.  That’s right – you have to pay up to 5% commissions when you buy AND when you sell!  Of course they will say – it’s all part of investing and if you make more than the fees then you are still ahead.  That’s fine – they need to eat too – but they aren’t providing any sort of advice or additional Alpha when you can get the shares directly without all the fees at places like Pre IPO Swap.
They are holding your shares hostage – for a huge ransom – 20% of your profits.
You don’t get on the Cap Table – they don’t even tell you what a Cap Table is because you are wrapped in an LLC which acts like an investment pool (this is the fund).  It tracks the shares as if you bought the shares – but you don’t actually own the shares.  So you are really investing in Example Pre IPO Fund LLC and not Palantir, SpaceX, Uber.
What do Pre IPO Swap purchasers all have in common?
  • They understand value.
  • They are looking for an edge.
  • They are looking for that next disruptive technologies and companies.
  • They value their time and they know that time is best spent with loved ones and enjoying the world’s treasures.
  • They don’t need to look at quotes every minute because they purchased prior to the IPO.
  • They have a vision of their financial future.
  • They want to have control over their financial future.
  • They recognize that finance is not a spectator sport.
  • They (themselves, not through an LLC) get on the cap table.
So why do Pre IPO investors invest alongside billionaires?
Answer: Because they can!
What are some other problems with funds?  Funds can’t be hedged.  What does that mean?
If you own shares of an IPO which is about to go IPO shares will be restricted however the restrictions vary greatly in time and other details.  But you can always hedge your shares because you own them – they are yours.  That means you can sell covered calls on them, and many other things.  Here’s a famous example by none other than Mark Cuban, who protected 1.4 Billion in restricted stock during the sale of
Back in 1998, Mark Cuban and his partner Todd Wagner sold, a giant multimedia company focused on streaming audio and video, to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion. At the time, Mark Cuban received 14.6 million shares of Yahoo trading at $95, thus his concentrated position had a market value of $1.4 billion. In order to protect the value of the 14.6 million stocks he decided to set up a costless Options Collar, which allowed him to protect his billions without paying any insurance premium. Probably because there was a lock-in period for him to sell the Yahoo share, or he used these Yahoo shares as collateral for a bank loan, or he didn’t want to miss the opportunity if Yahoo continued to rally, he chose to enter a collar to lock in his share value without selling the shares.
This is one way to protect your position in Pre IPO without actually selling the shares.  But if you’re stuck in a fund – you can’t do that.  And there’s lots of other things you can’t do.  Hopefully you’ll make friends quickly with the other LLC members, after all you are all on the raft together.
And one more thing.  We shouldn’t presume to make statements about “Pre IPO Funds” as there are many and they are all different – there can be worse scenarios like fund specific lock ups, fees or penalties, and other features of a fund that are just the nature of being in them.
We’re not judging – we just feel that funds should be more forthcoming about explaining these nuances as it seems they are presented differently.  The language is clearly misleading however since investors must be accredited it’s ‘OK’ to use misleading language because accredited investors are supposed to know the difference between buying into a fund and buying shares directly.  But that’s not the point – investors just don’t know that it’s possible to do otherwise, that means the funds lead them to believe only through these fund vehicles is it even possible to get these shares – when that clearly is not the case.  Investors can transact direct and get on the cap table no LLC, and no 20% profit sharing fee.  (We note here, fees have their place – such as managed accounts, or a hedge fund quantitative strategy.  But sharing 20% of the profit from a single stock trade with your broker seems egregious.
To learn more about Pre IPO Investing, see 

Posted: January 27, 2019, 4:11 am
Pre IPO Swap @ Seeking Alpha (Analysis Division) – 1/25/2019

Pre IPO Swap is now a contributor for Seeking Alpha, a site that is focused on actionable intelligence for securities.  Interestingly, Seeking Alpha does publish stories on Pre IPO which is why we signed up.   Our first article covers what could be one of the most interesting stock trading cases of all time.
  • Revlon is controlled by a single insider for 30 years billionaire Ronald Perelman.
  • Perelman has developed in his career a method of hostile takeovers that dates far before Revlon.
  • Due to a rule, if he is able to get 90% of Revlon he’ll get voting rights of all 100%.
  • The float (available shares for purchase) is low 2.29 M, almost all of which are held short.
Recently, Barna Capital purchased a 2% stake, putting the institutional control above 10.1%, making a Perelman takeover impossible.
Revlon (REV) is an American multinational cosmetics, skin care, fragrance, and personal care company founded in 1932 and based in New York City. That is commonly known; it is a brand name.
However, what you may not know unless you are a securities attorney is that Revlon is the cause of one of the largest and most significant corporate securities decisions of a generation regarding corporate takeovers. Revlon, Inc. v. MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc., 506 A.2d 173 (Del. 1986) was a landmark decision of the Delaware Supreme Court on hostile takeovers:
The Court declared that, in certain limited circumstances indicating that the ‘sale’ or ‘break up’ of the company is inevitable, the fiduciary obligation of the directors of a target corporation are narrowed significantly, the singular responsibility of the board being to maximize immediate stockholder value by securing the highest price available. The role of the board of directors transforms from ‘defenders of the corporate bastion to auctioneers charged with getting the best price for the stockholders at a sale of the company.’ Accordingly, the board’s actions are evaluated in a different frame of reference. In such a context, that conduct can not be judicially reviewed pursuant to the traditional business judgment rule, but instead will be scrutinized for reasonableness in relation to this discrete obligation.
This case is so significant in securities and corporate law that it has been cited 3,640 times:
49952134-15476741490427434And what’s interesting is that the guy who caused the case – Ronald Perelman – is still at the center of a shareholder dispute that started in 2013:
Posted: January 26, 2019, 2:47 am
This is a tale of how greed and lack of risk management can blow up in a big way. Brace yourselves.
Allow me to introduce you to one Matt Todorovski, a resident of Australia who wanted to become a trillionaire - - yes, a trillionaire - - by sitting in front of his computer trading the FOREX markets.
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious, setting goals, and trying to beat the markets. Millions of people around the world do it, and the vast majority of them fail. It's a tough business. That's why the handful of winners make so much money. Because almost everyone else loses.
For years, Mr. Todorovski did plenty of losing. From his start in 2009 up through the beginning of 2018, his efforts yielded nothing but financial pain (being a resident of Australia, his reporting was naturally in Australian dollars, each of which is about 0.72 of a U.S. dollar). About a year ago, he was looking at lifetime "winnings" of about negative seven hundred thousand dollars.
Then, for reasons unknown to me, his trading luck started turning around. He finally wiped out his losses in September 2018, and then he started making..........profits! And, million by million, he proudly noted the date of each milestone. He also, strangely, decided that the sky was the limit, and he would put in placeholders for future profit milestones, up to and including $1 trillion. Because God knows the way to get ten times richer than Jeff Bezos is to trading FOREX on your personal computer.
This fellow wasn't shy about sharing the specifics of his account, either. He would regularly update followers on the various automated systems he was using and the gains or losses from each one. As shown below, he had amassed over $13 million in profits as recently as about a month ago.
And then, late in December, things took their first serious turn for the worse:
Perhaps to bolster his spirits - - and keep naysayers at bay - - he started amassing a bunch of bromides, motivational lines, and inspirational quotes.
And then, positive thinking notwithstanding, he losses accelerated.
As illustrated below, there was a big move in the USD/JPY, and this one-day wonder was enough to wreck the guy. (In just a few weeks, however, the damage to the chart vanished).
Which reminds me of a similar wipeout James Cordier went through with and its own centimillion-dollar wipeout. (Here, again, the destruction would have never happened if he had somehow been able to hold on just a few weeks).
But getting back to our hero in Australia..........having lost so much in such a short amount of time, and with public visibility, he started getting pounded with I-told-you-so style hate mail, some of which he shared.
Within the span of hours, he was wiped out. The entire $14 million of his account was gone.
You probably know where this is leading..........
Although he shouldn't hold his breath. Someone (maybe a relative) kicked in $100, and about ten days later some big-hearted soul augmented it with five dollars of his own.
I suppose the lesson learned here, at a minimum, is one that Matt expressed in his own "Methods Of Procedure": 

    Posted: January 22, 2019, 4:05 pm
    The Jamaican stock exchange, unknown to most of the world and which is open for trading only three and a half hours a day, was 2018's best performing stock market.
    The exchange - which started 50 years ago, by Edward Seaga, a Jamaican Harvard graduate who worked as a record producer in the 1950s and 1960s - saw its main index up 29% during 2018, the most among 94 national benchmarks according to Bloomberg . Over the last five years, Jamaica's impressive market returns are even more pronounced: Jamaican stocks are up almost 300%, more than quadrupling the next national benchmark and outperforming the S&P 500 nearly seven times.
    The blistering ascent of the local stock market took place despite real growth in Jamaica averaging less than 1% over the last four years; in 2018, growth in Jamaica was expected to come in at 1.7%. However, the small size of the local market has kept it relatively insulated from the broader economy, and helped Jamaican equities move as quickly as they have. As a result, the total value of the 37 stocks on the main index is less than $11 billion.
    And now, capital is starting to trickle into Kingston as it tries to reinvent itself as a financial hub. Paul Simpson, a 36-year-old banker and investor in Kingston told Bloomberg:  “Clearly, capital goes where it’s comfortable. To see capital coming here means people must be comfortable." That, or they are simply hoping to recreate past returns.
    The floor of the Jamaican stock exchange
    The financial industry in the country is located mostly in the neighborhood of New Kingston. It isn’t a tourist destination like Negril and it isn't impoverished, like Trench Town. Instead, it’s an area where you’ll find Porsche dealerships and Starbucks.
    Similar to China, over the past decade, the country's financial sector assets have tripled and its number of financial institutions have multiplied by a factor of eight.
    It gets better: the World Bank now ranks Jamaica as the sixth best nation for ease of starting a business. Economist Uma Ramakrishnan, the IMF’s Jamaica mission chief said that "If I could hold a megaphone and tell investors now’s the time, I’d do it."
    Still, before US hedge funds start arriving with dreams of massive alpha, the limitations of local stocks are pronounced, especially when one considers the small size of the market. Additionally, the shares available to the public are limited as many of the companies are mostly owned by large institutions and conglomerates. Like with Japanese government bonds, it is commonplace for some stocks not to trade for days and the number of unchanged stocks on a daily basis often outnumbers both gainers and losers.
    In other words, in a world desperate for liquidity, Jamaica may not be your best bet.
    Which is also why the managing director of the exchange, Marlene Street Forrest, is working on improving its logistics. Trades now settle in two days instead of three to comply with international standards and the exchange is looking to introduce market making this year. Margin accounts and short selling are both also on the agenda for the coming year  - yes, there is no way to short stocks right now, and in a throwback to more normal times there are no HFTs or ETFs (there are no Jamaican stocks in U.S. ETFs, even those tracking “frontier” countries such as Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, the most emerging of the emerging markets).
    Still, the market is growing: there are 20 new IPOs scheduled for this year, and while the exchange evolving, as things often go in the islands, it's doing it at its own pace. 
    “We ensure that we are going to get it right before we move,” Street Forrest said. 
    Posted: January 21, 2019, 2:22 am
    While there were countless argument offered to explain December's near-record market drubbing, we said on several occasions last month that the simplest reason for last month's plunge was also the simplest one: faced with a mountain of redemption requests, hedge funds were forced to sell their holdings into a market that had never been more illiquid, which meant hitting each and every bid and culminating with the brief, December 24th bear market.
    We now have confirmation, because according to Hedge Fund Research, investors fled hedge funds as markets plunged in the fourth quarter (or is that markets plunged as investors fled hedge funds), pulling a massive $22.5 billion, the most in more than two years. The exodus added to the total withdrawals of $34 billion in 2018, or about 1% of hedge fund industry assets, the largest quarterly outflow since Q4 2016 when investors redeemed about $70 billion.
    Large fund outflows were concentrated in several firms which closed and returned capital to investors, with approximately two dozen firms experiencing net asset outflows of greater than $500 million for the quarter. Despite the overall negative trends on flows and performance, but reflecting the trend of larger hedge fund relative outperformance, approximately one dozen firms received net asset inflows of greater than $500 million for the quarter.
    Flows by firm size also showed net outflows across all firm sizes, with firms managing greater than $5 billion experiencing outflows of $15.6 billion. Mid-sized firms managing between $1 and 5 billion saw outflows of $2.8 billion for the quarter, while firms managing less than $1 billion saw outflows of $4.1 billion.
    "Hedge fund outflows in 4Q were driven by several factors, most notably investor reaction to steep losses in traditional asset investments and the sharp spike in equity market volatility leading to redemptions" stated Kenneth J. Heinz, President of HFR.
    The spike in redemptions came as hedge funds suffered their worst performance since 2011 in a year marked by two corrections, a bear market, and a spike in year-end volatility.
    Additionally, as Bloomberg notes, several big names exited the industry last year, including T. Boone Pickens, Leon Cooperman and Philippe Jabre, while virtually everyone else struggled to generate any alpha (with a few exceptions ). "Outflows also included several large fund closures," said HFR President Kenneth Heinz in the quarterly report, including instances of family office conversions and orderly, manager-initiated returns of investor capital.
    Broken down by strategy, equity hedge funds suffered the biggest outflows, with investors pulling $16.8 billion in the quarter and a total of about $23 billion for the year, according to HFR. Hedge funds in this group fell 5.9% on an asset-weighted basis in 2018, the worst performers of all strategies tracked by HFR. Confirming that the redemptions were liquidity and not performance driven, even the year’s top performing macro managers, up 1.6%, ended 2018 with outflows of $12.3 billion.
    There was a silver lining: event-driven (ED) funds brought in $6.4 billion in the quarter - the only strategy to see inflows - and $6.9 billion for the year, although performance weakness decreased total ED capital to $819 billion from the prior quarter. ED sub-strategy flows were driven by Distressed/Restructuring and Special Situations funds, which experienced inflows of $6.5 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.
    Fixed income-based Relative Value Arbitrage (RVA) strategies led industry performance in 2018, as the HFRI Relative Value Index (Asset Weighted) added +0.5 percent for the year, while the HFRI Relative Value (Total) Index posted a narrow decline of -0.2 percent for 2018. In 4Q18, RVA strategies experienced outflows of $5.4 billion, decreasing total RVA capital to $835 billion from the prior quarter.
    "Trends in Macro, CTA, and RVA/Credit Multi-Strategies, and stronger relative outperformance of larger funds were all favorable throughout the intense market dislocations of December and 4Q. While the overall investor flows and performance trends were negative, it is likely that discriminating institutional investors which experienced or observed areas of strong performance through the most difficult equity and commodity trading environment in a decade will factor these positive dynamics into portfolio allocations for 2019."
    With volatility set to return with a vengeance once this algo-driven bear market rally ends, 2019 promises to be just as challenging for the 2 and 20 crowd.

    Posted: January 18, 2019, 8:46 pm
    New York, NY ( 1/17/2019 — Pre IPO Swap focuses on Pre IPO companies.  These are not necessarily ‘Unicorns’ but many are.  We get asked what is a private late stage mature company that qualifies for Pre IPO?  There isn’t a specific answer, some companies will be very late stage, others can be closer to the startup phase for example LYFT is not so old but already has filed for IPO.
    We like to compare any business to food as it’s something everyone understands.  Let’s take the example of a Hamburger.  The first step in the cycle is the farm where the cow grows up.  Then at some point the cow is butchered and sent for processing.  Wholesale, the beef is then sold to food companies where it ultimately becomes a Hamburger and sold at McDonalds.  Finally, the end product is sold in thousands of locations across the world.  The last step in the process is garbage – capitalism produces a lot of garbage.  But science is inventing ways that garbage gets fed back into the system (for example, fertilizer).
    So the question is – at what point do you want to invest in the company?  When it’s still a cow?  When the end product is being marketed on TV like McDonalds commercials?  Or in the cleanup phase?
    We have called these steps in the cycle Growth, Processing, Branding, Distribution, Waste.  There are more detailed product cycles – this is simply to explain where Pre IPO is – typically it’s somewhere around Processing.  It’s the wholesale market.
    When a company goes public – that’s the branding phase.  There is a road-show, the underwriter promotes the IPO so that when it hits the market there is interest (such as for Pinterest).
    By the time the product – whatever it is – hits the end user (that’s the IPO) it’s been so watered down and over hyped it has little room for explosive growth.  And frankly, they don’t want stocks moving triple digits in a year it makes other stocks look bad.  They need to be tamed.  Companies that don’t fit the profile stay private.
    With Pre IPO we are looking for just the right amount of risk and reward.  We want companies to already have been proven in the market – but before the marketing blitz.  Before the compliance changes that go on to fit the profile of a public company.  Ultimately, no matter what type of business you are – when you have to comply with rules it takes some of the zest out of your business; that’s usually a good thing.  Public markets allow capitalism to function at its best.  But for Pre IPO investors – they want to find the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – not too risky, and just enough reward.  See our Pitch to learn more, or follow our blog.
    Posted: January 18, 2019, 3:03 am
    Pre IPO Swap New York, NY 1/12/2019

    Did you know that the CIA has its own Venture Fund?  And did you know that Venture fund was key in starting Facebook and Google?  As explained in the book Splitting Pennies – the world is not as it seems.

    For many readers especially on Zero Hedge this comes as no surprise, as you are well aware of the octopus that wraps its tentacles around the globe.  But it may surprise you how active In-Q-Tel is and how chummy they are with the rest of the VC community.  It’s as if they are just another VC, but with another purpose.  Let’s look at some of the stats, from Crunchbase:

    Here’s a list of recent investments…

    If you dig back you won’t see Google or Facebook on there – which is company policy for retail consumer investments that can impact the public (it’s kept secret behind an NDA).  Here’s how it works – In-Q-Tel may invest in your startup but there’s a big catch.  First, you have to sign an NDA which is enforced strongly – that you are not to disclose your partner.  Second, you must agree to ‘cooperation’ when it comes to information sharing now or down the road, such as location data on people using Facebook, Google, or other systems – perhaps only to feed it into a big data brain at Palantir.  Or perhaps for more street level surveillance.  The surveillance is known by fact, not conspiracy theory – but by fact – due to the disclosure of classified documents by Edward Snowden.  If it were not for Snowden, we could only guess about this.  The name of the main program is PRISM but there are many others.

    For those in the VC community that are deep in the know- the “Deep VCs” like Peter Thiel for example, the Snowden revelations would come as no surprise.  MUST READ – No Place To Hide – the story of the NSA, PRISM, and Snowden (written by Greenwald).

    But for others, it may come as a surprise that not only the CIA has its own VC fund, but that it sits on many corporate boards alongside many Wall St. firms and other VCs.

    And of course, they always do well.

    Let’s consider the doors they opened for Google, or in the case of Google it was more like the doors that were closed.  Google was not the best search engine, it was not superior technology – it wasn’t even really very good.  It just became a monopoly and crushed the competition.  Many wonder how they were able to do it, and that this is part of the Entrepreneur “Magic” that few have.  Well we can say in the case of Google there was no Magic they had a helping hand from a friend in the deep shadows.  Google wanted to become huge – the CIA wants information (they always do, so we don’t use the past tense ‘wanted’).  So it was a cozy and rational partnership – in exchange for making the right handshakes at the right time, allowing Google to become a global behemoth, all they needed to do was share a little information about users.  Actually, a lot of information.  No harm in that, right?

    But in doing so Google violated itself as well as prostituted its model and its users.  Google still does this and is not nearly as flagrant as its brother Facebook, however Google shares more detailed ‘meta data’ which is actually more useful to Echelon systems like Palantir that rely on big data, not necessarily photos of what you ate for breakfast (but that can be helpful too, they say).

    The metaphor is making a deal with the devil; you get what you want but it comes at a price.  And that’s the price users pay to Google – they get service ‘free’ but at a huge cost, their privacy.  Of course – this is all based on the concept of Freedom which really does exist in USA.  You don’t have to use Google – there are many alternatives like the rising star Duck Duck Go:

    But who cares about privacy; only criminals, hackers, programmers, super wealthy (UHNWI) and a few philosophers.

    Google remains the dominant search platform and much more.  Google exploits niche by niche even competing with Amazon’s Alexa service.

    The argument here is that Google wouldn’t be Google without the help of the CIA.  This isn’t our idea it’s a fact, you can read about it here on

    Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. Some of the research that led to Google’s ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online.  The intelligence community hoped that the nation’s leading computer scientists could take non-classified information and user data, combine it with what would become known as the internet, and begin to create for-profit, commercial enterprises to suit the needs of both the intelligence community and the public. They hoped to direct the supercomputing revolution from the start in order to make sense of what millions of human beings did inside this digital information network. That collaboration has made a comprehensive public-private mass surveillance state possible today.

    There you have it – Google is the child of the digital revolution of the surveillance state.  Why spy, when you can collect data electronically and analyze with machine learning?

    The new spy is the web bot.

    And the investors in Google did well – so that’s the investing story that matters here.  It pays well to have friends in high places, and in dark places.  Of all the investments In-Q-Tel made, almost all of them have done very well.  That doesn’t mean that Palantir is going to grow to the size of Google, but it does provide natural support should a company backed by In-Q-Tel run into problems.

    By the time Facebook came out, digital surveillance was already in the n-th generation of evolution, and they really stepped up their game.  In the creepiest examples, Facebook doesn’t necessarily (and primarily) collect data on Facebook users – it does this too.  But that’s just a given – you don’t need to perform surveillance on someone who gives all their data to the system willingly – you always know where they are and what they are doing at any given moment.  The trick is to get information about those who may try to hide their activities, whether they are real terrorists or just paranoid geniuses.

    How does Facebook do this?  There are literally hundreds of programs running – but in one creepy example, Facebook collects photos that users take to analyze the environment surrounding.  Incidentally, the location data is MUCH MORE accurate than you see on the retail front end.  So you get the newspaper and see a gift in your mailbox for your birthday – you take a photo because the ribbons are hanging out.  What shows up in the background?  All kinds of information.  What the neighbor is doing.  License plate of the car driving by.   Trash waiting to be picked up by the street.  A child’s toy left by the sidewalk.  You get the picture.  Facebook users have been turned into sneaky little digital spies!  While they are walking around with their ‘smartphones’ (should be called ‘dumbphones’) scrolling their walls and snapping photos away – they are taking photos of you too.  That means, Facebook collects data for the CIA about users who don’t have Facebook accounts.  This is the huge secret that the mainstream media doesn’t want to tell you.  Deleting your Facebook account will do nothing – every time you go out in public you are being photographed, video recorded, and more – all going into big data artificial intelligence for analysis.

    But here’s the best part.  You own it!  The CIA may have a bad reputation but it is part of the US Government, and thus – profits go back to the Treasury (those which are declared) or at least they are supposed to.  Considering this, why is there a stigma about even talking about In-Q-Tel when in fact we should be more involved in any US Government operation when it is technically owned by the people and funded by taxpayers?  Meaning, do taxpayers have rights to know what goes in in taxpayer funded entities, like In-Q-Tel?  The big difference between In-Q-Tel and the CIA is that In-Q-Tel functions just like any other VC – they disclose most of their investments, they attend conferences, they accept business plans.  You can literally submit your idea to In-Q-Tel and get funding.  Of course, like any VC there’s a very small chance of being funded.

    So what’s an investor’s take on this story?  In-Q-Tel is not Freddie Mac there is nor a quasi-government entity; it’s not an NGO and there is no implicit guarantee that In-Q-Tel’s deals will do any better than Andreessen Horowitz.

    However, their deals do very well.  Companies they fund not only have the backing of the CIA explicitly, it’s not only about business – it’s about national security!  Under that guise, it’s no wonder that companies like Google and Facebook rocket to the top.

    We are not suggesting that investors double down on In-Q-Tel bets.  We are only suggesting that at a minimum, we follow what they do.  It’s a data point – a good source of information.  And the best part is that it’s public.

    Their most recent investment is in a virtual reality company in Boca Raton, FL called Immersive Wisdom:

    Immersive Wisdom® is an enterprise software platform that allows users to collaborate in real-time upon diverse data sets and applications within a temporal and geospatially-aware Virtual, Mixed, and Augmented Reality space. Immersive Wisdom is hardware-agnostic and runs on VR, AR, as well as 2D displays.  Regardless of geographic location, multiple users can be together in a shared virtual workspace, standing on maps, with instant access to relevant information from any available source. Users can simultaneously, and in real time, visualize, fuse, and act upon sensor inputs, cyber/network data, IoT feeds, enterprise applications, telemetry, tagged assets, 3D Models, LiDAR, imagery and UAV footage/streaming video, providing an omniscient, collaborative view of complex environments.  Immersive Wisdom also acts as a natural human interface to multi-dimensional data sets generated by AI and machine learning systems. The platform includes a powerful SDK (Software Developer Kit) that enables the creation of customer-specific workflows as well as rapid integration with existing data sources/applications.

    Cool stuff for sure – but it’s in early stages.  Pre IPO Swap suggests real Pre IPO ‘unicorns’ not because of size, but because of the right mix of risk and reward. See why we think so in our pitch.

    In any analysis, it’s worth watching In-Q-Tel, which is a top source of funding and investment data we watch on  Pre IPO Swap.

    To get real-time updates on companies like this, companies that In-Q-Tel invests in -   follow our blog free.
    Posted: January 13, 2019, 5:38 pm
    In what was an abysmal year for most hedge funds, three investing icons successfully pulled their weight and generated outsized returns amid an otherwise dreary landscape.
    Last week we reported that after correctly predicting the "significant risk of a correction", quant giant Renaissancemade an impressive 8.5% return in 2018 despite a 2.1% drop in December, solidly outperforming the broader market.
    It wasn't just the secretive fund founded by chain-smoking codebreaker Jim Simons that blew past its competition last year. On Sunday, Bloomberg reported that Bridgewater's flagship Pure Alpha fund rose a remarkable 14.6%. This was no small feat for Bridgewater which also happens to be the world's biggest hedge fund with $160 billion in unlevered assets, and came at a time when hedge unds on average lost 6.7%  in 2018, according to the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index, as market trend and momentum both collapsed.
    A just as impressive record is that since its inception in 1991, Pure Alpha Strategy has generated an average annualized return of 12% after fees, a track record which some have wondered if it is too good to be true.
    And yet in a bizarre twist at the start of 2018, Bridgewater's Ray Dalio said on January 23 that "If you're holding cash, you're going to feel pretty stupid." Ironically, cash ended up being the best performing assets, while virtually every other asset class posted negative returns in 2018, making those holding anything but cash feeling pretty stupid. Which means that at some point between January and December, Ray Dalio quietly moved out of most assets although "surprisingly" he never made that shift public.
    In any case it wasn't just Simons and Dalio: according to a Monday note from Bloomberg, the flagship fund of another computer scientist, David Shaw's, D.E. Shaw, also generated double-digit returns, gaining 11.2% last year.
    The New York-based investment firm’s Composite fund invests across multiple strategies and is the company’s largest and longest-running. It returned 3.5 percent last month, the person said, as the S&P 500 Index sunk 9.2 percent.
    And in yet another indication that Madoff was an amateur, DE Shaw's composite fund, which has about $14 billion in assets, amazingly hasn’t had a losing year over the past decade. In 2017, it gained 10.3%, the Bloomberg source said.
    D.E. Shaw was founded by computer scientist David Shaw and has more than $50 billion in assets under management, including $28 billion in hedge funds. Its Composite fund has largely been closed to new investors since mid-2013, but the group continues to build out new strategies and products. Recent areas of development have included private credit opportunities in Europe and renewables investing.
    Some trivia: when DE Shaw was just two years old, a largely unknown 26-year-old took a job at D.E. Shaw and became one of the company's vice presidents in just four years; he was tasked with researching new business opportunities on the rapidly growing Internet, which was held tremendous potential in the early 1990s. That youngest made a list of 20 products he could sell online, and decided that books were the most viable option. When he couldn't get D.E. Shaw on board with the idea, he decided to branch out on his own.
    A little under three decades later, that "relatively unknown" person is now the world's richest person.

    Posted: January 7, 2019, 8:56 pm

    The company founded by Peter Thiel, Elon Musk and Max Levchin has spawned three billionaires, many, many millionaires and generation-defining companies. Here, we break down the key players from the most notorious group in Silicon Valley.

    The picture above features some of the most poorly dressed men of the 2000s. Behold the outsized sportswear, the leather blazers, the silky shirts. But these men can afford to both laugh off our criticism and buy several new wardrobes. For they are the ‘PayPal Mafia’ and between them, these 13 men are worth billions and billions of dollars. And to be fair to them, they were styled as faux gangsters for the 2007 Fortune magazine shoot that birthed their infamous moniker. Mick Brown recently met PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel for an extraordinary Telegraph Magazine feature. The vast success enjoyed by Thiel and his former colleagues got us thinking: how did one company breed such a remarkable crop of entrepreneurs and capitalists? Click on the famous Fortune photograph below and discover exactly who the PayPal Mafia are.
    The 'PalPal Mafia' photographed for a Fortune magazine feature in 2007. PHOTO: Robyn Twomey - Corbis Outline
    1. Jawed Karim
    Role in PayPal: Designed and implemented PayPal’s incendiary real-time anti-fraud system, among other key components of the business.
    After PayPal: Karim, Chad Hurley (designer of PayPal’s first logo) and Steve Chen (another PayPal colleague and early Facebook employee) founded a video sharing site in 2005. They named it YouTube. Soon after developing the fledgling site, Karim enrolled at Stanford University where, despite having already displayed a certain acumen in this area, he chose to study computer science. He continued to act as an advisor to YouTube before cashing in 137,443 shares of stock (worth a cool $64 million) when Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion in November 2006. Now 35, Karim launched a business called Youniversity Ventures in 2008 aimed at helping students and graduates develop business ideas with early PayPal investors Kevin Hartz and Keith Rabols.
    Estimated net worth: $140 million
    2. Jeremy Stoppelman (below)
    Role in PayPal: Joined PayPal as an engineer whilst it was known as, eventually becoming the Vice President of Engineering.
    Post-PayPal: Resigned soon after PayPal was picked up by eBay for $1.5 billion in 2003, taking a year to attend Harvard Business School. Inspired whilst poorly with flu and finding it tricky to find decent doctor recommendations, he and a former colleague Russel Simmons dreamed up the idea for online reviews site Yelp in 2004 and convinced former PayPal Chief Technology Officer Max Levchin to put up $1 million in initial funding. Steve Jobs convinced him to reject Google’s acquisition offer in 2010 and in 2012, Yelp became a public limited company. But it’s not been a smooth recent few years: Yelp reviewers leaving negative reviews have faced legal action from affronted businesses and the site’s faced accusations of handing positive reviews to advertisers.
    Estimated net worth: $111-$222 million
    PHOTO: Getty
    3. Andrew McCormack
    Role in PayPal: Joined in 2001, working closely as an assistant to Peter Thiel as the company prepared for its initial public offering (IPO)
    After PayPal: Helped set-up another Thiel venture, hedge fund company Clarium Capital before founding a restaurant group in San Francisco. Currently a partner at venture capital firm Valar Ventures, he found his way back to Thiel in 2008 to join Thiel Capital via corporate development roles at eCount (now part of US banking conglomerate Citigroup) and Yahoo!.
    Estimated net worth: Unknown
    4. Premal Shah
    Role in PayPal: Spent six years at the company as a product manager.
    After PayPal: Became President of non-profit organisation Kiva, which allows people to lend money to struggling entrepreneurs and students in over 70 countries via the internet. Founded by former programmer Matt Flannery and his businesswoman ex-wife Jessica Jackeley, the site was raising around $1 million every three days by November 2013.
    Estimated net worth: Unknown
    5. Luke Nosek
    Role in PayPal: One of the co-founders, alongside Thiel, Elon Musk and Ken Howery and his friend from the University of Illinois, Max Levchin and Vice President of Marketing and Strategy.
    After PayPal: Departed after the eBay takeover and travelled the world, before founding San Francisco venture capital firm Founders Firm (slogan: ‘We wanted flying cars, we got 140 characters’) with Thiel and Howery in 2005. Has spoken extensively about the benefits of brain training through meditation.
    Estimated net worth: Unknown
    6. Ken Howery
    Role in PayPal: A co-founder and Chief Financial Officer between 1998-2002.
    After PayPal: Hung around as eBay’s Director of Corporate Development for just under a year after the takeover, before rejoining Thiel as vice president of private equity at Clarium Capital in 2004. Started Founders Fund less than 12 months later with Thiel and Nosek. In 2012, he co-founded Popexpert, an online learning platform that allows users to connect face-to-face with experts across a broad range of fields. Howery’s available for consulting sessions if you have a spare few $100,000.
    Estimated net worth: Unknown
    55382205_3044414cPHOTO: Getty
    7. David Sacks (above)
    Role in PayPal: Joining from management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, Sacks became PayPal’s chief operating officer.
    After PayPal: Sacks boasts one of the Mafia’s more diverse post-PayPal CVs. After eBay assumed control, he left for Hollywood and produced and financed the Golden Globe nominated 2005 movie Thank You for Smoking. The next year, he founded genealogy website Frustrations with inter-office communication led him to develop a productivity tool to help employees share information. This was to become the social network Yammer. Mircosoft acquired the company for $1.2 billion in July 2012. Sacks was named corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Office Division. He hit the headlines in 2012 after throwing himself history’s most gauche 40th birthday party. The theme? ‘Let them eat cake’ French revolution. The entertainment? Snoop Dogg. The cost? A reported $1.4 million.
    Estimated net worth: Unknown
    8. Peter Thiel
    Role in Paypal: Co-founder and CEO.
    After PayPal: After earning $55 million from his 3.7 per cent stake in the eBay deal, Thiel immediately founded hedge fund Clarium Capital, a global macro hedge fund and made the ludicrously savvy decision to angel invest $500,000 in fledgling social network Facebook. Thiel was the first outside investor in the company and sold almost has made over $1 billion selling his shares. You can read Mick Brown’s in-depth profile on Thiel right here.
    Estimated net worth: $2.2 billion
    9. Keith Rabois
    Role in PayPal: Held the nicely extravagant title of Executive Vice President, Business Development, Public Affairs and Policy between November 2000 and November 2002.
    After PayPal: Regarded as a very useful person to have around at a start-up, Rabois went onto hold senior positions at LinkedIn (more on that in a minute), Max Levchin’s Slide (a company responsible for slideshows and animations in social networks) and electronic payment firm Square (founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey). Controversy accompanied his exit from Square, with a threat of a lawsuit over sexual harassment claims by a male employee who allegedly obtained a job at the company after beginning a relationship with Rabois. Which makes Gawker’s accusations of Rabois’ undergraduate homophobia all the more disturbing. Rabois is now a partner at venture capital outfit Khosla Ventures and serves on the board of directors at Yelp and Xoom.
    Estimated net worth: $1 billion
    PHOTO: Getty
    10. Reid Hoffman
    Role in PayPal: Joined from the world’s first (failed) social network SocialNet to become a member of the board of directors, then went full-time to become PayPal’s COO. By the time of the 2002 eBay takeover, he was executive vice president.
    After PayPal: ‘The most connected man in Silicon Valley’ co-founded inbox bothering business social network LinkedIn in December 2002, owning a stake now worth an estimated $2.39 billion with its IPO in May 2011. The eldest of the Mafia is also lauded for his clever/lucky angel investing. He’s made upwards of 80 angel investments (including Facebook, Zynga, Flickr, Digg and and in 2010 joined Greylock Partners, running their $20 million Discovery Fund; designed to seed fundings of worthy start-ups.
    Estimated net worth: $3.9 billion
    11. Max Levchin
    Role in PayPal: A co-founder and the firm’s chief technology officer, well regarded for his contributions to PayPal’s anti-fraud efforts.
    After PayPal: Took his $34 million from the PayPal sale and founded Slide. Google picked it up for $182 million in August 2010, with Levchin becoming Google’s Vice President of Engineering on 25 August. A year and a day later, Google closed Slide and Levchin departed. Between Slide’s rise and fall, he helped start Yelp in 2004 (and is the company’s largest shareholder), was appointed to the board of directors of Evernote and and co-founded financial services company Affirm. In recent years, he’s started a company called HVF (standing for, enjoyably, ‘Hard, Valuable, and Fun’), a firm designed to fund projects looking to leverage data and joined Yahoo!’s Board of Directors. He’s keeping himself busy.
    Estimated net worth: $300 million
    12. Roelof Botha
    Role in PayPal: A qualified actuary, South African Botha negotiated PayPal’s sale as its Chief Financial Officer. He had joined the company prior to his graduation from the Stanford School of Business, becoming director of corporate development.
    After PayPal: A regular on the Forbes Midas List of top tech investors, Both joined venture capital giant Sequoia Capital in January 2003 as a partner, where’s he’s stayed ever since. His extra curricular business pursuits include sitting on the boards of 13 companies, including Jawbone, Evernote, Tumblr and Xoom. He was also on YouTube’s board before the company was acquired by Google.
    Estimated net worth: Unknown.
    13 Russel Simmons
    Role at PayPal: The firm’s Lead Software Architect.
    After PayPal: Co-founded Yelp with Jeremy Stoppelman and served as its CTO until he ‘transitioned’ into an advisory role in June 2010 to take some ‘much needed time off to travel’. Fresh from his high end gap year, Simmons launched Learnirvana in 2012, a web tutor program that helps users learn languages.
    Estimated net worth: Very difficult to discover. It’s very easy to tell you that near-namesake and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is worth around $340 million, however.
    PHOTO: Art Streiber/August Image
    Not in the picture, but absolutely worth profiling:
    Elon Musk (above)
    Role at PayPal: PayPal had merged with Musk’s financial services and email payment firm in 1999 and Musk became the new company’s largest shareholder by the time of its sale to eBay. He earned $165 million from the deal.
    After PayPal: Strap yourselves in. Musk launched Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in June 2002, where he serves as the CEO and CTO. In May 2012, their Dragon spacecraft ensured SpaceX became the first commercial vehicle to launch and dock a vehicle to the International Space Station. He assumed leadership of electric car firm Tesla Motors in 2008 and in 2013 unveiled a proposal for a new form of transportation between the Greater Los Angeles area and the Bay Area in San Francisco. His ‘Hyperloop’ is a subsonic air travel machine completely reliant on solar energy.
    Estimated net worth: $9.7 billion
    Posted: January 6, 2019, 2:56 am
    Atlanta, GA ( – 12/18/2018
    Microsoft (MSFT) is a company that many geeks love to hate.  Windows glitches and patches, embarrassing moments in tech history – yet Windows is the dominant computing platform not only for PCs but for Server environments and many other systems.  Yeah, they missed the internet, they lost out on Blockchain – and Social Media confuses them.  But still, MSFT has a market cap as of today of an astounding 798 Billion with a B.  It’s a huge company and has one of the highest paid CEOs in the world.
    What’s a more compelling story though is the investment history of Microsoft, such as the stock split history.
    Microsoft has been a cash cow from the moment they landed the Windows contract.  Since then, the stock has been on a near 70,000% ride, paying juicy dividends all the while.  An investment at the IPO of $2100 would have returned $1,467,072 far outpacing inflation.
    On 13 March 1986, Microsoft went public at $21 a share. 100 shares would be worth $2100.
    Microsoft has since had 9 splits (Microsoft Stock Split History) for a total of 288x.
    Split adjusted IPO price would be 21/288 = $0.073.  Your 100 shares would have become 28,800 shares.
    MSFT closed at  $50.94 on 27 April 2016, which would make that $2100 investment worth $1,467,072, a 69860% return on investment. $2100 in 1986 would be approximately $4563 in 2016 so a 69860% ROI adjusts to 32154% after inflation.
    This leads to the question – is Pre-IPO investing for real?  Is this really the big secret of the wealthy – how they make their wealth?  Of course, as Bill Gates has retained the title off an on for decades of the worlds richest – we must remember what made him so – it is the stock price.  He is the wealthiest person in the world (depending on market fluctuations, he may be only top 5 or 10, and Forbes list doesn’t include Shadow banking where Rothschilds and others keep their private assets private) because he’s an early IPO stakeholder and investor.  Well done, Bill.
    It is no wonder why Steve Ballmer is so excited – you would be too if you became rich just from your companies stock price.
    So how can I join the club, you ask?  Checkout LYFT, Palantir, SpaceX, AirBNB and more @ – get them BEFORE they IPO.

    Posted: December 19, 2018, 8:03 pm