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Authored by Bob Livingston via Personal Liberty blog,

My friends, it is frightening how simple we are and how easily we are manipulated simply because we are intellectually lazy.

The U.S. establishment has confused cause and effect by and through a flag-waving mania in America. "Patriotism" throughout history has covered a multitude of mischief. We are seeing it now!

Phony patriotism is strong leverage against a population ignorant of the ways of treason by its own government. I also have no doubt that U.S. history is full of wars "for democracy" killing millions under the propaganda of patriotism with the majority support of the people and the full support of all but a small cadre of "elected representatives" — who are paid by the federal government, incidentally. In addition the millions of foreign dead, these wars have left hundreds of thousands of American military members dead or maimed physically and/or emotionally.

The whole world knows about the U.S. military industrial complex war machine and its pursuit of profits. But Americans tend to turn a blind eye.

When George Washington said "government is force," he meant that government is force against its own people.

Since by definition government is force, then it follows that government will use any ruse imaginable to increase its power. Increased use of government force or power could backfire unless skillfully handled and justified in the public mind. Therefore governments rarely take action unless accompanied by skillful propaganda.

The brouhaha over certain NFL players' refusal to stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner has erupted anew. The reaction of most Americans — who claim to believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights — is that this expression cannot be tolerated... it is un-American... it is "unpatriotic."

But is it? Or is it not the most American of all things to resist and rebel against what we perceive as tyranny and its symbols?

If we deny one — whether through intimidation and threats, monetary sanctions or government force — his rights, are we not creating a situation where rights are just privileges that can be denied on a whim? If we support police power to invade our homes and wallets and steal our property just because government has made it "legal," are we not again conceding that rights are merely privileges?

You cannot say, "I believe in the 1st Amendment, but...; I believe in the 2nd Amendment, but...; I believe in the 4th Amendment, but..." There is no but.

And if that government making "legal" the assaults on our liberty is represented by a symbol, shouldn't we conclude that that symbol is a symbol of tyranny? I wrote about the phony patriotism of flag worship when the Colin Kaepernick stir occurred last year.

In light of the new kerfuffle over NFL players refusing to stand, and comments to some of our columns on preserving liberty of late, I felt it was time to run it again. Here it is:

The American golden calf

As a young boy, I enjoyed my family's bantam chickens that laid very small eggs and hatched very small chicks. Theirs was a small and miniature world.

One day one of my bantams started sitting on eggs to hatch its chicks. Something happened to her eggs but she continued to sit, so I decided to put a duck egg under her. Duck eggs are at least three times bigger than bantam eggs and take a few days longer to hatch, but she dutifully sat on the egg several days longer. She hatched the duckling and, as you can imagine, it thought that his world was normal and that the bantam hen was his mother.

The duckling eventually grew into a full sized mallard duck, probably five or six times the size of its bantam mother. The full-grown duck would follow its hen mother around as would normal chicks. It was a funny sight to watch.

But I remember thinking, even as a small boy, that the duck's entire reality was that the bantam hen was his mother and that was the way the world worked. He had no need to consider anything else.

This is the world of the American people today. Their perceptions of reality control them and they who control their perceptions control the American people.

Our perception of America has always been that she is the mother country and ordained by God, good and just and a beacon of freedom. This is hammered into our psyches from our early days.

From pre-school up, we are taught to worship the state. I don't know if it is still done, but in the public (non)education system, for many years, schoolchildren across the South — and elsewhere, I suppose — recited the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. Political rallies and government meetings are still often begun with a recitation of the pledge.

People say it with patriotic fervor, with their hands placed dutifully on their hearts.

Sporting events, political rallies and other public venues are often kicked off with the playing and/or singing of the Star Spangled Banner. Before the song begins, people are instructed to rise, men to remove their hats,and people place their hands over their hearts. They don't realize its value as a propaganda tool.

We have come to equate the flag, the pledge and the national anthem with patriotism, and patriotism with government, country and support for government, support for foreign wars and veterans. Anything less is "un-American."

Beyond its patriot fervor is the almost religious fervor and religious symbolism of the American people's actions when the pledge and the national anthem begin: the ritual standing, removal of hats, placing of hands and rote recitation. In the book of Daniel, Israelites Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) refused to worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar contrary to the king's decree. The king ordered them to be thrown into the furnace after it was turned up to seven times its normal temperature.

NFL player Colin Kaepernick created a stir last week when he refused to stand for the national anthem. He was not subsequently ordered into the furnace by the king, but he was burned symbolically by many football fans who torched their jerseys. Americans fumed that he should "leave" America if he can't support the flag and that he had disrespected the flag, the nation and veterans.

What are we saying when we say that someone "disrespected the flag,"  "disrespected the country," "disrespected the veterans" if he chooses to not stand for the national anthem? What is the flag but a piece of cloth? By the reaction to Kaepernick, it seems it has become more of a golden calf to represent mother country or the god of government.

Our mother has become a witch. Yes, same symbols, same flag, same pledge of allegiance, but a decadent spirit controlling the perceptions of the American people, keeping them on the animal farm (controlling their perceptions) long enough to impoverish and enslave them.

Time and gradualism can change a system all the way from human liberty to slavery (the animal farm) over a few generations without anyone being aware except a very few, those who ask questions.

"America, love it or leave it," is a tired canard. One cannot leave it except at great cost. Recall that in 1860-1861 11 states attempted to "leave it" in order to preserve their liberty and rights as sovereign states. They were branded as "insurrectionists" and attacked by the War Party and the result was their economic and social destruction, subjugation and the deaths of some 850,000 people (the equivalent of about 8.5 million people today). When one talks of secession today he's branded as a racist, crazy or a radical and told secession is "illegal."

One can love his country but hate his government and its actions. I love America but not the people who control America and its government. I love America, but its rulers are alien to individual freedom, its government now anathema to liberty.

If the flag is symbolic of government and that government lies at every turn, enslaves its people, steals from their labor, passes laws that are an execration to their Christian faith, takes from them their liberty, mandates the murder of 1 million babies a year, imports tens of thousands of immigrants to replace American workers and drive down wages, and that makes war on other countries that have not threatened us, why should any acknowledge its presence with more than a sneer?

Wars are not for patriotism and "democracy," as we are propagandized. And our freedom has not been threatened by outside forces in 200 years. Wars are to kill; i.e., mass ritual murder. Additionally, big business and globalist banksters in league with Satan reap massive profits for the killing and sacrifice of young men (lambs) on all sides of combat.

If the flag is symbolic of the Constitution, that Constitution died long ago — destroyed by a crony railroad lawyer and mercantilist who made war on a sovereign people to benefit monied interests.

If the flag is symbolic of freedom, that freedom no longer exists — stolen long ago by crony corporations and globalist banksters and unaccountable oligarchical black-robed satanists and idol worshippers who usurped their authority created laws out of thin air under the guise of "interpreting the Constitution" a dictate not granted them under the original document.

The phony form of patriotism instilled within the population is strong leverage against independent thinking, keeping people ignorant of the treason by our own government.

America today is a more advanced state of fascism than World War II Germany and Italy. Fascism never identifies itself as totalitarianism. It always calls itself democracy.

Democracy is the politically correct word and cover term for modern American fascism.

American fascism has all the attributes and trappings of benevolent totalitarianism. No, benevolent totalitarianism is not an oxymoron.

The word benevolent in this instance means that the general perception of the population of the American system is that it is benevolent. This is only to say that modern America is full-blown fascism with a pretty face. It is every bit as deadly to human liberty as any tyranny in history and I would add far more sinister because of its propaganda sophistication.

Any regime that can spin tons of fiat paper money with printing presses or electronically is a slave system regardless of what it calls itself or regardless of the general population's perception of it.

Our mother has been transformed into a witch no matter how much we love her.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 24, 2017, 2:45 am

Just before North Korea’s foreign minister was due to address the United Nations, the Pentagon announced that U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighter jets flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea on Saturday, in a show of force which "demonstrated the range of military options available to President Donald Trump." The flight was the farthest north of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea that any U.S. fighter jet or bomber has flown in the 21st century, the Pentagon added.


B-1B Lancer prepares to take off from Andersen AFB, Guam, Sept. 23, 2017

According to Reuters, the B-1B Lancer bombers came from Guam and the U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts came from Okinawa, Japan. The Pentagon saod the operation showed the seriousness with which it took North Korea’s “reckless behavior.”

#USAF bombers, fighters fly in international airspace east of #NorthKorea, farthest north of the DMZ in 21st century https://t.co/R5DLUQigSF pic.twitter.com/fsFx4Q1oKE

— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) September 23, 2017

“This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, calling North Korea’s weapons program “a grave threat" adding that “we are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies.”

#PACOM stands prepared to use our full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies if called upon to do so.

— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) September 23, 2017

The DMZ is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula near the 38th Parallel, separating North Korea from South Korea. It was created in 1953, following the armistice which ended the Korean War.

The patrols came after officials and experts said a small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one. Reversing its original assessment, China’s Earthquake Administration said the quake was not a nuclear explosion and had the characteristics of a natural tremor.

While the US has flown similar sorties before, according to The Aviationist, the show of force is a bit more interesting than usual, for four reasons:

  1. it is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century;
  2. unlike all the previous ones, the latest sortie was flown at night, hence it was not a show of force staged to take some cool photographs;
  3. no allied aircraft is known to have taken part in the mission at the time of writing, whereas most of the previous B-1 missions near the Korean Peninsula involved also ROKAF (Republic Of Korea Air Force) and/or JASDF (Japan’s Air Self Defense Force) jets;
  4. it was a U.S. Air Force job: no U.S. Marine Corps F-35B stealth jet took part in the show of force this time, even though the STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter has taken part in all the most recent formations sent over Korea to flex muscles against Pyongyang. The photo here below shows the “package” assembled for Sept. 14’s show of force.


Munitions from a U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF)

bilateral mission explode at the Pilsung Range, South Korea, Sept 17, 2017.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 24, 2017, 2:18 am

Spain found itself on the verge of a full-blown sovereign crisis on Saturday, after the "rebel region" of Catalonia rejected giving more control to the central government in defiance of authorities in Madrid who are trying to suppress an independence referendum on Oct. 1.

As tensions rise ahead of the planned Catalan referendum on October 1, and as Madrid's crackdown on separatist passions took a turn for the bizarre overnight when as we reported Spain’s plan to send boatloads of military police to Catalonia to halt the referendum backfired with dockers in two ports staging a boycott and refused access, on Saturday Spain's Public Prosecutor's Office told Catalan Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero that his officers must now obey orders from a senior state-appointed police coordinator, Spanish news agency EFE reported on Saturday.

The Catalan Police, however, disagreed and as Bloomberg reports, the SAP union - the largest trade group for the 17,000-member Catalan Police, known as Mossos d'Esquadra - said it would resist hours after prosecutors Saturday ordered that it accept central-government coordination. The rejection echoed comments by Catalan separatist authorities.

“We don’t accept this interference of the state, jumping over all existing coordination mechanisms,” the region’s Interior Department chief Joaquim Forn said in brief televised comments. “The Mossos won’t renounce exercising their functions in loyalty to the Catalan people.”

The Mossos are one of the symbols of Catalonia’s autonomy and for many Catalans the prosecutor’s decision may be reminiscent of the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War and subsequent dictatorship of Francisco Franco, when the Mossos were abolished.

In a joint press conference today with the Catalan home affairs minister Joaquim Forn and the Mossos chief Josep Lluís Trapero, Forn said that the move by Spain was "unacceptable".

“We denounce the Spanish government’s will of seizing the Mossos, as they did with Catalonia's finances" Forn said adding that that "the Catalan government does not accept this interference, it bypasses all the institutions that the current legal framework already has in place to guarantee the security of Catalonia." Additionally, Trapero expressed his intention to not accept the measure, which he described as "interference by the state", and also warned that "it skips over all the bodies of the legal framework to coordinate the security of Catalonia".


Catalan minister Joaquim Forn (L) with Mossos chief Josep Lluís Trapero

Earlier on Saturday, El Pais reported that Civil Guard Colonel Diego Perez de los Cobos, chief of staff of the Interior Ministry’s security department, was named by a prosecutor to coordinate the efforts of the Civil Guard, the National Police and the local Mossos.  Spanish media reported unnamed Home Office sources as saying the measure did not mean withdrawing any powers from the Mossos formally, but rather requiring them to submit to a joint coordination operation to stop the Catalan referendum taking place on October 1.

However, shortly after the reshuffling, Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero rejected giving up control to the central government during a meeting with the heads of the other police forces on Saturday, adding that all possible legal challenges would be studied. According to La Vanguardia Trapero "protested at that meeting about the decision to impose central government control" on the regional police force.

Also on Saturday morning, as the police meeting in Barcelona took place, the regional interior minister, Forn, published a defiant message on Twitter: "We will encounter many difficulties. The state wants to take control of our self-government, but they will not stop us! #HelloRepublic".

Ens trobarem amb moltes adversitats. L'Estat vol intervenir la nostra autonomia, però no ens aturaran! #HolaRepúbica pic.twitter.com/7Wdodq3AA0

— Joaquim Forn (@quimforn) September 23, 2017

Ironically, as Bloomberg writes, while Mossos chief Trapero reports to the regional government, his force’s funding is mostly provided by Madrid and it’s supposed to take orders from judges and prosecutors from across the country. Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution lets the central government take control of a regional administration if it poses a threat to the national interest. Rajoy has already made moves in that direction.

Earlier this week, the budget ministry took over management of Catalan’s finances and will issue paychecks to more than 200,000 public workers in the region, including the police.

That said, any more direct challenge to the Mossos would be fraught with risk because Trapero, its leader, has become something of a local hero since leading the response to the terrorist attacks in August. Separatists are selling T-shirts with his face printed on them.

According to Reuters, the Catalan government also believes that the Mossos takeover bypasses the Catalan statute  - article 164 - and constitutional law and the Spanish prosecutor that ruled in favour of Madrid taking control had overstepped his legal boundaries, saying that it had no power to rule on who had the authority to issue orders to Mossos.

The prosecutor had ordered that the Catalan police, the Spanish National Police and Spain's Guardia Civil be managed from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Madrid. The decision, according to the prosecution, aims at "reinforcing the operation to prevent crime and to keep public order" a week before the October 1 independence referendum.

 

The decision was announced during a meeting between the prosecutor and the chiefs of the three police forces.

The disobedience will fuel further speculation the Mossos will not work with the national Civil Guard in Spain’s largest regional economy. The standoff came a day after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government acknowledged it’s sending more reinforcements to help control street demonstrations and carry out a separate court order to halt the vote.

Additionally, the latest move by Madrid will also increase the tension between the two sides which increasingly looks like it could descend into a direct confrontation as neither side appears to be willing to back down.


Catalan President Carles Puigdemont speaking a pro-independence rally

Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s president, called the independence vote in an attempt to push the secession movement forward after decades of political and legal fights over the region’s traditions and language. Since Rajoy took office in 2011, he’s had persistent clashes with separatists seeking to foment a backlash against Madrid. Catalonia is home to about 7.5 million people, or 16 percent of the population, but accounts for a fifth of the economy, on a par with Portugal and Finland.

Several pro-independence groups have called for widespread protests on Sunday in central Barcelona. “Let’s respond to the state with an unstoppable wave of democracy,” a Whatsapp message which was used to organize the demonstration read.

The Catalonian government opened a new website on Saturday with details of how and where to vote on Oct. 1, challenging several court rulings that had blocked previous sites and declared the referendum unconstitutional.

“You can’t stem the tide,” Catalonia’s president Carles Puigdemont said on Twitter in giving the link to the new website.

But Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted again that the vote should not go ahead. “It will not happen because this would mean liquidating the law,” he said at the PP event in Palma de Mallorca. Acting on court orders, the Spanish state police has already raided the regional government offices, arrested temporarily several senior Catalan officials accused of organizing the referendum and seized ballot papers, ballot boxes, voting lists and electoral material and literature. The finance ministry in Madrid has also taken control of regional finances to make sure public money is not being spent to pay for the logistics the vote or to campaign.

How this escalating clash between Madrid and Catalonia is resolved over the coming week will define the fate of Spain for years to come.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 24, 2017, 2:16 am

The U.S. federal government just passed a record $20 trillion in publicly held debt. That’s bigger than the entire economy of every country in the European Union, combined.

As HowMuch.net notes, the debt will only grow higher unless President Trump and the U.S. Congress can agree to unprecedented spending cuts combined with tax increases. 

Don’t count on that happening anytime soon. Most people think that an eye-popping $20+ trillion debt is insurmountable, and in fact, it is the largest in the world by far.

But when you look at another fiscal measure - the ratio of debt-to-GDP - the U.S. is not in the worst situation...

Source: HowMuch.net

HowMuch.net's visualization allows you to quickly see how the U.S. government’s debt compares to other countries around the world. The size of the country correlates to the size of the debt. The U.S. and Japan stand out because they have the highest debts in the world ($20.17T and $11.59T, respectively). Other countries, like Germany and Brazil, appear much smaller because their debts are comparatively tiny ($2.45T and $1.45T, respectively). We then color-coded each country according to its debt-to-GDP ratio. Green countries have a healthy margin, but dark red and fuchsia countries have debts that are even bigger than their entire economies.

Top 10 countries with the Worst Debt-to-GDP Ratios 

  1. Japan (245% at $11.59T)
  2. Greece (173% at $338B)
  3. Italy (138% at $138B
  4. Portugal (133% at $274B)
  5. Belgium (111% at $111B)
  6. Spain (106% at $106B)
  7. Canada (106% at $106B)
  8. Ireland (105% at $105B)
  9. France (98% at $98B)
  10. Brazil (82% at $82B)

The debt-to-GDP ratio is a critical metric for evaluating a country’s fiscal health. It makes a lot of sense for the American government to have a higher debt than a much smaller country, like Germany. Think about it like this: Bill Gates is worth $86 billion, so he can afford a much higher credit card bill than me or you.

That’s why it’s important to consider the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of each country, a number which represents the sum of all transactions occurring in the economy.

Once you understand the public debt as a percentage of GDP, you get a level playing field for countries on different economic scales. When you think about it like this, the U.S. isn’t even among the ten worst sovereign debts in the world.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 24, 2017, 2:15 am

Authored by Brian Kalman, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson via SouthFront.org,

China has begun construction of the first Type 075 Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD).

Construction most likely started in January or February of this year, with some satellite imagery and digital photos appearing online of at least one pre-fabricated hull cell. The Type 075 will be the largest amphibious warfare vessel in the Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), with similar displacement and dimensions as the U.S. Navy Wasp Class LHD. The PLA has also made it known that the force plans to expand the current PLA Marine Corps from 20,000 personnel to 100,000.

As China completes preparations for its new military base in Djibouti, located in the strategic Horn of Africa, it has also continued its substantial investment in developing the port of Gwadar, Pakistan. Not only will Gwadar become a key logistics hub as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative, but will also be a key naval base in providing security for China’s maritime trade in the region.  When these developments are viewed in conjunction with the decision to reduce the size of the army by 300,000 personnel, it is obvious that China has reassessed the strategic focus of the nation’s armed forces.

The PLAN’s intends to expand the current force structure of the PLA Marine Corps fivefold, from two brigades to ten brigades. At the same time, the PLAN will be increased in size and capabilities, with many new, large displacement warships of varying types added to the fleet. Of particular interest, are the addition of at least two Type 055 destroyers, an indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier of a new class, two more Type 071 LPDs, and the first Type 075 LHD.

China is rapidly gaining the ability to project power and naval presence at increasing distances from its shores. Not only is the PLAN expanding in tonnage, but its new vessels are considerably more capable. The PLAN will be striving to add and train an additional 25% more personnel over the next half a decade, in an effort to add the skilled crews, pilots, and support personnel that will facilitate such an ambitious expansion.

The Chinese military leadership previously decided to double the number of AMIDs starting in 2014. A 100% increase in the PLA AMIDs and a 500% increase in the PLAMC denotes a major strategic shift in the defense strategy of the Chinese state. With the successful growth of the Silk Road Economic Belt/Maritime Silk Road Initiative, it becomes readily apparent that China must focus on securing and defending this global economic highway. China has made a massive investment, in partnership with many nations, in ensuring the success of a massive system of economic arteries that will span half of the globe. Many of these logistics arteries will transit strategic international maritime territories. In light of these developments, a military shift in focus away from fighting a ground war in China, to a greater maritime presence and power projection capability are quite logical.

China began construction of a maritime support facility in Djibouti in 2016, to protect its interests in Africa, facilitate joint anti-piracy operations in the region, and to provide a naval base to support long range and extended deployments of PLAN assets to protect the shipping lanes transiting the Strait of Aden. In addition, China invested approximately $46 billion USD in developing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including major investment in the infrastructure of the port of Gwadar. The governments of both nations desire the stationing of a flotilla of PLAN warships in the port, and possibly a rapid reaction force of PLA Marines. Gwadar is well positioned to not only protect China’s economic interests in Pakistan, but also to react to any crisis threatening the free passage of maritime traffic through the Strait of Hormuz. The forward positioning of naval forces will allow the PLAN to protect the vital crude oil and natural gas imports transiting the Suez Canal, the Gulf of Aden and into the Indian Ocean from routes west of the Horn of Africa. In light of the fact that 6% of natural gas imports and 34% of crude oil imports by sea to China transit this region, the desire to secure these waterways becomes readily apparent. Not only would the presence of PLAN warships and marines help to secure China’s vital interests in Pakistan and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in particular, but would also afford the PLAN a base of operations close to the Strait of Hormuz. Approximately 51% of all Chinese crude oil imports by sea transit the strait, as well as 24% of seaborne natural gas imports. Any closure of the Strait of Hormuz due to a theoretical military conflict or an act of terrorism or piracy would have a huge impact on the Chinese economy.

Although the maritime trade routes transiting the Indian Ocean are of vital importance to keeping the manufacturing engine of China running uninterrupted, the South China Sea is of even greater importance. Not only does the region facilitate the passage of $5 trillion USD in global trade annually, but much of this trade is comprised of Chinese energy imports and exports of all categories. The geographic bottle neck of the Strait of Malacca, to the southwest of the South China Sea, affords the transit of 84% of all waterborne crude oil and 30% of natural gas imports to China. The closure of the strait, or a significant disruption of maritime traffic in the South China Sea, would have a devastating impact on the Chinese state. It is in the vital national interest of China to secure the region based on this fact alone. In addition, establishing a series of strategically located island outposts, covering the approaches to the South China Sea, affords China a greater ability to secure the entire region, establish Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) and defend the southern approaches to the Chinese mainland, while enforcing the nation’s claims to valuable energy and renewable resources in the region.

China continues to expand and reinforce its island holdings in both the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos. The massive construction on Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef will likely be completed later this year. These three islands, in conjunction with the surveillance stations, port facilities and helicopter bases located on a number of key smaller atolls, afford China the capability to project power and presence in the region at a level that no other regional or global power can match.

As China moves forward in expanding the PLAMC and the amphibious divisions of the PLA, it has maintained a swift schedule in shipbuilding which aims to provide a balanced and flexible amphibious sealift capability. China intends to tailor a modern and sizable amphibious warfare fleet that is capable of defending the growing maritime interests of the nation, and which can provide a significant power projection capability that can be employed across the full breadth of the Maritime Silk Road.

The first two classes of amphibious vessels that were seen as essential to design, construct and supply to the PLAN were the Type 072A class Landing Ship Tank (LST) and the Type 071 class Landing Platform Dock (LPD). There are a total of six Type 071 LPDs planned, with four currently in service and the fifth vessel reaching completion this year.

Plans to build a large LHD began in 2012, with a number of different designs contemplated. The class was known in intervening years as the Type 075 or Type 081. The Type 075 design was finalized and plans were made to begin construction in 2016. Although many analysts believe that the PLAN intends to build two such vessels, there will most likely be a need for one or two additional vessels of this class to meet the growing maritime security and power projection requirements of the nation. All signs point to the PLAN’s intentions of establishing two to three Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs), as they have slowly and methodically developed a modern amphibious warfare skillset over the past two decades. They have taken a similar approach to establishing a modern carrier-based naval aviation arm.

From what is known, the Type 075 will displace 40,000 tons, have an LOA of 250 meters, and a beam of 30 meter. The Type 075 will be fitted with a large well deck, allowing for amphibious operations by LCACs, AAVs, and conventional landing craft. Each LHD could theoretically carry approximately 1,500 to 2,000 marines, a full complement of MBTs and AAVs (approximately 25-40 armored vehicles), 60 to 80 light vehicles, and ample cargo stowage space. The helicopter compliment will most likely consist of approximately 20 Z-8 transport helicopters, two Z-18F ASW helicopters, one or two Ka-31 AEW helicopters, four Z-9 utility helicopters, and possibly 6 to 8 naval versions of the Z-10 attack helicopter. With no VSTOL fixed wing attack aircraft in service, the PLAN would most likely opt for using a rotary wing attack element for the LHDs.

China has been slowly and methodically building the foundations of economic and military security and is offering those nations that cooperate as part of the New Silk Road/Maritime Silk Road a seat at the table. In order to create a mutually beneficial trade and transportation network, one that may soon supersede or compete against others, China must secure its vital interests, backed up by military force, and build a viable and sustainable naval presence in key maritime regions.

China has clearly signaled that its defense strategy is changing.

The Chinese leadership feels that the sovereignty of mainland China is secure and is shifting focus to securing the vital maritime trade lifeline that not only ensures the security of the nation, but will allow China to increase its economic prosperity and trade partnerships with a multitude of nations.

Whether the United States decides to stand in the way of China’s growth or chooses to participate more constructively in a mutually beneficial relationship is yet to be determined. Without a doubt, China has set its course and will not deviate from this course unless some overwhelming force is brought to bear.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 24, 2017, 1:45 am

Apparently, this is what Steve Bannon meant when he swore he would never turn on his old boss during a series of interviews he gave after leaving the West Wing.

The simmering feud between Breitbart and President Donald Trump intensified on Friday as the Trump communications team barred a Breitbart reporter from the press pool during a Trump rally in Alabama, where the president was campaigning for Luther Strange (aka "Big L") - his pick to permanently fill the Alabama senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump announced his support for Strange weeks ago, eliciting howls of outrage from Bannon and Breitbart, who have accused Strange of being a “swamp creature” and blasted him for his association with former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned earlier this year following a widely publicized sex scandal. Strange served as attorney general of Alabama (Sessions’ old job) under Bentley, and has been working with Trump for months after being appointed by Bentley to temporarily fill Sessions' old seat. 

And Breitbart is denied entry into Trump-Strange rally #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/K9cczUvbrP

— Jeff Poor (@jeff_poor) September 22, 2017

But for better or worse, Strange is Trump's man - for now, at least - and the president showered him with praise during the rally. But while cycling through his greatest hits (everything from the second amendment, to Hillary-bashing, to his promised border wall), he found time to slip in a subtle dig at Bannon, joking that he had "fired" certain former staffers for disloyalty. Bannon and Breitbart have consistently supported  Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore, who will face off against Strange in Tuesday's crucial Republican runoff primary.

Anyone who has closely followed the many staffing changes at the White House will, of course, remember that Bannon and the White House communications department have offered conflicting accounts of the terms of his departure, with Bannon insisting that he left voluntarily, while the communications staff have suggested that he was fired.

A similar ambiguity exists surrounding the terms of Bannon loyalist and former Breitbart employee Sebastian Gorka's departure, who, as luck would have it, appeared on Fox Business just minutes before Trump took the stage to slam the president over his support for Strange.

In a brief segment, Gorka criticized Strange for his association with Bentley and claimed that Moore was the true “MAGA” candidate.

* * *

Of course, when Bannon – who is back running Breitbart – promised that he wouldn’t use the website as a cudgel against Trump, he did so with the caveat that Breitbart would hold the administration accountable should it abandon the nationalist, populist agenda that Trump promised the American people during the campaign.

To wit, Breitbart has become increasingly frustrated with Trump’s perceived abdication of his nationalist agenda by sending more troops to Afghanistan (after promising to bring troops home) and, more intolerably, his decision to allow DACA to be preserved in law by striking a deal with “Chuck and Nancy.”

And now it’s decided to turn its guns on Trump, publishing now fewer than hald a dozen anti-Strange or anti-Trump headlines during the Trump rally last night.

More than a half dozen anti-Trump headlines running on Breitbart tonight

— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) September 22, 2017

 

* * *

And now, Axios is reporting that Steve Bannon has been confirmed to headline a Roy Moore rally in Alabama Sunday night, alongside Phil Robertson of the popular show “Duck Dynasty.” Axios, which noted that Strange is also the pick of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a perennial Bannon foe, explained that “for Bannon to make a rare public appearance in such close proximity to Trump shows how invested he is in the race specifically, and attacking McConnell more generally.” But in attacking McConnell, in this instance, he is also striking at Trump.

In keeping with his promise to always support Trump against the establishment forces that Bannon says are trying to co-opt the Trump presidency, Axios reported that the Bannon camp is trying to spin the attacks against Strange as an indirect way of “supporting” Trump.

"Steve is coming to Alabama to support President Trump against the Washington establishment and Mitch McConnell. Steve views Judge Moore as a fierce advocate of Trump and the values he campaigned on."

To be sure, Breitbart’s strategy may be working. Trump appeared to admit during the rally last night that his Strange endorsement may have been a mistake, and that he would support Moore if he wins.

While the crowd at Friday’s rally cheered mightily for Trump, the cheers for his chosen candidate were less enthusiastic. As of Saturday afternoon, Moore leads Strange by nearly 9 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics polling average.

Whoever wins Tuesday’s primary has a virtual lock on the senate seat. And as the race draws closer, we expect to hear more from Trump. But will Breitbart succeed in convincing him to change his endorsement?

Given Trump’s distaste for “losers”, we imagine it’s not out of the question. 

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 24, 2017, 1:15 am

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

Do you ever hear something so startlingly mind numbingly ridiculous you realize it must be a sign things have gotten so fucked up something has got to give?

As I was driving to work yesterday morning on the Schuylkill Expressway a commercial comes on the radio from a plastic surgeon advertising for anyone looking for a better set of boobs. I had never heard a plastic surgeon commercial before, so I thought that was unusual. But, that wasn’t the best part. This plastic surgeon was offering no money down 18 month interest free financing on your new boobs.

I wonder if they are moving boobs with subprime debt the same way the auto companies have used subprime debt to move cars. Of course, when a deadbeat defaults on an auto loan the car is easily repossessed. What happens when a bimbo defaults on her boob loan? How narrow minded of me.

What happens when some dude who wants to be a bimbo defaults on his/her loan? I guess it was just a matter of time before breast enhancement met debt enhancement in this warped world of materialism, narcissism, financialization, and delusions.

Now that revolving credit has reached a new all-time high of $1 trillion and total consumer debt outstanding has exceeded it’s 2008 peak at $12.8 trillion, the Fed has completed its job of helping the average American again in-debt themselves up to their eyeballs. This is considered a success story in this twisted, perverted, bizarro world we call America today. The solution to an epic debt induced global financial catastrophe caused by Federal Reserve easy money, Wall Street fraud, and Washington DC corruption has been to increase global debt by 50% since 2007, with virtually all of it created by central bankers and the governments they control.

In what demented Ivy League educated academic mind would piling $68 trillion more debt on the backs of taxpayers as a cure for a disease caused by the initial $149 trillion of debt be considered rational and sustainable? It’s like having pancreatic cancer and trying to cure it with a self inflicted gunshot. And no one seems to care about or even notice the coming reset when this mass debt induced hysteria of delusion turns into the biggest financial collapse in the history of mankind.

This entire ponzi scheme edifice of debt is nothing but a confidence game. When people begin to realize they can’t repay their own debts, start to understand their governments will never honor their debt based promises, and realize central bankers are nothing more than pretend wizards behind a curtain, the confidence will evaporate in an instant and a collapse which will make 2008/2009 look like a walk in the park will ensue. That’s when civil and global war will engulf the world and teach people real lessons about the real world.

The boobs on credit commercial I heard this week is just another example of Wall Street and their Deep State crony co-conspirators completing their scheme to financialize every aspect of our lives and entrap us in chains of debt, beholden to these modern day Wall Street slave owners. When you see the record number of retail bankruptcies and store closings happening when GDP is supposedly rising by 3% and witness with your own two eyes the number of vacant storefronts and restaurants across our great land of materialism, you might wonder why revolving credit card debt is at a new all-time high.

The answer is Wall Street has successfully financialized virtually every aspect of our day to day lives. Consumer and taxpayer transactions which required cash or check ten years ago can now be paid with a credit card. You can pay your IRS bill with a credit card. You can pay your real estate taxes with a credit card. You can pay your utilities with a credit card. You can pay your school tuition with a credit card. You can pay your rent with a credit card. You can “buy” furniture and appliances without paying for seven years. And guess what? That’s what millions of average Americans are doing. In addition, they are driving “rented” $35,000 automobiles on seven year nothing down payment plans.

This massive debt induced fraud of a recovery gives the appearance of normalcy and stability. The stock market is at all-time highs is used as the narrative of central banker success. We’ve experienced extremely low volatility as the central bankers around the world have coordinated their money printing/debt creating schemes to purposely elevate financial markets to give the masses confidence that all is well. Anyone with critical thinking skills knows all is not well. The longer this fake stability is maintained the greater the collapse. Success breeds disregard for the possibility of catastrophe.

So you can call me the boy who cried wolf, but our Minsky Moment is approaching.

Sometimes they do ring a bell at the top.

In this case they are shaking fake boobs at the top.

“Stability leads to instability. The more stable things become and the longer things are stable, the more unstable they will be when the crisis hits.”Hyman Minsky

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 24, 2017, 12:45 am

Elon Musk isn’t the only one whose afraid that advances in artificial intelligence will leads to something akin to the creation of Skynet.

The Daily Mail is reporting that Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed reservations about artificial intelligence, even asking the head of Russia's largest tech firm 'how long do we have before the robots eat us'?

The Russian president was speaking to Arkady Volozh, chief of internet firm Yandex, during a tour of the company's Moscow headquarters, the Daily Mail reports. Volozh was discussing the “potential” of AI when he discovered that Putin has a dramatically different interpretation of what that might be.

According to state-funded Russian broadcaster RT, the question baffled Volozh.  

“I hope never”, he replied after taking a pause to gather his thoughts. “It’s not the first machine to be better than humans at something. An excavator digs better than we do with a shovel. But we don’t get eaten by excavators. A car moves faster than we do…”

 

But Putin seemed unconvinced. “They don’t think,” he remarked.

 

Volozh acknowledged that it was true and scrambled back to his speech on AI’s merits.

Putin hasn’t always harbored such a pessimistic view of AI. When asked earlier this month by a group of kids about who would rule the world in the future, Putin said it would be whatever country manages to perfect artificial intelligence.

As RT points out, tech firms like Google and Facebook are developing new AI technology as an increasing number of online services rely on algorithms, including search engines, automated translation between languages, image enhancement and targeted advertising, an area that recently got Facebook into hot water when its self-reporting ad algos created a targeting category using the keywords "jew hater."

Musk has repeatedly warned that AI could cause World War III. Unless the technology is properly regulated, he said, it represents a much bigger threat to the security of the US than North Korea.

Of course, Musk has been criticized for his paranoid views by such tech luminaries as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who said he was “optimistic” about AI’s potential.

Whatever happens with AI, hopefully it doesn’t come to this.


 

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 24, 2017, 12:15 am

Via Global Macro Monitor,

“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.” – President Herbert Hoover

The Hoover administration thought there was no room and was ideologically opposed to fiscal expansion to stimulate aggregate demand.  Furthermore, Keynesian theory was not even developed at the time.  The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money  was not published until February 1936.

A policy error, partially due out of  ignorance, that led to the Great Depression, though it was monetary policy and the Fed’s failure as “lender of last resort” that “put the Great in the Great Depression.”

…what happened is that [the Federal Reserve] followed policies which led to a decline in the quantity of money by a third. For every $100 in paper money, in deposits, in cash, in currency, in existence in 1929, by the time you got to 1933 there was only about $65, $66 left. And that extraordinary collapse in the banking system, with about a third of the banks failing from beginning to end, with millions of people having their savings essentially washed out, that decline was utterly unnecessary  – Milton Friedman

Here is Ben Bernanke,

The problem within the Fed was largely doctrinal: Fed officials appeared to subscribe to Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon’s infamous ‘liquidationist’ thesis, that weeding out “weak” banks was a harsh but necessary prerequisite to the recovery of the banking system. Moreover, most of the failing banks were small banks (as opposed to what we would now call money-center banks) and not members of the Federal Reserve System. Thus the Fed saw no particular need to try to stem the panics. At the same time, the large banks – which would have intervened before the founding of the Fed – felt that protecting their smaller brethren was no longer their responsibility. Indeed, since the large banks felt confident that the Fed would protect them if necessary, the weeding out of small competitors was a positive good, from their point of view. – Ben Bernanke

National Debt

06/29/1929 =  16,931,088,484.10    (16.8 % of GDP)

 

09/20/2017 =  20,179,769,858,967.22     (104.9 % of GDP)

Source:  U.S. Treasury Department

How many generations can keep “kicking the can down the road”?

Ernest Hemingway “kicking the can the down the road” in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Have we finally bumped up against the upper bound of the debt limit?   “This Time Is Different.”

Prepare for the “clash of generations.”

It has already started.

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 23, 2017, 11:45 pm

By Victor Shvets of Macquarie Capital

Japan Debt Mountain: does it matter?

For almost 25 years, Japan’s debt burden has been the poster child of what would happen to others if capital is misallocated, bubbles burst and then clearance and required reforms are either delayed or not implemented. Indeed, at more than 5x GDP, Japan is shouldering a greater debt burden than other key jurisdictions. It is also facing severe demographic challenges, while its labour market remains constrained and the state maintains a sway over the private sector. Since WW II, Japan has always been more statist than most other major economies, with Korea and China subsequently following Japan in developing a similar model. The conventional argument has been that Japan’s debt would ultimately crush its economy and severely crimp public sector spending, while the private sector would be unable to adjust, and hence lose competitiveness. Eventually, the private sector might lose confidence and stop repatriating cash and the country would then suffer from massive capital outflows.

Not only were these dire projections wrong for decades, but as the rest of the world joined Japan in secular stagnation and unorthodox monetary policies, it is no longer perceived as an exception but rather as a pointer to the future. Japan’s success in navigating disruption, deep financialization and permanent overcapacity is now studied and imitated. While there are local nuances, Japan shows the way forward. QEs associated with the Fed were invented in Japan more than a decade earlier. The same applies to fiscal stimuli, collapsing velocity of money and strong disinflation. Whatever are the policies, Japan has already tried them. Japan is far more advanced in fully monetizing its debt by utilizing multiple asset classes, from bonds to equities. It also accepts that normalization is not feasible, and unlike the Fed, it has no illusions that rates could ever rise or that immigration and deep labour market reforms are either possible or desirable. When the US is focusing on returning outdated factories, Japan is building for the future, when labour inputs would no longer be the key.

Although Japan’s cultural and labour market constraints reduce its ability to fully commercialize inventions, it has not prevented the country from maintaining its rating as the most complex economy in the world, while keeping leadership in patents and yielding above-average labour and multi-factor productivity. Japan’s stagnant domestic economy is overshadowed by its competitive externally-facing sectors that are becoming complementary rather than directly competing against China. Even financial repression that Japan practised for decades is becoming a global norm, nowhere more so than in Eurozone. We expect BoJ to quietly abandon its inflation targets while maintaining flexibility in asset acquisitions to keep cost of finance close to zero. This would be a recipe for continuing twilight for years to come, with debt burden neither derailing the economy nor financial markets, even as BoJ assets rise beyond 100% of GDP (~45%+ of JGBs).

Assuming that Abenomics is dead and that there is neither desire nor capacity to lift inflationary outcomes, then it would be positive for ¥. Higher ¥ would erode Topix’s ROEs (corporate governance is unlikely to offset lower returns) but it should also highlight the strength of its globally competitive and thematic plays. In our global portfolios we currently have Yaskawa, Fanuc, Mitsubishi Electric, Nintendo, Nidec, Murata, Keyence, Tokyo Electron and Yamaha. Any further ¥ appreciation should also reduce pressure on Korea and China while extending EM reflationary cycle and its investment ‘goldilocks’.

Why is Debt Mountain not crushing Japan?

“We know that advanced economies with stable governments that borrow in their own currency are capable of running up very high levels of debt without crisis.”

       — Paul Krugman

This quote by Paul Krugman neatly encapsulates the main reasons as to why Japan has not been crushed by ever-rising public sector debt. Japan is state with a high degree of credibility and it borrows almost exclusively in its own currency, with debt owned predominantly by its own citizens. Financial crisis is all about perception rather than reality.

However, one issue that Krugman has not emphasized but which is increasingly important is the ability of central banks (CBs) to support and distort the governments’ cost of funds. Given that the CBs are not economic agents, their bids and bond acquisitions are not designed to discover appropriate pricing levels, but rather to support governments’ objectives (usually to simulate economies by lowering cost of capital). In the past, such aggressive interventionist policies were unique and infrequent events (accompanying wars or other major dislocations), but over the last two decades, they have become an increasingly acceptable tool in the governments’ armoury. Japan has been leading from the front for more than two decades, followed by the rest of the world after GFC.

Thus, there are essentially four reasons as to why most bets against Japan failed on a consistent basis:

  1. Japan is a homogeneous society, with relatively egalitarian income and wealth distribution, and hence, pain has been shared fairly evenly, thus preserving economic and societal coherence.
  2. Japan maintained credibility by selectively boosting and adjusting national commitments to elderly and medical care while irregularly pushing up consumption tax. Although some of these measures were counter-productive on a longer-term basis, they have placated global markets.
  3. Japan borrows in its own currency and the bulk of JGB holders are Japanese residents (over 88%). This massively reduces the degree of external vulnerability.
  4. BoJ has been exceptionally aggressive in driving money supply up and cost of capital down. This aggressiveness coincided with the growing global disinflationary trend, which eroded bond yields and significantly reduced the proportion of the government spending that is spent financing interest commitments.

As can be seen below, despite massive rise in the governments’ gross and net debt burden, the proportion of state spending that is dedicated to servicing interest has declined significantly over the last decade and is now below 5% of total expenditure.

The extent to which BoJ has become the key to Japan’s perceived longer-term sustainability can be seen from the explosion of its balance sheet and how its asset base increased at a pace much faster than state requirements. BoJ has by now accumulated almost 45% of the entire JGB’s market (vs 10% only five years ago), and its balance sheet is rapidly closing on 100% of the country’s GDP (vs 37% G4 average). Also, BoJ is not just buying state paper but it has become actively involved in the corporate and ETF (equities) markets. BoJ already controls 75% of all of Japanese ETFs (although only 4% of overall equities) and as much as 15% of the Japanese corporate bonds.

The public sector over the last two decades did not really have an option but to become far more aggressive in transferring excess debt from private sector and onto government books. While this private sector de-leveraging was largely complete by 2005, the combination of GFC as well as subsequent earthquake (2011), continued to suppress private sector desire for more aggressive spending. Private sector sectoral savings even today remain at ~6% of GDP, whilst velocity of money is at best only stabilizing.

If public sector did not step in, the country would have undergone a massive and uncontrolled deflationary bust. Instead, Japan had simply kept its nominal demand intact, despite the private sector sustaining losses (real estate and equities) of equivalent to 100% of Japan’s GDP in ‘90/91 (or ~US$5 trillion). For perspective, consider that the GFC caused initial contraction of only around 1/3 of the US GDP. In other words, bursting of an asset bubble in the ‘90s Japan was at least three times more powerful than the GFC’s impact.

The net outcome of aggressive public sector policies offsetting sluggish and deleveraging private sectors was a ‘tranquil autumn’ of a civilized relative decline.

The Japanese economy is today a fraction of its importance several decades ago. Whereas in the late ‘80s, Japan was responsible for ~10% of global merchandise exports, its share is now below 3.8%. In the same period, Germany’s share eased from 10%-11% in ‘80s to around 8%, while the US’s share is down from 12% to ~9% and France’s share is down from 5% in the ‘80s to ~3%. The same occurred to Japan’s share of global GDP (whether on a nominal or PPP basis). The growth rates have compressed massively, but the country managed to maintain its overall aggregate demand and per capita income intact.

Japan emerged from this traumatic experience, as land of no inflation (indeed mild deflation for most of the time) and steady demand funded by the fiscal stimulus and resilient private sector productivity.

It has become a land where the central bank has been effectively cancelling national debt by acquiring more securities than the government needed to fund its deficits. While this poses many questions (such as ability of life and insurance companies to price their products, in the absence of a viable JGB market), it also implies that Japan is shifting closer to embracing far more extreme (but necessary) policies, such as minimum income guarantees and abandoning any further consumption taxes.

In the world where labour inputs are becoming increasingly less relevant and where robotics, automation, AI and social capital are likely to play an increasingly important role, even the traditional argument of a negative impact of demographics no longer dooms Japan to oblivion and collapse. It also implies that the conventional arguments in favour of large-scale increase in immigration is not only irrelevant but is likely to be faulty on both theoretical and practical grounds. It is likely that the current age of ‘declining return on humans and conventional capital’ will become far more pronounced over the next decade. It so happens that Japan is in the forefront of this evolution.

It is highly unlikely that Japan would ever accept large-scale immigration (whether it applies to high or low skill labour). It is equally unlikely that the Japanese themselves would ever prefer to work and live in foreign jurisdictions. At the same time, the pace of human replacement (whether it is waiters in the restaurants or nurses in hospitals) is accelerating in Japan at a far more robust pace than elsewhere. The unique nature of Japan is also translating into sustainably high levels of private sector productivity while containing income and wealth inequalities. Although Japan is today more unequal than it was in  late 1980s-early 1990s, it still remains one of the most egalitarian societies in the world.

While Japan is yet reluctant to accept the most radical of policies, it is far more advanced in fully monetizing its debt burden and unlike most other countries it no longer requires an ever accelerating pace of financialization (or addition of new debt-driven generations). The objective in Japan is to maintain per capita income rather than generating growth to accommodate a rising population and keeping society intact. The extent to which Japan would be able to achieve this objective would depend critically on Japanese corporates and its overall economy maintaining productivity gains.

* * *

In part 2 tomorrow: "Global lessons from Japan - the future is Red"

Author: Tyler Durden
Posted: September 23, 2017, 11:13 pm

NFA News Releases

September 14, Chicago—NFA has ordered Chicago, Ill., introducing broker Kingsview Futures LLC to pay a $50,000 fine.
Posted: September 15, 2017, 4:59 am

Elite Forex Blog - Market Research & Analysis

What’s next? A unicorn captured in Tennessee? The world I grew up in has changed. American Universities are handing out Play-Doh to comfort distraught liberals and “Never Trump” students. Protestors defaced a Thomas Jefferson statueat the University of Virginia due to his slave ownership. Race baiters attacked Hobby Lobby for displaying raw cotton in vases. The P.C. Police have continually demonstrated their desire to attack the America many of us love.
Now, the snowflake class is writing articles stating Ron Paul – the former Texas congressman that made a career out of criticizing bloated defense budgets and hawkish foreign policy decisions – is shilling for the defense industry. Their “evidence” is that he received five-year-old campaign contributions from some employees of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which they falsely credited with coming directly from the companies themselves.
Dr. Paul’s alleged wrongdoing was writing an op-ed mildly critical of Elon Musk, a government subsidy-eating machine and poster boy for left-wing environmental causes.
In the article, Paul, an Air Force veteran, expressed his opposition to Section 1615 of the National Defense Authorization Agreement (NDAA), which many speculate was written with the congressional intent of quietly extinguishing all serious competition to Musk’s SpaceX.
Section 1615 would bar the Air Force from funding any new launch vehicles. Coincidentally, in just a few short years, there will only be one established launch vehicle left in the marketplace -- Musk’s SpaceX.
If the NDAA is passed as is, it will stay that way for a long while.
Talk about a get-rich quick scheme.
This provision has the potential of putting a lot of taxpayer money in Elon Musk’s already fat pockets. As Dr. Paul already noted, “government contracts account for about 70 percent of SpaceX’s contracts. U.S. taxpayers have provided SpaceX more than $5.5 billion in the form of Air Force and NASA contracts.” Should Section 1615 be passed by the Senate today, that percentage will likely increase exponentially.
The P.C. Police are easy prey for the cult of personality that is Elon Musk. They reject even the possibility of Musk, one of their heroes having ulterior motives – whether it’s support of the carbon tax, support for the Paris Accords which he indirectly profits from, or now – you guessed it – possibly pushing 1615 through to passage.
Since 2003, Musk has given over $500,000 to Washington politicians, almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. SpaceX has even handed money to lobbying firms to work on pushing through past NDAAs, which contained language that would have seemingly benefitted his company – including expediting the already-planned-on government Russian engine ban, which SpaceX’s only serious competitor relies on.
All this Washington meddling is really sad when considering that the whole beauty of SpaceX’s founding was how it cut into what was once the unchecked market share of an industry giant and proceeded to cut costs by sizeable margins. Now, the founder of that same company may be working to bring the industry back to its glum past -- muscling out not just established veterans. Musk has shown himself to be a merciless competitor, claiming scalps throughout the industry and even not ruling out martians’ interference for his failures.
Musk’s blogging army points to how Section 1615 still allows for the funding of new rocket engines as push back that it will create a de facto SpaceX monopoly, claiming that it will keep his Russian engine-dependent revival afloat. And it might – on paper. But, as Pentagon officials have said time and time again, replacing the engine will lead to significant cost increases, making Musk’s company the only affordable option left for use in the United States.
Even if 1615 didn’t jeopardize the security of established market participants, would that make it an admirable provision? Is that what the followers of Musk, the so-called free market visionary, have resorted to -- keeping the status quo intact, but shutting the door on anyone else that may come next? 
The Musk followers see no wrong in their leader. He is the man that has promised to take them to the stars. He can do no wrong.
The Trump administration agrees with Dr. Paul, saying 1615 would “restrict development of new space launch systems, including those whose development is significantly funded by industry … [limiting] domestic competition, which will increase taxpayer costs by several billions of dollars through FY 2027 and stifle innovation.”
Dr. Paul is the antithesis of a crony. It’s as absurd as believing a craft store is racist for publicly displaying cotton arrangements. It’s time for the Musk sycophants, and the rest of the P.C. police, to take a step off Fantasy Island.  If anyone is a risk to America’s national security, it’s Elon Musk, not Dr. Paul.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-18/elon-musk-sycophants-attack-ron-paul-shill-defense-industry 
Posted: September 18, 2017, 8:16 pm
(GLOBALINTELHUB.COM) — 9/14/2017 — Trading is difficult, if it were easy there would be no losers – in order for there to be winners in markets, there have to be losers.  But trading is not impossible, and Wall St. has developed an industry out of it called “money management” which is effectively conservative trading.
But sometimes there are companies who simply mislead investors in to thinking that trading is easy, and these guys ‘putting golf clubs in their Porsche trunks’ simply discovered the ‘secret’ of life that it’s possible to click click click and get millions.  As hundreds of customers discovered, trading is not that easy.
forex
NFA orders Chicago, Ill., introducing broker Kingsview Futures LLC to pay a $50,000 fine
September 14, Chicago—NFA has ordered Chicago, Ill., introducing broker Kingsview Futures LLC to pay a $50,000 fine.
The Decision, issued by an NFA Hearing Panel, is based on a Complaint authorized by NFA’s Business Conduct Committee (BCC) and a settlement offer submitted by Kingsview Futures.
The Hearing Panel found that Kingsview Futures failed to diligently supervise its operations and activities.
The complete text of the Complaint and Decision can be viewed on NFA’s website.
Reading NFA complaints is always interesting.  Here’s the highlights:
 217 Kingsview Futures customers with self-directed accounts traded in 2015.
203 of these customers (or 9 %) incurred total losses that exceeded $1.9 million.
More than 70% of the customers experienced losses exceeding $1,000, and
approximately 10% of them experienced losses exceeding $20,000. One
customer’s losses exceeded $225,000. In contrast, thirteen customers reported
gains in 2015, and only three of them had net profits exceeding $1,000. During
the same period, Kingsview Futures made commissions totaling more than
$208,000 from these customers.
235 Kingsview Futures customers with self-directed accounts traded in 2014.
226 of these customers (or 96%) incurred total losses of more than $1.5 million.
They claim that FX is the ‘risky market’ where 95% of traders lose.  At Oanda, 51% of customer accounts are profitable.
In any event, it’s always sad to see customers pay for something like ‘training and education’ lured by videos with private planes and fancy cars, and then to lose money.  Trading futures is really difficult.  Training and education isn’t always sufficient to make you a trader.  In fact, traders who go through ‘real’ training often don’t succeed.
As we’ve said often, FX provides a lot of opportunity for algorithmic systems – trading FX yourself, futures included – is nearly impossible.
Stick to a system or manager with a track record.  That doesn’t guarantee success of course, but it at least puts you in the spectrum of statistically possible success.
Posted: September 14, 2017, 8:08 pm
(GLOBALINTELHUB.COM) — 9/9/2017 As Hurricane Irma approaches US borders, investors should note the forces of the ‘invisible hand’ in nature and not only in markets.  As we explain in our groundbreaking work Splitting Pennies, the financial markets are not ‘as seen on TV’ and in fact, are the subject of constant manipulation, and this storm is no exception.
Weather Modification technology is simple and has been around for a long time, starting with the use of dry ice, evolving to use of ‘supersonic booms’ and finally aerosols.  The Pentagon has technologies that are far, far, far more advanced than weather modification.   See an extensive list of weather modification patents here.
The amount of evidence is overwhelming (of course they do not broadcast this on TV, but they have a profit motive, we’ll get to that) and some groups such as geoengineeringwatch.org have toiled to create a resource, summarized by this video here:
forex
Hurricane Harvey brought an abrupt and catastrophic end to the 12 year long major hurricane landfall drought in the US. Were climate engineering programs a factor in the Harvey disaster scenario? Available data has already made clear the answer is yes. How much decimation will the manipulation of Hurricane Irma inflict? The US government has been actively engaged in hurricane modification programs for a minimum of 70 years, historical documents prove this fact conclusively. Yet, the power structure controlled circles of academia (and corporate media) continue to fuel total denial of the climate engineering hurricane modification reality, this should not be a surprise. How much decimation have global geoengineering / weather warfare programs already caused? What are the primary objectives and agendas? How much worse will it get? The short video below provides verifiable data to confirm that climate engineering is a reality, and exposes some of the primary objectives.

Exposing and halting the ongoing climate engineering / weather warfare / biological warfare assault is the great imperative of our time. The best chance we have of accomplishing this monumental task is by raising an army of the awakened, by reaching a critical mass. 
Is it really so hard to believe, that the military has the power to control hurricanes?  Anyone who is either in the military or who ‘does business’ with the military knows this and that compared to some of the other fun toys the military has controlling the weather is easy.  Much of the known info about weather modification comes from HAARP but HAARP has closed what they have now is far more powerful:
Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.
The technology clearly exists, but as it is ‘classified’ having any smoking gun evidence without a Snowden whistleblower is impossible; it’s a paradox, as evidence by CIA’s FOIA request if they are investigating us:
This really is an intelligence agency, their logic is impeccable.  They cannot confirm or deny if information does or does not exist.  So let’s go with what we know.
NOAA is the official US Government agency that monitors the weather, and provides official information at nhc.noaa.gov – anyone from Florida knows this URL and has gone through the agonizing wait for the next update which can mean a big change of plans.
Like most of the US Government, it’s actually not ‘NOAA’ that provides us this valuable data it’s Raytheon, black ops corporate master – the largest defense contractor in the world, with 60,000 + employees and a market cap of 50 Billion.  See their product info here, and their interesting note in bold: 
Owned and operated by NOAA, JPSS is an “end-to-end” system that includes sensors; spacecraft; command, control and communications; data routing; ground based processing and dissemination of weather data to users around the globe, such as NOAA’s National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center. The data provided by Suomi NPP and the JPSS satellites contribute to NASA’s study of earth climate trends.
JPSS polar orbiters carry a complement of advanced imaging and sounding sensors, which increase NOAA and DoD capabilities to monitor the entire planet and produce weather and climate predictions at a much higher fidelity and frequency. These advanced capabilities enable NOAA to better fulfill its mission to protect lives and property by increasing the timeliness and accuracy of public warnings and forecasts of weather and climate events.

JPSS CGS DELIVERS CRUCIAL DATA FOR NATIONAL WEATHER FORECASTS

Raytheon brings more than four decades of high-availability, reliable, precision-based, command-and-control systems experience to Suomi NPP and future JPSS missions. Suomi NPP is the bridge between existing polar-orbiting satellites and the launch of JPSS-1, scheduled for 2017. Providing critical data for Earth observation, Suomi NPP data is used to generate environmental data products, such as measurements of clouds, vegetation, ocean color and land and sea surface temperatures — all significant inputs to improve weather forecasting capabilities.

VALUE TO THE PUBLIC

While Suomi NPP and JPSS will not prevent severe weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes or blizzards from occurring, Raytheon’s advanced technologies enable meteorologists and forecasters to make more timely and accurate weather predictions that support NOAA’s “Weather Ready Nation” campaign and help save lives, protect property and decrease the devastating economic impacts caused by severe weather.
Raytheon’s proven radars and sensors work together to help experts see further, track longer and prepare smarter.
Our Air and Missile Defense Radar stacks together like building blocks to increase detection ranges and accuracy on naval destroyers. Our VIIRS sensor — famously known for its ”Blue Marble” photo of Earth — orbits the planet to provide meteorologists with unparalleled environmental data. And our Multi-Spectral Targeting System combines lasers with infrared sensors to enable pinpoint military operations.
Raytheon Company is a technology company, which specializes in defense and other government markets. The Company develops integrated products, services and solutions in various markets, including sensing; effects; command, control, communications, computers, cyber and intelligence; mission support, and cybersecurity. The Company operates through five segments: Integrated Defense Systems (IDS); Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS); Missile Systems (MS); Space and Airborne Systems (SAS), and Forcepoint. The IDS segment develops and produces sensors and mission systems. The IIS segment provides a range of technical and professional services to intelligence, defense, federal and commercial customers. The MS segment is a developer, integrator and producer of missile and combat systems. The SAS segment is engaged in the design, development and manufacture of integrated sensor and communication systems for missions. The Forcepoint segment develops cybersecurity products.
Interestingly, a small uptick on Irma.  For the uninformed, a hurricane is a military operation however you look at it, in the aftermath when there’s no power, only the military (and in partnership with FEMA) has the logistic resources to swoop in and restore order.  During Hurricane Andrew strange rumors persisted about the quarantine and control of information that the Army imposed around the devastated areas.  This is a great resource with photographic evidence, and they suggested that even it may have contributed to George Bush losing the election later that year.  The government seemed helpless to do anything to battered Miami.  And it was after Andrew that Hurricane manipulation efforts went into overdrive.
So why now, after so long with no major hit to Florida?  Are they gunning for Trump?  Or Trump ordered it, to distract the population from what’s really going on and as a means of control?  (Remember that the one strong power Trump has is leader of the Military, the US President has almost no political power).  We’ll never know.. but let’s look at the big picture.
After World War 2 the US “Military Industrial Complex” or “Iron Triangle” (Government, Defense Contractors, Wall St.) hasn’t really had an enemy.  Hitler and Japan were real enemies, although funded and allowed to grow by US companies, the fact remains that if Hitler wasn’t stopped we’d all be speaking German and eating poor tasting frankfurters and drinking beer.  WW2 was the peak of show of industrial power and how factories could make bombs that would destroy infrastructure.  The “Marshall Plan” and other post WW2 economic plans led the intellectual Elite (who were hired by the now rich military contractors) to create several doctrines that would keep them in business with or without an enemy (with all the happiness of the 50’s they probably thought – what if there is no more Hitler?  How will we make money?  War is good for business… ) hence we have the Report from Iron Mountain MUST READ BOOK  – to explain plainly, companies like RAND corporation have created enemies most notably “Russia” and most recently “Terrorists” but their plan is so deep, they are not to rely on a single artificial enemy, so they resort to the most basic Earth element, the weather.  What does this mean?  A group of scientists hired by these corporations post WW2 (you can call them pseudo economists) created studies and reports showing that investing $1 in the Military equalled $2 in economic output.  This is the most ridiculous and twisted thinking, based on this logic if we firebomb Los Angeles we’ll be the richest economy in the world.  But remember, twisted or not – this is their doctrine.  A great example of this in practice was during the Ford days when the CIA was tasked with the job of collecting intelligence on Russia – did they pose a security threat to the United States?  The CIA found no evidence of any capability sufficient of posing even a limited threat, nor any motive or evidence of irrational intent to attack the US or any other country (and Russia has a history of never invading any country- only defending themselves).  This report was released and Donald Rumsfeld famously retorted that “Just because the CIA didn’t find any weapons doesn’t mean that they don’t exist” – Rumsfeld went on to make a fortune consulting for defense contractors.  During this period one General really believed the Russians were hiding a missile base on the dark side of the moon.  The US Military is big business, and business is good.  But threats change and the battlefield changes.  Contractors, planners, developers, and many others will make a fortune rebuilding South Florida.  And it’s a lot closer than Iraq.  And heck, is it really so bad?  Raytheon (RTN) employs 60,000 people and the US Government itself is the largest employer in the world.  People need to put food on their families (-George W Bush).

There’s a number of reasons humans would want to control the weather:
  • To make it rain
  • For military purposes
  • Pollution control
  • Terraforming (For example what they are doing in UAE)
So what are the ‘known’ applications of weather modification?  Cloud Seeding, and Terraforming in UAE:
Cloud seeding is the opposite of cloud busting. For one thing, it’s a real thing. The process has been replicated numerous times both in the lab and in the field and is backed up by years of peer-reviewed scientific research. For another, it impregnates clouds to instigate the precipitation process rather than magically gathering them using dark energies.  Cloud seeding is currently used all over the world—including throughout the United States, China (where it is used to clear smog in Beijing), India, and Russia—to enhance precipitation, both rain and snow, while inhibiting hail and fog. And it actually works.

The UAE’s Ionizers: Tearing the Sky a New One

The United Arab Emirates is a land rich in wealth but poor in precipitation. That’s why president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has had the nation’s top scientific minds secretly toiling for years to create a new means of weather manipulation that would work more effectively in the region’s extreme temperatures. The result: The biggest Ionic Breeze on Earth.
Ionic Breeze devices are giant ionizers mounted atop tall steel poles and were built by the Swiss company, Metro Systems International. The devices generate massive ionic fields, positively charged ions ground back to the Earth while the negatively charged ions rise into the atmosphere. As they rise, the negative ions (electrons) collect particles of dust on the way up. These flecks act as seeds for ice crystal formation, much as silver iodide does except without the need for clouds. As long as the atmospheric humidity is at least 30 percent, the system supposedly works even in clear skies.
In the summer of 2010, 100 such emitters were spread over five sites in the Al Ain region. During July and August alone, when the area typically receives zero rainfall, it reportedly rained on 52 separate occasions, often with gusting winds and sometimes hail. The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology monitored the project and backed the study’s findings. This could be huge for the Middle East, where water is often in short supply and desalinization plants are nine-figure investments (and another eight-figures a year to run). The ionizers reportedly only cost $10.5 million to build and $8.9 million a year to operate.
$10 Million to make it rain, literally.  So what does a multi-billion dollar black budget get us in USA?  Think about the positive economic impact of Hurricanes for a moment, such as the obvious Billions in rebuilding and reconstruction projects.  But there’s also a political benefit and military benefit, the military can test their logistics and new non-lethal crowd control weapons, as well as the general population control (those evacuating south Florida are not likely to participate in right wing anti-government protests, for example).  Confuse, obfuscate, and conquer has been the mantra of the world’s leading Elite for centuries “Divide and Conquer” – and there’s no better Fog of War than a Hurricane most intelligently because 90% of the population will not believe that it’s controlled.  It’s pure genius.
There’s not any proof that this is manufactured or controlled, but like many things with the government – if they have spent millions developing weather modification technology including Hurricane manipulation technology (both to create Hurricanes and divert Hurricanes or weaken them) – what are they doing with it if not using it?  Clearly, there have been strange phenomenon at play in the region over the past 20 years that are not explainable as ‘Global Warming’ – which would mean more frequent stronger storms, not a 20 year + lull.
Traders from FL enjoyed the free money Lowes and Nov FCOJ pop that always comes with a slight delay after the announcement that a storm is headed for central FL where the majority of Orange Juice is grown.  But this is really a perception trade, as OJ is grown in many places around the world and the increase in Lowes purchases are not really relevant.  Also note that unlike other disasters, there are usually few human casualties in Hurricanes.  Remember even during Katrina, it was only the people who refused to evacuate that were trapped on rooftops, and even they were mostly saved.  It’s not as if the Military is ‘killing’ people – although that IS what they do during WAR (including US Citizens, not only the enemy).
What is the conclusion of this information, simply that:
  • The weather is controlled, USG owns the tech for years, this is likely organized by Raytheon (RTN) although there’s no public information to prove this (it’s classified)
  • There can be political motivations for storms, for hitting or not hitting populated rich areas like Miami or Tampa.  There is a clear economic and military benefit to such operations as PsyOps and as logistic tests of population control, i.e. FEMA camps and other new systems to be tested
Finally, there’s an elephant in the room – the bubble of bubbles.. South FL real estate.  There’s literally groups of investors waiting for the big crash to come, but no one is buying – there isn’t panic selling yet, but there is a glut of Miami real estate.  Investors are so called ‘hot money’ from foreigners who have never been to Miami but think it’s a good solid investment because real estate ‘always goes up’ – but the city of Miami is spending $500 Million to build levees and dams Dutch style around low lying areas.
After this event no matter how small the damage, it will do much bigger damage to the perception of FL real estate.  Many investors will now think twice about FL as the golden ticket to USA investing success.  FL residents damaged by the storm, many of them will take their checks and move to higher, more defensible ground.  Suddenly, with one storm, the argument of Preppers in the Cumberland Plateau all makes sense.  Real Estate in the mountains just doubled in value.
All the development in South FL is based on one axiom – no Hurricanes.  The same could be said about Los Angeles and Earthquakes.  But there are thousands of places in USA with reasonable property values that have no natural disasters, but they aren’t good ‘locations’ in ‘trendy’ places.  Of course if you work online or from home then it doesn’t matter where you live, so it would be logical to choose such a place vs. the over inflated FL which is a disaster zone.  Although New York City is also on the ocean, NYC is mostly built on bedrock and has elevations as high as 33 feet, comparing with Miami’s 6 feet, that’s a big difference.  FL is a big swamp mostly that was turned upside down by developers.  Unlike cities that formed by natural geo-politics and economics, Miami and most of FL is an artificial construct like Las Vegas.  The point is that it was poor investment decisions leading to a mass of capital flooding the development of FL but this will stop likely or slow down to a trickle after this storm.  A giant wall could be erected around the state but at what cost?  All of these hidden costs and risks are now exposed as realities, and we will see how the re-insurers handle failing insurers already suffering from Harvey.
The positive effect on the markets is that these storms will likely pop the first and possibly the biggest real estate bubble which is the most frothy, south FL.  That’s because unlike other markets, FL doesn’t have such a robust ‘natural’ industry, as for example seen in Chicago or San Francisco.  In fact real estate is an industry in itself in FL and something like 60% of home ownership is by vacationers.  Money will flow elsewhere, into other projects, and investors will think different.
The reason is simple – it’s one thing to ‘tell’ someone that the market is going to crash, or Miami is sinking into the sea, but having a devastating event happen, going through the process whatever your involvement in FL (As Jimmy Buffett says, everyone has a cousin in Miami).. this event will change your thinking about FL investing and doing business.  Miami was a happy sleepy beach town before this boom, alligators and old folks and flamingoes.
Markets are manipulated, storms are too.  So what?  We live in a fake world with fake people who stare into a Fake book.  If you’ve read through this article you should congratulate yourself and take pride in knowing you are part of the real one percent, the one percent that understands how the world really works; the real global elite – the emergent intelligentcia.
If you want a deeper understanding how this can impact your investing, checkout Splitting Pennies and learn how basically everything is manipulated for profit, as a business.  If in Shakespeare’s time ‘the world is a stage’ – now the world is a ‘platform’ to launch new products.  Welcome to the real New World Order.

REFERENCE ARTICLES

Posted: September 10, 2017, 3:15 am
(Elite E Services) — 9/1/2017 — As we have explained in our book Splitting Pennies – trading FX is nearly impossible; or at least, it may be possible for some time, but in the long run, it’s a near certainty that without the use of professional algorithmic trading systems you will blow up your account.  That’s because of the dynamics of how FX works vs. other markets.  In traditional markets, there is a bias towards positive movement; all CEOs of public companies want their stock to go higher.  Bull traders, 401k investors, pension funds – basically everyone wants the stock market to go up.  The short sellers aren’t ‘pessimists’ so much as ‘realists’ that over-inflated P/E ratios are a sign for a crash from unrealistic levels.  This is NOT the case in FX.  Currency markets have opposing forces like ‘gravity’ and ‘anti-gravity’ – every country wants both a strong currency and a weak currency.  This may seem illogical, welcome to the world of Currency!  The reason is simple – exporters want a cheap currency and importers want a strong currency.  Politicians usually favor a weak currency because it’s good domestically and big business favors a strong currency (at least in the USA) because USA is a net importer.  Let’s have a look at today’s USD action most noticed in EUR/USD:
EURUSD
On the surface this looks like a great trading opportunity – but is it?  EUR went up on poor US Payroll data; and then fell on dovish jawboning from the ECB.  Planned conspiracy to manipulate FX or just random brownian movement?  Believe what fits into your mind that helps you sleep at night, either way – would you have been able to buy EUR at 1.1924, sell near the high at 1.1980 and then reverse, covering near 1.19 handle?  All within 10 minutes?  Maybe someone did it, even if by accident, but the point is that any trading plan or investment strategy shouldn’t rely on the ability of such skills because even if as a trader you were able to achieve this great feat – would it be able to repeat it, day in and day out – for years?  Probably not.
Enter more paradox such as “Triffin Dilemma”:
The Triffin dilemma or Triffin paradox is the conflict of economic interests that arises between short-term domestic and long-term international objectives for countries whose currencies serve as global reserve currencies. This dilemma was first identified in a 1929 book, Gold and Central Banks, by Polish economist Feliks Młynarski,[1] who identified a fundamental instability in a gold-based international monetary system, that the reserve currency countries would tend to accumulate foreign reserves, but as the volume of these grew relative to the country’s gold reserves, international investors would begin to fear suspension of convertibility; later in the 1960s, it was rediscovered in the context of the Bretton Woods system by BelgianAmerican economist Robert Triffin, who pointed out that the country whose currency, being the global reserve currency, foreign nations wish to hold, must be willing to supply the world with an extra supply of its currency to fulfill world demand for these foreign exchange reserves, thus leading to a trade deficit. Due to Młynarski’s precedence in articulating the problem, Barry Eichengreen has suggested renaming the problem to “the Młynarski dilemma“.[1]
This is not only true for a reserve currency – any currency has a conflict between short term and long term interests.  For example, if a currency is weaker it can help exporters in the short term to boost sales, but hurt the same exporters in the medium term when they need to go out into the world and buy raw materials for higher prices.  This push and pull is what defines modern Forex on a systemic level.  While average investors certainly don’t need to know this unless you’re planning on getting a job with a central bank, it can help any investor understand how and why Currency markets fluctuate the way they do.  It should also be noted that these forces maintain ‘bounds’ naturally, establishing a sort of ‘high’ and ‘low’ limit for any FX pair.  For example the EUR/USD now trading around 1.19, it can go in next days to 1.20 or 1.21 but not 1.90, for example.  Even in rare cases such as the “Brexit” the GBP/USD went down by less than 10% – which is a lot, for a major Currency.  So let it be known to all that these risks in FX are investable (with the help of algorithms) and hedgeable.  Looking from a risk management perspective, it is a lot more manageable than securities, commodities, or bonds – which have the finality of the ‘ulimate’ risk (default) – as Currency is ‘money’ the Euro can’t ‘default’.
A final note to all you Bitcoiners – Bitcoin is a Currency it’s only a matter of time before it’s integrated into the Forex system, because BTC/USD is an FX pair.  Good time to brush up on your FX and understand the broader market (not just the microcosm of Cryptocurrencies).
Today’s move is a blip on the radar, a non-event for hedgers – and a potential huge trading opportunity for algos.  Game on!
Posted: September 1, 2017, 6:59 pm
Are you confused or curious about the markets, money, or finance?  Splitting Pennies is a great start, because it's not a technical 'how to trade' or 'how to invest' book.  Yes, it gets a little technical - but it's done so in a way that is fun and entertaining.  See what these happy readers have to say, from Amazon:

I recommend this book to anyone interested in how the world of money really works
This should be the first book anybody reads before beginning forex trading. Joe is not selling a "get rich quick" trading strategy or some such nonsense, but provides a thorough, non-biased explanation of how both forex and the financial system in general operate. Anybody thinking about beginning forex trading should read this book first before ever opening a MT4 terminal, a few bucks spent up front will save you a lot of money in the long run. 
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Posted: August 21, 2017, 3:53 pm
We all know that the majority of people don’t know FX (Foreign Exchange) so this topic should come as no surprise.  However, it’s important for traders and investors to understand how the US banks are ripping off their clients, and the only reason they do it is because clients allow them, because they don’t understand how they’re being scammed.  What we are talking about is the retail deliverable foreign exchange market.  Deliverable currencies is FX that is ‘deliverable’ to a foreign recipient, for example if you want to pay up front for a hotel in France you’ve booked in advance for your summer vacation.  It’s not only retail but for the example here it is – someone walking into a branch and asking to make a foreign payment.  We’ll use Bank of America as the example, let’s look at their FX rates from their website, available here:  https://www.bankofamerica.com/foreign-exchange/exchange-rates.go
So here’s the first line of defense to this scam, which it can be fairly called (we will explain).  Only one side of the spread is displayed – this will depend when you are ‘buying’ or ‘selling’ but they will NEVER be displayed on the same time or on the same screen (then, normally intelligent people may be able to deduce they were being fleeced like a sheep).  Let’s calculate the total spread based on the above rates using simple FX math for the 2 currencies chosen for this example, Euro and Yen.
FX is quoted EUR/USD that means 1 EUR = 1.1820 USD – the spot FX spread is about 1.1820 / 1.1822 according to LCG Brokers from Fortress Capital; but the market is closed now (it’s Saturday, day of rest in FX).  Now if we want to calculate the inverse price, for EUR/USD using Bank of America’s tool, we need to use the 1/x (reciprocal) function seen on most common calculators.  So if EUR/USD is 1.12 the inverse (reciprocal) is .89.  If we use the same ‘spread’ to convert 1 USD = x Euro then we subtract 1.1820 – 1.12 = .062 or 620 pips.  .062 doesn’t sound like much of a spread, but if you look in % terms it’s 5.54% of the price.  If we add the same amount of pips (or percent, however you calculate) to the other side of the spread, it would be 1.244 – for a total spread of 1240 pips.  Common spot trading spreads can run as high as 2 or 3 pips for the real shady FX brokers from Asia or aggressive IBs.  1240 pip spread is laughable.  Now of course these customers are PAYING in foreign currency not TRADING foreign currency it would be impossible to trade over 1240 pip spreads – but this is the reality for these poor retail victims.  1240 pips is substantial if you’re sending more than $50 – so now let’s look at the shocking examples.  At these prices, if you sent 100,000 to Europe, that would be about $5,540 in spread.  Where does this $5k magically disappear to?  The markets?  No – it is booked as a profit on the bank’s balance sheet.  Recently we (Elite E Services, Inc.) sent a wire payment like this for $5,000 and the banker had the audacity to say that if Bank A (not Bank of America, we won’t reveal the name) did the FX conversion we’d save $10 on the wire payment fee!  We calculated that would have been $350 in payment to Bank A to save $10.
Now the critical thing for US readers to understand, this is a uniquely American practice which happens only inside the borders of USA.  If you are in virtually any other country, whether it be UK, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Switzerland – you’re going to get rates on such transfers which are HIGH but probably something like 50 pips maybe 100 pips in extreme cases.  If you do transfers more than 100,000 that can go down to as low as 25 pips.  So how can the banks get away with it in USA?  They are simply taxing people’s stupidity, because there are alternatives.  Companies like Fortress Capital offer deliverable payment services by using payment processors like Commonwealth Foreign Exchange to get the same foreign rates and save customers up to 90% on transfers.  But they require an application and would not open an account for a single individual customer (it’s mostly for corporates who do regular transfers).  Then of course there’s Currencies Direct who has offices in USA, and a number of other companies.
But the fact is that the banks have people by the short and curlies, there are not really many or any choices when you need to do a single transfer – and banks are making a small fortune from this.  Could this be considered a Monopoly?  Anti-trust issues?
They settled huge claims and have since reduced the spread (whereas now it’s 5.5% it used to be 7% – 8% !!) and companies like American Express (AMEX) no longer charge a ‘foreign exchange fee’ – that’s right, on top of this horrendous spread many providers used to charge a 1% or 2% ‘fee’ on top of this!  Outrageous!
The sad thing is that most in the retail market, even small retail customers with little or no investment accounts understand stock trading.  Forex is not so complex as it is sometimes presented by the banks – I’m sure they do this intentionally, they aren’t stupid.. This profit center is good for them and costs them nothing, it’s a risk-less profit that no one can complain about because ‘hey, it’s Forex.’
This is not the ONLY way the big banks are banking off people’s FX stupidity, but it’s the most petty way, and the most widespread.  Millions and millions of dollars of such transactions take place on a daily basis and the banks are happy to keep things like this.
Posted: August 12, 2017, 5:31 pm
(GLOBALINTELHUB.COM) -- Dover, DE 8/8/2017 -- Global Intel Hub exclusive interview -- Elite E Services sat down with Mike Connor, Principal and Senior AP of Alpha Z Advisors, LLC – a trading advisor offering alternative investments based on strategies incorporating research on price anomalies, behavioral biases and institutional practices. In November of last year, Alpha Z Advisors LLC was ranked #1 Options Strategies Category by Barclay Hedge, a service that tracks funds’ strategies. So we wanted to learn more about on the Alpha Z Advisors strategy, as we have always supported options as a great way to not only hedge investments but also provide additional alpha to any portfolio. Also, futures options are generally traded on regulated exchanges – unlike FX which are mostly traded over the counter (OTC).
Who is Mike Connor?
Professional risk manager and former member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, who has more than 40 years’ experience in the futures and options industry.
What is the story behind Alpha Z Advisors?
Professor William Ziemba started Alpha Z Advisors, LLC with trading capital from friends and family. The initial investors were individuals he knew from the academic world in addition to a few referrals from the initial investors. The fund has grown in size from trading profits from the initial capital without attracting new investors.
How has the performance been?
2015 had great performance, more than 100% return, but it probably will never happen again due to a management decision to reduce initial margin to equity risk.
Why has it been so consistent?
The fund primarily trades options based on CME’s S&P 500 E-mini contract. Trading centers around the extreme prices of puts on the E-mini contract. The big money in trading options is made from being long, but returns are inconsistent (but the risk is usually very well controlled). The consistent money is made by being short options, but it comes with risk, and to stay in the game the risk has to be controlled.
How do you control the risk?
By properly hedging the positions either with other options or a futures position, and by margin to equity control. Short (selling) options positions are no different than an insurance company policies – you are selling price insurance. Like any insurance company, we’re going to have occasional disasters, like Katrina – but they should be manageable. Over a long time horizon, well managed market disasters should not prevent us from continuing to perform. We have had our share of ups and downs, and fortunately we have been able to survive all drawdowns. Good risk control and position sizing are the most important factors in any trading campaign.
What factors may impact the strategies’ performance?
Implied Volatility. Volatility is opportunity, but left unchecked it can be a horrible threat.
Considering the results, why do you think there’s not larger AUM?
Until recently we have not solicited publicly. This is our first concentrated effort at soliciting investors. In addition, we put together a minimum account size so high ($250K for the managed account, $100K for the fund). Our account size should eliminate many potential investors. We are looking for sophisticated investors that can take a part of their portfolio and take greater risk for a higher return.
How can investors ‘prove’ that the performance is ‘real’ – is there an institutional My FX Book ? There’s been a lot of CTA frauds that were real CTAs but used fake performance to lure investors – what assurances can we offer them about Alpha Z?
All the accounts – all the funds’ assets – all the performance results are compiled every month by an independent CPA firm. The statements themselves can be verified by the FCM.
Positions are manually stress-tested intra-day.
What makes Alpha Z Advisors LLC different than other CTAs?
I’m not sure if that’s the case, we have a very professional trading plan. You can go to Amazon and buy books published by our founder Dr. William Ziemba, actually he’s published more than 50 books on statistical abnormalities and opportunities in the stock market. It certainly does not mean we cannot lose, or have losing open positions – we are going to have losing positions there is no way around it. But overall, if we can control the risk and keep margin to equity at a reasonable level we should be able to survive during the bad times. We have, I think, enough excess margin to sit through a significant rise in implied volatility and still survive, if the positions and margin to equity can be properly controlled. Like any market position whether it is options or futures an unexpected giant gap opening is always a threat to open market position’s stability.
What makes the strategy different?
Trades are well positioned and I believe are market entry timing is very good. Our exposure is laid out over a broad time horizon (we don’t trade in nearby month, for example). If futures were a bullseye, you’d have to hit the target almost dead center to make a profit, with options, you can just hit the wall and still make a profit – of course, only with properly controlled risk and other parameters. I do not know how other CTA’s manage their positions and stress test their market risk, but I am confident our process is robust. What we do is not magic, it’s simply neutralizing the risk as much as possible, and there is a number of ways we accomplish that. It is all about understanding what the options can do if they move against you, and how you can respond adverse market activity.
The execution is done by a professional service. One way we keep our costs down other than accounting, is to try and soft dollar expenses through a soft dollar basis.
Customers are free to choose any brokerage house they want that clears at the CME. If customers do not have any preference, we are happy to set them up with our preferred FCM.
For more information contact:
Mike Connor
312-470-6260
Or visit www.alphazadvisors.com
This article/interview is for information/educational purposes only and is privileged, confidential and proprietary. This article/interview is NOT an offer to sell or a solicitation of any investment products or other financial product or services, is NOT an official confirmation of any transaction, or an official statement. Past performance is not indicative of future results. There is a substantial high and unlimited level of risk of loss in trading commodity futures, options, options writing, equities and off-exchange foreign currency products; such trading is not suitable for all investors.  Investors should only invest money they can afford to lose.

http://globalintelhub.com/alpha-advisors-offers-alternative-options-investing/
Posted: August 8, 2017, 7:32 pm
It was over three years ago, back in May 2014, when we wrote "How Bots Manipulated The Price Of Bitcoin Through "Massive Fraudulent Trading Activity" At MtGox" in which we first demonstrated one of the more striking observed "bot-driven" bitcoin manipulation schemes, in this case related to the infamous collapse of the now defunct Mt.Gox bitcoin exchnage.
As we wrote at the time, a number of traders began noticing suspicious behavior on Mt. Gox. Basically, a random number between 10 and 20 bitcoin would be bought every 5-10 minutes, non-stop, for at least a month on end until the end of January, by what appeared to be two algos, named later as "Willy" and "Markis." Each time, (1) an account was created, (2) the account spent some very exact amount of USD to market-buy coins ($2.5mm was most common), (3) a new account was created very shortly after. Repeat. In total, a staggering ~$112 million was spent to buy close to 270,000 BTC – the bulk of which was bought in November.
"So if you were wondering how Bitcoin suddenly appreciated in value by a factor of 10 within the span of one month, well, this is why. Not Chinese investors, not the Silkroad bust – these events may have contributed, but they certainly were not the main reason. But who did it? and why?"
Of course, in the end this alleged manipulation did not help Mt.Gox which eventually collapsed in what has been the biggest case of cryptocoin fraud in history.
We bring up this particular blast from the past, because in the latest case of bitcoin market abuse - with Bitcoin trading at all time highs above $3,000 - Cointelegraph reports of rumors swirling about a trader "with nearly unlimited funds who is manipulating the Bitcoin markets." This trader, nicknamed "Spoofy," received his "nom de guerre" because of his efforts to “spoof” the market, primarily on Bitfinex.
Of course, spoofing is what Navinder Sarao pled guilty of last year, when regulators inexplicably changed their story, and instead of blaming a Waddell and Reed sell order for the May 2010 flash crash, decided to scapegoat the young trader who allegedly crashed the market due to his relentless spoofing of E-mini futures (and also making $40 million in the process of spoofing stock futures for over five years).
It now appears that a spoofer has once again emerged, only this time in Bitcoin.
For those unfamiliar, spoofing is simple: it is the illegal practice of placing a large buy order just below other buy orders, or a large sell order just above other sell orders, then cancelling if it appears that the order is about to be hit or lifted. The idea is to make traders think that somebody with deep pockets is getting ready to buy or sell, in hopes of moving the market. If traders see a sell order of 2000 Bitcoin they may rush to panic sell before the whale crashes the price. And vice versa on the bid-side.
As an example of Spoofy's trading pattern, here is a breakdown of a typical "trade" by the mysterious entity as noted by BitCrypto'ed who first spotted the irregular activity: Spoofy is a regular trader (or a group of traders) who engages in the following practices:
  • Places large bids ($2 million and up) for Bitcoin, usually just under a smaller bid order, only to remove them once someone starts to sell. These orders usually have a lifetime of minutes, or sometimes as short as 5–10 seconds to manipulate the price up (more common)
  • Places large asks ($2 million and up), for Bitcoin when he wants the price to go down, or stop going up (less common)
  • Occasionally ‘Spoofy’ will allow orders deep in the orderbooks to remain for a few hours, usually $50–$100 below the current price. For example, during the recovery above $2,000, he had roughly 4,000 BTC of false orders in the $1,900 range that were unlikely to execute, and ultimately were never executed.
As noted above, spoofing is actually illegal - as ultimately the trader has no intention of ever executing the publicized trade - but as Bitcoin markets are largely unregulated, it’s a very common practice.
What is unusual in this case is the nearly unlimited bankroll that Spoofy has at his disposal: He regularly places orders approaching $60 million.
Even more unusual is that, as cointelegraph reports, most of Spoofy’s activity occurs on a single exchange: Bitfinex. This exchange came under fire earlier this spring when Wells Fargo cut off their banking ties. As a result, it’s virtually impossible to deposit fiat on Bitfinex without going through intermediaries.
Yet unlike most Bitfinex traders, Spoofy appears to have special privileges, and has massive sums of both fiat and Bitcoin at his disposal on that exchange, likely one of the only traders who does.
* * *
In addition to spoofing, "Spoofy" also engages in wash trading, or effectively trading with himself. As BitCrypto’ed points out in a recent blog post:
“Spoofy makes the price go up when he wants it to go up, and Spoofy makes the price go down when he wants it to go down, and he’s got the coin… both USD, and Bitcoin, of course, to pull it off, and with impunity on Bitfinex.”
The BitCrypto’ed blog also describes Spoofy’s wash trades, when he trades with himself by either selling into his own buy orders or vice versa. Wash trading at high volumes can induce a frenzy of buying or selling, as other traders respond to the high trading volume. Spoofy can execute wash trades at very low cost, about $1,000 per million dollars of volume.
A single entity (entity could be a trader, or a group of traders), single handedly wash traded 24,000 Bitcoins in shorts. In order to do this, you would need to have at least 24,000 BTC on Bitfinex and the USD to buy them with.
When Bitfinex announced its plan to distribute Bitcoin Cash, it initially planned to distribute Bitcoin Cash to holders of short positions. Immediately following that announcement, a single trader short sold tens of thousands of Bitcoin all at once. It’s likely this trader was Spoofy himself, hoping to acquire as much Bitcoin Cash as possible.
The large number of shorts on Bitfinex also led many to believe that an epic short squeeze was coming, and many Bitcoin traders purchase coins in expectation of this. Suddenly, he “claimed” all of his own shorts, closing them using his own Bitcoin. The number of shorts dropped drastically, yet without affecting the price at all.
Bifinex itself admitted the manipulation on August 2, one day after the fork:
“After the methodology announcement on July 27th, several accounts began large-scale manipulation tactics in an attempt to obtain BCH tokens at the expense of exchange longs and lenders on the platform, causing the distribution coefficient to artificially plummet.

We have determined that this kind of manipulation?—?including wash trading and self-funding shorts?—?is in violation of Bitfinex’s terms of service. Those who intended to take unfair advantage of the circumstances surrounding the BCH distribution at the expense of other users have been sanctioned accordingly.”
Interestingly, BitCrypto'ed claims that Spoofy isn’t limited to just Bitcoin, and that shortly after this ‘trader’ was ‘sanctioned’ by Bitfinex, another interesting thing happened: ETCBTC shorts immediately disappeared on August 1.

Here we can see how the ETCBTC shorts simply vanished, from 60,000 ETC short, to a low of 93 ETC. But let’s not just look at ETCBTC, what about ETCUSD?

 

A giant middle finger. Notice the dramatic increase and decrease in longs with no effect on price.

I'm not sure what to make of these, but it calls into question the legitimacy of this data. The point I’m trying to make by showing the ETCBTC/ETCUSD margin pairs also engaging in very funny business at the same exact time, how are we supposed to know that the BTCUSD longs on Bitfinex are not also subject to this manipulation?

ETCBTC Shorts = Clear evidence of manipulation
ETCUSD Longs =Clear evidence of manipulation
BTCUSD Shorts = Clear evidence of manipulation (and admitted by Bitfinex)
BTCUSD Longs = BTCUSD Longs in terms of USD, has never been higher in Bitfinex’s history. See the green line.

It's not just Bitfinex: Spoofy’s activity also drives crypto prices on other exchanges, as arbitrage takes place. Because BItcoin is so thinly traded, a single large “whale” can potentially move the entire market.
Just like in US stock markets where HFTs find instant price arbitrage opportunities, with the help of extensive spoofing, the same takes place in bitcoin exchange.
People underestimate how much exchanges follow each other. Manipulation on one exchange will affect prices on other exchanges. You have traders that watch all of the exchanges and if one exchange starts to pull ahead, they too buy on cheaper exchanges.

You don’t just have people, but you also have bots that will do the same thing, so price reactions can be immediate.
Just like equities. And while Spoofy is certainly exercising outsized control over the Bitcoin price, it is uncertain how much of an affect this is having across all the markets. The price is currently rising, having finally surmounted the $3,000 barrier. The only problem? Nobody knows how much of this increase is organic and sustainable, and how much is due to the market manipulation of Spoofy and others.
Finally, nobody knows who he is:  The identity of Spoofy remains a mystery. He may be i) a single trader, ii) a large OTC trading firm or group of colluding traders, iii) or even the Bitfinex management themselves. He sometimes seeks to drop Bitcoin price, and sometimes acts to increase it. One thing is certain: one single trader seems to have a "central bank"-like impact on the entire crypto market.
Posted: August 7, 2017, 1:36 am
(GLOBALINTELHUB.COM) Dover, DE — 7/18/2017 — Hidden in plain site, as the Trump administration finally released something of substance regarding the so called promised “Trade Negotiation” we see FX take center stage in the global drama unfolding.  As noted on a Zero Hedge article:
The much anticipated document (press release and link to full document) released by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the Trump administration aimed to reduce the U.S. trade deficit by improving access for U.S. goods exported to Canada and Mexico and contained the list of negotiating objectives for talks that are expected to begin in one month. Topping Trump’s list is a “simple” objective: “improve the U.S. trade balance and reduce the trade deficit with Nafta countries.” Among other things the document makes the unexpected assertion that no country should manipulate currency exchange to gain an unfair competitive advantage,which according to Citi’s economists was the only notable surprise in the entire document: That line of focus centers on FX: “Through an appropriate mechanism, ensure that the Nafta countries avoid manipulating exchange rates in order to prevent effective balance of payments adjustment or to gain an unfair competitive advantage.”  ..While Canada and Mexico are not formally considered currency manipulators by the US Treasury, the reference in the list of objectives will likely set a template for future trade deals such as the pending negotiation to modify a 5 year old free trade deal with South Korea, a country in far greater risk of being branded a currency manipulator as it sits on the Treasury’s monitoring list for possible signs of currency manipulation.
As we have explained in previous articles and in our book Splitting Pennies – Trade is FX.  Tariffs can discourage trade, but so can a high price – effectively they are the same thing.  Conversely, a cheap price encourages trade.  This is why Japan has logically and rationally destroyed the value of its own currency in order to boost trade, in their case – exports – because Japan is not only a net exporter, they are a near 100% OEM manufacturer.
But it’s not clear that whoever wrote this document understands FX – every currency is currently a ‘manipulator’ – including Japan, and the US Federal Reserve Bank.  In fact, the global FX market has become a race to the bottom, with each currency competing with each other who can go down more, faster.  It’s a race into oblivion.  Contrary to what you may read in the current doom journalism popular online, the global financial collapse is happening right before our eyes – over a long time horizon.  The big mistake that many economists, analysts, and investors have made in the ‘doom and gloom’ crowd is that they all expected a ‘date’ or a ‘time’ when everything would ‘collapse’ – they didn’t think that it can happen over a period of 50 years.  We are in the demise, it’s happening right before our eyes.
Today someone asked me if Bitcoin can really be 500,000 – and why not?  My answer was that, it isn’t that Bitcoin is going UP it’s that the value of the US Dollar is going DOWN.  So if Bitcoin is 500,000 – that property in the hamptons that’s listed for $150 Million, it will be listed for $15 Billion, or why not $1 Trillion.  There is no limit to the amount of money the Federal Reserve can create – but there is a limited amount of Bitcoin.  Those who have lived in exSSR countries or Russia for example, understand how quickly money can be worthless.  Quantitative Easing is itself a global ‘reset’ if you understand how it works, and it happens over a long timeframe.
So where is one to invest, to protect from the deteriorating value of FX?  Bitcoin is by itself not a solution and by no means even something that should be part of any portfolio, it’s a test of the new world order’s global currency payments and monetary control system, whatever you want to call it – and it’s very volatile – just as it goes up 100% it can go down 90%.  The answer is that even with Bitcoin – the point is to TRADE it not INVEST in it.  Let’s dissect FX to understand this.  Take a look at this Daily EUR/USD chart going back 3 years:
eur usd
The EUR/USD goes up, it goes down.  There’s an election in France, an election in the US.  It’s practically one currency.  But the ECB has a similar QE program that’s destroying the value of the Euro as well.  So the way to protect yourself here is to ‘trade’ this.  For example, take a look at a snapshot from 2016 of Magic FX Strategy, that has returned on average 1.5% per month for the last 4 years:
magic
This is not a solicitation of this particular strategy, simply it provides a good example of how to ‘trade’ FX for a consistent profit, to combat inflation.  Investing in CDs and other interest rate products are not going to give you the 15%+ per year needed to stay ahead of the Fed.  This is the game of hot potato that Elite bankers have designed that’s built into the modern electronic financial system.  The stock market is great unless there’s a down year, but still just barely keeps you ahead of the game (if you stick to the traditional blue chips, industrials, utilities, etc) and certainly is not going to give you the 15% – 30% per year returns needed to really grow your portfolio.  30% + is the magic number Elite portfolios target (ironically, it’s about a 2x allocation to Magic FX strategy, in line with the natural fluctuations of the FX market, using reasonable, modest leverage).
If you’re not making 15% + per year inflation is eating you away.  So where can you invest and get 15% with reasonable risk?  The answer is practically no where in the markets, maybe in the private equity world, complex real estate, and other special situations but clearly there is no vanilla answer like “Buy Gold” or “Buy Bitcoin” as there may have been post 9/11.  This will be more and more true as QE matures, because QE is distorting asset prices in complex ways.  This is the ‘trap’ which has been set.  Not only does it cull the herd, as the Elite like to do every 20 years or so, it forces investors into a situation where they have to take more risk – if they don’t, their assets will ultimately be eaten away by inflation.  They have to play the game because if they sit on the sidelines they will lose out.  Of course it’s not fair – but that is the nature of the global capitalist financial system, at the moment, and it’s not going to change in our lifetime, so one can understand it and master it, or be the victim of it, SIMPLE!
And in the case of FX it’s not so complex to understand.  Let’s look quickly at the last currency of investment, the Swiss Franc.
Here’s a historical chart of CHF/USD (usually it’s quoted USD/CHF which is the inverse – opposite)
Investors in Swiss Francs over this period – which includes Americans just sending their money to Switzerland, enjoyed a 400%+ return over the 40 year period, non-compounded, without considering interest (just FX).  The small blip in the 80s when this investment declined was due to the US Dollars aggressive double digit interest rates, but that ended in 1986 when Swissie just took off and never looked back.  That was until the post 2008 world, where Switzerland became the target of a number of investigations by hungry US agencies looking for someone to blame and money to pay for damage done by the credit crisis, including the IRS, FBI, and DOJ in general, but there were a number of other US interests interested in financially ‘toppling’ the Gnomes of Zurich – namely, by closing the only way out of QE.  The Swiss Franc (CHF) was really the only currency that had any value, it was 40% backed by Gold, and upheld by a 1,000 + year banking tradition, a stable economy, and banking privacy laws.
In order to solidify the US Dollar as the primary world’s reserve currency, that had to be smashed.  So they did it in a number of ways, including but not limited to activating assets there such as corrupt central bankers (which really was a non-issue) and squeezing the Gnomes back into submission.  So the conclusion to this drama is now the CHF previously being the only real currency to invest in for the long term and forget about it, is now a central bank manipulated currency that is subject to SNB interventions, caps, trading ranges, and other direct central bank manipulation (like all other currencies).
So the reason for that story is simply that there is no where to just ‘invest’ your money and forget about it anymore (there was, such as the example of the Swiss Franc).  The good news though, FX is a traders market.  If investors are not too greedy, there’s a number of strategies in FX that can return the 15% + needed to beat inflation and possibly even grow.  Magic FX is certainly not the only strategy in the world with such low-volatility and consistent returns.  But due to the recent Dodd-Frank regulations such strategies are only available to ECP investors, which is a step above being accredited – basically you need to be liquid for $10 Million.  Oh, and to make fighting inflation really fun for the retail US investor, you aren’t allowed to hedge (no buying and selling of the same currency) and you must exit your positions in the same order in which you entered them (FIFO) and you have reduced leverage.  Basically, the Fed is creating pressure forcing the hand of investors to trade to stay ahead of the game, and the regulators are making it difficult (and in fact, more risky) to trade.  With US rules it’s a miracle any US retail investor can be profitable.  The rules have really turned FX into the casino that people are afraid of, because they are literally telling you when to exit your trades (FIFO).
In conclusion – FX is a real traders market.  It’s better than stocks, bonds, options, futures, etc.  Now with the influx of Cryptocurrencies FX is about to get even more interesting.  By trading FX successfully, or finding a manager who can do it for you – it’s the only way to fight inflation, to at least maintain the value of your hard earned dollars.  As we mentioned earlier in the article, there are of course other methods such as private equity and niche businesses (such as lawyers selling rights to settlements) that can generate the 30% + needed to grow a portfolio – but it’s not available publicly, in the markets.  But FX is there – it’s there for the taking – and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Posted: July 19, 2017, 2:31 am
David Siegel had a problem. For years, the American entrepreneur had been working on an idea: an open-source platform, called Pillar, which would allow people to remain in control of their personal information by piggybacking on the blockchain — a digital decentralised ledger underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
But when Siegel pitched his company Twenty Thirty to venture capital firms, he was met with blank looks. Investors weren’t interested in Pillar, and Siegel couldn’t get funding to build it.
After months of rejections, Siegel decided do something different: instead of phoning just another investor, he resolved to get help from future users.

On 15 July, he is going to sell 560 million “tokens” — digital units of payment that will be necessary to use Pillar, once it’s ready — in exchange for ether, an up-and-coming cryptocurrency exchanged on public blockchain Ethereum. His target is the equivalent of $50 million; if that sounds like a lot, be aware that Pillar’s “token pre-sale”, some days ago, raised $4 million worth of Ethereum’s currency, ether — in 34 minutes.

“I couldn’t raise any money for Twenty Thirty from investors, because they didn't get what we were doing; now we have ordinary people hammering our email about Pillar,” Siegel says. “These people really want to fund this open source project.”

Siegel’s fund-raising model is called Initial Coin Offering, or ICO — and you might have heard of it, as it is the latest big thing in the frenzied world of cryptocurrencies.
An ICO’s functioning is simple: a team with an idea, but short of funds, use blockchain technology to issue a certain amount of digital tokens (aka “coins”) sold in an auction to people paying in ether, Bitcoin or, seldom, regular money like dollars or pounds.
Apart from rare cases, tokens’ only ostensible function is allowing their holders to use the platform that issued them: they could be used, for instance, to buy storage space on a Dropbox-style service, or converted into special objects on a gaming platform. They are the equivalent of coupons for a supermarket under construction.
But tokens often grow into mini-currencies in their own right: they are traded for cryptocurrency or fiat on blockchain marketplaces, and the more successful their related project grows, the more valuable its tokens become. This dynamic is inevitably attracting a great deal of speculation.

The mechanism has been around for a while — the first instance was MasterCoin in 2013, followed in 2014 by Ethereum’s first ether sale, and more recently by the ill-fated autonomous VC firm The DAO — but it really surged over the first half of 2017. Tens of projects have amassed millions of dollar within days, hours, or seconds, with superstars such as blockchain architecture firms EOS and Tezos soaring over $150 million and $200 million. In June, bitcoin news website Coindesk announced that funds raised through ICOs had overcome VC money as the first source of investment in the blockchain sector in 2017. “Tokens” might sound like Monopoly money, but their impact on the real world is growing by the day.

The question is: why? Ask people in the field and they tend to reflect two main narratives, one optimistic, the other decidedly sceptical.

The positive one is that ICOs are a new, smart way to finance projects that struggle to get VC’s backing.

Etienne Brunet, an investment executive at FinTech VC firm Illuminate Financial, points to investors’ recent interest in private blockchains (members-only ledgers banks and financial institutions are experimenting with) as the root cause for ICOs. “In 2016 it was very hard to raise funding unless you were doing private blockchains,” he says. “So, all the people trying to build open source projects for the public blockchain had to find a new way to get funds.”
The way Burke sees it, ICOs are finally lowering the barriers to entry for technology investment, as whoever has some cryptocurrency can join the party; more than that, coins’ speculative potential is allowing open-source projects to raise more funds than ever before.
“The point is that now, for the first time ever, open-source initiatives can be profitable for investors,” he says. “Previously, they were relying upon donations and they were inherently unprofitable — people would just do them for an ethical goal. Now there is a financial incentive for people to participate.”
There is a stick-it-to-the-man undertone behind this take on ICO: the idea that smart, independent teams are raking in millions from the anarchic crypto-crowd to take on blindsided VCs and bank-loving private blockchainers. And increasingly, ICOs are being used by companies outside of the blockchain field, such as messaging service Kik, which portrayed its upcoming ICO as a last-ditch attempt to compete with juggernauts such as Facebook.
Still, Burke admits that, while this is the direction he sees ICOs evolving over the next few months and years, the current state of affairs is far from optimal.
“Most of the projects which have launched ICOs are poorly designed and won't scale,” he says. “But I look past that: I still think we have the ability to kick-start this new economy.”
That brings us to the second narrative, which portrays the ICO frenzy as a massive speculation game, or worse.
ICOs might have lowered barriers to entry, but most token sales are dominated by a handful of large investors —“whales” in crypto parlance — snarfing up almost all the cake. In the $35 million ICO for Brave, a browser created by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich, only 130 people bought coins — and half of them were purchased by just five buyers.
Although most projects specify — risibly— that tokens are “not for speculation”, token speculation is at the core of ICO’s success at raising so much money so quickly. Big crypto owners are throwing money at token sales hoping that coin value will increase in the short run, diversifying their crypto portfolio in the process.
“The point is: if you have $200 million worth of bitcoin or ether, what should you do?” Illuminate’s Brunet says.
The side effect is that millions are going to entities which, apart from tokens and a project outline — crypto parlance: “white paper” — have very little to offer. Take for example “Useless Ethereum Token”, a parody initiative which still managed to raise $40,000 in funding. Or, for a grimmer story, look at OneCoin: a Ponzi scheme which had amassed over $350 million before being busted by the Indian police.

Some of the more obvious security problems are being addressed by the crypto community at large: it has been recommended that funds from ICO be locked in an escrow mechanism — giving access only to limited sums after milestones have been reached — in order to prevent crypto heists. And Ethereum’s wunderkind guru Vitalik Buterin has turned to game theory to suggest some tips for designing fairer ICO auctions, such as as splitting them up in smaller, spaced out sales over time.

The elephant in the room, has to do with financial regulation: with tokens being auctioned, traded, and speculated on as if they were securities, should we regard them and regulate them as securities? (The fact that ICO is even phonetically reminiscent of IPO, or initial public offering, is hardly a coincidence.)In most countries, the answer would be no: if something is not formally a security, it won’t be treated as such. But that is different in the US, whose security regulation extends to “investment contracts” — defined in a landmark case (centered on an orange orchard in Florida) as investments made with an “expectation of profits.”

Whether that applies to tokens— bizarre entities that have a sort of intrinsic value (as theoretical payment units) but are also being flipped around like stocks, is anybody’s guess. Right now, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has been silent on the matter, explains Peter Van Valkenburgh, a researcher at blockchain-focussed think tank Coin Center.

“SEC’s default position is ‘we're proceeding cautiously because, while we are worried about investor protection, we're not certain this is within our purview, and we don't want to stifle innovation’,” he says. “There's no indication that anything is gonna happen in the very short term.”
For the time being, ICO’s real challenge is whether it can thrive without being a pain in the side for the blockchain ecosystem itself. ICOs are likely behind the recent spike in the value of ether — with investors buying the cryptocurrency in order to take part in token sales; ICOs might also be behind ether’s sudden 30 percent drop in value, as many ether-loaded projects are converting their ICO-generated ether into fiat currency to pay their staff.
And the Ethereum network itself — which less than one year ago went through a traumatic restructuring following the collapse of The DAO — is being put under strain by the ICO onslaught, as relentless, massive volume of transactions generated by token sales commandeer the ledger’s computing power.
But that is not necessarily a bad thing, Van Valkenburgh says. “It could be a way to battle-harden the network: there have been issues with transaction delays and scaling because of the popularity of ICOs put strain on the network,” he says. “But if the blockchain has to grow, ICOs are a good way to test the infrastructure.”

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/what-is-initial-coin-offering-ico-token-sale

Posted: July 17, 2017, 12:16 am
(GLOBALINTELHUB.COM) 6/12/17 — Bitcoin has surged to all time highs, urging us to compose this article on a hot trending topic that we’ve wanted to compose for a long time.  Our parent company, Elite E Services, is primarily a FX algorithm development company – so we get asked about Bitcoin quite a bit.  Life is a deteriorating asset so let’s get right down to it.  Who created Bitcoin, and why?  Before we get started just a quick note to all those that haven’t read Splitting Pennies – which is a great primer for those interested in Bitcoin and where it will go next.
The creator of Bitcoin is officially a name, “Satoshi Nakamoto” – very few people believe that it was a single male from Japan.  For more detailed analysis about who is Satoshi Nakamoto see this article and the official Wikipedia entry.  In the early days of Bitcoin development this name is associated with original key-creation and communications on message boards, and then the project was officially handed over to others at which point this Satoshi character never appeared again (Although from time to time someone will come forward saying they are the real Satoshi Nakamoto, and then have their posts deleted).
Bitcoin could very well be the ‘one world currency’ that conspiracy theorists have been talking about for some time.  It’s a kill five birds with one stone solution – not only is Bitcoin an ideal one world currency, it allows law enforcement a perfect record of all transactions on the network.  It states very clearly on bitcoin.org (the official site) in big letters “Bitcoin is not anonymous” :
Some effort is required to protect your privacy with Bitcoin. All Bitcoin transactions are stored publicly and permanently on the network, which means anyone can see the balance and transactions of any Bitcoin address. However, the identity of the user behind an address remains unknown until information is revealed during a purchase or in other circumstances. This is one reason why Bitcoin addresses should only be used once. Always remember that it is your responsibility to adopt good practices in order to protect your privacy. Read more about protecting your privacy.
Another advantage of Bitcoin is the problem of Quantitative Easing – the Fed (and thus, nearly all central banks in the world) have painted themselves in a corner, metaphorically speaking.  QE ‘solved’ the credit crisis, but QE itself does not have a solution.  Currently all currencies are in a race to zero – competing with who can print more money faster.  Central Bankers who are in systemic analysis, their economic advisors, know this.  They know that the Fiat money system is doomed, all what you can read online is true (just sensationalized) – it’s a debt based system based on nothing.  That system was created, originally in the early 1900’s and refined during Breton Woods followed by the Nixon shock (This is all explained well in Splitting Pennies).  In the early 1900’s – there was no internet!  It is a very archaic system that needs to be replaced, by something modern, electronic, based on encryption.  Bitcoin!  It’s a currency based on ‘bits’ – but most importantly, Bitcoin is not the ‘one world currency’ per se, but laying the framework for larger cryptocurrency projects.  In the case of central banks, who control the global monetary system, that would manifest in ‘Settlement Coin’ :
Two resources available almost exclusively to central banks could soon be opened up to additional users as a result of a new digital currency project designed by a little-known startup and Swiss bank UBS.  One of those resources is the real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system used by central banks (it’s typically reserved for high-value transactions that need to be settled instantly), and the other is central bank-issued cash.  Using the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) unveiled today, the five-member consortium that has sprung up around the project aims to help central banks open-up access to these tools to more customers. If successful, USC has the potential to create entirely new business models built on instant settling and easy cash transfers.  In interview, Robert Sams, founder of London-based Clearmatics, said his firm initially worked with UBS to build the network, and that BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, ICAP and Santander are only just the first of many future members.
In case you didn’t read Splitting Pennies or don’t already know, the NSA/CIA often works for big corporate clients, just as it has become a cliche that the Iraq war was about big oil, the lesser known hand in global politics is the banking sector.  In other words, Bitcoin may have very well been ‘suggested’ or ‘sponsored’ by a banker, group of banks, or financial services firm.  But the NSA (as we surmise) was the company that got the job done.  And probably, if it was in fact ‘suggested’ or ‘sponsored’ by a private bank, they would have been waiting in the wings to develop their own Bitcoin related systems or as in the above “Settlement Coin.”  So the NSA made Bitcoin – so what?
It isn’t really important who or why created Bitcoin as the how – and the how is open source, so experts have dug through the code bit by bit (pun intended).  If the who or why isn’t important – why did we write an article about it?
The FX markets currently represent the exchange between ‘major’ and ‘minor’ currencies.  In the future, why not too they will include ‘cryptocurrencies’ – we’re already seeing the BTC/EUR pair popup on obscure brokers.  When BTC/USD and BTC/EUR are available at major FX banks and brokers, we can say – from a global FX perspective, that Bitcoin has ‘arrived.’  Many of us remember the days when the synthetic “Euro” currency was a new artificial creation that was being adopted, although the Euro project is thousands of degrees larger than the Bitcoin project.  But unlike the Euro, Bitcoin is being adopted at a near exponential rate by demand (Many merchants resisted the switch to Euros claiming it was eating into their profit margins and they were right!).
And to answer the question as to why Elite E Services is not actively involved in Bitcoin  the answer is that previously, you can’t trade Bitcoin.  Now we’re starting to see obscure brokers offering BTC/EUR but the liquidity is sparse and spreads are wacky – that will all change.  When we can trade BTC/USD just like EUR/USD you can bet that EES and a host of other algorithmic FX traders will be all over it!  It will be an interesting trade for sure, especially with all the volatility, the cross ‘pairs’ – and new cryptocurrencies.  For the record, for brokers- there’s not much difference adding a new symbol (currency pair) in MT4 they just need liquidity, which has been difficult to find.
So there’s really nothing revolutionary about Bitcoin, it’s just a logical use of technology in finance considering a plethora of problems faced by any central bank who creates currency.  And there are some interesting caveats to Bitcoin as compared to major currencies; Bitcoin is a closed system (there are finite Bitcoin) – this alone could make such currencies ‘anti-inflationary’ and at the least, hold their value (the value of the USD continues to deteriorate slowly over time as new M3 introduced into the system.)  But we need to pay
Another thing that Bitcoin has done is set the stage for a cryptocurrency race; even Google is investing in Bitcoin alternatives:
Google Ventures and China-based IDG Capital Partners are the second group of tech investors in two months to place a bet on OpenCoin, the company behind the currently-in-beta Ripple open-source payments protocol.  OpenCoin announced today that it had closed an additional round of funding — the amount wasn’t specified — with Google Ventures and IDG Capital Partners. (Hat tip to GigaOM for the news.)  Last month, OpenCoin wrapped up an earlier angel round of funding from another high-profile group of technology VCs: Andreessen Horowitz, FF Angel IV, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Vast Ventures and the Bitcoin Opportunity Fund.
Here’s some interesting theories about who or whom is Satoshi:
A corporate conglomerate   
Some researchers proposed that the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ was derived from a combination of tech companies consisting of Samsung, Toshiba, Nakayama, and Motorola. The notion that the name was a pseudonym is clearly true and it is doubtful they reside in Japan given the numerous forum posts with a distinctly English dialect.
Craig Steven Wright
This Australian entrepreneur claims to be the Bitcoin creator and provided proof.  But soon after, his offices were raided by the tax authorities on ‘an unrelated matter’
Soon after these stories were published, authorities in Australia raided the home of Mr Wright. The Australian Taxation Office said the raid was linked to a long-running investigation into tax payments rather than Bitcoin.
Questioned about this raid, Mr Wright said he was cooperating fully with the ATO.
“We have lawyers negotiating with them over how much I have to pay,” he said.
Other potential creators
Nick Szabo, and many others, have been suggested as potential Satoshi – but all have denied it:
The New Yorker published a piece pointing at two possible Satoshis, one of whom seemed particularly plausible: a cryptography graduate student from Trinity College, Dublin, who had gone on to work in currency-trading software for a bank and published a paper on peer-to-peer technology. The other was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, Vili Lehdonvirta. Both made denials.
Fast Company highlighted an encryption patent application filed by three researchers – Charles Bry, Neal King and Vladimir Oks­man – and a circumstantial link involving textual analysis of it and the Satoshi paper which found the phrase “…computationally impractical to reverse” in both. Again, it was flatly denied.
THE WINNER: It was the NSA
The NSA has the capability, the motive, and the operational capacity – they have teams of cryptographers, the biggest fastest supercomputers in the world, and they see the need.  Whether instructed by their friends at the Fed, in cooperation with their owners (i.e. Illuminati banking families), or as part of a DARPA project – is not clear and will never be known (unless a whistleblower comes forward).  In fact, the NSA employs some of the best mathematicians and cryptographers in the world.  Few know about their work because it’s a secret, and this isn’t the kind of job you leave to start your own cryptography company.
But the real smoking Gun, aside from the huge amount of circumstantial evidence and lack of a credible alternative, is the 1996 paper authored by NSA “HOW TO MAKE A MINT: THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF ANONYMOUS ELECTRONIC CASH” available here.
The NSA was one of the first organizations to describe a Bitcoin-like system. About twelve years before Satoshi Nakamoto published his legendary white paper to the Metzdowd.com cryptography mailing list, a group of NSA information security researchers published a paper entitled How to Make a Mint: the Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash in two prominent places, the first being an MIT mailing list and the second being much more prominent, The American Law Review (Vol. 46, Issue 4 ).
The paper outlines a system very much like Bitcoin in which secure financial transactions are possible through the use of a decentralized network the researchers refer informally to as a Bank. They list four things as indispensable in their proposed network: privacy, user identification (protection against impersonation), message integrity (protection against tampering/substitution of transaction information – that is, protection against double-spending), and nonrepudiation (protection against later denial of a transaction – a blockchain!).
“We will assume throughout the remainder of this paper that some authentication infrastructure is in place, providing the four security features.” (Section 1.2)
It is evident that SHA-256, the algorithm Satoshi used to secure Bitcoin, was not available because it came about in 2001. However, SHA-1 would have been available to them, having been published in 1993.
Why would the NSA want to do this?  One simple reason: Control.  
As we explain in Splitting Pennies – the primary means the US dominates the world is through economic policy, although backed by bombs.  And the critical support of the US Dollar is primarily, the military.  The connection between the military and the US Dollar system is intertwined inextricably.  There are thousands of great examples only one of them being how Iraq switched to the Euro right before the Army’s invasion. 
In October 2000 Iraq insisted on dumping the US dollar – ‘the currency of the enemy’ – for the more multilateral euro.  The changeover was announced on almost exactly the same day that the euro reached its lowest ebb, buying just $0.82, and the G7 Finance Ministers were forced to bail out the currency. On Friday the euro had reached $1.08, up 30 per cent from that time.
Almost all of Iraq’s oil exports under the United Nations oil-for-food programme have been paid in euros since 2001. Around 26 billion euros (£17.4bn) has been paid for 3.3 billion barrels of oil into an escrow account in New York.  The Iraqi account, held at BNP Paribas, has also been earning a higher rate of interest in euros than it would have in dollars.
The point here is there are a lot of different types of control.  The NSA monitors and collects literally all electronic communications; internet, phone calls, everything.  They listen in even to encrypted voice calls with high powered microphones, devices like cellphones equipped with recording devices (See original “Clipper” chip).  It’s very difficult to communicate on planet Earth in private, without the NSA listening.  So it is only logical that they would also want complete control of the financial system, including records of all electronic transactions, which Bitcoin provides.
Could there be an ‘additional’ security layer baked into the Blockchain that is undetectable, that allows the NSA to see more information about transactions, such as network location data?  It wouldn’t be so far fetched, considering their past work, such as Xerox copy machines that kept a record of all copies made (this is going back to the 70’s, now it’s common).  Of course security experts will point to the fact that this layer remains invisible, but if this does exist – of course it would be hidden.
More to the point about the success of Bitcoin – its design is very solid, robust, manageable – this is not the work of a student.  Of course logically, the NSA employs individuals, and ultimately it is the work of mathematicians, programmers, and cryptographers – but if we deduce the most likely group capable, willing, and motivated to embark on such a project, the NSA is the most likely suspect.  Universities, on the other hand, didn’t product white papers like this from 1996.
Another question is that if it was the NSA, why didn’t they go through more trouble concealing their identity?  I mean, the internet is rife with theories that it was in fact the NSA/CIA and “Satoshi Nakamoto” means in Japanese “Central Intelligence” – well there are a few answers for this, but to be congruent with our argument, it fits their profile.
Claims that the NSA created Bitcoin have actually been flung around for years. People have questioned why it uses the SHA-256 hash function, which was designed by the NSA and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The fact that the NSA is tied to SHA-256 leads some to assume it’s created a backdoor to the hash function that no one has ever identified, which allows it to spy on Bitcoin users.
“If you assume that the NSA did something to SHA-256, which no outside researcher has detected, what you get is the ability, with credible and detectable action, they would be able to forge transactions. The really scary thing is somebody finds a way to find collisions in SHA-256 really fast without brute-forcing it or using lots of hardware and then they take control of the network,” cryptography researcher Matthew D. Green of Johns Hopkins University said in a previous interview.
Then there’s the question of “Satoshi Nakamoto” – if it was in fact the NSA, why not just claim ownership of it?  Why all the cloak and dagger?  And most importantly, if Satoshi Nakamoto is a real person, and not a group that wants to remain secret – WHY NOT come forward and claim your nearly $3 Billion worth of Bitcoin (based on current prices).
The CIA Project, a group dedicated to unearthing all of the government’s secret projects and making them public, hasreleased a video claiming Bitcoin is actually the brainchild of the US National Security Agency.
The video entitled CIA Project Bitcoin: Is Bitcoin a CIA or NSA project? claims that there is a lot of compelling evidences that proves that the NSA is behind Bitcoin. One of the main pieces of evidence has to do with the name of the mysterious man, woman or group behind the creation of Bitcoin, “Satoshi Nakamoto”.
According to the CIA Project, Satoshi Nakamoto means “Central Intelligence” in Japanese. Doing a quick web search, you’ll find out that Satoshi is usually a name given for baby boys which means “clear thinking, quick witted, wise,” while Nakamoto is a Japanese surname which means ‘central origin’ or ‘(one who lives) in the middle’ as people with this surname are found mostly in the Ryukyu islands which is strongly associated with the Ryūkyū Kingdom, a highly centralized kingdom that originated from the Okinawa Islands. So combining Nakamoto and Satoshi can be loosely interpreted as “Central Intelligence”.
Is it so really hard to believe?  This is from an organization that until the Snowden leaks, secretly recorded nearly all internet traffic on the network level by splicing fiber optic cables.  They even have a deep-sea splicing mission that will cut undersea cables and install intercept devices.  Making Bitcoin wouldn’t even be a big priority at NSA.
Certainly, anonymity is one of the biggest myths about Bitcoin. In fact, there has never been a more easily traceable method of payment. Every single transaction is recorded and retained permanently in the public “blockchain”.  The idea that the NSA would create an anarchic, peer-to-peer crypto-currency in the hope that it would be adopted for nefarious industries and become easy to track would have been a lot more difficult to believe before the recent leaks by Edward Snowden and the revelation that billions of phone calls had been intercepted by the US security services. We are now in a world where we now know that the NSA was tracking the pornography habits of Islamic “radicalisers” in order to discredit them and making deals with some of the world’s largest internet firms to insert backdoors into their systems.
And we’re not the only ones who believe this, in Russia they ‘know’ this to be true without sifting through all the evidence.
Nonetheless, Svintsov’s remarks count as some of the more extreme to emanate from the discussion. Svintsov told Russian broadcast news agency REGNUM:All these cryptocurrencies [were] created by US intelligence agencies just to finance terrorism and revolutions.Svintsov reportedly went on to explain how cryptocurrencies have started to become a payment method for consumer spending, and cited reports that terrorist organisations are seeking to use the technology for illicit means.
Let’s elaborate on what is ‘control’ as far as the NSA is concerned.  Bitcoin is like the prime mover.  All future cryptocurrencies, no matter how snazzy or functional – will never have the same original keys as Bitcoin.  It created a self-sustained, self-feeding bubble – and all that followed.  It enabled law enforcement to collect a host of criminals on a network called “Silk Road” and who knows what other operations that happened behind the scenes.  Because of pesky ‘domestic’ laws, the NSA doesn’t control the internet in foreign countries.  But by providing a ‘cool’ currency as a tool, they can collect information from around the globe and like Facebook, users provide this information voluntarily.  It’s the same strategy they use like putting the listening device in the chips at the manufacturing level, which saves them the trouble of wiretapping, electronic eavesdropping, and other risky methods that can fail or be blocked.  It’s impossible to stop a cellphone from listening to you, for example (well not 100%, but you have to physically rewire the device).  Bitcoin is the same strategy on a financial level – by using Bitcoin you’re giving up your private transactional information.  By itself, it would not identify you per se (as the blockchain is ‘anonymous’ but the transactions are there in the public register, so combined with other information, which the NSA has a LOT OF – they can triangulate their information more precisely.
That’s one problem solved with Bitcoin – another being the economic problem of QE (although with a Bitcoin market cap of $44 Billion, that’s just another day at the Fed buying MBS) – and finally, it squashes the idea of sovereignty although in a very, very, very subtle way.  You see, a country IS a currency.  Until now, currency has always been tied to national sovereignty (although the Fed is private, USA only has one currency, the US Dollar, which is exclusively American).  Bitcoin is a super-national currency, or really – the world’s first one world currency.
Of course, this is all great praise for the DOD which seems to have a 50 year plan – but after tens of trillions spent we’d hope that they’d be able to do something better than catching terrorists (which mostly are artificial terrorists).
Posted: June 13, 2017, 4:50 pm
(GLOBALINTELHUB.COM) – 6/9/2017 For those who are not drooling on their lazy-boy high on Prozac and Lays (both strong brands) know that the world is not as seen on TV.  But even in TV, on shows such as "White Collar" - the strange relationship between the 'police' and the 'bandits' can be seen and understood.  The differences in many cases between a career Special Agent and cat burglar can be thin circumstantial nuances; and they often 'flip' sides, most notably in the case we all know about Frank Abagnale, now a successful security and fraud consultant, working with the FBI to detect serious financial fraud.  Let's take a step back for a moment; the "FBI" hires mostly accountants, and they pursue a number of crimes but most notably financial fraud.  They serve as the police for the CFTC, the SEC, for extreme enforcement actions, as well as investigating a number of issues - from their website:
Our Priorities
Protect the United States from terrorist attack
Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage
Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes
Combat public corruption at all levels
Protect civil rights
Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises
Combat major white-collar crime
Combat significant violent crime
Our People & Leadership
The FBI employs 35,000 people, including special agents and support professionals such as intelligence analysts, language specialists, scientists, and information technology specialists. Learn how you can join us at FBIJobs.gov. For details on our executives and organizational structure, see our Leadership & Structure webpage.
What should stick out to readers in an environment where a potentially politicized and corrupt FBI (at least, the leadership) is the "Combat public corruption at all levels" - and going back to the age old regulatory paradox, 'who watches the watchers' let's take a look at the old dog who made the FBI what it is today; J. Edgar Hoover.
In case you have not, and are interested in this topic, take a weekend and read this must read book about the FBI: J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets - why bother reading about a figure who is long gone and has no surviving heirs?  Because in order to understand where we are today, with the situation with the FBI and Trump, we need to understand where we came from.  Certainly the FBI has transformed since 1972; however the power, scope, size, methods, political leanings, and other elements of the FBI still remain as established by Hoover.
Let's dismantle some of the false images many have about the FBI.  The FBI doesn't 'solve crimes' as on popular TV shows like "CSI" - although they do have excellent forensics labs, this rarely (but sometimes) leads to a conviction.  Primarily, the FBI relies on informants, "Confidential Informants" (CIs), tips, and 'turning' - a technique popularized by Hoover and used to this day.  Global Intel Hub interviewed several anonymous sources to confirm this information.  Here's how it works.  The FBI will arrest a petty low level criminal and get him to 'turn' on his boss; they will threaten him with life in prison, maybe poke his eyes a little or something, and get him to become a witness in court.  Also they will want a full blueprint of the organization - and in exchange they will get into the Witness Protection Program - yes this program really exists and there are literally thousands of people in this program:
As of 2013, 8,500 witnesses and 9,900 family members have been protected by the U.S. Marshals Service since 1971.
But before entering WITSEC, which is an endgame, the FBI can use informants for years.  CIs can be bank employees (i.e. Wall St.), mafia agents, corporate executives .. basically anyone.  Take a look at the case of CI gone bad:
For 30 years, DeVecchio was one of the FBI 's most important mob busters.
DeVecchio was Scarpa's handler, and Scarpa was more than an ordinary stool pigeon -- he had also allegedly served as muscle for the FBI when the bureau needed some extra legal assistance in making difficult cases. As a result, he was allegedly accorded special, sometimes questionable, favors, including tips on coming indictments that allowed Scarpa's associates to skip town in advance. But, in aiding his informant to commit murder, prosecutors now allege that DeVecchio went too far in protecting his valuable mob asset. Law enforcement sources say DeVecchio may have also enriched himself in the process.
Yes, you read correctly - for 30 years, "DeVecchio" was a CI that gave the FBI information about mob activities.  A useful asset, but the underlying conclusion is simple - the FBI doesn't 'solve' crimes.   With the recent testimony of James Comey, a lawyer by trade, all of this needs to be taken into consideration.  How has the FBI and its internal politics & policies affected significant events in American history; JFK, 911, the credit crisis, and others?
Another strategy which now is no secret used by Hoover, was obtaining secret information by trickery or surveillance, and then using it to blackmail the target to get them to do what they want.  Hoover supposedly kept dossiers on over 10,000 americans; however long the list is - the method was simple.  Get the dirt on the target then use it to manipulate them.  If you think this is fanciful; again - read this book  J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets.
The point is that, there's no way to know for sure what's going on inside the FBI today.  The reason we need to look at Hoover's FBI is because now that he's long gone, and there's even been a DiCaprio film about him, we can see a bigger picture of what was really going on in the FBI at that time.
So it should be no surprise, that an FBI director, would be meddling in domestic politics - whether it be in elections or by dealing with sitting Presidents.  Everyone was scared of Hoover, even US Presidents both before and after they were elected.  Now, clearly this was a unique individual who built the FBI in his own image during a unique period in history - there will never be another Hoover.  But all this history about the FBI should be noted, following to today's FBI that literally is 'creating' terrorists right here in the USA:
WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. has significantly increased its use of stings in terrorism cases, employing agents and informants to pose as jihadists, bomb makers, gun dealers or online “friends” in hundreds of investigations into Americans suspected of supporting the Islamic State, records and interviews show.
Undercover operations, once seen as a last resort, are now used in about two of every three prosecutions involving people suspected of supporting the Islamic State, a sharp rise in the span of just two years, according to a New York Times analysis. Charges have been brought against nearly 90 Americans believed to be linked to the group.
The increase in the number of these secret operations, which put operatives in the middle of purported plots, has come with little public or congressional scrutiny, and the stings rely on F.B.I. guidelines that predate the rise of the Islamic State.
While F.B.I. officials say they are careful to avoid illegally entrapping suspects, their undercover operatives are far from bystanders. In recent investigations from Florida to California, agents have helped people suspected of being extremists acquire weapons, scope out bombing targets and find the best routes to Syria to join the Islamic State, records show.
Here's how it works.  The FBI 'suspects' someone may be an extremist (they are Muslim, or at least look like).  They pose as another Muslim and start to engage in a conversation about making a 'plot' such as a 'bomb' - but at the last moment, arrest the entrapped individual.  This accomplishes a few things, one - they can make a long list of cases 'solved' that would have otherwise become terrorist attacks (they are working hard for their 8 Billion budget).  Two, it scares the population that the threat of terrorism is 'real' (when in reality, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a terrorist).  This is reinforced by the media 'terrorism terrorism terrorism'.
The paradoxical question here is - left to their own would these potential 'terrorists' have committed any acts of terror, or not?  Of course, foiling a crime before it happens is always ideal.  But at what point does entrapment become 'encouragement' - we're not talking about drug dealing here, terrorism is a serious thing (people can be killed).
But defense lawyers, Muslim leaders and civil liberties advocates say that F.B.I. operatives coax suspects into saying and doing things that they might not otherwise do — the essence of entrapment.“They’re manufacturing terrorism cases,” said Michael German, a former undercover agent with the F.B.I. who researches national security law at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. In many of the recent prosecutions, he said, “these people are five steps away from being a danger to the United States.”
The American Mafia, once seen as one of the most popularized 'threats' has been on the wane, as most of them have moved from petty crimes to legitimate businesses (or semi-legit) .. An organization like the FBI needs terrorists and other artificial 'threats' to justify 35,000 + employees, just as the military and other parts of the DOD need "Russia" to act as a looming potential threat to justify trillions in military spending.  (Anyone with mild room temperature IQ knows Russia, China, Iran, North Korea all working together pose no real threat to USA militarily, economically, or culturally).
Bear this in mind next time the news media tries to distract viewers from real news - Comey is not news.  It's irrelevant.  Trump's reaction, irrelevant.  Remember, the entire "Russia Investigation" never existed, it was all a liberal conspiracy created or to use their term 'fake news' in order to destroy Trump and use it in Illuminati style 'killing two birds with one stone' as a prelude to war and specifically to build a pipeline through Syria as the next "Iraq" to plunder, with project Ukraine a failure the virus needs to expand into untapped resources to colonize, and Trump simply stood in the way of that policy.  The FBI being a critical component of the giant global octopus with hands everywhere, needed to jump in with their own tune to play in the melody.
For a detailed breakdown of how the global system works in reality (not 'as seen on TV') checkout Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex
Order stuff online - save money, save time - enjoy your life!  @ www.pleaseorderit.com
Posted: June 10, 2017, 6:26 pm
FX is quite literally, a rigged game.  Not like the stock market, well not exactly.  FX has been, a game of 'how many numbers am I holding behind my back?' and the guess is always wrong!  As we explain in Splitting Pennies Understanding Forex - FX is rigged.  But that doesn't mean there isn't opportunity!  One just needs to understand it.
French bank BNP Paribas was fined $350 million by the New York State Department of
Financial Services
 for lax oversight in its foreign-exchange business that
allowed “nearly unfettered misconduct” by more than a dozen employees involved
in exchange rate manipulation, officials announced Wednesday.



From 2007 through 2013, a trader on the bank’s New York desk, identified in the
consent order as Jason Katz, ran a number of schemes with more than a dozen
BNPP traders and salespeople on key foreign exchange trading desks to
manipulate prices and spreads in several currencies, including the South
African rand, Hungarian forint and Turkish lira, officials said.



He called his group of traders a "cartel" and they communicated in a
chat room called "ZAR Domination," a reference to the rand’s trading
symbol, according to the consent order. The group would push up the price of
the illiquid rand during New York business hours when the South African market
was closed, moving the currency in whichever way they chose, and thus
depressing competition, officials said.



Katz also enlisted colleagues at other banks to widen spreads for orders in
rands, increasing bank profits and limiting competition at the customer’
expense, the order says. Some of the traders engaged in illegal coordination
and shared confidential customer information, officials said. As part of a
cooperation agreement with prosecutors, Katz pled guilty in Manhattan federal court in
January to one count of conspiracy to restrain trade in violation of the
Sherman Act.



“Participants in the foreign exchange market rely on a transparent and fair
market to ensure competitive prices for their trades for all participants,”
Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said in a statement. “Here the
bank paid little or no attention to the supervision of its foreign exchange
trading business, allowing BNPP traders and others to violate New York state
law over the course of many years and repeatedly abused the trust of their
customers."



BNP Paribas, which employs nearly 190,000 people and has total assets of more
than €2.1 trillion (approximately $2.36 trillion), said in a statement that the
$350 million fine will be covered by existing provisions. It said it had
implemented a group-wide remediation initiative and cooperated fully in the
investigation.



“The conduct which led to this settlement occurred during the period from 2007
to 2013. Since this time, BNP Paribas has proactively implemented extensive
measures to strengthen its systems of control and compliance,” the bank said in
its statement. “The group has increased resources and staff dedicated to these
functions, conducted extensive staff training and launched a new code of
conduct which applies to all staff.”



Three BNPP employees were fired, seven more resigned and several others were
disciplined for misconduct or supervisory shortcomings in relation to the
probe, the order says.



Katz’s attorney, Michael Tremonte of 
Sher Tremonte LLP, did not respond Wednesday to a call seeking
comment.
But really, what's another $350 Million in the grand scheme of things for BNP?  Just another day's profits in the FX market.
This probe isn't new; regulators have been looking into FX rigging for years.  And practically, the fine won't make any customers whole - it will just shore up the coffers for the NY State department of financial services.  With inflation out of control, they need the money.  
For a detailed breakdown of this virtual monopoly 'they' have on the global financial system, checkout Splitting Pennies Understanding Forex.
Posted: May 25, 2017, 11:49 pm
NEW YORK -- Wherever there are British expats with money, there’s a DeVere Group office not far away. And in many of those places, the company’s aggressive sales tactics or high fees have drawn the attention of regulators.
Now the financial advisory firm, which says it has attracted $12 billion in assets, including more than $500 million in the US, is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to five former employees informed of the probe by management before they left. About half of the salesmen in DeVere’s New York office have quit or been fired in recent weeks, they say.
Among the irregularities, according to the former employees: The firm for years charged upfront commissions on some investments, even though its SEC registration didn’t allow such fees. Three of the former employees, all of whom asked for anonymity out of fear of retaliation, said some salesmen had cocaine and other drugs delivered to fuel their high-pressure cold-calling. The former employees said the SEC probe concerns compliance issues and has intensified in recent months.
George Prior, a spokesman for DeVere, dismissed questions about the probe and the allegations of former employees, saying he wouldn’t discuss “unsubstantiated rumours or speculation”. Judy Burns, a spokeswoman for the SEC, declined to comment.
“A high quality, results-driven service for our clients is always at the forefront of the firm’s focus,” Mr Prior said in an email, adding that the company was conducting a “strategic review”.
‘Massive Opportunity’
Nigel Green, a British stockbroker, started DeVere in Hong Kong about 15 years ago. He previously had worked at offshore brokerage Britex International, which ran into trouble when a high-yield fund it had been selling stopped paying investors, according to reports in the Financial Times. DeVere bought Britex in 2002, International Money Marketing reported.
Mr Green expanded to the Middle East and Europe, and then to Shanghai, Tokyo, Thailand and Africa, according to promotional videos posted on YouTube. DeVere says it now has 80,000 clients in more than 100 countries.
“When I went abroad, I was really shocked, it was a massive opportunity,” Mr Green said in a video posted on YouTube in 2016. “Today people want international advice.”
Mr Prior, the spokesman for Mr Green, declined to make him available for an interview.
Attractive Pitch
DeVere opened its US outpost in 2012. It hired mainly young British men to pitch their countrymen on the tax benefits of moving their pensions overseas. Former employees say they spent most of their time cold-calling and sending messages on LinkedIn.
The salesmen had an attractive pitch. Under British law, some workers who had retirement savings in the UK could move them overseas and avoid taxes they’d have to pay when they withdrew the money.
There were a lot of fees. In addition to an annual management fee, DeVere would charge a fee on the pension transfer that could be as high as 7%, spread over several years, three former employees said. Clients who transferred pensions would have to decide how to invest the money, giving DeVere salesmen another chance to earn fees.
Among the investments DeVere sold in the US were structured notes from banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, according to the former employees. These investments, a form of derivatives, are a way to bet on the stock market. One Goldman note offered an 11% return if three indexes all went up by a designated date. DeVere received a 4% upfront commission, the former employees said.
Collecting Commissions
Because DeVere registered with the SEC as an investment adviser, not as a brokerage, its employees aren’t allowed to collect commissions.
“If you receive transaction-based commissions then you need to be registered as a broker-dealer,” said Seth Taube, a former SEC enforcement official who’s now a lawyer at Baker Botts LLP in New York.
DeVere didn’t respond to questions about commissions. In 2014, Benjamin Alderson, then head of the New York office, told International Adviser about SEC regulations: “You cannot be anything but squeaky clean or it will show.”
Andrew Williams, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, said the bank terminated its distribution relationships with DeVere last year, declining to say why. Mark Lake, a Morgan Stanley spokesman, declined to comment.
Zip Line
DeVere employees who did well made a lot of money. The firm had about 50 US salesmen at its peak, and the top tier made more than $500,000 a year, former employees said. The best performers were invited to DeVere’s Christmas party in London. At the 2015 event at the Grosvenor Hotel, Mr Green, DeVere’s founder, descended to the stage on a zip line amid fireworks, and the former lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls performed, the employees said.
Mr Green, a trim and diminutive man, visited New York every few months. An employee would be assigned to bring a kettlebell to his hotel room for his morning workouts. Some former salesmen said he reminded them of the sinister nuclear-plant owner Mr Burns from “The Simpsons”.
Three of the former employees said they would drink booze out of paper cups during the day when Mr Green wasn’t watching. Younger guys were sent downstairs to buy drugs from delivery men. Most of the misbehaviour stopped around 2015, the former employees said. Salesmen who worked at DeVere more recently said they hadn’t seen anything untoward.
In 2015, one of DeVere’s few female employees sued for sexual harassment, saying salesmen made vulgar and racist comments about her husband, a black professional football player. The New York Post published a story about the lawsuit with the headline “I worked in real-life ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ den: NFL player’s wife”. Mr Prior, the DeVere spokesman, said at the time that the allegations were “false and incredulous”. The case was settled out of court, though the former employee, Philippa Okoye, has since filed a second lawsuit alleging she wasn’t paid.
Singapore Sanction
DeVere has a history of run-ins with regulators. In 2008, a Singapore subsidiary was fined for using unlicensed advisers and selling insurance products outside its licence mandate, according to a statement by the city-state’s regulator. The firm closed the office that year.
In Hong Kong, a former DeVere subsidiary was fined HK$3.1 million ($398,000) last year for breaches including using unlicensed advisers and failing to hand over information to a local regulator. Mr Green had already acquired another firm, Acuma Hong Kong Ltd., and he uses that brand in the city now instead of DeVere.
DeVere is on a list of firms published by Japan’s regulator that aren’t authorised to solicit investors. It was on a similar list in Thailand, though it isn’t anymore. Its UK subsidiary stopped providing some pension advice this year amid a regulatory review. DeVere has blamed some problems on scammers using its name.
South Africa’s Financial Services Board is also investigating DeVere, according to Nokuthula Mtungwa, a spokeswoman for the agency. Ross Pennell, a former manager of DeVere’s Cape Town office who said he’s been contacted by the regulator, said the probe concerned fees and disclosures. He said clients weren’t told about some of the commissions they were paying or that some investments locked up their money for years.
“In my experience, DeVere was sometimes more focussed on making sales than actually giving proper financial advice,” Mr Pennell said in an interview.
After leaving DeVere in 2014, Mr Pennell sued the company over an unpaid bonus and other money he says he was owed. He said he then received threatening anonymous phone calls, and a mobile phone message with what appeared to be surveillance photographs of his wife and children. He reported the threats to South African police, who determined there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the matter. A judge ruled in favour of Pennell in the pay dispute this month, but DeVere is appealing.
Pension Warning
An SEC investigation may not be the biggest threat to offshore advisers like DeVere: In March, the UK government imposed a 25% tax on some pensions transferred overseas. The UK Financial Conduct Authority also posted a warning on its website in January about the risks of pension transfers, such as advisers who recommend high-risk investments or scams.
DeVere said in a May 13 press release that its strategic review will involve a corporate restructuring and should be completed by the end of the month. The company sold its Bahamas operation to its managers and has been busy this year setting up new businesses. It got an investment-banking licence from Mauritius, an island east of Madagascar, opened a private bank on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and started a “global e-money app” that it says will rival traditional banks.
“Banking as we have known it until now is finished,” Mr Green said in an April 10 press release announcing the app.
Posted: May 25, 2017, 12:09 pm
Every now and again we at Elite E Services stumble upon business models in the course of our operation that are sometimes interesting but alarming at the same time - in this case, timeshare fraud.  After having our head held under water by combination of ugly circumstances (tough regulation making business impossible but at the same time losing millions to Forex fraudsters which ironically the regulations failed to stop); we are sensitive on fraud - especially that which does not appear to be on the surface!  And as markets evolve, so do fraud models.. 
SAN DIEGO – Jeffrey Spanier, a 51-year-old former owner of Amerifund Capital Finance, LLC located in Boca Raton, Florida, was convicted by a federal jury today for his role in an elaborate stock-loan fraud scheme in which executives and shareholders of publicly traded corporations collectively lost over $100 million when the stock they pledged as collateral for loans was immediately sold in order to fund the loans.
Why this is a good example though - this fraud was perpetrated at the highest levels.  Victims of this fraud included the who's who of Wall St., corporate executivies, ultra high net worth individuals, and even Bono (
This may have to be a multi-part series as we uncover this new type of fraud which may be the next big 'securities fraud' as what we are looking at - appears to be unregistered securities.  Let's start with a short history of what a timeshare is and how we got where we are.  
Long ago, before the dinosaurs, the Johnson family wanted to share their lake cottage with the Smith family for the summer, and asked them to kick in for the repairs of the old dock.  Or something like that.  And then it became a business - of course starting from the infamous Fort Frauderdale, Florida (during this time Boca Raton was still a swamp, inhabitied only by IBM and some Japanese..)
The first timeshare in the United States was started in 1974 by Caribbean International Corporation (CIC), based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It offered what it called a 25-year vacation license rather than ownership. The company owned two other resorts the vacation license holder could alternate their vacation weeks with: one in St. Croix and one in St. Thomas; both in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands properties began their timeshare sales in 1973 with owners Hillie Meyers, Don Saunders, and Arthur Zimand.
How we got to where we are today follows the same path of all industries; fuelled by Fed policy of cheap money, an expanding real estate market, retiring rich baby boomers, and all the other favorable demographics.  But what insiders in this industry learned quickly was that, they were really selling the dream.  It was possible to sell the nothing, the artificiality.  "Real" estate is just that - it's real.  Timeshare owners don't really 'own' anything, if you read the agreements - it's a contract to pay, an obligation - in perpetuity.  Every time share contract is different but in no case is there actual ownership of 'real estate' - you may own the 'rights' to a 'membership' but if it cannot be 'sold' then what kind of ownership is that really?  What they learned was that the profit here was all in the sizzle, not in the steak - and if they could enhance the sizzle to be 99% and serve Grade B flank steak, they'd have a winning model to become very rich, which was borderline legal.  While the timeshare industry itself is 'legal' and in some states there are 'regulations' - many of the tactics they use, contracts they offer, are illegal.  Many of the 'salespeople' they hire, have criminal records for financial fraud.  In fact, the FTC currently has hundreds of criminal investigations against timeshare companies, timeshare resale scams, timeshare fraud, and related illegal activities.  Similar to how the Forex fraud we saw had nothing to do with Forex, many of these frauds have nothing to do with timeshares.  People are so desperate to sell their obligations, when a scammer calling from Mexico says he can 'resell' your timeshare (which is practically impossible) hopeful victims wire thousands of dollars to the foreign bank account with little respute.  Doesn't sound like a lot of money for a scam, but - multiplied by the 10 Million timeshare owners out there, this can add up to millions of dollars for the fraudsters.
When you 'buy' a timeshare 'contract' it's sort of like a debt, you are obligated to pay and if you die, your children will inherit the payments.  Sounds a lot like a bond!  Yes, these are unregistered securities.  The 'exchange' as they call it, RCI, is an unregistered exchange.  There are issues with the SEC, the CFTC, the states, and possibly even anti-trust issues.  Some of these issues are starting to be talked about in the financial media:
Summary
  • Analysts upgrading HGV are not considering the 'dark side' of this industry.
  • Potential liabilities can spring up anytime that can change this tune.
  • Angry customers complain, which can soon become lawsuits, with deleterious consequences.
About half of the big timeshare companies are public companies, so here's where the biggest issues lie.  Because public companies are required to follow rules such as disclosure rules that don't apply to private companies.  So this may be where we see the first complaints.
Really what it comes down to, is a broken model.  Not all timeshares are frauds - but in an inflationary environment, is such a model - fraud removed - profitable anymore?  It's like the Series 7 stockbroker, who used to charge a percent of the trade - now anyone can place their own trade for $9.99 or less whilst sitting in their bathrobe petting their cat.  The timeshare model is a broken bricks and mortar model from the past, it's dead like the shopping mall is dead, just like Amazon is killing retail stores, new upstarts that remain to be seen (still do not exist) will cannabalize this rotten model.  In the meantime, there's a lot to be decided in court.
Even according to industry 'official' statistics, about 17% of timeshare owners are not happy.  Although Diamond is now private and bigger companies have 'cleaned up' their act, reports of false imprisonment, fraud by trickery, misleading sales statements, and outright refusals to comply with customers requests, and just a few of the things still going on.. just read sites like this Consumer Reports (RCI): 
We see no reason to sign up for RCI except to give the company money. We are new members who tried to use RCI for the first time. We wanted to visit El Dorado Suites, Riviera Maya, using our exchange. Through RCI, we have to pay a $399 fee for a mandatory 7-day visit. RCI requires we also pay a $2500 "Mandatory all inclusive" fee for the El Dorado. So that's the cost of our RCI membership, plus a $399 fee, plus a $2500 all-inclusive fee. Curious, we logged into El Dorado's home page and found we could sign up for the exact same vacation, not using RCI, for a total cost of $2200, also all-inclusive. So the all-inclusive fee alone is more than the actual cost of staying at the El Dorado Suites, without having ever met an RCI salesperson.

...

I have been with RCI approx 12yrs. My previous issues have been the fact that they charge for unused points... Live and learn. My complaint is that I had to cancel a reservation. It's unfortunate but situations do arise and plans have to get changed. I cancelled 5-days prior to my check-in date. RCI WILL NEITHER REFUND NOR CREDIT my charge of $99.00! They say they have a 24-hour 'grace period'. I feel this is a major RIP-OFF to consumers and extremely bad business practice. I have contacted them by email, customer service and 'blabbering' supervisor. I was told "they have to keep the lights on" in order to provide their service. Well, RCI, my lights need to be on as well!! BUYER BEWARE.
You get the idea.  One can spend a weekend reading these, it does make more interesting reading than outright financial fraud, but eventually it will make you want to vomit.  You can't call this a business model - you have to call it 'fraud' or 'scam' because it's like that.  If normal companies operated like this, they'd be shut down.  Imagine walking into Wal Mart and instead of their 'no questions asked' return policy they argued with you and told you there was a 'grace period' or some such nonsense, there would be riots, boycotts - Wal Mart would be no more.  90% of business operates like that.  The only exception is software sales because practically, once you 'download' the software you can copy it and there's no way to prove that you didn't.  Other than that - and some other rare exceptions, you can't lock people in a room for 8 hours without their permission.  Readers - this is a time-bomb waiting to explode!  How can we profit from it?  Short the stocks; (HGV) (WYN) (VAC) et al   
If you own a timeshare and want out, there are only a few lawfirms who are actually law firms who can do this for you, like this one Fortis Law Group PLC.  There are also hundreds of scam companies claiming to be 'timeshare resale experts' who even have 'licenses' to do this - but beware - this is a scam too!  This industry is filled with fraud from one end of the business cycle to the other.  It can only be explained by George Carlin, with this clip:

We know what we have to do.  Let's get working!
Posted: May 22, 2017, 6:07 pm

Summary

Analysts upgrading HGV are not considering the 'dark side' of this industry.
Potential liabilities can spring up anytime that can change this tune.
Angry customers complain, which can soon become lawsuits, with deleterious consequences.
There's no dispute that Hilton Grand Vacations Inc (NYSE:HGV) has been doing well over the past few weeks. But, and it's a big but, most of this buying has been fueled by analyst reports, such as this one:
Nomura reiterated their buy rating on shares of Hilton Grand Vacations Inc in a research note published on Friday morning. The brokerage currently has a $43.00 price target on the stock.
We all know how this goes; a huge Wall St. bank has to unload a fund position so they ask their buddies in the analysis department to publish a buy or hold rating on the issue which they know will be good for a few points. Of course it doesn't always happen that way, but the conflict and potential for conflicts should not be ignored by investors. Many investors already don't pay attention to what the analysts say, or else Seeking Alpha wouldn't be so popular!
Posted: May 15, 2017, 9:50 pm
It was an odd transaction from the outset: $14 million, double the going rate, for a 31-acre plot of flat, undeveloped land just west of Chicago. In the nine months since, the curious use of the space has only added to the intrigue. A single, nondescript pole with two antennas was erected by a row of shrubs. Some supporting equipment was rolled in. That’s it.
But those aren’t ordinary antennas. And the buyer of the property isn’t your typical land investor. It’s an affiliate of a company called Jump Trading LLC, a legendary and secretive trading firm that’s a major player in some of the most important financial markets. Just across the street, it turns out, lies the data center for CME Group Inc., the world’s biggest futures exchange. By placing its antennas so close to CME’s servers, Jump may be trying to shave maybe a microsecond -- one-millionth of a second -- off its reaction time, potentially enough to separate a winning from a losing bid in trading that takes place at almost the speed of light.
It’s the latest, and perhaps boldest, salvo in an escalating war that’s being waged to stay competitive in the high-speed trading business. The war is one of proximity -- to see who can get data in and out of CME the quickest. A company called McKay Brothers LLC recently won approval to build the tallest microwave tower in the area while another, Webline Holdings LLC, has installed microwave dishes on a utility pole just outside the data center.
“It tells you how valuable being just a little bit faster is,” said Michael Goldstein, a finance professor at Babson College in Babson Park, Massachusetts. “People say seconds matter. This is microseconds matter.”

Platform Shoes

Traders have long fought ferociously to gain an edge, even to the point of wearing ultra-high platform shoes to stand out in the era when they shouted and waved their hands to execute an order. The dubious fashion was mercifully ended in 2000 by CME’s predecessor, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which cited a rash of injuries in banning shoes with soles higher than 2 inches.
The battle for speed was later waged over fiber-optic cable and then, within the past decade, microwave technology, which can convey data in nearly half the time.
Jump Trading declined to comment, but in Aurora it appears that it, too, was reacting to competitors in the latest round of jockeying. In October 2015, McKay Brothers, a company that sells access to its microwave network to high-speed traders, leased land diagonal to the CME data center, under the name Pierce Broadband LLC, according to DuPage County property records.
Last month, the county gave McKay approval to erect a 350-foot high microwave tower that could be 600 feet closer to the data center than its current location, records show. Two trading firms, IMC BV and Tower Research Capital LLC, own minority stakes in McKay. Co-founder Stephane Tyc said his firm may never build the tower but it would be part of the firm’s continual efforts to speed transmission time. 

Utility Pole

Then there’s Webline Holdings. In November 2015, it was granted a license to operate microwave equipment on a utility pole just outside the data center, according to Federal Communications Commission records. Webline has licenses for a microwave network stretching from Aurora to Carteret, New Jersey, where Nasdaq Inc.’s data center is located. Messages left for Webline were not returned.
Last year, the Jump Trading affiliate World Class Wireless purchased the 31-acre lot for $14 million, according to county records. “They paid probably twice as much as it’s worth,” said David Friedland, an executive director in commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield’s Rosemont, Illinois, office. “I don’t see anyone else paying close to that price.”
The license for the transmission dishes is held by a joint venture between World Class and a unit of KCG Holdings Inc., a trading firm that Virtu Financial Inc. is acquiring.

Fiber Cable

It’s unclear which firm is now closest to CME servers. Trading data first leaves CME computers via fiber cable, and then to nearby antennas that send it by microwave to other towers until it reaches New Jersey, where all the major U.S. stock exchanges house their computers. The moves in Aurora are intended to reduce the time that the data is conveyed through cable.
Sending data back and forth between the U.S. Midwest and East Coast allows high-frequency traders to profit from price differences for related assets, including S&P 500 Index futures in Illinois and stock prices in New Jersey. Those money-making opportunities often last only tiny fractions of a second.
There may be a simple way to avoid the skirmishing among traders. A microwave tower could be installed on the roof of the CME data center to eliminate the need for jockeying around the site. The exchange is indeed looking at allowing roof access, along with CyrusOne Inc., the company that bought the data center last year, CME said in a statement. Traders being traders, however, they may continue to battle, this time for the most advantageous position on the microwave tower itself.
“We are confident the CME can provide an alternate and better solution which offers a level playing field to all participants," said McKay’s Tyc.
Posted: May 13, 2017, 2:47 pm
Forex is the most simple market in the world.  As we explain in our book Splitting Pennies - Forex is the underpinning of the world's financial system.  Although it is also the least understood market, there's nothing 'sophisticated' about FX.  Take a dollar, exchange it for a euro.  The rate changes - exchange it back.  Simple!  Trading money.
There is no '2 day settlement' in Forex, a custodian, there's no Reg D, no Reg NMS - there's no HFT front running your orders, there's no 'order types' - there's no exchange rules (because there's no exchange).  Actually, when you strip away the complexities of most markets like securities, bonds, real estate, commodities, FX is many times over the most simple market.  
Understandably, the securities market is the most widely promoted to investors because of the potential for making high returns from participating in corporate ownership (and thus ownership of profits).  But securities are a derivative.  Investors don't really own the companies - they own the shares.  And actually to be technical, they don't own the shares too - they are controlled by a huge custodian DTCC.  The securities, bond, and futures markets are the core of modern capitalism.  But they aren't a necessity, they are an abstration and thus - have complex rules.  Or to say differently - the banking system needs the real economy - the real economy doesn't need the banking system.
How do these abstract markets drive inflation?  Here's how.  QE doesn't directly go into the economy.  However, by keeping interest rates low, both in real terms and buy the Fed's various asset purchase programs - it means money has never been cheaper.  With cheap money, it's easy for i-banks to borrow at zero or near zero rates, invest in any index at 2x or 4x leverage and get their 20% - 40% per year with virtually no risk (that is, no seen risk - there is huge tail risk that one day the market will collapse, which it will for sure, like the big bubble that it is.)  
The 'stock markets' have become so intertwined with the real economy, they have made themselves a necessity.  Like a virus that has taken over a host, now it would be practically impossible to kill the market without affecting the overall economy.  All of this has become so complicated, with so many involved parties - it has become a giant spider web.
On the topic of the Fed and their direct stock market alleged manipulation, consider the following.  The Fed is owned by the member banks.  The Fed gives it's QE to the member banks, almost all of which are now publicly traded companies.  Here's where the paper trail begins for the 'conspiracy crowd' about the Fed being owned by nefarious 13 families:  Public disclosure rules mean that anyone can lookup what's going on at Bank of America (BAC).  Hiding significant information at public companies is very difficult, and becoming more and more difficult with the digitization of records, communications, and basically all aspects of business, which by the way is all 'doubled' and recorded on a network level by ATT (T) another public company - and stored in an NSA database.  America Inc. is technically a corporation and the states such as South Carolina are more like countries (hence the name 'states') - although you can't buy and sell shares of America Inc. you sort of can, it's called immigration - citizens of USA are sort of like shareholders.  And there's a short side too, record numbers of US Citizens are giving up their citizenship.  So, does the Fed manipulate the stock market?  It's not a fair question, because Fed ownership and operations are completely intertwined with the stock market.  During the time when the Fed was created, America was just passing the wildcat banking era, where there were thousands of private banks.  Do not confuse 'private banking' with a 'privately owned bank' - private banking is discreet services for rich people who may want to hide their assets or not let others know how rich they are.  Privately owned banks are nearly non-existant in the USA today, for a number of reasons - mostly caused by generational wealth transfer and generally a trend towards the institutionalization of assets.  What does that mean?  It means that 100 years ago, things were in YOUR name, if you were JP Morgan or Andrew Carnegie.  Today, it's all in tax havens, the Carnegie foundation, trust funds, and almost nothing is in YOUR name.  That includes banks, which are mostly publicly traded and thus, publicly owned.  The individual has become obsolete.  
So all these tendencies, make the market so complicated it's even confusing to describe.  

All this drama created by Nixon is really in the eye of the beholder - this idea of 'economic collapse' is a fantasy promulgated by religious types in armaggedon style packaging, as if the Earth will explode and burn in a big singularity event.  The reality is that 'economic collapse' is happening every day, simply that only some of us notice it.  
Forex simply guages the tides as they ebb and flow, EUR/USD rate changes, but not really that much.  Brexit gave us a 9% move which is huge for FX but not really statistically significant in the grand scheme of things.
Take a look at EUR/GBP for last 10 years:
forex
This is a monthly chart.  You can see why FX is not interesting for the general public.  But it takes a lot less time to understand FX than the stock markets.  FX is simple.
As we head into a potential complete meltdown of the Euro, and tomorrow's NFP, we're heading into an event that may change the face of FX forever.
Dear Trader,
With the upcoming second round of the French Presidential Election this weekend, we require that your account balance plus any open profit or loss covers at least 3% of the total notional exposure across all EUR crosses and EUR Equity Index CFDs by 4pm (UK time) Friday, 5th May 2017. Where the cover is lower than 3%, we may reduce your positions to increase the cover on your account before the market close.
Exit polls will be released prior to the market open on Sunday, 7th May 2017 and there is increased risk of wide spreads and large price gaps on the market open and through the night. Please ensure you are comfortable with the exposure on your open positions leading into the market close on Friday, 5th May 2017.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Client Services by calling +44 20 3192 XXXX or emailing XXXXXX.
FX and CFDs are leveraged products that can result in losses exceeding your deposit. They are not suitable for everyone so please ensure you fully understand the risks involved.
Kind regards
LMAX Exchange
Client Services Team
Posted: May 5, 2017, 11:31 am
Is Canada a 'real' country?  What is a 'real' country anyway?  Is a 'country' defined by ethnic lines, borders, corporations, or what the United Nations says?  Is Kosovo a country?  Some say yes, some do not agree:
Kosovo, self-declared independent country in the Balkans region of Europe. Although the United States and most members of the European Union (EU) recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, Serbia, Russia, and a significant number of other countries—including several EU members—did not.
Well Canada is lucky to have self-declared itself as a country during a period where many breakaway regions and colonies became countries (let's not get into the debate about USA because America Inc. is an artificial country, actually it is a corporation).  But the point here is that, as we explain in Splitting Pennies - Understanding Forex - A COUNTRY IS A CURRENCY.  Yes, this means that Germany, Italy, and others - have given up their sovereignty for the chance to participate in the Euro.  This point is one of the main reason nationalists throughout the European Union rally for its demise.   
But what about Canada?  One of the ex-colonial British states which still is part of the 'commonwealth' Canada enjoys the best of both worlds - independence but protection from two big brothers; USA and the UK.  And at least for the time being, Canada is really a real country, at least more than EU nation states are.  Canada is not part of a 'super state' although a 'super alliance' called the Commonwealth is similar, London doesn't directly control Canada's monetary supply (vis a vis the currency) so for now, Canada is really an independent country.
Take a look at recent FX activity in the 'loonie' USD/CAD pair:
usd cad
For those new to FX, the above chart shows USD vs. CAD which means that the US Dollar is UP against the Canadian dollar.  This area of 1.36 has been a top at least for 2017 and the latter part of 2016; a break here could signify a bull run where there's no further technical resistance until the Jan 2015 high of 1.47.
The loonie as the CAD is called (because of the bird, not because of lunatics in Canada) is considered a commodity currency due to oil and other resources up there.  Another reason that it's time the US just annexed Canada and made it the 51st state (much better than Puerto Rico, me thinks).  Here's a list of reasons the US should invade Canada as explained in a previous article exclusively on ZH by Global Intel Hub.
What's the FX trade here?  Simple; place limit orders above and below the several day range; whichever way USD/CAD breaks out (up or down) it will break hard, as Canada struggles to establish its own identity as a real G8 Currency.
usd cad break up

Of course, if you're in one of the 50% of publicly listed companies that doesn't hedge FX (don't see=don't exist), this is a potential risk if you do business in or with Canada (and thus have CAD exposure).  
If all this is confusing, you can always invest in futures strategies and forget it.
For a detailed play by play breakdown of how to trade such an event; checkout Fortress Capital Trading Academy, or Splitting Pennies the Book.
Posted: April 27, 2017, 3:31 pm




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

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


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

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