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Commuters & Computers: Mapping America’s Megaregions

November 5, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

From California’s Bay Area to the highly-integrated Great Lakes Economy, megaregions are a dominating aspect of human geography and commerce. It should be no surprise then, that 85% of corporate head offices in the US and Canada are overwhelmingly concentrated in the core cities of great megaregions.

We tend to think of cities as individual economic units, but as they expand outward and bleed together, defining them simply by official jurisdictions and borders becomes difficult. After all, as Visual Capitalist’s Nick Routley notes, many of the imaginary lines divvying up the country are remnants of decisions from centuries ago – and other county and state lines exist for more counterintuitive reasons such as gerrymandering.

What if there was a more data-driven approach to examine America’s urban networks?

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

COMPUTER, TAKE THE WHEEL

By ignoring borders and looking purely at commuter data, geographer Garrett Nelson and urban analyst Alasdair Rae looked to map the relationship between population centers in their paper, An Economic Geography of the United States: From Commutes to Mega-regions.

Researchers used visual and algorithmic approaches to build their map.

The study used network partitioning software to link together 4 million commutes between census tracts. This gives us a very granular look at the “gravitational pull” of America’s population centers, and helps us better understand the economic links that bind a region together.

By combining visual and mathematical approaches, and some creative place-naming, the researchers created a map that they hope reflects America’s true economic geography.

ALGORITHMIC INSIGHTS

The concept of megaregions is hardly new, and there are already definitions for global megacities that use everything from infrastructure systems to light patterns derived from satellite imagery.

That said, this research is fine example of using data and an algorithmic approach to look at systems in a new way, unburdened by our political and cultural preconceptions.

*  *  *

Interested in more infographics on human geography? There’s just a couple of days left to make the Visual Capitalist book a reality on Kickstarter.

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“It’s A Vicious Cycle”: Goldman Abandons Equity Options Market-Making As Vol Collapses

November 4, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

October is historically the most volatile month of the year, but in 2017 – the average volatility of US equity markets dropped to an all-time record low…

 

… And you know something’s wrong when, just like in early 2007 when the crash in vol killed the swaptions industry – just before all hell broke loose – Goldman Sachs is pulling back from U.S. options market-making on exchanges.

The Wall Street Journal reports an extraordinary calm in markets has choked the trades that typically funnel through banks’ derivatives desks.

Waning stock volatility is pressuring the equity derivatives business, suppressing revenue and driving traders out of what was once a key Wall Street moneymaker.

Goldman Sachs pulled back from U.S. options market-making on exchanges, a spokeswoman for the firm said Thursday.

It’s the latest to withdraw from the business of continuously buying and selling contracts on venues using automated programs.

Revenue in an equity derivatives business that focuses on listed options shrank by 41% in the U.S. and by 28% globally during the first half of 2017 from the same period a year ago, according to data firm Coalition, which tracked 12 of the biggest banks in the world.

The number of employees in equity derivatives at banks has contracted by about 10% since 2012, Coalition data also show.

“With lower volatility this year, we’re seeing less of those trades come through,” said Coalition’s research director Amrit Shahani.

 

“It’s a vicious cycle.”

OptionMetrics LLC founder David Hait said investors tend to think of options as insurance for stock bets.

With U.S. equities in an eight-year bull market, people are asking, “What do I need an option for?” he said.

After 16 years of trading options during which he ascended to managing director at Bank of America and Deutsche Bank, Zahid Biviji left Wall Street this year, citing fewer opportunities in the space, partly caused by regulations imposed after the financial crisis.

“I had a good run making money,” Mr. Biviji said, noting that “a lot of the derivatives business is in survival mode right now.”

But as equity market volatility has collapsed to record lows, another asset class has sprung up with record-breaking-high volatility: cryptocurrencies.

“For the most part, you’re not going to get wealthy like you could in the late ‘90s or early 2000s” in equity derivatives, said Arthur Hayes, the Hong Kong-based co-founder and chief of Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange, who traded derivatives at Citigroup and Deutsche Bank.

“In cryptos, you actually get to do what you like to do: trade.”

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Rand Paul Assaulted By Intruder At Kentucky Home

November 4, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Senator Rand Paul was assaulted at his home in Bowling Green, Kentucky when a local man broke into his residence and attacked him, causing minor injuries before the intruder was subdued and arrested, the Bowling Green Daily News reported.

Rene Boucher, 59, is in the Warren County Regional Jail in lieu of a $5,000 bond, according to online jail records available Saturday afternoon.

Paul suffered minor injuries, according to a news release from Kentucky State Police Post 3 in Bowling Green, which did not describe the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“Senator Paul is fine,” said Kelsey Cooper, Paul’s Kentucky communications director, said “Senator Paul was blindsided and the victim of an assault,” Cooper said in an email. “The assailant was arrested and it is now a matter for the police.”

A news release said troopers were called to Paul’s home at 3:21 pm Friday. According to the release, Boucher was arrested by Trooper Bartley Weaver and charged with assaulting the senator.  

Local property records show a Rene Boucher owns a home on Rivergreen Lane, which is in the gated neighborhood just east of Bowling Green where Paul resides.

An arrest warrant for Boucher was issued through the Warren County Attorney’s office. The charge of fourth-degree assault is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail. Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken said further charges could be brought, based on the extent of Paul’s injuries.

The investigation by Weaver is continuing, and no other details were immediately available. Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky who was elected in 2011, has made headlines recently for his intransigent opposition to the Trump legislative agenda – he was the only Republican who vote against the senate’s $4 trillion budget bill. He is also a vocal critic of Obamacare, who successfully persuaded President Trump to sign an order that will allow health insurance companies to sell insurance policies across state lines.

No motive for the attack has been determined as of yet, police said.
 

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Donna Brazile: “I Considered Replacing Hillary With Joe Biden”, Felt Like A “Slave”

November 4, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Donna Brazile’s campaign to embarrass the powerful Democrats who disrespected her during her short-lived tenure as interim chairwoman of the DNC last year is going better than anybody – other than Brazile and her publisher – could’ve possibly imagined.

After Brazile published the first of what appears to be a series of damning indictments of the incompetence, collusion and arrogance of both the Clinton campaign and Hillary herself – a news-cycle dominating bombshell about how the Clinton campaign and former DNC Chairwoman deliberately pushed the national party to the edge of financial collapse to leave it financially reliant upon and beholden to, the Clintons – Brazile is back with another astonishing revelation courtesy of the Washington Post.

In a report that paradoxically validates concerns about Clinton’s health raised by conservative media – which were readily dismissed as sexist and “alt-right fake news” by the unabashedly pro-Clinton mainstream media – the Post reported that Brazile contemplated removing Hillary as the party’s candidate after Clinton fainted during a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial and, as the WaPo adds, “Brazile blasts the campaign’s initial efforts to shroud details of her health as “shameful.”

Clinton later said she had pneumonia.

Brazile says she came close to replacing Clinton and Kaine with Vice President Joseph Biden and Sen. Corey Booker, but decided against it after she “thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.” Of course, Brazile’s private concerns about her ally and friend’s campaign didn’t stop her from sharing debate questions and town hall topics with the Clinton campaign.

But that’s hardly the only tantalizing insider detail revealed in the excerpts from Brazile’s new book published by the post (the book hits shelves on Tuesday).

Just like the electorate at large, “the campaign was so lacking in passion for the candidate, she writes, that its New York headquarters felt like a sterile hospital ward where “someone had died.”

In another detail that was somehow overlooked by the mainstream media’s panoptical scrutiny of the competing campaigns (remember all those stories about the Trump campaign being a shambolic, dysfunctional mess?), Brazile says she knew something was deeply wrong at Clinton HQ when she came to the uncomfortable realization that the staffers weren’t, well, fucking each other. 

Brazile describes the 10th floor of Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters, where senior staff worked: “Calm and antiseptic, like a hospital. It had that techno-hush, as if someone had died. I felt like I should whisper. Everybody’s fingers were on their keyboards, and no one was looking at anyone else. You half-expected to see someone in a lab coat walk by.”

 

During one visit, she writes, she thought of a question former Democratic congressman Tony Coelho used to ask her about campaigns: “Are the kids having sex? Are they having fun? If not, let’s create something to get that going, or otherwise we’re not going to win.”

 

“I didn’t sense much fun or [having sex] in Brooklyn,” she deadpans.

Then there was this disturbing account of how party officials routinely demeaned and disrespected Brazile, going so far as accusing top Clinton operatives of being racist

As one of her party’s most prominent black strategists, Brazile also recounts fiery disagreements with Clinton’s staffers — including a conference call in which she told three senior campaign officials, Charlie Baker, Marlon Marshall and Dennis Cheng, that she was being treated like a slave.

 

“I’m not Patsey the slave,” Brazile recalls telling them, a reference to the character played by Lupita Nyong’o in the film, “12 Years a Slave.” “Y’all keep whipping me and whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”

Brazile abruptly and – she says – reluctantly took over in July 2016 for chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The Florida congresswoman was ousted from the DNC on the eve of the party convention after WikiLeaks released stolen emails among her and her advisers that showed favoritism for Clinton during the competitive primaries.

Brazile describes her mounting anxiety about Russia’s theft of emails and other data from DNC servers, the slow process of discovering the full extent of the cyberattacks and the personal fallout. She likens the feeling to having rats in your basement: “You take measures to get rid of them, but knowing they are there, or have been there, means you never feel truly at peace.”

That fall, Brazile says she tried to persuade her Republican counterparts to agree to a joint statement condemning Russian interference but that they ignored her messages and calls.

Sensing the threat that Brazile was becoming, the Clinton campaign took steps to minimize her influence and publicly humiliate her after Wikileaks revealed that she leaked questions to the Clinton camp. Brazile admitted she did so to avoid harming her reputation, but says she has no recollection of sending the email, and that she couldn’t find it on her computer.

Brazile was apparently witness to more than one episode where Hillary’s deteriorating health was on display during her campaign season bout with pneumonia. And after the incident at the 9/11 memorial, Biden and Martin O’Malley called Brazile as buzz mounted among party insiders that she might move to replace Clinton as the candidate.

Brazile describes in wrenching detail Clinton’s bout with pneumonia. On Sept. 9, she saw the nominee backstage at a Manhattan gala and she seemed “wobbly on her feet” and had a “rattled cough.” Brazile recommended Clinton see an acupuncturist.

 

Two days later, Clinton collapsed as she left a Sept. 11 memorial service at Ground Zero in New York. Brazile blasts the campaign’s initial efforts to shroud details of her health as “shameful.”

 

Whenever Brazile got frustrated with Clinton’s aides, she writes, she would remind them that the DNC charter empowered her to replace the nominee. If a nominee became disabled, she explains, the party chair would oversee the process of filling the vacancy.

 

After Clinton’s fainting spell, some Democratic insiders were abuzz with talk of replacing her — and Brazile says she was giving it considerable thought.

 

The morning of Sept. 12, Brazile got a call from Biden’s chief of staff saying the vice president wanted to speak with her. She recalls thinking, “Gee, I wonder what he wanted to talk to me about?” Jeff Weaver, campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), called, too, to set up a call with his boss, and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley sent her an email.

 

Brazile also was paid a surprise visit in her DNC office by Baker, who, she writes, was dispatched by the Clinton campaign “to make sure that Donna didn’t do anything crazy.”

 

“Again and again I thought about Joe Biden,” Brazile writes. But, she adds, “No matter my doubts and my fears about the election and Hillary as a candidate, I could not make good on that threat to replace her.”

As the campaign rolled into its final months, Brazile said she tried to warn Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook about the alarming lack of enthusiasm for their candidate among minorities. Not only was she ignored, she says, but the campaign essentially sent a spy to the DNC to monitor her and report back.

As she traveled the country, Brazile writes, she detected an alarming lack of enthusiasm for Clinton. On black radio stations, few people defended the nominee. In Hispanic neighborhoods, the only Clinton signs she saw were at the campaign field offices.

 

But at headquarters in New York, the mood was one of “self-satisfaction and inevitability,” and Brazile’s early reports of trouble were dismissed with “a condescending tone.”

 

Brazile writes that Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and his lieutenants were so obsessed with voter data and predictive analytics that they “missed the big picture.”

 

“They knew how to size up voters not by meeting them and finding out what they cared about, what moved their hearts and stirred their souls, but by analyzing their habits,” she writes. “You might be able to persuade a handful of Real Simple magazine readers who drink gin and tonics to change their vote to Hillary, but you had not necessarily made them enthusiastic enough to want to get up off the couch and go to the polls.”

 

Brazile describes Mook, in his mid-30s, as overseeing a patriarchy. “They were all men in his inner circle,” she writes, adding: “He had this habit of nodding when you are talking, leaving you with the impression that he has listened to you, but then never seeming to follow up on what you thought you had agreed on.”

 

Brazile’s criticisms were not reserved for Mook. After Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri challenged Brazile’s plan for Kaine to deliver a pep talk to DNC staff at the party convention in Philadelphia,

Brazile writes, “I was thinking, If that b—- ever does anything like that to me again, I’m gonna walk.”

 

Brazile writes with particular disdain about Brandon Davis, a Mook protege who worked as a liaison between the DNC and the Clinton campaign. She describes him as a spy, saying he treated her like “a crazy, senile old auntie and couldn’t wait to tell all his friends the nutty things she said.”

The Post’s report appears to be a rather exhaustive summary of the allegations contained in Brazile’s book, but given that there are still a few days left until it hits the shelves, it is safe to assume that Brazile’s unconventional guerilla marketing campaign still has a few bombshells left to drop. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye out.

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BITCOIN vs. GOLD: Which One’s A Bubble & How Much Energy Do They Really Consume

November 4, 2017 SRSrocco 0

By the SRSrocco Report,
If you are investing in either Bitcoin or Gold, it’s important to understand which asset is behaving more like a bubble than the other.  While it’s impossible to understand how the market will value these two very differen…

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Secret FBI Analysis Of Martin Luther King Jr. Exposed In Latest Release Of JFK Files

November 4, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In keeping with President Trump’s demands…

#JFKFiles pic.twitter.com/AnPBSJFh3J

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2017

The National Archives and Records Administration on Friday afternoon released hundreds more documents related to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.

The documents can be found here.

As CBS reports, this latest batch of 676 records could yield more interesting results than last week’s release, as they are the ones intelligence agencies requested more time to review, citing national security concerns.

The majority of records from Friday’s batch – 553 of them – are from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Those records were previously denied in their entirety, according to NARA.

CBS points out some interesting findings…

Oswald contacts Soviet embassy in search of visa

On Sept. 27, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald called the Soviet embassy in search of a visa to visit Odessa, according to the files. Eventually, the Soviet Embassy says they have received no answer from Washington, and such a request will take four to five months. Oswald says he belongs to a pro-Cuban organization and can’t get a Cuban visa without first getting a Russian visa. The next day, Sept. 28, 1963, Oswald calls the Soviet embassy to ask for news from Washington.

 

Roofer told resident after JFK assassination: “I’m the man”

The Pentagon received a letter from a Betty Joe Dodge of Lubbock, Texas, in September 1978. The letter, addressed to General Westmoreland, noted that an ex-Green Baret named Robert H. Doty had stayed in Dodge’s home that summer while he worked as a roofer. On the evening the assassination news was reported, he seemed uneasy, Dodge said. When Dodge asked what difference it made, Doty told her, “I’m the man.”

 

“I was afraid to ask any questions,” Dodge wrote. “I could never tell whether he was testing my reaction to a wild statement or actually telling me the truth.”

 

Officials thought Oswald was “odd” in 1960

One U.S. official, Thomas B. Casasin, recalls that he thought Oswald’s behavior struck him as “odd” and “unusual” after reading a dispatch on him following Oswald’s return to the United States from the USSR. The official told his subordinates something along the lines of, “Don’t push too hard to get the information we need, because this individual looks odd.” The official remembers being particularly interested in what Oswald could provide on the Minsk factory where he had been employed.

However, perhaps the most interesting document released was a March 12th, 1968 FBI analysis of Martin Luther King Jr – just 3 weeks before he was assassinated – portraying the civil rights leader in a negative light.

The 20-page document released on Friday attempts to tie the civil rights leader to various communist influences and alleges financial improprieties at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the African-American civil rights organisation founded by King, reports CNN. The document also contains insinuations and assertions about King’s personal life, including extramarital affairs and other sexual improprieties. However, it was not clear whether the authors of the document verified any of the information.

The King document was reviewed by the National Archives and Records Administration’s JFK Task Force in 1994 and marked with an “x” for “total denial” of its release. The options “release in full” and “release in part” were left blank on the cover page.

As CNN reports, The FBI analysis questions whether King should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. It concludes:

“These facts about the Nobel Peace Prize winner make his remarks seem incongruous when he replied after winning this cherished award, ‘History has thrust me into this position. It would be both immoral and a sign of ingratitude if I did not face my moral responsibility to do what I can in the civil rights struggle.'”

In another section, the FBI document labels the Southern Christian Leadership Conference “a tax dodge”. It also alleges that many of King’s associates had communist ties, CNN reported.

The document was authored while the FBI was led by Director J. Edgar Hoover, who had investigators trail King and spy on him.

Hoover had authorised an extensive surveillance programme on King in the 1960s.

In 1964, a package containing tapes and a letter to King was delivered to his house and opened by his wife, Coretta Scott King. The letter appeared to urge King to commit suicide. It included the line: “There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days.” A Senate committee later confirmed the anonymous package had been sent by the FBI.

*  *  *

So 50 years ago The FBI was writing ‘analysis’ that included questioning an anti-establishment leader’s sexual behavior, business taxes, morals, ethics, and communist/Russian ties – not much changes does it!?

*  *  *

Full FBI Analysis below:

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How an uncle-nephew duo stole 50 million <b>oil</b> from the country’s largest onshore refinery

November 4, 2017 http://crude-oil.top/ 0

Every day, for five years, Bhoor Singh Rajpurohit and his nephew Gautam allegedly stole 50 million litres of crude oil from the country’s largest …

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The Economic End Game Continues

November 4, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

In November of 2014 I published an article titled ‘The Economic End Game Explained’. In it I outlined what I believed would be the process by which globalists would achieve what they call the “new world order” or what they sometimes call the “global economic reset.”

As I have shown in great detail in the past, the globalist agenda includes a fiscal end game; a prize or trophy that they hope to obtain. This prize is a completely centralized global economic structure, rooted in a single central bank for the world, the removal of the U.S. dollar as world reserve currency, the institution of the SDR basket system which will act as a bridge for single a global currency supplanting all others and, ultimately, global governance of this system by a mere handful of “elites.”

The timeline for this process is unclear, but there is some indication of when the “beginning of the end” would commence. As noted in the globalist owned magazine The Economist, in an article titled “Get Ready For The Phoenix,” the year of 2018 seems to be the launching point for the great reset. This timeline is supported by the numerous measures already taken to undermine dollar dominance in international trade as well as elevate the International Monetary Fund’s SDR basket. It is clear that the globalists have deadlines they intend to meet.

That said, there have been some new developments since I wrote my initial analysis on the end-game strategy that I think merit serious attention. The end game continues, faster than ever before, and here are some of the indicators showing that the “predictions” of the globalists at The Economist in 1988 were more like self-fulfilling prophecies and 2018 remains a primary nexus point for a re-engineering of our economic environment.

Using The East To Dismantle The Petrodollar

As I mentioned in last week’s article, ‘Lies And Distractions Surrounding The Petrodollar,’ there has been silence and often disinformation in the mainstream when it comes to the quite open and obvious international pivot away from the dollar as the defacto purchasing mechanism for oil. This trend is only set to accelerate in two months as China begins fulfilling oil contracts in the Yuan instead of the dollar.

The problem is that even in the alternative media there is a continuing myth that Eastern nations are angling to “break away” from the international order. I often see the argument presented that the loss of the petrodollar can only be a good thing for the world. I am not here to comment on whether the end of oil-denominated in dollars is a good or bad thing. I am here, though, to point out that there is absolutely no indication whatsoever that major eastern powers like Russia and China are acting to undermine the existing globalist system.

On the contrary, China and Russia remain, as ever, heavily partnered with the IMF as well as the Bank for International Settlements, and their ties to international banking monoliths like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are long established.

Eastern political and economic officials have consistently called for a new reserve system supplanting the dollar, this is true. But what so many analysts seem to overlook is that they ALSO call for that new system to be dominated by the IMF.

The delusion that the financial world operates on is that the IMF is “controlled” by the U.S. It is not. It is controlled by international bankers, who have no loyalties to any specific country. Once one understands this fact, the systematic sabotage of the U.S. makes perfect sense, as well as the collusion between China, Russia and the IMF. America is a sacrificial appendage of the globalist edifice and is being torn down piece by piece in order to feed the creation of something new and perhaps even more sinister.

As George Soros proclaimed back in 2009, the “new world order” would rely in part on China as a replacement economic engine for the globalist machine and depend far less on a diminishing United States. China would serve as a smaller engine, but a replacement engine none the less.

China is more than happy to oblige the globalists with a concerted  and incremental program of de-dollerization. But this does not mean that the end-goal is a “petroyuan.” No, the goal is for the IMF to assert the dominance of the SDR basket system as a reserve hub. And, China is now the flagship market for the SDR after its recent induction into the fold. There will be no single reserve currency after the dollar is brutalized. At least, not until all currencies are homogenized through the SDR basket and finally replaced with a single global currency unit. Until then, the IMF or the BIS will dictate nation-to-nation trade and monetary exchange.

It only follows that this highly-volatile rebirth of the global financial order would begin in part with the dollar’s loss of petro-status. The oil trade is the one defining element that gives the dollar a fundamental edge over all other currencies. It is the closest thing we have to commodity backing for the dollar and it is an advantage no other currency in the world can yet boast. There are many ways to destroy the dollar, but the BEST method would be to end its petro-status.

The Global Currency Unit Is Already Here

One argument I used to hear often from naysayers on global currency was that there “is no monetary unit with enough liquidity to replace the dollar.” Of course, these people have no understanding of the SDR basket and how it could be used to envelop and absorb most if not all currencies into a single reserve mechanism. That said, I understand the confusion. When people think of currencies, they think of physical tickets of measurement; they want to see a piece of paper with symbols, or, they want to at least see a brand name for the product, which is what all currencies really are.

When The Economist in 1988 called for a global currency to launch in 2018, they were perhaps not aware of the exact form the destructor would take. Even in 2014 I was not fully convinced we had enough evidence on what that unit of measurement would be or look like. Today, it is clear as crystal — the one world currency system will not only be a cashless system, but it will also be based on digital blockchain technology.

As I examined in my article ‘The Globalist One World Currency Will Look A Lot Like Bitcoin,’ while some politicians and banking moguls publicly attack blockchain-based products like Bitcoin or Etherium, in the background they are actually heavily invested in these systems and are even building their own. With central banking mascots like Ben Bernanke becoming keynote speakers at blockchain conferences, it is not exactly an elusive secret that the global banks love blockchain tech.

Even major elitist corporations like Amazon appear ready to adopt blockchain products as currencies.  So, one needs to ask the question:  If the blockchain and Bitcoin are such a dire threat to the centralization of the establishment, why are they rapidly laying all the groundwork necessary for blockchain systems to replace paper currencies?

What is interesting to me is that even in the highly vigilant world of alternative economics, which is well aware of the trend towards a global currency system, blockchain systems are still revered as if they will save us from central bank tyranny. Very few people have noticed that The Economist call for a 2018 one world monetary framework has arrived slightly early; it has been right under our noses for several years. With blockchain-based methods of exchange, a replacement structure for the dollar and all other national currencies is not very far away.

The Federal Reserve Implosion Program Continues

I remember back before 2008 when the media almost never treated actions at the Federal Reserve as major news.  In fact, I remember back when the average American had never even heard for the Federal Reserve, and some believed the very existence of the institution was a “conspiracy theory”.  Now, the nomination for the new Fed chair is at the top of the news feeds, but for all the wrong reasons.

The changing of the Fed chair is absolutely meaningless as far as policy is concerned.  Jerome Powell will continue the same exact initiatives as Yellen; stimulus will be removed, rates will be hiked and the balance sheet will be reduced, leaving the massive market bubble the Fed originally created vulnerable to implosion.  Equities in particular display the behavior of an out of control bullet train similar to the 2006/2007 bubble, or even the delusional exuberance prominent before the crash of 1929. 

All of this optimism is dependent on two things – dumb blind faith that all investors will continue to act in perfect concert to always “buy the dip”, and, continued faith that central banks will forever step in to obstruct and reverse any market correction.

An observant person, however, might have noticed that central banks around the world seem to be acting in a coordinated fashion to remove stimulus support from markets and raise interest rates, cutting off supply lines of easy money that have long been a crutch for our crippled economy.  The Bank of England raised rates this past week, as the Federal Reserve indicated yet another rate hike in December.  The Europeans Central Bank continues to prep the public for coming rate hikes, while the Bank of Japan has assured the public that “inflation” expectations have been met and no new stimulus is necessary.  If all of this appears coordinated, that is because it is.

Fed policy is not dictated by the Fed chair, and it is certainly not dictated by Donald Trump. As former chairman Alan Greenspan openly admitted, the central bank does NOT answer to government, it is an autonomous policy making machine.  Fed chairs are as easily replaced as lawnmower parts; they are mascots for the banking system, nothing more.  Once they are “nominated” by the president, they take their orders from another source entirely, and I would even question the validity of the nomination process and how the original list of candidates is chosen.  For the real puppeteers at the Fed, one would need to look to an organization outside the U.S., called the Bank for International Settlements.

Many Subtle Changes Add Up To Unprecedented Instability

I think it is vital for people to consider time when it comes to economics. Changes we think were abrupt during historic moments of crisis were often not abrupt at all. Almost all financial crisis “events” were preceded by years if not decades of growing but subtle cracks in the foundation. If you were to travel back 10 years ago and explain to the average person (or the average mainstream economist) what is happening today, he would probably scoff indignantly. Yet today these things are accepted as commonplace, or ignored as unimportant.  Time and short attentions spans are the bane of free societies.

The skeleton of the “new world order” economy is right in front of us. The triggers for explosive change have already been planted. What concerns me is, when these changes come to fruition and crisis follows, will the masses even notice?

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