Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Last month, a “secret meeting” that involved more than 100 executives from some of the biggest financial institutions in the United States was held in New York City. During this “secret meeting“, a company known as “Chain” unveiled a technology that transforms U.S. dollars into “pure digital assets”. Reportedly, there were representatives from Nasdaq, Citigroup, Visa, Fidelity, Fiserv and Pfizer in the room, and Chain also claims to be partnering with Capital One, State Street, and First Data. This “revolutionary” technology is intended to completely change the way that we use money, and it would represent a major step toward a cashless society. But if this new digital cash system is going to be so good for society, why was it unveiled during a secret meeting for Wall Street bankers? Is there something more going on here than we are being told?
None of us probably would have ever heard about this secret meeting if it was not for a report in Bloomberg. The following comes from their article entitled “Inside the Secret Meeting Where Wall Street Tested Digital Cash“…
On a recent Monday in April, more than 100 executives from some of the world’s largest financial institutions gathered for a private meeting at the Times Square office of Nasdaq Inc. They weren’t there to just talk about blockchain, the new technology some predict will transform finance, but to build and experiment with the software.By the end of the day, they had seen something revolutionary: U.S. dollars transformed into pure digital assets, able to be used to execute and settle a trade instantly. That’s the promise of a blockchain, where the cumbersome and error-prone system that takes days to move money across town or around the world is replaced with almost instant certainty.
So it is not just Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse Blog that is referring to this gathering as a “secret meeting”. This is actually how it was described by Bloomberg. And I think that there is a very good reason why this meeting was held in secret, because many in the general public would definitely be alarmed by this giant step toward a cashless society. Here is more on this new system from Bloomberg…
While cash in a bank account moves electronically all the time today, there’s a distinction between that system and what it means to say money is digital. Electronic payments are really just messages that cash needs to move from one account to another, and this reconciliation is what adds time to the payments process. For customers, moving money between accounts can take days as banks wait for confirmations. Digital dollars, however, are pre-loaded into a system like a blockchain. From there, they can be swapped immediately for an asset.“Instead of a record or message being moved, it’s the actual asset,” Ludwin said. “The payment and the settlement become the same thing.”
Why this is so alarming is because we are seeing other major moves toward a cashless system all over the planet. In Sweden, 95 percent of all retail transactions are already cashless, and ATM machines are being removed by the hundreds. In Denmark, government officials actually have a stated goal of “eradicating cash” by the year 2030. And in Norway, the biggest bank in the country has publicly called for the complete elimination of all cash.
Other nations in Europe have already banned cash transactions over a certain amount. Here are just a couple of examples…
As I have written about previously, cash transactions of more than 2,500 euros have already been banned in Spain, and France and Italy have both banned all cash transactions of more than 1,000 euros.Little by little, cash is being eradicated, and what we have seen so far is just the beginning. 417 billion cashless transactions were conducted in 2014, and the final number for 2015 is projected to be much higher.
The global push toward a cashless society is only going to intensify, because banks and governments both tend to really like the idea of such a system.
Banks really like the concept of a cashless society because it would force everyone to be their customers. There would be no more hiding cash in a mattress at home or trying to pay all of your bills with paper money. Under a cashless system, we would all be dependent on the banks, and they would make lots of money whenever we swiped our cards or our “chips” were scanned.
Governments see a lot of advantages in a cashless society as well. They tell us that they would be able to crack down on drug dealers, tax evaders, terrorists and money launderers, but the truth is that it would enable them to watch, track, monitor and control virtually all of our financial transactions. Our lives would become open books to the government, and financial privacy would be a thing of the past.
In addition, the potential for tyranny would be absolutely off the charts.
Just imagine a world where the government could serve as the gatekeeper for who is allowed to use the cashless system and who is not. They could require that we all submit to some sort of government-issued form of identification before being permitted to operate within the system, or it is even conceivable that a loyalty oath would be required.
Of course if you did not submit to their demands, you could not buy, sell, open a bank account or get a job without access to the cashless system.
Hopefully people can understand where this is going. Paper money is a very important component of our freedom, and if it is taken away from us that will open the door for all sorts of abuse.
Even now, cash is slowly being “criminalized” in America. For example, if cash is used to pay for a hotel room that is considered by federal authorities to be “suspicious activity” that should be reported to the government. Of course it isn’t against the law to pay your hotel bill in cash just yet, but according to the government it is something that “terrorists” do so it needs to be closely watched.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see where all of this is going. And for those of us that understand what time it is, this is a clear indication that it is getting late in the game.
Credit to Economic Collapse
Russia Has Been Encircled And Pushed To The Brink Of War: “They Have Exercised Remarkable Restraint”
Readers, I wish to begin this article by explaining that although many pieces have been written concerning Russia’s military actions, I do not believe for one moment that they are impromptu and without justifications. The preference regarding Russia was to emphasize in previous articles that they are a capable and professional nation from a military perspective. The fact of the matter is that they have been continually provoked and hemmed in for several decades, now. The U.S. and its cabal are responsible for the corralling of a nation that actually intended to enter NATO.
Gorbachev agreed to the reunification of Germany (West and East) and the dissolution of the Soviet Union with the preconditioned term that it (Russia) would be able to enter NATO as a full-fledged member of the European Community. The actions were taken: Germany reunified (the Berlin Wall fell in Nov. 1989) in 1990, and the Soviet Union “dissolved” in 1992. Those actions were then repaid with treachery: George H.W. Bush (Bush Senior) had no intention of ever allowing the Russians to join NATO or become a U.S. ally for that matter.
But what did happen was the U.S. business interests, on the heels of détente and glasnost managed to insert oligarch-led businesses and American capital to try and turn Russia into another post WWII Japan. All of the American businesses, fueled by the North American Free Trade Agreement fervor and free trade with China (initiated by Bush Sr., and signed off on by Clinton) ran for the Russian cash cow. Plans were in the works to milk Russian resources and turn it into another IMF and Federal Reserve dominated vassal state.
The plan backfired, for several reasons. Firstly, the influx of American technology was quickly implemented and/or duplicated within Russia regarding industrial procedures and the gathering of natural resources. Next, the SSR’s or “Satellite Nations” of the former Soviet Union had been relinquished and these nations were now not only “free” of Russia, but Russia was free of them. Russian scaled back, and over the first decade concentrated on growth of a Russian nation rather than a Soviet one. The smaller scale enabled them to trim excess spending and definitively develop their own base of natural resources and industry, while maintaining ties with the former SSR’s that kept trade from dying off completely.
Vladimir Putin rose to prominence and the Russian people found a new identity for themselves based on national zeal and pride. Much of the basic infrastructure is still modeled after (or even maintains itself in the manner of) the former Soviet Union, but with a free market-based economy that is no longer shut off from international trade. Many people today do not realize that the attempt to undercut Russia and monopolize its resources had been done years before. The Rockefellers managed to build a $50 million aluminum plant in Russia in the 1960’s during the Vietnam War. Not only did the U.S. government permit this, but also much of that plant produced goods that the USSR used for war materials that actually shifted right into the hands of Vietnam. The Rockefellers “slipped under the cracks,” and were not brought up on criminal charges.
With Russia growing and prospering, the U.S. has been countering with military supplies and equipment. The U.S. and NATO have been keeping the Cold War alive to support the military-industrial complex as well as boost the IMF presence and control in and of Europe. We are now seeing true reemergence of a Cold War stance between NATO and Russia. This was not started by Russia; however, Russia may very well finish it, as they don’t take any of these insidious IMF actions and nefarious NATO movements lightly.
On Monday, April 25th, Obama held a summit with the leaders of Germany, Italy, France, and Britain to discuss establishing a NATO force to be able to fight against Russian military forces. This amounts to nothing more than an encirclement and potential invasion into Russia by NATO. It violates the treaties and agreements drawn up that were mentioned before with Gorbachev that promised not to allow NATO to expand at all in Europe and encroach on Russia.
We have witnessed the coup d’etat of Viktor Yanukovych and the insertion of Arseny Yatsenyuk in Ukraine in February of 2014. Russia did not sit this one out. The coup and the subsequent actions of NATO and the IMF showed Russia that the U.S. and NATO were adding another vassal state to the ones already encroaching upon her borders. Russia was actually labeled in the Ukrainian draft provisions as both an “aggressor” and an “enemy,” just prior to Russia’s action with regard to Crimea and Sevastopol. There was no way that Russia was going to allow its Black Sea Fleet to be penned up, and their naval base (the only one with access to the Med) to be seized, and they acted, vigorously and decisively.
The U.S. has boosted up its troop presence in Europe throughout the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, and Moldova. The U.S. has also emplaced Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) batteries throughout those nations to deter and disable incoming missiles from Russia. The U.S. now has 200 new “advisors” as of this writing deployed to Western Syria. Seems the U.S. and NATO are not scrapping those plans for a gas pipeline from Qatar through Syria to undercut Gazprom after all.
To summarize, Russia has been very well justified in taking action and shifting its military personnel throughout the theater. If anything they have exercised remarkable restraint…more than many nations would in its situation. Naturally they have to defend their interests, and these latest maneuvers and troop positionings by the U.S. and its allies are threatening those interests. As I have written before, it is the U.S. that will cause or initiate a war with Russia, because the colonizing power is with – and has been with – the United States for decades, now. Russia is no shrinking violet, and this time we’re going to receive at least as well as we give.
Credit to shtfplan.com
Officials with the European Union and its formerly sovereign member states are conspiring to usurp control over national militaries, with a goal of eventually building a transnational EU military loyal only to the unelected regime ruling Europe from Brussels. Outrage surrounding the plot, however, is growing.
The process, taking place without a shed of democratic legitimacy, is already well underway. German and Dutch forces, for example, are being “merged” into a unified command — the “nucleus” of the future EU force that will be beyond the reach of voters and their elected parliaments. Under the guise of dealing with the orchestrated “refugee crisis,” the EU is also imposing a transnational armed force with power to intervene in members states, even against their will. EU military missions in Africa are also picking up steam. And the EU’s extremism is only growing.
Credit to Skywatchtv.com
Every perverse incentive is the cash cow for a vested interest or cartel.
I hope it's not a great shock to discover all the incentives in our status quo are perverse: those who rig the financial system while creating zero real value, jobs, goods or services reap all the big profits; those who take near-zero responsibility for their own health are subsidized by those who take responsibility for their own health; those who try to start enterprises and hire workers are saddled with endless regulations, junk fees and taxes while those who game the system to get welfare (household or corporate) skim the cream for doing nothing for their community or for the nation.
Systems in which all the incentives are perverse implode under their own weight. Those who struggle to pay the mounting costs of Imperial Over-Reach, crony-capitalism and all the skimmers and scammers eventually go bankrupt or quit in disgust, while the army of state dependents and cronies explodes higher.
It has taken decades for the incentives to become so perverse, so we no longer notice the perversity or the pathological consequences.
High-frequency traders and financiers with the ready ear of well-paid political lackeys, stooges, toadies and sycophants run never-lose skimming operations and pay lower tax rates than self-employed and small business owners.
Corporations have increased their share prices not by earning more money by producing more goods and services but by borrowing cheap money from the Federal Reserve and buying back outstanding shares.
Corporations pay less tax if they move production overseas and keep their profits in other countries.
If I wreck one vehicle after another due to reckless irresponsibility, what happens to my insurance premiums? They skyrocket, of course, reflecting the higher risks that result from my behavior and poor choices. Nobody thinks safe drivers should subsidize irresponsible drivers.
But if I wreck my health by recklessly pursuing risky behaviors, I pay the same as people who are careful "drivers" of their health. What sort of incentives does this system generate?
If I want to buy an over-priced home, the system is loaded with incentives to encourage that potentially poor financial decision. But if I want to launch a small enterprise, the incentives are all perverse: steep upfront fees, taxes from the first dollar, and in many cases, fees and taxes on revenues, regardless of whether I am making a profit or losing my shirt.
Corporate profits have soared as financialization and rigging the system have paid much higher returns than risking capital in new goods and services.
The incentives for home ownership have turned the bottom 90% into debt-serfs in servitude to banks while the top 5% own income-producing assets and businesses.
Larded with the most perverse incentives possible, the U.S. healthcare system in the final stages of maximum costs, just before it implodes:
It's not hard to design positive incentives. For example:
1. Make preventative care essentially free to everyone ($5 co-pay) but weight the risks and costs created by irresponsible behaviors that ruin health. Reward those who take responsibility for their health by reducing the premiums they pay.
2. Tax all profits on securities held less than a day at 95%. Raise corporate taxes generated by financial activities to 50%, and lower the corporate tax rate on profits earned from producing domestic goods and services to zero.
3. Lower the tax for the first $25,000 earned by small enterprises to zero. Limit total government fees to 5% of revenues for all businesses up to $10 million in annual revenues.
4. Phase out the mortgage interest deduction. Limit mortgage interest deductions to the first $100,000 of mortgage debt.
5. Eliminate the personal income tax (and the need to file a return) for every household with income of $100,000 or less.
6. Automatically sunset every government regulation. Make city, county, state and federal governments renew every regulation every few years via a majority vote or it vanishes from the law books.
7. Make every politician wear a NASCAR-style jacket plastered with the names and logos of their corporate, union and financier contributors. The California Initiative to make this a reality is seeking signatures of registered California voters. Since politicians are owned, let's make the ownership transparent.
8. Treat drug abuse and addiction as medical conditions rather than crimes.
9. Eliminate the Federal Reserve and its free-money for financiers perverse incentives for debt-serfdom and financial plundering.
10. Eliminate all student loans and debts. Make colleges compete for students on a cash-only basis.
As you no doubt noticed, every perverse incentive is the cash cow for a vested interest or cartel. That's why the perverse incentives will endure until the system implodes under their pathological weight.Credit to Zero Hedge