No Image

US Lawmakers Draft Bill ‘Protecting’ Cryptocurrencies From Government Interference

Several members of the US Congress are drafting legislation that is intended to recognize certain digital currencies and ‘protect’ them against interference from the federal government. The question is – does the ‘protection’

CoinTelegraph reports that the bill, which will provide protection to cryptocurrencies that comply with certain minimum requirements to prevent them from being used by those engaged in illegal business practices like drug traffickers and terrorists, is expected to be filed in September 2017, according to DailyCaller.

Based on a reliable source, at least one Republican senator and two Republican congressmen are working on the draft legislation.

The legislators, however, have requested that should not be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue and the complexity of the proposed solution.

A source close to the effort told TheDC,

“the center piece of the plan is to mainstream digital currency so it can be treated just like the American dollar.

 

First, there is a new entity that is considering issuing a brand new digital currency that is compliant with anti-money laundering laws unlike any other in circulation.”

Although cash has some of the same problems being used to pay for illegal activities, the perception that digital currencies are being used for illegal activities is seen as the primary roadblock to wholesale acceptance by the American public.

The source told TheDC the new model is going to follow federal laws that prevent money laundering. This is a break through and could lead to the use of digital currencies replacing the dollar for many transactions.  The legislation is expected to be introduced in early September.

The source asked the members of Congress involved in drafting the bill not be identified yet, explaining, “this is a very complicated issue and staff are working through some issues that have in the past stopped alternative currencies from being launched.”

They continued that:

…the law needs to be changed to protect digital currencies from federal government harassment to make sure that a complaint currency can be backed by value, the currency cannot be treated like a security or investment, and that transfers are protected against taxation.

 

The bottom line is that Congress needs to remove all the obstacles to a vibrant digital currency that has voluntarily taken the initiative to keep the bad guys from using it.”

What is perhaps most ironic here is that government lawmakers are attempting to codify rules to stop government lawmakers interfering with the free and open exchange of a decentralized currency… by setting rules that potentially interfere with the free exchange of said currency.

The post US Lawmakers Draft Bill ‘Protecting’ Cryptocurrencies From Government Interference appeared first on crude-oil.news.



No Image

Soft Start Seen For South Korea Stock Market

The global forecast for the Asian markets is slightly sort thanks to continued chaos in Washington D.C. although crude oil prices offer support.The post Soft Start Seen For South Korea Stock Market appeared first on crude-oil.news.


No Image

Barclays Installs Sensors To Monitor How Long Employees Spend At Their Desks

As we reported last month, a Wisconsin company called Three Square Market has become the first company in the US to offer microchip implants to its employees. The firm, which designs software for breakroom markets, wants employees to use microchips to help facilitate vending-machine payments. The firm wanted to use its employees as test subjects for their product. And though the program was strictly voluntary, it marks an uncomfortable beginning of a trend that could someday result in all humans being involuntarily microchipped.

Now, across the pond, companies are escalating efforts to monitor their employees.

Barclays Plc has installed devices at its London headquarters that track how much time bankers spend at their desks. While a spokesperson for the bank says the devices aren’t meant to evaluate employees’ performance, their introduction has clearly spooked members of the rank-and-file, who leaked the story to Bloomberg.

The devices are manufactured by OccupEye and use heat and motion sensors to record how long employees are spending at their posts.

According to Bloomberg, employees inundated management with questions about the devices after they first appeared under their desks. The bank reportedly didn’t neglected to inform some employees ahead of time.

“Managers were peppered with queries when investment bank staff in London discovered black boxes stuck to the underside of their desks in recent months, according to several Barclays employees who asked not to be identified speaking about their workplace. They turned out to be tracking devices called OccupEye, which use heat and motion sensors to record how long employees are spending at their posts.

 

There was a “phased roll-out” of the devices, and Barclays staff and the Unite union were notified before they were installed, although the bank did not send out a specific memo about them, according to spokesman Tom Hoskin. The Barclays employees said they don’t remember being informed about the boxes, but spokespeople for the bank said there have been no official human-resources complaints.”

The devices, made by Blackburn, U.K.-based Cad-Capture, are pitched as a way for companies to find out how they can reduce office space, providing a multicolored dashboard to show managers which workstations are unoccupied and analyze usage trends.

“The sensors aren’t monitoring people or their productivity; they are assessing office space usage,” the bank said in an emailed statement. “This sort of analysis helps us to reduce costs, for example, managing energy consumption, or identifying opportunities to further adopt flexible work environments.”

While the devices could be part of CEO Jes Staley’s efforts to reduce the company’s real-estate footprint, Barclays employees have a reason to be paranoid. According to Bloomberg, many investment banks have been taking steps to more closely monitor their employees as banks face shrinking profit margins in key businesses like trading.

“Investment banks are increasingly using technology to keep tabs on how their staff spend their time. Barclays has introduced a computer system to track how much is earned from every client, allowing bosses to determine how much time traders, analysts and salespeople should spend with each customer.”

An officer with UK trade union Unite said the union was promised that data collected from the boxes wouldn’t be used to evaluate employees.

“We were given assurances that the boxes did not monitor individuals or their performance,” Unite national officer Dominic Hook said in a statement. The union “will keep a close eye on the situation to make sure that the sensors are never used to spy on staff or as a means to measure productivity.”

Lloyds Banking Group, which, like Barclays has been trimming its London office space, also uses similar devices. Sources inside major US investment banks like J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group and Citigroup Inc. told Bloomberg that they don’t use devices like these.
 

The post Barclays Installs Sensors To Monitor How Long Employees Spend At Their Desks appeared first on crude-oil.news.




No Image

Women’s March Organizer Sarsour Sees Convicted Terrorist Friend Stripped Of Citizenship, Banned Forever From US

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh lost her citizenship and will be banned from America forever for intentionally falsifying her US immigration documents to hide a previous terrorism conviction. As Daily Caller reports, Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour has a long history of defending the soon-to-be-deported terrorist.

Following an in-depth investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, a statement entitled “Convicted terrorist stripped of citizenship, ordered deported for failing to disclose ties to deadly bombing” was released…

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 70, lost her United States citizenship, and will be deported from the United States for having obtained her United States citizenship unlawfully, Daniel L. Lemisch, acting United States Attorney announced. Joining Lemisch in the announcement was Steve Francis, HSI Detroit special agent in charge.

 

“Today’s court action clears the way for this defendant’s removal from the United States and should serve as an unequivocal message that the U.S. will never be a haven for those seeking to distance themselves from their past atrocities,” said Steve Francis, HSI Detroit special agent in charge.

 

Odeh, a Chicago-area resident, was sentenced by United States District Judge Gershwin A. Drain. During the sentencing hearing, Judge Drain indicated that he would sign an order, today, revoking Odeh’s United States citizenship. As a result of that order, Odeh will no longer have legal status in the United States, will be deported to her nation of citizenship, Jordan, and is barred for life from reentering the United States. Judge Drain said Odeh intentionally falsified her U.S. citizenship documents and this sentence should be a deterrent to others thinking of lying to gain admission into the United States and citizenship.

Lemisch explained Odeh’s past as a convicted terrorist before she immigrated to the U.S. in 1994 on an immigrant visa:

In 1969, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine conducted two bombings in Jerusalem, Israel.

 

One was at a Supersol supermarket, in which two individuals were killed and many more wounded. The second bombing was at the British Consulate.

 

Defendant Odeh was arrested and charged with participation in the bombings, and in 1970 was convicted. She was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 1979 after ten years’ imprisonment, as part of a prisoner exchange.

 

In numerous television and video interviews throughout the years, other admitted participants in the bombings named Odeh as the person who chose the supermarket as a target, scouted the location and placed the bomb.

As a reminder, far-left Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour (who so many women seem to look up to as organizer of the Women’s March), recently called for Muslims to wage a form of “Jihad” against President Donald Trump.

In April, Sarsour spoke alongside Odeh at an event and gave her a warm embrace, The Daily Caller reported at the time.

The New York Post reported at the event Sarsour said she felt “honored and privileged to be here in this space, and honored to be on this stage with Rasmea.”

Why Every Black Activist Should Stand With Rasmea Odeh by @marclamonthill http://t.co/yf62X1iGbJ #BlackLivesMatter #FreePalestine

— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) October 13, 2015

Targeting, criminalizing, deporting torture victims like Rasmea Odeh reminds me once again how we lost our way as a nation. #Justice4Rasmea

— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) November 11, 2014

Daily Caller notes that, in her plea agreement, Odeh admitted to lying about her criminal history by claiming that she had never been arrested, convicted of a crime, or imprisoned.

“Had Odeh revealed the truth about her criminal history, as she was required to by law, she never would have been granted an immigrant visa, admitted to the United States, allowed to live here for the last 22 years, or granted United States Citizenship,” ICE also noted in their statement.

Dear ‘Left’ – defend that!

The post Women’s March Organizer Sarsour Sees Convicted Terrorist Friend Stripped Of Citizenship, Banned Forever From US appeared first on crude-oil.news.


No Image

Real Vision’s “Killer Charts” For Q3 2017

How do you spot a market top? Is risk being mispriced? What is the greatest macro opportunity of the next decade? These were some of the questions Real Vision asked as part of the latest quarterly deck compilation of so-called “Killer Charts”.

Reaching out to its close group of financial experts, Real Vision Publications has tried to filter out the relentless noise from these unusual times because as RealVision writes, “when the POTUS is spending half his time tweeting about the stock market, something doesn’t add up. As a result, navigating financial markets have never been more precarious and hazardous for your wealth.”

To provide some insight for investors, Real Vision Publications is sharing 26 hand-picked charts from some of the more prominent thinkers in investment research.  From macro big picture themes to market signals (you only see at the top) and other more opaque investment ideas, RealVision has attached 6 of its latest charts, 5 of which exclusively with ZeroHedge readers, and won’t be shared with other media houses. 

According to Raoul Pal and the folks over at RealVision, “this chart pack will be sure to get you thinking in a whole new direction.”  And even if it doesn’t, it should at least make BTFD somewhat more informed if not enjoyable.

Here are some perspectives:

Oil: Time to Sell?: Oil has been in a choppy but somewhat predictable range for the last 14 months. Nautilus’s analysis suggests oil should fall to the $40 – $42.50 range.

Can the Fed Successfully Shrink Its Balance Sheet? US equity markets have moved in lockstep with the Fed’s B/S. Should we worry about the Fed pulling the rug? Work from MI2 suggests Fed B/S reduction is likely to upset the apple cart.

The Most Expensive Market Ever: As TTMYGH points out, the CAPE ratio is a better metric of valuation, as it strips out any shenanigans from corporate management. As you can see in this great chart from Dr John Hussman, with regard to valuations, we are in newly charted territory.

Alarm Bells Ringing: Cantillon Consulting’s stock market thermometer, the Sotheby Indicator, is flashing warning signs. When Sotheby’s hits these stock price peaks, it’s a sign people have more money than sense!

Peak Complacency: The Credit Strategist points out that European junk bonds are trading at the same yield/credit risk as US Treasuries. Someone isn’t doing their due diligence.

Sell the S&P – the stars have aligned: Hedge Fund Telemetry make a living out of market timing. The stars have aligned: DeMark counts, seasonality, and sentiment suggest the S&P is about to fall.

To download all 26 charts for free, click here.

The post Real Vision’s “Killer Charts” For Q3 2017 appeared first on crude-oil.news.


No Image

A 1970s self-help guru’s hint why investors may be duped (again)

Contributed by Sprott Money. Click here for the original

America’s top forecasters missed the 2008 market crash, during which stock investors lost half their money. Now with stocks approaching bubble territory it looks they are again ignoring warnings signs. What gives?

The biggest red flag is the S&P 500 index, which groups 500 of America’s largest public companies and is trading near record highs. This despite a sluggish US economy driven by record government spending, borrowing and money printing.

In short, conditions look exactly like those that prevailed just before the 2008 financial crisis, when equities investors lost half their money in a matter of months.

So why haven’t the experts, many of whom are near-genius-level, ivy-league professionals, provided clear warnings about the risks in the system?

The S&P 500 index

Wisdom from a 1970s self-help guru?

One clue might come from consulting creative thinkers from outside the economics profession, like er…Robert Ringer?

Yes that Robert Ringer. The self-help guru, who in his 1970s best-seller Looking out for #1, outlined a useful template to use when assessing human behavior.

“All people act in their own interest all the time,” writes Ringer, who believes that people re-define self-interested actions to make themselves look virtuous.

What Ringer calls the “definition game” enables politicians, like recently-retired ex-Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose who took home nearly $5 million in salaries and pension benefits for just 13 years work, to describe herself as a “public servant.”

Ringer’s “human nature group” theory in many ways explains modern human action better than Hobbes, Nietzsche and even Ayn Rand, yet appears dark when applied to individuals – even to politicians. However it has a strong basis in academic theory.

Foreign policy experts, for example, broadly accept that governments (which combine individual actions on a massive scale) act in their own interests all the time – and that they invent justifications as they go along. Otto von Bismark, a key innovator in international relations theory, describes this as realpolitik. If governments act that way, it should be no surprise that politicians – and the people who voted for them – would do so as well.

Are economics and financial forecasters “Looking out for #1?”
To apply Ringer’s theory to explain why expert, ivy-league-trained forecasters and regulators are all wrong, all the time when predicting recessions and stock market crashes, we would start by asking where their interests lie.

Consider:

Governments want you to spend
Ringer’s theory suggests that – however well-intentioned they are – that politicians’ main interests are not to do a good job, but to get re-elected, and, more broadly, to maximize their lifetime potential earnings and prospects.

If Ringer is right, then it should not be surprising that politicians would condone optimistic forecasts that encourage governments, consumers and businesses to borrow and spend because the resulting short-term economic activity would help them win the next election.

In this scenario accumulated debts would only matter to those politicians if the issue showed signs of imploding on their watch.

Financial Institutions want you to borrow
Economists and forecasters at the big financial institutions are among the world’s best trained and highly-respected. This despite the fact they too missed the 2008 crash and recession.

If we believe Ringer’s theory that financial sector forecasters are acting in their own interests all the time, this would suggest that they are likely working for bosses who are more concerned with generating new business than with being accurate. In that scenario the accuracy of their forecasts would be less important than how much activity they encouraged.

It would also suggest that any big bank forecaster that had a consistently and markedly bearish outlook would be fired.

Auditors and regulators prioritize rent extraction
Experts say that one of the American financial system’s major advantages is the high quality its watchdogs, such as the SEC, FINRA, FASB, public accountants, ratings agencies and other regulators.

Yet despite positive reports from all major public accounting firms and US regulatory bodies, all the major US banks and much of the auto sector had to be bailed out during the last financial crisis. None, have provided any warning of significant threats this time around.

Ringer’s “self-interest theory” would argue that the reason for this is that regulators are more incentivized to extract rents from the system than in serving the public.

If that is true, you would expect to find regulatory bodies adding rules (such as voluminous Dodd-Frank regulations), staff and boosting salaries, but also making sure that their departments would only have undefined responsibilities, so they would not be blamed if another crisis hits.

They could then use a subsequent crisis to ask the public for even more funds, powers and staff.

Speak nicely, but verify

If Ringer is right why doesn’t mainstream media, or even independent analysts, report this? One reason, is that in polite society, it is very hard to question someone’s motives. Particularly if you have to deal with that person regularly and he (or she) may one day have an opportunity to help you (or to extract payback).

The Economist magazine balances its posture by only questioning the motives of leaders of countries outside the western orbit like North Korea, China, Iran and Russia, whom they regularly describe as “solely interested in keeping power.” However the actions of Western governments, whom the magazine courts, are generally reported as acting for the public good.

Hedge your bets

The idea that a 1970s self-help guru’s theory provides a guide as to why another financial crisis may be inevitable seems laughable.

However the fact that our Harvard economics PhDs, industry CFAs and regulators are so consistently wrong suggests that they may be putting their interests before those of the public.

It also suggests that individual investors had better hedge their bets.

(Note: Mr. Ringer, who is nearing his 80th birthday, but continues to blog regularly at (http://robertringer.com/, did not respond to requests for comment).

The post A 1970s self-help guru’s hint why investors may be duped (again) appeared first on crude-oil.news.


No Image

Forget <b>Oil</b> Prices, <b>Oil</b> Majors Are A Buy

Oil stocks have been performing dismally this year, and oil prices have failed to sustain a rally, so why are these stocks still attractive? Low valuations …The post Forget <b>Oil</b> Prices, <b>Oil</b> Majors Are A Buy a…