The Israel Deception

Is the return of Israel in the 20th century truly a work of God, or is it a result of a cosmic chess move to deceive the elect by the adversary?

Monday, December 3, 2018

World's largest commodity is now on Blockchain as North Sea oil market first to begin trading on platform

While most of the financial world is caught up in the cryptocurrency craze, most investors often forget that cryptos are simply assets traded on a much bigger platform.  And now on Dec. 2 we can add oil trading to this engine as the North Sea oil market has officially moved to trading on the Blockchain.

Oil majors and trading firms can start finalizing crude oil deals on a live blockchain-based platform for the first time, in a move that could revolutionize the market. 
Commodities trading firms have piloted similar schemes in recent years as blockchain technology has the potential to drastically cut costs in an environment of razor-thin profit margins. 
London-based platform Vakt is the first of these to go live, with shareholder Gunvor Group saying it was rolled out on Nov. 28, although no trades took place that day. 
Blockchain, the platform behind cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is viewed by many as a solution to trade and settlement inefficiencies, as well as a way to improve transparency and reduce the risk of fraud. – Epoch Times
The North Sea oil market was not the first to begin transitioning its trading to the blockchain, as Russia is also in the process of doing this for both their energy and agricultural markets.  However they appear to be the first major market to be ready to go live, and it will interesting to see how soon most Brent Crude trading also transitions over to the Blockchain once it fully kicks into gear.

EU initiates proposal to dump the dollar and to create a PetroEuro system

When the U.S. and President Trump decided to renege on the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement, it set in motion the will within Europe to reject this action and to seek alternatives to dollar hegemony.  And besides a plan to create their own continental SWIFT alternative, the European Commission on Dec. 3 initiated plans to not only drop the dollar as a trade settlement currency, but also to create their own 'PetroEuro' for use in energy deals.

Amid increasing tensions between Trump and various European leaders (cough Macron cough) and the ongoing threats of sanctions and tariffs, the European Commission plans to outline initiatives to develop the international role of the euroaccording to a draft document obtained by Bloomberg. 
As Viktoria Dendrinou reports, the plan has three dimensions including the European financial sector, the international financial sector and key strategic sectors such as energy... 
Member states should promote wider use of the euro in relations with third countries in field of energy, including in contracts within the framework of bilateral and multilateral international agreements,” intergovernmental agreements with third countries a model clause, developed by the Commission, related to the use of the euro as default currency
“Participants in European energy markets should use more energy-related contracts denominated in euro 
“Price reporting agencies should facilitate the launching of euro-denominated price benchmarks for crude oil 
“Commodity exchanges should facilitate the further development of euro-denominated derivative contracts on crude oil and refined products- Zerohedge

Qatar initiates an OPEC 'Brexit' as they will leave the cartel at beginning of 2019

With a new report out showing that 40% of the world's energy production is now controlled by just three countries (with two of them not even part of OPEC), the power and authority once held by the Middle Eastern cartel appears to be waning fast.  And in response to this, and the dying Petrodollar agreement, Qatar announced on Dec. 3 that they will officially be leaving OPEC at the beginning of next year.

Qatar leaving the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is largely a symbolic step, expert tells RT, as the Gulf state is a marginal player in the oil trade. But they say repercussions will be felt in Riyadh. 
While the move is merely symbolic for Qatar, a founding member quitting OPEC after 57 years cannot look positive for the organization, John Hall, chairman of Alfa Energy, a UK-based consulting company said in an interview with RT. 
“They are making their point,” the expert said, stressing Doha was driven by Saudi Arabia and the Saudi-led blockade. “It will hit [the] credibility of the OPEC, as well as it will hit Saudi Arabia as the de-facto leader of the OPEC.” - Russia Today
While Qatar is certainly not a heavyweight in OPEC, it is a charter member who's significance in the region cannot be understated.  And with their largest natural gas facilities being tied to Iran in a joint partnership, they cannot afford to be sanctioned or coerced by the Saudi's, especially since the U.S. has instigated a return of sanctions on Iran.

Indeed, it is fairly apparent that Qatar has been in the process of disconnecting itself from OPEC for some time, especially since they have already begun to accept Chinese Yuan and Euros as trade payment in the past year at the expense of the Petrodollar.  And with the likelihood of Saudi Arabia losing more and more of its authority in the region thanks to Russia's growing market share and the escalation of U.S. production, OPEC's days are surely numbered and as with any breakup, those who exit the door first usually end up with the least amount of pain.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Bitcoin regains $4000 handle after sustaining another 10% loss overnight

Bitcoin's crash over the past week continued up until the start of Asian trading here on Nov. 25 after falling as low as $3578 earlier today.  However it appears that buying volume across the entire cryptocurrency sector has helped propel it back over $4000 per coin.

Speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Moro suggested that the leading cryptocurrency will lose another 30 percent before bottoming at $3,000. Moro said, “You really won’t find [the floor] until you kind of hit the 3K-flat level.” 
Moro addressed small resistance levels, saying that he does not think the BTC price can stabilize in “the mid-3s,” also noting that the $4,000 level was tested twice in the previous days. - Zerohedge
Looking at the entire cryptocurrency sector as a whole, Bitcoin's small recovery has been followed by positive gains across the board for the top 20 tokens.

Inevitably, 2018 will have proven itself to be a terrible year for the sector as more than 80% of its market cap has been lost over the past 10 months.  And with investors more worried about finding safe havens from equity markets that are themselves starting to sell off, it is unlikely that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will gain much traction since both momentum and sentiment appear to  be extremely negative.

Congress appears to be secretly preparing taxpayer bailouts for private pensions

With numerous retailers filing for bankruptcy over the past two years, and private pensions having reached the point of extreme underfunding, some members of Congress are looking to use the taxpayer once again as a bailout device to protect their donors and constituents.

In a new expose on a Congressional committee meant to find solutions to the country's vast pension shortfalls, one proposal to emerge would entail the taxpayer coughing up $3 billion a year to go into the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) which normally is funded by corporations that use it as a backstop in case of their own bankruptcies and insolvencies.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that, in the first draft of its plan to save these pensions, the committee proposed restoring the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to solvency with - you guessed it - taxpayer backed "subsidies" from the Treasury to the tune of $3 billion a year. The plan is also considering raising premiums, introducing new fees and - importantly - cutting benefits. 
A draft of the plan, obtained by The Washington Post, would direct the Treasury Department to spend up to $3 billion annually to subsidize payments for retirees from certain underfunded pensions. 
It would also require benefit cuts, higher premiums and new fees levied against companies and union members in an attempt to make the pensions as financially solvent as possible. The proposal aims to require all parties involved to make significant concessions and caps taxpayer contributions. 
The retirement programs are called "multiemployer" pensions, as workers from multiple companies pay into the same retirement benefit program. But many of these pensions lack the financial assets to cover the benefits they have promised retired workers, leading to a panic from retirees who were counting on the funds. These pensions often have been plagued by mismanagement, inaccurate economic projections and in some cases corporate bankruptcies. - Zerohedge
The PBGC is similar to the FDIC, which itself is normally funded by fees paid for by the banks to protect depositors from institutional insolvencies.  However like its sister program, the PBGC holds just pennies on the dollar in relation to the amount of pensions they are supposed to backstop.

Thanks to Fed policies of low interest rates and more than a decade of monetary inflation, both private and public pensions are now underfunded by a good 40-75%.  And since this is a trillion dollar industry when you count in the obligations owed by the states and corporations, it would be impossible for Congress to even attempt to instigate a massive taxpayer bailout since the people still remember when their money was used a decade ago to bail out the banks.

Black Friday 2018 not so good for brick and mortar as retail Armageddon continues into most important shopping days of the year

2018 so far appears to not be a bad year for Black Friday shopping, but unfortunately this is not so for brick and mortar retailers.  And this is because early calculations are showing a 1% decline over last year for storefront sales at the same time online purchases continue to increase year over year.

ShopperTrak, a provider of channel checks and traffic insights for the retail industry, has just confirmed that foot traffic at  brick-and-mortar retail stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday was disappointing. Preliminary data showed a 1% decline for the two-day period compared to 2017, with a 1.7% decline in traffic on Black Friday versus 2017. This decline in traffic is consistent with our forecast on Nov. 11 that traditional retailers could experience a weak holiday season. The culprit: online shopping. 
There is a silver lining: offsetting the decline in traditional traffic, online sales hit another record high of over $6.2 billion on Black Friday according to Adobe Analytics, while online sales on Thanksgiving Day tagged $3.7 billion, up 28% from last year. - Zerohedge
With thousands of stores having already closed earlier this year, and several major retailers forced to file for bankruptcy, it is likely that come January or February of next year when all the receipts have been calculated, this trend will continue despite a decent economy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

After a month and a half of market carnage, now everyone is crying for the Fed to stop raising interest rates

If investors still had any doubts on whether the Fed had been the instigator of the past decade's credit fueled explosion in asset values, then all one has to do is look at the sudden whining by Wall Street analysts yesterday and today begging the central bank to stop its current policy of credit tightening.

Looking back at both the equity and housing markets over the past decade shows that nearly all of the so-called 'recovery' and eventual rocket to new highs corresponded completely with the Fed's monetary policies of ZIRP and QE.

Yet even after six years of access to historically cheap credit, and asset bubbles that have now dwarfed the highs created just prior to the 2008 financial crash, Wall Street appears unable to function without this central bank money spigot and are now going public in crying to Chairman Powell to stop raising rates.

U. Michigan Sentiment Survey falls in October
Interest rate expectations have always traced the outlines of economic cycles. As expansions lengthened, more consumers would expect interest rate increases, pushing the series to cyclical lows; then consumers would suddenly reverse course, lowering expectations just as downturns were about to commence (see the chart above). Note that recession dating lags by about one year, meaning that expected declines in rates are recorded about one year before the official announcement. While there is no reason to anticipate a sudden change in expectations in the months ahead, consumers have begun to resist rising interest rates on purchases of housing and vehicles. 
Hopefully this time the Fed will manage interest rates to avoid hitting the threshold that causes widespread postponement as has been true in the past. - Zerohedge
This data point published here on Nov. 21 was quickly followed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) who's industry recognized just yesterday that the party appears to be over, and that the bursting of the Housing Bubble 2.0 is well underway.
Rising interest rates and increasing home prices continue to suppress the rate of first-time homebuyers. Home sales could further decline before stabilizing. The Federal Reserve should, therefore, re-evaluate its monetary policy of tightening credit, especially in light of softening inflationary pressures, to help ease the financial burden on potential first-time buyers and assure a slump in the market causes no lasting damage to the economy,” says Yun. - Zerohedge
Then finally there is CNBC's token academic Jeremy Siegel who yesterday told viewers in the middle of a market meltdown that HE BELIEVES (without any substantial proof and despite the fact that a high level Fed official said that the central bank's current monetary policy of hiking interest rates was still on course), that the Fed will slow down or even stop its rate hike policy in order to return to propping up equity markets.

Funny how after several years of Wall Street lying to the public that the economic recovery was purely organic suddenly shifts to the truth once a crisis appears on the horizon.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Silly Europe, sanctions are for MAGA

Perhaps the most disturbing dichotomy in U.S. history has been the fact that they have been touted as the most free and honest society in history, but have reneged on nearly every single treaty they signed.  And despite all the rhetoric on how free America is, and a beacon to the world, perhaps President Calvin Coolidge said it best when he stated that 'The business of America is business".

90 years later, and with an experienced businessman at the helm, it appears that this quote could not be more apropos as a new report out on Nov. 16 shows that while the U.S. is breaking their own sanctions against Russia when it comes to the importation of energy, at the same time they expect Europe and the rest of the world to suffer under those same sanctions.

Several cargo ships carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Yamal LNG plant have arrived in the US, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova announced, highlighting the obvious weirdness of the situation. 
“Oddly enough, with all this visible public flow of negative rhetoric from Washington, Russian liquefied natural gas is successfully being supplied to the US,” Zakharova said during the weekly press briefing. 
“Recently, at least three tankers with liquefied natural gas from the Russian Yamal LNG field on board have reached the US coast,” she added. 
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly urged the EU to look for alternatives to cheaper Russian gas, mostly delivered to Europe by pipelines. Last month, PGNiG, Poland’s gas company, signed a 20-year deal to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US. 
While promoting American LNG, Trump has repeatedly slammed Europe over its energy dependence on Russia, which he characterized as an unreliable partner. Earlier, Germany agreed to fund the building of a terminal for receiving American LNG. At the same time, Germany is participating in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russia. – Russia Today
President Trump is the essence of Coolidge's famous quote, and more and more it is appearing that what Making America Great Again (MAGA) really means that its America first at the expense of everyone else.

Chicago so desperate for money they are now taxing you 9% just for your amusement

By now many people know about San Francisco's 'Homeless Tax', where the city is preparing to invoke a new revenue scheme based on how many workers you have in your business.  But it appears that the City of Chicago does not want to be outdone by their West Coast neighbors and are themselves implementing a new tax on your amusement.

When they powered up their Playstations on Nov. 9, Gamers in the Windy City were furious to learn that they will now need to fork over a 9% levy to the city every time they pay for any of a suit of online services as Chicago steps up enforcement of its supremely unpopular Amusement Tax, which was expanded in 2015 to cover video games, streaming services and other digital-entertainment mediums. While some companies have resisted what they have decried as an overreach by city tax collectors, who are desperately trying to plug a massive budget hole while supporting some of the most under-funded public pensions in the country, Sony has become the latest video gaming company to acquiesce to the city's demands. Meanwhile, Nintendo and Microsoft (which owns Xbox) have been collecting the levies since 2015. 
According to the Chicago Tribune, the city’s amusement tax once only applied to concerts and sporting event tickets, but several streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu have bowed to the city's demands since the levy was first expanded. Apple, on the other hand, filed a lawsuit against the city back in August alleging that the tax on its streaming service was "illegal and discriminatory". The company isn't paying the tax while the case works its way through a Cook County court. 
Previously, a group of streaming companies including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, XBox Live and Hulu sued Chicago back in 2015 alleging that the tax was in violation of federal law. However, the judge ruled in the city’s favor in May. After an appeal, the case is awaiting a ruling from an appellate court. - Zerohedge
Is it any wonder why the state of Illinois is not only completely bankrupt, but also so corrupt and incompetent that they appear to be trying everything imaginable to make each of their citizens broke as well.

First responders need an armed citizenry as London and Chicago prove that outlawing weapons only increases the violence

In an interesting dichotomy between two different cities, both London and Chicago are proving out that not only does outlawing weapons fail in its agenda to curb violence, but also that law enforcement and first responders are powerless to protect the public.

In the UK for example, knives are banned for the most part (Including recent attempts to outlaw kitchen cutlery).  However this ban has not stopped stabbings and other knife violence from skyrocketing.

As if more evidence is needed that bans don’t work, the United Kingdom’s knife crime “epidemic” is soaring.  Even though there are incredibly strict knife control laws in the UK, public officials are declaring the knife violence a public health crisis
On Wednesday, London police responded to separate stabbings within hours of each other, the victims, a young boy believed to be in his teens and a man, were sent to the hospital with life-threatening or serious stab wounds, according to a report by Fox News
Of the five people stabbed this week, the youngest was a 15-year-old boy named Jay Hughes. Hughes was attacked outside a chicken shop in broad daylight. And that perfectly explains the horrific epidemic. During the first six months of the year, police recorded 39,332 knife crime offenses which is a 12 percent increase over last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. Other violent crimes, including murder and robbery, also increased by double-digit percentages proving bans will never work. 
As all of the victims are now powerless and disarmed, those who seek violent domination over others simply break the law and own the weapons used to hurt others.  If this isn’t straight up evidence that bans don’t work, nothing else is either. - SHTF Plan
Then of course there is the long-standing violence capital known as Chicago, where gun laws are so stringent that the local government attempts to mete out every outburst of violence with even more laws.
As of the 15th of February, Chicago racked up 326 shootings and 72 murders. That puts the city on the same pace as 2016, which saw the highest murder rate in decades. 
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson again called for tougher gun laws. “Enough is enough,” he said. 
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner proposed sending state troopers to Chicago. Without being specific, President Donald Trump suggested sending in the feds. 
Tracy Cannon – once associated with the Vice Lords – says it won’t matter. “I don’t care how many police they bring in. It’s not going to stop, man.” - Fox News
Chicago ranks in the top 4 U.S. cities for gun related homicides, but would be much higher if their population didn't crate a lower per capita rate than places like Baltimore or Charlotte.  But the bottom line is that when weapon ownership is banned in a given city, country, or region, only the law abiding citizen will follow these laws, and in the end make them both targets and victims to those who have no fear of laws or law enforcement.