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From Conspiracy to Fact: An analysis of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Information Control, and the New World Order (Appendix includes hundreds of citations) - PART 1

UPDATE: This article is now available as a printable PDF with embedded hyperlinks for navigation through sources. This link will be valid thru July 9: https://ufile.io/4mpkg4x6

PLEASE NOTE: This article may be updated periodically with new information and links as they become available. All referenced information and a whole lot more is indexed and linked in the related appendix posts. Please feel free to crosspost, share, and take from my ideas to build your own. Namaste.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Appendix A | Appendix B

Hello. My name is Chris. I am nobody, really. An average citizen. I am an overweight 42 year old white male from the Midwestern suburbs of the US who has been fortunate enough to live a pretty comfortable life. I used to be a freelance graphic designer with a focus on small businesses, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that that career and part of my life is more than likely over in light of current events. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
I've always been concerned about social injustice and tried to stay politically informed, even dabbling in some activism here and there. At times I've stepped away from paying attention for my own mental health, or due to laziness, defeatism, whatever. But I've never stopped caring, or trying, to fight the good fight and do the right thing.
The news recently has of course swept us all up, and touched all our lives in some way or another. The world has never seen anything like the "Coronavirus Pandemic," and it's clear that our society will be changed forever when we finally come out the other end of this mess. But I've had the luxury of time recently, and in reading the news about things that were going on, I couldn't help but notice the patterns, and that a lot of stuff didn't exactly make sense.
So, here we go, with the "conspiracy theory."
I hate that term, because although it's technically accurate, it's been demonized and weaponized by the media and society at large to take on a bad connotation. Tinfoil hats, alien abductions, crazy people muttering to themselves, etc. You've no doubt got a lot of images in your mind of a conspiracy theorist.
And make no mistake, what I'm going to tell you here is all currently very popular conspiracy theory. However, I think that by removing opinions and conjecture from it, and focusing on facts and things that have already happened, I can present this huge amount of overwhelming, disparate information in a way that makes it less a "theory" and more a "research project." And so that is how I have approached this.
I have spent the last week doing little else besides reading every news and opinion article I could find, saving and organizing hundreds of links, and assembling a coherent, logical outline to organize and present these theories, and more importantly, facts. There are a lot of less-than-reputable sites and publications out there, and I have tried when at all possible to provide sources from verifiable news sites, with a wide range of slants and focuses, to illustrate that what is happening is not part of any one particular political agenda.
I hope that you take the time to check the links, really look into the information presented here, and form your own opinions. Please do not just take my word for it. To that end, there are also a few links mixed in that are labeled as having come from conspiracy. These are well-written and well-reasoned posts from other concerned citizens that I think are worth reading, and relevant to the discussion here.
One last thing - If you are new to most of these ideas, the information presented here is more than likely going to seem overwhelming at first. I encourage you now, and always, to take mental health breaks for yourself, and put down your phone or turn off your computer. The information will be here when you come back. And as you'll soon understand, what is happening is an unstoppable tide, truly a force of nature at this point, and there is nothing you can do to fight it, so try your hardest to relax, put on some chill music, hug your dog, and most of all...
BREATHE.
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If you start researching conspiracy theory, you're going to find a lot of information. Some much better or worse presented than others, and some much more plausible or unbelievable than others. Despite the seeming ridiculousness of some things you might read, I encourage you to always approach new information with an open mind.
That said though, I have one main principle that guides all my beliefs about conspiracy theories, and that is the "Filter of Likelihood." Essentially, you have to ask yourself how possible, how likely, and how feasible a piece of information is. Furthermore, you need to ask yourself what the motivation would be. In many cases, it's quite easy to see how something makes a lot of sense based on other known info, whereas some theories seem rather implausible no matter how you look at it.
I am interested only in the plausible, and where possible, the already actualized. Additionally, there's a lot to be said, and a lot that has already been written on many of these topics, so I will focus on current events and simple concepts.
I will also ask you to open your mind to possibility. Please consider this as you evaluate new information:
  1. Do you believe there are things going on in the world that you don't know about yet?
  2. Do you believe that there is technology and science you've never heard of?
  3. Do you believe that society is progressing at an increasing rate?
  4. Do you believe that as populations grow, we require new societal strategies?
  5. Do you believe that those with power and money want to retain their power and money?
Of course you believe all these things, and none of these are wild or unusual concepts. Rather, these are very basic concepts that apply to everyone, and always have. They are all part of our shared human experience, and undeniable facts of life. Populations grow, societies evolve, technology advances, and the world changes. And most important to our discussion here, people, families, and empires constantly jockey for power and control, while fighting for resources, power, fame, and...
MONEY.
We all hate TicketMaster, right? Who do they think they are, what the hell is this bullshit "service fee," etc. It's something everyone can get behind. But did you know that TicketMaster willingly cultivates that image? That venues, teams, and artists, in their pursuit of more money, raise fees and then let TicketMaster be the bad guy and take the heat so their reputations remain intact?
There are many more people, organizations, and other entities in the world playing that same role for those who really have the money, who really call the shots. And those who call the shots work very hard and spend absolutely unfathomable amounts of money, time, and blood, to make sure that you don't ever realize who's actually taking your money.
They do this in the simplest, easiest way. If you simply control information from the top down, and disseminate it when and where you see fit, you can effect great societal change without lifting a finger.
Please imagine... really, try to imagine... You just read an article, saw a video, whatever, from a very, very reputable source. And it just informed you that an asteroid was 83% likely to impact the Earth next month. What would you do? What would happen in the world?
Hopefully an asteroid will not hit next month, but it's important to really imagine what would happen and why, and how. Because a huge amount of information would be generated and published, people would panic, society would crumble, and the world as you know it would change forever in an instant, the moment you read that headline.
Control of information is one of the most powerful tools known to mankind today. A person living in 2020 can easily encounter as much information in a day as someone in Medieval times might have encountered in a lifetime. And it comes at you from all angles, in all forms, non-stop, 24/7. Much like the water in the pipe, the information is always there, and one needs but turn it on.
Disseminating the information then becomes a practice all its own, and to be sure, information processing accounts for more than half of the US GDP. And the rate at which it's spread, and way it is handled makes a huge difference in the societal repercussions. So a few different techniques are used:
It might be the greatest understatement of all time to say that there has been a lot of information passed around about COVID-19, the "Coronavirus," recently. In fact, there has never been anything like what we are currently experiencing in all of human history, and not by a long shot. And this unprecedented turn of events has caused a lot of people to react in a lot of ways, and say and do a lot of things, for better or for worse.
Full disclosure: In particular, if you look up conspiracy theory, you'll see a lot of stuff suggesting that the "Coronavirus is a hoax." (You'll also find a lot of poorly-written rambling) I want to be clear that I DO NOT believe that. I am 100% sure that there is a Coronavirus, that it is making people sick, that a lot of people are dying, and that our medical professionals and many other undervalued workers are overwhelmed, and breaking their backs every day to do their best to keep their friends, families, and loved ones safe. I am extraordinarily grateful for them and admire the resolve and bravery that so many have shown in the face of this disaster. I do not think it is a hoax at all.
However, I think that literally everything else that is happening surrounding the "pandemic" is.
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The Pandemic
In the first week of January this year, I got sick. Really sick. I know when I got it and who I got it from, and honestly the exact moment I got it (I only was in proximity of the dude for a few minutes). He had warned me that he was really sick, and I blew it off. I started feeling sick a day or two later, and a day or two after that I felt like I was dying. Fever, chills, aches, extraordinary fatigue. And literal, nonstop, 24/7 coughing. I had every single symptom of what we now know as COVID-19. I commented to anyone who would listen that I didn't recall ever feeling that sick before in my entire life. The most memorable part of it though was that after a couple days, I completely lost my sense of smell and taste. Joked a lot about how you could feed me onions and soap cause I'd have no idea. I try to have a good attitude about being sick.
I spent a week sleeping on the couch before I finally went to the doctor. She gave me a Prednisolone steroid pack (which has worked well for me in the past), some Trazodone to knock me out, and Benzonatotate for my cough. As soon as I took the first dose of steroids I started to feel pretty fucking great, and it was more or less a non-issue after that.
I spoke to a lot of people about it then and after, and man, I can't tell you how many stories I personally heard from people I know that said the exact same thing. Then I started reading the same story over and over again on Reddit:
We didn't start really hearing about the Coronavirus in the media until the beginning of March, and we didn't hear about the "Pandemic" until just a couple weeks ago. And what a couple weeks it's been since then. But I am quite certain that it's been around for a lot longer and that I, and a lot of other people I know, had it - and DID NOT DIE FROM IT - way back in January.
We now know that the first documented case in the US was on January 19th, but that word "documented" is so, so important here. That means that we had identified the virus, developed a test, and tested a person with the symptoms that day. It does NOT mean that was when the virus reached the United States. How sick do you have to be before you take a day off work? Before you go to the doctor? With America's healthcare system or lack thereof, it's almost certain that many people had this virus before we determined what it was, and how infectious it really was.
There is also the matter of the statistics of severity vs the regular flu. This is a highly contentious topic and I am no medical expert, and do not wish to make any assertions. However, what I can tell you from my personal experience is this: I had a horrible "flu" in January, got basic medicine, got better. So, either I had the flu, or perhaps I did indeed have the Coronavirus.
We will never know because I was never tested. But the important thing is that it doesn't matter. Either I (and many others) had the Coronavirus and it did not kill us (calling into question the severity of the infection) or we just had a bad cold or flu, but it had the exact same symptoms as COVID-19 (calling into question the extent of Coronavirus diagnoses). But logically, one of those two statements is true.
Furthermore, the data keeps changing, and I don't mean increasing on a daily basis. I mean up and down, back and forth, it is deadly or maybe it isn't, etc. On January 14 the WHO told you it couldn't spread from human to human. But then on Jan 19 we saw the first case of Coronavirus in the United States. Then it turns out that the Wuhan market outbreak began earlier in December. And then it's an "epidemic," but most people will only get mild symptoms. What are you supposed to believe? And it sure does seem to come at you as a firehose, and it's hard to even think about anything because OHMYGODTHECORONAVIRUS!
But let's stop and look a couple basic facts. As a matter of fact, I'm going to let Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi explain this one to you. This is a very informative 10 minute video, watch it:
Sucharit Bhakdi - Very clear math showing that the COVID statistics are being manipulated
So 80% of people only experience mild symptoms, and we're crashing the economy for this? The statistics aren't any more extreme than many other illnesses we've had over time, and we're crashing the economy for this? It doesn't make sense until you consider that there are other factors besides just the virus at play.
Wolfgang Wodard - Explaining how the statistics are being manipulated to cause panic
The media, and society at large is inundating you with terrifying information about the Coronavirus. But if it's not as bad as we originally thought, then why? We don't freak out about every illness that comes along, and we've certainly never in the history of civilization had over 1/3 of the global population locked down under mandatory quarantine.
And then there's the debate about where the virus came from. We believe it came from a meat market in China, under unsanitary conditions. The science behind a coronavirus making the leap from one species to another is well-established and researched, and it is a very likely scenario. There are also conspiracy theories that state that China released it on its people intentionally, or even that the US military released it in China. Again, we will never know exactly where this Coronavirus came from. It may be natural, it may be man made, and there are very plausible paths for both. I don't know what to believe myself. So here I ask you to make your own judgement based on likelihood.
What we do know though is that the state of the world this virus has been unleashed on has played a major factor in its spread. In 1950 the global population was 2.5 billion, and that has exploded to almost 8 billion people in 2020. As a matter of fact, population growth has been exponential since about the time of the Industrial Revolution.
With all these people on the planet there are sure to be many disagreements and conflicts, and there indeed have been. As a matter of fact, 2019 saw global protests on an unprecedented scale, in Hong Kong, France, Syria, and many other countries. Citizens have literally been fighting police and military with rocks, clubs, arrows, and molotov cocktails.
Did you know that? Despite my seeing headlines and pictures every day of the riots in Hong Kong, I have been shocked to learn that multiple of my close friends, intelligent and aware people, had no knowledge whatsoever of the protests even existing. But that is far from a coincidence; rather, it is quite by design.
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Billionaires and Coincidences
Another major talking point over the last 5 to 10 years has been the "1%" - the handful of super-rich individuals who posess and control the vast majority of the Earth's wealth and resources. Where it used to just be a numerical term, "Billionaire" is now a dirty word, and one of the nastiest. We all hate billionaires. They are evil, and profit off the exploitation of the rest of the world.
The "Illuminati" we call them, in pursuit of a "New World Order." Crazy stuff, right? Mysterious symbols and people in black robes doing nefarious things in secret meetings, and running the world from behind the scenes. We love the Illuminati, it's a huge pop culture thing now. The subject of endless speculation, they are made fun of in the media, movies, and now Taco Bell commercials. It's so far fetched it could never really be true. And the fact that you think that is by design as well.
So, we don't know where the Coronavirus came from, but it's certainly here, and there are lot of other things unfolding in the world around it. Many different current events from all different places and fields of study. Some of it seems a little too coincidental. It is certainly very coincidental that this economically destructive Coronavirus entered the world right as there were global uprisings, protests in the street, and a growing public hatred for billionaires.
Well, here are a few other coincidences: Hundreds of CEOs of major companies stepped down from their positions in recent months. Multiple US Senators sold stock right before the market crashed. Even the boss of the New York Stock Exchange sold his own stock right before the crash. Did they know something they weren't telling us?
Here's another coincidence. In 2010, The Rockefeller Foundation published a selection of future-predicting scenarios in the name of "exploring the ways that technology and development could co-evolve." One of these four scenarios, entitled "Lock Step," eerily predicts a global viral pandemic and the resulting hypothetical consequences, which almost exactly mirrors the COVID-19 pandemic we are in the midst of today.
Also coincidental: The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in China on November 17th, 2019. Literally one month earlier, The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise on October 18, 2019, in New York, NY. In this exercise, they discuss the potential implications and consequences of a novel Coronavirus, including an economic crash, martial law, and of particular interest, the control of information. (You can view some published highlights here)
The World Economic Forum is comprised of the richest of the rich. The 1%. The Billionaires. CEO's, politicians, business owners, and many other powerful and influential figures. They meet regularly to discuss topics of global concern, and strongly control the dissemination of information. And of primary concern to many of them is maintaining their wealth and power in a rapidly-changing world.
And finally, here's one more coincidence: At the exact same time as the Event 201 exercise, The World Military Games was held in Wuhan, China, Oct 18-27, 2019. It was the largest military sports event ever to be held in China, with nearly 10,000 athletes from over 100 countries competing in 27 sports. Wuhan China was, as we now believe, the source of our current global COVID-19 outbreak.
Whether you think it is a "conspiracy" or not, that is all certainly coincidental, to say the least.
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"Why didn't I hear about any of this?"
That's an excellent question, and one that likely has multiple answers. For starters, how much do you really pay attention? Where do you get your news from? Do you research things you hear or just accept them on hearsay? Critical thinking skills are paramount in making sense of the chaos unfolding all around us.
As I mentioned before, I can tell you that I personally know multiple people who had no clue whatsoever about the riots in Hong Kong last year. As you read this, you may be one of them. And it may seem like something that is happening far away, and "could never happen here." Or you may have been aware of it but just that it was happening. But please, consider for a moment: millions of average citizens risked their lives and safety in the streets of Hong Kong for months on end, fighting police and military, and transforming the city they lived in into a warzone. WHY? Why would people do something like that? Regardless of their motivations, that many people were banding together to fight for something they believed in. And that is worth considering.
It's not really your fault though that you may not catch wind of all this news. The "mainstream media" that you hear about all the time deliberately controls information - downplaying threats and overreacting to silly things - in order to make sure that you hear the version of the news that they want you to hear.
Did you know that only 6 corporations control 90% of the media In America? That number is reduced from 50 companies in the 80's. And literally all the news you see on TV, at the very least, is 100% owned and controlled by these companies. Lately, distrust is growing for cable news networks, and many people turn to their local hometown station for trusted news. The problem with that though is that your hometown station is probably owned by Sinclair Media, one of the most powerful broadcast networks in the country that you've never heard of.
Please watch this very brief video, illustrating the chokehold that Sinclair Media maintains over your nightly local news broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLjYJ4BzvI
Of course, not every piece of news is pre-programmed but a lot is. The real news is out there, but sometimes you have to look a little deeper than the infographics on TV news. Even if information is being directed from the top down, the boots on the ground tend to be passionate people with a variety of interests and agendas, and they are still doing their best to do real journalism despite corporate oversight.
Think of those who are directing the information as steering an impossibly massive ship with a rudder. You can slowly adjust the course of direction, however it is slow to react. If you want to stop, you have to start thinking about stopping wayyy ahead of time. And similarly, once it gets underway, it is then influenced by an inertia all its own. Micro controls and adjustments aren't really possible.
Our society is this giant ship. There are 8 billion people on this earth - that is 8000 million. An incomprehensible number that grows rapidly every day. As civilization grows and advances, so does our medicine, our technology, our cultural norms. These are all natural processes that are necessary to manage an increasing number of societies all around the globe. And many of the advances we're making have exciting potential benefits for humanity, although as with all tools, they also inherently possess the potential for abuse.
Here are some other things happening in society right now, some you may be aware of and many you may not:
There is an interesting chicken or egg relationship between science fiction and real world science. Sci-fi writers are inspired by the real science of the day, then they apply their creativity to imagine what might be in the future. Young scientists encounter these fantastical ideas and think they are worth pursuing, and then set about to make them a reality, and the cycle continues.
Futuristic concepts are then preempted and introduced through the media to the conscious mind, as we include them in books, movies, TV, video games, and more. Eventually we start seeing headlines of these new technologies and developments happening in other places, usually Japan and China first due to their prevalence in the industrial and technological sectors of our global economy.
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Continue to Part 2

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[WTS] Walkers, Peace Dollars, 90% Quarters & WTT ASEs TRADE TRADE INSIDE!

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El proof!
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On the other hand, some tequila drinkers prefer silver. Silver tequila is not aged at all, it's bottled the same year it was produced, and this year is 2020. For you, I have the following 2020 premium silver tequila coins, so you may always remember 5 de mayo 2020, no matter how much you drink today.
Reposado Gold tequila Coins
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Shipping is $5 for under 5oz, else $8
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COMPLETE! THANK YOU!! I want to propose an ASE for ASE trade to fill out my missing dates. If yours is a key date, I'm ok in paying extra. All of my ASEs are in perfect, pristine condition, have been in their tube their whole lives. We would exchange pictures of the actual coins we will send and then do the trade so everyone is happy, and everyone pays for their own shipping.
to make the trade worth your time, I’ll include a clad Ike dollar to every trade of two or more coins :)
I have these dates to give: 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016
I need any date NOT in this list:
I also have still sealed 2020 Philharmonics I could trade for ASE, Libertads, other year Phils, or modern Maples. If you'd like to trade one of my ASE for some of these other coins, hit me up too.
FOR SALE Also selling the following:
Constitutional Silver
For items where it's not included, shipping is $5 tracked for <5oz or $8 USPS Priority for >5oz
PAYMENT: Bitcoin/Crypto is preferred and given priority (mention paying BTC in title of PM to move to the front of the line). Else Venmo, CashApp, PayPal FF NO COMMENTS are also accepted.
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In 2012 I Was Seduced By a Possessed Couch

Part 1
“Huh, they’re really going at it, aren’t they?” Saale said, looking towards the bedroom. Karl and Maarja were rustling around in there, too drunk to contain the volume of their passion. The two of us sat around and tried to do anything but listen.
Saale and me started off as strangers that night, but we ended up being the last people standing. It was the biggest party of the summer and we were the only lucid survivors. We were holding hands.
“Heh, yeah,” I replied. She squeezed my hand. I squeezed back. We started off the night rambling about everything and anything under the sun, but now conversation had run out. All we had was nervous eye contact and hand squeezing; both of us were too scared to take the next step.
“I am very drunk,” I said, giving myself plausible deniability.
“Me too,” she said. Her hazel eyes held on to mine; C’mon, you’re the guy, make the first move.
“Want to dance?” I suddenly blurted out.
Saale cocked her head to the side, “Do you have music?” She squeezed my hand again, hard, a look of mischief spread across her face. Maarja howled in the other room.
“Yeah, definitely,” I fished out my Sony Erickson and searched through the fourteen-song library for something that wasn’t ska music. I found that one Rolling Stones song. We got off the couch and wrapped our arms around each other. The music came out of the flip phone with the orchestral quality of a potato and the sounds from the bedroom were considerably louder, but we didn’t care. We just wanted an excuse to hold each other.
It wasn’t really dancing. We were just hugging each other while stepping from side to side. The anticipation was electric. She whispered something in my ear. I pretended not to hear and moved closer to her. Our lips brushed against each other. We kissed.
It wasn’t the booze, it wasn’t the dope, it wasn’t the hormones. There was something else in my blood in that moment. A surge of electricity so powerful that to taste it for just a single second made life worth living. The universe focused all of its attention, all of its beauty and washed it over our moment. We laid down on the couch.
Scratching. Suddenly the soft sounds of her breath were overpowered by scratching. I pulled back. Saale looked at me with those heart-melting eyes, “What’s wrong?” The scratching grew louder, more furious. Claws, I could hear claws. She said something else, but I couldn’t hear her by then, the scratching had grown deafening. Saale looked up in horror. Fabric ripped. I woke up.
Fritz was right by my head, his long tail resting inches from my face. I watched him in a daze. He was furiously digging at the upholstery. There was a sizable hole there; the rat must have worked at it for the whole night. His little body dug with desperate energy, trying to make the opening as big as possible, yet after a couple of seconds he stopped. Fritz shoved his head into the hole and his whole body went limp. His furry frame rose and fell with effort as Fritz breathed in as much of the couch as he could. I grabbed him by the nape and took him out of the couch.
The creature was nothing like the animal I held the night before. Fritz’s head had lost most of its fur; all that was left was tufts of gray fur that splashed over his irritated skin. He snapped at me, or at least tried to. His jaw was heavy, his eyes barely stayed open. I placed him on the floor. As soon as he was on his own feet he fell over. After a couple lethargic seconds he stumbled to his paws and crawled beneath the wardrobe.
Karl walked out of the bedroom. He stopped when he noticed I was awake. “James, which tie seems more formal?” Karl looked like a madman; he was wearing superman underwear and a fancy white dress shirt that barely fit around his paunch. In each hand he held a black tie. I was too disoriented to tell the difference.
“I don’t know Karl, they both look pretty similar to me.” I said.
Karl looked down on the ties. He raised each one of them to his face for a closer examination. Finally, after some thought he nodded, “I think you are right James. These ties do look identical.” He retreated back to the bedroom and emerged with only one tie that he started putting on. “Oh, also, good morning friend,” Karl added as an afterthought.
“Good morning Karl,” I replied.
“James! Don’t enable him! He’s just being nervous about meeting my parents,” Maarja yelled from the kitchen. “Nothing to be scared of Karl. You know my parents are cool.”
“Your parents are most definitely not cool. Your father is a very scary man and your mother is a very angry woman.” Karl protested. He looked over at me, “Right James?” Maarja peeked out of the kitchen.
I had only seen Maarja’s father once. It was during Maarja’s high-school graduation. She had managed to sneak me in so I could attend the after party. I remembered seeing him across the hall, watching his daughter get her diploma with that emotionless scowl that fathers raised behind the iron curtain have perfected. Her dad bore a striking resemblance to Karl, he was a big dude, but where Karl carried a lumberjack beard Maarja’s father had a simple moustache. Maarja’s father also had scars. Even at a distance you could see them, a face covered in splotches of red as if he had experienced some great horror at a young age. “Your mother is a pretty angry woman Maarja,” I said.
Maarja scoffed. “If you piss her off she is. Point is: Karl shouldn’t be scared. My parents like him.”
“No they don’t,” Karl protested. Maarja rolled her eyes.
“You want coffee James?” she yelled from the kitchen.
“Sure,” I said. I tried sitting up, hoping to lose a bit of my drowsiness but something was wrong. I fished my left hand from under the couch. Somehow, as I slept, I clawed my index finger into the stuffing of the couch. It took effort to take it out; it was as if the upholstery had wrapped itself around the finger.
Maarja brought me my coffee and said something about how they were going to a nearby restaurant for the lunch but her words fell on deaf ears. I was completely focused on my pointer. The skin around it was an unhealthy red. It was cold to the touch. All the feeling in the finger was gone. I could move it, but the movements were sluggish, it was as if the finger was in a deep sleep. As Maarja and Karl got ready I tried to assess how damaged the finger was. I didn’t snap out of the mystery until I heard the front door slam shut.
I wasn’t alone though. ‘Quit worrying about your finger Tiger, you just slept funny. Think about more pleasant things.’ The voice in my head slithered back, ‘Remember how soft Saale’s skin was? How sweet her perfume smelled as you two made love?’ I laid back down and ran my hand across the couch. For something so old it was so remarkably smooth.
Fritz was suddenly back by my head. He ran towards the hole that he had worked on prior and started clawing at it again. He tore at the threading frantically. He wanted to be back inside of the couch, he needed to be back inside of the couch. I reached out to pick him up but reconsidered. ‘Leave him be Tiger, he’s just enjoying himself.’ My hand fell back to the firm cushioning of the couch. ‘That’s a good boy,’ the voice said, ‘Now where were we? Ah yes, Saale, what a girl, huh? Remember how good it felt to wake up next to her?’ I did. I remembered.
It was, after all, on that very same couch that I woke up next to Saale for the first time. It was the day after the party, when I woke up I nearly jumped out of my skin. It took me a second to realize where I was, that there was a beautiful woman on my arm, that I had made love to a alluring the stranger the night before, yet when the thought set in a wave of bliss washed over me. A gentle morning light was coming in through the blinds, the birds outside chirped peacefully and Saale snored. ‘Her half open mouth, those tiny sounds, so vulnerable, so romantic.’ Then the door opened. ‘Oh Tiger, you don’t have to think about that part.’ Then the door opened and Maarja’s mother came in.
The woman did not like me to begin with, the couple of times that we had met she regarded me with absolute disdain. Maarja even admitted it; her mother didn’t want her daughter hanging around with strange foreigners. As soon as Maarja’s mom saw us she started screaming. ‘Oh come on Tiger, you don’t have to think about arguments right now, think about the good times-‘ Her yelling woke everyone up. As me and Saale were frantically putting on our clothes the bedroom door flew open and Maarja started yelling at her mom. I didn’t understand a word to it, but Maarja’s mom seemed to have it really out for me. She kept on pointing. She kept on screaming and pointing at me… or was she pointing at the couch? ‘Oh come on Tiger, there’s other memories to go back to, remember the first time that you and Saale-‘ We ran out as soon as we had enough clothes to be decent. Salle and me left the argument behind.
Maarja’s mom didn’t chase us, but we ran for a couple of blocks anyway. We moved through the morning streets, giggling. After Saale nearly got hit by a tram we finally stopped. For a second we stood there, slightly hung-over and out of breath. We kissed.
“She seemed really angry, what was she saying?” I asked.
This is not a whorehouse, my daughter will be no madam!” Saale yelled, mimicking Maarja’s mother’s voice. We laughed, but then Saale frowned. She was beautiful even when she was confused. “To be honest though, she seemed a bit more angry about that couch being in the room. She kept on pointing at it asking where they had gotten it, saying that it was meant to be burnt years ago-“
‘STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS TIGER’ the voice thundered through my skull, ‘IF YOU EVER WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN, STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!’ The voice was no longer flirty. Darkness loomed within it. My mind cleared in fear.
I looked to the side; Fritz had made progress with the hole. He was hallway inside and still digging. His tail and hind legs stuck out of the hole, his enflamed testacles pressed against the side of the couch. With a couple more frantic movements he squeezed himself inside. The rat was gone.
‘Wondering what he’s doing Tiger?’ The couch asked gingerly, ‘He’s floating in ecstasy, oh yes, he’s experiencing pleasure you couldn’t even begin to comprehend, unless…’ Fabric groaned as the hole that Fritz had dug expanded. I could see the stuffing, it heaved up and down as if the couch was breathing. The hole was big enough to fit my hand. ‘C’mon Tiger, you know you want to try.’
I extended my hand; there was something from the couch that called to me, something stronger than me. Beads of perspiration streamed down my forehead. My clothes were soaked with sweat. As my fingers approached the gaping hole I could feel a glint of electricity in the air. The universe turned its eyes on me and beckoned me towards the maw.
VRRRR! VRRRR! I snapped out of it. My phone was ringing. It was Maarja.
“James, goddamn it, why don’t you pick up your phone? I’ve been calling you for like five minutes,” she talked in an angry whisper, “Look, my parents decided that they wanted to come over to the apartment. My mom would flip if she knew you were staying with us. I need you out of the house right now.”
I jumped to my feet. The last person I wanted to see right now was Maarja’s mom. “Okay, I’ll be out in five.”
“Not good enough! James! We’re almost there. Just get out! Please James, the lunch went really well, please don’t let her turn today into an argument,” Maarja pleaded.
I quickly put on my shoes and dashed towards the door. I didn’t realize I forgot my coat until I was outside. The cold wind blew through my sweaty t-shirt. “Are you outside?” Maarja whispered.
“Yeah, right at the front door.”
“Okay, get out. Right now. We’re almost there. I’ll call you when the coast is clear. Sorry. Love ya!” click.
As I reached the end of the block I could see the four of them walking towards the apartment. Karl and Maarja’s dad were engaged in a passionate conversation. Maarja and her mom followed them, quietly smoking. I sped out of sight.
I was freezing, a wet t-shirt in the Estonian winter felt like a death sentence. In my attempt to find a semblance of warmth I went over to the bus station and got onto the first bus that stopped. I nestled up next to the heaters and immediately felt better. The plan was to warm up, maybe dry off and then go find a mall to kill time in. That plan fell apart very quickly. The bus drove for a bit before I realized where it was going. For a second I considered getting off, but it was too cold for me to be roaming the streets, or at least that’s what I told myself. I took out my iPod and scrolled over to the Rolling Stones. The bus rode out to Saale’s neighborhood.
I returned back to Maarja’s apartment way after sundown. The day was a blur. I remembered running out of Maarja’s apartment. I remembered getting on the bus and riding over to Saale’s place. I remembered what happened at Saale’s but everything else was covered in a thick mental fog. The vodka helped with that. I had spent my last remaining cash on a bottle of good old 79% memory wipe. It helped me cope. It also made the Estonian winter more bearable.
“James! Honey! Where were you?” Maarja was outside having a cigarette when I stumbled to the house, “I’ve been trying to call you all day. Are you okay?” there was a hint of a drunken slur to her voice.
“Phone’s out of battery,” I mumbled as I walked up.
“Are you okay?” she repeated her question.
I shrugged. “I think I need a hug.”
“Ah darling, come here,” Maarja said as she wrapped her arms around me. She was wearing one of Karl’s huge jackets. It wasn’t until I was embraced in its warmth that I realized how cold I was. “Want to talk about it?”
“No.” I didn’t. All I wanted was to just be blindly told everything was going to be okay. I wanted assurances that I wouldn’t feel like this forever. I needed to know that I would get over Saale. Yet Maarja just sighed.
“I know it’s hard James. When you’re ready to talk about it I’m here for you.” she sighed again, I could smell the booze on her breath, “Thank you for leaving the house when you did. Things… didn’t go very well.”
She let go. I was back in the cold. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
Maarja took a long drag of her cigarette. Her voice grew heavy, “My dad was really interested in Karl’s Bitcoin stuff and he wanted to see his computer. Me and my mom were finishing off our cigarette outside and…” Maarja’s eyes drifted towards the night sky and fluttered. She was trying not to cry.
“Maarja? What’s wrong?” I asked.
She cleared her throat and composed herself. “My mom found out about the couch and she got really pissed. She thought I burnt it after that one house party. I just didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good couch but... Yeah. We have to burn it.”
“Burn the couch!? Why?” I gasped.
“There’s some ugly history behind it,” her voice grew faint, “I don’t really want to talk about it.”
It felt like the final bit of stability in my life had crumbled away. I had to drunkenly hold myself up against a lawn chair, “When?”
Maarja shrugged. “Now is a good time as any I guess, we can just drag it out into the backyard, grab some lighter fluid and torch it. Don’t think anyone is going to mind.” She was wrong. I would mind. My fists tightened. An inarticulate rage boiled in my blood. I wanted to hit her so bad, but instead I begged.
One more night,” I said, “Just one more night with the couch. We can burn it tomorrow; it’s New Years right? What a way to end off the year. We could have a little bonfire in the evening.”
“James,” Maarja sighed, “Honey, you can stay here, at least for a couple of days. We’ll move some pillows around and you can sleep on the floor. We’ll hang out tomorrow and it’s going to be great but my mom was really insistent on the couch. I promised her I would-“
“Please, please, don’t get rid of the couch,” I begged, “Just one more night. Just one more night on the couch where I can think back to my memories of Saale. I’m desperate Maarja. While your parents were visiting I went over to Saale’s place. I got into her apartment block. I knocked on the door. I knew she was there Maarja, I could hear her walking up after I knocked. When she looked through the peephole she completely ignored me. She just stood there like I didn’t exist. I called her Maarja, I called her phone and I could hear it ringing in the other room, I called until my goddamn battery ran out, but she never picked up. I traveled half way across the continent on my last dime and she wants nothing to do with me Maarja. The love of my goddamn life won’t even answer her phone. All I have left is that couch. All I have left are those memories of that first night. Please, Maarja, one more night on the couch.”
The words came out with chest-tightening force. Each sentence made me grow weaker until I was barely able to talk. My face was streaked in tears, my nose was running all over my face; I looked like a complete mess. Maarja wrapped her arms around me just as tight as she had in the airport.
“Okay James, one more night,” Maarja said, “I am sorry you’re going through this. I wish we could help.” We stayed in the hug for what felt like an eternity. I wanted to let go, to pull back and be cool about everything. But I couldn’t. The warmth under that jacket, Maarja’s arms around me, it all just felt safer than the world outside. “We both need some sleep,” Maarja finally whispered.
Karl barely noticed us when we walked into the apartment. He was sitting on the couch stuck in deep thought. When I saw him an unexplainable pang of jealousy ran through my body. Me and that couch had something special going on. I cleared my throat. Karl jumped up in surprise.
“James! You’re back. Where were you? We were worried about you!” Karl said.
“I went to Saale’s.”
“Oh,” He dropped his eyes away from me, not knowing what to say. He looked over at Maarja, “You have told James about what happened with your dad?”
“Something happened with your dad?” I asked. The question seemed stupid and irrelevant.
Maarja stared daggers back at Karl. She spoke slowly, with a hidden force beneath her words, “I have told James that my mother was very angry about the couch. We have decided that he will sleep on the couch for one more night and then we will burn it tomorrow. Does that sound okay?”
Karl furrowed his brow. “Yes,” he finally said. He stood in the doorway of their bedroom, leaning forward, as if he was about to say something else but then Maarja cut him off.
“We should all get some sleep.”
“Yeah,” I said, sprawling out onto the couch. ‘Welcome back Tiger,’ it whispered to me ‘Did someone have a rough day?’ The voice soothed the pain in my chest, the world started to become more manageable. Karl and Maarja went off to bed without saying much. There was something up, something that they were in disagreement about but it was none of my business. The couch kept me company.
‘It’s all going to be okay, you’ll see’ The couch whispered to me in its silky voice, ‘You’ll get over her, you’ll find someone better than Saale and in a couple of months you won’t even remember her. You’ll forget all about the relationship all together. But you know who’ll remember? She’ll remember Tiger, oh yes, Saale will be thinking about what an idiot she was to let you go-‘
The light in the bedroom was off, but I could hear Maarja walking around calling out for Fritz. She peeked her head into the living room and asked me if I saw him. I told her I didn’t. She gave up and went to sleep. ‘Don’t think about the rat.’ The hole that Fritz made into the upholstery was gone; there wasn’t even any sign of scratches. The whole couch, in fact, looked to be in better shape. The stains had completely disappeared from the couch, loose threads were nowhere to be seen, the floral print had taken on a colorful shine. ‘STOP IT.’
The voice hit my mind like a blunt object. A fog covered my thoughts, everything felt so impossibly distant. But beneath that fog was a gentle tone of sweetness, ‘Come on Tiger, let’s just enjoy this night together, huh? Lay here with me and let’s just bathe in each other’s company.’ The couch gently shuddered like a tantric massage chair. I heard the groaning of fabric. The place where Fritz had been digging spread apart to reveal a hole; beyond the upholstery was stuffing, it pulsed with fleshy energy. The couch trembled with anticipation. ‘Touch me Tiger, you know you want to.’ I reached out as electricity flowed through my body. The universe turned all of its spotlights on me. The mind fog thickened into a blanket of ecstasy and wrapped me up. All other thoughts disappeared. My soul danced to the chaotic tune of life. I was trapped in a wave of orgasmic rapture.
‘Doesn’t that feel so good Tiger? Isn’t this just exhilarating? Well don’t you worry. We can do this every night. Don’t listen to anyone else. Nothing will get between us, it’s you and me Tiger, it’s you and me and no one is going to stop us. We’ll make sure of that.’
For a split second it felt as if my finger brushed against something rough. I pinched at the object. It felt like a tail. Yet then, as if the gentle stuffing of the couch were a throat, the tail got swallowed deeper into its innards. ‘I love you,’ the couch whispered.
The room smelt like floral perfume. I could hear a dog barking outside. I was covered in sweat. “I love you too,” I whispered back. I drifted off to a deep sleep.
-MJL
(Next part)
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We Just Hit $500k NW! 25 & 26 Years Old. $156k DINK Income. Here's Our Story.

Hi guys. I've been a subscriber and lurker here for over 5 years and one of my favorite things to read are the "how you got to where you are" stories. I made this post once I hit $300k, but my new wife and I just hit the $500k milestone together and we thought it would be worthwhile to share our story. We hate lack of transparency and ambiguity, so we'll be as open and honest as possible. We tried to include everything that we would want to know as if we were reading someone else's post. Feel free to ask us any questions.
There is a TLDR at the bottom of this post. You probably want to read that first to see if you're interested before investing your time in conquering this wall of text.
Also, you can skip the wall of text below about our childhood/college/relationship stuff if you're just interested in the "numbers". I just wanted to include this background to provide context.
TLDR: Two married DINKs hit $500k net worth at age 25 and 26. We both had frugal upbringings. We both got scholarships/grants to top in-state university. We both worked 2-3 jobs every week while attending college to pay for living expenses and saved the rest. I got degree in business. She got a degree in industrial engineering. We graduated with no debt and $80k saved up. I made $55k/year at my first full-time and she made $53k/year at hers. 4.5 years after graduating I currently make $86k and 2.5 years after graduating she makes $70k. Our monthly budget is $1,822/month. Our savings rate is 81%. We have been dating for 9 years, living together for 4 years, and we got married in May.
submitted by aFinancialWreck to financialindependence [link] [comments]

From Conspiracy to Fact: An analysis of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Information Control, and the New World Order (Appendix includes hundreds of citations) - PART 1

PLEASE NOTE: This article may be updated periodically with new information and links as they become available. All referenced information and a whole lot more is indexed and linked in the related appendix posts. Please feel free to crosspost, share, and take from my ideas to build your own. Namaste.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Appendix A | Appendix B
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Hello. My name is Chris. I am nobody, really. An average citizen. I am an overweight 42 year old white male from the Midwestern suburbs of the US who has been fortunate enough to live a pretty comfortable life. I used to be a freelance graphic designer with a focus on small businesses, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that that career and part of my life is more than likely over in light of current events. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
I've always been concerned about social injustice and tried to stay politically informed, even dabbling in some activism here and there. At times I've stepped away from paying attention for my own mental health, or due to laziness, defeatism, whatever. But I've never stopped caring, or trying, to fight the good fight and do the right thing.
The news recently has of course swept us all up, and touched all our lives in some way or another. The world has never seen anything like the "Coronavirus Pandemic," and it's clear that our society will be changed forever when we finally come out the other end of this mess. But I've had the luxury of time recently, and in reading the news about things that were going on, I couldn't help but notice the patterns, and that a lot of stuff didn't exactly make sense.
So, here we go, with the "conspiracy theory."
I hate that term, because although it's technically accurate, it's been demonized and weaponized by the media and society at large to take on a bad connotation. Tinfoil hats, alien abductions, crazy people muttering to themselves, etc. You've no doubt got a lot of images in your mind of a conspiracy theorist.
And make no mistake, what I'm going to tell you here is all currently very popular conspiracy theory. However, I think that by removing opinions and conjecture from it, and focusing on facts and things that have already happened, I can present this huge amount of overwhelming, disparate information in a way that makes it less a "theory" and more a "research project." And so that is how I have approached this.
I have spent the last week doing little else besides reading every news and opinion article I could find, saving and organizing hundreds of links, and assembling a coherent, logical outline to organize and present these theories, and more importantly, facts. There are a lot of less-than-reputable sites and publications out there, and I have tried when at all possible to provide sources from verifiable news sites, with a wide range of slants and focuses, to illustrate that what is happening is not part of any one particular political agenda.
I hope that you take the time to check the links, really look into the information presented here, and form your own opinions. Please do not just take my word for it. To that end, there are also a few links mixed in that are labeled as having come from conspiracy. These are well-written and well-reasoned posts from other concerned citizens that I think are worth reading, and relevant to the discussion here.
One last thing - If you are new to most of these ideas, the information presented here is more than likely going to seem overwhelming at first. I encourage you now, and always, to take mental health breaks for yourself, and put down your phone or turn off your computer. The information will be here when you come back. And as you'll soon understand, what is happening is an unstoppable tide, truly a force of nature at this point, and there is nothing you can do to fight it, so try your hardest to relax, put on some chill music, hug your dog, and most of all...
BREATHE.
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If you start researching conspiracy theory, you're going to find a lot of information. Some much better or worse presented than others, and some much more plausible or unbelievable than others. Despite the seeming ridiculousness of some things you might read, I encourage you to always approach new information with an open mind.
That said though, I have one main principle that guides all my beliefs about conspiracy theories, and that is the "Filter of Likelihood." Essentially, you have to ask yourself how possible, how likely, and how feasible a piece of information is. Furthermore, you need to ask yourself what the motivation would be. In many cases, it's quite easy to see how something makes a lot of sense based on other known info, whereas some theories seem rather implausible no matter how you look at it.
I am interested only in the plausible, and where possible, the already actualized. Additionally, there's a lot to be said, and a lot that has already been written on many of these topics, so I will focus on current events and simple concepts.
I will also ask you to open your mind to possibility. Please consider this as you evaluate new information:
  1. Do you believe there are things going on in the world that you don't know about yet?
  2. Do you believe that there is technology and science you've never heard of?
  3. Do you believe that society is progressing at an increasing rate?
  4. Do you believe that as populations grow, we require new societal strategies?
  5. Do you believe that those with power and money want to retain their power and money?
Of course you believe all these things, and none of these are wild or unusual concepts. Rather, these are very basic concepts that apply to everyone, and always have. They are all part of our shared human experience, and undeniable facts of life. Populations grow, societies evolve, technology advances, and the world changes. And most important to our discussion here, people, families, and empires constantly jockey for power and control, while fighting for resources, power, fame, and...
MONEY.
We all hate TicketMaster, right? Who do they think they are, what the hell is this bullshit "service fee," etc. It's something everyone can get behind. But did you know that TicketMaster willingly cultivates that image? That venues, teams, and artists, in their pursuit of more money, raise fees and then let TicketMaster be the bad guy and take the heat so their reputations remain intact?
There are many more people, organizations, and other entities in the world playing that same role for those who really have the money, who really call the shots. And those who call the shots work very hard and spend absolutely unfathomable amounts of money, time, and blood, to make sure that you don't ever realize who's actually taking your money.
They do this in the simplest, easiest way. If you simply control information from the top down, and disseminate it when and where you see fit, you can effect great societal change without lifting a finger.
Please imagine... really, try to imagine... You just read an article, saw a video, whatever, from a very, very reputable source. And it just informed you that an asteroid was 83% likely to impact the Earth next month. What would you do? What would happen in the world?
Hopefully an asteroid will not hit next month, but it's important to really imagine what would happen and why, and how. Because a huge amount of information would be generated and published, people would panic, society would crumble, and the world as you know it would change forever in an instant, the moment you read that headline.
Control of information is one of the most powerful tools known to mankind today. A person living in 2020 can easily encounter as much information in a day as someone in Medieval times might have encountered in a lifetime. And it comes at you from all angles, in all forms, non-stop, 24/7. Much like the water in the pipe, the information is always there, and one needs but turn it on.
Disseminating the information then becomes a practice all its own, and to be sure, information processing accounts for more than half of the US GDP. And the rate at which it's spread, and way it is handled makes a huge difference in the societal repercussions. So a few different techniques are used:
It might be the greatest understatement of all time to say that there has been a lot of information passed around about COVID-19, the "Coronavirus," recently. In fact, there has never been anything like what we are currently experiencing in all of human history, and not by a long shot. And this unprecedented turn of events has caused a lot of people to react in a lot of ways, and say and do a lot of things, for better or for worse.
Full disclosure: In particular, if you look up conspiracy theory, you'll see a lot of stuff suggesting that the "Coronavirus is a hoax." (You'll also find a lot of poorly-written rambling) I want to be clear that I DO NOT believe that. I am 100% sure that there is a Coronavirus, that it is making people sick, that a lot of people are dying, and that our medical professionals and many other undervalued workers are overwhelmed, and breaking their backs every day to do their best to keep their friends, families, and loved ones safe. I am extraordinarily grateful for them and admire the resolve and bravery that so many have shown in the face of this disaster. I do not think it is a hoax at all.
However, I think that literally everything else that is happening surrounding the "pandemic" is.
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The Pandemic
In the first week of January this year, I got sick. Really sick. I know when I got it and who I got it from, and honestly the exact moment I got it (I only was in proximity of the dude for a few minues). He had warned me that he was really sick, and I blew it off. I started feeling sick a day or two later, and a day or two after that I felt like I was dying. Fever, chills, aches, extraordinary fatigue. And literal, nonstop, 24/7 coughing. I had every single symptom of what we now know as COVID-19. I commented to anyone who would listen that I didn't recall ever feeling that sick before in my entire life. The most memorable part of it though was that after a couple days, I completely lost my sense of smell and taste. Joked a lot about how you could feed me onions and soap cause I'd have no idea. I try to have a good attitude about being sick.
I spent a week sleeping on the couch before I finally went to the doctor. She gave me a Prednisolone steroid pack (which has worked well for me in the past), some Trazodone to knock me out, and Benzonatotate for my cough. As soon as I took the first dose of steroids I started to feel pretty fucking great, and it was more or less a non-issue after that.
I spoke to a lot of people about it then and after, and man, I can't tell you how many stories I personally heard from people I know that said the exact same thing. Then I started reading the same story over and over again on Reddit:
We didn't start really hearing about the Coronavirus in the media until the beginning of March, and we didn't hear about the "Pandemic" until just a couple weeks ago. And what a couple weeks it's been since then. But I am quite certain that it's been around for a lot longer and that I, and a lot of other people I know, had it - and DID NOT DIE FROM IT - way back in January.
We now know that the first documented case in the US was on January 19th, but that word "documented" is so, so important here. That means that we had identified the virus, developed a test, and tested a person with the symptoms that day. It does NOT mean that was when the virus reached the United States. How sick do you have to be before you take a day off work? Before you go to the doctor? With America's healthcare system or lack thereof, it's almost certain that many people had this virus before we determined what it was, and how infectious it really was.
There is also the matter of the statistics of severity vs the regular flu. This is a highly contentious topic and I am no medical expert, and do not wish to make any assertions. However, what I can tell you from my personal experience is this: I had a horrible "flu" in January, got basic medicine, got better. So, either I had the flu, or perhaps I did indeed have the Coronavirus.
We will never know because I was never tested. But the important thing is that it doesn't matter. Either I (and many others) had the Coronavirus and it did not kill us (calling into question the severity of the infection) or we just had a bad cold or flu, but it had the exact same symptoms as COVID-19 (calling into question the extent of Coronavirus diagnoses). But logically, one of those two statements is true.
Furthermore, the data keeps changing, and I don't mean increasing on a daily basis. I mean up and down, back and forth, it is deadly or maybe it isn't, etc. On January 14 the WHO told you it couldn't spread from human to human. But then on Jan 19 we saw the first case of Coronavirus in the United States. Then it turns out that the Wuhan market outbreak began earlier in December. And then it's an "epidemic," but most people will only get mild symptoms. What are you supposed to believe? And it sure does seem to come at you as a firehose, and it's hard to even think about anything because OHMYGODTHECORONAVIRUS!
But let's stop and look a couple basic facts. As a matter of fact, I'm going to let Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi explain this one to you. This is a very informative 10 minute video, watch it:
Sucharit Bhakdi - Very clear math showing that the COVID statistics are being manipulated
So 80% of people only experience mild symptoms, and we're crashing the economy for this? The statistics aren't any more extreme than many other illnesses we've had over time, and we're crashing the economy for this? It doesn't make sense until you consider that there are other factors besides just the virus at play.
Wolfgang Wodard - Explaining how the statistics are being manipulated to cause panic
The media, and society at large is inundating you with terrifying information about the Coronavirus. But if it's not as bad as we originally thought, then why? We don't freak out about every illness that comes along, and we've certainly never in the history of civilization had over 1/3 of the global population locked down under mandatory quarantine.
And then there's the debate about where the virus came from. We believe it came from a meat market in China, under unsanitary conditions. The science behind a coronavirus making the leap from one species to another is well-established and researched, and it is a very likely scenario. There are also conspiracy theories that state that China released it on its people intentionally, or even that the US military released it in China. Again, we will never know exactly where this Coronavirus came from. It may be natural, it may be man made, and there are very plausible paths for both. I don't know what to believe myself. So here I ask you to make your own judgement based on likelihood.
What we do know though is that the state of the world this virus has been unleashed on has played a major factor in its spread. In 1950 the global population was 2.5 billion, and that has exploded to almost 8 billion people in 2020. As a matter of fact, population growth has been exponential since about the time of the Industrial Revolution.
With all these people on the planet there are sure to be many disagreements and conflicts, and there indeed have been. As a matter of fact, 2019 saw global protests on an unprecedented scale, in Hong Kong, France, Syria, and many other countries. Citizens have literally been fighting police and military with rocks, clubs, arrows, and molotov cocktails.
Did you know that? Despite my seeing headlines and pictures every day of the riots in Hong Kong, I have been shocked to learn that multiple of my close friends, intelligent and aware people, had no knowledge whatsoever of the protests even existing. But that is far from a coincidence; rather, it is quite by design.
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Billionaires and Coincidences
Another major talking point over the last 5 to 10 years has been the "1%" - the handful of super-rich individuals who posess and control the vast majority of the Earth's wealth and resources. Where it used to just be a numerical term, "Billionaire" is now a dirty word, and one of the nastiest. We all hate billionaires. They are evil, and profit off the exploitation of the rest of the world.
The "Illuminati" we call them, in pursuit of a "New World Order." Crazy stuff, right? Mysterious symbols and people in black robes doing nefarious things in secret meetings, and running the world from behind the scenes. We love the Illuminati, it's a huge pop culture thing now. The subject of endless speculation, they are made fun of in the media, movies, and now Taco Bell commercials. It's so far fetched it could never really be true. And the fact that you think that is by design as well.
So, we don't know where the Coronavirus came from, but it's certainly here, and there are lot of other things unfolding in the world around it. Many different current events from all different places and fields of study. Some of it seems a little too coincidental. It is certainly very coincidental that this economically destructive Coronavirus entered the world right as there were global uprisings, protests in the street, and a growing public hatred for billionaires.
Well, here are a few other coincidences: Hundreds of CEOs of major companies stepped down from their positions in recent months. Multiple US Senators sold stock right before the market crashed. Even the boss of the New York Stock Exchange sold his own stock right before the crash. Did they know something they weren't telling us?
Here's another coincidence. In 2010, The Rockefeller Foundation published a selection of future-predicting scenarios in the name of "exploring the ways that technology and development could co-evolve." One of these four scenarios, entitled "Lock Step," eerily predicts a global viral pandemic and the resulting hypothetical consequences, which almost exactly mirrors the COVID-19 pandemic we are in the midst of today.
Also coincidental: The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in China on November 17th, 2019. Literally one month earlier, The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise on October 18, 2019, in New York, NY. In this exercise, they discuss the potential implications and consequences of a novel Coronavirus, including an economic crash, martial law, and of particular interest, the control of information. (You can view some published highlights here)
The World Economic Forum is comprised of the richest of the rich. The 1%. The Billionaires. CEO's, politicians, business owners, and many other powerful and influential figures. They meet regularly to discuss topics of global concern, and strongly control the dissemination of information. And of primary concern to many of them is maintaining their wealth and power in a rapidly-changing world.
And finally, here's one more coincidence: At the exact same time as the Event 201 exercise, The World Military Games was held in Wuhan, China, Oct 18-27, 2019. It was the largest military sports event ever to be held in China, with nearly 10,000 athletes from over 100 countries competing in 27 sports. Wuhan China was, as we now believe, the source of our current global COVID-19 outbreak.
Whether you think it is a "conspiracy" or not, that is all certainly coincidental, to say the least.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Why didn't I hear about any of this?"
That's an excellent question, and one that likely has multiple answers. For starters, how much do you really pay attention? Where do you get your news from? Do you research things you hear or just accept them on hearsay? Critical thinking skills are paramount in making sense of the chaos unfolding all around us.
As I mentioned before, I can tell you that I personally know multiple people who had no clue whatsoever about the riots in Hong Kong last year. As you read this, you may be one of them. And it may seem like something that is happening far away, and "could never happen here." Or you may have been aware of it but just that it was happening. But please, consider for a moment: millions of average citizens risked their lives and safety in the streets of Hong Kong for months on end, fighting police and military, and transforming the city they lived in into a warzone. WHY? Why would people do something like that? Regardless of their motivations, that many people were banding together to fight for something they believed in. And that is worth considering.
It's not really your fault though that you may not catch wind of all this news. The "mainstream media" that you hear about all the time deliberately controls information - downplaying threats and overreacting to silly things - in order to make sure that you hear the version of the news that they want you to hear.
Did you know that only 6 corporations control 90% of the media In America? That number is reduced from 50 companies in the 80's. And literally all the news you see on TV, at the very least, is 100% owned and controlled by these companies. Lately, distrust is growing for cable news networks, and many people turn to their local hometown station for trusted news. The problem with that though is that your hometown station is probably owned by Sinclair Media, one of the most powerful broadcast networks in the country that you've never heard of.
Please watch this very brief video, illustrating the chokehold that Sinclair Media maintains over your nightly local news broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLjYJ4BzvI
Of course, not every piece of news is pre-programmed but a lot is. The real news is out there, but sometimes you have to look a little deeper than the infographics on TV news. Even if information is being directed from the top down, the boots on the ground tend to be passionate people with a variety of interests and agendas, and they are still doing their best to do real journalism despite corporate oversight.
Think of those who are directing the information as steering an impossibly massive ship with a rudder. You can slowly adjust the course of direction, however it is slow to react. If you want to stop, you have to start thinking about stopping wayyy ahead of time. And similarly, once it gets underway, it is then influenced by an inertia all its own. Micro controls and adjustments aren't really possible.
Our society is this giant ship. There are 8 billion people on this earth - that is 8000 million. An incomprehensible number that grows rapidly every day. As civilization grows and advances, so does our medicine, our technology, our cultural norms. These are all natural processes that are necessary to manage an increasing number of societies all around the globe. And many of the advances we're making have exciting potential benefits for humanity, although as with all tools, they also inherently possess the potential for abuse.
Here are some other things happening in society right now, some you may be aware of and many you may not:
There is an interesting chicken or egg relationship between science fiction and real world science. Sci-fi writers are inspired by the real science of the day, then they apply their creativity to imagine what might be in the future. Young scientists encounter these fantastical ideas and think they are worth pursuing, and then set about to make them a reality, and the cycle continues.
Futuristic concepts are then preempted and introduced through the media to the conscious mind, as we include them in books, movies, TV, video games, and more. Eventually we start seeing headlines of these new technologies and developments happening in other places, usually Japan and China first due to their prevalence in the industrial and technological sectors of our global economy.

Continue to Part 2 >>

submitted by SquarePeg37 to ConspiracyJournalists [link] [comments]

What you should know about the bitcoin halving

What you should know about the bitcoin halving
https://preview.redd.it/wl6l09melkv41.png?width=1025&format=png&auto=webp&s=67a72ac734ae8dc39452143ac9c4ec5d58c34eac
Whether you’re a crypto faithful or just a passer-by who happened to notice a bitcoin headline, you’ve likely come across the halving.
The roughly quadrennial event is arguably an important one in the progression of the bitcoin network. For all the adjustments and changes to bitcoin’s code since its launch – and the evolution of the ecosystem and industry around it – the issuance cycle and bitcoin’s predetermined supply have never been altered.
The halving is, perhaps, emblematic of both bitcoin’s philosophical basis as well as its technical progression. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun, with past halvings inspiring celebrations and watch-parties for those counting down each block until the halving officially kicks in.
So, let’s get into it.

What is the bitcoin halving?

First, some basics. Each bitcoin block brings three things with it: transactions, newly-created bitcoins and fees.
For example, block number 625875 included 1,478 transactions worth 4899.23684782 BTC. The block was created by BTC.com. In exchange for making that block, BTC.com earned 12.5 BTC and 0.08439752 BTC in fees.
When bitcoin first launched, each block had a subsidy of 50 BTC. In 2012, that amount fell to 25 BTC per block, and in 2016 it was further reduced to 12.5 BTC per block. With upcoming halving – currently estimated to take place in or around May 12, when the network hits its 630,000th block – that amount will drop to 6.25 BTC per block.
To date, roughly 18.3 million bitcoins have been minted out of a total of 21 million that will ever be created.

Wait, what’s a miner?

Miners create the blocks of transactions that make sending BTC throughout the distributed bitcoin network possible. They append new blocks to the ever-growing chain – that’s the blockchain – and are rewarded with new bitcoins for doing so.
To create block 625875, BTC.com ran its miners and sought to be the first to create the next block. Mining is resource-intensive by design, and while some have described the process as an effort to solve a complex mathematical problem, a more apt description might be that miners rapidly try forming different numbers until they land on the right one.
Mining is a key element of Bitcoin’s security. As more blocks are added, it becomes more difficult to rewind the transactional clock and undo transactions from earlier blocks.
The generation of new BTC is how miners make money; their profits come from the sale price minus the cost of electricity, labor and everything else it takes to keep their legions of mining machines humming. The block reward is also the bedrock incentive for miners to keep the block production process – and, as a result, the transaction history – honest. By getting paid in bitcoin, they have an interest in seeing its price stay steady. A transaction history prone to manipulation or tampering would have no value.
The cycle of block reward or subsidy halvings is baked into bitcoin’s code. The reward reduction underpins bitcoin’s controlled supply, serving as a kind of digital parallel to finite natural resources.
So miners create new bitcoins, and with the halving, they’ll create fewer new bitcoins.
Yes. As The Block highlighted on Monday, miners currently make an estimated $13.4 million per day in new bitcoin and fees. Once the halving kicks in, that’ll drop to about $6.7 million total in the even that prices remain steady.
Of course, that number may very well fluctuate depending on the market reaction in the hours, days, weeks and months ahead. For a deeper look, check out The Block’s Larry Cermak by-the-charts column on the halving published on Monday.
I heard that the price is going to go up with the halving. Is that true?
Much digital ink has been spilled in recent months on the question of whether bitcoin’s price will rise as a result of the halving.
There are varying theories as to why: the halving will bring new market entrants, the tightening of issuance will spur more buying, or history will basically repeat itself. For example, bitcoin’s price rose above $1,000 a year after its 2012 halving. The July 2016 halving saw bitcoin’s price around $660 – a year later, the price had soared above $2,000.
But those were, arguably, different times, and next month’s halving is the first to occur after the parabolic craziness of early 2018.
A price increase isn’t a foregone conclusion – though, to be sure, neither is a drop or a continuation of the status quo.
Okay…so the number isn’t going up?
Nobody knows. And this isn’t investment advice, so quit asking me.

Who will be affected by this?

One can expect that major portions of the bitcoin-facing industry could be impacted in one way or another.
As noted above, miners will see the primary element of their income – new bitcoins – be cut in half. That’s bad news for miners who are operating older, less efficient hardware or borrowed significant sums of money to get new equipment – especially those hit by the recent turbulence in crypto markets. Bitcoin’s hash rate – a measure of the network’s computational power – could slip as some operations find themselves unable to make a profit and thus are forced to power down.
Exchanges will be affected because they’ll be front-and-center for any market response. It could prove to be a boon for exchanges as they’ll arguably be in the best position to benefit from any positive market moves.

Where can I watch the halving take place?

The best vantage point would a block explorer, where live updates for new transaction blocks can be found.
Given that the vast majority of countries are currently in the midst of social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unlikely that in-person parties will be held.
But with everyone stuck at home, it’s virtually certain that those with a stake or interest in crypto will be online – from Twitter to Telegram to IRC – waiting for the third-ever bitcoin reward halving to take place.
Written By: Ben
Edited By: Mosun
Graphics By: Jacobite
submitted by Telos4africa to u/Telos4africa [link] [comments]

KYC is absolutely not acceptable for MakerDAO!

I've heard that founder of MakerDAO is not strictly against KYC. I have a message to whole community and specifically to a founder of MakerDAO Rune Christensen. I will explain using concrete examples why having KYC in MakerDAO is a grave mistake and it will lead to MakerDAO fork.
Many people in the first world never actually understand why financial privacy and financial inclusion is important. Even people (in the first world) who seemingly supportive of such ideas are not able to provide any concrete examples of why it's actually important.
Unfortunately, I was born in a "wrong" country (Uzbekistan) and I experienced first hand what financial exclusion actually means. I know first hand that annoying feeling when you read polite, boilerplate rejection letter from financial institution based in first world. So I had to become practical libertarian. I'm going to give you concrete examples of financial discrimination against me. Then I'm going to explain fundamental reasons why it happens. And finally, I'm going to explain my vision for DAI.
Back in 2005, I lived in Uzbekistan. I had an idea to invest in US stocks. I was very naive and I didn't know anything about investing, compliance, bank transfers, KYC etc. All I knew is nice long term charts of US stocks and what P/E means. I didn't contact any US brokerage but I checked information about account opening and how to transfer money there. I approached local bank in Uzbekistan and asked how to transfer money to Bank of New York. Banker's face was like - WOW, WTF?!?! They asked me to go to private room to talk with senior manager. Senior manager of local bank in Uzbekistan asked me why I wanted to transfer money to US. They told me that it's absolutely impossible to transfer money to US/EU and pretty much anywhere. I approached nearly every local bank in the town and they told me the same.
In 2012, I already lived in Moscow and acquired Russian citizenship. I got back to my old idea - investing in US stocks. I called to many US brokerages and all of them politely rejected me. Usually when I called I asked them if I can open an account with them. They told me to hold on line. After long pause, I was able to speak with "senior" support who politely explain me that Russia in their list of restricted countries and they can't open an account for me. Finally, I was able to open an account with OptionsXpress. Next challenge was to convince local Russian bank to transfer money to US. Back then in 2012, I was able to get permission to do so. So you might say - is this happy end?
Fast forwarding US brokerage story to 2017, OptionsXpress was acquired by Charles Schwab. I was notified that my OptionsXpress account will be migrated to Charles Schwab platform. In 2017, I already lived in the Netherlands (but still having Russian citizenship). I wasn't happy with my stupid job in the Netherlands. I called Charles Schwab and asked if I quit my job in the Netherlands and have to return to Russia, what will happen with my account. Schwab told me that they will restrict my account, so I can't do anything except closing my account. So even if I was long term customer of OptionsXpress, Charles Schwab is not fully okay with me.
Going back to 2013, I still lived in Russia. I had another idea. What if I quit my job and build some SAAS platform (or whatever) and sell my stuff to US customers. So I need some website which accept US credit cards. I contacted my Russian bank (who previously allowed me to transfer money to OptionsXpress) about steps to make in order to accept US credit cards in Russia. I've been told explicitly in email that they won't allow me to accept US credit cards under any circumstances.
Back then I still believed in "the free west". So I thought - no problem, I will just open bank account abroad and do all operations from my foreign account. I planned vacation in Hong Kong. And Hong Kong is freest economy in the world. Looks like it's right place to open bank account. I contacted HSBC Hong Kong via email. Their general support assured me that I can open bank account with them if I'm foreigner. I flew to Hong Kong for vacation and visited HSBC branch. Of course, they rejected me. But they recommended me to visit last floor in their HQ building, they told me that another HSBC branch specializes on opening bank accounts for foreigners. I went there and they said minimum amount to open bank account is 10 mil HKD (1.27 mil USD). Later I learned that it's called private banking.
When I relocated to the Netherlands, I asked ABN Amro staff - what's happen with my bank account if I quit/lose my job in the Netherlands and have to return back to Russia. I've been told that I can't have my dutch bank account if I go back to Russia even if I already used their bank for 2+ years.
I still had idea that I would like to quit my job and do something for myself. The problem is that I'm Russian citizen and I don't have any residency which is independent from my employment. So if I quit my job in the Netherlands, I have to return back to Russia. I wanted to see how I would get payments from US/EU customers. I found Stripe Atlas, it's so exciting, they help you to incorporate in US, and even help with banking, all process of receiving credit card payments is very smooth. But as usual in my case, there is a catch - Russia in their list of restricted countries.
Speaking of centralized compliance-friendly (e.g. KYC) crypto exchanges. This year I live and work in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, I thought it would be nice to have an account at local crypto exchange in Hong Kong so I can quickly transfer money from my bank account in Hong Kong to crypto exchange using FPS (local payment system for fast bank transfers). What could go wrong? After all Hong Kong is freest economy in the world, right? I submitted KYC documents to crypto exchange called Weever including copy of my Hong Kong ID as they requested. They very quickly responded that they need copy of my passport as well. I submitted copy of my Russian passport. This time they got silent. After a few days, they sent me email saying that Russia is on the US Office of Foreign Assets Control sanction list, so they just require me to fill a form about source of the funds. I told them that the source of my funds is salary, my Hong Kong bank can confirm that along with my employment contract. They got very silent after I sent them a filled form. After a week of silence I asked them - when my account get approved? They said that their compliance office will review my application soon. And they got very silent again. I waited for two or three weeks. Then I asked them again. And I immediately got email with title - Rejection for Weever Account Opening. And text of email was:
We are sorry to inform you that Weever may not be able to accept your account opening application at this stage.
Exactly the same situation I had with one crypto exchange in Europe back in 2017. Luckily I have accounts at other crypto exchanges including Gemini, one of most compliance obsessed exchange in the world. Although I don't keep my money there because I can't trust them, who knows what might come into head of their compliance officer one sunny day.
By the way, I'm living and working outside of Russia for quite a few years. The situation with crypto exchanges is much worse for those who still living in Russia.
I give you a few other examples of financial discrimination is not related to troubles with my Russian citizenship.
Back in 2018, I still lived in the Netherlands. I logged in into my brokerage account just to buy US ETFs as I always do - SPY and QQQ. I placed my order and it failed to fill. I thought it's just a technical problem with my brokerage account. After a few failed attempts to send buy orders for SPY and QQQ, I contacted their support. What they told me was shocking and completely unexpected. They said I'm not permitted to buy US ETFs anymore as EU resident because EU passed a law to protect retail investors. So as a EU resident I'm allowed to be exposed to more risk by buying individual US stocks but I'm not allowed to reduce my risk by buying SPY because ... EU wants to protect me. I felt final result of new law. By the way, on paper their law looks fine.
And the final example. It's a known fact that US public market become less attractive in recent decades. Due to heavy regulatory burden companies prefer to go public very late. So if successful unicorn startup grows from its inception/genesis to late adoption, company's valuation would be 3-5 orders of orders of magnitude. For example, if valuation of successful company at inception is 1 Mil USD, then at its very latest stage it's valuation would be 10 Bil USD. So we have 10'000 times of growth. In the best case scenario, company would go public at 1 Bil USD 5-10 years before reaching its peak 10 Bil USD. So investors in private equity could enjoy 1000 fold growth and just leave for public only last 10 fold growth stretched in time. In the worst case scenario, company would go public at 10 Bil USD, i.e. at its historical peak. But there are well known platforms to buy shares of private companies, one of such platforms is Forge Global. You can buy shares of almost all blue chip startups. You can even invest in SpaceX! But as always, there is a catch - US government wants to protect not just US citizens but all people in the world (sounds ridiculous, right?). US law requires you to have 1 Mil USD net worth or 200'000 USD annual income if you want to buy shares of non-public company. So if you are high-net worth individual you can be called "accredited investor". Funny thing is that the law intends to protect US citizens but even if you are not US citizen and never even lived in US, this law is still applies to you in practice. So if you are "poor loser", platforms like Forge Global will reject you.
So high-net worth individuals have access and opportunity to Bitcoin-style multi-magnitude growth every 5-10 years. Contrary to private equity markets, US public markets is low risk/low return type of market. If you have small amount of capital, it's just glorified way to protect yourself from inflation plus some little return on top. It's not bad, US public market is a still great way to store your wealth. But I'm deeply convinced that for small capital you must seek fundamentally different type of market - high risk/high return. It's just historical luck that Bitcoin/Ethereum/etc were available for general public from day one. But in reality, viral/exponential growth is happening quite often. It's just you don't have access to such type of markets due to regulatory reasons.
I intentionally described these examples of financial discrimination in full details as I experienced them because I do feel that vast majority of people in the first world honestly think that current financial system works just fine and only criminals and terrorists are banned. In reality that's not true at all. 99.999% of innocent people are completely cut off from modern financial system in the name of fighting against money laundering.
Here is a big picture why it's happening. There are rich countries (so called western world) and poor countries (so called third world). Financial wall is carefully built by two sides. Authoritarian leaders of poor countries almost always want full control over their population, they don't like market economy, and since market forces don't value their crappy legal system (because it works only for close friends of authoritarian leader) they must implement strict capital control. Otherwise, all capital will run away from their country because nobody really respects their crappy legal system. It only has value under heavy gun of government. Only friends of authoritarian leader can move their money out of country but not you.
Leaders of rich countries want to protect their economy from "dirty money" coming from third world. Since citizens of poor countries never vote for leaders of rich countries nobody really cares if rich country just ban everyone from poor country. It's the most lazy way to fight against money laundering - simply ban everyone from certain country.
Actually if you look deeper you will see that rich countries very rarely directly ban ordinary people from third world. Usually, there is no such law which doesn't allow me to open bank account somewhere in Europe as non-EU resident. What's really happens is that US/EU government implement very harsh penalties for financial institutions if anything ever goes wrong.
So what's actually happens is that financial institutions (banks, brokerages etc) do de-risking. This is the most important word you must know about traditional financial system!
So if you have wrong passport, financial institution (for example) bank from rich country just doesn't want to take any risks dealing with you even if you are willing to provide full documentation about your finances. It's well known fact that banks in Hong Kong, Europe, US like to unexpectedly shutdown accounts of thousands innocent businesses due to de-risking.
So it's actually de-risking is the real reason why I was rejected so many times by financial institutions in the first world!!! It's de-risking actually responsible for banning 99.999% of innocent people. So governments of rich democratic countries formally have clean hands because they are not banning ordinary people from third world directly. All dirty job is done by financial institutions but governments are well aware of that, it's just more convenient way to discriminate. And nobody actually cares! Ordinary citizens in rich countries are never exposed to such problems and they really don't care about people in third world, after all they are not citizens of US/EU/UK/CH/CA/HK/SG/JP/AU/NZ.
And now are you ready for the most hilarious part? If you are big corrupt bureaucrat from Russia you are actually welcome by the first world financial institutions! All Russian's junta keep their stolen money all across Europe and even in US. You might wonder how this is possible if the western financial system is so aggressive in de-risking.
Here is a simple equation which financial institution should solve when they decide whether to open an account for you or not:
Y - R = net profit
Where:
Y - how much profit they can make with you;
R - how much regulatory risk they take while working with you;
That's it! It's very simple equation. So if you are really big junta member from Russia you are actually welcome according to this equation. Banks have special name for serving (ultra) high-net worth individuals, it's called private banking. It's has nothing to do with the fact that bank is private. It's just fancy name for banking for rich.
So what's usually happen in real world. Some Estonian or Danish bank got caught with large scale money laundering from Russia. European leaders are ashamed in front of their voters. They implement new super harsh law against money laundering to keep their voters happy. Voters are ordinary people, they don't care about details of new regulations. So banks get scared and abruptly shutdown ALL accounts of Russian customers. And European voters are happy.
Modern money laundering laws are like shooting mouse in your house using bazooka! It's very efficient to kill mouse, right?
Now imagine world without financial borders. It's hard to do so because we are all get so used to current status quo of traditional financial system. But with additional effort you can start asking questions - if Internet economy is so global and it doesn't really matter where HQ of startup is located, why they are all concentrated in just a few tiny places like Silicon Valley and ... well, that's mostly it if you count the biggest unicorns!
Another question would be - why so many talented russian, indian, chinese programmers just go to the same places like San Francisco, London and make super rich companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple to get even richer? If all you need is laptop and access to internet, why you don't see any trade happening between first and third world?
Well actually there is a trade between first and third world but it's not exactly what I want to see. Usually third world countries sell their natural resources through giant corporations to the first world.
So it's possible to get access to the first world market from third world but this access usually granted only to big and established companies (and usually it means not innovative).
Unicorns are created through massive parallel experiment. Every week bunch of new startups are created in Silicon Valley. Thousands and thousands startups are created in Silicon Valley with almost instant access to global market. Just by law of large numbers you have a very few of them who later become unicorns and dominate the world.
But if you have wrong passport and you are located in "wrong" country where every attempt to access global market is very costly, then you most likely not to start innovative startup in the first place. In the best case scenario, you just create either local business or just local copy-paste startup (copied from the west) oriented on (relatively small) domestic market. Obviously in such setup it's predictable that places like Silicon Valley will have giant advantage and as a result all unicorns get concentrated in just a few tiny places.
In the world without financial barriers there will be much smaller gap between rich and poor countries. With low barrier of entry, it won't be a game when winner takes all.
Whole architecture of decentralized cryptocurrencies is intended to remove middle man and make transactions permissionless. Governments are inherently opposite to that, they are centralized and permissioned. Therefore, decentralized cryptocurrencies are fundamentally incompatible with traditional financial system which is full of middle mans and regulations (i.e. permissions).
Real value of crypto are coming from third world, not the first world. People are buying crypto in rich countries just want to invest. Their financial system and their fiat money are more or less already working for them. So there is no immediate urgency to get rid of fiat money in the first world. So the first world citizens buying crypto on centralized KYCd exchanges are essentially making side bet on the success of crypto in third world.
Real and natural environment of cryptocurrencies is actually dark OTC market in places like Venezuela and China.
But cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have a big limitation to wide adoption in third world - high volatility.
So the real target audience is oppressed (both by their own government and by first world governments) ordinary citizens of third world countries yet they are least who can afford to take burden of high volatility.
Right now, Tether is a big thing for dark markets across the world (by the way, dark market doesn't automatically imply bad!). But Tether soon or later be smashed by US/EU regulators.
The only real and working permissionless stable cryptocurrency (avoiding hyped word - stablecoin) is DAI.
DAI is the currency for post-Tether world to lead dark OTC market around the world and subvert fiat currencies of oppressive third world governments.
Once DAI become de-facto widespread currency in shadow economy in all of third world, then it will be accepted (after many huge push backs from governments) as a new reality. I'm talking about 10-20+ years time horizon.
But if MakerDAO chooses the route of being compliance friendly then DAI will lose its real target audience (i.e. third world).
I can not imagine US/EU calmly tolerate someone buying US stocks and using as a collateral to issue another security (i.e. DAI) which is going to be traded somewhere in Venezuela! You can not be compliance friendly and serve people in Venezuela.
Facebook's Libra was stupidest thing I've seen. It's extremely stupid to ask permission from the first world regulators to serve third world and create borderless economy. Another stupid thing is to please third world governments as well. For example, Libra (if ever run) will not serve Indian, Chinese, Venezuelan people. Who is then going to use stupid Libra? Hipsters in Silicon Valley? Why? US dollars are good enough already.
submitted by omgcoin to MakerDAO [link] [comments]

Bitcoin has lost and is a detriment to the crypto community. Calling a spade a spade. (Long read)

I'm not the only one of us extremely fed up with the cultism of the Bitcoin community and it's authoritarian moderators. Bitcoin is surviving on tech jargon smoke and mirrors, faith, hope, and empty promises alone. Those who *really* understand it's technology know that it doesn't scale and can't scale - and no amount of band aids and monkey patching is going to change that. It's broken at a fundamental protocol level, it was built as a synchronous system, and unless they discard their core protocol and move to something very different - something similar to what Nano has devised - it is never going to work. But now they have a political problem, too much money is already invested in that old stale protocol - too much money has too much power and too much say over maintaining and preserving the status quo. The core developers will never see away with miners, and miners will fight tooth and nail to ensure that their mining investments remain relevant.
If you were to take a glance at the Bitcoin community as a novice this is really unclear because Bitcoin has fostered an innate immune system response that will reject any accentuation of it's weaknesses, no matter how credible or realistic. As a novice you wouldn't see this discourse as genuine because of the rampant censorship happening on many fronts. People personally invested in Bitcoin will contribute to this censorship and dismissal to protect their own investments - whether cognizant of reality or not. It is an echo-chamber of the highest religious degree. It has bred a culture of ignorance and unwavering faith and blind hope - because it needed to for survival. It promotes the use of snake-oil and religious tactics, tech jargon and complexity - whether a purposeful effort to protect investments or just the result of a broken system striving to fix itself, it doesn't matter - this has a natural tendency to further obfuscate the truth and enforce reliance on faith and trust of authority. Without this, the blinders would come off and people would see the failure that is Bitcoin for what it really is, and the requirement to rebuild from the foundation and up would become ever clear.
Most of the well known advocates and promoters have dug themselves a hole too big to get out of at this point, and are reinforced by the ignorant masses regurgitating their maximalist talking-points. You won't see them admitting to their mistakes or oversights. A lot of them will show you hostility (think Jimmy Song) because they too have developed these defense mechanisms because subconsciously they know they're wrong.
All of this is in stark contrast to Nano and the Nano community. Nano embraces open discussion, and a light moderation policy. The community does not attempt to hide potential weaknesses of Nano, instead we spotlight them because we know that there are solutions and we see the benefit in keeping everyone informed of reality. Nano has the core foundation necessary to carry itself to the highest of heights, we do not possess the fear that the Bitcoin community has because we see the elegance in the design, and the fruits of the labor are self-evident. Things weren't always so bad with Bitcoin, in the beginning it was full of passion and technological excitement, but now it has turned into a greedy money making machine. Nano has the same fire and passion that the Bitcoin community had back in 2012 when I first became one of the many cogs of this social machine. It's a refreshing and welcome change from the current Bitcoin.
I don't think we should fear calling out Bitcoin for what it is - they approach everyone and everything in the cryptocurrency community without any reverence at all, they vehemently ban and attack all discussion of alternative technologies, protocols, and projects. They vehemently oppose and shun anyone who cares to raise valid concerns. They blatantly lie and misdirect in effort to preserve their strength. Their approach is that of a hostile dictator, and so we should treat them as such. Do not be scared to tell people that Nano is a far superior product than Bitcoin and why. You will be met with hostility, personal attacks, and accusations of all degrees - but know that this is just a sign of fear and ignorance. It's not worth respecting, and we shouldn't avoid speaking the truth to avoid these repercussions - other wise we will never be heard. Sometimes you need to fight fire with fire. Some people are scared to put a spotlight on Nano due to fears of it not being battle tested, but those fears are misplaced. Attacks on Nano are welcome, they strengthen the network and the community and it's better if they happen now rather than later when the network has grown and it has more to lose. Bitcoin went through it's own set of hurdles during the early stages and they were blessings in disguise.
---
TL;DR: Don't be scared to put Bitcoin maximalists in their place, realize Nano's worth. If anything deserves a seat on the throne, it's Nano.
submitted by chaosthroughorder to nanocurrency [link] [comments]

04-03 12:33 - 'Paul Le Roux' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/financeoptimum removed from /r/Bitcoin within 191-201min

'''
Paul Le Roux is a fascinating character, whose story entails drugs, gold, arms dealing, North Koreans, Iranians, elite-level encryption, Somali pirates, women...and more women.
Let's get into it...
Part 1/5 - The Early Years
Paul Le Roux was born on Christmas Eve, 1972, in Bulawayo, the second-largest city in what was then called—by the white minority that governed it, at least— Rhodesia.
In 1980, Robert Mugabe became prime minister of what would now be called Zimbabwe, ending minority white rule in the country.
Four years later, when Le Roux was 12, the family relocated to South Africa.
Not long after the move, in exchange for washing his father’s car, Le Roux was given his first computer. After that, a relation of Le Roux states that he became "completely anti-social.”
When Le Roux was 15 or 16, in the late 1980s, the local police raided the family home and arrested Paul for selling pornography. After that, Le Roux turned even more inward.
Although he was an excellent student, he despised the idea of learning Afrikaans, which was compulsory in South African schools, describing it as "a dead language" that he "didn't want to learn."
At 16, he dropped out of high school and decided to follow his interest in computers, taking a local programming course.
Family lore has it that after he spent one class explaining some technical fact to the teacher, he got a letter saying he no longer needed to attend. He then completed a year’s worth of material in eight weeks!
Accounts of Le Roux do indicate that he was exceptionally gifted, and people who worked with him described him as a genius.
After returning from a family holiday to Disneyland in the US, 17-year-old Le Roux decided to leave South Africa, and departed for the UK eight months later to work as a programmer.
He then moved from the UK to the US, where he lived in Virginia Beach.
After six months in the US, he followed his then-girlfriend Michelle to Australia in 1995. The couple married and Le Roux acquired Australian citizenship.
Le Roux frequented message boards and enjoyed trolling Australians. A typical post read:
"All of Australia could disappear into the Pacific and the only difference it would make to the World is the Americans would have one less pussy country to protect."
His posts caused outrage on the board - someone even changed their handle to fuck @ you.paul
Le Roux would later declare that his correspondents had fallen for his ploy:
"Australians are east to provoke and your postings (including 2 death threats, numerous flames, and one guy who swears he has my address & phone number) have provided me with hours of amusement."
Of course, Le Roux did more than just troll Australian message boards in this period...
Le Roux had started building E4M - Encryption for the Masses - in 1997, releasing it at the end of 1998.
Part 2/5 - The Turning Point
E4M allowed users to encrypt entire hard drives, and to conceal the existence of encrypted files (such that prying eyes wouldn't even know they were there).
According to Le Roux, the software was written from scratch, with thousands of hours going into its development and testing.
As well as this, in the [Politics section of the E4M website]1 , Le Roux published a sort of Manifesto, describing how "governments are increasingly relying on electronic data gathering" and how "Strong Encryption is the mechanism with which to combat these intrusions, preserve your rights, and guarantee your freedoms into the information age and beyond."
In the spirit of the open-source software movement in the late 90s, Le Roux released E4M for free and made the code available for other people to improve.
Therefore, with no income from his two years of labor, he was struggling financially. His marriage fell apart violently and the couple got divorced in 1999.
Le Roux first relocated to Hong Kong, then to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He married a Dutch citizen named Lilian, and they had a child shortly after.
In 2000, in order to monetize E4M, Le Roux launched [SW Professionals]2 in 2000.
Based in South Africa, the company offered offshore programming, including E4M customization.
One of Le Roux's clients was an Italian telecoms engineer called Wilfried Hafner, who had corresponded with Le Roux for several years about E4M.
Hafner had founded a company to create a commercial encryption product that would combine some of the elements of E4M with another piece of software, Scramdisk. The new company would be called SecurStar, and its product would be called DriveCrypt.
Hafner hired Le Roux to build DriveCrypt's underlying engine.
At the time, Le Roux was desperate for money - he drove a beat up car and worked out of a Rotterdam apartment small enough that, on the phone, Hafner could often hear a baby crying in the background.
Hafner on the other hand was living in the South of France, and Le Roux openly coveted the kind of success that he imagined led to such a home. He told Hafner: "I am ambitious, I want to have all this."
However, in the middle of the development work for DriveCrypt, Hafner discovered that Le Roux was still working on E4M and had incorporated some of his work for SecurStar into his personal project. As a result, Hafner terminated Le Roux's contract.
By October 2002, SW Professionals was now defunct and Le Roux was openly soliciting for work on the alt.security.scramdisk forum.
It was around this time that Le Roux received some news that "shattered his whole world."
In 2002, he travelled to Zimbabwe to retrieve a copy of his birth certificate.
On the trip, his aunt and uncle pulled him aside to tell him the truth, and it was then that Le Roux found out he was adopted.
Although many family members had known for years, Le Roux’s parents had elected to keep him in the dark about it.
It was the "unknown" part that hurt him the most.
Shortly after, Le Roux appeared on an another set of message boards - he seemed to be launching some kind of moneymaking scheme that required opening a company based in the U.S.
In 2004, a group of anonymous developers did exactly what Hafner had feared: they released a new and powerful, free file-encryption program, called TrueCrypt, built on the code for E4M.
TrueCrypt combined security and convenience, giving users the ability to strongly encrypt files or entire disk drives while continuing to work with those files as they would a regular file on their computer.
Hafner and his SecurStar colleagues suspected that Le Roux was part of the TrueCrypt collective but couldn't prove it.
As we'll explore in Part 5, TrueCrypt is an interesting part of this story...
Part 3/5 - Money and Power
After Le Roux's departure from the encryption world, at least under his own name, he entered the Internet-pharmacy business.
What Le Roux did next was combine two of America's favourite past times, popping pills and online shopping, and the results were sensational. He turned over around $300MM in 4 years.
In 2007, Le Roux moved his family to Manila, where he would base his operations. He also had call centres in Israel. This was a brilliant move by Le Roux, as the authorities were not looking at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as hot-spots for a large-scale organised crime operation...
Le Roux was moving serious volume during this time - his operation was once one of FedEx's largest customers.
A relative of Le Roux pointed to 2008 or 2009 as the point at which Le Roux snapped.
"I think the money got to him. I personally saw $100 million in his office in Makati. Cash, bud. It was fucking ridiculous. It was in wicker baskets lined up on the side of the wall in his office."
Le Roux's appetite only grew, and not just in the literal sense (he was known as the "Fat Man" in the Philippines): he wanted to be a different kind of businessman, a lord of the real underworld, not just the virtual one.
An Israeli associate of Le Roux tells how "Le Roux wanted to make more money, fast. Le Roux wanted to diversify, to be bigger. The only way to do that was illegal. He was living inside a movie, you could almost say."
As well as this, Le Roux was notorious for his sexual exploits - he once wrote to his cousin, "15-20 a week, sometimes 3 per night."
A former call centre employee tells how Le Roux approached him with an assignment, which at first he thought was collecting women for Le Roux to open a bar. However, that was not the reason, as Le Roux explained:
"I'm going to impregnate them, and build an army of kids."
Le Roux asked him to make a spreadsheet to track the women: their names, dress size, age, medical checkups. The operation was given top priority by Le Roux, who even sent his emissary to China to try to find women there.
It is rumoured that Le Roux has at least 11 children to 7 different women!
Le Roux's businesses expanded into logging, precious metals mining, gold smuggling, land deals, cocaine shipping, and arms dealing. These activities were spread across dozens of shell companies registered all over the world.
Of course, he needed to launder the money. Le Roux used paid muscle in Hong Kong to swap cash for gold bars, and then proceeded to stash the gold in warehouses in Hong Kong (this totalled around $50MM).
Speaking of paid muscle, Le Roux had plenty: ex-soldiers and mercenaries made sure any problems were dealt with force if necessary.
Le Roux was closest to ex-British soldier Dave Smith, who would act as the leader of the mercenaries and allow Le Roux to insulate himself and not have to deal with people. In fact, Le Roux once told Smith "I live vicariously through you."
However, things took a turn for the worse, at least from Dave Smith's perspective, as Smith stole $5MM worth of Gold from Le Roux.
Le Roux was furious. He then summoned Smith to his place in the country, and asked him to dig a hole as they needed to stash some gold. However, when he arrived, he was greeted by a South African hit-man. After the hit-man had finished shooting Smith, Le Roux then grabbed the gun and fired into Smith's corpse.
Le Roux then set about building an arms base in Somalia.
To achieve this, Le Roux called upon an ex-soldier from Europe, code-named 'Jack' to work for him on the ground in Somalia.
At sea, Jack had to bribe Somali pirates.
It was actually this activity in Somalia that landed Le Roux on the radar of the DEA, as he popped up in a UN Report on security in Somalia.
The DEA were now on his tail. Of course, his encryption skills came in handy - Le Roux's thick layers of encryption meant that the DEA needed someone on the inside...
Part 4/5 - "Well played gentlemen, well played"
Le Roux was getting more and more paranoid about people in his organisation stealing from him. Without justification, he suspected that his self proclaimed 'Golden Boy' Jack was stealing from him - so he ordered a hit on Jack.
This was a huge mistake on Le Roux's part, as Jack then called a CIA hotline and went on the run. It was 18 months later that a DEA investigating Le Roux found Jack's message to the CIA. The DEA agent then called Jack. Scared for his life, Jack agreed to turn informant.
In the meantime, Le Roux then had a change of heart and apologised to Jack for ordering the hit on him. The DEA then asked Le Roux to go back to work for Le Roux - they now had someone on the inside.
To tempt Le Roux, the DEA devised a sting operation. They knew that Le Roux wanted novelty and excitement. So they fabricated the scenario that Jack had made contact with a high profile Colombian trafficker, and the Colombians wanted to bypass the Mexicans for their meth supply in the US.
Le Roux was hooked. However, the DEA needed to lure Le Roux out of Manila, as his network of corrupt officials would ensure he will never be arrested.
Jack needed to get Le Roux to Liberia (where the DEA had a trusted ally in Fombah Sirleaf, Head of Liberia's National Security Agency).
Jack achieved this by saying that they needed to meet a cartel representative to finalise the deal.
It worked, and Le Roux was arrested. Initially, Le Roux went into passive resistance - he was a big unit (hence the nickname "Fat Man") - and it took around 10 agents to get him on the plane to fly back to the US.
Well he settled on the plane, the first thing Le Roux said to the DEA agents was: "Well played gentlemen, well played."
He then said: "If you're looking at me, then clearly you're looking at bigger things..."
The DEA agents were intrigued: "No Paul, you're the prize - what could possibly be bigger than you?"
Le Roux responded: "Nation states gentlemen, nation states."
He then started to spew out extremely valuable information on North Korea and Iran.
Of course, this wasn't the only leverage Le Roux had...
The enforcers who were once on Le Roux's payroll needed to be held accountable for their numerous murders, and the DEA were desperate to get them behind bars. Le Roux was key in their eventual capture. But that's not all: a crucial piece to this story is Part 5...
Part 5/5 - TrueCrypt
As we discussed previously, Le Roux was rumoured to be a member of the TrueCrypt collective.
In November 2012, a man with the online handle Cincinnatus decided to throw a party in Hawaii. The idea arose out of an email exchange with Runa Sandvik, a developer and expert on the online software Tor, which allows its users to mask the physical location of their computers on the Internet.
After she gave a Tor tutorial on Reddit, Cincinnatus sent Sandvik an encrypted message. Cincinnatus told Sandvik that he lived in Hawaii. Sandvik mentioned that she would be there on vacation the following month and could give a talk on Tor.
Cincinnatus suggested they host a “cryptoparty,” a phenomenon that had arisen around that time among technology- and privacy-conscious activists. The date was set for December 11.
Unbeknownst to Sandvik, her fellow party planner was hatching a much more elaborate education scheme. Four days after he contacted Sandvik, Cincinnatus sent an email to the journalist Glenn Greenwald. “The security of people’s communications is very important to me,” he wrote. In a series of emails, he suggested that Greenwald set up an encrypted means by which sources could contact him.
Cincinnatus organized the cryptoparty at a hacker space called HiCapacity, located in the back of a furniture store in Honolulu.
When Sandvik arrived around 6 p.m., Cincinnatus introduced himself as Ed and told her that he worked at the computer-hardware company Dell.
Ed kicked off the evening by welcoming the attendees, then invited Sandvik to give her presentation on Tor. When she was finished, Ed pulled out his laptop, plugged it into the projector, and began his own instructional talk about TrueCrypt. In Ed’s presentation, Sandvik later wrote, he “pointed out that while the only known name associated with TrueCrypt is someone in the Czech Republic, TrueCrypt is one of the best open-source solutions available.”
Six months later, in June 2013, Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras published the first of a series of articles that grew out of their contact with Cincinnatus.
In time they revealed that his full name was Edward Snowden, that he had worked in various capacities at the National Security Agency, and that he had downloaded and handed over a trove of documents from the NSA in an effort to blow the whistle on what he believed were egregious privacy encroachments by the U.S. government.
Among them was a document revealing that TrueCrypt was one of a small number of encryption programs that had withstood the NSA’s efforts to crack it.
What Snowden and the rest of the world wouldn’t know for another two years was that Paul Le Roux, the man whose code formed the foundation of True Crypt, was at that very moment in the custody of the U.S. government. Le Roux was in a bind, facing the full force of a U.S. federal prosecution for any number of his extraordinary array of crimes. The only way out was to spill his secrets...
[[link]4
'''
Paul Le Roux
Go1dfish undelete link
unreddit undelete link
Author: financeoptimum
1: e4m.net/**l*ht*l 2: e4m*net* 3: www.yout*be.co*/watc**v=z**aMoJ**k* 4: www.youtube.com/watc*?v*z*Za*o***kc**^*
Unknown links are censored to prevent spreading illicit content.
submitted by removalbot to removalbot [link] [comments]

Is bitcoin worth investing in? - Quora Fundamentals Explained How much does it cost to mine 1 Bitcoin? Is Buying A Coinmine One Worth It? THE TRUTH [Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Zcash, Grin] Bitcoin will be worth $1'000'000! Here's why... What Does How much does 1 bitcoin cost to buy? - Quora Mean?

How Much is Bitcoin Worth Today? Bitcoin is currently worth $ as of the time you loaded this page. How Much was 1 Bitcoin Worth in 2009? Bitcoin was not traded on any exchanges in 2009. Its first recorded price was in 2010. Technically, Bitcoin was worth $0 in 2009 during its very first year of existence! How Much was 1 Bitcoin Worth in 2010? The world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is stored and exchanged securely on the internet through a digital ledger known as a blockchain. Bitcoins are divisible into smaller units known as satoshis — each satoshi is worth 0.00000001 bitcoin. 2. Notable All Time Highs. There have been several notable all time highs for Bitcoin throughout its history. June 26, 2019 – $12,907. On December of 2018 Bitcoin reached a 2 year all time high following a price rally that started from a low of $3,286.5. Launched in 2009, the price of one bitcoin remained a few dollars for its first few years. The price reached a peak of nearly $20,000 per bitcoin in late-2017 and has since fluctuated quite a bit A bitcoin purchased at $1,000 would be worth about $6,400 Thursday, or over six times as much, and your total gain would be over $5,000. This estimate does not include any additional fees or

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Is bitcoin worth investing in? - Quora Fundamentals Explained

What Does How much does 1 bitcoin cost to buy? - Quora Mean? Bitcoin took the world by storm as it soared from obscurity to nearly $20,000 in worth per coin in 2017. A cold wallet is a small, encrypted portable gadget that permits you to download and carry your bitcoin. Cold wallets can cost as much as $100 but are thought about much more safe and secure than ... Bitcoin Basics (Part 1) - "Explained For Beginners" - Duration: 24:27. Chris Dunn 949,156 views. 24:27. How much does it actually cost to own an exotic car? - Duration: 10:57. Bitcoin’s reported $172 billion market cap may be a point of pride for cryptocurrency enthusiasts everywhere, but how accurate is it as a measure of Bitcoin’s worth? Not much. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey interview: Bitcoin BTC Event & Twitter updates [May 1, 2020] Twitter News 6,851 watching Live now How much does it cost to mine 1 Bitcoin?

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