Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

The Federal Reserve And The Pathology of Power

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

The Federal Reserve and the Pathology of Power

The Federal Reserve is an example not just of run-of-the-mill hubris but of the far more profound Pathology of Power.

The rule of law has been supplanted in the U.S. by self-serving propaganda campaigns serving State and financial Elites: this is the Pathology of Power. The Federal Reserve is an instructive example because it is so blatant.

Despite the dearth of evidence that goosing the stock market actually generates a "wealth effect" which "trickles down" from the top 10% who own the vast majority of equities to the bottom 90%, the Fed has waged a ceaseless propaganda campaign claiming this policy goal is now essential for the nation’s well-being.

As Ben Bernanke recently made clear: "Higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending (that) will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion."

No mention of its positive effect on Wall Street; cui bono (to whose benefit?) indeed. To better understand the pathology of power, we should turn first to Pathology Of Power by Norman Cousins, published in 1988.

Cousins was particularly concerned with the National Security State, a.k.a. the military-industrial complex, which at that point in U.S. history was engaged in a Cold War with the mighty Soviet Empire.

In a classic case of structural decay and destabilization (including failed coups), the Soviet Empire dissolved in December 1991. Nonetheless, Cousins’ description of the pathology of power is an uncannily accurate account of the Fed and all the Central State fiefdoms.

    "Connected to the tendency of power to corrupt are yet other tendencies that emerge from the pages of the historians:

    1. The tendency of power to drive intelligence underground;
    2. The tendency of power to become a theology, admitting no other gods before it;
    3. The tendency of power to distort and damage the traditions and institutions it was designed to protect;
    4. The tendency of power to create a language of its own, making other forms of communication incoherent and irrelevant;
    5. The tendency of power to set the stage for its own use.

In broader terms, we might add: the tendency of power to manifest hubris, arrogance, bullying and the substitution of
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The Road to World War III – The Global Banking Cartel Has One Card Left to Play

The Road to World War III – The Global Banking Cartel Has One Card Left to Play

By David DeGraw (h/t ZH)

The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.

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Editor’s Note: The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.

I: Economic Imperial Operations

The Road to World War III - The Global Banking Cartel Has One Card Left to PlayWhen we analyze our current crisis, focusing on the past few years of economic activity blinds us to the history and context that are vital to understanding the root cause. What we have been experiencing is not the result of an unforeseen economic crash that appeared out of the blue with the collapse of the housing market. It was certainly not brought on by people who bought homes they couldn’t afford. To frame this crisis around a debate on economic theory misses the point entirely. To even blame it on greedy bankers,…
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Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds

This is a fascinating study of Greece and how the largest of part of its bankruptcy may be in its collective conscience.  - Ilene 

Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds

Greece, Boat anchored at island

Vanity Fair’s Introduction: As Wall Street hangs on the question “Will Greece default?,” the author heads for riot-stricken Athens, and for the mysterious Vatopaidi monastery, which brought down the last government, laying bare the country’s economic insanity. But beyond a $1.2 trillion debt (roughly a quarter-million dollars for each working adult), there is a more frightening deficit. After systematically looting their own treasury, in a breathtaking binge of tax evasion, bribery, and creative accounting spurred on by Goldman Sachs, Greeks are sure of one thing: they can’t trust their fellow Greeks. 

BY MICHAEL LEWIS, Vanity Fair 

After an hour on a plane, two in a taxi, three on a decrepit ferry, and then four more on buses driven madly along the tops of sheer cliffs by Greeks on cell phones, I rolled up to the front door of the vast and remote monastery. The spit of land poking into the Aegean Sea felt like the end of the earth, and just as silent. It was late afternoon, and the monks were either praying or napping, but one remained on duty at the guard booth, to greet visitors. He guided me along with seven Greek pilgrims to an ancient dormitory, beautifully restored, where two more solicitous monks offered ouzo, pastries, and keys to cells. I sensed something missing, and then realized: no one had asked for a credit card. The monastery was not merely efficient but free. One of the monks then said the next event would be the church service: Vespers. The next event, it will emerge, will almost always be a church service. There were 37 different chapels inside the monastery’s walls; finding the service is going to be like finding Waldo, I thought.

“Which church?” I asked the monk.

“Just follow the monks after they rise,” he said. Then he looked me up and down more closely. He wore an impossibly long and wild black beard, long black robes, a monk’s cap, and prayer beads. I wore white running shoes, light khakis, a mauve Brooks Brothers shirt, and carried a plastic laundry bag that said eagles palace hotel in giant letters on the side. “Why have you come?” he asked.

That was


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The Overlapping Crises of Neoliberal Global Capitalism

The Overlapping Crises of Neoliberal Global Capitalism

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds

Conventional wisdom holds that today's global financial crises are political rather than systemic to Neoliberal Global State Capitalism.

It is tempting to place the blame for the U.S. economy's deep woes at the feet of our corrupt, captured political system of governance and those who captured it via concentrated wealth and power. But that would avoid looking at the crises unfolding in global capitalism itself.

From the "progressive" ideology, the "problem" is inequality of income and wealth, and the "solution" is to take more of the wealth and income away from "the rich" (i.e. those who make more than I do) and redistribute to the "have-less" citizenry.

From the "conservative" ideology, the "problem" is that the Central State, in cahoots with public unions and Corporate Overlords, grabs an ever-larger share of the national income to redistribute to reward its cronies and favorites. In so doing, it mis-allocates the nation's capital away from productive investments and strangles free enterprise, the only real engine of wealth.

There is of course a grain of truth in each point of view. As I describe in Survival+, there is a positive feedback in the process of concentrating wealth and thus political power: the more wealth one acquires, themore political influence one can purchase, which then enables the accumulation of even more wealth as the State/Elite partnership showers benefits and monoplies on those who fund elections, i.e. the wealthy.

This process eventually leads to over-reach, when the nation's capital and income are so concentrated that the economy become precariously imbalanced and thus vulernerable to devolution and collapse. Returns on favoritism and capital become marginal, and it take more complexity and capital to wring ever-smaller profits and power from ever-greater investments.

It is also true that the State and the Power Elites mask their massive redistribution to the wealthy and powerful behind politically popular redistributions to the lower-income and/or unproductive citizenry, garnering their loyalty and complicity.

It is also true that as the State and its private-sector Elites channel an ever-larger percentage of the national income to the Central State and its fiefdoms, both public and private, then the productive…
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Innovation, Risk and the Forest Fire Analogy

Innovation, Risk and the Forest Fire Analogy  

Lava burning forest

Courtesy of Charles Hugh Smith Of Two Minds 

To clear open space for innovation to take root, sometimes you need a forest fire to destroy all the deadwood. Instead, we are frantically piling up more deadwood.

What was once an inflammatory outlier--that our brand of "capitalism" incentivizes exploitation, fraud, complicity, corruption and plunder--is now commonplace. Even the most mainstream financial media websites now sport commentaries which excoriate our systemic fraud, and books galore gleefully sport titles containing "hot" words like plunder.

That is a remarkable turn of events: that a radical critique of our entire financial system has gone mainstream, and in many circles has been accepted as "obvious." (For more on the tricky nature of what’s "obvious," please see the chapters on the politics of experience in Survival+.)

In Innovation: Financial, Technical and Institutional (June 30, 2010), I attempted to connect the dots between risk and innovation. I believe that the two concepts are intrinsically bound like oxygen and hydrogen in the water molecule, but this deep structural connection between the two is generally ignored or not even recognized.

In essence, innovations which remain inherently unstable and unsafe regardless of hedges, controls and safety features--that is, they embody intrinsic risk-- cannot be placed in the same category as innovations with inherently low risk.

One of the keystones of the Survival+ critique is the realization that the risks of our systemic "financial innovations" are ontological and cannot be massaged away to zero. Indeed, the idea that this was possible underpinned the entire credit bubble and its inevitable implosion.

Mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot discredited this notion in depth in his book (highly recommended) The Misbehavior of Markets.

I addressed this last year in The Yellowstone Analogy and The Crisis of Neoliberal Capitalism (May 18, 2009):

For decades, the operative theory of forestry management was that limited controlled burns-- mild reductions of dead underbrush and debris--would essentially reduce the possibility of a major fire to near-zero.

But the practice actually allowed a buildup of dead wood which then fueled the devastating forest fire which swept Yellowstone National Park in 1988. Various revisionist views sprouted up later, claiming the fire was not the result of misguided attempts to limit natural forces (Vast Yellowstone Fire Now Seen as Unstoppable Natural Cataclysm (NT Times, 1989)).

Now we’re in a financial conflagration which is widely considered the result of


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TOO SMALL TO MATTER

TOO SMALL TO MATTER

Courtesy of Jim Quinn at The Burning Platform

As I watched the documentary GASLAND last night on HBO my blood began to boil. I’m sure my blood pressure went up dramatically during the 1 hour and 40 minute film. After watching our corrupt government decide that the biggest baddest banks on the planet were too big to fail over the last two years and giving my children’s and their children’s money to these behemoth criminal enterprises, I was not surprised to see poor working class Americans treated like dirt by these same corrupt politicians. Big corporations can buy off politicians to ensure profits. The “small people”, as the Chairman of BP likes to call them, are expendable and can be ignored. They are too small to matter.

Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton from 1995 until 2000, when he became VP of the United States. Halliburton had invented a new process for extracting natural gas from shale formations.  The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudi Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us.…
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As Broken Market Limps Along, SEC And CFTC Conduct Worthless Hearing: Watch It Live Here

As Broken Market Limps Along, SEC And CFTC Conduct Worthless Hearing: Watch It Live Here

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Watch the highly conflicted trading industry representatives, and the highly corrupt regulators try to convince each other that the May 6th events were totally unique, will never happen again, why there is no need to change anything, and why the joke of that is single stock circuit breakers (another reactive not proactive "solution") is all that is needed to return investor confidence. We wish them all the best as they continue to buy and sell stocks from each other, now that everyone else is out of the market permanently. Readers can watch the "Joint CFTC-SEC Advisory Committee on Emerging Regulatory Issues Meeting" here. (click here if stream does not show up).


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Austerity is stupid, stimulus is dangerous, lying is optimal, economic choices are not scalar

As usual, Steve presents a very balanced view of economic matters.  Always worth reading. – Ilene  

Austerity is stupid, stimulus is dangerous, lying is optimal, economic choices are not scalar

Courtesy of Steve Randy Waldman at Interfluidity

Globes Floating Against Red and Purple Sky

I’ve been on whatever planet I go to when I’m not writing. Don’t ask, your guess is as good as mine.

When I checked out out a few weeks ago, there was a debate raging on “fiscal austerity”. Checking back in, it continues to rage. In the course of about a half an hour, I’ve read about ten posts on the subject. See e.g. Martin Wolf and Yves SmithMike Konczal, and just about everything Paul Krugman has written lately. While I’ve been writing, Tyler Cowen has a new post, which is fantastic. Mark Thoma has delightfully named one side of the debate the “austerians”. Surely someone can come up with a cleverly risqué coinage for those in favor of stimulus?

Here are some obvious points:

Austerity is stupid. Austerity is first-order stupid whenever there are people to whom the opportunity cost of providing goods and services that others desire is negative. To some economists, that sentence is a non sequitur. After all, nothing prevents people from providing goods and services for free, if doing the work is more beneficial to them than alternative uses of their time right? Economists who make this argument need to get out more. Doing paid work has social meaning beyond the fact of the activity, and doing what is ordinarily paid work for free has a very different social meaning. It is perfectly possible, and perfectly common, that a person’s gains from doing work are greater than their total pay, so that in theory you could confiscate their wages or pay them nothing and they would still do the job. But in practice, you can’t do that, because if you don’t actually pay them, it is no longer paid work. The nonmonetary benefits of work are inconveniently bundled with a paycheck. Under this circumstance, having the government pay for the work is welfare improving unless the second-order costs of government spending exceed both the benefits to the worker in excess of pay and the benefit to consumers or users of the goods and services purchased.

Stimulus is dangerous. The second-order costs of government spending are real, and we are very far…
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BP DISASTER: PUT THE OIL SPILL BIRDS OUT OF THEIR MISERY

BP DISASTER: PUT THE OIL SPILL BIRDS OUT OF THEIR MISERY

Courtesy of Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds 

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Tony Hayward, the tactless sh^*head CEO of BP might “like his life back,” but what about the 99% of the birds caught up in the oil spill catastrophe who will inevitably die from suffocation and liver and kidney damage?

According to a post at Treehugger, animal biologists with experience dealing with birds caught up in oil spills, know what cruel fate has in store for them: slow painful deaths. Conservationists who have set up emergency clean-up centers for oil-coated avians have their hearts in the right place, but scrubbing crude oil off the afflicted birds’ feathers still won’t help them live much longer. The kinder thing to do for the birds—and it pains me to type this—would probably be a mass euthanasia:

Threehugger, quoting Der Spiegel:

Despite the short-term success in cleaning the birds and releasing them back into the wild, few, if any, have a chance of surviving, says Silvia Gaus, a biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park along the North Sea in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

“According to serious studies, the middle-term survival rate of oil-soaked birds is under 1 percent,” Gaus says. “We, therefore, oppose cleaning birds.”

Instead, she says, it would be less painful for the birds to kill them quickly, or to let them die in peace.

The World Wildlife Fund agrees: “Birds, those that have been covered in oil and can still be caught, can no longer be helped. … Therefore, the World Wildlife Fund is very reluctant to recommend cleaning.”

I’m sure that after reading that depressing bit of information, you’re either weeping or extremely angry. If you want to become even angrier, then read this:

The spill, the scandal and the president: The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world’s most dangerous oil company get away with murder (Rolling Stone)


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House Committee on Homeland Security Seeks Cooperation from Max Keiser on Financial Terrorism

House Committee on Homeland Security Seeks Cooperation from Max Keiser on Financial Terrorism

Courtesy of Mish

Here is an email from a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security to Max Keiser regarding Financial Terrorism. Both the email and Max Keiser’s response had me laughing my head off.

Hi Mr. Keiser,

My name is Chris Beck and I work on the staff of the House Committee on Homeland Security in Washington, DC. I have been reading and listening to you regarding the May 6 stock market plunge and the likelihood that this was an act of financial terrorism. I think this is a huge issue that has not been given enough attention, and may warrant oversight by our committee. I would greatly appreciate the chance to talk to you to make sure I understand the nuts and bolts, and to figure out what avenues may be available to correct what appears to be a massive fraud that could undermine U.S. National Security. Can you please contact me and let me know if you are available to talk?
Thank you,
Chris

Chris Beck, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor for Science and Technology
House Committee on Homeland Security

I asked Max Keiser how he responded.

Max Replied "I told him to investigate this financial terrorist crime happening right now! in real time!"

Max went on to say …

I think it’s really incredible how clueless these people are.

Given the recent track record of corrupt regulators in D.C. it’s not hard to imagine that Chris Beck is wittingly or unwittingly just bird dogging intelligence that will be fed to Goldman and used to package ever more exotic Financial Terrorist weapons.

My position is the government IS Goldman and any info gleaned by this type of thing will end up helping no one BUT Goldman.

Here is the video that Chris Beck was responding to. Play the first few minutes of it. It will have you rolling on the floor.

I am also told that homeland security was interested in talking with David DeGraw about his post on Market Oracle Financial Terrorism Operations: 9/29/08 & 5/6/10.

This reads like a spoof straight out of The Onion, but I have phone numbers and email address and a chain of emails to verify.

It is difficult to believe that anyone on a house committee…
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Phil's Favorites

Brief Summary of Friday's stock market action

 

It was a good idea from Paul Krugman on Thursday, but by Friday, hopes for a sane approach to economic matters all but disappeared...

What about calling off the trade war that has been depressing business investment? This seems unlikely, because protectionism is right up there with racism as a core Trump value. And merely postponing tariffs might not help, since it wouldn’t resolve the uncertainty that may be the trade war’s biggest cost.

The truth is that Trump doesn’t have a Plan B, and probably can’t come up with one. On the other hand, he might not have to. Who needs competent policy when you’re the chosen one and the ...



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Zero Hedge

How Negative Interest Rates Screw Up The Economy

 

By Wolf Richter via WolfStreet.com, as published at Zero Hedge

Now they’re clamoring for this NIRP absurdity in the US. How will this end?

This is the transcript from my podcast last Sunday, THE WOLF STREET REPORT:

Now there is talk everywhere that the United States too will descend into negative interest rates. And there are people on Wall Street and in the media that are hyping this absurd condition where government...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Bearish Divergences Similar To 2000 & 2007 In Play Again!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Does history at important junctures ever repeat itself exactly? Nope

Do look-alike patterns take place at important price points? Yup

This chart looks at the S&P 500 over the past 20-years.

In 2000 and 2007 bearish momentum divergences took place months ahead of the actual peak in stocks.

Currently, momentum has created a bearish divergence to the S&P 500 for the past 20-months, as the seems to have stopped on a dime at its 261% Fibonacci extension level of the 2007 highs/2009 lows.

Joe Friday Just The Fact Ma’am; A negative sign for the S&P 500 with the divergence in play, would take place if support b...



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The Technical Traders

Do Good Traders Make Good Gamblers?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Without breaking the rules, have you ever made a trade that was guaranteed to make you money? A trade that was literally guaranteed to succeed.

If you’re struggling to come up with an answer, we’ll give you a helping hand, the word you’re searching for is likely no. Every financial trade ever made – no matter how sound and well researched using technical analysis – carries with it an element of risk.

Outside factors beyond your control always have the possibility of turning profits into losses and ecstasy into agony. In many ways, trading is similar to gambling. For instance, you may think you know ...



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Insider Scoop

Earnings Scheduled For August 22, 2019

Courtesy of Benzinga

Companies Reporting Before The Bell
  • Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.36 per share on revenue of $2.29 billion.
  • BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: BJ) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $0.37 per share on revenue of $3.38 billion.
  • DICK'S Sporting Good...


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Chart School

Gold Gann Angle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Everything awesome? Gold over $1500. Central banks are printing money to generate fake demand. Germany issues first ever 30 year bond with negative interest rate. Crazy times!

Even Australia and New Zealand and considering negative interest rates and printing money, you know a bunch of lowly populated islands in the South Pacific with no aircraft carriers or nuclear weapons. They will need to do this to suppress their currency as they are export nations, as they need foreign currency to pay for foreign loans. But what is next, maybe Fiji will start printing their dollar. 

Now for a laugh, this Jason Pollock sold for more than $32M in 2012. 





Ok, now call Dan...

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Lee's Free Thinking

Watch Out Bears! Fed POMO Is Back!

Courtesy of Lee Adler

That’s right. The Fed is doing POMO again.  POMO means Permanent Open Market Operations. It’s a fancy way of saying that the Fed is buying Treasuries, pumping money into the financial markets.

Over the past 6 days, the Fed has bought $8.6 billion in T-bills and coupons. These are the first regular Fed POMO Treasury operations since the Fed ended outright QE in 2014.

Who is the Fed buying those Treasuries from?

The Primary Dealers. Who are the Primary Dealers?  I’ll let the New York Fed tell you:

Primary dealers are trading counterparties of the New York Fed in its implementation of monetary policy. They are also expected to make markets for the New York Fed on behalf of its official accountholders as needed, and to bid on a ...



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Digital Currencies

New Zealand Becomes 1st Country To Legalize Payment Of Salaries In Crypto

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been on a persistent upswing this year, but they're still pretty volatile. But during a time when even some of the most developed economies in the word are watching their currencies bounce around like the Argentine peso (just take a look at a six-month chart for GBPUSD), New Zealand has decided to take the plunge and become the first country to legalize payment in bitcoin, the FT reports.

The ruling by New Zealand’s tax authority allows salaries and wages to b...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

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Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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