The Freedom Watch

“The Trump Administration has been actively lobbying Congress to reauthorize Section 702 in its entirety. Now, according to The Intercept, Trump is actively considering a proposal to establish his own global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies and answer directly to the White House. If approved, this would be yet another secret government agency carrying out secret surveillance and counterintelligence, funded by a secret black ops budget that by its very nature does away with transparency, bypasses accountability and completely eludes any form of constitutionality.”

“Marvin Goodfriend thinks there should be a robust negative interest rate placed on cash. For example, if there was a -10% interest rate on cash, your $10 bill would actually be worth only $9. It is basically a penalty for using cash. The excuse is that this will stabilize the economy by keeping more capital in the banks. It means banks, and by extension, the Federal Reserve, have more control over your money. The gold standard, Goodfriend argues, was also an encumbrance on monetary policy, ‘destabilizing’ prices.”

“A crackdown on organized crime by Bulgarian law enforcement in May resulted in the seizure of more than 200,000 bitcoins – an amount worth more than $3 billion at today’s prices. Twenty-three Bulgarian nationals were arrested during the operation, and officials said at the time that the arrests and subsequent asset seizures followed an investigation into an alleged customs fraud scam. In all, the alleged perpetrators avoided paying some 10 million leva (Bulgaria’s national currency), worth roughly $6 million.”

“The defect that causes the neurodegenerative disease Huntington’s has been corrected in patients for the first time, the BBC has learned. An experimental drug, injected into spinal fluid, safely lowered levels of toxic proteins in the brain. The research team, at University College London, say there is now hope the deadly disease can be stopped. Experts say it could be the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative diseases for 50 years.”

“The possible marginal tax rate of more than 100% results from the combination of tax policies designed to provide benefits to businesses and families but then deny them to the richest people. As income climbs and those breaks phase out, each dollar of income faces regular tax rates and a hidden marginal rate on top of that, in the form of vanishing tax breaks. That structure, if maintained in a final law, would create some of the disincentives to working and to earning business profit.”

“Two months ago we noted former Fed chief Ben Bernanke’s apparent flip-flop since leaving office as he agreed to be the keynote speaker at a blockchain conference, having warned in 2015 of ‘serious problems’ with bitcoin due to its ‘instability’ and ‘anonymity’…”

“Nasdaq Inc plans to launch a futures contract based on bitcoin in 2018, making it the third exchange operator to plan U.S. derivatives contracts linked to the digital currency, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. CME Group, the world’s largest derivatives exchange, and CBOE Holdings, have both said they plan to launch futures products based on bitcoin this year, pending regulatory approval, helping fuel the crypto-currency’s rally. While Nasdaq does not have a hard date set for its product, the transatlantic exchange operator has offered an exchange-traded note based on bitcoin on its Stockholm exchange since 2015.”