Six Bitcoin Halving Scenarios and Likelihood of Each

[Winner's Thread #54] What a day

Hey everyone,
I’m sorry if my post is a little later than what they are supposed to be, I’ve been helping my younger siblings throw a surprise birthday party for my dad today and that’s apparently a lot harder than I originally anticipated.
My name is Mike, I’m 18 years old and I live in the US. I’m not super familiar with this sub, I Found it a few months ago when one of the other monthly drawing posts made the front page and I thought it was cool. I ended up commenting on the last drawing mostly on a whim. Well, I forgot I made a comment on the post until the next day, as I ended up waking up to like 50 different messages all saying congrats. I was super confused at first, until I actually went through the messages and saw that I had won.
I was really excited when I found out I won, and I’m still messaging everyone who messaged me thanks so sorry if I haven’t gotten to you yet. I’m studying to get a degree in biomedical engineering and I’ve just finished my first year of college. I’m still debating if I want to go to med school or not, but I figured I have about another year to decide for sure. I’m not sure how much the winners typically get; however, any amount you give will be greatly appreciated. The plan is to put this all towards my schooling, as student loans suck and I am already tired of them lol.
Other information about myself: I’m the oldest of my siblings, I have a younger sister and brother. Both of my parents are still working, so I’m watching my younger siblings and helping them with school work and whatnot. English was my worst subject in school, so sorry for the shabby essay. Thank you all again for your donations.
***
Everything listed should result in direct lines of payment to M_epps01. We ask all users to donate at least $1 USD. The Drawing is also listed for users who want to see the results and confirm the validity of the winner.
Drawing: https://old.reddit.com/millionairemakers/comments/glf4ie/draw\_53/
PayPal: PayPal.Me/mepps01
Venmo: Mike-Epps-13
Square Cash: $mepps19
Bitcoin: 1Gy9fQWEhyUJ6PBn52ikJtwqtQfYFG3mqe
Ethereum: 0x703820d89aFb61E1b38D307F4ec1Ac51544e4E48
Litecoin: LLsSG3iHjiRxmVon9XFgQCDmEZQtDBRL4J
Dogecoin: D9hDp1gZv3BYnWVvxS75RDULzxCUWbnByX
Nano: nano_3hr51r1s47m8nnuw4zxs3aezpyukapq8g1cjipihesqofmozq4nwk3o6yksn
Edit 1: Someone asked for a bitcoin cash link, so here it is
qzhjs62npfmxs9dejser6qau7zlsjslufcq9h95quz
Edit 2: Thank you all so much for the donations! A lot of people have asked for the total amount, and as of this edit it’s $3200.
Edit 3: Thanks everyone again for all the donations. They’ve finally slowed to only about one a day. The total is $3600, which is amazing! Thank you so much
submitted by M_epps01 to millionairemakers [link] [comments]

Monero - The Elephant in the Room

The state of financial privacy in 2020
Note: You can read this in a friendlier format with images over on Medium - https://medium.com/@johnfoss/the-elephant-in-the-room-34e061f5912a
The erosion of personal privacy is gaining momentum since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Worldwide, there have been numerous calls by governments and social commentators to increase the surveillance of citizens in hope of controlling the virus. Corporations such as Google and Apple, along with countries such as Singapore, Germany, Belgium, USA, and South Korea have been utilizing smartphone data in different capacities to monitor the movements of citizens.
Many believe the implementation of new surveillance measures will calcify and become the new norm, setting precedence for further encroachment.
Mainstream media has also begun supporting the notion of increased surveillance to serve social and financial needs. A recent Bloomberg opinion piece discussed the need for increased surveillance, pointing out the financial system we operate within is fractured and inefficient when dealing with wide spread social and economic problems.
Once again, government over-reach of citizens’ privacy is a considered solution to our problems.
Countries such as Sweden (which is expected to go entirely cashless by 2023) have been leading the charge in moving to a cashless world, and in Australia the government is preparing to ban cash transactions over ten thousand dollars in order to increase monitorization.
This road to a cashless society is being sped up by the coronavirus pandemic. There is correlation between countries where ‘cash is king’ and a high number of coronavirus infections. Many retail stores are now too afraid to accept cash due to possible virus transmission, with some outright refusing to transact with cash.
The erosion of privacy, and the gradual transition from cash to digital financial transactions leads us to murky waters. Will we be able to conduct private financial transactions five to ten years from now?
Throughout the past decade, unorthodox individuals turned to Bitcoin in order to transact privately. This led to the inception of popular online darknet markets such as the Silk Road. However, many of the darknet markets proved to be unreliable and short-lived. It soon became apparent to Bitcoin users that Bitcoin is not private, and many of those conducting transactions in relation to darknet markets were identified and prosecuted.
Blockchain analytic companies such as Chainanalysis gained traction and suddenly Bitcoin tumblers were found to be ineffective. Blockchain analytic companies take advantage of Bitcoin’s transparent blockchain, analysing data and tracking transaction outputs. The blockchain analytic company then sells this information to cryptocurrency exchanges and government organisations so they can link Bitcoin addresses to specific users. Many Bitcoin advocates tout Bitcoin can be used privately via the use of newer tumbling technologies, however this is a somewhat arduous process with no guarantee of its effectiveness. In December 2019 Chainanalysis demonstrated how they tracked transactions mixed via Wasabi Wallet that were associated with the PlusToken scam. Tumbling also leads to the possibility of coin taint, whereas certain Bitcoin may be perceived to be less valuable because they can be identified as being associated with nefarious activities, and as a result exchange services may confiscate coins when a user attempts to sell them.
While Bitcoin holds many desirable characteristics of sound money, many prominent figures within the Bitcoin space have repeatedly discussed on the need for default privacy and fungibility. However, as was seen in previous years’ block size dispute, the issue of privacy will come with great lengthy debate as stakeholders attempt to reach a consensus that does not impact upon the characteristics of Bitcoin.
As change within the social and financial landscape continues to accelerate, those seeking financial privacy may turn to Monero.
Monero is the elephant in the room.
Monero is a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin and shares many of the same characteristics of sound money, however it also provides default privacy. Unlike other privacy focused cryptocurrencies, privacy isn’t opt-in, so all transactions and wallet amounts are unknown and indistinguishable from one another. Every unit of Monero is valued equally as no matter its history. This allows Monero to be truly fungible, and eradicates any possibility of coin taint. It has proven this in a number of cases. For example, exchanges have been hesitant to list Monero due to KYC/AML compliance issues it raises because it is impossible to determine transaction history.
If Monero provides financial privacy solutions, why is Monero being ignored?
Firstly, while most deem privacy to be important, many are yet to find it necessary to adopt privacy technologies. There are many easy to use privacy solutions such as Signal or DuckDuckGo, however these are not widely used as users opt for convenience instead. As surveillance increases and data collected is harnessed to marginalize or punish users, it is like that privacy technologies will become extremely desirable. Additionally, acquiring Monero can be difficult or inconvenient for some, as cryptocurrency exchanges must comply with laws and regulations, and may perceive it to be a risk listing an untraceable cryptocurrency. This also leads to lower liquidity than other cryptocurrencies.
Monero remains a community driven project. Public figures such as John McAfee and Crypto Vigilante continue to advocate the use of Monero ahead of Bitcoin. Due to its humble and open-source nature, Monero isn’t widely promoted even though it maintains the third largest cryptocurrency community on Reddit after Bitcoin and Ethereum.
In respect to the technology, Monero’s hashrate has steadily been increasing over time, and the number of daily transactions taking place on the Monero blockchain are higher than ever. The Monero Research Lab continues its research in order to improve the protocol. Over the past few years these improvements resulted in reduced transaction fees, and enhanced scalability and privacy.
In just a few years from now, it is extremely likely traditional financial systems will not provide the capacity to transact privately. Banks will be required to ask questions regarding why certain transactions took place, and recorded transaction data will be sold to third parties. As the erosion of our privacy continues to accelerate, it won’t be long until Monero gains the use and recognition it deserves, and price reflects this.
Monero is what people think Bitcoin is.
Feel free to share or publish this article as you wish.
submitted by johnfoss68 to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

Binance Customer ☎️ +¹ 𝟪𝟦𝟦-𝟫𝟢𝟩-𝟢𝟧𝟪𝟥 ☎️Support Number :EnergySlowYuu

Binance Customer ☎️ +¹ 𝟪𝟦𝟦-𝟫𝟢𝟩-𝟢𝟧𝟪𝟥 ☎️Support Number :EnergySlowYuu Binance for the most part alluded to as a cryptographic money, a virtual money, or possibly an electronic money - is a sort of money that is virtual. It's like an online variation of money. You can utilize it to buy administrations and items, however not many stores acknowledge Bitcoin yet, and a few nations have restricted it completely. How does Binance convey the outcomes? Every Binance it's generally a PC record that is kept in a' computerized wallet' application with a cell phone or maybe PC.
People can convey Binance (or perhaps part of one) in your computerized wallet, and furthermore you can send Binances to others.
Each exchange is caught in an open rundown known as the blockchain.
It is then simple to follow the account of Binances to keep individuals from spending coins they don't wear, making duplicates, or possibly fix in exchanges.
In what capacity can individuals get Binances ?
You will discover three essential ways people get Binances.
You can buy Binances utilizing' genuine' money.
You can offer things and let individuals pay out with Binances.
Or on the other hand they could be made utilizing a PC.
Exactly how are new Binances made?
For your Binances telephone framework to work, individuals can make their PC procedure exchanges for everyone.
PC frameworks exist, working out muddled totals. In some cases they're remunerated with a Binances as a result of the proprietor to hold.
A great many people make amazing PCs basically to attempt to get Binances. This' known as mining.
In any case, the totals are beginning to be more and harder to stop such a large number of Binances being created.
In the event that you started mining now, it might be numerous prior years you got one Binances.
You may end up spending more cash on electrical force for your PC or PC than the Binances will be justified, despite all the trouble.
inance support number 1844-907-0583 CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao really doesn't want to tell you where his firm's headquarters is located.
Binance support number 1844-907-0583 has loads of offices, he continued, with staff in 50 countries. It was a new type of organization that doesn't need registered bank accounts and postal addresses.
To kick off ConsenSys' Ethereal Summit on Thursday, Unchained Podcast host Laura Shin held a cozy fireside chat with Zhao who, to mark the occasion, was wearing a personalized football shirt emblazoned with the Binance support number 1844-907-0583 brand.
Scheduled for 45 minutes, Zhao spent most of it explaining how libra and China's digital yuan were unlikely to be competitors to existing stablecoin providers; how Binance support number 1844-907-0583's smart chain wouldn't tread on Ethereum's toes – "that depends on the definition of competing," he said – and how Binance support number 1844-907-0583 had an incentive to keep its newly acquired CoinMarketCap independent from the exchange.
There were only five minutes left on the clock. Zhao was looking confident; he had just batted away a thorny question about an ongoing lawsuit. It was looking like the home stretch.
Then it hit. Shin asked the one question Zhao really didn't want to have to answer, but many want to know: Where is Binance support number 1844-907-0583's headquarters?
This seemingly simple question is actually more complex. Until February, Binance support number 1844-907-0583 was considered to be based in Malta. That changed when the island European nation announced that, no, Binance support number 1844-907-0583 is not under its jurisdiction. Since then Binance support number 1844-907-0583 has not said just where, exactly, it is now headquartered.
Little wonder that when asked Zhao reddened; he stammered. He looked off-camera, possibly to an aide. "Well, I think what this is is the beauty of the blockchain, right, so you don't have to ... like where's the Bitcoin office, because Bitcoin doesn't have an office," he said.
The line trailed off, then inspiration hit. "What kind of horse is a car?" Zhao asked. "Wherever I sit, is going to be the Binance support number 1844-907-0583 office. Wherever I need somebody, is going to be the Binance support number 1844-907-0583 office," he said.
Zhao may have been hoping the host would move onto something easier. But Shin wasn't finished: "But even to do things like to handle, you know, taxes for your employees, like, I think you need a registered business entity, so like why are you obfuscating it, why not just be open about it like, you know, the headquarters is registered in this place, why not just say that?"
Zhao glanced away again, possibly at the person behind the camera. Their program had less than two minutes remaining. "It's not that we don't want to admit it, it's not that we want to obfuscate it or we want to kind of hide it. We're not hiding, we're in the open," he said.
Shin interjected: "What are you saying that you're already some kind of DAO [decentralized autonomous organization]? I mean what are you saying? Because it's not the old way [having a headquarters], it's actually the current way ... I actually don't know what you are or what you're claiming to be."
Zhao said Binance support number 1844-907-0583 isn't a traditional company, more a large team of people "that works together for a common goal." He added: "To be honest, if we classified as a DAO, then there's going to be a lot of debate about why we're not a DAO. So I don't want to go there, either."
"I mean nobody would call you guys a DAO," Shin said, likely disappointed that this wasn't the interview where Zhao made his big reveal.
submitted by EnergySlowYuu to u/EnergySlowYuu [link] [comments]

Binance Customer Service ☎️ +¹ 𝟪𝟦𝟦-𝟫𝟢𝟩-𝟢𝟧𝟪𝟥 ☎️Number :jkdfdh

Binance Customer Service ☎️ +¹ 𝟪𝟦𝟦-𝟫𝟢𝟩-𝟢𝟧𝟪𝟥 ☎️Number :jkdfdh Binance for the most part alluded to as a cryptographic money, a virtual money, or possibly an electronic money - is a sort of money that is virtual. It's like an online variation of money. You can utilize it to buy administrations and items, however not many stores acknowledge Bitcoin yet, and a few nations have restricted it completely. How does Binance convey the outcomes? Every Binance it's generally a PC record that is kept in a' computerized wallet' application with a cell phone or maybe PC.
People can convey Binance (or perhaps part of one) in your computerized wallet, and furthermore you can send Binances to others.
Each exchange is caught in an open rundown known as the blockchain.
It is then simple to follow the account of Binances to keep individuals from spending coins they don't wear, making duplicates, or possibly fix in exchanges.
In what capacity can individuals get Binances ?
You will discover three essential ways people get Binances.
You can buy Binances utilizing' genuine' money.
You can offer things and let individuals pay out with Binances.
Or on the other hand they could be made utilizing a PC.
Exactly how are new Binances made?
For your Binances telephone framework to work, individuals can make their PC procedure exchanges for everyone.
PC frameworks exist, working out muddled totals. In some cases they're remunerated with a Binances as a result of the proprietor to hold.
A great many people make amazing PCs basically to attempt to get Binances. This' known as mining.
In any case, the totals are beginning to be more and harder to stop such a large number of Binances being created.
In the event that you started mining now, it might be numerous prior years you got one Binances.
You may end up spending more cash on electrical force for your PC or PC than the Binances will be justified, despite all the trouble.
inance support number 1844-907-0583 CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao really doesn't want to tell you where his firm's headquarters is located.
Binance support number 1844-907-0583 has loads of offices, he continued, with staff in 50 countries. It was a new type of organization that doesn't need registered bank accounts and postal addresses.
To kick off ConsenSys' Ethereal Summit on Thursday, Unchained Podcast host Laura Shin held a cozy fireside chat with Zhao who, to mark the occasion, was wearing a personalized football shirt emblazoned with the Binance support number 1844-907-0583 brand.
Scheduled for 45 minutes, Zhao spent most of it explaining how libra and China's digital yuan were unlikely to be competitors to existing stablecoin providers; how Binance support number 1844-907-0583's smart chain wouldn't tread on Ethereum's toes – "that depends on the definition of competing," he said – and how Binance support number 1844-907-0583 had an incentive to keep its newly acquired CoinMarketCap independent from the exchange.
There were only five minutes left on the clock. Zhao was looking confident; he had just batted away a thorny question about an ongoing lawsuit. It was looking like the home stretch.
Then it hit. Shin asked the one question Zhao really didn't want to have to answer, but many want to know: Where is Binance support number 1844-907-0583's headquarters?
This seemingly simple question is actually more complex. Until February, Binance support number 1844-907-0583 was considered to be based in Malta. That changed when the island European nation announced that, no, Binance support number 1844-907-0583 is not under its jurisdiction. Since then Binance support number 1844-907-0583 has not said just where, exactly, it is now headquartered.
Little wonder that when asked Zhao reddened; he stammered. He looked off-camera, possibly to an aide. "Well, I think what this is is the beauty of the blockchain, right, so you don't have to ... like where's the Bitcoin office, because Bitcoin doesn't have an office," he said.
The line trailed off, then inspiration hit. "What kind of horse is a car?" Zhao asked. "Wherever I sit, is going to be the Binance support number 1844-907-0583 office. Wherever I need somebody, is going to be the Binance support number 1844-907-0583 office," he said.
Zhao may have been hoping the host would move onto something easier. But Shin wasn't finished: "But even to do things like to handle, you know, taxes for your employees, like, I think you need a registered business entity, so like why are you obfuscating it, why not just be open about it like, you know, the headquarters is registered in this place, why not just say that?"
Zhao glanced away again, possibly at the person behind the camera. Their program had less than two minutes remaining. "It's not that we don't want to admit it, it's not that we want to obfuscate it or we want to kind of hide it. We're not hiding, we're in the open," he said.
Shin interjected: "What are you saying that you're already some kind of DAO [decentralized autonomous organization]? I mean what are you saying? Because it's not the old way [having a headquarters], it's actually the current way ... I actually don't know what you are or what you're claiming to be."
Zhao said Binance support number 1844-907-0583 isn't a traditional company, more a large team of people "that works together for a common goal." He added: "To be honest, if we classified as a DAO, then there's going to be a lot of debate about why we're not a DAO. So I don't want to go there, either."
"I mean nobody would call you guys a DAO," Shin said, likely disappointed that this wasn't the interview where Zhao made his big reveal.
submitted by EnergySlowYuu to u/EnergySlowYuu [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

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.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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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16 Apps That Will Earn You Passive Cash Back (Best Passive Saving Apps 2020)

This is the updated 2020 Q1/Q2 version of this post. If you remember reading the previous iteration of this post, there are several changes to the list this time around. Some new additions, and some removals.
Note: Most of these apps will be US only, with a minimum age requirement of 18.
Having said that, let's get right into it.

16 Passive Cash Back Apps 2020

Pei (Ref)

Pei is an automatic cash back app. When you sign up, you'll link a debit/credit card and you'll then automatically start earning cash back as you shop at certain Pei merchants (listed just below). There are so many merchants with Pei that you'll likely find yourself accidentally earning cash back on the app, without even knowing it. Pei is an app that you can really just link a card and then check back weeks later and surprise yourself with the money you've earned. Pei deserves the top spot in this post because of how consistent it is, and just how many places you can earn cash back with it. You can cash out instantly as soon as you reach $25 in your account. If you sign up with a referral code, you'll get a $2.50 bonus once you spend at a Pei merchant. You can use the referral code found on the most common Beermoney Sites thread here.

Pros of Pei:

So with all of that being said, let's talk about the stores you can find on Pei. Just note that these are only stores that are local to me, so if I don't have a certain store near me that Pei offers, I won't have it on this list. Additionally, Pei actually offers so many stores at this point that there's no way for me to actually keep this list up to date at all. There have been countless times where I've shopped somewhere that doesn't even come up as an option to earn with Pei but I'll see cash back listed on the app. It's really quite impressive.
In addition to receiving cash back at many locations, Pei also has a 'loyalty bonus' where if you shop at a certain store 5x you'll earn a bonus of up to $100 (but usually way less).
Pei Also just released a new feature called "Party Cash". Basically with Party Cash if you ever go shopping somewhere with your friends who also have Pei, you can start a party, and for each friend you shop with, each person will get a +1% bonus. For example, if I go shopping at Target with 2 other friends and we all start a Party Cash on Pei, we'll each get 1% (for usual cash back) plus 2% cash back from Party Cash, for a total of 3% cash back.
Most stores do have a $5 daily/weekly earning limit, so do be aware that if you spend more than ~$500, you'll likely reach an earning cap.

Dosh (Nonref)

Ref: KJK6

Dosh is one fastest growing cash back apps on this list. Similar to Pei, it's a card linked program where you'll automatically earn cash back when you shop at several local and national brands. On average you'll earn 3-5% cash back when you shop at the brands featured on Dosh. As soon as you hit $25 in your balance, you can cash out to PayPal.
The biggest downfall of Dosh is that the offers in the app change frequently, and the offers are targeted, meaning that not everyone will see the same offers.
Below are some of the current offers for instant cash back that you might find on Dosh. Note that only instant cash back offers found on the app will earn you cash back automatically when you spend with your card.
Dosh also does have a generous referral program where you'll get $5 when you sign up and link a card, and so will the referrer. If you'd like to, you can enter my code, KJK6 or use my referral link (nonref)
BTW, If you've heard of Dosh before, that might make sense. If you use Venmo and have the Venmo debit card, they recently introduced Venmo Rewards, which is powered by Dosh.

HOOCH Rewards (Ref Link)

HOOCH has earned the number 3 spot on this list this time around because of all the programs on this list, it has remained consistent. HOOCH will automatically earn you cash back when you link a credit/debit card whenever you shop at several national brands.
If you understand how Pei or Dosh above works, there's not really much more to say about HOOCH's cash back system.
You'll instantly earn 1% cash back at the following national brands:
  • Uber
  • iTunes
  • Starbucks
  • Domino's
  • Netflix
  • Shake Shack
  • Spotify
  • Audible
  • Redbox
  • Uber Eats
  • Hulu
  • In-N-Out
  • Chipotle
In addition to 1% cash back at the national brands, here are some other ways you'll earn with HOOCH:
  • Connecting your first card ($5 bonus)
  • Drink at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
  • Book a Hotel (5%)
  • Dine at a HOOCH Venue (5%)
  • Refer friends
HOOCH started a long while back as a subscription app where you'll buy a subscription and you'll get a free drink at a HOOCH venue every day. The venues are extremely limited, so a majority of the people reading this won't find any value in that plan. Dining is just as rare.
Their referral system appears to be pretty generous. They're currently offering a $5 bonus for signing up, as well as $1 for the referrer, as well as a 20% bonus on their earnings for life. Here's my referral link, and a nonref link :)
Here's the downfall of HOOCH:
You can only cash out for gift cards, and the minimum is $25.
For most people, this is a really big disadvantage of this app. Assuming that most people will only be earning through the 1% cash back brands, the minimum you'll need to spend in order to his the cash out minimum is $2500, which would likely take most people a really long time, since the brand options are not places where you're likely to spend a lot of money frequently...like, for example, a grocery store.
But still, you could probably earn yourself a few free gift cards every once in a while for a totally passive app.

Bumped (Sign up & join waitlist!)

Bumped is an investing app, when you really boil it down. When you sign up you'll select one brand in each category (there are a lot of categories, you'll see below), and each time you shop at the selected brand, you'll earn the certain specified purchase back in the form of company stock. This is unique to all of the other apps on this list, because you're actually receiving company stock. Also, because of this, I think it's very important to note that in order to sign up for Bumped you'll need to enter your SSN since you will be opening up a brokerage account.
As of posting, the following are the category options that you can choose from:
I've bolded the brands I selected. Obviously you should pick a brand that you can find yourself using the most. Do note that if you pick a brand that you might want to change later, you'll get the opportunity to change your brands 3 times a year, at least 30 days in between.
Category Options
Burgers 3% at Jack in the Box
3% at McDonald's
3% at Wendy's
Coffee 2% at Dunkin' Donuts
2% at Starbucks
Drug Stores 2% at CVS
1% at Walgreens
Family Dining 2% at Applebees
2% at Chili's
2% at Olive Garden
2% at Red Robin
Grocery 1% at Kroger Family of Stores
Home Improvement 0.5% at The Home Depot
Mexican Food 2% at Chipotle Mexican Grill
2% at Taco Bell
Music Subscriptions 1% at Pandora
5% at Spotify
Pizza 1% at Domino's
5% at Papa John's
2% at Pizza Hut
Ride Sharing 0.5% at Lyft
0.5% at Uber
Superstores 1% at Target
1% at Walmart
Telecommunications 0.5% at AT&T
0.5% at T-Mobile
0.5% at Verizon Wireless
Video Subscriptions 1% at Netflix
5% at Sling TV
Vineyards 1% at Willamette Valley Vineyards
One thing that is listed on the app is that if you want to move your way up on the waitlist you can refer your friends to join the waitlist as well.

Bits

Bits (of stock) is very similar to Bumped. It's better in some ways, but worse in most.
Similar to Bumped, there's a waitlist. Note that Bits is currently only available on iOS, but they have teased a version for Android will be coming.
So, here's the issue with Bits...
There's no brokerage accounts set up.
If you're not sure what that means, basically in order for you to actually own and trade stocks, you'll need to do it through a brokerage account. For example, if you use Robinhood, you own a brokerage account at Robinhood. If you use TD Ameritrade, you'll have a brokerage account at TD Ameritrade. So basically the app will say that you're getting stock back as you spend, but there's no way to actually sell your stock. Basically what I'm saying is that until the brokerage account is added, you're really just receiving play money. Bits has been extremely silent about the release of the brokerage accounts... I asked them back in December and they said they were aiming to release it "next month". Three months have passed since then, so I asked last week and they again said the same thing.. the goal is a release next month (April). We'll just have to wait and see. The point here is -- assume you're not earning anything with Bits until they add the brokerage accounts. This post will be updated once the accounts are added.
So, as for the actual cash back from Bits, you're able to choose 15 brands (that you can change at any time). I'll list the brands you can choose from below. What's interesting is that when the app first launched, all of the brands offered a 2% CB rate (which is unsustainably high). The rates have since come down to 0.5% for all brands.
To save characters, here's a recording of me scrolling through the brands offered. If you don't want to watch that video, just know that there are a lot of brands to choose from.

Ibotta (Ref Link)

Ibottais a cash back app that has been around for years, but this is its first time being added to this list. When the app originally launched, you would earn on the app by selecting cash back products that you could purchase and receive a rebate. Once you selected products you wanted to purchase, you would then scan the products after purchasing them to confirm your purchase, and then submit a photo of your receipt.
That doesn't sound too passive, now, does it?
Well, over the last little while, the app has come a very long way. In most cases you no longer need to select rebates you want to purchase, and in most cases you don't even need to scan a receipt, if you're shopping somewhere where you can link a rewards membership.
For example, I shop at Meijer and Target primarily for groceries. Both of these stores allow me to link my accounts with the stores, so for Target any time I shop and spend using a credit card that is linked to my Target account, I'll get cash back automatically. Same thin for Meijer. As soon as I enter my mPerks phone number, I'll get cash back.
What's great is that you don't even have to select offers anymore. So this is one of those cases where you might accidentally get cash back. Also, just to clarify, you're getting cash back for the products you purchase, not the place that you're shopping... which is different than most of the other apps featured on this list.
Even if you don't purchase a product that qualifies for a rebate, you'll probably find yourself earning cash back almost every time you shop because Ibotta has several "Any" offers, meaning any time you buy "any" kind of a product, say.. blinker fluid, for example, you'll earn cash back for your blinker fluid purchase regardless of the brand. These offers are optimal for cash back.
I personally went a whole couple months without opening Ibotta and I showed up to $50 in cash back from purchases I didn't even know I was getting cash back for.
Another newer feature of the app (which isn't passive) is Ibotta Pay. Ibotta Pay is basically just a glorified way of purchasing gift cards and receiving cash back for the gift card purchase.
In addition to this cash back, you'll also find several bonuses where if you redeem x offers, you'll get a certain $ boost. For example, I currently have an offer for a $10 bonus if I redeem 14 offers before the bonus expires in just a few days. I've redeemed 2 so far, so I'm not sure if I'll be getting there in time. (BTW, if you're ever cutting it close, just note that Ibotta Pay will work where each gift card purchase will qualify for a completed offer ;))
Ibotta also does have a generous referral program. They do referral offers very frequently where you can earn bonuses, but the current offer is $4 for each friend you invite. Please consider using the referral link found in the Most Common Beermoney Sites thread.

Uber Visa Local Offers

Shop or dine out, get Uber credits back.
Use your Visa card next time you dine out or go on a shopping spree at a featured store and earn Uber credits toward future rides. To join, go to settings in your Uber app and tap on Visa Local Offers.
Whenever you shop out at certain places you'll instantly receive uber credits to your account. It's really simple, and yes, this does stack with all of the other cash back apps you might be a part of.
The brands they offer do change semi-frequently, so you should check them from time to time.
In the past there have been 100% cash back offers for streaming services, and 10-20% cash back at Sam's Club. Considering that these offers do stack, there is some really great potential if you find any value in uber credit.
If you're interested in activating the Visa local offers, you'll need to make sure you have a visa card linked to your Uber account first, and then you should see "activate local offers" in the app settings or payment settings of Uber.
There's really not much to say about Visa Local Offers, but if you're looking for some FAQ/Terms, feel free to check them all out here.

Cash App "Boosts"

For those if you who don't know what Cash App is, Cash App is an app by Square that lets you send and receive payments. They've also expanded their app to support bitcoin purchases, and they'll also let you use the app as a checking account. With the cash app you can also sign up to receive the Cash Card, which is a debit card that is funded with your cash app balance.
If you have not used Cash App before, they do have a fancy referral program where when you sign up and send $50 you'll receive $5 and so will I. I do want to make this very clear: Cash App referrals can see the full name of the person who refers you, and the person who refers you will have your full name shown to them. If you're really private about personal information, be careful whose referral link you use. If you trust me, here's my referral link.
Please note that if you want to use the cash app boosts that I'm talking about, you'll need to be 18 years old and have the cash card (which is free, don't worry)!
Cash App announced that their cash card will be seeing 'boosts'. Boosts are their fancy way of saying that when you use our card at certain locations you'll receive a discount.
Once you have the cash card, you'll notice on the app below your card you'll be able to select your boost. The following are my personal boost options, as of posting. The boosts change frequently,
  • $5 Off One Order on DoorDash
  • 10% Off One Visit at Any Grocery Store
  • 10% Off One Visit at Dollar Tree
  • 10% Off One Visit at Walgreens
  • 10% Off One Visit at Nike
  • 10% Off One Visit at Walmart
  • $5 Off One Ride at Lyft
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Bath & Body Works
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Playstation Network
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Xbox
  • 10% off Each Visit at Chick-Fil-A
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Taco Bell
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Dominos
  • 10% Off Each Visit at Portillo's.
Boosts tend to change every Friday, but several boosts will remain for a long period of time. The longest lasting boost, which just went away in the last week is the $1 off Any Coffee Shop. It stuck around for almost 2 years, and anyone who had that boost applied would automatically save $1 every time they shop at any coffee shop, without any interaction.
So there are quite a few things I want to say & clear up.
  1. You can use a boost every 1 hour.
  2. You must select the boost that you'd like to use prior to the purchase. You're able to swap which boost you want to use as often as you'd like. So when you walk into Chick-Fil-A, just check and make sure your boost is set to CFA. If not, swap it.
  3. In order to apply the boost, you must pay with the Cash Card. It's automatic. If your total is $6 and you're saving 10%, you'll only need a Cash app balance of $5.4 for the transaction. Cash App will cover the other $0.60.
  4. If you link your Cash Card to Apple Pay, you can pay with it that way and the boosts will still be applied.
Do realize that just because you have the Cash Card on the app, you won't see the boosts. You need to have the physical Cash Card in your possession for the boosts to show up.
I've been really enjoying using the Cash Card for purchases. Especially at CFA & Chipotle. It's really not a hassle. When I'm standing in line at Chipotle I'll open the app and make sure my cash app balance is enough and if not I'll just add funds right away. The boost is applied immediately which makes you feel good. It's like the guac is free at Chipotle after you use the cash card. The only downside to using the Cash Card is that you won't be able to stack discounts with anything else on this list... Unless you find a way to link the Cash Card to any of the things on this list. Regardless, 10% off at Chipotle is the best I have found.

Venmo Rewards

Venmo recently announced Venmo Rewards.
Take what you know about Cash App's boosts and then apply something similar to Venmo's debit card. Venmo Rewards is actually a bit easier than Cash App's boosts because it truly requires no input from you whatsoever. The tradeoff is that the cash back rates are lower. If Cash App's average discount would get you 10% off, Venmo would be about 4%.
So here's how Venmo Rewards works:
Simply use your Venmo card at participating merchants—stores you know and love— to earn rewards. Zero setup required. See list of participating merchants in the app.
  1. Get a Venmo card Learn More
  2. Swipe your card at participating merchants
  3. Automatically earn cashback straight to your Venmo balance. (Seriously. That’s it.)
As mentioned above in the section about Dosh, Venmo Rewards is powered by Dosh, and similar to Dosh, the cash back options are targeted. I personally can't use Venmo so I don't have the current list that most people will be seeing as far as opportunities go, but Venmo Rewards originally launched (in November 2019) with the following CB opportunities:
  • 5% Target
  • 5% Sephora
  • 5% Wendy’s
  • 4% Dunkin’
  • 5% Chevron
  • 4% Sam’s Club
  • 5% Papa John’s
Evan on DoC commented earlier this month with their updated CB opportunities:
Dunkin Donuts 4%, Sephora 5%, Macy’s 4%, JCPenney 5%, Sam’s Club 4%, 1-800-flowers.com 15%, Papa Johns 5%, Forever 21 4%, Frank and Oak 5%)
  • 4% Walmart & Walmart Grocery
  • 4% Dunkin'
  • 5% Sephora
  • 4% Macy's
  • 5% JCPenney
  • 4% Sam's Club
  • 15% 1-800-Flowers.com
  • 5% Papa John's
  • 4% Forever 21
  • 5% Frank and Oak
What I can make from this is that the options have not changed much, and have actually expanded, with a couple exceptions. If you're a Venmo user, I think this is a pretty decent reason to get the debit card. The 4% at Sam's Club and Walmart is a pretty good deal for most people, especially if there are no limits to the cash back you can earn.

Empyr Apps

I've listed this as "Empyr Apps" because all of these apps are basically just the same thing. I'll take the example of Swagbucks Local since that's what most of you reading this will already be using.
If you paid attention in the Visa Local Offers section of this post, you'll find that the Empyr apps are actually very similar to those visa local offers.
When you shop at a certain store/restaurant, you'll earn with the empyr app you have linked. It's actually really not that special.
Here's a list of some/most of the current Empyr powered apps:
IMPORTANT NOTE: You're only allowed to use one Empyr app at a time! As soon as you link up with another Empyr app, you'll be disqualified from another until you link back up.
I do want to go into this list a bit this time around since there seem to be more and more Empyr apps popping up.
Swagbucks Local will always be popular among Swagbucks users. What's really nice about Swagbucks Local is that the payouts are always instantly converted to Swagbucks, which can help you cash out sooner. You'll also likely get a slot in the Swago board filled out, which might be beneficial to you.
RetailMeNot is a newer one on this list and it's the only one here that I feel like I recommend you go on/off with. RetailMeNot has recently been doing a lot of "Spend $X, get $Y" deals at a lot of the stores they offer. For example, they are currently offering $5 Cash back for in Store purchases of $30+ at Staples. This is a really good deal for an Empyr app, and would probably be my pick for that transaction, but not most of the time since they don't have very many stores as options.

Drop (iOS | Android)

Ref = fish

Alright, so Drop has gone through a lot of changes since the last time this post was updated. Drop used to be the best passive cash back app without any debate. It was also one of the first apps to offer a card link cash back program. Over the last several months (and years), their card link program has seen several devaluations. First they removed brands you could pick from to receive cash back (for example, when I first joined, you could choose to earn cash back each time you shopped at Amazon, but new users would later not see Amazon as an option). They later lowered the cash back rate. For example, Target went from 1%, to 0.2%. And finally they limited new users to pick from 5 brands to receive cash back at to just 3.
In February 2020 Drop announced a change to the way their card linked cash back would work..
They since have removed their 'power offers' (the offers where you automatically earn cash back at brands), and have replaced it with card link 'Challenges'. These challenges have just recently launched, so it's hard to tell whether or not these will be passive or worthwhile altogether. I currently have one ongoing challenge where if I spend $10+ at Target with a linked card, I'll get 250 points ($0.25), which is pretty insignificant.
As far as I can tell, they seem to have ditched all other forms of card linked cash back from their app. If the challenges turn out to have nothing passive about them, or have no proof of being worthwhile, Drop will likely not even be on this list the next time around.
So let's talk about some features of Drop since we're on the topic.
Drop has clearly moved away from passive cash back, and has focused more on becoming a cash back app in the form of portal earnings and specific offers. Several of these offers are unique to drop, which is good, but when it comes to portal cash back, the rates are often on par or slightly below the offerings you could find on Cashback Monitor.
Another thing about Drop that people are (rightfully) upset about is the change that now requires you to save up $25 worth of points (25,000) in order to cash out. The minimum previously was just $5.
The only feature about Drop that hasn't been nerfed to the ground is their referral program. When you refer your friends you'll earn $5 once they link a card, and they'll get $5 as well.
Overall I'm not too hopeful that Drop will remain passive at all, so this might be the app's last appearance on this list for the foreseeable future.

Credit Cards

I've refrained from listing credit cards on this post for a long time. Maybe because I thought it was too obvious, or maybe it was unnecessary, but since the number of younger people using this subreddit has been increasing I feel like I'd be doing a disservice to entirely disclude a blurb about credit cards.
If you have a credit card and you don't really care to learn more about credit cards, just skip this section. If you're reading this post and you're 18+ (or if you're about to turn 18) and you don't have a credit card or don't know much about credit cards, I think it's a good idea to look into them. I'm not going to tell you exactly what a credit card is since that's an easy google search, but I will tell you about some benefits, especially about those that pertain to the benefits of this post.
Credit cards are great because you can essentially spend money just like you normally would*, but you'll also earn cash back on all/almost all of the purchases you make with them. Additionally, especially if you're young, getting a credit card is a really great because it will start helping you build credit. I'm currently looking into renting a house next year with two housemates and I'm shocked to see that neither of them have any credit. They quite honestly couldn't possibly live in a house without me, since I'm the only one who has credit.
*Make sure you're paying off your credit card every month (or however often you need)... Don't let yourself get into debt. I'd argue if you think you're going to get into debt with a credit card, I'd personally suggest you don't get a credit card.
While you need to be 18 years old to get your own credit card, if you're under 18, you can still start gaining credit. Most major credit card companies will allow your parents to add you as an authorized signer on their credit card (which basically just means that you'll get permission to use their cards). An effect of this is that you'll start gaining credit. If you're looking to build up credit but you don't think you're ready for a credit card, I'd really recommend you ask your parents about becoming an authorized signer. It's a good conversation to have with your parents.
Anyways, let's talk about the cash back benefits, since that's what this post is about, after all.
There's a lot of credit cards. This post isn't going to list them all out. This isn't really even the right subreddit for credit card discussion.
Nerdwallet has a great list of credit cards, so you might want to check it out here, but I'm going to share my own personal situation and recommend that for anyone who might relate, since the average age on this subreddit is around the 18-25 range.
My first credit card was the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. I actually still use this credit card very frequently since it's a pretty balanced card. A couple years back on my 18th birthday I went into my local chase branch and physically had to beg for this card (it's a really beginner card, trust me). After getting denied both in bank and online, I finally found a rep who would give me a calm $500 credit limit for the card. Note: I had no credit before hand.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with the card... so when you think about it, I'd previously been spending $100 at Chipotle every month with my debit card, but with the Freedom Unlimited card, I would now be getting 1.5% cash back ($1.50) back on those purchases. It's just an easy way to save money on everything.
If you use the other apps I suggest in this post, you'll likely earn cash back passively from them on certain brands that are featured, but stacking a credit card cash back on top of all the other bonuses is the absolute best way to earn passive cash back since it's usually 1-5% cash back on your purchases.

ReceiptPal

ReceiptPal is an app that allows you to upload your receipts from almost anywhere that you go shopping. It's actually a really simple process.
When you sign up you'll be presented with almost little scratch cards which contains 4 spaces. Each space is filled with a receipt that you upload. Once you reach 4 receipts, you'll earn 100 points. 300/400 points = $1, so basically every 16 receipts you upload you'll receive ~$1.
"So, mr Fishering, how is this passive!?"
Unlike most receipt apps, ReceiptPal allows you to link your emails and amazon account and they'll automatically upload receipts for you. I actually let this app alone for several months and came back to thousands of points and cashed out instantly.
If you make purchases online, you'll essentially be earning ~$0.07 for every purchase you make if you have your email linked. They'll automatically find receipts and submit them, so it's 100% passive earnings.
If you also shop IRL you can submit physical receipts as well.
You can cash out instantly for $5 minimum in the form of a gift card. I'd recommend saving up at least 7,500 points for a $25 gift card, since it'll value points at 300/$1.

Paribus

Paribus is not your typical cash back site. Once you sign up you can link your different accounts (such as your amazon account) and it will automatically track your shopping. Paribus doesn't directly earn you cash back... it acts more like Walmart's saving catcher if you've ever heard of that. If an item you buy somewhere goes on sale shortly after or if there's any other discounts/promotions you may have missed when you originally bought something, they'll quietly get you a rebate on whatever you purchased. It can be very hit or miss. The catch is that they do take a cut of your savings. I believe it is 30% for all new users, but for each member you refer you can cut the cut by 5%. If you save $10, they'll charge you $3 to whatever card you have linked.
Personally I've found it to be really hit or miss, but I've found some incredible savings. I bought a gopro and I got $15 saved with Paribus, and I also got $50 back from some really nice headphones I picked up on amazon from Amazon. What's weird is I bought the headphones like 6 months prior to the rebate. Was shocking to see it, but I've really had some good luck with Paribus.

Sift (iOS | Android)

After the last post, I noticed a lot of people enjoyed Paribus, so I figured it'd be good to add some alternatives in this post.
So, here's Sift. Sift is a similar site to Paribus, and its key focus is on enforcing credit card benefits that many people don't know about. It's actually pretty nice. It'll let you pick your credit card and it'll tell you pretty much everything about your card. I have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, and I was actually shocked to hear some of the benefits my card has that I have never been taking advantage of.
From Sift's site:
We automatically comb through your credit card policies to show you all your benefits in one place. For every purchase we let you know what benefits you are eligible for. We streamline the claim process to make it as simple as possible to get your money back.
You can link your emails as well as your amazon account as well and they'll make it really easy for you.
I have not actually used Sift much myself, so I cannot attest to how well it works, but the app store reviews are generally positive for Sift.

Trim Savings

Trim is similar to Paribus and Sift, but there's a certain void that it's trying to fill that the other two don't really seem to be filling.
Trim's main selling point is its bill negotiations. Instead of trying to save you money when a price drops, they're going to try and just nip it right in the bud and try to get your bills lower.
Right now they're mainly trying to negotiate with cell providers, internet providers, and cable providers.
Here's how the process goes:
  • Submit Your Bill: Submit your most recent cell phone, cable or internet bill to get started.
  • Trim Negotiates: Trim negotiates with your provider to get you discounts on your bill.
  • You Save Money: Trim takes 25% of annualized savings, but only on success—otherwise, it's free!
So, similar to Paribus, Trim does charge a fee. In a sense, I guess that's a good thing because it gives them an incentive to make sure to get some sort of bill decrease for you so they'll make some money too. Their rate is currently 25% of your bill negotiation. Of course, if they're not able to negotiate your bill for you, you won't pay them anything.
Trim does also monitor your bank account for you and they'll notify you of account changes (that you can set). For example, if they see a transaction worth $xxx, they'll notify me that I've made a large transaction. If there weren't already so many other sites/apps that could do that, I'd say that's a great feature that Trim offers.

Conclusion

Hopefully there's some new apps/sites you found out about in this post. If you sign up for some/all of these programs listed, you should probably find yourself earning some pretty decent cash back, depending on where/how much you spend. These apps are very satisfying to watch your balances build up on, and after a while it's very rewarding to cash out and treat yourself.
In this update I added some really great additions like Ibotta, Venmo Rewards, and Bits, but I am very sad to see the turn that Drop has taken. I have been tipped off to some upcoming passive cash back opportunities that will be coming very soon, and I can't wait to share those and hopefully add them to this list in the near future.
As always if you have any questions please do leave a comment or send me a PM!
Thanks for reading!
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  • Please send me PMs with any questions you have about anything, or even just PM me if you want someone to talk to.
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New Lands, or New Eyes? | Monthly FIRE Portfolio Update - April 2020

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
- Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past
This is my forty-first portfolio update. I complete this update monthly to check my progress against my goal.
Portfolio goal
My objective is to reach a portfolio of $2 180 000 by 1 July 2021. This would produce a real annual income of about $87 000 (in 2020 dollars).
This portfolio objective is based on an expected average real return of 3.99 per cent, or a nominal return of 6.49 per cent.
Portfolio summary
Vanguard Lifestrategy High Growth Fund – $697 582
Vanguard Lifestrategy Growth Fund – $40 709
Vanguard Lifestrategy Balanced Fund – $76 583
Vanguard Diversified Bonds Fund – $110 563
Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (VAS) – $174 864
Vanguard International Shares ETF (VGS) – $31 505
Betashares Australia 200 ETF (A200) – $215 805
Telstra shares (TLS) – $1 625
Insurance Australia Group shares (IAG) – $7 323
NIB Holdings shares (NHF) – $5 904
Gold ETF (GOLD.ASX) – $119 458
Secured physical gold – $19 269
Ratesetter (P2P lending) – $12 234
Bitcoin – $158 360
Raiz app (Aggressive portfolio) – $16 144
Spaceship Voyager app (Index portfolio) – $2 435
BrickX (P2P rental real estate) – $4 471
Total portfolio value: $1 694 834 (+$127 888 or 8.2%)
Asset allocation
Australian shares – 40.9% (4.1% under)
Global shares – 21.7%
Emerging markets shares – 2.2%
International small companies – 3.0%
Total international shares – 26.9% (3.1% under)
Total shares – 67.8% (7.2% under)
Total property securities – 0.3% (0.3% over)
Australian bonds – 4.5%
International bonds – 9.9%
Total bonds – 14.4% (0.6% under)
Gold – 8.2%
Bitcoin – 9.3%
Gold and alternatives – 17.5% (7.5% over)
Presented visually, below is a high-level view of the current asset allocation of the portfolio.
Comments
This month featured a sharp recovery in the overall portfolio, reducing the size of the large losses experienced over the previous month.
The portfolio increased by over $127 000, representing a growth of 8.2 per cent, which is the largest month-on-month growth on record. This now puts the portfolio value significantly above the levels of a year ago.
[Chart]
The expansion in the value of the portfolio has occurred due to an increase in Australian and global equities markets, as well as substantial increases the price of Bitcoin. This is effectively the mirror image of the simultaneous negative movements last month.
From a nadir of initial pessimism in late March, markets have generally moved upwards as debate continues about the path of a likely economic recession and recovery from Coronavirus impacts over the coming year.
[Chart]
First quarter distributions from the Australian and Global Shares ETFs (A200, VAS and VGS) were received this month. These were too early to fully reflect the sharp economic activity impacts of the Coronavirus and lockdown period on company earnings.
Despite this, they were significantly down on a cents per unit basis on the equivalent distributions last year. Totalling around $2700, these distributions formed part of new contributions to Vanguard's Australian shares ETF (VAS).
The rapid falls in equity have many participants looking forward to a return to normalcy, or at least more open to the pleasing ideas that nerves have been held in a market fall comparable to 2000 or 2008-09, and that markets now represent clear value. As discussed last month, there should be caution and some humility about these questions, if some historical perspective is taken. As an example, the largest global equity market in the world - the United States - remains at valuation levels well above those experienced in previous market lows.
Portfolio alternatives - tracking changes under the surface
A striking feature of the past year or so has been the expansion of the non-traditional or 'alternatives' components of gold and Bitcoin as a proportion of the overall portfolio. Currently, when combined these alternative assets form a greater part of the portfolio than at any point over the past two years.
The chart below shows that since January 2019 the gold and Bitcoin component of the portfolio has lifted from around its long term target level of 10 per cent, to now make up over 17 per cent of the portfolio. In the space of the last four months alone, it has lifted from 13 per cent.
[Chart]
With no purchases of either gold or Bitcoin over the period, the growth in the chart is the result of two reinforcing factors:
A substantial fall in the value of the equity portfolio - reaching nearly $200 000 since the recent February market peak has naturally and mathematically led to a commensurate increase the proportion of other assets.
Increases in the value of gold and Bitcoin - have also played a role with a total appreciation of around $150 000 across the two assets over the past 16 months.
In fact, the value gold holdings alone have increased by over 40 per cent since January last year. Further appreciation of either gold or Bitcoin prices, particularly if any further falls in equity markets occur, could easily place the portfolio in the same position as experienced in January 2018.
At that time these alternative assets made up 1 in every 5 dollars of the portfolio, an unusual, and in that case temporary phenomenon. This represents a different portfolio and risk exposure than that envisaged in my portfolio investment plan.
Yet, equally it is critical to recall what the circumstances would likely be for this to arise. Simultaneously high gold and Bitcoin prices are more likely to occur in a situation of severe capital market dislocation, or falling confidence. On the other hand, should confidence and equity market growth be restored, both of these portfolio components could fall back to lower levels.
It is difficult to tell which state of the world will eventuate, a key reason for diversification across asset types. United States government debt is already at record levels - equivalent in real terms to levels last seen when it emerged out of the Second World War - despite no similar national effort having being undertaken.
Future inflation can potentially partly manage this burden, however, the last sustained episode of persistently high inflation rates during the decade of the 1970s spelt negative real returns. Where investors expect future inflation or financially 'repressive' policies of inflation exceeding interest rates, the economic growth required to 'grow out' of debt can be affected.
At this point, my inclination is to address this circumstance gradually through time by re-balancing of distributions and new contributions, rather than to realise capital gains by selling assets at one, or several, points in time.
Chasing down the lines - falling average spending in lockdown
Since the implementation of lockdown restrictions, average credit card expenditure has fallen by nearly 30 per cent. This has taken credit card expenditure to lower than any similar period in the past six years.
Partly as a result of this - as the chart below shows - a new development is occurring. The previously fairly steady card expenses line (red) is now starting to bend down towards, or 'chase', the rolling average distributions line (in blue).
[Chart]
The declining distributions line is a result of some previous high distributions gradually falling outside of the data 'window' for the rolling three-year comparison of distributions and expenditure.
This intriguing picture will probably change before a cross-over occurs, as lockdown restrictions ease, and as the data feeding into the three year average slowly changes over time.
Progress
Progress against the objective, and the additional measures I have reached is set out below.
Measure Portfolio All Assets
Portfolio objective – $2 180 000 (or $87 000 pa) 77.7% 104.6%
Credit card purchases – $71 000 pa 94.8% 127.6%
Total expenses – $89 000 pa 76.0% 102.3%
Summary
Last month market volatility theoretically took progress down to below most of my financial independence benchmarks on an 'All Assets' (i.e. portfolio and superannuation assets) basis. This position has reversed this month. As markets have recovered and with additional spare time in the lockdown period, I have continued to seek out and think about different perspectives on the history and future of markets.
Yet it must be recognised that there is a natural limit to the utility of these ponderings. The shape of the future is always uncertain, and in this world, confident comparisons and analogies with past events can be perilous. Comparisons with past periods of financial market crises miss the centrality of government action as a causal influence on the path of virus affected economies and markets.
A virus and recovery is not the same as a global financial crisis originating in housing finance markets addressed through monetary and fiscal stimulus. Most developed country governments have quickly applied the same, if not larger versions of responses as applied in the global financial crisis, a distinguishing step that also makes analogies with the great depression era problematic.
Similarly, a pandemic is not hitting and interacting with the shattered economic and health systems of the 1918-19 Spanish flu. Overlaying all of this is the imperfect and partially disconnected relationship between the economy today, and equity markets that discount and focus on the future.
This makes all history's lessons more than usually caveated and conditional. One avenue for managing through these times is to focus on what does not change - the psychological difficulty of accepting alterations in financial circumstances and the capacity of markets movements to cruelly surprise us in both timing and direction.
One of the best texts to read to get a sense of both of these in such times is Benjamin Roth's A Great Depression Diary. This tells of the day-by-day changes observed in everyday urban life and investment markets, from the point of view of an American small retail investor living through the times.
This month also saw the exciting news that Pat the Shuffler and Strong Money Australia are combining efforts to produce a new podcast. Speaking of which, Big ERN's reflections on the current implications of sharemarket market movements for seekers of financial independence have been filled with insight and wisdom.
This interesting piece (video) - the latest in a 'virus' market series - from New York University's Professor of Finance Aswath Damodaran on asset performances through the past few months - is a more technical and detailed discussion of how markets have re-priced businesses and profits. Finally, the recently released Hmmminar interview series provides a more heterodox set of speakers and ideas on current markets, presented by Grant Williams.
Unlike predicting the future, seeking out different perspectives on it is perhaps the easiest it has ever been in history. While it is not always possible to change the course taken, it is possible to look at the same horizon with new eyes.
The post, links and full charts can be seen here.
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Blockchain in Healthcare – Webcast Q&A

Blockchain in Healthcare – Webcast Q&A
On our website, you can find the original article: https://block.co/webcastqa-blockchain-in-healthcare/
Block.co third webcast ” Blockchain in Healthcare: Bridging Trust in response to COVID-19“ received amazing feedback! We gathered some of the best experts in the field, Georgina Kyriakoudes, Ahmed Abdulla, Dimitri Neocleous, Dr. Alice Loveys to share their experience in the industry and discuss with us the latest updates in the sphere of Healthcare! In its third series of webcasts, Block.co gathered 253 people watching the event from 59 different countries, for a 90-minute webcast where guests answered participants’ questions.
Below is a list of the questions that were made and were not answered due to time constraints during the Blockchain in Healthcare webcast. Please note that the below information is only for educational purposes!
Question 1: I like what Dimitrios was saying regarding ownership and transfer. Health and social care have invested much in Information Management systems and processes. Transfer between NHS and social care is a typical block. Can you elaborate on how the blockchain sits across that – leapfrogs yet goes with the grain of what is already there in terms of shared records protocols, the exponentially growing types of professionals, pharmacists, careers, etc. that need early access to these records for better decision making.
Block.co Team Answer: Blockchain technology has the potential to improve healthcare, placing the patient at the center of the health care ecosystem, while providing security, privacy, and interoperability of health data. Blockchain could provide a new model for health information exchanges and transform electronic medical records to be more efficient, disintermediated, and secure. While it is not a cure, this new, Blockchain in Healthcare rapidly evolving field provides a sandbox for experimentation, investment, and proof-of-concept testing.
Healthcare systems around the world are preparing road maps that define critical policy and technical components needed for nationwide interoperability, including:
  • Ubiquitous, secure network infrastructure
  • Verifiable identity and authentication of all participants
  • Consistent illustration of authorization to access electronic health data, and several other requirements.
However, current technologies don’t totally address these necessities, and as a result, they face limitations associated with security, privacy, and full ecosystem interoperability.
Blockchain technology creates distinctive opportunities to scale back complexity, improve trustless collaboration, and create secure and immutable data. National Healthcare Systems need to track this rapidly evolving field to identify trends and sense the areas where government support may be needed for the technology to realize its full potential in health care. To form blockchain’s future, they ought to take into account mapping and gathering the blockchain ecosystem, establishing a blockchain framework to coordinate early-adopters, and supporting a pool for dialogue and discovery.
https://preview.redd.it/p17us55i6f851.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=80570ea170e78a728d69abb1602effeed1a50116
Question 2: What about the “compatibility” of blockchain solutions in healthcare with GDPR and/or other regulations about personal data protection.
Block.co Team Answer: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Europe’s new framework for data protection laws, has a vital impact on healthcare organizations. During this more and more patient-centric world where global healthcare organizations collect a large set of data on patients to produce improved health outcomes, this increased regulation has an even larger impact.
GDPR presents challenges across all industries and includes language that has a special impact on healthcare. The regulation defines “personal” data as “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (data subject); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.” On top of this definition, GDPR contains three extra, important definitions that pertain to health data:
  1. “Data concerning health” is defined by the GDPR as “personal data related to the physical or mental health of a natural person, including the provision of health care services, which reveal information about his or her health status.”
  2. “Genetic data” is outlined by the GDPR as “personal data relating to inherited or acquired genetic characteristics of a natural person which give unique information about the physiology or the health of that natural person and which result, in particular, from an analysis of a biological sample from the natural person in question.”
  3. “Biometric data” is “personal data resulting from specific technical processing relating to the physical, physiological, or behavioral characteristics of a natural person, which allows or confirms the unique identification of that natural person, such as facial images or dactyloscopic data.”
As described in Article 6 of GDPR, processing of personal data is considered lawful if: (1) the data subject has given consent; (2) it is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is a party; (3) it is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation; (4) it is necessary to protect the vital interest of the data subject or another natural person; (5) it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest; (6) it is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or third party.
However, healthcare organizations that usually manage health data, have an added responsibility to take care of “data concerning health,” “genetic data,” and “biometric data” to a higher standard of protection than personal data, in general. GDPR prohibits the processing of these forms of health data unless one of the three conditions below would apply as per Article 9.
a. The data subject must have given “explicit consent.”
b. “Processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services …”
c. “Processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of health care and of medicinal products or medical devices …”
Consent VS Explicit Consent – If one pays attention, there’s a difference in the GDPR’s health data use conditions (calls for “explicit consent”) and the general definition (calls for “consent”). Thus, there’s an ongoing debate as to what constitutes the difference between “unambiguous” and “explicit” consent. Despite the debate and the final legal clarifications, there is no doubt that in the purposes of the healthcare the “explicit consent” must have the strongest agreement form listing in detail the use(s) of data and covering the cases of data transfers and storage.
Question 3: How can we use blockchain technology by the government in Africanflavored government, say by Ministry of health to have patient autonomy of medical records that can be accessed by any government hospital irrespective of the ailment and record printed by the previous hospital and doctor, such as referral cases without having to open a new file in the referred hospital.
Block.co Team Answer: Perhaps that would be an ideal implementation of the Block.co solution issuing a digital certificate of medical examination on an Open Public Blockchain such as the Bitcoin blockchain, that would be decentralized in nature, easy to validate online without any special wallets, and would be provided by the patient on-demand, to refer to treatments received in other hospitals or areas. But this would require that the practitioner is aware and can use the open-source code or use Block.co services to issue these certificates. Alternatively, there could be the use of a wallet to store these medical credentials to be submitted on demand to health practitioners. Moreover, there would need to be an alignment of regulation in the matter as decentralized repositories are not recognized at the moment.

Question 4: Is there any data breach threat in the blockchain using a poorly protected private key at communication?
Block.co Team Answer: Millions of health care records have already been breached, and in attempts to combat this issue, solutions often result in the inaccessibility of health records. Health providers often send information to other providers, and this often ends up in mishandling of data, losing records, or passing on inaccurate and old data. In some cases, only one copy of an updated health record exists, and this may result in the loss of information. Health records often contain personal information such as names, social security numbers, and home addresses. When it comes to Blockchain in Healthcare, a poorly protected private key is always a factor to consider. A private key allows us to sign a transaction and spend funds residing in an address (public key) by providing ownership with the signature. It is a unique string of information that represents proof of identification inside the blockchain, which includes the right to access and control the participant’s wallet. It must be kept secret, as it is effectively a personal password. In the case that that private key is poorly protected, there is always a data breach threat.
Question 5: The medical record of a patient is owned by the patient. What happens if a doctor accesses the record without the consent of the patient? Using the smart contract, could there be a governing body, say a legal system that can call the doctor to order?
Block.co Team Answer: Rather than having each physical and electronic copies of records, blockchains may enable the shift to electronic health records (EHR). When looking at Blockchain in Healthcare, medical records on the blockchain would be within the management of the patient rather than a third party, through the patients’ private and public keys. Patients may then control access to their health records, making transferring information less cumbersome. Because blockchain ledgers are immutable, health information may not be deleted or tampered with. Blockchain transactions would be accompanied by a timestamp, permitting those with access to maintain updated information. The doctor would not be able to access the record without the consent of the patient. A patient would need to sign the transaction in a smart contract in order to transfer patient details to the doctor.
Question 6: So, how are private data protected when the patient is simply notified that unauthorized access just took place on her medical record? and, how are the negative results of this breach rectified towards the patient?
Block.co Team Answer: The patient would be notified to sign a transaction enabling access to the party requesting access to the specific medical record. In other cases, there could be a multi-signature wallet requiring multiple transactions in the cases where the patient may need assistance, for example, when underage or when not in a healthy state of mind, or being non-responsive or in critical condition. The patient needs to be responsible for his own data and be empowered through awareness and know-how of this technology. With great power, comes also great responsibility, although it is yet a challenge to enable computer illiterate people to interact with this technology.
Question 7: Can the same record of a patient still be shared with private hospitals and say another government/private hospital abroad on the same blockchain?
Block.co Team Answer: Depending on whether the information is on a public blockchain or a private blockchain. When on a private blockchain, they will need to be granted permission to access the blockchain accordingly.
Question 8: No one has directly spoken about ownership where a large research institution/ consortium is working with the data – it is not solely the person who has said so…
Block.co Team Answer: Indeed, it is solely not the person who has a say so. Technology may be used in both evil and good ways and it is still the obligation and responsibility of people within governments to ensure human liberties and rights are preserved when utilizing such powerful technologies such as blockchain and sometimes the combination of blockchain with AI, IoT, and biometrics. Blockchain in Healthcare, in the same way, that it can empower individuals and increase their standard of living and prosperity, at the same time, it can also empower corrupt governments with alternative agendas and totalitarian states. Block.co believes it is most important for people to be educated around the matter and be able to form a voice and movement to safeguard their human liberties and rights, hence our continuous effort on discussing these matters with our community and providing education, powered by the pioneers in the space, the University of Nicosia.
We would like to thank everyone for attending our webcast and hoping to interact with you in future webinars. If you would like to watch the webinar again, then click here!
For more info, contact Block.co directly or email at [email protected].
Tel +357 70007828
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Bitcoin vs Gold

With central banks around the world debasing their currencies by printing money out of thin air, I have been giving increasingly more thought on converting my assets into hard money. The debate that rages on in my head is which is the superior hard money. Gold, the standard for hard money that has withstood the test of time over millennia, or Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency. Here are my thoughts.
Intrinsic Value
Gold is often toted as being superior to Bitcoin because gold, unlike Bitcoin, has intrinsic value as a commodity. That is, there is gold demand for purposes outside the functions of money. Gold is used in a variety of industries such as dentistry, electronic hardware, aerospace, jewelry, glass-making and more. This means that gold will have value whether or not gold is being used as money. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has no intrinsic value. If people do not accept Bitcoin’s monetary functions then it has no value.
However, if we accept Bitcoin as money, then the fact that it has no intrinsic value is a significant positive. A money founded on something of intrinsic value will always be subject to supply shocks. For example, imagine that demand for gold has been increasing steadily as the aerospace industry expands and gobbles up more gold. Then one day, our brilliant scientists come up with an alloy that renders the functions of gold in aerospace obsolete. The value of gold begins to drop rapidly as we no longer buy gold for aerospace and begin to melt down the existing gold components. The value of gold will always fluctuate based on the demand for its monetary and intrinsic properties. Bitcoin has the luxury of not being subject to intrinsic volatility.
In summary, I have some fear of people abandoning Bitcoin as money and as it has no intrinsic value, I could end up with nothing. However, the fact that it has no intrinsic value means that Bitcoin is resistant to supply shocks, making it a superior money with little chance of the demand dropping to zero.
Confiscation
To me, the threat of confiscation is a real one. The United States, Great Britain and Australia have all passed legislation in the past forbidding the ownership of gold. Citizens were required to exchange their gold for government paper. In the United States, failure to comply could have netted you a 10 year prison sentence.
Today private ownership of gold is allowed, but I am not positive this will remain the case. The political climate is becoming dangerous. The wealthy (and wealth creation itself) are increasingly demonized and cries for socialism and wealth distribution are growing ever louder. This coupled with an imminent economic collapse make ripe conditions to destroy wealth, through both inflation and confiscation.
Already I have concerns. If I convert my savings into gold and try to fly from China to the United States, will the government harass me or potentially even confiscate my gold holdings in the future? Even now, the US Customs and Border Protection state that I have to declare currency and monetary instruments in excess of $10,000, failure to do so may result in seizure. With Bitcoin I have no concern. No government can go through my bags and find Bitcoin to confiscate. As far as my understanding of Bitcoin goes, there is no, or very very little, risk of confiscation. Please correct me here if I am wrong.
Divisibility & Distribution
In terms of divisibility and ease of transfer, there is no debate that Bitcoin is infinitely superior. I am looking into making my first purchase of gold and damn is it a pain in the ass. If I wish to purchase it online at a place such as Schiff Gold, I would need a couple of months, at least, before I could hold my tiny gold bar. They suggest that I store any gold I purchase in their Singapore vault, but then I don’t feel like it is truly my gold and would have to pay storage fees. If I wish to purchase it here in China, I need to set up an appointment at a bank, and as much as I love China, I hate the idea of handing over my info to state run banks to make a gold purchase. Also I’m confined to purchasing units of 10g, 20g, 50g, 100g, 1kg. There is no easy way for me to purchase a value amount that is perfectly suitable for me.
All this being said, to me gold has one large advantage and that is its history and global distribution. Central banks around the world have massive gold reserves and it is common for everyday citizens to hold a little gold in wedding bands and other jewelry. Everybody knows and understands gold has value. It may be quite sometime before Bitcoin can achieve the same status. Already countries such as Russia and China have been increasing their gold reserves, undoubtedly preparing for an event where fiat money collapses and the world goes back to a hard money standard. Clearly the bet of these governments is a gold standard. And why not? It is what the world used for thousands of years and governments around the world already have large gold reserves.
At the end of the day, I still choose Bitcoin. I choose Bitcoin because I believe the power of the people will always be greater than the power of the government. Governments can try to maintain power by going back to a gold standard and confiscating the gold of citizens, but if people choose Bitcoin over gold, then it will not matter. Money and power will have become truly decentralized.
submitted by Cramson_Sconefield to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

How to dive deep into political theory and philosophy: The Bread List

This is a curated collection of (largely) contemporary thinkers, books and video content aimed as a reference for questions like -
"What should I read next?", "Who should I follow?" or "What are the best resources for [certain political topic]?"
The core list comes from Noam Chomsky, and the books and people he's cited or praised. But the list has significantly expanded since then. Feel free to comment about any good books or channels you think should be on this list.
BreadTube discord here: https://discord.gg/ynn9rHE
Journalists
Start off with:
Adam H Johnson - Propaganda Model, Media Critique at FAIR
Nathan J Robinson - Journalist, Current Affairs
Glenn Greenwald- Journalist, Privacy, US imperialism. The Intercept
Also Great
Owen Jones- UK Journalist
Naomi Klein- Journalist, neoliberalism, globalization.
George Monbiot- Journalist, environmentalist.
Amy Goodman- Journalist Democracy Now
Alex Press - Journalist and Founder, Jacobin
Alexander Cockburn - Journalist
Chris Hedges- Journalist.
P Sainath- Journalist, India specialist
Whistleblowing:
Daniel Ellsberg- Vietnam, Released Pentagon Papers.
Edward Snowden
Chelsea Manning
Julian Assange
US History and Foreign Policy
Start off with:
Noam Chomsky - Everything
Howard Zinn- Historian
Laura Poitras - Documentary maker
Also Great
Eqbal Ahmad, - US imperialism
Michelle Alexander, US prison system
William Blum- Former State Dept. Agent, Historian, US imperialism
Jean Bricmont- “The Belgian Chomsky” – US imperialism, geopolitics,
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - US History
Thomas Ferguson- US elections specialist.
Ian Haney Lopez- Racism, US politics.
Deepa Kumar- US imperialism, Islamophobia.
Andrew Bacevich - U.S. foreign policy, historian
Economics
Start off with:
Thomas Piketty - inequality
Ha-Joon Chang - institutional economist, specialising in development economics:
Joseph Stiglitz - Former World Bank Chief Economist
Amartya Sen- Third world development and Inequality, Nobel Prize Winner
Yanis Varoufakis
Richard Wolff- Marxism
Dean Baker
Also Great
Michael Albert
John Bellamy Foster
Richard Wilkinson- inequality
William Krehm - Labour
Stephanie Kelton - Modern Monetary Theory
Historians
Start off with:
Thomas Frank - historian, American politics
Howard Zinn- "People's" Historian
Raul Hilberg - The Leading Authority on the Holocaust
Phillip Mirowski - History of economics
Eric Hobsbawm - historian, Marxist
Also Great
Gar Aleprovitz, - world war 2, co-operatives.
Alex Carey - Laid the foundation for Manufacturing Consent
Nancy Maclean - US South, Labor, Race
Mark Curtis
Mike Davis- Globalization, Historian.
Gerald Horne- Historian, black liberation.
Gabriel Kolko- Historian. World War 2.
Morris Berman - historian, American social critic
Israel/Palestine
Start off with:
Norman Finkelstein- Israel specialist.
Avi Shlaim - Israel
Also Great
Amira Hass- Journalist, Israel specialist.
Illan Pappe- Israel specialist
James Petras- Israel and Latin America specialist.
Greg Philo- Media criticism, Israel.
Media Criticism
Start off with:
Edward Herman- Media criticism.
Robert McChesney- media criticism.
Edward Said- sociology, Islamophobia, Israel, media criticism
Also Great
Ben Bagdikian, - media criticism.
Keane Bhatt- Media Criticism, Latin America.
Oliver Boyd-Barrett- Media Criticism
Sut Jhally- sociology, film-maker
James Curran- Media Criticism
Alan MacLeod - Media Criticism, Venezuela
Anarchism/Socialism/Political Theory
Start off with:
David Graeber- historian, anarchism, Occupy Wall Street, anthropology.
Joel Bakan, - writer of “The Corporation”, seminal book on corporations.
Cornel West- sociology
Tariq Ali, “The British Chomsky”- everything from globalization to history to politics.
Murray Bookchin - Anarchism
Also Great
Angela Davis- Feminism, Marxism, black liberation.
Peter Gelderloos - anarchism
Uri Gordon - anarchism, Israel/Palestine
Harry Cleaver - Marxism, economics
Michel Bauwens - P2P, political economy
James C. Scott - anarchism, anthropology
Michael Heinrich - Marxism, political science
Specialists
Stephen Cohen- Russia specialist.
Bruce Cummings- Korea Specialist.
Aviva Chomsky – Immigration, Latin America.
Eduardo Galeano- Poet, Author, Latin American specialist.
Fawaz Gerges - Middle East specialist.
Andrej Grubacic- Yugoslavia specialist.
Flynt and Hillary Leverett- Iran specialists.
William I. Robinson- globalization, neoliberalism, Latin America specialist
Lars Schoultz- Latin America specialist
Sanho Tree- drugs, Colombia specialist
Nick Turse - Africa
Mark Weisbrot- economics, Latin America
Kevin Young- media criticism, Latin America
Raj Patel- Food
Vijay Prashad- globalization, third world development
Thomas Szasz- Criticism of psychiatry
Alfie Kohn- Education.
Daniel Kovalik - Human rights
Paulo Freire- Education.
Henry Giroux- Education
Greg Grandin - Historian, Latin America
Dave Zirin- sports
Gabor Maté- Education, drugs, psychiatry.
Kate Bronfenbrenner - Labour and Unions
Loic Wacquant - sociology, neoliberalism
Bernard Harcourt - surveillance, penal law
Eric Toussaint - political science, debt
The best arguments for major mainstream political positions:
Fascism and Neo-Conservatism
On Dictatorship and The Concept of The Political Carl Schmitt
Note:
Some have argued that neoconservativism has been influenced by Schmitt Most notably the legal opinions offered by Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo et al. by invoking the unitary executive theory to justify highly controversial policies in the war on terror—such as introducing unlawful combatant status which purportedly would eliminate protection by the Geneva Conventions torture, NSA electronic surveillance program—mimic his writings.Professor David Luban said in 2011 that "[a] Lexis search reveals five law review references to Schmitt between 1980 and 1990; 114 between 1990 and 2000; and 420 since 2000, with almost twice as many in the last five years as the previous five"
Realpolitik
World Order, by Henry Kissinger
Liberalism/Social Democracy
A Theory of Justice, by John Rawls
Right-Wing Libertarianism
Anarchy, State, Utopia by Robert Nozick
Technocracy
Zero to One, by Peter Thiel
Marxism-Leninism
Left-Wing Communism, and Infantile Disorder by Vladimir Lenin
Recommended books:
Israel/Palestine and the Middle East:
Start off with:
The Iron Wall by Avi Shlaim
★ Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom by Norman Finkelstein
Also Great
★ Fateful Triangle by Noam Chomsky
Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948 by Tanya Reinhart
The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities by Simha Flapan
Between the Lines: Israel, the Palestinians, and the U.S. War on Terror by Tikva Honig-Parnass
The Holocaust Industry: Norman Finkelstein
Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel's Security and Foreign Policy by Zeev Maoz
Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom by Norman Finkelstein
The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid by Roane Carey, Alison Weir, and others
The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah
American Foreign Policy:
Start off with:
★ ★ ★ Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky
Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II by William Blum
Also Great:
Defeat: Why America and Britain Lost Iraq by Jonathon Steele
A Different Kind of War: The Un Sanctions Regime in Iraq by Hans. C. Von Sponeck
Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror by Jason Burke
How America Gets Away with Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage and Crimes Against Humanity by Michael Mandel
The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America's Wars by John Turnam
Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists by Scott Atran
The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade by Alfred W. McCoy
Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights by James Peck
War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination by Howard Bruce Franklin
Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan by Nick Turse
Tomorrow's Battlefield : U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa by Nick Turse
The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II by John Dower
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser
The Hungry World: America's Cold War Battle Against Poverty in Asia by Nick Cullather
Voices From the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba by Keith Bolender
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg
Tinderbox: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Roots of Terrorism by Stephen Zunes
One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs
Kill Chain: Drones and The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn
First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia by David Gibbs
The Management of Savagery by Max Blumenthal
Media and Propaganda:
Start off with:
Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky
Propaganda by Edward Bernays
The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy by Richard A. Falk
Also Great:
The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda by Edward Herman
The Politics of Genocide by Edward Herman
Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty by Alex Carey
American History and Culture:
Start off with:
★ A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Also Great:
Political Repression in Modern America: FROM 1870 TO 1976 by Robert Justin Goldstein
No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein
The Industrial Worker, 1840-1860: The Reaction of American Industrial Society to the Advance of the Industrial Revolution by Norman Ware
Voices of a People's History of the United States by Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn
Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq by William R. Polk
★ With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild
The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward Baptist
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon
Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings
The Politics of War: Allied Diplomacy and the World Crisis of 1943-1945 by Gabriel Kolko Labor History:
The Fall of the House of Labor by David Montgomery
Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism, 1945-60 by Elizabeth A. Fones-Wolf
The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 by Charles Grier Sellers
Sociopathic Society: A People’s Sociology of the United States by Charles Derber
On the Rojava Experiment:
Revolution in Rojava
Struggles for Autonomy in Kurdistan
A Small Key Can Open a Large Door
Rojava: An Alternative to Imperialism, Nationalism, and Islamism in the Middle East
Coming Down the Mountains
To Dare Imagining: Rojava Revolution
★ Ocalan’s Prison Writings
Anarchism, Socialism, Philosophy, and Science:
Start off with:
Government In The Future(Talk) by Noam Chomsky
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
On Anarchism by Mikhail Bakunin
The Limits of State Action by Wilhelm von Humboldt
Also Great
Progress Without People: In Defense of Luddism by David F. Noble
Granny Made Me an Anarchist: General Franco, The Angry Brigade and Me by Stuart Christie
Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science by Alan Sokal
Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture by Alan Sokal
A Theory of Power by Jeff Vail
Workers' Councils by Anton Pannekoek
The State: Its Origin and Function by William Paul
On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky
The Anarchist Collectives: Workers' Self-Management in the Spanish Revolution 1936-39 by Sam Dolgoff
Anarchism by Daniel Guerin
The Ancestors Tale by Richard Dawkins
Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
Memory and the Computational Brain: Why Cognitive Science WIll Transform Neuroscience by Randy Gallistel and Adam Philip King
Vision: A Computational Investigation Into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information by David Marr
Economics:
Start off with:
★ ★ Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
★ Making Globalization Work by Joseph Stiglitz
Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty
Adam Smith and His Legacy for Modern Capitalism by Patricia H. Werhane
Also Great:
Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism by Richard Wolff
Das Kapital by Karl Marx
Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America by Martin Gilens
America Beyond Capitalism by Gar Alperovitz
The ABCs of Political Economy: A Modern Approach by Robert Hahnel
★ ★ Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems by Thomas Ferguson
The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer by Dean Baker
Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer by Dean Baker
Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age by Larry M. Bartels
Understanding Capitalism: Critical Analysis From Karl Marx to Amartya Sen by Douglas Down
Whose Crisis, Whose Future?: Towards a Greener, Fairer, Richer World by Susan George
Business as Usual: The Economic Crisis and the Failure of Capitalism by Paul Mattock Jr.
Greening the Global Economy by Robert Pollin
Capitalism: A Ghost Story by Arundhati Roy
Political Economy and Laissez Faire by Rajani Kannepalli Kanth
The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time by Karl Polanyi
Miscellaneous:
★ Discipline and Punish, by Michel Foucault
Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari
Controlling the Dangerous Classes by Randall G. Shelden
Pedagogy of the Opressed by Paulo Freire
The Verso Book of Dissent: From Spartacus to the Shoe-Thrower of Baghdad by Andrew Hsiao
Don't Mourn, Balkanize!: Essays After Yugoslavia by Andrej Grubačić
★ Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers by Arundhati Roy
Voices from the Plain of Jars: Life under an Air War by Fred Branfman
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
In Praise of Barbarians by Mike Davis
Damming the Flood by Peter Hallward
Hope and Folly: The United States and UNESCO, 1945-1985 by Edward Herman and Herbert Schiller
Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village by William Hinton
The Egyptians: A Radical Story by Jack Shenker
Welcome to the Revolution: Universalizing Resistance for Social Justice and Democracy in Perilous Times by Charles Derber
Sociopathic Society: A People’s Sociology of the United States by Charles Derber
The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James
Dark Money by Jane Meyers
King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
Recommended YouTubers/Creators/Channels(with a linked video to get you started):
Political
Contrapoints | America: Still Racist
★ Philosophy Tube | The Philosophy of Antifa
Existential Comics
★ ★ Chomsky’s Philosophy | Bakunin's Predictions
HBomber Guy | Soy Boys: A Measured Response
Shaun | How Privatisation Fails: Railways
Badmouse Productions | Argument ad Venezuelum
Three Arrows | Who is actually at fault for the refugee crisis?
Gravesend Films (with Norman Finkelstein) | The Idea Of Utopia
The Intercept | Greenwald and Risen debate Russiagate
Non Political
Lindsay Ellis - Film Criticism | The Ideology of the First Order
The Great War - History | The Run For The Baku Oil Fields
History Civilis - History | The Constitution Of The Spartans
Numberphile - Mathematics | Perplexing Paperclips
Computerphile - Technology | The Bitcoin Power Problem
Vihart - Mathematics | Hexaflexagons
3Blue1Brown - Mathematics | How Cryptocurrencies Work
PBS SpaceTime - Astronomy, Physics | The Blackhole Information Paradox
Will Schoder - Video Essays | The Problem with Irony and Postmodernism
Assorted Documentaries to get you started:
Manufacturing Consent - The seminal work on how the population is controlled in democratic societies
★ ★ Citizenfour - Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras in a Hong Kong Room.
★ ★ Risk - A deep look at Wikileaks - from the inside the embassy.
The Murder of Fred Hampton - How the FBI brazenly assassinated an American citizen without any warrant or due process
Weiner - An incredible look at how political campaigns function from the inside.
The Corporation - What are corporations?
The Shock Doctrine - Lectures by Naomi Klein, news-reel footage and analysis to explain the connection between politics and economics.
Hypernormalization - Explains not only why chaotic events happen - but also why we, and politicians, cannot understand them.
Inside Job - A look at the cause for the financial crisis
Podcasts
Start off with:
★ ★ ★ Citations Needed
Also Great:
Intercepted
Current Affairs Podcast
Chapo Trap House
Moderate Rebels
Economic Update
Protect Yourself:
PrivacyToolsIO,
Electronic Frontier Foundation
submitted by -_-_-_-otalp-_-_-_- to BreadTube [link] [comments]

I've reached the extent that I think I can tell this story. This is my experience with the cult

Introduction
I am hesitant to begin writing about these memories, and for two reasons. The first is out of fear - fear of retaliation. You see, I was taken advantage of by a cult that I escaped a few years ago in the summer of 2018. I wasn’t involved for long - ten months - but that wasn’t the end of the cult’s influence on me, as they cleverly had a previously unaffiliated visitor contact me and try to bring me back during the period afterwards. I believe they are still keeping tabs on be covertly, but this may just be my paranoid nature.
For nearly the entire first year afterwards, I was always looking over my shoulder to see if I was being followed. They definitely have an interest in roping me back into the fold, as you will see how sociopathic these people are. I’m still traumatized, and although I have healed a great deal from these trials, there is still lingering conditioning that causes me panic attacks and anxiety, which exemplifies my schizoaffective disorder. I attribute much of the reason I’m houseless now to the combination of my mental health and trauma caused by this group.
The second reason I am hesitant to begin writing is also out of fear, but this is instead a fear of not being able to deliver on my promise to expose this cult. I know I have the ability to write about my account, but will it be good enough? Will I be throwing these words into the electronic ocean like so many others with little effect on the world? I feel that no matter how hard I try, I will be unable to capture the cult’s devious acts in such a way to convey what it was like for me, a vulnerable individual, to be slowly turned into an obedient slave.
Inadequacy. This is an important piece of my psychology. After watching my mother decay and die for the first nine years of my life, followed by being raised by an abusive, narcissistic father, I have a profound feeling of inadequacy ruling me. I never feel like I am good enough; that I have to self-sacrifice - to the point where I believed I had to be as good as Jesus Christ - in order to achieve a passable level of human adequacy. The cult took advantage of these feelings in spades and left me a shell of who I was previously.
Fortunately, the period of houselessness that has extended the last year or so of my life has been a radically transformative period where I feel able to step out from barriers that previously trapped me. I feel freer than I ever have been, and to be honest, I owe a lot to the cult for pushing me to my breaking point and learning where my boundaries are. In fact, I don’t believe I could have stepped away from the denial of having a feminine side if it weren’t for the ridiculousness of how far I was pushed.
Now, I stand strong, ready to accomplish this mission life has presented me. It is my basic civic duty to tell my story and warn the public about this group and others who prey on vulnerable individuals in an unstable socioeconomic period. They deliberately attract people who are vulnerable for personal or financial reasons. For instance, there was a flat-earther from Belgium who was here illegally that got roped into our group by being attracted to the messages of sovereignty and their abundance of kooky new age beliefs. They even tried to get me to recruit more members using the same strategies they hooked me with - which is standard cult behavior.
This leads right into how I got involved with the cult in the first place. Part of it is my fault, as I was young and naive. I still am, but now I have the wisdom to not throw myself out there for any group to start manipulating. There are many people who can be drawn into their preying behavior, and it is important that I elaborate on how easy it is to get duped, so others don’t follow in my footsteps.
As you will see, the group was bizarre in many ways. I want to start off by saying that I did not join an organization of pee-drinkers who practiced blood-magick on the side of Main Street. Instead, I started working for a nonprofit that promised to change the world, and appeared to have the ability to do that. The weirdness grew exponentially over time, gradually as they conditioned us to accept their way of life.
On my own end, I wanted to join an intentional community; one where everyone involved works towards a singular end as one unit. I longed for the camaraderie and an alternate way of life. I wanted something different than what - as the cult called the common culture - “The Matrix,” or “Babylon” offered. There are such communities, but because of devious groups like this, everyone needs to be cautious when attempting to find them. I still seek to find or create an alternative lifestyle for myself where I can live amongst my brothers and sisters away from the mass-produced consumer culture of the world.
It’s been a hell of a journey, but I am happy where I am now. If anything, the group taught me that self-love is our first love; if the gardener does not take care of themselves, then who takes care of the garden? With my efforts to find such a community as I wanted, it was inevitable that some group would have sunk their teeth into me. I am grateful that I was able to recognize the far-flung insanity that I was trapped in and escape. Now I just need to focus on recovering and helping others who may be searching for the same things I am.
Chapter 1
It all started early in 2017. I was working on reverse networking, like trying to place a letter on someone’s shoes to let them know I exist. I was hoping to find a project I could use my skills as a writer and juggler by broadcasting who I was on our small online community, The Shrug Life Syndicate, on Reddit. I was so desperate to find such a community that fit my ideals and goals that I didn’t even conceive that someone could be watching in order to learn about me.
They first posted a link to their site on our community’s board, when they were still going by the Awakening Sovereignty Collective. To best understand how I perceived them initially, you have to understand that I was lost in what we at the Shrug Life Syndicate call the synchronicity slip stream. An aspect of my schizoaffective disorder, I often get lost in various series of synchronicities that form a coherent narrative that compels me to behave differently than I otherwise would. It is an amazing feature of my mental health for creativity and finding alternative solutions to problems, but it can be debilitating when trying to fit in to the normal world. When the ASC posted, I believed applying on their website was the obvious thing I should do in order to accomplish my cosmic mission.
Well, nothing happened at first, and I forgot about them until several months later until I received an email stating I was hired. This came after a series of strange tasks from anonymous accounts that seemed to be tests to see if I was as capable of a writer as I portrayed myself as being. I remember one test was to see if I could write a sales pitch for “Unicorn Poop,” an edible snack with a humorous twist. I don’t have any proof that these two events are connected, but it definitely tripped my radar as odd that they happened one after another, and nothing ever came from the sales tasks.
Having passed their tests, I began working with them online. It was a slow process, as there wasn’t a lot of work right out the gate, but there was a lot to learn. Their websites were many in number and often confusing. I had difficulty navigating them and almost quit trying within days of getting started. I remember crumbling back into my addictive nature one night as the wailing cries of depression came roaring back with my initial perceived failure.
If I were not partially psychotic, believing the universe was guiding me to the salvation I sought, then that would have been the end of it. Many other people seemed to have given up while I was still new to working for them. If I were to guess, I would say that this was deliberate on their part in order to weed out only people like me, who were in some way desperate to be a part of the group. With only a small number of desperate people finding their way into the clutches of these people, it must be easier to control them as well.
The ASC promised a new way of life for anyone seeking it. They claimed to be a planetary alliance that was helping ecovillages, nonprofits, conscious businesses, and individual change agents. They were working on a cryptocurrency and software suite that would help communities better serve the world. This was at the peak of the bitcoin bubble, where many people unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies were trying to get in on the hype. They touted a number of figures and claims which ultimately turned out to be false or otherwise misrepresentative of the truth, but in the moment I believed everything they were shoveling.
It was easy for them to sell the idea and project as they were all natural sales personalities. I attended a lot of meetings, particularly with the writer’s team, and started to get to know the people behind the project. In the moment, they appeared to be down-to-Earth and relatable, but highly conscious individuals who really cared about the world and were motivated to do the work necessary to make the changes needed for the planet. In hindsight, they really only cared about money, and were playing a part to catch people like me.
The leader was named Dakota, if that was his real name (I believe most of the main group had adopted a second name to hide who they really were). He was a young man claiming to have graduated high school at ten, and he founded a company known as STADA which was facilitating much if not all of the software needs of the ASC. He was brilliant, but I believe most of his brilliance was self-generated through his ability to sell himself as more than he really was. He always acted like a millionaire who was going to change the world, which made it easy for him to sell the project to people like me.
The co-leader was named Lila. She was a cheerful person who always had something positive to add to the conversation. While working with her, I found this to be a powerful part of her personality. It was hard to say no to her, as she had a motherly vibe and she strategically would ask you to do things that left you feeling compelled to help her, for the good of the project. She first won me over by claiming to run a retreat center for circus skills. I only heard of this in the beginning of my journey with the group, so I believe it may have been a bogus means to shift my opinion of them.
The leader of the writer’s team was named Teahna, who was beautiful and knew how to use her womanly charm to influence others. She seemed to be new to the project as well, having recently written her first book, and my time working with her online seemed to be a learning experience for both of us. I believe this was also planned, so that I would have some support learning what I was supposed to be doing on the various websites that seemed to pile up more and more as time went on.
The work was easy at first. There were no assignments or anything like that. It was all pile work - as in, just grab a shovel and get paid for what you move. As a writer, I naturally gravitated to the writers team’s tasks, but I also helped with the education team and the core tasks of the group. Mostly I wrote articles and website content for them, but I also wrote fake twitter bios, social media posts, and began working on their constitution/manifesto before arriving at their headquarters.
I was making good money, both in real dollars and their own cryptocurrency, Equality Keys. They claimed we could trade their currency for real money at any time, which turned out to be a lie. They often only let us exchange it at certain times at a reduced value. But, I was naive enough to believe that the numbers on my screen were real and meant I was doing good. It wasn’t long before I earned upwards of thousands of dollars worth of their currency, which was promised to rise in value as the project continued to grow and evolve.
After a few weeks working with them, they began toying with a name change to Earth Nation. I believe this is a key part of their method of staying under the radar. By changing names and projects frequently, they never gather enough clout to be exposed as the charlatans that they are. They would later create a new project known as Earth Cycle, and there was a tentacle organization we got hooked into after our stay with the main group called Lovecycle. In regards to the latter, I will never forget the name Lovecycle, as that is when the bulk of bizarre and traumatic events occured.
This is around the same time that my girlfriend at the time began helping out as well. We worked together as a writer and artist combo, and they were initially excited to have another person joining to help. There was some friction though, such as bluntly being told they had no need for an artist at this time after they welcomed her onboard, and there were moments where it seemed like they did not want her to be a part of the project. As they turned her and I against each other much later in our odyssey with them, I think this must have been deliberate to sow the seeds of conflict between us. Again, this is classic cult behavior. I regret bringing her into the whole thing, as she is no doubt as traumatized as I am.
What really allowed me to lose myself in the hope of the project was the possibility to do exactly as I dreamed: travel with a caravan, juggle at festivals, help sell whatever my girlfriend and others made, and write gonzo journalism about what Earth Nation was doing. One of the main draws of the group was that they advertised in the meetings about how they had a proposal system, where anyone could come with their plan and it could be voted on to be given resources. They were interested in my idea (how much of that was just gaslighting me to believe I’ve found the perfect gig, I don’t know), and wanted me to do some journalism about my experiences moving to their headquarters just outside Eugene, Oregon - on the other side of the country.
My girlfriend and I were ecstatic at the idea of starting a new life on the west coast. It was the dream we both shared, to abandon the broken world we knew and join something better. We began preparing for the move, sold all of our stuff, and eventually took off from the airport with only three bags to our name. It was a leap of faith, and we were never happier to embrace our dreams and begin to live a much more interesting life.
Chapter 2
We left on October 25th, about a couple months after I first began working for the ASC. It was an amazing trip that we thought would represent our rebirth. I remember arriving at the airport feeling as though I was leaving a part of my past behind. I felt a wave of solemn emptiness and fear over this, but I have since learned such feelings are common with change of this magnitude. Mostly, I felt joy that a new chapter of my life was unfolding before my eyes.
It was a time where it seemed like we had infinite potential right at our fingertips. Who knew what would actually go down over the coming months? We were grateful for the opportunity and happy about the change. My girlfriend even changed her name to Awen to start over fresh as a new person. I still stuck with my birth name, Gregory, but eventually I would start going by the name Rory after having been pressured to by the group.
I remember looking out the window while Awen took pictures of everything we flew over. It was a trip in itself to see the world from such an angle. I was amazed at the number of wind farms in the middle of the country. Likewise, the closer we got to our destination, the more mountainous the ground beneath us became. The change in scenery would pale in comparison with the change in the culture of the west coast - one of the main reasons I now consider Portland my new home.
Landing in Eugene’s airport, we were regaled with Ducks memorabilia. This was a pleasant surprise, as I had forgotten that this was where an old hero from my track days, Steve Prefontaine, used to run. This made me feel hopeful while waiting for Teahna and Prism, the leader of the educational team. I remember pacing the entrance hall of the airport with a giddy smile stretching from ear to ear. This was it, I told myself: I had finally found my new home.
After a long day of airline travel, we were eventually picked up in Prism’s van. We were met with hugs and smiles, which rejuvenated us after the natural stress of the trip. We chatted the entire way back to Triangle Lake, where their headquarters supposedly was. Both Awen and I were antsy while being shaken back and forth while sitting on Prism’s bed for the duration of the drive. I distinctly remember the beautiful colors of the autumn trees as we drove past. This last little bit of our trip took roughly forty-five minutes, but it felt like we were pulling up to the headquarters in an instant.
I caught a glimpse of a sign as we pulled into the long driveway: Circle of Children. This would be where we stayed for the first two months. The area was gorgeous. Giant trees covered in green moss extended as far as the eye could see. With the abundance of fern-life, it reminded me of a Jurassic paradise. Out the cracked window of the van, I could hear tree frogs chirping in harmony. It was certainly something out of another world compared to the east coast.
We stopped in front of the main office - the only building with wifi. If I were to graph the amount of access to the internet we had across the ten months we were involved, it would have a steady, negative slope. Of course, while being conditioned by the group, it was barely noticed, as we grew less dependent on the internet as time went on. We were never barred from the outside world - in fact we interacted with it regularly - but the idea of leaving was made so impossibly far outside the bounds of possible choices through a long series of scripted events.
Which is why the entire beginning of our stay at the Triangle Lake Convention Center seemed like something out of a fantasy paradise. Everything, from the overarching narrative we were fed, to the day-to-day interactions, was designed to win us over, gaslight us, and manipulate us emotionally by using our traumas against us. In the aftermath of the whole escapade, I learned that this is the type of manipulation that cults use to prevent members from seeing reason while keeping them docile, obedient work horses for the greater project, whatever it may be.
It is clear to me now that Earth Nation and all tentacle organizations are a purely criminal enterprise - a money-making machine for those at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Even though we were supposedly a DAO - a decentralized autonomous organization - there were clearly people who were centralized leaders profiting from everything the group did.
And everybody played their roles well upon our arrival. We were greeted with another barrage of hugs as we got out of the van. Everybody was excited to finally meet us in person, as were we to meet them. We chatted with Dakota and Lila for some time outside of the office. They were the exact same as their online personas. In the moment, this gave us a sense that these people were genuine, but in hindsight it serves as a reminder that anyone can create a convincing character and play them whenever they want - even if they choose to never take their deceptive masks off.
We were then shown where we would be staying. Up the hill and to the left we drove until we were in front of Carmen Hall. It was a quaint dorm-style lodging with a large common area and a small kitchenette. Many nights were spent in the common room with the others who were staying in the building. Because we were a couple, we were given the largest room with its own bathroom.
That’s another thing that changed in a downward slope: our living quarters. Over the course of the ten months we were with them, we were downgraded from having our own space, to sharing space, to living in a tent. And again, because of the conditioning, we were fine with the change.
Sometime during the early evening, we went back down to the dining hall and kitchen which was across the way from the main office. Here, we met a variety of characters, including Tuva, a humble appearing guy with a large social network he brought with him to the project, and Daniella, who would turn out to be mommy dearest as she was the sole woman controlling us for the majority of our adventure on the west coast. A Brazillian native, she was as good of a manipulator as she was a cook, and we all enjoyed a wonderful meal on our first night in Oregon.
Before the night was up, we went behind the kitchen to smoke with a man named Grizzly; a wild looking man who mostly kept quiet but had a mouth to use if he needed it. It was the first time we smoked in Oregon and it felt liberating to finally be in a legal state. But, as freeing and fun as being able to smoke whenever we wanted, I believe the abundance of weed we were constantly fed was a means to keep us docile. Daniella always made sure we had some weed, and would frequently smoke with us. I feel I would have been able to say something as things changed if I were not dependent on the constant stream of marijuana.
Afterwards, we went back to Carmen Hall with a couple of members who also stayed there, and Daniella performed a pendulum reading for me and my girlfriend. Holding a crystal on a chain, she “read” the direction it spun as she brought it up in alignment with our chakras. She was spot on and I wanted to say that she had excellent observation skills, but I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t want to offend anyone’s beliefs, especially my girlfriend who considered herself a mystic and bought into the act.
That night we cuddled in our room, smiling as wide as our mouths could. We had done it - we successfully started our new lives and were going to be a part of something we still had yet to fully comprehend. Everything was new and exciting, and while we were overjoyed, we were glad we had each other because things were still scary. If only we had known then how scary things would become.
Chapter 3
The next morning, we showered, dressed, and went down to the kitchen. There was a slight fog in the air, and we saw a family of deer in a clearing off the road. We would see this family of deer several times during out stay at Triangle Lake, which greatly enthused my girlfriend. She said they were a symbol of wisdom, and must be a good sign as we continued to be indoctrinated by the new age beliefs of the group.
We were early, as our daily meetings were at ten and that is when most people started to show up at the office. But Grizzly was there, as he stayed at the nurses station that sat next to the main office. He offered us some dabs, which just further enforced our belief that this was a great group to be a part of. He also offered me a metal six-shooter pipe, which proved to be the main piece I would smoke out of for the entirety of our adventure.
Breakfast consisted of whatever we could scrounge up. There was a huge walk-in freezer in the kitchen that hosted tons of food when we first got there. There were also a wide selection of dry foods such as figs and nuts. That whole selection would dwindle over time, as the group got everything as donations, usually by soliciting the local food pantries and the Eugene mission and much was close to their expiration dates. It was common to open the freezer and find something moldy.
This was the first time I really interacted with Doran. Doran looked a lot like me - complete with similar beard and glasses - but had shorter, curlier, and darker hair. It was joked that “I was another you.” He appeared to be a really kind-hearted person, and we frequently went to him with problems. This is likely planned as well, to have someone to vent the frustrations we were experiencing as the project transitioned to something different than what we signed up for. I opened up to him before I did with other members, even asking for relationship advice as they tried turning Awen and I against each other between, and received what I now consider a long-standing act of being a good ear with standard advice from the group. Still, he was funny and I enjoyed making strange mixtures of food with him.
As it neared ten, we shuffled to the office to have our meeting. The office had two rooms, and we were all huddled in a circle in one of them. This was nice during the coming months as it was also the only room with the heater. These meetings proved to be a main means to program us, as there were many exchanges that could have only been scripted. We would often talk about one thing, but there would be a subtopic that was teased that would change the meaning of the whole meeting in the context that I heard it. Often there would be some crosstalk in the kitchen beforehand, or something during the day that warped my understanding of what was said
We were required to work thirty hours a week in order to receive our basic income of two hundred dollars a month, as per our agreements before moving to the headquarters. However, it wasn’t long before they duped us by saying the basic income would be used to cover our time staying at Triangle Lake. We weren’t able to fight it, because our tongues were tied by the desire to fit in and be accepted by the group. The ways that they changed things were gradual and deliberate, so that you would never really feel like you were getting taken advantage of. It was just a change, which was alright, because there was a world to save and we were the group who was going to get it done.
That was one of the major ways they were able to get away with a lot of the back-pedaling of agreements - they would always have new, unexpected surprises waiting for us. It was gradual, but they introduced several new elements of communal living that required us to sacrifice more of our money and autonomy. They did this by having so-and-so nonchalantly bringing up these concerns in the meetings, then downplaying the resulting effects as something that should be expected, then agreeing with Dakota or Lila.
Keeping track of my hours was a joke. For everything I did, I was told I should have taken less time in order to do. The criticism I received came tongue-in-cheek and constructive at first, but steadily devolved into a series of harsh critiques that would leave me distraught and unable to think clearly. I was still unmedicated back then, and my emotional state was as turbulent as a hurricane. They did similar things to my girlfriend, as Lila took her under her wing, treating her as her child in order to take advantage of her own trauma she had with her mother.
If there was one thing these people really excelled at it is control. They figured us out quickly and efficiently and then used our traumas against us. Our second night there consisted of an informal group of the residents who stayed at Carmen Hall staring into each other’s eyes and then saying out loud what we felt at that moment. I remember staring at Daniella, who was a silhouette with the lamp directly behind her, and asking for healing. Something about the way she stared at me seemed to provoke a sense of trust and I felt that she would be able to help with a lot of the problems.
That’s one way they won over us and got us to do whatever they wanted. They are experts at gaining people’s trust and then they take advantage of that fact. Through these scripted and planned events they were able to warp our realities to the point where we were already robotic slaves right off the bat. We certainly were eager to earn their approval and work our way to a position where we were seen as valuable members of the project.
One of these planned events was Kukui’s birthday, which was just a few days after we got there. Kukui was a groundskeeper who had previously lived in Hawaii and was joked as being a ginger Jesus. He was an incredible person who really cared about the Earth. I have no idea if he was part of the manipulation or if he was there on similar beliefs that this was a group doing immense good in the world.
Early on during the night’s preparation, Dakota and Lila walked up to us and asked if we wanted to go out to eat with them. This struck us as odd that they would abandon Kukui on his birthday, but we didn’t see it as too weird at the time. We struck up a conversation, where it was revealed that Dakota had two EBT cards from different states.
One big hook they sunk into us was the idea that it was us versus the government. They managed to convince us that the institutions of the world were parasitic - which they usually are - but did it in such a way that made us feel like we were in a spiritual war against the bad boogie men of the world. And they managed this by gradually exposing us to more and more deliberate acts of defiance, in order to manifest our own sovereignty against the parasitic government.
It’s what led to us accepting some of their more diabolic schemes. For instance, there was talk about building a village in Ava, Missouri, moving all their people in, and then taking over the mayorship. They chose Missouri for this plan due to the different building codes of the state. In the moment, this seemed like a brilliant plan for expanding the influence of Earth Nation, but in hindsight appears to be a dystopian means to increase their power and continue taking advantage of people.
These were little seeds they planted that made us more comfortable with doing certain things that we otherwise wouldn’t. Awen was particularly uncomfortable with many of the things we did, but eventually they did get her to help out with their schemes. By keeping us under fear and gradually conditioning us, they were able to make us obedient as we were always looking out for our immediate survival.
Fear. That is an emotion I am now excessively familiar with as a result of this cult. While I have battled paranoia all my life, they took those primal emotions and twisted them to the point that I had no idea which way was up. Each day gradually became a battle while being on high alert, as I constantly scrambled to overcome whatever artificial set-backs were planted in my way and keep up with the workload that was presented to me.
My first exposure to this form of emotional manipulation came during Halloween. The night began jovially as Doran wore a plastic bag as a costume and invented a new dance that we all participated in. Daniella was preparing a large meal in the kitchen while we helped and played in rhythm to one another. The dinner we shared was only part of the night’s events that would change my life completely.
After dinner, Awen and I went back to our room and talked about what we wanted to do that night. The rest of the group was still down at the dining hall and preparing for a fun night of festivities. Awen was not opposed to me going, but she was and still is a pagan and wanted to celebrate her ancestors as per the tradition of Samhain. I debated spending the night with her, but the opportunity to spend time with these new people in our life made me curious as to what they would be doing. I will also admit that I was much more controlled by my addictive nature and was excited to drink with them.
So down I went. As I entered the dining hall, I saw that they were drinking tequila and generally having a great time. Naturally, I joined in and took a shot. Jovial times were had, and some time later I was offered another shot, but I did not see them pour this one. This turned out to be a crucial mistake on my part as I would find out that there was something else, something with psychedelic qualities, in the drink. It was not LSD, as I am familiar with the effects of that drug, so I am at a loss for what it could have been.
As the night went on I began to feel funny. It wasn’t until we were in a smoke circle that I began to notice something was wrong. I had trouble forming words and when Grizzly asked me a question all I could muster was a “hi!” This tripped me up and I went inside to go sit down.
This is where my memory starts to get fuzzy. I was mostly left alone as I sat cross-legged on a mat on the floor, but eventually there were three other people sitting around me, with a bottle placed in the center of us. I remember Prism and Josh, a carpenter who was doing some work on the buildings at Triangle Lake, were two of the people surrounding me, but I don’t remember any of the conversation they were having. I just remember getting really spooked at that time and tried to leave.
I don’t know how long it took me to get back to Awen, but I do remember the headlights of a vehicle coming down the hill as I was going up. It was late by the time I made it back in into Carmen Hall, which suggests that I have no memory of what happened after the apparent spin-the-bottle episode. My memory starts to get better as I remember lying there with Awen trying to articulate what was going on, but my words just spiraled into incomprehensible nonsense. She was worried for me, just as I was worried for myself.
The next morning continued on as if nothing ever happened, but I was emotionally jostled for the next few days. Nothing was ever said about what happened the night before, and a part of me was terrified that something happened Because my mother had AIDS, and that is a terror I still battle to this day, I obsessed over the idea that Prism, who was HIV positive, may have done something with me. I’ve since been tested and everything’s fine, but for a while I was terrified that I was raped.
Was that a rational or irrational fear? I’ll never know. What I do know is that they took advantage of my perturbed state by subtly twisting the knife in the following days with their synchronous set-ups, making me feel guilty that I did not choose to spend time with Awen that night, and thus making me work harder than ever before.
Chapter 4 in comments
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The Great Gold vs Bitcoin Debate: Casey vs Matonis

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