Top 10 Best Binary Options Brokers and Trading Platforms 2020

The speech that would actually redeem Bernie Sanders and start to heal the damage he has done.

Forgiveness should always be offered to someone who demonstrates that they understand how their actions caused harm, that they are sorry for the harm, and that they are committed to repairing the damage they did as well as not do it again. Bernie has not done any of this. This is the speech he would give if he were truly taking the first step on the road to redemption.
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Looking back at the last 5 years I realize that I have made some big mistakes and caused a lot of harm to a lot of people. I am here today to ask your forgiveness. Since I was a young man I believed in a vision of America that I sincerely believed would be widely adopted if I could only get the word out. I was arrogant. I assumed that the only explanations for not supporting my vision was ignorance or corruption. There was no room in my worldview for good faith disagreement or working with others. It was my way or the highway. Which is not the American way.
The first people I want to apologize to are my donors. I told you that money wins elections and that if you donated to me I would win. I asked many of you to give not simply from your excess but from your need - promising you that pain endured now to support me would pay off later. And you gave me over half a billion dollars across 2 primaries allowing me to outspend everyone except Bloomberg by tens of millions of dollars. Yes, I outspent Hillary. I was the big money candidate in 2016, not her. I spent twice as much as Joe in 2020. And they both won by popular vote landslides. Money doesn't buy elections. It just gets your message out there. If voters don't like your message then money can't help you.
I refused to accept what this meant in 2016 choosing instead to focus on how much better I had done than I ever had before. I saw myself on an upward trajectory and focused on spreading my message instead of on defeating Donald Trump. In fact, I viewed Donald Trump's election as beneficial to my long term goals. If Hillary won and made things better people would cease feeling the urgency I did. But if Trump won things would get worse and I would be in a position to harness that pain in 2020. I had no idea how much worse things would get. But that is no excuse. The very act of supporting harm to others to advance oneself is disqualifying and self destructive. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "You can't fight hate with hate, only love can do that". He was right. I was wrong.
In the beginning of 2020 I had an option to atone and put progress ahead of my own ego but I didn't take it. I could have stayed out of the race and supported Elizabeth Warren. She is a better candidate than me in many ways. She was a struggling single mother where I was a deadbeat dad - it's true I walked out on my son Levi when he was an infant - something you'd all know if the DNC had been rigging things against me. They weren't. There are many more such skeletons in my political closet that not one single Democrat has attacked me with. But you can bet the GOP would not hold back if I'd been the nominee. Warren is a much better face for the movement than I am. She has won significant victories in passing banking regulations and consumer protections - actually doing things I only talked about. I've been in Washington for 30 years while she has only held office for 7 yet her accomplishments dwarf mine. She is a decade younger and in much better health. She has higher approval ratings and support among constituencies I can't get traction in. Where I have slogans she has plans. But I was drunk on adulation and validation. I wanted the roaring crowds chanting my name like I had in 2016. I wanted the money, the interviews, the attention. So I convinced myself that her sex meant she couldn't win and that I had an obligation to run - to do what I deeply wanted to do anyway. This is nonsense. Hillary Clinton proved in 2016 that a woman can win when she got 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. With my help Warren could have won. With my help Clinton could have won. And I will spend the rest of my life trying to atone for undercutting both of them. Especially Warren who was always my friend and ally but I treated her like an enemy and encouraged my fans to attack her horribly when she got in my way. I'm so very sorry Elizabeth.
The 2020 primary was my wake up call. I expected to do better than I did in 2016 - I expected to win. My name was now nationally known, I had spent 4 years in the public eye ensuring that my message understood by all. I had finally achieved my lifelong dream of being heard. It is why I published a newsletter as a young man, why I had my own weekly television show as Burlington's mayor, why I was blogging regularly when most Senators didn't know what the internet was. It was why I was deeply jealous of Clinton for not only getting higher speaking fees than I did but having a much wider audience than me. It is why in 2016 I spent 29 million dollars on social media manipulation. If you add up every House, Senate, and presidential candidate in American history combined it is less than what I spent drowning out any other voice on reddit, twitter, and facebook. But now that I had been heard I was certain there would be a moment of class consciousness that would elect me in a landslide.
But there wasn't.
In fact not only did I lose, I lost even worse than last time. In 2016 Hillary Clinton got 4 million more votes than I did. In 2020 Joe Biden got 9 million more votes than I did. But - most shocking to me - I got 4 million fewer votes than I did last time. People who supported me in 2016 left me in 2020. How could they have seen the light and then walked away from it? I really struggled with this and understanding it was not easy. Some people noticed that I stopped showing up for work in the Senate for several months while I came to grips with losing a race I had assumed was in the bag. Important votes happened and I wasn't there. My absence made the difference in some of them. Warren, Klobuchar, Harris - they didn't let having their dreams be crushed stop them from doing their job. I did. Yet another way in which I failed to be the person I thought I was. The person I told you I was. They were fighters, showing up every day for you. I wasn't.
Most of the reason my vote total shrank was that in 2016 over a fifth of my voters listed Biden as their first choice. He wasn't running in 2016. He was running in 2020. I was so caught up in my own righteousness that I assumed every vote cast for me was truly for me. They weren't. As soon as a candidate more to their liking showed up they left. Another reason my vote shrank was due to my own behavior. I hired to run my campaign people who saw the world as I did. A simple binary choice between good and evil where I was good and everyone else was evil. Where the world was broken and only I could fix it. Nobody else was good enough. Everyone else was corrupt. They worshipped me and I reveled in it. I treated every other successful candidate as enemies to be destroyed and my staff imitated me creating a uniquely toxic campaign culture that repelled voters. My zero tolerance policy for questioning or criticism blinded us all to impending defeat. Anyone who disagreed, after all, was "low information" or "corrupt" and didn't need to be listened to. But we were the real low information people.
In examining my failures and coming to accept my faults I now understand and accept why so many voters rejected me. I failed the Commander and Chief test not once but many times in these last 5 years. I am never running for President again and wouldn't accept the nomination if it was somehow offered to me. So please, stop wishing for something bad to happen to Biden on my behalf. He is a good man and a great leader who will be a fine president. He may not be going to my destination but he is going in a good direction that will heal this country. Vote for him. And vote in every election, not just Presidential years.
- Imaginary Bernie Sanders
submitted by Mrs_Frisby to Enough_Sanders_Spam [link] [comments]

I need a plan to get out in the next 2-3 years.


So, been a long time since I've posted using this throwaway account of mine. A bit of background: my parents think I'm a cis woman but I'm not (I'm non binary and bisexual, haven't come out to my parents because they are homophobes). Both the parents are very manipulative, in different ways. The mother gets all sulky if you point out any of her mistakes and always wants to believe she is the victim (the father has emotionally abused her but I feel no sympathy towards her at all. Or, to be pedantic, every time I try to force myself to feel sympathy for her because my dad is a male chauvinist and treats both of us about the same, I just can't no matter how hard I try). The father is a typical overt narcissist, refuses to admit he has a problem, refuses to go to couples' therapy with the mother, thinks everybody else should be at his beck and call and expects everyone else to rearrange their lifestyle and schedules around his. He is also Islamophobic, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and fascist. The mother has a lot of internalized misogyny; she has been seeing a psychiatrist for the past 3-4 years but that's just for her relationship problems, not for the abuse she inflicted upon me and my brother. My brother has been completely gaslit by my parents. I try to avoid the three of them as much as possible, sometimes postponing meals by half an hour or an hour past my usual time just so that I can eat in peace. Even then sometimes the mother waits for me because she can't stop fucking talking all the time.
I still don't know if the mother is an nmother or an emother, both possibilities are unsurprising. Or maybe she is a mixture of both. She also used to hit me when I was young, but not every day, just when she was angry with me or when I did something wrong. The physical abuse stopped when the father returned from the US to stay with us. After that, both of them started emotionally abusing me and poking fun at my mannerisms and personality every chance they got. I will not go into details here, but suffice to say that enduring all that BS made me passively suicidal and depressed and gave me massive amounts of anxiety about doing random things. Their infighting also meant that I was not taught crucial life skills when I was younger. I know I should try to learn some, but every time I try to hang around the mother and learn something I get flashbacks from the physical abuse and of the times she threatened to commit suicide to get me and my brother to listen to her.
Obviously, they are both extremely manipulative. They were abused themselves as children but didn't bother fixing themselves before they had children or even consulting a therapist/ psychologist even though a lot of mental illnesses run through both their families (like schizophrenia, BPD, depression, anxiety, etc).
Oh yeah also the father is a part of some religious cult, which greatly affected the parents' marriage over the years because the mother left the cult after she noticed some fishy things. And she got me out of there too, for which I am slightly grateful. But not much since that's just normal parent stuff. It doesn't excuse her abusive tendencies.
I think by December next year I will have a Master's degree in Chemistry from one of the most prestigious colleges in India (my GPA isn't good enough to apply to good schools in the US, although I have ~3 years of combined research experience over the entirety of the 5 years I will have spent in college by next December). Now the question remaining for me is to figure out how to use that to my advantage. Since I'm a US citizen (we are all US citizens) living in India, there will be nothing useful left for me here once I graduate. OCIs do not have the same rights in India as Indian citizens do (that is to say, we do not have as many rights as people holding Indian passports do). I would like to return to a blue state in the US with enough savings to be able to live without employment for a year (if shit hits the fan).
I'm still confused about whether or not I should apply for a PhD. It's the easiest escape route for me and it'll give me an excuse to leave, but I'm not sure if I want to work on the same research problem for 4-5+ years. And lately experimental chemistry has been losing its lustre for me. For my Master's project I will be doing some mild statistics/ computation based work, but that's unlikely to involve any serious programming. I tried to learn programming using online courses but for some reason I have a fear of getting things wrong and of not understanding things, which makes it rather difficult for me to keep up. So I abandoned that particular endeavour for now. Also, the longer I stay in academia, the harder it will be for me to switch to industry later on. I was considering getting into something like science communication, but most of the advice I've seen online is geared towards making videos, not writing articles. If anyone has any tips on how to start, I would greatly appreciate it if you could post some here.
I'm also very apprehensive about moving abroad because all my potential support systems are inevitably tied to the parents in some way. I don't want to end up homeless or something in a racist and borderline fascist country like the US (I mean, unless the Dwump gets voted out this November and America somehow gets on a redemption arc), that would just end up making me even more depressed and suicidal.
I did start therapy sessions in secret, but the parents are both very nosy people. I have no privacy. I've been doing sessions when I go for a stroll downstairs, but network issues and background noise ruins the experience for both me and my therapist (not to mention the morons here who roam around without masks and don't pay attention to their children even though we've had some cases of the virus here already...it's almost as if desi culture just waits until shit hits the fan and then blames younger people for not taking care of a situation older people got themselves in).
I was thinking of approaching the US Consulate (online) after I land a job or a PhD position, but I'm not sure if that's helpful. The father has contacts in the government so I'm also scared if he will set them onto me if he finds out I plan to leave. Also some of my documents are locked in a safe and only given to me if I need them for some official paperwork. Even then I can't do something like scanning 2 copies and emailing them to myself, because the parents keep watching over my shoulder.
I also need to siphon money into another bank account, but I think my parents can see some of my transactions (if they see the ones with the therapist I can just tell them she's a friend, they're too clueless to scout further. They actually think I'm quite dumb, which has proven a very useful misconception to me so far at least :)) so I'm not a big fan of that. Also I lost my college scholarship this month, and the father makes too much money for me to apply to the other scholarship options given to students. I plan to do this whole money siphoning thing after my parents put a more substantial amount of money in my personal account. Right now I have just enough to pay for about 30 therapy sessions. I can ask them for money if I run out and have to buy food at college or something.
I'm probably just rambling, but I keep trying to come up with some sort of plan but it gets too overwhelming. It would be great if I could just decide what the fuck to do with my career in future. Then maybe I can get started on the budgeting and stuff, and accruing contacts who can help me get the hell out of this godforsaken household. Also please give me some concrete advice on how to grey rock, I know people keep saying "make yourself as uninteresting as possible" but that doesn't help much since I don't know how to hide my emotions. It's like I'm either numb or hyper-emotional. Not a very nice state to be in. I've also been very depressed and kinda suicidal so that's hampering my ability to study and (eventually) get good grades for my coursework, which just makes me even more depressed and suicidal because everything feels like it's folding in on itself.
Basically I would like to know what it's like to live in the US. I'm not gonna lie, I'm also fairly apprehensive about having to wipe my ass with toilet paper. Like doesn't it burn your butthole? I'll miss the jet sprays here. :/ (probably the only thing I'll miss about India lol, definitely won't miss the undercurrents of casteism and misogyny and Islamophobia etc in contemporary South Asian societies... dear Lord.) How do you pay income tax if you're a freelancer? What's the renting situation like for PoC in the US, should I try to find a PoC landlord? What state is safest for me to live in? What state has like moderate weather (neither too hot nor too cold)? What if I don't know how to drive, which states have a good public transportation network (I know NY does, but NY seems very expensive)? How do you get SIM cards in the US? Everyday stuff like that.
Also, how do I make sure the parents (and everyone related to them, friends, family, whoever) don't legally have access to any of my stuff? Do I just try to file a restraining order against them when I get to the US? Will that work even though they don't live in the US?
Thanks for reading this long-ass advice request. Should I post on the IWantOut subreddit too? I don't want to ramble there like I did here. :(
submitted by throwaway_3288 to raisedbynarcissists [link] [comments]

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Hello, dummies
It's your old pal, Fuzzy.
As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. I do my bit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post.
That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way.
We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps.
Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy.
TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life
The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows:
Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself.
Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part.
You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus.
That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it.
Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets?
2. A Hedging Taxonomy
The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now.
(i) Swaps
A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one.
Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered.
The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game.
I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging.
There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested.
Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure).
(ii) Forwards
A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me.
Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways.
People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances.
These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them.
(iii) Collars
No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray!
To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts.
(3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs
You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years.
First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA.
Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire.
Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking?
Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama.
Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details.
I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here.
Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post.
*EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
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A Brief introduction to African Socialism

At the end of the Second World War, Europe realized that their hold on their colonial holdings was slipping fast. Most of them began to draw up plans to gradually grant independence. The people within these countries however had different priorities. They saw their chance to break from the colonial masters and took it. In 1950, only Egypt, Liberia, Ethiopia, and South Africa could be considered independent, by 1965 the vast majority of nations were on their own. Some flourished, some languished, but almost all improved with their newfound freedom.
At this time, the world was locked in a struggle between Western Democracy and Communist Dictatorship. With little warning, a new theater opened in the Cold War. Africans were given the decision of who to side with. As an enemy of their former masters, the Soviet Union made a natural ally, and Socialism's anti-imperial (theoretic) stance appealed to people in post imperial regions of the world. Since independence, seventeen African nations have had a government which self-identified as socialist, six of those as Marxist-Leninist. Like Africa itself, socialist movements in the continent were varied and diverse. Ranging from self described socialist Nelson Mandella becoming celebrated world wide for his devotion to peace and equality to Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, whose violence and economic mismanagement killed thousands.
The purpose of this post is to describe the ideological origins and tenets of African socialism, with a look at what makes it distinct from mainstream Communist movements. On this map red shows those states which identified as Marxist, yellow shows those which identified as with a variety of other forms of socialism, and green shows those which more closely fall under the Arab Socialist movement and will not be discussed here.

Ideological Origins

Broadly speaking, African Socialism drew inspiration from two main sources, the traditional body of socialist literature and that of the Pan-African movement.
Socialism
Both the ideological tenets of socialism and the practical concerns socialist nations played a role in African nations adopting socialism. Most of the nations of Africa were in a struggle for freedom from capitalist European countries and found a natural ally in the Soviet Union. Following WWII, it was in many ways a binary choice to side with the US or USSR. Those who led rebellions or coups against US backed leaders had few options other than the USSR.
Political concerns aside, there were many reasons why socialism was ideologically attractive to educated Africans. Socialism is at its base revolutionary. "Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries unite!” With even a cursory glance at Marx, it doesn't take much imagination to see why people oppressed for decades would turn to him.
The anti-Imperial rhetoric of socialism (regardless of the actual aggression of the USSR and PRC) was another motivating factor. In this case, I point to Vladimir Lenin's Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In this work, Lenin points towards imperialism as a symptom of the capitalist system. However, one of the reasons this work remained applicable after the collapse of most overseas empires is due to his characterization of imperialism. One example he gives in the book speaks of US domination of the Argentine beef industry. According to Lenin, though the US never carved out a concession area or installed a governor general, they used economic power to dominate the industry and exert control over the country. This characterization rang true for many people who looked at the efforts taken by former colonial powers looking to retain their economic stakes in their old colonies.
One of the problems socialists face in implementing their policy is that Orthodox Marxism is heavily based on the conditions of 19th century Western Europe, and when applied outside of those conditions, thinkers need to reconcile the inconsistencies with the conditions on the ground. While we will look at how various African leaders adapted the ideology, one sub-ideology which played a major role in African Socialism was Maoism. Orthodox Marxism focuses heavily on a revolution based around industrial workers. Early 20th century China, much like post-colonial Africa had little in the way of industry. Mao re conceptualized the idea of the proletariat to include peasant farmers and made the revolution as agrarian as it was industrial. For example, the first president of Socialist Madagascar released an ideology book heavily inspired by Mao's Red Book. China also served as an alternative source of support in the event of a conflict with Russia; Somalia received aid from the PRC when they were at war with Soviet aligned Ethiopia.
Pan- African Movement
The Pan-African movement did not solely influence the African Socialist movement. In fact, almost all post-colonial governments took inspiration from many of the tenets of movement. Nor were all the central figures socialists, indeed Emperor Halie Salassi of Ethiopia was about as far from socialist as could be. However there was a degree of mutual influence in a number of places. The start of it can be traced to Jamaican thinker Marcus Garvey. The Pan-African colors and the icon of the Black Star both came from him. Kwame Nkrumah mentioned him directly as an influence. This remained on the nationalist and pan-nationalist side of African socialism. This and racial empowerment remained a constant theme in African socialism, with many African thinkers rejecting class reductionism. African's tended to be acutely aware of the role of race in world politics and used it in conjunction with class and capitalist interest to explain the world.
Another major thinker was American W. E. B. du Bois. One of the founding members of the NAACP and author of one of the first sociological works about African Americans, Du Bois is one of the most important figures of the American Civil Rights Movement. Du Bois was in reality a Social Democrat, who often saw world communist governments as a means to an end for black people. In Socialism and the American Negro, he referred to the New Deal as a America's foray into Socialism. Though a stalwart supporter of democracy he visited Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin personally. He was a strong opponent of colonization and spoke to young leaders in the 1945 Pan-African congress. There he met future President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah. He would become a mentor to Nkrumah and move to Accra in his final days.

Non-Marxist-Leninist Socialism

Many of the most interesting and successful movements in Africa were non-Marxist-Leninist. They took local beliefs and attitudes and molded socialism to fit them. These were incredibly diverse, ranging from forms of social democracy to far more authoritarian structures. The leaders ranged from educated elites to guerrilla leaders. The first socialist governments sprang up at independence and continued through the Cold War. These are some of the more notable ones.
Consciencism
Few other thinkers have had near the lasting influence on African politics and philosophy as Kwame Nkrumah. Born to a poor family in the British Gold Coast, Nkrumah was sent to school by his family where he excelled. Interested in Politics and Philosophy, he saved money to pay to visit the United States. He worked menial jobs to put himself through school at Lincoln University and University of Pennsylvania. In the US he became close to expat and American leftists as well as enjoying African American culture. After graduating he went to the London School of Economics. This is where he began political organizing. He returned to the Gold Coast where he founded the Convention People's Party. When the British began increasing local rule, his party swept. When the British did not meet the demands of the Ghanian people, he became a champion of the people with his down to earth nature and organization of general strikes. When Ghana was given full independence, he was the overwhelming choice.
A strict empiricist, Nkrumah sought to make an organic political philosophy that was designed to change as the material needs of the country changed. He determined that the welfare of the individual was the most important concern of the government and society. It was from this lens that he criticized capitalism, contending that it reduced man to a means to achieving the goal of profit. He pointed to traditional African values, Islam, and European influences as the three ideological tides that shaped Africa. The latter two he condemned, though admitted their merits where he saw them (such as the French education system), and gave qualified approval to the first. African society was to be, in spirit but not practice the driver of society. This meant that pan-Africanism and historical study were to be focused on, but the actual institutions such as tribalism, traditional monarchy, and class hierarchies were to be abandoned.
This is where socialism came into Nkrumah's Consciencism. It was not out of devotion to Marxist thinking, but out of a belief that socialist economic structures would be the most effective way of leading the country to prosperity. In a 1967 address he gave in Egypt he stated "Socialism is not spontaneous. It does not arise of itself. It has abiding principles according to which the major means of production and distribution ought to be socialized if exploitation of the many by the few is to be prevented; if, that is to say, egalitarianism in the economy is to be protected. Socialist countries in Africa may differ in this or that detail of their policies, but such differences themselves ought not to be arbitrary or subject to vagaries of taste. They must be scientifically explained, as necessities arising from differences in the particular circumstances of the countries themselves." To Nkrumah, Socialism was not prescriptive, but rather a process where one used communal ownership as needed to create a better society. He was a believer in the idea of scientific socialism in believing that socialism came from the natural needs of the people, rather than an ideological devotion.
Ujamaa
If Nkrumah was a product of the study of Philosophy, Julius Nyerere was a product of the study of anthropology and history. Unlike Nkrumah, Nyerere was the product of elite lineage. His father was a chief who earned the favor of both the German, and later British Administrations in Tanganyika. He was chosen by the British to receive education to be a local leader and studied at Makerere College before finishing his post graduate work at University of Edinburgh. Upon returning, he founded the Tanganyika African National Union, which pushed for independence from the UK through non-violent protest.
His philosophy of Ujamaa, meaning familyhood in Swahili, became the guiding ideology of the party and independent Tanganyika (and Tanzania after their unification with Zanzibar). In this ideology, Nyerere posits that socialism is the natural state of African people. Before the introduction of Western influences, African people lived in an equal and communitarian society. While he admits the existence of elites he countered that the relative equality of means meant that there was no comparison to modern economic structures. For Africans to be prosperous, they had to return to the social structures as well as the spirit of pre-colonial Africa, while accepting modernizations that would benefit the common man.
He posited that African society had a natural social value attached to work, and this work was done, not to the benefit of a capitalist elite, but to the benefit of society, thus with the fruits of labor belonging to society, they could be considered socialist. Through a return to these structures, they could have a socialist society that was structured on the needs of Africans, rather than those of 19th century Europeans. He regarded Marxists as rigid and dogmatic, stating that, "The works of Marx and Lenin are regarded as holy writ… We find them condemning others actions because they do not accord with what the 'priests of scientific socialism' have decided is the true meaning." His ontology marked the community as the basic unit. He believed in socialism through consent of the people, but not necessarily through democracy.

Marxist-Leninism

Marxist-Leninist nations in Africa tend to fill a different niche that those of non-Marxist states. Non-Marxist states tended to grow from movements within the countries with a locally based variant of socialism guiding the development of government structures. Marxist states on the other hand tended to come from the geopolitical needs of the nation. They tended to lean heavily into the support of the Soviet Union or People's Republic of China. These governments tended to be criticized by Orthodox Marxists both within the countries and abroad for simply slapping a Marxist aesthetic on a run of the mill authoritarian state. This is not universal, and depended on the leader and movement. Thomas Sankara (referred to as the African Che Guevara) is celebrated by leftists for his attempts to organize Burkina Faso, whereas his successor Blaise Compaoré simply co-opted Marxist symbolism until the end of the Cold War when it was dropped entirely. The two states I will profile show a best and worst case for African Marxists.
Benin
Nothing I write would be complete without me mentioning Benin somewhere. The Republic of Dahomey gained its freedom from France August 1st, 1960. At that time Hubert Maga, a school teacher turned politician from the North was named first president. Benin is divided into three broad super-cultural groups (though there are a total of 64 ethnic groups). The Fon in the South, the Yoruba in the East, and the Bariba and other Muslims in the North. The Maga government was soon overthrown and the country rapidly switched between a number of governments, each dedicated to giving as much as possible to their constituent area before being removed from office.
This changed in 1972 when a young army officer named Mathieu Kerekou led a successful coup. Kerekou was different in the sense that he had no real ties to any of the political families that had been competing for power. He also ended the system of clientism that had defined Dahomeyan politics to that point (though some contend he showed bias against the Fon. Strongly nationalistic, Kerekou made his hatred for the French clear early on, pointing to them as the cause of many of the country's problems and the patron of the old regime.
In 1974, Kerekou changed the country's name from the Republic of Dahomey to the People's Republic of Benin and formally adopted Marxism-Leninism as the guiding ideology of the nation. Oil reserves and refineries as well as the banking system were rapidly nationalized and Kerekou made overtures to international communist nations for aid. Austerity programs were also quickly ended. The North Koreans were particularly close allies. Curiously, Kerekou worked to retain warm relations with the United States. Peace Corps remained in operation through his entire presidency and working in the American embassy was considered a strong stepping stone.
The practical effects for the average Beninese person varied from urban to village. Local leaders were required to be members of the People's Revolutionary Party, and extreme corruption and inefficiency meant that few resources radiated outside of population centers. Instilled with a strong labor union tradition during French occupation, the national labor movement was consolidated into a single approved union that was basically mandated to follow government orders. Unionized workers as well as students were the chief opponents of the regime and faced significant surveillance and harassment.
This started to change in the mid 80s as it became clear that the regime's economic reforms weren't working. Benin was lagging behind its neighbors Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria. On top of this, student groups and workers in unofficial unions were demanding change. Simultaneously, the election of Francois Mitterrand in France opened a new era in Franco-Beninese relations, shifting the nation back to Western alignment away from the moribund USSR. Under mounting pressure, Kerekou agreed to a constitutional referendum and free elections. Upon his loss, he gracefully stepped down in 1991, but was reelected in 1996. Having dropped Marxism, he led his second term as a moderate liberal, doing little to harm the economic and political reforms of the early 90s.
Ethiopia
Ethiopia, on the other hand, faced the fullest horror of Communism and likely suffered to a similar extent to Ukraine and China. In 1970, the Solomonic Dynasty leading the Empire of Ethiopia was one of the oldest royal houses in the world dating back to 1270 and drawing its lineage back to the Biblical King Solomon. Their last Emperor was Halie Selassie, celebrated among Pan-Africanists as one of the only African leaders to resist colonization. Though celebrated by the diaspora, Selassie's rule was authoritarian and secretive. In 1973, a famine hit Ethiopia. Rather than petition for aid Selassie covered it up, and only accepted aid on the contingency that it was given in secret. The inaction of the Emperor prompted a revolutionary council known as the Derg to take over.
This council quickly moved to numerous industries. Eritrean, Tigre, and Somali nationalists took advantage of the situation to launch offensives against the government. When the Carter Administration warned the Derg to cease the human rights violations they were committing in the crackdown, they cut ties with Washington and invited East-German and Soviet military advisors. In the Tigre region, the Ethiopian military embarked on a scorched earth offensive to quell the rebellion. Using such tactics in a nation with food security concerns was probably ill-advised. The offensive in the North consumed around two thirds of the national budget.
The problems the Derg had created were compounded in 1983. In 1982, the rains failed and there was risk of another great famine. Having become an international pariah due to the extreme violence of Derg forces, the international community was reluctant to give aid and the Reagan administration lobbied heavily against it as part of his campaign to halt Communism in the Horn of Africa. When the famine hit in earnest, the Derg mobilized to create collective farms. These farms were incredibly inefficient, consuming 82% of imported fertilizer while contributing only 15% of grain production. To staff these farms, people from offending areas, particularly Tigre were forcibly removed from their homes and shipped to location. Africa Watch estimates that around 50,000 people died on these farms alone, comparing conditions to the Ukrainian farms in the days of Stalin. In total, as many as 1.2 million people were killed, 2.5 million displaced, with Human Rights Watch estimating that around half could be attributed to government actions.

Conclusion

Socialism is a phenomenon that struck the African continent in many ways across the Cold War era and beyond. Its incarnations were as diverse as the groups it affected. This is by no means an exhaustive look at African socialism, but simply a chance for the reader to find a starting place for further study and give context to an under studied part of the world. Indeed, there were many important people and thinkers left out, such as Cheikh Anta Diop, Walter Rodney, and Siad Barre. Please let me know in the comments what if anything you would like to learn more about. If you found the philosophical analysis or historical fact more interesting, I would be happy to write more about it.
Sources African Socialism Revisited- Kwame Nkrumah
Ujamma – The Basis of African Socialism- Julius K. Nyerere
Drought, War, and the Politics of Famine in Ethiopia and Eritrea- Edmond J. Keller
Applying the weapon of theory: comparing the philosophy of Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Kwame Nkrumah- Tomáš František Žák
Three African social theorists on class struggle, political liberation, and indigenous culture : Cheikh Anta Diop, Amilcar Cabral, Kwame Nkrumah - Charles Simon-Aaron
Socialism and the American Negro- W. E. B. Du Bois
Benin- Chris Allen
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Aging Dad and foreign country.

We use to live in America with my Mom who is originally from Germany. They are divorced. I moved to Germany with her in my mid teens. My Dad came here to and got a job at the base which also was cool because I had the best of both worlds when it came to food.
I have chronic illness but work full time and besides my treatment that I receive which is very time consuming, living as good as I can as a functional "normal" adult with some operations (stopped counting after 40 operations) and down times here and there.
The problem is, my Dad is getting older and is starting to slow down. He works for the US Military and pretty much all privileges are due to him working for them. I am full integrated into the Germany system, but he is not, everything runs through American systems like medical insurance, bank and so on. He also keeps working I think because if he would retire he would have to move back to the states, or worst and why I am writing if something health wise would happen. The headache dealing with things when it comes to doctor visits and contacting his American insurance is very stressful and strange for me when all I do is show my insurance card.
He is a great human but stubborn and shy, he won't ask for help for some reason or he doesn't have answers to when I ask him what we need to get organized before something happens because its scares me because as is, due to my personal medical issues would be under a very heavy mental load + financial situation. In his mind, if something happens it will be binary, so he will go to fully functioning to dead and for some reason even with all my issues can't wrap his mind around life throwing curveballs that is not binary and wouldn't be surprised if he already had something not painful that he is just ignoring.
Are there any people here with a similar situation? The only options for him to stay and be taken care of would be to marry but like I said, he is stubborn even if I were to find an arrangement of some sort.
Another thing is that dating is almost a no go since technical they see me as still living at my Dads place even through I can handle myself and he is living at my place and otherwise am very independent besides my life being only possible due to doctors and nurses which kind of makes me codependent and its killing me inside, sadly I don't make enough to buy a house where we could still be a family but also have more "independence" and a bit freedom.

Edit: If it makes a difference, I don't want him to live by himself in the states and due to chronic illness on my side, cannot really move back since even if my illness is "stabile" is something that I don't want to deal with even if I miss my home country greatly and would love to see my family and friends who we still have contact to after all these years.
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MAME 0.218

MAME 0.218

It’s time for MAME 0.218, the first MAME release of 2020! We’ve added a couple of very interesting alternate versions of systems this month. One is a location test version of NMK’s GunNail, with different stage order, wider player shot patterns, a larger player hitbox, and lots of other differences from the final release. The other is The Last Apostle Puppetshow, an incredibly rare export version of Home Data’s Reikai Doushi. Also significant is a newer version Valadon Automation’s Super Bagman. There’s been enough progress made on Konami’s medal games for a number of them to be considered working, including Buttobi Striker, Dam Dam Boy, Korokoro Pensuke, Shuriken Boy and Yu-Gi-Oh Monster Capsule. Don’t expect too much in terms of gameplay though — they’re essentially gambling games for children.
There are several major computer emulation advances in this release, in completely different areas. Possibly most exciting is the ability to install and run Windows NT on the MIPS Magnum R4000 “Jazz” workstation, with working networking. With the assistance of Ash Wolf, MAME now emulates the Psion Series 5mx PDA. Psion’s EPOC32 operating system is the direct ancestor of the Symbian operating system, that powered a generation of smartphones. IDE and SCSI hard disk support for Acorn 8-bit systems has been added, the latter being one of the components of the BBC Domesday Project system. In PC emulation, Windows 3.1 is now usable with S3 ViRGE accelerated 2D video drivers. F.Ulivi has contributed microcode-level emulation of the iSBC-202 floppy controller for the Intel Intellec MDS-II system, adding 8" floppy disk support.
Of course there are plenty of other improvements and additions, including re-dumps of all the incorrectly dumped GameKing cartridges, disassemblers for PACE, WE32100 and “RipFire” 88000, better Geneve 9640 emulation, and plenty of working software list additions. You can get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page (note that 32-bit Windows binaries and “zip-in-zip” source code are no longer supplied).

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

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Development Diary XXII: Shin Chitsujyo no Kanshou

平和主義なる故に必ずしも正義人道に叶ふに非ず 軍国主義なるが故に必ずしも正義人道に反するに非ず。
Hello and Welcome to the Twenty-Second Diary of The New Order. Today we’ll be covering the ever elusive Home Islands of Japan. For this diary, I, Morriña, your humble writer and team lead of Japan, and the members of the Sphere’s development team will be covering everything from the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War, 1937, up to 1968. I hope you enjoy the vast amount of content we’re attempting to bring to Japan as one of the three main superpowers in the world by 1962.
PART I: 1937-1947
If you start taking pleasure in nonsensical masculinity and make violence a goal in and of itself, the world will finally start to hate you and will look upon you like it would wild beasts. One ought to remember that.
--Meiji, Emperor of Japan to his soldiers, 4 I 1882
It was supposed to be only a border incident, soon to be resolved. Instead it turned out to be the beginning of total war for the Empire of Japan and the start to a full scale invasion of China. The Marco Polo bridge has become an infamous symbol of the bloodiest conflict in the history of Asia since the Taiping Rebellion.
Chiang’s Republic of China was severely disadvantaged. Even with a seemingly unending pool of manpower, a lack of commitment to the war effort and political infighting doomed the young republic to a slow and excruciating death. Japan’s vastly superior armed forces, armed with modern guns, sailing on battleships, and riding on soaring planes tore through division after division, surprising foreign observers with their unparalleled dominance. The Soviet Union was busy with its own internal conflicts and crises, while Joseph Kennedy was turning his nation to the beast it had fallen to a million times before; isolationism. The Kuomintang, once a home for idealistic revolutionaries and republicans, despaired. They just kept on losing land, no matter the sacrifices they made. The boys they sent out, never to return, the cities they burned, the people they conscripted into non-existence. In the opening year of the war alone, the ROC lost the vast majority of its cities, crucial to the continuation of the conflict. Not even a second United Front between the KMT and Mao’s CPC, deemed the last possible option, could halt the Japanese onslaught.
However, Japan did not emerge unscathed. No nation may emerge unscathed from the total transformation of its spirit towards total war. Old political, social, and economic structures were entirely replaced in favor of new, more efficient ways of life. The social fabric that had defined much of Japanese life was ripped apart. In its place, the Taisei Yokusankai was built from the ground up. The tattered remains of democracy, or at least the facade that remained, were finally put to rest. A new state emerged, one built for war, one not seen anytime before. A new word would arise to define these states - totalitarian. None of it would have been this way, if all had gone to plan. Chiang was to surrender and, in his place, Wang Jingwei’s Reorganized Government of China would have been founded in occupied Nanjing. Chiang Kai-Shek refused to surrender, even as his people floundered and his nation was dying. The armed forces sputtered meekly, and shortages began to plague the nation. The war settled into a grueling slog as both sides hunkered down for the long fight. Japan sat on the cusp of victory, within reach of the great chalice. And yet, they could not reach it. Prince Konoe, the head of the Taisei Yokusankai, struggled to continue to prove himself a capable leader in these times. His cabinet came to an end after public criticism by the fierce militant nationalist Yosuke Matsuoka. Even as Konoe sought to preserve recent precious gains in China while carefully balancing relations with the spectre across the ocean, America, Matsuoka believed war was inevitable. A third cabinet was formed by Konoe, in one final attempt to oust Matsuoka of his high diplomatic posts. In the end, the pressures of criticism, demands for resignation ended Konoe. The gears of history, unknowable in their ways, brought upon the world a conflict so horrific, so awful, that the word strikes a sense of dread into so many who were born in those years. War had arrived in the Pacific.
Many of Japan’s top military brass thought that an attack on the United States would spell an end to the empire. Yet, Matsuoka relented, and when the first torpedoes blasted into and sank the USS Enterprise, the world held its breath. Even such a devastating attack could not stop the overwhelming the American advantage in industry. It seemed, for the first time, that the tides of war might finally shift into the Allies’ favour. Instead, beginning from the complete shock of victory at Pearl Harbor, the Imperial Japanese Navy moved from victory to victory, including the surprising outcome of the Battle of Midway in 1942. Japanese offensives took the Philippines, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, Singapore and some key Pacfic islands, all in the first months of war. Yet, even after victories that no weaker nation could survive, the US retained the industrial advantage it had held for years, with the untouched contiguous mainland still distant from the hell of fire and death happening across the sea to the west. US ships churned out of harbors continuously, faster and faster, until a ship could be made in a matter of months. The Japanese could not continue to win the numbers game, and for the first time in the brutal naval war, they were on the backfoot.
In the hope of forcing Japan out of the war, the United States adopted a strategy of leapfrogging in 1943, which put Japanese forces at a massive disadvantage. With each month and year, the United States was able to steadily increase its superiority over Pacific, while Japan’s leadership adopted a strategy of defense, attempting to retain the bulk of their naval force by avoiding any pitched battles until the conditions for it would almost guarantee absolute victory. This time had finally come during the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, when Japanese military leadership decided that this was the decisive moment they were seeking. During the next 87 days a stubborn defense by general Tadamichi Kuribayashi forced the United States to overcommit their forces, which was subsequently exploited by Combined Fleet in a brilliant maneuver. The US fleet was decimated and all American Marines division on that damned island were either destroyed or forced to surrender. While Japanese casualties were enormous and would never be replaced, the battle stopped the United States from overrunning the Pacific theatre and prevented a possible invasion of the Home Islands.
Iwo Jima proved to be the largest naval battle in history, surpassing even the Battle of Jutland. The two maritime powerhouses of the modern world slugged it out on the high seas, and the result was thousands upon thousands of dead bodies, and a cemetery of metal, miles in length, buried under the ocean that would never quite disappear. Japan would never recover, not in full, but the United States had the sheer manpower and dockyards to do it. Most within the navy looked forward to an eventual Japanese surrender, regardless of how long it took. America would survive. America always survived.
Then, the bomb hit Pearl Harbor.
A wave of atomic terror reverberated through continental America, and the United States was forced to resign itself to a humiliating defeat, the first in its history. Finally, Japan could focus on crushing its final threat, and the final bastion of liberty in the world. China.
There was one strategy left to turn to, to gain the upper hand against China. It was uncertain, and not even guaranteed to work, but it was the only one left; attrition. Japan would attempt to starve the United Front and render them unable to resist further Japanese offensives. This strategy came to fruition once again with the Battle of Kohima. The Mad General Masanobu Tsuji finally deprived Chiang and Mao of the US air units and supply that was acting as a lifeline to the United Front, the final nail in a coffin that refused to die. With any possibility of supplying China by land or air essentially gone Joseph Stilwell made the decision to pull out of the region and stop supplying the Chinese. Famines across the remaining free Chinese territory and a lack of arms meant that there was little resistance put up against the Ichi Go Offensive of 1944. Despite China fighting with one foot in the grave of their proud nation, their fanatical defenses declared in the name of preserving China racked up further unsustainable casualty counts. Japan’s victory was inevitable, it was only a matter of time. Chiang Kai-Shek turned down pleas for peace, and the war continued. It took two years for the Japanese to finally reach Chongqing in a ruthless, cruel military operation that made Sherman’s March to the Sea look like a peace delegation. In the last battle of the Second World War Chongqing was turned into little more than a gargantuan pile of ashes and crushed stones. On the ruins of Baidi Fortress, the triumphant Japanese proclaimed “peace in Asia and peace in the world”. In their shadows stood their chosen puppet - Chen Gongbo, horrified at the carnage and destruction of the United Front’s last true stronghold. With no hope of any resistance he could only smile, while holding sorrowful tears in his eyes.
However, Japan’s political and economic system was now geared towards sustaining an ever expanding war machine; with the Taisei Yokusankai as its political body and Hideki Tojo as its prime minister the current government proved to be a burden. It survived ten years of total war, yet it could not survive the peace that followed.
PART II: 1947 - 1962
We have awoken the giant and through valiant effort we survived his onslaught. Let us hope that in future we will remain at peace, for we may not survive another victory like this one.
--Isoroku Yamamoto, 1947
While the war was with China over, peace was only the beginning of a series of new problems. The Japanese empire was now enormous. It stretched from cold Siberia to humid New Guinea, from the heart of China to distant Hawaii. With their new lands in hand, Japan set about reorganising these territories into a more manageable empire.
In some cases, local collaborators were given the most power. In others, Japanese military figures took control. The Co-Prosperity Sphere became a patchwork of directly ruled territories, military governorates and puppet states. Each one churning out their spoils to be harvested by Japan itself. Whether the Army, Navy or Diet got their hands on them was another matter - the resources would flow nevertheless.
Hideki Tojo had been Prime Minister for six years now, overseeing both Japan’s favourable peace treaty with the United States and the victory over the Chinese. However, as the conflict was coming to a close, it became clear that he was starting to slip. His supporters were fully aware that a fall from grace would be disastrous. To prevent this, the man who had recommended Tojo for his post had to act.
Kōichi Kido arranged to have himself made Prime Minister with Imperial permission, having served as the closest advisor to the Emperor for almost a decade. He then appointed a loyal privy council member to his old post as Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, ensuring his close connection to the Emperor. With Kido now Prime Minister, he quickly set about the task of managing the now enormous Japanese Empire, as well as trying to handle the various factions within Japanese politics.
He proved to be an ambitious prime minister, with grand designs for Japan. Kido was well aware of the faults of the Japanese government. Kido sought to make the ruling Yokusankai party into a tool for his reformist agenda. He attempted to transform it from a mere big tent for the bureaucracy into a powerful body against the army and navy factions. His fatal mistake, however, was the attempted strong-arming of the military as part of his plan to wrest power away from them. Having already become unpopular due to his reformist tendencies, this move against the armed forces proved to be the last straw. One Hiroya Ino replaced him.
In order to keep hold of power, Ino was forced to make a bargain. The new Prime Minister agreed to surrender control of Japan’s colonies to the army so that they could be used as strongholds and resource depots. In return, Ino gained some feeble scraps of power for the government. For his actions, the Prime Minister came across as incredibly weak, having made the deal even as the army was steadily losing influence, as had been the case ever since the war had ended. What could the Prime Minister have done? The army was still powerful enough to topple cabinets should it benefit them, something Ino was very much aware of. He had little choice but to comply, even if it would ultimately harm the party. When the elections rolled around, the Yokusankai suffered terribly from their capitulation to the army, with independent candidates (mostly Yokusankai rebels and expelled party members) gaining more power.
Under Ino’s tenure, the issue of corruption would become more prevalent and out of control. Bribery would become a de facto method of getting anything done, with seemingly every government official involved in some capacity. Ino’s inability to handle the ever growing corruption within his own cabinet was starting to cost him what little faith anyone still had in his capabilities. Whether he was simply failing to handle the issue properly or perhaps ignoring it, his strategy was utterly failing. Prime Minister Hiroya Ino had not built himself a great legacy to be remembered by. Instead, he had built up a house of cards, upon which he sat. Such a house can hold for a while if one is careful, but it is fated to fall apart eventually. Such a fate cannot be avoided, only delayed and never for long.
Interludium: Mechanics
Democratic institutions are quarantine mechanisms for that old pestilence, tyrannic lust. As such they are very useful and very boring. --Friedrich Nietzsche
Before we continue, we would like to offer some explanations behind the unique gameplay that Japan has to offer, centering on domestic policy. Screenshot of Japan GUI
Despite the power held by the military, the Empire of Japan is still legally a democracy as established by the Meiji Constitution, proclaimed in 1889. You are responsible for the civilian government. The Prime Minister of Japan is the closest character to “The Player”.
The Imperial diet, as the main parliamentary body, is completely democratic, but deeply overshadowed by the Second Great War. During the war, all political parties were merged into the Yokusankai (YSK) in order for Japan to function as a totalitarian, one party state. As mentioned, however, Ino’s capitulation to the Army was a great sign of weakness coming from the Yokusankai. Factions of “Independents” who had been rendered irrelevant in 1942 by the Yokusankai’s supermajority used the population’s growing disillusionment towards the ruling in order to swell the amount of seats in parliament outside the party’s control. The rising number of independent politicians was not the only problem for the Yokusankai; despite theoretically being a single party, it is in reality a de facto collection of cliques and factions that have rather different approaches to government and policies. This means that any potential Prime Minister may have a large problem with keeping a majority of support in the chamber. So how exactly does a Prime Minister keep their majority? Let’s examine it!
The Imperial Diet consists of seats distributed per territorial district. The Dai Nippon Teikoku (Empire of Great Japan) consists of the Nihon Rettō (Home Islands, or simply Japanese archipelago), the provinces of Chōsen (Korean peninsula), Taiwan and Karafuto (the island of Sakhalin). Those constitute an integral part of the Japanese state, and as such - elections are organized at the local level. Depending on the YSK’s popularity in a single province, the one party will receive an appropriate amount of deputies (if the popularity of the YSK in the province is 70%, it will receive 70% of seats from this area). As such, the YSK needs to maintain its popularity and power, to put an end to the loss of seats to independents.
But even if the Yokusankai is successful in upcoming elections, there is still a problem. Deputies of the YSK are divided between different cliques. In the example shown above, Prime Minister Ino is supported by his own clique in its entirety, by 5 deputies of Kido clique and by more than half of deputies from Kaya’s and Takagi’s factions respectively. With the Independents being completely unsupportive, it means that Ino in our example, despite the YSK holding 75% of total seats, barely holds on to a majority. The lesson we learn here is obvious - as a Prime Minister of Japan you need not only to win elections as the YSK, but also to have strong clique of your and have the support of other factions within the party itself.
Have you secured a super majority of deputies? I’m sorry, you are still not done. In the Japanese parliamentary system, the House of Peers has the ability to reject bills and initiatives. If the House of Peers does not support you, it will effectively create a deadlock and block all reforms, guaranteeing an end to the career of the current Prime Minister.
In general the absolute heart of parliamentary game in Japan is securing a majority, and the most important part of securing a majority is interacting with the four main cliques of the YSK, either by gaining their support or by reducing their power and popularity. You need to be very careful about implementing different policies. The Yokusankai remains a party that somehow manages to contain Reform Bureaucrats, Liberals, Kidoites and Conservatives in a single bloc. It may be too much to manage. If other factions find your cooperation or policies unsatisfactory, Party Unity may drop and deputies from other cliques may be even less inclined to support you. Such a scenario may spell doom for any Prime Minister.
You might think this is already too much, and that holding onto power in the Empire of Japan is a fool’s errand. To this we bring two pieces of bad news. The first one is that negotiating with the Diet and house of Peers is the only way to advance one’s political career. Second - there are still more ways to lose power as Prime Minister, as the overbearing influence of Japan’s armed forces starts to impact the political class’ games.
When it comes to Army (IJA) and Navy (IJN) Influence - one will find that understanding the military's politics is essential to grasping Japan’s internal situation. While interservice rivalry exists, it is not as much of a relevant factor as it was during the 30s and 40s. With peace and an ongoing focus on the stabilization of a vast empire, the IJA and IJN do not interfere much in the Home Islands’ political process. Both branches of the military forces have also developed a sense of restraint in foreign policy. Gone are the heady days where the Kwantung Army could invade China without notifying Tokyo. Instead, the IJA and IJN are mostly focused on keeping their monopolies and influence in their countries in the Sphere. They are no longer a force of change, pushing for more wars and acts of aggression - instead, with the establishment of the Co-Prosperity Sphere they are now a force of the Status Quo.
Army and Navy support does not represent “the entire army” and “the entire navy”. The IJA and IJN are as riddled with factions as the Diet is. The influence meters instead represent the higher echelons of powers, ministers, chief of staff, leading commanders, governors and the like. What does this actually mean? For a start, even with high support from Army, it may not guarantee complete compliance of the IJA in different countries in Sphere. Army divisions in Indonesia might not obey orders from a new government just because the officers in Tokyo have received a hefty amount of bribes. On the other hand, even small support from the IJA for your government, causing the War Ministry to wish to see your cabinet ousted will not necessarily affect IJA commanders in the Sphere, who might still actually follow the civilian government’s instruction in their particular sectors.
To reaffirm the point about a decline in interservice rivalry, IJA and IJN support are not contradictory to each other. Often times events or choices might lead to increasing support from both, or sometimes it may decrease support from both. The problem is, that the IJA and IJN influence is very peculiar in comparison to for example “House of Peers Opinion”. The reason for that is that both very low and very high influence of army branch will have negative consequences. Very low influence with the Army or Navy will force current Prime Minister to resign, as he was clearly not paying attention to demands from armed forces. Very high influence on the other hand will start firing rather peculiar events that will most likely greatly decrease standards of life in other countries of the Sphere, destabilizing it and damaging the position of the civilian government in Tokyo. This represents the army running roughshod over the Sphere, assuming they have a free hand from their buddies in the diet.
Now…Tension. What does this even mean? As you may already guess from previous paragraphs, it is not actually about interservice rivalry. As I mentioned previously, Army and Navy are mostly now forces of status quo, that achieved everything they ever desired in the Second World War and now they simply wish to retain their benefits, advantages and of course - their glorious colonial empire. Tension represents not friction between army branches, not even friction between armed forces and civilian government, but rather a subtle change of mind - that actually Japan is in a dire state, and it requires immediate, heroic actions to save it from traitors, subversion, foreign agents and conspirators. This is a reflection of Japanese culture - disobedience is justified by the great patriotism and pure, good nature of a servant that wishes to save their overlord, even if they themselves do not want it. In comparison to Army/Navy Influence, it does not reflect the view of elites, but of every single soldier, sailor and minor commander. As such it is absolutely possible to have great relations with Army and Navy, and still have massive Tension build-up, threatening the stability of the Empire of the Rising Sun. It is a slow, ticking bomb that requires care and tact to contain and defuse.
At the beginning of the game, due to massive prosperity, stability and power of Japanese Empire Tension starts at 0% in 1962. However it may slowly rise until reaching 100%. As to what happens when Tension reaches such high value and what events may have led to this… hmm… this will be a story for another time.
This concludes the unique gameplay designed for the Empire of Japan in TNO. With no further delay, let’s move on to 1962 - the very beginning of the game.
PART III: 1962-1963
I’m sorry to say this to you, Prime Minister, but Empires rise and Empires fall, and the vast, corrupt future that you once had is shedding away like cherry blossoms in the winter. With any luck, you’ll be out of here by next month.
How does a nation crumble? An assassin eating on a crowded thoroughfare sees his target ride in on a conveniently open car and takes his chance. A cavalry charge outside the gates of a besieged city breaks the high-tide of conquest. Some less graceful than others, but it’s all the same.
Or perhaps it can start with the finding of a body. Yes, let’s go with that. Because deaths don’t just end lives - they smother truths. Yet, the truth shines through. Truth has a manner of bubbling out into the world.
For now, it’s just another body, in an impossible place and under improbable circumstances. Another problem for the Police, but nothing the Metropolitan can’t handle - and with all the mysterious nonsense popping up in the murder scene it looks like their expertise will be needed. Thankfully our crack detective is on the case - and looking for evidence!
Whoops. Well, tragedy happens all the time in the Sphere, it was probably just a one off, let’s keep looking - oh. Oh dear. If the Japanese Army is involved, then all bets are off. We should warn our detective he’s in over his head - oh shit.
Well, the new team assigned to the case might not have any living witnesses, but every detective worth their salt knows how to investigate a case. There are a few angles that can be examined, aligned along the central axis of any investigation: look through the crime scene or examine the victim? After all, a man with’ silence’ carved into his chest probably has it there for a reason. But the fish plant doesn’t seem like a terribly convincing commercial operation either - and why on earth would the murder victim be allowed access to the grounds of the factory?
Then again, the labyrinth of Japanese bureaucracy will present challenges from the get go, and the man who killed the victim was in the Army, so perhaps focusing on this will let us push deeper into the facts of the case. (Full disclaimer: there are many paths available to be taken in this series of events, and I highly recommend you try different choices on each run-through.) A basic profile will help us, as will determining the victim’s connections. The Army records will surely help us find the truth - oh dear. Well, it’s time to pull out the Audit Gun to shoot at the Army so they’ll change their minds and wow it’s not working. The pit of snakes that is the Japanese Government has taken an interest, and oh boy it is angry.
So, to recap: a body, a grenade, a factory that shouldn’t be running, a killer who shouldn’t have been there and an army that isn’t letting on. What the hell is going on? Bureaucratic wrangling aside, we could always exploit the one unchangeable binary of Japanese politics, the Army-Navy rivalry, and - uh - what the hell? They’re working with each other? How can the whole of Japanese politics be upended for the sake of a single dead body?
...They’re all in on this, aren’t they?
Well, if the Navy insists on sticking its nose into affairs, that’s where we’ll continue searching. And it looks like it’s tied into everything that’s been going on, including a suspicious series of shipments and a preponderance of outdated military currency. All we have to do is hit them with in force with an audit they won’t see coming, and we’ll find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes -
Oh my god. Where does this end? We have to keep looking, maybe the trail will end in a tidy bunch of suspects we can arrest to make the problem go away. People like - uh -
The Army? The Government? It’s getting out of hand, already has in fact, but I’m certain if we just keep going we’ll stabilise the situation, so long as we don’t touch -
The banks, like Yasuda and Minezaka? The ones we found with mud on their faces and Army money in their pockets? Oh no. Oh no no no. How far will the heavens fall before Japan itself is tugged into the abyss with them all? And if a pillar of the Japanese Economy crumbles, what happens to the others?
Japan plummets, but perhaps in those long steep drops it will find its soul. For was it not written: falling is the essence of a flower?
Link to Section II
Link to Section III
Link to Section IV
Link to Section V
Link to Section VI
Link to Section VII
submitted by AHedgeKnight to TNOmod [link] [comments]

MAME 0.218

MAME 0.218

It’s time for MAME 0.218, the first MAME release of 2020! We’ve added a couple of very interesting alternate versions of systems this month. One is a location test version of NMK’s GunNail, with different stage order, wider player shot patterns, a larger player hitbox, and lots of other differences from the final release. The other is The Last Apostle Puppetshow, an incredibly rare export version of Home Data’s Reikai Doushi. Also significant is a newer version Valadon Automation’s Super Bagman. There’s been enough progress made on Konami’s medal games for a number of them to be considered working, including Buttobi Striker, Dam Dam Boy, Korokoro Pensuke, Shuriken Boy and Yu-Gi-Oh Monster Capsule. Don’t expect too much in terms of gameplay though — they’re essentially gambling games for children.
There are several major computer emulation advances in this release, in completely different areas. Possibly most exciting is the ability to install and run Windows NT on the MIPS Magnum R4000 “Jazz” workstation, with working networking. With the assistance of Ash Wolf, MAME now emulates the Psion Series 5mx PDA. Psion’s EPOC32 operating system is the direct ancestor of the Symbian operating system, that powered a generation of smartphones. IDE and SCSI hard disk support for Acorn 8-bit systems has been added, the latter being one of the components of the BBC Domesday Project system. In PC emulation, Windows 3.1 is now usable with S3 ViRGE accelerated 2D video drivers. F.Ulivi has contributed microcode-level emulation of the iSBC-202 floppy controller for the Intel Intellec MDS-II system, adding 8" floppy disk support.
Of course there are plenty of other improvements and additions, including re-dumps of all the incorrectly dumped GameKing cartridges, disassemblers for PACE, WE32100 and “RipFire” 88000, better Geneve 9640 emulation, and plenty of working software list additions. You can get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page (note that 32-bit Windows binaries and “zip-in-zip” source code are no longer supplied).

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to MAME [link] [comments]

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