Thursday, March 21, 2019

US Stock Market Whistles Past the Graveyard

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by David Haggith, The Great Recession:

It was a summer fit for the start of the Epocalypse followed by a fall where every event leans into Halloween. Summer began with a total solar eclipse that cast a long shadow across the nation from sea to shining sea, and fall began with hurricanes, mass bloodshed and fire. And through it all, the stock market barely blinked.

I watched a total solar eclipse for the first time. I had seen a 98{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} eclipse once before, but the difference made by the final 2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} that I saw this time was literally all the difference between night and day. I discovered by experience why the ancients saw this spectacle as an omen portending the demise of a king or end of a dynasty. Evening triumphed over the earth in the middle of morning, but it was an eery, otherworldly, preternatural kind of evening, for the far horizon glowed almost white in a circle all around my world as if it was sunset everywhere. The sky grew darker toward the center where the stars were pooled in midnight blue. The birds stopped singing, and the crickets in the fields around me began to hum. Then the sun, which had been slowly dimming, transfigured in an instant into a pitch-black hole in the sky with long streamers of silver fire coming out of it — a change so sudden and a hole so large that it startled me. It was both horrific and beautiful, and I could see where it would have easily looked to the ancients like a portal to Hades.

I didn’t really expect the summer to live up to all the meanings that have been loaded into an eclipse, but this one did. I expected the summer to be fairly normal but with increasingly evident economic fractures and an increase in strife — politically and physically — but this summer exceeded those expectations in other ways. First, North Korea detonated a hydrogen bomb and used that display to overtly threaten to destroy US cities if the US does anything its tin-hat dictator finds overly aggressive — “anything” being a rather vague term to cover the conditions that might trigger a nuclear holocaust. To that the US president replied with something about raining fire and fury upon the DPRK such as the world has never seen.

Becoming particularly reckless, North Korea volleyed back with what could have been considered an act of war by flying its first intercontinental ballistic missiles directly over its arch enemy, Japan. (The fact that the missile wasn’t shot down by Japan or the US is probably due to inability, rather than patience. After all, how could anyone really knowwhether the missiles were armed with nuclear warheads or whether fuel would be cut off prematurely, suddenly changing the trajectory downward to Japan? So, for either Japan or the US to say they didn’t shoot down the missile because they knew this was not an act of war but just a threat and a test borders on ludicrous when entire cities are at risk if that calculus is wrong.) The president threatened back with total annihilation of North Korea, but then provided us with a surreal calm by smiling as he said that all of this is just the “calm before the storm” as we shall soon all see.

As the Korean Missile Crisis was developing, the Pacific Northwest and California caught on fire, shrouding entire states in smoke for the entire remaining summer during which the sun and moon were oft’ times blood red and barely seen — reminiscent of the summer’s eclipse — and the stars oft’ did not shine at night. Even soggy Seattle broke its record of 52 consecutive days without rain as ash from across the state dusted the city.

Then, just as the smoke from the summer fires started to settle, two back-to-back catastrophic earthquakes ripped open wounds in the United States’ neighbor to the south. Not to leave the US free of castrophe as the fires abated, nature pounded the country’s southern and eastern flanks with three massive hurricanes followed by a lesser encore last week from Nate, the fourth and paler horseman of this hurricane holocaust. The first three recked huge economic damage, mass exodus in the millions and emotional upheaval. People are still fleeing Puerto Rico, many for good. And hurricane season is not yet over, prompting one to wonder what further wickedness may still this way come.

In all, not bad for the summer of our raging discontent during which Republicans failed at all their promises, and social outrage continued to spread across the land. And then came fall with an equally fiery start. As if nature and tin-pot depots had not done enough, the nation experienced the most deadly lone-gunman massacre in its history. (At least, the gunman acted alone so far as we know at this point.)

Even as national mourning over that horror continues, a California firestorm blew up out of nowhere this weekend, catching local residents by total surprise. Already 1,500 homes, businesses and other structures in multiple areas of northern California have been consumed with ten lives lost and many others injured. Forests and vineyards and housing developments scattered across eight counties went up in flames.

Late Sunday night, Ken Moholt-Siebert noticed the smell of the smoke from his Santa Rosa vineyard just off Highway 101. It was not until midnight that he spotted the flames: a small red glow growing a couple of ridges to the east, off Fountaingrove Parkway. He ran up the hill on his property to turn on a water pump to protect the ranch his family has been raising sheep and growing grapes on for four generations. Before the pump could get the water fully flowing, a small ember from the Tubbs fire landed nearby. With the wind picking up, the ember sparked a spot fire about 50 feet in diameter. Then it was 100 feet in diameter. “There was no wind, then there would be a rush of wind and it would stop. Then there would be another gust from a different direction,” Moholt-Siebert, 51, said. “The flames wrapped around us.” He ran for cover. “I was just being pelted with all this smoke and embers,” he said. “It was just really fast.” (LA Times)

While the fires (more than fourteen known so far with numerous other hot spots detected) are just beginning — a literal firestorm driven by seventy-mile-per-hour gusts of wind — they already rival the most savage conflagrations in the state’s history. Governor Brown has been quick to declare a state of emergency, and drought-stricken areas that are choking in smoke and writhing in flames are now in exodus just as rain-soaked hurricane regions of the US were only weeks before. A large northern swath of Santa Rosa is under evacuation orders as are many smaller communities. Even hospitals are being evacuated, and many evacuation centers have already reached full capacity. With nature being so unrelenting toward the US, one wonders what winter storms will bring.

The market tilted and wobbled and then settled back into its repose

It seems like every week since the eclipse has brought with it a new catastrophe in or around the US. Some people wrung their hands throughout the hellish summer and into fall’s freakish followup as they listened to others preach and postulate or prophesy (depending on your persuasion in how you look at such things) that all of this was sent by a higher authority than the president.

Nevertheless, through all of this, stocks have bobbed merrily along as if nothing is happening around them. And that is what I find most freakish of all! Even so, it is not surprising so much as it is a deeper revelation of how completely rigged the market is by central banks.

Read More @ TheGreatRecession.info

The Pneumonic Plague Killed 50 Million People in the Middle Ages and Now It’s Back

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by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

Very little sounds more unsettling than the risk of catching “the plague” but most of us think this is just something that was around during the Middle Ages because of poor hygiene. Unfortunately, that’s incorrect, and to prove it, there is an epidemic of the pneumonic plague in Madagascar right now.

We all remember reading about The Black Death during history lessons in school. It was a horrific pandemic that nearly wiped out Europe, killing a disputed number of people that ranges between 50 million and 100 million. Also known as the pneumonic plague, here is a quick video to get you up to speed on your medieval history.

It’s bad and it’s reminiscent of the Liberian Ebola outbreak in 2013, that alarmingly made its way to American soil. The New York Times reported on the situation in Madagascar:

Since August, the country has reported over 200 infections and 33 deaths.

The outbreak is beginning to resemble the early stages of the West African Ebola crisis in 2014: a lethal disease normally confined to sparsely populated rural areas has reached crowded cities and is spreading in a highly transmissible form.

Schools, universities and other public buildings have closed so they can be sprayed to kill fleas, which may carry the infection. The government has forbidden large public gatherings, including sporting events and concerts.

Fears that the outbreak could spread to other countries are rising.

Late last month, plague struck a basketball tournament for teams from Indian Ocean countries, killing a coach from the Seychelles and infecting another from South Africa. The players are being monitored, Malagasy health authorities told the W.H.O.

Madagascar typically has about 400 cases of plague each year between September and April, but they are usually focused in the nation’s central highlands and spread by fleas living on rats in rice-growing areas. This outbreak is unusually worrying because most new cases are in cities and are pneumonic plague, the form transmitted by coughing. (source)

Madagascar is a large island of 224,533 square miles off the coast of southeastern Africa. It has a population of more than 25 million people in an area that is approximately twice the size of the state of Arizona.

Read More @ TheOrganicPrepper.com

EXPERTS CONFIDENT THERE WERE MULTIPLE SHOOTERS AT VEGAS MASSACRE

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from Kit Daniels, Infowars:

There’s overwhelming evidence there were multiple shooters at the Las Vegas massacre – and Special Forces veterans who spoke to Infowars said the gunshot acoustics indicate Stephen Paddock didn’t act alone.

Numerous witnesses reported gunfire from multiple locations – and the acoustics indicate several, overlapping firearms according to veterans of Delta Force, Navy SEALs, Green Berets and other military outfits that Infowars spoke to who have first-hand experience in firefights with automatic weapons.

One of these sources, former Navy SEAL leader Craig Sawyer, is a top ballistics expert and a federal criminal investigator who also has his own sources, some of whom are linked to the investigation.

Here’s what he had to say about multiple shooters:

I will get this caveat out there that it’s very important to be accurate… echoes are very confusing, and hearing anything through a microphone is confusing, and one of my best friends is probably the foremost authority on… the acoustics of these big cases, and he’s got these huge computer [setups] to analyze everything.

Having said all that, and acknowledging that it is confusing after the fact to listen to a series of gunshots with echoes, I will say this: some things are beyond [doubt]… it’s apparent anyway. Even though you’re listening to the echoes and even though you’re listening to it after the fact through a microphone that does just change that acoustic signature, it’s still apparent there was more than one shooter.

…You hear [gunshots] very muffled, very far away and then all the sudden, shortly thereafter, you hear very loud, very distinct [gunshots]. That’s a far engagement and a close engagement.

Read More @ Infowars.com

New Video Emerges Clearly Capturing Overlapping Gunfire at Las Vegas Concert

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by Rachel Blevins, The Free Thought Project:

Las Vegas, NV — A new video has emerged from the night of the Las Vegas shooting that appears to show overlapping gunfire coming from multiple locations, which clearly contradicts the mainstream narrative of what occurred on the night 59 people were killed and over 500 were injured.

The video is under 3 minutes long and was filmed by an individual who appears to be hiding near a gate during the shooting. While crowds of people can be seen running from the area, the person filming the video is staying low to the ground with a group of people who are encouraging others to take cover, instead of running out into the open.

“No, we are NOT moving. Just stay down,” one girl says. “Don’t leave, just stay down!”

The first burst of gunfire can be heard at the 0:15 mark, followed almost immediately by a second burst of gunfire that sounds distinctly different. The same thing happens again at the 2:01 mark, with secondary gunfire beginning at the 2:06 mark.

This video compilation shows the above video, and two others that appear to show the same thing:

It is important to note that while this video does appear to confirm multiple shooters, there are a number of varying scenarios that could’ve produced these effects. The acoustics in a massive concrete city like Las Vegas can certainly play tricks on even the most astute audiophiles.

While this is not exactly a smoking gun, this video certainly warrants further investigation and should not be overlooked. However, it appears that the mainstream media and police, at least publicly, have no concern with this evidence.

Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com

The Dark Web’s Largest Pedophile Site Was Secretly Run by Police for a Year

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from The Anti Media:

A major international police operation to bust child predators involved police sharing child pornography with over a million unsuspecting online subscribers for a year after investigators took control of the dark web’s largest child abuse forum. Though hundreds of pedophiles were arrested after the site was shut down, the police sting involved undercover officers sharing extremely disturbing content and encouraging followers to engage in sexual acts with children. But police say it was worth it.

A new report reveals that Australian police were running the largest pedophile and child pornography forum on the internet for a year as part of a joint initiative between Australian, European, and Canadian police as well as the US Department of Homeland Security to track down the site’s administrators and child porn producers. Over the weekend the Norwegian newspaper VG published its bombshell investigation which confirmed that between October 2016 and September 2017 a special police task force based in Queensland, Australia was able to quietly hack the site “Childs Play” which had reached over a million registered accounts and had thousands of active users.

Queensland police at Taskforce Argos, including investigator Paul Griffiths (pictured). Image source: Kinsa.net

The task force was able to identify the site’s top tier administrators, leading to hundreds of international arrests and criminal investigations, but not before crossing what critics see as a significant ethical line: to expose those behind the site, police themselves posted child pornography and facilitated what was essentially a pedophile online meet-up.

The site has existed since April 2016 on the dark web, which made it next to impossible to identify users and administrators as the dark web operates based on layers of encryption which ensures complete anonymity. Not only did the forum include over one hundred active producers of child pornography who would daily post videos and images, but even more disturbingly involved a smaller inner circle who shared child torture videos.

Among this inner circle were Childs Play administrators ‘Warhead’ and ‘Crazymonk’ – later revealed to be 26-year old Canadian Benjamin Faulkner and 27-year old Tennessee native Patrick Falte, according the VG reportBoth had previously worked as internet security professionals and were active technical support providers for pedophilia related internet sites – the two had initially met, for example, through a website called the the “Pedo Support Community.” The Australian child abuse task force had begun tracking the two by assembling profiles of their previous digital footprints in relation to child abuse related chat on the open web.

Read More @ TheAntiMedia.com

The Real Peak Complacency

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by John Rubino, Dollar Collapse:

Stocks are at record highs while volatility is at a record low. Which is another way of saying that investors aren’t as worried as they probably should be about the coming year.

That’s okay. Price corrections (with their attendant volatility spikes) are normal and natural ways for markets to teach overconfident investors a little humility. Think of them as the financial word’s forest fires, clearing out the underbrush of misconception, malinvestment, and hubris.

But there’s another area of Peak Complacency that is neither natural nor benign. And that’s cyberspace. Americans – and Europeans and Japanese – have moved most of their financial lives online just as hackers and other cyber-enemies get the upper hand. Recently:

  • Credit rating agency Equifax – apparently through its own incompetence – allowed hackers to access and presumably copy and sell “sensitive personal information” of 146 million Americans.
  • Online portal Yahoo upped the number of accounts that were hacked in 2013 to – get this — 3 billion.
  • The National Security Agency admitted that its state-of-the-art hacking tools were stolen by hackers and are now available for sale on the dark web.
  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) suffered more than 50 data breaches between January 2015 and December 2016, exposing “personally identifiable information (PII) of U.S. citizens.”

     

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR database of corporate documents was hacked, leading to illegal insider trading that the SEC is still trying to unravel.

 

And then there’s bitcoin, where online exchanges are being hacked with apparent impunity and zero recourse for victims:

 

Cryptocurrencies: How hackers and fraudsters are causing chaos in the world of digital financial transactions

(Independent) – There have been at least three dozen heists of cryptocurrency exchanges since 2011 and more than 980,000 bitcoins stolen, worth about $4 billion.

 

Dan Wasyluk discovered the hard way that trading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin happens in an online Wild West where sheriffs are largely absent.

Mr Wasyluk and his colleagues raised bitcoins for a new tech venture and lodged them in escrow at a company running a cryptocurrency exchange called Moolah. Just months later the exchange collapsed; the man behind it is now awaiting trial in Britain on fraud and money-laundering charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Mr Wasyluk’s project lost 750 bitcoins, currently worth about $3m, and he believes he stands little chance of recovering any money.

“It really was kind of a kneecapping of the project,” said Mr Wasyluk of the collapse three years ago. “If you are starting an exchange and you lose clients’ money, you or your company should be 100 per cent accountable for that loss. And right now there is nothing like that in place.”

Cryptocurrencies were supposed to offer a secure, digital way to conduct financial transactions but they have been dogged by doubts. Concerns have largely focused on their astronomical gains in value and the likelihood of painful price crashes. Equally perilous, though, are the exchanges where virtual currencies are bought, sold and stored. These exchanges, which match buyers and sellers and sometimes hold traders’ funds, have become magnets for fraud and mires of technological dysfunction, posing an underappreciated risk to anyone who trades digital coins.

The obvious conclusion is that our bank, brokerage and bitcoin accounts aren’t safe from hackers and/or cyber-attacks that shut down settlement systems and power grids.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, for example, much of Puerto Rico is still without power, which means ATM machines aren’t working. See Puerto Rico is now a cash-only economy.

Read More @ DollarCollapse.com

Donald Trump: Warmonger-in-Chief

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by Antonius Aquinas, Acting Man:

Cryptic Pronouncements

If a world conflagration, God forbid, should break out during the Trump Administration, its genesis will not be too hard to discover: the thin-skinned, immature, shallow, doofus who currently resides in the Oval Office!

This past week, the Donald has continued his bellicose talk with both veiled and explicit threats against purported American adversaries throughout the world.  In a cryptic exchange with reporters during a dinner with military leaders, he quipped:

You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.  It could be the calm… before… the storm.*

A reporter asked if he meant Iran or Isis which the POTUS responded, “you’ll find out.”  Instead of threatening supposed overseas foes with nuclear annihilation, none of whom have taken any concrete military action against the US, why not go after someone who has actually compromised the country’s security, namely Hillary Rodham Clinton!

While some dismissed the comments as typical Trumpian bluster, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders added further ominous overtones when questioned saying they were “extremely serious.” Later in the week, Trump continued to threaten tiny North Korea, this time in not so veiled terms:

“Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of U.S. negotiators.  Sorry, but only one thing will work”.**

If war erupts either on the Korean Peninsula or in any other part of the globe that the U.S has wantonly poked its nose into, it can be safely assured that neither Trump nor any of the other “military leaders,” with whom he recently had dinner with will be in the midst of hostilities as the bombs and bullets are being cast about.

No, these laptop bombers will be in safe quarters far away from enemy lines, giving orders, making speeches, and praising the troops, while Congress will be hurriedly passing more “defense” funding legislation further lining the pockets of the military industrial complex.

 Too far removed from the battlefield…
Too far removed from the battlefield…

Curtailing the Warmongers

The Warmonger-in-Chief, who has repeatedly bragged about America’s military prowess, had a chance to become a part of the organization he constantly gushes over during his youth at the time of the Vietnam War.  Yet, he escaped military service, due to the machinations of his father, because of a mysterious foot/toe malady.

All those who avoided being conscripted into America’s disastrous imperial exercise in Southeast Asia during those years, whether it was from phony medical conditions, escaping to Canada or beyond, or going to jail, they did so for justifiable reasons.

The war was immoral, since Vietnam had taken no hostile action against the US and what made it worse, the government drafted thousands of America’s youth to fight it.  It is reprehensible that those who got out of military service then are now at the forefront in advocating mass murder (war).

One resolution that would certainly curtail warmongering in the future would be that any legislator, president, cabinet officer, or ambassador who promotes military intervention abroad should be required to directly participate in field operations.  This would quickly put the brakes on threatening talk from the likes of Trump and his crazed UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley.

A country’s leadership personally conducting military operations has a long tradition in Western history.  During the era of the crusades, princes and kings led their retinues and forces into battle risking their own life and limb – such as the great Norman prince, Bohemond, whose courage, tenacity, and military acumen won the day for Christian forces at the battle of Antioch.

Read More @ Acting-Man.com

Science tells us this is all true

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by Simon Black, Sovereign Man:

On April 30, 1934, under pressure from Italian-American lobby groups, the United States Congress passed a law enshrining Columbus Day as a national holiday.

President Franklin Roosevelt quickly signed the bill into law, and the very first Columbus Day was celebrated in October of that year.

Undoubtedly people had a different view of the world back then… and a different set of values.

Few cared about the plight of the indigenous who were wiped out as a result of European conquest.

Even just a few decades ago when I was a kid in elementary school, I remember learning that ‘Columbus discovered America’. There was no discussion of genocide.

It wasn’t until I was a sophomore at West Point that I picked up Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States (and then Columbus’s own diaries) and started reading about the mass-extermination of entire tribes.

Columbus himself wrote about his first encounter with the extremely peaceful and welcoming Arawak Indians of the Bahama Islands:

“They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron… They would make fine servants… With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

And so he did.

“I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”

Columbus had already written back to his investors in Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, that the Caribbean islands possessed “great mines of gold.”

It was all lies. Columbus was desperately attempting to justify their investment.

In Haiti, Columbus ordered the natives to bring him all of their gold. But there was hardly an ounce of gold anywhere on the island. So Columbus had them slaughtered. Within two years, 250,000 were dead.

Now, this letter isn’t intended to rail against Columbus. Point is, I never learned any of this information in school. Decades ago, no one really did.

But today, people are starting to be aware of what Columbus did. And our values are vastly different today than they were in 1937. Or in 1492.

Decades ago… and certainly hundreds of years ago… the idea of a ‘superior race’ still prevailed, endowed by their creator with the right to subjugate all inferior races.

This readily-accepted belief was the pretext of slavery and genocide.

Even as recently as the early 1900s, there were entire fields of ‘science’ devoted to studying the technical differences among various races and drawing data-driven conclusions about superiority.

Phrenologists, for example, would take precise measurements of people’s skulls– the circumference of the head, the ratio of forehead to eyebrow measurements, etc.– and deduce the intellectual capacity and character traits of entire races.

Jews could not be trusted. Blacks and Asians were inferior. These assertions were based on ‘scientific evidence’, even in nations like Sweden, the United Kingdom, and United States.

Today we’re obviously more advanced than our ancestors were. We know that their science was complete bullshit, and our values are totally different.

There are entire movements now (particularly among university students) to remove statues, rename buildings, and re-designate holidays.

Frankly this is a pretty slippery slope. If we judge everyone throughout history based on our values today, we’ll never stop tearing down monuments.

Even someone as forward-thinking as Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. And that’s a LOT of elementary schools to rename.

Read More @ SovereignMan.com

How to Beat Cybercriminals at Their Own Game, Part I

by Justin Splitter, Casey Research:

Justin’s note: Over the next two days, I’m sharing a special interview that features Doug Casey and his colleagues on the latest crime wave that’s sweeping the globe.

Below, you’ll hear from John Hunt, an MD and coauthor with Doug of Speculator and Drug Lord, and Durk Pearson, bestselling author and former rocket scientist and aerospace physicist. They recently sat down with Doug to share their best tips on how to protect yourself against the growing cyber-threat.

I think you’ll find their ideas interesting and timely…

John: Equifax hacks, Russian hacks, and political hacks are all competing with the Kardashians for primetime news reports. Let’s focus on something that might actually matter to each of us and that we can do something about: our own personal cybersecurity.

Durk: Computer security is a lot more important than most people realize. Absent precautions, it’s like if you had a stack of $100 bills and left it on the sidewalk in front of your house. If someone happens to stroll through your neighborhood, he can just pick them up.

Likewise, most people have no computer defenses at all. You have more than $100 bills in that computer. You have your future money too, and your credit.

But you can become resistant to this. It’s not an impossible task. Remember the old story? You don’t have to run faster than the bear. You just have to run faster than the other guy. And that is surprisingly simple.

John: So what do you advise that everyone should do now?

Durk: First know that if you live in a gated residential community, you have a very low chance of being robbed. But the internet is as if everyone lives in Watts in the 1960s, or South Chicago now.

John: You have to build your gates and walls.

Durk: Right. Now, you don’t have to be a perfectly hard target. There is no such thing as a perfectly hard target. The CIA got hacked for a lot of their extremely dangerous hacking tools which are now out in the public domain. If the CIA can get hacked, believe me you can get hacked too.

On the other hand, all you have to do is make yourself a much harder target than the value of what people can get out of you and you’re going to be left alone. They’re going to move on to somebody else who isn’t as tough. Which is most everybody.

John: Why are some of the phishing scams so blatantly stupid? Like a Craigslist price of $2,307 for a 2013 BMW. It’s obvious to anyone.

Durk: “Oh gee, I’m a Nigerian prince and I want to move $50 million to America and I’ll give you half of it if you help me.” Why are people trying a scam that’s so stupidly obvious?

The answer is very simple: These are competent and professional fraudsters. If somebody falls for the Nigerian prince thing, then they’ll be stupid enough to give the fraudsters their Social Security number, their bank account number, and their password.

With the Nigerian prince scam, the fraudsters get rid of the 99{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of the people that aren’t that stupid right away.

John: Ah. The more inane the fraud pitch is, the better the fraudsters target their market to the stupid. Doug, what’s your definition of stupidity again?

Doug: Stupidity, like intelligence, comes in a number of flavors. The most common definition of stupidity is “of low intelligence” – but that’s rather circular, like saying “slow” means “not very fast.”

I like to define “stupid” as the ability to see the immediate and direct consequences of actions, but the inability to see the delayed and indirect consequences.

Like most criminals, black-hat hackers never see the long-term consequences – like being hunted, being held in contempt by most of society, and probably landing in jail. Or indirect consequences – like destroying their self-respect. Among other things.

An even better definition of stupidity, applicable both to those who respond to the Nigerian prince scam as well as the Nigerian Prince himself, is “an unwitting tendency towards self-destruction.”

Even when criminals score high on IQ tests, they still fit this definition. So while computer criminals are undoubtedly smarter than street criminals, they’re still rather stupid in very important ways.

Durk: It’s relatively easy to protect yourself from being financially harmed in a hack.

The first rule here is, don’t let a million different companies have your credit card number. Almost every company is perfectly willing to deal with a debit card rather than a credit card. If you keep a small amount of spending money in a debit card account, then that’s the most you can lose. And if it’s not your fault, you’re probably going to be made good.

Second, you use encrypted wire transfers with your bank to make deposits. You see that little padlock up on the address line on your browser that says https rather than http? That’s an encrypted link.

Just make sure that you or your browser entered your bank’s internet URL. Don’t click on an email link that appears to have come from your bank, because it may be a fraudulent phishing email that takes you to a URL with an https connection and a padlock that is NOT really your bank but sure looks exactly like your bank’s internet page and likely will have a confusingly similar URL!

Read More @ CaseyResearch.com

The Market’s Got It Wrong

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by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

Janet Yellen’s mantra is, “It’s transitory!”

That’s Yellen’s typical response to a long litany of data that shows the U.S. is in the grip of a powerful disinflationary trend that may lead to outright deflation — a central banker’s worst nightmare.

The Fed has a publicly announced 2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} inflation goal, which they consider to be price stability. In fact, 2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} inflation cuts the purchasing power of the dollar by 75{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in the course of an average lifetime. The Fed would tell you to ignore that.

Why 2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} inflation is considered “price stability” is a subject for another day. For now, let’s just accept the Fed’s definition and see how the Fed responds from a policy perspective.

The Fed carves out food and energy prices from inflation. That gets to something called “core” inflation.

The Fed’s preferred metric is calculated monthly by the U.S. Commerce Department as the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) deflator. The Fed’s preferred interval is monthly data compared to the same month one year earlier, or “year-over-year,” YOY.

With a 2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} target for PCE core YOY, what’s the actual time series of data? Here it is:

  • December 2016: 1.9{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • January 2017: 1.9{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • February 2017: 1.9{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • March 2017: 1.6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • April 2017: 1.6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • May 2017: 1.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • June 2017: 1.5{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • July 2017: 1.4{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}
  • August 2017: 1.3{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}

An objective analyst would give the Fed credit for coming close to their target in late 2016. This is precisely why the Fed embarked on a path of rate hikes. The Fed raised interest rates in December 2016, March 2017 and June 2017.

The chart below is taken from a presentation given by Janet Yellen on September 26, 2017. The black horizontal line is the Fed’s 2{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} inflation target. The blue line represents actual PCE inflation; the red line represents PCE “core” inflation with food and energy prices removed, (the Fed’s preferred method). The downward trajectory of the red line should be disturbing to the Fed, but is routinely dismissed as “transitory.”

What happened next?

To answer that question, bear in mind that monetary policy works with a lag. That insight is one of Milton Friedman’s few economic contributions that has stood the test of time.

The Fed has been tightening in fits and starts since Bernanke’s “taper talk” in May 2013. This has resulted a consistent pattern in which Fed tightening slows the economy, then the Fed flips to ease, and the economy picks up steam, which leads to another round of tightening, and another slowdown.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

The Fed’s late 2016, early 2017 tightening cycle has now come home to roost. In the latest nine-month time series, shown above in the table and chart, inflation was flat or down in every month, and dropped a total of 0.6{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528}.

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