• Tag Archives Society
  • Equifax Breach Is a Reminder of Society’s Larger Cybersecurity Problems

    The Equifax data breach was yet another cybersecurity incident involving the theft of significant personal data from a large company. Moreover, it is another reminder that the modern world depends on critical systems, networks and data repositories that are not as secure as they should be. And it signals that these data breaches will continue until society as a whole (industry, government, and individual users) is able to objectively assess and improve cybersecurity procedures.
    Although this specific incident is still under investigation, the fact that breaches like this have been happening – and getting bigger – for more than a decade provides cybersecurity researchers another opportunity to examine why these events keep happening. Unfortunately, there is plenty of responsibility for everyone.
    Several major problems need to be addressed before people can live in a truly secure society: For example, companies must find and hire the right people to actually solve the overall problems and think innovatively rather than just fixing the day-to-day issues. Companies must be made to get serious about cybersecurity – at a time when many firms have financial incentives not to, also. Until then, major breaches will keep happening and may get even worse.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/22/2017.


  • US Threat to Cut China Off from the International Dollar May Be Empty

    Earlier this month, the US threatened to lock China out of the dollar system if it doesn’t follow UN sanctions on North Korea. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threatened this economic nuclear option during a conference broadcast on CNBC.
    If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system, and that’s quite meaningful.’
    The threat may be meaningful, but it also might be empty.
    Mnuchin was talking about locking the Chinese out of SWIFT – Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The system enables financial institutions to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized environment. Since the dollar is the world reserve currency, SWIFT facilitates the international dollar system.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on SEPTEMBER 21, 2017.


  • Loving Our Debt-Serfdom: Our Neofeudal Status Quo

    Democracy (i.e. political influence) and ownership of productive assets are the exclusive domains of the New Aristocracy. I have often used the words neoliberal, neocolonial and neofeudal to describe our socio-economic-political status quo. Here are my shorthand descriptions of each term: 1. Neoliberal: the commoditization / financialization of every asset, input (such as labor) and output of the economy; the privatization of the public commons, and the maximizing of private profits while costs and losses are socialized, i.e. transferred to the taxpayers. 2. Neocolonial: the exploitation of the domestic populace using the same debt-servitude model used to subjugate, control and extract profits from overseas populations. 3. Neofeudal: the indenturing of the workforce via debt and financial repression to a new Aristocracy; the disempowerment of the workforce into powerless debt-serfs. Neofeudalism is a subtle control structure that is invisible to those who buy into the Mainstream Media portrayal of our society and economy. This portrayal includes an apparent contradiction: America is a meritocracy–the best and brightest rise to the top, if they have pluck and work hard– and America is all about identity politics: whomever doesn’t make it is a victim of bias.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2017.


  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – On the Daedalian Wings of Paper Money and Corrupted Power

    “The conventional wisdom seems to be that the problems of the euro zone are, as economist Martin Feldstein once put it, ‘the inevitable consequence of imposing a single currency on a very heterogeneous group of countries.’
    What this commentary gets wrong, however, is that single currencies are never the product of debates about optimal economic solutions. Instead, currencies like the U. S. dollar itself are the result of political battles, where motivated actors try to centralize power.
    This has most often occurred ‘through iron and blood,’ as Otto van Bismarck, the unifier of Germany put it, as a result of catastrophic wars. Smaller geographic units were brought together to build the modern nation state, with a unified fiscal system, a common national language that was often imposed by force, a unified legal system, and, a single currency. Put differently, war makes the state, and the state makes the currency….
    European leaders weren’t stupid or self indulgent when they decided to move ahead with the euro, without fiscal union or strong Europe-level democracy. They just cared more about politics and international security than economics. They wanted to build a Europe that had transcended the divisions of the Cold War, and bind together Germany, which was reunited and much more powerful, with the rest of Europe.”
    Kathleen McNamara, This is what economists don’t understand about the euro crisis – or the U. S. dollar
    “Another cause of today’s instability is that we now have a society in America, Europe and much of the world which is totally dominated by the two elements of sovereignty that are not included in the state structure: control of credit and banking, and the corporation.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 18 SEPTEMBER 2017.


  • Canada’s Hunt for Taxes – Trudeau’s Destruction of the Canadian Economy

    The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doing his best to send Canada into the Dark Age. He is clearly a Marxist and has targeted small business which creates 70% of all employment. He said ‘I want to be clear,’ at the Liberal party’s recent caucus gathering in Kelowna. ‘People who make $50,000 a year should not pay higher taxes than people who make $250,000 a year.’
    These people who always seek to run governments have ZERO real world experience and totally fail to understand the economy no less how society functions. They believe that they can just decree some law and everything will function to the desires.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 14, 2017.


  • The Space Race Is Now “Privatized” – But You’re Still Paying for It

    In the wake of Sputnik I’s success on October 4, 1957, in which the USSR could stake claim to having built the first artificial earth satellite, a cosmic shift in perception took hold. Whatever advantages US society might have as measured by individual freedom, it came up short when stacked against Soviet science and technology.
    Soviet space superiority was on display 32 days later when Sputnik 2 launched with Laika, a dog found roaming the Moscow streets who died a few days after takeoff. Telemetry data recorded during her orbital flight showed a cabin temperature reaching a high of 109 F. She suffered long before dying, giving Americans another reason to hate the commies.
    Not only did Sputnik II carry the dog, which suggested that the Soviets were thinking about putting human beings into space, the final stage of the rocket had remained attached to the satellite – which meant, incredibly and ominously, that the Soviet rocket had managed to put a six-ton weight into earth orbit. The United States, on the other hand, was working on a grapefruit-sized satellite weighing three and a half pounds. – Apollo, Charles Murray & Catherine Bly Cox, 2004 [my emphasis]
    The final humiliation came the following month when Vanguard TV3 blew up on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. According to Murray and Cox, a Soviet delegate to the UN needled the US as to whether it would be interested in receiving aid earmarked for ‘undeveloped countries.’

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 14, 2017.


  • Bitcoin’s Biggest Bull Isn’t ‘Long Crypto’, He’s ‘Short Government’

    Six years ago, Kyle Bass provided a crucial context for the debt-laden world of ever-increasing sovereign debt:
    “Buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It’s That Simple”
    And now, as interest in Bitcoin surges, Arthur Hayes, a former CitiGroup trader who runs BitMEX – a Hong Kong-based crypto exchange – asks an interesting question – In the coming war between digital currencies, which side will your money be on?
    As CoinDesk reports, Hayes thinks blockchain is lighting a fuse that will ignite open combat between “true cryptocurrencies” (like bitcoin) and a new “digital fiat” controlled by central banks.
    These two parallel currency systems are the inevitable outcome of his core investing thesis:
    “A digital society needs digital cash.”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 12, 2017.


  • Gold Distributes Wealth, Central Bank Fiat Concentrates It

    The fruits of increased productivity used to be distributed across society. Everyone benefited as the economy became more productive, new technologies emerged and new industries were born. Prosperity spread across society as jobs were created, poverty was reduced and a robust and thriving middle class emerged in America.
    Then came the 1970’s and something suddenly changed. Wages decoupled from productivity and workers no longer benefited from improvements in the economy. This trend has continued unabated since the mid-70’s, with wages essentially flatlining, despite continued growth in productivity.

    This post was published at GoldStockBull on September 7th, 2017.


  • Welcome To The Third World, Part 25: Losing Faith In College

    One of the hallmarks of a successful society is the widespread belief that education is a key to success. For that to be true there have to be 1) enough jobs farther up the food chain to make four more years of studying worthwhile, and 2) schools that are good and cheap enough to make the equation work financially.
    The US is losing both:
    Americans Losing Faith in College Degrees, Poll Finds
    (Wall Street Journal) – Americans are losing faith in the value of a college degree, with majorities of young adults, men and rural residents saying college isn’t worth the cost, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey shows. The findings reflect an increase in public skepticism of higher education from just four years ago and highlight a growing divide in opinion falling along gender, educational, regional and partisan lines. They also carry political implications for universities, already under public pressure to rein in their costs and adjust curricula after decades of sharp tuition increases.
    Overall, a slim plurality of Americans, 49%, believes earning a four-year degree will lead to a good job and higher lifetime earnings, compared with 47% who don’t, according to the poll of 1,200 people taken Aug. 5-9. That two-point margin narrowed from 13 points when the same question was asked four years earlier.

    This post was published at DollarCollapse on SEPTEMBER 8, 2017.


  • American Society Of Civil Engineers Warns Florida Could See Catastrophic Flooding

    Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful Atlantic Cat-5 hurricanes ever, barreling towards Florida with 175mph winds moving West North West at 16mph. The National Hurricane Center is now forecasting Irma will make Florida landfall as a ‘major hurricane’ (wind speed greater than 110mph) on Sunday morning at 8am.
    Infrastructure in Florida is the backbone of the economy. The American Society of Civil Engineers released Florida’s 2016 Report Card with a rating of ‘C’. That means the overall health of the state’s infrastructure is ‘mediocre.’
    Here is the concerning part. Coastal areas and stormwater systems are in very poor condition – under preforming with ‘D’ ratings. With Irma’s potential impact on Sunday this could be catastrophic for flood zones when considering the intensity of the storm. Furthermore the Florida chapter of the ASCA warned and that only 25% of stormwater drainage systems in Florida were adequately prepared to meet “urgent needs” for capturing excess water, while the erosion of Florida’s beaches could leave the coast without protection against storm damage.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 7, 2017.


  • Globalists Will Throw Antifa To The Wolves To Further Their Agenda

    In numerous interviews and articles, including my essay ‘Globalist Strategy: Use Crazy Leftists And Provocateurs To Enrage/Demonize Conservatives‘, I have warned leftists that they are being exploited by globalists as a means to drive conservatives towards greater centralization under Trump and the federal government and that if they continue on the path they have embraced, a totalitarian response may be imminent.
    I have also made it clear to conservatives that cultural Marxist groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter as they exist today are paper tigers; they are not physically or strategically capable of backing up the viciousness of their ideologies. Meaning, a totalitarian response is not warranted (a totalitarian response is NEVER warranted) and would in fact only help the globalists in their long term efforts to destroy our Constitutional principles.
    To summarize, the goal of the establishment is to use extreme leftist groups like a short stick to prod the real tiger – conservative movements. The goal, I believe, is to enrage liberty champions to the point that they are willing to “bend the rules” and rationalize the abandonment of their morals in order to defeat what they think is a great evil. Like all morally relativistic shifts in society, there is always the claim that it is for “the greater good of the greater number”, or, “the other side is much worse, therefore we are justified in our tyranny…”.
    In the end, groups like Antifa will be thrown to the wolves, because the globalists do not intend for them to “win” any engagement with conservatives. This was never the plan.

    This post was published at Alt-Market on Thursday, 07 September 2017.


  • Norway’s Big Fish Story

    Submitted by Nick Kamran – Letters from Norway
    Decision Season
    With Parliamentary elections looming, more Norwegians than usual are asking themselves the tough questions. It is now apparent that the slump in oil is not a temporary one. What will the country do now? Time for the lottery winner, after receiving the last annuity, to get a job before burning out the savings. Many are looking towards the sea, fishing and exploiting underwater natural resources. Others are looking to blast open the mountains to do the same.
    However, commodity based economies, third-world in nature, are subject to mother nature’s whims, innovation, and ruthless competition. Moreover, it creates complacency, catching the nation off guard when there is a shift in the supply curve (instead of hitting peak oil, the opposite happened). Hence, the decisions or lack thereof, made during the next four years will impact future generations. Two generations of Norwegians grew up on the delusion that their society, built on pre-socialist values and high oil prices, can endure any challenge.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 4, 2017.


  • How Welfare States Encourage Bad Economic Thinking

    The greatest intellectual accomplishment of the laissez-faire liberal theorists was the recognition of the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ institutions that are crucial prerequisites of productive accomplishment and material prosperity. The hard institutions include private property rights, market prices, and sound money. The soft institutions include those that reinforce values such as prudence, thrift, resourcefulness, innovative courage, and respect for success.
    However, this accomplishment was accompanied by a proportionately great intellectual error – the belief that these institutions can be safeguarded exclusively by monopolistic apparatus of aggressive violence, commonly known as states. Since states necessarily parasitize on the productive output of market society, the belief that they are necessary for its emergence, let alone that they can remain ‘minimal’ after its emergence, is fatally misguided. On the contrary, it appears perfectly predictable that they will grow in step with the increase in market output.
    Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. As powerful as states may be in terms of sheer physical force, their survival is ultimately rooted in favorable public opinion, and the best way to secure such opinion is to share their plunder as widely as possible. Thus, with sufficiently wealthy hosts at their disposal, states invariably turn into ‘welfare’ states. And it is at this point that they start sawing off the branch on which they are sitting.
    With productive achievement institutionally separated from consumption opportunities, the wealth-generating soft institutions start to erode particularly fast. When there is great abundance all around, but it seems that it can be enjoyed without putting in any productive effort, increasingly many of those who do not so enjoy it come to believe that abundance is a free good, and that the only reason why it is not free for them is because someone unfairly withholds it from them. In other words, the prevalence of welfare-statist ‘redistribution’ spells the death of economic thinking – that is, thinking in terms of resource scarcity, opportunity costs, and incentive structures. This temporarily strengthens the state even further – since at this point the state immediately steps in as an entity that is able and willing to punish the malevolent withholders – but it also further accelerates the death of the goose that lays its golden eggs.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 2, 2017.


  • Dave Smith: Libertarians and the Culture Wars

    and Dave Smith / Sept 1, 2017
    The culture wars have infected every aspect of American life. It’s not just Red vs. Blue anymore, or urban vs. rural, it’s Antifa vs. the alt-Right – sometimes literally in the streets. Have libertarians lost the narrative in the midst of all this? Are they mired in the same Left/Right divisions that plague society generally?
    Our good friend Dave Smith, a comedian and a frequent guest on Fox News, joins Jeff Deist to discuss.

    MISES INSTITUTE


    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Dave Smith.


  • Trump & Company Channel Ayn Rand

    Ayn Rand made her mark by writing and lecturing on a philosophy called Objectivism. It’s a philosophy that flips upside down everything that most Americans hold dear. Under Objectivism, greed is good, selfishness is noble, helping one’s fellow human beings is for suckers and an outright evil. The philosophy also holds that big government is bad and obscenely rich corporate titans are the real heroes of society. (See related articles below.) The Koch brothers’ network of billionaires has been financing the proliferation of Rand’s books into high schools and colleges for decades.
    Trump is the personification of the Ayn Rand creed and his elevation from reality TV host to the Oval Office is valid proof that the Kochs and their ilk have spent their money wisely.
    Trump’s gilded mansions and lifestyle are also mother’s milk to the one percenters he has packed into his cabinet. And their spouses. His excesses makes theirs seem routine.
    In the same week that Hurricane Harvey was about to leave a large swath of Texas looking like a third world disaster, Louise Linton, the wife of the U. S. Treasury Secretary, was bragging in a post about her designer clothing as she disembarked from a U. S. chartered plane with her husband after an official business trip. Linton flouted her #hermes, #valentino, #roulandmouret, and #tomfordsunnies attire. When a female reader responded in a post: ‘glad we could pay for your little getaway,’ Linton berated her in a subsequent post for being ‘adorably out of touch,’ and bragging about how much more in taxes Linton and her husband pay. (Linton apologized after the story went viral.)

    This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on August 31, 2017.


  • US HAS 30 MILLION JOBS THAT PAY $55K A YEAR: NO BACHELOR’S DEGREE NECESSARY

    After decades of government propaganda and college universities telling young Americans that in order to be successful, they must get a four-year degree, the data has now proven that to be incorrect. As of right now, there are at least 30 million jobs that will pay $55,000 a year open in the United States, and they don’t require a college degree.
    Trades have been the bread and butter of many Americans for centuries. But in the past few decades, the government has been pushing college degrees, getting students to take out more money in the form of government loans for school, and making billions of dollars on the interest. But those jobs don’t pay any more than a trade and a tradesperson won’t start their life off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in government debt for a piece of paper. Students and their parents no longer ask what that college degree is worth anymore – they just do as the society and the government has programmed them to do.
    According to PBS, so much effort has been put into encouraging high school graduates to go to college for academic degrees rather than for training in industrial and other trades that many trade fields face worker shortages. Because of the shortage, California is spending $6 million on a campaign to revive the reputation of vocational education, and $200 million to improve the delivery of it.

    This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on AUGUST 30, 2017.


  • ‘Social Justice Collective’ Urges Universities To “Ban Veterans”

    A flyer recently appeared at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS) declaring that ‘in order to protect our academic institutions we must ban veterans from four-year universities.’

    The flyer is part of a new ‘Social Justice Collective Weekly’ newsletter, which is not affiliated with the school, and is aimed at ‘promoting justice in our society.’ The first issue of the newsletter includes an article titled ‘Should Veterans Be Banned From UCCS and Other Universities?’

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.


  • James Howard Kunstler: It’s Time To Be Honest With Ourselves

    The ever-eloquent James Howard Kunstler returns to our podcast this week to discuss the dangers of the ‘comprehensive dishonesty’ he observes in our culture today.
    We occupy ourselves with distractions (e.g., the fear du jour that our media continually manufactures) and diversions (e.g., our empty social media addiction), while ignoring the erosion of the essential systems around us. Making matters worse, the leaders we assume are focusing on these issues aren’t or are woefully out of their depth.
    It’s time for society to take a hard look in the mirror and be honest about the shortcoming it sees. Identifying them then opens the door to deciding what to do about them.
    Without the courage to be honest, we condemn ourselves to a failing status quo that likely has little remaining time left:
    What we’re seeing is the result of behavior of people who have no idea what they’re doing. Most of the major systems that we rely on are entering a state of failure of one kind or another. And, of course, the larger problem is that they’re interlinked, and that their failures will be mutual and self-amplifying.
    These systems include the energy system that has powered industrial civilization, the oil and gas industries which you’ve talked about a lot and I think that our listeners understand pretty well — although the finer points of it, like the ‘energy return on investment’, is something that’s certainly not understood by the general public, or most of the officers in our government, and certainly not in the New York Times, Washington Post or other major media outlets. They just don’t get that.


    This post was published at PeakProsperity on Sunday, August 27, 2017.


  • Greeks Rejoice – Government Scraps Controversial Wine Consumption Tax

    While austerity still reigns supreme over Greek society, amid resurgent refugee arrivals, still near-record high youth unemployment, record-high suicide rates, and a constant brain-drain exodus of young talent, this weekend saw a brief silver lining as the government decided to scrap the controversial special consumption tax on wine.
    The measure, which not only did not meet revenue targets, but actually boosted illegal trade in wine and grapes, will be halted by the end of the year.
    ***
    As KeepTalkingGreece reports, inaugurating the Wine Days of Nemea 2017 in one of wine producing regions of Greece, Minister for Rural Development, Vaggelis Apostolou said that the ministry is working on the legislation to scrap the special consumption tax on wine and it is expected to be ready before the end of the year.’It is a commitment by prime minister Alexis Tsipras that the tax will not exist in the new year,’ Apostolou stressed.
    Finance Ministry sources told daily Efimerida Ton Syntakton that the special consumption tax on wine caused more damage to the sector of wine producers than it brought revenues to the state.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.


  • DOLLAR update as LOSS OF RESERVE CURRENCY STATUS LOOMS…

    The dollar is on course to lose its reserve currency status. This is not something that will happen overnight, it will be a process, but at some point there is likely to be a ‘sea change’ in perception, as the world grasps that this is what is happening, which will trigger a cascade of selling leading to its collapse, whereupon gold and silver will rocket higher.
    A big reason for the dollar finding support in recent years and doing relatively well versus its peers has been the perception that the US is the last and best ‘safehaven’ in a world beset with instability and terrorism etc , but that perception is changing as US society starts to polarize in a dangerous manner. In addition, the continued provocations and threats by the US towards China and Russia has driven them into making preparations to ditch using the dollar, and these preparations are well advanced, and have included buying huge quantities of gold. Thus the dollar is looking increasingly vulnerable.
    On the long-term 20-year chart for the dollar index we can see that it is still at a fairly high level after its gains during 2014 and 2015, but appears to be marking out a ‘Broadening Top’ pattern. On this chart we can also see that if it proceeds to fall hard soon, it won’t be the 1st time – it suffered a brutal decline between the start of 2002 and early 2008 – and that was before it was threatened with the loss of its reserve currency status, so the looming bearmarket could clearly be much, much worse.

    This post was published at Clive Maund on August 27, 2017.