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The Banality of (Financial) Evil

The Banality of (Financial) Evil

The financialized American economy and State are now totally dependent on a steady flow of lies and propaganda for their very survival. Were the truth told, the status quo would collapse in a putrid heap.

Go ahead and be evil, because everyone else is evil, too, because being evil serves everyone’s interests far better than maintaining integrity, for integrity will cost you more than you can afford.

In other words, lying, fraud, embezzlement, misrepresentation of risk, material misrepresentation of facts, half-truths, the replacement of statements of fact with propaganda and spin: these are not the work of a scattered handful of sociopaths: they represent the very essence and heart of America’s economic status quo.

Hannah Arendt coined the phrase the banality of evil to capture the essence of the Nazi regime in Germany: doing evil wasn’t abnormal, it was normal. Doing evil wasn’t an outlier of sociopaths, it was the everyday “job” of millions of people, and not just Nazi Party members.

Not naming evil is the key to normalizing evil. Evil must first and foremost be derealized (a key concept in the Survival+ critique), detached from our realization and awareness by naming it something innocuous.

Here is a telling excerpt from the book Triumph of the Market:

Normalization of the unthinkable comes easily when money, status, power, and jobs are at stake…. Intellectuals will be dredged up to justify their (actions). The rationalizations are hoary with age: government knows best, ours is a strictly defensive effort, or, if it wasn’t me somebody else would do it. There is also the retreat to ignorance, real, cultivated, or feigned.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How to Sell ‘Carbon Neutral’ Fossil Fuel That Doesn’t Exist

How to Sell ‘Carbon Neutral’ Fossil Fuel That Doesn’t Exist

Energy companies are starting to pitch the idea that planet-warming natural gas can be erased by paying villagers to protect forests. Experts can’t make the math work.

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Volunteers clear vegetation that would otherwise stoke wildfires in forests around their village near Mbire, Zimbabwe. Their work is funded, in part, by the sale of fossil fuel thousands of miles away.

Photographer: Cynthia Matonhodze/Bloomberg

Total had proposed the trade after learning a client had already purchased two carbon-neutral cargos from rivals at Royal Dutch Shell Plc, according to people with knowledge of the deal who asked not to be named discussing a private transaction. One of these insiders said that only after getting the go-ahead did the inexperienced team attempt to figure out how to neutralize the emissions contained in a hulking tanker full of liquified natural gas. Their first step was to search the internet for worthy environmental projects that might offset the pollution.

relates to How to Sell ‘Carbon Neutral’ Fossil Fuel That Doesn’t Exist
‘This whole bush can be razed to the ground if we don’t do what we’re doing,’ says Kembo Magonyo, one of the volunteers.
Photographer: Cynthia Matonhodze/Bloomberg

Thousands of miles away, a Zimbabwean volunteer named Kembo Magonyo would spend the spring months clearing stubborn jumbles of branches near the thickly forested border with Mozambique. Wildfires tend to leap between the two countries, laying waste to trees before anyone can respond. “This whole bush can be razed to the ground if we don’t do what we’re doing,” Magonyo says, hacking away with his machete. His work is organized by a group partly funded by Total’s carbon-neutral deal.

In the complicated new math of climate solutions, villagers clearing brush in southern Africa can end up redefining networks of global commerce worth billions of dollars. Environmental projects stand as shadow partners to emission-heavy energy trades happening far away.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Ugly And Difficult Hunt For The True Economy

The Ugly And Difficult Hunt For The True Economy

Good luck with acquiring a clear view of our economic future. It is shrouded and cloaked under an ocean of often irrelevant facts and figures. Somewhere between what we are told is occurring in the economy and what we see happening on Main Streets across America is the real and true authentic economy. It is ironic that every sign the economy is not getting better only reinforces the idea that the Fed needs to goose things and pour even more fuel on the fire. This is exactly what many of us oppose and consider pure insanity.

A false economy of fraud is created by seizing on a few positive numbers that can be spun and hyped to convince people all is well. Even as I’m writing this, a MarketWatch article just came out saying the U.S. stock-index futures were trading higher after a report on June retail sales came in stronger than expected. To that, I say, what do you expect, people are busy spending what they see as “free money.” Sadly, people buying goods made in China from Amazon does little to enrich our communities or the American economy.
The justification for continued Fed intervention is often attributed to the idea inflation is not a threat and further action poses little risk. Those behind increased and continued easing say more action is needed or a loop will develop that feeds on itself and ends in a deflationary depression.
Most of us are familiar with former President Bill Clinton’s infamous line; “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

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The Latest Fraud of CNN

CNN is deliberately misleading the public, and they REFUSE to do any real investigative reporting. They should be shut down as a propaganda organization that is against the national security of the United States. Anyone who would bother to just look at how that statistic was created would be ashamed to repeat it. CNN and others are intimidating scientists who are afraid to tell the truth, for they will be canceled, ridiculed, and may even lose their job.

In 2009, the University of Illinois sent a survey online to about 10,000 scientists with the following two questions:

QUESTION #1

Do you agree that global temperatures have generally risen since the pre-1800s?

QUESTION #2
Do you think that human activity is a significant contributing factor?


Only 3146 responses were received of 10,000, and of that 31%, 90% said yes to the first question but 82% said yes to the second question.


This is how the fraud was carried out by people who have used this survey. They narrowed down the responses and found that among meteorologists who responded, only 64% said yes to the second question, so about 1/3 said NO!

Then disregarding all the others of the 3146 responses, they focused on only 77 who described themselves as “climate experts” without any proof of their credentials and found that only 75 said yes to the second question.

Therefore, when we divide 75/77 we get to their claim of  97% of all scientists in the world say there is a climate emergency that warrants raising taxes and seizing property.

This was only 2.3% of those who bothered to respond, and I doubt that they would agree with the solution which is COMMUNISM!


0.0075%

If we take the 75 responses of 10,000 scientists surveyed, that means only 0.0075% agreed that there is climate change with some human causality…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Economic Evolution Turns Many Comparisons Obsolete

Economic Evolution Turns Many Comparisons Obsolete

The financial system has entered uncharted waters and it would be wise to take nothing for granted. To assume the economy will move forward without a glitch in such an environment is  extremely optimistic. With time, things change and evolve, this transformation can be seen in both society and the economy. We are constantly bombarded with charts showing where things are going based on historical references but a question we must ask is just how relevant today’s comparisons are with prior economic cycles?Over the decades we have moved from an agricultural-based society to an industrial-centered economy where manufacturing and services have become the dominant way of making a living. Now, we are rapidly moving in the direction of technology becoming the main driver of the economy and it is creating a huge cultural change. The economy is again undergoing a metamorphosis. Over time, we tend to forget or minimize in our minds that throughout history the growing pains flowing from such a change tend to batter society from every direction. These transformations also create a great deal of noise making it difficult to understand what is happening.

Please consider the possibility the important adjustments the economy must make are lagging far behind our current “financial culture” or that the economy has evolved in a way that simply no longer works. Much of this has yet to become apparent to the masses and is masked by institutions papering over problems. A tradition of optimism has served mankind well, however, it has become clear something seems to be broken or out of kilter. It does not help that things like stock buybacks and outright fraud are creating a situation that could at any minute spin out of control. Making matters worse is that the general population is oblivious to this, and conditioned to accept whatever they are told. To many people, this is the new normal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Orwellian CFTC, which ignored years of silver price manipulation, now going after Reddit Apes

Orwellian CFTC, which ignored years of silver price manipulation, now going after Reddit Apes

On Monday 1 March, an article in Bloomberg Law by CFTC connected lawyers from law firm Clifford Chance revealed that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is reportedly investigating retail silver trader activity in the silver price and that the US Department of Justice looks set to investigate as well.

Before looking at this shocker of an Orwellian development, it’s helpful to provide some context on the CFTC’s track behavior in this area and to show how hypocritical such a development would be.

Rewinding exactly one month previously to Monday 1 February, as the spot price of silver rallied to an 8-year high of just under US$ 30 per troy ounce amid heightened retail interest and the emergence of the #SilverSqueeze, it was predictable that the establishment on Wall Street and in Washington DC, an establishment with a collective vested interest in a low and suppressed silver price, would feel the heat and attempt to counteract the rally.

On the regulator front, this was demonstrated by none other than the US Government’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), whose acting Chairman Rostin “Russ” Behnam, released an unprecedented statement, actually on 01 February, saying that:

“The CFTC is closely monitoring recent activity in the silver marketsThe Commission is communicating with fellow regulators, the exchanges, and stakeholders to address any potential threats to the integrity of the derivatives markets for silver, and remains vigilant in surveilling these markets for fraud and manipulation.”

Although a short statement from the CFTC, it signaled panic, panic on Wall Street and in Washington, that a #SilverSqueeze triggered demand surge in physical silver could pressure the supply side and thus trigger the collapse of the gigantic ongoing paper silver trading charade.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Stock Market, Fatally Wounded by the Truth, Will Stumble and Crash

The Stock Market, Fatally Wounded by the Truth, Will Stumble and Crash

It didn’t have to be this way, but this is the reality we must now face: truth is fatal to fraud, and our entire financial-political system is a fraud.

The stock market has just been punctured by the thin blades of truth. It is fatally wounded but nobody dares notice. The wounds are barely visible, but the internal damage is mortal. The stock market is already stumbling and will soon crash.

The banquet’s participants ignore the faltering market because the rules are we never reveal the truth, or acknowledge it, or discuss it, no matter how obvious, because truth is fatal to fraud. So the stock market’s vital signs are in freefall but the conversation remains upbeat and light: stimulus, rapid growth in the second half, etc., all the patter of a carefully constructed illusion that fraud is forever as long as the truth never comes out.

Alas, the truth has emerged from the shadows, despite the silence of the insiders and the financial media. Here are the truths that have emerged like karmic genies:

1. The stock market is nothing but one giant fraud. The entire market is corrupt and rigged from the ground up. The fraud is systemic, designed into every tendril of the market. It was a useful deception to blame it all on “bad players,” but now the truth has been revealed: the market is nothing but a rigged game enriching insiders.

2. The Fed is a fraud. All the Federal Reserve has accomplished in 13 years of goosing the stock market is unprecedented wealth and income inequality as the fraud of the Fed has boosted the fraud of the market, which has fatally undermined America’s social and economic orders. Please read this short paragraph and let it sink in. Monopoly Versus Democracy (Foreign Affairs):

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Our Wile E. Coyote Economy: Nothing But Financial Engineering

Our Wile E. Coyote Economy: Nothing But Financial Engineering

Ours is a Wile E. Coyote economy, and now we’re hanging in mid-air, realizing there is nothing solid beneath our feet.

The story we’re told about how our “capitalist” economy works is outdated. The story goes like this: companies produce goods and services for a competitive marketplace and earn a profit from this production. These profits are income streams for investors, who buy companies’ stocks based on these profits. As profits rise, so do stock valuations.

It’s all win-win: consumers get competitively priced goods and services, workers have jobs producing goods and services and investors earn a return on their capital.

Sadly, this is a fairy tale that no longer aligns with the reality that the U.S. economy is now a decaying billboard of “producing goods and services” behind which the real money is made in financial engineering, a.k.a. legalized fraud. Take everyone’s favorite stock, Apple. The fairy tale is that Apple is in the business of making mobile phones and providing services to this customer base.

According to the fairy tale, Apple’s rise in value from $400 billion to $1.4 trillion is based on higher operating earnings, i.e. profits. But if we look at Apple’s operating earnings (see chart below), we see that they’ve been flat for years. So why is Apple worth $1 trillion more than it was a few years ago if profits haven’t risen, much less tripled?

The answer is financial engineering: Apple sells bonds that pay a paltry rate of return and then uses the proceeds from this debt (and most of its actual profits) to buy back its own shares–an astounding $338 billion over the past 7 years.

But look at the return on this legalized fraud: $338 billion added $1 trillion in “value” which can be sold by insiders to greater fools who believe the fairy tale.

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No One Gets Out Of Here Alive

NO ONE GETS OUT OF HERE ALIVE

“The seasons of time offer no guarantees. For modern societies, no less than for all forms of life, transformative change is discontinuous. For what seems an eternity, history goes nowhere – and then it suddenly flings us forward across some vast chaos that defies any mortal effort to plan our way there. The Fourth Turning will try our souls – and the saecular rhythm tells us that much will depend on how we face up to that trial. The saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending, but it does tell us how and when our choices will make a difference.”  – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

As we wander through the fog of history in the making, unsure who is lying and who is telling the truth, seemingly blind to what comes next, I look to previous Fourth Turnings for a map of what might materialize during the 2nd half of this current Fourth Turning. After a tumultuous, harrowing inception to this Crisis in 2008/2009, we have been told all is well and are in the midst of an eleven-year economic expansion, with the stock market hitting all-time highs.

History seemed to stop and we’ve been treading water for over a decade. Outwardly, the establishment has convinced the masses, through propaganda and money printing, the world has returned to normal and the future is bright. I haven’t bought into this provable falsehood. Looking back to the Great Depression, we can get some perspective on our current position historically.

The Dow is up 450% since its 2009 low, which is the metric used by the establishment to prove their money printing solutions have succeeded in lifting the country from the depths of despair and depression.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Al Gore’s Global Warming Deliberate Fraud to Increase Governmental Power

Al Gore’s Global Warming Deliberate Fraud to Increase Governmental Power 

There is a serious question that no one wants to address. How did Al Gore create the global warming scare and earn hundreds of millions of dollars in the process? Before Al Gore, science was worried deeply about what we are experiencing today — global cooling. On April 28, 1975, Newsweek magazine published an article in which they sounded the alarm bell and proposed solutions to deliberately melt the ice caps:

“Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting thearcticc ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing variables of climate uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies.”

This sounds very similar to today’s proposed solution of putting particles in the atmosphere to deflect the sunlight to reduce global warming.  Indeed, TIME magazine’s January 31, 1977, cover featured the cover story, “The Big Freeze.” They reported that scientists were predicting that Earth’s average temperature could drop by 20 degrees fahrenheit. Their cited cause was, of course, that humans created global cooling. Then suddenly the climate cycles shifted and it began to warm up.

There was this core group of people who seemed to enjoy all the attention they were gathering by predicting the end of civilization caused by humans. As the temperatures began to warm, suddenly they had to switch the dire forecasts from global cooling caused by humans to global warming caused by humans.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

CNN’s “Journalist Of The Year” Committed Journalistic Fraud “On A Grand Scale” At Der Spiegel

German news magazine Der Spiegel has admitted that one of its top reporters has faked stories for several years.

Award-winning journalist Claas Relotius had “made up stories and invented protagonists” in approximately 14 out of 60 articles which appeared both in print and online editions. He had worked for Der Spiegel for seven years, winning numerous awards for his investigative journalism – including CNN’s Journalist of the Year award in 2014, according to the Guardian.

Relotius, 33, tendered his resignation after admitting to the fraud.

Earlier this month Relotius won Germany’s Reporter of the Year (Reporterpreis) honor for his story about a young Syrian boy. Since the report was written, it has emerged that all of the sources were hazy at best, and most of what he wrote was completely fabricated.


Claas Relotius: Er hat sein Talent missbraucht http://to.welt.de/aU8k3UM


The falsification came to light after a colleague who worked with him on a story along the US-Mexican border raised suspicions about some of the details in Relotius’s reporting, having harboured doubts about him for some time.

The colleague, Juan Moreno, eventually tracked down two alleged sources quoted extensively by Relotius in the article, which was published in November. Both said they had never met Relotius. Relotius had also lied about seeing a hand-painted sign that read “Mexicans keep out”, a subsequent investigation found.

Other fraudulent stories included one about a Yemeni prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, and one about the American football star Colin Kaepernick. –Guardian

The Spiegel – which has an online readership of over 6.5 million and sells around 725,000 print copies per month, admitted to the fraud in a lengthy article in which they said they were “shocked” by the discovery – apologizing for anyone deceived by Relotius’s “fraudulent quotes, made-up personal details or invented scenes at fictitious places.”

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The Age of Fraud: the Link Between Capitalism and Profiteering by Deception

The Age of Fraud: the Link Between Capitalism and Profiteering by Deception

Photo Source Daniel Lobo | CC BY 2.0

Fraud is an issue that haunts many contemporary societies around the globe, including in East Africa. I have been researching the topic of economic trickery for over a decade in Uganda, and published a number of articles, books and opinion pieces about the matter.

As many of you might know, Uganda experiences intensive fraud levels in numerous economic sectors, from agricultural seeds and produce trade to land and the fuel business. Basically, all vital sectors of the economy are affected by fraud in one way or another.

As an analyst, I have for a while now regarded Uganda to be at the high end of the fraud problem in the region, at least in certain trades such as seeds. However, a few days ago I spent some time in Kenya and was taken somewhat by surprise by how dominant the theme of fraud – i.e. profiteering by deception – was in the Kenyan press. On the day I gave a talk at the Aga Khan University, the front and inside pages of one of the dailies was full of news about the latest scandals and the evening news started with and was dominated by the same theme: fraud and corruption.

It quickly became evident to me that this fraud-heavy news day was probably not a one-off, or an outlier. In a way I was prepared for this scenario and realisation: I have read over the past few years about some of the major fraud cases in Kenya (Goldenberg et al.), and was aware that the current government has declared to fight corruption vigorously.  But more broadly, I have watched fraud news become more or less a staple, not only in the country of my research focus, namely, Uganda, but also in my country of residence, the UK, and my home country, Germany.

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Everything is AwesomeThe Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump

The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump

Once upon a time, there was a little-known energy company called Enron. In its 16-year life, it went from being dubbed America’s most innovative company by Fortune Magazine to being the poster child of American corporate deceit. Using a classic recipe for book-cooking, Enron ended up in bankruptcy with jail time for those involved. Its shareholders lost $74 billion in the four years leading up to its bankruptcy in 2001.

A decade ago, the flameout of my former employer, Lehman Brothers, the global financial firm, proved far more devastating, contributing as it did to a series of events that ignited a global financial meltdown. Americans lost an estimated $12.8 trillion in the havoc.

Despite the differing scales of those disasters, there was a common thread: both companies used financial tricks to make themselves appear so much healthier than they actually were. They both faked the numbers, thanks to off-the-books or offshore mechanisms and eluded investigations… until they collapsed.

Now, here’s a question for you as we head for the November midterm elections, sure to be seen as a referendum on the president: Could Donald Trump be a one-man version of either Enron or Lehman Brothers, someone who cooked “the books” until, well, he imploded?

Since we’ve never seen his tax returns, right now we really don’t know. What we do know is that he’s been dodging bullets ever since the Justice Department accused him of violating the Fair Housing Act in his operation of 39 buildings in New York City in 1973. Unlike famed 1920s mob boss Al Capone, he may never get done in by something as simple as tax evasion, but time will tell.

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Massive Deficit Spending Greenlights Waste, Fraud, Profiteering and Dysfunction

Massive Deficit Spending Greenlights Waste, Fraud, Profiteering and Dysfunction

America’s problem isn’t a lack of deficit spending/consumption. America’s problems are profoundly structural.

The nice thing about free to me money from any source is the recipients don’t have to change anything. Free money is the ultimate free-pass from consequence and adaptation: instead of having to make difficult trade-offs or suffer the consequences of profligacy, the recipients of free money are saved: they can continue on their merry way, ignoring the monumental dysfunction of their lifestyle.

This explains the appeal of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which holds that deficit spending is the “solution” to all our problems because governments can’t go broke–they can always emit whatever currency they need via printing or borrowing.

The problem with government deficit spending is it’s free money to the recipients: there are no feedback mechanisms to enforce any consequences for spending that’s wasteful, fraudulent or inefficient/ineffective.

Deficit spending simply enables the wasteful, corrupt, rewarding-insiders profiteering state-cartel kleptocracy to continue gorging on public spending.So what desperately needed efficiencies and improvements are imposed on the higher education cartel by handing the cartel another trillion dollars of public spending? None.

What desperately needed efficiencies and improvements are imposed on the healthcare cartel by handing the cartel trillions of dollars in publicly funded “Medicare for all”? None.

What desperately needed efficiencies and improvements are imposed on the national defense cartel by handing the cartel additional trillions of public spending? None.

What kind of sense does it make to encourage wasteful consumption on a finite planet with limited resources? The entire rationale of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is that the productive capacity of the economy isn’t being maxed out because we’re not consuming enough.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How To Beat A Manipulator

How To Beat A Manipulator

I’ve been busy working through some of my own stuff lately, while marveling at how closely my personal journey has been mirrored in the larger world. I wrote out the following as a personal exercise while meditating on all the similarities between abusive personal relationships with manipulators and our relationship as a species with the sociopathic plutocrats who rule us. I got a lot out of writing it, and it came out relatively readable, so I figured I’d publish it as-is in case anyone else finds it useful too. Here ya go!

~

Humans are hackable. Ask any conman. Our desire to think we have control over our lives often hides this from ourselves, but most of us are highly suggestible and hypnotizable. If you think you’re not, you’re in more danger of being hacked than someone who has humbled themselves enough to see how this works in them.

There’s no need to be ashamed of being conned. Realizing that you’ve been, or are being, conned will naturally bring up feelings of embarrassment, but it’s never your fault that someone’s taken you for a ride. Get clear: conning someone is the crime; being conned is being a victim of that crime. That’s how the law sees it in fraud cases. Manipulators would love you to think that it’s your fault for allowing yourself to be manipulated, but that’s just another manipulation isn’t it?

Manipulators use one of our most astounding, useful, and beautiful human characteristics when they con us — empathy. Our innately trusting nature is the reason why we’ve been able to collaborate on large scales to create and innovate in extraordinary ways unseen anywhere else in the animal kingdom.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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