HUD Secretary Dr. Carson Finds A Mere Half A Trillion In Errors…


Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
July 17, 2017

When then-President-elect Trump appointed former neurosurgeon and presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson to be Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I had to turn to my friend and colleague Catherine Austin Fitts, and exchange the “knowing wink.” Seriously, folks, we weren’t even in the same room when the announcement came. We were, in fact, hundreds of miles away, but nonetheless, I strongly suspect we both turned in that “metaphorical higher-dimensional imaged-space” that we all create when such things happen, and winked at each other. Indeed, later, during a phone call as we were discussing the various cabinet appointments that were rolling out, we both had to speculate on just how long it would take Dr. Carson to find major financial problems. I forget who said what, but one of use gave it about “six months.”

Well, it’s been about six months, and here we are, with the following story shared by Ms. S.H.:

BREAKING: Ben Carson Finds $516.4 BILLION Of Mismanaged Funds… Media SILENT

And here’s the actual PDF put out by HUD:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, DC HUD’s Fiscal Years 2016 and 2015 (Restated) Consolidated Financial Statements Audit (Reissued)

Much of the latter is, of course, the usual government boiler-plate. So I direct your attention to page 3 of the PDF file, where we read this:

What We Audited and Why

In accordance with the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, as amended, we are required to annually audit the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. Department of Housing and

Urban Development (HUD). HUD reissued its fiscal year s 2016 and 2015 (restated) consolidated financial statements due to pervasive material errors that we identified. Our objective was to express an opinion on the fairness of HUD’s consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) applicable to the Federal Government. This report presents our reissued independent auditor’s report on HUD’s fiscal year s 2016 and 2015 (restated) consolidated financial statements, including an update to our report on HUD’s internal controls.

What We Found

The total amounts of errors corrected in HUD’s notes and consolidated financial statements were $516.4 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively. There were several other unresolved audit matters, which restricted our ability to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to express an opinion.These unresolved audit matters relate to (1) the Office of General Counsel’s refusal to sign the management representation letter , (2) HUD’s improper use of cumulative and first-in, first-out budgetary accounting methods of disbursing community planning and development program funds, (3) the $4.2 billion in nonpooled loan assets from Ginnie Mae’s stand-alone financial statements that we could not audit due to inadequate support, (4) the improper accounting for certain HUD assets and liabilities, and (5) material differences between HUD’s subledger and general ledger accounts. This audit report contains 11 material weaknesses, 7 significant deficiencies, and 5 instances of noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations.

(Emphases added).

Now, let’s translate that from Governmentese to English:

1) “…pervasive material errors we identified,” = “we identified pervasive material errors” = We couldn’t make much sense of the way HUD keeps its books, but…
2) …nonetheless we found “amounts of errors” totaling $516,400,000,000 = in spite of the deplorable state of HUD’s books, we were able to identify half a trillion dollars of errors.

Now, you’re probably wondering, given the title of the first article, whether or not this money is actually missing, or if these were simply “accounting errors.” (Let the magnitude of those two possibilities to sink in for a moment!) Johnny and Susie can’t read, write, add or subtract any more, so it probably should not come as a surprise that HUD can’t add or subtract either. But, tempted as I am to indulge my penchant for rants on Amairikuhn edgykayshun, I will resist, because in the very next sentence we read:

3) “There were several other unresolved audit matters, which restricted our ability to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to express and opinion” = “we did the best audit that we could, but in spite of the fact that we were able to identify half a trillion dollars of errors, we we’re able to get any further because there’s ‘something funny’ about the books.”

And let you think I’m reading too much into that statement, we are then told that

4) “We ran into ‘improper accounting’ of ‘certain HUD assets  and liabilities,'” = “we don’t even know what HUD owns or is liable for”…

…and yes, folks, I’d call that an “accounting problem. It’s beginning to look an awful lot like we’re not just looking at poor addition and subtraction skills from Johnny and Susie Hudd, but an actual missing half a trillion dollars.

But wait. There’s more:

“Why,” you might be asking yourself, “don’t they even know what they own or are liable for?”

And the answer is:

5) There were “material differences between HUD’s subledger and general ledger accounts,” which is a nice Clinton-Obama-Bush-esque way of saying “we don’t know what we own or are liable for because we’re keeping two sets of books!”

Ponder that statement for a moment: they acknowledge the existence of something called a “subledger”. Now, obviously, I’ve never served at any high level of the Federal Cesspool, nor would I want to. So perhaps “subledger” is a professional term of art for Federal Accounting.

But to my hack-from-South-Dakota ears, it sounds like “two sets of books”. And hey, if we can have subledgers, then why not sub-subledgers, and so on, and several sets of books, all the way from the local to the state to the regional to the federal level. Would that confusion allow the looting of the agency? You bet. And why would one loot any federal agency?

To keep their covert operations, drug running, and secret research going.

And that’s a fancy way of saying that, while there is a problem in HUD, the problem doesn’t originate there.

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

And Another Thing: Chase Was Hit Before July 4th Too…


Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
July 14, 2017

Yesterday, I blogged about the silver “flash crash” of July 7, and earlier this week, about the NASDAQ flash crash, but, just in case you might have thought these were nothing but accidental “glitches” from the “coincidence” side of the glitch family, rather from the esteemed branch of the family of deliberately planned glitches, it looks as if things might be leaning definitely to the “deliberate action” side of the equation, according to this article shared, once again, by Mr. G.B.:

Nationwide outage hits Chase bank customers before 4th of July

Chase’s system went down coast to coast, but what’s very intriguing here is the suggestion that Chase might have been dealing with its own glitches, which it was calling “improvements”:

A message on the Chase website explained to customers that the outages were due to the bank “making a few improvements”according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The bank said customers would not be able to access their information or schedule bill payments or transfers.

However, customers reported that entire branches had been shut down Monday, while others complained they were unable to pay their rent and bills, withdraw money from ATM’s, or even access their information over the phone or in person.

Now, as you might have guessed, I have all sorts of wild and crazy high octane speculations running through my head reading this, not the least of which is the thought that “two is coincidence, three is a conspiracy.” On my view that these types of events are the results of some systematic probing of financial cyber-architecture vulnerabilities, then targeting the NASDAQ, a commodities market, and Chase Manhattan, a large international bank, makes a lot of sense.

But that’s not the only thing running through my head, so let’s speculate on the very end of the twig, where the weight of speculation far exceeds the amount of evidence to prop it up.

Let’s posit a hypothetical bank, say, Deutsche-Manhattan-Cheese Banco dei Flaschi di Cesspool, and let’s say that, just before the beginning of August, when the entire country of France goes on vacation holiday, Deutsche-Manhattan-Cheese Banco dei Flaschi di Cesspool announces in the Toulouse Daily Whistle, that it is going to shut down its systems to make improvements just before the next holiday, stranding thousands of Frenchmen at their ATMs and keeping Paris unusually populated for the month of August. That’s quite an improvement, for during this period of being “down,” one might – just as a kind of hypothetical high octane speculation – be able to access the funds that its depositors could not access, and via a variety of cutouts, fronts, and so on, be able to place gobs of trades, make huge amounts of money, keep it all off the books (remember, the system is down – just before the holidays – to make “improvements”), trigger various flash crashes in various markets, and perhaps even target specific equities to be re-evaluated because of the reset when the circuit breakers kick in and halt all the trading.

But of course, nothing like that could ever happen, because we all know that big international mega-banks like Deutsche-Manhattan-Cheese Banco dei Flaschi di Cesspool are cleaner than a Wall Street toilet.

And thank goodness too, because I was beginning to lose my faith in crony finance crapitalism.

See you on the slip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

Bank Bailout In Italy & A Problem Looming Between The…

Banksters
Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
July 10, 2017

Mr J.K. sent this article about the bailout of Banco Monte dei Paschi di Sienna in Italy and some other banks, to the tune of a mere twenty-five and a half billion dollars, mere pocket change. But there’s something else looming in this article and it provokes some high octane speculation of the day. Here’s the article:

Italy swoops in to save another bank leaving taxpayers on the hook for over $25 billion

In my opinion, the central story here is not the bailout of troubled Venetian banks (some stories never change, do they?) but Italy’s, and Europe’s, and one of the world’s oldest, banks in continual operation since the Renaissance, the Banco Monte dei Paschi di Sienna, and one statement in particular caught my interest, and I suspect behind its careful “un-detailed” words lies a huge story which one might summarize with the word “cover-up”:

Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan announced late Tuesday that the government had received approval from the European Commission to pump 5.4 billion euros into Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) in exchange for the lender undertaking a major restructuring overhaul. (Emphasis added)

And, one paragraph away, there’s this:

Toxic assets are at the heart of the bank’s demise and its plan includes the intention to sell down 28.6 billion euros of gross non-performing loans (NPLs), of which 26.1 billion euros will be securitized (converted into marketable securities).

Toxic assets, non-performing loans, in a major western bank!?!?

So it isn’t so!

Then, later, we read this:

Indeed, there could also be an opportunity for brave investors, suggests Surry, if Italy follows the path trodden by Spain which has seen its banking sector shrink from around 70 lenders to closer to a dozen since the financial crisis.

“Potentially BMPS is a consolidation play because ultimately the bank will be clean and definitely there is consolidation to take place in Italy from the 400-plus institutions down to probably 150,” he offered.

So we have:

1) The bailout of Banco dei Paschi di Sienna;

2) Which received approval for a bailout in exchange for “restructuring” from the European Commission, which is now, apparently, in charge of what banks the Italian government gets to bail out, and the conditions under which it can do so;

3) Which restructuring presages a consolidation of lenders throughout the Italian banking system, resulting in fewer “lenders/banks”.

I don’t know about you, but gee, this pattern looks a little familiar.

There’s a great big huge elephant in the room, however, that the article is not talking about. In fact, one might say there’s not only an elephant, but a rhinoceros in the room. The elephant? Deutsche Bank and its relation to the Banco dei Paschi di Sienna, as covered in previous blogs on this site. And the rhinoceros? Italian prosecutions of the elephant.  Noteworthy here is the entire absence of any mention of either one throughout the entire article, and that raises my suspicion meter into the red zone, and with it, some unusual and very high octane speculations.

What disturbs me here is that any action by the European Commission in this matter should be viewed as a conflict of interest, since the EU is largely a Franco-German union, with everyone else along for the ride as Frau Merkel gets to play Charlemagne (or perhaps, Karlamagne, or Karlin or Kaiserin, or something), a role she clearly appears to be enjoying. But why would the European Commission have reason to step in? I suspect, strongly, that the real bank being protected here, and being bailed out, is Deutsche Bank and its own high exposure to “toxic assets”, some of them via its entanglement with the Banco dei Paschi, and that the “restructing” of the Banco dei Paschi di Sienna might, in reality, be an attempt to disguise things and prevent them from emerging into public light as Italy is openly debating leaving the European Union (Charlemagne, Inc., or perhaps better put, Charlemagne A.G.). If so, then a disturbing pattern is emerging here: using national banking crises, the European Commission is establishing the conditions to “restructure” national banking systems according to its own whims, and to make them subject to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. In the process, more will be swept under the rug.

And that means the can is simply being kicked down the road, for they have no genuine solutions.

Let’s hope the Italians look at this whole thing much more closely.

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

Germany Has Had It, Consider Sanctions Against USA

alternative news
Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
July 6, 2017

A few days ago I blogged about a suspicion I’ve long entertained, namely, that there appears to be some sort of covert war taking place between Washington and Berlin, and that this covert war has been going on for a while, most recently entering an “economic warfare” guise. I’ve also advanced the hypothesis that American “rebasing” efforts in Eastern Europe were part of a very old geopolitical game, first played by King Edward VII, then by Clemenceau, Chamberlain and Daladier. Edward, of course, helped engineer the Triple Entente, the alliance of France, Russia, and Britain that was, of course, directed against Germany and eventually “lay siege” to the Central Powers for four years during World War One. Edward’s ploy, of course, was also to prevent the “geopolitically unthinkable”: an alliance of Russia and Germany, long the bug-a-boo of geopolitical thinking. After World War One, the formal alliance system was replaced by the idea of the cordon sanitaire, the “buffer zone” of small states created from the nationalities within the old Russian Empire: Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania became the “sanitary cordon” between Russia and Germany to prevent an alliance.

Of course, the Treaty of Rapallo side-stepped all of this. Then came the strengthening of that idea with the military guarantees given by Daladier and Chamberlain to Poland…

… an idea that didn’t work out too well for Poland, France, the UK, or ultimately, Germany.

The most recent version of this game has been the “let’s launch a coup in the Ukraine, and, just to keep Merkel out of it, launch sanctions on Russia (for its aggression in the affair, of course), which sanctions will keep Germany and Russia from building all those pipelines and cementing other lucrative deals). Part and parcel of my hypothesis about this covert warfare also deals with the war of fines and sanctions against German banks (Deutsche Bank) and German auto manufacturers.

Well, it’s beginning to look more and more like this hypothesis might have some traction, for the gloves are increasingly coming off. The most recent round of anti-Russia sanctions, I wrote a few days ago, was as much directed against Germany as they were against Russia.

And now Kanzlerin Merkel is making no bones about it, and pulling no punches: Germany is considering economic sanctions on the USA, this time, against imports of American energy, according to this Sputnik article shared by Ms. K.M.:

The Final Straw: Germany Mulling Over Sanctions… This Time Against the US

There are some important considerations and paragraphs here to note:

In a joint statement, Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern slammed the decision by the US Senate to impose new sanctions on Moscow over its alleged interference in the US presidential election as well as the ongoing situations in Ukraine and Syria.

“Threatening German, Austrian and other European enterprises with penalties on the US market only because they take part in the gas supply projects such as the Nord Stream 2 together with Russia or finance them, is adding an absolutely new and highly negative aspect in relations between the US and Europe,” the joint statement reads.

For his part, the leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), Martin Schulz, lambasted US senators’ move and called upon German Chancellor Angela Merkel to oppose it.

“We have seen that the US is pursuing a course in energy policy that is dangerous and is directed against Germany,” Schulz told the Federal Association of German Industry (BDI). (Emphasis added)

Now, in my previous blog on this subject, I only suggested that the perception of the new sanctions regime would backfire and be seen as sanctions against Germany (which I also argued was the real additional, though hidden, target of the sanctions). Here, the leader of the opposition party in Germany, Herr Schulz, is now saying openly what only a few days ago was mere suspicion. To put it country simple: the situation is deteriorating quickly.

But there’s more:

Germany and Austria suspect that Senate’s anti-Russian bill is an attempt to “occupy” the European energy market on the part of US corporations.

“Germany and Austria went one step further, too — accusing the US of looking to promote the role of US LNG in Europe at the expense of Russian gas,” the S&P Global Platts writer underscored, adding that the US apparently wants to kill two birds with one stone by exerting sanctions on Nord Stream 2: to “punish” Moscow and promote US LNG supplies in Europe, “which would have the knock-on effect of supporting domestic US gas industry.”

In this context, Danilov wrote, it is most likely that potential anti-American sanctions would be aimed not at inflicting any economic damage on the US but at sabotaging Washington’s attempts to seize the European energy market.

“A ban on the import of American LNG into the EU countries could have become a very effective tool to prevent America’s attempts to influence the European market,” Danilov assumed adding that this measure could potentially attract wide public support. (Emphasis added)

This, too, is a new admission in the growing and widening gulf between Berlin and Washington, and like it or not, where Berlin goes on this issue, Europe goes. That means we are fast approaching the point when Europe will have to choose between the USA and Russia, a choice that has been delayed for some decades, but which, now, with the USSA playing “world cop,” crawling into bed with radical Islamic terrorist organizations, and interfering in the internal policies of several nations, in the long term, I suspect that the choice will not be favorable to Washington, regardless what Europe does in the short term.

The reason: Washington has proven its growing instability and psychopathy since 9/11. The last sentence of the article reminds us of this point: “It appears that the US political elite have completely forgotten that the interest of its European partners should be taken into account, Danilov concluded.”

Precisely, the unipolar paradigm reigns in Washington, in the dominant party, and the fake opposition party. And that unipolar paradigm has, since 9/11, seen the following things be accomplished: (1) Japanese rearmament, (2) Growing Russo-Japanese cooperation, (3) A fed-up Philippines, (4) more bi-lateral currency-trade deals bypassing the US dollar, (5) an insane, banana-republic political culture in Washington, (6) arms sales to the (out)House of Saud, a prime contributor to Islamic terrorism, (7) growing radicalism in Indonesia, and now, (8) the growing estrangement between Washington and our most powerful ally in Europe.

Washington has repeatedly asked its European “allies” to step up to the plate and do more for its own defense. But I have to wonder, if that happened, and Europe then demanded removal of ALL American bases in Europe because they’re sick and tired of being under Washington’s thumb, what the response would be.

I suspect we all know.

In any case, I suspect we’ll find out, after a few years of Japanese rearmament, when they once again ask us to get rid of our bases there.

So, if we want our allies to continue to be allies, then we need to stop treating them as vassals and satraps, and we’d better do so quickly. The trouble is, the idiots in Washington have not existed in a multi-polar world since the beginning of World War Two. They no longer know how.

They’re stupid.

And because they’re stupid, everyone is in trouble.

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
________________________________________________

About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.

The Real Cause of the Opioid Epidemic: Scarcity of Jobs and Positive Social Roles

TruthFact
Source: OfTwoMinds
Charles Hugh Smith
July 3, 2017

The employment rate for males ages 25-54 has been stairstepping down for 30 years, but it literally fell off a cliff in 2009.

We all know there is a scourge of addiction and premature death plaguing the nation, a scourge that is killing thousands and ruining millions of lives: the deaths resulting from the opioid epidemic (largely the result of “legal” synthetic narcotics) are mounting at an alarming rate:

We also know that the proximate cause of this epidemic is Big Pharma, which promised non-addictive painkillers that lasted for 12 hours but delivered addictive painkillers that did not last 12 hours.

The unsavory truth was reported by the Los Angeles Times last May (2016) in a scathing investigative series: ‘You Want a Description of Hell?’ Oxycontin’s 12-hour problem.

There are plenty of other participants who share responsibility for the public health and law-enforcement disaster: physicians who all too readily passed out prescriptions for powerful synthetic opioids like aspirin; the government agencies that approved the synthetic heroin as “safe” (heh) and paid for their distribution via Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, etc., and the patients who all too willingly accepted the false promises of synthetic opioids.

But what’s missing from the public conversation is the underlying cause of the epidemic: a structural scarcity of paid work and positive social roles for vast swaths of America’s workforce.

We all know what paid work means: jobs. Positive social roles include jobs–supporting oneself and one’s family provides purpose, meaning, identity and a source of pride, all atrributes of positive social roles–but the concept extends beyond work to any role in which the participant feels needed and that offers dignity: this includes volunteer, guardian, mentor, coach, etc., many of which are unpaid.

A significant essay in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs describes The Dignity Deficit: Reclaiming Americans’ Sense of Purpose (subscription or registration required)

At its core, to be treated with dignity means being considered worthy of respect. Certain situations bring out a clear, conscious sense of our own dignity: when we receive praise or promotions at work, when we see our children succeed, when we see a volunteer effort pay off and change our neighborhood for the better. We feel a sense of dignity when our own lives produce value for ourselves and others. Put simply, to feel dignified, one must be needed by others.

Giving people welfare, cheap prescriptions for opioids and Universal Basic Income (UBI) does not make them feel needed–it makes them feel superfluous and worthless.

The recent decline in male employment in the peak earning years (ages 25-54) is striking: the employment rate for males ages 25-54 has been stairstepping down for 30 years, but it literally fell off a cliff in 2009. Is it coincidental that the opioid epidemic took off around 2010? I don’t think so.

How do you support a consumer economy with stagnant incomes for the bottom 90%, rising basic expenses and crashing employment for males ages 25-54? Answer: you don’t. The males working in two-income families in the top 10% of the work force are doing just fine. It’s the bottom 50% of households that earn a fraction of the top 10% that reflect the decline of paid work for males below the top 20% or so:

The labor force participation rate (percentage of the civilian populace that is in the labor force, i.e. either working or actively seeking employment) has been crashing since 2000.

The participation rate of males has been in structural decine for decades. The entire 30-year boom in employment from 1970 to 2000 bypassed much of the male labor force.

Faced with a scarcity of jobs and social roles that provide the dignity of being needed and productive, people slip into the toxic depths of the opioid epidemic. As I keep saying here, We Need A ‘Third’ Economy, a community economy that provides an abundance of both paid work and positive social roles. I outline such a system in my book A Radically Beneficial World.

Read More: OfTwoMinds.com

It’s Never Been More Important to Support Independent Content Creators


Source: LibertyBlitzkrieg.com
Michael Krieger
June 30, 2017

When I first started this website I didn’t have a plan for monetization. While I certainly believe people should be compensated for hard, useful work, all I wanted to do was read, write and think. The “business side” of running a blog felt like a nuisance and wasn’t something I had much passion or energy for. That hasn’t changed.

What has changed is passively putting third party code like Google Adsense on your website doesn’t really earn someone like me any money. While it was never a significant amount of cash in the first place, it wasn’t totally worthless. At this point it has become basically worthless, but that’s ok. I’m not going to complain about Google. Google doesn’t owe me anything and neither do the corporations that use the network. It was never a smart way for writers, particularly anti-establishment type writers highly critical of our economic system based on cronyism and fraud, to earn money. It never really made any sense, but I went down that road anyway because it was easy and allowed me to focus on what I really cared about, my work. But things have changed.

Advertisers have begun to flex their muscles over the past year or so, with YouTube demonetizing videos with any sort of unconventional political bent. From the advertisers’ perspective this makes perfect sense and there’s no point in complaining about it. This has forced many content producers to shift to a more reader supported model, which I think is far more empowering and healthy in the long-term despite painful short-term hits to revenue. Indeed, we shouldn’t trust any media that relies on large corporate advertisers to fund their “journalism,” as the product will be more like public relations than any hard-hitting truth to power. We’ve already seen that advertisers are willing to flex their muscles when it comes to content they don’t like, and we can expect that to accelerate going forward.

The latest warning sign comes courtesy of a Washington Post policy that forbids employees from disparaging advertisers. The Washingtonian reports:

A new social-media policy at the Washington Post prohibits conduct on social media that “adversely affects The Post’s customers, advertisers, subscribers, vendors, suppliers or partners.” In such cases, Post management reserves the right to take disciplinary action “up to and including termination of employment.”

The Post‘s Guild sent out a bulletin Sunday night protesting the policy. “If you’re like most of us, you probably acknowledged its receipt without reading it,” says the note, which was written by Guild co-chair Fredrick Kunkle.But what you don’t know could hurt you.”

The guild wants to jettison other parts of the policy, which the Post confirms to Washingtonian went into effect on May 1 and applies to the entire company:

  • A provision that prohibits employees from “Disparaging the products and services of The Post’s advertisers, subscribers, competitors, business partners or vendors.”

  • A demand that employees “Refrain from using social media while on your work time, unless using Social Media is an authorized part of your job.”

  • A clause that encourages employees to snitch on one another: “If you have any reason to believe that an employee may be in violation of The Post’s Social Media Policy … you should contact the Post’s Human Resources Department.”

I thought part of the appeal of a billionaire like Jeff Bezos owning a “paper of record” is that it might make it less beholden to large powerful interests than you might otherwise expect. Guess not.

One thing the last twelve months should make clear to everyone reading this is that billionaire-owned corporate media cannot and should not be trusted to provide honest information, and will definitely never challenge the true centers of power in society. This makes the need for independent publishers more crucial than ever, and since such publishers cannot and should not depend on corporate advertisers, readers need to step up and support them. I’m not talking about my work specifically, I’m talking about all of the independent content creators you enjoy. Support all of them.

On Friday, I plan to publish an article outlining my plan for turning Liberty Blitzkrieg into a reader-supported publication in the years ahead. I think that’s the only sustainable way to stay on point, refrain from the temptations of clickbait, and avoid the whims of corporate advertisers and Google.

Stay tuned for more.

Meanwhile, if you enjoyed this post, and want to contribute to genuine, independent media, consider visiting our Support Page.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

Read More At: LibertyBlitzkrieg.com

Inhuman Markets: Even The Algorithm Creators Don’t Know What…


Source: GizaDeathStar.com
Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.
June 27, 2017

Over the years I’ve become increasingly wary of the various markets that are now run almost exclusively by computers and have occasionally commented about it in blogs. I’ve even entertained the possibility, in my high octane speculation mode, that various “flash crash” events seem to have features that suggest that the algorithm “took over” and drove a market event with no connection to human market realities; in this respect, I continue to be unconvinced, for example, by the various explanations of the May 2010 flash crash; call it a suspicion, or a hunch, nothing more. Yes, in short, I’ve entertained the idea that artificial intelligence (AI) is not “coming” but already “here”, and may be infesting the “dark pools” and high frequency trading (HFT) algorithms.

Well, now I’m not the only one, according to these stories shared by Ms. K.M.:

Like Something Out of ‘The Twilight Zone,’ This Market Is About the Machines

Doug Kass: Not Even The Algo Creators Know What Is Going On

From the first article, I want to draw your attention to the following statements:

Listen Luddites, for the stock market, too, it’s a thing about the machines.

Throw away your fundamental analysis, your price charts, interest rates and economic growth forecasts, as the market has lost its moorings.

It is no longer a pyramid of fundamental and technical analysis nor is it a response to changing investor sentiment.

The ongoing multiyear changes in the market structure and dominant investor strategies in which quants, algos and other passive strategies (e.g., ETFs) have replaced active managers raise the same risks that Finchley faced 57 years ago.

And the overwhelming impact of central bankers’ largesse is the cherry on the market’s non-fundamentally influenced sundae.

As I have written:

“The combination of central bankers’ unprecedented largesse (and liquidity) when combined with mindless quant strategies and the enormous popularity of ETFs will, as night follows day, become a toxic cocktail for the equity markets. While we live in an imperfect world, we face (with valuations at a 95% decile on a number of metrics) a stock market that views the world almost perfectly.”

Back to JPMorgan’s Marko Kalonovic, who is quoted at the top of this piece and again here:

“… some striking facts: to understand this market transformation, note that Passive and Quantitative investors now account for ~60% of equity assets (vs. less than 30% a decade ago). We estimate that only ~10% of trading volumes originates from fundamental discretionary traders. This means that while fundamental narratives explaining the price action abound, the majority of equity investors today don’t buy or sell stocks based on stock-specific fundamentals. (Bold emphasis added)

Let that last statement sink in for a moment, for if you, like I, have been wondering just why the heck markets don’t make sense any more, it’s because they are utterly unconnected to humanity and human decision-making. That “less than ten percent” of trading volume that “originates from fundamental discretionary traders” means that actual human consideration of stock performance, or even equities in a certain specific sector of industry – say, film-making or farm implement manufacture – are based on actual human consideration of the performance, risk, and returns of a particular stock.

I don’t know about you, but I find this development more than disturbing.

But before we move on to the second article, pause and consider something else: it is often a criticism or critique that centralized solutions, the “one size fits all” political solutions of the political left are unworkable, precisely because no human being can calculate for all possible circumstances for all human beings: one cannot, as it were, create a bureaucratic policy or algorithm to stick in “guideline notebooks” for every possible situation.

And that raises the thorny philosophical question that no one seems to want to address:

How then, can we expect human creators of computer algorithms to do for markets, what cannot be done for other segments of human interaction by bureaucrats?

With that philosophical point in mind, turn to the second article, and consider these very cogent points made for our friends at Zero Hedge:

Most people think of artificial intelligence and algos as simply executing logical rules programmed into them by humans — the same rules that the programming humans would follow if they were presented with the same data and data analysis. The algos and AIs are doing it in the same way humans have always done and would do, but at a much slower speed or perhaps not at all because of the very weak and distant relationship of some data items to other data items.

The general belief is that algos and AIs are just “faster humans able to do a lot more calculations in a meaningful time frame”. That may NOT be a correct characterization of some of the more powerful AIs that may be working in the markets. Of course, we don’t know what AIs are working because there are no regulations requiring that machine decision-making accounts disclose and register as such … a very, very big gap in regulation.

True, AI and the related “machine learning” developments at the leading edge of such technology do NOT simply duplicate human rules and logic. Instead, while they may perform simple repetitive correlations initially on data as humans currently formulate that data, the more advanced machines go on to program themselves at successive layers, where the data being analyzed and correlated is no longer what we think of as data. Rather, it is often data artifacts created by the first layers in a form that no human would ever consider or has ever seen. To put in a more street-level way, the first level creates ghosts and apparitions and shadows that the second layer treats as real data on which it assesses correlation and predictability in the service of some decision asked of it. AND … a third and fourth and on and on are doing the same thing with output from each layer below it.

The result of this procedure is striking and terrifying when the the leading experts in AI and machine learning are interviewed. They admit that they have no way of determining what rules AI and machine- learning powered machines are following in making their decisions AND we cannot even know what inputs are being used in making those decisions.

Think about that. The creators have no knowledge of what their creations are thinking or what kind of inputs the machines are thinking about and how decisions about that are being made. The machines are inscrutable and, most terrifyingly important, UNPREDICTABLE.

We are not telling these AIs how to make decisions. The machines are figuring out how to decide to “make a profit” on their own and subject to no enforceable constraint.

The resulting risk of “flash crashes” — to lump all sudden and unexpected behaviors into a catchphrase — is unknowable but probably much greater than anyone even dreams. The machines have no fear of flash crashes or any other kind of crash. Such crashes might even serve their purpose of “making a profit.”

Note what is really being said:

 (1) algorithmic trading generates artifacts in data that no human ever would;

(2) is processing and making trading decisions based on those artifacts;

(3) none of these processes are transparent, and thus, we do not even know why the markets are behaving as they are behaving, we only know they are not reflective of human market realities; and finally,

(4) all this can lead to the risk of flash crashes.

Lest one think that this sounds too incredible to be true, consider the final closing paragraph of this article, which is the biggest jaw-dropper of them all:

Everyone should read this important note from JPMorgan’s head quant (hat tip to Zero Hedge) in order to understand how risk parity, volatility trending, stat arb and other quant strategies that are agnostic to balance sheets, income statements and private market value artificially are impacting the capital markets and, temporarily at least, are checking volatility. (Bold and italics emphasis added)

Let that sink in for a moment: because algorithms trade at such extraordinary speed, and execute trades in blocks of equities, little or no correlation is being with actual specific equity performance, such as a human “discretionary investor” would make, looking at “old fashioned analogue sorts of things” like balance sheets, income, profit/loss statements, company indebtedness, cost-earnings ratios, exposure, assets &c… in other words, the algorithms have little to no connection to markets and their realities, much less to human decision-making processes that are normally involved in the investment process.

The bottom line? Well, over the long term, obvious a huge rethink of computer-based trading is in order. Frankly, I’m old fashioned enough to want to see a Wall Street trading floor of shouting traders, piles of paper, and bundles of stock certificates being mailed out every day. But beyond this, there’s a short term necessity, perhaps one can call it a strategy, and that’s “keep it local”, and in “keeping it local” I mean, even for local investments, finding out about their exposure to national and international markets: how much of that local bank’s stock is traded on the big markets, and who are the major shareholders? And so on… because, for right now, these machines are at the root of market unreality.

This should, and I hope will, prompt a discussion, and it will have to be a deep one, for the problem of the quants and their algorithms is highlighting the limitations of technology for a human world. The disconnection of markets from real human market activity is a case in point of how technologies have been adapted to a normal human activity – investing and trading – in an inhuman way. And the problem is, if the markets are that far removed from human realities, what will happen if, suddenly, someone pulls the plug? How many would remember how to conduct trades on the floor, the “old fashioned way”?

See you on the flip side…

Read More At: GizaDeathStar.com
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About Dr. Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and “strange stuff”. His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into “alternative history and science”.