<p>It appears iOS 13 is not respecting the &#x201C;Location&#x201D; privacy setting users select for certain apps.</p><br /><p>There&#x2019;s a lot to love about Apple&#x2019;s new iOS 13 operating system, which launched yesterday and ships on the new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. However, we&#x2019;ve spotted a nasty location privacy bug users should be aware of. <strong>It appears iOS 13 is not respecting the &#x201C;Location&#x201D; privacy setting users select for certain apps.</strong></p><p>Read Full Story</p&g
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Trump's Real War Is With The Deep State, Not Iran

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Should we chalk it up to coincidence theory that just days after Trump gives John Bolton the boot as his National Security Adviser, Iran is blamed for an attack on a Saudi oil facility, forcing Washington to forego any hope of peace with Tehran?

One day before Bolt

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on’s abrupt departure from the White House, Trump had reportedly discussed with his security advisers the possibility of easing sanctions on Tehran in an effort to create the “right conditions” for a possible meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations later this month.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters last week. “I do believe they’d like to make a deal.”

Now we may never know how things may have turned out because one week later that comment looks like a page torn from ancient history.

On Saturday, Yemen Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for sophisticated drone attacks on the Saudi Aramco oil factory, which is situated deep inside the country, more than 1,000 kilometers away from the Yemen border. If the claims are true, it would mark a serious turning point in the four-year military ‘intervention’, which has seen US- and British-backed Saudi forces take a heavy-handed approach to extricating the rebels from the capital, Sanaa.

Yemeni military spokesman Yahya Sari said the attack involved an “accurate intelligence operation” that was assisted by “honorable and free” men working inside of the Kingdom. That televised confession, however, wasn’t going to stop the United States and its regional allies from believing what they wanted to believe, which was that Iran was solely responsible for the incident.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose pugilistic presence in the Trump administration makes Bolton’s absence seem almost imperceptible, proclaimed in a tweet that Iran is responsible for launching “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

Pompeo went on to say there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” while never proving evidence the attack originated from Iran either. In other words, Trump is being pushed into a situation where he has no choice but to fight. Not the best situation for an incumbent president heading into the election season. And it certainly doesn’t help his situation when members of his own party shake the pompoms for war, as Senator Lindsey Graham did when he called for attacks on Iran’s oil refineries.

Thus, in a matter of hours, Trump has gone from being open to the idea of talking to Iran to saying the US is “locked and loaded” and just waiting to “hear from the Kingdom” before the White House takes some kind of action against the suspected perpetrator.

Incidentally, although that ominous tweet certainly got the attention of Iranian officials, it is worth noting that just over two years ago, as the war rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington was hitting its crescendo, Trump used exactly the same threatening phrase “locked and loaded.” Yet today relations between the two countries have calmed considerably and Trump even went on to become the first US leader to enter North Korea. Was Trump sending a message to Tehran? Will the maverick from Manhattan soon be strolling down the streets of Tehran, shaking hands with imams as he did Kim Jong-un? Nothing would enrage the US deep state more.

With regards to the idea that Iran was behind the attacks on the Saudi oil factory that claim sounds highly dubious. Once again, we are expected to accept the narrative that sovereign states have some sort of suicide wish, and would happily submit to a mortal self-inflicted wound at the most incongruous time (as was the case with Syria, by the way, which, as the media desperately wanted everyone to believe, decided to carry out chemical attacks against the rebels, thereby risking a full-blown attack by the US military and half of NATO).

Indeed, why would Iran, even through the use of proxy forces, risk an attack on Saudi Arabia that could set the entire Middle East alight? The idea becomes all the more preposterous when we remember that just several weeks ago, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, made a surprise visit to the G7 summit, hosted by France, where world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, were gathered. Trump, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron during a post-summit press conference, agreed to the possibility of meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani.

Trump even seemed open to the idea of backing away from current US policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran, saying he would consider providing Iran with an emergency credit line backed by its oil production.

Why would Tehran risk igniting World War III when the prospect for peace – not to mention financial relief – seems to be near at hand?

The circumstantial evidence points to the fact that Iran, as it has vociferously declared, had nothing to do with the brazen assault on Saudi Arabia. Trump, I would imagine, is probably also very wary of the accusations, spouted by none other than his own Secretary of State, since he is very familiar with such underhanded tactics due to his experience in Syria.

Thus far in his presidency, Donald Trump has been able to avoid full-blown war despite serious efforts by a consortium of concerns to trigger such an event. Despite the hawks he gathers around himself, probably in an effort to “keep his enemies closer,” as Sun Tsu recommended, Trump is clearly not enamored of the battlefield as are so many others in Washington. Trump is a businessman, and sees much more advantage in walking away from a hard-won contract than walking away from an obliterated landscape, the worst imaginable thing for a real estate developer. Nevertheless, it is a nerve-racking experience watching the author of the ‘Art of the Deal’ bluster and bluff his way against rivals right up to precipice of disaster before retreating back again to stable ground.

This strategy keeps the Deep State constantly off guard as to his real intentions, which is not about triggering World War III. How long the Deep State will tolerate such a relative atmosphere of global peace is another question, but they will certainly be doing everything in their power to ensure he does not secure another four years in the White House. And that is the tragic reality of Donald Trump’s real war.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 23:45


War Conflict

"Stiff, Strong, And Tough" - Researchers Discover New Plastic That Could Revolutionize Body Armor 

Researchers at the University of Buffalo (UB), funded by the Army Research Office (ARO), have developed a new plastic that could be used for advanced body armor, combat helmets, ballistic plates, and or even armor for vehicles.

The UB-led research team, fascinated by mollusk-grown gems, used inspiration from nature to create a ligh

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tweight plastic that is 14 times stronger and eight times lighter than steel and "ideal for absorbing the impact of bullets and other projectiles," UB Now said.

The findings were published in a recent edition of the journal Applied Polymer Materials, published by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

"The material is stiff, strong and tough," says lead author Shenqiang Ren, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and a member of UB's RENEW Institute. "It could be applicable to vests, helmets and other types of body armor, as well as protective armor for ships, helicopters, and other vehicles."

The new lightweight plastic is an advanced version of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE).

Researchers said while developing the UHMWPE-based material; they examined "mother of pearl, which mollusks create by arranging a form of calcium carbonate into a structure that resembles interlocking bricks. Like, mother of pearl, the material has an extremely tough outer shell with a more flexible inner backing that's capable of deforming and absorbing projectiles."

Evan Runnerstrom, the ARO program manager, said UB's new plastic might "lead to new generations of lightweight armor that provide both protection and mobility for soldiers."

Runnerstrom said the UHMWPE-based material is easier to mold into intricate shapes that would make it more affordable to create protection for soldiers, vehicles, and other Army assets.

The new plastic is so advanced that it could replace Kevlar, a heat-resistant and durable synthetic fiber, used in the production of ballistic plates.

The ability for the new plastic to rapidly dissipate heat further helps it absorb the energy from a bullet and or shrapnel.

The team even blended the UHMWPE-based material with silica nanoparticles, which created an even strong armor.

"This work demonstrates that the right materials design approaches have the potential to make big impacts for Army technologies," Runnerstrom said.

The next step for researchers would be creating ballistic plates of the new material for live-fire testing.


Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 22:45
Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Most human suffering is due to believed mental stories, from the psychological suffering of the individual to the large-scale suffering caused by international power structures who advance violence and oppression via propaganda. We must evolve a new relationship with narrative.

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Most people’s lives are dominated by mental story, so whoever can control those stories controls the people. The good news is that all we need to do to reclaim our world from the controllers is to reclaim our stories. The barrier between us and freedom is as thin as a fairy tale.

I talk about fighting establishment narrative control a lot, not because it’s the best way to change things, but because it’s the only way. The public will never, ever use the power of their numbers to change things so long as they’re being successfully propagandized not to.

We are bulldozing a paradise while praying we go to Heaven when we die. We are killing off giant-brained leviathans in our own oceans whose mental lives we know little about while searching the stars for intelligent life. We are burning our home in our search for a sense of home.

The most condescending sound in the known universe is Bill Maher’s voice.

Joe Biden could slip into a coma tomorrow and they’d still wheel him out to the debates with the words “NOT TRUMP” scribbled on his forehead in sharpie. And he’d continue to poll in the mid-to-high twenties.

We are about three years from watching President Biden say he’s working with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to win the Cold War, soiling himself at the podium, and then CNN pundits earnestly discussing his similarities and differences to President Obama.

It feels like we’re overdue for another media tour by Steven Pinker to tell us that things are better than ever and our discontent is just imaginary.

“Why doesn’t the left look at Israel exactly the same as every other country, hmmmmmmm???” Because it isn’t exactly the same as every other country. It plays a crucial role in the empire’s geostrategic maneuverings in the Middle East. It’s not about Jews or Judaism, it’s about imperialism.

One of the absolute stupidest things about US politics is how they made regime change in Iran vs regime change in Syria a partisan wedge issue, and partisans only question possible false flags based on which of those agendas their team cheers for.

If the political/media class wants to treat “proxy forces” and “Iran” like they mean the same thing, then they should have also been saying things like “USA fires rockets into Damascus” and “American troops sodomize Gaddafi with bayonet”.

It infuriates the empire propagandists to no end that after years of carefully crafting a very specific narrative about what’s happening in Syria, anti-imperialist journalists can just fly on over there and look around and report on the things they are seeing.

The US outsources all its ugliest aspects so that American voters don’t have to look at them. It outsources its torture, it outsources its slavery, it outsources its wars, and it outsources the the holding cells for its political prisoners.

In old-style British imperialism, they’d invade your country and replace your flag with theirs. In new-style US imperialism, your country keeps its flag, and the takeover can happen so slyly that the nation’s citizens sometimes don’t even know it’s occurred. It’s much more efficient.

All empires throughout history have had some kind of positive narrative about why it’s right that they should be conquering and dominating the world. The US-centralized empire with its bogus “freedom and democracy” schtick is no different.

If you were to combine all the very worst possible kinds of government with all the very worst possible government actions and roll them all together to create a single nation, that nation would look exactly the same as Saudi Arabia.

The maneuverings of establishment power structures are always made to protect the power they already have and/or to try and obtain more. It’s never anything more exotic or otherworldly than that: the mundane, primitive drive to try and control as many other humans as possible.

International alliances are often thought of as matters of secondary importance, as just something governments do when possible to make themselves a bit safer, wealthier, etc. Actually, uniting nations into one power structure is the goal, and it’s what alliances are really for.

I love a conspiracy enthusiast who can research with an open mind and live comfortably with the fact that there’s a lot we don’t know due to government opacity. I dislike the all-too-common other kind who pretend they know everything about everything and scoff at everyone else.

There are two kinds of people in conspiracy circles: those who have an intellectually honest relationship with what they know and don’t know, and the bullshitters who fake knowing things they don’t. It’s possible to get quite popular in conspiracy circles by faking it. Many do.

There’s an implicit default assumption among the political/media class that US government agencies have earned back the trust they lost with Iraq, despite their having made no changes whatsoever to prevent another Iraq-like horror from reoccurring, or even so much as apologizing.

I talk about Iraq all the time because that’s what everyone should be doing. It’s never been addressed, never been resolved, yet the US war machine and its propaganda apparatus have marched on as though it never happened. It’s a very large elephant in a very important room.

The Trump administration’s relentless fumbling, ham-fisted attempts to manufacture consent for a war with Iran remind me of of a really awkward loser constantly asking the prettiest girl at the office for a date again and again. Give it up, dude. She ain’t into you.

Many on the left care about domestic policy a lot more than they care about foreign policy. Meanwhile, foreign policy is the foremost priority of the establishment they’re trying to take down. This arrangement works out very nicely for the powerful.

“Peace through strength” just means “We’ll take money away from the poor and the needy and use it to beef up our already bloated military so we can bully the world into obedience.” That’s not peace, that’s tyranny.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask for one of America’s two mainstream parties to put forward at least one presidential candidate who opposes all military mass murders and has no plutocratic loyalties. That is not actually an unreasonable thing to demand. Don’t lose sight of this.

You can thank Obama for normalizing the “campaign as a progressive and govern as a Reaganite” strategy which now has Americans mostly clueless as to which Democratic primary candidate will actually represent their interests.

You are infinitely more qualified to report the news than the propagandists of the mainstream media. Even a teenager making a sloppy, amateurish first-time Youtube video about current events is superior to an MSM talking head who’s paid to lie. Be the press.

The establishment doesn’t fear Trump. It doesn’t fear Bernie, and it doesn’t fear Tulsi. It fears you. It fears the people. A single politician they can deal with. The public rising up and using the power of their numbers to force change is what keeps your rulers up at night.

*  *  *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permissionto republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 23:05



In major escalation in Iran crisis, Trump announces plan to send US troops.
<p>Google&#x2019;s video service says it &#x201C;missed the mark&#x201D; yesterday when it announced sweeping changes to its verification program. </p><br /><p>The YouTubers are mad and YouTube is sorry.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
Women Are Having Plastic Surgery To Fix "Resting Bitch Face"

More and more women are flocking to plastic surgery to correct a devastating condition known as "resting bitch face", according the New York Post.

"Resting bitch face" is a condition wherein you look - well, bitchy - due to your normal, everyday facial expression. It's also sometimes just referred to as simply "being from New York City". 

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Hope Davis, one woman who got surgery for the condition after her friends uploaded "a batch of unflattering photos to Facebook and Instagram", said: 

“I was like, ‘Oh great, I look mad in the middle of the party’. I looked like a sourpuss.”

Davis didn't comment on whether or not she actually was "mad in the middle of the party" - a road we hope she considered before having someone slice her face open. Perhaps she just wasn't having a good day at the time.

But it's too late to look back now. She, like many other women, turned right to a plastic surgeon. 

Dr. David Shafer, a double board-certified plastic surgeon and medical director of Shafer Plastic Surgery & Laser Center in Midtown, said he's familiar with the request to deal with "RBF", as he called it, and said its a common request that he gets several times each week.

Davis instructed Shafer that she didn't want a 'Joker' smile, but rather a "pleasant resting look". 

Doctors use techniques like injecting fillers into the face and Botox to achieve the look. The procedure takes about 10 to 20 minutes and can cost between $500 to $5,000. It generally lasts "up to two years". 

Shafer said:

 “The worse the ‘bitch face,’ the more effective the Botox. If you always look dumpy, or unfriendly … people are going to react to you differently.”

Shafer said that requests to fix "RBF" have more than doubled over the last year. He claims it is due to a shift in focus to the lower face, “popularized by the Kardashians” and the prevalence of selfies, which force people to look downward at their phone, accentuating their resting bitch faces.

Davis said: “Nobody can quite put their finger on it, but they notice something’s different. People have definitely complimented me saying, ‘Oh you look so pretty and cute today.’ ”

Park Avenue plastic surgeon Dr. Melissa Doft said: “People gravitate to women who they perceive as happy.”

"It helps make patients look less sad," she continued. 

But, as Davis will unfortunately find out, hacking your face apart isn't necessary going to make you happy on the inside. 

She concluded:

 “I caught a glimpse of myself out of the corner of my eye, and it gave me a positive vibe because I looked happy. This whole time, [I was focused on] how I project to the world, but I wasn’t paying attention to how I project to myself.”

Maybe they'll have plastic surgery for your soul at that point...

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 22:05
by Richard Enos

Dr. Katherine Horton sees the current rollout of the 5G network in a way that is different from mainstream perception. And for good reason.

To begin with, she is a particle physicist with a PhD from prestigious Oxford University. She worked as a high energy physicist on the particle collider at the German Electronsynchrotron DESY in Hamburg, Germany, and on the infamous Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

At Oxford, Dr. Horton worked as a research fellow at St John’s College, a position that allowed her to expand her research from particl
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e physics into medical physics and the physics of complex human systems. As part of the latter, she conducted systems analysis research of the English legal system, economies, the financial system, currencies, as well as white collar crime and organised crime.

Read Entire Article »
Is WeWork A Fraud?

Authored by Henry Hawksberry, first published on Medium

So in a nutshell, this is what we know about this charade so far:

  1. Its not a technology company in any way, shape or form. No income is derived from the sale of a product or service delivered by a technology. They owe $47 billion in lease commitments. Claiming WeWork is a technology company is one of the many indi
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    cators that illustrate how Adam & Miguel intentionally seek to mislead and defraud existing & potential future retail investors. The product is the easiest to replicate and there isn’t one barrier to entry.
  3. When asked what inspired him to create a shared workspace company, Adam said that when he was growing up in Israel he used to live in a Kibbutz and was so mesmorised by the ‘sharing ideology’ that he invented Co-Working. Mark Dixon founded Regus in the 1980’s. LEO, Workspace Group, The Office Group, ServCorp, MWB, HQ and many others were around way before Adam thought up of this ponzi.

  4. WeWork post full year invoices for the year ahead this year to inflate their revenues. They then heavily discount those invoices they’ve already raised and treat them as expenses. They then pay whichever broker secured that lead 100%, yes 100% of the contract value. Note the industry standard commission is 10%. Neither the discounts nor the 100% in commission payments appear in their Financials as they are ‘community adjusted’. They also do the opposite, they turn expenses into revenues so imagine a landlord agrees to discount their rent by £250k to offset a portion of their build costs, standard practice, WeWork treats that £250k as revenue. They also charge members even after they’ve vacated, then credit them later. It’s not difficult to boost revenues on a blank cheque. Revenues are not what you’ve actually cleared through your bank, it’s the total tally of invoices raised in a given period, a big difference.

  5. The expenses as detailed in their accounts & S1 disclosure is not accurate. To hide two crippling cost groups; fit-outs & marketing, they invented a brand new accounting principle which they called ‘community-adjusted EBITA’S’. If they hadn’t they would have had to post actual accumulated losses in the region of $6 billion instead of the $4 billion reported. Why don’t we all do this. This is another strong indicator, they are hiding actual losses to mislead, knowingly. For somebody that can’t go a sentence without throwing in ‘community’ twice it’s interesting he’s never tweeted, his instagram features four landscape google images and he’s non-existent on LinkedIn.

  6. A brief search on any review site should show you the extent to which they couldnt care less about what their customers think. Despite rolling monthly contracts being sold with 3/6 month rent free periods for peanuts, with all the promotional freebies they provide, the free beer & festivals, 100% commission rates to brokers, billions in instagram adverts, 3 PR articles a day, none of their buildings are even near full and they are already experiencing falling occupancy rates. They even sent teams to walk into their competitor’s Centres to take photographs of tenant directory’s. That’s how desperate it’s become. Regus is currently engaged in legal action accusing WeWork of poaching customers and they are not the only ones who have accused them of engaging in this.

  7. Adam & Miguel have already collectively cashed out in excess of $1 billion in loans, royalties, salaries to extended family, private jets and who knows what other instruments (e.g. selling the We trademark he secretly purchased back to WeWork for a cool $6m), they’re chilling, and reportedly less and less involved in the day to day running. Miguel is more involved in a range of other businesses and has already demoted himself from Co-Founder to Head of ‘Global Culture’, quietly positioning himself for a quick exit post-IPO. Adam on the other hand fancies himself as the next Masayoshi, he has his own ‘venture capital’ firm investing in genuine entrepreneurs. Why would either of them care what happens to their remaining holdings, they’ve already cashed out enough to set up their grandchildren for life.

  8. Adam & Miguel then used the funds extracted from WeWork and funnelled it through privately controlled offshore investment vehicles and almost overnight built an asset-rich portfolio of prime commercial real estate (not an asset-light illusionary hustle). It doesn’t end there. Adam & Miguel then lease those buildings they privately acquired. back to their very own ‘spiritually’ valued WeWork at a ridiculously high yield. Even the very founders are bleeding their own ponzi scheme dry. Are these guys something or what. Further buildings were then acquired with loans (from JP Morgan) totalling $500m hedged against their already saddled collateralised. junk obligation WeWork. It’s not enough that they’re making $230m in fees flogging this ponzi.

  9. When they got caught, Adam tries justifying it by claiming he acquired the buildings years ago as a way of proving the concept works. An outright lie, and very insulting. If Adam can do and then conceal all of these things, imagine what else we don’t know.

  10. With pressure mounting, he arranges to appear alongside his actor friend Ashton Kutcher in an ‘Exclusive’ interview on CNBC. Ja Rule, sorry I mean Ashton Kutcher, in his trademark goofy-like character plays his part to perfection…. ‘When I realised it was a technology company I also realised that this company, through its technology, has the greatest capacity than any other company in the entire world to bring people together’. He’s using an actor to convince people his act is for real.

  11. The only reason it was valued at $47 billion is purely because one individual in Japan bafflingly and solely invested a total of $12 billion, in 9 separate funding rounds, each at double the price (and valuation) he (and he alone) paid less than 6/12 months prior. Since Softbank first invested in 2012, nobody else has invested. The only two people who claim WeWork is worth $47 billion are Masayoshi Son and Adam Nuemann. As long as we’re debating, and continue doing so until after the IPO Adam & Miguel are loving it.

  12. Why would Masayoshi, an intelligent individual, invest so many billions into this barefaced fraud, for the life of me I cant figure it out. Maybe Adam & Miguel deceived him too. Or it could actually really be as simple as it looks. It’s impossible for Adam, Miguel and Masayoshi to sell their shares on the secondary market or post-IPO for $100bn+ if Masayoshi didn’t allow Adam & Miguel to parade WeWork in the press as being worth $47 billion, using purely Softbank’s 9 sole investments & revaluations. Once they exchange, media outlets can run headlines that project an aura that they are indeed worth what two people have decided to value it at. Everybody in the loop benefits, from the early investors that hope to offload their investments to later stage mugs, to the media outlets and banks Goldman Sachs’ & JP Morgans who earn hundreds of million in share sale commissions. Everybody wins. No one is accountable.

  13. Even Adam’s wife Rebekah, persuaded Masayoshi to sink $100m into her very own pet-ponzi, WeGrow, ‘the future of education’. Cute no, his and hers.

  14. It was only until the Saudi’s threatened to pull their funds out of the Vision Fund when Masayoshi reconsidered and decided to pull a proposed further investment of a whopping $16bn (which would have brought the total amount invested in/borrowed by WeWork to a laughable $30 billion, 15x what Facebook raised). This is what may have alarmed Adam to quickly initiate the IPO. He may now be afraid that if he agreed to delay the IPO he wouldn’t be able to re-submit later without providing a more scrupulously drafted breakdown of WeWork’s finances. He may also be worried that if a permanent suspension of the IPO happens, the company may not survive.

  15. Adam & Miguel have consistently been way off any of their forecasts made in their original pitch deck to investors (available online). He forecasted profits of $14 million in 2014, $64 million in 2015, $237 million in 2016, $542 million in 2017 and $1 billion in 2018 (on revenues of $3.6bn, a 36% profit margin). Their ‘community-adjusted’ accumulated losses amount to over $4bn, their actual losses are much higher. WeWork sued a whistleblower who raised alarm bells in 2016 when she revealed how WeWork had slashed their profit forecasts by 76%. When Bloomberg revealed this, WeWork claimed that it had ‘over-estimated’ what landlords would be willing to front in build out costs. But according to Adam ‘Because we have 40% margins, we can choose when to become profitable’.

  16. Two profitable serviced office groups, the largest IWG (Regus & Spaces) and the most luxurious LEO, who collectively manage in excess of 3500+ centre’s have been on the market for close to 2 and half years now and they have not been approached by anybody willing to pay a multiple of more than 1.25x revenues, which would make IWG valued at between $3/4 billion. SoftBank could have acquired four Regus’s for their $12 billion and still have enough change to sprinkle some fairy dust on top. Instead they’re losing one Regus a year.

  17. Facebook raised $2.2 billion pre-IPO. Google raised $130m pre-IPO, Ebay $6.9 million. WeWork has raised $14 billion so far, 7x what Facebook required pre-IPO, 140x what Google needed and they’re not even a technology company. Where has that $14 billion gone? They raised $14 billion, have less than $1.5bn cash and have nothing to show other than $47 billion in lease commitments and a portfolio of supersized Starbucks’s which are beginning to look outdated and in need of urgent refits. Airbnb on the other hand is a technology company, has raised $4 billion and posted profits of $93m last year on $2.4 billion in revenues. No money has been swindled out of Airbnb, they’re fiscally responsible and taking their time, waiting for the right moment to IPO. No rush.

  18. Serviced Offices as anybody in the industry will tell you generates almost as much yield as your traditional commercial landlord, typically 2/3%. Serviced Offices used to be very profitable when there were few half decent ones around but today they’re everywhere and desk prices have collapsed whilst conventional leasing rates have held steady. It’s not just been around since the 1980’s but now everybody’s getting into it, even developers British Land & Boston Properties are beginning to include it as part of their offerings. Now its purely a landlord play. Cafe’s and Hotels are jumping in too, even brokers are building their own platforms where they act as operator, Knotel, Instant Managed, CBRE to name a few. Even Google have a platform, ‘Campus’, very cool place. Adam though doesn’t think they’re come close to being a threat, ‘Our biggest competitor is work itself’.

  19. Serviced Offices is like the hotel industry only many times simpler, its just desks, chairs, simple decor in common areas (plants & picture frames), wifi, electricity, daily cleaning, plates and cutlery, and maybe a plug in telephone handset. Or you can just hire one of the many contractors WeWork use (John Robertson Architects, Oktra etc) although most floors are just glass partitioned boxes (they don’t do stud walls). LEO, Spaces and some of TOG’s centres have always been more beautiful with a far higher build quality than any of WeWorks offices. Now that’s it’s a landlord play, you have a avalanche of landlords with far a deeper understanding of interior design and office fit outs than WeWork will ever be able to outsource.

  20. The Co-working side of the Serviced Office industry is not at all profitable. Nobody makes money from co-working. Most operators provide a little co-working alongside a largely 3/6 person partitioned multi-office layout or around dead spaces. WeWork took out entire floors and dedicated it to open-plan co-working.

  21. How did this even begin? The earliest shareholders including a gentleman called Mortimer Zuckerman were not just their landlords AND seed investors. They also happened to own Fast Company and NY Post which were instrumental in propping up WeWork in the press before anybody knew who they were. The headlines they spun about WeWork’s valuation and ‘meteoric’ rise was basically the shareholders advertising their investments. Even Wikipedia’s page (throughout 2015 and 2016) introduced WeWork as the ‘most innovative company of 2015’, citing a Fast Company article.

  22. WeWork even thought about setting up WeCafe’s, they want to be the first ever to disrupt the ‘working-in-a-coffee shop-as a-service-space’. An internal report revealed people are working at spacious, trendy hipster designed coffee shops where they get not just a free table but also a chair (and free wifi) all for the price of a cup of tea. If WeWork charged their members a fraction of the market rate, half will vanish overnight. Or put another way, when they want to start becoming profitable and all the freebies come to an end it will feel like s rug has been pulled from under WeWork’s feet, by which time Adam & Miguel will be long gone.

  23. WeWork doesn’t pay the appropriate property taxes due on their UK based centre’s. If you look at their Business Rates schedules of the respective boroughs in which they operate in (available online) you’ll notice that split their entire space into tiny cubicles. By doing so WeWork avoids paying property taxes and earns tax rebates originally intended for small businesses, $2.4 million to date. So they’re effectively being financed by Her Majesty’s Government & the UK taxpayer too.

  24. WeWork spends more on PR than anything else (mainly directed towards Henry Blodget, a permanent fixture at the famous hedonistic WeRetreats, the all expenses paid festivals courtesy of Softbank). They are carefully written with the subtle intention of building an impression that the company is a roaring success, they pay for many of these articles. Some are even co-written by WeWork’s PR team. Every month they pay these new breed of digital financial news tabloids like Business Insider, Fast Company etc to write sensational headlines like ‘The Rise of WeWork’ & ‘How WeWork become a $47bn company’.

  25. If you are not already acutely aware that Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey are fraudsters, count the number of times the word ‘Hustle’ is plastered in neon lights at every one of their tacky ikea-designed offices (or just google the words: wework hustle and click on images).When asked whether how they could come up with a $47 billion dollar valuation, he replied ‘”No one is investing in a co-working company worth $20 billion. That doesn’t exist. Our valuation and size today are much more based on our energy and spirituality than it is on a multiple of revenue.”. When Miguel was asked about their $20 billion valuation (before it was almost tripled to $47bn), Miguel McKelvey answered ‘Who gives a s***?’.

  26. There are many people out there who give discreetly to charity, some give generously but only with the fanfare, some ‘pledge’ to be charitable largely for the PR impact but have no intention of giving, this is something new. Adam, his wife Rebekah & Miguel have ‘pledged’ to give $1 billion they don’t have and yet to swindle out of WeWork (not the last billion, the next billion) so they can acquire more land to help mankind and support environmental causes ‘close to their heart’. Is this the twilight zone? Where did the first billion go? Why do they feel the need to use meaningless philanthropic pledges to make themselves appear to be good wholesome folk, generous not greedy, charitable and tax-free. WeWork’s cleaners have twice protested over wages. Everything is fake.

WeWork will never ever, in its short history, generate a profit, let alone the tens of billions in revenues necessary to generate anywhere near the $3 billion in earnings required to (even then generously) value the company at £47 billion.

A lot of people could have done what Adam Nuemann & Miguel McKelvey did, they don’t because they’re not prepared to engage in a fraud. They can play dumb all they like but when you fiddle with your financials, invent accounting principles, secretly acquire IP and double deal it for millions of dollars back to your own company, market yourselves misleadingly as a ‘technology’ play, cash out close to $1 billion and use that to acquire buildings to lease back to WeWork, employ half your family etc, etc, etc…please for heavens sake don’t try and convince me that they are unaware of what they are doing. They know exactly what they’re doing. Adam and Miguel purposefully choose to hide those costs under ‘Community-Adjusted EBITA’s’. Why are they still parading WeWork as a technology company, does anybody believe as cunningly intelligent as they are, that they genuinely think WeWork is a ‘technology’ company? Why have they cashed out, and not just a few million dollars as a deposit on a big mortgage but hundreds of millions to buy buildings that they used to further bleed their own ponzi scheme with?. They have cashed out $1 billion whilst posting losses of $1.9 billion.

Since their S1 release, Adam & Miguel have slashed their proposed post-IPO valuation by 86% in 4 re-valuations. The price started at $67 billion, then they quickly dropped it to $30/$40bn before again looking down at their calculator and punching buttons quicker than you can blink and coming back with $15/20bn. As you’re about to click, it plunges 40% to $10bn. From $67 billion to $10 billion in 7 days. It’s pathetic seeing this kind of desperation. I don’t want to be in the room when he realises it’s not even close to being worth anywhere near $1 billion. Within the last 10 days or so, his wife Rebekah has also removed from her extraordinarily unnecessary position, they’ve hastily elected their first female to their Board, halved Adam’s voting power, lost a Chief Communications Officer, their bonds are crashing, two landlords have begun legal proceedings, their principle investor Masayoshi has publicly called for Adam to delay the IPO, even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in and warned vulnerable investors Goldman Sachs & JP Morgan are now targeting… ‘you’re getting fleeced!’. It’s not all bad news though, Adam agreed to return the $6m he swindled when he secretly sold ‘We’ back to his company The ‘We’ Company. Btw, if you’re wondering why he settled on the name. ‘We’ he pontificated recently ‘The ‘90s and early 2000s were the i decades. iPhone, iPads, the iPod – everything was about me. Look where that got us? In a terrible recession’.

To wrap up, if you were to contrast the key characteristics of what defines a ponzi scheme with what we already know about WeWork, I think we could safely assume beyond a reasonable doubt that WeWork is a fraud, both Miguel McKelvey and Adam Neumann seem to be knowingly engaging in a fraudulent ponzi-like scheme designed to mislead investors and they appear to be nothing more than your average, traditional, run of the mill fraudsters, or in their own words….’Hustler’s’. The magnitude of this fraud and the unprecedented arrogance in which it’s being ruthlessly executed puts it in a league of its own. Now they’re hoping to hustle the big boys on Wall Street, and they will most likely get away with it.

The most discomforting element of this whole deception is that after perpetuating this fraud for so long, media outlets are now inviting these Hustlers to media-sponsored ‘leadership’ events where they’re put on podiums to teach us how to become visionary’s whilst they have now made it unnecessarily more difficult for genuine entrepreneurs & technology companies to raise capital in future. The future is farther because of them.

So to wrap up, if you were to contrast the key characteristics of what defines a ponzi scheme with what we already know about WeWork, I think we could safely assume that it could be somewhat judged beyond a reasonable doubt that WeWork is a fraud, both Miguel McKelvey and Adam Neumann seem to be knowing engaging in a fraudulent ponzi-like scheme designed to mislead investors and appear to be nothing more than your average, traditional run of the mill fraudsters, or in their own words….Hustler’s. The magnitude of this fraud and the unprecedented arrogance in which it’s being ruthlessly executed puts it in a league of its own. Now they’re hoping to hustle the big boys on Wall Street, and they will most likely get away with it.

The most disquieting element of this whole collaborative effort to deceive is that after perpetuating this fraud for so long, media outlets are now inviting these hustlers to media-sponsored ‘leadership’ events where they’re put on podiums to teach us how to become visionary’s whilst they have now made it unnecessarily more difficult for genuine entrepreneurs & technology companies to raise capital in future. The future is farther because of them.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 19:40


Business Finance

<p>By beaming an image directly onto the retina, Apple could build AR glasses with stylish design and marathon battery life.</p><br /><p>Apple&#x2019;s work on augmented-reality glasses are one of the worst-kept secrets in tech. Right now, AR experiences aimed at consumers ask us to experience the technology through phone cameras, and everybody knows that can&#x2019;t last. Digital imagery projected into the world in front of us&#x2014;via glasses or something like them&#x2014;might be the next big user experience.</p><p>Read Full Story</p
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Three Spy Planes Could Soon Be Flying Over Baltimore To Counter Murder Crisis

Earlier this month, we reported how Gov. Larry Hogan pledged $21 million to assist Baltimore City in their efforts to stop the spread of the murder crisis. Hogan also endorsed the use of a controversial surveillance plane program that would fly thousands of feet above to record every movement of people and vehicles in the city.

Now The Baltimore Sun is reporting that t

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hree spy planes could soon be flying overhead, in a $6.6 million surveillance program that would be entirely funded by outside donors for three years. 

The Sun obtained emails from Ross McNutt of Ohio-based Persistent Surveillance Systems and officials in Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young's office that expressed support in the program. 

Each plane has sensors that can monitor up to 32 square miles at a time, and each would fly 45 to 50 hours a week, McNutt said. 

"With these three coverage areas, we would be able to cover areas that include 80 to 90 percent of the murders and shootings in Baltimore," McNutt wrote in an email last month to Sheryl Goldstein, Young's deputy chief of staff.

As early as 2015, we reported that Persistent Surveillance Systems was flying a Cessna 182T Skylane over the streets of Baltimore during the riots. It turned out the plane was a secret FBI aerial surveillance program.

In a follow-up piece, "Meet The FBI's Secret Eye In The Sky Overseeing The Baltimore Riots," we postulated that the spy plane monitoring the riots may have been equipped with night vision equipment provided by Persistent Surveillance Systems, a company which has worked with the Baltimore Police Department in the past. Here's a schematic (via WaPo):

The funding for the $6.6 million surveillance program would be covered by Texas philanthropists Laura and John Arnold, who also funded the 2016 pilot program. 

"While we have not formally committed to additional funding, we have expressed significant interest in a proposal to restart the program if it has support from Baltimore city leaders and the broader community," John Arnold said. "We will wait to see a formal proposal before making a firm commitment."

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison met with McNutt last month about the spy planes - no decision on the program has been made.

Council President Brandon Scott has been a supporter of the program but has mentioned that when the plane flew in 2016 - there was no meaningful evidence that it reduced murders.

As we noted several weeks ago, Baltimore is on track for record homicides this year, expected to surpass the 300th mark in the near term.

Supporters of the spy plane program "see it as the best thing for Baltimore, and they don't want to see Baltimore miss out on this opportunity," McNutt said. "It's personal to them."

Millie Brown, the founder of Tears of a Mother's Cry, an organization that supports mothers who have lost children to gun violence, said she is "110 percent behind" McNutt's spy plane program.

"Having the eye in the sky is a no-brainer with all of the bloodshed that we have in our city. We have someone that's offered to pay for it," Brown said. "There are so many murders and robberies that could have been solved if we would have had that plane up in the sky."

David Rocah, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Maryland, warned against the return of the spy plane program. 

"What was one plane is now three, and the coverage is, instead of half the city, the entire city, and the duration of surveillance is now the entirety of the daylight hours, essentially," he said. "What is being created is the permanent surveillance of everywhere that everyone in Baltimore goes every time they walk out the door. That has always been the design and intent and this further clarifies it. And that is something that simply should never be done in a free country, period."

Earlier this month Rocah condemned McNutt's lobbying effort.

"It's being pushed by people outside of Baltimore," Rocah said. "It's a cynical attempt to use the failings of public safety in Baltimore as a government power grab. There's nothing more despicable than that."

The possible resurrection of the spy plane program, and the tripling of its size, comes as the city is imploding on itself, suffering from a murders crisis, opioid epidemic, a wide gap in wealth/health/education inequalities, and deindustrialization. 

We said this earlier this month, and we'll repeat it for the second or third time: "There's no meaningful policy in place to turn Baltimore around in the next decade. So in the meantime, if you value your life, stay away from Baltimore." 

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 20:05
Students skip school to spout alarmist climate propaganda.
<div class="block-paragraph"><div class="rich-text"><p>Did you know that searches for "best” have increased by 80% in the last two years? For example, in recent third-party research, we saw that some people spend over 50 days searching for the “best chocolate” before making a decision.</p><p>Google Marketing Live is happening on May 14th—register now to discover how to take action on new consumer insights like these and learn about the latest digital marketing products from Google. For the first time, we'll also be live streaming 8+ hours
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of additional content from the event. Engage directly with product managers through live Q&amp;A, learn new best practices, and get an inside look at how our latest products are developed.<br/></p></div></div>
<p>The retailer is almost ready to quit, but not just yet.</p><br /><p>Walmart is about ready to quit vapes.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
What's Hot In Women's Fashion?

Via Global Macro Monitor,

Capitalism at its best or worst?

We have a few questions:

1)  Does the Tariff Man get a royalty for the sale of each dress sold, and will that violate the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and

2) Are the dresses Made in China?

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Just askin’?

Hat Tip:  @scottlincicome

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 19:05


Law Crime

A Clueless New York Fed Is Examining Why Banks With Excess Cash Failed To Halt Repo Panic

When it comes to occasional (or chronic) dollar shortages, and the plumbing of the overnight lending market, which as everyone knows suffered a spectacular heart attack early this week when the overnight repo rate soared to 10%, the New York Fed and its open markets desk, is the authority on any potential plumbing blockages. Yet it now appears that the most important regiona

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l Fed when it comes to maintaining market stability, is just as clueless as the rest of us as to why the repo market froze up. sending funding rates to never before seen highs.

In an interview with the FT, New York Fed president John Williams, who earlier this year unexpectedly fired not only the head of the NY Fed's markets desk, Simon Potter, arguably the most important trader in the world, manning the world's most important trading desk but also the second most important person at the NY Fed's "Plunge Protection Team", the head of the Financial Services Group, Richard Dzina, said that the New York Fed is examining "why banks with excess cash failed to lend to the overnight money market, following a week that revealed cracks in the US’s financial plumbing."

Specifically, Williams questioned the hesitancy of the large, liquid banks, saying "the thing we need to be focused on today is not so much the level of reserves [held at the Fed]. It’s how does the market function."

What is troubling about that statement is that it is precisely the level of reserves that the New York Fed should be focusing on - after all, that would justify the repo deep freeze as it has now been abundantly clear that the US financial system will need about $400BN more in reserves, but not how the market functions: if anything, that's the one thing the NY Fed should know by now; yet the fact that the career economist Williams admits that the Fed is clueless about the market plumbing, is extremely concerning.

As noted earlier today, following several days of oversubscribed overnight repo operations to ease liquidity pressure in the market, on Friday the Fed announced it would also offer up to $90bn in two-week long loans to further reduce funding pressures during the notorious quarter-end period when liquidity tends to collapse.

Yet while this action will likely further ease the stress in the funding market, the fingerpointing has begun, with market participants claiming that the week’s volatility arose from a shortage of cash in the financial system, which in turn was the result of the unwinding of the Fed's post-financial crisis intervention. In response, Fed officials have said it's not their fault, and instead have focused on the role played by banks, or rather the role banks with excess liquidity did not play but stepping into fund their liquidity-challenged peers.

Specifically, Williams and Lorie Logan, senior vice-president in the markets group at the New York Fed, said officials were looking at why cash failed to move from banks’ accounts at the Fed into the repo market, where banks and investors borrow money in exchange for Treasuries to cover short-term funding needs.

The irony, of course, is that it is precisely the Fed's job to know why money isn't moving from point A to point B; admitting its cluelessness will not only reignite questions about why Williams fired the two most experienced traders at the Fed, but also why the Fed knows no more than the rest of us about what is going on in the interbank market.

Logan pointed to the concentration of excess cash at a small number of banks as one potential issue.

“Reserves are concentrated, the excess reserves relative to the minimum level each bank is demanding is concentrated,” she said. “And the key question is how those reserves, as the level was coming down, would get redistributed, and how smooth that redistribution process would be.”

Almost as if the Fed had no idea what the adverse consequences of its unprecedented actions would be...

To be sure, Fed officials expected some pressure in the market this week as a result of corporate tax payments and Treasury settlements, which would drain cash out of the system. As it monitored short-term lending markets, the New York Fed paid particular attention to the amount of reserves available. It did not expect the general collateral repo rate to explode from 2.5% to 10% in a matter of minutes.

Logan said the expectation had been that as repo rates rose, banks would withdraw excess cash held at the Fed and lend it into the repo market to earn the higher rate of interest. Instead, the New York Fed had to step in to provide that cash as banks remained on the sidelines as banks were terrified to enter the repo market.

Which in turn begs the question: just what are the big, well-funded banks so afraid to share some of their liquidity with their less fortunate peers? What do they know that we - and the NY Fed - don't? And tied to that, why did Margaret McConnell, the NY Fed employee tasked with foreseeing every apocalyptic outcome  no matter how improbable, fail to anticipate this outcome?

One person who may have an answer is Citi's Matt King, whose latest presentation - a bear market in trust - explains everything that is wrong with the current financial system.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 16:45


Business Finance

Oh no I didn't, says disgraced ex-Kaspersky guy

An accused Russian hacker has claimed Kaspersky's former head of investigations blackmailed him into stealing approximately £150,000 from local banks.…

It seems that I do….As HPC are not varied with their carrying on I keep repeating the same old same old as it crops up yet again…. Therefore I am going to stop repeating myself from now on. Regular readers will know after reading my blogs what a sham HPC really is and this is … Continue reading Do I Keep Repeating Myself?
<p>The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, which outlaws requiring employees and consumers to use private dispute resolution.</p><br /><p>Having a dispute with a large corporation? Chances are you can&#x2019;t sue them, but that could change.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
CHS: "This Institutional Suppression Of Free Thought, Inquiry, & Dissent Has A Systemic Cost"

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

A corrupt Orthodoxy devoid of new ideas, an Orthodoxy devoted to maintaining the wealth, status and power of insiders regardless of cost, is a brittle, fragile, unstable system.

When the ruling Elites sense their control of the pop

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ulace is waning, they seek to regain full control via the imposition of a strict Orthodoxy, enforced by an Inquisition. We are living in just such an era. Everywhere we turn, a New Orthodoxy reigns. Dissent is blasphemy, and any narratives outside the approved Orthodoxy are heretical and subject to suppression and punishment.

New Orthodoxies abound, and woe to those who fail to signal their virtue publicly. One New Orthodoxy is that one's sexual and ethnic characteristics are all-important signifiers of identity. This orthodoxy is critically important to the ruling Elites, as this fragments the populace into tribes warring over their relative degree of victimhood and indignation.

This orthodoxy insures the populace can never gain class consciousness, i.e. an awareness that the ruling Elites and their apparatchiks (the Federal Reserve, Big Tech, the security agencies, et al.) are their class enemies, as the Elites rule at the expense of everyone beneath them.

Questioning the ruling rentier "solution" to climate change--carbon credits that trade like CDOs, securities, etc.--marks one as a dangerous heretic. Anyone questioning the rentier skim of carbon credits is labeled a climate-change denier, and run through the media/social media Inquisition.

Questioning the corrupt clergy is also taboo. Just as the Catholic Church collected wealth via selling indulgences, a paid pass into Heaven that expiated one's sins--the larger the sum paid, the greater the sins that could be atoned, modern-day sinners donate money to foundations, universities, NGOs, think-tanks and other philanthro-capitalist indulgences--and to virtue-signaling politicians, of course.

Today's corrupt clergy can be found operating the modern-day equivalent of indulgences in government, higher education and other institutions. Corruption and incompetence are overlooked if one's obedience to Orthodoxy is unquestioned.

Enormous donations to Orthodox politicians, foundations and think-tanks are accepted with blessings from wealthy parasites and predators, and the corrupt clergy conveniently overlook their crimes, for example, reaping billions of dollars in profits from selling addictive drugs that were marketed as non-addictive.

Thousands of corporate cases of fraud, embezzlement, misrepresentation of facts and insider trading are given wrist slaps, while whistleblowers are hounded to the ends of the Earth.

Anyone who questions the value of a college diploma or sickcare's standards of care is on their own. Institutional punishment includes being sent to Siberia (a remote dead-end for one's career), being shunned professionally and socially, de-monetized by Big Tech (Facebook, cough, Google/YouTube, cough), or if someone becomes a real pest, executed via suspicious death or faked suicide.

Questioning the Orthodoxies of endless growth, "democracy" (the best that money can buy), the Divine Rights of the financial-state oligarchies and the superiority of technocratic expertise is heresy, and mocking the New Orthodoxies is blasphemy: you will be silenced, one way or another.

The new wrinkle in the New Orthodoxy is that the corrupt clergy denies there is an Orthodoxy and an accompanying Inquisition to enforce silence, complicity and obedience, even as they silence heretics and demand public virtue-signaling approval of the New Orthodoxy.

One trademark of the New Orthodoxy is that those publicly signaling their virtue deny they are kow-towing to the New Orthodoxy. This is of course the full flowering of Huxley's loving our servitude while denying our servitude to a corrupt, self-serving clergy.

This institutional suppression of free thought, inquiry and dissent has a systemic cost. A corrupt Orthodoxy devoid of new ideas, an Orthodoxy devoted to maintaining the wealth, status and power of insiders regardless of cost, is a brittle, fragile, unstable system, and all the efforts of the corrupt clergy to impose uniform acceptance of the goodness and rightness of a debauched, corrupt, self-serving status quo will only increase the scale of its eventual collapse.

*  *  *

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format. My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF). My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. New benefit for subscribers/patrons: a monthly Q&A where I respond to your questions/topics.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 17:05


Religion Belief

This is a message from the Ministry of Truth.
"Suspiciously Well Placed": First Images Of Crippling Damage To Giant Khurais Oil Field Revealed

Much of the attention concerning the crippling damage to Saudi Aramco facilities struck in last week's aerial attack ultimately blamed on "Iranian sponsorship" by US and Saudi officials has focused on Abqaiq processing plant, but on Friday the first on the ground images from the kingdom's giant Khurais oil field — the country's second largest — have

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been revealed, showing scorched infrastructure, ruptured pipelines, and "a mess of oil melted to asphalt, twisted and charred metal grates" according to an on site Bloomberg report.

Sept. 20 photo showing destroyed key crude oil processing units at the giant Khurais oil field. Image source: Bloomberg

And yet Aramco has remained insistent that the field will return to pre-attack output levels this month, after the company reported losing half its daily output in the aftermath of the early Saturday attacks, impacting a whopping 5% of total global supply. 

Per Bloomberg, Khurais has a capacity of 1.45 million barrels a day, processing all oil on site; however the attack took out four 300-foot towers essential to the production process. 

Sept. 20 photo showing destroyed crude oil processing units at the giant Khurais oil field. Image source: Bloomberg

Like at the Abqaiq processing plant nearer the coast, the strikes — whether by drones or ballistic missiles (debris showed by the Saudi Defense Ministry this week featured both) — appeared remarkably precise

The Saudis have counted a total of twenty-five drones and missiles used in the twin attacks, after statements by Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed ten drones were used. 

Bloomberg reports of the recovery progress at Khurais:

The Khurais field and processing plant resumed 30% of production within 24 hours of the strike and will produce 1.2 million barrels a day by the end of September, Fahad Al Abdulkareem, general manager for Aramco’s southern area oil operations, said at a briefing on Friday. Workers are at the site 24 hours a day to speed the repairs, according to the company.

The precision nature of the strikes, which Washington has claimed can only point to Iranian involvement given the level of sophistication needed to conduct such an operation, is even more evident at the Abqaiq facility. 

Given the sheer distance the drones would have to travel, whether from Yemen or possibly Iran, combined with 18 precision strikes on the 70-year old but state of the art Abqaiq facility, a number of analysts are questioning whether the operation had inside the kingdom help

Damaged installation at Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil plant, via CNBC

Bill Blain of Shard Capital is one of them, who notes "a number of my sources suggest things look increasingly questionable in the desert kingdom."

Blain comments:

Looking at the photos of the Houthi drone strikes, the damage and the holes made in the gas tanks look suspiciously regular and well placed. MBS’s shakedown of his royal cousins and the nation’s business leaders stands alongside rising revulsion at his own spending. As defacto absolute ruler he feels above question, but domestic tensions are rising. More than a few analysts suspect the Houthis may have had inside assistance for a growing Saudi domestic insurgency. 

"Trump and Kushner are going to struggle with that one.." he concluded. 

Damaged pipeline at Khurais, via CNBC

Indeed, considering the kingdom's historically restive Shia community in the eastern part of the country would also avail itself to help any operation intent on striking sensitive state facilities, the possibilities are endless. 

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 13:55
<p>Architects artists, and agencies are striking today&#x2014;and creating design work to support the strikers. </p><br /><p>Climate change is a global crisis, one that demands the participation of every citizen to strike it down. In an effort to jumpstart this united front, teen activist Greta Thunberg initiated a worldwide Cimate Strike, which asks individuals to leave their desks and join local walk-outs beginning today. These regional strikes are expected to take place in over 150 countries, from Ghana to Ecuador to Pakistan.</p><p>Read Full Story<
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;/p><div class="feedflare"><br /> <br /></div>
Economic Confidence Drops To Lowest Since Shutdown As Dems Freak Out Over Imminent Recession

Authored by Megan Brenan of Gallup

  • 49% in U.S. think a recession is at least fairly likely in the next year

  • Economic Confidence Index +17 in September, down from +24 in August

  • 50% say economy is fair or poor and 48% say it's getting worse

Americans' confidence in th

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e economy has become less rosy this month as Gallup's Economic Confidence Index fell to +17 from August's +24 reading, marking the lowest level since the government shutdown ended in January.

At the same time, the public is evenly divided over the likelihood of a recession in the next year. The current expectation of a recession is nine points higher than it was in October 2007, just two months before the Great Recession began but slightly below a February 2001 reading, one month before that eight-month-long recession.

Economic Confidence Index Lowest Since January

The latest Economic Confidence Index results are from a Sept. 3-15 Gallup poll. As the poll was being conducted, the stock market was less tumultuous than earlier in the summer, but the August unemployment numbers showed that fewer new jobs were created than expected, concerns about the trade war with China continued and the global economy showed signs of slowing. As has been the case for months, economists continue to express concern about the possibility of a recession in the near future. The latest interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve was announced after the poll was completed.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' ratings of current economic conditions and their views of whether the economy is getting better or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100, if all Americans believe the economy is excellent or good and getting better. The theoretical minimum is -100, achieved if all Americans say the economy is poor and getting worse.

Although Americans' confidence in the economy has faltered this month, it remains far more positive than in the 2007-2009 recession years, when confidence bottomed out at -72 in October 2008. Still, the current +17 is well below the historic high of +56 in January 2000.

Looking at the individual components of the index, 48% of Americans currently think the economy is getting worse while 46% think it is getting better. Until this month, readings had been positive on balance since January for this measure and have been so for most of the Donald Trump administration.

Americans' rating of the nation's current economic conditions is the other factor comprising the Economic Confidence Index. The latest readings, though slightly less positive than the past few months, roughly match those of April and January. Currently, 15% of Americans rate economic conditions as "excellent," 35% "good," 36% "only fair" and 14% "poor."

Public Is Divided About Recession Coming Within the Year

Recent surveys of economists and CEOs have found that most of them are predicting a recession in the U.S. by 2021. Economists point to the uncertainty about U.S. trade with China, the inverted yield curve and faltering global economies as signs that a recession is nearing. Yet, the public is divided over a possible recession in the near future. Half of Americans say it is "not too" (32%) or "not at all" likely (18%) and a roughly equal share say it is "very" (15%) or "fairly" (34%) likely.

Gallup has not asked this question on a regular basis but has done so when a recession seemed possible. The last reading, in October 2007, showed a more optimistic public than the current reading shows. At that time, 57% said a recession was not likely and 40% said it was. Two months later, the country was in the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

Gallup also asked Americans to predict whether a recession was in the offing in 2001 when the dot-com bubble was bursting, and at that time 53% said it was likely. The question was also asked in 1990 when the country was already in a recession and between 72% and 84% of Americans said a recession was already happening or likely to be coming soon.

Differing Views on the Economy by Political Party and Income Level

Republicans' assessments of the economy and their forecast for the near future are far more positive than Democrats' (and to a lesser extent independents'). Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to rate current economic conditions positively, more than four times as likely to say the economy is getting better, and more than three times less likely to think a recession is coming within the year

Like Democrats, Americans in households earning less than $40,000 hold much more negative views than those in higher income groups of current economic conditions, the outlook for the future and the likelihood of a recession.

Bottom Line

While some economic indicators remain strong, many economists are sounding the alarm that a recession is coming in the near future. This latest polling finds that not all Americans are taking that warning to heart. Republicans hold starkly different views from Democrats which is not unusual in that those who identify with the party in the White House are typically more positive than others about the nation's economy. Yet in 2008-2010, this was not the case as economic conditions were so bad that even partisans who identified with the president did not rate the economy positively. A recession could seriously cripple President Trump's chances for re-election.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 14:14



Democrat candidate had to calm his disrespectful supporters.
<p>Don&#x2019;t get too excited, though: There are still 19 Democratic candidates left.</p><br /><p>Bill de Blasio, who is reportedly the mayor of New York City, has given up his dream of being the Democratic nominee for president. &#x201C;I feel like I&#x2019;ve contributed all I can to this primary election, and it&#x2019;s clearly not my time, so I&#x2019;m going to end my presidential campaign,&#x201D; de Blasio said on MSNBC&#x2019;s Morning Joe on Friday.</p><p>Read Full Story</p><div class="feedflare">
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<br /> <br /></div>
Stocks Just Suddenly Puked, S&P Back Below 3,000

Well that escalated quickly...

Erasing all the post-FOMC gains...



Tyler Durden

Read More
field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 09/20/2019 - 13:16
37-year-old was extradited to Blighty to stand trial

A Bulgarian phishing criminal who created fake versions of legitimate companies' websites as part of a £40m fraud has been jailed.…

India Launches MMT: Indian Stocks Soar After Surprise Central Bank-Funded Tax Cut

India's central bank just funded a $20 billion corporate tax cut in what appears to be the world's first case of MMT (lite).

* * *

It had been a bad year for India, which until recently was the fastest growing economy in the world, surpassing even China: the world's 2nd most populous nations printed a Q1 GDP of 5.0% for fiscal q1 2019/20, as India

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's economic activity slowed to the lowest rate in 6 years, with Rabobank earlier this week noting that a rebound in growth to 6% seems likely given the substantial widening of India’s output gap. Yet one thing could spark such a bounce and "lift the spirits in the Indian economy" according to Rabo: a substantial stimulus package.

That's precisely what the Indian government unveiled overnight, when without warning it pulled a page right out of the Trump playbook, and in an effort to boost stocks stimulate the economy, it announced a surprise $20 billion tax cut, bringing India's corporate tax rate to one of the lowest in Asia.

However, unlike Trump's tax cut, this one had a twist - it would be entire funded by the central bank's remittance of cash to the government.

Some background: according to the finance ministry, domestic companies will pay 22% tax on their income from April 1, 2019, down sharply from 30% previously. The effective rate, including all additional levies, will be 25.2% and applicable on companies that aren’t availing any incentives or exemptions.

It gets better: according Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, new companies formed from Oct. 1 will attract 15% tax and an effective rate of 17.01%, Sitharaman said. That brings it to the same level as in Singapore, which has the second lowest corporate tax rate in Asia, next only to Hong Kong.

Needless to say, the stock market - the biggest beneficiary of such fiscal (and monetary) generosity - loved it, and India’s main equity index, the BSE Sensex, soared 5.3%, its biggest gain since the financial crisis, while the rupee rallied after the announcement. Sovereign bonds slumped as fiscal concerns came sharply back to the fore.

Of course, in a world scrambling for fiscal stimulus, India is hardly alone, and joins Indonesia in cutting tax on corporates as Asian economies compete with each other to attract companies looking for alternate manufacturing locations to escape disruptions from the U.S.-China trade war, according to Bloomberg.

Commenting on the fiscal stimulus, BBG India Economist Abhishek Gupta said "The tax cuts are likely to boost private investment and have the potential to attract much more foreign direct investment. Any fiscal slippage is likely to be limited in the near term, as stronger tax buoyancy will boost growth."

That said, the 1.45 trillion-rupee, or $20.5 billion revenue loss from the move will test Sitharaman’s goal of narrowing the fiscal gap to 3.3% of GDP this year despite a more than $24 billion windfall from the Reserve Bank of India.

In fact, one can argue that with the Bank of India indirectly financing a tax cut, India is effectively testing out MMT "for the people." Confirming just that was the commentary by Madhavi Arora, an economist with Edelweiss Securities Pvt. in Mumbai, who said that "we are in a state of coordinated policy response both by the government and the RBI,” adding that "despite possible fiscal slippage, the RBI would likely deliver further cuts and continue to focus on policy transmission of earlier cuts."

What was the finance minister's take on this dangerous development? Simple:

“We are conscious of the impact all this will have on our fiscal deficit,” she said according to Bloomberg, without elaborating.

Conscious... yet clearly ignoring the potential risk in a world in which virtually no government is willing to consider long-term fiscal stability if it means a modest economic rebound.

And speaking of, the government’s growth support measures, announced over the last one month, supplement what we previously reported was the RBI’s generous dose of monetary stimulus. Governor Shaktikanta Das, who called the tax cut a “bold move,” has led the rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee to deliver 110 basis points of easing this year, while signaling his readiness to do more amid stable inflation.

Needless to say, the immediate response to the MMT was positive, as bankers and automakers said the move will help companies increase investment in the economy, while the finmin said the shocking development would promote growth and investment, Sitharaman said, speaking from the western Indian city of Panaji.

Predictably, with MMT on deck, bonds were not happy, as it means a feedback loop whereby more and more debt has to be issued just to keep the pace of growth constant.  Sure enough, the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond climbed 15 basis points to 6.79%, with Bloomberg not unsarcastically pointing out that "higher yields could make it tougher to rein in borrowing costs." 

That's one way of putting it - another is that India has somehow become the gunniea pig for huge monetary experiments: whether it is the Nov 2016 cash elimination, or today's MMT test, one almost has the impression that recent BIS meetings at the Basel tower had a simple agenda: test out in India what will soon be practiced around the globe.

Until then, Indian policy makers will have to ensure that "companies can borrow at competitive rates and must improve demand for the goods firms produce, said R. Shankar Raman, chief financial officer at Larsen & Toubro Ltd., India’s biggest engineering conglomerate."

“All of these need to fall in place for the investment rationale to be valid for providers of capital,” Raman said in a text message. “In all, a good beginning, albeit a year late.”

For now, everyone is happy, and as Priyanka Kishore, head of India and south east Asia economics at Oxford Economics said, "The unexpected fiscal stimulus is positive for sentiment", but added that "Investors will watch closely on how the potential damage to the budget deficit is managed."

Indeed they will, because when it comes to terminal monetary and fiscal experiments, nothing beats MMT, and while the sugar high is great, the monetary and fiscal collapse that follows will hardly lead to the same delighted reactions.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 10:50


Business Finance

Blain: "It's A Bad Week For The Credibility Of Mohammed bin Salman"

Blain's Morning Porrdige, submitted by Bill Blain of Shard Capital


Its turning into a bad week for the credibility of Mohammed bin Salman, the defacto ruler of Saudi.  After the Globe’s third largest defence spending state was crippled by supposedly unsophisticated Houthi rebels (with some likely assistance fro

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m Iran) when they struck his oil infrastructure, this morning the headlines are all about how MBS is now arm-twisting rich Saudi’s to buy into the discredited Aramco IPO. 

Investors around the globe are increasingly disinclined to invest in the rising political risk swirling around Saudi and MBS.  They have serious doubts about any chance of objective corporate governance of Aramco.  Its broadly seen as MBS’ piggy bank.  Such concerns clearly don’t worry his wealthier subjects, who are apparently delighted to have been offered the opportunity to invest upwards of $100mm. The alternative was to spend some time in basement of the luxury Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh.  As a comment in one paper suggested: it’s hard to resist an equity salesman carrying a bone-saw.

MBS is determined to justify his own $2 trillion Aramco valuation.  He and Adam Neumann of WeWork really should spend some time together to discuss delusional pricing.  To reach such a number means suspending disbelief and rounding up compliant stuffees.  He will be ably assisted by the western Investment Banks signed up for the deal – if you want an update on how the book is developing, then please ask Goldman, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley of CSFB, who must be delighted to be seen supporting the deal which is attracting such eminent public support.

However, a number of my sources suggest things look increasingly questionable in the desert kingdom.  Looking at the photos of the Houthi drone strikes, the damage and the holes made in the gas tanks look suspiciously regular and well placed.  MBS’s shakedown of his royal cousins and the nation’s business leaders stands alongside rising revulsion at his own spending.   As defacto absolute ruler he feels above question, but domestic tensions are rising.  More than a few analysts suspect the Houthis may have had inside assistance for a growing Saudi domestic insurgency. 

Trump and Kushner are going to struggle with that one..

Back in the real world…

It worried me how polarized opinions in Europe have become.  My recent mailbag shows 100% of European readers think Boris Johnson should be shot, blame him for all this mess, and think the UK is mad to be leaving.  British correspondents are exhausted by the political nonsense and generally desirous about getting it over with, and moving on.  Since everyone is at each other’s throats, let me stir it up a bit…

One headline that caught my attention y’day is Brexit has cost the City of London 1000 investment banking jobs that have move to Yoorp.  Really? To be frank, that’s another bogus story.   Jobs may have gone, but I bet the bankers are still here.  And most of the new window-dressing roles that have supposedly gone from London, are going to Dublin.. which is certainly more satisfying than hearing they went to Paris.  (I still giggle about the two French bankers I interviewed last year – they were desperate for jobs because the French bank they worked had offered to send them home!!!)

But, at least the news re Brexit is getting better.  (Really???)

Sterling has taken a leg up on the number of stories suggesting Europe may be willing to agree a face-saving non MAD Brexit compromise Boris can take to Parliament.  Junker and Merkel made encouraging noises, and even Leo sounds positive agreeing to catch up with Boris for a pint in NY.  Does that mean a deal is done?  Nope – still lots of hurdles to cross, and the risk hardline ESG Brexiteer and the Farage extremists rock the boat.. but it’s the most hopeful noise we’ve heard for a while.

Let’s assume it happens.  Brexit happens and we can all get on with our lives.  Phew!   The world will then focus on how the UK sets up new trade deals and how it struggles as a newly divorced single country…

Or maybe not.. the attention is more likely to return to Europe.  I suspect the focus will return to how deeply recession will bite in an already slow Europe. A global slowdown, trade wars and recession fears will hit hard across the region.  The fairly strong recovery in Spain is already slowing and could be overturned.  France is likely to stumble again on the back of downturn and a renewal of the Gilet Jaune protests (I suspect a spent force).  Italy is and will remain Italy.  

Germany is the economy that frightens everyone, because everyone thought the Germans were the grownups at the Euro table. Instead the economy is slowing, their domestic politics look tired, the nation is at boot-end of a likely trade war with the US, and they aren’t demonstrating much imagination in reforming their utterly perfect precision-engineering and automotive brilliance year-2000 economy to make it work for the modern age.

 The EU leadership has reacted to the challenge – appointing a whole new series of leaders to Brussels, the Union and the ECB, all politicians aiming to steer the EU through a new crisis while charting a path back towards growth.  The new leadership team are acutely aware Mario Draghi saved the Euro at the critical moment, but nothing the ECB is currently doing – like cutting rates, or buying bonds is actually working to rebuild the broken European economies. 

They know it needs a new approach – which is why Fiscal Spending! (Flashing lightning, very very frightening, and clashing minor chords..) is getting so many column inches these days..

The key unresolved problem with Europe is very simple. 20 years after the birth of the Euro, it remains a loose collective of very different countries trying to adapt to being members of their shared currency.  That’s why the political imperative for Fiscal and Banking Union is so critical, and it’s so worrying that nations show little willingness to pursue these goals.

Economically,  the key problem is the Euro is effectively the currency of Germany.  The others play catch-up to be competitive.  For Europe’s smaller states to evolve and thrive in the common currency, they need to reform their economies and broadly match German productivity, consumption and spending, and be prepared to stick to rules.  That’s when currency unions work!  (To short-circuit the next part of the argument, they work in the US and UK because of broadly aligned culture and values means sticking to the rules is not an issue.)

If reform and alignment happens, then Europe should grow into an economic wunderkid.  Over the last 20-years, there are few signs structural reform or realignment has happened, except to confirm the differences in terms of massive Target imbalances in Europe, distorted trade power, and massive unemployment in the South while Germany sits smuggly recovered from the reunification with the East. 

There are some itzy-bitzy problems with the simplistic approach that Europe could swiftly become a union of closely aligned nations.  The Germans like to save, don’t particularly consume much, work hard, are precision engineers, and believe rules are there to be followed. As I noted above, it’s all about culture. None of these standout Germanic characteristics occur naturally together across the rest of the Eurozone.

Therefore, it’s going to get really interesting when it comes down to agreeing on how the Eurozone is going to agree on fiscal stimulus policies.  The Eurozone member states all agree they want to pursue structural reforms, control debt, and carry out public investments – but there is absolutely no agreement or alignment on when or how.  I suspect it will take a very long time…. The wheels of agreement turn slowly in Frankfurt and Brussels.

Perhaps readers might find the following snapshots defining how Europe views fiscal stimulus to be useful:

The Germans regard a “wildly outrageous and potentially de-stablising financial stimulus” to be new party hat spending for the Carnival season – but only if these can be paid for out of retained budget under-runs. (Yesterday, Olaf Scholtz, German Finance Minister, said Germany already has an expansive fiscal policy. Excellent. Please show us.)

 A “mild financial stimulus” in Italy promises everyone a new Ferrari, a general tax amnesty, and a sweeping allocation of cash for a complete rebuild of the country’s entire infrastructure (none of which actually happens because it will be spent on “incidental deal expenses” to contractors in the South of the Country).

 A “carefully balance financial stimulus” in Luxembourg means upping the rents they charge the resident Eurocrats and institutions, dropping their own taxes, and spending some money on glossy new brochures explaining why Luxembourg is such a great place for San Francisco start-ups to base their tax-advantaged new tech businesses.

A “Strategy for Growth financial stimulus” in France means employing 10,000 highly-trained bureaucrats from the elite schools to determine how to prise more money out of Brussels to prop up French farmers, or at least keep them busy enough to stop trying to burn down Paris.

A “barely adequate financial stimulus” in Greece will go.. well no one really knows where, but everyone will complain about how inadequate it was, how it’s all the fault of the Germans anyway, and Vanis Varoufakis will write a book about how he explained it years ago to Christine Legarde while they were quaffing ouzo in the sauna together.

There won’t be any “financial stimulus” in Belgium because no one will actually get round to agreeing on which language to propose it in.

The Spanish will stare daggers at each over “regionally targeted financial stimulus”. They Catalans will offer to be less obnoxious if they get most of it, while the rest of the country gets all emotional about how they deserve it. 

The Irish “Brexit Financial Stimulus” package will basically be an insurance policy to give all young people tickets to somewhere else if the “what if Europe throws us under the bus after a no-deal Brexit” scenario plays out. Most young Irish will opt for County Kilburn – its worked for previous generations.

I do hope the above explains why European Fiscal Agreement might be a problem..

Tyler Durden

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 11:10


Business Finance

The left wants America to bow down to propaganda delivered by a teenage girl.
Perception is an illusion, grasshopper

Security surveys tend to confirm what we already knew a few months ago and the 2019 Global Cyber Risk Perception Survey (PDF) from Marsh and Microsoft does not disappoint.…

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