Category Archives: Financial

Boeing, Obama, A Gold Watch, And 346 Dead

Democrats want to make Donald Trump the issue in 2020.

If they do, they will lose again, the way they lost in 2016.

Instead, the 2020 election should be about corporate power in all of its manifestations, its hold on the culture, our country and both major political parties.

Take the case of the two Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane crashes — the Lion Air crash off the coast of Jakarta, Indonesia in October 2018 that killed all 189 on board and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019 that killed all 157 on board.

During his time as President of the United States, Barack Obama promoted the sale of Boeing planes — including the 737 Max 8 planes — around the world.

In November 2011, in Bali, Indonesia, President Obama announced an agreement between Boeing and Lion Air.

“For the last several days I’ve been talking about how we have to make sure that we’ve got a presence in this region, that it can result directly in jobs at home,” Obama said.

“And what we see here — a multibillion-dollar deal between Lion Air — one of the fastest-growing airlines not just in the region, but in the world — and Boeing is going to result in over 100,000 jobs back in the United States of America, over a long period of time.”

“This represents the largest deal, if I’m not mistaken, that Boeing has ever done.  We are looking at over 200 planes that are going to be sold.”

In September 2014, Obama met with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia at the White House.

“We’re strong trading partners,” Obama said. “And most recently, Boeing has done a deal with Ethiopia, which will result in jobs here in the United States.”

“I’m expecting a gold watch from Boeing at the end of my presidency because I know I’m on the list of top salesmen at Boeing,” Obama said at an export forum at the White House in September 2013.

Of course, Obama got more than just a gold watch from Boeing when he left the White House.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Boeing donated $10 million to the Obama presidential library and museum in Chicago. And earlier this year, Obama dropped in to speak to a Boeing leadership retreat at a swank resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. Obama gratefully waived his $400,000 speaking fee.

While pushing the sale of Boeing planes around the world, the Obama administration was at the same time fast tracking a dangerous deregulatory process at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that effectively put the corporations in charge of the safety certification process — and that in effect put Boeing in charge of certifying it’s faulty MCAS software that led to the tragedies in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The FAA certification system is known as the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program. Under that program, companies like Boeing can appoint their own representatives to act in the place of FAA inspectors.

In 2004, one of the unions representing FAA inspectors – Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) – criticized the proposed ODA program as “premature and reckless.”

“Allowing the aviation industry to self-regulate in this manner is nothing more than the blatant outsourcing of inspector functions and handing over inherently governmental oversight activities to non-governmental, for-profit entities,” PASS wrote in its 2004 comments to the FAA.

Would a more independent FAA have prevented the two recent Boeing crashes?

Yes, says Paul Hudson of Flyer’s Rights.

“The ODA program has allowed Boeing to effectively self certify the MCAS software as safe,” Hudson told Corporate Crime Reporter.

“Boeing ‘s CEO, whistleblowers and FAA now admit they failed to properly test, fully connect, or even disclose MCAS, much less its deadly defects and overpowering features — not to the FAA higher ups, not to airline pilots or not even to its own test pilots.”

“Air travel has gotten much safer due to both safety regulation and technical advancements,” Hudson said. “But profit seeking over safety at all costs is destroying both safety and profits.”

“Some Boeing safety inspectors have summed up the current culture as ‘safety is king but schedule is God,” Hudson said. “I asked Boeing in December after the Lion Air crash to ground the Max. Boeing refused.”
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Rates, Time, & Gold – The Last Thing Central Bankers Want To See

The interest rate fallacy

There is a widespread assumption that interest rates represent the cost of borrowing money. In the narrow sense that it is a rate paid by a borrower, this is true. Monetary policy planners enquire no further. Central bankers then posit that if you reduce the cost of borrowing, that is to say the interest rate, demand for credit increases, and the deployment of that credit in the economy naturally leads to an increase in GDP. Every central planner dreams of consistent growth in GDP and they seek to achieve it by lowering the cost of borrowing money.

The origin of this approach is mathematical. William Stanley Jevons in his The Theory of Political Economy, first published in 1871, was one of the three discoverers of the theory of marginal utility and became convinced that mathematics was the key to linking the diverse elements of political science into a unified subject. It was therefore natural for him to treat interest rates as the symptom of supply and demand for money when it passes from one hand to another with the promise of future repayment.

Another of the discoverers of the theory of marginal utility was the Austrian, Carl Menger, who explained that prices were subjective in the minds of those involved in an exchange. He argued it was fundamentally a human choice and therefore could not be predicted mathematically. This undermines the assumption that interest is simply the cost of money, suggesting that some sort of human element is involved, separate from pure cost. Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, who followed in Menger’s footsteps saw it from a more capitalistic point of view, that a saver’s money, which was otherwise lifeless, was able to earn a saver a supply of goods through interest earned upon it.

Böhm-Bawerk confirmed interest produced an income for the capitalist and was a cost to the borrowing entrepreneur, but agreed with his mentor there was also a time preference element, the difference in the value of possessing money today compared with the promise of possessing it at a future date. The easiest way to understand it is that savers are driven mainly by time-preference, while borrowers mainly by cost. This was why borrowers had to bid up interest rates to attract savers into lending, the explanation for Gibson’s paradox.

In those days, money was gold, and currencies were gold substitutes, that is to say they circulated backed by and freely exchangeable into gold. Gold was the agency by which producers turned the fruits of their labour into the goods and services they needed and desired. Its role was purely temporary. Temporal men valued gold as a good with the special function of being money, but as a good, its actual possession was worth more than just a claim on it in the future. But do they ascribe the same time preference to fiat currency? To find out we must explore the nature of time preference as a concept.

Time-preference in classical economics

Time-preference is simply the desire to own goods at an earlier date rather than later. This is because everyone prefers immediate ownership to the promise of future ownership. Therefore, the future value of possessing a good must stand at a discount compared with actual possession, and the further into the future actual ownership materialises, the greater the discount. This is time preference. But instead of pricing time preference as if it were a zero-coupon bond, we turn it into an annualised interest equivalent.

Obviously, time-preference applies primarily to lending to finance production, which requires time between commencement and output. Borrowed money must cover partly or in whole the commodities and all the costs required to make a finished article and the time taken to deliver it to an end-user. An entrepreneur must forgo some of his current consumption if he is to invest in his own production, and the allocation he makes of his current resources to that end is governed partly by time-preference and by the profit he anticipates. If his production process requires a long time between investment and the sale of a finished product his sacrifice of current consumption will be for proportionately longer, so it has to be worthwhile.

The easiest way to isolate time-preference is to assume our entrepreneur has to borrow some or all the resources necessary. We now have to consider the position of the lender, who is asked to join in with the sacrifice of current consumption in favour of the future. The lender’s motivation is that he has a surplus of money to his immediate needs and instead of just sitting on it, is prepared to use it profitably. His reward for doing so by providing the utility of his excess to a businessman must exceed his personal time-preference.

The medium for matching investment and savings is obviously money, because it would be very difficult to coordinate them in a barter economy. It is this function above all else which money facilitates. We take this obvious function so much for granted that we forget that interest rates are actually the expression of time-preference, which has its origin in deferring ownership of consumer goods. Intermediation by banks and other financial institutions conceal from us the link between interest and time-preference, on the saver’s false assumption he is not parting with his money by depositing it in a bank.

The bank appears to be giving the depositor something for nothing in its role as financial intermediator, but it is effectively cutting the link between savers and borrowers. Both parties in a modern economy end up dealing with a bank instead of each other. However, despite a bank’s intermediation, the basic relationship between saver and entrepreneur through a bank is the possession of the former’s capital for a period of time. It may conceal it, but it cannot get rid of time-preference.

When a saver saves and an entrepreneur invests, the transaction always involves a lender’s savings being turned into the production of goods and services with the element of time. For the lender, the time preference will always equate to the loss of possession of his capital for a stated period.
Time preference and fiat money

Today’s economists do not recognise time-preference. For them, economics is about Jevon’s mathematics, state-issued currencies and the exclusion of human interest. They say we have moved on from the household economics of yester-year, and they despise classical stick-in-the-muds. But we can see from their repeated failure to tame human action in order to conform to their economic models that modern economists do not have the answers either. All they have done is cover up their failures through monetary inflation.

The ubiquity of unbacked state currencies certainly introduces new dimensions into prices and deferred settlement. Not only is the saver isolated from borrowers through bank intermediation and the belief his deposits are still his property, but his savings are debased through monetary inflation without his knowledge. The interest he expects is treated as an inconvenient cost of production, to be minimised. Interest earned is taxed as if it were the profit from a capitalist trade, and not compensation for a temporary loss of possession.

Consequently, the saver has been driven to speculate well beyond the possibility of not being repaid by a borrower by buying equities instead. He swaps credit risk for entrepreneurial risk. And because the expansion of bank credit out of thin air favours the entrepreneur over the saver, the theory goes that over time he is compensated for the loss of interest. The whole system has changed, and even consumers, who under the classical economic model would defer some of their consumption, have become unsecured borrowers themselves.

It is this evolution away from the strictures of time preference that has taken us to zero and negative interest rates. Yet, if the cost of money was simply its interest rate, the economy would be permanently mended and there would be no credit cycle. Why on earth it took the planners so long to understand the benefits of free money, and to even pay borrowers to borrow, would have been a mystery. Yet, experience and an understanding that economics is a human science tells us otherwise. Despite handing out free money, the Eurozone is in a worse economic and systemic condition than it was before the Lehman crisis ten years ago, with major bank share prices languishing at all-time lows. And all zero interest rates have achieved, together with aggressive monetary debasement, was the deferment of a banking and systemic crisis.

But credit cycles still exist. At their root is the issuance of money and credit on terms that do not reflect time preference. The value of ownership compared with the promise of future ownership has to be respected. It is not something a monetary planner can decide, because it is wholly a market phenomenon. No one but individual consumers can contribute to the collective judgments that say this any species of bird is worth more than two of them in the bush.

Ignoring time preference is the fundamental error behind monetary planning. It is why in a successful economy, monetary intervention by the state is kept to a bare minimum, or preferably banished altogether. Instead, it builds on the error of Jevon’s mathematical approach and the banishment of the people’s choice of money, which throughout history has been metallic.
Gold

The question now arises over the relationship between time-preference and gold. We should consider this in the light of historical experience; fiat currency has always died and been replaced by metallic money. Gold and likely silver as well will return to circulate as money.

When gold is used as money, time-preference obviously applies, given our rule that money is earned and saved on the one hand, and on the other savings are deployed in the production of goods and services. A saver lending his gold will expect it to be returned at the end of the loan period with an additional amount to reflect at a minimum his time-preference, usually in the form of interest.

Apart from isolated times of monetary debasement, this held true for millennia until the last century, when gold was gradually replaced as money in today’s currency system. As long as currency acted as a freely convertible gold substitute, interest earned and paid on that currency was tied to the rate on gold. However, if we can imagine a system with both gold and fiat currency in circulation as money at the same time, the time-preference for physical gold, all other things being equal, should be more than that for the fiat currency due to its relative scarcity.

Evidence of this difference is reflected in Gresham’s law. Most of the human population spends state-issued currency more readily than gold coin. The argument about today’s traders not accepting gold coin does not hold water, because gold coin is easily converted into fiat money in order to spend it. Those who own gold or gold coin see its disposal for fiat money not as a first, but as a last resort. Furthermore, if someone wanted to borrow your gold for a period of time, you would almost certainly place a greater value on the temporary loss of ownership than that reflected in the interest rate for fiat currency.

But this supposition ignores monetary inflation. Over history, the expansion in above-ground gold stocks has roughly kept pace with the growth in human population. Fiat currency expands without limitation, and the loss of purchasing power should be taken into account in any calculation of time preference. The fact that this is not reflected in interest rates is a function of central bank suppression of markets and the concealment of time-preference through bank intermediation.

The last thing central bankers would like to see is value given to time preference. Most of them are probably unaware of its existence, being immersed in the mathematical economics of Jevons and his successors. And when the general public wake up to the suppression of time-preference and therefore the mispricing of all future goods and services, the consequences will almost certainly be astonishing.

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Video: World’s First Raspberry-Picking Robot Completes Field Tasks

We have spoken on many occasions about the new wave of investments in automation could stimulate the economy after the next economic reset.

And we have also offered many sobering reminders that robots will likely displace 20% to 25% of current jobs (40 million jobs) by 2030. So, in our search for robots that will take jobs of the bottom 90% of Americans, this week, we have stumbled upon the world’s first raspberry-picking robot.

According to The Guardian, the new robot can pick upwards of 25,000 raspberries per day, outpacing human workers that pick around 15,000 in an eight-hour shift.

University of Plymouth spinout company Fieldwork Robotics is commercializing automation technology that will allow robots to harvest raspberries. With a successful pilot run, the robot could be gearing up to pick other fruits and vegetables.

The prototype robot cost $890,000 to develop, can detect ripe fruit with its extensive camera system. Guided by sensors and 3D cameras, it uses picking arms to reach into the bush once the ripe fruit is identified, gently grabs it and plucks it from the bush and drops it into a collection bin.

A farm in West Sussex, a county in the south of England, had successfully tested the robot in August 2018. Researchers from the company collected enough data from the trial that will allow the company to push towards commercialization in 2020.

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U.S. Farms Are Facing Their Worst Crisis In A Generation – And Now Here Comes Another Monster Storm

The combination of the wettest planting season in U.S. history, a catastrophic trade war with China and economic conditions that are brutal for small farms has produced a “perfect storm” for U.S. farmers. Farm bankruptcies have already risen to the highest level in 7 years, but many expect that they will soon surge to all-time record highs. Due to the incredibly wet weather, millions upon millions of acres of prime U.S. farmland will not be planted with crops at all this year. And millions of acres that do get planted will yield a lot less than usual because of the wretched conditions. Meanwhile, the U.S. will export far less corn and soybeans than usual this year due to our trade conflicts with China and Mexico. With much less international demand, U.S. farmers are going to have an increasingly difficult time trying to make a profit on anything they are able to grow. In the end, thousands of farmers will not be able to recover from this crisis and will be forced out of the industry for good.

According to USA Today, “a near biblical parade of misfortune” has created “the worst farm crisis since the 1980s”…

American farmers already plagued by a near biblical parade of misfortune that includes years of low prices and a trade war with China are now grappling with record Midwest rain that will likely prevent a large portion of this year’s crop from even getting planted.

The troubles have created the worst farm crisis since the 1980s, when oversupplies and a U.S. grain embargo against the Soviet Union forced thousands of farmers into bankruptcy, experts say.

So we can definitely say that this is the worst farm crisis in a generation, but the truth is that this crisis is far from over.

By the time it is over, we may look back and say that this was the worst farm crisis that the U.S. has ever seen.

The biggest problem for farmers so far in 2019 has been endless rain and flooding. Farmers kept waiting for a break in the weather that never came, and at this point the number of acres that have not been planted with crops is “unprecedented”…

Rain and flooding that began in March have kept farmers from planting a major portion of their crops during the normal mid-April to mid-May season in states like Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Michigan. As of Sunday, 39% of soybean acres have been planted in the 18 largest producing states, compared with an average 79% over the past five years, Agriculture Department figures show. Sixty-seven percent of corn acres are in the ground, vs. an average 96%. Such delays are unprecedented, Newton says.

What this means is that the amount of food that America’s farmers will produce this year is going to be way, way below normal. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Due To Cataclysmic Flooding, Millions Upon Millions Of Acres Of U.S. Farmland Will Not Be Planted With Crops This Year”.

And to make matters worse, another monster storm is going to move through the middle of the country this week.

In fact, we are being told that some areas could see “a foot or more of rain”…

However, there is the potential for some areas of the Interstate 10 and 20 corridors to receive a foot or more of rain from the multiple-day event that may last through the weekend.

Rainfall of this magnitude will trigger street and poor drainage area flooding, initially. Motorists should be prepared for road closures, substantial delays and the need to alter their routes. To drive through flooded roadways is extremely dangerous.

For some farms, this will be the final nail in the coffin.

For others, their coffins were nailed shut a long time ago.

And things had already gotten really tough for U.S. farmers leading into 2019. Net farm income fell by almost half between 2013 and 2018, and so U.S. farmers desperately needed a bounce back year in a major way.

Instead, they are experiencing a year from hell.

Of course it isn’t just the weather. African Swine Fever and our trade conflicts with China and Mexico are making things extremely difficult as well…

There’s more. An African swine fever virus could suppress the production of Chinese pigs – which feed on soybeans – for years. And Trump last week threatened tariffs on all Mexican imports to prod the country into curtailing illegal immigration from Central America. Mexico vowed retaliation that could mean duties on U.S. exports such as corn, dairy and beef.

According to one report, China now plans to put purchases of U.S. soybeans “on pause”, and they are apparently turning to Brazil to fill their soybean needs.

If the trade war lasts long enough, this shift in the marketplace may become permanent and U.S. soybean exports to China may never be the same again.

So what are U.S. soybean farmers supposed to do? Without demand from China, thousands of soybean farmers face financial ruin. Many of them will be praying for a trade agreement, but at this point it doesn’t appear that one will happen for the foreseeable future.

I know that a lot of people living on both coasts still do not get it, but this crisis is absolutely devastating communities all across the heartland of America.

And that should greatly concern all of us, because if they do not produce food, we do not eat.

This is a major national crisis, and the mainstream media has not paid nearly enough attention to it.

Shame on them, and this is yet another example that shows why confidence in the mainstream media has never been lower in our history.

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Due To Cataclysmic Flooding, Millions Upon Millions Of Acres Of U.S. Farmland Will Not Be Planted With Crops This Year

It looks like 2019 c upould be the worst year for U.S. agriculture in modern American history by a very wide margin. As you will see below, millions upon millions of acres of U.S. farmland will go unused this year due to cataclysmic flooding. And many of the farmers that did manage to plant crops are reporting extremely disappointing results.

The 12 month period that concluded at the end of April was the wettest 12 month period in U.S. history, and more storms just kept on coming throughout the month of May. And now forecasters are warning of another series of storms this week, and following that it looks like a tropical storm will pummel the region. As Bloomberg has pointed out, we have truly never seen a year like this ever before…

There has never been a spring planting season like this one. Rivers topped their banks. Levees were breached. Fields filled with water and mud. And it kept raining.

Many farmers just kept waiting for the flooding and the rain to end so that they could plant their crops, but that didn’t happen.

At this point it is too late for many farmers to plant crops at all, and it is now being projected that 6 million acres of farmland that is usually used for corn will go completely unsown this year…

There has never been weather like this, either. The 12 months that ended with April were the wettest ever for the contiguous U.S. That spurred other firsts: Corn plantings are further behind schedule for this time of year than they have been in records dating to 1980 and analysts are predicting an unheard-of 6 million acres intended for the grain may simply go unsown this year.

And we could actually see even more soybean acres go unplanted, because the latest crop progress report shows that soybean planting is even further behind…

The Crop Progress indicated just 67% of corn was planted in 18 key corn-producing states. The 2014-18 average for corn planted by June 2nd is 96%, so planting is off 30.2% in comparison.

Corn planting has been at an all-time low percentage for the last three reports and remains behind schedule in 17 of the 18 states monitored.

Soybean planting is behind in 16 of the 18 key soybean-producing states, according to the report. So far, just 39% of soybean planting has taken place, compared to the five-year average of 79% by June 2nd, meaning soybean planting is off 50.6%.

In the end, we could easily see more than 10 million acres of U.S. farmland go completely unused this year.

And please don’t assume that the acres that have been planted are going to be okay. In Nebraska, farmer Ed Brummels said that conditions are so bad that it is “like we are trying to plant on top of a lake!”…

It’s like we are trying to plant on top of a lake! Planting will be over soon as farmers continue to be frustrated with these very saturated conditions.

When you plant fields that are absolutely saturated with water, the results can be extremely disappointing, and that is what we are hearing all over the nation.

Here is just one example…

In Keota, Iowa, Lindsay Greiner sowed his 700 acres of corn toward the end of April — and then wasn’t able to get into his soaked fields for five weeks. He’s expecting much lower yields this year than last.

The crop right now is yellow. “It should be green,” he said. “It looks so bad.”

Farmers in the middle of the country desperately need things to dry out for an extended period of time.

But that is not going to happen any time soon.

In fact, meteorologists are telling us that more storms are going to hammer the middle of the country over the next few days…

The situation does not look to improve for farmers in the U.S. Corn Belt. AccuWeather is predicting the pattern of rounds of showers and thunderstorms to continue, with storms over part of the flood-stricken areas into midweek. Also, the southern half of the Corn Belt is in the path of downpours expected later this week.

“If you’re along the Ohio River and you don’t have your corn planted by Wednesday, you may not plant anything additional because you may get three inches of rain between Thursday and Saturday,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

Sadly, some areas could see “up to 5 inches of rain”, and needless to say that could be absolutely devastating for many farmers.

And then after that, a weather system that could soon be named “Tropical Storm Barry” is likely to move into the region…

To make matters worse, rain from a developing tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico could bring additional rainfall to the region: “Tropical moisture from the western Gulf of Mexico may begin impacting parts of south Texas on Tuesday,” the National Weather Service said.

The weather system, which would be named Tropical Storm Barry if its winds reach 39 mph, is now sitting in the Gulf just east of Mexico.

2019 is turning out to be a “perfect storm” for U.S. farmers, and many of them will never recover from this.

Meanwhile, flooding continues to intensify along the major rivers in the middle of the country. According to Missouri Governor Mike Parson, almost 400 roads have now been closed in his state…

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson was touring flooded areas Monday in the northeast part of the state, where there have been around a dozen water rescues. Statewide, nearly 400 roads are closed, including part of U.S. 136.

Locks and dams upstream of St. Louis are shut down as the Mississippi River crests at the second-highest level on record in some communities. Midwestern rivers have flooded periodically since March, causing billions of dollars of damage to farmland, homes and businesses from Oklahoma and Arkansas and up to Michigan.

This flooding has been going on for months, and there is no end in sight.

In recent days, multiple levees in the state of Missouri have been breached, and a number of small towns are now totally under water…

The small town of Levasy in northwest Missouri’s Jackson County was under water Saturday after a levee breach along the Missouri River. Officials there were conducting water rescues by boat, according to the Associated Press, but no injuries were reported.

In Howard County in central Missouri, the river topped a levee prompting evacuations in Franklin, New Franklin and a stretch along Highway 5 from the Boonville Bridge to New Franklin, AP reported. The zone essentially covers all of the Missouri River bottom from Petersburg to Rocheport.

In West Alton and Alton, where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers meet, floodwaters are expected to rise another 3 feet by Wednesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Some buildings in Alton are already surrounded by water, and the flood plain in West Alton is covered.

This is a nightmare that never seems to end, but many Americans living on both coasts don’t seem to be taking this disaster very seriously.

But they should be taking it seriously because if farmers don’t grow our food, we don’t eat.

The food that we are eating right now is from past production. The crops that are being grown now represent food that we will be eating in the future, and right now it looks like a whole lot less food will be produced than we expected.

That means that food prices will start going up, and they will probably keep going up for the foreseeable future.

We are moving into extremely uncertain times, but most Americans don’t seem to understand this yet.

For a very long time we have been able to take stability for granted, but now everything is starting to change. Those that are wise will be able to adapt to the changing conditions, but unfortunately it appears that most Americans believe that there is simply nothing to be concerned about

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DIGITAL ARMAGEDDON – Source Code for Top 3 US Anti-Virus Makers Reportedly Stolen. ALL Critical Infrastructure Now Vulnerable

The source codes of three American antivirus manufacturers were reportedly stolen and have allegedly been cracked. Anyone with the money can obtain the codes – including organized crime. Another aspect is more dramatic: almost all critical infrastructures in the West are now vulnerable.” This is literally Digital Armageddon.

Fxmsp hacker group is claiming access to the networks and source code of three antivirus companies with offices in the U.S.

Up until this week, the names of the victims (Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro) remained undisclosed to the public due to the sensitive nature of the matter and because authorities had been alerted of the incidents.

But the cat’s out of the bag right now, as the victim antivirus companies have released statements that either downplay, contradict the findings, or have decided to neither deny nor confirm the incident.

Un-redacted evidence from fraud prevention company AdvIntel showing communication from the Fxmsp hacker collective naming three of the victims.

AdvIntel has collected information about the activity of Fxmsp and its sellers on underground forums (mostly Russian speaking) and gathered instant messaging logs of the actor discussing their access and trove of data they were advertising to sell for up to $300,000.

Below is a conversation about source code files for various products from antivirus companies Symantec, McAfee, and Trend Micro. The chat is between Fxmsp members:

Here’s an adapted version of the translated image:

(1:26:03) uwerty5411(@exploit.im: I already have outcomes
(1:26:23)
plz? same price?
: can throw a screen,
(1:27:17) uwerty5411@exploit.im: there are 350 developments of the company, antivirus, kernels, artificial intelligence, web protection, panels, everything that a company has, even those developments that only large corporations
(1:27:26)
: Okay, you can without
screenshots, this is too much
((1:27:29) uwerty5411@exploit.im: the same price
((1:28:07) uwerty5411@exploit.im: screenshots are meaningless, but I can show through AnyDesq
(17:29:27) fxmsp: if 100-200 then McAfee
(17:29:36) fxmsp: if 50-100 the Norton
(17:29:44) fxmsp: if 300-350 the trend
developments?
(17:30:09) fxmsp: number of files
(17:30:37) fxmsp: sorts of concept extensible
((17:31:22) fxmsp: each antivirus has its own development on past antiviruses, there is are web building versions, there are all sorts of utilities, such as a TeamViewer
(17:31:49) fxmsp: there are antiviri under POS terminals
(17:31:58) fxmsp: mail them a crapload of antivirals each

AdvIntel said they have the following evidence supporting their findings and the release of the report last week:

(1) Full chat logs listing all the 3 identified anti-virus names (and more) breached as disclosed by the actor;
(2) Full video recording from the actor assets regarding their operation;
(3) Full source code samples from at least one of the AV vendors breached as obtained from the actor;

The company also has a screenshot showing the properties of a video file to support their findings. According to AdvIntel, the video shows content from the hop server and transfer of gigabytes of data from the compromised antivirus company, with file timestamps, actor commentary, source code, and walkthrough of the actual code.
Exclusive Fxmsp chat logs

Snapshots of conversations between Fxmsp group members about their presence into the network of the three antivirus companies are shown below. Yelisey Boguslavskiy, director of security research at AdvIntel, provided them along with a translation into English. Only the names Trend Micro and McAfee appear in these chats.

Here’s the translation of the chat log:

What is the company?
Fxmsp: trendmicro[.]com

Fxmsp talked about getting into the network of Trend Micro and stealing source code from the company, all without triggering detection. This was possible after exploiting a vulnerability, according to their conversation below.

Here’s the translation of the chat log:

Is Trend Micro aware of the breach?
How did you get access? TrendMicro do not know about it?
Fxmsp: 90% they have no idea
Fmxsp: we got it covertly
Fmxsp: yes [we] targeted them specifically
Fxmsp: [there was a] vulnerability
Fmxsp: they have no idea they lost their source code
Fxmsp: also McAfee has no idea we got them

The hackers talk about the volume of data they found on a victim’s network.

Here’s the translation of the chat log:

Developments?
Fxmsp: quantity of all files [is huge]
Fxmsp: source code is a wide term
Fmxsp: every antivirus has its own soft development outside of web, corporate, and other utilities, TeamViewer-like
Fmxsp: They have point-of-sale anti-virus as well
Fmxsp: Email AV, they have every type possible

Fxmsp group members discuss about how they can move inside the network of a victim antivirus company and how they could connect without setting off an alarm.

Here’s the translation of the chat log:

Fxmsp: the [TrendMicro] access is to a local corporate network
Fxmsp: you have unfettered access in their network environment
Fxmsp: no, you can only move laterally via credentialed net shares or RDP
Fxmsp: the access sold is via TeamViewer or AnyDesk remote software
Fxmsp: their network defense does not see us b/c teamViewer and AnyDesk are legit software, and admins also use it there. That is why no questions.
Fxmsp: their [TrendMicro] network is huge and every network portion has different visibility
Fxmsp: when downloading and exfiltrating all the [TrendMicro] data it will over 1000 terabytes
Fxmsp: plus when exfiltrating all their data, it would take months, very risky to exfiltrate everything that they have

Fxmsp was convinced that no one was watching them roaming inside the network of antivirus companies and that their intrusion would be discovered only if the data they stole and sold got leaked online.

Here’s the translation of the chat log:

Fxmsp: Everything is quiet. All of them [AV companies & law enforcement] will know that something is missing from them is only if the information becomes available on the web.

The official statements

AdvIntel told us that last week they had contacted all three antivirus vendors. They reached out to Symantec via trusted partners on May 8 “and had two remediation calls on May 9 and May 10, respectively.”

Multiple news outlets received a statement from Symantec denying having been contacted by AdvIntel researchers. Others also received such a statement, from someone working at Symantec’s agency of record, Eldman, asking for a correction in articles detailing Fxmsp activities and presenting new evidence.

A few hours later media outlets received an updated statement saying:

“Symantec is aware of recent claims that a number of US-based antivirus companies have been breached. We have been in contact with researchers at AdvIntel, who confirmed that Symantec (Norton) has not been impacted. We do not believe there is reason for our customers to be concerned.”

A statement we received from AdvIntel agrees with Symantec’s comment, noting that more proof was required in order to conclude that an unauthorized entity was indeed present on Symantec’s network.

AdvIntel works directly with Symantec to mitigate the risk. Even though Fxmsp collective claimed that the company is in the victim list, they have not provided any sufficient evidence to support this allegation. We believe with a high degree of confidence that Symantec’s assessment of risks and their statement that “there is no reason for our [Symantec] customers to be concerned currently” is correct.

AdvIntel says that Trend Micro was the first of the companies they contacted, on April 24, because they had obtained information about them first.

We also reached out to Trend Micro for a statement about the reported Fxmsp breach of their networks. A company representative sent us the following official reply:

“We have an active investigation underway related to recent claims, and while it is not complete, we want to transparently share what we have learned. Working closely with law enforcement, our global threat research and forensic teams are leading this investigation. At this moment, we are aware that unauthorized access had been made to a single testing lab network by a third party and some low-risk debugging related information was obtained. We are nearing the end of our investigation and at this time we have seen no indication that any customer data nor source code were accessed or exfiltrated. Immediate action was taken to quarantine the lab and additionally secure all corresponding environments. Due to the active nature of the investigation, we are not in a position to share any additional information, but we will provide an update when additional insights become available and can be disclosed.”

  • Trend Micro spokeperson –

According to Boguslavskiy, Trend Micro’s statement is incorrect.

“As for Trend Micro report regarding source codes, we can provide evidence of the actual files taken (more than 100 MB of the sym files) that the actor had access with over 30TB of source code and everything from TrendMicro,” the researcher told BleepingComputer.

McAfee was also contacted on May 9, Boguslavskiy says, as did we today; however, at the time of writing we are still waiting for a reply from the company.

Responding to our request for comment, McAfee neither denied nor confirmed the breach, saying that they are monitoring the matter and conducting an investigation:

“McAfee is aware of this threat claim targeting the industry. We’ve taken necessary steps to monitor for and investigate it.”

In an email, Boguslavskiy says that AdvIntel directly notified the FBI on May 4 about the recent activities of the Fxmsp threat actor.

HAL TURNER REMARK

This information appears to confirm that the top three anti-virus manufacturers source code has been stolen. Think about what that means: EVERY computer system using any of those anti-virus software packages, is now fully, completely and absolutely vulnerable to being intruded-upon, and taken over.

The systems compromised by this breach would include the entire US Electric Grid, each and every public water supply system, gas and oil pipelines, railroad tracks and bridges, highway traffic systems, airport control systems, BANKS . . . the list is almost endless.

The havoc that can be caused by multiple, simultaneous breaches of these systems, could bring entire companies — and countries — to their knees within hours.

https://halturnerradioshow.com/index.php/en/news-page/world/digital-armageddon-source-code-for-top-3-us-anti-virus-makers-reportedly-stolen-all-critical-infrastructure-now-vulnerable

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Market: BLOODBATH LOOKS IMMINENT – FULL DEFENSIVE MODE


The market is now in position to crash. This is not something that will arrive as “a bolt out of the blue” – it has been setting up to do this for a long time. On the 6-month chart for the Dow Jones Industrials below we can see that on Friday it broke down from a Head-and-Shoulders top that had been forming since February, and the longer-term 5-year chart for the S&P500 index lower down the page makes clear that a giant top started to form with the January 2018 peak, which means that it has been setting up for a bearmarket for fully 16 months now.

A few weeks back we had spotted the H&S top forming but we weren’t sure whether a symmetrical Right Shoulder to complete the pattern would develop, which would have it holding up for perhaps another month, but by last week it had become clear that it would likely settle for a shorter stunted Right Shoulder, which is why we decided to “put our best foot forward” and go for both inverse ETFs, and selected Puts. In the event this is what happened and the breakdown on Friday beneath “last ditch” support means that it is likely to crash next week.

What very often happens when markets crash is that key support is breached on a Friday, after which traders have the weekend to brood about it and many decide to hit the sell button the following Monday, and a near tsunami of sell orders hits the market at once forcing a steep self-feeding decline. That is what looks set to happen this Monday.

Last week Wall St and the MSM were singing the praises of strong earnings to be reported in coming weeks, and suggesting that this would buoy the market, but unfortunately the market looks a lot further ahead than that, typically up to 9 months ahead, and it has discerned nasty storm clouds on the horizon, presaged by the inverted yield curve and partly resulting from fallout from the trade war.

The Neocons, being adversarial by nature, view both Russia and now China as enemies, because they stand in the way of global hegemony, and since they cannot defeat them militarily are attacking them economically.

Unfortunately however, trade is a two way street and the attempt to inflict damage on your trading partners is going to drag you and everyone else down too.

This is why what is going on now is very similar to what went down in the 1930’s with protectionism, trade wars and then depression leading to a major war, and we have the perfect flashpoint for a major war in the form of Iran, which China and Russia cannot afford to see taken down, because if it is, the balance of power will shift and they will be next. The Neocons (and Israel) have a sense of urgency about attacking Iran, because they know they have a limited time window to do it.

This is because China is set to grow much faster than the US, and the other major powers are moving to de-dollarize, knowing that if they succeed the dollar will crash, and the debt-wracked US economy will implode, which will make it impossible to fund the US military-industrial complex at current levels and the vast global US military machine whose mission is to impose the US’ will on the rest of the world.

The impending crash will be much more severe and have much more serious consequences than any hitherto, because of the catastrophic debt overhang that has built up. In this situation gold will become the best investment because it has an intrinsic value that cannot be eliminated. We had surmised before Friday that gold would probably be taken down near-term during the crash phase because of a dash into cash driving a temporary spike in the dollar, but on Friday at least that didn’t happen and instead the Precious Metals sector showed strength, suggesting that the dollar may already be in trouble for the reasons mentioned above.

This may just have been a “pop” on the part of the PM sector, which could yet turn and drop with the market. We will have to wait and see what happens next week – if the broad market drops hard and the PM sector advances it will mean that it has already acquired safe haven status, and in general it will be safe to buy the sector with stops beneath recent lows.

To conclude, a devastating crash looks imminent and full defensive mode is the order of the day.

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The First 3D-Printed House in the US Was so Successful, 50 More Are Being Made

One year ago, America’s first 3D-printed home was unveiled in the city of Austin, Texas. In the time that has passed, the structure has proven itself to be resilient and cost-effective. Now, 50 more of the 3D-printed homes are being constructed for poor families in rural Latin America.

Icon, the tech company that designed the specialized 3D printer, partnered with the Silicon Valley-based nonprofit New Story for the initiative. Currently, they are working on constructing their “first-of-its-kind” neighborhood for Latin American families who make less than $200 per month.

The 3D-printed houses are ideal for low-income families because they are inexpensive to construct, as well as quick to build. To offer perspective, consider that a conventional house may take 4-6 months to build and cost between $300k-$600k. The 3D-printed house, on the other hand, can be constructed for roughly $10,000 and takes just 24 hours to print.

The speedy and inexpensive construction is being facilitated by the Vulcan II. As GoodNewsNetwork reports, the 3D-printer was designed specifically for building cheap homes. After the first 3D-printed house made headlines in 2018, the researchers spent the following year refining the design. They wanted it to be easier to use, as well as more resistant to outdoor conditions.

According to Icon, the Vulcan II is now commercially available for international use. As soon as next month, the company will begin shipping the printer. Pre-orders are being accepted for 2020.

Icon said in a statement:

“Vulcan II is ready to move out of ICON’s lab and into the world next month to begin its very good work of delivering affordable, resilient dignified housing around the world.”

Vulcan II is the first printer of its kind in that it has the capability of printing homes in which people actually want to live. It can be operated by anyone with basic training thanks to the improvements in automation, mechatronics and a suite of specialized software.”

Open the Video

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