May 22

Today’s News 22nd May 2017

  • North Korea's Latest Missile Test Brings Us One Step Closer To WWIII (Here's How We Got Here)

    As time goes on, North Korea’s nuclear program is making war with the United States more and more likely. As SHTFplan.com's Daniel Lang details, we’re on a terrible path that no one knows how to escape from.

    On the one hand, North Korea is clearly led by an unhinged and tyrannical government that can’t be trusted with nuclear weapons. So you can understand why the US is so determined to stop their progress with these weapons. But at the same time, those nuclear weapons could one day guarantee that the leaders of North Korea will remain in power for a long time. Those weapons would make any potential aggressor think twice about trying to invade the bellicose nation, so there’s no way that North Korea is going to abandon its nuclear program.

    Perhaps the only thing that’s preventing a war from breaking out right now, is the fact that North Korea doesn’t have an effective way to deliver a nuke, nor have they been making much progress in that arena. It seems like every time they test a long range missile, it fails spectacularly. So long as that state of affairs continues, war can be averted.

    Unfortunately, North Korea’s missile program has just made a huge leap. On Sunday they tested a new missile that was arguably far more effective than anything they’ve ever launched before.

    A Hwasong-12, a new medium long-range surface-to-surface missile, was launched from Kusong early Sunday morning. The missile flew roughly 430 miles, but the weapon was intentionally lofted. Analysts suspect the missile could potentially hit targets 2,800 miles away if fired along a standard trajectory.

    In other words, the missile was launched with a steep arc, as a opposed to a relatively flat trajectory. This was done so that the missile could be tested without launching it over any neighboring countries. Most experts believe that if the missile had been given a flatter trajectory, it could have reached American military assets throughout much of the Pacific.

    The North “appears to have not only demonstrated an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) that might enable them to reliably strike the U.S. base at Guam, but more importantly, may represent a substantial advance to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),” John Schilling, a respected aerospace engineer who specializes in rockets, explained.

     

    With the ability to strike Guam, the North may now have the means to strike most major U.S. strategic assets in East Asia and the western Pacific. While this would be an impressive achievement, North Korea is determined to master ICBM technology. The missile tested Sunday may be the predecessor to a future ICBM.

    Is it any wonder why  North Korea is the perfect trigger for World War 3? This unstable nation is rapidly increasing its nuclear capabilities, and it’s a nation that China and Russia have a vested interest in keeping alive. They want a buffer state between their borders and South Korea, which is allied with the United States. So any conflict with North Korea (a conflict that is looking more likely every day) could easily drag more nuclear armed nations into the fray.

    Unless one side of this fight backs down, World War 3 is inevitable. And so far it doesn’t look like either side is willing to compromise on North Korea’s missile program.

    And here is how we got here, courtesy of Goldman Sachs – The Timeline of North Korea Developments

     

    Finally, Goldman's Jeff Currie and Mikhail Sprogis discuss gold as a hedge against geopolitical events

    …we find that gold can effectively hedge against geopolitical risk if the geopolitical event is extreme enough that it leads to some sort of currency debasement, and especially if the gold price move is much sharper than the move in real rates or the dollar. For these events, gold essentially serves as a call option and can therefore be thought of as a “geopolitical hedge of last resort.”

    …This analysis, however, doesn’t take into consideration gold market liquidity itself, which can be crucial when deciding to hedge via physical gold in a vault versus COMEX gold futures.

    Using a gold futures contract as the basis of the hedge makes the implicit assumption that market liquidity will not be a problem in the realization of a geopolitical event. The importance of liquidity was tested during the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Gold prices declined sharply as both traded volumes and open interest on the exchange plummeted. After this liquidity event, investors became more conscious of the physical vs. futures market distinction and began to demand more physical gold or physically-backed ETFs as a hedge against black-swan events.

    The lesson learned was that if gold liquidity dries up along with the broader market’s, so does your hedge – unless it is physical gold in a vault, the true “hedge of last resort.”

  • Gnome Underpants Gold Model, Report 21 May, 2017

    There is a often-promoted plan to grow your wealth. Here’s the background. The dollar is going to be worthless. Soon! The reason is because [their peeps in high places tell them / the Chinese / end of the petrodollar / historical fiat currencies / Rothschild Jekyll Island Master Plan Private Fed / Fed printing] will cause the dollar to collapse and gold will rocket to $50,000. In fact, it’s a miracle that the price is a mere $1,253 and it hasn’t already. It will, once people discover this One Weird Secret that They Don’t Want You to Know that we have been reiterating every day for decades.

    (By the way, Monetary Metals is about to publish the data to finally shine the full sunlight of disinfectant on this—stay tuned)

    The plan has three phases.

    Phase 1: You gotta buy gold. Now. In fact, call 1-800-BUY-GOLD now! That number, again, is one eight hundred bee yoo wye gee oh ell dee.

    Phase 2: Price goes up

    Phase 3: Profit!

    This is a bit reminiscent of the underpants business model on South Park. South Park of course showed phase 2 as “???” but the analogy holds.

    Pay particular attention to the context switch. The story switches midway from the-dollar-will-collapse to gold-will-go-up.

    In fact, these are the same thing. It is important to realize because a higher price of gold does not make you richer. Sure, you have more dollars but each of them is worth proportionally less. And why would you want to exchange your gold for collapsing Rothschild private bank petrodollar printing press Monopoly money? On top of this, the tax man will take a big chunk of any price appreciation. So, if you sell you have less wealth.

    Aside from being wrong as a matter of fact, it is an example of dollar thinking. It comes from the belief that gold is to be sold. That is not historically how people thought about it. Gold is money and those who have it should seek to earn a return on it, not sell it.

    This week, the prices of the metals went up. Perhaps that rubber stopper under the silver elevator is durable.

    However, as always we are interested in the supply and demand fundamental of the metals. We will show graphs, but first, the price and ratio charts.

    The Prices of Gold and Silver
    The Prices of Gold and Silver

    Next, this is a graph of the gold price measured in silver, otherwise known as the gold to silver ratio. It moved lower this week.

    The Ratio of the Gold Price to the Silver Price
    The Ratio of the Gold Price to the Silver Price

    For each metal, we will look at a graph of the basis and cobasis overlaid with the price of the dollar in terms of the respective metal. It will make it easier to provide brief commentary. The dollar will be represented in green, the basis in blue and cobasis in red.

    Here is the gold graph.

    The Gold Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
    The Gold Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price

    We changed to the August contract.

    August is far from expiration, and we see no sign of temporary backwardation (another phenomenon that disproves the naked short manipulation theory). And we see something clear and revealing. There is a steadily rising scarcity (i.e. the cobasis, the red line) and falling abundance (the basis, the blue line). The trend has been ongoing for many months, with not a lot of jitter. The scarcity of gold, as indicated by the August gold spreads, has been on the rise.

    For somewhat less time, the price of gold has been rising.

    Our calculated fundamental closed the week up another $21, to $1,275. That’s hardly “call 1-800-BUY-GOLD now before it hits $10,000” territory, but noteworthy nonetheless.

    Now let’s look at silver.

    The Silver Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price
    The Silver Basis and Cobasis and the Dollar Price

    Last week, we said that “silver does not yet show any backwardation, though it’s close at -0.03%.” This week, it’s +0.1%. However, this is definitely temporary backwardation. The near contract in silver tends to fall earlier than the near contract in gold.

    Obviously, past a certain date, speculators looking to bet on silver would not buy the July contract but instead the September. Everyone may have his own boundary, in part depending on how long they want to hold the position. But clearly, for the marginal silver speculator, we are past that point in the July contract.

    So there is an imbalance, less and less buying. The selling (to roll July) may not be urgent yet, but silver is less liquid than gold. So a small imbalance will show up as a change in basis.

    Our calculated fundamental price of silver was down a few pennies.

    We will end on an amusing note. The previous week, we said:

    “We saw a technical analysis trader write a note this weekend. He said he plans to short silver on Monday. When the technicals and then fundamentals align, that can make for an interesting week.”

    Assuming he shorted it early on Monday morning, he might have top-ticked it at $16.40. On Tuesday, he could have closed at $16.05, for a gain of 2.1%. There has to be an easier way to earn a few bucks (and we never recommend naked-shorting gold or silver).

    Well, as of Friday silver is $16.84. Depending on how much leverage he used, that could be a big owwie.

    Keith will be speaking at the Mining Investment Europe event in Frankfurt in mid-June. He will be in London the week of June 19, and in New York the week of June 26. If you’re interested in attending a Monetary Metals seminar on GOFO and transparency in the gold market in either city, or to meet with Keith to discuss gold investment, please click here.

    © 2017 Monetary Metals

  • World Leaders Gather In Beijing While The US Sinks Into Irrelevancy

    Authored by Wayne Madsen via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

    While vaudevillian comedy-like shouting matches broke out in the West Wing of the White House between President Donald Trump and his senior advisers and between the White House press secretary and various presidential aides, world leaders gathered in Beijing to discuss the creation of modern-day land and maritime «silk roads» to improve the economic conditions of nations around the world. Nothing more could have illustrated the massive divide between the concerns of many of the nations of the world and those of the United States, which is rapidly descending into second-rate power status, along with its NATO allies Britain, France, and Germany.

    While Mr. Trump was threatening to fire his senior White House staff, reprising his one-time role in his reality television show «The Apprentice», China’s President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and presidents and prime ministers from around the world sat down to discuss the creation of new international and intercontinental highways, railways, and maritime routes under China’s proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

    Even countries that are cool on the Chinese initiative, including India and Japan, sent representatives to the summit that carried a bit more clout than the pathetic representation of the United States, Matt Pottinger, a little-known special assistant to Trump and the senior director for East Asia of National Security Council. In fact, the only reason Trump sent anyone to represent the United States at the Beijing gathering was because of a special request made by President Xi during his recent meeting with Trump at the president’s private Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

    South Korea, which saw relations with China sour over America’s placement of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea, sent a delegation to Beijing after a phone call between South Korea’s new liberal president, Moon Jae-in, and President Xi. Moon responded to the phone call by sending a delegation led by his Democratic Party’s veteran legislator to Beijing.

    Even North Korea, which rankled South Korea, Japan, and the United States by firing a ballistic missile into waters near Russia, sent a delegation to the Beijing meeting headed by Kim Yong Jae, the North’s Minister of External Economic Relations. The Trump administration, which sent a virtual unknown to Beijing, complained loudly about North Korea’s representation at the Silk Road summit. But Washington’s complaint was conveyed by someone as unknown as Mr. Pottinger, Anna Richey-Allen, a low-level spokesperson for the U.S. State Department's East Asia Bureau. The reason why the United States is being spoken for by middle-grade bureaucrats is that the nation that still believes it is the world’s only remaining «superpower» is now governed by an administration rife with top-level vacancies, inter-agency squabbling, and amateur league players.

    Even though major European Union member states were not represented in Beijing by their heads of government, Germany sent its Economy Minister, Brigitte Zypries. She warned, however, that the EU would not sign a Silk Road agreement with China unless certain EU demands on free trade and labor conditions were guaranteed. Germany’s reticence did not seem to faze other EU nations, which were represented in Beijing by their heads of government and appeared to be more avid in their support of the Chinese initiative. These EU member state leaders included Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Czech President Milos Zeman, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Moreover, had British Prime Minister Theresa May not been in the middle of a general election campaign, she would have been in Beijing. Nevertheless, she sent British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond in her place.

    If the Trump administration hoped to convince world leaders to stay away from Beijing, it was sorely disappointed. The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, was there, along with the President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Also present in Beijing were the presidents of Turkey, Philippines, Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Kenya, Uzbekistan, and Laos, as well as the prime ministers of Vietnam, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Fiji, Ethiopia, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

    Ministerial delegations from Afghanistan, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Finland, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Maldives, Romania, Nepal, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, and the United Arab Emirates were at the Beijing summit. Japan was represented by the senior adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party, Toshihiro Nikai. France, which was experiencing a change of presidents, sent former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

    The Silk Road initiative has projects planned in all the nations whose governments were represented in Beijing, except for the United States and Israel. In addition to the nations represented by their government heads of state and ministers, Silk Road agreements were signed between China and Palestine, Georgia, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Tajikistan, Brunei, Croatia, and East Timor.

    The one clear message the Beijing meeting sent out to the world is that America’s «unipolar» vision of the world was dead and buried. Even among Washington’s longtime friends and allies, one will not hear Donald Trump referred to as the «leader of the Free World.» That phrase has been discarded into the waste bin of history along with America’s insistence that it is the world’s only «superpower.» The United States is a power, a second-rate one that happens to possess a first-rate nuclear arsenal. But nuclear weapons were not being discussed in Beijing. Major projects were on the agenda, projects that when completed will leave the United States at sea in the propeller wash.

    President Xi, in his keynote address to the conference, said that the «One Belt and One Road» initiative is «a project of the century» and that will benefit everybody across the world. And to put his money where his mouth is, Xi said China will contribute 80 billion yuan (US$113 billion) as added financial impetus to create a global network of highway, railway, and maritime links in a recreation of the ancient Silk Road that linked China to the West. Meanwhile, in Washington, Trump spoke of having recorded «taped» conversations with his fired director of the FBI James Comey, setting off a political firestorm. A new global infrastructure being spoken about in Beijing and political hijinks the major topic of conversation in Washington. The United States has fallen into second-rate global status and is seriously ill as a cohesive nation-state but does not even realize it.

    China and Russia used the Beijing summit to showcase several Eurasian initiatives, including the Russia-inspired Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Both the Chinese and Russian heads of state let it be known that the BRICS alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa was still a potent world entity, even though South Africa was not represented in Beijing by its president and India chose not to send any representative to Beijing.

    President Putin’s words to the conference about the new geopolitical status in the world were noteworthy: «the greater Eurasia is not an abstract geopolitical arrangement but, without exaggeration, a truly civilization-wide project looking toward the future.» In other words, the European Union, which is losing the United Kingdom as a member and will never see membership for Turkey, is a dying international organism. Other international initiatives, like the EEU, BRICS, AIIB, and the One Belt, One Road (OBOR), are leaving the EU and the United States in the dust. That was evident by the fact that the United States was represented in Beijing by an overrated desk clerk and the EU by a Brussels «Eurocrat,» the European Commission vice president Jyrki Katainen.

  • Shocking Admission From NY Bankruptcy Judge: "Chapter 11, 15 Filings Have Exploded"

    A stunning soundbite was captured by a Bloomberg reporter during last week’s event at the American Bankruptcy Institute. According to judges speaking at an ABI conference Thursday in Manhattan, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York is seeing a sharp rise in cases this year, with Chapter 11 and Chapter 15 filings outpacing national averages.

    “Chapter 11s and Chapter 15s have exploded” said U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman, speaking at American Bankruptcy Institute event, cited by Bloomberg reporter Tiffany Kary.

    The numbers for the bankruptcy court which serves Manhattan are, frankly, horrifying: Chapter 11s have tripled in the first quarter of the year, while Chapter 15s for companies seeking U.S. aid for a reorganization in a foreign court have increased sevenfold, Chapman added.

    What makes New York data so dramatic is that the region’s bankruptcy filings contrast with national data, that show Chapter 11 filings are down slightly, Judge Carla Craig from Eastern District of New York said.

    New York is not alone it seems: As Bloomberg adds, Judge Brendan Shannon from Delaware said he has also seen an uptick in Chapter 11s and Chapter 15s, though not as marked as in New York. Shannon also sees trend in retail and energy sector bankruptcies continuing, based on current cases .

    The culprit? Take one guess:

    “The report is that for at least a lot of retailers, it is certainly a difficult, if not flat out impossible environment to operate in,” Shannon said. “We do see more of those cases likely on the horizon.”

    And while we appreciate the transfer of business from bricks and mortar retail to online, it is simply impossible that the millions of soon to be laid off legacy retail, minimum-wage workers will find suitable employment in the coming retail bankruptcy tsunami (which will claim the following 11 names next according to Fitch), and which will unleash a tidal wave of bankruptcies first across New York, and soon after, across the entire US. How far this particular destructive tsunami of default will reach, and how fast, will determine just how acute the next recession will be.

  • Softbank Chairman Making Good On Promise To Invest Billions In the US

    Looks like Softbank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son is making good on his promise to invest billions and create tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S.

    The Softbank Vision Fund, now the world’s largest private-equity fund, announced on Saturday that it has raised over $93 billion to invest in technology like artificial intelligence and robotics, Reuters reported.

    Trump tweeted back in December that Masayoshi Son had promised to invest $50 billion in the U.S. – something that, according to Trump, wouldn’t have happened if Hillary Clinton had won the election.

    The announcement coincided with President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia – his first trip abroad as president – and the signing of billions of dollars’ of deals between the two countries, including a $350 billion arms deal that’s been tagged as the largest ever. Softbank Group and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, the kingdom's sovereign-wealth fund, have partnered the create the fund, which also has received contributions from deep-pocketed investors including Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment, which has committed $15 billion, Apple Inc, Qualcomm, Taiwan's Foxconn Technology and Japan's Sharp Corp.

    The fund is still hoping to reach $100 billion and expects to complete its money-raising in six months, according to Reuters.

    We're looking forward to the flood of leveraged buyouts that will likely follow.

  • "Baizuo" Is The New Derogatory Term Millions Of Chinese Are Using To Describe America's "White Left" Regressive Liberals

    Authored by Daniel Lang via SHTFplan.com,

    After the last election, the far-left in our society became a laughing stock. The social justice warriors, the progressives, the regressive left; whatever you want to call them, they became a joke after Trump was elected. And it wasn’t because they lost the election. It was because of how they reacted to losing. We all witnessed what amounted to a nationwide temper tantrum on November 9th. And in the weeks that followed, it became apparent that these people aren’t just childish. They are freaking insane.

    However, it may surprise you to learn that these people aren’t just a joke in America. They are the laughing stock of the world. They are looked down upon, even in countries where they don’t have a significant presence.

    In China for instance, they have a word for these people. They are called “baizuo” or the “white left” on social media. Which is interesting, because even though China has its fair share of socialists and communists, they don’t have a direct equivalent to our liberal snowflakes. Most of the Chinese are still fiercely nationalistic and anti-immigrant, regardless of political affiliation. That country just doesn’t have a large population of politically correct, affluent liberals (presumably, they were all killed off during the Great Leap Forward). So what does this term mean to the average Chinese citizen?

    It might not be an easy task to define the term, for as a social media buzzword and very often an instrument for ad hominem attack, it could mean different things for different people. A thread on “why well-educated elites in the west are seen as naïve “white left” in China” on Zhihu, a question-and-answer website said to have a high percentage of active users who are professionals and intellectuals, might serve as a starting point.

     

    The question has received more than 400 answers from Zhihu users, which include some of the most representative perceptions of the ‘white left’. Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours”.

    Baizuo has basically become the go to word for Chinese social media users, who want to trash other people in online debates. It’s also frequently used to make light of what is viewed in China, as the inherent weakness of western democracies. So not only has the far-left made themselves into a joke, they’re making everyone else who supports Western civilization look bad all around the world.

    It just goes to show, the people who speak the loudest in society often become the face of that society, even if most sane people aren’t taking them seriously anymore.

  • Timeshare Fraud – the hot new securities fraud

    Every now and again we at Elite E Services stumble upon business models in the course of our operation that are sometimes interesting but alarming at the same time – in this case, timeshare fraud.  After having our head held under water by combination of ugly circumstances (tough regulation making business impossible but at the same time losing millions to Forex fraudsters which ironically the regulations failed to stop); we are sensitive on fraud – especially that which does not appear to be on the surface!  And as markets evolve, so do fraud models.. 

    With the conviction of stock lending fraud master and citizen of Boca Raton Florida Jeffrey Spanier, stock lending fraud is on the way out:

    SAN DIEGO – Jeffrey Spanier, a 51-year-old former owner of Amerifund Capital Finance, LLC located in Boca Raton, Florida, was convicted by a federal jury today for his role in an elaborate stock-loan fraud scheme in which executives and shareholders of publicly traded corporations collectively lost over $100 million when the stock they pledged as collateral for loans was immediately sold in order to fund the loans.

    Why this is a good example though – this fraud was perpetrated at the highest levels.  Victims of this fraud included the who’s who of Wall St., corporate executivies, ultra high net worth individuals, and even Bono (

    This may have to be a multi-part series as we uncover this new type of fraud which may be the next big ‘securities fraud’ as what we are looking at – appears to be unregistered securities.  Let’s start with a short history of what a timeshare is and how we got where we are.  

    Long ago, before the dinosaurs, the Johnson family wanted to share their lake cottage with the Smith family for the summer, and asked them to kick in for the repairs of the old dock.  Or something like that.  And then it became a business – of course starting from the infamous Fort Frauderdale, Florida (during this time Boca Raton was still a swamp, inhabitied only by IBM and some Japanese..)

    The first timeshare in the United States was started in 1974 by Caribbean International Corporation (CIC), based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It offered what it called a 25-year vacation license rather than ownership. The company owned two other resorts the vacation license holder could alternate their vacation weeks with: one in St. Croix and one in St. Thomas; both in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands properties began their timeshare sales in 1973 with owners Hillie Meyers, Don Saunders, and Arthur Zimand.

    How we got to where we are today follows the same path of all industries; fuelled by Fed policy of cheap money, an expanding real estate market, retiring rich baby boomers, and all the other favorable demographics.  But what insiders in this industry learned quickly was that, they were really selling the dream.  It was possible to sell the nothing, the artificiality.  “Real” estate is just that – it’s real.  Timeshare owners don’t really ‘own’ anything, if you read the agreements – it’s a contract to pay, an obligation – in perpetuity.  Every time share contract is different but in no case is there actual ownership of ‘real estate’ – you may own the ‘rights’ to a ‘membership’ but if it cannot be ‘sold’ then what kind of ownership is that really?  What they learned was that the profit here was all in the sizzle, not in the steak – and if they could enhance the sizzle to be 99% and serve Grade B flank steak, they’d have a winning model to become very rich, which was borderline legal.  While the timeshare industry itself is ‘legal’ and in some states there are ‘regulations’ – many of the tactics they use, contracts they offer, are illegal.  Many of the ‘salespeople’ they hire, have criminal records for financial fraud.  In fact, the FTC currently has hundreds of criminal investigations against timeshare companies, timeshare resale scams, timeshare fraud, and related illegal activities.  Similar to how the Forex fraud we saw had nothing to do with Forex, many of these frauds have nothing to do with timeshares.  People are so desperate to sell their obligations, when a scammer calling from Mexico says he can ‘resell’ your timeshare (which is practically impossible) hopeful victims wire thousands of dollars to the foreign bank account with little respute.  Doesn’t sound like a lot of money for a scam, but – multiplied by the 10 Million timeshare owners out there, this can add up to millions of dollars for the fraudsters.

    When you ‘buy’ a timeshare ‘contract’ it’s sort of like a debt, you are obligated to pay and if you die, your children will inherit the payments.  Sounds a lot like a bond!  Yes, these are unregistered securities.  The ‘exchange’ as they call it, RCI, is an unregistered exchange.  There are issues with the SEC, the CFTC, the states, and possibly even anti-trust issues.  Some of these issues are starting to be talked about in the financial media:

    Summary

    • Analysts upgrading HGV are not considering the ‘dark side’ of this industry.
    • Potential liabilities can spring up anytime that can change this tune.
    • Angry customers complain, which can soon become lawsuits, with deleterious consequences.

    About half of the big timeshare companies are public companies, so here’s where the biggest issues lie.  Because public companies are required to follow rules such as disclosure rules that don’t apply to private companies.  So this may be where we see the first complaints.

    Really what it comes down to, is a broken model.  Not all timeshares are frauds – but in an inflationary environment, is such a model – fraud removed – profitable anymore?  It’s like the Series 7 stockbroker, who used to charge a percent of the trade – now anyone can place their own trade for $9.99 or less whilst sitting in their bathrobe petting their cat.  The timeshare model is a broken bricks and mortar model from the past, it’s dead like the shopping mall is dead, just like Amazon is killing retail stores, new upstarts that remain to be seen (still do not exist) will cannabalize this rotten model.  In the meantime, there’s a lot to be decided in court.

    Even according to industry ‘official’ statistics, about 17% of timeshare owners are not happy.  Although Diamond is now private and bigger companies have ‘cleaned up’ their act, reports of false imprisonment, fraud by trickery, misleading sales statements, and outright refusals to comply with customers requests, and just a few of the things still going on.. just read sites like this Consumer Reports (RCI): 

    We see no reason to sign up for RCI except to give the company money. We are new members who tried to use RCI for the first time. We wanted to visit El Dorado Suites, Riviera Maya, using our exchange. Through RCI, we have to pay a $399 fee for a mandatory 7-day visit. RCI requires we also pay a $2500 “Mandatory all inclusive” fee for the El Dorado. So that’s the cost of our RCI membership, plus a $399 fee, plus a $2500 all-inclusive fee. Curious, we logged into El Dorado’s home page and found we could sign up for the exact same vacation, not using RCI, for a total cost of $2200, also all-inclusive. So the all-inclusive fee alone is more than the actual cost of staying at the El Dorado Suites, without having ever met an RCI salesperson.

     

     

    I have been with RCI approx 12yrs. My previous issues have been the fact that they charge for unused points… Live and learn. My complaint is that I had to cancel a reservation. It’s unfortunate but situations do arise and plans have to get changed. I cancelled 5-days prior to my check-in date. RCI WILL NEITHER REFUND NOR CREDIT my charge of $99.00! They say they have a 24-hour ‘grace period’. I feel this is a major RIP-OFF to consumers and extremely bad business practice. I have contacted them by email, customer service and ‘blabbering’ supervisor. I was told “they have to keep the lights on” in order to provide their service. Well, RCI, my lights need to be on as well!! BUYER BEWARE.

    You get the idea.  One can spend a weekend reading these, it does make more interesting reading than outright financial fraud, but eventually it will make you want to vomit.  You can’t call this a business model – you have to call it ‘fraud’ or ‘scam’ because it’s like that.  If normal companies operated like this, they’d be shut down.  Imagine walking into Wal Mart and instead of their ‘no questions asked’ return policy they argued with you and told you there was a ‘grace period’ or some such nonsense, there would be riots, boycotts – Wal Mart would be no more.  90% of business operates like that.  The only exception is software sales because practically, once you ‘download’ the software you can copy it and there’s no way to prove that you didn’t.  Other than that – and some other rare exceptions, you can’t lock people in a room for 8 hours without their permission.  Readers – this is a time-bomb waiting to explode!  How can we profit from it?  Short the stocks; (HGV) (WYN) (VAC) et al   

    If you own a timeshare and want out, there are only a few lawfirms who are actually law firms who can do this for you, like this one Fortis Law Group PLC.  There are also hundreds of scam companies claiming to be ‘timeshare resale experts’ who even have ‘licenses’ to do this – but beware – this is a scam too!  This industry is filled with fraud from one end of the business cycle to the other.  It can only be explained by George Carlin, with this clip:

    We know what we have to do.  Let’s get working!

    For a detailed breakdown of how the financial system works (in reality – not how it is supposed to work) – checkout Splitting Pennies Understanding Forex.

    Visit our sponsor Please Order It.com

  • 'Tolerant'? Cali Democratic Chair Urges Crowd "All Together Now, F**k Donald Trump"

    Once again the left exposes itself as the "do as we say, not as we do" party of tolerance, non-violent protest, and free speech…

    As Gateway Pundit's Cristina Laila reports, the classless Democrats gathered in Sacramento for a state convention on Saturday. They had some harsh words for the President as they chanted, ‘F*** Donald Trump!’.

    AP reports:

    California’s elected Democrats had tough words for President Donald Trump and the GOP Congress on Saturday, urging their party’s fired-up activists to work against the 14 Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation.

     

    The party’s leaders blasted Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and presented California as the epicenter of liberal resistance to the president.

     

    “The world, literally the world, is counting on all of you, counting on California to reject Trump’s deception and destructiveness,” said Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is among a crowded field of Democrats running for governor next year.

     

    U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, often mentioned as a potential candidate for president in 2020, accused Trump of putting “Russia first, America second.”

     

    In a sign of the vigor of the party’s distaste for the president, outgoing party Chair John Burton, a longtime Democratic lawmaker and powerbroker known for his blunt and profane manner, extended two middle fingers in the air as the crowd cheered and joined him.

     

    “F— Donald Trump,” he said.

    Video of crowd with middle fingers in the air after outgoing CA Dem Chair, John Burton screamed, ‘F*ck Donald Trump!’

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    Video of Ca Dem Chair, John Burton telling protesters to ‘shut the f*** up!

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    This is the Democrat party, folks…what a bunch of classless lowlifes…

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    More F-bombs from John Burton…(language warning)

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  • It Takes A Bullshitter To Know A Bullshitter

    Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,

     

    On Wednesday, PEOPLE Magazine released a preview of an upcoming issue, titled “The Obamas; Their Lives Now”, which includes commentary on Obama’s “relationship” with President Trump:

    “He’s nothing but a bullsh–ter.”

    Tell us how you really feel, Obama, because after your oval office meeting with Trump, we never would have guessed that you two hated each other.

    But isn’t this a major case of hypocrisy on Obama’s part, with a track record of lies and “bullshit” miles long?

    So let’s take a minute and recap all of the bullshit former President Obama told the American public during his tenure.  It’s the only fitting rebuttal, isn’t it?

    But first, let’s start with the biggest hunk of bullshit out there – the fact that Barack and Michelle, after eight years as President and First Lady, actually did a photo shoot and cover spread for PEOPLE magazine.  It isn’t difficult to believe they did it, but seeing it is another thing altogether:

    After eight years, George W. Bush remained completely quiet through the entire Obama presidency; in fact, he spent a great deal of his time painting, of all things.  Bill Clinton racked up millions of dollars of speaking fees and got his wife a Senate seat, but never criticized or mentioned Bush at all during his term.

    Meanwhile, it appears Obama misses being the celebrity-in-chief, as this magazine spread indicates, but how about PEOPLE’s claim and citation of David Axelrod in regards to the unspoken rule that ex-Presidents don’t criticize the current commander in chief?

    But the former president has been meticulous since the election about not publicly violating that unwritten code of conduct among ex-presidents that bars criticizing whoever’s currently in the Oval Office.

     

    “He’s very respectful of the appropriate role of a former president and that ex-presidents should not be looking over the shoulder of their successors and commenting on every decision,” says Obama’s long-time friend and political strategist David Axelrod, now director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, noting how George W. Bush refrained from criticizing Obama.

    In what world is Axelrod (and conversely PEOPLE magazine, for publishing his commentary) living in, in which Obama has not criticized President Trump?  Less than ten days after Trump took office, Obama did just that:

    Through his spokesman, Mr. Obama said he was “heartened” by all of the anti-Trump protests that have erupted throughout the nation.

    If you think Barack was the only Obama who criticized Trump, you’d be wrong as well:

    Michelle Obama on Friday criticized a Trump administration decision to delay federal rules aimed at making school lunch healthier, saying kids will end up “eating crap” instead.

     

    “You have to stop and think, ‘Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you and why is that a partisan issue?” Mrs. Obama said. “Why would that be political?”

    So much for that “unwritten code” Axelrod said Obama was upholding.

    Of course, it hardly tops Obama’s biggest bullshit quote(s) of all:

    “That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

     

    “And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it.  No one will be able to take that away from you.  It hasn’t happened yet.  It won’t happen in the future.”

    Even The Washington Post, of all places, was completely unable to defend Obama’s multiple quoted assurances; as The Daily Caller indicated on Jan 1, 2014, when the law took effect, 4.7 million Americans lost their health insurance because of Obamacare, with reports of far more cancellations at later dates.

    Of course, as Free Market Shooter previously covered, Obama’s bullshit initially blamed insurers, not his healthcare monstrosity, for the cancellations:

    “One of the things health reform was designed to do was to help not only the uninsured but also the underinsured. And there are a number of Americans, fewer than 5 percent of Americans, who’ve got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident.

     

    Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received or used minor pre-existing conditions to jack up your premiums or bill you into bankruptcy. So a lot of people thought they were buying coverage, and it turned out not to be so good.”

    As one of the lucky ones who managed to purchase coverage after the law was signed but before the exchanges took effect, I can unequivocally state that my policy would be at least double were I to repurchase similar coverage in the exchange today… and could be as high as triple.  How many of those cancelled policies faced monster health insurance hikes?  Was Obama’s greatest bullshit claim, the blame that he assigned to “bad apple” insurers before he was forced to backtrack?

    How about another Obama quote, regarding “scandal” in his administration?

    “We have not had a major scandal in my administration.”

    As The Blaze pointed out, Obama’s administration could be just as easily defined by the word “scandal” as it is by the word “bullshit”:

    Obama sidestepped the comprehensive list of scandals that plagued his tenure as president. These scandals include but are not limited to: the Operation Fast and Furious gun walking scandal, the IRS scandal involving IRS workers intentionally targeting Tea Party organizations, and his own Secretary of State Hillary Clinton using a private email server.

    The Blaze also pointed out another fiction of Obama’s, which again reference the same Washington Post that goes out of its way to defend him:

    “The day after Benghazi happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism”

     

    Obama did refer to an “act of terror” in the immediate aftermath of the 2012 Benghazi attacks, but in vague terms, wrapped in a patriotic fervor. He never affirmatively stated that the American ambassador died because of an “act of terror.” Then, over a period of two weeks, given three opportunities in interviews to affirmatively agree that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist attack, the president obfuscated or ducked the question. So this was a case of taking revisionist history too far for political reasons.

    When it comes to Obama’s Presidency, and the comparison to bullshit, nobody summed it up better than Constitution.com:

    The two constants of the Obama era has been the president’s willingness to lie to the American people, and the media’s willingness to allow the president’s lies to slide by uncondemned. The Obama years have been nothing more than a series of thinly veiled (and sometimes blatantly naked) lies, uttered to placate the citizens of the United States while the federal government ballooned beyond meaningful control. Barack Obama’s legacy is one of unadulterated hubris, his efforts all focused on rending power from the people and handing it to bureaucrats, and America is fortunate to have survived this historically catastrophic presidency.

    Just take Obama’s (and PEOPLE Magazine’s) word for it though:

    “He’s nothing but a bullsh–ter.”

    But first ask yourself; is Obama referring to Trump, or just describing himself?

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