News & Analysis, Jan. 20, 2020


Here’s Bernie Sanders in 1988 on C-SPAN clearly stating, “A Woman could be elected President.” I never for even a moment doubted that, that was, and remains, his position.

Don’t they?

Morales said on Jan. 13 that Bolivians had the right to organize and defend themselves, without firearms, from what he said were attacks by Bolivia’s interim government ….

U.S. official accuses ex-leader Morales of fostering violence in Bolivia

“… defend themselves, without firearms, from what he said were attacks by Bolivia’s interim government ….” Please note the propagandistic additional words “what he said were” rather than the truth, which leaves out that propaganda spinning. “… defend themselves, without firearms, from attacks by Bolivia’s interim government ….” That’s how it should have read. The “protesters” against Morales and the “interim government” definitely attacked all sorts of people who supported Morales. Many of the attacks were severe. The reverse was not the case.

Whether Morales was right or wrong in seeking another term (I say he was wrong, and he has openly admitted he thinks he probably made a mistake), there was never any justification for violence on the part of those against Morales serving another term.

In addition, there was zero election fraud conducted by Morales’ side. You’ll notice that Reuters (which hates the common people everywhere and is always for the elitists because that’s who owns Reuters) doesn’t give the other side (Morales’) of the story any more than it feels it has to or be caught out for what Reuters really is: a propaganda tool and not a pure-news service.

The trouble with the next article is that it fails to note that many Trump voters would switch and vote for Sanders but would not do that for any other Democratic candidate in the top tier in the polls. The entire impeachment effort does more damage to Sanders than to any other top-tier Democratic candidate. Maybe even Bernie doesn’t realize it.

How Trump Is Spreading a Conspiracy Theory About Pelosi, Biden and Sanders

Scientists at Heriot Watt University in Scotland have developed the world’s first building brick that’s made from 90% recycled construction and demolition waste.

The K-Briq uses less than one-tenth of the energy in its manufacture, creates one-tenth of CO2 emissions of a traditional fired brick, and can be made in any color.

The K-Briq is stronger and lighter than traditional kiln-fired bricks. It is produced from concrete, brick, and plasterboard waste, and it’s compressed without firing.

Scotland scientists invent groundbreaking low-emissions, recycled building brick

A report by a research unit of the German Bundestag, just released in Berlin, has defied the narrative of the European Union, NATO and the US, with the conclusion that since the Ukraine civil war began in early 2014, there has been no reliable evidence of Russian troop invasion or intervention by regular Russian military forces in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.


Good summation:

Capital is being thrown at the real estate market that may lead to critical excess. However, housing has been and still is in short supply, particularly in the moderate-income and workforce housing segments. Government reaction will be a critical factor in the coming years. Home ownership affordability will play a part in maintaining the demand for rentals as Millennials form new households. The National Multifamily Housing Council and the National Apartment Association estimate that 325,000 new units will be needed annually to keep up with demand. Reducing development and operational cost will be vital, otherwise consumers will be forced to adapt in such a way as to reduce demand.

Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020: What Does it Mean for Investors?

By the WA State Office of the Insurance Commissioner:

… now that 21 states — including Washington — have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an expedited hearing on the case, President Trump wants to slow things down. Why? He faces re-election. The last thing he wants is widespread exposure of his lie about protecting people with pre-existing conditions.

Truth about Trump: He wants to abolish your most vital healthcare protection

10 Tips for Buying Your First Rental Property

… debt ratios in US corporations have risen to unprecedented levels, far exceeding the levels that preceded the financial crisis. But this is hardly surprising, given that interest rates have never been so low for so long. While a leverage bubble will probably be a risk sometime in the future, there is no reason why it should burst, or even deflate, until interest rates significantly rise. This is why corporate leverage seems only a modest threat in 2020.

What Could Spoil 2020?

I’m afraid that most people who need this sort of article wouldn’t read it. Ha!

The Efficient Kitchen: A How-To Guide

Returning to the “Gold Standard” would be one of the dumbest moves we could make. We went off the Gold Standard because being on it hampered growth because there wasn’t enough of it (gold). In addition, gold mining has been an environmental disaster.

The Fed kept interest rates at historic lows throughout Barack Obama’s presidency but went on a spree of rate hikes after Trump took office. It raised rates eight times since Trump came into office, with the last hike triggering a stock market nosedive in December 2018. The central bank has held steady since then, and Trump continues to demand rate cuts.

The Fed reduced its benchmark short-term interest rate three times in 2019 to a range of 1.5 to 1.75 percent.

Trump … and Shelton all believe that the United States would be better off if its monetary system was returned to the gold standard, a system where the value of the dollar would be backed by gold held by the government. Prior to his election, Trump praised the gold standard but said it would be difficult to return to.

Under the current system, the dollar is fiat money that has no intrinsic value and exists largely as data on the networks of private banks and the privately owned Federal Reserve.

Trump Formally Announces Intent to Nominate Judy Shelton, Christopher Waller to Federal Reserve

Trump’s corporate-tax cuts were an obvious scam.

Proponents predicted lowering rates would give lenders more cash to fuel the economy, helping companies invest in expansion, hire workers and raise pay.

Here are the trends at the top six banks since then:

• Growth in their outstanding loans slowed to 1% last year, down from 3% in 2018, which was unchanged from 2017.
• They collectively shrank their workforce by about 1,200 people by the end of 2019 from two years earlier. To be sure, hiring and firing was mixed among the six lenders, and some raised base pay or enacted special bonuses. Some also updated investors this week on investments in technology to automate jobs.
• Shareholders were big beneficiaries. After banks cleared the Federal Reserve’s mid-year stress tests, the group announced plans to boost stockholder payouts by $21.5 billion, an increase of 14%.

The tax savings have spurred the banks to record profit.

Trump Tax Cut Hands $32 Billion Windfall to America’s Top Banks

… builders continue to grapple with a shortage of lots and labor ….

Housing Starts Soared in December

For years, multifamily housing has attracted the attention of investors looking for high-value, low-risk properties. The multifamily sector continues to lead as the most in-favor asset class for high-net-worth investors, according to recent data from National Real Estate Investor (NREI). A growing number of Americans are renting, due to workforce, demographic and lifestyle shifts, and those trends seem likely to continue in coming years. With occupancy rates high and vacancy rates low, now is a good time to pursue multifamily properties.

Get Started In Multifamily Real Estate Investment In 2020

It’s fundamental.

The IMF concluded that in 2017 alone, the world spent $5.2tn subsidising fossil fuels. This has to stop.

The world of finance has a responsibility to the planet, the people and all other species living on it. In fact, it ought to be in every company and stakeholder’s interest to make sure the planet they live on will thrive. But history has not shown the corporate world’s willingness to hold themselves accountable. So it falls on us, the children, to do that. We call upon the world’s leaders to stop investing in the fossil fuel economy that is at the very heart of this planetary crisis. Instead, they should invest their money in existing sustainable technologies, research and in restoring nature. Short-term profit should not trump long-term stability of life.

At Davos we will tell world leaders to abandon the fossil fuel economy

News & Analysis, Jan. 10, 2020

Old lead pipes pushes replacement plan in New Jersey capital

Unfortunately, when people’s subjective sense of taste leads them to judge a welfare recipient for not spending their benefits appropriately, this can “confirm” a prevalent stereotype that welfare recipients are impulsive, lack self-control and are bad at money management even though data shows this tends to not be the case.

What you might see as a wasteful purchase could actually be rational given the constraints that are faced by people facing economic hardship. These include the relatively high cost of healthy food and lack of access to nutritious choices.

Should government assistance cover pet food or potato chips? It depends whom you ask

It’s a wonder a person this foolish was even able to pass insurance-broker-license exams.

Grand Bay Insurance Agent Receives 78 Month Sentence for Wire Fraud

A Chaos Communication Congress speaker reflects on whether using open-source hardware can solve trust problems in hardware.

People tend to think that chips cannot be modified once out of the factory, but that is not so. In many cases what we see as a single chip is actually several separate microcircuits in one package. An experienced adversary can use the same technology to put one more tiny piece of silicon into the very same package and connect this implant to existing contacts.

Open source is not a cure-all

To Make Sense Of Soleimani Assassination, Media Turn To Disgraced Iraq War General David Petraeus

Please note the absence of any mention of ending or even curbing carbon-fuel burning.

“If we seriously think we are crossing a new normal, of course insurance premiums are going to have to go up,” said Karl Mallon, chief executive officer of climate-adaptation consultancy Climate Risk. …

… “We spend too much on disaster relief and recovery and not enough on mitigation.”

… disaster resilience requires a focus on preparation and mitigation activities, including land-use planning, improving building infrastructure in high-risk areas and vegetation management.”

Deadly Australia Fires Spur Calls to Mitigate Disaster Risk

New anti-fraud technology offers immense potential for progress — and if not handled correctly, peril. The remarkable anti-fraud tools we use today were beyond imagination when I began my career 35 years ago. The future potential is even more exciting.

Predictive modeling, AI, facial recognition and Big Data are rapidly transforming the fraud fight in so many positive ways. But they also bring significant risks.

Tech right-sizing. In the race to cut costs, some insurers incorrectly think they can combat fraud almost entirely with technology, without SIUs. It is one thing to “right-size” with the proper balance of investigators and anti-fraud tech. The danger comes with blindly relying on tech, jettisoning too many SIU staff, then merely passing higher premiums onto consumers to offset rising fraud losses that insurers miss without a fully functioning SIU.

Any insurer that continues to simply pass fraud losses on to consumers will embolden the arsonists, crooked body shops or over-billing medical providers that insurers rail against. Insurers that let fraud losses slide on through without a firm challenge are enabling these criminals and inviting growing fraud losses. Insurers that engage in such practices are, in truth, no better than the fraudsters and scammers they rail against. Each steals from innocent consumers who pay the price for insurance fraud.

Reaching across the aisle: Uniting against insurance fraud

Deadline to Make Gas Explosion Claim in Massachusetts Extended to January 31

Typhoons in Japan – Hagibis and Faxai – caused the year’s biggest losses in terms of both overall economic losses and insured losses as well as bringing the country’s second consecutive year of record cyclone losses ….

Human Cost. About 9,000 people lost their lives in natural catastrophes in 2019 compared with 15,000 in 2018, which “confirms the overall trend towards lower numbers of victims thanks to better prevention measures.” On average, over the past 30 years, about 52,000 people annually lose their lives in natural catastrophes, Munich Re said.

Natural Catastrophes Cost $150B in 2019, with Insurers Paying $52B: Munich Re


The farcical scene of Juan Guaido attempting to break into Venezuela’s National Assembly as its members voted him out was just the latest chapter in an absurdly bungled coup attempt, and brings Trump’s policy to a dead end.

Fistfights and screaming matches broke out at Venezuela’s National Assembly on January 5, when the legislative body was scheduled to elect its leader. But the melee was not what the corporate US media has portrayed it as.

The fights weren’t between the Chavistas who support the Bolivarian Revolution and President Nicolás Maduro on one side and opposition members on the other, but rather between competing members of the opposition itself.

This might be the final episode of Juan Guaidó’s surreal Venezuela regime-change reality show

Up front, you should know that SFP, DKIM, and DMARC are not consistently employed on email servers. Different servers can use different versions too. Also, as for signing messages, the signatures are only as good as the chain or circle of trust. Someone can send you a signed message pretending to be someone you know and trust. You first have to know who sent the signature and then accept it. After that, someone sending a signed message pretending to be the one you trust will trigger a warning that the signature is not yet accepted or trusted by you. You can then contact the one you trust directly concerning the issue.

Email Spoofing 101: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

If it is a ransomware attack that has hit Las Vegas then the cybercriminals may be out of luck if they’re hoping that the city will pay up.

In July last year, Las Vegas’s mayor was a driving force behind a resolution from the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), agreeing to “stand united against paying ransoms in the event of an IT security breach.”

City of Las Vegas wakes up to a cyber attack


Ahmed Banafa, a cyber security expert and San Jose State University professor, said ransomware attacks have ramped up with the rise of crypto currency, making ransom payments tough to trace.

Another Cyber Attack Hits Contra Costa County

… SentinelLabs researchers revealed that at least some PowerTrick infections kicked off as a PowerShell task through a run-of-the-mill TrickBot infection, using a repurposed backconnect module called NewBCtest that can accept commands to execute.

The actors are also using other PowerShell utilities to accomplish various tasks – SentinelLabs noted they were frequently using letmein.ps1, a Powershell stager for the Metasploit open source exploitation framework.

PowerTrick backdoor used to target high-value businesses