Corporation Building Spy-Grid In China Also Creating Drivers Licenses In The US

Authored by Daniel Taylor via ActivistPost.com,

Company that helps manufacture U.S. citizens drivers licenses brags of “building and managing databases of entire populations” across the globe.

Big Tech has gathered unprecedented amounts of personal data from millions of people. At the same time, a system of total surveillance has been constructed: Facial recognition, biometric scanning, cell phone surveillance and more have amassed a huge amount of information.

We see the stories about the growing surveillance state, but we don’t hear about the gigantic multinational corporation that is helping to build the physical infrastructure supporting it.

Idemia (formerly Morpho), is a billion dollar multinational corporation. It is responsible for building a significant portion of the world’s biometric surveillance and security systems, operating in about 70 countries. Some American clients of the company include the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the FBI.

The company website says that Morpho has been “…building and managing databases of entire populations…” for many years.

From the company site:

Morpho has been building and managing databases of entire populations for governments, law enforcement agencies and other government bodies around the world, whether for national ID, health cards, bank cards or even driver license programs.

In the United States, Idemia is involved in the making of state issued drivers licenses in 42 states.

The company is now pushing digital license trials in the U.S. Delaware and Iowa are among five states involved in the trials this year. With the mobile license, law enforcement will be able to wirelessly “ping” a drivers smartphone for their license. The move is part of a wider trend toward cashless payment.

Idemia is assisting China and India with building surveillance and ID systems, trafficking in huge amounts of biometric data across the world.

In China, Idemia has helped build the massive biometric scanning and surveillance system that is used to keep Chinese citizens under a tyrannical boot.

The company has provided biometric payment and authentication systems to the country.

The company website says:

“With a sales office in Hong Kong, Morpho offers services and solutions in the field of digital identity and smart transactions. The world leader in multibiometric identification technologies, Morpho supplies biometric identification systems to Chinese police forces and government immigration agencies.

Morpho has also provided facial recognition systems to police agencies in Shanghai, Tianjin, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Jiangxi, Guangzhou and Wenzhou.”

In India, the controversial Aadhaar national ID card system is also enjoying the support of Idemia through Safran Identity & Security, now part of Idemia. The company states that it is “in charge of all technological aspects of Aadhaar”.

Morpho is one of the companies chosen to take part in an unprecedented program called Aadhaar to count everyone residing in India and then assign each person a unique identification number. Morpho is in charge of all technological aspects of Aadhaar.

Several court cases have gone to India’s supreme court on grounds of privacy violations from Aadhaar. The ID system has had serious security breaches, with access to a billion identities being sold for less than $10 through WhatsApp.

The social credit trap

One of the court filings (Mathew Thomas vs Union of India) details the rise of China’s social credit system, comparing the Indian Aadhaar initiative to the Chinese program.

The Chinese government initially permitted corporations to aggregate personal data of their customers and built algorithms that could then rate the worth of these customers. As such applications began to get integrated and large technology companies began to dominate every aspect of citizen lives, the ‘Social Credit Rating Systems’ that these companies ran became all the more pervasive.

Once this system had taken hold of the entire country, the State Council of the Central Government in China released an Outline of the Social Credit System Construction Plan(2014-2020), which specifies that such Social Credit Rating Systems would be integrated into their governance by 2020. This represents the integration of such infrastructure into the central architecture of the State, and would ensure a devastating amount of State control over its citizens.

A disturbingly similar pattern is being followed in the United States. Big Tech (Google, Apple, Facebook) has already gathered most of our personal data. It has also absorbed around 90% of Internet traffic, and is now openly allying with communist Chinese policies.

Facebook has begun rating users “trustworthiness” on the platform. At the same time, other major tech companies like Apple are removing content at the request of the Chinese government.

Between Idemia issuing digital drivers licenses to U.S. citizens and Big Tech’s data collection, we are inches away from a fully integrated national ID system and an accompanying social credit score.

At the moment, the United States does not have a government-backed program like the Chinese. However, if gone unchecked, a de facto social credit system could still take hold due to the pervasiveness of big tech influence.

Idemia is building the infrastructure of the massive world-wide biometric surveillance grid. Demand for “convenience” with wireless, cardless, cashless payment and shopping is driving us right into their hands.

“It Was Stupid Of Me” – ‘Mrs.Watanabe’ Battered By Turkey’s Meltdown

It was not just Barclays bankers that took on the chin from Turkey’s turmoil, Japan’s infamous ‘mom-and-pop’ investors who snapped up high-yielding lira-denominated bonds “because of the yield” have been destroyed.

Thanks to the ever-present foot of the Bank of Japan on the throat of yields in Japan, small investors “reached for yield” around the world in an effort to ‘safely’ invest their hard-earned yen for a ‘decent’ return.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Individuals have snapped up so-called Uridashi, high-yielding bonds marketed to households that are frequently denominated in foreign currencies like the lira, Brazilian real and South African rand. These aren’t highly leveraged instruments, but usually regular bonds. However, they offer juicy returns thanks to elevated interest rates in emerging markets.

The appeal is obvious after years of rock-bottom rates. A recent online offer from Rakuten Securities touted a 23.1% yield on lira debt issued by the European Investment Bank. That echoes the 10-year yield on Turkish government bonds of 20.9%, and is far above the yields available on benchmark Japanese government debt.

That army of punters often dubbed “Mrs. Watanabe,” after the stereotypical Japanese homemaker, piled $7.6 billion worth into Turkey… and that has become a bloodbath of paper (or realized losses) for those JPY-based investors as bond prices collapsed along with the Lira relative to the yen…

Retail traders using margin made roughly 1.45 trillion yen ($13.1 billion) of Turkish lira-yen trades in July, according to Financial Futures Association of Japan data. That sum is less than 1% of yen-dollar trading volumes, but has more than tripled in a year. But as The Wall Street Journal reports, many of those involved in these lucrative-for-your-broker trades, have lost fortunes.

Yasuyuki Tokue, a 49-year-old legal professional who lives near Osaka, said he bought lira bonds with a face value of 7.5 million yen ($67,500) between 2015 and 2017.

“I was attracted by the high interest rate,” Mr. Tokue said. However, he said he ended up losing 1.2 million yen when he sold some bonds back to his broker in April, and his outstanding holdings have fallen in value.

”I made a mistake,” in failing to hedge currency risk, Mr. Tokue said.

We suspect few of them realized (or cared) that there is no market for trading Uridashi, brokers can buy them back at face value in the local currency for a fee, and sell them back to the underwriter or to another investor. In Mr. Tokue’s case, he said he paid fees equal to between 3.2% and 8% of the total on the different bonds he sold.

Another investor in Yokohama said he had lost about 300,000 yen on lira bonds bought in 2012, or about 65% of his original outlay including commissions.

“I’ve learned a lesson,” said this investor, who declined to be named. “It was stupid of me to invest in a single emerging-market bond.”

Of course, when all else is lost, there’s always hope… Mr. Tokue said the damage to his overall portfolio wasn’t that serious and his remaining position could regain some value.

“You never know – the lira may not be that cheap in the distant future,” he said.

We wonder if Mr.Tokue would be interested in some Tesla bonds, we here they are offering great yield advantage and upside potential.

How A Free Market Inevitably Produces Dictatorship

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Who rules the land?

A deeper and truer version of this question is: What rules the land? Is it the money (the aristocracy), or is it the people (the public, the residents on that land)? (For the interest of paleoconservatives, the issue of residents’ citizenship will come later here, as “immigrants” instead of as “citizenship”; but our basic focus is not ethnicity/nationality; it’s class: the money, versus the voters; not the natives, versus the foreigners.)

In a democracy, the public rule — the people do — and it’s on authentically a one-person-one-vote basis, and anyone who is a resident in that land can easily vote, just like anyone else who lives there, because only the residents there, during the specific time-period of the voting, are the ultimate decision-makers, over that land, and over its laws. This is what a democracy is: it’s one-person-one-vote, and, in the political sense, it’s total equality-of-rights and total equality-of-obligations — real and total equality-by-law: equal rights, and equal obligations, for all residents. A democracy applies the same requirements to everyone.

This does not mean that individuals are equal in their abilities and in their needs, and so it’s not a statement about the economy; it is purely a statement about the government — a political question. The economy is a separate matter, though it’s highly dependent upon the government — the laws that are in place and enforced. Many people confuse these two fields, and mistakenly think that the economy is basic to the government.

So: the economy is dependent upon the government; the government determines the economy, which, in any land, is highly dependent upon the laws that are in place and that are enforced — the government.

That’s only “natural persons” who control a democracy — no collectives of any type, corporate or otherwise, can vote, because, if it were otherwise, it would be an easy way to establish a dictatorship there: persons with the financial means could create any number of “artificial persons” who could vote, or could buy votes (such as by purchasing news-media to slant ‘reality’ selling politicians and political positions to the voters), and this money could produce a country controlled more by dollars, than by owners (i.e., than by actual persons, voters — not by artificial “persons” such as the wealth-collections that are known as corporations). If wealth-collections could vote, that would invite control over the land to be by wealth (the number of dollars) instead of by actual residents (the number of persons). It could even produce control by foreign wealth. Foreigners could end up controlling the country if the number of dollars is a bigger determinant of who rules than is the number of voters.

Obviously, no democracy will allow foreigners to control the land. Imperialism is inconsistent with democracy; any empire is dictatorial, by its very nature. It entails dictatorship over the residents in its colonies, even if not necessarily over the residents in the imperial land that had conquered the colonial area.

Empire is consistent with a free market, but it is inconsistent with democracy. No empire is democratic, because each colony is ruled by non-residents. (If the colony were ruled by its residents, it wouldn’t be a colony, and there wouldn’t be an empire.)

A federation is not an empire. The difference between them is that, whereas in a federation, the right of self-determination of peoples takes precedence over the federation’s interest in maintaining the status-quo; in an empire, there is no such right — an empire is a dictatorship.

The propaganda for a free market is funded very heavily by billionaires such as the Koch brothers and George Soros, because control over countries naturally devolves into control by wealth, instead of into control by people (and certainly not by residents), if a free-market economy exists there. Billionaires do whatever increases their power; and, beyond around $100,000-per-year of income, any additional wealth buys no additional happiness or satisfaction, but only additional status, which, for individuals who are in such brackets, is derived from increases in their power, because, at that stage of wealth, money itself is no longer an object, only status is, and additional status can be derived only from additional power. All of the empirical findings in the social sciences are consistent with this; and, whereas the income-point in most of those studies, beyond which additional dollars produce no additional happiness for the owner, has been $75,000 per year, there has been inflation since those studies were performed, and one might more accurately say today that $100,000-per-year is the income-point beyond which only status is increased by additional income; happiness or satisfaction is not increased by income above that point. This is a statement about nature; it is the reality in which any market — free or otherwise — exists. It is “human nature,” and that’s basic to all of the social sciences which pertain to humans, including political science, and economics.

In economic theory, the phrase that has been traditionally used to refer to this reality, even before recent empirical studies showed the reality to be this way, was “the declining marginal utility of money.” Beyond around $100,000/year, additional “bucks” are for status, not for happiness. Anyone who has no addiction to status, doesn’t care about having more money coming in beyond that amount. Beyond that amount, the additional marginal utility of each dollar received is actually zero. The wealth-addict might cravemore, but it won’t do him-or-her any actual good; it won’t make the person happier. That’s the reality, now proven in numerous empirical studies. 

This reality has major political consequences. One is that a country with highly concentrated wealth (the bottom 50% own almost nothing) is serving the addictions of a few, not the needs of the many — and therefore concentrated wealth cannot be sustained in a democracy, but only in a dictatorship: a dictatorship of wealth, where what determines power isn’t the voters but the dollars.

An important philosophical champion of free markets is the libertarian philosopher Hans-Hermann Hoppe. In 2001, Hoppe published his DEMOCRACY: The God that Failed, which was considered a libertarian masterpiece. Hoppe unapologetically argued there that libertarianism and conservatism are one and the same — and that he wanted it, passionately: he hated democracy. Unlike many libertarians, who falsely allege that democracy is impossible without there first being libertarianism (a free market), Hoppe acknowledged and argued for the mutual inconsistency between libertarianism and democracy. Although I don’t share his preference for a rule by the wealth instead of a rule by the residents, and thus he is an ideological opponent — the opposite of a supporter of my own position, as it’s being set forth here (and far more briefly than his tome) — I consider him to be the fullest and most internally consistent libertarian philosopher, and perhaps the most significant libertarian political philosopher in this Century, thus far. Whereas lots of people call themselves “libertarian,” he actually is — fully — that. Of course, some libertarians don’t agree with Hoppe’s view; but, on 30 August 2011, Michael Lind at salon.com headlined “Why Libertarians Apologize for Autocracy: The experience of every democratic nation-state proves that libertarianism is incompatible with democracy,” and he empirically found that Hoppe was correct about this incompatibility.

Hoppe argues not only for an aristocracy, but for a hereditary one, and he even opposes immigration; so, if he were a democrat, at all, then he’d be excluding immigrants from voting. But he’s not even that much of a democrat. And he especially approves of hereditary monarchy. His reason for that preference is traditional libertarianism, which favors the private over the public: “Hereditary monarchies represent the historical example of privately owned governments, and democratic republics that of publicly owned governments.” Libertarianism opposes public ownership, favors private.

Like any philosopher, Hoppe has ignored crucial issues in order to sell his case (after all, it’s a philosophical, not a scientific, case; it is ideological propaganda alleging that libertarianism is good — instead of being anything scientific); and the most interesting thing that he has avoided discussing in it is anti-trust, anti-monopoly, anti-oligopoly — the issues about concentration of power. He ignores those issues. For example, whenever he uses the term “monopoly,” he is referring solely to “government,” never to the economy (he assumes that in a free market there can’t be any oligopolies or monopolies). He is, after all, a crank (a free-market political theorist and therefore someone who implicitly denies that government is basic to an economy, and who assumes the converse, that the government is instead built upon the economy), though he’s an erudite one and thus acceptable to his fellow-scholars. Erudition doesn’t mean, nor necessarily include, being scientific. And the scientific reality is that the political issue isn’t ‘the government’s monopoly on power’, but instead it’s simply any concentrations of power — both monopolies and oligopolies — which unequalize both rights and obligations in the society, such that whereas a few people (the aristocracy) have many rights and few (if any) obligations, most people (the public) have few rights and many obligations. The latter type of society is called a “dictatorship.” The more that it exists, the more that it comes to exist — and, consequently, the less that there can exist democracy.

The basic issue in political science is not “freedom” versus “slavery” (two concepts in economics); it is “democracy” versus “dictatorship” (two concepts in politics).

Power precedes the economy; it directs the economy, if and where an economy even exists.

Democracy is natural where wealth is nearly-evenly distributed. Dictatorship is natural where wealth is extremely-unevenly distributed. The latter is true because no nation can maintain a democracy if the wealth is highly unequal. If the wealth is highly equal, then the possibility for democracy to emerge is substantial. But if the wealth is highly unequal, then the possibility for democracy even to exist to any extent, is low. All of the extremely wealthy people would have to be honest in order for them to tolerate rule by the majority. Otherwise, they’d simply be using their news-media to deceive instead of to inform the public: that’s what the ‘news’-people would be paid to do, cover-up real problems, and manufacture ‘reality’ — manipulate the public, instead of inform the public. If the distribution of wealth is highly unequal, the ‘news’people will be paid to deceive the public, instead of to inform the public. This (and it includes the ‘charitable’ foundations) is why the majority of the public have come to believe the profoudly false assertion that “having a rich class is a benefit” to the public. They’ve been deceived.

Most of the world is dictatorial. That’s because, almost everywhere, wealth, and even income, is extremely unevenly distributed. The laws and their enforcement determine the distribution of wealth and of income. The natural tendency is toward dictatorship, because a free market produces increased economic concentration. Democracy is not natural. Dictatorship is natural. What’s natural for a body-politic is to fulfill addictions, not to fulfill needs. 

As inequality of wealth increases, corruption also increases. Empirical studies find that successful people tend to be bad: it’s natural for the scum and not the cream to rise to the top in organizations. So, the wealthier a person is, the worse the person tends to be. And it’s not just that, but success itself tends to make a person worse than the person was before the success. So, it’s natural that at the very top, tend to be the very worst people. Good government is not natural; bad government is natural. Good government is unnatural.

Corruption is rule by deceit. An example of how that works at the federal-government level is here. An example of that in more detail is here. Another such detailed example, but at the state-or-local government level, is here. And an example of it within academia, and at the federal regulatory agencies, is here. So, in a country that has extreme wealth-inequality, the way in which the public’s ‘consent’, to the billionaires’ rule, is manufactured, is by means of deceit — a rot that’s throughout the entire body-politic and society. This is how an extreme inequality of wealth is produced. It cannot be done honestly. Transparency International has reported that corruption and “social exclusion” or bigotry tend to go together, but has ignored the possible relationship between corruption and the economic distribution of either wealth or income. Perhaps the billionaires who fund TI don’t want such correlations to be pointed out, if they exist; so TI doesn’t investigate this. 

The reason why a free market inevitably increases dictatorship, is that dictatorship is natural, just as a free market itself is natural, and power pre-exists everywhere to upset and overturn any equality that might exist in either sphere. Power is natural. No economy exists but that power pre-exists. The political sphere pre-exists the economic sphere. The basic reality, in any society, is power.

Thus, the question has always been: What rules? Is it the wealth? Or is it the people? The natural condition is for wealth to rule, because money (especially all excess money, all income above $100,000 per year, and certainly all income above $1,000,000 per year — what can truthfully be called 100% political money, because it can be ‘given away’ with no real loss to the current owner) is power. Although wealth isn’t the only source of power, it is a major source of power. (It can even be the major source of power.) And power rules everywhere. By definition, power rules in politics; and, by nature, the wealthy tend to rule not only in the economy, but also in the government. 

That’s what’s natural. Democracy isn’t natural, but a free market, and an aristocratic government, are both natural. And the political reality determines the economic reality.

PS: You have just read here an online book. This article, including all of its sources that are linked to, and the sources that are linked to in those sources, constitute more than an ordinary book. The complete case and its documentation are fully presented in it. To anyone who finds this book valuable, I would recommend, as follow-up, a book of the traditional sort: Marjorie Kelly’s masterpiece, The Divine Right of Capital.

Rand Slumps As Trump Questions “South Africa Land Expropriations” From White Farmers

Just days after the first ‘Zimbabwe-fication’ actions of South African President Ramaphosa’s plan to confiscate white farmers’ land with no compensation and hand them to the black population begins, President Trump – seemingly following a story by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson – has asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations” raising concerns that the U.S. might target South Africa with possible sanctions next.

The reaction was swift in the Rand…

Here is the Tucker Carlson segment that appears to have triggered President Trump.

*  *  *

By way of background, we have written extensively on South Africa’s ‘Zimbabwe-fication’ plans, most recently here.

South Africa’s white farmers have been desperately trying to sell their lands at record pace ahead of planned government land seizures, according to a local farmer’s union. However, there are no buyers.

As Ryan Martinez writes for PlanertFreeWill.com, tensions among the country’s white farming community have been rising since the election of Cyril Ramaphosa who assumed office earlier this year and committed his African National Congress (ANC) to land expropriation.

ANC chairman Gwede Mantashe sparked panic last week when he said:

“You shouldn’t own more than 25,000 acres of land. Therefore, if you own more it should be taken without compensation.”

“People who are privileged never give away privilege as a matter of a gift,” he continued.  “And that is why we say, to give you the tools, revisit the constitution so that you have a legal tool to do it.”

Mantashe comments were condemned by both white and black farmers, with unions predicting such a move would lead to job losses and a situation in which South Africa may no longer be able to feed itself.

Omri van Zyl, head of the Agri SA union, which represents mainly white commercial farmers, said:

“The mood among our members is very solemn. They are confused about the lack of any apparent strategy from the government and many are panicking.

So many farms are up for sale, more than we’ve ever had, but no one is buying.”

“Why would you buy a farm to know the government’s going to take it?”

The National African Farmers’ Union (Nafu), which represents the country’s black farmers, said the scheme would lead to job losses.

Nafu president Motsepe Matlala said:

“From a practical and economical point of view it will not work.”

“Land will be a central issue in the looming 2019 election year, and rhetoric is always easier than transformative action.”

AfriForum, an influential lobby group, recently warned the government its plans would be “catastrophic”.  Ian Cameron, the group’s spokesman, said: “We’re really heading for a state of anarchy if something doesn’t change drastically.”

Local newspaper City Press is reporting that two game farms in the northern province of Limpopo were the first to be targeted for unilateral seizure after negotiations with the owners to purchase the properties stalled.

Analysts warn the move could undermine property rights and deter investment.

In Zimbabwe, violent land seizures which were authorized by Robert Mugabe in the 1990s which sent the country into a spiral of decline from which it has never recovered.

“Markets are sensitive to anything perceived to be ‘Zimbabwe-fication’ on the land-reform front,” market analyst Henrik Gullberg noted.

Agri SA states 20% of South Africa’s farms produce 80% of the food that feeds millions of people in southern Africa, and many of those properties would be affected by a 25,000-acre cap.

Are ‘Petroyuan’ Futures Still A “High-Risk Endeavor”?

Authored by Irina Slav via Oilprice.com,

When the long-awaited yuan-denominated oil futures launched earlier this year, opinions were split: one camp argued with passion that the days of the petrodollar were numbered, its demise a certainty. The other camp argued with just as much passion the yuan has yet to catch up with the dollar as an international currency, and the Chinese futures had basically as much of a chance as a snowflake in Hell.

Now, six months later, opinions remain split, but now the two camps have some facts and figures in their arsenal. For example, a figure for the pro-petroyuan camp was the record surge in trading volume in June, to 137.5 million tons of crude for delivery in September. This translates into 137,503 lots, compared to a combined 2.6 million lots for Brent and WTI together, though, so the yuan contract still has a way to go to catch up.

[ZH: the following chart shows absolute contract volume diff – not straight comparison of actual crude volume]

The anti-petroyuan camp, however, seems to have a bit more going for it after six months of trade. Bloomberg cites traders as saying that the exchange rate of the yuan coupled with storage costs make the Chinese oil contract still a high-risk endeavor.

The yuan has been falling in recent months on the back of slowing economic growth and the tariff spat with the United States. There is a lot of space for surprises, however, and unpredictability is not something low-risk traders like, so exchange rates are one thing that could put them off the yuan contract.

Storage costs in China are another problem. They are much higher than elsewhere: US$0.95 per barrel per month in the Shanghai International Energy Exchange compared with US$0.05 per barrel per month at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, Bloomberg reports. The reason for the higher cost is limited storage capacity availability and the requirement that the cargo be stored at a specific storage facility rather than at any available.

So, in light of these unpleasant facts, what does the yuan-denominated futures contract have going for them?

Well, apparently, they could make sellers richer than if they choose to trade Middle East grades. The yuan contract last week traded at a considerable premium to all other oil futures, with the premium to the Middle East benchmark at US$3.35 per barrel.

That makes a profit of US$6.7 million for a cargo, according to Bloomberg calculations – certainly not a small sum. But is it worth all the risks?

Perhaps it is and perhaps it isn’t, but it looks like it is still too early to say. The seriousness of the risks, after all, is relative. This was evidenced in the record-high trading interest in yuan futures in early June that some observers, quoted by S&P Global Platts, attributed to the heightened price volatility in the Brent and WTI benchmarks. On the other hand, storage costs are a fixed problem that is not about to go away. It’s a risk that traders have probably already learned to factor into their calculations. Exchange rates are another cesspool of volatility, but volatility is a double-edged sword. Economic data from China may still surprise positively as it has before, despite the tariffs.

Ultimately, however, the question of whether the petrodollar will be replaced by the petroyuan is moot. The reason for this is simple: the dollar is the international reserve currency because most oil is traded in dollars, says international relations professor and China expert Douglas Bulloch. It is the international reserve currency because of the size and nature of the U.S. economy. Therefore, the only way for China to succeed in having its currency stand a fighting chance against the greenback is to continue opening up its economy. Oil trading is only part of that.