GUALFIN, ARGENTINA – Remember that property we bought in Virginia?
The agent had asked that we send a down payment and promised to send wiring details.
But when the details arrived, there was something fishy about them.
“Why would a real estate agent in Virginia ask for money to be wired to a bank in New Guinea?” asked our alert assistant.
More on that… in one minute.
The poor French!
They, too, have been bamboozled by democracy.
France, like the U.S., is saddled with a corrupt system. The few use politics to take advantage of the many. And the whole economy groans and creaks under the weight of it.
We lived in France for 18 years. It is a lovely place to live but a hard place to work.
The cronies, world improvers, and vote-buyers have strangled the economy in costly rules and regulations.
Employers are reluctant to take on new employees. Startup businesses die before they are able to sort out the paperwork. Entrepreneurs flee to London.
Desperate for a change, the voters rejected the mainstream parties yesterday, choosing instead two “outsiders” – the leader of the anti-European Union and anti-immigration National Front party, Marine Le Pen… and 39-year-old former investment banker Emmanuel Macron, who recently set up his own party.
But look more closely. The outsiders are frauds.
Le Pen is essentially a flag-waving socialist. And Macron is the quintessential French insider, a graduate of France’s school for elite meddlers, l’École Nationale d’Administration, and a former economics minister under socialist President François Hollande.
Most likely, Macron will win the runoff election. His claptrap is more soothing… and more acceptable to more voters. A Le Pen victory, on the other hand, would give rise to a Trump-like hysteria.
The media, the universities, the cronies… the whole establishment would whine and kvetch. But in the end, it probably would make little difference.
Ms. Le Pen would follow Mr. Trump’s lead. She would make a lot of noise about “change” and switch some of the old insiders for her own insiders, but ultimately, she would keep the system intact.
Petty and Grand Larceny
Meanwhile… back to getting hacked…
“These guys troll the internet like the NSA,” our assistant, Margaret, explained.
“When they see a word pattern such as ‘send bank details… and I’ll wire the money,’ they send phony instructions.
“A lot of times, you’re in a hurry, you don’t even notice…
“But I knew something was wrong, so I called the real estate agent in Virginia. I said I just wanted to be sure those wiring details were right. He said he hadn’t sent any details yet… so I turned it over to the police.”
Larceny is our subject for today… both grand and petty… in France as in America. You are the protagonist of this story. Crooks, small time and big time, are our antagonists.
This was a large amount we were supposed to send to the real estate agent.
“Most of the time, these guys go after little amounts,” our savvy assistant continued.
“They take 90 cents out of your account each month. You don’t even notice. And even if you do notice, it’s barely worth your time to stop it. So they do that on thousands of accounts. It adds up.”
Margaret was describing how petty larceny can be scaled into grand larceny. It is the secret to much of what makes modern crime and modern government work. Little by little… and then by a lot… you are robbed.
Right now, France faces a major election. It is not a question of whether the voters are robbed, but by whom.
In the U.S., Congress faces a major budget challenge. It is bumping into a debt ceiling. And the federal government is running out of money.
Meanwhile – hold on to your hats – President Trump promises to announce a major tax overhaul this week.
It would be easy to reform the tax system, at least theoretically. You would just throw out the current tax code – all 70,000 pages of it.
In its place, you would provide a form the size of a postcard.
“A: How much money did you take in last year?” it would ask.
“B: How much did you spend to get it?”
“C: Subtract B from A and send us 10% of it.”
Immediately, the economy would get a real boost… not a phony-baloney stimulus.
People would stop investing to get tax credits and tax deductions; they’d be able to focus on making money. All the silly “health care” and “education” accounts would disappear.
Deductions – except for the actual cost of income generation – would cease. People would have more money to spend and they’d be able to spend it more wisely.
Who could improve on that?
But that’s not going to happen. Remember, government is always a conspiracy of the few against the many. Tax fiddling is a major tool in the conspiracy toolbox. They’re not going to give it up.
Think of all the law firms and accountants who would howl in protest!
…and all the special interests that would lose their loopholes hidden deep in the tax code…
…and all the Deep State insiders who are funded either by tax loopholes or tax collections.
Nope. Instead, the Trump team will propose the usual mixture of piffle, smokescreen, and crony payoffs.
The Goldman boys have such a strong grip on this administration that we imagine it will include some lucre for Wall Street.
We’ll wait to see.
But we’re confident that the system – on both sides of the Atlantic – will remain intact.
Hack, hack, hack… We get hacked day and night.
A nickel here. A dime there. A tax on employees here. A tax credit for hiring employees there. A cure for drug addiction here. A subsidy for drug makers there. A program to improve health care here. A bomb there.
A trillion for this… a trillion for that…
…until the whole thing blows up.
BY JUSTIN SPITTLER, EDITOR, CASEY DAILY DISPATCH
In November, five U.S. states voted to legalize marijuana outright. As a result, 29 states and Washington, D.C., now allow you to use marijuana either recreationally or for medical purposes.
It’s now only a matter of time before the rest of the country follows suit…
After all, 60% of Americans already think that the federal government should legalize marijuana outright. That’s up from 25% in 1995.
And more than 90% of respondents in a recent study by Quinnipiac University think medical marijuana should be legal at the national level.
In other words, most people no longer see marijuana as a street drug. They see it as a plant that can help people.
As a result, the marijuana business is booming…
It’s already a $7 billion market.
By 2020, Bank of America Merrill Lynch says it could be a $35 billion market.
Investment bank the Cowen Group projects the market will be worth $50 billion a decade from now.
Some analysts think the industry could eventually generate as much as $200 billion in sales every year.
In short, the marijuana industry is getting ready to explode.
Money is already pouring into marijuana stocks…
These four small Canadian marijuana stocks are all up at least 270% over the past year. Two of them have soared by more than 400%.
That’s a huge move for such a short period of time. And remember, the marijuana industry will only go up from here.
— Justin Spittler
French Markets Just Hit a Nine-Year High
As Bill mentioned, the pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron is favored to be the next French president. Here’s how the French markets reacted.
Here’s How to Vanish With $1 Million
If you were forced to flee your home, how would you transport your life savings? Cash? Gold? Our colleague Greg Wilson has a better idea.
I have been reading his updates about his farm in Argentina and I thought he should consider looking to Permaculture as a solution to developing a self-sufficient operation. Look up Geoff Lawton and others on the internet regarding the topic.
– J. Kolb
Like Bill I also can’t fault the idea of Timberland as an investment. Environmentally friendly, renewable, and a most utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing resource.
On that premise I made an investment into one of the two main UK forestry funds available to me several years ago. Incredibly, both funds have had calamitous returns over the last 5 years, losing over 90%. So my message is – buyer beware. Money doesn’t always grow on trees.
– A. Vivian
Meanwhile, one reader writes in with a strong reaction to last Friday’s Diary, “Fed Will Blink.”
The Fed is filled with criminals. All you need to do is start talking straighter and your peeps will listen. I think you know the ‘real drill’ that’s in the process right now. Communicate that!
People need to get their collective act together and they need to do it yesterday!
– S. Godar
In Case You Missed It…
Our colleague Teeka Tiwari has made it his mission to study the booming cryptocurrency market. He’s traveled thousands of miles and met with high-level industry insiders.
And all of his research points to one conclusion: Cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
He recently released a brief presentation to share his findings with new crypto investors. You can watch it for yourself here.