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Facebook Fraud 2.0: Academic Study Exposes "Like Farms"





Six months ago the topic of click fraud at Facebook hit the headlines but was rapidly dismissed as the company's share price rose implying that the world is great and we should not worry. With Facebook increasingly becoming the advertising outlet of choice for many of the world's companies, MIT Technology Review reports on a study to dig deeper into just where the "likes" come from. As the authors note, recently, the number of likes of a Facebook page has become a measure of its popularity and profitability, and an underground market of services boosting page likes, aka "like farms," has emerged. While careful to avoid pointing the finger too aggressively, the findings show that one "like" is not like another as the use of "honeypot" pages to generate "likes" attracts 'users' (bots) that are significantly different from typical Facebook users (i.e. non-human money-spending users).

 
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Gateway Policies: ISIS, Obama And US Financial Boots-On-The-Ground





President Obama’s neo-Cold War is not about ideology or respect for borders. It is about money and global power. The current battle over control of gateway nations - strategic locations in which private firms can establish the equivalent of financial boots-on-the-ground - is being waged in the Middle East and Ukraine under the auspices of freedom and western capitalism (er, “democracy”). In these global gateways, private banks can infiltrate resource-rich locales fortified by political will, public aid and military support to garner lucrative market advantages. ISIS poses a threat to global gateway control that transcends any human casualties. That’s why Congress decided to authorize funds to fight ISIS despite the risk. The common thread of today’s global gateway nations appears to be oil.

 
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Let This Be A Warning To All Bears





Tonight's Kodiak Moment is brought to you courtesy of the NYPD and one protesting polar bear, which apparently did not get the memo that bears are, how should one say, not welcome on Wall Street...

 
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US Treasury Cracks Down On Tax Inversions





"Today, Treasury is taking action to reduce the tax benefits of — and when possible, stop — corporate tax inversions. This action will significantly diminish the ability of inverted companies to escape U.S. taxation.  For some companies considering mergers, today’s action will mean that inversions no longer make economic sense." And yet, to think: the US government would have spared itself so much jawboning effort and fake work if all the Treasury did was promise that the 10 largest shareholders of the "unpatriotic inversion offender" would get the "tea party" treatment by the IRS. Then watch as inversions end with a thud, never to be heard of again...

 
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Five Important Lessons Learned From The Scottish Referendum





Some British newspapers have declared that “the dream is over” for Scottish independence. That seems hardly likely, unless by “over,” the newspapers mean “over for the next few years.” Europe-wide, the drive for more regional independence and autonomy will only continue to grow as economies stagnate, and as elites from Brussels or Rome or Madrid continue to maintain that they know best. Eventually, the promises of the centralizers will fall on very deaf ears. Even without a majority vote for secession, the campaign for separation from the United Kingdom has already provided numerous insights into the future of secession movements and those who defend the status quo.

 
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The Illustrated Guide To Keynesian Vs Austrian Economics





There has been an unsettled debate among economists for a century now of whether government intervention is beneficial to an economy. The heart of this debate lies between Keynesian and Austrian economists (though there are other schools as well). In order to get a full understanding of the two schools of economic thought, the following infographic should help...

 
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"Smart Money" BTFATH At Most Furious Pace In Over A Year, 2Y Short-Squeeze Possible





Positioning among "smart money" participants in the markets continues to show major divergences. While large speculators bought S&P 500 contracts at their strongest weekely pace in more than a year - shifting to a net long position - they also increased the net short Russell 2000 position to its 'most short' in five years. Large speculators also bought crude oil after eleven consecutive weeks of selling. In the rates complex, hedge funds maintained their 10Y Treasury long exposure while large speculators sold 2-Y Treasuries at the fastest weekely pace in more than three years to the biggest net short position in five years. - leaving, as BofA warns, 2Y susceptible to a squeeze pull-back. This potential squeeze extends all the way to 5Y as repo rates indicate a massive shortage into month-end.

 
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The Geopolitical Situation In Europe





After the end of the cold war, the United States dominated world affairs for nearly twenty years. However, the situation of a unipolar world has changed since the financial crisis of 2008 to a now multipolar world that includes China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa. These powers are influencing and manipulating the conflict zones we have today to their advantage. By analysing and dissecting the issues concerning the major conflict zones on our world map, as well as illustrating the parties involved, this article will explain what political and strategic interests are at play and how the development in major hotspots shape the big picture. This will identify the geopolitical forces that affect the European continent and what future concerns and worries await us.

 
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The Federal Reserve Explains How Its Crystal Ball Works





The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has built a new crystal ball (technically a DSGE model) as part of its efforts to forecast the U.S. economy. In part 1 of a week-long series - to provide some background on the model, its use for policy analysis and forecasting, as well as its forecasting performance - they briefly discuss what DSGE models are and explain their usefulness as a forecasting tool.

 
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#OccupyAndOrFloodWallStreetForClimateChange Takes On NYSE TV Studio - Live Feed





It has been several years since the disjointed, confused, and extremely disorganized Occupy Wall Street movement made any headlines. Alas, in the interim, the career prospects of those who comprise its up prime age demographic have gone nowhere but down while inversely impacting the nominal free time of said cohort, which is why we were somewhat surprised it took as long as it did for the same individuals, best known for camping out in Zucotti Park (until it started snowing of course), to stage a daring comeback. Which they did today, following a weekend in which New York City was overrun with "The People's Climate March", protesting against climate change by... leaving behind them tons of non-biodegradable garbage. It is this same group that has once again made its way all the way down into the Financial district, and specifically in front of the TV studio formerly known as the NYSE.

 
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On The Breakdown Of Nations





“A nation becomes too big when it can no longer provide its citizens with the services they expect – defence, roads, post, health, coins, courts and the like – without amassing such complex institutions and bureaucracies that they actually end up preventing the very ends they are intending to achieve, a phenomenon that is now commonplace in the modern industrialized world." The answer to the ‘too big’ problem lies not in ever greater union, but in division.

 
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Ukraine Introduces Capital Controls





  • FX payments on imports also prohibited if customs registration of goods takes more than 180 days
  • Foreign investors forbidden to receive investment return from selling Ukraine securities beyond stock exchange, except govt bonds
  • Foreign investors forbidden to receive dividend return on Ukrainian shares not traded in stock exchanges
  • Central bank also forbids FX transactions using individual FX licenses, except placing money by cos. on accounts in foreign banks
 
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Death-Crossed Russell Suffers Biggest 2-Day Plunge In 5 Months





Death crosses; Hindenburg Omens; PBOC, BOJ, and ECB hinted at removing the punchbowl; crappy US housing data; and a Chinese IPO takeout hangover weighed on stocks with Russell 2000 the biggest loser (suffering its biggest high-to-low drop from Friday in over 5 months). The Dow is the only index holding post-FOMC gains (Russell down over 2%). Homebuilders are now down 4% from last week's FOMC statement, post-FOMC high-flyer financials have tumbled red (catching down to credit), and only safe-haven healthcare is holding any gains post-FOMC (Biotech -3%). Treasury yields fell led by the short-end (3Y -3.5bps, 10Y -2bps) back under FOMC levels. The USD recovered European session losses to end almost unchanged as considerable AUD and CAD weakness outweighed GBP strength. Despite being clubbed like a baby seal in Asia, Silver rebounded through the day to end -0.3%, gold unch, oil down, and copper -1.6% as China stimulus hopes faded. S&P 500 lost 2,000; Russell is down 2.6% year-to-date (-6.8% from July highs); VIX jumped most in 2 months to ~14. BABA pinned at $90, HLF smashed -10%.

 
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Martin Armstrong Fears "Pension Funds Will Be Taken To Fund Infrastructure"





Behold Obama’s dream project – a global infrastructure fund. This idea was floated and endorsed at The G-20 in Cairns this weekend. “We have agreed to come away from government-financed growth measures to more private investment,” said Australia’s Finance Minister Joe Hockey. These are being called Public Private Partnerships (PPP), and will be extremely critical in the future for here lies the final destruction of the pension funds precisely as Japan bankrupted the Japanese Postal Saving Fund using that private money for political purposes to try to stimulate the economy, which failed. With PPP, public funds will be sold to the public as being a highly professional long-term investment that will further shrink economic growth and liquidity. They cannot possibly work.

 
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They Do Ring A Bell At The Top: Alibaba Proves Wall Street Is Off Its Rocker





So with regards to BABA’s $230 billion market cap at week’s end, you can say this: None dare call it price discovery! What it shows is that Wall Street is well and truly off it rocker. The Chinese swindlers behind BABA didn’t even have to tap their home market. These preposterously over-valued shares were sold overwhelmingly to Wall Street - to the gamblers, speculators and robo-traders that have occupied what was once a reasonably honest capital market. So why did Wall Street capitalize an opaque mass merchant operating in a precarious economy at 27X sales?  The answer is that Wall Street is a momentum driven casino that is now over-valuing everything that moves and all that stands still. That’s the ultimate evil of monetary central planning. Having destroyed honest price discovery in the financial markets, the Fed now “accommodates” the speculators one meeting at a time - in deathly fear of a hissy fit.

 
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