Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weeding Out the Charlatans- The Sunday Collage

My father invented the crouton and my mother is a belly dancer. Very. Weird. More on that in a minute...

In the early 90's, I was one of the first guys on my block to buy a computer. I am not proud of how I did that. I traded a 1972 Cadillac Eldorado convertible with a 500 motor for 3500 bucks to buy that computer. I have had to get ok with that knuckleheaded move for 20 years or so. Back in those days, there were no "browsers." You loaded every address by hand before the Netscape browser landed. When the first browser became available, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

The point to all of this- is that computers- place the world at your fingertips. An incredible amount of information, truthful and untruthful, can be found on a computer screen. Sometimes it is difficult to separate the truth from bullshit.

There are a few things that I am very good at. (1) Gambling in various forms which includes buying and selling (short) stocks and options. (2) I am a pretty fair judge of personal character and in so doing- I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. I really believe that  most people are good people or at worst, simply misunderstood. (3) I am also very adept at spotting self absorbed people, liars, and charlatans. Fakes. I think my instincts for that came about as a result of listening to thousands upon thousands of liars for 25 years- some very good at the art. In fact, lying is so prevalent in our society that I believe that deceiving people became an epidemic long ago- probably in the 60's. Lying and dishonesty have become the American way of life. I do not think I am overstating this, in fact, that's why I recently changed subtitles on this blog. One caveat here- just because I've identified someone as a liar or most likely dishonest- does not mean that I will dislike them. (please see 2 above) I have grown old with dishonesty, I'm ok with it, and I no longer take it personally. However, I do perform due diligence on questionable statements that are important to me.

The other day I had a reader give me a link to a website run by a man named Mike Stathis. According to that website, Mike Stathis is a genius. He has accurately predicted every financial turn and whim since 2007. He has written many books and one of them is so good that it was actually "banned." Why would anyone ban a book written by a modern day Nostradamus? Who can ban the truth? I find all that very hard to believe but that's what his website says.

I toured Stathis' website and I began to look for credentials. Wiki no longer contains biographic material- in fact- the current wiki entry for Stathis reads like an ad written by Stathis himself which is quite possible to do given wiki's rules. Here is a wiki entry (2011) before the biographic cleansing took place.    From Wiki:

Mike Stathis was born Moshe Stakinsky in Telaviv Israel in 1956. His father, who invented the crouton, was a recent immigrant from Czechoslavokia. His mother was a belly dancer of international repute, her stage name Le BelliBouton. He is a distant relative of Benjamin Hyman Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank (USA) as his father's brother was Bernanke's sister's music teacher. Stathis graduated the Hebrew High School in Telaviv and then attended the Kosher Cooking Institute of Jerusalem, graduating in 1978 with high honors in dinner pastries [B.C. summa cum blintzes]. ....He is presently employed as an expert commentator on monetary policy and the economy by several mainstream internet news outlets.

Just because your dad invented croutons and your mother belly dances- does not mean that you cannot be an economic Nostradamus. 

Read that last line on the wiki bio. Do you sense bullshit? "an expert commentator" on "monetary policy" by "several" un-named news outlets. So who are those internet news outlets? That lack of specificity equals bullshit. That is what I call "weasel" language. Facts and the truth should always be easily verifiable.

Here is Mr. Stathis' site. http://www.avaresearch.com

Let me tell you a little story. In 2007, I had a jumbo mortgage originator (a million+) friend of mine tell me that the entire financial sector (banks) was going to collapse. He had all the inside info from places like Countrywide and IndyMac. This dude knew his shit and he knew how bad the banks were fucking up. Unfortunately when he told me all of this- he was blind ass drunk at a neighborhood party and I being a somewhat sober dude- thought he was overstating the position. Here is the lesson. Just because someone is blind ass drunk does not mean they don't know what they are talking about. Mark made gobs of money on the 2008 collapse. He was telling the truth. I couldn't capitalize on his information because I dismissed it as "drunk" talk. Too bad for me.

I have a process for weeding out bullshit and identifying liars quickly. Often, I find myself way out in front of everyone else. People often accuse me of being quick to judge others. Many years ago, when the idiot Bill Clinton got on national news to proclaim his innocence regarding Monica Lewinsky, I instantly knew he was lying. Hillary is just as bad as Bill, maybe even worse. Barack Obama is a different kind of liar. He likes to obstruct ( belittle, condemn, and make light of any accuser) ignore valid accusations (refuse to validate them) and then change subjects. That is his modus operandi. That is who he is. Watch him in the coming months. I guarantee that's how he will treat the myriad of scandals coming out of D.C. These are merely well known examples and illustrations and that's why I've used them here.

So how do you sort out fact from fiction on the internet? Snopes? Factcheck? Sometimes. The problem of course is the sheer volume and myriad of lies and deceptions that we are all confronted with on a daily basis. Most of the time they are harmless lies- and sometimes- they cost us dearly.

Here then is how I sort through all of today's charlatans and bullshit. First off, I question any speaker's motive privately and I am never predisposed to any assumption. For example, if someone is telling me something I ask myself the simple question, "What does the speaker gain if I buy in?" If you are Mike Stathis selling doomsday books- the answer is book sales and money. If you are Paul Craig Roberts- the answer is nothing. Paul Craig Roberts writes his blog and asks for nothing in return.

After I have satisfied that question, I can move on because this is an incremental process.

I know geniuses without credentials. If you are simply relying on credentialing to determine whether someone is lying or not- you would be wrong a significant amount of the time. However, if you try to find credentialing and cannot (degrees, work experience, success)  that should be a cause for concern. If someone has no degree or a degree in anthropology but is trying to convince me that building 7 was a controlled demolition- I investigate allegations like that on my own.

Never, ever, assume anything. Because just about the time you conclude something based on a single piece of information or an assumption- you will be wrong. 

Writers or speakers who cannot admit making mistakes or serious flaws tend to get my attention. When was the last time you heard some ego driven maniac like Obama or Hillary admit that they screwed up? The answer is never.  They see self honesty and self disclosure as a huge and fatal flaw. They will always try to present themselves as perfect. Maybe they actually think they don't make mistakes.

The inability to perceive yourself as flawed is almost sociopathic.

Imagine for a moment if Bill Clinton had gotten on TV way back when and announced to the world that he had been involved in an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Imagine just telling the truth. The whole nation would have felt sorry for him and for her and the whole incident would have blown over in a week or two.But instead Clinton got on TV and lied to the nation. Absolutely shameless. Sociopathic.

Last but surely not least- I spent countless hours reading every book and article that I could get my hands on which dealt with body language and non verbal behavior. Not only did I absorb and commit everything to memory- I found a serious downside to all of it. I began to identify and confront people who I caught lying. Sometimes I was wrong. Over the years I have learned to just listen, watch, and be quiet.. Mostly when I hear someone spinning some fantastic yarn nowadays- I just let it be. I have to. I would drive myself crazy confronting all of the bullshit I read, hear, or see on a daily basis. I just don't have that kind of energy to waste.

Is Mike Stathis a financial genius? I doubt it. 

I don't think it takes Nostradamus to know that the dollar's days are numbered or that this stock market is going to collapse. I tend to give greater weight to people like Yves at naked capitalism or authors/investigators like William K Black. These are real people with real credentials who are well aware of what a sham our economy is. There are a number of legitimate authors, writers, and investigators out there who are simply trying to educate people and build consensus.

I am not here trying to sell anybody anything. I have been wrong about many things- like how long the powers that be could continue to hide the fact that this country is bankrupt. Shit. I even thought Denver could cover the spread against Seattle.

The best any of us can do is try to uncover the truth and prepare accordingly. I think that's why most of us are here. We exchange information. The people with the best and most accurate information are the ones who are going to carry some wealth forward and survive the coming shit storm. I think a few of us know that they can't keep kicking the debt can down the road forever. 














37 comments:

Jim at Asylum Watch said...

The shit storm is indeed coming precisely because than will no longer be able to kick the can down the road. Here is what pisses me off. The Powers That Be (TPTB) will ride out the shit storm and then they will start the game all over again and make the hoi poi believe they are doing it just to save their ( the hoi poi) sorry asses.

Compleat Patriot said...

Excellent piece Brian. I also keep scratching my head and wondering in amazement at how long they have and can keep this fake economy propped up.. Now I'm sitting here thinking this has to be the last 24 months of this financial train wreck.. A shutdown period for the change over process is coming. Chaos, riots, the usual BS, body bags, looters.. Some pretty hot trades in lead shares.. Then an electronic system of credits and debits. Anyone caught participating in any type of underground bartering is going to be arrested. Aren't you glad you're out of enforcement because I know for you to arrest people for that would be totally against the grain of any rational common sense. The results of the crackdown upon civil rights coming after all of this will be unbelievable for most people. We ain't seen nothing yet. Anyone that hasn't stacked away some grub and water is going be in serious dire straights. And as you know from all of those years dealing with desperate people how dangerous can people who are basically civilly obedient good people going to become when the chips are down.. Glad I'm away from towns. {Imagine the die off from dehydration in the first week}
The U.S. Dollar Has Collapsed: You Just Don’t Know It Yet – Part 1 - See more at: http://ministerfortson.com/?p=33963#sthash.INFBVOvg.dpuf
http://ministerfortson.com/?p=33963

Anonymous said...

You can buy Mike Stathis' books on Amazon so they're not THAT banned. Just saying.

BillyB said...

Do you have any proof/links that Mike at AVA Reasearch is a scammer? I couldn't find anything bad online about him.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about him exposing the snake oil salesmen/scammers/con artists? There is some validity in what he is saying about all the so called gold "experts" trying to sell you something and that they keep predicting the end of the world (this has been going on now for many years). They keep saying the same thing over and over again...US$ will collapse...hyperinflation is around the corner...stock will collapse soon...etc etc.

I can't help but think he is onto something (I'm not a subscriber BTW).

Brian said...

i don't know enough about Stathis...but I'll say this. His information is not new. You can't have an intelligent discussion about gold because the market is completely manipulated and distorted by bankers. People don't understand precious metals and in fact- they keep trying to price gold against dollars. Gold is wealth preservation.

I can live without some more opinions or predictions. Or books full of opinions and predictions.

I read nothing about Stathis that is earth shattering or proprietary. He has theories. We all have theories and opinions.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been able to find ONE person online who uses (or has used) Stathis for their investing. I also haven't been able to find any independent performance results from someone who has used his services.

He always goes on and on about his track record but I can't find anything. I know he says to look in his book but thats 8 years old now. I want to know how he did in the last year!

PeterE said...

It seems the general consensus is that the financial shit is about to hit the economic fan. It also seem that we are all in awe at how the wheel have not come off yet. Compleat Patriot gives it 24 months. FOFOA says it is happening right now. My mate said it would happen last year. The FED says it's all fine.

I'm waiting. The suspense is killing me. Although I don't think it'll be as bad down under here in Australia. I don't envy those of you who live up there in the USA right now.

Keep your powder dry...

Anonymous said...

"It seems the general consensus is that the financial shit is about to hit the economic fan."

That may be a good contrarian indication...

Anonymous said...

Great piece:

I use a lot of George Carlin's stuff, when it comes to people lying. I'm always neutral like the Swiss, until I go thru a similar checklist to Brian's. One of the most important things IMO-in determining whether someone is lying, is 'what is their agenda, and what is the real story behind the headlines'?

Some of Carlin's classics:

1: Never, ever, believe ANYTHING the gov't tells you (FRANKENSTEIN GOV'T)!
2: I don’t have pet peeves — I have major psychotic fucking hatreds! (just threw this one in).
3: Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
4: By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.
5: He has a routine where he said if everyone in the country decided to start telling the truth, the country would collapse.

Here's some of his classics: http://jamesaquilone.com/101-greatest-george-carlin-quotes/

Here is the master liar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TC69O0g9SQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3KCEpzAcCg

BW said...

Brian...you may find this interesting:

I emailed AVA Reseach asking them some tough questions about their research. I basically asked: Why does Mike sell this research and have a newsletter you can subscribe to when he can use his own information to trade his own capital at home to make a fortune? In other words, why bother setting up AVA Research?

Their reply was:

Tell you what. Why don't you assume we fail your due diligence and find someone else.

What I find interesting is, they are selling themselves as a company that exposes cons/scammers and that you should ask the difficult questions and do your own due diligence but when you try to do that with THEM they tell you to get lost!

Hmmmm. Is AVA Research a scam? Is Mike a clown?

Brian said...

I did find that interesting. My gut feeling is you were actually corresponding with "Mike."
Who acts that way? Sounds defensive to me like maybe folks aren't buying his bullshit. Heh.

Brian

BW said...

Thats exactly what I thought! The name of the person that emailed me was "Henry" but the way the email was written was exactly the way "Mike" behaves in his videos.

If you look on Youtube for Mikes videos there are literally only one two or 3 channels with his videos. One is called "Amy Joy":

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChm2z2-e1g2CPG4HXCIJRXQ/videos

Read "her" comments. The comments sound like they are being typed by Mike!!!

Have you noticed that Mike doesn't show his face in any of his videos? Hmmmm.

BW said...

Forgot to also mention that in my last email with "Henry" I was told that my that my questions were stupid and that I should stop emailing them.

Did I hit a nerve? haha No question is stupid when doing due diligence.

PD said...

Someone who calls themself (or others?) a "financial genuis" and then says someone's questions are stupid is an obvious con.

Anonymous said...

i have followed MS and AVA for a while. He has taught me a lot and helped me be less of a retard. But, I very clearly remember in one of his many posts at the time that you could read for free on his site, that he suggested readers not be in the markets at this time/sell stocks if you are.. and it wasn't a short term call. Whenever it was, it was the start of a huge rally that has continued. I think this was 2010. I do owe him a bit of gratitude though - if I hadn't found him, I might not have purchased a house in 2011 because I probably would have been believing Robert Prickter/Harry Dent or some other bozo hack. So not being in the market cost me, but I made it up by buying a house at the right time. I also remember him stating we won't have hyperinflation or severe deflation - but rather a steady stream of inflation year over year. That stuck w/ me and i think he's right there - but i remember him saying recently to buy oil, and look at what has happened there (although that likely has something to do with the western elite's attack on Russia). Personally I am trying not to latch on to any one person but get ideas from many. I read Paul Craig Roberts but don't believe everything he tells me. I still want to own some gold, but won't bet the farm on it. It's possible the dollar could collapse - any investment/currency could. It's too bad Stathis has to act like a prick - not that the media wouldn't ignore him if he didn't - but it can't help. I'll still visit his website and read what he makes available, but I doubt i'll ever sign-up, I believe it's too costly.
Inigo
inigomontoya1234@outlook.com

Anonymous said...

I used to think that gold was the way to go...Stathis pointed out that it was a great investment...when it was $280 oz. It isn't a good investment now...

Gold isn't the answer when the shit hits the fan. You don't think that it can't be confiscated ala Roosevelt? Think again. If it isn't, what will people do if they know that you have it? They will kill you for it.

The Fed Reserve (Rothchilds) that controls the dollar also controls the gold too. Is this that hard to understand?

Stathis might not be 100% correct on everything (his music choices on his videos are hilariously bad)...but, he is right a lot more than he is wrong. How many guru's are more right than he is? I don't know any...

I only found this blah/g from searching Stathis name...

Paul Craig Roberts isn't anything special...he associates with Ron Paul and Alex Jones. Shills.

He might be a Jew, but, he is exposing their corruptness. I'm also in the same boat. My surname is Jewish...yet, I see the BS that they do each and every day.

Take everything that everyone says with a grain of salt. Bottom line.

beppo said...

Stathis is not Jewish as Wiki states: he is anything but enthusiastic about Jewish influence.
He has a series of interviews on YT with a site Christogenea in which he details his background.
Sometimes he goes a bit over the top, but he has a lot of very good info and insights if you root through his AVA content - most is restricted to members but not all.

giuseppe nero said...

It took a few minutes of reading and viewing some of the stuff on AVA website before I had a gut feeling of being conned.

Phil said...

I'll answer back for Stathis. But firstly I bought gold in 2000 2009 I warned my family in the US there was about to be a collapse. If you know anything about markets and human psychology IT WAS A NO BRAINIER. I read everyone on the planet and the whole of the markets are promoted and owned by the Jewish community. Corrupt and there to steal Joe public's money with out him noticing.
Stathis has foretasted correctly. He never said he was Nostradamus those are YOU WORDs. He did say he was the best forecaster and has a long standing bet and has put up $100,000.00 of his own to anyone that will challenge him. He would happily go head to head talk on the markets. You should contact them...
HE WAS CORRECT ON THE US COLLAPSE IN 2009 AND THE SUBSEQUENT RECOVERY!!
You posted this piece July 2014 right. While a friend that is a top and very humble Hedge Fund Manager Says the exact same as Stathis today and they know nothing of each other. July 2014 we moved our money Canada to the US. Russia Latin America are in trouble now the Chinese market just crashed. Our money and the US dollar has soured with my number 2 guy at the helm!!
What I am saying as you are VERY far out of line and don't know what you are talking about. The US is the safest most stable place these days EOS.
The Canadian loonie has lost over 30% in the last year....Its crap here too and our government ane a bunch of socialist assholes.
All the best
philski1@telus.net

Phil said...

giuseppe nero just replying to you.
You are dead wrong there...I believe you are with the 99% being screwed. I know because I follow every ones track records the last 20 years.
Paul Craig Roberts you name them and Ill give you their track record or there lack of.
These guys have been DEAD WRONG...Jim Rogers Schiff you name it...all clowns..
Mike has been very accurate indeed. He also warns all the time how to manage risk the most important part.
YES he does not work for free because hes not part of a big promo campaign scam from the wall street crowed.

Phil said...

Ya screw Mike at AVA we should follow Peter Schiff LOL

http://www.avaresearch.com/articles/1778/Peter-Schiff-Has-A-Terrible-Track-Record-But-Gets-Daily-Air-Time-From-The-Media.html

Brian said...

Follow people with a solid track record of accurate info- people who aren't trying to sell you something.

I liked Schiff before the '08 meltdown. He has lost a ton of credibility since then but his day is coming soon.

Phil said...

Brian
Yes but the are scarce as hens teeth. The manager I've seen is from Canada and we are invested in the USA...JFT Strategies But there's way to much premium on his fund now cause hes top drawer.

Colin Zeta said...

i have used Stathis' website avaresearch.com and know his research quite well. If you want to know someone's track record go on the securities and exchanges commission page. You can also see if someone is a violator or has a criminal record. Mike Stathis has a clean track record.

Most of the comments on here are ridiculous, and i will tell you why.

1) No meaningful information out there is free = meaning if someone is posting information such as buy this stock or even just having you watch a video they are trying to get you to buy something - so the initial cost is free, but they all have memberships and all these schemes/scams that are sent through your email or on there website about offers that won't last, be the first in line or the first to buy, giving you 50%, 25% off (whatever percentage) memberships are the worst form of information.

The scam is this we're going to tell you a little info, and the highly sensitive valuable information is inside after the membership. Most of this information is dangerous or useless.

Why they seem free is because they give you some info free to suck you into other scams. Why scams, mostly because they still decided to use ads and that website has other obligations of supporting that company that got ad support from.

2) All these websites come from usually one source. There publishing houses. You may think one guy has actual intelligence and he is the source or a very reliable source. Even people you think are the leaders in charge they have no clue, and that starts with Schiff.

3) When these guys are all over youtube or they have thousands of memberships and there giving you specific advice on what stock to buy or not. Your going to lose lots of money because the same time your buying something is usually there q to start selling.

4) You need to look for people who have clean sec records, have good track records, aren't part of a publishing house, and aren't giving you specific information about an individual stock. You can say this is where i feel gold/oil/health care or whatever it is going, but one single stock crushes you.

Also be a sophisticated investor understand all types of analysis.

Anonymous said...

Mike Stathis has probably lost all his money in bad investments.
just the way that guy behaves is a good sign of a failured man.
who will put his hard earned money to a guy like Stathis???
if he got 1 dollar for every swearword he said he would been a billionaire ;)

Anonymous said...

The antisemitic comments are really ignorant.

Brian said...

There are no anti semitic comments. You have a reading comprehension problem...not to mention you might just be an asshole.

Macadam Rocks said...

I don't think the previous poster was referring to YOU being anti-semitic, rather Stathis.Who is rabid, the guy has pictures of people with star of David on their foreheads on his youtube videos, remind you of another raving looney from history?
He claims a perfect record, but (and I have challenged him on this) he has been quiet since Feb 2015 AND he never predicted the current (January 2016) debacle, so much for a perfect record. I think he hates every other commentator, he throws them all in one basket. He also forgets he is singing more or less the same tune, and using 'selling' as much as anyone else to shill his brand of 'reality'. He is full of it, anyone who raves, curses, and acts like a dick, with bluster to cover evidence... also, he has supporters on here, but none of them have claimed -or proved- they're getting rich with this wankers 'perfect stock track record' best they can say is he 'helped' them be less dumb.
Stathis is likely as bad if not worse than those he slanders.

Anonymous said...

Mike Stathis was a decent guy back in 2006 when he was on CSPAN BookTV hawking his book "America’s Financial Apocalypse." He went off the rails during the September 2008 meltdown because he was black-balled by the media, his CSPAN BookTV video taken down and all. Stathis had warned for two years what was coming and even tried to meet with Bernanke but was refused. Then he went bat-shit crazy and lost all perspective about what he was saying because his outlets for public communication were being closed down. He got interviewed by Jerry Doyle, but that went bad with the T-Party crazies and is no longer on the Internet as far as I can tell. Then he was booted from Seeking Alpha. His book publisher dropped "America’s Financial Apocalypse" and he had to publish it himself. Now he has anger management issues. He was very different when I saw him on BookTV in 2006.

Brian said...

Thanks for the comment. Gosh that sure explains a lot...might have to lighten up on the poor guy a bit.

Brian

Joe S said...

Mike Stathis is a complete waste of time and a sad excuse for a human being period

Anonymous said...

Stathis has been on again about 'clown' Jim Rogers (OK so Soros himself has been recorded as saying JR wasn't the greatest investor in his opinion) but as an impromptu example, Rogers' comment below about gold seems rather reminiscent of Stathis's own opinion:

"Generals always fight the last war. Portfolio managers always invest in the last bull market. The idea that gold has always been the great store of value is absurd. There have been many times in history when gold has lost purchasing power -- sometimes for decades."
James B. Rogers in Schwager: Market Wizards (1989), p300

D H said...

I've waited years to post on here - have read all but one of his books and am subscribed to all newsletters (starting with one, after a year of continuously accurate calls decided to purchase the other publications-all are just excellent.)

I thought I was a pretty hot-shot investor, he is miles ahead, would have never imagined paying for subjective analysis (I now pay close to 7K annually for his research, could never have imagined paying even 1k for research but he is a total rock star and now I can't imagine being without it.)

People hating on him are likely Jewish or part of the media scam, nobody who has taken the time to read his books or buy his research would have anything negative to say except that he can be fairly harsh in his legitimate criticisms. But, as someone who could care less about PC garbage, it helps keep me sane to listen to his rants - one of the best parts of being a subscriber is all the audio commentary.

One of the things I am most thankful for in my life is having come across Mike Stathis, and I have had a pretty damn good life. If you think this is a fake review, buy Americas Financial Apocalypse and see for yourself. If that is not enough for you, you're either Jewish and offended by his comments about the culture rape (cognitive dissonance from not wanting to be associated with whats going on) or just very low IQ.

Can't thank you enough Mike.

Anonymous said...

Well, you could always send him a giant check to show your appreciation.

Brian

shoban illiterati said...

I wonder how many of these fawning, positive comments are posted by Mike Stathis himself.

As for me my money is in yard sales.

D H said...

To people who came here honestly trying to decide what to think of Stathis, just read Americas Financial Apocalypse (full version). It is a cheap, easy way to look at whether he is legitimate. I'm also telling you I make good money off his research, because some in these comments have asked, but you should decide for yourself.

You have to laugh at the opinionated nobodies in these comments. Ask for evidence, then when someone provides it say that “it's fake!”

Think for yourself. I went out of my way to try to be helpful so you could know his research is as worthwhile as the books. Look into his track record (read the book, it isn't difficult) instead of being lazy and listening to these clowns. It will become very obvious who is trying to mislead you.