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[Latest News] Facebook Cofounder Gave Millions to Nonprofits Run by Controversial BLM Leader

Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz has poured over $5 million into a network of nonprofits run by Black Lives Matter leader Patrisse Cullors, according to financial disclosure records, raising questions about whether this relationship played a role in the social media network’s decision to censor unflattering news articles about the activist last week.

The post Facebook Cofounder Gave Millions to Nonprofits Run by Controversial BLM Leader appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/18/2021 9:34:48 AM
[] Rep. Maxine Waters Urges Minnesota Protesters to 'Stay on the Street' if Chauvin Found Innocent in Floyd Case Published:4/18/2021 9:34:48 AM
[Entertainment] Bad Boy Records Rapper Black Rob Dead at 51 Black RobBlack Rob has died. He was 51. On April 17 the rapper, whose real name was Robert Ross, died after being hospitalized in Atlanta, according to multiple outlets, including TMZ and Variety....
Published:4/18/2021 9:34:48 AM
[Markets] Yet Another Ridiculous Stock Market Bubble... In Three Charts Yet Another Ridiculous Stock Market Bubble... In Three Charts

Authored by David Rubino via DollarCollapse.com,

The Fiat Currency Age is nothing if not repetitious.

There are dozens of charts that illustrate how closely today’s financial bubble resembles its predecessors. But simple is better when expressing a hard truth, so let’s go with that old standby, margin debt. This is debt created when over-stimulated investors borrow against their stocks to buy more stocks. At its high extremes, the result is always the same: A price decline that forces overleveraged investors to liquidate at any price, turning correction into bloodbath. Note that the steeper the rise in margin debt, the more severe the resulting plunge in share prices.

The next chart illustrates more clearly the “steep” thing. The current spike is one for the record books.

Now, during past spikes in margin debt the “investors” who were swept up in the euphoria of easy money frequently responded to criticism with a variation on “corporate earnings are about to soar, which will make everything okay. Plus we know you’re only complaining because you missed the gravy train and you’re jealous.”

But corporate earnings almost never completely offset extreme valuations and soaring margin debt. A useful measure for visualizing this fact is “earnings yield,” which is the S&P 500 index’s aggregate earnings expressed as a percentage of its aggregate market cap. This is how much a buyer of the average stock receives in earnings per dollar invested. Common sense says the more the buyer receives the better the deal. And history says the less the buyer receives the higher the likelihood of stock prices falling in the ensuing few years. Today’s yield of 2.36% is the second-lowest ever. That’s really bad.

So here we are again. Stocks are soaring because corporate earnings are going to rise even faster. Yet – this being the peak of a long cycle – interest rates are also up, inflation is stirring, government deficits are otherworldly, and geopolitics are unsettled. It’s a virtual lock that corporate earnings will not save anyone this time around.

As in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, we’ve reached the point where share prices have to restore balance by falling to where it makes logical (as opposed to emotional) sense to own equities. And given the parabolic rise in margin debt, the process won’t be pretty.

As hedge fund manager David Einhorn recently lamented, “From a traditional perspective, the market is fractured and possibly in the process of breaking completely.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/18/2021 - 10:20
Published:4/18/2021 9:34:48 AM
[] So we IMPEACH her now, RIGHT?! Maxine Waters' Chauvin comments while marching in Brooklyn Center sound a LOT like inciting violence (watch) Published:4/18/2021 9:07:17 AM
[54389f24-8144-586b-bdb7-df40ce4e3c47] Madonna calls gun control the 'new vaccine,' wants police jailed without trial in bizarre posts Madonna took to the streets to call for gun control and police accountability in a pair of social media posts Saturday.  Published:4/18/2021 9:07:17 AM
[Markets] New Bill Seeks To Convince Biden To Implement 'No First Use' Nuclear Policy New Bill Seeks To Convince Biden To Implement 'No First Use' Nuclear Policy

Currently, the only global nuclear-armed powers with a "no first use" (NFU) nuclear policy are China and India. According to the working common definition, "A no-first-use policy means that the United States would pledge to use nuclear weapons only in retaliation for a nuclear attack."

Going back to the Cold War the United States has consistently resisted implementing a no first use nuclear policy, stating it "reserves the right to use" nuclear weapons first in a conflict scenario, which was reaffirmed most recently in its Nuclear Posture Review in 2010. 

And now Democratic lawmakers have reintroduced a bill in the House and Senate on Friday that seeks to prohibit the US from using nuclear weapons first.

Introduced by Democrats Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Rep. Adam Smith (WA) the bill introduces: "It is the policy of the United States to not use nuclear weapons first."

"Threatening to use nuclear weapons first makes America less safe because it increases the chances of a miscalculation or an accident," Warren said in a statement arguing the bill's urgency. "There are no winners in a nuclear war, and the US should never start one."

Rep. Smith also affirmed, "The United States should never initiate a nuclear war," in his statement, saying further, "This bill would strengthen deterrence while reducing the chance of nuclear use due to miscalculation or misunderstanding."

According to The Hill, the Biden presidency could have a receptive ear to the change in policy:

Opponents of such a policy argue that taking the option off the table to use a nuclear weapon first could embolden adversaries and undermine the confidence of allies in the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

But the bill could find a more receptive audience in President Biden. Biden has not addressed the topic since he became president, but as vice president in 2017, he said he finds it "hard to envision a plausible scenario in which the first use of nuclear weapons by the United States would be necessary or make sense."

And further critics of America's current nuclear posture most often emphasize that with the Cold War long behind us, the real concern should be "the chances of a miscalculation or an accident" - as the bill's language underscores.

Nuclear treaties between the US and Russia, the latest major remaining one being New START which was renewed by Biden for five years, have further sought to mitigate this "unthinkable" disastrous scenario. 

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/18/2021 - 09:50
Published:4/18/2021 9:07:17 AM
[Entertainment] Relive Kourtney Kardashian's Sizzling Bikini Moments in Honor of Her 42nd Birthday Kourtney Kardashian, Swimsuit, Pool42 never looked so good. We're, of course, talking about Kourtney Kardashian, who turns 42 years old today, April 18. And while Kourtney has always been the life of the party, it...
Published:4/18/2021 9:07:17 AM
[Uncategorized] Alan Dershowitz: Packing Supreme Court Would be a ‘Disaster’ for the Court, Due Process, Free Speech

"If the Democrats get a chance to pack the court, they'll pack it with radical opponents of free speech and due process, people who call themselves progressives but are really regressives"

The post Alan Dershowitz: Packing Supreme Court Would be a ‘Disaster’ for the Court, Due Process, Free Speech first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/18/2021 9:07:17 AM
[DDM] Sentiment Speaks: You May Not Believe My 2021 Targets Published:4/18/2021 8:35:32 AM
[] Cuba Faces an Uncertain Future as the Last Castro Will Resign Published:4/18/2021 8:35:32 AM
[Markets] The pandemic’s differing earnings effects will be on display with tech, airline reports The first big week of earnings season will kick off with a study in contrasts. The tech and airline sectors feature prominently on the earnings calendar, offering a glimpse of industries that have enjoyed vastly different fates during the first year of the pandemic. While many tech companies have benefited from an increased reliance on digital tools, the airlines continue to suffer from depressed travel demand. Published:4/18/2021 8:35:32 AM
[Entertainment] All of the Iconic Roles Brad Pitt Almost Played Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, The Matrix, Iconic roles Brad Pitt almost playedOnce Upon a Time...in Hollywood...Brad Pitt was almost the star of these massive movies. After a career filled with iconic performances, Pitt, 57, finally took home his first-ever acting...
Published:4/18/2021 8:35:32 AM
[Coronavirus] Masks Today, Masks Tomorrow, Masks Forever! (John Hinderaker) Some elements of our society have enjoyed covid. Many liberals like shutting down other people’s businesses, expanding government powers and generally bossing the rest of us around. Mask mandates have been especially popular on the left because they are a cheap form of virtue signaling and a visible sign of liberals’ power over the rest of us. There are, I think, many on the left who really don’t want to Published:4/18/2021 8:35:32 AM
[3e7fddde-d35f-59b1-9773-8815a94c649b] ACM Awards 2021 promise country's biggest stars will perform with some major exceptions The Academy of Country Music Awards will kick off Sunday with a slew of familiar faces in the genre while a handful of others are missing. Published:4/18/2021 8:35:32 AM
[Markets] Ever Fewer People Need Ever More Money... Said Nobody, Ever (Except The Federal Reserve) Ever Fewer People Need Ever More Money... Said Nobody, Ever (Except The Federal Reserve)

Authored by Chris Hamilton via Econimica blog,

15 to 64 year old US working age population versus Federal Funds Rate & US currency in circulation. Honestly, no words are necessary.

Year over year changes in 15 to 64 year old US working age population versus currency in circulation.

Ever fewer people need ever more "money"...BRRR.

Just for fun, observing America through it's 15 to 54 year old population (blue line) and those employed among them (green line).

Now adding in the Federal Funds rate and the impact of "free money" on US federal marketable debt.

Add in the Fed's balance sheet (yellow line) plus the Wilshire 5000 (blue line...all publicly traded US equity).

Lastly, the 15 to 54 year old raw employment/population ratio. Asset owners rejoice, the Fed has a long way to go to fulfill it's "full employment" mandate...assets will soar until full employment is achieved.

And what is the impact on America's young adults...soaring age at first marriage...collapsing births.

Out of necessity of paying the soaring costs of living...females fully brought into the labor market and seemingly unable to step away for the luxury of having a family.

Widest possible view on childbearing females...and births.

And here is America by 15 to 40 year olds (yellow line), 40+ year olds (red line), and annual births (blue columns) plus my best estimate through 2040 (blue dashed line).

Soaring debt, asset prices, fueled by ZIRP are enriching asset holders (America's past) at the expense of young adults (America's future). Whether this is policy error or intentional is open for debate...but no debate about the destruction of the future of the US to safeguard it's past.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/18/2021 - 09:20
Published:4/18/2021 8:35:32 AM
[Quick Takes] Amherst College Students Stage Walkout Over Daunte Wright and Call for Abolishing Police

"From this country’s beginning, society has determined that Black citizens need to be controlled and white citizens need to be protected."

The post Amherst College Students Stage Walkout Over Daunte Wright and Call for Abolishing Police first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/18/2021 8:35:32 AM
[Markets] 'Get More Confrontational': Maxine Waters Crosses State Lines To Incite BLM Protesters 'Get More Confrontational': Maxine Waters Crosses State Lines To Incite BLM Protesters

California Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) flew to Minnesota this weekend, where she joined protesters in Brooklyn Center past curfew and urged them to 'get more confrontational' just one day after peaceful demonstrations devolved into violence.

"[Protestors] got to stay on the street and get more active, more confrontational. They’ve got to know that we mean business," said Waters.

"I am not happy that we have talked about police reform for so long," she continued, adding "We're looking for a guilty verdict" in regards to former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is on trial for the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody last year. "And we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd, if nothing does not happen, then we know that we’ve got to not only stay in the street, but we’ve got to fight for justice."

"If we don't," Waters added, "we cannot go away."

"We gotta stay on the street" Waters was recorded saying, according to the Daily Mail.

Chauvin faces three charges in Floyd's death; second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. According to Waters, however, a conviction for manslaughter would not be enough - and the charges should have included first-degree murder. 

Pictured: Armed members of the New Black Panther Party standing in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Department (Daily Mail)

Waters is essentially calling for protests even if Chauvin is convicted on all charges.

BLM protester holds up sign

Several protesters were arrested late Saturday following Waters' comments, after what the Washington Post described as a "volatile skirmish between police and protesters" involving around 100 people. 

Meanwhile more from the Daily Mail.

Waters is planning on staying in town until Monday.

According to CBS Minnesota, officials stated that there was a brief altercation between reporters and proresters as Waters was leaving on Saturday, the first reports of any skirmishes.

The Pioneer Press reports demonstrators gathered Saturday afternoon at the home of Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, responsible for the second-degree manslaughter charges against Kimberly Potter.

The protesters stood outside of Orput's home before marching through is neighborhood in Stillwater.

Black Lives Matter activist Nekima Levy Armstrong relayed that Orput left his home briefly to engage in a conversation with protesters. -Daily Mail

Protesters have taken to the streets across the country surrounding the Chauvin trial, as well as the death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot by a white Chicago police officer less than a second after the youth dropped a handgun..

On Friday night, clashes broke out between Black Lives Matter protesters and the police - after which Waters came out and encouraged followers to stay in the streets.

In 2018, Waters encouraged followers to publicly confront and harass members of the Trump administration.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/18/2021 - 08:50
Published:4/18/2021 8:04:19 AM
[Entertainment] Five great new mysteries and thrillers to look forward to this spring Find intrigue, suspense — and an escape! — in new books by Linwood Barclay, Nancy Tucker, M.L. Longworth and more. Published:4/18/2021 8:04:19 AM
[Markets] Earnings Watch: The pandemic’s differing earnings effects will be on display with tech, airline reports The first big week of earnings season will kick off with a study in contrasts.
Published:4/18/2021 8:04:19 AM
[Entertainment] Here's Proof Becky G and Sebastian Lletget Are Big Winners in the Game of Love Becky G, Sebastian Lletget, InstagramWhen it comes to the game of love, Sebastian Lletget has already scored. While sports fans may know the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder for his skills on the soccer field, the MLS player...
Published:4/18/2021 7:34:19 AM
[Politics] Column: No matter the verdict in the Chauvin trial, 'reforming' policing won't be enough

After Adam Toledo, Daunte Wright and Caron Nazario, I'd like to think something has changed. But the many calls for police reform sound just as hollow.

Published:4/18/2021 7:34:19 AM
[Markets] Bitcoin Crashes As Much As 15% Amid Unsubstantiated Report Of Money Laundering Crackdown Bitcoin Crashes As Much As 15% Amid Unsubstantiated Report Of Money Laundering Crackdown

In a crash that started late on Saturday evening and accelerated throughout the night, Bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency space plunged the most in more than seven weeks, just days after hitting a new all time high ahead of the Coinbase IPO.

Bitcoin fell 12% to $53,400 as of 8:0 a.m. in New York on Sunday, after plunging as much as 15.1% to $51,707.51 in the Asian day. Ethereum, the second-largest token, dropped almost 18% before paring losses.

The market-wide crash has in $1.72 billion worth of long positions liquidated in just one hour alone. Expanding this range to 24-hours shows that 927,000 traders’ positions worth nearly $10 billion were wiped off, with $68.73 million being the largest liquidation so far according to FX street.

The crash appeared to coincide with an unconfirmed twitter report from a supposedly credible source that the Treasury could crack down on money laundering using cryptocurrencies.

Whereas this account traditionally blasts Reuters or Bloomberg headlines, in this case there was no such underlying report from either Reuters or Bloomberg, and Bloomberg even said that "several online reports attributed the plunge to speculation the U.S. Treasury may crack down on money laundering that’s carried out through digital assets."

Furthermore, in comments just earlier this week, regulators refused to take a position either way, even as the speculation of a crackdown against bitcoin by the US government is ever present.

In other words this was a case of "goalseeking a narrative" and framing it as a rumor to justify a prior action.

A more likely explanation is the the profit-taking in dogecoin led to some margin calls which quickly spilled over to selling the broader, illiquid crypto space. Dogecoin, a token created as a joke and which has been boosted by the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Cuban, rallied more than 110% Friday before tumbling the next day. Demand was so brisk for the token that investors trying to trade it on Robinhood crashed the site, the online exchange said in a blog post Friday.

“The crypto world is waking up with a bit of a sore head today,” Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto lender Nexo, told Bloomberg. “Dogecoin’s 100% Friday rally was ‘peak party,’ after the Bitcoin record and Coinbase listing earlier in the week. Euphoria was in the air. And usually in the crypto world, there’s a price to pay when that happens.”

Besides the “unsubstantiated” report of a U.S. Treasury crackdown, Trenchev said factors for the declines may have included “excess leverage, Coinbase insiders dumping equity after the direct listing and a mass outage in China’s Xinjiang province hitting Bitcoin miners.”

Last week, Fed Chairman Powell directly addressed Bitcoin saying “is a little bit like gold” in that it’s more a vehicle for speculation than making payments. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde in January took aim at Bitcoin’s role in facilitating criminal activity, saying the cryptocurrency has been enabling “funny business.”

While both top regulators had an opportunity to preview any coming "crackdown", they both failed to do so suggesting that contrary to rumors none is coming. In fact, the only place that did lash out against Bitcoin is Turkey, whose central bank banned the use of cryptocurrencies as a form of payment from April 30, saying the level of anonymity behind the digital tokens brings the risk of “non-recoverable” losses. This however only led to further loss of faith in the Turkish lira which is the year's worst performing currency. As such any more official action against crypto will be viewed as merely confirming that fiat is losing the war against crypto.

Meanwhile, a buy the dip moment is coming. Not only have some of the biggest crypto bulls expressed their interest in bidding up bitcoin...

.... in a note published on Friday, JPMorgan's Nick Panagirtzoglou pointed to the "hefty" futures carry over spot of around 4% over
two months in both bitcoin and ethereum which "is likely to help the ethereum CME futures contract to continue to grow rapidly over the coming months as it incentivizes institutional market participants to enter the futures market in order to play the carry trade i.e. by selling the futures and buying the spot to capture the spread between the two with an annualized return of more than 20%." Indeed, most of the previous growth of the CME bitcoin futures contract started taking place from 2019 onwards once the futures to spot spread reached significant positive territory.

As the JPM strategist continues, this high futures to spot spread is likely a function of the high “risk-free” rate or opportunity cost implicit in crypto markets: "Lending USD in crypto markets attracts annual interest rates of 8-10% and this high “risk-free” rate is a common component in the futures vs. spot arbitrage trade across both bitcoin and ethereum futures." This high “risk-free” rate or opportunity cost is likely a reflection of how “crypto-rich” and “cash-poor” crypto markets still are.

Curiously, and as a post-script to a note we wrote last weekend discussing the steep bitcoin curve, in the case of bitcoin, neither the introduction of ETFs nor the greater institutional participation in the futures market have managed to change the “cash-poor” nature of crypto markets and cause a normalization of the futures to spot spread. Adding to this elevated “risk-free” rate storage costs of around 2% per annum and transaction costs, as a result of relative more fragmented crypto markets, "one can easily see why futures to spot spreads of around 15% per annum could be justified."

Translation: as soon as the profit-taking turmoil is over, watch as institutions flood to bid up Bitcoin and Ethereum spot while shorting 2M futures to pick up what is literally a risk-free 20% annualized carry.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/18/2021 - 08:21
Published:4/18/2021 7:34:19 AM
[Uncategorized] CNN is Propaganda Week at Legal Insurrection

All the news you may have missed.

The post CNN is Propaganda Week at Legal Insurrection first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/18/2021 7:04:04 AM
[Entertainment] Why Baby Foot Is the 1 Thing You Need to Get Your Feet Summer Ready E-Comm: Why Baby Foot Is the One Thing You Need to Get Your Feet Summer ReadyWe love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. If...
Published:4/18/2021 6:35:46 AM
[Entertainment] Q&A with Dana Carvey: Doing Johnny Carson getting pulled over, his ‘Fantastic’ podcast and whether there will be another ‘Wayne’s World’ “If I see somebody kill in a club, even if they’re my friend, I want to top them. I still love that feeling.” Published:4/18/2021 6:35:46 AM
[Politics] Afghanistan's war — and America's stakes in it — won't end when the troops leave

The battle for Afghanistan began long before American troops arrived in 2001, and won't end when the last U.S. soldier is gone.

Published:4/18/2021 6:35:46 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Loom, Bitcoin Dives As Stock Market Rally Enters Power Trend; Square, Apple, Tesla In Focus The bull market is now in a Power Trend, but note key warning signs too. Bitcoin plunged from record highs. Square and other growth plays have handles. Will Tesla join them? Published:4/18/2021 6:35:46 AM
[Markets] The State Of The 'Third Wave' In Europe The State Of The 'Third Wave' In Europe

While the growth of COVID-19 infections is slowing down in some European countries, others are experiencing an increase in case numbers as they head into their third wave of infections. As Statista's Katharina Buchholz notes, between the fall's second wave and the 2021's third wave, the trajectory of infection numbers became less clear, as countries were battling virus mutations while lockdown fatigue set in for citizens and politicians alike.

According to numbers by Johns Hopkins University published on Our World in Data, the UK and Spain experienced their third waves early on in the year and in short succession with the fall's second waves.

Infographic: The State of the Third Wave in Europe | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

While the UK's battle with the B.1.1.7 variant and subsequent successful vaccination campaign made for a stark improvement of the situation, Spain recently saw case numbers rise once more in what would constitute a fourth wave for the country.

France was one of the first in Europe to implement a second lockdown in late October, but was more hesitant during the third wave. The country locked down for a third time in mid-March but even one month later, new case numbers show no real improvement.

Germany is in a similar rut. The country went through two waves without ever coming out of its second lockdown, which started November 1, but was tightened significantly on December 16. A hodgepodge of different rules and restrictions in the federal country made getting a handle on the situation more difficult. Federally sanctioned openings started in early March but were almost instantly reversed.

Italy, which like Spain is relying on a regional lockdown system, imposed a tight temporary Easter lockdown but has recently seen third-wave infection numbers fall again.

The recent surge of infections has made France the fourth-most affected country in the world by absolute case numbers, while the UK has descended to rank six.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/18/2021 - 07:35
Published:4/18/2021 6:35:46 AM
[Markets] Putin's Ukrainian Judo Putin's Ukrainian Judo

Authored by Dmitry Orlov via Club Orlov blog,

A terrible war is about to erupt on Russia’s border with the Ukraine - or not - but there is some likelihood of a significant number of people getting killed before project Ukraine is finally over. Given that around 13 thousand people have been killed over the past seven years—the civil war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine has gone on for that long!—this is no laughing matter. But people get desensitized to the mostly low-level warfare. Just over the past couple of weeks a grandfather was shot by a Ukrainian sniper while feeding his chickens and a young boy was killed by a bomb precision-dropped on him from a Ukrainian drone.

But what’s about to happen now is forecasted to be on a different scale: the Ukrainians are moving heavy armor and troops up to the line of separation while the Russians are moving theirs up to their side of the Ukrainian border, a position from which they can blast any and all Ukrainian troops straight out of the gene pool without so much as setting foot on Ukrainian territory—should they wish to do so. The Russians can justify their military involvement by the need to defend their own citizens: over the past seven years half a million residents in eastern Ukraine have applied for and been granted Russian citizenship. But how exactly can Russia defend its citizens while they are stuck in the crossfire between Russian and Ukrainian forces?

The rationale of defending its citizens led to conflict in the briefly Georgian region of South Ossetia, which started on August 8, 2008 and lasted barely a week, leaving Georgia effectively demilitarized. Russia rolled in, Georgia’s troops ran off, Russia confiscated some of the more dangerous war toys and rolled out. Georgia’s paper warriors and their NATO consultants and Israeli trainers were left wiping each others’ tears. Any suggestion of arming and equipping the Georgians since then has been met with groaning and eye-rolling. Is the upcoming event in eastern Ukraine going to be similar to the swift and relatively painless defanging of Georgia in 2008? Given that the two situations are quite different, it seems foolish to think that the approach to resolving them would be the same.

Is it different this time and is World War III is about to erupt with eastern Ukraine being used as a trigger for this conflagration? Do the various statements made at various times by Vladimir Putin provide a solid enough basis for us to guess at what will happen next? Is there a third, typically, infuriatingly Russian approach to resolving this situation, where Russia wins, nobody dies and everyone in the West is left scratching their heads?

The Ukrainian military is much like everything else currently found in the Ukraine—the railway system, the power plants, the pipeline systems, the ports, the factories (the few that are left)—a patched-up hold-over from Soviet times. The troops are mostly unhappy, demoralized conscripts and reservists. Virtually all of the more capable young men have either left the country to work abroad or have bribed their way out of being drafted. The conscripts sit around getting drunk, doing drugs and periodically taking pot shots into and across the line of separation between Ukrainian-held and separatist-held territories. Most of the casualties they suffer are from drug and alcohol overdoses, weapons accidents, traffic accidents caused by driving drunk and self-harm from faulty weapons. The Ukrainian military is also working on winning a Darwin award for the most casualties caused by stepping on their own land mines. As for the other side, many of the casualties are civilians wounded and killed by constant shelling from the Ukrainian side of the front, which runs quite close to population centers.

The Ukrainian military has received some new weapons from the US and some NATO training, but as the experience in Georgia has shown, that won’t help them. Most of these weapons are obsolete, non-updated versions of Soviet armaments from former East Bloc but currently NATO nations such as Bulgaria. These really aren’t of much use against an almost fully rearmed Russian military. A lot of the Ukrainian artillery is worn out and, given that Ukrainian industry (what’s left of it) is no longer able to manufacture gun barrels, artillery shells or even mortar rounds, this makes the Ukrainian military quite literally the gang that can’t shoot straight. It’s a great day for them if they manage to hit a kindergarten or a maternity clinic and most of the time they are just cratering up the empty countryside and littering it up with charred, twisted metal.

In addition to the hapless conscripts and reservists there are also some volunteer battalions that consist of hardcore Ukrainian nationalists. Their minds have been carefully poisoned by nationalist propaganda crafted thanks to large infusions of foreign (mostly American) money. Some of them have been conditioned to think that it was the ancient Ukrs who built the Egyptian pyramids and dug the Black Sea (and piled the left-over dirt to build the Caucasus mountain range). These may or may not be more combat-capable than the rest (opinions vary) but, much more importantly, they are a political force that the government cannot ignore because they can quite literally hold it hostage. They have been known for stunts such as shelling the offices of a television channel whose editorial policies they found disagreeable and physically assaulting a busload of opposition activists.

It is these Ukro-Nazi zealots that stand directly in the way of any peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine and an inevitable eventual rapprochement between the Ukrainians and Russia. There is a deep and abiding irony in that these über-antisemitic Ukro-Nazis are about to be ordered into battle against Russia by a Jewish comedian (Vladimir Zelensky, president) who got elected thanks to a Jewish oligarch (Igor “Benny” Kolomoisky). Are they going to be annihilated? Quite possibly, yes. Will their annihilation make Ukraine and the world a better place? You be the judge. To the Russians these Nazi battalions are just a bunch of terrorists and, as Putin famously put it, it is up to him to send terrorists to God and then it is up to God to decide what to do with them. But there is a more efficient strategy: let them remain somebody else’s problem. After all, these Nazi battalions have almost zero ability to threaten Russia. Eventually the Europeans will realize that the Ukraine must be denazified, at their own expense, of course, with Russia offering advice and moral support.

To understand where this Ukrainian nationalist menace came from without venturing too far down the memory hole, it is enough to appreciate the fact that at the end of World War II some number of Ukrainian war criminals who fought on the side of the Nazis and took part in acts of genocide against Ukrainian Jews and Poles found a welcoming home in the US and in Canada, where they were able to feather their nests and bring up the next several generations of Ukrainian Nazis. After the collapse of the USSR, they were reintroduced into the Ukraine and given political support in the hopes of thoroughly alienating the Ukraine from Russia. In the course of serial color revolutions and unending political upheaval and strife they were able to become prominent, then dominant, in Ukrainian political life, to a point that they can now hold the Ukrainian government hostage whenever it fails to be sufficiently belligerent toward Russia, to maintain strict anti-Russian censorship in the media and to physically threaten anyone who voices disagreement with them.

Russophobia and belligerence toward Russia are, in turn, all that is currently required of the Ukraine by its US and EU masters, who wish to portray the Ukraine as a bulwark against a supposedly aggressive Russia but in reality wish to use it as an anti-Russian irritant and to use it to contain (meaning to restrict and frustrate) Russia economically and geopolitically. To this end the Ukrainian school curriculum has been carefully redesigned to inculcate hatred of all things Russian. The Ukraine’s Western mentors think that they are constructing a pseudo-ethnic totalitarian cult that can be used as a battering ram against Russia, along the lines of Nazi Germany but with much tighter external political control, or, to use a more recent, updated CIA playbook, along the lines of Al Qaeda and its various offshoots in the Middle East.

The rationale that’s used to serve up all this is “countering Russian aggression.” But it is inaccurate to describe Russia as aggressive. It is much closer to the truth to describe it as, by turns, assimilative, protective and insouciant. It is assimilative in that you too can apply for a Russian citizenship based on a number of criteria, the most important of which is cultural: you need to speak Russian, and to do so convincingly you have to assimilate culturally. If an entire Russian-speaking region starts waving the Russian tricolor at rallies, singing the Russian anthem and then holds a referendum where a convincing majority votes to rejoin Russia (97% in Crimea in 2014), then Russia will annex that territory and defend it. And if lots of people in a Russian-speaking region individually apply for Russian citizenship, swear allegiance to Russia and are issued Russian passports, then Russia will try to defend them individually against attack.

All would be sweetness and light with this scheme of voluntary accession if certain Russian regions didn’t periodically start demanding independence or if the Russians themselves didn’t periodically shed their self-important and ungrateful dependents. As this has happened, Russia has granted them sovereignty, which, more often than not, they didn’t know what to do with. At various times, Russia has freely bestowed national sovereignty on a whole slew of countries: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, the Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Rumania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan… For some of them, it granted them sovereignty several times over (Poland seems to be the prize-winner in that category). The political elites of these countries, having become used to suckling at Mother Russia’s ample bosom, naturally look for someone new to invade and/or liberate them and then to feed them.

After the collapse of the USSR, their new masters naturally became the US and the EU. But as these newly sovereign nations soon found out, not as much milk has flowed in their direction from their new masters, and some of them have started casting furtive glances toward Russia again. The twentieth century was a confusing time for many of these countries, and many of them are puzzled to this day as to whether at any given time they were being occupied or liberated by Russia. Let us consider, as a mini case study, the three Baltic mini-nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. With the exception of the Lithuanians, who had their 15 minutes of fame during their brief late-medieval dalliance with Poland, these three ethnic groups never made good candidates for sovereign nations. They were first dominated by the Germans, then by the Swedes.

Then Peter the Great purchased their lands from the Swedes with silver coin, but after that they continued to toil as serfs for their German landlords. But then in mid-19th century the Russian Empire abolished serfdom, starting with Estonian and Latvian serfs as an experiment. It then introduced compulsory schooling, wrote down the local languages, and invited the more promising native sons to come and study at St. Petersburg. This started them on the way toward developing a national consciousness, and what a headache that turned out to be!

While the Russian Empire held together they remained under control, but after the Russian Revolution they gained independence and swiftly turned fascist. As World War II neared, the Soviet leadership became justifiably concerned over having little pro-Nazi fascist states right on their border and occupied/liberated them. But then as the Germans advanced and the Red Army retreated, they were re-occupied by the fascists/liberated from the communists. But then as the Germans retreated and the Red Army advanced, they were re-occupied/re-liberated again and became, for a time, exemplary Soviet Communists.

And so they remained, occupied/liberated, being stuffed full of Soviet-built schools, hospitals, factories, roads, bridges, ports, railways and other infrastructure—until the USSR collapsed. They were the first to demand independence, singing songs and holding hands across all three republics. Since then they have squandered all of their Soviet inheritance and have progressively shed population while serving as playgrounds for NATO troops who get a special thrill, I suppose, by training right on Russia’s border. Their political elites made a tidy little business of Russophobia, which pleased their new Western masters but gradually wrecked their economies. Having reached their peak during the late Soviet era, they are now hollow shells of their former selves.

And now, lo and behold, an embarrassingly large chunk of their populations is pining after the good old Soviet days and wants better relations with Russia (which, in the meantime, seems to have largely forgotten that these Baltic statelets even exist). Their political elites would want nothing more than for Russia to occupy/liberate them again, because then they could be rid of their noisome constituents and move to London or Geneva, there to head up a government in exile and work on plans for the next round of occupation/liberation.

To their horror, they are now realizing that Russia has no further use for them, while their new masters at the EU are sinking into a quagmire of their own problems, leaving them abandoned with no kind master to care for them and to feed them. They thought they had signed up to administer a vibrant new democracy using free money from the EU, but instead they are now stuck administering a depopulating, economically stagnant backwater peopled by ethnic relicts. In eras past, they would have only had to wait until the next wave of barbarian invasion from the east. The barbarians would slaughter all the men, rape and/or kidnap all the prettier women, and the naturally recurring process of ethnogenesis would start again. But now there are a dozen time zones of Russia to their east and no hope at all of any more barbarian invasions, so all they can do is drink a lot and, by turns, curse the Russians and the Europeans.

The situation is much the same throughout Eastern Europe, in a great arc of semi-sovereign, pseudo-sovereign and (in the case of the Ukraine) faux-sovereign nations from the Baltic to the Black Sea and on to the Caspian Sea and beyond. The many serial occupations/liberations have given their political elites a wonderful weathercock-like quality: one moment they are wearing Nazi insignia and heiling Hitler and the next moment they are good Soviet Communists reciting the 10 Commandments of the Builders of Communism. The Ukraine (getting back to it, finally) is no different in this respect but different in another: by no stretch of the imagination is it even a nation, or a combination, assemblage or grouping of nations; it is, strictly speaking, an accidental territorial agglomeration. As a failed attempt to create a monoethnic nation-state it is a chimera.

The following map, labeled “Dynamics of agglomeration of Ukrainian territories,” shows the process in detail. The toponym “Ukraine” (“Ukraina”) is most likely of Polish origin, meaning “border zone,” and it seems to have first become a thing in 1653 when the red-colored region below decided that it had had enough of Polish Catholic dominance and discrimination (its inhabitants being Orthodox Christians) and chose to rejoin Russia. The region became known as Malorossia, or Little Russia, and the yellow-colored districts were added to it over time. And then, after the Russian Revolution, came the big gift: Malorossia and neighboring districts were formed into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and to make it something more than just a rural backwater Lenin saw it fit to lump in with it a number of Russian regions shaded in blue. It was this mistake that paved the way to the current impasse in what is but by all rights should never have been eastern Ukraine.

Then, right before, and again right after World War II Stalin lumped in the green-shaded western districts, which were previously part of he Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its inhabitants were Austrian, Polish, Hungarian, Rumanian and most of the rest, though initially Russian, had spent five centuries under foreign rule and spoke a distinctive, archaic dialect that served as the basis for creating the synthetic language now known as Ukrainian, while the rest of what is now Ukraine spoke Russian, Yiddish and a wide assortment of village dialects. It was this alienated group that was used as leavening to fashion a synthetic Ukrainian nationalism. In turn, Ukrainian Bolshevik leaders used this faux-nationalism to fashion the Ukraine into a regional power center within the USSR.

And then came the final mistake when Nikita Khrushchev, very much a product of the Ukrainian regional power center, paid it back for helping to promote him to the top job by giving it Russian Crimea—a move that was illegal under the Soviet constitution which was in effect at that time and a prime example of late Bolshevik political corruption that was undone in 2014 with great jubilation.

There are those who think that the solution to the Ukrainian problem is to take the Ukraine apart the same way it was put together. Behold the following map. Moving east to west, we have the Russian tricolor over Crimea (the only factual bit so far), then the flag of Novorussia covering all those territories that were arbitrarily lumped into the newly created Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Lenin in 1922. Further west we have the flag of the state of Ukraine. And to the west is the flag of the Right Sector, a nationalist party with distinct Nazi tendencies that is currently active in Ukrainian politics.

I believe that, with the exception of Crimea, this map may very well turn out to be complete and utter nonsense. It seems outlandish to think that the Ukrainian Humpty-Dumpty, which is in the process of being knocked off the wall most unceremoniously by just about everyone, including Russia, the EU and the US, is going to break apart into such tidy, historically justifiable pieces. For one thing, national borders don’t matter so much any more once you are east of the Russian border, all of Europe now being one big unhappy mess. With millions of Ukrainians trying to eke out a living by working in Russia, or Poland, or further West, the distinctions between the various bits of the Ukrainian territory they are from are just not that meaningful to anyone.

For another, all of the Ukraine is now owned by the same bunch of oligarchs whose fortunes are tightly integrated with those of transnational corporations and of Western financial institutions. None of them care at all about the people that once inhabited this region and their varied histories and linguistic preferences. They care about translating economic and financial control directly into political control with a minimum of diplomatic politesse. The Ukraine has been in the process of being stripped bare of anything valuable for 30 years now, up to and including its fertile soil, and once there is nothing left to loot it will be abandoned as a wild field, largely uninhabited.

But we are not quite there yet, and for now the only map that really matters is the following one, which shows the two separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, collectively known as Donbass, short for Donetsk Basin, a prolific coal province that was mainly responsible for fueling the Ukraine’s former industrial might, which to this day continues to produce anthracite, a valuable, energy-rich coal that is now scarce in the world. It is that relatively tiny but densely populated sliver of land along the Russian border, less than 100km across in many places, that is the powder keg that some believe may set off World War III.

The Ukrainian military has been massing troops and armor along the line of separation while the Russian military has pulled up its forces to their side of the border. Shelling, sniper fire and other provocations from the Ukrainian side are intensifying, with the hope of provoking the Russians into moving forces onto Ukrainian territory, thus allowing the collective West to shout “Aha! Russian aggression!” Then they could put a stop to Nord Stream II pipeline, scoring a major geopolitical victory for Washington and follow that up with plenty of other belligerent moves designed to hurt Russia politically and economically.

For the Russians, there are no good choices that are obvious.

  • Not responding to Ukrainian provocations and doing nothing while they shell and invade the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk, killing Russian citizens who live there, would make Russia look weak, undermine the Russian government’s position domestically and cost it a great deal of geopolitical capital internationally.

  • Responding to Ukrainian provocations with overwhelming military force and crushing the Ukrainian military as was done in Georgia in 2008 would be popular domestically but could potentially lead to a major escalation and possibly an all-out war with NATO. Even if militarily the conflict is contained and NATO forces sit it out, as they did in Georgia, the political ramifications would cause much damage to the Russian economy through tightened sanctions and disruptions to international trade.

Those being the obvious bad choices, what are the obvious good ones, if any?

Here, we have to pay careful attention to the official pronouncements Putin has made over the years, and to take them as face value.

First, he said that Russia does not need any more territory; it has all the land it could ever want.

Second, he said that Russia will follow the path of maximum liberalization in granting citizenship to compatriots and that, in turn, the well-being of Russia’s citizens is a top priority.

Third, he said that resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine through military means is unacceptable. Given these constraints, what courses of action remain open?

The answer, I believe, is obvious: evacuation. There are around 3.2 million residents in Donetsk People’s Republic and 1.4 million in Lugansk People’s Republic, for a total of some 4.6 million residents. This may seem like a huge number, but it’s moderate by the scale of World War II evacuations. Keep in mind that Russia has already absorbed over a million Ukrainian migrants and refugees without much of a problem. Also, Russia is currently experiencing a major labor shortage, and an infusion of able-bodied Russians would be most welcome.

Domestically, the evacuation would likely be quite popular: Russia is doing right by its own people by pulling them out of harm’s way. The patriotic base would be energized and the already very active Russian volunteer movement would swing into action to assist the Emergencies Ministry in helping move and resettle the evacuees. The elections that are to take place later this year would turn into a nationwide welcoming party for several million new voters. The Donbass evacuation could pave the way for other waves of repatriation that are likely to follow. There are some 20 million Russians scattered throughout the world, and as the world outside Russia plunges deeper and deeper into resource scarcity they too will want to come home. While they may presently be reluctant to do so, seeing the positive example of how the Donbass evacuees are treated could help change their minds.

The negative optics of surrendering territory can be countered by not surrendering any territory. As a guarantor of the Minsk Agreements, Russia must refuse to surrender the Donbass to the Ukrainian government until it fulfills the terms of these agreements, which it has shown no intention of doing for seven years now and which it has recently repudiated altogether. It is important to note that the Russian military can shoot straight across all of Donbass without setting foot on Ukrainian soil. Should the Ukrainian forces attempt to enter Donbass, they will be dealt with as shown in the following instructional video. Note that the maximum range of the Tornado-G system shown in the video is 120km.

And should the Ukrainians care to respond by attacking Russian territory, another one of Putin’s pronouncements helps us understand what would happen next: if attacked, Russia will respond not just against the attackers but also against the centers of decision-making responsible for the attack. The Ukrainian command in Kiev, as well as its NATO advisers, would probably keep this statement in mind when considering their steps.

The Donbass evacuation should resonate rather well internationally. It would be a typical Putin judo move knocking NATO and the US State Department off-balance. Since this would be a large humanitarian mission, it would be ridiculous to attempt to portray it as “Russian aggression.” On the other hand, Russia would be quite within its rights to issue stern warnings that any attempt to interfere with the evacuation or to launch provocations during the evacuation process would be dealt with very harshly, freeing Russia’s hands in dispatching to God the berserkers from the Ukraine’s Nazi battalions, some of whom don’t particularly like to follow orders.

The West would be left with the following status quo. The Donbass is empty of residents but off-limits to them or to the Ukrainians. The evacuation would in no sense change the standing or the negotiating position of the evacuees and their representatives vis-à-vis the Minsk agreements, locking this situation in place until Kiev undertakes constitutional reform, becomes a federation and grants full autonomy to Donbass, or until the Ukrainian state ceases to exist and is partitioned. The Ukraine would be unable to join NATO (a pipe dream which it has stupidly voted into its constitution) since this would violate the NATO charter, given that it does not control its own territory.

Further sanctions against Russia would become even more difficult to justify, since it would be untenable to accuse it of aggression for undertaking a humanitarian mission to protect its own citizens or for carrying out its responsibilities as a guarantor of the Minsk agreements. The Donbass would remain as a stalker zone roamed by Russian battlefield robots sniping Ukrainian marauders, with the odd busload of schoolchildren there on a field trip to lay flowers on the graves of their ancestors. Its ruined Soviet-era buildings, not made any newer by three decades of Ukrainian abuse and neglect, will bear silent witness to the perpetual ignominy of the failed Ukrainian state.

History is as often driven by accident as by logic, but since we cannot predict accidents, logic is the only tool we have in trying to guess the shape of the future. Rephrasing Voltaire, this, then, is the best that we can expect to happen in this the best of all possible worlds.

*  *  *

Dmiry's other writings are available at https://patreon.com/orlov and https://subscribestar.com/orlov. Thank you for your support.

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[Markets] The Political Economy Of Fear The Political Economy Of Fear

Authored by Robert Higgs via The Mises Institute,

[This article was originally published May 16, 2005... but seems ominously prophetic given our current age of rage and unreason.]

[S]ince love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. 

- Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, 1513

All animals experience fear - human beings, perhaps, most of all. Any animal incapable of fear would have been hard pressed to survive, regardless of its size, speed, or other attributes. Fear alerts us to dangers that threaten our well-being and sometimes our very lives. Sensing fear, we respond by running away, by hiding, or by preparing to ward off the danger.

To disregard fear is to place ourselves in possibly mortal jeopardy. Even the man who acts heroically on the battlefield, if he is honest, admits that he is scared. To tell people not to be afraid is to give them advice that they cannot take. Our evolved physiological makeup disposes us to fear all sorts of actual and potential threats, even those that exist only in our imagination.

The people who have the effrontery to rule us, who call themselves our government, understand this basic fact of human nature. They exploit it, and they cultivate it. Whether they compose a warfare state or a welfare state, they depend on it to secure popular submission, compliance with official dictates, and, on some occasions, affirmative cooperation with the state's enterprises and adventures. Without popular fear, no government could endure more than twenty-four hours. David Hume taught that all government rests on public opinion, but that opinion, I maintain, is not the bedrock of government. Public opinion itself rests on something deeper: fear.

Hume recognizes that the opinions that support government receive their force from "other principles," among which he includes fear, but he judges these other principles to be "the secondary, not the original principles of government" ([1777] 1987, 34). He writes: "No man would have any reason to fear the fury of a tyrant, if he had no authority over any but from fear" (ibid., emphasis in original). We may grant Hume's statement yet maintain that the government's authority over the great mass of its subjects rests fundamentally on fear. Every ideology that endows government with legitimacy requires and is infused by some kind(s) of fear. This fear need not be fear of the government itself and indeed may be fear of the danger from which the tyrant purports to protect the people.

The Natural History of Fear

Thousands of years ago, when the first governments were fastening themselves on people, they relied primarily on warfare and conquest. As Henry Hazlitt ([1976] 1994) observes,

There may have been somewhere, as a few eighteenth-century philosophers dreamed, a group of peaceful men who got together one evening after work and drew up a Social Contract to form the state. But nobody has been able to find an actual record of it. Practically all the governments whose origins are historically established were the result of conquest—of one tribe by another, one city by another, one people by another. Of course there have been constitutional conventions, but they merely changed the working rules of governments already in being.

Losers who were not slain in the conquest itself had to endure the consequent rape and pillage and in the longer term to acquiesce in the continuing payment of tribute to the insistent rulers—the stationary bandits, as Mancur Olson (2000, 6–9) aptly calls them. Subjugated people, for good reason, feared for their lives. Offered the choice of losing their wealth or losing their lives, they tended to choose the sacrifice of their wealth. Hence arose taxation, variously rendered in goods, services, or money (Nock [1935] 1973, 19–22; Nock relies on and credits the pioneering historical research of Ludwig Gumplowicz and Franz Oppenheimer).

Conquered people, however, naturally resent their imposed government and the taxation and other insults that it foists on them. Such resentful people easily become restive; should a promising opportunity to throw off the oppressor's dominion present itself, they may seize it. Even if they mount no rebellion or overt resistance, however, they quietly strive to avoid their rulers' exactions and to sabotage their rulers' apparatus of government. As Machiavelli observes, the conqueror "who does not manage this matter well, will soon lose whatever he has gained, and while he retains it will find in it endless troubles and annoyances" ([1513] 1992, 5). For the stationary bandits, force alone proves a very costly resource for keeping people in the mood to generate a substantial, steady stream of tribute.

Sooner or later, therefore, every government augments the power of its sword with the power of its priesthood, forging an iron union of throne and altar. In olden times, not uncommonly, the rulers were themselves declared to be gods—the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt made this claim for many centuries. Now the subjects can be brought to fear not only the ruler's superior force, but also his supernatural powers. Moreover, if people believe in an afterlife, where the pain and sorrows of this life may be sloughed off, the priests hold a privileged position in prescribing the sort of behavior in the here and now that best serves one's interest in securing a blessed situation in the life to come. Referring to the Catholic Church of his own day, Machiavelli takes note of "the spiritual power which of itself confers so mighty an authority" ([1513] 1992, 7), and he heaps praise on Ferdinand of Aragon, who, "always covering himself with the cloak of religion, ... had recourse to what may be called pious cruelty" (59, emphasis in original).

One naturally wonders whether President George W. Bush has taken a page from Ferdinand's book (see, in particular, Higgs 2003a and, for additional aspects, Higgs 2005b).

Naturally, the warriors and the priests, if not one and the same, almost invariably come to be cooperating parties in the apparatus of rule. In medieval Europe, for example, a baron's younger brother might look forward to becoming a bishop.

Thus, the warrior element of government puts the people in fear for their lives, and the priestly element puts them in fear for their eternal souls. These two fears compose a powerful compound—sufficient to prop up governments everywhere on earth for several millennia.

Over the ages, governments refined their appeals to popular fears, fostering an ideology that emphasizes the people's vulnerability to a variety of internal and external dangers from which the governors—of all people!—are said to be their protectors. Government, it is claimed, protects the populace from external attackers and from internal disorder, both of which are portrayed as ever-present threats. Sometimes the government, as if seeking to fortify the mythology with grains of truth, does protect people in this fashion—even the shepherd protects his sheep, but he does so to serve his own interest, not theirs, and when the time comes, he will shear or slaughter them as his interest dictates.

Olson (2000, 9–10) describes in simple terms why the stationary bandit may find it in his interest to invest in public goods (the best examples of which are defense of the realm and "law and order") that enhance his subjects' productivity. In brief, the ruler does so when the present value of the expected additional tax revenue he will be able to collect from a more productive population exceeds the current cost of the investment that renders the people more productive. See also the interpretation advanced by Bates (2001, 56–69, 102), who argues that in western Europe the kings entered into deals with the merchants and burghers, trading mercantilist privileges and "liberties" for tax revenue, in order to dominate the chronically warring rural dynasties and thereby to pacify the countryside. Unfortunately, as Bates recognizes, the kings sought this enlarged revenue for the purpose of conducting ever-more-costly wars against other kings and against domestic opponents. Thus, their "pacification" schemes, for the most part, served the purpose of funding their fighting, leaving the net effect on overall societal well-being very much in question. Both Olson and Bates argue along lines similar to those developed by Douglass C. North in a series of books published over the past four decades; see especially North and Thomas 1973, and North 1981 and 1990.

When the government fails to protect the people as promised, it always has a good excuse, often blaming some element of the population--scapegoats such as traders, money lenders, and unpopular ethnic or religious minorities. "[N]o prince," Machiavelli assures us, "was ever at a loss for plausible reasons to cloak a breach of faith" ([1513] 1992, 46).

The religious grounds for submission to the ruler-gods gradually transmogrified into notions of nationalism and popular duty, culminating eventually in the curious idea that under a democratic system of government, the people themselves are the government, and hence whatever it requires them to do, they are really doing for themselves—as Woodrow Wilson had the cheek to declare when he proclaimed military conscription backed by severe criminal sanctions in 1917, "it is in no sense a conscription of the unwilling: it is, rather, selection from a nation which has volunteered in mass" (qtd. in Palmer 1931, 216–17).

Not long after the democratic dogma had gained a firm foothold, organized coalitions emerged from the mass electorate and joined the elites in looting the public treasury, and, as a consequence, in the late nineteenth century the so-called welfare state began to take shape. From that time forward, people were told that the government can and should protect them from all sorts of workaday threats to their lives, livelihoods, and overall well-being—threats of destitution, hunger, disability, unemployment, illness, lack of income in old age, germs in the water, toxins in the food, and insults to their race, sex, ancestry, creed, and so forth. Nearly everything that the people feared, the government then stood poised to ward off. Thus did the welfare state anchor its rationale in the solid rock of fear. Governments, having exploited popular fears of violence so successfully from time immemorial (promising "national security"), had no difficulty in cementing these new stones (promising "social security") into their foundations of rule.

The Political Economy of Fear

Fear, like every other "productive" resource, is subject to the laws of production. Thus, it cannot escape the law of diminishing marginal productivity: as successive doses of fear-mongering are added to the government's "production" process, the incremental public clamor for governmental protection declines. The first time the government cries wolf, the public is frightened; the second time, less so; the third time, still less so. If the government plays the fear card too much, it overloads the public's sensibilities, and eventually people discount almost entirely the government's attempts to frighten them further.

Having been warned in the 1970s about catastrophic global cooling (see, for example, The Cooling World 1975), then, soon afterward, about catastrophic global warming, the populace may grow weary of heeding the government's warnings about the dire consequences of alleged global climate changes—dire unless, of course, the government takes stringent measures to bludgeon the people into doing what "must" be done to avert the predicted disaster.

Recently the former Homeland Security czar Tom Ridge revealed that other government officials had overruled him when he wanted to refrain from raising the color-coded threat level to orange, or "high" risk of terrorist attack, in response to highly unlikely threats. "You have to use that tool of communication very sparingly," Ridge astutely remarked (qtd. by Hall 2005).

Fear is a depreciating asset. As Machiavelli observes, "the temper of the multitude is fickle, and ... while it is easy to persuade them of a thing, it is hard to fix them in that persuasion" ([1513 1992, 14). Unless the foretold threat eventuates, the people come to doubt its substance. The government must make up for the depreciation by investing in the maintenance, modernization, and replacement of its stock of fear capital. For example, during the Cold War, the general sense of fear of the Soviets tended to dissipate unless restored by periodic crises, many of which took the form of officially announced or leaked "gaps" between U.S. and Soviet military capabilities: troop-strength gap, bomber gap, missile gap, antimissile gap, first-strike-missile gap, defense-spending gap, thermonuclear-throw-weight gap, and so forth (Higgs 1994, 301–02).4

One of the most memorable and telling lines in the classic Cold War film Dr. Strangelove occurs as the president and his military bigwigs, facing unavoidable nuclear devastation of the earth, devise a plan to shelter a remnant of Americans for thousands of years in deep mine shafts, and General "Buck" Turgidson, still obsessed with a possible Russian advantage, declares: "Mr. President, we must not allow a mine-shaft gap!"

Lately, a succession of official warnings about possible forms of terrorist attack on the homeland has served the same purpose: keeping the people "vigilant," which is to say, willing to pour enormous amounts of their money into the government's bottomless budgetary pits of "defense" and "homeland security" (Higgs 2003b).

This same factor helps to explain the drumbeat of fears pounded out by the mass media: besides serving their own interests in capturing an audience, they buy insurance against government punishment by playing along with whatever program of fear-mongering the government is conducting currently. Anyone who watches, say, CNN's Headline News programs can attest that a day seldom passes without some new announcement of a previously unsuspected Terrible Threat—I call it the danger du jour.

By keeping the population in a state of artificially heightened apprehension, the government-cum-media prepares the ground for planting specific measures of taxation, regulation, surveillance, reporting, and other invasions of the people's wealth, privacy, and freedoms. Left alone for a while, relieved of this ceaseless bombardment of warnings, people would soon come to understand that hardly any of the announced threats has any substance and that they can manage their own affairs quite well without the security-related regimentation and tax-extortion the government seeks to justify.

Large parts of the government and the "private" sector participate in the production and distribution of fear. (Beware: many of the people in the ostensibly private sector are in reality some sort of mercenary living ultimately at taxpayer expense. True government employment is much greater than officially reported [Light 1999; Higgs 2005a] .) Defense contractors, of course, have long devoted themselves to stoking fears of enemies big and small around the globe who allegedly seek to crush our way of life at the earliest opportunity. Boeing's often-shown TV spots, for example, assure us that the company is contributing mightily to protecting "our freedom." If you believe that, I have a shiny hunk of useless Cold War hardware to sell you. The news and entertainment media enthusiastically jump on the bandwagon of foreign-menace alarmism—anything to get the public's attention.

Consultants of every size and shape clamber onboard, too, facilitating the distribution of billions of dollars to politically favored suppliers of phoney-baloney "studies" that give rise to thick reports, the bulk of which is nothing but worthless filler restating the problem and speculating about how one might conceivably go about discovering workable solutions. All such reports agree, however, that a crisis looms and that more such studies must be made in preparation for dealing with it. Hence a kind of Say's Law of the political economy of crisis: supply (of government-funded studies) creates its own demand (for government-funded studies).

Truth be known, governments commission studies when they are content with the status quo but desire to write hefty checks to political favorites, cronies, and old associates who now purport to be "consultants." At the same time, in this way, the government demonstrates to the public that it is "doing something" to avert impending crisis X.

At every point, opportunists latch onto existing fears and strive to invent new ones to feather their own nests. Thus, public-school teachers and administrators agree that the nation faces an "education crisis." Police departments and temperance crusaders insist that the nation faces a generalized "drug crisis" or at times a specific drug crisis, such as "an epidemic of crack cocaine use." Public-health interests foster fears of "epidemics" that in reality consist not of the spread of contagious pathogens but of the lack of personal control and self-responsibility, such as the "epidemic of obesity" or the "epidemic of juvenile homicides." By means of this tactic, a host of personal peccadilloes has been medicalized and consigned to the "therapeutic state" (Nolan 1998, Szasz 2001, Higgs 1999).

In this way, people's fears that their children may become drug addicts or gun down a classmate become grist for the government's mill—a mill that may grind slowly, but at least it does so at immense expense, with each dollar falling into some fortunate recipient's pocket (a psychiatrist, a social worker, a public-health nurse, a drug-court judge; the list is almost endless). In this way and countless others, private parties become complicit in sustaining a vast government apparatus fueled by fear.

Fear Works Best in Wartime

Even absolute monarchs can get bored. The exercise of great power may become tedious and burdensome—underlings are always disturbing your serenity with questions about details; victims are always appealing for clemency, pardons, or exemptions from your rules. In wartime, however, rulers come alive. Nothing equals war as an opportunity for greatness and public acclaim, as all such leaders understand (Higgs 1997). Condemned to spend their time in high office during peacetime, they are necessarily condemned to go down in history as mediocrities at best.

Upon the outbreak of war, however, the exhilaration of the hour spreads through the entire governing apparatus. Army officers who had languished for years at the rank of captain may now anticipate becoming colonels. Bureau heads who had supervised a hundred subordinates with a budget of $1 million may look forward to overseeing a thousand with a budget of $20 million. Powerful new control agencies must be created and staffed. New facilities must be built, furnished, and operated. Politicians who had found themselves frozen in partisan gridlock can now expect that the torrent of money gushing from the public treasury will grease the wheels for putting together humongous legislative deals undreamt of in the past. Everywhere the government turns its gaze, the scene is flush with energy, power, and money. For those whose hands direct the machinery of a government at war, life has never been better.

Small wonder that John T. Flynn (1948), in writing about the teeming bureaucrats during World War II, titled his chapter "The Happiest Years of Their Lives":

Even before the war, the country had become a bureaucrat's paradise. But with the launching of the war effort the bureaus proliferated and the bureaucrats swarmed over the land like a plague of locusts. ... The place [Washington, D.C.] swarmed with little professors fresh from their $2,500-a-year jobs now stimulated by five, six and seven-thousand-dollar salaries and whole big chunks of the American economy resting in their laps. (310, 315)

Sudden bureaucratic dilation on such a scale can happen only when the nation goes to war and the public relaxes its resistance to the government's exactions. Legislators know that they can now get away with taxing people at hugely elevated rates, rationing goods, allocating raw materials, transportation services, and credit, authorizing gargantuan borrowing, drafting men, and generally exercising vastly more power than they exercised before the war.

Although people may groan and complain about the specific actions the bureaucrats take in implementing the wartime mobilization, few dare to resist overtly or even to criticize publicly the overall mobilization or the government's entry into the war—by doing so they would expose themselves not only to legal and extralegal government retribution but also to the rebuke and ostracism of their friends, neighbors, and business associates. As the conversation stopper went during World War II, "Don't you know there's a war on?" (Lingeman 1970).

Because during wartime the public fears for the nation's welfare, perhaps even for its very survival, people surrender wealth, privacy, and liberties to the government far more readily than they otherwise would. Government and its private contractors therefore have a field day. Opportunists galore join the party, each claiming to be performing some "essential war service," no matter how remote their affairs may be from contributing directly to the military program. Using popular fear to justify its predations, the government lays claim to great expanses of the economy and the society. Government taxation, borrowing, expenditure, and direct controls dilate, while individual rights shrivel into insignificance. Of what importance is one little person when the entire nation is in peril?

Finally, of course, every war ends, but each leaves legacies that persist, sometimes permanently. In the United States, the War between the States and both world wars left a multitude of such legacies (Hummel 1996, Higgs 1987, 2004). Likewise, as Corey Robin (2004, 25) writes, "one day, the war on terrorism will come to an end. All wars do. And when it does, we will find ourselves still living in fear: not of terrorism or radical Islam, but of the domestic rulers that fear has left behind." Among other things, we will find that "various security agencies operating in the interest of national security have leveraged their coercive power in ways that target dissenters posing no conceivable threat of terrorism" (189). Not by accident, "the FBI has targeted the antiwar movement in the United States for especially close scrutiny" (189).

Such targeting is scarcely a surprise, because war is, in Randolph Bourne's classic phrase, "the health of the state," and the FBI is a core agency in protecting and enhancing the U.S. government's health. Over the years, the FBI has also done much to promote fear among the American populace, most notoriously perhaps in its COINTELPRO operations during the 1960s, but in plenty of others ways, too (Linfield 1990, 59–60, 71, 99–102, 123–28, 134–39). Nor has it worked alone in these endeavors. From top to bottom, the government wants us to be afraid, needs us to be afraid, invests greatly in making us afraid.

Conclusion

 Were we ever to stop being afraid of the government itself and to cast off the phoney fears it has fostered, the government would shrivel and die, and the host would disappear for the tens of millions of parasites in the United States—not to speak of the vast number of others in the rest of the world--who now feed directly and indirectly off the public's wealth and energies. On that glorious day, everyone who had been living at public expense would have to get an honest job, and the rest of us, recognizing government as the false god it has always been, could set about assuaging our remaining fears in more productive and morally defensible ways.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/18/2021 - 00:00
Published:4/17/2021 11:31:28 PM
[Markets] Watch: Sikorsky's S-97 Raider Performs Impressive First Flight Demo  Watch: Sikorsky's S-97 Raider Performs Impressive First Flight Demo 

For the first time, the Sikorsky S-97 Raider flew multiple flight demonstrations this week for service leaders and soldiers at the company's test center at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

Defense giant Lockheed Martin, who owns Sikorsky, released a press release on Thursday detailing the demonstrations on Tuesday and Thursday. 

"The events offered a glimpse at Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company's bid for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program, part of the U.S. Army's Future Vertical Lift (FVL) effort to revolutionize its aircraft fleet," the press release said.

The Sikorsky S-97 Raider is based on its X2 coaxial-rotor technology, making it a fast and agile aircraft, well suited for the modern battlefield. The new FVL is expected to fill a capability gap left by the retirement of the Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter. 

"Since the first Black Hawk took to the skies in the 1970s, to when our teams broke helicopter speed records with X2 Technology in 2010, we have been working with our Army partners to develop and deliver low-risk, transformational, affordable and sustainable aircraft to support the warfighters' missions," said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo, who was at the demonstrations. 

Lemmo continued: "This is the first of what we believe will be many times our X2 Future Vertical Lift aircraft will fly at Redstone."

Sikorsky test pilots Christiaan Corry and Bill Fell piloted the S-97 at both demonstrations, highlighting the aircraft's new capabilities. 

"Flying RAIDER continues to amaze me," said Corry, a former U.S. Marine with more than 4,500 flight hours in 25 different types of aircraft, including numerous helicopters. 

"The combination of the coaxial rotors and the propulsor are really the enablers for this transformational technology. As we demonstrated today, in low-speed flight we are as capable as a conventional helicopter, but when we engage the prop, we are able to operate in a whole new way – it's much more like flying an airplane," he said. 

In 2018, the Army selected two FARA candidates. Sikorsky is currently in the running with the S-97 Raider and Bell's V-280 Valor tiltrotor.

FARA aircraft are expected to replace the military's aging fleet of helicopters in the coming years as part of a vast modernization effort to counter China and Russia. 

Watch the S-97 Raider demonstrations below:  

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 23:30
Published:4/17/2021 11:01:34 PM
[Donald Trump] Joe Biden is weak on Russia, Donald Trump was not (Paul Mirengoff) As I contended here, when it came to Russia, Donald Trump spoke softly but carried a stick. He didn’t attack Vladimir Putin personally, but he punished Russian misconduct to some extent and took meaningful measures to thwart Russian expansionism. So far, Joe Biden has adopted the opposite approach. He calls Putin “a killer,” but does not meaningfully punish Russia, even as it amasses large forces on the border of Ukraine. Published:4/17/2021 10:02:02 PM
[Markets] Canadian Cops Refuse To Enforce Ontario's New 'Police State' COVID-Lockdown Laws Canadian Cops Refuse To Enforce Ontario's New 'Police State' COVID-Lockdown Laws

Authored by Thomas Lifson via AmericanThinker.com,

A new police state has been established just north of the states of Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.  The Province of Ontario is home to over 38% of the population of Canada and is 55% bigger in area than the State of Texas, and it is now acting like a nightmarish police state.

Solicitor General Jones (Twitter video screen grab).

CTV News reports:

The Ontario government is giving police temporary powers to enforce its stay-at-home order and allowing them to stop individuals and vehicles and ask their reasons for leaving their homes.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones made the announcement Friday afternoon as part of the new measures introduced by Premier Doug Ford's government to stop the further spread of COVID-19.

"We have made the deliberate decision to temporarily enhance police officers' authority for the duration of the stay-at-home order. Moving forward, police will have the authority to require any individual who is not in a place of residence to first provide the purpose for not being at home and provide their home address," Jones said.

"Police will also have the authority to stop a vehicle to inquire about an individual's reason for leaving their residence."

So much for freedom of movement or assembly.  Unless the police deem your presence outside your prison cell home essential, you could be in for trouble.  

Those who will not comply will be issued a ticket, Jones said. The province has not provided further details on possible fines, but she said under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, penalties for non-compliance are set at a minimum of $750.

I find the excerpts from the news conference announcing these changes deeply troubling, just looking at the faces and listening to the tone of these authoritarians as they try to justify their seizure of power over the details of ordinary life.  George Orwell would recognize them:

Ontarian police and local authorities are not necessarily enthusiastic about exercising these new powers to detain citizens and examine their motives for daring to leave home:

A spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service said they are reviewing the new orders.

"Prior to any change in our enforcement strategy, we will notify the public on how we plan to implement the new provincial orders," spokesperson Allison Sparkes said.

Several police services have said Friday that they will not be randomly stopping people. They include Waterloo Regional PolicePeterborough PoliceGuelph PoliceLondon Police and Ottawa Police.

Toronto Mayor John Tory expressed his concerns over the new police powers, saying in a tweet that he will review the regulations carefully and will discuss them with the medical officer of health and the police chief.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie also said stopping people arbitrarily "is not how we get control of the virus." She added that she will speak to the chief of Peel police and public health to look at how it will be enforced.

It sounds as if the provincial authorities are drawing their inspiration from China's early response with drastic lockdowns.  At least so far, they are not discussing welding doors shut to trap people inside.  They might also consider the disaster across their own border in Michigan, where Governor Gretchen Whitmer's drastic lockdown regulations have led to one of if not the worst problems with COVID in the United States, while  free states like Texas and Florida do much better.

I'd be a lot more impressed if, instead of trying tom keep people indoors, where the virus spreads far more readily than outdoors, they focused in early therapeutic intervention in cases of COVID, using ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, both widely used and relatively benign pharmaceuticals, that inhibit reproduction of the virus and often have been shown to slow and even stop the effects.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 23:00
Published:4/17/2021 10:02:02 PM
[Markets] "Fentanyl Is Here:" Las Vegas Suffers 200% Surge In Overdose Deaths "Fentanyl Is Here:" Las Vegas Suffers 200% Surge In Overdose Deaths

America has been engulfed with a drug problem for decades, but the situation is quickly deteriorating as the largest inbound fentanyl traffic into the country was recently reported. Not surprising, but Las Vegas has been the latest metro area to suffer an "alarming" surge in overdose deaths.

According to Las Vegas Sun, fentanyl killed 219 people in the Las Vegas Valley in 2020, a stunning 200% increase from the prior year. 

During the 2015-18 opioid crisis that ravaged many metros across the US, Clark County, Nevada, the area that houses Las Vegas, recorded annual reductions in opioid overdoses and deaths. 

Since then, Mexican fentanyl has flooded the town, and overdoses/deaths have soared. 

"We said fentanyl was coming," Metro Police Capt. John Pelletier told reporters Thursday. "Fentanyl is here."

Reporters questioned Pelletier about how the drug crisis is going so far (on a year-to-date basis), he answered: "not good." 

"Clark County fentanyl deaths are on par with the "alarming" 30% increase in total overdose deaths in 2020, when 768 people succumbed to them, compared with 591 in 2019," Pelletier said, adding that 31 people were killed in the county in August, an average of about one per day. 

Last week, Metro Police announced the creation of the Overdose Response Team, a task force comprised of local police and federal agencies. The task force would pursue murder charges for dealers accused of killing clients with drugs. 

Another issue in Las Vegas and across Clark County is counterfeit pills that look identical to prescription medications are cut with fentanyl and have been responsible for overdoses and deaths. 

The rise in fentanyl use across Clark County coincided with multiple things, such as a socio-economic implosion of Vegas during lockdowns, where tens of thousands of people lost their jobs. At the same time, Mexican drug cartels were pumping record amounts of the drug into the US - some describe this as a 'perfect storm.'

"This emergency, this situation, does not discriminate," Pelletier said. "It does not care how old you are; it does not care where you live."

... and Pelletier is correct. The drug crisis has dramatically worsened since the pandemic began, with many streets in various metro areas have transformed into a "zombie apocalypse." 

Right now, Mexican drug cartels are pumping US streets with fentanyl, and the Biden administration doesn't seem too worried about doing anything to stop this from happening with their relaxed border policies. 

Vegas and the surrounding county are the next victims of the fentanyl crisis. Those partying in Vegas, be careful what party drugs you ingest. It could very well be cut with fentanyl. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 22:30
Published:4/17/2021 9:33:59 PM
[] YIKES! Plane makes emergency water landing near the beach during air show in Florida [video] Published:4/17/2021 9:21:18 PM
[structure:news/world-news] Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny could die 'any minute', doctors warn Published:4/17/2021 9:21:18 PM
[] HE FINALLY DID IT! Biden Admits There's a Crisis at the Border! Published:4/17/2021 9:03:56 PM
[Politics] IN COLD BLOOD: Media’s lies about law enforcement will DESTROY this country, says Mark Levin. Mark Levin blasted the media, Al Sharpton, and the general atmosphere of attacking, lying about, and railroading police for doing policing that prevails in this country now. If the lies about law . . . Published:4/17/2021 9:03:56 PM
[Politics] IN COLD BLOOD: Media’s lies about law enforcement will DESTROY this country, says Mark Levin. Mark Levin blasted the media, Al Sharpton, and the general atmosphere of attacking, lying about, and railroading police for doing policing that prevails in this country now. If the lies about law . . . Published:4/17/2021 9:03:56 PM
[Markets] The Plutocrats Of Wall Street And Silicon Valley Are Scamming America The Plutocrats Of Wall Street And Silicon Valley Are Scamming America

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

In recent years, it seems that the nation’s CEOs and billionaires are increasingly willing to drop the pretense that they are politically neutral entrepreneurs who simply want to go about their business.

Last week, for example, more than a hundred CEOs met to plot ways to punish the people of Georgia by “stopping investments in states” that pass laws unapproved by the billionaire class.

This comes in the wake of a decision by Major League Baseball—a collection of billionaire-owned sports teams—to punish residents of Georgia for the fact a tiny number of politicians there passed legislation designed to lessen voter fraud. In retaliation, MLB decided to move the league’s all-star game so as to deny the residents of Atlanta the economic benefits of hosting the game.

This comes only a few years after Apple CEO Tim Cook led a corporate campaign to boycott Indiana after Cook and Marc Benioff (the CEO of Salesforce) demanded the people of Indiana be punished. This was because the Indiana legislature passed a law which some billionaires decided was insufficiently pro-LGBT.

These examples, however, constitute only a small and relatively innocuous part of the political scheming and lobbying in which powerful CEOs, billionaires, and investors routinely engage.

Certainly, wealthy CEOs are happy to throw their weight around in pursuit of social policies they like. But while the CEOs’ calls for boycotts and retribution against entire populations of various states makes for good headlines and talk radio, the billionaire class inflicts far more damage on ordinary Americans through other means. 

It is not unusual to find large corporate interests like big banks, Silicon Valley firms, and Wall Street investors calling for a wide variety of policies which transfer wealth from the general public to the well-lined pockets of the monied classes. These can include monetary policies that benefit the wealthiest Americans, as well as tax policies and regulations that favor large well-established firms at the expense of everyone else.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new, and it has always been the case that well-heeled pressure groups attempt to turn their financial resources into political power.

Free Markets vs. the Plutocracy

The potential danger of this situation was not lost on the classical liberals (i.e., the libertarians) of generations past, who opposed "the privileged" among the wealthy who sought to exercise political power.

Specifically, it was the Jeffersonians, the Jacksonians, and other advocates of free markets and laissez-faire who attacked these monied groups under a variety of names. Names like “stock jobbers,” the “new aristocracy,” the “scrip nobility,” and “the plutocracy” have all been employed to draw attention to a wealthy elite which manipulates Congress and the central bank in schemes of economic exploitation.

The Classical Liberals and Economic Exploitation

This language of “exploitation” might strike some readers as odd. Unfortunately, a certain naïve view of social classes has become popular among some conservatives and libertarians who think that that the concept of “class warfare” was invented by the Marxists. Moreover, some even insist that the wealthy classes pose no threat to political or market institutions, and that the wealthy seek only to mind their own business.

But, as historian Ralph Raico has explained, the idea of exploitation of one class by another was, in fact, pioneered by the classical liberals. It was these liberals who well understood that the power of the state could be harnessed by one group for the purposes of extracting resources from another group. Left to itself, of course, the marketplace does not foster exploitation, as market activities are voluntary. Once the state is involved, however, the coercive power of the regime changes the equation. The key to success in exploiting others lays in harnessing the power of the state to carry out the exploiters’ schemes. The wealthy have never been immune to this temptation.

We find these views in an early form in America in the thinking of the Jeffersonian theorist John Taylor of Caroline. Taylor decried the urban investor class that sought to manipulate the new nation’s financial policies to serve this rising plutocracy’s own ends. Taylor, according to Raico,

was outraged by what he saw as the betrayal of the principles of the American Revolution by a new aristocracy based on "separate legal interests," the bankers privileged to issue paper money as legal tender and the beneficiaries of "public improvements" and protective tariffs. American society has been divided into the privileged and the unprivileged by this "substantial revival of the feudal system.”

The threat of this new “aristocracy” had certainly not lessened by the 1830s, when the Jacksonian William Leggett pointed out that the US had attained its own homegrown exploiter class to rival the haughty ruling classes of the Old World. Referring to the ostentatious palaces erected by the wealthy elites of Genoa, Leggett asked,

Is there no parallel for it in our own [country]? Have we not, in this very city, our “Street of the Palaces,” adorned with structures as superb as those of Genoa in exterior magnificence, and containing within them vaster treasures of wealth? Have we not, too, our privileged orders? Our scrip nobility?1 Aristocrats, clothed with special immunities, who control, indirectly, but certainly, the political power of the state, monopolise the most copious sources of pecuniary profit, and wring the very crust from the hard hand of toil? Have we not, in short, like the wretched serfs of Europe, our lordly masters, “Who make us slaves, and tell us ‘tis their charter?”

For Leggett, the answer to all of this, of course, was yes. To see this new class of plutocrats, Leggett observed, one need only “walk through Wall-street.” Leggett went on to suggests that if anyone “asks concerning the political power” of these Wall Street elites,

he will ascertain that three-fourths of the legislators of the state are of their own order, and deeply interested in preserving and extending the privileges they enjoy. If he investigates the sources of their prodigious wealth, he will discover that it is extorted, under various delusive names, and by a deceptive process, from the pockets of the unprivileged and unprotected poor. These are the masters in this land of freedom. These are our aristocracy, our scrip nobility, our privileged order of charter-mongers and money-changers!

Plutocrats or Private Entrepreneurs?

On the other hand, the great libertarian sociologist William Graham Sumner was careful to note that not all wealthy people are plutocrats. “[W]e must make some important distinctions,” Sumner writes. “Plutocracy ought to be carefully distinguished from ‘the power of capital’…. A great capitalist is no more necessarily a plutocrat than a great general is a tyrant.” In other words, the plutocrats are not simply the factory owners who are on the receiving end of Marxist claims that all capitalists necessarily exploit their workers.

Rather, according to Sumner, the plutocrat is something very specific. Modern plutocrats “buy their way through elections and legislatures, in the confidence of being able to get powers which will recoup them for all the outlay and yield an ample surplus besides.”

That is, plutocrats are political operatives who employ the power of the state to accomplish political and financial ends. Moreover, the plutocrat

is a man who, having the possession of capital, and having the power of it at his disposal, uses it, not industrially, but politically; instead of employing laborers, he enlists lobbyists. Instead of applying capital to land, he operates upon the market by legislation, by artificial monopoly, by legislative privileges; he creates jobs, and erects combinations, which are half political and half industrial … 

Today's Plutocracy

So, who are the plutocrats of today?

Certainly, this group includes those who seek to blackmail state legislatures with boycotts and pressure tactics. But we find plutocrats using more subtle tactics as well.

For example, Amazon corporation now supports raising the minimum wage. This may seem like some great populist and magnanimous move on Amazon's part. But it is just what we've come to expect from plutocrats. In fact, Amazon's senior managers know that it can endure paying a higher wage than can Amazon's smaller and less capitalized competition. Smaller operations have fewer financing options to weather a cash flow crunch and are thus more financially fragile. Basically, Amazon is likely to support a wide variety of government regulations, because government regulations are anticompetitive. Amazon, of course, being the dominant firm, is motivated to crush the competition through state action. This is partly why Jeff Bezos came out in favor of a hike in the corporate tax. He's just hoping to stay on top, and while a tax hike is unfortunate for him, it's even worse for the competition that Bezos hopes to destroy through his political lobbying. 

We see similar forces at work when plutocrats like Mark Zuckerberg call for more regulation of social media companies. Zuckerberg is speaking as head of the industry's largest, most capital rich, and most dominant firm. Now that he's on top, he's fine with more regulation, which will hurt small competitors most. (Social media companies, of course, are also happy to buy favors from the regime by deleting user comments and punishing users who annoy regime operatives.)2

But perhaps the most subtle form of exploitation practiced by the plutocrats occurs through the central bank, and this is why the Jeffersonians and Jacksons focused so much on the role of the central bank throughout the nineteenth century. Leggett, after all, is known for calling for "the separation of bank and state." 

The advantages offered to plutocrats through central banks have been similar for more than two centuries, but in today's world these advantages can be seen in the fact that central banks are now in the business of pushing up stock prices for the benefit of Wall Street and large public companies. Thanks to the "Greenspan put," for example, the Federal Reserve has now for three decades been in the business of propping up stock prices. Now, we barely even notice when stock prices soar upward even during periods when millions of workers are laid off and national production collapses. "Stock prices must always go up" is essentially now federal policy. This in itself further helps explain why the plutocrats so often come out in support of higher taxes and a bigger regulatory state. As David Stockman observed, people like Bezos and the Wall Street and Silicon Valley elite: 

have been made so insanely rich by the Fed’s egregious stock market inflation that they no longer care if their businesses are inconvenienced or even deeply harmed by schemes like the Biden [tax hikes]; and, worse still, have no idea about how real, sustainable wealth is generated or that free market prosperity is not at all a sure thing when the state becomes an unhinged wrecker of honest money, fiscal rectitude and financial discipline.

Why worry too much about taxes or regulation when you know you'll be bailed out by the Fed? Stockman continues:

By and large these new titans are not geniuses. They are bubble riders who were in the right place at the right time. And after years of the Fed’s massive inflation of financial asset prices they have become totally corrupted—politically, intellectually and otherwise.

In all likelihood, they don't even know how they got rich. But since they are rich, they conclude they must be very smart, and therefore they're now entitled to run the country; to punish people who live in red states, and run lesser business owners into the ground using the power of the state. 

The nation's billionaires and megacorps benefit from central banking schemes in other ways as well. Ultralow interest rate policies mean an endless tsunami of cheap debt. Nonetheless, the focus has remained on lending to the lowest-risk firms, which means there's far less financing available to smaller start-ups and other riskier enterprises. Low rates also mean financially conservative small-time investors can only earn very small returns on their investments. Generally, it's only the wealthy who can indulge in high-risk yield chasing, which further enriches the wealthy as others stagnate. The end result is more liquidity for the plutocrats while the newcomers fight over scraps.

The Fed now buys corporate debt, and for more than a decade has been buying up assets in order to prop up what would have been the ailing portfolios of the nation's megabanks and investment firms. The Fed's monetary inflation leads to immense amounts of asset inflation not only in stocks, but in housing prices as well. This impoverishes first-time home buyers and renters, but benefits those who are already wealthy—and own lots of these assets.

It's all part of a well-established scam that the laissez-faire liberals identified long ago. The plutocrats hope to keep it going forever. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 22:00
Published:4/17/2021 9:03:56 PM
[023dcffa-331f-524a-a8d8-d810c7bfc105] ‘Whoa!’ rapper Black Rob dead at 51 Harlem rapper Black Rob, born Robert Ross and the Bad Boy artist best known for his 2000 hit “Woah,” has died at the age of 51. Published:4/17/2021 9:03:56 PM
[Entertainment] Kelsea Ballerini's Most Honest Confessions Prove She's a Relatable Queen Kelsea Ballerini, Halloween 2020When it comes to celebrities who keep it real online, Kelsea Ballerini may just be a legend. While pop culture fans love her hits like "Miss Me More," "homecoming queen?"...
Published:4/17/2021 8:30:51 PM
[Entertainment] William A. Brower, fixture in D.C. jazz as writer, producer and stage manager, dies at 72 He produced events for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and was a stage manager at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Published:4/17/2021 8:30:51 PM
[Markets] Taco Bell Opens "Digital-Only" Location In Times Square That Serves Alcohol  Taco Bell Opens "Digital-Only" Location In Times Square That Serves Alcohol 

Restaurants continue to change their processes to improve the customer experience in a virus pandemic. Under the guise of social distancing, Taco Bell has opened a "digital-only" fast-food shop in Times Square that customers can only order food online or through automated kiosks. 

These modern features of digital-only ordering and pick-up will minimize customer to employee interaction. The digital-only front-end of the eatery allows for more convenient pick-up.

"Built with the energy and on-the-go vibrance of the city in mind, the newest restaurant embraces technology in a whole new way to serve the demands of New Yorkers," Taco Bell said in a press release

The simplified design will keep employees in the backend of the fast-food joint occupied with fulfilling orders. The disbandment of cash registers at the new Taco Bell Cantina in Times Square will require fewer employees to run operations. 

The restaurants have a smaller footprint than a traditional Taco Bell and offer more modern and upscale designs and alcohol. So far, 20 Cantinas across New York's five boroughs are already open (though the only digital-only one is in Times Square). 

Other restaurant chains, like Chipotle Mexican Grill and Starbucks, have been opening digital-only ordering and pick-up. The focus is not just to minimize human labor but also to increase pick-up orders forced by the virus pandemic. The first digital location Taco Bell opened was in London in 2020. 

The automated concept could be standard at all Taco Bells by the end of this decade as restaurants pivot towards automation and artificial intelligence, which will displace workers, leading to a surge in technological unemployment. 

Yum Brands, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, The Habit Burger Grill, and WingStreet worldwide, except in China, will likely expand automation and artificial intelligence in all its stores over this decade. 

What's frightening is when Yum begins to use robot chefs to automate the backend of the restaurant - essentially eliminating human food preppers. Already, KFC is testing what it calls the "restaurant of the future," where automation and artificial intelligence dominates the front and back end.

Big corporations are preparing to replace low-skill and low-paid workers with all sorts of new technology through 2030, displacing millions of them. Many of these restaurants will be entirely contactless.

All of this suggests technological unemployment is set to skyrocket in the coming years. So then what to do with all the displaced workers? Nothing like starting a war can help dig the economy out of the rut that it's currently in and resolve the unemployment situation.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 21:30
Published:4/17/2021 8:30:51 PM
[] 'All Jim ever wanted to be was an astronaut': Year-long thread chronicles the depths of COVID-19 fashion and lifestyle Published:4/17/2021 8:06:05 PM
[] Can Someone Please Explain Why the Fully Vaccinated, Masked Queen Had to Sit Alone at Her Husband's Funeral? Published:4/17/2021 8:06:05 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Biden calls border crisis a CRISIS. But we’re sure he’s sorry for making you look stupid, Psaki and the AP. After all the IDIOCY about using the word “crisis” to describe the border crisis, Biden said it himself today. The AP changed their guidelines on saying “crisis” about the border crisis. Psaki . . . Published:4/17/2021 8:06:05 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Biden calls border crisis a CRISIS. Sorry not sorry for making you look stupid Psaki and AP! After all the IDIOCY about using the word “crisis” to describe the border crisis, Biden said it himself today. The AP changed their guidelines on saying “crisis” about the border crisis. Psaki . . . Published:4/17/2021 8:06:05 PM
[Markets] Black Lives Matter Activist Charged With Anti-Asian Hate Crime Black Lives Matter Activist Charged With Anti-Asian Hate Crime

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A Black Lives Matter activist was arrested in Seattle for allegedly committing two separate hate crimes against Asian people, once again contradicting the media narrative that Donald Trump’s rhetoric on coronavirus was primarily to blame for the hate crime wave.

Pamela Cole, who is Asian, told KIRO 7 News about her experience on March 16 during which she and her young children were subjected to a frightening and abusive attack by a man who later turned out to be 51-year-old BLM protester Christopher Hamner.

Hamner had posted multiple photos of himself attending BLM protests and was also involved in the Seattle CHOP encampment that was populated by Antifa and BLM demonstrators.

“The moment he made eye contact with me he stopped, opens his door and he’s screaming, ‘F— you, you Asian b—-. F— you!’ and I was in complete shock. Are you talking to me?” Cole said.

Cole said she felt like her family were “sitting ducks” as Hamner then proceeded to get out of his vehicle while demanding they get out too.

“I just felt so defenseless and so helpless. And you know as a mom, all we want to do is take care of our kids and protect them,” Cole said.

Cole said that even after the light changed and she was able to drive away, Hamner continued to throw objects at her car and track where she was heading. She was eventually able to pull over and call the police.

“Hamner is accused of committing a similar hate crime two days later, when he cut off two Asian women in a vehicle. The vehicle had a dashboard camera, which enabled authorities to identify Hamner,” reports the Hill, adding that Hamner again charged at the vehicle and threw objects.

After being charged, Hamner pleaded not guilty to hate crimes and his bail has been set at $10,000 dollars.

The two incidents once again expose how the media’s attempt to pin a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes on “white supremacy” by saying they were incited by Donald Trump’s anti-Chinese COVID 19 rhetoric has completely failed.

In virtually every major recent incident where Asians were targeted by violent criminals in hate crime attacks, the perpetrators turn out to be African-American men.

Crime stats also show white people are underrepresented per capita in attacks against Asians.

As the Washington Examiner highlights, citing FBI statistics, whereas whites comprise 62% of the population, they committed 24% of crimes against Asians in 2018.

In comparison, blacks, who comprise 13% of the population, committed 27.5% of all violent crimes against Asian Americans in 2018.

The media’s fake narrative that “white supremacy” is to blame for the hate crime spree in now inciting violent attacks against white people.

37-year-old Michael Sangbong Rhee attacked a woman he believed was white by holding her at gunpoint and trying to rape her.

According to authorities, the attack was “in retaliation for the rise in hate crimes against Asian people.”

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 21:00
Published:4/17/2021 8:06:05 PM
[Uncategorized] Chauvin Trial Going to Jury – Legal Insurrection Will Hold Post-Verdict Online Event (Date TBA)

We don't know when the verdict be rendered, or what it will be. But regardless of outcome, Andrew Branca and I will hold an online event, date TBA. There will be an opportunity for Q&A.

The post Chauvin Trial Going to Jury – Legal Insurrection Will Hold Post-Verdict Online Event (Date TBA) first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 8:06:05 PM
[] Department of Justice looking into white Army sergeant charged with assaulting a black man Published:4/17/2021 7:34:02 PM
[Opinion] 4 Characteristics That Made Milton Friedman an Effective Advocate for Liberty

By Paul Cwik -

Executive orders! Mask Mandates! COVID Lockdowns! Will we lose our country? In a few years, will we even recognize our country? Many people are worried that the Left is on the move and that they are taking over. What can we do? It is that last question that I get …

4 Characteristics That Made Milton Friedman an Effective Advocate for Liberty is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/17/2021 7:34:02 PM
[Uncategorized] Rep. Devin Nunes Lambastes Democrats, Intel Community For Declaring War On Republicans/Conservatives As ‘Domestic Terrorists’

“Democrats see political benefits in characterizing wide swaths of American citizens, particularly Republicans and conservatives, as politically suspect, politically violent, and deserving of government surveillance”

The post Rep. Devin Nunes Lambastes Democrats, Intel Community For Declaring War On Republicans/Conservatives As ‘Domestic Terrorists’ first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 7:34:02 PM
[Joe Biden] Biden and Xi Think the Constitution Is Racist (John Hinderaker) Yesterday an intrepid reporter asked the insufferable Jen Psaki about U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s assertion that America’s founding documents are white supremacist. Doesn’t that echo Chinese Communist propaganda, as in the recent diplomatic debacle in Anchorage? Does Joe Biden intend to fire Thomas-Greenfield? And, the most salient question: does Biden share her contempt for America’s founding documents, i.e., the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? It takes some doing, but Published:4/17/2021 7:34:02 PM
[Markets] Trader Fueled Lavish Lifestyle Running Singapore's "Largest Ever Suspected Investment Fraud" Trader Fueled Lavish Lifestyle Running Singapore's "Largest Ever Suspected Investment Fraud"

Stop us if you've heard this one before: a young, up and coming "wunderkind" trader was living a lavish lifestyle on the back of a massive fraud.

Can't be possible, you say? Enter 33 year old Ng Yu Zhi, living in a three-story villa in Singapore, driving a $5 million supercar. The only problem? He had raised at least $740 million from investors for commodity trades that didn't exist, Bloomberg reported this week. 

He was charged last month with four counts of fraud. It's being called one of Singapore's "largest-ever suspected investment frauds". Court proceedings this week revealed that he was able to raise the money by touting quarterly gains of 15% to investors. It would have made him one of the most successful traders in the world, had it of been true. 

The fraud was centered around his companies Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading. Of more than S$1 billion he had invested in his companies, S$300 million had been transferred to his personal account and S$200 million remains "unaccounted for". Investors had received payments of S$700 million but are still owed S$1 billion, the report says. 

In riding the broader "green" tailwind that has blown tons of hot money into global markets, Ng had purported to invest in nickel, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries. Specifically, per Bloomberg:

Ng was involved in deceiving investors into buying supposed forward contracts that were purportedly with French lender BNP Paribas SA, but those contracts didn’t exist, according to the charge sheets. BNP had no account or trading history with Ng, Envy Asset Management or Envy Global Trading, a person familiar with the matter said. A BNP spokesperson declined to comment.

Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking, thinks more instances of "suspect behavior" will be revealed, thanks to investors feeling like they need to "reach" for returns in an era of low rates. Thanks, Central Banks.

Song said: “This won’t be the last case and that’s the sad reality.”

Shim Wai Han, an investor in Ng with their company Envysion Wealth Management Pte., said: “Our objective now is just one thing. To get back the money for investors and for ourselves.” Shim said she was “working on this together with MAS (The Monetary Authority of Singapore) to help investors.”

Ng has been released on S$1.5 million bail for the time being and is being monitored by an electronic ankle bracelet. He had become "an increasingly visible figure in Singapore's philanthropic, supercar and corporate communities" over the last couple of years, Bloomberg noted. 

He received an award in August 2020 for his philanthropy and a Pagani Huayra supercar was seized as part of his assets after being charged. The car is valued around $5 million. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 20:30
Published:4/17/2021 7:34:02 PM
[Markets] Record 33% Of Young Americans Living With Parents Record 33% Of Young Americans Living With Parents

The number of adults aged 18-34 living at home with their parents continues to accelerate to levels not seen in decades, according to Goldman Sachs, citing US Census Bureau data which found that just over 33% have returned to the nest.

And while real estate in major markets is booming, the percentage of young adults in the 'boomerang generation' - who leave the nest only to return years later - has taken a dive, as unemployment and punishing (self-inflicted) student debt has forced many younger Americans out of the housing market.

Last July, Pew Research reported that a majority of 18-29 year-olds, 52%, were living in their parents' home - and spans young adults across the board; men, women, all races and ethnic groups, and in every geographical region, according to the study. Note that the percentage Pew reported is undoubtedly higher due to the lower cutoff in age for the range (29 vs. 34).

"In a very short space of time, we are now at levels last seen during the Great Depression," said Pew senior researcher, Richard Fry.

That said, even before the pandemic, young adults were increasingly dependent upon their parents for financial support. According to Pew, around 60% of children between the ages of 18-29 received at least some financial help in the past year, primarily to cover expenses such as tuition, rent, groceries or bills.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 19:30
Published:4/17/2021 7:01:07 PM
[Entertainment] What the Future Looks Like for the Royal Family After Prince Philip's Funeral Queen Elizabeth ll, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, 1977, WidgetPrince Philip has been laid to rest. The royal, who passed away at the age of 99 on April 9, was honored with a special funeral at St. George's Chapel on Saturday, April...
Published:4/17/2021 7:01:07 PM
[Politics] Ha ha haaaa: CNN reporter’s mood changes FAST when black man surprises her with Project Veritas question A reporter, maybe Sara Sidner, who has been out covering the Chauvin trial protests and riots at night was put on camera NOT by CNN last night. She stood for a question . . . Published:4/17/2021 7:01:07 PM
[Politics] Ha ha haaaa: CNN reporter’s mood changes FAST when black man surprises her with Project Veritas question A reporter, maybe Sara Sidner, who has been out covering the Chauvin trial protests and riots at night was put on camera NOT by CNN last night. She stood for a question . . . Published:4/17/2021 7:01:07 PM
[In The News] OVREWOKE: Top US Nature Society Proposes Renaming Birds Named After Slave Owners, Colonialists

By Thomas Catenacci -

  A leading nature organization hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with several birding experts who proposed renaming birds named after slave owners and colonialists. “Our mission is to inspire all people to enjoy and protect wild birds,” Jeff Gordon, the president of the American Birding Association, said during the discussion. …

OVREWOKE: Top US Nature Society Proposes Renaming Birds Named After Slave Owners, Colonialists is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/17/2021 7:01:07 PM
[] Biden supporting women registering for the draft? Published:4/17/2021 6:31:49 PM
[] Twitter's hacked materials policy didn't seem to apply to cop who donated to Kyle Rittenhouse's defense fund Published:4/17/2021 6:04:14 PM
[Entertainment] Kourtney Kardashian Gets Lavish Gift From Travis Barker Ahead of 42nd Birthday Kourtney Kardashian, Travis BarkerWhile the small things certainly matter in a relationship...the larger romantic gestures are definitely pretty sweet. On Saturday, April 17, a day before she celebrates her 42nd birthday,...
Published:4/17/2021 6:04:14 PM
[Anti-Americanism] Venezuela is our ultimate fate if Biden packs the Court

During the Presidential campaign Joe Biden refused to say whether or not he supported packing of the Supreme Court which indicated to many of us that he would certainly support it. Now that Biden is President has control of both the House and Senate the only thing remaining in his way to turn America into […]

The post Venezuela is our ultimate fate if Biden packs the Court appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:4/17/2021 6:04:14 PM
[Markets] The Next Economic Crisis - Will Your Wealth Survive? The Next Economic Crisis - Will Your Wealth Survive?

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

The greatest wealth transfer in history has already begun and the next crisis will only accelerate the process.

As the printing presses continue cranking out more and more money, looking forward to a time when the markets pause or another economic crisis consumes the world is an issue we all should think about. How much wealth will escape the next large financial reset is very important because it will set the bar that determines the rate of inflation or deflation in coming years. If you believe we did not solve many of our financial problems after 2008 but merely masked them with a huge amount of newly printed money you are likely to embrace this concept.

The Shell Game Of Wealth Transfer

Much like a shell game where wealth is transferred about, in our modern society wealth is always on the move. Wealth and how things are valued is far from constant, it is fungible and constantly changing. While we may try to deny it, wealth is in a constant state of flux and constantly moving. Wealth comes in many forms, it can be held in the form of paper, promises, or as something more tangible and real such as property or goods.

Some items such as a tool hold "utility value" and its value may be based on how much work it can perform or the revenue it can produce. Replacement cost, supply and demand, and factors such as whether something can spoil or might grow obsolete over time also help determine its value as a place wealth can be safely stored. The term, safely stored in this case also includes placing it out of the reach of governments' ability to tax it or make it illegal to own.

Defining wealth is one thing but it is important to actually delve into its nature to truly understand just how elusive it can be. Wealth is defined as the abundance of valuable resources or valuable material possessions. An individual, community, region, or country that possesses an abundance of such possessions or resources to the benefit of the common good is known as wealthy. This means it might be preferable to live as a poor person in a very rich and wealthy society versus a rich person in a poor and wretched place. This notion underlines the idea wealth is also relevant and measured by how it compares to that of others.

Don't Be Naive, They Do Not Care

Returning to the subject of various kinds of wealth, today Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies and other "digital assets" designed to work as a medium of exchange also fall into the category of wealth. They have joined pensions, annuities, and even investments in stocks and such as a store of wealth. Many assets fall into the area of paper promises that are often recorded somewhere far from sight or as a digital entry on a computer. These intangible stores of wealth based on faith have grown at a massive rate during the last several decades and were relatively minor players until recently. Currencies, also known as fiat money, are also just IOUs or paper promises. The idea of a currency free-society in my mind tends to break the bonds that link us to wealth but that is for another post.

In the past I have written several pieces about subjects such as, writing off the rising amount of bad debt, how debt is like a mirage moving into the distance, how bad debt is resolved, and how precarious the vessels where we store our wealth can be, however, the crux of this article centers around what will or might be left after stress or war pushes the global economy to the brink or into total collapse. A great deal will depend on how such an event unfolds, this means what kind or type of value and wealth is the first to vanish.

Be Skeptical, Be Cautious, Get Smart!

I will be the first to admit the answer is unknown, still in this "exercise of the mind," I am asking you to consider and think about such a scenario. The ugly truth is that there are many places your wealth could vanish into and multitudes of ways it could seep away. Remember, wealth zips across borders at the click of a button and just because you deposit it with a local institution does not mean it stays in your community.

We witnessed how wealth could be "transferred away" decades ago during the savings and loan crisis when huge beautiful buildings were constructed in certain areas from wealth transferred in from other parts of the country. Needless to say when the dust settled the big winners were the areas with the new buildings and not those forced to pay for them when the loans used to build them went into default.

Today some market watchers claim that the stock market is being held at lofty levels while the smart money is rushing to the exits. Today tens of trillions of dollars are sitting in offshore banking accounts in places such as the Cayman Islands. Today government and businesses are borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars each year by issuing bonds some that will not return investor's money for decades. Today homes, apartments, and buildings are being built, some poorly constructed, with loans guaranteed more or less by the American people. Today America's national debt stands at over 28 trillion dollars and is rising. Today currencies such as the euro and yen are even more fundamentally flawed than the dollar. I could do this a bit longer but I suspect I've made the point.

We have all heard about how the Caymans have become a popular tax haven among the American elite and large multinational corporations. This is because there is no corporate or income tax on money earned outside of its territory. This has made the Caymans especially popular among hedge fund managers. I hate to blow a hole in the idea that you can safely tuck their money away in an offshore banking account, the reality is, we have no idea where all the money deposited in the Cayman Islands really is. Banks do not just sit on deposits and keep them safe, they loan them out.

We must never forget the world is full of crooks, evil politicians, greedy bankers, and that we have judicial systems that make true justice a rare commodity. Returning to the focus of this article, the thing that is important is what or how much wealth survives an economic crisis and in what form. That is because when that wealth comes out of hibernation it will soak up all the tangible assets on the planet. This will be the determining factor of whether we face inflation, deflation, or some crazy mix of the two. Remember it is the nature of those in charge to throw the masses under the bus when things go sideways.

The average person is foolish and silly if they expect to be protected when the next financial crisis hits. Those counting on a stimulus check for survival will someday most likely find it will not buy them diddly-squat. The shelves will be empty or the value of what they receive will simply not be enough. The economic landscape we face following such an event will without a doubt be shaped and depend on what wealth survives and how much vanishes following a tsunami of defaults and /or a monetization of debt where government debt disappears and inflation takes its place. A word to the wise should be sufficient and cause any person prudent or interested in protecting their wealth to consider the many ways wealth can vanish and that it can without a doubt happen to you.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 19:00
Published:4/17/2021 6:04:14 PM
[World] Biden, the marshmallow in chief, has learned nothing about Iran and Afghanistan

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted in a memoir that Joe Biden has been wrong on every national security issue that he has ever been involved in. Like the French in the Hundred Years War, Mr. Biden appears to have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. He is showing this regarding ... Published:4/17/2021 5:33:23 PM

[Markets] "I Object..." - Is This The Start Of The Turn Against 'Woke Tyranny'? "I Object..." - Is This The Start Of The Turn Against 'Woke Tyranny'?

Authored by Andrea Widburg via AmericanThinker.com,

For three days, I've had sitting on my virtual spindle a post that Bari Weiss, formerly of the New York Times, posted on her Substack page.  It's entitled "I Refuse to Stand by while My Students Are Indoctrinated."  

The author isn't Weiss but is, instead, Paul Rossi, a math teacher at Grace Church High School in Manhattan (annual tuition: $57,330).  

On Friday, Weiss added another open letter, this from Andrew Gutmann, a parent who had just pulled his daughter out of Brearley, another expensive private school (annual tuition: $54,000).  

Both are horrifying exposés of, and attacks against, the woke culture saturating these institutions.

Both letters are long and don't yield easily to a brief summary.  I'll quote a few select paragraphs from each, but you must read them to get the full flavor of the Maoist madness at these institutions.

Paul Rossi, the teacher, writes that Grace Church is focused on "'antiracism' training and pedagogy that I believe is deeply harmful to [my students] and to any person who seeks to nurture the virtues of curiosity, empathy and understanding."

Rossi perfectly describes the self-hatred, mental repression, cognitive dissonance, and pure racism this training inculcates into young minds:

My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed. Students are pressured to conform their opinions to those broadly associated with their race and gender and to minimize or dismiss individual experiences that don't match those assumptions. The morally compromised status of "oppressor" is assigned to one group of students based on their immutable characteristics. In the meantime, dependency, resentment and moral superiority are cultivated in students considered "oppressed."

Rossi describes how, during a segregated "whites only" student and faculty Zoom meeting, he spoke out, inspiring the students to speak out, too.  This was a bad thing.

I was informed by the head of the high school that my philosophical challenges had caused "harm" to students, given that these topics were "life and death matters, about people's flesh and blood and bone." I was reprimanded for "acting like an independent agent of a set of principles or ideas or beliefs." And I was told that by doing so, I failed to serve the "greater good and the higher truth." 

He further informed me that I had created "dissonance for vulnerable and unformed thinkers" and "neurological disturbance in students' beings and systems." The school's director of studies added that my remarks could even constitute harassment.

Rossi was then denounced over the school announcement system.  There's more.  Read it all, because it's important.

The letter that Andrew Gutmann sent to fellow parents after he pulled his daughter out of Brearley is, if anything, even more horrifying:

It cannot be stated strongly enough that Brearley's obsession with race must stop. It should be abundantly clear to any thinking parent that Brearley has completely lost its way. The administration and the Board of Trustees have displayed a cowardly and appalling lack of leadership by appeasing an anti-intellectual, illiberal mob, and then allowing the school to be captured by that same mob.

To give context to his scathing attack on the school, Gutmann describes actual systemic racism as things such as the real Jim Crow, Jewish genocide, and the Democrats' decision in 1942 to lock up all their Japanese-American citizens.  And then he's off:

I object to a definition of systemic racism, apparently supported by Brearley, that any educational, professional, or societal outcome where Blacks are underrepresented is prima facie evidence of the aforementioned systemic racism, or of white supremacy and oppression.

...

I object to the idea that Blacks are unable to succeed in this country without aid from government or from whites.

...

I object to mandatory anti-racism training for parents, especially when presented by the rent-seeking charlatans of Pollyanna.

...

I object to Brearley's vacuous, inappropriate, and fanatical use of words such as "equity," "diversity" and "inclusiveness."

...

l object to Brearley's advocacy for groups and movements such as Black Lives Matter, a Marxist, anti family, heterophobic, anti-Asian and anti-Semitic organization that neither speaks for the majority of the Black community in this country, nor in any way, shape or form, represents their best interests. 

As with Rossi's letter, there's more, much more, including all the material I snipped out.  And as with Rossi's letter, you must read the whole thing.

A couple of years ago, ensconced in a Senate chamber in which almost half of the senators and all the national media agreed with him, and lying about violating Senate rules, Sen. Cory Booker made the ridiculous claim that he was having his "I am Spartacus moment."

In fact, what we're seeing from Rossi and Gutmann, in the belly of the beast that is true-blue New York, should be the start of a true Spartacus moment.  We must join together to defeat the racist Critical Race Theory and other maddened toxins oozing from leftists.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 18:00
Published:4/17/2021 5:33:23 PM
[Uncategorized] China Mulls Deploying Troops to Afghanistan After U.S. Pullout

Afghanistan is strategic to China's economic and military expansion in the Middle East, Eurasia.

The post China Mulls Deploying Troops to Afghanistan After U.S. Pullout first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 5:33:23 PM
[69208597-cb02-5272-bf9d-6ad5dac4af9d] Inside Derek Jeter’s star-studded 40th birthday bash Derek Jeter celebrated his 40th birthday with his model girlfriend Hannah Davis and stars including Michael Strahan and Sean “Diddy” Combs. Published:4/17/2021 5:33:23 PM
[] 'The streets of Atlantis?' Toronto Police show off the latest gun they managed to keep off the streets Published:4/17/2021 5:01:10 PM
[Entertainment] Bella Thorne Buys Fiancé Benjamin Mascolo an Engagement Ring: See the Diamond Piece Benjamin Mascolo, Bella Thorne, 2020, InstagramBella Thorne is a real gem! It's been almost a month since the Her & Him actress got engaged to Italian singer Benjamin Mascolo. And what better way to celebrate this new chapter...
Published:4/17/2021 5:01:09 PM
[Politics] Kill Whitey? Watch insane Chris Cuomo as he raves that the only SOLUTION to violence is MORE DEAD KIDS You can be sure that neither Chrissy or his fellow travelers on left wing social justice Twitter THINK that he said killing white kids will solve everything. But that is definitely what . . . Published:4/17/2021 5:01:09 PM
[Politics] Kill Whitey? Watch insane Chris Cuomo as he raves that the only SOLUTION to violence is MORE DEAD KIDS You can be sure that neither Chrissy or his fellow travelers on left wing social justice Twitter THINK that he said killing white kids will solve everything. But that is definitely what . . . Published:4/17/2021 5:01:09 PM
[] Brit Hume: Photo op shows President Biden double-masked as he sits down to dinner with Japanese prime minister Published:4/17/2021 4:50:38 PM
[Entertainment] Lori Loughlin's Husband Mossimo Giannulli Released from Home Confinement to End Prison Sentence Mossimo Giannulli, Lori LoughlinLori Loughlin's husband Mossimo Giannulli is officially a free man. The 57-year-old fashion designer has been released from home confinement, ending his five-month sentence for his...
Published:4/17/2021 4:50:20 PM
[Immigration] [Ilya Somin] Adam Cox and Cristina Rodriguez Respond to Critics and Commentators on their Book "The President and Immigration Law" This is the conclusion of the Yale Journal on Regulation symposium about the book. Published:4/17/2021 4:50:13 PM
[Political Cartoons] Raul Castro Steps Down – Ben Garrison Cartoon

By Ben Garrison -

Watch Out For That First Step- It’s A Doozy! Most communist leaders hang onto office into advanced old age for one reason: They love power. Mao wasn’t afraid of death, but he was afraid of losing his power. Stalin was the same way. Raul Castro is one of the few …

Raul Castro Steps Down – Ben Garrison Cartoon is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/17/2021 4:50:13 PM
[Markets] CNN Can't Stop Losing: Viewership Down By Half Since Biden Took Office, 60% In Key Demo CNN Can't Stop Losing: Viewership Down By Half Since Biden Took Office, 60% In Key Demo

While CNN may no longer be torturing people in airports, voluntary viewership has fallen over 50% in multiple categories since President Biden took office, according to Fox News.

Who knew that their best move during the 2020 election would have been to help Trump win, instead of helping Biden.

In the first three weeks of 2021, the network averaged 2.2 million viewers - only to plummet to just one million viewers - a decline of 54%. Among the key advertising demographic of adults age 25-54, ratings are down 60%. From December 28 through Inauguration day, viewership went from 617,000 viewers in that demographic to just 244,000 since Biden took office.

CNN’s liberal primetime hosts Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon haven’t been able to keep their audiences under the new administration, either.

CNN averaged 3.1 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. from Dec. 28 through Inauguration Day but only 1.4 million since for a whopping 55-percent decline. Over the same time period, CNN’s primetime lineup lost 63 percent of its viewers among the crucial demo. -Fox News

CNN also fared worse than liberal competitor MSNBC, which lost 'only' 34% of its total-day viewers, and 30% of primetime viewers under Biden. Fox News points out, of course, that their viewership has remained mostly flat - as declines remained in the single digits.

When asked if he was worried about the ratings disaster, CNN host Don Lemon told the New York Times' podcaster "Sway":

"No. I’m not worried about it ... Trump was a horrible person. And he was terrible for the country. And it is better for all — for the world that he is no longer the President of the United States," adding "So if that means that cable news ratings go down? Aww. So I’m not really that concerned about it. I would prefer that my ratings go down and Trump not be in office than my ratings be sky-high and him be there. That’s the honest truth."

And when a CNN anchor ends anything with "That's the honest truth," it's exactly the opposite.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 17:35
Published:4/17/2021 4:50:09 PM
[] Rep. Jim Jordan to Fauci: 'When Do Americans Get Their Freedom Back?' Fauci: [Crickets] Published:4/17/2021 4:50:06 PM
[] President Biden says there's 'no substitute for face-to-face discussions,' but are teachers' unions listening? Published:4/17/2021 4:01:05 PM
[66e2e1d9-f6de-51b1-bcb9-f2633854f365] Martha MacCallum: Goodnight, Sweet and Salty Prince. Like Princess Diana alone on the bench at the Taj Mahal, the enduring image from Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, is dignified Queen Elizabeth alone in St. George’s Chapel; at times, far bent over in prayer in her pew, her large black hat pitched forward like a shield. Published:4/17/2021 4:01:04 PM
[Markets] Psaki Dodges Questions On Biden "Weakness" Over Initiating Putin Summit Psaki Dodges Questions On Biden "Weakness" Over Initiating Putin Summit

On Friday White House press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on why President Biden appeared to initiate a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, yet without setting conditions, which is widely being viewed as a "weakness". This is also given as we and many others have pointed out that it effectively cuts out Kiev, leaving Ukraine's fate to be considered by the two superpowers at the table. For Putin, it appears that "saber-rattling" over Ukraine in the form of the troop build-up in Crimea and along the border has forced Biden's hand, effectively making Washington have to deal directly with Putin, precisely what the Kremlin has wanted all along.

She was asked at the daily briefing by a reporter: "Why would you announce a summit intention without a commitment? … A high-level meeting of this sort is often a point of leverage with the world leader... why aren’t there conditions?" Psaki fumbled through a response while avoiding the question head-on...

Psaki then rambled on about "consequences"...

Biden was ''clear that there would be consequences for the actions, whether it was the hacking of SolarWinds or other problematic behavior by Russian leadership,'' Psaki said in reference to Thursday's Russia sanctions rollout.

''And the president offered that … to send the message that we will have disagreement, we’re not going to hold back on that. But our objective is to have a predictable and stable relationship,'' she added.

In follow-up to her apparent avoidance of the main issue the reporter mused that if Putin actually rejects the summit offer, ''wouldn’t that indicated some weakness on the part of the American administration here?''

''I think the president’s view is that Russia is on the outside of the global community in many respects at this point in time,'' Psaki replied.

So again she didn't actually answer the question.

"It’s the G7, not the G8 … We’ve put sanctions in place in order to send a clear message that there should be consequences for the actions. The Europeans have also done that. What the president is offering is a bridge back. And so certainly he believes it’s in their interest to take him up on that offer."

To review, here's what FT had to say

Here's more from FT on the whole question:

If Vladimir Putin’s decision to deploy tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine’s border in the past few weeks was driven primarily by a desire to get the west’s attention, he did not have to wait too long for his reward.

Hours after his defense minister on Tuesday admitted Russia had mobilised two armies and three paratroop divisions to positions close to the conflict-wracked frontier, US President Joe Biden phoned the Kremlin with an offer of a bilateral summit: a long sought-after prize for Putin who craves a seat at the world’s highest negotiating table. 

...Those 50,000 extra soldiers, scores of tanks and other heavy weaponry spooked Kyiv and other European powers, and sparked a hurried response from Nato and the US amid fears over a potential outbreak of fighting between the two countries

Consider too... what if this were Trump? 

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 16:45
Published:4/17/2021 4:01:04 PM
[Hardware] Consumer agency warns against Peloton Tread+ use, as company pushes back Almost exactly a month ago, Peloton CEO John Foley wrote an open letter about the the company’s treadmill. “I’m reaching out to you today because I recently learned about a tragic accident involving a child and the Tread+, resulting in, unthinkably, a death,” it begins. “While we are aware of only a small handful of […] Published:4/17/2021 4:01:04 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: Stocks are at all-time highs and the U.S. economy is booming. So why is everyone so freaked out? All manner of weird things keep happening in financial markets, from bond yields that go down when they should go up, to near-daily swings between big-picture convictions. It's hard to manage money when everything feels so fragile.
Published:4/17/2021 4:01:04 PM
[Uncategorized] Joint U.S.-China Scientist Team Creates Human-Monkey Hybrid Embryo

"Chimera" embryos reignite debate over hybrid animals, especially those involving primates.

The post Joint U.S.-China Scientist Team Creates Human-Monkey Hybrid Embryo first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 3:29:04 PM
[Entertainment] Inside Kim Kardashian's Night Out With Maluma, the Beckhams and Other Celebs in Miami Kim Kardashian, MalumaKim Kardashian had herself a good time while partying with fellow celebs in Miami, Florida on Friday night, April 16. Wearing a gold-colored Christian Dior fall 2000 wrap minidress and...
Published:4/17/2021 3:29:04 PM
[Markets] Woke Capital Is Destined To Become A Relic Woke Capital Is Destined To Become A Relic

Authored by Peter Earle via The American Institute for Economic Research,

In a market economy, consumers vote with their dollars. The survival and growth of a business depends pivotally upon how effectively they convince customers to buy their products over those of their competitors. But recently, consumers seem to expect a new product in addition to what they were already purchasing from firms: corporate consciousness. In particular, a decidedly left-leaning consciousness.   

But it’s not entirely accurate to claim that consumers have compelled businesses to “get with the times;” more precisely, the sensibilities of the public, have mostly through the media and polling, bled into corporate board rooms. Big businesses have in turn doled out value statements; some are praised, others pilloried. It’s a chicken-or-egg case: did the consumer demand woke capital, or has the corporatist, desperate to maintain market share and boost public perception of their firm, made woke capital the law of the American economy?

A New Twist on an Old Saw

In reality, woke capital is nothing new - though it has undergone many transformations and changes of name over the years. On the individual level, early industrialists like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller engaged in corporate philanthropy, donating large shares of their fortunes to charity. In the 1940s, businesses themselves started supporting charitable causes. 

The idea of corporate social responsibility entered the mainstream in the 1970s when the Committee for Economic Development pushed the “social contract” model, stating that businesses function as a result of public “consent,” thus leading to an obligation to serve societal needs. (This also ties to the rise and spread of stakeholder theories, which today no MBA program would dare omit.) That same model outlined three duties of businesses: providing jobs and economic growth, fair and honest treatment of workers and customers, and improving the conditions of the surrounding community. 

The present ascendance of woke capital, then, has been less of a rise and more of a continuation––a twist, really––on existing tendencies. The contemporary culture war has only served as a catalyst. A 2020 Spectator piece reads,

As the Democratic party and cultural elites have lurched left on cultural issues, corporate America has lurched along with them. America’s ‘reckoning with racial injustice’ in the past three months was enthusiastically endorsed by major corporations, often even as their physical outlets were plundered by the ‘mostly peaceful’ activists on the street….As capital aligns with the cultural left, it is now extracting its concessions. 

It wouldn’t be so unpalatable if it weren’t rife with hypocrisy. This, ultimately, is the cardinal sin of woke capital: lofty moral standards, selectively applied. In one of the earlier discussions of the woke capital phenomenon, which appeared in The New York Times back in 2018, columnist Ross Douthat pointed out the folly in Apple’s value statements: 

It’s worth noting, for instance, how Tim Cook’s willingness to play the social justice warrior when the target is a few random Indiana restaurants that might not want to host hypothetical same-sex weddings does not extend to reconsidering Apple’s relationship with the many countries around the world where human rights are rather more in jeopardy than they are in the American Midwest.

Douthat’s concerns proved prescient as the turmoil of last summer––largely centered on the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests––came to a head. In 2020, no less than two-thirds of S&P 500 companies released statements of solidarity with the movement; a smaller share, 36 percent, contributed funds to racial justice organizations. 

S&P 500 ESG Index (5 yrs)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

Nike and The Washington Post, among other employers, gave workers Juneteenth off as a paid holiday. Companies participated in #BlackOutTuesday, posting just a black square to their social media accounts. Managers assigned left-wing political texts to employees. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon dropped by a Chase branch to take a knee with staff in support of racial justice protests (and, it seems, could not resist taking advantage of the photo opportunity). 

The immediate aftermath of these actions was characterized by confusion and skepticism alike. Black employees of many companies that had sprung into activist action found the messaging inconsistent with their personal experiences, speaking to poor racial climates and difficulty in climbing the career ladder. Nearly one year later, investor groups are still pressuring banks and industry giants to support shareholder resolutions that will hold them to proof of progress measures. Though Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) disagrees with the premise of “woke capital,” it nonetheless concedes that “many corporate overtures to diversity, racial justice and progress are marketing gimmicks that don’t actually address structural economic inequality, and, at worst, are meant to distract from any kind of class reckoning.” 

Stunts and Missteps

One such blunder came in the form of the McCann ad agency’s Black Lives Matter blunder. In early June, the firm asked artist Shantell Martin to paint a BLM mural on the storefront of McCann’s client Microsoft. The email specifically requested that Martin finish the piece within a few days, “while the protests are still relevant.” Martin teamed up with other black artists who had been approached by McCann, eviscerating the agency in a letter that decried the disingenuity of activism with an expiration date. 

With all that in mind, it must be said that not every business simply postures for the sake of posturing. In the early days of corporate social responsibility, Milton Hershey of The Hershey Company built far more than just production facilities in Hershey, Pennsylvania; he built civic centers and cultural institutions that continue to support the community to this day. And in the woke capital era, plenty of organizations have taken up the helm of well-intentioned, effective societal change. Chobani, a leading Greek yogurt brand, has made tangible steps toward social responsibility––from actively seeking to hire refugees to investing in social entrepreneurs in order to encourage innovating for the greater good, Chobani’s impact statements are far more than just platitudes. 

Yet these examples are, in many ways, the exceptions rather than the rule. Far-reaching social and political turmoil has prompted businesses to feel as though they must comment on current issues, but that talk has hardly translated into any meaningful change. Social change is expensive––and woke capital is difficult to back––and as such, few businesses have put their money where their mouth is. That voluntary, cooperative commercial engagement is a center of gravity for civilization itself has not occurred to them, or doesn’t make for a flashy enough campaign.

SunSuper Socially Conscious Balanced Fund (AU)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

Economic Calculation with Woke Capital

An issue with decidedly larger implications is whether or to what extent corporate management decisions made along political lines will impact potential uses of capital. Ludwig von Mises, in his writings about economic calculation, noted that private property in the means of production, and subsequently money prices established for those capital goods, 

provide…a guide amid the bewildering throng of economic possibilities. [They] enable us to extend judgement of value which apply directly only to consumption goods––or at best to production goods of the lowest order––to all goods of higher orders. Without it, all production by lengthy and roundabout processes would be so many steps in the dark. 

A large number of economically significant firms deciding to sell important assets, engage in select transactions, or limit their investments exclusively to projects managed by and firms owned by minority citizens or women may seem innocuous. And in some cases, it likely is. But to the extent that such transactions are appreciable and done in ways which preempt or confound market processes (which is to say, if they are done at prices which do not reflect the actual subjective valuation of market participants at a point in time) they will likely result in less rational allocations and overall losses of efficiency in the economy at large. 

Fad or Principle?

Though consumers seem on balance to prefer activist firms, companies largely miss the mark. A 2018 survey covering 35 countries showed that 64 percent of consumers would gladly reward firms engaged in activism of some type––proving that corporate consciousness has become an essential part of many companies’ bottom lines. However, a 2020 opinion poll conducted by Gallup in the United States indicated that public confidence in big business was laughably low. Only 19 percent of respondents reported having a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of trust in large firms. Sentiments have been tepid for decades now, with confidence lingering around the 20 percent mark since the early 2000s. And the leftward shift of business has especially alienated Republicans, with their satisfaction with big business falling to 31 percent––a 26-point decline since 2020.

Whether corporate America’s commitment to woke capital will last remains to be seen, but one questions who truly prefers this state of affairs. Companies feel obligated to offer value statements to their customers, despite often having records of conduct contrary to the socially acceptable view; consumers sense the game being played and accordingly, chafe. Structural changes, most of which involve more opportunities and less state interference, are desirable and attainable, and the lack of genuineness here suggests unsustainability. Rather than a sign of the times, the embracing of woke capital may simply come to be a relic of the times.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 16:20
Published:4/17/2021 3:29:04 PM
[] People are noticing something about the latest Pew poll showing Biden at nearly 60 percent approval Published:4/17/2021 2:59:11 PM
[Entertainment] The Truth About Victoria Beckham and David Beckham's Marriage: How They Continue to Defy the Haters David Beckham, Victoria BeckhamThey had just stepped out--hand-in-hand, wearing coordinated neutrals--when it happened again. Mere weeks after Victoria Beckham attended Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding...
Published:4/17/2021 2:59:11 PM
[Markets] : More airlines fill middle seats — in direct opposition to CDC’s own advice on reducing COVID-19 exposure The number of people traveling by air has increased substantially, to the highest level since the onset of the pandemic in the U.S.
Published:4/17/2021 2:59:11 PM
[Politics] Minneapolis Public Schools CLOSED for RIOTING next week, because that’s how we do it now in America Last night in Portland, rioters from BLM and Antifa torched an Apple store, among many other fires in the downtown area. Last week in Oregon they tried to trap ICE agents in . . . Published:4/17/2021 2:59:11 PM
[Politics] Minneapolis Public Schools CLOSED for RIOTING next week, because that’s how we do it now in America Last night in Portland, rioters from BLM and Antifa torched an Apple store, among many other fires in the downtown area. Last week in Oregon they tried to trap ICE agents in . . . Published:4/17/2021 2:59:11 PM
[Markets] Iconic Daytrader "Roaring Kitty" Doubles Down On Gamestop, Now Owns 200,000 Shares Iconic Daytrader "Roaring Kitty" Doubles Down On Gamestop, Now Owns 200,000 Shares

You won't find Roaring Kitty Capital, LP in any Goldman Sachs salestrader's rolodex but to the millions of WallStreetBets daytrading fanatics, the name Roaring Kitty is far more popular than Bridgewater, Citadel, or Millennium.

And for good reason: Keith Gill, the person behind the moniker "Roaring Kitty" and "DeepFuckingValue", who launched a historic short squeeze across multiple asset classes in January, destroying Melvin Capital (which needed a bailout from both Ken Griffin and Steve Cohen) and several other heavily bearish hedge funds, showed ordinary investors that virtually anyone can become a millionaire with lots of hard work and preparation... before eventually ending up in Congress explaining to Maxine Waters just how a relative nobody managed to outsmart people who run billions thanks to his now iconic investment in Gamestop.

Another reason why "Roaring Kitty" has earned the respect of his peers is that unlike so many traders who make a buck on a trade and move on, Gill has demonstrated true diamond hands, and not only that but he is now literally doubling down on the company that brought him stardom and riches by exercising his call options and buying even more shares.

"DeepFuckingValue" posted a screenshot of his portfolio showing that he has exercised 500 GameStop call options expiring Friday at a strike price of $12, giving him 50,000 more shares of a stock that closed at $154.69 on Friday, but will likely blast off on Monday once the Reddit animal spirits are reignited.

There's more: in addition to exercising his options, Gill also bought another 50,000 shares of the video-game retailer, doubling his holdings to 200,000 shares from 100,000 at the beginning of the month. His total investment in GameStop is now worth more than $30 million, giving him a profit of nearly $20 million. Bloomberg reached out to Gill’s mother, Elaine Gill at his childhood home in Massachusetts, who confirmed the Reddit screenshots were posted by her son.

Despite having earned the praise and admiration of most of his peers for executing what many have said has been the most astute short squeeze since Volkswagen, there were haters too and roughly around the time Gill was explaining to Maxine Waters how investing works, he was hit with a lawsuit that accused him of misrepresenting himself as an amateur investor. The suit alleged that he was actually a licensed securities professional who manipulated the market for profit, which he denied.

To be sure, it wasn't just Gill: some argue that the true mastermind behind the Gamestop squeeze was not Roaring Kitty at all but hedge fund Senvest which started buying GME shares all the way back in September - roughly around the time the post "The REAL Greatest Short Burn of the Century" appeared on Reddit and which made over $700 million on its GME position which has given it the top position in the HSBC hedge fund ranking for the third month in a row

Meanwhile, on Friday GameStop CEO George Sherman who is expected to leave, sold almost $12 million in shares. The company is looking for a new CEO as part of a shake-up spurred by activist investor and Chewy.com co-founder Ryan Cohen, Bloomberg notes.

While shares of GameStop are up 721% YTD, though they are less than half of the peak level in January. However, now that Roaring Kitty has shown his Reddit peers that he is not only in it for the long run but doubling down, expect another squeeze on Monday as the latest generation of shorts which have entered the stock in recent weeks, is steamrolled, and as Reddit excitement in GME which had fizzled in recent weeks...

... explodes afresh.

And speaking of Chewy, we remind readers that the reason why the stock rose as high as the mid-$400s in February is not only the presence of Chewy founder Ryan Cohen, but that as the September Reddit write up noted, "if GME was trading at the same P/S multiple as $CHWY, the share price would be $420."

In short, GME may be about to double all over again.

Which begs another question: is the daytrading, gamma-squeeze mania that shook markets in late January, about to send GME - and the whole batch of most shorted names - soaring higher all over again?

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 15:54
Published:4/17/2021 2:59:11 PM
[] Biden Caves to Radicals: Will Increase Refugee Admissions After Saying He Wouldn't Published:4/17/2021 2:28:47 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: Journalists, Learning They Spread A CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace A New One Greenwald: Journalists, Learning They Spread A CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace A New One

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com,

That Russia placed "bounties” on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose.

A US soldier in Afghanistan CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

The saga began on July 29, 2020, when The New York Times announced that unnamed “American intelligence officials” have concluded that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The paper called it “a significant and provocative escalation” by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA's claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. Leading politicians from both parties similarly used this emotional storyline to advance multiple agendas.

The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump's refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump's “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”

 

The first goal this story served was to weaponize it in the battle waged by pro-war House Democrats and their neocon GOP allies to stop Trump's withdrawal plan from Afghanistan. How, they began demanding upon publication of the CIA/NYT story, can we possibly leave Afghanistan when the Russians are trying to kill our troops? Would that not be a reckless abdication to the Kremlin of this country that we own, and would withdrawal not be a reward to Putin after we learned he was engaged in such dastardly plotting to kill our sons and daughters?

In late June, this alliance of pro-war House Democrats — funded overwhelmingly by military contractors — and the Liz-Cheney-led neocon wing announced amendments to the military budget authorization process that would defund Trump's efforts to withdraw troops from either Afghanistan or Germany (where they had been stationed for decades to defend Western Europe against a country, the Soviet Union, that ceased to exist decades ago). They instantly weaponized the NYT/CIA story as their primary argument.

The record-breaking $740 billion military budget was scheduled to be approved by the House Armed Services Committee in early July. In a joint statement with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) on June 29 — the day the NYT story appeared — Liz Cheney proclaimed that “we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces.” One of the Democrats’ most pro-war House members, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), announced on July 1 (three days after the NYT story) his own amendment to block any troop withdrawal from Germany, citing “increasing Russian aggression.”

On July 1 and 2, the House Armed Services Committee held its hearings and votes — I watched all fourteen hours and reported on it in a series of articles and a 90-minute video report — and it not only approved this massive military budget but also both amendments to bar troop withdrawal. Over and over, the union of pro-war Democrats and Cheney-led neocon Republicans steamrolled the anti-war faction of left-wing and right-wing war opponents (led by Congressmembers Ro Khanna (D-CA), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL)), and repeatedly used the Russia bounty story to justify continuation of the longest war in America's history. This little speech from Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) was illustrative of how this CIA story was used all day:

The U.S. media was somehow more militaristic and blindly trusting about this CIA story than even this pro-war union of lawmakers. That the CIA’s leaked claim to The New York Times should even be questioned at all — given that it was leaked anonymously and was accompanied by exactly zero evidence — is not something that even crossed their journalistic minds.

These people who call themselves “journalists” do not view pronouncements from the U.S. security state as something that prompts skepticism let alone requires evidence before believing. The officials who run those agencies are their friends, partners and colleagues — those they most revere — and their every utterance is treated as Gospel. If — after watching them behave this way the last five years without pause — you think that is an exaggeration, watch this short video compilation produced by The Daily Caller to see for yourself how they instantly converted this CIA "Russia bounty” leak into proven fact that nobody, least of all them, should question:

As usual, the media figure most loudly and dramatically enshrining the CIA leak about Russia as Proven Truth was the undisputed Queen of demented conspiracy theories, jingoistic rhetoric, and CIA propaganda: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Over and over, she devoted melodramatic segments to denouncing the unparalleled evil of Russian treachery in Afghanistan (because the U.S. would never pay bounties to kill Russian soldiers in Afghanistan), at no point pausing her histrionics for even a second or two to wonder whether evidence ought to be presented before telling the millions of #Resistance liberals who watch her show that she is vouching for the truth of this story.

Predictably, now that this CIA tale has served its purpose (namely, preventing Trump from leaving Afghanistan), and now that its enduring effects are impeding the Biden administration (which wants to leave Afghanistan and so needs to get rid of this story), the U.S. Government is now admitting that — surprise! — they had no convincing evidence for this story all along.

The Daily Beast on Thursday was the first to notice that “the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had ‘low to moderate’ confidence in the story after all.” The outlet added: “that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.” The Guardian also reported that “US intelligence agencies have only ‘low to moderate confidence’ in reports last year that Russian spies were offering Taliban militants in Afghanistan bounties for killing US soldiers.” NBC News went even further, citing Biden’s campaign attacks on Trump for failing to punish Putin for these bounties, and noting: “Such a definitive statement was questionable even then….They still have not found any evidence, a senior defense official said Thursday.”

The Daily Beast and NBC News, Apr. 16, 2021

What made this admission particularly bizarre — aside from rendering weeks of decrees from media figures and politicians humiliatingly reckless and baseless — is that the Biden administration continued to assert this claim as truth as recently as Thursday. When announcing new sanctions aimed at Moscow and diplomatic expulsions of Russian diplomats — primarily in response to allegations of Russian hacking — the White House said “it was responding to reports that Russia encouraged Taliban fighters to injure or kill coalition forces in Afghanistan.” The official White House announcement of the retaliation said explicitly that “the Administration is responding to the reports that Russia encouraged Taliban attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel in Afghanistan based on the best assessments from the Intelligence Community (IC)” — a claim for which the IC itself admits it has only “low to moderate confidence” is even true.

When asked about this glaring contradiction yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave an answer that barely rose to the level of cogency, yet she clearly admitted the lack of evidentiary basis for this long-standing CIA/media tale:  

That there is no evidence for this media-laundered CIA story is not something we learned only yesterday. It has been obvious for many months. In September, NBC News — as Maddow was in the midst of her performative sadness and indignation over the story on its cable network — noted:

Two months after top Pentagon officials vowed to get to the bottom of whether the Russian government bribed the Taliban to kill American service members, the commander of troops in the region says a detailed review of all available intelligence has not been able to corroborate the existence of such a program.

"It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me," Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told NBC News. McKenzie oversees U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. continues to hunt for new information on the matter, he said.

"We continue to look for that evidence," the general said. "I just haven't seen it yet. 

That was what made the refusal to question this story all along so maddening. Not only was no evidence presented to support the CIA’s assertions — something that, by itself, should have prevented every real journalist from endorsing its truth — but commanders in Afghanistan were saying months ago they could not find convincing evidence for it. That is what The Daily Beast meant in Thursday’s report when it said “there were reasons to doubt the story from the start” — not just the lack of evidence but also that “the initial stories emphasize[d] its basis on detainee reporting” and “the bounties represented a qualitative shift in recent Russian engagements with Afghan insurgents.” NBC News on Thursday also said that “such a definitive statement was questionable even then.”

But these doubts were virtually non-existent in most media reports. Indeed, one of the New York Times reporters who broke the story publicly attacked me as a conspiracy theorist back in September when I cited that NBC News story about the lack of evidence while pointing out what a crucial role this uncorroborated story played in stopping troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and claiming Trump was beholden to Putin. And while The Daily Beast on Thursday said there were reasons to doubt the story from the start, that same outlet was one of the most vocal and aggressive in pushing the story as true:

Even worse, other media outlets — led by The Washington Post — purported to have “independently confirmed” the NYT/CIA tale of Russian bounties. Twice in the last year, I have written about this bizarre practice where media outlets purport to “independently confirm” one another's false stories by doing nothing more than going to the same anonymous sources who whisper to them the same things while providing no evidence. Yet they use this phrase “independent confirmation” to purposely imply that they obtained separate evidence corroborating the truth of the original story:

For months, pro-war members of both parties and leading members of the NYT/CNN/MSNBC media axis pushed a story — an inflammatory, dangerous one — based on nothing more than the say-so of anonymous CIA operatives. How can anyone do this who knows even the bare minimum about what this agency does and what its function is: to spread disinformation not just to foreign countries but the domestic population as well? It is both mystifying and toxic. But for people who call themselves “journalists” to repeat, over and over, evidence-free CIA claims, telling those who trust them to believe it, is nothing short of repulsive.


If you think that, upon learning yesterday's news, there was any self-reflection on the part of the media figures who spread this, or that they felt chastened about it in any way, you would be very, very wrong. In fact, not only did few if any admit error, but they did exactly the same thing on Thursday about a brand new evidence-free assertion from the U.S. Government concerning Russia: they mindlessly assumed it true and then stated it to millions of people as fact. They are not embarrassed to get caught spreading false CIA propaganda. They see their role, correctly, as doing exactly that.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, run by Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, issued a short Press Release about its targeting of Russian-Ukrainian political consultant, Konstantin Kilimnik, with new sanctions. One sentence of this press release asserted a claim that the Mueller investigation, after searching for eighteen months, never found: namely, that “Kilimnik provided the Russia intelligence services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” that he received from then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Is it true that Kilimnik passed this polling data to the Kremlin? Maybe. But there is no way for a rational person — let alone someone calling themselves a “journalist” — to conclude that it is true. Why? Because, like the CIA tale about Russian bounties — a claim they learned yesterday had no evidence — this is nothing more than a U.S. Government assertion that lacks any evidence.

Do you think journalists learned the lesson that they just had rubbed in their faces hours before about the foolishness of assuming official statements to be true with no evidence? Of course that is a rhetorical question: too many to count instantly proclaimed that this story was true without spending an ounce of mental energy to question if it was or apply any skepticism. Here’s Maddow’s MSNBC comrade showing how this is done:

Do you see what Hayes just did there? It is vital not to lose sight of how irresponsible and destructive this behavior is just because it is now so common. He saw a Press Release from a U.S. Government agency, read an assertion that it contained in one sentence, had no evidence that this assertion was true, but nonetheless “reported” it as if it were proven fact to millions of people in a predictably viral tweet.

Hayes was far from alone. I cannot count how many employees of corporate media outlets did the same: read the Treasury Department's Press Release and, without pausing for a second, proclaimed it to be true. Indeed, the two MSNBC hosts who follow Hayes's nightly news program explicitly described this evidence-free Press Release as "confirmation”— confirmation!

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell celebrating an evidence-free Treasury Department Press Release as "confirmation,” Apr. 15, 2021

Let's set aside the absurdity of treating this as some shocking revelation even if it were true. Just like the oozing historical ignorance of pretending that there would be something astonishing about Russians paying for the killing of U.S. troops in Afghanistan when the CIA just last week explicitly boasted of having done the same to Russian soldiers in Afghanistan, what is this Treasury Press Release supposed to prove that is so breathtaking and scandalous: that the Kremlin could not possibly have obtained polling data about the U.S. electorate had Manafort not provided it to them? That they never would have known that Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were swing states without an elaborate plot of collusion to learn this from the Trump campaign?

But the far more important point is the U.S. media's willingness — their subservient eagerness — to obediently treat U.S. government pronouncements as Truth. Just like with the Russia bounty story, where there were ample reasons to doubt it from the start, the same is true of this Treasury Press Release. To begin with, if this were such a smoking gun "confirming” collusion, why did the Mueller investigation after eighteen months of highly aggressive subpoena-driven investigative activity not discover it?

Let's express this as clearly as it can be expressed. Any journalist who treats unverified stories from the CIA or other government agencies as true, without needing any evidence or applying any skepticism, is worthless. Actually, they are worse than worthless: they are toxic influences who deserve pure contempt. Every journalist knows that governments lie constantly and that it is a betrayal of their profession to serve as mindless mouthpieces for these security agencies: that is why they will vehemently deny they do this if you confront them with this accusation. They know it is a shameful thing to do.

But just look at what they are doing: exactly this. These are not journalists. They are obsequious spokespeople for the CIA and other official authorities. Even when they learn that they deceived millions of people by uncritically repeating a story that the CIA told them was true, they will — on the very same day that they learn they did this — do exactly the same thing, this time with a one-paragraph Treasury Department Press Release. These are agents of disinformation: state media. And when they speak, you should listen to them with the knowledge of what they really are, and treat them accordingly.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 15:00
Published:4/17/2021 2:28:47 PM
[44bc2624-0f06-5fc3-99cd-334dd2851fbe] Meghan Markle watched Prince Philip's funeral at California home she shares with Prince Harry Meghan Markle tuned into Prince Philip's televised funeral from her California home she shares with husband, Prince Harry. Published:4/17/2021 2:28:47 PM
[Markets] Iran Says "New Understanding" Reached In Vienna Nuclear Talks Iran Says "New Understanding" Reached In Vienna Nuclear Talks

Iran's risky 'counter-pressure' campaign appears to be working. A mere day after the Islamic Republic announced obtaining 60% enriched uranium, there's talk of rapid "progress" made Saturday, according to the latest out of Vienna

Talks on Iran's contentious nuclear program have reportedly made progress, despite Tehran's announcement that it was increasing uranium-enrichment levels closer to weapons-grade levels.

..."Progress has been made in a far-from-easy task. We need now more detailed work," European Union envoy Enrique Mora said after the April 17 talks.

Chinese envoy Wang Qun said that "all parties have agreed to further pick up their pace in subsequent days by engaging in more extensive, substantive work on sanctions-lifting, as well as other relevant issues."

The Iranian side has further indicated the crucial phase of drafting the text for reviving the JCPOA nuclear deal can now start

Via AP

"The drafting of the text can begin now, and the Iranian delegation has prepared and presented its text on the nuclear sphere and the lifting of sanctions,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told Iranian state TV. 

However, there's yet to be confirmation from the US side seconding this optimistic assessment. The US team is engaging with the Iranians 'indirectly' via shuttle diplomacy by European diplomats.

And here's what the latest out of Bloomberg's reporting indicates Saturday:

World powers made further progress in their efforts to end a years-long standoff between Iran and the U.S. over the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal, as the Islamic Republic said a "new understanding" was taking shape at key talks in Vienna.

It remains to be seen if this positive momentum will continue, given another Israeli sabotage attack is likely right around the corner for the purpose of derailing the talks. Based on an intelligence "leak" to The New York Times, Israeli intelligence essentially owned up to being behind last Sunday's sabotage attack and blackout at Natanz nuclear facility. 

This in turn triggered Iran to announce uranium enrichment to 60% purity, while also vowing it could reach 90% if it chose to (while saying it hadn't gone that far). 90% would give it capability to produce a nuclear weapon, something which Israel has vowed to prevent by any means possible. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 14:30
Published:4/17/2021 1:59:03 PM
[] U.S. Cautions Israelis About Natanz Leaks to Keep Biden From Being 'Embarrassed' at Nuke Talks Published:4/17/2021 1:59:03 PM
[Markets] Mutual Funds Weekly: These money and investing tips can help you stay upright against the market’s headwinds These money and investing stories were popular with MarketWatch readers over the past week.
Published:4/17/2021 1:59:03 PM
[Entertainment] Kourtney Kardashian's Latest Outfit Proves You Don't Need to Break the Bank to Look Fabulous Kourtney KardashianKourtney Kardashian knows how to bring the glitz and glamour! The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star lit up the night in shimmery black sequins pants that featured fun and flirty fringe...
Published:4/17/2021 1:59:03 PM
[Entertainment] James Charles and Makeup Brand Morphe Part Ways Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations James Charles, YoutubeMorphe and James Charles have mutually decided to part ways. On Friday, April 16, the cosmetics company shared the announcement on Twitter, while touching on the YouTuber's alleged...
Published:4/17/2021 1:28:36 PM
[Markets] "How Much Does The Current Structure Benefit Us?": AOC Questions Role Of Supreme Court In Defending Court-Packing "How Much Does The Current Structure Benefit Us?": AOC Questions Role Of Supreme Court In Defending Court-Packing

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

It often seems that our politics of rage has created a new age of berserkers, warriors revered for their blind destructive fury. In order to distinguish yourself from the rest of the mob, you must show a willingness to lay waste to any structure or institution on the path to victory. This blood-lust politics was on display this week when House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Sen. Ed Markey , D-Mass, and others unveiled a raw court packing bill to add four new justices to the Supreme Court to give liberals a one-justice majority.

Not to be outdone, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. not only endorsed the court-packing scheme but appeared to question the very basis for Marbury v. Madison — the case laying the foundation for the Supreme Court in our constitutional system.

AOC challenged the role of the Court in overturning laws. She questioned “just, functionally, the idea that nine people, that a nine person court, can overturn laws that thousand– hundreds and thousands of legislators, advocates and policymakers drew consensus on.” She then added “How much does the current structure benefit us? And I don’t think it does.”

That current structure is called judicial review. It is the very thing that prevents authoritarian rule. Notably, there is little difference in nine or the proposed thirteen justices overturning laws “hundreds and thousands of legislators, advocates and policymakers drew consensus on.” Unless she is suggesting requiring thousands of jurists to review laws in equal numbers, her problem appears to be with the concept of judicial review.

In the 1803 Marbury decision, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that “[t]he very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives an injury.” Part of that right to review is the challenging of unconstitutional federal laws.  Marshall noted that “[t]he powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the constitution is written.” He then wrote most famously: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.”

AOC seems as emphatically convinced that a small number of jurists should not stand in judgment of the demands of thousands.  There is a term for that type of system. It is called ochlocracy, or mob rule. Another term, most associated with John Stuart Mill in his work On Liberty (1859) is “tyranny of the majority.” Mill explains that “the will of the people […] practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people.” Framers like John Adams referred to this form of tyranny and it is precisely what motivated figures like George Mason to demand a Bill of Rights protecting individual rights against the government – and the will of the majority. You do not need a First Amendment to protect popular speech. It is designed to protect the unpopular views of an insular and even despised minority.

What was an enlightened view in the Eighteenth Century is now reactionary in the Twenty-First Century. The Court is an impediment to progress. Indeed, the privileged few justices – whether nine or thirteen – is intolerable for those who seek transform our society.  This however is only a tyranny of the majority by the smallest margin. These structural changes are being pushed through despite an election that left the Senate in a 50-50 tie and the House with a now two-seat majority. It is really “tyranny of the mere majority.”

What is most chilling however is AOC’s question “How much does the current structure benefit us? It reflects a crisis for faith. No constitutional system can long survive with a type of leap of faith by the govern – faith not only in the system itself but each other.  That faith is now gone. Instead, we have the rise of the berserkers, politicians promising to yield to no institution or tradition that does not “benefit us.”

Back in the age of Vikings, berserkers would throw off their armor and even bite their own shields in pure rage. Accounts of the time describe a type of trancelike state called berserkergang that could describe many in our current politics: a “shivering, chattering of the teeth, and chill in the body, and then the face swelled and changed its color. With this was connected a great hot-headedness, which at last gave over into a great rage.” Norse leaders used the berserkers for their own ends. However, the berserkers had other plans and soon their lust for destruction threatened these leaders themselves. In 1015, Norway officially outlawed berserkers.

President Joe Biden has continued to stand mute as these figures rampage through his party and now the country. He is clearly unwilling to confront them directly and risk AOC or others asking how Biden “benefits us.” Indeed, he is enabling them by refusing to denounce court packing or other extreme demands. These extreme forces could be useful in maintaining Democratic control in the 2022 and 2024 elections. However, if the White House hopes they will serve as Biden’s berserkers, history shows they won’t be for long.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 14:00
Published:4/17/2021 1:28:36 PM
[Uncategorized] New Study Links Blood Clots to Coronavirus Infection

Another study concludes brain clots 'more likely' with COVID-19 infection than vaccine.

The post New Study Links Blood Clots to Coronavirus Infection first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 1:28:36 PM
[] You Will Not Believe the INSANE Proposals This City Is Considering for 'Reimagining' Public Safety Published:4/17/2021 12:59:00 PM
[2021 News] Joe Biden has a Freudian slip. Or, was it a Fraudian slip?

Joe Biden has a Freudian slip. Or, was it a Fraudian slip? Either way, having “Nazi Fags” on your mind isn’t a good thing Joe. Say what? https://t.co/li8kTtpka9 — Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) April 17, 2021

The post Joe Biden has a Freudian slip. Or, was it a Fraudian slip? appeared first on IHTM.

Published:4/17/2021 12:59:00 PM
[278f74cb-f5ec-599e-890d-1e4497e328ed] Topless woman arrested during Prince Philip's funeral: report A topless woman was reportedly arrested for causing mayhem on the streets of Windsor, England, during Prince Philip's funeral Saturday. Published:4/17/2021 12:59:00 PM
[Religious liberty] [Eugene Volokh] Religion and Failure to Provide Medical Care for Dying Children An illustration of our individualistic law of religious exemptions. Published:4/17/2021 12:59:00 PM
[Politics] ‘You Have to Read This’: Fed up Dad’s ‘MASTERPIECE’ of an angry letter tears ritzy school to SHREDS over critical race theory INDOCTRINATION Two ritzy private schools in New York City are in administrative and public relations HELL right now as a result of their activist and/or morally weak faculty’s embracing of critical race theory . . . Published:4/17/2021 12:59:00 PM
[Politics] ‘You Have to Read This’: Fed up Dad’s ‘MASTERPIECE’ of an angry letter tears ritzy school to SHREDS over critical race theory INDOCTRINATION Two ritzy private schools in New York City are in administrative and public relations HELL right now as a result of their activist and/or morally weak faculty’s embracing of critical race theory . . . Published:4/17/2021 12:59:00 PM
[Markets] Twitter Promotes Conservative Doxxing Article Based On 'Hacked' Materials -- Violating Own Policy Used To Protect Hunter Biden Twitter Promotes Conservative Doxxing Article Based On 'Hacked' Materials -- Violating Own Policy Used To Protect Hunter Biden

Twitter hypocrisy is on full display, and they aren't even trying to hide it.

After banning the New York Post and others for a factual report on Hunter Biden's not hacked laptop last October - citing their 'doxxing and hacked materials' policy, the social media giant actively promoted a story from The Guardian on Friday which not only doxxes conservative donors to Kyle Rittenhouse and other BLM targets - but was based on hacked materials obtained by a hacking collective that Twitter banned in

As Luke Rosiak of the Daily Wire details, The Guardian story which doxxes several low-level government employees who donated to Rittenhouse and others was based on a "data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website" GiveSendGo - and placed atop Twitter's "trending" section, which is manually curated by site employees.

Aside from Rittenhouse, the Guardian named several rank-and-file Wisconsin police officers who donated small amounts to the defense of fellow Wisconsin officer Rusten Sheskey - who shot knife-wielding suspect Jacob Blake.

Two $20 donations to Sheskey’s fund were associated with email addresses of a pair of lieutenants in Green Bay, Wisconsin’s police department. One, given under the name, “GBPD Officer”, was tied to an address associated with [name redacted by The Daily Wire], a training lieutenant in the department; another anonymous donation was associated with [name redacted by The Daily Wire], who is listed as a school resources officer lieutenant. -The Guardian via the Daily Wire

As Rosiak notes, it's unclear what is objectionable about donating to Sheskey - who was cleared of wrongdoing by the district attorney, and found to have been "acting within policy" by an internal review.

"When we started GiveSendGo, we let people give anonymously because people had such a big heart they didn’t want credit. Now where we’re at in this country, they have to give anonymously because we’ve seen what happens when their name gets out there. It makes me sick to my stomach… The point of this was to weaponize this information against the individuals who gave. There’s no other value other than to make them fearful," said Jacob Wells, founder of GiveSendGo.

More via the Daily Wire:

Not only is there no evident news value to publishing the names of private individuals who lawfully and anonymously donated modest amounts to support their colleagues’ right to a fair hearing – at a time when riots against police have flared and the publication of names seemingly makes them targets – but it’s not even clear that all the people doxxed by the Guardian actually gave. One man, by the Guardian’s account, would have had to misspell his own name for that to be true. The only non-public material breached was the email address of anonymous donors; their name was still not present.

Twitter is aware of DDOS’ modus operandi. In June 2020, it banned DDOS’ Twitter account and blocked all links to its hacked data.

Now recall how in October, Twitter banned the New York Post for a factual story on Hunter Biden's laptop - which was based on materials which were not hacked. Anyone who shared the Post bombshell was quickly blocked or suspended. Eventually, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that censoring the Post story was a "total mistake."

Rosiak points out that "If Twitter’s position is that the Guardian publishing the names and financial activity of ordinary citizens who gave anonymously does not constitute “personal and private information,” it appears to amount to a remarkable double-standard in high-profile stories relating to Black Lives Matter within the span of days."

Read the rest of the report here.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 13:30
Published:4/17/2021 12:59:00 PM
[Quick Takes] Joe Biden’s Supreme Court Commission Includes ‘Army’ of College Professors Open to Court Expansion

"heavily staffed by legal professors with revisionist views on the nation’s top judicial body"

The post Joe Biden’s Supreme Court Commission Includes ‘Army’ of College Professors Open to Court Expansion first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 12:59:00 PM
[Markets] Therese Poletti's Tech Tales: Tech’s COVID-19 boom won’t last forever, but it’s not going to end just yet Tech giants across nearly every sector are expected to report solid earnings gains in both the coming quarter and the rest of 2021, as the pandemic accelerated nearly everything, from e-commerce to virtual work to cloud computing.
Published:4/17/2021 12:59:00 PM
[] Government Lockdowns Have Stolen the Childhood of Millions of Children Published:4/17/2021 12:28:35 PM
[Markets] Economic Report: Used-car prices soar and the sticker shock may get worse Finding a used car or truck at a bargain price is almost impossible these days. The cost of used vehicles has soared since the end of last year and prices are likely to stay high for a while. In the past 12 months, U.S. used vehicle prices have jumped almost 10%.
Published:4/17/2021 12:28:35 PM
[AAL] 3 Dividends To Boost Your Income From Rising Consumer Spending Published:4/17/2021 12:04:27 PM
[Found] How one founder build a startup around compassion and care facilitated by AI In the second episode of our new podcast Found, our guest is Brie Code. Code is the founder and CEO of TRU LUV, a startup based out of Toronto that has its roots in the game industry, but that is taking a radically different approach to designing interactive experiences based on a historically-overlooked motivating paradigm […] Published:4/17/2021 12:04:27 PM
[topics:in-the-news/prince-philip-funeral] Watch: National Minute's Silence and gun salutes mark start of Prince Philip's funeral Published:4/17/2021 12:04:27 PM
[Politics] Poll: In TX-06 Special, It’s Anybody’s Game

It’s anybody’s game in the upcoming special election in Texas’s sixth congressional district, according to a Washington Free Beacon poll of registered voters in the suburban Dallas district.  While Susan Wright, the widow of Rep. Ron Wright (R., Texas), has been considered the frontrunner on the GOP side, three Republicans are polling in double digits […]

The post Poll: In TX-06 Special, It’s Anybody’s Game appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/17/2021 12:04:27 PM
[Markets] Earnings Outlook: Intel earnings to give first look on how shortages are affecting U.S. chip makers in 2021 Intel Corp. earnings --- as will earnings from every other major chip maker this season --- will be probed for how quickly the industry is managing to ease supply issues that have plagued semiconductor customers for most of COVID-19
Published:4/17/2021 12:04:27 PM
[f3c40a2b-48ed-5387-908e-441e84eddb60] Prince Philip's funeral: All eyes on Queen Elizabeth as she somberly celebrates Duke of Edinburgh's life Queen Elizabeth II paid her final respects to her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, on Saturday, at a slimmed-down yet special celebration of life for the Duke of Edinburgh. Published:4/17/2021 12:04:27 PM
[Markets] Biden Isn't Ending The Afghan War, He's Privatizing It Biden Isn't Ending The Afghan War, He's Privatizing It

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

'Unclear' If Over 18,000 Contractors Will Ever Leave Afghanistan: Pentagon

While President Biden said he will withdraw troops from Afghanistan, it’s not clear if his plan extends to the thousands of contractors working for the Pentagon that are still in the country.

When asked about this issue on Friday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he wasn’t sure. "So on the contractors, we don’t know exactly.  There are some preliminary plans.  And clearly, the goal is to get all our personnel out and I suspect that contractors will be part of that. But whether there’ll still be a need for some contractor support, I just don’t know," he said.

Via Pinterest

The US plans to continue supporting the Afghan military and Air Force. Since the bulk of the maintenance for these armed forces is performed by US contractors, there’s a good chance the Pentagon will justify a continued presence of private contractors.

According to numbers released in January, there are over 18,000 contractors working in Afghanistan. About 4,700 of the current contractors are Afghans that were hired locally. The remaining come from outside of the country, including about a third who are US citizens.

According to Stars and Stripes, 1,575 of the contractors are armed mercenaries, mostly Americans and other foreigners. While this number is only a small fighting force, it could be combined with intelligence operatives and proxies like the Afghan military to give the US the ability to strike inside Afghanistan.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday that the US wants to maintain "counterterrorist assets" in the region. On Tuesday, The New York Times cited current and former US officials who said the US "will most likely rely on a shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives" to conduct operations inside Afghanistan.

US Special Forces in Afghanistan dress in traditional clothing and try to recruit locals for anti-Taliban operations (Source: ABC News)

In a separate note, Jeremy Kuzmarov notes, the meaninglessness of President Biden’s announcement becomes apparent when we consider that the Pentagon employs more than seven contractors for every serviceman or woman in Afghanistan, an increase from one contractor for every serviceman or woman a decade ago.

...

These totals reflect the U.S. government’s strategy of outsourcing war to the benefit of private mercenary corporations, and as a means of distancing the war from the public and averting dissent, since relatively few Americans are directly impacted by it.

As long as the U.S. empire remains intact, the war as such will go on, and on... and on.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 13:00
Published:4/17/2021 12:04:27 PM
[Podcasts] Podcast: The 3WHH Is Back, Just in Time for Riot Season (Steven Hayward) Good grief! “Lucretia” and I take a week off, and everything goes to hell. Minneapolis starts rioting again, and Democrats in Washington start their own riot over court-packing. Meanwhile, the officer who mistook her service revolver for a taser and shot Daunte Wright was publicly identified within 48 hours (Kim Potter), lost her job, and now faces criminal charges, while we have passed Day 100 since Ashli Babbit was shot Published:4/17/2021 12:04:27 PM
[Markets] Riots Erupt Across US In Wake Of Police Shootings Riots Erupt Across US In Wake Of Police Shootings

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

Demonstrations took place in a slew of major U.S. cities on Friday night, with some devolving into riots, in the wake of several deadly police shootings.

In Brooklyn Center, where 20-year-old Daunte Wright was fatally shot on April 11 after resisting arrest, a peaceful march swelled in size after returning to the police headquarters, and agitators began trying to tear down fencing protecting the building and lobbing projectiles at law enforcement.

Individuals wearing hockey gear, gas masks, and respirators, armed with weapons like baseball bats, got through a breach in the exterior fence, triggering law enforcement to order the crowd to disperse.

Most of those who had gathered did leave but the ones who did not were arrested, with upwards of 100 taken into custody.

“It left people behind who were intent to cause destruction and disorder. When somebody, a group of these people wearing masks are trying to cut down the fence to get into a safe area, their intentions are to cause harm either to the building or to the police officers and the deputies inside the fence. Again, violence is not going to be tolerated by myself or this operation. We need to grieve. We don’t need to have more problems with destruction,” David Hutchinson, the Hennepin County sheriff, told an early Friday morning briefing in the city.

Members of the crowd spraypainted “Death to Amerika [sic]” and “ACAB,” an anti-police acronym favored by the far-left Antifa network.

People face crowd control measures from a group of law enforcement officers after trying to tear down fencing around the Brooklyn Center Police Department, in Brooklyn Center, Minn., on April 16, 2021. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

“We would like nothing better for all of our protests to go peacefully. It’s not fair to those that protest peacefully when the violent ones come in. If you’re going to commit violence, we’d prefer you not do that in Brooklyn Center, right, because it’s not fair to the citizens. They have enough going on right now as it is,” added Tony Gruenig, Brooklyn Center’s interim police chief.

Rioters in Portland smashed windows at various businesses, including Nordstrom and Nike, and torched an Apple location, after police fatally shot a man at a nearby park.

Officers rushed to the scene to make targeted arrests, once again leaving law enforcement resources stretched too thin.

The Portland Police Bureau had to place on hold calls for service, including for burglaries and a hit and run, the bureau said in an incident summary. At 10:49 p.m., 79 calls were on hold.

Four people were arrested, though one was quickly released from jail. Firefighters put out the fires, with the extent of the damage not yet clear.

“No one is entitled to break windows, set fires, or attack police officers. If you choose to participate in this kind of criminal activity, you can expect to be arrested and prosecuted,” Chris Davis, Portland’s deputy police chief, said in a statement.

“None of this destruction tonight has anything to do with the important work of racial justice and reconciliation our community and our nation need at this critical time in our history.”

A crowd of 250 to 300 demonstrators assaulted both a community member and a police officer, broke windows, spray-painted buildings, and set a car on fire in Oakland, California, officials there said.

Rioters set fire to the California Bank and Trust building in Oakland, Calif., on April 16, 2021. (Ethan Swope/AP Photo)

No arrests were made and no citations were issued.

Demonstrators were upset about the shooting of Wright, as well as another recent police shooting in California, of Tyrell Wilson.

Kim Potter, the former officer who fired on Wright, was charged this week with second-degree manslaughter. Andrew Hall, the Danville officer who fatally shot Wilson when the man refused to drop a knife he was holding in March, was sued this week by Wilson’s family.

A police union official in Minnesota has said Wright would still be alive he had complied with orders while a union official in Illinois called the fatal shooting of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old who was shot by an officer on March 29 after evading the police, justified.

In Chicago, protesters gathered Friday to speak out about the Toledo shooting.

“The rage does feel deeper now than it was even 24 hours ago or the start of the week,” Julie Wilson, one of the protesters, told CBS Chicago.

The crowd of approximately 1,000 clashed with police officers who arrived to disperse them from Logan Square Park. It was not clear if any arrests were made.

Demonstrations also took place in Raleigh, North Carolina and Washington.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 12:00
Published:4/17/2021 11:28:34 AM
[Uncategorized] Iran Names Suspect in Natanz Nuclear Site Attack, Issues “International'” Warrant

The 43-year-old Iranian national appears to have fled the country.

The post Iran Names Suspect in Natanz Nuclear Site Attack, Issues “International'” Warrant first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 11:28:34 AM
[310caa50-93c7-5dc2-b740-6a633ebf8de1] Princes Harry, William fuel royal reconciliation while exiting Prince Philip's funeral side-by-side Princes Harry and William fueled speculation of a royal reconciliation at Prince Philip's funeral on Saturday as they were spotted exiting St. George's Chapel together, side-by-side. Published:4/17/2021 11:28:34 AM
[Entertainment] Why Queen Elizabeth II Sat Alone at Prince Philip's Funeral Prince Philip Funeral, Queen Elizabeth, CarIt's an image taking the world's breath away. On April 17, Prince Philip, the longest-serving British royal consort, was laid to rest following a funeral service at St....
Published:4/17/2021 11:28:34 AM
[Markets] Paul Brandus: How could Biden easily boost homeownership? First, end Trump’s tariffs on raw materials A surge in the prices of lumber and steel have made buying a new home out of reach for many Americans.
Published:4/17/2021 11:28:34 AM
[Politics] RIOTS: Portland IN FLAMES overnight as ANTIFA sets Apple store, other buildings on fire but it’s NOT insurrection OKAY?! We could cover the Oakland riots, or the New York ones (where they keep releasing the rioters no matter how many times they are detained), but for now let’s just talk about . . . Published:4/17/2021 11:28:34 AM
[Politics] RIOTS: Portland IN FLAMES overnight as ANTIFA sets Apple store, other buildings on fire but it’s NOT insurrection OKAY?! We could cover the Oakland riots, or the New York ones (where they keep releasing the rioters no matter how many times they are detained), but for now let’s just talk about . . . Published:4/17/2021 11:28:34 AM
[] 100 Arrested After Riot at Brooklyn Center Police Station Published:4/17/2021 10:58:08 AM
[Entertainment] Queen Elizabeth II Says Goodbye to Prince Philip With Heartbreaking Note Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, 2006, WidgetQueen Elizabeth II penned one final goodbye to her husband Prince Philip. At the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral on April 17, a card could be seen on top of the late royal's coffin....
Published:4/17/2021 10:58:08 AM
[Markets] Russia Briefly Detains Ukrainian Diplomat On Spy Charges, Orders Expulsion Russia Briefly Detains Ukrainian Diplomat On Spy Charges, Orders Expulsion

Yet another major crisis has erupted between Russia and Ukraine, this time involving the brief detention of a Ukrainian diplomat over accusations of spying

"Ukraine's foreign ministry said Saturday that Russia briefly detained one of its diplomats in St Petersburg, marking the latest instance of tension between the two countries," The Hill reports Saturday morning. 

The diplomat, identified as Oleksandr Sosoniuk was taken into custody by Russia's FSB security service shortly after meeting with a Russian citizen. Sosoniuk is being accused of attempting to gain classified information from Russian databases from a local 'asset'.

Russia's FSB, file image

"This activity is incompatible with the status of a diplomatic employee and is hostile to the Russian Federation. The foreign diplomat will be dealt with in accordance with international law," the FSB said in a statement.

The diplomat has been given till April 22 to depart the country, Reuters reports. The diplomat was reportedly held for several hours in Russian custody before being delivered back to Ukraine's consulate in St. Petersburg. 

While the FSB said he was essentially caught 'red-handed', Ukraine's foreign ministry is fuming, saying in a statement, "The Ukrainian side will soon decide how to respond to this provocation, taking into account current practice," and condemned the detention, however brief. 

It's the latest incident to send tensions soaring at a moment Kiev is accusing Moscow of preparing for an 'offensive' in eastern Ukraine due to a large Russian troop build-up on the border and in Crimea, which by many accounts is the largest mustering of forces since 2014. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 11:30
Published:4/17/2021 10:58:08 AM
[Quick Takes] Stanford Students Warned Not to Agree With Writer J.K. Rowling on Trans Issues

"Her beliefs do not reflect our values"

The post Stanford Students Warned Not to Agree With Writer J.K. Rowling on Trans Issues first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 10:58:08 AM
[] Vernon Jones to Challenge Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in GOP Primary Published:4/17/2021 10:27:33 AM
[In The News] Congress Asks US Group for Details of Its Bat Coronavirus Research At Wuhan Lab

By Eleanor Bartow -

A U.S.-based group that conducts bat coronavirus research in China was asked Friday to provide a House committee with information on virus samples and safety protocols at a Wuhan lab. The group, the EcoHealth Alliance, has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for coronavirus research at the Wuhan …

Congress Asks US Group for Details of Its Bat Coronavirus Research At Wuhan Lab is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/17/2021 10:27:33 AM
[Markets] US Financial Markets Have Become A Giant Mirage Built On A Foundation Of Fraud US Financial Markets Have Become A Giant Mirage Built On A Foundation Of Fraud

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Would you pay more than 100 million dollars for a single deli in rural New Jersey that had less than $36,000 in sales during the last two years combined?  I know that sounds like a completely ridiculous question, but the stock market apparently thinks that deli is worth that much.  On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 34,000 for the first time in history, and investors all over the country cheered.  But this financial bubble is not real.  It is a giant mirage that is built on a foundation of fraud. 

Investors have lost all touch with reality, and in this sort of euphoric environment a small deli in rural New Jersey can literally be valued at more than 100 million dollars

The Paulsboro, New Jersey-based Your Hometown Deli is the sole location for Hometown International, which has an eye-popping market value despite totaling $35,748 in sales in the last two years combined, according to securities filings.

“Someone pointed us to Hometown International (HWIN), which owns a single deli in rural New Jersey … HWIN reached a market cap of $113 million on February 8. The largest shareholder is also the CEO/CFO/Treasurer and a Director, who also happens to be the wrestling coach of the high school next door to the deli. The pastrami must be amazing,” Einhorn said in a letter to clients published Thursday.

For young people getting ready to graduate from high school and go to college, don’t waste your time.

Just open up a small deli and go public.

Soon you will be a multi-millionaire.

Alternatively, you could start a fake cryptocurrency as a joke and watch it become worth billions of dollars.

To me, what is happening with “Dogecoin” is completely and utterly insane

The digital currency Dogecoin surged by more than 85 percent so far this week in thrilling scenes for fans of the bizarre coin. Launched in 2013 and created by Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus as a joke, the cryptocurrency has never seen the highs of rival coins like bitcoin, which is currently worth $63,531.49. But a growing fanbase has helped kickstart the meme coins value, and today has seen the prices skyrocket.

Looking at it objectively, I don’t know why any rational investor would ever put one red cent into Dogecoin.

But in 2021, rational investors are being left in the dust, and those that foolishly rush in are getting filthy rich.

I know that it may be hard to believe, but at this point Dogecoin has a market cap that is greater than 22 billion dollars

According to CoinDesk, Dogecoin has surged by 49.96 percent in 24 hours to $0.171956, as of 9.02pm on April 15.

In GBP, Dogecoin stands at £0.124731.

The market cap for Dogecoin is currently $22.19 billion in USD and £16.10 billion in GBP.

Someday Dogecoin will be worthless, but for now this “meme currency” is shocking the world.

Speaking of ridiculous valuations, Coinbase just went public, and it is currently valued at more than 85 billion dollars

Coinbase was briefly valued at as much as $100 billion in its Nasdaq debut Wednesday, a landmark event for the cryptocurrency industry. The stock closed at $328.28 per share, valuing Coinbase at $85.8 billion on a fully diluted basis.

Don’t you wish that you would have been the one to launch Coinbase?

Of course all of these absurd valuations are just temporary.

This bubble will inevitably pop, and those that did not sell at the top of the market will be kicking themselves.

In the financial markets, enormous fortunes are being won and lost all the time, but none of this is real.

What is real are the riots that are happening in our streets on a nightly basis.  Last night, rioters “waved a pig’s head” at police officers in Minnesota…

DAUNTE Wright protesters waved a pig’s head at cops as chaos again erupted in Brooklyn Center, with hundreds storming the police station.

Demonstrators came out for the fourth night in a row since Wright, 20, was fatally shot by police officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop on Sunday.

Sadly, instead of trying to calm the violence BLM leaders are actually arguing that rioting and looting are legitimate forms of political expression

A prominent activist who supports the Black Lives Matter movement has appeared to support violent protests, arguing that rioting and looting are ‘a legitimate, politically-informed response to state violence’.

Bree Newsome, 35, made the passionate remarks in a series of tweets this week, arguing that police are not limited to non-violence, and that a violent response to injustice can be appropriate and justified.

And do you want to know what else is real?

As I discussed a couple days ago, social decay is transforming city streets all over America into drug-infested wastelands

Homeless men lie on the sidewalk while others wearing blankets and rags loiter on a street strewn with garbage, feces, and drug paraphernalia along the notorious Kensington Avenue drag in Philadelphia.

Video posted online on March 10 shows people living out of suitcases on the sidewalks in the area adjacent to the entrance to the Somerset train station along the Market-Frankford train line while others openly brandish needles.

Cardboard boxes with trash bags stacked on top of them lie feet away from the entrances to various pawn shops, check-cashing stores, delis, and bodegas.

The financial bubble that we are experiencing right now will go away, but the problems on our streets are not going away.

In fact, they are only going to get worse in the months and years ahead.

But if you don’t want to believe this, go ahead and pour your life savings into Hometown International or Dogecoin and see what happens.

You only make money in the markets if you get out in time, and time is quickly running out for those that have put their faith in this financial bubble.

*  *  *

Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 11:00
Published:4/17/2021 10:27:33 AM
[Entertainment] Broadway producer Scott Rudin steps aside amid accusations of abusive behavior going back decades, apologizes for pain he caused As he cedes control, a string of hits will be left in the hands of others. Published:4/17/2021 10:27:33 AM
[Entertainment] Princess Anne Takes Prominent Place in Prince Philip's Funeral Procession Prince Philip Funeral, Princess AnnePrincess Anne took a prominent place amongst the royal family at her father Prince Philip's funeral. Wearing a black jacket with her military medals, adhering to the day's dress...
Published:4/17/2021 10:27:33 AM
[Black Lives Matter] A cry from the heart against rot in education (Paul Mirengoff) The Brearley School, is a private all-girls school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It costs $54,000 a year to attend and, according to Bari Weiss, prospective families apparently have to take an “anti-racism pledge” to be considered for admission. Brearley’s supposed commitment to anti-racism does not prevent it from discriminating on the basis of race in admissions and hiring. Nor does it stop the school from indoctrinating its Published:4/17/2021 10:27:33 AM
[Markets] Capitol Report: After year of pandemic, Capitol Hill slowly sees signs of return to normalcy Congress, like many other areas of American life, is slowly but surely beginning to return to normal as more lawmakers and staff get vaccinated and the level of coronavirus worry ebbs. Lawmakers say there's still a long ways to go yet, though.
Published:4/17/2021 10:27:33 AM
[] Apple Store in Portland that 'turned itself into a BLM memorial' was set on fire last night Published:4/17/2021 9:57:21 AM
[Entertainment] Prince Philip's Extraordinary Life Remembered During Royal Funeral Prince Philip, Duke of EdinburghThe world paid tribute to the longest-serving British consort, Prince Philip, during his funeral on Saturday, April 17. Thirty family members gathered at St. George's Chapel at...
Published:4/17/2021 9:57:21 AM
[791ec2e9-e2d3-5f80-8268-32d5fac84e91] Princes Harry and William reunite at Prince Philip's funeral for first time amid rift, separated in procession Princes Harry and William reunited publicly for the first time on Saturday amid their royal rift for the funeral service of their late grandfather Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Published:4/17/2021 9:57:21 AM
[Uncategorized] USS America: Self-Destruct Sequence Activated

I am a huge fan of Star Trek which chronicled the journey of the Starship USS Enterprise, on its five-year mission: “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Captain James T. Kirk was on the bridge with Commander Spock and the crew, exploring the galaxy and completing missions in the 23rd Century. Kirk […]

The post USS America: Self-Destruct Sequence Activated appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:4/17/2021 9:57:20 AM
[Markets] China Outraged At Joint US-Japan Statement Which Invokes 'Nuclear Defense' China Outraged At Joint US-Japan Statement Which Invokes 'Nuclear Defense'

During their late Friday press conference President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga - who is the first foreign leader to visit the White House of the new administration - issued a joint statement lashing out a China for actions that "are inconsistent with the international rules-based order" and impact "peace and prosperity" in the region. Thus it appears the lengthy pressure campaign by the administration to get Suga to agree to sign off on a muscular joint statement aimed at China, particularly at a moment of soaring tensions over Taiwan, paid off.

Included in the White House statement is the following: "We also recognize the importance of deterrence to maintain peace and stability in the region. We oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea. We reiterated our objections to China’s unlawful maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea and reaffirmed our strong shared interest in a free and open South China Sea governed by international law, in which freedom of navigation and overflight are guaranteed, consistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea."

Friday's White House joint press event, EPA/EFE

And further on Taiwan specifically the statement added, "We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues."

The Friday statement also said, "The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense under the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear."

"Japan resolved to bolster its own national defense capabilities… The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense… using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear," it underscored. 

As expected this has riled Beijing, which responded with fierce rhetoric of its own, with China's embassy in the United States saying in the end both Japan and the US will end up "harming themselves"...

The remarks have "completely gone beyond the scope of the normal development of bilateral relations", harming the interests of third parties as well as peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, the embassy said.

The move was an attempt to split the region that "will inevitably proceed with the purpose of harming others and end in harming themselves", it added.

The embassy further repeated that the statement encourages separatist activities on the island that it's long claimed as belonging to the mainland while interfering in China's affairs, as echoed in reporting by state-run CGTN news channel.

Up until the late Friday afternoon White House presser, many Japanese officials were earlier said to be deeply concern that a joint Taiwan statement with Biden would unnecessarily antagonize China but with no immediate strategic gains. They see the recent statements issued during the visit of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Japan as enough. That prior statement had emphasized the "importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 10:35
Published:4/17/2021 9:57:20 AM
[Science, Technology, and Social Media] Primordial black holes could explain dark matter, galaxy growth and more

By Adam Mann -

Adam Mann, Knowable Magazine A half-century-old, still-disputed idea about dense cosmic objects from the dawn of time could solve longstanding mysteries about the universe One day a little more than five years ago, Ely Kovetz was having lunch with his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, discussing a tantalizing …

Primordial black holes could explain dark matter, galaxy growth and more is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/17/2021 9:57:20 AM
[Firearms] Is the Ammo Shortage Over? (John Hinderaker) There was a prolonged ammunition shortage during the Obama administration. I got through that one because a Power Line reader lined me up with a dealer in West Virginia who seemed to have an endless supply of 9 mm. and .22LR rounds. Over the last year, another ammo shortage has struck, caused in part by an influx of new gun buyers who are responding to rising crime rates, attacks on Published:4/17/2021 9:57:20 AM
[Markets] : Bed Bath & Beyond CEO says the retailer wasn’t a ‘major beneficiary’ of stimulus funds Analysts are still cautious, but CEO Tritton says the company is telling its turnaround story "chapter by chapter"
Published:4/17/2021 9:57:20 AM
[Opinion] Biden Afghanistan Announcement Creates Strange Political Bedfellows

By Seth Hancock -

President Joe Biden’s announcement to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 has created bipartisan responses, both for an against, from the U.S. Congress. Maybe the strangest bedfellow for Biden is the decision aligns with former President Donald Trump, who made it a campaign promise to end the …

Biden Afghanistan Announcement Creates Strange Political Bedfellows is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/17/2021 9:31:02 AM
[Uncategorized] Virginia Teacher Says ‘Marxist’ Critical Race Training is Damaging the Community

"We're told that we're living in a county that's suffering from systemic racism and I think that that whole notion has done nothing but damage our community and our school since they began pushing equity"

The post Virginia Teacher Says ‘Marxist’ Critical Race Training is Damaging the Community first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 9:31:02 AM
[Entertainment] Prince Harry, Prince William and More Royals Share Moving Final Farewell to Prince Philip Prince Philip Funeral, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew. Prince Edward, Prince William, Peter Phillips, Prince HarryThe royal family is saying their final farewells to Prince Philip. On Saturday, April 17, members of the royal family emerged from Windsor Castle to begin their walk to St. George's...
Published:4/17/2021 9:31:02 AM
[Markets] What's Taboo? Everything Except Greed What's Taboo? Everything Except Greed

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

OK, now I get it. Take a couple tabs of Euphorestra and Hopium, and stick to talking about making money in the market. Greed won't offend anyone.



So I started to tell my buddy about my new screenplay idea: "There's a global pandemic, and when they rush a bunch of vaccines to market, then...."

"Stop right there--even talking about vaccines will get you renditioned to a hellhole in one of the 'stans."

"But it's just fiction."

"You can argue with your guard in the hellhole, just before they haul you off to be waterboarded."

"Jeez, has everything really gotten that crazy? OK, never mind. Anyway, I'm working on a little nostalgic story about the good old days when we plinked cans with our .22 rifles..."

"Don't mention guns. Doesn't matter who you talk to, somebody will get upset."

"But this was in the mountains, nobody around, just single-shot .22s."

"Doesn't matter. You'll lose friends or make new enemies just mentioning guns. Forget it."

"OK, if you say so. Hey, did you read about that proposal for the Supreme Court?"

"Are you trying to get people to hate on you? Never bring up politics and the Supreme Court, it's a sewage sandwich. Whatever you say will unleash hell."

"Dang, is it really so insane out there? I think you're getting psycho-paranoid."

"Don't ever joke about anything related to mental illness. That's super-taboo."

"Anyways, I was reading an article about cryptos and energy consumption, and--"

"Never bring up cryptos except privately, it's like a religious war. You'll get burned at the stake one way or the other."

"Has everyone forgotten what Thomas Merton said, 'The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves'?"

"Merton was a Christian, right? Don't bring up Christianity, that'll get you crucified. If you want to talk about religion, talk about Zoroastrianism, but only to people who don't know anything about it."

"This is nuts! What can I talk about? The weather?"

"Nope, never bring up the weather unless you want to lose friends and make new enemies. The word "weather" means global warming now, and there you go, down the rathole to hell again."

"OK Mr. Smart-Guy. What isn't taboo yet? A movie I saw?"

"No way, that's guaranteed to set off a firestorm because every movie has a subtext that offends someone. And if you praise a comedy, that's offensive to everyone who's offended on behalf of the offended."

"Don't tell me that bringing up the killer burrito I had at that taco truck down by the harbor--"

"Are you joking? It's cultural appropriation even mentioning an ethnic food, and the word 'killer' is verboten--just another example of the normalization of violence."

"Is there anything that isn't taboo?"

"As far as I can tell, only one thing: minting money in the market. Talk about options and penny stocks, you're golden with everyone. Those who scored big gains are gloating, and those who missed out want in."

"So greed and folly are the only non-taboo topics left?"

"Yes, greed is still good, but only if you're bullish and upbeat. If you're bearish, forget it. You're better off in the rendition hellhole in the 'stans."

"OK, now I get it. Take a couple tabs of Euphorestra and Hopium, and stick to talking about making money in the market. Greed won't offend anyone."

"Correct. At least until the bubble pops. After that, better stick with kittens and puppies."



*  *  *

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

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Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 10:10
Published:4/17/2021 9:31:02 AM
[COIN] Wall Street Breakfast: What Moved Markets Published:4/17/2021 8:59:46 AM
[Customs, Border and Immigration News] Border Agents Report Being Overworked, Understaffed And Exposed To COVID-19 During Migrant Surge

By Kaylee Greenlee -

Customs and Border Protection agents don’t have the resources they need to effectively do their jobs, two active agents told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Field agents are routinely exposed to positive COVID-19 cases and expected to return to work immediately after if they aren’t showing symptoms.  Border officials work …

Border Agents Report Being Overworked, Understaffed And Exposed To COVID-19 During Migrant Surge is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:4/17/2021 8:59:46 AM
[Media] From the bizarre Twin Cities hellworld (3) (Scott Johnson) Via Blois Olson on Twitter (below) and related stories, we have the letter of Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson to Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot, who has expressed nothing but scorn for law enforcement authorities seeking to protect the Brooklyn Center Police Department in the aftermath of the death of Daunte Wright. Here I am following Mark Freie’s report and Rose Semenov’s FOX 9 story. BREAKING: In letter @HennepinSheriff asks Published:4/17/2021 8:59:46 AM
[Quick Takes] Educator Conference at Michigan State Will Segregate ‘White Folx’ and ‘People of Color’

“Imagining & Creating Anti-racist Approaches to Learning & Teaching”

The post Educator Conference at Michigan State Will Segregate ‘White Folx’ and ‘People of Color’ first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 8:59:46 AM
[Markets] Old-School IPOs Trounce SPACs As Blank Check Craze Fizzles Old-School IPOs Trounce SPACs As Blank Check Craze Fizzles

It's been a very bad month for SPACs: last week we pointed out that the SPAC Bubble may have popped as the "Flood Of New SPAC IPOs Hit A Brick Wall." In the article, we said that the flood of recent SPACs which through the end of March was a non-stop torrent...

... had come and gone, spelling trouble for the broader market for initial public offerings with just three SPACs listing last week,, following just a pair of IPOs by SPACs last week which was a collapse from the more than 20 deals a week during most of the year.

There was much more pain to come for SPACs, however, and as we reported earlier this week, out of the blue the SEC lobbed an accounting bomb at the SPAC frenzy, when it began privately telling accountants that warrants, which are issued to early investors in the deals, might not be considered equity instruments. As Bloomberg explained, the proposed changes could result in warrants being considered a liability for accounting purposes, a shift which would spell a massive nuisance for accountants and lawyers, who are hired to ensured SPACs are in compliance with the agency.

Simply put, as Bloomberg concluded, "the communications mean that filings for new SPACs may not go forward until the warrants issue is addressed."

So, in a dramatic reversal as Bloomberg's ECM team reported, special-purpose acquisition companies may have become the hottest must-have for business tycoons, celebrities and even athletes, but old-school initial public offerings have quietly outperformed them this year.

More than 330 blank-check firms have listed in 2021, mostly in the U.S., making up just over a third of global IPO activity, data compiled by Bloomberg show. They join the 300 SPACs already floated last year, sparking concern among investors about their potential to find suitable acquisition targets and increased competition for the most attractive assets in the market.

One place where there is a profound difference is in the early returns: this year’s SPACs are trading up about 1.2% on average on an offer-to-date basis, whereas regular IPOs have gained 36%. The strong performance for traditional listings, Bloomberg said, "signals there is brisk appetite for new companies coming to market, while investor sentiment toward SPACs is cooling." This is precisely what we said last week.

Early this year retail traders helped fuel a strong rally in SPAC stocks amid reports of several potential deals. Since reaching a peak in late February, the U.S. IPOX SPAC index, which tracks U.S. blank-check stocks, has tumbled 21%.

“The billions of dollars that have flown into SPACs over the past year means there’s much more competition for attractive takeover targets, which diminishes the prospects of lofty returns for blank-check firms,” said Stephane Monier, chief investment officer at Lombard Odier & Cie.

According to Bloomberg, this could be good news for Europe, where blank-check listings are only beginning to trickle in. On Tuesday, Berlin-based venture capital firm 468 Capital announced a SPAC in Frankfurt, set to become only the seventh such deal in the region over the past 12 months. At the same time, Europe enjoyed its biggest-ever first quarter for proceeds from regular IPOs this year.

It is too soon to truly assess SPAC performance, though there is some damping of investor euphoria, said Shaunak Mazumder, a global equities fund manager at Legal & General Investment Management. These shares are only expected to pick up after announcing a deal, he said.

Still, even the SPACs that have agreed to buy a target recently have elicited a disappointing market reaction, signaling waning investor interest. After announcing the $40 billion purchase of Singapore-based Grab Holdings Inc. on Tuesday, shares of Altimeter Growth Corp. rallied 10%, but remain 15% below a January high.

Meanwhile, 2021’s regular IPOs have provided some stellar returns for investors. Kuaishou Technology, this year’s largest deal globally, has surged 125% since listing in Hong Kong in February. In the U.S., online courses provider Coursera Inc. is up 56% and dating app developer Bumble Inc. trades 38% higher, while bootmaker Dr. Martens has jumped 28% since its London debut.

And now, as we noted above, the SEC is also cracking down on how accounting rules apply to the warrants issued along with shares in blank-check offerings, new filings in their biggest market New York will be further disrupted.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 09:45
Published:4/17/2021 8:59:46 AM
[a466d51d-13fc-5caf-b1d5-9b6f4d42f48f] 'Addams Family' actor Felix Silla dead at 84 Felix Silla, a versatile actor best known for his role as hairy Cousin Itt on TV's "The Addams Family," died Friday after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 84.  Published:4/17/2021 8:59:46 AM
[Entertainment] Today Is The Last Day To Save 50% At Ulta's Spring Haul Sale E-comm: Last Day Ulta Spring HaulWe independently selected these products because we love them, and we hope you do too. Shop with E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a commission if you purchase something through our...
Published:4/17/2021 8:26:56 AM
[Markets] The IMF And The Jobless Recovery The IMF And The Jobless Recovery

Authored by Daniel Lacalle,

The International Monetary Fund has published its April outlook for the global economy. It has been hailed by most commentators due to the strong upgrade in GDP recovery. The report states that “global growth is projected at 6% in 2021, moderating to 4.4% in 2022. The upward revision reflects additional fiscal support in a few large economies, the anticipated vaccine-powered recovery in the second half of 2021, and continued adaptation of economic activity to subdued mobility”.

However, there are important warning signs that should be considered because headlines have been predominantly euphoric about this optical upgrade.

Two factors that affect the quality of the recovery should worry us:

  1. The upgrade comes mostly from higher government spending and rising debt, and

  2. the job recovery is much slower than in previous cycles.

The unemployment rate in the euro area will remain well above 2019 levels even in 2022 (rising from 7.9% in 2020 to 8.3% in 2022). Only Germany shows a positive employment outlook that leads its unemployment ratio to fall to 3.7%. Spain, on the opposite side, will end, according to IMF estimates, with unemployment of 15.8% in 2022 from 15.5% in 2020. This would make Spain the eurozone economy with the highest unemployment rate even in 2022 and one of the highest in the world.

The United States is estimated to end 2022 with a 4.2% unemployment rate, a rapid decrease from the current 6%, but still above pre-pandemic levels. China unemployment is expected to remain low at 3.6% and advanced Asia will likely show the best improvement in unemployment, reaching nearly record lows in 2022.

Even with these optimistic estimates of recovery, the IMF is showing that the covid-19 crisis is going to leave millions of workers left behind, and that it will be particularly negative in an area that prides itself on social policies and high public spending, the eurozone.

This crisis has proven that being rich and having a very elevated government spending did not help manage the health and economic crisis better.

The biggest loser of this crisis has been the middle class. According to Bloomberg, an estimated 150 million slipped down the economic ladder in 2020, the first pullback in almost three decades. Massive liquidity injections and large government spending programs have not helped the middle class, and we could argue that it created a negative effect. Why? The middle class has been the most negatively affected by the loss of employment while its savings and real wages have been eroded by inflation as central banks pumped trillions into government debt, creating a perverse spiral of rising prices when disposable real income fell dramatically.

We could argue that it would have been worse without central bank intervention and government spending, but there is absolutely no evidence that shows it should have been as massive and indiscriminate as it was in 2020. We have been told to ignore the size of stimulus or its effectiveness and just accept these massive repurchase and spending programs as essential. No one seems to ask how much is too much and even less when the results are a bloated GDP recovery due to debt and public expenditure with a poor job recovery ratio. As time passes, we have grown used to hear of “ trillion dollar stimulus” and think it is not enough.

This poor return on capital employed of government and central bank programs would result in lay-offs of management in any company. We are not discussing diminishing returns of monetary and fiscal policy, but outright negative effects if we add asset bubbles and high leverage.

Any serious analyst would be appalled at the figures of unemployment and growth shown by the IMF after spending close to twenty trillion in chained stimuli. Furthermore, any serious analyst would be seriously warning about the negative consequences of making central banks and government the lender of first resort, not the last resort. What is the biggest risk? That the 2022 estimates prove to be too optimistic, again, and governments and central banks push to an even higher level of interventionism.

The destruction of the free market, competition and innovation may seem appealing to some now, but the likely outcome of poor employment, negative real wage growth and stagnation should be a real cause of concern.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 09:20
Published:4/17/2021 8:26:56 AM
[Markets] : Ignore warnings about a potential housing bubble and consider these stocks with bright outlooks The conditions for a pending crash in the market don't exist.
Published:4/17/2021 8:26:56 AM
[World] Deep Dive: These stocks let you tap into the hot housing market Many home builders' valuations are still low, while their implied upside potential is in the double digits.
Published:4/17/2021 8:26:56 AM
[Politics] Jimmy Lai's Greatest Scoop The prison sentence handed down to Jimmy Lai is likely just the beginning of the punishment the Chinese communists are going to mete out to the hero of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement. The one-year stretch he's just drawn is for participating in a peaceful demonstration by thousands. He still faces charges for fraud and violating the national security law. The 72-year-old family man may yet perish in prison. Published:4/17/2021 8:26:56 AM
[Entertainment] How Jennifer Garner Made the Most of Her Quarantine Year Jennifer Garner, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2021With Jennifer Garner, what you see is what you get. Impossibly youthful-looking actress who goes to work with a smile on her face? Check. Working mom of three who puts her kids first but...
Published:4/17/2021 7:59:52 AM
[Entertainment] Raised in a cult, Lauren Hough’s salvation was the discovery of her own inimitable voice Hough’s debut essay collection, “Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing,” includes her viral story about being “a cable guy.” Published:4/17/2021 7:59:52 AM
[topics:organisations/royal-ballet] Liam Scarlett, world-renowned choreographer, has died at the age of 35 Published:4/17/2021 7:59:52 AM
[Markets] Russia Shuts Ukraine's Military Access To Black Sea Russia Shuts Ukraine's Military Access To Black Sea

It was announced Thursday that Russia will close off the Kerch Strait to all foreign warships for six months amid rising Ukraine tensions, and after the US threatened to send additional warships to the area. The Kerch Strait is the vital, narrow waterway connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, and which importantly connects southern Russia to "annexed" Crimea.

"Putin will close the Kerch Strait beginning next week until October, blocking foreign warships that are conducting military exercises, including the US, the Ukraine foreign ministry said Thursday," The New York Post reported. 

The move has enraged Ukraine, which is now accusing Russia of seeking to 'illegally' block its ships - especially naval vessels - from accessing the Black Sea, and has protested what it says is a severe violation of norms of 'freedom of navigation.

Kerch Strait, via EPA/TASS

Ukraine's foreign ministry said "such actions by the Russian Federation are another attempt to violate the norms and principles of international law to usurp the sovereign rights of Ukraine as a coastal state, as Ukraine has the right to regulate navigation in these areas of the Black Sea."

Moscow has since underscored that it will not impact regional trade, particularly the regional grain trade for which the strait serves as a vital passageway, and that the closure is necessary for "military exercises". Reuters on Friday cited state sources to detail the following:

The right of passage of foreign warships and "other state ships" will be suspended in three spots near Crimea's Black Sea coast from April 24 until October 31, RIA said, citing Russia's defence ministry.

Russia says the strait is not closed to commercial and trade vessels. The closure comes after the Kremlin warned American naval ships to stay away from approaching the Crimea "for their own good".

Meanwhile, akin to the major 25 November 2018 naval "ramming" incident which saw Ukrainian navy personnel arrested and detained by Russian patrol boats in the Kerch Strait, there's been new hostile encounters between the two sides this week in the same area, with Ukraine's military charging that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) tried to aggressively block its vessels.

"Russian FSB boats once again attempted to obstruct the legitimate actions of the Ukrainian Navy’s boat group on combat duty tonight," the Ukrainian Navy said Thursday. "Despite the Russians’ provocations and the targeted actions, the Ukrainian Navy submarine tactical group continued to perform its tasks."

All of this points to the increasing likelihood of a new major 'Kerch Strait incident' brewing... which could see yet more direct Russia-Ukraine naval clashes, akin to Fall of 2018 and other similar hostile encounters of the past years. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 08:45
Published:4/17/2021 7:59:52 AM
[Markets] More than 3 million people have died of COVID-19; more than 140 million infected More than 3 million people have died of COVID-19; more than 140 million infected Published:4/17/2021 7:59:52 AM
[Markets] Business in the Age of COVID-19: Apple found fans beyond the iPhone as pandemic gave life to Mac and iPad The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a more digital world, giving new life to Apple Inc.'s sleepier product categories and positioning the company to capitalize on improving spending if the economy rebounds in the next year.
Published:4/17/2021 7:59:52 AM
[Uncategorized] Refunds for Everyone Week in Higher Education

Your weekly report on campus news.

The post Refunds for Everyone Week in Higher Education first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/17/2021 7:26:25 AM
[f3ed7fc3-ac0a-5a3b-89b9-88b22e8d3db7] Dave and Ann Wilson: It's what every parent fears – I've messed up my kids. Here's what happened to us This parenting thing can be tough at times. We carry around a burden of not doing it right and imagining our kids sitting on a counselor’s couch talking about how screwed up their parents were.   Published:4/17/2021 7:26:25 AM
[Markets] UK Government Advisors Call For More Lockdowns UK Government Advisors Call For More Lockdowns

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

Advisors to the government in the UK, which has mostly been under varying degrees of lockdowns for more than a year now and is supposed to be emerging from the last of the restrictions, have said that there may have to be further lockdowns in order to stop new coronavirus variants.

The London Independent reports:

…a top scientist advising the government has said local restrictions may need to be reintroduced if surge testing fails to halt the spread of the South African Covid variant.

Professor John Edmunds, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told ITV’s Peston show that if mass testing events, such as those currently underway in Southwark and Barnet in London, “don’t work that well … then it’s possible we’ll have to impose some sort of local restrictions back in place and nobody wants to do it”.

A similar report in the Telegraph notes that lockdowns may have to be localised to different streets to prevent outbreaks of new variants.

Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute told the BBC that shutting down individual streets “certainly could” help prevent the spread of the virus “because one of the trickiest parts of this virus overall is, of course, some individuals who are infected don’t have symptoms and so they can transmit.”

“Trying to use interventions that might stop asymptomatic transmission may well be an important part of keeping outbreaks of these new variants to be as absolutely small as possible,” Barrett added.

He also suggested that there is a “chance” new variants will be “less well neutralised” by vaccines, adding that it is “restrictions” that have helped contain outbreaks.

That rhetoric echos what Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier this week when he stated that it is lockdowns, rather than vaccinations that have caused a reduction in cases of the virus:

Both government advisors mentioned above also advocated so called ‘surge testing’, yet as noted earlier this week, the vast majority of positive results from rapid testing are likely false:

As we have tirelessly documented, lockdowns are not an effective means of preventing the spread of any virus, and come with many other disastrous consequences.

As the UK begins to reopen, we are seeing a further enforcement of restrictions with the likes of ‘COVID marshals’ being put back onto the streets to report people to the police for not properly social distancing.

It appears to be becoming clearer that this nightmare is never going to end.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 08:10
Published:4/17/2021 7:26:25 AM
[structure:news] Death by police: US fatalities from George Floyd to Adam Toledo, in pictures Published:4/17/2021 7:26:25 AM
[Markets] Investors should literally 'go away in May' this year: NYSE trader 'Sell in May and go away,' advises the trading maxim. But with stocks at record highs, one trader at the New York Stock Exchange is recommending a related but different strategy. Published:4/17/2021 7:26:25 AM
[Politics] 'Literally Thanos': The Guardian says Genghis Khan was actually good for the planet Published:4/17/2021 6:56:41 AM
[Markets] Iran Obtains 60% Enriched Uranium Overnight In Alarming First Iran Obtains 60% Enriched Uranium Overnight In Alarming First

Iran on Friday has announced its latest nuclear fait accompli, saying that it's obtained for the first time ever 60% enriched uranium overnight. This marks the highest level of purity the Islamic Republic has ever enriched to, and has no doubt put the US and European countries negotiating in Tehran on edge.

Particularly Israel has warned it will take action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability, which requires 90% enrichment, which Iranian leaders this week have warned is indeed obtainable "if we wanted to" - according to the latest remarks from President Hassan Rouhani. 

Tehran's parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf made the Friday announcement in a Tweet, writing, "I am proud to announce that at 00:40 last night, and on the night of the pilgrimage of Sayyid al-Shuhada, young and pious Iranian scientists were able to obtain a product of 60% enriched uranium."

Via Reuters

Qalibaf added: "Congratulations to the brave people of Islamic Iran on this success."

The Islamic Republic said this is the necessary response to Sunday Natanz nuclear facility sabotage attack, which has been widely blamed on Israel. An Israeli intelligence official also told The New York Times that the Jewish state was indeed behind it.

It appears also part of Iran's latest efforts to pile on the leverage for Washington to drop Trump-era crippling sanctions on the country immediately if the US hopes to restore the JCPOA nuclear deal. 

Iran is now warning that it doesn't plan to let nuclear negotiations "drag on" and has threatened to cut talks short if they are "not constructive". 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei weighed in on this note with forceful words on Wednesday, saying"The talks shouldn’t become talks of attrition," and that they "shouldn’t be in a way that parties drag on and prolong the talks. This is harmful to the country." 

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 07:35
Published:4/17/2021 6:56:41 AM
[5b81af15-3557-58a8-a61a-b36a5666d6da] Piers Morgan says it's 'heartbreakingly sad' Queen Elizabeth will sit alone at Prince Philip's funeral Piers Morgan expressed support and sympathy for Queen Elizabeth II in the hours leading up to Prince Philip's funeral. Published:4/17/2021 6:56:41 AM
[Markets] Ukrainian Envoy: NATO Or Nuclear Weapons Ukrainian Envoy: NATO Or Nuclear Weapons

Authored by Rick Rozoff via AntiWar.com, 

On Thursday Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seconded a statement by Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili that "it is time for concrete proposals for Ukraine and Georgia to obtain a NATO MAP and a plan to join the EU." The two countries have been paired as partners for future NATO membership, with both being promised membership in the global military bloc at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania in 2008.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, seconded Zelensky’s demand that NATO admit Ukraine as a full member, stating that only that move would prevent a Russian invasion: "The only possibility for this [to prevent alleged invasion plans] is for Ukraine to finally become a NATO member."

He also claimed that had his country been in NATO in 2014 the secession of Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea would not have occurred; neither would the now seven-year was in the Donbass. He neglected to state whether the U.S.-engineered uprising and overthrow of an internationally-recognized government would also have occurred. Most likely not, as the populations of NATO nations are not allowed to elect, or if elect, keep any government Washington and Brussels view with disapprobation.

The envoy then made this provocative statement:

"Ukraine has no other choice: either we are part of an alliance such as NATO and are doing our part to make this Europe stronger, or we have the only option – to arm by ourselves, and maybe think about nuclear status again. How else can we guarantee our defense?"

He also claimed there were 90,000 Russian military personnel deployed to the Donbass border and to Crimea; in his words, "We are dealing with the largest troop movement in Russia since the Second World War." Which is arrant nonsense.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk

When the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991 a third of total Soviet nuclear weapons were in Ukraine; with 1,700 warheads in the country it had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world after the US and Russia.

In 1994 Ukraine joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon nation. It’s that decision the above-cited ambassador suggested be reversed. In fairness, this isn’t the first time the question of Ukraine developing its own nuclear weapons capacity has been broached.

Over the past twenty years NATO-trained military leaders have raised the issue. But never before, and never during a crisis remotely comparable to the present one, has the issue been phrased so brutally: either place Ukraine under NATO Article 5 mutual military assistance status – and NATO acknowledges itself a nuclear alliance – or Ukraine will reassert itself as a nuclear power.

The shelling of the Donbass will be mild in comparison to what an armed conflict between a nuclear Ukraine and nuclear Russia would portend.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/17/2021 - 07:00
Published:4/17/2021 6:26:03 AM
[Entertainment] These 25 Travel Beauty Finds Are Multitask Must-Haves E-Comm: Travel BeautyWe independently selected these deals and products because we love them, and we hope you do too, and we think you might like them at these prices. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a...
Published:4/17/2021 6:26:03 AM
[Entertainment] As hopes rise for a return to the stage later this year, D.C.-area theaters sing: We’re still here! Surviving the shutdown with loans and donations, theater leaders look to the future and how to bring people back to shows. Published:4/17/2021 6:26:03 AM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Josh Blackman] Today in Supreme Court History: April 17, 1978 4/17/1978: Penn Central Transportation Corporation v. New York argued. Published:4/17/2021 6:26:03 AM
[5492ed13-c6d8-5b59-ac5b-05d774570eca] Jane Hampton Cook: When cancel culture came for Ben Franklin – here's how this founder fought back In the past year, Franklin has been the target of cancel culture. Washburn University removed Franklin's statue to appease vandals while a Washington, D.C., committee included him on their statue hit list. Published:4/17/2021 6:26:03 AM
[NVCR] NovoCure: The Next Big Healthcare Acquisition Published:4/17/2021 6:00:32 AM
[topics:in-the-news/prince-philip-funeral] Prince Philip's great niece: 'He was an idol to us' Published:4/17/2021 6:00:32 AM
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