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[Markets] Biden's Defense Secretary Puts The Brakes On Trump's Germany Troop Draw Down Biden's Defense Secretary Puts The Brakes On Trump's Germany Troop Draw Down

Perhaps as expected, it didn't take long for the Biden administration to begin putting the brakes on Trump's previously ordered troop draw downs which occurred in the last two months of his presidency, particularly in Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The defense analysis and news site Military.com is reporting that new defense secretary under the Biden administration Lloyd Austin is reviewing the withdrawal of 12,000 US troops from Germany:

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has voiced his commitment to shoring up close ties with NATO ally Germany that were strained under the Trump administration, and suggested that the plan to withdraw 12,000 U.S. troops from the country is open to discussion.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, via AP

The prior Trump plan for to cut nearly one-third of total American military personnel from the country was predictably fought from Congressional corners known for being hawkish on Russia, with even some American and European security officials having called the move a "gift to Putin".

Later in December the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act attempted to override the draw down order, and according to German officials early this year there's yet to be significant movement of troops from the country.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin this week held phone calls with NATO allied officials in Europe. The Military.com report continues:

In a phone call to his German counterpart, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Austin "expressed his gratitude to Germany for continuing to serve as a great host for U.S. forces, and expressed his desire for a continued dialogue on U.S. force posture in Germany," according to a Pentagon readout of the call released Wednesday.

He also sought "to reinforce the value the United States places on the bilateral defense relationship with one of our closest NATO Allies," the readout from Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby states.

By all appearances the some 36,000 total American troops in Germany have gone nowhere despite the plan initiated under Esper. 

Recent polling of the German public also suggests half or more want to see US troops gone, after being there since World War II.

As the report concludes of Defense Secretary Austin's phone call, it is "the latest sign of the Biden administration's intent to reverse or water down the policies of former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly questioned NATO's worth to the U.S. and rattled allies with demands for more defense spending."

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/29/2021 - 19:40
Published:1/29/2021 6:55:17 PM
[Entertainment] Casey Affleck Sets the Record Straight on Ben's Ana de Armas Cutout Ben Affleck, Ana de ArmasCasey Affleck doesn't want any blame for discarding a certain cardboard cutout. Not long after Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas' split was confirmed on Jan. 18, a cutout of the...
Published:1/22/2021 3:02:42 AM
[Markets] The Coming New Order The Coming New Order

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

For many years, a handful of people have postulated that those who control industry, finance and governments are essentially the same people – a cabal of sorts that have, over generations, solidified their relationships in order to gain greater wealth and power, whilst systematically making things ever more difficult for the free market to exist.

But why should this be? Surely, corporate leaders are more ardently capitalist than anyone else?

Well, on the surface, that might appear to make sense, but once a significant position of power has been achieved, those who have achieved it recognize that, since they’ve already reached the top, the primary concern changes. From then on, the primary concern becomes the assurance that no others are able to climb so high as they have.

At that point, they realise that their foremost effort needs to be a push toward corporatism – the merger of power between government and business.

This is a natural marriage. The political world is a parasitic one. It relies on a continual flow of funding. The world of big business is a study in exclusivity – the ability to make it impossible for pretenders to the throne to arise. So, big business provides the cash; government provides protective legislation that ensures preference for those at the top.

In most cases, this second half of the equation does not mean a monopoly for just one corporation, but a monopoly for a cabal – an elite group of corporations.

This corporatist relationship has deep roots in the US, going back over one hundred years. To this day, those elite families who took control of oil, steel, banking, motor vehicles and other industries a century ago, soon created a takeover of higher learning (universities), health (Big Pharma) and “Defense” (the military-industrial complex).

Through legislation, the US was then transformed to ensure that all these interests would be catered to, creating generations of both control and profit.

Of course, “profit” should not be an evil word, but under crony capitalism, it becomes an abomination – a distortion of the free market and the death of laissez faire economics.

Certainly, this sort of collectivism is not what Karl Marx had in mind when he daydreamed about a workers’ paradise in which business leaders retained all the risk and responsibility of creating and building businesses, whilst the workers had the final word as to how the revenue would be distributed to the workers themselves.

Mister Marx failed in being objective enough to understand that if the business creator took all the risk and responsibility but gave up the ability to decide what happened to the revenue, he’d never bother to open a business. Even a shoeshine boy would reject such a notion and elect to go on the dole, rather than work.

Mister Marx sought more to bring down those who were successful than to raise up those who were not, yet he unwittingly created a new idea – corporate collectivism – in which the very people he sought to debase used the appeal of collectivist rhetoric to diminish both the freedoms and wealth of the average worker.

On the surface, this might appear to be a hard sell – to get the hoi polloi into the net – but in fact, it’s quite easy and has perennially been effective.

Hitler’s New Order was such a construct – the promise to return Germany to greatness and the German people to prosperity through increasingly draconian laws, warfare and an economic revolving door between government and industry.

Of course, a major influx of capital was required – billions of dollars – and this was eagerly provided by US industry and banks. Heads of New York banks not only funded Nazi industry; families such as the Fords, Rockefellers, Morgans, etc., sat on the boards of German corporations.

The Nazi effort failed, as they underestimated the Russian will to fight to the death. (Eighty percent of all German Army deaths were due to the Russian campaign.)

But those in New York were able to regroup and be first in the queue for the restructuring of German industry after the war and, ultimately, profited handsomely.

But most significantly, the idea of corporatist collectivism did not die. Even before the war, the same group of families and corporations had drawn up the plan for Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Mister Roosevelt was a dyed-in-the-wool Wall Street man and a director of New York banks. In the 1930s and early 1940s, he created, as president, a revolving door that favoured large corporations, whilst the average American was consciously kept at the subsistence level through government entitlements.

The scam worked. Shortsighted Americans not only were grateful; they deified him for it.

Likewise, John Kennedy’s New Frontier sought to revitalize the concept, as did Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society: Give the little people entitlements that keep them little. Tax smaller businesses and create a flow of tax dollars to the elite industries, who, in turn, provide monetary favours to the political class.

The Green New Deal is merely the latest corporate collectivist scheme on the list.

Corporate collectivism can be defined as a system in which the few who hold the legal monopolies of finance and industry gain an overriding control over all others, and in so doing, systematically extract wealth from them.

Today, this system has become so refined that, although the average American has a flat screen TV and an expensive smartphone, he cannot raise $400 to cover an emergency that occurs in his life. He is, for all practical purposes, continually bankrupt, but still functioning in a zombie-like existence of continual dependency.

This, on the surface, may not seem all that dangerous, but those who cannot buy their way out of a small emergency are easily controlled. Just create an emergency such as an uber-virus and that fact will be illuminated quickly.

In order to maximise compliance in a population, maximise their dependence.

As stated above, this effort has been in play for generations. But it is now reaching a crescendo. It’s now up to speed in most of the former Free World and those who hold the strings are ready for a major step forward in corporate collectivism.

In the coming year, we shall see dramatic changes appearing at a dizzying rate. Capital controls, migration controls, internal movement controls, tax increases, confiscation of assets and the removal of “inalienable” rights will all be coming into effect – so quickly that before the populace can even grasp the latest restrictions, new ones will be heaped on.

As this unfolds, we shall witness the erosion of the nation-state. Controls will come from global authorities, such as the UN, the IMF and the WEF. Organisations that have no formal authority over nations will increasingly be calling the shots and people will wonder how this is possible. Elected officials will increasingly become mere bagmen, doing the bidding of an unelected ruling class.

The changes that take place will be not unlike a blanket that is thrown over humanity.

The question then will be whether to, a) give in to this force, b) to fight it and most likely fall victim to it, or c) seek a means to fall outside the perimeter of the blanket.

*  *  *

Unfortunately most people have no idea what really happens when a government goes out of control, let alone how to prepare… The coming economic and political crisis is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past. That’s exactly why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent video. Click here to watch it now.

Tyler Durden Thu, 01/21/2021 - 20:40
Published:1/21/2021 8:00:58 PM
[Markets] The Deep State's Stealthy, Subversive, Silent Coup To Ensure Nothing Changes The Deep State's Stealthy, Subversive, Silent Coup To Ensure Nothing Changes

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“You have such a fervent, passionate, evangelical faith in this country…why in the name of God don’t you have any faith in the system of government you’re so hell-bent to protect? You want to defend the United States of America, then defend it with the tools it supplies you with—its Constitution. You ask for a mandate, General, from a ballot box. You don’t steal it after midnight, when the country has its back turned.”

- Seven Days in May (1964)

No doubt about it: the coup d’etat was successful.

That January 6 attempt by so-called insurrectionists to overturn the election results was not the real coup, however. Those who answered President Trump’s call to march on the Capitol were merely the fall guys, manipulated into creating the perfect crisis for the Deep State—a.k.a. the Police State a.k.a. the Military Industrial Complex a.k.a. the Techno-Corporate State a.k.a. the Surveillance State—to swoop in and take control.

It took no time at all for the switch to be thrown and the nation’s capital to be placed under a military lockdown, online speech forums restricted, and individuals with subversive or controversial viewpoints ferreted out, investigated, shamed and/or shunned.

This new order didn’t emerge into being this week, or this month, or even this year, however.

Indeed, the real coup happened when our government “of the people, by the people, for the people” was overthrown by a profit-driven, militaristic, techno-corporate state that is in cahoots with a government “of the rich, by the elite, for the corporations.”

We’ve been mired in this swamp for decades now.

Every successive president starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt has been bought lock, stock and barrel and made to dance to the Deep State’s tune.

Enter Donald Trump, the candidate who swore to drain the swamp in Washington DC. Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the Deep State to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic.

Joe Biden will be no different: his job is to keep the Deep State in power.

Step away from the cult of personality politics and you’ll find that beneath the power suits, they’re all alike.

Follow the money.  It always points the way.

As Bertram Gross noted in Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America, “evil now wears a friendlier face than ever before in American history.”

Writing in 1980, Gross predicted a future in which he saw:

…a new despotism creeping slowly across America. Faceless oligarchs sit at command posts of a corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many decades. In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of their institutional or personal greed. For Americans, these consequences include chronic inflation, recurring recession, open and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of air, water, soil and bodies, and, more important, the subversion of our constitution. More broadly, consequences include widespread intervention in international politics through economic manipulation, covert action, or military invasion...

This stealthy, creeping, silent coup that Gross prophesied is the same danger that writer Rod Serling envisioned in the 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May, a clear warning to beware of martial law packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security.

Incredibly enough, almost 60 years later, we find ourselves hostages to a government run more by military doctrine and corporate greed than by the rule of law established in the Constitution. Indeed, proving once again that fact and fiction are not dissimilar, today’s current events could well have been lifted straight out of Seven Days in May, which takes viewers into eerily familiar terrain.

The premise is straightforward.

With the Cold War at its height, an unpopular U.S. President signs a momentous nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. Believing that the treaty constitutes an unacceptable threat to the security of the United States and certain that he knows what is best for the nation, General James Mattoon Scott (played by Burt Lancaster), the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and presidential hopeful, plans a military takeover of the national government.  When Gen. Scott’s aide, Col. Casey (Kirk Douglas), discovers the planned military coup, he goes to the President with the information. The race for command of the U.S. government begins, with the clock ticking off the hours until the military plotters plan to overthrow the President.

Needless to say, while on the big screen, the military coup is foiled and the republic is saved in a matter of hours, in the real world, the plot thickens and spreads out over the past half century.

We’ve been losing our freedoms so incrementally for so long—sold to us in the name of national security and global peace, maintained by way of martial law disguised as law and order, and enforced by a standing army of militarized police and a political elite determined to maintain their powers at all costs—that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it all started going downhill, but we’ve been on that fast-moving, downward trajectory for some time now.

The question is no longer whether the U.S. government will be preyed upon and taken over by the military industrial complex. That’s a done deal, but martial law disguised as national security is only one small part of the greater deception we’ve been fooled into believing is for our own good.

How do you get a nation to docilely accept a police state? How do you persuade a populace to accept metal detectors and pat downs in their schools, bag searches in their train stations, tanks and military weaponry used by their small town police forces, surveillance cameras in their traffic lights, police strip searches on their public roads, unwarranted blood draws at drunk driving checkpoints, whole body scanners in their airports, and government agents monitoring their communications?

Try to ram such a state of affairs down the throats of the populace, and you might find yourself with a rebellion on your hands. Instead, you bombard them with constant color-coded alerts, terrorize them with shootings and bomb threats in malls, schools, and sports arenas, desensitize them with a steady diet of police violence, and sell the whole package to them as being for their best interests.

This present military occupation of the nation’s capital by 25,000 troops as part of the so-called “peaceful” transfer of power from one administration to the next is telling.

This is not the language of a free people. This is the language of force.

Still, you can’t say we weren’t warned.

Back in 2008, an Army War College report revealed that “widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.” The 44-page report went on to warn that potential causes for such civil unrest could include another terrorist attack, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.”

In 2009, reports by the Department of Homeland Security surfaced that labelled right-wing and left-wing activists and military veterans as extremists (a.k.a. terrorists) and called on the government to subject such targeted individuals to full-fledged pre-crime surveillance. Almost a decade later, after spending billions to fight terrorism, the DHS concluded that the greater threat is not ISIS but domestic right-wing extremism.

Meanwhile, the police have been transformed into extensions of the military while the nation itself has been transformed into a battlefield. This is what a state of undeclared martial law looks like, when you can be arrested, tasered, shot, brutalized and in some cases killed merely for not complying with a government agent’s order or not complying fast enough. This hasn’t just been happening in crime-ridden inner cities. It’s been happening all across the country.

And then you’ve got the government, which has been steadily amassing an arsenal of military weapons for use domestically and equipping and training their “troops” for war. Even government agencies with largely administrative functions such as the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Smithsonian have been acquiring body armor, riot helmets and shields, cannon launchers and police firearms and ammunition. In fact, there are now at least 120,000 armed federal agents carrying such weapons who possess the power to arrest.

Rounding out this profit-driven campaign to turn American citizens into enemy combatants (and America into a battlefield) is a technology sector that has been colluding with the government to create a Big Brother that is all-knowing, all-seeing and inescapable. It’s not just the drones, fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray devices and the NSA that you have to worry about. You’re also being tracked by the black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social media accounts, credit cards, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.

So you see, January 6 and its aftermath provided the government and its corporate technocrats the perfect excuse to show off all of the powers they’ve been amassing so assiduously over the years.

Mind you, by “government,” I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats.

I’m referring to “government” with a capital “G,” the entrenched Deep State that is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and has set itself beyond the reach of the law.

I’m referring to the corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.

This is the hidden face of a government that has no respect for the freedom of its citizenry.

Brace yourself.

There is something being concocted in the dens of power, far beyond the public eye, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of this country.

Anytime you have an entire nation so mesmerized by the antics of the political ruling class that they are oblivious to all else, you’d better beware.

Anytime you have a government that operates in the shadows, speaks in a language of force, and rules by fiat, you’d better beware.

And anytime you have a government so far removed from its people as to ensure that they are never seen, heard or heeded by those elected to represent them, you’d better beware.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we are at our most vulnerable right now.

All of those dastardly seeds we have allowed the government to sow under the guise of national security are bearing demon fruit.

The gravest threat facing us as a nation is not extremism but despotism, exercised by a ruling class whose only allegiance is to power and money.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/20/2021 - 23:05
Published:1/20/2021 10:21:38 PM
[Markets] COVID Gone Crazy - An Epidemic Of 'Positive' Tests COVID Gone Crazy - An Epidemic Of 'Positive' Tests

Authored by John Hunt, M.D. via InternationalMan.com,

In the setting of COVID-19, almost every country in the world closed its borders, locked down its citizens, and forced businesses to close. Today, most governments still restrict travel, economic activity, and social gatherings.

The justification for these unprecedented measures has been a growing number of COVID-19 cases. This has unleashed an epidemic of COVID testing - with PCR and rapid antigen tests as the means of identifying positive COVID cases. Our very own Dr. John Hunt examines the science behind COVID testing, whether the testing paradigms are effective, and the rationality behind government response to the virus.

What COVID tests mean and don’t mean

RT-PCR tests can be designed to be highly sensitive to the presence of the original viral RNA in a clinical sample. But a highly sensitive test risks poor specificity for actual infectious disease.

Rapid antigen tests are different. They measure viral protein. They do so by reacting a clinical sample with one or two lab-created antibodies that are labeled with a measurable marker. These antigen tests are often poorly specific, meaning they can show as positive in the absence of any actual viral protein or any COVID disease.

For a lab test, what does it mean to be sensitive? What does it mean to be specific?

I’ll use COVID to help explain these terms. In order to do this correctly, we need to avoid using the language of the media and government because those institutions tend to mislead us via language manipulation. For example, they’ve wrongly taught us that a COVID-positive test is synonymous with COVID- disease. It isn’t, as you will soon see.

So for this article, I will use the term “Relevant Infectious COVID Disease” to mean a condition, caused by COVID-19, in which a patient is sickened by the virus or has (in their airways) living replicating virus capable of being transmitted to others. This seems a fair definition of what we should be caring about in this disease. If the patient isn’t sick and isn’t capable of transmitting the disease, then any COVID RNA or protein that may appear in a test is not relevant, nor infectious, and therefore of little to no consequence.

You can think of a test’s sensitivity like this: In a group of 100 people who absolutely have Relevant Infectious COVID Disease, how many people does the test actually report as “positive?” For a test that is 95% sensitive, 95 of these 100 patients with the true disease will be reported by the test as COVID positive and 5 will be missed.

Specificity: In a group of 100 people who absolutely do not have Relevant Infectious COVID Disease, how many will be reported by the test as “negative?” For a test that is 95% specific, 95 of these healthy people will be reported as COVID-negative and 5 will be incorrectly reported as COVID-positive

Sensitivity and Specificity are inherent characteristics of a test, not of a patient, not of a disease, and not of a population. These terms are very different than Positive Predictive Value (PPV) and Negative Predictive Value (NPV). PPV and NPV are affected not only by the test’s sensitivity and specificity but also by the characteristics of the people chosen to be tested and, particularly, the patients’ underlying likelihood of actually having true Relevant Infectious COVID Disease. The Positive Predictive Value—the chance a positive test actually indicates a true disease—is greatly improved if you test people who are likely to have COVID, and, importantly, avoid testing people unlikely to have COVID.

If you do a COVID test with 95% sensitivity and 95% specificity in 1,000 patients who are feverish, have snot pouring out of their noses, are coughing profusely, and are short of breath, then you are using that test as a diagnostic test in people who currently have a reasonable up-front chance of having Relevant Infectious COVID Disease. Let’s say 500 of them do actually have Relevant Infectious COVID Disease, and the others have a common cold. This 95% sensitive test will correctly identify 475 of these people who are truly ill with COVID as being COVID-positive, and it will miss 25 of them. This same test is also 95% specific, which means it will falsely label 25 of the 500 non-COVID patients as COVID-positive. Although the test isn’t perfect it has a Positive Predictive Value of 95% in this group of people, and is a pretty good test overall.

But what if you run this very same COVID test on everyone in the population? Let’s guesstimate that the up-front chance of having Relevant Infectious COVID in the US at this moment is about 0.5% (suggesting that 5 out of 1000 people currently have the actual transmittable disease right now, which is a high estimate). How does this same 95% sensitive/95% specific test work in this screening setting? The good news is that this test will likely identify the 5 people out of every 1000 with Relevant Infectious COVID! Yay! The bad news is that, out of every 1000 people, it will also falsely label 50 people as COVID-positive who don’t have Relevant Infectious COVID. Out of 55 people with positive tests in each group of 1000 people, 5 actually have the disease. 50 of the tests are false positives. With a Positive Predictive Value of only 9%, one could say that’s a pretty lousy test. It’s far lousier if you test only people with no symptoms (such as screening a school, jobsite, or college), in whom the up-front likelihood of having Relevant Infectious COVID Disease is substantially lower.

The very same test that is pretty good when testing people who are actually ill or at risk is lousy when screening people who aren’t.

In the first scenario (with symptoms), the test is being used correctly for diagnosis. In the second scenario (no symptoms), the test is being used wrongly for screening.

diagnostic test is used to diagnose a patient the doctor thinks has a reasonable chance of having the disease (having symptoms like fever, cough, a snotty nose, and shortness of breath during a viral season).

screening test is used to check for the presence of a disease in a person without symptoms and no heightened risk of having the disease.

A screening test may be appropriate to use when it has very high specificity (99% or more), when the prevalence of the disease in the population is pretty high, and when there is something we can do about the disease if we identify it. However, if the prevalence of a disease is low (as is the case for Relevant Infectious COVID) and the test isn’t adequately specific (as is the case with PCR and rapid antigen tests for the COVID virus), then using such a test as a screening measure in healthy people is forcing the test to be lousy. The more it is used wrongly, the more misinformation ensues.

Our health authorities are recommending more testing of asymptomatic people. In other words, they are encouraging the wrong and lousy application of these tests. Our health officials are doing what a first-year medical student should know better than to do. It’s enough of a concerning error that it leaves two likely conclusions:

1) that our leading government health officials are truly incompetent and/or

2) that we, as a nation, are being intentionally gaslighted/manipulated. Or it could be both.

(Another conclusion you should consider is that my analysis of these tests is incorrect. I’m open to a challenge.)

So what if you, as an individual, get a positive PCR test result (one that has 95% specificity) without having symptoms of COVID-19 or recent exposure to a true Relevant Infectious COVID Disease patient? What do you do? Well, with that positive test, your risk of having COVID has just increased from less than 5 in 1,000 (the general population risk) to about somewhere perhaps 5 in 55 (the risk of actual Relevant Infectious COVID Disease in asymptomatic people with a COVID-19-positive test). That’s an 18-fold increase in risk, amounting to a 9% risk of you having Relevant Infectious COVID Disease (or a 91% chance of you being totally healthy). That may be a relevant increase in risk in your mind, enough that you choose to avoid exposing your friends and family to your higher risk compared to the general population. But if the government spends resources to contact-trace you, then they are contact-tracing 91% of people uselessly. And they are deciding whether to lock us down based on the wrong notion that COVID-positive tests in healthy people are epidemiologically accurate when indeed they are mostly wrong.

For the 50 asymptomatic low-risk people falsely popping positive out of each group of 1,000, what makes them pop positive? For a rapid antigen test, it is because the test is never meant for use as a screening test in healthy asymptomatic people because it’s not specific enough. For a PCR test, positivity confidently means that there was COVID RNA in that sample, sure, but your nose or mouth very likely just filtered some dead bits of viral debris from the dust particles in the air as you walked through CVS to get the test before you learned you were supposed to use the drive-through. PCR can be way too sensitive.

A few strands of RNA are irrelevant. Even a few hundred fully intact viral particles are not likely to infect or cause disease. Humans aren’t that wimpy. But keep in mind that there is a very small chance that the test popped positive because you are about to get sick with COVID-19, and the test caught you, by pure luck, just before you are to become sick.

On top of this wrong use of diagnostic tests as screening tests, the government has been subsidizing hospitals for taking care of COVID-19-positive patients. Let’s say a hospital performs a COVID test 4 times during a hospital stay as a screening test in a patient who has no symptoms of COVID. If that test pops positive once and negative three times, the hospital will report that patient as having COVID-19, even though the one positive result is highly likely to have been a false positive. Why do hospitals do this testing so much? In part, because they’ll get $14,000 more from the government for each patient they declare has COVID-19.

When we see statistics of COVID-19 deaths, we should recognize that some substantial percentage of them should be called “Deaths with a COVID-19-positive test.” When we see reports of case numbers rising, we should know that they are defining “case” as anyone with a COVID-19-positive test, which, as you might now realize, is really a garbage number.

Summary:

  1. We have an epidemic of COVID-positive tests that is substantially larger than the epidemic of identified Relevant Infectious COVID Disease. In contrast, people with actual, mild cases of COVID-disease aren’t all getting tested. So the data, on which lockdowns are supposedly justified, are lousy.

  2. The data on COVID hospitalizations and deaths in the US are exaggerated by a government subsidization scheme that incentivizes the improper use of tests in people without particular risk of the disease.

  3. Avoid getting tested for COVID unless you are symptomatic yourself, have had exposure to someone who was both symptomatic and tested positive for COVID, or have some other personal reason that makes sense.

  4. Know that getting tested before traveling abroad puts you at a modest risk of getting a false-positive test result, which will assuredly screw up your trip. It’s a new political risk of travel.

  5. There is a lot more to this viral testing game, and there are a lot of weird incentives. There are gray areas and room for debate.

  6. Yes, the COVID disease can kill people. But a positive test won’t kill anybody. Sadly, every COVID-positive test empowers those politicians and bureaucrats who have a natural bent to control people—the sociopaths and their ilk.

*  *  *

John Hunt, MD is a pediatric pulmonologist/allergist/immunologist, a former tenured Associate Professor and academic medical researcher, who has extensive experience and publications involving PCR, antigen testing, and analysis of respiratory fluid. He is internationally recognized as an expert in aerosol/respiratory droplet collection and analysis. He’s also Doug Casey’s coauthor for the High Ground novels Speculator, Drug Lord, and the just-released Assassin, and he is a founding member of the LLC that owns International Man.

*  *  *

Unfortunately, most people have no idea what really happens when a government goes out of control, let alone how to prepare… How will you protect yourself in the event of an economic crisis? New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released a guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download the PDF now.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/11/2021 - 06:10
Published:1/11/2021 5:20:25 AM
[Markets] The Frogs Will Boil Themselves The Frogs Will Boil Themselves

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

There’s a well-known old fable that describes a frog being boiled alive. It states that if a frog is dropped in boiling water, it will hop out. But if it’s placed in lukewarm water, it will be comfortable. Then, if the heat is turned up slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be boiled to death.

In political terms, this translates into a slow increase, say, the slow rise of taxation or the gradual removal of freedoms.

But there’s another way to boil the electorate of a country: have them become willing participants in their own demise.

This method is a common practice in many countries, particularly the US. Americans have repeatedly been conned into begging for their second amendment rights to be diminished.

The method is to make use of the media to shine a light on the horrific murder of innocents through the use of firearms.

In recent years, this effort has been ramped up through regular senseless massacres of people, particularly children, in public places, such as schools and movie theatres.

Whether or not these incidents are actually created by the ruling elite is a moot point. What matters is that their proliferation has been extremely effective in providing the media will the fodder to repeatedly ask, “When is the Government going to make the possession of guns illegal so that the killing will stop?”

Many citizens are wary of such suggestions, but countless others quickly take the bait and demand that the Government “do something.”

Eventually, this becomes a point of pride for many citizens — a badge of righteousness — for standing up for those who have been victims.

Through such efforts, the US constitution has slowly lost its ability to serve as a limitation to Government power. A proliferation of laws that redefine what the Constitution means has, over time, eviscerated the Constitution.

Not surprisingly, those who support this effort are largely liberal, which creates a backlash from those who are conservative and vehemently oppose any erosion of the Constitution.

Those who are liberal may reinforce their beliefs by watching propaganda networks on television and regularly pump up the dangers of the Constitution. Likewise, conservatives have their propaganda network, which can be counted on to reinforce their views.

Whichever side Americans take on such issues, they would be wise to keep an eye out for what may be the next development in this wrangle.

Those who dutifully watch the liberal “news” networks may soon see pundits despairing that the failings of the aging Constitution must be dealt with. It must be updated if it is to serve changing needs. After all, the Founding Fathers cannot be blamed that they didn’t foresee the existence of AK-47s. Surely, it falls to the present administration to “correct” the failings of the well-intentioned old document.

Conservatives, of course, are likely to be more cautious, but what we may see is for the pundits on their favoured network to express frustration that the Left is seeking to erode traditional values and must, at some point be stopped, or the country will be destroyed. There can be no question that the Founding Fathers were correct — that unless the Constitution and its amendments are not clarified once and for all as to what they were meant to express, American liberty is at stake.

Americans, like citizens of most countries, love a good battle between good and evil. Every four years, a massive three-ring circus is staged in which the political leader is decided and both sports teams – Democrats and Republicans – go all out in seeking a victory on the playing field.

However, in most cases, neither candidate is trustworthy or qualified for the job, but this is of no importance. The essence of the battle is not to select a wise and capable leader but to win.

Similarly, once the populace has been wound up on both sides to believe that only a pitched battle can “re-establish the Constitution” or “modernise the Constitution,” the battle shall be met.

At present, this eventuality may seem mere speculation. But then, the media campaign has not yet begun.

At present, all that exists is pundits in the media bemoaning the injustice of the present situation.

What is needed is the prediction of pundits that, whatever side an individual takes on the issue, his side is sure to win.

On the liberal side, social warriors must come out daily in the media with demands for change and the certainty of success once the battle has begun. On the conservative side, pundits need to guarantee that the battle will be won once and for all, but that the situation is in dire need of immediate attention, or all may be lost.

The result will not be immediate, but, with repetition, eventually, the American people on both sides of the fence may well not only suggest, but demand that the matter be sorted.

At that point, the Government may announce that a Constitutional Review will be undertaken. It would not matter that most of those making the demand are the pundits on the media networks. What would be presented would be that “a majority of Americans demand that the review take place as soon as possible.”

Although at the time, the propaganda may imply that the review will be focused on one part of the Constitution, such as the Second Amendment, Americans will soon discover that the entire document is up for grabs. Under the terms of the review, all facets of the Constitution may be questioned.

Then what would the outcome be?

Each side will hope that their elected representatives will emerge as the heroes, but that is not how politics works.

In truth, elected leaders do not seek to serve the public but to dominate them. Invariably, their recommendations for change will be whatever transfers greater power to themselves.

Both Democratic and Republican members will argue forcefully for the rights of the American citizen. However, in the end, a “compromise” shall be made — one in which the rights of the populace are diminished and the Government has new powers to allow it to bypass the electorate in the future.

If this does occur, the public will, in effect, “boil themselves.” They will have demanded that the Government act, and, when the dust has settled, each side will claim some sort of victory but will fail to understand that they have brought about their own loss of rights.

It is hoped that, when the day comes that a Constitutional Review is proposed, Americans refuse to take the bait.

*  *  *

Economically, politically, and socially, the United States seems to be headed down a path that’s not only inconsistent with the founding principles of the country, but accelerating quickly toward boundless decay. In the years ahead, there will likely be much less stability of any kind. That’s exactly why New York Times bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent new report titled Doug Casey’s Top 7 Predictions for the Raging 2020s. Click here to download the free PDF now.

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/05/2021 - 19:25
Published:1/5/2021 6:44:56 PM
[Markets] Lagarde Pushes ECB To Shun Fossil Fuel Bonds As Central Banks Embrace "Green" Future Lagarde Pushes ECB To Shun Fossil Fuel Bonds As Central Banks Embrace "Green" Future

Later this year, the ECB will meet for a grand strategy review. Expected to be one of the most consequential policy reviews for years to come, the central bank could opt for changes to its inflation target (some doves have proposed following in the footsteps of the Fed by loosening the ECB's inflation target) as some have insisted. But one change that appears virtually certain, is that the central bank will adopt language addressing matters like climate change, economic equality, etc.

From the minute the ECB selected Christine Lagarde to succeed Mario Draghi, it seemed almost like a forgone conclusion. But more than a year later, Joe Biden's decision to nominate Janet Yellen to lead the Treasury Department showed that across the Atlantic, central bankers are focusing on a similar agenda.

During a recent interview with International Man, Doug Casey rebutted demands for the Fed to take on inequality by doling out 'reparations'. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has repeatedly called on the central bank to address inequality...but the irony is, the Fed is one of the progenitors of economic inequality.

He also pointed out that central banks in Asia don't spend time virtue-signaling.

International Man: Fed chairman Powell has made countless remarks about the need for the US central bank to address climate change.

What is going on here?

Doug Casey: It’s a good question.

How can they address the so-called problem of climate change? Climate change has been going on since the Earth came together 4.5 billion years ago, and it will continue on its own path, primarily influenced by the sun and secondarily by things like volcanism, cosmic rays, and peculiarities of the planets orbit, long after mankind has gone.

But destroying the economy by printing up more money certainly isn’t an answer to climate change. However, I’m sure that what’s on Powell’s mind is making money easier to get for things like windmills and solar panels. This is more state direction of investment. It was a disaster for the USSR and every other socialist and state-directed economy and will be for us as well.

You’ll notice that the Chinese and other Asian economies don’t indulge in this kind of politically correct investing. It’s a major reason why they’re on the way up, and we’re on the way down.

Janet and Jerome’s excellent adventure in climate engineering won’t end well.

Climate activists led by Greta Thunberg have fostered the specious claim that solving climate change is an essential part of the battle to end "inequality" for good (even though the two phenomena have little to do with one another). And now, with central banks around the world signing up to enforce the Paris accords, ECB chief Christine Lagarde is reportedly planning on striking a blow against the fossil fuel industry by forcing the ECB to slash purchases of bonds issued by energy giants like Exxon.

Christine Lagarde is expected to make the European Central Bank a pioneer in fighting climate change by slashing its purchases of bonds issued by fossil fuel companies and other heavy carbon emitters, according to a Financial Times poll of economists. The ECB president has pledged to make tackling climate change a major part of the central bank’s strategic review of its remit and tools, which is due to be completed by the second half of 2021.

Two-thirds of the 33 economists polled by the FT believe the review will result in the ECB deciding to break with its long-held principle of “market neutrality”, which requires it to buy bonds in proportion to the overall market. Environmental campaigners have criticised the ECB’s €248bn corporate bond purchases for reinforcing the market’s bias in favour of heavy carbon emitters such as oil and gas companies, utilities and airlines because these sectors issue more bonds than most others.

One economist who spoke to the FT about Lagarde's plans defended them by arguing that "market neutrality" was always a facade...

"Market neutrality was always a pretence because it still involved choices of what to buy and what not to buy - so why not make those choices consistent with [policy] preferences?" said Paul Diggle, senior economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

...and that choosing which companies to support, and which not to support, is actually consistent with the central bank's price-stability mandate.

But Mr Diggle said that “achieving climate objectives actually helps deliver on the [ECB’s] price stability objective, given the long-term risks involved in climate change”.

Another argued that the plan was simply "a bad idea".

Stefan Kooths, research director at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, said he thought the ECB was "very likely" to adapt its monetary policy to meet climate policy targets, even though he thought this was "a bad idea."

Of course, assuming this becomes policy reality, it would open the door to the central bank openly buying shares of 'green' companies, while their 'brown' rivals are left to languish in price-discovery hell.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/04/2021 - 04:15
Published:1/4/2021 3:18:23 AM
[Markets] David Stockman On Janet Yellen's Return & The Financial Storm Ahead... David Stockman On Janet Yellen's Return & The Financial Storm Ahead...

Authored by David Stockman via InternationalMan.com,

Janet Yellen is back.

Naturally, the follies of Keynesian central banking come to mind.

In many ways, Yellen’s tenure as Fed chairman was far worse than Ben Bernanke’s. At least Bernanke’s money-printing madness was undergirded by his credentials as a misguided scholar of the Great Depression and the mistaken conclusion that the Wall Street meltdown of September 2008 was the prelude to another such occurrence.

The Great Depression of the 1930s was caused by way too much Fed-fostered foreign borrowing on Wall Street during the roaring twenties. It stimulated an unsustainable boom in US exports—soaring domestic CapEx in order to expand production capacity and a stock bubble–fueled consumer-spending boom in cars, radios and appliances. Therefore, when the Wall Street bubble burst in October 1929, foreign borrowing dried up, US exports and CapEx crashed and spending on consumer durables plummeted.

This was the cause of the massive contraction in 1930–1933, which took the GDP down from $95 billion to $58 billion in dollars of the day. By contrast, it had nothing to do with Milton Friedman’s crashing M-1 (money supply), which was a consequence of unavoidable and necessary bad debt liquidation by the banking system. Nor did it stem from any lack of credit availability to solvent borrowers, as demonstrated by market interest rates that remained ultralow (under 2%) throughout the downturn.

The depression of 1930–1933 wasn’t owing to the stinginess of the Fed, which actually expanded its balance sheet by 72% between August 1929 and early 1933.

Consequently, Bernanke’s maneuver of flooding the zone with fiat credit during 2009–2013 was a mistaken page from Milton Friedman’s counterfactual playbook, which was wrong the day it was written in the early 1960s and even more wrong when Bernanke cut and pasted it into his PhD thesis at MIT in 1979.

By the time Yellen became Fed Chairman in February 2014, however, there was no plausible excuse for keeping Bernanke’s bloated Fed balance sheet in place or continuing to keep interest rates at the zero bound. If there was ever a chance to normalize Bernanke’s misbegotten Depression-fighting policy, it was during the 48 months of Yellen’s term.

Needless to say, Yellen’s Fed did no such thing.

After 45 years of devotion to the 1960s Keynesian bathtub theory of full employment economics, Yellen kept real interest rates buried in negative territory during the entirety of her term, and not just marginally.

The 16% Trimmed Mean CPI increased by an average of 1.90% per annum during that four-year period, while the Fed’s target interest rate averaged just 0.40%.

During the sweet spot of the longest business cycle expansion in history—from month #55 to month #103—when the economy should have been left to expand on its own without “stimulus” from the central banking branch of the state, Yellen kept real money market rates pinned at an unprecedented -150 basis points.

The justification for such economic insanity was the claim that the US economy was not at its full-employment level as measured by the dubious U-3 unemployment rate and that the job of the central bank was to keep injecting “demand” into the economy until the bathtub was full to the brim and 100% of “potential GDP” was attained.

But here’s the thing. Potential GDP and full-employment labor markets are Keynesian malarkey.

In a world in which domestic labor competes with China’s price for goods, India’s price for internet-based services and Mexico’s price for manufactured goods assembly, full employment cannot be measured by the headcount metrics of the BLS, nor can it be achieved by injecting massive amounts of fiat credit into the bank accounts of Wall Street dealers.

In fact, with total outstanding credit now at $81 trillion, or 382% of GDP, the Fed’s liquidity injections never really leave the canyons of Wall Street. The result is increased speculation on Wall Street and accelerating inflation of financial asset prices.

After all, money markets do not finance the working capital or fixed asset investments of business, nor do they fund consumer borrowing for automobiles and durables. Instead, short-term money markets are where Wall Street dealers finance their inventory and where speculators fund their positions in the options markets—or via margin and repo credit against stocks and bonds held outright.

Consequently, negative real interest rates are the mother’s milk of financial speculation and the resulting asset price bubbles.

Yellen’s policies constituted an epic monetary error that has fueled bond- and stock -market bubbles that are off the charts, thereby sending erroneous price signals to Wall Street gamblers, corporate C-suites and spendthrift politicians alike.

Real Cost of Money Market Borrowings, 2014–2018: 16% Trimmed Mean CPI Less Fed Funds Rate

The yawning gap below between the red line, signifying (the running inflation rate) and the blue line (the money market rate) connotes the massive subsidy Yellen’s Fed conferred on speculators and day traders.

In short, Yellen sowed the wind of monetary excess, and now we are reaping the whirlwind of a gargantuan Wall Street bubble that is a clear and present danger to the economic future - because it will crash, and the resulting financial and economic damage will be biblical.

Ironically, Janet Yellen may be sitting in the captain’s chair when the most violent and destructive financial storm in history finally comes ashore. It would serve her right.

*  *  *

The coming economic and political crisis is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past. That’s exactly why New York Times bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent new report titled Doug Casey’s Top 7 Predictions for the Raging 2020s. Click here to download the free PDF now.

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/02/2021 - 13:50
Published:1/2/2021 1:11:56 PM
[] FBI is now involved in police shooting of Casey Goodson Published:12/8/2020 4:17:36 PM
[Markets] Black Google Researcher Claims She Was Fired Because She Discovered AI Is Racist Black Google Researcher Claims She Was Fired Because She Discovered AI Is Racist Tyler Durden Fri, 12/04/2020 - 22:40

A well-known artificial intelligence researcher at Google tweeted Wednesday that she was fired over an email expressing dismay with management over the censorship of new research. 

Timnit Gebru, a technical co-lead of Google's Ethical A.I. team, who researches algorithmic bias and data mining, has been an outspoken advocate for diversity in technology, claimed, in a series of tweets, she was fired for refusing to retract a research paper that outlines how A.I. discriminates against minorities and also due to a complaint in an email to colleagues

Expressing her frustrations in an email to an internal company group named Google Brain Women and Allies - Gebru criticized Google's hiring of minorities and not doing enough to promote "responsible A.I." 

The email was shared by Platformer's Casey Newton:  

Hi friends,

I had stopped writing here as you may know, after all the micro and macro aggressions and harassments I received after posting my stories here (and then of course it started being moderated).

Recently however, I was contributing to a document that Katherine and Daphne were writing where they were dismayed by the fact that after all this talk, this org seems to have hired 14% or so women this year. Samy has hired 39% from what I understand but he has zero incentive to do this.

What I want to say is stop writing your documents because it doesn't make a difference. The DEI OKRs that we don't know where they come from (and are never met anyways), the random discussions, the "we need more mentorship" rather than "we need to stop the toxic environments that hinder us from progressing" the constant fighting and education at your cost, they don't matter. Because there is zero accountability. There is no incentive to hire 39% women: your life gets worse when you start advocating for underrepresented people, you start making the other leaders upset when they don't want to give you good ratings during calibration. There is no way more documents or more conversations will achieve anything. We just had a Black research all hands with such an emotional show of exasperation. Do you know what happened since? Silencing in the most fundamental way possible.

Have you ever heard of someone getting "feedback" on a paper through a privileged and confidential document to H.R.? Does that sound like a standard procedure to you or does it just happen to people like me who are constantly dehumanized?

Imagine this: You've sent a paper for feedback to 30+ researchers, you're awaiting feedback from P.R. & Policy who you gave a heads up before you even wrote the work saying "we're thinking of doing this", working on a revision plan figuring out how to address different feedback from people, haven't heard from P.R. & Policy besides them asking you for updates (in 2 months). A week before you go out on vacation, you see a meeting pop up at 4:30pm PST on your calendar (this popped up at around 2pm). No one would tell you what the meeting was about in advance. Then in that meeting your manager's manager tells you "it has been decided" that you need to retract this paper by next week, Nov. 27, the week when almost everyone would be out (and a date which has nothing to do with the conference process). You are not worth having any conversations about this, since you are not someone whose humanity (let alone expertise recognized by journalists, governments, scientists, civic organizations such as the electronic frontiers foundation etc) is acknowledged or valued in this company.

Then, you ask for more information. What specific feedback exists? Who is it coming from? Why now? Why not before? Can you go back and forth with anyone? Can you understand what exactly is problematic and what can be changed?

And you are told after a while, that your manager can read you a privileged and confidential document and you're not supposed to even know who contributed to this document, who wrote this feedback, what process was followed or anything. You write a detailed document discussing whatever pieces of feedback you can find, asking for questions and clarifications, and it is completely ignored. And you're met with, once again, an order to retract the paper with no engagement whatsoever.

Then you try to engage in a conversation about how this is not acceptable and people start doing the opposite of any sort of self reflection—trying to find scapegoats to blame.

Silencing marginalized voices like this is the opposite of the NAUWU principles which we discussed. And doing this in the context of "responsible A.I." adds so much salt to the wounds. I understand that the only things that mean anything at Google are levels, I've seen how my expertise has been completely dismissed. But now there's an additional layer saying any privileged person can decide that they don't want your paper out with zero conversation. So you're blocked from adding your voice to the research community—your work which you do on top of the other marginalization you face here.

I'm always amazed at how people can continue to do thing after thing like this and then turn around and ask me for some sort of extra DEI work or input. This happened to me last year. I was in the middle of a potential lawsuit for which Kat Herller and I hired feminist lawyers who threatened to sue Google (which is when they backed off--before that Google lawyers were prepared to throw us under the bus and our leaders were following as instructed) and the next day I get some random "impact award." Pure gaslighting.

So if you would like to change things, I suggest focusing on leadership accountability and thinking through what types of pressures can also be applied from the outside. For instance, I believe that the Congressional Black Caucus is the entity that started forcing tech companies to report their diversity numbers. Writing more documents and saying things over and over again will tire you out but no one will listen.

Timnit

Gebru was apparently in talks with management over a possible resignation if certain conditions regarding her research paper were not met. She said those conditions, which by the way, were not stated in the public domain, were not met. The company did not give her a chance to respond with immediate termination. 

"Apparently my manager's manager sent an email my direct reports saying she accepted my resignation. I hadn't resigned—I had asked for simple conditions first and said I would respond when I'm back from vacation. But I guess she decided for me :) that's the lawyer-speak," she tweeted.

She continued: "I said here are the conditions. If you can meet them great I'll take my name off this paper, if not then I can work on a last date. Then she sent an email to my direct reports saying she has accepted my resignation. So that is google for you folks. You saw it happen right here." 

Here's a quoted email response from Gebru's manager about her termination: 

"Thanks for making your conditions clear. We cannot agree to #1 and #2 as you are requesting. We respect your decision to leave Google as a result, and we are accepting your resignation.

"However, we believe the end of your employment should happen faster than your email reflects because certain aspects of the email you sent last night to non-management employees in the brain group reflect behavior that is inconsistent with the expectations of a Google manager.

"As a result, we are accepting your resignation immediately, effective today. We will send your final paycheck to your address in Workday. When you return from your vacation, PeopleOps will reach out to you to coordinate the return of Google devices and assets."

In another tweet, Gebru called out Google's A.I. chief, Jeff Dean. She said Dean is likely the one who signed off on her firing. "He didn't like my email to a mailing list for women & allies at brain," she added.

Gebru's tweets about her termination came after the U.S. National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Google, accusing the company of violating labor laws. 

The company was allegedly "interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act," according to the complaint filed Tuesday. 

Since Gebru's termination, Google employees are standing in solidarity with the fired researcher due to "unprecedented research censorship," read the website Google Walkout For Real Change.

"We call on Google Research to strengthen its commitment to research integrity and to unequivocally commit to supporting research that honors the commitments made in Google's A.I. Principles," the website said. 

This is just the latest incident showing Google is getting too powerful.

Published:12/4/2020 9:46:08 PM
[Markets] Winding Up Americans Winding Up Americans Tyler Durden Wed, 12/02/2020 - 23:00

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

For the last four years, Americans have become increasingly polarised – divided between Democrat crusaders who are determined to save America from becoming a racist, sexist Nazi dictatorship under Donald Trump, versus Republican crusaders who are determined to save America from becoming a liberal Marxist state under a Democratic reign.

This fervour has become so extreme that families can no longer meet for the holidays without a conversational blow-up. No longer are people “entitled to their opinions.” This has become a crusade between Good and Evil. (“I’m good. You’re evil.”)

The absurd nature of this dichotomy has reached the point that even Dr. Phil is increasing his viewership by featuring disputes between siblings who are on opposite sides of the political divide and are no longer speaking to each other.

At this point, all that remains to be done by the networks would be to air a Red versus Blue television game show in which contestants compete with their own family members to “Win the White House.”

Until November, the great majority of Americans appear to have been hoping that the November election would end this strife one way or the other.

My take on this has been that the opposite would happen after 3rd November. The fireworks would increase exponentially after the election. The election would be hotly contested by whomever was the apparent loser.

This should easily have been foreseen, as the media on the right have insisted for months that the Democrat encouragement for mail-in ballots was a precursor to election fraud.

Similarly, the media on the left have insisted for months that Donald Trump’s suggestion that he may not accept the election results meant that he was planning a coup after he (presumably inevitably) lost the election.

And now, the battle has been met.

It’s been estimated that 93% of all Fox watchers are Republicans and 95% of MSNBC watchers are Democrats. Since neither side watches the other’s news programme, each side is cognizant of only its own team’s heavily slanted rhetoric.

The conservative media is awash with details of voter fraud by Democrats, whilst the liberal media states with equal conviction that Mister Trump and his lawyers have provided no details whatever.

Therefore, those who voted Republican will conclude by watching their own “unbiased” news channel that Democrats have tried to steal the election and thereby steal control of the country.

And those who voted Democrat will conclude by watching their own “unbiased” news channel that Republicans have tried to steal the election and thereby steal control of the country.

But how did this get to be so bad? Americans have not been so wound up – nor so polarised – since 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War.

Indeed, the post-election fervour is as strong as though Fort Sumter had just been fired upon.

More importantly, what will be the outcome?

Will the courts rule against the claims of Mister Trump?

If so, that decision will enrage an already angry right-wing crowd, refusing to vacate the White House and defending it against the pinko mob.

Or will the courts rule in favour of Mister Trump?

If so, that decision will unleash nationwide riots, intent on bringing down the evil dictator.

Either way, we can anticipate that the US will be in flames. If for any reason the level of strife is insufficient, those with deep pockets will hire squads of shills as mercenary soldiers.

The populace will be in terror. Republican voters will beg the federal government to bring in the troops to contain Antifa and the BLM mob.

Democratic voters will beg the federal government to bring in the troops to quell the Republican militias.

In such an upheaval, the one thing both sides will have in common is that they will both beg for the creation of a police state.

And the federal government will answer that call. Martial law would be declared, possibly as a “temporary measure,” until normalcy has returned.

But what if normalcy does not return? What if pockets of violence continue to pop up all over the map with regularity?

If that occurs, martial law would need to continue for as long as it was deemed necessary, which would be likely to translate into a permanent police state.

At one time, the media was for the most part impartial and benign, but in recent decades it has been bought out by four large corporations. And some of those corporations own and direct both liberal and conservative networks, which would seem to be at odds with each other.

However, they are not. Today, the objective of the media is not to offer news. It is to create strife – to pit one half of the electorate against the other. In doing so, the ruling elite have the justification to lock down the entire USA under martial law.

Once that has been accomplished, the elite may do as they please. As in all countries where a police state has been achieved – such as Nazi Germany, Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia – once military control has been put into place nationwide, meaningful protest ends.

In each of the above cases, the populace was whipped up into a frenzy of hate and violence against the Jews or the aristocracy or whatever other demon had been invented. But the real objective and the result were the subjugation of the populace.

The American populace has been programmed like windup toys, with the ruling elite winding up the keys on their backs as tightly as they will go. When the levers are released, Americans will act dramatically and, in many cases, blindly.

At this point, it’s not too late for people to stand back, take a deep breath and ask themselves if they’re not being conned into their own subjugation. But it would appear that they’ve been wound up so tightly that such objectivity is unlikely to occur.

However, if they do not, they risk losing what remains of their once-proud democracy.

*  *  *

Economically, politically, and socially, the United States seems to be headed down a path that’s not only inconsistent with the founding principles of the country, but accelerating quickly toward boundless decay. In the years ahead, there will likely be much less stability of any kind. That’s exactly why New York Times bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent new report titled Doug Casey’s Top 7 Predictions for the Raging 2020s.

Click here to download the free PDF now.

Published:12/2/2020 10:01:00 PM
[World] [Josh Blackman] Class 26: Modern Substantive Due Process I Griswold and Casey Published:11/18/2020 3:55:17 PM
[Markets] Futures Rebound As Markets Look Beyond Surge In Covid Cases Futures Rebound As Markets Look Beyond Surge In Covid Cases Tyler Durden Fri, 11/13/2020 - 07:55

US equity futures rebounded and European stocks were mixed as shares of Disney and Cisco jumped after both reported solid earnings, but investors remained cautious as many U.S. states imposed restrictions to curb the relentless surge in coronavirus cases. Treasury yields reversed an earlier rise and the dollar slipped.

S&P futures rose 0.8%, or 27 points to 3,560 while Eupope's Stoxx 600 Index erased an earlier decline, with tech and banks among the winning sectors after Joe Biden was projected to win the battleground state of Arizona, cementing his win for the office. The projection by Edison Research dealt another blow to President Trump’s effort to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Today's gains come a day after US markets fell 1% as the US braced for more lockdowns with New York preparing for the possibility of school closures and Chicago urged residents to shelter at home, fueling fears about the recovery, with investors also weighing how fast an effective vaccine would be rolled out.

Cisco Systems and Walt Disney were the top gainers among the Dow components trading before the bell. Futures tracking the blue-chip index were 0.9% higher. The network gear maker jumped 7.7% premarket as it gained from work-from-home driven surge in demand, while Disney rose 4.3% as its rapidly growing streaming video business and a partial recovery at its theme parks limited its quarterly loss.

Today's gains which followed a surge to an all timehigh on Monday following positive vaccine news from Pfizer which unleashed a record growth-to-value rotation, put S&P 500 and Dow on track for weekly gains. However, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is headed for a weekly loss as investors booked profits in market-leading tech stocks, which have benefited from a stay-at-home environment.

Investors took in stride warnings from three of the world’s top central bankers on Thursday that the prospect of a vaccine isn’t enough to put an end to the economic challenges created by the pandemic. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Thursday during a discussion with other central bankers that progress in developing a coronavirus vaccine was welcome news but that near-term economic risks remain as infections accelerate, underscoring the likely need for additional government stimulus.

To be sure, investor focus remained on covid as more than a dozen U.S. states reported a doubling of new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks with Chicago’s mayor issuing a month-long stay-at-home advisory on Thursday.  The U.K. also reported record infections despite a tightened lockdown, and hospitalization rates set a new high in France.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index erases earlier declines of as much as 0.4% and traded little changed as technology and banks lead gains among sectors while miners, energy and food & beverage slipped. Among the biggest individual advancers: Rolls-Royce +4.2%, Banco de Sabadell +3.9%, Nork Hydro +3.8%, Engie +3.7%, while the biggest drops included LPP -6.8% and  Salmar -3.2%.
Earlier in the session, Asian shares eked out gains on Friday and U.S. stock futures turned higher

Earlier in the session, MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares outside Japan edged up 0.1%, reversing earlier losses. For the week it rose about 0.7%. But apart from a 0.71% gain in Seoul’s Kospi, most major regional indexes were lower on Friday: Japan's Topix and China's Shanghai Composite both fell. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.57% and the Topix lost 1.3%, with Toyota and Keyence contributing the most to the move. The Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.9%, driven by Kweichow Moutai and China Life. Australian shares lost 0.2%, the Hang Seng was 0.48% lower and Chinese blue-chips slumped 1.57%, dragged lower by the Trump administration’s decision to ban U.S. investments in firms linked to the Chinese military, and by a series of high-profile bond defaults by state-owned enterprises.

Some investors saw a buying opportunity in the market weakness: "My view is this is the dark just before dawn,” said Michael Frazis, portfolio manager at Frazis Capital Partners in Sydney. "You’ve got the second wave of coronavirus, new sets of shutdowns, clear problems around the world, travel dropping off again... But at the same time, we have the strongest possible evidence that we do have a vaccine..."

“We think this is all actually very positive and it’s actually a good time to be investing in markets,” he said. adding that many risks nevertheless remained for short-term traders amid ongoing uncertainty over issues such as fresh U.S. stimulus. On Thursday, top Democrats in the U.S. Congress urged renewed negotiations over a multitrillion-dollar coronavirus aid proposal, but the top Republican immediately rejected their approach as too expensive, continuing a months-long impasse.

In rates, Treasury yields are back within a basis point of Thursday’s closing levels after erasing Asia-session declines as U.S. stock futures climbed.  10-year yields hovered around 0.88%, near middle of the 0.80%-0.97% weekly range and ~6bp higher on the week; curve spreads were little changed. Bunds, gilts outperformed with U.K. stocks lower. U.S. yields remain higher on the week after Monday’s surge sparked by positive vaccine trial results. Italian bonds led light euro-area gains ahead of an expected pricing of a 5-year dollar BTP

"Bond yields, which had been flirting with the 1.0% level in terms of the U.S. 10Y Treasury, have ... snapped back sharply in terms of yield,” Rob Carnell, Asia Pacific head of research at ING said in a note. “That move most likely got a further nudge from the softer-than-expected U.S. inflation data for October which were released yesterday, and which tally with a weaker economic reality."

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index extended losses in European hours as U.S. equity futures and most European stock markets reversed earlier losses. The dollar weakened against most Group- of-10 peers and the euro advanced after a brief dip to 1.1799 in the Asian session. On the other side, the pound led gains amid hopes for a Brexit trade deal while the yen came off highs as haven bids waned.

In commodities, an unexpected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles exacerbated virus-linked economic fears in commodity markets, pushing U.S. crude 1.85% lower to $40.36 per barrel. Brent crude dropped 1.47% to $42.89.

Looking at the day ahead, there’s the October PPI reading and the preliminary November reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index. From central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, as well as the BoE’s Cunliffe and Tenreyro. From the ECB, we’ll hear from Weidmann and Rehn, while Fed speakers include Williams and Bullard.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.8% to 3,561.25
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.1% to 385.65
  • MXAP down 0.2% to 184.68
  • MXAPJ up 0.4% to 612.70
  • Nikkei down 0.5% to 25,385.87
  • Topix down 1.3% to 1,703.22
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.05% to 26,156.86
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.9% to 3,310.10
  • Sensex up 0.3% to 43,478.75
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 6,405.22
  • Kospi up 0.7% to 2,493.87
  • Brent Futures down 0.8% to $43.17/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.06% to $1,877.96
  • German 10Y yield fell 0.2 bps to -0.538%
  • Euro up 0.04% to $1.1811
  • Brent Futures down 0.9% to $43.16/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 5.4 bps to 0.573%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 0.6 bps to 0.126%
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.04% to 92.93

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • State and federal election officials, along with experts in the private sector, said they had “utmost confidence in the security and integrity” of the Nov. 3 vote, as President Donald Trump continues to make unfounded claims of fraud and key security officials involved in protecting elections leave the administration or expect to be fired
  • China congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on winning the U.S. presidential election, ending days of speculation about when Beijing would formally acknowledge the victory
  • The ECB should put ultra-cheap loans at the core of its next stimulus package being prepared for December, Governing Council member Madis Muller said; Governing Council member Olli Rehn said the next ECB decision is about deciding which instruments, in which scale and duration, will best serve the purpose of supporting the European economy
  • Another week of Brexit negotiations -- one that was supposed to be decisive -- will end Friday with little progress made in the main areas of disagreement, according to three EU officials familiar with the situation. While both sides can see what a final agreement would look like, Brussels officials insist that reaching one will require the U.K. prime minister to move first, a stance their British counterparts reject
  • Joe Biden’s election is serving up a rude reality check for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s desire to quickly close a trade deal with the U.S., a project that has until now depended heavily on the whims of President Donald Trump
  • Italy, which is Europe’s second most-indebted nation, is aiming to sell securities maturing in 2026, following a global investor call for its first dollar issue in over a year. While it’s a chance for Italy to diversify an investor base still dominated by domestic buyers, the nation will pay considerably more to raise cash

A quick look at global markets courtesy of NewsSquawk

Asian equity markets weakened on spill-over selling from Wall Street, where all major indices declined as participants continued to fade the reflation trade and with increases in virus cases denting the recent vaccine optimism, which saw the DJIA lead the downturn and briefly give up the 29k level. ASX 200 (-0.2%) was dragged lower by notable losses in the energy sector following similar underperformance stateside as rising infections and restrictions weighed on the demand outlook, while Nikkei 225 (-0.5%) was pressured as exporters felt the brunt of currency inflows and with earnings in focus as Rakuten shares slumped after its 9-month net loss widened five-fold. Conversely, Nissan shares were in top gear despite posting a H1 net loss of JPY 330bln as the Co. reduced its annual operating loss forecast by 28% and Sony was also among the notable gainers after it began PlayStation 5 sales in several major markets. KOSPI (+0.7%) rebounded from early losses with the index helped by resilience in tech stocks and with Asiana Airlines soaring on potential M&A reports after Korean Air Lines was said to be in discussions to acquire the airliner. Hang Seng (U/C) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.9%) conformed to the broad downbeat tone despite a firm liquidity effort by the PBoC, as sentiment remained subdued after China’s further clampdown on Hong Kong freedoms which triggered an uproar globally, with the UK said to be considering sanctions, while tensions remained a headwind after the White House confirmed an executive order prohibiting US investments in Chinese firms owned or controlled by the Chinese military. Finally, 10yr JGBs marginally extended above the 152.00 level following the bull flattening in USTs and with upside helped by the glum picture across risk assets, although the upside was capped amid the absence of the BoJ from the market today and ahead of key data beginning with Q3 GDP early next week.

Top Asian News

  • Hong Kong Sees GDP Contraction Near Low End of Forecast Band
  • World’s Biggest Cork Maker Eyes Next Step in the Spirits Market
  • Trump’s Taiwan, Hong Kong Support Poses Early Test for Biden
  • China’s Oil Giant Eyes New Supertankers to Shrink Fuel Glut

Major European bourses have largely nursed the mild losses seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%) following on from a mostly downbeat APAC handover. The European day kicked off with a continuation of the growth to value rotational pause, reflected by sectors at the open alongside US equity futures performances at the time. However, despite a distinct lack of fresh fundamental news-flow, sentiment picked up pace whilst the rotational dynamics somewhat decoupling. European sectors at the open saw Oil & Gas, Autos and Banking names at the foot of the index whilst Tech and Healthcare fared better, whilst US equity futures at the time saw NQ outpacing the ES and RTY. However, as things stand, Tech retains top spot whilst Banks and Autos also reside towards to top of the pile. Oil & Gas has trimmed losses towards the unchanged mark whilst Healthcare tumbled, and Travel & Leisure ebbed lower towards the bottom of the pack. This decoupling is also reflected in US equity futures’ performance as NQ, ES and RTY are all posting gains in proximity to 0.8%. Back to Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 (-0.3%) underperforms regional peers as a firmer Sterling weighs on exporters, whilst gains in the SMI (Unch) are capped by a lacklustre performance in pharma-giants.

Top European News

  • U.K. Prime Minister’s Top Aide Quits, Will Leave By End of 2020
  • U.K. Fund Liquidity Rule Breaches Soared in Covid Early Days
  • East Europe’s Fleeting GDP Bump Bracketed by Virus Lockdowns
  • Rosneft’s Return to Net Loss Undermines Dividend Prospects

In FX, little sign of Sterling succumbing to any Friday 13 phobias, thus far, and some observers are suggesting that the latest rebound in Cable from the low 1.3100 area may be due to impending departure of UK PM Johnson’s SPAD Cummings. However, Eur/Gbp has also retreated from a double top just above 0.9000 and the Pound’s bounce could be more technical and consolidative given no positive developments on the Brexit front. Conversely, the Lira’s impressive revival can be put squarely if not solely down to Turkish President Erdogan’s economic epiphany in terms of pursuing more orthodox monetary and fiscal policies after sacking another CBRT President, with Usd/Try extending its sharp reversal from record peaks to test support below 7.6200 ahead of next week’s rate meeting.

  • NZD/AUD - The Kiwi has fallen further from post-RBNZ highs above 0.6900 towards 0.6800 vs its US counterpart and 1.0700+ against the Aussie to sub-1.0600 at one stage in wake of rather downbeat remarks from RBNZ Governor Orr overnight, caveating forecasts for the economic recovery to continue with a big ‘IF’, and backed up somewhat by a slowdown in October’s NZ manufacturing PMI. Meanwhile, Aud/Usd is hovering around 0.7260 as the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Secretary states a readiness to engage with China on trade relations that have been strained of late.
  • DXY/EUR/CAD/JPY/CHF - Aside from all the deviations noted above, G10 currencies remain relatively rangebound and pretty much epitomised by the Dollar index holding within a narrow 93.007-92.767 band within wtd extremes (93.210-92.129), albeit easing amidst an upturn in broad risk sentiment. Indeed, the Euro and Loonie are gradually firming up as the Greenback slips to retest offers/resistance into 1.1850 and 1.3100 respectively. No obvious reaction to Eurozone data, but another decent option expiry interest may keep Eur/Usd contained between 1.1840-50 and 1.1795-1.1800 given 1.4 bn on either side and the BoC’s Senior Loan Officer Survey may offer the Cad some independent impetus in advance of Canadian CPI and retail sales next week. Elsewhere, the Yen and Franc are both meandering from 105.15 to 104.87 and 0.9158 to 0.9137, with the latter largely ignoring slightly less deflationary Swiss import and producer prices.
  • SCANDI/EM - Not quite all change, but the Swedish Krona has slipped after holding up better than its Norwegian peer on Thursday and it looks like 10.2000 is proving sticky for the Eur/Sek cross, but the Mexican Peso is deriving some protection from softer crude prices on the back of Banxico’s unexpected decision to stand pat on rates with only one dissenter chiming with consensus for a 25 bp ease, as Usd/Mxn probes 20.5000.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures trade remain pressured but have been drifting off worst levels during early European hours in lockstep with price action across equity markets. News flow for the complex has been light on Friday morning and thus the cue is taken from overall market sentiment. In terms of the fundamental environment, rising COVID-19 cases across the globe continues to weigh on the demand side of the equation, with an effective vaccine unlikely to see a mass rollout in the near-term, whilst supply side is still uncertain as OPEC+ producers gear up to for its non-policy confab next week. On that note, profit-taking in the crude complex cannot be ruled out ahead of the weekend given the respectable gains in the benchmarks this week. WTI Dec trades just under USD 41/bbl (vs. low 40.16/bbl) whilst Brent Jan edges higher above USD 43/bbl (vs. low 42.67/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold and silver eke mild gains as the precious metals coat-tail on the recent USD softness, albeit remain contained within recent ranges. Finally, LME copper gleans support for the softer Buck and recovery in stocks.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: PPI Final Demand MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.4%; PPI Final Demand YoY, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4%
  • 8:30am: PPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.4%; PPI Ex Food, Energy, Trade MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.4%
  • 9am: Bloomberg Nov. United States Economic Survey
  • 10am: U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 82, prior 81.8; Current Conditions, est. 88.3, prior 85.9; Expectations, est. 79.1, prior 79.2

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

It’s strange to wake up to see that my school golf partner of two years and in countless pairs competitions is currently leading the US Masters. So good luck to Paul Casey this weekend although I suspect he’s not reading this unless he was keen to hear what the super committee of central bankers thought about the world economy last night.

On this in the latter half of yesterday’s US session we heard from Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey at a panel hosted by the European Central Bank. They all shared similar concerns that a potential Covid-19 vaccine would not end the economic challenges of the pandemic. Powell highlighted near-term risks saying that “the main risk we see to (the economy continuing on a solid path of recovery) is clearly the further spread of the disease here in the United States.” Lagarde cautioned that she didn’t want to be “exuberant” in light of the vaccine possibilities, while Bailey called the news “encouraging.” On the need for further accommodation in light of the near term risks, Powell expects that the Fed “will need to do more, and Congress may need to do more as well on fiscal policy.”

So no major surprises from this important trio, and even before they’d started speaking, yesterday saw a notable decline in sovereign bond yields on both sides of the Atlantic, with US Treasuries ending the session -9.4bps at 0.882% as they reopened following the previous day’s holiday. There was also a notable flattening in yield curves across numerous countries, with the 2s10s Treasury curve flattening -8.8bps as it came off a near 3-year high. Over in Europe, 10yr gilt yields (-6.5bps) saw the largest declines, though yields on 10yr bunds (-2.9bps), OATs (-2.6bps) and BTPs (-5.4bps) also lost ground. 2yr Greek yields went negative for the first time on Wednesday and fell slightly further yesterday.

With investors moving out of risk assets, global equity markets fell back from their recent highs amidst further negative news on the coronavirus. There were also reports that the Trump administration would be stepping away from stimulus negotiations and leaving that to Congress, something the market took negatively given that Senate Majority Leader McConnell was looking to pass a far smaller package than the White House. By the close, the S&P 500 was down -1.00%, with nearly 90% of the index moving lower. Energy (-3.39%) and Autos (-2.59%) stocks led the declines, but Bank stocks (-2.08%) were not far behind thanks to the notable fall in sovereign bond yields. Tech stocks outperformed their cyclical counterparts slightly with the NASDAQ falling a smaller -0.65%. Europe also suffered, with the STOXX 600 down -0.88% in its worst day for over two weeks, as other indices across the continent similarly moved lower. The selling was also widespread in Europe as 19 of 20 STOXX 600 sectors fell, led by Euro Bank stocks (-1.93%) and Consumer Products (-1.85%) as Technology (+0.79%) was the only sector to rise.

Asian markets have followed the US lower overnight, with the Nikkei (-0.99%), the Hang Seng (-0.55%), and the Shanghai Comp (-0.75%) all moving lower. The moves came as President Trump signed an executive order that would prohibit US investments in Chinese firms linked to the country’s military. The one exception to this downward move was the KOSPI however, which has moved +0.60% higher. Meanwhile in the US, S&P 500 futures are down a marginal -0.04%, and yields on 10yr Treasuries this morning have moved a further -1.3bps lower .

On the negative coronavirus developments, yesterday saw the number of new cases here in the UK reach a record 33,470 after a good two to three weeks of stability in the 20-30k range, while Italy reported a further 37,978. Covid-19 hospitalisations in France are now above the highs reached in mid-April as French Prime Minister Castex acknowledged that the country may tighten lockdown restrictions further. And in the US, infections recorded another record high with fatalities rising to their highest daily level since May. Nevertheless, Dr Fauci struck an optimistic tone on a potential vaccine, saying that “it’s not going to be a pandemic for a lot longer, because I believe the vaccines are going to turn that around”.

Sterling weakened further yesterday, falling -0.79% against the US dollar, as there were more negative noises on the state of the trade negotiations between the EU and the UK. We’re now in the crunchpoint of the talks, which have already been pushed beyond a number of previous informal deadlines, and comes with just weeks left before the transition period concludes at the end of this year. There wasn’t much of substance out yesterday, but the BBC’s Europe editor Katya Adler tweeted that “EU diplomats sounding pessimistic about EU-UK negotiations.” We then got another tweet from the EU’s Michel Barnier which said he “Went looking for level playing fields…” with a picture of a football field in the backdrop, so not the most positive tweet regarding what has proven one of the most contentious points in the negotiations. A key moment next week will be the EU leaders’ meeting on Thursday, which is taking place via videoconference, though given the lack of concrete progress so far, it’s not obvious there’ll necessarily be a deal on the table ready for them to actually discuss.

On the data front, there were some positive figures from the US, where the weekly initial jobless claims for the week through November 7 fell to a post-pandemic low of 709k (vs. 731k expected). Incidentally, that brings them to just 14k above the pre-Covid record of 695k back in 1982. Meanwhile, the continuing claims for the week through October 31 also reached a post-pandemic low of 6.786m (vs. 6.825m expected). Nevertheless, there were some soft CPI readings from the US for October, with the month-on-month figures for both CPI and core CPI unchanged, and the year-on-year CPI figure fell back to 1.2%, which is the first time the reading has declined since May. Finally in Europe, the UK GDP reading for Q3 showed a record +15.5% expansion (vs. +15.8% expected), which follows a record -19.8% contraction in Q2. Nevertheless, with many restrictions having been reimposed again, our UK economist expects there to be another contraction in Q4.

To the day ahead now, and data highlights include the second release of the Euro Area’s Q3 GDP, while from the US there’s the October PPI reading and the preliminary November reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index. From central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, as well as the BoE’s Cunliffe and Tenreyro. From the ECB, we’ll hear from Weidmann and Rehn, while Fed speakers include Williams and Bullard.

Published:11/13/2020 6:53:46 AM
[Markets] Doug Casey On Whether Your Vote Can Prevent A Civil War? Doug Casey On Whether Your Vote Can Prevent A Civil War? Tyler Durden Sun, 11/01/2020 - 22:00

Via InternationalMan.com,

Democracy is vastly overrated.

It’s not like the consensus of a bunch of friends agreeing to see the same movie. Most often, it boils down to a kinder and gentler variety of mob rule, dressed in a coat and tie. The essence of positive values like personal liberty, wealth, opportunity, fraternity, and equality lies not in democracy, but in free minds and free markets where government becomes trivial. Democracy focuses people’s thoughts on politics, not production; on the collective, not on their own lives.

Although democracy is just one way to structure a state, the concept has reached cult status; unassailable as political dogma. It is, as economist Joseph Schumpeter observed, “a surrogate faith for intellectuals deprived of religion.” Most of the founders of America were more concerned with liberty than democracy. Tocqueville saw democracy and liberty as almost polar opposites.

Democracy can work when everyone concerned knows one another, shares the same values and goals, and abhors any form of coercion. It is the natural way of accomplishing things among small groups.

But once belief in democracy becomes a political ideology, it’s necessarily transformed into majority rule. And, at that point, the majority (or even a plurality, a minority, or an individual) can enforce their will on everyone else by claiming to represent the will of the people.

The only form of democracy that suits a free society is economic democracy in the laissez-faire form, where each person votes with his money for what he wants in the marketplace. Only then can every individual obtain what he wants without compromising the interests of any other person. That’s the polar opposite of the “economic democracy” of socialist pundits who have twisted the term to mean the political allocation of wealth.

But many terms in politics wind up with inverted meanings. “Liberal” is certainly one of them.

The Spectrum of Politics

The terms liberal (left) and conservative (right) define the conventional political spectrum; the terms are floating abstractions with meanings that change with every politician.

In the 19th century, a liberal was someone who believed in free speech, social mobility, limited government, and strict property rights. The term has since been appropriated by those who, although sometimes still believing in limited free speech, always support strong government and weak property rights, and who see everyone as a member of a class or group.

Conservatives have always tended to believe in strong government and nation­alism. Bismarck and Metternich were archetypes. Today’s conservatives are some­times seen as defenders of economic liberty and free markets, although that is mostly true only when those concepts are perceived to coincide with the interests of big business and economic nationalism.

Bracketing political beliefs on an illogical scale, running only from left to right, results in constrained thinking. It is as if science were still attempting to define the elements with air, earth, water, and fire.

Politics is the theory and practice of government. It concerns itself with how force should be applied in controlling people, which is to say, in restricting their freedom. It should be analyzed on that basis. Since freedom is indivisible, it makes little sense to compartmentalize it; but there are two basic types of freedom: social and economic.

According to the current usage, liberals tend to allow social freedom, but restrict economic freedom, while conservatives tend to restrict social freedom and allow economic freedom. An authoritarian (they now sometimes class them­selves as “middle-of-the-roaders”) is one who believes both types of freedom should be restricted.

But what do you call someone who believes in both types of freedom? Unfortunately, something without a name may get overlooked or, if the name is only known to a few, it may be ignored as unimportant. That may explain why so few people know they are libertarians.

A useful chart of the political spectrum would look like this:

A libertarian believes that individuals have a right to do anything that doesn’t impinge on the common-law rights of others, namely force or fraud. Libertarians are the human equivalent of the Gamma rat, which bears a little explanation.

Some years ago, scientists experimenting with rats categorized the vast major­ity of their subjects as Beta rats. These are basically followers who get the Alpha rats’ leftovers. The Alpha rats establish territories, claim the choicest mates, and generally lord it over the Betas. This pretty well-corresponded with the way the researchers thought the world worked.

But they were surprised to find a third type of rat as well: the Gamma. This creature staked out a territory and chose the pick of the litter for a mate, like the Alpha, but didn’t attempt to dominate the Betas. A go-along-get-along rat. A libertarian rat, if you will.

My guess, mixed with a dollop of hope, is that as society becomes more repressive, more Gamma people will tune in to the problem and drop out as a solution. No, they won’t turn into middle-aged hippies practicing basket weaving and bead stringing in remote communes. Rather, they will structure their lives so that the government—which is to say taxes, regulations, and inflation—is a non-factor. Suppose they gave a war and nobody came? Suppose they gave an election and nobody voted, gave a tax and nobody paid, or imposed a regulation and nobody obeyed it?

Libertarian beliefs have a strong following among Americans, but the Liber­tarian Party has never gained much prominence, possibly because the type of people who might support it have better things to do with their time than vote. And if they believe in voting, they tend to feel they are “wasting” their vote on someone who can’t win. But voting is itself another part of the problem.

None of the Above

At least 95% of incumbents in Congress typically retain office. That is a higher proportion than in the Su­preme Soviet of the defunct USSR, and a lower turnover rate than in Britain’s hereditary House of Lords where people lose their seats only by dying.

The political system in the United States has, like all systems which grow old and large, become moribund and corrupt.

The conventional wisdom holds a decline in voter turnout is a sign of apathy. But it may also be a sign of a renaissance in personal responsibility. It could be people saying, “I won’t be fooled again, and I won’t lend power to them.”

Politics has always been a way of redistributing wealth from those who produce to those who are politically favored. As H.L. Mencken observed, every election amounts to no more than an advance auction on stolen goods, a process few would support if they saw its true nature.

Protesters in the 1960s had their flaws, but they were quite correct when they said, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” If politics is the problem, what is the solution? I have an answer that may appeal to you.

The first step in solving the problem is to stop actively encouraging it.

Many Americans have intuitively recognized that government is the problem and have stopped voting. There are at least five reasons many people do not vote:

  1. Voting in a political election is unethical. The political process is one of institutionalized coercion and force. If you disapprove of those things, then you shouldn’t participate in them, even indirectly.

  2. Voting compromises your privacy. It gets your name in another government computer database.

  3. Voting, as well as registering, entails hanging around government offices and dealing with petty bureaucrats. Most people can find something more enjoyable or productive to do with their time.

  4. Voting encourages politicians. A vote against one candidate—a major, and quite understandable, reason why many people vote—is always interpreted as a vote for his opponent. And even though you may be voting for the lesser of two evils, the lesser of two evils is still evil. It amounts to giving the candidate a tacit mandate to impose his will on society.

  5. Your vote doesn’t count. Politicians like to say it counts because it is to their advantage to get everyone into a busybody mode. But, statistically, one vote in scores of millions makes no more difference than a single grain of sand on a beach. That’s entirely apart from the fact that officials manifestly do what they want, not what you want, once they are in office.

Some of these thoughts may impress you as vaguely “unpatriotic”; that is certainly not my intention. But, unfortunately, America isn’t the place it once was, either. The United States has evolved from the land of the free and the home of the brave to something more closely resembling the land of entitlements and the home of whining lawsuit filers.

The founding ideas of the country, which were highly libertarian, have been thoroughly distorted. What passes for tradition today is something against which the Founding Fathers would have led a second revolution.

This sorry, scary state of affairs is one reason some people emphasize the importance of joining the process, “working within the system” and “making your voice heard,” to ensure that “the bad guys” don’t get in. They seem to think that increasing the number of voters will improve the quality of their choices.

This argument compels many sincere people, who otherwise wouldn’t dream of coercing their neighbors, to take part in the political process. But it only feeds power to people in politics and government, validating their existence and making them more powerful in the process.

Of course, everybody involved gets something out of it, psychologically if not monetarily. Politics gives people a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves and so has special appeal for those who cannot find satisfaction within themselves.

We cluck in amazement at the enthusiasm shown at Hitler’s giant rallies but figure what goes on here, today, is different. Well, it’s never quite the same. But the mindless sloganeering, the cult of the personality, and a certainty of the masses that “their” candidate will kiss their personal lives and make them better are identical.

And even if the favored candidate doesn’t help them, then at least he’ll keep others from getting too much. Politics is the institutionalization of envy, a vice which proclaims “You’ve got something I want, and if I can’t get one, I’ll take yours. And if I can’t have yours, I’ll destroy it so you can’t have it either.” Participating in politics is an act of ethical bankruptcy.

The key to getting “rubes” (i.e., voters) to vote and “marks” (i.e., contribu­tors) to give is to talk in generalities while sounding specific and looking sincere and thoughtful, yet decisive. Vapid, venal party hacks can be shaped, like Silly Putty, into salable candidates. People like to kid themselves that they are voting for either “the man” or “the ideas.” But few “ideas” are more than slogans artfully packaged to push the right buttons. Voting for “the man” doesn’t help much either since these guys are more diligently programmed, posed, and rehearsed than any actor.

This is probably more true today than it’s ever been since elections are now won on television, and television is not a forum for expressing complex ideas and philosophies. It lends itself to slogans and glib people who look and talk like game show hosts. People with really “new ideas” wouldn’t dream of introducing them to politics because they know ideas can’t be explained in 60 seconds.

I’m not intimating, incidentally, that people disinvolve themselves from their communities, social groups, or other voluntary organizations; just the opposite since those relationships are the lifeblood of society. But the political process, or government, is not synonymous with society or even complementary to it. Government is a dead hand on society.

So where does that leave us for the election coming up in a few days?

It’s likely to be the most important one in the country’s history, including that of 1860. Unfortunately, no matter how you vote, it’s unlikely to head off what history likely has in store for us. Something wicked this way comes.

*  *  *

The political trajectory is troubling. Unfortunately, there’s little any individual can practically do to change the course of these trends in motion. Do you want to know exactly what you should be doing differently with your portfolio and in your personal life? It reveals what you can do to prepare so that you can avoid getting caught in the crosshairs. Click here to watch it now.

Published:11/1/2020 9:04:26 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On Why The 2020s Will Likely Be the Most Turbulent Decade in 250 Years Doug Casey On Why The 2020s Will Likely Be the Most Turbulent Decade in 250 Years Tyler Durden Sat, 10/24/2020 - 21:30

Via InternationalMan.com,

International Man: Due to COVID-19, almost every country in the world closed its borders. Over seven months later, most governments still restrict travel, economic activity, and social gatherings.

You recently traveled internationally. How did it go?

Doug Casey: I’ve been stuck in the backward but pleasant and peaceful little country of Uruguay for the last seven months. The lockdown in Uruguay wasn’t nearly as severe as other countries in Latin America, but it was nonetheless impossible to come or go from the place.

I recently returned to Aspen. Bad timing, because it’s the fall and getting cold here in the mountains.

I took a COPA flight, business class, from Montevideo to Miami via Panama City. American Airlines and United usually fly direct to Miami or New York. But not now. Maybe because there’s not enough traffic, international flights are down at least 80–90%. Or maybe just because they’re bankrupt.

One of the first inconveniences you notice is that they no longer have proper earphones in business class. All they give you is little earplugs, which make it hard to hear the movie over the rush of the wind and the engines; on American, only one ear channel worked as a bonus. Supposedly a sanitary measure to fight COVID-19.

All the airlines have now ceased serving hot meals. On both airlines in business class, all you got was a little lunchbox with cold cuts and a bit of fruit. There are no longer any pillows or blankets available, either, due to contagion fears during the COVID-19 hysteria.

On my American flight from Dallas to Aspen, the stewardess did a good imitation of Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS. She noticed that though I was wearing my mask—which, of course, is required at all times on the plane and in airports—but it only covered my mouth, not my nose. I was reprimanded.

But when she delivered apple juice, I was allowed to take my mask off entirely for the full hour it took me to sip the glass of juice. Further proof that the rules around the Great Hysteria are mostly annoying theater and laughably ridiculous.

Aspen itself would normally be dead as a doornail in mid-October. But not now.

It’s overrun by obnoxious rich people from cities, mainly New York, LA, and Miami. They’ve apparently decided to leave their first homes, perhaps because Aspen doesn’t have Antifa and Black Lives Matter—which I believe most of them support. Practically every property for sale—especially in downtown—gets an immediate bid. Real estate brokers are coining money.

Aspen should be renamed the People’s Republic of Aspen because that’s what it is. It’s always been an extreme left-wing town, of course. But the immense wealth brought in by the billionaires who are driving the multimillionaires down valley made it, nonetheless, an appealing place to live. And a continual bull market for property.

But now, if you go anywhere in the core of this town, you’ll find they’re rabid about wearing your mask when you’re out walking in the sun and fresh air. Even hiking or riding your bike without a muzzle will draw shaming from leftist hysterics. All the restaurants are jam-packed, with distanced tables. If you walk into a restaurant without a reservation, you’ll likely wait an hour for seating.

Almost all the shops are open and doing great business with the people who have inundated the place. The hotels are jammed, at full rack rates, and you can’t easily rent an apartment.

It’s a fact that people are leaving the cities. And, I understand that it’s like this in all kinds of nice small towns across the country. They’re likely to sell their old homes and stay here. They’re the type of people who can work electronically in the world of the Internet and Zoom.

I dislike being in Aspen now under these circumstances. In fact, I’m going to sell the ranch, which is 20 minutes out of town. When the ducks are quacking, you should feed them. This town is nothing like it once was—the land of soft snow, hard drugs, and casual sex—when I first came here.

International Man: After the September 11th, travel changed forever. The government gave us the TSA, the Patriot Act, and all kinds of permanent restrictions. Do you think much of the restrictions brought on by the COVID hysteria will stay with us?

Doug Casey: Laws are almost never repealed. But lots of new laws are constantly added on.

You have to remember that all of the world’s Congresses and Parliaments are still in session, and what they do is pass laws telling you what you must and must not do. People increasingly act like whipped dogs. Since “democracy” became a secular religion—starting about the time of World War 1—individual freedom has been in shorter and shorter supply every year.

Of course, it’ll get much worse if Harris and Biden win the election. But the effect has been compounded—especially here in the US—by state legislatures and the kind of people who run things at the city and county level. As evidence of that, we have about 2,300 so-called “employee housing units”—aka subsidized housing—in this town of 7,300. They’re available for those making less than a rather shocking $150,000 a year. The place has only the ultra-rich and the workers and peasants who cater to them.

But, to answer the question, the US is not going back to things as they once were. The COVID hysteria has precipitated as major a change as 9/11 did. Actually, even worse. That’s because everybody can see that there aren’t Muhammadan terrorists walking around, but this virus can be said to be everywhere.

International Man: 33 of the 50 US States have a mandatory mask mandate. This is unprecedented. What’s your take on this and the future of civil liberties in the US?

Doug Casey: Well, the people that run for city council, county commissioner, or the state legislature all want to move up the pecking order.

They’re basically nobodies—busybodies that want to be somebody. The easiest way to have people recognize their names and faces is to run for office. They want to show that they are activists, and the way that they do that is by promising lots of “free” stuff to the booboisie. They love exercising power in the minor leagues to justify they’re worthy of moving up to the big time.

Surprisingly, Americans are now so used to being told what to do that they’re really acting like whipped dogs—rolling over on their backs and wetting themselves. The whole secular religion of political correctness has gotten completely out of hand.

I remember a few years ago, a friend of mine in the newsletter business, Marc Faber, said something that was completely accurate but politically incorrect in his private newsletter. And because of what he observed there to his private subscribers, he was kicked off the board of several public corporations. It cost him about half a million dollars a year in director’s fees.

You have to be very careful what you say in a world dominated by Jacobins and Bolsheviks—and even more careful about what you do in today’s locked down world.

Of course, this whole COVID thing isn’t a matter for the government to start with. It’s a matter between an individual and his doctor. If the person decides he wants to wear a mask, fine, and if he doesn’t, that’s fine too. If a person is old or sick, and therefore in real danger, he should self-isolate at home while others establish herd immunity and the virus burns itself out.

It’s not something that should be legislated, especially by the kind of people who get into politics.

I have to add that COVID-19 may be deadly, but the average age of the person it kills is 80. Even then, it’s only old people who are sick and have other problems who are in danger. So, yes, COVID-19 kills people—like scores of other diseases—but not people who are of working age, and absolutely not people under 30.

This is a highly destructive hysteria, and we don’t know when it’s going to end. What we do know is that the hysteria is changing the entire nature of life.

International Man: The US presidential election is just a few weeks away. If Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win, how do you think their presidency will impact the country post-COVID-19?

Doug Casey: I regret to say that I still think Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are going to win.

If they win, there’s no way out. But in fact, if Trump wins, there’s no way out either. He wants to print money as much as they do. He’s adamant about keeping interest rates at disastrously and destructively low levels. He’s quite happy to impose all kinds of duties and arbitrarily sign executive orders about anything and everything. The Greater Depression is going to be nasty either way.

It really is going to be a Harris regency, however. The worst—the most collectivist and statist—senator in the Senate will become the de facto president.

Biden and Harris are surrounded by hard-core leftists, Marxists, and socialists. I don’t know how it’s going to end, except that it’s going to get violent. That’s because one of the things that they’ve hung their hats on is much stricter gun laws of all types. That may actually be the catalyst that sets it all off.

If the Donald is elected, however, the left will be rioting, looting, burning, and who knows what else. Trump won’t leave it up to the State and local authorities but will use the military to put them down. However, I’ll take four years of that kind of chaos, where the ancien regime is still in power, and the remnants of the old America still exist rather than watching the immediate Sovietizing of the US.

In other words, if Trump somehow is elected and maintains the office, we might have a four-year grace period. But there are no guarantees that he won’t be kicked out somehow. It’s all over but the shouting at this point for something like the old America. The best case is peaceful secession; the worst case is something like a civil war. I have, as you know, been saying this for several years.

International Man: Over the years, you’ve frequently said that although the financial and economic problems in the world are serious and accelerating, the biggest risks aren’t financial or economic. They’re political.

Has 2020 set a new precedent for the political risks we all face?

Doug Casey: Absolutely. Financial and economic risks can be solved by investing properly and by going out and producing wealth and saving it. Economic and financial problems are things that you have some control over. No matter what the environment, you can make your life better.

Political problems, on the other hand, are all about direct coercion. There’s not much you can do about them.

We’re facing really serious political problems right now, compounded by sociological problems—and perhaps a serious war.

So what’s going to happen?

People appear to want leaders—to be told what to do. They’ve been programmed to be irresponsible and to believe that somebody else—the State—is going to take care of them.

The average citizen of every country has become much less responsible as the State has grown much, much larger over the last century.

With that being the case, when there are problems, people are going to look for a strong leader—and they’re going to get strong leaders. It’s true all over the world. We already see this with Narendra Modi in India, Vladimir Putin in Russia, Xi Jinping in China, Erdogan in Turkey, Bolsonaro in Brazil, Fernandez in Argentina, and more.

Countries everywhere are going towards so-called strong leadership. It’s shaping up like the ’30s with Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt, and the rest of them.

As the situation gets completely out of control, people are going to look for dictatorial leaders to provide direction and safety. This decade is probably going to be the most dangerous since the Industrial Revolution overturned the basis of society over 200 years ago.

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The economic, political, and social volatility in the days and weeks ahead promises to be extreme. The impact on your savings, retirement funds, and personal freedoms could be unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Do you want to know exactly what you should be doing differently with your portfolio and in your personal life? It reveals what you can do to prepare so that you can avoid getting caught in the crosshairs. Click here to watch it now.

Published:10/24/2020 8:39:54 PM
[dbf1d72e-097d-56bc-95e4-31ce642b2416] Drew Barrymore reprises ‘Scream’ role to see if Casey Becker would survive in 2020 Would Casey Becker of "Scream" survive in modern times? Published:10/23/2020 3:53:56 PM
[Markets] This Is The "Sh*t Hitting The Fan" Part Of The Fourth Turning This Is The "Sh*t Hitting The Fan" Part Of The Fourth Turning Tyler Durden Fri, 10/23/2020 - 16:20

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

“The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.” – Strauss & Howe  The Fourth Turning 

“There is no darkness but ignorance. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” William Shakespeare

I read The Fourth Turning in 2006, after seeing it described in John Mauldin and Doug Casey’s newsletters as an uncannily accurate assessment of American history based upon generational configurations which recur on eighty-year cycles, a long human life. Strauss and Howe wrote the book in 1997 and used their generational theory to predict the Crisis that would begin in the mid-2000’s and come to an indeterminate climax in the mid-2020’s.

As a student of history, the theory spoke to me. I have been writing articles since 2009, using the Fourth Turning as a guide to interpreting what has been happening and what might happen as this crisis period accelerates towards its violent culmination. The quotes above perfectly capture exactly what has happened since this crisis began in September 2008, with the Fed/Wall Street created financial collapse. The existing social order is disintegrating, but they are willing to destroy the country rather than relinquish their wealth, power and control.

Strauss & Howe identified the core elements of this Crisis as debt, civic decay, and global disorder. No one can argue the severe distress engulfing the nation and the world traces its origins to these core elements, with the catalyst for this Crisis being the 2008 central banker manufactured financial collapse. Nothing has been normal since 2008. And 2008’s epic implosion was driven by the disastrous financial, political and military decisions implemented by the puppets of the Deep State from 2000 onward, with the Federal Reserve obligingly creating bubble after bubble as the “solution” to the previous bubble.

And now we are here again, in the midst of the greatest bubble in the history of mankind. A bubble of willful ignorance. The obliviousness of most Americans to the danger awaiting them is akin to the day before Fort Sumpter was bombed, the day before Pearl Harbor was attacked, or the dinosaurs unaware of a giant meteor rushing towards the planet and about to transform their future in a challenging way.

Real hardship has beset the land, for those not in the .1% or Deep State lackeys being rewarded for propagating mistruths, outright lies, fear, and propaganda on behalf of their oligarch benefactors. These apparatchiks mainly consist of corrupt politicians, central bank lackeys, mainstream media hacks, neocon warmongers, surveillance state traitors, and big pharma captured health “experts”. The severe distress does involve class, race, nation and empire, but most of the distress has been artificially created by those pulling the strings – Bernays’ invisible government manipulating the masses.

As the looming election advances like a deadly avalanche crashing down a mountainside towards an unsuspecting village below, a battle wages between an evil ingrained establishment and a few dedicated patriots of truth. If you don’t feel the very survival of the nation hangs in the balance, then you are either delusional, willfully ignorant, or unwilling to recognize your own cognitive dissonance. The next five to ten years will alter the course of history in a profound way. Whether the outcome is positive for average American citizens is very much in doubt.

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” – Aldous Huxley

I wish it were not so, but most human beings seem incapable of critical thought regarding how history follows a cyclical path due to human nature retaining its flaws, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and fortes throughout history. We believe we have advanced because our inventions, discoveries, and technology, but the desire for wealth, power and control over others still consumes a sociopathic portion of mankind who tend to rise to the top through any means necessary.

As Huxley lamented in the 1950’s, technological progress has actually propelled mankind backwards in terms of its humanity and relationship with nature and other human beings. The very technology we glorify as an example of our advancement is now being used by the totalitarians to imprison us. It has happened slowly and methodically over decades as generation after generation have entered the government indoctrination centers (public schools) to be taught ignorance and obedience to the state. This indoctrination has been reinforced by ceaseless propaganda injected into their brains by media conglomerates doing the bidding of the state.

The dystopian use of disinformation, false narratives, blatant lies and propaganda by the totalitarians constituting the Deep State, as their never-ending coup attempt against a duly elected president attests, will be the catalyst for the next vicious phase of this Fourth Turning. For the last four years the Russiagate coup has dogged Trump, as Obama, Clinton, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Mueller and a myriad of lesser co-conspirators have propagated the Big Lie to cover-up their traitorous actions of trying to overthrow Trump.

An honest truth-seeking press with unbiased journalists would have uncovered this conspiracy and revealed the truthful facts to a concerned public. Instead, a completely captured corporate media has turned a blind eye to the truth as they have acted as accomplices of the coup culprits. Just as evil is the suppression of truth through censorship and keeping silent regarding the truth. Huxley understood how totalitarian propagandists operated decades before the current batch of Silicon Valley authoritarians initiated their national truth repression scheme.

“Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects… totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.” – Aldous Huxley

A perfect example of this is my local ABC news affiliate doing an hour long broadcast last night with absolutely no mention of the Hunter Biden – Joe Biden pay for play scandal. The truth dies in silence. The left-wing media dominated by six mega-corporations and social media billionaire titans (Bezos, Zuckerberg, Dorsey) have colluded with other left wing billionaires (Soros, Bloomberg) and the traitorous Deep Staters (Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Clinton) to bring down a sitting president and now to memory hole proof of Joe Biden corruption and his son’s illegal dealings with foreign enemies.

These anti-rational propagandists are enemies of freedom, as they systematically pervert reality and knowingly manipulate the minds of the masses towards how they require them to think, feel and act. After years of socialist indoctrination in government schools and universities, the masses have been taught to feel rather than think. Victimhood is celebrated, while personal responsibility is scorned.

The truth has been revealed, to those capable of critical thinking since the onset of this engineered pandemic fear exercise in March 2020. We have segued from the soft tyranny of Huxley’s Brave New World towards the harsh tyranny of Orwell’s 1984. As the leftist oligarchs have unleashed their ANTIFA and BLM terrorists in cities across America in “mostly peaceful protests”, as proclaimed by the Big Brother media, ignorance is strength rings true across our dystopian landscape.

I’m amazed by the extreme level of ignorance exhibited by a vast swath of our population, as they glory in believing comforting mistruths which confirm their preordained belief structure. They don’t know because they don’t want to know. They are intoxicated by the endless stream of idiocy emanating from their iGadgets, as they willfully choose ignorance over awareness, servitude over freedom, and captivity over liberty.

As Huxley predicted, the controlling oligarchy has used technology to convince people to love their servitude, while unthinkingly believing what they are told by their government and media mouthpieces, doing the bidding of the government and oligarchs who control the government. The goal of the ruling class is to keep people from thinking, and most willingly oblige because thinking is hard and the uncomfortable truths are too much to bear for the satiated masses.

But there is a minority who want the truth and are willing and able to deal with the consequences. They realize facts don’t cease to exist because we ignore them. Facts don’t care about your beliefs or feelings. Facts lead you to the truth. And the immense coverup of facts over the last ten months as we approach this historically important election boggles the mind of every critical thinking person on the planet.

This clearly coordinated effort to mislead the public regarding our dire financial plight, the truth about this overblown flu, the true facts about the Russiagate coup attempt against Trump, and now the massive Joe Biden/Hunter Biden corruption scandal coverup, has taken on a new level of malevolence and deceitfulness. The duplicitous nature of the measures taken by the social media tyrants to control the narrative and dictate what the people must believe will climax in a violent response by those unwilling to accept their plot to overthrow the government and shredding of the U.S. Constitution.

We are now living in a world where so called “experts” declare the science is settled regarding the spread of Covid, the efficacy of masks, the need for lockdowns to slow the spread, the requirement for a vaccine to cure Covid, the danger of HCQ, the fallacy of herd immunity and the fact we will never return to normal again. If anyone dares to question the approved Covid narrative, they will be attacked by MSM talking heads, de-platformed by Twitter and Facebook, called a murderer by the thousands of Karens patrolling social media, and possibly lose their jobs. When straight talking brilliant doctors, like Dr. Scott Atlas, use facts to blow up the approved narrative, he is attacked by the MSM and social media hyenas. Facts don’t matter when fear is the preferred method of herding a nation of sheep.

Even though 99.7% of those who contract Covid will not die, with most not even knowing they had it, the pandemic promoters (Gates, Big Pharma, Trump haters, Democrats, Left-wing media) continue to exaggerate the threat and scare a country into a Depression. This coordinated charade has been instituted as a cash grab by the ruling oligarchy, a coverup for the Fed rescuing a collapsing financial system, and an effort to dispose of Trump after the failed impeachment coup.

Even though, prior to this engineered pandemic, CDC documentation unequivocally declared masks useless in stopping the spread of viruses and numerous other studies by respected institutions confirmed this conclusion (you know – science), masks (muzzles) are now required to conform to state dictate under penalty of arrest. Even though thousands of scientists and doctors have said lockdowns don’t work, politicians continue to destroy the lives of their citizens by tyrannically closing down their cities and states. For what true purpose?

Even though Hydroxychloroquine plus zinc has proven to drastically reduce the effects of Covid if taken early in the illness, costs only a few dollars per dose, has been used safely for decades in dealing with malaria, and has the support of thousands of doctors, it was declared unsafe by the health agencies controlled by Big Pharma and politically motivated health care hack bureaucrats who care more about defeating Trump than saving lives. Why support a drug that only costs a few bucks when Big Pharma can roll out treatments that cost a few thousand dollars and don’t provide better outcomes than HCQ and zinc? There are profits to be made and stock prices to support. That’s the real science going on here.

The hit job stories from the NYT, Washington Post and other left-wing media about how Sweden would suffer death on a grand scale by not requiring masks, not locking down their country, and not closing schools were being written at a torrential pace in the Spring and Summer. They continue today as they attempt to discredit Dr. Scott Atlas because he is taking a realistic balanced approach to the virus.

Sweden’s death rate was in the middle of the pack in Europe and they achieved herd immunity by the Fall. Their cases are minuscule and deaths virtually nil. Meanwhile, the European lockdown countries are now experiencing a surge of new cases and locking down again. Sweden was right, but the compliant captured press maintains silence about their success, because silence about the truth maintains their Big Lie. If they can convince everyone to believe the lie, it becomes the truth.

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth.” – George Orwell, 1984

So, we are less than two weeks out from the election and the outcome, no matter who wins, will likely ignite a raging firestorm that will make the California wildfires look like a flickering matchstick. As we have supposedly made tremendous advancements in science and technology, reality proves we have merely achieved a more efficient means of going backwards.

The intoxication from earlier successes of science and technology have devolved into a gruesome morning after hangover of deteriorated outcomes, now threatening to imprison masked Americans in an electronic gulag of forced vaccinations and digital currency. The social media billionaire moguls, in conjunction with the Wall Street owned Federal Reserve, and sociopathic political operatives will mandate compliance regarding medical, financial and political decrees or you will be demonetized and cut-off from the ability to transact – essentially living in an electronic prison camp.

Based on the Fourth Turning generational theory, there is no doubt Donald Trump is the prophet generation Grey Champion. The term Grey Champion does not mean they are a great, noble, humane person. Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were not nice guys. They did whatever they thought necessary to achieve their means during our previous three Fourth Turnings. Millions of Americans hated Lincoln and Roosevelt, just as tens of millions hate Trump.

The Grey Champion’s   appearance marks the arrival of a moment of “darkness, and adversity, and peril,” as the violent turmoil climax of the Fourth Turning approaches. Trump and Pence are from the Prophet (Boomer) Generation, while Biden is from the Silent Generation and Harris is Generation X. At this stage of the Fourth Turning a transfer of power to a Silent generation leader would not make sense. Trump is the lightning rod for a clash that must take place to sweep away the existing corrupted social order and replace it with something new.

Every four years we hear the same pablum about this being the most important election of our lifetime. No matter who wins this election, the Deep State, Military Industrial Complex, Wall Street controlled Federal Reserve, Big Business, Big Pharma, Big Media, Silicon Valley Titans, and Billionaires like Soros, Bloomberg and Gates will still be running the show. One man has extraordinarily little chance of confronting these wealthy power-hungry sociopaths and winning.

It remains to be seen whether the Grey Champion can ignite a civil uprising against the powerful forces of totalitarianism engulfing the country and the world. They will not be stopped through the ballot box. They had successfully convinced a willfully ignorant populace to love their servitude and acquiesce to allowing them unfettered control over their lives. But, the tyrannical lockdowns, martial law like mandates from bureaucrats, compulsory masking as a requirement to be accepted in society, and the dehumanizing of our daily lives has created a Resistance, peaceful thus far, who are enraged by what is happening.

These are the critical thinkers, non-maskers, no-lockdowners, no vacciners, unwilling to kneel before the altar of Fauci, Gates, WHO, CDC, MSM and tyrannical sociopathic politicians like Cuomo, Newsome and Whitmer. These dissidents and doubters are most certainly a minority, but it was only a minority who carried the load during the American Revolution.

They are heavily armed, but it will require stealth, guile and intelligence to defeat the entrenched establishment. The weakness of these sociopaths is their arrogance and hubris. When they make mistakes during the coming conflict, they must be made to pay heavily. Those with their eyes wide open know what is happening. But, as Huxley asked over sixty years ago, do enough people think it is worth the fight to stop our drift towards totalitarian control?

“Do we really wish to act upon our knowledge? Does a majority of the population think it worthwhile to take a good deal of trouble, in order to halt and, if possible, reverse the current drift toward totalitarian control of everything?” – Aldous Huxley

The last week of MSM hyperbolic vitriol towards Trump; censorship of all dissenters about the Covid narrative by the social media tyrants; the purposeful increase in testing to all-time highs in order to generate more cases; ignoring the plunge in Covid related deaths; seeing “neutral” journalists question Trump like he is on trial at Nuremberg while lobbing underhanded softballs to Biden like he’s a four year old (his dementia riddled brain tells him he is four years old); and seeing the MSM tout polls showing a Biden landslide just as they did in 2016, leads me to believe Trump is going to win re-election in November.

It may take weeks, there will be rampant fraud in trying to swing the vote to Biden, and it could end up in the Supreme Court, but I believe Trump will win. The deplorables are seething with an inner rage which will be released on November 3. While the election is being contested, shockingly, ANTIFA and BLM will again begin burning down cities. It was fascinating how it had all stopped when polls showed the riots having a negative impact on Biden and his Democrat cohorts. The time frame between November 3 and January 20, when the president is supposed to be sworn in, guarantees to be tumultuous, dangerous, and fraught with potential peril.

I do not believe either side will accept the outcome of the election and will treat the victor as illegitimate. Once that mindset gains control, only violent conflict can result. The myriad of potential outcomes is too vast to comprehend. What we do know is Fourth Turnings always accelerate and intensify towards a bloody finale, with clear winners and losers.

Unconditional surrender will be demanded by those maintaining the upper hand. Whether this coming conflict remains domestic or spreads internationally, the “advancements” in the technology of destruction will endanger every human being on the planet. You cannot escape the impact of Fourth Turnings, only survive and/or do your part in helping achieve a positive outcome. There is no predetermined ending.

“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

When pondering the possible outcomes of this Fourth Turning, we tend to be drawn towards the negative, because a positive outcome seems so unlikely given the current animosity roiling the country. If you step back and realize all the hate and conflict is being engineered and coordinated by a ruling class of powerful rich men, then average Americans could organize a new paradigm that honors the original intent of the U.S. Constitution, allowing citizens the liberty and freedom to create voluntary associations based upon common interests at a local level.

The ruling oligarchs find this unacceptable, so this freedom must be wrested away from them by any means necessary. There is a civil war already underway, but only one side is fighting – the billionaire class who not only don’t want to relinquish some power, but want total control over every aspect of our lives. I believe this election will turn this one-sided silent war into a hot war.

Rather than wallowing in doom and the worst-case scenarios, we should be trying to figure out how to reorganize our nation going forward, after the billionaire oligarchs are defeated. As I was trying to go back in time to see when I wrote my first Fourth Turning article, I came across an article I wrote in 2010 – Brave New World 2010.

At the end of the article I noted the wisdom and practicality of Aldous Huxley’s advice on how to restructure our society, from his 1958 book Brave New World Revisited. This should be a template for restructuring our way of life if we want a sustainable future. I am not optimistic we have the fortitude, wisdom, courage and will to choose Huxley’s suggested path:

  • As recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty. Therefore, if you wish to avoid dictatorship by referendum, break up modern society’s merely func­tional collectives into self-governing, voluntarily cooperating groups, capable of functioning outside the bureaucratic systems of Big Business and Big Govern­ment.

  • If you wish to avoid the spiritual impoverishment of individuals and whole societies, leave the metropolis and revive the small country community, or alternately humanize the me­tropolis by creating within its network of mechanical organization the urban equivalents of small country communities, in which individuals can meet and co­operate as complete persons, not as the mere embodi­ments of specialized functions.

Huxley’s prescription of re-humanizing our country and voluntarily choosing where we want to live and who we want to associate with in small enclaves is how many rural communities already function. We can either willingly choose this path peacefully, or we will be left with this as our only option after our modern world self-destructs during the violent cataclysm, following the crashing of our Ponzi scheme debt saturated economic system.

The American Empire is clearly in rapid decline and may not survive the trials and tribulations over the coming decade. The Fourth Turning is not a prophecy, but should be taken as a warning and call to action. Sitting this out and hoping for the best will not help achieve a positive outcome. Tragedy or triumph – the choices we make will matter. The climax of this Fourth Turning may be a few years off, but the battle for the soul of America begins on November 3.

“History offers no guarantees. Obviously, things could go horribly wrong – the possibilities ranging from a nuclear exchange to incurable plagues, from terrorist anarchy to high-tech dictatorship. We should not assume that Providence will always exempt our nation from the irreversible tragedies that have overtaken so many others: not just temporary hardship, but debasement and total ruin. Losing in the next Fourth Turning could mean something incomparably worse. It could mean a lasting defeat from which our national innocence – perhaps even our nation – might never recover.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

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Published:10/23/2020 3:21:49 PM
[94aebb1e-9b64-576f-bd0e-5c0d2fff3fc3] Jamie Lynn Spears says she was ‘mortified’ to tell parents about first pregnancy at 16 Spears welcomed her daughter Maddie, now 12, with Casey Aldridge in 2008, but the pair would go on to split in 2009. Published:10/19/2020 5:13:52 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On What Happens After The Election Doug Casey On What Happens After The Election Tyler Durden Sat, 10/10/2020 - 21:00

Authored by Doug Casey via InternationalMan.com,

Whenever a really radical group takes over—and the Democrats are serious radicals—they try to cement themselves in power. I’ve explained my reasons for believing the Democrats are going to win, and it only takes a small number of people working as a cadre to do it. I’d like to discuss what happens next.

At the time of the Russian Revolution, the hardcore Bolsheviks only numbered in the hundreds. That was enough to take control of a hundred million Russians and stay in power for 70 years until they totally ran the wheels off the economy.

The same thing happened with Fidel Castro in Cuba. He landed with only 50 or 60 guys, but once he took over the country, his apparatchiks were able to keep control of it.

Serious populists, socialists, Marxists, and other authoritarians can pull that off because they’re completely unbound by conventional notions of morality. They sincerely believe the ends justify the means, and nothing is off the table when it comes to gaining and maintaining power. They always say they’re working for the people and invariably promise lots of free stuff. The hoi polloi want to hear that during a crisis—like the one we’re entering. When things get tumultuous, once they’re in, it’s almost impossible to get them out. Democracy—which is a sham anyway in today’s world—be damned.

If the positions discussed by the twenty final contenders for their presidential nomination are any indication, the Democratic Party has been completely captured by leftists like AOC and her gang of four, who really want to change the very nature of the US. If they win, they’ll be able to do so.

In order to succeed in an American Purple Revolution, they’ll need to cement themselves in place. It takes time for cement to dry. Even though the Republicans are just ineffectual and spineless “me too-ers” with no core beliefs, the Democrats will see there’s no point in letting them regain power.

How will they ensure that?

  • First, it seems almost certain that the Democrats will make both Washington DC and Puerto Rico states; there will then be 104 senators voting—and they will without question be left-leaning Democrats. That will also help assure control of the Electoral College—assuming it’s not abolished—since it will have two more reliably Democratic states.

  • Second, the 20 million undocumented people—illegal aliens—now in the US will undoubtedly be made citizens; they lean heavily toward the Democrats.

  • Third, they’ll expand the size of the Supreme Court and pack it with leftists, so any new laws they pass can’t be challenged effectively.

There could be more, of course. Perhaps they’ll reduce the voting age to 16; such is already the case in Argentina and a growing number of other countries. Young people, especially once they’re freshly indoctrinated by the State schools, always tend to favor socialist ideas. Maybe they’ll even engineer a new Constitutional Convention to change everything. The 2nd Amendment will go, of course, and the rest of the Bill of Rights would be heavily modified. Most of it is already a dead letter—but that would formalize the change once and for all. There will probably be “free” college in order to ensure an extra four years of intense leftist indoctrination for all. State-administered and paid medical care is a sure thing, as well.

These things would cement the Democrats into office for at least a generation. But please don’t think I support the Republicans. That would be like supporting tuberculosis just because it’s better than terminal cancer. Could things get violent? Yes.

There are quite a few examples, and these things can come out of almost nowhere, like the witch hysteria in Salem in the late 17th century. It was completely irrational, of course, and couldn’t have been predicted. But if you argued against the prevailing hysteria, you too could be accused and hung.

Sometimes, these things are ethnic. Look at what happened in Rwanda a generation ago. The Hutus and Tutsis had lived together, more or less amicably, for generations. Then, all of a sudden, a million people were hacked with machetes. The wave blew over, and now things are peaceful again. But if you weren’t out there slaughtering Tutsis during the hysteria, you might be accused of being a sympathizer and be killed yourself.

Sometimes, these things are religious, like the war between Christians and Muslims in Bosnia, or Lebanon, or the Central African Republic—among other places.

Sometimes, conflict is political, like the gang warfare between the National Socialists and Communists in 1920s Germany.

But what the US seems to be facing isn’t so much political, or religious, or ethnic as it is cultural, which is much more serious. The country is on the cusp of a full-blown cultural revolution. It happened during the Terror of the French Revolution. In a short period, perhaps over 20,000 people were murdered, mostly guillotined. Who would have guessed that simple regime change could get so out of control? It did, however, because it wasn’t just a political revolution. It was a cultural revolution, right down to changing the names of the months.

It famously happened in Russia in 1917, when the Bolsheviks succeeded in changing the basic structure of society. And it happened in Cambodia in the late 1970s with Pol Pot, when a quarter of the population was murdered. Who would have thought that even possible in modern times? That was also a cultural revolution against the educated and essentially anyone who wasn’t a peasant.

Of course, the mother of all social convulsions was Maoist China’s Great Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. The whole country, or at least what looked like the whole country, was bamboozled into overthrowing what they called the Four Olds—old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas. It went on for ten years, killed perhaps two million people, and destroyed the lives of tens of millions more.

Right now, the same meme is spreading in the US. Absolutely anything could happen after the November election, no matter who wins. But with the serious financial, economic, and social problems the US is facing, authoritarians will know how to use them to their own advantage.

The people promoting a US cultural revolution aren’t getting much resistance. The old regime—the conservatives, the Republicans—are totally intimidated. They’ve been brainwashed into accepting the righteousness of the Left’s cultural, political, economic, and social agendas. They don’t like it, but they sheepishly accept it. The schools, the NGOs, corporations, Hollywood, and the media are completely controlled by leftists and have inculcated their notions into society.

This is a real problem. When these things get out of control, the consequences can be genuinely terrible. Trends in motion tend to stay in motion—and this one is even accelerating.

America was unique among the world’s countries because it was founded on the premise of individualism and capitalism, free minds, and free markets. More than any other country, it’s lived up to those ideals.

But these people don’t want just a change of government; they want to overturn the actual things that have made America—America. There’s no other place to go once America goes.

Where can you run? In fact, the whole world is moving in the same direction.

That’s really dangerous because the president has a lot of power, including the power to make several thousand direct appointees with immense influence. Trump has been very unsuccessful in all his appointments. Most of them turn on him viciously. He might as well have picked random names out of the telephone directory. The Democrats, however, can be counted on to plug in fully vetted idealogues.

If Biden wins, he’ll probably get the Senate and the House, too. The Democrats will get a vast array of programs and departments approved. The changes will be much more radical than either Roosevelt’s New Deal or Johnson’s Great Society. Taxes will skyrocket, along with unlimited money in a world of Modern Monetary Theory. The US will get a makeover. America will cease to exist.

I don’t know how the red areas of the country will react if/when the Dems win. They’re culturally conservative, so I doubt there will be serious counterviolence. But if Trump does wind up in office, after a seriously contested election, we can count on more Portlands and Kenoshas. A domestic version of the leftist saying during the ’60s: “Two, three, many Vietnams.” It’s really serious.

The consequences of the Greater Depression will go far beyond a simple bear market. If Trump does win, no doubt the Republicans will crack down on the country in an attempt to keep order. The Dems will have cause to say they were right about his dictatorial tendencies. Then, assuming we have an election in ’24, we’ll certainly get a leftist Democrat in office.

On the (kind of) bright side, gold will go a lot higher. So will Bitcoin, partly because FX controls will be installed. And the next financial bubble will be in gold mining stocks. They’re very cheap right now; those in production are coining money. Ten-to-one shots will be thick underfoot. Buy them now, so you have the capital to insulate yourself from the bad things to come.

Then it’s game over for the Old America. Even if we don’t have an actual civil war.

*  *  *

Right now, the US is the most polarized it has been since the Civil War. 

If you’re wondering what comes next, then you’re not alone.

The political, economic, and social implications of the 2020 vote will impact all of us.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: The Day After—How to Prepare for What’s Coming After the 2020 Election

That’s exactly why bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released this urgent new video about how to prepare for what comes next. Click here to watch it now.

Published:10/10/2020 8:18:48 PM
[Markets] Is Gold Cheap At $2000 An Ounce? Is Gold Cheap At $2000 An Ounce? Tyler Durden Sat, 10/10/2020 - 10:45

Via InternationalMan.com,

Doug Casey’s Note: I consider Shan’s article - as radical sounding as some may think it is - to actually be conservative. For one thing, gold at $35 in 1971 was artificially low, suppressed in price for years by the government. And in addition to M-1 and M-2, there are tens of trillions of dollars held outside the US that will come home to roost if we have the Misesian “Crack-Up Boom” that he discusses. It’s an important point that’s not mentioned very often. But it will be a real factor in the not-so-distant future.

By Shanmuganathan Nagasundaram

As spot gold prices zipped past $2,000 per ounce recently, it portended a historical moment that implies a lot more than a nice round number on the price of a commodity.

As I will explain, what lies ahead is a disorderly change in the world’s monetary system and one that will eventually bring back gold as the lynchpin around which world commerce functions. For more than 100 years, gold was viewed as a barbaric relic—but we will see gold rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the US dollar and other fiat currencies.

Many commentators have pointed out the similarities between what is happening today and what occurred during the stagflationary seventies (1971–1981) and the Great Depression of the thirties (1929–1946). But what we will experience is a combination of the two.

Consumer price inflation is going to be much higher when compared to the 1970s, and the GDP contractions are going to be more pronounced than what we witnessed during the 1930s. In fact, the 2019 US GDP of $21.4 trillion will not be eclipsed, in real terms, at least for another decade, if not for a much longer time span.

What lies ahead for the US economy is not a V- or a W- or an L-shaped recovery but a long, downward-inclined staircase which could lead to an abyss. With our current trajectory, that is not only a possibility but the most probable outcome. Barring dramatic changes to monetary and fiscal policies—which is the exact opposite of what has been pursued in a bipartisan manner over the last few decades—the US dollar would not only lose its status as the world’s reserve currency but would more than likely meet the fate of the Continental.

The Misesian “Crack-Up Boom”

The underpinnings of the above scenario can be best described by the “crack-up boom” that Ludwig Von Mises postulated. As he explains in his book, Human Action:

“[I]f once public opinion is convinced that the increase in the quantity of money will continue and never come to an end, and that, consequently, the prices of all commodities and services will not cease to rise, everybody becomes eager to buy as much as possible and to restrict his cash holding to a minimum size. For under these circumstances, the regular costs incurred by holding cash are increased by the losses caused by the progressive fall in purchasing power.”

In other words, there are two specific pre-conditions for an economy to undergo a crack-up boom:

  1. Create an excessive increase in the monetary base toward the end of a normal business cycle in order to sustain boom-time malinvestments (i.e., asset bubbles).

  2. As these asset bubbles reach a point of an impending implosion, the central banks have to choose between the two stark alternatives:

    1. Refrain from the creation of further credit leading to a disorderly fall in asset prices through business bankruptcies resulting in a disinflationary recession.

    2. Accelerate the expansion of the money supply in order to sustain the business cycle and delay the recession. In the face of this continuous credit expansion, consumers’ inflation expectations accelerate to a point where the price rate increases outstrip the rate of the central bank’s monetary expansion. This necessitates an even greater use of the monetary spigots until the end stage of hyperinflation makes the currency worthless.

The Crack-Up Boom is no longer a forecast. In fact, the US Fed Crossed the Rubicon of choosing Option B (i.e., accelerate the expansion of money supply) when it started the rate cuts in July 2019 (referred to as “insurance cuts” by Powell) and QE4 (“not QE” according to Powell). All of this happened pre-COVID. All that COVID did was provide an impetus to the expansion. COVID provided a very academically convenient cover.

Had COVID really been a giant pandemic (and I do not subscribe to this view at all– but that’s a different discussion altogether) as is being claimed by the WHO, CDC, and governments around the world, then the appropriate response should have been a contraction of the money supply not an expansion of the money supply. It is only under the perverse perceptions of Keynesian economics that every issue in the world requires monetary easing.

So what are the signs that prove we are living through a Crack-Up Boom? By definition, it would be a steep expansion in the money supply. But even the bond vigilantes no longer seem interested in tracking that number these days. The most likely mainstream indicator is going to be the recognition of a double-digit Misery Index (inflation + unemployment) within a 12-to 18-month window. Measured accurately, both inflation (i.e., “16% trimmed-mean CPI” instead of CPI or core-CPI) and unemployment (“U6” instead of “U3”) would each likely be in double digits in that time window. The Fed has been clamoring for inflation for the last few years, and the markets are about to give them a poignant reminder of “Be Careful What You Wish For.”

US Fed in Full Throttle

If ever one was dismissive about the possibility of a Crack-Up Boom, a glance at the money supply chart would eliminate any lingering doubt. From its inception in 1913 to the beginning of 2020, the Fed’s M1 had reached $4 trillion dollars. Before the end of this year, it will likely hit $6 trillion dollars. That means 50% of the money it has created in all of its 107-year history would be created in just this calendar year.

Below is the history of M1 growth since the creation of the Fed and the acceleration over the last few months:

1st trillion—80 years (1913–1993)

2nd trillion—18 years (1994–2011)

3rd trillion—5 years (2012–2016)

4th trillion—4 years (2017–2020)

5th trillion—4 months (Feb 2020–May 2020)

While the COVID crisis played a large role in this acceleration, now that the bubble has been pricked, there is no going back. The dominoes that are lined up—housing bubble 2.0, auto bubble, student loan bubble, NASDAQ 2.0 bubble, junk bond bubble—will ensure constant infusions of monetary heroin by the Fed to keep the zombie economy afloat. The number of bailouts that will be required over the next few months pretty much guarantees that the M1 growth will stay on the current trajectory. This is a bipartisan issue. It makes no difference whether Trump or Biden becomes president in 2021.

Is Gold Cheaper at $2000 an ounce in 2020 than it was at $35 in 1971?

Fundamental to this comparison is the recognition that gold is money and that the Fed’s notes that circulate today have value only because they represent a claim against money. For a relative comparison of gold prices between today and 1971, we can ignore the various technical factors that ought to be used to value gold—like, should we use M1 or M2, or what percent backing should be considered?

If we compare the money supply ratios M12020 / M11971 or M22020 / M21971, we can see that these are up about 30 times. Gold prices, on the other hand, are up about 60 times, so it looks relatively fairly valued. But what this comparison ignores are some critical differences between then and now—i.e., the future direction of money supply growth, the political will to tolerate higher interest rates, and a relatively strong US economy that could afford the higher interest rates.

  • Between 1971 and 1981, the money supply in the US doubled. We know for sure, however, that the growth in the money supply between 2020 and 2030 is going to be substantially higher than doubling. For starters, M1 has grown by about 35% in the last few weeks.

  • When Paul Volcker set short-term interest rates at 20%—even while his effigies were burned on the streets—Reagan unequivocally backed him. Compare that to today, in which Trump threatened to remove Powell for attempting to maintain interest rates at only 2%.

  • The US economy today is floating on a number of asset bubbles—equities, housing, and bonds. All these bubbles not only need ultra-low interest rates, but they also need continuous infusions of capital to prevent them from bursting. So, it is impossible to raise rates to even 1% in the foreseeable future without causing a complete implosion.

If we account for these factors, one could make a rational claim that gold at $2,000 an ounce in 2020 is cheaper than $35 an ounce in 1971.

Regarding the valuation of gold itself, today’s fractional reserve banking system makes the old, but important, distinctions between demand (checking) and time (savings) deposits quite fungible. Therefore, whether M1 or M2 has to be backed by money becomes a debatable issue. Besides, historically, a 40% backing of currency in circulation by money provided a “relatively” stable monetary system. Of course, it can be rightfully argued that anything less than a 100% backing constitutes inflation by definition, which is theft.

Let’s take the case of M1, which is about $5 trillion. If this were to be backed 100%, then the 261.5Moz of gold held by the US government would have to be valued at about $20,000/ounce or about 10x the current price. Depending on the various combinations of percentage backing and M1/M2 for our calculations, we could get a multiple of anywhere between 4 and 30x.

So, at a minimum, gold prices have to go up at least 4x. Of course, the biggest tailwind behind gold prices is the future inflation that will be created by the Fed. It’s conservative to conclude that the money supply will go up only 5x during the 2020 to 2030 decade (or about 18% CAGR). In the context of recent events, such a conservative assumption should be considered naïve, and even bordering on stupidity.

What combination would I use to value gold? 100% backing of M1 would be the base case scenario, in my opinion. What I can safely say is that the world will witness at least a 5-digit price of gold this decade, in which the first digit will not be “1”.

Gold prices today mean a whole lot more than just a number. They indicate a tumultuous future of monetary breakdown with tremendous social and economic upheavals.

*  *  *

The recent breakout in the price of gold is just the beginning. Gold is set to skyrocket in the months ahead. That’s why legendary speculator Doug Casey just released this urgent new video which outlines exactly how he is positioned to profit from a rare opportunity, and how you could join him in making enormous profits. Even a small amount of money put into the right stocks today could deliver life-changing rewards. Click here to watch it now.

Published:10/10/2020 9:47:40 AM
[Markets] Doug Casey Debunks Four Myths About Trump, Taxes, & The Economy Doug Casey Debunks Four Myths About Trump, Taxes, & The Economy Tyler Durden Sat, 10/03/2020 - 21:30

Via InternationalMan.com,

International Man: For many years, President Trump has made no apologies for trying to pay the least amount of taxes possible. He’s clearly stated this in many interviews.

His desire to minimize his taxes has brought scorn from many in the mainstream media, and politicians from both sides of the aisle. These people are of the opinion that paying taxes is an honorable and necessary responsibility. It brings to mind the wrongheaded saying “taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society”, which came from US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Many people believe this.

But if that’s true, how come low tax locales like Singapore, the Cayman Islands, Monaco aren’t backward hell holes, but rather sophisticated and civilized?

Doug Casey: Almost any lie can be accepted as truth if it’s said often enough and with enough certainty. That absolutely applies to what Holmes said. It’s shameful how people don’t think about its meaning, but slavishly repeat it.

Taxes aren’t the price we pay for civilized society. They’re a sign of the fact that society is becoming uncivilized. A civilized society is based on voluntarism. Taxes are all about coercion.

People don’t seem to recognize or remember that before 1913 there was no income tax in the US. There was no reporting of any kind to the US government. It was a much more civilized and far freer country then.

As far as Trump minimizing his taxes, congratulations to him. The object should be to cut the size of the US government in half, and cut it in half again, and again. And along with it, cut the tax burden that it imposes on the average American.

Trump should be proud of himself for cutting his taxes. It's your patriotic duty as an American citizen to deny revenue to the State and the kind of people that are drawn to it and populate it.

The fact that some people resent others for not paying taxes is just evidence that they’ve been consumed by the vice of envy, which is one of the worst of the vices. Jealousy says “if you have something that I want, I’ll try to take it from you, just because I want it." Envy says “if you have something that I want, and I can’t take it from you, I’ll destroy it and hurt you."

It’s speaks poorly of the ethics of the average American, that they’ll self-righteously shame their neighbors for not paying “enough” taxes to the State.

International Man: We often hear from politicians and the media that some people aren’t paying their “fair share” in taxes. Who gets to define what “fair” is, and based on what justifications?

Doug Casey: Whenever you hear the word fair, start running the other way. Everybody has a different idea of what’s “fair”— it’s an arbitrary concept. People manipulate its definition to their advantage. The only way to determine what might be fair is voluntary mutual agreement. That’s not possible with taxes—there’s no voluntarism involved. They are, in fact, a levy enforced at the point of a gun.

The most creative and productive people tend to have the highest incomes—unless they’re crony capitalists, which means they’re basically using the government to steal from everybody else.

Productive people shouldn’t be penalized for supplying more goods and services to their neighbors—to the market. The money they give to the government in taxes would have otherwise been used to create more wealth for the whole world. When it’s taken from them by taxes it’s mostly squandered on welfare and warfare.

The bottom half of the US really doesn’t pay any income tax. They only pay Social Security taxes, roughly a flat 15%. It’s theoretically a pension program, although in fact it’s a Ponzi scheme. Social Security is bankrupt. If anyone gets it in the years to come it will be at the expense of future taxpayers—not because any capital has been set aside.

Social Security is, and always has been, a swindle. It makes it harder for people to save on their own. And makes them feel they don’t have to. But it’s not a real pension plan; it’s a highly politicized welfare program. People have been propagandized into believing not just what isn’t true, but actually believing the opposite of the truth. The situation is actually pretty hopeless from a philosophical point of view and it’s getting worse. The average American believes Social Security and the income tax are both moral and necessary.

International Man: Doesn’t this system—which diverts wealth from productive use into government, which is naturally unproductive—make everyone worse off? You would think the lower and middle classes would be clamoring for more wealth creation that would also benefit them. Instead, many are asking for more wealth to be destroyed.

It seems this sort of thinking helps solidify a backwards system.

Doug Casey: Absolutely. The US government and its welfare programs are actually cementing the lower classes to the bottom of society.

You get what you encourage. When you give people free money for doing nothing, that’s what they’ll do. Take personal responsibility away from a man, and he’ll tend to act irresponsibly. The next step seems to be a guaranteed annual income for everybody where—presumably—where everybody can just sit around Starbucks all day sipping latte and playing with their iPhones, and be paid for it.

This trend has been building almost 100 years, and the curve is starting to go parabolic. To use a fashionable word, it’s “unsustainable” for everyone to try living at the expense of everyone else.

International Man: Another misnomer we often hear is that “deficits don’t matter”, a saying popularized by Dick Cheney, an ostensible fiscal conservative.

Doug Casey: Well, deficits do matter. In order to become wealthy you have to produce more than you consume and save the difference. Saving the difference builds capital. And you need capital to create more wealth.

Countries without capital are poor. Places like Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Mauritania. The only capital they have is sticks and stones.

The US government is in effect training people to consume more than they produce. Now, you can do that in basically two ways. One, by borrowing capital that’s been saved and created in the past, and consuming it. Or, two, you can do it by mortgaging your future.

It's not a pro-survival policy to consume more than you produce. It’s possible for a while, of course, but will wind up in disaster. The US government is encouraging people to do just that, however, directly and indirectly.

International Man: Yet another misguided, yet popular, saying is that we shouldn’t worry about the national debt because “we owe it to ourselves.” What’s your take Doug?

Doug Casey: It's another glib, gigantic, lie. “We” don’t owe it to ourselves. Some people owe it to some other people. If it’s not paid back somebody is going to walk away disappointed.

In fact, most of the debt is owed to non-Americans. Directly, in the form of the national debt. And indirectly, in the form of US dollars outside the US. For many years the major export of the US hasn’t been Boeings, or IBMs, or wheat. It’s been US dollars. We run a trade deficit of about $800 billion every year. In exchange, foreigners send us electronics, Mercedes, cocaine, and other real goods. This has artificially propped up the average American’s standard of living.

Those dollars circulate in other countries; the US dollar is the de facto currency of 50 other countries around the world.

At some point—since the US dollar is backed by nothing—if confidence goes away, those foreigners are going to want to get rid of their dollars. They’ll necessarily come back to the US where legal tender laws force Americans to accept them.

There are many trillions of dollars that are now abroad are a liability. Someday they’re going to be traded for US shares of stock, US real estate, US technology, and US labor.

Americans, who have grown accustomed to an artificially high standard of living for many years, are going to have a very real drop in their standard of living when those dollars come home.

We’re sending dollars to the Chinese and other foreigners. We’re also selling US government debt to the Federal Reserve, which then credits the government’s accounts at commercial banks with dollars. But that’s another story. It’s all a moving paper fantasy. It’s going to end badly, and end soon.

It could easily destroy everybody’s savings. And that, in turn, could destroy the very basis of society.

*  *  *

The days of the US Dollar as the reserve currency are numbered. When that happens, the US will experience an economic crisis unlike we’ve seen before. The window to prepare yourself is still open. That’s why Doug’s Casey and his team have created this urgent new report on what to expect and how to protect yourself. Click here to download it now.

Published:10/3/2020 8:35:15 PM
[Markets] Ultra-Rich Collateralize Fancy Artwork And Penthouses To "Access Cheap Money"  Ultra-Rich Collateralize Fancy Artwork And Penthouses To "Access Cheap Money"  Tyler Durden Sat, 10/03/2020 - 09:55

Mortgage lenders have set aside billions of dollars for future defaults as millions of homeowners are in forbearance. This year, lenders have quickly tightened standards for average Americans, only dishing out loans to the ultra-rich. 

JPMorgan is one bank that has temporarily stopped accepting new home equity lines of credit, or HELOC, applications due to a surge in delinquencies. 

With ordinary folks unable to access cheap credit, even though rates are historically low, the ultra-rich, this year, have been collateralizing everything from artwork to New York penthouses to obtain cheap loans. 

We first highlighted this phenomenon back in March, during the dark days of the virus pandemic, days after global equities crashed and credit markets locked up. We noted, "ultra-wealthy are increasingly requesting financing against fine art as a way to build liquidity." 

So maybe, just maybe, over the past decade, the ultra-rich became massive asset gathers, using money that cost basically nothing, to purchase fancy artwork, million-dollar Ferraris, rare wine, and overpriced penthouses in top metro areas. That is, because, when shit hits the fan, these folks can leverage these assets to tap into cheap credit; and since these assets don't trade on major exchanges and price on a daily basis, aren't subjected to wild volatility swings. 

Bloomberg is out with a report that JPM has issued a massive $42.5 million loan on an NYC penthouse owned by a Russian billionaire's family. The penthouse, at 15 Central Park West, is worth an estimated $88 million. Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev tried to sell the property but failed at finding a buyer, has decided to leverage the asset to tap into cheap credit, with an interest rate bearing 2.9%. 

"The family tried to sell it a few years later as prices for ultra-expensive properties in the city had started to slip. Instead, they choose to leverage the asset," Bloomberg noted.

Bloomberg provides several other examples of wealthy people taking out mortgages on their penthouse. 

"Outdoor advertising mogul Drew Katz obtained a $15 million mortgage in August for a New York penthouse that he bought four years ago for $22 million, filings show. In April, hedge fund founder Dan Och obtained a $50 million mortgage for a home on Manhattan's Billionaire's Row that he acquired last year. The following month, a U.S. company controlled by Mexican heiress Karen Virginia Beckmann -- part of the family behind Jose Cuervo tequila -- received a $19 million mortgage for a condo it bought three years ago in the same area."

This signifies that banks are willing to lend to the wealthiest clients, enabling them to weather the virus pandemic better than average folks who have primarily had their credit lines reduced or entirely cut off. 

 "Rates are low and so clients are looking to take advantage, using some form of debt to be able to access cheap money," said Casey S. Kriedman, a financial adviser at the Broad Group, a New York-based unit of UBS Global Wealth Management.

Remi Frank, head of BNP Paribas wealth management's key client group, said, "banks are happy to lend to very rich people, the richer you are the more you borrow." 

And we've seen how that has turned out with billionaire Ronald Perelman's leveraged empire as it recently collapsed in a deluge of fire sales. 

More or less, the virus pandemic is exacerbating the wealth inequality gap as the rich survive on cheap credit. Simultaneously, working-poor households have experienced job loss, food insecurity, and depletion of emergency savings

Published:10/3/2020 9:04:22 AM
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