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The more things change in the USA casino capitalism the more they stay the same

Cruise to Frugality Island for stock holding  401K Lemmings

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“When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product
of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

John Maynard Keynes

"Life is a school of probabilities."

Walter Bagehot

Note: Some thoughts  on 2019  added on Jan 3, 2019.

Neoliberal economics (aka casino capitalism) function from one crash to another. Risk is pervasively underpriced under neoliberal system, resulting in bubbles small and large which hit the economy periodically. The problem are not strictly economical or political. They are ideological. Like a country which adopted a certain religion follows a certain path, The USA behaviour after adoption of neoliberalism somewhat correlate with the behaviour of alcoholic who decided to booze himself to death. The difference is that debt is used instead of booze.

Hypertrophied role of financial sector under neoliberalism introduces strong positive feedback look into the economic system making the whole system unstable. Any attempts to put some sand into the wheels in the form of increasing transaction costs or jailing some overzealous bankers or hedge fund managers are blocked by political power of financial oligarchy, which is the actual ruling class under neoliberalism for ordinary investor (who are dragged into stock market by his/her 401K) this in for a very bumpy ride. I managed to observe just two two financial crashed under liberalism (in 2000 and 2008) out of probably four (Savings and loan crisis was probably the first neoliberal crisis). The next crash is given, taking into account that hypertrophied role of financial sector did not changes neither after dot-com crisis of 200-2002 not after 2008 crisis (it is unclear when and if it ended; in any case it was long getting the name of "Great Recession").

Timing of the next crisis is anybody's guess but it might well be closer then we assume. As Mark Twain aptly observed: "A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes" ;-):

This morning that meant a stream of thoughts triggered by Paul Krugman’s most recent op-ed, particularly this:

Most of all, the vast riches being earned — or maybe that should be “earned” — in our bloated financial industry undermined our sense of reality and degraded our judgment.

Think of the way almost everyone important missed the warning signs of an impending crisis. How was that possible? How, for example, could Alan Greenspan have declared, just a few years ago, that “the financial system as a whole has become more resilient” — thanks to derivatives, no less? The answer, I believe, is that there’s an innate tendency on the part of even the elite to idolize men who are making a lot of money, and assume that they know what they’re doing.

As most 401K investors are brainwashing into being "over bullish", this page is strongly bearish in "perma-bear" fashion in order to serve as an antidote to "Barrons" style cheerleading. Funny, but this page is accessed mostly during periods of economic uncertainty. At least this was the case during the last two financial crisis(2000 and 2008). No so much during good times: the number of visits drops to below 1K a month.

Some thoughts  on 2019

It was clear that 2017 stock market run was detached from fundamentals. Mostly speculative run. And the current stock market decline could well happen three months aerler or three month later but it was in the cards. It is difficult to estimate the power of inertia in such speculative runs. Also layoffs and decline of the standard liming of workers and lower middle class still can continue to improve the balance sheet until "Yellow Vests" moment stops them.

Jobs created now are mostly "inferior" low paid or temp/contractor jobs and the numbers just mask the cruel reality of the USA job market.

Which in reality is dismal, especially for young and old workers. several more or less paid specialties disappeared in 2018 due to automation (cash office worker is one). automatic cashier is supermarkets are also now more visible.  So spontaneous cases of vandalism, killings of coworkers and other form of "action of desperation" (as well as the rate of death from opioids -- which is yet another form of the same) would not be too surprising in such an atmosphere. Even with the power of the current national security state. Trump is playing with fire trying to cut on food stamps and implementing some other action in this program of "national neoliberalism" which is in internal policy is almost undistinguishable from neofascism.  He risk facing "Macron situation" sooner or later.

In any case at some point Minsky moment should arrive for the stock market. I am not sure that the current decline is that start of such an event. It might be postponed further down the line for a year or two.  But it will eventually come.  We can only guess what form it might take, but with the current Apple troubles and valuations of tech sector I think it might take the form of something similar to dot-com bubble deflation No.2

I do not see Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft and other tech high flyers completely immune to the stock crash of 50% magnitude or more. For example, Google is overly dependent on advertising revenue which can grow only by strangulating small sites owners which use it as the advertizing platform (which it successfully implements fro several years now). But at some point owners might revolt and start dropping it for Microsoft or other platform.  Facebook might face a backlash, if people understand that selling data about them in the part of the business model, not an aberration.

One of the most unexplainable things that happened in 2018 was dramatic fall of oil prices in the Q4. This was quite surprising (and destructive) after the period of little or no capital investment in the new fields for three years or so.  Shale oil production increases in the USA are only possible if junk bonds can be produced along with it. Junks bonds that will never be paid. With the current debt load and prices below $50 most of the USA shale oil companies are zombies. Most if not all of thenm are losing money.  Only return of ~$70 oil prices can save them, if anything at all. WSJ touched this topic recently.

So this surprising fall of oil prices (from around $70 to around $43 WTI) looks connected to the speculations in the "paper oil" market.

Financialization allows for oil price to be completely detached from fundamentals for a year or even two (Saudis need over $80 I think to balance the budget, I think; this represents "fair price" as they are one of the three largest producers).

But you will never know this unless there are shortages at gas stations. The difference is covered by inflated statistics from IEA and similar agencies as well as "paper oil" -- future contracts which are settled in dollars.

This is the reality of "casino capitalism" ( aka neoliberalism ) with its rampant and destructive financialization.


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[Feb 20, 2021] The USA is the only large oil producer which consumes more than it produces and the only one of the three that favors lower prices

Feb 20, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 8:49 am

There are a few factors at play IMO.

One factor is a change in one of the three large producer's policies. This large producer is also the only producer that consumes more than it produces and therefore the only one of the three that favors lower prices. I'm referring to USA, of course.

USA shale (and to a much lesser extent GOM) growth kept a lid on prices. Where would prices have been 2010-19 without USA adding 7 million BOPD?

USA growth doesn't appear to be headed toward adding 1 million BOPD or more per year in the future. USA companies are all being pressured to pay dividends. To cover dividends, USA companies need much higher prices. USA companies aren't forecasting growth like past years.

For the first time ever, the USA government is not making oil production growth, either domestic or foreign, a priority. I am not making a "political" statement here trying to rile up the left on the board. Just look at oil prices since the USA election on 11/3. Not a coincidence. Not likely USA will be intervening anytime soon in the ME to protect oil supplies. At least not in a big way.

I have no idea how high oil prices will go. I wonder what happens politically in USA with $3 gasoline? $4 ? Are high gasoline prices no longer a political liability? They weren't for Obama in 2012. But USA was drilling like crazy in 2012. Not sure what happens this time if that occurs, given clear desire of Biden Administration to discourage USA oil production growth.

Another factor is the Western European producers have told the market recently in a very straightforward manner that their oil production is past peak. The CEO's of both BP and RDS have stated this. Total is also transitioning away from oil. Equinor also, it changed its name to remove the word oil.

Next, even though total worldwide demand will still be below a record, demand growth from 2020 to 2021 worldwide will be big, much bigger than from 2009 to 2010 after GFC. What did prices do from the depths of GFC to 2011? Compare GFC stimulus to COVID stimulus.

Last, how many paper barrels are traded per physical barrel? With the increase in paper barrels (I would call them more accurately day trader barrels) volatility in the oil market has grown. The price went negative big time one day last April. It was purely a day trader phenomenon.

Just my thoughts. Feel free to disagree. REPLY HICKORY IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 11:28 am

Everyday you can find headlines that point to a huge transition underway in the world energy scene.
For example today-
-Exclusive: Equinor considers more US asset sales in global strategy revamp, and
-Ford bets $29B on leading the 'electric vehicle revolution'

There is a huge scramble underway to adapt to the conditions these big companies now see coming to be over this decade.
In the meantime, I think that oil demand growth will be very strong over the next 18-24 months.
And as the price of gas in the USA goes up in this rebound phase, the great difference in travel cost/mile between plug-in vehicles (like a Ford mustang) and ICE vehicles will become a widely known fact. Ford (and the other manufacturers) all know that now, even if they were slow on the uptake.

This world is going to change rapidly this decade in so many ways. REPLY ALIMBIQUATED IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 11:34 am

I think a general feeling of optimism that there is light at the end of the Covid 19 tunnel is helping as well. REPLY SURVIVALIST IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 12:23 pm

" For the first time ever, the USA government is not making oil production growth, either domestic or foreign, a priority."

Great observation. I recall when GWB2 went to KSA to 'kiss the ring' and ask for more oil production. I wonder how it will play out next time. REPLY HICKORY IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 12:33 pm

"" For the first time ever, the USA government is not making oil production growth, either domestic or foreign, a priority."

Of much greater impact- For the first time ever, the major oil companies are not making oil production growth, either domestic or foreign, a priority. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 1:11 pm

Both are happening simultaneously.

Both are making a big impact. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 1:12 pm

Trump jumped on KSA when oil prices went up during his admin.

Will Biden? REPLY PAOIL IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 1:57 pm

The Biden administration is under pressure to see oil prices rise. The green agenda of wind, solar and EV's is only cost competitive with fossil fuels in two ways: 1) green subsidies; or 2) higher oil prices. Until high oil prices threaten the economy, the Biden administration will enact policies that gladly see oil prices rise. And with the oil price experience of 2009 to 2014 still relatively fresh in people's minds, the Biden administration is not afraid of $60, $70, or even $90 oil. They are hoping for it. REPLY HICKORY IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 2:13 pm

"$60, $70, or even $90 oil. They are hoping for it."
As are the people working in the oil industry. REPLY STEPHEN HREN IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 4:59 pm

As far as anyone on this board is considered, the higher the price of oil the better. Let's phase out oil production in the US over the next three decades and keep the price high the entire time so the producers make money and people are incentivized to switch to less polluting EVs. It'll be like the TRC for the whole country but heading towards a bottleneck. Auction drilling rights so only the best wells get drilled. Keep restricting drilling in a phased manner, enact a gradually lower cap on the number of wells that can be drilled until it goes to zero in twenty years and then maintain these stripper wells until they are empty. REPLY PAULO IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 6:33 pm

Can you imagine any US party that would actually dare to promote a higher cost for gasoline? Personally, I think there should be a big carbon tax and fuel tax surcharge imposed to fix infrastructure, but whatever.

Confession: I am not anti oil. My son works in the Cdn industry. I just think people drive more than they should and that energy should be priced higher. Win win. LLOYD IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 3:55 pm

So $90 oil is good for:
-Saudi
-Democrats
-Shallow
-Tesla
-Renewables

But not for:
-Rednecks with huge vehicles

The election calculus gets tricky here. REPLY ALIMBIQUATED IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 4:09 am

PAOIL-
I disagree that high oil prices are needed to make green energy competitive, because oil is already very expensive energy, which is why it is rarely used to generate electricity. Wind and solar compete against coal, nuclear and gas, not oil.

Oil shines as a way to store energy in a moving vehicle and power internal combustion engines. As such, it really competes with batteries, not with the rest of the energy market at all. And batteries still have a tiny impact on oil markets.

So higher oil prices might be useful for the EVs, but not particularly useful for wind and solar. But in reality, the EV market is suffering from chronic battery shortages as manufacturers struggle to build factories fast enough to meet 20% or more annual demand growth. The oil price really isn't an issue, and raising oil prices wouldn't help.

If Biden's goal was to make EVs more competitive, the government has an easy way to raise oil prices, which is to raise taxes at the pump. This would be more or less neutral to the oil price from the producer point of view. It would just encourage exports and discourage imports, improving America's balance of payments. But it hasn't worked in Europe, where taxes are over 60% of the price at the pump. The most effective way to promote EVs is subsidizing the purchase price of the vehicle. That has been very effective.

Hoping that the American consumer will keep oil demand up internationally no longer makes sense, as America's relative economic importance has been falling since 1945. I'm not sure what the previous administration was trying to accomplish by talking down the price. REPLY JEFF IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 5:13 am

"But it hasn't worked in Europe, where taxes are over 60% of the price at the pump. "

So average fuel economy in Europe and US is the same? REPLY EULENSPIEGEL IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 8:47 am

I have driven a Toyota Corolla on an 4 week US trip.

With an engine for the US market – you can't buy this modell in Europe. It was very steady going – and thirsty. At least for european thinking, we used 7-8 litres / 100 km by mostly driving country roads in cruise control at the given speed (didn't wanted to deal with US police). Slow for my feeling, I'm driving faster in Germany.

And use only round about 6 litres with a car of similar size, which is a bit faster than this Corolla – with this lazy slow driving I would use below 5 litres with my car (and get a lot of flashing).

So there is a difference in fuel economy. ALIMBIQUATED IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 5:55 pm

Jeff –
That was a little unclear on my part. I meant high gasoline prices haven't gotten people to buy, EVs, but direct subsidies seem to work.

It's also worth mentioning that $120 oil didn't really dent consumption much, and certainly didn't inspire many to buy EVs.

In my opinion liquid fuel is cheap. I mean I think that consumers aren't willing to make significant changes in behavior even if prices increase significantly. S IGNORED 02/17/2021 at 3:05 am

Alimbiquated, as an European in a well-to-do country, the matter of car buying is somewhat more complicated than just gasoline price. E.g. fully electric car availibily, their price, distances that need to be travelled (range anxiety in other words) are still important. Hybrid cars are also rather expensive. Here it seems that these two car groups are selling better and better, public charging points are increasing etc so we will see what happens. As I have a full electric car I got relatively cheaply (still a bit of ouch ) I think I will not get a petroleum or diesel car ever J HOUSMAN IGNORED 02/18/2021 at 4:08 pm

"The green agenda of wind, solar and EV's is only cost competitive with fossil fuels in two way" Three ways, actually. The third is when we finally start to realize the actual cost of destroying the environment by burning fossil fuels REPLY MATT MUSHALIK IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 10:01 pm

Global crude oil may have peaked 2018-19 before Covid

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EsHyv1FVQAIDRAd?format=jpg

If ever we come out of the Covid tunnel, there could be surprises ahead REPLY POLLUX IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 5:30 am

Strike threatens shutdown at Norway's giant Johan Sverdrup offshore oilfield

A dozen workers that are members of the Safe union are threatening to down tools at the Mongstad terminal from midnight on Monday if talks with the industry body aimed at breaking an impasse over a 2020 wage settlement with Equinor fail.

Other fields that could be impacted include Kvitebjorn, Visund, Byrding, Fram and Valemon, with gas output exports from the Troll area also in danger of being hit. REPLY MATT MUSHALIK IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 8:05 am

With an excursion to Gabon and Azerbaijan

15/2/2021
Exxon-Mobil's refinery closure in Australia: peak oil context
https://crudeoilpeak.info/exxon-mobils-refinery-closure-in-australia-peak-oil-context REPLY TULSAGEO IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 9:37 am

An interesting scenario showing what happens when demand outstrips supply due to lack of investment is playing out right now in Oklahoma and Texas. There has been a lack of investment in the region last year due to the drop in prices, and in Oklahoma, the slowing of investment has been happening for a few years. The massive cold snap that descended on the region made spot prices (not the futures price you can look up on Bloomberg etc) rise from $2 an MMBTU, to $5, to $9, to $300, to $600, all in the course of a week. It is currently higher. The cold weather has caused shut ins of wells, and processing plants. You have a situation where demand is increasing but supply cannot keep up. I know this is a micro problem that will resolve itself as temperatures increase, in the coming weeks, but this could be an example of what oil prices might see in the near future. There has been a lack of investment for years in large projects, if demand rebounds quickly as vaccine roll out continues, we will not be able to turn back on new production fast enough to keep prices from running higher, resulting in some temporary ridiculous price spikes. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 10:31 am

I saw this resulted in a lot of wells that have been shut in for 5-10 years being reactivated. REPLY GREENBUB IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 8:25 pm

Shallow, are you affected by the cold snap or power outages? REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 12:41 am

Yes. We have about 10% frozen off. Our pumpers decided what to drain and shut in, and what to keep on. They are real pros. You can't find better.

Our people are the key. We owe them bigtime. They have been out there in this stuff keeping the rest from freezing.

We will be good soon, temps will come up.

Keep in mind, with one exception, our pumpers are 50+ years old.

Are there millennials that are going to keep the strippers going 24/7/365?

Takes special people. REPLY STEPHEN HREN IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 4:33 pm

No. I work in construction biz. 90% of twenty somethings can't work five minutes without looking at their phones. They are useless. All my buddies have the same complaint. REPLY OVI IGNORED 02/15/2021 at 9:49 pm

An interesting clip from this article:
"This isn't a consensus view yet but it's quickly coming. Two heavyweights in the past week have stepped up and called out the problem.

The first was Goldman Sach's Jeff Currie, who called the bull market in the early 2000s.

"I want to be long oil and hang on for the ride," Currie said in an interview with S&P Global Platts on Feb. 5, warning "there is a lot of upside here."

"Is it back to $150/b? I don't know as it is a macro repricing we are talking about and everything needs to reprice."

The other is JPMorgan and Marko Kolanovic, who said Friday that oil and commodities appear to be entering a supercycle.

"We believe that the new commodity upswing, and in particular oil up cycle, has started," the JPMorgan analysts said in their note. "The tide on yields and inflation is turning."

"We believe that the last supercycle peaked in 2008 (after 12 years of expansion), bottomed in 2020 (after a 12-year contraction) and that we likely entered an upswing phase of a new commodity supercycle."

https://www.forexlive.com/news/!/what-an-incredible-turnaround-for-oil-prices-20210215 REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 2:31 pm

WTI hit $60 today. How come high oil prices seem to be doing nothing for the shale business.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Dennis? 😉

REPLY STEPHEN HREN IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 4:34 pm

They're too busy spending all their earnings REPLY OVI IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 6:45 pm

Drillers Trying New Pricing Structure

Shale driller bases rig lease costs on well performance

Rigs are typically rented out at a daily rate for a period of a few months, which has meant less money for oilfield service providers as drilling becomes quicker and more efficient. So Helmerich & Payne Inc. is touting a new pricing model based on overall well performance, and almost a third of its U.S. rigs are now being leased on that basis, CEO John Lindsay said Wednesday on an earnings call.

In the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, home to the busiest shale patch in North America, operators are now drilling the same number of wells with 180 rigs as they were with 300 rigs a year ago, according to industry data provider Lium.

https://www.worldoil.com/news/2021/2/16/shale-driller-bases-rig-lease-costs-on-well-performance REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 02/16/2021 at 8:45 pm

Yeah okay. That's all great. But what I was looking at was oil production. It's going down, not up. With these prices oil production should be increasing, not decling. Why is that? After all, that's really all that matters.

[Feb 10, 2021] Are educational disparities a main driver of economic inequality?

Notable quotes:
"... The lower 95 percenters would be better off under the policies of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy. ..."
Feb 10, 2021 | economistsview.typepad.com

Are "educational disparities a main driver of economic inequality"?:

Rethinking the Rise of Inequality, by Eduardo Porter, NY Times : In a poll conducted last month by the College Board and National Journal : ... "It is absolutely clear that educational wage differentials have not driven wage inequality over the last 15 years," said Lawrence Mishel, who heads the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning center for economic policy analysis. "Wage inequality has grown a lot over the last 15 years and the educational wage premium has changed little."
The standard analysis of the interplay between technology and education, developed by economists like Lawrence Katz and Claudia Goldin..., and David Autor..., suggests that improvements in technology -- coupled with a college graduation rate that slowed sharply in the 1980s -- have been principal drivers of the nation's widening income gap, leaving workers with less education behind.
But critics like Mr. Mishel point out that this theory has important blind spots. For instance, why have wages for college graduates stagnated over the last decade, even as innovation continues at a breathtaking pace? ...
Most notably, the skills-and-tech story leaves aside one of the most perplexing and important dynamics of the last 30 years: the rise of the 1 percent, a tiny sliver of the population that last year took in almost a dollar out of every $4 generated by the American economy. ...
Mr. Mishel's preferred explanation of inequality's rise is institutional: a shrinking minimum wage cut into the earnings of the nation's least-skilled workers while falling trade barriers, deregulation and the decline of labor unions eroded the income of the middle class. The rise of the top 1 percent, he believes, is mostly about executive pay and the growing footprint of finance. ...

My view is that both the technology and institutional forces are at work, and the question is not which of the two explains growing inequality -- they are not mutually exclusive -- but rather how much each contributed to the growing disparity.

Posted by Mark Thoma on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 08:43 AM in Economics , Income Distribution | Permalink Comments (57)


DrDick -> Second Best... , November 13, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Actually, the problem was created by Reagan's union busting and slashing taxes on the wealthy.

ilsm -> DrDick... , November 13, 2013 at 03:38 PM

And spending the SS surplus on star wars, hiding deficits from too much of GDP going to the pentagon trough.

If the SS surplus were "savings' they were "invested" in war welfare.

ilsm -> Second Best... , November 13, 2013 at 03:39 PM

Note FDR died 3 months after his 4th inaugural. We will never know how he would have managed the peace.

Michael -> Second Best... , November 13, 2013 at 06:16 PM

Actually, That started with the passage of the Great Society program of 1965, under President Johnson. With Great Society, welfare became official, hip, and institutionalize, with the worst affects being the break-up of black and inner city families, and a doubling to tripling of the out-of-wedlock birthrate. The lower 95 percenters would be better off under the policies of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy.

reason -> Michael... , November 14, 2013 at 01:31 AM

Read the book "The Truly Disadvantaged" about how the break up of inner city families was not to do with welfare but with the lack of jobs for working class men.

The right lives on myths, unsupported by data.

reason -> reason ... , November 14, 2013 at 05:14 AM

That doesn't mean by the way that I am against better micro-economic design of the social security system. A citizen's income (c.f. Friedman's negative income tax) is my preferred welfare system design.

Michael -> reason ... , November 14, 2013 at 08:36 PM

Thomas Sowell has stated that the black family made more progress during the 20 years before Great Society, as opposed to the 20 years after Great Society. Great Society was the first opportunity for mommas to afford to have children, without the benefit of a husband and father to the children, on the taxpayers' dime. Where a birth of a human baby should be a blessed event, it's be cheapened to included the Dept. of Social Services. In my state, in the bigger cities, the out-of-wedlock birthrate pre Great Society was 25%, then by 1975 to current times, the out-of-wedlock birthrate hovers around 75- 80 percent. Black on black crime went up, number of black victims went up, and drug use increased. I don't disagree with the point you are trying to make, but it got much worse at the time of the introduction of Great Society.

Matt Young , November 13, 2013 at 09:37 AM

When we say yields equalize across assets prices, this is natural over the whole economy, including government, given sufficient time to equalize. If rates are low, and price to earnings high, then you can bet your booty that government yields are low also.

And this will be true of any complete, bounded economic model, it is really basic to the concept of a model. So ask youself who or what has driven yields lower over the 40 year period and you can win a banana.

Michael , November 13, 2013 at 09:53 AM

Second Best has it completely backwards! The post-New Deal period saw the strongest economy and most prosperous middle class in American history!

The New Deal came about because the real takers (the wealthy) were taking too much of the pie. Same thing is happening today! But unfortunately we don't have an FDR around to stick up for working men and women. We have the pro-corporate party (Dems) and the ultra-pro-corporate party (GOP).

Darryl FKA Ron -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Second Best is just pretending to be a reactionary for amusement. Unfortunately some bloggers roll in here occasionally that make roughly the same comments, but are serious. I keep telling him to use emoticons :<)

Michael -> Darryl FKA Ron... , November 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM

I should have known! But so many actually think that way (looking at you, Romney) it's not always easy to spot irony these days.

Watermelonpunch -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 01:55 PM

"it's not always easy to spot irony these days"

Very true.
Poe's Law is an epidemic.

LangfordPO -> Watermelonpunch ... , November 13, 2013 at 03:29 PM

So true! The 1st time I saw Anne Coulter on TV I thought she was a comedienne poking fun at the right!

Michael -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 06:22 PM

Elizabeth Warren for president. Bill and Hillary are part of the Wall Street crowd.

Michael , November 13, 2013 at 09:59 AM

I wouldn't put any of the blame for rising inequality on technology. We've been replacing workers with machinery for over 200 years!

I think the two principle reasons are low tax rates and low union membership.

Contrary to popular belief, there is very little correlation between tax rates and growth. But there is a very high correlation between low tax rates and increased income inequality.

http://democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/Updated%20CRS%20Report%2012%3A13%3A12.pdf

DrDick -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Pretty much grand theft by capital. Wage theft on an economy wide scale.

Perspective -> Michael... , November 13, 2013 at 02:40 PM

Anecdotal but, when you look at typical office-type work, it's hard to not conclude that technology (computers/software) has killed a ton of middle-income office jobs.

e.g. The typical law firm 10+ years ago might have had 3-4 support staff (secretaries, paralegals, filing clerks) for every attorney. Today, it's more typical to have 2-3 attorneys for every support staff employee. Technology allows this.

cm -> Perspective... , November 14, 2013 at 08:51 AM

I easily believe this for the secretaries and clerical staff, but what happened to the paralegals? Similar trends can/could be observed in other professional fields, but there too, while the clerical and admin staff was trimmed (and to an extent management hierarchies but lately it looks like they have come back), subject matter (of the variety that cannot be automated) work has not been cut a lot. OTOH IT/internet allowed a lot of "commodity" tasks to be outsourced and offshored.

Is it possible that the (newer generation?) attorneys had to take on paralegal tasks as part of their job? That would be in line with other fields where in reality a lot of the "low level" and clerical work that has been ostensibly automated was pushed onto the professional staff. For example, in many places you are supposed to arrange your own business travel (hotel, flights), order office materials, do print/copy work etc. that used to be done by now "automated" clerical staff up to 10-15 years ago. Also when it comes to subject matter work, a lot of work formerly done by techs and other support staff (who were often hourly) has been transferred to the professionals (who are generally salaried and "exempt" from overtime pay), while it is generally swept under the rug in performance evaluations which are about subject matter achievements (research pubs, delivered product features etc.). On the flip side there is now probably more nominally professional staff, some of whom (esp. juniors) are loaded with more tech/support content - but then a lot of them are hired offshore too.

Peter K. , November 13, 2013 at 10:01 AM

"Both sides agree that the overall weakness of the job market since the turn of the millennium is a prime culprit. As Professor Katz noted: "The only moments we've had of broadly shared prosperity have been in tight labor markets.""

This is a problem of demand management policy. Demand can be managed via fiscal, monetary and/or trade/currency policies.

It's also a problem of politics as Krugman says in that the powerful center-right has ignored the recent economic evidence, as have the center-right's academic/media message machine. The center-right has cried wolf over inflation and government deficits all in the name of preventing policies that would help the economy and tighten labor markets.

cawley -> Peter K. ... , November 13, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Nailed it. Can I add labor policy on the supply management side?

Peter K. -> cawley... , November 13, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Yes labor policy is very important as well. I would support pro-union policies - which help politically also - and work-sharing programs during downturns which Germany has and which Dean Baker recommends.

Dan Kervick -> Peter K. ... , November 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM

It's also a problem of a long term decline in federal government consumption and gross investment, and the willingness of macroeconomists to re-define "full employment" as a situation in which lots and lots of people are in fact unemployed. I don't think private enterprise alone will ever be capable of generating full employment and tight labor markets, demand stimulus or no demand stimulus.

Beezer , November 13, 2013 at 10:04 AM

When there is insufficient demand yields drop as capacity is idled. Under conditions of weak demand there is also a drop in investment as new entrepreneurs and established businesses know the deck is stacked against them.

The low yields are a natural symptom of the deficient demand. If you're looking for who to blame, there are several likely suspects.

One is a government indifferent to unemployment that caters almost exclusively to the super rich and the multi national, stateless corporations. The second is a government indifferent to unemployment that caters almost exclusively to the super rich and the multi national, stateless corporations. The third is see one and two.

This is the beginnings of fascism, of course. All we need now is a strong authority figure and a good war.


Peter K. , November 13, 2013 at 10:05 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/us/politics/republicans-target-health-law-before-it-takes-hold.html?ref=us&pagewanted=all

Fighting to Stop an Entitlement Before It Takes Hold, and Expands by John Harwood

November 12, 2013

"WASHINGTON -- Underlying fierce Republican efforts to stop President Obama's health care law and the White House drive to save it is a simple historical reality: Once major entitlement programs get underway, they quickly become embedded in American life. And then they grow.

That makes the battle over the Affordable Care Act more consequential than most Washington political fights. "If it's in place for six months, it will be impossible to repeal it or change it in ways that significantly reduce the benefits," said Robert D. Reischauer, a Democrat who used to lead the Congressional Budget Office.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, another former C.B.O. director, reflects the concern of fellow Republicans in framing the stakes more dramatically. Either the law's health insurance exchanges "can't cut it," he explained, or "it's Katie, bar the door -- we have an explosively growing new program."

Ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal during the Great Depression, the dominant pattern for major entitlements -- the term for government assistance programs open to all who qualify and not subject to annual budget constraints -- has been durability and expansion. That is the record Senator Ted Cruz of Texas refers to in warning Republicans not to allow Americans to become "hooked on the subsidies" -- an argument Mr. Obama sarcastically recast as, "We've got to stop it before people like it too much."

Congress enacted Social Security in 1935 to provide benefits to retired workers. In 1939, benefits were extended to their dependents and survivors. Later the program grew to provide disability coverage, cover self-employed farmers and raise benefit levels.

President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society created Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s to provide health coverage for the elderly and the poor. They followed the same pattern.

In 1972, Congress extended Medicare eligibility to those under 65 on disability and with end-stage renal disease. In 2003, Congress passed President George W. Bush's plan to offer coverage under Medicare for prescription drugs.

Lawmakers initially linked Medicaid coverage to those receiving welfare benefits, but over time expanded eligibility to other "poverty-related groups" such as pregnant women. In 1997, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Children's Health Insurance Program, which now covers eight million children whose families' incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid."
...

Matt Young -> Peter K. ... , November 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The old canard, right out of Doonesbury cartoon sociology.

The real issue is discretionary spending. It is gone mainly because of entitlement crowding. The thirty small hoover states find higher multipliers in discretionary spending. It is really a critical political issue, and the thirty hoovers will take the ship down unless they get their discretionaries.

New York, Florida, California and Texas are united against discretionary spending. Both parties are having internal battles on the issue.

Peter K. -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 12:22 PM

"The real issue is discretionary spending. It is gone mainly because of entitlement crowding."

lolwut?

DrDick -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 12:48 PM

I want some of what you are smoking!

Watermelonpunch -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 01:59 PM

Please do expound on this idea of "entitlement crowding".

Because there's entirely not enough Poe's Law on the internet already.

Matt Young -> Watermelonpunch ... , November 13, 2013 at 02:42 PM

Listen to yellens statement on discretionary spending, she likes it. But listen to the House, they sequester it. Whyndid you and i just agree, via our representatives, to cut discretionary spending? Any clue? What did every red blooded american say about the entitlements? No, no.!!. What did we do? Cut discretionary spending to save entitlements. If anyone is capable of any news searching on the topic, i suspect you will find much talk about discretionary vs entitlement spending. We name that, give it an actual semantic. Crowding.

Matt Young -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 02:52 PM

Right. There wasno sarcasm, i must suddenly be in nutsville. A very good chunk of articles, right here, required reading was about cuts to discretionary spending and saving entitlements. Someone is not doing their homework.

What the complaint was about, in the two posts above, was that the discretionary vs entitlement comment was not framed in some kind of simple minded 'evil tea party'. As if no actual thought may occur on the blog unless it passes some orwellian, straight jacket, nonesense. Seriously, crowding out occurs in the budget all the friggin time and mostly has little to with some bogus script of plastic political analysis.

ilsm -> Matt Young... , November 13, 2013 at 03:49 PM

Entitlement spending does not fund humbug factories. Or PAC's to make sure the pentagon has a 'strategic objective' to keep the defense corporations (aka troughers) healthy.

Entitlements have had little 'crowding' effect on discretionary spending.

Roughly, discretionary to entitlements used to be about 35:65 in 1999, today it is not that different, while the war half of discretionary (19% of outlays in 2012) is nearly 60% too large.

When you take away war and corporate welfare entitlements should be 6 times discretionary spending.

What matters is discretionary spending enriches a few a lot, while entitlements take care of many a little.

Matt Young -> ilsm... , November 13, 2013 at 07:18 PM

Well you have an opinion about entitlements and discretionary spending. You like the former, not the later. We have a name for people like you, Crowders, you crowd out one form of spending vs another form.

So quit bitching and play the game. We are conducting a mass experiment, lead by researcher janet yellen. She is going to test your theory by attempting more discretionary spending. If she screws it up, you win a banana.

Samuel , November 13, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Repeat after me...Robber barons now own us and the economy.

Matt Young , November 13, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Ok, lets review the roosevelt thing.
In 1928, investors believed we were head for a new productivity frontier based on the efficiency of the mass market. They predicted 4% non-inflationary growth for the horizon. What we got in 1948 was exactly that, high growth, low inflation, rising productivity. Between 1928 and 1948, we got social security, progressives taxes, off the gold standard, two major down turns, twenty million dead from WW2, and the cold war.

Thats a twenty year wait, mostly the result of bad and good government depending on how one sorts the events. Ok, you all sort it all out, I am moving on.

anne , November 13, 2013 at 10:44 AM

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/index.html

September 17, 2013

Households with Householder 25 Years Old and Over by Median Income

Median real incomes for those 25 years old and over from 1992 to 2012 increased from $50,667 to $52,119. *


(Educational attainment of householder)

Median real incomes for those with professional degrees from 1992 to 2012 declined from $135,836 to $129,588.

Median real incomes for those with master's degrees from 1992 to 2012 declined from $92,593 to $92,362.

Median real incomes for those with bachelor's degrees or more from 1992 to 2012 declined from $86,458 to $86,419.

Median real incomes for those with bachelor's degrees alone from 1992 to 2012 increased from $79,179 to $80,549.

* Income in 2012 dollars

Darryl FKA Ron , November 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM

The rapid transformation of business processes via the capital formation advantages of robust, diverse, and highly liquid financial markets made it all possible.

Translation: If tax incentives are set to prefer trading equities (relatively low capital gains tax rate) over holding equities (relatively low dividends tax rate) then capital will flow to investments with the fast rather than longest duration returns. Fastest returns for capital will come from mergers and downsizing (i.e, layoffs), outsourcing (narrow specialization), offshoring of production (labor wage arbitrage), and technology asset capital expenditure (automation) will be the preferred uses of capital. With the short term emphasis then training, retention, maintaining internal competency succession, and operational process improvements will undesirable expenses. The preferences quickly become self reinforcing as workforce quality devolves and capital rewards itself more and more.

Steve , November 13, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Immigration is another of the oligarchs tools for suppressing labor.

"do jobs citizens won't do(at the wage on offer)..."can't find skills (at the wage on offer).

Why invest in social capital here when it can always be imported more cheaply?

It is not the immigrants fault but the oligarchs who exploit them.

"it is a real mystery why real wages for unskilled worker keep going down"

bakho , November 13, 2013 at 12:47 PM

These studies need to include interaction terms.

Economic is a quantitative science and economists should understand the statistics and test for interactions. Sometimes, the interactive effects can be greater than major effects.

Justin Cidertrades , November 13, 2013 at 02:03 PM


"
wages for college graduates stagnated over the last decade, even as innovation continues at
"

Tell me something! Does all of innovation come from humans? From Hunans? From automation? From computer hardware? Software? Software with a child process? A child process coded by the parent process? Do you see what is happening?

We are now approaching the moment of singularity. A moment in history, or an epoch of history? Tell me something else!

Do all boomer-s leave the work force simultaneously? Or during a poorly defined epoch? The singularity has already begun but will evolve slowly as the present SE, singularity epoch unfolds. Computer jockey-s first used the word processing feature of computer to code their human imagination. Later assemblers re-coded human source code, checked source for semantics and many other features. Supercomputers now work at unbelievable gigaflops. But if human brain is merely a biological gigaflopper, eventually all its functions will be replaced by semiconductor brains. But so what?

RM, Reverse Migration! As mechanized innovation replaces Americans, Yankee-s will need to migrate to developing countries where the singularity process will be slower and with a phase shift, behind the American Curve.

2 B continued
!

Matt Young -> Justin Cidertrades... , November 13, 2013 at 02:35 PM

But,but...if the computers are smarter they will migrate to developing countries first, and get all the good jobs.

Massimo Mediolanum -> Matt Young... , November 16, 2013 at 08:55 AM


Grazie! Grazie per l'avvertimento! Noi abbiamo espulso i computer vinti. Grazie di nuovo! Distinti saluti, Massimo!

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/13/us-apple-italy-tax-idUSBRE9AC0RW20131113

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:03 PM

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/index.html

September 17, 2013

Median real incomes for those 25 years old and over from 1992 to 2012 increased from $50,667 to $52,119. *

Median real incomes for those with bachelor's degrees or more from 1992 to 2012 declined from $86,458 to $86,419.

* Income in 2012 dollars

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:03 PM

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/index.html

September 17, 2013

Median real incomes for those 25 years old and over from 2000 to 2012 declined from $57,707 to $52,119. *

Median real incomes for those with bachelor's degrees or more from 2000 to 2012 declined from $95,789 to $86,419.

* Income in 2012 dollars

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:05 PM

http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpsatab4.htm

January 4, 2013

Employment-Population Ratio, Bachelor's Degree and Higher, 2000-2013

2000 ( 78.1) *
2001 ( 77.1) Bush
2002 ( 76.3)
2003 ( 75.8)
2004 ( 75.8)

2005 ( 76.1)
2006 ( 76.3)
2007 ( 76.3)
2008 ( 75.8)
2009 ( 73.9) Obama

2010 ( 73.1)
2011 ( 73.1)
2012 ( 72.9)

October

2013 ( 72.2)

* Employment age 25 and over

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:16 PM

"The standard analysis of the interplay between technology and education, developed by economists like Lawrence Katz and Claudia Goldin..., and David Autor..., suggests that improvements in technology -- coupled with a college graduation rate that slowed sharply in the 1980s -- have been principal drivers of the nation's widening income gap, leaving workers with less education behind...."

-- Eduardo Porter

I do not understand this assertion, since what is remarkable about the United States is that the portion of men and women 25 to 34 and 55 to 64 with college degrees is just about the same.

July, 2013

College or university degree attainment by age group, 2011

( Percent of population 25-34 and 55-64)

OECD average ( 39) ( 24)

United States ( 43) ( 41)

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:17 PM

"The standard analysis of the interplay between technology and education, developed by economists like Lawrence Katz and Claudia Goldin..., and David Autor..., suggests that improvements in technology -- coupled with a college graduation rate that slowed sharply in the 1980s -- have been principal drivers of the nation's widening income gap, leaving workers with less education behind...."

-- Eduardo Porter

I do not understand this assertion, since what is remarkable about the United States is that the portion of men and women 25 to 34 and 55 to 64 with college degrees is just about the same.

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:17 PM

http://www.oecd.org/edu/educationataglance2013-indicatorsandannexes.htm

July, 2013

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Education Data

College or university degree attainment by age group, 2011

( Percent of population 25-34 and 55-64)

OECD average ( 39) ( 24)

United States ( 43) ( 41)

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:23 PM

http://g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/topincomes/

September, 2013

Top .1 Percent Income Share in the United States, 1980-2012

(Including capital gains)

1980 ( 3.41)
1981 ( 3.57) Reagan
1982 ( 4.18)
1983 ( 4.62)
1984 ( 4.98)

1985 ( 5.32)
1986 ( 7.40)
1987 ( 4.90)
1988 ( 6.80)
1989 ( 6.00) Bush

1990 ( 5.82)
1991 ( 5.12)
1992 ( 6.03)
1993 ( 5.73) Clinton
1994 ( 5.70)

1995 ( 6.21)
1996 ( 7.24)
1997 ( 8.18)
1998 ( 9.00)
1999 ( 9.62)

2000 ( 10.88)
2001 ( 8.37) Bush
2002 ( 7.34)
2003 ( 7.87)
2004 ( 9.46)

2005 ( 10.98)
2006 ( 11.59)
2007 ( 12.28) (High)
2008 ( 10.40)
2009 ( 8.30) Obama

2010 ( 9.66)
2011 ( 9.27)
2012 ( 11.33)

-- Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:23 PM

September, 2013

Top .1 Percent Income Share in the United States, 1980-2012

(Including capital gains)

1980 ( 3.41)
1981 ( 3.57) Reagan
1982 ( 4.18)
1983 ( 4.62)
1984 ( 4.98)

1985 ( 5.32)
1986 ( 7.40)
1987 ( 4.90)
1988 ( 6.80)
1989 ( 6.00) Bush

1990 ( 5.82)
1991 ( 5.12)
1992 ( 6.03)
1993 ( 5.73) Clinton
1994 ( 5.70)

1995 ( 6.21)
1996 ( 7.24)
1997 ( 8.18)
1998 ( 9.00)
1999 ( 9.62)

2000 ( 10.88)
2001 ( 8.37) Bush
2002 ( 7.34)
2003 ( 7.87)
2004 ( 9.46)

2005 ( 10.98)
2006 ( 11.59)
2007 ( 12.28) (High)
2008 ( 10.40)
2009 ( 8.30) Obama

2010 ( 9.66)
2011 ( 9.27)
2012 ( 11.33)

-- Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez

anne -> anne... , November 13, 2013 at 04:27 PM

What is importance to notice about increasing income concentration is how much of an increase there has been above the top 1% of families. we find the share of income for the top .1% of families going from 3.41% to 11.33% between 1980 and 2012 for an astonishing gain.

anne -> anne... , November 13, 2013 at 04:29 PM

We find the share of income for the top .01% of families going from 1.28% to 5.47% between 1980 and 2012 for an even more astonishing gain.

anne , November 13, 2013 at 04:24 PM

September, 2013

Top 1 Percent Income Share in the United States, 1980-2012

(Including capital gains)

1980 ( 10.02)
1981 ( 10.02) Reagan
1982 ( 10.80)
1983 ( 11.56)
1984 ( 11.99)

1985 ( 12.67)
1986 ( 15.92)
1987 ( 12.66)
1988 ( 15.49)
1989 ( 14.49) Bush

1990 ( 14.33)
1991 ( 13.36)
1992 ( 14.67)
1993 ( 14.24) Clinton
1994 ( 14.23)

1995 ( 15.23)
1996 ( 16.69)
1997 ( 18.02)
1998 ( 19.09)
1999 ( 20.04)

2000 ( 21.52)
2001 ( 18.22) Bush
2002 ( 16.86)
2003 ( 17.53)
2004 ( 19.75)

2005 ( 21.92)
2006 ( 22.82)
2007 ( 23.50)
2008 ( 20.95)
2009 ( 18.12) Obama

2010 ( 19.86)
2011 ( 19.65)
2012 ( 22.46)

-- Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez

mrrunangun , November 13, 2013 at 05:51 PM

Corruption of government at all levels produced a class of plutocratic rent holders in finance and other industries able to buy rents. Citi and Solyndra being outstanding examples on the D side and ADM and the oil companies on the R side.

Abysmal social and economic conditions in African American urban ghettos. These conditions contribute much to the poor conditions in the schools that serve that population. The kids who attend school in these neighborhoods are really up against it. Social arrangements that sort the educated upper middle class into "their"towns by residential pricing and development patterns tend to limit highly advantageous educational opportunities to their children. In the big cities the upper middle class either uses influence to obtain places for their children in desirable public schools or use private schools.

Pressure on wages and employment opportunities for people with low educational attainment due to the development of more efficient production technologies and low wage competition in the global trading system.

Forgive my skepticism that a few billion more federal dollars of stimulus will correct these problems.

anne -> mrrunangun... , November 13, 2013 at 06:49 PM

http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p60-245.pdf

September 17, 2013

Household Median Income by Selected Ethnicity: 2012

Combined ( 51,017) *

Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder

Asian ( 68,636)

White, not Hispanic ( 57,009)

White ( 53,706)

Hispanic, any ethnicity ( 39,005)

Black ( 33,321)

* Income in 2012 dollars

Matt Young , November 13, 2013 at 07:06 PM

http://capoliticalnews.com/2013/11/12/jerry-brown-claims-californias-attractive-poverty-is-why-state-in-depression/

Jerry Brown and California's "Attractive" Poverty

Gov. Jerry Brown, whose pronouncements of California's economic recovery have been criticized by Republicans who point out the state's high poverty rate, said in a radio interview Wednesday that poverty and the large number of people looking for work are "really the flip side of California's incredible attractiveness and prosperity."

The Democratic governor's remarks aired the same day the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 23.8 percent of Californians live in poverty under an alternative calculation that includes the cost of living.

Asked on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" about two negative indicators -- the state's nation-high poverty rate and the large number of Californians who are unemployed or marginally employed and looking for work -- Brown said, "Well, that's true, because California is a magnet.

"People come here from all over in the world, close by from Mexico and Central America and farther out from Asia and the Middle East. So, California beckons, and people come. And then, of course, a lot of people who arrive are not that skilled, and they take lower paying jobs. And that reflects itself in the economic distribution."

----------------


Hmmm. So my claim that the bankruptcy of America is caused by a negative growth black hole in Sacramento was just admitted as true by the Guv of California. Where is my banana?

Gary Rondeau , November 13, 2013 at 08:48 PM

Growing inequality is built into capitalism. There doesn't have to be evil intent, just complacency to do anything about it.


http://squashpractice.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/wealth-and-inequality-pareto-gini-and-contingency/

[Feb 10, 2021] Neoliberals are Enemies of the Poor by Paul Krugman

Jan 13, 2014 | economistsview.typepad.com

Will Republicans ever care about the poor?:

Enemies of the Poor, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times : Suddenly it's O.K., even mandatory, for politicians with national ambitions to talk about helping the poor. This is easy for Democrats, who can go back to being the party of F.D.R. and L.B.J. It's much more difficult for Republicans, who are having a hard time shaking their reputation for reverse Robin-Hoodism, for being the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.
And the reason that reputation is so hard to shake is that it's justified. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that right now Republicans are doing all they can to hurt the poor, and they would have inflicted vast additional harm if they had won the 2012 election. Moreover, G.O.P. harshness toward the less fortunate isn't just a matter of spite...; it's deeply rooted in the party's ideology...
Let's start with the recent Republican track record.
The most important current policy development in America is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. Most Republican-controlled states are, however, refusing to implement a key part of the act, the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health coverage to almost five million low-income Americans. And the amazing thing is that ... the aid through would cost almost nothing; nearly all the costs ... would be paid by Washington.
Meanwhile, those Republican-controlled states are slashing unemployment benefits, education financing and more. As I said, it's not much of an exaggeration to say that the G.O.P. is hurting the poor as much as it can.
What would Republicans have done if they had won the White House in 2012? Much more of the same. Bear in mind that every budget the G.O.P. has offered since it took over the House in 2010 involves savage cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and other antipoverty programs. ...
The point is that a party committed to small government and low taxes on the rich is, more or less necessarily, a party committed to hurting, not helping, the poor. ...
Republicans weren't always like this. In fact, all of our major antipoverty programs -- Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit -- used to have bipartisan support. And maybe someday moderation will return to the G.O.P.
For now, however, Republicans are in a deep sense enemies of America's poor. And that will remain true no matter how hard the likes of Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio try to convince us otherwise.

Posted by Mark Thoma on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 12:33 AM in Economics , Politics , Social Insurance | Permalink Comments (69)


elvis , January 12, 2014 at 10:26 PM

GOP = Get Out, Poor!

pgl , January 13, 2014 at 01:42 AM

"We're Broke" is the mantra of the GOP. Yes, the nation with the highest GDP in absolute terms and a very high per capita level of income is "broke". You see this nonsense from Republican leaders at the beginning of a film called "We're Not Broke" which is devoted to the GOP push to have even less taxes on their base - the ultrarich.

ilsm -> pgl... , January 13, 2014 at 01:59 PM

US can afford to spend 4 times the part of GDP that Japan and German spend on warmaking. And a similar amount on crony capital.

US can afford new ships that will not be equipped, star wars missiles that can hit nothing, and a $1500B fighter program which is failing its tests many of which cannot be performed because the thing is unreliable.

Afford to strike Iran...............

bakho , January 13, 2014 at 04:18 AM

Republicans are out of touch. The MinWage is so far below Living Wage that the taxpayers have to subsidize MinWage workers so they can have enough to eat. This is wrong. The system and the employers are exploiting their labor.

Medicaid and Obamacare are a subsidy to the poor workers who can't afford the costs of health care and don't have it provided by employers. A workforce that is not healthy is bad for business: more missed workdays, lower productivity, higher turnover, etc. The single minded focus on cutting social spending is completely wrong.

The question that is not asked: "What services do people need to be functional in our modern economy? What mix of employer benefits, government benefits and wage contribution are required to deliver the services?" For many people, wages are too low to pay for the minimum basic goods and services. How do we make up the difference? Or do we have people do without and erode the health and potential economic output? Republicans have a short sighted focus on cutting spending and investment in the short run and are not considering the long run.

Beezer , January 13, 2014 at 05:55 AM

I don't have the source, but I believe our net worth, nationally, is just north of $74 trillion. And we added more than $1.3 trillion to that amount the past 12 months. This is the figure that deals in assets we know about. Given the loopholes in our tax code that allow the super rich to essentially hide much of their income, here and overseas, that net worth figure is certainly below the real number.

So the statement 'we're broke' borders on the ridiculous. Our cash flow statement is less impressive, but certainly far above adequate. Even here, this is a choice. We could easily return to balance (although that's historically been a very bad idea) just by fixing our tax code so it become more progressive. Today's tax code over taxes the middle class in order to fund tax breaks for the super rich.

EMichael -> Beezer... , January 13, 2014 at 06:02 AM

Yep. The progressiveness of the tax code stops in its track at about the Top 2%. Right about the spot where hiding income becomes easy and makes economic sense.

Someday we will figure out how much income never hits tax returns.

Perspective -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM

It is not possible to hide W2 income (income earned from an employer), so I'm guessing you're talking about other sources of income and wealth.

EMichael -> Perspective... , January 14, 2014 at 06:14 AM

Really?

IRAs?
HSAs?
Employer paid health insurance?

My wife and I had over $30,000 of such income last year. Guaranteed the vast majority of the Top 10% had similar amounts.

However, I really was not talking about W2 income, but rather things like Romney's $20 million IRA. Or hedge fund managers keeping earnings offshore to avoid any taxes (even the reduced scam they receive) and living by borrowing against their offshore holdings at ludicrously low interest rates.

Course, it the case of Romney I repeat myself.

DrDick -> Beezer... , January 13, 2014 at 07:33 AM

Actually, most of us are broke. Almost all of those gains have gone to the top 1% (actually the top 0.01% seized much of that).

DeDude , January 13, 2014 at 06:19 AM

How exactly did we go from a war on poverty to a war on the poor.

Darryl FKA Ron -> DeDude... , January 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Maybe it was collateral damage since they live in the same neighborhoods? Probably though it was being fought as a limited war and then there was mission creep.

An all out war on poverty would have transformed the economic battlefield in ways that very few actually wanted.

anne , January 13, 2014 at 06:32 AM

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/13/youre-all-losers/

January 13, 2014

You're All Losers
By Paul Krugman

The other day someone -- I don't remember who or where -- asked an interesting question: when did it become so common to disparage anyone who hasn't made it big, hasn't gotten rich, as a "loser"? Well, that's actually a question we can answer, using Google Ngrams, which track the frequency with which words or phrases are used in books:

[Graph]

Sure enough, the term "losers" has become much more common since the 1960s. And I think this word usage reflects something real -- a growing contempt for the little people.

This contempt surely isn't limited to Republican politicians. Still, it's striking how unable they are to show any empathy for people who are just doing their best to make a modest living. The most famous example, of course, is Mitt Romney, who didn't just disparage 47 percent of the nation; he urged everyone to borrow money from their parents and start a business. I still think the most revealing example to date was Eric Cantor, who marked Labor Day by tweeting:

"Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success."

But Marco Rubio's latest speech deserves at least honorable mention, for the airy way he dismissed the idea of raising the minimum wage: "Raising the minimum wage may poll well, but having a job that pays $10 an hour is not the American dream."

In a sense, he's right: if the American dream means getting rich, then $10 an hour isn't living that dream. But most people aren't and won't get rich. Raising the minimum wage would mean higher incomes for around 27 million people; in many cases the gains would amount to thousands of dollars a year, which is really a lot in low-income families. So what are all these people, chopped liver? Well, yes, at least in the eyes of the GOP -- or maybe make that chopped losers.

OK, I know what the answer will be: conservative policies will lead to economic growth, and that will raise all boats, the way it did in the days of Saint Ronald. Except, you know, it didn't. Here's the real wage of nonsupervisory workers:

[Real wage of production and nonsupervisory workers * ]

Even if you give Reagan credit for the 1982-9 business cycle expansion, which you shouldn't, there's no way to claim that his policies led to higher wages for ordinary workers.

So what is the GOP agenda to help people who aren't going to build businesses and get rich? There isn't one -- partly because they really can't reconcile any real agenda with their overall ideology, but also because, deep in their hearts, they consider ordinary people trying hard to get by a bunch of losers.

* http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=q8T

Julio -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 08:41 AM

"Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success."

Correcting:

"Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned someone else's success."

ilsm -> Julio ... , January 13, 2014 at 02:04 PM

"Today, we celebrate those who have made a bet, exploited others' hard work, built a monoploy and earned someone else's sweat."

That the franchisee can have his employees fed and cared for by the commonwealth is further plundering.

bakho -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 08:57 AM

The agenda is to further the special interests of the wealthy. They are not interested in economics for the masses.

anne -> O.D.K.... , January 13, 2014 at 07:27 AM

Entitlement expansion. See Detroit and Scranton. Coming soon to Chicago.

[ The term "entitlement" is used when a writer wishes to hide the fact the what is being talked about is Social Security or Medicare or a pension program that a worker has contributed to for years and years.

As for the supporting of pension funds, all that has to be understood is how terrific stock and bond markets returns have been these last 30 and more years. Any pension fund manager who simply bought a mix of stock and bond market indexes would have done splendidly for workers and there would be no possible problem now. ]

anne -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 07:32 AM

A portfolio 50-50 mix of American stock and bond market indexes since 1975 through 2013 would have yielded a yearly return over 9.5%.

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/snapshot?FundId=0040&FundIntExt=INT#hist%3A%3Atab=1&tab=1

Vanguard 500 Stock Index Fund

Average annual returns as of 12/31/2013

08/31/1976 ( 11.04)

Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Bond Fund

Average annual returns as of 12/31/2013

07/09/1973 ( 8.46)

david -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 07:53 AM

The problem has not typically been fund returns. It has been underfunding of the programs by employers, on the assumption that magic market alpha will make up the difference (well, that's the happy spin on it, the truth is most of the funders didn't much care if the difference was made up or not so long as they got theirs.)

The focus on pension fund investing strategies is an important one, but kept distinct from funding levels and political battles it's almost meaningless.

EMichael -> david... , January 13, 2014 at 08:18 AM

Exactly.

Compound interest is a bitch.

Same game played by the auto companies for decades and decades. By the same people.

anne -> david... , January 13, 2014 at 08:46 AM

This needs to be explained, keeping here to employer contributions by government employers.

As to the mention of auto companies and pension contributions, there you have a problem in which employers can estimate a pension fund investment return and contribute according to the estimate so that a higher estimate will mean lower levels of contributions from employers for a time. Nonetheless, ordinary investment returns over long periods of time should have left no pension problem for workers.

Beezer -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 09:10 AM

Once executives realized the raises they could gain by taking deferred comp. in stock, or even in guaranteed return special accounts (Jack Welch at GE-14% annual), corporations couldn't afford much of anything else. Today CEOs make 290 times the average pay of their employees compensation, so in order to cover those outsized gains and still report good profits, companies need to trim budgets anywhere and everywhere. Stable, defined benefit plans, paid for in addition to wages, got tossed and replaced by contribution plans funded by employees themselves.

For more than 35 years in America it's been a time to strip corporate assets and pick the pockets of employees and shareholders in order to pay executives their gargantuan compensation packages.

Thanks to our rigged tax code, ripping off the middle class has become a full time project of the super rich and their paid help in Congress and academia.

david -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Same thing happened in the public as in the private sector funds. Look at Illinois or New Jersey or Detroit. Economic miracles or budget crises lead to underfunding, rolling the dice on investments, and appetites for silver bullet alternative investments that help explain the massive shift to PE and HF despite their fee structures (and can lead to alternatives managers the profits they took off the funds to help subvert the DB system). The push to alpha helps create instability and predation in the markets, goes the theory. But in any case, underfunding by the public sector leads to blame-shifting onto "those workers making bad investments" and leads to pernicious politics around retirement security.

anne -> david... , January 13, 2014 at 11:52 AM

PE = private equity
HF = hedge fund

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_(investment)

Alpha is a risk-adjusted measure of the so-called active return on an investment.

"The push to alpha helps create instability and predation in the markets, goes the theory...."

Meaning there is a push by employers or pension fund managers to take more risks for hopefully higher returns.

DeDude -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Unfortunately the employers (including and perhaps worst public employers) used the upturns in the market as opportunities to reduce what they paid into the funds (as a way to fund tax cuts and get re-elected). Then after severe downturns in the market rather than increase the funding for pensions they argue to take away earned pensions from the workers (or leave the mess to be fixed by federal government).

anne -> DeDude... , January 13, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Nice set of explanations, which leads me to think in the case of public workers in unions there should be a yearly accounting by the union of employer pension contributions along with an allowing for quick contract redress should employer contributions fall short for a given length of time.

James -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM

DeDude is not entirely correct. In the following example, the problem was powerful predators, fraud, and corruption, as there was plenty of money, and plenty of foresight.

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/parskys-party/Content?oid=1083283

Where was Union oversight in this fiasco? Or better yet, fiscal accountability on the part of the Regents for wrongful termination, theft, breach of fiduciary duty? I don't see much hope, because social memory is short, human nature is flawed, and dynastic wealth in the hands of sociopaths seeks to defend its economic position until the population rises up in revolt. Wash, rinse, repeat.

mrrunangun -> James ... , January 13, 2014 at 07:53 PM

In Illinois, public employee union leaders were probably paid off to keep silent about pension underfunding. A couple of union leaders benefited from special legislation that awarded them a nice pension for one day of substitute teaching. The special pension was in a well funded plan, not the state teachers' plan. The legislation doesn't spell out the quid pro quo, but experienced observers connect dots like these. The legislature takes care of public union officials who take care of them.

DrDick -> O.D.K.... , January 13, 2014 at 07:36 AM

Tax cuts for the wealthy, see the entire country. The problem is not excessive spending, but inadequate revenues. The latter as a consequence of unnecessary and destructive tax cuts for the rich. We already had the lowest effective tax rate on the wealthy in the developed world before that.

bakho -> O.D.K.... , January 13, 2014 at 08:58 AM

Not entitlement
Decision was to raise the obligations to the wealthy above the obligations to the workers.

Darryl FKA Ron , January 13, 2014 at 07:31 AM

"...The most important current policy development in America is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. Most Republican-controlled states are, however, refusing to implement a key part of the act, the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health coverage to almost five million low-income Americans..."

[That is sad on two levels. First it is sad that "The most important current policy development in America is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act" instead of robust policies for creating job and wage growth. Second then of course it is sad "Most Republican-controlled states are.. refusing to implement ... the expansion of Medicaid... denying health coverage to almost five million low-income Americans."

And by sad I mean a sad sorry state of affairs that should have a big effect on the mid-term elections if we get off our duffs and take this to the voting booths.]

EMichael , January 13, 2014 at 07:46 AM

One day someone will point out that the value of a municipal bond or a treasury bond is an "entitlement", just like the value of a pension, SS or Medicare is an "entitlement".


But not today.

Julio -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 08:43 AM

Excellent.

Beezer -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 09:13 AM

The coupon clipping class needs constant feeding. And the super rich coupon clippers need a deep pool of poor people to maintain their comfort. So simple, really.

Perspective -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Wow, a post from EMichael I can support...

Matt Young -> EMichael... , January 13, 2014 at 08:52 PM

That has been pointed out many times in the book, This Time is Different where we see defaults on both entitlements. In fact, one of the biggest topics of the post crash era has been when the usa would default in its bond entitlements.

Eric377 -> EMichael... , January 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Not too accurate. Bonds and pensions are contracts and sort of can be thought of as entitlements since your benefits can be enforced in court. You are entitled to whatever your counterparty agreed to (so long as you did your part and your counterparty is solvent). SS and Medicare are not contracts. Treasury could have twice the funds needed to pay for SS forever and Congress could decide tomorrow to cut benefits 80%. Same with Medicare. The two programs on your list that people are probably most likely to think of as entitlements are probably the least like entitlements. Your counterparty can change the rules on you tomorrow.

Darryl FKA Ron , January 13, 2014 at 07:53 AM

Will Republicans ever care about the poor?:

[Krugman answers:]

"...The answer, I'm sorry to say, is almost surely no.

First of all, they're deeply committed to the view that efforts to aid the poor are actually perpetuating poverty, by reducing incentives to work..."


"...But our patchwork, uncoordinated system of antipoverty programs does have the effect of penalizing efforts by lower-income households to improve their position: the more they earn, the fewer benefits they can collect. In effect, these households face very high marginal tax rates. A large fraction, in some cases 80 cents or more, of each additional dollar they earn is clawed back by the government..."

"...we could reduce the rate at which benefits phase out..."

[Then Krugman slips away from reality to embrace center aisle politics.}

"...Will this ever change? Well, Republicans weren't always like this. In fact, all of our major antipoverty programs -- Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit -- used to have bipartisan support. And maybe someday moderation will return to the G.O.P..."

{Yeah those were the good old days leading up to financialization for M&A anticompetitive consolidation of labor market arbitrage, globalization of wages backed by the abitrage of the exorbitant privilege of US dollar foreign reserves against rising trade deficits, stagnant wages from both consolidation and globalization, and a rising share of capital devouted to speculation on equities and derivatives (e.g, commodity futures bets ARE derivative contracts). Three cheers for center aisle politics. ]

Darryl FKA Ron -> Darryl FKA Ron... , January 13, 2014 at 07:55 AM

"devouted to speculation"

[Was that a spelling error or devine inspiration?]

Julio -> Darryl FKA Ron... , January 13, 2014 at 08:47 AM

"40 million refugees with no place on this earth to call their home
One for every aimless graduate with nothing else to show for it but loans
And those of us who make a mark using someone else's blood
Our western stain won't wash away, won't vanish in the flood
It sets deeper with each hurricane and tidal wave and war:
We want everything we see and once it's gone we just want more."

Kevin Devine

Darryl FKA Ron -> Julio ... , January 13, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Young men without jobs living in the nation with the world's most powerful millitary establishment will not make the world a better place to live for anyone. Might not even make it a place to live.

anne -> Julio ... , January 13, 2014 at 02:32 PM

http://lyrics.wikia.com/Kevin_Devine:Refugees

Kevin Devine – Refugees

anne -> anne... , January 13, 2014 at 02:38 PM

From -

Put Your Ghost to Rest:

The Burning City Smoking

2006

Antiderivative , January 13, 2014 at 08:16 AM

"Republicans weren't always like this. In fact, all of our major antipoverty programs -- Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit -- used to have bipartisan support."

I agree and disagree to a point. While the Republican party used to be more moderate, as a whole, in the past, there was always a conservative wing in the GOP that opposed these programs.

For example, in 1961, Reagan gave his famous speech on Medicare - declaring that it would be the end of America as we know it. One day we would be telling stories to our grandchildren how America used to be the home to free men.

There has always been in element in the GOP to attack safety nets to the point of hysterical and absurd arguments. Over the years, the conservative wing has grew and become more vocal.

One of the main differences between liberals and conservatives, is that liberals see our weak labor markets, poverty, eroding mobility, and increased economic inequality as a market failure. Conservatives view it as a moral failure.

EMichael -> Antiderivative... , January 14, 2014 at 06:23 AM

The Birchers. Now the Tea Party.

Peter K. , January 13, 2014 at 08:33 AM

It seems to me that the somewhat controversial programs of Obamacare and the Federal Reserve's policies of forward guidance and QE have helped the poor. If Republicans had successfully blocked them, things would be worse. It's difficult to defend these programs against critics on the left and right because of the inherent difficulty in defending public policies given the evidence. It isn't as clear cut as one would like.

Likewise there are the Republicans' austerity policies like the sequester which Obama went along with.

kthomas -> Peter K.... , January 13, 2014 at 08:42 AM

"They both do it!" bs

Peter K. -> kthomas... , January 13, 2014 at 09:50 AM

Maybe I wasn't clear. I think Obamacare and the Fed have helped. I believe fiscal austerity has hurt. A number of smart people agree with these assessments.

kthomas -> Peter K.... , January 13, 2014 at 10:40 AM

much clearer, sir, thank you.

Lafayette , January 13, 2014 at 04:48 PM

INCOME FAIRNESS

First LBJ then Feckless Ronnie, by means of their tax policy to reduce rates at higher levels, visited the present consequences upon the American poor. (See info-graphic here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/Historical_Mariginal_Tax_Rate_for_Highest_and_Lowest_Income_Earners.jpg )

Meaning that reduced income taxation means lower overall government revenues, which means reduced means to aid the poor by, for instance, adequate HealthCare or the subsidized housing or paying for postsecondary education that will give them the means to obtain well-paying jobs.

This sad fact is even more difficult to swallow given that DoD-expenditures have doubled in the 40 year period ending in 2012. See info-graphic here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2013/01/defensechart.jpg . Do we really need all that spending to provide a defense of the nation now that the Cold War (extant in the 1960s) is over?

The plutocrats erected a statue to Ronnie for having reversed the good that FDR had wrought by increasing taxation upon them to levels of around 65%, that crept up inevitably to around 90%.

And, of course, the rich are still benefiting from the beneficial taxation (that peaks out at 30% in their level of income).

Are they paying their "fair share"? It depends upon how you pose the question. The CBO shows that the top 20% pay as much as 69% of all taxation revenues. See info-graphic here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2010_US_Tax_Liability_by_Income_Group_-_CBO.png

Yes, that's a lot of money they pay in taxes. But, given that their marginal rates do not exceed more than 30% of all revenues, then the answer seems to be "it's not enough". (See info-graphic here of top rates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Federal_Income_Tax_Rates_2013.png )

Besides, if the generally recognized Gini Coefficient depicts Income Disparity across all levels of income, then the US is shown to be the developed country with the worst Income Fairness of any on earth. (See info-graphic here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gini_since_WWII.svg )

MY POINT?

Which means, according to the World Top Incomes Database developed by the Paris School of Economics? the following: 10% of American households garner about 52% of ALL HOUSEHOLD INCOME whilst the rest of us 90Percenters scramble after the remaining 48%.

Does that seem fair to you ... ?

Matt Young -> Lafayette ... , January 13, 2014 at 08:56 PM

No, the history says that reducing taxes on the rich allows you to borrow and spend, laying the cost on the middle class. Note, Clinton's tax hike came with budget cuts. Our 2013 tax hike, though meager, results in sequestering.

The problem here is dumbass economists too stupid to come up with any theory of government that explains supply and demand for government services. So dumbass economists resort to name calling, blaming their own failure of analysis on the other side. Political scientists are much worse, all they do is name calling.

Lafayette -> Matt Young... , January 14, 2014 at 04:40 AM

SERFDOM

{No, the history says that reducing taxes on the rich allows you to borrow and spend, laying the cost on the middle class.}

Can't imagine where you've concocted this notion from my reply. I posited the premise of increasing taxes upon our upper-class financial nobility who have reduced 15% of our people to poverty and serfdom.

{Note, Clinton's tax hike came with budget cuts. Our 2013 tax hike, though meager, results in sequestering.}

Historical fact of no consequence whatsoever.

The point about raising taxes on the rich is not just about reducing their far to easily-gained Net Worth. It is to teach that class a lesson about return-on-investment. For the moment, a level of taxation at only 30% allows them to accumulate vast Net Worth, which is simply reinvested in interest-bearing accounts for the most part.

Increasing taxation on interest-bearing accounts would induce them to place their savings in more economy-friendly investments that create jobs. The revenues would also help reduce deficits and improve government financing of society-friendly policies like a Universal Public HealthCare Option and Tertiary Education for those who cannot afford it.

These are both common policy rudiments of any modern society in this day and age. Except the US, of course ...

Lafayette -> Lafayette ... , January 14, 2014 at 05:57 AM

Moreover, the key point about taxation is this: Whilst an economy should reward risk-taking, there is no need whatsoever for the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow to be unlimited and growing by leaps and bounds because it is too lowly taxed.

Especially not when 15% of fellow Americans are incarcerated below the Poverty Threshold. That economic fact is unacceptable. And it did not occur because "people are either too stupid or too lazy".

It occurred because of an inept policy as regards both educational level and our inability to prevent unskilled work from dislocation abroad.

mrrunangun , January 13, 2014 at 06:12 PM

The Republicans never did care about the poor and are not about to start. The question that bothers me is when the Democrats will resume working on behalf of the poor.

Lafayette -> mrrunangun... , January 14, 2014 at 06:04 AM

{The question that bothers me is when the Democrats will resume working on behalf of the poor.}

Musing about whether that will or will not happen in a blog will certainly not assist in bringing it about.

Only hard work militating for such an outcome will obtain the necessary results. Which can only happen if more progressives are voted into the HofR. And it will take a good ten years of well-considered legislation to right all the wrong that has occurred since the last War on Poverty in the 1960s.

We are running presently on borrowed time ...

[Feb 10, 2021] Hedge funds bet on oil's 'big comeback' after pandemic hobbles producers By Reuters

Feb 10, 2021 | www.investing.com

By Maiya Keidan and Rod Nickel

TORONTO (Reuters) - Hedge funds are turning bullish on oil once again, betting the pandemic and investors' environmental focus has severely damaged companies' ability to ramp up production.

Such limitations on supply would push prices to multi-year highs and keep them there for two years or more, several hedge funds said.

The view is a reversal for hedge funds, which shorted the oil sector in the lead-up to global shutdowns, landing energy focused hedge funds gains of 26.8% in 2020, according to data from eVestment. By virtue of their fast-moving strategies, hedge funds are quick to spot new trends.

... Tawil predicted prices of $70 to $80 a barrel for Brent by the end of 2021 and is investing long independent oil and gas producers.

... ... ...

Global crude and condensate production was down 8% in December from February 2020, prior to the pandemic's spread accelerating, according to Rystad Energy.

North America's output was down 9.5% and Europe's production declined just 1% over the same time period.

U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and declining oilfields in Mexico have kept oil output from Latin America sluggish.

DarthSlack Ars Praefectus et Subscriptor REPLY FEB 8, 2021 2:57 PM Jamjen831 wrote: peachpuff wrote: Barcode scanners and flashlight apps... who installs these? Phones come with these features already baked in.

I assume some of it is just old stuff people just re-download without thinking. Android hasn't always had a built in flashlight app (and am I crazy in that the early ones required root?). And I'm pretty sure that's the same with QR readers. I hadn't realized that Google Lens was a QR scanner until fairly recently.

Count me in that boat. I just checked my phone and sure enough, Barcode Scanner was there. I'm guessing it's from 3-4 phones ago and just came along for the ride as Play autoloaded my apps on the new phones because I haven't used it in ages and ages. daggar Ars Tribunus Militum REPLY FEB 8, 2021 2:57 PM

Jamjen831 wrote: peachpuff wrote: Barcode scanners and flashlight apps... who installs these? Phones come with these features already baked in.

I assume some of it is just old stuff people just re-download without thinking. Android hasn't always had a built in flashlight app (and am I crazy in that the early ones required root?). And I'm pretty sure that's the same with QR readers. I hadn't realized that Google Lens was a QR scanner until fairly recently.

It's more likely that it's stuff that gets re-downloaded without user interaction. When you set up a new Android, the phone will often re-download all the apps from the old phone. Unless you're going through to curate those apps, your 2021 new phone might be getting something that's gone through a succession of auto-downloads since the mid 2010's. everythingallatonce Smack-Fu Master, in training REPLY FEB 8, 2021 2:57 PM

peachpuff wrote: Barcode scanners and flashlight apps... who installs these? Phones come with these features already baked in.
I can't really speak for the barcode scanner, but given that a lot of Android phones are incapable of being updated there is a decent chance a lot of people with much older phones actually have to install a flashlight app.

Google really needs to do something regarding the malware problem. I'm not going to pretend to know the answer, but for a company that made $15.23 billion in earnings last quarter and owns Project Zero you'd think they'd be able to protect a platform they have complete control over. Jamjen831 Ars Scholae Palatinae et Subscriptor REPLY FEB 8, 2021 3:02 PM Dr.Bananas wrote: peachpuff wrote: Barcode scanners and flashlight apps... who installs these? Phones come with these features already baked in.
Not all phones. I haven't had an Android phone with a stock barcode scanner ever. Samsung Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Nexus, Moto G, Nexus 5X, Nokia 3 and my current Sony XZ2 Compact all came without one. It should be part of the default camera app, but sadly that's not always the case.

As mentioned above, Google Lens is the defacto QR Scanner (it's part of the camera app). Do those phones have Lens? I've been on Nexus\Pixel for a long time so not too sure how Google has pushed that. Xavin Ars Legatus Legionis et Subscriptor REPLY FEB 8, 2021 3:03 PM

marsilies wrote: So I use an app called "Barcode Scanner" that's not the malware app. However, the recent reviews blast it for adware, which I haven't noticed. I think having the exact same name has caused some people to post negative reviews on the wrong app:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... nt.android
That's correct, it's clean, people are just confused by the same names. The one with the malware was always a sad copy of the ZXing Team one you linked.

Jamjen831 wrote: show nested quotes

As mentioned above, Google Lens is the defacto QR Scanner (it's part of the camera app). Do those phones have Lens? I've been on Nexus\Pixel for a long time so not too sure how Google has pushed that.
You need an internet connection for Lens to scan barcodes. Batmanuel Ars Tribunus Militum REPLY FEB 8, 2021 3:12 PM Ancan wrote: I've got a Galaxy S8+ and if there's a built in barcode scanner I must admit I haven't found out in the years I've had it.

It's built into Bixby Vision. Jeff S Ars Praefectus et Subscriptor REPLY FEB 8, 2021 3:16 PM

CrookedKnight wrote: show nested quotes

And how many users know they can use an app called "Lens" to scan barcodes?

Does Lens give you technical info about the type of a barcode (aka the Symbology)? Granted, most people don't have a need to know or care, but I have a job doing work with retail POS equipment, including hand and flatbed scanners. For my job, it's SUPER helpful sometimes to have a barcode scanner app that can tell me what type of barcode is being scanned - because sometimes scanners will scan all the barcodes, *except* this one type of barcode, and then I gotta find out what kind of barcode it is, so that I can enable that symbology for the scanner in question (or provide instructions to my customers on how they enable it for their POS).

Or, I can scan the barcode to get the underlying text in the barcode, to compare with our app's logs, to make sure it's scanning correctly (e.g. not getting truncated or anything like that).

That's why I have ZXing Team barcode scanner on my phone and recommend it to co-workers.

  1. AreWeThereYeti Ars Praefectus et Subscriptor REPLY FEB 8, 2021 3:16 PM Jamjen831 wrote: show nested quotes

    I assume some of it is just old stuff people just re-download without thinking. Android hasn't always had a built in flashlight app (and am I crazy in that the early ones required root?). And I'm pretty sure that's the same with QR readers. I hadn't realized that Google Lens was a QR scanner until fairly recently.

    It isn't just old people, as you admitted yourself practically everyone doesn't understand all the things their apps can do, especially when that changes over time. A big part of that problem is the appalling fact that most apps, even the most widely used and professionally developed, have basically no documentation, and no way of finding out what their features actually are.

    Developers have this fantasy in their heads that they don't document the programs because it's really hard to keep the documentation in-sync with a changing app, but the real reason is just a pervasive problem in development culture caused by the race to get things onto the market, and the convenient lie that developers tell themselves that their apps are "self documenting", as if everyone has the time or desire to play "app scientist" and experiment with the app endlessly to find out all its hidden, unobvious features.

    @dmccarty: Yeah, the "update or not" decision is tricky for apps. What I do, is turn off update only for apps that I have no desire for updates too and which shouldn't be doing any internet activity or only activity to a defined, trusted spot. Any other kind of app, especially ones that might be subjected to varying network input from undefined sources, gets updates. Up +21 ( +22 / -1 ) Down 3906 posts | registered 9/15/2009

  2. MikeSafari Wise, Aged Ars Veteran REPLY FEB 8, 2021 3:17 PM peachpuff wrote: Barcode scanners and flashlight apps... who installs these? Phones come with these features already baked in.

    I unfortunately didn't have a choice. I bought a Nokia 6.1 a couple of years ago and installed the official Google Camera app, which has a built-in barcode/QR code reader, but when Nokia pushed the Android 10 update, it broke the camera app completely. And Nokia's default camera app does *not* read barcodes or QR codes for some reason. So to read them, I had to install a third-party app.

    Not super thrilled anyway, but thankfully it was not this one.

marsilies Ars Praefectus et Subscriptor REPLY FEB 8, 2021 3:20 PM Jamjen831 wrote: show nested quotes

As mentioned above, Google Lens is the defacto QR Scanner (it's part of the camera app). Do those phones have Lens? I've been on Nexus\Pixel for a long time so not too sure how Google has pushed that.
Lens looks like it was initially exclusive to the Pixel 2, and slowly expanded until it became its own Android app in June 2018:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Lens

So all the phones listed peachpuff came without it, and you'd probably have to have an Android phone released in the last 2 1/2 years to even have it pre-installed.

Then, as others have noted, one would have to know that Lens can scan barcodes, and if you have had Android phones for a while, the initial setup and migration may install their old barcode scanner app anyway.

[Feb 04, 2021] Fund Your IRA, Cut Your Taxes - Kiplinger

Notable quotes:
"... If you're married and your spouse is covered by a workplace-based retirement plan but you're not, you can deduct your full IRA contribution as long as your joint AGI doesn't top $196,000 for 2020. You can take a partial tax deduction if your combined income is between $196,000 and $206,000. ..."
"... Spouses with little or no earned income for 2020 can also make an IRA contribution of up to $6,000 ($7,000 if 50 or older) as long as their spouse has sufficient earned income to cover both contributions. The contribution is tax-deductible as long as your household income doesn't exceed the limits for married couples filing jointly. ..."
Feb 04, 2021 | www.kiplinger.com

There's still time to make a 2020 IRA contribution and lower your tax bill. by: Sandra Block January 13, 2021

As you get ready to tackle your 2020 tax return, make sure you haven't overlooked one of the best ways to cut your tax bill and secure your future -- funding a traditional IRA. (There is no upfront tax break for funding a Roth IRA.)

You can actually make an IRA contribution for the 2020 tax year up until the time you file your tax return, which is due April 15, 2021. But why wait? If you have some extra income – say, from a stimulus check – go ahead and deposit it into an IRA account now before you forget. You'll also give the money a little more time to grow, which you'll appreciate when you retire.

And what about those tax savings? Well, depending on your income, you may be able to deduct your IRA contribution on your 2020 return. To contribute to a traditional IRA, you or your spouse must have earned income from a job. But, otherwise, you may be able to deduct contributions to an IRA even if you or your spouse are covered by another retirement plan at work. Plus, starting last year, seniors age 70½ and older with earned income can contribute to a traditional IRA, too.

Here's some more good news: The IRA deduction is an "above the line" adjustment to income, meaning you don't have to itemize your deductions to claim it. It will reduce your adjusted gross income (AGI) dollar-for-dollar, lowering your tax bill. And your lower AGI could make you eligible for other tax breaks, which are tied to income limits.

Who Qualifies

If you're single and don't participate in a retirement plan at work, you can make a tax-deductible IRA contribution for 2020 of up to $6,000 ($7,000 if you're 50 or older) regardless of your income. If you're married and your spouse is covered by a workplace-based retirement plan but you're not, you can deduct your full IRA contribution as long as your joint AGI doesn't top $196,000 for 2020. You can take a partial tax deduction if your combined income is between $196,000 and $206,000.

But even if you do participate in a retirement plan at work, you can still deduct up to the maximum $6,000 IRA contribution ($7,000 if you're 50 or older) if you're single and your income is $65,000 or less ($104,000 if married filing jointly). And you can deduct some of your IRA contribution if you're single and your income is between $65,000 and $75,000, or if you're married and your income is between $104,000 and $124,000.

Spouses with little or no earned income for 2020 can also make an IRA contribution of up to $6,000 ($7,000 if 50 or older) as long as their spouse has sufficient earned income to cover both contributions. The contribution is tax-deductible as long as your household income doesn't exceed the limits for married couples filing jointly.

Double Tax Break

Some low- and moderate-income taxpayers get an extra break for contributing to an IRA or other retirement account.

In addition to the usual IRA deduction, you may qualify for a Retirement Savers tax credit of up to $1,000 for contributions to an IRA or other retirement tax plan. (A tax credit, which reduces your tax bill dollar-for-dollar, is more valuable than a deduction, which merely reduces the amount of income that is taxed.)

The actual amount of the credit depends on your income. It ranges from 10% to 50% of the first $2,000 contributed to an IRA or other retirement account. To be eligible, your 2020 income can't exceed $32,500 if you're single; $48,750 if you're the head of a household with dependents; or $65,000 if you're married filing jointly. The lower your income, the higher the credit. But you can't claim the Retirement Savers credit if you're under 18, a student, or can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return. Skip advert Advertisement

[Feb 04, 2021] The GameStop Rebels Vs. -Too Big To Fail- - ZeroHedge

Feb 04, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

The GameStop Rebels Vs. "Too Big To Fail" BY TYLER DURDEN WEDNESDAY, FEB 03, 2021 - 6:10

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Last week, a large number of small-time investors drove up the price of GameStop's (GME) stock a historic 1,784 percent . But this was no mere spike in some obscure stock. The stock's price spiked in part as a result of efforts by "an army of smaller investors who have been rallying on Reddit and elsewhere online to support GameStop's stock and beat back the professionals." These professionals were hedge fund managers who had shorted GameStop's stock. In other words, hedge funders were betting billions that GameStop's stock would go down. But the price went up instead, meaning hedge funds like Melvin Capital (and Citron Research) took "a significant loss," possibly totaling $70 billion.

There surely were plenty of insiders on both sides of this deal. Given the complexity of various schemes employed by seasoned investors, it seems it is very unlikely that this is just a simple matter of little Davids taking on Wall Street Goliaths.

But it also looks like that's not all that was going on. Had this only been just another scheme by some Wall Street insiders against some other Wall Street insiders the story would probably have ended there.

But that's not what happened. Rather, it appears that, for many of the smaller investors who were involved, much of this "short squeeze" was conducted for the purposes of throwing a monkey wrench in the plans of Wall Street hedge funds which exist within the rarified world of billionaires and their friends.

Pro–Wall Street Fearmongering

The reactions to the event from media pundits and other commentators were telling in that there was clearly fear and outrage over the fact that business as usual on Wall Street wasn't being enforced. Predictably, much of the reaction to the Reddit rebellion was to label it a "fiasco," " insanity ," and something sure to leave a " trail of destruction ." The important thing was to use words designed to make it all look like the threat to hedge funds represents some sort of grave threat to the overall economy. Jim Lebenthal at CNBC, for example, declared the "short-squeeze fiasco is a threat to the proper functioning of financial markets."

The fearmongering went beyond even the usual places we hear about financial news. On The View , for example, Meghan McCain delivered the sort of status quo –defending bromides we've come to expect from her. She insisted the GameStop affair could spiral into an economy-killing disaster because

If the stock ends up plunging because of this, because of GameStop and Wall Street loses billions, at a certain point, it will impact stocks like Apple and Disney and stocks that a lot of average Americans do invest in, and if that happens, average Americans will end up losing even more money.

Her comment doesn't rally make any sense, and she doesn't seem to have even a rudimentary understanding of what happened. But her comment delivered the important point: namely, that anything that causes volatility in the market could be a disaster for every American household. Translation: and we should all be very, very afraid if something isn't done to keep these Reddit people -- whom she compared to the Capitol "insurrectionists" -- under control.

Of course, in a functioning and relatively unhampered market, unusual, unexpected things happen all the time. Entrepreneurial actors do things the incumbent firms and "experts" hadn't counted on. This leads to "instability" and big swings in prices. This is actual capitalism, and it doesn't mean the marketplace isn't functioning properly. In fact, it probably means the marketplace is dynamic and responsive to consumers and other market participants.

But that's not something Wall Street insiders or their pals in Washington like in the modern era. Although Wall Streeters love to portray themselves as capitalist captains of industry, the fact is they have very little interest in real, competitive capitalism.

Rather, we live in the era of "too big to fail" (TBTF), when market freedom means nothing and preserving the portfolios of powerful Wall Street institutions is what really matters.

Decades of "Too Big to Fail"

It's based on the idea that Wall Street is just too important to the whole economy, and Washington must intervene to make sure rich guys on Wall Street stay rich. David Stockman explains this philosophy:

[It is] the notion that the "threat of systemic risk" and a cascading contagion of losses form the failure of any big Wall Street institution would be so calamitous that it warranted an exemption from free market discipline.

This goes back at least to the 1994 Mexican bailout -- which was really a bailout of investors, not of Mexico -- which solidified the process of normalizing huge transfers of wealth from taxpayers and dollar holders to the Wall Street elite. By then, the "Greenspan put" was already in place, with the central bank forever poised to embrace more easy money in pursuit of propping up stock prices. Then came the bailouts of 2008 and the covd-19 avalanche of easy money -- all of which lopsidedly benefited Wall Street over the rest of the economy.

This "exemption from free market discipline" is what Wall Street is all about these days. The financial sector has become accustomed to enjoying bailouts, easy money, and the resulting financialization which puts ever greater amounts of the US economy into the hands of Wall Street money managers. The sector is now built on corporate welfare, not "free markets." No matter what happens, Wall Street expects the deck to be stacked in its favor.

This is why "volatility" has become a bad word, and "stability" is now the name of the game. It's why Lebenthal thinks anything out of the ordinary is a threat to the "proper functioning of financial markets." If some free market innovation and inventiveness actually takes place in some small corner of the marketplace, well, then we're all expected to get very upset.

That's the way Wall Street likes it. ay_arrow 1


Kayman 8 hours ago

The marketing slogan "Too Big Too Fail" conveniently presumed Wall Street was more important than the Real Economy. A fatal presumption.

Wall Street is a Parasite, backstopped by the Fed, who, in turn, are backstopped by the Nation. A crumbling nation, where the Fed strangles lending/savings intermediation, and saves the blood suckers by bleeding the dying core of America.

wmbz 8 hours ago

"The sector is now built on corporate welfare, not "free markets."

This is NOT a new thing. Corporate welfare has been in play for a long, long time. I am amazed how long it has taken otherwise "smart" people to grasp this fact.

The only difference is, it is out in the glaring sunlight for all to see. TPTB are damn proud of it!

junction 7 hours ago (Edited)

Except for the involvement of WallStreetBets in temporarily blocking the hedge fund bear raid on GameStop using "naked" shorts, it is still business as usual on Wall Street. No one at the SEC does anything but collect a salary, issue press releases and go to lunch as the Mafia crime families. . . oops, hedge funds run "bust out" operations on businesses. The lapdog financial press cheered on the hedge funds as they demolished American businesses. The same gutter journalists who are not yet linking micro-manager Bezos giving up total control of Amazon right after his cloud service illegally de-platformed Parler for violation of bogus. made-up community standards. But then, bigger things are afoot. Bolshevik president Biden just approved deploying B-1 bomber to Norway for the first time. Nuclear bomb carrying B-1 bombers. Anything to distract people from how rotten things are.

Cognitive rationalist 7 hours ago

Banking financial sector: private profits for me, public losses for thee

gladitsover 8 hours ago remove link

"..the table is tilted folks. The game is rigged.."

George Carlin

Lokiban 8 hours ago

I think it was all about showing to those unawares how corrupt and rigged Wall street truly is and they have gotten the message out bigtime.
The only question to be asked is who became the proverbial bagholder when average people saw their 'Bitcoin-Tulipmania' chance to get out with amazing profits and with that breaking the promise to continue pumping gme till it hits $1500.
One has always to be carefull if these kind of actions are true populism going against the controllers or is it controllers playing their hideous games again for a reason, like the great reset.
Greed has never been a good advisor in these times, easy sheoplemoney. It works all the time..

dustinthewind 9 hours ago

" Curiosity v Manipulation"

https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/armstrongeconomics101/understanding-cycles/curiosity-v-manipulation/

COMMENT: Message: Re Reddit "WallStreetBets"
Hi Marty,
Thanks for this blog post but I think they are not trying to make money out of short squeezing GME really, they are trying to make a point. If you follow some of the posts you see many stories about how badly people and their families were hurt in 2008 when not a single banker went to prison. Stories of Fathers losing jobs and houses and descending into alcoholism in front of their children who now are part of WallStreetBets, others who had to live off of beans and rice or what Mama could grow in the garden and went hungry etc.

So they are not buying GME to see it rise, though that is fine, they are spending money "they can afford to lose" to punish the hedge funds that have along with bankers hurt the little guy repeatedly. These same people IMO have bought off our politicians, removed regulations like Glass Steagal etc all to reap profits to the top while crushing everyone else.

Listen in June 2008 I got laid off from Palm, in July I broke my arm ( badly ), in August some tenants left so I tried to put that property up for sale but in September Lehman fell and the real estate agent told me the market was OFF that I could not sell and needed to rent it with no one renting for 5 more months. At the same time in September I had a 100K home equity line I took out just for emergencies and since I was having one I wanted to use it – but then Wells Fargo pulled the whole thing.

So there I was Marty, sitting on the couch with a cast from fingers to shoulder watching the world meltdown on a tiny TV set while on lots of pain killers
I was forced to use my small 401K, and ended up using the whole thing through 9 months of disability, two surgeries and a job search that did not yield a job until the fall of 2011.
So IMO these arrogant SOB cheating hedge fund guys should pound sand on GME for once because the casino is rigged, heads they win, tails they win, and the taxpayers lose their jobs, homes, and pay for their bailouts.
I say give it to 'em.
Off my soapbox

REPLY: I fully understand that. I have fought against these people my whole life. I was more interested in learning HOW the economy functioned where they were only interested in guaranteed trades. I guess I was the Leonardo da Vinci of finance. Instead of digging up bodies to figure out how the anatomy functioned, I searched history and developed a computer model to try to ascertain what made the world economy tick.

A professor from Princeton where Einstein taught said to me that I reminded him of Einstein. I was surprised, for I did not see myself as comparable to Einstein in any way. He then explained that what he meant was my curiosity which moved me to try to figure out what made it all function. I came to understand what he meant. If you are not CURIOUS and seek out knowledge, then you will NEVER discover anything new! I was not dealing with the physics of the world, but the finance. People are attracted by this blog and Socrates for that same reason. They have that spark of curiosity and seek to also understand what makes it all tick! We need to teach students to be curious. That is the key to all progress we desperately need to survive this never-ending battle of authoritarianism v independence and freedom.

I have stated many times that I had discovered the 8.6-year frequency in my research I conducted at Princeton, University in the Firestone Library. Those were fond memories for it was an amazing resource back then as was the Royal British Newspaper Library, which I gathered my FOREX database by sifting through the largest newspaper collection in the world.

This was the difference between me and the "club" where I tried to understand the movement of the ages that caused the rise and fall of civilization and therein the economy/markets, and the "club" which seeks to manipulate everything by sheer force armed with bribes. They own the Southern District of New York courts, the Second Circuit, and the Department of Justice along with the SEC and CFTC. Goldman Sachs has even stacked the SEC and CFTC with their former people. Nobody was prosecuted despite the fact that they were involved in the looting of capital in Malaysia and Greece. And people have the audacity to claim there was absolutely no election fraud? There is nothing we can trust that goes on in government anymore and it will only get far worse as we head into 2032.

I am well aware of the sentiment behind this Reddit trend. My concern is simple. Don't put it past the "club" to be in there making this seem like a sure bet and then set everyone up for the big crash. Be careful here going into Feb/March 2021.

[Feb 03, 2021] The GameStop Rebels Vs. -Too Big To Fail- - ZeroHedge

Feb 03, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

The GameStop Rebels Vs. "Too Big To Fail" BY TYLER DURDEN WEDNESDAY, FEB 03, 2021 - 6:10

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Last week, a large number of small-time investors drove up the price of GameStop's (GME) stock a historic 1,784 percent . But this was no mere spike in some obscure stock. The stock's price spiked in part as a result of efforts by "an army of smaller investors who have been rallying on Reddit and elsewhere online to support GameStop's stock and beat back the professionals." These professionals were hedge fund managers who had shorted GameStop's stock. In other words, hedge funders were betting billions that GameStop's stock would go down. But the price went up instead, meaning hedge funds like Melvin Capital (and Citron Research) took "a significant loss," possibly totaling $70 billion.

There surely were plenty of insiders on both sides of this deal. Given the complexity of various schemes employed by seasoned investors, it seems it is very unlikely that this is just a simple matter of little Davids taking on Wall Street Goliaths.

But it also looks like that's not all that was going on. Had this only been just another scheme by some Wall Street insiders against some other Wall Street insiders the story would probably have ended there.

But that's not what happened. Rather, it appears that, for many of the smaller investors who were involved, much of this "short squeeze" was conducted for the purposes of throwing a monkey wrench in the plans of Wall Street hedge funds which exist within the rarified world of billionaires and their friends.

Pro–Wall Street Fearmongering

The reactions to the event from media pundits and other commentators were telling in that there was clearly fear and outrage over the fact that business as usual on Wall Street wasn't being enforced. Predictably, much of the reaction to the Reddit rebellion was to label it a "fiasco," " insanity ," and something sure to leave a " trail of destruction ." The important thing was to use words designed to make it all look like the threat to hedge funds represents some sort of grave threat to the overall economy. Jim Lebenthal at CNBC, for example, declared the "short-squeeze fiasco is a threat to the proper functioning of financial markets."

The fearmongering went beyond even the usual places we hear about financial news. On The View , for example, Meghan McCain delivered the sort of status quo –defending bromides we've come to expect from her. She insisted the GameStop affair could spiral into an economy-killing disaster because

If the stock ends up plunging because of this, because of GameStop and Wall Street loses billions, at a certain point, it will impact stocks like Apple and Disney and stocks that a lot of average Americans do invest in, and if that happens, average Americans will end up losing even more money.

Her comment doesn't rally make any sense, and she doesn't seem to have even a rudimentary understanding of what happened. But her comment delivered the important point: namely, that anything that causes volatility in the market could be a disaster for every American household. Translation: and we should all be very, very afraid if something isn't done to keep these Reddit people -- whom she compared to the Capitol "insurrectionists" -- under control.

Of course, in a functioning and relatively unhampered market, unusual, unexpected things happen all the time. Entrepreneurial actors do things the incumbent firms and "experts" hadn't counted on. This leads to "instability" and big swings in prices. This is actual capitalism, and it doesn't mean the marketplace isn't functioning properly. In fact, it probably means the marketplace is dynamic and responsive to consumers and other market participants.

But that's not something Wall Street insiders or their pals in Washington like in the modern era. Although Wall Streeters love to portray themselves as capitalist captains of industry, the fact is they have very little interest in real, competitive capitalism.

Rather, we live in the era of "too big to fail" (TBTF), when market freedom means nothing and preserving the portfolios of powerful Wall Street institutions is what really matters.

Decades of "Too Big to Fail"

It's based on the idea that Wall Street is just too important to the whole economy, and Washington must intervene to make sure rich guys on Wall Street stay rich. David Stockman explains this philosophy:

[It is] the notion that the "threat of systemic risk" and a cascading contagion of losses form the failure of any big Wall Street institution would be so calamitous that it warranted an exemption from free market discipline.

This goes back at least to the 1994 Mexican bailout -- which was really a bailout of investors, not of Mexico -- which solidified the process of normalizing huge transfers of wealth from taxpayers and dollar holders to the Wall Street elite. By then, the "Greenspan put" was already in place, with the central bank forever poised to embrace more easy money in pursuit of propping up stock prices. Then came the bailouts of 2008 and the covd-19 avalanche of easy money -- all of which lopsidedly benefited Wall Street over the rest of the economy.

This "exemption from free market discipline" is what Wall Street is all about these days. The financial sector has become accustomed to enjoying bailouts, easy money, and the resulting financialization which puts ever greater amounts of the US economy into the hands of Wall Street money managers. The sector is now built on corporate welfare, not "free markets." No matter what happens, Wall Street expects the deck to be stacked in its favor.

This is why "volatility" has become a bad word, and "stability" is now the name of the game. It's why Lebenthal thinks anything out of the ordinary is a threat to the "proper functioning of financial markets." If some free market innovation and inventiveness actually takes place in some small corner of the marketplace, well, then we're all expected to get very upset.

That's the way Wall Street likes it. ay_arrow 1


Kayman 8 hours ago

The marketing slogan "Too Big Too Fail" conveniently presumed Wall Street was more important than the Real Economy. A fatal presumption.

Wall Street is a Parasite, backstopped by the Fed, who, in turn, are backstopped by the Nation. A crumbling nation, where the Fed strangles lending/savings intermediation, and saves the blood suckers by bleeding the dying core of America.

wmbz 8 hours ago

"The sector is now built on corporate welfare, not "free markets."

This is NOT a new thing. Corporate welfare has been in play for a long, long time. I am amazed how long it has taken otherwise "smart" people to grasp this fact.

The only difference is, it is out in the glaring sunlight for all to see. TPTB are damn proud of it!

junction 7 hours ago (Edited)

Except for the involvement of WallStreetBets in temporarily blocking the hedge fund bear raid on GameStop using "naked" shorts, it is still business as usual on Wall Street. No one at the SEC does anything but collect a salary, issue press releases and go to lunch as the Mafia crime families. . . oops, hedge funds run "bust out" operations on businesses. The lapdog financial press cheered on the hedge funds as they demolished American businesses. The same gutter journalists who are not yet linking micro-manager Bezos giving up total control of Amazon right after his cloud service illegally de-platformed Parler for violation of bogus. made-up community standards. But then, bigger things are afoot. Bolshevik president Biden just approved deploying B-1 bomber to Norway for the first time. Nuclear bomb carrying B-1 bombers. Anything to distract people from how rotten things are.

Cognitive rationalist 7 hours ago

Banking financial sector: private profits for me, public losses for thee

gladitsover 8 hours ago remove link

"..the table is tilted folks. The game is rigged.."

George Carlin

Lokiban 8 hours ago

I think it was all about showing to those unawares how corrupt and rigged Wall street truly is and they have gotten the message out bigtime.
The only question to be asked is who became the proverbial bagholder when average people saw their 'Bitcoin-Tulipmania' chance to get out with amazing profits and with that breaking the promise to continue pumping gme till it hits $1500.
One has always to be carefull if these kind of actions are true populism going against the controllers or is it controllers playing their hideous games again for a reason, like the great reset.
Greed has never been a good advisor in these times, easy sheoplemoney. It works all the time..

[Feb 03, 2021] Biden DOJ Drops Yale Discrimination Suit After Trump DOJ Found Whites, Asians Treated Unfairly - ZeroHedge

Feb 03, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

After the Trump Justice Department sued Yale following the results of a 2-year Civil Rights investigation which found "long-standing and ongoing" race-based discrimination, the Biden DOJ just dismissed the case without explanation .

... ... ...

The Trump DOJ had argued that the Ivy League university had violated federal civil rights law for "at least 50 years," by favoring Black and Hispanic students over Whites and Asians, according to The Hill .

The legal battle represented one of the Trump administration's moves to challenge affirmative action programs aimed at increasing diversity on campus, which some conservatives consider unfair and illegal.

Yale, which staunchly defended its admission practices, praised the DOJ's decision to drop the case in a statement, saying it was "gratified" by the decision. - The Hill

"Our admissions process has allowed Yale College to assemble an unparalleled student body, which is distinguished by its academic excellence and diversity," argued the university. "Yale has steadfastly maintained that its process complies fully with Supreme Court precedent, and we are confident that the Justice Department will agree."

The Trump administration notably instituted several measures to prevent universities from considering race as a factor during admissions, even joining a similar lawsuit against Harvard University.

[Feb 03, 2021] Naked Short Selling- The Truth Is Much Worse Than You Have Been Told

Feb 03, 2021 | oilprice.com

There is a massive threat to our capital markets, the free market in general, and fair dealings overall. And no, it's not China. It's a homegrown threat that everyone has been afraid to talk about.

Until now.

That fear has now turned into rage.

Hordes of new retail investors are banding together to take on Wall Street. They are not willing to sit back and watch naked short sellers, funded by big banks, manipulate stocks, harm companies, and fleece shareholders.

The battle that launched this week over GameStop between retail investors and Wall Street-backed naked short sellers is the beginning of a war that could change everything.

It's a global problem, but it poses the greatest threat to Canadian capital markets, where naked short selling -- the process of selling shares you don't own, thereby creating counterfeit or 'phantom' shares -- survives and remains under the regulatory radar because Broker-Dealers do not have to report failing trades until they exceed 10 days.

This is an egregious act against capital markets, and it's caused billions of dollars in damage.

Make no mistake about the enormity of this threat: Both foreign and domestic schemers have attacked Canada in an effort to bring down the stock prices of its publicly listed companies.

In Canada alone, hundreds of billions of dollars have been vaporized from pension funds and regular, everyday Canadians because of this, according to Texas-based lawyer James W. Christian. Christian and his firm Christian Smith & Jewell LLP are heavy hitters in litigation related to stock manipulation and have prosecuted over 20 cases involving naked short selling and spoofing in the last 20 years.

"Hundreds of billions have been stolen from everyday Canadians and Americans and pension funds alike, and this has jeopardized the integrity of Canada's capital markets and the integral process of capital creation for entrepreneurs and job creation for the economy," Christian told Oilprice.com.

The Dangerous Naked Short-Selling MO

In order to [legally] sell a stock short, traders must first locate and secure a borrow against the shares they intend to sell. A broker who enters such a trade must have assurance that his client will make settlement.

While "long" sales mean the seller owns the stock, short sales can be either "covered" or "naked" . A covered short means that the short seller has already "borrowed" or has located or arranged to borrow the shares when the short sale is made. Whereas, a naked short means the short seller is selling shares it doesn't own and has made no arrangements to buy. The seller cannot cover or "settle" in this instance, which means they are selling "ghost" or "phantom" shares that simply do not exist without their action.

When you have the ability to sell an unlimited number of non-existent phantom shares in a publicly-traded company, you then have the power to destroy and manipulate the share price at your own will.

And big banks and financial institutions are turning a blind eye to some of the accounts that routinely participate in these illegal transactions because of the large fees they collect from them. These institutions are actively facilitating the destruction of shareholder value in return for short term windfalls in the form of trading fees. They are a major part of the problem and are complicit in aiding these accounts to create counterfeit shares.

The funds behind this are hyper sophisticated and know all the rules and tricks needed to exploit the regulators to buy themselves time to cover their short positions. According to multiple accounts from traders, lawyers, and businesses who have become victims of the worst of the worst in this game, short-sellers sometimes manage to stay naked for months on end, in clear violation of even the most relaxed securities laws.

The short-sellers and funds who participate in this manipulation almost always finance undisclosed "short reports" which they research & prepare in advance, before paying well-known short-selling groups to publish and market their reports (often without any form of disclosure) to broad audiences in order to further push the stock down artificially. There's no doubt that these reports are intended to create maximum fear amongst retail investors and to push them to sell their shares as quickly as possible.

That is market manipulation. Plain and simple.

Their MO is to short weak, vulnerable companies by putting out negative reports that drive down their share price as much as possible. This ensures that the shorted company in question no longer has the ability to obtain financing, putting them at the mercy of the same funds that were just shorting them. After cratering the shorted company's share price, the funds then start offering these companies financing usually through convertibles with a warrant attachment as a hedge (or potential future cover) against their short; and the companies take the offers because they have no choice left. Rinse and Repeat.

In addition to the foregoing madness, brokers are often complicit in these sorts of crimes through their booking of client shares as "long" when they are in fact "short". This is where the practice moves from a regulatory gray area to conduct worthy of prison time.

Naked short selling was officially labeled illegal in the U.S. and Europe after the 2008/2009 financial crisis.

Making it illegal didn't stop it from happening, however, because some of the more creative traders have discovered convenient gaps between paper and electronic trading systems, and they have taken advantage of those gaps to short stocks.

Still, it gets even more sinister.

According to Christian, "global working groups" coordinate their attacks on specifically targeted companies in a "Mafia-like" strategy.

Journalists are paid off, along with social media influencers and third-party research houses that are funded by what amounts to a conspiracy. Together, they collaborate to spread lies and negative narratives to destroy a stock.

At its most illegal, there is an insider-trading element that should enrage regulators. The MO is to infiltrate a company through disgruntled insiders or lawyers close to the company. These sources are used to obtain insider information that is then leaked to damage the company.

Often, these illegal transactions involve paying off "informants", journalists, influencers, and "researchers" are difficult to trace because they are made from offshore accounts that are shut down once the deed is done.

Likewise, the "shorts" disguised as longs can be difficult to trace when the perpetrators have direct market access to trading systems. These trades are usually undetected until the trades fail or miss settlement. At that point, the account will move the position to another broker-dealer and start the process all over again.

The collusion widens when brokers and financial institutions become complicit in purposefully mislabeling "shorts" as "longs", sweeping the illegal transactions under the rug and off of regulatory radar.

"Spoofing" and "layering" have also become pervasive techniques to avoid regulator attention. Spoofing, as the name suggests, involves short sellers creating fake selling pressure on their targeted stocks to drive prices lower. They accomplish this by submitting fake offerings in "layers" at different prices to create a mirage.

Finally, these bad actors manage to skirt the settlement system, which is supposed to "clear" on what is called a T+2 basis . That means that any failed trades must be bought or dealt with within 3 days. In other words, if you buy on Monday (your "T" or transaction day), it has to be settled by Wednesday.

Unfortunately, Canadian regulators have a hard time keeping up with this system, and failed trades are often left outstanding for much longer periods than T+2. These failing trades are constantly being traded to reset the settlement clock and move the failing trade to the back of the line. The failures of a centralized system

According to Christian, it can be T+12 days before a failed trade is even brought to the attention of the IIROC (the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada)

Prime Brokers and Banks are Complicit

This is one of Wall Street's biggest profit center and fines levied against them are merely a minor cost of doing business.

Some banks are getting rich off of these naked short sellers. The profits off this kind of lending are tantalizing, indeed. Brokers are lending stocks they don't own for massive profit and sizable bonuses.

This layer of what many have now called a "criminal organization" is the toughest for regulators to deal with, regardless of the illegal nature of these activities.

Prime brokers lend cash account shares that are absolutely not allowed to be lent. They lend them to short-sellers in order to facilitate them in settling their naked shorts.

It's not that the regulators are in the dark on this. They are, in fact, handing out fines, left and right -- both for illegal lending and for mismarking "shorts" and "longs" to evade regulatory scrutiny. The problem is that these fines pale in comparison to the profits earned through these activities.

And banks in Canada in particular are basically writing the rules themselves, recently making it easier (and legal) to lend out cash account shares.

Nor do law firms have clean hands. They help short sellers bankrupt targeted companies through court proceedings, a process that eventually leads to the disappearance of evidence of naked shorts on the bank books.

"How much has been stolen through this fraudulent system globally is anyone's guess," says Christian, "but the number begins with a 'T' (trillions)."

The list of fines for enabling and engaging in manipulative activity that destroys companies' stock prices may seem to carry big numbers from the retail investor's perspective, but they are not even close to being significant enough to deter such actions:

- The SEC charged Citigroup's principal U.S. broker-deal subsidiary in 2011 with misleading investors about a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation (CDO) tied to the U.S. housing market. Citigroup had bet against investors as the housing market showed signs of distress. The CDO defaulted only months later, causing severe losses for investors and a profit of $160 million (just in fees and trading profits). Citigroup paid $285 million to settle these SEC charges.

- In 2016, Goldman, Sachs & Co. agreed to pay $15 million to settle SEC charges that its securities lending practices violated federal regulations. To wit: The SEC found that Goldman Sachs was mismarking logs and allowed customers to engage in short selling without determining whether the securities could reasonably be borrowed at settlement.

- In 2013, a Charles Schwab subsidiary was found liable by the SEC for a naked short-selling scheme and fined $8.2 million .

- The SEC charged two Merrill Lynch entities in 2015 with using "inaccurate data in the course of executing short sale orders", fining them $11 million.

- And most recently, Canadian Cormark Securities Inc and two others came under the SEC's radar. On December 21, SEC instituted cease-and-desist orders against Cormark. It also settled charges against Cormark and two other Canada-based broker deals for "providing incorrect order-making information that caused an executing broker's repeated violations of Regulation SHO". According to the SEC, Cormark and ITG Canada caused more than 200 sale orders from a single hedge fund, to the tune of more than $660 million between August 2016 and October 2017, to be mismarked as "long" when they were, in fact, "short" -- a clear violation of Regulation SHO. Cormark agreed to pay a penalty of $800,000 , while ITG Canada -- one of the other broker-dealers charged -- agreed to pay a penalty of $200,000. Charging and fining Cormark is only the tip of the iceberg. The real question is on whose behalf was Cormark making the naked short sells?

- In August 2020, Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) was fined $127 million over civil and criminal allegations in connection with its role in a massive price-manipulation scheme.

According to one Toronto-based Canadian trader who spoke to Oilprice.com on condition of anonymity, "traders are the gatekeeper for the capital markets and they're not doing a very good job because it's lucrative to turn a blind eye." This game is set to end in the near future, and it is only a matter of time.

"These traders are breaking a variety of regulations, and they are taking this risk on because of the size of the account," he said. "They have a responsibility to turn these trades down. Whoever is doing this is breaking regulations [for the short seller] and they know he is not going to be able to make a settlement. As a gatekeeper, it is their regulatory responsibility to turn these trades away. Instead, they are breaking the law willfully and with full knowledge of what they are doing."

"If you control the settlement system, you can do whatever you want," the source said. "The compliance officers have no teeth because the banks are making big money. They over-lend the stocks; they lend from cash account shares to cover some of these fails for instance, if there are 20 million shares they sold 'long', they can cover by borrowing from cash account shares."

The Naked Truth

In what he calls our "ominous financial reality", Tom C.W. Lin, attorney at law, details how "millions of dollars can vanish in seconds, rogue actors can halt trading of billion-dollar companies, and trillion-dollar financial markets can be distorted with a simple click or a few lines of code".

Every investor and every institution is at risk, writes Lin.

The naked truth is this: Investors stand no chance in the face of naked short sellers. It's a game rigged in the favor of a sophisticated short cartel and Wall Street giants.

Now, with online trading making it easier to democratize trading, there are calls for regulators to make moves against these bad actors to ensure that North America's capital markets remain protected, and retail investors are treated fairly.

The recent GameStop saga is retail fighting back against the shorting powers, and it's a wonderful thing to see - but is it a futile punch or the start of something bigger? The positive take away from the events the past week is that the term "short selling" has been introduced to the public and will surely gather more scrutiny.

Washington is gearing up to get involved. That means that we can expect the full power of Washington, not just the regulators, to be thrown behind protecting the retail investors from insidious short sellers and the bankers and prime brokers who are profiting beyond belief from these manipulative schemes.

The pressure is mounting in Canada, too, where laxer rules have been a huge boon for manipulators. The US short cartel has preyed upon the Canadian markets for decades as they know the regulators rarely take action. It is truly the wild west.

Just over a year ago, McMillan published a lengthy report on the issue from the Canadian perspective, concluding that there are significant weaknesses in the regulatory regime.

While covered short-selling itself has undeniable benefits in providing liquidity and facilitating price discovery, and while the Canadian regulators' hands-off approach has attracted many people to its capital markets, there are significant weaknesses that threaten to bring the whole house of cards down.

McMillan also noted that "the number of short campaigns in Canada is utterly disproportionate to the size of our capital markets when compared to the United States, the European Union, and Australia".

Taking Wall Street's side in this battle, Bloomberg notes that Wall Street has survived "numerous other attacks" over the centuries, "but the GameStop uprising could mark the end of an era for the public short", suggesting that these actors are "long-vilified folks who try to root out corporate wrongdoing".

Bloomberg even attempts to victimize Andrew Left's Citron Research, which -- amid all the chaos -- has just announced that it has exited the short-selling game after two decades.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Short sellers, particularly the naked variety, are not helping police the markets and route out bad companies, as Bloomberg suggests. Naked short sellers are not motivated by moral and ethical reasons, but by profit alone. They attack good, but weak and vulnerable companies. They are not the saviors of capital markets, but the destroyers. Andrew Left may be a "casualty", but he is not a victim. Nor likely are the hedge funds with whom he has been working.

In a petition initiated by Change.org, the petitioners urge the SEC and FINRA to investigate Left and Citron Research, noting: "While information Citron Research publishes are carefully selected and distributed in ways that do not break the law at first sight, the SEC and FINRA have overlooked the fact that Left and Citron gains are a result of distributing catalysts in an anticipation of substantial price changes due to public response in either panic, encouragement, or simply a catalyst action wave ride. Their job as a company is to create the most amount of panic shortly after taking a trading position so they and their clients can make the most amount of financial gains at the expense of regular investors."

On January 25 th , the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce published its final report for Ontario's Minister of Finance, noting that while naked short selling has been illegal in the United States since 2008, it remains a legal loophole in Canada. The task force is recommending that the Ministry ban this practice that allows for the short-selling of tradable assets without first borrowing the security.

The National Coalition Against Naked Short Selling - Failing to Deliver Securities (NCANS), which takes pains to emphasize that is not in any way against short-selling, notes: "Naked short-selling transfers the risk exposure and the hedging expense of the derivatives market makers onto the backs of equity investors, without any corresponding benefit to them. This is fundamentally unfair, and must stop."

Across North America, the issue is about to reach a fever pitch over GameStop. For once, regular retail investors have a voice to use against Wall Street. And for once, Washington appears to be listening. The House and Senate both have hearings scheduled over the GameStop saga.

Paradoxically, the same company that basically started the retail investor coup -- zero-fee trading app Robinhood -- is now under fire for pulling the rug out from under the same democratic movement.

After retail investors joined forces against Wall Street short-sellers to push GameStop stock from $20 to a high of over $480 in less than a week, Robinhood made the very unpopular move of instituting a ban on buying for retail investors. Under the rules, Wall Street could still buy and sell, but retail investors could only sell. This new band of investors -- which includes pretty much all of Robinhood's clientele -- are up in arms, with customers now suing. They won't go away, and they have Washington's ear and Twitter and Reddit's social media power. This is shaping up to be an uprising.

What happens with GameStop next could end up dictating a new form of capital markets democracy that levels the playing field and punishes the Mafia-like elements of Wall Street that have been fleecing investors and destroying companies for years.

Retail investors want to clean up capital markets, and they just might be powerful enough to do it now. That's a serious wake-up call for both naked short sellers and the investing public.

Viva la Revolucion.

James Stafford

Publisher Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

[Feb 02, 2021] We told the people who were already enjoying a prosperous situation that things would be much better for their children and that we would be able to solve the outstanding problems.

Notable quotes:
"... "We told the people who were already enjoying a prosperous situation that things would be much better for their children and that we would be able to solve the outstanding problems. [But the new situation] presents a much more difficult task to fulfill. Because from the moment there is no longer a constant surplus to be distributed, the question of distribution is appreciably more difficult to resolve." ..."
Feb 02, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Left in Wisconsin , January 29, 2021 at 4:03 pm

Highly recommend the Przeworski piece at Phenomenal World.

Most of it is reflections on/by 3 European leftist leaders from the 1970s-80s (German Prime Chancellor Willy Brandt, Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, and Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme) about how the oil shocks and associated economic changes of the era presented a challenge to social democrats – including ending the belief/fantasy that reformism could be system-changing – that they (we) were not then, and I would argue still are not, able to address.

Palme spells out the difficulty:

"We told the people who were already enjoying a prosperous situation that things would be much better for their children and that we would be able to solve the outstanding problems. [But the new situation] presents a much more difficult task to fulfill. Because from the moment there is no longer a constant surplus to be distributed, the question of distribution is appreciably more difficult to resolve."

Brand echoes these concerns, noting that it is essential to prevent inequality from increasing as growth resumes. Eighteen months later, during another in person meeting on 25 May 1975, Kreisky makes the fiscal constraint even more explicit:

"It is precisely now that reforms should be made. It is just a question which. If we strongly develop social policies, we will not be able to finance them."

Also included an amazing graph of declining electoral support for left/SD parties in Europe.

[Feb 02, 2021] Watching stock market moves is like watching Pulp Fiction: halfway through, the violence doesn t even bother you anymore

Notable quotes:
"... "It's like watching 'Pulp Fiction.' Halfway through, the violence doesn't even bother you anymore." ..."
Jan 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

"Investors are becoming desensitized,"

Bryce Doty, SVP at Sit Investment Associates, told Bloomberg, then continued the verbal poetry:

"It's like watching 'Pulp Fiction.' Halfway through, the violence doesn't even bother you anymore."

[Feb 02, 2021] The Importance of Usury Laws

Notable quotes:
"... Today's cultural dominance in much of the South and chunks of the Midwest by boobtoob preachers, Dominationists and the highly heretical oxymoronical "Christian" Zioni$ts can be seen as the afterbirth of cultural Calvinism. Calvinism is Talmudic in its essence and squats at the nexus of what they like to call "Judeo-Christian Civilization". ..."
Jan 22, 2021 | www.unz.com

Mefobills , says: January 22, 2021 at 2:34 pm GMT • 9.3 hours ago

The author Jafee is confused on Bentham, because Bentham was confused himself, or was a Jewish agent of mammon.

The highlighted terms accord with Benthamian Utilitarianism -- the greatest human happiness of the greatest human number.[1]
Much (but surely not all) pertinent history suggests that Bentham's thinking influenced the construction of the Preamble

The English philosopher Jeremey Bentham (1748-1832) was a defender of usury, which is the opposite of happiness for the greatest human number.

In 1787 Jeremey Bentham wrote "In Defence of Usury." Bentham was the son of a rich lawyer, and a lawyer himself, not an economist, which is why he was confused. Bentham created the present mis-definition of usury which prevails to today, so he was very damaging. "The taking of grater interest than the law allows, or the taking of greater interest than is usual."

Bentham ignored hundreds of years of the Catholic Scholastics work on usury, and also ignored Aristotle. Actually Bentham attacked Aristotle in order to spread his B.S. Bentham's father was Jewish, and Bentham also ignored the fairly strong Old Testament admonitions against usury.

Bentham spread the same erroneous B.S. that Calvin did, and both men did enormous damage, and whether by design or confusion are NOT for the common good. Their connections to our (((friends))) is suspicious.

A Persian Daric is a gold coin. Bentham said this: Though all money in nature is barren, though a Daric would not beget another Daric yet for a Daric which a man borrowed he might get a ram and couple of ewes and the ewes would probably not be barren (pages 98 to 101 of his screed)

Aristotle and the Catholic Schoolmen clearly showed that it was the Ewes that were fertile, not the coins.

Bentham or Calvin could not read with comprehension and twisted words into new meanings. This twisted language persists in the brains of modern humans as confusion.

As if every Daric is going to buy an Ewe in order to reproduce.

By 1850 John Whipple wrote "The Importance of Usury Laws – An answer to Jeremey Bentham."

"The purpose of money is to facilitate exchange. It was never intended as an article of trade, as an article possessing an inherent value in itself, and further than as representative or test of the value of all other articles."

It undoubtedly admits of private ownership, but of an ownership that is not absolute, like the product of individual industry, but qualified and limited by the special use for which it was designed.

And

The power of money over every other article, arises out of the artificial character given to it by the STATE , AND NOT OUT OF THE QUALITIES OF THE MATERIAL WHICH IT IS COMPOSED.

Bentham also argued that anti-usury laws were due to prejudice against Jews. Whipple was not frightened by the Jew trick of anti-semitism claims. Whipple said this in reply, "The real truth is this feeling which he calls prejudice is the result of the moral instinct of mankind."

Whipple wasn't afraid of calling out the Jew.

In other words, Bentham did not have the moral instinct of mankind, but instead was a usurer, hiding behind his utilitarianism doctrine.

My view is that the preamble general welfare clause is direct lineage that comes through Benjamin Franklin and his experiences in the Philadelphia Colony. Franklin was definitely NOT a usurer, and was not confused on money.

Abdul Alhazred , says: January 22, 2021 at 3:01 pm GMT • 8.9 hours ago

The Preamble of the constitution reflects a Liebnizian metaphysic reflected in the notion of the pursuit of happiness, were are not talking utilitarianism, but a recognition that man is made in the image of the creator, Imago Dei where happiness reflects an acknowledgement that we are actually creative beings where happiness is a reflection of such creativity, above mere acquisition of 'property' as the Confederacy devolved the phrase to "Life, Liberty and Property"

Majority of One , says: January 22, 2021 at 7:45 pm GMT • 4.2 hours ago
@Mefobills eply distorted by Calvinistic Puritanism and its "Chosen People" mythos.

Much of the religious fervor which dominated the American frontier in the latter decades of the 18th Century and early 19th–they called it "The Great Awakening" -- was infused with the patriarchal form of religiosity as ignited by Calvinistic tropes and memes.

Today's cultural dominance in much of the South and chunks of the Midwest by boobtoob preachers, Dominationists and the highly heretical oxymoronical "Christian" Zioni$ts can be seen as the afterbirth of cultural Calvinism. Calvinism is Talmudic in its essence and squats at the nexus of what they like to call "Judeo-Christian Civilization".

My preference is to employ the more objectively truthful description: the "JudieChristie MagickMindfuck.

Mefobills , says: January 22, 2021 at 11:20 pm GMT • 35 minutes ago
@Leonard R. Jaffee Anti-semitism card. Bentham even attacked Aristotle for corrupting Christianity.

In Bentham's book, Bentham associates some of the positive attributes of thrift with money lending. Money lending becomes on the same plane as thrift in his worldview. An here is the coup-de-gras: Compound interest was forbidden in Bentham's day, and Bentham urged its legalization.

A compound curve for interest is outside of nature, as the claims on nature grow exponentially. Nature does not grow exponentially. Nature and labor cannot pay the claims, and society polarizes. Jesus started his mission on the Jubilee year, as Jubilees are coded in the Bible to prevent polarization.

If Bentham wasn't a Jew, he certainly had the Jewish spirit. Bentham was not for the common good.

[Feb 01, 2021] Many neoliberalized US universities and colleges are greedy and have become too dependent on international students and their superior fee-paying ability compared with domestic students to finance bloated administrative staff salaries

Covid-19 exposed some warts of neoliberalism in higher education... They want to keep those lucrative international students flooding in, after all.
Notable quotes:
"... We align our identities with our institutions and think in very a short-term, metric-based fashion, seeing "success" (for instance) in terms of student recruitment (tuition fees paid in). Moreover, we're encouraged above all to be global in outlook: we look forward to our perennially "busy" international conference seasons and we emphasize the global and the transnational over the merely local or national ..."
"... our identities as academics are unavoidably embedded in a form of neoliberal hyperglobalisation. We rely on unrestricted flows of (wealthy) bodies across borders. ..."
"... We see this form of globalisation, and the benefits that accrue to us and our institutions from it, as a form of moral necessity : something it isn't possible even to argue against in good faith. Hence our loud assent to principles like open borders and always-on mass migration. ..."
"... Our commitment to the global as a form of moral mission has left us completely unprepared for what's currently unfolding. We are utterly unused to considering the material constraints of the economy our livelihoods depend on; that globalisation might come back to bite us; that the very aircraft that carry us across the world to conference destinations and field work sites would one day turn off the spigot of endlessly mobile bodies our careers and identities depend on. ..."
"... In this respect, I think of this post over at Crooked Timber, where John Quiggin (an economist I have a great deal of respect for) simply cannot bring himself to confront the possibility that the open borders dream might be dead. ..."
"... But the fact that the "export education" model was a disastrous wrong turn will take much longer to be accepted, I think, because of the widespread commitment I've been talking about here to the principle of the global as a form of moral necessity. ..."
May 22, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Musicismath , April 6, 2020 at 1:04 pm

we've had a Minsky-like process operating on a society-wide basis: as daily risks have declined, most people have blinded themselves to what risk amounts to and where it might surface in particularly nasty forms. And the more affluent and educated classes, who disproportionately constitute our decision-makers, have generally been the most removed.

I see something very similar happening in academia. We align our identities with our institutions and think in very a short-term, metric-based fashion, seeing "success" (for instance) in terms of student recruitment (tuition fees paid in). Moreover, we're encouraged above all to be global in outlook: we look forward to our perennially "busy" international conference seasons and we emphasize the global and the transnational over the merely local or national (denigrated as narrow, provincial, and ideologically suspect).

We like to see ourselves as mobile subjects, bodies in constant motion, our minds Romantically untethered from the confines of any one nation state.

So our identities as academics are unavoidably embedded in a form of neoliberal hyperglobalisation. We rely on unrestricted flows of (wealthy) bodies across borders. Our institutions (or many of them) have become dependent on international students and their superior fee-paying ability compared with merely "domestic students."

We might agree in principle with ideas of a GND, say, or take an ecocritical approach to a novel or a play, but we're certainly not going to cut back on the number of international conferences we attend. Indeed, many of us go further.

We see this form of globalisation, and the benefits that accrue to us and our institutions from it, as a form of moral necessity : something it isn't possible even to argue against in good faith. Hence our loud assent to principles like open borders and always-on mass migration. We have to keep those lucrative international students flooding in, after all. (Not that we'd ever put it in terms as crassly material as that; after all, we don't work in university administration .)

Our commitment to the global as a form of moral mission has left us completely unprepared for what's currently unfolding. We are utterly unused to considering the material constraints of the economy our livelihoods depend on; that globalisation might come back to bite us; that the very aircraft that carry us across the world to conference destinations and field work sites would one day turn off the spigot of endlessly mobile bodies our careers and identities depend on.

Hence the reason why a lot of my colleagues are so lost right now. They're so used to living on a purely symbolic (or moral-symbolic) level that the materiality of this virus and its consequences seems like a crude insult. Many stubbornly hold on to their old commitments, unwilling to admit that the world might have changed.

In this respect, I think of this post over at Crooked Timber, where John Quiggin (an economist I have a great deal of respect for) simply cannot bring himself to confront the possibility that the open borders dream might be dead.

Where we go from here, I have no idea. But the fact that international and Erasmus students might be gone for the foreseeable future, and the major implications this will have for the financial viability or our universities, seems to be slowly sinking in.

But the fact that the "export education" model was a disastrous wrong turn will take much longer to be accepted, I think, because of the widespread commitment I've been talking about here to the principle of the global as a form of moral necessity.

[Jan 29, 2021] The System Is Rigged - Episode 4537- Game Stop Corp

Notable quotes:
"... "I am also reading the the next focus of the little people investors is the highly manipulated precious metals markets.....I love the smell of burning Wall Street in the morning." ..."
"... Back in the Oughts when the fraudulent mortgages were grossly inflating Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), there were many instances of naked short selling to keep honest REITs down, activities I learned firsthand. We formed a shareholders organization that lobbied the SEC to enforce its laws but to no avail--the regulators were well captured and did zip. ..."
"... There's short selling, and then there's naked short selling. Why do the markets require naked short selling? If those hedge funds already owned the stocks that they are selling short, they would not be in such trouble now. ..."
Jan 29, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Jan 28 2021 18:47 utc | 6

Early this week a few amateur stock trading nerds decided to promote a stock that was heavily shortened by certain hedge funds. The idea was to raise the stock price of Game Stop Corp., a vendor for computer games, by having lots of small stock traders to buy into it. The hedge fund that shortened the stock, and thereby bet on a dropping stock price, would then make huge losses while the many small buyers would potentially profit.

These people, who had joined up in the sub-reddit /r/WallStreetBets, were not driven by greed but by rage against the financial machine :

Instead of greed, this latest bout of speculation, and especially the extraordinary excitement at GameStop, has a different emotional driver: anger. The people investing today are driven by righteous anger, about generational injustice, about what they see as the corruption and unfairness of the way banks were bailed out in 2008 without having to pay legal penalties later, and about lacerating poverty and inequality. This makes it unlike any of the speculative rallies and crashes that have preceded it.

The movement was successful. The stock price of Game Stop Corp. rose from some $10 to over $400 within just a few days. The short seller had to take cover under a larger firm:

Hedge fund Melvin Capital closed out its short position in GameStop on Tuesday after taking huge losses as a target of the army of retail investors. Citadel and Point72 have infused close to $3 billion into Gabe Plotkin's hedge fund to shore up its finances.

I'm shocked! Absolutely shocked to see that the game of finance is rigged!!!!/snark

There have not been market fundamentals since the beginning of financialization in 1971 when money became fiat instead of gold backed. I find it interesting that it has taken 50 years for the cancer of financialization to fully compromise the host. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

I think the speed of decline of empire is speeding up as noted by the increase in international investment in China.

I am also reading the the next focus of the little people investors is the highly manipulated precious metals markets.....I love the smell of burning Wall Street in the morning.


Rutherford82 , Jan 28 2021 18:50 utc | 7

@6 psychohistorian

"I am also reading the the next focus of the little people investors is the highly manipulated precious metals markets.....I love the smell of burning Wall Street in the morning."

Is Max Keiser going after the silver market again? I bet he was posting on r/Wallstreetbets to stir things up!

karlof1 , Jan 28 2021 18:50 utc | 8

Back in the Oughts when the fraudulent mortgages were grossly inflating Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), there were many instances of naked short selling to keep honest REITs down, activities I learned firsthand. We formed a shareholders organization that lobbied the SEC to enforce its laws but to no avail--the regulators were well captured and did zip.

We even ran full pages ads in the NY Times and WaPost to add visibility to our justifiable outrage, which was well proven when the bubble burst.

But Obama didn't do his job and enforce the law, and the entire mess is far worse now. This episode epitomizes the amazing amounts of corruption masquerading as well regulated markets and an equitable financial system.

I support Hudson's debt forgiveness for the main reason it will bankrupt the debt holders--the Financial Parasites--who are also the beneficiaries of the corrupt system; and with their destruction, will allow for the rise of the Public Financial Utility that will restore law and order to that realm of the economy. Yes, this must be seen as yet another episode of the longstanding Class War, one of the most brazen ever.

lysias , Jan 28 2021 19:41 utc | 18

There's short selling, and then there's naked short selling. Why do the markets require naked short selling? If those hedge funds already owned the stocks that they are selling short, they would not be in such trouble now.

Bemildred , Jan 28 2021 20:20 utc | 24

It's not over yet:

Triden , Jan 28 2021 20:55 utc | 29

Citadel and Point72 have infused close to $3 billion into Gabe Plotkin's hedge fund to shore up its finances.

-b

How Robinhood was rigged:

Robinhood sells its orderflow to Citadel for execution. Citadel then chiselled the retail investor for pennies per trade by frontrunning (think high freq trading) before execution of retail order, inflating the price and cheating the customer. Citadel bailed out Citron, essentially inheriting the short position. Citadel then threatened Robinhood with refusing payment for orderflow

[Jan 27, 2021] Why financial oligarchy loves neoclassical economics

Jan 27, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Sound of the Suburbs , January 27, 2021 at 4:00 am

The globalists found just the economics they were looking for.
The USP of neoclassical economics – It concentrates wealth.
Let's use it for globalisation.

Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48, observed what the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics did to the US economy in the 1920s.
"a giant suction pump had by 1929 to 1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing proportion of currently produced wealth. This served then as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied themselves the kind of effective demand for their products which would justify reinvestment of the capital accumulation in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When the credit ran out, the game stopped"

This is what it's supposed to be like.
A few people have all the money and everyone else gets by on debt.

[Jan 26, 2021] Appeals to bring more young Russians to US as 'soft power' tool could backfire, there's no guarantee they will like what they see

Jan 26, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jan 25 2021 17:23 utc | 130

Trump's decoupling dream come true.

--//--

Appeals to bring more young Russians to US as 'soft power' tool could backfire, there's no guarantee they will like what they see

McFaul says that "Biden's team should come up with new ways to grow these ties [with ordinary Russians] even over Putin's objections. In the long run, forging and sustaining links with Russian society will undermine anti-American propaganda as well as American stereotypes about Russia."

To this, McFaul adds that, "The new administration should make it easier for Russians to study in and travel to the United States," and urges European states to do the same.

My take on this is very simple: the West cannot even absorb their own youth anymore. What makes them think they can absorb Russia's?

Besides, it's not so simple an operation to attract young people to your country to study. The logistics are very complicated, and it requires a lot of resources not even counting the promise of jobs within your own country (in the case of STEM students). Even the brain drain from countries with large populations such as China and India don't surpass much above the low to mid six digits. And those programs take time to gain traction - decades in most cases. And all of this already taking into account the fact that your country still has to be an attractive place.

Discontent already exists in Americans with Indian STEM from H1B1 visa program. As the excess population rises, so will resistance to new influx of immigrants - specially high-skilled ones. This will snowball to a stage where Americans become second-class citizens in their own country (as you would have to guarantee the jobs for the foreigners in order to sweeten the deal).

[Jan 26, 2021] How will the USA regain its advantage in this world?

Decimation of education by neoliberalism and neoliberal brainwashing is the root of all evil.
Jan 26, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Jan 26 2021 0:28 utc | 168

How will the USA regain its advantage in this world?

I was looking back at some earlier reports to gain an insight into the means by which the USA gave the game away and the means that might restore its place in the economic world. It has allowed itself to be completely captive to global private finance AND ownership of the keys to its salvation. If it dfoes not nationalise its key industries then it can rest assured of its doom. IMO it is now almost impossible for it to nationalise a pizza parlour let alone an education or engineering sector.

This (posted here before) from Strategic Culture of November 2020 "How a Wise Decoupling May Be a Good Thing for Both China and the West". It is worth reconsidering from time to time.

If the USA is to survive the oncoming collapse and break free of its apocalyptic war agenda, then certain realities WILL have to occur. These realities include (but are not limited to):

1) Regaining its lost industrial potential, with an emphasis on the machine tool sector which the west once enjoyed as a world leader

2) Regaining the lost scientific and technological capacities which the USA once had when it still valued productive thinking under the days of JFK and NASA

3) Regaining a grasp of education which values productive citizens over consumer subjects

4) Regaining control over national credit under federal banking, dirigisme and other long-term investment practices that rely on regulating Wall Street speculation and other unproductive forms of banking.

How might these vital capacities be regained?....

The USA is incapable of nationalising its education sector and is incapable systemically of having the patience to await the benefits. It will continue to sustain an education sector that is designed to transfer $$$ in taxation directly to private corporation pockets and to do so by reducing the the number of salary earners between the input $ and the $ that end in private corporation pockets. The private corporations will continue to perfect the swindle of returning the least possible effort in return for those $$$.

Ditto for defence spending and every other sector.

The USAi is hoist by its own petard and has a dull brained president surrounded by ideological obsessives, cultural paranoiacs, a narcissistic Congress and Senate. It will not be capable of restoring its real economy and will continue to imagine itself as a world leader. It will berate and negate and cancel all unorthodox thought from those that favour nation building.

The rest of the world's nations had better take note. Clearly many have.

[Jan 26, 2021] When guys like Michael Saylor put a half a billion into bitcoin they have done their homework. Seems to me a scam is an operation containing a lot of lies

Jan 26, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Jan 26 2021 1:11 utc | 172

c1ue #118
I actually talked about this with Kuppy last week.

He considers HFT a problem but not crippling; he says they cost him $10K to $25K a day but apparently this isn't enough to deter his hedge fund activities. He said that up to 70% of trading volume activity in any stock is HFT (!).
As for scam: well - the value of the front running exists only so long as the herd is in the market. Every single market crash - whether bitcoin or the stock market or whatever - sees the vast majority of players exit (or bankrupt). At that point, the trading volumes and numbers of people participating plummet dramatically.
How valuable do you think RH's model is then?

Sounds to me that HFT is a scam in itself. Am I to believe that algorithms trading against each other repetitively at high speed is anything other than machine driven gambling on one algorithm's interpretation of the behaviour of another algorithm, mostly outside of the human buy and sell in the market place. Are the humans just strapped on for the ride through a cabal of trading companies?


psychohistorian , Jan 26 2021 1:29 utc | 173

@ uncle t # 168 who wrote
"
I was looking back at some earlier reports to gain an insight into the means by which the USA gave the game away and the means that might restore its place in the economic world. It has allowed itself to be completely captive to global private finance AND ownership of the keys to its salvation. If it does not nationalize its key industries then it can rest assured of its doom.
"

I continue to posit that the key industry that needs to be "nationalized/made totally sovereign" is finance. If humanity can follow China's lead, the motivations in the other industries will revert to doing what is right, rather than what is profitable.


In regards to your HFT comment in # 172, you have calling HFT a scam correct. It is programmed/manufactured theft under the guise of AI.

Thanks for your comments.

uncle tungsten , Jan 26 2021 1:32 utc | 174
arby #110
When guys like Michael Saylor put a half a billion into bitcoin they have done their homework. Seems to me a scam is an operation containing a lot of lies. I don't see how bitcoin falls into that category.

As far as a Ponzi scheme I also do not see the connection. It is nothing like a Ponzi. There are no promises of big returns or large dividends.


When people follow 'guys like Michael Saylor [and see him] put a half a billion into bitcoin they [think] have done their homework [and follow like fish chasing a lure] THEN they have been sucked into a ponzi scheme where the lure is a fast buck if they follow the (smart?) leader. Then the smart leader progressively sells out at a sweet peak and the chumps watch it dip for a month or two. Unless of course there are lots of paid journalists and bloggers and facebook praise singers pumping the lure of the endless profit of bitcoin.

Sounds like rumours of gold in them thar hills.

There are a large number of lies (or exaggeration?) in bitcoin and all spun within a sheath of mystery and complexity and even 'mining' to smear some credible lipstick on the scheme.

There is a sucker born every minute and they invest in BS and love a veneer of mystique and bitcoin falls squarely into the category of lies and scams and fancy imaginings and the lure that suckers are forever chasing. Yes, people buy and sell and some make a profit - same as any ponzi scheme.

While the BS is pumped the ponzi is inflated.

[Jan 25, 2021] The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Notable quotes:
"... It's really quite simple actually. The same folks who did the 911 false flag attack crime are behind the virus hoax. Their ends have never changed; to acquire power and control (which they certainly already have) And to use any means no matter how ruthless and murderous to keep it. ..."
"... When you control all the money in the world, even if you don't have truth on your side, you have immense power. ..."
"... Forget the 99.99% Vs 00.01%. Imagine a few hundred who are running the Covid scam and vaccine poisoning programme and the couple of million opposing it. They are continuing. The opposition, in the meantime, is living on the internet posting 'truth's and pictures of Hitler. ..."
"... Just caught some more mainstream pish on how Fauci blamed his "country's ineffective pandemic response on an American "anti-science bias." He called this bias "inconceivable," because "science is truth." ..."
"... So Fauci stated "science is truth." – but that is what makes "Fauci" a charlaton in the eyes of real scientists; science is ever changing, evolving, ever questioned, enhanced and even proved incorrect. Today's theories (what he believes to be the truth), will be smiled upon in the future. ..."
Jan 25, 2021 | off-guardian.org

Off-Guardian commenter, Maribel Tuff, expands their comment Above The Line.

Bringing together the US emergency bank lending crisis and the now massive Covid response, I've concluded that one of the main reasons it is happening, apart from the corporate looting, is because of a historic event, the USA's economic collapse and the dollar's demise, which started just weeks before this Covid operation kicked off, and has been put on hold by a world wide manufactured economic 'freeze'.

THE END OF 'EXTEND AND PRETEND'

A few months before Covid appeared, the Fed were busy pouring literally trillions of dollars into the US banks, to prevent inter-lending bank-runs which were starting to develop. These were the same tectonic fissures that developed prior to the 2008 crisis, where the banks became so distrustful of each other's solvency, that they massively increased interest rates to each other to factor in the risk. If unsuppressed the lending rates would continue to rise, laying a path to bank failures and a contagion which would eventually derail the economy and undermine the dollar itself.

In September 2019 the Fed intervened in the repo. markets for four consecutive days, pumping $75 billion per day into the banks, as the inter-banking interest rate – the repo rate – peaked at a terrifying 10% [ 1 ]. If this level were allowed to contaminate regular highstreet lending, it would cause widespread debt defaults & insolvencies.

The dangers are far greater today because, unlike in 2008, Quantitive Easing (QE) has pushed the Fed to the limits of its credibility, and are forcing them into causing some serious currency debasement. If they continue with the forms of QE they are shackled to, then dollar debasement becomes a certainty in a US economy that is far more fragile & indebted generally and less able to cope.

The Fed must have known for a few years that QE was not returning the economy to economic normality, and that they were still trapped in the solvency crisis of 2008. Knowing this, the Fed were prepared for the latest crisis. They had made it possible to inject hundreds of billions of dollars into the banking system discreetly, unlike in 2008, without any additional Congressional fanfare, via the Financial Stability Oversight Council , formed in 2010.

They had given themselves almost unlimited funds and the resources of the entire government if necessary, to reassure the banks that collapse was impossible. This 'rescue operation' was being played out, relatively unreported except in the financial press, only weeks prior to the Covid flu appearing on the world stage. Issuing

.. cumulative repo loans totalling more than $9 trillion to the trading houses on Wall Street that the Fed had been making from September 17 of 2019 – months before the onset of COVID-19 anywhere in the world [ 2 ]

Unlike in 2008, this second use or continued use of mass Fed stimulus is not a new untested idea and, by using it again or continuing to use it more intensely to stabilise the banks, it would eventually lead the markets to conclude that we are locked in a never ending cycle of stimulus, which will inevitably end in hyperinflation and dollar collapse.

That is an uncontroversial economic fact, and will be the conclusion of the Fed's current policy. In that context, an external 'event' could be critical in taking the spotlight off US finance and its woes.

The Fed will not want to exit repo operations until they are absolutely certain the market can stand on its own two feet. [ 3 ], [ 4 ]

United States Overnight Repo Rate was at 0.11 on Friday January 15

https://tradingeconomics.com/embed/?s=unitedstareprat&v=202101212300v20200908&h=300&w=600&ref=/united-states/repo-rate
source: tradingeconomics.com

But, as they well know given their experience over the past 10 years, the markets will never be able to stand on their own feet in the current economic model. Now not only companies are being kept afloat by low interests rates, the US itself is dependent and kept solvent by low interest rates.

The fed has injected or made available over 9 trillion dollars to the banks in only 6 months leading up to March 2020, that is over 40% of the USA's GDP, prior to Covid and represents nearly a 40% increase in the USA's national debt!

So it is becoming very obvious that we are at the end of this particular monetary road, the 'extend and pretend' policy is finished and there is nothing in the economic tool box that can stall the inevitable. Only an external 'divine' intervention could, even temporarily delay the dollar's collapse. As an aside, I should add, although they may be affected later, this is not happening in European or Asian banks, only in US banks.

THE DIVERSION

In my opinion, the US security agencies picked a scenario off the shelf, something they have been justifiably rehearsing for years, the response to a deadly virus, which would produce the required financial shutdown, suppress bank activity, and create a world crisis big enough to eclipse the US economic crisis and produce a 'flight to safety' into the dollar, facilitating an economic induced coma, allowing time, a breathing space and justifying massive emergency QE injections into the US and world economy.

It could be sold as a period during which a restructuring of the world banking system could take place and perhaps reschedule debt as well as redefine the mechanisms of a new reserve currency.

This is what I think 'The Great Reset' really is about. It is being painted as something intricate and nefarious on every level, but it's possibly more utilitarian than that, a necessary dialog, where the subject of that dialog is sealed from the public, justified by protecting our worried and panicky ears, and which concerns almost all western world leaders.

I'm sure a major false flag terror attack would have been discussed as an alternative to Covid, but the US is in no fit position economically to respond militarily, and without a military response to a terror attack the US would fear looking weak. Although Wars have been thought to resolve many an economic crisis, it is just as likely, in this instance, that a proxy war with Russia or a direct war with Iran would precipitate a dollar collapse, rather than create growth and a flight to 'safety'. China would no doubt gleefully humiliate the US during such a conflict. So I speculate that major wars, as an economic solution, are off the table, at least until this crisis is resolved.

Creating a virus out of thin air is a cruel and vicious deceit, but the Fed will no doubt have claimed to its allies that it is far less painful than the total economic implosion we will face in the brewing economic collapse, where financial contagion from the US would cause most western financial institutions to become insolvent, debt would remain unpaid, trade would cease, asset values would crumble, bank machines stop, riots start, martial law be declared, and in many ill-prepared, import-dependent countries like the UK, rationing and eventually hunger would begin.

This is the threat the fed would have made to their allies, as we know for a fact they did in 2008, when asking for a united world central bank stimulus, making it appear vital to world economic survival.

They would have claimed that this time around the economic dangers are of such a magnitude that they even persuaded their foes, Russia and China, to partake in the hoax, because they are also reliant on continued banking & economic stability, and would not be willing to risk political instability at home caused by a second world economic depression.

By creating this suspension of an economic collapse, the US has cleverly turned the dominance of the dollar into a matter of international survival, effectively holding the world to ransom and blocking the baton of world reserve currency being dually transferred over to the next economic ascendant, China, and where the US has effectively engineered themselves a seat amongst the judges at their own bankruptcy hearing.

Believing this to be the case, I am less confused as to why most of the USA's allies were so helpful and so consistent in making this Covid operation happen, and I have concluded it is their belief in the integrated nature of the financial & currency markets and the threat of economic collapse posited, as in 2008 by the Fed, that is causing their complicity.

MUTUAL SECRECY

As each irrational, destructive lockdown measure is implemented I am quite sure that our politicians, the very few that are in the know, say to each other: 'we are lucky because "lockdowns" are as nothing, compared to the calamity that would overtake us in the event of a dollar-induced economic collapse!' This, for me, explains their apparent insanity, lies and the internationally co-ordinated nature of their response. They too are acting out of fear, not for a virus, but for fear of anarchy and, by extension, the very real threat to their own lives that would result.

The secrecy surrounding this operation is wholly consistent, because it is in nobody's interests to break ranks. If anyone exposes what is really happening to the US economy then it would precipitate the run on the banks, and then the dollar, that they are being told would lead to a world economic catastrophe.

To explore this hypothesis, we can look at the varying responses of the world players, and measure their reluctance or complicity in the scam, because at this turning point in history, during these shifts of power, loyalty is not guaranteed.

Japan has been strangely reluctant to take part, indicating to me their brooding irritation with US hegemony, which has been growing amongst their population for some years and expressed through the Osprey protests . It looked at one point like they were flirting with the idea of ignoring Covid altogether. Prompting the US to 'invite' Japan to join 5-eyes, perhaps to exert more direct control over them, via their security services?

Russia and China are reluctantly playing along for obvious economic reasons, but again we see reluctance to go full hog, despite the attraction of introducing authoritarian measures at home under the cover of Covid. Russia has even invented a non-existent vaccine for the non-existent virus, giving themselves an instant opt-out when required. Whereas China is preferring to just stop testing, and ignore the 'crisis' altogether, except for the odd statement about how dangerous it all is.

Non-western Africa, is not taking part at all, in Nigeria there are very few cases, probably because they are out of the loop on what is really happening, and see little evidence of a virus in their population.

Germany although physically occupied by the US, like Japan, have a confidence and independence that marks them apart from other vassal states. Having 'found' far fewer cases of Covid, they have tried to preserve their precious economy from any serious harm for as long as possible, demonstrating a cheekiness, consistent with their building of the Nord-stream pipeline project to Russia, ignoring the US's repeated demands for them to stop.

In contrast, the USA's closest, most supine of allies, & the 5 eyes states, are enthusiastically taking part, hyping the virus story to the n th degree of absurdity. Notably the UK, France and Australia, each week pushing yet another absurdly fascist response to a non-existent problem to scare their population stiff. In my view each allies' response is calibrated to their financial dependency on the US and how 'captured' their leaders are to US interests.

On the political and media front, alternative media, doubtless spurred on by seeded stories and certain controlled opposition, unwittingly fans these flames by speculating on various kingpins and ideologues central to the plot, like Bill & Malinda Gates, and playing up fear stories of Marxist tyrannies, Communist takeovers, compulsory vaccines, tracking chips and various accusations against the dangers of 5G – targeted for being predominately European and Chinese technology.

The end result is a population left either paralysed by fear of the flu, or in terror of a rising 'Marxist Fascist tyranny' run by 'jewish globalists' and oligarchs. Either way, everyone is in too fearful a state to logically assess what is really going on around them.

I'm sure, in the dark bowels of Langley, Virginia, this scenario has been pre-rehearsed and stress-tested for years, and pieced together from a huge portfolio of coups and psychological terror operations from around the world.

Perhaps with lessons learned from Climate Change where, as with the weather, the common flu can easily be weaponised. In the case of Covid via a swiftly implemented 'testing' regime, simply testing for the common cold and producing millions of false positives, and a hysterical, totally unquestioning mainstream media.

COVID OPPORTUNISM

International Covid panic created some short term, but worryingly for the USA, short-lived 'flight to safety'. 'International crisis' is the USA's traditional and most effective tool to protect the dollar: normally US/UK media-manufactured. It was used to bolster a flagging dollar via the media-created 'Euro crisis' or 'Greek debt crisis'. A series of hysterical panics made 'real' by US and UK financial press, quickly making the USA's economic woes old news, and reducing the world reserve holdings of the Euro in only a matter of months.

Along with the 'flight to (dollar) safety', Covid has offered the opportunity to freeze the USA's banking collapse with massive injections of cash. $9 trillions was available to US banks up until March 2020, but in addition to this the Fed produced $5 trillion in economic stimulus to the wider economy and a further 5 trillions recently.

Without this 'external threat' – a 'killer virus' – this amount of stimulus would have immediately caused panic and threatened dollar credibility. However, with the virus narrative and the world-unified stimulus response to the 'Covid pandemic', this modest flight to (dollar) safety, along with the massive cash injections, looked justified and sensible.

It also looks to me like those in the 'dollar economic zone' – if there is such a thing – have gone along with their own impoverishment and have wrecked their own economies under the cover of Covid, to save themselves from a perceived greater economic catastrophe, bank contagion, on the basis of what I believe is being secretly told them by the USA, and based on what they have been witnessing in the US banking system prior to March.

It could easily be argued that we are being unwittingly drawn into a conspiracy to protect the dollar and US hegemony, under the cover of Covid, that is not in our own best long-term interests at all (currently being called the 'great reset').

Like Brexit and like the War on Carbon, I believe that if an operation or manufactured event seems to offer multifaceted advantages to the USA and their Corporate & military elite, then that operation has revealed its origins.

As it is the case with Covid, not only is there a freeze on the US economic collapse, but US Corporations and Internet services are benefiting massively from the 'Covid illusion'. Something that must be getting more obvious by the day, and must be giving honest foreign leaders concerns as they see their retail sectors ravaged by Amazon and their cultural institutions replaced by Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon TV.

And the proposed 'salvation' involves paying billions to US Pharma, for, at best, a very doubtful vaccine. The least-honest politicians can no doubt engineer their 'shutdowns' to preference US corporations, whilst acting as the viceroys of Empire.

This looting could just be a side-show to the main event of dollar 'transition' or collapse, or it could be amongst the main aims of 'Operation Covid', it is difficult to tell, but it looks like the rest of the world is being looted by US Corporations and their home grown small-to-medium-size businesses bankrupted, with vast additional profits flowing to the USA's richest, where we see the stella rise in the wealth of America's robber barons.

From renting taxis with Uber to replacing hotels with AirBNB flats, holding meetings on zoom, spending 'cash free' via Visa, MasterCard et al and the Paypal cartel, ordering food on-line with Uber eats and destroying local culture, all are being forced on a gullible world public during the Covid selective collapse. It should be dawning on everyone by now that Covid is a very, very Neoliberal Corporate virus, strangely working in the interests of a continued US Corporate neoliberal rollout against our own national geopolitical interests.

It is not only the Corporates that benefit from US 'operations' like Covid, the security state also demands their share of the spoils for assisting in and facilitating much of the operation. US tracking apps, social media and communication platforms are being forced, as a parasitical middle man, into every walk of our lives, taking a thin slice off everyday activities, like an America tax.

The details of the implementation of the Covid operation aside, it is possible that many inside the system regard the 'Great Reset' as not a conspiracy to oppress us, to exploit us and destroy our lives in a Marxist tyranny as many believe, but rather regard it as a necessary adjustment to an unbalanced economic system.

To see it like that we must believe that the current system is fundamentally flawed and that good faith solutions are being sought. I think 'The Reset' is seen by many honest brokers around the world as a genuine platform to resolve flaws in the current world economy, and to manage a transition from the dollar, in a controlled fashion. We should not always think the worst motives of everyone involved.

Having said that, I have no doubt that the US is busy trying to hijack the agenda to preserve its own supremacy, even during its climactic demise. The US Military industrial complex will be suspicious of any direction not determined by them, and I'm sure in Washington, Brussels and Beijing there is a battle over the measures and direction we need to take.

Like it or not, there may be very good reasons for these discussions to be held in secret, and we are left with only secondhand hints of the battles being fought over our current economic future; like Universal income, a shared international reserve currency, digital currencies or a cashless society, perhaps required through exchange controls or price fixing, to fight coming hyper-inflation?

Many US shills will be telling the world, that this is a 'crisis of capitalism', a crisis of western civilisation, and that we all need to preserve the US economy & dollar supremacy to save the world.

I personally believe the US has set us up during this crisis, like they did in the last in 2008, where they dumped all their bad debt on European banks to 'share' the crisis out. Working on the principle that: a problem shared is a problem halved, perhaps. Even if we are in this crisis because of a US collapse, and the rest of us could survive relatively unscathed. A 'Reset' does appear to be one route that enables a slow deflating of the economic bomb sitting under the US and which may affect the rest of us badly, if it goes off.

" SHE SWALLOWED THE SPIDER TO CATCH THE FLY;
I DON'T KNOW WHY SHE SWALLOWED A FLY – PERHAPS SHE'LL DIE "

I reference the nursery rhyme as a cautionary tail, because this all started with the relatively normal economic recession of 2007, which if the USA had allowed to burn through its economy, would have been resolved in only a few years, and we would be living in normal times now. But they didn't. The world's central banks were persuaded to take measures that caused greater long-term harm, which in turn has led, in my view, to the 'Covid solution', a provocation intended to temporarily justify even more of the poisonous QE and low interest rates that didn't work before.

Whilst perhaps sold as a 'fire-break for a more long term solution to be found, I don't see much evidence that the 'fire-break' is being used well. It seems more like a pause for the always shortsighted American elites to loot as much as is possible from our states' coffers before an economic tsunami hits.

A SELF-INFLICTED PROBLEM

I also believe the US never needed to be in this grave position it is today. Its problems are very much self inflicted. Simply taxing its wealthy and cutting its outrageous military spending would have averted a dollar crisis, leading instead to a slow drift from the dollar over a few decades as China took up the strain. But that is another story related to America's ideological, political and philosophical bankruptcy and scleroses, that has increasingly driven them into an economic ditch over the past 45 years.

The Covid operation itself is a beautiful metaphor for the original banking crisis, which triggered the Fed to use quantitive easing (QE) – a far, far more damaging response than the original crisis itself, just as the lockdowns are far, far more damaging than this strain of flu, naturally occurring or released deliberately as a marker.

If a consensus resolution is not found quickly for the transfer or sharing of the world reserve currency, as the dollar is about to collapse, I have no doubt we will be required to 'swallow' a more drastic intervention than Covid to save the US economy and the dollar, each solution proving more damaging than the last And of course, as the rhyme goes, we will eventually swallow a 'horse' and be 'dead of course'.

If I am right guys, in one respect you can breathe a sigh of relief: world tyranny, forced vaccinations with harmful DNA changes, sterilisations, and mass genocide are not the main aims of this 'operation'. They may be the end result of it, if we are not careful, but I don't think they are the main aims.

The US is trying to stall dollar relegation using the Covid operation, and make it a major event, when previously the transition from old to new world reserve currency would have gone almost unnoticed by most of us. The British ceded the Pound's world reserve currency status relatively quietly after WWII, under US pressure to float the pound.

It is perhaps a measure of the utility that is now offered by the world's reserve currency, to facilitate the uncontrolled looting of the rest of the world's economies, that it is now such a prize and so hard to surrender. Without the dollar and its world reserve status, enabling the US to print pieces of green paper in exchange for real goods, the US would certainly be bankrupt.

But that is not our fault and it is not for us in the rest of the world to save them, especially since it is their ideology that has inflicted so much harm on their own people and the rest of world.

What we are witnessing is an attempt, through foul means, by another once great Empire to postpone the inevitable. To fight off being consigned to obscurity.

So we exist in that mad time, that time of collapse and chaos before a new order asserts itself, which could last a month or 100 years.

You can view Maribel Tuff's original comment here . The author wished to remain anonymous.

anti_republocrat , Jan 25, 2021 9:51 PM

I was initially not very aware of the liquidity problem that developed in September, 2019, but I became aware of lots of weirdness quite early. Some examples are the FDA shutting down the testing Dr. Hlelen Chu was conducting on stored sample in January. I concluded that the federal government did not want her detecting SARS-CoV-2 in samples collected in 2019. Also, in mid-March, Ben Swann released a video discussing the invalid comparison of Covid's CFR with flu's IFR. If an apples to apples comparison had been made, people would have known that flu is far more dangerous than Covid-19. A third weirdness was the CDC's changes to death certificate criteria exposed by MN state senator Dr. Scott Jensen. He is now enduring harassment from the state medical board and has had to defend his license to practice in MN. About the same time, I became more aware of the liquidity issue and concluded that obscuring that was a prime motivator for hoax, but there were several other motivations. Not all participants in an event necessarily share the same motivation.

It became obvious to me early on that the Gates/Fauci/WHO/HHS crowd was lying about Hydroxychloroquine in order to boost vaccine development. It was hard to link that interest to multiple state governors deliberately committing genocide, but a FB friend yesterday clue me into this article about the power and control of Anthony Fauci throughout the medical establishment: https://kevinbarrett.heresycentral.is/2020/06/mccarthy/ Fear of such power may also be the reason that the FLCCC Alliance affiliated Eastern Virginia Medical School has disfavored HCQ. They clearly believe, probably with good reason, that Ivermectin is better, so they don't want to get smeared with HCQ while they're pushing an even better alternative.

The third motivation is the desire to be rid of Trump. Trump was many bad things, but he was also opposed to the US being controlled by an international globalist, technocratic Deep State. He thus had opponents all over the West, not just in the US. Members of the Deep State were in a perfect position to make sure the funders and controllers of the Democratic Party apparatus were aware how they could use a pandemic and lock downs against Trump.

I'm sure individuals who participated in the hoax had varying levels of awareness, as Ken McCarthy explained when interviewed by Kevin Barrett in the link above. Some actually believed the Covid-19 narrative. Some were afraid to speak out, seeing the retribution faced by others. But many were well aware of what they were doing, even to the point of deliberate eldercide.

It's a good thing most of my life has passed, because death is the only cure for me. No amount of de-programming or exposure to rats will make me unsee what I've seen.

Soros , Jan 26, 2021 12:23 AM Reply to anti_republocrat

The US with the largest military on the planet surrendering power to 'an international globalist, technocratic Deep State."? I don't see that as a choice any US president would make, or is making. Why would they, they hold all the cards and have created in their minds the greatest empire in History.

If there are two alternative views of the future for America, one being pursued by Biden and an alternative by Trump, both will involve American supremacy and control.

Norman E Anderson , Jan 25, 2021 8:34 PM

The Solution: A Global Rush to BitCoin.. pump BitCoin to the Maximum.. then dump it all into their "LIBRA DIEM" just waiting to be offered at the right time.. all to Fund the "balanced ERA 56 Per Diem Stipend" of the New Global Serf Class

Soros , Jan 26, 2021 12:25 AM Reply to Norman E Anderson

Bitcoin will fail in the face of the e-yuan, following dollar collapse. China is way ahead in making their digital currency official.

Lone Wolf , Jan 25, 2021 7:51 PM

This article could portray the absolute reality of the world situation but it will only be read by 99.99999% of the world's population. Of that 0% will be capable of acting positively in support of it.

This applies to every article that appears in OffGuardian. Words hold the ephemeral value of 'chip paper', they are incapable of effecting a solution to a problem that cannot be resolved by words alone.

Understanding this lies at the root of the REAL solution.

paranoid goy , Jan 25, 2021 1:20 PM

You know a thing as a simple truth by it being simple without being simplistic. But the Bolsheviks never let a good crisis go to waste, so keep fighting Baal Gates' holy water!
Excellent post.

JdL , Jan 25, 2021 8:49 AM

"Off-Guardian commenter, Maribel Tuff, expands their comment Above The Line."
Who are "they" in this sentence? Please don't tell me this is some kind of genderless BS, using the plural to mean singular just to avoid – GASP! – implying whether someone is male or female.

Fact Checker , Jan 26, 2021 12:13 AM Reply to JdL

I took it to be a deliberate use of a gender-neutral pronoun not out of political correctness, but because it is an understood pen name and there's no reason to believe the writer is one sex or the other. (Of course, it is still confusingly plural.)

Harry Rogers , Jan 24, 2021 11:29 PM

A couple of notes from history.

After the Vietnam War ended and a number of years later to buy anything in Vietnam you needed lots of the currency called the Dong.
Gradually it wasn't called the Dong they were called "bricks". When you went to buy you would ask "How many bricks?". Now a brick was about 100 Dong notes.

After the second world war in Germany some peole actually carried their Recih Marks in a wheelbarrow when they went to buy something like bread etc.

Today the world debt is $57,917,909,049,231.

The simple thing about debt and money is that its all an illusion created for the benefit of a robotic universe that needs to believe that the piece of cheap paper I hold in my hand is of some value.

Also the US owes China owes Russia owes The EU owes Japan owes the UK owes ad infinitum. See the silliness of it! Ooh lets panic what if China wants it money back ? Um not possible and anyway its just numbers on a page.

What has real value?? Find out when life becomes live or die.

therevolutionwas , Jan 25, 2021 1:13 PM Reply to Harry Rogers

gold and silver for one

facts are fukt , Jan 25, 2021 2:20 PM Reply to therevolutionwas

Precious metals are not edible or useful unless you consider jewelery and semi-conductors to be essential items.
Why do gold and silver have "real value"?

bypassing yr lame filter , Jan 25, 2021 2:22 PM Reply to therevolutionwas

Precious metals are not edible or useful unless you consider ornaments and semi-conductors to be essential items.
Why do gold and silver have "real value"?

bypassing yr lame filter , Jan 25, 2021 2:25 PM Reply to bypassing yr lame filter

The spam fitler (spelling deliberate) here is obviously written by a member of the Borg as you cannot even use words that contain the three letters j,e, and w in succession. Which is why I had to write "ornaments" instead of the more exact name for shiny things worn as ornaments.

Soros , Jan 25, 2021 4:03 PM Reply to therevolutionwas

Gold will be confiscated by your state as it was in the 30s, as soon as the currency crisis kicks off.

Tony , Jan 25, 2021 4:15 PM Reply to Soros

That's why you should own it in the form of legal tender, such as sovereigns and britannias.

Tony , Jan 24, 2021 9:08 PM

This is a crappy piece of writing which steals the correct economic analysis of people like Jim Sinclair, Bill Holter and others, and warps it into the jack/jim (and their one million aliases) trolling which has blighted OffG for months. This was obvious when it appeared as a series of btl's recently. If anyone wants the full picture, they just have to watch Bill and Jim's videos on youtube and elsewhere, where they make it abundantly clear that this is a globalist problem, the people behind it don't fly flags, and they are only interested in power through money and economic control.

Arby , Jan 24, 2021 1:26 PM

"This is what I think 'The Great Reset' really is about. It is being painted as something intricate and nefarious on every level " The focus is narrow (but I appreciated the interesting information) and, it seems to me, the author is here expressing an awareness of that flaw. There's lots of speculation here as well and while I have no problem with that, a humble approach would involve the admission of that fact. Why was Japan reluctant to jump on the mankind-killing bandwagon? The author cites disaffection on the part of the Japanese population. That tracks. But we also know that Japan wanted to have their Olympics and thought that maybe they still could. Is Maribel certain that that wasn't the case? It wasn't the Japanese people who turned on a dime. It was the government. The Japanese government finally realized that the Olympics, which it wanted (for the prestige and the economic repercussions of that I suppose), were not going to go ahead. On a dime, it suddenly viewed corona as a super dangerous mankind-destroying bug and issued proclamation after proclamation in its sudden supercharged flight down the road of fascism. Until then, while it acknowledged the (non existent) Sars CoV 2 / covid 19 reality, it was not bothered by it.

See "How is Japan Reacting to the Crisis? – Questions For Corbett #507"
and "How is Japan Reacting NOW? – Questions For Corbett"

messenger charles , Jan 24, 2021 11:24 AM

Don't agree with everything you said, but nevertheless an informative article and firms up much of what Catherine Austin Fitts has been saying:
https://www.bitchute.com/video/RpRAvjoxVDCQ/

Tom , Jan 24, 2021 10:49 AM

"Whereas China is preferring to just stop testing, and ignore the 'crisis' altogether, except for the odd statement about how dangerous it all is."

Maribel, can you list a reference showing China has stopped or reduced testing?

Z=Anon , Jan 24, 2021 2:09 PM Reply to Tom

See comments below by others regarding PCR testing in China.

Sarah Jones , Jan 24, 2021 10:27 AM

They have prevented new relationships from beginning and erased those kids. It is genocide from the ground up. Even couples are not likely to have kids under such uncertainty. The very opposite of their claim of "saving lives". Those that do are being abused more than before with masks during child birth and keeping the father out. Their relationship being sabotaged with trauma from the beginning and then further trauma and destruction of the family with parents involved in assaulting kids with "vaccines".

https://www.bitchute.com/video/q1jmVOMYPzpm/

Sarah Jones , Jan 24, 2021 11:10 AM Reply to Sarah Jones

Jeanice Barcelo explains how hospital birth is ritual trauma abuse to destroy the family and how ultrasound is to destroy the eggs inside those babies so they are targetting a generation ahead. It is satanists/ abortionists/ psychopaths behind covid not economists. It is trauma to harm love and damage those kids and their future relationships to induce further trauma. They said toilet paper was selling out as an inside joke about the young jerking off to porn during "lockdown" and "social distancing".

https://www.youtube.com/embed/adsc3l3vwf8?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

bypassing yr lame filter , Jan 25, 2021 2:29 PM Reply to Sarah Jones

Abortion is for each woman to decide on, not your false god and his pedo-satanic priests.

messenger charles , Jan 25, 2021 4:34 PM Reply to bypassing yr lame filter

Abortion is just fine if you want your ethnic group annihilated and erased from the face of the earth.

Isaiah 3:12 (MCV) As for my people, children are their oppressors (infantile Cultural Marxists), and women (Marxist feminists) rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 4:22 AM

China would "humiliate" the US in a war? That's just like a girl to worry about making a dent on ego and overlooking a few dents on the planet How's it going in your basement darling We're all suspended to your words and your little heart and your little brain all memory no processor

Mention , Jan 24, 2021 9:37 AM Reply to theobalt

" ..a proxy war with Russia or a direct war with Iran would precipitate a dollar collapse, rather than create growth and a flight to 'safety'. China would no doubt gleefully humiliate the US during such a conflict. "

The war would not be with China. During a conflict with Iran or proxy with Russia the US is economically vulnerable to China's financial sabotage.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 1:48 PM Reply to Mention

No time for a war with anybody . time to stop buying slavery products from China. China and the cabal already humiliate everyone by corrupting our politicians. Not the US

Z=Anon , Jan 24, 2021 2:04 PM Reply to theobalt

The USA's Corporate elites, including Trump moved their manufacturing plant and expertise to China to exploit their cheap labour, nobody forced them.

It was Corporate greed & vanity that caused the surrender of American manufacturing power to China. American's thought they were superior to China but they have made themselves her bitch.

Not even a war could save them now, unless they intended to have their military's spare parts Fedexed over from China, during the conflict.
Also if China's economy were switch to a war footing, like a sleeping giant, it would dwarf even the USA's military in a very short time, their capacity is the biggest in the world.

David Homer , Jan 25, 2021 4:12 PM Reply to Z=Anon

You are correct in everything except you have forgotten the fact that China imports most of its iron ore, copper, aluminum, coal, oil, etc. They would be in trouble in a world war situation.

messenger charles , Jan 25, 2021 4:38 PM Reply to David Homer

They will invade Australia and New Zealand first in order to secure those minerals and rely upon Russia for oil and gas.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 3:51 AM

What to do with our lives

Find food eat the food when you feel pressure download the shit down

Anyone trying to prevent you to do any of those things, murder them

Tim Glover , Jan 24, 2021 3:35 AM

I haven't read the 487 comments so apologies, but the author seriously undermines their argument by suggesting that the virus is a hoax. Exaggerated, yes, hoax, quite obviously not. I have no doubt that there is truth in this article, but claiming that the virus does not exist at all is untenable; the author should remove their blinkers and align their theory with reality.

Kika , Jan 24, 2021 3:39 AM Reply to Tim Glover

Evidence Tim?

NickM , Jan 24, 2021 5:37 AM Reply to Kika

Tim, I used to think like you, but the original evidence has been extrapolated beyond all reason by Con-19 artists. So now we must be pedantic and ask for evidence:

a. That the RNA fragments originally sequenced by Chinese scientists in Wuhan (not from a virus but from patients bodily fluids) all belonged to a single strain of virus, putatively named Covid-19 but never isolated for sequencing of a complete viral genome?

b. That the Covid-19 was exceptionally deadly; bearing in mind that the Chinese figures for death among severely ill patients were comparable to normal U$ figures for death among patients hospitalized with normal annual flu.

c. That the original Covid-19 strain is still extant? (assuming there actually was a Covid-19 in Wuhan, which is not proven)

d. Assuming the orriginal Wuhan strain has died out (mutated), where is the evidence that its mutant progeny are more deadly than the original Wuhan strain was ie, not much.

e. Last and most important, where is the evidence that the Westminster con artists (Con-911, Con-WMD, Con-Viagra, Con-Sarin, Con-Novijoke) are not lying this time ? their lips are moving.

Tim Glover , Jan 24, 2021 4:59 PM Reply to NickM

I know from my personal experience that there is a new strain of virus, because I, and many of my friends were seriously ill with it and 2 people died. many of the people affected had no connection to each other. That this is not simply an unconnected anecdote is clear from looking at the data which show that across the world there was a clear spike in mortality in spring (The UK committed mass manslaughter in care homes but this is not the case in other countries). It does not matter where it originated, or whether the genome has been sequenced. I know the PCR test is useless. I know that there is hype, fear mongering and exaggeration. I know masks don't work and lockdowns will kill more than they save by a wide margin. Nonetheless, the virus is real.

Mike Ellwood (Oxon UK) , Jan 24, 2021 8:43 PM Reply to Tim Glover

Whereabouts do you liveTim? I still don't know anybody who has been ill with supposed Covid-19 ever since the "Pandemic" began, let alone, know anyone who died from it.

Were the other people who were ill, and especially the 2 who died, particularly old, and/or did they have other serious health conditions?

And how do you know what you had was the "new strain"? The "new strain" is fairly new, isn't it? Those poor souls must have died fairly quickly after contracting it.

And how many is "many"?

And how do you know that it wasn't "normal" flu? This is the flu season, after all, assuming you live in the northern hemisphere. Flu can be quite dangerous too.

NickM , Jan 25, 2021 5:27 AM Reply to Tim Glover

@Tim Glover: "I know from my personal experience that there is a new strain of virus, because I, and many of my friends were seriously ill with it".

How do you know that the flu virus which made you and your friends "seriously ill" was Covid-19?

I asked someone in England the same question at the start of the Con-19 hype last winter: How did she know that her friend in the countryside and her relative in London, both of whom told her they had it and it was their worst flu ever, had escaped death from a specific headline-news "novel virus Covid-19", when there was so much boring ordinary flu about?

"Voila le Anglais avec son sang froid habituel (Here comes the Englishman with his usual bloody cold)" -- Fractured French.

gary orlando , Jan 25, 2021 5:35 AM Reply to Tim Glover

Tim, you have NO CLUE WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. "i WAS SERIOUSLY ILL" is an extremely ignorant piece of so called evidence. there is NO NEW VIRUS. and virus DO NOT CAUSE ILLNESS AND contagion is a myth. it IS ALL A lie. you are brainwashed.

therevolutionwas , Jan 25, 2021 1:23 PM Reply to Tim Glover

Virus's are real and will remain real. They kill susceptible people all the time. And with the lock down there are more people not carrying on with their normal lives, not eat right, not getting enough sun, etc ..

Binra , Jan 25, 2021 6:17 PM Reply to therevolutionwas

Something is happening but you don't know what it is – do you, Mr Jones?
– B Dylan
You have a currently accepted narrative that saves you from questioning your current worldview.

I don't think it helps to argue 'it is real!
Or it isn't real!
People are dying every day – and by far the most are dying in the ways they generally do. WHO benefits for the official narratives?

That health as as joy in being as well as resilience to toxic stress and exposures, has an arena of personal and collective responsibility is of course true.

So far you haven't felt to look into those who are offering excellent witness to the lack of established facts at the basis of an incomprehensibly disproportionate coordinated reaction that represents a hijacking of living selves – not cells.

So you are confident that because Dr WHO and the whole pharmaceutical establishment back you up, you can state 'the virus is real', as part of an extremely invested establishment of social and corporate identity in its theory.

A positive result and diagnosis for terminal cancer can operate a nocebo death sentence on its recipient even if the test is in error.
This is similar to what is being perpetrated on the public mind – regardless whether for private reasons great or small.

When dealing with the dissociated, one cannot simply tell them their experience is unreal. Thus no one can tell the so called sheep to 'wake up'. No can I tell such woke people to stop projecting and restore their recognition of another's presence – just because.

Joel Walbert , Jan 24, 2021 5:54 AM Reply to Tim Glover

Zero evidence anywhere in the world of sars-cov2 having been isolated. Claims of such are not evidence of it. Numerous FOIA requests in various places provided no evidence of isolation. A CDC document states there is no isolated virus and that is in fact a computer generation. People being sick and dying does not even almost prove a virus

messenger charles , Jan 24, 2021 11:30 AM Reply to Joel Walbert

What they have allegedly 'isolated' has not been purified, and THAT is the crucial element to this issue. All their 'papers' are a fraud.

Joel Walbert , Jan 25, 2021 12:47 AM Reply to messenger charles

That is precisely my point. The document I was referring to states clearly there are no isolates and that the testing is based off computer generated sequences. I generally would believe nothing from the CDC but when one of their own official documents admits fraud on a grand scale, I feel I must trust that one. Its all about discernment.

The CDC document is titled,
CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel.
It is dated July 13, 2020. On page 39, in a section titled,

"Performance Characteristics,"

"Since no quantified virus isolates of the 2019-nCoV are currently available, assays [diagnostic tests] designed for detection of the 2019-nCoV RNA were tested with characterized stocks of in vitro transcribed full length RNA "

Computer generated virus.

Fred762 , Jan 25, 2021 7:55 PM Reply to messenger charles

Agreed. My friend is COO of big US pvt hospital group..he told me last April that their hospitals(over 200) were near EMPTY and he was laying off staff left and right. Last Dec he said their census was .." about normal for a flu season"..ie, no piles of bodies, no over crowding.. ie, no real pandemic.

Fred762 , Jan 25, 2021 7:48 PM Reply to Joel Walbert

USmonthly death totals from all causes have been FLAT for 5 years . therefore, NO PANDEMIC

Joel Walbert , Jan 26, 2021 12:46 AM Reply to Fred762

Exactly. There are shockingly lower deaths from virtually all causes this past year though. Fraudulent death certificates are the pandemic, not a computer generated viral sequence.

Jacques , Jan 24, 2021 6:04 AM Reply to Tim Glover

The virus IS a hoax. Some people say that viruses do not exist at all. Dunno. Even if they do, the fairy tale of SARS-CoV-2 is complete bullshit.

Nobody has ever been able to present the alleged virus in an isolated form. The alleged virus has never been proved to cause a disease. Period. If you or anyone claim that SARS-CoV-2 exists, let me fucking see it. If you or anyone claim that the alleged SARS-CoV-2 causes the alleged diseases COVID-19, prove it. There are procedures for that. Such as Koch's postulates.

None of that is done, therefore SARS-CoV-2 & COVID-19 must be considered a crock of shit until proven otherwise. No data from the world over suggest that there is a pandemic. End of story. That's your reality. Period.

Now, let's worry about what really is going on.

Binra , Jan 25, 2021 6:18 PM Reply to Jacques

worry question!

messenger charles , Jan 24, 2021 11:19 AM Reply to Tim Glover

The so-called virus has NOT been isolated nor has it, more importantly, been purified. Sars Cov 2 otherwise known as Covid19 is 100% a lie and a criminal hoax. Research doctors Tom Cowan, Stefan Lanka and Andrew Kaufman.

Mike Ellwood (Oxon UK) , Jan 24, 2021 8:44 PM Reply to messenger charles

Also check out the website TheInfectiousMyth.com .

Dina , Jan 25, 2021 1:51 AM Reply to Mike Ellwood (Oxon UK)

Yes, that man recently passed away but I leaned my foundational anti-COVID myth lessons from his site as early as March.
Always knew pcr tests were BS.
Never knew a lot of the other COVID info till later.

messenger charles , Jan 25, 2021 4:15 PM Reply to Mike Ellwood (Oxon UK)

From his web site or rather what was once his website:

"This was a database and web server owned by David Crowe. From the family of David Crowe, we are sorry to share with everyone that David passed away on July 12th, 2020."

Paul Vonharnish , Jan 24, 2021 2:42 PM Reply to Tim Glover

Hello Tim Glover: I see you've received many down votes for suggesting that a (covid) virus does exist. Tsk, tsk, tsk I can only help you if you really want to be helped Just repeat after me:

The Earth is flat.
Gravity is an illusion.
The Sun revolves around the Earth.
The moon is hollow and filled with cheese.
There's a white robed guy watching over everything .
The (above) white robed guy – loves everyone equally

You'll be better soon

messenger charles , Jan 25, 2021 4:26 PM Reply to Paul Vonharnish

Actually the earth is a fixed globe at the centre of the universe (the pinnacle of God's creation) with the sun and moon orbiting the earth.

Geocentricism – Did The Sun Stand Still and The Moon Stay or Did The Earth Stop Spinning and Moving – Joshua 10:13:
https://isthefathercallingyoutohisson.wordpress.com/geocentricism-did-the-sun-stand-still-and-the-moon-stay-or-did-the-earth-stop-spinning-and-moving-joshua-1013/

There is no space and the stars move in the aether.

However, you were correct by citing The Truth that The Father God is in the third heaven, with The Son, watching over everything.

You were also correct is stating that gravity is an illusion – all there is, is pressure.

Binra , Jan 25, 2021 6:25 PM Reply to Paul Vonharnish

Crikey – with friends like you – who needs enemies!

There are moments in life when a sense of lack can step forth in power and strut the stage of the world like a giant!
(Yes sarcasm).

You get to set the measure of your receiving but not the timing and the manner of your rewards. Life is meant to be a surprise!

Do you know what love is?

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 1:52 AM

Answer to Judith comment below, and my usual type of comment right on the head of that confusing and propagandist article

You should blow your nose without a tissue. They are full of formaldehyde causes skin irritation and attacks the nervous system it's a carcinogen too and it comes mainly from China (and I believe Israel Chemicals is also mainly involved) also avoid bed sheets from Ikea and Amazon and any made in china (I tested them in TSP concoctions), any cheap furniture from the likes (fiberboards and pieces of wood stuck together with F. based glue offgasing like crazy, laundry detergents filled with them to replenish any garment, making sure the American population remains dumbed down and sick and dying. The US dollar doesn't exist, no more than the freakin' kopec.

American people exists. American land exists. And they are fine.

But they need to be taken down are they Don't worry people of Europe If it is crushed it is not to save you. It will go in the same pockets of the people who have been crushing you for quite a while.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 3:55 AM Reply to theobalt

Oh yeah, if you have a properly responsive immune system, your respiratory system will inflame and clog in a very alarming way from exposure to formaldehyde offgasing rings a bell?!?!

Raymondo Don Sayo , Jan 24, 2021 1:42 AM

The author was just short of calling opinions other than his own as conspiracy theories which is a base of ignorance. Too long of a rambling severely narrow minded road is this article. Lots of good thoughts within.
Maybe you are the controlled op?

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 3:30 AM Reply to Raymondo Don Sayo

define maybe

David Macilwain , Jan 24, 2021 12:51 AM

The case of Australia, the "Building 7" of the Coronavirus scheme, is a case in point that entirely supports the author's case, as before we had more than 1000 cases and a handful of deaths, the government declared it would pump $180 billion into the banks to stabilise them, including for the first time in history, QE. So it printed all the money and handed it around just as the graphs of infection were exponential, in mid-March. After that and the lock down another $130 Billion was laid out for "job keeper", which is only going to hit the fan in March as 500,000 workers find their jobs have actually disappeared.
But now it's Vaccines that are the growth factory, and everyone is clamouring for them because otherwise we will remain locked in this prison for years. We can't leave as we won't be insured and there is no guarantee we'll be allowed to return.
But meanwhile, along with the US, our stock market made record gains this last year. DYOC.

Sadly I have to entirely disagree with the author when she writes that the Russians produced an imaginary vaccine against a non-existent virus. It's simply not true – have a look at this paper about the GE manufacture of SARS hybrid viruses, going on at the WIV since 2007, and of course in North Carolina under Ralph Baric:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1931312820303024

Grafter , Jan 24, 2021 12:30 PM Reply to David Macilwain

" $130 Billion was laid out for "job keeper", which is only going to hit the fan in March as 500,000 workers find their jobs have actually disappeared."

What is this end of March timeline even in Australia ? It's the same here in the UK when the furlough period ends ? Am I missing something ?

Maggie , Jan 24, 2021 2:56 PM Reply to Grafter

Hi Grafter Here's what most of us missed..
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said via Belarusian Telegraph Agency, BelTA., that World Bank and IMF offered him a bribe of $940 million USD in the form of "COVID RELIEF AID." In exchange for $940 million USD, the World Bank and IMF demanded that the President of Belarus:

• imposed "extreme lockdown on his people"
• force them to wear face masks
• impose very strict curfews
• impose a police state
• crash the economy
Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko REFUSED the offer and stated that he could not accept such an offer and would put his people above the needs of the IMF and World Bank. This is NOT a conspiracy. You may research this yourself. He actually said this!
Now IMF and World Bank are bailing out failing airlines with billions of dollars, and in exchange, they are FORCING airline CEOs to implement VERY STRICT POLICIES such as FORCED face masks covers on EVERYONE, including SMALL CHILDREN, whose health will suffer as a result of these policies.
And if it is true for Belarus, then it is true for the rest of the world! The IMF and World Bank want to crash every major economy with the intent of buying over every nation's infrastructure at cents on the dollar!!!

Which would tend to confirm what the Article stated??

Dina , Jan 25, 2021 1:55 AM Reply to Maggie

Exactly what was running through my mind while reading this article

j. d. , Jan 23, 2021 10:41 PM

Your post is thorough and revealing – and counter-narrative, so it might get shadow-banned

It is disappointing to realize that not only mainstream opinion, but also both sides of the political aisle have pushed the idea that the economy faltered after covid was declared an emergency. However, that's clearly not the case, as your article details.

Coventry League Capital Partners, a finance firm, also posted a blog way back in April 2020 that included a mishmash of tweets/posts from throughout 2019 about a pending financial crisis given mass layoffs in some markets, an inverted yield curve, and bank liquidity issues. If interested, below is the address to the article:

coventryleague dot com/blogentary/mass-layoffs-surge-343-percent-in-ohio/

By September of 2019, the U.S. financial market was in full-blown crisis mode with massive "repo" operations initiated by the Federal Reserve Bank (FED). Another blogger that provided exhaustive detail in a series of real-time blog posts about the 2019 repo situation and financial crisis is "Wall Street On Parade."

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 4:00 AM Reply to j. d.

Are you two living in the same house with ten others?

Helen , Jan 23, 2021 10:41 PM

Interesting but fails to account for the original Wuhan theatre where China, against all previously recognised pandemic planning, sold lockdown to the West. They did so restricting it to one city and limiting overall damage to their economy. A kind of "how to" demonstration. You also have their main western satellites, NZ and Australia the only ones to have followed the Zero Covid policy of the CCP – a technique of pure tyranny.

Kalen , Jan 24, 2021 12:10 AM Reply to Helen

China's CCP ended COVID charade in April by eliminating flawed PCR test as unreliable diagnostic tool for COVID infections in individual clinical diagnosis of COVID disease which definition was narrowed to initial interpretation as Unexplained (by long known before 2020 viral or bacterial presence), pneumonia for original interpretation as caused by long known local environmental factors including man made factors like deadly therapies, medical particle and wave diagnostic device malfunctions or inherent designer flaws as well as cases of immunodeficiency or autoimmunity in pneumonia patients.

In other words COVID patient in China is not one who was PCR tested positive but one with a documented form of pneumonia-like damage to lungs.The seasonal increase in in flu and explained and unexplained pneumonia is behind recent new quarantine measures in China.

and still China plays this COVID game as it is too desirable to hold big stick of COVID in their hands amid economic collapse programmed by reset.

PCR and serology is being used in China for general Epidemiological models not specifically for COVID but for general epidemic situation assessment of all respiratory diseases flu, common cold and pneumonia that are at local epidemic levels throughout the year getting worse in winter season.

Last year mild season in China 75,000+ people died of flu, 5,000 officially died of COVID. Do your math. It was much ado about nearly nothing, while real crisis of old people needlessly dying of poverty, lack of medical access driven flu is ignored as nobody among governments gives a damn as it cannot be sold as apocalypse to scare people into submission.

Rumplestiltskin , Jan 24, 2021 3:09 AM Reply to Kalen

Great comment Kalen, interesting info re China not using the PCR to diagnose CV, particularly since they sold an absolute shit ton of them to Australia via the mining magnate what's his name. If we can break the governments reliance on the PCR test, this whole charade collapses. Ive been saying this for months.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 3:34 AM Reply to Rumplestiltskin

Always remember we were not in the lab No "information" is relevant. We're in THIS lab,

Maxwell , Jan 24, 2021 3:45 AM Reply to Kalen

Superb comment- it is easier to point towards a bogeyman 'over there' or some exotic event (bat cave) than to face the hard fact that the daemon is in your house and staring you right in the face.

Tom , Jan 24, 2021 11:09 AM Reply to Kalen

Kalen could you provide a reference for the 75K flu deaths?

Edith , Jan 24, 2021 1:48 AM Reply to Helen

That wasn't followed in all of Australia really only Victoria and WA who got hyper excited after the initial burst of enthusiasm qld has been more damaged by the planes not arriving rather than any thing much needing locked up those important minerals we sell had to keep moving I suspect plus we had a looming election which seemed to put the breaks on too much enthusiasm so we just shut our border and went on with life until recently when we showed signs of wanting to play that rush to the head seems to have stalled in Brisbane.,,
doesn't of course stop the believers carrying on around one .

and in my opinion the whole wuhan thing was so staged to make me question of any of it was real,,,they either exported fear or thought they were actually under attack themselves given those war games were held in wuhan

Paul , Jan 24, 2021 4:29 AM Reply to Helen

Good comments.

For 6 weeks since the alleged outbreak in Wuhan the residents of Wuhan were moving freely around the rest of China but this virus never really showed up anywhere else in China apart from Wuhan apart from the odd isolated outbreak that quickly vanished.

This doesn't tie in with a super spreading infectious virus.

Every so often the CCP will say there are small localised outbreaks and puff by magic they quickly disappear.

It's just CCP propaganda and keeping their toe dipped in the water.

rraa , Jan 23, 2021 10:11 PM

I don't think the Chinese government is involved. People seem to think of China as one giant homogenous BLOB that moves like a well oiled machine. In fact, regions have a LOT of autonomy. I don't doubt that some individual Chinese scientists contributed to the Western narrative. Remember that China overhauled it's entire medical system after Sars 2003. It has a very modern and transparent pneumonia and respiratory illness surveillance system and all the alphabet agencies of the West know what is going on it.
WHO published a notice on December 31 that was a very routine notice.
The whole thing took a life of it's own after four cases were reported in one day around Dec 26. If you read the very first paper with the virus sequence on Jan 11, it only mentioned a novel coronavirus. But almost simultaneously a second paper was published with Edward Homes as a co-author, the one with the batwoman scientist. This was the one that made the wild claims about the virus being linked to bats and so on.
No I am not a CCP troll, I've been following the medical and scientific articles from the beginning and trying to keep track of where the narratives emerged from.
China only locked down about 4% of its population. They did so because it was just before the New Year and half a billion people were about to travel. Wuhan is a major rail hub. They didn't want a repeat of Sars 2003. Even the Chinese in Wuhan were terrified by the Western media. They don't live in some dark cave as the Western media would have you believe.
Nor does Beijing control every research institute and every research project in China as some people seem to imagine it does. I don't think the virus "came from a lab" because if you read the actual papers, you find the "new" virus is nothing more than a statistical result. It's literally a software output, not something in a test tube.
I don't doubt thought that Fauci and Co were funding projects at the Wuhan lab so they could scapegoat it for this theatre.

Judith , Jan 24, 2021 12:42 AM Reply to rraa

rraa – the actual papers that you write of that state a "new virus", are they the papers that Drosten based his papers on? And the subsequent pcr fiasco?

The statistical result in the Chinese paper – was that based on the 4 cases?

I find what you wrote very interesting. It never occurred to me that the virus did not come from the lab, but from just having been written about in a paper. I never believed it was a virus from nature. (Not looking for an argument here about virus/no such thing – just want some clarity from rraa)

I heard Dr Tom Cowan talk about this Chinese paper and its trip to Germany. But at that point I thought it must have been the gain of function work in the US funded Wuhan lab.

Thanks.

Tomoola Sitchin , Jan 24, 2021 1:02 AM Reply to Judith

The Chinese provided a computer model of the virus, which Drosten has supposedly used to configure his version of the PCR test, which is now used the world over.

No one has yet proved that the Sars-cov-2 coronavirus actually exists, other than on a computer screen. For my money we are having a baddish flu, which has been conveniently repackaged as Covi-19.

Maxwell , Jan 24, 2021 3:43 AM Reply to Tomoola Sitchin

It is not even a bad flu season.

If you take out the mass death event during the 6 week period in March/April that was brought upon the elders in care homes we are looking at one of the lower mortality rates of the past two decades.

Those mass deaths were caused by pre-ordained policies, not a viral event, that were an aberration from past years and in direct opposition of how the medical science states how the viral season should be addressed for care homes, hospice etc.

All of this was by design.

Paul , Jan 24, 2021 4:46 AM Reply to Maxwell

Completely agree.

I believe the current slight spike in mortality in the UK had been caused by the huge uptake of flu shots.

The BMJ posted an article recently that flu shots can be successful in protecting against one strain of influenza but they increase ones susceptibility to contracting other viruses.

We are now in the middle of respiratory disease season.

Covid has conveniently completely eradicated all other viruses.

Judith , Jan 24, 2021 4:20 PM Reply to Tomoola Sitchin

Thanks!

Edith , Jan 24, 2021 1:56 AM Reply to Judith

Yes it pays to go back and look at the original documents and who was involved there is a panel the WHO calls together and who was on it and what they were supplied with and who argued against .from all I ever read it was much to do about little but much convenience for a range of agenda in which our mate faucci played a big role and has no doubt collected billions..and never forget it played a big role in US elections and providing a divide line
what I never quite get is what the UK is actually getting out of playing the game been awful watching what you guys have done to yourselves.

Tomoola Sitchin , Jan 24, 2021 12:53 AM Reply to rraa

I would guess you are pretty near the mark and 77th Brigade probably think so as well judging by the down votes.

Fact Checker , Jan 24, 2021 1:54 AM Reply to rraa

George Gao, head of China's CDC, was at Event 201 giving detailed instructions to the entire panel of American industry representatives in attendance, on exactly what they would need to do in the event of a "coronavirus pandemic." George Gao is a virologist specializing in gain-of-function experiments to get bat coronaviruses to infect humans. [ https://read.qxmd.com/read/31776269/molecular-basis-of-binding-between-middle-east-respiratory-syndrome-coronavirus-and-cd26-from-seven-bat-species ]

A few weeks after Event 201, Gao published "A novel coronavirus outbreak of global health concern" in the Lancet .[ https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30185-9/fulltext ] This paper is filled with all of the "scary" buzz-phrases that were used to justify the hysteria in the US and Europe. The same article featured "Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China" by all-Chinese authors, with all the nonsense about bats.[ https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30183-5/fulltext ] Incidentally, it also says, "A novel coronavirus, which was named 2019-nCoV, was isolated then from lower respiratory tract specimen and a diagnostic test for this virus was developed soon after that." I'm not saying whether that's true or not, but that's the claim. The claim is based on the referred paper "A Novel Coronavirus Genome Identified in a Cluster of Pneumonia Cases -- Wuhan, China 2019−2020," authored in part by, who else? George Gao . [ http://weekly.chinacdc.cn/en/article/id/a3907201-f64f-4154-a19e-4253b453d10c ]

China also served up some cartoonish snuff films, supposedly depicting the severe effects of "Covid" and the draconian "lockdown" measures supposedly in response. This was exactly the role scripted for China in the 2010 Rockefeller Lock Step "Scenario" report.

C'mon, man. Chinese government not involved? Grow up.

Maxwell , Jan 24, 2021 3:55 AM Reply to Fact Checker

You would be hard pressed to illustrate that George Gao has any allegiance to China or the Chinese people any more than you could prove the same for Fauci, Farrar, Elias (respective countries and people) or any number of high profile technocrats.

In all cases their allegiance is to their ideology and big business.

Paul , Jan 24, 2021 4:56 AM Reply to Fact Checker

George Gao lied.

We know this as the PCR test was designed by Drosten in the absence of having any virus and the full genomic sequencing was done by Drosten going through the genomic database of previous coronaviruses picking out bits and pieces of RNA sequences through sheer guesswork and then adding on the theoretical RNA sequences supplied by the Chinese.

Drosten doesn't even deny he created the test with no virus available.

A week or so later China supplied the full genomic sequencing from the virus 'isolated' in a human and it was exactly the same as Drostens computerised virus.

If anyone believes this they are an idiot.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:00 AM Reply to rraa

Oh the Chinese government is not involved? The Chinese government doesn't exist it is an extension of the cabal. The Chinese people exist and they are being killed and enslaved by their "Government" and it is a system that Rockefeller liked soooo much that he wants to replicate it all over the world Biden is not American, Biden is CCP of America.

Wayne Vanderploeg , Jan 23, 2021 10:01 PM

This was a favorite on the Ray Rayner show in the Chicago area in the 60s. Or was it, "A Fly Went By". No, It was the old lady one

Ben , Jan 23, 2021 10:00 PM

UK Government quietly changes law to give councils lockdown powers until July 17th, 2021. At the same time, revelers at a party in Kensington are confronted by police, but no fines issued. And Conservative MPs in Wales resign after discovered drinking in a pub whilst under Drakeford's pub ban order

Politicians are inflicting lockdown misery on their electorate but breaking the rules themselves because they know 'Covid' is a scam

https://twitter.com/NeilClark66/status/1353092190394855424?s=20

May Hem , Jan 23, 2021 9:53 PM

Your very own 3D Avatar. Sounds good, but .

A new 'ap' (for which you pay) can be added to your smartphone. The app enables users to create a representation of their body structure in the form of a 3D avatar, with accurate circumference measurements and total body fat assessment.

Heathtech company MyFiziq Limited has developed a dimensioning technology that enables its users to check, track and assess their dimensions using a smartphone, from the comfort of their home. The app enables users to create a representation of their body structure in the form of a 3D avatar, with accurate circumference measurements and total body fat assessment.

And here is the bait – "Associated company Bearn is unique in that it awards one penny for each active calorie burned, enabling users to earn hundreds of dollars a year just for staying healthy and making healthy choices."

Biomorphik (ie buy more) is a behavioural change company with a key goal being to improve the health and wellness of people at a whole-of-society level through better creation, measurement, storage, analysis, and access to data.

In other words, it is data-mining, disguised as keeping your healthy – to be used against you in the future social credit system they are designing. At present, you are rewarded for losing excess fat, but in the future you will be punished if you do not keep up with the 'health' regime they have set for you.

Since this ap went on the market, the public demand has outstripped the supply, it is so popular. Beware, I think it is a trap.

Reggie , Jan 23, 2021 9:10 PM

But the author is assuming that US wants to keep the dollar hegemony. I'm not so sure about that. I think it's obvious that US's leaders are globalists and they want to see the dollar die, in favor of a virtual world currency that they can use to manipulate the sheep to their heart's content.

I also think the forced vaccinations, etc., ARE a primary reason for this fraud. The pharma folks are globalists and forced vaxxes are their wet dream. And I do think that the Bill Gay agenda of vaxxes does have something to do with his dream of population reduction, and that's a globalist consensus, it's not just Bill's idea.

Eric McCoo , Jan 23, 2021 8:35 PM

It's obvious from its extremely defensive stance now and at the start that China is involved.

In my view this is ultimately about digital ID and a Chinese style social credit system. Some people might remember the UK government pushing a universal ID a number of years ago. Scrapped in 2011.

'Identity cards were scrapped in 2011 – they're no longer valid and you can't use them as proof of identify.

https://www.gov.uk/identitycards

Mike Ellwood (Oxon UK) , Jan 23, 2021 9:41 PM Reply to Eric McCoo

That's weird; I never had one. How many people got one? I'm talking about what must have been modern ones (presumably issued by the Blair government, although I thought their plans for ID cards had never got off the ground).

Actually, I'm old enough to have got a paper/card identity card, issued by the post-war Labour government. I think I still have it somewhere. The number on that card became your NHS number (although NHS numbers were revamped many years later).

Those ID cards were scrapped in 1952:

https://home.bt.com/news/on-this-day/february-21-1952-brits-bin-their-identity-cards-11363962863687

Eric McCoo , Jan 23, 2021 10:02 PM Reply to Mike Ellwood (Oxon UK)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_Cards_Act_2006

Mike Ellwood (Oxon UK) , Jan 24, 2021 9:09 PM Reply to Eric McCoo

Thanks for that. I wasn't aware of the partial rollout. I clearly wasn't paying sufficient attention at the time!

Jeffrey Strahl , Jan 23, 2021 8:08 PM

And i didn't even see this.
"The details of the implementation of the Covid operation aside, it is possible that many inside the system regard the 'Great Reset' as not a conspiracy to oppress us, to exploit us and destroy our lives in a Marxist tyranny as many believe, but rather regard it as a necessary adjustment to an unbalanced economic system.
To see it like that we must believe that the current system is fundamentally flawed and that good faith solutions are being sought. I think 'The Reset' is seen by many honest brokers around the world as a genuine platform to resolve flaws in the current world economy, and to manage a transition from the dollar, in a controlled fashion. We should not always think the worst motives of everyone involved."
Right! 🙂 We need to be adjusted to total remote control, social impact investing, .. I'm sorry i gave this one 3 stars. 0 is what it rates.

Doctortrinate , Jan 23, 2021 8:34 PM Reply to Jeffrey Strahl

as sending young naive men into a 300 machine gun wall of hell – was an unfortunate miscalculation again and again and again.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:08 AM Reply to Doctortrinate

reference on this?

Doctortrinate , Jan 24, 2021 4:13 AM Reply to theobalt

parallels are ruthlessly profuse. Look to the Somme offensive.

Cheers.

Maggie , Jan 24, 2021 3:48 PM Reply to theobalt

I don't know how old you are but your education seems sadly lacking if you constantly have to ask for references? Did you miss the lesson where you were taught to research?
My Grandson age 10 had just completed a term on WW! prior to lockdown, and here is a piece he researched.

http://nzhistory.govt.nz/files/document/passchendaele-letter-len-hart.pdf
I think this gives a good insight as to how men were butchered and disregarded as disposable fodder.

Another insightful book is: War Horse by Micheal Morpego.

Edith , Jan 24, 2021 2:02 AM Reply to Jeffrey Strahl

If these people in the money markets had not gotten into derivatives, tax avoidance foundations, hedge coys etc I suspect we wouldn't be in this mess .the very people now wanting socially responsible investment, save the planet etc are the very ones who created the financial meltdowns and someone wants to tell me I should pay for all this

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:08 AM Reply to Jeffrey Strahl

I'll give it 0 for you

Jeffrey Strahl , Jan 23, 2021 8:01 PM

China a reluctant participant? Not even remotely reluctant. The Chinese government with the help of WHO and international media were the initiators of the lockdown narrative.
https://ccpgloballockdownfraud.medium.com/the-chinese-communist-partys-global-lockdown-fraud-88e1a7286c2b

Jeffrey Strahl , Jan 23, 2021 8:02 PM Reply to Jeffrey Strahl

A 15 minutes video by Ivor Cummins on the same topic.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/978zLJJLo-I?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

Eric McCoo , Jan 23, 2021 8:36 PM Reply to Jeffrey Strahl

Yes. You beat me by half an hour.

Sarah Jones , Jan 23, 2021 9:46 PM Reply to Jeffrey Strahl

Covid is all gaslighting and narcassistic abuse. The most painful part is supposed to be when they erase the abuse that took place.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5qGhTiIL5Yc?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en-US&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

May Hem , Jan 23, 2021 10:16 PM Reply to Sarah Jones

Thank you Sarah, for this valuable information. "Gaslighting" is the technique now being used by mainstream media and the virtual virus planners to confuse and control us. And so clearly explained by this video.

We need to be aware of these techniques so we can defend and keep our sanity.

One of the signs of the sociopath is a refusal to take responsibility. This reminds me of the vaccine makers, and their refusal to take any form of responsibility for any damage caused by their products.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:15 AM Reply to Sarah Jones

it is not only a psyop it is real businesses closed, real people starving and not getting medical care, real grandma's hearts broken, real people deprived of essential human contact. It is a mass murder operation. Solution? A deadly vaccine experiment that will control the killing of more But it will advance medical science to make valuable med for the remaining 500 mill I'm not trying to scare you dear I'm trying to get you on board

awildgoose , Jan 23, 2021 10:05 PM Reply to Jeffrey Strahl

Precisely.

The entire point of the Confucius Institutes was to study Western culture and what makes it tick.

The Chinese have understood that the West is filled with hysterical, hypochondriac people.

They have exploited this understanding masterfully.

Edith , Jan 24, 2021 2:39 AM Reply to Jeffrey Strahl

It would appear that China had a lot of help from dr Bruce alyward, a Canadian who by even a small glimpse of his work trail suggests plenty of involvement with any number of gates follies a short listen to his enthusiasm for wuhan methodology and his being convinced it was going to kill millions makes the bloody run cold he is also fond of graphs etc. so no doubt Ferguson fits in here somewhere and by the way he cites that many younger people were dying in China, not just old folk he quite specifically says it isn't just an oldies disease so I wonder what happened when it arrived on other shores obviously it transformed only to take out the relatively old at end of average life so he was obvious fooled, mislead or just whatever on his visit to fact find in China .it would seem he was most responsible for all this carryon

Jeffrey Strahl , Jan 24, 2021 8:08 PM Reply to Edith

China got a lot of help. From the WHO, from Big Pharma, from Big Tech, from the mass media (which are heavily tied into Big Pharma and Big Tech). That letter and Ivor's video go into that.

AngryAngry , Jan 23, 2021 7:36 PM

With the global technocrats taking the world through the "Going Direct" Reset into the abyss of the End of Currency and the ultimate transhuman slave state, things could not be more dire. But, as Catherine Austin Fitts of Solari.com tells us, there are options on the table for taking things in a completely different direction and unlocking the incredible abundance of the planet. The choice is our, but for how long? Don't miss this important, solutions-focused discussion on The State of Our Currencies.
https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-1613-catherine-austin-fitts-on-the-state-of-our-currencies/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CorbettReportRSS+%28The+Corbett+Report%29

Ben , Jan 23, 2021 9:41 PM Reply to AngryAngry

Resistance needs to be organised to have any effect. Unions would have been best, but they've been compromised

May Hem , Jan 24, 2021 3:19 AM Reply to AngryAngry

Great video. Thanks AA. Will share this around. I would much rather focus on solutions rather than arguing where the virtual virus started.

Sarah Jones , Jan 23, 2021 7:35 PM

An apple a day keeps the covid away.

AngryAngry , Jan 23, 2021 7:34 PM

So, after watching Katherine Austin Fitts interview you thought it might be a good idea to throw a few half truths, sound credible, add a few charts and make us believe a communist take over/ depopulation/ creating an operating system in humans with a back door had never been an elite plan for us cattle. How did OG let you in?

Ernest Judd , Jan 23, 2021 8:02 PM Reply to AngryAngry

Is this diatribe being addressed to the author of the article?

Researcher , Jan 23, 2021 8:45 PM Reply to Ernest Judd

Get a new name. This one isn't valid. And stop using words I use. It's tiresome. Your vocabulary is lacking but that shouldn't stop you from occasionally consulting a thesaurus.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:26 AM Reply to Researcher

Oh madame

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:25 AM Reply to Ernest Judd

I hope it is

Researcher , Jan 23, 2021 9:01 PM Reply to AngryAngry

Yes. They've been here everyday trolling the comments and they reformulated the 77th script from "America did it" to this nonsensical screed.

Some of their initial attempts at diversionary tactics included attacking Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, Bobby Kennedy Jnr, James Corbett and claiming US corporations and specifically, tort laws were destroying upstanding European corporations like Bayer, VW, Deutsche Bank and RBS. Fraudsters, polluters, money launderers and poisoners were now victims of the big bad US of A. Who knew?

All of this to divert from the NGOs such as the WHO, UN, World Bank, BIS, IMF, WEF in collusion with 197 governments and 1,000 corporations forcing Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030 onto the global population under the guise of a pandemic, and rebranding those two agendas as the Great Reset and the 4th Industrial Revolution. (4th Reich)

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:27 AM Reply to Researcher

'at a girl

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:23 AM Reply to AngryAngry

Yeah. The number of short stops and "it might be" or it's possible that" when ever the narrative leads to actual truth that this direction is a tissue of anti-US bs is certainly an indication

Sam - Admin2 , Jan 24, 2021 2:45 AM Reply to AngryAngry

It's a perspective. Perspectives can be useful.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 4:15 AM Reply to Sam - Admin2

I can't honestly use this one for anything valuable from my perspective

-CO , Jan 23, 2021 7:31 PM

For those of you who dwell on the perpetrators of the planned scamdemic here's a few apt biblical quotes to consider and meditate upon if you feel so inclined.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12.

Politicians + so-called "scientific advisors" and other gutless officials in positions of power knowing of the fraud and deception and doing nothing to remedy it and using the just following orders excuse:

"Ye are of the devil, as your father, and ye desire to do the lusts of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof."
John 8:44

Lux et veritas

Moneycircus , Jan 23, 2021 7:24 PM

Eight marriages, 87 years but it was the Covid what got Larry King or at least it was with him or came after him or something.

AngryAngry , Jan 23, 2021 7:35 PM Reply to Moneycircus

Took 91 year old Caprice Grandmother first – tragic💉💉💉

Researcher , Jan 23, 2021 10:27 PM Reply to AngryAngry

Oh Caprice. That ho' who was on that sho'.

Ernest Judd , Jan 23, 2021 8:03 PM Reply to Moneycircus

He died of old age.

Wayne Vanderploeg , Jan 23, 2021 10:08 PM Reply to Ernest Judd

Exactly. However, a Covid body is worth extra cash. I am sure it must have tested positive. How could it not. All that cash.

George Mc , Jan 24, 2021 8:43 AM Reply to Ernest Judd

"Old age" was what they used to call it. We now know it was COVID. All the billions who died in the past really died of COVID. All the documents of yore will have to be rewritten. The Bible: Methuselah lived 969 years before he passed with the holy COVID.

Researcher , Jan 23, 2021 9:07 PM Reply to Moneycircus

His health started failing severely before covid and he stopped going to the RT studios in 2019.

It's interesting that they branded King as the first Covid19 famous death. They smeared his name with a fake cause of death.

Just goes to show being an ass kissing, non journalist doesn't help you after you kick the bucket.

image , Jan 23, 2021 10:41 PM Reply to Researcher

killing of the king is done most month using numerology and astrology aka ritual via sacrifice. it how they appease operate
larry KING signed a contract
what did he offer fuck all he took your time and kept the sheep entertained hypnotized.

Researcher , Jan 24, 2021 2:17 AM Reply to image

Ah! Of course. You always have the good answers.

King died on the 23rd.

Wayne Vanderploeg , Jan 23, 2021 10:05 PM Reply to Moneycircus

I was thinking the same thing when I saw it in the news. Fox, I believe. I held my sarcasm back, though. It was the Down's Syndrome kids that got em Just kidding .

JuraCalling , Jan 23, 2021 10:07 PM Reply to Moneycircus

He invited it on his show as a guest. Brave but crazy.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:28 AM Reply to Moneycircus

I say the marriages in the times of fake woman's lib psyop is definately a comorbidity that man is a hero

Geoffrey Skoll , Jan 23, 2021 7:07 PM

Absolutely! Great insight!

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:31 AM Reply to Geoffrey Skoll

Skol hun? any more to say to defend this crap?

Judith , Jan 23, 2021 6:46 PM

A bit off topic but just watched this very interesting dialogue between Ryan Christian and Whitney Webb on Last American Vagabond. Lots of ground covered.

"SolarWinds Hack, Takeover of US,and the Final Stage of the War on You"

Tried to link but it would not copy successfully.

Fact Checker , Jan 23, 2021 9:18 PM Reply to Judith

Thanks for the tip!

Apropos of this article, Webb observes: "People really need to start, especially this year, paying attention to the World Economic Forum people. If you're in independent media and you're acting like this is not a trans-national push by the people you claim to be fighting against, who have now all allied together in this transnational Blob to enslave us all, c'mon people, get with the program. There's way bigger stuff going on that has way graver implications than any previous year I've been alive."

Articles like this represent a desperate effort to maintain the illusion of the phony, antiquated narratives of national rivalries, when the actual actors on the world stage are a full generation past that.

She also calls out the Yuval Noah Harari's Davos 2020 speech that I've been highlighting, which is excerpted in the "New Normal" mini documentary. She offers some great insight about Mr. Harari's unconcealed disdain for the masses, concluding his speech by arguing that "the elite" need to take hold of the potential of Total Information Awareness surveillance technology, before "the rats" do!

Judith , Jan 23, 2021 9:55 PM Reply to Fact Checker

Yes, I've watched Whitney on Last American Vagabond a few times. Mind like a steel trap.

Today, as you pointed out – well, I've never seen her quite so emphatic. She was really adamant, beyond just reporting. I found the dialogue very very interesting.

I followed up that interview with the latest James Corbett weekly "Solutions" episode with Catherine Austin Fitts. Not as deep into the WEF, but certainly touching on the same subject.

Moneycircus , Jan 24, 2021 5:37 AM Reply to Fact Checker

If anyone's short of time listen from 20 minutes

Intelligence & organized crime syndicates
Russia as "look, squirrel" straw man for Israeli tech
(when Russia-Israeli tech tycoons are often one and the same)
Transnational corporate networks extend to U.S. tech & defense
Microsoft effectively offshored, embedded in Israel
Cyber attack will be "worse than Covid" -- promises Klaus Schwab
By targeting banks this ushers in new digital "store credit"
Big tech & defense-surveillance capitalists lock down the monetary system.

Event 201, 2019 (WEF, Johns Hopkins predict global pandemic.
WEF Cyber Polygon 2020
DHS Cyber Storm 2020

This year we will segue from Covid to a new hacking/digital scenario. Our saviours will tell us lockdown has saved us while they ransacked and looted the economy. We will be told to trust them. Digital ID-monetary system will be the physical aspect of that "trust".

Moneycircus , Jan 24, 2021 7:06 AM Reply to Moneycircus

See also, Polly: Maxwell, Epstein and the Control of Science since WW2

Maggie , Jan 24, 2021 4:53 PM Reply to Moneycircus

Hi Moneycircus,
So have you any ideas HOW we stop them taking over our money?
Spent my whole life saving bits and bobs to enable us to enjoy a simple retirement and investing in our Grandchildren's education. And now 'they' are going to steal our money via the ID-monetary system? Because we will not have the right 'passport' because non of us, my Husband and I or our children and grandchildren will be vaccinated?

Ort , Jan 23, 2021 10:43 PM Reply to Judith

https://www.bitchute.com/video/m88MeLX5xzOX/

sandy sanders , Jan 23, 2021 6:45 PM

Thank You All for the content and place to have real discussions on what is going on in the world.

Kovid Krisis is the rich's cntl-alt-del of the world while they cook up a reboot of some kind or another to save their capitalist empire from oblivion.

A MUST READ so we can all start following the money and talk about radical (root) solutions.

Jubilee – Public Banking – Tax the Rich to 5x Base Pay – Establish 1x Regional Base Living Income on 1040 hrs work/yr – Confiscate the World Financial Digital Shadow Casino Money created in the last 30 years and redistribute equally into a World Public Banks Trust Fund for each human born on Earth. And so on. Direct Democracy will also get everyone to participate and create a true self-governing democracy.

Moneycircus , Jan 23, 2021 6:25 PM

Latest UK Column broadcast summarized here , including this gem: Chatham House masterclass in manipulating public fear , part of Jan 2019 influenza preparedness conference.

Communication and public engagement – MARC VAN RANST – 9: Importance of using the media to push messaging . (Enjoy, it will probably be taken down soon).

https://player.vimeo.com/video/320913130

Steve Poole , Jan 23, 2021 6:08 PM

That echoes my thoughts on this completely. Thanks for putting into words what's inside my head.

pantoufle , Jan 23, 2021 6:07 PM

This is the best explainer I've read so far of this entire disaster. Ties together almost everything. And it originated in your Comments section. And you had the nous to publish it as an article. Outstanding.

I used to love The Guardian. But that was many years ago. I never gave them any dough (funny they never really asked for it in the old days–they didn't seem so desperate until they became WokeNazis).

I just sent you guys 20 pounds.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:35 AM Reply to pantoufle

If you gave 20 lbs for this article, you're gonna have to give 1000 for each of the other ones

tony_opmoc , Jan 23, 2021 5:58 PM

Excellent essay by Maribell Tuff, and whilst I missed it the first time around in the comments (being serially banned here does have an effect on me), I think most of what he/she wrote here is most probably true. I note that most of my comments here, no even longer go into awaiting moderation. They just completely disappear, when I press send.

Where's Catte Black?

Tony

Edwige , Jan 23, 2021 5:26 PM

Venture capital in so-called edtech more than doubled in the last year:

https://www.holoniq.com/notes/16.1b-of-global-edtech-venture-capital-in-2020/

Looks like some very wealthy people know "remote learning" isn't going away anytime soon.

Roberto , Jan 23, 2021 6:31 PM Reply to Tim Drayton

Now that's ironic. The principle of equality can only be sustained by force, but 'nature is more forceful in the return', as observed by Francis Bacon, (albeit referring to the suppression of habit, it holds true for everything).

There is no such thing as a classless society; in any historic example that's why there have been Party bosses, nomenklatura, apparatchik, and the peasants, and of course the police necessary to maintain the status quo with violence, or maybe just intimidation of the especially meek.

How this succeeds in any example is evident by the result. The peasants always revolt; it differs how long it takes, and the natural viability and civility of any society is in direct inverse proportion to the number of police (visible or not) it requires to maintain control.

Gwyn , Jan 23, 2021 6:11 PM Reply to Gwyn

With impeccable timing, just after I'd posted the above comments, a colleague sent me a copy of the guidelines which our company now wants us to follow. Full PPE, endless washing of hands, checking everyone's temperature every two hours, blah, blah, blah.

It appears that the money-grubbing, heartless wankers who own the company have, all of a sudden, developed a deep concern for the well-being of the people who live in their establishments and the staff who work with them. Remarkable, really, considering that they hadn't previously seemed to give a solitary fuck about us. Praise be!

I shall now spend the rest of the evening feeling like a twat (as a kind of practice run for tomorrow's shift, when I'll be kitted out in gloves, muzzle and apron).

Or I could just go for the nuclear option of phoning in sick-of-this-fucking-ridiculous-shit.

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 1:49 AM Reply to Judith

You should blow your nose without a tissue. They are full of formaldehyde causes skin irritation and attacks the nervous system it's a carcinogen too and it comes mainly from China (and I believe Israel Chemicals is also mainly involved) also avoid bed sheets from Ikea and Amazon and any made in china (I tested them in TSP concoctions), any cheap furniture from the likes (fiberboards and pieces of wood stuck together with F. based glue offgasing like crazy, laundry detergents filled with them to replenish any garment, making sure the American population remains dumbed down and sick and dying. The US dollar doesn't exist, no more than the freakin' kopec.

American people exists. American land exists. And they are fine.

But they need to be taken down are they Don't worry people of Europe If it is crushed it is not to save you. It will go in the same pockets of the people who have been crushing you for quite a while.

LKing , Jan 23, 2021 7:45 PM Reply to Gwyn

About 6 months ago my father in law ranted to me about how he hopes people never shake hands again because it's so disgusting. All this talk makes me want to go the opposite direction and shower less, share more gourds of mate with friends, kiss more people, etc.

Gwyn , Jan 23, 2021 11:27 PM Reply to LKing

That reminds me of the George Carlin bit in which he talks about swimming in a river (the Hudson?) with his friends when he was a kid and ingesting all manner of nastiness (including shit). He was of the opinion that this was what had given him an impregnable immune system.

I can't help but compare that attitude to the nonsense we hear from the germaphobes among us.

Ort , Jan 24, 2021 10:27 PM Reply to Gwyn

Pardon the vanity or self-indulgence, but this demands that I recycle a comment I posted at this site last April:

Last month– a lifetime ago– the day after local (Pennsylvania, USA) officials first announced the onset of the Megadeath Virus of Doom, I insouciantly wandered up to the nearby supermarket– mostly to buy bagged salad, my one concession to eating produce. I sailed through the door and stopped short at the sight of a shopping-cart "Trail of Tears"; forlorn customers in a line stretching from the (understaffed) checkout registers to the far wall of the store, then winding around the corner and up the aisle.

As a retired employee of the state unemployment benefits agency who worked for years in now-extinct Job Centers, I am familiar with crisis situations when "the lines are going out the door", and people seem to arrive by the busload. So I turned around to leave. As I did, a big, burly older man was entering the store; I'd seen him around the area, but we'd never spoken.

He also stopped short, and said to me, "What's this all about?" I said, "Apparently a lot of people think the world is coming to an end, and they want to make sure they have the makings of their last meal." (Not to mention toilet paper for postprandial use.)

The man shook his head and said, "Christ! I played sandlot baseball for years, and the ball used to get full of dirt, crud and even dog shit once in a while; we just picked it up and kept on playing!"

I was gratified by this unsolicited validation. Of course, to the pro-pandemic Chicken Littles, he may have played baseball but he's obviously no "team player".

JuraCalling , Jan 23, 2021 10:13 PM Reply to Gwyn

Don't you remember a few months ago on Fox news across the pond in the land where you're not free to say happy Xmas ? They carried a piece banning groups of any size singing 'Happy Birthday'. Apparently the way we pronounce 'P' and ' B' is so forceful it could spray everywhere with covid.

President Trum endoresd the idea even though it sounded like they were taking the iss. Ersonally i think it's all ollocks. Still, it was a positive message to see all those poor victims of a crippling virus stood 'in it together' having a sing along..

Willem , Jan 23, 2021 4:53 PM

One of my comments got deleted in the spam folder. In that comment I specifically explained my work situation and the fanatics I am dealing with. Perhaps it was therefore deleted because, even though the anecdote was true, I cannot prove that the anecdote was true.

Or maybe the comment was just unlucky

Nevertheless, this experience was a good reminder for me that all anecdotes here should be taken with a grain of salt since we are all anonymous commenters here (and therefore can both tell true anecdotes or dream them up any way we please: no one can check the true factualness of the anecdote)

But what I wanted to say can also be said without anecdotal 'evidence' which is this:

In science (any science, being it medical science, political science, economic science, etc) there is theory and practice. And if the science is a true science, the theory should always be confirmed by practice. And if practice doesn't follow the theory, the theory should change.

Unfortunately we live in a topsy turvy world where practice should always follow theory. And if practice doesn't follow theory it is discarded as an aberration, a chance finding, unimportant, flawed, unscientific, finding and the theory remains standing unabated.

And this is the reason why we are in this mess. The economy isn't working, because the theory is flawed, as is medical science on covid (and other diseases), and political science (on for instance the definition what a democracy is). And all we scientists are supposed to do is act as if the theory is sound and find confirmation that what should be true according to theory, is essentially followed by practice.

And this can only be done by either censoring everything that doesn't fit the theory (and there are many ways to censor) or finding more and more, sort of ontological arguments of why God must exist.

And the problem with ontological arguments is that they have this fascinating feature of finding the truth, against the odds, because the truth is so difficult to find (when the theory is flawed) but still is found in an ontological argument.

This could be yet another reason why in epidemiology the Covid theory stands unabated. It is difficult to understand, you have to go into great lengths to understand it and finding the truth can be as difficult as an ontological argument, which can only be found by the smartest of the smartest scientists. And so it is fun! Because trying to solve puzzles is fun. Like alchemy

While in reality the truth is not so difficult to find. When I limit myself to covid, here is a riddle: how can you say that there are excess deaths due to covid, if the average age of death (81 years in NL) is the same as the average age of death in Covid (82 years)?

If you want to explain that and still hold that the theory stands unabated, you do need an ontological argument, and this is what some epidemiologists are doing (others just ignore the riddle, as if it doesn't exist).

And anyone (like me) who is crushing their thoughts and theories, is considered as Archimedes considered the Roman soldier who was disturbing him on his thoughts on the circles.

I am aware that this is also an ontological argument where I remain faithful to the idea that epidemiologists can act rational as in that they do want to distill practice out of a theory

Researcher , Jan 23, 2021 6:38 PM Reply to Willem

What if all those epidemiologists are employed by the institutions that are controlled by the same corporate structures who control the entire field of virology and genetics?

theobalt , Jan 24, 2021 2:59 AM Reply to Reset the Diaboligarchy

Yeah? try to say "fuck China" get ready for 20 downvotes

ted , Jan 23, 2021 4:31 PM

Very good analysis in my opinion. There has to be a reason for a relatively boring respiratory season (outside of the few countries where hospitals bring elderly patients to a somewhat earlier death than would have been the case absent medical intervention) turning into endless economic suppression through endless lockdown.

Here in the US, the unimaginable levels of direct money transfers to households is fueling nasty levels of inflation already. As an example, a haircut at my now rebel barber went from US $18 last march to US $ 25 last week. A new housing bubble mania is taking hold, while renters are permitted to not pay rent for the foreseeable future allowing more consumer spending for a dwindling supply of goods and services, hopefully stimulating more hyper inflation. Grandpa Joe promises 2 trillion more in direct money transfers soon. (remember how outraged Americans were when Hank Paulson had the audacity to ask for 750 billion in 2008? . ah the good times of yore).

Given the scale of direct cash transfers to individuals, I take issue with one part of the argument. The goal here is not to save the dollar but to debase the dollar on a massive scale. Hyper inflation of the dollar would shrink the value of debts held and promises made, particularly in the colossal derivatives markets, as these are now obviously unwinding in an uncontrolled fashion (thus the need for the incredible scale of money printing). The problem is other currencies are so tied to the dollar that they have no choice but to follow the American plan, debasing their currencies to try and keep an even footing with the US. This is the only thing that would explain the EU's zeal for lockdowns that are well in excess of anything in the US (I am writing from California). The EURO must trade on parity with the dollar as the banking systems of both regions are deeply intertwined.

We are already seeing the outcome. The burden of planet covid/financial reset will fall exclusively on the poor and working classes. those who do not have financial assets, while the nominal wealth of the professional classes explodes (as it is presently doing). Something like the upstairs/downstairs society of the 19th century is the result. Which is great for political parties, because they only need to professional classes to win elections, while the peons, who cannot even vote because they are increasingly not citizens or stripped of citizenship through incarceration have no voice at all. Dickensian dystopia 21st century style awaits.

RobG , Jan 23, 2021 4:07 PM

This article, as many others have pointed out, is certainly interesting, particularly how it deals with the enemies du jour being in lockstep with it all, which is something the covid believers always point to.

However, I do believe there's something very sinister behind the covid con. I say this because you only have to look at how they are deliberately trying to destroy all human joy, creativity and spirituality. Indeed, they are deliberately trying to destroy our human society that's existed for tens of thousands of years.

Sarah Jones , Jan 23, 2021 6:32 PM Reply to livingsb

covid is a viral infectious disease. it infects people with narcissistic abuse techniques like triangulation, smear campaigns, blame shifting, hoovering and gaslighting which the infected individual then spreads further. a ponzi marketing scheme for the fake health system which turns out to be the biggest destroyer of health made up of psychopaths with only the very rare medical doctor speaking out tentatively about the narcassistic abuse and destruction that is covid.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/b5e1ZBFVKek

el Gallinazo , Jan 23, 2021 4:03 PM

First, as to the article itself. I regard it as an intentional or possibly unintentional limited hangout. The truthiness part of it is foremost the recognition that the Sept 2019 "repocalypse," with the massive intrusion of the Fed into the interbank lending, marked the start of the collapse of the life support to the global financial system since early 2009. The ensuing scamdemic was a diversion to the economic collapse and allowed our Owners to decimate the fiat currencies through exponential printing, vastly increasing the "legal" debt ultimately held against the 99.9%. I also give her credit for recognizing the fact that covid-1984 is a non-existent artifact. I was considering doing a deconstruction of the incorrect statements of this article, but decided that it was not really worth the hours involved.

I would simply state that almost every step we are seeing has been planned since before the official rollout of the Fed in the USA in 1913. One could reasonably build a case that it dates back to John Dee and Kelly during the reign of the first Elizabeth. The ultimate aim is to revert the planet to total control under a dystopian, neofeudal technocracy, drastically cull the population, and to transform the remaining ones into genetically altered cyborgs whose "minds" are part of the "cloud." The next step in the rollout will be a pseudo crypto digital currency by all the world's central banks which will be in short order unified into Earthcoin. This will be a de facto credit against a global company store such as many sharecroppers and coal miners faced in the USA in past decades. One's means of existence can be eliminated with the click of a mouse from a slight act of misbehavior, especially thoughtcrime. In short a three tiered society where 95% will be serfs, 4.99% will be technicians and enforcers, and the tiny remainder will be the owners. While not a great work of fiction, The Hunger Games was a good projection of this society. I never bothered to watch the film.

I wish to give the author thanks for giving me a good laugh with her statement that the politicians of the world had to be convinced that the gigantic psyops would in the end prove less disastrous to world's population than just letting the system collapse. As if they are not also sociopaths who could not care less about the welfare of their constituents.

Hector , Jan 23, 2021 5:18 PM Reply to el Gallinazo

I would give the films a go. I watched the first one several years ago at my other half's insistence and was pleasantly surprised at the depth of its themes despite some duff acting. The second film is also worthwhile but I wouldn't bother with the third and fourth.

LKing , Jan 23, 2021 8:48 PM Reply to Hector

Today my local news had a headline quoting our governor comparing our vaccine rollout to the Hunger Games. I noticed several other states and cities doing the same about their own vaccine rollout.

2fat2surf , Jan 23, 2021 3:57 PM

It's really quite simple actually. The same folks who did the 911 false flag attack crime are behind the virus hoax. Their ends have never changed; to acquire power and control (which they certainly already have) And to use any means no matter how ruthless and murderous to keep it.

When you control all the money in the world, even if you don't have truth on your side, you have immense power.

There is something sinister behind this.

JuraCalling , Jan 23, 2021 11:47 PM Reply to 2fat2surf

We know the truth. They know the truth. They have the power. We have nothing .It would appear that it doesn't matter who has any truth on their side. It's power that shapes the destiny of a race .

el Gallinazo , Jan 24, 2021 1:21 PM Reply to JuraCalling

"They have the power. We have nothing."

Disagree strongly. We outnumber the innermost cabal by about 7 billion to 1000. Wrap your head around that. They maintain their power through the transmission depicted on the back of the USA $1 Federal Reserve Note from the eye on the top down that pyramid. The way to combat it is for us peons at the ground level of the pyramid to dismantle their transmission system from the ground up , leaving our emperors eventually without any clothes. If one wishes to find the savior who will save us, just look in the mirror. To do that successfully, we must first dismantle their divide and control global psyops.

JuraCalling , Jan 24, 2021 3:17 PM Reply to el Gallinazo

"Disagree strongly. We outnumber the innermost cabal by about 7 billion to 1000. Wrap your head around that."

That would be great if it was a "how many people are in your gang" contest. If 1,000 people are in a face off with 100 people, who has the advantage ?

Now. if that 100 people had machine guns, tanks and grenades, but the 1,000 were unarmed- who has the advantage. Wrap your head around that.

"They maintain their power through the transmission depicted on the back of the USA $1 Federal Reserve Note from the eye on the top down that pyramid."

Who does. This is a global pandemic to cover a global takeover. Yes -- there's actually a world outside of America. True story. In the greater scheme of things, America is 'the new kid'. It's just the loudest and least clever. Does Schwab make his plans based on the US fed res ?

It doesn't matter if our emperors have no clothes or if they have suits of armour. What they do have is an arsenal of bio chemical weaponry and poisons along with the various books of rules they can change on a daily basis that determine where we go, what we do, and when. And, of course, the list of consequences for those who believe we don't have to.

There's a reason why the 'innermost cabal' are showing no fear against the vast numbers that oppose it. And it's not bravery or stupidity.

Forget the 99.99% Vs 00.01%. Imagine a few hundred who are running the Covid scam and vaccine poisoning programme and the couple of million opposing it. They are continuing. The opposition, in the meantime, is living on the internet posting 'truth's and pictures of Hitler.

Fact Checker , Jan 24, 2021 10:03 PM Reply to JuraCalling

" America is 'the new kid'. It's just the loudest and least clever."

Not the first time you've made me LOL, Jura, and I'm sure it won't be the last. To the quick you cut.

George Mc , Jan 23, 2021 3:50 PM

Just caught some more mainstream pish on how Fauci blamed his "country's ineffective pandemic response on an American "anti-science bias." He called this bias "inconceivable," because "science is truth."

Thus spake Zarafauci!

He also "compared those discounting the importance of masks and social distancing to "anti-vaxxers" in their "amazing" refusal to listen to science."

Fauci IS Science!

Meanwhile Adrian Bardon, professor of philosophy, is amazed at Fauci's amazement at this rejection of The Mighty Science, saying that "Denial is Everywhere"!

Ah well only one solution: a little brain operation to make everyone "see the Truth"!

Bob -Enough now , Jan 23, 2021 5:05 PM Reply to George Mc

So Fauci stated "science is truth." – but that is what makes "Fauci" a charlaton in the eyes of real scientists; science is ever changing, evolving, ever questioned, enhanced and even proved incorrect. Today's theories (what he believes to be the truth), will be smiled upon in the future.

Mike Ellwood (Oxon UK) , Jan 23, 2021 6:15 PM Reply to Bob -Enough now

Quite. If anything, science is doubt, not truth.

NickM , Jan 23, 2021 6:38 PM Reply to Mike Ellwood (Oxon UK)

Well said, Mike; doubt is the faith of science:

"There is more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in all the creeds" -- Tennyson.

Edith , Jan 23, 2021 5:17 PM Reply to George Mc

Yes one could keep wondering why anyone listens to that little man .how do these people get to be the man of the moment he was there for the aids story and back for this game how knows how many billion he has made from these games. Or why on earth anyone regards anything he says as sane let alone science

JuraCalling , Jan 23, 2021 11:59 PM Reply to George Mc

He's the leader of the pack for Scientism. Him and Gates the two-headed snake.

They believe if it can be quantified / measured. expressed in data- it's real. Anything else is speculation and myth.

This is why the whole covid exercise has had two avenues from day one.

Avenue one: The alleged instructions passed to politicians by behavioural scientists( meaning behavioural psychologists that teach them conditioning techniques that match those imagined in the Lockstep paper)

Avenue two : The alleged data and results passed to them by other 'advisors' that call themselves 'scientific advisers'. They talk about data, numbers, projections and use them as a foundation to build the lockdown and oppression on. None of the numbers are available to us.

note that no avenue is left open that leads to medical doctors and virologists that want an open debate *

Note that neither the psychologists or number crunchers have faces and voices and nobody is there to debate or discuss. Just to pass a script of instructions to the suited clowns who don't know there arses from a hole in the ground.

The ritualistic physical instructions of social distancing and self isolating and the grinding down of hope and personal willpower are to induce a semi-trance state.

Watch the deadness in every pair of eyes that have a mask underneath. Watch how they have begun to avoid speaking and walk like they're in a minefield, zombie – like.

It's all priming. The de-humanizing is the prepping. It's winding us down like toys before 'resetting' us.

If the next step is the morphing of man and machine through their mad Nazi Science- and every day suggests it is- then we are about to bring the curtain down on man as a species and usher in their manmade man. What better way to cremate all previous belief systems about God made man. They hijack natural selection and then bastardize that into unnatural selection just after God is killed as an idea that was never quantifiable.

[Jan 22, 2021] Meritocracy used to work, because of succession planning and training.

Jan 22, 2021 | www.unz.com

Curmudgeon , says: January 21, 2021 at 10:20 pm GMT • 3.7 hours ago

@James Speaks rn. I'm not fine with assuming that the end product will automatically produce merit beyond what meritocracy is today – brown-nosing. True merit is you have demonstrated you can do it.

The last 40+ years have seen an endless stream of "bright boys" graduating university with MBAs, getting involved in the management structure as "change agents", screwing up the business for 5 years then "taking another opportunity" to screw up a different company.

Prof. Henry Mintzberg calls them the wrong people, at the wrong time, for the wrong reason, because they don't have a clue how the real world works. But hey, they are high IQ people, so they must have merit.

Uncoy , says: Website January 21, 2021 at 10:52 pm GMT • 3.2 hours ago
@Curmudgeon r medicine and sophisticated writing. The issue is that these individual were poorly educated – first and foremost in the "greed is good" school of the America. After sipping deeply of this dead-end, destructive ethical framework, these individuals were then carefully trained on how to extract value from an economy/a company rather than add value.

High IQ is still desperately needed for progress and to maintain civilisation. But put to ill-use, high IQ individuals can wreak commensurately wreak greater havoc.

Analogies could be made to guns, armies, cars. All of them can be put to exceptionally ill-use. Few would argue that a modern nation can live without automobiles or some kind of armed defence force.

[Jan 22, 2021] American Hotels Experienced Worst Year Ever

Jan 22, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

According to STR, Inc , a hotel industry market data firm, 2020 was absolutely the worst year on record for hotels as industrywide profits fell to zero , as the virus pandemic and resulting government-enforced social distancing measures kept travelers at home.

STR's latest report said the US hotel occupancy rate was 44% for the year, down from 66% in 2019. This was the lowest occupancy rate on record. In an earlier STR report, we noted weeks ago that the industry had one billion unsold room nights for the first time, surpassing the record of 786 million in 2009.

Even though S&P Global Ratings warned a few months back that the hotel industry's recovery may not occur until 2023, STR now believes a recovery in occupancy rates back to 2019 levels may not occur until 2024.

Best Western CEO David Kong recently told CNN that "If we don't get a vaccine soon and business doesn't return, it's going to get much worse."

[Jan 20, 2021] The economic consequences of these non-debated government policies have been catastrophic. In the U.S. something like 60 million jobs have been lost, many never to return.

Jan 20, 2021 | off-guardian.org

The economic consequences of these non-debated government policies have been catastrophic. In the U.S. something like 60 million jobs have been lost, many never to return. A hundred and fifty thousand restaurants have gone bankrupt. Only one in three museums will ever reopen. In San Francisco they decided NOT to count the numbers of new homeless. No reason was given but one can guess. The homeless situation in the U.S., in big cities in particular, was critical even before the pandemic. Now the numbers are unprecedented. Not even during the 'Great Depression' was there anything like the current level of those without basic shelter.

Food insecurity is at a crisis level. Feeding America , the largest hunger relief organization in the US, estimates over 50 million people go hungry every night including something close to twenty million children.

Since mid-March 2020, numerous surveys have documented unprecedented levels of food insecurity that eclipse anything seen in recent decades in the United States, including during the Great Recession. Over the past five years, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates of food insecurity in the United States have hovered around 11% to 12%.

As of March and April 2020, national estimates of food insecurity more than tripled to 38% In a national survey we fielded in March 2020 among adults with incomes less than 250% of the 2020 federal poverty level (based on thresholds from the US Census), 44% of all households were food insecure including 48% of Black households, 52% of Hispanic households, and 54% of households with children. American Public Heath Association ( Dec 2020 )

And yet, congress just passed another defense budget increase. According to Defense News

the final version of the 2020 defense appropriations bill, part of a broad $1.4 trillion spending deal to finalize federal spending for 2020 and avert a government shutdown. The defense bill would provide $738 billion.

Almost one in three households suffers hunger, regularly. Almost half of black and hispanic households. Households with children are most vulnerable to the government policies. So half of the kids in the U.S. have inadequate nutrition. Half will suffer long term developmental problems, almost guaranteed.

So, given that there are countless medical professionals around the world who question the effectiveness of Covid policy by government, who questions the World Health Organization and CDC? One would think there would be a heated and exhaustive discussion about how to proceed. Once it was clear that this was not a particularly fatal virus, there should have been wide and far-reaching debate. But there was none.

And who are the authorities who dictate these policies? This also remains unclear. The head of the WHO is Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus . But the face of the pandemic is Anthony Fauci. Now his role is also a bit unclear.

Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He has held that position since 1984. It is unclear why he is the official advisor to presidents.

But, the point is that Bill Gates controls forty percent of the WHO. So, take Norway, where I live. Who advises the PM? Or advises her health minister? And it's worth noting that the health minister is Bent Høie, from the ruling party, a conservative business-friendly party.

Here is the wiki entry on Mr Høie

Høie was born in Randaberg. He studied law at University of Bergen in 1991 and also attended the Norwegian School of Hotel Management from 1991-93.

Well, I guess Hotel management is as good a background as any to make life and death decisions about pandemics. One assumes the WHO and/or the CDC send advisors to talk to the Minister of Health. But I am only guessing.

My point is that the decision-making process is utterly opaque. Nobody seems to have a clear idea from where, exactly, the policy of lockdown (the quarantining of healthy people is, as far as I can tell, utterly new) originated, or where the marketing and obvious fearmongering came from.

For there has been a clear marketing apparatus in play, with all the mask adverts, the social distancing, etc. And worth mentioning is that the eco outcry about plastic straws, a genuine issue, really, suddenly receded and now, in the hysteria of mask wearing, the environment has had to absorb 9 billion single-use cloth and plastic masks .

The entire global economy is teetering on collapse. And this was intentional. This is because of governmental actions, not because of a virus. Of course, western economies have been teetering since 2008, if not before.

I'm not an economist, but this is the point where one must look at "The Great Reset" .

Most of you have heard of it, its been on the cover of TIME magazine, and that photo of Klaus Schwab and his Vulcan unitard suit has cropped up across all social media platforms. The short version (for a long and exhaustive and insightful version see Cory Morningstar here ) is that Schwab and his friends at the World Economic Forum have this idea, clothed in perfect green attire, to "reset" the economies of the West (or of the world).

The word 'reset' is interesting. Who came up with that I wonder? It feels very computer-ish and futuristic, and optimistic! And while much is made of certain aspects (natural capital, social capital, a new deal for nature, social impact bonds, etc) the reality is that the capitalist system, in the hands of the richest at any given moment (or we can say the ruling class), drive corrections to the market. This helps consolidate wealth at the top, or transfer more to the top.

And that is what this is, with the difference being that the plan is more about the destruction of markets, the destruction of competition, and the hyper monopolization of nearly everything. It entails a good deal of AI fantasy, but it also means a digitalization of currency (so no grey economy, no borrowing from friends, no under the table work) and a massive increase in surveillance and tracking. All of this is helped by the lockdown policies, the so-called 'Reset' would likely be stillborn if not for the reaction to Covid.

Allow me to insert HERE a European Commission statement regarding Covid19.

Now the new head of the European Commission is Ursula von der Leyen. Remember that much of the Reset is driven by the ruling elite of Europe and North America. And these people share common values and goals. Here is a brief biographical sketch on Ms von der Leyen

"Von der Leyen's father's grandparents were the cotton merchant Carl Albrecht (1875–1952) and Mary Ladson Robertson (1883–1960), an American who belonged to a plantation owning family of the southern aristocracy from Charleston, South Carolina.

Her American ancestors played a significant role in the British colonization of the Americas, and she descends from many of the first English settlers of Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Barbados, and from numerous colonial-era governors.

Among her ancestors were Carolina governors John Yeamans, James Moore, Robert Gibbes, Thomas Smith and Joseph Blake, Pennsylvania deputy governor Samuel Carpenter, and the American revolutionary and lieutenant governor of South Carolina James Ladson.The Ladson family were large plantation owners and her ancestor James H. Ladson owned over 200 slaves by the time slavery in the United States was abolished; her relatives and ancestors were among the wealthiest in British North America in the 18th century, and she descends from one of the largest British slave traders of the era, Joseph Wragg."

I will return to why this has relevance. But I will only say here that all of the faces fronting for the Green New Deal, and the Reset, are wealthy, from lineages of extreme wealth and position. Today's theme is 'class'.

I can tell you only what I think Schwab and his colleagues want from this project. Let's look at what is not going to return to normal after the lockdown.

Commercial airlines are going bust, and those that are still alive have drastically cut routes and have limited their service. The days of cheap flights to warm beaches is gone, I suspect, for good. Vacations will be limited and travel limited (well, unless you are very rich like Gates and Schwab and Ms von der Leyen and Prince Charles and Jeff Bezos et al).

There are now sixty million people out of work in the U.S. The inevitability of the Universal Basic Income is pretty clear. The question is how much does one mean by basic ?

Here I think one might do a quick history overview of apartheid South Africa, of the sugar plantations of the 18th century in the Caribbean or, well, the Nazi work camp system. The new capitalism that is imagined (and look, feel free to call it post-capitalism , or woke feudalism or whateverthefuckever you want) has more in common with the aforementioned systems of servitude and slavery than it does with anything else. It is class struggle, as Marx emphasized. Jobs won't be coming back. There will be a gigantic surplus population.

And already one sees the gradual coalescing of a new caste system. People deemed 'important' are allowed to go places and few questions are asked if they violate social distancing or mask wearing. The new social apartheid, which began as a pseudoscientific method for disease control, has now, in the brief span of a year, become a defacto class segregation. The rich are exempt. Here is an article from the New York Post (Aug 15th) :

Meanwhile, billionaire David Geffen has been hanging on his yacht, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are cruising Greece in another yacht after receiving "honorary" citizenship, Facebook overlord Mark Zuckerberg has been trolling the waters off Hawaii in a $12,000 surfboard, Jeff Bezos and his lady friend have been (multiple) house-hunting, buying up millions of dollars in property in Los Angeles to build a compound while traveling via private jet to several cities around the country, former Mayor Bloomberg splashed out $45 million on a Colorado compound (joining a host of other billionaires buying in that state as well as Montana and Wyoming); and others are spending millions to buy citizenship in "safe" countries like New Zealand.

That 'compound' remark is worth noting. For this is the future for much of America. Gated compounds for the aristos and the dirty, squalid, infected world for the proles. And look, gated communities with private security have been in existence for forty years. Only now the separation has deeper implications.

Of course, football can continue in both the US and UK, though basketball has been more strictly limited (the perception is, of course, that basketball is an urban game and in a league over 70% black).

It is amazing how these strictly-enforced behavioural rules are relaxed for the amusements of the court. The rich can pretty much do whatever they want. Literally none of the rules apply to them. There is a middle tier of affluent, those deemed necessary, for the moment anyway, who get to move around more easily. For the millions now without income the restrictions will be quite acute.

So, back to the Reset for a moment. I keep returning to the slave economies of times past because this is increasingly what capitalism has been trending toward. The sugar plantations of the Caribbean used slave labour. Imported from Africa. They sold that raw product in markets of the metropole, to world markets. But on the plantation only master and slave relations existed. And this is, in one sense, what is being normalized today. Slave relations. And like the gulf Monarchies who use 'guest' workers (slaves, literally), Americans are close already to being guest workers in their own country.

And like the Apartheid laws in South Africa, certain castes (replacing race in this case) cannot go to the private beach of Mark Zukerberg. Or these days, often, any beach at all.

It's worth noting that the old 19th Century industrialist tycoons eventually became huge philanthropists. Carnegie, Mellon, Peabody, Rockefeller even. They endowed education, built libraries and hospitals. Today's tycoons create deceptive Green projects that are really just more wealth-amassing schemes to displace indigenous people, steal land and property, and help sell and normalize the police state.

Students throughout California are now stuck at home in hot, crowded rooms that occasionally fill with wildfire smoke. 19% of these students are English language learners and almost 13% of them have disabilities. Every day on Zoom they fall more and more behind both academically and socially. In Los Angeles Unified, the state's largest district, students are receiving 90-170 minutes of daily live instruction (depending on their age), after which they are expected to do independent work. Compared to the traditional six or seven-hour school day, online education is laughably inadequate. In real time, teachers and families are watching important developmental windows close for vulnerable children. Meanwhile the California Democratic Party and its affiliates tout virtual schooling as a solution for mitigating COVID-19 transmission" Alex Gutentag ( The Bellows )

Gutentag also notes that the California governor sends his kids to a private school with in-person learning. Caste.

Not to mention that many children in the U.S. now live in highly-stressed homes. Over forty million people are at risk of eviction because of unpaid back rent. None of these homes can afford adequate food. They certainly cannot afford health care.

What happens when a child gets sick in today's America? I suspect for hundreds of thousands they will, at best, get inconsistent attention from volunteer medical workers -- unless there is a lockdown in effect. Then they get nothing.

As I say, this brutal reorganization of the economy bears no small similarity to a slave economy -- but it is being sold to the public by pretending it is this new, technology-driven Reset. (Own nothing and be happy).

What exactly does the government plan to do with those sixty million unemployed Americans? What does the UK plan? or Germany or France? Or anywhere? The stimulus package went mostly to big corporations. And media and state propaganda continue to provide endless distractions (see assault on the Capitol , and anything to do with Trump).

There is a clear belief in and emphasis on technology in all this. On AI and robotics and transhumanism (sic) . This belief in AI to solve almost everything is reaching levels of delusion that many people, even critics of the Reset, seem to ignore.

So how is it that people have so passively surrendered their rights? The answer is complex.

First, the idea of cooperation and grass roots organizing have been relentlessly disparaged in the media for decades. When unions were effectively destroyed under Reagan, along with them went the last vestiges of collectivity. Hollywood has always made films about individual triumph, almost never about revolutionary organizing. I think a large number of people today, even those skeptical, suffer from a kind of inertia. And this too has been built into the system. And it may well be an aspect of screen habituation.

But before that, people are afraid. The unseen enemy, the invisible virus, the plague, an enemy that brings fevers and suffering, sickness and death. But that is only a part of the problem. The Reset is presenting a future of total control for the ruling class.

Why would anyone support this madness? Well, first, because they are being sold on the idea that it's green, and that THEY, themselves, will be in control. Sort of. And second, they have limited options.

In a way the long shadow of the Reagan years are evident here. The destruction of unions, coupled with the loss of real public education, has allowed for the rootless, lonely and isolated 'individual' of contemporary America. And the utter absence of a real leftist party.

But it's true for much of Europe, too. Here in Norway the wearing of masks is prevalent in 'high risk' red zones. And one still can't drive across the border to Sweden. I see enormous stress indicators in children. Even in my children. And they are young. Nobody feels happy. Isolation does not promote happiness.

Still, how likely is it that this Reset works? I think this question is ignored somewhat and therefore we need to ask 'for whom does it work'? While there has been enormous amounts of great stuff written about Schwab and the WEF I must digress a moment (although its not really a digression, but only appears to be):

There is a basic problem with AI, deep learning, and natural language and, while it is about language, it applies to other fields as well. This is the Frame problem . And the Frame problem is intwined with the problem of time.

NOTE: The Frame problem "is the challenge of representing the effects of action in logic without having to represent explicitly a large number of intuitively obvious non-effects. But to many philosophers, the AI researchers' frame problem is suggestive of wider epistemological issues." – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – ed.

The Frame problem is about relevance, and that the outlier issues, while statistically rare, are actually what distinguish 'smart' people from 'not smart' people. Machine learning, AI, can do a lot of things, but to over-applaud its achievements without admitting its profound limitations is going to lead to some catastrophic mistakes and, no doubt, human tragedies.

And then there is this .

AI works great in labs, with toys and controlled environments, but a lot less well in the real world .

So far the solution for the new AI cheerleaders is to make the real world like a lab. In one sense, Singapore, with extensive use of AI via a very authoritarian state apparatus, has already done this. China is a more complex discussion, and wanting to avoid any idea of an 'Oriental plot', I'm just going to take a Mulligan.

The ruling class anywhere is exempted in all such examples. The majority of humans will be treated as rats in a lab test. Not even rats, but toys. In other words, highly, if not totally, expendable.

But the problems with the Reset, and with all of the Green New Deal projects, are that they operate in a computer model-based world that is rather significantly divorced from real life, and certainly, intentionally, disregards class (and caste).

There are also new ideas like ' human capital bonds '. It sounds complex but this is just a more draconian loan arrangement where, if you default, for example while going to medical school, even if you graduate you wont be allowed to practice. Everything in this new economy gives people less power and less autonomy.

The issues with all AI and with the advanced technology praised by the Reset are philosophical more than scientific. Part of the problem is that the real world is enormously complex. Like weather prediction, anything more than six or seven days out is all but impossible. There are too many unknown factors and variables. This truth can be extrapolated to just about any real world problem. But for all the growing skepticism about AI, the proponents (who know these problems) continue to propagandize the benefits and the infinite possibilities of an AI-dominated future.

The most absurd are the transhumanists. Given how little is actually known about consciousness, and considering that all AI is just math, it seems almost infantile to think we are going to learn better with implants, or work more efficiently. Alongside that is the issue of prediction. Perhaps this was built into the Enlightenment, but what Adorno and Horkheimer came to call 'instrumental thinking' is now embraced unquestioningly by the new peddlers of AI.

Back to the philosophical issue. Wittgenstein famously said:

If a lion could speak, we would not understand it.

Language is part of a shared horizon of the world (as Steven Gambardella put it). Computers can simulate thought, but only up to a point. (See Chinese Box experiment)

The whole modern conception of the world is founded on the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena. Thus people today stop at the laws of nature, treating them as something inviolable, just as God and Fate were treated in past ages. Ludwig Wittgenstein ( Tractatus )

AI is the Alchemy of the 21st century. The new Reset, driven by the high net worth figures from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, or the Royal Houses of Europe, is a fantasy. But a fantasy that is part of a long class struggle.

And at a certain point it doesn't matter, not totally, if AI works.

If errors occur in computation, or in facial recognition, or in food allotments to the projected new slave class, the billionaires on their yachts wont mind. If the implant in my brain crashes during a scheduled update, that's just one less servant to feed.

And there is also a clear de-population agenda at work in all this. Certainly David Attenborough and Baroness Goodall are big on getting rid of the indigenous people in Africa . Nearly all of the pro-Reset leadership believe in depopulation. Prince Charles, another who prefers he keep his privilege. It is not an accident that an Ursula von der Leyen is running point for the EU now. A descendent of the biggest slave trader in Europe at one time. It speaks to exactly why a Hugo Chavez, for example, so offended these people. Or an Evo Morales. Remember it was not so long ago that the U.S. worked to control and neutralize African independence movements. While Cuba and the U.S.S.R. helped to support those movements. Dick Cheney until the 90s called Mandela a terrorist.

This intentional demolition of capitalism, as we have come to know it, is designed to enclose populations via surveillance, digital tagging, health passports, and no doubt much more. Again, if the digital tag doesn't work, so what? I happen to think much of this ruling class dream is doomed to fail on the technical level. The problem is that it quite possibly will work on a political and control level.

Depopulation is rebranded eugenics, and nothing else. The royals of Europe have always longed for a return to what, for them, was colonial grandeur. The fantasy future is nostalgia for the ruling class. The dream can be traced back to what the Empire has always done. They destroy anything democratic and/or socialist. They support any dictator at any time because they believe they deserve more and more of what is better. Let them eat cake.

They have crushed independence and autonomy for all of the 20th century and now into the 21st. The Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, the assassination of Lumumba, Vietnam, Indonesia and Suharto, El Salvador ( U.S. support for Roberto D'Aubuisson, a fervent admirer of Hitler), or Nicaragua, or Chile, the former Yugoslavia. One could go on and on and on. The U.S. support for Papa Doc in Haiti, for Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. Nowhere, at any time, has the Imperialist and colonial-loving ruling class EVER supported democracy or equality. Never, nowhere, not once.

The problem is about perception . Take one of the biggest NGOs in the entire New Deal for Nature; Conservation International . These people work with the WWF, with Club of Rome, and We Mean Business. These are very wealthy business ventures. Now, Conservation International also finances the Greta Thunberg films.

HERE is their board of directors, from their web page.

Perception. But Northrup Grummon and Riverstone Holdings. The first is a major player in the defense industry, the industry that just got a trillion dollars, give or take, from the U.S. Government. The second is a private equity firm focused on leveraged buyouts. Arnhold LLC is an investment management company. Banco BTG Pactual S/A is an investment management company and consultant to corporate trading. You get the idea. These are the people who have helped further inequality, aided environmental destruction, and helped plunder the assets of countless countries. The cynicism is jaw dropping, but many people just see Greta, see Green New Deal and assume this NGO is an innocent well-intentioned and 'woke' eco-venture.

WHY would anyone think that suddenly these people are out to save the planet?

Well, they might think they ARE saving the planet, but not for you and me. For themselves.

John Steppling is an original founding member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, a two-time NEA recipient, Rockefeller Fellow in theatre, and PEN-West winner for playwrighting. He's had plays produced in LA, NYC, SF, Louisville, and at universities across the US, as well in Warsaw, Lodz, Paris, London and Krakow. He has taught screenwriting and curated the cinematheque for five years at the Polish National Film School in Lodz, Poland. Plays include The Shaper, Dream Coast, Standard of the Breed, The Thrill, Wheel of Fortune, Dogmouth, and Phantom Luck, which won the 2010 LA Award for best play. Film credits include 52 Pick-up (directed by John Frankenheimer, 1985) and Animal Factory (directed by Steve Buscemi, 1999). A collection of his plays was published in 1999 by Sun & Moon Press as Sea of Cortez and Other Plays. He lives with wife Gunnhild Skrodal Steppling; they divide their time between Norway and the high desert of southern California. He is artistic director of the theatre collective Gunfighter Nation. Jan 19, 2021 1:40 PM

great piece. I am perplexed when we speak of the new era we are facing, as a new form of feudalism. The feudal age it was not just a story between serfs and feudal lords, in Europe, we also witnessed the birth of Medieval commune, the Municipalities, in which citizens gave themselves the first laws and rights of free men. "During the 10th century in several parts of Western Europe, peasants began to gravitate towards walled population centers, as advances in agriculture (the three-field system) resulted in greater productivity and intense competition
Such townspeople needed physical protection from lawless nobles and bandits, part of the motivation for gathering behind communal walls, but also strove to establish their liberties, the freedom to conduct and regulate their own affairs and security from arbitrary taxation and harassment from the bishop, abbot, or count in whose jurisdiction these obscure and ignoble social outsiders lay. This was a long process of struggling to obtain charters that guaranteed such basics as the right to hold a market. The breakaway from their feudal overlords by these communes occurred in the late 12th century and 13th century, during the Investiture Controversy between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. Milan led the Lombard cities against the Holy Roman Emperors and defeated them, gaining independence (battles of Legnano, 1176, and Parma, 1248). Meanwhile, the Republic of Venice, Pisa and Genoa were able to conquer their naval empires on the Mediterranean sea (in 1204 Venice conquered three-eights of the Byzantine Empire in the Fourth Crusade). Cities such as Parma, Ferrara, Verona, Padua, Lucca, Siena, Mantua and others were able to create stable states at the expenses of their neighbors, some of which lasted until modern times." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_commune ."

[Jan 09, 2021] The line of investigation initiated by Upton Sinclair into the shared Board memberships at key elite universities within the USA that erased the traditional teaching of political-economy and replaced it with the mathematical economics which lie at the root of Neoliberalism's Junk Economics

Jan 09, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jan 9 2021 0:37 utc | 124

Digital Spartacus @105--

I've been following her work for several months now and think her premises much sounder than Matthew Ehret's, who are actually on the same Canadian team. Generally, the three of us are working on exposing the rise and spread of what's now known as Neoliberalism. And of course, there's Dr. Hudson who's ahead of us all.

The line of investigation initiated by Upton Sinclair into the shared Board memberships at key elite universities within the USA that erased the traditional teaching of political-economy and replaced it with the mathematical economics which lie at the root of Neoliberalism's Junk Economics

I see as very promising as they're also prominent bankers and Old Money with social connections to England's Royalty and Nobility--the primary members of Europe's Rentier Class . When I look over the comments, many have forgotten just what Class owns the Duopoly and controls the federal government. Trump was never allowed into their circle but was used by some of its members in the pursuit of interests that are still shrouded in fog. My working hypothesis there is they were quite worried that too much industrial capacity had been foreclosed and moved such that it caused a real threat to national security; thus the need for MAGA.

With the rise of the Eurasian Bloc, the "threat" isn't military; it's economic. As I wrote earlier today, an economy based on consumerism will collapse when the consumers can no longer consume. Hudson's 100% correct that debt's that can't be repaid won't. The current degree of economic polarization is miniscule compared to what might ensue if the Bidenites don't forestall it--200 Million people bankrupt while 100 Million have good paying jobs and can afford their debts--the remaining 40-50 Million are mostly impoverished children. This time the part of the public that gets shafted as in 2009 under Obama isn't going to sit still, and what happened in DC will be repeated elsewhere with meaning this time. A genuine MAGA Fascist wanting control will need to disarm the Rentier Class and the Swamp thus ousting the current "Friendly Fascist" regime--and that would require a paramilitary since that's basically what composes the Swamp--Civil War between two Factions of Reaction that would also split the military. Wonder what barflies think of all that?

karlof1 , Jan 9 2021 1:11 utc | 135

Earlier in the week I linked to the latest Renegade Inc program which had Dr. Hudson as one of the guests. That show's transcript is now available. Here's an excerpt with Ross Ashcroft asking a question:

"Ross: What do you think are the megatrends that we should be looking at in 2021? What do you think is the direction of travel, if you like, for so-called developed economies?

"Michael Hudson: Well, the big trend in any economy is the growth of debt, because the debt grows exponentially. The economy has painted itself into a debt corner. We can see that in real estate. We can see that for small business. There's also almost no way to recover. The Federal Reserve has been printing quantitative easing to keep stock and bonds high. But for the real economy, the trend is polarization and lower employment.

"The trend also is that state and local finances are broke, especially in the biggest cities, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. They're not getting income tax revenue from the unemployed or closed businesses. They're not getting the real estate tax with so many defaults and mortgage arrears. In New York City there's talk of cutting back the subways by 70 percent. People will be afraid to take the subways when they're overcrowded with people with the virus. So you're having a breakdown not only in state and local finances, but of public services that are state run – public transportation services, health services, education is being downsized. Everything that is funded out of state and local budgets is going to suffer.

"And living standards are going to be very sharply downward as people realize how many services they got are dependent on public infrastructure."

And this one I must also include:

"Ross: What is the one thing that has really surprised you in 2020? What have you laughed at? What has given you a chuckle?

"Michael Hudson: The surprise – that I really shouldn't have been surprised at – is how naive Bernie Sanders supporters were in thinking that they were going to get a fair deal and that the elections were going to be fair. The illusion is that people were actually going to have a fair election when the last thing the vested interests wanted was Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or any kind of reformer. So what happened to Sanders is what happened to Corbyn in Britain and the Labour Party's neoliberal leadership.

"So what's for laughs? I guess, Tulsi Gabbard's takedown of Kamala Harris was absolutely wonderful. Everybody just broke out laughing, cheering for her. And of course, that's why she was marginalized, and now we have Kamala Harris as the senior vice president."

Of course, none of the dire economic news is being reported with the focus instead on Wall Street's markets, with much of the public just as brainwashed about it as Trump. The last third focuses on politics, which is what most barflies want to read about. So, click the link and read what Dr. Hudson sees in the tea leaves.

[Jan 04, 2021] Byron Wien Releases 10 Surprises For 2021- MMT, Trump TV, A -Return To Normal- By Memorial Day

Jan 04, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com
  1. The economy develops momentum on its own because of pent-up demand, and depressed hospitality and airline stocks become strong performers . Fiscal and monetary policy remain historically accommodative. Nominal economic growth for the full year exceeds 6% and the unemployment rate falls to 5%. We begin the longest economic cycle in history, surpassing the cycle that lasted from 2010 to 2020.

  2. The Federal Reserve and the Treasury openly embrace Modern Monetary Theory as their accommodative policies continue. As long as growth exceeds the rate of inflation, deficits don't seem to matter. Because inflation increases modestly, gold rallies and cryptocurrencies gain more respect during the year.

  3. Even as energy company executives cut estimates for long-term growth, near-term opportunities are increasing. The return to "normal" increases both industrial activity and mobility, and the price of West Texas Intermediate oil rises to $65/bbl. Rig counts increase and energy high yield bonds rally soundly. Energy stocks are among the best performers in 2021.

  4. The equity market broadens out. Stocks beyond health care and technology participate in the rise in prices. "Risk on" is not without risk and the market corrects almost 20% in the first half, but the S&P 500 trades at 4,500 later in the year. Cyclicals lead defensives, small caps beat large caps and the "K" shaped equity market recovery unwinds. Big cap tech is the source of liquidity, and the stocks are laggards for the year.

  5. The surge in economic growth causes the 10-year Treasury yield to rise to 2%. The yield curve steepens, but a concomitant increase in inflation keeps real rates near zero. The Fed wants the strength in housing and autos to continue. As a result, it extends the duration of bond purchases in order to prevent higher rates at the long end of the curve from choking off credit to consumers and businesses.

  6. The slide in the dollar turns around. The post-vaccine strength of the U.S. economy and financial markets attracts investors disenchanted with the rising debt and slower growth of Europe and Japan. Treasurys maintain a positive yield and the carry trade continues.

[Jan 01, 2021] Military And Political Trends Of 2020 That Will Shape 2021 - ZeroHedge

Jan 01, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

The past year began with the assassination of the Iranian military genius General Qasem Soleimani by the United States, and it ended with the murder of the prominent scholar Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by the Israelis. In early January, Iran, expecting another aggressive action from the West, accidently shot down a Ukrainian civil aircraft that had inexplicably altered its course over Tehran without request nor authorization. Around the same time, Turkey confirmed the deployment of its military in Libya, beginning a new phase of confrontation in the region, and Egypt responding with airstrikes and additional shows of force. The situation in Yemen developed rapidly: taking advantage of the Sunni coalition's moral weakness, Ansar Allah achieved significant progress in forcing the Saudis out of the country in many regions. The state of warfare in northwestern Syria has significantly changed, transforming into the formal delineation of zones of influence of Turkey and the Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition. This happened amid, and largely due to the weakening of U.S. influence in the region. Ankara is steadily increasing its military presence in the areas under its responsibility and along the contact line. It has taken measures to deter groups linked to Al-Qaeda and other radicals. As a result, the situation in the region is stabilizing, which has allowed Turkey to increasingly exert control over most of Greater Idlib.

ISIS cells remain active in the eastern and southern Syrian regions. Particular processes are taking place in Quneitra and Daraa provinces, where Russian peace initiatives were inconclusive by virtue of the direct destructive influence of Israel in these areas of Syria. In turn, the assassination of Qasem Soleimaniin resulted in a sharp increase in the targeting of American personnel, military and civil infrastructure in Iraq. The U.S. Army was forced to regroup its forces, effectively abandoning a number of its military installations and concentrating available forces at key bases. At the same time, Washington flatly rejected demands from Baghdad for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and promised to respond with full-fledged sanctions if Iraq continued to raise this issue. Afghanistan remains stable in its instability. Disturbing news comes from Latin America. Confrontation between China and India flared this year, resulting in sporadic border clashes. This situation seems far from over, as both countries have reinforced their military posture along the disputed border. The aggressive actions of the Trump administration against China deepen global crises, which has become obvious not only to specialists but also to the general public. The relationship between the collective West and the Russian Federation was re-enshrined in "the Cold War state", which seems to have been resurrected once again.

The turbulence of the first quarter of 2020 was overshadowed by a new socio-political process – the corona-crisis, the framework of which integrates various phenomena from the Sars-Cov2 epidemic itself and the subsequent exacerbation of the global economic crisis. The disclosure of substantial social differences that have accumulated in modern capitalist society, lead to a series of incessant protests across the globe. The year 2020 was accompanied by fierce clashes between protesters professing various causes and law enforcement forces in numerous countries. Although on the surface these societal clashes with the state appear disassociated, many share related root causes. A growing, immense wealth inequality, corruption of government at all levels, a lack of any meaningful input into political decision making, and the unmasking of massive censorship via big tech corporations and the main stream media all played a part in igniting societal unrest.

In late 2019 and early 2020 there was little reason for optimistic projections for the near future. However, hardly anyone could anticipate the number of crisis events and developments that had taken place during this year. These phenomena affected every region of the world to some extent.

Nevertheless, Middle East has remained the main source of instability, due to being an arena where global and regional power interests intertwine and clash. The most important line of confrontation is between US and Israel-led forces on the one hand, and Iran and its so called Axis of Resistance. The opposing sides have been locked in an endless spiral of mutual accusations, sanctions, military incidents, and proxy wars, and recently even crossed the threshold into a limited exchange of strikes due to the worsening state of regional confrontation. Russia and Turkey, the latter of which has been distancing itself from Washington due to growing disagreements with "NATO partners" and changes in global trends, also play an important role in the region without directly entering into the confrontation between pro-Israel forces and Iran.

As in the recent years, Syria and Iraq remain the greatest hot-spots. The destruction of ISIS as a terrorist state and the apparent killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not end its existence as a terror group. Many ISIS cells and supporting elements actively use regional instability as a chance to preserve the Khalifate's legacy. They remain active mainly along the Syria-Iraq border, and along the eastern bank of the Euphrates in Syria. Camps for the temporary displaced and for the families and relatives of ISIS militants on the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in north-eastern Syria are also breeding grounds for terrorist ideology. Remarkably, these regions are also where there is direct presence of US forces, or, as in the case of SDF camps, presence of forces supported by the US.

The fertile soil for radicalism also consists of the inability to reach a comprehensive diplomatic solution that would end the Syrian conflict in a way acceptable to all parties. Washington is not interesting in stabilizing Syria because even should Assad leave, it would strengthen the Damascus government that would naturally be allied to Russia and Iran. Opposing Iran and supporting Israel became the cornerstone of US policy during the Trump administration. Consequently, Washington is supporting separatist sentiments of the Kurdish SDF leadership and even allowed it to participate in the plunder of Syrian oil wells in US coalition zone of control in which US firms linked to the Pentagon and US intelligence services are participating. US intelligence also aids Israel in its information and psychological warfare operations, as well as military strikes aimed at undermining Syria and Iranian forces located in the country. In spite of propaganda victories, in practice Israeli efforts had limited success in 2020 as Iran continued to strengthen its positions and military capabilities on its ally's territory. Iran's success in establishing and supporting a land corridor linking Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iraq, plays an important role. Constant expansion of Iran's military presence and infrastructure near the town of al-Bukamal, on the border of Iraq and Syria, demonstrates the importance of the project to Tehran. Tel-Aviv claims that Iran is using that corridor to equip pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria and Lebanon with modern weapons.

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The Palestinian question is also an important one for Israel's leadership and its lobby in Washington. The highly touted "deal of the century" turned out to be no more than an offer for the Palestinians to abandon their struggle for statehood. As expected, this initiative did not lead to a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Rather the opposite, it gave an additional stimulus to Palestinian resistance to the demands that were being imposed. At the same time, Trump administration scored a diplomatic success by forcing the UAE and Bahrain to normalize their relations with Israel, and Saudi Arabia to make its collaboration with Israel public. That was a historic victory for US-Israel policy in the Middle East. Public rapprochement of Arab monarchies and Israel strengthened the positions of Iran as the only country which not only declares itself as Palestine's and Islamic world's defender, but actually puts words into practice. Saudi Arabia's leadership will particularly suffer in terms of loss of popularity among its own population, already damaged by the failed war in Yemen and intensifying confrontation with UAE, both of which are already using their neighbor's weakness to lay a claim to leadership on the Arabian Peninsula.

The list of actors strengthening their positions in the Red Sea includes Russia. In late 2020 it became known that Russia reached an agreement with Sudan on establishing a naval support facility which has every possibility to become a full-blown naval base. This foothold will enable the Russian Navy to increase its presence on key maritime energy supply routes on the Red Sea itself and in the area between Aden and Oman straits. For Russia, which has not had naval infrastructure in that region since USSR's break-up, it is a significant diplomatic breakthrough. For its part. Sudan's leadership apparently views Russia's military presence as a security factor allowing it to balance potential harmful measures by the West.

During all of 2020, Moscow and Beijing continued collaboration on projects in Africa, gradually pushing out traditional post-colonial powers in several key areas. The presence of Russian military specialists in the Central African Republic where they assist the central government in strengthening its forces, escalation of local conflicts, and ensuring the security of Russian economic sectors, is now a universally known fact. Russian diplomacy and specialists are also active in Libya, where UAE and Egypt which support Field Marshal Khaftar, and Turkey which supports the Tripoli government, are clashing. Under the cover of declarations calling for peace and stability, foreign actors are busily carving up Libya's energy resources. For Egypt there's also the crucial matter of fighting terrorism and the presence of groups affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood which Cairo sees as a direct threat to national security.

The Sahel and the vicinity of Lake Chad remain areas where terror groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS remain highly active. France's limited military mission in the Sahara-Sahel region has been failure and could not ensure sufficient support for regional forces in order to stabilize the situation. ISIS and Boko-Haram continue to spread chaos in the border areas between Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun, and Chad. In spite of all the efforts by the region's governments, terrorists continue to control sizable territories and represent a significant threat to regional security. The renewed conflict in Ethiopia is a separate problem, in which the federal government was drawn into a civil war against the National Front for the Liberation of Tigray controlling that province. The ethno-feudal conflict between federal and regional elites threatens to destabilize the entire country if it continues.

The explosive situation in Africa shows that post-colonial European powers and the "Global Policeman" which dominated that continent for decades were not interested in addressing the continent's actual problem. Foreign actors were mainly focused on extracting resources and ensuring the interests of a narrow group of politicians and entities affiliated with foreign capitals. Now they are forced to compete with the informal China-Russia bloc which will use a different approach that may be a described as follows: Strengthening of regional stability to protect investments in economic projects. Thus it is no surprise that influential actors are gradually losing to new but more constructive forces.

Tensions within European countries have been on the rise during the past several years, due to both the crisis of the contemporary economic paradigm and to specific regional problems such as the migration crises and the failure of multiculturalism policies, with subsequent radicalization of society.

Unpleasant surprises included several countries' health care and social protection networks' inability to cope with the large number of COVID-19 patients. Entire systems of governance in a number of European countries proved incapable of coping with rapidly developing crises. This is true particularly for countries of southern Europe, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Among eastern European countries, Hungary's and Romania's economies were particularly badly affected. At the same time, Poland's state institutions and economy showed considerable resilience in the face of crisis. While the Federal Republic of Germany suffered considerable economic damage in the second quarter of 2020, Merkel's government used the situation to inject huge sums of liquidity into the economy, enhanced Germany's position within Europe, and moreover Germany's health care and social protection institutions proved capable and sufficiently resilient.

Coronavirus and subsequent social developments led to the emergence of the so-called "Macron Doctrine" which amounts to an argument that EU must obtain strategic sovereignty. This is consistent with the aims of a significant portion of German national elites. Nevertheless, Berlin officially criticized Macron's statements and has shown willingness to enter into a strategic partnership with Biden Administration's United States as a junior partner. However, even FRG's current leadership understands the dangers of lack of strategic sovereignty in an era of America's decline as the world policeman. Against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, US-EU relations are ineluctably drifting from a state of partnership to one of competition or even rivalry. In general, the first half of 2020 demonstrated the vital necessity of further development of European institutions.

The second half of 2020 was marked by fierce mass protests in Germany, France, Great Britain, and other European countries. The level of violence employed by both the protesters and law enforcement was unprecedented and is not comparable to the level of violence seen during protests in Russia, Belarus, and even Kirgizstan. Mainstream media did their best to depreciate and conceal the scale of what was happening. If the situation continues to develop in the same vein, there is every chance that in the future, a reality that can be described as a digital concentration camp may form in Europe.

World media, for its part, paid particular attention to the situation in Belarus, where protests have entered their fourth month following the August 9, 2020 presidential elections. Belarusian protests have been characterized by their direction from outside the country and choreographed nature. The command center of protest activities is officially located in Poland. This fact is in and of itself unprecedented in Europe's contemporary history. Even during Ukraine's Euromaidan, external forces formally refused to act as puppetmasters.

Belarus' genuinely existing socio-economic problems have led to a rift within society that is now divided into two irreconcilable camps: proponents of reforms vs. adherents of the current government. Law enforcement forces which are recruited from among President Lukashenko's supporters, have acted forcefully and occasionally harshly. Still, the number of casualties is far lower than, for example, in protests in France or United States.

Ukraine itself, where Western-backed "democratic forces" have already won, remains the main point of instability in Eastern Europe. The Zelenskiy administration came to power under slogans about the need to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and rebuild the country. In practice, the new government continued to pursue the policy aimed at maintaining military tension in the region in the interests of its external sponsors and personal enrichment.

For the United States, 2020 turned out to be a watershed year for both domestic and foreign policy. Events of this year were a reflection of Trump Administration's protectionist foreign policy and a national-oriented approach in domestic and economic policy, which ensured an intense clash with the majority of Washington Establishment acting in the interests of global capital.

In addition to the unresolved traditional problems, America's problems were made worse by two crises, COVID-19 spread and BLM movement protests. They ensured America's problems reached a state of critical mass.

One can and should have a critical attitude toward President Trump's actions, but one should not doubt the sincerity of his efforts to turn the slogan Make America Great Again into reality. One should likewise not doubt that his successor will adhere to other values. Whether it's Black Lives Matter or Make Global Moneymen Even Stronger, or Russia Must Be Destroyed, or something even more exotic, it will not change the fact America we've known in the last half century died in 2020. A telling sign of its death throes is the use of "orange revolution" technologies developed against inconvenient political regimes. This demonstrated that currently the United States is ruled not by national elites but by global investors to whom the interests of ordinary Americans are alien.

This puts the terrifying consequences of COVID-19 in a new light. The disease has struck the most vulnerable layers of US society. According to official statistics, United States has had about 20 million cases and over 330,000 deaths. The vast majority are low-income inhabitants of mega-cities. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans have greatly increased their wealth by exploiting the unfolding crisis for their own personal benefit. The level of polarization of US society has assumed frightening proportions. Conservatives against liberals, blacks against whites, LGBT against traditionalists, everything that used to be within the realm of public debate and peaceful protest has devolved into direct, often violent, clashes. One can observe unprecedented levels of aggression and violence from all sides.

In foreign policy, United States continued to undermine the international security system based on international treaties. There are now signs that one of the last legal bastions of international security, the New START treaty, is under attack. US international behavior has prompted criticism from NATO allies. There are growing differences of opinion on political matters with France and economic ones with Germany. The dialogue with Eastern Mediterranean's most powerful military actor Turkey periodically showed a sharp clash of interests.

Against that backdrop, United States spent 2020 continuously increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea basin. Additional US forces and assets were deployed in direct proximity to Russia's borders. The number of offensive military exercises under US leadership or with US participation has considerably increased.

In the Arctic, the United States is acting as a spoiler, unhappy with the current state of affairs. It aims to extend its control over natural resources in the region, establish permanent presence in other countries' exclusive economic zones (EEZ) through the use of the so-called "freedom of navigation operations" (FONOPs), and continue to encircle Russia with ballistic missile defense (BMD) sites and platforms.

In view of the urgent and evident US preparations to be able to fight and prevail in a war against a nuclear adversary, by defeating the adversary's nuclear arsenal through the combination of precision non-nuclear strikes, Arctic becomes a key region in this military planning. The 2020 sortie by a force of US Navy BMD-capable AEGIS destroyers into the Barents Sea, the first such mission since the end of the Cold War over two decades ago, shows the interest United States has in projecting BMD capabilities into regions north of Russia's coastline, where they might be able to effect boost-phase interceptions of Russian ballistic missiles that would be launched in retaliatory strikes against the United States. US operational planning for the Arctic in all likelihood resembles that for South China Sea, with only a few corrections for climate.

In Latin America, the year of 2020 was marked by the intensification Washington efforts aimed at undermining the political regimes that it considered to be in the opposition to the existing world order.

Venezuela remained one of the main points of the US foreign policy agenda. During the entire year, the government of Nicolas Maduro was experiencing an increasing sanction, political and clandestine pressure. In May, Venezuelan security forces even neutralized a group of US mercenaries that sneaked into the country to stage the coup in the interests of the Washington-controlled opposition and its public leader Juan Guaido. However, despite the recognition of Guaido as the president of Venezuela by the US and its allies, regime-change attempts, and the deep economic crisis, the Maduro government survived.

This case demonstrated that the decisive leadership together having the support of a notable part of the population and working links with alternative global centers of power could allow any country to resist to globalists' attacks. The US leadership itself claims that instead of surrendering, Venezuela turned itself into a foothold of its geopolitical opponents: China, Russia, Iran and even Hezbollah. While this evaluation of the current situation in Venezuela is at least partly a propaganda exaggeration to demonize the 'anti-democratic regime' of Maduro, it highlights parts of the really existing situation.

The turbulence in Bolivia ended in a similar manner, when the right wing government that gained power as a result of the coup in 2019 demonstrated its inability to rule the country and lost power in 2020. The expelled president, Evo Morales, returned to the country and the Movement for Socialism secured their dominant position in Bolivia thanks to the wide-scale support from the indigenous population. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that these developments in Venezuela and Bolivia would allow to reverse the general trend towards the destabilization in South America.

The regional economic and social turbulence is strengthened by the high level of organized crime and the developing global crisis that sharpened the existing contradictions among key global and regional players. This creates conditions for the intensification of existing conflicts. For example, the peace process between the FARC and the federal government is on the brink of the collapse in Colombia. Local sources and media accuse the government and affiliated militias of detentions and killings of leaders of local communities and former FARC members in violation of the existing peace agreement. This violence undermine the fragile peace process and sets conditions for the resumption of the armed struggle by FARC and its supporters. Mexico remains the hub for illegal migration, drug and weapon trafficking just on the border with the United States. Large parts of the country are in the state of chaos and are in fact controlled by violent drug cartels and their mercenaries. Brazil is in the permanent state of political and economic crisis amid the rise of street crime.

These negative tendencies affect almost all states of the region. The deepening global economic crisis and the coronavirus panic add oil to the flame of instability.

Countries of South America are not the only one suffering from the crisis. It also shapes relations between global powers. Outcomes of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the global economic crisis contributed to the hardening of the standoff between the United States and China.

Washington and Beijing have insoluble contradictions. The main of them is that China has been slowly but steadily winning the race for the economic and technological dominance simultaneously boosting own military capabilities to defend the victory in the case of a military escalation. The sanction, tariff and diplomatic pressure campaign launched by the White House on China since the very start of the Trump Presidency is a result of the understanding of these contradictions by the Trump administration and its efforts to guarantee the leading US position in the face of the global economic recession. The US posture towards the South China Sea issues, the political situation in Hong Kong, human rights issues in Xinjiang, the unprecedented weapon sales to Taiwan, the support of the militarization of Japan and many other questions is a part of the ongoing standoff. Summing up, Washington has been seeking to isolate China through a network of local military alliances and contain its economic expansion through sanction, propaganda and clandestine operations.

The contradictions between Beijing and Washington regarding North Korea and its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a part of the same chain of events. Despite the public rhetoric, the United States is not interested in the full settlement of the Korea conflict. Such a scenario that may include the reunion of the North and South will remove the formal justification of the US military buildup. This is why the White House opted to not fulfill its part of the deal with the North once again assuring the North Korean leadership that its decision to develop its nuclear and missile programs and further.

Statements of Chinese diplomats and top official demonstrate that Beijing fully understands the position of Washington. At the same time, China has proven that it is not going to abandon its policies aimed at gaining the position of the main leading power in the post-unipolar world. Therefore, the conflict between the sides will continue escalating in the coming years regardless the administration in the White House and the composition of the Senate and Congress. Joe Biden and forces behind his rigged victory in the presidential election will likely turn back from Trump's national-oriented economic policy and 'normalize' relations with China once again reconsidering Russia as Enemy #1. This will not help to remove the insoluble contradictions with China and reverse the trend towards the confrontation. However, the Biden administration with help from mainstream media will likely succeed in hiding this fact from the public by fueling the time-honored anti-Russian hysteria.

As to Russia itself, it ended the year of 2020 in its ordinary manner for the recent years: successful and relatively successful foreign policy actions amid the complicated economic, social and political situation inside the country. The sanction pressure, coronavirus-related restrictions and the global economic crisis slowed down the Russian economy and contributed to the dissatisfaction of the population with internal economic and social policies of the government. The crisis was also used by external actors that carried out a series of provocations and propaganda campaigns aimed at undermining the stability in the country ahead of the legislative election scheduled for September 2021. The trend on the increase of sanction pressure, including tapering large infrastructure projects like the Nord Stream 2, and expansion of public and clandestine destabilization efforts inside Russia was visible during the entire year and will likely increase in 2021. In the event of success, these efforts will not only reverse Russian foreign policy achievements of the previous years, but could also put in danger the existence of the Russian statehood in the current format.

Among the important foreign policy developments of 2020 underreported by mainstream media is the agreement on the creation of a Russian naval facility on the coast of the Red Sea in Sudan. If this project is fully implemented, this will contribute to the rapid growth of Russian influence in Africa. Russian naval forces will also be able to increase their presence in the Red Sea and in the area between the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. Both of these areas are the core of the current maritime energy supply routes. The new base will also serve as a foothold of Russia in the case of a standoff with naval forces of NATO member states that actively use their military infrastructure in Djibouti to project power in the region. It is expected that the United States (regardless of the administration in the White House) will try to prevent the Russian expansion in the region at any cost. For an active foreign policy of Russia, the creation of the naval facility in Sudan surpasses all public and clandestine actions in Libya in recent years. From the point of view of protecting Russian national interests in the Global Oceans, this step is even more important than the creation of the permanent air and naval bases in Syria.

As well as its counterparts in Washington and Beijing, Moscow contributes notable efforts to the modernization of its military capabilities, with special attention to the strategic nuclear forces and hypersonic weapons. The Russians see their ability to inflict unacceptable damage on a potential enemy among the key factors preventing a full-scale military aggression against them from NATO. The United Sates, China and Russia are in fact now involved in the hypersonic weapon race that also includes the development of means and measures to counter a potential strike with hypersonic weapons.

The new war in Nagorno-Karabakh became an important factor shaping the balance of power in the South Caucasus. The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc achieved a sweeping victory over Armenian forces and only the involvement of the Russian diplomacy the further deployment of the peacekeepers allowed to put an end to the violence and rescue the vestiges of the self-proclaimed Armenian Republic of Artsakh. Russia successfully played a role of mediator and officially established a military presence on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan for the next 5 years. The new Karabakh war also gave an additional impulse in the Turkish-Azerbaijani economic and military cooperation, while the pro-Western regime in Armenia that expectedly led the Armenian nation to the tragedy is balancing on the brink of collapse.

The Central Asia traditionally remained one of the areas of instability around the world with the permanent threat of militancy and humanitarian crisis. Nonetheless, despite forecasts of some analysis, the year of 2020 did not become the year of the creation of ISIS' Caliphate 2.0 in the region. An important role in preventing this was played by the Taliban that additionally to securing its military victories over the US-led coalition and the US-backed Kabul government, was fiercely fighting ISIS cells appearing in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which controls a large part of Afghanistan, was also legalized on the international scene by direct talks with the United States. The role of the Taliban will grow and further with the reduction of the US military presence.

While some media already branded the year of 2020 as one of the worst in the modern history, there are no indications that the year of 2021 will be any brighter or the global crises and regional instability will magically disappear by themselves. Instead, most likely 2020 was just a prelude for the upcoming global shocks and the acute standoff for markets and resources in the environment of censorship, legalized total surveillance, violations of human rights under 'democratic' and 'social' slogans' and proxy wars.

The instability in Europe will likely be fueled by the increasing cultural-civilizational conflict and the new wave of newcomers that have acute ideological and cultural differences with the European civilization. The influx of newcomers is expected due to demographic factors and the complicated security, social situation in the Middle East and Africa. Europe will likely try to deal with the influx of newcomers by introducing new movement and border restrictions under the brand of fighting coronavirus. Nonetheless, the expected growth of the migration pressure will likely contribute to the negative tendencies that could blow up Europe from inside.

The collapse of the international security system, including key treaties limiting the development and deployment of strategic weapons, indicates that the new detente on the global scene will remain an improbable scenario. Instead, the world will likely move further towards the escalation scenario as at least a part of the current global leadership considers a large war a useful tool to overcome the economic crisis and capture new markets. Russia, with its large territories, rich resources, a relatively low population, seems to be a worthwhile target. At the same time, China will likely exploit the escalating conflict between Moscow and the US-led bloc to even further increase its global positions. In these conditions, many will depend on the new global order and main alliances within it that are appearing from the collapsing unipolar system. The United States has already lost its unconditional dominant role on the international scene, but the so-called multipolar world order has not appeared yet. The format of this new multipolar world will likely have a critical impact on the further developments around the globe and positions of key players involved in the never-ending Big Game.

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[Dec 30, 2020] Stock market might well be close to the start of a selloff, says veteran trader Larry Williams

Usually such prediction are not worth electrons to are needed to display them on the screen but the idea that "[paper gold" offer no hadge might be sound. Whether natural gat wil rally as he predicts is another story ("Buy natural gas because Williams expects it to rally.") If the stock market followed his forecasts he probably would be billionaire, especially with his tendency to trade futures.
It is not clear how long the market can levitate at current high but some kind of 2008 reckoning might be in the cards. When and what might be the trigger is not clear. But as one commenter said "I don't believe that all of the damage caused by our pandemic has been adequately summed up" The disconnect between the actual economy and the stock market can't last forever.
marketwatch.com

I've watched Williams accurately call many market twists and turns in the 15 years I've known him. I know of more than a few money managers who trust his judgement. Williams has won or placed well in the I've watched Williams accurately call many market twists and turns in the 15 years I've known him. I know of more than a few money managers who trust his judgement. Williams has won or placed well in the World Cup Trading Championship several times since the 1980s To make market calls, Williams uses his own time-tested mix of fundamentals, seasonal trends, technical signals and intelligence gleaned from the Commitment of Traders report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Here's how he thinks about the three types of positions the CFTC reports. Williams considers positioning by commercial traders or hedgers and users and producers of commodities to be the smart money. He thinks large traders, mainly big investment shops, and the public are contrarian indicators. Williams mainly trades futures because he thinks that's where you can make the big money. But we can apply his calls to stocks and exchange traded funds, too. Here's how he's positioning for the next few weeks and through the end of the year, in some of the major asset classes and stocks. To make market calls, Williams uses his own time-tested mix of fundamentals, seasonal trends, technical signals and intelligence gleaned from the Commitment of Traders report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Here's how he thinks about the three types of positions the CFTC reports. Williams considers positioning by commercial traders or hedgers and users and producers of commodities to be the smart money. He thinks large traders, mainly big investment shops, and the public are contrarian indicators. Williams mainly trades futures because he thinks that's where you can make the big money. But we can apply his calls to stocks and exchange traded funds, too. Here's how he's positioning for the next few weeks and through the end of the year, in some of the major asset classes and stocks. To make market calls, Williams uses his own time-tested mix of fundamentals, seasonal trends, technical signals and intelligence gleaned from the Commitment of Traders report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Here's how he thinks about the three types of positions the CFTC reports. Williams considers positioning by commercial traders or hedgers and users and producers of commodities to be the smart money. He thinks large traders, mainly big investment shops, and the public are contrarian indicators. Williams mainly trades futures because he thinks that's where you can make the big money. But we can apply his calls to stocks and exchange traded funds, too. Here's how he's positioning for the next few weeks and through the end of the year, in some of the major asset classes and stocks. Williams mainly trades futures because he thinks that's where you can make the big money. But we can apply his calls to stocks and exchange traded funds, too. Here's how he's positioning for the next few weeks and through the end of the year, in some of the major asset classes and stocks. Williams mainly trades futures because he thinks that's where you can make the big money. But we can apply his calls to stocks and exchange traded funds, too. Here's how he's positioning for the next few weeks and through the end of the year, in some of the major asset classes and stocks.

Expect an extended stock market selloff

To make market calls in September, Williams turns to what he calls the Machu Picchu trade, because he discovered this signal while traveling to the ancient Inca ruins with his wife in 2014. Williams, who is intensely focused on seasonal patterns that consistently play out over time, noticed that it's usually a great idea to sell stocks -- using indexes, mostly -- on the seventh trading day before the end of September. (This year, that's Sept. 22.) Selling on this day has netted profits in short-term trades 100% of the time over the past 22 years.

... ... ...

One caveat: Watch the advance-decline line, one of Williams' favorite indicators. If fewer stocks are declining relative to advancers on days the stock market is weak, or if there is a broadening out of participation on up days, this is a sign the any selloff may be coming to a close.

"If great breadth comes in to the market [on up days], then I will get bullish," he says.

Gold offers no hedge

A lot of people think gold serves as a hedge during stock market declines, but this isn't true, says Williams. Gold has slumped along with stocks in most of the major market selloffs. He expects the same over the next three to four weeks. He's advising gold traders to sell any rallies now, and then revisit when gold falls later this year to buy back lower.

To make this call, Williams looks at the typical seasonal pattern for gold that plays out every year, and also the historical trends in election years. The conclusion: Gold typically peaks around the middle of September then weakens for most of the rest of the year. This year, gold has underperformed its typical seasonal pattern, which is bearish for the metal.

"Gold has not been able to stay in step with what happened in the past, therefore the seasonal pattern should work this year," he says.

Another sign of potential weakness is the "crazy bullishness on gold" among the right-wing pundits like Ron Paul who have a long-standing affinity for the medal.

"They're all on the bandwagon because of the rally in gold," he says.

As with gold, he expects a similar seasonal pattern in other precious metals and copper. They will be weak from now through the end of the year, with a possible bounce in the middle of October.

Michael Brush is a Manhattan-based financial writer who publishes the stock newsletter Brush Up on Stocks. Brush has covered business for the New York Times and The Economist group. He attended Columbia Business School in the Knight-Bagehot program. Günter Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff 11 hours ago Only this September there is a the Fed, a pandemic, Robinhood and Trump, and his corrupt administration. Factor in those variables and it's impossible to predict what the market is going to do. Will remain in all cash till after the election. Stuart Young 11 hours ago I don't believe that all of the damage caused by our pandemic has been adequately summed up. Our U.S. Government may suffer huge consequences as a result of trillions of dollars in new debt. The law of gravity can be defied on so long. LT Murray 1 day ago Valualtions are now about where they were in the summer when there was all the talk about a V-shaped recovery that is now known not to be the case.

[Dec 30, 2020] 8 Reasons Why Covid-19 Damage to the Economy Will Be Deep and Lasting

The epidemic was almost certainly the knockout punch for many businesses that were already barely surviving before the shock.
Notable quotes:
"... Needless to say, a rebound from the lockdowns was inevitable. All sorts of activities like dentist appointments on hold (and dentistry personnel accounted for 10% of the job gains), and so there's pent up demand for medical procedures and treatments, as well as more mundane services that many regard as critical, like haircuts. ..."
"... Multiple factors are working together to bias observers to underestimate the severity of Covid-19 economic damage. ..."
"... The first is that it has hit parts of the economy that are relatively removed from media coverage: low income service workers and small business owners. ..."
"... Second is that in the middle income to better off sections of the country, things still look reassuringly normal. ..."
"... Third is that due to optimism bias and/or having experienced the 1987 crash, the dotcom bust, and 9/11, many people are predisposed to believe that even if the pain of spring 2020 is acute, that the economy will rebound and nearly all of the damage will be erased by year end or say at worst, mid 2021. Underscoring that it a widespread tendency to see Mr. Market at the economy. ..."
"... Colleges will have a lot of trouble this fall. ..."
"... PPP loans are keeping workers on the books through late June-mid July, depending on when the loan came in. Many employers, ranging from museums to small manufacturers are saying they have to make deep headcount cuts then ..."
"... Cutting across all the categories of businesses suffering from Covid-19 damage .restaurants, shops in office districts, merchants in college towns, small manufacturers ..."
"... State and local governments are already hemorrhaging jobs and it will get worse ..."
"... But wages have been largely stagnant since at least 2000, and spending increases since 2010 were powered by rising personal and corporate debts. ..."
"... Both 4-year and 2-year community colleges produce RN's. Both have clinical (hospital) requirements. Of course, 4-year colleges produce RN's with greater academic depth. Doesn't mean they are better nurses. But they are the ones roaming the ICU's because they have the greater depth of knowledge. ..."
"... governments will seemingly fail to recognize that strong keynesian intervention is mandated and has to be maintained for long if they don't want depression to keep its course while the usual hawks are already asking for termination of state aid programs. We had first epidemic negationism and now we face economic negationism as if the value of stocks would by itself fix everything back to normal. Harder times ahead unfortunately. ..."
"... I think most of the long-term job losses will be low income jobs (less than $40k/year). This is the group that recent statistics showed is at spending levels similar to last year, but much of that is supported by federal stimulus money ($600/wk unemployment, $1,200 check, PPP). When that dries up, that spending will likely decline. Many of those low income jobs will not have come back for two years as they are in hospitality and entertainment types of sectors. The drive-thru fast-food and takeout restaurants are doing fine – everything else is suffering and many will go permanently out of business. It is going to be a bloodbath in downtown areas in major cities. ..."
"... Combined with a 3 trillion dollar spending bill, we have an unprecedented increase in aggregate demand from the average American. Now that the economy starts to open up a bit, there is actually something to spend the money on other than Amazon purchases. ..."
"... One of the biggest ironies of all is that the health care industry is suffering because the expense of treating coronavirus is not offset by enough income but it is still crowding out other services. I doubt any big hospitals will go under, but the small rural ones have been dropping like flies for a few years now. ..."
"... people are putting off going in for imaging procedures and lab work because they are afraid the clinics and hospital labs are dangerous places. ..."
"... My son's lender gave him 3 months "forbearance". At the end of the three months they billed him for a triple mortgage payment. ..."
"... One of the difficult things about the current situation is the remarkable shortage of PPE and the difficulty the manufacturing sector seems to have both meeting the existing demand and coming up with improved products at scale. Since PPE is safety-critical (failures will cause injury or death), and since almost all manufacturing seems to have been outsourced to China where quality is suspect at best, it's hard to be optimistic about the situation improving. In fact, as new protocols evolve around the world in which PPE is the new normal, shortages and counterfeit products seem likely to get worse. ..."
"... Sporting events (not that I follow any) have economic impact and there will not be any residual demand when they are permitted. ..."
"... While not directly connected to the pandemic, it is overlapping in timing of the economic damage. The collapse of oil prices has laid waste to the shale revolution. ..."
"... GDP growth . Forget it, it's over . De-growth is the new normal. This reality will become apparent as the parasites – hedge funds, private equity et al – begin to fall later this year. ..."
"... for retirees (who are of course at higher risk of COVID-19 fatality spectrum) there is no -- absolutely zero -- desire to hit the malls and the large stores. ..."
"... The mid-level pub and restaurant trade will be decimated. There was over-supply before and this is now chronically exposed. All we passed were shuttered -- some offering take-out, which might be a life line but they are typically too far from the town centres to compete with the cheap kebab, chicken and Indian walk-ups. Plus, people won't pay a gourmet premium to spoon something out of a foil tray themselves. However, at the lower end of the market, those fast-food places with drive-thrus will be fine -- queues round the block at McDonalds, KFC and Starbucks. ..."
"... Here in Oregon we have had a serious outbreak of Covid in a seafood packing plant in Newport. And we learn that the majority of the workforce come from Guatemala, Serbia, and Ukraine. How can this make economic sense? ..."
"... A large greenhouse (64 acres under glass) near here was the largest COVID cluster outside of NYC. Two hundred "guest" workers were housed 4 to a room, 2 in each bed at cheap motels. The Canadian owners pay local workers and "guests " $13/hour. But the labor contactor gets an amount on top, plus there is the housing, food and transportation for the "guests". ..."
"... Home sales here are really hot – a big exodus from Seattle is driving it. ..."
"... real wages for USA men at the 50% percentile level are down -5.1% over the 1979 to 2018 time frame. ..."
"... Given that the USA has had infrastructure declining (lowering quality of life), housing, medical and educational costs rising in excess of inflation, USA wage earners were hurting, at the median level, well before Covid-19 and well before 2000. ..."
"... Shops are already going under here in Silicon Valley. I've driven down Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park a few times over the last week and there are a fair number of empty storefronts. It is the fancy shopping street in town. Since I don't actually shop there I couldn't tell what sorts of shops had closed. ..."
"... It's going to be deep and lasting because it only increases the systemic problem of growing income inequality. There were viruses before and there will be more after. In this case, the response was to grow the ghetto, faster. Fintech has to go in for the kill shot here ..."
"... DC control technology can only increase income inequality so long as it is the primary recipient of MMT. It's one and zeroes, a completely arbitrary binary outcome. ..."
Jun 18, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Too many people who should know better are taking a big bounce in retail sales as a sign that an economic recovery is well underway. It is, but only in the sense that going from the ICU to a hospital bed could also be defined as a recovery. In keeping, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow forecast for the second quarter has improved from negative 52.8% to a sunny negative 45.5%.

Needless to say, a rebound from the lockdowns was inevitable. All sorts of activities like dentist appointments on hold (and dentistry personnel accounted for 10% of the job gains), and so there's pent up demand for medical procedures and treatments, as well as more mundane services that many regard as critical, like haircuts.

Nevertheless, stock indices rising to new highs looks remarkably out of touch in light of the baked-in and certain-to-continue-for-long-enough-to-matter damage. The true believers are in "Central banks are on the case and will save us" mode. Perhaps they need to heed the warning, "Past results are no guarantee of future performance."

Multiple factors are working together to bias observers to underestimate the severity of Covid-19 economic damage.

The first is that it has hit parts of the economy that are relatively removed from media coverage: low income service workers and small business owners. Tell me how often CNN goes to interview the owner of a dry cleaner or auto lube shop, even though small businesses have long been the generator of new jobs. Similarly, notice how reports of Covid-19 infections at food processing facilities isn't covered until the capacity taken out rises to a level where it might impact consumers. In keeping, Bloomberg had a story today, More Food Shortages Loom With Outbreaks at 60 U.S Plants , of outbreaks at non-meat processing facilities, like fruit and vegetable packers and bakeries.

Second is that in the middle income to better off sections of the country, things still look reassuringly normal. The lockdowns froze activity including business closures. I now live in a twee suburb, and in the local shopping districts, there are not yet any vacant storefronts, even though some businesses in not so prominent locations (a liquor store, the restaurant with the best pizza in the area, and an Olive Garden branch, for starters) have folded; a lot of better restaurants have not reopened even though the lockdown ended a couple of weeks ago.

On top of that, houses in tony suburban and exurban areas are in keen demand. So on top of feeling good about their stock portfolios, upper middle class homeowners in those areas are positively chuffed about reports of brisk property sales at strong prices.

Third is that due to optimism bias and/or having experienced the 1987 crash, the dotcom bust, and 9/11, many people are predisposed to believe that even if the pain of spring 2020 is acute, that the economy will rebound and nearly all of the damage will be erased by year end or say at worst, mid 2021. Underscoring that it a widespread tendency to see Mr. Market at the economy.

This is far from a comprehensive list, but below are eight reasons why the deep damage to the economy won't be reversed any time soon.

1. Business travel is not coming back any time soon. People are getting accustomed to Zoom. And word may also get out that domestic flying is much worse than it used to be, which will be a deterrent to those who might be so bold as to want to get on a plane. That is a fundamental blow to airlines, airport vendors, hotels, restaurants, and convention centers. Hotel occupancy in April was 24.5% which if anything seems high based on my personal datapoints. The pricings I see say that hotel operators are not expecting much if any improvement through the summer. And as we discussed, hotels are at risk of creating a vicious cycle: they've cut service levels drastically as a way to reduce the bleeding of the low occupancy rates. But even at knocked-down prices, the degraded experience is enough to make travelers think twice about getting on the road.

2. White collar workers will not be going back to offices in the old numbers. Elevators and public transport, particularly commuter trains, are perceived as big risks. And a lot of cities can't cope well with people driving in. NYC is extreme here but it's now short of parking space even with midtown looking freakily underpopulated. Moreover, many large corporations, having had to figure out how to make work from home manageable, have decided they can cope with it or even like it, so they plan to cut their office space when lease renewals come up. That development will thin out tons of businesses near office buildings

Estimates vary, but in New York City, both retail and office space payments are way down. 40% seems a reasonable guesstimate based on the panic level.

... ... ...

4. Colleges will have a lot of trouble this fall. First, they are losing nearly all their full-freight-paying Chinese students, between concern over US Covid-19 risks, Administration hostility, and travel restrictions. That alone is a big blow.

On top of that, some are planning to reopen but MIT's announcement yesterday, that it will not allow all students to return to campus, probably represents a new normal. Well-placed MIT alumni read the university's decision as driven significantly by a desire to protect faculty and staff; I hear from sources with contacts at other universities that administrators that they see no way to put kids in dorms without running unacceptably high Covid risks. Remember, even though kids almost never die of Covid-19, but there is a risk of serious damage. 1/2 the asymptomatic cases on the Diamond Princess now show abnormal lungs. And remember those cruises have half the people on board as crew, and the crew skews young. College is a lot less appealing if you don't stay in a dorm.

Just as diminished activity in central business districts has negative knock-on effects to nearby business, so to do hollowed-out colleges and universities have for their communities, as described in more depth in a recent Bloomberg story .

5. PPP loans are keeping workers on the books through late June-mid July, depending on when the loan came in. Many employers, ranging from museums to small manufacturers are saying they have to make deep headcount cuts then. Continuing unemployment claims already show that new hires are still being pretty much equaled by job losses.

6. Cutting across all the categories of businesses suffering from Covid-19 damage .restaurants, shops in office districts, merchants in college towns, small manufacturers Small business owners have to guarantee loans personally unless they are able to finance their operations by borrowing against real estate. Even SBA loans require a personal guarantee. So when consumers cheerily say that restaurant owners or other operators will just declare Chapter 7 or 11 and then start their venture afresh, they miss that these capitalists will be wiped out. They won't have the money to start over again. And they may not have the pain tolerance either.

7. State and local governments are already hemorrhaging jobs and it will get worse. And in some, perhaps many communities, the budget cuts will be so deep that they will degrade service levels. Less frequent garbage collection and street repair is not good for business either.

8. The EU is not going to do enough stimulus to offset its own Covid-19 damage and Brexit is coming, a shock to the EU and UK when both are already on the ropes. Roughly 25% of S&P earnings come from Europe. The odds Italian banks will blow is rising all the time and that could be a CreditAnstalt-level event.

I'm sure readers can come up with additional items, but this list alone ought to be enough to curb the enthusiasm of the economy cheerleaders. As Marshall Auerback said by e-mail:

American household spending in the 1960s was powered by rising wages and growing home equity. But wages have been largely stagnant since at least 2000, and spending increases since 2010 were powered by rising personal and corporate debts. House values are now stagnant at best, and will likely fall in the months ahead. Faced with radical uncertainty, US consumers will save more and spend less. Even if the government replaces their lost incomes for a time, people know that stimulus is short term. What they do not know is when the next job offer – or layoff – will come along.

Moreover, people do distinguish between needs and wants. Americans need to eat, but they mostly don't need to eat out. They don't need to travel. Restaurant owners and airlines therefore have two problems: they can't cover costs while their capacity is limited for public-health reasons, and demand would be down even if the coronavirus disappeared. This explains why many businesses are not reopening even though they legally can. Others are reopening, but fear they cannot hold out for long. And the many millions of workers in America's vast services sector are realizing that their jobs are simply not essential.


The Rev Kev , June 18, 2020 at 10:44 am

Universities have been very adept at squeezing themselves into occupations to make them a required third party. So nursing was once an occupation that a lot of people could do but in many countries now, if you want to be a nurse you have to be university qualified.

In previous times an apprenticeship was the main requirement with state given examinations at the end of it. I think that this could be true of doctors as well. But no in ore and more occupations, unless you have the university qualifications, you can't do the job.

juno mas , June 18, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Let me just say that having college trained, licensed RN's are important. They are the one's who actually make a hospital function. The skills needed to be a qualified RN are well beyond apprenticeship.

I've spent some critical time in a hospital and the ability of attending RN's (both ICU and general unit) to understand the broader implications of a doctor's directive and the comprehension of computational details involved with medicine application is beyond me. It's too much work for my mind; and I'm one of those licensed professionals mandated by the state.

And this ignores the "soft skills" needed to provide care to patients. (If you've ever been tended by a male nurse, you'll know what I'm saying.)

HotFlash , June 18, 2020 at 5:08 pm

Erm, I have been tended by a male nurse and I don't know what you mean.

What I have observed (as a patient and friend-of-patient) is that community college trained nurses, who, in my part of the world, start working on wards in the first week, are better nurses than the university-trained ones who don't see a patient until year two. Many would have washed out early on if they had actually contact with patients right away. You can generally spot them, they clutch their clipboards as if they were shields and flee to positions in admin ASAP.

juno mas , June 18, 2020 at 8:17 pm

Both 4-year and 2-year community colleges produce RN's. Both have clinical (hospital) requirements. Of course, 4-year colleges produce RN's with greater academic depth. Doesn't mean they are better nurses. But they are the ones roaming the ICU's because they have the greater depth of knowledge.

My main point was a simple one: modern day nursing skills cannot be gained through apprenticeship. It requires sustained study, instruction, and clinical experience.

Ignacio , June 18, 2020 at 7:31 am

The epidemic was almost certainly the knockout punch for many businesses that were already barely surviving before the shock.

And governments will seemingly fail to recognize that strong keynesian intervention is mandated and has to be maintained for long if they don't want depression to keep its course while the usual hawks are already asking for termination of state aid programs. We had first epidemic negationism and now we face economic negationism as if the value of stocks would by itself fix everything back to normal. Harder times ahead unfortunately.

Fox Blew , June 18, 2020 at 10:10 am

Well said, Ignacio. I would add that this may be a knockout punch for globalization as we know it. John Ralston Saul suggested this already happened two decades ago (it takes awhile for ideologies to die in the minds of the elite, right?). I don't know how we are going to functionally transition to "positive nationalism" (ie. citizen based economics) but you presented a key ingredient, IMHO, when you wrote: "strong keynesian intervention is mandated and has to be maintained for long if they don't want depression to keep its course"

Ignacio , June 18, 2020 at 2:00 pm

There is only one reason to remove or not implement Federal support for the population at large and SMEs: The "hawks" want (for them or for their clients) to buy properties and stuff on the cheap.

SonoftheSouth , June 18, 2020 at 10:40 am

Yves, the "forgiveness terms" on the PPP loans have been amended from the initial up to 75% of $100,000 spent on salaries within eight weeks of PPP loan distribution to a 24 week period. I believe this change will allow smaller businesses to survive for a longer period.

IanB , June 18, 2020 at 11:16 am

I think these changes will help employees of only a limited subset of businesses, those businesses that hadn't previously applied but which will now apply because of the changed terms. The new terms don't increase the amount of the loan, they just change how much of it will be forgiven. My company received a PPP loan under the original terms, the changes make the amount forgiven somewhat greater, but the cash won't last any longer. The real beneficiaries of the changes will be owners (including myself), who now will have to repay less of the loan.

Yves Smith Post author , June 18, 2020 at 3:58 pm

No, this is the reverse. It's not a matter of distribution, it's a matter of how long the business can afford to keep the staff.

Even assuming the PPP paid enough for full salary recovery (for some businesses, it doesn't; a friend with a manufacturing business got only $420K versus her $700K payroll because some of her employees are high skill and make over $100K), extending the time helps only for businesses that were entirely closed, like restaurants. It did NOT increase the amount distributed. That was set based on 8 weeks of payroll as 75% of the total distributed.

So if after paying full payroll for eight weeks (now eight weeks from when you started supporting salaries) and your business clearly can't support the payroll, you will cut staff.

Moreover, the amendment on the fly was of limited help. A lot of business like restaurants (per a WSJ story yesterday( didn't apply because the 8 week requirement was in affect when the program had funds to distribute.

polecat , June 18, 2020 at 2:26 pm

A zigzag economy. Or even better, stairsteppin down to lower states of 'commerce', much of it 'informal', out of the prying noses of taxman everywhere .. that too, uh, works in my admittedly cloudy seer's eye.

at least until StrongMan 2.0 takes hold

occasional anonymous , June 18, 2020 at 9:41 pm

At what part of the letter (?) do the food riots start?

TiPs , June 18, 2020 at 7:40 am

If ever there was a time for a job guarantee program

Mikel , June 18, 2020 at 10:43 am

If ever there was a time that the establishment would fight a job guarantee program it is now.

When they say they need to be able to "compete" it's all about bringing wages down. Nothing does that more than mass unemployment. Every industry is going to squeeze wages to make up for lost demand that you nor your children should hold your breath about returning. Sports and entertainment – big squeeze. Keep a close eye on the battles with the unions.

I see people desperately mincing about like there will be a return to "like it was in 2019."
Wandering around in their deluded dreamworld as if all of this was like a season of the tv series Dallas back in the eighties – an entire season written off as another characters dream.

Tom Stone , June 18, 2020 at 8:50 am

In my little town of Sebastopol at least half the restaurants will go out of business, the one used bookstore is shuttered and quite a few of the tourist dependent shops will be going out of business. Vacation rentals are being allowed again, it's too early to tell if they will be OK yet.

July 4th will be a good indicator. Real Estate prices are looking wobbly. I did get my first haircut since January and now sport bright blue mohawk.

rd , June 18, 2020 at 9:11 am

I think most of the long-term job losses will be low income jobs (less than $40k/year). This is the group that recent statistics showed is at spending levels similar to last year, but much of that is supported by federal stimulus money ($600/wk unemployment, $1,200 check, PPP). When that dries up, that spending will likely decline. Many of those low income jobs will not have come back for two years as they are in hospitality and entertainment types of sectors. The drive-thru fast-food and takeout restaurants are doing fine – everything else is suffering and many will go permanently out of business. It is going to be a bloodbath in downtown areas in major cities.

The economy will lose a significant amount of consumer spending when the below median income have significantly lower income because they spend that income. That will reduce corporate revenues and sales tax collection.

White collar workers working from home will do fine. They will also continue saving money instead of spending it since they won't be travelling for pleasure or business or going out for food or entertainment. Recent statistics indicate that in early June, the top 25% income category reduced their credit card spending by 17% compared to pre-coronavirus while the lower income people reduced their spending 4%. This is the same reason that the Republican tax cuts don't work to boost the economy – they give the money to people who don't spend it, so it doesn't create economic growth, although it does create asset bubbles.

Reduced state and local tax revenues means the layoffs are already starting in the public sector. There are so many public sector layoff requirements that saving a dollar in salary is only saving $0.30 in the first year after laying off the employee. So the layoffs are likely to be deep. A cost effective approach is that state and local governments will simply not hire to fill positions of recent retirees because then they get 100% savings, so younger folks hoping for government work are going to be disappointed for at least a couple of years. State and local governments reduciton in spending was a significant damper on the fianncial crisis recovery and will be one here as well.

I think we are staring at 10% unemployment for at least 2 years. Real unemployment may be significantly higher as discouraged workers don't get counted. Also, with so many baby boomers entering Social Security eligibility, they may be forced to retire early and take reduced social security payments for the rest of their lives. That will be a drag on the economy for the next 30 years as social security benefits recirculate in the same month they get paid.

jerry , June 19, 2020 at 11:33 am

I don't think you are appreciating the magnitude of months on end of low wage workers salaries being doubled, combined with a huge drop in federal tax revenue. Also, congress is certainly not stupid enough to allow the additional unemployment benefits to expire going into an election (afterwards, certainly). Combined with a 3 trillion dollar spending bill, we have an unprecedented increase in aggregate demand from the average American. Now that the economy starts to open up a bit, there is actually something to spend the money on other than Amazon purchases.

Consumption is our economy, and if you don't think we are going to continue seeing huuuge retail sales numbers > earnings > GDP then you are way off base IMO. We are effectively already instituting a generous UBI. Yes, many small businesses have and will tragically fail and we are in a complete mess in many ways, but sectoral balance always wins out. The private sector hasn't had a surplus like this since I don't even know when? WWII maybe? This certainly blows away the response we had in 2008.

All this spells term #2 for the Donald in my outlook. The dems threw everything they possibly could at him and it failed miserably. And it serves them right, run a real candidate with real policy positions instead of incessantly whining about the guy who is in there now. Not sure how long it is going to take for the left to wake up

allan , June 18, 2020 at 9:17 am

9. Low income people, with the most propensity to spend, can't if they don't have income for a long time.

Here's a horrifying thread with video and pics of an 8 hour wait to apply for UI in Kentucky. And there are people who applied in March and April who still haven't been serviced.

As an extra bonus, (nonperformative) mask usage in the line looks like it's about 50%, so some of these poor souls will soon have other things to worry about.

Mitch's solution for his hard-pressed constituents: More judges.

polecat , June 18, 2020 at 2:38 pm

Well, it's a good thing then that mr. Stone above ain't living in the Ken tuck ee, home of the Big A$$ Smoke-ster, mohawk or no ..

Susan the other , June 18, 2020 at 9:29 am

One of the biggest ironies of all is that the health care industry is suffering because the expense of treating coronavirus is not offset by enough income but it is still crowding out other services. I doubt any big hospitals will go under, but the small rural ones have been dropping like flies for a few years now.

I had my yearly yesterday and my new doc is voicing her frustration with the way information is so mishandled, not to mention that the tests for antibodies are virtually useless, and she thinks it will take at least a year to get some kind of yearly shot for corona.

We might never see an actual vaccination. She mentioned that people are putting off going in for imaging procedures and lab work because they are afraid the clinics and hospital labs are dangerous places.

WhoaMolly , June 18, 2020 at 9:34 am

> What is forbearance? It is a lender's temporary willingness not to collect interest or principal payments on a loan.

My son's lender gave him 3 months "forbearance". At the end of the three months they billed him for a triple mortgage payment. Fortunately he was able to remain employed and had banked the 3 payments. I expect he is one of the only people to do so. Such "forbearance" sounds like a vicious scam.

Yves Smith Post author , June 18, 2020 at 9:42 am

It is not at all a well known concept. It just lets you pay late with no penalty. It does not relieve you of your obligation.

Having said that (and I need to turn in so I am not about to find the link) I am told a NY Post article said that tenants in NYC were pretty much paying as usual, so they seemed to appreciate that this forbearance business was not much of a break.

polecat , June 18, 2020 at 2:54 pm

Just wait till federal tax time become 'un'-deferred. How many, especially the precarious within the middleclasses, not be able to pay what's owed? .. or .. incensed at the transparently unfair government/fed reserve plays, just throw up their proverbial hands, and say 'Screw this!!! Wall Street made Bank thankyouverymuch! .. why am I not held to the Same standard??'

Tax headcounts may possibly roll . away!

Pelham , June 18, 2020 at 10:33 am

A minor point: I've read that if absolutely everyone wore a mask we could resume many of our activities. Maybe. But personally, I find them semi-suffocating, even the fairly loose-fitting cloth variety. I believe in their worth but the nauseating experience of light oxygen deprivation causes me to avoid most outings or activities that require them. I can't imagine how medical professionals wear these things so often. Maybe it takes some getting used to.

Is anyone else similarly annoyed? Again, I believe in the value of mask wearing; I just find it nearly unbearable.

XXYY , June 18, 2020 at 11:06 am

I find the most objectionable thing to be glasses fogging, with suffocation a close second. I imagine one can eventually get used to it, since, e.g., surgeons wear them for hours at a stretch every day of their working lives.

One of the difficult things about the current situation is the remarkable shortage of PPE and the difficulty the manufacturing sector seems to have both meeting the existing demand and coming up with improved products at scale. Since PPE is safety-critical (failures will cause injury or death), and since almost all manufacturing seems to have been outsourced to China where quality is suspect at best, it's hard to be optimistic about the situation improving. In fact, as new protocols evolve around the world in which PPE is the new normal, shortages and counterfeit products seem likely to get worse.

Obviously this is one area where a wartime level of federally driven domestic production efforts would make total sense, but this would require acknowledging that coronavirus is real, and with Donald "nothing to see here" Trump in the White House this seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

a different chris , June 18, 2020 at 11:22 am

I don't even notice mine, to the point where I sometimes try to spoon food thru it

I dunno, maybe it's because I used to have a beard? In combination with the fact that I was an avid bicyclist so just walking around, let alone sitting in front of a computer, just doesn't require much air?

Ian Ollmann , June 18, 2020 at 8:16 pm

I don't care for them, but since I am working at home and don't go anywhere -- my lovely and talented wife also does shopping -- I only needed a mask once for an unavoidable shopping trip. She had a birthday. We got a very nice pear torte from the local chocolaterie!

I do work, play games with the kids, and eat well. I putter about in the wood shop. (Hand tools are the secret for avoiding masks there.) I'm really quite a bit happier than before the outbreak. We seem to be able to hide out from the virus on our homestead in the Santa Cruz Mountains redwoods. With that, the clean air, decreased car noise and no commute, I'm wondering why we didn't do this before!

I'm sure it will all come crashing down when school starts again, but for the moment, life is grand.

Duke of Prunes , June 18, 2020 at 11:31 am

While I agree with this, I wonder if it's missing the other side. For example, when more people work from home, they still need to eat and don't necessarily have time to cook. Will suburban and neighborhood restaurants and delivery services see an uptick? Obviously, this doesn't help the city center businesses, but maybe it evens out a bit when spread across the entire economy. That is, a lot of current businesses are in a bad way, but maybe the economy will restructure around the "new normal".

Yves Smith Post author , June 18, 2020 at 4:01 pm

Takeout is way less profitable than sitdown. Restaurants here closed after briefly trying takeout because they could not make it work (three in a less than ten minute driving distance). The only ones I anticipate that will do OK are venues with tiny sit down spaces, where they were set up as mainly takeout.

Upstater , June 18, 2020 at 11:37 am

Sporting events (not that I follow any) have economic impact and there will not be any residual demand when they are permitted. And surely some people will be reluctant to enter arenas with thousands of screaming fans. Locally, Syracuse has SU football and basketball (drawing 20-40,000), a triple A baseball team and a minor league hockey team. I don't know how many game nights there are locally, but I'd guess 100+. There is a certain amount of out of town people attending same.

Same is true for live entertainment or the NY State Fair (close to 100,000 daily attendance for a 2 week run). All these things are cancelled and there won't be make up dates or residual demand.

The impact of non-events (like forgone haircuts or meals out) will take some time to work through the broader economy. Also, habits will change even if there is a vaccine or miracle cure.

Yves Smith Post author , June 18, 2020 at 4:02 pm

I failed to include live entertainment and sports. Thanks for the addition.

David , June 18, 2020 at 11:58 am

I suspect that the really interesting and alarming consequences are going to come from the interaction of a number of these factors, sometimes in unforeseeable ways. Consider, for example, what other industries or sectors are impacted by business travel: travel companies, foreign exchange companies, airport duty free shops, taxi companies, car hire companies, makers of business travel applications for smartphones, translators and interpreters, portable computers and electronics of all kinds, adapter plugs, expensive luggage of all kinds, upper-tier restaurants and hotels where foreign languages are spoken, sources of business entertainment, certain personal services, um, sometimes sought by travelling businessmen, security staff at hotels, insurance companies, risk-management consultancies, medical and vaccination services, dry-cleaning services, spas and beauty services, legal advisers on doing business, even the little shop in the lobby that sells business books, expensive souvenirs and overpriced essentials that you typically forget.

None of these industries will necessarily disappear, but all will lose the most lucrative part of their business.

In conjunction with fewer tourists though, (which must now be a given) some or all of them may go down, or at least be drastically reduced. And it's likely that there'll be a general retrenchment of staff deployed abroad and the presence of international organisations. So if you do eventually get that trip to exotic destination you have been promising yourself for some years, you may find that there are no decent hotels or restaurants and no proper taxi service to your run-down hotel where nobody speaks English.

The other thing is tertiary education, where the problems go well beyond a lack of Chinese students (who can still register to study remotely of course). A number of universities in Europe have simply cancelled all in-person classes next year, and there is a huge and rather ill-directed effort under way to establish complete online learning systems. Nobody has any idea what the long-term consequences of this will be, for jobs, research, careers and even the survival of many institutions, but they won't be pretty. A lot of degrees simply can't be done on line. And of course the economies of many towns and cities are partially dependent on students and staff spending money, and buying and renting houses.

So if you live in a small but pleasant university town with a flourishing tourist industry, a science park and an international conference centre, you own a restaurant and your brother owns a taxi company, it might be time to consider something else.

Adam1 , June 18, 2020 at 12:17 pm

While not directly connected to the pandemic, it is overlapping in timing of the economic damage. The collapse of oil prices has laid waste to the shale revolution. Prior to the oil price war oil production and the money being poured into it was actually a substantial portion of GDP growth. That isn't likely coming back soon if every.

templar555510 , June 18, 2020 at 3:39 pm

GDP growth . Forget it, it's over . De-growth is the new normal. This reality will become apparent as the parasites – hedge funds, private equity et al – begin to fall later this year.

Clive , June 18, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Anecdotals from my visit the past two days with my mother-in-law. A lot of pent-up cash from well-heel'ed pensioners who had booked expensive vacations but have now cancelled. Several are going to replace not old but not new either cars using the holiday fund. So some uptick will come from that.

As for retail, the garden centres were doing a good trade at the checkouts but the upscale cafes which are usually attached are still closed and this is what makes the difference in this sector of retail's business model here between break-even (at best) and good profits. But they'll survive.

However, for retirees (who are of course at higher risk of COVID-19 fatality spectrum) there is no -- absolutely zero -- desire to hit the malls and the large stores. Even if it wasn't for trying to maintain social distances, the prospect if you're in your seventies or eighties to queue (usually for a time in the open air) for an uncertain wait just to get in is a huge disincentive.

Add in the lack of catering and this is going to be hit very hard if my sampling is anything to go by.

The mid-level pub and restaurant trade will be decimated. There was over-supply before and this is now chronically exposed. All we passed were shuttered -- some offering take-out, which might be a life line but they are typically too far from the town centres to compete with the cheap kebab, chicken and Indian walk-ups. Plus, people won't pay a gourmet premium to spoon something out of a foil tray themselves. However, at the lower end of the market, those fast-food places with drive-thrus will be fine -- queues round the block at McDonalds, KFC and Starbucks.

Residential real estate is also mixed. Nice places in good lots in ready-to-move-into condition have sold -- retirees moving from London and the Home Counties have lots of equity and are buying for the long term (well, as long term as you get aged 65-75) so aren't interested in the losing sleep over the possibility of a 10 or 20% correction if one happens -- they want to move usually to be nearer family, to get out of over-developed London and the South East and to enjoy a retirement lifestyle.

However, properties which are not retiree-friendly (e.g. not bungalows or apartments in full-service blocks with lifts) are a serious drag on the market. This https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-70609848.html had hung around for ages for the vendor. I suspect it is an executor sale. Traditionally, disaster-areas like this property is would get bought by developers (usually builders) to flip after gutting and refurbing but of course, this business-model is utterly dependent on not overpaying in the first place in a falling market. Here, the owner is just calling it quits and auctioning it off (very unusual in the UK property market but probably the right thing to do as at least it'll be settled and they'll get their money without the hassle and stress of something that might sit there unsold incurring maintenance costs and property taxes for a year and even if it does sell, it'll be a low offer because of the condition it is in and would entail possibly a collapse-prone chain that could all fall through at any minute). So residential real estate here in the UK -- a crucial part of what props up the wider economy -- is showing early signs of stagnation and is very quality- and price-dependent.

Alex Cox , June 18, 2020 at 12:46 pm

Here in Oregon we have had a serious outbreak of Covid in a seafood packing plant in Newport. And we learn that the majority of the workforce come from Guatemala, Serbia, and Ukraine. How can this make economic sense?

Clearly the wages are too low for native Oregonians. But Newport Seafood must pay gangmasters whose fees include travel (bus from Guatemala, several planes from Serbia and Ukraine) plus accommodation for the crews.

The set-up seems both crazy and an excellent way to spread the virus. Added to which many of the Guatemaltecos speak a dialect called Mam which makes contract tracing more difficult. Surely paying decent wages, in Oregon, Guatemala, Serbia and Ukraine, would be a tidier solution for all of us.

upstater , June 18, 2020 at 1:28 pm

A large greenhouse (64 acres under glass) near here was the largest COVID cluster outside of NYC. Two hundred "guest" workers were housed 4 to a room, 2 in each bed at cheap motels. The Canadian owners pay local workers and "guests " $13/hour. But the labor contactor gets an amount on top, plus there is the housing, food and transportation for the "guests".

If one were cynical /s/ one might think the game is to have a reserve army of "guests", ready, willing and able to displace any uppity locals.

Maybe if the Canadian owners paid $25/hour for locals, no guests would be required. BTW, they pay no property tax on the $100M facility and get cut rate electricity.

lordkoos , June 18, 2020 at 4:53 pm

Here in our small town (pop. around 14,000) the local food processing plant which cans peas, corn, and other vegetables was the site of a 400% increase in CV cases. It is the biggest spike we have seen, going went from 18 cases to almost 90 in the space of a couple of weeks, although our county is still doing pretty well in general. The plant was shut down for a couple of week but now seems to be running again, I assume with greater safety measures now implemented. At one time it was mostly local white guys who worked in the plant but nowadays there is a much larger percentage of Hispanic workers.

Phemfrog , June 18, 2020 at 3:52 pm

Here in the suburbs of DFW houses are selling like hotcakes. Not exaggerating. Multiple offers and prices over list. Selling in days after listing. I can't fathom this in Covid times. The uncertainty alone makes that impossible to consider.

A family down the street just sold to move into a house a couple miles away that has a pool. Are they not noticing that the economy is in shambles? Does it not occur to them that the knock-on effects might eventually affect their household? Even if your job is safe now, it doesn't mean that it will be in the future! Maybe now is not the right time to make a major upgrade like that! I just can't

In the meantime my taxes and insurance are going up.

lordkoos , June 18, 2020 at 5:53 pm

Home sales here are really hot – a big exodus from Seattle is driving it.

Amfortas the hippie , June 18, 2020 at 6:45 pm

Exodus from San Antone and Austin (and everywhere else) is what worries me bunch of rich folks invading this place is the last thing i want.

Local PTB kept it in check for a long while yammering on about the radium in the water (you'd hafta keep a sink-full overnight, in a closed up house, for 75 years for it to have a measurable effect)

Most of this clandestine effort was to keep the big cities from taking our groundwater but it had the ancillary effect of limiting ingress to rich anti-science types(sigh).

The people who can afford to move right now I assume are not people i'd want as neighbors Todds and Karens, bringing Civilisation to us hill people.

Ian Ollmann , June 18, 2020 at 8:29 pm

If you have plenty of cash, a downturn is the time to buy, assuming prices are cheaper. I'm not sure they are, yet. Not enough forced sales yet, I'd imagine.

On the flip side, once you realize that your employer will probably let you telecommute from Vail, CO, the condo in the big city may seem inconvenient to the slopes. I imagine there is some demand in that dimension too. For the less adventurous, there are always the 'burbs.

polecat , June 18, 2020 at 3:19 pm

I live on the North Olympic Peninsula. 'Tourism' is probably gonna suck going forward, especially if lockdowns resume due to any future viral hotspot flareups. Our downtown has partially opened up, but for how long ??

We also have 2 large building projects going on downtown – construction having begun last summer, came to a standstill when the virus hit, then resumed. Both venues predicated to some extent on out of towners spending their $$$ here. I think the virus just put the kibosh on those rosy plans.

John Wright , June 18, 2020 at 4:29 pm

Re: "American household spending in the 1960s was powered by rising wages and growing home equity. But wages have been largely stagnant since at least 2000"

Starting the clock at 2000 glosses over the wage data from earlier years, which was none too good.

Per table 1 in https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45090.pdf , real wages for USA men at the 50% percentile level are down -5.1% over the 1979 to 2018 time frame.

When women's earnings are added in the real wages at the 50% percentile level have risen a total of 6.1% over the 40 year inclusive time frame.

Given that the USA has had infrastructure declining (lowering quality of life), housing, medical and educational costs rising in excess of inflation, USA wage earners were hurting, at the median level, well before Covid-19 and well before 2000.

One might argue that many wage earners have adjusted to this new normal BEFORE Covid-19 and this could steel them somewhat for Covid-19 effects.

kareninca , June 18, 2020 at 5:31 pm

Shops are already going under here in Silicon Valley. I've driven down Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park a few times over the last week and there are a fair number of empty storefronts. It is the fancy shopping street in town. Since I don't actually shop there I couldn't tell what sorts of shops had closed.

This piece appeared on Zero Hedge today! ( https://www.zerohedge.com/economics/8-reasons-why-covid-19-damage-economy-will-be-deep-and-lasting )

Yves Smith Post author , June 19, 2020 at 12:25 am

Thanks for the kind words.

It is hardly the most important detail in the story, but I see 24 Hour Fitness is closing 100 locations. I would visit one when I was in Dallas. It was the best gym I've been to, lots of very well selected equipment, the only place I ever saw with 2.5 dumbbell increments up to 52.5 lbs, many trainer toys, pleasant space. This is a real shame, and I am sure other readers will see names of businesses they patronized and liked.

K teh , June 18, 2020 at 8:49 pm

It's going to be deep and lasting because it only increases the systemic problem of growing income inequality. There were viruses before and there will be more after. In this case, the response was to grow the ghetto, faster. Fintech has to go in for the kill shot here.

DC control technology can only increase income inequality so long as it is the primary recipient of MMT. It's one and zeroes, a completely arbitrary binary outcome.

K teh , June 18, 2020 at 9:43 pm

Q: when does 1 + 0 =0?

A: when the only difference is perception, electronic money.

Relative to the planet, let alone the universe, there is no such thing as an expert. Having tribes of experts competing to see who gets to play God on any particular day can only result in a completely artificial world.

It doesn't get better from a phantom abutment.

occasional anonymous , June 18, 2020 at 9:49 pm

The video game industry are making out like bandits, for now at least. Wonder how this will impact the coming console generation though. How many people will have four or five hundred spare smackers for a new system (or twice that for both new systems), plus new games at 60 bucks each?

And will the assembly lines in Taiwan and China even be running? Nintendo was expecting to have its production back up by this month, yet the Switch is still out of stock almost everywhere. And that's for an existing, well established production line.

[Dec 20, 2020] The US government has been financialized like the majority of the Fortune 500. Since the 1970's the trajectory in the US has been to reduce government spending on social safety net programs and privatize the Social Security Insurance program. While SSI was raped by Reagan/Greenspan/Congress and taken from the independence of actuaries and made a political budget football including false claims of being and "entitlement" program the safety net social programs fared worse

Dec 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Dec 19 2020 7:11 utc | 136

@ Grieved | Dec 19 2020 6:01 utc | 135 with the rant about the Dems and Medicare for All

The US government has been financialized like the majority of the Fortune 500. Since the 1970's the trajectory in the US has been to reduce government spending on social safety net programs and privatize the Social Security Insurance program. While SSI was raped by Reagan/Greenspan/Congress and taken from the independence of actuaries and made a political budget football including false claims of being and "entitlement" program the safety net social programs fared worse. In the early 1970's, when I was familiar with the planning for and provision of social services like for developmental disabilities, alcoholism, mental health, job search help, infancy care (WIC) and drug abuse, the concept of continuum of care helped the different agencies collaborate and really help folks. Then the Fed stared changing the rules of the way money was to be spent that developed columns of services that don't interact/coordinate with each other as well as reducing overall low income support.

I also want to add to what you wrote earlier that humanity use to make other than the throw-away-to-churn-the-money-mill products that were both designed and built better/to last. It fits with our throw away food system with all that packaging and none of it refillable, seemingly by design.....
....
....
because as I continue to write here, its all about the God of Mammon instead of the support of the masses social structure with the underpinning of the God of Mammon way of life is controlled by the global private financed owned elite and the support of the masses way of life is exampled biggly currently by China.

[Dec 20, 2020] Almost 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the start of the pandemic

Dec 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Dec 19 2020 13:51 utc | 147

Three tales about the USA:

Meanwhile, almost 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the start of the pandemic

The poverty myth that there is little or no poverty is all too common. In fact, the United States has one of the highest poverty rates in the developed world. One study ranked the United States 29 of 31 OECD countries in 2012. When it comes to child poverty, things are even worse. A UNICEF report found that the United States ranked 34 of 35 developed countries – only Romania had a higher child poverty rate.

Do you think a nation like this has the means to build Medicare for All? I don't think so.

Combined wealth of America's 651 billionaires has jumped by more than $1 trillion since pandemic started

This is what Marx called "centralization of capital".

Numbers don't lie:

"Trickle down" comprehensively refuted. It was "trickle up".

[Dec 10, 2020] The Transnational Financiers as aliens hell-bent of conquering the Earth population

Dec 10, 2020 | zerohedge.com

Dec 4, 2020 10:14 PM Reply to Le Chat Noir

The wonderful world you talk about was not experienced by the peoples of Guatemala, Iran, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Argentinia, Haiti, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and many of the homeless and destitute in the US, UK, Japan etc. The wonderful world you describe is an illusion.

There is a line from the 1960s Science Fiction series called the Invaders from another galaxy who wish take over the world. At the beginning of each episode the narrator says " they wish to take over the world and make it their world".

The Transnational Financiers have been working towards that goal for centuries!!!!

[Nov 26, 2020] The Ruling Elite's War on Truth by Chris Hedges

Notable quotes:
"... Trump and Giuliani are vulgar and buffoonish, but they play the same slimy game as their Democratic opponents. The Republicans scapegoat the deep state, communists and now, bizarrely, Venezuela; the Democrats scapegoat Russia. The widening disconnect from reality by the ruling elite is intended to mask their complicity in the seizure of power by predatory global corporations and billionaires. ..."
"... Silicon Valley billionaires, including Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, donated more than $100 million to a Democratic super PAC that created a torrent of anti-Trump TV ads in the final weeks of the campaign to elect Biden. The heavy infusion of corporate money to support Biden wasn't done to protect democracy. It was done because these corporations and billionaires know a Biden administration will serve their interests. ..."
"... Democratic Senator Chris Murphy told CNN during this campaign that Russian disinformation efforts are "more problematic" than in 2016. He warned that "this time around, the Russians have decided to cultivate U.S. citizens as assets. They are attempting to try to spread their propaganda in the mainstream media." ..."
"... This will be the official mantra of the Democratic Party, a vicious redbaiting campaign without actual reds, especially as the country spirals out of control. The reason I have a show on Russia-funded RT America ..."
"... Voice of America ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site, ..."
"... We let these companies get this monopolistic share of the distribution system. Now they're exercising that power. ..."
"... In the Soviet Union the truth was passed, often hand to hand, in underground samizdat documents, clandestine copies of news and literature banned by the state. The truth will endure. It will be heard by those who seek it out. It will expose the mendacity of the powerful, however hard it will be to obtain. Despotisms fear the truth. They know it is a mortal threat. If we remain determined to live in truth, no matter the cost, we have a chance. ..."
"... The New York Times, ..."
"... The Dallas Morning News ..."
"... The Christian Science Monitor ..."
Nov 23, 2020 | scheerpost.com
40 Comments on Chris Hedges: The Ruling Elite's War on Truth American political leaders display a widening disconnect from reality intended to mask their complicity in the seizure of power by global corporations and billionaires. By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Joe Biden's victory instantly obliterated the Democratic Party's longstanding charge that Russia was hijacking and compromising US elections. The Biden victory, the Democratic Party leaders and their courtiers in the media now insist, is evidence that the democratic process is strong and untainted, that the system works. The elections ratified the will of the people.

But imagine if Donald Trump had been reelected. Would the Democrats and pundits at The New York Time s , CNN and MSNBC pay homage to a fair electoral process? Or, having spent four years trying to impugn the integrity of the 2016 presidential race, would they once again haul out the blunt instrument of Russian interference to paint Trump as Vladimir Putin's Manchurian candidate?

Trump and Giuliani are vulgar and buffoonish, but they play the same slimy game as their Democratic opponents. The Republicans scapegoat the deep state, communists and now, bizarrely, Venezuela; the Democrats scapegoat Russia. The widening disconnect from reality by the ruling elite is intended to mask their complicity in the seizure of power by predatory global corporations and billionaires.

... ... ...

The two warring factions within the ruling elite, which fight primarily over the spoils of power while abjectly serving corporate interests, peddle alternative realities. If the deep state and Venezuelan socialists or Russia intelligence operatives are pulling the strings no one in power is accountable for the rage and alienation caused by the social inequality, the unassailability of corporate power, the legalized bribery that defines our political process, the endless wars, austerity and de-industrialization. The social breakdown is, instead, the fault of shadowy phantom enemies manipulating groups such as Black Lives Matters or the Green Party.

"The people who run this country have run out of workable myths with which to distract the public, and in a moment of extreme crisis have chosen to stoke civil war and defame the rest of us – black and white – rather than admit to a generation of corruption, betrayal, and mismanagement," Matt Taibbi writes.

These fictional narratives are dangerous. They erode the credibility of democratic institutions and electoral politics. They posit that news and facts are no longer true or false. Information is accepted or discarded based on whether it hurts or promotes one faction over another. While outlets such as Fox News have always existed as an arm of the Republican Party, this partisanship has now infected nearly all news organizations, including publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post , along with the major tech platforms that disseminate information and news. A fragmented public with no common narrative believes whatever it wants to believe.

... ... ...

The flagrant partisanship and discrediting of truth across the political spectrum are swiftly fueling the rise of an authoritarian state. The credibility of democratic institutions and electoral politics, already deeply corrupted by PACs, the electoral college, lobbyists, the disenfranchisement of third-party candidates, gerrymandering and voter suppression, is being eviscerated.

Silicon Valley billionaires, including Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, donated more than $100 million to a Democratic super PAC that created a torrent of anti-Trump TV ads in the final weeks of the campaign to elect Biden. The heavy infusion of corporate money to support Biden wasn't done to protect democracy. It was done because these corporations and billionaires know a Biden administration will serve their interests.

The press, meanwhile, has largely given up on journalism. It has retreated into competing echo chambers that only speak to true believers. This catering exclusively to one demographic, which it sets against another demographic, is commercially profitable. But it also guarantees the balkanization of the United States and edges us closer and closer to fratricide.

When Trump leaves the White House millions of his enraged supports, hermetically sealed inside hyperventilating media platforms that feed back to them their rage and hate, will see the vote as fraudulent, the political system as rigged, and the establishment press as propaganda. They will target, I fear, through violence, the Democratic Party politicians, mainstream media outlets and those they demonize as conspiratorial members of the deep state, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Democratic Party is as much to blame for this disintegration as Trump and the Republican Party.

The election of Biden is also very bad news for journalists such as Matt Taibbi, Glen Ford, Margaret Kimberley, Glenn Greenwald, Jeffrey St. Clair or Robert Scheer who refuse to be courtiers to the ruling elites. Journalists that do not spew the approved narrative of the right-wing, or, alternatively, the approved narrative of the Democratic Party, have a credibility the ruling elite fears.

The worse things get – and they will get worse as the pandemic leaves hundreds of thousands dead and thrusts millions of Americans into severe economic distress –the more those who seek to hold the ruling elites, and in particular the Democratic Party, accountable will be targeted and censored in ways familiar to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, now in a London prison and facing possible extradition to the United States and life imprisonment.

Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties, which included the repeated misuse of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, the passage of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to permit the military to act as a domestic police force and the ordering of the assassination of U.S. citizens deemed to be terrorists in Yemen, was far worse than those of George W. Bush. Biden's assault on civil liberties, I suspect, will surpass those of the Obama administration.

The censorship was heavy handed during the campaign. Digital media platforms, including Google, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, along with the establishment press worked shamelessly as propaganda arms for the Biden campaign. They were determined not to make the "mistake" they made in 2016 when they reported on the damaging emails, released by WikiLeaks, from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta. Although the emails were genuine, papers such as The New York Times routinely refer to the Podesta emails as "disinformation." This, no doubt, pleases its readership, 91 percent of whom identify as Democrats according to the Pew Research Center. But it is another example of journalistic malfeasance.

Following the election of Trump, the media outlets that cater to a Democratic Party readership made amends. The New York Times was one of the principal platforms that amplified Russiagate conspiracies, most of which turned out to be false. At the same time, the paper largely ignored the plight of the disposed working class that supported Trump. When the Russiagate story collapsed, the paper pivoted to focus on race, embodied in the 1619 Project. The root cause of social disintegration -- the neoliberal order, austerity and deindustrialization -- was ignored since naming it would alienate the paper's corporate advertisers and the elites on whom the paper depends for access.

Once the 2020 election started, The New York Times and other mainstream outlets censored and discredited information that could hurt Biden, including a tape of Joe Biden speaking with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, which appears to be authentic. They gave credibility to any rumor, however spurious, which was unfavorable to Trump. Twitter and Facebook blocked access to a New York Post story about the emails allegedly found on Hunter Biden's discarded laptop.

Twitter locked the New York Post out of its own account for over a week. Glenn Greenwald, whose article on Hunter Biden was censored by his editors at The Intercept, which he helped found, resigned. He released the email exchanges with his editors over his article. Ignoring the textual evidence of censorship, editors and writers at The Intercept engaged in a public campaign of character assassination against Greenwald. This sordid behavior by self-identified progressive journalists is a page out of the Trump playbook and a sad commentary on the collapse of journalistic integrity.

The censorship and manipulation of information was honed and perfected against WikiLeaks. When WikiLeaks tries to release information, it is hit with botnets or distributed denial of service attacks. Malware attacks WikiLeaks' domain and website. The WikiLeaks site is routinely shut down or unable to serve its content to its readers. Attempts by WikiLeaks to hold press conferences see the audio distorted and the visual images corrupted. Links to WikiLeaks events are delayed or cut. Algorithms block the dissemination of WikiLeaks content. Hosting services, including Amazon, removed WikiLeaks from its servers. Julian Assange, after releasing the Iraqi war logs, saw his bank accounts and credit cards frozen. WikiLeaks' PayPal accounts were disabled to cut off donations. The Freedom of the Press Foundation in December 2017 closed down the anonymous funding channel to WikiLeaks which was set up to protect the anonymity of donors. A well-orchestrated smear campaign against Assange was amplified and given credibility by the mass media and filmmakers such as Alex Gibney. Assange and WikiLeaks were first. We are next.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy told CNN during this campaign that Russian disinformation efforts are "more problematic" than in 2016. He warned that "this time around, the Russians have decided to cultivate U.S. citizens as assets. They are attempting to try to spread their propaganda in the mainstream media."

This will be the official mantra of the Democratic Party, a vicious redbaiting campaign without actual reds, especially as the country spirals out of control. The reason I have a show on Russia-funded RT America is the same reason Vaclav Havel could only be heard on the US-funded Voice of America during the communist control of Czechoslovakia. I did not choose to leave the mainstream media. I was pushed out. And once anyone is pushed out, the ruling elite is relentless about discrediting the few platforms left willing to give them, and the issues they raise, a hearing.

"If the problem is 'American citizens' being cultivated as 'assets' trying to put 'interference' in the mainstream media, the logical next step is to start asking Internet platforms to shut down accounts belonging to any American journalist with the temerity to report material leaked by foreigners (the wrong foreigners, of course – it will continue to be okay to report things like the 'black ledger')," writes Taibbi , who has done some of the best reporting on the emerging censorship. "From Fox or the Daily Caller on the right , to left-leaning outlets like Consortium or the World Socialist Web Site, to writers like me even – we're all now clearly in range of new speech restrictions, even if we stick to long-ago-established factual standards."

Taibbi argues that the precedent for overt censorship took place when the major digital platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Google, Spotify, YouTube – in a coordinated move blacklisted the right-wing talk show host Alex Jones.

"Liberal America cheered," Taibbi told me when I interviewed him for my show, " On Contact ":

They said 'Well this is a noxious figure. This is a great thing. Finally, someone's taking action.' What they didn't realize is that we were trading an old system of speech regulation for a new one without any public discussion. You and I were raised in a system where you got punished for speech if you committed libel or slander or if there was imminent incitement to lawless action, right? That was the standard that the Supreme Court set, but that was done through litigation. There was an open process where you had a chance to rebut charges. That is all gone now.

Now, basically there's a handful of these tech distribution platforms that control how people get their media.

They've been pressured by the Senate, which has called all of their CEOs in, and basically ordered them, 'We need you to come up with a plan to prevent the sowing of discord and spreading of misinformation.' This has finally come into fruition. You see a major reputable news organization like the New York Post -- with a 200-year history -- locked out of its own Twitter account.

The story [Hunter Biden's emails] has not been disproven. It's not disinformation or misinformation. It's been suppressed as it would be suppressed in a Third World country. It's a remarkable historic moment. The danger is that we end up with a one-party informational system. There's going to be approved dialogue and unapproved dialogue that you can only get through certain fringe avenues. That's the problem. We let these companies get this monopolistic share of the distribution system. Now they're exercising that power.

In the Soviet Union the truth was passed, often hand to hand, in underground samizdat documents, clandestine copies of news and literature banned by the state. The truth will endure. It will be heard by those who seek it out. It will expose the mendacity of the powerful, however hard it will be to obtain. Despotisms fear the truth. They know it is a mortal threat. If we remain determined to live in truth, no matter the cost, we have a chance.


[Chris Hedges writes a regular original column for ScheerPost every two weeks. Click here to sign up for email alerts.]

Chris Hedges Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News , The Christian Science Monitor , and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. paul easton NOVEMBER 23, 2020 AT 10:28 AM

It seems like the masters are just as deluded as the slaves. But the situation is unsustainable. When many millions of slaves become homeless and hungry that reality will become unavoidable. Who will they blame? Will they attack one another or will they revolt against the system? Soon we will see. Carolyn L Zaremba NOVEMBER 24, 2020 AT 10:30 AM

I share only alternative media since I don't trust "mainstream" media one iota. I post articles from the World Socialist Web Site, Consortium News, the Grayzone, Caitlin Johnstone and others all the time. I am a socialist. I was only banned from posting on FB once, for criticizing Israel. No surprise there. But I suspect FB of shadow banning, i.e., making it look like you've posted an article but making it invisible to others in their news feeds. I first learned of this practice from Craig Murray, another whose articles I post regularly. paul easton NOVEMBER 25, 2020 AT 1:35 AM

That is a chilling thought. I was shadow banned by medium.com a few years ago. It appeared to me that my posts and comments went in, but no one else could see them. At least with them I could tell something was wrong because I had regular conversations with some people. With FB I don't know if you could ever be sure. R Zwarich NOVEMBER 25, 2020 AT 5:37 AM

Mr. Easton is indeed correct. It is VERY chilling, especially if people would imagine what THEY would do, if they had our Enemy's morally depraved motivations, and if they had the control our Enemy has over ALL our communications switches.

There are three basic types of mass communications. One to many. Many to one. And many to many.

The Enemy has complete access to 'one to many' communications, and complete control over anyone's else's access to same. Many to one communications are ineffective for intrinsic reasons. Many to many communications offer myriad methods of cunningly creative control.

If we send out group emails, for example, in simple old-fashioned list-serves, they who control the switches could easily 'filter', to determine who among addressees gets any message, and who doesn't.

I used to write comments in the Boston Globe, the wholly owned plaything of a VERY weird old Billionaire and his proud and beautiful young trophy wife. (Less than half his age, of course). At first I thought the Globe NEVER censored. I could write anything, and it would post. Ahh but then I learned that the Globe is a HEAVY handed censor, but was clever enough to put a 'cookie' in your browser folder to tell their server to let you see your own comments, so you would not even know that no one else could see them. It was 'stealth censorship'.

We should try to remember that these people are morally depraved, in their constant paroxysms of raw Greed and raw Lust. No force exists any longer in our nation to restrain them. Anything we can 'see' that they CAN do, we can pretty much figure they already DO do, or else sooner or later will. Carol Shapiro NOVEMBER 23, 2020 AT 1:44 PM

While I don't agree with you, Chris Hedges, all the time, I believe you are our one. true. journalist. Thankful for your honesty. Insight. Huge intellect. Global experience. I am an "unenrolled" voter -- an extremely disillusioned former Bernie Sanders supporter. Truly, I feel like he would have been our closest attempt to achieving a real "citizen government". What a laughable term that is these days. Bernie never would have had a chance running as a Democrat – absurd. He should have walked out of that convention four years ago and taken his supporters with him. Oh wait- you said that. Never NOVEMBER 23, 2020 AT 2:59 PM

Don't forget that the selective coverage by the NY Times in this campaign didn't start when Biden became the nominee. Up to that time, the Times ran one or two articles on Sanders it seems. Whatever the number, it was miniscule. They almost completely ignored one of the most significant campaigns in modern history, thus helping to ensure it died on the vine. And when they did cover it one or two times, it was always negative.

Thank you, Chris, for your tireless work in defense of our stolen democracy. yuri NOVEMBER 23, 2020 AT 4:37 PM

US liberals more fascist than conservatives–long observed by historians/social philosophers
"amerikans do not converse as Tocqueville wrote, amerikans entertain each other. amerikans do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. the problem w amerikans is not Orwellian–it is huxleyan: amerikans love their oppression: Neil Postman Stephen Morrell NOVEMBER 24, 2020 AT 1:18 AM

Glenn Greenwald's points need stressing: (i) some of the most vociferous proponents of online censorship are mainstream and 'alternative' 'journalists' who on repeated occasions have egged on the carriers to shut sites, pages, accounts or postings; (ii) these 'journalists' aren't just serving the narrowest band of oligarchic media empires in history, but also are ivy-league bourgeois brats with no interest at all in exposing the injustices or malfeasance of bourgeois society, unlike many journalists of the past; and (iii) that it's not in the immediate material interests of the carriers to conduct the censorship, especially in the longterm, since it consumes resources and lowers traffic and profits. They'd much rather the government do it and for them to be compensated at taxpayer expense.

To avoid future potential government antitrust measures or nationalisation (heaven forbid!), Zuckerberg and his ilk have been censoring in heavyhanded and hamfisted ways that aren't so 'autonomous' but for the moment at least can be traced along the usual Democrat-controlled thinktank and CIA/FBI lines, which of course also are beyond public scrutiny. Despite the prospects for freedom of reach (and reach is what it's really about) apparently growing dimmer with each senate committee appearance by the carrier oligarchs, ways and means will be found to circumvent their draconian measures. While alternative non-censoring platforms have yet to gain significant traction, it likely won't take much for one to catch on, perhaps sparked by an outrageous event of suppression, that turns Facebook, Twitter, etc, into museum pieces. One might imagine, for instance, Wikileaks-style YouTube, Facebook, Twitter equivalents that act as true carriers, purely machine-based and devoid of human interference, that precludes them becoming the 'moral guardians' that Twitter, Facebook etc, are quickly metamorphising into.

As increasing swathes of the population appear not to be aligning within the bourgeoisie's preset ideological 'tribal' boundaries, there's a certain schadenfreude in seeing the rulers in dread of the truth getting out and spreading uncontrollably. Their tailored counter-narratives simply are too enfeebled and slight to square with the hard reality that's hitting everyone, from the most educated and brainwashed to the least. That ivy-league stenographers are being pressed into the service of censorship gives some indication of the desperation of the rulers. We all know, as do they but can never admit it publicly, that censorship and repression are frank admissions that they've lost all 'arguments' for their very existence.

To an extent, Trump has been responsible for letting the genie out of the bottle, as the first president probably since before Andrew Jackson to have failed, repeatedly, to put lipstick on the racist, capitalist imperial pig. The efforts by the ruling class at censorship and naked suppression of freedom of reach and of access to sources of truthful information will only increase in desperation as their myth-making narratives become ever more unable to rationalise a crisis that's they're beginning to see as intractable and endangering their rule.

[Nov 22, 2020] Covid-19 pandemic could bring economic crisis on scale of 'Great Depression,' Putin tells G20 warns of poverty social dis

Nov 22, 2020 | www.rt.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a global economic collapse that would have a significant impact on the lives of millions of people across the world.

Speaking at the virtual G20 summit of international leaders on Saturday, Putin warned that, "despite some positive signals, the main risk is still the so-called stagnant mass unemployment with a subsequent increase in poverty and social disorder."

"The coronavirus epidemic, the global lockdown and the freezing of economic activity launched a systemic economic crisis, which the modern world has not known since the Great Depression," he added.

Putin also lavished praise on the "massive contribution" of the US, which, along with other countries, has joined together to "create a stimulus package for the world economy to the tune of $12 trillion." Mainly put forward by large economies, including Russia's, the stimulus is thought to have played a role in buoying fragile world markets.

[Nov 16, 2020] COVID-19 -Restriction-- U.S. Set to Lose 9.2 Million Jobs in Tourism and Travel Sector - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... A staggering 9.2 million jobs could be lost in the U.S. Travel & Tourism sector in 2020 if barriers to global travel remain in place, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) revealed. ..."
Nov 16, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

By World Travel & Tourism Council Global Research, November 13, 2020 World Travel & Tourism Council 11 November 2020 Region: USA

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A staggering 9.2 million jobs could be lost in the U.S. Travel & Tourism sector in 2020 if barriers to global travel remain in place, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) revealed.

The new figure comes from WTTC's latest economic modelling, which looks at the punishing impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions on the Travel & Tourism sector.

According to the latest data, 7.2 million jobs in the U.S. have been impacted. If there is no immediate alleviation of restrictions on international travel, as many as 9.2 million jobs – more than half of all jobs supported by the sector in the U.S. in 2019 – would be lost.

WTTC has identified the four top priorities which should be addressed, including the adoption of a comprehensive and cost-effective testing regime at departure to avoid transmission, the re-opening of key 'air corridors' such as between New York and London, and international coordination.

The challenge of restoring safe travels in the new normal is one of the biggest issues facing the U.S. as it grapples with a depressed economy devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the Travel & Tourism sector particularly hard.

The WTTC Economic Impact Report for 2019 revealed that Travel & Tourism contributed $1.84 trillion to the U.S. economy and was responsible for more than one in 10 (10.7%) American jobs.

[Nov 12, 2020] Which groups of the USA elite played major role in 2020 elections

Notable quotes:
"... The grouping is thus; 1) Coastal Elites/Wall Street/City of London/Private Banking/Atlantacism/Libertarian Free Market Economics aka finance capitalism ..."
"... The middle of America is land power, and is opposed to Atlantacism, rim theory, blue water navy power projection, importation of third world people, and export of jobs and factories. ..."
Nov 12, 2020 | www.unz.com

Mefobills says: November 11, 2020 at 4:30 pm GMT • 7.2 hours ago 300 Words

Indeed, one can't help but wonder whether the historic American nation would fare better under outright foreign occupation than a hostile elite which considers itself our rulers and treats us with open contempt, if not hatred.

Russia or China would not flood the historic American nation with "third world people" in order to chase after a dollar. A good argument could be made that China or Russia would be a better government for Heartland America than the "international" coastal elites.

The coastal elites are wedded to finance capitalism. This group of people want a thin veneer of Oligarchs (themselves) controlling a mixed race, or brown population in their factories. Finance Capital wants to make illicit gains. Finance capital could care less about improving labor ability of the native population.

The grouping is thus; 1) Coastal Elites/Wall Street/City of London/Private Banking/Atlantacism/Libertarian Free Market Economics aka finance capitalism . (In short, the coastal elites are for an "international world order" with them in charge, with them making their finance nut with usury, rents, and unearned income. Lying and cheating is ok, because only money matters. Their capital is fungible, meaning it can fly anywhere in the world to make gains, and to them labor has legs and is also fungible, to then lower prices – to make gains.)

Land Powers, such as China and Russia are not "international" in their thinking. Although they do some power projection into blue water as a form of defense. They are interested in improving their sovereign population.

The middle of America is land power, and is opposed to Atlantacism, rim theory, blue water navy power projection, importation of third world people, and export of jobs and factories.

The American system of economy of the founders was the first industrial capitalism, and the "credit of the nation" went toward infrastructure, public health, and improving the commons.

The Jew and English finance capitalism method, first combined together in 1694, and has always been at war with heartland America. The parasite is dug in deep.

[Nov 09, 2020] Biden victory in some ways looks like Catch 22 for neoliberal Dems

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... But while they now have the power, globalists do not have solutions to the country problems, and the crisis of neoliberalism (which started in 2008) will continue, the far-right nationalism will stay and may even gain strength. This suggests that in 2024 is somebody like Tucker Carlson will lead the ticket. And Tucker is a more dangerous opponent to neoliberal Dems than Trump ever been. "Trumpism without Trump" will live, so to speak. ..."
Nov 09, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Hidari 11.08.20 at 8:20 pm

Interesting piece by Beinart about the obvious question that isn't being asked: Why did Trump lose? After all he had the advantages of incumbency, until February the stock market was booming, wages were rising, things were going great.

Answer: because he was not nearly radical enough. Because he was a weak leader who was captured by the Republican elite (not the other way round). Also (rather ironic this) because he was and is a terrible negotiater. He continually caved into the likes of Mitch McConnell, and, well the rest is history.

Question: will 'super Trump' in 4 or 8 years time manage to follow the Eastern European template and create a genuine populist party? (economically social democratic, particularly concentrating on pensioners: extremely hostile to immigration, skeptical of environmental issues, culturally conservative?). If so the future is the Republicans' but it's a big if.

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/11/07/how-trump-lost/

likbez 11.09.20 at 4:20 pm (no link)

@Hidari 11.08.20 at 8:20 pm

...he was a weak leader who was captured by the Republican elite (not the other way round). Also (rather ironic this) because he was and is a terrible negotiator. He continually caved into the likes of Mitch McConnell, and, well the rest is history.

All true. But Biden victory in some ways looks like Catch 22 for neoliberal Dems (Will the Democrats Ever Make Sense of This Week? – New Republic):

In sum, if the results we have hold, Joe Biden will win the election and preside over a divided Congress. A chastened and anxious Democratic caucus will continue to hold the House.

A triumphant Senate Republican caucus will obviously destroy his major legislative agenda. Biden will assuredly turn to policy by executive action, just as Barack Obama did late in his legislatively stymied administration.

When he does, Republicans will do all they can to send those actions to a 6–3 conservative Supreme Court Biden will be unable to pack or meaningfully reform.

In defeating Trump, Democrats will have avoided their worst-case scenario. Instead, they will have won the worst possible Biden victory, a political situation that will be a nightmare all its own.

Trump, with his "national neoliberalism," was an anomaly in its own right. And such things do not last long. So this is a kind of "return to normal" -- return to power of the "internationalist" faction of Oligarchy who is linked to globalization (and constitutes the majority of the US oligarchy), which was unexpectedly defeated in 2016 and since then foght tooth and nail for the return to power. And such "normalization" is the most logical outcome of the 2020 elections and is to be expected.

But while they now have the power, globalists do not have solutions to the country problems, and the crisis of neoliberalism (which started in 2008) will continue, the far-right nationalism will stay and may even gain strength. This suggests that in 2024 is somebody like Tucker Carlson will lead the ticket. And Tucker is a more dangerous opponent to neoliberal Dems than Trump ever been. "Trumpism without Trump" will live, so to speak.

That may spell troubles for the well-being of the PMC (professional and management class) to which we all belong.

I would add that the fact that Biden victory legitimized Russia-gate and abuse of their power by intelligence agencies is also a problem. I suspect that Neo-McCarthyism, in the long run, might backfire.

[Nov 07, 2020] Supporters of the Democratic Party are mainly demotic elites who benefit from globalization and liberalization of the global economy, and those who support the Republican Party are middle- and lower-class people, and religious conservatives

Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Nov 6 2020 18:58 utc | 113

Wow! Today's Global Times editorial about the election and its outcome is very perceptive in its entirety making it very hard to determine an excerpt. I decided on the center 4 paragraphs as they're a coherent whole:

"Every society has internal divergences and contradictions. The design of the US system indulges and even encourages the fermentation of contradictions. Mechanisms help maintain the balance between interests and power. For a long time, this performed relatively well, but new challenges are changing the conditions of US mechanisms, and changing relations between the effectiveness of US mechanisms and the difficulties US society faces.

"The fundamental change is that the US has been consuming its accumulated advantages against the backdrop of globalization. Its pattern of interests has been fixated, and the overall competitiveness of the country has been sliding. The welfare it has made for the people cannot match people's demands and expectations. The mechanism that distributes interests solidifies and further erodes social ability of promoting unity.

"In the internet era, identity politics is rising. People can easily feel that their rights are deprived because they are from a certain social class. Maintaining social unity has become an increasingly arduous and sensitive task. Obviously, the US needs political reforms more than many other countries to enhance its ability to promote unity.

"But in the past four years, the Trump administration, incited by the US election system, has pushed the country into a risky path where it enhances division to boost the existing pattern of political interests. There are so many social woes in US society, be it between different races and classes, between new immigrants and old ones, and between different regions, let alone partisan. But now the objective of society has been cast on Trump's reelection. This objective has to a great extent squeezed the room of US society to pursue maximum common interests."

But I really insist reading the entire editorial.

In an op/ed by a professor at the Center for American Studies of Fudan University, we learn what some close observers from outside see as the primary contradictions within the Outlaw US Empire:

"There are two main contradictions in the US. First, contradictions between the whites and ethnic minorities. The advantageous position of the whites continues to decrease and they would lose their dominance over the country in the future. This makes their tolerance and confidence in ethnic minorities decrease as well. The ratio of the population of ethnic minorities is rising. This increases their demand for equality and rights.

"It is normal for ethnic minorities to demand for corresponding political, social, economic and cultural positions, but this will pose a severe challenge to the cultural, religious and racial nature of the US. As the US population continues to lose balance, related conflicts will break out or even become a periodic and escalating crisis.

"Second, contradictions between elites and ordinary people. Supporters of the Democratic Party are mainly demotic elites who benefit from globalization and liberalization of the global economy, and those who support the Republican Party are middle- and lower-class people, and religious conservatives. This is very clear in the county-based electoral maps. Trump-supporting counties that are vast, under populated and economically backward, surround cities and counties that support the Democratic Party, while Democrat-dominated counties and cities use their economic and population advantages to lead the political pattern in some states. The contradictions between elites and ordinary people will not end with the election."

Not stated clearly IMO is that these contradictions are Centrifugal in their affects on the overall society thus impeding attempts to reform the polity and gain control over the forces exerting actual control that are beyond government.

[Nov 06, 2020] The elites may control who gets nominated but no matter how flawed or repugnant their candidate is or how obvious that the candidate was chosen for them the flocks that follow the candidates act as if they did the choosing.

Nov 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

jinn , Nov 5 2020 13:48 utc | 27

The elites may control who gets nominated but no matter how flawed or repugnant their candidate is or how obvious that the candidate was chosen for them the flocks that follow the candidates act as if they did the choosing.

Trump was given 10 times the free advertising than all the other primary candidates combined and yet his followers think they picked him.

And Biden will go down in history as the candidate who got more popular votes than any other candidate ever has and yet he is about as popular as a hemorrhoid.

[Nov 06, 2020] Here's Your Historical Analogy Menu- Rome, The USSR, Or Revolutionary France

Notable quotes:
"... One camp within the elites recognizes the danger and seeks reforms , but the reforms are too little, too late, and in any event, the elites who cling most ardently to the past stability fight the reform movement to a standstill. ..."
"... So take your pick, America: what's the closest analogy? A sclerotic Politburo of elders living in the past, an elite fiddling while the nation disintegrates, or an elite so out of touch with reality that it claims inflation is zero while the populace can no longer afford bread? ..."
Nov 05, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Rome, the USSR and Revolutionary France are all compelling analogies due to the hubristic cluelessness of their fractured elites as the pretensions of stability collapsed around them. Even though Nero didn't actually fiddle while Rome burned and Marie Antoinette didn't gush "Let them eat brioche" when notified that the peasants had no bread (or more accurately, could no longer afford it), these myths are handy encapsulations of the disconnect from reality that infested the elites in the last years before the deluge of non-linear chaos overwhelmed the regimes.

While historians gather evidence of tipping points such as pandemics, ecological damage, invasions, droughts, inflation, etc., the core dynamic is ultimately the loss of social cohesion within the ruling elites and in the social order at large.

As a generality, the permanence of the status quo is taken for granted by elites, who then feel free to squabble amongst themselves over the spoils of wealth and power. Distracted by their own infighting, the elites are blind to the erosion of the foundations of their power.

As coherence in the elites unravels, the ties uniting the elites with the masses unravel as well.

One camp within the elites recognizes the danger and seeks reforms , but the reforms are too little, too late, and in any event, the elites who cling most ardently to the past stability fight the reform movement to a standstill.

As social cohesion unravels, systems that once seemed immutable (i.e. linear ) suddenly display non-linear dynamics in which modest changes that would have made little difference in the past now unleash regime-shattering disorder.

So take your pick, America: what's the closest analogy? A sclerotic Politburo of elders living in the past, an elite fiddling while the nation disintegrates, or an elite so out of touch with reality that it claims inflation is zero while the populace can no longer afford bread?

They all lead to the same destination.


richsob , 1 hour ago

I know a lot of history and I think we will go the route of Rome. We will have a slow slide into total failure from a debased currency, an over extended military, tax revolts, unmanageable immigration and an internal war among the elites.

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 , 1 hour ago

My name is an indirect reference to France and the French Revolution.

When Pelosi was photo'd in front of two massive Sub Zero fridges with gourmet ice cream, that was the equivalent of "let them eat brioche." She is fvucking clueless. A tool that is barely coherent, much like Joe.

People see through it. The greed of the politicians, and their apparatchiks, the bureaucrats, is obvious to anyone willing to look. FFS apparatchiks can retire with six fixure salaries after being a government employee! People are sick to death of their arrogance, their greed, their out-and-out abuse of the taxpayer!

The other analogy, which I think is valid, is to ancient Rome. I was a philosophy major / Latin minor so took quite few courses involving the classes, reading the classics, or translating them. I also spent a semester in Rome, tramping through the Forum and walking underground and overground. In 1997 Rome was a beautiful city, mostly safe.

Anyhow, ancient Rome ended up debasing their currency, literally. Which the US (and other central banks) are doing with excessive money printing.

Excessive taxation drove away the tax base of ancient Rome. The first jingle keys event was there. Why? Taxes were too high. People will work hard if there is a profit incentive and they are able to earn a good return from their labor. Once that incentive was gone, people abandoned their farms and property and left. Where did they go? Away. Away from the tax collectors, which were richly rewarded for any taxes they were able to collect. I suppose at the end, the collection methods became quite brutal. At that point, when it is your money or your life, you throw the tax collector your money and flee with your life. You walk away from land that you love and start over.

Never an easy choice to abandon one's land and home. But that is exactly what happened.

Central bankers and governments, along with the common citizen, would do well to heed historical precedents.

MAOUS , 31 minutes ago

I see it more like The Godfather Part I & II. We were betrayed by the stupidest simpletons of our own family (citizenry) that sold us out for trinkets, false promises of grandeur and propaganda from Rival Mafia Families who wanted to rub our family out, kill our leader and take over. "I didn't know until today, it was Barzini all along." Yeah, but Fredo was the turn coat that made it all possible. Meet the simpletons of our Family known as your fellow American voter. "A Republic, if you can keep it." We lost it, kiss it goodbye. Say hello to the new Black Hand on the block.

Omega Point , 1 hour ago

One of the best articles on ZH in a while. The elites are so full of hubris, they behave as if the state of affairs since the post-WWII era has always been the state of affairs throughout history and are immutable. They believe that they are cause of America's dominance, not the individuals who built this country on whose goodwill they are now quickly draining.

I think we're like Rome. Currency debasement, no border security, massively corrupt politicians, most of population on welfare, and games and circuses to distract from the rot.

The elites will soon be surprised how quickly things will decline, just as shocked as the Romans when the Visigoths came through the city walls and looted the Imperial City in 410 AD.

play_arrow
sbin , 1 hour ago

The USSR was very similar with decrepit old party hacks ruining everything.

Unfortunately American exceptional lunatics will try to destroy the world before excepting reality.

Never been a group so corrupt and delusional with so much destructive weaponry.

Dr Strangelove is more appropriate.

RKKA , 1 hour ago

In the summer of 1941, the 4th Panzer Division of Heinz Guderian, one of the most talented German tank generals, broke through to the Belarusian town of Krichev. Parts of the 13th Soviet Army were retreating. Only one gunner, Nikolai Sirotinin, did not retreat - very young, short, thin.

On that day, it was necessary to cover the withdrawal of troops. “There will be two people with a cannon here,” said the battery commander. Nikolai volunteered. The second was the commander himself.

On the morning of July 17, a column of German tanks appeared on the highway.

Nikolai took up a position on the hill right on the field. The cannon was sinking in the high rye, but he could clearly see the highway and the bridge over the river. When the lead tank reached the bridge, Nikolai knocked it out with the first shot. The second shell set fire to the armored personnel carrier that closed the column.

We must stop here. Because it is still not entirely clear why Nikolai was left alone at the cannon. But there are versions. He apparently had just the task - to create a "traffic jam" on the bridge, knocking out the head car of the Nazis. The lieutenant at the bridge and adjusted the fire, and then, disappeared. It is reliably known that the lieutenant was wounded and then he left towards the withdrawing positions. There is an assumption that Nikolai had to move away, having completed the task. But ... he had 60 rounds. And he stayed!

Two tanks tried to move the lead tank off the bridge, but they were also hit. The armored vehicle tried to cross the river not across the bridge. But she got stuck in a swampy shore, where another shell found her. Nikolai shot and shot, knocking out tank after tank ...

Guderian's tanks rested on Nikolai Sirotinin, like the Chinese wall, like the Brest fortress. Already 11 tanks and 6 armored personnel carriers were on fire! For almost two hours of this strange battle, the Germans could not understand where the gun was firing from. And when we reached the position of Nikolai, he had only three shells left. The Germans offered him to surrender. Nikolai responded by firing at them with a carbine.

This last battle was short-lived ...

11 tanks and 7 armored vehicles, 57 soldiers and officers were lost by the Nazis after the battle, where they were blocked by the Russian soldier Nikolai Sirotinin.

The inscription on the monument: "Here at dawn on July 17, 1941 entered into combat with a column of fascist tanks and in a two-hour battle repulsed all enemy attacks, senior artillery sergeant Nikolai Vladimirovich Sirotinin, who gave his life for the freedom and independence of our Motherland."

"After all, he is a Russian soldier, is such admiration necessary?" These words were written down in his diary by Chief Lieutenant of the 4th Panzer Division Henfeld: “July 17, 1941. Sokolnichi, near Krichev. An unknown Russian soldier was buried in the evening. He alone stood at the cannon, shot a convoy of our tanks and infantry for a long time, and died. Everyone was amazed at his courage ... Oberst (Colonel) before the grave said that if all the soldiers of the Fuehrer fought like this Russian soldier, they would have conquered the whole world! Three times they fired volleys from rifles. After all, he is a Russian soldier, is such admiration necessary? "

Ordinary people were ready to defend and die for the USSR. And who is Gorbachev, who destroyed the USSR. A traitor who betrayed everything and everyone. A stupid dilettante who imagines himself a world-class politician. The main drawback of the USSR was that the power was too concentrated in the hands of one person, who was trusted without question. But when people realized where he was leading the country, it was too late.

Max21c , 2 hours ago

It's a mix between Nazi Germany and its criminality and thievery and persecution machinery, and Bolshevist Russia and its criminality and thievery and persecution machinery and many third world banana republics and their criminality and thievery and political persecution machinery.

Face it Washingtonians are evil.

ZeroTruth , 1 hour ago

Americuck in and of its entirety is just a criminal organization. I know a restaraunteur that started his business in the Bay Area selling drugs using a fleet of vehicles that had hidden compartments everywhere. Each vehicle was capable of holding up to half a key of yay and powdered molly already grammed up. Drivers were issued burner phones and given orders via dispatcher.

Last I checked, he had 7 restaurants that did amazing business and those vehicles were still on the road providing the other service. That's just one of the many I know of and it's small time compared to what the US government is doing.

ZeroTruth , 1 hour ago

Americuck in and of its entirety is just a criminal organization. I know a restaraunteur that started his business in the Bay Area selling drugs using a fleet of vehicles that had hidden compartments everywhere. Each vehicle was capable of holding up to half a key of yay and powdered molly already grammed up. Drivers were issued burner phones and given orders via dispatcher.

Last I checked, he had 7 restaurants that did amazing business and those vehicles were still on the road providing the other service. That's just one of the many I know of and it's small time compared to what the US government is doing.

DeeDeeTwo , 2 hours ago

The elites, Big Tech, Media and Deep State threw the kitchen sink at this election and did not move the needle. Regardless of who is next President, nothing changes. This is a tribute to the stability of the American system. In fact, the pendulum is swinging against the subversives who are becoming increasingly reckless and discredited.

TBT or not TBT , 2 hours ago

What did Huxley call the future country depicted in Brave New World?

[Nov 05, 2020] Before the War of Secession, the South was richer in USD terms than the North - but war quickly revealed most of the South's "GDP" was financialization (speculation over the slaves' prices).

Nov 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zanon , Nov 3 2020 18:41 utc | 9

Actually economy is doing better than expected. Even though Covid will contintue to be a threat against economic growth.
"U.S. GDP booms at 33.1% rate in Q3, better than expected"
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/29/us-gdp-report-third-quarter-2020.html


Mr Funchu , Nov 3 2020 20:31 utc | 60

@zanon: "Actually economy is doing better than expected. Even though Covid will contintue to be a threat against economic growth.
"U.S. GDP booms at 33.1% rate in Q3, better than expected"

LMAO. I guess you also think the stock market is an economic indicator that reflects the well-being of normal people.

And yeah, if you pump $4,000,000,000,000 into a bunch of corporations and the ludicrous stock market casino, the "economy" of any country will "do better".

If Greece during it's financial crisis had $4 trillion to spare and gave it all to their oligarchs and robber barons, would Greece's "economy" mean the country was doing great? Give me a break.

vk , Nov 4 2020 4:31 utc | 161

This:

The US economy – some facts

Explains this:

@EmmaVigeland

No matter the outcome, the fact that this election is so close is a clear indicator that Americans aren't connecting material conditions on the ground -- a depression, pandemic, low wages, etc -- to the consequences of politics. Which is an abject, disgusting failure of Democrats.

We can observe the American economy has declined since 1980 relatively - but not by much. It was China that skyrocketed.

This is why the political polarization in the USA right now is being fought mainly on moral/ideological grounds. The American people still thinks it has sufficient time and resources to first fight among itself (put the proverbial traun back on its tracks) - only to then subjugate the rest of world (like it did in 1946 and 1992).

The Americans are still rationalizing in moral-ethic-ideological terms because their economy stagnated and is degrading - but not collapsing. This still gives them a material base to fuel their pride.

But pay attention: those data are in USD terms. Its industry was what declined the most in the linked fact sheet above. Before the War of Secession, the South was richer in USD terms than the North - but war quickly revealed most of the South's "GDP" was financialization (speculation over the slaves' prices).

[Nov 02, 2020] WTO was formed in 1995 after the fall of Eastern blocks, to dominate and control the world trade in US fiat currency specially when China with her cheap skilled labor was to become major world manufacturers of goods.

Nov 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kooshy , Nov 1 2020 20:46 utc | 31

Like the petrodollars, WTO better known as globalization, was formed in 1995 after the fall of Eastern blocks ,to dominate and control the world trade in US fiat currency specially when China with her cheap skilled labor was to become major world manufacturers of goods. Basically like oil America agreed not to impose tariff on goods they consumed if you trade and exported on their fiat currency which costed US nothing to produce. Obviously unlike oil trade this globalization of trade in US dollar could not work, since unlike oil trade America couldn't politically dominated and control the good manufacturing countries, like it could, with small oil producing countries. The period of free trade in goods and energy is coming to an end, therefore US needs to lower her standards of living, or to go to major wars with other resources hungry powers to continue colonizing the third world resources and labor. Either way the end result will be the sam as for, not so Great Britain, ottomans, Spanish, Persian empires, the only obvious difference shorter empire.

Kooshy

[Nov 02, 2020] The banks and another excellent write up at Wall Street on Parade.

Nov 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Nov 1 2020 21:59 utc | 42

The banks and another excellent write up at Wall Street on Parade .

Again Ferdinand Pecora harking back to the 1930's as discussed in the past weeks commentaries:-

Wilmarth's writing is so insightful and profound in its analysis of the similarities between the banks of the late 1920s and today that it feels like the ghost of Ferdinand Pecora might have been whispering in Wilmarth's ear. Pecora was a former prosecutor from New York who was chosen to preside over much of the early 1930s Senate Banking hearings and investigations of the corrupt Wall Street structure that led to the 1929 crash and Great Depression.

Three banking names that played significant roles in the crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression were National City Bank, JP Morgan, and Chase National Bank. National City Bank was the precursor to today's Citigroup, the bank that would have collapsed in 2008 except for the largest taxpayer and Federal Reserve bailout in global banking history. JPMorgan and Chase combined in 2000 to create today's JPMorgan Chase.

[Nov 02, 2020] Variant Perception Macro Chief Discusses The Reinflation Trade And Looming 'Commodity Supercycle' -

Nov 02, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Variant Perception Macro Chief Discusses The Reinflation Trade And Looming 'Commodity Supercycle' by Tyler Durden Sun, 11/01/2020 - 14:30 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

For weeks now, we've been been pointing to expectations that a Joe Biden victory, accompanied by a Democratic sweep of the Senate, could accelerate a "reflation" trade , as the world witnesses the shift toward fiscal policy in the form of massive fiscal stimulus supplant QE as the preferred vehicle for the central bank carrying out its monetary policy objectives.

This fusion between fiscal and monetary policy is an inevitable consequence of the Fed's shouldering the burden of promoting economic "equality", or at least combating "inequality" - a laughably ironic objective for the Fed, which has done more than any other single entity in blowing the equity asset bubble that's driven economic inequality in the US back to levels last seen during the Gilded Age.

Well, after having MMT pioneer Stephanie Kelton, best known as the go-to economic policy advisor for AOC and Bernie Sanders, on the show, MacroVoices this week followed up with an individual who has examined the potential blowback caused by this historic policy shift.

This week, MV host Erik Townsend interviewed Tian Yang, the head of macro at Variant Perception, an established research shop that frequently produces opinion columns in the financial press. During this week's interview, Yang outlines the findings from a slide deck that was provided free by MacroVoices to all members (membership is free)

After the historic drubbing endured by crude in the US earlier this year, Yang is among a group of strategists who have been warning about the reflationary blowback that the Fed is risking now that it has explicitly decided to allow inflation to run hot.

Yang outlines some of these concepts in the interview, which we have excerpted below:

* * *

Erik: And where do you see the inflation story coming into this?

Central Banks Must 'Play Their Part'

Tian : So I think we need to think about inflation both from a structural point of view and a cyclical point of view. So the thing to say is cyclically, when unemployment rates are still quite high, when there's still capacity in the economy, you don't expect to see kind of immediate pickup in core inflation. Headline could tick up a little bit when commodity prices industrial commodity, so forth, initiate pickup, so on the cyclical front, there's not necessarily as much inflation pressure right now.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

But structurally, we've seen some truly seismic shifts in the kind of policy landscape and the structure of the economy actually just this year. When you see governments and developed market governments around the world start to run giant fiscal deficits funded by central banks, that's obviously a very dramatic shift away from independent central banking and the focus on inflation.

This is very much going back to the old Keynesian kind of playbook of essentially, fiscal led growth and at the same time, we've seen the US Federal Reserve do a number of quite dramatic shifts this year. Firstly, moving to average inflation targeting is obviously quite a big mission that they don't really know where the NAIRU (Non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) is, they don't really care what the NAIRU is, they are just going to run the economy and let it run hot.

And such a policy is also pretty timing consistent because it's not well defined, what's the period over which we're targeting average inflation. The incentive will always be as inflation picks up for policymakers to just run their heart because it's easier to kind of keep the party going.

So, both fiscal and monetary policy are starting to become a lot more expansionary and loose. And the historical precedents for this kind of price action would probably go back to World War 2 with a fair-trade record, that essentially meant fiscal deficits would be very large. But there was a moral imperative for the central banks to finance the government deficits, and that ended up creating a lot of inflation.

And this time around, the moral imperative is that the central bank's got to play their part with the pandemic. And going into the future, the central bank probably has to play their part was addressing inequality, climate change, or any of these big issues that essentially justifies why central banks should finance government deficits.

So that's quite dramatic policy shift, the other thing that's happened is that the Fed is now proactively kind of destroying the quality of its balance sheet. So again, as extreme, we could go back to when we were on the gold standard, if you look at central bank balance sheet, most currencies backed by gold, right.

So $1 is an asset for us but for the central bank $1 is a liability so previously they backed it on the asset side of their balance sheet with gold. Obviously, over time we abandoned the gold standard, so forth, the quality of assets on the central bank's balance sheet is getting worse and worse. And obviously, this year, the fact that they started buying corporate bonds, the fact that, they're willing to take on fallen angels, hide your debt and take on more credit risk is just another reflection of just the weakening central bank balance sheets.

It's not necessarily a immediate concern, but it lays the foundations for people to kind of increase inflation expectations and to really worry about what the value of the dollar is. And so when you have these kind of structural shifts in policy coming together in a couple ways to make a kind of deterioration in central bank balance sheets and government balance sheets. That's typically been the recipe for inflation expectations to become unhinged.

From A Lake To An Ocean

Erik: Tian, I love the picture on page five where you're talking about lake and ocean regimes of inflation. Needless to say, you're not talking about a necessarily a really calm easy day out on the ocean, but maybe a stormy day.

Now I want to go back to what you said because it seems to me that the game is very different this time around in that you drew an analogy to, okay, after World War 2 we move to a whole lot of deficit spending, which should be inflationary. The thing is, after World War 2 we were still, as you said, on a gold standard. And the big inflation didn't really get unleashed until we came after the gold standard with the breakdown of Bretton Woods in 1971.

Now, this time around, we're going to have I think the same if not a greater shift to a public policy emphasis on major spending programs with a lot of deficit spending. But we're already in a pure fiat environment, so nobody's pretending there's a constraint on how much money you can print in order to finance government spending.

I would think that means that the inflation is certainly not delayed by 20 years the way it was after World War 2, but is it immediate? Or is there still a lag of several years before that inflation really hits the system in terms of consumer price inflation after those pre generated factors like deficit spending kick in? How long does it take before we really see the inflation start to get away?

Tian: Yeah, I mean, that's a great question. I guess it's a little bit like when they think about how people go bankrupt, right, it happens very slowly and or all at once. I think this is kind of the analogy we're kind of drawing here because we're talking about a shift in inflation expectations, which is obviously predicated on just the general belief in the system.

These things are obviously inherently fairly hard to predict but what we can do is kind of position for when it already makes sense. So when markets are already not pricing in much inflation risk premiums and also as the economy cyclically picks up, those things are going to help just drive a more normal reflation cycle.

So right now, if you position for that, then when the tail comes through and potentially more inflation picks up later, you're kind of on the right side of it. In terms of the mechanism it could, as you say, potentially happen quickly or you could take a few years. I mean, if we're in this kind of 1960 style environment then what you need to do is go along for the excess capacity in the economy to be used up first, and then have inflation pick up.

And then you will need that to feed into shifting hecs inflation expectations higher, and then you should move into more of a wage price spiral. Then when people think inflation is going higher, they're going to demand higher wages and that's what really kicks off the more uncontrolled inflation right now.

Arguably right now for a lot of people, you know say live in the United States, the actual cost of living inflation is actually already been a lot higher than what CPI would be saying if you look at shadow stats, inflation and these kind of different projections. They would say inflation has be running a 4-5% annually for the past 20 years, if you get rid of a lot of the hedonic adjustments and so forth. And arguably, it's actually this mismatch between what official CPI says and what people feel is their true cost of living. That gap is also fueling a lot of the populism and the kind of general discontent that we have been seeing in society and, by the way, this isn't a new, it's just quite rare that we see it in developed markets.

If you take emerging market economies like Argentina or these places that have been known to have huge inflation's, this is typically what happens. The population doesn't believe in the CPI, they think their real cost of living is going up a lot higher, so when it comes to wage negotiations, they demand CPI plus 5-10%.

No more '60/40'?

Erik: Tian, let's talk about how this translates for portfolios, it sounds like we're very much in agreement that inflation is coming, but it's kind of hard to know exactly when and how it shows up. Probably when it does show up, it shows up in a big way, you don't want to be caught by surprise, but you don't know that it's happening right away. So what do you do in terms of your portfolio in order to be ready for that?

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Tian: Yeah, well that's kind of the million-dollar question at the moment isn't it? So the first thing to know is, I think I mentioned briefly at the start, clearly more traditional portfolio construction, the kind of 60/40 or the heavy allocation to fixed income, it's naturally kind of getting to the end of the road. I think most people recognize that as yields bump up against the zero bound, the ability for your fixed income portion to really offer a diversified impact or a hedge to equity risk is going to diminish.

So, going forward, what's very interesting about commodities is that one of the unique properties of commodities is typically when commodity volatility is high commodity prices actually tend to go up a lot. And this is quite different to equities because normally for equities only when equities are crashing that volatility picks up, whereas for commodities, the volatility tends to be to the upside. Now, the thing to say about commodities is that one of the big reasons why it tends to be very high volatility is that there tends to be quite prolonged periods of demand and supply mismatches for the industry. Just because typically supply responses can take a long time if you're going to build a new mine, or drill a new well, or build a new plant, it could sometimes you could take up to three to five years. Obviously, if it's like the super-efficient shell well, maybe it takes one year to get to get it going.

But for a lot of commodity sites if you're going to build a refinery or build a chemical plant or things like that, it's going to be three to five years. And because of that very delay supply response it is where you end up with this prolonged period of demand supply mismatches. And so that that's kind of what we're starting to see right now, where for a lot of commodity sectors are more capital scarce.

This being a prolonged period of a lack of investment, a lack of capex, and so these are sectors that we would expect to have quite explosive upside as the as the economy recovers and as demand comes back. So I think in the slide deck there's a section on page 15 where I mentioned the capital cycle. So, I think this is a very interesting framework to actually think about when we're trying to decide where to invest in.

So for the capital cycle I think that the best thing that I've read that's really inspired us on this was some pieces written by Marathon Asset Management. And it was basically collated together in a book called "Capital Returns: Investing Through the Capital Cycle", and the book was put together by Edward Chancellor. And so the basic idea is that, if there's a lot of money flowing to a particular industry or sector, then that inflow of money will cause a lot more competition within that industry which drives down returns and then as returns fall very low then nobody in the industry can make a profit.

Listen to the rest of the interview below:

[Nov 02, 2020] Oil investments are drying up as crude demand falters

In reality only passenger feet and commercial aviation consumption are highly elastic. Other pasts oil consumption, including consumption by military and commercial tracking are much less elastic.
And Amazon consumption partially compesates for drop is passenger car traffic :-)
In general oil consumption is a proxy of economic activity. As economic activity is resorting the same will happen with oil consumption.
Nov 02, 2020 | www.rt.com

Thirty-five percent: this is the size of the spending cuts oil and gas companies are likely to have made this year in response to the effects that the coronavirus pandemic is having on demand, according to the International Energy Agency. And this is just the spending slump in upstream oil and gas. This is just part of a wider trend of investment cuts in the energy industry, according to the IEA, which earlier this month published an update of its World Energy Investment report, first released in late spring.

At the time, some thought we were seeing the worst of the pandemic. They were, apparently, wrong.

ALSO ON RT.COM Oil prices hit 4-month low over fear new coronavirus lockdowns will crush demand

Demand for oil has certainly improved in some parts of the world, notably in Asia, where governments have been more successful in containing the spread of the coronavirus than their counterparts in Europe and North and South America. But even in China – the world's oil demand recovery driver –the rebound is slowing down. After all, even though its domestic demand may be improving, if regional and global demand is stalling, this will have a negative effect on China as well.

READ MORE OPEC in trouble as oil outlook worsens OPEC in trouble as oil outlook worsens

According to the IEA, the impact that the pandemic is having on investments in the oil industry will continue to be felt for years to come. This is hardly surprising: the agency noted a 45-percent cut in investments by US shale oil companies this year, combined with a 50-percent jump in financing costs .

The number of active drilling rigs in the US may be rising, suggesting the beginning of a recovery, but the total was still down 564 rigs on the year as of last week, so that recovery will take a while.

Meanwhile, fuel stock updates from the Energy Information Administration are offering mixed signals: last week, for instance, saw a major drawdown in distillate fuel stocks, which should be good news suggesting demand for distillates is improving. The problem is that it is likely that this improvement is a temporary occurrence rather than a trend. Air travel is still greatly constrained, and the chances of any change in the status quo are slim.

Uncertainty: this is the keyword for not just the oil industry but for all others affected by the pandemic to such a grave extent as to force changes in business models. Europe's Big Oil majors are doing just that with their push into renewables and plan to greatly reduce the contribution of their core business to overall earnings. USmajors are sticking with oil, and they may well have a good reason to do it.

There has been a lot of government and activist talk about a green recovery from the pandemic crisis. But the pandemic is still raging, and not only is it not abating, but it is gathering strength. This would mean more money needed for stimulus measures. This, in turn, would mean less money to spend on renewables, because despite the celebrated cost declines in solar and wind, financial and regulatory support from governments remains essential for their increased deployment.

ALSO ON RT.COM Central Bank of Russia does not rule out another pandemic wave & $25 oil price

The future remains marred in uncertainty that extends to the possibility of a rebound in oil investments. According to some, such as BP, we are already past peak oil demand, so that would mean less investment in oil production growth globally. Others, such as OPEC producers, hope things will sooner or later return to normal, and the world's appetite for more oil will continue to grow for at least a few more years before plateauing. And yet even OPEC is preparing for a worst-case scenario.

The extended cartel OPEC+ is considering a delay in the next relaxation of oil production cuts, from January 2021 to April, in response to the latest trends in Covid-19 infections. One thing seems relatively clear, however. The longer the surge in new infections continues, the longer it would take the industry to return on the path of recovery and growth.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

[Nov 01, 2020] Which two wings of the USA oligarchy Biden and Trump represents

Nov 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Down South , Nov 1 2020 7:04 utc | 122

I keep on reading this narrative that there is no difference between Trump and Biden and no matter who you vote for the blob wins. That the effort to unseat Trump and overturn the 2016 election results, to derail his 2020 campaign is all some elaborate game of 52D chess that we are too stupid to understand.

Here is my problem with that narrative.

The political scene in the US is split between two factions 1) the US globalists (Democrats/Establishment Republicans/Deep State/Big Tech/MSM/WallStreet) and on the other side 2) US Nationalists (Trump/the deplorables).

When Trump was campaigning in 2016 he made it clear that he intended to bring back the supply chain to the US. All those manufacturing jobs that were outsourced to third world countries to maximise the profits of the large corporations we're going to be brought back and the way he intended on doing that was to exit free trade agreements that harmed US national interest and introduce protectionist policies (tariffs/ low corporate taxes etc) which would entice/induce/force manufacturers to open factories in the US again.

This horrified the globalists as they have for the past decades been implementing a controlled disintegration of the US

The great "liberalization" of world commerce began with a series of waves through the 1970s, and moved into high gear with the interest rate hikes of Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker in 1980-82, the effects of which both annihilated much of the small and medium sized entrepreneurs, opened the speculative gates into the "Savings and Loan" debacle and also helped cartelize mineral, food, and financial institutions into ever greater behemoths. Volcker himself described this process as the "controlled disintegration of the US economy" upon becoming Fed Chairman in 1978. The raising of interest rates to 20-21% not only shut down the life blood of much of the US economic base, but also threw the third world into greater debt slavery, as nations now had to pay usurious interest on US loans.
https://thesaker.is/what-the-great-reset-architects-dont-want-you-to-understand-about-economics/

What is the eventual end goal of the globalists ?

false solutions to a crisis of global proportions are being promoted in the form of a "Great Global Reset" which aims at creating a new economic order under the fog of COVID. This emerging "new order", as it is being promoted by Mark Carney, George Soros, Bill Gates and other minions of the City of London is shaped by a devout commitment to depopulation, world government and master-slave systems of social control.

By attempting to tie the new system of "value" to economic practices which are designed to crush humanity's ability to sustain itself in the form of "reducing carbon footprints", "sustainable green energy", cap and trade, carbon taxes and green infrastructure bonds, humanity is being set up to accept a system of governance onto our children and grandchildren which will subject them to a dystopic world of fascism the likes of which even Hitler could not have dreamed.

https://thesaker.is/one-last-chance-to-revive-americas-forgotten-constitutional-traditions-and-avoid-wwiii/

Exiting NAFTA, implementing protectionist measures, lowering corporate taxes, starting a trade war with China (that is where the majority of the outsourced jobs went) he is trying to undo the controlled disintegration of the US. That is why the globalists hate him so much.

[Oct 30, 2020] Tsunami Of Empty College Dorms Risks Student Housing Market Implosion

Did not most collages behaved like bandits raising tuition fees from 1980 till 2020. That's 40 years.
Oct 30, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Fall enrollment has plunged , some colleges are shuttering operations, revenues across the entire higher education industry are collapsing, and the shift from physical to virtual education due to the virus pandemic could prick the next bubble: the student housing debt market.

Our warning about the coming implosion of the higher education industry (see here from 2014) , as a whole, has become louder and louder over the last six-plus years as the student debt bubble has recently swelled to more than $1.6 trillion. Years ago, no one at the time, could've forecasted a virus pandemic would doom colleges and universities.

Credit rating agency Moody's recently downgraded the entire higher education sector to negative from stable, and the American Council on Education estimates colleges and universities will experience a $23 billion decline in revenues over the next academic year.

Bloomberg outlines the increase of virtual education in a virus pandemic has resulted in an abundance of empty dorms at colleges and universities, creating a $14 billion headache for the student housing debt market.

"West Virginia State University, already hit with a 10% enrollment drop, plans to give money to a school foundation so it can meet its bond covenants for residence hall debt. A community college in Ohio is using part of a $1.5 million donation for a financially-strapped student housing project. And officials at New Jersey City University, which serves largely first-generation and lower-income students and has recorded years of deficits, are prepared to shore up a dorm there," Bloomberg said.

The squeeze on university finances comes as the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center warned about a 16% drop in first-year undergraduate students enrolled for the fall semester. This means new revenue streams are quickly drying up for overleveraged colleges and universities.

"The limiting factor is some of these schools themselves are facing uncertainty with many of their revenue streams," S&P Global Ratings analyst Amber Schafer said in an interview. "It's a matter of not only willingness, but if they're able to support the project."

"Typically, privatized student housing debt is paid off by the revenue generated by the dorms -- meaning there's little recourse for bondholders if things go south," Bloomberg said. With occupancy rates already declining as coronavirus cases are surging, well, this could be bad news for colleges and universities heading into 2021.

"Borrowers have begun revealing how empty residence halls are as the pandemic spurs many campuses to keep classes online. According to the school foundation that sold the debt, West Virginia State University's dorm is 71% full, putting it about 20 percentage points from where it needs to be to satisfy debt covenants. Other privatized student housing projects, like two on Howard University's campus, are virtually empty due to online-only instruction there," Bloomberg said.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

Bloomberg warns: "Privatized dorms are struggling the most given that they weren't structured to withstand 20% to 30% drops in occupancy -- or no students at all."

"West Virginia State University may have to step in to help student housing bonds at risk of violating a debt service coverage ratio, Moody's warned this month. The historically-black college faces "considerable" challenges in backstopping the bonds, Moody's said.

The nearly 290-bed residence hall with rents of $3,881 per semester was just 71% occupied this fall, while it needed to be about 92% occupied, said Patricia Schumann, president of the university foundation that sold the debt. Schumann said the university is projected to provide a $75,000 payment in January. In the meantime, she said the school was working to bolster its financial position and boost recruitment and donations.

"We're not standing still," she said.

Ohio's Terra State Community College, which has more than 2,100 students, was downgraded deeper into junk over the risk posed by a dorm owned by a nonprofit, given that the school "appears to provide an unconditional guarantee" to meet the debt obligations, Moody's said. The project was financed through a bank note.

The dorm's occupancy fell to 62%, and the college is using a previously-received donation to cover a shortfall in project revenue amounting between $500,000 to $600,000, the ratings company said in a report this month.

At New Jersey City University, a student housing project financed though a separate entity will likely miss a required debt service coverage ratio. The public school having to step in to help the bonds would be a challenge, but a surmountable one, said Jodi Bailey, the university's associate vice president for student affairs. The student housing bonds aren't a debt of the university, so the school would be choosing to provide financial support, according to bond documents .

The school is working to cut expenses related to the dorm. "Is it a harder year? Most definitely," she said.

The student housing bonds, issued by West Campus Housing LLC in 2015, were slashed deeper into junk in September by S&P, which said in a report that residence halls' occupancy there had fallen to 56% so the school could accommodate social-distancing guidelines," said Bloomberg.

To summarize, plunging enrollments, resulting in falling occupancy rates for dorms, is a debt bomb waiting to go off for many overleveraged colleges and universities that are panicking at the moment to divert enough funds to service debts, as the usual revenue streams, that being rent checks from students, are nowhere to be found as virtual learning keeps young adults in their parents' basements and out of dorms.

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If occupancy rates continue to slide through 2021, then we must revisit what we said months before the virus pandemic began in the US:

"...20% of colleges and universities will shut down or merge in the next ten years , and probably more."

Absent of a federal bailout, things could get ugly for colleges and universities in 2021.

[Oct 22, 2020] Goldman Expects A Structural Bull Market For Commodities In 2021, Sees Gold Hitting $2300 -

Oct 22, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

A weaker U.S. dollar, rising inflation risks and demand driven by additional fiscal and monetary stimulus from major central banks will spur a bull market for commodities in 2021, Goldman's chief commodity strategist Jeffrey Currie said on Thursday, also predicting that "all commodity markets are in, or moving toward, a deficit with inventories drawing in all but cocoa, coffee and iron ore."

The bank, which notes that markets are increasingly concerned about the return of inflation, forecast a return of 28% over a 12-month period on the S&P/Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI), with a 17.9% return for precious metals, 42.6% for energy, 5.5% for industrial metals and a negative return of 0.8% for agriculture.

A key catalyst for the bank's bullish call is that "nearly all commodity markets are in, or moving toward, a deficit with inventories drawing in all but cocoa, coffee and iron ore."

As Currie adds, "such broad-based deficits are usually only seen late in the business cycle, underscoring the unique environment markets are in. Given that inventories are drawing this early in the cycle, we see a structural bull market for commodities emerging in 2021." In the strategist's view, the bull market will be driven by three major themes:

  1. structural under-investment in the old economy,
  2. policy driven demand and
  3. macro tailwinds from a weakening dollar and rising inflation risks. "These drivers remain consistent with the bank's bullish views from the start of this year, and have now been intensified by COVID-19 disruption and the subsequent global policy response."

Some more thoughts from Currie on the tightening in commodity markets:

Commodity markets have been mostly range bound since this summer, in our view caught between a longer-term bullish outlook for 2021 and near-term concerns around the timing of a vaccine amid rising COVID cases across Europe and the US Midwest (see Exhibit 4). However, it is important to emphasize that nearly all commodity markets are in, or moving toward, a global deficit with inventories drawing in all but cocoa, coffee and iron ore. Such broad-based deficits are usually only seen late in the business cycle,underscoring the unique environment markets are in.

As global demand remains tepid for consumer-related commodities like oil, the deficits further underscore how significant the drop in supply has been and how the supply response function has changed. For oil, the sharp drop in capex is now having an impact on non-OPEC decline rates, with capital markets refusing to fund shale drilling, only debt rollovers. In metals, we have seen a sharp drop in maintenance capex and supply disruptions dragging into 2021. This suggests that even if demand falters in coming weeks as winter exacerbates COVID-19, markets will likely continue to rebalance, barring an outright collapse in demand. In our view, base metals and agriculture have more near-term upside than oil, with smaller inventories to move through before prices begin to rise.

Goldman then shows the following chart which reveals the growing deficit across key commodities, as well as the key macro catalysts for higher commodity prices in coming months:

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Hedging that even if demand falters in coming weeks as winter exacerbates COVID-19, Goldman still expect markets will continue to rebalance, "barring an outright collapse in demand." Goldman takes a more contained view on energy saying that while inventories of oil remain high, "upside in energy prices will likely come after winter." However, non-energy commodities face immediate upside as balances have tightened ahead of expectations, driven by large Chinese demand and adverse weather shocks, according to the Goldman strategist.

Focusing on Gold, Currie said that expansionary fiscal and monetary policies in developed market economies continue to drive interest rates lower and create demand for hedging the tail risks of inflation, lifting demand for precious metals. As a result, Goldman forecasts gold prices at an average of $1,836 per ounce in 2020 and $2,300 per ounce in 2021, and expects silver prices to be at around $22 per ounce in 2020 and $30 per ounce next year .

Non-energy commodities could see an "immediate upside" as the market balances tighten ahead of expectations on strong demand from China and weather-driven risks, the Goldman Sachs analysts said.

The bank maintained a "neutral" view on commodities in the near term and "overweight" in the medium term.

[Oct 20, 2020] Big Tech goes all in- Silicon Valley launches $100 million anti-Trump ad blitz

Another face of iron law of oligarchy: money as the way to misinform and lure the voters ;-)
Oct 20, 2020 | www.rt.com

The $100-plus million blitz includes at least $22 million from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, according to an exclusive report from Recode, a subdivision of Vox. Another Democratic megadonor involved is former Google and Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt, currently advising the Pentagon on technology innovation. Home USA News Big Tech goes all in: Silicon Valley launches $100 million anti-Trump ad blitz – report 20 Oct, 2020 20:08 Get short URL Big Tech goes all in: Silicon Valley launches $100 million anti-Trump ad blitz – report FILE PHOTO © AFP / Getty Images ; SCOTT OLSON 121 3 Follow RT on RT A super PAC bankrolled by Silicon Valley moguls is preparing a massive TV advertising campaign to help boost Democratic candidate Joe Biden against President Donald Trump in the final days before the 2020 US election.

The $100-plus million blitz includes at least $22 million from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, according to an exclusive report from Recode, a subdivision of Vox. Another Democratic megadonor involved is former Google and Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt, currently advising the Pentagon on technology innovation.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1318588732585422853&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fusa%2F504061-silicon-valley-biden-donations%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Called Future Forward, the super PAC has filed federal paperwork on Tuesday disclosing that it has raised $66 million between September 1 and October 15. It has contracted for $106 million of TV ads between September 29 and November 3, according to media tracking firm Advertising Analytics. This makes it the largest Biden booster outside the Democrats' campaign itself, already a fundraising juggernaut.

Recode also reported that Future Forward "has been recommended in private communications by the team of Reid Hoffman." He is the LinkedIn co-founder and Democratic megadonor previously caught funding a disinformation campaign during the 2017 special Senate election in Alabama, in which a company called New Knowledge created a Twitter army of 'Russian bots' pretending to back the Republican candidate. It was unclear from the Recode story whether Hoffman had contributed any funding to Moskovitz's super PAC.

[Oct 18, 2020] The main reason corporate Dems want so desperately to beat Trump in this election cycle

Notable quotes:
"... Corporate Democrats' anxiety and fear that they could lose control over the party became quite evident during latest party convention, as they tried hard to "bury" their own progressives while gave plenty of time to neoliberal Republicans and war criminals to speak. ..."
Oct 07, 2020 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

globinfo freexchange
As we explained previously, what we see now in the United States with Trump, is a counter-attack by the part of the American capital against the globalist faction. The faction that is primarily consisted by the liberal plutocracy. Therefore, as the capitalist class splits, the capitalists around Trump are now taking with them the most conservative part of the American society, as they need electoral power. They have the money and their own media network. Their first big victory was Trump in the US presidency and this explains why the liberal media attack him so hard and so frequently.

The COVID-19 pandemic added more chaos in the ongoing civil war between capitalists and (as always), the working class is paying the price for the additional mess.

The DNC establishment fought hard, one more time, to get rid of Bernie Sanders in order to impose its own - fully controllable and fully dedicated to the neoliberal status quo - Joe Biden/Kamala Harris duo. Obviously, this was an attempt by the corporate Democrats to challenge and beat Trump without harming neoliberal order through a Socialist like Sanders in the leadership of the Democratic Party. Still, the DNC establishment couldn't take full control of the whole situation as the most popular progressives, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, renewed their position in the party through big victories in the 2020 primaries. Furthermore, the progressive army came out stronger through significant additional victories like Cori Bush's.

Corporate Democrats' anxiety and fear that they could lose control over the party became quite evident during latest party convention, as they tried hard to "bury" their own progressives while gave plenty of time to neoliberal Republicans and war criminals to speak.

And, actually, this is the main reason that the corporate Democrats want so desperately to beat Trump in November's election.
With a potential Biden victory the corporate Dems will re-establish their position in the party against progressives, as they will be able to play the Trump-scare card for four more years.

During that time, they will get all the help they want from the liberal media to bury forever the most popular Socialist policies. Simply by claiming that the Trump nightmare could return in 2024. Therefore, they will demand "unity" from all party members under their own terms, in short, under full restoration of the neoliberal status quo. Under these circumstances, corporate Democrats will have plenty of time to assist the liberal plutocrats to take over directly the party in 2024.

On the contrary, with a potential Trump victory the Trump-scare card will be burned for good and corporate Democrats won't be able to use it as Trump won't be able to have another term in 2024.

In that case, corporate Democrats will receive additional pressure from the progressive wing and progressive voters, as these will demand radical changes inside the party towards popular policies. The liberal capitalist faction will face the serious threat to be left without political power, which by 2024, will be restricted to some moderate Republicans who are dedicated to the neoliberal doctrine. The dream of the liberal plutocrats to take over political power directly will die forever.

And this could be proved decisive for the outcome of the endo-capitalist war between the liberal plutocrats and the Trump-affiliated capitalists.

...

[Oct 15, 2020] At this point American politics is a dispute among two Jewish factions, Trump is a pawn of the Zionist faction and was targeted for destruction by the Cosmopolitan faction.

Oct 15, 2020 | www.unz.com

Hugo Silva , says: October 13, 2020 at 6:30 pm GMT

@Ghali

At this point American politics is a dispute among two Jewish factions, Trump is a pawn of the Zionist faction and was targeted for destruction by the Cosmopolitan faction. Whoever wins, we loose!

TRM , says: October 13, 2020 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Ghali ary. The Israeli/Zionist elites care about their constituents opinions about as much as the elites in any group. ZERO. There's a big club and we ain't in it.

The Israeli/Zionist elites wanted war with Iran or slapping them back economically to the middle ages. Hillary was going to leave the Iran deal in place and Trump was going to tear it up.

Trump paid for his re-election by murdering Solemani. Trump felt he couldn't start a war in his first term so offered that up to get their support. He will be re-elected in big part because he solidified his position with them as the anti-Iran candidate.

[Oct 15, 2020] Trump Vs Deep State- Will Trump Upend Neocolonial World Order- -

That's naive. Trump is part of Neocolonial world order. He just belong to a different faction then Hillary and friends.
Oct 15, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Nauman Sadiq,

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released an extraordinary statement on Tuesday, decrying a political scene he said "has moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass, that is unbecoming of any free nation." "The world is watching America with abject horror," he added.

Romney tweeted his statement under the title "My thoughts on the current state of our politics." "I have stayed quiet," he said, "with the approach of the election." "But I'm troubled by our politics," the sole Republican to vote to impeach Trump added in his statement.

"The president calls the Democratic vice-presidential candidate 'a monster'. He repeatedly labels the Speaker of the House 'crazy.' He calls for the justice department to put the prior president in jail. He attacks the governor of Michigan on the very day a plot is discovered to kidnap her. Democrats launch blistering attacks of their own, though their presidential nominee refuses to stoop as low as others," Romney, a Utah senator who was the 2012 Republican nominee for president, complained in the statement.

Though superficially trying to appear "fair and balanced" in the didactic sermon patronizingly delivered by the only adult in the room full of political upstarts, Romney's perceptible bias in the polemical diatribe was hard not to be noticed.

It defies explanation if he didn't watch the presidential debate or consciously elided over the sordid episode where the Democratic presidential nominee contemptuously sneered at his political rival with derogatory epithets such as "a clown, a racist and Putin's puppy."

I'm not sure if Biden was high on meth during the debate, as Trump had repeatedly been insinuating, or he lacks basic etiquette to act like a dignified statesman, but only amphetamines could make a person take leave of his senses and insolently yell at the president of the US, "Will you shut up, man," while ironically complaining, "This is so unpresidential."

Though a longtime Republican senator, Mitt Romney's loyalty to the GOP was compromised due to a personal spat with Trump. In the Republican primaries of the 2016 US presidential elections, Romney severely castigated Trump, calling him "a phony and a fraud."

After Trump was elected president, he dangled the carrot of the secretary of state appointment to Romney, invited him to a dinner in a swanky New York restaurant, made him eat his words and fawn all over Trump like a servile toady. But later, he gave one of the most coveted appointments in the US bureaucratic hierarchy to oil executive Rex Tillerson.

Romney felt humiliated to the extent that in Trump's vulnerable moment, after impeachment proceedings were initiated against him in the Senate in February, Romney became the only US senator in the American political history who voted against his own Republican Party president.

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Though lacking intellect and often ridiculed for frequent spelling errors on his Twitter timeline, such as "unpresidented" and "covfefe," implying he gets his news feed from television talk shows and rarely reads book and articles, Donald Trump is street smart and his anti-globalization agenda and down-to-earth attitude appeal to the American working classes.

Nevertheless, it's quite easy for the neuroscientists on the payroll of the national security establishment to manipulate the minds of such impressionable politicians and lead them by the nose to toe the line of the deep state, particularly on foreign policy matters. No wonder national security shills disparagingly sneer at the president as the "toddler-in-chief."

In 2017, a couple of caricatures went viral on social media. In one of those caricatures, Donald Trump was depicted as a child sitting on a chair and Vladimir Putin was shown whispering something into Trump's ears from behind. In the other, Trump was portrayed sitting in Steve Bannon's lap and the latter was shown mumbling into Trump's ears, "Who is the big boy now?" And Trump was shown replying, "I am the big boy."

The meaning conveyed by those cunningly crafted caricatures was to illustrate that Trump lacks the intelligence to think for himself and that he was being manipulated and played around by Putin and Bannon. Those caricatures must have affronted the vanity of Donald Trump to an extent that after the publication of those caricatures, he became ill-disposed toward Putin and sacked Bannon from his job as the White House Chief Strategist in August 2017, only seven months into the first year of the Trump presidency.

Bannon was the principal ideologue of the American alt-right movement. Though the alt-right agenda of the Trump presidency has been scuttled by the deep state, Trump's views regarding global politics and economics are starkly different from the establishment Democrats and Republicans pursuing neocolonial world order masqueraded as globalization and free trade.

Besides the Trump supporters in the United States, the far-right populist leaders in Europe are also exploiting popular resentment against free trade and globalization. The Brexiteers in the United Kingdom, the Yellow Vest protesters in France and the far-right movements in Germany and across Europe are a manifestation of a paradigm shift in the global economic order in which nationalist and protectionist slogans have replaced the free trade and globalization mantra of the nineties.

Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from multilateral treaties, restructuring trade agreements and initiating a trade war against China are meant to redress, at least cosmetically, the legitimate grievances of the American working classes against the wealth disparity created by laissez-faire capitalism and market fundamentalism.

Michael Crowley reported for the New York Times last month that American allies and former US Officials fear Trump could seek NATO exit in a second term. According to the report, "This summer, Mr. Trump's former national security adviser John R. Bolton published a book that described the president as repeatedly saying he wanted to quit the NATO alliance. Last month, Mr. Bolton speculated to a Spanish newspaper that Mr. Trump might even spring an 'October surprise' shortly before the election by declaring his intention to leave the alliance in a second term."

The report notes, "In a book published this week, Michael S. Schmidt, a New York Times reporter, wrote that Mr. Trump's former chief of staff John F. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, told others that 'one of the most difficult tasks he faced with Trump was trying to stop him from pulling out of NATO.' One person who has heard Mr. Kelly speak in private settings confirmed that he had made such remarks."

Crowley adds, "Donald Trump now relies on 'a team of inexperienced bureaucrats' and has grown more confident and assertive, as he has already sacked seasoned national security advisers, including John F. Kelly; Jim Mattis, another retired four-star Marine general and Trump's first defense secretary; and H.R. McMaster, a retired three-star Army general and Trump's former national security adviser."

In fact, the Trump administration announced plans in July to withdraw 12,000 American troops from Germany and sought to cut funding for the Pentagon's European Deterrence Initiative. About half of the troops withdrawn from Germany were re-deployed in Europe, mainly in Italy and Poland, and the rest returned to the US.

Similarly, although full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan was originally scheduled for April next year, according to terms of peace deal reached with the Taliban on February 29, President Trump hastened the withdrawal process by making an electoral pledge this week that all troops should be "home by Christmas." "We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas," he tweeted last week.

Even the arch-foes of the US in Afghanistan effusively praised President Trump's peace overtures. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told CBS News in a phone interview last week, "We hope he will win the election and wind up US military presence in Afghanistan."

The militant group also expressed concern about President Trump's bout with the coronavirus. "When we heard about Trump being COVID-19 positive, we got worried for his health, but it seems he is getting better," another Taliban senior leader confided to reporter Sami Yousafzai.

Moreover, Iran-backed militias recently announced "conditional" cease-fire against the US forces in Iraq on the condition that Washington present a timetable for the withdrawal of its troops. The US-led coalition has already departed from smaller bases across Iraq and promised to reduce its troop presence from 5,200 to 3,000 in the next couple of months, though Iraq's parliament passed a resolution urging the full withdrawal of US troops in January.

There is no denying the fact that the four years of the Trump presidency have been unusually tumultuous in the American political history, but if one takes a cursory look at the list of all the Trump aides who resigned or were otherwise sacked, almost all of them were national security officials.

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In fact, scores of former Republican national security officials recently made their preference public that they would vote in the upcoming US presidential elections for Democrat Joe Biden instead of Republican Donald Trump against party lines.

What does that imply? It is an incontrovertible proof that the latent conflict between the deep state and the elected representatives of the American people has come to a head during the Trump presidency.

Although far from being a vocal critic of the deep state himself, the working-class constituency that Trump represents has had enough with the global domination agenda of the national security establishment. The American electorate wants the US troops returned home, and wants to focus on national economy and redress wealth disparity instead of acting as global police waging "endless wars" thousands of miles away from the US territorial borders.

Addressing a convention of conservatives last year, Trump publicly castigated his own generals, much to the dismay of neoliberal chauvinists upholding American exceptionalism and militarism, by revealing: "I learn more sometimes from soldiers what's going on, than I do from generals. I do. I hate to say it. I tell the generals all the time."

At another occasion, he ruffled more feathers by telling the reporters: "I'm not saying the military's in love with me. The soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy."

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[Oct 09, 2020] Goldman Finds The Pandemic Recession Was Actually Not That Bad - Zero Hedge

Oct 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Goldman Finds The Pandemic Recession Was Actually Not That Bad by Tyler Durden Wed, 10/07/2020 - 20:35 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

In a note which we are confident will go swimmingly with millions of Americans who lost their jobs in the past six months, Goldman's economics team writes that "scarring effect" from the pandemic recession has been "surprisingly limited" and the "damage has so far been much less than initially feared" in what is likely the most upbeat take on the current economy and one wonders if it involved any research outside of Tribeca.

After saying tthat the early weeks of the virus shock the Goldman economists "began to closely track measures of long-term damage to businesses and the labor force" with many businesses facing near-total collapses in revenue and 25 million jobs lost in little over a month, "the threat of deep scarring effects loomed over the US economy." Instead, things have been far better than expected.

Looking at the business sector first, Jan Hatzius and team write that the "scarring effects on the business sector remain surprisingly limited" as commercial bankruptcy filings have run below the pre-pandemic trend, most business closures during the worst months of the pandemic have proved temporary, and new business formation has surged recently.

A similar cheerful conclusion emerges when Goldman looks at the labor force, with the Goldman economists writing that "scarring effects on the labor force have also been less severe than feared" , as unemployment has fallen sharply, "and most of the remaining job losers are either still on temporary layoff or are in industries that should largely recover with a vaccine." In addition, Goldman observes, "labor demand has rebounded much more quickly than last cycle, reducing the risk of widespread long-term unemployment."

Ludicrous? Insane? Hilarious? Perhaps all three, yet here are some of the data Goldman used to reach its arguably offensive to tens of millions of Americans conclusion:

The left side of Exhibit 1 shows that total commercial bankruptcy filings reported by the American Bankruptcy Institute have actually run below the pre-pandemic trend. While a recent San Francisco Fed report noted with alarm that Chapter 11 bankruptcies are running at the fastest pace since 2013, this largely reflects recent changes to the bankruptcy code and it has been more than offset by declines in other commercial bankruptcy filings.

The right side of Exhibit 1 shows that Bloomberg's count of bankruptcies at large companies did briefly spike to a level that approached the financial crisis peak. But as our credit strategists have shown, the majority of these were firms already on a path to default before the pandemic, not otherwise healthy businesses needlessly sunk by an unprecedented shock.

In other words, Goldman contends that while there was a spike in defaults, it was largely among those companies that were already levered to the hilt and would have filed anyway. The covid crisis merely accelerated their demise, which come to thing of it, is what the covid virus is also doing with most of the elderly people it affects and who die not so much from the virus as due to other underlying, chronic or acute conditions, whose impact is merely accentuated to the point of lethality by covid.

What about Goldman's optimistic take on the labor market?

Here the economists argue that the silver lining of the employment collapse was the very high share of temporary layoffs shown in Exhibit 3, historically something which they say is "a reliable signal of rapid recovery" even as those permanently laid off is an dangerously high number, the highest since 2013, Goldman's spin notwithstanding.

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To elucidate their point, Goldman next claims that just five months later, the number of newly unemployed workers since the virus shock has indeed declined dramatically, and about half still report that they are on temporary layoff. While not all of these workers will return to their old positions, this nevertheless points to further outsized job gains in coming months.

Here Bank of America disagrees, and lays out three cyclical forces today that spell out far greater pain for the labor force than GOldman is willing to admit, to wit:

While Goldman acknowledges this, saying that "not all workers who lost jobs in virus-sensitive industries will return to them when a vaccine becomes available, and many layoffs are likely to prove permanent" but then adds that "workers who have to switch jobs or even occupations already face much better prospects for re-employment than after previous recessions."

So it's all good, see? Well, maybe not: even Goldman had to concede that long-term unemployment rose in September and is likely to rise somewhat further in the October jobs report as more workers who lost their jobs in the first month of the pandemic cross the half-year mark. But even here Goldman finds a silver lining, and writes that "the rapid recovery of labor demand and faster pace of labor reallocation is a striking contrast with past recessions that should help most workers avoid the very long unemployment spells seen last cycle."

In short, there is virtually nothing about the devastation endured by businesses and workers that Goldman's well-trained economists can't spin into a positive outcome, and as they summarize "scarring effects on businesses and the labor force have so far proven much less severe than initially feared."

This, they conclude, "bodes well for the economy's medium-term recovery prospects and is one more reason for Goldman's above-consensus 2021 growth forecast." What about the withdrawal of fiscal support which has forced Americans to draw down drastically on their savings which were boosted by the massive fiscal stimulus ...

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... and to resume paying down credit card debt for the first time in months?

Surely at least that has to be positive? Well, as Hatzius agrees, it does raise some risks over the next few months, but then the chief economist counters that "we expect a vaccine and further fiscal support next year -- including another round of small business funding, even in a divided government scenario -- to limit the long-term damage and keep the economy on track for a much more rapid than usual recovery."

To this all one can say is wow : and while we certainly would urge the Goldman economists to read something like " A devastating experience:' Temporary layoffs just became permanent for millions of American workers , and " Ex-Bankruptcy Judge Says Worse Is Yet To Come ", we have two questions: just why did Goldman publish such a puff piece - what does it stand to gain by gutting its reputation for at least pretend-objective analysis - and question number two: has anyone on the Goldman economics team actually stepped one foot outside their academic tri-state ivory tower in the past year?

[Oct 06, 2020] How an "Act of God" Pandemic is Destroying the West by Michael Hudson

Notable quotes:
"... WHEN CHINA SNEEZES: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Implications ..."
Oct 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

How an "Act of God" Pandemic Is Destroying the West The U.S. is Saving the Financial Sector, not the Economy MICHAEL HUDSON AUGUST 28, 2020 4,400 WORDS 142 COMMENTS REPLY Tweet Reddit 5 Share Share 3 Email Print More 8 SHARES

Before juxtaposing the U.S. and alternative responses to the corona virus's economic effects, [1] I would like to step back in time to show how the pandemic has revealed a deep underlying problem. We are seeing the consequences of Western societies painting themselves into a debt corner by their creditor-oriented philosophy of law. Neoliberal anti-government (or more accurately, anti-democratic) ideology has centralized social planning and state power in "the market," meaning specifically the financial market on Wall Street and in other financial centers.

At issue is who will lose when employment and business activity are disrupted. Will it be creditors and landlords at the top of the economic scale, or debtors and renters at the bottom? This age-old confrontation over how to deal with the unpaid rents, mortgages and other debt service is at the heart of today's virus pandemic as large and small businesses, farms, restaurants and neighborhood stores have fallen into arrears, leaving businesses and households – along with their employees who have no wage income to pay these carrying charges that accrue each month.

This is an age-old problem. It was solved in the ancient Near East simply by annulling these debt and rent charges. But the West, shaped as it still is by the legacy of the Roman Empire, has left itself prone to the massive unemployment, business closedowns and resulting arrears for these basic costs of living and doing business.

Western civilization distinguishes itself from its Near Eastern predecessors in the way it has responded to "acts of God" that disrupt the means of support and leave debts in their wake. The United States has taken the lead in rejecting the path by which China, and even social democratic European nations have prevented the corona virus from causing widespread insolvency and polarizing their economies. The U.S. corona virus lockdown is turning rent and debt arrears into an opportunity to impoverish the indebted economy and transfer mortgaged property and its income to creditors.

There is no inherent material need for this fate to occur. But it seems so natural and even inevitable that, as Margaret Thatcher would say, There Is No Alternative.

But of course there is, and always has been. However, resilience in the face of economic disruption always has required a central authority to override "market forces" to restore economic balance from "above."

Individualistic economies cannot do that. To the extent that they have a strong state, they are not democratic but oligarchic, controlled by the financial sector in its own interest, in tandem with its symbiotic real estate sector and monopolized infrastructure. That is why every successful society since the Bronze Age has been a mixed economy. The determining factor in whether or not an economic disruption leaves a crippled economy in its wake turns out to be whether its financial sector is a public utility or is privatized from the debt-strapped public domain as a means to enrich bankers and money-lenders at the expense of debtors and overall economic balance.

China is using an age-old policy common ever since Hammurabi and other Bronze Age rulers promoted economic resilience in the face of "acts of God." Unless personal debts, rents and taxes that cannot be paid are annulled, the result will be widespread bankruptcy, impoverishment and homelessness. In contrast to America's financialized economy, China has shown how natural it is for society simply to acknowledge that debts, rents, taxes and other carrying charges of living and doing business cannot resume until economic normalcy is able to resume.

Near Eastern protection of economic resilience in the face of Acts of God

Ancient societies had a different logic from those of modern capitalist economies. Their logic – and the Jewish Mosaic Law of Leviticus 25, as well as classical Greek and Roman advocates of democratic reform – was similar to modern socialism. The basic principle at work was to subordinate market relations to the needs of society at large, not to enrich a financial rentier class of creditors and absentee landowners. More specifically, the basic principle was to cancel debts that could not normally be paid, and prevent creditors from foreclosing on the land of debtors.

All economies operate on credit. In modern economies bills for basic expenses are paid monthly or quarterly. Ancient economies operated on credit during the crop year, with payment falling due when the harvest was in – typically on the threshing floor. This cycle normally provided a flow of crops and corvée labor to the palace, and covered the cultivator's spending during the crop year. Interest typically was owed only when payment was late.

But bad harvests, military conflict or simply the normal hardships of life frequently prevented this buildup of debt from being paid. Mesopotamian palaces had to decide who would bear the loss when drought, flooding, infestation, disease or military attack prevented the payment of debts, rents and taxes. Seeing that this was an unavoidable fact of life, rulers proclaimed amnesties for taxes and these various obligations incurred during the crop year. That saved smallholders from having to work off their debts in personal bondage to their creditors and ultimately to lose their land.

For these palatial economies, resilience meant stabilization of fiscal revenue. Letting private creditors (often officials in the palace's own bureaucracy) demand payment out of future production threatened to deprive rulers of crop surpluses and other taxes, and corvée labor or even service in the military. But for thousands of years, Near Eastern rulers restored fiscal viability for their economies by writing down debts, not only in emergencies but more or less regularly to relieve the normal creeping backlog of debts.

These Clean Slates extended from Sumer and Babylonia in the 3 rd millennium BC to classical antiquity, including the neo-Assyrian, neo-Babylonian and Persian Empires. They restored normal economic relations by rolling back the consequences of debts personal and agrarian debts – bondage to creditors, and loss of land and its crop yield. From the palace's point of view as tax collector and seller of many key goods and services, the alternative would have been for debtors to owe their crops, labor and even liberty to their creditors, not to the palace. So cancelling debts to restore normalcy was simply pragmatic, not utopian idealism as was once thought.

The pedigree for "act-of-God" rules specifying what obligations need not be paid when serious disruptions occur goes back to the laws of Hammurabi c. 1750 BC. Their aim was to restore economic normalcy after major disruptions. §48 of Hammurabi's laws proclaim a debt and tax amnesty for cultivators if Adad the Storm God has flooded their fields, or if their crops fail as a result of pests or drought. Crops owed as rent or fiscal payments were freed from having to be paid. So were consumer debts run up during the crop year, including tabs at the local ale house and advances or loans from individual creditors. The ale woman likewise was freed from having to pay for the ale she had received from palace or temples for sale during the crop year.

Whoever leased an animal that died by an act of god was freed from liability to its owner (§266). A typical such amnesty occurred if the lamb, ox or ass was eaten by a lion, or if an epidemic broke out. Likewise, traveling merchants who were robbed while on commercial business were cleared of liability if they swore an oath that they were not responsible for the loss (§103).

It was realized that hardship was so inevitable that debts tended to accrue even under normal conditions. Every ruler of Hammurabi's dynasty proclaimed a Clean Slate cancelling personal agrarian debts (but left normal commercial business loans intact) upon taking the throne, and when military or other disruptions occurred during their reign. Hammurabi did this on four occasions. 2

Bronze Age rulers could not afford to let such bondage and concentration of property and wealth to become chronic. Labor was the scarcest resource, so a precondition for survival was to prevent creditors from using debt leverage to obtain the labor of debtors and appropriate their land. Rulers therefore acted to prevent creditors from becoming a wealthy class seeking gains by impoverishing debtors and taking crop yields and land for themselves.

By rejecting such alleviations of debts resulting from economic disruption, the U.S. economy is subjecting itself to depression, homelessness and economic polarization. It is saving stockholders and bondholders instead of the economy at large. That is because today's rentier interests take the economic surplus in the form of debt service, holding labor and also corporate industry in bondage. Mortgage debt is the price of obtaining a home of one's own. Student debt is the price of getting an education to get a job. Automobile debt is needed to buy a car to drive to the job, and credit-card debt must be run up to pay for living costs beyond what one is able to earn. This deep indebtedness makes workers afraid to go on strike or even to protect working conditions, because being fired is to lose the ability to pay debts and rents. So the rising debt overhead serves the business and financial sector by lowering wage levels while extracting more interest, financial fees, rent and insurance out of their take-home pay.

Debt deflation and the transition from finance capitalism to an Austerity Economy

By injecting $10 trillion into the financial markets (when Federal Reserve credit is added to U.S. Treasury allocation), the CARES act enabled the stock market to recover all of its 34 percent drop (as measured by the S&P 500 stocks) by June 9, even as the economy's GDP was still plunging. The government's new money creation was not spent to revive the real economy of production and consumption, but at least the financial One Percent was saved from loss. It was as if prosperity and living standards would somehow return to normal in a V-shaped recovery.

But what is "normal" these days? For 95 percent of the population, their share of GDP already had been falling ever since the Obama Depression began with the bank bailout in 2009, leaving an enormous bad-debt overhead in place. The economy's long upswing since World War II was already grinding to an end as it struggled to carry its debt burden, rising housing costs, health care and related monthly "nut." 3

This is not what was expected 75 years ago. World War II ended with families and businesses rife with savings and with little debt, as there had been little to buy during the wartime years. But ever since, each business cycle recovery has started with a higher ratio of debt to income, diverting more revenue from business, households and governments to pay banks and bondholders. This debt burden raises the economy's cost of living and doing business, while leaving less wage income and profit to be spent on goods and services.

The virus pandemic has merely acted as a catalyst ending of the long postwar boom. Yet even as the U.S. and other Western economies begin to buckle under their debt overhead, little thought has been given to how to extricate them from the debts and defaults that have accelerated as a result of the broad economic disruption.

The "business as usual" approach is to let creditors foreclose and draw all the income and wealth over subsistence needs into their own hands. Economies have reached the point where debts can be paid only by shrinking production and consumption, leaving them as strapped as Greece has been since 2015. Rejecting debt writedowns to restore social balance was implanted at the outset of modern Western civilization. Ever since Roman times it has become normal for creditors to use social misfortune as an opportunity to gain property and income at the expense of families falling into debt. Blocking the emergence of democratic civic regimes empowered to protect debtors, creditor interests have promoted laws that force debtors to lose their land or other means of livelihood to foreclosing creditors or sell it under distress conditions and have to work off their debts.

In times of a general economic disruption, giving priority to creditor claims leads to widespread bankruptcy. Yet it violates most peoples' ideas of fairness and distributive justice to evict debtors from their homes and take whatever property they have if they cannot pay their rent arrears and other charges that have accrued through no fault of their own. Bankruptcy proceedings will force many businesses and farms to forfeit what they have invested to much wealthier buyers. Many small businesses, especially in urban minority neighborhoods, will see yeas of saving and investment wiped out. The lockdown also forces U.S. cities and states to cope with plunging sales- and income-tax revenue by slashing social services and depleting their pension funds savings to pay bondholders. Balancing their budgets by privatizing hitherto public services will create monopoly rents and new corporate empires

These outcomes are not necessary. They also are inequitable, and instead of being a survival of the fittest and most efficient economic solutions, they are a victory for the most successfully predatory. Yet such results are the product of a long-pedigreed legal and financial philosophy promoted by banks and bondholders, landlords and insurance companies reject economy-wide debt relief. They depict writing down debts and rents owed to them as unthinkable. Banks claim that forgiving personal and business rents would lead absentee landlords to default on their mortgages, threatening bank solvency. Insurance companies claim that to make their policy holders whole would bankrupt them. 4 So something has to give: either the population's broad economic interests, or the vested interests insisting that labor, industry and the government must bear the cost of arrears that have built up during the economic shutdown.

As in oligarchic Rome, financial interests in today's world have gained control of governments and captured the political and regulatory agencies, leaving democratic reformers powerless to suspend debt service, rent arrears, evictions and depression. The West is becoming a highly centrally planned economy, but its planning center is Wall Street, not Washington or state and local governments.

Rising real estate arrears prompt a mortgage bailout

Canada and many European governments are subsidizing businesses to pay up to 80 percent of employee wages even though many must stay home. But for the 40 million Americans who haven't been employed during the closedown, the prospect is for homelessness and desperation. Already before the crisis about half of Americans reported that they were living paycheck to paycheck and could not raise $400 in an emergency. When the paychecks stopped, rents could not be paid, nor could other normal monthly living expenses.

America is seeing the end of the home ownership boom that endowed its middle class with property steadily rising in price. For buyers, the price was rising mortgage debt, as bank credit was the major factor in raising property prices. (A home is worth however much a bank will lend against it.) For non-whites, to be sure, neighborhoods were redlined against racial minorities. By the early 2000s, banks began to make loans to black and Hispanic buyers, but usually at extortionately high interest rates and stiffer debt terms. America's white home buyers now face a fate similar to that which they have long imposed on minorities: Debt-inflated purchase prices for homes so high that they leave buyers strapped by mortgage and compulsory insurance payments, with declining public services in their neighborhoods.

When mortgages can't be paid, foreclosures follow. That causes declines in the proportion of Americans that own their own homes. That home ownership rate already had dropped from about 58 percent in 2008 to about 51 percent at the start of 2020. Since the 2008 mortgage-fraud crisis and President Obama's mass foreclosure program that hit minorities and low-income buyers especially hard, a more landlord-ridden economy has emerged as a result of foreclosed properties and companies bought by speculators and vast absentee-owner companies like Blackstone.

Many businesses that closed down did not pay the landlords. Realizing that if they are held responsible for paying full rents that accrued during the shutdown, it would take them over a year to make up the payment, leaving no net earnings for their efforts. That was especially the case for restaurants with compulsory limited "distance" seating and other stores obliged to restrict the density of their customers. Many restaurants and other neighborhood stores decided to go out of business. For hotels standing largely empty, some 19 percent of mortgage loans had fallen into arrears already by May, along with about 10 percent of retail stores. 5

The commercial real estate sector owes $2.4 trillion in mortgage debt. About 40 percent of tenants did not pay their rents for March, April and May, from restaurants and storefronts to large national retail markets. A moratorium on evictions put them off until August or September 2020. But in the interim, quarterly state and local property taxes were due in June, which also was when the annual federal income-tax payment was owed for the year 2019, having been postponed from April in the face of the shutdown.

The prospective break in the chain of payments of landlords to their banks may be bailed out by the Federal Reserve, but nobody can come up with a scenario whereby the debts owed by non-elites can be paid out of their own resources, any more than they were rescued from the junk-mortgage frauds that left over-mortgaged homes (mainly for low-income victims) in the wake of Obama's decision to support the banks and mortgage brokers instead of their victims. In fact, it takes a radical scenario to see how state and local debt can be paid as public budgets are thrown into limbo by the virus pandemic.

The fiscal squeeze forces governments to privatize public services and assets

Since 1945, the normal Keynesian response to an economic slowdown has been for governments to run budget deficits to revive the economy and employment. But that can't happen in the wake of the 2020 pandemic. For one thing, tax revenue is falling. Governments can create domestic money, of course, but the U.S. government quickly ran up a $2 trillion deficit by June 2020 simply to support Wall Street's financial and corporate markets, leaving a fiscal squeeze when it came to public spending into the real economy. Many U.S. states and cities have laws obliging them to balance their budgets. So public spending into the real economy (instead of just into the financial and corporate markets) had to be cut back.

Sales taxes from restaurants and hotels, income taxes, and property taxes from landlords not receiving rents. U.S. states and localities are having a huge tax shortfall that is forcing them to cut back basic social services and infrastructure. New York City mayor de Blasio has warned that schools, the police and public transportation may have to be cut back unless the city is given $7 billion. The CARES act passed by the Democratic Party in control of the House of Representatives made no attempt to allocate a single dollar to make up the widening fiscal gap. As for the Trump administration, it was unwilling to give money to states voting Democratic in the presidential or governorship elections.

The irony is that just at the time when a pandemic calls for public health care, political pressure for that abruptly stopped. Logically, it might have been expected the virus to have become a major catalyst for single-payer public health care, not least to prevent a wave of personal bankruptcy resulting from high medical bills. But hopes were dashed when the leading torch bearer for socialized medicine, Senator Bernie Sanders, threw his support behind Joe Biden and other opponents for the presidential nomination instead of focusing the primary elections on what the future of the Democratic Party would be. It decided to focus the 2020 U.S. election merely on the personality of which candidate would impose neoliberal policy: Republican Donald Trump, or his opponent running simply on a platform of "I am not Trump."

Both candidates – and indeed, both parties behind them –sought to downsize government and privatize as much of the public sector as possible, leaving administration to financial managers. Past government policy would have restored prosperity by public spending programs to to rebuild the roads and bridges, trains and subways that have fallen apart. But the fiscal squeeze caused by the economic shutdown has created pressure to Thatcherize America's crumbling transportation and urban infrastructure – and also to sell off land and public enterprises, basic urban health, schools – and at the national level, the post office. Fiscal budgets are to be balanced by selling off this infrastructure, in lucrative Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) with financial firms.

The neoliberal rent-extractive plan is for private capital to buy monopoly rights to repair the nation's bridges by turning them into toll bridges, to repair the nation's roads and highways by making the toll roads, to repair sewer systems by privatizing them. Schools, prisons, hospitals and other traditionally public functions. Even the police are to be privately owned security-guard agencies and managed for profit – on terms that will provide interest and capital gains for the financial sector. It is a New Enclosures movement seeking monopoly rent much as landlords extract land rent.

Having given $10 trillion dollars to support financial and mortgage markets, neoliberals in both the Republican and Democratic parties announced that the government had created so large a budget deficit as a result of bailing out the banking and landlord class that it lacked any more room for money creation for actual social spending programs. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell advised states to solve their budget squeeze by raiding their pension funds to pay their bondholders.

For many decades, public employees accepted low wage growth in exchange for pensions. Their patient choice was to defer demands for wage increases in order to secure good pensions for their retirement. But now that they have worked at stagnant wages for many years, the money ostensibly saved for their pensions is to be given to bondholders. Likewise at the federal level, pressure was renewed by both parties to cut back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, with Obama's 2010 Simpson-Bowles Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to reduce the deficit at the expense of retirees and the poor.

In sum, money is being created to fuel the financial sector and its stock and bond markets, not to increase the economy's solvency, employment and living standards. The corona virus pandemic did not create this shift, but it catalyzed and accelerated the power grab, not least by pushing public-sector budgets into crisis.

It doesn't have to be this way

Every successful economy has been a mixed public/private economy with checks on the financial sector's power to indebt society in ways that impoverish it. Always at issue, however, is who will control the government. As American and European industry becomes more debt ridden, will they be oligarchic or democratic?

A socialist government such as China's can keep its industry going simply by simply writing down debts when they can't be paid without forcing a closedown and bankruptcy and loss of assets and employment. The world thus has two options: a basically productive public financial system in China, or a predatory financial system in the United States.

China can recover financially and fiscally from the virus disruption because most debts ultimately are owned to the government-based banking system. Money can be created to finance the material economy, labor and industry, construction and agriculture. When a company is unable to pay its bills and rent, the government doesn't stand by and let it be closed down and sold at a distressed price to a vulture investor.

China has an option that Western economies do not: It is in a position to do what Hammurabi and other ancient Near Eastern palatial economies did for thousands of years: write down debts so as to keep the economy resilient and functioning. It can suspend scheduled debt service, taxes, rents and public fees from having to be paid by troubled areas of its economy, because China's government is the ultimate creditor. It need not contend with politically powerful bankers who insist that the economy at large must lose, not themselves. The government can write down the debt to keep companies in business, and also their employees. That's what socialist governments do.

The underlying problem is finance capitalism. Its roots lie at the heart of Western civilization itself, rejecting the "circular time" permitting economic renewal by Clean Slates in favor of "linear time" in which debts are permanent and irreversible, without public oversight to manage finance and credit in the economy's overall long-term interest.

It often is easier to get rich in such times of disaster and need than in times of normal prosperity. While the U.S. economy polarizes between creditors and debtors, the stock market anticipates fortunes being made quickly from the insolvency of business with assets and property to be grabbed. Coupled with the Federal Reserve's credit creation to support the financial and real estate markets, asset prices are soaring (as of June 2020) for companies that expect to get even richer from the widespread distress to come in autumn 2020 when evictions and foreclosures ae scheduled to begin again.

In that respect, the corona virus's effect has been to help defeat the financial sector's enemy, governments strong enough to regulate it. The fiscal squeeze resulting from widespread unemployment, business closedowns, rent and tax arrears is being seized upon as a means of dismantling and privatizing government at the federal, state and local levels, at the expense of the citizenry at large.

Notes

[1] WHEN CHINA SNEEZES: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Implications , Edited by Cynthia McKinney, Chapter 9, Economic Impact.

[2] I provide a detailed history of Clean Slate acts from the Bronze Age down through Biblical times and the Byzantine Empire in " and forgive them their debts" (ISLET 2018).

[3] I provide the details in Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy ((SLET, 2015).

[4] Lawsuits are exploding over the role of insurance companies supposed to protect business from such interruptions. See Julia Jacobs, "Arts Groups Fight Their Insurers Over Coverage on Virus Losses," The New York Times , May 6, 2020, reports that "insurance companies have issued a torrent of denials, prompting lawsuits across the country and legislative efforts on the state and federal levels to force insurers to make payments. The insurance industry has argued that fulfilling all of these requests would bankrupt the industry."

[5] Conor Dougherty and Peter Eavis, "In Commercial Real Estate, the Domino Effect Escalates," The New York Times , June 9, 2020.

[Oct 06, 2020] Who is the dumbest economic Nobel Prize winner?

Oct 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vato , Oct 5 2020 9:03 utc | 104

Michael Hudson's newest interview on the Macro N Cheese Podcast either as a transcript or via audio is all about the coming debt deflation and what he calls the Neofeudal Empire.
If you haven't already known, Hudson reminds you that:

Who is the dumbest economic Nobel Prize winner? [Paul Krugman?] Paul Krugman. That's right. He was given a Nobel Prize for not understanding what money was. If he would have understood it, that would've excluded him from getting the Nobel Prize.

[Oct 06, 2020] https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-retail-bankruptcies-store-closures-hit-record-in-first-half-11601371800

Oct 06, 2020 | www.wsj.com


All over the country, big companies are laying off thousands of workers, and in some cases the numbers are even larger than that. Meanwhile, we have been seeing businesses fail at a pace that is absolutely stunning. According to the Wall Street Journal, this year we are on pace to set new records for retail stores closings, retail bankruptcies, and retail liquidations
Also
https://news.bloomberglaw.com/bankruptcy-law/new-york-region-sees-40-bankruptcy-surge-braces-for-more
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8787099/Disney-layoff-28-000-employees-
coronavirus-continues-decimate-theme-parks.html
The airline industry is actually on the verge of a historic implosion, and we are being told that 100,000 workers could soon lose their jobs if they don't get a massive bailout from the federal government.
https://wolfstreet.com/2020/09/28/facing-crappiest-recovery-ever-airlines-demand-new-25-billion-bailout-for-50-billion-total-after-having-burned-45-billion-on-share-buybacks/
32,000 jobs !!!!
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/30/business/airline-job-cuts/index.html
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-american-airlines-doug-parker-on-face-the-nation-september-27-2020/
KPMG, one of the so-called Big Four accounting firms, laid off 1,400 of its 35,000 US employees on Tuesday.
https://www.businessinsider.com/kpmg-layoffs-1400-employees-professional-services-struggle-job-cuts-2020-9?r=DE&IR=T
https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/goldman-cuts-400-jobs-covid-19-layoff-moratorium-ends
https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/shell-plans-to-cut-up-to-9000-jobs-in-transition-plan
But for many Americans, this economic downturn has quickly become a horror show.
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/28/success/hotel-workers-pandemic-layoffs/index.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/04/business/unemployed-workers-permanent-job-losses/index.html
If the tourists - only slowly, slowly - fully return
https://www.thehour.com/business/article/The-covid-19-recession-is-the-most-unequal-in-15609728.php
Signs That America's Economic Depression Is Accelerating
Almost 90 percent of NYC bars and restaurants couldn't pay August rent !!!!
https://nypost.com/2020/09/21/almost-90-percent-of-nyc-bars-and-restaurants-couldnt-pay-august-rent/
Additional 787,000 workers seek unemployment
https://eu.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/10/01/unemployment-more-workers-file-jobless-claims-cuts-persist/5874518002/
All 546 of its theaters across US, UK and Ireland will be closed
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8803287/Regal-owner-Cineworld-close-U-S-UK-Irish-screens.html

Hunger In Texas: No End In Sight For Pandemic Food Lines
https://www.keranews.org/texas-news/2020-09-25/hunger-in-texas-no-end-in-sight-for-pandemic-food-lines

Thousands of cars form tightly packed lines across the state every week now to receive food.

From Chihuahuan Desert border towns and cities to the staked plains of the panhandle, across the piney wood of deep East Texas, down to the Rio Grande and back cars stack, growing into steel and fiberglass caterpillars, hungry.
These events have distributed tens of millions of pounds of food over the past six months.
And...
Wildfires to escalate as intense heat dome builds this weekend
https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wildfire-danger-in-West-to-escalate-as-intense-15590810.php
California's Wildfires record burned 4 million acres
https://abc7ny.com/california-wildfires-fires-glass-fire-homes-burned-wildfire/6768129/
US West Coast wildfires air quality deteriorates to the worst
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=US+west+coast+wildfires+air+quality+deteriorate+to+the+worst&ia=web

Posted by: Ashino | Oct 5 2020 13:18 utc | 113