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[Markets] The Problem Is Not Just Xi Jinping; It Is Communism The Problem Is Not Just Xi Jinping; It Is Communism

Authored by David Flint, op-ed via The Epoch Times,

To communists and their ilk, the truth is whatever line the party is now promulgating - that is, until it is superseded by a new line.

This is the theme of George Orwell’s great novel, 1984. The protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, constantly amending historical records to be consistent with whatever is the current party line. In particular, those liquidated are made non-persons, just as though they never existed.

The truth has been packaged precisely this way in Communist China continuously and consistently since 1949, just as it was from the birth to the collapse of the USSR. Accordingly, when Joseph Stalin’s secret police chief, Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, was executed by his successors, subscribers to the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia would receive instructions to replace pages eulogising Beria with additional material on the Behring Sea. Beria was made a non-person.

But the fact is that the enemy of each and every communist regime is truth itself, as are the other values and principles of civilised society, especially the proposition at the very core of the Declaration of Independence. This is not just American. According to Winston Churchill, following the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights, the Declaration is the third great title deed on which the liberties of the English-speaking people, the core of the West, are founded.

“Declaration of Independence,” 1819, by John Trumbull. (Public domain)

It states the fundamental principle that man is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights, a principle which is inconsistent with communism, whoever is the paramount ruler.

The latter is important. What we may call the “Communist China Lobby”—a powerful pressure group in the United States and many democratic nations—pretends Chinese leader Xi Jinping to be the sole source of present troubles with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Not so, the source of this evil is communism. Just as an egregious illustration, the wicked multi-billion-dollar trade in the organs of healthy people dates from well before Xi’s rise.

The fact is that communism is and has always been alien to civilisation. We cannot rely on communist regimes to behave appropriately or honourably. We can place no trust in their word, even in the most elementary matters.

Take, for example, the statistics on COVID-19 for which the CCP is responsible.

We are told the deaths from the virus in Australia, a country of 26 million, will soon exceed those from Communist China, a country with a population of over 1.4 billion.

Clearly, no wise person would ever take either their statistics, or their word, seriously, a counsel which curiously does not seem to apply whenever the subject is the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Equally, any wise person must expect a hostile reaction when they demand a truth that will expose a matter that could embarrass the communists, as occurred when Australia dared to propose an international investigation into the origins of the pandemic.

Australia’s only mistake was to allow an investigation to be led by the World Health Organisation, an organisation under the heavy influence of the CCP.

A sign of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, on April 24, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

Australia should have proposed to the former U.S. administration to establish an ad hoc international tribunal to investigate its origins, assess liability and, if appropriate, damages.

Were damages awarded and not paid, legislation could authorise their recoupment from assets in Australia under the ultimate control of the guilty state—the Port of Darwin comes to mind.

As Australia came under increasing and unlawful economic punishment from Beijing in response to its calls for an investigation, there is little more the CCP could do if we were to seize such assets to satisfy a lawful international judgement. At least a range of premium and strategic assets could be recovered.

The point is that not only can we not rely on the information or the truth from this regime, but it also controls a territory where there is no rule of law, no human rights, and no protection of workers’ rights.

This did not come with Xi; it has prevailed since 1949.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of European communist dictatorships, the CCP’s abiding object has been to avoid a similar fate.

Then-paramount leader Deng Xiaoping drew on former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP) which had saved the Soviet Union from early collapse in 1922. He followed Lenin and moved the CCP towards a “socialist market economy” under “communism with Chinese characteristics.”

Lenin never intended the NEP to be permanent. Words attributed to him illustrate the communist’s real intentions: “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them.” Which they did, with Stalin reversing direction, socialising the economy, forcing collectivisation on the class enemy, including being forced to farm Kulaks, and brutally using famine to destroy them.

Deng Xiaoping had more to offer the West than Lenin. It was something that dazzled Western elites, a market with a fifth of the world’s population.

Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port in Shanghai, China, on Oct. 19, 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Bill Clinton gambled on welcoming the People’s Republic of China into the World Trade Organisation in 2000. Instead, he allowed access without the most elementary safeguard to ensure they could not do what communists do: ignore the rules, steal, or forcibly extract something far greater—than even the US$85 billion of modern weaponry recently gifted to the Taliban—America’s vast portfolio of intellectual property.

From Europe to Australia, Western leaders and big businesses have blindly followed suit.

As a result, these elites saved a tyrannical regime from the fate Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher delivered to the Soviet Union.

They betrayed American, Australian, and Western workers by closing and transferring their industries to China.

They betrayed Chinese workers by indecently profiting from the suppression of their fundamental rights.

Yet, these same elites were too often taken for a ride by the communists who cheated them at every turn and allowed their nations to become dependent on the CCP.

Only under the former U.S. administration was this trend briefly reversed.

Now, from America to Europe and Australia, that same Communist China Lobby, who want Western industry back in China, are trying desperately to restore this dependency. They have a uniform justification for this. The problem, they say, is temporary. The problem will pass when paramount leader Xi passes.

But that is not so.

The problem is not whoever is the paramount leader. The problem is, as it has always been, that evil “plague bacillus,” which is communism.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 00:00
Published:9/25/2021 11:22:39 PM
[Markets] The Best Selling Vehicles In America, By State The Best Selling Vehicles In America, By State

From Ford trucks in the Midwest to Toyotas on the coasts, the best selling vehicles in America reveal a lot about the country.

Compared to other countries with fewer highways or narrower roads, the U.S. is very much a truck-friendly country. Across the U.S., the most sold vehicle in 2019 was the Ford F-Series of trucks, primarily the F-150.

As the home of the world’s pioneer automotive manufacturers, including Ford and GM, consumers primarily purchase local brands. But, as Visual Capitalist's Omri Wallach notes, that hasn’t stopped Toyota, the largest foreign manufacturer in the world, from also gaining a foothold.

This graphic uses 2020 sales data from automotive information resource Edmunds.com, breaking down the best selling vehicles in each state through new vehicle retail registration.

What Are the Best Selling Vehicles in Each State?

Despite a slowdown in vehicle sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a global chip shortage, Americans still bought plenty of trucks last year.

In fact, 48 out of the 50 states had a truck or SUV as the top selling vehicle in 2020—and most states actually had trucks taking all of the top three spots. The only two with a car topping the leaderboard were California and Florida.

The Ford F-Series was the clear leader in sales, primarily in the Midwest. With a top-selling spot in 60% of U.S. states, the F-Series was the best selling vehicle in America.

Combined with the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500-3500 series, the big three American truck brands accounted for 73% of the top three selling vehicles across all American states and territories.

Japanese Automakers in the Mix

Though American manufacturers had the best selling cars in most states, they had some overseas competition.

Japanese manufacturers Toyota and Honda had the top-selling vehicle in 11 states (and D.C.). They primarily captured car sales along the coastlines, including in California, Florida, New York and Washington, some of the most populated states in the country.

Despite many cars being available for sale in the U.S., only seven manufacturers made the top-selling vehicles list in 2020.

  • Ford

  • Ram

  • Chevrolet

  • Toyota

  • Honda

  • Subaru

  • Jeep

With the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic yet to be reflected in the sales, and electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla on the rise, how will the best selling vehicles in America evolve?

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 23:30
Published:9/25/2021 10:48:05 PM
[Markets] The Importance Of Dune, Part 1: The Sleeper Has Awakened The Importance Of Dune, Part 1: The Sleeper Has Awakened

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

Last year I wrote two editorials for the Newsletter in sympathy with Denis Villeneuve’s film, Dune, originally suppose to come out last DecemberThis one was published in the September 2020 issue when the election was the dominant issue of the day. The movie is now out but won’t come to the U.S. next month and I think it appropriate to publish it now with everything happening in the world today. It’s been edited slightly to bring it up to date.

There are few things I’m more looking forward to than the first of two films by Denis Villeneuve bringing to life Frank Herbert’s classic science-fiction novel Dune.  And it isn’t just because I’m a big fan of the book, which is an intricately-plotted treatise on religion, gender, power and politics, but because its ideas are perfected suited for this period of history.

Because this story, unlike a lot of recent blockbuster films, should scare the pants off our political leaders as they will see themselves onscreen in their various guises.  And that fear may be enough to waken the sleeper, in the parlance of the book, the silent majority now staring at a bleak future post COVID-19.

In the hands of Denis Villeneuve, a film-maker perfectly suited to the material, we could be looking at a movie which becomes a turning point in the culture war.   Villeneuve is one of the few people working today who can marry bold visual storytelling with complex narrative while not browbeating his audience. Watch The ArrivalSicario or, my favorite, Blade Runner 2049 (see my original thoughts/review here) to get a sense of what we’re in store for. 

He reminds me of Ridley Scott at his best, which Scott hasn’t been at for decades.

Dune is the story of a space-faring humanity at a time of crisis whose entire civilization, thanks to previous periods of barbarism, is dependent on a single commodity, the spice.  And spice can only be found on the planet Arrakis, or Dune. 

The metaphor to oil is obvious since Herbert published the book in 1965.

Dune is a pastiche of a number of genres, a classic hero’s journey from adolescence to adulthood for its protagonist, Paul Atreides, told in ways both intensely intimate but keenly aware of these events’ historical importance.  It is an intense political drama with six Houses vying for control against a rising religious jihad against their rule.

Looking over our world as we approach the end of 2020 [sic], Dune is especially relevant because it shows us exactly where we are in the cycle of empires.  It will be hard for people to miss these things when they see the movie.  

The film will make very clear, if told properly, what happens when the concentration of power in the hands of the few at the expense of the many becomes toxic.  The corruption of the Houses, their plotting and scheming against each other for control of the spice drives all the external action.

It’s a deep look at a society coming unglued at the seams, where the political structures, in place for centuries, have become sclerotic.   But it is also a linear narrative that if stripped of its excesses tells a streamlined story about the rise of a new world on the ashes of the old one. 

It’s a story about a desert world which is the source of life itself and whose unforgiving environment forges mere men into forces of nature.

Because, ultimately, Dune is about the limits of power and how it corrupts everyone.  It reminds all of us that fear is what drives men to make desperate plays to maintain power.  Told mostly through Paul’s eyes as he grows into the man who will lead a revolution, it is the growing unrest of the people which forces the hand of the Emperor to set things in motion and who exists as a vague threat to come in an crush anyone stupid enough to cross him and his near unlimited power.  

And yet he too, like every other tyrant, falls.

After years of Dune languishing as a nearly dead property Villeneuve’s film will have to answer the most important question if it wants to succeed, “Why Now?”  It isn’t just because someone in Hollywood had the rights to it.  Those rights were tied up by Herbert’s son who had managed them into near irrelevance.  That’s how the project gets started.   

They tried to tell this story back in the eighties with David Lynch’s unfortunate film, but it was the wrong time. 

There was no resonance with current events during the height of the Reagan reboot of America when optimism was rampant and Ridley Scott had failed not two years earlier with Blade Runner, now a classic but hated on release.

That’s the big fear they should have going into release.  And conquering fear is the key thing Paul must do to survive the task in front of him.  His story should become ours as we enter 2022 and, if that happens, that should scare the would-be tyrants of this world to death.

*  *  *

Since this was written a number of things have happened that validate my fears then. It was a call to action for us to begin hardening ourselves against a bleak and terrifying future. It was also a warning for us not to put our faith in the institutions we think protect us from them.

Back then I was worried about the sequel to the Coronapocalypse, now confirmed for me as the rollout of the vaccines against COVID-9/11, as much as Trump being deposed through obvious and under-handed means. It’s why I was so adamant about the election being the inflection point for the world.

Everything came down to it. It was a singularity where one world ended and another began. The sleeper awakened that day and those that didn’t see it or refused to see its importance are now complicit in the violence that has come since and is yet to come.

The collapsing narrative surrounding the COVID-9/11 vaccines, their efficacy and honestly the dangers they represent to those in low-risk cohorts, it makes sense to see the headlines chocked to the gills with announcements of escalating stakes for us, the unwashed, unclean, unvaxxed and ungovernable.

Biden is threatening dishonorable discharges for U.S. military. From what I’ve heard from military men I’ve talked to, that would be 90% of them.

New York governor, Kathy Hochul is threatening medical workers with replacement by ‘foreigners’ if they don’t get the jab. It’s like she thinks her job gives her that power?

In Australia they are now just shooting protestors in public.

Tomorrow I will publish the companion piece, written after the stolen election. It’s called The Jihad. Tomorrow is the day the results of the election audit in Arizona are released. What happens if it proves fraud and Sen. Mark Kelly is recalled due to a decertified election?

*  *  *

Join my Patreon if you have awakened

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Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 23:00
Published:9/25/2021 10:29:41 PM
[Markets] "Not Satisfied" - USAF Signals Hypersonic Weapon Program In Limbo "Not Satisfied" - USAF Signals Hypersonic Weapon Program In Limbo

Hypersonic weapon development is among the highest priorities of global superpowers as a great-power competition rages between the US and China. 

China is rapidly developing hypersonic weapon systems and has fielded some of these superfast weapons to its southeast coast and or militarized islands in the South China Sea - challenging the US' air dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. 

The problem is that for decades the US has been lightyears ahead of other countries in developing and fielding anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles but, for some reason, is having difficulty fielding hypersonic weapons. 

On Monday, at the annual Air Force Association Air, Space & Cyber conference, USAF Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters that he is reassessing the USAF's hypersonic program, according to Breaking Defense. "I'm not satisfied with the pace," he said. "We're making some progress on the technology; I would like to see it be better."

Kendall said he is "not satisfied with the degree to which we have figured out what we need for hypersonics — of what type, for what missions."

"The target set that we would want to address, and why hypersonics are the most cost-effective weapons for the US, I think it's still, to me, somewhat of a question mark," he said. "I haven't seen all the analysis that's been done to justify the current program."

Gen. Arnold Bunch, the head of Air Force Materiel Command, told reporters on Tuesday that "there are certain aspects, attributes that [have] not performed the way we need to," while acknowledging the hypersonic program has hit obstacles. 

"We are going to have to continue to put our focus there, and we will continue to take what are called educated risks as we move forward so that we can get a capability out in the field as quickly as possible," Bunch said.

While China and Russia have fielded hypersonic weapons, the US has not and recently experienced a failed air-launch test of a missile that can travel at Mach 5, or about 3,836 mph. 

In terms of funding, the push for hypersonic weapon development occurred under the Trump administration and has continued under Biden. 

America is trying to reassert its air dominance worldwide, but it's having trouble developing hypersonic weapons as other superpowers soar ahead. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 22:30
Published:9/25/2021 9:50:43 PM
[Markets] Rare Solar Superstorm Could Prompt ‘Internet Apocalypse’ Lasting Several Months: Study Rare Solar Superstorm Could Prompt ‘Internet Apocalypse’ Lasting Several Months: Study

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The “black swan” event of a solar superstorm directed at earth could prompt an “internet apocalypse” across the entire globe that could last for several months, new research (pdf) has warned.

University of California Irvine assistant professor Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi presented the new research, titled “Solar Superstorms: Planning for an Internet Apocalypse,” last month during the Association for Computing Machinery’s annual conference for their Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM).

“One of the greatest dangers facing the internet with the potential for global impact is a powerful solar superstorm,” Jyothi wrote in the new research paper.

“Although humans are protected from these storms by the earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, they can cause significant damage to man-made infrastructure. The scientific community is generally aware of this threat with modeling efforts and precautionary measures being taken, particularly in the context of power grids. However, the networking community has largely overlooked this risk during the design of the network topology and geo-distributed systems such as DNS and data centers,” he continued.

A solar storm, also known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), occurs when a large mass of plasma and highly magnetized particles violently eject from the sun. Large CME’s can contain up to a billion tons of matter and can get accelerated to large fractions of the speed of light.

When the earth is in the direct path of a CME, these magnetized and charged solar particles interact with the earth’s magnetic field, producing geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) that can potentially disrupt communication satellites and long-distance cables that provide the world with the internet.

According to Jyothi’s research, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and networking cables are the most vulnerable to the impacts of GIC’s, while submarine cables, which span hundreds or thousands of kilometres, are even more vulnerable than land cables, due to their larger lengths.

Owing to a lack of real world data on the impacts of GIC’s on these submarine cables, scientists still don’t know how long it would take to repair them if such an event were to occur, and—just like natural disasters such as earthquakes—CME’s are extremely difficult for scientists to predict.

The research noted that the “distribution of internet infrastructure is skewed when compared to the distribution of internet users,” and high-latitude climates are more at risk if a solar storm were to occur.

Artist’s rendering of a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the planet’s upper atmosphere. (NASA)
Cables on servers at an internet data center in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on July 25, 2018. (Yann Sschreiber/AFP/Getty Images)

“The U.S. is one of the most vulnerable locations with a high risk of disconnection from Europe during extreme solar events. Intra-continental connections in Europe are at a lower risk due to the presence of a large number of shorter land and submarine cables interconnecting the continent,” the report notes.

Meanwhile, if a severe solar superstorm were to occur, Singapore would maintain good connectivity to neighboring countries, while cities in China would be more likely to lose connectivity than India because China connects to much longer cables.

Australia, New Zealand, and other island countries in the region would be at high risk of losing most of their long-distance connections.

The research warns that a collapse of the internet—even one lasting a few minutes—could cause devastating losses to service providers and damage cyber-physical systems. The economic impact of an internet disruption for a day in the United States is estimated to be over $7 billion.

While the likelihood of a solar superstorm hitting earth is rare—with astrophysicists noting that the probability of extreme space weather events that directly impact earth occurring are between 1.6 percent to 12 percent per decade—they can still happen.

In 1921, a solar storm, driven by a series of coronal mass ejections, triggered extensive power outages and caused damage to telephone and telegraph systems associated with railroad systems in New York City and across the state.

Years later, in 1989, a solar storm bought an electrical power blackout to the entire province of Quebec, Canada.

“Although we have sentinel spacecraft that can issue early warnings of CMEs providing at least 13 hours of lead time, our defenses against GIC are limited. Hence, we need to prepare the infrastructure for an eventual catastrophe to facilitate efficient disaster management,” Jyothi said.

The research pointed to “increasing capacity in lower latitudes for improved resiliency during solar storms,” and having “mechanisms for electrically isolating cables connecting to higher latitudes from the rest” at submarine cable landing points to prevent large-scale failures.

The paper has yet to appear in a peer-reviewed journal.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 22:00
Published:9/25/2021 9:16:31 PM
[Markets] Iran Demands IAEA Closely Monitor Nuclear Fuel For Australia Submarines In Wake Of AUKUS Deal Iran Demands IAEA Closely Monitor Nuclear Fuel For Australia Submarines In Wake Of AUKUS Deal

Iran is calling out a double standard when it comes to application of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) restrictions and monitoring of countries' nuclear development and activity, joining China in condemning the US-UK-Australia defense pact recently unveiled.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA said this week amid all the headlines and controversy over the AUKUS deal which will see the US transfer nuclear submarine technology to Australia that the IAEA must have access to all nuclear fuel to be used for Australia's future submarines when the terms of the AUKUS are put in motion. 

Nuclear submarine, US Navy image

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi told the international body this this must happen in a timely manner, according to Iranian state media.

"For Australia, reaching safeguards arrangement with the Agency is of essence. The Agency should have access to the HEU [highly-enriched uranium] there at agreed and reasonable time and no excuse is accepted in this regard," Gharibabadi stated. "The Agency should keep the BoG [Board of Governors] informed on this important [issue] regularly."

He reminded the monitoring body that nuclear-powered submarines require fuel to be enriched to above 90% purity, which is far above Iran's current enrichment of up to 60%, which Gharibabadi claimed is only "for humanitarian and peaceful purposes."

The official further slammed the US, UK and Australia for what he called the "vulgar facade of double standard and hypocrisy". This after Chinese officials have been charging Australia with violating its policy of having a nuclear free zone according to it's decades ago signing on to the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The Iranians are now echoing these charges, saying Washington will transfer the nuclear technology "under the pretext of the fabricated so-called strategic concerns."

Tehran has of late been in a war of words with the IAEA over monitoring nuclear sites inside the Islamic Republic. Earlier this month an agreement was belatedly reached to keep cameras on which remotely monitor sensitive sites to ensure Iran doesn't ramp up uranium enrichment or other activities further.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 21:30
Published:9/25/2021 8:57:04 PM
[Markets] Democrats In Congress Try To Abolish Space Force Democrats In Congress Try To Abolish Space Force

Authored by Li Hai via The Epoch Times,

Some Democrats in Congress are trying to abolish the Space Force at a time when China and Russia have been doubling down on expanding their military capabilities in space.

On Wednesday, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) introduced a bill named No Militarization of Space Act, trying to abolish the Space Force, a new military service branch created under former President Donald Trump.

“The long-standing neutrality of space has fostered a competitive, non-militarized age of exploration every nation and generation has valued since the first days of space travel,” Huffman said in a statement.

“But since its creation under the former Trump administration, the Space Force has threatened longstanding peace and flagrantly wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.”

The Space Force was established in December 2019 and has been deemed by some to be one of Trump’s signature achievements. But its origin can be traced back to the beginning of the Cold War.

“Our mission must be to support the American people, not spend billions on the militarization of space,” Huffman added.

Huffman’s bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Jesús García (D-Ill.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).

The bill comes as Congress moves to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill that authorizes funding for the military.

Huffman’s bill is unlikely to succeed because the new military branch was established upon the National Defense Authorization Act (FY 2020), which received bipartisan support at the time. To cancel the Space Force, new legislation would need to be enacted.

China and Russia have been trying to advance their military capabilities in space for years.

China’s communist regime “has devoted significant resources to growing all aspects of its space program, from military space applications to civil applications,” reads the Pentagon’s latest annual report to Congress.

In May, China placed a rover on Mars, becoming the second nation after the United States to do so, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. China has continued to develop its space station and explore the moon.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Secure World Foundation reports, Russia performed multiple anti-satellite weapons tests in 2020. China and India have tested their own military capabilities in orbit in past years, too, Axios reported.

On Monday at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference, U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said that the threats presented by China continue to grow, including those from space.

On Tuesday, Gen. John “Jay” Raymon, chief of Space Operations, talked about the anti-satellite weapons China and Russia have owned.

China has deployed satellites with a robotic arm that could be used to “grab” other satellites. Russia has a co-orbital, anti-satellite weapon that “is specifically designed to kill U.S. satellites,” Raymon said during the same conference.

President Joe Biden hasn’t publicly shared his views on the future of the Space Force. His press secretary Jen Psaki dodged such a question in February, weeks after Biden took office.

However, she took to Twitter to say that “we look forward to the continuing work of Space Force,” signaling that Biden had no intention to change Space Force’s status at the time.

“We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work,” Psaki wrote.

The Epoch Times has contacted the White House and the Space Force for comment.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 21:00
Published:9/25/2021 8:22:45 PM
[Markets] Hedge Fund Net Leverage At All Time Highs As No Dips Are Sold Hedge Fund Net Leverage At All Time Highs As No Dips Are Sold

Two weeks ago, JPMorgan's prime desk wrote about 2 main themes among the hedge fund community: elevated leverage levels and low exposure to cyclicals/value that tend to do better when rates are rising. However, over the past week, both of these things have come into sharper focus as US equities suffered one of their larger pullbacks in a while and rates globally jumped higher towards the end of this week. 

So what has the largest bank's prime brokerage desk seen in the past week? 

According to the latest weekly Positioning Intelligence report published by the bank, at a high level, it seems that HFs are not that concerned about the broader market (nor is anyone else for that matter) with the bank finding that over the past few months, there’s been limited willingness to sell dips.  In line with this, the bank saw neutral flows globally over the past week with small buying on Monday, alongside retail BTFDers, even as professional sentiment tracked by AAII turned the most bearish since last October...

... followed by small selling on Thursday.  But more generally, net flows globally have remained neutral to skewed towards buying in the past 2 weeks with Asia the only region to see some selling.

Furthermore, as has been the case for much of 2011, net leverage remains near highs with little change in the past few weeks—net at 98th percentile (of all time) across All Strategies. While gross leverage has come down a little to the 76th percentile, that appears to be more derivatives related and there could be an element of Quadruple Witching that might be impacting this as the largest gross leverage reductions were among Multi-Strat funds. According to JPM, one reason why leverage and flows among HFs might be more neutral this month is that performance has held in relatively well MTD: long-short spreads have been improving over the past few months.  Looking at this month, longs are holding up well, while shorts are down in line with the market. This leaves HFs up slightly MTD, according to JPM estimates.

Back to the topic of leverage, FINRA just came out with its latest statistics on Margin Debt which showed them at a new ATH. Given it is up almost 60% since the start of 2020, it begs the question Bank of America asked one month ago: should we be concerned? Not surprisingly, JPM dismisses this indicator and thinks "this alone is not something that is concerning when one breaks down the changes and behavior to account for how the market has been performing." Furthermore the JPM prime desk notes that "this appears to be very different from the peaks in 2000 and 2007 when Margin Debt rose about 50% faster than the S&P 500 over a 12-month period." Instead, to JPM the recent moves seem more reminiscent to what happened in the early 90s.

At a more micro level, cyclicals / value / inflation / travel related stocks have all been doing better recently as COVID are falling once more, some travel restrictions are getting lifted, and rates are rising globally. 

In line with this, JPM continued to see buying of NA Financials, something that has been noted over the past few weeks, but this week JPM saw Banks getting bought (vs. more Insurance and Div. Fins in prior weeks).  COVID recovery stocks have also been bought but there’s room for more to go as positioning and valuations remain low in many cases (especially among the US COVID – Domestic Recovery basket, JPAMCRDB).  EMEA Travel & Leisure stocks saw strong buying in the past week as the US prepares to drop its ban for transatlantic travel, and net positioning is getting a bit elevated vs. history; however, EMEA Airlines still has low positioning.  Finally, not everything cyclical is getting bought—HFs have continued to sell Energy into strength - despite the recent surge in oil and all other commodities - and have also sold Materials. 

Below we share some more details on each of these core themes

Main theme #1: Global Flows and Leverage: HFs Don’t Seem Too Concerned

While markets have been volatile over the past week, due to the myriad concerns, HF flows remained quite calm.  The reason is that hedge funds have been reluctant to sell dips and that appeared to be the case again last Fri/this Mon as global flows were quite neutral.  However, at the same time, HFs are also not chase the rally as the JPM Prime net flows were fairly neutral on Wed and skewed towards selling on Thurs when markets rallied back.

A notable observation is that there appears to be some strategy differences in the past 2 weeks as Equity L/S and Quant funds have been buyers while Multi-Strats have been net sellers across JPM prime.  The selling among Multi-Strats comes as gross and net leverage have started to pull back from peak levels. 

The gross reductions among some Multi-Strat funds have been the main driver of the broader “All Strategies” gross leverage figure lower WoW.  However, net leverage was basically unchanged. Furthermore, it appears derivative positions might be driving some of the changes as notional LMV and SMV increased WoW while delta adjusted LMV and SMV fell.  

Among Equity L/S funds, who have been moderate net buyers of equities most days MTD, net leverage actually rose slightly WoW and it’s now at the 93rd %-tile since Mar 2017.  

#2:  US Margin Debt: New ATHs at End of Aug…Should We Be Concerned?

FINRA just released the latest monthly stats on “Margin Debt” which showed a fairly large increase, following a decrease in July.  As Margin Debt is at new All-Time-Highs and is now up almost 60% since the start of 2020, it’s worth asking -as BofA did one month ago -  if this is something we should be concerned about.  

In order to answer this, we’ve looked at the relationship between Margin Debt and the markets over time, augmenting the data FINRA has on it’s website with NYSE Margin Debt data that goes back to 1959.  What this shows is that while there is a very big increase recently, it is 1) in line with the markets and 2) seems to be following the general pattern of the past 60+ years.  

Similar to discussions of rate-driven VaR shocks, JPM argues that it’s not so much the level of Margin Debt that one should be focused on, but rather the rate of change. On this point, the bank measured the 12M change in Margin Debt and the S&P 500 over the past ~60 years and what this shows is that there is typically a fairly strong correlation over time. In particular, this correlation has been very strong since the GFC, but there were a couple notable divergences in 2000 and 2007 when Margin Debt rose much faster than the market.

In its attempt to mitigate concerns about record margin debt, JPM then notes that increases in Margin Debt (i.e. investors taking on more leverage) that exceed the market returns by a wide margin could indicate greater potential for future stress because it might suggest that investors are adding leverage at market highs, but not actually making much money while doing so. Thus, when markets start to pull back, the recent investments start to lose money more quickly than if they had been added when the markets weren’t at highs.

Addressing this point, JPM notes that when looking at what’s happened in the past 2 years, we have seen Margin Debt increase faster than the markets on a 12M rolling basis with the difference reaching +28% at its recent high.  However, the recent high in the 12M difference metric was reached in January of this year (perhaps due to the fact that HFs had performed very well in 2020 and had been adding risk throughout 2H20 in particular). Thus, this difference has been falling for much of the past 7 months.  Furthermore, the recent rise follows a period when Margin Debt had generally lagged the market increases; since the start of 2018, margin debt is only up ~40% vs. the S&P up ~70% in price terms.

When it looks back even further, JPM notes that there were periods in the 70s-80s when large increases in Margin debt were followed by market weakness, suggesting this isn’t only a 2000 and 2007 phenomenon (left chart below).  Furthermore, one could reasonably ask why the relatively large increase in the early 90s didn’t result in a market pullback.  While there are likely other contributing factors as well, one thing to note about Margin Debt was that it had gone through a period of relatively slower growth in the late 80s, so the rise in the early 90s was somewhat of a “catch-up” period for it.  Similarly, JPM argues that the rise into Jan of this year could also be considered a bit of a “catch-up” period, which appears to be different from 2000 and 2007 when Margin Debt was reaching new highs, even when measuring it relative to the S&P changes.  

In light of the above it's hardly a surprise that JPM thinks that while there are many potential reasons one could cite for market caution, "the level and changes in Margin Debt do not appear to be setting us up for extreme market drawdowns like we saw in 2000 and 2007."

#3:  Reopening/Recovery Trades Back in Focus?

With COVID cases appeared to be on the decline globally, and travel restrictions getting lifted in some places, reopening/recovery themes have been more topical as they’ve started to perform better. On the HF side, JPM Prime has seen net buying over the past 2-3 weeks in both the Domestic Recovery basket (JPAMCRDB) and the International Recovery Basket (JPAMCRIB).  Positioning in both groups remains low on a YTD basis and very low on a multi-year basis for the Domestic basket.  In addition, JPM’s U.S. Equity Research Strategist, Dubravko, recently wrote about this in a recent note where he showed that the COVID Recovery – Domestic basket had seen relative valuations fall back to multi-year lows while COVID Beneficiaries were back near highs.

In a similar vein, Travel & Leisure stocks have seen strong performance this week in both N. America and EMEA, along with HF buying as the US said it would remove its ban on EU travel for vaccinated passengers starting in November. The recovery in performance, relative to the market, still has more to go before getting back to  where we were earlier this year. In terms of where the recent buying and outperformance leaves HF positioning, net exposures are nearing average levels among US Travel & Leisure stocks, but are a bit closer to highs in EMEA.

Where there appears to be more potential upside for positioning in EMEA is among the Airlines stocks where net exposures is still about 1z below average and JPM has yet to see shorts covered in the group, after persistent additions for the past 6 months.

Among US stocks, the rise in rates was accompanied by further buying of Inflation Winners and Rising Bond Yield Winners. Despite the recent buying, net exposure to the Inflation winners remains quite low with net exposures about 1 std dev below average and for the Rising Bond Yield Winners, the net exposure is still slightly below average.  

Similarly, a couple weeks ago JPM wrote about how positioning and flows in Value vs. Growth had done a “180” in the past few months as Value had underperformed. Perhaps not surprisingly, US Value seems to be getting a revival recently as the Value factor has been bought in the past 2 weeks. This is coming from both Value Longs getting bought and Value Shorts being sold/shorted.  In line with this, Growth stocks have seen some selling.

#4:  Performance – HFs Holding Well in Sep

With a risk-on backdrop of cyclicals outperforming defensives, small caps rallying, and rising rates this week (Rising Bond Yield Winners up +5% WTD), Hedge Funds find themselves in the rare position of outperforming broader equity market indices MTD. And with WSB's short squeeze hunts fading, shorts are not detracting from performance as they are generally down in-line with the market; whereas, longs have fared better and protected to the downside. 

Among Global Equity L/S funds, net returns continue to track positively with gains of +60-70bps MTD, outperforming MSCI ACWI (which is down -1.2%). The long-short spread has continued to improve since mid-August, driven more recently by shorts selling off faster in September than the market (down -1.3% on wgtd avg basis) and longs holding up relatively well (only down -15bps MTD).

Non-Equity L/S funds are also up MTD and outperforming global equity indices, up between +30-85bps. In terms of alpha, longs have outperformed shorts throughout most of September (some reversion over the past 2 days).

At a regional level, N. America L/S funds are flat to slightly up MTD, up around +0-30bps and are thus outpacing the SPX. The long-short spread has continued to improve steadily since mid-August but slowed yesterday as shorts outperformed. In EMEA, net returns among L/S funds are positive MTD, gaining around +0.5-1.3% and outperforming the headline European index.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 20:30
Published:9/25/2021 7:46:48 PM
[Markets] Texas Moves To Divest From Ben & Jerry’s Over Israeli Settlement Ban Texas Moves To Divest From Ben & Jerry’s Over Israeli Settlement Ban

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

Texas has added Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever to a list of companies that are "boycotting Israel" over the ice cream company’s decision to stop selling its product in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The firms have 90 days from being notified that they’re on the list to reverse the settlement ban, or Texas will remove about $100 million in pension funds that are invested in Unilever.

Image source: The Texan

While Ben & Jerry’s is accused of boycotting Israel, their policy only applies to illegal settlements in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the ice cream will still be sold in Israel. But Texas has a broad definition of what it considers to be boycotting the Jewish State.

Texas law defines boycotting Israel as "refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israeli-controlled territory."

Other states have taken action against Unilver over the settlement ban. Florida and New Jersey have added Unilever to a similar list, and Arizona has already begun to pull millions out of Unilever.

There are over 30 US states with laws against the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that calls for international boycotts to put pressure on Israel over its crimes against the Palestinians. The laws prohibit states from doing business with companies and individuals that are determined to be boycotting Israel. Contractors wishing to do business with these states have to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel.

After Ben & Jerry’s announced its move to stop selling ice cream in the occupied territories in July, Israel launched a "maximum pressure" campaign to influence the US and urged states with anti-BDS laws on the books to take action.

Disclosure: Antiwar.com has received donations in the past from Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 20:00
Published:9/25/2021 7:25:45 PM
[Markets] New York Gov. Hochul Launches Purge Of Cuomo Cronies New York Gov. Hochul Launches Purge Of Cuomo Cronies

Last week, New York's New Gov. Kathy Hochul threatened to fire all unvaccinated health-care workers and replace them with vaccinated foreign workers ('we're in talks with the State Department', she said, perhaps not realizing how low vaccination rates are outside the US and Europe) as she tries to make her mark on the Empire State.

While Hochul might have a little trouble ousting 20% of the state's hospital and nursing-home workers, she'll probably have a much easier time purging the last Cuomo loyalists still drawing a paycheck in Albany.

The New York Post reports that Gov. Hochul has officially launched a purge of agency heads and other officials appointed by her disgraced predecessor. At least nine of these 'Cuomo-crats' - agency heads and other high-ranking officials - will either be resigning or told that they'll be out of a job within the next few weeks according to the Post's sources.

At the top of the list of potential departures is Michael Hein, the former Ulster County Executive who was tapped by Cuomo in 2019 to oversee the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

At the start of the pandemic, Hein was put in charge of the regional control room for the Hudson Valley. In that role, he monitored key health risks as the state tenatively reopened in the summer of 2020.

More recently, Hein was supposed to oversee the distribution of $2.6 billion in federal money to at-risk tenants who needed help paying back rent and utilities. He was criticized for failing to hand out the money fast enough.

Other officials who are about to be handed their walking papers include:

  • Dr. Theodore Kastner, commissioner of the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities
  • Arlene González-Sánchez, head of the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
  • Kenneth Theobalds, chair of the New York State Insurance Fund
  • Human Rights Division Commissioner Licha Nyiendo
  • Deputy Secretary for General Government and Technology Molly Reilly
  • Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights and Workforce Debra Alligood White
  • Director of Cannabis Program Norman Birenbaum
  • Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Jeremy Shockett

But the purge truly began in earnest when Gov. Hochul sacked Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, whose handling of the pandemic in the state has been widely criticized. Zucker has also been accused of helping Cuomo minimize the death toll at nursing homes across the state (Zucker issued the infamous March 2020 order that all nursing homes must accept COVID-positive residents returning from hospitals. Amazing, Zucker also barred nursing homes from testing the returning residents for the virus.

Per the NYP, Amit Singh Bagga, who has been appointed Hochul’s deputy secretary for intergovernmental affairs, will be charged with supervising the purge.

Now it's time for New Yorkers to sit back and watch the heads roll.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 19:30
Published:9/25/2021 6:46:45 PM
[Markets] Judge Denies Police Union's Effort To Delay Vaccine Mandate in Massachusetts Judge Denies Police Union's Effort To Delay Vaccine Mandate in Massachusetts

Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times,

Massachusetts judge has denied a bid by the state police union to delay mandatory vaccinations for all state employees.

The State Police Association of Massachusetts, a union representing about 1,800 state police officers, filed a lawsuit (pdf) last week asking the judge to put the mandate on hold to give the union time to “negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment” before a deadline of Oct. 17.

“The public interest is, unquestionably, best served by stopping the spread of the virus, in order to protect people from becoming ill, ensure adequate supply of medical services, and curtail the emergence of new, deadlier variants of the virus,” Judge Jackie Cowin said in the decision, reported The Associated Press.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, issued an executive order last month that would require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all executive department employees by Oct. 17.

Executive Department employees who are not vaccinated or approved for an exemption as of October 17, 2021 will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination … Management employees not in compliance as of October 17, 2021 will also be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.” Baker’s office said in a statement.

His office also stated, “The Administration will continue to work with its union partners regarding this policy, and specific ramifications of non-compliance for staff represented by unions will be discussed well in advance of October 17 with each employee union.”

The union had asked that troopers who don’t get the vaccine be allowed to wear a mask and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing instead.

“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling; however, we respect her decision,” Michael Cherven, the union’s president, said in a statement.

“It is unfortunate that the Governor and his team have chosen to mandate one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives.”

“Throughout COVID, we have been on the front lines protecting the citizens of Massachusetts and beyond. Simply put, all we are asking for are the same basic accommodations that countless other departments have provided to their first responders, and to treat a COVID related illness as a line of duty injury.

“To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork, some of whom plan to return to other departments offering reasonable alternatives such as mask wearing and regular testing,” he added.

“The State Police are already critically short staffed and acknowledged this by the unprecedented moves which took troopers from specialty units that investigate homicides, terrorism, computer crimes, arsons, gangs, narcotics, and human trafficking, and returned them to uniformed patrol.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 19:00
Published:9/25/2021 6:25:59 PM
[Markets] "A More Difficult Backdrop Is Emerging": 5 Reasons Why Goldman Is Starting To Turn Bearish "A More Difficult Backdrop Is Emerging": 5 Reasons Why Goldman Is Starting To Turn Bearish

Last week's remarkable bounce in stocks from Monday's lows which, as a reminder, prompted the first outflow from equities in 2021...

... has sparked many questions among Wall Street's elite where even some of the biggest bulls are puzzled by the market's violent reversal (which, however, was predicted correctly by flow-tracking quants like Nomura's Charlie McElligott).

And it's not just the market's relentless ability to internalize any adverse market action and come out on top as a wave of BTFDers rushes in: as Goldman's strategist Chris Hussey wrote late on Friday, "one thing that is increasingly drawing our attention and was 'front and center' this week is how the economy, policy, and earnings growth appear to be rapidly transitioning away from the initial post-pandemic explosion of accommodation and activity and towards a slower pace as the brakes are pressed on a variety of key parts of the growth machine."

As Hussey further notes, growth is fine for now and even robust, with Goldman's economists forecasting over 4.5% GDP growth forecast to extend into 2022, but as he cautions "a developed economy like the US cannot grow at a 9% pace for very long --even as it catches up out of a pandemic."

Meanwhile, as he delineates below, a series of pieces may be falling into place to 'tap the brakes' on some of the torrid growth we have been seeing since vaccines were distributed earlier this year. Among these Goldman focuses on the impact of fading stimulus, supply chains, the virus, China, and even stock valuations which are "coalescing to create a more difficult backdrop for earnings growth and multiple expansion in the months, or at least years ahead."

Here are a few observations on all 5 of these potentially "braking" factors:

1. Stimulus. The FOMC indicated that tapering ‘may soon be warranted’ at this week’s meeting and on the back of the statement, yields on 10-year Treasuries have risen 15 bp to 1.45% while front-end rates have reset notably higher as shown in the chart below.

Interestingly, stocks also rose on the back of the Fed statement, consolidating the rebound from Monday's sell-off. And while the Fed has not done anything yet -- only suggested it is about to -- the wheels do seem to now be in place to wind down the central bank's latest QE program and to eventually start raising rates -- as soon as one year from now. Adding to this point, BofA's Michael Hartnett notes that global tapering has begun (ECB, BoE, BoC, RBA, Fed) which will see a sharp drop in global central liquidity which was $8.5 trillion in 2020, shrinks to $2.1trillion in 2021, and will be just $0.1 in 2022 (putting this in context, since the COVID outbreak central banks have bought $800MM of assets every hour, a number which shrinks to <$100MM in the second half of 2022).

And at the same time monetary policy appears to be shifting from the gas pedal to the brakes, fiscal policy may be as well. As we noted last week, Goldman's political economist wrote this week about the growing risks around the next US federal spending program and the debt limit extension in “Collision Course?” and “More Downside Risks from Washington.”

2. Supply Chains. The inability of companies to source parts, people, and commodities has been a major reason why we have warned about the slowing growth momentum we have observed in recent week. While Goldman is confidence that supply chain constraints are mainly a function of too rapid a recovery in demand, and so see it as a temporary problem, but for homebuilders, automobile manufacturers, and truckers it is all a supply problem today that is putting upward pressure on pricing and potentially downward pressure on margins (although margins have held up quite well so far). Case in point, on August 30 we warned that a slew of profit warnings are coming in the coming weeks, and between FedEx, Nike, PPG, and many others that's just what has happened.

  • Looking at the Homebuilders, Goldman highlights how DRI lowered its November quarter guidance due to an inability to get enough materials and labor while fellow builder LEN is also started fewer communities in the current environment.
  • In Autos, the bank writes that September car sales are tracking about 25% below year-ago levels - that's versus September 2020 and the heart of the pandemic - as dealer inventories are at historically low levels. The good news for car makers: prices are strong -- although this may not be so good for inflation and Fed policy (see #1 above).
  • And finally in Transports, FDX missed earnings this week as it is facing a shortage of truckers and shippers .

3. The virus. In addition to supply chain disruptions, Goldman previously cited the Delta variant as a reason for why they were seeing slower 3Q21 GDP growth when they lowered the bank's economic forecast back on Sep 6. Fast forward two weeks, and the summer wave of the virus does appear to have peaked...

... even in the US South -- as the chart below clearly shows.

Commenting on the chart above, Goldman said that "what we might have learned this summer is that the virus still has the ability to disrupt the pace of growth even among populations with high rates of vaccination. Growth does not appear to have been derailed this summer, but it does appear to be trending slower than most thought it would back on Memorial Day."

4. China. We entered this week with a lot being written about how issues surrounding China's property market are driving a global 'risk-off' sentiment shift. And we exit this week with no resolution to China's property market issues, yet the S&P 500 is UP on the week. But while it turned out that China did not derail the bull market this week, China's property market is still very big (see “The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China"). And uncertainties persist. Perhaps what we continue to discover is that China is no longer the sustained tailwind to global growth that it was back in the years following the Great Financial Crisis when the country was pushing double digit GDP growth rates (see "China Is Responsible For More Than A Third Of World GDP Growth - This Is A Problem".)

5. Valuation. According to Goldman's Hussey, "stock market valuations rarely break under their own weight" and it typically takes some other more fundamental catalyst to cause earnings to decline and investors to pay less for earnings. But as Goldman's Peter Oppenheimer highlighted in a fresh global strategy note this week, stock market returns are likely to be muted going forward relative to past cycles. Why? We are entering the current cycle with high valuations, ultra-low rates, and corporate margin headwinds from rising wages and regulation and the headwinds from de-globalization. And as the bank's chart of the week below illustrates, historically forward 10-year returns for equities have trended lower when they have started at our current elevated valuation.

Goldman's chart of the week: Valuation is not typically the cause of a bubble bursting and stocks can stay ‘expensive’ for a long time. But over a long time, the returns that you might expect to get from investing in equities tend to be far smaller when you buy stocks at high  aluations than when you buy them when they are ‘cheap’.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 18:30
Published:9/25/2021 5:45:23 PM
[Markets] Never Say Neigh: FDA Lists 'Horse Drug' As Approved COVID Treatment Never Say Neigh: FDA Lists 'Horse Drug' As Approved COVID Treatment

While the media has spent more than a year ridiculing the widely-prescribed drug Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 - branding it a 'horse dewormer for idiots,' they've kept oddly silent about another widely prescribed drug that's also used in horses, which is being pushed by official bodies worldwide to treat the disease.

The NIH, CDC, WHO and FDA have all recommended dexamethasone - a corticosteroid which has shown efficacy in the treatment of severe covid. It's also a commonly used drug to treat allergies in horses.

The difference? One can be used to treat billions of mild-moderate cases - or as a prophylactic, while the other has a much more narrow use - those suffering from severe Covid.

As Twitter user @DoRtChristians notes: "The FDA recently told the public not to take life-saving Ivermectin because "you're not a horse""

Screenshot via FDA.gov
Screenshot via who.int
Screenshot via covid19treatmentguide.nih.gov

Yet;

Screenshot via chewy.com

Per Google (via Wedgewood pharmacy): "Dexamethasone commonly is used in horses to treat allergic reactions such as respiratory allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (heaves), hives, itching and inflammatory diseases including arthritis."

But, but...

We can only assume that because official bodies are recommending dexamethasone - and because it's used in severe covid - a much smaller fraction of those looking at ivermectin as a prophylactic and early-stage treatment, the transitive properties of media outrage over people taking a 'horse medication' don't apply.

Ivermectin

This widely prescribed anti-parasitic which is also used in horses has shown massive efficacy worldwide in the treatment of mild and moderate cases of Covid-19, plus as a prophylactic. India's Uttar Pradesh province, with a population of over 200 million, says that widespread early use of Ivermectin 'helped keep positivity [and] deaths low.'

(source, May 12th)

Separately, there have been several studies funded by the Indian government, primarily conducted through their largest govt. public medical university (AIIMS).

  • Role of ivermectin in the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers in India: A matched case-control study (source)

Conclusion: Two-dose ivermectin prophylaxis at a dose of 300 µg/kg with a gap of 72 hours was associated with a 73% reduction of SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers for the following month.

  • Ivermectin as a potential treatment for mild to moderate COVID-19 – A double blind randomized placebo-controlled trial (source)

Conclusion: There was no difference in the primary outcome i.e. negative RT-PCR status on day 6 of admission with the use of ivermectin. However, a significantly higher proportion of patients were discharged alive from the hospital when they received ivermectin.

  • Clinical Research Report Ivermectin in combination with doxycycline for treating COVID-19 symptoms: a randomized trial (source, double-blind randomized, peer-reviewed)

Discussion: In the present study, patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 infection treated with ivermectin in combination with doxycycline generally recovered 2 days earlier than those treated with placebo. The proportion of patients responding within 7 days of treatment was significantly higher in the treatment group than in the placebo group. The proportions of patients who remained symptomatic after 12 days of illness and who experienced disease progression were significantly lower in the treatment group than in the placebo group.

Here are more human studies from other countries on the 'horse dewormer':
 
Peru:
  • Sharp Reductions in COVID-19 Case Fatalities and Excess Deaths in Peru in Close Time Conjunction, State-By-State, with Ivermectin Treatments (source, peer-reviewed, University of Toronto, Universidad EAFIT)

For the 24 states with early IVM treatment (and Lima), excess deaths dropped 59% (25%) at +30 days and 75% (25%) at +45 days after day of peak deaths. Case fatalities likewise dropped sharply in all states but Lima

Spain:
  • The effect of early treatment with ivermectin on viral load, symptoms and humoral response in patients with non-severe COVID-19: A pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial (source, University of Barcelona, peer-reviewed)

Findings: Patients in the ivermectin group recovered earlier from hyposmia/anosmia (76 vs 158 patient-days; p < 0.001).

Bengladesh:
  • A Comparative Study on Ivermectin-Doxycycline and Hydroxychloroquine-Azithromycin Therapy on COVID-19 Patients (source - peer reviewed, though not govt funded)

Conclusion: According  to  our  study,  the  Ivermectin-Doxycycline combination therapy has better symptomatic relief, shortened recovery duration, fewer adverse effects, and superior patient compliance compared to the Hydroxychloroquine-Azithromycin combination. Based on this  study's  outcomes,  the  Ivermectin-Doxycycline  combination  is  a  superior  choice  for  treating  patients  with  mild to moderate COVID-19 disease.

  • A five-day course of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 may reduce the duration of illness (source, peer-reviewed double blind randomized, though small sample size)

Discussion: A 5-day course of ivermectin resulted in an earlier clearance of the virus compared to placebo (p = 0.005), thus indicating that early intervention with this agent may limit viral replication within the host. In the 5-day ivermectin group, there was a significant drop in CRP and LDH by day 7, which are indicators of disease severity.

Meanwhile, There are currently 76 ongoing or completed clinical trials on Ivermectin around the world. Below are the results of 32 which have been completed. One can visit ivermeta.com and dig down on any of these / read the entire study. The site recommends Ivermectin in conjunction with vaccines to confer the best protection against Covid-19, however we'll leave that to you and your doctor to discuss.

Screenshot, http://ivermeta.com/

Why does Ivermectin, a 'horse dewormer' work? For starters, it's a protease inhibitor. Interestingly, Pfizer's 2x/day Covid-19 prophylactic they're trialing right now is also a protease inhibitor.

Yet doctors who advocate for Ivermectin are ridiculed by the media (more here and here and here).

The MSM swarmed over 'horse paste overdoses'  for weeks after a handful cases nationwide (and no deaths) - including an outright lie by Rolling Stone which they were forced to correct after the hospital in question denied the claim.

Meanwhile, the likes of Maddow, Don Lemon and Chris Hayes jumped right on the propaganda bandwagon - with Maddow promoting the debunked ER story in a tweet she refuses to delete - and Twitter refuses to censor for misinformation.

Why would any doctor put their career on the line to publicly advocate for ivermectin when this is the result?

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 18:00
Published:9/25/2021 5:13:48 PM
[Markets] Female American Soldier Allegedly Assaulted By Afghan Refugees At Fort Bliss Camp Female American Soldier Allegedly Assaulted By Afghan Refugees At Fort Bliss Camp

A group of Afghan evacuees have allegedly assaulted a female American soldier at a refugee camp at New Mexico's Fort Bliss in what appears to be the first incident of Afghan refugees (most of whom were rescued by American forces during the chaotic final weeks before the Taliban assumed complete control of Kabul) attacking an American soldier on US soil.

Republicans slammed the Biden Administration over the incident, claiming it represents a failure of the Administration to properly vet the Afghan nationals who were rescued during a mission that cost the lives of 13 Marines.

Speaking to the Hill on Friday, the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss told the press that a female service member reported being assaulted by “a small group of male evacuees” while at the Doña Ana Complex in New Mexico on Sunday.

The military said it's looking into the allegations, and the FBI is also investigating.

"We take the allegation seriously and appropriately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation," the statement said.

"The safety and well-being of our service members, as well as all of those on our installations, is paramount. We immediately provided appropriate care, counseling and support to the service member."

A spokesperson for Fort Bliss also said the military is "implementing additional security measures to include increased health and safety patrols, additional lighting, and enforcement of the buddy system at the Dona Ana Complex."

"We will cooperate fully with the FBI and will continue to ensure the service member reporting this assault is fully supported," the statement said.

Additionally, the FBI has confirmed that its El Paso office is investigating the incident.

The assault occurred just weeks after the refugee camp was set up to house refugees offered SIVs for their work aiding the NATO combat effort in Afghanistan, which would have likely marked them for death by the Taliban.

While the statements issued by the military, FBI and Administration have used mostly sanitized language so far, it should be pretty obvious to all what just happened here. But will federal lawmakers raise a stink about the attack?

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 17:30
Published:9/25/2021 4:56:03 PM
[Markets] Huawei CFO Gets Hero's Welcome In China While Canadians Land Quietly After Biden Acquiesced To 'Hostage Diplomacy' Huawei CFO Gets Hero's Welcome In China While Canadians Land Quietly After Biden Acquiesced To 'Hostage Diplomacy'

China is essentially declaring 'victory' after the Biden DOJ struck a deal with Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou for a deferred prosecution agreement, allowing her to go free from her Canadian confinement after nearly three years. 

She was treated to a hero's welcome in a major homecoming after her Air China plane touched down at Shenzhen's Bao’an International Airport at about 10 pm local time on Saturday. State media gave the event major coverage and the city was decked out in celebratory banners of "Welcome Home" - and a sizeable crowd of supporters came out to greet her.

A teary-eyed Meng while holding a bouquet roses gave a brief speech wherein she said to the crowd, "I am finally home after over 1,000 days of suffering." She joyfully added, "Finally I am home". State media said that about 60 million people watched the live-stream of the event.

However, while in Vancouver her very loose form of house arrest wherein she was monitored 24/7 but still free to move about, had been dubbed by US media an "opulent detention"... so the reality was a far cry from "1,000 days of suffering."

"The motherland will always provide you with the most powerful support," the airport tower had radioed to her inbound flight just ahead of touchdown. Supporters on the tarmac waived the national flag of China while holding huge banners.

She must now spend two weeks at a hotel in isolation, based on the country's strict quarantine requirement for any and all travelers from foreign countries. 

According to a further description of the festive scene:

She thanked the support from the Chinese government and people, and said she was touched by President Xi Jinping’s concern for her case. 

After her speech, Meng sang along as the crowd burst into a patriotic Chinese song called "Ode to the Motherland."

But here's what Bloomberg relates of the other side what's being dubbed China's hostage diplomacy concerning the "two Michaels" subsequently released from Chinese detention in tit-for-tat exchange: "In contrast, Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig arrived to a more low-key reception. The pair landed in Calgary before sunrise on Saturday, accompanied by Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China."

"Dressed in blazers and face-masks, they were met by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who hugged the pair on the tarmac," the report details. "Government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and the nation’s spy agency, tweeted welcome messages to the pair, who were expected to reunite with the families in private."

China's state media didn't miss the opportunity to claim a "triumph" for the nation in the face of US and Canada's conspiring to keep the Huawei executive in a lengthy 'illegal detention', which both countries said was for illicit dealings with Iran under US sanctions.

People’s Daily for example titled an article hailing her return, "No Force Will Prevent China’s Progress" while claiming the ordeal as a major victory for China’s Communist Party in the face of Western aggression.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 17:00
Published:9/25/2021 4:27:14 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: Market analysts can’t agree on where stocks are going next. So double-check the data before you buy or sell Expectations and hunches don't belong in a smart investment strategy.
Published:9/25/2021 4:27:14 PM
[Markets] Mutual Funds Weekly: These money and investing tips can help you build a portfolio for all seasons Money and investing stories popular with MarketWatch readers over the past week.
Published:9/25/2021 3:47:22 PM
[Markets] Elon Musk And Girlfriend Grimes Break Up After Three Years Elon Musk And Girlfriend Grimes Break Up After Three Years

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his girlfriend Grimes have ended their relationship after three years. And we thought this one was going to go the distance...

The two are reportedly "semi-separated" and "still love each other" while remaining "on great terms", according to an exclusive from the NY Post.

Musk confirmed that the two would continue to co-parent their one year old son, X Æ A-Xii Musk.

Musk told the NY Post: “We are semi-separated but still love each other, see each other frequently and are on great terms.”

He continued: “It’s mostly that my work at SpaceX and Tesla requires me to be primarily in Texas or traveling overseas and her work is primarily in LA. She’s staying with me now and Baby X is in the adjacent room.”

While things appear to be amicable now, we can't help but wonder interesting tidbits of information Grimes could spill about Musk if their "friendship" winds up eventually dissolving, too.

Their son was born in May of 2020 and the couple was last seen in public together at the Met Gala in early September. Grimes walked the red carpet alone at the event, the report said.

Musk then threw an afterparty at the club Zero Bond that Grimes attended. The two were spotted leaving New York together the next day.

Musk had attended a party at the same club, the weekend prior, alone. 

Grimes recently prattled on about her child with Musk to Vogue: “I think having a baby was a big kind of like rebirth for me, like artistically. Like, it just like, I don’t know."

We don't know, either, Grimes. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 16:30
Published:9/25/2021 3:47:22 PM
[Markets] Just How Many Containers Of Cargo Are Stuck Off California's Coast? Just How Many Containers Of Cargo Are Stuck Off California's Coast?

By Greg Miller of American Shipper,

With around 70 container ships loaded with cargo now waiting at anchor or drifting off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, how deep of a hole are the terminals actually in? To answer that question, American Shipper analyzed data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California on exactly which ships are out there and how much cargo they can carry.

While the numbers fluctuate from day to day, there were 70 container ships in the queue on Monday with total capacity of 432,909 twenty-foot equivalent units. To put the enormity of that number in perspective, that’s more than the inbound container volume the Port of Long Beach handled in the entire month of August. It’s roughly what Charleston handles inbound in four months and what Savannah handles in two.

The combined import throughput of both Los Angeles and Long Beach in August was 893,118 TEUs. Assuming ships waiting offshore are effectively full and capacity is a good proxy for volume, and that terminals are able to process vessels at the same pace they did in August, the anchorages and drift areas could only be completely cleared if no ships arrived for 14 days straight days.

Not only would that never happen, but there is no letup in arrivals in sight. Vessel-positioning data from MarineTraffic confirms that a steady stream of container ships remains en route across the Pacific, destined for Los Angeles.

Container ship en route to the Port of Los Angeles as of Tuesday (Map: MarineTraffic)

How long ships wait for berths

The Port of Los Angeles publishes the average waiting period for a ship to reach one of its berths. On Tuesday, that number rose to an all-time high of nine days (calculated on a 30-day rolling average basis).

To gauge how much capacity has been stuck waiting for how long, American Shipper looked at aggregate TEUs by arrival date.

Thirty-six ships with a total capacity of 230,803 TEUs arrived in port waters in the seven days through Monday. That’s 54% of the total TEU capacity waiting offshore. Another 27 ships with total capacity of 176,892 TEUs arrived between one and two weeks prior to Monday, representing a further 42%. The remaining few ships arrived in late August and early September.

Arriving ships have gotten smaller

A significant change over the course of this year’s congestion crisis is that the average capacity of ships calling in Los Angeles/Long Beach has decreased, meaning that terminals handle more ships to move the same throughput.

In the current peak season, new trans-Pacific services have been introduced that use smaller vessels, pulling the average size down. The primary reason: Virtually no larger container ships have been available for sale or lease in recent months; operators are adding capacity via smaller ships by necessity, even if it means chartering them for short periods at astronomical day rates.

During the congestion peak reached earlier this year, on Feb. 1, there were 40 container ships at anchor in San Pedro Bay, which at the time seemed enormous but now seems middling. The total cargo capacity of anchored ships then was 322,721 TEUs. Of ships at anchor on Feb. 1, 15 were 10,000 TEUs or larger, or 38% of the vessel count. The average capacity in the Feb. 1 queue was 8,068 TEUs.

Several larger container ships have suffered waits of beyond one week. The 13,092-TEU Maersk Elba arrived Sept. 7; the 11,142-TEU MSC Avni on Sept. 9; the 11,356-TEU CMA CGM Callisto on Sept. 11; the 10,055-TEU Hyundai Neptune and 14,036-TEU MSC Livorno on Sept. 12; and the 14,026-TEU ONE Blue Jay on Sept. 13.

In contrast, as of Monday, there were 17 ships larger than 10,000 TEUs at anchor or drifting, representing only 24% of the total ship count. The average capacity of all ships in the queue was down to 6,184 TEUs — 24% below the average ship size on Feb. 1.

The change in ship size helps put the growth of the offshore queue in context. The news headlines focus on the total number of ships waiting for berths, which has risen from 40 in February to around 70 currently, an increase of 75%. Yet the aggregate capacity of ships in the offshore “parking lot” — a proxy for delayed cargo — has only risen by 34% over the same timeframe, because of the declining size of ships in the queue.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 16:00
Published:9/25/2021 3:15:06 PM
[Markets] Taliban Hangs 4 Bodies In Public Square - Says Will Resume "Cutting Off Of Hands" Taliban Hangs 4 Bodies In Public Square - Says Will Resume "Cutting Off Of Hands"

The Associated Press reports on Saturday that the Taliban has begun hanging dead bodies of executed criminals from the main square in Herat city in western Afghanistan, as a gruesome message to the public in order to deter crime and ensure conformity to Islam. 

The AP report cited eyewitnesses, including "Wazir Ahmad Seddiqi, who runs a pharmacy on the side of the square" who told the agency that "that four bodies were brought to the main square and three bodies were moved to other parts of the city for public display."

Via AFP: A dead body (top L and blurred) displayed in a public area is hanging on a crane in Herat on September 25, 2021

The Taliban claims that the four were killed by police after a kidnapping incident was thwarted. A Taliban police statement said "the four were killed in crossfire" with security forces and a father and son were able to be rescued.

This comes a day after the Taliban confirmed its religious enforcers of public conformity to strict sharia law would once again be enacting corporal punishment akin to the pre-2001 days, including mutilation such as cutting off of hands for certain offenses. A Taliban spokesman and overseer of sharia laws in Afghanistan after the August US pullout, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, explained in the following

"Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security," he said, saying it had a deterrent effect. He said the Cabinet was studying whether to do punishments in public and will "develop a policy."

In recent days in Kabul, Taliban fighters have revived a punishment they commonly used in the past — public shaming of men accused of small-time theft.

On at least two occasions in the last week, Kabul men have been packed into the back of a pickup truck, their hands tied, and were paraded around to humiliate them.

Turabi further defended the notorious soccer stadiums of death which shocked the globe during the prior Taliban rule over two decades ago. At that time the public would be invited to watch convicts having limbs hacked off, as well as people being shot at point-blank range.

"Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments," the Taliban official told AP further. "No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran."

In the wake of the recent Taliban reconquest of the country, some Western officials including in the Biden administration suggested the hardline Islamist group had "moderated" - however this premature assessment is looking like mere wishful thinking.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 15:30
Published:9/25/2021 2:50:47 PM
[Markets] What's Worth Streaming: Here’s everything coming to Netflix in October 2021 — and what’s leaving 'You,' 'The Baby-Sitters Club' and 'Locke & Key' return for new seasons, along with 'Seinfeld' and original movies with Jake Gyllenhaal, Megan Fox and Princess Diana
Published:9/25/2021 2:24:17 PM
[Markets] "Pure Evil!" , "War Criminal!": Crowd Heckles Hillary During Installation As Chancellor Of Irish University "Pure Evil!" , "War Criminal!": Crowd Heckles Hillary During Installation As Chancellor Of Irish University

Hillary Clinton has finally been inaugurated... as the first female chancellor of Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland - but not before she was loudly heckled on the way to her coronation.

As Clinton entered the university, protesters could be heard shouting: "pure evil!:" and "war criminal!" amongst other things, including:

"You’re not welcome in Belfast! Go away, you war criminal scumbag!"

"How many kids have you killed today?"

"imperialist scum"

"Yankee"

Here's the full video posted by Lasair Dhearg, as left-wing socialist republican group.

As the Western Journal notes:

One man who addressed a crowd on the video shared online accused Clinton of being responsible for “over 400 drone strikes across multiple nations which overwhelmingly killed civilians and even children.”

The man also blasted Clinton for labeling black men “superpredators when she helped lobby for the 1994 [U.S. crime bill].”

Appointed in 2020, Clinton spoke at the event for around 15 minutes, during which she suggested that the people of Northern Ireland "work together to resolve their differences over Brexit and dealing with the legacy of past violence."

Clinton, as it stands, voted in favor of the war in Iraq - and as US Secretary of State was instrumental in the Obama administration's decision to bomb Libya, "leaving Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven," according to the New York Times (h/t Daily Caller).  Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, meanwhile, promised in 2010 that he'd stop illegal African migration into Europe for a tidy sum of US$6.3 billion per year. Two months later, he was dead.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 15:15
Published:9/25/2021 2:24:17 PM
[Markets] : The tipping point for a low-carbon energy future is right around the corner: S&P Global Platts The tipping point on the path to a low-carbon energy future is just four years away, a new report Friday said.
Published:9/25/2021 1:57:47 PM
[Markets] Help Me Retire: ‘I’m no hedonist’ but I want to build our next home for retirement, my wife says no. We’ve saved $3 million. What should I do? Have a question about your own retirement savings? Email us at HelpMeRetire@marketwatch.com
Published:9/25/2021 1:29:04 PM
[Markets] 3,000 NYC Teachers Asked For Vaccination Exemptions, Union Says 3,000 NYC Teachers Asked For Vaccination Exemptions, Union Says

By Peter Svab of Epoch Times,

Around 3,000 New York City teachers have asked for medical and religious exemptions from the city’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, according to the city’s teachers union.

Teachers rally at a demonstration against COVID-19 vaccination mandates

The city requires all school staff to be vaccinated or exempted by midnight on Sept. 27. The union, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) said on Sept. 24 that 90-95 percent of teachers have received the vaccine. That would leave about 4,000-8,000 unvaccinated, including those who have asked for the exemption.

The exemptions are largely medical, UFT President Michael Mulgrew told reporters during a Sept. 24 teleconference. He didn’t specify how many have been granted. Those rejected have an option to appeal, but Mulgrew said he didn’t know how many have done so.

With a pending appeal, a teacher can’t participate in instruction, but gets exempted from the mandate, which requires those unvaccinated after the deadline to either leave their jobs with a severance package or take unpaid leave.

Given the city’s total of some 78,000 teachers, about 4 percent have asked for exemptions.

Both Mulgrew and Mark Cannizzaro, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, warned that the mandate deadline could cause staffing shortages, despite the city’s assurances that there will be enough substitutes.

“Principals and superintendents have been reaching out consistently to tell us that they are concerned about not having enough staff come Tuesday morning,” Cannizzaro said during the teleconference.

The blamed the city administration for a lack of advanced planning and suggested the city should allow unvaccinated staffers to still come to work for as long as it’s needed to resolve staffing issues at their individual schools.

“Until there’s a plan to make sure schools are safe, we need to reevaluate what we’re doing going forward,” Cannizzaro said.

They also criticized the city for putting the deadline on Monday, leaving schools in a position where they may learn on Monday night, they need a substitute for somebody the following morning.

“Who’s the genius who decided to do it on a Monday by midnight?” Mulgrew said.

Cannizzaro suggested a better way would have been to place the deadline before the start of the school year, before a holiday, or before a long weekend.

“Perhaps we would have had enough time to make contingency plans to be ready to welcome students,” he said.

The municipal workers union has been fighting the mandate in court and initially managed to get it put on hold. But the court lifted the restraining order on Sept. 23.

“This case has already led to progress in protecting the rights of our members, since the city—in the wake of the court’s initial issuance of the restraining order—admitted that there can be exceptions to the vaccine mandate,” Municipal Labor Committee Chair Harry Nespoli said in a Sept. 22 statement.

“The court—while lifting the restraining order—has not made a final decision, and we are preparing additional material to support our case.”

The city explained the mandate as a way to reduce risk posed by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, as well as to prevent school closures due to outbreaks. It imposed a slew of other restrictions including mandatory masks for both students and staff, 3-foot distancing between students when possible, and biweekly random testing (among students whose parents consented). The testing frequency was increased to weekly upon UFT’s request. Based on the rules, one student testing positive could lead to the whole class being relegated to remote learning for 7-10 days, regardless of whether the others test positive of not. Schools have also nixed supposedly riskier activities such as indoor eating and extracurriculars like choir, band, and sports.

Many have opposed the rules, questioning why children, who are at low risk of getting serious symptoms from COVID-19, are being forced to wear masks all day while celebrities and politicians have been seen attending numerous events maskless.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 14:00
Published:9/25/2021 1:29:04 PM
[Markets] JetBlue Flight Diverted After Passenger Storms Cockpit, Strangles Flight Attendant JetBlue Flight Diverted After Passenger Storms Cockpit, Strangles Flight Attendant

The number of in-air incidents that have taken place in 2021 seems to be continuing to rise.

But, unlike many other disturbances that have been happening on flights, the most recent one didn't have anything to do with a mask mandate.

Instead, a recent JetBlue flight from Boston to San Juan had to be diverted on Wednesday of last week after a passenger "became angry" about being unable to make a cell phone call toward the end of a flight, according to The Daily Beast.

The report, which cited an FBI affidavit, said that a passenger named Khalil El Dahr had to be restrained to a chair with "multiple seatbelt extenders" after an "insane" altercation during a flight. 

El Dahr reportedly pulled himself out of his seat and "rushed toward the cockpit" with about 45 minutes left in his flight. He yelled in both Spanish and Arabic that "someone should shoot and kill him", the Daily Beast reported.

From there, he punched and kicked a flight attendant that attempted to stop him, strangling the attendant with his own zip tie.

"Six or seven" crew members then attempted to restrain the man, according to the affidavit.

El Dahr broke out of the restraints again and was eventually subdued with "at least four seatbelt extenders".

The plane was met by law enforcement when it landed in San Juan. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 13:30
Published:9/25/2021 12:47:05 PM
[Markets] Retirement Weekly: My father left part of his IRA to my brother, but my brother died before inheriting. Now what? Designating beneficiaries on retirement accounts is crucial
Published:9/25/2021 12:26:22 PM
[Markets] Welcome To The Central Bank Hotel, Once Inside You Can Never Leave Welcome To The Central Bank Hotel, Once Inside You Can Never Leave

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

Central bank digital currencies are on the way. The German Central Bank just embraced a digital euro. Let's discuss the risks...

Fintech and Global Payments

 Jens Weidmann, president of the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank gave the opening speech at the digital conference “Fintech and the global payments landscape – exploring new horizons

Exploring a Digital Euro

The title of Weidmann speech was Exploring a Digital Euro

Emphasis mine with my thoughts in braces [ ]

Paper money, for instance, was first introduced in China about a thousand years ago. This innovation eventually transformed the payments system. Today, digitalisation is on the cusp of overhauling payments.

Central banks have to work out how to respond to this challenge. One possibility is the issuing of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). According to a survey by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the share of central banks conducting work on CBDC for general or wholesale use rose to 86% last year. Many of them have made significant progress.

Two months ago, the Eurosystem launched a project to investigate key questions regarding the design of a CBDC for the euro area. The aim of the investigation is to prepare us for the potential launch of a digital euro. Experiments have already shown that, in principle, a digital euro is feasible using existing technologies.

As my ECB colleague Fabio Panetta has stressed, a digital euro would have “no liquidity risk, no credit risk, no market risk,” in this way resembling cash.

[No Risk? Really] 

The protection of privacy would thus be a key priority in terms of maintaining people’s trust. European data protection rules would have to be complied with. Nevertheless, a digital euro would not be as anonymous as cash. In order to prevent illicit activities such as money laundering or terrorist financing, legitimate authorities would have to be able to trace transactions in individual, justified cases.

[Every Case]

But designing CBDC involves curbing its risks. In order to prevent excessive withdrawals of bank deposits, it has been suggested that a cap be placed on the amount of digital euro that each individual can hold. Or that digital euro holdings in excess of a certain limit could be rendered unattractive by applying a penalty interest rate.

[No Risk? I thought you said there was no risk.]

If a digital euro were accessible for non-residents, this could impact on capital flows and euro exchange rates. What this calls for is international and multilateral collaboration.

[Wait a second, is this another risk?]

Self-reinforcing loops and “lock-in” effects may tie users to one platform and exclude competitors. Some observers have been reminded of “Hotel California”, the famous song by the American rock band “The Eagles”: it’s such a lovely place, with plenty of room; but once inside you can never leave.

[Hotel Central Bank: Once inside you can never leave.]

The Eurosystem has no commercial interest in user data or behaviour. A digital euro could therefore help to safeguard what has always been the essence of money: trust.

[Ah yes, trust that interest rates won't go even more negative, money won't expire, and withdrawals won't be capped].

Central banks need to be at the cutting edge of technology. Otherwise, they cannot provide the backbone of payment systems and offer safe and trusted money for the digital age.

This has prompted all major central banks to start exploring issuance of CBDC. However, our success as a money creator will depend not so much on speed, but on the trust of those who are supposed to use the money.

Europe Moving Ahead

It appears Europe is moving ahead faster than the Fed. 

The risks are obvious.

  • Expiring Money

  • Increasingly Negative Interest Rates

  • Withdrawals Capped

  • Withdrawals Taxed 

  • Gifts Taxed

And once inside you can never leave. 

Livin' it up at the Hotel Fedifornia has a nice ring to it. ECBifornia isn't as catchy. 

* * *

Like these reports? If so, please Subscribe to MishTalk Email Alerts.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 13:00
Published:9/25/2021 12:26:22 PM
[Markets] Sam To Become Major Hurricane Today Sam To Become Major Hurricane Today

Hurricane Sam has rapidly strengthened from a tropical storm over the Atlantic Basin and is slated to become a major hurricane Saturday as it traverses over warm 84-degree water, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). 

Sam is the 18th named one of the hurricane season and has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, classifying it as a Category 2 hurricane. NHC expects the storm to become a Category 3 storm on Saturday and then a Category 4 hurricane Sunday. 

No coastal watches or warnings are in effect as Sam moves west at 14 mph about 1,300 miles east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands. 

The storm's path remains uncertain as spaghetti models show disagreement: One model shows the storm could shift northeast and become a non-issue for the US, and the other shows it could come close to South Florida, according to BocaNewsNow.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, another tropical disturbance could develop off the coast of Africa in the coming days. The development of this system could occur by the middle of next week.

More certainly of Sam's path should be known by the end of the weekend. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 12:35
Published:9/25/2021 11:49:29 AM
[Markets] Crypto: China’s crypto ban has almost achieved a ‘meme-like status,’ but here are the lingering impacts Most analysts expect the sell-offs from 'China FUD' to be short-term, but China's most recent crypto crackdown could further changes the industry's global distribution.
Published:9/25/2021 11:49:29 AM
[Markets] The Ratings Game: Olive Garden parent says it’s finding lots of new talent but COVID contact tracing has caused staffing disruptions Darden Restaurants says it has a system in place to hire new workers but contact tracing is forcing many to take temporary leave.
Published:9/25/2021 11:20:06 AM
[Markets] Norwegian Government Announces Lifting Of Final COVID-19 Measures Norwegian Government Announces Lifting Of Final COVID-19 Measures

By Frazer Norwell of TheLocal,

On Friday, the Norwegian government announced that most of the last remaining coronavirus restrictions would be scrapped from Saturday, and life would return to normal with "increased preparedness".

Oslo from above

Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced on Friday that from tomorrow 4pm, most of the final remaining national Covid-19 measures in Norway would be dropped.

“Now we can live almost as we did before the pandemic hit us. I do not think everything will be as before. I think the coronavirus will affect us for the rest of our lives, for better or worse. We have learned how vulnerable we are and how much we can achieve when we stand together,” Solberg told a press conference on Friday.

The decision to lift measures such as social distancing was based on advice from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and the Norwegian Directorate of Health. In addition, limits on numbers at gatherings will also be axed, and rules stopping venues letting in guests past midnight will be repealed, and club-goers will be able to hit dance floors once again.

“The NIPH and the Norwegian Directorate of Health gave us advice on Monday that it will be possible to switch to normal everyday life around the turn of the month. The positive development has continued this week, and that is the reason why the government – after a thorough assessment – has concluded that tomorrow at 4pm, we will move on to normal everyday life.

Although most of the last remaining measures will be scrapped, those who test positive for Covid-19 will still have to self-isolate, and unvaccinated people living with someone infected will also need to quarantine.

Furthermore, the traffic lights system for schools will remain in place, and entry restrictions and travel rules (which we will have more on in a separate article) would stay in place for now.

Municipalities would still have the right to introduce their local restrictions and policy on face masks and gathering limits.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 12:10
Published:9/25/2021 11:20:06 AM
[Markets] The Conversation: Hearing aids could soon cost less than $1,000 and be bought at the drugstore Rules on how over-the-counter hearing aids can be marketed and sold are now being written.
Published:9/25/2021 10:57:12 AM
[Markets] Canary Islands Volcano Enters 'New Explosive Phase', Suspending All Flights Canary Islands Volcano Enters 'New Explosive Phase', Suspending All Flights

The volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma entered a new explosive phase as an eruption intensified Friday into Saturday, according to Reuters

The Cumbre Vieja volcano first began erupting last Sunday, so about a week ago, spewing thousands of tons of lava, destroyed hundreds of homes, and displaced more than 6,000 people. 

But while the news cycle for the volcano simmered down by mid last week - it appears to have regained attention due to La Palma officials warning: 

"Volcanic surveillance measurements carried out since the beginning of the eruption recorded the highest-energy activity so far during Friday afternoon." 

A video shared on Twitter shows the volcano unleashing a massive shockwave. 

As a result of the smoke and ash, Spanish airport operator Aena announced that the island's airport suspended all flights on Saturday. 

"La Palma airport is inoperative due to ash accumulation. Cleaning tasks have started, but the situation may change at any time," it tweeted.

Spanish carrier Binter said, "it is not yet possible to say when we can resume flights." 

No casualties have been reported so far, but building structures' damage is expected to be nearly half a billion dollars and climbing. 

The latest round of heightening activity from Cumbre Vieja has sparked concerns from government officials, such as the committee spokesperson for the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca) and director of the National Geographic Institute (IGN) in the Canary Islands, Maria Jose Blanco, who warned a partial or total collapse of the volcanic cone is possible, according to The Canary News

There's no telling how long the eruption could last, but some volcanologists have said anywhere between a few weeks to a couple of months. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 11:45
Published:9/25/2021 10:57:12 AM
[Markets] Canadians Held In China Coming Home After Huawei CFO's Release Canadians Held In China Coming Home After Huawei CFO's Release

By Omid Ghoreishi of The Epoch Times,

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are on their way back to Canada, the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a news conference on the evening of Sept. 24. The two men are widely viewed as victims of Beijing’s “hostage diplomacy” carried out in retaliation against Canada’s arrest and detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. prosecutors in late 2018. Meng was released earlier on Friday after reaching a deal with the U.S. Justice Department.

(L-R) Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadians who were detained in China following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Canada on a U.S. extradition request. (AP photo)

Trudeau said the two men, who have been imprisoned in China since December 2018, boarded a plane with Canada’s ambassador Dominic Barton enroute to Canada around 7:30 p.m. Ottawa time.

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her Vancouver home to attend a court hearing on Sept. 24, 2021. (Don MacKinnon/AFP via Getty Images)

Trudeau made the announcement hours after the extradition case against Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder, was dropped and she was allowed to leave Canada.

She reportedly left on a flight to China the same evening.

Earlier in the day, Meng appeared before a U.S. federal court, where she reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.

She later appeared before a Canadian court, where her bail conditions were lifted and she was free to leave the country.

Kovrig and Spavor were detained in China shortly after Meng’s arrest in Vancouver on Dec. 1, 2018, on a U.S. extradition request. Their detentions are widely seen as instances of Beijing’s “hostage diplomacy.”

Meng was charged with bank fraud for allegedly lying to HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings with Iran, leading HSBC to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The Beijing regime, which warned Canada of dire consequences if Meng was not released, had charged Kovrig and Spavor with espionage.

Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg attends his retrial at the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in Dalian, northeastern China’s Liaoning province on Jan. 14, 2019. (CCTV via AP)

The two were initially held in solitary confinement, with the lights kept on in their cells day and night. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which is recognized as a torture method by human rights organizations.

In August, a Chinese court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison. Kovrig, whose trial was held in March, had yet to be sentenced.

“These two men have been through an unbelievably difficult situation, but it is inspiring and it is good news for all of us that they are on their way home to their families,” Trudeau said.

The leader of the opposition Conservative Party Erin O’Toole also welcomed the news. “Our family shares the elation of millions of Canadians that our citizens are coming home. Thank you to all diplomats involved!” O’Toole said on Twitter.

Another Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, has been given a death sentence in China. Schellenberg was originally sentenced 15 years in prison on drug smuggling charges, but had his sentence changed after Meng’s arrest. No update was provided on Schellenberg’s case on Sept. 24.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 11:20
Published:9/25/2021 10:24:39 AM
[Markets] Why Is Gold Not Rising? Why Is Gold Not Rising?

Authored by Matthew Piepenburg via GoldSwitzerland.com,

Many are asking why gold is not rising, as just about every other commodity makes new highs in the backdrop of inflationary tailwinds.

That’s a very fair question.

Some are even saying gold is dead, a silly and “barbarous” old relic of ancient times, ancient math and ancient common sense.

Needless to say, we beg to differ, not because we are Swiss-based gold bugs, but simply…well… let’s explain.

Current Price vs. Current and Future Roles

For those who see history and math as guides rather than “barbarous” and outdated disciplines, their convictions regarding gold’s role, and even price trajectory, do not wane or rise simply due to the paper price of gold.

To some extent, and despite Basel 3, gold remains openly manipulated by a handful of central and bullion banks who are terrified of gold’s shine for no other reason than it embarrasses currencies (and mad monetary experiments) falling deeper into discredit.

But we track the movement of physical gold every day, and can say with blunt clarity that the paper trade in gold has zero to do with the those otherwise “barbarous” forces of the actual supply and demand of this precious metal.

Zero.

In short, the paper price of gold has become a fiction accepted as reality, which is not surprising in a financial landscape (i.e., historically over-valued stocks, negative yielding bonds and central bankers allergic to transparency) which defies every measure of honest price discovery or basic capitalism.

As for the never-ending gold vs. BTC debate, it would be wrong to say Bitcoin hasn’t taken (or continue to take) some market share away from gold, but at less than $1 trillion, BTC is not going to destroy gold’s $10T market share.

In short, the current gold price is a less important topic than its current and future role as historical insurance against mathematically-failing financial and economic systems around the globe.

That said, we are not apologists for the falling gold prices, nor do we doubt that by the end of this decade, gold will price well above $4000 per ounce and greatly reward informed investors playing the long game rather than putting green.

More on that later.

Gold’s Three Roles

For now, let’s consider gold’s historical role as a hedge against: 1) recession risk; 2) market volatility risk; and 3) inflation/currency risk.

1. Recession Hedging

As for recessions, gold is like an emotional and mathematical barometer testing the temperature of over-heated monetary expansion.

As such, it moves higher even before policy makers add more inevitable “stimulus” (i.e., mouse-click fiat currencies) into the system.

By the time policy makers officially announce a recession, it’s far too late for most investors to react.

Fortunately, gold acts more quickly, anticipating monetary expansion even before the money printers start churning.

Long before the “COVID recession” of 2020, for example, the writing was already on the wall that markets and central bankers were getting desperate.

By late 2019, debt levels were off the charts, liquidity was drying up, the repo markets were drinking hundreds of billions of Fed dollars per month and an un-official QE to the tune of $60 billion per month was in full-swing.

Then came COVID in March. Markets and GDP were tanking and gold was already on course to see (in dollar terms) a 25% rise in 2020, after a 19% rise in 2019.

In short, as a recession hedge, gold was ahead of the central bankers in protecting investors.

By the way, the Fed’s record for calling recessions and warning investors is 0 for 10…

2. Hedging Market Volatility

We all remember March of 2020, when markets puked and gold fell along with it, primarily sold-off as a liquidity source for players facing margin costs which they were forced to pay off with gold holdings.

As in 2008 and 2009, gold initially followed the stock ship below the waterline—though not nearly as far as BTC…

But as mentioned above, gold reacted quickly, anticipating the money printing (and hence dollar debasement) to come, rising steadily for the rest of that fiscal year.

Of course, stocks rose as well, thanks to the unbelievable and historically unprecedented money creation witnessed in 2020—more QE in less than a year than all of the combined QE1-QE4 and “Operation Twist” which we saw from 2009-2015.

But thankfully, gold doesn’t just follow stock markets, it hedges them, as the past shows and the future will once again confirm.

Such monetary stimulus creates what von Mises would call a “crack-up boom,” and near-term such liquidity is just wonderful for stocks and bonds.

As we’ve written elsewhere, COVID—and the policy measures which followed– literally saved the securities bubble and made this “boom” even bigger.

But the “boom”-to-volatility to sequence to come from such risk assets reaching price levels which have absolutely nothing to do with valuation will be infinitely more painful (“crack-up”) down the road for those assets than for gold the moment when, not if, this horrific financial system implodes under its own and historically un-matched weight.

In short, gold will zig when the markets zag.

The anti-gold crowd, of course, will smirk and hug their bonds, reminding us all that gold is a yield-less relic while forgetting to confess that the “no yield” of gold is ironically preferrable to over $19 trillion worth of negative yielding sovereign bonds…

3. Hedging Inflation & Currency Risk

Which brings us to the big question of the day, why is gold not rising when it should be ripping as a hedge against what is clearly an inflationary new normal?

Fair question.

We are asking this ourselves, as real rates (the ideal setting for gold) fall deeper into negative depths with each new day…

…as inflation, as well as inflation expectations, are on the objective rise:

Last year, for example, gold saw this inflation coming and thus its rising, double-digit price moves reflected the same.

But this year, with real rates still diving and inflation rising, gold is showing single single-digit losses rather than gains.

What gives?

The Market Still Believes the “Transitory” Meme

Our ultimate opinion boils down to this: We think the market still believes the central bank myth (i.e., propaganda) that the current inflation is indeed, only “transitory.”

We’ve written ad nauseum as to why inflation is anything but “transitory,” yet we can nevertheless respect the deflationists’ argument.

The Deflationists

The deflation camp, for example, rightly argues that recessionary forces, if left alone, are inherently deflationist, and the signs of economic (rather than market) declines are everywhere.

But the key mistake which such deflation (or dis-inflation) narratives make is that these natural forces have not, nor will be, “left alone.”

In other words, deflationists are somehow ignoring the monetary and fiscal elephant in the room.

That is, more, not less, unnatural monetary and fiscal liquidity is entering the system at historically unprecedented levels, levels that are more than enough to quash such otherwise natural deflationary forces.

Stated even more plainly, moderation at the fiscal and monetary level died long ago.

Simple Realism—Inflation as Necessity Rather than Debate

Central banks are desperate to reach higher inflation to inflate their way out of debt without admitting the same.

This is nothing new for fork-tongued policy makers who once “targeted” 2% inflation as a ceiling, but are now effectively “allowing” 2% inflation as the new floor.

Just as Nixon said the closing of the gold window was “transitory” in 1971, or as Bernanke promised that QE would be transitory in 2009, the current lie from on high about “transitory inflation” is no less a lie in 2021 as those other lies were in 1971 or 2009.

Again, we all just kina know this, right?

Furthermore, we just need to be realists rather than dreamers to see the inflation reality now and ahead.

Central bankers, for example, may be dishonest, but they aren’t entirely stupid, just desperate and realistic.

In the U.S., for example, a staggering as well as openly embarrassing $28.5 trillion public (i.e., national) debt level quickly limits one’s options at the White House or the Eccles Building.

Not Many Options Other than Inflation

In this realistic light, let’s consider their options. Policy makers have four tools to address such debt, namely: raise taxes, cut spending, declare bankruptcy, or devalue their currencies through inflation.

The first two are already in play in the U.S., namely political efforts to raise taxes and ‘talk’ of cutting spending, both politically difficult options.

Taking bankruptcy off the table, leaves devaluing the U.S. Dollar as the favored option, which is achieved by deliberately taking real interest rates to extreme negative levels.

Allowing inflation to run while keeping rates low reduces the number of dollars needed to repay the debt.

This hurts regular folks, but as we’ve said so many times, the Fed is not interested in regular folks.

In other words, by decreasing the value of the U.S. Dollar, the U.S. is effectively paying off its current debt with devalued money. There are no permission slips needed from Congress, nor taxpayers.

Given such realism, let us be repeatedly blunt and clear: Unlike gold not rising, inflation is not, nor will it be, “transitory.”

Instead, deliberate inflation is an inherently and deliberately necessary tool used by the same anti-heroes who put us in this debt hole.

More Fed-Speak, Less Honesty

This means the Fed will come up with whatever excuses, words, phrases and lies to justify being more dovish despite publicly flirting with hawkish talk about a Fed taper.

Already, Powell is taking the Fed way beyond its mandate and talking about social and environmental activism, as these are nice phrases to justify, you guessed it: More money creation and more (not “transitory”) inflation.

As for me, hearing Powell talk about “labor market inequality” after the Fed has spent years making the top 1% richer at the expense of an increasingly poorer bottom-90% is so rich in hypocrisy that it makes the eyes water.

In this opaque light, the notion of “Fed independence” is a complete and utter fiction.

Instead, the Fed is slowly crossing the line into becoming the direct financier to the entire nation—and the only way it can do this is via monetary expansion and deliberate (as well as much higher) inflation, which is a tax on the poor and bullet to the heart of the U.S. Dollar. Period. Full stop.

It’s All About Debt

Again, this all comes realistically back to debt.

When there’s too much unpayable debt (be it at the zombified corporate level or the embarrassed national level), rising rates becomes fatal.

The Fed has learned since 2018 that even a slight rise in rates kills the debt-saturated markets whose capital gains taxes are about all that Uncle Sam can declare as income in a nation whose GDP was sold to China years ago.

And yet… and yet… the markets somehow wish to believe the fantasy (and Fed-speak) that inflation is only “transitory.”

What’s Ahead?

We strongly think differently.

As blunt realists, we see the Fed perhaps raising rates nominally, but when adjusted by openly deliberate (yet openly denied) inflation, real rates will fall deeper as inflation rises higher.

This is because the simple reality (and choice) of nations with their backs against a debt wall is always the pursuit of inflation by design, not deflation.

As I recently wrote, nothing is real anymore, and all taboos are broken. The Fed, through QE and/or the Repurchase Program, will print more money as fiscal policy rises alongside—a veritable double-whammy for more “liquidity” to come.

This, of course, is crazy and ends badly.

The Fed, along with the White House, have tried since Greenspan to outlaw natural market forces and needed austerity in order to bloat markets, keep their jobs or win re-election.

Since we can never grow or default (?) our way out of the greatest debt hole in our history, the realistic playbook ahead is negative real rates—i.e., inflation rising higher and faster than repressed Treasury yields.

Once this becomes obvious rather than “debated,” gold will rise along side the money supply to levels well above it’s current, yet admittedly, low price.

Slowly, but surely, the $19 trillion in negative-yielding sovereign bonds will see outflows from that discredited asset and hence inflows into the “barbarous” asset: Gold.

For now, we are patient realists rather than apologists, as the market seemingly continues to price gold for only “transitory” inflation.

But once inflationary reality rises above the current “transitory” fantasy, gold will not only surge in price, but serve its far more important role of hedging against undeniable inflation and the equally undeniable (i.e., destructive) impact such inflation will have on global currencies in general and the U.S. Dollar in particular.

Gold: Biding Its Time

Despite such signposts from math, history and Real Politik, gold is currently under attack for not “doing enough,” despite two years of double-digit rises.

Gold investors, however, are not greedy, they are patient, and they hold this physical rather than paper asset for the long game, as previously described.

And as for that long game, the inflation ahead, as well destruction of the currency in your pocket today and tomorrow, means today’s gold price is not nearly as relevant an issue as gold’s role in protecting far-sighted investors from what’s ahead.

In the end, gold’s primary role is acting as insurance for a global financial and currency system already burning to the ground.

But for those naturally asking about price, forecasting and models, as any who worked in a bank know, such models are as complex as they are useless.

We keep things simpler and humbler.

By just tracking monetary growth rates with certain regressions, a realistic price target for gold based upon inevitable monetary expansion suggests gold at well past $4000 by the end of this decade.

That may or may not seem sexy enough for those chasing returns today, but when those returns convert into losses too hard to imagine as markets reach new highs, we must genuinely remind you that even with Fed “support,” all bubbles do the same thing: “Pop.”

We are not here to tell you when, as no one can.

We are simply suggesting you prepare, rather than react.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 10:30
Published:9/25/2021 9:55:03 AM
[Markets] UK's Fertilizer Crisis Spreads To EU After Another Firm Slashes Output UK's Fertilizer Crisis Spreads To EU After Another Firm Slashes Output

Europe's energy crisis has claimed another victim, with Austrian fertilizer producer Borealis AG slashing the output of ammonia after the cost of the primary feedstock, natural gas, compresses margins in an industry already facing tight supplies, according to Bloomberg

Borealis' ammonia-producing plant uses natural gas to make fertilizer. The high cost of natgas makes fertilizer uneconomical to make. This is yet another sign of deepening woes for the industry after the UK government said it would provide "limited financial support" to help CF Industries restart one of its fertilizer plants this week. 

The culprit behind surging natgas prices has been declining flows into Europe via Russia, though there are signs natgas shipments could increase in November. But that won't alleviate high prices because stocks on the continent are well below average ahead of the winter season, indicating Europe's energy crisis may drag on for months. 

Disruptions of ammonia supply and other fertilizers have had a significant impact on the production of carbon dioxide supply in the UK, sending the industry into a tizzy and rippling through food supply chains, such as slaughterhouses to packaging to carbonated drinks to dry ice production. 

Commodity analysts at CRU Group said half the continent's ammonia capacity could be at risk due to dwindling production because of elevated natgas prices. Spot prices  of ammonia per ton in Western Europe have surged from around $225 per ton at the beginning of the virus pandemic to $700 per ton this month. 

Borealis' reduction in ammonia production is a sign the fertilizer crisis continues to ripple across the continent. The company said Thursday it would analyze the situation" regarding its plants in Austria, France, and the Netherlands - not much detail was given. 

"This is an ongoing story. All the nitrogen producers in Europe will be reviewing what they do," said Allan Pickett, head of analysis at IHS Markit's fertilizer group, Fertecon. "With gas prices where they are, we would confidently expect that there will be significant pressure on many of the ammonia producers related to the fertilizer industry."

Pickett said the fertilizer industry would remain under pressure as long as natgas prices remain high. There's an increasing possibility that farmers may refuse to purchase fertilizer for the upcoming 2022 growing season because of high prices. 

Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jason Miner said the move by Borealis suggests "they're running close to margins; otherwise, they wouldn't have shut down." He warned that "other plants will shut down unless natural gas prices change."

A perfect storm of events, such as declining Russian natgas into Europe, triggering an energy crisis that now bears down on food supply chains in the UK and possibly Europe, has the potential to create widespread disruptions. As for the 2022 growing season, farmers might become hesitant to plant with fertilizer prices at high levels. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 09:55
Published:9/25/2021 9:25:41 AM
[Markets] Buchanan: The Coming Climate Crisis Shakedown In Scotland Buchanan: The Coming Climate Crisis Shakedown In Scotland

Authored by Pat Buchanan,

“Follow the money!”

The old maxim is always sound advice when assessing the motives of those advancing bold agendas for the benefit of mankind.

Invariably, the newest progressive idea entails a transfer of wealth from the taxpaying classes of Western nations to our transnational, global and Third World elites.

For the masters of the universe, establishing justice and equality for the world’s poor are rewarding exercises in every sense of the word.

Consider the 2015 Paris climate accords.

Its declared goal: Save the planet from the ravages of climate change, which is caused by carbon dioxide emissions, which are produced by industrial nations with too many of the world’s factories, farms, ships, planes and autos.

Under the Paris accords, wealthier nations of the West were to set and meet strict national targets for reducing their carbon emissions.

Together, these reductions were to prevent any rise in the planet’s temperature of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This was presented as the world’s last best hope of preventing a climate catastrophe in this century.

Among the warnings the climate has been sending us:

The melting of polar ice caps, killer hurricanes, droughts, wildfires such as we had this year in California, river floods in Europe, rising sea levels, and the swamping of coastal towns, cities and islands like the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

With the apocalypse thus laid out if we failed to act, there arose the inevitable question: How much hard cash would the global elites and their Third World clients be needing from the West — to grant the West an absolution for its past sins of carbon emissions?

Answer: The rich nations would fork over $100 billion yearly to repair damage done by climate change to the poorer nations and to compensate them for reorienting their energy dependence away from coal, oil and gas, to greener forms like sun, wind and water.

But in 2016, an inconceivable event aborted the Paris climate scheme. The Americans elected Donald Trump. Calling the Paris deal a rip-off of his country, Trump swiftly pulled the U.S. out of the accords.

Upon what grounds?

Put simply, America First.

Under the Paris accords, the U.S. was to cut back carbon emissions annually and contribute the lion’s share of the $100 billion annual wealth transfer for the developing world.

Meanwhile, China, the world’s number one polluter, if carbon dioxide is a pollutant, was to be permitted to increase its carbon emissions until 2030. Thus, today, China is responsible for 28% of world carbon emissions, while the U.S. contribution is half of that, and falling.

Came then President Joe Biden, who immediately reentered the Paris deal.

In April, he pledged to pony up $5.7 billion as a payment on our share of the $100 billion. At the U.N. last week, he pledged to double that contribution to $11.4 billion. Congress has yet to appropriate either sum.

China’s game? Beijing is suggesting that it wants to stay cooperative. “China will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” pledged Chinese President Xi Jinping in prerecorded remarks to the U.N. General Assembly.

Yet, as the New York Times writes, in 2020, China “built more than three times more new coal power capacity than all other countries in the world combined, equal to ‘more than one large coal plant per week.'”

Yet there are trade-offs here.

Those Chinese coal-fired plants in poorer nations do contribute to global carbon emissions. But such coal plants also enable the peoples of Asia and Africa to enjoy the benefit such plants produce — electricity, heat, light. These can make life far better for 21st-century Asians and Africans, just as coal and oil made life better for 19th- and 20th-century Americans.

In Glasgow from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, the U.K.’s Boris Johnson will host the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26.

There, new demands will be made on the Americans, both for more money and new reductions in carbon emissions.

A paradigm, a pattern, has been long set.

Brand the U.S. as history’s great producer of carbon dioxide. Depict the Second and Third Worlds as victims of American self-indulgence. And get on with the shakedown. Demand more money. Castigate the Americans by calling Biden’s $11.4 billion a pittance, not enough.

One wonders: Among the climate elites, how many will be traveling to Glasgow on commercial and private jets, and how many will be battling climate change by arriving by boat, bus or bicycle?

If this New World Order crowd wanted both to set an example and cut the carbon footprint, why not do a virtual summit?

As for the Chinese, we should probably be prepared for one of those “offers they can’t refuse”:

“If you Americans want China’s cooperation on climate change, you might want to cut back your propaganda about the ‘Wuhan virus,’ Hong Kong, the South China Sea, Taiwan and those allegations of ‘genocide’ against the Uyghurs.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 09:20
Published:9/25/2021 8:52:32 AM
[Markets] FA Center: What to watch for — and watch out for — before giving your money to a financial adviser 5 ways to know if your money manager is trustworthy.
Published:9/25/2021 8:52:32 AM
[Markets] Panic Hoarding Gasoline Begins As UK Plunges Towards "Winter Of Discontent" Panic Hoarding Gasoline Begins As UK Plunges Towards "Winter Of Discontent"

One day after oil giant BP warned about rationing gasoline and diesel at UK service stations, Brits began to panic buy fuel as the government tried to calm fears. 

Lines of cars and trucks are spilling over into the streets at service stations across the country. A BP spokesperson said Thursday that a truck driver shortage has resulted in its inability to transport fuel from refineries to its network of service stations. These words spooked the public, which could cause a more severe shortage due to the hoarding. 

The scenes of long lines at gas stations bring back memories of the 1973 Opec Oil Crisis, the 2000 fuel shortage, and the virus pandemic disruptions amid fears the country is diving headfirst into a 1970s-style "winter of discontent" of shortages and socio-economic distress. 

On Friday afternoon, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Brits on Sky News that there was no fuel shortage and for "everyone to carry on as normal." His soothing words weren't enough to stop the buying panic, which is expected to continue into the weekend. 

Gasoline and diesel shortages will only stoke higher prices amid an expanding energy crisis that has resulted in another shortage: natural gas. This has caused power prices to erupt and disrupted chemical plants that halted fertilizer production, and has caused headaches for major food supply chains. Brits are also panic hoarding food

The Daily Mail provides a list of issues that threatens a winter of discontent: 

1. A shortage of natural gas causing a spike in gas bills for millions of Britons, along with the possibility of dozens of small energy firms going bust; 

2. However ministers say 'there is question of the lights going out, of people being unable to heat their homes. There will be no three-day working week, or a throwback to the 1970s'; 

3. A shortage of natural gas leading to the closure of fertilizer plants, which produce the CO2 used in fizzy drinks and the meat industry; 

4. The Government has since agreed a deal with fertilizer firms to restart a factory in a bid to maintain CO2 production; 

5. A lorry driver shortage which is crippling the UK's transport industry, leaving to empty shelves and slow delivery times; 

6. Bosses say this could impact both of Christmas dinners and have an impact on the number of toys on the shelves; 

7. Now bosses of major fuel firms have warned they will have to start shutting petrol stations because there are not enough lorry drivers to effectively distribute to all of its petrol stations;

8. It comes after the Bank of England warned on Thursday that surging household energy bills would send the cost of living spiralling by more than 4 percent this winter - the highest rate of growth for a decade

Worst still, there are now fears that shortages could bite households in the run-up to Christmas.  The classic Christmas dinner could be decimated, with turkey, pigs in blankets, potatoes and brussel sprouts all at risk.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 08:45
Published:9/25/2021 8:15:29 AM
[Markets] Italy Orders Companies Not To Pay Unvaccinated Workers Italy Orders Companies Not To Pay Unvaccinated Workers

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

The Italian government has passed a decree applying to both the private and public sector ordering companies to withhold pay from workers who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

The decree mandates that all employees get the vaccine ‘green pass’, which led to questions about what would happen to the millions of Italians who remain unvaccinated.

The government is attempting to avoid potential legal action by directing companies not to fire the unvaccinated, but simply to not pay them while telling employees not to show up to work under threat of being fined if they do so.

“Instead, they should be considered to be on an unjustified absence and have their wages or salaries withheld,” writes Ken Macon.

“Those found to be working without a vaccine passport could be punished with fines of up to €1,500. Additionally, the government said it would not cater for the test costs for those who would prefer not to take the vaccine.”

Even those who have had the virus, recovered and developed anti-bodies will still have to get at least one dose of the vaccine, presumably just as a performative show of compliance.

Italy extended its vaccine passport scheme to schools and universities on September 1st.

Teachers were told they faced being fired if they didn’t take it and students were mandated to take it to attend classes.

The unvaccinated were also banned from using long distance public transport, meaning that holidays, travel for work and visiting relatives has become impossible for many.

Venues such as museums, stadiums, theaters gyms, and indoor seating spaces at bars and restaurants all require vaccine identification and businesses can be fined thousands of euros for not enforcing the rules.

The ‘green pass’ in Italy also tracks an individual’s location, once again emphasizing how it’s a digital ID card on steroids.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 08:10
Published:9/25/2021 7:49:04 AM
[Markets] : When the stock market pulls back, keep buying — especially these five companies Sentiment has gotten too bearish. Consider shares of Microsoft, ConocoPhillips and Yum China.
Published:9/25/2021 7:49:04 AM
[Markets] Market Snapshot: What will it take to dent this Teflon stock market? Here’s how to invest, meanwhile. What's it going to take to knock this U.S. equity market off-kilter?
Published:9/25/2021 7:24:29 AM
[Markets] Kemp: Worldwide Energy Shortage Shows Up In Surging Coal, Gas And Oil Prices Kemp: Worldwide Energy Shortage Shows Up In Surging Coal, Gas And Oil Prices

By John Kemp, Reuters commodity market analyst and reporter

Record gas and electricity prices in Europe, record coal prices in China, multiyear-high gas prices in the United States and oil prices well above their real long-term average are all manifestations of the same global energy shortage.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus recession, energy production has failed to keep up with rapid growth in consumption, as energy producers struggle to raise output while demand has bounced back quickly.

The business cycle downturn and slump in energy prices caused by the pandemic, and before that the U.S./China trade conflict, depressed investment throughout the energy sector in 2019/2020.

Since then, the global economy has experienced an exceptionally rapid cyclical recovery, aided by low interest rates, bond buying and massive government spending, which has focused on energy-intensive merchandise rather than services, boosting energy consumption at extraordinary rates.

The result is a severe cyclical shortage of energy, evident in below-average inventories and surging prices for coal, gas and oil in all the major consuming regions of the world.

Unusual weather has worsened the shortages, including a cold winter in the Northern Hemisphere in 2020/21, a late winter storm in Texas in February 2021, slow wind speeds in Europe in August-September 2021, and hurricane-related disruption to oil output in the Gulf of Mexico.

In recent months, China has reported low coal stocks at power stations and the government has urged major producing regions to boost output as a matter of urgency; coal futures prices have more than doubled from a year ago.

In the gas market, inventories are 5% below the pre-pandemic seasonal average in the United States and 15% below average in Europe.

Front-month gas futures prices have risen 140% in the United States, more than 500% in Europe, and more than 600% in Northeast Asia, compared with the same time last year.

On the oil side, U.S. commercial petroleum stocks are 5% below the pre-pandemic seasonal average and commercial inventories across the OECD are also around 5% below the 2015-2019 seasonal average.

Benchmark Brent futures are trading in the 70th percentile in real terms since 1990...

...  while the six-month calendar spread is in the 98th percentile, indicating traders anticipate inventories will become even tighter.

Aftershocks

Energy industries have always exhibited strongly cyclical behavior. The bigger the initial disturbance to production, consumption, inventories and prices, the larger the immediate response, and the larger the subsequent reaction.

In this case, low inventories and high prices for coal, gas and oil are the direct consequence of high inventories and low prices this time last year caused by the first wave of the pandemic.

Following an exceptionally rapid economic rebound, global industrial production...

... and world trade volumes are both down by less than 1% compared with their pre-pandemic and pre-trade-war trends.

Global spare capacity is limited, especially in merchandise-producing industries, which are far more energy-intensive than service-producing sectors.

In consequence, global energy consumption is running very close to its long-term trend, with isolated exceptions, the most important of which is a sharp drop in the use of jet fuel for international passenger aviation.

With large sections of the global economy operating at close to full capacity, the energy system is struggling to meet incremental demand and prices are accelerating as a result.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 07:00
Published:9/25/2021 6:17:22 AM
[Markets] "Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con "Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con

Authored by Julius Ruechel via Julius Ruechel.com,

The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service)

If a plumber with a lifetime of experience were to tell you that water runs uphill, you would know he is lying and that the lie is not accidental. It is a lie with a purpose. If you can also demonstrate that the plumber knows in advance that the product he is promoting with that lie is snake oil, you have evidence for a deliberate con. And once you understand what's really inside that bottle of snake oil, you will begin to understand the purpose of the con.

One of the most common reasons given for mass COVID vaccinations is the idea that if we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we can starve the virus out of existence and get our lives back. It's the COVID-Zero strategy or some variant of it.

By now it is abundantly clear from the epidemiological data that the vaccinated are able to both catch and spread the disease.

Clearly vaccination isn't going to make this virus disappear. Only a mind that has lost its grasp on reality can fail to see how ridiculous all this has become. 

But a tour through pre-COVID science demonstrates that, from day one, long before you and I had even heard of this virus, it was 100% inevitable and 100% predictable that these vaccines would never be capable of eradicating this coronavirus and would never lead to any kind of lasting herd immunity. Even worse, lockdowns and mass vaccination have created a dangerous set of circumstances that interferes with our immune system's ability to protect us against other respiratory viruses. They also risk driving the evolution of this virus towards mutations that are more dangerous to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. Lockdowns, mass vaccinations, and mass booster shots were never capable of delivering on any of the promises that were made to the public. 

And yet, vaccination has been successfully used to control measles and even to eradicate smallpox. So, why not COVID? Immunity is immunity, and a virus is a virus is a virus, right? Wrong! Reality is far more complicated... and more interesting.

This Deep Dive exposes why, from day one, the promise of COVID-Zero can only ever have been a deliberately dishonest shell game designed to prey on a lack of public understanding of how our immune systems work and on how most respiratory viruses differ from other viruses that we routinely vaccinate against. We have been sold a fantasy designed to rope us into a pharmaceutical dependency as a deceitful trade-off for access to our lives. Variant by variant. For as long as the public is willing to go along for the ride. 

Exposing this story does not require incriminating emails or whistleblower testimony. The story tells itself by diving into the long-established science that every single virologist, immunologist, evolutionary biologist, vaccine developer, and public health official had access to long before COVID began. As is so often the case, the devil is hidden in the details. As this story unfolds it will become clear that the one-two punch of lockdowns and the promise of vaccines as an exit strategy began as a cynical marketing ploy to coerce us into a never-ending regimen of annual booster shots intentionally designed to replace the natural "antivirus security updates" against respiratory viruses that come from hugs and handshakes and from children laughing together at school. We are being played for fools. 

This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other opportunists taking advantage of this crisis to pursue other agendas and to tip society into a full-blown police state. One thing quickly morphs into another. But this essay demonstrates that never-ending boosters were the initial motive for this global social-engineering shell game ? the subscription-based business model, adapted for the pharmaceutical industry. "Immunity as a service". 

So, let's dive into the fascinating world of immune systems, viruses, and vaccines, layer by layer, to dispel the myths and false expectations that have been created by deceitful public health officials, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and media manipulators. What emerges as the lies are peeled apart is both surprising and more than a little alarming.

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes” 

- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Table of Contents:

  •     Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication

  •     SARS: The Exception to the Rule?

  •     Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity

  •     Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses

  •     Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection

  •     Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly

  •     Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu

  •     Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect

  •     Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure

  •     The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity

  •     Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters

  •     The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses

  •     Introducing Immunity as a Service - A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)

  •     The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again.

*  *  *

Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication

Eradication of a killer virus sounds like a noble goal. In some cases it is, such as in the case of the smallpox virus. By 1980 we stopped vaccinating against smallpox because, thanks to widespread immunization, we starved the virus of available hosts for so long that it died out. No-one will need to risk their life on the side effects of a smallpox vaccination ever again because the virus is gone. It is a public health success story. Polio will hopefully be next ? we're getting close. 

But smallpox is one of only two viruses (along with rinderpest) that have been eradicated thanks to vaccination. Very few diseases meet the necessary criteria. Eradication is hard and only appropriate for very specific families of viruses.

Smallpox made sense for eradication because it was a uniquely human virus ? there was no animal reservoir. By contrast, most respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. COVID) come from animal reservoirs: swine, birds, bats, etc. As long as there are bats in caves, birds in ponds, pigs in mud baths, and deer living in forests, respiratory viruses are only controllable through individual immunity, but it is not possible to eradicate them. There will always be a near-identical cousin brewing in the wings.

Even the current strain of COVID is already cheerfully jumping onwards across species boundaries. According to both National Geographic and Nature magazine, 40% of wild deer tested positive for COVID antibodies in a study conducted in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. It has also been documented in wild mink and has already made the species jump to other captive animals including dogs, cats, otters, leopards, tigers, and gorillas. A lot of viruses are not fussy. They happily adapt to new opportunities. Specialists, like smallpox, eventually go extinct. Generalists, like most respiratory viruses, never run out of hosts to keep the infection cycle going, forever.

As long as we share this planet with other animals, it is extremely deceitful to give anyone the impression that we can pursue any scorched earth policy that can put this genie back in the bottle. With an outbreak on this global scale, it was clear that we were always going to have to live with this virus. There are over 200 other endemic respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus, many of which circulate freely between humans and other animals. Now there are 201. They will be with us forever, whether we like it or not.

SARS: The Exception to the Rule?

This all sounds well and good, but the original SARS virus did disappear, with public health measures like contact tracing and strict quarantine measures taking the credit. However, SARS was the exception to the rule. When it made the species jump to humans, it was so poorly adapted to its new human hosts that it had terrible difficulty spreading. This very poor level of adaptation gave SARS a rather unique combination of properties:

  1. SARS was extremely difficult to catch (it was never very contagious)

  2. SARS made people extremely sick.

  3. SARS did not have pre-symptomatic spread.

These three conditions made the SARS outbreak easy to control through contact tracing and through the quarantine of symptomatic individuals. SARS therefore never reached the point where it circulated widely among asymptomatic community members. 

By contrast, by January/February of 2020 it was clear from experiences in China, Italy, and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (more on that story later) that the unique combination of conditions that made SARS controllable were not going to be the case with COVID. COVID was quite contagious (its rapid spread showed that COVID was already well adapted to spreading easily among its new human hosts), most people would have mild or no symptoms from COVID (making containment impossible), and that it was spreading by aerosols produced by both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people (making contact tracing a joke).

In other words, it was clear by January/February 2020 that this pandemic would follow the normal rules of a readily transmissible respiratory epidemic, which cannot be reined in the way SARS was. Thus, by January/February of 2020, giving the public the impression that the SARS experience could be replicated for COVID was a deliberate lie - this genie was never going back inside the bottle.

Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity

Once a reasonably contagious respiratory virus begins circulating widely in a community, herd immunity can never be maintained for very long. RNA respiratory viruses (such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses) all mutate extremely fast compared to viruses like smallpox, measles, or polio. Understanding the difference between something like measles and a virus like COVID is key to understanding the con that is being perpetrated by our health institutions. Bear with me here, I promise not to get too technical.

All viruses survive by creating copies of themselves. And there are always a lot of "imperfect copies" — mutations — produced by the copying process itself. Among RNA respiratory viruses these mutations stack up so quickly that there is rapid genetic drift, which continually produces new strains. Variants are normal. Variants are expected. Variants make it virtually impossible to build the impenetrable wall of long-lasting herd immunity required to starve these respiratory viruses out of existence. That's one of several reasons why flu vaccines don't provide long-lasting immunity and have to be repeated annually ? our immune system constantly needs to be updated to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of countless unnamed "variants." 

This never-ending conveyor belt of mutations means that everyone's immunity to COVID was always only going to be temporary and only offer partial cross-reactive protection against future re-infections. Thus, from day one, COVID vaccination was always doomed to the same fate as the flu vaccine ? a lifelong regimen of annual booster shots to try to keep pace with "variants" for those unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of a natural infection. And the hope that by the time the vaccines (and their booster shots) roll off the production line, they won't already be out of date when confronted by the current generation of virus mutations. 

Genetic drift caused by mutations is much slower in viruses like measles, polio, or smallpox, which is why herd immunity can be used to control these other viruses (or even eradicate them as in the case of smallpox or polio). The reason the common respiratory viruses have such rapid genetic drift compared to these other viruses has much less to do with how many errors are produced during the copying process and much more to do with how many of those "imperfect" copies are actually able to survive and produce more copies

A simple virus with an uncomplicated attack strategy for taking over host cells can tolerate a lot more mutations than a complex virus with a complicated attack strategy. Complexity and specialization put limits on how many of those imperfect copies have a chance at becoming successful mutations. Simple machinery doesn't break down as easily if there is an imperfection in the mechanical parts. Complicated high-tech machinery will simply not work if there are even minor flaws in precision parts.

For example, before a virus can hijack the DNA of a host cell to begin making copies of itself, the virus needs to unlock the cell wall to gain entry. Cellular walls are made of proteins and are coated by sugars; viruses need to find a way to create a doorway through that protein wall. A virus like influenza uses a very simple strategy to get inside ? it locks onto one of the sugars on the outside of the cell wall in order to piggyback a ride as the sugar is absorbed into the cell (cells use sugar as their energy source). It's such a simple strategy that it allows the influenza virus to go through lots of mutations without losing its ability to gain entry to the cell. Influenza's simplicity makes it very adaptable and allows many different types of mutations to thrive as long as they all use the same piggyback entry strategy to get inside host cells.

By contrast, something like the measles virus uses a highly specialized and very complicated strategy to gain entry to a host cell. It relies on very specialized surface proteins to break open a doorway into the host cell. It's a very rigid and complex system that doesn't leave a lot of room for errors in the copying process. Even minor mutations to the measles virus will cause changes to its surface proteins, leaving it unable to gain access to a host cell to make more copies of itself. Thus, even if there are lots of mutations, those mutations are almost all evolutionary dead ends, thus preventing genetic drift. That's one of several reasons why both a natural infection and vaccination against measles creates lifetime immunity ? immunity lasts because new variations don't change much over time. 

Most RNA respiratory viruses have a high rate of genetic drift because they all rely on relatively simple attack strategies to gain entry to host cells. This allows mutations to stack up quickly without becoming evolutionary dead ends because they avoid the evolutionary trap of complexity. 

Coronaviruses use a different strategy than influenza to gain access to host cells. They have proteins on the virus surface (the infamous S-spike protein, the same one that is mimicked by the vaccine injection), which latches onto a receptor on the cell surface (the ACE2 receptor) ? a kind of key to unlock the door. This attack strategy is a little bit more complicated than the system used by influenza, which is probably why genetic drift in coronaviruses is slightly slower than in influenza, but it is still a much much simpler and much less specialized system than the one used by measles. Coronaviruses, like other respiratory viruses, are therefore constantly producing a never-ending conveyor belt of "variants" that make long-lasting herd immunity impossible. Variants are normal. The alarm raised by our public health authorities about "variants" and the feigned compassion of pharmaceutical companies as they rush to develop fresh boosters capable of fighting variants is a charade, much like expressing surprise about the sun rising in the East.

Once you got immunity to smallpox, measles, or polio, you had full protection for a few decades and were protected against severe illness or death for the rest of your life. But for fast-mutating respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, within a few months they are sufficiently different that your previously acquired immunity will only ever offer partial protection against your next exposure. The fast rate of mutation ensures that you never catch the exact same cold or flu twice, just their closely related constantly evolving cousins. What keeps you from feeling the full brunt of each new infection is cross-reactive immunity, which is another part of the story of how you are being conned, which I will come back to shortly. 

Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses

But let's pretend for a moment that a miraculous vaccine could be developed that could give us all 100% sterilizing immunity today. The length of time it takes to manufacture and ship 8 billion doses (and then make vaccination appointments for 8 billion people) ensures that by the time the last person gets their last dose, the never-ending conveyor belt of mutations will have already rendered the vaccine partially ineffective. True sterilizing immunity simply won't ever happen with coronaviruses. The logistics of rolling out vaccines to 8 billion people meant that none of our vaccine makers or public health authorities ever could have genuinely believed that vaccines would create lasting herd immunity against COVID.

So, for a multitude of reasons, it was a deliberate lie to give the public the impression that if enough people take the vaccine, it would create lasting herd immunity. It was 100% certain, from day one, that by the time the last dose is administered, the rapid evolution of the virus would ensure that it would already be time to start thinking about booster shots. Exactly like the flu shot. Exactly the opposite of a measles vaccine. Vaccines against respiratory viruses can never provide anything more than a temporary cross-reactive immunity "update" ? they are merely a synthetic replacement for your annual natural exposure to the smorgasbord of cold and flu viruses. Immunity as a service, imposed on society by trickery. The only question was always, how long between booster shots? Weeks, months, years? 

Feeling conned yet?

Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection

The current crop of COVID vaccines was never designed to provide sterilizing immunity - that's not how they work. They are merely a tool designed to teach the immune system to attack the S-spike protein, thereby priming the immune system to reduce the severity of infection in preparation for your inevitable future encounter with the real virus. They were never capable of preventing infection, nor of preventing spread. They were merely designed to reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you are infected. As former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is on Pfizer’s board, said: "the original premise behind these vaccines were [sic] that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials.” Every first-year medical student knows that you cannot get herd immunity from a vaccine that does not stop infection. 

In other words, by their design, these vaccines can neither stop you from catching an infection nor stop you from transmitting the infection to someone else. They were never capable of creating herd immunity. They were designed to protect individuals against severe outcomes if they choose to take them - a tool to provide temporary focused protection for the vulnerable, just like the flu vaccine. Pushing for mass vaccination was a con from day one. And the idea of using vaccine passports to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated was also a con from day one. The only impact these vaccine passports have on the pandemic is as a coercive tool to get you to roll up your sleeve. Nothing more.

Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly

There are multiple interconnected parts to why immunity to COVID, or any other respiratory virus, is always only temporary. Not only is the virus constantly mutating but immunity itself fades over time, not unlike the way our brains start forgetting how to do complicated math problems unless they keep practicing. This is true for both immunity acquired through natural infection and immunity acquired through vaccination.

Our immune systems have a kind of immunological memory ? basically, how long does your immune system remember how to launch an attack against a specific kind of threat. That memory fades over time. For some vaccines, like diphtheria and tetanus, that immunological memory fades very slowly. The measles vaccine protects for life. But for others, like the flu vaccine, that immunological memory fades very quickly.

On average, the flu vaccine is only about 40% effective to begin with. And it begins to fade almost immediately after vaccination. By about 150 days (5 months), it reaches zero.

Fading immunity after flu shot (Science, April 18th, 2019)

The solution to this strange phenomenon lies in the different types of immune system responses that are triggered by a vaccine (or by exposure to the real thing through a natural infection). This has big implications for coronavirus vaccines, but I'll get to that in a moment. First a little background information...

A good analogy is to think of our immune system like a medieval army. The first layer of protection began with generalists - guys armed with clubs that would take a swing at everything - they were good for keeping robbers and brigands at bay and for conducting small skirmishes. But if the attack was bigger, then these generalists were quickly overwhelmed, serving as arrow fodder to blunt the attack on the more specialized troops coming up behind them. Spearmen, swordsmen, archers, cavalry, catapult operators, siege tower engineers, and so on. Each additional layer of defense has a more expensive kit and takes ever greater amounts of time to train (an English longbowman took years to build up the necessary skill and strength to become effective). The more specialized a troop is, the more you want to hold them back from the fight unless it's absolutely necessary because they are expensive to train, expensive to deploy, and make a bigger mess when they fight that needs to be cleaned up afterwards. Always keep your powder dry. Send in the arrow fodder first and slowly ramp up your efforts from there.

Our immune system relies on a similar kind of layered system of defense. In addition to various non-specific rapid response layers that take out the brigands, like natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, and so on, we also have many adaptive (specialized) layers of antibodies (i.e. IgA, IgG, IgM immunoglobulin) and various types of highly specialized white blood cells, like B-cells and T-cells. Some antibodies are released by regular B-cells. Others are released by blood plasma. Then there are memory B-cells, which are capable of remembering previous threats and creating new antibodies long after the original antibodies fade away. And there are various types of T-cells (again with various degrees of immunological memory), like natural killer T-cells, killer T-cells, and helper T-cells, all of which play various roles in detecting and neutralizing invaders. In short, the greater the threat, the more troops are called into the fight.

This is clearly a gross oversimplification of all the different interconnected parts of our immune system, but the point is that a mild infection doesn't trigger as many layers whereas a severe infection enlists the help of deeper layers, which are slower to respond but are much more specialized in their attack capabilities. And if those deeper adaptive layers get involved, they are capable of retaining a memory of the threat in order to be able to mount a quicker attack if a repeat attack is recognized in the future. That's why someone who was infected by the dangerous Spanish Flu in 1918 might still have measurable T-cell immunity a century later but the mild bout of winter flu you had a couple of years ago might not have triggered T-cell immunity, even though both may have been caused by versions of the same H1N1 influenza virus.

As a rule of thumb, the broader the immune response, the longer immunological memory will last. Antibodies fade in a matter of months, whereas B-cell and T-cell immunity can last a lifetime.

Another rule of thumb is that a higher viral load puts more strain on your immune defenses, thus overwhelming the rapid response layers and forcing the immune system to enlist the deeper adaptive layers. That's why nursing homes and hospitals are more dangerous places for vulnerable people than backyard barbeques. That's why feedlot cattle are more vulnerable to viral diseases than cattle on pasture. Viral load matters a lot to how easily the generalist layers are overwhelmed and how much effort your immune system has to make to neutralize a threat.

Where the infection happens in the body also matters. For example, an infection in the upper respiratory tract triggers much less involvement from your adaptive immune system than when it reaches your lungs. Part of this is because your upper respiratory tract is already heavily preloaded with large numbers of generalist immunological cells that are designed to attack germs as they enter, which is why most colds and flus never make it deeper into the lungs. The guys with the clubs are capable of handling most of the threats that try to make through the gate. Most of the specialized troops hold back unless they are needed.

Catching a dangerous disease like measles produces lifetime immunity because an infection triggers all the deep layers that will retain a memory of how to fight off future encounters with the virus. So does the measles vaccine. Catching a cold or mild flu generally does not. 

From an evolutionary point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense. Why waste valuable resources developing long-lasting immunity (i.e. training archers and building catapults) to defend against a virus that did not put you in mortal danger. A far better evolutionary strategy is to evolve a narrower generalist immune response to mild infections (i.e. most cold and flu viruses), which fades quickly once the threat is conquered, but invest in deep long-term broad-based immunity to dangerous infections, which lasts a very long time in case that threat is ever spotted on the horizon again. Considering the huge number of threats our immune systems face, this strategy avoids the trap of spreading immunological memory too thin. Our immunological memory resources are not limitless - long-term survival requires prioritizing our immunological resources.

The take-home lesson is that vaccines will, at best, only last as long as immunity acquired through natural infection and will often fade much faster because the vaccine is often only able to trigger a partial immune response compared to the actual infection. So, if the disease itself doesn't produce a broad-based immune response leading to long-lasting immunity, neither will the vaccine. And in most cases, immunity acquired through vaccination will begin to fade much sooner than immunity acquired through a natural infection. Every vaccine maker and public health official knows this despite bizarrely claiming that the COVID vaccines (based on re-creating the S-protein spike instead of using a whole virus) would somehow become the exception to the rule. That was a lie, and they knew it from day one. That should set your alarm bells ringing at full throttle.

So, with this little bit of background knowledge under our belts, let's look at what our public health officials and vaccine makers would have known in advance about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines when they told us back in the early Spring of 2020 that COVID vaccines were the path back to normality.

From a 2003 study [my emphasis]:

"Until SARS appeared, human coronaviruses were known as the cause of 15–30% of colds... Colds are generally mild, self-limited infections, and significant increases in neutralizing antibody titer are found in nasal secretions and serum after infection. Nevertheless, some unlucky individuals can be reinfected with the same coronavirus soon after recovery and get symptoms again."

In other words, the coronaviruses involved in colds (there were four human coronaviruses before SARS, MERS, and COVID) all trigger such a weak immune response that they do not lead to any long-lasting immunity whatsoever. And why would they if, for most of us, the threat is so minimal that the generalists are perfectly capable of neutralizing the attack.

We also know that immunity against coronaviruses is not durable in other animals either. As any farmer knows well, cycles of reinfection with coronaviruses are the rule rather than the exception among their livestock (for example, coronaviruses are a common cause of pneumonia and various types of diarrheal diseases like scours, shipping fever, and winter dysentery in cattle). Annual farm vaccination schedules are therefore designed accordingly. The lack of long-term immunity to coronaviruses is well documented in veterinary research among cattle, poultry, deer, water buffalo, etc. Furthermore, although animal coronavirus vaccines have been on the market for many years, it is well known that "none are completely efficacious in animals". So, like the fading flu vaccine profile I showed you earlier, none of the animal coronavirus vaccines are capable of providing sterilizing immunity (none were capable of stopping 100% of infections, without which you can never achieve herd immunity) and the partial immunity they offered is well known to fade rather quickly.

What about immunity to COVID's close cousin, the deadly SARS coronavirus, which had an 11% case fatality rate during the 2003 outbreak? From a 2007 study: "SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years... SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."  (Bear in mind that, as with all diseases, re-infection does not mean you are necessarily going to get full-blown SARS; fading immunity after a natural infection tends to offer at least some level of partial protection against severe outcomes for a considerable amount of time after you can already be reinfected and spread it to others - more on that later.)

And what about MERS, the deadliest coronavirus to date, which made the jump from camels in 2012 and had a fatality rate of around 35%? It triggered the broadest immune response (due to its severity) and also appears to trigger the longest lasting immunity as a result (> 6yrs)

Thus, to pretend that there was any chance that herd immunity to COVID would be anything but short-lived was dishonest at best. For most people, immunity was always going to fade quickly. Just like what happens after most other respiratory virus infections. By February 2020, the epidemiological data showed clearly that for most people COVID was a mild coronavirus (nowhere near as severe than SARS or MERS), so it was virtually a certainty that even the immunity from a natural infection would fade within months, not years. It was also a certainty that vaccination was therefore, at best, only ever going to provide partial protection and that this protection would be temporary, lasting on the order of months. This is a case of false and misleading advertising if there ever was one.

If I can allow my farming roots to shine through for a moment, I'd like to explain the implications of what was known about animal coronaviruses vaccines. Baby calves are often vaccinated against bovine coronaviral diarrhea shortly after birth if they are born in the spring mud and slush season, but not if they are born in midsummer on lush pastures where the risk of infection is lower. Likewise, bovine coronavirus vaccines are used to protect cattle before they face stressful conditions during shipping, in a feedlot, or in winter feed pens. Animal coronavirus vaccines are thus used as tools to provide a temporary boost in immunity, in very specific conditions, and only for very specific vulnerable categories of animals. After everything I've laid out so far in this text, the targeted use of bovine coronavirus vaccines should surprise no-one. Pretending that our human coronavirus vaccines would be different was nonsense. 

The only rational reason why the WHO and public health officials would withhold all that contextual information from the public as they rolled out lockdowns and held forth vaccines as an exit strategy was to whip the public into irrational fear in order to be able to make a dishonest case for mass vaccination when they should have, at most, been focused on providing focused vaccination of the most vulnerable only. That deception was the Trojan Horse to introduce endless mass booster shots as immunity inevitably fades and as new variants replace old ones. 

Now, as all the inevitable limitations and problems with these vaccines become apparent (i.e. fading of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccines proving to only be partially effective, the rise of new variants, and the vaccinated population demonstrably catching and spreading the virus ? a.k.a. the leaky vaccine phenomenon), the surprise that our health authorities are showing simply isn't credible. As I have shown you, all this was 100% to be expected. They intentionally weaponized fear and false expectations to unleash a fraudulent bait-and-switch racket of global proportions. Immunity on demand, forever.

Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu

At this point you may be wondering, if there is no lasting immunity from infection or vaccination, then are public health officials right to roll out booster shots to protect us from severe outcomes even if their dishonest methods to get us to accept them were unethical? Do we need a lifetime regimen of booster shots to keep us safe from a beast to which we cannot develop durable long-term immunity?

The short answer is no. 

Contrary to what you might think, the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses actually has several important benefits for us as their involuntary hosts, which protects us without the benefit of broad lifelong immunity. One of those benefits has to do with the natural evolution of the virus towards less dangerous variants. The other is the cross-reactive immunity that comes from frequent re-exposure to closely related "cousins". I'm going to peel apart both of these topics in order to show you the remarkable system that nature designed to keep us safe... and to show you how the policies being forced on us by our public health authorities are knowingly interfering with this system. They are creating a dangerous situation that increases our risk to other respiratory viruses (not just to COVID) and may even push the COVID virus to evolve to become more dangerous to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. There are growing signs that this nightmare scenario has already begun. 

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." 

- President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Let's start with the evolutionary pressures that normally drive viruses towards becoming less dangerous over time. A virus depends on its host to spread it. A lively host is more useful than a bedridden or dead one because a lively host can spread the virus further and will still be around to catch future mutations. Viruses risk becoming evolutionary dead ends if they kill or immobilize their hosts. Plagues came, killed, and then were starved out of existence because their surviving hosts had all acquired herd immunity. Colds come and go every year because their hosts are lively, easily spread the viruses around, and never acquire long-lasting immunity so that last year's hosts can also serve as next year's hosts ? only those who have weak immune systems have much to worry about. In other words, under normal conditions, mutations that are more contagious but less deadly have a survival advantage over less contagious and more deadly variations.

From the virus' point of view, the evolutionary golden mean is reached when it can easily infect as many hosts as possible without reducing their mobility and without triggering long-term immunity in most of their hosts. That's the ticket to setting up a sustainable cycle of reinfection, forever. Viruses with slow genetic drift and highly specialized reproductive strategies, like polio or measles, can take centuries or longer to become less deadly and more contagious; some may never reach the relatively harmless status of a cold or mild flu virus (by harmless I mean harmless to the majority of the population despite being extremely dangerous to those with weak or compromised immune systems). But for viruses with fast genetic drift, like respiratory viruses, even a few months can make a dramatic difference. Rapid genetic drift is one of the reasons why the Spanish Flu stopped being a monster disease, but polio and measles haven't. And anyone with training in virology or immunology understands this! 

We often speak of evolutionary pressure as though it forces an organism to adapt. In reality, a simple organism like a virus is utterly blind to its environment — all it does is blindly produce genetic copies of itself. "Evolutionary pressure" is actually just a fancy way of saying that environmental conditions will determine which of those millions of copies survives long enough to produce even more copies of itself. 

A human adapts to its environment by altering its behaviour (that's one type of adaptation). But the behaviour of a single viral particle never changes. A virus "adapts" over time because some genetic copies with one set of mutations survive and spread faster than other copies with a different set of mutations. Adaptation in viruses has to be seen exclusively through the lens of changes from one generation of virus to the next based on which mutations have a competitive edge over others. And that competitive edge will vary depending on the kinds of environmental conditions a virus encounters.

So, fear mongering about the Delta variant being even more contagious leaves out the fact that this is exactly what you would expect as a respiratory virus adapts to its new host species. We would expect new variants to be more contagious but less deadly as the virus fades to become just like the other 200+ respiratory viruses that cause common colds and flus. 

That's also why the decision to lock down the healthy population is so sinister. Lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing rules reduced spread among the healthy population, thus creating a situation where mutations produced among the healthy would become sufficiently rare that they might be outnumbered by mutations circulating among the bedridden. Mutations circulating among the healthy are, by definition, going to be the least dangerous mutations since they did not make their hosts sick enough to confine them to bedrest. That's precisely the variants you want to spread in order to drown out competition from more dangerous mutations. 

A host stuck in bed with a fever and not out dining with friends is limited in his ability to infect others compared to a host infected with a variety that only gives its host a sniffle. Not all bedridden hosts have caught a more dangerous mutation, but all dangerous mutations will be found among the bedridden. Thus as time goes by, dangerous mutations can only compete with less dangerous mutations if the entire population is limited in its ability to mix and mingle.

As long as the majority of infections are among the healthy, the more dangerous variants circulating among some of the bedridden will be outnumbered and will become evolutionary dead ends. But when public health officials intentionally restricted spread among the young, strong, and healthy members of society by imposing lockdowns, they created a set of evolutionary conditions that risked shifting the competitive evolutionary advantage from the least dangerous variants to more dangerous variants. By locking us all up, they risked making the virus more dangerous over time. Evolution doesn't sit around to wait for you while you develop a vaccine.

Let me give you a historical example to demonstrate that this rapid evolution of a virus towards either more or less dangerous variants isn't mere theory. Small changes to the environment can lead to very rapid changes in the virus' evolution. The first wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu was not particularly deadly, with mortality rates similar to regular seasonal flu. However, the second wave was not only much deadlier but, rather unusually, was particularly deadly to young people rather than just the old and the weak. Why would the second wave be the deadly one? And what would cause the virus to evolve so quickly to become both more deadly and better adapted to preying on young people? At first glance it would seem to defy all evolutionary logic.

The answer demonstrates just how sensitive a virus is to small changes in evolutionary pressure. The Spanish Flu spread in the midst of the lockdown-mimicking conditions of World War One. During the first wave, the virus found a huge population of soldiers trapped in the cold damp conditions of the trenches and a near endless supply of captive bedridden hosts in overflowing field hospitals. By the Spring of 1918, up to three-quarters of the entire French military and half of British troops had been infected. These conditions created two unique evolutionary pressures. On the one hand, it allowed variants that were well adapted to young people to emerge. But on the other hand, unlike normal times, the cramped conditions of trench warfare and field hospitals allowed dangerous variants that immobilize their hosts to spread freely with little competition from less dangerous variants that spread through lively hosts. The trenches and field hospitals became the virus incubators driving the evolution of variants. 

Normally young people are predominantly exposed to less dangerous mutations because the healthiest do all the mingling while the bedridden stay home. But the lockdown conditions of war created conditions that erased the competitive advantage of less dangerous mutations that don't immobilize their hosts, leading to the rise of more dangerous mutations. 

Thanks to the end of the war, the lockdown-mimicking conditions also ended, thereby shifting the competitive advantage back to less dangerous mutations that could spread freely among the mobile healthy members of the population. The deadliness of the second wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu is inextricably linked to the First World War, and the end of the war is linked to the virus fading into the background of regular cold and flu season.

Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with Spanish flu at a hospital ward at Camp Funston

It is therefore highly likely that the 1918 Spanish Flu would never have been more than a really bad flu season had it not been for the amplifying effect of lockdown conditions created by a world at war.

It also raises the question, for which I don't have an answer, whether the lockdown strategy during COVID was intentionally used to reduce spread among the healthy in order to keep the virus from fading into harmless irrelevancy. I use the word "intentionally" ? and it's a strong word ? because the deadly second wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu and its causes are hardly secrets in the medical community. You'd have to be a completely reckless and utterly incompetent idiot, or a cynical bastard with an agenda, to impose any strategy that mimics those virus-amplifying conditions. Yet that's what our health authorities did. And what they continue to do, while shamelessly hyperventilating about the risk of "variants" to force us to submit to medical tyranny based on mandatory vaccines, never-ending booster shots, and vaccine passports that can turn off access to our normal lives. This is cynicism at its finest.

Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect

The experience of the 2nd wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu also raises another question: What kind of evolutionary pressures are being created by using a leaky vaccine?

A vaccine that provides sterilizing immunity prevents the vaccinated from being able to catch or transmit the virus. They become a dead end for the virus. However, as I've already mentioned, the current crop of COVID vaccines, which are meant to train the immune system to recognize the S-spike proteins, were not designed to create sterilizing immunity. By their design, they merely help reduce the risk of severe outcomes by priming the immune system. The vaccinated can still catch and spread the virus ? the definition of a leaky vaccine ? and epidemiological data makes it very clear that this is now happening all around the world. Thus, both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated are equally capable of producing new variants. The idea that the unvaccinated are producing variants while the vaccinated are not is a boldfaced lie.

Source: "Israel hopes boosters can avert new lockdown as COVID vaccine efficacy fades." August 23rd, 2021, Financial Times, 

From an evolutionary perspective, this is a potentially dangerous scenario. What has been done by temporarily blunting the risk of hospitalization or death, but without stopping infection among the vaccinated, is to create a set of evolutionary conditions where a variant that is dangerous to the unvaccinated can spread easily among the vaccinated without making the vaccinated very sick. For lack of a better term, let's call this a dual-track variant. Thus, because the vaccinated are not getting bedridden from this dual-track variant, they can continue to spread it easily, giving it a competitive advantage, even if it is highly dangerous to the unvaccinated.

Furthermore, since COVID vaccination only offers temporary short-term protection, as soon as immunity fades, the vaccinated themselves are also equally at risk of more severe outcomes. Thus, this creates the evolutionary pressure for the virus to behave as an increasingly contagious but relatively mild virus as long as everyone is vaccinated but as a dangerous but also very contagious virus as soon as temporary immunity wears off. The call for boosters every 6 months is already here. (Update: now it's being revised down to 5 months.)

So, the pandemic really does have the potential to become the Pandemic of the Unvaccinated (the shameless term coined by public health officials to terrify the vaccinated into bullying their unvaccinated peers), but reality comes with a twist because if a dual-track variant does evolve it would be the unvaccinated (and those whose boosters have expired) who would have reason to fear the vaccinated, not the other way around as so many frightened citizens seem to believe. And the end result would be that we all become permanently dependent on boosters every 6 months, forever.

Hold on, you might say, the flu vaccine chart shown earlier also never provided sterilizing immunity. The flu vaccine is notoriously leaky but hasn't gotten more dangerous, has it? The answer is complicated because the comparison is less useful than it first appears. As long as the majority of the population does not get the flu vaccine, more dangerous variants will face stiff competition from less dangerous ones circulating among the healthy unvaccinated population (average flu vaccination rates in most western countries are between 38-41%, with most other countries around the world doing very little vaccination against the flu). And since the vaccine is only 40% effective to begin with and since immunity fades rapidly after the shot, the flu vaccine doesn't provide much protection to begin with, thus reducing the chance that separate mutations would circulate among the vaccinated. And public health frequently gets the strain wrong (influenza has many strains that are constantly evolving so there is a lot of guesswork that goes into creating the right vaccine formula each year). In other words, lack of universal coverage and poor protection are likely preventing the emergence of a dual-track variant. 

Furthermore, flu vaccination is not evenly distributed across the population. It is mostly the vulnerable and those who work around them that get it while children, young adults and other healthy members of society don't get it. So, even if more deadly variants were to arise in nursing homes or hospital settings, the high number of healthy unvaccinated visitors to those facilities would constantly bring less deadly more contagious variants with them, thereby preventing more dangerous variants from gaining a competitive edge in nursing home or hospital settings. But if the leaky flu vaccinations were to be extended to everyone, or if nursing home populations continue to be kept isolated from the rest of society during COVID lockdowns, things might begin to look a little different.

However, what I am warning about is far from theoretical. There is a very clear example (well known to public health officials and vaccine developers) from the poultry farming industry where a universal leaky vaccine pushed a virus to evolve to become extremely deadly to unvaccinated chickens. It is called the Marek Effect. It began with a leaky vaccine that was rolled out to fight a herpes virus in industrialized high-density chicken barns. Vaccinated chickens were protected from severe outcomes but nevertheless continued to catch and spread the virus, so evolutionary pressure led to the emergence of a dual-track variant that become the dominant strain of this herpes virus. It continues to spread among the vaccinated chickens without killing them but kills up to 80% or more of unvaccinated birds if they get infected. Thus, a never-ending stream of vaccinations is now required just to maintain the status quo. I bet the pharmaceutical industry is smiling at all those drug-dependent chickens though — talk about having a captive audience!

It's not a certainty that this will happen with the COVID vaccines, but the longer this fiasco continues and the higher that vaccination rates rise around the world, the more likely it becomes that we re-create the conditions for some kind of Marek effect to develop. A leaky vaccine used sparingly to protect small pockets of vulnerable individuals is very different than a leaky vaccine applied to everyone. The rapid change in behaviour of the 1918 Spanish Flu should be a warning to us all that a virus can adapt very quickly in response to small changes in evolutionary pressure. The closer we get to universal vaccination, the greater the danger that leaky vaccines will lead to dual-track variants that become more dangerous to the unvaccinated.

There is one other danger from leaky vaccines that is worth mentioning because researchers are already starting to see the first signs of it, as you can see discussed in this paper published on August 9th, 2021, in the Journal of Infection. It's called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). It happens when a poorly designed vaccine trains antibodies to recognize a virus as an intruder without being strong enough to kill/neutralize them. Instead of the virus being neutralized inside the antibody when the antibody attacks and "swallows" it (antibodies envelope intruders in order to neutralize them), the virus takes over the antibody cell that attacked it and uses it as a host to start making copies of itself. Thus, the attacking antibody opens the door to the inside of the cell and becomes the virus' unwitting host, thereby accelerating rather than stopping the infection.

Antibody-dependent enhancement is a well-documented phenomenon in attempts to develop vaccines against the RSV virus, dengue fever, and other coronaviruses. This is one of the reasons why previous attempts to develop a human coronavirus vaccine against the SARS virus failed. It kept happening in animal trials. And many doctors warned from day one that it would happen with these vaccines as well as new variants gradually emerge that are sufficiently different from the original variant upon which the vaccine is based. ADE doesn't show up on the day after vaccination. It emerges gradually as new variants spread that are different from previous variants.

Quote from the aforementioned study

ADE may be a concern for people receiving vaccines based on the original Wuhan strain spike sequence (either mRNA or viral vectors). Under these circumstances, second generation vaccines with spike protein formulations lacking structurally-conserved ADE-related epitopes should be considered.

In other words, your previous vaccination protects you only until new variants arise, then the training that your previous vaccination gave your immune system becomes a liability as your immune system switches from protecting you to increasing your risk from the disease. Your only way to protect yourself is to dutifully get your next "updated" booster shot to protect you for next few short months. You become a permanent drug dependent vaccine customer. And you better hope next year's formulation doesn't get it wrong. And you better hope that updates can keep you safe indefinitely because there's also the risk that updates will get less effective as the bad training from previous boosters begins to add up. 

It puts a whole new spin on "trust the scientists." Your life will literally be at their mercy. 

I bet the pharmaceutical industry will be smiling at all those drug-dependent chickens loyal customers though — talk about having a captive audience! And what a sweet deal - vaccine makers have been granted an exemption from liability and, if it goes wrong, they are the go-to guy to solve it... with more boosters.

And with every booster, you'll get to play Russian Roulette all over again with side effects: death, autoimmune diseases, reactivation of dormant viruses, neurological damage, blood clotting, and more. Here's where the reported side effects on the US VAERS system stand at the time of writing (August 28th, 2021).

OpenVaers Search, August 28th, 2021

Leaky vaccines are playing with fire. All vaccine makers and public health authorities were aware of the potential for ADE with the development of a coronavirus vaccine. Yet they pushed for mass vaccination, from day one, without completing the long-term trials that are meant to rule out this kind of risk. They knowingly gambled with your future in their eagerness to get you onto your regimen of never-ending boosters and vaccine passports. Why not, if more boosters are the solution if something going wrong. They can always blame it on the "variants". The media won't challenge them - not with billions of vaccine advertising dollars floating around.

Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure

And now we come to the second way in which our immune systems benefit from the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses and to the sinister way in which public health policy is interfering with that system. 

The once deadly 1918 Spanish Flu is still with us today; now it is part of the smorgasbord of viruses that cause colds and flus every winter precisely because subsequent variants evolved to be less deadly. As unpleasant as flu season is, for most of us it is not lethal unless we have weak or compromised immune systems. But each subsequent exposure teaches our immune system how to keep up with its gradual evolution over time. 

In other words, each year's fresh exposure to the latest strain of cold or flu virus functions as a sort of antivirus security update to partially prepare you for the next one. Fading immunity and changing mutations means you'll never be 100% immune to the next one, but as long as updates are frequent enough, you'll also never have 0% immunity. There will always be enough carry-over to protect you from the most serious outcomes unless you are unfortunate enough to have a weak immune system. That is why it is called cross-reactive immunity. 

A broad smorgasbord of viruses cruising around during cold and flu season makes it less likely that we will die or get seriously ill when exposed to some new "variant" from London, India, or Brazil, or if we are exposed to a new "cousin", like COVID, which crawls out of some bat cave or wet market or escapes from some lab in Wuhan. 

Partial cross-reactive immunity requires periodic re-exposure. Modified from Nature, 4704, September 17th, 2020.

But when we think about it for a moment, what was once dangerous when it was new soon becomes our most important ally for the future to protect us from the next dangerous new thing. As long as we are re-exposed frequently, before immunity fades to zero, cross-reactive immunity is the only realistic evolutionary strategy that humans have to protect us from the next viral variant or viral cousin of these fast-mutating respiratory viruses. 

With sufficient leftover cross-reactive immunity from your last exposure, exposure to the latest variant of a virus may simply result in your immune system getting updated without you even noticing a single thing. That's what it means to get an "asymptomatic" infection. Before we started tormenting the healthy with never-ending PCR tests to make us aware of all these "asymptomatic infections", we were constantly getting lots of these "antivirus security updates" each time we encountered one of the more than 200 respiratory viruses circulating among us, often without even noticing the "infection". 

Many of these encounters are asymptomatic because our immune systems are able to neutralize them without even ruffling enough layers of our defenses to trigger any symptoms. Almost everyone gets a few immune system updates to the viruses that cause common colds, every single year, yet only a small percentage will ever get very sick. The rest may barely get a runny nose, or nothing symptoms at all. 

Mass PCR testing during COVID created a massive freak-out over every single asymptomatic COVID update when we should have only been focused on those people who come down with severe symptomatic disease. There was never any justifiable reason to roll out PCR tests to asymptomatic citizens other than to heighten fear in the population in order to make them receptive to mass vaccination. 

So, in a sense, those 201 respiratory viruses that cause our colds and flus are not just an inconvenience, they are nature's solution to software updates ? even though they are dangerous to those with weak immune systems, for the rest of us our immune systems depend on them to give us partial protection against new strains that emerge through mutation or when new strains jump across species boundaries. Getting rid of those already circulating in society would make us more vulnerable to new variants that emerge. Adding another 200 will make us even safer once we get our first contact behind us.

Eradicating a relatively benign respiratory virus is therefore not a desirable goal. But making it fade into the background is a desirable public health goal so that what was once dangerous can now keep protecting us against the next one through cross-reactive immunity. Focused protection for the vulnerable, not lockdowns, was always the only realistic public health response to this respiratory virus, unless someone wanted to seize the opportunity as a way to rope the public into mass vaccinations.

Nature evolved this fascinating strategy of self-updating immunological countermeasures by continually testing us with mild versions of previous closely related respiratory viruses. Our immune system is therefore somewhat similar to an Olympic weightlifter whose muscles not only stay strong but get even stronger by routinely putting his muscles under a little bit of stress. Our immune system functions the same way ? it must be continually stress-tested with mild challenges to these fast-mutating viruses in order to develop the robust arsenal of defenses to keep us safe. It is a concept called anti-fragility, which was described in detail by Nassim Taleb in his ground-breaking book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder #Commissions Earned. Once you understand this concept, your fear of "variants" will rapidly dissolve.

The eradication of these fast-mutating respiratory viruses is therefore not just unachievable, it would actually be dangerous if we succeeded because it would eliminate the security updates that we need to protect us against new variants that crawl out of bat caves or jump species boundaries. This year's runny nose is your protection against COVID-23. Your cross-reactive immunity to last years annoying flu might just save your life if something truly dangerous arrives, as long as it is at least somewhat related to what your immune system has seen before. COVID could easily have turned out to be as dangerous to us as the Spanish Flu if it hadn't been for the saving grace of cross-reactive immunity. As this study shows, up to 90-99% of us already had some level of protection to COVID thanks to partial cross-reactive immunity gained from exposure to other coronaviruses. The high percentage of infections that turn out to be asymptomatic bears that out.

Someone needs to remind Bill Gates, his fawning public health bootlickers, and the pharmaceutical companies that whisper sweet-nothings in his ear that in the natural world of respiratory viruses, most of us don't need a regimen of never-ending booster shots to keep us safe from COVID variants ? we already have a perfectly functioning system to keep bringing us new updates. Respiratory viruses are a completely different beast than smallpox, polio, or measles; and pretending otherwise is not just silly, it's criminal because anyone with a background in immunology knows better. But it's a fantastic and very profitably way to scare a wide-eyed population into accepting never-ending booster shots as a replacement for the natural antivirus updates that we normally get from hugs and handshakes. Protect the vulnerable. Stop preying on the rest of us.

The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity

A truly novel virus affects everyone because no-one has pre-existing cross-reactive partial immunity to it. That's why the diseases that accompanied Christopher Columbus to the Americas killed up to 95% of North and South America's indigenous populations (see Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond #Commissions Earned). To them, these diseases were novel because they had no previous exposure to them and therefore lacked the antivirus security updates acquired through pre-existing infections. They would have benefited greatly from access to a vaccine prior to first contact.

Thankfully, COVID-19 was not that kind of virus. Yet the media and public health officials shamelessly provoked fear that it was by using the scientifically accurate term novel to describe it, knowing full well that all scientists would understand this to mean a newly emergent strain while the general public would jump to the conclusion that this was an entirely new virus (also called a novel virus by scientists), like when tuberculosis or influenza accompanied Columbus to the Americas. This was a grotesque example of public health officials misusing scientific terminology, knowing full well that the public would misunderstand the term novel according to how we use the word in everyday language and not according to how the scientific community uses it. 

That little game successfully sparked a wave of fear that is so strong that not only is everyone desperate for a leaky jab to lead them to safety, they are so scared that they won't rest until all their friends, neighbors, and family members get one too, even if it requires extreme levels of coercion to get the job done. Canada has even recently gone as far as making vaccination mandatory for all federal employees, employees of Crown Corporations, employees of federally-regulated companies (i.e. utilities) and for all travellers on commercial airlines and trains (CBC, August 13th, 2021) !

Despite the scary numbers put out by the Chinese government in the early days of the pandemic, the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship served as an inadvertent petri-dish to study the COVID virus. Thanks to that example, by the end of February 2020, we knew that COVID was not some monster virus like the 1918 Spanish Flu but was simply another coronavirus strain that was closely related to previous coronaviruses and that most of us already carried some level of cross-reactive immunity to protect us.

How do we know that? The virus circulated freely onboard the ship, yet age corrected lethality remained between 0.025% and 0.625% (that's on the order of a bad flu season and nothing at all like the fatality rate of the 1918 Spanish Flu, which was between 2% and 10%). Only 26% of the passengers tested positive for the virus and of those that tested positive 48% remained completely symptom free despite the advanced age of most of these passengers! 

Diamond Princess Cruise Ship, Alpsdake, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Diamond Princess didn't turn into the floating morgue of bygone eras when ships carrying a disease were forced into quarantine. That should have been the first clue that this virus was anything but novel in the colloquial understanding of the term. Like most cold and flu viruses, only those with weak immune systems were in danger while everyone else got off with little or no symptoms. That is simply not how a truly novel virus behaves when it encounters a population without any pre-existing cross-reactive immunity. The only plausible explanation for that lack of deadliness (deadly for some, annoying for some, and asymptomatic for most others) is that most people already have sufficient pre-existing cross-reactive immunity from exposure to other coronaviruses. 

Research subsequently confirmed what the Diamond Princess outbreak revealed. Cross-reactive immunity. As I mentioned before, studies like this one demonstrated that up to 90 - 99% of us already have some residual level of partial protection to COVID. And we also subsequently found out that most people who were exposed to the deadly SARS virus in 2003 have little to fear from COVID, again because of cross-reactive immunity. COVID was never a mortal threat to most of us.

The important thing to remember is that the Diamond Princess data was already publicly available since the end of February of 2020. Operation Warp Speed, the vaccine development initiative approved by President Trump, was nevertheless announced on April 29th, 2020. Thus, our health authorities knowingly and opportunistically recommended lockdowns and promoted vaccines as an exit strategy after it was already clear that the majority of us had some kind of protection through cross-reactive immunity. The Diamond Princess example provided the unequivocal proof that the only people who might benefit from a vaccine, even if it worked as advertised, were the small number of extremely vulnerable members of society with weak immune systems. Likewise, lockdowns should have been recommended only for nursing home residents (on a strictly voluntary basis to protect their human rights) while the pandemic surged through the rest of us.

The only plausible explanation for why our international health authorities ignored the example of the Diamond Princess is if they wanted to stoke fear among the public and if they wanted to bamboozle credible politicians in order to opportunistically achieve some other public health agenda. They pushed vaccination on everyone knowing full well that most people don't need it and that protection would fade quickly even if the vaccines had been 100% effective, which they also knew was not going to be the case either. And yet they continue to push these vaccines using the same deceitful tactics even today. Water does not run uphill.

“We know they are lying, 

they know they are lying, 

they know we know they are lying, 

we know they know we know they are lying, 

but they are still lying.” 

- Attributed to Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters

Just like during other cold and flu seasons, the vulnerable to COVID are overwhelmingly those with compromised immune systems: those whose immune systems are shutting down as they approach death from old age and those whose immune systems are compromised due to severe pre-existing conditions that reduce immune function. 

For everyone else with a strong immune system and cross-reactive immunity, we have little to fear from the virus and its never-ending stream of mutations unless our immune systems are temporarily suppressed through illness, environmental conditions, or nutritional deficiencies

Your mother's warnings about putting on a sweater, hat, and dry socks, tucking in your shirt to cover your kidneys, and not playing in puddles were not about preventing infection by a cold or flu, it was about preventing symptomatic infection. Research has demonstrated that getting chilled can temporarily suppress your immune system. Thus, getting chilled increases the chance that an infection leads to symptomatic disease rather than merely updating your immune system through an asymptomatic infection. Your sweater won't prevent you from catching an infection. But it might prevent that infection from becoming a symptomatic disease. It could be the difference between experiencing nothing and ending up in bed with a fever.

In the same way, topping up on vitamin C and D, eating properly, getting enough rest, getting hugs from loved ones, adopting a positive attitude in life, and smiling when you see a rainbow are all strategies that help keep your immune system strong. They don't prevent infection, but they might reduce your risk of a bad outcome.

Ask the staff in a nursing home what happens to their patients when any of these important ingredients is missing ? vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, poor sleep, loneliness, and depression lay out the welcome mat for the Grim Reaper. A temporarily suppressed immune system cannot mount an adequate immune response even when we do have cross-reactive immunity.

Our public health authorities also all know this. This is not a mystery. Yet, instead of promoting these strategies as ways in which people could reduce their risk to severe outcomes, they have systematically downplayed, ignored, or labeled these strategies as "fake news". Maximize the risk of death. Then promote the vaccine as the exclusive path to safety. Criminal.

You cannot control other people forever to avoid getting exposed to a respiratory virus. COVID Zero is an authoritarian fantasy. But you can control your food, your sleep, and your attitude so that your immune system can mount the strongest attack it can muster. The odds are that you already have all the cross-reactive immunity you need to survive this virus without a hitch. Look inwards to find freedom from fear. Take good care of yourself. Go play in the sun with your friends. And listen to your mother —tuck in your shirt! 

The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses

As is so often the case when politicians try to run our lives for us, the government response to COVID is not just wrong, it is actually making us more vulnerable, both to COVID and to other respiratory viruses. Depriving nursing home patients of their loved ones, locking them in isolation, locking people in their homes, shutting down gyms, driving us into depression, and paralysing us with fear and uncertainty ensures that our immune systems will be working at suboptimal levels. Broken marriages, children deprived of social contacts, insomnia, the remarkable surge in obesity that occurred during COVID, and so many other consequences of these ill begotten strategies all have a toll on our ability to mount a strong immune response when we are inevitably exposed to any respiratory viruses.

Equally devastating is that, by disrupting our normal social contacts, we have reduced how much training our immune system is getting through repeated exposure to other respiratory viruses. A computer that stops getting security updates becomes increasingly vulnerable to future versions of viruses. The same goes for our immune system. COVID is not the only risk. Remember, there are more than 200 other respiratory viruses that are also circulating. They may not be getting much attention and may be temporarily starved for hosts while we are cooped up at home, but they haven't gone away. They are waiting. And when they find us, they find hosts whose antivirus security updates are out of date. 

In other words, by breaking our ability to socialize with our peers, what was once relatively harmless is becoming more dangerous to us because our immune systems are out of practice. This isn't some theoretical risk. We're already beginning to see the fallout from that lack of updates, with deadly consequences. 

For example, New Zealand was praised internationally for adopting a COVID-Zero policy and for the low COVID cases that resulted. But the lockdowns, social distancing measures, and border closures also had another effect  ? there was a 99.9% reduction in flu cases and a 98% reduction in cases of the RSV virus. Sounds good, right? Not so fast...

Systems that depend on constant challenges to become antifragile will become fragile if those challenges stop happening. A tree that grows up sheltered from the wind will break when it is exposed to the storm.

Now New Zealand's myopic focus on COVID as the one and only risk is coming home to roost. Its hospitals are overflowing with children. But they're not being hospitalized by COVID. They are falling ill with RSV virus because of the "immunity debt" that built up from not being continually exposed to all the respiratory viruses that make up normal life. These children are, quite literally, the next wave of victims of COVID-Zero. Being cut off from normal life has left them fragile. Instead of praise, it now is becoming apparent that New Zealand's authoritarian strongwoman, Jacinda Ardern, and her public health advisors ought to be standing trial for gross negligence for ignoring the long-established research about how our immune systems depend on continual exposure to respiratory viruses in order to stay healthy.

Source: The Guardian, July 8th, 2021.

As long as our social contacts are restricted, we are all becoming increasing vulnerable to all these other respiratory viruses because of the "immunity debt" that has built up during lockdowns and social distancing rules. It turns out that handshakes and hugs are not just good for the soul. Our public health officials have blood on their hands for denying us our normal lives. 

This heightened risk to other viruses isn't an unexpected outcome; there were plenty of doctors who warned about precisely this risk as lockdowns were being imposed. For example, Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr Artin Massihi warned about this phenomenon back in May of 2020. YouTube censored their video. Yet they were citing long-established science that was uncontested until society collectively lost its mind in 2020.

Introducing Immunity as a Service – A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)

As you can see from everything I have laid out in this essay, this misbegotten vaccine-enabled fever dream was never a realistic solution to stop COVID. At best, if the vaccines worked as advertised, all they could ever have been was one tool among many to provide the vulnerable with focused protection while the rest of us went about our normal lives, largely unaffected by our periodic antivirus security updates through exposure to the natural virus.

COVID-Zero in all its variations was a fantasy. 

But it was not an accidental fantasy. 

Water does not run uphill.

Every single public health official in the world has the education to know that what they have been promoting, from day one, is gibberish. What I have laid out in this essay is pretty basic virology and immunology knowledge. Which raises a rather alarming question: how can any virologist, immunologist, vaccine maker, or public health official knowingly promote this lie? 

Why is there such a blind obsession with getting us all to take a vaccine that most people do not need and that can never provide long-lasting herd immunity?

It's no mystery why pea-brained politicians might fall for this fantasy; they are only as good as the advisors they listen to. And politicians are shameless opportunists, so it is not surprising that they are now exploiting the situation to increase their powers and to harness this emerging command-and-control economy in pursuit of their own ideological goals — redistribution, carbon net zero, social credit score systems, you name it. In this Orwellian world, if you have a podium and a utopian dream, the world is your oyster, at least as long as the band keeps playing and the pitchforks can be kept off the streets. 

"You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." 

- Rahm Emanuel

"I really believe COVID has created a window of political opportunity..." 

- Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada

But our public health officials and international health organizations are trained to know better. Yet they nevertheless set this nightmare in motion in violation of all their own long-established pandemic planning guidelines. They know eradication is impossible. They know most of us already have cross-reactive immunity. They know most of us are healthy enough so that our immune systems will protect us against severe outcomes from this virus. They know about the negative consequences imposed on our immune systems when we are prevented from living normal lives. They know they are increasing our risk to other viruses by preventing us from socializing. It's their job to know. And, as I have demonstrated, they have known since day one. 

But what if a shameless pharmaceutical industry could manipulate public health policies by capturing politicians, policymakers, and public health agencies through generous donations? What if the boundaries between public health agencies, international public health organizations, and pharmaceutical companies have become blurred to such a degree that each benefits from reinforcing one another's best interests? What if they have all come to believe that vaccines against respiratory viruses are the holy grail of public health (and of generous funding), even if they have to play fast and loose with the truth to get humanity to accept them and even if they have to do a little evil to achieve some imagined future "greater good"?

What if the revolving door between pharmaceutical companies, public health, and international health organizations has created a kind of blind groupthink within this holy trinity? What if anyone caught up in that system is forced to bite their tongue because to speak out is a deathblow to their career? What if many of those caught up in the system genuinely believe the lies, despite a lifetime of training that should tell them otherwise? The powerful effect of groupthink, demonstrated by the Ash Conformity Experiments, can make people blind to what is staring them in the face. Even the medieval kings knew they needed a court jester to prevent the king from growing a big head. But what if, in the hallowed halls of this holy trinity, all the court jesters have long since been purged or cowed into silence?

"It's dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." 

- Voltaire

A quote that best sums up the thinking inside many of our public health institutions comes from Peter Daszak, head of EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit non-governmental organization that works closely with public health agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and intergovernmental organizations like the WHO (published in a 2016 report by the National Academy of Sciences):

"Daszak reiterated that, until an infectious disease crisis is very real, present, and at an emergency threshold, it is often largely ignored. To sustain the funding base beyond the crisis, he said, we need to increase public understanding of the need for MCMs [medical counter measures] such as a pan-influenza or pan-coronavirus vaccineA key driver is the media, and the economics follow the hype. We need to use that hype to our advantage to get to the real issues. Investors will respond if they see profit at the end of process, Daszak stated." [Emphasis mine]

In the presence of so much conflict of interest, in the absence of the checks and balances provided by individual rights, in the censorious atmosphere of cancel culture that has infected all our public institutions, and with so many institutional donors (private and governmental alike) being enamored with social-engineering projects and blinded by their own arrogance, it would perhaps be more surprising if this vaccine-fueled hysteria hadn't happened. 

In view of the circumstances, what happened almost seems inevitable. To the eyes of profit-hungry pharmaceuticals and funding-hungry national and international public health institutions, this virus must look like manna from heaven. They must feel like a fox that has been invited into the henhouse by ripe chickens that are begging to be plucked.

History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme. What has emerged during COVID is simply a bigger, better, bolder replay of what happened during the 2009 swine flu hysteria. I'd like to share a few quotes with you - and keep in mind that these are about the 2009 Swine Flu scandal, not COVID:

From a 2010 article entitled: European Parliament to Investigate WHO and "Pandemic" Scandal [Emphasis mine]:

  • "In his official statement to the Committee, Wodarg criticized the influence of the pharma industry on scientists and officials of [the] WHO, stating that it has led to the situation where "unnecessarily millions of healthy people are exposed to the risk of poorly tested vaccines," and that, for a flu strain that is "vastly less harmful" than all previous flu epidemics."

  • "For the first time, the WHO criteria for a pandemic was changed in April 2009 as the first Mexico cases were reported, to make not the actual risk of a disease but the number of cases of the disease [the] basis to declare "Pandemic." By classifying the swine flu as [a] pandemic, nations were compelled to implement pandemic plans and also t[o] purchase swine flu vaccines."

And here are a series of even more revealing quotes from a 2010 report published by Der Spiegel called: Reconstruction of a Mass Hysteria — The Swine Flu Panic of 2009:

  • "Researchers in more than 130 laboratories in 102 countries are constantly on the lookout for new flu pathogens. Entire careers and institutions, and a lot of money, depend on the outcomes of their work. "Sometimes you get the feeling that there is a whole industry almost waiting for a pandemic to occur," says flu expert Tom Jefferson, from an international health nonprofit called the Cochrane Collaboration. "And all it took was one of these influenza viruses to mutate to start the machine grinding."

  • "Does this mean that a very mild course of the pandemic was not even considered from the start? At any rate, efforts to downplay the risks were unwelcome, and the WHO made it clear that it preferred to base its decisions on a worst-case scenario. "We wanted to overestimate rather than underestimate the situation," says Fukuda [Keiji Fukuda was the Assistant Director-General for Health, Security and Environment for the WHO at that time]."

  • "The media also did its part in stoking fears. SPIEGEL, for example, had reported at length on the avian flu. Now it devoted a cover story to the new "global virus," a story filled with concerns that the swine flu pathogen could mutate into a horrific virus."

  • "The pharmaceutical industry was particularly adept at keeping this vision alive."

  • "We expected a real pandemic, and we thought that it had to happen. There was no one who suggested re-thinking our approach."

  • "the vast majority of experts on epidemics automatically associate the term "pandemic" with truly aggressive viruses. On the WHO Web site, the answer to the question "What is a pandemic?" included mention of "an enormous number of deaths and cases of the disease" -- until May 4, 2009. That was when a CNN reporter pointed out the discrepancy between this description and the generally mild course of the swine flu. The language was promptly removed."

  • "'Sometimes some of us think that WHO stands for World Hysteria Organization,' says Richard Schabas, the former chief medical officer for Canada's Ontario Province."

  • "A party with strong connections in Geneva had a strong interest in phase 6 being declared as quickly as possible: the pharmaceutical industry."

  • "Meanwhile, a debate had erupted over whether Germany had chosen the wrong vaccine, Pandemrix [it was later found to have caused narcolepsy in some patients, which is an autoimmune disease]. It contained a new type of agent designed to boost its effectiveness, known as an adjuvant, which had never undergone large-scale human trials in connection with the swine flu antigen. Were millions of people about to receive a vaccine that had hardly been tested?"

  • "But the contracts for Pandemrix had been signed in 2007, and they came into effect automatically when the WHO decided to declare phase 6."

  • "The ministers felt pressured from all sides. On the one hand, the media were stoking fears of the virus. The German tabloid newspaper Bild, in particular, was printing new tales of horror almost daily. On the other hand, the pharmaceutical companies were upping the pressure and constantly setting new ultimatums."

  • "Oct. 9, 2009: Wolf-Dieter Ludwig, an oncologist and chairman of the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association , says: 'The health authorities have fallen for a campaign by the pharmaceutical companies, which were plainly using a supposed threat to make money.'"

  • "Oct. 21, 2009: A BILD newspaper headline, printed in toxic yellow, warns: "Swine Flu Professor Fears 35,000 Dead in Germany !" The professor's name is Adolf Windorfer, and when pressed, he admits that he has received payments from the industry, including GSK and Novartis. Next to the BILD headline is an ad for the German Association of Pharmaceutical Companies."

  • "According to Wodarg, the WHO's classification of the swine flu as a pandemic have earned the pharmaceutical companies $18 billion in additional revenues. Annual sales of Tamiflu alone have jumped 435 percent, to €2.2 billion."

Rinse and repeat in 2020-2021.

What if, upon recognizing the emergence of a new pandemic, those in the know opportunistically made vaccines the endgame? What if all the vaccine injuries recorded on VAERS and all the risks they are taking with our lives are simply collateral damage - a calculated investment risk - in order to turn their dream of subscription-based "immunity as a service" into reality. 

In the words of Bill Gates,we kind of caught mRNA half way to prime time. Maybe we should believe him — and gape in awe at the recklessness and contempt they have shown for their fellow citizens in order to capitalize on this "window of opportunity". Carpe diem (seize the day). Don't sweat the small stuff. Keep your eye on the ball... and on the year-end bonuses.

What if COVID-Zero, in all its variations, was merely a strategy to herd us together so we obediently line up for an endless string of booster shots as a trade-off for access to our lives? 

In other words, what if someone could bamboozle our leaders into believing that the only way back to a normal life is for vaccines to replace the role that hugs and handshakes used to play in order to update us with the latest antivirus security updates? 

What if, by depriving us of normal life, those who stand to gain from vaccines can forever cement themselves at the center of society by providing an artificial replacement for what our immune systems used to do to protect us against common respiratory viruses back when we were still allowed to live normal lives? 

The headlines tell the story:

"Pfizer CEO says third Covid vaccine dose likely needed within 12 months." (CNBC, April 15th, 2021)

"Variants could be named after star constellations when Greek alphabet runs out, says WHO Covid chief." (The Telegraph, August 7th, 2021)

"Fauci warns Americans may face having booster shots indefinitely" (Daily Mail, August 13th, 2021, and Dr. Fauci in his own words on YouTube on August 12th, 2021)

"Biden OKs booster shots 5 months after 2nd dose" (Boston Globe, August 27th, 2021)

What if the fast mutation of RNA viruses ensures that no vaccine will ever be fully effective at providing lasting immunity, thus creating the illusion that we are permanently in need of vaccine boosters? 

What if politicians could be convinced to make vaccination mandatory in order to prevent potential customers from opting out? 

What if, by relying on lockdowns during the winter season, our vulnerability to other viruses increased, which could then be used to rationalize expanding the jab, via mission creep, to simultaneously vaccinate us against RSV, influenza, other coronaviruses, the common cold, and so on, despite knowing full well that the protection that these vaccines offer against respiratory viruses is only temporary?

And what other social engineering goals can be rolled into your annual booster shot in the future once you are permanently bound to these annual jabs and vaccine passports? In an atmosphere of hysteria, it's a system ripe for abuse by opportunists, ideologues, power hungry totalitarians, and Malthusian social engineers. The snowball doesn't have to grow by design. Mission creep happens all on its own once Pandora's Box is opened to coerced vaccinations and conditional rights. The road to Hell is frequently paved by good intentions... and hysteria. 

So, what if COVID-Zero and the vaccine exit strategy is merely the global state-sanctioned equivalent of a drug dealer creating dependency among its customers to keep pushing more drugs? 

What if it was all just a way of convincing society of the need for subscription-based "immunity as a service"? The subscription-based business model (or some version of it) is all the rage these days in the corporate world to create loyal captive audiences that generate reliable money streams, forever. Subscriptions are not just for your cable TV and gym membership anymore. Everything has been redesignated as a "consumable". 

  • Netflix did it with movies.

  • Spotify did it with music.

  • Microsoft did it with its Office suite.

  • Adobe did it with Photoshop editing suite.

  • The smartphone industry did it with phones that need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years.

  • The gaming industry did it with video games.

  • Amazon is doing it with books (i.e. Kindle Unlimited).

  • The food industry is doing it with meal delivery services (i.e. Hello Fresh).

  • Uber is doing it with subscription-based ride sharing.

  • Coursera is doing it with online education.

  • Duolingo and Rosetta Stone are doing it with language learning.

  • Zoom is doing it with online meetings.

  • Monsanto and its peers did it to farmers with patented seed technology, which cannot legally be replanted, and is lobbying to try to legalize the use of terminator seed technology (GMO seeds that are sterile in the second generation to prevent replanting).

  • The healthcare industry is doing it with concierge medical services, fitness tracking apps (Fitbit), sleep-tracking apps, and meditation apps.

  • The investment industry is doing it with farmland, with investors owning the land and leasing it back to farmers in a kind of modern revival of the sharecropping system. (Bill Gates is the largest farmland owner in the USA - are you surprised?)

  • Blackrock and other investment firms are currently trying to do it with homes to create a permanent class of renters.

  • And public health authorities and vaccine makers have been trying to do it with flu vaccines for years, but we've been stubbornly uncooperative. Not anymore.

Remember when the World Economic Forum predicted in 2016 that by 2030 all products would become services? And remember their infamous video in which they predicted that "You will own nothing. And you will be happy."? Well, the future is here. This is what it looks like. The subscription-based economy. And apparently it now also includes your immune system in a trade-off for access to your life.

Original video on Facebook, World Economic Forum, December 9th, 2016.

Let's revisit the Peter Daszak quote from earlier. A second read allows the message to really hit home:

"Daszak reiterated that, until an infectious disease crisis is very real, present, and at an emergency threshold, it is often largely ignored. To sustain the funding base beyond the crisis, he said, we need to increase public understanding of the need for MCMs [medical counter measures] such as a pan-influenza or pan-coronavirus vaccineA key driver is the media, and the economics follow the hype. We need to use that hype to our advantage to get to the real issues. Investors will respond if they see profit at the end of process, Daszak stated."

Isn't it ironic that he didn't even care which vaccine was pushed? Influenza or coronavirus, it made no difference. It was always about funding. It was always about the money. It always was. It always is.

The holy trinity of pharmaceutical companies, public health, and international health organizations, all egging each other on in their hunger for a reliable flow of cash: shareholder profits, larger budgets, and governmental donations. Their interests are perfectly aligned and the lines between them are blurred to such a degree that each benefits from reinforcing one another's best interests.

And why would politicians and media bow to the holy trinity?

Big Pharma spent an average of US$4.7 billion per year between 1999 and 2018 on lobbying and campaign contributions, just in the USA!  

Big Pharma also shells out $US20 billion each year to schmooze doctors and another US$6 billion on drug ads, just in the USA! So, it's no surprise why legacy media and Big Tech are tripping over themselves not to ruffle the party line — they live and die by the almighty advertising dollar. Never bite the hand that feeds you.

So, they are all dancing to the same tune while your pocket gets picked and your arm gets pricked, and everyone wins... except you and me. We are the cow that gets milked. We are the serfs that fund their largesse in this neo-feudal society where a few big boys own the assets and everyone else is beholden to those above them in the hierarchy for access to, well, everything — land, resources, rights, individual autonomy, and even immune systems. My body, their choice.

What if, in an atmosphere of runaway hysteria, a police state founded on medical tyranny is creating itself, fueled by a toxic brew of self-serving opportunists who have seized the moment to superimpose their own goals on a fortuitous virus, until one day you wake up to find yourself chained and milked, like a cow in a dairy barn, under the absolute custody of a modern-day Louis the Fourteenth and his royal court full of drug pushers, ideologues, and militant devotees? The modern face of feudalism, updated for the 21st century. Neo-feudalism, enforced by a mandatory subscription-based "immunity as a service".

And what if a society that has lost its principles, a society that is eager to hand over individual responsibility to "experts," a society that is held hostage to cancel culture mobs, a society that no longer has transparency into the decisions made by its experts, a society led by a censorious political class full of immoral opportunists, a society that has fallen so in love with big government that red tape and cronyism have completely erased the self-limiting checks and balances of a free and open society, and a society that has elevated safety to a new sort of religious cult is a society that has no immunity to protect itself from predators who treat us like cattle?

No period in history has ever lacked in snake-oil salesmen, ideologues, and social engineers eager to take society for a ride. Most of the time, they are ignored. So, what if the only real mystery is why society has grown so willing to accept the collar and yoke? 

What if all this really is just as simple as that? 

The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again.

Now we know we've been played, how we've been played, and why we've been played. Again. Just like during the 2009 Swine Flu con. Only bigger, bolder, and better. They learned from their mistakes. We didn't.

But now that you see the con, you can't unsee it. And now that you understand the threat and how the game is being played, there is a weight that comes off your shoulders. 

When you know there's a threat, but you don't know exactly what it is, every movement in the grass might be a tiger or a snake or a scorpion. It's paralysing and exhausting to defend yourself against an invisible unknown and they have used that fear masterfully against us to keep us frozen. But once you spot the tiger in the grass, you know where to direct your focus, your feet become unglued, your voice becomes bold, and you regain the clarity of thought to defend yourself.

The con is clear. It's time to focus all our might on stopping this runaway train before it takes us over the cliff into a police state of no return. Stand up. Speak out. Refuse to play along. Stopping this requires millions of voices with the courage to say NO — at work, at home, at school, at church, and out on the street. 

"Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis & foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored." — Martin Luther King Jr.

Compliance is the glue that holds tyranny together. Non-compliance breaks it apart. One person alone cannot stop this. But if millions find the courage to raise their voices and the courage to refuse to participate in the system on these tyrannical medical terms, it will throw the system into such a crisis and create such a tension that the community will be forced to confront the issue. Without enough truckers, no-one eats. Without enough medical staff, hospitals close. Without enough workers, supply chains break. Without enough policemen, laws cannot be enforced. Without enough garbage collectors, cities grind to a halt. Without enough cashiers, box stores cannot stay open. Without enough administrators, institutions cease to function. Without enough staff, corporations lose profits. Without enough servers, restaurants cannot serve their customers. And without enough customers, businesses are brought to their knees. 

Tyranny is not sustainable if the system grinds to a halt. Make it grind by being a thorn in everyone's side until they give us back our freedoms and end this ridiculous charade. They are trying to impose vaccine passports and mandatory vaccinations. But we hold the cards... but only if we are bold enough to stand up even at the risk of finding ourselves standing alone. Courage begets courage. It was Martin Luther King's secret power. It must be ours.

Now that you see the con, you also know the simple recipe to make this virus go away before their reckless policies turn it a monster virus for real. Remember 1918. End the war on the virus. Let the young folks come out of the trenches. Let people go back to their lives. Provide focused protection for the vulnerable. That is how this virus fades into the history books. 

It's time to be bold. It's time to call out the fraudsters. And it's time to reclaim the habits, values, and principles that are required to fix our democratic and scientific institutions to prevent this from ever happening again. 

Feudalism was one giant stinking cesspool of self-serving corruption. Individual rights, free markets, the democratic process, and limited government were the antidotes that freed humanity from that hierarchical servitude. It seems we have come full circle. The COVID con is a symptom, not the cause, of a broken system.

Modern liberal democracy all around the world was inspired by the system of checks and balances that America's Founding Fathers built to prevent government from being co-opted by the special interests of its leaders, institutions, corporations, and most influential citizens. The ink was barely dry when those principles began to be ignored by those with ever greater enthusiasm for an all-powerful referee to manage even the most intimate details of how everyone lives their lives. After two and a half centuries of effort the admirers of big government have achieved their heart's desire. And what a glorious and rotten cesspool of self-serving corruption it is.

But the principles laid out by America's Founding Fathers remain as true today as the day they were written and are waiting to be rediscovered. If there is one culprit who deserves to shoulder more blame than any other for the fiasco of the last 18 months, it is society itself for allowing itself to fall prey to the siren song of big government, the illusion that there can ever be a benevolent, virtuous, and incorruptible referee. He who creates the red tape, he who has the keys to the treasury, he who wields the power of the tax collector, and he who commands those sent to enforce the laws will always have an entourage of self-serving charlatans, rent seekers, and parasites following him wherever he goes. So, keep his powers on a very short leash to keep other people's hands off your money, your property, your freedom, and your body. You don't need better leaders. You need less powerful institutions. That's how you prevent this from ever happening again.

Freedom of speech, individual rights, private property, individual ownership, competition, good faith debate, small government, minimal taxes, limited regulation, and free markets (the opposite of the crony capitalism we now suffer under), these are the checks and balances that bullet-proof a society against the soulless charlatans that fail upwards into positions of power in bloated government institutions and against the parasitic fraudsters that seek to attach themselves to the government's teat. 

Yes, we need a Great Reset. Just not the subscription-based version that the World Economic Forum imagined.

"Just Say No to Drugs"

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” 

- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark #Commissions Earned

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 00:00
Published:9/24/2021 11:19:15 PM
[Markets] Is China Using Wokeism To Erode American Democracy? Is China Using Wokeism To Erode American Democracy?

Authored by Frank Fang and Jan Jekielek via The Epoch Times,

The communist regime in China is using “wokeism” as a geopolitical tool to undermine U.S. democracy, said Vivek Ramaswamy, author of “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.”

“They [China] are using that to divide us, to use that as a kink in our armor to divide us from within, by getting corporations to criticize injustice here, without saying a peep about injustice over there and deflecting accountability for their human rights abuses,” Ramaswamy said in a recent interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders.”

He said U.S. companies like NBA and Disney—who criticize social issues in the United States but remain silent on China’s human rights abuses such as those in Xinjiang—are in fact empowering communist China.

In 2020, Disney drew heavy criticism when it was revealed that it filmed a live-action remake of “Mulan” in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang, where Beijing has locked up over 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in internment camps. Several governments including the United States have characterized China’s oppression in Xinjiang as “genocide.”

The NBA was in hot water in 2019 after Houston Rockets then-general manager Daryl Morey voiced support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters in a Twitter post. The Chinese regime, which cast the protesters as “rioters,” suspended airing NBA games in retaliation, while Chinese companies cut ties with the league.

In an apologetic statement, the NBA said Morey’s tweet was “regrettable” and “deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China.” However, the league did not bow to Chinese pressure to discipline or fire Morey.

“What that has the effect of doing is creating a false moral equivalence between the United States and China,” he explained.

He added:

“And that actually erodes our greatest geopolitical asset of all, that is not our nuclear arsenal, it is our moral standing on the global stage.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese regime has been “rolling out the red carpet” for companies that criticized injustice in the United States, Ramaswamy said. For example, he pointed to U.S. online lodging platform Airbnb, which has voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ramaswamy argued that Airbnb paid “a dirty bribe” to Beijing when it shared its guest data with Chinese authorities in exchange for being able to do business in China.

In March, over 190 global campaign groups wrote an open letter to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, asking the firm to withdraw its support for the 2022 Winter Olympics in China’s capital Beijing because of the communist regime’s horrific human rights records.

“Airbnb should not be encouraging a wider tourist industry to be supported and allowed to flourish at the expense of Uyghur and Tibetan rights,” the groups wrote.

Airbnb, who inked a partnership with the International Olympic Committee in 2019, is one of the organization’s 15 leading sponsors.

Ramaswamy said, “The way in which they [China] have turned our own companies into Trojan horses to undermine us from within is the flip side of the modern Battle of Troy. They’ve sent the Trojan horse in.”

The modern-day wokeism, which Ramaswamy characterized as a “culture of self-criticism,” has borne resemblance to old school Chinese communist politics, as well as former Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s Red Guards, he explained.

“This is a time of effectively living in a modern Red Guard revolution in America, except instead of the Chinese Red Guard pushing the philosophy of Marxism, the new Red Guard is pushing it through all of our major institutions, from the private sector to the public, they are pushing this new philosophy of wokeism,” he said.

He added: “Someone inside needed to sound the alarm bell.”

Mao instigated the Red Guards, who were Chinese high school and university students, to persecute those identified as “class enemies” of the communist regime, amid the Cultural Revolution that lasted 10 years until Mao’s death in 1976.

Ramaswamy warned that “American greatness” would be coming to an end if Americans weren’t able to reverse the trend.

He explained, “[We need to] harness and rediscover our own culture of excellence, our own culture of the unapologetic pursuit of excellence through our system of free enterprise, and through our democracy in ways that require seeing past the superficial demands of the woke movement.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 23:20
Published:9/24/2021 10:41:55 PM
[Markets] Mysterious Stealth Boat In Mississippi Boatyard Linked To Special Forces Program Mysterious Stealth Boat In Mississippi Boatyard Linked To Special Forces Program

A picture of a mysterious stealth boat has surfaced on social media. The catamaran was spotted in a boatyard in Gulfport, Mississippi, known for the high-tech manufacturing of vessels for US special forces.

Defense analyst for USNI News, H I Sutton, geolocated the stealth boat, which appears to be in construction at US Marine Inc (USMI) on the river Bernard Bayou. He said USMI has a long history of "building high-specification riverine and inshore special forces vessels."

"One of their major customers has been USSOCOM, including Naval Special Warfare (NSW) which contains the US Navy SEALs. USMI previously supplied the SEALs with High-Speed Boats (HSB) and the better known Mk.V Special Operations Craft," Sutton continued. 

USMI was recently awarded a $108,000,000 contract to build USSOCOM Combatant Craft Assault (CCA) vessels. He said, "the new catamaran shares some major features with the CCA." 

Sutton said there were no definites about the customer of the mysterious stealth vessel, adding, "it may be a speculative build, or for export. Or that it fulfills a sensitive requirement for the US Navy." 

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 23:00
Published:9/24/2021 10:14:58 PM
[Markets] Renewables Not So Reliable As US Hydropower Plunges 14% Renewables Not So Reliable As US Hydropower Plunges 14%

The transition away from hydrocarbons is not a seamless as many hope. The latest data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows a significant decline this year in hydropower generation amid historic droughts. 

The magical thinking about renewable energy and President Biden's calls for the U.S. power grid to be 100% clean by 2035 is a pipe dream. 

The problem with renewable energy is sustainability. California and states in the Pacific Northwest have found out that out the hard way this summer as droughts and back-to-back heat waves have led to a plunge in hydropower capacity. The region produces a bulk of U.S. hydropower capacity. 

EIA estimates U.S. hydropower plants will be 14% lower in 2021 than it was in 2020. Hydropower generation in the Northwest, which includes the Columbia River Basin and parts of other Rocky Mountain states, is expected to be 12% lower than the prior year. Hydropower generation in California will be down a shocking 49% in 2021 than in 2020.

The dry conditions have reduced water levels across large parts of the Columbia River Basin this summer, drought emergencies were declared in counties across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Some reservoirs in California halted hydropower generation due to declining water levels. 

Between March and April, hydropower generation in Washington and Oregon was 10% below the 10-year range. Over the summer, hydropower generation in these states moved back within range. But in California, hydropower generation stayed below the 10-year range as the Edward Hyatt Power Plant at Lake Oroville went offline due to low water levels last month. 

This summer, California's energy challenges show the state's aggressive push to slash carbon emissions by shifting to renewable energy has its disadvantages. The state's top grid operator, California Independent System Operator (CAISO), requested and was granted an emergency measure by the federal government to fire up natural gas generation plants to prevent blackouts amid the loss of some renewable energy sources. 

Maybe it's time for California to admit their "green" push has been a complete disaster, and the transition is not going to be as seamless as once thought. But wait, they already have:

The short-term strategy for California has been to fire up fossil fuel generation plants as renewable energy sources become unreliable. This is just one ugly truth about renewable power the progressives don't want you to hear. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 22:20
Published:9/24/2021 9:45:39 PM
[Markets] Black Lives Matter NYC Leader Promises "Uprising" Against City's "Racist" Vaccine Passports Black Lives Matter NYC Leader Promises "Uprising" Against City's "Racist" Vaccine Passports

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

One of the leaders of a Black Lives Matter group in New York City promised an “uprising” against the city’s COVID-19 vaccine passports, decrying the system as racist.

According to data provided by New York state, about 85 percent of black residents have not received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccineData provided by New York City shows that 64 percent of black people between the ages of 18 and 44 are not fully vaccinated while 56 percent have received one shot.

Hawk Newsome, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, told the Washington Examiner that “I think, in a perfect world, [vaccine requirements] should be business by business. But it could be a slippery slope, so the mandate should be removed completely.”

He added: “It’s not gonna be white men in suits on Wall Street who are gonna get stopped. There’s such hypocrisy in this thing.”

Newsome said he believes that black Americans “have a natural distrust of the vaccine,” citing the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in the 20th century for a reason why.

“How dare they remove religious exemptions? It’s the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen,” Newsome said, adding that he believes that most vaccine mandates don’t allow religious exemption.

“Now the government has decided your God doesn’t matter? I love God.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, argued in a court filing this week that the state has no constitutional obligation to grant religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers. Religious exemptions to the vaccines most commonly center on objections on how aborted fetal cells were used in the manufacturing and testing process. Medical exemptions usually include a doctor’s recommendation that a person not get the vaccine due to an underlying medical condition.

The Epoch Times has contacted Black Lives Matter of Greater New York for additional comment.

Another member of the group promised an “uprising” in New York City over the vaccine mandate.

“We’re putting this city on notice that your mandate will not be another racist social distance practice,” Chivona Newsome, a leader of the group, told fellow protesters during a demonstration in Manhattan in front of Carmine’s restaurant on Monday.

“Black people are not going to stand by, or you will see another uprising. And that is not a threat. That is a promise.”

“The vaccination passport is not a free passport to racism,” she added.

Black Lives Matter activists had accused Carmine’s of racially profiling three black women from Texas, who were arrested last week after a hostess allegedly demanded vaccination proof.

A lawyer for Carmine’s denied their allegations.

“Any claim that they were racially profiled is a complete fabrication, disingenuous, and outright irresponsible,” Carolyn Richmond, the attorney for the restaurant, told the New York Daily News.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 22:00
Published:9/24/2021 9:19:43 PM
[Markets] Texas National Guard Urges Members To Volunteer Amid Border Crisis Texas National Guard Urges Members To Volunteer Amid Border Crisis

The Texas Military Department seeks Guardsmen who are willing to volunteer their time to defend the Lone Star State amid the "unprecedented" migrant crisis along the Texas-Mexico border. 

The Texas Military Department stated, "new full-time positions" are available for the Operation Lone Star border support mission. "Volunteers must be medically and administratively deployable and members of the Texas Military Department," it said. 

"We are still looking for Texas Guardsmen to support Operation Lone Star. Please help us stop human trafficking, smuggling, and illegal border crossings while we are securing texas. Lodging and per diem included," the department's Twitter said. 

Operation Lonestar "integrates Texas Department of Public Safety with the Texas National Guard and deploys air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets to high threat areas to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas," according to the Office of Governor Greg Abbott.

Abbot joined Fox News' Hannity Thursday to discuss the border crisis. He said his state took "unprecedented action" to secure the border amid the flow of at least 15,000 migrants who ended up under a Texas bridge earlier this week. 

Days later, the Biden administration finally took action and forced thousands of Haitian migrants back to their own county despite political turmoil after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise and the most recent earthquake. 

Scenes from the border in the last few weeks have been shocking as the Biden administration looked the other way. Even a Democratic judge in Texas bashed Biden for the handling of the crisis and said the president is the root cause of the problem.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 21:40
Published:9/24/2021 8:44:52 PM
[Markets] Personal Tracking Devices Moving Toward A "Dangerous" New Era Personal Tracking Devices Moving Toward A "Dangerous" New Era

Tracking devices can sometimes be useful: you can attach one to your phone or wallet and know where it is at all times, for example.

But the Bluetooth and ultra-wideband (UWB) tracking devices are moving towards a "dangerous new era", according to a new writeup by Android Authority

The devices are getting so small, prominent and widely available that risks of both stalking and general surveillance using them can no longer be ignored, the piece argues. 

It calls stalking the "biggest and most obvious threat". It can happen when a tracker, usually a thin tile-like piece of plastic, gets slipped into someone's bag, vehicle or clothing, tracking them everywhere they go. 

One such instance of stalking took place in 2018 when  a woman in Houston said she found a Tile planted inside the console of her car, which her ex was using to follow her. The ex was charged with a misdemeanor as a result.

Even overaggressive parents could take advantage of the trackers, the article argues: "An abusive husband could use trackers to follow their spouse to a shelter or the police. An overprotective mother could prevent their child from going anywhere but home or school."

Surveillance is another way trackers can be abused. Android Authority writes:

The more items a person tracks through first- or third-party apps, the more comprehensive surveillance can theoretically become. Let’s say you have a tracker on your backpack or laptop. If your phone and the tracker leave for a specific place every morning, it’s not hard to guess that the origin is your home, and the destination is an office or worksite. Placing another tracker on a TV remote immediately confirms your home location, and if you’re monitoring headphones or a personal electric vehicle, hackers can pick out some of your favorite haunts, like parks or the gym.

Hacking into a phone could even allow an attacker to figure out where in a building devices are kept, or where a specific person sits and sleeps, the report says: "In the wrong hands, this data could be used to plan burglaries or even murders."

Tracking apps could eventually even become the target of ransomware attackers, the piece suggests. And, with everything from shoes to cars in the future moving toward being trackable, you may not even know when or how you're being watched. 

Finally, the idea of government intrusion using such apps and trackers also becomes an obvious cautionary point. "More trackers translate into more data points for surveillance and suppressing dissent," the piece concludes.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 21:00
Published:9/24/2021 8:14:56 PM
[Markets] China Is Responsible For More Than A Third Of World GDP Growth - This Is A Problem China Is Responsible For More Than A Third Of World GDP Growth - This Is A Problem

As Deutsche Bank's FX strategist George Saravelos writes in a recent research report he has been "on the pessimistic side of the reflation narrative for some time now."

In the note titled "three charts for pessimists", he admits that there are many more things happening to the global economy than easy fiscal and monetary policy, including a large negative supply-shock, in turn leading to sizeable demand destruction; stronger than expected precautionary saving behavior from consumers pushing down r*; and massive structural economic change on the back of COVID-led digitization across multiple sectors. And now we have to add China to the mix.

His first chart below highlights a simple observation: China has been acting as a massive global growth turbocharge since the start of the century, and is responsible for more than a third of world GDP growth. As Saravelos gloomily notes, "systemic risks of the unfolding property developer crisis aside, if the last few months experience are signaling a regime break in Chinese tolerance for what authorities have termed "low quality" growth, the world should take notice."

Back to the developed world, Saravelos' second chart shows there is still a massive hole in the UK labor market. Total hours worked are a whopping near-10% below trend compared to pre-COVID. Yet the market is now fully pricing a Bank of England rate hike early next year. For sure, wages are rising, but as a recent IFS study showed there are still massive disruptions in the UK labor market. It will take a brave central bank to hike in to such a hole. Even if it does, it is hardly positive for the currency.

Finally, there are two parallel universes. The global goods sector is overheated. Look no further than US consumption, which is half a trillion dollars above trend. But the US services sector is twice as large and half a trillion below trend. The analytical value of aggregate GDP metrics is severely lessened in the presence of such massive sectoral dislocations. In recent months, the goods sector has started decelerating faster than the services sector has quickened. How the consumer rebalances spending in coming months will be very important.

We are only at the very beginning of trying to understand the true post-COVID steady state, it will be a long ride.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 20:20
Published:9/24/2021 7:41:47 PM
[Markets] Ignored Warnings, Deferred Maintenance Caused Michigan Dams To Collapse Ignored Warnings, Deferred Maintenance Caused Michigan Dams To Collapse

By Julie Strupp of ConstructionDive,

Following the rare and dramatic collapse of the Edenville and Sanford dams in Midland County, Michigan, in May 2020 that forced 10,000 residents to evacuate, a newly released preliminary report sheds light into why they failed, and offers safety lessons for other aging, earthen infrastructure. 

The independent investigation from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) covers the physical mechanisms involved in the accident but doesn’t place blame; a final report expected in several months will delve into human factors. 

The report says poor construction and ignored upkeep, combined with intense rainfall, were the primary causes of the failure. Experts previously assumed that only an earthquake could cause a dam embankment to liquify the way it did in Edenville.

A series of failures

On May 19, 2020, water poured into the Wixom Lake reservoir, filling it to a record high. This waterlogged the dam’s embankment, which caused it to liquify and collapse, per the report. This overwhelmed the downstream Sanford Dam, causing it to fail as well. The problems started long before that day though: The two dams were built in the 1920s, but a key embankment wasn’t compacted the way it was supposed to be, setting it up for failure about 100 years later.

Boyce Hydro bought the Edenville, Sanford, and two other central Michigan dams as tax shelters in 2006 and owned them at the time of the collapse, Bridge Michigan reported

After the company failed for decades to repair spillways that are supposed to prevent flooding, the FERC revoked the license to generate power for the Edenville dam a year and a half before the accident. The Sanford Dam was an active hydroelectric facility at the time of the incident.

A 2012 report by Boyce says that the company knew since at least 2012 that the section of the dam that failed lacked the tile drains that were supposed to line the entire bottom, leaving that soil vulnerable to saturation. The company disputes it is to blame. It also argues area landowners and federal regulators are responsible for rules that made it unable to preemptively drain the lake to make room for the additional rainwater.

Other dams at risk

While the liquification seen at Edenville is rare, dam failure is unfortunately not unique: The 2017 Oroville Dam incident in California forced 180,000 people to evacuate, and in 2019 the Spencer Dam failure in Nebraska killed one person. Both failures were also sparked by heavy rain.

The Michigan dam failures caused about $175 million in damage to homes and buildings and left two lake beds empty. Victims of the incident are suing Boyce Hydro (as well as state and federal regulators) but the company has filed for bankruptcy, thus plaintiffs are unlikely to receive much compensation from it.

Experts don’t know exactly how many U.S. dams might have the same issues as Edenville, said Mark Ogden, technical specialist for the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, and information is sparse about the many dams that were constructed a century ago.

"We know there are likely about 4,000 high hazard-potential dams that have an assessment rating of poor or are not rated, and it’s likely that a good percentage of those require some remedial action," Ogden said. "The need for action to get these dams upgraded and improved is really significant."

More than half of dams are privately owned, and lack of upkeep is sometimes an issue, according to Ogden. Plus, climate change-related extreme weather will put increasing stress on aging dams in coming years, and could cause more breakdowns unless remedial measures are taken, he said.

Policy, engineering remedies

Going forward, engineers will look for lessons from the incident, according to Ogden. 

"Any time we see a failure or incident at a dam, it’s really important to investigate... I think that we will see that dam owners will look at these types of dams and will make decisions based on this new info to make sure it doesn’t happen again," said Ogden. "There are definitely dams out there in a similar situation [as Edenville], and hopefully dam owners and regulators and others in the dam safety field can work together."

One of the issues with preventing dam failures is that there isn’t enough funding for inspections and upkeep, according to Ogden. The Twenty-First Century Dams Act, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in July, would provide $21.1 billion to rehabilitate, retrofit and remove dams as needed, as well as to fund inspections and state safety programs. States regulate about 70% of dams in the U.S.

"Many dam safety programs are terribly under-resourced," Ogden said. "[The 21st Century Dam Act] is an important piece of legislation that could help in terms of improving the safety of dams."

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 20:00
Published:9/24/2021 7:13:48 PM
[Markets] China Should Alter Nuclear "No First Strike Policy" To Counter US Pressure: Ex-Diplomat China Should Alter Nuclear "No First Strike Policy" To Counter US Pressure: Ex-Diplomat

The AUKUS pact that was revealed last week to the shock and dispmay of France and the EU, which will involve the US transferring nuclear submarine technology to Australia, has resulted in continued nuclear jawboning out of China this week.

First, as we detailed earlier in the week a Chinese state-linked analyst and expert announced to "23 million Australians" in a prime time interview with an Aussie national broadcaster that "Australia will lose that privilege of not being targeted with nuclear weapons by other countries" - as Victor Gao put it to the stunned interviewer

Following these comments, former diplomat Sha Zukang - who previously served as the longtime Chinese ambassador for disarmament affairs to the UN - told a conference in Beijing on Thursday that China should review its "no first strike policy" in the wake of recent developments. 

JL-2 Intercontinental Range Ballistic Missile

The speech, which was first reported in the South China Morning Post, called for China's leadership to "fine tune" its nuclear policy as a counterweight to the ongoing pressure campaign coming from Washington and its allies in the Indo-Pacific. It follows Chinese officials denouncing plans for the US to deliver at least eight nuclear-powered subs to Australia.

While Beijing is accusing Australia of reneging on its commitment to a nuclear free zone, particularly calling it out as a violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Canberra officials are differentiating nuclear-powered technology from the deployment of nuclear arms.

Here's what the influential and now retired ambassador Zukang said in part in his remarks:

"The strategic pressure on China is intensifying as [the US] has built new military alliances and as it increases its military presence in our neighborhood," he said.

For the most part, Sha clarified that China ought to keep its "no first strike policy" for most countries, but may start thinking differently for the US. The policy, Sha said, may not apply between China and the US unless the two nations "negotiate a mutual understanding on no first use of nuclear weapons, or unless the US ceases to take any negative measures that undermine the effectiveness of China’s strategic forces."

Sha Zukang, UN photo

So while suggesting the menacing prospect of a dramatic reversal of its current no first strike policy for some countries, it appears Zukang is arguing a reversal or at least tweaking of China's stance would inevitably hasten a future nuke treaty with the US, though which in reality would obviously remain a huge gamble in terms of removing a key barrier to the prospect of nuclear confrontation. 

Also recall, ironically enough, that this is happening as China lobbies Australia to support its entry into the CPTPP trade partnershipwhich would of course help Beijing prop up those soon-to-be-needed-even-more trade surpluses, structurally.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 19:40
Published:9/24/2021 6:47:00 PM
[Markets] Containers Quickly Pile Up At US Rail Terminals, Add To Port Strains Containers Quickly Pile Up At US Rail Terminals, Add To Port Strains

The US continues to face an unprecedented shipping crisis as logjams at ports and railyards continue to worsen with no relief in sight. 

The increasing volume of containers, combined with a labor shortage of dockworkers and truck drivers, rail and storage capacity, have left shipping networks with huge congestion problems that continue to increase.

Currently, more than 100 container ships are waiting to enter US ports from coast to coast. Some of the largest congestion is in San Pedro Bay off the port of Los Angeles, with more than 61 vessels waiting to enter. Dwell time for vessels is six days, the wait time for on-dock rail is nearly 16 days, and then it takes an additional week to move the container on the street to warehouses. 

What's caught our attention is import congestion at railyards. Using data from Hapag-Lloyd AG, one of the world's top shippers, we find that container dwell time at 11 major railroad terminals averages 9.8 days this month, up from 6.7 days in May and 5.9 days in February. 

Source: Bloomberg

Noted above, the port of Los Angeles has the highest wait times out of all railyards. Delays are also increasing in Charleston and Detroit. 

We recently said port officials had extended operating hours at truck gates to reduce a massive backlog of containers piling up retail, manufacturing, and agricultural supply chains. 

Hapag-Lloyd said the delays at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are the most extreme and would "continue for the remainder of the year." 

Bloomberg points out that increasing demand for imports mixed with labor shortages of truck drivers is a very severe issue plaguing major companies' supply chains, such as packaged good giant General Mills Inc.

"So we have hundreds of disruptions in our supply chain literally, and it really changes on a daily and weekly basis," said Jonathon Nudi, group president of North America retail at General Mills. "The bulk of our discussions right now with retailers are really around service and making sure that we can ship the product that our consumers are ultimately looking for."

Import congestion appears to be worsening, and the focus is now on railyards. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 19:00
Published:9/24/2021 6:08:28 PM
[Markets] "It's A Ghost Town" - Shocking Images Show Downtown Chicago "Depressingly" Empty During Day "It's A Ghost Town" - Shocking Images Show Downtown Chicago "Depressingly" Empty During Day

Authored by Mark Glennon via Wirepoints.org,

“Have you been downtown lately? It’s nearly empty.”

Canal Street

We hear comments like that more and more often from alarmed readers in the Chicago area. We see it, too, and it’s worsening. So we’re putting up a few pictures for those who haven’t visited lately, and adding the perspective of one downtown restaurant owner.

We took the pictures downtown on Thursday between 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM.

Things seemed to be improving a bit over the summer, but no longer.

Is it COVID, crime or the new trend to remote working?

The recent surge in COVID began in the first week in July, and that’s undoubtedly a major cause. The trend toward remote work is real and may be permanent. But crime seems to be increasingly on people’s minds.

Adams Street

I checked in with somebody who is a kind of real time barometer of downtown activity. That’s Jesse Boyle, who owns two restaurants in the Ogilvie Transportation Center – Station Restaurant and Bar and Vinny’s Pizza Bar. Ogilvie is the primary commuter train station in downtown Chicago, so Boyle has a pretty good feel of the pulse of downtown activity.

“In the spring and summer I was anticipating things to really come back after Labor Day,” Boyle told me.

“I was hearing a lot of companies were scheduling their employee returns for the fall, and my group was excited to get closer to normal,” he says.

And he had put his money where his hopes were, completing major renovations.

“But there are two things that have converged,” Boyle says, that have set things back.

“One is that the Delta variant has taken away a lot of that early enthusiasm for work gatherings and people getting reacquainted.”

“A very close second” is crime, as Boyle sees it.

“Overall crime is up again, and the stories we’re hearing and reading about suggest that downtown is not as safe as it used to be.

It’s confluence of those causes, and whatever else has drained people from downtown, that’s most deadly. You can feel it, and it feeds on itself.

“It’s a ghost town feeling that you have just walking down any downtown street,” as Boyle puts it.

“It makes you a little uneasy, and it’s kind of shocking to me that we continue to see this for such an extended period. The offices are empty, and the energy is gone.”

Jackson Street

Boyle went on:

It wasn’t like that prior to last year, and I’m hopeful that our city government pulls it together and helps us fix this. I’ve seen a sales dip from July to August, which is unusual.  Things in September continue to be flat or down from August.

Just having more people around downtown will make all of us feel better, but at this point I have no sense of direction on when that will happen.  As a business owner this is very dispiriting and depressing.

Our hearts are out to Boyle, his employees and all the others like them, in downtown Chicago and all places suffering like it.

State Street

This cannot go on. Chicago as we’ve known will not survive with as few people downtown as there are. And Illinois cannot survive without Chicago.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 18:40
Published:9/24/2021 5:45:07 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: Market Rally Takes Bullish Ride; Tesla Leads 5 Stocks In Buy Zones Before FSD Beta Launch Bulls seized control in a pivotal week for the stock market rally. Here's what to do now. Tesla broke out ahead of a big FSD Beta release. Published:9/24/2021 5:10:57 PM
[Markets] DHS Touts Counter-Domestic Extremism Plan; Rights Groups Cite Threats To Civil Liberties DHS Touts Counter-Domestic Extremism Plan; Rights Groups Cite Threats To Civil Liberties

Authored by Ken Silva via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is touting a raft of new programs aimed to combat domestic extremism—many of which are raising red flags among interest groups across the political spectrum.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on terror threats to the United States in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on Sept. 21, 2021. (Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images)

The new DHS plans follow a March intelligence community report that deems white supremacy and violent domestic extremism as the most dangerous terror threat to the homeland. Mayorkas made similar statements at a Sept. 21 Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on counterterrorism.

“Today, U.S.-based lone actors and small groups, including homegrown violent extremists and domestic violent extremists—who are inspired by a broad range of ideological motivations—pose the most significant and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country,” he said.

These “broad range of ideological motivations” include “racial bias, perceived government overreach, conspiracy theories promoting violence, and false narratives about unsubstantiated fraud in the 2020 presidential election,”

He didn’t elaborate on what he meant by “perceived government overreach” or “conspiracy theories promoting violence.” He did, however, assure lawmakers that his department is working hard to combat these perceived threats.

One of the major programs touted by Mayorkas is the newly branded DHS Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), formerly known as the Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention. In conjunction with that, the DHS is in the midst of a $77 million grant program aimed to provide state and local institutions with tools to counter extremism.

The DHS first announced CP3 in May along with a new dedicated domestic terrorism branch within the Department’s Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I&A). Mayorkas told the Homeland Security panel that CP3 is helping expand the department’s ability to prevent terrorism and targeted violence “through the development of local prevention frameworks.”

“Through CP3, we are leveraging community-based partnerships and evidence-based tools to address early-risk factors and ensure individuals receive help before they radicalize to violence,” he said.

However, Mayorkas didn’t offer details about other elements of CP3—elements that various interest groups say pose a threat to liberty.

Among the details that weren’t discussed are what CP3 says on its own site—that it “leverages behavioral threat assessment and management tools, and addresses early-risk factors that can lead to radicalization to violence.”

According to human rights activist Ed Hasbrouck, consultant to the nonprofit Identity Project, this mission amounts to a pre-crime program.

“CP3’s attempts to predict future crimes are to be based on behavioral patterns— i.e., profiling—and on encouraging members of the public to inform on their families, friends, and classmates,” Hasbrouck wrote when CP3 was first announced.

“The problem, of course, is that the law does not permit prosecution based solely on patterns of lawful behavior,” he wrote. “With good reason: ‘precrime’ prediction is a figment of the imagination of the creators of a dystopian fantasy movie, ‘Minority Report.’”

The Brennan Center for Justice has expressed similar concerns. Far from a conservative group, the Brennan Center agrees with the DHS and FBI that domestic extremism is a rising threat.

“Over the past five years, from Charlottesville to Pittsburgh to El Paso, attacks by people who reject our multiracial democracy have shaken our country to its core and sparked conversation about how best to address far-right violence,” the group stated in a June report.

“The Trump administration, which stoked the flames of white supremacy, ended with the ransacking of the U.S. Capitol as Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.”

But the Brennan Center said CP3 and the Biden administration’s overall approach to countering domestic extremism—enhanced surveillance, profiling, and the like—are the same draconian tactics government used against Muslims post-9/11.

“At a time when jurisdictions around the country are considering how to reduce law enforcement involvement in mental health and social issues, CP3 prevention activities take the opposite approach. They create structures to bring a broad range of concerns about mental health and socioeconomic conditions to the attention of law enforcement as indicators of criminality without normal safeguards,” the Brennan Center stated in its June 69-page report on the issue.

Not only are the DHS-Biden plans a threat to civil liberties; they’re also proven to be ineffective, the Brennan Center said.

The Brennan Center report paid particular focus to DHS “fusion centers”—law enforcement compounds scattered throughout the United States that seek to integrate federal, state, and local intelligence. The goal of fusion centers is to create partnerships between varying agencies and the private sector to share intelligence on threats to public safety so law enforcement has the whole picture and can “connect the dots.”

Citing congressional reports from 2012, the Brennan Center stated that these fusion centers have proven to be ineffective. Those reports found that the DHS spent $289 million to $1.4 billion in public funds to support state and local fusion centers since 2003, with little results to show.

“Instead of looking for terrorist threats, fusion centers were monitoring lawful political and religious activity. That year, the Virginia Fusion Center described a Muslim get-out-the-vote campaign as ‘subversive,’” the Brennan Center stated in its June report. “In 2009, the North Central Texas Fusion Center identified lobbying by Muslim groups as a possible threat.”

Seemingly little has improved since then.

Earlier in September, NBC News revealed an investigation into fusion centers. The report starts with an anecdote of Mike Sena, the president of the National Fusion Center Association, bragging that the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) helped stop a mall shooting attack in Santa Clara.

NBC News found that Sena was apparently stretching the extent to which his fusion center helped.

“We don’t have any information showing that NCRIC was involved,” said Steven Aponte, a San Jose Police Department spokesperson.

The Brennan Center stated in its June report that the Biden administration is inappropriately involving law enforcement in social problems and should focus on “community investment, not criminalization.”

“Communities around the United States should not need to sign up for a counterterrorism program to get resources for their schools, universities, places of worship, or social institutions,” the Brennan Center stated.

“Government commitments should directly address these as social problems rather than treat those experiencing them as potential violent criminals, and should wall off programs addressing social ills from law enforcement across levels of government.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 18:00
Published:9/24/2021 5:10:57 PM
[Markets] Chris Cuomo's Former Boss Says CNN Host Harassed Her; He Says He Apologized Chris Cuomo's Former Boss Says CNN Host Harassed Her; He Says He Apologized

Authore dby Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

A woman who was Chris Cuomo’s boss at ABC News says he harassed her after a party in 2005.

Cuomo, now a host at CNN, has acknowledged an incident took place.

Shelley Ross, who was Cuomo’s boss while they were both at ABC, said in an op-ed that Cuomo greeted her at the party in a violative manner, gripping her buttocks.

“I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,” Cuomo was quoted as saying.

Ross said he could not and moved so he could see her husband was near her and had witnessed what happened.

Cuomo soon emailed Ross to say he was “ashamed” and that somebody had been arrested for “a (kind of) similar act,” according to a copy of the message Ross kept.

“And as a husband i can empathize with not liking to see my wife patted as such,” Cuomo apparently added before apologizing to both Ross and her partner.

Ross said she’s coming forward about what took place over a decade ago because of Chris Cuomo’s support for his brother, now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Gov. Cuomo resigned after investigators tapped by New York Attorney General Letitia James, another Democrat, said they substantiated sexual misconduct claims against him.

Chris Cuomo advised his brother during the scandal, breaking traditional journalism rules.

“I have no grudge against Mr. Cuomo; I’m not looking for him to lose his job. Rather, this is an opportunity for him and his employer to show what accountability can look like in the MeToo era,” Ross wrote.

CNN did not respond to a request for comment.

Cuomo told the New York Times: “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual in nature. It happened 16 years ago in a public setting when she was a top executive at ABC. I apologized to her then, and I meant it.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 17:20
Published:9/24/2021 4:40:17 PM
[Markets] First Weekly Outflow From Stocks In 2021 First Weekly Outflow From Stocks In 2021

After a tremendous stretch of non-stop weekly inflows into mutual funds and related investment products since before the start of 2021, the latest week showed net selling of equities for the first time this year.

According to EPFR, net flows into global equity funds turned negative in the week ending September 22 to the tune of -$28.6BN vs +$45BN last week (which was one of the top 3 largest inflows on record), alongside the sizable drawdown in markets in the start of the week (if not the end). This was the biggest outflow from US stocks since Feb 2018. Offsetting the equity outflow was a massive $39.6BN going into cash (the largest since May’21), a modest $10.0BN into bonds (the smallest in 9 weeks), and a small $84MM into gold.

A more detailed breakdown of the equity flows by geographic segment:

  • US: largest outflow since Feb’18 ($28.6bn)
  • Japan: largest inflow in 8 weeks ($0.5bn)
  • Europe: largest outflow since Dec’20 ($1.8bn)
  • EM: inflows past 7 weeks ($2.6bn)

By style, the outflows were focused on US small cap ($2.9bn), US value ($3.3bn), US growth ($9.8bn), US large cap ($14.2bn).

By sector, the selling was pervasive with ever sector seeing outflows: energy ($0.2bn), real estate ($0.2bn); outflows materials ($12mn), coms svs ($0.1bn), utils ($0.2bn), hcare ($0.1bn), financials ($0.5bn), consumer ($1.0bn), tech ($1.2bn).

A key driver for the outflow according to BofA is pessimism over passage of $1tn BIB (Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill) scheduled Sep 27th & $3.5tn BBB (Build Back Better) Reconciliation which caused 2nd biggest outflow ever from infrastructure funds and largest consumer funds outflow YTD.

As Bank of America notes, we also had the first outflow from tech funds - the perennial market generals - since June.

The net selling was concentrated in the US market, although investors also net sold Western European shares. While Europe saw a total of $1.8BN in outflows, Goldman shows that demand for German equities has cooled ahead of this weekend's federal elections as shown in the bank's chart below.

Modest net selling of global EM benchmark products was more than offset by net inflows into country-specific products, including China-dedicated funds. By sector the largest net outflows (scaled by AUM) were from industrials.

Flows into fixed income products also cooled slightly (though remained positive), while FX flows favored CNY.

The question, as BofA's CIO Michael Hartnett suggests, is whether this is the end of the torrent of institutional and retail buying observed YTD. It matters because as the Bank of America strategist notes, global equity flows & global equity prices have been 93% correlated since ‘02, with both at all-time highs although in ‘21 equity inflows are much higher (>90%) than price (12%).

The BofA strategist also notes that despite the massive inflows in 2021, broad global indices such as NYSE (US stocks, ADRs, bond ETFs), S&P500 equal weighted, and ACWI ex-US have been stuck in elevated holding patterns for the past 6 months.

Finally, while the Monday meltdown may explain the outflow, how does one explain the latest week meltup? Well, as Hartnett explains, confirming the "bubble zeitgeist", majority of traders are “full-invested bears” but the anecdotal ratio of clients in “melt-up” vs “melt-down” camps currently 8:2, hence bullish price reaction to China/Fed/fiscal events this week, i.e., a vast majority are BTFDers.

According to the BofA CIO, history says the best way to hedge “bubble” is via “long leadership, long distressed” barbell, i.e. long leadership of bull (today = IG, tech, biotech…) & long distressed, cyclical plays (today = EM, energy, small cap) as investors chase laggards (the only market that outperformed Nasdaq in ’99 TMT bubble was Russia).

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 17:00
Published:9/24/2021 4:14:14 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: China’s crypto ban has almost achieved a ‘meme-like status,’ but here are the lingering impacts Most analysts expect the sell-offs from 'China FUD' to be short-term, but China's most recent crypto crackdown could further changes the industry's global distribution.
Published:9/24/2021 4:14:14 PM
[Markets] US STOCKS-Dow, S&P 500 end with gains up after bumpy week, but Nike drags The Dow and S&P 500 edged higher on Friday and ended a turbulent week with slight increases, helped by gains in Tesla and Facebook that offset a tumble by Nike. Athletic wear company Nike's shares fell 6.3% and were the biggest drag on the Dow and the S&P 500 after it delivered a downbeat sales forecast and warned of delays during the holiday shopping season, blaming a supply chain crunch. Published:9/24/2021 4:14:14 PM
[Markets] Crypto: Sen. Pat Toomey presses SEC Chair Gensler for crypto clarity Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania presented U.S. Securities and Exchange Chairman Gary Gensler with a list of more than two dozen questions concerning cryptocurrency regulation in a letter Friday, requesting that the regulator provide greater clarity on its approach to digital assets.
Published:9/24/2021 3:41:46 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Gains As Pelosi Hints At Spending Bill Changes; Tesla CEO Elon Musk Touts Chips The Dow Jones struggled. Nancy Pelosi hinted at spending bill changes and Tesla CEO Elon Musk made bullish noises on chips. Snap stock surged. Published:9/24/2021 3:41:46 PM
[Markets] New podcast alert: MarketWatch explores how money can be a force for good New podcast alert: MarketWatch explores how money can be a force for good Published:9/24/2021 3:41:46 PM
[Markets] Michael Burry Subpoeaned By SEC Over GameStop Investigation Michael Burry Subpoeaned By SEC Over GameStop Investigation

Michael Burry will always be remembered for being more than a year early to the greatest 'meme stonk' trade of all time: way back in 2019, Burry laid out a long-term bull case for GameStop and said Scion, his hedge fund, had purchased a long position in GME.

Years later, after selling at least some of his GME position in the quarter before January's infamous "GameStopped" incident, many have wondered whether Burry made another "killing" on his GME position. Burry and Scion have become among the most vocal critics of not just meme stocks, but also Cathie Wood, Tesla and the entire 'momo' establishment. Instead, Burry shouted from the mountaintops (metaphorically speaking) that he believes we're in the midst of the greatest bubble of all time by two orders of magnitud. This might have something to do with what we're about to tell you next.

Minutes ago, Burry, who has been increasingly vocal on Twitter again in recent days after a brief silence (which he hinted was inspired by an SEC 'knock at the door'), tweeted a partial copy of a subpoena he had received regarding "In the Matter of GameStop Corp". The brief text shared showed Scion, Burry's longtime asset-management shop, had been subpoenaed for relevant documents (though it's not exactly clear what that means).

He couldn't help express his irritation: "with all that's going on in the world," he mused in the tweet.

Burry also hints that he knows the identities of others who have been subpoenaed by the agency in the GME investigation. We wonder whether Keith Gill, whose former employer was just hit with a $4MM fine by a state regulator, might be another name on the list?

The replies to Burry's tweet were replete with comments mocking SEC chief Gary Gensler, who must have approved the subpoena.

We doubt this will be the last we'll be hearing about this, both from Burry and the SEC, which certainly owes the public, Burry and his followers an explanation.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 16:20
Published:9/24/2021 3:41:46 PM
[Markets] Bond Report: Ten-year Treasury yield breaches 1.45% to hit highest level since July amid parade of Fed speakers The 10-year Treasury yield broke through 1.45% on Friday, the highest since July, as investors continued to react to the Federal Reserve policy update on Wednesday.
Published:9/24/2021 3:10:12 PM
[Markets] Stocks Shrug As Taper Tantrum Sparks Bond Bloodbath; Beijing Batters Bitcoin Stocks Shrug As Taper Tantrum Sparks Bond Bloodbath; Beijing Batters Bitcoin

US equity markets rebounded from Monday's pukefest on Evergrande fears (which actually came to be realized as the giant property developer did indeed default on its foreign dollar bonds). But then headlines about SOEs preparing for collapse and the payment of a local yuan bond's coupon seemed to spark exuberance. A brief taper tantrum ensued in equities after the FOMC statement, which ignited momentum higher and shorts were squeezed as rates spiked. The surge in rates, however, hammered the growthier assets and Nasdaq underperformed, ending the week lower (for the 3rd straight week), while Small Caps (value) outperformed.

In case anyone doubts that algos are running the show - just look at how Nasdaq futs were levitated desperately to get back to unchanged on the week. Additionally, 4450 was the key level for S&P...

...pinned by today's option expiration...

Source: SpotGamma

If one were to guess the S&P's weekly performance after everything that happened – Evergrande's missed coupon payment, Evergrande's EV unit liquidity crunch, more hawkish than expected FOMC/BOE decisions, the FDX/NKE outlook cuts signaling supply chain stress is here to stay, chaos in DC with debt ceiling doubts and complete uncertainty over the size (if any) of a new stimulus bill, crypto carnage, and weak seasonals - we suspect the vast majority of people would have predicted steep declines... as opposed to modest gains.

(h/t @knowledge_vital)

BTFD, right? 'Bad news is good news' right?

After the Monday rout, the short squeeze was unleashed and got back to even on Thursday... running out of ammo again to maintain the lift into Friday...

Source: Bloomberg

Notably the rotation back to Small Caps (value) from Nasdaq (growth) stalled today at a key resistance level...

Energy stocks went from worst to first this week after plunging almost 6% on Monday to ending the week over 3% higher (followed by Financials). Utes  were the biggest losers...

Source: Bloomberg

Evergande's dollar bonds are trading 25c on the dollar and the stocks tumbled another 7% this week (helped by a brief reprieve midweek which was reversed quite quickly) following last week's 30% plunge...

Source: Bloomberg

Oh, and don't forget the debt ceiling debacle looms over all of this...

Source: Bloomberg

Oh, and the market is now pricing in at least one rate hike by the end of 2022...

Source: Bloomberg

Treasury yields rose for the 5th straight week (biggest weekly spike in yields since March). Notably, the move was entirely contained in the last two days which were the biggest 2-day spike since the first week of March. Aside from 2Y, the move was surprisingly uniform with the entire curve up around 9bps...

Source: Bloomberg

2Y yields rose back above FF and 5Y yields pushed up to their highest since February

Source: Bloomberg

30Y Yields spiked up to post-payrolls highs...

Source: Bloomberg

The Dollar ended marginally higher on the week but was whipsawed around on China and Fed headlines...

Source: Bloomberg

Cryptos were clubbed like a baby seal this week, hit on liquidity needs around Evergrande's broad-based degrossing and on China's statement making crypto transactions "illegal". Bitcoin was actually the least bad horse in the glue factory but everything was hit...

Source: Bloomberg

Bitcoin has remained above $40k though for now...

Source: Bloomberg

Bitcoin found support at its 100DMA three times this week...

Source: Bloomberg

A noisy week for commodities saw Crude outperforming along with modest gains for copper while PMs were very modestly lower...

Source: Bloomberg

WTI rallied back above $74, its highest since mid-July...

Source: Bloomberg

And gold ended back below $1800...

Finally, Goldman had a warning this week. Valuation is not typically the cause of a bubble bursting and stocks can stay 'expensive' for a long time.

But over a long time, the returns that you might expect to get from investing in equities tend to be far smaller when you buy stocks at high valuations than when you buy them when they are 'cheap'.

Oh and remember, tapering is not tightening so BTFD!?

Source: Bloomberg

You are here.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 16:01
Published:9/24/2021 3:10:12 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Struggles As Pelosi Hints At Spending Bill Changes; Tesla CEO Elon Musk Touts Chips The Dow Jones struggled. Nancy Pelosi hinted at spending bill changes and Tesla CEO Elon Musk made bullish noises on chips. Snap stock surged. Published:9/24/2021 2:49:53 PM
[Markets] TikTok Traders Are Using Nancy Pelosi's Financial Disclosures To Position Their Portfolios TikTok Traders Are Using Nancy Pelosi's Financial Disclosures To Position Their Portfolios

In news that should be hilarious, but instead drips of hypocrisy and general bemusement about the laughing stock our markets have become, Tik Tok investors are now literally taking their stock picking cues from Nancy Pelosi. 

By now, everyone knows that Nancy Pelosi and her husband have made some "conveniently" timed purchases of stocks like Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla. At the least, the Pelosi family are far more active traders than the average U.S. household. At worst, it appears the family could be using the Speaker's access to non-public information to benefit personally.

Regardless of what the objective truth is, traders have seen enough to leave them convinced that Pelosi "has an in" when it comes to investing and, in turn, have dedicated their stock picking "due diligence" to examining what stocks the Pelosi household is buying at the time.

"Shouts out to Nancy Pelosi, the stock market's biggest whale," one user on Tik Tok said, according to a report by NPR

"I've come to the conclusion that Nancy Pelosi is a psychic," another said.

Chris Josephs, co-founder of a company called Iris, which shows other people's stock trades, said of Pelosi's trading record: "She knew. And you would have known if you had followed her portfolio."

Josephs has been using the Stock Act, which mandates that lawmakers disclose stock trades and those of their spouses within 45 days, to send out push notifications to his platform every time Pelosi's disclosures are updated. 

"I'm at the point where if you can't beat them, join them. I typically do buy... the next one she does, I'm going to buy," Josephs told NPR. 

"We don't want this to ... be a left vs. right thing. We don't really care. We just want to make money," he continued.

Tim Carambat, who put together two public databases of financial transactions from lawmakers, said there's been large demand for his work. He told NPR: "I knocked out a very, very simple version of the project in like a couple of hours. And I posted it actually to Reddit, where it gained some significant traction and people showed a lot of interest in it."

"Investors perceive that senators may have insider information. And we see abnormal positive returns when there's a disclosure by a senator," added Dinesh Hasija, an assistant professor of strategic management at Augusta University.

We think Kedric Payne, senior director of ethics at the Campaign Legal Center put it best, however: "If the situation is that the public has lost so much trust in government that they think ... the stock trades of members are based on corruption, and that [following that] corruption could benefit [them]. ... We have a significant problem."

"The Speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions," Pelosi's spokesperson said of her husband's trading. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 15:40
Published:9/24/2021 2:49:53 PM
[Markets] US STOCKS-Wall St near even, dragged by Nike 6% drop after warning The Dow and S&P 500 were little changed in Friday afternoon trading following a two-day rally, with a downbeat sales forecast from Nike offsetting gains in financial and energy shares. The sportswear maker's shares dropped 6.2% and were the biggest drag on the Dow and the S&P 500 after it also warned of delays during the holiday shopping season, blaming a supply chain crunch. Published:9/24/2021 2:13:18 PM
[Markets] PG&E Charged With Deaths Of 4 In 2020 Wildfire Started By Its Equipment PG&E Charged With Deaths Of 4 In 2020 Wildfire Started By Its Equipment

Shares of the perennially-troubled PG&E - America's largest utility whose aging equipment has helped start a rash of deadly wildfires across California - tumbled Friday after the DA in Shasta County hit the company (which just emerged this spring from its second bankruptcy filing in as many decades) with a 31-count indictment, including 11 felonies, and 4 manslaughter charges.

The charges were mostly tied to the 2020 Zogg fire in northern California, where hundreds of homes were destroyed

During a Friday news conference, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said her office had determined back in July that PG&E was “criminally liable” for last year’s Zogg Fire, which blazed near the NorCal city of Redding.

"They failed to perform their legal duties. Their failure was reckless, criminally negligent, and resulted in the deaths of four people," Bridgett said during the briefing.

PG&E's recent criminal convictions from the last few years, which have been marred by intense wildfire seasons in the West, include pleading guilty last year to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter tied to the Camp Fire, the 2018 blaze ignited by its long-neglected electrical grid that nearly destroyed the town of Paradise.

It's also still facing criminal charges from the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, the 2019 Kincade Fire in Sonoma County and was on probation from the deadly San Bruno explosion when a 30-inch pipe exploded into flames killing eight people.

Bridgett explained PG&E's liability thusly: the fire was started because PG&E didn't remove a tree, which had been marked to be removed in 2013, but never was. A grapevine left in place on that tree caused significant physical defects to its trunk, which ultimately fell on an electrical line during a windstorm on Sept. 27, 2020.

The charges were announced three days before the anniversary of the fire.

"I have determined that we have sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Pacific Gas & Electric Company is criminally liable for their reckless ignition of the Zogg Fire and the deaths and destruction that it caused," she said at a news conference. "While criminal prosecutions of corporations is rare. One of the primary reasons to charge a corporation criminal is a finding that illegal behavior is widespread and serious. Their failure was reckless and was criminally negligent, and it resulted in the death of four people."

The indictment counts span from murder to environmental crimes; 20 are misdemeanors.

PG&E said previously the death and destruction caused by the Zogg fire (and all the other fires its equipment has caused) have been "heartbreaking" but that it has resolved civil claims with Shasta County and continues to reach settlements with victims and their families.

"We do not, however, agree with the district attorney’s conclusion that criminal charges are warranted given the facts of this case," the utility’s statement said after the DA announced her desire to charge the utility this summer.

Of course, the more legal pressure PG&E is facing, the higher the odds that it will simply retreat once again behind bankruptcy protection (what would be its third since 2001) to manage its claims. Though there's also the threat that its regulator, the Public Utility Board of California, takes over control (something that would probably horrify shareholders).

And, in what's perhaps the most perverse outcome of all, whatever fines it pays out will be offset by rate hikes borne by its customers, about 16MM people in northern and north-central California. And no matter what happens, next year we'll get to go through this whole process again since PG&E has already copped to starting more fires this year.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 15:00
Published:9/24/2021 2:13:18 PM
[Markets] Kim's Sister Says North Korea Open To "Constructive" Talks With South Kim's Sister Says North Korea Open To "Constructive" Talks With South

The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, has issued a surprise statement on Friday saying Pyongyang is open to resumption of talks with South Korea but on condition that Seoul would press the Biden administration to relax the US continued crippling sanctions on the extremely isolated country.

"Only when such a precondition is met, would it be possible to sit face to face and declare the significant termination of war and discuss the issue of the north-south relations and the future of the Korean peninsula," she said.

Pyongyang Press Corps Pool/AP

She was responding to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s speech before the UN General Assembly in New York this week wherein he urged a political declaration to the end of the Korean War (1950-1953), which has never been declared formally ended. Kim Yo Jong immediately dismissed this while citing the crippling sanctions by the south's powerful backer Washington.

She said the south must drop its "hostile" stance while saying in the remarks carried by state media:

"Smiling a forced smile, reading the declaration of the termination of the war, and having photos taken could be essential for somebody, but I think that they would hold no water and would change nothing, given the existing inequality, serious contradiction therefrom and hostilities."

"Under such a situation it does not make any sense to declare the end of the war with all the things, which may become a seed of a war between parties that have been at odds for more than half a century, left intact," Kim said further.

She said "constructive" talks could be restored, but on condition of the following: 

"What needs to be dropped is the double-dealing attitudes, illogical prejudice, bad habits and hostile stand of justifying their own acts while faulting our just exercise of the right to self-defense," she said.

"Only when such a precondition is met, would it be possible to sit face to face and declare the significant termination of war and discuss the issue of the north-south relations and the future of the Korean peninsula."

A mere week ago both the north and south were provocatively test firing missiles in 'warning' messages, so the mere teasing of a possibility of a chance for restored dialogue is being welcomed as a significant opening.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 14:20
Published:9/24/2021 1:46:58 PM
[Markets] : Delta urges other airlines to collaborate on a ‘no fly’ list amid rise of unruly passengers Over 70% of all unruly passenger incidents in 2021 are 'mask-related,' Delta Air Lines says
Published:9/24/2021 1:46:58 PM
[Markets] Dow Flat As Nike Stock Weighs On The Blue Chip Index; This Tech Jams The Dow traded flat after multiple days of gains. This megacap tech stock is jamming on its breakout. Published:9/24/2021 1:14:00 PM
[Markets] It Never Happened: Photographer Who Took Viral Border Patrol 'Whipping' Photo Says Nobody Was Whipped It Never Happened: Photographer Who Took Viral Border Patrol 'Whipping' Photo Says Nobody Was Whipped

The latest viral outrage over photographs of Border Patrol agents 'whipping' Haitian migrants with horse reins has just been debunked by the man who took the photo.

The photographs, taken Sunday, appear to show agents on horses using horse reins to 'corral' Haitian migrants - sparking frenzied outrage from the left, including President Biden promising that the agents involved 'will pay,' and Vice President Kamala Harris calling for "consequences and accountability" in a Friday appearance on the Covid-stricken The View.

Except, the entire thing is bullshit according to Las Cruces-based photographer Paul Ratje - who told KTSM it never happened.

"Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses," he said, adding "I’ve never seen them whip anyone."

"He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture."

The photos went viral on Monday, after a senior adviser to Rep. Julian Castro tweeted: "Border patrol is mounted on horseback rounding up Haitian refugees with whips," adding "This is unfathomable cruelty towards people fleeing disaster and political ruin. The administration must stop this."

Footage of the incident, however, reveals this latest outrage is yet another exercise in virtue signaling from the left over yet another viral incident which was misconstrued in a knee-jerk reaction.

Never let facts get in the way of a good news cycle though, right?

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 14:00
Published:9/24/2021 1:14:00 PM
[Markets] Retirement Weekly: News and analysis for those planning for or living in retirement Retirement news and analysis
Published:9/24/2021 1:14:00 PM
[Markets] Wealth Without Work Wealth Without Work

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via DailyReckoning.com,

Allow me to summarize the dominant zeitgeist in America at this juncture of history:

Grab yourself a big gooey hunk of happiness by turning a few thousand bucks into millions — anyone can do it as long as they visualize abundance and join the crowd minting millions.

Beneath the bravado and euphoric confidence in our God-given right to mint millions out of chump change, a secret plea lurks unspoken: Please don’t pop our precious bubble!

The big gooey hunk of happiness available to all depends on one special form of magic spell: If we don’t call the bubble a bubble, it won’t pop.

And so Wall Street shills spew endless “research” (heh) proclaiming that the forward price-earnings ratio of 21.1 will only slightly exceed past norms, and so on — in summary:

If we don’t call the bubble a bubble, it won’t pop.

Everyone’s All in on the Everything Bubble

What differentiates this bubble from the 1720 South Sea Bubble, the 2000 dot-com bubble or the 2007–08 housing bubble is: This bubble includes every asset class and has sucked the entire populace and economy into its magic maw.

The bubble has swept up housing, stocks, junk bonds, commodities, cryptocurrencies, NFTs and numerous collectibles — the bulk of America’s household assets are now firmly lodged in the maw of the Everything Bubble.

Here is a sampling of recent headlines in America:

I Turned $10,000 Into $6 Million in 6 Months

My Cat Turned $6,000 in My Robinhood Account Into $6 Million by Walking on My Keyboard

I Turned $100 My Aunt Gave Me for My Birthday Into $6 Million in One Trade, Buying Way Out-of-the-Money Calls on a Meme Stock

I Turned $23 Into $6 Million So Easily I’m Going to Sleep My Way to $60 Million

OK, so these are slight exaggerations, but the zeitgeist is very real.

The Great Illusion

Of all the mass delusions running rampant in the culture, none is more spectacularly delusional than the conviction that we can all get fabulously rich from speculation while producing nothing.

The key characteristic of speculation is that it produces nothing: It doesn’t generate any new goods or services, boost productivity or increase the functionality of real-world essentials.

Like all mass delusions, the greater the disconnect from reality, the greater the appeal. Mass delusions gain their escape velocity by leaving any ties to real-world limitations behind and by igniting the most powerful booster to human euphoric confidence known, greed.

Lost in the mania of easy wealth from speculative trading is the absence of any value creation in the rotation churn of moving bets from one table to the latest hot game:

In flipping houses sight unseen, no functionality was added to the house. In transferring bets on one cryptocurrency to another or from one meme stock to another, no value to the economy or society was created.

In the mass delusion that near-infinite wealth can be generated without producing anything, creating value has no value: The delusion is that I can get rich producing nothing but speculative gains, and then I can buy all the stuff somebody else is making.

Work Is for Suckers

The fantasy powering the speculative frenzy is once I get rich, I’ll stop working and live off my wealth. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how everyone can get rich via unproductive speculation, quit their jobs and then live off the productive work of somebody else who failed to get rich off speculation? The Great Illusion.

Maybe that’s why all the containerships are lined up at Long Beach, waiting to unload the goodies made in China for American speculators to buy.

This is what happens when the incentive structure of the economy decays so that being productive has little upside (i.e., working is for chumps) while speculating is all upside (get rich quickly and easily).

Everyone knows great empires became great by transferring their critical supply chains to competing nations, living it up on borrowed/printed money, exploiting the highest bidder wins regulatory/governance system and incentivizing speculation while pushing wage earners into debt-and-tax servitude.

Bone up on your history, Bucko; all great nations got there by quitting boring, tiresome productive work to speculate on illusions of value with borrowed money.

A System That Optimizes Corruption

This is the result of monopolies and cartels becoming the financial and political power centers of the nation.

They end up treating employees as chattel to lower costs, offshoring critical supply chains to squeeze out a few more dollars of profits, engineering products to break down (planned obsolescence), buying regulatory barriers and “free passes” and tax breaks galore with all the billions showered on financiers and other fraudsters by the Federal Reserve.

In a word, a system that optimizes corruption.

This is how you hollow out a nation and guarantee collapse. The most rewarding “skill sets” are a sociopathological obsession with maximizing profits by any means available and speculating with Fed free money for financiers.

The millions of “retail” speculators are simply picking up the cues being given by the billionaires who gained their wealth by issuing debt to fund stock buybacks and other financial manipulations.

Working for monopolies and cartels is for chumps because monopolies and cartels have zero incentive to share profits with mere employees. Their profits are made not by taking care of their workforce but by regulatory capture, artificial scarcities and financialized destruction of competition:

First, borrow billions thanks to the Fed and Wall Street, destroy the competition (for example, the taxi industry) and then, once the competition has been wiped out, jack up prices because now consumers have no choice other than another member of the cartel.

Phantom Wealth

Speculative “wealth” is phantom wealth, a flickering illusion of prosperity. All speculative bubbles pop, and all speculative bubbles inflated by borrowed money and central bank manipulation pop even more ferociously than bubbles funded by actual savings.

By incentivizing speculation and corruption, reducing the rewards for productive work and sucking wages dry with inflation, America has greased the skids to collapse. As with all mass delusions, the incentives to continue believing are immense, and the incentives to reconnect with reality are few.

So in conclusion: The speculative gains to be made in the collapse of the mass delusion will be spectacular. There’s nothing like the collapse of a hollowed-out, completely corrupt economy to generate outsized profits for nimble speculators.

Just keep your speculative winnings on Number 22 on the roulette wheel. (A Casablanca movie reference….)

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 13:23
Published:9/24/2021 12:41:45 PM
[Markets] GLOBAL MARKETS-Europe shares fall, Wall St pauses as Evergrande fears hover; U.S. yields rise European equity markets fell on Friday and major U.S. indexes were little changed as worries over fallout from debt-laden China Evergrande persisted, while U.S. bond yields pushed higher after hawkish stances from central banks. Concern over whether distress at Evergrande could spill into the broader economy has hovered over markets this week. Evergrande's electric car unit warned it faced an uncertain future unless it got a swift injection of cash, the clearest sign yet that the property developer's liquidity crisis is worsening in other parts of its business. Published:9/24/2021 12:41:45 PM
[Markets] : ‘High cost and scarcity of daycare’ is contributing to labor shortage, says Cleveland Fed President Mester One in three child-care centers is considering shutting down within the next year, according to a report from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Published:9/24/2021 12:41:45 PM
[Markets] “The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China “The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China

With Wall Street's fascination with risk associated with Evergrande's default fading fast, and the sellside pumping out charts such as this one showing that the contagion in China junk bond market is unlikely to spillover globally...

... the smartest men in the room are once again missing the forest for the trees because as we explained in detail over the weekend, and again reminded earlier this week...

... for Beijing the real risk is not whether foreign creditors are impacted - in fact Evergrande's willingness to default on offshore bondholders while preserving operational cash flow and continuing to build homes shows just how much China "cares" about Blackrock's P&L - but how an Evergrande crisis could impact China's massive, $60 trillion, property sector, something which CCB International, the Chinese investment bank, touched on in a recent research note in which it said that Evergrande "contagion risk has spread from financing to land sales, property sales, project deliveries and home prices."

And indeed, as the FT reports this morning, some very ominous cracks in China's property market - which according to Goldman is the largest asset class globally - are starting to emerge.

In a letter to the Shaoxing municipal government in eastern Zhejiang province, the local office of developer Sunac China appealed for “policy assistance” as it was struggling through what it called a "turning point in China’s real estate industry."

"We have never experienced such a radical change in the external environment," Sunac’s Shaoxing office said, pointing to a 60% year-on-year fall in home sales over the summer.

"The market is almost frozen," it added in the letter, which was first reported by the Financial Times. “The radical change in policy and environment has seriously disrupted our business and made it very difficult to maintain normal operations.”

The sudden, sharp collapse in China's property market is shown in the charts below which reveal that the amount of actual land transactions was not only well below the land supply in recent weeks, an unprecedented divergence, but that volumes were 65% below year-ago levels as potential buyers are suddenly terrified of investing in real estate as the Evergrande fate remains in limbo, with some worried that some of the 65 million empty apartments could hit the market and lead to a crash in property values.

While the plunge in transactions is demand-induced, there are also concerns that an Evergrande insolvency and eventual collapse could lead to a supply crunch. As reported earlier, in July a Chinese city halted sales at two Evergrande projects alleging the troubled developer misappropriated funds by only depositing a portion of the proceeds from housing sales into the escrow accounts, according to a local government statement.  To ensure Evergrande doesn’t divert these funds, the housing bureau in Nansha district created an escrow account under its own name this month to take in proceeds from Evergrande homebuyers, cutting off the developer’s direct access to the money.

A lack of funds has already led to a construction halt on some unfinished housing properties, sparking social unrest among buyers. In Guangzhou, buyers surrounded a local housing bureau earlier this month to demand Evergrande restart construction.

As we discussed over the weekend, one of the most troubling downstream consequences from chaos in the property sector would be social unrest, and as we noted, maintaining social order has always been a key priority for the Communist Party, which has no tolerance for protests of any kind.

In Guangzhou, homebuyers surrounded a local housing bureau last week to demand Evergrande restart stalled construction. Disgruntled retail investors have gathered at the companys Shenzhen headquarters for at least three straight days this week, and videos of protests against the developer in other parts of China have been shared widely online.

Without a social safety net and with limited places to put their money, Chinese savers have for years been encouraged to buy homes whose prices were only ever supposed to go up (similar to the US before 2007 when even idiots like Ben Bernanke said that the US housing market never goes down). Today, buying a house (or two) is a cultural touchstone. And while housing affordability has become a hot topic in the West, many Chinese are more likely to protest falling home prices than spiking ones.

Which brings us to a must read report from Goldman's Kinger Lau published overnight and focusing entirely on China's property sector - instead of just Evergrande - where it addresses a glaring dilemma: Beijing's desire to regulate and deleverage the housing sector even as it keeps property prices rising, a dynamic we summarized concisely earlier this week inside a tweet:

In his must read report (available for professional subscribers in the usual place) Goldman's Lau explains that what is going on with Evergrande, and in fact the turmoil gripping China's broader property sector is largely self-inflicted as "regulatory actions in China Internet have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on the tech sector since mid-Feb, but in the past two weeks, investor focus has shifted to the US$60tn China property market which is linked to ~20% of Chinese GDP and represents 62% of household wealth."

Specifically, Goldman notes that more than 400 new property regulations (shown in the appendix) that are largely tightening in nature have been announced ytd to restrain housing market activity, spanning supply, demand, funding, leverage, to price control measures. It is these measures that have contributed to a 14% year-on-year fall in property sales and $90 billion of market-cap losses among developer stocks in 3Q alone.

In his attempt to summarize the critical linkages between China's all-important property sector and the broader economy (something we first tried to do back in 2017 in "Why The Fate Of The World Economy Is In The Hands Of China's Housing Bubble"), Goldman first focuses on the immediate catalyst behind the current crisis, which according to the bank has to do with the unprecedented regulatory tightening "in the largest asset class globally."

Or, as Goldman puts it succinctly, "Property is everywhere in China"

Some explanatory notes on the chart above:

  • The regulatory cycle keeps evolving: The ongoing regulatory tightening cycle, which is unprecedented in terms of its duration, intensity, scope, and velocity (of new regulation announcement) as suggested by our POE regulation proxy, has so far provoked significant concerns among investors in and have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on China Tech.
  • From Tech to Social Sector, and then to Property: According to Centaline, more than 400 new property regulations have been unveiled ytd across the central and local governments to address the issues of rising property prices and imbalanced supply/demand in certain areas, over-reliance on property for economic growth and fiscal revenues, and potential speculation in the real estate market where 22% of property could be vacant and ~60% of recent-year purchases were driven by investment demand. Property market tightening isn’t a new feature in the Chinese policy cycle over the past decade, but the severity of the measures, the scope of tightening, and the determination of policy implementation (e.g. the 3 Red Lines) are arguably unprecedented.
  • China property is big: Almost two years ago, Goldman took a deep dive into the US$40tn Chinese residential housing market and analyzed its impacts on macro and asset markets. Since then, the market has grown to US$60tn in notional value including inventory, likely the largest asset class in the world on current prices. It has also registered Rmb26tn (US$4tn) of home sales with more than 3bn sqm of GFA being sold, almost 3x the size of HK SAR. Additionally, it is well-documented that Chinese households have a strong investment and allocation bias towards real assets for different economic and cultural reasons—as of Aug 2021, property accounted for around 62% of household assets in both the total and net terms, vs. 23% in the US and 36% in Japan, where stocks are the dominant household assets.
  • Property is ubiquitous in China, fundamentally and financially: Goldman economists estimate that the housing sector contributes to around 20% of GDP via direct and indirect channels such as property FAI, property construction supply chain, consumption, and wealth effect. In the financial markets, 15% of aggregate market earnings (i.e. ~US$150bn out of US$1tn in 2020) could be exposed to ‘property demand’ in the extended housing construction-to-sale cycle which typically spans over three years, and that property-related loans (developer loans, mortgages, shadow banking)/ developer bonds represent 35%/23% of banks’ loan books/the outstanding balance of the offshore USD credit (IG + HY) market,respectively.

And visually:

While a full-blown property crisis would impact virtually every aspect of the Chinese economy, starting with capital markets, shadow banks, and social stability, the most immediate one for global investors is of course, the equity market. Here are Goldman's key observations on this topic:

The regulation headwinds have resulted in a noticeable slowdown in property activities in recent months: nationwide property sales have fallen 14% yoy in3Q21 alongside stable prices in the primary market but large declines of transactions in the secondary market; property FAI and new starts have fallend rastically, although completion growth momentum has remained strong largely on favorable base effects.

At the macro level, Goldman economists have laid out 3 scenarios to model the contagion impacts from reduced property impulse on macro growth. Overall, they see 2022 GDP growth hit ranging from 1.4% to 4.1% depending on the magnitude/severity of the property market slowdown and the tightening of financial conditions domestically, although their scenario analysis does not take into consideration potential monetary and fiscal policy easing in response to the property market declines.

While listed developers only account for 4% of earnings in the aggregate listed universe, the housing market could be linked, directly and indirectly, to ~15% of corporate earnings, and every 10pp growth deceleration in housing activity could reduce profit growth of the housing market by ~2pp, all else equal.

Broadly, Goldman lists five key transmission mechanisms along the extended property market food chain:

  • Property developers and management companies (4% of equity market earnings): Developers’ earnings are highly sensitive to the property market fundamentals. However, given the time lag between transaction (pre-sales) and revenue recognition (accrual-based accounting), reported earnings usually lag sales by around 2 years, meaning that their current- and next-year earnings may not fully reflect the latest situation in the physical market. For property management companies, their near-term earnings profile is more sensitive to completions than sales but slowing property sales could dampen their future growth prospect.
  • Financial institutions (54% of equity market earnings): Developer loans and mortgage loans account for 35% of commercial banks’ aggregate loan book. Goldman's banks analysts see the potential for mortgage NPLs to rise (at 0.3% now, 1% increase in mortgage NPL ratio translates into 18.7% drop in net profits per their bear case) although their risk exposures to property-related WMPs have fallen substantially since 2016. For insurers, Goldman's team believes the listed insurers’ exposure to the property sector is low, but the potential indirect wealth effect could pose a bigger fundamental challenge. While not directly linked to the housing market, equity brokers’ earnings cycles have been negatively correlated with property sales, likely reflecting the asset allocation decisions/flows from Chinese households between the two asset classes.
  • Construction (2% of equity market earnings): From new property FAI start to completion, the construction cycle for commodity housing typically lasts 20-30 months in China. It drives demand for construction materials (China is the largest consumer of copper, iron ore and steel), although the focus of materials and their consumption intensity varies in different parts of the cycle. The process also directly impacts construction-related equipment, with excavators, heavy-duty trucks, bulldozers, cranes, and loaders all exhibiting reasonably high demand correlation with land sales.
  • Consumption: (3% of equity market earnings): Whether property purchase is considered consumption (at least for first time buyer) remains an open-ended debate, but the housing market is undoubtedly a key demand driver for a wide range of consumption items, including white goods,consumer durables like furniture equipment, and certain electronic products(e.g. Audio devices and air conditioners). Goldman's study shows that housing completion usually leads the sales and earnings in these sectors by 6-9months.
  • Wealth effect (1% of equity market earnings): At the micro level, capital appreciation (or depreciation) in the housing market could have short-term material impact on discretionary spending given the potential wealth creation from the US$60tn asset market, especially considering the relatively high investment ratios there. Industries that are sensitive to this channel encompass the Autos (luxury), Macau gaming, HK retailers and travel-related companies (before the pandemic), which tend to lag property sales by around two quarters, although these relationships may be also reflective of the broader macro dynamics including liquidity easing.

A snapshot of the various top-down impact of the Chinese property cycle on corporate earnings is shown below:

In sum, mapping Goldman' base case assumptions on GDP growth and property activities for 2022 onto corporate earnings via these channels,the bank lowers its 2022E EPS growth for MSCI China from 13% to 7%, but as the bank warns "the earnings downside (delta) could be much more significant (-28pp) if their bear cases prevail."

And should more companies warn that "the market is almost frozen" as a result of the Evergrande crisis, the bear case is virtually assured.

We conclude with Goldman's observations on the contagion risks which according to the bank - and contrary to the market - "are building", even if systemic risks can still be avoided.

While the restrictive policies have cooled the market, it has put highly-geared developers, notably Evergrande, in the spotlight as their deleveraging path becomes increasingly challenging. On one hand, Goldman agrees with us, and says that on a standalone basis, Evergrande should not be a serious systemic threat given that its total liability of Rmb1.9tn accounts for 0.6% of China’s outstanding TSF, its bank loans of Rmb572bn represent 0.3% of systemwide loan book, and its market share in nationwide commodity housing sales stood at 4% by 1H21. However, the real risks emerges in the context of the slowing property market: indeed, as in other systemic/crisis episodes, investors are concerned about specific weak links which could spread to the broader system via fundamental and financial channels in the case of disorderly default, and therefore the financial condition tightening risk could be much more significant than the Rmb1.9tn liability would suggest, according to Goldman.

How much risk is priced in? This is a popular question from investors but also a difficult one to answer given the fluidity of the situation. However, the following analyses lead Goldman to believe that the market may have priced in some degrees of degradation in macro/corporate fundamentals and possibly policy response from the authorities (i.e. a “muddle-through” scenario), but not a harsh scenario that is systemic and global in nature

  • Episodic analysis: Historical physical property market downturns were short-lived and shallow, but if we focus on episodes where developer equities traded at depressed valuations to proxy for property-related concerns (eg.2H11, early 2015, and late 2018), prevailing NAV discounts of listed developers(-60%) are roughly in-line with those difficult times. At the index level, MSCI China bottomed at around 10-11x fwd P/E and 10% ERP in those periods, vs. 13xand 9% at present respectively.
  • Fair PE targets: The MSCI China index is currently trading on 13x fP/E, having already de-rated from 19.6x at the peak in mid-Feb. Applying Goldman's three scenarios to its top-down macro PE model, the bank estimates that the index fair PE could fall to 12.5x in the base case, and 11.0x in their most bearish case.
  • Correlation analysis: Intra- and inter-sector, and cross-asset correlations with regard to Chinese stocks or developer equities have all risen in the past weeks, albeit from a low base. However, compared with previous cases where concerns related to China regulations or trade relations had spooked global markets (e.g. 2015 FX reform, 2018 US-China trade war), the absolute correlation levels are more benign at present, suggesting a global contagious impact is not fully priced in.

In light of all this, the good news is that in Goldman's view systemic risks could still be avoided considering:

  1. broad liquidity and risk-appetite indicators such as 7d repo, the onshore funding stress index, as well as the A-share market performance/ turnover suggest that the imminent "minsky moment" remains a narrative but far from a reality;
  2. the effective leverage (LTV) for the housing market is low, around 40% to 50% per our Banks team’s estimate;
  3. the institutional setup in China where the government has strong control over its banking system makes a market-driven collapse less likely to happen than would otherwise be the case;
  4. Losses will be realized by stakeholders associated with highly-geared developers, but the liabilities are relatively transparent and are less widely socialized in the financial markets than in previous global financial crises;
  5. the potential economic, social, and financial impacts have been well publicized and discussed, and it appears that the authorities are assessing the situation and starting to take actions; and,
  6. economists believe there is potential for the authorities to ease policy to prevent a disorderly default of Evergrande from developing into a crisis leading up to the Sixth Plenum in November.

Ultimately, timing will be key to a happy ending: Given the outsized market value of China property, and its intricate linkages to the real economy and the financial markets, deleveraging the property market and improving financial stability - two contradictory concepts - could raise systemic concern if policy actions are pursued too aggressively, or without clear coordination among regulators and communication with the market.

Importantly, as market concerns over tail risk and spillovers start to build, there is increasing focus on the narrowing window for policymakers to provide the necessary circuit breakers to ring-fence the (collateral) damages and stop the downward spirals.

A key risk from continued delayed action would be a bigger snowball effect and more damage on markets and investor (already strained) confidence in Chinese assets. As such, Goldman expects the market to focus on potential actions that could be pursued, such as a combination of debt restructuring (bank loans, WMP, credits), conditional government involvement in working capital bridges and unfinished property projects, and a coordinated plan to divest and cash in assets.

Finally, as promised earlier, here is a summary of the key loosing (green) and tightening (red) policies in China's property market.

 

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 13:00
Published:9/24/2021 12:07:10 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Trims Early Loss Fueled By China, Nike, But This Blue Chip In Buy Range Key market indexes moved off session lows midday Friday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average erased most of an early 117-point loss. Published:9/24/2021 11:43:51 AM
[Markets] Coronavirus Update: At-risk workers eligible for booster shots, per CDC director Coronavirus Update: At-risk workers eligible for booster shots, per CDC director Published:9/24/2021 11:43:51 AM
[Markets] Too Late... House Passes Amendment To Defund Wuhan Lab Middleman Outfit EcoHealth Alliance Too Late... House Passes Amendment To Defund Wuhan Lab Middleman Outfit EcoHealth Alliance

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

The House passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act Thursday that will seeing all funding blocked to EcoHealth Alliance, the outfit that fuelled US money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for gain of function experiments that some scientists believe led to the COVID pandemic.

Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Guy Reschenthaler introduced the amendment, noting “It is deeply disturbing that EcoHealth Alliance funneled American taxpayer dollars to support dangerous and potentially deadly research at the WIV, a laboratory run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and tied to military biological research and the probable origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Reschenthaler added “I am proud to lead this effort to end the flow of defense funding to EcoHealth Alliance, and I thank my colleagues for including my amendment in the defense authorization bill and ensuring Americans’ hard-earned money never again funds risky experiments in labs operated by our adversaries.”

As was reported earlier this week, EcoHealth Alliance under head Peter Daszak attempted to secure millions more in funding from the Pentagon’s scientific arm DARPA to genetically alter viruses, including bat coronaviruses, to make them more infectious to humans, and then to spray nanoparticles containing skin penetrating SARSr CoV spike proteins into the air, just eighteen months prior to the subsequent COVID outbreak and pandemic.

DARPA rejected the plan as being too dangerous to the human population, but the work may have gone ahead anyway.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 12:30
Published:9/24/2021 11:43:51 AM
[Markets] The Coming "Reversion To The Mean" Of Economic Growth The Coming "Reversion To The Mean" Of Economic Growth

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

From stimulus boom to income thud, the coming “reversion to the mean” of economic growth is happening faster than economists expected.

We previously noted that while many mainstream economists believed the current economic “boom” would persist, several factors suggested it wouldn’t.

The first problem is the math. As I previously discussed in “As Good As It Gets, the “second-derivative” of growth is now problematic. To wit:

“There is much at risk in the market as we head into the third quarter of 2021. For clarity, we need to review the “second-derivative” effect.

‘In calculus, the second derivative, or the second-order derivative, of a function f is the derivative of the derivative of f.” – Wikipedia’

In English, the ‘second derivative’ measures how the rate of change of a quantity is itself changing.

I know, still confusing.

Here is a simplistic example.

Assume the economy is $1000 in value in Year 1. Then, in Year 2, there is a 50% recession. However, in Year 3, the economy grows back to $1000. And, in Year 4, the economy remains at $1000.”

“The ‘second derivative’ effect is evident in years 3 and 4. In year 3, the economy recovers by $500, a 100% increase from Year 2’s level of $500. However, in Year 4, the growth rate falls to ‘ZERO’ as the economy remains at $1000.”

Why am I telling you this? Because we are at that point in the recovery cycle. Over the next few quarters, the year-over-year comparisons will become much more challenging. Q2-2021 will likely mark the peak of the economic recovery.

Confidence, Consumption & Economic Growth

In “Did The Fed’s Monetary Experiment Fail,”I discussed the importance of consumer confidence as it relates to the economy.

“Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending.” – Bernanke

We must not overlook the importance of consumer confidence, given the significant contribution of personal consumption expenditures to economic growth.

At nearly 70% of the GDP calculation, it is not surprising there is an exceedingly high correlation. The vertical spike at the end of the chart is most important. That spike was from the Government injecting 20% of GDP (roughly $5 Trillion) directly into the economy during the pandemic-driven shutdown. As we will discuss momentarily, the coming reversion will be problematic.

However, before we discuss the future, it is essential to note that since 1960, the expansion of consumption (PCE), and subsequently GDP, has come from a massive increase in household debt.

Given that wages haven’t risen fast enough over the last 20-years to compensate for increased living costs, the rise in household debt is not surprising. But, as noted, the increase in debt is not for the consumption of “more stuff,” instead, debt gets used to fill the gap between wages and living standards.

As noted, the linkage between confidence, consumption, and economic growth is critical. Thus, the recent plunge in consumer confidence as financial supports run out should not get dismissed lightly. Moreover, that breakdown of consumer confidence will likely show up in consumption in the future quarters and, ultimately, economic growth.

The Coming Reversion

Over the next several quarters, the real risk is a slowdown in consumption due to the lack of financial supports, stagnant wage growth, and high levels of underemployment.

However, it is also just a “math problem.” As noted above, the second-derivative of economic growth will have a more considerable impact in the future. Such is the problem of a larger economy due to the monetary injections. The chart below projects the annualized rate of economic growth through 2022. The polynomial trend line gets calculated using only current economic data. As you note, and not surprisingly, the two will intersect during the mean reversion.

While the “speed” of the reversion can get debated, the eventuality is just a function of math. As the economy grows, the annual growth rate will decline. The intersection of the economy to the polynomial trend will occur, aligning with the Fed’s own long-term economic growth projections.

As you will note, economic growth rates peaked in 1980 and continued a steady trend lower. Again, such is a function of stagnant wage growth and rising debt levels. Importantly, given the importance of PCE on growth, the rate of consumption continues to set lower trend growth levels after each major recession. As shown, PCE slowed after the “Dot.com” crash, the “Financial Crisis,” and likely will set a new lower trend level next year.

The “New New Normal”

After the “Financial Crisis,” the media buzzword became the “New Normal” for what the post-crisis economy would like. It was a period of slower economic growth, weaker wages, and a decade of monetary interventions to keep the economy from slipping back into a recession.

Post the “Covid Crisis,” we will begin to discuss the “New New Normal” of continued stagnant wage growth, a weaker economy, and an ever-widening wealth gap. Social unrest is a direct byproduct of this “New New Normal,” as injustices between the rich and poor become ever more evident.

If we are correct in assuming that PCE will revert to the mean as stimulus fades from the economy, then the “New New Normal” of economic growth will be a new lower trend that fails to create widespread prosperity.

Of course, none of this is a surprise.

It has been in process for the last 30-years. Yet, mainstream economists still fail to recognize the consequences of rising debt levels and the failure of socialistic policies.

For them, the answer to slower growth has been more debt. When more debt failed to spur growth, the answer was we didn’t go into debt far enough.

Well, in 2020, the country expanded its debt massively. The Fed and Government flooded the economy with liquidity to prevent the recession from doing its much-needed job of cleansing excesses from the system.

If more debt doesn’t create growth this time, we have only ourselves and the economists to blame.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 11:51
Published:9/24/2021 11:16:02 AM
[Markets] The Ratings Game: Nike shares slammed as earnings fall short, but analysts remain upbeat despite temporary supply chain challenges Nike Inc. stock fell 7% in Friday trading after the athletic giant revised its guidance in light of manufacturing shutdowns in Vietnam as well as other supply chain issues that are rocking most consumer categories.
Published:9/24/2021 11:16:02 AM
[Markets] MW editor Jeremy Olshan and economist Stephanie Kelton preview new money podcast MW editor Jeremy Olshan and economist Stephanie Kelton preview new money podcast Published:9/24/2021 11:16:01 AM
[Markets] Only 6% of firms believe climate risks is priced correctly: RPT GARP Risk Institute President Jo Paisley joins Yahoo Finance to discuss how companies are starting to calculate climate risk and the impact this new focus will have on the market moving forward. Published:9/24/2021 10:42:08 AM
[Markets] Credit Suisse Dumped All Evergrande Exposure, Crows That "Risk Procedures Worked" Credit Suisse Dumped All Evergrande Exposure, Crows That "Risk Procedures Worked"

Having been thoroughly embarrassed by their failings (and losses) in Archegos and Greensill, we suspect the public relations team at Credit Suisse (CS) were over the moon when they discovered that, not only was CS not exposed to the Evergrande debacle, they had actually sold well ahead of the crisis because "risk procedures worked."

“Risk procedures actually worked then...[but] it was a warning signal about the kind of deals that were being brought in” by bankers and wealth managers in Asia, people involved told the FT.

Specifically, The FT reports that CS - once the top international underwriter of Evergrande bonds (over the past decade, CS helped arrange $4.6bn of dollar bonds for Evergrande, about 13% of the total) - sold down its entire exposure to the troubled Chinese property developer late last year, according to people familiar with the decision; and has not underwritten any debt for two years after becoming concerned about the developer’s financials.

Credit Suisse reassured investors and asset management clients this week that the bank’s funds held very little Evergrande debt and the overall institution had minimal exposure, having decided to sell down its residual exposures because “it didn’t like what it was seeing”, the people familiar with the matter said.

The red flags were reportedly there for a few years, and The FT reports one incident flagged to senior management was a proposed loan to the company’s chair, Hui Ka Yuan, in late 2018:

Evergrande had recently raised a $1.8bn bond to help pay a special dividend to investors.

Hui, then China’s third-richest man, had to put up $1bn of his own money to support the deal due to lack of demand, the Financial Times reported at the time.

Hui then approached Credit Suisse for a loan that would be used to purchase Evergrande securities, offering the bond as collateral.

When the transaction was submitted for review, risk managers criticised the structure for having characteristics of circular financing, people involved told the FT.

“The transaction was wrong financially and morally,” one of the people said.

“Also, Evergrande had the most fragile financials [among Chinese developers] and was clearly facing a liquidity crunch.”

We suspect a major sigh of relief was felt across the Credit Suisse C-Suite that avoided this landmine, but as The Wall Street Journal reports, Evergrande’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hong Kong, may not escape unharmed from this crisis.

The property developer's auditor faces growing backlash that it gave the imploding firm a clean bill of health in an annual report issued this spring.

Despite Evergrande's stock and bond prices plunging as the firm offered deep discounts to keep sales growing during the pandemic (and the government effectively warning that it had borrowed too much), PwC in HK signed off on the company’s 2020 financial statements without including a so-called going concern warning.

WSJ notes that concerns about the company’s financial health may not have been sufficient to trigger a going-concern notice in Evergrande’s 2020 annual report under U.S. and Hong Kong accounting rules.

The bar to issue one of these is high, and there are often bankruptcies or reorganizations that aren’t preceded by a going-concern statement, academics said.

“The auditor is not responsible for predicting future conditions or events,” the regulator says on its website.

It added that the absence of a going-concern warning “should not be viewed as providing assurance as to an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

But in the company’s financial statement for the first six months of this year, Evergrande’s board of directors expressed concerns about the company’s ability to pay its short-term obligations and its ability to continue as a going concern. The report, which was unaudited, was one of the company’s first serious admissions of its financial problems.

So PwC has plenty of cover for its potential lack of diligence, but we suspect, when all is said and done and with Evergrande in default on its offshore bonds, numerous investors will be looking for someone to blame and the auditor may be high on that list.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 11:30
Published:9/24/2021 10:42:08 AM
[Markets] The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Justice Department reaches deal with Huawei CFO held in Canada The U.S. Justice Department has reached a deal that will allow Huawei Technologies Co. finance chief Meng Wanzhou to return to her home in China nearly three years after she was detained in Canada on behalf of the U.S.
Published:9/24/2021 10:42:08 AM
[Markets] In Major Win For China, Huawei CFO Reaches Deal With DOJ To Return Home In Major Win For China, Huawei CFO Reaches Deal With DOJ To Return Home

There's a huge breakthrough in the long-running Huawei saga that was central to the current breakdown and simmering tensions in US-China relations, as it was announced Friday morning that Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou will appear virtually in a Brooklyn federal court to resolve the US charges against her

Some of the late breaking details are emerging as follows:

  • Justice Department Reaches Deal With Huawei Executive Faced With Criminal Charges

  • In Deferred Prosecution Agreement Executive Meng Wanzhou Will Admit to Some Wrongdoing in Exchange for Government Eventually Dropping Charges

  • Agreement Offers Meng Wanzhou an Exit From Canada, Where She Has Been Fighting Extradition to U.S.

  • Deal Resolves One Source of Tension Between U.S. and China as Relations Deteriorate

Via Reuters

Meng, who has long maintained her innocence, has been held in Vancouver under a loose form of house arrest wherein she's monitored 24/7 but still free to move about in what's been dubbed by US media an "opulent detention", following the December 2018 arrest at Vancouver International Airport which grabbed world headlines and unleashed fury from Beijing. She was alleged to have mislead HSBC about the Chinese multinational tech company's dealings in Iran.

The expected US federal court appearance was reported widely on Friday based on a source close to the proceedings cited in Reuters and Canada's The Globe and Mail

Reuters underscores the US court appearance and deal reached with federal prosecutors is expected to end in a softening of the stalemate and tit-for-tat arrests that ensued:

The deferred prosecution agreement would remove one of several major disputes between the world's two biggest economies. The agreement could also potentially pave the way for the release of the two Canadians held in China, who were arrested shortly after Meng was taken in custody in 2018.

Meanwhile the US Department of Commerce has continued to threaten further crackdown on alleged bad behavior of Chinse telecommunications firms, after it's long been suspected that state-linked firms are used as 'Trojan horse' backdoors to spy on and infiltrate networks and data in the West.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Thursday statements said further action against Huawei in particular could be taken "if necessary" - after the Biden administration has come under pressure from Republican lawmakers. 

At the same time she expressed a desire on the part of the US to resolve outstanding trade tensions, saying in an interview, "I actually think robust commercial engagement will help to mitigate any potential tensions."

Huawei Technologies Co’s rotating chairman on Friday had this to say while claiming that US sanctions have caused a $30 billion loss in its handset revenue per year "We’ve been trying to get used to the US sanctions since May 2019," Eric Xu Zhijun told reporters in Beijing. "Whether the sanctions are going to escalate or not, we are accustomed to working and living with the [US] Entity List."

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 10:50
Published:9/24/2021 10:11:44 AM
[Markets] Government shutdowns tend to be ‘short-lived’, strategist says Jordan Jackson, J.P. Morgan Asset Management Global Market Strategist, joins Yahoo FInance Live to discuss how markets are faring amid the pandemic and what a potential government shutdown means for the stock market. Published:9/24/2021 10:11:44 AM
[Markets] ‘Go get the booster [shot]’: Biden to eligible Pfizer vaccine recipients ‘Go get the booster [shot]’: Biden to eligible Pfizer vaccine recipients Published:9/24/2021 9:37:18 AM
[Markets] Metals Stocks: Gold prices turn lower for the week Gold futures decline on Friday, looking to extend sharp loss from a day earlier and post a fall for a third consecutive week.
Published:9/24/2021 9:37:18 AM
[Markets] Stock market news live updates: Stocks mixed after S&P 500's best day since July Stocks gave back gains after equities' best day since July, with some volatility returning to markets as regulatory concerns in China at least temporarily offset optimism over the U.S. economic recovery. Published:9/24/2021 9:37:18 AM
[Markets] China Steps In To Ensure Evergrande Funds Used To Complete Housing Project, Not Pay Creditors China Steps In To Ensure Evergrande Funds Used To Complete Housing Project, Not Pay Creditors

Is this the start of China's nationalization of Evergrande?

With Evergrande's foreign bondholders saying they have yet to receive a closely watched $83.5 million interest payment that was due at midnight in New York on Thursday, or noon on Friday in Hong Kong, in effect starting a 30 day grace period before a hard default is triggered, Bloomberg reports that China’s housing regulator has "stepped up oversight of China Evergrande Group’s bank accounts to ensure funds are used to complete housing projects and not diverted to pay creditors."

In other words, China is now not only deciding how the insolvent developer distributes its cash flow and, but is also forcing it to prioritize operational outlays over payments to creditors, a step which companies traditionally take after they have filed for bankruptcy. The move is a confirmation that homeowners come first on Beijing’s priority list for managing the Evergrande crisis - in hopes of preventing a major hit to China's property sector - even as bondholders, banks and other creditors seek repayments on more than $300 billion in liabilities from the world’s most indebted developer.

According to the report, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development instructed local subsidiaries across China last month to supervise funds for Evergrande’s property projects in special escrow accounts.

Under the heightened oversight, the developer’s funds must first be used for construction to ensure project delivery. Furthermore, cash payments from these government-supervised accounts, such as paying suppliers, will be subject to state approval; local bureaus in some cities have already started to implement the measures.

Meanwhile, the cash-strapped firm has not only not made the payment on offshore bonds, but Asia’s largest issuer of junk-rated dollar bonds has also kept a complete radiosilence failing to make a stock exchange filing or public comment about the coupon. Three holders of the note told Bloomberg they haven’t received payment.

While few will dub this creeping takeover of Evergrande for the nationalization it is, Bloomberg does note that "the bank account restrictions underscore that policymakers are taking a more active role in the turmoil as missed payments by Evergrande on investment products spark protests across the country."

In July, a Chinese city halted sales at two Evergrande projects alleging the troubled developer misappropriated funds by only depositing a portion of the proceeds from housing sales into the escrow accounts, according to a local government statement.  To ensure Evergrande doesn’t divert these funds, the housing bureau in Nansha district created an escrow account under its own name this month to take in proceeds from Evergrande homebuyers, cutting off the developer’s direct access to the money.

A lack of funds has already led to a construction halt on some unfinished housing properties, sparking social unrest among buyers. In Guangzhou, buyers surrounded a local housing bureau earlier this month to demand Evergrande restart construction.

Separately, in an attempt to preserve continuity of Evergrande operations, including maintaining construction and project delivery, a focal point to resolve Evergrande’s liquidity crisis in an effort to steer retail investors away from cash repayment on its wealth products, the company has pushed them to accept deeply discounted properties, both to individuals and to companies. However, many of the projects aren’t finished.

As previously reported, Evergrande owes about $147 billion in trade and other payables to suppliers as part of its attempt to mask its indebtedness; the company received down payments on yet-to-be-completed properties from about 1.6 million homebuyers as of December.

Evergrande founding Chairman, and formerly China's second richest man, Hui Ka Yan has emphasized the importance of completing housing projects, telling staff on Wednesday that only by fully resuming construction and sales can Evergrande ensure homebuyers’ rights.

Meanwhile, the biggest priority for Beijing is simpler: preserving social orde. Disgruntled retail investors gathered at the company’s Shenzhen headquarters for at least three straight days this month, and unconfirmed videos of protests against the developer in other parts of China have been shared widely online.

 

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 10:35
Published:9/24/2021 9:37:18 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Drops As Evergrande Misses Interest Payment; Bitcoin Tumbles On China Ban The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 115 points Friday, as China Evergrande missed a key interest payment. Bitcoin dived on a Chinese crackdown. Published:9/24/2021 9:06:49 AM
[Markets] Gilead Study Shows Remdesivir Reduced Risk Of Hospitalization When Given To COVID-19 Patients Early Gilead Study Shows Remdesivir Reduced Risk Of Hospitalization When Given To COVID-19 Patients Early

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The antiviral remdesivir treatment reduced the risk of hospitalization among COVID-19 patients when administered soon after they were diagnosed, according to a new study from Gilead Sciences, which developed remdesivir.

A sign is posted in front of the Gilead Sciences headquarters in Foster City, Calif., on April 29, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Researchers found that remdesivir cut the risk of hospitalization by 87 percent compared to a placebo that half of the study participants received.

A total of 562 patients, all deemed at high-risk from COVID-19, were enrolled in the trial.

The Phase 3 study was a randomized, double-blind trial, but trial enrollment stopped in April because the company struggled to find enough participants. It continued to follow those who had enrolled, half of whom were given a placebo.

The new study showed a similar safety profile to the placebo and no deaths occurred in either group by the primary endpoint at day 28, though one person who was given the placebo died on day 59, Gilead said.

Gilead plans to share its findings with the Food and Drug Administration and present the full trial results this week at IDWeek, a medical conference.

Competing Treatment Options

Participants received the antiviral through IV on three consecutive days as nonhospitalized patients. That’s impractical for people outside of hospitals, some experts say.

Chandy John Lab, professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, wrote in a social media post that monoclonal antibodies are designed to prevent hospitalization and only require a single dose, making them a preferred treatment option over remdesivir. Both cost thousands of dollars.

Remdesivir, also known as Veklury, is already approved by U.S. drug regulators for use against COVID-19 in patients who are already hospitalized, 12 or older, and weigh at least 88 pounds. Gilead wants its drug to compete with monoclonal antibodies, which are now in high demand after the Biden administration rationed them.

Remdesivir has been touted by top U.S. officials in the past, including Dr. Anthony Fauci. But other research has suggested that it has no benefit, including a trial across 48 sites in Europe.

No clinical benefit was observed from the use of remdesivir in patients who were admitted to hospital for COVID-19, were symptomatic for more than 7 days, and required oxygen support,” researchers wrote in The Lancet last week.

Some studies have also linked the drug to kidney disease and other severe side effects.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 09:48
Published:9/24/2021 9:06:49 AM
[Markets] Nasdaq down sharply early Friday as Dow and S&P battle to end week in black Nasdaq down sharply early Friday as Dow and S&P battle to end week in black Published:9/24/2021 9:06:49 AM
[Markets] Nike's share-price decline set to shave 50 points off Dow at Friday open Nike's share-price decline set to shave 50 points off Dow at Friday open Published:9/24/2021 8:36:29 AM
[Markets] The Fed: Fed’s Mester backs taper of bond purchases starting in November Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said Friday she wants the Fed to start to slow down, or taper, its bond purchases in November and end them during the first half of 2022.
Published:9/24/2021 8:36:29 AM
[Markets] China Enforces Power-Rationing At Major Industrial Hubs Amid Shortages And Climate Push China Enforces Power-Rationing At Major Industrial Hubs Amid Shortages And Climate Push

A perfect storm of increased power demand and the calls to reduce carbon emissions has resulted in power rationing across China, according to Bloomberg, citing a new report Friday from 21st Century Business Herald. 

Power curbs are being forced onto major factory hubs in more than ten provinces, including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong. Local governments ordered power cuts to meet carbon emission rules, following the country's top economic planner, outlining how an economic rebound in the year's first half resulted in high carbon emissions in nine provinces. 

The Business Herald reported soaring coal prices are causing pain for power plants that have reduced power output, creating electricity supply gaps in some provinces. If those gaps are persistent through the winter season, larger power curtailments could be ahead. 

Caixin reports in Zhejiang that the government ordered at least 160 energy-intensive companies to suspend operations to reduce carbon emissions. Many of these companies are chemical fiber industries. The halt in operations is expected to last from Sept. 21-30. 

Power cuts were also issued across 14 cities in the northern province of Liaoning after the grid suffered supply shortfalls. "Power suppliers will spare no effort to keep providing electricity to residents, hospitals, schools, radio, TV, telecommunications, transportation hubs and other important users," a local grid operator's social media notice read. 

AgriCensus reports broadening power cuts also impacted agriculture hubs. Several food plants in Jiangsu and the northern port city of Tianjin that crush soybeans into oils for salad dressings and animal food were affected. 

Caixin also reports the government canceled electricity price discounts for aluminum smelters in Yunnan province. Yunnan Aluminum Co. warned last week production would be significantly reduced because of consumption controls. 

This all comes as carbon emissions have been soaring in the country this year as it increases the use of coal-fired plants amid the economic rebound. 

China has pledged to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and to reach full carbon neutrality in 2060. Renewable energy has increased in the country, but coal power is cheap and will remain king and expected to grow. Beijing's latest stunt is likely temporary. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 09:31
Published:9/24/2021 8:36:29 AM
[Markets] Biden Hosts First Quad Summit At White House As 'Counter-China' Allies Cement 'Unofficial' Alliance Biden Hosts First Quad Summit At White House As 'Counter-China' Allies Cement 'Unofficial' Alliance

Amid regional concerns of China's growing power in the Indo-Pacific, President Biden will host leaders of the Quad alliance at the White House on Friday, where they are expected to discuss the fight against infrastructure and technological cooperation, and the fight against Covid-19. Looming heavy in the background is the US-Australia-UK 'Aukus' deal unveiled over a week ago which has been loudly condemned by Beijing.

Biden will first hold a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mode, after which Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will join them to meet as a group, and then Suga will meet with Biden one-on-one after this.

Biden previously meeting India's PM Narendra Mode

A senior administration official previewed Friday's summit by saying, "At the outset of the admin the president indicated he wanted to take this institution that’s an informal gathering of leading democracies in the Indo-Pacific and basically lift it both to the leader level, and ensure we are working together to build better lines of communication and strengthening cooperation and habits of cooperation amongst us," according to Reuters. 

The official also said the Quad is part of the "larger fabric of engagement" that reflects White House priorities in the Indo-Pacific region, which has especially been focused on shoring up resistance to China's influence among allies...

Heading into the first in-person leaders meeting, the survival of the current iteration of the grouping across two US administrations and changes in governments in Japan and Australia "speaks to [the Quad’s] durability and how, you could say, the quad is here to stay," Sameer Lalwani, a senior fellow for Asia strategy at the Stimson Center, told Al Jazeera.

Importantly, The Hill highlights the US need to protect and ensure its semiconductor supply amid the global shortage:

Beyond vaccine production, the group will announce a supply chain initiative focused on semiconductors amid a global shortage of the key part for cars and other products. They will also detail a 5G diversification effort, as well as a fellowship sponsored by private donors that will send 100 masters or doctoral students — 25 from each country — to leading U.S. universities to study science and technology programs.

Interestingly just ahead of the Friday summit, the White House further sought to clarify the "unofficial" nature of the gathering and that the Quad is not in any way a military alliance

"I do want to underscore that The Quad is an unofficial gathering," an administration official was cited in CNN as cautioning.

"Although we have a number of working groups and we are deepening cooperation on a very daily basis, it's also the case that it is not a regional security organization," the official sought to clarify.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:46
Published:9/24/2021 8:10:07 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Fall As Evergrande Misses Interest Payment; Bitcoin Tumbles On China Ban Dow Jones futures fell 150 points Friday, as China Evergrande missed a key interest payment. Bitcoin dived on a Chinese crackdown. Published:9/24/2021 8:10:07 AM
[Markets] Cyber Ninjas review widens Biden victory margin over Trump in Arizona: reports Cyber Ninjas review widens Biden victory margin over Trump in Arizona: reports Published:9/24/2021 8:10:07 AM
[Markets] NewsWatch: The S&P 500 has to hold this line in the sand or risk a terrifying plunge, says strategist Our call of the day is looking at a key technical support line for the S&P 500. And it better hold or else, he says.
Published:9/24/2021 8:10:07 AM
[Markets] Nike's stock drop would shave more than 50 points off the Dow's price Shares of Nike Inc. sank 5.1% in early trading Friday, enough to pace the Dow Jones Industrial Average's premarket decliners, after the athletic apparel and accessories giant reported fiscal first-quarter profit that topped expectations but revenue that came up short. The stock's implied price decline would shave about 53 points off the price of the Dow, while Dow futures were down 144 points, or 0.4%, ahead of the open. Nike's stock is on track to suffer the biggest one-day decline since June 2 Published:9/24/2021 7:40:50 AM
[Markets] Chairman, CEO Of China's HNA Group Arrested For "Suspected Crime" Chairman, CEO Of China's HNA Group Arrested For "Suspected Crime"

Three years after the the chairman of China's failed conglomerate HNA Group Wang Jian died during a business trip in France on July 3 in what local police then said appeared to be an accidental fall from a wall while posing for a photograph, moments ago HNA Group - which was one of the biggest Chinese corporate failures and has been restructuring its operations after a $50 billion merger spree in the mid 2010s led to the company's insolvency - reported on its official WeChat account that the the company's current Chairman Chen Feng was "taken away" by police due to suspected criminal offenses. HNA's CEO Tan Xiangdong was also taken away by police for suspected crime, it added.

Chen Feng

The statement did not say what the crime is but clarified that HNA's operations are unaffected and that its bankruptcy and restructuring is moving forward smoothly.

Chen Feng became chairman of HNA shortly after the bizarre death of the company's previous Chairman Wang Jian. And as we wait to learn some more about the fate - or crimes - of the company's top two officials, we remind readers of some more details surrounding the mysterious death in July 2018 of HNA's former Chairman Wang Jian died when he fell 15 meters off a wall in the village of Bonnieux, near Avignon, a picturesque area popular with tourists, lieutenant-colonel Hubert Meriaux of the Vaucluse gendarmerie force told Reuters.

“He stood on the edge of a sharp drop to get his family to take a picture of him and fell,” he said.

His death complicated the troubled conglomerate’s efforts to restructure and pay off borrowings.

Wang’s death couldn’t have come at a worse time, said Brock Silvers, founder and managing director of Kaiyuan Capital, a Shanghai-based investment advisory firm.

“Deleveraging pressures on HNA continue to be enormous, and all such plans will probably now be revisited as the management team reconstitutes itself,” he said.

Wang told employees earlier this year that the company’s difficulties were the result of a “major conspiracy” against the ruling Communist Party and President Xi Jinping by foreign and domestic “reactionary forces”, according to an internally-distributed email.

Wang was regarded as the architect of an eye-popping $50 billion acquisition spree that saw HNA accumulate assets ranging from a stake in Deutsche Bank AG to high-profile overseas properties. Under pressure from Beijing, HNA has since sold off many of those assets to slash debt.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:28
Published:9/24/2021 7:40:50 AM
[Markets] NerdWallet: Fall is the perfect time to review your finances—here is a money to-do list you should tackle now Like it or not, this year will be over before you know it. Financial experts recommend taking a close look at your savings and planning for 2022 goals now.
Published:9/24/2021 7:14:09 AM
[Markets] China Declares All Virtual Currency Transactions "Illegal", Sending Crypto Prices Tumbling China Declares All Virtual Currency Transactions "Illegal", Sending Crypto Prices Tumbling

China expanded its escalating crackdown on cryptocurrencies on Friday when its central bank declared that all activities related to digital coins are “illegal” and must be banned.

In a statement the People’s Bank of China said the latest notice was to further prevent the risks surrounding crypto trading and to maintain national security and social stability.

Curiously, the statement is dated September 15, but only hit the central bank's website at 5pm on Friday.

Incidentally, the news was already priced in once, with rumors of PBOC crackdown sending the price of bitcoin lower in mid-September when Bitcoin traded just below $50,000.

Naming bitcoin, ether and tether as examples, the central bank said cryptocurrencies are issued by nonmonetary authorities, use encryption technologies and exist in digital form and should not be circulated and used in the market as currencies. The PBOC specifically targeted overseas cryptocurrency exchanges declaring that it was illegal for them to provide online services to residents in China.

The statement is the culmination of years of failed crackdowns on cryptos and is nothing new for the authoritarian state. In 2013, the country ordered third-party payment providers to stop using bitcoin. Chinese authorities put a stop to token sales in 2017 and banned crypto exchanges from operating within its borders in 2019 but individuals in the country continued to find ways to trade bitcoin and other digital currencies via over-the-counter or peer-to-peer transactions. More recently, the country banned all crypto mining, which however only prompted miners to shift offshore.

In May this year, a powerful Chinese superregulator pledged to crack down on bitcoin trading and energy-intensive mining, helping to send the price of bitcoin tumbling, only to rebound again. Financial regulators in the country have also gotten tougher on banks and payment companies and in June ordered them to take a more active role in weeding out crypto-related transactions.

This latest harsh directive, which sent Bitcoin dropping over 8% on Friday, comes as global markets have grown increasingly concerned over a debt crisis involving property developer China Evergrande Group, and which many speculated would lead to a surge in capital outflows via cryptos that bypass China's great firewall. The Chinese government may also be responding to signs that miners are disguising their activities to stay in business according to Bloomberg.

Vijay Ayyar, head of Asia Pacific with cryptocurrency exchange Luno in Singapore, said that while the Chinese government has made similar statements in the past, it is “a slightly nervous environment for crypto with the recent SEC comments and overall macro environment with the Evergrande news. So any comments of this nature will cause a sell-of in risky assets.”

Investors should expect “knee-jerk price reaction as China takes the wind out of Bitcoin’s sails,” said Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto lender Nexo.  “The recent rebound from just below $40,000 has likely run its course for now.” 

The nation’s economic planning agency also said it is an urgent task for China to root out crypto mining, and the crackdown is important to meet carbon goals.

It was unclear what prompted the latest crackdown, however one theory is that it’s part of a broader law-and-order push ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party this year. Another more likely theory is that China is aggressively clearing the runway for its very own digital yuan, a central bank digital currency that’s been in development since 2014, and whose market reception has been catastrophic so far.

The most likely reason behind the crackdown is that Beijing is simply looking to stem capital outflows via stablecoins and cryptocurrencies. As a reminder, tether remains one of the preferred conduits for Chinese resident to launder over $1 trillion in domestic currency abroad. And with turmoil emerging from the Evergrande default and imminent deterioration in the property sector, it is inevitable that Beijing is fearing a new flood of outbound capital transfers will follow so it is taking preemptive steps.

Then there are those who suggest that such attempts to ban bitcoin will only further streghten it showing its resilience and ability to withstand sovereign pressure. Back in July, after another similar crackdown by China, Alyse Killeen, founder and managing partner of bitcoin-focused venture firm Stillmark, told CNBC that this whole conversation may be a moot point, as a government’s capacity to effect a bitcoin ban will only continue to erode over time.

“I’d expect this type of news to have less of an impact on bitcoin’s exchange rate than it has historically,” she said. “It’s also true that there has been some level of industry inoculation to this news – bitcoin has been banned many times in many geographies, and yet today adoption is outpacing internet adoption at a similar lifecycle stage.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 07:17
Published:9/24/2021 6:42:46 AM
[Markets] Mark Hulbert: Market analysts can’t agree on where stocks are going next. So double-check the data before you buy or sell Expectations and hunches don't belong in a smart investment strategy.
Published:9/24/2021 6:42:46 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Fall, Bitcoin Tumbles On China Cryptocurrency Ban; Salesforce Leads 17 Stocks Flashing Buys The market rally took a big step as the S&P 500 regained its 50-day while Salesforce led stocks breaking out. Published:9/24/2021 6:42:46 AM
[Markets] Market Snapshot: Nasdaq-100 leads U.S. stock futures lower as bond yields rise and Evergrande concerns simmer On the heels of two strong sessions, U.S. stock futures are lower, led by Nasdaq-100 futures, with investors eyeing higher yields and developments surrounding a troubled Chinese property company.
Published:9/24/2021 6:07:14 AM
[Markets] UK Scientists Think COVID Will Likely Resemble "Common Cold" By Next Spring UK Scientists Think COVID Will Likely Resemble "Common Cold" By Next Spring

At this point in the pandemic, most readers have probably heard that COVID will likely remain endemic in the human population, like the cold or the flu.

And as we prepare for the second flu season (in the northern hemisphere, at least), more scientists (and, increasingly, politicians) are realizing that they're going to need to embrace a change in messaging - messaging that, at one time, might have left them vulnerable to accusations of being an "anti-vaxxer".

We're of course referring to the notion that COVID will stick around and become a regular illness, like the flu or the common cold.

Australia has finally acknowledged that its government's commitment to "ZeroCOVID" simply didn't make sense, and abandoned it. In the US, the vast majority of people who haven't been vaccinated probably wouldn't get the jab if you offered to pay them (which, incidentally, New York City and several other states and cities have tried to do).

Fortunately, as humanity's resistance to the virus grows, the danger that COVID poses should continue to wane. A pair of scientists discussed this phenomenon in a recent story with Sky News. Both suggested that, by Springtime, COVID could be like a "cold or mild flu" for most people.

hared a slightly more optimistic take, claiming COVID will become like the common cold by next Spring.

Professor Sir John Bell, religious professor of medicine at Oxford University, said the virus could resemble the common cold by spring next year as people's immunity to the virus is boosted by both vaccines AND natural exposure.

He added the country "is over the worst" and things "should be fine" once winter has passed, adding that there was continued exposure to the virus even in people who are vaccinated.

Bell's comments followed a similar remark from Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, one of the UK's most high-profile figures who helped develop the Astra-Zeneca jab. Gilbert said a few days ago that there's evidence that the population is developing greater immunity levels as time goes on and more are infected and vaccinated. She also played down fears about another new hyper-virulent variant.

Asked about Gilbert's comment, John said: "If you look at the trajectory we're on, we're a lot better off than we were six months ago."

At the very least, the pressure on the yuan will abate.

"So the pressure on the NHS is largely abated. If you look at the deaths from COVID, they tend to be very elderly people, and it's not entirely clear it was COVID that caused all those deaths.

"So I think we're over the worst of it now and I think what will happen is, there will be quite a lot of background exposure to Delta," he added, saying the case numbers are quite high but those who have had two vaccines and are infected will still lead to stronger herd immunity".

Speaking at a Royal Society of Medicine webinar on Wednesday, Dame Gilbert said the most sensible scenario for COVID is that it will mutate to become less deadly for humans, making it more like the flu or cold, possibly by next year.

"We normally see that viruses become less virulent as they circulate more easily and there is no reason to think we will have a more virulent version of Sars-CoV-2," Dame Sarah said.

"It's just a question of how long it's going to take to get there and what measures we're going to have to take to manage it in the meantime."

In both cases, their remarks were a reactions a statement from England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, who said this week that all children who had not been vaccinated would likely end up getting COVID. Most available data would suggest this is unlikely.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 07:00
Published:9/24/2021 6:07:14 AM
[Markets] Bitcoin down as PBOC official says cryptos illegal, crackdown coming: report Bitcoin down as PBOC official says cryptos illegal, crackdown coming: report Published:9/24/2021 5:35:57 AM
[Markets] Pope Claims His Critics Are Performing "Work Of The Devil" Pope Claims His Critics Are Performing "Work Of The Devil"

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Pope Francis has claimed that conservative critics of his views on issues such as mass migration and climate change are performing the “work of the devil.”

Many would argue to opposite to be the case.

In an interview with Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica, the Pope said that after his recent surgery he is “still alive, although some people wanted me dead.”

Speculation amongst prelates was rife that the Pope’s real condition was worse than what was being reported, but this turned out not to be true.

“They were preparing the conclave (to elect a new pope). So be it. Thank God, I am well,” said the supreme pontiff.

He also addressed criticism from American conservatives that his liberal views on almost every issue are eroding the Christian foundation of the Catholic Church, asserting that “turning back is not the right way.”

“I personally may deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the Church does not deserve this. It is the work of the devil,” he said.

However, as head of the Church, the Pope’s personal views are undoubtedly leading it astray.

It’s no coincidence that Cardinal Robert Sarah was removed as head of the Vatican’s office for liturgy by the Pope after he warned that western civilization was living through its “mortal hour.”

Sarah previously warned that the “west will disappear” as a result of mass migration, adding that “Islam will invade the world” and “completely change culture, anthropology, and moral vision.”

Meanwhile, the Pope takes part in PR stunts to promote mass Islamic immigration to the west, including one in which he appeared with the Rwandan refugee responsible for killing a French priest and burning down a cathedral.

After Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán asked Pope Francis not to let Christianity “perish,” the Pope responded by telling Hungarians that they should “extend their arms to everyone,” referring to migrants and refugees.

Pope Francis even went so far as to all but excuse the actions of the Charlie Hebdo jihadist killers when he said that freedom of speech has limits, morally siding with the bloodthirsty fanatics who slaughtered the French cartoonists.

When he’s not washing the feet of Islamic migrants to amplify the narrative that Christian countries should absorb millions of people from the Middle East and North Africa, the Pope is pushing globalist climate change propaganda.

Pope Francis wants to make “acts against the environment a sin,” thereby elevating Mother Earth as some kind of new age deity, while also calling for global governance to fight climate change.

Last year, the Pope also offered his support for gay marriage, saying same-sex couples should be able to form “civil unions,” a position you’ll struggle to find sympathy for in the actual Bible.

The Pope has also done little other than tacitly support the targeting of pious Catholic priests by the church establishment for merely trying to uphold the faith, something Mel Gibson recently described as a “very deep sickness.”

If your rhetoric serves to amplify the agenda that every truly satanic globalist is striving towards then it’s not your critics who are doing the “work of the devil,” it’s you.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 06:30
Published:9/24/2021 5:35:57 AM
[Markets] EU Will Wait To Decide On Pfizer Boosters Due To Shortage Of Safety Data EU Will Wait To Decide On Pfizer Boosters Due To Shortage Of Safety Data

In keeping with their more cautious approach toward approving COVID jabs, EU regulators are preparing to make their own decisions about whether to approve booster shots with Pfizer jabs - but not until early October, Reuters reported Thursday.

Reuters pointed out that the upcoming review of the Pfizer booster jab would mark the European regulators' first decision about doling out booster jabs in the EU.

In an opinion issued earlier this month that was republished by the EMA, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control - or ECDC, one of several regulators that comprises the EU's highest-level of health regulators - said there was no "urgent need" to administer booster doses to fully vaccinated individuals in the general population.

But it also noted that additional doses are already being considered and doled out to the elderly, the immuno-compromised, and whatever

Regardless of whatever the bloc decides, it has already signed recent deals with Pfizer and BioNTech for 2.4 billion more mRNA jabs.

The latest contract covers the supply of at least 900MM shots, which will only be needed if the EU goes ahead with expansive booster jab program and offers them to all adults 16 and up. . Over 70% of the EU's adult population has already been fully vaccinated, and the bloc has secured an ample supply of vaccines from several manufacturers.

Still, as the delta wave continues to create problems for politicians around the world, they might grow increasingly desperate to force the population to get 3, 4 or even 5 jabs - despite the fact that The ECDC has said crucial data on the need and safety of boosters hasn't yet been gleaned from the studies unfurling around the world rfhr n in part because it is not yet fully clear how long vaccines protect against the virus.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 05:45
Published:9/24/2021 5:05:10 AM
[Markets] Extra Credit: ‘A different kind of moral hazard’: The history and politics behind the Evergrande debt crisis In this week's Extra Credit we also talk staffing shortages at the biggest consumer lender in the country
Published:9/24/2021 5:05:10 AM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures Fall Amid Evergrande Fears, China Cryptocurrency Ban; Salesforce Leads 17 Stocks Flashing Buys The market rally took a big step as the S&P 500 regained its 50-day while Salesforce led stocks breaking out. Published:9/24/2021 5:05:10 AM
[Markets] Europe Faces A Fragile Economy As The Merkel Era Ends Europe Faces A Fragile Economy As The Merkel Era Ends

Authored by Brendan Brown via The Mises Institute,

As Angela Merkel prepares her exit from the chancellery in Berlin, a false alarm is ringing in Europe about an imminent danger of “stagflation.” This phenomenon, like dragons, belongs to mythology rather than real historical or present circumstances. 

The noise will prevent any faint alarm being heard about the true danger of post-Merkel monetary deluge in Europe - a French and Italian debt crisis culminating in euro collapse. 

The stagflation myth originates from the 1970s experience in the US. Data averages collected over the period as a whole (1973–80)—including a virulent monetary inflation and economic boom (1976–78) sandwiched between two recessions featuring energy supply shocks—show high Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation accompanying real economic sluggishness.

Fast-forward to the present: European CPI inflation has been climbing through the year (3 percent year on year in September), albeit staying below US comparisons in part because of a low or zero weight for housing and secondhand cars. Yet real economic performance in Europe has been seriously subpar if we correct for optical illusions related to the end of lockdowns and a receding pandemic.

Now an actual and looming crisis of natural gas supplies in Europe (amid forecasts of Russian supply shortages and domestic production curbed by environmental policy) could mean consumers in some countries facing a doubling of bills and also disruption. Russian president Vladimir Putin, with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany now complete, could make the crisis much worse for eastern and southern Europe. Some experts suspect Gazprom is already manipulating gas prices.

This gas crisis comes on top of worsening bottleneck problems in the global economy. The whisper number for euro area CPI this winter is around 5 percent year on year. Meanwhile the outlook for economic rebound from the pandemic crisis is souring. Among the large European countries, only Germany this autumn is back to eve-of-pandemic GDP levels.

Even European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde had to take note of the stagflation alarm in her September 9 news conference, crucially placed ahead of the German general election (September 26). Making a cosmetic concession to the Bundesbank point of view, she announced an insignificant tapering of quantitative easing.

This consummate ex–French politician, acutely sensitive to the importance of the ECB-Berlin axis in sustaining the status quo of the European Monetary Union (EMU), succeeded in removing the euro as a topic of debate between the mainstream parties. Neither EMU nor stagflation alarm (nor President Putin!) featured at all in the final TV debate (September 12) between the three chancellor candidates (for the Christian Democratic Union, Social Democratic Party, and Greens). Lagarde’s recent announcements about a “greening” of the ECB monetary policy framework doubtless pleased the Greens, whom pundits see as a kingmaker in coalition negotiations subsequent to the elections.

If there had been a question on stagflation, the correct answer from any of the candidates would have been that this is not the real danger. 

Stagflation is a misleading term coined back in the 1970s by popular critics of the Arthur F. Burns Fed’s monetary “stimulus,” which was followed in Europe by countries outside the Deutsche mark orbit. These critics in their understandable concerns were too quick to point out a denouement of high inflation and high unemployment without attention to fine but important detail. The high average CPI inflation of 1973–80 turned on the potential of economies to be stimulated by monetary policy into an inflationary boom (1976–78). Notably, France in that decade was in an economic miracle. 

Today by contrast there is widespread economic sclerosis largely resulting from a long monetary inflation which has spurred malinvestment and the advance of monopoly capitalism. Yes, we should be assessing the threat from this long monetary inflation, aggravated to a new pitch during the pandemic by the ECB and condoned crucially by Chancellor Merkel. It is an erroneous diversion, however, to dig up popular but erroneous diagnoses from the 1970s.

The original episode of “stagflation” in the 1970s started with the Middle East Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries embargo and related quadrupling of the oil price in the immediate aftermath of the Yom Kippur War (autumn 1973). CPI inflation accelerated in the aftermath of this episode despite a gathering economic downturn. In fact, monetary inflation at that time was already turning to monetary disinflation, with the Burns Fed having imposed a monetary squeeze in summer 1973. 

A jump in consumer prices due to supply disruption is no symptom of monetary inflation and would occur under a sound money regime. But once the disruption is resolved consumer prices should fall back. Instead, the Burns Fed stepped on the monetary inflation accelerator. Strong symptoms of goods and asset inflation emerged through 1976–78 amidst a powerful US and global economic boom. Then, as monetary policy started to tighten, the eruption of the Iranian Revolution brought a new oil supply shock, causing prices to spiral upward just as the economy was slowing.

Fast-forward to the alarms now ringing about stagflation in 2021.

In Europe as in the US much of the spike in CPI inflation this year has been driven by “dislocations on the supply side,” the notorious bottlenecks which are the essence of central bank speak that inflation is transitory. In turn these have contributed to enforced cutbacks in production. Uncertainties as to the waiting time for deliveries alongside a squeeze on real incomes are weighing on demand.

Protestations of concern by the Fed and foreign central banks about supply disruptions (and the notorious transitory inflation due to bottleneck problems) beg the issue of responsibility here. Massive monetary “stimulus” contributed to a huge lopsided surge in demand for consumer durables while inflating the digitalization boom driven by stay-at-home needs during the pandemic.

We should view the supply disruptions and the resource costs of clearing the backlogs ultimately as belonging to the subject of malinvestment as induced by monetary inflation. Overconsumption and malinvestment lie behind these bottlenecks, and their sequel could well add to recessionary tendencies. That is all par for the monetary course.

The present run-up of CPI inflation in Europe, exacerbated most likely by the further surges in the natural gas price (this in contrast to the bottlenecks could be a genuine supply shock), is unlikely to mutate directly into the sustained high-CPI inflation characteristic of the 1970s. The real danger of a sustained leap in euro area goods and services inflation lies elsewhere—in the rise and fall of asset inflation, the defining characteristic of monetary inflation in Europe during the Merkel era.

When global asset inflation turns to deflation there is a high probability that debts of the French and Italian governments and the banking systems in those two countries will come into the storm center of crisis. French banks have now notorious exposure to potential “bubble areas,” including Chinese loans, built up during long-run European and US monetary inflation. French government finances are now as weak as Italian ones on the eve of the pandemic. The cancellation of Australia’s megaorder for French submarines last week amid a larger existential crisis for the French military sector highlights weaknesses in French credit.

Perhaps the three-party coalition government to emerge from the German elections will indeed work closely with Paris and say yes to a European banking union and unlimited bailouts via the ECB. That Chinese-type solution to Europe’s debt woes—severe monetary repression in an effectively state banking system—would drive capital flight from Europe on a scale not seen in China, with its inconvertible currency shielded by myriad of exchange restrictions. A euro collapse, rather than gas prices and bottlenecks, is the most likely source of sustained high CPI inflation in Europe following the Merkel era.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 05:00
Published:9/24/2021 4:07:38 AM
[Markets] UK Tells People To Stop "Panic Buying" As "Winter Of Discontent" Fears Emerge UK Tells People To Stop "Panic Buying" As "Winter Of Discontent" Fears Emerge

UK politicians are in utter panic as similarities to the 1970s-style "winter of discontent" of shortages and socio-economic distress could rear its ugly head in the coming months, according to Reuters

A significant driver in what could very well be a hellacious winter for Brits is soaring natural gas and electricity prices that have already disrupted segments of the UK economy and sent shockwaves through energy markets, chemical producers, and the food industry, among others. Compound this all with labor shortages thanks to Brexit, and the dire situation may worsen. 

Some Brits who remember the past worry a winter of discontent could be imminent. Many are facing extraordinary high power bills and sharp food inflation that are eating away at wages, along with shortages of goods at supermarkets. 

The primary driver of this chaos is soaring natural gas prices due to declines in Russian flows to Europe, along with a drop in renewable power output. The soaring cost of natgas has pressured chemical firms that use the gas in production to limit or halt operations. One such industry is fertilizer that is a byproduct of natgas. From there, the decline of fertilizer has affected CO2 production, which heavily impacts food supply chains. 

People are paying attention to the developments of the energy crisis and its immediate ripple effect across the economy and are taking no chances of being left without food. Many are panic buying food as government officials try to calm everyone down, reassuring everyone the winter of discontent is not upon them. 

"There is no need for people to go out and panic buy," Small Business Minister Paul Scully told Times Radio.

With low CO2 levels, Britain's food industry has been disrupted but received emergency support from the government this week to reopen at least one chemical plant to make the gas critical for slaughterhouses to food packaging to the beverage industry. 

Already, shelves in some supermarkets are cleared out as people are taking no chance.  

"Look, this isn't a 1970s thing at all," Scully said when asked if Britain was heading back into a winter of discontent - a reference to the 1978-79 winter when inflation and industrial action left the economy in chaos.

Compounding the issues for the food industry has been the shortage of truck drivers that have led to additional supply chain disruptions. 

A Tesco spokesperson said the supermarket chain is experiencing a shortage of truck drivers, leading to "some distribution challenges."

Another supermarket chain, Sainsbury's, has said, "availability in some product categories may vary but alternatives are available."

As for the energy crisis, the government has capped power prices for households which means energy retailers are becoming unprofitable and smaller ones are failing left and right. So far, seven energy retailers have gone bankrupt, affecting more than 1.5 million households

If hyperinflation of natural gas and power prices and soaring food prices and shortages of goods aren't similar to the winter of discontent that took place decades ago, then we don't know what is... 

What this may cause is turmoil on the streets if the crisis worsens. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 04:15
Published:9/24/2021 3:38:53 AM
[Markets] COVID-19 In Norway Can Now Be Compared To The Flu, Says Health Chief COVID-19 In Norway Can Now Be Compared To The Flu, Says Health Chief

By Frazer Norwell of TheLocal.de

Coronavirus can now be categorised as one of several respiratory illnesses with seasonal variation, Geir Bukholm, assistant director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), has said. 

For the past year and a half, Covid-19 has been classed as a generally dangerous disease. However, this could change soon as the assistant director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Geir Bukholm, has said the coronavirus can now be put in the same category as illnesses such as flu, common colds and RS (respiratory syncytial virus). 

“We are now in a new phase where we must look at the coronavirus as one of several respiratory diseases with seasonal variation,” Bukholm told paper VG

Last week the Ministry of Health and Social Care asked the NIPH to assess whether Covid-19 was still a dangerous disease.  

While the NIPH has yet to return its findings, its assistant director has made it clear that the danger of Covid will be downgraded. 

Covid could now be compared in severity with the likes of colds and flu because the vast majority of those at most risk of developing severe disease when infected are now fully vaccinated. 

“This is because the vast majority of those at risk are protected,” Bukholm explained. 

“And although the infection is still circulating, hospital numbers remain low. Thus, the coronavirus will not lead to a heavy burden on the health service. For those vaccinated who may become infected and develop symptoms, the vast majority will have mild cold-like symptoms.”

However, Bukholm did warn that even though Covid could now be compared with other common respiratory illnesses, the pandemic was far from over. 

“The pandemic is not over as long as it exists in the world and in countries where the vaccine coverage is still low. As long as the diseases spread throughout the world, there is still a pandemic,” Bukholm cautioned. 

VG has speculated that the disease being downgraded could be a sign that the lifting of the final national Covid-19 restrictions could be just around the corner. 

The paper points to Denmark and the lifting of restrictions there once coronavirus was no longer considered a dangerous disease. 

Last week health minister Bent Høie offered a glimpse at what Norway would look like once measures were lifted but didn’t offer a date for when restrictions would be lifted.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 03:30
Published:9/24/2021 2:36:15 AM
[Markets] Lithuania Tells People To Throw Away Chinese Smartphones Due To "Cybersecurity Risks" Lithuania Tells People To Throw Away Chinese Smartphones Due To "Cybersecurity Risks"

Lithuania's National Cyber Security Centre (NKSC) released a new report Thursday urging consumers to throw away their Chinese smartphones due to cybersecurity and censorship risks. 

NKSC, which is part of the Defense Ministry, found that Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi had built-in censorship tools to detect and censor phrases such as "Free Tibet," "Long live Taiwan independence," "People's daily newspaper," and "democracy movement," among others. It noted Xiaomi's Mi 10T 5G phones had the software turned off for European customers, but the report stressed the tools could be remotely turned on at any time. 

"This is important not only to Lithuania but to all countries which use Xiaomi equipment," NKSC said in the report.

Besides Xiaomi's Mi 10T 5G, the security assessment examined Huawei's P40 5G3 and found cybersecurity risks to users. There was no mention of risks for OnePlus's 8T 5G. 

Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius said consumers should discard these mobile devices and purchase new ones that are not from Chinese companies: 

"We strongly recommend that state and public institutions not use those devices and plan to initiate legislation which regulates acquiring certain devices for the ministries and various state agencies," Abukevicius said. 

NKSC said the security assessment is intended "to ensure the safe use of 5G mobile devices sold in our country and the software they contain." 

When it came to Huawei's P40 5G phone, the report found risks of cyber-security breaches: 

"The official Huawei application store AppGallery directs users to third-party e-stores where some of the applications have been assessed by anti-virus programs as malicious or infected with viruses."

It's crucial to note relations between NATO ally Lithuania and China have deteriorated as of recent. The Baltic country approved Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, the capital, and be named the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania later this year. Beijing soured over the word "Taiwanese" in the name of the office because it contradicts the "One China" policy that Europe and the US follow. 

The growing rift between Lithuania and China is a wake-up call for other European countries. 

* * *

Here's the full report: 

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 02:45
Published:9/24/2021 2:09:36 AM
[Markets] GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stock markets wobble as China Evergrande woes sap confidence Asian shares were on edge on Friday, hurt by persistent uncertainty around the fate of debt-ridden China Evergrande, even as increased risk appetite drove U.S. stocks and Treasury yields higher. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed after falling 0.7% this week, poised for its third weekly loss in a row. Published:9/24/2021 1:37:31 AM
[Markets] The European Energy Crisis Is About To Go Global The European Energy Crisis Is About To Go Global

Authored by Irina Slav via OilPrice.com,

It was only a matter of time, really. In a globalized world, energy crunches can hardly remain regionally contained for very long, especially in a context of damaged supply chains and a rush to cut investment in fossil fuels. The energy crunch that began in Europe earlier this month may now be on its way to America. For now, all is well with one of the world's top gas producers. U.S. gas exporters have enjoyed a solid increase in demand from Asia and Europe as the recovery in economic activity pushed demand for electricity higher. According to a recent Financial Times report, there is a veritable bidding war for U.S. cargos of liquefied natural gas between Asian and European buyers—and the Asians are winning.

Coal exports are on the rise, too, and have been for a while now, especially after a political spat had China shun Australian coal. But supply is tightening, Argus reported earlier this month. In July, according to the report, U.S. coking coal exports dropped by as much as 20.3 percent from June. The report noted supply was constrained by producers' limited access to funding and a labor shortage that has plagued many industries amid the pandemic.

All this should be good news for U.S. producers of fossil fuels. But it may easily become bad news as winter approaches. The Wall Street Journal's Jinjoo Lee wrote earlier this week high energy prices could be the next hot import for the United States. Lee cited data showing gas inventory replenishment was running below average rates for this season, and gas in storage in early September was 7.4 percent below the five-year average.

Coal inventories are also running low because of stronger exports, with prices for thermal coal three times higher than they were a year ago. According to calculations from the Energy Information Administration cited in the WSJ report, coal inventories in the United States could fall to less than half last year's inventory levels by the end of the year. Last year, energy demand was depressed because of the pandemic. This year, the U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders once again. 

No wonder electricity prices are already going up.

In a way, the events in Europe could be seen as a trailer of what might happen in the United States. It is a trailer because it shows all the worst bits. The United States is much more energy independent than, say, the UK, and that's a big plus. Yet exports bring in revenues, and it would require government intervention to make gas producers cut exports.

In an alarming move, such intervention was requested last week by a manufacturing industry group. Industrial Energy Consumers of America, an organization representing companies producing chemicals, food, and materials, asked the Department of Energy to institute limits on the exports of liquefied natural gas in order to avoid soaring prices and gas shortages during the winter, Reuters reported on Friday.

Opinions seem to differ on whether rising LNG exports are in fact hurting U.S. consumers. But the fact is that gas prices are already double what they were a year ago. According to the IECA, they are not, however, high enough to motivate a ramp-up in natural gas production. Therefore, in order to stockpile enough gas for the winter, the U.S. government must force a reduction in exports.

The LNG industry is, of course, against this. The executive director of Center for Liquefied Natural Gas told Reuters most LNG exports are shipped under long-term fixed-price contracts that have no relation to benchmark gas prices and their movements. Yet some cargos are sold on the spot market.

"Buyers of LNG who compete for natural gas with U.S. consumers are state-owned enterprises and foreign government-controlled utilities with automatic cost pass through," Paul Cicio, president of IECA, said, as quoted by Reuters. "U.S. manufacturers cannot compete with them on prices."

Traders are already getting jittery, and this will likely contribute to price uncertainty; regardless of how the fundamentals situation develops. Again, Europe is at the heart of the uncertainty - or rather the certainty that prices have higher to climb. But now, China has added to concern about gas supply and the potential for shortages.

For now, China's biggest problem seems to be coal rather than gas. A recent Bloomberg report said that China coal power plant operators are struggling to buy enough coal to keep their plants running, and some are being forced to shut down their boilers because of insufficient coal supply. This, however, might lead to stronger gas demand to ensure enough electricity and heating for the winter. This will further exacerbate the difference between global demand and supply.

The European energy crunch is spilling over into other regions. The blame game has begun with culprits ranging from years of underinvestment in local gas production to a Gazprom scheme to get Nord Stream 2 approved by Germany. For now, it is still unclear how much of the price surge is due to a gap between demand and supply and how much of it is due to market nervousness, at least according to RBC commodity strategist Christopher Louney, as quoted by the WSJ's Lee. This question is less important than another, however, and it is a scary one:

Just how bad could things get this winter?

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 02:00
Published:9/24/2021 1:04:24 AM
[Markets] Brandon Smith: Organizing Patriots In The Face Of Government Informants And False Flags Brandon Smith: Organizing Patriots In The Face Of Government Informants And False Flags

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us,

There is a simple fact that must be understood when it comes to the fight for liberty: Such a fight cannot be won by lone individuals. Freedom requires organized resistance and it does not matter how many millions of people stand against an authoritarian regime, if they are completely isolated from each other they WILL lose. It’s a guarantee.

This is why a considerable portion of establishment money, energy and propaganda is directed at defusing or sabotaging any semblance of conservative organization. This includes engineering false flag events and creating potential terror attacks from thin air so that they can be blamed on constitutionally minded groups. The strategy is called “4th Generation Warfare” and it is not conspiracy theory, this is conspiracy fact.

For example, as we now know according to court documentation, the supposed scheme by a Michigan “militia” made up of anarchists to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and “try her as a tyrant” was heavily infiltrated by at least a dozen FBI agents and informants. The group was so infiltrated, in fact, that the entire plot for the kidnapping was essentially planned out by the FBI. This is the very definition of a false flag. The corruption and entrapment involved in the operation was so egregious that even the leftist media has reported on it.

I recall a very similar situation occurred during the Malheur incident when Ammon Bundy (son of Cliven Bundy) and a group of patriots decided to annex the wildlife refuge and its obscure ranger buildings as a launching point for a revolution. Though I was a supporter of the efforts at Bundy Ranch, I was vehemently against Malheur because the whole situation seemed grossly suspect. The strategy made no sense, the rationale made no sense, the site of the standoff made no sense and the public optics were terrible. It was an anti-Bundy Ranch; a situation in which all of the dynamics were in favor of the feds and against the liberty movement.

And, not surprisingly, Malhuer had also been influenced and in some cases was arranged by federal informants and agents. These people were whispering in the ear of Ammon Bundy the entire time while the FBI authorized them to commit criminal acts. There were so many paid employees of the FBI at Malheur that jurors decided to drop all charges against most of the defendants involved.

And what about the latest “J6” rally in Washington DC, which was planned by a virtually unknown former Trump aid and was quickly exposed as a potential “honeypot” designed to lure in conservatives? The army of plain clothes undercover feds was so prevalent that riot cops accidentally arrested an armed FBI agent thinking he was a protester.

Now, there are many people in the alternative media that are breathing a sigh of relief that almost no one showed up for the J6 protest or “fell into the trap”. In fact, there were far more reporters and feds there than actual activists. However, I think we need to look at the bigger picture of why the government is staging such events in the first place, and it’s not just to entrap a few conservatives .

If you think about it, the entire strategy is high cost/minimum reward if we only look at it in terms of actual arrests. If the idea is to catch and prosecute patriots, then they could infiltrate groups and engineer criminal actions for decades and achieve little to nothing. Obviously, this is not the purpose of informants. Rather, the strategy is not to invade groups unnoticed; the strategy is to BE NOTICED, to make sure the whole of the liberty movement believe that if they ever try to organize in any way the feds will be there to set them up. In other words, the primary goal of the FBI is to instill paranoia and fear among patriots and ensure they never effectively organize to resist.

When we cheer the “failure” of J6, we need to keep in mind that the establishment does not care. Getting people to show up was not their main intent; making people afraid to show up for any other events in the future is what they want.

The issue presents a Catch-22. If conservatives organize there is the chance that some groups will be infiltrated or set up and used to make the entire movement look bad. If we don’t organize, then we have lost the fight. It will be over before it even truly begins (and no, the real fight has not started yet). So what is the solution?

I think it’s odd but maybe not surprising that the standoff at Bundy Ranch has been memory-holed by the media and is rarely mentioned even among conservative activists these days. Yet, it was probably one of the most successful patriot actions in the past couple of decades. There are a number of reasons for this:

1) The action was spontaneous, not pre-planned and was in response to criminal activity by the FBI (including assaulting women that were protesting and the use of sniper positions to surround the Bundy property similar to Ruby Ridge). The movement took action to remedy a government trespass rather than creating a standoff out of nothing.

2) There was no single person in charge. Groups showed up from all over the country; some of them squared away and some of them screw-ups. This might sound like a bad thing, but in terms of rebellion it is often better to avoid streamlined top-down leadership. Frankly, I am usually suspicious of anyone that tries to anoint themselves the “leader” of the liberty movement or the sole leader of a protest action. Cult of personality is the most useless thing I can think of when it comes to battling tyranny, and top-down leadership can be easily manipulated or controlled.

3) Because of the decentralized nature of the response to Bundy Ranch, the feds had no way to influence or predict the outcome, and they really hate that. Without informants in key positions, the feds did not have the ability to adapt to the quickly changing circumstances. Contrast this with Malheur, where the feds were basically in control from the very beginning. The site itself was so isolated and ill conceived that the FBI was able to dictate every movement of patriots in and out of the area. It was pointless for any militia to occupy it, but it was a great spot for the feds.

4) Patriots arrived at Bundy Ranch peacefully, but with the will to fight if necessary. The Bundy Ranch response had a clear objective – To stop the FBI from harming the Bundy family and to retrieve the stolen cattle if possible. Both of these objectives were accomplished and with no shots fired. A complete success. The group was motivated and unified by the objective, NOT a singular leadership. Without a clear objective there is no purpose to any action.

It is important to understand the difference between a Lexington Bridge moment and a Fort Sumter moment – During Lexington Bridge, the revolutionaries took action to stop a British detachment from arresting colonial leaders and confiscating rifles and powder stores. The British were in the midst of an undeniable attempt to disarm and snuff out the resistance. At Fort Sumter, the Confederate attack was in response to an attempted resupply of the fort itself; which made sense strategically but looked like an act of pure aggression to the wider public. The concept of states rights (more prominent in the minds of the confederates than the issue of slavery) fell by the wayside.

Eventually tyranny has to put boots on the ground. A totalitarian system can function for a time on color of law and implied threats, but it will crumble unless it is able to establish a physical presence of force. Once those jackboots touch soil in a visible way and the agents of the state try to expand oppressive measures, rebels then have a free hand to disrupt them or bring them down. But this only works if there are objectives and enough decentralization to prevent misdirection of the movement.

Some organization is essential. It cannot be avoided. All the “Gray Men” and secret squirrel preppers out there that think they are going to simply weather the storm in isolation and pop out of their bug-out locations to rebuild are suffering from serious delusions. I can’t help but think of that moment in ‘Lord Of The Rings’ when the Ents refuse to organize to fight against the invading orcs. Pippen suggests to Merry that the problem is too big for them and that they should go back to the Shire to wait out the war. Merry laments:

The fires of Isengard will spread. And the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. And all that was once green and good in this world will be gone. There won’t be a Shire, Pippin.”

If this fight is not pursued now, there will be no world worth coming back to, even if one was able to successfully hide from it. There will be a “new world order” as the globalists like to call it. There will be nothing left of freedom.

So, organization must be accomplished, and it should be built at the local level. This is far more important than any dreams of a national organization, at least for now. There is no one we can trust to lead such a nationwide revolt, and that includes political leaders like Donald Trump.

Will federal intrusions happen? Of course, but at the local level it is much easier to vet people according to their behaviors and root out bad actors. Hold your local meetings to discuss current events and create a place for people to network and get to know each other. Talk to local businesses or your county sheriff to see where they stand on issues like the vaccine passports and Biden mandates. Put things in motion now or you will regret it later when your community is completely disjointed and paralyzed by fear during crisis or government subjugation.

And, what about the first guy at your meetings that starts talking about building bombs, drafting “kill lists” or kidnapping governors? Kick his ass out promptly and make sure everyone knows why you did it. Most likely he is a fed or he is on an informant payroll. As our national composure breaks down and the manure hits the fan, fed informants and agents will suddenly disappear from these groups without a trace. They are not going to stick around for what happens next; the government doesn’t pay them enough for that. And knowing who the patriots are will not help the federal government if the patriots are organized to defend themselves. This is the reality which they do not want us to wake up to.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 23:40
Published:9/23/2021 11:06:14 PM
[Markets] Asian markets mixed as Evergrande concerns linger Asian shares were mixed Friday amid concerns over troubled Chinese real estate developer Evergrande and over the pandemic. Published:9/23/2021 11:06:14 PM
[Markets] France: "Time & Action" Needed To Restore US Ties; PM Morrison Says Macron Giving "Cold Shoulder" France: "Time & Action" Needed To Restore US Ties; PM Morrison Says Macron Giving "Cold Shoulder"

Following the tense Wednesday phone call between French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden wherein the two agreed to try and "restore trust" following the severe rift over the AUKUS defense pact which led Paris to pull its ambassador to Washington (which France has since vowed to restore), Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Thursday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. 

Suggesting that prior good relations have been strained if not broken, Le Drian said "time and actions" are needed to "fully" restore ties between the two typically close allies. He underscored:

The way out of a diplomatic crisis between France and the US over a mega submarine deal will "take time and require actions"...

Via Washington Examiner

A French government statement indicated the two met at the United Nations in New York to go through the "terms and main issues" to be addressed in upcoming consultations.

The White House summary of the Blinken meeting indicated a big top of discussion was France's recent charges that the US-Australia submarine pact supplanting a French deal worth at least $66 billion ultimately was a blow to France's strategic cooperation with allies in the Indo-Pacific to counter China.

In the Wednesday Biden-Macron phone call, the White House said the two leaders and NATO allies have agreed to meet by the end of October in Europe.

"They discussed the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, which the United States welcomes, and the need for close cooperation with France and other European allies and partners active in the region," the readout said.

While communications are apparently open between Paris and Washington, it's not so with Canberra

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he is being given the cold shoulder by Macron after the scrapping of the submarine deal, but vowed to be "patient" in repairing frayed relations.

Speaking in Washington late Wednesday, Morrison said he had tried to reach the French leader but the call had "not yet" happened.

This "cold shoulder" persists as France has even threatened to torpedo EU-Australia trade negotiations, which were scheduled to resume later this fall.

* * * 

According to Rabobank's commentary...

US President Biden and French President Macron are attempting to build bridges burned over AUKUS. The French ambassador is now to return to DC, and Biden to come to Europe for talks next month. However, word on the street is that France, and French agriculture, now have the excuse to kick the planned Australia – EU FTA into the long grass even if the rest of the EU is in favour. The UK has also been sent scuttling from any thoughts of joining the USMCA.

However, geopolitics leads and trade usually follows in today’s atmosphere. Japan’s outgoing PM Suga has also been exceptionally forthright, stating China’s rapidly growing military influence and unilateral changing of the status quo could present a risk to Japan. That’s ahead of a first in-person Quad meeting to be held on Friday at the White House.  

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 23:20
Published:9/23/2021 10:36:10 PM
[Markets] Asian stock markets jittery as China woes sap confidence Asian shares were on edge on Friday hurt by persistent uncertainty around the fate of debt-ridden China Evergrande, even as more risk appetite drove gains for Wall Street and U.S. benchmark Treasury yields. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.1% and was set for a weekly loss of 0.68%. Australian shares fell 0.41% while the Hong Kong benchmark was mostly flat. Published:9/23/2021 10:07:57 PM
[Markets] Freedom From Fear: Stop Playing The Government's Mind Games Freedom From Fear: Stop Playing The Government's Mind Games

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.”

- Edward R. Murrow, broadcast journalist

America is in the midst of an epidemic of historic proportions.

The contagion being spread like wildfire is turning communities into battlegrounds and setting Americans one against the other.

Normally mild-mannered individuals caught up in the throes of this disease have been transformed into belligerent zealots, while others inclined to pacifism have taken to stockpiling weapons and practicing defensive drills.

This plague on our nation - one that has been spreading like wildfire - is a potent mix of fear coupled with unhealthy doses of paranoia and intolerance, tragic hallmarks of the post-9/11 America in which we live and the constantly shifting crises that keep the populace in a state of high alert.

Everywhere you turn, those on both the left- and right-wing are fomenting distrust and division. You can’t escape it.

We’re being fed a constant diet of fear: fear of a virus, fear of the unmasked, fear of terrorists, fear of illegal immigrants, fear of people who are too religious, fear of people who are not religious enough, fear of extremists, fear of the government, fear of those who fear the government. The list goes on and on.

The strategy is simple yet effective: the best way to control a populace is through fear and discord.

Fear makes people stupid.

Confound them, distract them with mindless news chatter and entertainment, pit them against one another by turning minor disagreements into major skirmishes, and tie them up in knots over matters lacking in national significance.

Most importantly, divide the people into factions, persuade them to see each other as the enemy and keep them screaming at each other so that they drown out all other sounds. In this way, they will never reach consensus about anything and will be too distracted to notice the police state closing in on them until the final crushing curtain falls.

This is how free people enslave themselves and allow tyrants to prevail.

This Machiavellian scheme has so ensnared the nation that few Americans even realize they are being manipulated into adopting an “us” against “them” mindset. Instead, fueled with fear and loathing for phantom opponents, they agree to pour millions of dollars and resources into political elections, militarized police, spy technology, endless wars, COVID-19 mandates, etc., hoping for a guarantee of safety that never comes.

All the while, those in power—bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporations—move their costly agendas forward, and “we the suckers” get saddled with the tax bills and subjected to pat downs, police raids and round-the-clock surveillance.

Turn on the TV or flip open the newspaper on any given day, and you will find yourself accosted by reports of government corruption, corporate malfeasance, militarized police, marauding SWAT teams, and egregious assaults on the rights of the citizenry.

America has already entered a new phase, one in which communities are locked down, employees are forced to choose between keeping their jobs or exercising their freedoms, children are arrested in schools, military veterans are forcibly detained by government agents, and law-abiding Americans are finding their movements tracked, their financial transactions documented and their communications monitored.

These threats are not to be underestimated.

Yet even more dangerous than these violations of our basic rights is the language in which they are couched: the language of fear. It is a language spoken effectively by politicians on both sides of the aisle, shouted by media pundits from their cable TV pulpits, marketed by corporations, and codified into bureaucratic laws that do little to make our lives safer or more secure.

Fear, as history shows, is the method most often used by politicians to increase the power of government.

So far, these tactics are working.

An atmosphere of fear permeates modern America.

Each successive crisis in recent years (a COVID-19 pandemic, terrorism, etc.)—manufactured or legitimate—has succeeded in reducing the American people to what commentator Dan Sanchez refers to as “herd-minded hundreds of millions [who] will stampede to the State for security, bleating to please, please be shorn of their remaining liberties.”

Sanchez continues:

“I am not terrified of the terrorists; i.e., I am not, myself, terrorized. Rather, I am terrified of the terrorized; terrified of the bovine masses who are so easily manipulated by terrorists, governments, and the terror-amplifying media into allowing our country to slip toward totalitarianism and total war…

“I do not irrationally and disproportionately fear Muslim bomb-wielding jihadists or white, gun-toting nutcases. But I rationally and proportionately fear those who do, and the regimes such terror empowers. History demonstrates that governments are capable of mass murder and enslavement far beyond what rogue militants can muster. Industrial-scale terrorists are the ones who wear ties, chevrons, and badges. But such terrorists are a powerless few without the supine acquiescence of the terrorized many. There is nothing to fear but the fearful themselves…

“Stop swallowing the overblown scaremongering of the government and its corporate media cronies. Stop letting them use hysteria over small menaces to drive you into the arms of tyranny, which is the greatest menace of all.”

As history makes clear, fear leads to fascistic, totalitarian regimes.

It’s a simple enough formula. National crises, global pandemics, reported terrorist attacks, and sporadic shootings leave us in a constant state of fear. Fear prevents us from thinking. The emotional panic that accompanies fear actually shuts down the prefrontal cortex or the rational thinking part of our brains. In other words, when we are consumed by fear, we stop thinking.

A populace that stops thinking for themselves is a populace that is easily led, easily manipulated and easily controlled.

The following are a few of the necessary ingredients for a fascist state:

  • The government is managed by a powerful leader (even if he or she assumes office by way of the electoral process). This is the fascistic leadership principle (or father figure).

  • The government assumes it is not restrained in its power. This is authoritarianism, which eventually evolves into totalitarianism.

  • The government ostensibly operates under a capitalist system while being undergirded by an immense bureaucracy.

  • The government through its politicians emits powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.

  • The government has an obsession with national security while constantly invoking terrifying internal and external enemies.

  • The government establishes a domestic and invasive surveillance system and develops a paramilitary force that is not answerable to the citizenry.

  • The government and its various agencies (federal, state, and local) develop an obsession with crime and punishment. This is overcriminalization.

  • The government becomes increasingly centralized while aligning closely with corporate powers to control all aspects of the country’s social, economic, military, and governmental structures.

  • The government uses militarism as a center point of its economic and taxing structure.

  • The government is increasingly imperialistic in order to maintain the military-industrial corporate forces.

The parallels to modern America are impossible to ignore.

“Every industry is regulated. Every profession is classified and organized,” writes Jeffrey Tucker.

“Every good or service is taxed. Endless debt accumulation is preserved. Immense doesn’t begin to describe the bureaucracy. Military preparedness never stops, and war with some evil foreign foe, remains a daily prospect.”

For the final hammer of fascism to fall, it will require the most crucial ingredient: the majority of the people will have to agree that it’s not only expedient but necessary. In times of “crisis,” expediency is upheld as the central principle—that is, in order to keep us safe and secure, the government must militarize the police, strip us of basic constitutional rights and criminalize virtually every form of behavior.

Not only does fear grease the wheels of the transition to fascism by cultivating fearful, controlled, pacified, cowed citizens, but it also embeds itself in our very DNA so that we pass on our fear and compliance to our offspring.

It’s called epigenetic inheritance, the transmission through DNA of traumatic experiences.

For example, neuroscientists have observed how quickly fear can travel through generations of mice DNA. As The Washington Post reports:

In the experiment, researchers taught male mice to fear the smell of cherry blossoms by associating the scent with mild foot shocks. Two weeks later, they bred with females. The resulting pups were raised to adulthood having never been exposed to the smell. Yet when the critters caught a whiff of it for the first time, they suddenly became anxious and fearful. They were even born with more cherry-blossom-detecting neurons in their noses and more brain space devoted to cherry-blossom-smelling.

The conclusion? “A newborn mouse pup, seemingly innocent to the workings of the world, may actually harbor generations’ worth of information passed down by its ancestors.”

Now consider the ramifications of inherited generations of fears and experiences on human beings. As the Post reports, “Studies on humans suggest that children and grandchildren may have felt the epigenetic impact of such traumatic events such as famine, the Holocaust and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, fear, trauma and compliance can be passed down through the generations.

Fear has been a critical tool in past fascistic regimes, and it now operates in our contemporary world—all of which raises fundamental questions about us as human beings and what we will give up in order to perpetuate the illusions of safety and security.

In the words of psychologist Erich Fromm:

[C]an human nature be changed in such a way that man will forget his longing for freedom, for dignity, for integrity, for love—that is to say, can man forget he is human? Or does human nature have a dynamism which will react to the violation of these basic human needs by attempting to change an inhuman society into a human one?

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 23:00
Published:9/23/2021 10:07:57 PM
[Markets] Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump

Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations.com,

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan figures prominently in a grand jury investigation run by Special Counsel John Durham into an alleged 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign scheme to use both the FBI and CIA to tar Donald Trump as a colluder with Russia, according to people familiar with the criminal probe, which they say has broadened into a conspiracy case.

Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan as Clinton campaign adviser for the 2016 election. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File

Sullivan is facing scrutiny, sources say, over potentially false statements he made about his involvement in the effort, which continued after the election and into 2017. As a senior foreign policy adviser to Clinton, Sullivan spearheaded what was known inside her campaign as a “confidential project” to link Trump to the Kremlin through dubious email-server records provided to the agencies, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Last week, Michael A. Sussmann, a partner in Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of making false statements to the FBI about his clients and their motives behind planting the rumor, at the highest levels of the FBI, of a secret Trump-Russia server. After a months-long investigation, the FBI found no merit to the rumor.

The grand jury indicated in its lengthy indictment that several people were involved in the alleged conspiracy to mislead the FBI and trigger an investigation of the Republican presidential candidate -- including Sullivan, who was described by his campaign position but not identified by name.

The Clinton campaign project, these sources say, also involved compiling a "digital dossier” on several Trump campaign officials – including Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Page. This effort exploited highly sensitive, nonpublic Internet data related to their personal email communications and web-browsing, known as Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses.

Alleged targets: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page. YouTube/CNN/FNC/RCP

To mine the data, the Clinton campaign enlisted a team of Beltway computer contractors as well as university researchers with security clearance who often collaborate with the FBI and the intelligence community. They worked from a five-page campaign document called the "Trump Associates List."

The tech group also pulled logs purportedly from servers for a Russian bank and Trump Tower, and the campaign provided the data to the FBI on two thumb drives, along with three “white papers” that claimed the data indicated the Trump campaign was secretly communicating with Moscow through a server in Trump Tower and the Alfa Bank in Russia. Based on the material, the FBI opened at least one investigation, adding to several others it had already initiated targeting the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016.

Michael Sussmann: Indicted former Clinton campaign lawyer allegedly coordinated with Jake Sullivan on dubious materials provided to the FBI and media. perkinscoie.com

The indictment states that Sussmann, as well as the cyber experts recruited for the operation, "coordinated with representatives and agents of the Clinton campaign with regard to the data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media."

One of those campaign agents was Sullivan, according to emails Durham obtained. On Sept. 15, 2016 – just four days before Sussmann handed off the materials to the FBI – Marc Elias, his law partner and fellow Democratic Party operative, "exchanged emails with the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy adviser concerning the Russian bank allegations," as well as with other top campaign officials, the indictment states.

The sources close to the case confirmed the "foreign policy adviser" referenced by title is Sullivan. They say he was briefed on the development of the opposition-research materials tying Trump to Alfa Bank, and was aware of the participants in the project. These included the Washington opposition-research group Fusion GPS, which worked for the Clinton campaign as a paid agent and helped gather dirt on Alfa Bank and draft the materials Elias discussed with Sullivan, the materials Sussmann would later submit to the FBI. Fusion researchers were in regular contact with both Sussmann and Elias about the project in the summer and fall of 2016. Sullivan also personally met with Elias, who briefed him on Fusion's opposition research, according to the sources.

Sullivan maintained in congressional testimony in December 2017 that he didn’t know of Fusion’s involvement in the Alfa Bank opposition research. In the same closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, he also denied knowing anything about Fusion in 2016 or who was conducting the opposition research for the campaign.

"Marc [Elias] ... would occasionally give us updates on the opposition research they were conducting, but I didn't know what the nature of that effort was – inside effort, outside effort, who was funding it, who was doing it, anything like that," Sullivan stated under oath.

Jake Sullivan's December 2017 House testimony may put him in perjury jeopardy.  House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Sullivan also testified he didn’t know that Perkins Coie, the law firm where Elias and Sussmann were partners, was working for the Clinton campaign until October 2017, when it was reported in the media as part of stories revealing the campaign's contract with Fusion, which also produced the so-called Steele dossier. Sullivan maintained he didn’t even know that the politically prominent Elias worked for Perkins Coie, a well-known Democratic law firm. Major media stories from 2016 routinely identified Elias as "general counsel for the Clinton campaign" and a "partner at Perkins Coie."

"To be honest with you, Marc wears a tremendous number of hats, so I wasn’t sure who he was representing," Sullivan testified.

"I sort of thought he was, you know, just talking to us as, you know, a fellow traveler in this — in this campaign effort."

Although he acknowledged knowing Elias and his partner were marshaling opposition researchers for a campaign project targeting Trump, Sullivan insisted, "They didn’t do something with it." In truth, they used the research to instigate a full-blown investigation at the FBI and seed a number of stories in the Washington media, which Elias discussed in emails.

Marc Elias: Prominent Democrat lawyer allegedly also coordinated with Sullivan. Sullivan would later plead ignorance under oath about Elias's role. Perkins Coie


Lying to Congress is a felony. Though the offense is rarely prosecuted, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller won convictions of two of Trump’s associates on charges of that very offense.

An attorney for Sullivan did not respond to questions, while a spokeswoman for the National Security Council declined comment. After the 2016 election, Sullivan continued to participate in the anti-Trump effort, which enlisted no fewer than three Internet companies and two university computer researchers, who persisted in exploiting nonpublic Internet data to conjure up “derogatory information on Trump" and his associates, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say the operation ran through at least February 2017, when Sullivan met with another central figure in the plot to plant the anti-Trump smear at the FBI. But now the goal was to compel agents to continue investigating the false rumors in the wake of the election, thereby keeping Trump's presidency under an ethical cloud.

Daniel Jones: One of the lead figures in helping resurrect the Trump-Russia collusion narrative after Trump's election, Jones coordinated with Sullivan in hatching the effort. McCain Institute/YouTube

On Feb. 10, 2017, Sullivan huddled with two Fusion operatives and their partner Daniel Jones, a former FBI analyst and Democratic staffer on the Hill, to hatch the post-election plan to resurrect rumors Trump was a tool of the Kremlin. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, the meeting, which lasted about an hour and took place in a Washington office building, also included former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The group discussed raising money to finance a multimillion-dollar opposition research project headed by Jones to target the new president. In effect, Jones’ operation would replace the Clinton campaign’s operation, continuing the effort to undermine Trump.

It’s not clear if Sussmann attended the Feb. 10 meeting, but he was apparently still involved in the operation, along with his crew of data miners. The day before the meeting attended by Sullivan, Sussmann paid a visit to the CIA’s Langley headquarters to peddle the disinformation about the secret server – this time to top officials there, according to the sources familiar with Durham's investigation. During a roughly 90-minute meeting, Sussmann provided two officials at the intelligence headquarters “updated” documents and data he'd provided the FBI before the election, RealClearInvestigations has learned exclusively.

Then, on March 28, 2017, Jones met with the FBI to pass on supposedly fresh leads he and the cyber researchers had learned about the Alfa Bank server and Trump, and the FBI looked into the new leads after having closed its investigation a month earlier. That same month, FBI Director James Comey publicly announced the bureau was investigating possible “coordination" between Moscow and the newly sworn-in president's campaign.

Despite the renewed push by Jones, the FBI debunked the tip of a nefarious Russian back channel. Agents learned the email server in question wasn’t even controlled by the Trump Organization. "It wasn’t true," Mueller confirmed in 2019 testimony.

It turns out that the supposed “secret server" was housed in the small Pennsylvania town of Lititz, and not  Trump Tower in New York City, and it was operated by a marketing firm based in Florida called Cendyn that routinely blasts out emails promoting multiple hotel chains. Simply put, the third-party server sent spam to Alfa Bank employees who used Trump hotels. The bank had maintained a New York office since 2001.

“The FBI’s investigation revealed that the email server at issue was not owned or operated by the Trump Organization but, rather, had been administrated by a mass-marketing email company that sent advertisements for Trump hotels and hundreds of other clients,” Durham wrote in his indictment.

Nonetheless, Jones and Sullivan kept promoting the canard as true.

Democrat Senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden: Conduits for TDIP's Trump-Russia material. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

With help from Sullivan and Podesta in 2017, Jones launched a nonprofit group called The Democracy Integrity Project, which raised some $7 million mainly from Silicon Valley tech executives. TDIP hired computer researchers, as well as Fusion opposition researchers and Christopher Steele, the British author of the now-discredited Steele dossier, to “prove” the rumors in the dossier. As they sought new dirt on Trump, they fed their information to media outlets, leading Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee (namely Sens. Mark Warner and Ron Wyden), and the FBI. Jones previously worked on the Senate intelligence panel, which had launched a major investigation of Trump and Russia, and he provided a pipeline of information for the committee, according to the sources.

As RCI first reported, Jones emailed a daily news bulletin known as "TDIP Research" to prominent Beltway journalists to keep the Trump-Russia “collusion” rumor-mill going, including the debunked rumor about the "secret server." Durham has subpoenaed Jones to testify before his grand jury hearing the case, along with computer experts and researchers recruited by Sussmann for the Clinton campaign project, persons close to the investigation said. Attempts to reach Jones for comment were unsuccessful.

In a statement, Durham said his investigation "is ongoing."

Special Counsel John Durham: Lengthy single count "speaking" indictment of Sussmann suggests a broader conspiracy case in the works. AP

Indictments for a single-count process crime such as making a false statement normally run a page or two. But Durham’s filing charging Sussmann spans 27 pages and is packed with detail. FBI veterans say the 40-year prosecutor used the indictment to outline a broader conspiracy case he’s building that invokes several other federal statutes.

"That is what we call a 'speaking indictment,' meaning it is far more detailed than is required for a simple indictment under [federal statute] 1001,” which outlaws making false statements and representations to federal investigators, former assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker said in an interview with RealClearInvestigations.

"It is damning,” he added.

“And I see it as a placeholder for additional indictments, such as government grant and contract fraud, computer intrusion, the Privacy Act and other laws against dissemination of personally identifiable information, and mail fraud and wire fraud – not to mention conspiracy to commit those offenses."

Chris Swecker: The Sussmann indictment "is damning," and "I definitely see more to come," says the ex-top FBI investigator. Miller & Martin

"I definitely see more [indictments] to come,” emphasized Swecker, who knows Durham personally and worked with him on prior investigations. The sources close to the case said former FBI general counsel James Baker, who accepted the sketchy materials from Sussmann and passed them on to agents for investigation, is cooperating with Durham’s investigation, along with former FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap, who has provided prosecutors contemporaneous notes about what led the bureau to open an investigation into the allegations Trump used Alfa Bank as a conduit between his campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin to steal the election.

According to the sources, Durham also has found evidence Sussmann misled the CIA, another front in the scandal being reported here for the first time. In December 2016, the sources say Sussmann phoned the general counsel at the agency and told her the same story about the supposed secret server – at the same time the CIA was compiling a national intelligence report that accused Putin of meddling in the election to help Trump win.

Sussmann told Caroline Krass, then the agency’s top attorney, that he had information that may help her with a review President Obama had ordered of all intelligence related to the election and Russia, known as the Intelligence Community Assessment. The review ended up including an annex with several unfounded and since-debunked allegations against Trump developed by the Clinton campaign.

It’s not clear if the two-page annex, which claimed the allegations were “consistent with the judgments in this assessment,” included the Alfa Bank canard. Before it was made public, several sections had been redacted. But after Sussmann conveyed the information to Krass, an Obama appointee, she told him she would consider it for the intelligence review of Russian interference, which tracks with Sussmann’s 2017 closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. (Krass’ name is blacked out in the declassified transcript, but sources familiar with Sussmann's testimony confirmed that he identified her as his CIA contact.)

Caroline Krass: Michael Sussmann also gave  Trump-Russia material to this CIA lawyer. CIA/Wikipedia

“We’re interested,” said Krass, who left the agency several months later. "We’re doing this review and I’ll speak to someone here.”

It’s not known if Sussmann failed to inform the top CIA lawyer that he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, as he’s alleged to have done at the FBI. Attempts to reach Krass, who now serves as Biden’s top lawyer at the Pentagon, were unsuccessful.

But in his return trip to the CIA after the election, Sussmann “stated falsely – as he previously had stated to the FBI general counsel – that he was ‘not representing a particular client,’ " according to the Durham indictment, which cites a contemporaneous memo drafted by two agency officials with whom Sussmann met that memorializes their meeting. (The document refers to the CIA by the pseudonym “Agency-2.” Sources confirm Agency-2 is the CIA.)

Remarkably, the CIA did not ask for the source of Sussmann’s walk-in tip, including where he got several data files he gave the agency. The FBI exhibited a similar lack of curiosity when Sussmann told it about the false Trump/Alfa Bank connection.

Attempts to reach Sussmann to get his side to the additional CIA allegations leveled by Durham were unsuccessful. The 57-year-old attorney pleaded not guilty to a single felony count and was released on a $100,000 bond Friday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

The prominent Washington lawyer quietly resigned from Perkins Coie, which has scrubbed all references to him from its website. And late last month, as rumors of the indictment swirled, the powerhouse law firm divested its entire Political Law Group formerly headed by Marc Elias – who commissioned the Steele dossier. Elias, who worked closely with Sussmann on the Trump-Alfa Bank project, also is no longer employed by the firm.

Jake Sullivan’s Golf Cart Rounds

In late July 2016, during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the CIA picked up Russian chatter about a Clinton foreign policy adviser who was trying to develop allegations to “vilify" Trump. The intercepts said Clinton herself had approved a “plan" to “stir up a scandal” against Trump by tying him to Putin. According to hand-written notes, then-CIA chief John Brennan warned President Obama that Moscow had intercepted information about the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016, of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump.” That summer, Brennan had personally briefed Democrats, including then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on the Alfa Bank-Trump server rumors, according to congressional reports. Reid fired off a letter to Comey demanding that the FBI do more to investigate Trump's ties to Russia.

During that convention, Sullivan drove a golf cart from one TV-network news tent in the parking lot to another, pitching producers and anchors a story that Trump was conspiring with Putin to steal the election. CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News, as well as Chris Wallace of Fox News, all gave him airtime to spin the Clinton campaign’s unfounded theories. Sullivan also gave off-camera background briefings to reporters.

"We were on a mission," Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri later admitted in a Washington Post column. “We wanted to raise the alarm."

Then, on the eve of the election, Sullivan claimed in a written campaign statement that Trump and the Russians had set up a “secret hotline” through Alfa Bank, and he suggested “federal authorities” were investigating “this direct connection between Trump and Russia.” He portrayed the shocking discovery as the work of independent experts — “computer scientists” — without disclosing their attachment to the campaign.

“This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed.

Clinton teed up his statement in an Oct. 31, 2016, tweet, which quickly went viral. Also that day, Clinton tweeted, “It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia,” while attaching a meme that read: “Donald Trump has a secret server. It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank called Alfa Bank.”

The Clinton campaign played up the bogus Trump-Alfa Bank story on the eve of the 2016 election. Twitter/@HillaryClinton

It’s not immediately apparent if then-Vice President Joe Biden was briefed about the Alfa Bank tale or other Trump-Russia rumors and investigations.

Biden has never been questioned about his own role in the investigation of Trump. However, it was the former vice president who introduced the idea of prosecuting Trump’s national security adviser appointee, Gen. Flynn, under the Logan Act of 1799, a dead-letter statute that prohibits private citizens from interfering in U.S. foreign policy and which hasn’t been used to prosecute anyone in modern times. According to notes taken by then-FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, who attended a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting with Obama and Biden, in which Trump, Flynn and Russia were discussed, Biden raised the idea: “VP: Logan Act,” the notes read.

Although he’s not an attorney, Sullivan has argued in congressional testimony and elsewhere that Flynn violated the Logan Act, raising suspicions he may have put the idea in Biden’s head. Sullivan had advised the vice president before joining the Clinton campaign.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 22:20
Published:9/23/2021 9:38:46 PM
[Markets] : Facebook safety exec to face Senate panel next week over teens’ mental health A Senate panel will grill a Facebook Inc. executive next week in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that found Facebook had knowledge that its platforms have a negative impact on young users yet did little to address the matter.
Published:9/23/2021 9:04:36 PM
[Markets] This Has To Be A Mistake This Has To Be A Mistake

While we were digging through the data for today's household net worth report we stumbled upon something that seem beyond ridiculous: the ratio of Household Net Worth to Disposable Net Income. At 786% in the latest quarter, the chart at first appears to be a mistake but we triple checked it, and... well, here it is.

The latest, all-time high print is an increase from 698% in Q1 and also represents the biggest quarterly increase in history!

This number is so ridiculous, it is almost 50% higher than the long-term average of 540%. More importantly, it means that the total net worth number we reported earlier today, which in Q2 hit a record high of $142 trillion, is massively inflated on the back of what is obviously the biggest asset bubble on record.

It also means that if one were to strip away the asset bubble, and net worth was purely a reasonable function of disposable income, then total net worth worth be haircut by 31%, or some $43 trillion, which incidentally, is equivalent to the net worth of the top 1% of US society...

... and which as we showed earlier today is a record 32% of total household net worth.

As an aside, the fact that the top 1% have gained $10 trillion in wealth since the covid pandemic outbreak, is probably just a coincidence, and yet...

As for the chart which clearly has to be a mistake, we are sad to report that it isn't, and as politicians of both the Democrat and Republican party pretend to fight for the common man, all they are doing is enabling and accelerating the greatest wealth transfer in the world but not for nothing: they too want to be in the top 1%.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 22:00
Published:9/23/2021 9:04:36 PM
[Markets] "Hyperinflation" Tops List Of Fears For UBS Clients "Hyperinflation" Tops List Of Fears For UBS Clients

With Democrats in Washington pushing for a $3.5 trillion 'social infrastructure' stimulus package and Speaker Pelosi perhaps hinting at the removal of the debt ceiling altogether for the US, it is perhaps no surprise that some are 'worried' that the idea of consequences is absent from any discussions.

Pelosi called the debt ceiling vote a “tradition," adding that there is some back and forth about whether they need to do it, before she dropped this bombshell: "There's some doubt as to whether that should be the case."

Well no debt ceiling would certainly enable MMT - as long as The Fed can keep monetizing that malarkey - and perhaps that's why USA sovereign risk is spiking...

While US's sovereign risk has been considerably higher than this before (like in 2013 during that debt ceiling debacle), the velocity of the move suggests more than a few investors are considering the chance of a US default.

Who can blame anyone for at least considering that when US debt is literally exploding - with no signs of it abating...

...and the Fed's balance sheet having gone vertical...

With Central Bankers constantly reassuring that there is nothing to fear here - some even pointing to Japan as proof that this can go on much longer before the pin is pulled from the global reserve currency's grenade - it appears that, back in the real-world, real-life human beings investing their own hard-earned money are much more worried about Washington's largesse.

Specifically, clients of UBS Group AG are wondering whether central banks’ massive stimulus could trigger hyperinflation, according to a list of their top economic concerns...

As Bloomberg notes, the concerns highlight the conundrum facing central banks as they continue to provide ultra-accommodative policy to help economies recover from the crisis.

Commodity prices have spiked and other inputs are facing severe supply constraints, driving up inflation rates from Europe to the U.S.

And remember "nothing lasts forever" in fiat make-believed-land...

With the world now seemingly convinced The Fed is on its way to normalization (tapering into mid-2022, then rate-liftoff by end-2022) and a Democrat-run socialist utopia lies aheadwhere the rich pay "their fair share" of taxes and the citizenry gets to sit at home being "artistic" and "creative" thanks to our UBI (as long as we comply with vaccine mandates); some more pragmatic market-watchers - like the UBS clients - see a path that is a little less optimistic (think Mad Max).

Peter Schiff warned that even if the Fed does begin to taper, it will eventually reverse course and ultimately expand QE.

"It knows the only foundation this bubble economy has is the Fed’s easy money policies. And I don’t think they have any actual plans to taper. And even if they just kind of feign the process by beginning it, they’ll never complete it because soon after they start the taper, again, if they even ever start, they’re going to have to reverse the process. Because ultimately, the Fed Fed is going to expand the QE program and start to buy a lot more government Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities in the future than it’s doing right now.”

They’re going to be tired of a boy crying wolf over and over and over again, and a wolf never actually showing up.

At some point, the markets are going to figure this out, understand the Fed’s predicament, and then it’s going to hit the fan.

Perhaps that is why gold and crypto has soared so much...

Remember the strength/weakness of the 'dollar' only exists relative to other fiat frauds - to truly comprehend its 'weakness' one needs to compare to 'stores of wealth'.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 21:20
Published:9/23/2021 8:34:10 PM
[Markets] : White House again raises using defense act to address chip shortage: report Bloomberg News reported Thursday that Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the Cold War-era law is under consideration as a means of forcing better transparency from companies, to ease production bottlenecks and identify potential hoarding of chips.
Published:9/23/2021 8:09:40 PM
[Markets] Australian Government Shuts Down Melbourne Construction Sites Amid Protests Over Vaccine Mandates Australian Government Shuts Down Melbourne Construction Sites Amid Protests Over Vaccine Mandates

By Jennifer Goodman of Construction Dive,

Construction sites in and around Melbourne, Australia, have been shut down for two weeks after hundreds of construction workers and other protestors gathered Monday at the site of a union building, throwing bottles and damaging equipment.

They were protesting the Victorian government's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for construction workers that begins Thursday.

Riot police used rubber bullets and pepper spray to disperse crowds, the BBC reported, and the headquarters building for the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union was damaged. Several people were arrested.

The union released a statement saying it condemned the protests and the "mindless acts of violence" perpetrated by members of the crowd. The statement said that many protesters were not construction workers but members of neo-Nazi and other right-wing extremist groups.

"It is clear that a minority of those who participated were actual union members," it said.

Protests continued on Tuesday in Melbourne, with the crowd growing into the thousands and encompassing anti-vaccine activists and other types of workers. 

Up to 2,000 protesters descended into the city's central business district, according to The New York Times, which also reported that protesters threw bottles at the police and set off flares, while officers in riot gear fired rubber bullets and used pepper spray.

Worker protests began last week when "tea rooms" where tradespeople congregate during breaks were shut down amid the rising delta surge and the government banned workers from consuming food or drink indoors. That prompted construction workers to take their lunch breaks outside in protest.

They set up tables and plastic chairs in multiple intersections in central Melbourne, blocking roads and holding up traffic, according to NPR.

Public health measures

Following the protests, construction and state officials announced that jobsites in Melbourne and other areas in the region will be closed for at least two weeks beginning Tuesday. It cited Monday's unrest and the increase in COVID-19 cases in the building and construction industry as the reasons.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that multiple outbreaks — as high as 13% of all cases, according to local media reports — have been linked to construction sites.

Construction has been among the few industries that have largely stayed open throughout the pandemic in Victoria.

"Construction workers are a mobile workforce who may work across multiple sites and travel longer distances to work than other permitted workers," Andrews said in a statement. "Concerns have also been raised, and remain, about the sector's compliance with public health measures and directions."

Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas was even more forceful, saying that his office has seen widespread non-compliance across the industry.

"We've been clear: if you don't follow the rules, we won't hesitate to take action," he said in the statement.

Workers will be required to show proof of at least one vaccine dose when sites reopen on Oct. 5, he added.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 21:00
Published:9/23/2021 8:09:40 PM
[Markets] Unbiased, Mobility-Enabling, Open, Global Network: How Crypto Enables Economic Freedom Unbiased, Mobility-Enabling, Open, Global Network: How Crypto Enables Economic Freedom

Authored by Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase,

The following is an internal memo that I shared with Coinbase employees this week and would also like to share publicly to help people see how we’re working toward our mission of increasing economic freedom in the world.

Tl;dr: Our core thesis is that greater adoption and usage of cryptocurrency will increase economic freedom in the world, because crypto solves many of the shortcomings of the current financial system that hinder economic freedom.

Team,

Every quarter at our company All Hands, we review our Mission (what we’re trying to achieve) and our Strategy (how we’re going to get there). One question I often hear from employees is: “How does cryptocurrency create more economic freedom in the world?” This is a great question, so I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you.

First, a refresher: Economic freedom is a composite measure of 12 factors.

It quantifies the rights of people to control their own labor and property in each country and globally. Economic freedom varies dramatically across the world, and while our economy is increasingly global, the government of any single country has significant control over the financial and economic freedoms of its people. Low economic freedom in a given country isn’t always due to malicious activity (e.g, fraud, oppression, etc) — it’s often due to mismanagement (poor monetary and fiscal policy) or simply bad infrastructure.

Crypto and economic freedom

The question to ask is: How can we build a global economy where anyone with an internet connection can participate, where property rights are enforced, and where money preserves its value? Crypto is the solutionCrypto can’t directly improve every facet of economic freedom (e.g., tax policies and government spending), but it can improve most of the underlying drivers (see below).

Read more about each of the factors here.

Why is crypto so uniquely positioned to increase economic freedom? Because it has these inherent properties:

Crypto is an open, global network

Crypto networks are open, removing the barriers of borders. It allows every person in the world to transact on shared networks, in the same way they communicate on a shared network (the internet). More importantly these networks themselves are not controlled by governments that can use their monetary systems to hinder economic freedom (and prosperity). This design principle leads to more open markets and increases trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, and monetary freedom.

Crypto enforces property rights

Property rights allow people to save their income, grow their wealth, and plan for the long term because they know the fruits of their labor are safe from unfair seizure or theft. Before crypto, your confidence in property rights was a function of the trust you had in your government and its respect for the rule of law. With crypto, anyone can acquire and grow their wealth without intervention from trusted 3rd parties like a government or a bank, or fear that their wealth could easily be seized. Property rights are also about the ability to enter contractual agreements. In some areas around the world, a contract has little value, because you can’t be confident in its enforcement. Smart contracts move enforcement from the courts to the blockchain, enabling gains from specialization and commercial exchange.

Crypto is unbiased

Crypto networks are often pseudonymous (or even anonymous). They don’t care where you live, what your race or gender is, or who you voted for in the last election. Unlike the current financial system they are inherently open and unbiased. Anyone with an internet connection can create a wallet, get paid in crypto, spend in crypto and accrue wealth in crypto. Service providers like Coinbase do have compliance programs as required by law, but we don’t control access to all crypto and we don’t own the network. Anyone can access crypto networks through other providers if we make a bad decision, or are forced into bad regulation. In addition, self custody wallets like Coinbase Wallet provide an ever greater degree of freedom when it comes to financial inclusion.

Crypto enables mobility

As I mentioned above, there are important components of economic freedom that cryptocurrency can’t directly benefit (e.g., government integrity, tax policies, fiscal health, etc.). However, cryptocurrency does provide the conditions for mobility by reducing switching costs, allowing people to both accrue wealth and bring it across borders. Cryptocurrency is the ultimate embodiment of the power of the individual, by significantly reducing the barriers to emigration / exit, and thus increasing economic freedom.

Conclusion

As you can see, cryptocurrency can impact many of the factors that lead to more economic freedom. It can both help build better-functioning economies in countries with less economic freedom, and make it easier to emigrate to a better life. This is why our core thesis as a company is that greater adoption and usage of cryptocurrency will increase economic freedom in the world.

Technology is the longest lever we can pull to improve the human condition. At its core, cryptocurrency is a technology breakthrough that allows us to build a more free and open financial system that enables the rights of people to control their own labor and property. It is the best tool that exists to advance our mission of increasing economic freedom in the world.

What does this mean for Coinbase? Crypto is in many ways still nascent. It’s still hard to use, crypto networks are plagued with scaling challenges, and the economy built on top of crypto infrastructure is in its early days. Our strategy and roadmap is geared towards solving these challenges: We’re focused on building easy-to-use products that abstract away the complexity of blockchains, and we’re building the primitives of a functioning financial system. We still have a long way to go, but the future is bright.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 20:20
Published:9/23/2021 7:35:29 PM
[Markets] US Meat Prices To Remain Elevated Amid Depleted Reserves US Meat Prices To Remain Elevated Amid Depleted Reserves

Beef, pork, and chicken in US cold storage warehouses have yet to recover from pandemic lows and could continue to support higher prices. 

New United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data shows beef reserves dropped 7.7% from a year ago in August, poultry supplies fell 20%, and pork plunged 44% to their lowest levels since 2017, according to Bloomberg

Jim Sullivan, commercial director for Stable USA, said low meat inventories would suggest meat prices will stay elevated. 

"Prices remain very elevated compared to seasonal expectations," Sullivan said. 

Soaring supermarket prices have been on the radar of the Biden administration as working-poor families allocate a high percentage of their incomes to basic and essential items. Higher food inflation eats away their wages and is why Biden recently increased SNAP benefits by a quarter

Earlier this month, the Biden administration finally addressed inflation as a concern but didn't blame the trillions of dollars in fiscal and monetary policies and labor shortages on increased food inflation but instead placed responsibility on meatpackers. 

White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said "pandemic profiteering" food companies are driving up supermarket costs for Americans. This is nothing more than a blame game and failed government policies that have not just increased food prices but have left supply chains reeling due to stimulus checks that disincentivized workers from working. 

New data of low meat supply at US cold storage facility is more bad news for the Biden administration, who will have to develop a new narrative about why meat prices aren't going down. If food inflation remains elevated into early next year, Americans might vote with their wallets during next year's midterms. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 20:00
Published:9/23/2021 7:13:58 PM
[Markets] Evergrande Auto Hasn't Sold A Single Car, But Has Enriched Its Founder And His Friends Plenty Evergrande Auto Hasn't Sold A Single Car, But Has Enriched Its Founder And His Friends Plenty

While everyone has been focusing on Evergrande as a property developer, few know the story about how Evergrande Auto became worth $86.6 billion at one point without selling a single car. The company now trades at a fraction, about 4%, of its all time high. While shareholders were wiped out for the most part, insiders made out well. 

On Tuesday of this week, the company did what it does best. No, not make vehicles: pay insiders. Evergrande Auto "granted 323.72 million share options worth HK$1.26 billion to three directors and around 3,180 employees of the company," a new report from Caixin notes.

Founder Hui Ka Yan and "friends" in his circle have made out the best from the fallen company. How well have they done? One "friend" of the founder bought 80 million shares in the company before it was renamed as Evergrande Auto for HK$0.30 each. They then sold them all for HK$50 per share, netting the friend more than HK$4 billion.

Hey, it's great work if you can get it. 

Caixin reports that the primary purpose of Evergrande Auto was to raise capital for the group company Evergrande. While the parent company claimed it was investing some 47 billion yuan into the auto company, analysts are starting to wonder if the market funded these investments instead. 

One analyst told Caixin: “Evergrande Auto had raised 30 billion yuan in two rounds, which means that the company mostly used investors’ money — instead of its own capital — to invest, and it managed to gain a high market value (for the auto company). Consequently, with its shares (in the auto company) at high price, it could use them as collateral to raise even more money.”

The company focused more on M&A than it did on making cars, the report says. For example, it bought a major stake in Xinjiang Guanghui Industry Investment Group Co. Ltd. for 14.5 billion yuan in 2018. As Caixin notes, that company is a stakeholder in China Grand Automotive Services Group Co. Ltd., which is one of the largest auto dealers in the country.

The stake was later sold off in 2019 when Evergrande needed cash. 

In 2019, Evergrande Auto's predecessor bought a 51% stake in National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) for $930 million, the report notes. Evergrande's stock price rose as a result. 

Part of the mechanics that helped Evergrande Auto's predecessor rocket higher included the fact that 18 shareholders owned 19.83% of the company's shares. When combined with the 74.99% of the issued shares held by the company, that only left 5.18% of Evergrande shares to be traded freely. 

Evergrande also acquired a 51% equity stake in Fangchebao Group Co. Ltd. using its shares. Fangchebao then brought in 17 investors in March 2021 that helped it raise capital at a valuation of HK$163.5 billion. Evergrande made HK$8.175 billion upon selling its shares.

Analysts, however, were baffled as to how Evergrande was able to bring in investors at the elevated valuation. The secret lied in a promise of a buyback from Evergrande.

One investor told Caixin: “What we valued was its valuation adjustment mechanism (????). If Fangchebao failed to go public within a year, Evergrande would buy back our shares at a 15% premium to the prevailing market price. At least, through this mechanism, we could get out money back.”

Those investors thought Evergrande could continue to push up Fangchebao's valuation and that Evergrande wouldn't fail within a year.

Another investor said: "However, Fangchebao was a relatively poor quality company, much worse than Evergrande Property Services. In Fangchebao’s case, it was better not to go public. It would be more troublesome after the listing because its poor performance would become public knowledge.”

Then there's the question of who truly benefitted from Evergrande's financial wheeling and dealing over the years. While investors and shareholders now suffer the consequences of the company's poor decision making, Hui Ka Yan's personal assets are now mysteriously being "transferred to new ownership", the report says. In fact, Hui was easily the single biggest beneficiary of the dividends paid by Evergrande from 2011 to 2020. 53 billion yuan of the 69 billion yuan that Evergrande has paid in dividends since it listed have gone to Hui.

You can read Caixin's detailed report here

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 19:20
Published:9/23/2021 6:34:07 PM
[Markets] The Wall Street Journal: Barry Diller’s IAC may purchase magazine publisher Meredith IAC/InterActiveCorp. is in advanced talks to acquire magazine publisher Meredith Corp., owner of brands including People and Better Homes & Gardens, according to people familiar with the situation.
Published:9/23/2021 6:07:16 PM
[Markets] Tropical Storm Sam Forms In Atlantic Basin, Expected To Become Major Hurricane This Weekend Tropical Storm Sam Forms In Atlantic Basin, Expected To Become Major Hurricane This Weekend

Tropical Storm Sam, the 18th named storm of the season, formed Thursday in the Atlantic Basin, is forecasted to become a major hurricane by the end of this weekend or early next week, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). 

NHC said Sam formed Thursday morning from Tropical Depression Eighteen and is about 1,745 miles east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands and moving west at 16 mph. 

"Intensification is expected through the rest of this week and into the weekend, and Sam is expected to become a hurricane late Friday or Friday night," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said.

The storm is expected to take a west-northwest track across the central Atlantic over the weekend, Accuweather said. It's still uncertain whether it makes landfall, but NHC has urged caution for the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the US East Coast

"Sam could approach the northern Leeward Islands by Tuesday of next week as a major hurricane," Miller said, indicating this would mean the storm would have maximum sustained winds of more than 100 mph.

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach tweeted that this hurricane season has had 18 named storms, and there was only one other time that this happened by Sept. 23, which was last year. 

On Sept. 10, Klotzbach called the "climatological peak of the Atlantic hurricane season," indicating the number of named storms is well above average. 

It's still too early to tell Sam's exact trajectory, but a better understanding of its path will be established in the coming days. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 19:00
Published:9/23/2021 6:07:16 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: Salesforce Leads 17 Stocks Flashing Buys As Market Rally Revs Higher; Costco, Nike Earnings Top The market rally took a big step as the S&P 500 regained its 50-day while Salesforce led stocks breaking out. Published:9/23/2021 5:32:06 PM
[Markets] North Carolina Hospital System Suspends Hundreds Of Employees After COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate North Carolina Hospital System Suspends Hundreds Of Employees After COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

North Carolina health care system said it suspended hundreds of its employees after the firm implemented a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, adding that workers who refuse to get vaccinated after five days will be fired.

“Beginning this week, approximately 375 team members—across 15 hospitals, 800 clinics and hundreds of outpatient facilities—have been confirmed to be non-compliant and are not able to report to work,” stated a press release from Novant Health, which is based in North Carolina but operates in other states.

“They will have an opportunity to comply over a five day, unpaid suspension period,” the release said.

“If a team member remains non-compliant after this suspension period, he or she will have their employment with Novant Health terminated.”

The firm then claimed that about 98.5 percent of its workforce are compliant with the policy, meaning they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Workers who started a two-dose vaccine series have until Oct. 15 to get the second shot, Novant said.

Employees who have an exemption are required to get weekly COVID-19 testing, as well as wear N95 masks and eye protection, it added.

In a similar move, 125 workers with Indiana University Health, the biggest hospital system in the state, parted ways with the company, according to a news release issued last week. Those workers, it said, did not comply with the firm’s vaccine mandate.

“Indiana University Health has put the safety and well-being of patients and team members first by requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 1,” the company said in a Sept. 16 statement. “After a two-week unpaid suspension period ending Sept. 14, a total of 125 employees, the equivalent of 61 full-time employees, chose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and have left the organization.”

It comes as President Joe Biden on Sept. 9 announced he would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to penalize companies with 100 or more employees if they do not comply with his administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Under the mandate, details of which have not been released, private-sector workers would have to either get the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing.

The president also said he would mandate that all health care workers who are employed at facilities that receive Medicaid or Medicare funding get vaccinated.

Republican leaders, as well as some union bosses, have criticized Biden for the announcement and said it’s tantamount to federal overreach. Some governors and state attorneys general have threatened to file lawsuits against the mandate.

What happened to "heroes!"?

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 18:20
Published:9/23/2021 5:32:06 PM
[Markets] : Subprime auto lender Honor Finance set up ‘house of cards’ debt deal that was ‘doomed to fail,’ SEC claims Five years ago, Honor Finance sold a $100 million subprime auto bond deal to investors the SEC claims was 'secretly stuffed' with 'bad loans' that executives disguised to look better than they were.
Published:9/23/2021 5:32:06 PM
[Markets] ACLU Celebrates Ginsburg's Legacy By Editing Out Her Actual Words As Offensive ACLU Celebrates Ginsburg's Legacy By Editing Out Her Actual Words As Offensive

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

The American Civil Liberties Union had a curious way of honoring the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week by editing out her words - removing offensive references to “woman” and “she.”  I expect that Ginsburg herself would have had little patience with such woke revisionism.

The ACLU wanted to use, not just memorialize, the one year anniversary of Ginsburg’s death to highlight the fight over abortions in states like Texas.  The quote, from Ginsburg is taken from her confirmation hearing in 1993:

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

The ACLU however did not want to use the term “women” to refer to those who have abortions or the pronoun “she.” So that quote was reproduced in this form with “women” substituted with “person’s” and “she” substituted with “they”:

“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity… When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices.”

Many (including Ginsburg) could object to the use of the plural “they” for a reference to the singular “her” life as not just changing the words but the meaning.

The ACLU also cut “It is a decision she must make for herself.”

That was arguably the crux of the quote but it was axed entirely.

The removal of “woman” is in response to objections that biological females who identify as male are “men” and therefore “men” can get pregnant and have abortions. The result is a rewriting of Ginsburg’s celebrated writings:

This prompted a whirlwind of backlash on social media, summarized succinctly as follows:

What is particularly curious is that the ACLU can still remove such references to “woman” or “she” in its own writings without editing historical quotations or writings. If one accepts this view that the reference to “woman” is offensive, you can still accept that historical documents should be read in their original form. You can then editorialize or contextualize with any objections or warnings.

For my part, I am a strong advocate for leaving historical documents unchanged and quoting them in their original forms. I also recently criticized the decision of the National Archives to add “trigger warnings” to historical documents as “bubbling wrapping history.” I believe that people can understand such documents in their historical text, even a quote that was first spoken as recently as 1993.

It is of course ironic that this iconic liberal jurist is now the subject of corrective editing. The ACLU might be wise to consider this other Ginsburg quote:

“Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 17:40
Published:9/23/2021 5:06:09 PM
[Markets] : Progress Software stock rallies on earnings, outlook, acquisition Progress Software shares rallied in the extended session Thursday after the business software company topped Wall Street estimates, hiked its full-year outlook, and announced an acquisition.
Published:9/23/2021 5:06:09 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Futures: Market Rally Revs Higher As Moderna, Square, Salesforce Lead 17 Stocks Flashing Buy Signals; Costco, Nike Earnings Top The market rally took a big step as the S&P 500 regained its 50-day while Salesforce led stocks breaking out. Published:9/23/2021 4:36:08 PM
[Markets] AOC Cries On House Floor After Bill To Fund Israel's Iron Dome Passes In "Blowout" AOC Cries On House Floor After Bill To Fund Israel's Iron Dome Passes In "Blowout"

In what's being described as a blowout vote and simultaneously a crushing defeat for 'the Squad', the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon passed controversial legislation that includes giving an extra $1 billion to Israel to restock its Iron Dome anti-air defense system after last May's major flare-up in fighting with Hamas in Gaza.

Days ago progressive Democrats including including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib had been successful in stripping the $1 billion for Israel from the stopgap funding bill that was passed in the House on Tuesday. But Republicans used this to paint Democrats as "anti-Israeli" and even went so far as to call out some of the progressives fighting the provision as being motivated by "anti-Semitism". 

This is after Rep. Tliab from the House floor said, "We cannot top be talking only about Israelis need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system."

Republican rep from Tennessee Charles Fleischmann fired back: 

"I ask the majority to condemn the comments that were just made by their member." 

The subsequent vote was an overwhelming 420-9, which included merely eight Democrat "no" votes and one from among the Republicans. Additionally South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson came out swinging. He said, "The Democratic Party has come under an extraordinary, bizarre influence of a group of anti-semites who also hate the state of Israel."

Pelosi had led the pro-Israel charge from among the Democrats

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said ahead of the vote that it would continue support under the U.S.-Israeli aid deal signed in 2016, which calls for $500 million in annual missile defense funding.

"The funding being appropriated today simply continues and strengthens this support," Pelosi said during the hour-long debate. "Passage of this bill reflects the great unity, in Congress on a bipartisan and bicameral basis, for Israel. Security assistance to Israel is vital, because Israel security is an imperative for America’s security."

The reality is that the $1 billion is already on top of the some $3.8 billion that American taxpayers give Israeli annually. 

Last May, a ten day war between Israel and Hamas broke out. Amid the thousands of rockets from Hamas and Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, there were 250 Palestinians killed, including 60 children. There were 13 deaths on the Israeli side - all of them civilians.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 17:20
Published:9/23/2021 4:36:08 PM
[Markets] Crypto: Why the debut of tipping bitcoin on Twitter isn’t just about tipping You can now tip bitcoin on Twitter, making the social-media platform one of the first major significant companies to offer such a payment feature on its platform.
Published:9/23/2021 4:36:08 PM
[Markets] GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks surge, dollar sags as investors digest Fed, Evergrande World stock markets rallied on Thursday and the U.S. dollar retreated from one-month highs as worries faded about contagion from China Evergrande and as investors digested the Federal Reserve's plans for reining in U.S. stimulus. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe jumped 1.01%, its biggest percentage rise in a month and for a third straight session of gains that brought it all the way back from Monday, when it posted its biggest percentage drop in two months after fears linked to debt-laden property group Evergrande. Evergrande shares jumped 18% ahead of a key debt payment deadline. Published:9/23/2021 4:10:14 PM
[Markets] Corona Wars: Biden's Battle For Total Control Corona Wars: Biden's Battle For Total Control

Authored by Buck Sexton via AmericanConsequences.com,

Biden’s Authoritarian COVID-19 Battle

We are entering a new and even more politically toxic phase of the pandemic. The initial promises of the vaccine campaign – it will allow for an end of masking, never be forced upon those who don’t want it, and herd immunity will not require everyone to get the shot – have been abandoned. Not only that, but those at the top of the government and health bureaucracy have adopted a tone that is hostile to anyone who remains hesitant to get a COVID vaccine.

The growing spasm over unconstitutional overreach from the Biden team has been building for months. President Joe Biden’s biggest pitch to the American people, other than him immediately abandoning his promise of “unity” across party lines, was to be his handling of the pandemic.

Despite the Biden White House’s endless repetition of their “follow the science” mantra, the summer of 2021 was much worse for COVID than any of their so-called experts expected. 

Cases over Labor Day weekend across the U.S. were up almost 300% from the same weekend 12 months ago. There were around 40,000 daily cases in the U.S. in mid-September 2020, and there are close to 150,000 new cases a day in the same period of 2021.

Crushing our Freedoms

This is not “crushing the virus” as Biden promised us. That around 200 million Americans have received at least one vaccine shot, and the virus is spreading even more rapidly now than it was in the same month a year ago, has caused considerable alarm. And with that, the political animus between the vaccinated and unvaccinated has only grown… The Biden White House and the Democrat Party have decided to use the force of government to make that hostility even worse.

Of course, the people in charge of our response have found someone to blame: the unvaccinated. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Joe Biden said in his recent speech announcing federal mandates. “And your refusal has cost all of us,” he added. The ominous tones were followed with various promises to punish the non-compliant.

It didn’t have to be this way… For one thing, less than a year ago President Biden told the country that he didn’t agree with imposing a vaccine mandate. And now, as of September 2021, Biden has completely gone back on that and ordered a series of sweeping mandates that will make all federal and 100 million private-sector employees get the shot or lose their jobs.

This is pretty close to the nuclear option of government pandemic countermeasures. It will have enormous ramifications for the future of the country, not just when it comes to public health issues, but to the very core of the Constitution and the relationship between citizen and state.

What is the constitutional justification for this? If the federal government can mandate that all private businesses with more than 100 employees must vaccinate their staff (or get them weekly testing, which is meant to be onerous and ruinously expensive), then what can’t Washington, D.C. mandate? What’s the point of the 10th Amendment, and the plenary powers delegated to the states? If for reasons of pure politics, the federal government can, via administrative fiat instead of going through Congress, make such an order on a health matter, could they take similar action about climate change or gun confiscation?

In our standard political discourse, polemicists abuse terms like “tyranny” and “authoritarian” – but this has more than a whiff of both. The top-down decision from the Executive Branch of the federal government to use the Labor Department as the implementation arm of a health policy dictatorship shows that, in the era of COVID, the Democrat Party no longer views the separation of powers as any meaningful impediment to its preferred health policies.

The Biden Mandate

In fact, in his September 9 speech outlining the new plan to get the virus under control, President Biden made clear his intent to steamroll any states’ rights opposition… 

If they will not help, if those governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way. The Department of Education has already begun to take legal action against states undermining protection that local school officials have ordered. Any teacher or school official whose pay is withheld for doing the right thing will have that pay restored by the federal government, 100 percent. I promise you, I will have your back.

Get them out of the way, Biden said, in a line that seemed to tell the American people more than he intended about the lack of limits on his power. During the early months of the pandemic in 2020, the same voices who are backing Biden’s authoritarian maneuvers now were claiming that – with stronger legal backing – state governors have extensive plenary powers to deal with health emergencies, including some mandatory quarantine practices.

Now that some states – most notably Florida, though Texas has begun to mirror the pro-freedom approach of Governor Ron DeSantis – refuse to do the Biden administration’s bidding on COVID policy, the federal bureaucracy steps in as an unconstitutional super-legislature. On the school masks mandate issue, in particular, the Democrat-Fauciite position has become: We will find a way to have it our way.

Biden’s September 9 declaration of COVID total war had no shortage of ire directed toward those who have thus far made the choice not to get the vaccine, one they had been previously told they were legally and ethically entitled to make. That has suddenly changed. Biden made it clear that the unvaxxed are public health enemy No. 1…

We still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot. And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19. Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they are ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in our communities. This is totally unacceptable.

As many commentators have pointed out, Biden seemed to be much more agitated with Americans who have chosen not to get a COVID vaccine than he ever was toward the Taliban during his chaotic, incompetent withdrawal plan. This parading of partisan animus is unsettling, to say the least, as it is meant to convey a message to American people (or at least the Biden voters among them) that anyone who is unvaccinated is a reckless, selfish menace to public health.

But there’s cognitive dissonance at the heart of this thinking from Biden and his supporters. First of all, when one breaks down the demographic data, the highest proportion of eligible but unvaccinated individuals in America is young Black and Latino males, who have received at least one shot at 43% and 48%, respectively. While there’s certainly a group within those categories of Republicans and Trump voters, the data tells us that most young minority males are not MAGA-hat-wearing, anti-vax Right-wingers… But the Democrat narrative ignores this reality.

After months of extraordinary gains, the U.S. stock market is now looking off. Investors worldwide now ask, “Is this the beginning of the end of the most epic stock rally in history?” All eyes are on September 28 for the answers. Here’s the entire story.

In fact, the Biden view of vaccine hesitancy is that white male, Right-wing individuals who refuse to get the vaccine are bad people who don’t care about the science. However, racial minorities are an entirely different matter when it comes to vaccine hesitancy. Dr. Fauci, Biden, and the whole COVID apparatus of control constantly make excuses around “access” issues for minorities who choose not to get the shot. We are supposed to ignore the politics of this and the fact that more than 90% of African American voters cast their ballots for Democrats in the 2020 election.

There’s also the inexcusable, inexplicable absence of any policy or even mention of naturally acquired immunity. Americans who have had COVID-19, and the most current estimates say that around 100 million of them have beaten the virus, are likely the most immunologically protected of anyone. That Biden, his chief henchman of the biosecurity state Dr. Fauci, and the rest of the control apparatus refuse publicly acknowledging this scientific reality is further evidence of the intense politicization at work.

The Power-Drunk Variant

People are, understandably, very angry in America about what the country has gone through. We have lost more than 650,000 Americans to the novel coronavirus, and we’ve also lost a tremendous amount of freedom, spent trillions of dollars of public money, and continue to suffer through a period of tremendous anxiety.

But instead of trying to unite and heal the country, the most powerful voices in the government and bureaucracy have decided to scapegoat disfavored political groups. 

And that, in essence, is where we find ourselves now: the fight over total control. The national response to COVID in America has been an abject failure, based on the promises the experts made and the concessions they demanded of us. Perhaps it was never going to be any different in this country, regardless of the collective response to a highly contagious virus. But we will never be allowed to figure that out, or even have the discussion. There’s too much government power and intellectual vanity at stake for the elites.

And so we are forced to get the shot, mask up, “social distance,” and suffer whatever ineffective indignities our government overlords can conjure to pretend they are protecting us from COVID. It will not be enough for them to silence dissent – they will demand everyone participate in and celebrate their new authoritarian health regime. Biden isn’t even trying to hide it anymore.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 17:00
Published:9/23/2021 4:10:14 PM
[Markets] NewsWatch: Dow jumps 600 points as stocks recover losses for week after Fed and Evergrande worries fade U.S. stocks traded higher Thursday, extending gains a day after the Federal Reserve offered no surprises as it signaled it could announce a plan to begin scaling back asset purchases as early as November.
Published:9/23/2021 4:10:14 PM
[Markets] Dow finishes up 500 points as stocks continue 2-day comeback Dow finishes up 500 points as stocks continue 2-day comeback Published:9/23/2021 3:34:18 PM
[Markets] Market Extra: Fed’s popular repo facility sees record demand of $1.35 billion Thursday The New York Federal Reserve Bank's popular reverse repo facility set a record Thursday for overnight demand, the first day when the central bank had doubled the limit for individual user to $160 billion.
Published:9/23/2021 3:34:18 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Rallies With China Set For Evergrande Collapse; Microsoft, Nvidia Offer Entries; Meme Stock Surges The Dow Jones gained as U.S. stocks rallied, even as China prepares for the demise of Evergrande. Microsoft and Nvidia offered buy points. Published:9/23/2021 3:34:18 PM
[Markets] "It All Depends On One Word - Trust" - John Rubino Warns "Worst-Case Scenario Too Horrible" To Consider "It All Depends On One Word - Trust" - John Rubino Warns "Worst-Case Scenario Too Horrible" To Consider

Via Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com,

It looks like we are on track for yet another global financial meltdown.  This time it is coming out of China in the form of a failed property development company called Evergrande.  It’s five times bigger than Lehman Brothers, whose failure cratered the global economy in 2008.  Will central banks, including the Fed, just let it all fail or will they print massive amounts of money trying to stop the fall?   If history is a guide, we should get ready for the most money creation ever. 

In May, financial writer John Rubino said, “This is beyond the ability of any individual to fix.  We can’t save the system.”

We sure can print a lot of money to try though.

Massive global money printing is what is coming, and it will come with huge consequences for all fiat currencies.  Rubino explains,

“Stocks are tanking, cryptos are tanking, currencies of the world are getting volatile, politics are volatile and gold is going up while all this is happening, which it is supposed to do.  Gold is supposed to be the safe haven where you hide out when nothing else seems trustworthy...

That hasn’t been the case in prior bear markets.  When stocks tanked, they pulled down gold and silver...

It’s a good sign when markets start to behave rationally again.  When high risk assets don’t seem worth it anymore, capital flows into real assets that hold their value no matter what the government is doing to the currency.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work, and that is the way it is working...

Trust is probably the key word in this whole discussion.  Fiat only exists because we trust the people who are managing them to maintain their value.  You take the trust away and there is nothing there.  A fiat currency is not a real thing.  It doesn’t actually exist other than little pieces of paper that have no intrinsic value or computer code, which also has no intrinsic value.  So, you take away the trust that we had in the Fed, Treasury, Congress and the President to do the right thing, and be honest, when it comes to the financial markets, you take that away and there really isn’t anything there.  Nobody would want to hold a currency managed by people they can’t trust.  Pay attention to that because the less we trust the guys in charge, the less we trust the currency. 

The less we trust the currency, the less we trust the financial markets and the less valuable these financial assets are.  So, it all ties together, and it all depends on that one word—Trust.”

What’s Rubino’s biggest fear?  Rubino warns,

My biggest fear is that we screw up our finances, we screw up geopolitics, and we get into a big war because we are close to that now.  

The U.S., Russia and China are bumping up against each other, and we are like scorpions in a bottle on this little planet with all these high tech weapons. . . . My biggest fear is we take it well beyond the world of finance to no holds barred military action. 

There’s no way to predict anything when you start doing something like that.  The worst case scenario is too horrible to even think about.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with John Rubio, founder of the popular website DollarCollapse.com. 

To Donate to USAWatchdog.com Click Here

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 16:25
Published:9/23/2021 3:34:18 PM
[Markets] Federal Workers Sue Biden Over Vaccine Mandate Federal Workers Sue Biden Over Vaccine Mandate

As the FDA bucks President Biden's booster jab push, a group of federal workers and contractors are suing President Biden to try and stop his sweeping federal vaccine mandate, according to media reports.

The lawsuit, filed in Washington Thursday, challenges President Joe Biden's executive edict requiring all federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated, alongside the August memorandum requiring members of the military to be vaccinated to protect against COVID. Biden has opposed offering honorable discharges for soldiers who are vaccine objectors.

Among the arguments made in the lawsuit, lawyers claim that Christians are required "to refuse a medical intervention, including vaccination, if his or her informed conscience comes to this sure judgment".

The federal workers aren't the only group suing Biden over the mandate. The RNC has said it plans to sue Biden over the vaccine mandates, with RNC head Ronna McDaniel arguing the mandates are "unconstitutional", and that Biden had promised not to impose mandates when he was elected.

"Joe Biden told Americans when he was elected that he would not impose vaccine mandates. He lied. Now small businesses, workers, and families across the country will pay the price," she said.

"Like many Americans, I am pro-vaccine and anti-mandate," she said. "Many small businesses and workers do not have the money or legal resources to fight Biden's unconstitutional actions and authoritarian decrees, but when his decree goes into effect, the RNC will sue the administration to protect Americans and their liberties."

Other prominent Republican officials have also threatened to sue, with Arizona becoming the first state to sue Biden over the mandate earlier this month. Americans' resistance to the vaccine has frustrated the White House, which has struggled to get the latest delta-driven COVID wave under control.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 15:40
Published:9/23/2021 2:59:25 PM
[Markets] Bond yields rip as Fed prepares to turn spigot on monetary stimulus Longer-dated U.S. government bond yields jumped on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve signaled that it would likely start pulling back on its monetary stimulus in November. Published:9/23/2021 2:59:25 PM
[Markets] Bond Report: 10-year Treasury yield posts biggest one-day climb since March, a day after Federal Reserve’s policy update Longer-end Treasury yields have their biggest gains in months on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve's policy update.
Published:9/23/2021 2:59:25 PM
[Markets] Dow Jones Rises Over 570 Points, Leads Market Upside; This Blue Chip Tech Stock Scores Breakout The Dow Jones extended yesterday's rally in today's stock market and led the major equity indexes on the upside. Small caps outperformed. Published:9/23/2021 2:33:15 PM
[Markets] US Congress Quietly Sneaks In Crypto-Bill Amendment Authorizing Central Bank Digital Currency US Congress Quietly Sneaks In Crypto-Bill Amendment Authorizing Central Bank Digital Currency

Authored by Wesley Thysse via DecentralizedLegalSystem.com,

The future of money is here; will the Federal Reserve Board be authorized to use distributed ledger technology for the creation, distribution and “recordation” of all the transactions of a Digital Dollar?

On July 28, 2021, a new bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives. This bill, sponsored by Congressman Don Beyer,1) aims to regulate crypto-currencies. But it does more…

The bill is called the “Digital Asset Market Structure and Investor Protection Act”2) (“Digital Asset Bill”). And for the majority, it sets out future rules for crypto. However, hidden in this bill, changes to the foundation of the Dollar are proposed.

And because nobody outside crypto (and frankly, few inside crypto) actually read the bill, these amendments have so far largely gone unnoticed.

Crypto-currencies have been making waves. Fans of crypto think they have the new medium of exchange. However, in the current proposed regulations, Congress clearly takes a strict approach towards crypto and its various use cases. The following article provides an overview of these new US crypto regulations.

Included in the Digital Asset Bill, amendments to the Federal Reserve Act and the definition of legal tender are proposed. These amendments drastically expand the powers of the Federal Reserve, and change how money is created and distributed in the US.

Instrumental in the creation of the US Dollar is the Federal Reserve. It was set up in 1913 as a reaction to the 1907 financial crisis. During this crisis, Finance mogul J.P. Morgan, who had bailed the government out of a financial crisis in 1895, had to organize private sector investments and lines of credit to stabilize the banking system.

The original idea behind the Federal Reserve was for private bank deposits to be combined in a reserve. This could provide an emergency line of credit in times of economic stress.

Contrary to what is widely understood, the Fed does not “print money.” It can only manage the money supply indirectly.

It is the private sector that “creates” most of what we use as money in the modern banking system. They do this by issuing credit to the market.

It is with the supply of credit by private banks that the monetary supply is inflated. Conversely, with the reduced demand for credit, the money supply deflates. The FED does not have as much direct influence on this process as it wants the market to believe.

In addition, the FED is responsible for the distribution of Federal Reserve Notes (those little papers we know and use as Dollars). Currency departments at each of the 12 Federal Reserve banks make recommendations about future currency needs. The banks then place orders with the Comptroller of the Currency. After reviewing the requests, the Comptroller forwards them to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which then produces the appropriate denominations of currency notes. The Federal Reserve distributes these through its member banks.

To summarize: the Federal Reserve does not directly create digital money. And, it also doesn’t create physical money (notes and coins).

After looking at what the FED is and isn’t allowed to do, we can look at how their authority is to be expanded. According to the Digital Asset Bill, section 11 of the Federal Reserve Act is to be amended to provide the Federal Reserve Board with new powers:

“(d) To supervise and regulate through the Secretary of the Treasury the issue and retirement of Federal Reserve notes (both physical and digital), except for the cancellation and destruction, and accounting with respect to such cancellation and destruction, of notes unfit for circulation, and to prescribe rules and regulations (including appropriate technology) under which such notes may be delivered by the Secretary of the Treasury to the Federal Reserve agents applying therefor.”

So far so good. But the next section, contains the real story. According to the Digital Asset bill, Federal Reserve notes will in the future also be issued digitally:

“Federal reserve notes, to be issued at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the purpose of making advances to Federal reserve banks through the Federal reserve agents as hereinafter set forth and for no other purpose, are authorized. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is authorized to issue digital versions of Federal reserve notes in addition to current physical Federal reserve notes. Further, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, after consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, is authorized to use distributed ledger technology for the creation, distribution and recordation of all transactions involving digital Federal reserve notes. The said notes shall be obligations of the United States and shall be considered legal tender and shall be receivable by all national and member banks and Federal reserve banks and for all taxes, customs, and other public dues. They shall be redeemed in lawful money on demand at the Treasury Department of the United States, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, or at any Federal Reserve bank.” 7)

As we saw, the Federal Reserve does not have the power to create Dollars directly. It seem like this power is now to be granted to them. Given that these new Reserve Notes are digital, this strangely merges two distinct forms of money as well.

Next, we saw that the distribution of Dollars was done through member banks. It isn’t clear if this remains the case. It clearly says that these digital Dollars can be issued “in addition” to the current Federal Reserve notes. There is nothing, at least not in this law, preventing the Federal Reserve from taking a more centralized and direct role in distributing the digital Dollar. Perhaps during the next “emergency.”

And finally, the Federal Reserve Board is to be authorized to create and distribute a “ledger-based” digital Dollar that could be used for everyday transactions. There are a few technologies one could imagine, but let us for now assume this will be a blockchain. Blockchains are great for recording transactions; it is what they do.

Perhaps that is why the Federal Reserve will be authorized to do so? However, it is a bit hard to imagine that such a centralized structure would not lead to monitoring of all transactions. And what about privacy? What about security?

The Fed is currently not as powerful as it wants the market to believe; the Federal Reserve Act restricts a lot of its actions. This amendment, however, could drastically expand the powers of the FED, by allowing them to create and distribute a “digital USD” directly. It could change the entire structure of the financial system, with far reaching consequences.

And how are digital Federal Reserve Notes to be justified in terms of the origins and authority of the Federal Reserve? If the Digital Dollar is based on a blockchain, how can they also be based on reserves?

And what mechanism will determine how funds (and how much) are added to the economy? And where and how will they be distributed? Will this all be under the control of a board of seven unelected bureaucrats? And how will they control a distributed ledger of such magnitude?

This amendment has the potential to change the way the Federal Reserve operates. It is not law yet, and can still be changed. This deserves a wider discussion by economists and financial experts outside the crypto-space as well.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 15:20
Published:9/23/2021 2:33:15 PM
[Markets] Project Syndicate: ‘Green capitalism’ can’t avert a climate catastrophe The private sector’s embrace of green finance appears to be yet another gimmick to avoid a real reckoning of what must be done right now to avert disaster.
Published:9/23/2021 2:33:15 PM
[Markets] Should you add your vaccine status to your resume? John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc, joins Yahoo Finance’s Sibile Marcellus in this week’s career control to discuss whether you should place your vaccination status on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Published:9/23/2021 2:08:16 PM
[Markets] Here is the average income-tax rate that billionaires in the U.S. pay Here is the average income-tax rate that billionaires in the U.S. pay Published:9/23/2021 2:08:16 PM
[Markets] Evergrande Selective Default: Offshore Bondholders "Run Out Of Hope" For Coupon Payment Evergrande Selective Default: Offshore Bondholders "Run Out Of Hope" For Coupon Payment

While the market has clearly moved on from the Evergrande debacle, perhaps assuming that all is now contained while completely ignoring the potentially catastrophic consequences for China's US$60 trillion property market (Goldman has just come out with a must read report "Investing under a new regulation regime (Part 4): A US$60tn property dilemma" available to pro subs in the usual place), the reality is that the company is about to default on some $18 billion in foreign debt.

Nearly a full day after we said that the fate of the offshore bondholder fate would be decided in hours...

... Reuters reports that there is still no news, and - worse - Group's dollar (offshore) bondholders were still waiting for information about a key interest payment due Thursday, "with some holders having given up hope of getting a coupon payment by the deadline, a source familiar with the matter said." Adding insult to injury, as of midnight Hong Kong time, there had been no announcements by Evergrande about the payment, confirming that the company will simply pretend it never had to make a payment.

And while the source added that the property developer was "instead expected to provide more information in the coming month", that's not how bondholder indentures work and unless there is a resolution in the next few hours, Evergrande will enter it 30 day grace period while rating agencies S&P and Moody's will declare in Selective Default, i.e., a state were a borrower fails to pay one or more of their obligations but continues to meet other payment obligations. Semantics aside, a selective default is a default for the affected bondholder group, which in Evergrande's case includes over $18 billion in dollar-denominated bonds.

While Evergrande negotiated a resolution on its local interest payment due today, it was also due to pay $83.5 million in interest on a $2 billion offshore bond on Thursday and also has a $47.5 million dollar-bond interest payment next week. So far it has not made the payment and looks unlikely to make it.

Both bonds would default if the company, which has outstanding debt of $305 billion, fails to settle the interest within 30 days of the scheduled payment dates.

The company has yet to make an announcement about its plans for Thursday's offshore bond coupon payment and a company spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

The silence from Evergrande flies in the face of an earlier report from Bloomberg according to which Chinese regulators had asked Evergrande executives to avoid a near-term default on its dollar bonds and to communicate proactively with bondholders. It appears that report was false.

"They don't want a default right now," said Connor Yuan, the head of emerging market flow credit trading for Asia at Goldman Sachs. "Given there is a 30-day grace period, I think today it's very likely the coupon won't be made but it is possible that they try to get a deal done in the next 30 days."

Meanwhile, conflicting with the Bloomberg report, the Wall Street Journal reported separately on Thursday that Chinese authorities were asking local governments to "prepare for the demise" of Evergrande. The WSJ said local governments had been "ordered to assemble groups of accountants and legal experts to examine the finances around Evergrande's operations in their respective regions." They have also been ordered to talk to local state-owned and private property developers to prepare to take over projects and set up law-enforcement teams to monitor public anger and "mass incidents", a euphemism for rioting.

Looking ahead, there are two camps: one is populated by pessimists like Jim Chanos who warned that an Evergrande default would be worse than Lehman due to the downstream shock this event would have on China's $60 trillion property market. Earlier today, the Swiss central bank said Evergrande should not be dismissed as a small, local problem. In the other camp we have optimists like Jean-Yves Fillion, chief executive officer of BNP Paribas, who told CNBC that "Evergrande is a serious situation but we see it as quite contained both in terms of the sector, mainly Chinese real estate, and mostly Chinese counterparties. Historically we have seen the Chinese administration taking care of these type of situations and resolving them. The linkages between the Evergrande situation and the strong U.S. equity market we see as not very significant."

We'll see if that's true but for now, it appears that our prediction that "Beijing will pay local bondholders and soft nationalize Evergrande, but will avoid allegations of backsliding on tightening/deleveraging promises and and "common prosperity" by stuffing foreign creditors" will be proven accurate.

Meanwhile, over in China, Evergrande Chairman Hui Ka Yan - who just a few years ago was China's second richest man behind Jack Ma - did not make any mention of foreign creditors, but instead urged his executives late on Wednesday to ensure the delivery of quality properties and the redemption of its wealth management products, which are held by millions of retail investors in China.

Hui Ka Yan, chairman of Evergrande Real Estate Group

In other words, it seems that a default on foreign bonds has already taken place.

Some analysts say it could take weeks for investors to have any clarity about how the Evergrande situation will resolve.

"The company could restructure its debts but continue in operation, or it could liquidate," wrote Paul Christopher, head of global market strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. In either case, investors in the company's financial instruments would likely suffer some losses, he wrote, adding that "in the event of a liquidation, however, Chinese and global investors could decide that the contagion could spread beyond China"

But the elephant in the room is not the write down of a modest $18 billion in foreign bonds to the likes of Blackrock, for whom this is a peanuts. The real question is how an Evergrande failure would impact confidence in China's property sector and whether it will lead to a sharp drop in what has traditionally been the world's most valuable asset, one which represents some 70% of China's urban household net worth.

At an eerily quiet construction site in eastern China, worker Li Hongjun said Evergrande's crisis meant he will soon run out of food while Christina Xie, who works in the southern city of Shenzhen, feared Evergrande had swallowed her savings.

"It's all my savings. I was planning to use it for me and my partner's old age," said Xie. "Evergrande is one of China's biggest real estate companies ... my consultant told me the product was guaranteed."

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:58
Published:9/23/2021 2:08:16 PM
[Markets] Investors have lost total confidence in these stocks One sector of the market has truly tanked. Here is the ugly, but true data. Published:9/23/2021 1:36:58 PM
[Markets] Amid Squalor & Misery, Hospital Strained By Influx Of Illegal Immigrants: Del Rio Democrat Mayor Amid Squalor & Misery, Hospital Strained By Influx Of Illegal Immigrants: Del Rio Democrat Mayor

Authored by Charlotte Cuthbertson and Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

The flood of illegal immigrants that has crossed over the Rio Grande River since mid-September is straining the hospital and other resources in this small Texas border city.

Del Rio has a population of about 35,000. Some 16,000 illegal aliens have entered the city in the past week or so, according to Texas officials.

The hospital is concerned about the situation, Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano, a Democrat, told The Epoch Times.

What’s happening is that last week, for example, we had a pregnant woman deliver a baby and she turned out to be positive [for COVID-19], and so was her infant newborn. And so that takes hospital space that’s very valuable and limited in our community offline, and that raises another set of issues locally,” he said.

Mayor of Del Rio Bruno Lozano attends a press conference hosted by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott regarding the thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Haitians, living in a primitive, makeshift camp under the international bridge that spans the Rio Grande between the U.S. and Mexico while waiting to be detained and processed by Border Patrol, in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 21, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens raised similar concerns over the weekend. “I can tell you our hospital’s stretched; they can’t catch a break,” he said in a video message to county residents.”

Del Rio has one hospital, one emergency center, one medical center, and a clinic.

Workers at the hospital were already overwhelmed before the swell of families, single adults, and unaccompanied minors, primarily from Haiti, crossed the river this month.

“We’re working exhausted hours, we’re seeing horrible things, having to exhaust our resources,” Angela Prather, director of EMS and emergency management at the Val Verde Regional Medical Center, told a community meeting over the summer.

The illegal immigrants are struggling to get enough food, water, and medical supplies because the local government is not equipped to provide it in such large amounts, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, told President Joe Biden on Monday in a letter asking for an emergency declaration. The surge is overwhelming law enforcement and humanitarian resources, according to the governor.

Thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Haitians, live in a primitive, makeshift camp under the international bridge that spans the Rio Grande between the U.S. and Mexico while waiting to be detained and processed by Border Patrol, in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 21, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

“Individuals are camping in squalid conditions and bathing in muddy river water, causing great health concerns,” he said.

“There are not enough medical facilities or resources to care for so many that need medication, are ill, suffer from heat exhaustion, or give birth to children. To compound the matter, public health issues relating to the current COVID-19 pandemic create additional dangers to residents and the migrants themselves, and the state of Texas has been provided no clear information about whether these individuals have received a COVID-19 vaccination or have been tested for the virus, or if they be exposing Texans and Americans to COVID,” he added.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Federal officials have said they do not test illegal immigrants for the disease, instead relying on local partners. The White House signaled last week that many of the immigrants in Del Rio are not being tested.

Lozano said that medical issues include children having diarrhea and women going into labor.

Illegal immigrants cross the Rio Grande between Del Rio (far side) and Acuna, Mexico. Some are crossing back to Mexico to avoid deportation from the United States, in Acuna, Mexico, Sept. 20, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The federal government has deployed hundreds of agents and officers and other resources to the area. The Department of Homeland Security has sent Border Patrol emergency medical technicians to the area and is providing water, towels, and portable toilets. That’s helped alleviate some of the pressure on the local community, according to the mayor.

“It’s going to be continuously assessed, and I hope that we can get that medical component down here in real-time,” he said.

The mayor said that even when the crush of immigrants is cleared—some are being deported while others are being released into the United States—that resources should remain in place because another wave may come.

He told Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as much during a conversation this week.

“We’re still going to need these resources in case that happens again,” he said.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:20
Published:9/23/2021 1:36:58 PM
[Markets] Gold settles at lowest in more than 6 weeks Gold futures fall on Thursday, with prices marking their lowest finish in over six weeks, as investors gravitated toward stocks and away from assets perceived as havens. Published:9/23/2021 1:14:07 PM
[Markets] MarketWatch: Over 3 million Boppy newborn loungers are recalled after 8 infant deaths Approximately 3.3 million Boppy Newborn Loungers were sold nationwide at retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart and Pottery Barn Kids.
Published:9/23/2021 1:14:07 PM
[Markets] Fed Reverse Repo Soars To Record $1.35 Trillion After Fed Doubles Counteparty Limit Fed Reverse Repo Soars To Record $1.35 Trillion After Fed Doubles Counteparty Limit

Early this morning, one day after the Fed doubled the counterparty limit for reverse repo usage from $80 billion to $160 billion, Wrightson ICAP predicted that usage on the Fed's overnight Reverse Repo facility would surge.

According to the interdealer broker, GSEs have been the only RRP countrparties constrained by the previous $80 billion limit, adding that the the low level of overnight GC repo rates which have frequently dipped below IOER in recent days (orange line below), reflects the fact that “some of the float associated with this month’s UMBS principal and interest payments had to be invested in the repo market

As ICAP economist Lou Crandall wrote, “much, perhaps, all of that cash is likely to be moved to the Fed today,” adding that he was looking for volume to rise to the $1.325 trillion to $1.35 trillion range.

In retrospect, he was on the low side, because at 1:15pm ET the Fed revealed that courtesy of the counterparty ceiling cap doubling, the total usage on the Fed facility soared by $69.2 billion to a new record high of $1.352 trillion, the highest on record.

However, while today's spike is unlikely to see a substantial decline especially since the Fed will continue injecting inert liquidity via QE until at least such time as the taper ends some time in 2022 (assuming it ends), Crandall also noted that today's surge will be short-lived as GSE cash will have to be moved to its non-interest-bearing deposits on Friday in order to be available to meet UMBS payment obligations Monday morning.

In terms of future fund flow dynamics, there are several cross-currents: the monthly influx of cash from GSEs adds to the glut related to the Fed’s ongoing asset purchases and Treasury’s drawdown of its cash balance. At the same time, the Treasury continues paying down its bill supply as it attempts to stay under the debt ceiling.

And with the TGA account nearly depleted as a result of the debt ceiling fiasco and likely to be replenished dramatically in Q4 once the debt ceiling drama is over, the reverse repo usage will drop sharply in Q4 as the Treasury floods the market with a record amount of bills as it seeks to replenish its cash supply, as counterparties convert reserves to Bills.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:05
Published:9/23/2021 1:14:07 PM
[Markets] Economic Report: U.S. household net worth jumps to record $142 trillion Total household net worth jumped $5.8 trillion to a record $141.7 trillion at the end of June, according to a report from the Federal Reserve released Thursday.
Published:9/23/2021 12:39:15 PM
[Markets] GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks surge, dollar sags as investor risk appetite expands World stock markets rallied on Thursday and the U.S. dollar retreated from one-month highs as investors digested the Federal Reserve's plans for reining in stimulus and worries about contagion from China Evergrande eased, aiding risk appetite. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe jumped 1.06%. “We are seeing markets rally on the premise that while the situation in China particularly with Evergrande is not going away, the outcome is not perhaps going to be as severe or prompt some form of contagion that was originally feared,” said Craig Fehr, investment strategist at Edward Jones. Published:9/23/2021 12:39:15 PM
[Markets] Twitter Says Users Can Now "Tip" Others With Bitcoin Twitter Says Users Can Now "Tip" Others With Bitcoin

Bitcoin has climbed to its highest levels of the day...

...amid reports that Twitter - led by the outspoken crypto advocate Jack Dorsey - has enabled users around the world to "tip" their favorite accounts with bitcoin (though the functionality will only be available for iOS users at first).

Twitter announced on Thursday that its "tips" feature will roll out globally to all Apple iOS users this week, and will become available for Android users in coming weeks.

According to CNBC, users previously could tip with fiat currency using traditional payment services like Square’s Cash app (Square is also led by Dorsey) and PayPal's Venmo. Twitter is integrating the Strike bitcoin lighting wallet service so creators can receive bitcoin tips, while users will be allowed to add their bitcoin address to their accounts in order to send and receive these cryptocurrency tips. Twitter says it won't take a cut of the "tips". Notably, Twitter's shares also climbed on the news, and were recently up 3% on the day.

Additionally, Twitter said Thursday that it is also experimenting with a feature that would allow users to "authenticate and showcase" their NFT collections on the social network, though it didn't provide much detail or any specifics about the project.

Dorsey is one of the Valley's biggest bitcoin boosters. He once said he felt bitcoin would help bring about "world peace". And while the tip feature probably won't achieve such lofty aims, it will help struggling "creators" to raise money while creating an actual payments use case for bitcoin.

News organizations will no doubt be keeping a close eye on Dorsey's experiment with tips, as micro payments have been bandied about as a potential savior for the collapsing digital media industry.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 13:34
Published:9/23/2021 12:39:15 PM
[Markets] Gold futures eye lowest finish in 6 weeks as metals market weighs Fed policy Gold futures fall on Thursday, with prices on track for their lowest finish in over six weeks, as investors gravitated toward stocks and away from assets perceived as havens. Published:9/23/2021 12:10:59 PM
[Markets] Metals Stocks: Gold futures eye lowest finish in 6 weeks as metals market weighs Fed policy Gold futures fall on Thursday, with prices on track for their lowest finish in over six weeks, as investors gravitated toward stocks and away from assets perceived as havens.
Published:9/23/2021 12:10:59 PM
[Markets] ETF Wrap: Nancy Davis wants to be the ‘Vanguard of convexity,’ as she rolls out a new low-cost fixed-income ETF Every week we highlight the most timely exchange-traded fund news, from new launches to inflows and performance.
Published:9/23/2021 11:34:51 AM
[Markets] A major stock market decline still lurks: strategist The market is trying to find some stable footing. But one pro says buyer beware. Published:9/23/2021 11:34:51 AM
[Markets] Michigan Gov. Whitmer Bans Masks/Vaxx Mandates As Polls Crash, Re-Election Fight Looks Grim Michigan Gov. Whitmer Bans Masks/Vaxx Mandates As Polls Crash, Re-Election Fight Looks Grim

Authored by Thomas Lifson via AmericanThinker.com,

Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, early on distinguished herself as a pandemic hypocrite, demanding severe lockdowns of her citizens subjects while exempting her family and herself.  Her husband was caught boating when she had forbidden ordinary Michiganders to do the same, and she was caught traveli