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[] Leftists joke about the assassination of Ron DeSantis Published:5/28/2023 6:40:08 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On The Death Of Privacy... And What Comes Next Doug Casey On The Death Of Privacy... And What Comes Next

Authored by Doug Casey via,

International Man: In practically every country, the allowable limit for cash withdrawals and transactions continues to be lowered.

Further, rampant currency debasement is lowering the real value of these ridiculous limits.

Why are governments so intent on phasing out cash? What is really behind this coordinated effort?

Doug Casey: Let me draw your attention to three truths that my friend Nick Giambruno has pointed out about money in bank accounts.

#1. The money isn’t really yours. You’re just another unsecured creditor if the bank goes bust.

#2. The money isn’t actually there. It’s been lent out to borrowers who are illiquid or insolvent.

#3. The money isn’t really money. It’s credit created out of thin air.

The point is that cash is freedom. And when the State limits the utility of cash—physical dollars that don’t leave an electronic trail—they are limiting your personal freedom to act and compromising your privacy.

Governments are naturally opposed to personal freedom and personal privacy because those things limit their control, and governments are all about control.

International Man: Governments will probably mandate Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) as the “solution” when the next real or contrived crisis hits—which is likely not far off.

What’s your take? What are the implications for financial privacy?

Doug Casey: CBDCs are proposed as a solution, but in fact, they’re a gigantic problem.

Government is not your friend, and CBDCs are not a solution.

If they successfully implement CBDCs, it would mean that anything you buy or sell, and any income you earn, will go through CBDCs. You will have zero effective privacy. The Authorities will automatically know what you own, and they’ll be in a position to control your assets. Instantly.

They’ll be able to add CBDCs to the accounts of favored people and subtract from or block access to the accounts of those who aren’t. Digital dollars will be easy to implement since everybody already has a government ID and a Social Security account. Everybody has a smartphone. Soon everybody will have a CBDC account as well. If you lack any of these things, it will certainly ding your oncoming Social Credit Score.

I’ll go so far as to say that Central Bank Digital Currencies and digital “health passports” may be the most dangerous threats to the freedom and independence of the average human being in modern history. They will allow the State to easily control where you can go, what you can do, and what you can own. They’re both very big deals, and they’ll be daily facts of life.

In today’s world, it’s increasingly dangerous to say things that run counter to what’s considered politically correct. If you can’t say something, it’s much harder to do something. And indoctrination through education and the media are making it hard to even think. We will soon be living in a society where you can neither think, say, nor do anything that isn’t PC. Again, the problem is promoted as a solution.

It’s much like what happened during the great COVID hysteria, which was a relatively minor problem from a medical point of view. The State solution was mass lockdowns and mass vaccination. The solutions were much worse than the problem.

In any event, free speech is dying with cancel culture, trigger warnings, safe spaces, and penalties for so-called hate speech. Free speech should be an absolute—including so-called hate speech.

I’d like to reemphasize that although “hate speech” is typically impolite, unpleasant, and acrimonious, it is, perhaps paradoxically, a good thing. Why? Because it allows you to identify what’s going on in the mind of the person who utters it. And I would much rather know what somebody’s thinking and what somebody’s likely to do than have a tight lid put on so-called hate speech. I prefer knowing who I’m dealing with and what they think and feel.

International Man: It’s not just financial privacy but privacy across the board that is being buried.

Cellphones, so-called “smart” appliances, electric vehicles, social media, and other electronic devices create an all-encompassing surveillance system that most people voluntarily opt into.

What is really going on here?

Doug Casey: It’s been said that while art imitates life, life also imitates art. Especially when we look at George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984. In the book, Big Brother had ubiquitous video screens monitoring what the plebs did. We now have hundreds of millions of cameras all around the world—not counting billions more in smartphones. Universal surveillance is making for very grim times.

Recently, Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum said that everything will be “transparent”—a euphemism for darker things. But don’t worry: you have nothing to fear, he said, if you do nothing wrong. That’s ridiculous. It’s exactly what the Stasi, the KGB, and the Gestapo said.

I wonder if Schwab would be willing to have a camera observe him in his bathroom and bedroom, when he visits his safe deposit box and has a private conversation with friends—or fellow conspirators? Of course not. Transparency is only for the potentially dangerous plebs, who may not share the views of their betters.

One of the differences between a civilized society and a primitive, barbaric society, is privacy. In primitive societies, privacy doesn’t exist. You have paper-thin walls in your hut. Everybody sees everything you do and everybody you talk to.

One of the nice things about civilization is that you can get away from other people and keep them from observing you. Privacy is one of the central elements of civilization itself.

Eliminating privacy, whether it be personal or financial, is not only an aggression against individuals but destructive of civilization itself. Schwab’s “transparency” is a regression towards barbarism.

International Man: It seems privacy is dead for most people.

If that is the case, what comes next? Where is this trend headed?

Doug Casey: The first time that it became apparent to me on a personal level was at a police station in D.C., where I was paying a fine for some traffic violation. I got to chatting with the cop in back of the computer screen. This was a long time ago, in the late 70’s.

And as we talked, he said, in a friendly way, “Look, you don’t have any idea how much information we have on you—but it’s a lot.”

He wasn’t trying to intimidate me; he was just observing a fact. And that was a long time ago.

About 25 years ago, Larry Ellison, the head of Oracle Corporation, came out and made a shocking statement to the effect of “Privacy doesn’t exist, forget about it.” At the time, I thought it sounded like Ellison approved of it, but now I don’t think that was the case. He was just pointing out a reality.

Most recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger made an ad during the COVID hysteria. He said, “To hell with your freedom,” encouraging people to stop protesting about getting their shots.

Children no longer say, “Hey, it’s a free country,” when one says or does something that another doesn’t like.

People have been programmed not to take privacy seriously. Worse, they’re now suspicious of it and passively accept the fact that it doesn’t exist.

With China’s Social Credit System, everything you do, everywhere you go, and even everything you say is recorded and reported. We’re going to get our own version. You’ll be rewarded or punished according to what the ruling elite think is good or bad.

So the question is: when, if ever, will this trend turn around? Well, I’m not sure it’s any longer a question of “when.” It’s more a question of “if”—at least within a reasonable time frame. The trend is not only still in motion but accelerating. A lack of privacy means a lack of freedom. And a lack of freedom is what characterizes a serf—although in today’s world, you’re a serf with a high standard of living.

International Man: How can the average person protect their privacy and limit their exposure to State and corporate surveillance?

Doug Casey: Limit airing your personal thoughts and actions on Facebook, LinkedIn, and similar types of social media. It’s all accessible to anybody and makes it much easier for the State to control you.

In my case, I’ve made part of my living by doing the opposite of what you should do. I understand it’s a contradiction. It’s the path that I’ve chosen. But from a personal freedom point of view, it’s not a wise path. I’m reluctant to say so, but I’d advise others not to choose it. It amounts to painting a target on your back.

At this point, if you want to maximize your personal freedom, you ought to consider living in a country where you’re not a citizen. That’s because governments consider citizens to be their subjects, their assets, their property. However, when you’re a foreign citizen living in a foreign country, the local government tends to consider you a non-threat, almost a non-person. Sad to say, in today’s world, from a personal freedom point of view, you’re better off not living in your own country. That certainly includes the US and Canada.

From a financial point of view, it’s very important that you own and hold physical gold and silver, physically in your own possession, as opposed to electronically. Paper or electronic accounts are fine for speculating. But you want to have a considerable cache of the physical metals for safety. Plus, at some point, they will revert to day-to-day money.

Lastly, put a layer of protection between you and the bad guys. Don’t be afraid to use corporations and trusts in the right jurisdictions. Create barriers to make it harder for the bad guys to find out who owns something and where that person really is.

*  *  *

The political and economic climate is constantly changing… and not always for the better. Obtaining the political diversification benefits of a second passport is crucial to ensuring you won’t fall victim to a desperate government. That’s why Doug Casey and his team just released a new complementary report, “The Easiest Way to a Second Passport.” It contains all the details about one of the easiest countries to obtain a second passport from. Click here to download it now.

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/27/2023 - 18:30
Published:5/27/2023 5:48:55 PM
[Markets] DeSantis Officially Files To Run In 2024, Will Launch Presidential Bid On Twitter Spaces DeSantis Officially Files To Run In 2024, Will Launch Presidential Bid On Twitter Spaces

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has officially filed his declaration of candidacy for president, entering the 2024 race as former President Donald Trump's top GOP rival, the Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile as we detailed yesterday, Ron DeSantis will announce his 2024 presidential campaign in a Twitter Spaces livestream tonight.

DeSantis - widely viewed as Donald Trump's only real competitor for the Republican nomination - will speak with Elon Musk at 6 pm ET

The last month has seen DeSantis' odds of being nominated rise considerably as Trump's have stalled, but DeSantis remains the clear laggard...

Despite the recent trend, such a lead for Trump will be difficult to unseat, but former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that the Florida governor should steer away from personal attacks and focus solely on “policy distinctions” to defeat her former boss.

“If I’m on the DeSantis campaign, I’m looking at this, and I’m saying, ‘Where am I to the right of Trump? I’m to the right of him on Disney and corporate America and fighting for children. I’m to the right of him on abortion. I’m to the right of him on vaccination mandates,'” McEnany said.

“Trump’s not for mandates, of course, but he did call himself the father of the vaccine. If I’m DeSantis, I’m going to ignore the name calling, knock it in the mud and I’m going to cleave to the right on policy.”

DeSantis' wife Casey shared the first ad released by his presidential campaign ahead of an official announcement tonight, saying: "America is worth the fight."

Watch/Listen to the Spaces here (due to start at 1800ET):


Why is DeSantis doing this?

The audience will be big and largely under 45, one assumes.

To capture the older demographic, he will appear on Fox later in the evening.

Additionally, as Jeffrey Tucker explains, there is some symbolic importance to going first with Twitter Spaces.

After three years of censorship, Elon Musk showed up to Twitter, having massively overpaid for the property, and emancipated it from the censors. He fired 4 out of 5 employees, many of whom were feds. The financials are still suffering from the ad boycott of the major corporations in bed with the usual suspects.

After cleaning up the staffing mess, Musk gradually restored many banned accounts, particularly those of credible voices who had been saying true things about lockdowns, masks, and COVID shots and had been silenced in the largest censorship operation since World War I. Suddenly the venue was transformed into a haven for free speech, the only high impact social space to have taken this route. The rest remain heavily censored.

The technology of Spaces had a preexistence but never amounted to much before Elon took over. Suddenly it became the place to be on every topic imaginable.

My first exposure to it was truly alarming in a good way. People were speaking their minds, without censorship. Moderators let people speak and debate. It felt extremely strange, at least to me.

It served as a reminder to me, and perhaps to others, just how used to censorship and controls we had become. It felt almost incredible to hear major experts on important topics freely speaking their minds. I can recall thinking: how is it possible that this is allowed? I kept having to remind myself that this is how it is supposed to be. Even I had forgotten what freedom feels like.

The most salient and shocking fact of the last three years has been the manufactured consensus on the most radical and extreme attack on liberty and rights in our lives. It was particularly spooky because the entire machinery of oppression was blessed by the mainstream media, the corporate elite, the scientific establishment, plus government. It was the triumph and full hegemony of the corporate biomedical cartel in a massive fascistic flex of power.


This will be a fantastic election for testing out whether and to what extent the power of the people really can prevail against the corruption that has taken control of the commanding heights. Any outcome is possible. A battle between the two for the general election would be a wonderful sign of defeat for the whole establishment.

As Tucker concludes, this is why DeSantis’s choice for announcing on Twitter Spaces really matters. He is putting his confidence in freedom and free speech on display, anxious to help anyone and anything that stands in opposition to the control freaks.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/24/2023 - 14:41
Published:5/24/2023 1:59:28 PM
[In The News] DeSantis’ Website Goes Dark — Literally — Ahead Of Expected Presidential Announcement

by Mary Lou Masters at CDN -

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political campaign website changed appearance Tuesday, and went dark ahead of his expected presidential announcement Wednesday. DeSantis’ website displays an all-black screen with the head of an alligator staring at the viewer. Along with the governor’s personal Twitter account, his wife Casey DeSantis, DeSantis’ political team …

Click to read the rest HERE-> DeSantis’ Website Goes Dark — Literally — Ahead Of Expected Presidential Announcement first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:5/24/2023 7:46:48 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Gov DeSantis releases teaser trailer for big 2024 announcement [VIDEO] The DeSantis campaign just released a teaser trailer for his big 2024 announcement scheduled tomorrow. The trailer was released via Casey DeSantis’ account on Twitter. Watch: America is worth the fight… Every. . . . Published:5/23/2023 6:52:07 PM
[Uncategorized] Politico Hit Piece On Casey DeSantis Uses Trump Confidant Roger Stone As Source (Seriously)

They will always tell you who they fear: "Have you ever noticed how much Ron DeSantis’ wife Casey is like Lady Macbeth?” said Stone for the article.

The post Politico Hit Piece On Casey DeSantis Uses Trump Confidant Roger Stone As Source (Seriously) first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:5/20/2023 11:59:04 AM
[Science] Social media slams Politico for 'Lady Macbeth trope' in Casey DeSantis piece A recent article written about the wife of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Casey DeSantis, caused a stir on Twitter on Friday. Published:5/19/2023 1:07:11 PM
[Gear] You Don’t Need Tech to Get Swole (but It Helps) This week, we talk to fitness writer Casey Johnston about getting strong, eating right, and feeling great. Published:5/18/2023 7:18:54 AM
[Markets] David Stockman On The Fed's "Great Pause"... And What Happens Next David Stockman On The Fed's "Great Pause"... And What Happens Next

Authored by David Stockman via,

Every headline in the financial press earlier this week says the same thing. The Fed’s “Great Pause” has now commenced.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter point—and could be done.

Well, they might be done “raising” rates, but they shouldn’t be in the rate setting business—up, down or sideways— in the first place. That’s because market capitalism doesn’t work if financial asset prices are being pegged artificially and falsely by a 12-man monetary politburo rather than the vast throng of suppliers and users of funds in the global marketplace.

Here is the madness that rate pegging has led to over the last 22 years.

To wit, the Fed has made overnight money so ungodly cheap that it has distorted, tortured and twisted the very warp and woof of the entire financial system. All financial asset prices have been drastically falsified because 221 months of negative carry costs in real terms have triggered reckless leveraged speculations, rampant options chasing and dangerous financial asset arbitrages like never before.

Inflation-Adjusted Fed Funds Rate Since October 2001

Alas, none of this is stable or sustainable. So here we are with another day in which the stock market is open, and like clockwork a new batch of regional banks are hitting the skids.

% Stock Price Change Today/From Recent Peak:

  • PacWest: -50%/-93%;

  • First Horizon: -33%/-55%;

  • Western Alliance: -40%/-84%;

  • Zions Bancorp: -12%/-73%

In all, this batch of plummeting regional banks posted a combined market cap of just $10.6 billion at last Thursday’s close, down from $40 billion at recent valuation peaks. And again, the collapse is not because trailing earnings have cratered.

In fact, the above four regionals posted $3.2 billion of net income in 2022, meaning that as a group they closed last Thursday’s session at just 3.2X trailing net income.

Obviously, investors and traders are spooked big time not by trailing results, but by what is surely coming down the pike. The combination of faltering asset books and fleeing deposits is just plain deadly, as KBW CEO Tom Michaud said on CNBC today:

 Investors are very nervous, and I think what they’re nervous about is the fact that Silicon Valley lost 75% of their deposits in 36 hours. There’s not a bank in the world that could really sustain that….

To be sure, there is no mystery as to why these thundering bank runs are now underway. The Fed caused these banks to be flooded with absurdly cheap deposits, which, in turn, were pumped into higher yielding long-term debt securities (blue area), commercial real estate (red area) and business loans (black area).

The problem, of course, is that the cheap deposits are now fleeing with alacrity, while small bank loan and securities books are increasingly underwater. Sharply rising interest rates and an economy visibly sliding into recession will do that!

Stated differently, these deposits never had a chance of being permanent at 25 basis points or less. Likewise, there was nothing sound about asset books which grew by 10% per annum between 2014 and the present in the three above mentioned categories.

After all, during the same eight year period nominal GDP grew by only 3.2% per annum. Needless to say, true underlying demand for money at honest market rates did not grow at anything close to 3X GDP, meaning that these loans were not underwritten based on anything that even remotely resembled normal interest rates and a sustainable main street economy.

Growth Of Small Bank CRE loans, C&I loans and Treasury/Agency Debt Securities, 2014-2023

Now that a consequent cyclone is ripping through the small banking sector, this supposedly warrants a Fed pause, and then a sharp reversal to rate cuts during the second half of the year and unto 2024. In fact, the market is anticipating approximately 180 basis points of rate reductions from the Federal Reserve in the second half of this year and the first half of next year.

But that would truly be another case of Einstein’s famous definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The truth is, all three interest rate cutting sprees since the turn of the century—2001-2005, 2008-2011 and 2020-2022—were not remotely warranted. As shown in the first chart above, they simply drove real interest rates deeply underwater and caused the US economy to become submerged in excess debt, speculation and macroeconomic instability.

Indeed, each of these cheap money cycles fueled ever more reckless and excessive risk taking in the financial system. The resulting bubbles and malinvestments are now hitting the wall, with the small banking sector being simply the initial venue for the great reckoning underway.

This time, therefore, the Fed needs to let nature take it course, and purge the massive accumulated rot that has accrued in the financial system. To stop now and pivot to a fourth round of rate-cutting will only intensify the eventual conflagration.

However, the imperative at hand is not merely to persevere with the process of interest rate normalization, although that is surely warranted given that the Fed funds rate is still significantly negative in real terms. What normalization is actually about is not simply bringing the stubborn current inflation to heel, but the need for a regime change in terms of the Fed’s modus operandi.

To wit, both interest rate pegging and massive bond buying are terrible monetary policy mechanisms which are not fit for purpose. The latter causes long-term debt to be systematically under-priced, while pegging the overnight Federal funds rate is an exceedingly flimsy instrument of control that can’t hope to actually move the massive main street economy.

Indeed, yesterday’s commentary on bubble-vision in anticipation of the foregone conclusion that the Fed would raise its policy rate by 25 basis points told you all you need to know. One CNBC host even suggested that the fate of the world economy would therefore hang on Powell’s words, tone and eyebrow inflections.

Well, holy moly. We have a $26 trillion domestic economy and $90 trillion global economy composed of tens of millions of significant players, all pursuing the facts and their own best interests as they see it. Yet we are supposed to watch the eyebrows of one man, who was basically a so so Washington lawyer until elevated to the wanna be monetary politburo which is domiciled in the Eccles Building.

Sure enough, the Fed’s 25 basis point rate increase was ancient history within nanoseconds of its announcement. What mattered, according to the talking heads, was that one word had changed in the Fed’s post-meeting statement.

To wit, officials dropped a key word from their previous policy statement in March which said they “anticipated” some additional increases might be appropriate, and they replaced it with new language saying they would carefully monitor the economy and the effects of their rapid increases over the past year.

“That’s a meaningful change, that we’re no longer saying that we ‘anticipate’” additional increases, said Mr. Powell.

Well, give us a break!

What the Fed “anticipates” cannot possibly matter because the Fed has no idea what is coming down the pike. The have been wrong so often, so early and so unfailingly that their post-meeting statements are absolutely worthless—save for the speculative endeavors of fast money traders and robo-machines for a few seconds or minutes after their release.

In any event, the evident problem is that the Fed has backed itself into one hellacious corner. They are so addicted to interest rate pegging and manipulation that they cannot even see the absurdity of what they are actually doing.

To wit, since the turn of the century they have so thoroughly flooded the financial system with excess liquidity and cheap credit that they can no longer even peg their traditional instrument—the Fed funds rate.

That’s why they have set up what is called the O/N RRP facility in the trade. It stands for overnight reverse repo facility, and when you strip away all the Fed-speak, it amounts to a giant borrowing window operated by the FOMC’s technicians at Liberty Street.

Presently day in and day out they are “borrowing” $2.3 trillion for the account of a central bank that can print money at will; and, in fact, has expanded its balance sheet from $500 billion to a recent peak of $9 trillion during the last two decades.

Nevertheless, as recently a March 2021 these overnight borrowings at the Fed’s O/N RRP facility totaled only $1 billion (purple line). So there has been a 2,200X expansion of the facility during the last 24 months.

Say what?!

It’s actually very simple. The Fed needed to pretend that it was raising interest rates in a financial system flooded with rate-depressing excess liquidity.  So it used the O/N RRP to set a floor under money market rates by sopping up massive amounts of excess liquidity, and then systematically raised the rate it pays overnight lenders from 5 basis points as recently as March 2022 to 480 basis points at present.

Outstanding Balances And Interest Rates On the Fed’s Overnight Reverse Repo Facility

So where does all the money come from that was definitely uninterested in lending to the Fed at 5 basis points but more than eager at a rate 96 times higher?

Why, it’s the money market funds, which are now laughing all the way to the bank, so to speak. And to continue with that metaphor, in fact, where does all the surging inflows to the money market funds come from?

Why, the regulated commercial banking system, and most especially the regional banks!

In a word, the Fed is so tangled up in the underwear of its own monetary mechanics that it is actually causing the regional banking system collapse, which, in turn, may soon become the excuse to stop rate normalization and initiate the same rate cutting disaster all over again.

So, yes, now is no time to stop. What is really needed is an end to Keynesian central banking and the abolition of monetary central planning.

*  *  *

The truth is, we’re on the cusp of an economic crisis that could eclipse anything we’ve seen before. And most people won’t be prepared for what’s coming. That’s exactly why bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released a free report with all the details on how to survive an economic collapse. Click here to download the PDF now.

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/13/2023 - 09:20
Published:5/13/2023 8:33:46 AM
[Markets] Doug Casey On The Debt Ceiling Farce And Why The US Should Declare Bankruptcy Doug Casey On The Debt Ceiling Farce And Why The US Should Declare Bankruptcy

Authored by Doug Casey via,

International Man: The US federal government has raised the so-called debt ceiling 104 times since 1944.

Shouldn’t they call it a debt target instead of a debt ceiling?

Is this whole thing a farce?

Doug CaseyThe situation is completely and irredeemably out of control. It’s a farce. Quite laughable, except for the fact it’s so deadly serious.

Can they reduce the debt ceiling or the amount of debt? Or even slow down its growth at this point? No.

The situation is beyond redemption because most US government expenditures go to pay entitlements—Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and numerous other types of welfare.

Those things will be very hard to cut at this point; breaking the doggy dishes of millions of corrupted Americans would cause unrest. Plus, the so-called “defense” budget, which mostly supports the military/industrial complex while fomenting conflict. It’s actually much larger than disclosed because it should include $50 billion of foreign aid, the cost of running outrageously large embassies over the world, the CIA, and black budgets of all types.

Meanwhile, all US government agencies are bent on expanding themselves. The bureaucrats who run them realize that if they don’t grow the budget every year, they reduce their chances of going from one GS level to the next. Their success is based upon managing more people and spending more money. Naturally, all these agencies grow like cancers.

As a result, the “debt ceiling” is a fiction. It will stay out of control unless there is a total reorganization of the government—which itself would be risky. And that’s not going to happen until we have a financial catastrophe that leaves absolutely no alternative.

International Man: You have previously stated the US government should default on the national debt.

What are the reasons for that?

Doug CaseyI know it sounds outrageous to propose the US government default on its national debt. Of course, they don’t think it will ever be necessary because, as several high-level government officials have pointed out, they can just print money to pay off the debt.

However, I disagree. What are the reasons for doing something as seemingly catastrophic as defaulting on the debt? I’ll give you at least five. Stick with me. Let’s conduct an outrageous but not unreasonable thought experiment.

First, barring default, future generations of Americans will be turned into serfs to pay off the debt. Profligate people have run up the debt, but everybody’s children and grandchildren are stuck with having to pay it off. That’s simply immoral. If you have any care for the future at all, future generations should be saved from becoming serfs to pay it off.

Second, it would punish the enablers who lend the US government money. People who lend the US government money facilitate it by doing all the stupid and destructive things it does. They shouldn’t be rewarded; they should be punished.

Third, official default is better than the alternative. It’s like a hundred-story building that’s about to collapse. If that’s the case, should you wait until it collapses randomly and unpredictably, or should you have a controlled demolition? It’s not a pleasant alternative, but it’s the better alternative.

Fourth, default would make further borrowing on the part of the US government impossible, at least for a while. It would be exposed as an untrustworthy entity, like the Argentine government, which defaults all the time. People would still idiotically lend it more money, but a default might slow down the rate of increase in the US government’s size.

Fifth, it’s almost necessary that the debt goes away to help de-financialize the US economy. The US is tremendously over-financialized. It’s all about buying, selling, creating, and packaging financial instruments. Government debt, with the help of the Fed, is the actual engine of inflation. Defaulting on the national debt would pave the way for the reinstitution of a sound, redeemable, commodity-based money. People would have to concentrate more on real wealth than phony financial wealth, actual engineering, as opposed to financial and social engineering.

Of course, an objection reasonable people would make is: “If you default on the debt, it’s going to be a catastrophe.”

My answer is that just because all the paper debt of the US government goes away doesn’t mean the real wealth in the world will disappear. The farms, factories, technologies, and the skills of the workers, will still exist. But on a sound foundation. And with some new owners.

Furthermore, I’d point out that the US Government isn’t “we the people.” It’s become a discreet entity with its own interests, like a giant corporation. If it declares bankruptcy, it’s a problem for its employees and clients much more than for you, the taxpayer.

Those are some of the arguments I’d make for defaulting on the national debt. But it’s just a rather academic thought experiment. The powers-that-be will prefer to build the current house of cards higher, probably propping it up with FX controls, Central Bank Digital Currencies, a Social Credit System, much higher taxes, more inflation, price controls, and god knows what else in the years to come.

The default will happen, but more gradually, through the subtle fraud of inflation, which is actually the very worst and most dishonest way to default.

International Man: Paul Krugman and other mainstream economists have proposed the US government issue a trillion-dollar coin to buy up the federal debt.

That “serious” people can put forward such a clownish solution illustrates that it’s all a ridiculous charade.

What is your take?

Doug CaseyWhen you’re using funny money as a substitute for real money, it’s inevitable that soothsayers will come up with ridiculous solutions. Krugman isn’t an economist; he’s a political apologist. And a fool. He doesn’t describe the way the world works, but the way he’d like to make it work—using coercion and fraud, not voluntarism and the market. Every idea he has is so stupid that it’s criminal.

The solution to this problem is to go back to a commodity money. Money should be, once again, just a medium of exchange and a store of value. It could no longer be used as a political football.

And the US government should be cut in size by 50, 75%, or 95%. Who knows how deeply you can cut the size of the US government until you try doing it? But it’s necessary, at least if what’s left of the idea of America is going to survive.

Using commodity money will, itself, greatly downsize the US government. The US State has become a behemoth and a parasite. It’s a far bigger danger to the average American than the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, or all of them together. Returning to sound money and a tiny government would make for a more pleasant, prosperous, and safer world—although the process of doing it would be unpleasant for some people.

On the bright side, the only people who will be seriously hurt are the parasites living off the government. I say to hell with the parasites. They should be inconvenienced.

International Man: It’s hard to believe the US government was ever debt-free.

But it happened once—in 1835—thanks to President Andrew Jackson. He was the first and only president to completely pay off the national debt.

Jackson also shut down the Second Bank of the United States, the precursor to the Federal Reserve, the US’s current iteration of a central bank.

It’s unthinkable a modern US president could or would do such things.

Given the practical reality of the world today, where do you see the federal debt going, and what are the implications?

Doug Casey: It was wonderful that Andrew Jackson paid off the national debt, something that Alexander Hamilton, with his warped ideas of economics, sold to the country. But it’s now absolutely impossible to pay off $32 trillion of acknowledged debt, scores of trillions of contingent liabilities, and scores of trillions more of unacknowledged debt.

I’d like to point out that there actually have been previous defaults by the US government. For example, Abraham Lincoln, during the War between the States, defaulted by printing up so-called Greenback currency.

Roosevelt defaulted on the debt by fraudulently devaluing the dollar, raising the price of gold from $20.50 to $35, but only after confiscating it from citizens. That was a default. Then there was Nixon, in 1971, defaulting on the promise to pay foreign governments at $35 gold. Now the dollar is only worth 1/2000th of an ounce of gold.

International Man: Is there any way to turn lemons into lemonade and profit from this situation?

Doug Casey: Let’s not sugarcoat the situation. The real question is how to profit from the collapse of an overextended and corrupt empire.

It makes sense to look at the historical precedent, like the Roman Empire. Was there any way to profit from the collapse of the Roman Empire? Well, some people did, I suppose. But the standard of living collapsed for almost all its residents during the ensuing Dark Ages.

Is there any way to profit from the collapse of Western civilization? That’s so serious that it’s almost like asking whether it’s possible to profit from an asteroid hitting the Earth. The best you can hope to do is insulate yourself as much as possible.

At this point, the best way to be hurt least, or possibly even profit within a very bad scenario, is to own gold, silver, and other commodities. And to improve your skills as a speculator. Remember, most of the real wealth in the world is still going to exist; it’s just going to change ownership.

*  *  *

We’re on the cusp of a global economic crisis that could eclipse anything we’ve seen before. Most people won’t be prepared for what’s coming… That’s precisely why bestselling author and legendary speculator Doug Casey and his team just released this urgent PDF report on how to survive and thrive in this chaotic environment. Click here to download it now.

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/06/2023 - 18:30
Published:5/6/2023 5:37:53 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On The US Government Declaring War On Mexican Drug Cartels Doug Casey On The US Government Declaring War On Mexican Drug Cartels

Authored by Doug Casey via,

International Man: There has been a recent push by some US politicians of the neocon variety to use the US military against Mexican drug cartels.

Senator Lindsay Graham has proposed designating them as “terrorist organizations.”

Representative Dan Crenshaw introduced an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to target drug cartels inside Mexico.

What’s your take on this?

Doug CaseyThat’s just what the US needs: another war, and this one on the border.

The people who back the use of military force in Mexico can only be described as thoughtless warmongers with no grasp of either ethics or history. If the war against organizations like the Taliban in Afghanistan was a world-class disaster, would an invasion work out better in Mexico, which has three times the population of Afghanistan, is much richer and much better organized? And they’re right on the border, which is really asking for trouble.

The solution to the drug cartel problem is to legalize all drugs. The fact is that anybody who wants drugs today can get them easily, even if they’re in high-security prisons. From a practical point of view, making drugs illegal doesn’t work. All it does is greatly increase the price of the drugs in the US and create huge profit margins to import them. Even if you destroyed every cartel in Mexico, people that want drugs will still want them. As long as drugs are illegal, their prices will remain high and new cartels will arise.

But despite the relaxation of penalties on cannabis, it’s highly unlikely drugs will be legalized. The DEA, one of the most corrupt Federal agencies, is a permanent lobby to keep them illegal. And there’s way, way too much money in keeping them illegal.

The only solution is to learn a lesson from Prohibition in the 1930s. When they illegalized alcohol in the 1920s, it created the profits that allowed the Mafia to grow. It certainly didn’t cut down the amount of drinking; it just increased the amount of crime. Similarly, the insane War on Drugs is responsible for the success of the cartels.

They say fentanyl, an important medical drug, kills 50,000 to 100,000 Americans per year. That’s mostly because its quantity and quality are uncertain, a consequence of its illegality. But the real question is ethical: Does government have a right to “protect” people against themselves? My answer is: No. If people like it, it’s their body and their business. Prohibition of alcohol—which is also quite a dangerous drug—was costly, destructive, immoral, and stupid. Fentanyl, the current bete noir of busybodies, is no different.

If drugs were as easily available as aspirins through pharmacies, users would know what they were getting, and people who want them could get them at a cheap price in known doses.

Apart from recognizing that you can’t protect people from themselves, it’s important to look at the root of why many people get lost in drugs. The answer, I believe, is that they’re trying to hide from reality and blot it out. Why is that? It’s a subject for another conversation. But the irrationality and coercion caused by State intervention in private lives are part of the answer.

International Man: Mexican President Obrador has stated he will not allow the US government or military to enter Mexican territory.

It’s also well known that Mexican cartels have a significant presence inside the US.

Suppose the US government sends the military into action in Mexico anyways.

What do you think could happen?

Doug CaseyIt certainly wouldn’t be the first time that the US has invaded Mexico.

In the 1840s, the US basically stole all the territory in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, from Mexico. I know you shouldn’t say that—it sounds unpatriotic. But patriotism should be focused on American values, not necessarily on supporting the actions of politicians in Washington.

In the Marine Corp’s hymn, one of the lines is “From the Halls of Montezuma” because US forces were actually fighting in Mexico City.

It happened more recently when during the Mexican Revolution in the 1910s, Pancho Villa raided across the Rio Grande, and General Pershing’s troops crossed into Mexico to (unsuccessfully) pursue him.

There’s plenty of precedent for Americans invading Mexico, but perhaps the shoe is on the other foot now. 20 million or more Mexicans live in the US, mostly in the Southwest. Believe it or not, many of them talk about a Reconquista.

It’s uncertain what effect it will have on the US border if warmongers like the smarmy and foolish little Lindsey Graham succeed in fomenting an invasion of Mexico. It could turn into a counterinvasion, an active shooting war unnecessarily created to quash the Mexican drug business. Which—insofar as it’s even a real problem—is a US problem.

International Man: No matter what happens with the US military in Mexico, the situation at the border remains a mess.

What do you think should be done?

Doug CaseyThe violence of the cartels is said to be one of the motivators for migration to the US. There appear to be at least one or two million people—nobody has the exact number—annually migrating from Mexico and other places into the US. Once they arrive, many become wards of the vast US welfare system. It’s a problem.

The solution, as with so many social ills, is strict observance of property rights. That implies the border should be defended. Why? The migrants usually cross the privately owned land of Americans; they have no right to trespass. Even when the land is owned by the federal or state government, they have no right to trespass. It’s a question of strictly enforcing property rights.

There’s a sign that often appears out west, “If you’re found here at night, you’ll be found here in the morning.” It’s a justified sentiment.

Entering the US, or, more importantly, onto anybody’s private property without permission, is a serious offense. Property rights are the basis of all rights.

It’s hard to know exactly, but I suspect a major attraction to migrants is that they know that once in the country, they’re basically guaranteed free food, medical care, schools, housing, and numerous other forms of welfare. That attracts the wrong kind of people. The immigrants of the 19th century were also penniless but got absolutely nothing when they came to the US. Now migrants get lots of freebies. Part of the answer is to eliminate any and all types of welfare both for Americans and immigrants—as well as strict enforcement of property rights.

International Man: Renowned trends forecaster Gerald Celente has said, “When all else fails, they take you to war.”

Do you agree?

Doug Casey: Gerald is absolutely correct.

Looking at America’s war history, when the US fought Germany and Japan, those countries were transformed because they were totally flattened, devastated, and dispirited—that made it easy to reform them in the image that the US government wanted.

In the Korean War, which was really a war fought against China on Korean territory, the US dropped more bombs than in all of World War II. The country was totally flattened, and South Korea also transformed itself in the image that we wanted.

But Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and for that matter, Vietnam, were more on the order of sport wars against primitive countries. They were all embarrassing disasters.

What kind of war are we looking at with Mexico?

Will Washington flatten the country in order to change its government? I question whether the Mexicans will accept that. Or will Washington get involved in a protracted guerrilla war where drug gangs are designated as terrorists? Randolph Bourne was right when he said: “War is the health of the State.” Unfortunately, the average American seems to have lost the power of critical thinking. He robotically equates the health of the State with the health of America.

Either way, it’s a bad idea for America. But Washington isn’t America. The Deep State will, however, find somebody to fight. Unfortunately, it looks like Russia and China are next on the dance card, although they could certainly add Mexico to the naughty list while further bankrupting and corrupting the US.

International Man: The US government is becoming more desperate and reckless by the day.

How can the average person protect themselves and profit from this situation?

Doug Casey: The US government is increasingly designating any real or imagined enemy du jour— whether they’re Mexican drug cartels, the Russians, foreign separatist movements, or various American citizens—as terrorists. Once someone is termed a terrorist, the gloves are off, and it becomes possible to commit any kind of crime to combat him.

As the US destabilizes in many ways, Washington is finding its real danger lies within the country. What we’re looking at is a war of the US government against numerous and various groups, as well as dissident individual citizens. The FBI, CIA, DEA, and other praetorian agencies are being transformed into domestic secret police forces.

One way to protect yourself from this is to vacate the premises until it becomes safe to live in the US again.

Let me emphasize the importance of having a second residency or a second citizenship in case the US goes in the direction of so many countries in the past. And it’s not just the US. Many supposedly free Western countries are becoming quite repressive.

In fact, it’s dangerous being a US citizen in the US these days, at least if you speak out too loudly. It certainly concerns me personally. Even though I don’t believe it’s possible to change the course of events, I say what I do because it’s right, not because it’s smart.

That said, you should plan on the US government becoming much more virulent in the future. Washington, not Mexican cartels, is the real danger.

That’s absolutely the case for the next two years, while genuine Jacobins control the government. But perhaps beyond that. There’s no telling who’s going to be elected or what they’re going to do. Since we’re likely going to be in the middle of a huge financial, economic, political, social, and military crisis, anything is possible. Little of it is good.

The trend in motion is probably going to stay in motion.

*  *  *

It’s clear there are some ominous social, political, cultural, and economic trends playing out right now. Many of which seem to point to an unfortunate decline of the West. That’s precisely why legendary speculator Doug Casey and his team just released this free report, which shows you exactly what’s happening and what you can do about it. Click here to download it now.

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/28/2023 - 19:40
Published:4/28/2023 6:43:11 PM
[Markets] David Stockman On Why Decades Of Inflationary Finance Are Finally Coming Home To Roost David Stockman On Why Decades Of Inflationary Finance Are Finally Coming Home To Roost

Authored by David Stockman via,

Eventually, the inflationary credit emitted by the Fed works its way through the global economy and comes home to roost in the form of reduced domestic output and rising prices.

In this regard, there is no more powerful tell than the round trip of the PCE deflator for durable goods during the past 28 years.

As shown in the chart below, prices for durable goods, which are now mostly manufactured abroad, plunged continuously and by a staggering 40% between early 1995 and the Covid-Lockdown bottom in Q2 2020. There is no broad-scale deflationary gale quite like it in all of recorded history.

PCE Deflator for Durable Goods, 1995-2022

What caused it, of course, was a one-time arbitrage of labor and other local production costs on the massively expanded global supply chain enabled by modern technology.

Again, however, that wasn’t a wonder of capitalism alone. What drove the global supply chain deep into the interior of China and other ultra-low labor cost venues was the Fed’s lunatic inflation-targeting policies—originally de facto under Greenspan and then eventually (2012) official under Bernanke.

The truth is, when Mr. Deng declared that to be rich was glorious and opened China’s great export factories, sound money in the US would have resulted in a continuous deflation of the drastically swollen US cost and price level that had emerged from the Great Inflation of the 1970s.

Obviously, Alan Greenspan, the once and former champion of the gold standard, was having none of it. Had he permitted the nation’s swollen cost structure to deflate in order to keep domestic production competitive, he would not have been the toast of the town in Washington. He would have been vilified by the politicians because the indicated cure of soaring interest rates and shrinking domestic credit on the free market would have made financing the giant Federal deficits which emerged in the Reagan era well nigh impossible.

So Greenspan pretended to be the champion of sound money by taking credit for a phony gain he was pleased to call “disinflation”. The latter amounted to deliberately depreciating the purchasing power of savers and wage earners, but just not quite as rapidly as during the worst days before Volcker.

Needless to say, in a globalized economy inflationary money is quite the trickster. In the initial instance it led to the massive and relentless off-shorting of production, and the re-importing of the same goods produced abroad via the cheap labor being requisitioned from China’s vast interior rice paddies.

Inflation of the dollar came back as deflation of durable goods prices!

It also allowed the Fed to claim that it had vanquished inflation and that its altogether new challenge was the madness called “lowflation” or too little inflation.  That’s truly when the Keynesian central bankers lost their minds.

Alas, the trouble with “lowflation” is that it was a one-time aberration, not a permanent or sustainable condition. As the above sharp hook in the chart attests, the sub-index for durables is now up by 15% from the bottom, even as the global supply chain continues to contract owing to the exhaustion of cheap labor in China and badly lagging political patience with free trade in the US and throughout the west.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the deeply embedded inflation that has has been fostered by the Fed and its fellow-traveling central banks is now proving to be far more stubborn than our Keynesian money-printers ever anticipated; and far more vicious that the clownish perma-bulls of Wall Street ever imagined.

Here is still one more reminder. We have long-argued that the proper approach to fashioning a “core” inflation gauge is not to arbitrarily drop items out of the price basket like food, energy and now shelter, too. Take that far enough and inflation drops to zero because you are no longer measuring anything that even remotely resembles the general price level.

By contrast, the trimmed mean CPI is just the ticket because each month it drops out the high and low 8% of items, respectively, but these are never the same components. So you are smoothing the monthly perturbations, not eliminating great gobs of the price structure.

In any event, the chart below presents the 16% trimmed mean CPI on both a year-over-year basis (purple line) and a monthly annualized basis (black line).

16% Trimmed Mean CPI, Y/Y Change Versus Annualized Rate of Monthly Change,  2018-2023

In short, decades of inflationary finance are coming home to roost. The Fed is not in charge of the cycle and it’s not over-doing its belated attempt to permit interest to return to some semblance of rationality relative to the underlying rate of inflation.

So now would be a good time to duck and cover.

They say that the Fed always breaks something but that is only partially true. What it actually broke was the money and capital markets long ago, and now there is only more demolition to come.

*  *  *

The truth is, we’re on the cusp of an economic crisis that could eclipse anything we’ve seen before. And most people won’t be prepared for what’s coming. That’s exactly why bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released a free report with all the details on how to survive an economic collapse. Click here to download the PDF now.

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/24/2023 - 17:40
Published:4/24/2023 5:00:10 PM
[] Governor Ron DeSantis begins his World Tour in Japan and Donald Trump has thoughts Published:4/24/2023 4:05:33 PM
[Politics] [Josh Blackman] Today in Supreme Court History: April 22, 1992 4/22/1992: Planned Parenthood v. Casey argued. Published:4/22/2023 6:32:25 AM
[Harry Potter] The CEO of Warner Bros. Really Wants a Harry Potter TV Series Warner Bros. Discovery's David Zaslav and Casey Bloys are reportedly trying to convince J.K. Rowling on Harry Potter television series for HBO Max, which could be a huge money maker for the still unprofitable streaming service. Published:4/4/2023 6:08:25 PM
[Markets] David Stockman On The Status Of The Everything Bubble Created By The Fed David Stockman On The Status Of The Everything Bubble Created By The Fed

Authored by David Stockman via,

The Wall Street Journal recently brought word that a professor Efraim Benmelech of the finance department at Northwestern University thinks the Fed is hurting housing and the consumer too much.

Opined he,

....those higher interest rates are making mortgages more expensive and leading to fewer home sales. That leads to less spending on appliances, paint and other home goods, because people commonly buy those items ahead of a sale and after moving.

“The actions of the Fed are leading to lower consumption,” he said.

You don’t say!

Then again, has it occurred to the good professor that the years and years of ultra low mortgage rates engineered by the Fed were totally unnatural, uneconomic and not sustainable?

The evidence for that is in the chart below. It shows that for most of the last three decades, the Fed drove the after-inflation or “real” interest rate on 30-year mortgages steadily lower until it actually turned negative.

Inflation-Adjusted Interest Rate on 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgages, 1990 to 2023

Stated differently, the unfolding recession is a long overdue and necessary purge of artificial economic activity stimulated and subsidized by the central bank’s own financial repression policies.

The Fed’s belated attempt to “normalize” interest rates, therefore, is not a mean-spirited policy to deliberately cause labor, manufacturing capacity and other economic resources to be idled. To the contrary, it’s a belated attempt to unshackle markets from the excesses, bubbles, malinvestments, inefficiencies and unsustainabilities that were the inherent results of decades of reckless money-printing.

One of the many bubbles created by the Fed’s relentless monetary expansion of recent years might be termed the “labor bubble”. By that we are referring to the madcap hiring undertaken by corporate HR departments in the aftermath of the Covid Lockdown disruption.

As it happened, they failed to meet staffing needs in the early days of the re-opening in 2021 owing to the fact that millions of workers had left the active labor force thanks to massive stimmies, early retirements and other welfare state inducements, along with mom and dad’s basements and checkbooks. So HR departments plunged into hiring “just in case” the re-opening boom of 2021 and early 2022 continued. In effect, they began to hoard labor.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek admitted as much in a recent missive to employees announcing a 6% cut in the company’s workforce:

“In hindsight, I was too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth. And for this reason, today, we are reducing our employee base by about 6% across the company. I take full accountability for the moves that got us here today,” the exec said.

Of course, the re-opening and stimmy boom didn’t last—notwithstanding the Fed’s massive money-pumping and monetization of the public debt issued to finance the $6 trillion of Covid bailouts.

Since the spring of 2021 when the stimmies peaked, the US economy has actually been slouching toward idle. In fact, once you strain out of the GDP numbers the one-time inventory rebuilding, which was necessitated by the drastic depletion of merchandise stocks triggered by the stimmy based consumer spend-a-thons, there is hardly any organic growth left.

As shown in the chart below, the combination of Dr. Fauci’s Virus Patrol and the Washington spenders did a real number on the business economy. First, the normal business inventory-to-sales ratio exploded to the upside during the initial lockdowns and spending collapse, and then plunged to unprecedented lows as the stimmy-fueled boom in Amazon orders drained the system of its working inventories.

Whipsaw of Business Inventory-to-Sales Ratio, 2018 to 2022

Since reaching bottom in October 2021 inventories have been rebuilt to nearly normal levels, but that’s just the problem. The GDP gain reflected in the inventory rebuild is just a case of “one and done”. In fact, with the interest cost of carrying inventories now rising rapidly it is likely that the business sector restocking is over.

As we indicated, once you peel back the effect of inventory restocking, the stagnation of the US economy is starkly apparent. For instance, in the case of the industrial production index, which covers all of manufacturing, energy, mining and utility output, the level in March 2022 stood at 103.5.

As it happened, the index posted at a nearly identical 103.4 in December. Call it nine months of “growth” to nowhere!

Industrial Production Index, March to December 2022

Needless to say, none of this madness would have happened without the enabling hand of the Federal Reserve.

*  *  *

The truth is, we’re on the cusp of an economic crisis that could eclipse anything we’ve seen before. And most people won’t be prepared for what’s coming. That’s exactly why bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released a free report with all the details on how to survive an economic collapse. Click here to download the PDF now.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/26/2023 - 13:30
Published:3/26/2023 12:35:15 PM
[Markets] SCOTUS Overturns Appeals Court Upholding Abortion Without Parental Consent SCOTUS Overturns Appeals Court Upholding Abortion Without Parental Consent

Authored by Matthew Vadum via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The Supreme Court threw out a federal appeals court decision on March 20 that upheld the right of a minor to go to court for permission to pursue an abortion without notifying her parents.

Then-Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson watches the Senate vote on her nomination to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on April 7, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was the sole member of the Supreme Court to file a dissenting opinion in the case, Chapman v. Doe, court file 22-312.

In the case, the court vacated the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and remanded the case to that court with instructions to dismiss the proceeding as moot. Jackson objected to the specific manner in which this was done because it erased any precedential value the circuit court ruling may have had.

In the case, a pregnant minor, Jane Doe, visited her local courthouse to apply for a dispensation allowing her to bypass parental consent for the planned abortion. The office of the petitioner, Michelle Chapman, circuit clerk for Randolph County, Missouri, told her she couldn’t file a bypass petition without notifying a parent.

Doe got an abortion in Illinois after a court there authorized it, absent parental notification.

Doe filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal district court for damages, claiming that Chapman violated her 14th Amendment rights. Chapman took the position that she was immune to lawsuits because she followed a Missouri statute and a judge’s directions.

Chapman also claimed that Doe’s right to a bypass hearing wasn’t clearly established and that she therefore couldn’t have violated Doe’s rights.

In what was perceived as a victory for the pro-abortion movement, the district court ruled against Chapman, finding that the statute didn’t require prehearing notification of the minor’s parents to obtain judicial authorization for an abortion.

The 8th Circuit later determined that Doe’s claim must be allowed to proceed, finding that the right to bypass the parents was clearly established under the 14th Amendment.

But in September 2022, Chapman asked the Supreme Court to review the case after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, finding there was no right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution and returning the regulation of abortion to the states.

In its June 24, 2022, ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the high court also reversed a related 1992 precedent, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, which affirmed Roe and declared that a woman had a right to obtain an abortion before fetal viability without undue interference from the state.

“Doe’s claims rely on the proposition” that requiring parental notification of a judicial bypass proceeding must satisfy the undue burden test announced in Casey, Chapman said.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/21/2023 - 21:25
Published:3/21/2023 9:26:23 PM
[Markets] Farmers Fear Contamination At Start of Growing Season Near Train Derailment Farmers Fear Contamination At Start of Growing Season Near Train Derailment

Authored by Beth Berlje via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

With spring planting just around the corner, Ohio and Pennsylvania farmers near the Norfolk Southern train derailment are worried about the effect spilled chemicals will have on their crops and livestock.

Portions of a Norfolk and Southern freight train that derailed on Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio, were still on fire at mid-day, on Feb. 4, 2023. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

In a joint letter on Wednesday, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and John Fetterman (D-Pa.) asked Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas Vilsack and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Michael Regan to address the concerns of farmers and agricultural producers in the affected areas around East Palestine, Ohio, and Darlington Township, Pennsylvania.

The letter asks the USDA and EPA to send resources to the region to help farmers test soils, plant tissue, and livestock to determine their safety and marketability.

It also asks for a review of what disaster assistance could be offered to farmers.

So far, the letter says, no agency has provided clear guidance to farmers about the safety of their crops and livestock and whether they will be able to safely sell them.

Farmers in the region are already reporting receiving requests to cancel orders due to health concerns,” the letter said. “Farmers and food producers in East Palestine and Darlington Township need assistance in responding to this manmade disaster.”

Despite testing results, the letter said, some consumers will still be apprehensive and refuse to purchase agricultural products from the region because of the contamination. That is why farmers have specifically asked for disaster assistance.

Senators Casey and Fetterman have worked tirelessly to support Pennsylvanians and Ohioans impacted by this disaster in the short term, namely advocating for resources and holding Norfolk Southern accountable for the harm the derailment has inflicted, in addition to working to prevent similar disasters from happening in the future,” a press release about the letter said.

Fetterman’s Health

Fetterman’s work has been interrupted by health issues. The train derailed on Feb. 3 and four days later, on Feb. 7, Fetterman went to George Washington University Hospital because he was lightheaded. This was a concern because he suffered a stroke on the campaign trail and has cardiac problems. He was released on Feb. 10.

Fetterman then checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of clinical depression on Feb. 15, where he is expected to stay for weeks. At first, there were no signs of his working from the hospital, but on March 6, his staff posted photos on Twitter of him sitting with an aide in a lavender room at the hospital.

 “Productive morning with Senator Fetterman at Walter Reed discussing the rail safety legislation, Farm Bill, and other Senate business. John is well on his way to recovery and wanted me to say how grateful he is for all the well wishes. He’s laser-focused on PA & will be back soon,” the Twitter post from Chief of Staff Adam Jentleson said. Fetterman remains unavailable to constituents.

But now, he has signed this and another joint letter.

Questions for Norfolk Southern

Another letter was sent to Alan Shaw, president and CEO of Norfolk Southern Corporation. It was signed by Fetterman, Casey, Brown, and U.S. Representatives Chris Deluzio (D-Pa.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), and J. D. Vance (R-Ohio).

In it, they asked the following questions:

  • How does the company plan to assist individuals or municipalities with short-term water needs? What will be done in the long-term if water sources are contaminated by the hazardous materials that leaked out of tanker cars or that were created during the explosion and subsequent fires?
  • What is the company’s plan to reimburse local farmers if their crops, soil, or livestock are found to be injured, killed, contaminated, or in any way rendered less valuable by the derailment or its effects?
  • How will the company determine the amount of direct financial compensation it will provide to municipalities affected by this derailment, including East Palestine, Ohio, and Darlington Township, Pennsylvania?
  • What steps will the company take to make information regarding reimbursements and financial assistance available to local residents, organizations, businesses, and relevant public officials? Following the emergency phase of the clean-up, what subsurface remediation activities are anticipated being needed and what is the anticipated length of time required for those activities?
  • What are the company’s plans for remediation and disposal of impacted soils? Will any of the materials need to be transported off-site for treatment and disposal? And how will the company ensure communities are protected along the transportation route?
  • Since the adoption of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), how has Norfolk Southern’s staffing changed? Can you confirm that Norfolk Southern’s workforce has reduced by approximately 40 percent due to PSR? Further, please provide data on the size of the Norfolk Southern workforce that conducts inspections of trains since adoption of PSR.
  • How much has Norfolk Southern expended on stock buybacks and dividends in the past 10 years? And during that period how much has Norfolk Southern expended on maintenance and repair of infrastructure and rolling stock?
Tyler Durden Fri, 03/10/2023 - 20:20
Published:3/10/2023 7:36:09 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On The Rise Of "Climate Brats" And Other Useful Idiots Doug Casey On The Rise Of "Climate Brats" And Other Useful Idiots

Authored by Doug Casey via,

International Man: Webster’s Dictionary defines a useful idiot as a “naive or credulous person who can be manipulated or exploited to advance a cause or political agenda.”

Lenin is thought to have originated the phrase when referring to communist sympathizers in the West.

What is your take on this term? Is it still applicable today?

Doug CaseyToday’s make-believe democracies are overflowing with useful idiots. They latch on to one lame-brained notion after another, perhaps to give meaning to their confused and pointless lives. They’re a bit like cats chasing the red dot from their master’s laser pointer. The Ukraine, Covid, sex perversions, Trump, racism, climate change—it’s one thing after another.

Climate change is one of the central scams being promoted by the World Economic Forum as part of their Great Reset. It seems everything that comes out of the WEF—I can’t think of any exceptions — is antithetical to the traditional values of Western Civilization, prominently including free markets and personal liberty.

We’ve discussed the COVID hysteria and what looks like World War III starting in the Ukraine. But the biggest thing, with the longest legs, is climate change. Full disclosure: I believe in climate change. The climate has been changing constantly since the world came together about four and a half billion years ago. And it’ll continue to change.

The problem, however, isn’t climate change itself but the process of indoctrinating the public, especially young people, with the belief that humanity is destroying Mother Earth.

They’re given snippets of science, like the fact that the world has been generally warming since the mid-19th century. Well, sure, it has because the planet went through what’s known as the Little Ice Age from the 16th through the 19th centuries. It has cyclically been warming for the last 150 years. As a matter of fact, the world has been warming since the end of the last Great Ice Age, about 12,000 years ago.

The “global warming” people have found a great excuse for changing not just the economy but the way literally everything works. My view is that they’re basically anti-human—they actually hate and fear people. It’s why Yuval Noah Harari, the mincing court intellectual of the WEF, often refers to them as “useless eaters.” He may be right. But what’s insane is that someone like him could gain the power to make serious decisions. People like him applaud massive population reduction.

Especially, it would appear, of what Hillary called “deplorables” in the Western world. They see people as the enemy. Some idiots among them are useful, but they’re all expendable.

It’s easy for the “elite’—who are actually parasites—to influence those that they refer to as “the masses.” That’s partly because the average person has no grip on either science or history. Any episode of Jay Leno’s Jay Walking, or Mark Dice’s current equivalent on Youtube, offers plenty of anecdotal proof. They’ll ask what seem like average, reasonably intelligent people the simplest of questions. They can’t answer any of them. A typical response to the question “Who won the American Civil War” might be “The Germans?”. The only questions they can answer correctly are about pop and sports stars.

It’s absolutely true: The world is full of useful idiots. They’re useful to the ruling classes who want to change everything. In fact, just last week, the Aspen Institute, one of the world’s best-known think tanks, sponsored a climate change conference featuring Kamala Harris and Gloria Estefan as the twin keynote speakers.

It’s a pathetic comedy. A couple of useful idiots are talking to an audience of useful idiots about something that none of them know absolutely anything about.

International Man: Today, we see a lot of useful idiots among average people—especially children and young adults—whipped up into a hysteria over so-called “climate change.”

Popular culture, the media, Hollywood, academia, Wall Street, politicians, and other authority figures reinforce the climate alarmist narrative.

Are these people being duped into supporting an agenda they don’t fully understand? What is really going on here?

Doug Casey: The fact is that Congress critters live in an echo chamber. They’re there to pass laws and regulations governing what other people can and can’t do. And for that reason, they all believe that they have a right to push their agendas. They’re narcissists who love power. That’s why they’re in Washington.

Congress is largely populated by people like AOC, the race-baiting socialist bartender, the mentally disabled John Fetterman, and George Santos, the pathological liar. Almost every Congress critter is an embarrassment. They didn’t run for Congress because they’re good people but because they’re power-hungry narcissists.

Useful idiots are annoying enough when you see them in sports, the media, and Hollywood. But they tend to concentrate in Congress, where they’re actively dangerous.

International Man: Recently, climate brats—young Westerners with psychological problems—glued themselves to priceless paintings in various museums.

Another group threw cake on the Mona Lisa.

Yet another threw tomato soup on a Vincent van Gogh painting.

The perpetrators of these destructive acts did so to draw attention to a fictitious climate emergency.

What is your take?

Doug Casey: They’re trying to draw attention to lunatic beliefs by destroying great works of art. That alone is proof that they are, in fact, deranged. These people have real psychological problems. That they aren’t severely punished but are taken seriously proves how degraded the West has become. But it’s just getting what it deserves. Very sad…

It’s one thing to try to get the attention of other people, so they listen to what you have to say. But destroying the great art of Western Civilization is really where their heads are at. Destroying Western Civilization is an active part of their insane agenda. They’re deeply unhappy with themselves, but they blame it on Civilization.

Their severe psychological problems are illustrated by the kind of people populating the Biden administration. Everyone from the tranny who dresses up in an admiral’s costume to Pete Buttigieg, who plays the female part of a couple with his boyfriend, to the former assistant secretary in Biden’s Office of Nuclear Energy who was that was caught stealing women’s clothing again and again. Biden himself, his Attorney General Merrick Garland, almost all of the top military people…

This is all part of a syndrome.

International Man: While these climate brats seem to be engaging in isolated acts, the reality is that climate alarmism is dictating government policy and corporate decisions and pumping unimaginable distortions into the global economy.

Where is this trend headed?

Doug CaseyTrends in motion tend to stay in motion and even accelerate until they reach a crisis. And that’s where we’re heading right now. Even if we don’t reach a crack-up crisis, which I suspect we will, even if saner heads prevail and start to reverse the trend, it’s going to take many, many years to first slow the trend and then reverse it. So there’s not much cause for optimism.

International Man: Given everything we discussed today, what are the investment implications?

Doug Casey: Put money in things that everybody has been taught to hate but are necessary for Civilization to continue. This means energy—uranium, oil, natural gas, and coal—and metals like gold and copper—resources in general.

Fortunately, the stocks of companies that produce these things are very cheap, with many selling for single-digit P/Es, and double-digit dividends. The mining and energy industries are very un-PC. ESG dictates that you shouldn’t put money into any kind of extractive industry. It’s generally very expensive or impossible to get permits for development, so the stocks are very cheap. I’d like to believe that reality will reassert itself, and these things will go up a lot.

The general stock market is still way overpriced. Plus, a crypto bubble still exists, evidenced by things like Dogecoin, which was created as a joke and serves no useful purpose. It still has a market cap of about $11 billion dollars. I think that can almost be used as an indicator of how much of a bubble the economy is still in.

*  *  *

We’ve seen governments institute the strictest controls on people and businesses in history. It’s been a swift elimination of individual freedoms. But this is just the beginning...

Most people don’t realize the terrible things that could come next, including negative interest rates, the abolition of cash, and much more. If you want to know how to survive what the central bankers and the Deep State have planned, then you need to see this newly released report from legendary investor Doug Casey and his team. Click here to download it now.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/09/2023 - 20:20
Published:3/9/2023 7:32:34 PM
[Markets] Innovation Or Attack? Sorting Out The "NFT Big Block" On The Bitcoin Network Innovation Or Attack? Sorting Out The "NFT Big Block" On The Bitcoin Network

By Liu Chongyong of WuBlockchain,

On February 1, 2023, Bitcoin Network mined the largest block in history, containing a nearly 4M largest transaction in the history, and the transaction fee is 0...

The big transaction was sent out by indie developer @udiWertheimer’s “Taproot Wizard”, an NFT project on the Bitcoin network. The main data is an NFT, not a hash, but an entire jpg image.

The developer and project have not been named, but the incident has caused a huge shock to the Bitcoin ecosystem, with Blockstream CEO Adam Back (@adam3us), Bitcoin Core developer @LukeDashjr and others calling it an attack on Bitcoin.

See CoinDesk’s report:

However, @udiWertheimer stresses that this is an innovation based on “Ordinals” proposed by former Bitcoin core developer Casey Rodarmor.

Ordinals Doc:

@udiWertheimer and Casey Rodarmor claim that the theory can tag every basic unit of bitcoin: satoshi, and can be transferred. NFT is just one of many ways to enable more functionality on the Bitcoin network without the need for a hard and soft fork upgrade.

Rodarmor claims that Ordinals came up because Bitcoin lacks a stable public identity. Bitcoin addresses tend to be single-use, wallet accounts are local, and ownership of public and private keys is not transferable. So, by marking each satoshi in each output, Ordinals creates a transferable account or identity for Bitcoin.

For technical details see:

Specifically, in the NFT project “Taproot Wizard”, the publisher is supposed to use a specific satoshi to refer to jpg images to implement the identification and circulation of the NFT. I haven’t fully understood how this is done.

It’s an interesting experiment in innovation, but bitcoin core doesn’t like it for a couple of reasons:

  1. Blockchain size inflation: This will result in the rapid expansion of bitcoin blockchain size, greatly increased requirements for devices running full-node, resulting in the reduction of full-node of the whole network and the decline of anti-censorship. This was the main reason for rejecting Vitalik’s smart contract in OP_RETURN in 2014, and rejecting hard fork expansion in 2017.

  2. Ecological impact: Big transactions and Big blocks exceeding expectations impact wallet, mining pool, browser and other ecological facilities, resulting in some facilities abnormal, such as the transaction of browser failed to parse properly.

  3. Reduce security: In order to reduce the time of synchronization and verification of big transactions and blocks, the mining pool or miners may choose not to download and release blocks without verifying the transactions and blocks, which brings security risks.

In the expansion debate in 2017, Bitcoin core refused to expand by means of hard fork to increase the block limit, and chose to use segwit to bring the verification information outside the block on the premise of avoiding hard fork, so as to bypass the 1M block limit and achieve partial expansion. However, there was no restriction on the length of the verification message. Hard choices now have to be made:

  1. Do nothing and allow applications to enter the Bitcoin blockchain in this way, making the debate about limiting OP_RETURN and expanding capacity meaningless;

  2. Hard fork upgrade, write the size limit of the data witnessed in isolation into the consensus. This is also difficult. The impact of hard fork is great and all nodes need to be updated, which is also the main reason for rejecting the New York Consensus upgrade to 2M in 2017.

  3. Reach a partial consensus on major pools and reject big blocks and big tx. This is very bad. It opens the door to manual block review, loses the sense of decentralization, and is operationally difficult for all pools to comply with.

Overall, option 1 is more likely because option 3 is difficult to achieve, and the Bitcoin ecosystem is already very large, making it difficult to smoothly hard fork.

Relevant data:

Block height: 774628

Block size: 3,955,272 bytes

Transaction ID


Transaction size: 3,938,383 bytes

Transaction type: segwit

Transaction fee: 0

Block miner: “Luxor Mining”

Sending address of transaction:


Note: I have not yet sorted out all the technical details, such as how Ordinals implemented NFT, the structure of the isolated witness data and related restrictions, etc. Corrections or additions are welcome.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/05/2023 - 22:00
Published:2/5/2023 9:28:50 PM
[Markets] Stockman: What Inflation Would Look Like In A True Free-Market Economy Stockman: What Inflation Would Look Like In A True Free-Market Economy

Authored by David Stockman via,

There is nothing more substantive than Bernanke’s original finger-in-the-air proposition that the Fed needed a 200 basis point cushion in the inflation rate in order to steer the economy clear of the dreaded 0.0% inflation line, the other side of which allegedly amounted to a black hole of deflationary demise.

But here’s the thing. There is not a shred of historical evidence that the US economy needs a 2.00% inflation guardrail to thrive, or any fixed rate of inflation at all.

For instance, even during the most difficult period of the 20th century—from 1921 to 1946 when the US economy experienced the Roaring Twenties boom, the Great Depression bust and the WWII rebound—there was abundant net economic growth over the period as a whole, accompanied by zero inflation.

In fact, the US economy nearly tripled in size during that quarter-century period. Real GDP expanded at a robust 3.64% per annum rate, and real GDP per capita rose by 2.55% per annum.

By contrast, between the 2007 pre-crisis peak and 2021, real GDP grew at only half that rate (1.72% per annum), while per capita real GDP increased by just 1.04% per year. That was just two-fifths of the rate of annual gain during 1921-1946.

Needless to say, it didn’t take any 2.00% inflationary guard rails to generate the salutary outcomes cited above for 1921-1946. The CPI index shown below posted at 542 in February 2021 and 541 a quarter century later in May 1946.

Purchasing Power of the Dollar, 1921 to 1946

As it had unfolded, there was zero CPI inflation during the Roaring Twenties; a severe deflation during the Great Depression, which merely reversed the war inflation of 1915-1920; and then a return to the 1921 price level during the booming but regimented economy of WWII.

Still, by the spring of 1946 the dollar’s purchasing power was 100% of what it had been in early 1921. It had not taken any net inflation at all to generate a near tripling of the nation’s economic output.

The implication is straightforward. To wit, the Fed doesn’t need a pro-inflation target of 2.00% per annum. Nor does it need any of its other macroeconomic targets for unemployment, jobs growth, actual versus potential GDP or the rest of the Keynesian policy apparatus. All of those variables are the job of the people interacting on the free market, producing whatever outcomes their collective actions happened to generate.

Indeed, macro-economic outcomes are not properly the business of the state at all. The Fed’s job is far more narrow. As originally conceived by its great architect, then Congressman Carter Glass, its mission was to keep the purchasing power of the dollar as good as the gold to which it was to be linked, and the banking system liquid and stable, as driven by the free market of borrowers and lenders.

As we have explained on other occasions, Congressman Glass called this a “bankers’ bank” and the term could not be more diametrically opposed to the central planners’ bank of Greenspan, Bernanke, Yellen, Powell and Brainard.

As Carter Glass saw it, no academician needed to stick his finger in the air and divine an inflation target. Nor did any modeler need to goal-seek his/her equations until they suggested the optimum U-3 unemployment rate relative to an arbitrary inflation target.

The fact is, the free market operating with sound gold-backed money was never inflationary. In that context, interest rates were also not a policy “tool” of the central bank, but the result of a market-clearing balancing of supply and demand.

As Carter Glass had arranged it, the Fed was not allowed to own government debt, nor did it have an activist arm now known as the FOMC empowered to intervene in the money and capital markets by buying and selling debt securities.

To the contrary, its avenue of operation was the discount window at the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks. The latter were authorized to advance funds to member banks, but only at a penalty spread above the free market interest rate, and also only on the basis of sound, self-liquidating collateral in the form of commercial paper that matured within a matter of months.

Given this mechanism, the dynamics of Fed policy were the opposite of today. Under the Glassian arrangement, the Fed’s balance sheet was the passive consequence of free market activity by commercial bankers and main street borrowers, not a mechanism to proactively steer the level of aggregate commerce and business activity.

Accordingly, the Fed’s value added stemmed not from wild-ass guesses about the inflation rate by PhDs like Lael Brainard, but from the grunt work of green-eyeshade accountants. Their job was to verify that bank loan collateral presented for funding at the discount window represented the obligations of sound borrowers, not speculators and high flyers, who would reliably repay under the terms of the underlying bank loan, thereby ensuring that the Fed’s discount loans would be repaid at term, too.

What this meant was that the Fed’s balance sheet was intended to reflect the ebb-and-flow of decentralized commerce and production on main street, not a centralized judgment by 12 people gathered on the banks of the Potomac about whether inflation and unemployment were too high, too low or just right.

That is to say, under the bankers’ bank arrangement the free market put an automatic check on CPI inflation. That’s because unsound speculative loans could not be easily made in the first place, since they were not eligible for discount at the Fed window.

And if demand for even sound loans got too frisky, interest rates would rise sharply, thereby rationing available savings until more of the latter could be generated or demand for the former was curtailed.

*  *  *

The truth is, we’re on the cusp of an economic crisis that could eclipse anything we’ve seen before. And most people won’t be prepared for what’s coming. That’s exactly why bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released a free report with all the details on how to survive an economic collapse. Click here to download the PDF now.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 13:00
Published:2/3/2023 12:12:44 PM
[Entertainment] Casey Wilson and Husband David Caspe Welcome Baby No. 3 Via Surrogate Casey Wilson, David Caspe Casey Wilson is embarking on a new chapter of motherhood. The Happy Endings star has welcomed her third child—a baby girl named Francis Rose—with husband David Caspe, she announced on the Jan. 26...
Published:1/26/2023 7:53:47 PM
[World] New national debate on abortion has begun The infamous holdings in Roe v. Wade and Casey have been reversed by the Dobbs decision -- conveying to lawmakers at the federal, state and local levels the authority to regulate abortion. Published:1/19/2023 4:04:43 PM
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