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[Markets] 'Nasser Was Not An Outlier' - Exposing The FBI's Incurable Rot 'Nasser Was Not An Outlier' - Exposing The FBI's Incurable Rot

Authored by Julie Kelly via American Greatness (emphasis ours),

The incurable incompetence, corruption, and moral rot of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was on full display last week.

Within a 24-hour period, some of America’s toughest female athletes recounted to a Senate committee their painful tales of how the FBI ignored evidence that team doctor Larry Nassar was a sexual predator, and a powerful attorney who colluded with the FBI to concoct one of the most animating chapters of the Trump-Russia collusion fiction was indicted for lying to federal officials.

Overlap in the two cases is more than ironic, it’s illustrative: Michael Sussman, a lawyer for Perkins Coie, the law firm that was working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign, met with the FBI’s general counsel in September 2016 to plant a false story about Donald Trump’s financial ties to a Russian bank. That same month, the Indianapolis Star broke the story of how Nassar, the longtime physician for the USA Gymnastics team, had sexually abused several female gymnasts. One victim filed a lawsuit after the FBI refused to investigate complaints made to at least two FBI field offices in 2015 and 2016.

But the FBI at that time was too preoccupied with protecting Hillary Clinton to deal with a monster who had systematically raped nearly 300 female American athletes. (As Lee Smith recently noted, the FBI “has been used for a quarter of a century as the place to clean up the Clintons’ dirt.”)

Months before the 2016 presidential election, the FBI, led by James Comey, used its unchecked authority to sabotage Donald Trump. Meanwhile, elite American athletes, including Olympic gold medalists, could not get the bureau’s attention while a sexual abuser continued his rampage. Local FBI agents passed the buck and allegedly falsified reports; one agent reportedly tried to shake down a USA Gymnastics official for a job with the organization.

The FBI’s political game-playing came with irreversible human cost. According to an analysis by the New York Times, at least 40 women and girls, including some of the youngest victims, were assaulted by Nassar between July 2015, the first contact with the FBI, and September 2016. Had the Star not published its exposé of Nassar that month, which finally prompted some action by the FBI, who knows how long his depraved predation would have continued?

“If they’re not going to protect me, I want to know, who are they trying to protect?” McKayla Maroney, a two-time Olympic medalist and one of Nassar’s most frequent victims, asked the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 15.

Maroney may or may not be surprised to learn the agency assigned with protecting the most vulnerable is actually in the business of protecting the most powerful.

Nasser Was Not an Outlier

FBI Director Christopher Wray, hired by President Trump in 2017, publicly apologized. The “fundamental errors” made in the Nassar case, Wray told the judiciary committee, would not happen again as long as he’s head of the agency. “I want to make sure the American people know that the reprehensible conduct . . . is not representative of the work that I see from our 37,000 folks every day.” The rank-and-file, Wray insisted, perform their jobs with “uncompromising integrity.”

But Wray is wrong to claim that the Nassar case is an outlier. From the top of the command chain down, the FBI has trashed its reputation through a series of scandals. It’s not just the alarming texts between spousal cheats Peter Strzok and Lisa Page; the ambush of Lt. General Michael Flynn in the White House; Comey’s use of the shady Steele dossier to set up Donald Trump; or Andrew McCabe’s lies to his own FBI investigators.

It’s not just the other set of “errors”—17 to be exact—found in the FBI’s four unlawful FISA applications on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Or the official email doctored by a top FBI lawyer cited as evidence on one of the applications. Or the fact that no one in the agency has gone to jail for perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in history on the American people.

As seen in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, lowlifes populate the FBI’s rank-and-file. Richard Trask, the special agent in charge of the investigation, was arrested in July for physically assaulting and choking his wife after attending a swinger’s party. Trask was fired this month; he faces numerous criminal charges. Prosecutors decided not to use Trask as a witness after his social media account revealed numerous anti-Trump posts, including calling the president a “piece of shit.”

Defense attorneys in the Whitmer case asked the judge to delay trial for 90 days as they investigate the conduct of at least a dozen other FBI agents involved in the conspiracy. The FBI gave one informant $24,000 and a new car for his services.

Wray brags that every FBI field office is participating in the Justice Department’s “unprecedented” investigation into the breach of the Capitol. But reports of how his agents have handled more than 600 arrests do little to support Wray’s assurances of professional “integrity.” Defendants have been subjected to pre-dawn raids conducted by dozens of armed agents using military-style vehicles. I spoke with the spouse of one defendant who told me agents interrogated her about what cable news channel she watched, her views on illegal immigrantion, and who she voted for in 2020.

The FBI raided the home of an Alaska couple then handcuffed and interrogated them in separate rooms for hours until investigators realized they had the wrong suspects. A 69-year-old man in New York City suffered a heart attack as FBI agents raided his apartment with a television news crew standing by; the man never was charged. FBI agents arrested a Florida man in front of his wife and young daughter, who asked why officers were “locking daddy’s hands.” Casey Cusick was charged only with misdemeanors for entering the Capitol on January 6.

Agents seized as evidence a Lego set of the Capitol building during the raid of Robert Morss, an Army ranger with three tours in Afghanistan. Far from nefarious intent, Morss had the Lego set to use with his students as a substitute high school history teacher. (He was fired after his arrest.)

And those are just a few stories.

No Accountability

Wray picked up where Comey left off, allowing his agency to be part of Democratic Party political spin. He recently issued a “threat assessment” on QAnon and disclosed that the FBI so far has arrested at least 20 “self-styled QAnon adherents” related to the Capitol breach investigation. Wray designated January 6 as an act of “domestic terror” and his agency regularly tweets out the faces of “most wanted” Trump supporters who were at the Capitol on January 6.

Infuriatingly, Wray fired only one agent involved in the Nassar fiasco—and the man was fired the week before the Senate hearing, six years after he first interviewed Maroney. “Someone perhaps more cynical than I would conclude it was this hearing here staring the FBI in the face that prompted that action,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said to Wray.

But what ails the FBI cannot be solved with a few firings. It cannot be solved with more congressional oversight or threats to cut federal funding. The moral rot that infects the agency from top to bottom renders the agency unsalvageable. 

“This conduct by these FBI agents . . . who are expected to protect the public is unacceptable, disgusting, and shameful,” Maggie Nichols, the gymnast who first reported Nassar’s crimes to the FBI, told the committee.

Her description, however, applies to the entire FBI—an institution with no shame, no remorse, and no accountability. There’s no fix for that.

*  *  *

About Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried?And Failed?To Take Down the President.

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 20:05
Published:9/21/2021 7:29:07 PM
[Markets] What They Really Mean When They Say "Do The Right Thing" What They Really Mean When They Say "Do The Right Thing"

Authored by Casey Carlisle via The Mises Institute,

As a senior in high school, I ran for class president with “Do the right thing” as my campaign slogan.

Though I realized years ago how utterly pretentious that message is, I’m often reminded that it’s good politics, which proves the point that politics is poison.

To vote for someone else is to “do the wrong thing,” and you don’t want to be a bad person, do you? It’s a sinister trick that comes in many phrases—all of which are highly effective in duping the majority—yet democracy is still deified. Just as “the science” insults the scientific method, “the right thing” has the capacity to reduce peaceful interactions. How can “the right thing” be peaceful if it isn’t consensual? If the “right” thing is imposed, the thing is wrong.

Why would “the right thing” require blind obedience? If the thing were right, dissenters wouldn’t be punished. Accepting that I was arrogant to tell my senior class what is or isn’t right, imagine the hubris required to dictate morality to a third of a billion Americans.

The US president recently chastised certain governors who “aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic,” but why does the Biden regime presume to know what’s right for, say, Texans? First of all, pandemics are “beaten” only when they become endemic. Yes, involuntary (read: “political”) action can hasten that process, but at what cost? Those who answer that question with “at any cost” are the same people who would be mortified if vaccines were banned. These people see the horrors of depriving choice only when the choice is their own, illustrating why politics brings out the worst in people. Their childish and violent aspirations, if acted upon, are punishable by imprisonment, but through politics, “the right thing” is legal and enforced. Democracy tends to legalize immorality, which is bolstered by the inability to discuss tradeoffs—the best indicator of mass hysteria.

When I “served” in Afghanistan, my boss would occasionally invite the religious to pray with him prior to executing a mission. He would ask God to help his men and to hinder the enemy—whom he deemed “pure evil”—without ever appearing to think that the Taliban were likely saying the same prayer and calling us evil. It’s as if both sides were begging God to do the right thing, and over a decade later, the absurdity still bemuses me. Who can argue that twenty years of imposing democracy on a country that doesn’t want it was the right thing to do, especially after twenty years’ worth of resources were nullified in a week? War crimes or crimes against humanity began with those committing them first rationalizing them. Though the murderers might not have deemed their actions “right,” they acted anyway, because they were “just following orders.” But what of those issuing the orders, the sociopaths who believe they can define “the greater good” without the knowledge of the greater population? History repeats itself, and that too many have dismissed that fact as “pessimistic” is one of the reasons why we can’t wake from this dystopian nightmare. Is it not reasonable to expect something catastrophic to unfold when the demagogue defines the right thing?

I argued in April and November of last year that top-down edicts render useless the levels of government between the rulers and the individual. Due to proximity alone, the governor can better “serve” the individual than can the president, the county commissioner than can the governor, and the mayor than can the commissioner. Has the Biden regime forgotten that this country was founded by people who didn’t take kindly to distant rulers? American defiance is a thing of the past, but isn’t it in the parasites’ best interest to keep it there? Consenting individuals can best agree on the right thing, and the politicians lording over them are supposed to prohibit others from interfering; however, as the ongoing (and worsening) mass psychosis makes clear, each level of government only partitions, persecutes, and parasitizes individuals. It’s as if the Biden regime and every governor and bureaucrat suffering from the same delusions are doing all they can to foment violence. In October of 2020, one political party thought that the right thing to do was to refuse the then upcoming vaccine, but today, that same political party openly and sometimes joyously declare their disdain for anyone who decides what’s right for themselves so long as “right” counters the prevailing ideology. If that won’t convince you that politics is poison, I don’t know what will.

Here’s what doing the right thing actually entails: do whatever makes you feel comfortable so long as you aren’t imposing your will (or cowardice) on others. And for fans of brevity, I’ve heard that “mind your own business” is tried and true. Every American who wants to be vaccinated has the opportunity to be. The vaccinated have no moral authority to protect the unvaccinated from themselves. Every parent who wishes to abuse their child by forcing them to wear a mask has that right, but no one will force me to muzzle my three-year-old. If masks are as effective as the staunch covidians claim, why does the sight of an uncovered smile enrage the masked? That it does is the problem of those who obsequiously muzzle themselves, not of anyone else. Labeling the unmasked and unvaccinated “selfish” is nothing but pure projection. Have you noticed that those who might as well have “inclusion” tattooed on their foreheads are the same people who wish to exclude anyone who doesn’t buy into the hype?

Conform to the insanity or else!”

After all, “the right thing” is “for your own good.”

That’s not compassion; that’s totalitarianism. Bullies don’t grow tired of bullying; they stop bullying only when shown that ceasing their antisocial behavior is in their best interest. It’ll get uncomfortable, but if you hope to ever pursue what you deem right, it’s well past time to stand up to the vicious mob.

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/17/2021 - 17:40
Published:9/17/2021 4:51:22 PM
[Markets] Quantitative Brainwashing Quantitative Brainwashing

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

We’re all familiar with the term, “quantitative easing.” It’s described as meaning, “A monetary policy in which a central bank purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to lower interest rates and increase the money supply.”

Well, that sounds reasonable… even beneficial. But, unfortunately, that’s not really the whole story.

When QE was implemented, the purchasing power was weak and both government and personal debt had become so great that further borrowing would not solve the problem; it would only postpone it and, in the end, exacerbate it. Effectively, QE is not a solution to an economic problem, it’s a bonus of epic proportions, given to banks by governments, at the expense of the taxpayer.

But, of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that governments have passed off a massive redistribution of wealth from the taxpayer to their pals in the banking sector with such clever terms. Governments of today have become extremely adept at creating euphemisms for their misdeeds in order to pull the wool over the eyes of the populace.

At this point, we cannot turn on the daily news without being fed a full meal of carefully-worded mumbo jumbo, designed to further overwhelm whatever small voices of truth may be out there.

Let’s put this in perspective for a moment.

For millennia, political leaders have been in the practice of altering, confusing and even obliterating the truth, when possible. And it’s probably safe to say that, for as long as there have been media, there have been political leaders doing their best to control them.

During times of war, political leaders have serially restricted the media from simply telling the truth. During the American civil war, President Lincoln shut down some 300 newspapers and arrested some 14,000 journalists who had the audacity to contradict his statements to the public.

As extreme as that may sound, this practice has been more the rule in history than the exception.

In most countries, in most eras, some publications go against the official story line and may very well pay a price for doing so. But, other publications go along with the official story line to a greater or lesser degree and are often rewarded for doing so.

It should come as no surprise, then, that media outlets often come to report the news in a less than accurate manner.

Mark Twain is claimed to have said, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.” Quite so.

Still, only fifty years ago, much of the then “Free World” enjoyed a relatively objective Press. Even on television, reporters such as Walter Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley, etc. presented the news in a bland manner. It wasn’t very exciting, but at least it was relatively balanced and, to this day, most people who were around then still have no idea as to whether reporters like Walter Cronkite were liberal or conservative. Although he was a committed Democrat, he never allowed that to significantly colour his reporting.

But today, we have a very different corporate structure as regards the media. The same six corporations hold the controlling interest of over 80% of the media. And those same corporations also own a controlling interest in the military industrial complex, Wall Street, the major banks, Big Pharma, etc.

What we’re witnessing today is media having been transformed into something more akin to a three-ring circus than journalism of old. This is no accident.

The present travesty that is the 21st century media, is journalism in name only.

So, why should this be so?

Well, as it happens, people tend not to like governments dominating their lives – simple as that.

And yet, the primary objective of any government is to increase its size and power as rapidly as the populace will tolerate it. The only reason that they rarely do this quickly, is that they can’t get away with it. Like boiling a frog, it takes time to lull the populace into submission, bit by bit.

Once having had enough time to do so, there comes a point at which the government becomes woefully top-heavy, as well as unworkably autocratic. At such times, all that’s necessary to make people rebel is an economic crisis.

Such is the case in much of the world today – the EU, the US, Canada, etc.. Even in their arrogance, the powers that be have to be aware that they’re right at the tipping point. An economic crisis would almost certainly push the situation over the edge.

When truth threatens to undermine machinations for self-aggrandizement, individuals tend to obfuscate in order to delay the inevitable fallout. Governments are no different.

So it was that, in 1999, the largest banks entered into a massive lending scam that would most certainly collapse within a decade. However, before putting the scam in place, they arranged for a “bailout” by the government, which would effectively pass the bill to the taxpayer, while the banks themselves simply increased their own wealth massively.

Of course, QE, as massive as it was, was a mere Band-Aid solution. All those involved (big business and the government) understood that it would hang like a sword of Damocles over the economy until it inevitably came crashing down – a fate far worse than if QE had never been implemented.

And so, for those entities to have invested into the domination of the media was, in fact, essential. Had they not done so, it’s entirely likely that, with a free press, the man on the street would, by now, have figured out that he’d been hoodwinked.

Thus do we see the journalistic equivalent of Quantitative Brainwashing, in which the inevitable realization is delayed for as long as possible.

And, in order to make sure that the public do not figure out what’s been done to them, the news reporting becomes Orwellian in its endless repetition of a false narrative.

It is, however, true that, “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Eventually, the Band-Aid peels back to reveal an infection that’s far beyond what had been generally perceived. It then falls away in layers, as increasing numbers of people become aware that they’ve been scammed – that the media is entirely corrupt and that the media’s owners – big business - have, with the enthusiastic compliance of the government, robbed them on a wholesale basis.

Historically, that’s when the jig is up. What happens then is a matter of historic record.

*  *  *

It’s clear the Fed’s money printing is about to go into overdrive. The Fed has already pumped enormous distortions into the economy and inflated an “everything bubble.” The next round of money printing is likely to bring the situation to a breaking point. We’re on the cusp of a global economic crisis that could eclipse anything we’ve seen before. That’s precisely why bestselling author and legendary speculator Doug Casey just released this urgent video. Click here to watch it now.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/02/2021 - 20:40
Published:9/2/2021 8:02:36 PM
[White House Watch] Top Trump White House Economist Rips Biden, Pandemic Unemployment Bonus

By Thomas Catenacci -

The former top White House economist criticized the current administration for continuing pandemic unemployment benefits to the detriment of U.S. workers. “All the compassion is only focused on the 20 million people or so collecting benefits,” Casey Mulligan, the former top economist on the Council of Economic Advisers and University …

Top Trump White House Economist Rips Biden, Pandemic Unemployment Bonus is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:7/21/2021 2:34:47 PM
[Markets] David Stockman On Soaring Debts And Plummeting Yields... David Stockman On Soaring Debts And Plummeting Yields...

Authored by David Stockman via InternationalMan.com,

After decades of unhinged money-pumping, the Fed has driven real interest rates so low that there are no more bond investors - just traders and suckers.

The former have driven the 10-year yield in recent days to just 150 basis points in nominal terms (and deeply into the red in real terms in the face of surging monthly inflation numbers), because they are “pricing-in” one thing and one thing only: simple and supreme confidence that the spineless fanatics who occupy the Eccles Building will keep buying $120 billion per month of government and quasi-government debt.

Real Yield on 10-Year UST, 1985–2021

These are no longer even “markets” by any historical sense of the term. The bond markets and the stock exchanges are just mindless gambling casinos.

Inflation-adjusted yields had previously meandered around the 10%+ level for several decades. But no more. The real yield is so low that yield starved fund managers are throwing caution to the wind and setting themselves up for massive future losses.

That’s not an honest price discovery. It’s the crazed trading that has been fostered by fanatical central bankers who have literally lost touch with history, reality and every canon of sound finance.

There is $80+ trillion of public and private debt outstanding and it amounts to a staggering 380%+ of GDP.

Below is the total debt-to-GDP ratio for the last 73 years.

Total Leverage Ratio for the US Economy: Debt-to-GDP, 1947–2020

Do the fanatics in the Eccles Building have any clue about the fact that their policies amount to a massive signal flood to the US economy to bury itself in debt?

Evidently, they do not. But with each passing month of negative real yields and $120 billion of freshly minted fiat credit, the US economy slouches in exactly that direction.

Annual Increase in Nonfinancial Business Debt, 2000–2020

During 2020 — the year of the sweeping COVID Lockdown — conventional economics would suggest a liquidation of business debt, especially when business leverage levels had previously reached dangerous, all-time highs.

But not in the Fed’s hothouse financial markets. To the contrary, business debt soared by $1.5 trillion in 2020 or by 50% more than the peak borrowing year of 2007 when companies were on a borrowing binge.

This is truly aberrational.

Back in the day, the business leverage ratio stood at 35% in 1947 and had plateaued at about 60% by the 1970s. But once the Fed got into the financial repression business big time, the ratio was off to the races. The staggering amount of business debt now amounts to an off-the-chart 111%!

Can the clowns perched in the Eccles Building explain how the US economy can grow in the future when it is submerged in so much debt?

Can they also explain how interest rates can ever be normalized in real terms without blowing up the entire financial edifice?

And do they have a clue as to what will happen if they continue to signal private and public parties to borrow like there is no tomorrow by keeping real interest rates submerged in negative territory?

The answer is, of course: No.

*  *  *

The Fed has already pumped enormous distortions into the economy and inflated an “everything bubble.” The next round of money printing is likely to bring the situation to a breaking point. If you want to navigate the complicated economic and political situation that is unfolding, then you need to see this newly released video from Doug Casey and his team. In it, Doug reveals what you need to know, and how these dangerous times could impact your wealth. Click here to watch it now.

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/17/2021 - 10:30
Published:7/17/2021 9:33:06 AM
[Markets] The Blind Leading The Clueless The Blind Leading The Clueless

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

Most of us watch television. In part, we seek to be entertained, but, additionally, we often seek to be enlightened as to “what’s going on.” In a difficult era like the present one, in which some of the most prominent countries are experiencing the onset of an economic crisis, virtual cartoon characters are competing as choices in political contests, governments are becoming increasingly rapacious and a police state is developing rapidly, it’s not surprising if the average person questions, “What on earth are they thinking?”

Well, there’s no shortage of media exposure to answer that question. Today, there are a multitude of channels offering 24/7 “news,” from which we may hope to glean some insight as to what the leaders of the world are thinking. Yet, in spite of the endless folderol being offered, the leadership vision remains about as clear as mud.

They don’t want war, but are invading more countries than ever before in history. Political hopefuls are vague at best regarding their proposed platforms for action, yet they attack each other as though they’re reporters for the tabloids. Governments continually speak of their wish to lighten the load on the common man, whilst heaping laws, regulations, fines and taxes on him like never before, and whilst heaping billions in tax dollars on their cronies in the financial industry. They claim to seek greater security for all, but instead, create an endless stream of agencies that have the authority to ignore basic rights and behave more like Mafia shakedown operators than law enforcers. Governments claim to be pursuing a sounder economy, but have created an unprecedented level of debt, that promises to crush the economies of several of the world’s most prominent countries in the very near future.

And so, many people look to the media, seeking answers. Typically a news programme will feature a “panel of experts,” who will debate the latest issues. They rarely reach a conclusion, but do succeed in creating a general impression that one political party is out to destroy the country and that the other (which they represent) is out to save it.

(Gregory Mankiw, an economics professor at Harvard, interviews Janet Yellen.)

In addition to the panels, the media go straight to the source on frequent occasions, interviewing political and financial leaders. The list of questions is invariably prepared well in advance and the interviewee is never caught off guard. His handlers have prepared his answers for him and, on every occasion, a full plate of predictable reheated rhetoric is served up to the viewer for his consumption.

In these repartees, the interviewer is intended to appear congenial yet probing, yet the questions asked are invariably bland enough for the interviewee to either dismiss them or provide an easy retort. The interviewee is intended to appear as though he is informing the public of policies and procedures that, whilst too complicated for the viewer to fully grasp, are well in hand and will provide solutions in the not-too-distant future. Be patient.

The fact that these solutions never seem to arrive seems to be less relevant than the fact that a new solution is underway. In this manner, the viewer, no matter how badly his life is being affected, continues to sit tight and be hopeful, for, surely, better days are just around the corner.

Incredibly, the average viewer seems to be able to consume endless quantities of this propaganda, year after year, and never say to himself, “Something’s radically wrong here.”

If he were to actually turn off the television for a week or so, stand back, and assess the propaganda as a whole, he might conclude that, in fact, the media acts at the behest of the economic and political leaders, to propagate their message. The “debates” and “pressing questions” are limp at best and never lead to any significant change or improvement. Nor are they intended to. They are pacifiers only.

Worse, the leaders themselves continue to not only fail the public, but to steadily morph the governmental, economic and social systems in a direction that will lead inevitably to a bad end.

It is true, of course, that the citizens of these leading nations are becoming increasingly cynical about their leaders and their own futures, but their reaction to the pablum, after having a good grumble, tends to be to “hope the next administration will be better.” This is very foolhardy indeed. (Once the apple is thoroughly rotten, expect to see only worms inhabiting it.)

But those who sense that they’re being shafted need to vent somehow. And, for this we have political parties. Whether our country has Democrats and Republicans, Tories and Labour, or any other such groupings, those who are elected are under no illusion that they exist to serve those who elected them; they exist to serve the major donors who pay for the elections. And the major donors contribute to both parties, in order to ensure that their objectives are carried out by the candidates who are successful, regardless of their party. The overall plan will continue, full steam, regardless of who’s in office.

But the parties do provide the electorate with targets at which to aim their rubber-tipped arrows. Regardless of which party is in power, liberal voters will complain that not enough is being done for their causes and conservative voters will do the same.

Will one win out over the other eventually? Unquestionably not. The system is designed to remain as is – with endless bickering encouraged, but no actual progress planned.

The most prominent countries in the world are on the cusp of a major economic crisis. With it will come political and social crises and, most certainly, war. The television viewer, if he accepts this at all, will say, “Well, that will teach them. Then they’ll have to admit that our side was right.”

Unfortunately, no. After the inevitable economic crashes, after years of pointless warfare, after increased totalitarianism at home, there will be an eventual end to the strife. When the dust begins to settle, the average person will turn on his television, hoping to see that some answers have been reached.

Instead, what he’ll witness, if he turns on a liberal station, will be pundits stating that, if only there had been more QE and more entitlements, it might have all worked out, but that, instead, there was disaster, as a result of the conservatives.

Likewise, the pundits on the conservative station will expound that all the suffering could have been avoided if the entitlements had been kept in check and the bombs could have been dropped on the enemy earlier. Both liberals and conservatives will return to their corners to dress their wounds and prepare for the next round of polarization against each other.

So, who is it that we blame for mankind’s debacles? Surely, we were tricked by the leaders – the politicians, central bankers, leaders of major industries, etc. Or was it the media that did such a sterling job of packaging up the propaganda that we were unable to see the forest for the trees?

It will matter little, because nothing will be learned and we shall begin the game anew. But if it’s a genuine solution we’re after, yes, that is possible. But that solution depends upon whether we’re prepared to cease to allow the media to provide our reasoning for us.

We must be prepared to study our leaders’ actions, to be prepared to be contrarian and, most importantly, to question everything. If not, we ourselves are amongst the blind and the clueless and we can expect an endless cycle of the same dog and pony show.

*  *  *

All you can hope to do is to save yourself from the consequences of all this stupidity. The coming financial collapse is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we saw in 2008 and 2009. That’s exactly why New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team just released an urgent video. Click here to watch it now.

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/10/2021 - 17:30
Published:7/10/2021 4:45:44 PM
[Markets] Doug Casey On Why Most People Outsource Their Thinking To "The Experts" Doug Casey On Why Most People Outsource Their Thinking To "The Experts"

Via InternationalMan.com,

International Man: Thanks to the internet and modern technology, the average person can now access information on almost any topic with relative ease.

But it seems people are doing less critical thinking than ever.

Why do you think that is the case?

Doug Casey: Technology is a double-edged sword when it comes to critical thinking. It’s paradoxical that something so associated with knowledge and research is often at odds with wisdom. I think that’s partly because today’s technology offers instant answers—no thought required. You can go to Google, and an answer is at your fingertips. It doesn’t require research or thought—the answer just appears. It subtly obviates the need for contemplation.

Let’s first define what critical thinking is. I’d say it’s the process of questioning the validity of the assumptions and the accuracy of the data for everything. A critical thinker never assumes or takes anything for granted.

We can’t always be sure what the quality of a googled answer is, but most people assume it’s honest and correct. However, considering the nature of the people who run Google, Wikipedia, and websites of that nature, I prefer to assume that the quality of many answers is low.

In fact, the volume of data available through computer technology is so great that there’s a tendency to confuse all that quantity with quality. When the world, and the data stream, is moving very quickly, it seems you have less time to contemplate its meaning. You can get lost in it and lose perspective.

It reminds me of a scene out of the original Rollerball movie from the 1970s with James Caan. Books no longer exist. All knowledge is contained in an all-powerful computer. The scientist in charge of the computer is talking to another character and says, “Yeah, for some reason, we’ve lost the 13th century,” and he kicks the machine. It’s the only source of what used to be in millions of books.

We’re almost in a situation where everything comes from one source—basically Google—rather than researching books, getting answers from a dozen points of view, and thinking critically about their meaning. Sure, Google gives you many references. But how many others have been “cancelled?” How many considered politically incorrect are buried as deep as the 13th century in Rollerball?

International Man: Whether it’s finance, economics, politics, and many other areas, it seems almost everywhere you look, people are looking to the so-called “experts” to tell them what they should think about a given topic.

Where does this come from? How did most people come to trust the “experts”?

Doug Casey: As the amount and complexity of data grows, it’s natural to want an expert to sort it out for you. But experts are known for knowing a lot about a little, not for having broad, integrated knowledge. People understandably look to them to make decisions for them. That’s foolish. Better that you go to a philosopher than a technician when the time comes to decide on something important. But philosophers are in short supply today, so people listen to celebrities.

A celebrity is someone who’s famous for being well-known. People automatically assume that famous people must know something they don’t. The public doesn’t know much, but they know more about some celebrities than they do about their own friends, neighbors, and relatives. And that engenders trust. People trust a celebrity who endorses something he knows nothing about because they think they know him. It’s another consequence of mass media. The average person is much more likely to accept Google’s, or Wikipedia’s, or some celebrity’s opinion than to research something themselves. Critical thinking is hard work, and questioning authority doesn’t usually make you any friends.

I see it in the newsletter business all the time. Somebody who’s glib and can present well can be transformed into an instant expert, even though he knows very little—as long as he’s good at presenting and gaining people’s confidence. We see that with the talking heads on TV as well. They’re really just actors who don’t know anything, but they’re good-looking, well-promoted, and have a nice social veneer, so people trust them.

It makes no sense, and neither does the public’s obsession with credentials. Something like a third of Americans have a college degree—which today only means they’ve spent a lot of money to be indoctrinated over four years. It’s no guarantee of expertise—forget about wisdom or judgment. Over 13% of graduates have master’s degrees or PhDs. That doesn’t prove they’re critical thinkers.

In most cases, those degrees prove little, other than the recipients think it’s a good idea to spend a lot of time and money for a credential. Credentials should be suspect; critical thinkers don’t assume they’re worth anything. They’re often a camouflage for mediocrity. In today’s world, their main value is to intimidate by making the public assume you know what you’re talking about. They trust the credential, the way they’ve come to trust Google or Wikipedia.

People are comforted to believe that if they don’t know the answer, someone with a degree does. And they should be in charge. I suspect most higher degree holders think they should be in charge, too. It’s a bad tendency across the board.

International Man: The COVID hysteria has only accelerated this trend.

Throughout the pandemic, most people believed the “health experts” robotically and even attacked those who brought forth logical information and data which challenged the established narrative.

What is your take?

Doug Casey: The media and the Establishment have selected a set of credentialed health experts, promoted them, and told the public that they know what they’re talking about. Take Anthony Fauci—he has lots of credentials. Like everyone high up in government agencies, whether or not he was ever a competent scientist, you can be sure he’s a very competent political operator. And apparently quite wealthy, with positions in companies under his purview.

In any event, he’s a life-long government employee. A professional bureaucrat, previously invisible but now elevated from nowhere to near-dictatorial control.

Meanwhile, there are people that have written numerous peer-reviewed papers, done serious lab work, and are currently dealing with patients with boots on the ground whose views are cancelled because they disagree with Czar Fauci.

The average person never hears about them, and when they do, they’re cancelled by the mass media. The perfect example of this is the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin in countering the COVID virus—apart from the fact the supposed pandemic itself is greatly overrated.

Anyone who’s “vaccine hesitant” or—God forbid—a COVID denier is painted as anti-science, a conspiracy theorist. My view is that there are legitimate reasons not to take any experimental vaccine. Especially when there’s a possibility the supposed cure is much more dangerous than the disease itself.

I’ve met exactly one person who’s gotten symptomatic COVID. He was sick for two days with the flu and fully recovered. So where are all the dead bodies? The casualties have strictly been very old people, very sick people, or very fat people. Occasional anomalous young, healthy, slim people die from it—assuming it was the actual cause of death—just the way young, healthy people occasionally die from the ordinary flu. So, is it a conspiracy? I don’t know. I’m just confident this era will go down as one of the most stupid and embarrassing in world history.

International Man: Politicians, bureaucrats, and the intelligence community are obvious members of the ruling class that seek power and control.

Are the “health experts” new members of the political ruling class?

Doug Casey: Sickness and fear of death get the public’s attention even more than sex and money. And, for what it’s worth, the public has been prepped for decades by loads of sci-fi books and movies featuring a virus wiping out most of humanity. And not without cause. In fact, the chances are overwhelming that biological warfare will be a major element in any future conflict with China.

Telling people that they’re going to get sick and die, endangering their loved ones, is a powerful motivator to get them to do as they’re told. Still, COVID is 90% hysteria. If someone is old, obese, or sick, they might want to isolate themselves, but it’s insane to lock down the whole planet to unsuccessfully safeguard a few people in danger. And, it’s equally insane for everyone to take risky vaccines against a non-threat.

Let the people who are worried risk getting the vaccine; although, there seems to be some serious question about how efficacious the vaccine itself is.

International Man: Where do you think this will all lead, and what are the implications?

Doug Casey: I’m afraid it’s all leading toward a many-tentacled police state.

The people who run the State have control of the money supply, the economy, the education system, and the media. They’ve gotten control of the medical system. They’re replacing traditional religion, as well, with what amounts to new secular religions; that’s an interesting twist.

Christianity is on its way out. It’s already a dead duck in Europe and is hanging on in the US only among the lower classes. The elite no longer believes in traditional religion. It’s being replaced by updated versions of Marxism, which was always a secular religion, even though it claimed to be “scientific”—like Greenism and Wokeism.

The bad guys—by which I mean the statists and collectivists—have mounted a war on many fronts, and they’re succeeding mightily. They’ll use the Greater Depression to create a genuine police state—a kinder and gentler version of the old USSR, East Germany, but with a higher standard of living and more TV channels.

The ruling class will blame the collapse of the economy on COVID. As the depression drags on, they’ll also blame it on global warming, not their stupid economic policies.

COVID and the Global Warming scam are wonderful deus ex machina devices to allow the bad guys to dodge the blame for what’s coming.

Marxism, statism, and collectivism will once more evade the blame for the consequences of their idiotic economic ideas and evil ethical notions. That’s largely because critical thinking has vanished from the West.

*  *  *

The 2020s will likely to be an increasingly volatile time. More governments are putting their money printing on overdrive. Negative interests are becoming the rule instead of the exception to it. One thing is for sure, there will be a great deal of change taking place in the years ahead. That’s precisely why legendary speculator Doug Casey and his team released an urgent new report titled Doug Casey’s Top 7 Predictions for the Raging 2020s.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/08/2021 - 22:20
Published:7/8/2021 9:32:35 PM
[Markets] David Stockman On The Fed's Socialist Monetary Policies And What Comes Next David Stockman On The Fed's Socialist Monetary Policies And What Comes Next

Authored by David Stockman via InternationalMan.com,

Socialist central planning has been elevated to a new art form based on control of the economy from the commanding heights of finance.

Central banks were once in the money business, in the sense of securing its availability, liquidity, and stable value. But the contemporary Fed never says a peep about the place where money arises and dwells — the financial markets — while gumming endlessly about the Main Street economy and the condition of and its targets for the components and constituents of GDP.

During the last 43 years, total financial assets held by the household sector have increased by a staggering $100 trillion. And that’s just a proxy for the massive levels of bank deposits, money market funds, bonds, publicly traded shares, and private equities that flow through the warp and woof of the nation’s $21 trillion GDP.

Total Household Financial Assets, 1977–2020

The Fed spent the last 13 years capping and smothering the money market rate.

That’s socialism by any other name.

Ironically, it’s leading to the same outcome as in the old Soviet Union: a failing economy for the masses and a concentration of wealth and privilege among the few elites who are close to the levers of control.

The chart below shows the real federal funds rate, calculated by subtracting the year-over-year trimmed mean-CPI increase from the Fed’s target rate. During the last 169 months (since March 2008) the rate has been deeply negative for 96% of the time and just a tad positive for a grand total of 7 months, all in 2019. And now, after last year’s money-printing orgy, the real federal funds rate stands at –2.37%, nearly the deepest level ever.

Never in a million years would participants in voluntary exchange on the free market lend money — even overnight — at a negative real rate. It defies economic logic and sanity itself.

Real Federal Funds Rate, 2008–2021

But these new mechanisms of socialist control — just like in the old Soviet Union — were not remotely up to the task. Among the manifold failings and ills in the latter, was the fact that central planning tended to produce enormous unintended malign effects owing to erroneous incentives and price signals.

For instance, Soviet nail factory managers got measured and rewarded by the tonnage produced. The story goes that one enterprising chap massively exceeded his quota by producing only ten-ton nails!

Effectively, that’s what is happening in the financial markets today. The central bankers are aiming at the personal consumption expenditure deflator and the U-3 unemployment rate, but the enormous injections of liquidity designed to keep the interest rate control dial on target never really leave the canyons of Wall Street.

Instead, they radically inflate the price of financial assets and deflate the carry cost of debt, thereby causing economic actors to copy the Soviet nail factory manager.

For instance, the C-suites foolishly cripple their balance sheets by allocating trillions to financial engineering maneuvers such as stock buybacks and uneconomic M&A deals.

The chart below shows the net equity flow into the US business economy since 1994, as tracked by the Federal Reserve. During that 26-year period, there was but a single year (2002) when nonfinancial corporations raised a positive amount of net equity, while liquidating a total of $8 trillion of book equity over the period.

Stated differently for the better part of the last three decades the C-suites of corporate America have liquidated an average of $310 billion of corporate equity per year.

Effectively, they are running glorified hedge funds, not Main Street businesses.

Net Corporate Equity Raised or Liquidated, 1094–2020

There is no mystery as to where all the corporate cash used to buy back shares and buy out other companies went: the top 1% and 10%, who own 40% and 71% of the stock, respectively, and the top 20%, who own 93% of the total.

When it comes to the task that the free market, not the central banking branch of the state, is suited for — generating rising living standards and real, sustainable wealth — the Fed — like the Soviet planners—is producing a lot of useless 10-ton nails.

*  *  *

The Fed has already pumped enormous distortions into the economy and inflated an “everything bubble.” The next round of money printing is likely to bring the situation to a breaking point. If you want to navigate the complicated economic and political situation that is unfolding, then you need to see this newly released video from Doug Casey and his team. In it, Doug reveals what you need to know, and how these dangerous times could impact your wealth. Click here to watch it now.

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/05/2021 - 04:30
Published:7/5/2021 3:57:01 AM
[Anti-Americanism] Why do democrats continue to argue that people of color are stupid?

It is the dawn of the democrat drama queens. They all are of a single mind. It’s the end of the world as we know it. DEMOCRACY IS DEAD! IT’S THE END OF THE COUNTRY! DEMOCRACY IS ON FIRE! MINORITIES WILL LOSE THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE! Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) Casey said, “Ali, we’re — we’ve […]

The post Why do democrats continue to argue that people of color are stupid? appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:7/3/2021 6:43:59 PM
[Education] CMU’s president discusses how Pittsburgh is building — and retaining — high-tech startups For a brief moment, earlier this week, it seemed as though Pittsburgh might be the center of the tech universe. Just as Carnegie Mellon alum Duolingo was announcing its IPO. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey were in town, as Vice President Kamala Harris paid a visit to the City of Bridges to talk infrastructure. […] Published:7/2/2021 1:08:32 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Josh Blackman] Today in Supreme Court History: June 29, 1992 6/29/1992: Planned Parenthood v. Casey is decided.   Published:6/29/2021 6:14:17 AM
[Markets] Why Gold? Why Gold?

Authored by Adrian Day via InternationalMan.com,

At a time when many investors are calling gold “a relic,” and many younger ones, in particular, are buying Bitcoin instead, it is worth going back to fundamentals and looking at gold’s role as money over thousands of years. I am not here to attack Bitcoin. Rather, I am here to defend gold.

Gold has an advantage that Bitcoin does not have, that Bitcoin inherently cannot have, which is its age. Gold has survived and performed its job for literally thousands of years. We shall have to wait a little longer to say that Bitcoin is as good as gold.

Nearly two-and-a-half millennia ago, Aristotle wrote his famous treatise on money. Money serves as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a unit of account. In his treatise, Aristotle listed the characteristics of ideal money.

Money should be divisible, which is why we do not use fine art as money. It should be fungible, which is why we do not use real estate as money. It should be rare, which is why we do not use iron ore as money, and so on. Aristotle concluded that only gold has all these attributes and is the ideal form of money.

Long before the formal gold standard, when kings, emperors, and republics issued gold coins, gold was the backing of the monetary system. Gold has preserved its purchasing power throughout history. Roy Jastram, in his thorough book, The Golden Constant, looked at the price of gold, the cost of living, and the purchasing power of gold year-by-year back to the middle of the 16th century, and before that, though the records are less reliable, back to the Magna Carta in 1215. At the end of the First World War, when Britain, America, and other countries abandoned the pure gold standard, and there was a period of the dirty standard followed by Roosevelt’s confiscation of gold, then ultimately the closing of the gold window in 1971 and gold’s last formal link to the money system—gold’s purchasing value was within 1% of what it had been in 1560. During that long period, the maximum loss you would have endured, buying at the peak in 1620 and selling at the low in 1800, would have been less than 50%. That is a lot, of course, but vastly superior to the multi-century record of any fiat currency (in a much shorter time period). Had you continued to hold, you would have been back to par in 1900.

Gold has maintained its purchasing power during periods of high inflation and sharp deflation when the stock market or the currency collapses. Even during periods of chaos or war, gold holds its value. During these periods, people will look for alternate places for their cash.

Gold is thought of as an inflation hedge because it performed spectacularly during our last experience with high inflation in the U.S., the decade of the 1970s. That is a little artificial, of course, because gold started that decade at an artificial price, suppressed by the government, which outlawed private ownership. Undoubtedly, gold holds its purchasing power better than fiat currencies during inflation, but the truth is that many other assets do the same, for example, land, art, and the stock market.

It is during periods of deflation that gold truly comes into its own. Even if the nominal price of gold does not appreciate as much during deflations as during inflations, Roy Jastram demonstrated clearly that in terms of purchasing power, gold performs better during deflations, and there are few other assets that hold up in deflations. On a relative basis, gold is a far better deflation hedge than an inflation hedge.

Gold also shines during periods of instability and chaos, whether it is a declining stock market, civil disturbance, or war.

People think that gold is volatile, but, in fact, over relatively short periods and far longer ones, it has been one of the least volatile of assets. One thing we know about Bitcoin with certainty: it will continue to be volatile. Bitcoin has no central authority; it was designed that way. There is a pre-determined number of new coins each year until the cap is reached. So, the supply of Bitcoin does not change with changes in demand; price absorbs these changes, up or down—not supply. The designers of Bitcoin acknowledged that they did not know how to change that without a central authority. So, Bitcoin will remain volatile. Now, volatility is a positive thing if you are a speculator, but that is not so if you are looking for a store of value or as a payment system (so long as the good is priced in dollars). You want to pay your rent with Bitcoin priced at $64,000 one day, but then what when it is priced at $30,000 two weeks later when your rent is due?

Where the supply or demand of gold increases or declines, it is not the price that absorbs the changes but rather the opposite side of the equation changes. Thus, the largest, unexpected increase in the supply of gold in the last four centuries was with the California Gold Rush, which increased supply by a little over 6% per year. As expected, there was an increase in inflation—too much money chasing too few goods—but the increase was about 1.5% a year for the rest of the decade. That is astonishingly small and far less than one has seen under the fiat system when the money supply increases.

One last attribute of the ideal money, according to Aristotle: It must be a thing of value in and of itself. Gold is universally recognized and valued. You can travel to Zurich or Dubai or the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Everyone will immediately recognize gold and desire it. Why, you can give some to your wife to adorn her neck. Here, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies spectacularly fail. Blockchain is a valuable invention…Satoshi Nakamoto has a brilliant mind…but ultimately, there is nothing of intrinsic worth there.

Former BCA Research and Brandywine analyst Chen Zhao writes that “crypto was created out of thin air and will disappear like mist.” One does not have to go that far, but one can be certain that the same words could not be written about gold.

*  *  *

Negative interest rates are spreading like wildfire around the world. Investors have no choice but to look for other places as stores of value. That’s why many smart investors are running towards gold. It’s also why the big buyers, like China and Russia, are accumulating as much gold as possible. Here’s the bottom line… Negative interest rates and the devaluation of currencies will hurt a lot of people, particularly savers and retirees. But they will also give rocket fuel to the coming bull market in precious metals.

That’s precisely why legendary speculator Doug Casey just released an urgent video on this topic. Doug breaks down exactly what is coming, and what you can do about it. Click here to watch it now.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/26/2021 - 20:45
Published:6/26/2021 7:55:48 PM
[Markets] Will Senate Democrats Now Apologize To Justice Barrett? Will Senate Democrats Now Apologize To Justice Barrett?

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

During the confirmation hearings of now Justice Amy Coney Barrett, I repeatedly objected to the clearly false narrative that she was nominated to vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act in the pending case of California v. Texas. The case was highly unlikely to result in such a decision and the Democrats knew it. The case was a focused on a highly technical and limited issues of severability. It would either be resolved on that limited basis or dismissed for standing. While Barrett might view the ACA as unconstitutional (as many do), I noted that she was more likely to dismiss the challenge or sever the individual mandate than to strike down the Act in the case. That is what she did in joined the 7-2 decision to dismiss the case.

During the confirmation, the Senate Democrats surrounded the room with giant pictures of people who would lose their health care if Barrett was confirmed and struck down the Act. They were portrayed as her future victims as members pummeled Barrett with accusations that she was just an ACA-killing shill. Barrett retained her composure and did not state the obvious — that she was more likely to vote to dismiss the case than to strike down the Act. She also refused to take the bait in responding to President Trump’s call for the Act to be struck down.

The shameful attacks were unrelenting. Democrats insisted that there was no question that Barrett would vote in the case to strip away health care for millions. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., claimed in a press release that “a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.”

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Md., claimed that Barrett was on an “assignment” by Trump to get rid of Obamacare:

“We just chatted for a minute, and I really wanted to try to understand her experience as a person when it came to health care because she is being sent on assignment to the Supreme Court by President Trump. And we know what that assignment is, eliminate the Affordable Care Act.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., referred to Barrett as a “judicial torpedo” aimed at destroying Obamacare:

“This Supreme Court nominee has signaled in the judicial equivalent of all caps that she believes the Affordable Care Act must go, and that the precedent protecting the ACA doesn’t matter,” Whitehouse said. He claimed that the “influences behind this unseemly rush see this nominee as a judicial torpedo they are firing at the ACA.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, claimed in an interview during Barrett’s confirmation hearings that

Republicans “want her on that court to hear the Affordable Care Act case… so that she can strike it down. This nominee poses a clear and present danger, an immediate danger, to the healthcare of over 20 million Americans who have healthcare thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) declared that:

Barrett would “work to gut” the ACA and called Barrett a “right-wing ideologue who does not represent the majority of Americans.”

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., insisted that Barrett’s nomination was being “fast-tracked” due to the pending case:

“This nominee is being fast-tracked, first of all, because this nominee has been vetted by the two groups that matter: the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation,” Casey said. “Both groups totally committed to undoing, striking down the Affordable Care Act. So she’s already passed that test, and she apparently passed with flying colors as she moved very quickly to a likely confirmation.”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) tweeted.

“Make no mistake, a vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee who meets President Trump’s tests is a vote to take away people’s health care and vital rights.”

Legal and media experts echoed the narrative that confirming Barrett meant no health care for Americans.  Professor Charles Tiefer wrote with complete confidence that “[a]s a textualist, she will find that the whole ACA is dead. It will be somber reminder that however the Presidential race comes out, Republicans have set up a 6-3 Court conservative court that will reign supreme for decades to come.”  He and others like NYU Professor Stephen Gillers said that Barrett should consider recusal from the case.

Barrett sat through days of such baseless attacks and predictions. She even had to endure Ibram X. Kendi, the director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, claiming that her adoption of two Haitian children raised the image of a “white colonizer” and suggested that the children were little more than props to their mother.

I do not seriously expect apologies. That is something that does not happen in our age of rage. Spurious attacks and false claims are simply ignored by the media when they are later proven to be untrue.  They served their purpose in the staging of the confirmation. By the time the “judicial torpedo” proved to be a dud, the members and the media had moved on to the next target and orchestrated narrative.  All that was left was the sound of a hallow clank hitting the side of the ACA as Barrett joined six other justices to dismiss the case.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/18/2021 - 14:44
Published:6/18/2021 2:07:49 PM
[Markets] What The Next Gold Confiscation Will Look Like... And How To Protect Yourself What The Next Gold Confiscation Will Look Like... And How To Protect Yourself

Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com,

On April 5, 1933, under the pretext of a national emergency, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102, making it illegal for U.S. citizens to own gold.

The decree forced Americans to sell their gold at an artificially low “official price.” If they refused, the government could hit them with stiff penalties: a $10,000 fine (equivalent to $205,000 today) and/or up to 10 years in prison.

The government blatantly stole wealth from the American people.

Many worry the U.S. government might confiscate gold again if it becomes desperate enough. I don’t think those fears are unfounded. The U.S. government’s abysmal financial situation is only getting worse.

But would it really do a 1933-style grab again?

I don’t think it will. However, there is another growing threat to your gold.

More Likely Than Outright Confiscation

Today, only a tiny fraction of the U.S. population owns gold. Heck, I’d bet most Americans have never even seen a gold coin, much less appreciate its value.

This wasn’t the case in 1933, when the U.S. was still on a variation of the gold standard. That’s why the government probably won’t repeat the 1933 rip-off. It’s simply not worth the effort.

If the government wants to confiscate wealth, it’s far more likely to go for the easy option… steadily debasing the currency by printing money. It’s a stealthy way to confiscate from savers.

That doesn’t mean gold owners are in the clear.

I think the government will try a new scam: taxing windfall profits on gold. This would make it much easier for the government to accomplish something similar to its 1933 heist.

There’s precedence for it, too. In 1980, Congress passed the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act, which taxed up to 70% of “windfall profits” of domestic oil producers.

What the heck is a windfall profit anyway?

As far as I can tell, it’s whatever politicians decide it is. It’s completely arbitrary. There are no objective measures to define it.

In short, a windfall profit is simply a profit politicians don’t like.

The whole concept is a scam—a word trick to camouflage and sanitize legalized theft.

If the price of gold explodes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Congress passes a Fair Share Gold Windfall Profit Tax Act levying a tax of 80%, 90%, or more on gold profits.

Fortunately, there are some practical steps you can take to protect yourself from this form of politically motivated expropriation.

One way you can avoid a windfall-profits tax on gold is to renounce your U.S. citizenship. But that’s a drastic step. It’s just not realistic for most people.

Thankfully, there’s a far more practical option. You can do it from your living room. And you don’t have to turn in your passport.

The solution is to own gold stocks in a Roth IRA.

A Roth IRA is a tax-free zone. You fund it with after-tax savings, and any future capital gains or income derived from investments in your Roth IRA are not taxable.

While you can never be 100% sure what the U.S. government will do, it’s far less likely a future tax increase, even a windfall-profits tax, would affect investments in a Roth IRA.

A Roth IRA is the most practical way to protect yourself from the most likely form of future gold confiscation—a windfall-profits tax. It makes you a hard target.

*  *  *

Most people have no idea what really happens when a currency collapses, let alone how to prepare… Owning gold is essential. But there’s more to do to make sure your wealth doesn’t get wiped out in the coming financial tidal wave. How will you protect your savings in the event of a currency crisis? This video we just released will show you exactly how. Click here to watch it now.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/13/2021 - 13:30
Published:6/13/2021 12:33:50 PM
[Entertainment] Casey Anthony Juror Says "My Decision Haunts Me" 10 Years After Acquittal Casey Anthony, Most Followed Crime StoriesJury duty may be over, but the memories are still in session. In the summer of 2011, millions of Americans were glued to their TVs as seven women and five men were sworn in as jurors and...
Published:5/21/2021 6:43:56 PM
[Markets] JPMorgan Already Has 30 To 40 Investment Bankers Traveling Daily Again JPMorgan Already Has 30 To 40 Investment Bankers Traveling Daily Again

Investment bankers at J.P. Morgan are back to flying the friendly skies.

Amid debate as to whether or not business travel would eventually pick back up to pre-Covid levels, it appears as though the largest lender in the U.S. is doing its part to help steady the air travel industry. The company already has about 30 to 40 investment bankers traveling daily, according to a new report from Bloomberg

In-person meetings help banks win lucrative mandates and show their interest to potential clients. 

Jim Casey, J.P. Morgan's co-head of global investment banking, said: “Business travel has picked up as people become more comfortable. You’re not winning new business without in-person connectivity.”

CEO Jamie Dimon said last week: “There are a bunch of clients who gave business to somebody else because the bankers from the other guys visited and ours didn’t. OK, well, that’s a lesson. It’s got to work for the clients -- it’s not about whether it works for me. And I have to compete.”

Recall, about a week ago we noted that business travel likely wouldn't improve back to pre-Covid levels as investment banks mulled the idea of more dealingmaking via video chat for convenience and in order to save money.

Nordea Bank Chief Executive Officer Frank Vang-Jensen said last week that there "will definitely be much less traveling."

His sentiments were echoed by the likes of other major investment banks HSBC and Standard Chartered. Andy Halford of Standard Chartered said: "We see a step change down in the level of travel once we normalize out of this."

HSBC Holdings Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson also said the same this week, noting that the bank will increase reliance on "video technology and having people go on fewer, longer trips when they do travel."

 

And for banks, less travel is actually a good thing. HSBC saw its travel costs down $300 million in 2020, which could amount to annual savings of $150 million if the bank keeps reining in travel. 

But, recall, J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon said at the time that he hadn't quite given up on air travel: "If I'm the gung-ho person, I want to get the business, taking that trip may be much different than saying I'll meet you in a Zoom. I think people like me will travel as much and Zoom more."

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/15/2021 - 09:55
Published:5/15/2021 8:56:30 AM
[Markets] Escaping Serfdom Escaping Serfdom

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

The concept of government is that the people grant to a small group of individuals the ability to establish and maintain controls over them. The inherent flaw in such a concept is that any government will invariably and continually expand upon its controls, resulting in the ever-diminishing freedom of those who granted them the power.

When I was a schoolboy, I was taught that the feudal system of the Middle Ages consisted of serfs tilling small plots of land that belonged to a king or lord.

The serfs lived a meagre life of bare subsistence and were subject to the tyranny of the king or lord whose men would ride into their village periodically and take most of the few coins the serfs had earned by their toil.

The lesson I was meant to learn from this was that I should be grateful that, in the modern world, I live in a state of freedom from tyranny, and as an adult, I would pay only that level of tax that could be described as “fair”.

Later in life, I was to learn that, in the actual feudal system, some land was owned by noblemen, some by common men. The commoners typically farmed their own land, whilst the noblemen parcelled out their land to farmers, in trade for a portion of the product of their labours.

As a part of that bargain, the nobleman would pay for an army of professional soldiers to protect both the farms and the farmers. Significantly, unlike today, no farmer was required to defend the land himself, as it was not his.

There was no exact standard as to what the noblemen would charge a farmer under this agreement, but the general standard was “one day’s labour in ten”.

This was not an amount imposed or regulated by any government. The nobleman could charge as much as he wished; however, if he raised his rate significantly, he would find that the farmers would leave and move to another nobleman’s farm. The 10% was, in essence, a rate that evolved over time through a free market.

Modern Serfdom

Today, of course, if most countries levied an income tax of a mere 10%, there would be dancing in the streets. And the days of one simple straightforward tax are long gone.

Today, the average person may expect to pay property tax (even if he is a renter), sales tax, capital gains tax, value added tax, inheritance tax, and so on. The laundry list of taxes is so long and complex that it is no longer possible to compute what the total tax level actually is for anyone.

And to this, we add the hidden tax of inflation. In the US, for example, the Federal Reserve has, over the last hundred years, devalued the dollar by 98%, a hefty tax indeed. And the US is not alone in this.

Only 50 years ago, the average man might work a 40-hour week to support a wife who remained at home raising the children. He often had a mortgage on his home but might have it paid off in ten years. He paid cash for nearly everything else that he and his family owned or consumed.

Today, both husband and wife generally must be employed full time. In spite of this, they can’t afford as many children as their parents could, and they generally remain in debt their entire lives, even after retirement. This is significant inflation by any measure.

In contrast, in the Middle Ages, the cost of goods might remain the same throughout the entire lifetime of an individual.

In light of the above, the 10% that was paid by the serfs is beginning to look very good indeed.

However, the great majority of people in the First World are likely to say, “What can you do; it’s the same all over the world. You might as well get used to it.”

Well, no, actually, it’s not.

There are many governmental and economic systems out there and many are quite a bit more “serf friendly” than those in the major countries.

Countries such as the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman IslandsBermuda and the Bahamas have no income tax. Further, some have no property tax, sales tax, capital gains tax, value added tax, inheritance tax, and so on.

So how is this possible?

The OECD countries state that it is largely accomplished through money laundering, but this is not the case. In fact, low-tax jurisdictions are known to have some of the most stringent banking laws in the world.

The success of these jurisdictions is actually quite simple. Most of them are small. They have small populations and therefore need only a small government. Yet each jurisdiction can accommodate large numbers of investors from overseas. This results in a very high level of income per capita.

But unlike large countries, the money that is deposited or invested there is overseas money, so it is not captive. Investors can transfer it out overnight if need be.

So, even if the politicians are no better than those in larger countries (generally, they are of the same ilk), they’re aware that, like the noblemen of old, if they attempt to impose taxation, the business will dry up quickly.

In fact, such a free market dictates that the jurisdictions keep on their toes and keep trying to outdo their competitors by being more investment friendly.

Therefore, the politicians in these countries, who might be only too happy to promise entitlements to their constituents, then tax them to the hilt in order to pay for the entitlements, are kept restrained by their own system.

Are there downsides to living in a low-tax jurisdiction? Yes.

As most of them are small but require a very high standard of living in order to attract investors, they must import virtually all goods needed by residents. This means a higher cost of all goods, as compared to the cost in a country that produces such goods. However, the wage level is also higher, which tends to balance out the equation.

But there are also upsides.

Those who move to such a jurisdiction find that after the first year there (when the basics such as cars, televisions, etc., have been paid for), all further income that has been saved from taxation is beginning to get deposited in the bank.

At some point, the deposit level becomes great enough that investment becomes advisable. And as low-tax jurisdictions tend to be naturally prosperous, there is generally no limit to the opportunities for investment within the jurisdiction.

There is a further benefit to living in a low-tax jurisdiction that tends to become apparent over time. Any government that depends on major investments from overseas parties must, of necessity, be non-intrusive and non-invasive. Such a government stays out of people’s business, eschews electronic monitoring and most certainly is not given to SWAT teams crashing down doors for imagined wrongdoing.

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

He was correct, but the level of tax can vary greatly from one country to the next. And just as important, the level of government intervention into the affairs of its citizenry varies considerably. In a country where the level of tax is low, the quality of life is generally correspondingly high.

A thousand years ago, noblemen, from time to time, became overly confident in their ability to keep the serfs on the farmland and demanded taxes beyond the customary “one day’s labour in ten”. When they did, the serfs of old often voted with their feet and simply moved. Today, this is still possible.

If the reader presently contributes more than one day’s labour in ten to his government, he may wish to consider voting with his feet.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sat, 05/01/2021 - 17:35
Published:5/1/2021 4:51:38 PM
[Markets] One-Third Of Basecamp Employees Quit After Ban On Political Discussions At Work One-Third Of Basecamp Employees Quit After Ban On Political Discussions At Work

Roughly one-third of employees at Basecamp are quitting after the company instituted a 'controversial' ban on wokeness in the workplace, according to TechCrunch.

After CEO Jason Fried announced in a Monday blog post that employees would no longer be able to openly share their "societal and political discussions" at work, around 20 of the company's 60 employees simply couldn't handle minding their own business and focusing on what they were hired to do.

"Every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant," Fried wrote in the blog post. "You shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it means you’re complicit, or wading into it means you’re a target."

As TechCrunch notes, several employees took to trigger to signal their virtue over the decision.

More via TechCrunch:

The no-politics rule at Basecamp follows a similar stance that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong staked out late last year. Armstrong also denounced debates around “causes or political candidates” arguing that such discussions distracted from the company’s core work. About 60 members of Coinbase’s 1,200 person staff took buyouts in light of the internal policy change — a ratio that makes the exodus at Basecamp look even more dramatic.

...

If you’re in doubt as to whether your choice of forum or topic for a discussion is appropriate, please ask before posting,” Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson wrote in his own blog post, echoing Fried.

According to Platformer, Fried’s missive didn’t tell the whole story. Basecamp employees instead said the tension arose from internal conversations about the company itself and its commitment to DEI work, not free-floating arguments about political candidates. Fried’s blog post does mention one particular source of tension in a roundabout way, referencing an employee-led DEI initiative that would be disbanded.

“We make project management, team communication, and email software,” Fried wrote. “We are not a social impact company.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/01/2021 - 14:40
Published:5/1/2021 1:50:57 PM
[10a8721f-142b-57a0-ba39-2f86a507642c] Armie Hammer's Aunt Casey Hammer plans to share family secrets in upcoming docuseries Armie Hammer's aunt, Casey Hammer, is set to provide secrets about the high-profile family in an upcoming docuseries produced by Talos Films. Published:4/29/2021 7:10:09 AM
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