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Exquisite treasure hoard of gold and jewels from a 17th century Spanish galleon shipwreck discovered in Bahamas

A new museum is opening to display the finds from the 366-year-old Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas wreck in the Bahamas. Artefacts found in the wreckage of the Nuestra Señora de las MaravillasBrendan Chavez Treasures have been found in the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas shipwreck in the Bahamas.   The trove included silver bars, a five-foot gold chain, emeralds, and pearls. The Bahamas Maritime Museum is opening to display the finds.  A trove of treasure has been discovered in the shipwreck of the 17th century Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of Wonders) in the Bahamas.  The glittering finds include solid silver bars, a 5-foot, 9-inch long gold chain, in-tact pottery, a gold and emerald pendant, a pearl ring, two glass wine bottles, and a silver sword hilt of the soldier Don Martin de Aranda y Gusmán.The finds are about to go on display at the new Bahamas Maritime Museum, created by the Government of the Bahamas, and Carl Allen, entrepreneur, explorer, philanthropist, and the founder of Allen Exploration, whose team uncovered the finds.A 5-foot, 9-inch long gold chain found in the ship wreck of the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas.Nathaniel Harrington"When we brought up the oval emerald and gold pendant, my breath caught in my throat. How these tiny pendants survived in these harsh waters, and how we managed to find them, is the miracle of the Maravillas," Allen said in a press release sent to Insider. Allen Explorations discovered the treasures sttrewn along an eight-mile stretch of the ocean floor.Explorers delve into the remains of the Nuestra Señora de las MaravillasChad BagwellIn the statement, Allen spoke of the "tough history" of the shipwreck, saying it had been "heavily salvaged by Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Bahamian and American expeditions in the 17th and 18th centuries, and blitzed by salvors from the 1970s to early 1990s. Some say the remains were ground to dust." He also added that "The sea bottom is barren," that "the colorful coral that divers remembered from the 70s is gone, poisoned by ocean acidification and choked by meters of shifting sand. It's painfully sad. Still lying on those dead grey reefs, though, are sparkling finds.""The ship may have been obliterated by past salvage and hurricanes. But we're convinced there are more stories out there," project marine archaeologist James Sinclair said.An emerald pendant found in the remains of the Nuestra Señora de las MaravillasNathaniel HarringtonThe new Bahamas Maritime Museum will open on August 8."For a nation built from the ocean, it's astonishing how little is understood about The Bahamas' maritime links," Dr. Michael Pateman, Director of The Bahamas Maritime Museum, said in the press release."Few know that the Indigenous Lucayan peoples, for instance, settled here 1,300 years ago. Or that the whole population, up to 50,000 people was forced out by Spanish guns, made to dive for pearls off Venezuela, and killed off in less than three decades. There was dazzling Old World culture in The Bahamas. The Lucayans, slave trade, pirates, and the Maravillas are core stories we're sharing in the museum."Nuestra Señora de las MaravillasAllen ExplorationAbout the ship According to the Bahamas Maritime Museum, the 17th century Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas was a two-deck Spanish galleon that sank on a voyage from the Americas to Spain carrying treasures, both as royal tax and private property.The ship sank off the Little Bahama Bank on January 4, 1656, after a navigational error. Of the 650 on board, only 45 survived. The wreck was quickly relocated after the ship sank, and for centuries people have tried their luck to find some of the sunken riches. Explorer Robert Marx rediscovered the remains in 1972, and salvaged some of what was left. Further remains were salvaged by Herbert Humphreys between 1986 and the early 1990sRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 6th, 2022

Photos show a centuries-old shipwreck found off Colombia"s coast carrying lost treasure worth billions of dollars, including gold coins and emeralds

Spain's San Jose galleon was carrying a billion-dollar cargo of gold, silver and emeralds when it was sunk by the British navy in 1708, off Colombia's coast. The San Jose galleon was believed to have been carrying billions worth of treasure when it was sunk in 1708.ARMADA DE COLOMBIA The British navy sunk Spain's San Jose galleon, laden with tons of treasure, in 1708. The Colombian army has released new videos and images of the treasure, including gold coins. Two more shipwrecks were also discovered near the site, Colombia's president said. The Colombian army released images of one of the world's most valuable shipwrecks, the location of which was unknown for nearly three centuries.Spain's San Jose galleon was loaded with a vast cargo of treasure when it was sunk by British navy ships in 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession.The ship, a 64-gun galleon with around 600 people on board, is believed to have been carrying at least 200 tons of treasure, including gold coins, silver coins, and emeralds, worth an estimated up to $17 billion at today's prices.Gold coins found in the San Jose shipwreck.ARMADA DE COLOMBIAThe wreck often called "the holy grail of shipwrecks," was found by Colombian naval officials off the coast of Cartagena in 2015, but its precise location has been kept a secret.Colombian President Iván Duque released previously unseen footage and images of the wreck in a press conference on June 6.The images revealed many newly discovered treasures, including Chinese ceramics, gold coins, swords, and cannons.Chinese crockery found in the San Jose shipwreck.ARMADA DE COLOMBIA"The idea is to recover it and to have sustainable financing mechanisms for future extractions," Duque said in the press conference. "In this way, we protect the treasure, the patrimony of the San Jose galleon."Authorities said that the video and images were taken by remotely operated state-of-the-art equipment that descended around 3,280 feet to explore the wreckage's nooks and crannies.Inscriptions on the cannons revealed they had been manufactured in 1655 in Seville and Cádiz in Spain, the Colombian navy's maritime director-general Admiral José Joaquín Amézquita, said in a statement.He also noted the discovery of gold coins, or macuquinas, with coinage typical of the time.A cannon found in the San Jose shipwreck.ARMADA DE COLOMBIADuque also said that monitoring of the wreck led to the discovery of two more shipwrecks nearby, a colonial boat and a schooner thought to be from the 1800s.The San Jose wreck has been the subject of an ongoing legal battle since its discovery, as reported by The Economist. Colombia has claimed the wreck and its contents as its own, with former President Juan Manuel Santos signing the Submerged Cultural Heritage Law in 2013, which says artifacts recovered in Colombian waters belong to the state.However, Spain has also staked a claim, noting that the ship was theirs and citing UNESCO's convention on underwater cultural heritage. To further complicate matters, many of the valuables on the ship were likely to have been plundered from South American countries, some of whom might also claim a right to some of the treasure.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 18th, 2022

A Google executive"s passion for collecting locks of presidential hair

Interest in the presidential hair market surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, as buyers, cooped up at home, splurged on collectibles. Jared Cohen, a Google executive and historian, with a lock of John F. Kennedy's hair that is part of his extensive presidential hair collection. Alan Chin for Insider Jared Cohen, a Google executive and historian, is an avid collector of hair from US presidents. Interest in the presidential hair market surged during the pandemic, as buyers, cooped up at home, splurged on collectibles. The most valuable Custer is Abraham Lincoln's. Shorn off on the night of his assassination, it sold for $81,250. A few weeks ago, Jared Cohen, a Google executive, made the 90-minute trek from his Manhattan apartment to the sleepy suburb of Wilton, Connecticut, to purchase 24 hairs from the head of John Tyler, America's 10th president.The seller was John Reznikoff, an auctioneer and authenticator who, according to the Guiness Book of World Records, owns the world's largest collection of presidential hair. Reznikoff has samples from 25 former presidents and from celebrities like Edgar Allen Poe, Susan B. Anthony, Albert Einstein, Marie Antoinette, and Napoleon Bonaparte. An exquisite specimen of Lincoln's deathbed lock is among his most prized possessions. His collection, which he has been assembling for three decades, is so renowned that his JFK strands were used to disprove a Texas man's claims that he was an heir of Camelot. Reznikoff was also the inspiration for a character in a 2009 Law & Order episode about a presidential paternity case.Reznikoff has never had his private collection appraised and he hates to part with any of it. Cohen, a former advisor to several Secretaries of State, and author of "Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America," is one of his only clients.Reznikoff stores his locks in a filing cabinet in a temperature-controlled room in his 6,000-square-foot home office. "I keep it organized in case I want to find this or that and it keeps it away from the elements and safe from theft," he said. John Reznikoff at his office in Wilton, Connecticut. An auctioneer and authenticator, he maintains the world's largest collection of presidential hair. Alan Chin for Insider The vault is stuffy; no air conditioning. Security cameras are everywhere. Staring into a magnifying glass, Reznikoff works with the care of a jeweler and the precision of a surgeon, using a pair of the tweezers to tease out a specimen. Cohen, an avid collector of early American documents and the drinking vessels of historic figures including Ronald Reagan's mug, has been collecting the hair of US presidents for a decade. He and Reznikoff had spent the previous week in careful negotiations to acquire this particular artifact. "He's very convincing. I can't resist him," says Reznikoff. "He's probably one of the few people who I have sold multiple things to because he is really passionate and I feel that somebody who has that kind of passion I want to satisfy him."As Reznikoff worked, Cohen documented his every movement through the lens of his smartphone camera, lest the value of his quarry instantly evaporate. A display of 24 hairs from the head of John Tyler, America's 10th president, that's now on display in Cohen's home. Alan Chin for Insider "If one of the strands separates and lands on the table, it's done. You have to throw it away. It loses its provenance," Cohen says. "I like to micromanage the extraction of my locks from his larger locks. If you aren't there in person you can't document the transition."That night, back home in Manhattan, Cohen waited for his kids to go to sleep before setting his treasure on his desk. Each transfer must be done in total stillness. He painstakingly transferred the strands with a pair of tweezers onto a ribbon, which he then slowly worked into a knot. He then pressed the tufts between two panes of framed museum glass. "If the hair blows away, a piece of history that spent 150 years getting to you is lost and it is all your fault," he says. "George Washington's hair deserves to be preserved. He never imagined an air conditioner disrupting that."Condition: 'used'Cohen is just one of the avid hobbyists who dream of plucking the hairs from heads of state.Sales happen at antiquarian book fairs, auction houses, or online marketplaces. Prices for presidential hair samples sold through auction houses and e-commerce sites have tripled in the past decade, Reznikoff said. More than 300 collectors alone have bid online for his sets of solo presidential strands.Single threads of presidential hair attached to a baseball-style trading card can fetch between $225 and $3,000 on eBay (condition: "used"). Rarer collections can cost their weight in gold.A few sprigs of George Washington's hair removed after his death in 1799 and set in a glass locket sold for $39,921.60 at Lelands Auctions in April after 45 bids. But a clump of Abraham Lincoln's mane that surgeons shorn off the night of his assassination is believed to be the most valuable presidential mop in existence. Last year, four score and seven strands of Lincoln's locks attached to a telegram were sold at Boston-based RR Auction for $81,250. John Reznikoff examines a sample of hair from the head of Ulysses S. Grant. Alan Chin for Insider Hair is generally on offer as part of a trove of documents that also includes letters or jewelry that encased a few curls, and other related documents. The items' heavily documented provenance, a record of ownership used to determine an object's authenticity, almost certainly enhance its worth today. That's one reason why Cohen and his ilk are so obsessed with presidential hair in the first place.Reznikoff authenticates hair samples for auction houses and law enforcement agencies by analyzing the documents that can often accompany the follicles. He compares the handwriting with known examples of their other work to determine if they share authorship. Sometimes he'll even use microscopes and a video spectral comparator to enlarge a hair sample and examine its thickness and color."Any relic simply by its nature requires a leap of faith," Reznikoff said. "The only way to be 1000 percent sure is DNA testing with a known relative. A clump of John F. Kennedy's hair at John Reznikoff's office in Connecticut. Alan Chin for Insider According to Reznikoff, high net worth investors, including hedge funders, lawyers, bankers, and real estate developers, have increasingly been buying from private dealers and at auctions. Interest in the presidential hair market also surged during the pandemic, as wealthy individuals cooped up at home splurged on all kinds of collectibles easily accessible online."There's a giant new audience online that realizes there are tremendous items like rare books and strands of hair available," Reznikoff said. "They're not traveling, they're not going to France this year. That's $20 grand they have to burn."'You can't be insecure about it'Cohen started acquiring historic memorabilia when he was eight years old and saw a bag of campaign buttons at a flea market on Broadway and Grand Street. As a kid, Cohen would beg his parents for presidential souvenirs on his birthday and for his bar mitzvah."It's the only intellectual thing in my life that has been consistent since I was a little boy and that's a really pure and special thing," he says. "For me it's the closest I can get to experiencing the history I am so fascinated by." "These items are a way for me to connect with the past. The richer the provenance the purer that connection to the past feels," he says. "It's not that I care about the value of any of it. It's the love of collecting… I'm owning to own." The first time Cohen bought a lock of hair was 15 years ago, when Reznikoff sold him a copy of George Washington's discharge papers as president of the Continental Army, and threw in a few of Washington's follicles as well. Jared Cohen, at home in Manhattan, started acquiring historic memorabilia when he was eight years old and acquired his first lock of presidential hair 15 years ago. Alan Chin for Insider A collection of campaign ribbons and badges displayed at Cohen's home. Alan. Chin for Insider A vial of poison given to Charles Guiteau, who assassinated President James Garfield in 1881, along with a lock of Guiteau's hair. Guiteau was executed by hanging in 1882. Alan Chin for Insider The biggest obstacle was bringing his wife and kids around to his newfound hobby. For a while, Cohen promised his wife he would never spend money on hair, but found himself overpaying for presidential documents and obtaining the hair - the thing he truly was after - as a kickback. Eventually, he started buying his White House wisps directly from Reznikoff. Now Cohen has amassed hair samples from 11 different presidents that he encased in glass frames and hung throughout his apartment. In addition to John Tyler, Cohen owns a cluster of Washington tufts, four John Adams strands, six long Lincoln strands, a "beautiful" Andrew Jackson lock, some short patches from James Buchanan, a Ronald Reagan ruff, and the only privately owned lock of Ulysses S. Grant's curls.Even Cohen's kids can tell whose hair belongs to which president, although they still think their father's obsession is a little odd."Here's the thing, as a hair collector you have to own it. You can't be insecure about it," Cohen said. "This is not something you can do and be embarrassed by. It doesn't work. It is a weird hobby."'A part of yourself'It used to be that people traded hair all the time. Lovers would slide locks between the pages of letters or drop them into pendants. "It was free, anybody could snip off some, it didn't decay, and it was also literally giving a part of yourself to someone," Cassandra Good, Assistant Professor of History at Marymount University, said. "So there was an intimacy to it but it wasn't an exclusive intimacy because you could give hair to so many people."Collectors hanker for hair to connect with the past. Presidential coifs also provide a tangible link with the allure of extraordinary fame, like Elvis or Beatles memorabilia. A photograph of John Quincy Adams, displayed with a sample of his hair, that's part of John Reznikoff's extensive collection. Alan Chin for Insider "We tend to want to frame our presidents as human beings who have transcended normal life," Helen Sheumaker said. "Their hair becomes an interesting relic that symbolizes that ability."First Lady Martha Washington snipped off filaments of George Washington's hair upon request."People could attach emotions they had for the king to George Washington but at the same time he led them away from monarchy and kept giving up power," said Keith Beutler, the author of the forthcoming book, George Washington's Hair: How Early Americans Remembered the Founders.Washington's private secretary Tobias Lear even chopped off a shock from the founding father's scalp just after he was put in his casket in 1799 and distributed it to friends and family."They had in their view that people were going to request more of it," Beutler said. "Hair can be disbursed in smaller and smaller increments. Some of these would start out with 50 strands and over time they are parceled out across generations."President Lincoln was even asked to donate his hair to raise money for union troops. Years later, Teddy Roosevelt paid $100 for a ring containing five strands of Lincoln's hair, which he wore for his inauguration in 1905. A lock of hair from James Buchanan, America's 15th president. Alan Chin for Insider The first known collection of U.S. presidential hair - a scrapbook of notable men's locks, including signers of the Declaration of Independence - was compiled by a Philadelphia lawyer named Peter Arvell Browne in the 1840s. This inspired John Varden, an early Smithsonian curator, who began acquiring locks from commanders-in-chief for his personal reliquary in 1850. The Smithsonian acquired Varden's "Hair of Presidents" assemblage in 1883, and it remains on view at the National Museum of American History. But in the 20th century, sharing and collecting human hair, presidential or otherwise, began to fall out of favor. "By World War I there's a decline in the value of sentimental displays and clothing styles became more modern and streamlined," said Helen Sheumaker, Miami University of Ohio professor and author of Love Entwined: The Curious History of Hair Work in America, referring to jewelry and crafts made from human hair. Single threads of presidential hair attached to a baseball-style trading card can fetch between $225 and $3,000 on eBay. These are part of R's collection. Alan Chin for Insider But hobbyists - even if they stopped sending letters requesting locks - continued to hoard historic hair. Now collectors relied on estate sales and auctions from families unloading their 19th century heirlooms or from doctors and barbers who snipped and sold clippings from their presidential clients. Sometimes presidential hair traveled in more roundabout ways. Washington's family gave one clipping to Marquis de La Fayette, who handed it off to Simón Bolívar, a South American statesman and revolutionary. It remained preserved in a Caracas museum until June 1970 when a Venezuelan delegation presented some of the hair embedded in jewelry to President Nixon at a state dinner."Nixon was a little bit annoyed that they did that. He thought it was pointless," Beutler said. "He was a hard man to impress." Nixon later displayed the hair in the Oval Office on Washington's Birthday in February 1971. Today, the sample sits in the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.A red lineMore recently, the collections have interested researchers for other reasons. According to Beutler, the author of the book about Washington's hair, hair samples can offer a forensic window into a person, such as what their diet was like."[Washington] had a pretty reasonable diet…. very high in vegetables and wholesome things," he said. Some visionaries even hope to someday clone deceased icons using the data preserved in their hair follicles. But even hardcore hair collectors like Cohen have red lines they won't cross like owning locks from presidents who are still alive. Cohen points to a lock of hair from William Henry Harrison, America's 9th president, who died 31 days after his inauguration. The two long strands of hair were taken as Harrison lay in state. Alan Chin for Insider "I have a rule that I don't collect presidential hair of the living. I don't cross that line," Cohen said. "I think it's a little weird to collect it." (Ever self-reflective, Cohen adds: "I realize it's sort of weird for somebody who collects presidential hair to be commenting on what's weird.")Living presidents aren't necessarily interested in parting with their hair either. A former campaign aide to Donald Trump, whose hair sprouts from the most famous cranium in the country, said he "couldn't see Trump doing that," even though Reznikoff predicts there will be a "strong market" for Trump's hair after his death.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 29th, 2021

A Danish man found buried treasure from the Iron Age using a metal detector, just hours after turning it on for the first time

A metal detectorist has uncovered one of the largest gold hoards ever found in Denmark. An Iron Age chieftain buried the treasure 1,500 years ago. Gold medallions, coins, and jewelry comprise an Iron Age hoard that a rookie metal detectorist recently discovered in Denmark. Conservation Center Vejle A man discovered 1,500-year-old buried treasure in Denmark using a metal detector. It contained gold medallions, coins, and jewelry - one of the largest hoards ever found in the country. An Iron Age chieftain may have buried the gold to appease the gods after a volcano eruption. See more stories on Insider's business page. Ole Ginnerup Schytzlast had never used a metal detector before. He first gave it a shot on a former classmate's land in Vindelev, Denmark in December.Within hours of turning his detector on, Schytzlast stumbled across one of the largest treasure hoards ever found in the country."Well, that's the epitome of improbable luck," the rookie detectorist said in an interview with Danish outlet TV Syd earlier this month. "Denmark is 43,000 square kilometers, and then I happen to choose to put the detector exactly where this find was." A golden bracelet found among the hoard. Conservation Center Vejle Over the last nine months, archaeologists from the Vejle Museums have carefully excavated Schytzlast's find. They've uncovered more than 22 golden medallions, coins, and pieces of jewelry that date back at least 1,500 years.Added up, that's more than two pounds' worth of gold. So whoever buried the hoard was wealthy and powerful."Only a member of the absolute cream of society would have been able to collect a treasure like the one found here," Mads Ravn, head of research at Vejle Museums, said in a statement announcing the finding to the public earlier this month.Ravn and his colleagues think the gold most likely belonged to an Iron Age chieftain who attracted skilled artisans to the area.Medallions the size of saucers Ole Ginnerup Schytz, a rookie metal detectorist, discovered the hoard. Vejle Museums Schytzlast didn't initially recognize the collection of gold - nicknamed the "Vindelev hoard," after where it was found - for what it was.The first artifact he discovered resembled a small piece of bent metal, he told TV Syd."It was full of scratches and covered in mud," he said. "I had no idea, so all I could think of was that it looked like the lid of a can of herring." One of the gold medallions discovered in the hoard. Conservation Center Vejle But then he sent a photo of one of his finds to the Vejle Museums nearby, where Ravn took a look. The researcher told CNN that he nearly fell out of his chair."I told him he might as well just sell the detector now because he already peaked," Ravn said. "It doesn't get better."Ravn sent archaeologists to the site, where they found numerous decorated medallions the size of saucers. These medallions, which are thicker than coins, are called bracteates. They also uncovered bracelets, coins, and coins that had been made into pendants.Possible ties to the Norse god OdinThe hoard dates back to the mid-6th century - suggesting an Iron Age society occupied the area before the Vikings arrived a few centuries later. Some of the pieces had embossed symbols that museum archaeologists didn't recognize. Two pieces of gold in particular caught experts' eyes.One bracteate depicts a braided man surrounded by a horse and a bird, with which the man seems to be communicating. Above his head are runes that roughly translate to "houar," or "the high one." A medallion, known as a bracteate, featuring the face of a man and runes. Conservation Center Vejle According to Ravn's team, the term could refer to the chieftain who buried the treasure. Myths also associate "houar" with Odin, the Norse god of wisdom and warfare. A medallion depicting the Roman Emperor Constantine. Conservation Center Vejle Another coin depicts the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, who ruled almost 1,700 years ago. So the coin's presence in the hoard suggests people in this Iron Age group traded with other societies.Burying gold to appease the gods Experts aren't sure why the chieftain buried so much gold.It's possible he hid the treasure to keep it safe from invaders during war. But more likely, Ravn said, the hoard was an offering. A 2015 study found evidence that an ash cloud from a large volcanic eruption in 536 AD cooled the Scandinavian climate, causing crop failures and resulting in widespread famine. That's right around the time the hoard was buried. Archaeologists have also found other gold hoards in the nearby area that date to the time period following the eruption. Together, this suggests Denmark's occupants during the late Iron Age may have buried gold as a means of appeasing their gods during a chaotic time, according to museum experts. Researchers are prepping the hoard for display in the Vejle Museums' Viking exhibition in Denmark, which will open in February 2022. Vejle Museums The Vejle Museums in Jutland will exhibit the unprecedented find starting in February 2022.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

Divers Reveal "Historic Maritime Discovery" Of Royal Ship That Sank With King James II

Divers Reveal "Historic Maritime Discovery" Of Royal Ship That Sank With King James II One of the most famous British warships that sank in the 17th century off the coast of England has finally been revealed after two brothers discovered it more than a decade ago.  The 50-gun HMS Gloucester ran aground and sank in 1682 (340 years ago) 27.9 miles off the coast of Great Yarmouth. There was no formal passenger manifest, but it's believed about 330 people -- including James Stuart, future King of England -- were on the vessel at the time. It's estimated that 130 to 250 crew and passengers drowned.  Stuart was nearly one of those casualties --three years later, he was crowned James II as King of England and King of Ireland and James VII as King of Scotland.  The brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell discovered Gloucester in 2007. They have been quiet about their findings and, in 2012, were able to confirm the wreck with the Ministry of Defence by identifying the ship's bell.  It was only until now the brothers have gone public with their findings. Maritime history experts told The Epoch Times this shipwreck is one of the most significant historic maritime discoveries in decades: "Because of the circumstances of its sinking, this can be claimed as the single most significant historic maritime discovery since the raising of the Mary Rose in 1982. "The discovery promises to fundamentally change the understanding of 17th-century social, maritime, and political history. "It is an outstanding example of the underwater cultural heritage of national and international importance. A tragedy of considerable proportions in terms of loss of life, both privileged and ordinary, the full story of the Gloucester's last voyage and the impact of its aftermath needs re-telling, including its cultural and political importance, and legacy. We will also try to establish who else died and tell their stories, as the identities of a fraction of the victims are currently known," said maritime history expert Professor Claire Jowitt, of the University of East Anglia (UEA).  The shipwreck's artifacts will be featured in an exhibition called "The Last Voyage of the Gloucester: Norfolk's Royal Shipwreck," jointly curated by UEA and Norfolk Museums Service, at the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery in spring 2023.  "The find would also yield countless more artifacts, including the personal possessions of possibly hundreds of passengers who drowned, wine bottles, and a bell which helped identify the vessel," Epoch noted.  Here's a sneak preview of the priceless artifacts recovered by the brothers from the shipwreck over four years.  Footage of Gloucester's watery grave.  Large cannons  Part of the ship's anchor         Tyler Durden Sat, 07/23/2022 - 09:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 23rd, 2022

New Video Shows "Holy Grail" Of Shipwrecks Off Colombia

New Video Shows "Holy Grail" Of Shipwrecks Off Colombia The Colombian government released a new video of a Spanish ship that sunk three centuries ago off the South American country's coast. Maritime experts describe it as the "holy grail" of Spanish colonial shipwrecks.  President Ivan Duque and naval officials released a video on Monday showing the long-sunken San José galleon, resting 900 meters below the ocean's surface, with treasure that could be worth billions of dollars, according to Reuters.  No humans have been able to reach the shipwreck found in 2015 near Colombia's Caribbean port of Cartagena. A remotely operated underwater vehicle with a camera and powerful light recently examined the wreckage, finding gold bars and coins and cannons.  "The idea is to recover it and to have sustainable financing mechanisms for future extractions. "In this way we protect the treasure, the patrimony of the San Jose galleon," President Ivan Duque said. Colombian Navy commander Admiral Gabriel Perez said the underwater vehicle found two other shipwrecks in the area, believed to be from two centuries ago.  "We now have two other discoveries in the same area, that show other options for archaeological exploration," Perez said.  The story behind why San José has been considered the "holy grail" of shipwrecks is that it was loaded up with precious metals from South America and headed to Europe when the British Navy sank it in 1708. CBS News said experts estimate the treasure to be "200 tons of gold, silver, and emeralds."  Here's the video of the wreckage. Now comes the hard part: How to retrieve the billions of dollars in treasure 900 meters under the surface?  Tyler Durden Tue, 06/07/2022 - 23:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 7th, 2022

The site of a former SS brothel searched in the hunt for fabled Nazi gold and priceless art looted by Hitler"s henchmen, say reports

Treasure hunters in Poland believe they may have found the site of stolen Nazi loot at a former palace used by Hitler's SS as a brothel. An exterior shot of Minkowskie Palace.Xxkazik/ Creative Commons Treasure hunters believe they may have found a cache of stolen Nazi loot beneath a former palace. Minkowskie Palace in Poland was used as a brothel by Adolf Hitler's SS, according to reports. A fabled stash of missing gold and priceless art might lie beneath the palace grounds, The Daily Mail reported. Treasure hunters in Poland believe they may have found the site of a cache of stolen Nazi loot on the grounds of a former palace used by Adolf Hitler's SS as a brothel, according to reports.The Silesian Bridge Foundation said they had used ground-penetrating radar to pinpoint a large canister buried nine feet beneath an abandoned conservatory at the 18th-century palace near Minkowskie, southern Poland.It was used as a secret brothel for Hitler's SS during World War II, according to reports."From what we know and what we have researched, we think with 90% or maybe 100% that it is an object where the deposits are located," Tomasz Gorski, a member of the Silesian Bridge Foundation, said, per The Times.The foundation team now has to wait for permission to excavate the find because there are fears it may have been booby-trapped by Hitler's retreating German Army.The clues to the potential find's whereabouts were contained in a diary, a bundle of documents, and a map that once belonged to an SS officer.They were given to the foundation by a secretive Christian lodge based in Quedlinburg, a historic town in Germany. It was the center of Nazi cult worship in the 1930s and 1940s, The Times reported.Roman Furmaniak, the foundation leader, has said that the Quedlinburg lodge includes the descendants of SS officers. Its work focuses on promoting German-Polish relations, per The Times.The Christian lodge handed over the diary as a gesture of atonement for Poland's suffering during the war, The Times said.In the handwritten pages penned by a member of Hitler's elite soldiers was a reference to "48 heavy Reichsbank's chests," The Daily Mail reported."Only you know where they are located," wrote a senior SS officer called von Stein to a girl who worked at the palace, per The Daily Mail. "May God help you and help me fulfill my assignment."It could be a reference to the so-called "Gold of Breslau."According to Second World War mythology, SS leader Heinrich Himmler ordered his soldiers to take a vast quantity of gold from the then German city of Breslau, now Wroclaw, and to hide it in Lower Silesia in the final months of World War II.The fabled crates of gold have not been seen since, despite numerous searches."Several people took part in hiding the deposits in Minkowskie, one of them was an officer called von Stein," said Furmaniak last year in an interview with MailOnline. "He used to stay in the palace because he had a lover there."The diary also describes one cache as containing priceless works of art by Rembrandt, Monet, and Cezanne, which the SS seized as the Red Army advanced, according to The Daily Mail.Treasure hunters have been searching for caches of the Nazi treasure for decades. In 2015 and 2018, there was excitement over claims that a lost Nazi gold train had been discovered buried underground in the same region as the Minkowskie Palace. In the end, it proved to be yet another failed quest. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 14th, 2022

More wonders of the ancient world were revealed in 2021, including the mummies of Egypt"s pharaohs, sunken Crusader treasure, and a Roman crucifixion

10 extraordinary archeological discoveries of 2021 included lost cities, an Egyptian mummy with a tongue of gold, and 2,400-year-old baskets of fruit. Egypt Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, Insider Archaeologists revealed more wonders of the ancient world in 2021. They ranged from a lost city, a mummy with a golden tongue, and 2,400-year-old baskets of fruit. We document some of the best archaeological finds of the last 12 months.  In 2021 archaeologists discovered an array of lost treasures of the ancient world.Insider's coverage of the archaeological breakthroughs included Egyptian mummies with tongues of gold, sunken Crusader trove, and 2000-year-old Roman slave quarters perfectly preserved by a volcanic eruption.2,400-year-old baskets of fruit discovered in ancient Egyptian city under the seaHead of Diorite found in Abu Qir Bay, where ancient cities of Canopus and Thonis-Herakleion are.Egypt Ministry of Tourism and AntiquitiesIn August 2021, Insider's Alia Shoaib reported that 2,400-year-old baskets of fruit were discovered in an ancient Egyptian under-sea city Thonis-Heracleion.Archaeologists found a trove of ancient artifacts from the fourth century BCE, including wicker baskets filled with doum, fruit from an African palm tree, grape seeds, and Greek ceramics. The fascinating discovery was made by a team of researchers from the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, led by the French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio, who discovered the ruin of Thonis-Heracleion twenty years ago.Goddio told the Guardian that the fruit had been untouched for over 2000 years, calling the find "incredible." Archaeologists discovered 2 ancient graves of a mother and baby near Stonehenge in EnglandInside the sarsen circle at Stonehenge.James Davies/English HeritageIn February, Archaeologists in England found two ancient graves near the prehistoric Stonehenge in Salisbury. The find was made during excavations necessary before the creation of a new highway tunnel. The two graves were declared to be roughly 4,500 years old — as old as the stones in the central circle of the henge — and belonging to a mother and baby.The pair were thought to be related to those who built the circle, with Matt Leivers, an archaeologist with Wessex Archaeology who helped survey the area having told Insider: "The later arrangements of bluestones would have been built around the time these people lived and died — if they weren't the builders then they might have been their relatives, or perhaps their children or grandchildren."Stonehenge has been a mystery for centuries — until February 2021, when researchers discovered the stones had been transported from Wales to Salisbury, suggesting the henge is a type of burial ground.    'Lost golden city' found in EgyptThe city was found after seven months of excavating.STR/picture alliance via Getty ImagesIn April 2021, Jacob Sarkisian reported that a "lost golden city" was found in Egypt, 300 miles south of Cairo. It was one of the largest ancient cities ever discovered in the country and one of the most significant finds since the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb a century ago.The team said in a statement: "The Egyptian mission under Dr. Zahi Hawass found the city that was lost under the sands. The city is 3,000 years old, dates to the reign of Amenhotep III, and continued to be used by Tutankhamun and Ay."The city features several neighborhoods, intact 10-feet-high walls, and even a bakery.  The earliest evidence of tobacco used by hunter-gatherers in the US West 12,000 years agoArchaeologists unearth an ancient hearth, containing four charred tobacco seeds, in northern Utah on October 11, 2021.Sarah K. Rice/Handout via REUTERSAt the beginning of October 2021, Joshua Zitser reported that the earliest evidence of tobacco use was found in Utah. The find dates back over 12,000 years, with the leaf believed to be used by hunter-gatherers for food preparation. This uncovered the fact that humans may have been using tobacco some 9,000 years earlier than previously thought.You can read Insider's senior news reporter Joshua Zitser's full report here. An amateur diver found a 3-foot sword off the Israeli coast dating back to the CrusadesJacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, holds a meter-long (yard-long) sword, that experts say dates back to the Crusaders, in the Mediterranean seaport of Cesarea, Israel, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)In October 2021, an amateur diver in Israel made an incredible find: a three-foot crusade-era sword. Shlomi Katzin came across a giant sword, covered in shells and marine life, 13 feet under the Mediterranean waves as he was exploring the waters of the Carmel coast. Katzin also found giant metal and stone anchors and bits of pottery nestled in a 1,000 square-foot patch of the sandy seabed during his exploration.Katzin reported his find to the Israel Antiquities Authority, and they declared the sword to be from between the 11th and 13th centuries."It is exciting to encounter such a personal object, taking you 900 years back in time to a different era, with knights, armor, and swords." Nir Distelfeld, an inspector for the IAA's Robbery Prevention Unit, said in a press release.You can read Aylin Woodward's full report here. Archaeologists discovered an Egyptian mummy buried with a golden tongueArchaeologists found an Ancient Egyptian mummy with a golden tongue covering still in its mouth in El Bahnasa, Egypt.Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and AntiquitiesIn February 2021, archaeologists in Egypt uncovered a mummy buried with a golden tongue in its mouth. Egyptian and Dominican archaeologists found 16 burial shafts at the Taposiris Magna Temple near Alexandria. When searching the places of rest, they found one mummy who was given a golden amulet in the shape of a tongue placed in its mouth. The amulet is a great honor, thought to give the dead the ability to speak to gods.  Rare evidence of Roman crucifixion found in EnglandNail found in the heel bone of the ancient skeleton.Albion ArchaeologyIn December 2021, Insider's Rebecca Cohen and Erin Schumaker reported that a skeleton in England was found with a nail through its foot — rare evidence of Roman crucifixion. Researchers in Cambridgeshire were analyzing findings from a dig of an ancient Roman settlement, and when they researched the bones found, they discovered this evidence of crucifixion. While crucifixion was thought to be relatively common for the Roman era, few pieces of evidence for it exist.The find is just the fourth known crucifixion in the world, with it ranking as the best-preserved one. Astonishing images of Roman slave quarters in Pompeii frozen in time for almost 2,000 years by a volcanic eruptionA "slaves' room" at a Roman villa, containing beds, amphorae, ceramic pitchers, and a chamber pot discovered in a dig near the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, destroyed in 79 AD by a massive volcanic eruption, Italy, 2021Pompeii Archeological Park/Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism/Handout via REUTERSIn November 2021, archaeologists in Pompeii, Italy, found incredibly well-preserved 2000-year old slave quarters. The room, frozen in time due to the Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD, featured beds, a chest, and a chamber pot. Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director-general of Pompeii's archaeological park, hailed the findings on the Pompeii website as a "window into the precarious reality of people who seldom appear in historical sources."High-tech scanners 'unwrapped' a mummified Egyptian pharaoh, revealing a seemingly healthy 35-year-old with no clues for how he diedFacemask of the unwrapped mummy of Pharaoh Amenhotep I.S. Saleem and Z. HawassJust as 2021 closed, Insider's science reporter Dr. Marianne Guenot reported how 3D CT scanners had been used to 'unwrap' a mummified Egyptian pharaoh. The images showed "unprecedented detail" of the body of Amenhotep I, said Sahar Saleem, a professor of radiology and lead author of a study on the mummy.Amenhotep was the second Pharaoh of Egypt's 18th dynasty, ruling for over two decades in 1525 BC.The scans were able to age the Pharaoh and tell that he was 5 feet, 6 inches, tall, circumcised, had a narrow chin, a small narrow nose, curly hair, mildly protruding upper teeth, and a pierced left ear.   The discovery of a 2000-year-old dagger was a vital clue to revealing a forgotten battle between the Roman Empire's legions and tribal warriorsA soldier's dagger from 15 BC was found in Oberhalbstein (Graubünden, Switzerland) before and after restorations.Archäologischen Dienst GraubündenIn Switzerland, a volunteer archaeologist uncovered a Roman-era dagger that has revealed intricate details of an ancient battle. Schmid unearthed the dagger in the mountainous Graubünden region of Switzerland, an area believed to be the site of a lost battlefield where Imperial Roman soldiers fought Rhaetian warriors in approximately 15 BC. This discovery then sparked further explorations, revealing a battlefield. The dagger, dated to around 15 BC, is a rare find. The team behind the discovery explained that only four of its kind had ever been found in former Roman territories. You can read the full report from myself and my colleague Joshua Zitser. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 2nd, 2022

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

Amateur divers find an "incredible" treasure trove of gold coins from the Roman Empire while cleaning up trash on the seabed

The brothers-in-law were snorkeling with masks and flippers when they uncovered one of the greatest sets of Roman gold coins found in Europe. Amateur freedivers found a large collection of gold Roman coins off the coast of Spain. The University of Alicante Amateur freedivers in Spain have discovered one of the largest collections of gold Roman coins found in Europe. The collection of 53 coins date back to the 4th and 5th centuries and are nearly perfectly preserved. Researchers suggested the coins could have been hidden from barbarian looters. See more stories on Insider's business page. Freedivers off the coast of Spain have uncovered a treasure trove of 53 perfectly preserved gold coins from the Roman Empire, one of the largest collections ever found in Europe.Brothers-in-law Luis Lens and César Gimeno were freediving in the Mediterranean Sea while on vacation in Xàbia, Spain. Cleaning up trash, according to The Times, as they explored the underwater scenery they came across a shiny object that resembled a "10-cent-coin," newspaper El Pais said.After retrieving the object, they noticed an inscription with an ancient Greek or Roman face and assumed it was from jewelry. Using the corkscrew of a Swiss Army knife, they discovered another seven coins embedded in a rock crevice.After reporting their discovery to local authorities, a team of scuba divers and archaeologists uncovered a total of 53 gold coins, three nails, and some remains of what appeared to be a chest.Scientists from the University Institute for Research in Archeology and Historical Heritage analyzed the coins. They found they were from the end of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th century."It's incredible. It's every child's dream to find a treasure," Luis Lens told El Pais. Amateur freedivers found a large collection of gold Roman coins off the coast of Spain. The University of Alicante "It is one of the largest sets of Roman gold coins found in Spain and Europe," said Jaime Molina, head of the team of underwater archaeologists from the University of Alicante, in a press release.What makes the discovery even more unusual is how perfectly preserved the coins were.Researchers were able to identify the emperors on the coins: Valentinian I (3 coins), Valentinian II (7 coins), Todosio I (15 coins), Arcadi (17 coins), Honorius (10 coins), and an unidentified coin.Molina said that the discovery could provide a multitude of new information to understand the final phase of the fall of the Western Roman Empire.Historians said that the coins could have been intentionally hidden to avoid looting barbarians, such as the Alans.They said the coins shed light on the historical moment of insecurity with the arrival of barbarian people, such as the Suevi, Vandals, and Alans, leading to the fall of the Roman Empire.The coins will be restored and exhibited in the Soler Blasco Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum of Xàbia, the University of Alicante said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

Did The Swiss Central Bank Quietly Move Its Gold

Did The Swiss Central Bank Quietly Move Its Gold By Jan Nieuwenhuijs of Gainesville Coins In Switzerland it’s a state secret where the central bank stores its gold domestically. From all the information I could gather I conclude the Swiss central bank primarily stores its gold—and that of foreign central banks and the Bank for International Settlements—on Bundesplatz 1 in the capital Berne. This vault may be one of the largest globally. However, due to a renovation the vault is now empty. The metal has temporarily been transferred to a federal bunker near Kandersteg, deep in the Swiss mountains. Source: Martin Ruetschi / Keystone. What led me to research this topic is a multi-year delay of a gold shipment by the Austrian central bank (OeNB) from London to Switzerland. From reading my previous article on this subject, some could be tempted to think OeNB’s gold is gone, or that the Bank Of England is obstructing the transfer. According to my analysis, though, London isn’t the problem. OeNB’s shipment was supposed to be in Berne by now, but due to a delay in the renovation of the vault the gold hasn’t been transferred yet. To get to the bottom of this we will examine the vaults of the Swiss central bank in this article. In a following article I will present more proof of OeNB postponing to ship metal to the vault in Berne. The first two chapters serve as an introduction. If you are short on time you can skip to the third. The Swiss Have Been Digging Caves for Centuries If there is one country that excels in building tunnels and caverns, it’s Switzerland. Berne was founded around 1200 on a peninsula in the river Aare. The peninsula is shaped as a hill due to the wear of the water. Enclosed by the Aare, the Old City could be easily defended by a wall at the West. The safety within this natural fortress allowed the city to flourish. Source: Wikimedia. Map of the Old City of Berne, 1635. Many of the early inhabitants of Berne had vineyards outside of the city. Already in the 13th century cellars were being constructed below the buildings in the city, for more room and the right climate to preserve wine. The soil in Berne, consisting mostly of gravel and sand put there by glaciers during the last Ice Age, is well suited for constructing cellars. The weight of the ice caused the soil to compress¹. Today, many of the cellars are being used as bars, restaurants, shops, and more. Source: Alamy Since 1983 the Old City of Berne is UNESCO world heritage site for its exceptionally coherent planning concept. Berne has always retained its historical character, presenting variations of the late Baroque period and Late Middle Ages. The Old City continues to be a place for living, working and commerce. The first tunnel in Switzerland was built in 1707 to ease the passage over the Gotthard Massif Mountain in the Alps. Ever since, more road, railway, waterway, and maintenance tunnels have been built, by now totaling an astonishing 2,000 kilometers in length. The Alps are in the South of Switzerland In the 1880s the Swiss started to build a line of fortifications in the Alps for the army to retreat and defend their country against a foreign invasion. In the Second World War a network of military tunnels and bunkers was added. During the Cold War, in 1963, Switzerland undertook to provide bunkers for all citizen to take shelter in case of a nuclear attack. At one point, there were an estimated 300,000 fallout shelters. After the Cold War many of the bunkers in the Alps were considered obsolete. Some were reopened as hotels and museums, or found other uses. Switzerland's Vast Gold Market Switzerland is one of the largest physical gold markets globally. Not very much is known about it though, because discretion is one of the services that make this market attractive. Before the 1930s banking secrecy was an unwritten rule in Switzerland. This rule was enshrined in legislation in 1935, which, together with political neutrality, made Swiss banks attractive for foreigner capital: currency, bank deposits, and gold. When in 1968 the Gold Pool collapsed and the London Bullion Market closed for two weeks, Swiss banks reacted aggressively by trying to take over market share from London. Refining capacity began shifting from London to Switzerland. Currently, there are no London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) accredited refineries left in the U.K., while in Switzerland there are four giants: Valcambi, PAMP, Argor-Heraeus, and Metalor. Every year roughly 2,000 tonnes of gold moves through the Swiss refineries, measured by non-monetary gold import and export. Swiss gold trade data, 2012–2021 Next to the vaults of the refineries, there are vaults of commercial banks², secure logistics companies (Brinks, Loomis, Malca-Amit, etc.), and the Swiss central bank. In addition, after the Cold War several military bunkers in the Alps have been sold to niche vaulting companies that built storage rooms for precious metals and other valuables in the deep caverns. There is no centralized gold exchange in Switzerland, so all trade is done over-the-counter. Because a few large Swiss bullion banks have their head office in the center of Zurich, an often used short-hand reference to the Swiss gold market is, “Zurich.” However, this can be misleading as not all physical trading is concentrated in Zurich. For example: There are refineries in the far South of Switzerland and in the West. Brinks has gold vaults in Zurich, Geneva, and Chiasso. Malca-Amit has vaults in Zurich and Geneva. Loomis told me it “can store gold all over Switzerland.” Numerous other vaults can be found in old military bunkers in the Alps across the South. Retail dealers and safety deposit boxes are all over the country. Many watchmakers are in the West. And, as we will see below, monetary gold is (normally) stored in Berne. Officially, the domestic gold storage locations of the Swiss central bank (Schweizerische National Bank, SNB) are a state secret. In April 2013, SNB revealed 20% of its 1,040 tonnes of gold is stored at the Bank of England, 10% is at the Bank of Canada, and 70% is held domestically “in its own vaults.” Questions in parliament about the domestic storage locations are not answered for security reasons. Regardless of the locations of the vaults, SNB does confirm it stores gold for foreign central banks. The Swiss Central Bank’s Main Gold Vault Is in Berne There is a considerable amount of evidence that most of SNB’s gold has always been stored in Berne. An important source I have used for my research is a book published by SNB in 2012, celebrating the 100th anniversary of their head office in Berne. The title of the book is, “Die Schweizerische Nationalbank in Bern Eine illustrierte Chronik” (DSN hereafter). When SNB was erected in 1907, it was decided to build two head offices to distribute the balance of power. One in Berne, the political center and capital of Switzerland, and one in Zurich, the financial center. SNB was divided into three departments of which Department I and III settled in Zurich. Department II in Berne took responsibility for all issues relating bank notes, the management of gold reserves (the receipt, dispatch and storage of gold bars and coins), and dealings with the federal administration. The head office in Berne at Bundesplatz 1, with its gold vault in the basement, was completed in 1912. It’s located in the Old City next to the Federal Palace that houses the Federal Parliament and Federal Council. Source: ASNB, GE-BE-BUND-192, Copyright SNB. The Swiss central bank’s head office in Berne.Source: ASNB, GE-BE-BUND-107, Copyright SNB. Drawing by architect Eduard Joos of SNB’s head office at Bundesplatz 1, Berne, Switzerland.The building in red, on Bundesplatz 1, was SNB’s first permanent building in Berne. SNB would later rent offices in the Bundeshaus Nord (red dotted line), and the Kaiserhaus (blue) was bought by SNB in 1971. The Federal Palace is on Bundesplatz 3. After SNB established itself on Bundesplatz, it attracted commercial banks with political as well as financial interest to the area. On Google Maps it shows SNB is still surrounded by commercial banks. Having banks in close proximity can have eased SNB’s gold dealings in Berne. Source: Google Maps Bundesplatz, Berne, June 2022. Until and through the Second World War, Berne retained its standing as a monetary gold hub. In the 1990s, a commission investigated SNB’s role in World War II regarding gold dealings with the German central bank (Reichsbank). The final report discloses that during the war many central banks had used SNB’s vault. The following tables show the Reichsbank’s deposits at SNB, and to which entities the Reichsbank sold. Clearly, these deposits and trades were done at the SNB vault in Berne. Gold Transactions in the Second World War: Statistical Review with CommentarySource: Gold Transactions in the Second World War: Statistical Review with Commentary. The Bank for International Settlements traded gold, inter alia, from SNB’s vault in Berne. During and after the Second World War, SNB’s gold reserves went up significantly. What’s not mentioned in DNS is that shortly after the war the main building went through two renovations. In the 1950s and 1960s not only did SNB’s gold reserves mushroom, but also those of other European central banks that, I assume, stored gold at SNB in that period. In 1946, the first basement floor was modified, according to the building archive of the city of Berne. No details of the renovation are publicly available, but given SNB’s gold reserves were swelling and the vault was in the basement of the building, we may assume the vault was renovated. In 1951 and 1952 an underground air raid shelter (luftschutzkeller) was constructed. The same architect that renovated the vault in 1946, Otto Brechbühl, was hired to build the shelter. But did he built a shelter, or add extra floors to the vault? The authors of DSN state Department II was in need of space in the 1950s. “New safes were installed in the early 1950s,” they write, which could refer to Brechbühl’s work. In the late 1950s, “the main cash desk also requested an underground bullion office between the main building and the Bundeshaus Nord [the building on the east side of the main building where SNB rented offices] for shipping and packaging the gold.” The authors of DSN, of course, cannot be fully truthful. Security details and other information about the vault must be concealed. Source: ASNB, GE-BE-BUND-112, Copyright SNB, 1960. Everything drawn in black was new (neu). In blue/black is the new bullion office, in red/black a new boardroom. Above is a drawing of the building from 1960 taken from DNS. It displays the main building on the right, a segment of the Bundeshaus Nord on the left, and (in blue) the newly planned bullion office. We can also see the shelter (luftschutzturm) in dotted lines. In the drawing the shelter is labeled as an “air raid tower.” The word “tower” implies there are multiple floors. Interestingly, the lower compartments of the shelter have no floor, indicating the drawing is incomplete. So why doesn’t the drawing show the entire shelter? Why is the shelter more than 15 meters deep? Why is only the shelter drawn in dotted lines? What’s so special about this structure? According to DNS the bullion office was constructed from 1961 until 1963, a renovation which isn’t recorded in the building archive of the city of Berne. The reason why both records are incomplete is secrecy. I tried to obtain plans, drawings, and building permits from the renovation in 1946, 1951–1952, 1961–1963, and all others that followed, from the building archive and SNB’s own archive. Without exception I was told all documents are classified as “SECRET” or “sensitive,” and can’t be viewed. Most likely the dotted lines in the drawing above don’t show a shelter, but the entrance from the bullion office to a vault consisting of several floors stretching out beneath the old basement and beyond. Source: ASNB, AS-BE-1963-29, Copyright SNB. The bullion office, 1963. For a fact the vault is larger than what’s shown on the drawing from 1960. In 2018 Bluewin journalists managed to view drawings from Berne’s geoinformation department. Below is a screenshot of the video showing a plan of Bundesplatz. An expert concludes SNB’s basement stretches out about 10 meters underneath the square. No (public) record reveals the basement has been enlarged underneath the square. What else has been omitted? Source: Bluewin. A retiree named Othmar Dillon, who used to work at Berne’s cadastral survey (Amtliche Vermessung), told newspaper Der Bund he had been inside the vault on Bundesplatz 1 multiple times since the 1970s. He saw the gold there. According to Dillon the vault reached down the level of the river Aare, which would imply it’s 40 meters deep in total. Depending on the number of floors built, and the sharpness of Dillon’s memory, the gold vault could be up to 10,000 square meters. The article from 2008 quoting Dillon was lost from the internet but Der Bund gave me approval to republish it (download here). I checked with Berne’s resident’s database and Dillon does indeed exist. Sadly, I haven’t been able to contact him. Other sources substantiate the vault on Bundesplatz 1 is sizable. In 2013 a journalist from SRF was allowed to film SNB’s monetary gold. Below is a screenshot of the video that was published. Source: SRF. The floor tiles seem identical to the ones used in the bullion office. The video is highly likely from inside the vault on Bundesplatz 1, and not some other vault. Photographer Martin Ruetschi was allowed to enter SNB’s vault in Berne in 2001 (after pushing for ten years). If one compares Ruetschi’s pictures (see below) with the video, they both show the same racks for the gold and the same floor tiles. Removing more doubt is a copy from Ruetschi's series in DNS. Ruetschi said he was “led through a long labyrinth of corridors and finally through the thick vault door” before he could take the pictures. That sounds there are more than two floors in the basement. Source: Martin Ruetschi / Keystone. Gold in the vault of the Swiss National Bank, photographed on February 21, 2001, in BerneSource: Martin Ruetschi / Keystone. Gold in the vault of the Swiss National Bank, photographed on February 21, 2001, in Berne. The bar handler uses an ultrasound device to analyze the material homogeneity. This suggests gold bars continuously come in and need to be tested, likely due to the BIS’s gold dealings. SNB hasn’t bought any gold since the 1960s. The amount of storage supply in the back, all the wood, also shows this is an active warehouse. The forklift in SRF’s video reveals there must be a heavy-duty elevator down to the vault. Forklifts themselves can weigh up to several tonnes because they use counterweights for the load they carry on the fork. Observing the latest drawing from 1960 and recent images from Google Street View makes me think there is an elevator near the entrances for armored trucks on the south side of the building, leading down to the bullion office and floors below. Right about where the “shelter tower” is. Source: Google Street View. One of the two entrances for armored trucks on the south side of SNB’s main building in Berne. It reads on the door that the carry load for trucks entering is up to 26 tonnes. The forklift also confirms this is a large and active vault, storing gold not only for SNB but also for foreign central banks and the Bank for International Settlements (and Swiss bank notes). On the website of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), they state they offer central banks, “gold location exchange, safekeeping and settlement: loco London, Berne or New York.” The reference to a vault in Berne, which the BIS uses since the 1930s, must be at Bundesplatz 1. In the 1970s, SNB continued expanding its presence on Bundesplatz. In 1971 it bought a property north of the main building: the Kaiserhaus. Due to stringent planning codes in the Old City, SNB had to think of a construction concept in line with the city’s aesthetic and functional needs, as well as its own. It was decided the ground and first floor of the Kaiserhaus were rented to shops. The upper floors could be used for offices and other purposes. A basement was also constructed. “The most difficult work was in the basement,” the authors of DNS write. There is a photo of a tunnel connecting the main building and Kaiserhaus on page 90 of DNS. The floor of the tunnel looks to be covered with soft plastic, though, which is not suited for a forklift. I don’t think there is a gold vault underneath the Kaiserhaus. Source: ASNB, GE-BE-BUND-180, Copyright SNB. A tunnel between Bundesplatz 1 and the Kaiserhaus Kandersteg’s Federal Bunker In 1999 Swiss journalists discovered that the government had arranged a classified command facility near Kandersteg in the Alps, 40 miles south of Berne, to hide during a nuclear attack. Since 2004 the exact coordinates of the facility are publicly known. Source: Wikimedia. The entrance of the federal bunker near Kandersteg in the Swiss Alps. From here a tunnel leads deep into the mountains. For nearly two decades not a word was written about any gold being stored at the bunker dubbed “K20.” Then, in 2018, independent journalist Henry Habegger reported K20 also incorporates an SNB vault. People familiar with the matter shared with Habegger that when K20 was built, SNB took the opportunity to acquire a nuclear bomb-proof vault for its gold reserves. K20 has room for 6,000 tonnes of gold. The people that live in Kandersteg have often seen armored trucks driving through, escorted by army vehicles in full gear, including machine guns. According to my analysis, all gold inside the vault in Berne has been moved to Kandersteg but will return within a few years. Here’s why. In February 2015 an extensive construction project began to renovate SNB’s main building and the Kaiserhaus in Berne. At the time of writing, the main building is finished (everything above ground), but the Kaiserhaus construction is still ongoing. Below are images of the renovation from Google Street View, Maps, and Earth taken in 2017 and 2022. Source: Google Street View, July 2017.Source: Google Maps, July 2022.Source: Google Earth, May 2022. A white fence is visible around the Kaiserhaus (at Amthausgasse) and in front of one of the entrances for armored trucks on the south side of the main building. Together with other evidence, this tells me the vault is out of service. One, a Swiss journalist that helped me during my research—he prefers to stay anonymous—spoke to one of SNB’s directors at a media dinner in 2016. Regarding the renovation the director told him that, “you can assume that the gold is at a secure place.” He was told the gold was moved out for the renovation. Two, in 2015, the Austrian court of audits stated OeNB—then and now storing 6 tonnes of gold in Switzerland—would have limited access to audit its metal in Switzerland due to renovation work at the depository until 2018. Afterwards the renovation audits could take place normally. The earliest projections by SNB were that the renovation would be finished late 2018. (In a following article I will show more evidence OeNB’s 6 tonnes in Switzerland is currently at an SNB vault, and another 50 tonnes is destined to an SNB vault.) Conclusion It can’t be a coincidence that OeNB has limited access at its SNB vault in Switzerland, Bundesplatz 1 is renovated around the same time, and a story about an active gold vault in Kandersteg pops up in Swiss media around the same time as well. Normally, OeNB’s gold, other foreign central banks’ gold, the BIS’s gold, and most of SNB’s gold is at Bundesplatz 1, but due to the renovation it was moved to K20. I conclude SNB prefers to keep most of its gold in Berne, because historically this is the main vault. After the Second World War, when SNB’s reserves ballooned, vaults could have been built anywhere in Switzerland, still SNB decided to enlarge the vault at Bundesplatz. Furthermore, the fact OeNB’s gold in Kandersteg will be returned to Berne, tells me SNB’s own gold will be returned as well (or at least what was stored in Berne previously). Why return OeNB’s gold but not the Swiss gold? If the vault in Kandersteg, mind you it can hold 6,000 tonnes, was superior to the one in Berne, SNB could have told OeNB the vault was moved permanently. New custodial contracts could have been signed, and the Austrians could have been granted full access to audit their gold in Kandersteg. But that’s not what happened. Not in 2015 when the renovation in Berne started, and not in 1999 when K20 was completed. Can it be SNB also has a vault in Zurich and in other places? Yes. There is just very little evidence any of these vaults play a significant role in storing metal belonging to SNB, foreign central banks, and the BIS. Needless to say, I will report accordingly if I find new evidence. The renovation in Berne is now set to be completed in 2024. Then, or just before, the gold can be returned to Bundesplatz 1. OeNB will have normal auditing access, and it will send another 50 tonnes to Switzerland. Any remaining blanks and questions will be addressed in my following article (“Why Austria’s Monetary Gold Transfer to Switzerland Is Delayed”) here on Gainesville Coins. Notes Information on the history of Berne’s cellars I have mostly based on private communication with archeologist Armand Baeriswyl, Lecturer in Medieval and Modern Archaeology at the University of Bern. Several commercial banks have vaults in the center of Zurich, such as Zürcher Kantonalbank and Bank Julius Baer, that store gold to back ETFs (source: Ronan Manly from Bullionstar). There are also large gold vaults near Zurich airport in a bonded warehouse. Two commercial banks that have their head office in Berne, Valiant Bank and Berner Kantonalbank (BEKB), have disclosed to have underground vaults below their buildings at Bundesplatz, though these appear to be mainly used for safety deposit boxes. From Berner Zeitung in 2020 (Google Translate): The two Bern banks, Valiant and Berner Kantonalbank, also have their headquarters on Bundesplatz in downtown Bern. The vaults with the customer's lockers are located in the basements of the two banks, as Valiant spokesman Marc Andrey and BEKB spokesman Florian Kurz say. Tyler Durden Sun, 07/17/2022 - 12:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 17th, 2022

Beware Of Markets Full Of Fool"s Gold

Beware Of Markets Full Of Fool's Gold Authored by Egon von Greyerz via GoldSwitzerland.com, Fool’s Gold comes in many guises, whether it is in fake paper money, Ponzi investment schemes, fake and manipulated gold derivatives, Bitcoin or just fake gold discoveries in Uganda, all of which are discussed in this article. ‘The tendency of an inconvertible paper money is to create fictitious wealth, bubbles, which by their bursting, produce inconvenience.’ – Lord Liverpool 1810 (UK Prime Minister 1812-27) The elegant and understated courtesy of the English is well known. “Inconvenience” is for an early 19th century aristocrat what a modern Englishman today would call “bloody mess.“ Confucius described this trait already 2,500 years ago: “The noble-minded are calm and steady. Little people are forever fussing and fretting.” – Confucius As we know from history, paper money doesn’t just cause an inconvenience, as Lord Liverpool said, but a collapse of the monetary system and of the economy involved. In today’s decadent and morally bankrupt world, leaders tend to be “fussing and fretting little people” who frantically “create fictitious money and wealth”. This is why, as we enter the final stage of this era, we will see more sackings of leaders (Boris Johnson), assassinations (Abe) and escapes (Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka President). Social unrest and civil wars will sadly be commonplace too. The combination of weak leaders and fake money is a fitting end to a major economic cycle. It actually couldn’t end in any other way. But the world has of course not yet seen the end of the current era, which started with private bankers taking control of the US monetary system in 1913. Some of us believe we have a good idea how this will all end, but only future historians and other observers will tell us the exact course of events. The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises gave us a very likely outcome of how the financial system will end: “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” IMPOSSIBLE FOR CENTRAL BANKERS TO TURN OFF THE MONEY SPIGOTS Von Mises first alternative of a voluntary abandonment is of course totally unacceptable to current governments and central bankers. Don’t believe for one moment that Powell or Lagarde would contemplate turning off the tap that has kept them and their money forging friends in power for decades. Yes, they will make gestures like the Fed is now attempting with QT (quantitative tightening). So the balance sheet of the Fed has come down $70 billion since mid March –  BIG DEAL! That’s a 0,7% reduction in 3 1/2 months for a balance sheet that has grown by 240% or $5.3 trillion since end of August 2019. In 2006 the Fed balance sheet was $900 billion and today it is $9 trillion, a mere 10-fold increase. Let’s just remind ourselves that the current problems in the world did not start with Covid in early 2020, but with irreparable damage to the financial system which central banks couldn’t conceal beyond August 2019. The beginning of the end of this 100+ year financial era was the Great Financial Crisis -GFC- which started in 2006. As I have illustrated in many articles, the cast producing this damage to the financial system changes, but their actions are all the same. Through the privately owned Fed, they are all working for their own “charitable” purpose of personal gain and control for the private bankers. AFTER US THE FLOOD After Us The Flood is what Louis XV mistress Madame de Pompadour told the French King after they lost a critical battle against Prussia in the 18th century. That event was the beginning of the downfall of France and the French Revolution. AFTER US THE FLOOD – Après Nous Le Déluge Since 2006, the balance sheets of the major central banks (Swiss National Bank, Bank of China, Bank of Japan, ECB, Fed) have grown exponentially from under $5 trillion to $36 trillion – a 7-fold increase! GLOBAL DEBT UP 200X SINCE 1971 AND GOING TO 2,000X But we must remember that irresponsible debt creating central banks are only part of the problem. The real money printers are the commercial banks. So if we look at total global debt, it has grown from $100 trillion in 2000 to $300 trillion today. In 2006 (not shown) total global debt was $120 trillion. As the graph below shows, total global debt including derivatives and  unfunded liabilities is over $3 quadrillion. When the financial system crashes, these derivatives will prove worthless as counterparties fail and the central banks will print $2-3 quadrillion in a futile attempt to save the banks and the system. Sensible historic comparisons are no longer possible since the debt creation folly of the last 50 years is totally unprecedented in history. In 1971, when Nixon closed the gold window, global debt was $1.5T. After 50 years of irresponsible monetary policies debt has grown 200X. When we reach a total debt of $3 quadrillion in the next 5 to 10 years, with the assistance of the derivative collapse, the increase will be 2,000X since 1971. I can hear some people calling this sensational scaremongering. But I am sure that these  people would have said the same about the 200X debt expansion since 1971. THE COMING EXPONENTIAL MOVE WILL BE TERMINAL Also, it is important to understand how exponential moves happen. I explained this in an article from 2017 called “Only Contrarians Will Survive” In that article I illustrated that exponential moves really move exponentially and that they are terminal: “Imagine a football stadium which is filled with water. Every minute one drop is added. The number of drops doubles every minute. Thus it goes from 1 to 2, 4, 8 16 etc. So how long would it take to fill the entire stadium? One day, one month or a year? No it would be a lot quicker and only take 50 minutes! That in itself is hard to understand but even more interestingly, how full is the stadium after 45 minutes? Most people would guess 75-90%. Totally wrong. After 45 minutes the stadium is only 7% full! In the final 5 minutes the stadium goes from 7% full to 100% full.” So for the same reason, debt is likely to grow exponentially in the next 5-10 years, as the world experiences hyperinflation. But we must also remember that as commodities such as food and energy plus many raw materials like precious metals go up exponentially, all the bubble assets (stocks, bonds and property) will implode in real terms. See my recent article “Concurrent Deflation and Hyperinflation Will Ravage The World” We could of course blame Nixon for the debt disaster that the world is now in. But that would be too simple. Governments have throughout history interfered with the laws of nature and the simple law of supply and demand. As clueless central bankers (and before that governments) interfere in the natural ebb and flood waves of the economy, these natural cycle movements become extreme tops and bottoms. These excessive moves lead to speculative asset and credit bubbles (inflation/hyperinflation) followed by a deflationary collapse or implosion just as von Mises said (see quote above). As I explain above, it is totally natural that the end of major cycles creates exponential moves, as we have experienced in this century in both debt and assets such as stock and property. But what few people realise is that the frantic money printing and debt creation which has taken place in this century indicate the end of a 100 year old monetary era. The next few years will be like the final 5 Stadium minutes  when the debt goes up exponentially by say 14X (the Stadium going from 7% to 100% full) before it all collapses. CRYPTOS – FOOL’S GOLD These final moves also lead to the creation of instruments that become “fool’s gold”. In my view, cryptocurrencies are a form of fool’s gold. Cryptos might have been a wonderful speculative investment for a few investors, but many who entered late have experienced losses of 70 to 90% so far. As far as I am concerned, and the investors we advise, cryptos have nothing to do with wealth preservation and will certainly never replace gold. Bitcoin is a binary investment that might go to $1 million but it could just as well go to ZERO, so obviously not a good risk. “Blockchain is a fraud” – Brazilian professor A Brazilian Professor of computer science, Jorge Stolfi, tweeted in May this year: “Every computer scientist should be able to see that cryptocurrencies are totally dysfunctional payment systems and that “blockchain technology” (including “smart contracts”) is a technological fraud.” Stolfi explains how he and 1,500 specialists, including Harvard lecturers and Google’s principal Cloud engineer, delivered a critical letter to the US congress, warning about crypto currencies. He explains in an interview why cryptos are a pyramid scheme similar to Madoff. Stolfi: “These pyramid schemes collapse when there are no more fools to fool.” He also says that Bitcoin won’t exist in 20 years. He calls blockchain a technological fraud that can never be used as a payment system, due to its snail processing speed compared to Visa for example. El Salvador and Fool’s Gold El Salvador clearly believed in Fool’s Gold as they announced last year that they would be the first country to accept Bitcoin as legal tender. They were also going to fund the project by issuing $1 billion in bonds secured with Bitcoin. That project is obviously delayed after BTC fall of 2/3. Bitcoin City would be built and would have no taxes except VAT. And now it seems the City would have no revenues either after the BTC losses. Sounds like Shangri-la turned to hell to me. Sadly for them, they have lost more on their BTC purchases than the country can afford to lose and their debt is now JUNK. All the Bitcoiners who hailed El Salvador as the future model of money and went there on Pilgrimages are now very quiet. Well, Ponzi schemes always collapse without fail and it seems that this might be the destiny of Bitcoin and other Cryptos. Most of them are down 70% or more on their way to oblivion. We will certainly stick to physical gold! Fool’s Gold in Uganda So Uganda has officially declared that they have discovered 31 million tonnes of gold ore deposits, which is expected to produce 320,000 tonnes of refined gold! Let’s remind ourselves that all the gold ever mined in history is around 190,000 tonnes. So this find would treble the gold in the world. Sounds to me like another Fool’s Gold story. Uganda is quite notorious for corruption and fraud. They clearly hope to borrow major amounts of money based on this so-called find, which is in no way properly proven or documented. Or maybe this comes from the Bitcoin crowd. They are of course elated by this “fake” gold discovery since it makes BTC much more unique with a limit of 21 million coins issued. Or could the Ugandan government have confused tonnes with ounces? STOCK MARKETS FOOL’S GOLD –  COLLAPSE IMMINENT Current asset markets and especially stocks have also turned into fool’s gold. Investors now believe that stocks can only go up and that the Fed and other central banks will be there to save them indefinitely. How shocked these investors will soon be! As I often say, forecasting markets is a mug’s game and that is why we prefer to focus on risk. And as I outlined in my last article, (“The Implosion Will Be Fast, Hold Onto your Seats”) risk is now extreme, both fundamentally and technically. Most stock markets in the world are already down 20-30% in 2022. What few investors realise at this stage is that the fall we have seen so far is not just a normal correction but the beginning of a long-term secular bear market with dramatic falls to come. Technically it looks like the next major fall is imminent. So protecting risk by being out of stocks is strongly advisable. Precious metals are in a small correction of a major long term bull market which is the inevitable collapse of the currency system. Gold might come down initially with stocks by $100 or so but the next major move of gold up will be both substantial and long term. Remember that physical precious metals must be owned, not as a speculative investment,  but as the best form of wealth preservation you can hold. Tyler Durden Thu, 07/14/2022 - 07:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 14th, 2022

The 27 best fashion books, from streetwear guides to coffee table books of legendary catwalks

From guides on personal style to in-depth looks at Vogue and Virgil Abloh, here are the best fashion books. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.From guides on personal style to in-depth looks at Vogue and Virgil Abloh, here are the best fashion books.Amazon Learning more about fashion gives you more choice in what you say through what you wear. Whether you study fashion or want coffee table books, there are many great fashion books out there. Below, we outlined the best fashion books, from streetwear guides to tomes about famous designers. Fashion is a spectacular part of everyone's life: we all wear clothes and get dressed. Every time we wear something, it's an opportunity to tell the world something without saying a word.But fashion goes far beyond our contemporary experiences — it is tied into every aspect of our history and can even play important roles in social movements. Fashion is often tied to our economy, and trends can speak to the collective experience of a society. The best fashion books leave you with many lessons learned and, more importantly, many more questions to keep you on a learning journey. Whether you're looking for coffee table books, are an aspiring designer, or want to dive deep into the history of fashion, below are 27 of the best fashion books available today.The 27 best fashion books to read in 2022:Streetwear"The Incomplete: Highsnobiety Guide to Street Fashion and Culture" by Gestalten and HighsnobrietyAmazon"The Incomplete: Highsnobiety Guide to Street Fashion and Culture," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $48.12Streetwear is one of the biggest driving forces in fashion today. This book tells the story of where street fashion meets culture, including on local and global levels. It digs into the impacts of youth-driven movements, of hip hop, and of creatives like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. If you want to understand the profound impact of brands like Off-White, Dickies, Carhart, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Supreme, and more, the knowledge is within the page's of this Highsnobiety Guide."Soled Out: The Golden Age of Sneaker Advertising" by Sneaker FreakerAmazon"Soled Out: The Golden Age of Sneaker Advertising," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $51.99With its 720 pages, this book doubles as a gym weight and a tome of knowledge and inspiration. Rather than go into the history of sneakers and their increasing popularity, "Soled Out" focuses on the role of advertising and marketing through an assortment of print ads from the 1970s to the 2000s. If you want to understand the genius of marketing and how it has uplifted today's most popular shoes, you'll find it here across artifacts from Adidas, Nike, Jordan, New Balance, and more.Fashion politics and social commentary"Dressing the Resistance: The Visual Language of Protest Through History" by Camille BendaAmazon"Dressing the Resistance: The Visual Language of Protest Through History," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.16Fashion always plays a role in social movements and societal change. "Dressing the Resistance" explores the meanings of different colors and even goes beyond clothing. Costume designer and fashion historian Camille Benda breaks down the visual language of fashion in protest through nearly 200 images and paintings. Reading this will not only help you understand how fashions of protests have worked themselves into the average wardrobe, but also the power you hold in your own closet. "Fashion and Politics" edited by Djurdja BartlettAmazon"Fashion and Politics," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $45Fashion is a fun mode of self-expression, but it always plays roles in other spheres like politics. In "Fashion and Politics," Djurdja Barlett explores the intersection of fashion and politics. If you want to understand fashion's complex role in the political sphere, this book is a must-have. Through contributor essays with philosophical and historical perspectives, this book discusses nationalism, oppression, individualism, decolonization, and surveillance in tandem with fashion."Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style" by Jason Jules and Graham MarshAmazon"Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $46.45The Oxford button-down shirt, loafer, and three-button jacket are classic silhouettes of the preppy, Ivy style. This book takes you on a fascinating journey to understand how Black men took the look and infused it with new life that continues to influence today's Ivy styles and menswear. Figures discussed include Malcolm X, James Baldwin, John Coltrane, Sidney Poitier, and many more."Androgyne: Fashion and Gender" by Patrick MaurièsAmazon"Androgyne: Fashion and Gender," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $52.01Androgyne is an exploration of fashion and gender, focusing on ways gender lines have been blurred through garments long ago and in contemporary examples. The book explores the reasons behind androgyne's resurgence as well as comparing images across time and across cultures. You'll recognize icons cited throughout the book like Grace Jones, David Bowie, and brands pushing the conversation forward like Gucci."Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion" by Elizabeth L. ClineAmazon"Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.94Fast fashion has been a hot topic issue for the past several years as fast fashion brands like Forever 21 and Shein rose in popularity. Excess creation, overproduction, and labor abuses are just some of the problems with fast fashion. "Overdressed" is an eye-opening exploration of the high cost of cheap clothes.Fashion philosophy, and history"Handbag Chic: 200 Years of Designer Fashion" by Desire SmithAmazon"Handbag Chic: 200 Years of Designer Fashion," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $49.95Handbags have had an interesting history across the various purposes served and different designs they have embodied. "Handbag Chic" takes you on a journey through 200 years of their history through the lenses of 550 leading bags from 1759 to 2004. This book is great if you want inspiration to create your own handbag or are curious about classic silhouettes."Africa: The Fashion Continent" by Emmanuelle CourrègesAmazon"Africa: The Fashion Continent," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $40.71While the wealthiest fashion houses are European and focus in fashion tends to be directed towards Western designers, this book brings attention back to the content, to Africa. It highlights and celebrates the creativity across Africa that's bringing a new era to fashion. If you seek to understand fashion, you need this book that celebrates creativity and highlights designers, models, and more."Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World" by Aja RadenAmazon"Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World," available at Amazon and Bookshop. from $15.18Gemstones may not be the first thing that come to mind when thinking about fashion, but it's crucial to understand their role in all the glitz and glam of what we wear. "Stoned" explores the history of human desire for jewels and ties it to contemporary examples of cultural moments, war, and pop culture."Fashion - Philosophy for Everyone: Thinking with Style" edited by Jessica Wolfendale and Jeanette KennettAmazon"Fashion - Philosophy for Everyone: Thinking with Style," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $22.75This book is a cross-disciplinary exploration into fashion and style. If you want to learn more about the power of fashion and what your personal style is, this text will help. It's made up of an awesome collection of essays that tackle a wide range of topics like aesthetics, identity, freedom, ethics, coolness, and even cyborgs."Dressed: A Philosophy of Clothes" covers similar ground but comes from one writer instead of a collection of essays."The United States of Fashion: A New Atlas of American Style" by Anna Wintour and the editors of "Vogue"Bookshop"The United States of Fashion: A New Atlas of American Style," available at Bookshop, $41.85From the editors of "Vogue," this 2021 book explores fashion in the contemporary scene, including in the presence of COVID. Filled with photographs and stories that have not been seen before in any issue of the magazine, the book offers new ideas on American style, sustainability, and the future of fashion.Fashion designers"Gucci: The Making Of" edited by Frida GianinniAmazon"Gucci: The Making Of," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $65.99It's hard to talk about fashion without any mention of Gucci. This book tells a story of Gucci's history, innovation, and brand identity through archival photographs, essays, and editing from Gucci's former creative director Frida Giannini. If you're also interested in the drama behind the house, then you can check out the book that inspired the 2021 thriller featuring Lady Gaga, "House of Gucci.""Virgil Abloh. Nike. ICONS" by Virgil AblohAmazon"Virgil Abloh. Nike. ICONS," available at Amazon, $59.56Virgil Abloh's (1980-2021) influence in fashion is immeasurable. The architect turned fashion designer knew no bounds on his creativity, leading him to create his innovative streetwear brand Off-White and becoming creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear. "ICONS" explores Abloh's creative process, innovations, and design language that has shaped much of today's fashion."Dior New Looks" by Jérome GautierAmazon"Dior New Looks," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $45.13Largely through images, "Dior New Looks" explores how Christian Dior influenced and updated elegance and womenswear through his fashions. Sharing photographs from as early as 1947, this book tells the tale of one of fashion's biggest houses with hints as to where it's going."Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano" by Dana ThomasAmazon"Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.99Besides learning about how to create a brand or how to find your style, it's also important to understand the icons of the industry to understand fashion itself. "Gods and Kings" is a rich and journalistic exploration of John Galliano and Alexander McQueen's explosion onto the fashion scene in the '90s. It also follows the downfall of the artists through suicide, anti-Semtisim, and alcoholism.Coffee table books"Christian Louboutin" by Christian Louboutin, David Lynch, and Phillippe GarciaAmazon"Christian Louboutin," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $100.81Shoes by Christian Louboutin are affectionately called red bottoms and have been referenced across hip hop and have been worn by style icons from Amanda Gorman to Beyoncé. This book is a mix of biography, brand history, and design. With its gold-foil pages, pop-up, and vibrant images within, it's perfect to decorate your home with."The Men's Fashion Book" by Phaidon PressAmazon"The Men's Fashion Book," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $54.99To explore men's style, "The Men's Fashion Book" explores the 500 greatest names in men's fashion from A-Z. Going deeper than brands, the book brings in the expertise of designers, photographers, models, tailors, and stylists across the world to advance a discussion on men's style today and in the past centuries.“Chanel: The Complete Collections” by Patrick MaurièsAmazon"Chanel: The Complete Collections," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $54.99In 760 pages of rich photography, this book gives a comprehensive review of Karl Lagerfeld's (1933-2019) collections during his time as Chanel's creative director. It opens with an essay from the late Lagerfeld on his visions for the house. The rest of the book connects the collections, in chronological order, to his original vision and reinvigoration of Chanel. If you want to learn more about Chanel, there are several other great books like "Chanel: Collections and Creations," which explores the houses signature creations through archival photos and quotes from Gabrielle Chanel, as well as "Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto" that tells a story of Chanel's life and work."Louis Vuitton: The Complete Fashion Collections (Catwalk)" by Jo Ellison and Louise RytterAmazon"Louis Vuitton: The Complete Fashion Collections (Catwalk)," available at Amazon, $64.79While Louis Vuitton began as a trunk maker, the brand is now known for various other items like their handbags, sneakers, and fashion. This book tells a fuller history of the house before going into 1,350 images across designs by artistic directors Marc Jacobs (1998–2013) and Nicolas Ghesquière, who holds the post today."Hermès Pop-Up" by Patrick ThomasAmazon"Hermès Pop-Up," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $25.49Hermès scarves are always infused with beauty, elegance, and motifs of the house. If you find yourself enchanted by their intricate designs, then you'll be able to appreciate the pop-up book features drawings of scarves that come to life thanks to pop-ups within.If you love Hermès scarves and want something more substantial, check out the book dedicated to their history and design. "Prada: The Complete Collections" by Susannah FrankelAmazon"Prada: The Complete Collections," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $52.99If you're in love with Prada's current trendy items or fascinated by how the brand pioneered nylon, you'll be able to appreciate this Catwalk book. Prada is a 632-page collection of Prada's collections when Miuccia Prada steered the company into women's fashion after its past in leather-goods and accessories.For future fashion designers"The Fashion Business Manual: An Illustrated Guide to Building a Fashion Brand" by FashionaryAmazon"The Fashion Business Manual: An Illustrated Guide to Building a Fashion Brand," available at Amazon, $37.47If you want to start your own fashion brand, there are hundreds of steps during the journey from creating your brand to getting into retail. To help think through it all, "The Fashion Business Manual" breaks down the steps with fun illustrations that make things clearer and a bit less overwhelming."In Vogue: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine" by Alberto Oliva and Norberto AngelettiAmazon"In Vogue: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $50.82There is no fashion publication (or publication, in general) that is as iconic as Vogue. In its 444 pages, "In Vogue" zooms out and takes a look at the magazine's influence throughout history. Through archival covers and clips, you'll be able to learn about the impact of past editors, photographers, and illustrators on global fashion and culture. The book also explores how the magazine is made through research and first-person interviews."Fashion: A Fashion History of the 20th Century" by the Kyoto Costume InstituteAmazon"Fashion: A Fashion History of the 20th Century," available at Amazon, $59.31When you're looking for inspirations for your next designs, this book will serve. Assembled by the Kyoto Costume Institute, "Fashion" is a collection of photos from archives that shows trends throughout the past century. From feathered hats to deformed skirts, the photos are diverse in what they capture and in what they may inspire."Fabric for Fashion: The Complete Guide Second Edition" by Clive Hallett and Amanda JohnsonAmazon"Fabric for Fashion: The Complete Guide Second Edition," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $31.66If you're curious about any element of fashion design, then this book is an essential. You can't make clothes without an understanding or curiosity for the fabrics that make everything possible. "Fabric for Fashion" offers a special, comprehensive discussion of how fabrics move, look, feel, are made, and much more. The current edition also discusses sustainability and biosynthetic fibers."Fashion: The Whole Story" by Marnie Fogg and Valerie SteeleAmazonThere is always more to learn in fashion, and this book offers a great foundation for understanding fashion. This book breaks down fashion across thousands of years while connecting it to time, literature, and beauty. From the birth of haute couture to the appropriation of menswear, this book is one you'll always come back to in order to learn more about the rich past of fashion.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 29th, 2022

Comedians Can"t Quit Trump

Comedians Can't Quit Trump Authored by Christian Toto via RealClear Politics (emphasis ours), Yes, the real estate mogul no longer calls the White House home, but chances are you’ll hear Donald Trump jokes in any given late-night monologue. And they’ll draw satirical blood. That’s all well and good, but Trump no longer lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and he can’t even steer all his favorite GOP candidates to victory these days. There’s a ready Trump replacement for Colbert and Co., a politician who might be commander in chief should the current occupant’s health falter. So far, mainstream comics won’t lay a glove on her despite enough material to fill a year’s worth of monologues. Maybe two. Meet Vice President Kamala Harris. The 57-year-old Californian has only been in office a little more than a year, and already she’s amassed a treasure trove of mockable moments. Cackles. Gaffes. Empty results. Calamitous polling numbers. Emotionally distressed ex-staffers. And a new gold standard for political word salad. So where are the jokes? Of course, these same satirists should be tweaking President Biden, who also suffers from horrific polling numbers and his own gaffe-tastic spells. Harris still represents a unique satirical target, a chance to make the vice presidency part of the comic fabric. Again. Veeps aren’t prime fodder for political comics, at least on paper. They’re second in command and serve in a ceremonial capacity, for the most part, meaning comics would rather target the boss instead. But they can still draw comedic attention when they step out of line. Just ask Dan Quayle. George H.W. Bush’s sidekick got punished by comedians for his perceived lack of intelligence. Quayle didn’t help himself, uttering absurd lines like, “The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But we all lived in this century. I didn’t live in this century.” These things aren’t always fair – and wouldn’t be for Kamala Harris if anyone dared tease her. Quayle’s infamous misspelling of “potato” at a 1992 school appearance, for instance, was prompted by an erroneous cue card given to him by a teacher. Nonetheless, it became his comedy anchor. You can’t blame comedians for teeing off on that gaffe. Comedians got an early start on Quayle quips. David Letterman devoted six “Top Ten” lists to him during the 1988 election cycle on his NBC showcase. Quayle, he noted, “would not seem like a brainy egghead when visiting the nation’s injured professional wrestlers.” Jay Leno, filling in for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” compared Quayle to his VP competition, Lloyd Bentsen, saying the former had two pluses over the older man – “a blow dryer and a pulse.” Late night hosts also targeted the vice president mercilessly during the Trump years. Vice President Mike Pence made headlines for revealing he doesn’t spend time alone with any woman other than his wife. Comedians pounced, and seized, turning him into the ultimate square. Comedians even channeled Pence’s COVID-19 vaccine injection for a skit mocking both him and President Trump. We can’t forget the fly that invaded Pence’s follicular airspace in the 2020 vice presidential debate. Earlier this year, the host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” mocked Pence by bringing up notes Trump took during his time in office. “I know it wasn’t intentional,” Kimmel said. “But a blank space between two parentheses is the most perfect description of Mike Pence I’ve ever seen. It should be on his Christmas cards.” Even The Onion poked serial fun at Biden when he served under President Barack Obama. They wrote the book on the subject – “The President of Vice: The Autobiography of Joe Biden.” Why poke fun at Harris, the first female vice president and a person of color? The real question is, “Why not?” – especially since her public persona all but demands a satirical scorching. Her scattershot speeches routinely go viral on social media, with “amateur” comics doing the work Team Late Night won’t do. Here’s her TED talk touting high-speed Internet: So, when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time in terms of what we need to do to lay these wires, what we need to do to create these jobs … And there is such great significance to the passage of time when we think about a day in the life of our children and what that means to the future of our nation, depending on whether or not they have the resources they need to achieve their God-given talent. Just an awkward moment? It happens to the smoothest politicians, right? There’s more. Here’s Harris addressing Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness earlier this year: We also recognized, just as it has been in the United States, for Jamaica, one of the issues that has been presented as an issue that is economic in the way its impact has been the pandemic … So to that end, we are announcing today also that we will assist Jamaica in COVID recovery by assisting in terms of the recovery efforts in Jamaica that have been essential to I believe what is necessary to strengthen not only the issue of public health, but also the economy. Harris also stumbles during softball interviews, be it with MSNBC’s Joy Reid or NBC’s Lester Holt. She gaffed her way through one Holt Q&A by insisting (three times) that she had been to the southern border only to have that position gently corrected. Her response was to lash out at Holt and conjure up a bizarre non sequitur. “And I haven’t been to Europe,” she said. “And I mean, I don't understand the point that you're making … I'm not discounting the importance of the border.” Last year, she offered this oddball homily during an appearance in France: “We must together. Work together. To see where we are. Where we are headed, where we are going and our vision for where we should be. But also see it as a moment to, yes. Together, address the challenges and to work on the opportunities that are presented by this moment.” “Every time she speaks, it’s like watching Wile E. Coyote’s feet keep spinning madly even after he’s run off the cliff,” NY Post columnist Kyle Smith quipped. And he’s not a professional comedian. Her most recent word salad entrée? A plea to work together on the environment’s behalf. Our world is more interconnected and interdependent. That is especially true when it comes to the climate crisis, which is why we will work together, and continue to work together, to address these issues, to tackle these challenges, and to work together as we continue to work operating from the new norms, rules, and agreements, that we will convene to work together on to galvanize global action. With that I thank you all. This is a matter of urgent priority for all of us and I know we will work on this together. Writing word salad sketches could be a snap for random YouTube creators, let alone seasoned late-night scribes. Need more Harris fodder? Her staff defections are so common it’s yet another comic through-line to throw on the already massive pile. One unnamed ex-staffer said Harris underlings endure a “constant amount of soul-destroying criticism.” And then there’s that cackle. Harris laughs at inappropriate times, a troubling tic for any politician. She even chuckled over a question regarding Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion. It makes imitating her a snap, but has Maya Rudolph even attempted Harris’ signature quirk? Rudolph has played Harris sparingly on NBC’s left-leaning “Saturday Night Live” over the years, but those appearances have mostly disappeared since Harris became vice president. They also avoid her flaws. A March 2021 SNL skit found Rudolph, as Harris, hosting a unity Seder dinner. The jokes landed against her guests, including SNL players as Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green. Trump made political humor so much easier. Some could argue too easy, given the lazy jabs at his “orange” skin and curious ‘do. Harris isn’t Trump, but she’s tailor-made for comic vivisections. Harris jokes might help late-night comics bolster their ratings. A Rasmussen Reports survey shows “54% do not believe the former California senator is qualified to be president.” Her overall polling numbers remain weak, meaning comedians risk little for targeting her with their barbs. It’s one reason Greg Gutfeld shocked late night last year by rising to the top of the ratings heap. The Fox News star regularly mocks Harris from his popular perch, eclipsing iconic shows like “The Tonight Show” in the ratings race. “She is truly a national treasure, if by treasure, you mean, embarrassment,” Gutfeld said recently.  What does Harris have to do to get Comedy, Inc.’s attention? Then again, maybe their relative silence is based in fear, not punchlines. A silly Twitter jab at the vice president cost one conservative talker her gig. So is it any wonder that Jimmy Kimmel has defended, not mocked, Harris’ poor poll numbers by playing two cards – racism and sexism? Kimmel quipped, “I think I know why Kamala's ratings are low, besides sexism and racism, which are the obvious ones. It's because whenever she's next to Joe Biden, standing near or behind him, she looks like an assassin.” Does he want to break his own rules by giving her a good-natured ribbing? Does he fear the consequences? Comedians may be more worried about their next paycheck than about stepping on comedy’s vice presidential third rail. Christian Toto is the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul.” Tyler Durden Tue, 06/07/2022 - 22:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 7th, 2022

The 46 best fantasy books to escape into this summer, from the classics to new highly anticipated sequels

Whether you like fantasy books with a dash of drama, historical fiction, romance, or science fiction, these novels are sure to become favorites. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Whether you like fantasy books with a dash of drama, historical fiction, romance, or science fiction, these novels are sure to become favorites.Amazon; Alyssa Powell/Insider Fantasy books are delightfully filled with magic, creatures, and new worlds. This list ranges from classic fantasy novels to exciting new releases. We looked at bestsellers, award-winners, and reader recommendations to find the best fantasy books. Fantasy books are a blissful escape from reality into worlds of magical creatures, mythological heroes, and folklore come to life. They are where we can discover new worlds where heroes and heroines face brutal beasts, travel across distant lands, and unearth forgotten kingdoms. From epic high fantasy to magical realism, the fantasy genre is expansive. Fantasy can include countless different types of magic, characters, and adventurous pursuits and many of these novels intertwine with other genres, especially science fiction and romance. To compile this list of best fantasy books, we looked at all-time fantasy bestsellers, award-winners, and new releases about which readers are raving. So whether you're looking to find a magical first fantasy read or delve deeper into a sub-genre you already love, here are some of the best fantasy novels to read this summer. The 46 best classic and new fantasy books to read in 2022:A historical fantasy retelling of an ancient Indian epicAmazon"Kaikeyi" by Vaishnavi Patel, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.54For fans of "Circe," "Kaikeyi" is the historical fantasy tale of a young woman who discovers her magic while looking for deeper answers in the texts she once read with her mother. When Kaikeyi transforms into a warrior and a favored, feminist queen, darkness from her past resurfaces and the world she has built clashes with the destiny the gods once chose for her family, forcing Kaikeyi to face the consequences of resistance and the legacy she may leave behind. A new exciting fantasy sequelAmazon"Fevered Star" by Rebecca Roanhorse, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.49"Fevered Star" is the highly anticipated sequel to "Black Sun," and continues as sea captain Xiala finds new allies with the war in the heavens affecting the Earth. Meanwhile, avatars Serapio and Naranpa must continue to fight for free will despite the wave of destiny and prophecy they face in this fantasy novel loved for its unique cast of characters and incredible world-building. The first epic fantasy novel in an upcoming trilogyAmazon"The Woven Kingdom" by Tahereh Mafi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99"This Woven Kingdom" intertwines fantastical Persian mythology and rich romance in the first novel of an upcoming fantasy trilogy about Alizeh, the long-lost heir to the kingdom for which she works as a servant. Kamran, the crown prince, has heard the prophecies his kingdom is destined to face but couldn't imagine the strange servant girl would be the one to uproot everything he's ever known. The most classic fantasy you can getAmazon"The Hobbit" by J. R. R. Tolkien, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.37An introduction to the mystical world of "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit" is one of the most charming adventure fantasies in history. It's the timeless story of Bilbo Baggins meeting Gandalf as they set out to raid the treasure guarded by a dragon — indisputably a classic fantasy novel, and a must-read for any fantasy lover. A fantastical retelling of Chinese mythologyAmazon"Daughter of the Moon Goddess" by Sue Lynn Tan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.19Inspired by the legend of Chang'e, the Chinese moon goddess, "Daughter of the Moon Goodess" follows Xingyin as her existence is discovered by the feared Celestial emperor and she must flee her home and leave her mother behind. In this mythological retelling, Xingyin must learn archery and magic in the very empire that once exiled her mother and challenge the Celestial Emperor with her life, loves, and the fate of the entire realm at stake. A steamy fantasy retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"Amazon"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49In this wildly popular series, Feyre is brought to a magical kingdom on the crime of killing a faerie where both she and the secrets of her captor are closely guarded. This series is known for its careful pacing, beautiful romance, and nightmarish fantasy creatures. The final book was just released, so now you can binge-read straight to the end. A historical fantasy that you won’t soon forgetAmazon"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.19In 1714, Addie LaRue accidentally prays to the gods that answer after dark and curses herself to a life in which she cannot be remembered. This book spans 300 years as Addie lives without a trace until one day, she meets a boy who remembers her name. Contrary to the premise, Addie's story is one that stays with you long after you finish this book. This was my favorite book of 2020 and remains in my top five of all time. A fantasy book that begins with "It was a dark and stormy night"Amazon"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.35This is one of the few books from my childhood that has stood the test of time and remained on my bookshelf to this day. Meg Murry — along with her mother and brother — rushes downstairs in the middle of the night to find a strange visitor in the kitchen, launching an adventure through space and time to save Meg's father and the world. I was whisked away by the magic in this story, along with so many other readers. A fantasy story that will take you to a new worldAmazon"The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.64Though chronologically second, this was the first "Chronicles of Narnia" book to be published and therefore should be read first. It tells the story of three siblings who step through the door of a wardrobe and find themselves in the magical land of Narnia, enchanted by the evil White Witch. They team up with a lion and join the battle to save Narnia. C.S. Lewis wrote: "Some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again," and that resonates with so many readers who pick this book up and hold it close to their hearts forever.A fantasy series that's quickly become a modern classicAmazon"A Game of Thrones" series by George R. R. Martin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $26.93The "Game of Thrones" series is hailed as an undeniable classic even though it was just published in 2005. The entire series is iconic. It's about families caught in a never-ending war over who rules over the seven kingdoms. In these books, the good guys don't always win and the heroes don't always live. There are highly complicated characters, tons of subplots, and every kind of conflict imaginable. A powerful and diverse fantasy with contemporary issuesAmaozon"Legendborn" by Tracy Deonn, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $16.29"Legendborn" has quickly become a favorite amongst fantasy readers since it was published in September 2020. It weaves issues of grief, racism, and oppression with Arthurian-inspired magic. Bree enrolls in a college program for gifted high schoolers after an accident that left her mother dead. When an attempt to wipe Bree's memory after she witnesses a magical attack fails, her own magic and memories begin to return to her and leave her wondering if her mother's death was truly an accident. An enchanting, magical fantasy adventureBookshop"The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea" by Axie Oh, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99Mina's homeland has been devastated by storms for generations so every year, a maiden is sacrificed to the sea in the hopes the Sea God will take a true bride and end the villages' suffering. When Shim Cheong, her brother's beloved, is chosen for the next sacrifice, Mina throws herself into the sea in her place and is swept into the Spirit Realm where she seeks to wake the Sea God, confront him — and save her homeland before her time in the realm runs out. A feminist fairy tale classicAmazon"Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $7.35Whether or not you've seen the hilarious Anne Hathaway movie, this is one to pick up. It's the story of Ella, enchanted as an infant with the "gift" of obedience. It quickly turns into a curse as Ella can't help but do what she's told no matter who orders her or how silly (or dangerous) the order may be. When Ella finds she might be in danger, she sets out to undo the curse and ends up on an adventure with ogres, elves, even the classic pumpkin carriage. I thought this book was just as amusing as the movie and I probably read it a dozen times as a teen. A deadly fantasy tale of three royal sistersAmazon"Three Dark Crowns" series by Kendare Blake, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.99In every royal generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born. They are each equal heirs to the throne and possess one of three magics: control of the elements, affinity to nature and animals, or immunity to poison. When the girls turn sixteen, the fight for the crown begins and will only end once only one queen remains. In this dark series about strong women, the tension and twists build with each novel until the action-packed and intensely satisfying ending. The magic in these books is easy to understand and really entertaining to read. I loved seeing this sisterhood grow and change over the four books.A bloody fantasy epic of warrior womenAmazon"The Gilded Ones" by Namina Forna, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.39Deka is already different from the rest of her village, but when she bleeds gold — the mark of a demon girl — during a ceremony, she faces consequences worse than death. She is soon offered a choice: to stay and face her fate or leave and fight in an army of girls like her. This story moves swiftly with a mix of dystopian fantasy, horror, and a touch of romance. It can be quite violent at times, as demon girls suffer death after gruesome death. If you've ever been hesitant about picking up YA fantasy, this is one that won't disappoint. A dark fantasy that's perfect for a rainy dayAmazon"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.29While you are probably more familiar with "Coraline," "Neverwhere" is a Neil Gaiman book that just can't be passed over. On the streets of London, Richard Mayhew stops to help a bleeding girl and ends up in Neverwhere — a dark version of London where monsters lurk in the shadows. After finishing this, you'll ask yourself why you haven't read more of his novels. Gaiman also has a series on MasterClass that deconstructs his storytelling yet somehow adds more magic to every book. A classic fantasy novel full of magicAmazon"A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. Le Guin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.79When Ged was young, he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. Now he's grown into the most powerful sorcerer in Earthsea, but he must face the consequences of the power-hungry actions of his younger self. This book (and the entire six-book series) continues to enchant fantasy readers 50 years after its first publication. Through graceful writing and impeccable character development, Le Guin challenges us to know and embrace our true selves.A high seas pirate adventure storyAmazon"Fable" by Adrienne Young, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69Fable is a trader, a fighter, and a survivor. Four years ago, she watched her mother drown in a ruthless storm and her father abandon her on an island of thieves. Relying on the skills her mother taught her, Fable enlists West to help her confront her father and demand a place on his crew. When she finally makes it off the island, Fable learns how much more dangerous her father's work has become and finds that the island may have been the safest place for her after all. This is a gritty story with a strong feminist lead and (thankfully) a sequel that was just released.A fantasy series where light and dark magic exist in parallel worldsAmazon"A Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99Kell is a smuggler and one of the last magicians able to travel between parallel Londons: red, white, grey, and (long ago) black. After being robbed and then saved by Delilah Bard, the two set out on an adventure to save themselves and the worlds through which they travel. Schwab is a masterful world-builder and you will absolutely travel right along with this pair. Because of this series, I have become a sucker for a parallel universe trope. The fantasy story of a forced marriage between a witch and a witch hunterAmazon"Serpent & Dove" by Shelby Mahurin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.59In Belterra, witches are feared and burned at the stake by ruthless witch hunters. For two years, Louise hid her magic to stay alive until one mistake set in motion a story of impossible choices, an enemies-to-lover romance, and a tangled battle between right and wrong. With how compelling the writing is, you'd never guess it is a debut novel. I bought this one just for the gorgeous cover and had no idea how extraordinary it would be.A criminal account of a steampunk band of anti-heroesAmazon"Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99Kaz is a professional criminal, offered an alluring heist that he can't pass up, but he can't pull off alone. This story is completely brilliant, gritty, and a little messy. With six main characters, "Six of Crows" is a fast-paced heist, a story that leaves you constantly surprised as you'll never fully know any one character's intentions due to its third-person point of view.The fantastical tale of a magical unicornAmazon"The Last Unicorn" by Peter S. Beagle, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.99This is a beautiful fairy tale with poems and songs set throughout the pages. In this book, a unicorn who lives alone in a forest protected from death decides to find what happened to the others. Helped by a magician and a spinster, the unicorn sets out on a journey of love and destiny, faced with an evil king who aims to rid the world of the final unicorn. The life lessons woven throughout this book are bittersweet, but also real and honest. A cherished chronicle of magical children and guarded secretsAmazon"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by T.J Klune, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.29This is one of the few books I refer to as "beautiful." Linus Baker is a quiet caseworker for the Department of Magical Youth — and has just been charged with investigating a highly secretive case that requires him to travel to an island where six dangerous magical orphans (including the actual son of Satan) live under the care of Arthur Parnassus. This book is all about family, filled with comforting magic as you come to care for fictional characters. Plus, reading about a child who is trying to be a good kid while also being the literal Anti-Christ is absolutely hysterical and was the highlight of this book for me.A dark, horror-fantasy book about occult magicAmazon"Ninth House" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.55Alex Stern is recovering in the hospital after surviving an unsolved homicide when she's mysteriously offered a full ride at Yale University. The only catch: she has to monitor the activities of the school's secret societies that practice dark magic. Alex, a high school dropout from LA, has no idea why she's been chosen but by the time she finds out, she'll be in too deep. This book won the Goodreads Choice Awards "Best Fantasy" category in 2019 and it absolutely lives up to the hype. It's intense, bloody, and powerful as dangerous magic weaves itself into an everyday school setting. A truly fun Greek mythology storyAmazon"The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.98Deeply loved, the Percy Jackson books are just as regarded as "The Hunger Games" or "Divergent." Percy has no idea that he is a demigod, son of Poseidon, but he's having trouble in school, unable to focus or control his temper. Percy is sure that his teacher tried to kill him and when his mom finds out, she knows she needs to tell him the truth about where he came from. He goes to a summer camp for demigods and teams up with two friends to reach the Underworld in order to prevent a war between the gods. Percy makes a great hero and it's so easy to root for him as he pushes through his journey, the pages filled with Grade-A characters, action scenes, and monsters. A West-African inspired fantasy world of danger and magicAmazon"Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99After a ruthless king left the world without magic and her mother dead, Zélie finds she has only one chance to save her people. On a dangerous journey to restore magic to the land before it is lost forever, Zélie's greatest danger may be herself. Readers agree that the best parts of this book are the characters, who all go on a transformative journey as they fight for peace. This is in TIME's Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time, which is a huge deal. A captivating vampire fantasy novelAmazon"Crave" by Tracy Wolff, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.51It's easy to draw a comparison between "Crave" and "Twilight," especially since the moment "brooding vampires" is mentioned, everyone's first thought is Edward Cullen. Plus, the cover looks like it's part of Stephanie Meyer's famous saga. But the "Crave" series is more sophisticated and literary while embracing the inherent cringe that now seems to accompany any vampire story. This is an engaging read because it blends nostalgia with something fresh and new. Open this book when you're ready to have fun with reading — the cheesy moody vampire moments are absolutely present amongst turf wars, a gothic academy, and dragons. A dark urban fantasy where people hunt the godsAmazon"Lore" by Alexandra Bracken, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99Greek mythology meets "The Hunger Games" in this world where every seven years, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by those eager to steal divine power and immortality for themselves. Lore wants to leave this brutality behind when her help is sought out by two opposing participants: a childhood friend she thought long dead and a gravely wounded Athena. The world created in this standalone is thorough and complex. But if you love crazy twists and that "just one more chapter" feeling, you should give this a shot.An iconic fantasy book that checks every boxAmazon"The Princess Bride" by William Goldman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.11"The Princess Bride" is a modern classic that has something for everyone: action, beasts, true love, and a whole lot of fighting. A beautiful girl, Buttercup, and her farm boy, Westley, have fallen madly in love. Westley sets off to claim his fortune so he can marry her before he's ambushed by pirates. Thinking he's dead, Buttercup marries an evil prince as Westley plans to return to her. It's riddled with narration from the author that really adds to the passion and humor of this book.A 200-years-later fantasy sequel to "Cinderella"Amazon"Cinderella is Dead" by Kalynn Bayron, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.63200 years after Cinderella found her prince, girls are required to appear at the annual ball where men select their wives. If a girl is not selected, she is never heard from again. Sophia would much rather marry her love, Erin, so she flees the ball where she runs into Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella. Together, they decide to bring down the king once and for all. This book gathered attention for its Black and queer lead characters that have no intention of waiting for a night in shining armor to save them. It's a story of bravery, anger, and fighting for love.A fantasy that's all about booksAmazon"Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29Meggie's father is reading to her from a book called "Inkheart" one night when an evil stranger from her father's past knocks on their door. When Meggie's dad is kidnapped, she has to learn to control the magic to change the story that's taken over her life, creating a world that she's only read about in books. It's a story about magic, for sure, but also about the unwavering bond between Meggie and her father — a truly heartwarming love that you'll feel as a reader.  A darker collection of fairy talesAmazon"The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales" by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $4.95The German brothers who wrote this book aimed to collect stories exactly how they were told. This led to a collection of fairy tales that we all know and love, minus the obligatory "happily ever afters." It has all the classics like "Cinderella" and "Rapunzel" that haven't been softened or brightly colored for younger audiences. This is great for anyone who loves the feeling of discovering all the secrets behind the stories or movies we loved when we were young.A fantasy re-telling of "Romeo and Juliet," set in 1920s ShanghaiAmazon"These Violent Delights" by Chloe Gong, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99In 1926, a blood feud has left the city starkly divided, Juliette the heir to the Scarlet Gang and Roma the heir to the White Flowers. They were each other's first love, separated by their families and long ago (but not forgotten) betrayal. Now, as a mysterious illness is causing the people to claw their own throats out, Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to save their city. This one features a river monster, a serious amount of blood and gore, and nods to the original "Romeo and Juliet" throughout. A fantastical tapestry of legends and rivalriesAmazon"The Priory of the Orange Tree" by Samantha Shannon, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.24Told from four points of view, Queen Sabran IX must conceive a daughter, for the legends say that as long as a queen rules, the monster beneath the sea will sleep. But as the assassins close in, the eastern and western kingdoms of Virtudom refuse to unite, even against an ancient and monumental threat that could kill them all. This is 800 pages of high fantasy, charged by dragons, queer representation, and a large cast of characters — but don't worry, you can find a glossary and character list in the back to help you keep it all straight. It's been hailed as "A feminist successor to 'The Lord of the Rings'" and decidedly embraces that praise.A fantasy novel hailed for its romanceAmazon"From Blood and Ash" by Jennifer L. Armentrout, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.67While this absolutely falls into the fantasy genre, it actually won the Goodreads Choice Awards for "Best Romance" in 2020. Poppy is the Maiden, chosen to fulfill a destiny that has never been fully explained to her, living the life of a recluse and awaiting to ascend to prove she is worthy to the gods and can protect her land from the curse. When she can't stand it anymore, she sneaks away from the kingdom and meets Hawke, spurring a desperate secret romance. The beginning of the first book is slow, but the momentum builds quickly. It ends on a huge cliffhanger but the second one has already been released and the third is out on April 20, 2021. A classic Arthurian taleAmazon"The Sword in the Stone" by T. H. White, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.50Before the famous King Arthur, there was a boy named Wart, a wizard named Merlin, and a sword stuck in a stone. In this story, Merlin helps Wart learn valuable coming-of-age lessons as he grows up. It feels both medieval and modern, with an emotional ending as Wart finally faces the sword. If you loved the Disney movie, you should still read this, since they're very different. The witchy prequel to “Practical Magic”Amazon"The Rules of Magic" by Alice Hoffman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.30Franny, Bridget, and Vincent are growing up in the 1950s, aware that they are different but held under strict parental rules to keep them safe and away from magic. When they visit their Aunt Isabelle in Massachusetts where their family name holds great history, the Owens siblings learn to embrace their magical sides. You don't need to have read "Practical Magic" to love this story of sibling love and finding your identity. The book is simply delightful and the whole thing feels like a cool autumn in Salem. A fantasy series that you'll hold close long after the final bookAmazon"Throne of Glass" series by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.59This entire eight-book series has insanely high reviews, with a ton of fantasy readers picking up anything Sarah J. Maas writes. It follows Celaena Sardothien, an assassin who is offered a chance to serve as the King's Champion and earn her freedom after serving in a camp for her crimes. Celaena is drawn into a series of battles and a deeply woven conspiracy, discovering secrets about the kingdom and herself. This is an epic, powerful, and brilliant journey that might just become your new favorite series.The first in a new "Shadowhunter" seriesAmazon"Chain of Gold" by Cassandra Clare, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.49Cordelia is a Shadowhunter, a warrior who has trained all her life to battle demons. On a mission to prove her father's innocence, she travels to London where she meets James, a childhood friend. She's whisked into his secret and dazzling life when a series of demon attacks hit London. These new monsters seem impossible to kill as they hide in plain sight and close off the city. The characters are what drives this book and if you've read other "Shadowhunter" novels by Cassandra Clare, you'll love getting to know family members you've heard about before. A portal fantasy that all begins with a girl finding magic in a bookAmazon"The Ten Thousand Doors of January" by Alix E Harrow, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99While serving as the ward to a wealthy man, January finds a strange book that tells a story of secret doors, adventure, and danger. As she reads, January is taken on an imaginative journey of discovery as a book she thought was fiction elaborately bends her reality. It's a portal story of love and enchanting adventure, a book about a book that will mercilessly break your heart but gracefully put it back together. A wintery fairytale story, loosely based on “Rumpelstiltskin”Amazon"Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.99Miryem quickly earns a reputation for being able to spin silver to gold after setting out to save her family from poverty, capturing the attention of the Ice King. This is a woven story of three women, three mothers, and three marriages. Naomi Novik does an incredible job of helping you follow each story, creating some amazingly strong female protagonists. This is not your typical fairytale, but it's still full of whimsical writing, familial bonds, and tons of charm.  A deep-sea fantasy journey with seven kinds of magicAmazon"All The Stars and Teeth" by Adalyn Grace, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89In a kingdom where you can choose your magic, Amora knows that to be queen, she must master the dangerous but fickle soul magic. When her demonstration fails, Amora flees and strikes a deal with a pirate: she will help him reclaim his magic if he can help her prove that she's fit to rule. "All the Stars and Teeth" is an epic adventure-driven fantasy featuring mermaids, sea monsters, and a kingdom in danger. A fantasy book that will pull you in from the first lineAmazon"A Curse So Dark and Lonely" by Brigid Kemmerer, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89Set in the parallel land of Emberfall, a cursed Prince Rhen has become a destructive, murderous monster. Harper, a regular girl with cerebral palsy, was mistakenly kidnapped and is now the prince's only hope. Yes, this is the second "Beauty and the Beast" retelling in this roundup but they are both so different and so loved. Readers come for the complexity of Rhen and Harper and stay for the snarky, hysterical bickering between the two.A fantasy story of a darkly magical school where you graduate or dieAmazon"A Deadly Education" by Naomi Novik, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.41At Scholomance, magically gifted students must survive to graduate — and failure means death. There are no teachers, no breaks, and only two rules: don't walk the halls alone, and beware of the monsters that lurk everywhere. El has no allies, just incredibly strong dark magic that could save her — but might kill all the other students. El's evolution and hilarity during this story plus Novik's thoughtful world-building and extremely diverse cast of characters are what make this a favorite. A fae-centered high fantasyAmazon"The Cruel Prince" by Holly Black, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.9910 years ago, Jude and her sisters were kidnapped after their parents' murder and taken to the land of Faerie, where they are mortal humans amongst fantastical but cruel creatures. In order to belong, Jude must win a place in the high court which will require her to defy the youngest prince. Holly Black (crowned the supreme Faerie-world writer) creates a world so real, you'll forget its magic. A new fantasy duology of a world of enchanted injusticeAmazon"Spellbreaker" by Charlie N. Holmberg, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $8.49There are two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those born with the ability to break them. Elise was born a spellbreaker but her gift is a crime. While on a mission to break the enchantments of aristocrats, Elise is discovered and must strike a bargain with an elite wizard to protect herself. It's a fun fantasy mystery with plenty of twists and danger that are sure to keep you intrigued.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 23rd, 2022

Diesel For Dinner

Diesel For Dinner Via Doomberg Substack, “Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish - too much handling will spoil it.” – Lao Tzu The words edible and eatable are often used interchangeably but embedded within their respective definitions is a distinction that makes an important difference. Edible means “safe to eat,” whereas eatable means “pleasant to eat.” A variant of the word eatable is delicious, commonly defined as “highly pleasant to eat.” Delicious certainly sounds more enticing than highly eatable, a phrase nobody would use to compliment an exquisite meal crafted by a professional chef. We find such linguistic nuances pleasing. Whether the balance of calories a person consumes is edible, eatable, or delicious depends on where they sit on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a concept we covered at length in a piece we wrote last July called Why Are Cows Sacred?  For those at the base of the pyramid, the struggle to consume enough edible food just to see another sunrise defines much of their existence. At the top of the pyramid sit those fortunate souls who can afford to cook delicious meals with fresh ingredients, eat at fine restaurants, or even hire a personal chef to tend to their every dietary indulgence. At the molecular level, the distinction between edible and inedible can be subtle. The rearrangement of a few atoms within an otherwise similar chemical structure can make the difference between satiation and a trip to the emergency room.  Prior to the advent of the modern chemical and energy industries, humanity leveraged animal and plant byproducts to create many of the functional materials used in daily life, making the tradeoff between food and other needs a more visceral one than it is today. The edible parts were eaten, and the inedible stuff – presumably identified through an unfortunate series of trial and error experiments – was converted into other useful things or burned to create energy. Armed with humanity’s mastery of chemistry, we can now rearrange atoms with astonishing specificity at an unimaginable scale, pushing billions of people further up Maslow’s hierarchy than they would otherwise be. In addition to using fossil fuels to create most of the materials that surround us, we leverage them to produce fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, and other inputs into the farming process, boosting crop yields to levels once thought impossible. We also synthesize mountains of edible ingredients directly from oil and gas. Touring a modern food processing factory would seem almost indistinguishable from a specialty chemical plant, mostly because they aren’t all that different. While it makes perfect sense to leverage our bounty of fossil fuels and ability to manipulate them at the molecular level to increase global food abundance, going through the effort to grow food only to turn around and burn it for energy seems less than ideal. In a controversial piece we wrote in January titled “In Praise of Corn Ethanol,” we put forth a theory that the adoption of corn ethanol as a mandated additive to gasoline was a scheme to coverup one of the greatest environmental scandals of the past century: the use of tetraethyl lead as an anti-knock agent. While some readers interpreted our piece as supporting this policy – undoubtedly because of the title – our primary purpose was to highlight the ugly history that got us to the current situation, and how it was predominantly a dirty political compromise. In hindsight, “Why Corn Ethanol is a Thing” might have been a better title. No such compromise underpins the decision to use foodstuffs as replacements for diesel, a policy that will make the unfolding global food crisis substantially worse if it is not soon overturned. When a barrel of oil is refined, it is separated into various products using the different boiling points of its components. Gasoline boils at a lower temperature than diesel and represents about 43% of each barrel of oil. Diesel makes up approximately 27%, with the other 30% destined to become heating oil, jet fuel, asphalt, and other important materials. Because of its higher energy density per gallon and the efficiency of engines designed to use it, diesel is a desirable fuel, especially for long-haul trucking. Trucks at the pump | Getty Images Unfortunately for those near the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid, many cooking oils – liquid fat isolated from various crops used extensively in frying, baking, and other types of food preparation all over the world – have a molecular structure quite similar to that of diesel. It does not take much chemical magic to transform previously edible cooking oils into workable substitutes for the valuable fuel. Now that the environmental lobby has convinced government officials worldwide that “renewable carbon content” is prima facia a desirable thing – a fallacy that deserves its own Doomberg piece – various mandates exist to literally take food out of the mouths of the hungry and pump it into our trucks for burning. For the planet, and whatnot. The first commercially relevant incarnation of a diesel substitute derived from crops is a product known as biodiesel. Oils derived from palm, sunflower, soybean, rapeseed, and castor are used as inputs, to name a few, and they are reacted with methanol (derived from fossil fuels) in a chemical process known as transesterification. Transesterification generates a product with higher oxygen content than standard diesel. This presents some challenges, including poor low-temperature performance, increased microbial growth, corrosion of engine parts, and higher shipping costs (biodiesel cannot leverage existing pipelines that are used to transport regular diesel). Much like corn ethanol, biodiesel is blended with regular diesel at concentrations between 2-20% before being marketed. Despite these limitations, government mandates have motivated farmers the world over to redirect a sizable chunk of their crops from the grocery store to the gas station. Nearly all of the challenges with biodiesel have been overcome with the recent development of renewable diesel, a material synthesized by hydrotreating cooking oils. Here’s how the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) describes the differences (emphasis added throughout): “Renewable diesel is a biomass-based diesel fuel similar to biodiesel, but with important differences. Unlike biodiesel, renewable diesel is a hydrocarbon that is chemically equivalent to petroleum diesel and can be used as a drop-in biofuel that does not require blending with petroleum diesel for use… Because renewable diesel is a drop-in fuel, it meets ASTM D975 specification for petroleum diesel and can be seamlessly blended, transported, and even co-processed with petroleum diesel.” Image credit: iStockPhoto / Lori Hays To the truckers forced to meet renewable carbon content mandates, renewable diesel is a godsend. It requires no change on their part, is indistinguishable from regular diesel, and allows them to proudly proclaim their green bonafides. To the companies who produce it, renewable diesel is a government-mandated financial pot of gold. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues valuable renewable identification numbers (RINs) to track compliance with various mandates and to stoke production. There’s also a national $1-per-gallon tax credit to further incentivize producers. While support at the federal level has been important, the real driver for renewable diesel adoption has been the State of California. Through its low-carbon fuel standards (LCFS) program, credits currently trading for $115 per carbon ton are being issued, and renewable diesel is now the largest source of incremental credits. This is before the real capacity to produce renewable diesel comes online. Where will all this renewable diesel come from? In the US, soybean oils are the main input, and it should come as no surprise that planting strategies are being quickly modified to produce more of it. This quote from an industry consultant frames the magnitude of the upcoming disruption well: “The dramatic development of the U.S. renewable diesel industry is similar to how ethanol changed the U.S. corn industry from 2007 to 2010, says Dan Basse, president of AgResource Company. But he believes renewable diesel could be more disruptive. ‘We are calling for 90.5 million soybean acres in 2022 versus this year’s 87 million, and that just gets us started in meeting renewable diesel demand,” he says. “Then we’d need to increase soybean acres by 5 million to 7 million each year. We have to top 120 million acres of soybeans to meet the growing demand for renewable diesel.’” With the force of the government’s thumb on the scale of demand compounding pre-existing inflationary pressures hitting farmers, the price of soybeans has soared to fresh all-time highs. At the time of this writing, soybeans trade for $17 per bushel, more than double the price seen just two years ago. Unless these policies are unwound, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where positive price momentum abates. In a piece we wrote last October called Starvation Diet, we warned that the unfolding energy crisis would trigger a global famine, a process that would be exacerbated by protectionism. Here’s a key passage: “We’ve written extensively about how the market for energy in Europe broke and how the ripple effects will snap through our delicate supply chains like a whip. When the supply of critical goods goes short, countries implement protectionist policies in a futile attempt to minimize the impact at home. A cascading series of retaliatory moves usually follows, leading to economic vapor lock. We are seeing that pattern play out now in agriculture.” Although we take no joy in being proven right in this regard, more evidence of our prescience emerged last week when Indonesia shocked the world by banning all exports of palm oil. Cooking oils can be substituted for each other and price pressures on one oil inevitably puts a bid under the others. Here’s how The Guardian describes the situation: “The price of edible oils such as soyoil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil is expected to rise after Indonesia announced a surprise export palm oil ban, experts have warned. Major edible oils are already in short supply due to adverse weather and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The move by Indonesia to pause exports will place extra strain on cost-sensitive consumers in Asia and Africa hit by higher fuel and food prices.” The magnitude of this ban cannot be overstated. According to data from Statista, palm oil accounted for 35% of all cooking oil produced last year. Indonesia is responsible for a staggering 60% of global palm oil production. The blast waves emanating from this explosive move will be felt the world over, most acutely by those already on the brink that can least afford to react. Bluntly, people are going to starve. In the face of a global energy crisis, the war in Ukraine, food shortages, and rampant inflation, does it make sense to be redirecting so many acres of valuable cropland to make renewable diesel, a fuel we can easily and directly drill for domestically? Do our policymakers understand the interconnected nature of these markets, and how forcing a strong link between diesel and soybeans creates a tunnel through which the contagion of crisis in one market bleeds directly into the other? Imagine how grotesque this spectacle must seem to the most vulnerable among us. While they scramble to secure enough edible food to survive, our elite know-it-alls gorge themselves on the most delicious hors d'oeuvres the cocktail party circuit can provide. Through either shocking ignorance or callous indifference, they convince themselves they are saving the planet. Saving the planet for who, exactly? The poorest citizens on Earth? Nah. Let them eat diesel. *  *  * If you have enjoyed this or any of the 105 articles we’ve published in the last year, please hit the “Like” button and consider upgrading your subscription. New articles will be limited to paid subscribers after April 30th. Claim your spot in the Chicken Coop today! Tyler Durden Sun, 05/01/2022 - 14:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 1st, 2022

Bitcoin Is Peace For The 9/11 Generation, Part 2: Wars On The Abstract

Bitcoin Is Peace For The 9/11 Generation, Part 2: Wars On The Abstract Authored by Joe Consorti via Bitcoin Magazine, A society built on endless war is only possible given the power to print endless money to finance it... For full context, make sure you read Part One of this two-part series before continuing. In it, we discussed how the United States’ irresponsible spending stems from the fiat money system, which allows them to engage in continual abstract wars (such as “the war on drugs”) and how a return to a sound monetary standard through bitcoin would stop the endless conflict we’ve experienced over the last century. WAR ON POVERTY The War on Poverty — the granddaddy of the United States' poor spending habits. 58 years ago, former President Lyndon B. Johnson launched a war which would eat into people’s wealth all while trying to cure wealth inequality — a contradiction for the ages. Nevertheless, good intentions birthed this series of legislative actions. At the time, more than 20% of Americans were considered poor and Johnson was convinced that state intervention was the most viable way to bring the country back to its feet. While it was supposed to be “a hand up, not a handout,” Johnson’s legislation couldn’t be further from that ideal. Over $800 million has been spent to eliminate poverty since his series of initiatives came to pass. What do we have to show for it? Welfare rolls have expanded, as the horrifying truth of government dependence has come to fruition for many. The notion of equal opportunity is phenomenal, but rather than cutting red tape and encouraging job creation, wealth was taken from those with more and given to those with less. Some of those on the program leveraged the government assistance to build a life for themselves but given the increase in welfare dependency over the last half cntury, more people have structured their lives around the system instead of using it as it was intended, as a “hand up.” It’s safe to conclude that the “handouts” which Johnson was so adamant about excluding have become the hallmark of modern welfare programs. The War on Poverty is a stain on the American track record of raising those with nothing to prosperity – providing equal opportunity for all who reside “from sea to shining sea” to work or to innovate their way to prosperity. Funding for such programs would have to become almost entirely voluntary under a bitcoin standard, as taxes could never be high enough to replace the U.S.’s decades-long penchant for money printing. Any functional and accepted state program would be funded by those philanthropists who want to contribute to the cause, and due to this limited available funding, decision-making would be more precise by necessity. When scarcity is a factor in any decision, capital allocation is naturally done in such a way that leads to the optimum outcome. Under fiat, money can be created and seized at any given moment, so the concept of scarcity never plays a hand in decisions — hence why government programs often resemble inefficient money vacuums more than they do functional value-adds. While the War on Poverty was the first case study in the inefficiency of government capital allocation, it wouldn’t be the last. Once they discovered their universal solution, the money printer, the necessity for sound money would become even more apparent to the American people. WAR ON DRUGS The string of government initiatives beginning in the 1970s to end drug usage was the second of four periods of “war on the abstract” that the U.S. has engaged in over the last century. Starting as far back as 1914, the regulation of opiates and cocaine began passing in the halls of Congress, followed by Prohibition, followed by the introduction of a heavy marijuana tax in 1937, as well as imprisonment and fines for possession. This was just the beginning of something far more concerted and targeted in the United States — the war on drugs. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon, introducing an arbitrary “schedule” to classify drugs and ascribe criminal punishment to them. And in June of the following year, Nixon declared a war on drugs, citing drugs as “public enemy number one.” Ironically enough, Nixon suspended the convertibility of dollars to gold in August just two months later; his money-sucking initiative was followed by the nail in the coffin for the dollar as a sound representation of gold. Ultimately, this was necessary: To pursue these lofty public initiatives while continuing to finance the war in Vietnam, something had to give. Was the United States going to levy a higher tax burden on its citizens? No. As we discussed earlier, this would be a death sentence for any sitting president. The easy solution would be to quietly disconnect the currency from the value it was supposed to represent, despite meaning that this made the dollar a promissory note which promised nothing. That is how you finance government expenditure, they learned. And boy, oh boy, did it feel good. In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was created, still receiving an annual budget of $2.03 billion in 2022. The 1980s saw then-President Ronald Reagan introduce many “Just Say No To Drugs” campaigns – such as the elementary-school-targeted D.A.R.E. programs? The crackdown on even the phrase “drugs” was now underway. The cost of this endeavor has been an estimated $1 trillion as of 2015. That’s a hefty tag to pay for an arguably failed attempt at eradicating drugs from the American paradigm (remember this theme for later). Fiscal irresponsibility was sparked by the legally-recognized ability to magically create dollars out of thin air. And this was just the beginning. WAR ON TERRORISM Now we arrive at the main subject matter of this article, the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) much more popularly known as “the war on terror,” a term coined by then-President George W. Bush. It was meant to be a catch-all term for war against all terrorist groups (not just Al-Qaeda who claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks) which should have been the first signal that perhaps the United States was biting off more than it could reasonably chew. Al-Qaeda was allowed to operate with impunity under the protection of the Taliban regime, so the idea was simple: move into Afghanistan to destroy Al-Qaeda, kill Osama bin Laden and remove the Taliban from power. However, the war on terror in the Middle East did not stop here. Bin Laden fled to Pakistan, and in 2003 the United States invaded Iraq, with George W. Bush infamously claiming that we needed to remove a regime of terrorists which (allegedly) held weapons of mass destruction. After capturing Saddam Hussein in 2003, and executing him in 2006, the war persisted in Iraq for another four years. The United States reportedly killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, but the war in Afghanistan wouldn’t wrap up in its entirety for nearly another decade. The full withdrawal of U.S. troops was meant to have been completed by 2014, but in 2014 it was announced that over 10,000 troops would remain in Afghanistan. To many this was an indication that this “war on terror,” like the “wars” on poverty and drugs which preceded it, would have no logical and definitive end. For now, President Joe Biden has removed American troops from Afghanistan, but he still “didn’t end the ‘forever war.’” Like our first two wars on the abstract and indefinable, the Global War on Terrorism brought with it an ambiguous and subject-to-change price tag. The powers that be hold the baton for the entire race, so they decide when and where money is spent. Under a bitcoin standard, decision-making is forcibly prudent — you wouldn’t throw money at missions and objectives that do not provide real value, as it would be wasteful. But enabled by the reckless spending of fiat money, the war on terror incurred a heavy price: Over 7,000 U.S. service members were killed in action during post-9/11 war operations, not to mention the tragedy of well over four times that number of soldiers who have committed suicide in that same time period. Their lives weren’t the only price to pay for the American people. For the post-9/11 wars, the total U.S. budgetary costs and obligations totalled more than $6.4 trillion through 2020. That’s trillion (with a “t”) representing over 20% of our current national debt. What do we have to show for it? While we’ve left our mark by executing some of the worlds most reviled terrorists, the people of Afghanistan are still subjugated by the Taliban, who have regained control of Afghanistan as of 2021. Perhaps within a system that holds the spenders’ feet to the fire, our actions would have been swifter and more decisive. Maybe if the money was scarce and it came directly from the citizens through explicit taxes, we would have tactically moved in to execute those who wronged us on 9/11. Instead of learning our lesson of avoiding any war with an unclear goal, as we should have from Vietnam, the United States continued our abuse of the money printer by going to war for nearly two more decades with an unclear end goal. But unnaccountable control of the money supply means control of the firepower. The war on terror was a lengthy, costly, and tiresome endeavor. It was a failed attempt at eradicating a concept so decentralized and hostile that the chances of success at the outset were slim to none. And after twenty years, thousands of American soldiers dead, and nearly $7 trillion in spending, the grand finale was a hasty retreat from Kabul, leaving hundreds of Americans stranded after the embassy was abandoned. The Taliban now run Afghanistan; for all those dollars printed and all that bloodshed, we’re back at square one. The only measurable outcomes (and they’re not good ones) were the lives lost, and the trillions of dollars added to the balance sheet of the United States government — a debt burden that has yet to be, and likely will never be, serviced. The honest and good-natured spirit of defeating those who stole our dignity on September 11, 2001, has completely dissipated two decades into the conflict. That fire from the American people has been replaced by a generation of adults who haven’t been alive in a time where the United States hasn’t been involved in the Middle East. These adults have grown to see the massive and ever-expanding debt bubble as a necessity, just a normal part of life – when this same debt bubble is what’s pricing them out of a job, pricing them out of purchasing a house, and pricing them out of raising a family. This is not normal. The United States made a triumphant effort to end terrorism globally and came up short. But just 19 years after 2001, they’d ask us once again to suspend our disbelief, and put our money and decision-making ability into their hands. We were going to war, again. WAR ON HEALTH What do you do when there’s no war to be had? Health crisis, enter stage left. This article is not going to argue the origins of COVID-19, that’s not what it’s here to do. We’re trying to draw the connections between the incentive structures of massive spending and those who aim to gain from it. And one thing is for certain — if you can’t engage in a foreign war, a crisis at home is the next best thing. In March 2020, I was running my own small business at the time. Nobody wanted to buy anything from me, and mania had set in as COVID-19 made its way into the United States. People were being laid off en masse, necessities were flying off store shelves, some were convinced these were the end of days. Lo and behold, they weren’t. Within a week of the virus moving through Italy it was known and understood that it generally targets those with vulnerable immune systems, namely the elderly and populations with significant comorbidities. Instead of the United States taking the approach of encouraging temporary isolation for those groups while the virus moved naturally through the rest of us, the country was put on full doomsday mode. Everybody was treated not only like they had a high chance of dying from the virus, but also that they would kill everybody they met if they went outside. Businesses were shuttered and the economy sputtered to a halt – but people needed to get paid somehow, even if it was with magically-printed fiat money. M1 Money Supply through 2022 Through February 2022, nearly $4 trillion has been spent in economic packages intended to jog the economy. We’ve propped the system up by flooding it with dollars that do not represent any real earned value. The U.S. debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio is sitting at 133.46%. Every dollar of productivity is trounced by one dollar and twenty-eight cents worth of debt: Does that sound like a healthy economy? The Federal Reserve Board launched the Municipal Liquidity Facility in April 2020, which was just a mechanism to purchase $500 billion of short-term notes from all 50 states and some of the most productive cities in the country. They also relaunched multiple great recession-era programs to buy assets from United States companies with newly-manifested counterfeit money, adding trillions more to the balance sheet of the government. Despite having more open roles in the workforce than ever before (comparative to unemployment), some families are going to be receiving as much as $14,000 from President Biden’s newest COVID-19 relief bill. Make it make sense. Under the guise of giving money to the people, the Fed (unintentionally or not) has diluted wealth from the people by way of leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything from asset purchases, to buying notes from the treasury, even literal helicopter money into the hands of every American, three separate times. The Cantillionaires reap the benefit of accessibility to freshly-minted dollars, while the factory workers and schoolteachers had their grocery prices increase, and their lives put on hold. Because of this irresponsible expansion of the money supply, people are working even harder to earn a currency growing ever weaker, while the cost of most goods and services people wish to purchase rises. Under a bitcoin standard, an economic shutdown and the minting of trillions of dollars simply is not possible. With something like bitcoin, you cannot mint new units of the currency at will – value that gets transacted always represents underlying earned value, through labor or the sale of goods and services. Since you cannot mint new units in times of crisis, a bitcoin standard would have forced the United States Congress to think more critically of how best to respond to the pandemic. We discussed earlier about those who are at great risk from the virus. Under a bitcoin standard, the U.S. would’ve had to take a fiscally responsible approach; no longer having access to printed money would mean they’d need to think efficiently. Their efficient response, likely, would have been to encourage isolation for vulnerable populations, mobilize capital collected through taxes to areas with higher densities of these more-susceptible people, and nothing more. Under a bitcoin standard, the government is forced to think efficiently. No helicopter money, no emotionally-charged asset purchases with the fear of total economic collapse, and no shuttering the complex web of relationships that is the U.S. economy. Strategy and prudence naturally froth to the top of the pot using a sound money standard; especially over the fiat response of extravagant spending packages and hastily drawn together decision-making.   A bitcoin standard would disable the government’s ability to inefficiently allocate free, unearned capital in times of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic should be a shining example of their inability to do so. The free market should allocate capital as it sees fit, maximizing efficiency and prosperity for all. Bitcoin gets out of the way where fiat creates a blockade. THE NEXT WAR At the time of writing, the United States is threatening to take offensive action on Russia following their invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, we utter a collective sigh of “here we go again.” But remember why this article is being written, to explain the incentive structures involved in going to war, and why the United States is chomping at the bit to do so. New war means new printing, and the United States is on high alert to gaslight the American public into why this war is an outright necessity. In 2014 The Washington Post published an op-ed opinion piece titled “In The Long Run, Wars Make Us Safer And Richer,” which I believe is filled with uncorrelated statistics to bolster the false claim that war increases long-term domestic productivity for the United States. We should perhaps get ready for more justification, rationalization and outright lies as to why raising the debt ceiling is a national emergency, and printing another $10 trillion will make life better for everybody. They’ll need to lie through their teeth to get away with any more of this, as they always have. Bitcoin fixes this. The only means of funding a war without fiat and/or more taxes (which must be approved by those running for future office) are explicit and voluntary - either through issuing domestic debt (war bonds) or foreign debt, made even more voluntary with bitcoin, given that seizure is difficult. Bitcoin defangs the wretched and sharp fiat teeth out of the government’s maw. Trigger-happy politicians who salivate at the thought of trillion-dollar war spending packages will have their temperament tested; they’ll be made more prudent and strategic by way of bitcoin’s programmatic scarcity. You can’t fight it, but you can use it. FINAL THOUGHTS Endless conflict and strife, whether at home or abroad, is enabled by the ability to create money by decree. Since the United States needs to pay down their debt and is incentivized to retain control over the money, they are never going to switch to a hard money standard with bitcoin. That’s fine, if you cannot convince the country to adopt bitcoin as their monetary standard, buy and hold it yourself. Whenever possible, transact exclusively in bitcoin. Slowly as we create these circular economies, companies will allocate to the asset, goods will start being denominated in bitcoin, and life on a bitcoin standard becomes more and more inevitable. Feedback Patterns in the Bitcoin Economy - Image source Speculatively attack the dollar on an individual level; don’t allow them to tax you even more than they already do. Legally deprive them of spending power, as they can’t inflate away your wealth as much if you minimize your exposure to the dollar. Make it known through your actions that you do not wish to engage in another decades-long war. Have you had enough of them? I know I have. I’d like to know what it’s like to go at least half of a decade without getting frisky for another foreign conflict. Let’s make it happen. *  *  * You can find Joe on Twitter @JoeConsorti, thanks for reading. Tyler Durden Sun, 03/27/2022 - 21:15.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMar 27th, 2022

Antarctic explorers finally find the ill-fated HMS Endurance almost 2 miles below the ocean in "the world"s most challenging shipwreck search"

An expedition found the Endurance ship, which sunk in 1915, in Antarctic waters by using historic coordinates and advanced undersea drones. Taffrail and ship's wheel of the Endurance.Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust/ National Geographic The wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton's legendary Endurance ship was discovered this month. An expedition used coordinates from 1915 and advanced subsea technology to locate it. The Endurance was in excellent condition despite having been underwater for almost a century, photos show. The wreck of the HMS Endurance ship, which famously sank after being trapped in pack ice in Antarctica's Weddell Sea in 1915, was discovered by an expedition this month.Led by the renowned British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton on his Antarctic expedition, the Endurance had been missing for more than a century.Many presumed that it would have been destroyed or seriously degraded after 107 years on the seafloor.But when the Endurance22 expedition of explorers found it in March this year, it was surprisingly "intact" and in remarkable condition. "This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen," said Endurance22's director of exploration Mensun Bound. "It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation."Even the name "Endurance" is well preserved and visible across the stern.The stern of the Endurance with the name and emblematic polestar.Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust/ National GeographicThe Endurance was frozen in time because the sea life that would typically feed on wood was unable to survive in the icy waters of the Antarctic, deep-sea polar biologist Michelle Taylor told BBC News.However, other marine life has colonized the ship over the past 100 years."The Endurance, looking like a ghost ship, is sprinkled with an impressive diversity of deep-sea marine life — stalked sea squirts, anemones, sponges of various forms, brittlestars, and crinoids, all filter feeding nutrition from the cool deep waters of the Weddell Sea," Taylor said, per the BBC.Mensun Bound, left, director of exploration, and John Shears, the expedition leader.Esther HorvathThe Endurance22 expedition located the lost ship at a depth of 9,869 feet, almost two miles down. It was approximately four miles south of the position originally recorded by the ship's captain Frank Worsley a century ago.Worsley's "navigational skills" and "detailed records" from November 1915 were "invaluable" in helping to locate the shipwreck, Bound said.The expedition used the historic coordinates alongside advanced technology to scan a 150-square mile zone for signs of the missing vessel, according to The New York Times.An undersea drone being used to scan for the Endurance.Esther HorvathTechnicians ran undersea drones in that zone for two weeks, day and night, to scan the seafloor with sonar for the Endurance, The Times reported.The drones carried radar equipment on either side, which were able to scan vast sections of the seafloor beneath it, the paper said.'The world's most challenging shipwreck search'For weeks, the expedition had no luck. John Shears, the expedition leader, described the mammoth task of locating a ship in remote and icy waters as "the world's most challenging shipwreck search."However, on the afternoon of March 5, the drone sent back sonar images suggesting the Endurance had finally been discovered, days before the license to explore the area expired, per The Times.Four days later, the discovery was made public. Shears described that moment as "polar history."The control center for the undersea drones.Esther HorvathThe ship will not be touched while being surveyed and filmed, Endurance22 said and is now protected as a Historic Site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty."However, it is not all about the past," said Bound. "We are bringing the story of Shackleton and Endurance to new audiences and to the next generation."A tale of survival and enduranceShackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition is one of the best-known tales of survival and endurance.The expedition set out in 1914 to make the first land crossing of Antarctica but had to abandon the mission when the Endurance became trapped in pack ice in January 1915.The crew had to abandon the ship and set up a makeshift camp on the ice. Shackleton hoped that the ice would break when spring arrived, allowing the ship to drift towards safety, but instead, water seeped in and eventually sunk the Endurance.Shackleton leaves Elephant Island on the James Caird.Frank Hurley/ Wikimedia CommonsShackleton and his crew camped on ice floes for months before rowing hundreds of miles to Elephant Island in open lifeboats.Shackleton, Worsley, and four other crew members then braved another epic journey to South Georgia whaling stations on the open boat James Caird. Some of the men then crossed the island, across dangerous mountains and glaciers, to reach Norwegian whales.Rescue missions began on August 1916, and all of the 22 members of the crew on Elephant Island were saved.Shackleton returned to South Georgia in 1921 for another expedition. He died there of a heart attack at 47-years-old and is buried on the island.Stefanie Arndt, a sea ice physicist who was on the expedition, said on Twitter that the Endurance22 team visited Shackleton's grave after discovering the ship."An emotional end to a long story," she wrote.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 20th, 2022

China"s Banking Assets Are $52 Trillion, Growing By $40 Trillion Since 2008: "This Is What Hyper MMT Looks Like"

China's Banking Assets Are $52 Trillion, Growing By $40 Trillion Since 2008: "This Is What Hyper MMT Looks Like" By Eric Peters, CIO of One River Asset Management Thermodynamics “The interaction of inflation-focused monetary policies in the west and China’s mercantilist model created what I call The Refrigeration Mode,” said the CIO, sitting atop his prodigious pile. “The process has been ongoing for twenty years,” he continued. “The inflation-focused policy framework is based on the fallacy that you can model an economy using an equilibrium framework,” he said. “Wicksell was the father of classical equilibrium in economics. He observed that for a pure credit economy - with no external gold backing for money, just credit-backed deposits – there were no clear forces that would drive the system toward equilibrium. To the 19th century Wicksell, a pure credit economy was a fictitious, futuristic concept, but it is effectively what we have today - and it is a path dependent system.” “What is a path dependent system?” asked the CIO, not waiting for my answer. “Take the male driver when lost. Despite all evidence around him, the male believes he is not lost. He is, of course. And yet has no need for a map. The male is merely taking a different route, maybe a better a route to the same inevitable, incorrect destination. That destination being equilibrium. It’s all taking place in the male’s head. The reality on the road, meanwhile, is rather different. He turned left at the fork in the road when he should have gone right. There is, now, no natural force - other than blind luck and a tactful passenger - which can rescue him. Further wrong turns, and his destiny await. His destination is path dependent.” “So now consider a simplified schematic,” said the CIO. “The economy receives a positive supply shock which lowers inflation and allows rates to fall. This brings forward consumption. Consumers borrow and spend. Asset prices go up. Financiers get excited. More intermediation and engineering. We get inevitable excess. Policy tightens. This causes a financial crisis, which the central bank is forced to respond to - with the fear of deflation in mind - and rates fall further. The net effect is that nominal and real rates ratchet lower in a path-dependent fashion. And this leads to a monetary policy that is so lost we’ve had to create a new word to describe our bizarre destination: a world of financialization or more appropriately, hyper-financialization. It is the optimization of the economy around finance and asset prices - the fuel for the Occupy Wall Street manifesto.” “Now let’s look at the other half of this system: China’s mercantile model,” said the CIO. “We all vaguely know the story here - we all tried shorting it at one point or another. China discovered the Magic Money Tree. They used it to build a manufacturing empire and stopped the magic escaping from the capital account. This was MMT used in anger. They repressed the exchange rate to take export market share and accumulated FX reserves in the process. These were recycled into US Treasuries, supporting lower US interest rates. They repressed depositors with negative real returns on deposits to favor investment over consumption. The consumption share of GDP has remained depressed throughout, subjugated to investment exports and government spending. No wonder property became the savings vehicle of choice - and seemed to be an everlasting bubble. Free money allowed a massively accelerated pace of industrial development, especially after China joined the WTO in 2001.” “China’s rapid industrialization and hunger for global market share kept deflationary pressure on durable goods prices for thirty years, helping to keep consumer price inflation and interest rates lower in the West. And the beauty of the Magic Money Tree was that China could insulate its highly cyclical industry from any default cycle. It monetized bad debt and preserved unprotected, deflationary capacity. The stock of money ballooned. Banking assets are now around $52 trillion. They’ve grown by about $40 trillion since 2008. They’re now twice the size of the US banking system and China’s banks have added the equivalent of the US banking systems in just eight years. This is what hyper MMT looks like.” “The net result is that western monetary policy and China’s mercantile model fed off one another to give us this Alice in Wonderland ‘through-the-looking-glass’ transformation of massive monetary growth into a deflationary mechanism: The Refrigeration Mode. Both sides got what they wanted: China leapfrogging industrial development, and the US got low inflation in the great moderation. But it had side effects. A massive monetary overhang in China, hyper financialization in the US. These extremes are now biting back on the system through the political economy.” “The Deflationary D’s may still be with us (debt, demographics, disruption, digitization), but the system dynamic is becoming inflationary and there are some new supply side shocks that aren’t deflationary for a change. Both sides are in (re)flux. On the macro policy side, we are seeing powerful social reactions to the extremes produced by The Refrigeration Mode. These extremes are feeding into the political economy. Whether it’s the ‘Tax the Rich’ dress at the Met Gala, politicians and celebrities at climate change marches around the world, or bipartisan support for China containment, the challenge to the status quo is clear and present. The COVID crisis merely poured petrol on it.” “It means fiscal policy is back in the driver’s seat - just as central banks put an inflationary bias into their reaction functions. Future bailouts are coming via Main Street, as much as Wall Street. And when monetary and fiscal policy combine, policy becomes more directly inflationary in CPI terms, not simply in asset price terms.” “On the China side, the model is pivoting. Common prosperity in its ‘dual circulation strategy’ shifts the emphasis from a reliance on exports to a focus on the domestic consumer in regional markets. A digital currency will be presented as a haven of stability, while other economies appear to be debasing their own currencies. Deleveraging is a goal - so more defaults will be allowed. Profits will take precedence to export market share. So expect to see China continuing to export more goods priced at a premium, leaning against commodity price inflation. Taken together, all these changes transform The Refrigeration Mode into its reverse: A Heat Pump.” Tyler Durden Sun, 12/12/2021 - 22:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 12th, 2021

Casedemic: The Hideous Scandal Of The Irredeemably Flawed PCR Test

Casedemic: The Hideous Scandal Of The Irredeemably Flawed PCR Test Authored by Ian McNulty via The Brownstone Institute, Investigating the cause of a disease is like investigating the cause of a crime. Just as the detection of a suspect’s DNA at a crime scene doesn’t prove they committed the crime, so the detection of the DNA of a virus in a patient doesn’t prove it caused the disease. Consider the case of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) for example. It can cause serious diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cancer. A Japanese study in 2003 found that 43% of patients suffering from Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus (CAEBV) died within 5 months to 12 years of infection. Yet EBV is one of the most common viruses in humans and has been detected in 95% of the adult population. Most of those infected are either asymptomatic or show symptoms of glandular fever, which can have similar symptoms to ‘long Covid.’ If an advertising agency attempted to create demand for an EBV treatment with daily TV and radio ads representing positive EBV tests as ‘EBV Cases’ and deaths within 28 days as ‘EBV Deaths,’ they’d be prosecuted for fraud by false representation so quickly their feet wouldn’t touch the ground. How Viruses Are Detected Before the invention of PCR, the gold standard for detecting viruses was to grow them in a culture of living cells and count damaged cells using a microscope. The disadvantage of cell cultures is they need highly skilled technicians and can take weeks to complete. The advantage is they only count living viruses that multiply and damage cells. Dead virus fragments that do neither are automatically discounted. The invention of PCR in 1983 was a game changer. Instead of waiting for viruses to grow naturally, PCR rapidly multiplies tiny amounts of viral DNA exponentially in a series of heating and cooling cycles that can be automated and completed in less than an hour. PCR revolutionised molecular biology but its most notable application was in genetic fingerprinting, where its ability to magnify even the smallest traces of DNA became a major weapon in the fight against crime. But, like a powerful magnifying glass or zoom lens, if it’s powerful enough to find a needle in a haystack it’s powerful enough to make mountains out of molehills. Even the inventor of PCR, Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993, vehemently opposed using PCR to diagnose diseases: “PCR is a process that’s used to make a whole lot of something out of something. It allows you to take a very miniscule amount of anything and make it measurable and then talk about it like it’s important.“ PCR has certainly allowed public health authorities and the media around the world to talk about a new variant of Coronavirus like it’s important, but how important is it really? The Dose Makes The Poison Anything can be deadly in high enough doses, even oxygen and water. Since the time of Paracelsus in the 16th century, science has known there are no such things as poisons, only poisonous concentrations: “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes the poison.” (Paracelsus, dritte defensio, 1538.) This basic principle is expressed in the adage “dosis sola facit venenum“ – the dose alone makes the poison – and is the basis for all Public Health Standards which specify Maximum Permissible Doses (MPDs) for all known health hazards, from chemicals and radiation to bacteria, viruses and even noise. Public Health Standards, Science and Law Toxicology and Law are both highly specialised subjects with their own highly specialised language. Depending on the jurisdiction, Maximum Permissible Doses (MPDs) are also known as Health Based Exposure Limits (HBELs), Maximum Exposure Levels (MELs) and Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs). But, no matter how complicated and confusing the language, the basic principles are simple. If the dose alone makes the poison then it’s the dose that’s the biggest concern, not the poison. And if Public Health Standards in a liberal democracy are regulated by the rule of law then the law needs to be simple enough for a jury of reasonably intelligent lay people to understand. Although the harm caused by any toxin increases with the dose, the level of harm depends not only on the toxin, but the susceptibility of the individual and the way the toxin is delivered. Maximum Permissible Doses have to strike a balance between the benefit of increasing safety and the cost of doing it. There are many Political, Economic and Social factors to consider besides the Technology (PEST). Take the case of noise for example. The smallest whisper may be irritating and harmful to some people, while the loudest music may be nourishing and healthy for others. If the Maximum Permissible Dose was set at a level to protect the most sensitive from any risk of harm, life would be impossible for everyone else. Maximum Permissible Doses have to balance the costs and benefits of restricting exposure to the level of No Observable Effect (NOEL) at one end of the scale, and the level that would kill 50% of the population at the other (LD50). Bacteria and viruses are different from other toxins, but the principle is the same. Because they multiply and increase their dose with time, maximum permissible doses need to be based on the minimum dose likely to start an infection known as the Minimum Infective Dose (MID). Take the case of listeria monocytogenes for example. It’s the bacteria that causes listeriosis, a serious disease that can result in meningitis, sepsis and encephalitis. The case fatality rate is around 20%, making it ten times more deadly than Covid-19. Yet listeria is widespread in the environment and can be detected in raw meat and vegetables as well as many ready-to-eat foods, including cooked meat and seafood, dairy products, pre-prepared sandwiches and salads.  The minimum dose in food likely to cause an outbreak of listeriosis is around 1,000 live bacteria per gram. Allowing a suitable margin of safety, EU and US food standards set the maximum permissible dose of listeria in ready-to-eat products at 10% of the minimum infective dose , or 100 live bacteria per gram. If Maximum Permissible Doses were based solely on the detection of a bacteria or virus rather than the dose, the food industry would cease to exist. Protection of the Vulnerable The general rule of thumb for setting maximum permissible doses used to be 10% of the MID for bacteria and viruses, and 10% of the LD50 for other toxins, but this has come under increasing criticism in recent years: first with radiation, then Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), then smoke in general, then viruses. The idea that there is no safe dose of some toxins began to surface in the 1950s, when radioactive fallout from atom bomb tests and radiation from medical X-rays were linked with the the dramatic post-war rise in cancers and birth defects. Although this was rejected by the science at the time, it wasn’t entirely unfounded. There are many reasons why radiation may be different from other pollutants. Chemicals like carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen are recycled naturally by the environment, but there is no such thing as a Radiation Cycle. Radioactivity only disappears gradually with time, no matter how many times it’s recycled. Some radioactive substances remain dangerous for periods longer than human history. All life forms are powered by chemical processes, none by nuclear energy. The last natural nuclear reactor on earth burned out more than 1.5 billion years ago. The nearest one now is isolated from life on earth by 93 million miles of vacuum.  As evidence mounted to show there was no safe dose of radiation, maximum permissible doses were lowered drastically, but limited doses were still allowed. If public health standards were based purely on the detection of radiation rather than the dose, the Nuclear Industry would cease to exist. The susceptibility of any individual to any health risk depends on many factors. Most people can eat sesame seeds and survive bee stings without calling an ambulance, for others they can be fatal. In the US bees and wasps kill an average of more than 60 people each year, and food allergies cause an average of 30,000 hospitalisations and 150 deaths. If public health standards were based solely on the detection of a toxin rather than the dose, all bees would be exterminated and all food production closed down. Food allergies set the legal precedent. Where minuscule traces of something might be harmful for some people, the law demands that products carry a clear warning to allow the vulnerable to protect their own health. It doesn’t demand everyone else pay the price, no matter what the cost, by lowering maximum permissible doses to the point of no observable effect. Minimum Infectious Doses (MIDs) have already been established for many of the major respiratory and enteric viruses including strains of coronavirus. Even though SARS-CoV-2 is a new variant of coronavirus, the MID has already been estimated at around 100 particles. Whilst further work is needed, nevertheless it could serve as a working standard to measure Covid-19 infections against. Are PCR Numbers Scientific? As the philosopher of science, Karl Popper, observed: “non-reproducible single occurrences are of no significance to science.” To be reproducible, the results of one test should compare within a small margin of error with the results of other tests. To make this possible all measuring instruments are calibrated against international standards. If they aren’t, their measurements may appear to be significant, but they have no significance in science. PCR tests magnify the number of target DNA particles in a swab exponentially until they become visible. Like a powerful zoom lens, the greater the magnification needed to see something, the smaller it actually is. The magnification in PCR is measured by the number of cycles needed to make the DNA visible. Known as the Cycle Threshold (Ct) or Quantification Cycle (Cq) number, the higher the number of cycles the lower the amount of DNA in the sample. To convert Cq numbers into doses they have to be calibrated against the Cq numbers of standard doses. If they aren’t they can easily be blown out of proportion and appear more significant than they actually are. Take an advertisement for a car for example. With the right light, the right angle and the right magnification, a scale model can look like the real thing. We can only gauge the true size of things if we have something to measure them against. Just like a coin standing next to a toy car proves it’s not a real one, and a shoe next to a molehill shows it’s not a mountain, the Cq of a standard dose next to the Cq of a sample shows how big the dose really is. So it’s alarming to discover that there are no international standards for PCR tests and even more alarming to discover that results can vary up to a million fold, not just from country to country, but from test to test. Even though this is well-documented in the scientific literature it appears that the media, public health authorities and government regulators either haven’t noticed or don’t care: “It should be noted that currently there is no standard measure of viral load in clinical samples.” “An evaluation of eight clinically relevant viral targets in 23 different laboratories resulted in Cq ranges of more than 20, indicative of an apparently million-fold difference in viral load in the same sample.” “The evident lack of certified standards or even validated controls to allow for a correlation between RT-qPCR data and clinical meaning requires urgent attention from national standards and metrology organisations, preferably as a world-wide coordinated effort.” “Certainly the label “gold standard” is ill-advised, as not only are there numerous different assays, protocols, reagents, instruments and result analysis methods in use, but there are currently no certified quantification standards, RNA extraction and inhibition controls, or standardised reporting procedures.” Even the CDC itself admits PCR test results aren’t reproducible: “Because the nucleic acid target (the pathogen of interest), platform and format differ, Ct values from different RT-PCR tests cannot be compared.” For this reason PCR tests are licenced under emergency regulations for the detection of the type or ‘quality’ of a virus, not for the dose or ‘quantity’ of it. “As of August 5, 2021, all diagnostic RT-PCR tests that had received a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for SARS-CoV-2 testing were qualitative tests.” “The Ct value is interpreted as positive or negative but cannot be used to determine how much virus is present in an individual patient specimen.” Just because we can detect the ‘genetic fingerprint’ of a virus doesn’t prove it’s the cause of a disease: “Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms.” So, while there’s little doubt that using PCR to identify the genetic fingerprint of a Covid-19 virus is the gold standard in molecular science, there’s equally no doubt that using it as the gold standard to quantify Covid-19 ‘cases’ and ‘deaths’ is “ill-advised.” The idea that PCR may have been used to make a mountain out of a molehill by blowing a relatively ordinary disease outbreak out of all proportion is so shocking it’s literally unthinkable. But it wouldn’t be the first time it has happened. The Epidemic That Wasn’t In spring 2006 staff at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire began showing symptoms of respiratory infection with high fever and nonstop coughing that left them gasping for breath and lasted for weeks. Using the latest PCR techniques, Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s laboratories found 142 cases of pertussis or whooping cough, which causes pneumonia in vulnerable adults and can be deadly for infants. Medical procedures were cancelled, hospital beds were taken out of commission. Nearly 1,000 health care workers were furloughed, 1,445 were treated with antibiotics and 4,524 were vaccinated against whooping cough. Eight months later, when the state health department had completed the standard culture tests, not one single case of whooping cough could be confirmed. It seems Dartmouth-Hitchcock had suffered an outbreak of ordinary respiratory diseases no more serious than the common cold! The following January the New York Times ran the story under the headline “Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t.” “Pseudo-epidemics happen all the time,” said Dr. Trish Perl, past president of the Society of Epidemiologists of America. “It’s a problem; we know it’s a problem. My guess is that what happened at Dartmouth is going to become more common.” “PCR tests are quick and extremely sensitive, but their very sensitivity makes false positives likely” reported the New York Times, “and when hundreds or thousands of people are tested, as occurred at Dartmouth, false positives can make it seem like there is an epidemic.” “To say the episode was disruptive was an understatement,” said Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, deputy epidemiologist for the New Hampshire Department of Health, “I had a feeling at the time that this gave us a shadow of a hint of what it might be like during a pandemic flu epidemic.” Dr. Cathy A. Petti, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah, said the story had one clear lesson. “The big message is that every lab is vulnerable to having false positives. No single test result is absolute and that is even more important with a test result based on PCR.” The Swine Flu Panic of 2009 In the spring of 2009 a 5-year old boy living near an intensive pig farm in Mexico went down with an unknown disease that caused a high fever, sore throat and whole body ache. Several weeks later a lab in Canada tested a nasal swab from the boy and discovered a variant of the flu virus similar to the H1N1 Avian flu virus which they labelled H1N1/09, soon to be known as ‘Swine Flu.’ On 28 April 2009 a biotech company in Colorado announced they had developed the MChip, a version of the FluChip, which enabled PCR tests to distinguish the Swine Flu H1N1/09 virus from other flu types. “Since the FluChip assay can be conducted within a single day,” said InDevR’s leading developer and CEO, Prof Kathy Rowlen, “it could be employed in State Public Health Laboratories to greatly enhance influenza surveillance and our ability to track the virus.” Up until this point the top of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Pandemic Preparedness homepage had carried the statement: “An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.” Less than a week after the MChip announcement, the WHO removed the phrase “enormous numbers of deaths and illness,” to require only that “a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity” before a flu outbreak to be called a ‘pandemic.’ No sooner had the laboratories started PCR testing with MChip than they were finding H1N1/09 everywhere. By the beginning of June almost three-quarters of all influenza cases tested positive for Swine Flu. Mainstream news reported the rise in cases on a daily basis, comparing it with the H1N1 Avian Flu pandemic in 1918 which killed more than 50 million people. What they neglected to mention is that, although they have similar names, Avian Flu H1N1 is very different and much more deadly than Swine Flu H1N1/09 . Even though there had been less than 500 deaths up to this point compared to more than 20,000 deaths in a severe flu epidemic people flocked to health centres demanding to be tested, producing even more positive ‘cases,’  In mid-May senior representatives of all the major pharmaceutical companies met with WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, to discuss delivery of swine flu vaccines. Many contracts had already been signed. Germany had a contract with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to buy 50 million doses at a cost of half a billion Euros which came into effect automatically the moment a pandemic was declared. The UK bought 132 million doses – two for every person in the country. On 11 June 2009 WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, announced: “On the basis of expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met. The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.” On 16 July the Guardian reported that swine flu was spreading fast across much of the UK with 55,000 new cases the previous week in England alone. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, warned that in the worst case scenario 30% of the population could be infected and 65,000 killed. On 20 July a study in The Lancet co-authored by WHO and UK government adviser, Neil Ferguson, recommended closing schools and churches to slow the epidemic, limit stress on the NHS and “give more time for vaccine production.” On the same day WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan announced that “vaccine makers could produce 4.9 billion pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario.” Four days later an official Obama administration spokesman warned that “as many as several hundred thousand could die if a vaccine campaign and other measures aren’t successful.” The warnings had the desired effect. That week UK consultation rates for influenza-like illnesses (ILIs) were at their highest since the last severe flu epidemic in 1999/2000, even though death rates were at a 15-year low. On 29 September 2009 the Pandemrix vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was rushed through European Medicines Agency approval, swiftly followed by Baxter’s Celvapan the following week. On 19 November the WHO announced that 65 million doses of vaccine had been administered worldwide. As the year drew to a close it became increasingly obvious that swine flu was not all it was made out to be. The previous winter (2008/2009) the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had reported 36,700 excess deaths in England and Wales, the highest since the last severe flu outbreak of 1999/2000. Even though the winter of 2009 had been the coldest for 30 years, excess deaths were 30% lower than the previous winter. Whatever swine flu was, it wasn’t as deadly as other flu variants. On 26 January the following year, Wolfgang Wodarg, a German doctor and member of parliament, told the European Council in Strasbourg that the major global pharmaceutical corporations had organised a “campaign of panic” to sell vaccines, putting pressure on the WHO to declare what he called a “false pandemic” in “one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century.” “Millions of people worldwide were vaccinated for no good reason,” said Wodarg, boosting pharmaceutical company profits by more than $18 billion. Annual sales of Tamiflu alone had jumped 435 percent, to €2.2 billion. By April 2010, it was apparent that most of the vaccines were not needed. The US government had bought 229 million doses of which only 91 million doses were used. Of the surplus, some of it was stored in bulk, some of it was sent to developing countries and 71 million doses were destroyed. On 12 March 2010 SPIEGEL International published what it called “Reconstruction of a Mass Hysteria” that ended with a question: “These organizations have gambled away precious confidence. When the next pandemic arrives, who will believe their assessments?” But it didn’t take long to find an answer. In December the Independent published a story with the headline “Swine flu, the killer virus that actually saved lives.” The latest ONS report on excess winter deaths had shown that instead of the extra 65,000 swine flu deaths predicted by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, deaths in the winter of 2009 were actually 30% lower than the previous year. Instead of the low death rate proving that swine flu had been a fake pandemic, confidence in the organisations that had “gambled away precious confidence” was quickly restored by portraying swine flu as something that “actually saved lives” by driving out the common flu. PCR and Law Portraying something as something it isn’t is deception. Doing it for profit is fraud. Doing it by first gaining the trust of the victims is a confidence trick or a con.  In England, Wales and Northern Ireland fraud is covered by the Fraud Act 2006 and is divided into three classes – ‘fraud by false representation,’ ‘fraud by failing to disclose information’ and ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ A representation is false if the person making it knows it may be untrue or misleading. If they do it for amusement, it’s a trick or a hoax. If they do it to make a gain, or expose others to a risk of loss, it’s ‘fraud by false representation.’ If someone has a duty to disclose information and they don’t do it, it might be negligence or simple incompetence. If they do it to make a gain, or expose others to a risk of loss, it’s ‘fraud by failing to disclose information.’ If they occupy a position where they are expected not to act against the interests of others, and do it to make a gain or expose others to a risk of loss, it’s ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ In Dartmouth Hitchcock’s case there’s no doubt that using PCR to identify a common respiratory infection as whooping cough was ‘false representation,’ but it was an honest mistake, made with the best of intentions. If any gain was intended it was to protect others from risk of loss, not to expose them to it. There was no failure to disclose information and nobody abused their position. In the case of swine flu things aren’t so clear. By 2009 there were already plenty of warnings from Dartmouth Hitchcock and many other similar incidents that using PCR to detect the genetic fingerprint of a bacteria or virus may be misleading. Worse still, the potential of PCR to magnify things out of all proportion creates opportunities for all those who would gain by making mountains out of molehills and global pandemics out of relatively ordinary seasonal epidemics. The average journalist, lawyer, member of parliament or member of the public may be forgiven for not knowing about the dangers of PCR, but public health experts had no excuse. It may be argued that their job is to protect the public by erring on the side of caution. It may equally be argued that the massive amounts of money spent by global pharmaceutical corporations on marketing, public relations and lobbying creates enormous conflicts of interest, increasing the potential for suppression of information and abuse of position across all professions, from politics and journalism to education and public health. The defence is full disclosure of all information, particularly on the potential of PCR to identify the wrong culprit in an infection and blow it out of all proportion. The fact this was never done is suspicious. If there were any prosecutions for fraud they weren’t widely publicised, and if there were any questions raised or lessons to be learned about the role of PCR in creating the 2009 Swine Flu panic they were quickly forgotten. The First Rough Draft of History The first rough attempt to represent things in the outside world is journalism. But no representation can be 100% true. ‘Representation’ is literally a re-presentation of something that symbolises or ‘stands in for’ something else. Nothing can fully capture every aspect of a thing except the thing itself. So judging whether a representation is true or false depends on your point of view. It’s a matter of opinion, open to debate in other words. In a free and functioning democracy the first line of defence against false representation is a free and independent press. Where one news organisation may represent something as one thing, a competing organisation may represent it as something completely different. Competing representations are tried in the court of public opinion and evolve by a process of survival of the fittest. Whilst this may be true in theory, in practice it isn’t. Advertising proves people choose the most attractive representations, not the truest. News organisations are funded by financiers who put their own interests first, not the public’s. Whether the intention is to deliberately defraud the public or simply to sell newspapers by creating controversy, the potential for false representations is enormous. Trial By Media Despite the CDC’s own admission that PCR tests “may not indicate the presence of infectious virus,” its use to do exactly that in the case of Covid was accepted without question. Worse still, the measures taken against calling PCR into question have become progressively more draconian and underhanded since the very beginning. The mould was set with the announcement of the first UK death on Saturday 29 February 2020. Every newspaper in Britain carried the same front page story: “EMERGENCY laws to tackle coronavirus are being rushed in after the outbreak claimed its first British life yesterday,” screamed The Daily Mail. The first British victim contracted the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, not Britain, but it didn’t matter. With less than 20 cases in the UK and one ‘British’ death in Japan, the media had already decided it justified rushing in emergency laws. How did they know how dangerous it was? How were they able to predict the future? Had they forgotten the lessons of the 2009 Swine Flu panic? After almost 2 weeks of newspaper, TV and radio fearmongering, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it official at the Downing Street press conference on Thursday 12 March 2020 when he said: “We’ve all got to be clear. This is the worst public health crisis for a generation. Some people compare it to seasonal flu, alas that is not right. Owing to the lack of immunity this disease is more dangerous and it’s going to spread further.” None of that statement stood up to scrutiny, but none of the hand-picked journalists in the room had the right knowledge to ask the right questions. After 20 minutes blinding the press and public with science, Johnson opened the floor to questions. The first question, from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, set the mould by accepting the Prime Minister’s statement without question:  “This is, as you say, the worst public health crisis for a generation.” Any journalist who remembered the 2009 Swine Flu panic, might have asked how the PM knew, after just 10 deaths, that it was the worst public health crisis in a generation? He didn’t say it may be or could be but definitely ‘is.’ Did he have a crystal ball? Or was he following the same Imperial College modelling that had predicted 136,000 deaths from mad cow disease in 2002, 200 million deaths from bird flu in 2005 and 65,000 deaths from swine flu in 2009, all of which had proved completely wrong? As the BBC’s chief political correspondent Kuenssberg wouldn’t be expected to know any more about science, medicine, or PCR than any other member of the general public. So why did the BBC send their chief political correspondent to a press conference on public health and not their chief science or health correspondent? And why did the PM choose her to ask the first question? But the BBC wasn’t alone. Six other correspondents from leading news outlets asked questions that day; all were chief political correspondents, none were science or health correspondents. So none of the journalists allowed to ask questions had the necessary knowledge to subject the PM and his Chief Scientific and Medical Officers to any degree of real scrutiny  With the rise in the number of coronavirus ‘cases’ and ‘deaths’ reported on a daily basis and the Prime Minister’s solemn warning that “many more families, are going to lose loved ones before their time” filling the headlines the following morning, questioning what the numbers actually meant became more and more impossible. If the press and the public had forgotten the 2009 Swine flu panic, and those who helped calm it down had dropped their guard, those whose intention was to make a gain had learned their lesson. Subject the Corona Crisis of 2020 to close scrutiny and it begins to look more like a carefully orchestrated advertising campaign for vaccine manufacturers than a genuine pandemic. But that scrutiny has been made impossible for all kinds of reasons. ‘Follow the money’ was once the epitome of investigative journalism, popularised in the movie of the Watergate scandal, ‘All The President’s Men’ which followed the money all the way to the top. Now following the money is called ‘Conspiracy Theory’ and is a sackable offence in journalism, if not yet in other professions. The idea that there may be real conspiracies to make false representations with the intention of making a gain or exposing others to a risk of loss has now been driven so far beyond the pale it’s literally unthinkable.  If PCR has been tried by media in the court of public opinion, the case for the prosecution was demonised and dismissed at the outset and prohibited by emergency legislation soon after. The Last Best Hope The last line of defence against false representation in both science and the media is the law. It’s no coincidence that Science and Law use similar methods and similar language. The foundations of the Scientific Method were laid by the Head of the Judiciary, the Lord Chancellor of England Sir Francis Bacon, in the Novum Organum, published exactly 400 years ago last year. Both are based on ‘laws,’ both rely on hard physical evidence or ‘facts,’ both explain the facts in terms of ‘theories,’ both test conflicting facts and theories in ‘trials’ and both reach verdicts through juries of peers. In science the peers are selected by the editorial boards of scientific publications. In law they’re selected by judges. In both law and science trials revolve around ‘empirical’ evidence or ‘facts’ – hard physical evidence that can be verified through the act of experiencing with our five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. But facts by themselves are not enough. They only ‘make sense’ when they are selected and organised into some kind of theory, narrative or story through which they can be interpreted and explained. But there’s more than one way to skin a cat, more than one way to interpret the facts and more than one side to every story. To reach a verdict on which one is true, theories have to be weighed against each other rationally to judge the ratios of how closely each interpretation fits the facts. Trial By Law The ability of PCR to detect the genetic fingerprint of a virus is proven beyond reasonable doubt, but its ability to give a true representation of either the cause, severity or prevalence of a disease hasn’t. To say the jury is still out would be an understatement. The jury has yet to be convened and the case yet to be heard. Testing coronavirus particles in a swab is no different to testing apples in a bag. A bag of billiard balls rinsed in apple juice would test positive for apple DNA. Finding apple DNA in a bag doesn’t prove it contains real apples. If the dose makes the poison then it’s the quantity we need to test for, not just its genetic fingerprint. Grocers test the amount of apples in bags by weighing them on scales calibrated against standard weights. If the scales are properly calibrated the bag should weigh the same on any other set of scales. If it doesn’t, local trading standards officers test the grocer’s scales against standard weights and measures. If the scales fail the test the grocer can be prohibited from trading. If it turns out the grocer deliberately left the scales uncalibrated to make a gain they can be prosecuted for ‘false representation’ under section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006. Testing the quantity of viral DNA in a swab, not the quantity of live viruses, is like counting billiard balls rinsed in apple juice as real apples. Worse still, in the absence of standards to calibrate PCR tests against results, tests can show a “million-fold difference in viral load in the same sample.” If a grocer’s scales showed a million-fold difference in the load of apples in the same bag they’d be closed down in an instant. If it can be shown that the grocer knew the weight displayed on the scales may have been untrue or misleading, and they did it to make a gain or expose customers to a loss, it would be an open-and-shut case, done and dusted in minutes. If the law applies to the measurement of the quantity of apples in bags, why not to the measurement of coronavirus in clinical swabs? By the CDC’s own admission, in its instructions for use of PCR tests: Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms. From that statement alone it’s clear that PCR tests may give a false representation that is untrue or misleading. If those using PCR tests to represent the number of Covid cases and deaths know it may be misleading and do it to ‘make a gain,’ either monetary or just to advance their own careers, it’s ‘fraud by false representation.’ If they have a duty to disclose information and they don’t do it it’s ‘fraud by failing to disclose information.’ And if they occupy positions where they’re expected not to act against the interests of the public but do it anyway it’s ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ If the law won’t prosecute those in authority for fraud, how else can they be discouraged from doing it? As Dr. Trish Perl said after the Dartmouth Hitchcock incident, “Pseudo-epidemics happen all the time. It’s a problem; we know it’s a problem. My guess is that what happened at Dartmouth is going to become more common.”The potential of PCR to cause problems will only get worse until its validity to diagnose the cause and measure the prevalence of a disease is tested in law. The last word on PCR belongs to its inventor, Kary Mullis: “The measurement for this is not exact at all. It’s not as good as our measurement for things like apples.” Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 7th, 2021

In Memory Of JFK: The First US President To Be Labeled A Terrorist & Threat To National Security

In Memory Of JFK: The First US President To Be Labeled A Terrorist & Threat To National Security Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Saker blog, In April 1954, Kennedy stood up on the Senate floor to challenge the Eisenhower Administration’s support for the doomed French imperial war in Vietnam, foreseeing that this would not be a short-lived war. In July 1957, Kennedy once more took a strong stand against French colonialism, this time France’s bloody war against Algeria’s independence movement, which again found the Eisenhower Administration on the wrong side of history. Rising on the Senate floor, two days before America’s own Independence Day, Kennedy declared: “The most powerful single force in the world today is neither communism nor capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile – it is man’s eternal desire to be free and independent. The great enemy of that tremendous force of freedom is called, for want of a more precise term, imperialism – and today that means Soviet imperialism and, whether we like it or not, and though they are not to be equated, Western imperialism. Thus, the single most important test of American foreign policy today is how we meet the challenge of imperialism, what we do to further man’s desire to be free. On this test more than any other, this nation shall be critically judged by the uncommitted millions in Asia and Africa, and anxiously watched by the still hopeful lovers of freedom behind the Iron Curtain. If we fail to meet the challenge of either Soviet or Western imperialism, then no amount of foreign aid, no aggrandizement of armaments, no new pacts or doctrines or high-level conferences can prevent further setbacks to our course and to our security.” In September 1960, the annual United Nations General Assembly was held in New York. Fidel Castro and a fifty-member delegation were among the attendees and had made a splash in the headlines when he decided to stay at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem after the midtown Shelburne Hotel demanded a $20,000 security deposit. He made an even bigger splash in the headlines when he made a speech at this hotel, discussing the issue of equality in the United States while in Harlem, one of the poorest boroughs in the country. Kennedy would visit this very same hotel a short while later, and also made a speech: “Behind the fact of Castro coming to this hotel, [and] Khrushchev…there is another great traveler in the world, and that is the travel of a world revolution, a world in turmoil…We should be glad [that Castro and Khrushchev] came to the United States. We should not fear the twentieth century, for the worldwide revolution which we see all around us is part of the original American Revolution." What did Kennedy mean by this? The American Revolution was fought for freedom, freedom from the rule of monarchy and imperialism in favour of national sovereignty. What Kennedy was stating, was that this was the very oppression that the rest of the world wished to shake the yoke off, and that the United States had an opportunity to be a leader in the cause for the independence of all nations. On June 30th, 1960, marking the independence of the Republic of Congo from the colonial rule of Belgium, Patrice Lumumba, the first Congolese Prime Minister gave a speech that has become famous for its outspoken criticism of colonialism. Lumumba spoke of his people’s struggle against “the humiliating bondage that was forced upon us… [years that were] filled with tears, fire and blood,” and concluded vowing “We shall show the world what the black man can do when working in liberty, and we shall make the Congo the pride of Africa.” Shortly after, Lumumba also made clear, “We want no part of the Cold War… We want Africa to remain African with a policy of neutralism." As a result, Lumumba was labeled a communist for his refusal to be a Cold War satellite for the western sphere. Rather, Lumumba was part of the Pan-African movement that was led by Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah (who later Kennedy would also work with), which sought national sovereignty and an end to colonialism in Africa. Lumumba “would remain a grave danger,” Dulles said at an NSC meeting on September 21, 1960, “as long as he was not yet disposed of.” Three days later, Dulles made it clear that he wanted Lumumba permanently removed, cabling the CIA’s Leopoldville station, “We wish give [sic] every possible support in eliminating Lumumba from any possibility resuming governmental position.” Lumumba was assassinated on Jan. 17th, 1961, just three days before Kennedy’s inauguration, during the fog of the transition period between presidents, when the CIA is most free to tie its loose ends, confident that they will not be reprimanded by a new administration that wants to avoid scandal on its first days in office. Kennedy, who clearly meant to put a stop to the Murder Inc. that Dulles had created and was running, would declare to the world in his inaugural address on Jan. 20th, 1961, “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.” La Resistance Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, Kennedy was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA. The Bay of Pigs set-up would occur three months later. Prouty compares the Bay of Pigs incident to that of the Crusade for Peace; the Bay of Pigs being orchestrated by the CIA, and the Crusade for Peace sabotaged by the CIA, in both cases to ruin the U.S. president’s (Eisenhower and Kennedy) ability to form a peaceful dialogue with Khrushchev and decrease Cold War tensions. Both presidents’ took onus for the events respectively, despite the responsibility resting with the CIA. However, Eisenhower and Kennedy understood, if they did not take onus, it would be a public declaration that they did not have any control over their government agencies and military. Further, the Bay of Pigs operation was in fact meant to fail. It was meant to stir up a public outcry for a direct military invasion of Cuba. On public record is a meeting (or more aptly described as an intervention) with CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard Bissell, Joint Chiefs Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer, and Navy Chief Admiral Burke basically trying to strong-arm President Kennedy into approving a direct military attack on Cuba. Admiral Burke had already taken the liberty of positioning two battalions of Marines on Navy destroyers off the coast of Cuba “anticipating that U.S. forces might be ordered into Cuba to salvage a botched invasion.”[7] (This incident is what inspired the Frankenheimer movie “Seven Days in May.”) Kennedy stood his ground. “They were sure I’d give in to them,” Kennedy later told Special Assistant to the President Dave Powers. “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well they had me figured all wrong.” Incredibly, not only did the young president stand his ground against the Washington war hawks just three months into his presidential term, but he also launched the Cuba Study Group which found the CIA to be responsible for the fiasco, leading to the humiliating forced resignation of Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell and Charles Cabell. (For more on this refer to my report.) Unfortunately, it would not be that easy to dethrone Dulles, who continued to act as head of the CIA, and key members of the intelligence community such as Helms and Angleton regularly bypassed McCone (the new CIA Director) and briefed Dulles directly. But Kennedy was also serious about seeing it through all the way, and vowed to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” * * * There is another rather significant incident that had occurred just days after the Bay of Pigs, and which has largely been overshadowed by the Cuban fiasco in the United States. From April 21-26th, 1961, the Algiers putsch or Generals’ putsch, was a failed coup d’état intended to force President de Gaulle (1959-1969) not to abandon the colonial French Algeria. The organisers of the putsch were opposed to the secret negotiations that French Prime Minister Michel Debré had started with the anti-colonial National Liberation Front (FLN). On January 26th, 1961, just three months before the attempted coup d’état, Dulles sent a report to Kennedy on the French situation that seemed to be hinting that de Gaulle would no longer be around, “A pre-revolutionary atmosphere reigns in France… The Army and the Air Force are staunchly opposed to de Gaulle…At least 80 percent of the officers are violently against him. They haven’t forgotten that in 1958, he had given his word of honor that he would never abandon Algeria. He is now reneging on his promise, and they hate him for that. de Gaulle surely won’t last if he tries to let go of Algeria. Everything will probably be over for him by the end of the year—he will be either deposed or assassinated.” The attempted coup was led by Maurice Challe, whom de Gaulle had reason to conclude was working with the support of U.S. intelligence, and Élysée officials began spreading this word to the press, which reported the CIA as a “reactionary state-within-a-state” that operated outside of Kennedy’s control. Shortly before Challe’s resignation from the French military, he had served as NATO commander in chief and had developed close relations with a number of high-ranking U.S. officers stationed in the military alliance’s Fontainebleau headquarters. In August 1962 the OAS (Secret Army Organization) made an assassination attempt against de Gaulle, believing he had betrayed France by giving up Algeria to Algerian nationalists. This would be the most notorious assassination attempt on de Gaulle (who would remarkably survive over thirty assassination attempts while President of France) when a dozen OAS snipers opened fire on the president’s car, which managed to escape the ambush despite all four tires being shot out. After the failed coup d’état, de Gaulle launched a purge of his security forces and ousted General Paul Grossin, the chief of SDECE (the French secret service). Grossin was closely aligned with the CIA, and had told Frank Wisner over lunch that the return of de Gaulle to power was equivalent to the Communists taking over in Paris. In 1967, after a five-year enquête by the French Intelligence Bureau, it released its findings concerning the 1962 assassination attempt on de Gaulle. The report found that the 1962 assassination plot could be traced back to the NATO Brussels headquarters, and the remnants of the old Nazi intelligence apparatus. The report also found that Permindex had transferred $200,000 into an OAS bank account to finance the project. As a result of the de Gaulle exposé, Permindex was forced to shut down its public operations in Western Europe and relocated its headquarters from Bern, Switzerland to Johannesburg, South Africa, it also had/has a base in Montreal, Canada where its founder Maj. Gen. Louis M. Bloomfield (former OSS) proudly had his name amongst its board members until the damning de Gaulle report. The relevance of this to Kennedy will be discussed shortly. As a result of the SDECE’s ongoing investigation, de Gaulle made a vehement denunciation of the Anglo-American violation of the Atlantic Charter, followed by France’s withdrawal from the NATO military command in 1966. France would not return to NATO until April 2009 at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit. In addition to all of this, on Jan. 14th, 1963, de Gaulle declared at a press conference that he had vetoed British entry into the Common Market. This would be the first move towards France and West Germany’s formation of the European Monetary System, which excluded Great Britain, likely due to its imperialist tendencies and its infamous sin City of London. Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson telegrammed West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer directly, appealing to him to try to persuade de Gaulle to back track on the veto, stating “if anyone can affect Gen. de Gaulle’s decision, you are surely that person.” Little did Acheson know that Adenauer was just days away from signing the Franco-German Treaty of Jan 22nd, 1963 (also known as the ÉlyséeTreaty), which had enormous implications. Franco-German relations, which had long been dominated by centuries of rivalry, had now agreed that their fates were aligned. (This close relationship was continued to a climactic point in the late 1970s, with the formation of the European Monetary System, and France and West Germany’s willingness in 1977 to work with OPEC countries trading oil for nuclear technology, which was sabotaged by the U.S.-Britain alliance. The Élysée Treaty was a clear denunciation of the Anglo-American forceful overseeing that had overtaken Western Europe since the end of WWII. On June 28th, 1961, Kennedy wrote NSAM #55. This document changed the responsibility of defense during the Cold War from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and would have (if seen through) drastically changed the course of the war in Vietnam. It would also have effectively removed the CIA from Cold War military operations and limited the CIA to its sole lawful responsibility, the collecting and coordination of intelligence. By Oct 11th, 1963, NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy[14], was released and outlined a policy decision “to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963” and further stated that “It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel by 1965.” The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY ’65. It would be the final nail in the coffin. Treason in America “Treason doth never prosper; what is the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.” – Sir John Harrington By Germany supporting de Gaulle’s exposure of the international assassination ring, his adamant opposition to western imperialism and the role of NATO, and with a young Kennedy building his own resistance against the imperialist war of Vietnam, it was clear that the power elite were in big trouble. On November 22nd, 1963 President Kennedy was brutally murdered in the streets of Dallas, Texas in broad daylight. With the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, likely ordained by the CIA, on Nov. 2nd, 1963 and Kennedy just a few weeks later, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 on Nov. 26th, 1963 to begin the reversal of Kennedy’s policy under #263. And on March 17th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period. The Vietnam War would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy’s death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans, and 30 years if you count American covert action in Vietnam. Two days before Kennedy’s assassination, a hate-Kennedy handbill was circulated in Dallas accusing the president of treasonous activities including being a communist sympathizer. On November 29th, 1963 the Warren Commission was set up to investigate the murder of President Kennedy. The old Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana was a member of that Warren Commission. Boggs became increasingly disturbed by the lack of transparency and rigour exhibited by the Commission and became convinced that many of the documents used to incriminate Oswald were in fact forgeries. In 1965 Rep. Boggs told New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison that Oswald could not have been the one who killed Kennedy. It was Boggs who encouraged Garrison to begin the only law enforcement prosecution of the President’s murder to this day. Nixon was inaugurated as President of the United States on Jan 20th, 1969. Hale Boggs soon after called on Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell to have the courage to fire J. Edgar Hoover. It wasn’t long thereafter that the private airplane carrying Hale Boggs disappeared without a trace. Jim Garrison was the District Attorney of New Orleans from 1962 to 1973 and was the only one to bring forth a trial concerning the assassination of President Kennedy. In Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins”, J. Edgar Hoover comes up several times impeding or shutting down investigations into JFK’s murder, in particular concerning the evidence collected by the Dallas Police Department, such as the nitrate test Oswald was given and which exonerated him, proving that he never shot a rifle the day of Nov 22nd, 1963. However, for reasons only known to the government and its investigators this fact was kept secret for 10 months. It was finally revealed in the Warren Commission report, which inexplicably didn’t change their opinion that Oswald had shot Kennedy. Another particularly damning incident was concerning the Zapruder film that was in the possession of the FBI and which they had sent a “copy” to the Warren Commission for their investigation. This film was one of the leading pieces of evidence used to support the “magic bullet theory” and showcase the direction of the headshot coming from behind, thus verifying that Oswald’s location was adequate for such a shot. During Garrison’s trial on the Kennedy assassination (1967-1969) he subpoenaed the Zapruder film that for some peculiar reason had been locked up in some vault owned by Life magazine (the reader should note that Henry Luce the owner of Life magazine was in a very close relationship with the CIA). This was the first time in more than five years that the Zapruder film was made public. It turns out the FBI’s copy that was sent to the Warren Commission had two critical frames reversed to create a false impression that the rifle shot was from behind. When Garrison got a hold of the original film it was discovered that the head shot had actually come from the front. In fact, what the whole film showed was that the President had been shot from multiple angles meaning there was more than one gunman. When the FBI was questioned about how these two critical frames could have been reversed, they answered self-satisfactorily that it must have been a technical glitch… There is also the matter of the original autopsy papers being destroyed by the chief autopsy physician, James Humes, to which he even testified to during the Warren Commission, apparently nobody bothered to ask why… This would explain why the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), reported in a July 1998 staff report their concern for the number of shortcomings in the original autopsy, that “One of the many tragedies of the assassination of President Kennedy has been the incompleteness of the autopsy record and the suspicion caused by the shroud of secrecy that has surrounded the records that do exist.” [emphasis added] The staff report for the Assassinations Records Review Board contended that brain photographs in the Kennedy records are not of Kennedy’s brain and show much less damage than Kennedy sustained. There is a lot of spurious effort to try to ridicule anyone who challenges the Warren Commission’s official report as nothing but fringe conspiracy theory. And that we should not find it highly suspect that Allen Dulles, of all people, was a member and pretty much leader of said commission. The reader should keep in mind that much of this frothing opposition stems from the very agency that perpetrated crime after crime on the American people, as well as abroad. When has the CIA ever admitted guilt, unless caught red-handed? Even after the Church committee hearings, when the CIA was found guilty of planning out foreign assassinations, they claimed that they had failed in every single plot or that someone had beaten them to the punch, including in the case of Lumumba. The American people need to realise that the CIA is not a respectable agency; we are not dealing with honorable men. It is a rogue force that believes that the ends justify the means, that they are the hands of the king so to speak, above government and above law. Those at the top such as Allen Dulles were just as adamant as Churchill about protecting the interests of the power elite, or as Churchill termed it, the “High Cabal.” Interestingly, on Dec. 22nd, 1963, just one month after Kennedy’s assassination, Harry Truman published a scathing critique of the CIA in The Washington Post, even going so far as to state “There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position [as a] free and open society, and I feel that we need to correct it.” The timing of such a scathing quote cannot be stressed enough. Dulles, of course, told the public not to be distressed, that Truman was just in entering his twilight years. In addition, Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney at the time, who was charging Clay Shaw as a member of the conspiracy to kill Kennedy, besides uncovering his ties to David Ferrie who was found dead in his apartment days before he was scheduled to testify, also made a case that the New Orleans International Trade Mart (to which Clay Shaw was director), the U.S. subsidiary of Permindex, was linked to Kennedy’s murder. Col. Clay Shaw was an OSS officer during WWII, which provides a direct link to his knowing Allen Dulles. Garrison did a remarkable job with the odds he was up against, and for the number of witnesses that turned up dead before the trial… This Permindex link would not look so damning if we did not have the French intelligence SDECE report, but we do. And recall, in that report Permindex was caught transferring $200,000 directly to the bankroll of the OAS which attempted the 1962 assassination on de Gaulle. Thus, Permindex’s implication in an international assassination ring is not up for debate. In addition, the CIA was found heavily involved in these assassination attempts against de Gaulle, thus we should not simply dismiss the possibility that Permindex was indeed a CIA front for an international hit crew. In fact, among the strange and murderous characters who converged on Dallas in Nov. 1963 was a notorious French OAS commando named Jean Souetre, who was connected to the plots against President de Gaulle. Souetre was arrested in Dallas after the Kennedy assassination and expelled to Mexico, not even kept for questioning. What Does the Future Hold? After returning from Kennedy’s Nov. 24th funeral in Washington, de Gaulle and his information minister Alain Peyrefitte had a candid discussion that was recorded in Peyrefitte’s memoire “C’était de Gaulle,” the great General was quoted saying: “What happened to Kennedy is what nearly happened to me… His story is the same as mine. … It looks like a cowboy story, but it’s only an OAS [Secret Army Organization] story. The security forces were in cahoots with the extremists. …Security forces are all the same when they do this kind of dirty work. As soon as they succeed in wiping out the false assassin, they declare the justice system no longer need be concerned, that no further public action was needed now that the guilty perpetrator was dead. Better to assassinate an innocent man than to let a civil war break out. Better an injustice than disorder. America is in danger of upheavals. But you’ll see. All of them together will observe the law of silence. They will close ranks. They’ll do everything to stifle any scandal. They will throw Noah’s cloak over these shameful deeds. In order to not lose face in front of the whole world. In order to not risk unleashing riots in the United States. In order to preserve the union and to avoid a new civil war. In order to not ask themselves questions. They don’t want to know. They don’t want to find out. They won’t allow themselves to find out.” The American people would do well to remember that it was first John F. Kennedy, acting as the President to the United States, who was to be declared a terrorist and threat to his country’s national security. Thus is it not natural that those who continue to defend the legacy of Kennedy should be regarded today as threat, not truly to the nation’s security, but a threat to the very same grouping responsible for Kennedy’s death and whom today have now declared open war on the American people. This will be the greatest test the American people have ever been confronted with, and it will only be through an understanding of how the country came to where it is today that there can be sufficient clarity as to what the solutions are, which are not to be found in another civil war. To not fall for the trapping of further chaos and division, the American people will only be able to rise above this if they choose to ask those questions, if they choose to want to know, to want to find out the truth of things they dared not look at in the past for fear of what it would reveal. “Whenever the government of the United States shall break up, it will probably be in consequence of a false direction having been given to public opinion. This is the weak point of our defenses, and the part to which the enemies of the system will direct all their attacks. Opinion can be so perverted as to cause the false to seem true; the enemy, a friend, and the friend, an enemy; the best interests of the nation to appear insignificant, and the trifles of moment; in a word, the right the wrong, the wrong the right. In a country where opinion has sway, to seize upon it, is to seize upon power. As it is a rule of humanity that the upright and well-intentioned are comparatively passive, while the designing, dishonest, and selfish are the most untiring in their efforts, the danger of public opinion’s getting a false direction is four-fold, since few men think for themselves.” -James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) We must dare to be among the few who think for ourselves. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021