Advertisements



Regime Change

Regime Change Excerpted from a whitepaper by One River Asset Management's Chase Muller and Patrick Kazley titled: Regime Change Resilience - Rebooting Risk Mitigation with Structural Correlation. Regime Change After decades, you recognize patterns. The biggest winners and losers in each cycle tend to be younger. Unburdened by the past, open to change, they often lack fear. Older folks who remain standing are either lucky or attained some wisdom, acquired at great cost. Pain. The most honest of those live in the fear that they have gotten lucky, and it will run out. Having recognized the impossibility of knowing the future, and knowing each cycle contains some new surprise, they surround themselves with younger people, blending the strengths of young and old. Beginning in 1962 when the daily bond time series is available and going through today, the correlation between stocks and bonds is slightly negative (-0.1 correlation). The t-statistic, or level of reliability of that full sample observation, is highly statistically significant with a -7 t-stat, where a t-statistic of approximately +/- 2.5 or larger is typically considered statistically significant. The t-stat being much larger than that makes it very unlikely to be a spurious finding over the sample period. However, if you divide this timeframe into different periods, the apparent consistency and reliability of this observation changes drastically. From 1962-1981, when US interest rates went from historic norms to record highs, the correlation between bonds and equities inverts and is positive (+0.2 correlation). Thus, in Oct 1981 when interest rates reached their secular peak, if you had used a backward-looking risk model to estimate cross-asset correlations or build a risk mitigation portfolio, you would have assumed equities and bonds were positively correlated, and indeed the significance of that relationship would have been entirely supported through a statistical lens (+13 t-stat). Naturally, you might be tempted to look at these results and conclude the relationship between equities and fixed income is indeed reliable, as long as you control for the rising or falling rate environment. However, the relationship and changes to it are not as easily predicted by a single factor such as the general drift of interest rates over time. To illustrate this, from Oct 1981 – Oct 1998 when rates collapsed from highs, the relationship between stocks and bonds was also positive with a higher level of consistency (+0.2 correlation, with a +16 t-stat). Lastly, the 1998-present period resulted in a -0.4 correlation between stocks and bonds, with a highly significant -30 t-stat. What we have not explored here, but is also worth highlighting at least in passing, is the potentially undesirable conditional correlation that can accompany transitory relationships. Even an assumed relationship that holds on average over longer time frames can break down in extreme risk-off events and lead to deeper drawdowns and more short-term pain. March 2020 was a such a case of risk assets concurrently declining and transitory correlations breaking down when they were needed most. Using backward-looking returns to justify cross-asset correlation expectations might yield convincing statistics, but ultimately this approach has not proven to be a fully reliable method of sourcing correlation estimates essential for proper risk mitigation and diversification. Indeed, without properly matching a statistical observation with an intuitive linkage, you run the risk of relying on ephemeral relationships for stability. This raises a question: If forward-looking allocation models based on historical returns are only valid in a world of relatively static cross-asset relationships, how does an allocator find reliable sources of diversification in the face of regime changes? Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 13:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

End Banking As We Know It?

End Banking As We Know It? Authored by Kenneth Kalczuk via The American Institute for Economic Research, Wouldn’t it be strange if the government director of an industry wanted to end that industry? Like if the Secretary of Education wanted to close schools, or if the Secretary of Agriculture hated farming? The implications of President Biden’s recent nomination for the head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Saule Omarova, reach far beyond “stricter financial rules.” In a forthcoming article for the Vanderbilt Law Review, Omarova expresses her desire to “end banking as we know it” by replacing all private bank deposits with central bank accounts.  Omarova’s proposal, dubbed “FedAccounts,” would replace private deposits with central bank accounts as part of her larger plan to “democratize finance.” However, such a restructuring would result in greater authority in the hands of unelected officials and an overall loss of financial privacy with no guarantees of greater policy effectiveness.  Endless Restructuring and Reallocation On September 23rd, 2021, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Cornell Law Professor Saule Omarova as the next Comptroller of the Currency. As Comptroller, Omarova would head the Office of the OCC, which regulates and supervises all national banks. Omarova is an ardent critic of both the current banking system and cryptocurrencies. Her forthcoming article “The People’s Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy” pushes for “more equitable and inclusive modes of finance” through the issuance of a Central Bank Digital Currency and the creation of a National Investment Authority (a modern-day equivalent of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.) Yet, perhaps most jarring is Omarova’s advocacy for an “ultimate end-state,” where FedAccounts fully replace private bank accounts. The proposal comes as a part of Omarova’s plan to restructure the Fed’s entire balance sheet into “the People’s Ledger.” Combined with an expansion of the Fed’s liabilities with FedAccounts, the People’s Ledger involves a corresponding expansion of its assets to include new types of securities and loans. Simply put, the People’s Ledger is presented as Omarova’s plan to expand and restructure the Fed’s balance sheet to restore the public-private balance in the financial system. Under the People’s Ledger, Omarova stresses that access to financial services and resources would be democratized and the financial system would be in a better position to support productive economic activity. Attractive as this may seem, however, implementing the People’s Ledger would cause more harm than good.  Effective FedAccounts? Omarova embraces an expanded balance sheet and a more interventionist regime as crucial to Fed efficiency. Such enhancements, however, are not necessary to achieve more effective monetary policy. The Fed’s pre-2008 corridor system serves as an example of greater monetary effectiveness without such tradeoffs. Prior to 2008, the Fed managed interest rates and the money supply according to a corridor operating system. Whereas in the corridor operating system, the Fed primarily relied on open-market operations to achieve its interest rate target, under the current floor operating system, the Fed now relies on adjusting the interest rate it pays on reserves. As open market operations are rendered ineffective by the current floor system, the Fed can significantly expand its balance sheet without worrying about typical inflationary pressures. The corridor system thus represents the possibility for effective monetary policy to be conducted without a dramatic expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet (the likes of which Omarova would find favorable), by ensuring that open-market operations will have a substantial impact on the federal funds rate. It is the substantive track record of the corridor system that ultimately demonstrates an alternative to the People’s Ledger. The People’s Political Problems Omarova recognizes how her plan for the People’s Ledger could raise questions regarding the Fed’s political independence. She argues that the Fed’s supposed neutrality is merely a veil that hides the fact that “central bankers’ investment choices have immense distributional consequences. However, instead of attempting to limit or reduce the Fed’s reach, Omarova doubles down by insisting that public policy priorities (e.g., job creation, combating climate change, and reducing racial inequities) be incorporated into the Fed’s operations. Combined with the fundamental loss of privacy involved with the issuing of FedAccounts, Omarova’s plan for the People’s Ledger echoes the underlying distrust of the public (and religious reverence for experts), present in many proposals which claim to be based in “democracy” and “the public benefit.” Paradoxically, Omarova’s plan to “democratize” finance results in an overall loss of individual choice and financial autonomy for all of those who would prefer to remain unbanked or simply prefer the privacy offered to them under the current financial system. Should Omarova be confirmed, her position as the head of the OCC would not allow her to adjust the operations of the Fed and establish the People’s Ledger. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize just how drastic the implications of her nomination are. Neutering private banking and reforming the entire financial system to align with public policy priorities are not normally floated by would-be financial regulators. Such ideas, instead, would seem to be an unfortunate side effect of politicians and regulators embracing politically driven policy making, and the never-ending search for interventionist panaceas.   Omarova is right to point out the deficiencies in central banking. Nonetheless, ending traditional banking to fix central banking would be like closing schools to improve student retention. There are easier ways forward. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 14:45.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 11th, 2021

Anti-Interventionist vs Neocon: Rare Debate Sees Scott Horton Steamroll Iraq War Architect Bill Kristol

Anti-Interventionist vs Neocon: Rare Debate Sees Scott Horton Steamroll Iraq War Architect Bill Kristol Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via caitlinjohnstone.substack.com An important and long-overdue debate has occurred between Iraq-raping arch-neocon Bill Kristol and the tireless libertarian war critic Scott Horton on the subject of US interventionism, and you should definitely drop whatever you're doing and watch it immediately. The resolution up for debate was "A willingness to intervene, and to seek regime change, is key to an American foreign policy that benefits America," with Kristol obviously arguing in the affirmative and Horton in the negative. The introduction starts here. Kristol's opening argument starts here. Horton's opening argument begins here. Questions from the moderator (where things really heat up) starts here. Q&A from the audience (in my opinion is the best part) begins here. The winner of the debate will be obvious to anyone watching. Horton plowed through criticisms of the way US foreign policy is constantly "creating its own disasters it must then attempt to solve" from his encyclopedic knowledge of interventionist bloodbaths and their undeniable repercussions while Kristol appeared frequently flustered, passed on multiple rebuttals, and got called on blatantly false claims. Horton rattled off nations, dates and death tolls in rapid succession and repeatedly referenced Kristol's own role in imperialist bloodshed, while Kristol relied almost entirely on insubstantial assertions to defend his position that "we can be at once a republic and a liberal empire" and empty dismissal of Horton's points about the destructive nature of various US foreign interventions. In the end a deflated-looking Kristol gave closing remarks which amounted to little more than whining that Horton's position doesn't assume war hawks like himself are acting "in good faith", while Horton's closing statement just continued his blistering assault. By the end of it you almost feel bad for old Bill. The audience unsurprisingly sided overwhelmingly with Horton by a significantly greater margin at the end of the debate than the beginning. The only unanswered question when all was said and done was, how the hell did Kristol get it in his head that entering this debate was a good idea? One can only assume hubris. Hubris arising from a life in an elitist echo chamber where his warped views are seldom challenged, and continual marination in the kind of unearned validation that only Beltway swamp monsters ever receive. So watch and enjoy, folks. Participating in this kind of humiliating debate is not a mistake that any high-profile neocon is likely to repeat anytime soon. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/10/2021 - 22:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 10th, 2021

One Ring To Rule Us All: A Global Digital Fiat Currency

One Ring To Rule Us All: A Global Digital Fiat Currency Via SchiffGold.com, We’ve written extensively about the “war on cash.” In a nutshell, governments would love to do away with cash in order to better track and control their citizens. There have been numerous moves closer to a cashless society in recent years, from capping ATM withdrawals to doing away with large-denomination bills. Last year, China launched a digital yuan pilot program and the US has floated moving toward a digital dollar. We got a first-hand look at what happens when governments restrict access to cash when India plunged into a cash crisis after the country’s government enacted a policy of demonetization in November 2016. It’s bad enough that various countries are exploring ways to move toward cashlessness, but there’s an even worse scenario - a global digital currency. Economist Thorsten Polleit compares it to the “master ring” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings. The following article was originally published by the Mises Wire. 1. Human history can be viewed from many angles. One of them is to see it as a struggle for power and domination, as a struggle for freedom and against oppression, as a struggle of good against evil. That is how Karl Marx (1818–83) saw it, and Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) judged similarly. Mises wrote: The history of the West, from the age of the Greek Polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders. But unlike Marx, Mises recognized that human history does not follow predetermined laws of societal development but ultimately depends on ideas that drive human action. From Mises’s point of view, human history can be understood as a battle of good ideas against bad ideas. Ideas are good if the actions they recommend bring results that are beneficial for everyone and lead the actors to their desired goals; At the same time, good ideas are ethically justifiable, they apply to everyone, anytime and anywhere, and ensure that people who act upon them can survive. On the other hand, bad ideas lead to actions that do not benefit everyone, that do not cause all actors to achieve their goals and/or are unethical. Good ideas are, for example, people accepting “mine and yours”; or entering into exchange relationships with one another voluntarily. Bad ideas are coercion, deception, embezzlement, theft. Evil ideas are very bad ideas, ideas through which whoever puts them into practice is consciously harming others. Evil ideas are, for example, physical attacks, murder, tyranny. 2. With Lord of the Rings, J. J. R. Tolkien (1892–1973) wrote a literary monument about the epic battle between good and evil. His fantasy novel, published in 1954, was a worldwide success, not least because of the movie trilogy, released from 2001 to 2003. What is Lord of the Rings about? In the First Age, the deeply evil Sauron—the demon, the hideous horror, the necromancer—had rings of power made by the elven forges. Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them. In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie. But Sauron secretly forges an additional ring into which he pours all his darkness and cruelty, and this one ring, the master ring, rules all the other rings. When Sauron puts the master ring on his finger, he can read and control the minds of everyone wearing one of the other rings. The elves see through the dark plan and hide their three rings. The seven rings of the dwarves also fail to subjugate their bearers. But the nine rings of men proved to be effective: Sauron enslaved nine human kings, who were to serve him. Then, however, in the Third Age, in the battle before Mount Doom, Isildur, the eldest son of King Elendils, severed Sauron’s ring finger with a sword blow. Sauron is defeated and loses his physical form, but he survives. Now Isildur has the ring of power, and it takes possession of him. He does not destroy the master ring when he has the opportunity, and it costs him his life. When Isildur is killed, the ring sinks to the bottom of a river and remains there for twenty-five hundred years. Then the ring is found by Smeagol, who is captivated by its power. The ring remains with its finder for nearly five hundred years, hidden from the world. Over time, Sauron’s power grows again, and he wants the Ring of Power back. Then the ring is found, and for sixty years, it remains in the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, a friendly, well-meaning being who does not allow himself to be seduced by the power of the One Ring. Years later, the wizard Gandalf the Gray learns that Sauron’s rise has begun, and that the Ring of Power is held by Bilbo Baggins. Gandalf knows that there is only one way to defeat the ring and its evil: it must be destroyed where it was created, in Mordor. Bilbo Baggins’s nephew, Frodo Baggins, agrees to take the task upon himself. He and his companions—a total of four hobbits, two humans, a dwarf, and an elf—embark on the dangerous journey. They endure hardship, adversity, and battles against the dark forces, and in the end, they succeed at what seemed impossible: the destruction of the ring of power in the fires of Mount Doom. Good triumphs over evil. 3. The ring in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is not just a piece of forged gold. It embodies Sauron’s evil, corrupting everyone who lays hands or eyes on it, poisons their soul, and makes them willing helpers of evil. No one can wield the cruel power of the One Ring and use it for good; no human, no dwarf, no elf. Can an equivalent for Tolkien’s literary portrait of the evil ring be found in the here and now? Yes, I believe so, and in the following, I would like to offer you what I hope is a startling, but in any case, entertaining, interpretation. Tolkien’s Rings of Power embody evil ideas. The nineteen rings represent the idea that the ring bearers should have power over others and rule over them. And the One Ring, to which all other rings are subject, embodies an even darker idea, namely that the bearer of this master ring has power over all other ring bearers and those ruled by them; that he is the sole and absolute ruler of all. The nineteen rings symbolize the idea of establishing and maintaining a state (as we know it today), namely a state understood as a territorial, coercive monopoly with the ultimate power of decision-making over all conflicts. However, the One Ring of power stands for the particularly evil idea of creating a state of states, a world government, a world state; and the creation of a single world fiat currency controlled by the states would pave the way toward this outcome. 4. To explain this, let us begin with the state as we know it today. The state is the idea of the rule of one over the other. This is how the German economist, sociologist, and doctor Franz Oppenheimer (1864–1946) sees it: The state … is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group over the vanquished and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad…. This dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors. Joseph Stalin (1878–1953) defined the state quite similarly: The state is a machine in the hands of the ruling class to suppress the resistance of its class opponents. The modern state in the Western world no longer uses coercion and violence as obviously as many of its predecessors. But it, too, is, of course, built on coercion and violence, asserts itself through them, and most importantly, it divides society into a class of the rulers and a class of the ruled. How does the state manage to create and maintain such a two-class society of rulers and ruled? In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, nine men, all of them kings, wished to wield power, and so they became bearers of the rings, and because of that, they were inescapably bound to Sauron’s One Ring of power. This is quite similar to the idea of the state. To seize, maintain, and expand power, the state seduces its followers to do what is necessary, to resort to all sorts of techniques: propaganda, carrot and stick, fear, and even terror. The state lets the people know that it is good, indispensable, inevitable. Without it, the state whispers, a civilized coexistence of people would not be possible. Most people succumb to this kind of propaganda, and the state gets carte blanche to effectively infiltrate all economic and societal matters—kindergarten, school, university, transport, media, health, pensions, law, security, money and credit, the environment—and thereby gains power. The state rewards its followers with jobs, rewarding business contracts, and transfer payments. Those who resist will end up in prison or lose their livelihood or even their lives. The state spreads fear and terror to make people compliant—as people who are afraid are easy to control, especially if they have been led to believe that the state will protect them against any evil. Lately, the topics of climate change and coronavirus have been used for fear-mongering, primarily by the state, which is skillfully using them to increase its omnipotence: it destroys the economy and jobs, makes many people financially dependent on it, clamps down on civil and entrepreneurial freedoms. However, it is of the utmost importance for the state to win the battle of ideas and be the authority to say what are good ideas and what are bad ideas. Because it is ideas that determine people’s actions. The task of winning over the general public for the state traditionally falls to the so-called intellectuals—the people whose opinions are widely heard, such as teachers, doctors, university professors, researchers, actors, comedians, musicians, writers, journalists, and others. The state provides a critical number of them with income, influence, prestige, and status in a variety of ways—which most of them would not have been able to achieve without the state. In gratitude for this, the intellectuals spread the message that the state is good, indispensable, inevitable. Among the intellectuals, there tend to be quite a few who willingly submit to the rings of power, helping—consciously or unconsciously—to bring their fellow men and women under the spell of the rings or simply to walk over, subjugate, dominate them. Anyone who thinks that the state (as we know it today) is acceptable, a justifiable solution, as long as it does not exceed certain power limits, is seriously mistaken. Just as the One Ring of power tries to find its way back to its lord and master, an initially limited state inevitably strives towards its logical endpoint: absolute power. The state (as we know it today) is pushing for expansion both internally and externally. This is a well-known fact derived from the logic of human action. George Orwell put it succinctly: “The object of power is power.”  Or, as Hans-Hermann Hoppe nails it, “[E]very minimal government has the inherent tendency to become a maximal government.” Inwardly, the state is expanding through all sorts of interventions in economic and social life, through regulations, ordinances, laws, and taxes. Outwardly, the economically and militarily strongest state will seek to expand its sphere of influence. In the most primitive form, this happens through aggressive campaigns of conquest and war, in a more sophisticated form, by pursuing political ideological supremacy. In recent decades the latter has taken the form of democratic socialism. To put it casually, democratic socialism means allowing and doing what the majority wants. Under democratic socialism, private property is formally upheld, but it is declared that no one is the rightful owner of 100 percent of the income from their property. People no longer strive for freedom from being ruled but rather to participate in the rule. The result is not people pushing back the state, but rather coming to terms and cooperating with it. The practical consequence of democratic socialism is interventionism: the state intervenes in the economy and society on a case-by-case basis to gradually make socialist ideals a reality. All societies of the Western world have embraced democratic socialism, some with more authority than others, and all of them use interventionism. Seen in this light, all Western states are now acting in concert. What they also have in common is their disdain for competition, because competition sets undesirable limits to the state’s expansive nature. Therefore, larger states often form a cartel. Smaller, less powerful states are compelled to join—and if they refuse, they will suffer political and economic disadvantages. But the cartel of states is only an intermediate step. The logical endpoint that democratic socialism is striving for is the creation of a central authority, something like a world government, a world state. 5. In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the One Ring, the ring of power, embodies this very dark idea: to rule them all, to create a world state. To get closer to this goal, democracy (as we understand it today) is proving to be an ideal trailblazer, and that’s most likely the reason why it is praised to the skies by socialists. Sooner or later, a democracy will mutate into an oligarchy, as the German-Italian sociologist Robert Michels pointed out in 1911. According to Michels, parties emerge in democracies. These parties are organizations that need strict leadership, which is handed to the most power-hungry, ruthless people. They will represent the party elite. The party elite can break away from the will of the party members and pursue their own goals and agendas. For example, they can form coalitions or cartels with elites of other parties. As a result, there will be an oligarchization of democracy, in which the elected party elites or the cartel of the party elites will be the kings of the castle. It is not the voters who will call the tune but oligarchic elites that will rule over the voters. The oligarchization of democracy will not only afflict individual states but will also affect the international relations of democracies. Oligarchical elites from different countries will join together and strengthen each other, primarily by creating supranational institutions. Democratic socialism evolves into “political globalism”: the idea that people should not be allowed to shape their own destiny in a system of free markets but that it should be assigned and directed by a global central authority. The One Ring of power drives those who have already been seduced by the common rings to long for absolute power, to elevate themselves above the rest of humanity. Who comes to mind? Well, various politicians, high-level bureaucrats, court intellectuals, representatives of big banking, big business, Big Pharma and Big Tech and, of course, big media—together they are often called the “Davos elite” or the “establishment.” Whether it is about combating financial and economic crises, climate change, or viral diseases—the one ring of power ensures that supranational, state-orchestrated solutions are propagated; that centralization is placed above decentralization; that the state, not the free market, is empowered. Calls for the “new world order,” the “Great Transformation,” the “Great Reset” are the results of this poisonous mindset inspired by the one ring of power. National borders are called into question, property is relativized or declared dispensable, and even a merging of people’s physical, digital, and biological identities—transhumanism—is declared the goal of the self-empowered globalist establishment. But how can political globalism be promoted at a time when there are (still) social democratic nation-states that insist on their independence? And where people are separated by different languages, values, and religions? How do the political globalists get closer to their badly desired end of world domination, their world state? 6. Sauron is the undisputed tyrant and dictator in his realm of darkness. He operates something like a command economy, forcing his subjects to clear forests, build military equipment, and breed Orcs. There are neither markets nor money in Sauron’s sinister kingdom. Sauron takes whatever he wants; he has overcome exchange and money, so to speak. Today’s state is not quite that powerful, and it finds itself in economies characterized by property, division of labor, and monetary exchange. The state wants to control money—because this is one of the most effective ways to gain ultimate power. To this end, the modern state has already acquired the monopoly of money production; and it has replaced gold with its own fiat money. Over time, fiat money destroys the free market system and thus the free society. Ludwig von Mises saw this as early 1912. He wrote: It would be a mistake to assume that the modern organization of exchange is bound to continue to exist. It carries within itself the germ of its own destruction; the development of the fiduciary medium must necessarily lead to its breakdown. (6) Indeed, fiat money not only causes inflation, economic crises, and an unsocial redistribution of income and wealth. Above all, it is a growth elixir for the state, making it ever larger and more powerful at the expense of the freedom of its citizens and entrepreneurs. Against this backdrop, it should be quite understandable why the political globalists see creating a single world currency as an important step toward seizing absolute power. In Europe, what the political globalists want “on a large scale” has already been achieved “on a small scale”: merging many national currencies into one. In 1999, eleven European nation-states gave up their currencies and merged them into a single currency, the euro, which is produced by a supranational authority, the European Central Bank. The creation of the euro provides the blueprint by which the world’s major currencies can be converted into a single world currency. This is what the 1999 Canadian Nobel laureate in economics, Robert Mundell, recommends: Fixing the exchange rates between the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the British pound against each other and also fixing them against a new unit of account, the INTOR. And hocus pocus: here is the world fiat currency, controlled by a cartel of central banks or a world central bank. 7. Admittedly, creating a single world fiat currency seems to have little chance of being realized at first glance. But maybe at second glance. First of all, there is a good economic reason for having a single world currency: if all people do business with the same money, the productive power of money is optimized. From an economic standpoint, the optimal number of monies in the world is one. What is more, nation-states have the monopoly of money within their respective territory, and since they all adhere to democratic socialism, they also have an interest in ensuring that there is no currency competition—not even between different state fiat currencies. This makes them susceptible to the idea of reducing the pluralism of currencies. Furthermore, one should not misinterpret the so-called rivalry between the big states such as the US and China and between China and Europe, which is being discussed in the mainstream media on a regular basis. No doubt that there is a rivalry between the national rulers: they do not want to give up the power they have gained in their respective countries; they want to become even more powerful. But the rivalry between the oligarchic democracies of the West has already weakened significantly, and there are great incentives for the oligarchic party elites to work together across borders. In fact, it is the oligarchization of democracy in the Western world that allowed for the rapprochement with a socialist-communist regime: the state increasingly taking control of the economic and societal system. This development could be called “the Chinacization of the West.” The way the Western world has dealt with the coronavirus—the suspension, perhaps the termination of constitutional rights and freedoms—undoubtedly shows where the journey is headed: to the authoritarian state that is beyond the control of the people—as is the case in Communist China. The proper slogan for this might be “One System, Many Countries.” Is it too farfetched to assume that the Western world will make common cause with Communist China not only on health issues but also on the world currency issue? The democratic socialists in the West and the Chinese Communist Party have a great deal of common ground and common interest, I would think. It is certainly no coincidence that China has pushed hard for the Chinese renminbi to be included in the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights, and that the IMF already agreed in November 2015. 8. The issue of digital central bank money, something the world’s major central banks are working on, could be a catalyst in the creation of a single world currency. The issue of digital central bank money not only heralds the end of cash—the anonymous payment option for citizens and entrepreneurs. Once people start using digital central bank money, it will be easy for the central bank and the state to spy on people’s transactions. The state will not only know who pays what, when, where, and what for. It will also be in a position to determine who gets access to the deposits: who gets them and who doesn’t. China is blazing the trail with its “social credit system”: behavior conforming to the Communist regime is rewarded, behavior that does not is punished. Against this backdrop, digital central bank money would be particularly effective at stifling unwanted political opposition. Digital central bank money will not only replace cash, but it will also increasingly compete with money from commercial banks. Why should you keep your money with banks that are exposed to the risk of default when you can keep it safe with the central bank that never goes bankrupt? Once commercial bank deposits can be exchanged one to one for digital central bank money—and this is to be expected—the credit and monetary system is de facto fully nationalized. Because under these conditions, the central bank transfers its unlimited solvency to the commercial banking sector. This completely deprives the financial markets of their function of determining the cost of capital—and the state-planned economy becomes a reality. In fact, this is the type of command and control economy that emerged in National Socialist Germany in the 1930s. The state formally retained ownership of the means of production. But with commands, prohibitions, laws, taxes, and control, the state determines who is allowed to produce what, when, and under what conditions, and who is allowed to consume what, when, and how much. In such a command and control economy, it is quite conceivable that the form of money production will change—away from money creation through lending toward the issue of helicopter money. The central bank determines who gets how much new money and when. The amount of money in people’s bank accounts no longer reflects their economic success. From now on, it is the result of arbitrary political decisions by the central banks, i.e., the rulers. The prospect of being supplied with new money by the state and its central bank—that is, receiving an unconditional basic income—will presumably drive hosts of people into the arms of the state and bring any resistance to its machinations to a shrieking halt. 9. Will the people, the general public, really subscribe to all of this? Well, government-sponsored economists, in particular, will do their very best to inform us about the benefits of having a globally coordinated monetary policy; that stabilizing the exchange rates between national currencies is beneficial; that if a supranational controlled currency—with the name INTOR or GLOBAL—is created, we will achieve the best of all worlds. And as the issuance of digital central bank money has shut down the last remnants of a free capital market, the merging of different national currencies into one will be relatively easy. The single world currency creature that the political globalists want to create will be a fiat money, certainly not a commodity money. Such a single world fiat currency will not only suffer from all the economic and ethical defects which weigh on national fiat currencies. It will also exacerbate and exponentiate the damages a national fiat currency causes. The door to a high inflation policy would be pushed wide open—as nobody could escape the inflationary single world fiat currency. The states are the main beneficiaries: they can get money from the world central bank at any time, provided they adhere to the rules set out by the world central bank and the special interest groups that govern it. This creates the incentive for national states to relinquish sovereignty rights and to submit to supranational rules—for example, in taxation and financial market regulation. It is therefore the incentive resulting from a single world currency that paves the way toward a world government and a world state. In this context, please note what happened in the euro area: the starting point was not the creation of the EU superstate, which was to be followed by the introduction of the euro. It was exactly the opposite: the euro was introduced to overcome national sovereignty and ultimately establish the United Nations of Europe. One has good reason to fear that the idea of issuing a world fiat currency—which the master ring relentlessly pushes for—would bring totalitarianism—that would most likely dwarf the regimes established by Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and other criminals. 10. In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, evil is eventually defeated. The story has a happy ending. Will it be that easy in our world? The ideas of having a state (as we know it today), of tolerating it, of cooperating with it, of giving the state total control over our money, of accepting fiat money, are deeply rooted in people’s minds as good ideas. Where are the forces supposed to come from that will enlighten people about the evil that the state (as we know it today) brings to humanity? Particularly when in kindergartens, schools, and universities—which are all in the hands of the state—the teachings of collectivism-socialism-Marxism are systematically drummed into people’s (especially impressionable children’s) heads, when the teachings of freedom, free market and free society, and capitalism are hardly or not at all imparted to the younger generation? Who will explain to people the uncomfortable truth that even a minimal state will become a maximal state? That states’ monopolies over money will lead to a single world currency and thus world tyranny? It does not take much to become bleak when it comes to the future of the free economic and social order. However, it would be rather shortsighted to get pessimistic. Those who believe in Jesus Christ can trust that God will not fail them. If we cannot think of a solution to the problems at hand, the believers can trust God. Because “[e]ven in the darkest night, there is a bright light shining somewhere.” Or: please remember the Enlightenment movement in the eighteenth century. At that time, the Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant explained the “unheard of” to the people, namely that there is such a thing as “autonomy of reason.” It means that you and I have the indisputable right to lead our lives independently; that we should handle it according to self-imposed rules, rules that we determine ourselves based on good reason. People back then understood Kant’s message. Why should such an intellectual revolution—triggered by the writings and words of a free thinker—not be able to repeat itself in the future? Or: the fact that people have not yet learned from bad experience does not mean that they won’t eventually learn from it. When it comes to thinking about changes for the better, it is important to note that it is not the mass of people that matters, but the individual. Applied to the conditions in today’s world, among those thinkers who can defeat evil and help the good make a breakthrough are Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe—and all those following their teachings and fearlessly disseminating them—as scholars or as fans. They are—in terms of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings—the companions. They give us the intellectual firepower and the courage to fight and defeat evil. I don’t know if Ludwig von Mises knew Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. But he was certainly well aware of the struggle between good and evil that continues throughout human history. In fact, the knowledge of this struggle shaped Mises’s maxim of life, which he took from the verse of the Roman poet Virgil (70 to 19 BC): “Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito,” which means “Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.” I want to close my interpretation with a quote from Samwise Gamgee, the loyal friend and companion of Frodo Baggins. In a really hopeless situation, Sam says to Frodo: “There is something good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.” So if we want to fight for the good in this world, we know what we have to do: we have to fight for property and freedom and against the darkness that the state (as we know it today) wishes to bring upon us, especially with its fiat money. In fact, we must fight steadfastly for a society of property and freedom! Tyler Durden Sat, 10/09/2021 - 22:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 9th, 2021

Gold Outlook: The Inflation Chasm Between Europe And The US

With inflation more than two times lower in Europe than in the US, the divergence between the economic zones deepens day by day. How might it impact gold? Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more QE Infinity While I’ve warned on several occasions that the Fed and the ECB are worlds apart, the latter […] With inflation more than two times lower in Europe than in the US, the divergence between the economic zones deepens day by day. How might it impact gold? if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more QE Infinity While I’ve warned on several occasions that the Fed and the ECB are worlds apart, the latter now wants to provide more QE once it concludes QE. To explain, with the ECB’s PEPP program set to expire at the end of March 2022, the central bank is increasingly worried about a bond market sell-off. And with sluggish Eurozone growth, exorbitant sovereign debt and a lack of fiscal impulse increasing the ECB’s anxiety, officials are studying “alternatives” to suppress interest rates in the Eurozone’s most debt-ridden countries. Please see below: Source: Bloomberg For context, I’ve been warning for months that the ECB would disappoint euro bulls. I wrote on Apr. 27: Recent whispers of the ECB tapering its bond-buying program are extremely premature. With the European economy still drastically underperforming the U.S., it’s actually more likely that the ECB increases the pace of its bond-buying program. Case in point: while the EUR/USD ignores the reality, last week’s PEPP purchases (€22.2 billion) by the ECB were the highest since June 2020. Moreover, since its March meeting, the ECB has increased its average daily PEPP purchases per week from €2.90 billion to €3.60 billion. To that point, with reality in fashion once again, the EUR/USD closed at a new 2021 low on Oct. 6 and sunk to its lowest level since July 2020. For context, the EUR/USD accounts for nearly 58% of the movement of the USD Index, and the performance of the currency pair is material. Please see below: Furthermore, with the Fed closing in on a taper announcement and the ECB searching for new ways to extend QE, the divergence is profoundly bullish for the U.S. dollar. To explain, rising Eurozone inflation (which pales in comparison to the U.S.) underwrote misguided optimism for a hawkish shift. However, ECB President Christine Lagarde reiterated her dovish stance on Oct. 5, saying that “we should not overreact to supply shortages or rising energy prices, as our monetary policy cannot directly affect those phenomena.” The Inflation Divergence Is Profound Moreover, while the Eurozone headline Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) increased by 3.4% year-over-year (YoY) in September (released on Oct. 1), the U.S. headline HICP surged by 6.77% in its latest print (released on Aug. 18). Even more revealing, if you exclude the inflationary impacts of food and energy prices, the Eurozone core HICP only increased by 1.9% YoY in September. Please see below: Source: Eurostat In stark contrast, the U.S. core Consumer Price Index (CPI) – which also excludes the inflationary impacts of food and energy prices and the latest release is more current than the U.S. HICP – increased by 4% YoY in August (released on Sep. 14). Please see below: In addition, while the Eurozone headline HICP at 3.4% YoY is still higher than the ECB’s 2% annual inflation target, it’s important to keep things in perspective. For example, since Lagarde has been leading the ECB, the Eurozone headline and core HICP have trended 0.8% and 1.7% below her annual targets. What’s more, when indexed from the beginning of 2012, Eurozone headline HICP is still 8% below the ECB’s 2% annual inflation trend. Please see below: Source: Frederik Ducrozet To explain, the red and blue lines above track the index levels of the Eurozone headline and core HICP, while the gray line above tracks the index level assuming the ECB has been meeting its 2% annual inflation target since the beginning of 2012. If you analyze the material gap on the right side of the chart, you can see that the ECB is far from achieving its objectives. Likewise, if we zoom in on the roughly two-year chart, both the Eurozone headline and core HICP are still tracking materially below the ECB’s annual inflation targets. Please see below: Source: Frederik Ducrozet Cyclical Slowdown Ahead? Furthermore, while the ECB studies “alternatives” to prevent interest rates from spiking in high-debt countries like Greece, Italy and Portugal, Germany – Europe’s largest economy – has suffered a significant economic setback. To explain, Germany is a manufacturing-heavy economy and exports are an important component of German GDP. However, with German factory orders plunging by 7.7% on Oct. 6 – with foreign demand down by 9.5% and domestic demand down by 5.2% – it was the sharpest month-over-month (MoM) decline since April 2020. For context, the consensus estimate was for a 2.1% decline. Please see below: Piecing it all together, with interest rate anxiety merging with a cyclical slowdown in Europe, Danske Bank expects lower-for-longer ECB policy to contribute to a lower-for-longer EUR/USD. The Danish bank’s strategists told clients: “There has been no shortage of calls for EUR/USD to 1.30, of pieces written on a regime shift having happened in fiscal policy, oversubscription to social bonds and much more. However, narratives change…. Stagflation, rapid cyclical slowdown, rising interest rates and a correction in valuations may prove to be a very negative capital shock to the euro area and its asset prices. We target 1.13 in spot EUR/USD in the next year but if stagflation, cyclical slowdown and rising rates become dominant themes, then there seem to be clear downside to such estimate.” Adding to the bearish euro thesis, with U.S. nonfarm payrolls scheduled for release on Oct. 8, a strong print could usher the EUR/USD even lower. For example, ADP’s private payrolls came in at 568,000 vs. 428,000 expected on Oct. 6. And though ADP’s data is an extremely poor predictor of U.S. nonfarm payrolls, Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, provided the following context: “The labor market recovery continues to make progress despite a marked slowdown from the 748,000 job pace in the second quarter. Leisure and hospitality remains one of the biggest beneficiaries to the recovery, yet hiring is still heavily impacted by the trajectory of the pandemic, especially for small firms. Current bottlenecks in hiring should fade as the health conditions tied to the COVID-19 variant continue to improve, setting the stage for solid job gains in the coming months.” And expecting those “solid job gains” to materialize sooner rather than later, J.P. Morgan strategists told clients that “we are looking for a 575,000 gain in jobs [on Oct. 8]. The driver for an above-consensus forecast is the expected rebound in the leisure and hospitality sectors.” For context, the consensus estimate is for 500,000 jobs added. The bottom line? While the EUR/USD is finally starting to reflect fundamental reality, more downside should materialize in the coming months. With the Fed accelerating its hawkish rhetoric (and Chairman Jerome Powell’s shift the most noteworthy), the ECB is headed in the opposite direction. And while I’ve been warning for months that the Eurozone’s economic recovery is much more fragile than the U.S.’, the seeds are now sown for a profound divergence in central bank policy. Moreover, while U.S. nonfarm payrolls may or may not accelerate the timeline on Oct. 8, it’s important to remember that the medium-term implications remain intact: the Fed should taper at a much faster pace than the ECB and the liquidity drain should pressure the FED/ECB ratio and the EUR/USD in the coming months. More importantly, though, with the EUR/USD’s pain the USD Index’s gain, the latter’s strong negative correlation with gold, silver and mining stocks should result in further downside for the PMs over the medium term. In conclusion, the PMs were mixed once again on Oct. 6, though silver, was the worst performer of the bunch. Moreover, with the USD Index recapturing 94, and the front-end of the U.S. yield curve rallying as well, a recovering U.S. labor market should add more upward momentum to the PMs’ fundamental villains. As a result, the precious metals’ current consolidations will likely give way to sharp drawdowns in the coming months. Thank you for reading our free analysis today. Please note that the above is just a small fraction of today’s all-encompassing Gold & Silver Trading Alert. The latter includes multiple premium details such as the targets for gold and silver that could be reached in the next few weeks. If you’d like to read those premium details, we have good news for you. As soon as you sign up for our free gold newsletter, you’ll get a free 7-day no-obligation trial access to our premium Gold & Silver Trading Alerts. It’s really free – sign up today. Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA Founder, Editor-in-chief Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care All essays, research and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and Sunshine Profits' associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses are based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are deemed to be accurate, Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Radomski is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Przemyslaw Radomski's, CFA reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA, Sunshine Profits' employees and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice. Updated on Oct 7, 2021, 12:16 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 7th, 2021

David Stockman On The Banking Ponzi Scheme That"s Savaging Depositors

David Stockman On The Banking Ponzi Scheme That's Savaging Depositors Authored by David Stockman via InternationalMan.com, The toxic effects of the Fed’s relentless interest rate repression are many, but among the worst has been the absolute savaging of bank depositors. Interest rates on 12-month CDs (under $100,000) dropped below the inflation rate in October 2009 and have been pinned there ever since. There is no other word for this than “expropriation” — an unconstitutional taking of property from tens of millions of households that needed to keep their funds liquid and didn’t wish to roll the dice in the junk bond market or stocks. Worse still, the resulting vast transfer of income from depositors to banks has resulted in an egregious, artificial ballooning of bank profits and stock prices. For instance, the combined market cap of the top six US banking institution — JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs — has risen from $200 billion at the bottom of the financial crisis during the winter of 2008-2009, where it reflected their true value absent government bailouts, to $1.5 trillion recently. That 7.5X gain, which was 100% orchestrated by the Fed, is an unspeakable gift to the wealthy who own most of the stocks and especially to top bank executives who have cashed-in on vastly appreciated options. Needless to say, this massive bubble in banks and other financial stocks is unsustainable. When the Fed is finally forced to shut down its printing presses, the bank stocks will be among the first to dive into the abyss. While this might represent condign justice from a policy and equitable point of view, the extent of the harm to everyday Americans cannot be gainsaid. That’s because Wall Street is going for one more bite at the apple, claiming that the currently accelerating rate of inflation is good for bank stocks. Consensus stock price forecasts for JPMorgan are up 20% by 2023 and for Goldman Sachs by 70%. Needless to say, this is just another 11th hour lure from big money speculators looking to unload vastly overvalued stocks on unwary retail investors. Accelerating inflation supposedly portends higher growth and loan demand, but that’s a complete humbug because what we actually see in the market is stagflation. And that will cap loan demand even as it squeezes net interest margins, causing bank earnings to fall big time. The impending demise of bank stocks is implicit in the manner in which the $1.5 trillion scam currently reflected in the bloated market cap of the Big Six institutions came about. The Fed dominates especially the front-end of the yield curve and will bring no interference from market forces — so the screaming injustice depicted below is its deliberate handiwork. On average, the after-inflation yield during the 11-year period was -1.40%. Inflation-Adjusted Net Interest Margin of Banks Versus Real Returns On One-Year CDs, 2009-2021 Upwards of one-fifth of the real wealth of depositors has been seized by Fed-enabled bankers during the last decade alone. We doubt whether a more perverse reverse Robinhood redistribution could be imagined. The Fed policy has literally turned everyday depositors (black bars) into the indentured financial serfs of the banking system (red bars). Cumulative Change in CD Rates, Total Bank Assets and Bank Net Interest Margin, 2009–2021 The chart above is indexed to Q4 2009 levels and shows that over the last 11-year period: CD yields fell by 75%; Bank net interest margins dropped by 19%; Total Bank assets soared by 79%. Needless to say, the above combination did wonders for bank profitability. On the one hand, the Fed’s money-pumping fostered an eruption of debt and other securities issuance. The aggregate balance sheets of the nation’s banks, therefore, expanded from $11.8 trillion to $21.1 trillion of total assets during the period. Even with lower interest rates and yields on these assets, total bank interest income rose from $545 billion in 2009 to $576 billion during the last twelve months period ending in March 2021. On the other hand, the rates banks paid depositors plunged by 50-75% depending upon deposit type and size. In a word, the nation’s bankers not only emerged unscathed from the Great Financial crisis owing to the Washington and Fed bailouts, but during the following decade surely believed they had died and gone to bankers’ heaven. For essentially doing nothing other than scooping up their share of the tsunami of corporate and government debt and collecting nearly cost-free deposits, the net margin of the banking system rose by $122 billion per annum or 30%. The chart below shows this ill-gotten profit gain on a quarterly basis. Eruption of Bank Net Interest Margin, 2009–2021 Not in a million years would this have happened under a regime of sound money and honest free market pricing in the money and capital markets. *  *  * The economic trajectory is troubling. Unfortunately, there’s little any individual can practically do to change the course of these trends in motion. The best you can and should do is to stay informed so that you can protect yourself in the best way possible, and even profit from the situation. That’s precisely why bestselling author Doug Casey and his colleagues just released an urgent new PDF report that explains what could come next and what you can do about it. Click here to download it now. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 13:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 4th, 2021

Morgan Stanley: Tapering Is Tightening... And Dip Buying Is Starting To Fail

Morgan Stanley: Tapering Is Tightening... And Dip Buying Is Starting To Fail By Michael Wilson, Morgan Stanley's chief US equity strategist Our US equity strategy process has several key components. Most importantly, we focus on the fundamentals of growth and valuation to determine whether the overall market is attractive and which sectors and styles look the best. The rate of change in growth is more important than the absolute level, and we use a market-based equity risk premium framework that works well as long as you apply the right regime when using it. In that regard, we’re avid students of market cycles and believe that historical analogies can be helpful. For example, the mid-cycle transition narrative that has worked so well since March came directly from our study of historical economic and market cycles. The final component we spend a lot of time studying is price, i.e., technical analysis. Markets aren’t always efficient, but we believe that they are often very good leading indicators for fundamentals – the ultimate driver of value. This is especially true if one focuses on sector and style leadership and relative strength of individual securities. In short, we find these internals to be much more useful than simply looking at the major averages. This year, we think that the process has lived up to its promise as the price action has lined up nicely with the fundamental backdrop. More specifically, cyclicals dominated growth stocks in the first quarter during the most accelerative phase of the early-cycle recovery. Large-cap quality leadership since March is signalling what we believe is about to happen – decelerating growth and tightening financial conditions. The question for many investors now is whether the price action has already discounted these fundamental outcomes. The short answer, in our view, is no. Equity markets sold off sharply two Mondays ago on concerns about an Evergrande bankruptcy. While our house view is that it won’t lead to major financial spillover, it will weigh on China’s growth. This means that the growth deceleration we (and the markets) were already expecting will likely be worse and is probably not fully priced in. The other reason why equity markets were soft a few weeks ago had to do with concerns about the Fed articulating its plans to taper asset purchases. The Fed did not disappoint, as it essentially told us to expect the taper to begin this year. The surprise was the speed with which it expects to be done tapering – by mid-2022. This is about a quarter sooner than the market had been anticipating and increases the probability of a rate hike in 2H22, a clearly hawkish shift. After the Fed meeting on Wednesday, real 10-year yields were up 12bp in two days and are now up 31bp in just eight weeks. In addition, the US dollar was stronger. Both weighed heavily on equity markets. In other words, tapering is tightening for stocks even if it isn’t for the economy – the more important consideration for the Fed. In short, higher real rates should mean lower equity prices. Secondarily, they may also mean value over growth even as the overall equity market goes lower. This makes for a doubly difficult investment environment given how most investors are positioned. Finally, the most powerful offset to a material correction in the S&P 500 this year has been the extremely resilient buy-the-dip mentality among retail investors, a strategy that is now being challenged. After the Evergrande dip and rally, stocks have probed lower and taken out the prior lows, making this the first time that buying the dip hasn’t worked, simultaneously violating important technical support. For the past month, our strategy has been to favor a barbell of defensive quality sectors like healthcare and staples, together with financials. The defensive stocks should hold up better as earnings revisions start to come under pressure from decelerating growth and higher costs, while financials can benefit from the higher interest rate environment. On the other side of the ledger are consumer discretionary stocks, which remain especially vulnerable to a payback in demand from last year’s over-consumption. Within that bucket we favor services over goods, where we think there remains some pent-up demand. The risk to earnings may also be higher than average for some tech stocks levered to the work-from-home dynamic that is now fading. Within the sector, we are most concerned about semiconductors and neutral overall. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/03/2021 - 18:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 3rd, 2021

Another Tempestuous Balkan Pot Is Boiling

Another Tempestuous Balkan Pot Is Boiling Authored by Stephen Karganovic via The Strategic Culture Foundation, As relations between major geopolitical players steadily deteriorate the Balkans are acquiring increasing importance for NATO powers for exactly the same reasons that they were essential to Nazi Germany in the early forties... As elections approach, the political atmosphere in the Republika Srpska, Russia’s tiny Balkan ally, is heating up. For at least the last ten years, color revolution turbulence has been the normal accompaniment of every electoral cycle there. It began initially in 2014 as the Serb autonomous entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, as it was constituted under the Dayton peace agreement in the wake of the 1992 – 1995 civil war, approached its parliamentary and presidential elections. The consensus within the Euro-Atlantic alliance (the coalition of states roughly co-extensive with NATO and the EU) unmistakably was that the assertive local authorities headed by President Dodik and his political party were unacceptable and that a “regime change” operation should be engineered to replace them with a compliant cast of characters. Local agents quickly set to work to reproduce the satisfactory results previously obtained with relative ease in other “color revolution” episodes. The usual set of grievances was improvised. They were dramatised through a combination of fake “NGOs” and a relentless propaganda barrage conducted through the media, which was partly owned by Western interests and partly susceptible to their emoluments. A major television station in the city of Bijeljina, with country-wide coverage, was suborned to relentlessly spew the color revolution party line, in the confident expectation of a certain electoral triumph. But there was an unexpected hitch. The Republika Srpska government and ruling coalition supporting it nearly lost their heads when faced with mounting street agitation, but a group of local citizens supported by allies with international experience in these matters marshalled their limited resources to counter the onslaught. In spite of overwhelming odds they succeeded, the Balkan Maidan never materialised, and the coup de grâce planned for Republica Srpska was temporarily delayed. The next opportunity to fine tune the scenario came just before the 2018 elections in Republika Srpska. The galvanising spark was the mysterious death of a young man by the name of David Dragicevic, the responsibility for which without any firm evidence was attributed to the authorities, or the “regime” in the parlance of the color revolution phalanx. All the usual mechanisms were again activated to generate a cause célèbre designed to discredit the government and dishearten its supporters. The coup almost succeeded. President Dodik squeaked through with barely an 8,000 vote margin, but the ruling coalition failed to win in Parliament a clear majority necessary to form a government. The matter was resolved in the tried and tested Balkan way – a couple of opposition legislators were generously rewarded to switch sides and the status quo ante was successfully restored. With predictable regularity, the identical pattern is beginning to repeat itself as the country approaches the 2022 electoral season. New factors have emerged to complicate the political and social landscape. One is the Covid crisis, which has hit the Serbian portion of Bosnia relatively hard. The other is the grave constitutional crisis provoked two months ago by the outgoing EU High representative Valentin Incko. He arbitrarily ordered that a “genocide denial law” – clearly targeting all who question the Srebrenica “genocide” narrative, which is by now sacrosanct almost everywhere but in the Republika Srpska – be inserted in the Criminal Code, prescribing harsh punishment for unbelievers of up to five years. Since practically the entire population of Republika Srpska consists of religious sceptics and outright heretics in this regard, the country might as well be encircled with barbed wire and machine-gun turrets for at least the next five years. While primarily designed to bring external pressure and internal demoralisation, “Incko’s law,” as it is popularly known, also acted as a cohesive factor by temporarily uniting the government and its opposition against it. But the pact which Western-supported elements of the opposition concluded largely for PR reasons is already seriously fraying and the Serbian political scene is returning to its old fragmented “normal.” Emerging at the heart of the Incko controversy is the issue of whether the High representative, set up by the Dayton agreement to play a balancing role between the former warring parties (his official job is to “interpret” the peace agreement when the local parties fail to arrive at a common understanding of its provisions), has the authority to expand his powers to the point of imposing laws and altering constitutional arrangements. Banja Luka constitutional law professor Milan Blagojevic has argued forcefully and cogently that he does not. In a series of incisive analyses in his newspaper columns and television appearances he has expounded the view that the micro-managing authority claimed by a succession of High representatives is in reality an insolent bluff, unsupported by any of the provision of the peace agreement that established his office. In protest against what he has harshly denounced as “criminal abuse,” Prof. Blagojevic did something utterly unique in that part of the world. He resigned his parallel job as a District Court judge stating that his conscience forbade him to perform judicial duties in the milieu of lawlessness created by the illegal encroachment of the country’s foreign overlord. Hopefully he will impress other public servants by modelling a sacrificial example of professional integrity for their edification, but realistically no one should hold their breath. Propelled by unanimous public rejection of what is justifiably perceived as the High representative’s tyrannous act, and perhaps also inspired by the upcoming elections, the government has ratcheted up its rhetoric to the point of openly raising a heretofore taboo topic – possible secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Simultaneously, in an evident bow to Prof. Blagojevic’s insistent arguments, it has mentioned the possibility of asking Parliament to annul all previous similarly illicit decrees issued by the High representative, going back at least twenty years. To top off the listed examples of disobedience, former President Dodik, who is now the Serb member of Bosnia’s rotating Presidency, refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the appointment of Incko’s successor, German politician Christian Schmidt, or even meet with him, because he was selected by a committee of NATO governments and not by the UN Security Council, as international legal norms prescribe. In that he has the firm support of the governments of the Russian Federation and China. So now we come round to the emerging scenario for this season’s color revolution in the Republika Srpska. Clearly, something needs to be done and order must be imposed. The initial plan that was thought up by the Tavistock brain trust is the currently raging oxygen affair. Gene Sharp must be smiling in his grave. Briefly, upon the public spirited complaint filed by Transparency International, a solicitous outfit financed by USAID, alleging that a hospital in the town of Trebinje was using industrial instead of human grade oxygen for the treatment of Covid patients, health inspectors swarmed from Sarajevo (where Republika Srpska can scarcely expect to get any breaks) to determine that indeed there was something fishy about the oxygen formula being used. Gaining traction now are vague and non-evidence based assertions (recall the David Dragicevic affair) that the uncaring “regime” had a corrupt deal with the oxygen provider. The public, who predominantly do not consist of chemists, are being bombarded with highly technical and also politically condimented “information” about grave health risks (on top of the already existing pandemic) posed by the deliberately substituted inferior oxygen. Oddly, no proof of Covid fatalities or testimony of injuries accompanies these accounts of appalling official corruption. Readers with longer memories will remember the staged poisoning affair in Kosovo in 1990, when Albanian school children were instructed to complain of dizziness and stomach cramps provoked by nefarious substances injected in their lunch food by Serb authorities. They all miraculously recovered as soon as foreign correspondents had left. In Trebinje so far no spectacular performances to showcase the government’s public health malfeasance have been organised for the benefit of the international press, but surprises may be in store as the spin continues. As relations between major geopolitical players steadily deteriorate the Balkans are acquiring increasing importance for NATO powers for exactly the same reasons that they were essential to Nazi Germany in the early forties, to the extent that it was willing to postpone the attack on the Soviet Union and divert its resources in order to first bring the entire area in its orbit. The Serb half of Bosnia is a major piece of the contemporary version of a very similar geopolitical jigsaw puzzle. Russian policy meanderings over the years in that part of the world merit at most a mixed assessment, and that is putting it charitably. Russia cannot afford to further degrade its regional position and security interests by losing Republika Srpska, not to speak of Serbia itself. All the more so because it is not really necessary to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to keep them both firmly and beneficially in its fold Tyler Durden Sat, 10/02/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 2nd, 2021

World Bank China-Rigging-Scandal Highlights Beijing"s "Malign Influence" At UN: Experts

World Bank China-Rigging-Scandal Highlights Beijing's "Malign Influence" At UN: Experts Authored by Terri Wu via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Revelations that World Bank leaders pressured staff to rig an influential report in China’s favor have once again shed light on the Beijing regime’s influence within the United Nations system. Chinese leader Xi Jinping virtually addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 21, 2021 in New York. (Spencer Platt/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) A recent investigation found that then-World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and then-Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva had applied “undue pressure” on staff to boost China’s ranking in its 2018 “Doing Business” report. At the time, the World Bank leadership was “consumed with sensitive negotiations” over a major capital increase, a move that increased China’s stake in the lender, investigators said. Leaders had also received repeated overtures from senior Chinese officials wanting the country’s score to be raised to reflect its initiatives at reform. The fallout from the probe has been swift. The World Bank announced its abandonment of the Doing Business report entirely. Georgieva, now head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has faced calls for her resignation, including by The Economist magazine. The embattled chief, however, has vehemently denied the investigation’s findings. Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) speaks during a press conference at the German chancellery in Berlin, on Aug. 26, 2021. (Clemens Bilan/Getty Images) Analysts now say that the scandal has further underscored the Chinese regime’s malign influence in important multilateral institutions. China’s communist regime sees the existing international order as a threat to its interests, Seth Cropsey, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute, told The Epoch Times. “So they want to break it up whenever possible.” “Influence and membership and participation in international organizations give them the foot in the door that they need to accomplish that goal.” And to achieve its ends, Cropsey said, Beijing is “willing to use bribery, threats of force, political pressure” and any other means. History of Collaboration The World Bank played an important role in shaping the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) economic reforms in the 1980s and 1990s, when the regime was attempting to extricate the country away from backwater status, according to China expert Michael Pillsbury. In his book “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” Pillsbury wrote that the World Bank secretly advised the CCP as early as 1983. That year, World Bank executives met with CCP leader Deng Xiaoping. As a result, the bank agreed to study China and recommend how the regime could catch up to the United States economically in the following decades. While the lender released “a few vague reports” about China’s need to develop free markets, in private, the World Bank by the mid-1980s endorsed the regime’s socialist approach and “made no genuine effort to advocate for a true market economy,” Pillsbury wrote. “China will not stop its so-far successful campaign to gain decisive influence in all the U.N. specialized agencies and to continue their successes in obtaining benefits from the IMF and World Bank,” Pillsbury told The Epoch Times in an email. China’s Influence The IMF and World Bank are among 15 U.N. specialized agencies, of which Chinese representatives head three. No other country leads more than one body. Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organization just saw its Chinese chief depart in August after a seven-year term. “Since I wrote The Hundred-Year Marathon six years ago, the Chinese have not suffered any significant sanctions that would cause them to change their successful trajectory to surpass the U.S. in global primacy,” Pillsbury wrote. The CCP’s only recent setback in the U.N. system, according to Pillsbury, occurred when the Chinese candidate was outvoted for the top post at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO Success Story In the lead up to WIPO’s March 2020 election, the Trump administration mounted an effort to ensure that Wang Binyang, a representative of the Chinese regime—which is ironically notorious for its lack of intellectual property protections—wasn’t successful in his bid to lead the body charged with safeguarding those rights worldwide. Wang was ultimately defeated by Singaporean Daren Tang, who was backed by the United States and many other Western nations, by a vote of 28 to 55. “The Chinese thought they had a fast-track to that [position],” then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in July 2020. “We put up a good candidate. … And we crushed them. It was an amazing diplomatic effort.” Andrew Bremberg, who, at the time, was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, was at the forefront of the Trump administration’s campaign. Then-White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council Andrew Bremberg speaks during a roundtable discussion on cyber safety and technology at the White House on March 20, 2018. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Washington’s success at the WIPO “absolutely” can be repeated, Bremberg told The Epoch Times. “The Biden administration could do it as well,” he said, adding that it was a matter of identifying key priorities and working with “key partners not to let the CCP try to get the upper hand in how these elections take place.” For instance, during the WIPO election, the United States worked with the body’s rules committee to prohibit phones or photography in the voting room. In some cases, the CCP had asked countries to take pictures of their ballots to verify their votes, according to Bremberg. The final step is for U.S. officials to work to “unite a large coalition behind a mutually agreed better candidate,” he said. From his experience in Geneva, Bremberg saw a lack of awareness among U.S. officials and the global community about the CCP’s “malign influences” across international organizations. The former ambassador noted that while the Chinese regime has become increasingly aggressive in the past decade, it isn’t yet the dominant force in the U.N. system. Thwarting Beijing’s long march through these multilateral institutions, however, will take a lot of effort, Bremberg said. “It’s not an easy thing. But I’m extremely optimistic that if we are willing to do the work to strengthen the system, and to re-exert leadership that matches with our values, then China will not be, in fact, dominant,” he said. Bremberg now heads the Washington-based nonprofit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. The WHO One global body that, in Bremberg’s view, may be beyond hope of meaningful reform is the World Health Organization (WHO). “What we’ve all learned in the last year and a half is that we all desperately want and need a meaningful WHO that can actually work for the international system—and we don’t have it,” he said. “And I think there is no realistic prospect that we could.” Bremberg last year was involved in the Trump administration’s efforts to seek reforms at the global health body relating to its handling of the pandemic and reducing its appeasement of the Chinese regime. When the WHO rejected these calls, then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the organization, saying it was beholden to the CCP. The Biden administration has since rejoined the body, with officials arguing that it’s better to push for reforms while still holding a seat at the table. In the early stages of the pandemic, the body drew heavy criticism over its parroting of the CCP’s official statements that downplayed the severity of the outbreak, while praising what the regime said was its outbreak control efforts. Earlier this year, a virus origins report by a WHO-led team done in concert with Chinese scientists asserted that a lab leak hypothesis was an “extremely unlikely” origin of the pandemic. More than a dozen countries, including the United States, questioned the integrity of the report, pointing to the team’s lack of access to raw data from China. Amid intensifying scrutiny on the regime’s ongoing coverup of the pandemic origins, the WHO has sharpened its tone against Beijing in recent months, calling for greater transparency and for the regime to provide access to raw data. Pushing Belt and Road Through UN The Chinese regime also has used U.N. bodies to legitimize and promote its massive global infrastructure investment project, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The trillion-dollar plan has been criticized by U.S. officials for facilitating the expansion of Beijing’s economic and military clout, while saddling developing countries with unsustainable debt burdens. The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, a secretariat body, has been a major vehicle used by the regime to promote BRI, according to a 2019 report by Washington-based think tank Center for a New American Security. Chinese officials have held the top position at the U.N. body since 2007, allowing Beijing to draw on “an extensive network of Chinese nationals to steer the organization toward embracing” the BRI, the report stated. Through these efforts, the Chinese regime has been able to package its BRI projects under the U.N.’s sustainable development goals, the report said, thus allowing U.N. resources to be directed toward Chinese-backed investments. The WHO, led by Hong Kong’s Margaret Chan from 2007 to 2017, also promoted the BRI in the health care sector. In January 2017, Chan signed a BRI memorandum in health care with China at a meeting with CCP leader Xi Jinping in Geneva. In May 2017, less than two months before the end of her term, Chan visited Beijing and signed the action plan. Upon leaving the WHO, Chan immediately took high-level positions in CCP organizations, including the Political Consultative Congress, a political advisory body that is a key organ in the regime’s domestic and foreign influence efforts, known as “united front” work. During her terms, Chan also appointed Xi’s wife, Major Gen. Peng Liyuan, and Chinese state-run TV host James Chau as WHO goodwill ambassadors, roles they still hold today. Current WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who succeeded Chan in July 2017, led a WHO delegation to the Belt and Road Forum for Health Cooperation in Beijing in August 2017. During that trip to China, Tedros signed a strategic agreement supporting the BRI, while the WHO received an additional contribution of $20 million from the regime. This memorandum between the WHO and China, which hasn’t been made public, will allow China’s ruling regime to expand its influence over hospital systems worldwide, particularly in the area of data, Ian Easton, senior director at Virginia-based think tank Project 2049 Institute, warned during an August virtual discussion hosted by the Hudson Institute. The agreement paves the way “for client states around the world to use Chinese technology, products, and software in hospitals and other organizations relating to global health,” Easton said. The World Bank and IMF didn’t respond to questions from The Epoch Times relating to the CCP’s influence in U.N. systems. WHO officials also didn’t respond to requests for comment. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 05:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

We Will Not Comply: Red States Should Offer Sanctuary To Businesses, Military, & Medical Personnel

We Will Not Comply: Red States Should Offer Sanctuary To Businesses, Military, & Medical Personnel Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, All it takes is one free place to change the dynamic between the public and an authoritarian regime. Just one. This week has been an extremely busy news cycle and there is a lot to cover, so along with my normal weekly analysis on one major topic, I am going to start writing shorter synopsis articles on developing news items happening in real time. I think everyone has noticed a marked and aggressive shift in the vaccine passport agenda being railroaded into existence by the Biden Administration and governments around the world. Remember when they all said that they were never going to demand forced vaccinations and that the passports were a “conspiracy theory”? Well guess what? We “conspiracy theorists” were right yet again. It used to be that we would predict a particular agenda or event and it would take a couple years to unfold. These days we make predictions and all it takes is a few weeks or a few months for them to happen. This suggests to me that the establishment and the globalists are on a specific timeline and that for whatever reason they MUST get 100% vaccination and the passports in place soon. I believe we have less than a year left before we see them attempt full bore medical tyranny in the US on a scale similar to what is happening right now in Australia, or perhaps worse. I continue to suspect that the reason for this sudden dive into totalitarianism is because there is something wrong with the vaccines themselves and if there are tens of millions or hundreds of millions of unvaccinated people left, then these people will act as a control group. That is to say, they will act as proof that the vaccines are not safe if things go awry. The establishment can’t allow that. As I have noted in past articles, the average vaccine is tested for 10-15 YEARS before it is released for use on human beings. This is to ensure that there are no damaging health side effects that might not become visible until months or years after the initial jab. A particular danger is the development of autoimmune disorders and infertility associated with mRNA and spike protein technology. These debilitating ailments might not be noticed for a couple of years after a population has been given the experimental vax. It has already been about a year since the covid vaccines were introduced by emergency authorization, so time is running short for the globalists. The bottom line is, there has been ZERO long term testing of the covid mRNA vaccines. At least none that has ever been revealed to the public. There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that the covid vaccines are safe in the long term, they were developed and released within months of the covid outbreak. Yet, the establishment seems hell bent on forcing 100% of people to take these untested vaccines against their better judgment. It has been almost a century since we last saw government tyranny on this level, but this time it is almost all governments around the world acting in unison to implement mass controls on the public, instead of just a handful of nations. The Biden Administration and its corporate partners are now implementing a blitzkrieg against the American citizenry. Biden’s vaccine executive orders are creating a culture of “paper’s please” fascism among larger businesses and Big Box retailers. He has recently announced that part of the mandates will include fines against businesses that refuse to enforce proof of vaccination on their employees. These fines will range from $70,000 to $700,000, which could destroy a medium sized company if they actually had to pay. Medical personnel, primarily in leftist blue states, are now being fired from their positions because they have refused to comply with the vax. This is leaving massive gaps in medical response in places like New York. The unelected governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, claims she has the right to give herself dictatorial powers through executive order, and that these powers include deploying National Guard troops to take over medical duties. If you are familiar with the sordid history of VA hospitals, then you know that you do not want around 90% of military doctors operating on you in any capacity. Hochul is also raising eyebrows with a recent speech to a church audience in Brooklyn where she claimed that all the “smart people” have taken the vaccines and that the covid jabs are a “gift from God.” Her assertion was that if you defy the vaccine mandates, then you are ignoring God. This sounds rather familiar. Authoritarians often have a habit of declaring divine providence to justify their oppressive actions. Even Hitler did this, at least initially, holding state sponsored Passion plays and asserting that the Third Reich was the hand of God, until after they had secured an empire and then Hitler attacked Christianity. These types of people tend to use religion as a tool to get what they want and then they dump it in the gutter when they are finished with it. Keep in mind that none of these mandates are actual “laws”. None of them have been voted on by a legislature or the American people. They are color of law violations of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and should be defied at every opportunity. And let’s not forget about Biden’s latest actions which seek to punish US troops that refuse the vaccines with dishonorable discharge. I’m not sure if Biden knows that a dishonorable discharge generally requires a trial by court martial in the military, or maybe this is what he actually wants for every single person that will not take the vax. In any case, the goal here is to terrify military members into submission and into accepting illegal orders. And yes, demanding that a soldier act as a lab rat for an experimental vaccine with no long term data to prove its safety is an illegal order. It’s hard to say yet what the real stats are, but recent polling suggests that at least 30% of the US military plans to refuse the vaccinations, including many members of special operations units. All of this over a virus with a tiny median death rate of 0.26%? Just to force people to take a vaccine that has been proven completely ineffective in countries like Israel where vaccination rates are high? When over 60% of people hospitalized with covid are fully vaccinated, then what is the point of the vaccines? It makes no sense unless the purpose was always tyranny and not public safety. So, where does this leave us? There are larger scale solutions to this problem, there are peaceful short term solutions, and there are more violent long term solutions. I will be discussing the violent options in my next article, but for now I think the best path forward is for red states and maybe even red counties is to offer safe haven or “asylum” to people who are under attack from these mandates. Red states could, hypothetically, give financial protection to businesses that refuse to comply with federal mandates and refuse to pay the fines. If thousands or tens of thousands of companies simply ignore the passports and the fines, what is Biden going to do about it? Well, he would have to send people form a federal agency, maybe the IRS, to collect by force. If states and communities stand in their way then there is nothing Biden can do to hurt businesses that believe in freedom. There is supposedly a shortage of experienced medical staff across the country right now, yet states like New York are firing up to one-third of their hospital workforce. Why not take advantage of their stupidity and offer these trained professionals jobs in red states or red counties? If these people know they have a safe place to go, then this might help give them the courage to continue their resistance. Finally, I think it’s a no-brainer that red states should offer help for military personnel that are facing discharge for vax refusal. A fight is coming, make no mistake, and free states need as many trained combat veterans on our side as we can get. Being dishonorably discharged makes future employment difficult in many career fields, and we can help these men and women to live normal lives if they make a stand. States like Kansas are already taking steps to make this happen. Conservative states and communities are going to have to step in, take risks and draw a line in the sand right here and now. We can stop this nightmare from gaining any further ground, but we have to act. I and many others are willing to help defend any business or any person that will not comply with the mandates, and state representative can send the same message to Biden by creating safe havens for free people. We need to continue to make it clear that we will not comply. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

Democrats Reach Agreement To Raise $600 Cap for Biden"s Proposal On IRS Reporting, Surveillance

Democrats Reach Agreement To Raise $600 Cap for Biden's Proposal On IRS Reporting, Surveillance Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times, Democratic lawmakers have said they plan to raise the threshold of President Joe Biden’s radical proposal that all bank transactions of more than $600 be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The initial proposal (pdf)—which Biden says is aimed at curbing tax evasion—would require banks and other financial institutions to report to the IRS any deposits or withdrawals totaling more than $600 annually to or from all business and personal accounts. The new reporting requirement would take effect in 2022 and would apply to both private individual and commercial business accounts owned by a taxpayer. But House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said on Sept. 23 that he and other Democratic leaders are planning to scrap the $600 annual figure and set a higher threshold, of which the details are still being worked through. “We’ve reached an agreement to not have the $600,” Neal told Bloomberg.  A Democratic aide noted that they’re focusing on increasing the current threshold to $10,000 but said that figure could well change. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. financial institutions are currently mandated to report to the government all wire transfers over $10,000, as well as suspicious cash transactions, to prevent criminal activities such as money laundering. However, Biden and Democratic allies in Congress claim the threshold needs to be lowered to close the “tax gap,” which is the difference between what current federal law requires to be collected by the government and how much actually goes into the Treasury. The president has maintained that the new reporting rule will mean “the wealthy can no longer hide what they’re making and they can finally begin to pay their fair share of what they owe.” “That isn’t about raising their taxes. It’s about the super-wealthy finally beginning to pay what they owe—what the existing tax code calls for—just like hardworking Americans do all over this country every Tax Day,” Biden said at a press conference on Sept. 16. At that same conference, the president noted that 55 of the biggest and most profitable corporations in America paid no federal income taxes in 2020, on what amounted to $40 billion in profit. “That’s not right. And my economic plan will change that. Not punish anybody, just make them pay their fair share,” he said. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), joined by fellow Republican senators, speaks on a proposed Democratic tax plan, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Aug. 4, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) Despite his reassurances, Biden’s new proposal has faced stiff opposition from banks as well as Republicans and some Democrats who are concerned that the move could see the IRS having access to too much of taxpayers’ personal data. Earlier this month, the American Bankers Association (ABA), along with more than 40 business and financial groups, sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) objecting to the “ill-advised” proposal, citing concerns over financial privacy. “This proposal would create significant operational and reputational challenges for financial institutions, increase tax preparation costs for individuals and small businesses, and create serious financial privacy concerns,” the group wrote. “We urge members to oppose any efforts to advance this ill-advised new reporting regime.” Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) told The Epoch Times on Sept. 23 that the move would effectively “weaponize the IRS” and said he believes the Biden administration’s unprecedented rise in federal spending is the motivation behind expanding the IRS’s powers. “What they’ve done is, they are weaponizing the IRS, they’re pushing many, many billions of dollars into that and they will be hiring tens of thousands of new agents,” Boozman said.  “So this is all about looking at everybody’s transactions and then hoping that perhaps they find something that’s not getting reported so they can come after you and get that income. “They want this new authority to look at transactions of $600 or more rather than $10,000 or more because they have a $3.5 trillion, or some say up to a $5 trillion bill, depending on how you score it, so they desperately need pay-fors. This shows how desperate they are.” Boozman is co-sponsoring legislation with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) known as the Tax Gap Reform and IRS Enforcement Act (pdf) that would establish “guardrails” to prevent abuse by IRS employees of tax records. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) has introduced the proposal in the House of Representatives. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 09:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

Morgan Stanley Dismisses Market"s "Strong Rebound", Remains Bearish On Coming Earnings Disappointment

Morgan Stanley Dismisses Market's "Strong Rebound", Remains Bearish On Coming Earnings Disappointment For just a few hours last Monday, Morgan Stanley's chief economist felt vindicated: with stocks tumbling on Evergrande default fears, Wilson emerged from his faux-bull cocoon (having raised his year-end S&P price target from 3,900 to 4,000 in August in a note that reeked of disgust with what he was being told to do) and warned that an "Ice is coming", referring to a 20% drop in stocks as opposed to the more modest 10% correction envisioned in his "fire" scenario, saying that "the "ice" scenario is starting to look more likely, and could result in a more destructive outcome – i.e. a 20%+ correction", a drop he expects will take place some time this fall. Wilson also predicted that with earnings growth and PMIs set to drop, it would adversely impact forward PE multiples and by extension the S&P. Well, what a difference 7 days makes: with Evergrande default fears now long forgotten amid still unconfirmed speculation that China will somehow make it all better and nationalize the troubled developer with little to no offshore contagion, the S&P is almost 150 points from its "Evergrande Monday" lows and once again pushing back toward all time highs (even if with a major rotation in the leadership as tech stocks are now sliding, having been replaced by value, cyclical and reopening names) in the process yet again foiling Wilson's bearish visions. So has the market's sharp post-opex bounce changed the mind of the chief strategist that this seemingly invincible market will never go down again more than just a token 5% move? Today we got the answer in Wilson's latest weekly warm-up not, in which he makes it clear that his bearish outlook remains, and as he explains, "our process tells us the risk-reward remains unattractive at the index level given slowing growth and rising rates. Meanwhile, price action can be interpreted bullishly or bearishly. With 3Q earnings season likely to bring a much more muted outcome, we remain defensive in our positioning." We'll get to why in a second, but first Wilson - realizing that he would get a criticism for what many viewed as a premature victory lap - spends the first few paragraphs of his latest note going over the details of his analytical process. This is how he lays it out: Our equity strategy process has several key components. Most importantly, we focus on the fundamentals of growth and valuation to determine whether the overall market is attractive and which sectors and stocks look the best/worst. The rate of change on growth is more important than the absolute level, and we use a market-based equity risk premium framework that works well as long as you apply the correct regime when using it. In that regard, we’re an avid student of market cycles and believe historical analogs can be helpful. For example, the mid cycle transition narrative that has worked so well this year is derived directly from our study of historical economic and market cycles. The final component we spend a lot of time on is price. While most would call this technical analysis, we’d like to think we do it a little bit differently. Markets aren’t always efficient, but we believe they are often very good leading indicators for the fundamentals—the ultimate driver of value. This is especially true if one looks at the internal movements and relative strength of individual securities. In short, we find these internals to be much more helpful than simply looking at the major averages. This year, we think the process has lived up to its promise quite well with the price action lining up nicely with the fundamental backdrop. In short, the large cap quality leadership since March is signaling what we believe is about to happen—i.e., decelerating growth and tightening financial conditions. The question for investors is whether the price action has fully discounted those outcomes. With that disclosure in hand, and with the clear understanding that at least in his view investors are not discounting any adverse outcomes at this point, Wilson proceeds to discuss the recent market action, noting that stocks "sold off hard last Monday on concerns about the Evergrande bankruptcy" and while he adds that it is the Morgan Stanley "house view" that it likely won’t lead to a major financial contagion, "it will probably weigh on China growth for the next few quarters which means that the growth deceleration we are expecting could be a bit worse." The other reason Wilson suggests was behind the market weakness early last week "likely had to do with concern about the Fed articulating its plans to taper asset purchases later this year and perhaps even move up the timing of rate hikes to next year. On that score, the Fed did not disappoint as they pretty much told us to expect the taper to begin in December. The surprise was the speed in which they expect to be done tapering—by mid 2022. This is about a quarter sooner than the market had been anticipating and does move up the odds for a rate hike in 2022." Curiously last week's rally happened in the aftermath of the market's perplexing kneejerk response to the Fed meeting on Wednesday, when stocks rallied even as bonds sold off sharply, particularly at the back end. Real 10-year yields were up 11bps in 2 days and are now up 31bps in just 8 weeks (Exhibit 1). That according to Wilson is "tightening of financial conditions for sure" and should weigh on PEs overall but it also has big implications for what should work at the sector/style level (Exhibit 2). In short, Wilson digs in and claims that higher real rates should mean lower P/Es overall which likely means lower S&P 500, thus validating his bearish view which still sees the S&P dropping some 20% from its current perch to hit 4,000 by year end. However, he concedes, "it may also mean value over growth and small caps over Nasdaq even as the overall equity market goes lower." Which brings us to the key question we spent quite some time discussing last week, namely why did stocks rally so much into the end of the week on what Wilson says are odds that growth will decelerate more than expected from Evergrande and financial conditions may tighten faster? Here Wilson is at least honest - as he puts it - and says "we’re not sure but we think this may be a time when the markets are playing tricks on investors and even setting a bit of a trap." Actually it's simpler than that and has to do with the gamma reversal and technical flows we pointed out last week, but one has to be a "greek geek" - like Nomura's Charlie McElligott - to get that. The other explanation proposed by Wilson is "that investors were somewhat positioned for bad news going into the Fed meeting and the actual event simply served as a relief that it didn’t lead lower prices. This price action drove many investors to chase on Thursday for fear of missing out. In short, don’t underestimate the power of price to determine how investors interpret the facts. Just like negative price action can get people to sell the lows, positive price action can force people to buy", he concludes. Whatever the reason for the initial bounce, it quickly accelerated and there was "a lot of excitement last Thursday when stocks rallied sharply back above the 50 day moving average, a key barometer for many and a key level of support throughout this year for the S&P 500." That this happened when the 50DMA was broken "on near record levels of volume in both the cash and derivatives markets" only punctuated the strength of the rebound. By Friday, that moving average had been reclaimed and closed above it for the week, an important technical win as even Wilson admits. However, he then adds, from his vantage point, "the very well defined uptrend that has been established over the past year was broken and not reclaimed. Instead, it looks like the rally from Wednesday to Friday was simply "filling the gap" created from Monday's break." His conclusion on upcoming market action will hardly come as a surprise to those who have followed Wilson's progressive pessimism across 2021: pointing to the market's inability to recover its prior trendline, he says "this leaves the technical picture very uncertain in our view and one can now break either way. With our fundamental view skewing poorly at the moment, we lean to the bearish outcome." Getting back to his process, Wilson then says that he has high conviction that "earnings growth is likely to decelerate more than what the current consensus is forecasting." Furthermore, he thinks the market is starting to agree with that view and points to market breadth as a good leading indicator for earnings revision breadth where he says "direction is clear" and pointing to the newly shrinking market breadth, he reminds readers that earnings revision breadth is a good leading indicator for the overall market. It will therefore hardly come as a surprise that with Wilson still clearly bearish, his advice to clients is "don’t get too caught up in last week’s strong rebound from Monday’s sharp sell off" which he views as a clean break of the uptrend and a filling of the gap created from Monday's crack. And with the technical picture murky, "that's a time to trust the fundamental and cycle analyses which suggest lower equity prices ahead" and as growth decelerates and financial conditions tighten, valuations are likely to fall from their lofty levels. * * * With all that in mind, Wilson goes back to his core fundamental thesis which is simple: after a blockbuster Q2 season, earnings are set to drop substantially as a result of the margin compression we discussed most recently over the weekend, to wit: Since the second quarter of 2020 earnings results have come in much higher than consensus forecasts. Earnings beats ranged from 14% - 22% over this period while the median beat rate since 2008 is only 5%...We do not think companies will continue to beat at such an unprecedented rate and believe 3Q could see a material change in the more recent trend as supply chain issues and labor shortages pose a risk to both top line and margins. We looked at how 3Q earnings estimate revisions have trended at the industry group and sector level. Significant cuts have occurred in insurance, capital goods and transportation. Consumer Durables is the only area that has seen significant positive revisions at the industry group level. 3Q S&P 500 estimates have fallen by 77 bps over past 4 weeks. We expect more downside. No surprises there, as the margin compression story is a familiar one ("Margins Crushed As Producer Prices Explode At Record Pace In July"). To Wilson, however, this is the story and one which the market refuses to even consider: 2022 consensus margin estimates are historically lofty...we examine the risks to margins in coming quarters through two different top down approaches. The spread between GDP growth and wage growth correlates fairly closely with operating margins over time. Based on our economists' estimates, this spread should decelerate in coming quarters, which suggests margins should contract, not expand as bottom-up consensus expects. Further, corporate transcript mentions of "cost pressures" and related terms are historically elevated. When this has happened in the past, margins have consolidated. Wilson's final bearish point is that companies are reaching the limit on how much of rising input costs they can pass on to consumers. As he puts it, while "many investors that we speak to are optimistic about corporates' ability to pass on cost through pricing and protect margins" he would caution that "prices in several consumer end markets are already at a level that is inhibiting demand. We think the risk of this dynamic (high prices leading to demand destruction) spreading to other areas of consumer demand is especially elevated because goods consumption is already so far above trend—in other words, high prices are that much more of a deterrent given households have already overconsumed in many areas." Translation: absent another multi-trillion stimmy - and thanks to the chaos in the democratic party we know one is unlikely to come - Wilson's call for a 20% drop in stocks in the next few months remains intact. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 18:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2021

The 10 best translated books on the National Book Awards" 2021 longlist

The National Book Awards' translated literature longlist includes international works published in Spanish, Chinese, French, Korean, Arabic, and more. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. The National Book Awards' longlist for best translated books includes international titles that were originally published in Spanish, Chinese, French, Korean, Arabic, German, and Russian. Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider The National Book Awards translated literature longlist for 2021 was recently announced. The books were originally published in 7 different languages including Spanish, French, and Chinese. Want more books? Check out the 2021 National Book Award longlists for fiction and poetry. The best translated literature in 2021, according to the National Book Award's panel of five judges, spans both the globe and genres.The judges announced the translated literature longlist this week, which celebrated international works that were originally published in seven different languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. The books span a multitude of genres too, from fictional short stories to creative nonfiction. In Nona Fernández's "The Twilight Zone", a member of the Chilean secret police walks into a dissident magazine office and confesses to some of the worst crimes committed under the Pinochet dictatorship, kicking off the narrator's lifelong obsession with "the man who tortured people." "An Inventory of Losses" catalogs 12 extinct things - from tigers to islands - while "In Memory of Memory" examines the fallibility and impact of memory, lore, and national history. And history and mythology blend together as a woman named Xiumi campaigns for autonomy in Ge Fei's "Peach Blossom Paradise" during China's Hundred Days' Reform. Below, you'll find all 10 titles that made it onto the 2021 translated literature longlist. The shortlist of the top five will come out on October 5, and the winner will be announced on November 17.The 10 books on the 2021 National Book Award longlist for translated literature:Descriptions are provided by Amazon and edited lightly for length and clarity. "Waiting for the Waters to Rise" by ​​Maryse Condé and translated from French by Richard Philcox Bookshop "Waiting for the Waters to Rise" by ​​Maryse Condé and translated from French by Richard Philcox, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $15.63Babakar is a doctor living alone, with only the memories of his childhood in Mali. In his dreams, he receives visits from his blue-eyed mother and his ex-lover Azelia, both now gone, as are the hopes and aspirations he's carried with him since his arrival in Guadeloupe. Until, one day, the child Anaïs comes into his life, forcing him to abandon his solitude. Anaïs's Haitian mother died in childbirth, leaving her daughter destitute ― now Babakar is all she has, and he wants to offer this little girl a future. Together they fly to Haiti, a beautiful, mysterious island plagued by violence, government corruption, and rebellion. Once there, Babakar and his two friends, the Haitian Movar and the Palestinian Fouad, three different identities looking for a more compassionate world, begin a desperate search for Anaïs's family. "Winter in Sokcho" by Elisa Shua Dusapin and translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins Bookshop "Winter in Sokcho" by Elisa Shua Dusapin and translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $13.75It's winter in Sokcho, a tourist town on the border between South and North Korea. The cold slows everything down. Bodies are red and raw, the fish turn venomous, and beyond the beach, guns point out from the North's watchtowers. A young French-Korean woman works as a receptionist in a tired guesthouse. One evening, an unexpected guest arrives: A French cartoonist determined to find inspiration in this desolate landscape.The two form an uneasy relationship. When she agrees to accompany him on trips to discover an "authentic" Korea, they visit snowy mountaintops and dramatic waterfalls and cross into North Korea. But he takes no interest in the Sokcho she knows ― the gaudy neon lights, the scars of war, the fish market where her mother works. As she's pulled into his vision and taken in by his drawings, she strikes upon a way to finally be seen. "Peach Blossom Paradise" by Ge Fei and translated from Chinese by Canaan Morse Bookshop "Peach Blossom Paradise" by Ge Fei and translated from Chinese by Canaan Morse, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.51In 1898, reformist intellectuals in China persuaded the young emperor that it was time to transform his sclerotic empire into a prosperous modern state. The Hundred Days' Reform that followed was a moment of unprecedented change and extraordinary hope — brought to an abrupt end by a bloody military coup. Dashed expectations would contribute to the revolutionary turn that Chinese history would soon take, leading in time to the deaths of millions."Peach Blossom Paradise," set at the time of the reform, is the story of Xiumi, the daughter of a wealthy landowner and former government official who falls prey to insanity and disappears. Days later, a man with a gold cicada in his pocket turns up at his estate and is inexplicably welcomed as a relative. This mysterious man has a great vision of reforging China as an egalitarian utopia, and he will stop at nothing to make it real.It is his own plans, however, which come to nothing, and his "little sister" Xiumi is left to take up arms against a Confucian world in which women are chattel. Her campaign for change and her struggle to seize control over her own body are continually threatened by the violent whims of men who claim to be building paradise. "The Twilight Zone" by Nona Fernández and translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer Bookshop "The Twilight Zone" by Nona Fernández and translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99It is 1984 in Chile, in the middle of the Pinochet dictatorship. A member of the secret police walks into the office of a dissident magazine and finds a reporter, who records his testimony. The narrator of Nona Fernández's mesmerizing and terrifying novel "The Twilight Zone" is a child when she first sees this man's face on the magazine's cover with the words "I Tortured People." His complicity in the worst crimes of the regime and his commitment to speaking about them haunt the narrator into her adulthood and career as a writer and documentarian.Like a secret service agent from the future, through extraordinary feats of the imagination, Fernández follows the "man who tortured people" to places that archives can't reach, into the sinister twilight zone of history where morning routines, a game of chess, Yuri Gagarin, and the eponymous TV show of the novel's title coexist with the brutal yet commonplace machinations of the regime.Note: Author Nona Fernández and translator Natasha Wimmer were also made the National Book Award longlist in 2019 with "Space Invaders." "On the Origin of Species and Other Stories" by Bo-Young Kim and translated from Korean by Joungmin Lee Comfort and Sora Kim-Russell Bookshop "On the Origin of Species and Other Stories" by Bo-Young Kim and translated from Korean by Joungmin Lee Comfort and Sora Kim-Russell, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.39Straddling science fiction, fantasy, and myth, the writings of award-winning author Bo-Young Kim have garnered a cult following in South Korea, where she is widely acknowledged as a pioneer and inspiration. "On the Origin of Species" makes available for the first time in English some of Kim's most acclaimed stories, as well as an essay on science fiction. Her strikingly original, thought-provoking work teems with human and non-human beings, all of whom are striving to survive through evolution, whether biologically, technologically, or socially. Kim's literature of ideas offers some of the most rigorous and surprisingly poignant reflections on posthuman existence being written today. "When We Cease to Understand the World" by Benjamín Labatut and translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West Bookshop "When We Cease to Understand the World" by Benjamín Labatut and translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.16Fritz Haber, Alexander Grothendieck, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger — these are some of the luminaries into whose troubled lives Benjamín Labatut thrusts the reader, showing us how they grappled with the most profound questions of existence. They have strokes of unparalleled genius, alienate friends and lovers, descend into isolation and insanity. Some of their discoveries reshape human life for the better; others pave the way to chaos and unimaginable suffering. The lines are never clear.At a breakneck pace and with a wealth of disturbing detail, Labatut uses the imaginative resources of fiction to tell the stories of the scientists and mathematicians who expanded our notions of the possible.Note: This book was also shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize. "Rabbit Island: Stories" by Elvira Navarro and translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney Bookshop "Rabbit Island: Stories" by Elvira Navarro and translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.79These 11 stories combine gritty surrealism with explosive interior meditations, traversing the fickle, often terrifying terrain between madness and freedom. In the title story, a so-called "non-inventor" brings snow-white rabbits to an island inhabited exclusively by birds, with horrific results.In "Myotragus" a privileged man's understanding of the world is violently disrupted by the sight of a creature long thought extinct. Elsewhere in these stories that map dingy hotel rooms, shape-shifting cities, and graveyards, an unsightly "paw" grows from a writer's earlobe and a grandmother floats silently in the corner of the room. "An Inventory of Losses" by Judith Schalansky and translated from German by Jackie Smith Bookshop "An Inventory of Losses" by Judith Schalansky and translated from German by Jackie Smith, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.95Each disparate object described in this book ― a Caspar David Friedrich painting, a species of tiger, a villa in Rome, a Greek love poem, an island in the Pacific ― shares a common fate: It no longer exists, except as the dead-end of a paper trail. Recalling the works of W. G. Sebald, Bruce Chatwin, or Rebecca Solnit, "An Inventory of Losses" is a beautiful evocation of 12 specific treasures that have been lost to the world forever, and, taken as a whole, opens mesmerizing new vistas of how we can think about extinction and loss.With meticulous research and a vivid awareness of why we should care about these losses, Judith Schalansky, the acclaimed author of "Atlas of Remote Islands," lets these objects speak for themselves: She ventriloquizes the tone of other sources, burrows into the language of contemporaneous accounts, and deeply interrogates the very notion of memory. "In Memory of Memory" by Maria Stepanova and translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale Bookshop "In Memory of Memory" by Maria Stepanova and translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.91With the death of her aunt, the narrator is left to sift through an apartment full of faded photographs, old postcards, letters, diaries, and heaps of souvenirs: A withered repository of a century of life in Russia. Carefully reassembled with calm, steady hands, these shards tell the story of how a seemingly ordinary Jewish family somehow managed to survive the myriad persecutions and repressions of the last century.In dialogue with writers like Roland Barthes, W. G. Sebald, Susan Sontag, and Osip Mandelstam, "In Memory of Memory" is imbued with rare intellectual curiosity and a wonderfully soft-spoken, poetic voice. Dipping into various forms ― essay, fiction, memoir, travelogue, and historical documents ― Stepanova assembles a vast panorama of ideas and personalities and offers an entirely new and bold exploration of cultural and personal memory.Note: This book was also shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize. "Planet of Clay" by Samar Yazbek and translated from Arabic by Leri Price Bookshop "Planet of Clay" by Samar Yazbek and translated from Arabic by Leri Price, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $15.63Rima, a young girl from Damascus, longs to walk, to be free to follow the will of her feet, but instead is perpetually constrained. Rima finds refuge in a fantasy world full of colored crayons, secret planets, and "The Little Prince," reciting passages of the Qur'an like a mantra as everything and everyone around her is blown to bits. One day while taking a bus through Damascus, a soldier opens fire and her mother is killed. Rima, wounded, is taken to a military hospital before her brother leads her to the besieged area of Ghouta ― where, between bombings, she writes her story. In "Planet of Clay," Samar Yazbek offers a surreal depiction of the horrors taking place in Syria, in vivid and poetic language and with a sharp eye for detail and beauty.Note: Leri Price was previously recognized by the National Book Award in 2019 for translating "Death Is Hard Work" by Khaled Khalifa.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 27th, 2021

Visiting the gulag where my grandfather was tortured, but didn"t officially exist

My grandfather was held at Bulgaria's most notorious gulag. This summer, I saw it for the first time. A Belene survivor crosses the bridge across the Danube that connects the town of Belene and Persin island in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) This summer, Tana Ganeva traveled to Belene, Bulgaria's most notorious prison camp, where her grandfather was held in the 1950s. Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its Communist-era gulags, where thousands were starved, tortured, and killed. Ganeva's grandfather attempted to escape Bulgaria four times, before making it to California. See more stories on Insider's business page. The island of Persin is a bird-watcher's paradise. Set on the Danube River, which divides Bulgaria and Romania, it's a nature park covered in wetlands and home to hundreds of rare bird species: the spoonbill, the pygmy cormorant, the corncrake, as well as herons, eagles, storks, and pelicans. Amid the natural beauty, it's jarring to consider that this was the location of a concentration camp where thousands of Bulgarian political prisoners were brutalized and killed from 1949 to 1953 - and in some cases for years after that. Though it's officially known as Belene after the quiet Bulgarian village that sits 750 feet away on the mainland, old-timers here call it by another name: the Island of Death.My stepgrandfather, Georgi Tutunjiev, was sent here at age 24 and spent four years and three months interred at Belene after someone (he suspected his ex-wife) told the authorities of his plan to escape the country. In his notebooks - he had planned to write a memoir about Belene but never did before he died in 2011 at 87 - he remembered the place as "brutal facilities for re-education," where he'd endured "indescribable physical and psychological abuse." He finally managed to escape Bulgaria in 1966 and settle with my grandma in California. In 1989, my parents and I left Bulgaria and joined my grandparents in California, thanks to the family-reunification policy. While many survivors of trauma shut down, my grandfather never stopped talking about the gulag. He seemed to have an unending loop of stories about Belene. For my immediate family, it could be exhausting, and we were alarmed to discover his extensive gun collection, which my grandmother gamely dismissed as a coping mechanism. But guests who came to the house were often riveted by his dark tales, which he mixed with his sense of humor. "Jeko! The Communistie shot you!" he'd shout at his terrier mix, and the dog would sprawl on his back, playing dead. An aerial view of Persin island. The gulag was known as Belene, after the nearby town. Tsvetomir Nikolaev I've come to the town of Belene on a brutally hot day in August for a tour of the Island of Death. I meet Nedyalka Toncheva, who works for the Belene Island Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes tours of the island, close to the bank of the Danube.We cross a rickety water bridge on foot and then jump aboard a Jeep driven by a 24-year-old Belene native named Peter. Toncheva, who is 35, is passionate and knowledgeable about the island's flora and fauna. Every few minutes, she tells Peter to stop the car to point out a roosting stork or a water eagle. She talks about her plans to make Persin a tourist destination comparable to Borovets, a ski resort with luxury hotels in the Rila mountains; or Koprivchitsa, a living museum honoring the Bulgarian rebels who mounted an uprising in 1876 against the Ottoman Empire.In the three decades since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its many gulags, which operated mostly in the 1950s during the early, and most violent, days of Communist rule in the country. In Belene itself, many lower-level guards came from the village and a former mayor was also the gulag's first superintendent. It's not surprising that the village doesn't advertise its history.After 1989, survivors who had been forced to sign documents promising to never talk about the camps started speaking out. For a brief time, they became the subjects of documentaries and newspaper profiles. But soon, the consensus was that it was better to move on. An interior minister tasked with investigating the camps instead secretly ordered a purge of thousands of pages of documents - 40% of the government record. While Bulgaria's defeat of the Ottomans is central to the national identity, and much is made of the fact that Bulgaria saved its Jews during the Holocaust, the memory of the Communist era is more fraught. Georgi Tutunjiev, the author's grandfather, in around 1977. Tana Ganeva Peculiar for a tour, most of our stops lead us to what's not left of the camp. The shacks where prisoners slept have been razed - there's no trace of them.At the entrance, in what is now an open field, an inscription says, "To be human is to have dignity." From inside the camp - what would have been visible to the internees - the engraving says, "If the enemy doesn't surrender, he is destroyed." But no one I've talked to knows whether it's the original or has been recreated. There are a few abandoned, falling-apart buildings, but those were built in 1959, six years after the camp's official (but not real) closing, when it was converted into a prison, in part to kill rumors that it had operated as a secret gulag. Todor Zhivkov, the Communist premier who took power in 1954 and stayed on until 1989, reopened it in the 1980s to detain Muslims who refused to take on Slavic names in place of their own - a disastrous bid to assimilate them. I ask Toncheva whether there's a list of everyone who was held in the camp. I'm thinking of my grandfather and wondering whether there's any documentation. She tells me everyone who comes here for the camp asks the same question."There's no way to know, no list," Toncheva says, apologetic. "There's almost no proof the camp even existed."'Perfectly calculated by Satan himself'The first contingent of 300 men arrived at the Belene camp in the summer of 1949, five years after the 1944 Communist coup. My grandfather, then 24, arrived that first winter. A camp for women was founded on an adjacent island soon after.It was modeled after Josef Stalin's gulags in Siberia. Most of the prisoners had been dragged from their homes by the military police and sent here without trial. (Estimates vary, but 20,000 to 40,000 people were thought to be murdered by the Bulgarian Communist Party.) Even Stalin eventually warned them to scale down the killing of prominent oppositional figures or risk creating martyrs.The first wave of prisoners had to hack through the unpopulated island and build small shacks that were so crowded the prisoners didn't have room to lie down. In his history of the camp, Borislav Skotchev wrote that the island was dotted with towers manned by guards with machine guns. A survivor of Belene during a commemoration ceremony in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) The men held here included the former leader of the Social Democrats, Orthodox priests (many in their 70s), and the mayor of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia. Tsveti Ivanov, the editor of the newspaper Svoboden Narod, or Free People, was sent to Belene after serving 10 months in prison. He was beaten so brutally that he got tetanus from his wounds and died in the compound. Much of what we know about the place comes from survivors' memoirs. They were fed a thin soup, sometimes with a handful of beans thrown in. Their bread ration - moldy or stale when it made its way to them - was small, and could be withheld by the guards as punishment. Sometimes they got tea. My grandfather told me that, in the winter, both the soup and the tea were given to them already frozen.When Toncheva takes us on a brief walk to go look at storks, the ground gives off wet heat, and brambles and thorns claw at us, as if the island is alive and doesn't want us there. I think of the people who had to work days and nights, in sweltering summers, devoured by mosquitoes. It's unbelievable that anyone survived.An internal CIA document described the grim situation of starving prisoners. "A frequent sight is that of a prisoner eating raw green leaves and roots," it said. "To be caught doing this, however, would result in 10 days in detention in a dungeon for such an offense." The lucky ones got packages from family, though those were often taken by guards. Many had little choice but to choke down the rotting carcasses of wild cats, killed and skinned for their fur by the villagers, or pick through horse dung for undigested barley. According to a CIA information report from March 13, 1952, during one brutal winter 30 prisoners died of cold or starvation."It was an Inferno circle, perfectly calculated by Satan himself," Liliana Pirinchiva, one of the female survivors of Belene, wrote in her memoir. "We were reduced to skeletons." A group of Bulgarian anarchists. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Then there were the guards, who brought an especially sadistic approach to their work. Some would chase packs of prisoners on horseback, letting their rifles off "as if we were a flock of sheep," wrote Stefan Botchev, a survivor. When he got a severe case of scabies, the mites burrowing into his skin, he was locked up in a shed alone because the guards didn't want him to infect the cows. He recalled seeing a beating so severe that a prisoner's spine was broken, turning him into a "reptile crawling on the ground."Kouni Genchev Kounev, the chairman of the Bulgarian Youth Agrarian Union who also survived Belene, recalled one especially brutal punishment, in which the guards would pull back a prisoner's head and strike him in the trachea. They called it the "sword stroke."Years later, Krum Horozov, a survivor, would draw water colors of the camp from memory - it's virtually the only visual documentation that exists. In 2011, six years before his death, Horozov wrote: "And when we die, which will be soon, who will remember what happened on that island in the 1950s, and will they know that people were sent there without a trial and sentence?"Lilia Topouzova, a historian in Toronto who writes about the history and the memory of the camps, recalls meeting Horozov at an academic conference; he was trying to give away copies of his drawings of Belene to university students, but they avoided him as if he were a pesky street vendor.The CricketAt 93, Tsvetana Dzhermanova is the last known survivor of the women's camp, which was known as Shturets, or Cricket. We're sitting outside her home in the mountain village of Leskovets, and she's talking so fast I wonder how she manages to breathe.She smiles and laughs a lot, and she reminds me of my grandfather, who also spoke with the speed of a motorboat, frantic to tell his story."I promised to outlive the Communistie, and here I am!" she boasts. (My grandfather also took an understandable delight at outliving the Communistie. "I survived the Communistie, but I won't survive old age," he once told me, when I was 25 and had no idea about either.) Tsvetana Dzhermanova. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Dzhermanova was an anarchist in the 1950s, and still is today. "That's my personal ideology," she says. "I'm not sure humans are evolved enough to make either anarchism or socialism work the way they should, but for me, anarchism is it. Because I value freedom, family, friendship, and love."When she first heard about anarchism as a teenager, she asked her mother what it meant. "Anarchists are the people all regimes persecute," her mother had replied. That sold her. Dzhermanova joined a village group. She had no designs on power (detesting it) and mostly spent her time reading anarchist literature and working on a community vegetable garden. She estimates that 800 anarchists from the town were swept up in a night and sent to the gulags."We sang songs while we worked," Dzhermanova tells me. "That helped." Last spring the sprightly nonagenarian made the three-hour trip to Belene to speak with a group of students about the camps. "They had no idea about this. They were really surprised," she says. "No one had ever talked to them about it, and they don't learn about it in school."'Out of Fashion'Toncheva and our driver, Peter, walk through a falling-down building that was constructed in 1959, in part to hide evidence of the camp. It's covered in bird shit. Plant life is taking over its rotted remnants, and old decayed furniture has been abandoned here and there. We talk about how nobody talks about the camp.Peter tells us that despite having spent almost his entire life roughly 750 feet from Persin, in Belene village, he learned about the camp only two weeks earlier, when Toncheva hired him as a driver for her tours."To think they only gave them bread and water, and made them work so hard," he says, shaking his head in disbelief. A crumbling building built on the site of Belene. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters As far as Toncheva knows, no one from her family was held here, but she remembers asking her grandmother about the island when she was a teenager and again after reading the memoirs of survivors. "Shhh. Don't talk so much about this," her grandmother would say. "You don't want to bring trouble."There are rumors of a mass grave near Persin. Mikhail Mikailev, the head of the Belene Island Foundation, wants to find it. But money for the equipment required to find and dig up the remains eludes this two-person staff.Unlike Peter and Toncheva, my parents, who were born in the mid-1950s and grew up in Bulgaria, tell me that in the 1970s and 1980s, all their friends in Sofia knew about Belene. "We all heard the stories," my mother says.But for the authorities, maintaining official denial was worth murder.In 1969, the celebrated Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov defected to the West, where he wrote about the regime's abuses. In one essay, Markov described traveling on a boat down the Danube and approaching Belene. "I remembered how, feet dangling over the edge of the boat, a youth with a guitar once sang a strange song: Danube, white river, how quiet you flow / Danube, black river, what anguish you know." A view of Persin island. Tsvetomir Nikolaev On a rainy afternoon in London, a man jabbed the tip of his umbrella into Markov's leg. Later, Markov noticed what looked like a small bug bite but didn't think much of it. A few days later he was dead, most likely poisoned by the Bulgarian secret service.Before my visit to Belene, I met Topouzova, the historian, over Zoom to talk about the erasure of the camps in Bulgaria's consciousness. While former generals wrote best-sellers, the owner of a prominent bookstore dismissed any interest in survivors' memoirs - they were "out of fashion," he had told her.It was gaslighting in its purest form. And it showed how we're all so prone to the "just world" fallacy, a phenomenon where if something is too horribly unjust, the human brain just kind of moves on. It's not all that hard to bury inconvenient truths."It turned out that aging men and women with fragmented memories of bygone violence did not make for the faces of change," Topouzova wrote in a recent paper titled "On Silence and History" for the American Historical Association. "The interned were rendered nonexistent - their experiences and memories fated to vanish along with the files." A pile of stonesNations define themselves by their monuments. The memorial in downtown Manhattan demands that we never forget the victims of 9/11. In the past few years, American activists have torn Confederate statues from their perches, signaling a break with the passive acceptance of the history of slavery. Yet grappling with unpleasant history isn't easy. It was only in 2018 when a museum honoring the Black victims of lynching opened in Alabama. The 1619 Project, which posits that the history of the United States is rooted in slavery, has spurred a massive backlash. School districts have banned children's books about Rosa Parks. Vaunted democracies are as likely to try to bury inconvenient truths as former communist states. At an exhibition in Sofia in 2009, Belene survivors look at images of the gulag's victims. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters In Bulgaria, there are monuments everywhere. From the smallest village to Sofia, the heroes of Bulgaria's uprising against the Ottoman Empire are eternalized in stone. In Plovdiv, a giant sculpture overlooks Bulgaria's second-largest city that honors "Alyosha," an everyman Soviet soldier who helped "liberate" Bulgaria in the 1940s - even though many Bulgarians see that period as Soviet imperialism, much like the Ottoman Empire's 500 years of occupation.The victims of Belene and the other camps have no such honor. The Belene foundation does the best it can. They helped organize an art exhibit, where Korozov's pencil drawings were tacked onto the walls of the decaying structures that had been erected to mask evidence of the gulag. A man places photos of famous victims of Soviet policy in front of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014. Hristo Vladev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images There is one modest monument on the island. It's an abstract stone structure, and you'd have no idea what it was if you didn't already know the history. The original idea was to build a monument that listed the names of all the known internees, something like the Vietnam wall on the Mall in Washington. But the survivors and their families who pooled their resources to build it ran out of money, and no one, including the Bulgarian government, stepped in to help. (The survivors also hoped to open a museum and to recreate the shacks where they were held, but that hasn't happened either.)My grandfather's escape Dzhermanova, the 93-year-old anarchist - and eternal optimist, apparently - has hope that younger people will dig up the buried history.As for my grandfather, his ex-wife (or whoever it was who betrayed him to the authorities) was right that he wanted to escape Bulgaria.After his release from Belene in 1953, that resolve was so much stronger. "After 4 years and three months in the Island of Death, I became determined to go to my real home: America," he explained in his notebooks. The author with her grandfather and grandmother, Tsvetana Tutunjieva. Tana Ganeva As he detailed it, it would take four harrowing attempts. Soon after his release from Belene, he managed to make it into Yugoslavia during a "sabor" - a temporary loosening of borders so family and friends in the two countries could see each other. But he got caught and was thrown into a Yugoslavian jail.From there, he organized an inmate breakout after bribing the guard dog, Jeko, with his dinner. But he and the other prisoners were caught in the woods, and the Yugoslavian authorities gave them up to the Bulgarian authorities in exchange for 10 cows. "They weren't even very good cows - scrawny," he wrote.Several years later, he tried to cross Bulgaria's mountainous border into Greece, but he was caught once again.Finally, he made it into Austria and then Germany by clinging to the underside of a freight train. And then on to California, where he gave his new dog a familiar name: Jeko.Tana Ganeva writes about policing, prisons and criminal justice. She's currently working on a book about escapees from the Soviet bloc. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 27th, 2021

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The "Spartacus COVID Letter" That"s Gone Viral

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The 'Spartacus COVID Letter' That's Gone Viral Via The Automatic Earth blog, This is an anonymously posted document by someone who calls themselves Spartacus. Because it’s anonymous, I can’t contact them to ask for permission to publish. So I hesitated for a while, but it’s simply the best document I’ve seen on Covid, vaccines, etc. Whoever Spartacus is, they have a very elaborate knowledge in “the field”. If you want to know a lot more about the no. 1 issue in the world today, read it. And don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, neither do I. But I learned a lot. The original PDF doc is here: Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter Hello, My name is Spartacus, and I’ve had enough. We have been forced to watch America and the Free World spin into inexorable decline due to a biowarfare attack. We, along with countless others, have been victimized and gaslit by propaganda and psychological warfare operations being conducted by an unelected, unaccountable Elite against the American people and our allies. Our mental and physical health have suffered immensely over the course of the past year and a half. We have felt the sting of isolation, lockdown, masking, quarantines, and other completely nonsensical acts of healthcare theater that have done absolutely nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are watching the medical establishment inject literal poison into millions of our fellow Americans without so much as a fight. We have been told that we will be fired and denied our livelihoods if we refuse to vaccinate. This was the last straw. We have spent thousands of hours analyzing leaked footage from Wuhan, scientific papers from primary sources, as well as the paper trails left by the medical establishment. What we have discovered would shock anyone to their core. First, we will summarize our findings, and then, we will explain them in detail. References will be placed at the end. Summary: COVID-19 is a blood and blood vessel disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects the lining of human blood vessels, causing them to leak into the lungs. Current treatment protocols (e.g. invasive ventilation) are actively harmful to patients, accelerating oxidative stress and causing severe VILI (ventilator-induced lung injuries). The continued use of ventilators in the absence of any proven medical benefit constitutes mass murder. Existing countermeasures are inadequate to slow the spread of what is an aerosolized and potentially wastewater-borne virus, and constitute a form of medical theater. Various non-vaccine interventions have been suppressed by both the media and the medical establishment in favor of vaccines and expensive patented drugs. The authorities have denied the usefulness of natural immunity against COVID-19, despite the fact that natural immunity confers protection against all of the virus’s proteins, and not just one. Vaccines will do more harm than good. The antigen that these vaccines are based on, SARS-CoV- 2 Spike, is a toxic protein. SARS-CoV-2 may have ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement; current antibodies may not neutralize future strains, but instead help them infect immune cells. Also, vaccinating during a pandemic with a leaky vaccine removes the evolutionary pressure for a virus to become less lethal. There is a vast and appalling criminal conspiracy that directly links both Anthony Fauci and Moderna to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. COVID-19 vaccine researchers are directly linked to scientists involved in brain-computer interface (“neural lace”) tech, one of whom was indicted for taking grant money from China. Independent researchers have discovered mysterious nanoparticles inside the vaccines that are not supposed to be present. The entire pandemic is being used as an excuse for a vast political and economic transformation of Western society that will enrich the already rich and turn the rest of us into serfs and untouchables. COVID-19 Pathophysiology and Treatments: COVID-19 is not a viral pneumonia. It is a viral vascular endotheliitis and attacks the lining of blood vessels, particularly the small pulmonary alveolar capillaries, leading to endothelial cell activation and sloughing, coagulopathy, sepsis, pulmonary edema, and ARDS-like symptoms. This is a disease of the blood and blood vessels. The circulatory system. Any pneumonia that it causes is secondary to that. In severe cases, this leads to sepsis, blood clots, and multiple organ failure, including hypoxic and inflammatory damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Some of the most common laboratory findings in COVID-19 are elevated D-dimer, elevated prothrombin time, elevated C-reactive protein, neutrophilia, lymphopenia, hypocalcemia, and hyperferritinemia, essentially matching a profile of coagulopathy and immune system hyperactivation/immune cell exhaustion. COVID-19 can present as almost anything, due to the wide tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for various tissues in the body’s vital organs. While its most common initial presentation is respiratory illness and flu-like symptoms, it can present as brain inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, or even heart attack or pulmonary embolism. COVID-19 is more severe in those with specific comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. This is because these conditions involve endothelial dysfunction, which renders the circulatory system more susceptible to infection and injury by this particular virus. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not cause significant disease. In known cases, there is something known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of cases are mild and 20% are severe or critical. However, this ratio is only correct for known cases, not all infections. The number of actual infections is much, much higher. Consequently, the mortality and morbidity rate is lower. However, COVID-19 spreads very quickly, meaning that there are a significant number of severely-ill and critically-ill patients appearing in a short time frame. In those who have critical COVID-19-induced sepsis, hypoxia, coagulopathy, and ARDS, the most common treatments are intubation, injected corticosteroids, and blood thinners. This is not the correct treatment for COVID-19. In severe hypoxia, cellular metabolic shifts cause ATP to break down into hypoxanthine, which, upon the reintroduction of oxygen, causes xanthine oxidase to produce tons of highly damaging radicals that attack tissue. This is called ischemia-reperfusion injury, and it’s why the majority of people who go on a ventilator are dying. In the mitochondria, succinate buildup due to sepsis does the same exact thing; when oxygen is reintroduced, it makes superoxide radicals. Make no mistake, intubation will kill people who have COVID-19. The end-stage of COVID-19 is severe lipid peroxidation, where fats in the body start to “rust” due to damage by oxidative stress. This drives autoimmunity. Oxidized lipids appear as foreign objects to the immune system, which recognizes and forms antibodies against OSEs, or oxidation-specific epitopes. Also, oxidized lipids feed directly into pattern recognition receptors, triggering even more inflammation and summoning even more cells of the innate immune system that release even more destructive enzymes. This is similar to the pathophysiology of Lupus. COVID-19’s pathology is dominated by extreme oxidative stress and neutrophil respiratory burst, to the point where hemoglobin becomes incapable of carrying oxygen due to heme iron being stripped out of heme by hypochlorous acid. No amount of supplemental oxygen can oxygenate blood that chemically refuses to bind O2. The breakdown of the pathology is as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike binds to ACE2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 is an enzyme that is part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. The RAAS is a hormone control system that moderates fluid volume in the body and in the bloodstream (i.e. osmolarity) by controlling salt retention and excretion. This protein, ACE2, is ubiquitous in every part of the body that interfaces with the circulatory system, particularly in vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, brain astrocytes, renal tubules and podocytes, pancreatic islet cells, bile duct and intestinal epithelial cells, and the seminiferous ducts of the testis, all of which SARS-CoV-2 can infect, not just the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike undergoes a conformational change where the S1 trimers flip up and extend, locking onto ACE2 bound to the surface of a cell. TMPRSS2, or transmembrane protease serine 2, comes along and cuts off the heads of the Spike, exposing the S2 stalk-shaped subunit inside. The remainder of the Spike undergoes a conformational change that causes it to unfold like an extension ladder, embedding itself in the cell membrane. Then, it folds back upon itself, pulling the viral membrane and the cell membrane together. The two membranes fuse, with the virus’s proteins migrating out onto the surface of the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid enters the cell, disgorging its genetic material and beginning the viral replication process, hijacking the cell’s own structures to produce more virus. SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins embedded in a cell can actually cause human cells to fuse together, forming syncytia/MGCs (multinuclear giant cells). They also have other pathogenic, harmful effects. SARS-CoV- 2’s viroporins, such as its Envelope protein, act as calcium ion channels, introducing calcium into infected cells. The virus suppresses the natural interferon response, resulting in delayed inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 N protein can also directly activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Also, it suppresses the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The suppression of ACE2 by binding with Spike causes a buildup of bradykinin that would otherwise be broken down by ACE2. This constant calcium influx into the cells results in (or is accompanied by) noticeable hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, especially in people with Vitamin D deficiencies and pre-existing endothelial dysfunction. Bradykinin upregulates cAMP, cGMP, COX, and Phospholipase C activity. This results in prostaglandin release and vastly increased intracellular calcium signaling, which promotes highly aggressive ROS release and ATP depletion. NADPH oxidase releases superoxide into the extracellular space. Superoxide radicals react with nitric oxide to form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts with the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor needed by endothelial nitric oxide synthase, destroying it and “uncoupling” the enzymes, causing nitric oxide synthase to synthesize more superoxide instead. This proceeds in a positive feedback loop until nitric oxide bioavailability in the circulatory system is depleted. Dissolved nitric oxide gas produced constantly by eNOS serves many important functions, but it is also antiviral against SARS-like coronaviruses, preventing the palmitoylation of the viral Spike protein and making it harder for it to bind to host receptors. The loss of NO allows the virus to begin replicating with impunity in the body. Those with endothelial dysfunction (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, old age, African-American race) have redox equilibrium issues to begin with, giving the virus an advantage. Due to the extreme cytokine release triggered by these processes, the body summons a great deal of neutrophils and monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages to the lungs. Cells of the innate immune system are the first-line defenders against pathogens. They work by engulfing invaders and trying to attack them with enzymes that produce powerful oxidants, like SOD and MPO. Superoxide dismutase takes superoxide and makes hydrogen peroxide, and myeloperoxidase takes hydrogen peroxide and chlorine ions and makes hypochlorous acid, which is many, many times more reactive than sodium hypochlorite bleach. Neutrophils have a nasty trick. They can also eject these enzymes into the extracellular space, where they will continuously spit out peroxide and bleach into the bloodstream. This is called neutrophil extracellular trap formation, or, when it becomes pathogenic and counterproductive, NETosis. In severe and critical COVID-19, there is actually rather severe NETosis. Hypochlorous acid building up in the bloodstream begins to bleach the iron out of heme and compete for O2 binding sites. Red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen, causing the sufferer to turn blue in the face. Unliganded iron, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide in the bloodstream undergo the Haber- Weiss and Fenton reactions, producing extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that violently strip electrons from surrounding fats and DNA, oxidizing them severely. This condition is not unknown to medical science. The actual name for all of this is acute sepsis. We know this is happening in COVID-19 because people who have died of the disease have noticeable ferroptosis signatures in their tissues, as well as various other oxidative stress markers such as nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, and malondialdehyde. When you intubate someone with this condition, you are setting off a free radical bomb by supplying the cells with O2. It’s a catch-22, because we need oxygen to make Adenosine Triphosphate (that is, to live), but O2 is also the precursor of all these damaging radicals that lead to lipid peroxidation. The correct treatment for severe COVID-19 related sepsis is non-invasive ventilation, steroids, and antioxidant infusions. Most of the drugs repurposed for COVID-19 that show any benefit whatsoever in rescuing critically-ill COVID-19 patients are antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine, melatonin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, famotidine, cimetidine, and ranitidine are all antioxidants. Indomethacin prevents iron- driven oxidation of arachidonic acid to isoprostanes. There are powerful antioxidants such as apocynin that have not even been tested on COVID-19 patients yet which could defang neutrophils, prevent lipid peroxidation, restore endothelial health, and restore oxygenation to the tissues. Scientists who know anything about pulmonary neutrophilia, ARDS, and redox biology have known or surmised much of this since March 2020. In April 2020, Swiss scientists confirmed that COVID-19 was a vascular endotheliitis. By late 2020, experts had already concluded that COVID-19 causes a form of viral sepsis. They also know that sepsis can be effectively treated with antioxidants. None of this information is particularly new, and yet, for the most part, it has not been acted upon. Doctors continue to use damaging intubation techniques with high PEEP settings despite high lung compliance and poor oxygenation, killing an untold number of critically ill patients with medical malpractice. Because of the way they are constructed, Randomized Control Trials will never show any benefit for any antiviral against COVID-19. Not Remdesivir, not Kaletra, not HCQ, and not Ivermectin. The reason for this is simple; for the patients that they have recruited for these studies, such as Oxford’s ludicrous RECOVERY study, the intervention is too late to have any positive effect. The clinical course of COVID-19 is such that by the time most people seek medical attention for hypoxia, their viral load has already tapered off to almost nothing. If someone is about 10 days post-exposure and has already been symptomatic for five days, there is hardly any virus left in their bodies, only cellular damage and derangement that has initiated a hyperinflammatory response. It is from this group that the clinical trials for antivirals have recruited, pretty much exclusively. In these trials, they give antivirals to severely ill patients who have no virus in their bodies, only a delayed hyperinflammatory response, and then absurdly claim that antivirals have no utility in treating or preventing COVID-19. These clinical trials do not recruit people who are pre-symptomatic. They do not test pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis. This is like using a defibrillator to shock only flatline, and then absurdly claiming that defibrillators have no medical utility whatsoever when the patients refuse to rise from the dead. The intervention is too late. These trials for antivirals show systematic, egregious selection bias. They are providing a treatment that is futile to the specific cohort they are enrolling. India went against the instructions of the WHO and mandated the prophylactic usage of Ivermectin. They have almost completely eradicated COVID-19. The Indian Bar Association of Mumbai has brought criminal charges against WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan for recommending against the use of Ivermectin. Ivermectin is not “horse dewormer”. Yes, it is sold in veterinary paste form as a dewormer for animals. It has also been available in pill form for humans for decades, as an antiparasitic drug. The media have disingenuously claimed that because Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, it has no utility as an antivirus. This is incorrect. Ivermectin has utility as an antiviral. It blocks importin, preventing nuclear import, effectively inhibiting viral access to cell nuclei. Many drugs currently on the market have multiple modes of action. Ivermectin is one such drug. It is both antiparasitic and antiviral. In Bangladesh, Ivermectin costs $1.80 for an entire 5-day course. Remdesivir, which is toxic to the liver, costs $3,120 for a 5-day course of the drug. Billions of dollars of utterly useless Remdesivir were sold to our governments on the taxpayer’s dime, and it ended up being totally useless for treating hyperinflammatory COVID-19. The media has hardly even covered this at all. The opposition to the use of generic Ivermectin is not based in science. It is purely financially and politically-motivated. An effective non-vaccine intervention would jeopardize the rushed FDA approval of patented vaccines and medicines for which the pharmaceutical industry stands to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in sales on an ongoing basis. The majority of the public are scientifically illiterate and cannot grasp what any of this even means, thanks to a pathetic educational system that has miseducated them. You would be lucky to find 1 in 100 people who have even the faintest clue what any of this actually means. COVID-19 Transmission: COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible. The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant. The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe. Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud. The minimum level of protection against this virus is quite literally a P100 respirator, a PAPR/CAPR, or a 40mm NATO CBRN respirator, ideally paired with a full-body tyvek or tychem suit, gloves, and booties, with all the holes and gaps taped. Live SARS-CoV-2 may potentially be detected in sewage outflows, and there may be oral-fecal transmission. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, in the Amoy Gardens incident, hundreds of people were infected by aerosolized fecal matter rising from floor drains in their apartments. COVID-19 Vaccine Dangers: The vaccines for COVID-19 are not sterilizing and do not prevent infection or transmission. They are “leaky” vaccines. This means they remove the evolutionary pressure on the virus to become less lethal. It also means that the vaccinated are perfect carriers. In other words, those who are vaccinated are a threat to the unvaccinated, not the other way around. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have undergone minimal testing, with highly accelerated clinical trials. Though they appear to limit severe illness, the long-term safety profile of these vaccines remains unknown. Some of these so-called “vaccines” utilize an untested new technology that has never been used in vaccines before. Traditional vaccines use weakened or killed virus to stimulate an immune response. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines do not. They are purported to consist of an intramuscular shot containing a suspension of lipid nanoparticles filled with messenger RNA. The way they generate an immune response is by fusing with cells in a vaccine recipient’s shoulder, undergoing endocytosis, releasing their mRNA cargo into those cells, and then utilizing the ribosomes in those cells to synthesize modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in-situ. These modified Spike proteins then migrate to the surface of the cell, where they are anchored in place by a transmembrane domain. The adaptive immune system detects the non-human viral protein being expressed by these cells, and then forms antibodies against that protein. This is purported to confer protection against the virus, by training the adaptive immune system to recognize and produce antibodies against the Spike on the actual virus. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines do something similar, but use an adenovirus vector for genetic material delivery instead of a lipid nanoparticle. These vaccines were produced or validated with the aid of fetal cell lines HEK-293 and PER.C6, which people with certain religious convictions may object strongly to. SARS-CoV-2 Spike is a highly pathogenic protein on its own. It is impossible to overstate the danger presented by introducing this protein into the human body. It is claimed by vaccine manufacturers that the vaccine remains in cells in the shoulder, and that SARS- CoV-2 Spike produced and expressed by these cells from the vaccine’s genetic material is harmless and inert, thanks to the insertion of prolines in the Spike sequence to stabilize it in the prefusion conformation, preventing the Spike from becoming active and fusing with other cells. However, a pharmacokinetic study from Japan showed that the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA from the Pfizer vaccine did not stay in the shoulder, and in fact bioaccumulated in many different organs, including the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, meaning that modified Spike is being expressed quite literally all over the place. These lipid nanoparticles may trigger anaphylaxis in an unlucky few, but far more concerning is the unregulated expression of Spike in various somatic cell lines far from the injection site and the unknown consequences of that. Messenger RNA is normally consumed right after it is produced in the body, being translated into a protein by a ribosome. COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is produced outside the body, long before a ribosome translates it. In the meantime, it could accumulate damage if inadequately preserved. When a ribosome attempts to translate a damaged strand of mRNA, it can become stalled. When this happens, the ribosome becomes useless for translating proteins because it now has a piece of mRNA stuck in it, like a lace card in an old punch card reader. The whole thing has to be cleaned up and new ribosomes synthesized to replace it. In cells with low ribosome turnover, like nerve cells, this can lead to reduced protein synthesis, cytopathic effects, and neuropathies. Certain proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 Spike, have proteolytic cleavage sites that are basically like little dotted lines that say “cut here”, which attract a living organism’s own proteases (essentially, molecular scissors) to cut them. There is a possibility that S1 may be proteolytically cleaved from S2, causing active S1 to float away into the bloodstream while leaving the S2 “stalk” embedded in the membrane of the cell that expressed the protein. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a Superantigenic region (SAg), which may promote extreme inflammation. Anti-Spike antibodies were found in one study to function as autoantibodies and attack the body’s own cells. Those who have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccines have developed blood clots, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, and multiple sclerosis flares, indicating that the vaccine promotes autoimmune reactions against healthy tissue. SARS-CoV-2 Spike does not only bind to ACE2. It was suspected to have regions that bind to basigin, integrins, neuropilin-1, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides as well. SARS-CoV-2 Spike, on its own, can potentially bind any of these things and act as a ligand for them, triggering unspecified and likely highly inflammatory cellular activity. SARS-CoV-2 Spike contains an unusual PRRA insert that forms a furin cleavage site. Furin is a ubiquitous human protease, making this an ideal property for the Spike to have, giving it a high degree of cell tropism. No wild-type SARS-like coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 possess this feature, making it highly suspicious, and perhaps a sign of human tampering. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a prion-like domain that enhances its infectiousness. The Spike S1 RBD may bind to heparin-binding proteins and promote amyloid aggregation. In humans, this could lead to Parkinson’s, Lewy Body Dementia, premature Alzheimer’s, or various other neurodegenerative diseases. This is very concerning because SARS-CoV-2 S1 is capable of injuring and penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain. It is also capable of increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to other molecules. SARS-CoV-2, like other betacoronaviruses, may have Dengue-like ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement of disease. For those who aren’t aware, some viruses, including betacoronaviruses, have a feature called ADE. There is also something called Original Antigenic Sin, which is the observation that the body prefers to produce antibodies based on previously-encountered strains of a virus over newly- encountered ones. In ADE, antibodies from a previous infection become non-neutralizing due to mutations in the virus’s proteins. These non-neutralizing antibodies then act as trojan horses, allowing live, active virus to be pulled into macrophages through their Fc receptor pathways, allowing the virus to infect immune cells that it would not have been able to infect before. This has been known to happen with Dengue Fever; when someone gets sick with Dengue, recovers, and then contracts a different strain, they can get very, very ill. If someone is vaccinated with mRNA based on the Spike from the initial Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, and then they become infected with a future, mutated strain of the virus, they may become severely ill. In other words, it is possible for vaccines to sensitize someone to disease. There is a precedent for this in recent history. Sanofi’s Dengvaxia vaccine for Dengue failed because it caused immune sensitization in people whose immune systems were Dengue-naive. In mice immunized against SARS-CoV and challenged with the virus, a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, they developed immune sensitization, Th2 immunopathology, and eosinophil infiltration in their lungs. We have been told that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines cannot be integrated into the human genome, because messenger RNA cannot be turned back into DNA. This is false. There are elements in human cells called LINE-1 retrotransposons, which can indeed integrate mRNA into a human genome by endogenous reverse transcription. Because the mRNA used in the vaccines is stabilized, it hangs around in cells longer, increasing the chances for this to happen. If the gene for SARS-CoV-2 Spike is integrated into a portion of the genome that is not silent and actually expresses a protein, it is possible that people who take this vaccine may continuously express SARS-CoV-2 Spike from their somatic cells for the rest of their lives. By inoculating people with a vaccine that causes their bodies to produce Spike in-situ, they are being inoculated with a pathogenic protein. A toxin that may cause long-term inflammation, heart problems, and a raised risk of cancers. In the long-term, it may also potentially lead to premature neurodegenerative disease. Absolutely nobody should be compelled to take this vaccine under any circumstances, and in actual fact, the vaccination campaign must be stopped immediately. COVID-19 Criminal Conspiracy: The vaccine and the virus were made by the same people. In 2014, there was a moratorium on SARS gain-of-function research that lasted until 2017. This research was not halted. Instead, it was outsourced, with the federal grants being laundered through NGOs. Ralph Baric is a virologist and SARS expert at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. This is who Anthony Fauci was referring to when he insisted, before Congress, that if any gain-of-function research was being conducted, it was being conducted in North Carolina. This was a lie. Anthony Fauci lied before Congress. A felony. Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli are colleagues and have co-written papers together. Ralph Baric mentored Shi Zhengli in his gain-of-function manipulation techniques, particularly serial passage, which results in a virus that appears as if it originated naturally. In other words, deniable bioweapons. Serial passage in humanized hACE2 mice may have produced something like SARS-CoV-2. The funding for the gain-of-function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Peter Daszak. Peter Daszak runs an NGO called EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that is, Anthony Fauci), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of the US Department of Defense), and the United States Agency for International Development. NIH/NIAID contributed a few million dollars, and DTRA and USAID each contributed tens of millions of dollars towards this research. Altogether, it was over a hundred million dollars. EcoHealth Alliance subcontracted these grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab in China with a very questionable safety record and poorly trained staff, so that they could conduct gain-of-function research, not in their fancy P4 lab, but in a level-2 lab where technicians wore nothing more sophisticated than perhaps a hairnet, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, instead of the bubble suits used when working with dangerous viruses. Chinese scientists in Wuhan reported being routinely bitten and urinated on by laboratory animals. Why anyone would outsource this dangerous and delicate work to the People’s Republic of China, a country infamous for industrial accidents and massive explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives, is completely beyond me, unless the aim was to start a pandemic on purpose. In November of 2019, three technicians at the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed symptoms consistent with a flu-like illness. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, and Ralph Baric knew at once what had happened, because back channels exist between this laboratory and our scientists and officials. December 12th, 2019, Ralph Baric signed a Material Transfer Agreement (essentially, an NDA) to receive Coronavirus mRNA vaccine-related materials co-owned by Moderna and NIH. It wasn’t until a whole month later, on January 11th, 2020, that China allegedly sent us the sequence to what would become known as SARS-CoV-2. Moderna claims, rather absurdly, that they developed a working vaccine from this sequence in under 48 hours. Stephane Bancel, the current CEO of Moderna, was formerly the CEO of bioMerieux, a French multinational corporation specializing in medical diagnostic tech, founded by one Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux was one of the individuals who was instrumental in the construction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab. The sequence given as the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, is not a real virus. It is a forgery. It was made by entering a gene sequence by hand into a database, to create a cover story for the existence of SARS-CoV-2, which is very likely a gain-of-function chimera produced at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and was either leaked by accident or intentionally released. The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 has never been found. This is not a conspiracy “theory”. It is an actual criminal conspiracy, in which people connected to the development of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 are directly connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their gain-of-function research by very few degrees of separation, if any. The paper trail is well- established. The lab-leak theory has been suppressed because pulling that thread leads one to inevitably conclude that there is enough circumstantial evidence to link Moderna, the NIH, the WIV, and both the vaccine and the virus’s creation together. In a sane country, this would have immediately led to the world’s biggest RICO and mass murder case. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, Shi Zhengli, and Stephane Bancel, and their accomplices, would have been indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Instead, billions of our tax dollars were awarded to the perpetrators. The FBI raided Allure Medical in Shelby Township north of Detroit for billing insurance for “fraudulent COVID-19 cures”. The treatment they were using? Intravenous Vitamin C. An antioxidant. Which, as described above, is an entirely valid treatment for COVID-19-induced sepsis, and indeed, is now part of the MATH+ protocol advanced by Dr. Paul E. Marik. The FDA banned ranitidine (Zantac) due to supposed NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) contamination. Ranitidine is not only an H2 blocker used as antacid, but also has a powerful antioxidant effect, scavenging hydroxyl radicals. This gives it utility in treating COVID-19. The FDA also attempted to take N-acetylcysteine, a harmless amino acid supplement and antioxidant, off the shelves, compelling Amazon to remove it from their online storefront. This leaves us with a chilling question: did the FDA knowingly suppress antioxidants useful for treating COVID-19 sepsis as part of a criminal conspiracy against the American public? The establishment is cooperating with, and facilitating, the worst criminals in human history, and are actively suppressing non-vaccine treatments and therapies in order to compel us to inject these criminals’ products into our bodies. This is absolutely unacceptable. COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Links to Transhumanism: This section deals with some more speculative aspects of the pandemic and the medical and scientific establishment’s reaction to it, as well as the disturbing links between scientists involved in vaccine research and scientists whose work involved merging nanotechnology with living cells. On June 9th, 2020, Charles Lieber, a Harvard nanotechnology researcher with decades of experience, was indicted by the DOJ for fraud. Charles Lieber received millions of dollars in grant money from the US Department of Defense, specifically the military think tanks DARPA, AFOSR, and ONR, as well as NIH and MITRE. His specialty is the use of silicon nanowires in lieu of patch clamp electrodes to monitor and modulate intracellular activity, something he has been working on at Harvard for the past twenty years. He was claimed to have been working on silicon nanowire batteries in China, but none of his colleagues can recall him ever having worked on battery technology in his life; all of his research deals with bionanotechnology, or the blending of nanotech with living cells. The indictment was over his collaboration with the Wuhan University of Technology. He had double- dipped, against the terms of his DOD grants, and taken money from the PRC’s Thousand Talents plan, a program which the Chinese government uses to bribe Western scientists into sharing proprietary R&D information that can be exploited by the PLA for strategic advantage. Charles Lieber’s own papers describe the use of silicon nanowires for brain-computer interfaces, or “neural lace” technology. His papers describe how neurons can endocytose whole silicon nanowires or parts of them, monitoring and even modulating neuronal activity. Charles Lieber was a colleague of Robert Langer. Together, along with Daniel S. Kohane, they worked on a paper describing artificial tissue scaffolds that could be implanted in a human heart to monitor its activity remotely. Robert Langer, an MIT alumnus and expert in nanotech drug delivery, is one of the co-founders of Moderna. His net worth is now $5.1 billion USD thanks to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine sales. Both Charles Lieber and Robert Langer’s bibliographies describe, essentially, techniques for human enhancement, i.e. transhumanism. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum and the architect behind the so-called “Great Reset”, has long spoken of the “blending of biology and machinery” in his books. Since these revelations, it has come to the attention of independent researchers that the COVID-19 vaccines may contain reduced graphene oxide nanoparticles. Japanese researchers have also found unexplained contaminants in COVID-19 vaccines. Graphene oxide is an anxiolytic. It has been shown to reduce the anxiety of laboratory mice when injected into their brains. Indeed, given SARS-CoV-2 Spike’s propensity to compromise the blood-brain barrier and increase its permeability, it is the perfect protein for preparing brain tissue for extravasation of nanoparticles from the bloodstream and into the brain. Graphene is also highly conductive and, in some circumstances, paramagnetic. In 2013, under the Obama administration, DARPA launched the BRAIN Initiative; BRAIN is an acronym for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®. This program involves the development of brain-computer interface technologies for the military, particularly non-invasive, injectable systems that cause minimal damage to brain tissue when removed. Supposedly, this technology would be used for healing wounded soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the direct brain control of prosthetic limbs, and even new abilities such as controlling drones with one’s mind. Various methods have been proposed for achieving this, including optogenetics, magnetogenetics, ultrasound, implanted electrodes, and transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. In all instances, the goal is to obtain read or read-write capability over neurons, either by stimulating and probing them, or by rendering them especially sensitive to stimulation and probing. However, the notion of the widespread use of BCI technology, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink device, raises many concerns over privacy and personal autonomy. Reading from neurons is problematic enough on its own. Wireless brain-computer interfaces may interact with current or future wireless GSM infrastructure, creating neurological data security concerns. A hacker or other malicious actor may compromise such networks to obtain people’s brain data, and then exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a device capable of writing to human neurons, not just reading from them, presents another, even more serious set of ethical concerns. A BCI that is capable of altering the contents of one’s mind for innocuous purposes, such as projecting a heads-up display onto their brain’s visual center or sending audio into one’s auditory cortex, would also theoretically be capable of altering mood and personality, or perhaps even subjugating someone’s very will, rendering them utterly obedient to authority. This technology would be a tyrant’s wet dream. Imagine soldiers who would shoot their own countrymen without hesitation, or helpless serfs who are satisfied to live in literal dog kennels. BCIs could be used to unscrupulously alter perceptions of basic things such as emotions and values, changing people’s thresholds of satiety, happiness, anger, disgust, and so forth. This is not inconsequential. Someone’s entire regime of behaviors could be altered by a BCI, including such things as suppressing their appetite or desire for virtually anything on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anything is possible when you have direct access to someone’s brain and its contents. Someone who is obese could be made to feel disgust at the sight of food. Someone who is involuntarily celibate could have their libido disabled so they don’t even desire sex to begin with. Someone who is racist could be forced to feel delight over cohabiting with people of other races. Someone who is violent could be forced to be meek and submissive. These things might sound good to you if you are a tyrant, but to normal people, the idea of personal autonomy being overridden to such a degree is appalling. For the wealthy, neural laces would be an unequaled boon, giving them the opportunity to enhance their intelligence with neuroprosthetics (i.e. an “exocortex”), and to deliver irresistible commands directly into the minds of their BCI-augmented servants, even physically or sexually abusive commands that they would normally refuse. If the vaccine is a method to surreptitiously introduce an injectable BCI into millions of people without their knowledge or consent, then what we are witnessing is the rise of a tyrannical regime unlike anything ever seen before on the face of this planet, one that fully intends to strip every man, woman, and child of our free will. Our flaws are what make us human. A utopia arrived at by removing people’s free will is not a utopia at all. It is a monomaniacal nightmare. Furthermore, the people who rule over us are Dark Triad types who cannot be trusted with such power. Imagine being beaten and sexually assaulted by a wealthy and powerful psychopath and being forced to smile and laugh over it because your neural lace gives you no choice but to obey your master. The Elites are forging ahead with this technology without giving people any room to question the social or ethical ramifications, or to establish regulatory frameworks that ensure that our personal agency and autonomy will not be overridden by these devices. They do this because they secretly dream of a future where they can treat you worse than an animal and you cannot even fight back. If this evil plan is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of humanity as we know it. Conclusions: The current pandemic was produced and perpetuated by the establishment, through the use of a virus engineered in a PLA-connected Chinese biowarfare laboratory, with the aid of American taxpayer dollars and French expertise. This research was conducted under the absolutely ridiculous euphemism of “gain-of-function” research, which is supposedly carried out in order to determine which viruses have the highest potential for zoonotic spillover and preemptively vaccinate or guard against them. Gain-of-function/gain-of-threat research, a.k.a. “Dual-Use Research of Concern”, or DURC, is bioweapon research by another, friendlier-sounding name, simply to avoid the taboo of calling it what it actually is. It has always been bioweapon research. The people who are conducting this research fully understand that they are taking wild pathogens that are not infectious in humans and making them more infectious, often taking grants from military think tanks encouraging them to do so. These virologists conducting this type of research are enemies of their fellow man, like pyromaniac firefighters. GOF research has never protected anyone from any pandemic. In fact, it has now started one, meaning its utility for preventing pandemics is actually negative. It should have been banned globally, and the lunatics performing it should have been put in straitjackets long ago. Either through a leak or an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a deadly SARS strain is now endemic across the globe, after the WHO and CDC and public officials first downplayed the risks, and then intentionally incited a panic and lockdowns that jeopardized people’s health and their livelihoods. This was then used by the utterly depraved and psychopathic aristocratic class who rule over us as an excuse to coerce people into accepting an injected poison which may be a depopulation agent, a mind control/pacification agent in the form of injectable “smart dust”, or both in one. They believe they can get away with this by weaponizing the social stigma of vaccine refusal. They are incorrect. Their motives are clear and obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. These megalomaniacs have raided the pension funds of the free world. Wall Street is insolvent and has had an ongoing liquidity crisis since the end of 2019. The aim now is to exert total, full-spectrum physical, mental, and financial control over humanity before we realize just how badly we’ve been extorted by these maniacs. The pandemic and its response served multiple purposes for the Elite: Concealing a depression brought on by the usurious plunder of our economies conducted by rentier-capitalists and absentee owners who produce absolutely nothing of any value to society whatsoever. Instead of us having a very predictable Occupy Wall Street Part II, the Elites and their stooges got to stand up on television and paint themselves as wise and all-powerful saviors instead of the marauding cabal of despicable land pirates that they are. Destroying small businesses and eroding the middle class. Transferring trillions of dollars of wealth from the American public and into the pockets of billionaires and special interests. Engaging in insider trading, buying stock in biotech companies and shorting brick-and-mortar businesses and travel companies, with the aim of collapsing face-to-face commerce and tourism and replacing it with e-commerce and servitization. Creating a casus belli for war with China, encouraging us to attack them, wasting American lives and treasure and driving us to the brink of nuclear armageddon. Establishing technological and biosecurity frameworks for population control and technocratic- socialist “smart cities” where everyone’s movements are despotically tracked, all in anticipation of widespread automation, joblessness, and food shortages, by using the false guise of a vaccine to compel cooperation. Any one of these things would constitute a vicious rape of Western society. Taken together, they beggar belief; they are a complete inversion of our most treasured values. What is the purpose of all of this? One can only speculate as to the perpetrators’ motives, however, we have some theories. The Elites are trying to pull up the ladder, erase upward mobility for large segments of the population, cull political opponents and other “undesirables”, and put the remainder of humanity on a tight leash, rationing our access to certain goods and services that they have deemed “high-impact”, such as automobile use, tourism, meat consumption, and so on. Naturally, they will continue to have their own luxuries, as part of a strict caste system akin to feudalism. Why are they doing this? Simple. The Elites are Neo-Malthusians and believe that we are overpopulated and that resource depletion will collapse civilization in a matter of a few short decades. They are not necessarily incorrect in this belief. We are overpopulated, and we are consuming too many resources. However, orchestrating such a gruesome and murderous power grab in response to a looming crisis demonstrates that they have nothing but the utmost contempt for their fellow man. To those who are participating in this disgusting farce without any understanding of what they are doing, we have one word for you. Stop. You are causing irreparable harm to your country and to your fellow citizens. To those who may be reading this warning and have full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and how it will unjustly harm millions of innocent people, we have a few more words. Damn you to hell. You will not destroy America and the Free World, and you will not have your New World Order. We will make certain of that. *  *  * This PDF document contains 14 pages, followed by another 17 pages of references. For those, please visit the original PDF file at Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

Regime Change

Regime Change Excerpted from a whitepaper by One River Asset Management's Chase Muller and Patrick Kazley titled: Regime Change Resilience - Rebooting Risk Mitigation with Structural Correlation. Regime Change After decades, you recognize patterns. The biggest winners and losers in each cycle tend to be younger. Unburdened by the past, open to change, they often lack fear. Older folks who remain standing are either lucky or attained some wisdom, acquired at great cost. Pain. The most honest of those live in the fear that they have gotten lucky, and it will run out. Having recognized the impossibility of knowing the future, and knowing each cycle contains some new surprise, they surround themselves with younger people, blending the strengths of young and old. Beginning in 1962 when the daily bond time series is available and going through today, the correlation between stocks and bonds is slightly negative (-0.1 correlation). The t-statistic, or level of reliability of that full sample observation, is highly statistically significant with a -7 t-stat, where a t-statistic of approximately +/- 2.5 or larger is typically considered statistically significant. The t-stat being much larger than that makes it very unlikely to be a spurious finding over the sample period. However, if you divide this timeframe into different periods, the apparent consistency and reliability of this observation changes drastically. From 1962-1981, when US interest rates went from historic norms to record highs, the correlation between bonds and equities inverts and is positive (+0.2 correlation). Thus, in Oct 1981 when interest rates reached their secular peak, if you had used a backward-looking risk model to estimate cross-asset correlations or build a risk mitigation portfolio, you would have assumed equities and bonds were positively correlated, and indeed the significance of that relationship would have been entirely supported through a statistical lens (+13 t-stat). Naturally, you might be tempted to look at these results and conclude the relationship between equities and fixed income is indeed reliable, as long as you control for the rising or falling rate environment. However, the relationship and changes to it are not as easily predicted by a single factor such as the general drift of interest rates over time. To illustrate this, from Oct 1981 – Oct 1998 when rates collapsed from highs, the relationship between stocks and bonds was also positive with a higher level of consistency (+0.2 correlation, with a +16 t-stat). Lastly, the 1998-present period resulted in a -0.4 correlation between stocks and bonds, with a highly significant -30 t-stat. What we have not explored here, but is also worth highlighting at least in passing, is the potentially undesirable conditional correlation that can accompany transitory relationships. Even an assumed relationship that holds on average over longer time frames can break down in extreme risk-off events and lead to deeper drawdowns and more short-term pain. March 2020 was a such a case of risk assets concurrently declining and transitory correlations breaking down when they were needed most. Using backward-looking returns to justify cross-asset correlation expectations might yield convincing statistics, but ultimately this approach has not proven to be a fully reliable method of sourcing correlation estimates essential for proper risk mitigation and diversification. Indeed, without properly matching a statistical observation with an intuitive linkage, you run the risk of relying on ephemeral relationships for stability. This raises a question: If forward-looking allocation models based on historical returns are only valid in a world of relatively static cross-asset relationships, how does an allocator find reliable sources of diversification in the face of regime changes? Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 13:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

The "Great Game" Moves On

The 'Great Game' Moves On Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership. The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region. This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of green energy, the importance of trade in the Pacific region, and China’s current deflationary strategy relative to that of declining western powers aggressively pursuing asset inflation. There is little doubt that the world is rebalancing as Mackinder described nearly eighty years ago. To appreciate it we must look beyond the West’s current economic and monetary difficulties and the loss of its hegemony over Asia, and particularly note the improving conditions of the Asia’s most populous nations. Introduction Following NATO’s defeat in the heart of Asia, and with Afghanistan now under the Taliban’s rule, the Chinese/Russian axis now controls the Asian continental mass. Asian nations not directly related to its joint hegemony (not being members, associates, or dialog partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) are increasingly dependent upon it for trade and technology. Sub-Saharan Africa is in its sphere of influence. The reality for America is that the total population in or associated with the SCO is 57% of the world population. And America’s grip on its European allies is slipping. NATO itself has become less relevant, with Turkey drawn towards the rival Asian axis, and its EU members are compromised through trading and energy links with Russia and China. Furthermore, France is pushing the EU towards establishing its own army independent of US-led NATO — quite what its role will be, other than political puffery for France is a mystery. It is against this background that three of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership have formed AUKUS – standing for Australia, UK, and US — and its first agreement is to give Australia a nuclear submarine capability to strengthen the partnership’s naval power in the Pacific. Other capabilities, chiefly aimed at containing the Chinese threat to Taiwan and other allies in the Pacific Ocean, will surely emerge in due course. The other two Five Eyes, Canada and New Zealand, appear to be less keen to confront China. But perhaps they will also have less obvious roles in due course beyond pure intelligence gathering. The US, under President Trump, had failed to contain China’s increasing economic dominance and its rapidly developing technological challenge to American supremacy. Trump’s one success was to peel off the UK from its Cameron/Osbourne policy of strengthening trade and financial ties with China by threatening the UK’s important role in its intelligence partnership with the US. For the UK, the challenge came at a critical time. Brexit had happened, and the UK needed global partners for its future trade and geopolitical strategies, the latter needed to cement its re-emergence onto the world stage following Brexit. Trump held out the carrot of a fast-tracked US/UK trade deal. The Swiss alternative of neutrality in international affairs is not in the UK’s DNA, so realistically the decision was a no-brainer: the UK had to recommit itself entirely to the Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes partnership with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and turn its back on China. But gathering intelligence and building naval power in the Pacific won’t defeat the Chinese. All simulations show that the US, with or without AUKUS, cannot win a military conflict against China. But AUKUS is not a formal model on NATO lines which commits its members by treaty to aggression against a common enemy. While Taiwan remains a specific problem, the objective is almost certainly to discourage China from territorial expansion and protect and give other Pacific nations on the Asian periphery the security to be independent from the SCO behemoth. The trade benefits of closer relationships with these independent nations are also an additional reason for the UK to join the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It qualifies for membership through its sovereignty over the Pitcairn Islands. And that is why China has also applied to join. Therefore, AUKUS’s importance is in the signal sent to China and the whole Pacific region, following the abandonment of land-based operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The maritime threat to China is a line which must not be crossed. We are entering a new era in the Great Game, where the objective has changed from dominance to containment. Having lost its position of ultimate control in the Eurasian land mass America has selected its partners to retain control over the high seas. And the UK has found a new geopolitical purpose, re-establishing a global role now that it is independent from the EU. The French cannot join the CPTPP being bound into the common trade policies of the EU. Seeing the British escape the strictures of the EU and rapidly obtain more global influence than France could dream of has touched a raw nerve. Mackinder vindicated The father of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, is frequently quoted and his theories are still relevant to the current situation. Much has been written about Mackinder’s prophecies. His concept of the World Island was first mentioned in his 1904 presentation to the Royal Geographic Society in London: “a pivot state, resulting in its expansion over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia”. In 1943 he updated his views in an article for the Council on Foreign Relations, adding to his heartland theory. Written during the Second World War, his commentary reflected the combatants and their positions at that time. But despite this, he made a perceptive comment relative to the situation today and AUKUS: “Were the Chinese for instance organised by the Japanese to overthrow the Russian Empire and conquer its territory they might constitute the yellow peril to the world’s freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent.” When Mackinder wrote his article the Japanese had already invaded Manchuria, but their subsequent defeat removed them from an active geopolitical role, and in place of a Soviet defeat China has entered a peaceful partnership with Russia that extends to all its old Central Asian soviet satellites. It is the focus on the ocean frontage that matters, upon which the maritime silk road depends. The article brings into play another aspect mentioned by Mackinder, and that is the Heartland’s tremendous natural resources, “…including enough coal in the Kuznetsk and Krasnoyarsk basins capable of supplying the requirements of the whole world for 300 years”. And: “In 1938 Russia produced more of the following food stuffs than any other country in the world: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and sugar beets. More manganese was produced in Russia than in any other country. It was bracketed with United States in the first place as regards iron and it stood second place in production of petroleum”. Through its partnership with Russia all these latent resources are available to the Chinese and Russian partnership. And the real potential for industrialisation, held back by communism and now by Russian corruption, has barely commenced. After presciently noting that one day the Sahara may become the trap for capturing direct power from the sun (foreseeing solar panels), Mackinder’s article ended on an optimistic note: “A thousand million people of ancient oriental civilisation inhabit the monsoon lands of India and China [today 3 billion, including Pakistan]. They must grow to prosperity in the same years in which Germany and Japan are being tamed to civilisation. They will then balance that other thousand million who live between the Missouri and the Yenisei [i.e., Central and Eastern America, Britain, Europe and Russia beyond the Urals]. A balanced globe of human beings and happy because balanced and thus free.” Both China and now India are rapidly industrialising, becoming part of a balanced globe of humanity. While the West tries to hang on to what it has got rather than progressing, China and India along with all of under-developed Asia are moving rapidly in the direction of individual freedom of economic choice and improvements in living conditions, to which Mackinder was referring. Obviously, there is some way for this process yet to go, displacing western hegemony in the process. America particularly has found the political challenges of change difficult, with its deep state unable to come to terms easily with the implications for its military and economic power. We must hope that Mackinder was right, and the shift of economic power is best to be regarded as the pains of geopolitical evolution rather than conditions for escalating conflict. But in pursuing its green agenda and eschewing carbon fuels, the West is unwittingly handing a gift to Mackinder’s Heartland, because despite diplomatic noises to the contrary China, India and all the SCO membership will continue to use cheap coal, gas, and oil which Asia has in abundance while Western manufacturers are forced by their governments to use expensive and less reliable green energy. Green obsessions and global trade Meanwhile, the West has gone green-crazy. Banning fossil fuels without there being adequate replacements must be a new definition of insanity, for which the current fuel crises in Europe attest. With over 95% of European logistics currently being shifted by diesel power, switching to battery power or hydrogen by 2030 by banning sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles is a hostage to fortune. While it is hardly mentioned, presumably the Western powers think that by banning carbon fuels they will take the wind out of Russia’s energy quasi-monopoly, because including gas Russia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world. Instead, the West is creating an energy shortage for itself, a point driven home by Gazprom withholding gas flows through its pipelines to Europe, thereby driving up Europe’s energy costs sharply and ensuring a far more severe energy crisis this winter. Even if Russia turns on the taps tomorrow, there is insufficient gas storage in reserve for the winter months. And Europe and the UK have got ahead of themselves by decommissioning coal and gas-fired electricity. In the UK, a massive undersea gas storage facility off the Yorkshire coast has been closed, leaving precious little national storage capacity. As we have seen with the post-covid supply chain chaos, energy problems will not only become acute this winter, but are likely to persist through much of next year. And even that assumes Russia relents and moderates its energy stance to European customers. By way of contrast, though its partnership with Russia China is gifted unlimited access to all carbon fuels. She is still building coal-fired electricity power stations at an extraordinary rate — according to a BBC report there are 61 new ones being commissioned. A further 51 outside China are planned. As a sop to the West China has only said she won’t finance any more outside her territory. And India relies on coal for over two-thirds of its electrical energy. While Europe and America through their green obsessions are denying themselves the availability and technologies that go with carbon fuels, the Russian/Chinese axis will continue to reap the full benefits. The West’s response is likely to be to decry Chinese pollution and its contribution to global warming, but realistically there is little it can do. Demand for Chinese-manufactured goods will continue because China now has a quasi-monopoly on global manufacturing for export. In the unlikely event western consumers become avid savers while their governments continue to run massive budget deficits, their trade deficits will rise even more, allowing Chinese exporters to increase prices for consumers and intermediate goods without losing export sales. While there is nothing it can do about China’s production methods, AUKUS members will undoubtedly lean on other exporting CPTPP members to comply with global green policies. But they will be competing with China, and while they may pay lip service to the climate change agenda, in practice they are unlikely to implement it without holding out for unrealistic subsidies from the western nations driving the climate change agenda. Under current circumstances, it seems unlikely that China’s CPTPP application will lead to membership, given the CPTPP requirement for China’s central government to relinquish ownership of its SOEs and to permit the free flow of data across its borders. In any event, China is focused on developing its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement with ratification signed so far by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It will come into effect when ratified by ten out of the fifteen signatories, likely to be in the first half of 2022, and in terms of population will be two and a half times the size of the EU and the US/Mexico/Canada (USMCA) trade agreements combined. With four out of five of the signatories being American allies, RCEP demonstrates that the AUKUS defence partnership is an entirely separate issue from trade. While the US may not like it, if RCEP goes ahead freer trade will almost certainly undermine a belligerent stance in due course. Despite hiccups, the progression of trade dealing in the Pacific region promises to prove Mackinder right about the prospect of a more balanced world. All being well and guaranteed by a balance of naval capabilities between AUKUS and China, a free-trading Pacific region will render the European and American trade protectionist policies an anachronism. But the threat is now from another direction: financial instability, with western nations pulling in one direction and China in another. Since the Lehman collapse and the ensuing financial crisis, China has been careful to prevent financial bubbles. Figure 1 shows that the Shanghai Composite Index has risen 82% since 2008, while the S&P500 rose 430%. While the US has seen financial asset values driven by a combination of QE and investor speculation, these factors are absent and discouraged in China. Government debt to GDP is about half that of the US. It is true that industrial debt is high, like that of the US. But the difference is that in China debt is more productive while in America there has been a growing preponderance of debt zombies, only kept solvent by zero interest rate policies. China’s policy of ensuring that the expansion of bank credit is invested in production and not speculation differs fundamentally from the US approach, which is to deliberately inflate financial assets to perpetuate a wealth effect. China avoids the destabilising potential of speculative flows unwinding because it lays the economy open to the possibility that America will use financial instability to undermine China’s economy. In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in April 2015, Major-General Qiao Liang, the People’s Liberation Army strategist, identified a cycle of dollar weakness against other currencies followed by strength, which first inflated debt in foreign countries and then bankrupted them. Qiao argued it was a deliberate American policy and would be used against China. In his words, it was time for America to “harvest” China. Drawing on Chinese intelligence reports, in early 2014 he was made aware of American involvement in the “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong. After several delays, the Fed announced the end of QE the following September which drove the dollar higher, and “Occupy Central” protests broke out the following month. To Qiao the two events were connected. By undermining the dollar/yuan rate and provoking riots, the Americans had tried to crash China’s economy. Within six months the Shanghai stock market began to collapse with the SSE Composite Index falling from 5,160 to 3,050 between June and September 2015. One cannot know for certain if Qiao’s analysis was correct, but one can understand the Chinese leadership’s continued caution based upon it. For this and other reasons, the Chinese leadership is extremely wary of having dollar liabilities and the accumulation of unproductive, speculative money in the economy. It justifies their strict exchange control regime, whereby dollars are not permitted to circulate in China, and all inward capital flows are turned into yuan by the PBOC. Furthermore, domestic monetary policy appears deliberately different from that of America and other western nations. While everyone else has been inflating their way through covid, China has been restricting domestic credit expansion and curtailing shadow banking. The discount rate is held up at 2.9% with market rates slightly lower at 2.2%, and the only reason it is that low is because alternative dollar rates are at zero and EU and Japanese rates are negative. It is this restrictive monetary policy that has led to the current crisis in property developers, with the very public difficulties of Evergrande. Far from being a surprise event, with cautious monetary policies it could have been easily foreseen. Moreover, the government has a sensible policy of not rescuing private sector businesses in trouble, though it is likely to take steps to limit financial contagion. In their glass houses, Western critics continually throw stones at China. But at least her policy makers have attempted to avoid contributing to the global inflation cycle. With prices beginning to rise at an accelerating pace in western currencies, a new global financial crash is in the making. China and her SCO cohort would be adversely affected, but not to the same extent. The fruits of China’s policies of restricting credit expansion are showing in the commodity prices she pays, which in her own currency have increased by ten per cent less than for dollar-based competition, judging by the exchange rate movements since the Fed reduced its funds rate to the zero bound and instigated monthly QE of $120bn on 19-23 March 2020 (see Figure 2). And while both currencies have moved broadly sideways since January, there is little doubt that the fundamentals point to an even stronger yuan and weaker dollar. The domestic benefits of a relatively stronger yuan outweigh the margin compression suffered by China’s exporters. It is worth noting that as well as moderating credit demand, China is attempting to increase domestic consumer spending at the expense of the savings rate, so consumer demand will begin to matter more than exports to producers. It is in line with a long-term objective of China becoming less dependent on exports, and exporters will benefit from domestic sales growth instead. Furthermore, with China dominating global exports of intermediate and consumer goods and while western budget deficits are increasing and leading to yet greater trade deficits, Chinese exporters should be able to secure higher prices anyway. There can be little doubt that the budget deficits financed by monetary inflation in America, the EU, Japan and the UK, plus central bank stimulus packages are now undermining the purchasing power of all the major currencies. The consequences for their purchasing powers are now becoming apparent and attempts to calm markets and consumers by describing them as transient cuts little ice. In terms of their purchasing powers, these currencies are now in a race to the bottom. Not only are the costs of production rising sharply, but following a brief pause of three months, commodity and energy prices look set to rise sharply. Figure 3 shows the Invesco commodity tracker, which having almost doubled since March 2020 now appears to be attempting a break out on the upside. Since global competitiveness is no longer a priority, China would be sensible to let its yuan exchange rate rise against western currencies to help keep a lid on domestic prices and costs. It is, after all, a savings driven economy, with the sustainable characteristics of a strong currency relative to the dollar. Conclusions Having failed in their land-based military objectives, America’s undeclared tariff and financial wars against China are also coming to an end, to be replaced by a policy of maritime containment through the AUKUS partnership. Attempts to stem strategic losses in Asia have now ended with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and from other interventions.The change in geopolitical policy is not yet widely appreciated. But the parlous state of US finances, dollar market bubbles, persistent and increasing price inflation and the inevitability of interest rate increases will make a policy backstop of maritime containment the only geostrategic option left to America. By pursuing more cautious monetary policies, China is less exposed to the inevitable consequences of global monetary inflation. While yuan currency rates are managed instead of set by markets, it is now in China’s interest to see a stronger yuan to contain domestic price and cost inflation. Even though fiat currencies could be destroyed by imploding asset bubbles, these factors contribute to a set of circumstances that appear to lead to a more peaceable outcome for the world than appeared likely before America and NATO withdrew from Afghanistan. There’s many a slip between cup and lip; but it was an outcome forecast by Halford Mackinder nearly eighty years ago. Let us hope he was right. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

Democrats In Congress Try To Abolish Space Force

Democrats In Congress Try To Abolish Space Force Authored by Li Hai via The Epoch Times, Some Democrats in Congress are trying to abolish the Space Force at a time when China and Russia have been doubling down on expanding their military capabilities in space. On Wednesday, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) introduced a bill named No Militarization of Space Act, trying to abolish the Space Force, a new military service branch created under former President Donald Trump. “The long-standing neutrality of space has fostered a competitive, non-militarized age of exploration every nation and generation has valued since the first days of space travel,” Huffman said in a statement. “But since its creation under the former Trump administration, the Space Force has threatened longstanding peace and flagrantly wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.” The Space Force was established in December 2019 and has been deemed by some to be one of Trump’s signature achievements. But its origin can be traced back to the beginning of the Cold War. “Our mission must be to support the American people, not spend billions on the militarization of space,” Huffman added. Huffman’s bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Jesús García (D-Ill.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). The bill comes as Congress moves to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill that authorizes funding for the military. Huffman’s bill is unlikely to succeed because the new military branch was established upon the National Defense Authorization Act (FY 2020), which received bipartisan support at the time. To cancel the Space Force, new legislation would need to be enacted. China and Russia have been trying to advance their military capabilities in space for years. China’s communist regime “has devoted significant resources to growing all aspects of its space program, from military space applications to civil applications,” reads the Pentagon’s latest annual report to Congress. In May, China placed a rover on Mars, becoming the second nation after the United States to do so, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. China has continued to develop its space station and explore the moon. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Secure World Foundation reports, Russia performed multiple anti-satellite weapons tests in 2020. China and India have tested their own military capabilities in orbit in past years, too, Axios reported. On Monday at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference, U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said that the threats presented by China continue to grow, including those from space. On Tuesday, Gen. John “Jay” Raymon, chief of Space Operations, talked about the anti-satellite weapons China and Russia have owned. China has deployed satellites with a robotic arm that could be used to “grab” other satellites. Russia has a co-orbital, anti-satellite weapon that “is specifically designed to kill U.S. satellites,” Raymon said during the same conference. President Joe Biden hasn’t publicly shared his views on the future of the Space Force. His press secretary Jen Psaki dodged such a question in February, weeks after Biden took office. However, she took to Twitter to say that “we look forward to the continuing work of Space Force,” signaling that Biden had no intention to change Space Force’s status at the time. “We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work,” Psaki wrote. The Epoch Times has contacted the White House and the Space Force for comment. Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

The Island of Death: Visiting the gulag where my grandfather was tortured, but didn"t officially exist

My grandfather was held at Bulgaria's most notorious gulag. This summer, I saw it for the first time. A Belene survivor crosses the bridge across the Danube that connects the town of Belene and Persin island in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) This summer, Tana Ganeva traveled to Belene, Bulgaria's most notorious prison camp, where her grandfather was held in the 1950s. Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its Communist-era gulags, where thousands were starved, tortured, and killed. Ganeva's grandfather attempted to escape Bulgaria four times, before making it to California. See more stories on Insider's business page. The island of Persin is a bird-watcher's paradise. Set on the Danube River, which divides Bulgaria and Romania, it's a nature park covered in wetlands and home to hundreds of rare bird species: the spoonbill, the pygmy cormorant, the corncrake, as well as herons, eagles, storks, and pelicans. Amid the natural beauty, it's jarring to consider that this was the location of a concentration camp where thousands of Bulgarian political prisoners were brutalized and killed from 1949 to 1953 - and in some cases for years after that. Though it's officially known as Belene after the quiet Bulgarian village that sits 750 feet away on the mainland, old-timers here call it by another name: the Island of Death.My stepgrandfather, Georgi Tutunjiev, was sent here at age 24 and spent four years and three months interred at Belene after someone (he suspected his ex-wife) told the authorities of his plan to escape the country. In his notebooks - he had planned to write a memoir about Belene but never did before he died in 2011 at 87 - he remembered the place as "brutal facilities for re-education," where he'd endured "indescribable physical and psychological abuse." He finally managed to escape Bulgaria in 1966 and settle with my grandma in California. In 1989, my parents and I left Bulgaria and joined my grandparents in California, thanks to the family-reunification policy. While many survivors of trauma shut down, my grandfather never stopped talking about the gulag. He seemed to have an unending loop of stories about Belene. For my immediate family, it could be exhausting, and we were alarmed to discover his extensive gun collection, which my grandmother gamely dismissed as a coping mechanism. But guests who came to the house were often riveted by his dark tales, which he mixed with his sense of humor. "Jeko! The Communistie shot you!" he'd shout at his terrier mix, and the dog would sprawl on his back, playing dead. An aerial view of Persin island. The gulag was known as Belene, after the nearby town. Tsvetomir Nikolaev I've come to the town of Belene on a brutally hot day in August for a tour of the Island of Death. I meet Nedyalka Toncheva, who works for the Belene Island Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes tours of the island, close to the bank of the Danube.We cross a rickety water bridge on foot and then jump aboard a Jeep driven by a 24-year-old Belene native named Peter. Toncheva, who is 35, is passionate and knowledgeable about the island's flora and fauna. Every few minutes, she tells Peter to stop the car to point out a roosting stork or a water eagle. She talks about her plans to make Persin a tourist destination comparable to Borovets, a ski resort with luxury hotels in the Rila mountains; or Koprivchitsa, a living museum honoring the Bulgarian rebels who mounted an uprising in 1876 against the Ottoman Empire.In the three decades since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its many gulags, which operated mostly in the 1950s during the early, and most violent, days of Communist rule in the country. In Belene itself, many lower-level guards came from the village and a former mayor was also the gulag's first superintendent. It's not surprising that the village doesn't advertise its history.After 1989, survivors who had been forced to sign documents promising to never talk about the camps started speaking out. For a brief time, they became the subjects of documentaries and newspaper profiles. But soon, the consensus was that it was better to move on. An interior minister tasked with investigating the camps instead secretly ordered a purge of thousands of pages of documents - 40% of the government record. While Bulgaria's defeat of the Ottomans is central to the national identity, and much is made of the fact that Bulgaria saved its Jews during the Holocaust, the memory of the Communist era is more fraught. Georgi Tutunjiev, the author's grandfather, in around 1977. Tana Ganeva Peculiar for a tour, most of our stops lead us to what's not left of the camp. The shacks where prisoners slept have been razed - there's no trace of them.At the entrance, in what is now an open field, an inscription says, "To be human is to have dignity." From inside the camp - what would have been visible to the internees - the engraving says, "If the enemy doesn't surrender, he is destroyed." But no one I've talked to knows whether it's the original or has been recreated. There are a few abandoned, falling-apart buildings, but those were built in 1959, six years after the camp's official (but not real) closing, when it was converted into a prison, in part to kill rumors that it had operated as a secret gulag. Todor Zhivkov, the Communist premier who took power in 1954 and stayed on until 1989, reopened it in the 1980s to detain Muslims who refused to take on Slavic names in place of their own - a disastrous bid to assimilate them. I ask Toncheva whether there's a list of everyone who was held in the camp. I'm thinking of my grandfather and wondering whether there's any documentation. She tells me everyone who comes here for the camp asks the same question."There's no way to know, no list," Toncheva says, apologetic. "There's almost no proof the camp even existed."'Perfectly calculated by Satan himself'The first contingent of 300 men arrived at the Belene camp in the summer of 1949, five years after the 1944 Communist coup. My grandfather, then 24, arrived that first winter. A camp for women was founded on an adjacent island soon after.It was modeled after Josef Stalin's gulags in Siberia. Most of the prisoners had been dragged from their homes by the military police and sent here without trial. (Estimates vary, but 20,000 to 40,000 people were thought to be murdered by the Bulgarian Communist Party.) Even Stalin eventually warned them to scale down the killing of prominent oppositional figures or risk creating martyrs.The first wave of prisoners had to hack through the unpopulated island and build small shacks that were so crowded the prisoners didn't have room to lie down. In his history of the camp, Borislav Skotchev wrote that the island was dotted with towers manned by guards with machine guns. A survivor of Belene during a commemoration ceremony in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) The men held here included the former leader of the Social Democrats, Orthodox priests (many in their 70s), and the mayor of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia. Tsveti Ivanov, the editor of the newspaper Svoboden Narod, or Free People, was sent to Belene after serving 10 months in prison. He was beaten so brutally that he got tetanus from his wounds and died in the compound. Much of what we know about the place comes from survivors' memoirs. They were fed a thin soup, sometimes with a handful of beans thrown in. Their bread ration - moldy or stale when it made its way to them - was small, and could be withheld by the guards as punishment. Sometimes they got tea. My grandfather told me that, in the winter, both the soup and the tea were given to them already frozen.When Toncheva takes us on a brief walk to go look at storks, the ground gives off wet heat, and brambles and thorns claw at us, as if the island is alive and doesn't want us there. I think of the people who had to work days and nights, in sweltering summers, devoured by mosquitoes. It's unbelievable that anyone survived.An internal CIA document described the grim situation of starving prisoners. "A frequent sight is that of a prisoner eating raw green leaves and roots," it said. "To be caught doing this, however, would result in 10 days in detention in a dungeon for such an offense." The lucky ones got packages from family, though those were often taken by guards. Many had little choice but to choke down the rotting carcasses of wild cats, killed and skinned for their fur by the villagers, or pick through horse dung for undigested barley. According to a CIA information report from March 13, 1952, during one brutal winter 30 prisoners died of cold or starvation."It was an Inferno circle, perfectly calculated by Satan himself," Liliana Pirinchiva, one of the female survivors of Belene, wrote in her memoir. "We were reduced to skeletons." A group of Bulgarian anarchists. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Then there were the guards, who brought an especially sadistic approach to their work. Some would chase packs of prisoners on horseback, letting their rifles off "as if we were a flock of sheep," wrote Stefan Botchev, a survivor. When he got a severe case of scabies, the mites burrowing into his skin, he was locked up in a shed alone because the guards didn't want him to infect the cows. He recalled seeing a beating so severe that a prisoner's spine was broken, turning him into a "reptile crawling on the ground."Kouni Genchev Kounev, the chairman of the Bulgarian Youth Agrarian Union who also survived Belene, recalled one especially brutal punishment, in which the guards would pull back a prisoner's head and strike him in the trachea. They called it the "sword stroke."Years later, Krum Horozov, a survivor, would draw water colors of the camp from memory - it's virtually the only visual documentation that exists. In 2011, six years before his death, Horozov wrote: "And when we die, which will be soon, who will remember what happened on that island in the 1950s, and will they know that people were sent there without a trial and sentence?"Lilia Topouzova, a historian in Toronto who writes about the history and the memory of the camps, recalls meeting Horozov at an academic conference; he was trying to give away copies of his drawings of Belene to university students, but they avoided him as if he were a pesky street vendor.The CricketAt 93, Tsvetana Dzhermanova is the last known survivor of the women's camp, which was known as Shturets, or Cricket. We're sitting outside her home in the mountain village of Leskovets, and she's talking so fast I wonder how she manages to breathe.She smiles and laughs a lot, and she reminds me of my grandfather, who also spoke with the speed of a motorboat, frantic to tell his story."I promised to outlive the Communistie, and here I am!" she boasts. (My grandfather also took an understandable delight at outliving the Communistie. "I survived the Communistie, but I won't survive old age," he once told me, when I was 25 and had no idea about either.) Tsvetana Dzhermanova. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Dzhermanova was an anarchist in the 1950s, and still is today. "That's my personal ideology," she says. "I'm not sure humans are evolved enough to make either anarchism or socialism work the way they should, but for me, anarchism is it. Because I value freedom, family, friendship, and love."When she first heard about anarchism as a teenager, she asked her mother what it meant. "Anarchists are the people all regimes persecute," her mother had replied. That sold her. Dzhermanova joined a village group. She had no designs on power (detesting it) and mostly spent her time reading anarchist literature and working on a community vegetable garden. She estimates that 800 anarchists from the town were swept up in a night and sent to the gulags."We sang songs while we worked," Dzhermanova tells me. "That helped." Last spring the sprightly nonagenarian made the three-hour trip to Belene to speak with a group of students about the camps. "They had no idea about this. They were really surprised," she says. "No one had ever talked to them about it, and they don't learn about it in school."'Out of Fashion'Toncheva and our driver, Peter, walk through a falling-down building that was constructed in 1959, in part to hide evidence of the camp. It's covered in bird shit. Plant life is taking over its rotted remnants, and old decayed furniture has been abandoned here and there. We talk about how nobody talks about the camp.Peter tells us that despite having spent almost his entire life roughly 750 feet from Persin, in Belene village, he learned about the camp only two weeks earlier, when Toncheva hired him as a driver for her tours."To think they only gave them bread and water, and made them work so hard," he says, shaking his head in disbelief. A crumbling building built on the site of Belene. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters As far as Toncheva knows, no one from her family was held here, but she remembers asking her grandmother about the island when she was a teenager and again after reading the memoirs of survivors. "Shhh. Don't talk so much about this," her grandmother would say. "You don't want to bring trouble."There are rumors of a mass grave near Persin. Mikhail Mikailev, the head of the Belene Island Foundation, wants to find it. But money for the equipment required to find and dig up the remains eludes this two-person staff.Unlike Peter and Toncheva, my parents, who were born in the mid-1950s and grew up in Bulgaria, tell me that in the 1970s and 1980s, all their friends in Sofia knew about Belene. "We all heard the stories," my mother says.But for the authorities, maintaining official denial was worth murder.In 1969, the celebrated Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov defected to the West, where he wrote about the regime's abuses. In one essay, Markov described traveling on a boat down the Danube and approaching Belene. "I remembered how, feet dangling over the edge of the boat, a youth with a guitar once sang a strange song: Danube, white river, how quiet you flow / Danube, black river, what anguish you know." A view of Persin island. Tsvetomir Nikolaev On a rainy afternoon in London, a man jabbed the tip of his umbrella into Markov's leg. Later, Markov noticed what looked like a small bug bite but didn't think much of it. A few days later he was dead, most likely poisoned by the Bulgarian secret service.Before my visit to Belene, I met Topouzova, the historian, over Zoom to talk about the erasure of the camps in Bulgaria's consciousness. While former generals wrote best-sellers, the owner of a prominent bookstore dismissed any interest in survivors' memoirs - they were "out of fashion," he had told her.It was gaslighting in its purest form. And it showed how we're all so prone to the "just world" fallacy, a phenomenon where if something is too horribly unjust, the human brain just kind of moves on. It's not all that hard to bury inconvenient truths."It turned out that aging men and women with fragmented memories of bygone violence did not make for the faces of change," Topouzova wrote in a recent paper titled "On Silence and History" for the American Historical Association. "The interned were rendered nonexistent - their experiences and memories fated to vanish along with the files." A pile of stonesNations define themselves by their monuments. The memorial in downtown Manhattan demands that we never forget the victims of 9/11. In the past few years, American activists have torn Confederate statues from their perches, signaling a break with the passive acceptance of the history of slavery. Yet grappling with unpleasant history isn't easy. It was only in 2018 when a museum honoring the Black victims of lynching opened in Alabama. The 1619 Project, which posits that the history of the United States is rooted in slavery, has spurred a massive backlash. School districts have banned children's books about Rosa Parks. Vaunted democracies are as likely to try to bury inconvenient truths as former communist states. At an exhibition in Sofia in 2009, Belene survivors look at images of the gulag's victims. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters In Bulgaria, there are monuments everywhere. From the smallest village to Sofia, the heroes of Bulgaria's uprising against the Ottoman Empire are eternalized in stone. In Plovdiv, a giant sculpture overlooks Bulgaria's second-largest city that honors "Alyosha," an everyman Soviet soldier who helped "liberate" Bulgaria in the 1940s - even though many Bulgarians see that period as Soviet imperialism, much like the Ottoman Empire's 500 years of occupation.The victims of Belene and the other camps have no such honor. The Belene foundation does the best it can. They helped organize an art exhibit, where Korozov's pencil drawings were tacked onto the walls of the decaying structures that had been erected to mask evidence of the gulag. A man places photos of famous victims of Soviet policy in front of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014. Hristo Vladev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images There is one modest monument on the island. It's an abstract stone structure, and you'd have no idea what it was if you didn't already know the history. The original idea was to build a monument that listed the names of all the known internees, something like the Vietnam wall on the Mall in Washington. But the survivors and their families who pooled their resources to build it ran out of money, and no one, including the Bulgarian government, stepped in to help. (The survivors also hoped to open a museum and to recreate the shacks where they were held, but that hasn't happened either.)My grandfather's escape Dzhermanova, the 93-year-old anarchist - and eternal optimist, apparently - has hope that younger people will dig up the buried history.As for my grandfather, his ex-wife (or whoever it was who betrayed him to the authorities) was right that he wanted to escape Bulgaria.After his release from Belene in 1953, that resolve was so much stronger. "After 4 years and three months in the Island of Death, I became determined to go to my real home: America," he explained in his notebooks. The author with her grandfather and grandmother, Tsvetana Tutunjieva. Tana Ganeva As he detailed it, it would take four harrowing attempts. Soon after his release from Belene, he managed to make it into Yugoslavia during a "sabor" - a temporary loosening of borders so family and friends in the two countries could see each other. But he got caught and was thrown into a Yugoslavian jail.From there, he organized an inmate breakout after bribing the guard dog, Jeko, with his dinner. But he and the other prisoners were caught in the woods, and the Yugoslavian authorities gave them up to the Bulgarian authorities in exchange for 10 cows. "They weren't even very good cows - scrawny," he wrote.Several years later, he tried to cross Bulgaria's mountainous border into Greece, but he was caught once again.Finally, he made it into Austria and then Germany by clinging to the underside of a freight train. And then on to California, where he gave his new dog a familiar name: Jeko.Tana Ganeva writes about policing, prisons and criminal justice. She's currently working on a book about escapees from the Soviet bloc. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

An Afghanistan restaurant"s sales dropped 80% after the Taliban takeover, leaving its owner fearing for its future

The owner of Laziz Mahal Restaurant in Kabul, Afghanistan, told Insider his business has been dramatically affected since the Taliban took over last month. Laziz Mahal restaurant in Kabul, Afghanistan. Mojeburahman Musleh A Kabul restaurant owner says the Taliban takeover has left him feeling hopeless. Sales have dropped by 80% at Mojeburahman Musleh's establishment, Laziz Mahal restaurant. Afghanistan residents have reduced purchasing power and cannot afford to eat out, he told Insider. See more stories on Insider's business page. Until three months ago, sales were steadily increasing at Laziz Mahal, a newly renovated fast-food restaurant in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.Then the Taliban took over the capital.The restaurant's owner, Mojeburahman Musleh, told Insider he is now struggling to keep his business up and running. He said the regime has made everything worse and that "everything looks gloomy" for people like him.Musleh is not alone. Since the Taliban assumed power over Kabul, many Afghans have been left distressed over their future. "Laziz Mahal Restaurant has been badly affected by [the] change of regime in Kabul, most of our potential customers have left the country and those who [are] left do not afford to eat at [the] restaurant," Musleh told Insider. He said he used to have regular customers who worked in government institutions and the private sector. Now they don't appear as much because offices in the capital are closed. His friends also used to eat at his restaurant every day and now they don't visit either. The restaurant has suffered an 80% reduction in sales and service, and Musleh is struggling to pay his employees and other minor costs as a result. According to Musleh, these struggles are the result of the diminished purchasing power of many Afghans, which has been significantly affected in recent weeks. Essentially, "less people will go out for eating," he said. Afghanistan's local economy has been left in a dire state as the Taliban move to set up a new government. At a recent event hosted by the Atlantic Council, Afghanistan's former central bank chief Ajmal Ahmady said: "I don't want to say economic collapse, but I think it's going to be [an] extremely challenging or difficult economic situation. He predicted that GDP would shrink by 10-20%. Banks are facing a cash shortage and may have to close to the public soon unless the Taliban releases more funds, Reuters reported.The cash shortage has been ongoing for weeks, with one month now passed since the Afghan government collapsed, the report said. Bankers fear the situation could lead to inflated food and electricity prices. Afghanistan's economy is cash-based, especially for local businesses. The country relies on money shipped by the US to Afghanistan's central bank but with roughly $9.5 billion in frozen assets in the country's central bank, the Taliban is likely to inherit increased hardships.Gargi Rao, Economic Research Analyst at GlobalData said: "With multilateral agencies including EU, the IMF and the World Bank halting funds, it will further deter the growth prospects amid the COVID-19 pandemic." Musleh said he purchases his raw materials in dollars and sells his service to customers in afghani currency. But in the last few weeks, Afghanistan's currency has slipped in value, falling about 10% versus the US dollar. In the week after the Taliban took control, it slipped from about 79 afghanis per dollar to 86 afghanis per dollar, Insider's Kevin Shalvey reported. When asked how Musleh how the weakened afghani will affect his restaurant, he said he will need to raise prices to get to a more balanced point. "Frankly, I don't see any hope for my business," Musleh added. "If this case continues in [the] very near future, my restaurant will be shut down and the result will be unemployment for all team members." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

China Is Responsible For More Than A Third Of World GDP Growth - This Is A Problem

China Is Responsible For More Than A Third Of World GDP Growth - This Is A Problem As Deutsche Bank's FX strategist George Saravelos writes in a recent research report he has been "on the pessimistic side of the reflation narrative for some time now." In the note titled "three charts for pessimists", he admits that there are many more things happening to the global economy than easy fiscal and monetary policy, including a large negative supply-shock, in turn leading to sizeable demand destruction; stronger than expected precautionary saving behavior from consumers pushing down r*; and massive structural economic change on the back of COVID-led digitization across multiple sectors. And now we have to add China to the mix. His first chart below highlights a simple observation: China has been acting as a massive global growth turbocharge since the start of the century, and is responsible for more than a third of world GDP growth. As Saravelos gloomily notes, "systemic risks of the unfolding property developer crisis aside, if the last few months experience are signaling a regime break in Chinese tolerance for what authorities have termed "low quality" growth, the world should take notice." Back to the developed world, Saravelos' second chart shows there is still a massive hole in the UK labor market. Total hours worked are a whopping near-10% below trend compared to pre-COVID. Yet the market is now fully pricing a Bank of England rate hike early next year. For sure, wages are rising, but as a recent IFS study showed there are still massive disruptions in the UK labor market. It will take a brave central bank to hike in to such a hole. Even if it does, it is hardly positive for the currency. Finally, there are two parallel universes. The global goods sector is overheated. Look no further than US consumption, which is half a trillion dollars above trend. But the US services sector is twice as large and half a trillion below trend. The analytical value of aggregate GDP metrics is severely lessened in the presence of such massive sectoral dislocations. In recent months, the goods sector has started decelerating faster than the services sector has quickened. How the consumer rebalances spending in coming months will be very important. We are only at the very beginning of trying to understand the true post-COVID steady state, it will be a long ride. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 20:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021