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We Don"t Get A Vote On The Woke Revolution

We Don't Get A Vote On The Woke Revolution Authored by J.Peder Zane via RealClearPolitics.com, You don’t get to vote on the revolution. That’s kind of the point. From the happy example of Colonial America to the terrors that mutilated and murdered innocents in France, Russia, and China, revolutionaries work outside the established system to impose a new order. So it is with today’s woke revolution. The potent cultural forces that have mainstreamed radical concepts such as “white privilege,” “microaggressions,” and “gender fluidity” are beyond the reach of American democracy. No one voted for any of it; it cannot be stopped at the ballot box. Electing anti-woke politicians in 2022 and 2024 will not turn the tide. The embrace of woke ideology by many prestigious news outlets – as symbolized by the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which recasts American society through the cramped lens of racism and oppression – is not subject to popular approval. Neither is the American Medical Association’s move to view health disparities between blacks and other Americans as the result of “systemic racism” (rather than biology, personal behavior, or cultural influences). We don’t get to vote on the decision by the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s largest funder of biomedical research, to commit $90 million in funding along with “every tool at our disposal to remediate the chronic problem of structural racism.” The same goes for the diktat in corporate America to mandate race and gender into their hiring decisions, or the woke-saturated culture that predominates at most American colleges and universities, where faculty applicants are asked to sign loyalty oaths to diversity and equity. Parental opposition to the influence of critical race theory in public schools shows that pushback is possible. School board meetings are one of the few public venues where ordinary Americans can voice their discontent to this ideology, which casts white kindergarteners as oppressors and non-white tots as victims. But these critics are labeled “domestic terrorists” for their efforts — and it’s still not clear what, if any, impact the parents will have on what and how children are taught. In fairness, broad swaths of the culture always operate and evolve outside of politics. The world of ideas and entertainment – the books we read, movies we watch, groups we join – must never be subject to electoral will. But the woke revolution feels different. First, it is an explicitly political ideology that is, at bottom, about power. Second, it is remarkably ambitious: It seeks a wholesale transformation of America’s past, present and future. Third, while some of its ideas resonate with plenty of people, it is a top-down movement that seeks to impose alien ways of thinking and being on everyone – hence the rise of cancel culture and other illiberal mechanisms to silence and punish those who fail to conform. One of the great paradoxes of the social justice movement is that even as it claims to fight inequality, it is itself a reflection of the growing inequality in America: both of wealth and culture. Like most revolutions, it is not led by the downtrodden but by the elites. It is not the person of color on the streets but the swells at the top (most of them white) who are imposing the new order. Although it might seem that the woke revolution erupted in 2020 with George Floyd’s murder, or with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement following Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, its intellectual framework – which includes critical race theory, postmodernism, anti-colonialism, black power and queer/gender studies – emerged at America’s universities in the 1960s and 1970s. Heavily influenced by Marxism, leftist scholars suffered a crisis of confidence after communism was discredited 30 years ago as the Soviet Union collapsed. In response, activist academics essentially repackaged their old ideas. They still saw politics as a zero-sum battle between oppressors and the oppressed, with themselves in the moral vanguard, but they replaced the concept of class with new identity markers: racial and sexual identity. The struggle was no longer between capitalists and the proletariat, but privileged “cisgendered heteronormative” whites versus the rest of humanity. There was always a kernel of truth to this narrative – America, like every other nation, has unequal distributions of wealth and power (hierarchy is inevitable; even the communists, who pledged to create true equality, simply replaced the tsar’s hierarchy with their own, one dominated by party leaders and apparatchiks). But the expansion of rights and opportunities we’ve achieved over the last half-century – the fact that legions of people defined as “oppressed” enjoy status, respect, wealth and power only dreamed of in most corners of the globe – exposes the absurdity of the claim that race and gender determine one’s fate. Nevertheless, this narrative increasingly informs the education delivered at Western colleges and universities, especially at elite schools. The graduates of these institutions, in turn, become the professors, journalists, managers, administrators and other moral enforcers using their positions to advance the woke revolution from within. The key question – why would seemingly intelligent people commit to an ideology so at odds with reality? – requires a complex set of answers. The collapse of traditional social norms, the offshoring of the blue-collar sector, the baneful influence of social media, the realignment of legacy media into tribal factions, the creation of overeducated citizens saddled with crippling debt, rapidly rising living standards that create rising expectations — all this and more play a part. Radicalism is opportunistic, lying dormant for decades until the right combination of conditions presents itself. But a pivotal, if underappreciated, force is the rise of the information-based global economy, which has doubled the number of millionaires in the United States in just a decade, opening a chasm of envy between the haves and the super-haves. Statista reports that there were close to 6 million U.S. households with financial assets worth more than $1 million in 2019; more than double the number in 2008. At the same time, Pew reports that “as of 2016, the latest year for which data are available, the typical American family had a net worth of $101,800.” This growing inequality is not based on the false claim that the wealthy are benefiting at the expense of non-rich – they are, more accurately, getting a bigger slice of a growing pie in a world where living standards continue to rise. But this increase does make it easier for radicals to exploit the false argument, insistently advanced by prestigious news and information outlets, that the current system is unjust and that, given America’s history, today’s disparities stem from race. To buy peace, and peace of mind, many well-off Americans – especially the well-educated ones who now call the Democrat Party home – are happy to acquiesce to ideas that, as a practical matter, will have little immediate impact on their own comfortable lives: agreeing that the American Revolution was fought over slavery, that social justice requires reparations, that gender identities are malleable, that reality is socially constructed, that “silence is violence.” It costs them nothing to spout these slogans, which allow them to feel morally superior. In the long run, I hope, truth will out. But those who oppose the revolution should know they are battling powerful and entrenched forces that are, in significant ways, beyond their reach. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 20:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

Virginia"s Become "Ground Zero" For Backlash Against Critical Race Theory Madness

Virginia's Become 'Ground Zero' For Backlash Against Critical Race Theory Madness Op-Ed authored by Eric Louw via The Epoch Times, The election of a Republican governor in Virginia points to a winning formula in the upcoming mid-terms, a key component of which is empowering parents to fight back against Critical Race Theory’s (CRT) indoctrination of their children. Gov-elect Glenn Youngkin’s victory was unexpected because the Democrats had won the governorship of Virginia for the last 12 years and the Democrat candidate, Terry McAuliffe, was popular. More importantly, it looked like a major demographic shift had forever changed Virginian politics in favour of the Democrats, given the growth of a huge suburban population of Washington D.C. bureaucrats in northern Virginia. For many Republicans, it felt like Virginia’s political game had forever been rigged against them by the arrival of these D.C. immigrants. Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) speaks during an Early Vote rally in Stafford, Va., Oct. 19, 2021. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) But 2021 showed that even with this northern demographic challenge, Republicans can win Virginia if they can develop a powerful enough message. Youngkin built such messages by exploiting the hubris, arrogance, and incompetence that has characterized the Democrats since Biden moved into the White House. Essentially, he pledged to: support parents in their fight against CRT, fund the police, and cut red tape and tax. So appealing were these pledges that they switched hundreds of thousands of votes from Democrat to Republican, especially independent voters. Youngkin was also helped by Biden showing up to campaign alongside McAuliffe. This served to remind voters of the struggles of Biden’s administration, plus how it has empowered the woke-left’s CRT and police defunding agendas. Additionally, Biden’s appearance also reminded voters that Biden does not look in charge. President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference at the White House in Washington on Nov. 6, 2021. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images) His $3 trillion “remake U.S. plan” is gridlocked in Washington. His migration policies caused chaos on the border. And anti-right-wing security on Washington’s streets only serves to make it look as if he does not even control his own capital. But it would seem the core vote shifter was Youngkin’s standing up for parents’ rights to say no to the CRT bullies and to those teachers who want to indoctrinate students with it. Youngkin correctly read the anti-CRT mood across his state. After all, even in the blue northern suburbs of Loudoun County, some parents mobilized against their schools teaching CRT. And so Youngkin has been rewarded with the governorship because he paid attention to the voices of Virginia parents, telling CRT-activists and woke-teachers: “I am not an oppressor, and I am not going to allow you to teach my children your toxic anti-white racism anymore.” Essentially he produced a swing towards the Republicans in every part of Virginia by promising to ban CRT in Virginia schools. Given the mounting parental backlash against the theory across America, it might be helpful to summarize the CRT worldview and objections to this radicalism.  CRT objects to how mainstream (white) Americans see themselves, their country and their history. CRT has the same objection to history as taught in Canada, Australia, and Europe. Its solution is to teach a new kind of history. Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard called this new history “the black armband view” in which everything before European colonialism was apparently wonderful, and everything since has been evil. CRT argues Europeans invented race and racism to justify colonialism and slavery and effectively invented a new updated version of the old Marxist villain-victim idea. For Marxists, capitalists were villains, and workers were victims. For CRT, whites are villains, and blacks are victims. Both models grow out of the resentments of the unsuccessful, but CRT’s answer is to tear down the successful and what they built. The emergence of parental opposition to CRT in the schools reflects a growing realization that the theory represents a truly existential and revolutionary threat to the American way of life. But CRT goes further than just wanting to deconstruct and reconstruct America and its way of life or take down statues. They demand all white individuals must recognize they are racists, which is built into them through language. They also demand that whites must apologize (and recompense black victims) for white racism, for white privilege, and for oppressing black people. Within CRT logic, whites are apparently always inherently racist and inherently privileged. Blacks are always apparently oppressed and can never be racist. If any white person points to the absurdity of these claims, this is taken a proof such a person is racist and “fragile.” CRT allows no escape from its closed circular argument.   Re-education appears to be the only solution, according to the theory. Whites must be taught to recognize their individual “sickness” and the pathology of their society. Then taught to “be sorry,” to take the knee, and to be co-opted into CRT’s plan to deconstruct existing American society. This re-education will take place in schools, universities and through compulsory staff training workshops. Conveniently, CRT activists have created many jobs for themselves by running these workshops. Apparently, revolution can be profitable for some. CRT is a revolutionary project designed to actively disrupt and break the language we use. It is enmeshed with another left-wing project called the “decolonization” of education and the “decolonization” of society. These projects aim to undo the so-called evil of European colonialism plus deconstruct the work of the apparently evil white men who colonized and built America, Canada, and Australia. Building CRT’s postcolonial world is a project as profoundly revolutionary as was Stalin’s communist project of building the “Soviet Man.” Americans need to become aware of what such a project of re-writing their culture; their history, and their language will mean for them. If Americans want to see what “decolonization” of education and society means, just look at what the African National Congress has done in South Africa. This is a project of erasure that is totalitarian in its vision. What is remarkable is that left-leaning liberals cannot see how Orwellian this CRT re-education project is in the way it wants to replace “bad language” and “bad thinking” with new sanitized “social justice” words and “good thinking.” Similarities can be found with Mao Ze Dong’s Cultural Revolution when communist witch hunts forced people to confess their “guilt.” Youngkin’s victory in Virginia should give us all hope. Let this be the beginning of an alliance of Republican politicians and parents who say they are tired of having their children come home from school brainwashed by CRT. Let the message from Virginia be that enough is enough. Vandals attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House on June 22, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 19:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 9th, 2021

Why The West Can"t Ban Bitcoin The Way China Did

Why The West Can't Ban Bitcoin The Way China Did Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com, Only a complete “dictatorship of the proletariat” can kill Bitcoin Evergrande is being called China’s “Lehman moment” and overnight the PBC closed the loop on their clampdown on crypto with a total ban on virtual currency transactions. For those paying attention, however, China isn’t just moving against crypto, they’ve been bringing their entire technology sector to heel. They also stated that it is time to redistribute wealth from the top tier of the nations wealth holders to the rest of the peasant class. This isn’t a return to their Communist roots as much as it is a move of self-preservation against rising internal powers. In the words of my friend Charles Hugh Smith via some correspondence we’ve been having this week “Xi has set out to crush the Network State”. I said in my earlier Network State Primer about the coming tension between Nation States and Network States: the former will go down swinging. The power structures of the nation states won’t go gently into the dustbin of history. They will go down swinging, over a transitional era that may span decades or longer, similar to the centuries long tensions between monarchs and the Papacy that shaped the transition from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance. China has decided to make their last stand of the Nation State, now. Here at this moment in time. They will not bail out Evergrande, they will allow their side of the Everything Bubble to pop, and they will use the economic crash to make a final sweep of consolidation of their power. They will make sure their Big Tech knows who is in charge and that it is not them. Over here in the West, recent regulatory jabs at crypto seem almost enfeebled by comparison. The SEC forcing Coinbase to cancel a program they hadn’t launched yet (so it makes no difference to their bottom line), while bickering with the CFTA over who gets to regulate crypto. The subtext to all this is we shall now see, and be forced to choose, a path forward in the digital networked age: Behind door #1 we keep the nation state format of centralized, top down control and escalating interference into both the economic and private lives of its subjects. Behind door #2 is the coming tension between nation states, network states and crypto-claves that I outlined previously. Neither path will produce a serene and stable gilded age. They will both be chaotic and volatile, Fourth Turning style transitions. The former in the course of implementing then maintaining a totalitarian dictatorship by force. The latter in the interplay and jockeying between three disparate organizational dynamics, each with it’s own centre of gravity (power), source of wealth and interdependencies with the others. China may be able to make option #1 work there, at least for awhile, but would a China style technocratic dictatorship actually fly and sustain in the West? At first glance one may think so. The zeitgeist today seems to be one clamouring for authoritarianism and collectivism. But upon deeper examination this may only be the vocal minority of academia, media pundits and Social Justice Inc. The majority of the population may just be keeping silent out of pragmatism and sheer exhaustion from the never-ending elitist sanctimony and cultural Marxism. But the pushback against COVID authoritarianism, now made acute by forced vaccinations and the ongoing threats of never-ending lockdowns may finally be getting hints of non-compliance through to policy-makers in the West. Australia has officially abandoned their Zero Covid policy and vaccine passport mandates are incurring revolts and in some places are abandoned. What would it take for Western governments to ban crypto, reign in ascendant tech platforms and more permanently abrogate all property rights? Western governments would have to go “Full China” My worry under lockdowns was that Western governments pined for China-style autocracy. And let’s call it for what it is: for a couple years since all this started, they certainly tried it. To varying degrees they continue to cling to the hope that they can remain relevant in a 21st century world using technocratic methods developed out of 20th century industrialism. Most policy makers are still trapped in a mindset learned from an era of assembly lines and cubicles. They think the only difference is it’s now digitized. But the more I started thinking about this the more I realized how unlikely this is in the realms of erstwhile liberal democracies. For one thing, decentralized crypto currencies have already changed the game  in the West in a way where there is no going back. It is estimated that by 2024, there will one billion Bitcoin HODLers, and that makes them a real constituancy. Another reason is that we are at least nominally democracies, with elections. That means our societal fabric has a particular architecture very different from China’s. While elections have become largely ceremonial ratifications of homogenous policy tracks, contested between insular factions within political monocultures, they at least show the overlords where the boundaries of their powers are. Take for example the recent Canadian election, where Justin Trudeau’s gambit to secure a majority failed and he’s stuck with another minority government. The rising right-wing PPC party won no seats, and yet, secured 5% of the popular vote, up from 1.62% in 2019, the year that party formed. They blew out the Green Party at 2.6% and who has been around for 35 years. Their performance caused much pearl clutching from the MSM and there will be more going forward, especially should the incumbent government continue with its post-national, woke, collectivist aspirations. The Chinese peoples have never been free. There’s never been a liberty inspired revolution there, only a cultural (Marxist) one. People in China have no constitutionally guaranteed rights, they aren’t even citizens. They’re subjects. They will take it, at least for now, because they’ve always taken it. As Charles put it in his emails to me, their history is replete with “one bloody purge after another, of someone consolidating power and then unleashing a Cultural Revolution to eliminate rivals, etc. If crashing China’s bubble is the nuclear option, Xi is quite confident he can push the pain level to 11 and most will accept it, those who don’t will enjoy treatment as an honorary Uyghur.” That’s not the case here in the West where there have been at least two revolutions fuelled directly out of an impulse for liberty: The French and the American. Even though the former went off the rails a lot quicker than the latter did, it still happened and it is a stark reminder of where things go when wealth inequality gets so out of whack and the elites become so detached from reality (Charles thinks this is where things are headed in the US, he may not be wrong). For cryptos to be hit with a China-style ban, in their entirety here in the West, governments would have to go Full China, complete with total control over every aspect of every citizen’s life (China just set limits on how much time you’re allowed to spend on Tik Tok, they have social credit systems which meter your alcohol consumption, the list goes on and is getting longer). How long would that last here in the West? Either the citizenry would move straight into the final hyper-normalization phase seen in the Soviet Union before it collapsed (paraphrasing: “They pretend to govern us and we pretend to obey”), or, the pitchforks and torches come out almost immediately. Countries break up. Secessionists abound. At least a few people face some Mussolini moments if not full on Storming of the Bastille and a French Revolution style purging of perceived elites. It would get ugly. I’m not saying this is what would happen if Western governments banned crypto, I’m saying it could happen in response to the kind of dictatorship that would have to be imposed in order to ban crypto. That also doesn’t mean that cryptos can’t go “risk off” (to use Charles’ description) for awhile, even in lieu of a ban. Especially if China allows the economic chips to fall as they may and that ripples across the global economy (perhaps China is unleashing yet another global contagion…. on purpose). The way I see it, the tension in liberal democracies between nation states and network states will be played out through their respective monetary systems. The nation state’s fiat money will be digitized into CBDCs, which will be specifically constructed to preclude wealth formation or savings and almost certainly be the rails of Westernized social credit systems, The network state stable coins (like Facebook’s Diem), which may endeavour to extend the lifespan of fiat currencies and fuse with CBDCs And crypto currencies founded on hard money principles that catalyzed the entire decentralized revolution. These will exist out of default because in the absence of total dictatorship and owing to the demands of optionality, capital pools will have to go here (among other places) out of self-preservation. *  *  * I cover this dynamic extensively in The Crypto Capitalist Letter, a long with a tactical focus on publicly traded crypto stocks. Get the overall investment / macro thesis free when you subscribe to the Bombthrower mailing list, or try the premium service for a month with our fully refundable trial offer. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Why The Border Is Such A Problem For Biden... And America

Why The Border Is Such A Problem For Biden... And America Authored by Charles Lipson via RealClearPolitics.com, The Biden administration is drowning on issue after issue, and many of the bubbles are coming from the Rio Grande River. The problem, which dare not speak its name, is illegal immigration. The administration, its political party, and the mainstream media refuse to say the very word “illegal.” For a while, they called it “undocumented,” pretending the migrants somehow forgot their papers in the top dresser drawer in Guatemala or Haiti. Now, even that bland phrase is deemed too clear and honest. The new woke term is “irregular immigration.” Anything to minimize the problem, sway public opinion, and avoid plain talk. The obfuscation goes much further than a few phrases. Consider Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’ testimony to Congress last week, where he faced awkward questions about the administration’s decision to stop building the border wall, including portions that had already been contracted and paid for. Mayorkas’ reply, “We are not going to construct a border wall along the ragged and jagged cliffs along certain parts of the border." He was addressing a fake issue, answering a question that had not been asked so he could avoid answering the one that actually had been. His misdirection was intentional. Even hardline Republicans agree that a wall is not needed for remote, rugged areas. High-tech solutions work well there and cost less. It’s true that Donald Trump once proposed a wall along the entire border. It’s also true that he abandoned that idea long ago. No one is proposing it now. What Mayorkas was asked was why the administration had stopped building the wall in flat, accessible areas where hundreds of thousands of people have been streaming across. He had no answer. So he spewed more bubbles from a drowning administration. Mayorkas’ performance illustrates George Orwell’s observations in what is perhaps the best essay ever written about politics and the English language. “In our time,” he asserted, “political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.” What Orwell wrote in 1946 is still true. Some political acts are “too brutal for most people to face, and ... do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.” Watching its policies fail catastrophically on the U.S.-Mexican border has not nudged the Biden administration into discussing this issue forthrightly. The public isn’t buying either the gobbledygook or the policies. In the latest Rasmussen survey, 57% of likely voters say the government is doing too little to reduce illegal border crossings and visitor overstays. Only 20% rate the level of government action as about right; 65% of independent voters say the government is doing too little. Why are the poll numbers so stark? The two most compelling reasons are that illegal border crossings have reached record numbers and the public believes that conditions won’t improve without major policy changes. They’re right. According to official data, first obtained by the Washington Post, “U.S. authorities detained more than 1.7 million migrants along the Mexico border during the 2021 fiscal year that ended in September, and arrests by the Border Patrol soared to the highest levels ever recorded.” In October alone, the Border Patrol apprehended over 160,000 people, more than double the number for the previous year and larger than the population of Syracuse, N.Y. That’s in one month. And they keep coming. Third, the public fears this surge of illegal migration will harm communities far beyond the Texas border, both because the administration is secretly transferring migrants and because drug cartels are using the open border to transport massive quantities of opioids, heroin, and fake pharmaceuticals. The administration keeps repeating, “The border is closed,” but the cartels, coyotes, and caravans know better. Fourth, voters can see the Biden administration has no answers. None. Even worse for Democrats, the best answers are those pursued by his predecessor — the ones Biden junked as soon as he took office. The administration cannot restore those policies without admitting error. To do so would say, in effect, that President Trump’s harsh approach worked better. That would be intolerable to the party’s left wing and many in the center. Instead of proposing practical solutions, the administration floated the quixotic idea of fixing the “root causes of emigration” in Central America and the Caribbean. That’s an elusive goal at best, and, in any case, would not help the U.S. for years. It’s hand waving, not serious policy. Since Kamala Harris was handed responsibility for this latest initiative, it’s tempting to blame her. But the failure is not hers. It’s Biden’s. The White House sent her on a fool’s errand. Washington simply doesn’t have the tools needed to reverse the region’s endemic poverty, danger, and corruption. Nor does it have a track record of solving these problems, despite decades of effort. It’s hard to imagine the administration could come up with worse policies, but it is trying. The administration’s latest brainchild is to pay massive sums to every family of illegal immigrants separated at the border during the last administration. (They were given the opportunity to return home together but declined.) The idea is so unpopular the White House refuses to defend it at press briefings. So does Mayorkas. All of them say, “Talk to the Department of Justice.” The DoJ’s lips are sealed. Finally, the public is starting to connect rampant lawlessness on the southern border with rampant lawlessness in American cities. After all, Democrats control both and defend their policies on the same specious grounds: social justice. Criminals find this new terrain inviting. They have dramatically increased shoplifting, carjacking, armed robberies, and murder. Police see the same pattern. When they see mayors refusing to support them and prosecutors refusing to do their jobs, cops on the beat won’t do theirs, either. Why risk your life and career to arrest someone who won’t face serious jail time? Why chase criminals down mean streets when it’s safer to stay in your patrol car? Voters are troubled by these failures and are deeply unhappy with the officials responsible for them. That’s the message from recent elections in New York City, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Virginia, New Jersey, and now Columbia, S.C., where a Democrat lost the mayoralty only a year after Biden carried the city by 40 points. The theme here is the same one heard in the movie “Network”: People are “mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.” That’s also the message from the latest poll by YouGov and The Economist, which shows only 27% of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction. Illegal immigration is a big part of that “wrong direction,” along with inflation and COVID. The public’s frustration is understandable. Citizens, to use another verboten concept, want to see basic laws enforced and social order restored. Those aren’t unreasonable demands; they are the most basic responsibilities of government. Before Washington takes on even more responsibilities and piles on more taxes to pay for them, as Biden proposes with his social-spending bill, they want it to perform the tasks it already has. Law-abiding citizens — whatever their race, whatever their income — want to go about their lives in peace. They want criminals caught and punished so others will be deterred. They want public servants who understand that responsibility and do their jobs. That’s what Americans are saying in poll after poll, vote after vote. They have soundly rejected candidates who justify the chaos in the name of social justice and racial equity. They want is better policing, without prejudice  and without excessive force. They don’t want defunding and dismantling. Their demands are reasonable and realistic. Meeting them is essential for a stable democracy. Politicians ignore them at their peril. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 22:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

Avoid politics at Thanksgiving and talk about markets instead. Here"s a refresher on the craziest stories this year, from meme stocks to NFTs.

The year began with GameStop shares soaring and is ending with an internet group trying to buy the US Constitution. The Thanksgiving turkey.Hiroko Masuike/Getty Images Markets have been on a wild ride in 2021 amid new phenomena like meme stocks, NFTs, and DAOs. The year began with shares of GameStop soaring and is ending with a DAO trying to buy the US Constitution. Here are 10 conversation starters about markets to avoid politics at Thanksgiving this year. Forget politics at your Thanksgiving dinner this year. Talk markets.Think about everything that happened this year, starting with an army of retail traders causing GameStop shares to spike, to cute Japanese puppies becoming the mascots for a crypto revolution, and ending in a bunch of internet friends trying to buy the US Constitution. So here's a refresher of what happened with 10 possible ideas to get the conversation going on Thanksgiving.1) What's your favorite meme stock?Meme stocks became the first big market event this year when an army of retail traders mobilized on Reddit to drive up the prices of cheap stocks like GameStop, AMC, and BlackBerry. Then well-known trading app Robinhood halted the buying of meme stocks, initiating an uproar from traders, a Congressional hearing and a regulatory report. The meme-stock phenomenon has continued throughout the year, with new companies constantly added to the basket. For some, AMC is still their favorite. It's now accepting cryptocurrency as payment, and its CEO is a hit among retail traders.2) Want to see my NFT?Non-fungible tokens surged in popularity this year, and now the market as a whole is worth billions of dollars. The tokens are generally digital pieces of art tied to the blockchain. They're worth anywhere from a handful of dollars to millions of dollars. If you're really a crypto enthusiast, you might even bring your tungsten cube to Thanksgiving dinner. The cubes have become all the rage in the crypto world for their small size and surprising density. Shiba inu dog.Yuki Cheung/EyeEm/Getty3) I've been thinking about buying a shiba inu! (The puppy not the coin; I already have that).Demand for the Japanese hunting dogs has surged this year along with the price of meme coins like dogecoin and shiba inu coin. The cryptocurrencies, whose mascot is the shiba inu, have garnered the attention of the retail investing crowd, in addition to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and AMC CEO Adam Aron. Another shiba inu-based coin called Floki, a reference to Musk's new Japanese pup, has also joined the space. Be careful if you want to buy in, though, the cryptocurrencies — and the dogs — can be volatile. 4) How's your home improvement project going with those crazy lumber prices?Inflation is at 30-year highs thanks to a bevy of factors like shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, and government stimulus checks, among others. The price of lumber, along with a lot of other costs, surged this year as first-time buyers joined the housing market and current homeowners made updates. More recently, lumber prices have since slumped from highs earlier in the year. 5) I ordered my PS5 forever ago. One wrong turn in the Suez Canal, and I'm stuck with what I've got.In March, the Ever Given cargo ship became lodged in the pivotal waterway, prompting memes and adding to supply chain problems. After about a week blocking the canal, a fleet of tugboats and a dredger successfully freed the vessel. 6) Have you seen my Facebook — ahem, the company formerly known as Facebook — posts lately?Facebook is no longer Facebook. In October, it rebranded to Meta as it plans to move into virtual reality and the future of the internet that has been dubbed the metaverse. Since then, the concept of the metaverse has become mainstream. Elon Musk.Picture Alliance/Getty Images7) Let's talk about voting! Did you vote yes or no on Elon Musk's poll to sell his Tesla shares?Musk posted a poll on Twitter on Nov. 6 asking if he should sell 10% of his stake in Tesla. The resounding answer was yes, and he's so far offloaded about $9 billion worth of shares. The Tesla chief's tweets have become increasingly influential this year, as his posts about digital assets, like dogecoin, bitcoin, and ethereum, have helped drive broad crypto rallies. On top of that, his own company has joined the $1 trillion club, and he's now the wealthiest man in the world.8) What did you think of Squid Game? The Netflix hit show that garnered more than 140 million viewers, according to Forbes, also inspired a cryptocurrency that soared in value in a matter of days in October. But it was a scam. The owners took their profits and the crypto went offline. 9) How much did you make off Trump's SPAC?Blank-check companies known as SPACs were once a little known way for companies to go public, but during the pandemic they became wildly popular. Former president Donald Trump used one called Digital World Acquisition Corp. to take his company, Trump Media & Technology Group, public. DWAC shares quickly became a meme and surged in value on the news.10) Can someone please explain to me what a DAO is?It's a decentralized autonomous organization, better yet, it's just a bunch of internet friends getting together to accomplish a goal. One DAO bought the secretive Wu-Tang Clan album once owned by infamous pharma bro Martin Shkreli. Another tried to purchase the Constitution but was outbid by Citadel Securities' Founder Ken Griffin. Now one is trying to buy an NBA team. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 23rd, 2021

"Nobody Likes A Snob": Bill Maher Slams AOC, Other "Woke" Democrats For Being Out Of Touch With "Most Of America"

"Nobody Likes A Snob": Bill Maher Slams AOC, Other 'Woke' Democrats For Being Out Of Touch With 'Most Of America' Self-proclaimed "old school" Democrat Bill Maher has a message for his party: stop being snobs. During Friday night's "Real Time," the 65-year-old comedian slammed the left over wokeness and cancel culture, and said that Democrats are losing elections because "liberals think this country is full of dumb white people." "Vote Democrat because white people suck," should be a 2024 Democrat campaign slogan, the HBO host joked, noting that 62% of Americans think the ruling party is "out of touch." Why are @TheDemocrats who support so many issues that benefit the middle class still considered "out of touch" by 62% of America? #DemIntervention #Midterms2022 #WokeIsAJoke pic.twitter.com/87U2n81m0d — Bill Maher (@billmaher) November 20, 2021 "In plain English, nobody likes a snob. … Your micro aggression culture doesn’t play in the Rust Belt," said Maher. "If a staffer hands you a speech that says ‘menstruating people’ instead of women, don’t say that, say women." The host also took aim at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and technocrats for embracing "woke" culture, according to PJ Media. "It’s [wokeness] a joke, because it makes you think of people who wake up offended and take orders from Twitter and their over-sensitivity has grown tiresome," he said, adding that Democrats shouldn't alienate white voters without college degrees. As PJ Media's  A.J. Kaufman notes: In his surprising gubernatorial triumph in Virginia, Glenn Youngkin received more than 70% of the vote in the commonwealth’s 45 rural counties. And it’s not like Youngkin is a populist or a candidate who electrifies voters; the governor-elect basically is Mitt Romney in a fleece vest. But blue-collar white voters increasingly realize Democrats are smug and hostile to them. Recall that an old white guy with, rightly or wrongly, a moderate reputation was the only Democrat last year who didn’t shed working-class whites — both in the primaries and general election. On Wednesday night, Maher told CNN's Chris Cuomo that critical race theory is "just virtue signaling," and accused liberals of being "afraid to acknowledge progress." "It’s just something going on in the schools that never went on before," said Maher. "I think, I remember what my education was with American history. We learned about the Civil War. I mean, they mentioned racism. We understood slavery and Lincoln … But they didn’t really go into it any more than ‘Gone with the Wind’ goes into it. It was there but you didn’t feel it, this really. Now we’re doing that, and I think that’s a good thing. People should understand that," said Maher, adding "That’s different than teaching that racism is the essence of America. That’s what people get upset about, or involving children, who are probably not old enough, or sophisticated enough, to understand this very complicated issue, with a very complicated history." Watch: Bill Maher says both sides are trying to cancel him now and it's new. “My politics have not changed. I am an old school liberal... they changed, not me,” he says on the issue of race. pic.twitter.com/QZ9rTSqVGq — Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) November 18, 2021   Tyler Durden Sun, 11/21/2021 - 15:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 21st, 2021

Returning To Sound Money

Returning To Sound Money Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, With the threat of dollar hyperinflation now becoming a reality it is time to consider what will be required to stabilise the currency, and by extension the other fiat currencies which regard the dollar as their reserve. This article takes its cue from Ludwig von Mises’s 1952 analysis of what was required to return to a proper and enduring gold standard —metallic money, particularly gold, having been sound money for thousands of years, to which everyone has always returned when government fiat currency fails. When Mises wrote his 1952 article the dollar was nowhere near the state it is in today. But Mises had had practical experience of what was involved, having advised the Austrian government during and after its hyperinflation of the early 1920s, making his analysis doubly relevant. As a remedy for the developing collapse of the dollar, this article can do little more than address the major issues. But it shows how an economic and monetary collapse of the dollar can be turned to advantage - the opportunity it creates through the destruction of Keynesian and other inflationist fallacies to secure long-term economic and monetary stability under which economic progress can be maximised. Introduction There are two charts which sum up why the dollar and fiat currencies tied to it will collapse if current monetary policies persist, shown in Figure 1. The growth in the M1 quantity since February 2020 has been without precedent exploding from $4 trillion, already an historically high level, to nearly $20 trillion this September. That is an average annualised M1 inflation of 230%. It is simply currency debasement and has yet to impact on prices fully. Much of the increase has gone into the financial sector through quantitative easing, so its progress into the non-financial economy and the effects on consumer prices are delayed — but only delayed — as it will increasingly undermine the dollar’s purchasing power. The more immediate impact on the High Street is also alarming, shown in the second chart. A combination of the covid lockdowns and Federal Government money ending up in consumers’ pockets has driven their liquidity relative to goods purchases to unprecedented and unaccustomed heights. This is the more worrying chart because it quantifies the immediate fuel for a potential crack-up boom. A crack-up boom is the condition whereby consumers finally discard the currency, spending it to just get rid of it. We are not there yet, but clearly, if consumers take the view en masse that prices will continue to rise, then they will attempt to reduce their cash balances all at once by bringing their future purchases forward, thereby driving prices up even further and more rapidly, and therefore the purchasing power of the currency down. But for the moment, it is mostly creating a scramble for real assets, such as housing, which for the moment can be bought with mortgage finance fixed at deeply suppressed interest rates. Given supply constraints, rising commodity prices, and other production costs rising as well as unaccustomed levels of consumer liquidity, the rise in prices can only accelerate. Unless there is a fundamental change in monetary policy, which requires the expansion of currency to be stopped completely, there will come a point where consumers finally realise that it is not prices rising but the purchasing power of the currency falling. This is a difficult concept for most people to grasp because they are used to regarding currency as always possessing the objective value in their transactions. The history of monetary inflations confirms that ordinary folk have always been reluctant to understand that the currency is declining until too late. But today, a significant minority of the population has already been alerted to this development by their participation in or observation of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. And if the wider population learns the same lesson and acts accordingly all hope for the currency will be lost. The reason that changes in the quantity of currency recorded by narrow measures such as M1 must be closely watched is that it is the underlying base upon which bank credit is expanded. When interest rates inevitably begin to rise, rates paid to bank depositors are likely to lag, improving lending margins for banks. Improved lending margins will encourage the banks to expand credit, for the benefit of government and agency bonds, and for speculators such as hedge fund managers looking to arbitrage the difference between borrowing rates and the dollar’s future purchasing power. The narrow currency quantity therefore has a multiplier effect with respect to bank credit when it begins to expand. A dispassionate consideration of these established facts leads the independent observer to conclude that unless today’s fiat currency system is secured with a sound money regime a collapse of everyone’s circulating medium is inevitable. Putting to one side minor central banks, the most egregious debaser of currency is the Fed, as the charts above attest. But with the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, where the dollar goes, so will all the other western currencies. Fixing the dollar must be the priority. In a revised 1952 edition of his The Theory of Money and Credit, Ludwig von Mises added a section on The Return to Sound Money. Mises, who had cut his teeth as an economist dealing with Austria’s 1920s inflation made proposals which are still relevant. Under the influence of Keynesianism, the monetary situation facing America today is rapidly deteriorating towards the circumstances faced by Austria in 1920-22, but with technical differences. This article attempts to update Mises’s section on the return to sound money for current conditions to provide a framework for the benefit of monetary stability and long-term prosperity. The intractability of current inflationism Central banks and their governments like to say that the reasons for an acceleration of monetary expansion are short-term and justified by being expedient. But these policies, often termed extraordinary measures to validate them, become normal as we have seen with quantitative easing. We can reasonably assume therefore that no meaningful attempt to rein in currency debasement will occur, more extraordinary measures will be invented, and that the explosion in the M1 quantity is far from over. Changing the official mindset is proving an impossible task so long as currency expansion is available. The Federal Government relies on it as a growing source for its funding, which allows it to ignore budget deficits. The state employs bureaucrats who agree with this policy and is advised only by economists who are prepared to justify it. The whole establishment is in groupthink mode and brooks no criticism over its inflationism. Furthermore, the administration has been democratically elected on a platform of continuing to provide free and easy money. This is not a sudden phenomenon, being progressively ingrained in the establishment’s mindset for a century. It commenced with the establishment of the Fed before the First World War, which then fuelled an artificial boom in the 1920s after the brief post-war recession. The American state gradually subsumed control over money, removing it from transacting individuals and finally replacing it with completely fiat dollars in 1971. The course that the state had set itself was bound to lead to where we are now; the expansion of dollar currency getting out of control. Nowhere in the Fed’s regular FOMC statements is there any mention of monetary policy per se. It is as if the quantity of currency in circulation is irrelevant to its purchasing power. It is an important cover-up, because if the relationship between the quantity of money and its purchasing power was admitted, then the Fed would have to exercise control over it. And not only would an admission of the relationship be a public acknowledgement of currency mismanagement, not only would the US Treasury come down on the Fed like a ton of bricks for jeopardising its source of non-fiscal revenue, but inflation of the currency would no longer be freely available as a policy tool. One likes to think that there are policy makers with an understanding that inflation is of the quantity of dollars in circulation and not its effect on prices. But for a long time, it has not been in anyone’s interest to think this way — anyone who did so has been re-educated, sacked, or left the building. This is the essence of groupthink. It is worth noting that elsewhere, Jens Weidmann who is a well-known inflation hawk is resigning from the Bundesbank. And Andy Haldane has resigned as Chief Economist from the Bank of England, with a parting shot on inflation. Both these gentlemen appear to have decided it is a fight they cannot win. The only chance of reform is from circumstances leading to the final abandonment of the neo-Keynesian policies that have promoted statism over free markets. And that is unlikely to occur before economic and currency destruction has become too obvious for anyone in control of economic and monetary policy to ignore. We cannot be certain that this realisation in official circles will occur before the public finally loses all confidence in the currency. But so long as any hope for its recovery lingers, it seems unlikely that monetary policy will be reformed. To statist economists, the argument for sound money and its adoption would not only be a negation of everything they have come to believe, but it will be seen as destroying all their so-called scientific progress, particularly since the adoption of Keynes’s General Theory as the economists’ vade mecum. Additionally, the use of statistics to guide policy, particularly of GDP and CPI, will have been found to have badly misled policy makers and markets. Along with statist management of the dollar, they must be abandoned. They are primarily tools for imposing state control on economic activity. The objective of the reformed approach is to return to free markets and sound money, which means handing responsibility for their actions back to economic actors, those who divide their labour and use money as the bridge between their production and consumption. These are a volte-face from current policies and are sure to be strongly resisted even in the face of contrary evidence. Monetary reform is bound to be delayed until the last possible moment. The state’s preference is always to retain and build on the control it already has. This is why there are plans to introduce central bank digital currencies, which, it must be noted, are designed to continue with inflationary stimulation by other means. But as revolutionary France discovered, the substitution of one fiat (the assignat) by another (mandat territoriaux) merely leads to the more rapid failure of the second. Once public trust in the state to not debauch the first currency is gone, it cannot be restored for a succeeding unbacked state currency. We can only assume that at some point in the dollar’s descent towards worthlessness the US Treasury will be prepared to mobilise its gold reserves to stop it becoming completely worthless. We shall now look at the measures that are required from that point to return to sound money, that is to back the dollar credibly with metallic money, only gold and silver coinage — anything less will not be a permanent solution. Initial actions to stabilise the currency At the time when monetary stabilisation becomes a practical proposition, interest rates and bond yields will have already been driven to previously unimagined levels, reflecting the currency’s collapse thus far. Write-offs from non-performing loans and losses on bond valuations will have almost certainly wiped out all the equity of weaker banks, and the survivability of the stronger ones will have become questionable as well. The Federal deposit insurance limit of $250,000 will have become meaningless and a banking crisis will become integral to the currency collapse as depositors attempt to flee from bank deposits into goods and gold. A collapse of the fiat banking system was not a material factor when Mises tackled the problem in 1952. He was absorbed with preventing the currency’s collapse in the future, a future which was some way off but is now almost upon us. The first action must be for the Fed to cease expanding the quantity of money and to introduce regulations to stop the expansion of total bank credit. The former is a simple task. In practice, controlling bank credit is also not difficult. If one bank increases its balance sheet, the increase must be matched by a decrease in the balance sheets of the other banks. This means that new loans can only be extended with the permission of the central bank centralising the information on bank and other licenced credit providers’ balance sheets. And net drawdowns of existing credit facilities must similarly be matched by repayments of others. This is intended as an interim measure pending further reform of the banking system. But the consequences for surviving banks will be significant and immediate. The stabilisation of the currency will lead to increased savings. The allocation of these increased savings to investment capital will be routed through bond markets instead of across the collective balance sheets of the banking system. It will be up to savers and their agents to decide individual borrowing terms. And all taxes on savings must be removed to enable them to recirculate into productive investment. However, these measures will be consistent with the plans for subsequent bank reform described below. The US Treasury will be competing for savers’ savings and will no longer have unrestricted access to bank credit. A bank wishing to increase its exposure to Treasury stock be able to do so by disposing of other assets, Alternatively, if other banks reduce their balance sheets permission might be obtained from the Fed on the lines described above. Whether buying Treasuries is a sensible commercial decision must be left to the individual bank, and Basel-originated regulations designed to give preference to government bills and bonds over other classifications of assets must be repealed. The objective is to permit the government and its agencies to borrow but only on a non-inflationary basis, with the investment decision purely decided by investors, their agents, and bankers making their own risk assessments without regulatory bias. It is doubtful at this stage of the hyperinflation that economic activity would suffer overall from the loss of state intervention. The economy will already be in the deepest slump in living memory, with interest rates at unimaginable heights and beyond the Fed’s control. Anyone going bust will have most probably done so already. In these conditions there cannot be a better time to ensure the state withdraws from economic and monetary intervention and to introduce plans to stabilise the currency. But on their own measures to halt currency and credit expansion would be insufficient to stabilise the dollar and dollar interest rates beyond a temporary basis without further measures, which must be our next consideration. The return to a gold standard To stabilise the dollar the US Treasury must recognise that gold is money and the dollar an inferior currency. Accordingly, all taxes on physical gold and silver must be removed, and both metals be permitted to be freely exchanged by the public for dollars. Given that the circumstance of the reintroduction of a gold standard are likely to be those of a last resort, we can assume that the market will have already repriced the dollar in gold terms. That being the case, the exchange ratio between gold and the dollar can be fixed along with the arrangements permitting gold coin and the dollar to circulate together, with the dollar and dollar-credit being converted into reliable gold-backed substitutes. Legislation would have to be enacted to enshrine gold convertibility as an inalienable property right, never to be taken away from the public in future. This must also remove future devaluations as a government option, and even in the event of a crisis, such as a war, full convertibility must be maintained. A new body must be established, or the role of the Exchange Stabilisation Fund amended to act only as the custodian for the relationship between dollars and gold, with the nation’s gold reserves transferred to its control. We shall call this fund the Exchange Stabilisation Fund (ESF) hereafter. Dealing in foreign currencies and SDRs by the ESF must cease, and no other government or central bank entity be permitted to deal in gold. After acquiring its initial reserve from the Treasury, the ESF cannot be permitted to initiate gold transactions. Only dealings initiated by the public, exchanging gold for dollars or dollars for gold are to be permitted. Thenceforth, the expansion of dollars in circulation must be backed 100% by gold to be held transparently in a special account for that purpose. The basis of convertibility must be on coins freely demanded by holders of dollars without limitation. Legislation must be passed for gold coins to be struck in suitable currency denominations to ensure their practical circulation. Silver coins must also be reintroduced by law for smaller amounts, and the issuance of paper notes suited for smaller purchases must be rescinded to ensure that silver coins and the smaller gold coins circulate. The purpose of coin circulation is to permit the public to continually vote on the government’s adherence to the new rules. The slightest indication that it is considering breaking them will, in accordance with Gresham’s Law, drive the good money out of circulation: in other words, gold coin will be hoarded, and its paper substitutes disposed through spending. The knowledge that this is so will discourage politicians from considering watering down the standard. The gold/silver ratio should be struck to give silver coins a minor premium over their bullion value to ensure they remain in circulation and are not diverted for industrial use or arbitraged into gold. This will avoid the pitfalls that plagued bimetallic standards in the past. The introduction of a working gold coin standard on these lines will lead to a rapid fall in borrowing rates from their hyperinflation highs. The sooner it is operating and the currency stabilised, the quicker the economy can return to normality, which will be an obvious benefit for those persuading the public the merits of sound money. Interest rates will then correlate with the general level of wholesale prices. The reason for this correlation is that sound money allows producers to calculate for their business plans with a high degree of certainty about final prices. With that certainty in mind, they can then assess the rate of interest they are prepared to pay savers for an enterprise to be profitable. The disciplines of a working gold coin standard will also require other changes to take place. Government reform The time during a currency collapse when it might be adapted into a proper gold standard is also the most dangerous politically. The population will be suffering real hardships and dangerously disaffected from the establishment that steered them onto the economic and monetary rocks. The middle and professional classes will have lost nearly everything. It is a political situation ripe for violent revolution. It drove the French revolution and following the First World War drove Germany into Nazism. It is the setting described by Hayek in his The Road to Serfdom. The departure from proper economics and the move towards increasing state control over the people militates for yet more socialism and violence, with a total monetary collapse being the excuse for total oppression of the people by the state. If that happens, the outcome is a different course of events from the constructive one proposed here. But we must assume that the great American nation, for all its recent faults and having lost its way with economics and socialist drift, pulls back from the brink of the abyss. Unlike Germany following its hyperinflation of the 1920s, America’s population is ethnically diverse, comprised in the main of the descendants of refugees from political and economic oppressions elsewhere. We should accept that when the outlook is darkest, a Hayekian-described dictator might not emerge, but a statesman instead, like an Erhardt, who emerged for Germany in the late 1940s. Paradoxically, public support for a reform of the American currency system probably offers a better chance of success than similar measures taken elsewhere. We must proceed with that assumption. The popular mandate for the role of government in the economy to be radically revised will therefore become available. Without the cover of inflationary financing, an economy based on sound money is more obviously incompatible with a high-spending government, which must then reduce its burden on the productive economy to the minimum possible. At its most fundamental, its obligation to provide mandated welfare must be strictly curtailed. The ambition is to reduce the role of government to framing and upholding the law and maintaining national defence — not to be confused with funding military adventures abroad. Foreign policy must return to that of Britain in the days of Liverpool, Castlereagh, and Wellington following the Napoleonic Wars: never to interfere in another nation’s internal affairs. And regulations must be rescinded to permit free markets to regulate themselves. It will require economic understanding, statesmanship and perhaps a few years to fully achieve all these objectives. But given that the purchasing power of the dollar will have already depreciated substantially, the costs of welfare, such as state pensions and unemployment benefits, will have already degenerated in real terms. Furthermore, the population will be staring into an economic and monetary abyss, reducing their opposition to substantial cuts in state spending. Only in these circumstances will it be possible to take the necessary action, and the opportunity will be there. An initial target of reducing Federal government spending to under 20% of GDP and cutting taxes accordingly should be followed by a target of less than 15% of GDP in due course. Banking reform Following extensive debate between the currency and banking schools, England’s Bank Charter Act of 1844 was the watershed that validated bank credit cycles. The destabilising effect of these cycles led to Walter Bagehot’s concept of the role of The Bank of England being the lender of last resort, the excuse for central banks in the future to increase their powers of intervention. By the time of the 1844 Act, banking law and double entry bookkeeping had established the method of credit creation, which is different from that which is commonly understood. A bank commences the expansion of bank credit by making a loan to a customer, which appears on its balance sheet as an asset. At the same time, double entry bookkeeping demands a contra entry, which is achieved by the bank crediting the customer with a matching deposit, which continues to balance as the loan is drawn down. The bank’s balance sheet has expanded without its own capital being involved. The expansion of credit is monetary inflation, which eventually feeds through to rising prices, leading to increasing interest rates. Economic calculations made earlier in the credit cycle begin to go awry, and bankers eventually become cautious, contracting their balance sheets mindful of the gearing ratio between their equity and total liabilities. Alternatively, carried away by the apparent improvement in trading conditions, banks speculate in areas where they lack expertise or became overexposed and lack an exit. These were the respective reasons that Overend Gurney in 1866 and Barings in 1890 failed. Whatever the cause of their contraction, these cycles of bank credit lasted about a decade on average. A reformed gold coin standard must be complemented by the elimination of bank credit cycles. To eliminate it entirely would require banking to be segregated into two distinct functions, one to act as a custodian of deposits with ownership remaining with the depositor, and the other to act as an arranger of finance for fees or commission. This would eliminate bank credit entirely. The evolution of modern finance has led to the development of shadow banking, some of which has led to the creation of credit off-balance sheet by the banks or by unregulated entities. Measures should be taken to identify and end these practices. But given that shadow banking is the product of the interaction between the growth of fiat money and purely financial activities, shadow banking is likely to decline, or possibly even disappear with the end of fiat and the introduction of a gold standard. Furthermore, the speculative bubble in cryptocurrencies, whose rationale is purely to hedge against the relative expansion of fiat currencies, will lose the reason for their existence beyond the purely technical innovations, such as the blockchain, that they bring. The ending of these speculative activities generally will reduce even further the perceived need for bank credit expansion, particularly for those banks funding purely financial activities. Once the public and foreigners are confident that the dollar’s gold standard is firmly established it is likely that gold will flow back into the Exchange Stabilisation Fund, giving it yet more cover for future dollar redemptions and therefore credibility for the standard. The benefits and workings of a new gold standard With the dollar on a credible gold standard, there can be little doubt that other fiat currencies will develop similar monetary policies. The whole world works with the dollar as the international currency, even Russia whose energy earnings are paid to her in dollars, and China whose raw materials from abroad are sourced nearly entirely in dollars. The replacement of fiat dollars with dollar-denominated gold substitutes will change currency priorities for all other nations. They will confront the same issues that faced the European nations in the second half of the nineteenth century, when Britain with her empire dominated global trade. Not only was there a drift towards free trade (for example, the Cobden-Chevalier Trade Treaty between France and Britain in 1860) but the European nations adopted similar gold standards. If America establishes a credible gold standard, any nation not following suit is likely to see its currency collapse. Critics may say that instead of operating their own gold standards, other nations will simply operate dollar currency boards, throwing the burden on America to provide a global monetary standard. This would not be a problem, so long as the rules of 100% backing are followed by America. A country adopting a dollar standard for its own currency will have to acquire dollars, which it can only do for gold submitted to the Exchange Stabilisation Fund. By providing a simple solution to other national currency problems the ESF would therefore see substantial gold inflows, further securing its domestic and international currency position. The key is for the ESF to administer the new monetary rules, enshrined in law, to the letter. Once the new gold standard is fully established, demand for circulating dollars will be set by markets and can be met by the ESF issuing dollars only on a 100% gold backed basis. Imports must be paid for in gold-backed dollars, and because monetary discipline will force government deficits to become a thing of the past, trade deficits will tend to be as well. Changes to gold’s domestic purchasing power might be expected through changes in the savings rate, being the allocation between consumption and deferred consumption. Variations in the savings rates may be expected to drive price differentials between nations, but this would be an error. This is because a rise in domestic savings will tend to reduce domestic prices and increase exports, leading to an importation of gold. But the extra gold or gold-backed dollars in circulation from an export surplus will have a contrary effect, supporting prices so that there would be little change. By way of contrast, a fall in the savings rate would be expected to lead to a tendency for domestic prices to rise and therefore to an increase in imports, and a corresponding outflow of gold. But the outflow of gold will then tend to act to reduce domestic prices, thus stabilising the effects of increased domestic consumption. In terms of cross-border trade, the benefit of a gold standard and its associated rules is to eliminate trade imbalances and price differentials as a cause of economic disruption, depoliticising global trade and promoting overall price stability. The peoples of individual nations can therefore set their savings preferences without affecting the general price level. It permits producers to make business calculations with a high degree of certainty of output prices, not only for domestic markets, but international ones as well. Gold supply factors Unlike proposed distributed ledger cryptocurrencies acting as the future form of money, the merits of a working gold standard are found in its flexibility. The growth of the amount of above-ground gold has tended to match the increase in the world’s population over time. But not all gold is held for monetary use, with more than half of it being estimated to be in jewellery, and a smaller amount allocated to industrial use. But much of the gold jewellery is quasi-monetary, being regarded as a reserve store of monetary value particularly among the populous Asian nations. There is, therefore, a flexible stock of non-monetary gold available through market mechanisms to support a global monetary standard. The difference between a gold or gold exchange standard and fiat currencies is that the allocation of gold between its uses is determined by people through markets, and not by governments and their monetary policies. This means that the course of prices both generally and for individual products are set only by supply and demand. Price stability is the outcome, with competition, improved production methods and technology tending to reduce prices over time and rising living standards for all. This is the background which encourages savers to put aside some of their earnings, knowing that their savings’ purchasing power will be maintained, and even likely to increase over time. For these savers, financial asset values will no longer be driven by excessive quantities of fiat currency. With the infinite feed of fiat currency removed, outright speculation will become a thing of the past, replaced by genuine risk assessments of individual bond issuers and of equity participations. The expansion of fiat currency will no longer be available as the principal fuel driving financial asset values. It will be a different monetary environment, where capital will be scarce and therefore valued. Capital will be less wasted on spurious projects. It will be the basis for recovering economic progress, so sadly lost at an increasing pace since the dollar became purely a fiat currency. It is apt to end by quoting von Mises’ concluding paragraph to his 1952 addition on currency reform in his The Theory of Money and Credit, the inspiration for this article: “Cynics dispose of the advocacy of a restitution of the gold standard by calling it utopian. Yet we have only the choice between two utopias: the utopia of the market economy, not paralysed by government sabotage on the one hand, and the utopia of totalitarian all-round planning on the other hand. The choice of the first alternative implies the decision in favour of the gold standard.” Tyler Durden Sat, 11/20/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 20th, 2021

Futures Tumble, Oil And Treasury Yields Plunge As Lockdowns Return

Futures Tumble, Oil And Treasury Yields Plunge As Lockdowns Return Having briefly touched new all time highs of 4,723.5 overnight, S&P futures tumbled shortly after Europe opened as a fourth wave of the pandemic in Europe resulted in a new lockdown in Austria and the prospect of similar action in Germany wiped out earlier gains and forced stock markets down close to 1% as it overshadowed optimism about corporate earnings and the economic recovery. Friday is also a major options-expiry day, which could trigger volatility in equities. Two progressive Democratic senators said they oppose the renomination of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to a second term, because he "refuses to recognize climate change" joining Elizabeth Warren in urging President Joe Biden to choose someone else. S&P and Dow futures fell tracking losses in banks, airlines, and other economically sensitive sectors. Uncertainty over rising inflation and the Federal Reserve's tightening also kept demand for value stocks low. At 745am Dow e-minis were down 218 points, or 0.609%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 12.25 points, or 0.26% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 68 points, or 0.41%. With the lockdown trade storming back, Nasdaq futures hit a record high on Friday as investors sought economically stable sectors after a small delay in voting on President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion spending bill, while fears of Europe-wide lockdowns sent yields plunging. The U.S. House of Representatives early on Friday delayed an anticipated vote on passage of Biden's social programs and climate change investment bill, and will instead reconvene at 8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) to complete the legislation “Everyone is holding his and her breath to find out who will be the next Fed Chair,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “More or less dovish, will it really matter? The one that will take or keep the helm of the Fed will need to hike rates at some point.” Among major premarket movers, Intuit Inc jumped 10.3% as brokerages raised their price targets on the income tax software company after it beat quarterly estimates and raised forecast. The stock was the top S&P 500 gainer in premarket trade. Chipmaker Nvidia also boosted Nasdaq futures, rising 1.7% in heavy trade after posting strong quarterly results late Wednesday. On the other end, Applied Materials dropped 5.7% after the chipmaker forecast first-quarter sales and profit below market estimates on supply chain woes. Oil firms Exxon and Chevron slipped 2.1% and 1.8% as crude prices sank, while big banks including JPMorgan and Bank of America were down between 0.9% and 1.1%, tracking a fall in U.S. Treasury yields. Carriers Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines and cruiseliners Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corp fell between 1.4% and 2.3%. Here are all the other notable movers: Farfetch (FTCH US) shares drop 23% after the online apparel retailer reported 3Q revenue that missed estimates and trimmed its FY forecast for digital platform gross merchandise value growth. Analysts see scope for the shares to stay in the “penalty box” in the near term, but recommend buying on weakness. Workday (WDAY US) analysts say that the software firm’s strong quarterly results and guidance were not quite enough to meet high expectations. The stock dropped as much as 11% in extended trading on Thursday. Intuit (INTU US) climbed 9.7% in premarket as analysts said the tax software company posted strong results that were ahead of expectations and raised its outlook. Several increased their price targets for the stock, including a new Street high at Barclays. Palo Alto Networks (PANW US) shares rise 2.8% in U.S. premarket trading after the cyber- security firm reports results and hikes full-year sales guidance, with RBC saying co. saw a strong quarter. Tesla (TSLA US) shares dip 0.5% in premarket trading. The EV maker’s price target is raised to a joint Street-high at Wedbush, with the broker saying that the EV “revolution” presents a $5t market opportunity over the next decade. Datadog (DDOG US) rises 1.8% after it is upgraded to outperform from sector perform at RBC, with the broker saying that it has more conviction on the software firm following its TMIT conference. Mammoth Energy (TUSK US) jumps as much as 34% in U.S. premarket trading after the energy-services company said a subsidiary has been awarded a contract by a major utility to help build electric-vehicle charging station infrastructure. Ross Stores (ROST US) shares dropped 2.2% in postmarket trading on Thursday after its profit outlook for fourth quarter missed the average analyst estimate. In Europe, banks and carmakers led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.3%, reversing early gains. Fears of fresh lockdowns have hit travel stocks, but boosted the delivery sector and other pandemic winners, with German meal-kit company HelloFresh jumping as much as 7.1% to a record. Stoxx Europe 600 index tumbled after Germany’s health minister said he couldn’t rule out a lockdown as infections surge relentlessly in the region’s largest economy. That came after Austria said it would enter a nationwide lockdown from Monday. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Ocado shares jump as much as 8.4%, the most intraday since November 2020, after a Deutsche Bank note on joint venture partner Marks & Spencer highlighted scope for a potential transaction. VGP shares gain as much as 7.7% to a record after KBC raised its rating to accumulate from hold, based on a “strong” 10-month trading update. HelloFresh shares surge as much as 7.1% and other lockdown beneficiaries including Delivery Hero, Logitech and Zalando gain after the German health minister says a lockdown can’t be ruled out. Mall landlords Unibail and Klepierre and duty-free retailer Dufry drop. Truecaller shares rise as much as 14% after it received its first analyst initiations after last month’s IPO. Analysts highlighted the company’s potential for continued strong growth. JPMorgan called current growth momentum “unparalleled.” Hermes shares jump as much as 5.2% to a fresh record, rising for a seventh day, amid optimism that the stock may be added to the Euro Stoxx 50 Index as soon as next month. Shares also rise after bullish current- trading comments of peer Prada. Kingfisher shares drop as much as 5.8%, even after the home-improvement retailer said it expects profit to be toward the higher end of its forecast. Investor focus has probably shifted to 2022, and Friday’s update doesn’t have any guidance for next year, according to Berenberg. GB Group shares tumble as much as 18%, the most since October 2016, after the identity-verification software company raised about GBP300m in a placing of new shares at a discount. Mode Global shares sink as much as 19%, reversing most of this week’s gains, after it said some brands had withdrawn the company as an affiliate. In Fx, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index jumped at the London open and the greenback was higher versus all of its Group-of-10 fears apart from yen. Norway’s krone was the biggest loser as energy prices prices dropped after Austria announced a nationwide lockdown starting on Monday, while Germany’s health minister refused to rule out closures in the country.  The pound fell on the back of a stronger dollar; data showed U.K. retail sales rose for the first time in six months as consumers snapped up toys, sports equipment and clothing, while the cost of servicing U.K. government debt more than tripled in October from a year earlier due to surging inflation The euro plunged by 1% to a new YTD low of $1.1255 as the repricing in the front-end of euro options suggests the common currency is settling within a new range. The euro is also falling at the end of the week following the announcement that Austria will begin a 20-day full Covid-19 lockdown from Monday in response to surging case numbers which have far surpassed last year's peak. While fatalities remains well below the peak, they are accelerating and the government is clearly keen to arrest it before the situation potentially becomes much worse. With Germany seeing a similar trend, the question now becomes whether the regions largest economy will follow the same path. Its Health Minister, Jens Spahn, today suggested nothing can be ruled out and that they are in a national emergency. In rates, Treasury yields fell by around 4bps across the board and the bunds yield curve bull flattened, with money markets pushing back bets on a 10bps ECB rate hike further into 2023. Treasury 10-year yields richer by 4.5bp on the day at around 1.54% and toward lows of the weekly range -- bunds, gilts outperform Treasuries by 1bp and 1.5bp in the sector as traders reassess impact of future ECB rate hikes. Treasuries rally across the curve, following wider gains across EGB’s and gilts as investors weigh the impact of further European lockdowns amid a fourth wave of Covid-19. Flight-to-quality pushes Treasury yields lower by up to 5bp across front- and belly of the curve, which slightly outperform.  Bunds and Treasury swap spreads widen, while gilts move tighter as risk assets mostly trade to the downside and demand for havens increases on news regarding coronavirus restrictions. German 10-year swap spreads climbed above 50bps for the first time since March 2020. In commodities, spot gold is little changed around $1,860/oz, while base metals are in the green, with LME copper and aluminum leading peers. Oil tumbled with WTI and Brent contracts down well over 2%.  Brent crudes brief dip below $80 was short-lived on Thursday and prices were continuing to recover on the final trading day of the week until Austria announced its lockdown. Brent crude quickly reversed course and trades almost 2% lower on the day as it takes another run at $80. Oil has been declining over the last week as demand forecasts have been pared back, OPEC and the IEA have warned of oversupply in the coming months and the US has attempted to coordinate an SPR release with China and others. The market still remains fundamentally in a good position but lockdowns are now an obvious risk to this if other countries follow Austria's lead. A move below $80 could deepen the correction, perhaps pulling the price back towards the mid-$70 region. This looks more likely now than it did a day ago and if Germany announces similar measures, it could be the catalyst for such a move. Perhaps OPEC+ knows what it's talking about after all. Looking at To the day ahead now, there is no macro news; central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, Bundesbank President Weidmann, Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Waller and BoE Chief Economist Pill. Separately, data highlights include UK retail sales and German PPI for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.09% to 4,696.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 488.66 MXAP little changed at 199.11 MXAPJ down 0.2% to 648.18 Nikkei up 0.5% to 29,745.87 Topix up 0.4% to 2,044.53 Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 25,049.97 Shanghai Composite up 1.1% to 3,560.37 Sensex down 0.6% to 59,636.01 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,396.55 Kospi up 0.8% to 2,971.02 Brent Futures little changed at $81.17/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,860.34 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.43% to 95.96 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.32% Euro down 0.6% to $1.1304 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Germany’s Covid crisis is about to go from bad to worse, setting the stage for a grim Christmas in Europe. With infections surging relentlessly and authorities slow to act amid a change in power, experts warn that serious cases and deaths will keep climbing Austria will enter a nationwide lockdown from Monday as a record spike in coronavirus cases threatens to overwhelm the country’s health care system The pundits are coming for the Fed and Chair Jerome Powell. Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser to Allianz SE and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist, recently said the central bank has made one of the worst inflation calls in its history. Writing in the Financial Times, the economist Willem Buiter called on the Fed to abandon the more flexible inflation target it established last year Bitcoin continued its slide Thursday, falling for a fifth consecutive day as it slipped below $57,000 for the first time since October, in a retreat from record highs. The world’s largest cryptocurrency hasn’t slumped that long since the five days that ended May 16 House Democrats pushed expected passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.64 trillion economic agenda to Friday as Republican leader Kevin McCarthy delayed a vote with a lengthy floor speech that lasted into the early morning hours ECB President Christine Lagarde said policy makers “must not rush into a premature tightening when faced with passing or supply- driven inflation shocks” Markets are increasingly nervous about the common currency with the pandemic resurgent, geopolitical tensions rising and gas supply issues mounting A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly positive after the mixed performance stateside where the S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched fresh record closes, but cyclicals lagged as comments from Senator Manchin cast some uncertainty on the Build Back Better bill. The ASX 200 (+0.2%) was rangebound with upside in healthcare and consumer stocks offset by weakness in tech and a lacklustre mining sector. Crown Resorts (CWN AT) was the stellar performer after it received an unsolicited, non-binding takeover proposal from Blackstone (BX) valued at AUD 12.50/shr which boosted its shares by around 16%, although gains in the broader market were limited as COVID-19 concerns lingered following a further jump of cases in Victoria state. The Nikkei 225 (+0.5%) benefitted from a mostly weaker currency and after PM Kishida confirmed the details of the incoming stimulus package valued at a total JPY 79tln including JPY 56tln in fiscal spending. The KOSPI (+0.8%) was also positive but with gains initially capped as South Korean wholesale inflation surged to a 13-year high and further added to the case for the BoK to hike rates for the second time this year at next week’s meeting. The Hang Seng (-1.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.1%) were mixed with the mainland kept afloat amid press reports that China is considering measures to reduce taxes and fees by up to CNY 500bln, although the mainland was initially slow to start after another liquidity drain by the PBoC and with stocks in Hong Kong spooked amid substantial losses in Alibaba following a miss on its earnings and Country Garden Services suffered on reopening from the announcement of a 150mln-share placement. Finally, 10yr JGBs were rangebound with mild gains seen after the modest bull flattening stateside, but with upside restricted amid the gains in Japanese stocks and lack of BoJ purchases, as well as the incoming fiscal spending and extra budget from the Kishida government. Top Asian News Bitcoin Falls Almost 20% Since Record as Crypto Bulls Retreat Singapore’s Insignia Ventures Intensifies Push Into Healthtech Binance Chief Zhao Buys His First Home in ‘Pro-Crypto’ Dubai Property Stocks Surge; Land Sale Rules Eased: Evergrande Update The earlier positive sentiment in Europe dissipated amid a string of back-to-back downbeat COVID updates – with Austria now resorting to a full-scale lockdown and Germany sounding alarms over their domestic COVID situation and not ruling out its own lockdown. European bourses flipped from the mostly positive trade at the open to a negative picture (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%; Stoxx 600 Unch), with headlines also flagging the European stock market volatility gauge jumping to three-week highs. It is also worth noting the monthly option expiries for stocks today, with desks pointing to the second-largest expiry day on record. US equity futures have also seen headwinds from the pullback in Europe, but US futures are mixed with the NQ (+0.4%) benefitting from the slide in yields. Back to Europe, Austria’s ATX (-1.0%) sit as the laggard after the Austrian Chancellor said a full domestic COVID lockdown will be imposed as of Monday for a maximum of 20 days with compulsory vaccination from 1st February 2022. Switzerland’s SMI (+0.2%) owes its gains to the defensive flows into healthcare propping up heavyweights Novartis (+0.5%) and Roche (+0.7%). Sectors overall are mostly negative with Healthcare the current winner, whilst Tech benefits from the yield slump and Basic Resources recover from yesterday’s slide as base metals rebound. The downside sees Banks on yield dynamics, whilst Oil & Gas lost the ranks as crude prices were spooked by the COVID headlines emanating from Europe. In terms of individual movers, Ocado (+6%) resides at the top of the FTSE 100 – with some citing a Deutsche Bank note which suggested shareholder Marks & Spencer could be mulling a buyout, although the note is seemingly speculation as opposed to chatter. Top European News Ryanair Drops London Listing Over Brexit Compliance Hassles ECB Mustn’t Tighten Despite ‘Painful’ Inflation, Lagarde Says Austria to Lock Down, Impose Compulsory Covid Vaccinations German Covid Measures May Bolster ECB Stimulus Stance: El-Erian In FX, it remains to be seen whether the Dollar can continue to climb having descended from the summit, and with no obvious fundamental drivers on the agenda in terms of US data that has been instrumental, if not quite wholly responsible for the recent bull run. However, external and technical factors may provide the Greenback and index with enough momentum to rebound further, as the COVID-19 situation continues to deteriorate in certain parts of Europe especially. Meanwhile, the mere fact that the DXY bounced off a shallower low and appears to have formed a base above 95.500 is encouraging from a chart perspective, and only the Yen as a safer haven is arguably capping the index ahead of the aforementioned w-t-d peak within 95.554-96.090 extremes. Ahead, more Fed rhetoric and this time via Waller and Clarida. EUR - The Euro has been hit hardest by the Greenback revival, but also the latest pandemic waves that have forced Austria into total lockdown and are threatening to see Germany follow suit. Moreover, EGBs are front-running the latest squeeze amidst risk-off trade in stocks, oil and other commodities to widen spreads vs Treasuries and the divergence between the ECB/Fed and other more hawkishly or less dovishly positioned. Hence, Eur/Usd has reversed further from circa 1.1374 through 1.1350 and 1.1300, while Eur/Yen is eyeing 128.50 vs almost 130.00 at one stage and Eur/Chf is probing fresh multi-year lows around 1.0450. NZD/GBP/AUD/CAD - All catching contagion due to their high beta, cyclical or activity currency stature, with the Kiwi back under 0.7000, Pound hovering fractionally above 1.3400, Aussie beneath 0.7250 and Loonie striving to contain declines beyond 1.2650 pre-Canadian retail sales against the backdrop of collapsing crude prices. JPY/CHF - As noted above, the Yen is offering a bit more protection than its US counterpart and clearly benefiting from the weakness in global bond yields until JGBs catch up, with Usd/Jpy down from 114.50+ towards 113.80, but the Franc is showing its allure as a port in the storm via the Euro cross rather than vs the Buck as Usd/Chf holds above 0.9250. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures retreated with the trigger point being back-to-back COVID updates – with Austria confirming a full-scale lockdown from Monday and Germany not ruling out its own lockdown. Crude futures reacted to the prospect of a slowdown in activity translating to softer demand. That being said, COVID only represents one factor in the supply/demand equation. Oil consuming nations are ramping up rhetoric and are urging OPEC+ to release oil. The White House confirmed the US discussed a possible joint release of oil from reserves with China and other countries, while it reiterated that it has raised the need for available oil supply in the market with OPEC. Meanwhile, the Japanese Cabinet said it will urge oil-producing nations to increase output and work closely with the IEA amid risks from energy costs. Further, energy journalists have also been flagging jitters of Chinese crude demand amid the likelihood of another tax probe into independent refiners. All in all, a day of compounding bearish updates (thus far) has prompted the contracts to erase all of their APAC gains, with WTI Dec just above USD 76/bbl (76.06-79.33/bbl range) and Brent Jan back under USD 79/bbl (78.75-82.24/bbl range). Elsewhere, spot gold saw a pop higher around the flurry of European COVID updates and despite a firmer Buck – pointing to haven flows into the yellow metal – which is nonetheless struggling to convincingly sustain a breach its overnight highs around USD 1,860/oz and we are attentive to a key fib at USD 1876/oz. Base metals prices are relatively mixed but have waned off best levels amid the risk aversion that crept into the markets, but LME copper holds onto a USD 9,500+/t status. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled Central Banks 10:45am: Fed’s Waller Discusses the Economic Outlook 12:15pm: Fed’s Clarida Discusses Global Monetary Policy Coordination DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It was another mixed session for markets yesterday, with equities and other assets continuing to trade around their recent highs even as a number of risk factors were increasingly piling up on the horizon. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 had advanced +0.34% to put the index at its all-time high, whilst oil prices pared back their losses from earlier in the day to move higher. That said, there was more of a risk-off tone in Europe as the latest Covid wave continues to gather pace, with the STOXX 600 (-0.46%) snapping a run of 6 successive gains and being up on 17 out of the previous 19 days as it fell back from its all-time high the previous day, as haven assets including sovereign bonds were the beneficiaries. Starting with those equity moves, it was difficult to characterise yesterday’s session in some ways, since although the S&P advanced +0.34%, it was driven by a relatively narrow group of sectors, with only a third of the index’s components actually moving higher on the day. Indeed, to find a bigger increase in the S&P 500 on fewer advancing companies, one needs to go back to March 2000 (though it came close one day in August 2020, when the index advanced +0.32% on 153 advancing companies). Consumer discretionary (+1.49%) and tech (+1.02%) stocks were the only sectors to materially advance. Nvidia (+8.25%), the world’s largest chipmaker, was a key outperformer, and posted very strong third quarter earnings and revised higher fourth quarter guidance. Following the strong day, Nvidia jumped into the top ten S&P 500 companies by market cap, ending yesterday at number eight. The S&P gain may have been so narrow due to some negative chatter about President Biden’s build back better package, with CNN’s Manu Raju tweeting that Senator Joe Manchin “just told me he has NOT decided on whether to vote to proceed to the Build Back Better bill.” Manchin’s position in a 50-50 senate has given him an enormous amount of influence, and separate comments created another set of headlines yesterday on the Fed Chair decision, after The Hill reported Manchin saying that he’s “looking very favourably” at supporting Chair Powell if he were re-nominated, following a chat between the two about inflation. Mr Manchin is seemingly one of the most powerful people in the world at the moment. While the Senate still presents a hurdle for the President’s build back better bill, House Democrats are close to voting on the bill but couldn’t last night due to a three hour speech by House Republican leader McCarthy. It will probably happen this morning. This follows the Congressional Budget Office’s ‘score’ of the bill, which suggested the deficit would increase by $367bn as a result of the bill, higher figures than the White House suggested, but low enough to garner support from moderate House Democrats. Over in Europe there was a much weaker session yesterday, with the major equity indices falling across the continent amidst mounting concern over the Covid-19 pandemic. Germany is making another forceful push to combat the recent increase in cases, including expanded vaccination efforts, encouraging work from home, and restricting public transportation for unvaccinated individuals. Elsewhere, the Czech Republic’s government said that certain activities will be limited to those who’ve been vaccinated or had the virus in the last six months, including access to restaurants and hairdressers. Slovakia also agreed a similar move to prevent the unvaccinated accessing shopping malls, whilst Hungary is expanding its mask mandate to indoor spaces from Monday. Greece imposed further restrictions for its unvaccinated population. So a theme of placing more of the restrictions in Europe on the unvaccinated at the moment and trying to protect the freedoms of those jabbed for as long as possible. That risk-off tone supported sovereign bonds in Europe, with yields on 10yr bunds (-3.0bps), OATs (-4.1bps) and BTPs (-5.5bps) all moving lower. That was a larger decline relative to the US, where yields on 10yr Treasuries were only down -0.3bps to 1.59%, with lower real yields driving the decline. One asset class with some pretty sizeable moves yesterday was FX, where a bunch of separate headlines led to various currencies hitting multi-year records. Among the G10 currencies, the Swiss Franc hit its strongest level against the euro in over 6 years yesterday on an intraday basis. That came as the Covid wave has strengthened demand for haven assets, though it went on to weaken later in the day to close down -0.15%. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Krone was the weakest G10 performer (-0.72% vs USD) after the Norges Bank said it would be stopping its daily foreign exchange sales on behalf of the government for the rest of the month. Finally in EM there were some even bigger shifts, with the Turkish Lira falling to a record low against the US dollar, which follows the central bank’s decision to cut interest rates by 100bps, in line with expectations. And then in South Africa, the Rand also fell to its weakest in over a year, in spite of the central bank’s decision to hike rates, after the decision was interpreted dovishly. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher led by the Nikkei (+0.45%), KOSPI (+0.43%), Shanghai Composite (+0.34%) and CSI (+0.18%). The Hang Seng (-1.76%) is sharply lower and fairly broad based but is being especially dragged down by Alibaba which dived -11% after it downgraded its outlook for fiscal year 2022 and missed sales estimate for the second quarter. Elsewhere in Japan headline CPI for October came in at +0.1% year-on-year (+0.2% consensus & +0.2% previous) while core CPI matched expectations at +0.1% year-on-year. The numbers reflect plunging mobile phone fees offsetting a 21% surge in gas prices. If the low mobile phone costs are stripped out, core inflation would be at 1.7% according to a Bloomberg calculation. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to deliver a bigger than expected stimulus package worth YEN 78.9 trillion ($690 bn) according to Bloomberg. We should know more tomorrow. Moving on futures are pointing to a positive start in US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.42%) and DAX (+0.39%) futures both up. Turning to commodities, oil prices had been on track to move lower before paring back those losses, with Brent Crude (+1.20%) and WTI (+0.83%) both up by the close and edging up around half this amount again in Asia. That comes amidst continued chatter regarding strategic oil releases, and follows comments from a spokeswoman from China’s National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, who Reuters reported as saying that they were releasing crude oil reserves. New York Fed President, and Vice Chair of the FOMC, John Williams, upgraded his assessment of inflation in public remarks yesterday. A heretofore stalwart member of team transitory, he noted that they wouldn’t want to see inflation expectations move much higher from here, and that recent price pressures have been broad-based, driving underlying inflation higher. Williams is one of the so-called core members of FOMC leadership, so his view carries some weight and is a useful barometer of momentum within the FOMC. Indeed, Chicago Fed President Evans, one of the most resolutely dovish Fed Presidents, expressed similar sentiment, recognising that rate hikes may need to come as early as 2022 given the circumstances. There wasn’t much in the way of data yesterday, though the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through November 13 came in higher than expected at 268k (vs. 260k expected), and the previous week’s reading was also revised up +2k. That said, the 4-week moving average now stands at a post-pandemic low of 272.75k. Otherwise, the Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing business outlook survey surprised to the upside at 39.0 in November (vs. 24.0 expected), the highest since April. That had signs of price pressures persisting, with prices paid up to 80.0, the highest since June, and prices received up to 62.9, the highest since June 1974. Finally, the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing index for November fell to 24 (vs. 28 expected). To the day ahead now, and central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, Bundesbank President Weidmann, Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Waller and BoE Chief Economist Pill. Separately, data highlights include UK retail sales and German PPI for October. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/19/2021 - 08:11.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 19th, 2021

The 23 best history books written by women, from previously untold war stories to page-turning biographies

From this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning history book to detailed war stories and biographies, these are the best history books written by women. From this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning history book to detailed war stories and biographies, these are the best history books written by women.Amazon; Bookshop; Alyssa Powell/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. About 75% of history books are written by men, and many ignore the perspectives of women. These history books were all written by women, including this year's Pulitzer Prize winner. Want more books? Check out the best historical fiction books. In 2015, a study concluded about 75% of history books, from biographies to war histories, are written by men. Throughout time, white men have often dominated historical narratives, ignoring the perspectives of women, BIPOC, and queer communities whose truths and histories differ from the authors of the majority of history books. To gather these recommendations of great history books written by women, we looked at bestseller lists on Amazon and Audible, plus recommendations from Goodreads reviewers. The books on this list cover a wide range of topics, from true princess stories to American history from a fresh perspective, offering something new for any reader looking for a great history book written by a woman. The 23 best history books written by women:"Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America" by Marcia ChatelainBookshop"Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America" by Marcia Chatelain, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.79The winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for History, "Franchise" is the true history behind fast-food restaurants and their turbulent relationships with Black communities. Marcia Chatelain's history read examines the conflicts of capitalism, franchising, and tension between McDonald's and the civil rights movement."Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption" by Laura HillenbrandBookshop"Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.49In May of 1943, a bomber flown by Lieutenant Louis Zamperini of the Army Air Forces crashed into the middle of the ocean, leaving the young officer stranded with little chance of survival. This historical account follows his journey to safety under the impossible circumstances during World War II. "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States" by Roxanne Dunbar-OrtizAmazon"An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.22This history book spans 400 years of American history through the perspective of Indigenous people that have been brutalized, destabilized, and constantly taken advantage of by United States leadership. Beginning with life before colonization, this necessary historical read chronicles the devastating truth of American history without sugar-coating any events."The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women" by Kate MooreAmazon"The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women" by Kate Moore, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.97When Marie Curie discovered radium, it was quickly incorporated into medication, beauty products, and even beverages. This shocking history read focuses on the hundreds of young women who worked coveted jobs in radium factories, unaware of the fatal side effects of radium exposure."Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee ShetterlyAmazon"Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.17Known for its popular 2016 film adaptation, "Hidden Figures" is a New York Times bestseller about five Black female mathematicians who worked for NASA through World War II, the Space Race, and the Cold War. Segregated from their white coworkers, these women were instrumental in developing flight calculations, rocket launches, and scientific advancements that would change history and pave the way for future scientists and mathematicians."Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present" by Adrienne KeeneBookshop"Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present" by Adrienne Keene, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.46"Notable Native People" is an accessible and illustrated history read about 50 Indigenous people (including Alaskan and Hawaiian natives). From artists and athletes to activists and scientists, this nonfiction read is a great resource to learn about Indigenous history, culture, and challenges these communities have faced."The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War" by Joanne B. FreemanAmazon"The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War" by Joanne B. Freeman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.99Joanne B. Freeman is a historian who drew from a broad range of resources to create "The Field of Blood," a historical account and analysis of the turbulent and violent years in Congress before the Civil War. From newspaper conspiracies that raised tensions to literal fistfights between representatives, this historical read paints a troubling picture of growing violence in government from the 1830s through the Civil War and how these conflicts affected history."The Library Book" by Susan OrleanAmazon"The Library Book" by Susan Orlean, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.85On April 29, 1986, a fire began at the Los Angeles Public Library that reached 2000 degrees, burned for seven hours, and destroyed and damaged 11,000 books. "The Library Book" is a nonfiction read that chronicles the LAPL fire, reexamines the case of a man suspected of starting the fire, and demonstrates the crucial role libraries play in society."The Rape of Nanking" by Iris ChangBookshop"The Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.13During the Sino-Japanese War, Japanese General Matsui Iwane ordered the destruction of Nanking, resulting in a horrifying massacre where over 300,000 Chinese civilians were raped and murdered. Iris Chang is a historian and journalist who uses the perspectives of Japanese soldiers, Chinese civilians, and a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon Nanking to tell the story of this painful piece of history."Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel WilkersonBookshop"Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel Wilkerson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.79The winner of the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards for History and nominated for the National Book Award amongst countless other awards, "Caste" is a masterful history book about the caste system that has shaped America and continues to divide society. Deeply researched, this nonfiction read explores eight pillars that exist within caste systems around the world and through history, drawing from countless stories that demonstrate the effects of caste systems and the ways in which we can move forward to a hopeful future."The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation" by Anna Malaika TubbsBookshop"The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation" by Anna Malaika Tubbs, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $18Seeking to fill a gaping hole in history, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs wrote the story of three mothers who would make enduring marks on history not only through their sons, but through their own resistance and beliefs. Louise Little, Alberta Williams King, and Emma Berdis Jones were each raised beneath suffocating Jim Crow laws and raised their sons with all of their love and knowledge, pushing each child on to greatness."The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca SklootAmazon"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.10Henrietta Lacks was a woman whose cells were taken without her knowledge and studied for decades, ultimately used to develop a polio vaccine, study cancer, and test the effects of an atomic bomb. Now dead for over 60 years, Henrietta is buried in an unmarked grave and her family has been offered no compensation, despite her cells launching a multi-million dollar industry and having been cloned millions of times. This nonfiction read combines science and history to uncover the story of Henrietta Lacks, her cells, and the consequences of scientific discovery."Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History-Without the Fairy-Tale Endings" by Linda Rodríguez McRobbieBookshop"Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History-Without the Fairy-Tale Endings" by Linda Rodríguez McRobbie, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.59"Princesses Behaving Badly" is a historical read that offers the true tales of princesses through time who don't have the fairytale lives we've seen in cartoons and bedtime stories. This book offers the stories of real-life princesses, from princess spies and pirates to warriors and rebels, and is perfect for history buffs or anyone looking for a unique series of mini-biographies."The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West" by Megan Kate NelsonBookshop"The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West" by Megan Kate Nelson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.49While most may think of the Civil War as a battle between the North and the South, the war also devastated Indigenous communities in the West. A finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for History, this nonfiction read focuses on nine individuals, from a Union Army wife who cared for Confederate soldiers in New Mexico to a Navajo woman who resisted the Union's campaigns."The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story" by Nikole Hannah-JonesAmazon"The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story" by Nikole Hannah-Jones, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $24.99A year before the famous Mayflower landed on the shores of Massachusetts, another ship arrived on the shores of what would one day be Virginia, carrying 20-30 enslaved people from Africa. This history book redefines the early histories we've been taught and demonstrates how this ship's arrival in 1619 spurred centuries of slavery and persistent racism in the future United States."The Making of Asian America: A History" by Erika LeeBookshop"The Making of Asian America: A History" by Erika Lee, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.49Erika Lee is a writer, professor, and historian who aims to help readers understand America's present through the past, writing the books she always wanted to answer her questions about immigrants, Asian Americans, and race. "The Making of Asian America" spans from the 1500s to the present, analyzing Asian immigration to America, historical mistreatment of Asian Americans, and the complicated relationship that still exists between America and Asian American citizens."When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt" by Kara CooneyBookshop"When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt" by Kara Cooney, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69In "When Women Ruled the World," Egyptologist Kara Cooney chronicles the lives and reign of six female pharaohs from Hatshepsut to Cleopatra and examines how their rule differed from the role of women in politics for thousands of years after. As women have historically been used as political pawns, Kara Cooney examines how these female pharaohs evaded such a path, and ruled with real power, along with what we can learn from their leadership today."The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper" by Hallie RubenholdAmazon"The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper" by Hallie Rubenhold, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.19Jack the Ripper is a serial killer who has never been identified, but whose crimes and untrue history have become exponentially more famous than the women he killed. Both gripping true crime and fascinating history, this nonfiction read uses the stories of five women to tell the truth about Jack the Ripper."A Black Women's History of the United States" by Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and Dr. Kali Nicole GrossAmazon"A Black Women's History of the United States" by Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and Dr. Kali Nicole Gross, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.72Using a range of voices from enslaved women to civil rights activists, historians Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and Dr. Kali Nicole Gross emphasize the narratives of Black women through America's history. This history book follows inspirational women through some of the most devastating pieces of America's history, exploring how Black women have always shaped history even if their stories were silenced."Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution" by Helen ZiaAmazon"Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution" by Helen Zia, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.56In 1949, China's Communist revolution drove countless Shanghai citizens out of the city in fear. "Last Boat Out of Shanghai" follows the stories of four young people who wrestled with their own decisions to flee and landed as refugees in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States. Though driven by different circumstances, each story is linked by personal trauma from the Japanese invasion, civil war, and communist revolution as the refugees looked to make new lives for themselves."The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote" by Elaine F. WeissAmazon"The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote" by Elaine F. Weiss, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.49"The Woman's Hour" is an inspiring historical read about the fight to ratify the 19th amendment and grant women the right to vote. A great read for anyone looking to understand the complexities and challenges faced by the women's rights movement, this nonfiction book is energetic, fascinating, and contains incredible imagery of the United States in 1920."Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy" by Heather Ann ThompsonAmazon"Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy" by Heather Ann Thompson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.95On September 9, 1971, almost 1,300 prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York rose in a protest against mistreatment that led to a four-day hostage negotiation for improved living conditions. "Blood in the Water" is the civil rights history of the events that led to the protest, the details of the four-day standoff that ended with 39 dead and nearly 100 injured, and the consequences that lasted decades."Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War" by Karen AbbottAmazon"Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War" by Karen Abbott, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.89With in-depth research from primary source materials and interviews, Karen Abbott has brought to life the stories of four previously unheard-of women who each became spies during the Civil War. Each from different walks of life and armed with different motives, the women became courageous heroines in the war, their stories finally told in this nonfiction read that also contains 39 photographs.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 18th, 2021

Why Wokeism Is A Religion

Why Wokeism Is A Religion Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, Introducing the Taxonomy of Woke Religion Over the last year, a growing number of progressives and liberals have pointed to police killings of unarmed black men, rising carbon emissions and extreme weather events, and the killing of trans people as proof that the United States has failed to take action on racism, climate change, and transphobia. Others have pointed to the war on drugs, the criminalization of homelessness, and mass incarceration as evidence that little has changed in the U.S. over the last 30 years.  And yet, on each of those issues, the U.S. has made significant progress. Police killings of African Americans in our 58 largest cities declined from 217 per year in the 1970s to 157 per year in the 2010s. Between 2011 and 2020, carbon emissions declined 14 percent in the U.S., more than in any other nation, while just 300 people died from natural disasters, a more than 90 percent decline over the past century. Public acceptance of trans people is higher than ever. The total US prison and jail population peaked in 2008 and has declined significantly ever since. Just 4 percent of state prisoners, who are 87 percent of the total prison population, are in for nonviolent drug possession; just 14 percent are in for any nonviolent drug offense. And many large cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle have effectively decriminalized public camping by homeless people.  Progressives respond that these gains obscure broad inequalities, and are under threat. Black Americans are killed at between two to three times the rate of white Americans, according to a Washington Post analysis of police killings between 2015 and 2020. Carbon emissions are once again rising as the U.S. emerges from the covid pandemic, and scientists believe global warming is contributing to extreme weather events. In 2020, Human Rights Campaign found that at least 44 transgender and non-gender conforming people were killed, which is the most since it started tracking fatalities in 2013, and already that number has reached 45 this year. Drug prohibition remains in effect, homeless people are still being arrested, and the U.S. continues to have one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world. But those numbers, too, obscure important realities. There are no racial differences in police killings when accounting for whether or not the suspect was armed or a threat (“justified” vs “unjustified” shooting). While carbon emissions will rise in 2021 there is every reason to believe they will continue to decline in the future, so long as natural gas continues to replace coal, and nuclear plants continue operating. While climate change may be contributing to extreme weather events, neither the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change nor another other scientific body predicts it will outpace rising resilience to cause an increase in deaths from natural disasters. Researchers do not know if trans people are being killed disproportionately in comparison to cis-gender people, if trans homicides are rising, or if trans people are being killed for being trans, rather than for some other reason. Twenty-six states have decriminalized marijuana, and California and Oregon have decriminalized and legalized, respectively, the possession of all drugs. Progressive District Attorneys in San Francisco, Los Angeles and other major cities have scaled back prosecutions against people for breaking many laws related to homelessness including public camping, public drug use, and theft. And yet many Americans would be surprised to learn any of the above information; some would reject it outright as false. Consider that, despite the decline in police killings of African Americans, the share of the public which said police violence is a serious or extremely serious problem rose from 32 to 45 percent between 2015 and 2020. Despite the decline in carbon emissions, 47 percent of the public agreed with the statement, “Carbon emissions have risen in the United States over the last 10 years,” and just 16 percent disagreed. Meanwhile, 46 percent of Americans agree with the statement, “Deaths from natural disasters will increase in the future due to climate change” and just 16 percent disagreed, despite the absence of any scientific scenario supporting such fears. And despite the lack of good evidence, mainstream news media widely reported that the killing of trans people is on the rise. The gulf between reality and perception is alarming for reasons that go beyond the importance of having an informed electorate for a healthy liberal democracy. Distrust of the police appears to have contributed to the nearly 30% rise in homicides after the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests last year, both by embolding criminals and causing a pull-back of police. A growing body of research finds that news media coverage of climate change is contributing to rising levels of anxiety and depression among children. And there is good reason to fear that misinformation about the killing of trans and non-gender conforming individuals contributes to anxiety and depression among trans and gender dysphoric youth. Social Media, NGOs, and the Death of God Why is that? Why does there exist such a massive divide between perception and reality on so many important issues? Part of the reason appears to stem from the rise of social media and corresponding changes to news media over the last decade. Social media fuels rising and unwarranted certainty, dogmatism, and intolerance of viewpoint diversity and disconfirmatory information. Social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram reward users for sharing information popular with peers, particularly extreme views, and punish users for expressing unpopular, more moderate, and less emotional opinions. This cycle is self-reinforcing. Audiences seek out views that reinforce their own. Experts seek conclusions, and journalists write stories, which affirm the predispositions of their audiences. It may be for these reasons that much of the news media have failed to inform their audiences that there are no racial differences in police killings, that emissions are declining, and that claims of rising trans killings are unscientific. Another reason may be due to the influence of well-funded advocacy organizations to shape public perceptions, particularly in combination with social media. Organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, and Drug Policy Alliance have misled journalists, policymakers, and the public, about police killings, drug policy, and trans killings, often by simply leaving out crucial contextual information. The same has been true for climate activists, including those operating as experts and journalists, who withhold information about declining deaths from natural disasters, the cost of disasters relative to GDP growth, and declining U.S. emissions.  But neither of these explanations fully captures the religious quality of so much of the progressive discourse on issues relating to race, climate, trans, crime, drugs, homelessness, and the related issue of mental illness. A growing number of liberal, heterodoxical, and conservative thinkers alike use the word “woke” to describe the religiosity of so many progressive causes today. In his new book, Woke Racism, Columbia University linguist John McWhorter argues that Wokeism should, literally, be considered a religion. As evidence for his argument McWhorter points to commonly held myths, like the debunked claim that the American War of Independence was fought to maintain slavery, or that racial disparities in educational performance are due to racist teachers. He points to Woke religious fervor in seeking to censor, fire, and otherwise punish heretics for holding taboo views. And McWhorter suggests that, because Wokeism meets specific psychological and spiritual needs for meaning, belonging, and status, pointing out its supernatural elements is likely to have little impact among the Woke. But just because an ideology is dogmatic and self-righteous does not necessarily make it a religion, and so it is fair to ask whether Wokeism is anything more than a new belief system. There is no obviously mythological or supernatural element to Woke ideology, and its adherents rarely, if ever, justify their statements with reference to a god, or higher power. But a deeper look at Wokeism does, indeed, reveal a whole series of mythological and supernatural beliefs, including the idea that white people today are responsible for the racist actions of white people in the past; that climate change risks making humans extinct; and that a person can change their sex by simply identifying as the opposite sex. Woke Religion: A Taxonomy While reading McWhorter’s new book, I was surprised to discover many similarities between woke racism and apocalyptic environmentalism, which in Apocalypse Never I describe as a religion. Each offers an original sin as the cause of present-day evils (e.g., slavery, the industrial revolution). Each has guilty devils (e.g., white people, “climate deniers,” etc.) sacred victims (e.g., black people, poor islanders, etc.) and what McWhorter calls “The Elect,” or people self-appointed to crusade against evil (e.g., BLM activists, Greta Thunberg, etc.). And each have a set of taboos (e.g., saying “All lives matter,” criticizing renewables, etc.) and purifying rituals (e.g., kneeling/apologizing, buying carbon offsets, etc). I also saw parallels between woke racism, apocalyptic environmentalism, and victimology, which in San Fransicko I describe as a religion complete with the metaphysical (essentialist) view that people can be categorized as victims or oppressors, by nature of their identity or experience.  I reached out to a new friend, Peter Boghossian, a philosopher who recently resigned his post at Portland State University in response to Wokeist repression, and other experts in different Woke movements, and together we constructed a Woke Religion Taxonomy (below). It includes seven issue areas (Racism, Climate Change, Trans, Crime, Mental Illness, Drugs, and Homelessness) covered by Woke Racism, Apocalypse Never, San Fransicko, Peter’s research, and the writings of other critics of Wokeism. And it cuts across ten religious categories (Original Sin, Guilty Devils, Myths, Sacred Victims, The Elect, Supernatural Beliefs, Taboo Facts, Taboo Speech, Purifying Rituals, Purifying Speech). We were surprised by how straightforward it was to fill in each category, and by the fascinating similarities and differences between them.  We decided to publish the Woke Religion Taxonomy because it was helpful to our own understanding of Wokeism as a religion, and we felt it might help others. The Taxonomy identifies common myths and supernatural beliefs and helps explain why so many people continue to hold them, despite overwhelming evidence that they are false. We are under no illusion that the Taxonomy will reduce the power that Wokeism holds over true believers. But we also believe it will help orient those who are confused by its irrationalism, and are seeking an accessible overview. Finally, we are publishing it because we recognize that we might be wrong, either about matters of fact or classification, and hope it will encourage a healthy discussion and debate. As such, we have published it with the caveat that it is “Version 1.0” with the expectation that we will revise it in the future. Both Peter and I would like to stress that we have published the Taxonomy in service of the liberal and democratic project of social and environmental progress, which we believe to be under threat from Wokeism. We believe the U.S. is well-positioned to reduce police killings, crime, and carbon emissions; protect the lives and the mental health of trans, non-gender conforming, and cis-gender people; and better treat of the mentally ill and drug addicted. But doing so will require that Wokeism weaken its grip over the American psyche. As Peter writes, “bigotry and racial discrimination are real and they have no place in society. Yes, there is ongoing racism. Yes, there is ongoing homophobia. Yes, there is ongoing hatred of trans people. These are morally abhorrent and we all need to work together to bring about their end. The woke religion, however, is not the way to stop these moral horrors. It is making our shared problems more difficult to solve.” Click image for huge legible version. *  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael's substack here Tyler Durden Sat, 11/13/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 13th, 2021

How Media And Tech Elites Seized Control Of Elections

How Media And Tech Elites Seized Control Of Elections Authored by David Gordon via The Mises Institute, Mollie Hemingway, an editor of the online magazine The Federalist, calls our attention in this well-researched book to a problem of vital significance. She is a supporter of Donald Trump, though not an uncritical one, and writes from this point of view, but whether you like the former president or not, you cannot ignore her message. She begins the book with a paradox. Almost all the polls predicted a decisive win for Biden in the November 2020 presidential election, but in fact the result, setting aside altogether the allegations of rigged voting by the former president and his supporters, was very close: “The political class, the corporate media, and their pollsters were all dramatically wrong, and yet Biden would eke out a presidential victory of just under 43,000 votes across three states, out of a total of nearly 160 million.” (p.36. All page references are to the Amazon Kindle edition.) Why were the polls so inaccurate? One answer would be mistakes in the way in polls were conducted, but Hemingway sees something more sinister in the errors. The inaccurate polls were part of a massive campaign by the government and corporate elite to ensure Trump’s defeat in the election. This campaign continued the efforts by the same elite to secure his defeat in the 2016 election; and, when those efforts failed, to derail his presidency. Hemingway stresses especially one tactic used in both the 2016 and 2020 elections. In previous elections, most voting took place on the appointed day in November, and although some people cast absentee ballots, these were of minor importance. No longer is this the case, and voting by mail now predominates. “’No excuse’ absentee voting allows citizens to cast their ballots early. With the widespread adoption of this practice in recent years, the United States can no longer be said to have an election day in the strict sense of the term. The country has a months-long voting season. . .In 2016, absentee and mail-in ballots accounted for roughly 33 million of the 140 million ballots counted. In 2020, more than 100 million of the 159 million ballots counted were cast prior to Election Day, including by early voting.” (p.222) This is of great significance, Hemingway says, because fraud is much easier with this sort of voting: it is much harder to verify signatures and voters’ addresses. If voting fraud is to be stopped, this requires vigilant election officials, and here is where the mass media elites enter the scene. Far from aiding in efforts to interdict fraud, the elites promote it through subventions to interested parties. Hemingway highlights the role of Mark Zuckerberg, who made large donations to private groups that acted in a partisan way to “help” election officials. “That’s to say nothing of the widespread privatization of election systems in key districts thanks to the efforts of leftist outfits funded by Mark Zuckerberg and other billionaires. Multi-million dollars grants to public election commissions, and the strings attached to them, were the means by which the left’s sprawling voting activist arm took over huge parts of the 2020 election. . .This private interference in the running of a national election had never before happened in the history of the country.” (p.xiii) These efforts to bias election results go hand-in-hand with the attempt by the same elites to control information that reaches the public. The media giants, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, relentlessly promoted items unfavorable to Trump and suppressed stories that could have helped him. As an example, damaging news about Hunter Biden and his corrupt dealing with Chinese officials that emerged in the final days of the campaign and was published in the New York Post was banned from Twitter. “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey would eventually tell Congress and censoring the New York Post and locking it out of its Twitter account was a ‘mistake.’” (p.36) Hemingway’s focus is on the presidential campaign, but the censorship by the statist-corporative elite extends even further. Facebook and YouTube ban videos that criticize Covid-19 vaccinations and advance points of view that the proprietors of the platforms deem “misinformation.” The author is prepared for the objection that her charges of a leftist plot to derail Trump reflect the biased perspective of a partisan. In response, she points to a notable article in Time magazine in which those involved in the machinations admitted and took pride in what they had done. “Without agony or shame the magazine reported that ‘[t]there was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes’ creating ‘an extraordinary shadow effort’ by ‘a well-funded cabal of powerful people’ to oppose Trump. Corporate CEOs, organized labor, left-wing activists, and Democrats all worked together in secret to secure a Biden victory. . . Time would, of course, disingenuously frame this effort as an attempt to oppose Trump’s ‘assault on democracy,’ even as Time reporter Molly Ball noted this shadow campaign ‘touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding.’ The funding enabled the country’s sudden rush to mail-in balloting, which Ball describes as ‘a revolution in how people vote.’” (p.36) What if anything can be done about this state of affairs? I do not think the solution lies mainly in stricter laws about voting and certainly not in governmental regulation of the mass media, which would only increase the power of the state. Rather. our aim ought not to be to make democracy “work better” but to use the example of corruption she has highlighted as a tool to help us throw into question altogether its value as a political and social system of organization, and defend in its stead a genuine free market society, along the lines set forward by Murray Rothbard and his followers, who include most notably Hans Hoppe. Hemingway is an assiduous researcher and, so far as I can discern, an accurate one. To my regret, I have been able to find only one outright error in the book. She says, “Five U.S, presidents since 1900 lost their bid for a second term. . . While each election is determined by unique factors, all five of these incumbents dealt with internal party fights or significant primary challenges. “(p.39) This is not true for Herbert Hoover, one of the five she mentions, who did not get significant Republican Party opposition in his quest for the 1932 nomination. By calling attention to what has happened to or political system in recent years, Mollie Hemingway strengthens our resolve to come up with something better. *  *  * Rigged! How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections, by Mollie Hemingway, Regnery Publishing, 2021, 432 pp. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/07/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 7th, 2021

Shellenberger: Why Progressives Ruin Democrats

Shellenberger: Why Progressives Ruin Democrats Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, Since the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016, progressives have made the argument that taking back the presidency, the Congress, and winning swing states requires that Democrats move to the Left on social and economic issues, aggressively confront structural racism, and stand more firmly with longstanding allies like the teachers’ unions, environmentalists, and criminal justice reformers.  But the election of an underdog Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, as governor of Virginia on Tuesday night, the election of Republicans in state races in New Jersey and New York, and the repudiation of progressives in Seattle and Minneapolis on issues relating to criminal justice, suggest that voters in even liberal cities are turning against progressive policies and ideology, particularly on issues relating to race, education, and crime, as part of a backlash to “woke” ideology. Some progressives say this is a misreading of the evidence. Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, is a Clinton-era Democrat, who ran on a centrist agenda. Progressive candidates won in other cities around the U.S., including in Boston. And, they argue, it was President Joe Biden’s unpopularity, partly due to the obstinance of moderate Democrats like Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema to Biden’s budget proposal, that is to blame for the Democrats’ electoral losses.  But progressive efforts to deflect blame don’t stand up under scrutiny. While it’s true McAuliffe ran on a moderate platform, he refused to acknowledge much less renounce the teaching of critical race theory in classrooms, opposed expanded parental involvement, and campaigned with the teachers union. While Boston’s new mayor promotes progressive policies she also supports shutting down open drug scenes. And progressive demands for expanded federal control over regional electricity markets prevented a budget deal from passing before the election, contributing to Biden’s poor approval ratings, and giving Democratic candidates little upon which to campaign. “I think Democrats have to look in the mirror now,” said CNN contributor, Van Jones, on election night. “I think Democrats are coming across in ways that we don’t recognize, that are annoying, offensive, and seem out of touch in ways that don’t show up in our feeds, in our echo chamber —” “When you’re talking about ‘our,’” interrupted Anderson Cooper, “you’re talking about Democrats?” “Democrats” confirmed Jones “Because,” said Cooper, “it seems annoying to a lot of people.” Former advisor to Barack Obama, David Axelrod, agreed. “I think the attitude [of Democrats] is important,” he said. “The Democratic Party has become a more college-educated and urban party coalition with minority voters and the messages tend to be moralizing.” “Moralizing,” agreed Jones. “Self-righteous.” “It’s, ‘We’re going to tell you what’s right,’” said Axelrod. Democratic political strategist James Carville was even more blunt. "What went wrong is stupid wokeness,” he told PBS. “Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Washington. I mean, this ‘Defund the police!’ lunacy. This, ‘Take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools!’... people see that. And it really has a suppressive effect on all across the country on Democrats. Some of these people need to go to a woke detox center or something.” In the coming months and years, the rejection by voters of the progressive  agenda could extend to climate and environmental issues. Despite gasoline prices remaining high, progressives, including the Biden White House, remain opposed to expanded oil and gas production — at least in the U.S. — to lower them. Meanwhile, progressive climate change policies are increasing electricity prices, increasing blackouts, and resulting in greater dependence on imported foreign oil.  In truth, Carville, Axelrod, Jones and many others, including Obama himself, have been warning progressives that they had become too self-righteous, extreme, and shrill for years. Progressives have waved away, ridiculed, and even denounced such concerns as racist. And even after losing on Tuesday, many progressives took to the TV airwaves to assert that Democratic losses were due to racism. Progressives appear, in other words, determined to stick with an approach that is making Democratic candidates lose. Why is that? Luxury Beliefs Democratic and progressive elites often come across as out of touch. “I think Democrats are coming across in ways that we don’t recognize,” said Van Jones, because alternative views “don’t show up in our feeds, in our echo chamber.”  The sociologist Chistopher Lasch predicted as much in his 1995 book, Revolt of the Elites. “The physical segregation of the population is self-enclosed, racially homogeneous enclaves has its counterpart in the balkanization of opinion,” he wrote. “Each group tries to barricade itself behind its own dogmas.” Keep in mind that all of that was happening more than a decade before Twitter.   There is also tone deafness. In 2019 Prince Harry and Meghen Markle, other celebrities, and CEOs flew private jets, which produce eight to ten times the emissions as flying commercial, and stayed in yachts at a Google conference in Sicily to discuss climate change. In 2020, dozens of important policymakers around the world were caught violating their own covid regulations, and sometimes didn’t seem to care. When San Francisco Mayor London Breed was caught on video dancing at a packed night club without her mask on, she demonstrated no remorse. Breed told a television reporter that she was just letting off steam and people should lay off. Progressives wave away concerns of elitism. Earlier this year, Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went, unmasked, to the swanky Met Gala, wearing a dress emblazoned with the words, “Tax the Rich,” and surrounded by masked help, including a man subserviently holding the dress train. Progressive “fact checkers” pointed out that somebody else paid for Ocasio-Cortez’s $35,000 ticket, as though that made her behavior less elitist. In Apocalypse Never, I wrote that the hypocrisy of Prince Harry and Markle and other celebrities ostensibly concerned about climate change was the ultimate power move because it allowed them to communicate that they followed a different set of rules from the plebes. My suspicions were proven correct in September when the couple once again flew back to L.A. in a private jet after attending a climate change conference in New York. “It’s really not a good look!” scolded Marie Claire. But perhaps it is a good look if good looks are about advertising social status.  A worse look is calling half of the country racist, which is what many progressives and Democrats have done since 2016. Since then, Latino support for Trump and Republicans grew significantly. In Virginia, it was independents and white women who voted for Biden who were decisive, and education, particularly the influence of Critical Race Theory, appeared to be a deciding issue.  Documentary filmmaker Christopher Rufo has brought to light a significant quantity of evidence showing the teaching in schools, and the training of public and private sector employees, of the principles of critical race theory, or CRT for short. These activities include segregating employees and students by race; teaching children and training employees that there are essential differences between races; and claiming that all white people are inherently racist.  The Virginia vote showed that CRT views are highly unpopular with many voters, including African Americans and Democrats. Americans still hold race-neutrality, not race-obsession, as our goal, and reject the progressive moral panic over race and racism. Why, then, do progressives and Democrats insist, simultaneously, and incoherently, both that CRT doesn’t exist, and that it is good? CRT is an off-shoot of critical theory, the most important Marxist intellectual tradition of the 20th Century. Critical theory includes thinkers including Herbert Marcuse, Angela Davis, and Antonio Gramsci. Critical theorists, including Gramsci, argued that Marxist socialists should try to occupy key positions in important social institutions, including universities, churches, and labor unions. The idea was that Marxists would have more power to transform social institutions from the inside as NGO professionals, journalists, teachers, professors, university administrators, and corporate human relations officers than as shouty protesters outside the system.  Fast-forward 50 years later, and CRT and climate change have become the dominant ideology of elites, and aspiring elites, known as the professional managerial class, including the progressive nonprofit sector, and the news media. Wokeism is a “luxury belief system” of the ruling class, according to sociologist Rob Henderson. “Luxury beliefs are ideas and opinions that confer status on the rich at very little cost, while taking a toll on the lower class,” Henderson argues. “In the past, people displayed their membership of the upper class with their material accoutrements,” he noted. “But today, luxury goods are more affordable than before… When someone uses the phrase “cultural appropriation,” what they are really saying is ‘I was educated at a top college.’.. Only the affluent can afford to learn strange vocabulary because ordinary people have real problems to worry about.” [my emphasis]. Progressive, educated, and affluent people “promote open borders or the decriminalization of drugs,” writes Henderson, “because it advances their social standing, not least because they know that the adoption of those policies will cost them less than others.” That’s what’s occurred in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and other Democratic cities. Progressive city council members and District Attorneys are allowing large open air drug markets to to persist so long as they remain in poor, historically black, neighborhoods. Unlike traditional religion, woke victimology seeks not universal morality, and laws, but rather one aimed at dismantling “the system.” It is for this reason that progressives are narrowly concerned with African Americans killed by the police rather than with the 30 times more African Americans killed by civilians. And the narrow concern among progressives for victims of “the system” is why progressives in San Francisco are allowing hundreds of people to die every year from drug overdose deaths, since the alternative requires working with the system. Progressive activists on CRT, criminal justice, and climate change don’t believe, in my experience, that they are adherents to a new religion, but rather that they are more compassionate and more moral than those who hold more traditional views. And that lack of self-awareness is part of why victimology is so powerful. But it may also be what makes it politically vulnerable. Progressives in recent years were on the rise in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and nationally, but the governance of those cities is failing dramatically. Voters in California appeared willing to wave away growing public unhappiness when they rejected a proposed recall of Gavin Newsom in September. But Tuesday’s vote, including a vote in Seattle for a Republican as City Attorney, suggests that even many liberal Democrats are fed up with the “woke” victim-centered ideology that has taken over the party.  A Based Wokelash A few weeks ago Penguin published Woke Racism by Columbia University linguist John McWhorter, whose book has in common with San Fransicko the view that wokeism is a religion. In Woke Racism, McWhorter humorously ridicules the irrationality, immorality, and supernatural components of woke religion. McWhorter lampoons its contradictions. If whites move into black neighborhoods they are causing gentrification, which is racist, but if they move out of them they are engaging in “white flight,” which is racist. If whites appreciate black culture, they are engaging in “cultural appropriation,” but if they ignore it they are ostracizing. How can these beliefs, which McWhorter calls “the catechism of contradictions,” be part of the same woke religion? Because they’re all in service of singular goal of calling white people racist in order to gain cultural power.   One question I have long wondered about woke religion is why I could tomorrow declare myself a woman, and be praised for my bravery by progressives, but if I declared myself black, I would run out of Berkeley. Physically speaking, I have far more in common with a black man than a white woman. Why, then, does progressive morality hold that my becoming a woman is not only acceptable but laudable, whereas my becoming black is not only unacceptable but offensive? After I read Woke Racism, I realized the answer: because progressive trans activists have historically wanted to enlarge the number of people who identify as trans, whereas progressive black activists have wanted to stigmatize blacks for “acting white.” They are an entirely arbitrary and irrational reasons chosen, like McWhorter’s catechism of contradictions, to gain social and political power. Like other religions, wokeism promotes supernatural views. There is no evidence that climate change threatens human extinction, and yet progressive keep insisting that it does. Racism has declined dramatically over the last 200 years and yet progressives insist that it remains as powerful as ever, just more hidden, like a hidden demonic force. And sex is genetic and biological, and yet many progressives describe it as something that can be simply chosen at will, as though people are just random assemblages of body parts. Critics including Lasch, historian Michael Lind, and more recently, Democratic analysts David Shor and Ruy Teixeira, have been warning Democrats of the danger of becoming a party of moral relativism, and arguing that Democrats should emphasize the importance of intact families, race-neutrality, and economic growth. These warnings have been validated by strong evidence that the class-focused messages of Republicans, including Trump, have been winning over Latinos, and Tuesday’s elections. Climate alarmism has long created serious vulnerabilities for Democrats. “Very liberal white people care way more about climate change than anyone else,” Shor told The New York Times. “So when you talk about climate change, you sound like a weird, very liberal white person. This is why policy issues matter more than people realize. It’s not that voters have these very specific policy preferences. It’s that the policies you choose to talk about paints a picture of what kind of person you are.” And that was the case before the energy crisis. For weeks, the Biden White House has been pleading with the Saudis, the Russians, and other OPEC members to produce more oil and natural gas, even as it has restricted new oil and gas development in the United States. That doesn’t make sense, even to New York Times journalists. “What we are now seeing in soaring energy prices as we transition away from carbon is also a political risk for environmentalism,” argued conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan recently. “People notice unaffordable energy bills and gas prices very quickly. If they attribute that to the inconstancy of renewables — and in Europe, a sharp drop in winds was indeed a factor — then a populist backlash can happen.” Will Democrats moderate their agenda and attitudes in response to electoral defeat? Perhaps. Democrats may finally accept the advice of Carville, Jones, and Axelrod, and move away from the fringes and back toward the mainstream. In some parts of the U.S., Democratic candidates may reject CRT by name, embrace oil and gas production, and support greater parental involvement, including school choice, even though doing so would likely be opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Black Lives Matter, the teachers’ unions, and the Sierra Club. But the reaction to Tuesday’s election suggest that many other progressives will double down on off-putting attitudes and unpopular policies. After all, the progressive insistence that Democrats spend their social and political capital demonizing their opponents as racist, depicting criminals as victims, and portraying climate change as apocalyptic was never about creating a successful politics. It was about evangelizing for a new religion.  *  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael's substack here   Tyler Durden Sat, 11/06/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 6th, 2021

Plans Of A Technocratic Elite: "The Great Reset" Is Not A Conspiracy Theory

Plans Of A Technocratic Elite: 'The Great Reset' Is Not A Conspiracy Theory Authored by Michael Rectenwald via The Mises Institute, In previous installments, I introduced the Great Reset idea and treated it in terms of its economic and ideological components. In this installment, I will discuss what the Great Reset entails in terms of governance and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4-IR), closing with remarks about the overall Great Reset project and its implications. According to Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chair of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the 4-IR follows the first, second, and third Industrial Revolutions—the mechanical, electrical, and digital, respectively. The 4-IR builds on the digital revolution, but Schwab sees the 4-IR as an exponential takeoff and convergence of existing and emerging fields, including Big Data; artificial intelligence; machine learning; quantum computing; and genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics. The consequence is the merging of the physical, digital, and biological worlds. The blurring of these categories ultimately challenges the very ontologies by which we understand ourselves and the world, including “what it means to be human.” The specific applications that make up the 4-R are too numerous and sundry to treat in full, but they include a ubiquitous internet, the internet of things, the internet of bodies, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and more. While Schwab and the WEF promote a particular vision for the 4-IR, the developments he announces are not his brainchildren, and there is nothing original about his formulations. Transhumanists and Singularitarians (or prophets of the technological singularity), such as Ray Kurzweil and many others, forecasted these and more revolutionary developments, .long before Schwab heralded them. The significance of Schwab and the WEF’s take on the new technological revolution is the attempt to harness it to a particular end, presumably “a fairer, greener future.” But if existing 4-IR developments are any indication of the future, then Schwab’s enthusiasm is misplaced, and the 4-IR is misrepresented. These developments already include internet algorithms that feed users prescribed news and advertisements and downrank or exclude banned content; algorithms that censor social media content and consign “dangerous” individuals and organizations to digital gulags; apps that track and trace covid suspects and report violators to the police; robot police with QR code scanners to identify and round up dissenters; and smart cities where everyone is a digital entity to be monitored, surveilled, and recorded, while data on their every move is collected, collated, stored, and attached to a digital identity and social credit score. That is, 4-IR technologies subject human beings to a technological management that makes the earlier surveillance by the National Security Agency look like child’s play. Schwab lauds future developments that will connect brains directly to the cloud, enabling the “data mining” of thought and memory, a technological mastery over experience that threatens individual autonomy and undermines any semblance of free will. The 4-IR accelerates the merging of humans and machines, resulting in a world in which all information, including genetic information, is shared and every action, thought, and unconscious motivation is known, predicted, and possibly even precluded. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World comes to mind. Yet Schwab touts brain-cloud interfaces as enhancements, as vast improvements over standard human intelligence, thus lending them an appeal not at all imaginable for soma. Many positive developments may come from the 4-IR, but unless it is taken out of the hands of the corporate-socialist technocrats, it will constitute a virtual prison. Under the Great Reset governance model, states and favored corporations form “public-private partnerships” in control of governance. The configuration yields a corporate-state hybrid largely unaccountable to the constituents of national governments. The cozy relationship between multinational corporations and governments has even aroused the scorn of a few left-leaning critics. They note that the governance model of the WEF represents at least the partial privatization of the UN’s Agenda 2030, with the WEF bringing corporate partners, money, and supposed expertise on the 4-IR to the table. And the WEF’s governance model extends well beyond the UN, affecting the constitution and behavior of governments worldwide. This usurpation has led political scientist Ivan Wecke to call the WEF’s governmental redesign of the world system “a corporate takeover of global governance.” This is true, but the obverse is also the case. The WEF model also represents the governmentalization of private industry. Under Schwab’s “stakeholder capitalism” and the multistakeholder governance model, governance is not only increasingly privatized, but also and more importantly, corporations are deputized as major additions to governments and intergovernmental bodies. The state is thereby extended, enhanced, and augmented by the addition of enormous corporate assets. These include funding directed at “sustainable development” to the exclusion of the noncompliant, as well as the use of Big Data, artificial intelligence, and 5G to monitor and control citizens. In the case of the covid vaccine regime, the state grants Big Pharma monopoly protection and indemnity from liability in exchange for a vehicle by which to expand its powers of coercion. As such, corporate stakeholders become what I have called “governmentalities”—otherwise “private” organizations wielded as state apparatuses, with no obligation to answer to pesky constituents. Since these corporations are multinational, the state essentially becomes global, whether or not a “one-world government” is ever formalized. In Google Archipelago, I argued that leftist authoritarianism is the political ideology and modus operandi of what I call Big Digital, and that Big Digital is the leading edge of an emerging world system. Big Digital is the communications, ideological, and technological arm of an emerging corporate socialism. The Great Reset is the name that has since been given to the project of establishing this world system. Just as Klaus Schwab and the WEF hoped, the covid crisis has accelerated the development of the Great Reset’s corporate-socialist statism. Developments advancing the Great Reset agenda include the Federal Reserve’s unrestrained printing of money, the subsequent inflation, the increasing taxation on everything imaginable, the increased dependence on the state, the supply chain crisis, the restrictions and job losses due to vaccine mandates, and the prospect of personal carbon allowances. Altogether, these and other such policies constitute a coordinated attack on the majority. Ironically, they also represent the “fairness” aspect of the Great Reset—if we properly understand fairness to mean leveling the economic status of the "average American" with those in less “privileged” regions. And this is one of the functions of woke ideology - to make the majority in developed countries feel unworthy of their “privileged” lifestyles and consumption patterns, which the elite are in the process of resetting to a reduced and static new normal. Over the past twenty-one months, the response to the covid-19 scourge has consolidated the monopolistic corporations’ grip on the economy on top, while advancing “actually-existing socialism” below. In partnership with Big Tech, Big Pharma, the legacy media, national and international health agencies, and compliant populations, hitherto “democratic” Western states are increasingly being transformed into totalitarian regimes modeled after China, seemingly overnight. I need not provide a litany of the tyranny and abuses. You can read about them on alternative news sites—until you can no longer read about them even there. The Great Reset, then, is not merely a conspiracy theory; it is an open, avowed, and planned project, and it is well underway. But because capitalism with Chinese characteristics, or corporate-socialist statism, lacks free markets and depends on the absence of free will and individual liberty, it is, ironically, “unsustainable,” and doomed to fail. The question is just how much suffering and distortion will be endured until it does. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/04/2021 - 23:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 4th, 2021

Sen. Josh Hawley says "the Left," which "controls the commanding heights of American society," wants to "give us a world beyond men"

Hawley claims working class men are a "particular target" of the Biden administration, and points to the vaccine mandate for many US companies. Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri Ken Cedeno/AFP/Getty Images Sen. Hawley delivered a speech on "The Future of the American Man" at a nationalist conference in Orlando. Hawley argued that "the Left" wants to "give us a world beyond men" by assaulting traditional masculinity. He also criticized 'X' gender passports and said vaccine mandates were an attack on working class men. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said on Sunday that "the Left" - encompassing lawmakers, Hollywood, media organizations, universities, and even sports teams - want to usher in a "world beyond men" as part of a broader effort to "deconstruct America."Hawley made the remarks at the National Conservatism conference in Orlando, a gathering of right-wing activists and intellectuals who promote a nationalist brand of conservatism as an alternative to the "excesses of purist libertarianism." Other speakers at the conference include Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Ohio Senate candidate and "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance, and tech billionaire Peter Thiel.According to Hawley's prepared remarks, the Missouri senator opened his speech by arguing that "the Left" controls the "commanding heights of American society" and wants to usher in the total deconstruction on America through the power it currently wields."They believe that America is a systemically racist, structurally oppressive, hopelessly patriarchal kind of place. It's a dystopia, if only Americans would get woke enough to see it," said Hawley. "It's a nation that needs to be taught how unjust it truly is and after that, rebuilt from top to bottom."The focus of Hawley's speech was the "future of the American man," and the senator said that "deconstruction of America begins with and depends on the deconstruction of American men." He noted that women were also central to the history of America, but that the assault on men was "already far advanced" compared to women.Hawley argued that an array of disparate forces, including a "gender equity" agenda touted by the White House, the addition of a new 'X' gender marker to passports, the teachings of university professors, ADHD diagnoses among young boys, a 2019 Gillette ad about toxic masculinity, and even new vaccine mandates issued by the Biden administration were part of a broad attack on men and traditional masculinity."Working class men have been a particular target for this Administration," said Hawley. "President Biden's illegal vaccine mandate on private citizens puts millions of working class men squarely in the cross hairs. Shut up, get the jab, or get lost."-NatConTalk (@NatConTalk) November 1, 2021 Men, particularly those without college degrees, are a key demographic within the Republican Party, though President Joe Biden ate into some of that support base in 2020. Hawley, who was the first senator to announce that he would challenge states' election results on January 6, is a self-styled populist and proponent of traditional values.The senator also claimed that much of the ideologies at the heart of the purported assault on traditional masculinity were derived from the works of Karl Marx, French philosopher Jacques Derrida, and New Left German philosopher Herbert Marcuse."While Marx pinned his hopes on working class men, the proletariat, Marcuse saw those same men as the problem," Hawley said. "They were too culturally conservative. Too hidebound. Too traditional. Marcuse concluded the revolution would only come from the well-educated elite, who could see beyond mirages like manhood."The Missouri senator highlighted as "particularly heartbreaking" a recent report in the Wall Street Journal about American men increasingly declining to go to college, falling into pathologies of despair and retreating into watching pornography and playing video games.Hawley concluded his speech by calling for "explicit rewards in our tax code for marriage" and "requiring that at least half of all goods and supplies critical for our national security be made in the United States" as a way to support American men and make them into an "unrivaled force for good in the world.""To each man, I say: You can be a tremendous force for good. Your nation needs you. The world needs you," Hawley said.-NatConTalk (@NatConTalk) November 1, 2021 Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 1st, 2021

Weiss: We Got Here Because Of Cowardice, We Get Out With Courage

Weiss: We Got Here Because Of Cowardice, We Get Out With Courage Authored by Bari Weiss via Commentary.org, A lot of people want to convince you that you need a Ph.D. or a law degree or dozens of hours of free time to read dense texts about critical theory to understand the woke movement and its worldview. You do not. You simply need to believe your own eyes and ears.  Let me offer the briefest overview of the core beliefs of the Woke Revolution, which are abundantly clear to anyone willing to look past the hashtags and the jargon. It begins by stipulating that the forces of justice and progress are in a war against backwardness and tyranny. And in a war, the normal rules of the game must be suspended. Indeed, this ideology would argue that those rules are not just obstacles to justice, but tools of oppression. They are the master’s tools.  And the master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house. So the tools themselves are not just replaced but repudiated. And in so doing, persuasion—the purpose of argument—is replaced with public shaming. Moral complexity is replaced with moral certainty. Facts are replaced with feelings. Ideas are replaced with identity. Forgiveness is replaced with punishment. Debate is replaced with de-platforming. Diversity is replaced with homogeneity of thought. Inclusion, with exclusion. In this ideology, speech is violence. But violence, when carried out by the right people in pursuit of a just cause, is not violence at all. In this ideology, bullying is wrong, unless you are bullying the right people, in which case it’s very, very good. In this ideology, education is not about teaching people how to think, it’s about reeducating them in what to think. In this ideology, the need to feel safe trumps the need to speak truthfully.  In this ideology, if you do not tweet the right tweet or share the right slogan, your whole life can be ruined. Just ask Tiffany Riley, a Vermont school principal who was fired—fired—because she said she supports black lives but not the organization Black Lives Matter. In this ideology, the past cannot be understood on its own terms, but must be judged through the morals and mores of the present. It is why statues of Grant and Washington are being torn down. And it is why William Peris, a UCLA lecturer and an Air Force veteran, was investigated for reading Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” out loud in class. In this ideology, intentions don’t matter. That is why Emmanuel Cafferty, a Hispanic utility worker at San Diego Gas and Electric, was fired for making what someone said he thought was a white-supremacist hand gesture—when in fact he was cracking his knuckles out of his car window. In this ideology, the equality of opportunity is replaced with equality of outcome as a measure of fairness. If everyone doesn’t finish the race at the same time, the course must have been defective. Thus, the argument to get rid of the SAT. Or the admissions tests for public schools like Stuyvesant in New York or Lowell in San Francisco.  In this ideology, you are guilty for the sins of your fathers. In other words: You are not you. You are only a mere avatar of your race or your religion or your class. That is why third-graders in Cupertino, California, were asked to rate themselves in terms of their power and privilege. In third grade.  In this system, we are all placed neatly on a spectrum of “privileged” to “oppressed.” We are ranked somewhere on this spectrum in different categories: race, gender, sexual orientation, and class. Then we are given an overall score, based on the sum of these rankings. Having privilege means that your character and your ideas are tainted. This is why, one high-schooler in New York tells me, students in his school are told, “If you are white and male, you are second in line to speak.” This is considered a normal and necessary redistribution of power. Racism has been redefined. It is no longer about discrimination based on the color of someone’s skin. Racism is any system that allows for disparate outcomes between racial groups. If disparity is present, as the high priest of this ideology, Ibram X. Kendi, has explained, racism is present. According to this totalizing new view, we are all either racist or anti-racist. To be a Good Person and not a Bad Person, you must be an “anti-racist.” There is no neutrality. There is no such thing as “not racist.”  Most important: In this revolution, skeptics of any part of this radical ideology are recast as heretics. Those who do not abide by every single aspect of its creed are tarnished as bigots, subjected to boycotts and their work to political litmus tests. The Enlightenment, as the critic Edward Rothstein has put it, has been replaced by the exorcism.  What we call “cancel culture” is really the justice system of this revolution. And the goal of the cancellations is not merely to punish the person being cancelled. The goal is to send a message to everyone else: Step out of line and you are next.  It has worked. A recent CATO study found that 62 percent of Americans are afraid to voice their true views. Nearly a quarter of American academics endorse ousting a colleague for having a wrong opinion about hot-button issues such as immigration or gender differences. And nearly 70 percent of students favor reporting professors if the professor says something that students find offensive, according to a Challey Institute for Global Innovation survey. Why are so many, especially so many young people, drawn to this ideology? It’s not because they are dumb. Or because they are snowflakes, or whatever Fox talking points would have you believe. All of this has taken place against the backdrop of major changes in American life—the tearing apart of our social fabric; the loss of religion and the decline of civic organizations; the opioid crisis; the collapse of American industries; the rise of big tech; successive financial crises; a toxic public discourse; crushing student debt. An epidemic of loneliness. A crisis of meaning. A pandemic of distrust. It has taken place against the backdrop of the American dream’s decline into what feels like a punchline, the inequalities of our supposedly fair, liberal meritocracy clearly rigged in favor of some people and against others. And so on. “I became converted because I was ripe for it and lived in a disintegrating society thrusting for faith.” That was Arthur Koestler writing in 1949 about his love affair with Communism. The same might be said of this new revolutionary faith. And like other religions at their inception, this one has lit on fire the souls of true believers, eager to burn down anything or anyone that stands in its way.  If you have ever tried to build something, even something small, you know how hard it is. It takes time. It takes tremendous effort. But tearing things down? That’s quick work.  The Woke Revolution has been exceptionally effective. It has successfully captured the most important sense-making institutions of American life: our newspapers. Our magazines. Our Hollywood studios. Our publishing houses. Many of our tech companies. And, increasingly, corporate America.  Just as in China under Chairman Mao, the seeds of our own cultural revolution can be traced to the academy, the first of our institutions to be overtaken by it. And our schools—public, private, parochial—are increasingly the recruiting grounds for this ideological army.  A few stories are worth recounting: David Peterson is an art professor at Skidmore College in upstate New York. He stood accused in the fevered summer of 2020 of “engaging in hateful conduct that threatens Black Skidmore students.” What was that hateful conduct? David and his wife, Andrea, went to watch a rally for police officers. “Given the painful events that continue to unfold across this nation, I guess we just felt compelled to see first-hand how all of this was playing out in our own community,” he told the Skidmore student newspaper. David and his wife stayed for 20 minutes on the edge of the event. They held no signs, participated in no chants. They just watched. Then they left for dinner. For the crime of listening, David Peterson’s class was boycotted. A sign appeared on his classroom door: “STOP. By entering this class you are crossing a campus-wide picket line and breaking the boycott against Professor David Peterson. This is not a safe environment for marginalized students.” Then the university opened an investigation into accusations of bias in the classroom. Across the country from Skidmore, at the University of Southern California, a man named Greg Patton is a professor of business communication. In 2020, Patton was teaching a class on “filler words”—such as “um” and “like” and so forth for his master’s-level course on communication for management. It turns out that the Chinese word for “like” sounds like the n-word. Students wrote the school’s staff and administration accusing their professor of “negligence and disregard.” They added: “We are burdened to fight with our existence in society, in the workplace, and in America. We should not be made to fight for our sense of peace and mental well-being” at school. In a normal, reality-based world, there is only one response to such a claim: You misheard. But that was not the response. This was: “It is simply unacceptable for faculty to use words in class that can marginalize, hurt and harm the psychological safety of our students,” the dean, Geoffrey Garrett wrote. “Understandably, this caused great pain and upset among students, and for that I am deeply sorry.”  This rot hasn’t been contained to higher education. At a mandatory training earlier this year in the San Diego Unified School District, Bettina Love, an education professor who believes that children learn better from teachers of the same race, accused white teachers of “spirit murdering black and brown children” and urged them to undergo “antiracist therapy for White educators.”  San Francisco’s public schools didn’t manage to open their schools during the pandemic, but the board decided to rename 44 schools—including those named for George Washington and John Muir—before suspending the plan. Meantime, one of the board members declared merit “racist” and “Trumpian.”  A recent educational program for sixth to eighth grade teachers called “a pathway to equitable math instruction”—funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—was recently sent to Oregon teachers by the state’s Department of Education. The program’s literature informs teachers that white supremacy shows up in math instruction when “rigor is expressed only in difficulty,” and “contrived word problems are valued over the math in students’ lived experiences.”  Serious education is the antidote to such ignorance. Frederick Douglass said, “Education means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light only by which men can be free.” Soaring words that feel as if they are a report from a distant galaxy. Education is increasingly where debate, dissent, and discovery go to die. It’s also very bad for kids.  For those deemed “privileged,” it creates a hostile environment where kids are too intimidated to participate. For those deemed “oppressed,” it inculcates an extraordinarily pessimistic view of the world, where students are trained to perceive malice and bigotry in everything they see. They are denied the dignity of equal standards and expectations. They are denied the belief in their own agency and ability to succeed. As Zaid Jilani had put it: “You cannot have power without responsibility. Denying minorities responsibility for their own actions, both good and bad, will only deny us the power we rightly deserve.” How did we get here? There are a lot of factors that are relevant to the answer: institutional decay; the tech revolution and the monopolies it created; the arrogance of our elites; poverty; the death of trust. And all of these must be examined, because without them we would have neither the far right nor the cultural revolutionaries now clamoring at America’s gates.  But there is one word we should linger on, because every moment of radical victory turned on it. The word is cowardice. The revolution has been met with almost no resistance by those who have the title CEO or leader or president or principal in front of their names. The refusal of the adults in the room to speak the truth, their refusal to say no to efforts to undermine the mission of their institutions, their fear of being called a bad name and that fear trumping their responsibility—that is how we got here. Allan Bloom had the radicals of the 1960s in mind when he wrote that “a few students discovered that pompous teachers who catechized them about academic freedom could, with a little shove, be made into dancing bears.” Now, a half-century later, those dancing bears hold named chairs at every important elite, sense-making institution in the country.  As Douglas Murray has put it: “The problem is not that the sacrificial victim is selected. The problem is that the people who destroy his reputation are permitted to do so by the complicity, silence and slinking away of everybody else.” Each surely thought: These protestors have some merit! This institution, this university, this school, hasn’t lived up to all of its principles at all times! We have been racist! We have been sexist! We haven’t always been enlightened! I’ll give a bit and we’ll find a way to compromise. This turned out to be as naive as Robespierre thinking that he could avoid the guillotine.  Think about each of the anecdotes I’ve shared here and all the rest you already know. All that had to change for the entire story to turn out differently was for the person in charge, the person tasked with being a steward for the newspaper or the magazine or the college or the school district or the private high school or the kindergarten, to say: No. If cowardice is the thing that has allowed for all of this, the force that stops this cultural revolution can also be summed up by one word: courage. And courage often comes from people you would not expect. Consider Maud Maron. Maron is a lifelong liberal who has always walked the walk. She was an escort for Planned Parenthood; a law-school research assistant to Kathleen Cleaver, the former Black Panther; and a poll watcher for John Kerry in Pennsylvania during the 2004 presidential election. In 2016, she was a regular contributor to Bernie Sanders’s campaign. Maron dedicated her career to Legal Aid: “For me, being a public defender is more than a job,” she told me. “It’s who I am.” But things took a turn when, this past year, Maron spoke out passionately and publicly about the illiberalism that has gripped the New York City public schools attended by her four children.  “I am very open about what I stand for,” she told me. “I am pro-integration. I am pro-diversity. And also I reject the narrative that white parents are to blame for the failures of our school system. I object to the mayor’s proposal to get rid of specialized admissions tests to schools like Stuyvesant. And I believe that racial essentialism is racist and should not be taught in school.” What followed this apparent thought crime was a 21st-century witch hunt. Maron was smeared publicly by her colleagues. They called her “racist, and openly so.” They said, “We’re ashamed that she works for the Legal Aid Society.”  Most people would have walked away and quietly found a new job. Not Maud Maron. This summer, she filed suit against the organization, claiming that she was forced out of Legal Aid because of her political views and her race, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  “The reason they went after me is that I have a different point of view,” she said. “These ideologues have tried to ruin my name and my career, and they are going after other good people. Not enough people stand up and say: It is totally wrong to do this to a person. And this is not going to stop unless people stand up to it.” That’s courage. Courage also looks like Paul Rossi, the math teacher at Grace Church High School in New York who raised questions about this ideology at a mandatory, whites-only student and faculty Zoom meeting. A few days later, all the school’s advisers were required to read a public reprimand of his conduct out loud to every student in the school. Unwilling to disavow his beliefs, Rossi blew the whistle: “I know that by attaching my name to this I’m risking not only my current job but my career as an educator, since most schools, both public and private, are now captive to this backward ideology. But witnessing the harmful impact it has on children, I can’t stay silent.” That’s courage.  Courage is Xi Van Fleet, a Virginia mom who endured Mao’s Cultural Revolution as a child and spoke up to the Loudoun County School Board at a public meeting in June. “You are training our children to loathe our country and our history,” she said in front of the school board. “Growing up in Mao’s China, all of this feels very familiar…. The only difference is that they used class instead of race.” Gordon Klein, a professor at UCLA, recently filed suit against his own university. Why? A student asked him to grade black students with “greater leniency.” He refused, given that such a racial preference would violate UCLA’s anti-discrimination policies (and maybe even the law). But the people in charge of UCLA’s Anderson School launched a racial-discrimination complaint into him. They denounced him, banned him from campus, appointed a monitor to look at his emails, and suspended him. He eventually was reinstated—because he had done absolutely nothing wrong—but not before his reputation and career were severely damaged. “I don’t want to see anyone else’s life destroyed as they attempted to do to me,” Klein told me. “Few have the intestinal fortitude to fight cancel culture. I do. This is about sending a message to every petty tyrant out there.” Courage is Peter Boghossian. He recently resigned his post at Portland State University, writing in a letter to his provost: “The university transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a social justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender and victimhood and whose only output was grievance and division…. I feel morally obligated to make this choice. For ten years, I have taught my students the importance of living by your principles. One of mine is to defend our system of liberal education from those who seek to destroy it. Who would I be if I didn’t?” Who would I be if I didn’t? George Orwell said that “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” In an age of lies, telling the truth is high risk. It comes with a cost. But it is our moral obligation. It is our duty to resist the crowd in this age of mob thinking. It is our duty to think freely in an age of conformity. It is our duty to speak truth in an age of lies.  This bravery isn’t the last or only step in opposing this revolution—it’s just the first. After that must come honest assessments of why America was vulnerable to start with, and an aggressive commitment to rebuilding the economy and society in ways that once again offer life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the greatest number of Americans. But let’s start with a little courage. Courage means, first off, the unqualified rejection of lies. Do not speak untruths, either about yourself or anyone else, no matter the comfort offered by the mob. And do not genially accept the lies told to you. If possible, be vocal in rejecting claims you know to be false. Courage can be contagious, and your example may serve as a means of transmission. When you’re told that traits such as industriousness and punctuality are the legacy of white supremacy, don’t hesitate to reject it. When you’re told that statues of figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass are offensive, explain that they are national heroes. When you’re told that “nothing has changed” in this country for minorities, don’t dishonor the memory of civil-rights pioneers by agreeing. And when you’re told that America was founded in order to perpetuate slavery, don’t take part in rewriting the country’s history. America is imperfect. I always knew it, as we all do—and the past few years have rocked my faith like no others in my lifetime. But America and we Americans are far from irredeemable.  The motto of Frederick Douglass’s anti-slavery paper, the North Star—“The Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and all we are brethren”—must remain all of ours. We can still feel the pull of that electric cord Lincoln talked about 163 years ago—the one “in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.” Every day I hear from people who are living in fear in the freest society humankind has ever known. Dissidents in a democracy, practicing doublespeak. That is what is happening right now. What happens five, 10, 20 years from now if we don’t speak up and defend the ideas that have made all of our lives possible? Liberty. Equality. Freedom. Dignity. These are ideas worth fighting for. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/17/2021 - 23:05.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 18th, 2021

Brandon Smith: If You Don"t Respect My Freedoms, I Don"t Respect Your Pronouns

Brandon Smith: If You Don't Respect My Freedoms, I Don't Respect Your Pronouns Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, No group in this world is above ridicule, and that includes the mentally ill. Just because the mentally ill become an organized mob does not mean they are a victim status group deserving of special protection or special treatment. The mentally ill are the LAST people on the planet that should be given the power to dictate the course of society. Madness is, in a way, infectious. Narcissism is poisonous. Psychopathy is radioactive. The majority of humans naturally discriminate against such people because every facet of our biology, every cell of our being warns us that if they are given an ounce of control, destruction will surely follow. Human tribes and societies have understood this reality for thousands of years. Our repellent reactions to madness are ingrained in our cellular memory. Just as we instinctually recoil from snakes and spiders we have also learned over millennia to recoil from unhinged minds. But for some reason in the past 5-10 years we are being told to embrace the exact reverse. The insane are now above the rest of us. The insane must be worshiped. The insane are our leaders and role models. Biology is wrong, and the cultural Marxists and woke ideologues are right. The new narrative is that truth tellers and rational people are the “insane” ones and they should be watched or possibly locked up. I’ve been writing about political correctness and woke culture for a long time now, and I have to say that the developing trends of social justice are not surprising. However, the speed at which they are being forced on the rest of us today is disturbing. One has to wonder if the woke mob is in a rush to meet some kind of propaganda deadline the rest of us are not aware of. The gender and “Trans” issues are really at the forefront of leftist ideology these days. If you have observed these people for any length of time you know all about the Oppression Olympics and the intersectional totem pole. And, you are also probably aware that people who claim to be trans earn an automatic spot at the top of that totem pole, well above women, black people, and even your run-of-the-mill gay people. The trans costume is the most powerful of all SJW costumes and imbues a person with unlimited protection no matter how terrible that person might be. It even allows them to dictate the very thoughts and speech of the public at large. For example, there is a policy among western governments to allow male convicted criminals who claim to be trans women to be interned in women’s prisons. This allows them to rape female inmates at their leisure while claiming special status. Yet, according to the leftist media it is the men posing as women that are being “victimized” by guards and female inmates. In Britain, they are even passing a law which makes it a crime for prisoners to use the wrong pronouns when referring to a trans inmate. It is important to note that the trans identity is a sort of magic ticket for white people in particular. The SJW cult is especially concerned with all white people (mainly white men) as some kind of monstrous threat to the safety and emotional stability of everyone else. If you are a white person within the SJW religion you are immediately hated for your original sin and are relegated to the leftist gutter. They despise your skin color, and no amount of help you give as an “ally” is going to earn you a place among the oh-so-holy oppressed. Unless, that is, you say you are trans. Then, as if you have touched the pure hand of the SJW deity, you are suddenly absolved of all your inherent white evil and are given a mantle of divinity. You are better than everyone else, because you are supposedly the most oppressed of them all. Maybe this sounds like a bit of exaggeration. Surely I am engaging in hyperbole. I promise you I am not. Western culture is being increasingly segregated by the political left into various tiers of people based on their skin color as well as their sexual orientations and mental instabilities, and the more made-up the orientations and the more volatile the mental instability the more privileges a person is afforded. The patients are truly taking over the asylum. I am revisiting this subject because I have noticed a renewed uptick in aggression from leftists on the trans issue, and I suspect this is because they are starting to get more push-back from the public. The latest Dave Chappelle special on Netflix triggered the sensitive snowflakes again simply because Chappelle argues what most of us already know –That gender is a biological fact, not a social construct. This has led to numerous angry demands on Twitter to have Chappelle kicked off Netflix and canceled in general. For now it seems as though these demands are being ignored, which is exactly what should be happening everywhere all the time. Others, like author JK Rowling, have not been as lucky. And I suspect if Dave Chappelle was white it would be a different story. Sometimes people in the middle of the totem pole can get away with criticizing another group in the progressive stack, but if you’re a straight white person there are no allowances. Why are people that represent a tiny percentage of the population (around 0.3% or less) being given massive special attention and enjoying unprecedented legal regulations in their favor? Why are states like California going out of their way to force the public to accommodate the tiny trans minority, to the point of passing laws which make it an offense to have separate toy aisles for boys and girls, or trying to make it illegal to ignore a person’s preferred pronouns? Again, it seems that leftists (mostly middle-class and rich white progressives) are creating a kind of ultimate victim pass – A way to climb to the top of the totem pole from the very bottom. All they have to do is loudly denounce biological gender and say they are “trans”, and like magic they become part of a new civil rights movement in which they are the righteous “freedom fighters” in a fake revolution for a fake cause. Anyone that asserts conflicting viewpoints on the trans issue is usually met with accusations of bigotry and “transphobia.” After all, why should we care about the trans movement getting whatever it wants? Is it because we are prejudiced? This is a gaslighting tactic among leftists to deter any criticism of their activities. For most people who argue against corporate marketing and government laws in favor of gender neutrality, our interest is in fighting against the propaganda and disinformation, not fighting against trans people in general. There are some real transexual men and women out there that suffer from a disorder called “Gender Dysphoria.” It is an extremely rare condition; a mental illness that is mostly harmless to the rest of society but does cause a high rate of depression and suicide among those that have it. I don’t have any problem with these folks or their existence. What I do have a problem with is social justice Marxists exploiting gender dysphoria as a weapon in their ideological war to tear down western society and replace it with their own dystopian vision. The issue here is not about actual trans people, but about respect for freedom of speech and thought. You see, every single facet of the leftist movement is about collectivism and control. They say they care about minorities and their well-being, but they are really just using them to further their own twisted political conquests. Whether we are talking about critical race theory or the transgender movement the end goal is always the same: The leftists want to put themselves in the position of arbiter over what speech is acceptable and what speech is not acceptable. Once they are allowed to dictate what is and what is not “hate speech”, they then control ALL speech. Control is obviously the agenda rather than the defense of minorities; all you have to do is examine how they treat minorities that step out of line. Look at how they attack blacks like Dave Chappelle, classic feminists like JK Rowling, gay people like Dave Rubin or even trans conservatives like Blaire White. They are part of the precious totem pole, but as soon as any of these people leave the leftist plantation or speak contrary to the main agenda they are declared heretics and viciously excommunicated. The purpose of the trans movement and the purpose of social justice overall is two-fold: The first purpose is to break down the foundations of western society and create chaos so that leftists can replace the existing culture with their own communist framework. The second purpose is to use supposed “victim groups” as a shield from any criticism of their agenda by controlling the language and labeling the people that oppose them as “intolerant.” The battle over pronouns is indicative of this agenda because it requires the forced participation of everyone in the delusions of a minority of people with mental instability. It requires that I give respect to someone who hasn’t earned it and is not entitled to it, and call them whatever label they dictate I call them for however long they wish. And if I don’t, I am evil and should be punished by the state or by the mob. Imagine if schizophrenics decided to join together into a movement to demand that the rest of society call them by whatever delusional persona they happen to fantasize about that day. A guy suddenly decides that on Monday he is Napoleon Bonaparte or Jesus Christ and I’m supposed to accommodate him or be called a bigot? There is really no difference between this and what the LGBTQ-whatever movement is demanding when it comes to their made-up pronouns. I really don’t care if a person wants to declare themselves transgendered. That action by itself doesn’t really affect me and I hope it makes them happy. I think they should seek psychological help because if they really have gender dysphoria then they are statistically far more likely to commit suicide (and it’s not because society makes them commit suicide, there is no evidence to support that claim). Beyond that, as long as they don’t turn their sexual preferences into a political mob then there’s really no conflict. If I really like the person and they are respectful of my personal freedoms, I might even use their pronouns, who knows. Frankly, I don’t think any reasonable person would care about pronouns outside of their own biology. The war arises when leftists and the trans people they exploit try to impose their ideology and their views on the rest of us. The fight is over freedom, not over trans people. If you want to control how I talk, how I think and how I live; If you don’t respect my freedoms then I don’t respect you. You are not owed or entitled to respect just because you were born or because you think you are special. You get respect by earning respect. You get respect for your actions, not your identity. The world is not here to accommodate you or your pronouns. People are not here to adjust their speech to protect your feelings. Your feelings do not matter. Your pronouns do not matter. You will be measured by your accomplishments and by how much or how little you violate the rights of others. And if your goal is to manipulate or control how the rest of us speak or interact according to our natural biological preferences then perhaps you should start your own society somewhere else? Maybe somewhere far, far away… *  *  * 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 Wed, 10/13/2021 - 22:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 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

Orwell And The Woke

Orwell And The Woke Authored by Victor Davis Hanson,  "Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which." - George Orwell, "Animal Farm" What were we to make of multimillionaire Barack Obama's 60th birthday bash at his Martha's Vineyard estate, and the throng of the woke wealthy and their masked helot attendants? Was socialist Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) suffering for the people when she wore a designer dress to the more than $30,000-a-ticket Met gala? Her entourage needs were certainly well-attended to by masked Morlock servants. Did the leftist celebrities at the recent Emmy awards gather to discuss opening Malibu beaches to the homeless when the (unmasked) stars virtue-signaled their wokeness? For answers about these hypocritical wokists, always turn first to George Orwell. In his brief allegorical novella, "Animal Farm," an array of animal characters -- led by the thinking pigs of the farm -- staged a revolution, driving out their human overseers. The anti-human animal comrades started out sounding like zealous Russian Bolsheviks ("four legs good, two legs bad"). But soon they ended up conned by a murderous cult of pigs under a Joseph Stalin-like leader. And so, the revolution became what it once had opposed ("four legs good, two legs better"). Our own woke, year-zero revolution is now in its second year. Yet last year's four-legged revolutionaries are already strutting on two legs. They are not just hobnobbing with the "white supremacists" and "capitalists," but outdoing them in their revolutionary zeal for the rarified privileges of the material good life. The Marxist co-founder of BLM, Patrisse Cullors, is now on her fourth woke home. She has moved on from the barricades to the security fences of her Topanga Canyon digs in a mostly all-white, all-rich rural paradise--the rewards for revolutionary service. Professor Ibram X. Kendi has evolved from the edgy revolutionary work of flying all over the country, hawking his Orwellian message of "All racism bad! But some racism good!" Now he has mastered the art of zooming the wannabe woke for his $20,000 an hour avant-garde hectoring. What of Colin Kaepernick, the mediocre second-string quarterback turned sudden firebrand? He refused to stand for the national anthem and spread his "take a knee" kitsch throughout professional sports. Kaepernick became a boutique revolutionary multimillionaire. For $12 million a year, he pitches Nike sneakers, often made in Chinese forced-labor camps. Woke NBA star LeBron James, from his $23 million Brentwood mansion, blasts America for its endless unfairness--in service to his totalitarian Chinese paymasters who will ensure his good life with an eventual lifetime $1 billion payout for hawking their goods. Our other elite wokists navigating around the revolution are even more cynical. The corporate and Wall Street capitalists feel that a little virtue signaling, showy diversity coordinators, and woke advertising will more or less buy off the latest version of Al-Sharpton-like shake-down artists. Then there are the trimmers and enablers. These are the wealthy, rich, and the professional classes. They feel--in abstract--absolutely terrible about inequality, but hardly enough in the concrete to mix with the unwashed. For them, wokism is like party membership in the late ethically bankrupt Soviet Union. It is necessary for peace of mind and good income, but otherwise not an obstacle for the continuance of the privileged, comfortable life. The more TV news hosts rant about "systemic" this and "supremacy" that, and the more college presidents write stern penance memos to their faculty about "that's not who we are," the more they feel not just good about themselves, but relieved of any real obligation to live and socialize with the Other. As for the self-declared non-white Other, wokism is also a top-down revolution of celebrities, intellectuals, actors, activists, academics, grifters, lawyers, and the upper-middle class and rich. And they are not calling for a Marshall Plan to bring classical education to the inner city. They themselves have little desire to move in or spread their wealth. They rarely mentor others on their shrewd capitalist expertise that made themselves rich. They are far more cynical than that. The regrettable violence of the street, the 120 days of 2020 looting, death and arson, are the levers of the woke professionals. They fight with the various tribes of the same class and mindset over the slices of the same coveted elite pies. But they bring to the scrap the unspoken cudgel that without greater non-white de facto quotas in comic books, TV commercials, Ivy League faculties and students, symphonies, and sit-coms, then "systemic racism" could once again ignite downtown Portland or Seattle or Baltimore. Orwell would say of the woke Obamas, Nancy Pelosi, AOC, Bernie Sanders, LeBron James, or Ibram Kendi--and their supposedly unwoke, but similarly rich and privileged enemies -- "It was impossible to say which was which." Tyler Durden Fri, 10/01/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 1st, 2021

President Biden"s New Plan To Tackle Rising Food Prices

President Biden's New Plan To Tackle Rising Food Prices Authored by MN Gordon via EconomicPrism.com, Watch it slipWatch it slideI bet $10 on the losing horseFeel the gripOf my brideWatch me do it again Where’s my dinner?! – Short Lip Fuser, Rocket from the Crypt Empty Stomachs Evergrande’s going down.  And it’s taking the life savings of countless good people down with it. But while Evergrande’s going down.  Food prices are going up.  Moreover, they’re going up a lot. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global food prices were up nearly 33 percent year over year in August.  Vegetable oil, grains, and meat all cost more.  Unfortunately, rising food prices – and empty stomachs – often presage social chaos and revolution. If you recall, a decade ago food inflation triggered the Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.  And food shortages were commonplace in Communist Romania in the 1980s.  That was before the country’s dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown, tried by a kangaroo court, lined up against a wall, and executed by firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989. Rare is the revolution ignited by a populace with a full stomach.  Historically, surges against an oppressive regime are sparked by a steep and extended rise in food prices. Leading up to the French Revolution, for example, famines were frequent.  In one instance, when Louis XVI’s clueless wife, Marie Antoinette, learned the peasants had no bread, she remarked, “let them eat cake.” What followed were the Flour War riots.  Not long after that, Louis XVI’s head rolled off the guillotine chopping block.  Then things really got bad. The Reign of Terror, led by the woke Jacobins, reigned over the land.  And the assignat currency, backed by land seized from the Catholic Church, blew up in a destructive episode of hyperinflation.  Before it was over Napoleon had channeled the discontent of a generation into a damaging misadventure to invade all of Europe. If only there had been a little more bread to go around. “I Don’t Eat Bread” When adjusted for inflation and annualized, the cost of food is higher than nearly anytime in the past six decades, according to FAO data.  Alastair Smith, senior teaching fellow in global sustainable development at Warwick University in the United Kingdom, recently noted: “Food is more expensive today than it has been for the vast majority of modern recorded history.” Governments officials from Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Romania, India, Turkey, Russia, and many more, are working overtime to somehow combat the menace of rising food prices.  Price controls, export taxes, fines, subsidies, trade restrictions…you name it. With a little luck, these efforts will support lower prices in the short-term.  But these failed policies always make things worse in the long-term.  When government officials artificially set the price of something below what it costs to produce they guarantee that supply will disappear. The Prime Minister of Romania, Florin Citu, is taking a more pragmatic approach.  He’s determined to avoid Ceausescu fate.  Thus, he wants to reduce his country’s dependence on imported processed foods.  He thinks this will reduce costs and narrow the trade deficit. We wish him well.  When recently asked about the rising cost of a loaf of bread, he remarked: “I don’t eat bread.” Does he eat cake? Yet it’s not just developing countries that are feeling the pinch… In the United Kingdom, for example, rising natural gas prices are threatening the food supply.  Several fertilizer plants in the UK have had to suspend operations because of soaring natural gas prices.  And now carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fertilizer production, is in short supply. Carbon dioxide, if you didn’t know, is used to stun chickens and pigs before slaughter, and for packaging and dry ice to keep meats frozen during delivery.  Without carbon dioxide, the food supply chain breaks.  Already, deliveries of frozen food to customers have been halted. Who would have thought that carbon dioxide, something world improvers consider a poisonous greenhouse gas, was so valuable? President Biden’s New Plan to Tackle Rising Food Prices Here in the USA rising food prices have Whitehouse staffers working overtime too.  Their primary purpose at this point is to assign blame to someone else. Government lockdowns and the resulting supply chain breaks and labor shortages are mysteriously overlooked as causes of rising food prices.  The creation of upwards of $4 trillion in printing press money is largely ignored…other than noting that government stimulus kept per capita demand for meat steady. No, in the eyes of Whitehouse staffers the government can do no wrong.  Instead, these scholarly elites have come up with a real boogeyman for people to rail against.  In their very own Whitehouse blog – chock-full of bar charts, line graphs, and infographics – their culprit is explicitly identified. According to President Biden’s underlings, rising food prices in America are the direct result of “pandemic profiteering” by the four large meat processing companies.  Here’s their rationale: “Four large conglomerates overwhelmingly control meat supply chains, driving down earnings for farmers while driving up prices for consumers.  The meatpacking industry buys cattle, hogs, and chickens from farmers and ranchers, processes it, and then sells beef, pork, and poultry on to retailers like grocery stores.  The industry is highly consolidated, and serves as a key choke point in the supply chain. “That consolidation gives these middlemen the power to squeeze both consumers and farmers and ranchers.  There’s a long history of these giant meat processors making more and more, while families pay more at the grocery store and farmers and ranchers earn less for their products.  Absent this corporate consolidation, prices would be lower for consumers and fairer for farmers and ranchers.” To be clear, we have little inside knowledge of the meat processing industry.  From what we can tell it’s likely just as corrupt and crooked as the banking industry, the auto industry, the oil industry, the retail industry, the healthcare industry, the high-tech industry, the mining industry, the entertainment industry, and every other industry out there. Quite frankly, there’s no industry left that hasn’t been spoiled and besmirched by one fraud or another.  But no industry is more crooked than the U.S. government.  And like most policy reports outlining the case for ramping up government intervention, the argument is incomplete. Do the authors know why the meat processing industry consolidated in the first place?  Do the authors really know that absent consolidation prices would be lower for consumers? In truth, they care little about the answer to these questions.  What they care about is that consolidation in the meat processing industry makes a good story for why food prices are rising.  What’s more, this story provides justification for the government to spend gobs of money that isn’t theirs for the noble purpose of making the world a more comfortable and agreeable place. Per the Whitehouse blog: “As we restart the world’s largest economy and make great strides in the economic recovery, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to restarting right for the American people—consumers and producers alike—by transforming the food system.  This is a pivotal moment of opportunity to build back a better food system that is fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient.” Hence, President Biden proposes to tackle the meat processing industry head on.  He plans to funnel $1.4 billion in COVID-19 pandemic stimulus money to small meat producers and workers.  He promises to “crack down on illegal price fixing.”  He’s also formed a new White House Competition Council to “make the food system fairer and more equitable.” Without question, anyone with half their marbles already knows how this story ends… Government intervention discourages production, inflates prices, and, if pushed far enough, leads to empty shelves at the supermarket.  After that, it leads to empty stomachs…and the social chaos that follows. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 21:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

Trump endorsed a candidate for Arizona governor right after she called for him to to be added to Mount Rushmore

Trump endorsed the former news anchor just hours after she tweeted at South Dakota's governor asking for his addition to the national memorial. US President Donald Trump arrives for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Trump endorsed an Arizona gubernatorial candidate right after she called for his addition to Mount Rushmore. Kari Lake, the GOP candidate, is a former news anchor who has echoed Trump's false claims of election fraud. "She will do a far better job than RINO Governor Doug Ducey," Trump wrote in a statement. See more stories on Insider's business page. Former President Donald Trump endorsed a former news anchor for Arizona governor just hours after she tweeted at South Dakota's governor to add him to Mount Rushmore.-Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@KariLake) September 28, 2021Kari Lake, a former journalist for Fox 10 News in Phoenix, has risen to prominence by attacking the media, railing against vaccine mandates, and echoing Trump's false claims of election fraud during the 2020 election - Trump narrowly lost the state to President Joe Biden by just over 10,000 votes."She is strong on Crime, will protect our Border, Second Amendment, Military, and Vets, and will fight to restore Election Integrity (both past and future!)," Trump said in a statement on Tuesday. "She is against Covid lockdowns, Cancel Culture, and will end 'woke' curriculum in our schools. She will do a far better job than RINO Governor Doug Ducey--won't even be a contest!"Despite a cozy relationship before the election, Trump's feud with Ducey began after he certified the election for Biden in November 2020 - Ducey ignored a phone call from the president while signing the official paperwork."Arizona will not forget what Ducey just did," Trump said to a crowd in Arizona just after Ducey certified the vote.This story is developing.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 29th, 2021

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge US index futures, European markets and Asian stocks all turned negative during the overnight session, surrendering earlier gains as investors turned increasingly concerned about China's looming slowdown - and outright contraction - amid a global stagflationary energy crunch, which sent 10Y TSY yields just shy of 1.50% this morning following a Goldman upgrade in its Brent price target to $90 late on Sunday. At 745 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.75 points, or 0.1% after rising as much as 0.6%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 83 points, or 0.54% and Dow e-minis were up 80 points, or 0.23%. The euro slipped as Germany looked set for months of complex coalition talks. While the market appears to have moved beyond the Evergrande default, the debt crisis at China's largest developer festers (with Goldman saying it has no idea how it will end), and data due this week will show a manufacturing recovery in the world’s second-largest economy is faltering faster. A developing energy crisis threatens to crimp global growth further at a time markets are preparing for a tapering of Fed stimulus. The week could see volatile moves as traders scrutinize central bankers’ speeches, including Chair Jerome Powell’s meetings with Congressional panels. “Most bad news comes from China these days,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Group Holdings, wrote in a note. “The Evergrande debt crisis, the Chinese energy crackdown on missed targets and the ban on cryptocurrencies have been shaking the markets, along with the Fed’s more hawkish policy stance last week.” Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp rose 1.5% and 1.2% in premarket trade, respectively, tracking crude prices, while big lenders including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp gained about 0.8%.Giga-cap FAAMG growth names such as Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Facebook and Apple all fell between 0.3% and 0.4%, as 10Y yield surged, continuing their selloff from last week, which saw the 10Y rise as high as 1.4958% and just shy of breaching the psychological 1.50% level. While growth names were hit, value names rebounded as another market rotation appears to be in place: industrials 3M Co and Caterpillar Inc, which tend to benefit the most from an economic rebound, also inched higher (although one should obviously be shorting CAT here for its China exposure). Market participants have moved into value and cyclical stocks from tech-heavy growth names after the Federal Reserve last week indicated it could begin unwinding its bond-buying program by as soon as November, and may raise interest rates in 2022. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Gores Guggenheim (GGPI US) shares rise 7.2% in U.S. premarket trading as Polestar agreed to go public with the special purpose acquisition company, in a deal valued at about $20 billion. Naked Brand (NAKD US), one of the stocks caught up in the first retail trading frenzy earlier this year, rises 11% in U.S. premarket trading, extending Friday’s gains. Among other so-called meme stocks in premarket trading: ReWalk Robotics (RWLK) +6.5%, Vinco Ventures (BBIG) +18%, Camber Energy (CEI) +2.9% Pfizer (PFE US) and Opko Health (OPK US) in focus after they said on Friday that the FDA extended the review period for the biologics license application for somatrogon. Opko fell 3.5% in post-market trading. Aspen Group (ASPU) climbed 10% in Friday postmarket trading after board member Douglas Kass buys $172,415 of shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Seaspine (SPNE US) said spine surgery procedure volumes were curtailed in many areas of the U.S. in 3Q and particularly in August. Tesla (TSLA US) and other electric- vehicle related stocks globally may be active on Monday after Germany’s election, in which the Greens had their best-ever showing and are likely to be part of any governing coalition. Europe likewise drifted lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index erasing earlier gains and turning negative as investors weighed the risk to global growth from the China slowdown and the energy crunch. The benchmark was down 0.1% at last check. Subindexes for technology (-0.9%) and consumer (-0.8%) provide the main drags while value outperformed, with energy +2.4%, banks +2% and insurance +1.3%.  The DAX outperformed up 0.5%, after German election results avoided the worst-case left-wing favorable outcome.  U.S. futures. Rolls-Royce jumped 12% to the highest since March 2020 after the company was selected to provide the powerplant for the B-52 Stratofortress under the Commercial Engine Replacement Program. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today IWG rises as much as 7.5% after a report CEO Mark Dixon is exploring a multibillion-pound breakup of the flexible office-space provider AUTO1 gains as much as 6.1% after JPMorgan analyst Marcus Diebel raised the recommendation to overweight from neutral Cellnex falls as much as 4.3% to a two-month low after the tower firm is cut to sell from neutral at Citi, which says the stock is “priced for perfection in an imperfect industry” European uranium stocks fall with Yellow Cake shares losing as much as 6% and Nac Kazatomprom shares declining as much as 4.7%. Both follow their U.S. peers down following weeks of strong gains as the price of uranium ballooned For those who missed it, Sunday's closely-watched German elections concluded with the race much closer than initially expected: SPD at 25.7%, CDU/CSU at 24.1%, Greens at 14.8%, FDP at 11.5%, AfD at 10.3% Left at 4.9%, the German Federal Returning Officer announced the seat distribution from the preliminary results which were SPD at 206 seats, CDU/CSU at 196. Greens at 118, FDP at 92, AfD at 83, Left at 39 and SSW at 1. As it stands, three potential coalitions are an option, 1) SPD, Greens and FDP (traffic light), 2) CDU/CSU, Greens and FDP (Jamaica), 3) SPD and CDU/CSU (Grand Coalition but led by the SPD). Note, option 3 is seen as the least likely outcome given that the CDU/CSU would be unlikely willing to play the role of a junior partner to the SPD. Therefore, given the importance of the FDP and Greens in forming a coalition for either the SPD or CDU/CSU, leaders of the FDP and Greens have suggested that they might hold their own discussions with each other first before holding talks with either of the two larger parties. Given the political calculus involved in trying to form a coalition, the process is expected to play out over several months. From a markets perspective, the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed due to their poor performance and as such, Bunds trade on a firmer footing. Elsewhere, EUR is relatively unfazed due to the inconclusive nature of the result. We will have more on this in a subsequent blog post. Asian stocks fell, reversing an earlier gain, as a drop in the Shanghai Composite spooked investors in the region by stoking concerns about the pace of growth in China’s economy.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index wiped out an advance of as much as 0.7%, on pace to halt a two-day climb. Consumer discretionary names and materials firms were the biggest contributors to the late afternoon drag. Financials outperformed, helping mitigate drops in other sectors.  “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy.”  The Shanghai Composite was among the region’s worst performers along with Vietnam’s VN Index. Shares of China’s electricity-intensive businesses tumbled after Beijing curbed power supplies in the country’s manufacturing hubs to cut emissions. The CSI 300 still rose, thanks to gains in heavily weighted Kweichow Moutai and other liquor makers. Asian equities started the day on a positive note as financials jumped, tracking gains in U.S. peers and following a rise in Treasury yields. Resona Holdings was among the top performers after Morgan Stanley raised its view on the stock and Japanese banks. The regional market has been calmer over the past few trading sessions after being whipsawed by concerns over any fallout from China Evergrande Group’s debt troubles. While anxiety lingers, many investors expect China will resolve the distressed property developer’s problems rather than let them spill over into an echo of 2008’s Lehman crisis. Japanese equities closed lower, erasing an earlier gain, as concerns grew over valuations following recent strength in the local market and turmoil in China. Machinery and electronics makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.1%. Daikin and Bandai Namco were the largest contributors to a dip of less than 0.1% in the Nikkei 225. Both gauges had climbed more 0.5% in morning trading. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 1.5% as industrials tumbled amid a power crunch. “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy. That’s why marine transportation stocks, which are representative of cyclical sectors, fell sharply.” Shares of shippers, which have outperformed this year, fell as investors turned their attention to reopening plays. Travel and retail stocks gained after reports that the government is making final arrangements to lift all the coronavirus state of emergency order in the nation as scheduled at the end of this month. Australia's commodity-heavy stocks advanced as energy, banking shares climb. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6% to close at 7,384.20, led by energy stocks. Banks also posted their biggest one-day gain since Aug. 2. Travel stocks were among the top performers after the prime minister said state premiers must not keep borders closed once agreed Covid-19 vaccination targets are reached. NextDC was the worst performer after the company’s CEO sold 1.6 million shares. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index. In FX, the U.S. dollar was up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. •    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers o    Volatility curves in the major currencies were inverted last week due to a plethora of central bank meetings and risk-off concerns. They have since normalized as stocks stabilize and traders assess the latest forward guidance on monetary policy •    The yield on two-year U.S. Treasuries touched the highest level since April 2020, as tightening expectations continued to put pressure on front-end rates and ahead of debt sales later Monday •    The pound advanced, with analyst focus on supply chain problems as Prime Minister Boris Johnson considers bringing in army drivers to help. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey’s speech later will be watched after last week’s hawkish meeting •    Antipodean currencies, as well as the Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar were among the best Group-of-10 performers amid a rise in commodity prices •    The yen pared losses after falling to its lowest level in six weeks and Japanese stocks paused their rally and amid rising Treasury yields   In rates, treasuries extended their recent drop, led by belly of the curve ahead of this week’s front-loaded auctions, which kick off Monday with 2- and 5-year note sales.  Yields were higher by up to 4bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by 3.2bp on the day; 10-year yields sit around 1.49%, cheaper by 3.5bp and underperforming bunds, gilts by 1.5bp and 0.5bp while the front-end of the curve continues to sell off as rate-hike premium builds -- 2-year yields subsequently hit 0.284%, the highest level since April 2020. 5-year yields top at 0.988%, highest since Feb. 2020 while 2-year yields reach as high as 0.288%; in long- end, 30-year yields breach 2% for the first time since Aug. 13. Auctions conclude Tuesday with 7-year supply. Host of Fed speakers due this week, including three scheduled for Monday. In commodities, Brent futures climbed 1.4% to $79 a barrel, while WTI futures hit $75 a barrel for the first time since July, amid an escalating energy crunch across Europe and now China. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz In equities, Stoxx 600 is up 0.6%, led by energy and banks, and FTSE 100 rises 0.4%. Germany’s DAX climbs 1% after German elections showed a narrow victory for social democrats, with the Christian Democrats coming in a close second, according to provisional results. S&P 500 futures climb 0.3%, Dow and Nasdaq contracts hold in the green. In FX, the U.S. dollar is up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz Investors will now watch for a raft of economic indicators, including durable goods orders and the ISM manufacturing index this week to gauge the pace of the recovery, as well as bipartisan talks over raising the $28.4 trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to prevent the second partial government shutdown in three years, while a vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is scheduled for Thursday. On today's calendar we get the latest Euro Area M3 money supply, US preliminary August durable goods orders, core capital goods orders, September Dallas Fed manufacturing activity. We also have a bunch of Fed speakers including Williams, Brainard and Evans. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,442.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 464.54 MXAP little changed at 200.75 MXAPJ little changed at 642.52 Nikkei little changed at 30,240.06 Topix down 0.1% to 2,087.74 Hang Seng Index little changed at 24,208.78 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,582.83 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,164.70 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6% to 7,384.17 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,133.64 German 10Y yield fell 3.1 bps to -0.221% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1689 Brent Futures up 1.2% to $79.04/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,750.88 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 93.47 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put the infrastructure bill on the schedule for Monday under pressure from moderates eager to get the bipartisan bill, which has already passed the Senate, enacted. But progressives -- whose votes are likely vital -- are insisting on progress first on the bigger social-spending bill Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democrats defeated Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in an extremely tight German election, setting in motion what could be months of complex coalition talks to decide who will lead Europe’s biggest economy China’s central bank pumped liquidity into the financial system after borrowing costs rose, as lingering risks posed by China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis hurt market sentiment toward its peers as well Global banks are about to get a comprehensive blueprint for how derivatives worth several hundred trillion dollars may be finally disentangled from the London Interbank Offered Rate Economists warned of lower economic growth in China as electricity shortages worsen in the country, forcing businesses to cut back on production Governor Haruhiko Kuroda says it’s necessary for the Bank of Japan to continue with large-scale monetary easing to achieve the bank’s 2% inflation target The quant revolution in fixed income is here at long last, if the latest Invesco Ltd. poll is anything to go by. With the work-from-home era fueling a boom in electronic trading, the majority of investors in a $31 trillion community say they now deploy factor strategies in bond portfolios A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded somewhat mixed with the region finding encouragement from reopening headlines but with gains capped heading towards month-end, while German election results remained tight and Evergrande uncertainty continued to linger. ASX 200 (+0.6%) was led higher by outperformance in the mining related sectors including energy as oil prices continued to rally amid supply disruptions and views for a stronger recovery in demand with Goldman Sachs lifting its year-end Brent crude forecast from USD 80/bbl to USD 90/bbl. Furthermore, respectable gains in the largest weighted financial sector and details of the reopening roadmap for New South Wales, which state Premier Berijiklian sees beginning on October 11th, further added to the encouragement. Nikkei 225 (Unch) was kept afloat for most of the session after last week’s beneficial currency flows and amid reports that Japan is planning to lift emergency measures in all areas at month-end, although upside was limited ahead of the upcoming LDP leadership race which reports noted are likely to go to a run-off as neither of the two main candidates are likely to achieve a majority although a recent Kyodo poll has Kono nearly there at 47.4% of support vs. nearest contender Kishida at 22.4%. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were varied with the mainland choppy amid several moving parts including back-to-back daily liquidity efforts by the PBoC since Sunday and with the recent release of Huawei’s CFO following a deal with US prosecutors. Conversely, Evergrande concerns persisted as Chinese cities reportedly seized its presales to block the potential misuse of funds and its EV unit suffered another double-digit percentage loss after scrapping plans for its STAR Market listing. There were also notable losses to casino names after Macau tightened COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the Golden Week holidays and crypto stocks were hit after China declared crypto activities illegal which resulted in losses to cryptoexchange Huobi which dropped more than 40% in early trade before nursing some of the losses, while there are also concerns of the impact from an ongoing energy crisis in China which prompted the Guangdong to ask people to turn off lights they don't require and use air conditioning less. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat but have clawed back some of the after-hour losses on Friday with demand sapped overnight amid the mild gains in stocks and lack of BoJ purchases in the market. Elsewhere, T-note futures mildly rebounded off support at 132.00, while Bund futures outperformed the Treasury space amid mild reprieve from this month’s losses and with uncertainty of the composition for the next German coalition. Top Asian News Moody’s Says China to Safeguard Stability Amid Evergrande Issues China’s Tech Tycoons Pledge Allegiance to Xi’s Vision China Power Crunch Hits iPhone, Tesla Production, Nikkei Reports Top Netflix Hit ‘Squid Game’ Sparks Korean Media Stock Surge Bourses in Europe have trimmed the gains seen at the open, albeit the region remains mostly in positive territory (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%; Stoxx 600 +0.2%) in the aftermath of the German election and amid the looming month-end. The week also sees several risk events, including the ECB's Sintra Forum, EZ CPI, US PCE and US ISM Manufacturing – not to mention the vote on the bipartisan US infrastructure bill. The mood in Europe contrasts the mixed handover from APAC, whilst US equity futures have also seen more divergence during European trade – with the yield-sensitive NQ (-0.3%) underperforming the cyclically-influenced RTY (+0.4%). There has been no clear catalyst behind the pullback since the Cash open. Delving deeper into Europe, the DAX 40 (+0.6%) outperforms after the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed. The SMI (-0.6%) has dipped into the red as defensive sectors remain weak, with the Healthcare sector towards to bottom of the bunch alongside Personal & Household Goods. On the flip side, the strength in the price-driven Oil & Gas and yield-induced Banks have kept the FTSE 100 (+0.2%) in green, although the upside is capped by losses in AstraZeneca (-0.4%) and heavy-weight miners, with the latter a function of declining base metal prices. The continued retreat in global bonds has also hit the Tech sector – which resides as the laggard at the time of writing. In terms of individual movers, Rolls-Royce (+8.5%) trades at the top of the FTSE 100 after winning a USD 1.9bln deal from the US Air Force. IWG (+6.5%) also extended on earlier gains following reports that founder and CEO Dixon is said to be mulling a multibillion-pound break-up of the Co. that would involve splitting it into several distinct companies. Elsewhere, it is worth being cognizant of the current power situation in China as the energy crisis spreads, with Global Times also noting that multiple semiconductor suppliers for Tesla (Unch), Apple (-0.4% pre-market) and Intel (Unch), which have manufacturing plants in the Chinese mainland, recently announced they would suspend their factories' operations to follow local electricity use policies. Top European News U.K. Relaxes Antitrust Rules, May Bring in Army as Pumps Run Dry Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake Hits Greek Island of Crete German Stocks Rally as Chances Wane for Left-Wing Coalition German Landlords Rise as Left’s Weakness Trumps Berlin Poll In FX, the Aussie is holding up relatively well on a couple of supportive factors, including a recovery in commodity prices overnight and the Premier of NSW setting out a timetable to start lifting COVID lockdown and restrictions from October 11 with an end date to completely re-open on December 1. However, Aud/Usd is off best levels against a generally firm Greenback on weakness and underperformance elsewhere having stalled around 0.7290, while the Loonie has also run out of momentum 10 pips or so from 1.2600 alongside WTI above Usd 75/brl. DXY/EUR/CHF - Although the risk backdrop is broadly buoyant and not especially supportive, the Buck is gleaning traction and making gains at the expense of others, like the Euro that is gradually weakening in wake of Sunday’s German election that culminated in narrow victory for the SPD Party over the CDU/CSU alliance, but reliant on the Greens and FDP to form a Government. Eur/Usd has lost 1.1700+ status and is holding a fraction above recent lows in the form of a double bottom at 1.1684, but the Eur/Gbp cross is looking even weaker having breached several technical levels like the 100, 21 and 50 DMAs on the way down through 0.8530. Conversely, Eur/Chf remains firm around 1.0850, and largely due to extended declines in the Franc following last week’s dovish SNB policy review rather than clear signs of intervention via the latest weekly Swiss sight deposit balances. Indeed, Usd/Chf is now approaching 0.9300 again and helping to lift the Dollar index back up towards post-FOMC peaks within a 93.494-206 range in advance of US durable goods data, several Fed speakers, the Dallas Fed manufacturing business index and a double dose of T-note supply (Usd 60 bn 2 year and Usd 61 bn 5 year offerings). GBP/NZD/JPY - As noted above, the Pound is benefiting from Eur/Gbp tailwinds, but also strength in Brent to offset potential upset due to the UK’s energy supply issues, so Cable is also bucking the broad trend and probing 1.3700. However, the Kiwi is clinging to 0.7000 in the face of Aud/Nzd headwinds that are building on a break of 1.0350, while the Yen is striving keep its head afloat of another round number at 111.00 as bond yields rebound and curves resteepen. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is also knocking on a new big figure, but to the upside vs the Eur at 10.0000 following the hawkish Norges Bank hike, while the Cnh and Cny are holding up well compared to fellow EM currencies with loads of liquidity from the PBoC and some underlying support amidst the ongoing mission to crackdown on speculators in the crypto and commodity space. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures kicked the week off on a firmer footing, which saw Brent Nov eclipse the USD 79.50/bbl level (vs low 78.21/bbl) whilst its WTI counterpart hovers north of USD 75/bbl (vs low 74.16/bbl). The complex could be feeling some tailwinds from the supply crunch in Britain – which has lead petrol stations to run dry as demand outpaces the supply. Aside from that, the landscape is little changed in the run-up to the OPEC+ meeting next Monday, whereby ministers are expected to continue the planned output hikes of 400k BPD/m. On that note, there have been reports that some African nations are struggling to pump more oil amid delayed maintenance and low investments, with Angola and Nigeria said to average almost 300k BPD below their quota. On the Iranian front, IAEA said Iran permitted it to service monitoring equipment during September 20th-22nd with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the Tesa Karaj facility, with no real updates present regarding the nuclear deal talks. In terms of bank commentary, Goldman Sachs raised its year-end Brent crude forecast by USD 10 to USD 90/bbl and stated that Hurricane Ida has more than offset the ramp-up in OPEC+ output since July with non-OPEC+, non-shale output continuing to disappoint, while it added that global oil demand-deficit is greater than expected with a faster than anticipated demand recovery from the Delta variant. Conversely, Citi said in the immediate aftermath of skyrocketing prices, it is logical to be bearish on crude oil and nat gas today and forward curves for later in 2022, while it added that near-term global oil inventories are low and expected to continue declining maybe through Q1 next year. Over to metals, spot gold and silver have fallen victim to the firmer Dollar, with spot gold giving up its overnight gains and meandering around USD 1,750/oz (vs high 1760/oz) while spot silver briefly dipped under USD 22.50/oz (vs high 22.73/oz). Turning to base metals, China announced another round of copper, zinc and aluminium sales from state reserves – with amounts matching the prior sales. LME copper remains within a tight range, but LME tin is the outlier as it gave up the USD 35k mark earlier in the session. Finally, the electricity crunch in China has seen thermal coal prices gain impetus amid tight domestic supply, reduced imports and increased demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.9% 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.4%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Aug. -Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: Aug. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.6%, prior -0.1% 10:30am: Sept. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 11.0, prior 9.0 Central Banks 8am: Fed’s Evans Speaks at Annual NABE Conference 9am: Fed’s Williams Makes Opening Remarks at Conference on... 12pm: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Economic Outlook 12:50pm: Fed’s Brainard Discusses Economic Outlook at NABE Conference DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Straight to the German elections this morning where unlike the Ryder Cup the race was tight. The centre-left SPD have secured a narrow lead according to provisional results, which give them 25.7% of the vote, ahead of Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc, which are on 24.1%. That’s a bit narrower than the final polls had suggested (Politico’s average put the SPD ahead by 25-22%), but fits with the slight narrowing we’d seen over the final week of the campaign. Behind them, the Greens are in third place, with a record score of 14.8%, which puts them in a key position when it comes to forming a majority in the new Bundestag, and the FDP are in fourth place currently on 11.5%. Although the SPD appear to be in first place the different parties will now enter coalition negotiations to try to form a governing majority. Both Olaf Scholz and the CDU’s Armin Laschet have said that they will seek to form a government, and to do that they’ll be looking to the Greens and the FDP as potential coalition partners, since those are the most realistic options given mutual policy aims. So the critical question will be whether it’s the SPD or the CDU/CSU that can convince these two to join them in coalition. On the one hand, the Greens have a stronger policy overlap with the SPD, and governed with them under Chancellor Schröder from 1998-2005, but the FDP seems more in line with the Conservatives, and were Chancellor Merkel’s junior coalition partner from 2009-13.  So it’s likely that the FDP and the Greens will talk to each other before talking to either of the two biggest parties. For those wanting more information, our research colleagues in Frankfurt have released a post-election update (link here) on the results and what they mean. An important implication of last night’s result is that (at time of writing) it looks as though a more left-wing coalition featuring the SPD, the Greens and Die Linke would not be able for form a majority in the next Bundestag. So the main options left are for the FDP and the Greens to either join the SPD in a “traffic light” coalition or instead join the CDU/CSU in a “Jamaica” coalition. The existing grand coalition of the SPD and the CDU/CSU would actually have a majority as well, but both parties have signalled that they don't intend to continue this. That said, last time in 2017, a grand coalition wasn’t expected after that result, and there were initially attempts to form a Jamaica coalition. But once those talks proved unsuccessful, discussions on another grand coalition began once again. In terms of interesting snippets, this election marks the first time the SPD have won the popular vote since 2002, which is a big turnaround given that the party were consistently polling in third place over the first half of this year. However, it’s also the worst ever result for the CDU/CSU, and also marks the lowest combined share of the vote for the two big parties in post-war Germany, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties we’ve seen elsewhere in continental Europe. Interestingly, the more radical Die Linke and AfD parties on the left and the right respectively actually did worse than in 2017, so German voters have remained anchored in the centre, and there’s been no sign of a populist resurgence. This also marks a record result for the Greens, who’ve gained almost 6 percentage points relative to four years ago, but that’s still some way down on where they were polling earlier in the spring (in the mid-20s), having lost ground in the polls throughout the final weeks of the campaign. Markets in Asia have mostly started the week on a positive note, with the Hang Seng (+0.28%), Nikkei (+0.04%), and the Kospi (+0.25%) all moving higher. That said, the Shanghai Comp is down -1.30%, as materials (-5.91%) and industrials (-4.24%) in the index have significantly underperformed, which comes amidst power curbs in the country. In the US and Europe however, futures are pointing higher, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.37%, and those on the DAX up +0.51%. Moving onto another big current theme, all the talk at the moment is about supply shocks and it’s not inconceivable that things could get very messy on this front over the weeks and months ahead. However, I think the discussion on supply in isolation misses an important component and that is demand. In short we had a pandemic that effectively closed the global economy and interrupted numerous complicated supply chains. The global authorities massively stimulated demand relative to where it would have been in this environment and in some areas have created more demand than there would have been at this stage without Covid. However the supply side has not come back as rapidly. As such you’re left with demand outstripping supply. So I think it’s wrong to talk about a global supply shock in isolation. It’s not as catchy but this is a “demand is much higher than it should be in a pandemic with lockdowns, but supply hasn't been able to fully respond” world. If the authorities hadn’t responded as aggressively we would have plenty of supply for the demand and a lot of deflation. Remember negative oil prices in the early stages of the pandemic. So for me every time you hear the phrase “supply shock” remember the phenomenal demand there is relative to what the steady state might have been. This current “demand > supply” at lower levels of activity than we would have had without covid is going to cause central banks a huge headache over the coming months. Should they tighten due to what is likely to be a prolonged period of higher prices than people thought even a couple of months ago or should they look to the potential demand destruction of higher prices? The risk of a policy error is high and the problem with forward guidance is that markets demand to know now what they might do over the next few months and quarters so it leaves them exposed a little in uncertain times. This problem has crept up fast on markets with an epic shift in sentiment in the rates market after the BoE meeting Thursday lunchtime. I would say they were no more hawkish than the Fed the night before but the difference is that the Fed are still seemingly at least a year from raising rates and a lot can happen in that period whereas the BoE could now raise this year (more likely February). That has focused the minds of global investors, especially as Norway became the first central bank among the G-10 currencies to raise rates on the same day. Towards the end of this note we’ll recap the moves in markets last week including a +15bps climb in US 10yr yields in the last 48 hours of last week. One factor that will greatly influence yields over the week ahead is the ongoing US debt ceiling / government shutdown / infrastructure bill saga that is coming to a head as we hit October on Friday - the day that there could be a partial government shutdown without action by the close on Thursday. It’s a fluid situation. So far the the House of Representatives has passed a measure that would keep the government funded through December 3, but it also includes a debt ceiling suspension, so Republicans are expected to block this in the Senate if it still includes that. The coming week could also see the House of Representatives vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill (c.$550bn) that’s already gone through the Senate, since Speaker Pelosi had previously committed to moderate House Democrats that there’d be a vote on the measure by today. She reaffirmed that yesterday although the timing may slip. However, there remain divisions among House Democrats, with some progressives not willing to support it unless the reconciliation bill also passes. In short we’ve no idea how this get resolved but most think some compromise will be reached before Friday. Pelosi yesterday said it “seems self-evident” that the reconciliation bill won’t reach the $3.5 trillion hoped for by the administration which hints at some compromise. Overall the sentiment has seemingly shifted a little more positively on there being some progress over the weekend. From politics to central banks and following a busy week of policy meetings, there are an array of speakers over the week ahead. One of the biggest highlights will be the ECB’s Forum on Central Banking, which is taking place as an online event on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the final policy panel on Wednesday will include Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda. Otherwise, Fed Chair Powell will also be testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen, and on Monday, ECB President Lagarde will be appearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs as part of the regular Monetary Dialogue. There are lots of other Fed speakers this week and they can add nuances to the taper and dot plot debates. Finally on the data front, there’ll be further clues about the state of inflation across the key economies, as the Euro Area flash CPI estimate for September is coming out on Friday. Last month's reading showed that Euro Area inflation rose to +3.0% in August, which was its highest level in nearly a decade. Otherwise, there’s also the manufacturing PMIs from around the world on Friday given it’s the start of the month, along with the ISM reading from the US, and Tuesday will see the release of the Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading for the US as well. For the rest of the week ahead see the day-by-day calendar of events at the end. Back to last week now and the highlight was the big rise in global yields which quickly overshadowed the ongoing Evergrande story. Bonds more than reversed an early week rally as yields rose for a fifth consecutive week. US 10yr Treasury yields ended the week up +8.9bps to finish at 1.451% - its highest level since the start of July and +15bps off the Asian morning lows on Thursday. The move saw the 2y10y yield curve steepen +4.5bps, with the spread reaching its widest point since July as well. However, at the longer end of the curve the 5y30y spread ended the week largely unchanged after a volatile week. It was much flatter shortly following the FOMC and steeper following the BoE. Bond yields in Europe moved higher as well with the central bank moves again being the major impetus especially in the UK. 10yr gilt yields rose +7.9bps to +0.93% and the short end moved even more with the 2yr yield rising +9.4bps to 0.38% as the BoE’s inflation forecast and rhetoric caused investors to pull forward rate hike expectations. Yields on 10yr bunds rose +5.2bps, whilst those on the OATs (+6.3bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) increased substantially as well, but not to the same extent as their US and UK counterparts. While sovereign debt sold off, global equity markets recovered following two consecutive weeks of declines. Although markets entered the week on the back foot following the Evergrande headlines from last weekend, risk sentiment improved at the end of the week, especially toward cyclical industries. The S&P 500 gained +0.51% last week (+0.15% Friday), nearly recouping the prior week’s loss. The equity move was primarily led by cyclicals as higher bond yields helped US banks (+3.43%) outperform, while higher commodity prices saw the energy (+4.46%) sector gain sharply. Those higher bond yields led to a slight rerating of growth stocks as the tech megacap NYFANG index fell back -0.46% on the week and the NASDAQ underperformed, finishing just better than unchanged (+0.02). Nonetheless, with four trading days left in September the S&P 500 is on track for its third losing month this year, following January and June. European equities rose moderately last week, as the STOXX 600 ended the week +0.31% higher despite Friday’s -0.90% loss. Bourses across the continent outperformed led by particularly strong performances by the IBEX (+1.28%) and CAC 40 (+1.04%). There was limited data from Friday. The Ifo's business climate indicator in Germany fell slightly from the previous month to 98.8 (99.0 expected) from 99.4 on the back a lower current assessment even though business expectations was higher than expected. In Italy, consumer confidence rose to 119.6 (115.8 expected), up just over 3pts from August and at its highest level on record (since 1995). Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 08:09.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 27th, 2021