Dr. Fauci Is No Nostradamus: How COVID-19 Ran Amok Under His Watch Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 18:10 Authored by James Grundvig via Vaxxter.com, Michel de Nostradamus was born in Saint-Remy, South of France, in 1503. Beyond the gifts he would one day explore in astrology, he pursued an education to become a physician. After his first year at the University of Avignon, an outbreak of the plague swept through France, forcing the University to close. Undaunted, Nostradamus opened an apothecary before attending the University of Montpellier in pursuit of a doctorate. But a second plague struck disrupting his plan; the plague also killed his first wife and two children. During the outbreak, he joined city doctors to fight against and contain the plague. They succeeded. Nostradamus remarried, engendered six children, and wrote an almanac. Well received, he developed his ability as a seer, with a mix of astrology and biblical end-times visions, to become the world’s most famous prognosticator of the last one thousand years. He captured his dark revelations in The Prophecies, writing a collection of 942 quatrains. Knowing more about his life, pursuits, interests, and experiences—a survivor of two plagues, fighting on the frontline of one outbreak—many will now see Nostradamus in a new light. It’s no wonder that his visions leaned toward doom and gloom. By contrast, Dr. Anthony Fauci, born on Christmas Eve in 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, has lived a vastly different life. Yet, there are parallels between the two men. Both pursued a career as a physician. Both experienced two plagues during their lifetimes. In Fauci’s case, he was thrust into the epicenter of the 1980s AIDS/HIV epidemic when he became director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease (NIAID). In spring 2020, he roamed center stage of the COVID19 pandemic, featured as one of the “experts” on the White House Task Force. The big delta between Dr. Fauci and Nostradamus boils down to the ability to predict the future. Beyond Nostradamus’ uncanny ability to predict the first two World Wars, two of the three “antichrists” in Napoleon and Hitler, the assassinations of U.S. presidents, and the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers centuries before the events happened, Fauci predicted a pandemic in 2017, a measly three years before it took place. Dr. Fauci shared his foresight with medical peers at a Georgetown forum when he stated, “There will be a surprise outbreak during Trump’s first term.” Fauci’s prediction wasn’t conjured from the alignment of the stars and planets, or a passage lifted out of the Bible. No. He didn’t develop any such gift. Instead, he arrived at his foresight by steering the financing of zoonotic viruses “gain-of-function” research. In 2018, he joined the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new unit, Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) to be hands-on with pandemic planning, a full year after his “prophecy.” He likely advised or took part in the development of the World Bank’s first-ever “pandemic bond” the same year. Moreover, Fauci also helped the GPMB write its first annual report that pronounced the drills, simulation, and release of at least one “lethal respiratory pathogen.” Stacking the Deck on Coronavirus Prediction Unlike Nostradamus, it appears Fauci helped initiate the release of the novel coronavirus, unleashing pandemic paranoia and now, fanning new fears about the coming “second wave,” while insisting that only a COVID vaccine will allow society to “return to normal.” He did everything he could to kick the inexpensive hydroxychloroquine to the curb while promoting the ultra-expensive Remdesivir as a temporary fix until a vaccine becomes available. Fauci further spent a lot of political capital contradicting President Trump—and himself—nearly every day over several weeks. And the NIAID director still presents himself as the lone go-to source for trusted information on the virus. Right. Dr. Fauci’s recent Congressional testimony on the coronavirus was a master class in how to provide politicians and mainstream media with fodder they wanted to hear. He deftly avoided giving any firm answers on titers, how long they might last, “neutralizing antibodies,” and other sleights of the tongue. Fauci be unfamiliar with SARS-CoV-2? How is that possible? For a half-century, his career focused on infectious diseases and the pursuit of vaccines to prevent them. More specifically, why doesn’t Fauci know more – a lot more – about this particular outbreak? He predicted it. He funded research into Bat-SARs viruses. He was involved in the 2003 SARS outbreak. Ditto the MERS epidemic in the Middle-East in 2012. He sat at the decision-making table on how to “plan and prepare” for coronavirus. He was there for the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. And in 2016, he famously shilled the Zika threat in a nauseating roadshow with then CDC Director Tom Frieden, of #MeToo fame, that ran from March to the November Sunday before the presidential election. That evening, 60 Minutes featured Fauci and Frieden pitching the fear of a Zika pandemic. At the same time, the CDC director showed the CBS journalists a tour of a pandemic preparedness warehouse in case the “big one” hit. We’re six months into this pandemic and we have only witnessed gross incompetence by the CDC, corruption with coronavirus data and testing, and a deliberate effort to ban all natural remedies that would boost people’s immune systems, such as exercise, high dose vitamin C, oxygen therapies such as HBOT and ozone, vitamin D and sunshine and more. Isn’t that what the CDC, Fauci and Bill Gates have been trying to sell with vaccines? Never doubt that Dr. Fauci comes as a politically machined scientist who protects U.S. health agencies over the well-being of the American people and even over the office of the president. Be not deceived: There is no one more informed about coronavirus and epidemics than Dr. Anthony Fauci. He even states as much with a smug know-it-all smirk. The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board The GPMB board of directors is a Who’s Who of international socialist politicians and leaders. The former prime minister of Norway, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland of Agenda 21 fame, is co-chair alongside many players responsible for the current global catastrophe. Three of the six GPMB board members include Dr. Anthony Fauci; Dr. Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Dr. George Fu Gao, the director-general at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Gao is a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Given just those three board members, many questions arise: Should the United States be sharing virus intelligence with the CCP while in the middle of a new economic cold war? Should we be collaborating with a communist-led country that has trampled human rights, has broken its 50-year treaty with Hong Kong three decades early, and has updated its 1999 “Unrestricted Warfare” doctrine, in which riots, pandemics, and economic warfare are fair game? Has the U.S. offshored its national security policymaking regarding biothreats and foreign powers to organizations such as the Gates Foundation? What is a director of any U.S. health agency sitting on a global pandemic planning board at the World Health Organization? Why is Dr. Fauci allowed to share state, perhaps classified, information with an executive at the Gates Foundation and the director of the Chinese CDC? Two other sticky issues are known facts: Fauci was part of the leadership council to the Gates Foundation, from 2003–2010 and he provided funding to the Wuhan Lab for “gain-of-function” research and development last decade. What we don’t know is what did Fauci know, and when. Since board members at a company, non-profit, NGO, or government agency would be aware of the contents of their entity’s annual report, it’s safe to say that Dr. Fauci knew about the UN’s deliberate release of a “lethal respiratory pathogen.” The next question becomes: Did the WHO-GPMB already participate in the live virus release? If so, would Dr. Fauci be exposed to liability? And was he involved in the planning stages of a pathogen release leading to COVID19? Three salient facts are clear about Fauci and the WHO’s involvement with COVID19: Dr. Anthony Fauci sat on the board of GPMB. He was knowledgeable of the contents of its first annual report, “A World at Risk.” The UN-WHO planned to release a live pathogen for a drill and participated in Event 201 simulation exercise, along with China’s Dr. Gao, Rear Admiral Stephen Redd of the CDC, among other international preparedness experts. A full probe into the COVID-19 outbreak must be ordered immediately by the Trump Administration. It must include an in-depth look into the WHO’s GPMB. It must interview Dr. Elias from the Gates Foundation. It must learn what information Dr. Fauci shared or gave to the CCP beyond grant money for virus research. The investigation must also determine whether the UN and WHO’s new pandemic spearpoint in the GPMB plans to release another virus—for a second outbreak—this fall as its annual report states on pages 10 and 39. When these answers and more information into the planning of this pandemic can be ascertained, we will know whether Anthony Fauci is a Nostradamus junior or a science fraud, and much worse.
New Bubonic Plague Cases Send Mongolian Region Along Russian Border On Lockdown Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 17:35 Russia still has the third highest number of COVID-19 infections in the world, behind the US and Brazil, but it's not the only deadly outbreak it has to worry about. In nearby Mongolia in a region near the Russian border the rare, ancient bubonic plague, or known in history as the 'Black Death', has surfaced once again, causing Mongolia to place ares of the Western region of Khovd province along the border on lockdown. Two cases have been confirmed after lab test results. Two brothers, 27 and 16-years old, are currently at separate hospitals in the western province of Dorj Narangerel after they ate marmot meat. Via Siberian Times The older brother is said to be a “very severe condition” and had “multiple organ failure” according to the Mongolian ministry of health. He is being treated for “marmot plague and secondary lung disease”. The bubonic plague can kill in 24-hours and includes the fast onset of fever and the painful rapid swelling of lymph nodes under the arms, in the neck, or in the groin. The bacteria can also infect the lungs in a rarer form of it. The brothers are believed to have caught the disease while skinning and cleaning the marmot. Typically its spread through fleas which live off of infected rodents. Health authorities in the region have long warned of the dangers of eating marmot due the potential of catching the plague. From time to time individuals in the region have caught the plague by eating raw marmot meat. Fearing a potential outbreak of the disease which in the 14th century wiped out one-third the population of Europe, Mongolian health authorities have begun aggressive contact tracing. China's Xinhua news reports that at least 146 people have been isolated at local hospitals after having contact with the infected brothers. The health ministry further said it's identified 504 second-contact individuals. The quarantined areas of the province are reportedly not allowing vehicles or residents from outside. It's commonly estimated that rare but renewed bouts of the bubonic plague infect about 2,000 people a year globally. But this is not the only "new" health scare the region has to worry about. As we reported earlier, roughly half a million Chinese living in Hebei Province (not Hubei, Hebei), a province in northern China that surrounds Beijing (which operates as an independent 'national city') are under lockdown on fears of a new strain of flu that has "the potential to become a pandemic". It emerged recently in China's already-dwindling pig population, but scientists say it can infect humans, which would make it similar to the H1N1 virus that spread across Asia and made it all the way to North America in a short-lived pandemic. WHO investigators are en route, and likely to take this threat much more seriously after the failures and deep neglect related to the coronavirus, or let's hope so at least.
The Strategies Of Dementia Politics Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 17:00 Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via National Review, Stoke chaos, obstruct economic recovery, and hide Biden in the basement till Election Day... Joe Biden is tragically suffering a mental eclipse and sliding away at a geometric rate. Understandably, his handlers have kept him out of sight. He stays off the campaign trail on the pretext of the virus and his age-related susceptibility to COVID-19 morbidity. I say “pretext” without apology. Quarantine should not have otherwise stopped Biden over the past three months from doing daily interviews, speeches, and meetings. But each occasion, however scripted, rehearsed, and canned, would only have offered further daily proof that Biden is cognitively unable to be president or indeed to hold any office. Often Biden cannot finish a sentence. Names are vague eddies in his mind’s river of forgetfulness. He is in a far more dire mental state than a physically failing FDR was in his 1944 campaign for a fourth term. The earlier career of a healthy Biden illustrates that he was not especially sharp even when in control of most of his faculties. We recall the former sane/nutty Biden of Neal Kinnock plagiarism, his “put y’all in chains” demagoguery, the studied racism of Biden’s riffs about a “clean” and well-spoken Obama, and the sane/insane Corn Pop stories. All are the trademark of a once fool Joe Biden, who was at least alert when compared with his current catalepsy. If Donald Trump can be ungrammatical, Biden is agrammatical — he simply streams together half-thoughts without syntax and then abandons the sentence entirely. If Trump repeats vocabulary, Biden increasingly searches for words, any noun, whatever its irrelevance to the point he is making. Biden seems to suffer dyscognitive seizures, in which for moments he has no idea what he is doing or saying or where he is — a tragic, nearly epileptic condition. In scary episodes, the pale, scaly, and frozen visage of Biden appears almost reptilian, like a lizard freezing and remaining stationary as it struggles to process signals of perceived danger. Inserting memorized answers into rehearsed questions, as if the entire con was spontaneous, only reveals how his once episodic dementia has become chronic as he loses his prompt and place. It was understandable that his handlers saw opportunity in secluding Biden during Trump’s tweeting, alongside the contagion, the lockdown, the recession, and the rioting that in voters’ minds had equated fear of chaos with the culpability of the current commander in chief. But there were always problems with placing Biden in suspended animation in his basement, even as he seemingly surged ahead of Trump in the early-summer polls. One, seclusion, quiet, and the absence of intellectual stimuli often only enhance dementia, while travel, conversation, and new imagery and experiences tend to unclog for a bit the congested neuron pathways. The more Biden “rests up,” the more he seems to be non compos mentis in his rare staged interviews. His brain is like a flabby muscle, and restful disuse does not make it firmer. Two, in theory there should be a shelf life to a virtual presidential candidate. True, Biden has climbed in the polls, as the public never sees or hears him — in the manner that an unpopular lame-duck Obama disappeared to the golf courses and retreats in 2016 and yielded the media spotlight to the dog and cat fighting between Trump and Clinton. Obama then discovered that the more he retreated from the public eye, the more the public liked the old idea, rather than the current reality, of him. So too the ghost model was supposed to work for Biden. He is a cardboard candidate, but at least he’s not on the front lines of commentary on statue toppling and the contagion, and so he can be blamed for neither. But by avoiding the campaign trail, Biden is only postponing the inevitable. He is compressing the campaign into an ever-shorter late-summer and autumn cycle. If he really agrees to three debates (he may not agree to any at all), and if he performs as he usually now acts and speaks, then he may end up reminding the American people in the eleventh hour of the campaign that they have a choice between a controversial president and a presidential candidate who simply cannot fulfill the office of presidency. And if Biden is a no-show, Trump will probably debate an empty, Clint Eastwood–prop mute chair. Why, then, is Biden the nominee at all — other than that he leads in the delegate count and surged after Democrat back-roomers panicked when Bloomberg imploded and Bernie surged? As a result, politicos forced or enticed all the other primary candidates to vacate and unite around someone nominally not a socialist. Is one consolation that Biden’s dementia offers a credible defense that he has “no recollection” that he was in on Obama’s efforts to surveil an oppositional campaign and abort a presidential transition? While all Democrats know that the cat must be belled, no one wishes to step forward to do it and remove Biden — and indeed no one knows how to steal a nomination from an enfeebled winner and hand it off to an undeserving but cogent alternative. Take out Biden in August, and who knows what sort of candidate stampede might follow in today’s insane landscape? So what are these strategies of dementia other than putting Biden on ice while redefining the election as Trump versus the media’s version of the virus, lockdown, and economic stagnation? Pity is one pretext. The progressive media have put Biden’s blank stares and word searching off limits. We are not supposed to remember that Trump was hounded by progressive M.D.s, to the point that he took — and aced — the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test, an examination that no one in his right mind would suggest Biden now take, given that the results would be no surprise. Dementia is also about the only valid reason one can legitimately say “I don’t remember.” So ask Joe Biden about those early January 2017 strategy sessions in which Obama, Biden, and their henchmen plotted the surveillance of the Trump campaign and the destruction of Michael Flynn — and he can honestly say, “What administration?” Ask Biden about his illiberal past statements, his associations with neo-Confederate senators, or his plagiarism, and without guile he can retort, “What? What plagiarism? What senators?” Burisma? Hunter Biden’s Chinese lucre? He will look dumbfounded and turn to an aide to ask, “What is Burisma and who is Hunter?” Democrats also knew that they would lose with an Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, or Bernie Sanders as their masthead. The primaries, even heavily loaded to the left-wing base, taught them that well enough. The hard-left agenda of winter 2020 went nowhere, and it will go less than nowhere in the fall after months of televised arson, looting, and gratuitous violence. In contrast, even a cardboard-cutout version of Biden offers them the veneer of the “moderation.” A Bill Clinton–style Biden phantom, if elected, can allow a passageway for a leftist surrogate into the presidency, the same way that Harry Truman, a centrist, was put on the ticket in 1944 to save the country from Vice President Henry Wallace’s Communism. Translated, that means the Democratic donor class accepts that they cannot win while siding with the mobs on the street and their appeasers and apologists — and yet the latter leftists are needed to provide the missing 5 to 7 points for victory. With a wink and nod, the vice-presidential candidate will be seen as assuming the presidency and giving to the Left what they could not achieve through a presidential election — while old Joe Biden from Scranton stares at the TV screen a bit longer to prove he’s not a raving socialist. Also expect the Democrats to push the following strategies harder and harder, as they square the circle of a demented candidate who nonetheless could prove enormously useful — if he can just get elected. Expect more calls to cancel the debates as corrupt, fluff, reality-TV pizzazz and utterly unnecessary. Anticipate that the virus lockdown will be prolonged nearly until Election Day and will de facto lead Democrats to call for a Zoom campaign: Biden talking to the camera with a teleprompted script behind the screen. Election Day voting, we will be told, is merely an ossified construct. The key to our new electoral process is not Neanderthal driving into a COVID-infested polling booth, but rather voter-harvested mail-in ballots. Expect the vote in November to be declared in advance warped, stolen, and invalid — and then declared valid and fair if Biden wins. Expect blue states to remain economically mired in quarantines, in hopes of aborting a recovery. Democratic leaders will never really crack down on what heretofore have been blue-state rioting and looting; the chronic chaos and recession will be kept alive and geared to the November election. Are there problems with such Biden basement strategies? Lots. A hard-left candidate for vice president will have to do the campaign messaging as a public auxiliary of, and in line with, Joe Biden. She will privately reassure her base that it’s all a moderate con, assuming that leftist voters are sophisticated and cynical enough to be willing to be lied to now for the sake of gaining power shortly. It will also be problematic to assure the country that Joe Biden is 110 percent fit to be president in November but then to leak to the public by February 2021 that he’s crazy and it’s past time for his radical vice president, regrettably, to move him out. Using Biden as an empty vessel also assumes that he is at least a vessel. But what if Biden, say, on October 25, 2020, has one of his blank-outs? Or what if he announces once again, but this time at his final rare press conference: “I am going to beat [be] Joe Biden!” What then? Do they call Christopher Steele out of retirement to do a hasty file on Joe Biden, the delusional nut, and use Yahoo or Mother Jones again to leak the dirt in order to switch the order of the Democratic ticket? Given the current racial hysteria, how do Democratic handlers muzzle the not always latently bigoted Biden? Often dementia is a cruel pathway to the truth, freed from normal self-censorship, politeness, and social awareness. Meaning: What if Biden has more “you ain’t black” moments, or Corn Pop storytelling, or he mimics a black accent to riff about chains, “clean” blacks, and such? And in the present climate, will people be forgiving when he brags that his home state of Delaware was once a “slave state”? One or two such outbursts could shrink his share of the black vote to 80 percent, which would lead to losses in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida. In the chaos of July, Biden’s handlers have been acclaimed geniuses for anesthetizing him. But in the different season of October, he may finally be forced out from his lockdown, in the wild manner that soon-to-be looters and arsonists at last emerged from quarantine in June — pent-up, angry, incoherent, and self-destructive.
US Moves To Seize Iran Petroleum On New Tanker Group Bound For Venezuela Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 16:25 Via AlMasdarNews.com, US prosecutors will seek to put an end to Iran’s oil deliveries to Venezuela, as they have filed a new suit to seize the contents on these tankers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. prosecutors are targeting the oil from four Iranian tankers, along with the payments between Tehran and Caracas. Iranian oil tankers off the port of Bandar Abbas, via AFP. The U.S. prosecutors allege that these payments made between Caracas and Tehran will help fund the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who Washington has designated as a terrorist organization. “[These payments] support the IRGC’s full range of nefarious activities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, support for terrorism, and a variety of human rights abuses, at home and abroad”, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Zia Faruqui claims in the filing. The prosecutors claims that Iranian businessman, Mahmoud Madanipour, who is allegedly behind these shipments, is affiliated with the IRGC and has been using his firms based in the United Arab Emirates to organize the sale of Iranian crude while evading the unilateral American sanctions, according to the newspaper. Madanipour purportedly falsified the oil’s origin in papers and used mid-sea, ship-to-ship transfers to fool authorities and has allegedly been working on expanding his operations beyond Venezuela, finding buyers in China and Malaysia too. The prosecutors claim to have obtained the businessman’s communications in which he discussed ways of transferring the money without triggering the US sanctions, with potential buyers suggesting an array of countries where it could allegedly be done – Oman, UAE, Turkey, Italy, and Germany, the WSJ says.
Taibbi: "On America's Birthday, Celebrate The Corporate-Sponsored Revolution" Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 15:50 By Matt Taibbi, via SubStack It’s the Fourth of July, and revolution is in the air. Only in America would it look like this: an elite-sponsored Maoist revolt, couched as a Black liberation movement whose canonical texts are a corporate consultant’s white guilt self-help manual, and a New York Times series rewriting history to explain an election they called wrong. Much of America has watched in quizzical silence in recent weeks as crowds declared war on an increasingly incoherent succession of historical symbols. Maybe you nodded as Confederate general Albert Pike was toppled or even when Christopher Columbus was beheaded, but it got a little weird when George Washington was emblazoned with “Fuck Cops” and set on fire, or when they went after Ulysses S. Grant, abolitionist Colonel Hans Christian Heg, “Forward,” (a seven-foot-tall female figure meant to symbolize progress), the Portland, Oregon “Elk statue,” or my personal favorite, the former slave Miguel de Cervantes, whose cheerful creations Don Quixote and Sancho Panza were apparently mistaken for reals and had their eyes lashed red in San Francisco. Was a What the Fuck? too much to ask? It was! In the space of a few weeks the level of discourse in the news media dropped so low, the fear of being shamed as a deviationist so high, that most of the weirder incidents went uncovered. Leading press organs engaged in real-time Soviet-style airbrushing. Here’s how the Washington Post described a movement that targeted Spanish missionary Junipero Serra, Abraham Lincoln (a “single-handed symbol of white supremacy,” according to UW-Madison students), an apple cider press sculpture, abolitionist Mathias Baldwin, and the first all-Black volunteer regiment in the Civil War, among others: Across the country, protesters have toppled statues of figures from America’s sordid past — including Confederate generals — as part of demonstrations against racism and police violence. The New York Times, once the dictionary definition of “unprovocative,” suddenly reads like Pol Pot’s Sayings of Angkar. Heading into the Fourth of July weekend, the morning read for upscale white Manhattanites was denouncing Mount Rushmore, urging Black America to arm itself, and re-positioning America alongside more deserving historical parallels in a feature about caste systems: Throughout human history, three caste systems have stood out. The lingering, millenniums-long caste system of India. The tragically accelerated, chilling and officially vanquished caste system of Nazi Germany. And the shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based caste pyramid in the United States. It’s tragic that this even needs saying, but the sudden reinvention in the press of modern America as a Nazi apartheid state is as phony as the thousands of patriotic campaigns that occupied the news media previously. We’re witnessing an obscene malfunction of the elite messaging system. The people who run this country have run out of workable myths with which to distract the public, and in a moment of extreme crisis have chosen to stoke civil war and defame the rest of us – black and white – rather than admit to a generation of corruption, betrayal, and mismanagement. I saw the first hints of this crackup in the panicked conversations of campaign reporters four summers ago. Colleagues in news media had always reveled in the power to police the boundaries of national politics. Former ABC reporter Mark Halperin* (henceforth canceled people will be marked here with asterisks, for shorthand purposes) used to cheerfully refer to a handful of pollsters, pundits, and pols he called the “Gang of 500. who “set the political agenda for the country.” People like Halperin wrote glowing self-referential “exposes” every four years about the power of their bullshit. If they told Americans a presidential race would be decided by angsty “soccer moms” (because Bill Clinton was talking up “zero tolerance” for school truancy and a return to school uniforms), then it was so. If eight years later the deciders were “security moms,” because what mattered then was not schools or prescription drugs but “what are you doing to protect my kids from terrorists?”, then that was so. If they said voters cared most of all to know which multimillionaire candidate was a better potential beer-drinking companion – because “a person is smart, people are dumb,” as one pundit put it – then that was to be taken seriously also. Unfortunately, voters had other problems. By 2016 Americans had lived for a generation under an economic model dominated by huge transnational companies that sold weapons into holocausts of urban violence, rejoiced in addiction to opiates or carcinogens as a revenue model, bled virtually all the savings of the American middle class (targeting minorities especially) through a succession of speculative bubble schemes, and relentlessly lobbied to be exempted from taxes, environmental laws, criminal penalties, and even their own business errors, through bailouts approved by the “politicians” they sponsored in both parties. The concessions to civilization employers had once under great pressure agreed to provide – pensions, medical insurance, sick leave, the forty-hour work week – vanished as the manufacturing economy was exported in a snap to unfree labor zones like China and Indonesia. Both parties supported the deals American business made with monster states. Just this week U.S. customs seized 13 tons of human hair farmed from the heads of Uighur political prisoners in Chinese labor camps: we gave that country Most Favored Nation Trading status eons ago. I watched for election cycle after election cycle as politicians and press lackeys alike promised lives would improve with middle-class tax cuts, “service for college” grants, federal retraining programs and an endless succession of proposals to “cut red tape” and “run America like a business.” Through the election of Barack Obama maybe there was patience for this, but within a few years after the crash of 2008 people stopped believing. When protest movements popped up on both the left and right – ordinary people mad about everything from crushing consumer and student debt to unpunished financial fraud to pointless war to surveillance to bailouts to stolen pensions to, yes, police brutality – the first reaction of donor-fattened pols was to blow off the warning signs. They controlled both parties, what was the worst that could happen? When the election of Trump made a solid first attempt at answering that question, establishment figures howled in self-pity and outrage. Who but deplorable racists could hate us this much? Those were the first gusts hinting at the current hurricane of stupidity. About those “deplorables”: the populist fury that drove the Trump campaign was obviously not rooted in concern over police brutality, and just as obviously Trump was using gross racial rhetoric to drum up support. I wrote about this repeatedly covering him in 2015-2016. But he did stress other themes. In hunger to suck up discontent of every stripe, candidate Trump complained about everything from the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies (“the lines” around states prevented competition, he said half-coherently) to the “obsolete” mission of NATO, to “nation building” abroad (he pledged instead to “build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow” at home), to NAFTA to the Fed to, yes, Most Favored Nation trading status for China. In Trump crowds one frequently heard people talking about being willing to “try anything” as long as it didn’t come from a “politician,” a term which by 2016 had become synonymous with “paid liar.” Of course Trump was a liar, too, but at least he was his own liar, which in a testament to the level of pessimism gripping the country by 2016 was an important distinction to some. Trump proved almost completely insincere with respect to all of these policy complaints. But it was amazing to watch the speed with which it became consensus that Trump’s entire platform had been only a promise to restore the power of white identity. It became taboo even to say something as tame as, “Trump sold fake solutions to real problems.” Even that was too near the truth. Papers like the New York Times did post-mortems citing research that concluded things like “how trade affected personal finances had little bearing on political preferences,” while “unemployment or the density of manufacturing jobs in one’s area” were similarly irrelevant. The same pundits who chanted “It’s the economy, stupid,” throughout the nineties reversed tune. * * * The best explanation for these sudden reversals in rhetoric is that Trump broke the brains of America’s educated classes. Like Russian aristocrats who spent the last days of the Tsarist empire flocking to fortune-tellers and mystics, upscale blue-staters have lost themselves lately in quasi-religious tracts like White Fragility, and are lining up to flog themselves for personal and historical sins. In desperation to help the country atone for their idea of why Trump happened, they’ve engaged in a sort of moon landing of anti-intellectual endeavors, committing a generation of minds to finding a solution to the one thing no thinking person ever considered a problem, i.e. the Enlightenment ideas that led to the American Revolution. The same pols and pundits who not long ago were waving the flag for wars and insisting that American-style democracy was so perfectly realized that it made sense to bring it to all the peoples of the world, by force if needed (think Friedman’s hypothesis of a borderless utopia of forced wealth creation called the Golden Straitjacket), have now reversed course to tell us our entire history needs to be wiped clean. Everything is a lie now. CNN even put “Independence” in quotes when describing the holiday today (i.e. “Reexamining ‘Independence’ Day”). This will end with Wolf Blitzer, dressed in a daskiki, pulling the switch to dynamite the Statue of Liberty. Continue reading at Taibbi's substack
Spate Of 'Random' Explosions At Iranian Facilities Are Targeted Sabotage: Intel Sources Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 15:20 Iran has made no secret in the last months of desiring to blow past Iranian enrichment caps set in place by the 2015 JCPOA. Top officials previously boasted of doing just that, so it's no mystery. What is a mystery, however, is the latest increased number of "random" explosions and fires at remote Iranian countryside areas known for being weapons and nuclear development sites. Image issued by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran showing aftermath of a fire at a nuclear development facility early Thursday. For example last week a massive explosion was observed lighting up the midnight sky outside Tehran, caught on film by local residents, which Iran's military dismissed as a gas leak explosion incident. But it was later revealed to have occurred at a ballistic missile development facility. And just days ago, another reported "accident" occurred at Natanz nuclear complex. But that particular 'mystery' blast caused Iranian officials to lash out in anger Thursday, saying "hostile countries" like the US and Israel are near the point of crossing "red lines". Crucially, Iran also said there were no radioactive leaks as a result of the incident. Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization ultimately denied that nuclear material was even present in the building. Last week a similarly mysterious blast took out large parts of an Iranian military site outside of Tehran: Satellite image shows aftermath of the explosion at Khojir missile base in Iran. One building completely destroyed and a large burn area. Iran claims a gas tank exploded near a military base. There's no sign of a gas tank here and the blast is inside the base. Image: @Maxar pic.twitter.com/ofUzOtbvkV — Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) June 28, 2020 Adding to the suspense of what could be behind these latest 'accidental blasts' an anonymous Middle Eastern intelligence official asserted that the Natanz facility was targeted with a bomb planted there. “The blast was caused by an explosive device planted inside the facility,” the official told The New York Times. The official added that the bombing “destroyed much of the aboveground parts of the facility where new centrifuges… are balanced before they are put into operation.” Reports out of Iran's state media also suggest a possible cyber-attack, to which Tehran military officials say "they'll respond" if the attack did indeed originate from Iran's enemies. Interestingly, the NY Times went so far as to raise the question (even if in the form of doubts) of whether US-Israeli black ops targeting Iran, which go back to the start of Bush's so-called 'war on terror', could explain the rise in deeply suspicious and unexplained blasts and fires: The timing was suspicious: A series of unexplained fires have broken out in recent days at other facilities related to the nuclear program. Still, experts noted that if the explosion was deliberately set, it showed none of the stealth and secrecy surrounding the complex cyberattacks by the United States and Israel that were first ordered by President George W. Bush toward the end of his term, and then extended by President Barack Obama. The Persian language service of the BBC reported that several members of its staff received an email from a previously unknown group, which referred to itself as the Homeland Cheetahs, before news of the fire became public. The group claimed responsibility and said it was composed of dissidents in Iran’s military and security apparatus. They said the attack would target aboveground sections of the targeted facilities so that the Iranian government could not cover up the damage. The US State Department, meanwhile, has said it is “monitoring reports of a fire at an Iranian nuclear facility.” It added: “This incident serves as another reminder of how the Iranian regime continues to prioritize its misguided nuclear program to the detriment of the Iranian people’s needs.” Is either Israeli or US intelligence behind this? Tel Aviv has for months vowed it would stop at nothing to prevent the Islamic Republic from achieving nuclear weapons capabilities. Such a possible sabotage campaign would indeed be a natural first step, as an 'alternative' to preemptive strike or an all-out war scenario (also reported to be "on the table" in Netanyahu and defense ministry national security discussions).
Rand Paul Is Right About Experts Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 14:55 Authored by Art Carden via The American Institute for Economic Research, The Internet is having a bit of fun with Rand Paul’s claim during a Tuesday Senate committee hearing that “We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best” (here’s Tommy Beer with more). After all, they’re the experts. Shouldn’t we get out of the way and do as the experts tell us? No. Rand Paul is right. Friedrich Hayek was famously skeptical of experts because they have a tendency to stretch beyond their expertise and make claims, recommendations, or policies that are beyond the narrow confines of their expertise. They also tend to collapse social problems into frameworks and models that seem easy to manipulate but that leave out a lot of important on-the-ground knowledge that, Hayek argued, is of a kind that is inaccessible to an outside observer. In short, it is easy to mistake a model for the actual underlying reality. It is just as easy to identify important considerations and act as if they are the only In a 2014 book, William Easterly highlighted and criticized The Tyranny of Experts (I reviewed it for Regulation here). His subtitle is revealing and relevant to the present moment: “Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor.” Experts can identify facts and make recommendations, certainly, but they’re not well-positioned to know the specific trade-offs and decisions people should make in light of what they know. Probably the best illustration of this that I’ve seen is not a dense academic treatise but the February 6, 2013 installment of the webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. A gentleman in a coat and tie stands in front of a tank of fluid in which someone is floating like Luke Skywalker in the bacta tank in The Empire Strikes Back. He says “We’ve encased everyone in a vat of gelatin, with nutrition fed directly into their mouths. Once a day, the gelatin is electrically excited so as to stimulate their bodies to aerobic exercise! They all live to at least 150.” The cartoon’s caption says “fortunately, public health advocates have no legislative power.” That’s the important point relevant to Rand Paul’s statement on Tuesday. In the cartoon, the experts have created and are enthusiastic about a technology that will lead to long lives. However, I think most of us would agree that floating in a tank of gelatin—even if you’re hooked up to Robert Nozick’s experience machine—isn’t really living. Paul makes the important point that a bit of humility is in order. An expert is very well-positioned to say “if you do these things, then you can expect the following effects with the following probabilities.” Only in the most extraordinary of circumstances—and even then, I’m still extremely skeptical—should they presume to tell others exactly which choices they should make. On this, I think this passage from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations is relevant. I’ll let him have the last word: “The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.”
Chill Out: Study Finds Easily-Triggered People Make Terrible Employees Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 14:30 With half the country seemingly triggered over the slightest injustice, microaggression or misgendering, a new study concludes that people with a high "proclivity to be offended" (PTBO) make terrible employees. What is PTBO? According to the study, it's "a state-like tendency to be sensitive to customarily innocuous societal events and traditions," such as "playing of the United States' National Anthem," and is the "tendency to view an array of events and/or traditions as offensive." People with high PTBO "are likely to feel that social events or traditions to which they take offense also violate moral or equitable standards." Dr. Jeremy Berneth, Associate Professor of Management at San Diego State University, asked 395 employees at seven US colleges what they thought about certain events receiving "substantial media attention" - including "17 items developed to assess the proclivity to be offended, eight moral outrage items, 11 microagression items and nine political correctness items." The study found that easily triggered people are less productive, are prone to view their organizations as "less fair," and "consume a lot of time complaining about trivial matters." "The person offended by everyday occurrences diverts important and limited cognitive resources away from the client (and potential sale) towards a task-irrelevant stimuli." They also make terrible team players. While one might think the tendency to become triggered would suggest social justice warriors are the most altruistic and helpful within an organization - "as their prescriptive morality dictates helping and providing for others" - the study finds that people with high PTBO are less likely to engage in "citizenship behavior," and that "PTBO negatively correlated with task performance and positively correlated with counterproductive work behaviors, suggesting not only that these individuals engage in fewer citizenship behaviors but also engage in behaviors managers and organizations want their employees to avoid." It should be noted that the survey was conducted on college campuses - which historically tend to tolerate employee activism more than corporate environments. The average age of employees surveyed was 25.9, while the average job tenure was 3.6 years. While not suggested in the study, a more controversial conclusion might be that progressives raise their children to prioritize reactionism over work ethic, while those raised in conservative households value work ethic over politics and social justice - keeping their nose to the grindstone and maintaining a higher degree of professionalism. Read the study below:
Saxo: We Are Suspending Market-Based Economies... At Worst We Are Replacing Them With State Capitalism
Saxo: We Are Suspending Market-Based Economies... At Worst We Are Replacing Them With State Capitalism Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 14:07 Saxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, has published its Q3 2020 Quarterly Outlook for global markets, including trading ideas covering equities, FX, currencies, commodities, and bonds, as well as a range of central macro themes impacting client portfolios. “Over the past three decades, after the end of the Cold War and especially with China’s momentous admission into the WTO in 2001, the world has become ever more connected and integrated through technology and globalisation. However, starting with the Trump presidency – and with a breathtaking acceleration over the space of just a few months thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic – the world is being driven by self-interest, distrust and a game of us versus them in political circles as well as companies’ supply chains” says Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist and CIO at Saxo Bank. “This great turning away from world-spanning supply chains, plus an impulse shading towards autarky, will bring widespread reshoring and incentive programmes to produce domestically. The first areas in focus will be medical supplies, after the embarrassingly dire lack of preparedness nearly everywhere for what was arguably an inevitable pandemic. But the new need to measure political accountability in terms of national self-sufficiency in pivotal industries will mean that energy, food supplies and technology will all be declared “mission critical”. Potential higher marginal costs for producing locally will prove less important than the political imperative to prove robust self-sufficiency. In short, prices will rise for nearly everything – and in real terms, not just through price inflation. “This will be extremely expensive: for the consumer, for governments and for jobs. But what could prove far worse than the implications of deglobalisation is the unfortunate reality that Covid-19 has accelerated the death of free markets as the driver of economies. The move to bail out everything is understandable but deepens the risk that real GDP growth will continue to trend downwards on the zombification of the economy. “The Covid-19 crisis was immediately devastating because our debt-saturated economies are so very highly tuned and fragile. With ZIRP, NIRP and bailouts for everyone all the time, this has been forever abolished. No more “forest fires” to leave fertile new ground for new actors to jump-start the economy and hence a future of ever-lower productivity and real GDP growth inside a massive debt burden. “The impact on markets and employment will be extremely negative when the stimulus runs out. Through direct and indirect lending, bailouts and grants, government spending in many countries will be more than 50% of GDP. Government interests will have a strong voice in boardrooms, and new government regulations are on the way to “save the economy and jobs” with taxpayer money. “The great irony is that although Covid-19 brings massive human and economic impacts, the even bigger risk is our response to the crisis. At best we are suspending market-based economies, at worst we are replacing them with state capitalism. That model can never ever win, as open markets are required to best drive price discovery, allocation of goods, innovation and even democracy. “The combination of localisation, ‘my-nation-first’ and state capitalism brings massive headwinds for growth, employment, the social fabric and the markets. These approaches to tackling the Covid-19 crisis are a one-way street into a narrowminded, provincial, nostalgic narrative that states can go it alone. But fighting both the pandemic and future similar risks needs a more global approach, not a local one.” More pain ahead for equities as the world resets Supportive monetary policies in response to the crisis have brought fiscal and monetary institutions closer and all-out stimulus to fight the biggest economic contraction since the 1930s has fostered speculation on a scale we have not seen since 2000. However, as this is written, the S&P 500 has just had its worst session since March and the VIX has exploded higher, so the impact from Covid-19 is far from over. Peter Garnry, Head of Equity Strategy, said: “As we enter Q3, markets remain fragile. The VIX is indicating a very volatile summer, where Q2 earnings releases will finally reveal the real damage to the corporate sector and potentially give us a rough sketch of what’s ahead. “Valuations have bounced back to levels where the risk-reward ratio is not attractive in a historical context. History suggests that there is a 33% probability, at current valuation levels, that the international equity investor will experience negative real rate return over the next ten years. “The past year has pushed the outperformance of US equities over European equities to an extreme spread in a historical context. European equities have lost out to US equities to the tune of five standard deviations on a relative basis since 2007. The drivers have been a strong USD, higher valuations on US equities relative to European equities, higher US earnings growth combined with large buyback programmes and a tectonic shift in market capitalisation towards technology companies – where Europe has lagged. Measured on 12-month trailing EV/EBITDA, US equities are valued 65% higher than European equities. This massive valuation spread requires a flawless US earnings path from here. “US equities generally have lower financial leverage than European companies, which is a positive in an uncertain macro environment. However, valuation is the key factor in explaining future returns, so with the historic outperformance of US equities combined with rich valuations we believe investors should begin to be overweight European equities – despite the political risks in the EU. “Looking ahead, Localisation is an important emerging theme that we believe will play out in the next decade economically and in equity markets. One theme that makes sense in this transition is investing in small caps with a domestic revenue profile in non-cyclical parts of the economy (healthcare, consumer staples and utilities). The transition to a more localised global economy will create an uncertain path for many companies and therefore the good old strategy of investing in in high-quality companies with low financial leverage is also attractive in our view. “We believe that certain sectors of the economy, such as the green transformation, will also continue to do well because the current economic model is a net drag on the environment. Other industries such as healthcare, robotics and 3D printing will also get a boost from policies of self-reliance and domestic-oriented production in the developed world. Companies with a strong digital presence and business model will also naturally do very well. However, with extreme valuations among some online companies’ investors should be cautious of “bubble stocks”. The US dollar is still the centre of gravity 23 March marked both the top for the US dollar and the low for most major global equity indices. Since then, the Fed’s mobilisation of enormous quantities of liquidity, asset purchases and loan programmes to stop the firestorm of contagion, and the USD has returned to its trading range in the period leading up to the crisis. Despite these moves, we do not believe the market will return to normality in the near future as central banks’ response to the pandemic and shifts in international government policies pushes markets toward deglobalisation. John Hardy, Head of FX Strategy, said: “Despite March’s market nadir and subsequent awe-inspiring comeback, we believe that markets heading back to something resembling normalcy is highly unlikely. “We have completed a cycle of sorts. The massive ramping in equity prices – and other risky assets – and pump and dump in the US dollar are products of a liquidity bonanza that has reached its maximum amplitude. From here, the run rate of support for the economy and market will only increase again if we reach another moment of deep crisis. As we get deeper into Q3, we suspect new themes will emerge for global markets and FX beyond the risk-on, risk-off gyrations that marked much of Q2 in response to liquidity injections from global policymakers. “Q3 may yet prove too early, but the US dollar must roll over eventually. If nothing else, because we live in a world drowning in USD-denominated debt, both onshore in the US and globally – and any durable recovery has to see a devaluation of the US dollar in real terms in the US and in relative as well as real terms in the rest of the world. The risk of widening insolvencies and defaults will encourage an outright devaluation unlike anything seen since the post-World War II debt devaluation. “The chief question is the time horizon, but Q3 will see pressure mounting on this front. Eventually, a devaluation will be achieved through the Fed more or less surrendering independence by enacting yield caps, or some other form of yield curve control, to allow fiscal spending unconstrained by considerations for whether “the market” can absorb the usual sovereign debt issuance used to finance spending. “In FX, the losers will be the currencies with the worst financial repression and most aggressive MMT programmes. The relative winners will be economies with significant commodity potential. Current account considerations will also loom larger than they have in the past due to deglobalisation, slower trade and possibly reduced capital flows. “Looking away from the dominant focus on the USD, Q3 will also likely establish whether the EU is showing enough solidarity to avoid a fresh round of existential concern. But the EU budget response looks modest and late relative to the scale of the crisis, so this glint of promise will need to deepen significantly in Q3. Tighter spreads across the EU and growing signs of solidarity are required if we’re to lay our longer-term fears of a new EU existential crisis to rest.” Gold bulls risk delayed gratification in Q3 The belief that we can and will return to normal within a few quarters will most likely turn out to be wrong and Saxo believes that this period will see low to negative growth, rising levels of debt and eventually rising inflation. The outlook for precious metals heading into Q3 therefore remains positive. However, a pandemic which is far from over coupled with a potential second wave looming over the horizon threatens to derail the recent rallies witnessed in energy and industrials, and any additional growth in Q3 will be challenged. Ole Hansen, Head of Commodity Strategy for Saxo, said: “Gold remains the only key commodity to show a positive return so far in 2020. Following April’s rollercoaster ride it has settled into a range around $1700/oz. Gold’s ability to frustrate, then eventually reward, the patient investor is likely to be on full display during the third quarter. Multiple positive tailwinds are currently being offset by what we believe will be a short-lived decline in inflation. “We maintain our bullish outlook for silver, and for gold now that its premium to silver has narrowed. There are several reasons to believe that gold will make a move to at least $1800/oz in 2020, followed by a fresh record high in the coming years. “The lack of market momentum since April and the disinflationary environment currently playing out have driven a 55% reduction in bullish gold futures bets since the early 2020 peak. A positive change in the fundamental or technical outlook are likely to force traders off the fence and back into the market. This development could also see gold break higher. “Silver’s record cheapness to gold helped drive a strong recovery in late Q2. Our bullish outlook for gold will take silver higher. But given its often-volatile behavior, and the current growth outlook, we think silver may struggle to recover more ground versus gold. The gold-silver ratio, a key measure of relative strength, may in a best possible scenario reach 95 ounces of silver to one ounce of gold. A major second wave of the pandemic, however, may see it weaken back towards 110 – reflecting a 10% underperformance from current levels. “HG Copper’s recent recovery to pre-pandemic levels will challenge the metal’s ability to reach higher ground in Q3. A recovery in Chinese demand combined with supply disruptions at mines in South America were the triggers that finally forced speculators back into long positions following the break above $2.50/lb. The risk of a second wave – especially in the US and China, the world’s two biggest consumers – may force a rethink and we see no further upside during the coming quarter. “The outlook for crude oil demand remains challenged by the not-yet-under-control Covid-19 pandemic. While OPEC+ have made a gigantic effort to support the global market through record production cuts and high compliance, the potential for crude oil to reclaim further ground will be limited during the second half of 2020. “Cross-border travel restrictions by land and air remain in place around the world, and with millions of workers unlikely to get their jobs back anytime soon, any recovery in oil demand may prove slower than expected. Even at this early stage, some are starting to speculate whether global demand reached a peak in 2019 from where it will begin to decline as the way humans and countries behave and interact with each other change. “A second wave will not generate a repeated demand shock similar to the one witnessed during April. Most countries will instead opt to keep as much of their economy open as possible, given that the economic fallout would be even worse. The collapse back in April, however, still highlights oil’s ability to overshoot. While we expect the price of Brent to recover back to a $50 to $60/b range in late 2020 or early 2021, the short-term outlook points toward consolidation, with the price potentially spending most of the third quarter within a $35/b to $45/b range.” Europe’s green relocation dream The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted Europe’s overdependence on Asia, particularly China and India, for the production of medical equipment and devices as well as the key active of commonly used drugs. To regain autonomy, Europe needs to adopt a coordinated approach to create economies of scale and reduce, as much as possible, the inherent costs associated with the relocation of value chains. Christopher Dembik, Head of Macro Analysis for Saxo, said: “The crisis served as a wake-up call to European governments and society on the urgent need to diminish economic and health dependence on the rest of the world. Reshoring of value chains is not a new idea; it is as old as globalisation itself. But it has swung back into fashion in recent years on the back of rising protectionism – and it has gained more ground over the past few months due to the outbreak. “In theory, relocation is a very attractive idea - the question is whether Europe has the means to realise its ambitions and become more self-reliant. The euro-area balance of trade provides us with initial answers. The Euro-area trade is characterised by a massive surplus, mostly due to Germany reaching a EUR 338-billion surplus in the twelve-month period to March 2020, which represents roughly 2.8% of euro-area GDP. This is the second biggest trade surplus in the world, behind China. “Even if Europe can regain autonomy, relocation is far from the miracle solution that many claim it to be. At the very least, it requires resources, skills, leadership, and a tolerance for higher and assumes that host countries have the requisite workforce and know-how. Creating a vibrant industrial base requires long-term vision, political leadership and the capacity to work hand-in-hand with the private sector. Relocation cannot be decreed; it is built over time. It involves long and risky processes – including reorganising value chains, which can take years. “It is essential to adopt a coordinated European approach to create economies of scale and reduce, as much as possible, the inherent costs associated with relocation. The least we can say is that Europe is not heading in this direction.” The Great Rewind The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities embedded in maintaining “just-in-time” production and moving forward, businesses will focus on adding resiliency to supply chains via localisation and regional ties. This is a trend which is playing out in Australia at all levels as the gap between the markets and Main Street widens. However, Australia is in a prime position to enact and benefit from the diversified and inclusive growth required from this economic recovery. Eleanor Creagh, Australian Market Strategist for Saxo, said: “Australia – as a small open economy with high energy and labour costs and an obsolete manufacturing sector – is in many ways swimming naked as the tide goes out on globalisation. Much will depend on the resultant policy response following a new Federal Government manufacturing task force that has been engaged on this issue. “The shift towards self-sufficiency is not just playing out at a company level, but a country and consumer level also, as nation states incentivise self-reliance and reshoring via the localisation of production capabilities. “For Australia, the focus should turn to the rebuild, not budget repair and winding back stimulus measures. Covid-19 should act as a catalyst for doubling down on revitalisation as opposed to central bank profligacy. “When we talk about deglobalisation and reshoring, the concept of comparative advantage is often lost. However, Australia has a clear comparative advantage when it comes to renewables, and nowhere has the devastating impact of climate change been more obvious than Australia this year. This provides a clear impetus for investment and fiscal stimulus targeting not just the economic crisis but also the climate crisis. “The assumptions that have underpinned asset prices over recent years are shifting, calling time on the traditional 60/40 portfolio. Fixed income will no longer serve the buffer it once was for balanced portfolios, with yields at historic lows and the gains from convexity spent. The deglobalisation tailwind and heightened focus on economic sovereignty bring a push to local over global. The increased investment in local infrastructure, climate change and sustainability, wind and solar, energy and water security, defence and local medical infrastructure presents opportunities within the equity space – with portfolio diversification pivoted toward precious metals, alternative investments and real assets.” Localisation, Trump & Covid-19: the best things to ever happen to China China is facing significant economic challenges from Covid-19 and international pressures from the deterioration of relations with the US and unrest in Hong Kong. These pressures are likely to make the country more innovative and the catalyst in a shift from being export-dependent to domestic-consumer driven. Kay Van-Petersen, Global Macro Strategist for Saxo, said: “As we look to the other side of the crisis, there will be some natural low-hanging fruit and pent-up demand as the world reopens fully, but there will also be risks: from second-wave infections, further lockdowns and more. “What we can say with high probability is that the monetary and fiscal policies of the world will keep the accelerator pushed down on loose and accommodative policies for a long time. Liquidity is currently the primary driver with regard to the ascent of listed asset prices, with fundamentals gagged and bound in the boot of the car. At some point this will reverse, but it could be 6-18 months or even years away. “China is facing the perfect storm of adversity and challenges, including the costs of Covid-19, US-China relations deteriorating, the west backing Hong Kong over Beijing and, still to come, a global backlash that is only set to increase once the Covid dust settles on who is to blame for all this. “Adversity, though, will only make a country more resilient and innovative, forcing it to tap into its true potential. Trump and Covid-19 are going to be the best things that have happened to China – a function of which will spill net positive to the rest of the world – in that it will accelerate Beijing’s plans to go from being export dependent to domestic-consumer driven. It will take China’s 2025-2035 plans, which are all about technology, moving up the value chain and developing tech infrastructure, and bring them forward. Finally, it will open China’s markets and accelerate reform which has been held back by export dependency.” Saxo Bank’s full Q3 2020 outlook, with more in-depth pieces from our analysts and strategists, can be found below (PDF link here)
Trump Signs 5-Week PPP Extension With Fiscal Cliff Looming Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 13:40 The White House released a statement Saturday morning indicating President Trump has signed a bill extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) until August 8. On Saturday, July 4, 2020, the president signed into law: S. 4116, which (1) reauthorizes lending under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through August 8, 2020; and (2) separates the authorized limits for commitments under the PPP from other Small Business Administration loan programs. - the statement read PPP is designed to support businesses impacted by coronavirus-lockdowns, which had expired last Tuesday with $130 billion in leftover funds. The bill provides the president with five additional weeks, while Congress is set to debate the next round of stimulus. The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently said the program approved over 4.8 million emergency loans to millions of small businesses. On Wednesday, the president told Fox Business he supports another round of direct payments - also promoting a payroll tax holiday and tax incentives for corporate America. At the moment, there is mass confusion in Washington as coronavirus cases erupt across the country, and economic data rebounds: "It's a little confusing for people because you've got a higher rate of covid in the last few weeks and better job numbers than anybody expected," said Sen. Rob Portman, adding that the recovery could reverse if the virus pandemic continues. Portman could be right, as virus cases surge, and reopenings across the country are paused or reversed, economic data in the coming weeks, if not by the end of summer, could start beating to the downside. We recently outlined the latest economic surge is almost entirely a function of the massive government spending spree, a spree which in just over a month will be effectively over. Quarterly Change US Economic Surprise Index vs. S&P500 Citing a Bank of America report, we noted how the economy is facing fiscal cliffs which could cause the recovery to disintegrate, with four particular areas of focus: expiration of extended unemployment insurance, the fading support from stimulus checks, exhaustion of PPP stress from state and local aid gov'ts. "In summary, after July 31, the US economy is set to fly off a fiscal cliff that could be just as painful as what happened in late March/April unless there is a bipartisan agreement in Congress on trillions more in fiscal stimulus. The clock is now ticking," we noted. Could the Democrats have the Trump administration at a so-called checkmate? Dems could easily send the economy off a fiscal cliff by withdrawing support for the next round of stimulus, something that could affect the president's reelection odds.
Watch: Young Americans Totally Ignorant Of What July 4th Represents Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 13:15 Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News, In a video produced by Campus Reform, young Americans displayed a complete lack of knowledge about the 4th July holiday, instead bleating about how the country is racist. When asked what the holiday commemorates and other details concerning the Declaration of Independence, most of those interviewed had no clue. While some guessed that the US gained Independence after the Civil War, World War I, or even World War II, others complained that the ‘real’ history of America isn’t being taught in schools. “I just know that teachers do not want to teach it,” one student claimed, with another ironically chiming in that“Everyone should learn about our history.” “America was built off of slavery,” one respondent said when asked to justify why she believes the country is racist. Another respondent said President Trump is proof that the country is racist, and commented “Our country most definitely has a bad legacy.” Watch the Full clip below:
Trump Gives History Lesson, Slams 'Left-Wing Cultural Revolution' In Mount Rushmore Address Tyler Durden Sat, 07/04/2020 - 12:50 President Trump kicked off Independence Day weekend on Friday by delivering a fiery address in front of Mount Rushmore - a site undoubtedly chosen as left-wing protesters shift focus from removing confederate statues to destroying monuments of US presidents. "Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities," said Trump - who added "There is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. Not gonna happen to us." "Make no mistake, this left wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American revolution," Trump told the crowd of more than 7,000. "Our children are taught in school to hate their own country." Trump then announced that under an Executive Order signed last week, "people who damage or deface federal statues or monuments will get a minimum of 10 years in prison." Trump then vowed that Mount Rushmore will "never be defaced." President Trump at Mount Rushmore: "This monument will never be desecrated. These heroes will never be defaced. Their legacy will never, ever be destroyed. Their achievements will never be forgotten.” “Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers.” pic.twitter.com/ruAY8iUKW4 — Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) July 4, 2020 History Lesson Trump then slammed those who would teach children "to believe that the men and women who built [America] were villains." The radical view of American history is a web of lies, all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition. This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore. They defiled the memory of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. Today we will set history and history’s record straight. The president then delivered highlights of the accomplishments of all four presidents on Mount Rushmore - describing why they represent the "best of America." "They were American giants in full flesh and blood. Gallant men, whose intrepid deeds unleashed the greatest leap of human advancement the world has ever known," said Trump, adding "Tonight, I will tell you — and most importantly, the youth of our nation — the true stories of these great men" (via Breitbart). George Washington: From head to toe, George Washington represented the strength, grace, and dignity of the American people. From a small volunteer force of citizen farmers, he created the Continental Army out of nothing and rallied them to stand against the most powerful military on earth through eight long years. … After forcing the surrender of the most powerful empire on the planet at Yorktown, General Washington did not claim power, but simply returned to Mount Vernon as a private citizen. When called upon again, he presided over the constitutional convention in Philadelphia and was unanimously elected our first president. … When he stepped down after two terms, his former adversary King George called him the greatest man of the age. He remains first in our hearts to this day. For as long as Americans love this land, we will honor and cherish the father of our country, George Washington Thomas Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson, the great Thomas Jefferson was 33 years old when he traveled north to Pennsylvania and brilliantly authored one of the greatest treasures of human history, the Declaration of Independence. He also drafted Virginia’s constitution and conceived and wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a model for our cherished First Amendment. After serving as the first secretary of state and then vice president, he was elected to the presidency. He ordered American warriors to crush Barbary pirates. He doubled the size of our nation with the Louisiana purchase, and he sent the famous explorers Lewis and Clark into the West on a daring expedition to the Pacific Ocean. He was an architect, an inventor, a diplomat, a scholar, the founder of one of the world’s great universities, and an ardent defender of liberty. Americans will forever admire the author of American freedom. Abraham Lincoln: The savior of our union was a self-taught country lawyer who grew up in a log cabin on the American frontier. The first Republican president, he rose to high office from obscurity based on the force and clarity of his anti-slavery convictions. He signed the law that built the transcontinental railroad. He signed the Homestead Act, given to some … ordinary citizens, free land to settle anywhere in the American West. And he led the country through the darkest hours of American history, giving every ounce of strength that he had to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people did not perish from this earth. He served as commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces during our bloodiest war. … Ultimately his determination to preserve our nation, and our union cost him his life. For as long as we live, Americans will uphold and revere the immortal memory of President Abraham Lincoln. Teddy Roosevelt: Teddy Roosevelt exemplified the unbridled confidence of our national culture and identity. He saw the grandeur of America’s mission in the world, and he pursued it with overwhelming energy and zeal. As a lieutenant colonel during the Spanish American War, he led the famous rough riders to defeat the enemy at San Juan Hill. He cleaned up corruption as police commissioner of New York City then served as the governor of New York, vice president, and at 42 years old, became the youngest ever president of the United States. He sent our great new naval fleet around that world to announce America’s arrival as a world power. He gave us many of our national parks, including the Grand Canyon. He oversaw the construction of the all inspiring, Panama Canal, and he is the only person ever awarded both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was American freedom personified. And for that the American people will never relinquish the bold, beautiful and untamed spirit of Theodore Roosevelt. Trump also announced on Friday that he would sign an executive order for a new monument which pays tribute to "giants of our past," and will establish a "National Garden of American Heroes" described as "a vast outdoor park that will feature statues of the greatest Americans who ever lived." Watch Trump's entire speech below: