1969-2017: and here we are again, in so many ways. A deeply polarizing new president, a disastrously misguided official narrative that the political Establishment doggedly supports despite a damning lack of evidence, and an economy teetering on the edge of recession–and worse. Sound familiar? Welcome to 1969 redux. The similarities between the crises unfolding in 1969 and the present-day crises are not just skin-deep–they’re systemic. Consider the basic parallels. 1. Nixon was if anything more polarizing than Trump. If there was any politician Democrats loved to hate, it was Nixon. Yet Nixon won a close race against an Establishment Democrat, at least partly because he ran as a “peace candidate” and because he spoke to the Silent Majority who disagreed with the nation’s direction. The Silent Majority was mocked and ridiculed by the mainstream media as racist, close-minded deplorables.
EU, Japan Strike New Trade Deal (WSJ) EU-Japan deal sends anti-protectionist signal before G20: German minister (Reuters) Republican lawmaker Steve Scalise’s condition worsens after June shooting (Reuters) The Flashpoints for World Leaders at G-20 Summit (BBG) Leftist protesters vow to disrupt G20 summit in Hamburg (Reuters) Trump Weighs ‘Pretty Severe Things’ for North Korea Over Launch (BBG) China’s Xi urges peaceful resolution to North Korea issue (Reuters) How the June Jobs Report Matters for the Fed (El-Erian) At least 123 Venezuelan soldiers detained since protests – documents (Reuters) Can U. S. defend against North Korea? Not all agree (Reuters) How Long Before the U. S. Is in Range? (WSJ) South Korea’s Moon says it is time for North Korea to decide: dialogue or not (Reuters) Qatar Airways aims to start buying American Airlines shares ‘soon’ (Reuters) States May Shackle AT&T, Comcast on Web Data After U. S. Retreat (BBG) Ships Exporting Iranian Oil Go Dark, Raising Sanctions Red Flags (WSJ) CEO-Worker Pay Ratio Generates Outrage – And Some Insight (WSJ) Finance firms need freedom to choose location after Brexit (Reuters) Amazon and Dish Network: A Match in the Making? (WSJ) These U. S. States Still Haven’t Fully Recovered From Recession (BBG)
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 6, 2017.
Pres. Trump has proposed a $1 trillion boondoggle. He wants to spend this money on infrastructure. This is going to put Obama’s shovel-ready, anti-recession boondoggle to shame. Only it isn’t going to happen. It didn’t happen for Obama, either. Here is what happened — or didn’t happen. Back in 2009, former President Barack Obama made some lofty promises about the infrastructure overhaul that his $800 billion economic stimulus plan would provide. Obama used the phrase ‘shovel-ready projects’ in reference to construction projects that could begin right away. In the end, however, only $98.3 billion of the $800 billion stimulus was dedicated to transportation and infrastructure. Of that $98.3 billion, only about $27.5 billion was actually spent on transportation infrastructure projects. Why? ‘The problem is that spending it out takes a long time, because there’s really nothing – there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects,’ Obama said in a 2010 interview with the New York Times. When it comes to economic stimulus, local governments may take years to begin actual construction even once they receive funding. The reason why such a small portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ended up spent on infrastructure is that the projects are simply too slow to get off the ground to provide meaningful near-term stimulus. That was Obama, who had a majority in both Houses of Congress and an electorate in panic mode over a recession. Here is what Trump has. First, he is so tied up with special prosecutors and investigators that he is never going to get anything through Congress. For the next 3 1/2 years, there will be no major Trump political victories. Count on it. Second, bureaucracies at the state and federal level are going to see to it that not one of his projects is launched, let alone completed. Even if he gets this boondoggle through Congress, which he won’t, it will do his legacy no good. Another President, probably elected in 2024, will get the credit. But I may be too optimistic. Maybe it will be the President who is elected in 2032. Trump is frustrated. I can hardly blame him. In a recent post on the White House website, he offered this cry of woe.
This post was published at Gary North on June 17, 2017.
On May 31, 1866, John C. Ringling was born in Iowa to German immigrants in what felt like an extremely bleak year. The chaos and devastation from the Civil War that had ended in 1865 were still keenly felt, and the US economy was in the midst of a deep recession The country was still shaken from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. And the new President, Andrew Johnson, was embroiled in a major political crisis with Congress that would soon lead to his impeachment. (Johnson was also a noted buffoon, once giving a speech in early 1866 to honor George Washington in which he referred to himself over 200 times and accused Congress of plotting his assassination.)
Trump’s supporters are increasingly alarmed, outspoken and feeling betrayed as their champion rolls over and plays lap dog for the political establishment. Even Rush Limbaugh, Trump’s golfing buddy and longtime advocate, said this week that what is happening with Trump and the Republicans is a ‘sellout’ and ‘betrayal.’ With the US economy sinking in the first quarter toward the netherlands of recession (GDP growth of 0.7%), my prediction that the the economy will really start to fall apart in the early summer – in spite of Trump’s victory and the Trump Rally in stocks – looks increasingly likely with each passing week. Meanwhile my warning last year that Trump would likely prove to be a Trojan horse for the establishment is, as of this week, finally proven. Consider the following analysis of Trump’s acquiescence to every failure of his purported agenda: Trump gets thumped on Obamacare and spending bill Trump’s Obamacare Repeal 2.0 is teetering on the edge of defeat. Even if it gets approved, it has already retreated on Trump’s promises about things like pre-existing conditions, which he swore repeatedly during his campaign would remain as they are. If Trump was ever serious about making sure certain provisions of Obamacare that the majority of Americans like remain, why doesn’t he tell Republicans now that, if the bill passes without his campaign promises safeguarded, he will veto it? He is making no attempt at strong-arming in the safeguards he swore he’d protect. No attempt. Trump talked tough like that in the Repeal 1.0 round, saying it would be the Republicans one and only chance to do this right, and then he caved in by starting Repeal 2.0. In this round, he’s not talking at all. The veto threat is notably absent. While that’s a win for arch conservatives, it is still a breach of Trump’s promise, which he doesn’t seem to hold very dear at this point.
This post was published at GoldSeek on 4 May 2017.
Most of you reading this are probably aware the U. S. auto market is a train wreck waiting to happen, but a recent report by Moody’s really puts the industry’s insane lending practices into perspective. Reuters reports: As U. S. auto sales have peaked, competition to finance car loans is set to intensify and drive increased credit risk for auto lenders, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report released on Monday. ‘The combination of plateauing auto sales, growing negative equity from consumers and lenders’ willingness to offer flexible loan terms is a significant credit risk for lenders,’ Jason Grohotolski, a senior credit officer at Moody’s and one of the report’s authors, told Reuters. Motor vehicle sales have boomed in the years since the Great Recession. U. S. sales of new cars and trucks hit a record annual high of 17.55 million units in 2016.
President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order requiring that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be removed. “This will be the largest ever cut by far in terms of regulation,” Trump said during a signing ceremony. Trump signed the order, which he said was “a big one,” following a meeting with small business leaders. During the meeting, Trump said the “American dream is back,” adding that he wants to end regulatory discrepancy between small and big business. We are going to create an environment for small business like we haven’t had in many, many decades,” Trump said during the meeting. “This isn’t a knock on President Obama. This is a knock on many presidents preceding me — this is a knock on everybody — particularly bad in the last eight years but it’s not a knock on anybody, it’s a knock on many.” Trump also threatened the Dodd – Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the massive financial regulatory law established under President Barack Obama that specifically targeted financial institutions that were “too big to fail” following the financial crisis of 2007-08, which led to the global Great Recession. “Dodd-Frank is a disaster. We’re going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank,” Trump said.
Here are a few snippets from Obama’s goodbye speech to the American people: ‘Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination… But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change… For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender American, and also the middle-aged white man… For white Americans, it means acknowledging that the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t suddenly vanish in the ’60s; that when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness…’ The question is: do people want empty sentimental sop from Obama or do they want action? Well, it’s too late for action, because Obama’s presidency is done. And it makes no difference whether, as a result of his final speech, people view him as a great and honorable man who did his best, or as a con artist, because again, he’s on his way out the door. Needless to say, his supporters were deeply moved by his words. They want to be moved. They don’t want to look at uncomfortable facts. For example, let’s go to CNN, which is going to offer the best possible interpretation of economic indicators for black people in America. ‘Blacks have seen their median income stagnate, along with the rest of the population… Median income [for blacks] stood at $35,398 in 2014, just a touch below where it was in 2009, when Obama took office. But it has climbed back from [a low of] $33,926 in 2011… The Great Recession sent many Americans into poverty, but blacks were hit particularly hard. The [poverty] rate for blacks hit 27.6% in 2011, nearly 2 percentage points higher than what it was when Obama was sworn in. It has since receded to 26.2%.’
The last jobs report (December) for the Obama Administration is out. And it was ugly as usual, at least in terms of wage growth. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December, with an increase in health care and social assistance. Job growth totaled 2.2 million in 2016, less than the increase of 2.7 million in 2015. *** Employment in health care rose by 43,000 in December, with most of the increase occurring in ambulatory health care services ( 30,000) and hospitals ( 11,000). Health care added an average of 35,000 jobs per month in 2016, roughly in line with the average monthly gain of 39,000 in 2015.
As promised in the previous post, here is a look at yet another wrinkle in the U. S. jobs creation saga. The following used to be referred to as the America’s Scariest Chart some years back, until all analysts stopped tracking it. Well, all, save for myself – and for a good reason. Since the election of Donald Trump, the U. S. media has been full of praise for President Obama’s record on economic recovery, setting the stage for an argument that Trump Administration is about to inherit a very strong economy, the one that, in mainstream media’s minds, Trump is likely to mess up. So lets do a simple exercise. Take current level of employment (non-farm payrolls) and compare it to the pre-crisis average levels of employment. Represented as an index, this comparative can be performed for every recession since the end of WW2. Chart below illustrates the results:
The article below was a small section of my book, AIDS INC., which I wrote in 1987-8. At the time, I decided to take a look at vaccines and see what I could find out about them. My ensuing research led me into all sorts of surprising areas. Since the period of 1987-8, much more has come to light about vaccine safety and efficacy. Here is what I discovered way back when – * * * * * ‘The combined death rate from scarlet fever, diphtheria, whooping cough and measles among children up to fifteen shows that nearly 90 percent of the total decline in mortality between 1860 and 1965 had occurred before the introduction of antibiotics and widespread immunization. In part, this recession may be attributed to improved housing and to a decrease in the virulence of micro-organisms, but by far the most important factor was a higher host-resistance due to better nutrition.’ Ivan Illich, Medical Nemesis, Bantam Books, 1977 ‘In a recent British outbreak of whooping cough, for example, even fully immunized children contracted the disease in fairly large numbers; and the rates of serious complications and death were reduced only slightly. In another recent outbreak of pertussis, 46 of the 85 fully immunized children studied eventually contracted the disease.
The Obama administration has a tendency to conflate the strong performance of Fed-induced “assets bubbles” with “strong economic growth.” Unfortunately, as is often the case these days, the “hard data” paints a slightly different picture than the “narrative” being pushed by Obama and his staff. Per a new report from the Pew Research Center, and as our readers are undoubtedly aware, home prices have indeed recovered to pre-recession levels with a little help from Janet Yellen and crew.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 16, 2016.
The Kremlin has announced that commodities trader Glencore and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund are together buying a 19.5% stake in Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company. “It is the largest privatisation deal, the largest sale and acquisition in the global oil and gas sector in 2016,” President Vladimir Putin said. The surprise move sees Glencore and Qatar paying $11.3bn for the stake in Rosneft, where BP already owns 19.75%. Moscow will keep the controlling stake. The long-planned sale is part of the Russian government’s efforts to sell some state assets to help balance the budget amid a two-year recession caused by a drop in global oil prices and Western sanctions.
Oh SNAP! After Bernie appeared on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ and told everyone he was bothered by Hillary Clinton’s comment of millennials being’basement dwellers,’ she canceled appearances with him this week including one today. Sanders will now stump for her in Iowa and Wisconsin by himself; Hillary will be appearing in Iowa later in the week and it is speculated Sanders will no longer be there. Bernie was asked if it bothered him that Clinton referred to his millennial supporters as ‘children of the great recession’ who ‘live in their parents’ basement,’ a comment splattered all over the media this weekend after hacked audio of her making the statements at one of her high profile fundraisers was dumped online.
Editor’s Note: The ridiculous hypocrisy of this is enough to make one’s head implode. Then again, this is a guy who just got done telling the United Nations that America is ‘a force for good’ in the world without bursting into laughter. Barack Obama recently criticized presidential candidate Donald Trump’s admiration of Vladimir Putin, but his complaint was hypocritically laughable. Though no one in their right mind would pretend the Russian president is any kind of saintly figure, Obama’s choice of words in scrutinizing his Russian counterpart turned into a largely accurate description of himself. The American president attacked Trump for praising Putin as being a ‘strong leader’ despite the fact that, according to Obama, Putin ‘invades smaller countries,’ jails political opponents, controls his country’s media, and has driven Russia’s economy into recession. Let’s go through those claims one by one. Putin Invades Smaller Countries In 2011, Obama invaded Libya, the country with the highest standard of living in Africa, plunging the rich democracy into a perpetual state of civil war. U. S. media tried to claim the American role in this conflict was secondary in a so-called ‘leading from behind’ capacity. But the truth is the U. S. was the second biggest, if not the biggest contributor to this war (depending on the report). It was an American drone that struck Muammar Gaddafi’s motorcade, effectively sealing the fate of the Libyan leader.
I crave the opportunity to see an antiestablishment candidate win the election. I would exult in seeing our corrupt establishment shattered. So, while I do not like Trump the man (as it would appear he has never done anything that didn’t entirely serve his own self-interest and pompous ego), I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing him upset establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats alike. (And, yes, they are ‘alike,’ so let’s just call them ‘the establishment’ because whether they are Republican or Democrat is not relevant; both parties exist to serve the same rich people and themselves either way.) I’ll even acknowledge that perhaps it takes someone as brazen and blusterous as Trump in order to stand up to such a powerful assemblage of egoists as we have embedded in congress and in the president’s administration, which now rules by decree. Nearly all of them strive to make sure you have only globalist options to vote for; but their new-world odor is, I’m sure, a stench that rises all the way to heaven. This derelict congress is a worse evil than either candidate as it continues to sink the US deeply into debt with no plan or action to right the economy since it first capsized in the waves of the Great Recession. Each party is more worried that the other party will get credit than they are concerned about saving the nation, and there is nothing less patriotic than putting your party before you country. My desire to see the economy righted and the establishment overturned (peacefully), however, is exactly what makes me cautious about any gold-plated politician who has lived all of his life in the realm of the one percenters and who has defaulted on more grandiose debts than anyone I know. Nevertheless, while I have never liked this particular publicity whore, I’d put up with his relentless boasting and forgive his audacious past if it takes that kind of brassy, risk-taking adventurer to find someone with enough spine to stand up to the intimidations of congress. I’m willing to admit that it might take all of that, so whether or not I like him is not important unless it is leading me to see flaws that may mean Trump is not what he makes himself out to be.
This post was published at GoldSeek on 19 September 2016.
Discussions of calamitous government actions – engagements in pointless, costly, and bloody wars; counterproductive actions to avert or shorten economic recessions; botched relief and reconstruction efforts after natural disasters – often arrive at, if they do not begin with, condemnation of government leaders. Thus, in the United States, for example, people have blamed Harry Truman for ordering U. S. military forces into the Korean war, Herbert Hoover for worsening the economic bust of 1929 – 33, and George W. Bush for presiding over the FEMA fiasco associated with Hurricane Katrina. As soon as such a denunciation has been made, however, a critic invariably intervenes to challenge its perspicacity and to propose a seemingly more discerning, if disquieting, alternative: don’t blame leader X; blame the people who elected him. Given that in accordance with the protocol of majority-rule democracy, leader X was in a position to make the bad decision only because he had received more votes than the other electoral contenders, the critic maintains that the devastating government blunder we have witnessed represents nothing but the blessings of democracy as H. L. Mencken described them: ‘democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.’
China is ready to emerge as one of the larger trading partners with Russia in a relationship that extends from military to energy, the Chinese government said. Russian President Vladimir Putin wrapped up a weekend tour of China with a new legal framework that outlines evolving ties with the Asian superpower. Putin said in a statement that agreements signed in Beijing were “based on mutual respect, friendship and consideration for each others interests.” China was among those investors named as a possible new stakeholder in Russian oil company Rosneft, on the table as a possible target of a privatization scheme meant to help pull Russia’s energy-based economy out of recession. On Saturday, Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin signed a series of deals with Chinese energy companies, including shipbuilding contracts. “We have made a strategic decision to develop an unprecedented industrial complex with leading-edge equipment and technologies to help fulfill the shipbuilding requirements for the Russian Federation and to successfully compete in global shipbuilding markets,” he said in a statement.
"#HillaryClinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States." –@realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/msOWFtqKcK — Fox News (@FoxNews) June 22, 2016
Following a scathing speech by Hillary Clinton yesterday, in which the Democratic candidate warned a Trump presidency would unleash a recession (one which is long overdue anyway, 7 years into the business cycle), Trump on Wednesday retaliated with a blistering attack of his own on Hillary Clinton, assailing her as ‘a world class liar’ and failed secretary of state who can’t be trusted on issues ranging from the turmoil in the Middle East to immigration and trade. His resounding punchline was that ‘Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person to ever seek the presidency of the United States,’ during a speech in his hotel in SoHo, reading from a teleprompter in his first major speech of the general election.
This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden – Jun 22, 2016.
It seems that many voices within the federal government are quite concerned about the growing patriot movement throughout the country, and especially in rural strongholds where land and liberty go hand and hand. More events like the Bundy Ranch standoff seem likely to occur, as the BLM and other agencies show no sign of changing policies, and more and more individuals are waking up to the abuses and tyrannies taking place. It is isn’t just hypothetical – environmental regulations and bureaucratic land management continues to undermine ranchers and farmers who are, in many cases, forced out of business or taxed & penalized to death. Many are refusing to take it lying down, and groups across the country are training and preparing in case of the worst – a standoff with the feds over land and their very way of life. According to the Washington Post: Deep in the heart of a vast U. S. military training ground, surrounded by spent shotgun shells and juniper trees blasted to shreds, the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard was conducting its weekly firearms training. ‘The intent is to be able to work together and defend ourselves if we need to,’ said Soper, 40, a building contractor who is an emerging leader in a growing national movement rooted in distrust of the federal government, one that increasingly finds itself in armed conflicts with authorities. Those in the movement call themselves patriots, demanding that the federal government adhere to the Constitution and stop what they see as systematic abuse of land rights, gun rights, freedom of speech and other liberties. Law enforcement officials call them dangerous, delusional and sometimes violent, and say that their numbers are growing amid a wave of anger at the government that has been gaining strength since 2008, a surge that coincided with the election of the first black U. S. president and a crippling economic recession. […] ‘It doesn’t say in our Constitution that you can’t stand up and defend yourself,’ Soper said. ‘We’ve let the government step over the line and rule us, and that was never the intent of this country.’
This post was published at shtfplan on May 23rd, 2016.