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Nobody Knows How To Politicize A Pandemic Like Nancy Pelosi

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Nobody Knows How To Politicize A Pandemic Like Nancy Pelosi

Authored by David Krayden via HumanEvents.com,



The Speaker is using the coronavirus to push through legislation for her very wealthy, very loyal base...





On Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (who, one must remember, holds no elected office at the moment) promised that any further coronavirus legi

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slation might just contain something of “my green deal.” It’s not clear if he was referring to some sort of environmental plan—or how he expects to craft legislation from his basement in Delaware—but even Sleepy Joe seems to think that a global pandemic signals a time for pork-barrel politics.



None among the Democrats has embraced this ethos more than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however. As the coronavirus crisis rages on around us, Pelosi is still looking for creative ways to spend your tax dollars.



After failing to stuff the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package with a bevy of her social justice pet projects, Pelosi had the gall to announce that Democrats had made the bill about “workers first.”




“It went from a corporate first proposal that the Republicans put forth in the Senate to a workers first—Democratic workers first—legislation,” said Pelosi, at one of her increasingly bizarre news conferences where the grand dame of Congress appears to be crumbling under the weight of her own rhetoric.



“The bill that was passed in the Senate last night [Wednesday] and that we will take up tomorrow [Friday] is about mitigation: mitigation for all the loss that we have in our economy while still addressing the emergency health needs that we have in our country.”




What the Speaker neglected to mention, however, was how her bill would have forced any airline receiving government bailout money to cut their carbon footprint in half and any business to implement a “diversity plan.” Oh, and she made sure the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts received a handsome handout (note: after they grabbed the $25 million in cash, the management promptly started laying-off musicians).



Now, Pelosi is moving on to “phase four” of the Democrats’ coronavirus rescue package: save the (Democratic) millionaires.





PELOSI WAGES CLASS WARFARE—BUT NOT ON BEHALF OF THE CLASS YOU’D EXPECT

The Pelosi plan would remove a cap on the state and local tax deduction (SALT) that could quickly put cash in people’s pockets—but the beneficiary won’t be average American workers. The beneficiaries will be the real base of the Democratic Party: millionaire liberals from coastal states.



The tax rebates would affect approximately 13 million families—very wealthy families, all of which are earning at least $100,000 and many over a million per annum. “More than half of the proceeds from fully repealing the SALT cap would go to the top 1 percent, households making more than about three-quarters of a million dollars a year,” reports Politico.



To hear Nancy explain the cash infusion, it’s just some extra beer money at the end of the month: “We could reverse that for 2018 and 2019 so that people could refile their taxes” and receive more substantial rebates, Pelosi told The New York Times. “They’d have more disposable income, which is the lifeblood of our economy, a consumer economy that we are.”



The cruel irony of this latest Democratic ploy is that the SALT cap was put in place as part of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts in 2017. Those are the same tax cuts that Pelosi wanted to repeal because, supposedly, only the wealthy would benefit from them.



Democrats have wanted the cap removed for quite some time. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was so angry about it in 2017 that he accused the president of waging “economic civil war” on blue states with the measure. It was a huge issue during the 2018 midterm elections, especially among bleeding heart Democrats fighting for their millionaire friends.




“In the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats wielded the SALT limits in House campaigns against Republicans in wealthy blue-state suburbs of cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago,” writes the Times. According to Politico, House Democrats “who made large gains in upscale suburbs as they took the majority in the 2018 elections” voted last year to repeal the cap, but the effort died in the Republican-controlled Senate—“where few states represented by Republicans are all that troubled by the $10,000 limit.”




Removing the SALT cap benefits the people who really embody what Pelosi’s party has become: a coffee clatch of free-thinking progressives who have nothing better to do with their time but think of ways to socially re-engineer the rest of society by obsessing over the LGBT-GQ agenda, inventing genders that don’t exist, and worrying about hate speech lurking under every bed. The kind of people who have the inclination to attend a Seattle yoga class in “undoing whiteness.” The only blue-collar workers they know are the ones who fix the plumbing and pick up the garbage.




“These are people who won’t spend the extra money and don’t really need it,” Michael Linden, executive director of the progressive Groundwork Collaborative, told Politico.



“That’s why they were left out of the cash assistance in the first place.”




But, as Pelosi demonstrated during the last COVID-19 stimulus bill, a health crisis provides a serendipitous opportunity to pass a plethora of unrelated legislation—and Madame Speaker is apparently up to her antics again.




Tyler Durden

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 21:10
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Japan's QE On Verge Of Failure As Nobody Wants To Sell To The BOJ

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Japan's QE On Verge Of Failure As Nobody Wants To Sell To The BOJ

Over a decade since central bankers started a stealthy nationalization of capital markets by purchasing a wide range of securities from Trasuries, to MBS, to corporate bonds, to ETFs and single stocks, their actions are finally catching up to them, and in the process breaking the very markets central bankers have worked so hard to prop up. And nowhere is this more obvious than in Japan, where the s

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hrinking universe of Japanese government bonds (as a reminder the BOJ now owns more than 100% of Japanese GDP in JGBs) is "causing havoc" in Japanese money markets as the Bank of Japan continues to buy while dealers refuse to sell.



The result is that rates in Japan's repo market, which traditionally connects holders of bonds with investors looking to borrow them, jumped to a record Tuesday (although they since retreated on Wednesday) because as Bloomberg notes, "the introduction of cheaper, more regular dollar-swap auctions has generated huge demand from U.S. currency-starved dealers who are keeping their JGBs to put them down as collateral."





So here is what the math looks like now that the Fed has launched enhanced swap lines with central banks such as the BOJ, allowing local entities to obtain dollar funding at much lower rates: in last week’s first round of the Fed’s revamped dollar-swap auctions, banks borrowed greenbacks for about 3-months at 0.37%, a massive discount to the near 2% it would cost them in the currency swap market. $32 billion was alloted in the first operation.





This huge difference in available borrowing costs, highlighted in yellow in the chart above, means JGB holders who still haven't offloaded to Kuroda are now unwilling to participate in the BOJ’s bond purchases.



This was readily apparent in Monday’s Rinban operation (i.e., Japan's POMO) across 5-to10-year bonds which saw the lowest offer-to-cover ratio on record, as dealers refused to sell to the BOJ! Other tenors also saw a sharp drop in the amount of bonds offered to sell.





"Demand for JGBs as collateral and its importance now is heightening." SMBC Nikko rates strategist Souichi Takeyama told Bloomberg. And here is the big problem that is now facing the BOJ: "There is little incentive to sell to the BOJ because there are more effective ways to make use of JGBs."



In other words, unless the BOJ provides dealers with a substantial "pick up" in principal relative to market prices, dealers will simply hold on their bonds as they can earn far more by simply renting the bonds out than purchasing any comparable securities. However, that would be frowned upon as it would constitute a clear subsidy to the local banks which, ironically, have been crushed in recent decades by the lack of net interest margin with the entire Japanese yield curve trading flat.



Making matters worse, the surge in demand comes at a time when the Bank of Japan is stepping up its own JGB purchases, in its bid to provide liquidity to financial markets grappling with the worsening coronavirus outbreak. However, with banks now openly refusing to sell to the BOJ, either the Japanese QE will fail, or bond prices will have to rise much more, pushing yields even lower, and further impairing bank interest margin calculations. On net, as Bloomberg notes, "that means less supply available for Japanese banks who have so far tapped over $150 billion in ultra-cheap dollar funding."



The bottom line, according to Takeyama, is that "there is risk that the BOJ offers may not get sufficient bids."



In other words, we may have finally hit a point where the market becomes self-stabilizing, as the very mechanism that central banks used to nationalize capital markets results in so much distortion that market participants no longer have an incentive to use it. In short, QE in Japan, which was first among the developed nations to hit the zero bound (and drop below it) and the first to exponentially ramp up bond purchases, is now on the verge of failure.




Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 11:45
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Hillary Clinton: "Nobody Likes Bernie"

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Hillary Clinton: "Nobody Likes Bernie"

Authored by Jonathan Turley,



One of the most curious things to watch after the 2016 election was the unrelenting reclamation project called Hillary Clinton.





It seems the unending work of powerful figures in the Washington and Hollywood establishment. The project now has a name: “Hillary.” It is the latest documentary on Hulu tha

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t seeks to show how Hillary was a victim of sexism but remains the oracle of our age. The work was the brainchild of producer Howard T. Owens and Washington power broker Robert Barnett who represents Clinton. Barnett offered undisclosed footage as an enticement for another effort to repackage Clinton’s historic loss to Trump.



The film by Nanette Burstein apparently will be largely devoid of critical voices, except Hillary’s of course. Lashing out at her critics, she takes particular aim at Bernie Sanders who she seems to blame for ruining her coronation but making the 2016 Democratic primary competitive. In an ironic projection, she declares that “no one likes Bernie” — a curious view since it took the help of the DNC to rig the primary against his surging support in 2016.





The interview is classic Clinton. She feigns reluctance to criticize Sanders during the primary. She insists “I am not going to go there yet” and then goes there. Her attack on Sanders is read to her and then she strongly eludes to his sexism and his cabal of supporters.



After the election, Clinton alternatively blamed sexism, racism, self-hating women, domineering boyfriends, Russian hackers, Bernie Sanders, and of course, James Comey.  The most obvious reason is that Clinton remains a highly unpopular figure and was viewed as inauthentic on the campaign by many.  Many of us were critical when the Democratic establishment (and virtually every Democratic member of Congress) all but guaranteed the nomination of Clinton despite every poll showing her to be unpopular and the voters seeking an anti-establishment choice.



Now her ire appears directed at Sanders. In an embarrassingly one sided interview on documentary, Lacey Rose quotes Clinton in saying:




“He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”




She goes to say that “people got sucked into” his campaign and strongly suggests that he is himself sexist.




“I’m not going to go there yet. We’re still in a very vigorous primary season. I will say, however, that it’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women.”




It seems like powerful figures will not stop in this reclamation project until people relent and agree that Hillary lost because of sexism, Comey, Sanders, self-loathing women, a conservative cabal, and other late additions to the Clinton black list. It simply cannot be that she was universally viewed as inauthentic due to her refusal to answer questions directly or her changing her positions on core issues from gay marriage to war powers to suit the polls. It cannot be that she remained one of the biggest war hawks in Washington or that she and her husband cashed in on speeches and deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars.



The problem is that it has not worked. She remains highly unpopular with voters so the public is being called to yet another reeducation on the life and continuing times of Hillary Clinton. The question is whether a general statement of concession will end this never ending reclamation project.  Even Sanders might be willing to sign on to such a collective capitulation in the interest of just moving on.




Tyler Durden

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 10:15


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"Reality Is Officially Here": Nobody Buying Homes In Greenwich Is Paying Top Dollar Anymore

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"Reality Is Officially Here": Nobody Buying Homes In Greenwich Is Paying Top Dollar Anymore

Today in optimistic real estate news...



...almost all housing in Greenwich is now selling for discounts to the sticker price. 90% of single family deals that closed in the fourth quarter were for less than what the seller was asking, according to Bloomberg. This marks the biggest percentage of deals dating back to mid 201

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7.



The average discount to the asking price was 9.6%, according to appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate.



But the best news is that the price cuts didn't do much to improve sales, which fell by 12% from a year earlier to 117. However, they did contribute to a decline in Greenwich's listings - the biggest decline since Q1 2017 - as owners refused to discount their properties. 





Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel said: “Reality is officially here. We’re getting to a point where they have to decide: Do they want to ever sell, or do they want to withdraw?”



Homeowners in the area are adjusting to the climate where even wealthy buyers have become sensitive to price. Wall Street bonuses have been on the decline and shoppers are showing less interest in oversized estates far from transit and retail. New tax laws that limit deductions have also acted as a headwind for the area.



Dealmaking hasn't increased in any of the last five quarters, but low mortgage rates still have buyers on the prowl for value. Contracts at the end of the year pricked up slightly, which could suggest a stronger Q1 on its way. As of Dec. 31, there were 74 transactions pending, which is up 54% from the year prior. 



David Haffenreffer, manager of the Greenwich office of Houlihan Lawrence: “At the right price there’s always an audience.” 





“People are recognizing there are deals to be had,” he continued.



One section of town, north of the Merritt Parkway, saw deals jump 54%. The area is replete with sprawling estates set back from "winding two lane roads". It was the largest increase for any neighborhood, but was the area where the buyers also got the largest discounts. 



The neighborhood was also home to the biggest sale of the quarter, after the owners of an estate took a 45% haircut from a price they paid in 2010. The estate sold once belonged to Mel Gibson and sold last month for $13.25 million after being on the market for seven years. 




Tyler Durden

Sun, 01/19/2020 - 20:55


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Business Finance

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Camera Footage Of Epstein's First Suicide Attempt Has Disappeared, And Nobody Knows Why

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Camera Footage Of Epstein's First Suicide Attempt Has Disappeared, And Nobody Knows Why

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,



Surveillance footage showing Jeffrey Epstein’s first alleged suicide attempt has “gone missing.”





On July 23, Epstein was sharing a cell with Nick Tartaglione when the disgraced sex trafficker apparently tried to hang himself. Epstein subsequently cla

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imed that Tartaglione, a former cop accused of killing four people in a botched drug deal, had tried to kill him.



However, when Bruce Barket, Tartaglione’s lawyer, requested surveillance footage from the cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (which he had formally requested be preserved two days after the suicide attempt), he was told it had disappeared...




“We asked for all the video and photographic evidence to be preserved, specifically this surveillance video. Now it’s gone,” said Attorney Bruce Barket.



“I don’t know the details of how it was lost or destroyed or why it wasn’t retained when it should have been."




The video footage was relevant to Tartaglione’s defense because it is potentially evidence of the ex-cop’s good character.




“It is on the surface troubling,” Barket added.



“I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve found out more details.”




According to TMZ, the feds had no explanation for why the footage has gone missing, they said they simply can't find it.



More "mistakes"?



The judge, helpfully, told prosecutors to look further into what happened to it.



Finally, remember: There are no conspiracies and you can trust the authorities and the mainstream media... and, also, Epstein didn’t kill himself.





*  *  *



My voice is being silenced by free speech-hating Silicon Valley behemoths who want me disappeared forever. It is CRUCIAL that you support me. Please sign up for the free newsletter here. Donate to me on SubscribeStar here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown.




Tyler Durden

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 23:05
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If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is: Nobody can decrypt the Dharma ransomware

logicfish Security sounds good true most likely nobody decrypt dharma ransomware All https://go.theregister.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Not even data recovery companies

A data recovery company is dubiously claiming it has cracked decryption of Dharma ransomware – despite there being no known method of unscrambling its files.…

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Roberts: The Trade War Is Over & Nobody Won

zerohedge News roberts trade over nobody All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,




“You break it, you own it.”




Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell cited this Pottery Barn rule back in 2002. He was advising President George W. Bush of the consequences should an Iraq invasion go badly.





In fact, Pottery Barn has no such rule. You can go in their stores and handle the merchandise all you wish. They see occasional breakage as a cost of doing business.



But Powel

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l still chose a good metaphor. Presidents aren’t just shopping for knickknacks when they make economic and foreign policy decisions. They have real, sometimes deadly consequences.



Bush should have listened more closely.



Far from the “cake walk” Pentagon officials predicted, the Iraq War cost the US vast amounts of money and several thousand lives, not even counting the (much larger) Iraqi death toll.



Worse, the underlying nuclear proliferation problem Bush sought to solve is still with us.



President Trump’s trade war looks more like the Iraq fiasco every day. Some of the China-related problems are real. The US is right to demand changes. But Trump’s tariff strategy is…



  • hurting American businesses, farmers, and consumers;

  • not solving the China problems; and

  • possibly making them even worse.

When you can’t possibly win, the wisest choice is to disengage and try again later. Beijing appears to be doing exactly that.



Conversely, Trump is breaking valuable merchandise and still not achieving any of his trade goals.



That may be entertaining, but it’s not “winning.”



Currency Unleashed

Some important stuff happened in the last two weeks. We may look back and see them as historic.



First, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates, in part due to the economic damage Trump’s trade fights are causing.



Second, having successfully forced the Fed to bend, Trump immediately caused yet more damage by threatening yet more tariffs on China.



(That should tell Jerome Powell something: Trump will consume any breathing room the Fed provides, which means looser policy won’t achieve what the Fed wants. So why do it? Good question.)



Third, China responded by letting its yuan currency fall against the US dollar. This partially offsets the impact of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese businesses.



Fourth, the US Treasury Department labeled China a “currency manipulator.”



In fact, what China did was stop its previous manipulation, which had kept the yuan artificially strong. That’s a step in the right direction if you actually believe in free markets.



China could have done this long ago, but Xi Jinping kept it as his ace card. It’s a risky move with enormous symbolic value.



Using the yuan in this way means (loosely translated from the original Mandarin): “We’re done, Trump. Call us when you want to actually negotiate.”



That won’t happen, of course, because Trump can’t admit failure or show weakness. He is more likely to crank up the pressure even more. Chinese leadership knows this and is ready for it.



But not everyone is ready.



Zero Profit Growth

Lost amid the late-July news torrent was a big revision to the Commerce Department’s “national accounts” data. That’s where we get Gross Domestic Product (GDP).



Previously, the data showed a big jump in pretax corporate profits beginning in 4Q 2016 (coincident with Trump’s elections). The revisions now show pretax profits were essentially flat since then.





Chart: Gavekal Research



The 2017 tax cut helped corporate profits, but less than we thought.



Of course, it could have been worse. Profits could have turned into losses. But if—as CEOs never tire of saying—profits prove business success, the fact they aren’t growing under a supposedly “pro-business” administration is a bad sign.



Why is profit growth down to practically zero? Many reasons, but the trade war is a big one.



Let’s also note, flat profits overall do not mean flat profits everywhere. Some US companies are doing just fine. They tend to be those with less international exposure, or those benefiting from Trump regulatory changes and deficit spending. Rarely is it because customers are spending more.



Which means, these companies aren’t prepared to withstand a recession. Many are highly leveraged, having borrowed enormous sums to finance share buybacks. They will resort to layoffs quickly when revenue shrinks, because they will have little else to cut.



All this leads nowhere good.



The trade war is harming the economy and delivering no benefits in return. None, zero, zip.



As a political matter, though, Trump must keep fighting even if China won’t fight back. Unless he can get some face-saving compromise (highly doubtful), we should expect more tariffs, “national security” export controls, and other pressure tactics.



I don’t think they will work. Unlike Trump, Xi Jinping doesn’t have to worry about re-election, and he has more ways to keep his population under control if the Chinese economy stumbles.



Consequences For All

In sum, the US will keep fighting a trade war we already lost. We will do that because our president likes tariffs and (wrongly) thinks they help the economy. Congress knows otherwise but is incapable of stopping him. The Iraq parallels are obvious.



But tariffs actually aren’t the worst part of all this. The worst part is that businesses are paralyzed, unable to make growth decisions because they have no idea what government policy will be next week, let alone a year from now.



That, I believe, is the main reason business profits aren’t growing. Boards have gone into survival mode—just trying to hold what they have and using buybacks to create the illusion of growth.



This has consequences for everyone, most immediately the workers who will lose their jobs when recession strikes. But investors will lose, too.



US public companies are $12 trillion more valuable than they were when Trump was elected. They are not $12 trillion more profitable. Share prices are up because investors are paying higher prices (P/E ratios) for the same “goods,” i.e. earnings.



It didn’t have to be this way. We might have had a mild recession that was winding down right now. But no. Instead we got a damaging trade war, corporate tax cuts that inflated asset prices without sparking much growth, and politically-driven monetary policy.



Will the one who broke it, own it, as the Pottery Barn rule requires?

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Woke Capitalism: Answering A Question Nobody Asked

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Via Doug Casey's InternationalMan.com,





International Man: Everything seems to be increasingly politicized these days… in a way that it wasn’t just a few years ago. To name a few, we see it in sports, with large corporations like Procter & Gamble in their razor blade ads.



Politics is creeping into more and more areas. It’s a trend that seems to be accelerating.



How did this happen and what does it mean?



Doug Casey: The politicization of the country is poisonous

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>. Politics is not like the fiction of some friends getting together and deciding what movie to see. It’s about force and coercion. This is the myth of democracy, which amounts to a somewhat gentler version of mob rule.



Politics is about getting control of the reins of the State. It’s a question of one group of people getting to tell every other group what they must and must not do. And how much they have to pay for the privilege.



It’s astonishing politics has become so popular—considering that only the worst kind of people are drawn to it. As evidence, I’d offer the current slate of Democratic presidential candidates. Although, I promise you, their Republican counterparts, waiting in the wings, are no better. Remember that lineup of buffoons who were on stage in 2016?



In theory, the purpose of the State—which itself is congealed force—is to protect its citizens within its bailiwick from illegitimate force. That means police to protect you from force within the country, a military to protect you from outside force, and a court system to allow you to adjudicate disputes without resorting to force.



But the State has gone far, far, beyond those boundaries. In fact, it does none of those three things well today. Instead, it tries to control every other aspect of life, at the expense of its subjects.



That’s why everything has become politicized in the US. Americans have come to see the State as their parent, so they’re constantly pleading with it, like children, asking it for favors and benefits. Like children, they expect the State to magically support them.



They don’t seem to understand that the State isn’t a cornucopia. It’s the opposite. It’s a dangerous parasite. A huge tapeworm in the body of society.



Over the last 100 years the average American’s mind has been captured by the idea of politics and the State. It’s the Stockholm syndrome—where people are captured by kidnappers and actually grow to love and support them—writ large.



Where's this trend going to go?



I'm a believer that trends in motion tend to stay in motion until they reach a crisis. Only then can the trend change. So the growth of the State—which is abetted by the politicization of American society—is going to continue growing until we reach a crisis. I don't know what will happen during that crisis. Will it change direction, or will it mutate into something even worse? Could it be as bad as what happened in France in 1789, Russia in 1917, Germany in 1933, or China in 1946? It's unpredictable.



International Man: Where do you think this shift in seeing everything through a political lens comes from?



Doug Casey: The State has expanded hugely from its original function of protecting people from actual force. It's now perceived as a cornucopia that can give everybody everything.



For instance, it’s completely taken over the education system—and the public applauds that, because they think it’s “free” and “fair.” Most teachers today—almost all college professors—are cultural Marxists, leftists, socialists, welfare statists, and the like. And they indoctrinate the students in their classes.



There was always a tendency for this to be the case, because academics naturally tend to live in a bubble. They resent the fact that although they’re well educated, they generally earn far less than businessmen. That resentment is evident in their political and economic views.



Even as recently as the ‘60s relatively few kids went to college. Now practically everybody goes to college. Not only is the indoctrination now far more virulent, but far more people are being exposed to it.



You can see this in the Democratic Party, where the two dozen or so people running for president vie with each other to promise more free stuff than the last person. They're coming up with the most collectivist possible ideas. The millennials—who've been indoctrinated in college, high school, and even grade school—accept these ideas. Kids will have a much bigger effect on the 2020 elections than they did in 2016.



Not only don't I see any change in the trend—I only see an acceleration of the current trend from every point of view.



International Man: A big part of this trend involves the politicization of Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook.



When people engage in discourse that is at odds with mainstream ideas on these platforms—not just in politics but in health, nutrition, economics… everything—there seems to be a concerned effort to silence it.



How did these powerful platforms become guardians of the mainstream and leftist propaganda?



Doug Casey: It seems the main way people communicate with each other today is through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like. And these platforms—as huge as they are—are indirectly controlled by elements of the government.



People on these platforms who believe in ideas at odds with what "everybody" believes are apparently being de-platformed in large numbers.



I personally know people who’ve had a presence on Facebook or YouTube, and have been kicked off it. Because of what they believe or say. That makes it very hard for them to communicate with their previous audiences.



Now on the one hand, Facebook, YouTube, and others have a perfect right to kick anybody off their platforms because they're privately owned. On the other hand, these companies are indirect arms of the government. Or, more precisely, the Deep State.



The CIA, the NSA, the FBI and the other praetorian agencies all have black budgets. Part of it is money from Congress that’s siphoned into corporations run by sympathetic individuals and cronies. It's augmented by activities like running drugs, weapons, and God knows what else. This is rather famous in the case of the CIA. But there are probably two dozen government agencies that have black budgets, hidden by the veil of “national security.” They’re governments within the government, secret and untouchable.



I have little doubt that people from these praetorian agencies invested in and supported outfits like Google, Facebook, and Amazon from the very beginning. And influence them today.



It used to be in the ‘60s and ‘70s, that computer guys were libertarian oriented. Remember when the guys at Google used to have a sense of humor, and their motto was “Don't be evil”? Most people have forgotten that was actually their official motto. They now have a lot of power, and power corrupts.



International Man: With these Big Tech companies it seems to go beyond politics. They’re now policing people who have alternative views on health and medicine.



For example, recently, Facebook targeted the global exercise brand CrossFit. The group, which had about 1.6 million users on Facebook, was de-listed without warning because the individuals in that group were discussing a low carb, high fat diet.



This is contrary to the mainstream ideas on health and nutrition, which is of course dictated by large government agencies like the USDA. Is this further proof that companies like Facebook have become extensions of the government?



Doug Casey: It really is. Busybodies are naturally drawn to organizations where they can impose their views on others.



Like most government departments, the USDA should be abolished. It has over 100,000 employees and it doesn't produce a single bushel of wheat, or a single cow. On the contrary, it makes farmers lives miserable. Any useful functions it has would be easily provided by entrepreneurs in the market.



In the area of food recommendations, the USDA’s food pyramid puts grains at the foundation. However, since modern humans came into being probably about 200,000 years ago, humans have primarily lived on the meat, vegetables, roots, and nuts. Our ancestors didn't live on grains for 95% of human history, and humans aren’t bred to do so. Grains are fine for maintaining large masses of people cheaply, but they're not optimal for individual health. Especially not once they’re highly refined and processed.



Who knows what's going on in this bureaucracy’s hive mind? But it shouldn't make any difference to us, because nobody should be getting health advice or medical advice from a government bureaucracy.



Related to that, I thought it was interesting that the founder of CrossFit is a self-described libertarian.



Could that have anything to do with the fact that his group was de-platformed?  I don't know. But if you're off Facebook and you can't use Google, it makes it much harder to communicate with people. Right now these companies have an immense amount of power.



However, I’m not overly concerned.



Why not? I think, barring State intervention, the market will to solve the problem. I'm certainly not looking for the government to intervene. If anything, by making more laws the government will only cause more distortions making the situation worse directly and indirectly.



Hopefully, Facebook will annoy enough people that millions, then tens, then hundreds of millions will just cancel their accounts. That will drain power from them. And perhaps a hundred other Facebook or YouTube lookalikes will grow up and decentralize the market. Various innovations using blockchain technology will accelerate the process. Instead of having a few giant platforms, maybe there'll be hundreds of platforms, with many different characteristics.



Facebook and most all of the other major tech corporations are tremendous short sale opportunities. Not only are they in an enormous market bubble today. But people are starting to actively distrust and dislike them. They’re like any other large organization - once they get to a certain size they inevitably become corrupt, concrete-bound, unmanageable, and counterproductive.



I’d look at pair trades - short things like Facebook, and long equal amounts of smaller companies and startups looking to dethrone them.



*  *  *



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