Zero Hedge

100 Children Shot In Philadelphia Year-To-Date

100 Children Shot In Philadelphia Year-To-Date Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 19:25

100 children have been shot in Philadelphia so far this year, according to police, who say they will take a 'multi-pronged approach' to keep them safe.

7-year-old Zamar Jones was fatally shot last weekend

"This culture of violence where we have adults are willing to shoot indiscriminately into crowds of people without care or concern for women or children," said Philadelphia Police First Deputy Commissioner, Melvin Singleton, according to CBS Philly.

Police say there is a plan in place to curb the violence, but it will take some time.

“Now we have to be strategic, targeted, identify our repeat offenders and target those folks,” Singleton said. -CBS Philly

Last weekend, 7-year-old child Zamar Jones was fatally shot on his front porch around 7:40 p.m. when he was caught in the crossfire of a shootout where at least 16 shots were fired. Jones was shot in the head.

27-year-old Christopher Linder was taken into custody later that night after he attempted to recover his bullet-ridden truck, while antother man, 30-year-old Michael Banks, turned himself in.

While involved in the manhunt for the suspect in the Jones murder, police were called to another West Philadelphia shooting where a 6-year-old girl playing with friends was shot in the chest.

She is currently in the hospital in stable condition while her shooter remains at large. Both shootings happened less than three miles apart.

Fighting Over Kashmir Could Blow Up The Planet

Fighting Over Kashmir Could Blow Up The Planet Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 19:05

Authored by T.J.Coles via Counterpunch.org,

Jammu and Kashmir, widely referred to as Kashmir, has had many designations since India and Pakistan were partitioned by Britain and gained their respective independence from the Empire: a Princely State, a State, a Union Territory.

The 86,000 mile, Muslim-majority region sits in the Himalayas on the border with China. It is of strategic significance to both India and Pakistan, primarily because of the Siachen Glacier which brings freshwater the drought-ridden nations.

India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons: armaments of such destruction that even a “minor” regional war would cause more than a decade of global nuclear winter.

Both countries have already fought several times over Kashmir.

With India going down the route of Hindu fanaticism and Pakistan gripped by Islamism, both nations compound their irrationalities with a different form of religious extremism exported from the West, namely neoliberal economics. The chances of global survival diminish.

The question is what we in the West can do to pressure our governments to de-escalate the conflict and cease exacerbating it.

JAMMU AND KASHMIR

The princely state of Kashmir was ruled by a Hindu Maharaja, Hari Singh. Following independence from Britain in 1947, Pakistani fighters invaded Kashmir. Singh signed the Instrument of Accession to India, igniting war between India and Pakistan, which lasted for two years. Two-thirds of Kashmir fell under Indian control. Both states violated UN Security Council Resolution 47: India refused to hold an election, which would have allowed the Muslim-majority population to decide their future, and Pakistan never withdrew its troops. India subsequently opposed UN involvement in the dispute.

In 1965, Pakistan infiltrated troops into the Indian zones in an apparent effort to incite a counter-India insurgency. Around 6,000 people were killed during the 17-day Indian counter-offensive. The war ended with the so-called Line of Control, created by the Simla Agreement of 1972, which followed another conflict in Kashmir and basically existed until India’s annexation of Kashmir in 2019. Following a growing independence movement among Kashmiris, India passed the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978, which led to the disappearances of around 8,000 Kashmiris and the indefinite detention of hundreds more.

In a repeat of 1965, India tried to seize the high ground of Kargil in 1999. A few years later, two Kashmiri groups based in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, attacked the Indian Parliament, nearly triggering war. A so-called Composite Dialogue was established, seeking to bring the more moderate independence groups into negotiations. This led to a ceasefire.

In 2007, a bilateral peace plan was nearly finalized, but collapsed due to Pakistan’s internal problems. Pro-independence demonstrations ended in violence in 2010. Tensions rose again in 2016, with India’s murder of Burhan Wani, the leader of the group Hizbul Mujahedin. Hundreds were detained and dozens killed, following more protests. In 2017, the Indian government declared its lack of interest in peace talks as curfews were imposed. However, India employed the ex-intelligence officer, intelligence official, Dineshwar Sharma, to seek a consensus for peace. This was scuppered by Pakistan’s decision to release from house arrest, Hafiz Saaed of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In 2019, India bombed Pakistan in retaliation for an SUV attack in Kashmir, attributed to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad. In August, India’s ultra-Hindu nationalist BJP party revoked Article 370 of the Constitution, effectively ending Jammu and Kashmir’s formal autonomy and leading to its de facto annexation.

RESPONSES

How are Britain and the U.S. responding?

In 2017, the UK exported £370m-worth of military equipment to India, including components for aerial targeting equipment, RADAR, technology for military space craft, viruses (yes, viruses), and nuclear detection equipment and graphite; an element used in nuclear weapons production.

In the same year, the UK exported £14m-worth of military equipment to Pakistan, including aerial targeting equipment and deuterium compounds, which can also be used in nuclear reactors. After the declaration of ceasefire in 2018, the UK continued to feed the war machine.

In that year, it exported £164m-worth of similar military equipment to India and £19m-worth to Pakistan.

India has had the atomic bomb since 1974, when it conducted an underground test (“Smiling Buddha”). In 1998, India began testing again, allegedly prompting Pakistan to test and formally declare possession. Like Israel, neither country is party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. During the 1980s, the U.S. Reagan administration allowed Pakistan’s dictator Zia ul-Haq to develop nuclear weapons, partly in exchange for using Pakistan as a base to recruit and transport anti-Soviet Mujahiddeen, later rebranded “al-Qaeda” by the CIA. In 2006, the U.S. lifted sanctions on India, enabling it to import nuclear materials.

In July, shortly before India’s unilateral annexation, Trump told India’s PM Modi that the U.S. would be willing to act as a moderator between the two states over Kashmir. This gave Modi leverage to annex: the logic being that India seizes the main prize and “negotiates” smaller ones. This tactic is modelled on Israel’s theft of Palestine and its sham “peace process.” Indeed, these events occurred around the time that Israeli PM Netanyahu was greenlighted by Trump to formally annex parts of Palestine.

India is mimicking Israel in other ways. Just as Israel holds 1.8m Gazans hostage behind a wall, India is keeping Bangladeshis locked into their poverty by constructing a “security fence” on the border. Just as Israel cries “anti-Semitism” whenever pressure is put upon it to treat Palestinians with minimal decency, BJP apologists accuse Modi opponents of “Hinduphobia.”

As Britain’s Lord Desai signed a letter denouncing alleged anti-Semitism within the UK Labour Party under the lefty leader and anti-occupation activist, Jeremy Corbyn, Desai appeared on television in praise of India’s lockdown Kashmir. Labour’s new leader, Keir Starmer, seems to be to the left of the party on social issues (at the moment), thanks to pressure from the grassroots. But Starmer is a Blarite in his approach to foreign policy. A lawyer and former head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Sir Keir said: 

“Any constitutional issues in India are a matter for the Indian Parliament, and Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully.”

CONCLUSION

Every few years, scientists model nuclear winter. Recently, climatologists modelled “the potential effects” of nuclear powers detonating “50 Hiroshima-size bombs—less than 1 percent of the estimated world arsenal.” They found that at least five million tons of soot would block out the Sun for fifteen years and reduce global crop production by 11 percent. In 2015, Pakistan declared that it had developed tactical nukes, which are usually of a small yield and therefore more dangerous because they increase the likelihood of being used. India’s nukes are more advanced and capable of being delivered from sea, on land, and dropped from the air.

Nearly three decades ago, Hindus razed a mosque in Ayodhya, India, said to have been built on the site of the Hindu god, Ram. Today, Modi is back at the site to inaugurate the construction of a Hindu temple. Zafaryab Jilani, General Secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, says: 

“It is against the letter and spirit of India’s secular constitution for the prime minister in his official capacity to attend such a religious event.”

With these underlying cultural tensions creating a psychology of illogicality, a war sparked in Kashmir over, for instance, access to water from the Siachen Glacier, could prove fatal for us all. We will have ourselves to blame, in part, for not pressuring our leaders to forge peace: if there’s anyone left to blame after the atoms are split.

Mentally Ill Professor Invented Bisexual Native American Persona Who 'Died' Of COVID-19

Mentally Ill Professor Invented Bisexual Native American Persona Who 'Died' Of COVID-19 Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 18:45

A former assistant professor who was denied tenure at Vanderbilt University for sending threats to colleagues was busted running a years-long 'hoax' - in which she invented an online persona on Twitter claiming to be an oppressed bisexual, Native American geologist.

BethAnn McLaughlin created the persona, @Sciencing_Bi, in 2016 while working as an assistant professor of neurology at Vanderbilt. After being denied tenure in 2017, McLaughlin left the university in July of 2018 - going on to found MeTooSTEM, a nonprofit organization aimed at advising scientists who are the victims of sexual harassment.

Illustratiopn by Anita Kunz via Science

But McLaughlin was doing much more than harassing coworkers and failing to earn promotions.

According to the New York Times:

The anonymous account, @Sciencing_Bi, was an active participant in the corner of Science Twitter that frequently discusses issues of sexual misconduct in the sciences. It claimed on at least one occasion to have grown up in Alabama, to have “fled the south because of their oppression of queer folk,” and to have attended Catholic school. The account began to pointedly make reference to being Native American and, earlier this year, began to identify as Hopi.

Then, McLaughlin decided to kill off @Sciencing_Bi, announcing in April that she had contracted coronavirus - which she publicly blamed on Arizona State University, which she says made her teach in a lecture hall with 200 people.

Last Friday, BethAnn McLaughlin announced that @Sciencing_Bi had died of the virus.

Then it gets really weird (via HotAir.com)

After her “death” BethAnn McLaughlin suggested that she’d been in an intimate relationship with the woman known only as @Sciencing_Bi. “Looking at her side of the bed and crying. Just a lot of crying.”

But pretty quickly McLaughlin’s story began to really fall apart as people noticed that details @Sciencing_Bi had claimed about Arizona State University were false, e.g. she didn’t know the correct dates for the school’s closing. Also, looking back over her tweets it seemed that she had only referenced her Native American ancestry fairly recently.  

What's more, people caught McLaughlin using stock photos.

In the end, Twitter suspended McLaughlin's personal account and her @Sciencing_Bi persona, while ASU told BuzzFeed that they had no record of any such person.

As the questions swirled, the account settings were switched to private. Then late on Sunday, Twitter suspended both McLaughlin’s and the @Sciencing_Bi accounts.

“We’re aware of this activity and have suspended these accounts for violating our spam and platform manipulation policies,” a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News by email. The company declined to comment on whether it had any forensic evidence linking the two accounts to the same device or person.

A spokesperson from ASU told BuzzFeed News they had no record of any faculty matching @Sciencing_Bi’s description. And other parts of @Sciencing_Bi’s accounts did not match up: The university closed its campus in March, switching to online instruction, and did not implement salary cuts.

We have been looking into this for the last 24 hours and cannot verify any connection with the university,” ASU spokesperson Katie Paquet told BuzzFeed News by email on Sunday. “We have been in touch with several deans and faculty members and no one can identify the account or who might be behind it.” -BuzzFeed

Finally, McLaughlin admitted to being behind the anonymous account.

"I take full responsibility for my involvement in creating the @sciencing_bi Twitter account. My actions are inexcusable. I apologize without reservation to all the people I hurt," she said in a statement to the New York Times, adding that she's aware she needs mental health treatment.

"As I’ve reflected on my actions the last few days, it’s become clear to me that I need mental health treatment, which I’m pursuing now."

Daily Briefing - August 7, 2020

Daily Briefing - August 7, 2020 Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 18:25 Real Vision CEO Raoul Pal is joined by senior editor Ash Bennington to discuss the current state of different asset classes at this unique juncture. Raoul shares his view on the dollar, precious metals, and bitcoin. He also provides a strategic update on his unfolding thesis. Raoul guides viewers from the hope event into the insolvency phase as high-frequency data show slowdowns in economic activity. Raoul and Ash discuss why they think bitcoin is a favorable trade, and they explore why buying calls on the VIX and puts on the S&P 500 could ballast a gold-heavy portfolio. In the intro, Jack Farley discusses today's Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ignorance Prevails Once Again!

Ignorance Prevails Once Again! Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 18:25

Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity... and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

Yale Study tests the best Covid vaccine propaganda

Is guilt, self-interest, or anger the most effective way to convince people to get a Covid vaccine?

A Yale study will attempt to answer that question, by studying which message resonates most with the general population. It’s called Persuasive Messages for COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake.

There is no actual vaccine yet. But the study is already testing to see which method of propaganda will most effectively convince people to get a vaccine… whenever that happens to be.

The study will also measure how confident the propaganda makes people feel about a vaccine, and if it makes participants want to persuade others to take the vaccine.

Finally, researchers want to see if the propaganda produces fear in the unvaccinated, and how much social judgment it will cast on those who choose to remain unvaccinated.

Just in case you start to see a “spontaneous” groundswell of popular support for a brand new untested vaccine…

Click here to read about the study on clinicaltrials.gov.

*  *  *

Bed and Breakfast removes insensitive Norwegian flag

Being Norwegian is now racially insensitive.

At least that’s true for people who can’t tell the difference between the Norwegian and Confederate flag.

A bed and breakfast in Michigan calls itself the Nordic Pineapple. The owners used to hang a Norwegian flag out front (next to the American flag) to celebrate the heritage of co-founder Kjersten Offbecker.

But the red flag with a blue and white cross drew criticism from some guests, passers-by, and of course, the Twitter-mob.

The couple who owns the B&B says they received substantial hate mail, bad reviews, and angry phone calls from people who thought they were flying the Confederate flag of the former Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

They had originally tried to educate people that, in fact, THE NORWEGIAN FLAG IS NOT THE CONFEDERATE FLAG.

(Honestly– take a look. The Norwegian flag looks NOTHING like the confederate flag. You have to be totally blind to confuse the two.)

But they quickly realized that the Twitter mob has no mind (or soul) and is hence incapable of being educated.

Ignorance prevails again!

Click here to read the full story.

*  * *

Scottish Hate Crime bill could outlaw the Bible and theater performances

The Catholic Church has expressed concern that the Bible could be outlawed under a section of a Scottish Hate Crime bill.

The legislation would make it illegal to possess “inflammatory material” which could “stir up hatred” of a person or group based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and so on.

For instance, if a prosecutor decides that supporting typical gender roles constitutes “stirring up hatred,” the Bible could be considered “inflammatory material” for any number of relationships depicted– or the rules laid out in the Book of Leviticus.

The bill also specifically takes aim at theater performances, noting that portrayal of fictional characters does NOT exempt an actor or producer from liability.

An actor, director, or writer could be prosecuted under the law when an offense “is committed during a public performance of a play by a person who is a performer in the play.”

So if you’re an actor who plays a fictional bigot that uses racist language, you could be prosecuted under this law.

Of course this gives the government all the power it needs to ban essentially any book or play that they determine stirs up hatred.

This is yet another nail in the coffin for free speech and expression in the [formerly] civilized world.

Click here to read the full bill.

*  *  *

Illinois Lawmaker wants to ban history class for being racist

A State Representative from Illinois is leading a charge to abolish history classes and remove history books from public schools.

He says that these books and lessons currently teach a racist history which promotes systemic racism (similar to how future Nobel Prize laureate Colin Kaepernick called July 4th a “celebration of white supremacy”).

Until the books can be replaced with something that better indoctrinates– or, uh, teaches– kids about the history that the Marxist censors approve of, these classes should be replaced with classes that better promote today’s zeitgeist.

Click here to read the full story.

*  *  *

Colorado declaring racism a public health crisis

Colorado has declared racism a public health crisis.

That will allow the Department of Public Health to take funds that were earmarked for things like, you know, health, and divert those funds towards the eradication of systemic racism.

But don’t forget about all the glorious powers the state claimed to fight the Covid public health crisis…

Surely the Governor of Colorado has just as much power to end systemic racism.

For instance, if you can shut down restaurants for spreading Covid, you could shut down restaurants for spreading racism– or perhaps having too large a proportion of white patrons.

If you can force the sick to quarantine, you can detain anyone who says something you consider racist– like “All Lives Matter”– until they are cured.

Remember, one Colorado town even banned property owners from their own vacation properties in the name of Covid-19 safety.

Don’t support Black Lives Matter (i.e. the organization co-founded by– in their own words–  “trained Marxists” that has taken in hundreds of millions of dollars without a shred of financial transparency) ?

Well perhaps the town will restrict you from your property for this thought-crime.

Click here to read the full story.

*  *  *

Trader Joe’s backtracks: “we disagree that any of these labels are racist.”

Trader Joe’s decided that the store will not bow to a teenage girl’s petition we wrote about two weeks ago.

The Twitter mobsters demanded that Trader Joe’s change the culturally insensitive branding of certain products, like Trader Jose’s Beer, or Trader Ming’s Chinese Food.

Originally it appeared that Trader Joe’s would bow to the mob when the chain said that, although the brand names were “rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect.”

But now, Trader Joe’s won’t change the names after all.

The store now disagrees that its labels are racist, and they will make decisions based on customers, not Twitter mobs.

“Recently we have heard from many customers reaffirming that these name variations are largely viewed in exactly the way they were intended­—as an attempt to have fun with our product marketing.”

Click here to read the full story.

*  *  *

On another note... We think gold could DOUBLE and silver could increase by up to 5 TIMES in the next few years. That's why we published a new, 50-page long Ultimate Guide on Gold & Silver that you can download here.

Steele's Source Met With Russian Official Days Before Dossier Fabrication Began

Steele's Source Met With Russian Official Days Before Dossier Fabrication Began Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 18:05

Christopher Steele's primary dossier source - alcoholic Russian national Igor Danchenko, who worked at Brookings with a Trump impeachment witness, met with a Russian energy official just four days before Steele produced the first of 17 memos which comprise his infamous opposition research on the Trump campaign.

Notably, Steele's first memo contained the salacious allegation that the Kremlin was blackmailing President Trump over a video of prostitutes urinating on each other at the Moscow Ritz Carlton in 2013 in a room which the Obamas had previously stayed.

The debunked accusation has made fake news headlines for years, as propagandists such as the New York Times have squeezed as much mileage as possible out of the dossier's absurd claims.

According to the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross, Danchenko met with Sergey Abyshev - who was a deputy-director in the energy ministry, as well as the editor-in-chief of a Russian finance website, Ivan Vorontsov. The meeting was documented in a Facebook post by Vorontsov, and confirmed by Abyshev.

It is unclear what they talked about - but it occurred as Danchenko was in the thick of his work with Christopher Steele, who the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign and the DNC paid to cook up opposition research on President Trump's campaign. The dossier was a key component of several FISA warrants issued to spy on former campaign aide Carter Page and his contacts, and was widely distributed by US media outlets in a campaign to discredit Trump.

Danchenko, a Russian national who lives in Washington, D.C., told the FBI in January 2017 that Steele, a former MI6 officer, tasked him in June 2016 to dig up dirt on Trump. Steele was hired in May 2016 by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm working for the Clinton campaign and DNC.

Vorontsov posted a photo on June 16, 2016 from the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), an annual business conclave, saying he had met the prior evening with Danchenko and Abyshev.

The night before was so nice with Sergey Abyshev and Igor Danchenko,” Vorontsov wrote. -Daily Caller

According to Abyshev, the encounter with Danchenko was "an almost accidental meeting in the center of Moscow with three ‘cheerful’ guys," adding "As a result, I had to listen to a lecture on investment opportunities for about 20 minutes."

Read the rest of the report here.

How To Become "Anti-Fragile"

How To Become "Anti-Fragile" Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 17:45

Authored by Patrice Lewis via The Organic Prepper blog,

I have a little fantasy which I’ll tell you about it in a moment. First, let me digress to an article I read several years ago. I regret I don’t remember enough details to do an internet search on it, but here’s the gist:

A man committed some sort of misdemeanor crime. He retreated to his rural home and stubbornly refused to appear in court. Rather than instigate what could easily become an armed standoff, authorities informed the man he would be arrested the moment he set foot off his property.

They cut off his water. They cut off his power. (I don’t know if they cut off his mail.)

And yet – he and his family stuck it out for TEN YEARS. For ten years, they were entirely self-contained and made no outside trips at all. After that ten years, the authorities apparently decided the man had been sufficiently “punished” for whatever crime he committed, and lifted the injunction. Then, and only then, did he emerge from his self-imposed exile.

I must admit – putting aside whatever misdemeanor he committed – I have to admire this guy. I’m not saying those ten years were easy or fun. I don’t know how close he or his family came to starving. I don’t know what kind of untreated medical issues they had to deal with. I don’t know how they handled laundry or other sanitation matters.

But they made it. They survived. Whatever your views on this fellow’s shenanigans, you have to admit it was a neat trick.

How does this relate to my fantasy?

Wouldn’t it be something to be completely self-contained for ten years and still manage to stay alive? That said, I’m afraid it will remain a fantasy. I’m currently 58 years old and my husband is 63. We’re in excellent health, but our peak strength is behind us. So, in lieu of being able to self-isolate for ten years, we’re concentrating on becoming anti-fragile instead, a far more achievable goal.

I found the term “anti-fragile” in an American Thinker piece entitled “How to Fight the Woke – and Win” in which the author stated,

“In war, you must always secure your supply lines. One of the Woke’s most powerful weapons is economic pressure, so take that away from them as much as possible. Being anti-fragile will allow you to stand firm when you need to speak the truth.”

The fear of losing everything is very real.

Between the pandemic, potential food shortages, social unrest, and possible economic collapse, we are living in uncertain times. Many people are terrified of the cancel culture, which essentially is a cult of bullies. It’s hard to speak up or fight back when doing so could destroy everything you’ve worked for – your job, your business, your career, your home, your family’s security, even your physical safety.

“My husband has been dealing with this at work for nearly 20 years, and yes, it has recently gotten noticeably worse,” one of my readers said. “We are brainstorming ways to increase the number of income streams that are not dependent on him having the job he currently has, because the conditions are NOT going to improve.”

There are even some warnings about the cancel culture in a cashless society.

Addison Wiggin on the Daily Reckoning wrote, “But there’s another angle to the cashless society that hasn’t gotten much attention:  What if the powers that be can ‘cancel’ people with unpopular political opinions?”

That’s why it’s important to become as “anti-fragile” as possible. The less vulnerable we are, the more we can stand tall and fight back against the bullies.

How can you become less fragile?

Consider these options:

  • Can you cultivate multiple income sources? The fear of losing one’s employment is a driving force behind many people’s silence. If you can build up a number of different ways to earn money, then you’re not left destitute if you lose your job.

  • Can you reduce your debt? Debt is one of the biggest reasons people cling to jobs in hostile work environments.

  • Can you reduce your expenses? Low-cost living is one of the most powerful tools in anyone’s financial arsenal. The fewer expenses you have, the less vulnerable you are to an economic interruption.

  • Can you transition to working from home, either full-time or with multiple part-time occupations? The less you have to venture into a hostile society, the better.

  • Can you skip college (and its associated student loan debt and insane hostility to American values) and train in the trades or other fields where demand is high? I’ve spent years preaching about the evils of the college industrial complex. Many degrees are worthless in the marketplace  and leave the graduates burdened with massive student loan debt.

  • Can you harden your social media position? It’s no accident people are migrating to platforms such as Gab or Parler, which are less likely to discriminate based on political suasions.

  • Can you leave the city and move somewhere less chaotic and less expensive? Not only will this be safer, but it may lower your mortgage.

  • Can you back up your computer, your blog, your website? This may sound trivial when compared to the above list – until suddenly your computer crashes or is hacked and you lose immeasurable amounts of data. (Trust me on this.)

  • Can you grow your own food? In a crashed economy, food becomes currency, and food security means you can’t be extorted by people seeking control over you.

  • Can you homeschool? Having control over your children’s education gives them both stability and continuity.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Learn to eat lentils, folks

Obviously these are difficult steps for many people – which, sadly, means they’ll have to continue what they’re doing (shutting up and keeping their heads low). Nor can any of this be done overnight. It takes time to pay down debt or cultivate alternate income streams.

The point is, the more you can become self-sufficient, the less people can tell you what to do, threaten your livelihood, “cancel” your existence, or otherwise bully you into submission. Becoming anti-fragile won’t be easy, but it’s a goal worth striving toward.

This is not a new concept. There’s a story about the Greek philosopher Diogenes. Another philosopher named Aristippus had obtained a comfortable position at the court of the tyrant-king Dionysius. One day, watching Diogenes preparing a humble meal of lentils, Aristippus observed, “If you would only learn to compliment Dionysius, you wouldn’t have to live on lentils.” To which Diogenes replied, “If you would only learn to live on lentils, you wouldn’t have to flatter Dionysius.”

This sums up the tactic of being anti-fragile. Maybe you can’t self-exile for ten years, but at least you can give the middle finger to the cancel culture.

39% Of Younger Millennials Return Home Amid Crushing Recession 

39% Of Younger Millennials Return Home Amid Crushing Recession  Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 17:25

The virus-induced recession has abruptly upended younger millennials (ages 24 to 29) from living on their own, have now moved back home, according to a new survey.

The new survey, commissioned by TD Ameritrade (seen by CNBC), found that out of the 2,000 young millennials surveyed, about 39% are in the process or have already moved back home because of the crushing economic downturn. 

About 15% of the respondents said they're on financial life-support, with their parents helping to subsidize rent, while another 15% said their parents are covering all rental expenses.

An overwhelming majority (82%) said they don't want to rely on their parents for financial support, but due to the economic downturn, it seems like many have no other choice.

A crushing recession could be the best thing for millennials. Allows them to move home, save money, pay down pesky auto loans, credit card debt, and student loans. So by the time the next economic upswing starts, their debt loads will be low, allowing them more economic mobility. 

Another reason why millennials should considering moving back is that the recovery stalled in mid/late June, and some cases reversing. A recovery heading south again is bad news for the labor market, as we noted this week, the second round of layoffs is well underway. 

For more color on this, the latest Chase credit and debit card data shows consumer spending activity is well below the baseline and stalled in mid-June.

The stalled recovery has led to a reversal in the labor market with Initial Claims and Continuing Claims now on the upswing. The slowdown in the economy has been widely attributed to rising COVID-19 cases and deaths in Sun Belt states, resulting in much of the country to slow down, pause, or reverse reopenings. 

What this means is that the economic surprise index will likely reverse.  

Young millennials are making the right choice to move home as the crushing virus-induced recession persists. 

US-China Hotline Sparks Paranoia Among Military, Intel Officials

US-China Hotline Sparks Paranoia Among Military, Intel Officials Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 17:05

Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com,

High tensions mean communications are often difficult in the modern era, and countries have used a direct hotline as a way to keep things from spiraling out of control. Recently, the US and China are considering an updated version of the hotline to avoid catastrophes.

But US-China relations are at a multi-decade low, and distrust is such that intelligence and military officials are offering rather paranoid predictions of ways that China might abuse the hotline to deceive the US.

AP file image: Jet landing on U.S.S. Ronald Reagan following patrol off the South China Sea.

The biggest objection to the phone seems to be based on it being a phone, with retired Captain James Fanell, a former director of intelligence in the Pacific Fleet warning the US might feel dependent on the phone, and then have China “fail to answer” when there is a crisis.

“There are those within the government who have long advocated for establishing communications channels with the PLA at the operational levels of command, in the belief this would help avert a conflict, especially for cases of accidents at sea or in the air,”  Fanell told The Washington Times.

“I am not sure how effective such a communications channel would be, as [China] may try and make us dependent upon such a protocol but then in the midst of a crisis fail to answer the other end of the line,” he added.

Others suggested China might delay answering the phone in a time-sensitive situation to delay a US reaction to something.

While these are technically possible, it’s hard to imagine the US getting into a fight with China and not attempting to communicate first, whether or not there is a dedicated phone to do so.

Wirecard Fraudsters Looted $1 Billion From The Company Just Before 'The Hammer Came Down'

Wirecard Fraudsters Looted $1 Billion From The Company Just Before 'The Hammer Came Down' Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 16:45

Yesterday, we reported that a former Wirecard business partner named Christopher Bauer who likely played a key role in the $2 billion accounting fraud that was exposed in June, precipitating the company's slide into bankruptcy, had apparently turned up dead in Manila. Or that's at least what Bauer wanted the world to think.

As the FT's digging into Wirecard's sprawling fraud takes its reporters across Southeast Asia, the paper's intrepid reporters have apparently found a series of suspicious loans to Bauer's third-party company, an couple other Wirecard 'payment partners' that look more like the company was being looted by executives and probable participants in the fraud right before the hammer came down.

That hammer came in the form of KPMG's independent report, which was, ironically, commissioned by the company under pressure from the media and investors. These loans were made to partner companies in the Dubai, Singapore and Philippines, further complicating, and potentially obscuring, the fraud. Bauer's former company, PayEasy, and a handful of others named below.

Here's more from the FT:

Money flowing out of the company accelerated in the months before the collapse. About €155m appears to have been paid out over the first three months of 2020. The bulk of the new loans extended in early 2020 went to Ocap — a Singapore-based company run by a former Wirecard executive whose wife at the time still worked in a senior position at the company. In the first quarter, Ocap received almost €100m, giving it a total debt to Wirecard of €230m, according to a document seen by the FT and two people familiar with the matter. Ruprecht Services, another Singapore-based payments company, received a loan of €40m in the first quarter, lifting its total outstanding debt to Wirecard to €53m, according to a person familiar with the details. It suspended operations this week. The additional lending to the two Singapore-based entities pushed Wirecard’s total loans to business partners in Asia to €870m ($1bn) by March 2020, according to a document seen by the Financial Times. The additional lending came even as KPMG was conducting a special audit at Wirecard in an effort to confirm or refute allegations published in the FT about accounting fraud at the company. Loans also went to Al Alam in Dubai, PayEasy in Manila and Senjo in Singapore — three companies that Wirecard has in the past said processed credit card payments on its behalf in jurisdictions where it did not have its own licences to operate.

Meanwhile, authorities in Singapore have arrested another senior Wirecard executive who allegedly helped the company hide the $2 billion hole in its balance sheet by signing off on fraudulent reports.

Here's more on that from BBG:

Singapore has accused a director of a local accounting firm of falsifying documents, making its first charges in relation to the scandal surrounding disgraced German payments company Wirecard AG.

R. Shanmugaratnam, a director of Citadelle Corporate Services Pte, was charged with “wilfully and with intent to defraud” falsifying letters to Wirecard, stating that the Singapore firm held tens of millions in euros in escrow accounts, according to charge sheets filed last month and seen by Bloomberg News.

The 54-year-old Singaporean is the first person to be indicted in the city-state over the spectacular collapse of Wirecard, a scandal which has reverberated across the world. The German digital-payments company filed for insolvency in June after saying that 1.9 billion euros ($2.3 billion) previously reported as assets didn’t exist.

The first of the four charges against Shanmugaratnam says that in March 2017, he falsely stated that there was a balance of 177.5 million euros held by Citadelle in an escrow account on Dec. 31, 2016. The other three charges say that in March 2016, he misrepresented that there was 66.4 million euros, 47 million euros and 30 million euros held by Citadelle in three escrow accounts on Dec. 31, 2015.

Singapore was the headquarters of Wirecard's mostly fraudulent southeast asian business. As far as the loan money goes, our original theory, that Bauer was knocked off by organized criminals nervous about his knowledge of Wirecard's work with front companies for organized crime.

But since he disappeared in the Philippines and officials apparently haven't seen a body, we strongly suspect that Bauer may have taken his share of the stolen billion (a large slug worth hundreds of millions of euros) and vanished to live out his days on a beach somewhere (probably in Russia).

5 Ways "The New COVID Normal" Is Getting Worse And Worse

5 Ways "The New COVID Normal" Is Getting Worse And Worse Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 16:25

Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org,

It’s been a big few days for the New Normal narrative and, through the deliberately cultivated haze of confusion, it’s not hard to see the world they want to build is taking shape.

1. AUSTRALIA’S CURFEW

The state of Victoria, and the city of Melbourne, have declared a “state of disaster” and instituted a lockdown and curfew. The state’s 6.3 million inhabitants, nearly 5 million in the city, have to follow these restrictions:

  • Workplaces and shops that are not deemed essential will close or reduce their hours from Wednesday midnight but services such as supermarkets, petrol stations and doctors will remain open.

  • “Permitted” or essential workers will have to carry a special permit to work outside the home.

  • There is a nightly curfew in force: between the hours of 8pm and 5am you cannot leave home except for work or to get or provide urgent care.

  • You must stay within five kilometres of your home to shop or exercise.

  • If you leave the house to exercise, it should be for only one hour each day.

  • While up to two people can still exercise together, people should shop on their own – groups in public, even from the same household, are no longer allowed.

  • Schools will shift to remote learning except for vulnerable students and children of permitted workers.

  • Childcare centres will close to all but vulnerable children and those of essential workers.

  • Funerals can continue with a maximum of 10 people but weddings are off except for rare, compassionate reasons.

Since march, Australia has had 247 Covid19 deaths, across the entire country. The median age of these deaths is over 80.

2. UK DOCTOR: “MEN SHOULD TAKE FEMALE HORMONES TO PREVENT COVID19 INFECTION”

Dr Amir Khan appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today, suggesting men – who are notionally at increased risk of coronavirus infection – should take a contraceptive pill filled with oestrogen. His theory, which he did not support with research, is that the oestrogen will boost the male immune system.

Hormone treatment is a big deal, potentially dangerous and seriously life-changing. To suggest its use to treat a disease which is harmless in over 95% of cases is borderline insanity, especially with no research to back it up. We tweeted about at the time, but GMB’s twitter account has since deleted the video.

At a time when doctors are named-and-shamed (and even fired) for suggesting a known safe medicine like HCQ, or sites like ours are branded “misinformation” for pointing out that PCR tests are unreliable, that a man should appear on national television making such ridiculous claims boggles the mind.

3. MANDATORY MASKS WEREN’T ENOUGH

Dr Deborah Birx recently announced that people in high-risk areas or multi-generational homes should consider wearing masks at home as well.

Elsewhere, The Guardian ran an article titled “You’re already wearing a mask – now consider a face shield and goggles”, which echoes Dr Fauci claiming that “perfect” virus protection would involve wearing visors or googles over your eyes.

4. DOOR TO DOORS TESTS IN LEICESTER

Independent Journalist Anna Brees recently posted this image to twitter:

It has since been confirmed genuine. In the UK city of Leicester they are literally going door-to-door to test people. The mayor of Leicester said on the Leicester council website:

Testing is vitally important as it provides us with the information we need to track the virus […] That’s why we’re helping to run the biggest testing operation in the country, mobilising around 500 volunteers to support door-to-door testing, particularly in areas of the city where positive test results have been higher.

That’s not all the testing news either, new 90 minute tests are set to be used in schools as soon as possible, with a DNA based test set to be rolled out nation wide in September which will “eliminate false negatives”.

There is not one word in the article about “eliminating” false positives, which are very common in all PCR-based testing. So prepare for a huge wave of “new cases” when these tests enter wide circulation.

5. WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM PUSHING “IMMUNITY PASSPORTS”

If you don’t like being forced to wear masks (and/or visors), or being placed under house arrest or (for some reason) under a curfew, or indeed, having to take hormone treatments…well don’t worry. Because the World Economic Forum has the solution – immunity passports.

This is not a new idea, it’s been floating around for months, but now the WEF is actually pushing an app that…

uses blockchain technology to store encrypted data from individual blood tests, allowing users to prove that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

It goes on to say that using this kind of app is the only solution to getting everything back to (the old) normal:

CovidPass could also allow hotels, cinemas, theatres, sporting and concert venues to reopen safely.

If you think this all sounds like something from a dystopian novel, well you’re right. But there’s a silver lining. The app which uses your medical history to decide if you’re allowed to travel will be real environmentally friendly:

CovidPass commits to mandatory carbon offsetting for each flight passenger, to preserve the environmental benefits of reduced air travel during the crisis.

So there’s that, at least.

*  *  *

It’s not hard to see the pattern taking shape here. Increasingly strict social controls on what you can wear, where you can go, when you can go there and so on and so on…and then the proposed solution.

A brief test and a little app that tracks your movement, or labels you nice and clean, a brand new vaccination for anybody who wants it (and most of the people who don’t) and then we can get back to normal.

It is manipulative blackmail of the worst kind, and it appears to be working.

Tech Tumbles Into Weekend, Copper Crumbles As Silver Soars

Tech Tumbles Into Weekend, Copper Crumbles As Silver Soars Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 16:00

While stocks soared on the week (led by Small Caps' best week in two months)...

Today's "good" news on jobs (spoiling the odds of more imminent money-printing) and stimulus plan delays (again less money to be thrown around) sparked the biggest drop in Nasdaq in almost 3 weeks... Schumer said today's meeting was "disappointing" and that sent stocks lower in the last hour, then Mnuchin said Trump would do an Executive Order and stocks rose pushing the Dow and S&P (barely) green on the day...

Nasdaq down for first time in eight days

As Jim Bianco (@biancoresearch) explained so succinctly:

Talks on passing the latest stimulus package are stalled. This is stimulus checks and additions to unemployment insurance.

Does anyone doubt if the stock market tanked 10% to 20% they would pass this bill immediately?

But it does not tank because the Fed and their "unlimited printing press" stand ready to halt any "unpleasantness" in markets.

So, the better the "wealthy" do (stockholders) the less the urgency to help the "not wealthy" (non-stockholders).

The worst inequality ever?

And FANG stocks tumbled...

Source: Bloomberg

Worst day for momentum in almost a month...

Source: Bloomberg

"Someone turn the machines back on!!!"

Amid the biggest weekly short-squeeze in two months...

Source: Bloomberg

After more than a week of decoupling, bond yields and stock prices converged a little today...

Source: Bloomberg

Treasuries were sold today, sending yields positive for the week...

Source: Bloomberg

Treasury yields remain stuck at or near record lows...

Source: Bloomberg

The dollar ended the week basically unchanged after an early roller-coaster...

Source: Bloomberg

Offshore Yuan was hit on US sanctions today...

Source: Bloomberg

Cryptos were mixed on the week, Ripple and Ethereum gained notably (despite today's weakness), Bitcoin was up very modestly and Litecoin And Bitcoin Cash were red..

Source: Bloomberg

Bitcoin managed to recover the losses from last weekend's flash-crash... only to flash-crash (smaller) today...

Source: Bloomberg

As Ethereum hit $400 and was immediately slammed...

Source: Bloomberg

On the week, silver soared as copper was clubbed like a baby seal today...

Source: Bloomberg

Gold futures fell today but remain above $2,000...

Silver also fell on the day after futures almost tagged $30...

The gold-silver ratio crashed below 70x this week - its lowest since April 2017...

Source: Bloomberg

But still a long way to go its 60x average level...

Copper diverged dramatically from stocks (what does Dr.Copper know?), suffering its worst week since March...

Source: Bloomberg

Finally, we note that one thing is in great demand.

The physical gold premium over futures prices spiked to its highest since 2014...

Source: Bloomberg

UPitt Prof Stripped Of Position After Questioning Affirmative Action In Admissions

UPitt Prof Stripped Of Position After Questioning Affirmative Action In Admissions Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 15:45

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

This week I testified in the Senate about the erosion of free speech and academic freedom in our universities where professors are being punished or even fired for expressing viewpoints that challenge a new orthodoxy on our campuses, particularly with regard to racial and political issues.  The latest example can be found this week at the University of Pittsburgh, which has removed Associate Professor of Medicine Norman Wang from his position as Program Director of the Electrophysiology Fellowship. 

The removal was in direct response to Wang publishing an article in a peer-reviewed journal that questioned the use of affirmative action in medical schools admissions. The action raises serious concerns over both free speech and academic freedom. The only thing more unsettling than the actions of the university was the relative silence of his colleagues throughout the University of Pittsburgh as he was punished for expressing his academic views.

In the white paper in the Journal of the American Heart Association,  Wang wrote:

Racial and ethnic preferences at both the undergraduate and professional school levels for blacks and Hispanics result in relatively weak academic starting positions in classes. This has been postulated to lead to poor performance through compounding ‘academic mismatch,’ stress‐related interference, and disengagement. Many do not complete their intended programs or do not attain academic success to be attractive candidates for subsequent educational programs or employment..."

We will have succeeded when we no longer think we require black doctors for black patients, chicano doctors for chicano patients, or gay doctors for gay patients, but rather good doctors for all patients.’ Evolution to strategies that are neutral to race and ethnicity is essential. Ultimately, all who aspire to a profession in medicine and cardiology must be assessed as individuals on the basis of their personal merits, not their racial and ethnic identities..."

According to MedPage Today, the Journal announced that it was reevaluating the paper and Editor Barry London, MD, PhD, attached an apology to the paper, saying JAHA “will support all efforts to correct this error, including but not limited to the publication of alternate viewpoints, which we solicited at the time of publication but have not yet been submitted to the journal. In addition, we will work to improve our peer review system to prevent future missteps of this type.”

I am not in a position to judge the merits of the entire paper. However, Wang was expressing his academic view and defending that view with what he considered to be supporting data. He is challenging commonly held positions to be sure in writing such things as:

“There exists no empirical evidence by accepted standards for causal inference to support the mantra that ‘diversity saves lives.'

The pledge to publish “alternative viewpoints” is a good one. That is what academic debate and free speech is all about. However, the report that Wang has been stripped of one of his positions is deeply disturbing. There must be room for debate over the efficacy and basis for affirmative action in our schools. Wang clearly does not support such programs, at least to the degree that they have been used in admissions. It is a view that is consistent with some of the members of the Supreme Court in cases like Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (2014) and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978).

Yet, Wang has been apparently been removed from his position as Program Director of the Electrophysiology Fellowship.

Once again, I am less concerned with the merits of the debate as I am the right to have such a debate.  The action taken against Wang clearly sends a signal that such unpopular views will not be tolerated.  The “reevaluation” orders by the Journal also raises the concern that the type of cringing compliance that we saw recently at the New York Times is now invading our academic journals.

While the UPitt handbook is relatively understated in its expression of support for academic freedom, it does declare in Article II that “Autonomy and freedom of inquiry are required for the University to carry out its mission.” Simply because Professor Wang does not endorse the use of affirmative action in admissions does not mean that those views impact his treatment of students or countermand any university policies. Indeed, he presented his views for debate in a respected academic journal.  The objection is not that he is right in these views but that he has a right to express them without punishment or retaliation.

US Consumer Credit Rises For The First TIme Since The Covid Crisis

US Consumer Credit Rises For The First TIme Since The Covid Crisis Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 15:30

After three months of record declines, total US consumer credit posted its first increase in the month of June since the covid crisis, rising by a modest $8.9 billion, below the $10 billion expected, but the positive print since February nonetheless.

In total, June consumer credit rose 2.6% at an annual rate to $4.125 trillion up from $4.116 trillion in May, according to the latest G.19 statement.

Broken up into its components, revolving credit actually posted another modest drop, but nothing compared to the record credit card repayment seen in April when credit card balances shrank by nearly $60 billion.

Meanwhile, the trend higher in auto and student loans, i.e., non-revolving credit, continued apace rising by $11.3BN in June after a $10.3bn increase in May and a rare contraction in April.

Finally, when looking at the biggest component of US household debt after mortgages, namely auto loans and student loans, it's as if nothing every happened, with both series hitting new all time highs.

With total credit now once again positive, and revolving credit likely having gone green in July, it appears that life in America - where virtually everyone spends well beyond their means - is back to normal. At least until the next forced state shutdowns a few weeks from now to ensure that the economy is in complete shambles by the time Nov 3 rolls by.

Portland Mayor Turns On Protesters, Accuses Them Of 'Attempting To Commit Murder'

Portland Mayor Turns On Protesters, Accuses Them Of 'Attempting To Commit Murder' Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 15:10

Three weeks ago, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was standing shoulder to shoulder with angry protesters, gagging on tear gas in a show of solidarity against federal agents sent there to restore order.

Now, the federal agents are gone as Wheeler's city continues to spiral out of control.

On Thursday evening, Wheeler condemned rioters who tried to torch a police precinct after blocking the exits while officers were still inside, according to Fox News.

"When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder," said Wheeler in a joint press conference with Police Chief Chuck Lovell.

"Don’t think for a moment that you are if you are participating in this activity, you are not being a prop for the reelection campaign of Donald Trump — because you absolutely are," he added. "You are creating the B-roll film that will be used in ads nationally to help Donald Trump during this campaign. If you don’t want to be part of that, then don’t show up."

On Wednesday, a riot was declared after protesters swarmed the Portland Police Bureau's East Precinct Building - breaking glass doors, lighting a fire using an accelerant, throwing fireworks and other objects at officers, and spray-painting over security cameras. According to the report, someone in a truck also tried to run over police officers.

The front doors of the precinct were barricaded before the fire was started with more than 20 officers and civilian employees inside, police said, according to FOX 12.

Officers used tear gas to disperse the rioters and at least eight people were arrested. A federal court order bars police from using tear gas unless a riot is declared.

I believe that city staff could have died last night,” Wheeler said. “I cannot and I will not tolerate that. This is not peaceful protests. This is not advocacy to advance reforms.” -Fox News

"If you are a nonviolent demonstrator and you don’t want to be part of intentional violence, please stay away from these areas," said Wheeler. "Our community must say that this violence is not Portland, that these actions do not reflect our values and these crimes are distracting from reform, not advancing."

Wheeler says he anticipates "additional planned attacks on public buildings" in the next few days - and has authorized police to do what is necessary to respond as long as peaceful protesters aren't threatened.

Inequality Has Never Been Bigger: Financial Assets Hit A Record 620% Of GDP

Inequality Has Never Been Bigger: Financial Assets Hit A Record 620% Of GDP Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 14:55

It was about a year ago when we showed a snapshot of the outrages wealth imbalance in the US with the help of just one metric: as of Aug 2019, Wall Street (US private sector financial assets) was 5.5x the size of Main Street (US GDP), and as BofA's Michael Hartnett pointed out, between 1950 & 2000 the norm was 2.5-3.5x. His conclusion, as recent events have sadly confirmed "Wall Street is now "too big to fail"."

Well fast forward one global pandemic and one unprecedented bailout later, which none other than Hartnett himself framed in the best possible way as follows...

"The monetary and the fiscal stimulus in terms of the announcements thus far, it comes to $20 trillion, $8 trillion of monetary stimulus and $12 trillion of fiscal stimulus. And that number is - it's a little over 20% of global GDP. So it's just astonishing and breathtaking and you have to sort of pinch yourself sometimes to sort of realize that it's actually happening."

... when in his latest Flows and Liquidity report, the BofA Chief Investment Officer provided an update on this most critical metric and it's a doozy.

Dubbing it the "Nihilistic Bull", Hartnett describes the current market as the consequence of a decade-long backdrop of Maximum Liquidity & Minimal Growth still Maximum Bullish, and more importantly, it has led to the value of US financial assets (Wall Street) now hitting an all time high 6.2X size of GDP (Main Street). In other words, not only is Wall Street now "even bigger to fail", but in its attempt to "fix" inequality, the Fed has made it greater than ever, and the now daily violence on America's streets is the most immediate consequence... if only those people protesting knew that they should target their anger not at the Capitol but the Marriner Eccles building.

Going back to the chart above, and the market that spawned it, Hartnett writes that "nothing matters but liquidity...GDP loss of $10tn & US claims 53mn numbed by $21tn policy stimulus, $2bn per hour central bank asset purchases." Furthermore, according to the BofA credit strategist, "the structural view on low yields now shared by all...doesn’t mean to say it is wrong...but it’s inciting a bubble" which is why Hartnett is now confident that the scramble into all asset will not end until the S&P is at 4000, gold $3000, and oil $60, all of which are "probably inconsistent with 0% Treasury yields."

And while not directly caused by it, it's worth recalling that the top 5 stocks are now a record 23% og the S&P500, surpassing dramatically the tech bubble peak:

And in the latest indication of just how long in the tooth the current bubble has become, BofA is now recycling the worst puns of 2018 and 2019, to wit:

I’m so bearish, I’m bullish: Minimal Growth = Maximum Liquidity = Maximum Bullish; narrative of 2010s hardens in 2020 as massive Wall St recovery coincides with Main St recession.

Meanwhile, as the market is stuck in the biggest bubble every, the economy is disintegrating, as banks refuse to lend (as discussed extensively here), while states can't spend, to wit:

Banks won’t lend: 71% of loan officers reported tighter bank lending standards in Q2, the tightest since Q4 ’08.


State & local governments can’t spend: state tax revenues down 37% YoY in New York, down 42% in California, down 53% in Oregon (Exhibit 1); US state & municipal shortfalls could be >$1tn worse-case in 2020 as no back-to-school, no back-to-office, no back-to-revenue.

All of this is of course happening as gold is exploding to daily all time highs as helicopter money is off the charts and deficits soaring: "U.S. federal budget deficit @ 25% of GDP if Phase IV fiscal stimulus >$1tn, highest since 1943 WWII peak of 27.5%."

Meanwhile, as even Goldman notes, the Dollar's reserve status is on borrowed time due to a tsunami of printing and debasing: as Hartnett writes, the US debt & deficits to be financed by:

  • Fed balance sheet (“Japanification” means higher UST holdings at Fed – Chart 5), and
  • Debasement of US dollar; big inflection points in US dollar always harbinger of leadership change (1971 = Stagflation, 1980 = Disinflation, 2001 = Globalization, 2020 = Inflation to solve Inequality).

What does all of this mean for markets? Three things - the "summer dip" Hartnett expected may not be coming after all, but 2020 will be the "big top ", and while 2020 is the megabull unleashed by central banks, 2021 will be the bear:

  • Summer dip: late-summer dip (SPX to 3050) thus far wrong but “air pocket” risk grows post +ve July payroll & Phase IV fiscal stimulus; Turkish lira at all-time low = 1st sign capital flow dislocations (as JPY approached 100); lower government yields bullish until credit spreads widen
  • Big top: 2020 risk asset peak most likely at time of vaccine, full capitulation by bears, higher interest rates; history of great bear market rallies predicts SPX 3300-3600 top between Aug-Jan; liquidity driving Wall St overshoots until weaker dollar/wider credit spreads signal credit event or fiscal stimulus/higher yields signal recovery.

His conclusion: "2020 = Bull; 2021 = Bear: bigger government, smaller world, US dollar debasement...big picture themes of 2021...buy volatility & inflation assets." 

Translation: buy vix, buy gold.

Schiff: People Don't Understand The Significance Of $2,000 Gold

Schiff: People Don't Understand The Significance Of $2,000 Gold Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 14:42

Via SchiffGold.com,

Gold reached a new milestone Tuesday, breaking above $2,000 for the first time ever. The yellow metal closed just above $2,017 an ounce. Peter talked about gold’s new record high and what it’s telling us in his latest podcast. He says most people still don’t really understand the significance of $2,000 gold.

Peter noted that when gold first peaked its head above $2,000, it immediately sold off. He said that kind of nervousness is exactly what he wants to see in a gold bull market.

Instead of wanting to buy the breakout, they want to sell the high print. And that’s exactly what they did. And of course, once gold pulled back, all the buying that drove it up to $2,000 in the first place was still there. The problem for the sellers, or the shorts, is once it got back above 2,000 again, all the people who wanted to sell 2,000 gold had already sold and the smart money had bought it from them.”

Peter said gold could be building support above $2,000, although it’s too early to tell.

I’ve been saying that the support has been inching higher and higher and higher as more and more buyers enter the market and the supply of sellers is diminished.”

Peter said more evidence of the wall of worry is that we haven’t seen a big rush into gold stocks yet. They are doing well, but they are nowhere near their 2011 highs even though the price of gold is higher than it was at that peak.

I don’t think we’re going to see a meaningful correction in this market until we see that rush, until we see some money actually coming off the sideline, until we see some mainstream investors coming into gold.”

Peter said he was listening to CNBC and one analyst was explaining why gold’s move above $2,000 wasn’t a big deal and predicting the yellow metal will sell off as soon as real interest rates go positive.

I’m just laughing. I mean, just as soon as real interest rates go positive? When is that going to happen? I mean, that’s not even close to happening. Positive real interest rates aren’t even anywhere on the horizon. So, if you think gold is going to keep rising until real interest rates go positive, you should be buying it with both hands. I mean, obviously, there’s no way the Fed is ever going to get in front of the inflation curve and have nominal interest rates higher than the CPI, let alone the actual rate of inflation, which the CPI doesn’t even come close to capturing.”

Peter said if you’re actually worried about gold crashing, you should be more concerned about the stock market, or the real estate market, or the bond market, or the entire economy crashing.

The only reason anything is going up is because real interest rates are negative. So, if that’s your view on gold, you should have the same view on every single asset that there is. But no, I’m sure if you talk to that guy, he’s bullish on the stock market.”

In reality, gold is the only asset that’s not in a bubble because of negative real interest rates.

Silver has gone along for the ride with gold. The white metal was trading just below $26 when Peter recorded his podcast. By Wednesday morning, silver had surged to over $26.80. Peter said $26 silver is still a steal.

Don’t worry is you missed the bottom... You can keep buying now because we are still much closer to the bottom than to the top. You can buy gold and silver at SchiffGold.”

Peter said the only thing that really surprised him about $2,000 gold is that it took so long to get here.

But I think that the thousand dollar milestones are going to start dropping like dominoes here. And I think people are going to take notice, because today, very few people are noticing or commenting on the significance of gold going over 2,000 because they don’t understand it.”

The rising price of gold is telling us that the dollar is in trouble.

The dollar is on fire, and the fire may have begun with the dollar, but it’s going to spread to the financial markets and the entire economy and people just don’t get this.

Peter said that even though the rise in gold is vindicating and financially rewarding, he doesn’t feel like he can really celebrate gold going to $2,000.

This is not a happy occasion because it really portends some real big problems on the horizon. I mean, most Americans don’t have any gold. There is severe economic hardship that the vast majority of Americans are going to be enduring, and gold is basically letting you know that that hardship is on the way.”

Peter said he thinks that the dollar is close to a Wile E. Coyote moment where it drops off the cliff and plummets.

I think that’s what’s going to happen soon to people who are in the dollar. As soon as they look down and realize where they’re standing, the dollar is going to drop like a stone and that’s when the price of gold is going to skyrocket. And so, you’d better be on that rocketship before that ride begins.”

In this podcast, Peter also talks about bitcoin and the Fed’s willingness to commit to more inflation.

Mnuchin Says Democrat Demands On Stimulus Are "Non Starter" As Trump Weighs Executive Order

Mnuchin Says Democrat Demands On Stimulus Are "Non Starter" As Trump Weighs Executive Order Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 14:25

As millions of unemployed Americans and struggling businesses wait for lawmakers to hammer out the fifth coronavirus relief package, Democrats remain unwilling to consider a temporary extension of a $600 per week unemployment boost - instead suggesting the GOP meet them in the middle.

Looks like that's a non-starter.

While walking into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) office on Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that a Democratic proposal to double the GOP's $1 trillion stimulus proposal if the Democrats drop theirs by $1 trillion is a "non-starter."

"Yesterday, I offered to them, we’ll take down $1 trillion if you add $1 trillion in. They said absolutely not," said Pelosi, adding "If we could do that, if we take down $1 trillion and they add $1 trillion, we’ll be within range, but we must meet the needs of the American people."

During the presser, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blamed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for the impasse.

"Basically what’s happening is Mr. Meadows is from the tea party. You have 20 Republicans in the Senate greatly influenced by them. And they don’t want to spend the necessary dollars to help get America out of this mess. Ideology sorta blinds them," said Schumer, adding "The House doesn’t have the votes to go south of $2 trillion. The Senate Democrats won’t support something less than $2 trillion."

Meadows and Mnuchin hit back, saying that Democrats have rejected their offers of compromise on the unemployment insurance boost.

While there’s an overlap in having schools, extended unemployment benefits, direct payments to the public as top priorities, the sticking points are, as always, in the details — who qualifies and how much to spend.

Additionally, Republicans have a heavy emphasis on liability protection, which Democrats said are unnecessary.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are pushing for funds for mail-in-ballots and elections, the financially struggling post office, food security programs, and a surge of funding for state and local governments — none of which have gained traction with the Republicans. -Washington Times

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are divided on their own proposal according to the Washington Times, which notes that "about a dozen of their ranks skeptical of adding another $1 trillion to the nearly $3 trillion coronavirus tab that Congress has created."

Meadows and Mnuchin also added that a larger deal, or even a "skinny" extension for top priorities are President Trump's preference - while the Commander in Chief is looking at executing an executive order which would include a payroll tax cut, eviction protections, an unemployment boost extension and flexibility on student loan repayments, according to the Times.

In short, Democrats are about to hand Trump a big optics win. And which liberal #resistance judge wants to be known as the person who took money out of Americans' pockets by striking it down?

New Yorkers, Crushed By Pandemic, See $336 Billion In Personal Wealth Evaporate

New Yorkers, Crushed By Pandemic, See $336 Billion In Personal Wealth Evaporate Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 14:10

Many U.S. cities are emerging from the coronavirus pandemic that has triggered the most severe economic contraction since the Great Depression of the 1930s. 

Research firms Webster Pacific and New World Wealth have published a new report (seen by Bloomberg) taking into account the impact of the virus-induced recession on individual wealth. 

What they found, on a metro by metro basis, is that New Yorkers lost the most wealth, recorded a whopping $336 billion loss, or -13%, compared with the previous year. 

Residents in San Francisco, the second-wealthiest city in the nation, fared better than New Yorkers, lost $105 billion, or 5% of the wealth, during the pandemic. At least two billionaires in the Bay Area were downgraded to centi-millionaires, while five billionaires were downgraded to centi-millionaires in the Big Apple. 

Researchers identify the wealthiest cities in the U.S. by including all residents' assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities: 

h/t Bloomberg 

"Job losses, declining income levels, falling stocks, and weaker high-end property values led to a 9% decrease in total wealth held in the U.S. during the first half of 2020," Bloomberg said, citing the report.

Andrew Amoils, a wealth analyst at New World Wealth and the report's author, said despite the U.S. being epicenter of the virus pandemic, it's faring much better than other nations to protect wealth. 

"The 9% drop in U.S. wealth compares with a 14% drop worldwide and declines of as much as 20% in countries like Russia and Brazil," Amoils said.

U.S. residents held $58 trillion in total wealth or about 30% of the worldwide wealth, as of June 30, making it the wealthiest nation. On a per-capita basis, Americans each held, on average, about $178,000 in net assets, place it the fifth in the world, behind Monaco, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Australia. 

The recent spread of the virus has caused the recovery to reverse, this could lead to even more wealth loss in the U.S., despite the unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, and countless fiscal injections by the federal government. 

While wealth loss is hitting the rich and poor, here's what the most richest folks are doing to avoid the next downturn. 

US Oil Rig Count Hits 15-Year-Low, Shale Remains In 'Survival' Mode

US Oil Rig Count Hits 15-Year-Low, Shale Remains In 'Survival' Mode Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 13:55

The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell by 4 in the past week to 176, according to oil-field services company Baker Hughes. That represented a decline of 588 from the year-ago period, when there were 764 oil rigs drilling in the US and is the lowest since 2004...

The U.S. oil-rig count is often seen as a proxy for activity in the sector, but for now production has held up...

But, as OilPrice.com's Irina Slav notes, after slashing capex plans for 2020 and idling rigs by the dozen, U.S. shale drillers are still not ready to return to their default state of perpetual growth. Oil is simply too cheap for that, so they are staying in survival mode, maintaining production with no plans to start boosting it anytime soon. Shale producers are caving in to low oil prices and worried investors, pledging to stick to production maintenance for the time being, Bloomberg reported this week, citing updates by several of the larger shale drillers in the United States. Modest growth in production is the most that any of these producers can offer their shareholders, with some cutting their earlier production guidance for this year and declining to provide any update on 2021.

According to some, U.S. onshore oil production shed as much as 2 million bpd when the double blow of the Saudi-Russian price war and the coronavirus pandemic struck. It will be a while before it recovers, and analysts see this “while” as at least a couple of years. Some even doubt that the industry will recover to its pre-crisis state at all.

Prices are at the heart of the problem, of course. This week benchmarks have been trending higher, but the rally has been limited: after both the API and the EIA reported substantial inventory declines that pushed West Texas Intermediate higher, today the U.S. benchmark was down at the time of writing, albeit modestly. Oil prices will likely continue to move extra-dynamically in the coming months as the spread of Covid-19 continues to cast a thick shadow over the future of the energy industry.

Karr Ingham, Petroleum Economist for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and creator of the Texas Petro Index summarized the situation in a June news release:

“Petroleum energy demand dropped off the cliff sharply and rapidly at the same time crude oil production was peaking, particularly in Texas and the U.S.,” Ingham said.

“That would have been bad enough; throw in a market share temper tantrum between Saudi Arabia and Russia at the worst possible time, and you have a thoroughly devastating impact on energy markets.”

It takes a lot of time to recover from such an impact, and this is becoming increasingly clear as prices remain stubbornly below $50, thwarting any hypothetical production growth plans. Layoffs, capex cuts, and bankruptcies are on the agenda right now, and this agenda will stay in place until WTI rises to at least $50, at least according to some industry executives who see that price level as high enough to restart drilling new wells. 

Even then, however, efforts will focus on development, that is, exploiting already proven reserves. Spending on new exploration, meaning, a substantial increase in new production, will have to wait as the industry grapples with a reality that may involve some permanent oil demand loss. This reality may force a rethinking of the whole shale business model.

“For most of my career, we would reinvest all our cash flow and then show our success by how much we could grow our production,” Bloomberg quoted the chief executive of Concho Resources as saying earlier this month. “Well, that’s not how it’s going to work in the future.”

Tim Leach is very likely right: with all that cash flow getting poured back into production, most shale producers have accumulated sizable debt piles, and now these debt piles are sinking them. In the first half of the year, 23 shale oil companies in the U.S. filed for bankruptcy protection, with a collective debt loan of over $30 billion. And more debt is maturing over the next two years, which means more bankruptcies. Those that survive will need to come with a more financially sustainable model after burning through billions of cash for the single purpose of boosting production to the record-high cliff it fell off in the spring.

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