Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Thoughts On Some Stuff Including Wall Street, The United States And The World Are Insolvent

We still don’t generally seem to have an appreciation of what is happening in the world.  Globalization is collapsing. The virus was just the trigger.  The Great Depression had a trigger far less dire than today.  A small bank in Austria, Creditanstalt failed. We have a global pandemic at a time when the global economic dislocations dwarf the lead into the Great Depression.
 
Immediately after the 2008 collapse, I wrote that globalization was dead.  Appearances can be deceiving.  The economy never recovered post 2008.  What did recover was the temporary illusion of wealth created by money printing around the world.  That then reignited the consumption splurge and the debt needed to sustain it.  The stock market rise since 2008 is exactly because there was no economic recovery.   With essentially no underlying demand for investment and capital in the economy, money poured into hot assets.  Or, paper assets.  So, even though GDP only grew by 50% from 2009, the S&P was up 500% during that same period of time.  (It’s easily explainable that the U.S. economy did not sustainably grow by 50% even though GDP showed growth.  Negative productivity driving mass immigration to add to consumption, profligate money printing driving a bubble of growth, massive fraud in corporate governance and ten trillion dollars in buybacks, massive fraud in ten trillion dollars in M&A, massive inflation in paper transactions such as commercial/residential real estate, etc.  It gives the appearance of prosperity.  But, it is all an illusion.)

The most profound aspect of this pandemic is the decades and decades of massive corporate and political corruption and rot are being exposed. One thing that has become very apparent is that the federal government is a feeble, rotten bureaucracy that can’t get out of its own way. Both parties.  All branches of the federal government. It’s that way for a reason.  Because our government is captured by corporations.  Government does not exist to serve the common good.  Pliant, unethical toadies are chosen to serve political roles because they will do the work of our corporate masters.  The only aspect of federal government that continues to work are the administrative aspects such as Medicare payments, Social Security payments and the like.  Most people already knew this.  But it’s an affirmation of my March 11th post where I stated politicians are pliant, vile, unethical assholes who are elected for that every reason. And, for that reason, this pandemic was likely to be bad news for the U.S.

Interestingly, many of the state governors, although often just as corrupt, have flexed their constitutional muscle and flipped the federal government the bird during this crisis.  If the federal government didn’t have a monopoly on money, I have no doubt most state governments wouldn’t even listen to anything Washington says.  We might want to remember that.  It may be a portent of things to come.  I’ve noted for a decade the U.S. could shatter into pieces.  We may see those pieces in the alignments that states created to re-open their economies.  These are more than just neighboring agreements that were made. They are loosely defined cultural boundaries that could form the future of new nations or geographic trading blocks if nation states disappear.  The net is the parasitic economy of hierarchical institutions is under mass duress and possible collapse whether that is privately-created debt money, monopolies, corporations, political parties, parasitic aspects of academia, professional sports, prosperity preachers, corporate media, the celebrity culture or whatnot.  But, it’s mostly corporations and corporate media.  These hierarchies subvert democracy, subvert wealth-creation and subvert the natural rights of an egalitarian, free society.

If there is one conclusion we can draw, these parasitic hierarchies rely on surplus value for their rent extraction from frontline workers and/or consumers. This crisis will spread right up the food chain and lead to mass layoffs and income cuts in these groups of entitled thieves and Godless fukctards who never cared about anything but themselves.  ANd, I know that because they never spoke out against the injustices most Americans suffer.  They never spoke out because they sold themselves out for wealth and power.  Just as I have said it would for the last decade.

One of the biggest cultural problems the U.S. has are loitering men.  Bad news for any political or economic control system.  U.S. labor participation rate after 2008 collapsed to new all-time lows for men.  And it hasn’t recovered.  This is a cultural nightmare for the state.  Men are naturally aggressive in their primitive ego state.  And, a state of fear this system and corporate capitalism requires to control the masses keeps people in that primitive ego state.  Men without jobs or a future are not to be trifled with.  Again, as noted on here for a long time, World War III could be humanity’s war against the state.  The biggest threat to the U.S. empire is not China or anyone else.  It is so dominant over the entire world that these are generally minor or controllable risks.  The biggest threat to U.S. empire is tens of millions of men with no economic opportunities or futures. And, politicians can’t keep throwing men in this category into our prison population bubble.  Because that is why we have a prison population bubble.  It should not be a surprise that bubble started around 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan and his free-market corporate capitalist neoliberal economic ideology.  Because that was the peak of wealth creation in the U.S.  And, our prison population doesn’t simply correlate to that fact.  It is because of that fact.  Law-and-order conservative politicians created the prison state to further their criminal economic doctrine. Just as they enforced the U.S. slave state in the 18th century.

Expect ever-rising internal violence in the U.S. (Other nations such as China, the Middle East, Europe, Brazil, India, etc.) Talks of a race war in the U.S. or whatnot, are ludicrous from my perspective. All men are brothers and that bond will be reaffirmed when they cumulatively experience the same systemic violence. (Obviously, there are bad apples everywhere including the brutal murder in Georgia. But those are the exceptions.) And, expect women to play a supporting role (even a leading role) in this violence against men.  I don’t make that statement because women aren’t equals of men.  That’s preposterous. I make that statement because women have husbands, sons, fathers and brothers.  And, women will defend men’s honor as we’ve seen in past repressive struggles against the corporate state.

Let me get back to the main thrust of this post.  Some months ago, I provided quite a few data points that the economy was already in deep trouble before this pandemic.  That extends globally as well.  Other parts of the world were experiencing large economic distresses before the pandemic.  It’s not necessary to understand every single event, every type of financial fraud, every financial instrument that is blowing up or every economic dislocation.  There are trillions of moving parts to the global economy and it’s impossible for one person to have the capacity to understand everything that is going to blow up in advance of that happening.  Just one example is there are hundreds of trillions of dollars of synthetic toxicity on Wall Street.

The macro factors are all that matter.  The macro factors drive the creation of that noise.  It’s the macro system and its inputs and outputs that matter.  Everything else is a distraction. Which is why none of my anticipated outcomes have ever changed over fifteen years on here.  The macro is what matters.  I could never predict a pandemic. But, I could predict specific system failures when viewing this as a complex system.

I’ve written repeatedly that we will learn the difference between money and wealth at some point.  Money in our world is not democratic. It is a control system.  And, the gold standard was anti-democratic and just as repressive.  Democratic money is fiat money.  It is abundantly available for all in society.  It is not controlled by private institutions or created through debt enslavement.  I have gone into substantial detail on how democratic money would work over the years.  That includes the fact that it should not be controlled by politicians or private corporations. The asinine comments that people will vote to give themselves free money if turned over to democracy is even more hypocritically-ignorant when the current system is already used to grant entitlement and riches to our masters while democracy is left to rot in the hell they have created.  The need for savings is not necessary with democratic money either.  There’s no need to save for a rainy day because no one would ever be denied access to the wealth of society.  Unless we have a natural cataclysm that destroys our ability to create and produce, that’s never going to happen.  (And, resiliency could be provided to ensure those external risks are reasonably mitigated.) Relieving ourselves of grubbing for money and the endless overwork that requires would have a profoundly positive social and cultural impact.  Now, that doesn’t mean everyone gets 10 TVs and shopping sprees to the mall.  Those are unsustainable dynamics that are not p art of human history except for short periods of economic slavery or social pillaging.  One has to relieve themselves of the ignorance of over-produced “consumption” that brainwashed capitalist consumerism has created.   It means human needs are met but vacuous consumption and the endless financial chases it creates could disappear.  It also doesn’t mean everyone gets the same slice of the pie.  That is a decision for society to make. But it does mean that parasites are forced to clean their own toilets.

But, let’s be clear.  All fiat currency is worthless. That includes democratic currency.  Gold is only a “store of value” for feudal, corrupt lords who store up wealth for social domination.  In other words, where there is no economic democracy.  Yes, that defines the world today.  Currency is not a store of value either. It is a medium of exchange for true wealth; the goods and services produced by a democratic, just and free society. The store of value is THAT society.  And, private finance, shareholder-owned corporations (as defined by capitalism where elites are the shareholders.) and privately-created money are parasitic costs on that wealth.  If society is rich in science, production, art, philosophy, virtue, compassion and the like, whatever happens to money or inflation or currency collapse or whatnot is essentially irrelevant.   Society’s wealth still remains.  And, access to it is never denied.  Which is why the ancient Egyptians didn’t have and didn’t need money.  Because they operated off of these concepts.  The issue is the U.S. is not THAT society.  Of course, most are not.  There are few exceptions.  Possibly small nations in Europe where compassion, sharing and stronger social bonds exist.  Instead, our currency is used to subjugate and enslave the world.  That includes American citizens.  And, as a result, we don’t have a vibrant, science-based, creative, ethical society.  We have a crumbling empire of pure rot.

With those reminders regarding money, it’s important to understand the role of the Federal Reserve.  Even if it is a corrupt system.  And, very arguably unconstitutional.  Congress is given the responsibility to coin money.  The Constitution does NOT say the Congress can outsource that responsibility of the creation of money to an anti-democratic, unelected bunch of bureaucratic half-wits doing the bidding of private corporations that then create all of our money.  Then said corporations turn around and bribe politicians with democracy’s money.

The Federal Reserve does not create wealth.  Nor does Wall Street.  They simply oversees the availability of the medium of exchange.  That’s it.  I’ve noted time and again that it is a portent of coming doom when society holds finance and bankers as masters of the universe.  So, when the Federal Reserve responds to crises over the last 50 years with greater and greater force, it’s not the fault of the Federal Reserve that more and more effort is required.  It’s that the underlying economy is becoming more and more unstable.  And, thus, it requires more and more arcane and incredibly large measures to stabilize.  Our economy is on life support.  The efforts to keep it alive require massive effort.  I noted recently that the U.S. has spent upwards of $100 trillion or more to bail out capitalism over the last handful of decades.  Again, we’ll be talking about that number and the details behind it.  But, corporate capitalism is not a sustainable source of wealth. The endless socialism it requires is staggering.  So, if we are going to embrace this system, that socialism should be for the common good.  Not for economic half-wits, corporate bureaucrats, money masters and the like.

My point to all of this is that the Federal Reserve does not create wealth.  It uses the same tools and does the same thing whether its 1950 or 2020.  That it has relied on ever-increasing measures in the last forty years is what we should be focusing on.   Because it’s a portent of underlying economic unsustainability.

With what I’m going to show you below, one should appreciate that the U.S. banking system is insolvent.  And, it is insolvent because corporate capitalism is in systemic failure.  So, when everyone notes that the Federal Reserve shouldn’t be bailing out these corporations, the alternative is 50-70% unemployment.  There’s a self-destructive ignorance in this nation that rejects science and knowledge.  I understand why it exists but once the system starts systemic failure, no one has any scientific ability to predict where the metastasis ends.  Letting the system fail could result in tens of millions of deaths. Or more.  No one knows.  That is not the answer.  It doesn’t absolve our government or the Federal Reserve for its involvement in this corruption.  But, we need to have better answers than just let them fail because I’m not getting a bailout.

So, below is a U.S. chart that shows really all anyone needs to know as to where we are economically, to be honest. What’s happening in China or India or Europe is irrelevant.  The U.S. empire leads the global economy.  All others follow or serve it.  All.  Bar none.  Literally, from a complex systems standpoint, the U.S. is the basis for macro global outcomes as it pertains to the global economy.  This is a chart of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet (red) leading into 2020.  In other words, before this pandemic.  And, the interest rate on ten year Treasuries. (in blue)  This is publicly available data I pulled from the Federal Reserve.  We can see that the Fed had about $4.4 trillion dollars of assets on its balance sheet.  (Assets it has taken from Wall Street banks in return for equal allotments of dollars to maintain banking solvency and liquidity.)   The size of this balance sheet is a result of the financial fraud (Which without the U.S. economy would collapse. That’s right. The U.S. economy is reliant on fraud to maintain its growth. I’d be more than happy to explain this in detail if anyone doesn’t understand that statement.)  and the bailouts of 2008.  The Federal Reserve has never been able to return these assets to Wall Street banks.  We found out why in 2019.  Because twelve years later, Wall Street is still insolvent.  U.S. banks are insolvent because the U.S. economy is insolvent. And, if the U.S. is insolvent, the world is insolvent.

I’m laying this out in simple terms because I know not everyone is a central banking expert.  So, in this graph, starting in 2018 the Federal Reserve attempted to get these assets off of its balance sheet. In other words, return them to Wall Street.  (Because the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet should be essentially zero or close to it in a normal functioning economy.)   These assets were originally exchanged for a temporary loan to Wall Street that has not been repaid for what is now twelve years.  In other words, return them to banks and collect the cash the Federal Reserve is owed in return.  But, what did we see that happened to ten year Treasury rates when the Federal Reserve attempted to do this last year?  Ten year rates imploded, thus signaling future economic crises.  Rates imploded because the Federal Reserve was trying to call in some of its loan to Wall Street and they don’t have the money to pay the Federal Reserve back.  The Federal Reserve attempted to return 600 billion (from the chart) which was enough to cause the Repo crisis of 2019.  In other words, the Wall Street liquidity crisis of last autumn.  We see that Repo crisis on the chart below when the Federal Reserve had to then start rebuying said assets and thus injecting cash into Wall Street to avoid collapse.  (The upward arrows on the chart.)

“Experts” tell us the Federal Reserve’s activity with Wall Street or dealer banks are nothing more than temporary loans and its a misnomer to call them bailouts.  Because the Federal Reserve always gets its money back.  Bullshit.  I’ve been saying on here for the last decade that the Federal Reserve would eventually take balance sheet losses because the U.S. economy is broken.  And, then the Federal Reserve will need a bailout.  Well, it’s been twelve years since 2008 and the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet is now nearly $7 trillion.  It’s going a lot higher.  Do you think banks are ever going to pay that money back.  Zero chance.  In other words, the Federal Reserve has pumped $7 trillion into Wall Street since 2008 and that injection is going to be permanent.  Those repurchase agreements might as well be ripped up.  Because Wall Street is insolvent and can’t repay its loans.  But the plutocrats on Wall Street and in corporations have minted billions personally while destroying their companies and the U.S. economy.  This isn’t directly the fault of the Federal Reserve.  But it certainly is the enabler.  But more importantly, the federal government is the corruption through which the plutocracy operates.  It’s the fault of the politicians from both parties that have failed to make the necessary reforms.  Who have sold out our nation for our corporate masters.  Who are obsequious, servile parasites doing the bidding of our corporate masters.

This chart is the reason why the Federal Reserve dropped its pants and responded with so many thermonuclear options last month.  Because it knows what it won’t tell you.  It won’t tell you because the economy is a confidence game.  It knows that our financial system and economy are insolvent.  And, that is why the Federal Reserve is lining up to buy every asset imaginable to mankind.  Including actions not in its original charter.  Including state pensions, junk bonds and the like.  Because if one domino falls, the entire system could easily collapse.  The. Entire. System.
As noted numerous times, the pandemic is just the trigger.  The real issue is that corporate capitalism is and has been in systemic failure.

2008 was the start of a massive global economic crisis that almost certainly will result in an unprecedented global depression.  And, as noted on here for a long, long time, could very well lead to the end of U.S. empire by 2022.  And, will lead to massive suffering and unrest outside of the U.S.  The U.S. gives financial handouts to 75% of the world’s dictators.  And, runs trade deficits with the entire world.  All roads lead to Rome.  And, all shipping lanes lead to the U.S.  If those U.S. economic or financial handouts (trade deficits are handouts) end for the rest of the world, global chaos will ensue.

On a final note, some large percentage of our economy serves no purpose at creating wealth. Zero.  Tens of millions of people, (give or take) show up at a job simply to collect money to survive.  Money, not wealth creation.  Money.  Because their masters rely on rent extraction to maintain their tyrannical entitlement.  Or to serve the corporate careers of entitlement.  I’ve noted many times that at some point work will be unhinged from society’s wealth creation.  And, that most people do not need to work for our society to function.  Are we witnessing the end of capitalism’s required overwork?  The dumbing down of our society that forced everyone into corporate work regardless of what that work is? Or, whether it creates wealth or leisure that benefits society and not just those with money.  In other words, because it enriches the economic aristocracy.  The only way out of this mess for the establishment is to expose the fraud of our monetary and economic control system.  And, to print money and place in the hands of every American who isn’t working.  But, it also exposes the entire basis of corporate capitalism, poverty wages, overwork, endless taxes, private debt money and the like are all frauds.

Interestingly, during this pandemic, and even with tens and tens of millions of layoffs, we are still able to produce all of the electricity, food, shelter and basic human necessities with a small number of people.  The rest of employment is nothing more than economic slavery.  If society wants extravagances beyond basic needs, let each person decide what those discretionary items are, and let them work for them in employment that enriches society. Or, following personal passions of human expression.  But don’t force society into corporate economic slavery so that those who overconsume to ameliorate their own inner demons can do so off of the entitlement of other’s labor.

The days of the servant economy or service economy where people work in subhuman conditions for subhuman wages to benefit those who endlessly steal their labor could very well be ending.  The end of overwork.  The beginning of building a culture and society that benefits everyone?  And our natural world?  Not an immediate outcome but definitely possible as humanity continues its awakening.

The cycle of volatility (the overarching theme on here) continues.

(Click on the chart for a larger view.)

posted by TimingLogic at 5:52 PM

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

A Spiritual Experience

posted by TimingLogic at 6:37 PM

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

The WTO Should Be Abolished

This is one of the most truthful articles from a politician I’ve read in ages. (link) It was written in a New York Times editorial so it’s getting a lot of exposure. Josh Hawley is making a lot of noise in Washington recently.  Most of it good.  He’s been ratting the saber at corporate malfeasance. A lot of it enabled by his own party.  His message won’t win in Washington unless we have radical, independent minds swept into public offices. But, it’s a first step in raising this into the conscious mind of everyone.

While I am at it, the rhetoric out of the White House regarding China isn’t abating.  Pompeo has to be one of the biggest pathological liars in Washington. His comments on the Sunday political show was ridiculous.  He double-talked himself right into exposing his own lies.  But, the point is Reuters reported on Monday that the White House appears to be engaging the entire government to try to rip all critical business away from China. (link) Don’t think it’s coming back here.  It almost certainly won’t.  American corporations are addicted to slavery to maintain their profits and entitlement.  Corporate capitalism has a dark and insidious side that relies on dehumanized exploitation for its success.  Corporations have hidden behind the veil of this with work that remains in the U.S. through the exploitation of immigrants, undocumented workers and minorities but bringing all businesses back would create a massive labor war in the U.S.  That train is already leaving the station as a new labor movement is building in the U.S.

The U.S. has finally realized that using China as a slave labor camp has allowed the Chinese to move up the food chain to higher value goods and services.  That threatens the very existence of the U.S.  Not just empire. But of the U.S. 

This is only the start of the seminal moment I’ve been writing would eventually come to pass for the last fifteen years.  It’s implications are staggering.  And, to be honest, disconcerting.  The world won’t crumble overnight but there’s no going back. 

posted by TimingLogic at 3:29 PM

Friday, May 01, 2020

U.S. Empire Saber Rattling - Will The U.S. Default On China’s Treasuries?

The jaw-dropping lunacy of this world is staggering. I really want to talk about Trump’s forced death march decree for unsafe meat processing corporations.  This latest government decree is just the latest in a progression of greater and greater corporate violence within that industry.  And, the fact that OSHA has stated it will essentially absolve these corporations of liability for forcing people back to work shows the dystopian horror of what is happening.  The insidious elements of this have staggering implications.  By the way, I propose politicians, celebrities and American CEOs “do their own laundry”.  They can take their place on these meat processing lines.  Can you imagine that?  Trump or Pelosi processing meat?  Or, Kim Kardashian or Bob Eiger?  On second thought, we'd all die relying on them. Front line workers, white or blue collar, provide privilege to people of class and institutionalized entitlement. People who are generally useless. We need to de-institutionalize power and privilege to have an egalitarian society where talent rises to the top.  And, that talent isn’t for purposes of control.  It’s for an enriching society for all of its participants.  Not those most willing to stomp on the face of their fellow man.  It’s the talent of art, literature, science, philosophy, love, compassion, justice, ethics, community, dignity and the like.  Maybe I’ll post more on the meat mess next week.  But what we need in this world is a little bit of anarchy principles to nonviolently remove concentrated power and resultant entitlement from our existence.  We need to remove the rule of man of institutionalization and return to the rule of law based on natural rights and human dignity.

A couple of links before I continue with the post.

U.S. Officials Crafting Retaliatory Actions Against China Over Coronavirus

Exclusive: White House Told Federal Officials To Classify Coronavirus Deliberations (And completely disregarded within the media.)

America’s National Security Machine Stares Down A Viral Threat

There’s a reason I have been fixated on U.S. government jingoism regarding China over the last few months. Because the U.S. is seemingly laying the propaganda groundwork for a political response to this pandemic.  China is in the crosshairs of the United States and let’s be honest, this crisis is convenient for that.  It’s not the root cause of it.  Or, as has become popular to say, politicians never miss an opportunity created by crisis.  Free speech is already under attack on the Internet, the last bastion of freedom in this nation.

Make no mistake, as I noted on here many times over the years, the U.S. holds all of the cards with China. China is a vassal state of U.S. empire and it’s growth in economic and political strength has become a threat to modern-day Rome.  Don’t kid yourself regarding China dumping Treasuries or China not selling the U.S. this or that as you see written regularly over the years.  These show a lack of understanding of how the world works.  The Federal Reserve bought more Treasuries in the last month than China has probably bought in the last twenty years.  If China dumped all of their Treasuries, which first of all would be suicidal, the Federal Reserve could sweep them up in an afternoon and not miss a beat.  The U.S. may endure temporary hardship in any divorce but China will collapse.  Will. Not Maybe. 

For some reason people don’t seem to understand the China economic miracle isn’t a miracle at all.  The miracle is the power of U.S. empire to create China’s miracle. China’s belligerence is growing and citizens of the U.S. are becoming restless due to globalization.  U.S. politicians are beginning to understand that they’ve created a mess.  I’m not sure they have any desire to clean up that mess on behalf of democracy but they almost certainly are willing to give China a lesson for getting too big for its britches and causing the empire undue distress.

I wrote on here ages ago that the Federal Reserve could mop up Treasuries dumped by China with the flick of the wrist.  I wrote that the U.S. could default on China’s Treasury holdings as an act of belligerence.  Strikingly, that is exactly what the Trump administration has posed as a possibility in the Washington Post article link above.  Economic warfare is a weapon regularly used by empire. Currency war is an integral part of corporate capitalism and exists every day by every major economic nation state on earth.  It’s no coincidence that Britain defaulted on US debt at the start of the Great Depression.  That was almost certainly a belligerent act to destroy US economic threat to British Empire. History rhymes.

The United States has more options against China beyond defaulting on China’s Treasury holdings but they all have the same impact.  That is, reassert control over its empire and any threats to it.  By the way, this would almost certainly not impact U.S. reserve currency status.  The U.S. has a lot of friends in this world.  Relationships may be strained but the world would line up behind us.  That includes the majority of the world’s dictatorial countries who get massive dollar handouts from Washington.  And, who would collapse without that payoff.

What makes this even more interesting is that the United States classified its coronavirus response early on in this crisis.  See the above link.  That means the National Security Council recommended it per the Reuters’ exclusive above that was announced nearly two months ago.  And, that likely means the U.S. government, and specifically the military-security wing of the empire, was almost certainly considering weaponizing their response to this pandemic from the very beginning.  Don’t kid yourself that this rhetoric is Trump unhinged.  He may be unhinged but the security and military apparatus are providing guidance given this crisis has been classified.  This is shaping up to be just like 9/11 and the empire’s response.  Not that we are going to literal war with China. But, some major actions are almost certain.

Because the U.S. is still a democracy in name and in institutions, our government and corporations must rely on brainwashing and propaganda to create citizen support for endless war, dehumanization of U.S. and immigrant workers, massive poverty in the U.S., slave labor camps in China and the like. If that ability to achieve citizen support through propaganda ends, then we have a whole new dynamic.  Which has been starting to happen over the last few decades as the world, including Americans, wakes up to the plutocratic, institutionalized rot in their respective economies and governments. The question is will the propaganda machine be able to gin up support for any potential actions against China.

Or, would the U.S. publicly destroy its democratic institutions to maintain its empire and control over its citizens?  I would argue they have been destroying them continually for nearly 200 years.  Although it’s insidiously accomplished through the corruption of our court systems with legal decisions and through corrupt legislation that is often more of a back door destruction by empowering corporations.  In past times, the U.S. frontier allowed people to continually push west to escape the tentacles of our repressive corporate and economic elite-owned government.  Then in the twentieth century, there was no more frontier.  No place to run.  So, now we are all forced into the cauldron of what has always been a rotten, economic elite-driven plutocracy that coalesced soon after our founding. Jefferson noted this in his writings. The true leader of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine, was abandoned by his country soon after the Revolution because his principles of human dignity, anti-slavery, women’s rights and social programs to empower all Americans was a threat to our new establishment aristocracy.  People who believe the U.S. has just recently become corrupt are romanticizing a past that never existed.  Our ideals are noble but the reality is brutal, violent and cruel with the hope of a minority of always being more than that. Americans have experienced at least seven periods in our history where human progress has fought against the establishment for greater freedom and dignity.  This time is different given the Internet.  It’s no surprise that the new “frontier” of the Internet is now under attack by the U.S. corporate state.  Just as our western frontier was continually under attack by an ever-expanding and encroaching plutocracy until the entire nation was under its grips.  (By the way, plutocracy is a 19th century term used to describe America. It’s time we wake up from the dream. This isn’t because of Obama or Trump as so many ideologues wish to see it.)

The free exchange of ideas that the Internet provides is the greatest threat to institutionalized entitlement and the plutocracy that the world has ever seen. We see unsavory elements all over the world attempting to shut it down to maintain the grip of illegitimacy of a ruling class of political and economic parasites.  And, the U.S. is no exception with government cooperation with Google, Facebook and others to stifle freedoms.  In other words, through fascism.

Americans today already hide in the shadows out of fear of retaliation from the state.  Just like they do in China and did in the Soviet Union.  And, when we dare speak the unthinkable, the possibility is more than likely that we will be destroyed or imprisoned economically and socially.  What am I talking about?  Corporations monitor employee free speech and actions on the Internet.  Any Internet manifestations of free speech written by a corporate employee that threatens corporation-enforced political-correctness or could possibly damage a corporation’s reputation almost certainly means its author faces dismissal, financial ruin and economic isolation.  And, as a result, difficulty finding a few position as a corporate slave and being forced into what is essentially a social prison.  This didn’t start with the advent of the Internet.  Any threats to corporate power and the state have always been met with this.  Examples after examples of people who have been targeted and destroyed over the centuries. 

The flip side of this is the most successful in society are those that are willing to conform and do the bidding of our masters.  To sell our souls.  To remain silent in the face of loss of liberty, exploitation and Godlessness.  All for our own selfish benefit.  Or, as emotionally-stunted Ayn Rand titled her book, “The Virtues of Selfishness”.  Again, no surprise.   It is this dynamic that fuels support for endless U.S. wars, unconstitutional policies, unconstitutional court decisions, corporate exploitation of the poor, immigration slave labor and the like.  It’s also why successful corporate donkeys continue to prop up the rotten two-party political system. Because that system supports our own soul-less, unethical careers that have been perpetuated by turning a blind eye to injustices we’ve helped create in our country or elsewhere. The cult of self society.

The government doesn’t have to take away our constitutional freedoms.  It lets corporations do it for them under the propaganda of corporate capitalism, economic freedom and “free” markets.  And, successful workers who focus on their corporate careers enable their own tyranny and those around the world.  They do so by being silent in the face of the horrors and injustices they help perpetuate.  Furthering their own careers by being a silent, obedient, good corporate slave is more important than the truth.  This happens all while the government continues to provide the illusion of maintaining your constitutional freedoms.   And, it has been doing so for most of our country’s existence.

One of my favorite quotes is from Henry David Thoreau and has been written on here many times-

"Others--as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders--serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few--as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men--serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. ........  Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

And, we can’t imagine how anyone can be so brainwashed as the Nazis or communists.

posted by TimingLogic at 3:32 PM

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

First Quarter Productivity Results

I wanted to quickly remark about GDP results.  Productivity in the U.S. contracted well more than GDP.  I noted in my post on the Trumpty Dumpty economy some months ago how bad the economy really is versus the carnival barking of our circus leader.  In that post I noted that productivity has been negative for the Trump presidency and profits peaked five years ago.  Today’s GDP numbers also came with a nearly 6% contraction in productivity.  What that essentially means is the Federal Reserve has to pump gobs more money into the system than is coming out the other end.  There’s some ability to fake it by opening the flood gates of economic immigration as we have been but how many people do you think are trying to get into the U.S. today?  Without massive immigration and the fiscal supports given to them, the only outcome I can see to ameliorate the productivity dynamic is the government will have to put money in people’s hands to overcome this contraction until the situation resolves itself.  And, that will be never without a new economic system.  How do you think that will go over with the pathological Mitch McConnell and his corporate cronies in the Republican Party?  Or, neoliberal Nancy and her corporate crony Democrats? 

One might surmise that given this dynamic, restarting the U.S. economy will be a little more difficult than Trump believes.  The amount of monetary stimulus needed to shock the system into restarting is likely to be staggering.  The largest impact to this dynamic will be felt outside of the United States.  This is a far, far different dynamic than the Great Depression.  Far different. Far more insidious.  Far more broken.  We don’t hear economists talking about this because, to be honest, economists are generally little more than the high priests of the state religion of money aka economics.  Being on Twitter the last few months has been interesting.  Lots of economists on there.  More concerned about knobs, dials and theoretical nonsense than any type of real-world understanding.  I’ve noted here in the past that economics died when it was removed from the field of sociology and the powers-that-be attempted to turn into a hard science.  The person attracted to sociology is far different than the modern economist who loves playing with charts and numbers in their cubicle.  Attempts to turn economics into the state religion destroyed the study.  Economics today isn’t science at all.  It’s the marriage of pseudoscience or scientism and mythology.  Goes back to credentials versus competence.  Most economists sit in ivory towers and their endless theoretical wrongs never have consequences. 

I’d take a plumber or any true science to learn economics any day.  That plumber gets direct feedback on his abilities and understands the limitations of his abilities as a result. As do applied sciences where outcomes are consistent and measured.  So much of today’s world is science is junk.  Discussed endlessly on here.  Especially true of academia.  I love theoretical exercises that stretch our limits of the mind but they have no practical place in this world. 

Economics is fundamentally more about the human condition applied to society or sociology. And, that means it has to be steeped in ethical philosophy.  People aren’t knobs, dials and charts.  Modern economics dehumanizes people and as numbers to be treated as efficiencies.  Of course, this is certainly by design. 

The economy should reflect the wishes of everyone in society because ethics is not a decision to be made by politicians or economists or corporations. Ethic involve human rights.  And, in order for that to actually play out in reality, economics has to be local and substantially determined by the community.  Not by a number in a spreadsheet.   It shouldn’t be decided by an entitled few in a far off land who often benefit from make massive, consequential oftentimes erroneous decisions that impact all of us.  Or, decisions based on their own self-interest.  That statement extends to how we should be handling this social distancing and the sociological and ethical consequences.  And the impacts it is having on people who, because of economists, corporations and politicians, are literally worried about food, healthcare, housing and other basic human needs. 

Negative productivity is a major issue.  It tells us capitalism has been in systemic failure since 2008 and has been permanently eating itself ever since.  We’ve relied on gimmicks to keep it going; $29 trillion bailout in 2008, essentially zero bound interest rates, four rounds of quantitative easing, liquidity in every orifice, corporate tax breaks, tax breaks concentrated in the most wealthy Americans, coronavirus bailouts for corporations and the top 1% while democracy rots, Obamacare medical-industrial complex was a bailout, massive increases in military-industrial complex spending, endless economic and military wars, labor international arbitrage and the like.  They are pulling out all of the stops and productivity still remains negative.  And, steeply so in the first quarter. 

With the social horrors the pandemic has now exposed in plain site, the rot, corruption and incompetence in our economy and in corporations is laid bare.  It should be manifestly obvious to anyone who isn’t driven by belief systems but rather can see presently what is happening, that most people in this world exist, and generally little more than a forced subsistence, only to provide for those of institutionalized entitlement.   I believe this is called royalty. Capitalism calls it the free market. 

It’s going to be interesting how the global economy responds on the back end of this.  Not likely “good” interesting either.

posted by TimingLogic at 1:22 PM

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Neoliberal Republican Lunatics And The Rand Corporation Start Banging The Drums Of War With China

I’ve noted on here for a long time that we could already be in the midst of World War III and that we wouldn’t know until some time afterwards if that is the case.  And, that war may be the war of humanity against the state.  That is, capitalism, capitalism’s control over our money, communism, the economic aristocracy that controls our lives, politicians who pass laws to enable our domination and the like.  That dynamic has multiplied and grown from a seed to a world that was on fire well before this pandemic.   In 2019 we had 50-ish nations in some level of revolt against their “governments”.  While that hasn’t yet involved China, as I wrote more than a decade ago, I expect the people of China to join that movement at some point.  

One of the questions I have wondered out loud on here is if that war with the state will be able to stop us from economic, political or military conflict between China and the west.  As noted many times, we remain in a war cycle. And, those dynamics continue to metastasize.  The U.S. in particular is at war with the world. That includes its economic wars of sanctions and ever-present jingoist foreign policy.  Especially with the Republican wing of our corporate party system. 

There was a global survey some years ago that sticks in my mind when this topic comes up.  That is, Gallup ran a very large international poll under the second term of the Obama administration where tens of thousands of citizens of the world named the U.S. the dominant threat to global peace.  I doubt this poll has improved under Trump as he’s on his way to blowing away Obama’s record bombing-the-world-into-submission-for-Jesus. (November’s election for our next king will be a gem. Now that Charles Manson is dead, possibly the two most despicable men in our country vying for the prize of king; Biden vs Trump.)  The results of this Gallup poll may just give some indication of how much our society is brainwashed by corporate state propaganda.  And, our cult-of-self society is never going to be reflective or seek to understand why so many people have this concern.

Anyway, if there isn’t enough propaganda in our society,  the “party” as Orwell called it, has just released a 57 page media propaganda  campaign to blame China for everything.   What a surprise.  At the same time, on every jingoistic war criminal’s favorite reading list, the Rand Corporation just released its pathological “Thinking the Unthinkable – The U.S. Corporate Empire’s Consideration of Blowing Up China.”  Now, I don’t kid myself.  China has run the same simulations about blowing up the United States.  It has designs on global domination that the U.S. currently holds.  But, while there is no money to provide our citizens social safety nets, we have plenty of money to produce warmongering propaganda. Democracy is dead.

Long time readers may remember some of the voluminous posts I’ve put here regarding China.  China is a criminal racket.  And, the fact that Republicans, Democrats and U.S. corporations sent tens of millions of our jobs to China is a greater crime against the American people than any perpetrated by China on the U.S. in my lifetime.  In fact, the U.S. corporate state is an endless source of violence against the American people.  I’ve never experienced any direct violence from China.  And, forget about the publicly printed numbers of jobs that have left our country.  Those numbers are well too low.  It is tens of millions and I’ll explain that when I highlight how the U.S. government will spend upwards of $100 trillion bailing out corporate capitalism per a recent post. Our neoliberal, trickle-down government loves socialism.  Just not for poor bastards and the working class.) 

I’ve noted for the past few months that right-wing Republican and Fox News rhetoric against China is heating up.  The criminals in our country have found their foreign enemy to blame all of their mistakes upon…. as Aristotle told us happens with the deflections of tyrants 2,000-ish years ago.

Of the tyrant (the state), spies and informers are the principal instruments. War is his favorite occupation for the sake of engrossing the attention of the people and making himself necessary to them as their leader" --Aristotle

This is the same game that was played with Adolph Hitler and American capitalists leading us to World War II.  Provide the financing and technology to rebuild Germany.  Then Germany uses said western capitalist investment to murder 50 million people and devastate the world.

Just a reminder with a reprint of past remarks- China is far and away the biggest economic disaster in world history, the U.S. and China have likely broken their Nash Equilibrium talked about many times on here over the last 15 years, and China and the U.S. are headed for some type of divorce.  That could be war, a proxy war, tariffs, complete withdrawal of western capital or whatnot.  Interesting that those comments were made a dozen or years ago and how the details discussed on here are unfolding exactly as expected. 

Let me digress for a few paragraphs to talk about the pandemic and U.S.-China belligerence.  It isn’t any type of secret that China is an authoritarian, dystopian state. Yet, Republican politicians want to blame China for lying or deceiving them. You should have thought about that before you sent our jobs into the Chinese slave labor pit.  In fact, this points to how democracy is dead in our nation.  I never voted to send our wealth to another country so a bunch of pathological capitalist fukcers could become even more wildly wealthy.   I’m all for a democratic tribunal to look into prosecuting U.S. politicians, U.S. lobbyists and U.S. corporate leaders who committed these acts of treason against American democracy.

Let’s look at some facts discussed in passing in posts over the last few months as more details become available.  The U.S. political leadership of both parties knew of this pandemic in November of 2019 per ABC News. Italian media and PressTV, the Iranian state news source, both had public stories in November of 2019 that they had uncovered a new type of pneumonia. (This pandemic.)  There are public TV sources out of China reporting the same thing in December.  I have the video of all of these public pronouncements.  U.S. Homeland Security has 150,000 employees.  You mean to tell me they couldn’t figure any of this out without relying on whatever the Chinese communists told them?  Trump is a pathological liar and the corporate media in the U.S. is defending American politicians by blaming China as they always do in any march to war or U.S. belligerence. 

As noted, it took years to determine when the first HIV infection happened.  And, it was traced back over 100 years ago.  It took decades for the virus to mutate after that jump and become a monstrous killer.  The same dynamic exists with this virus.  Now, it appears there may be a soon-to-be-released article from researchers that track the various strains of this virus to some place other than Wuhan and the conspiratorial reports of it coming from a lab or a meat market. How much exhausting bullshit could we have avoided if we would have just let science do its job rather than politicizing all of this as the U.S. conservative media and Republicans have done?  Regardless of this upcoming study, it will likely take years to determine if this was a recent human infection.  This virus could have jumped to humans in some remote region of the world decades ago and remained reasonably benign.  I’d like someone to explain to me scientifically how we would know otherwise?  It could just be that it mutated into a killer in the region of China.  Or, maybe elsewhere. 

Here’s a non-political, non-biased perspective of what I see.  Iran and Italy knew they had a problem in 2019.  In a link I provided in an earlier post, Italian doctors noted seeing signs of a pneumonia before even November.  The west appears to have not identified it as a new virus.  The CDC and WHO didn’t take action on anything out of Iran or Italy. Both were publicly reported before anything in China. Neither did U.S. politicians.  The western scientific community appears to have thought it was pneumonia. China appears to have possibly been the first nation to realize it was a new strain of virus and was the first country to acknowledge this publicly.  In other words, they led the world in this scientific discovery.  Hard for American egos to take but our exceptionalism is a myth.  Especially in the sciences that the corporate state has spent generations destroying in our nation.  Did China lie about its effects or withhold information? Possibly. I wasn’t in the room.  Were you?  Regardless, our government definitely withheld information because people in the room have reported that fact.  What was the reason for China withholding, if they did?  The same questions can be asked of American politicians.  Regardless, it was self-interest.  Trump didn’t want to shut down the economy. Mammon over human lives.  That’s been acknowledged by people in the room.  The most plausible reason that China may have withheld information is for the same reason.  Regardless, since when does American science and intelligence rely on information provided by communist China’s media or leaders?  Patently absurd politicization by American politicians and media.  

Now, back on topic with some recent updates as it pertains to the U.S. and China economic dynamics.  The economic relationship Trump spoke so proudly of in his new sham China/U.S. trade deal was already falling apart in 2019.  We ended 2019 with the lowest level of Chinese imports since 2011.  They were down 32% from their overall peak and 21% from the 2019 peak.  This was before the virus had any economic impact in the U.S. 

China’s currency is under tremendous pressure of collapse.  The Chinese have spent well north of a trillion U.S. dollars trying to defend the yuan from collapse and are burning through their Treasury reserves.  Central banking numbers released this week show they again burned through Treasuries at a substantially-higher rate than expected.  I wrote on here ages ago that China would eventually run out of dollars and the Federal Reserve would not likely assist them with any bailouts similar to the swaps they are sharing with other central banks.  And, again, a long-time outcome on here is in major play right now with the dollar roaring to new highs, again discussed ad nauseam.  China is under substantial financial pressure to end its dollar currency peg and may be forced to devalue their currency with the dollar’s blow higher.  (The dollar isn’t strong because the U.S. is a safe haven.  It’s blowing higher because that’s how the global trade system is set up.)   This entire dynamic has to potential to eventually set off a chain reaction of collapsing values of U.S. corporate investment in China (and the resultant collapsing U.S. and western corporations) and sending the world into the worst depression in history.  There is incredibly substantial risk that Trump’s revised trade agreement with China will shatter into the worthless paper its written on.  And, to happen very rapidly.  Regardless, China will eventually be unable to fulfill its trade obligations.  And, with the U.S. food supply under massive strain, we may be unable to provide the agricultural goods anyway. 

I’ve read much of the amended U.S./China agreement and it’s pure political bullshit with no grounding in reality.  Do we really expect anything other than that from the carnival barker, P.T. Barnum?

This entire dynamic is playing out exactly as anticipated.  All of these outcomes have been anticipated for a decade or longer.  Regardless of whether this was triggered by a global pandemic or the start of the unraveling of U.S. corporate empire is irrelevant.  The global economy operates as a complex system with standard inputs, outputs and and feedback loops.  The daily events are noise and have absolutely no impact on on the macro factors.  The macro factors beyond the view of what is reported to society are what matters.  These pandemic outcomes are exactly how the world would react to any developing economic crisis.  And, regardless of any pandemic outcomes, first and foremost this is a crisis of capitalism and is extending the already-in-play crisis of capitalism that we’ve been living through.  All of capitalism’s contradictions are coming home to roost.

Buckle up.  This is just the beginning.  Regardless of what happens in a month or six months or whatnot, the global economic system is wildly unstable in its design and requires massive violence and force to keep on the rails.  When the time comes, there is nothing any politician, corporation or central bank can be done to stop it. 

The twentieth century’s corporate-state-created cult-of-self is shattering before our very eyes.

posted by TimingLogic at 1:20 PM

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Does Any Authentic, Compassionate Person Not Feel This Way?

posted by TimingLogic at 1:05 PM

Comments About The State Of The Global Economy And Dead Bodies Emerging At The Surface In Oil Rout

Update 3:30PM.  Trump is threatening to slap tariffs on or reject Saudi oil headed for the U.S.  Seems someone in the offices of U.S. empire need to remind The Donald that he has to bend the knee and kiss the ring of Saudi royalty for propping up the petrodollar.  (Obama could train Trump on this. He was an expert at it.)  And, buying U.S. Treasuries to prop up the U.S. corporate empire and recycling those Treasuries into U.S. military-industrial complex corporate bailouts.

Original post

Just a few quick comments as a follow up to my last post. As well as some more strategic comments about the global economy. Interactive Brokers just announced an $88 million loss with the collapse in oil.  It won’t be the last dead body floating to the surface. The U.S. financial sector is a shithole of rot. And, with the massive, clearly not well-understood (by credentialed economic and financial “experts”)  financial leverage in the U.S. system, there will be more carnage. Lots more. Not just in oil either. 

Oil wasn’t trading for negative $37 dollars for anything near that except the May contract.  Although future contracts may implode as they come closer to physical delivery dates.  Essentially, this is because no one wants to take delivery this month.  So, no one was trading that May contract as noted in the last post.  Literally no one.  No bidders means no price.  (This counterparty risk dynamic has been discussed time and again on here.  In fact, leading into the 2008 collapse, I noted exactly how the crisis would unfold with counterparty risk.  And, it happened exactly that way.  It’s everywhere in our massively corrupt economy.) 

The question becomes if no counterparties develop, will U.S. hedge funds and financial firms end up holding the bag on physical oil contracts they may be holding?  At a minimum, we will likely see them take massive losses in the future.  Thank you, Bill Clinton and Al Gore.  It appears the U.S. has plenty more petroleum storage capacity although it has been reported otherwise.  Why they are deciding not to fill them is something I cannot answer.  Maybe they were caught off guard. Maybe they plan on filling it up with U.S. oil production as a bailout for U.S. companies.  Donald Trump already directed the government to fill reserves at $30 a barrel.  So, he’s already lost billions of American taxpayer dollars.  Future month contracts are still trading for $14 and heading towards my long-time $10 target.  Who knows, maybe zero again as they come close to delivery. 

The U.S. energy industry is headed for a complete rout. And, I expect that will trickle over into natural gas as well given the comingling of those economic entities.  We could easily see rationed energy in this nation.  The U.S. is one of, if not the highest cost producers of oil.  Most of U.S. oil production is very capital intensive and requires a very high price to produce.  The trickle effects to banks, communities, tax receipts, capital goods equipment, petroleum services and the like are staggering.  The impact will have countless second and third order outcomes. 

Interestingly, while low prices will devastate the global economy in similar ways to mentioned above for the U.S., Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia will experience massive shocks but will likely be fine.  Debt defaults?  Certainly possible.  Maybe even likely.  But, they are lower cost producers. (Interesting given none of these are capitalist-run energy complexes.)  And, there is another dynamic to consider here.  The U.S. and many of its vassal states (NATO, Japan, Korea, Canada, Australia) have isolated Iran and Russia for decades.  This had the unintended consequence of these societies becoming much more resilient and self-sufficient.  They have become stronger while the U.S. has become weaker.  This always happens in late stage empire; overreach.  I watched Putin give a speech on Russian TV some years ago and he talked about this very fact.  Isolation would make them more self-sufficient and stronger.  Putin plays chess while American politicians play color-by-numbers.  We really are ruled by megalomaniac fukcing idiots.  Ruled.  Not public service. Not democracy.

So, here’s a question. How does the U.S. petrodollar work when oil is $0?  Oil has economic value regardless of whether financial markets trading it are broken or not.  Do you know what will likely happen?  Direct barter.  And, what did I write on here long ago?  We would eventually see direct barter between nations unfold.  It has already started in recent years.  And, it’s likely to continue to expand across the globe.  You’ve got oil, which I need, and I’ve got industrial equipment that you need.  Let’s trade without U.S. dollars.  In fact, I noted on here some time after that original post that Iran and Russia were starting to barter.  Don’t need dollars for that.  Don’t need access to the U.S. controlled global trade settlement system for that. Late stage corporate capitalist empire………….

I saw the other day where someone asked the question of what the long term damage to petroleum demand might be.  If I were to estimate, and it is just that, and if we are in the very early stages of U.S. global corporate empire being shattered, I would estimate a permanent 80% drop in global oil demand.  Forever.  U.S. retail space per capita is a good proxy for global production growth to serve empire’s consumption.  And, as noted many times in the past, this metric has risen 600% in the last 40 years.  A return to trend would result in an 80%-ish drop in global production capacity as the world is ordered today.  And, taking a linear view of very intensive capital and logistics-driven production, we can swag at 80%.

I want to put up a reminder of something noted on here long ago. When the Roman Empire fell, global wealth peaked for 1,000 years. Don’t kid yourself that can’t happen again. You could go to any city in the empire where the lowest pleb could read and write.  Hundreds of years later, people in those same areas were completely illiterate.  Could something that dystopian happen again?  Capitalism’s massive overcapacity today is staggering.  We could easily see a very dystopian outcome.  The most visible outcome of this is the massive global debt bomb that has been used to build out that overcapacity to serve empire. Again, as written ad nauseam, debt is not the danger.  It’s what debt represents.  Experts can’t seem to wrap their heads around this but debt is a myth.  It’s an illusory control system capturing the mind into servitude.  You can’t show me a debt.  What does it look like?  The real issue is unemployment when overcapacity of goods and services are destroyed due to lack of sustainability. 

Pulling other comments from prior years forward.  People don’t really understand how large the U.S. economy is.  And, how powerful U.S. empire really is.  It’s mind-boggling.  GDP is not the economy.  It is just one of countless economic measurements within the U.S.  Or, any country, for that matter.  As noted on here in posts long ago, the U.S. is responsible for upwards of $100 trillion in global trade.  Globalization is a zero sum game of U.S. corporate empire.  China never would have had any type of boom without becoming a U.S. corporate empire vassal state.  China wouldn’t have a zombie economy today or a zombie banking system if it weren’t for the U.S. deregulation of the borders of capital that ravaged China and unleashed the systemic incompetence and massive corruption of its communist government. 

I’ve noted that the U.S. has lost upwards of 100 million jobs over the last 50-60 years.  That’s easily explainable.  No one seems to understand the multiplicative effect of capital-producing job loss to global labor arbitrage.  It’s enormous.  It’s just like few seem to understand the multiplicative effect of an easily transmitted virus.  So, they ignorantly laugh at how we have been duped by doctors and pandemic experts. 

Within the U.S. borders, we effectively don’t have a functioning economy.  We have a massive consumption engine of corporate empire.  All roads lead to Rome……..   The world is the U.S. economy. Any commodity or country or traded good that requires dollars to sell on the international market is a part of the U.S. economy.  Think about that.  You won’t read that anywhere else because economists don’t think in terms of complex systems.  They don’t really understand science nor are they trained it in.  But it is as true as the sun rising tomorrow. 

These very facts are why so many people who think in terms of complex systems or systemic competencies are always predicting future outcomes while economists, business leaders, Wall Street and politicians never see them nor are ever prepared.  It’s no different with this pandemic crisis exposing the lack of resiliency or sustainability of the U.S. economy.  Something that has been discussed ad nauseam on here but has been completely missed by economists, the Federal Reserve, politicians, corporate CEOs and other supposed economics experts and supposed business leaders.  Missed not just with this crisis but with crisis after crisis and outcome after outcome.  We hear “Who could have predicted this?”.  Because they aren’t experts nor are they leaders.  They are credentialed idiots.  This goes back to my post ages ago about credentialism versus competence.  The corporate state loves credentials and titles.  The real world that the bottom 50% of Americans and the front line workers –blue and white collar - in this country live in requires competence.  The world functions in spite of the people at the top of hierarchies.  Not because of them. 

These are the end times of corporate capitalism and U.S. corporate empire.

posted by TimingLogic at 11:40 AM

Monday, April 20, 2020

Wyoming Sour Crude At $3 A Barrel. Light Sweet Crude Continues Its Collapse.

I noted on here more than a decade ago that we would likely return to 1998 crude prices of $10 a barrel as this cycle came to a shattering end.  The frightening aspect of that statement is why I said crude would return to that price. 

Three weeks ago I noted West Texas Intermediate was trading at $7 a barrel and a disaster was building in the energy complex.  Today, Wyoming Sour is trading at $3 a barrel from a 52 week high of $52 and Light Sweet Crude is trading down as well. (Update: 12:30PM. WOW.  Looking at the oil futures contracts and there’s literally NOTHING being traded. It’s under a full collapse. Federal Reserve isn’t going to start buying oil contracts to prop up their criminal Wall Street buddies. But, there may be another large Federal Reserve infusion into the banking system within days. This could have substantial implications in financial energy trading firms. Is anyone on Wall Street, hedge funds or similar holding the bag here? Ultimately, these shocks may lead to energy and gasoline shortages. I’d suggest you keep your automobile gas tank full at all times. Even in parallel markets, if you heat your house with propane or heating oil, you may want to ensure your tank remains topped off.)  (If you want to repave your asphalt driveway, Wyoming Sour is your ticket.)  This after Trump announced a purely spin-based scam to stop the slide of oil prices some weeks ago.  Trump can no more control the price of crude than I can control the price of rice in China.  Literally everything out of this man’s mouth has become a lie as the world closes in on him.  The more stress he is under, the more he responds with lies.  It’s actually very hard to watch.  As a human being, I have great empathy for his emotional demons.  But, I have no empathy for the ego-based conman who is actually endangering human lives.  Even though I noted Trump would win the election in a lengthy post just days before the 2016 election, I also noted his presidency would likely be a disaster. I think I win a cookie for both anticipated outcomes. Of course, why is his behavior any different than Obama kicking five million people out of their homes while handing Wall Street $29 trillion for destroying the economy and millions of lives?  It is no different.  Obama is potentially even more pathological than Trump.

By the way, I posted ad nauseam when we were in the belly of the beast of $150 oil that peak oil was a myth.  Remember those days when the psychopaths on Wall Street fomented that fear through financial media and the press?  They were minting billions in profits off of this fear.  Energy futures markets exploded by thousands and thousands of percent increase in financial trading activity after Bill Clinton deregulated commodities and financial criminals jumped in head first into the oil markets.  Clinton should have gone to prison for that and may other criminal acts.  We have oil coming out of our ears.  And, natural gas and coal.  We have enough energy in this country for the next 5,000 years.  Humanity will innovate our ways out of fossil fuels before we run out.  Or, as I noted in past posts, we didn’t leave the Stone Age because we ran out of stones. 

Peak oil is an Enron-type Ponzi scheme created by Wall Street criminals and the biggest financial bubble in the history of the world.  Everything you believe about the economy and this world is a lie.  And, it’s all going to be exposed as that in due time. 

Elon Musk isn’t looking so brilliant recently either.  Not just for making an electric car when oil is wildly cheaper but also for his megalomania on the coronavirus, spewing non-scientific idiocy, pretending to understand topics he is proving to know nothing about and the like. This is a guy as insecure as Trump and the cult of Obama who are all part of this degenerate attention-seeking celebrity culture.

The U.S. energy complex has been one of the few areas where good paying jobs have not left this country en masse.   In other words, corporations can’t outsource or offshore industries reliant on natural geographic inputs or are limited by national boundaries.  The energy complex is in the midst of a rout. I honestly have no idea how they sidestep this other than cap wells and hope for a supply washout.  We have oil coming out of our ears.  Well more than when oil was $10 a barrel in 1998.  Unless the government wants to see energy complex jobs and potential energy independence collapse in this nation, the Federal Reserve is going to have to open the discount window to these companies and the government is going to have to try to institute some kind of price controls.  Or something similarly as desperate.  I’m highly dubious any of that will work but I expect they’ll try.  Or, we’ll just see global energy companies fall like dominos.  And, Saudi Arabia will default on its massive dollar debt burden. 

U.S. dollar empire is under serious duress. More on that soon enough. 

None of this is any surprise on here. None of this is a Black Swan.  None of it.  It’s institutionalized fraud and incompetence of unregulated/deregulated corporate capitalism and government.

posted by TimingLogic at 10:50 AM

Friday, April 17, 2020

U.S. Blows Through Peak Daily Coronavirus Deaths With 4,591. Trump Responds By Lifting Shutdown.

Link here at the Wall Street Journal.  Also reported by the Washington Post.   Are these numbers accurate? I would certainly hope so.  Regardless, this isn’t anywhere near under control as Trump said it was.  In fact, it is now coming to light that a lot of countries are undercounting deaths. That includes the U.S.  It’s understandable given the chaos.  Apparently, New York was finding thousands of people died at home and that was not being counted.  And, there are thousands of nursing homes infected across the country that are being kept out of the press. I believe I read that at ProPublica from memory.  A story came to light a few days ago where a nursing home had piled seventeen bodies in a room that had died from an outbreak. No authorities were alerted. This was found out via anonymous tip. You can’t make this stuff up.  For-profit nursing homes that oft times pay its workers slave wages are sickening inventions of the “free” market. They exploit the elderly and workers.  Many conspiracy theorists in the U.S. are taking just the opposite tact.  The U.S. is inflating numbers because aliens are taking over the world.  Or, the United States is about to vaccinate people to create a mass killing.  Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me that elites would like us all to die.  But, then who would pick their food, tend to their children, mow their lawns, do their laundry, fight their wars, build their castles, build their endless acquisitive consumption, care for them when they are sick and the like.  Okay, forget about that.  They won’t kill all of us.  They need someone to prey on to maintain their entitlement. 

If this WSJ number is accurate, that means 50% more people yesterday than died on 9/11.  If this keeps up, a cumulative total from today until little more than another week will be more Americans than died in Vietnam.  We conservatively spent $3 trillion to avenge the deaths of less than 3,000 people on 9/11.  That’s $25,000 per family.  Yet, we get more than that dying in a single day from this pandemic and 20 million people unemployed (at least one hundred million who have been chronically underemployed or are not even seeking employment) and what do we spend to avenge their deaths or suffering?  Let’s see.  Some of them will get $600 or $1200 of their own money.  In other words, the government took it from them and lent it back to them with interest.  The pathological Treasury Secretary noted this will last citizens 10 weeks. $1200?  I didn’t know he was a comedian.  I did know he’s a crook.  That guy should be in jail for his 2008 financial crisis dealings.  Since this dynamic of marginalization has been building for decades, it’s hard to draw any other conclusion than the system is fine with most of us dying.  They need to get more death bang for the buck for the $8 trillion and counting that they have spent on this crisis.  Estimates have it they killed more than a million people, including women and children, after 9/11.  Although they didn’t do that to avenge 3,000 deaths.  In actuality, they did that to protect corporate empire.  We have a long way to go before the aristocracy is satisfied with their deaths per expenditure.

Trump’s announcement of a plan to reopen the economy is a comedy. Not only does he not have the constitutional authority, he also has no plan. What he presented yesterday is something two children would outline on the back of a napkin at Starbucks when talking about abstractions. There is zero detail, zero testing plans, zero protective gear for people to use and on and on.  (Homemade face masks using underwear do not work. Most N95 masks are not made in this country even though American scientists, American workers, American taxpayers and democracy allowed the development of that technology.)  Not only that, but I just recently found out that Trump cut FDA regulations for testing so companies didn’t actually have to prove their tests work.  And, many came from China. It appears many of these tests are junk and provide inaccurate results.  Another Trump unintended consequence.  More profitable corporate fraud enabled by buffoonery.  We’ve been unable to scale our testing to this day. Unfortunately, in a faux paus during yesterday’s briefing, Dr. Birx let it slip that companies can’t make a profit on testing so it’s not getting done. This is my surprised face. It’s likely a major reason why the data Trump is looking at shows we have peaked.  We’ve peaked because testing has peaked.

This points out a very interesting dynamic in our society.  And, an insidious one at that. This is exactly how large corporations, especially those that use government bribery and anti-competitive practices, operate.  That is, leadership is always incompetent.  Grossly so.  ALWAYS.  I’ve seen it time and again in my business dealings.  Incompetence runs the company and competence at the worker or mid-management level is suppressed.  Workers and underlings always has to sycophantically bend the knee to their corporate leaders and keep their mouths shut or be fired.   Most do this willingly and ignorantly.  This is exactly what Dr. Birx is doing with Trump.  She’s unable to call his incompetence out or she’d lose her job or career.  So, she sells her soul through silence to maintain her status and entitled privilege.  (No different than the Soviet Union either.)  No hierarchical institution wants to hire a leader.  As Hemingway noted, “The world first kills those with courage.”.  That’s because courage points out the systemic incompetence and corruption of institutional hierarchies.  Instead, our masters want “yes” men and women and most are willing to sell themselves for peanuts to do just that.  We see this daily with Trump who fires people on a whim.  This is what he did in his business dealings to people who weren’t loyal.   Who were willing to stand to account and tell the truth.  This is how corporate capitalism operates.  How often have YOU walked into the CEO’s office and told him his leadership team doesn’t know what they are doing or he needs to amend his strategy because policies are causing harm to people or the planet or whatnot?  Never, because we are all yes men and women who have sold our souls.  Corporations are cults. And we are all the conformist worshippers.  Corporate capitalism operates on forced conformity and feeds the loss of individuality, authentic community and democratic principles.  Most importantly, it’s forced conformity hides the truth in plain site.   The Borg.  There are no constitutional freedoms in corporations.  They are a fukcing social virus far more dangerous than the coronavirus.

Here’s something refreshing on that note.  And, this is good news whether it sounds like it or not.  The federal government is a feeble, incompetent bureaucracy whose authority comes not from the consent of the governed but through force and violence. (Just like corporations.)   This is not lost on many people.  It’s lost on the mainstream pathology that mints money and power by developing a political following;  left and right wing TV news journalists who bathe their followers in cult-like identity politics, political celebrity and the like.  As noted, Trump has zero constitutional authority to lift any shutdown. Zero. Governors don’t report to the federal government as the 10th Amendment reminds us. And, citizens are sovereign although our Constitution is dead.  Trump’s claims of dictatorship have dissolved as he once again oversteps his authority.  Nancy Pelosi remarked this week that Trump was weak. Actually, Nancy Pelosi is as weak or weaker. That’s why she ceded her constitutional responsibilities to Trump. We are a republic. Not a monarchy. The power of our federal government lies with the Congress except in times of declared war. Pelosi, McConnell and Trump should all resign. Pelosi, McConnell and Trump should all be impeached. The Georgia and Florida governors should be impeached and resign for their anti-scientific, profit-driven, inhumane management of this crisis.  Frankly, Cuomo was bludgeoning public health before this crisis happened.  He should resign too.   If private citizens were so incompetent in this socially-Darwinian cult society of ours, we’d be dead.  But instead in hierarchical institutions such as corporations and political parties, those parasites instead enrich themselves regardless of incompetence. The minions pay the price for that incompetence.  Or, in the case of politics, the citizens.   Oftentimes through death.

And, to be honest, a post-mortem investigation needs to be done at the CDC. Because they aren’t looking so hot either. I don’t doubt they have medical expertise but operational errors appear everywhere.  It makes me wonder how much Clinton-created CDC Foundation, a corporation, has destroyed the CDC with the comingling of corporate influence and money.  I’d like to see this investigated too. 

The feebleness and lack of legitimate consent of the governed of federal politicians has very serious implications. I mean very serious. It threatens our existing repressive federal government’s power grabs over the last 150 years, it threatens dollar hegemony as countries around the world see this type of craven, incompetent power of U.S. empire and may decide to stop following it, or may be forced to by their citizens who vote in leaders who will challenge the existing global order  and it threatens the entire global order that the U.S. has dominated for the better part of a century. 

It’s good to be the king.  Unfortunately, the world now sees the emperor has no clothes. The implications will almost certainly be wildly profound. 

posted by TimingLogic at 12:14 PM

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Science: Angela Merkel Explains Coronavirus Risk

While Europe has also been decimated by neoliberalism, much of it courtesy of German financial autocracy, Germany remains a nation of science.  And, Merkel herself is actually a scientist and apparently a brilliant one at that. In her daily update to German citizens, she explains the math of social distancing and how easily a relaxing of vigilance can create a massive economic and social crisis.  We don’t see anyone in Washington producing this type of content for explanation to American citizens.  Instead, we have a daily circus conducted by P.T. Barnum himself.  If we did have this type of scientific leadership, maybe citizens would more clearly understand the reasoning behind decisions rather than participating in countless conspiracy theories. But, to produce this type of conversation, we actually have to be able to produce accurate data. It appears testing rates have collapsed in our nation and, thus, once again, we actually have no data-driven science to make any credible claims or any actionable decisions. 

posted by TimingLogic at 3:08 PM

Updated Coronavirus Charts

Eric Topol, referenced on here as a great source for data-driven information re the coronavirus, has posted some chart updates that are worth noting.

Some quick comments along with the above update. This crisis is tragic on many levels. Not just the loss of life but also the loss of employment, the lack of assistance for the working class in this nation, the loss of business for people who have worked a lifetime to create something with their own two hands… and the support of society.  The list of tragedies is long and everyone has a story to tell.  Unfortunately, there are many more tragedies to come.  The central planners in Washington are powerless.  Truly.  What do I mean by that?  People were isolating and closing their purses well before any government social distancing edicts.  Spending was collapsing before that ever happened.  Let me give you an example of what to expect when the economy “reopens”.  Sweden, which has resisted a formal distancing shutdown, has seen retail spending drop by 90% in some sectors.  90%. Nine. Zero.  That was not a result of a government edict.  It was a conscious decision by individual citizens.  When politicians and TV news personalities make comments that seem to trivialize human life as it pertains to reopening the economy, it simply reinforces the concerns of society and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of future economic inactivity.   In other words, when the U.S. economy “reopens”,  tens to hundreds of thousands of businesses in the U.S. are almost certainly not coming back.  The U.S. economy has wanted to fail for decades but politicians and the Federal Reserve have kept it from doing so.  In the process, they have created massive moral hazard.  When the Federal Reserve recently started buying junk bonds, it created an unprecedented destruction of the meaning of money.  The most incompetent are being rewarded for their failures.  Money is a confidence game and the Federal Reserve is likely going to be reminded this in many ways before we are past this.  The government should instead be facilitating fast-tracked bankruptcies and reorganizations of industry deemed critical to democracy or national defense.  In other words, take the financial rot out of the system.  As noted in the 2008 crisis, not allowing the economy to implode into some post-apocalyptic Mad Max world is not a bad thing.  With a caveat.  What is important is that while the economic establishment is temporarily propped up to stop us from complete dystopian collapse, the new should be seeded.  A new economic model.  New economic industries that benefit society.  A new democratic economy.  New community-based commerce.  People-based commerce.  Or, as MLK noted, rapidly transition from a thing-oriented society to a people-oriented society. 

King’s words are haunting us to stand to account for compassion and empathy in this moment - “We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

But, politicians are never going to do that because they are owned by corporate power and money. So, the outcome is almost certainly going to be more dire than it has to be unless we see radical awakenings by citizens.  I mean radical in the sense of radical for natural human rights, economic self-determinism and democratic participatory civic consciousness.

But, there are also many good things to come of this.  One is that people are being forced to face reality.  To look at the horrors of our society.  How we have allowed corporate rule to gut our industry, and thus have little expertise in managing any complex situation and a buffoonish lack of ability to respond.  To see unbridled capitalism’s lack of resiliency and its massive systemic risks created by lack of public policy and democratic oversight.  The massive incompetence of politicians in Washington.  (Actually, they are quite competent at what they are elected to do. That is, to do the bidding of corporations.)  The lack of basic human dignity that exists with the endless destruction of social safety nets.  We effectively have soup lines that make the Great Depression look like a picnic.  And, on and on.  There is no universal source of truth that is available as people seek guidance.  That’s a good thing.  Big Brother is exposed.  Are we willing to look at what we cumulatively created?   For the first time in the modern age, individual citizen rights, community rights and state’s rights are seeking to assert themselves from the corporate state.  And, a little bit of anarchy and chaos aka free thought and free expression on this front is a good thing.  Grass roots efforts or localization are common themes on here as people seek to reassert their freedoms over corporate state rule.  If the United States holds together, and that’s a big “if”, the only method through which we will recover our democracy is through taking back our liberties from an all-powerful federal government.  An all-powerful federal government needed by the economic control system of corporate capitalism to enforce its tyranny on society.

I’ve noted on here in the distant path that the U.S. needs a return to something akin to the Articles of Confederation if our nation is to be saved.  And, while these are just seeds, there is massive social unrest for various reasons.  That’s a very good thing because we need a civic revolution.

Is this current situation going to be the fuse that ignites the end of corporate state monopoly on our lives? Economies are created locally. Communities are created locally. Transformation is not the purview of the professional class or the state.  It’s a bottoms up process.  As noted on here many times, as Soviet dissident Andre Amalrik noted in his work accurately predicting the coming collapse of the Soviet Union, the professional class enriches itself through state violence. Revolution is created by the working class; those who are exploited by state violence.  The power of the state is directly proportional to the fear and control-based propaganda it exerts over society’s most vulnerable; it’s workers.  And, for now, that is a dynamic we should all watch very closely.

posted by TimingLogic at 12:12 PM

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The U.S. Coronavirus Outbreak Is No Where Near Peaking

Per the comments in my last post, the Whitehouse analysis that we would see a peak in U.S. cases last week was a horrible lack of interpretation of simple math.  Here is a competent analysis of where we are in the U.S.  This graph was from Monday of this week.  It is a list of the top 25 U.S. cities and their coronavirus cases. (excluding New York

Remember the exponential growth of cases in New York. They went from nearly no cases to the worst outbreak in the world in a matter of weeks. The U.S. went from no deaths two months ago to lead the world in deaths. Will this happen in other U.S. cities?  We don’t know yet. But, what we do know is cases continue to rise, and in some cities, rise very rapidly, and deaths are a lagging indicator.

It’s amazing we can’t seem to find anyone on the Trump team who understands remedial math and how to plot and read outbreaks in an Excel spreadsheet.  It’s really simple. Cases or graph slope going up means we aren’t at a peak.  I can teach a five year told to understand this but apparently the Trump administration hasn’t yet reached toddler capabilities.  Interesting that the ten or so states who refused to shut down were Republican governors. I despise both parties as corrupt anti-democratic institutions, and both Trump and Biden are corporate scumbags, but there’s a dystopian and dangerous combination of anti-science and rebellion against any type of expertise that is pervasive in our nation.  Especially on the right.  There are oftentimes understandable reasons for this but ignorance can be deadly.

Lots of experts in this nation are idiots. Lots of positions presented as science are nothing more than scientism or science-sounding. It’s very difficult for most people to understand what is and isn’t true. Democratic society is supposed to protect us from this endless incompetence and corruption of facts and science.  And, that’s what it really is.  It’s institutionalized incompetence and corruption based on self-interest.  Hopefully, this is starting to wake people up from Adam Smith’s anti-scientific remarks that self-interest serves the common good.  Selflessness serves the common good.  Society should be organized first for the common good and then for self-interest.  And the prime motive for people participating in society should not money as capitalism would have us believe.  Again, an anti-scientific and anti-human delusion.

Dr. Fauci recently cited a study out of China that highlights this virus may be impacted by UV radiation.  And, thus, be seasonal.  I actually read that study. It is on the SSRN site.  I wrote early-on that if I were to guess, this virus may be seasonal for that reason.  Again, it’s a pure guess.  It’s hard to get a grip on what is going on right now because both the northern and southern hemispheres are in the middle of changes from winter to summer and vice versa.  So, we don’t see the evidence for potential seasonality yet.  But, the study Fauci is citing has a lot of holes in it.  Frankly, the study is scientism or science-sounding.  Given how fast this situation is moving, I can appreciate that.  But it doesn’t yet appear that the onset of summer is impacting the virus in the U.S. 

With other major cities in the U.S. now starting to bend the knee of the curve in outbreaks, what will happen next? Will we see mid and smaller sized cities in the U.S. follow suit with major outbreaks?  In other words, another later wave?  If so, those areas are similar to poor, oftentimes minority, sections of large cities where private, for-profit healthcare has destroyed public health. Many smaller communities share the same lack of health resources as many poor neighborhoods in large cities.   These small and relatively rural communities are demographic strongholds for Fox News and Donald Trump.  And, some studies show upwards of 40% of mostly conservatives our nation still believes this virus is a hoax.  If that happens, Trump will be routed in November regardless of who is running against him.

posted by TimingLogic at 1:03 PM

Friday, April 10, 2020

Timely Comments On The Federal Reserve, The Lack Of Social Contract In America And The Pandemic

It’s probably going to be a week or so before I get my next post on up why this pandemic is nothing more than the trigger for what was about to happen to the economy.  This is really being missed in the mainstream.  But, this pandemic fits perfectly into the economic analysis of the back end of this economic storm that I’ve anticipated will arrive before 2022. Actually, my major turn dates for changing events have been noted as 2013, 2016 and 2022, although I noted almost a decade that empire could disappear by 2020, or at the latest 2022.  This crisis is nothing more than a trigger for what comes next.  It’s interesting that this virus literally hit exactly as the U.S. economy was likely about to roll over.  This would make for a great conspiracy theory novel; the United States infects the world to collapse the global economy and protect its empire in the process through the all-powerful ability of the Federal Reserve to dictate global monetary policy.  Aka pick the world’s economic winners and losers.  Because that’s exactly what is happening.  The Federal Reserve is the central bank to the world.

It’s not a conspiracy although many certainly want to believe it is.

Anyhow, 2020 isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot. And, if one appreciates what the Federal Reserve is doing, U.S. empire may disappear sooner rather than later.  I’ll talk more about this in upcoming posts but the Federal Reserve is nationalizing the global economy.  That action is not a result of a few weeks of social distancing.  No other central bank in the world has taken these types of measures.  Ever.  In history.  That’s because no other country has ever counted the entire globe as its domestic economy.  And, that is exactly what globalization is.  It’s the expansion of the U.S. economy that consumed the entire global economy for the benefit of U.S. corporate empire.  If you don’t understand this, you don’t understand anything that is happening in the world today.  And, there’s no economists I have seen who understand this basic reality.  This moment in time is far more dire than a month-long hiatus for many non-essential aspects of the U.S. economy.   And, that makes the United States a very dangerous place to be.  And a very dangerous enemy to have.  More on this in my next post. 

There is no social contract, the basis of a civilized society, of any kind in the United States. Fundamentally, what that means is there’s no benefit or reason to continue with any appearances of society.  If we don’t have a social compact with others in our nation, why do we even have a society?  What’s the point other than exploitation on behalf of the ruling class?  I’ve talked repeatedly about social contracts but in a nutshell, civilization can only exist when individuals are willing to give up their natural rights for something greater than themselves.  There’s many eloquent philosophical treatises on this topic.  And, it is incredibly important to the Enlightenment movement.  Thomas Paine was far and away the most popular on this topic in the U.S.  In fact, Thomas Paine is the father of the American Revolution.  Period.  No one in power wants to admit this because his writings were radical and revolutionary for common people.  Paine was less philosophical and more practical in his delivery of the pocket guides to a just and decent society through his numerous writings and pamphlets.  Regardless, a social contract is no different than vows of marriage or even the decisions your sentient cat or dog made to live with humans in return for relaxing some of their natural rights in return for a common good.   

For only the second time in the last fifteen years, I would recommend everyone have as much food on hand as possible due to potential supply chain shocks.  Those are likely to exist outside of what happens with the current pandemic.  Also, civil unrest by the empire’s slaves is mounting.  Countries are withholding some food trade out of concern.  U.S. corporate empire has made our nation a food insecure one that likely does not have an ability to feed itself without rationing. At least in the shorter term.  And, possibly not at all.  It’s time to consider World War II-type Victory Gardens for yourself and your circle of life. 

In fact, on the note of civil unrest by the empire’s slaves, I would classify the Bernie Sanders’ presidential movement as a slave revolt with sympathetic citizens in the mix. The Roman Empire had many.  All of which were beaten down.  It’s nearly impossible to fight the force of the state with force and win.  In modern times, Sanders’ campaign also reminded me of Lech Walesa leading worker strikes in communist Poland that eventually led to the fall of communism aka state capitalism.  Sanders is really more of a union organizer than a presidential candidate.  And, that is why the corporate state did everything possible to smear and destroy his movement.  In the United States, the FBI has had a clear directive to infiltrate and destroy any movements that grant more democratic power to the people. (Available through FOIA data easily available online.)

It’s really painful to see so much poverty and the associated instability of the human condition it creates. My heart aches for the working poor and the poor in this nation and around the world.  This system dehumanizes people.  And, out of the fear it uses to control the masses, it dehumanizes our response to the suffering of others.  Does anyone believe there were not Germans who dissented to the Nazis?  Or for that matter, dissent in any authoritarian society?  There were large numbers who did.  But, what we their recourse?  Essentially death, financial ruin and isolation or silence.  Most Americans see the rot in this system.  Their choices are the same.  Conformity or their own destruction or economic isolation. 

The poverty and exploitation of American citizens and undocumented workers is now laid bare for everyone to see.  All one has to do is open one’s eyes and heart to see it.  The choice appears clear.  Stand to account on their behalf or turn a blind eye of fear, selfishness or lack of empathy.  I’m a big fan of those who have overcome any system’s fear-based controls to become selfless.  Not perfect. Selfless. King, Mother Jones Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa and on and on.  Radicals for human dignity.  Vice President Pence recently all but ordered food workers to go to work with food processing plants closing due to workers not showing up out of fear and slave wages during a pandemic.   Interestingly, many of those workers don’t have any rights as citizens because they are undocumented and exploited by the corporate state.  Neither Pence nor any other politician can order anyone to do anything.  Pence is a public servant and I’d tell him to go fukc himself were I one of those workers.  I encourage all workers to strike for justice and their natural rights. It doesn’t fix the underlying issues in our society but it does bring to light that my person and my mind are my natural property rights.  Corporate capitalism’s artificially-created wage scarcity, economic scarcity and economic property rights are not natural rights.  They are instead the result of institutionalized, concentrated power and should be dissolved.  

There’s definitely no social contract underpinning corporate capitalism or our nation.  Well-t0-do people who have enriched themselves off of the backs of others isolate in their comfortable surroundings and amuse themselves to death on social media while a disposable class risks their lives with no protective gear, little access to healthcare and a non-living wage. They go to work because they don’t have the privilege of protecting themselves or their families without doing so.  How many people who are “famous” because of their wealth or because of our degenerate celebrity culture have stated they make far too much money and that our economic system needs reformed to be inclusive for all people?  All people are worthy.   Our society mocks its founding Judeo-Christian ethics. It mocks our natural rights granted to us by our Creator.  It mocks the Divine light of the eternal mind of all sentient beings.  No society can survive without an underlying ethical foundation respecting all people and the natural world unless it is propped up through force and violence. 

This crisis is far from over.  It’s only just begun.  As it pertains to the virus aspect of this crisis, I see nothing in the horrendous lack of data-driven science or crisis management  that leads me to “believe” this week will be its peak as is parroted in the press or by politicians.   I could certainly be wrong but it won’t be because of data.  The projections of where this crisis are going, both inside and outside of the U.S. are not clear-cut.  While the epidemiology may be based on a scientific process, it’s only as accurate as the data.  Bad data in, garbage out.  We have zero really actionable data in the U.S. that I have seen.  Zero.  Corporations can’t provide it.  Political organizations can’t provide it.  Public health can’t provide it.  And, today is the last day the federal government is funding testing facilities.  So, that’s nice.  All I can imagine is that the political and corporate leadership are going to marginalize science and testing and, instead, force us back to work.  And, given the data isn’t there to support a decision otherwise, they can obfuscate their way to that decision.  Obfuscation, creating lack of clarity, creating doubt, marginalizing science and the like are Trump’s mechanisms of control.  He argues with experts.  And, as Mark Twain said, “Don’t argue with a fool. Onlookers won’t be able to tell the difference.”.  That is exactly where we are.  Trump clearly understands this as a method to control dissent and to control the narrative.

I’m not certain the political and economic elites who are planting these statistical probabilities of future cases understands remedial math. Or maybe they are just doing the best they can without good data.  I see normal probability distribution curves everywhere on how this crisis will continue to abate.   We’ve seen enough of how this has unfolded around the world to easily draw some rational observations.  One is it’s wishful thinking that this crisis is likely to have a normal probability curve or tail.  Especially in the U.S.  The entire process for determining projections and a probability curve are based on social distancing rather than people catching the virus or the unscientific herd immunity baloney.  The government should hold a conference with experts, not the half-wit politicians, and explain how this model works to educate society.  And, why social distancing is used as inputs into anticipate mathematical outcomes.  Given we haven’t isolated the entire nation simultaneously, and there are still a dozen states who either haven’t isolated at all or just recently started, we are more likely to have a time series of independent distribution curves that goes on for months and months.  The peak death toll may be New York or not.  No one knows.  It certainly looks that way today but it looked like Washington state a couple of months ago.  With the data we have today, cases are rising exponentially across numerous states on their own probability curve that is independent of a national curve due to a lack of leadership and coordination by the federal government.  Is that Trump’s fault or the Congress?  It’s both.  They are both lacking any type of leadership.  Period.  Their normal job is to do the bidding of corporations.  To do as they are told.  Asking someone who seeks power outside of themselves to be a leader is like asking an apple to be an orange. 

I’d take a stab at the national tail on this curve not peaking across the entire nation until mid-May as it pertains to peak deaths on a daily basis.  It’s just a visual stab based on looking at where the curves are as the lack of data is everywhere.  Testing is a massive bottleneck.  And, even though it has generally been turned over to states and corporations, it isn’t scaling effectively.  Unforeseen events that could extend that peak until even later.    Given the U.S. government has not requested a nationwide shutdown because of fear the ruling class will suffer economic hardship,  I’m guessing this pandemic is going to be the gift that keeps on giving and the tail on this will be massively fat.  In other words, a lot of cases and potentially deaths extended over a long period of time rather than quickly tailing off to near zero as is expected.  We just aren’t following the science needed to see anything else.  This is due to the horrendous crisis capitalism has made out of this, the horrendous crisis neoliberalism has done to gut public policy, the horrendous federal leadership, the horrendous lack of synergistic national policies, the horrendous leadership by many states, the horrendous leadership of the CDC, the horrendous testing policies that are still a horrendous disaster, the lack of funding that is delaying testing to the point of making it useless for any avoidance and on and on and on.  Horrendous crisis management by the federal government.  Absolutely horrible. Beyond words horrible.  Then I see Justin Bieber or whatever Trump’s son-in-law’s name is up during the briefing spouting lies about federal stockpiles not being for the states. He’s a winner.  And, then the smarmy administration scurrying that evening to literally change the web site to fit his lies.  Literally.  You can’t make this stuff up.  It’s not even banana republic caliber.  Bieber, er Kushner is an idiot and a smarmy piece of shit. I highlighted on here years ago that he bought a huge piece of real estate with daddy’s money like a month before the 2008 collapse. Genius capitalist in the making. A real gem.  He would have followed Trump as a bankruptcy king if it weren’t for being bailed out by taxpayers in 2008.

The Army Lieutenant General Honore who was brought in to clean up New Orleans after FEMA’s bumblings has come out and said that Kushner’s handling of logistics is a nightmare.  That’s putting his words very mildly.  And, he’s literally never seen anything like what they are doing. The federal government is acquiring equipment then giving it to private businesses to sell to the states and manage the logistics. I suspect he knows what he’s talking about since he ran the Katrina crisis. That’s a joke. Of course he knows what he’s talking about.

The people who are throwing stones that the models aren’t accurate so let’s all go back to work need a remedial lesson in basic statistical math.  Social distancing is meant to slow the infection rate. So, you may see a rapid rise of cases but once distancing kicks in and slows the infection rate, the rate peaks and tails off.   That the models haven’t born out into predicted death rates is multifactor.  Because distancing is working. And, because clean and actionable data isn’t being captured due to various incompetencies.  It’s not because the science doesn’t work as many of our scientific illiterate are making accusations about. 

There is an ignorant, ego part of me that believes our karmic fate is to experience complete disaster in this pandemic because of our cumulative social ignorance enforced by the corporate state idiocracy.  If that is the case, Donald Trump is just the person to deliver it or as Isaac Asimov stated, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”. 

Trump’s constant pushing to open the economy back up is self-interest for his own economic empire and that of others in the economic aristocracy.  He could lose everything other than his personal fortune because his wealth is concentrated in discretionary industries that rely on socialization.  The data should determine the path forward. And, the nation should have a plan on what that data should look like so we can all understand it and execute upon it.  And, in the interim, we should be providing for all of our citizens and protecting legitimate economic interests that involve useful production of core industry.  Not free money to paper speculators who add zero value to society or our economy.  Or money to corporations who were incredibly poorly managed.  The Washington politicians and public health officials should provide a living, breathing roadmap that is updated when variables change so we all know where we are going.  Instead, it’s based on Trump’s feelings.  Facts don’t care about feelings. I don’t expect Trump to be a scientist but he’s too goddamn stupid, corrupt and narcissistic to defer to the science for guidance.  He can still hold them accountable and challenge their science but if it’s data-driven, there should be little room for inaccurate interpretation.  And the Democrats are cowering in the corner doing nothing but taking pot shots at Trump while they don’t do a damn thing.  The Democrats are perfectly defined by Teddy Roosevelt’s famous speech of the man in the arena; if you aren’t willing to get into arena, don’t throw stones at those who try and make mistakes. Lead, follow or get out of the way.  They offer nothing constructive.  But they certainly do support Trump’s special favors for their capitalist buddies and for themselves.

What certainly appears is going to happen is exactly like what happened in the 1918 pandemic. A pandemic that is generally thought to have originated in the U.S. but we still don’t know one hundred years later.  (But we are so sure this one started in China immediately upon finding out about it.  Maybe the world should have sent the U.S. a bill according to the jingoism we see in the U.S. establishment today.)  What happened in 1918 was that war was more important than public health so men were sent off to fight and that resulted in a second outbreak that resulted in 500% more deaths than the first.  Trump’s push to open the economy is likely to have the same effect as what happened in 1918 if executed.  But, the reality is, Trump has no constitutional authority to force states to open up their social distancing efforts.  Regardless, this goes back to the planning comments I made back in February. The United States should have a crisis management plan and in that plan determine critical industries, how we are going to allocate food, how we protect our citizens, etc.  We need something far beyond a pandemic manual for public health.  And, the plan needs to be funded, modeled and tested so we know it works.  That takes government money and that is either constantly under democratic budget pressure or handed to corporations.

I’d be shocked if this virus is contained any time soon given the massive incompetence substantially created by neoliberalism.  That spans well beyond the United States although we certainly are the epicenter for such criminality.

A couple of links in closing for anyone who may be interested

If you like data and detail, the best coronavirus source I have found by far is the scientist Eric Topol on Twitter. He’s relentless in his data-driven approach. If it’s relevant, he’s likely to post it.  You can link to his posts here.  Just save this link if you don’t have a Twitter account.  It’ll update with his latest posts whenever you click on it. 

If you are concerned about anyone who may get this virus and be hospitalized, I would highly suggest watching this New York ICU doctor’s video.  He is essentially stating that American medical protocols are possibly killing people.  If you Google his concerns about using ventilators, you’ll find that German doctors identified this quite some time ago and are limiting intubation on a ventilator because ventilators are likely causing lung damage.  I believe The Hospitalist and ProPublica have reports on this.  You may want to ask your doctor about only providing oxygen to someone who may become seriously sick in lieu of ventilators.  Because if this is true, then American protocols are likely making the disease worse.

posted by TimingLogic at 3:34 PM