Home » Posts tagged 'michael krieger'

Tag Archives: michael krieger

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase

Can You Time Peak Crazy?

Can You Time Peak Crazy?

You don’t need me to tell you how completely crazy and distorted the financial markets have become over the last decade. Anyone reading this already knows that, which is partly why I stopped writing on the topic several years ago. I came to the conclusion there was no point in constantly screaming at the top of my lungs about what a farce the global financial system was. Instead, I decided to step back, let things play out to their predictably tragic end, and then play closer attention as the curtains started to come down. As has been made clear in my recent commentary, I think we’re now reaching that point.

I’ve begun reflecting a little more about the lessons I’ve learned over the past several years of status quo stupidity, and one particular conversation I had a while ago with a friend who was a portfolio manager at a major hedge fund came to mind. I searched my old emails to find exactly what I had written, and the response became the inspiration for the title of today’s post.

The correspondence occurred nearly four years ago, in February 2015. His initial message highlighted a FT article about the fact that Nestlé bond yields had turned negative. This was my response to his email:

Once you enter certifiably “crazy” territory it becomes almost impossible to bet against crazy until it is obvious it is all unraveling. Once in crazy territory it can easily get more crazy since crazy has already been established. 

The above is why you should never bet money against crazy simply because it’s crazy. Crazy can go on for a long time, especially when the people in charge see themselves as gods sent from the heavens to deliver the planet from the horrors of declining asset prices and lower financial industry bonuses.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Final Act in a Terrible Play

The Final Act in a Terrible Play

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you’ve been missing out on some good stuff. With the brith of our third child a couple of months ago, it’s been increasingly hard for me to find the time to sit down and write longer posts, so I’ve been putting more and more content on Twitter. Last Friday, Brent Johnson of Santiago Capital, asked me to provide additional thoughts on my recent turn to being far more bullish gold. Normally I would’ve written it in a piece, but being pressed for time I put together a Twitter thread


1/ Earlier, my friend @SantiagoAuFund asked me to expound on gold. I was a bit surprised by the interest the tweet generated, so I’ve decided to compose a thread on the topic and financial markets generally. There’s a lot coming, so apologies to those with no interest.


There are 32 posts in there and I suggest you read the whole thing. More important than the thread itself; however, was the unprecedented and totally surprising response I received. As I explain in the tweets, I intentionally avoided talking about markets for nearly half a decade for a variety of reasons, and so I was blindsided by the enthusiastic and exceptionally positive response. It led me to do quite a bit of soul-searching, and ultimately convinced me that the time is ripe for me to start commenting about financial markets again. Not only because I think we’re at or very close to a major inflection point, but because people want to hear it.

For the record, I didn’t think central planners would be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again ten years ago for as long as they did.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is U.S. Geopolitical Strategy Experiencing a Monumental Shift?

Is U.S. Geopolitical Strategy Experiencing a Monumental Shift?

The defining question about global order for this generation is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides’s Trap. The Greek historian’s metaphor reminds us of the attendant dangers when a rising power rivals a ruling power—as Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece, or as Germany did Britain a century ago. Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

– From Graham Allison’s article: The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

For the past two years, my geopolitical assumption has been that the Trump administration would more or less continue along with the reckless, shortsighted, and disastrous neocon/neoliberal interventionist foreign policy of the past two decades focused on undeclared regime change and proxy wars across the world, especially the Middle East. Given his strange obsession with Iran, I figured he’d start a conflict there and that this conflict would end up a bigger disaster than Iraq.

I assumed this mistake would coincide with continued massive deficits, a unwieldy debt load and most likely a recession. In turn, I believed this would lead to an embarrassing and chaotic unraveling of the U.S. empire. At that point, other nations like China would opportunistically take advantage of the huge power vacuum left over. Based on a variety of events over the past few months, I’m no longer convinced this is how it’s going to unfold.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Can the ‘Yellow Vests’ Protests Go Global?

Can the ‘Yellow Vests’ Protests Go Global?

When it comes to the relationship of U.S. citizens to the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington D.C., there’s no indication that anything remotely resembling self-government is happening. Rather, the relationship is far more like that of a servant to a master.

From the October post: Americans are Stuck in Abusive Relationships with Power

The gilets jaunes, or “yellow vests” protests, emerged seemingly out of nowhere about a month ago and have in a few short weeks shaken the French political power structure to its core. Just yesterday, the exceedingly unpopular President Macron cried uncle and offered a series of concessions to the protesters. Many commentators have come to the simplistic and erroneous conclusion that violence works, but it wasn’t the burning cars or streets filled with tear gas that really scared Macron and the people around him. It was something much deeper than that.

First, powerful elites tend to be control freaks. Abuse of the law, institutionalized corruption and invasive surveillance typically make the powerful feel comfortable their position is secure. What really makes them shake is when something totally unexpected happens — and the virality and force of the gilets jaunes movement caught them off guard.

Second, the diverse, nebulous and leaderless nature of the participants and their grievances made it a difficult narrative to counter through the media or government spokespeople. It wasn’t masterminded by dissident political parties or even France’s activist unions. Though it was catalyzed by rising taxes on diesel fuel, it quickly became a rallying point for a hodgepodge of individuals with a variety of serious gripes against Macron and his neoliberal policies.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Pentagon Fails Audit – $21 Trillion in Transactions Could Not Be Traced, Documented, or Explained

The Pentagon Fails Audit – $21 Trillion in Transactions Could Not Be Traced, Documented, or Explained

WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
– From Major General Smedley Butler’s War is a Racket

The following story’s been on my radar for a while, but it wasn’t until I read the fictional-sounding article published in The Nation yesterday that I finally turned my focus on the issue.

To give you a sense of what’s going on when it comes to the unimaginable levels of waste, secrecy and probable fraud occurring at the U.S. Department of Defense, check out the first couple of paragraphs from this must read article:

On November 15, Ernst & Young and other private firms that were hired to audit the Pentagon announced that they could not complete the job. Congress had ordered an independent audit of the Department of Defense, the government’s largest single cost center—the Pentagon receives two of every three federal tax dollars collected—after the Pentagon failed for decades to audit itself. The firms concluded, however, that the DoD’s financial records were riddled with so many bookkeeping deficiencies, irregularities, and errors that a reliable audit was simply impossible.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Consequences of System Failure

The Consequences of System Failure

In short, every major political institution has been increasingly discredited as Brazil has spiraled deeper and deeper into a dark void. And from the abyss emerged a former army captain and six-term congressman from Rio de Janeiro, Jair Bolsonaro, with the slogan “Brazil above everything, God above everyone,” and promises to fix everything with hardline tactics.

– From today’s Intercept article: Jair Bolsonaro Is Elected President of Brazil. Read His Extremist, Far-Right Positions in His Own Words.

It’s been only a little over two years since the people of Great Britain surprised the world by voting to leave the European Union. Just a few months later, this nascent trend of political shock continued with the election of Donald Trump.

This tectonic shift toward political upheaval has continued to spread throughout much of the world, with Italy and Brazil being two more recent examples. That something very major and very global is happening is undeniable at this point, yet everyone seems to have their own pet reasons for why it’s occurring. I continue to stick to the same thesis I’ve had for nearly a decade, which is that the dominant global economic/financial paradigm led and managed by the U.S. has failed and is experiencing a slow, painful and dangerous death.

This reality was temporarily papered over by the shady and extremely corrupt financial bailouts of a decade ago. An event that focused all government resources on rescuing the already rich and powerful, while keeping bank executives out of prison.


They claim they “prevented another Great Depression.”
In reality, they just bailed themselves out and created the wild political environment we have today.


Ten years ago, all of America’s resources were irresponsibly and aggressively marshaled toward the sole purpose of resuscitating a dead system and keeping it on life support.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S. Media Refuses to Inform the Public When Its Commentators and Pundits are Paid Foreign Agents

U.S. Media Refuses to Inform the Public When Its Commentators and Pundits are Paid Foreign Agents

Unbelievably – Rothkopf has the audacity to criticize Trump for having “repeatedly shown great fondness for foreign leaders—even despots and known murderers, human rights abusers and criminals”, while Rothkopf himself is literally a paid agent working to disseminating propaganda for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet, one that does much of the Saudis’ dirty work for it in Washington. And the fact that the Daily Beast makes no disclosure of any of this is what makes this practice – having paid lobbyists and consultants for foreign regimes and corporations masquerade as objective and neutral analysts of the news – such a massive journalistic scandal and fraud.

– From today’s Intercept article: MSNBC and Daily Beast Feature UAE Lobbyist David Rothkopf With No Disclosure: a Scandalous Media-Wide Practice

Much of the American public despises mainstream corporate media, but rather than engage in some self-reflection and admit failure they just complain about Trump. It’s critical we recognize that mass media in the U.S. is very much part of the very same discredited establishment it’s supposed to report on, thus its response to justified criticism is likewise establishment-esque. Blame the readers, blame Trump, blame anyone but themselves.

This is why mass media’s gotten even worse since Trump was elected — not an easy feat. It’s been obsessed with a Russia-Trump collusion tale that appears to be going nowhere, while simultaneously cheering onTrump’s worst instincts such as when he bombs Syria. Moreover, one thing the U.S. media definitely seems to have no interest in doing is disclosing when its commentators and pundits are paid shills for foreign governments, defense contractors and other unmentionable interests.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudi Arabia Considers Itself Untouchable Due to Oil and Money

Saudi Arabia Considers Itself Untouchable Due to Oil and Money

The roots of that lobby’s rise to prominence in Washington lie in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As you may remember, with 15 of those 19 suicidal hijackers being citizens of Saudi Arabia, it was hardly surprising that American public opinion had soured on the Kingdom. In response, the worried Saudi royals spent around $100 million over the next decade to improve such public perceptions and retain their influence in the U.S. capital. That lobbying facelift proved a success until, in 2015, relations soured with the Obama administration over the Iran nuclear deal. Once Donald Trump won the presidency, however, the Saudis saw an unparalleled opportunity and launched the equivalent of a full-court press, an aggressive campaign to woo the newly elected president and the Republican-led Congress, which, of course, cost real money.

As a result, the growth of Saudi lobbying operations would prove extraordinary. In 2016, according to FARA records, they reported spending just under $10 million on lobbying firms; in 2017, that number had nearly tripled to $27.3 million. And that’s just a baseline figure for a far larger operation to buy influence in Washington, since it doesn’t include considerable sums given to elite universities or think tanks like the Arab Gulf States Institute, the Middle East Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (to mention just a few of them).

– From the must read piece: The Saudi Lobby Juggernaut

It appears Saudi Arabia’s preparing to spin a tale about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi for the purpose of providing Donald Trump with cover to pretend nothing happened and get back to business as usual. Apparently, the Saudis plan to claim he was killed by rogue agents in a botched interrogation. No word about why it took them two weeks to admit this, why they blatantly lied about him leaving consulate and whether or not the body was hacked into pieces with a bone saw.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Americans are Stuck in Abusive Relationships with Power

Americans are Stuck in Abusive Relationships with Power

And we recently discovered, if it was not known before, that no amount of power can withstand the hatred of the many.

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

Americans are brought up to believe all sorts of myths about the country we call home. We’re told our economy is a free market meritocracy governed by the rule of law. We’re told our civil liberties, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, are inviolable and protected by the most powerful military in the world. A fighting force entrusted with the admirable and monumental task of defending freedoms at home, and democracy and human rights abroad. We’re told we exist in a system of self-government, in which our votes matter and our voices heard. In practice, none of this is true.

The fact of the matter is American citizens in 2018 are just a nuisance for the real power players. Useful as consumers, but increasingly problematic as larger numbers start to ask questions about how things really work. For far too long, we’ve been ignorant and willing accomplices in our own bondage. This allowed the concentrated and unaccountable power that really calls the shots to go for broke in recent decades, with unsurprisingly tragic results.

Only recently have things started to shift. Increased levels of barbarism abroad and corruption at home during the 21st century — under both Republican and Democratic administrations — have shaken many Americans from a long stupor. Irrespective of where you sit on the political spectrum, most people know something’s not right. People don’t agree on the details of what’s wrong, and there’s certainly no consensus on solutions, but increasing numbers of us know something’s very broken.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Amazon is Far More Dangerous and Powerful Than You Want to Admit

Amazon is Far More Dangerous and Powerful Than You Want to Admit

The sneaky thing about Amazon’s increased dominance in so many key aspects of our lives is that much of the perniciousness is hidden. No one’s going to tell you about all the retailers who have gotten pressured or destroyed via its tactics while you’re happily clicking “add to cart” and smiling about 2-day free shipping. In this sense, it can be best compared to the evils of factory farming. Most people just simply have no idea about the immense damage going on behind the scenes as they indulge in incredible convenience and what looks like a good deal.

– From my November 15, 2017 post: Amazon Poses a Serious Threat to Freedom and Free Markets

Today’s post should be seen as an update to last year’s article referenced above. In the months that have followed, I’ve been consistently frustrated by the lack of interest when it comes to the dangers presented by Amazon and its richest man in the world ($165 billion as of last count) CEO Jeff Bezos. The following Twitter exchange is a good example of what I mean:


There are far worse companies- all the defense companies, all the banks, most of the oil companies. They all support endless war and profit from endless war. Amazon does not.

Sure it does. Bezos is on a board advising the Pentagon and Amazon has a $600million contract with the CIA. You’re a smart guy, I’m sure you know this. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.businessinsider.com/amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-joins-pentagon-defense-advisory-board-2016-8 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos joins a group led by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt to advise the Pentagon

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is now part of an advisory board for the Pentagon led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

businessinsider.com


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Censorship Is What Happens When Powerful People Get Scared

Censorship Is What Happens When Powerful People Get Scared

“Only the weak hit the fly with a hammer.”
– Bangambiki Habyarimana

Anyone who tells you the recent escalation of censorship by U.S. tech giants is merely a reflection of private companies making independent decisions is either lying or dangerously ignorant.

In the case of Facebook, the road from pseudo-platform to willing and enthusiastic tool of establishment power players is fairly straightforward. It really got going earlier this year when issues surrounding egregious privacy violations in the case of Cambridge Analytica (stuff that had been going on for years) could finally be linked to the Trump campaign.  It was at this point that powerful and nefarious forces spotted an opportunity to leverage the company’s gigantic influence in distributing news and opinion for their own ends. Rather than hold executives to account and break up the company, the choice was made to commandeer and weaponize the platform. This is where we stand today.

Let’s not whitewash history though. These tech companies have been compliant, out of control government snitches for a long time. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we’re aware of the deep and longstanding cooperation between these lackeys and U.S. intelligence agencies in the realm of mass surveillance. As such, the most recent transformation of these companies into full fledged information gatekeepers should be seen in its proper context; merely as a dangerous continuation and expansion of an already entrenched reality.

But it’s all out in the open now. Facebook isn’t even hiding the fact that it’s outsourcing much of its “fake news” analysis to the Atlantic Council, a think tank funded by NATO, Gulf States and defense contractors. As reported by Reuters:

Facebook began looking for outside help amid criticism for failing to rein in Russian propaganda ahead of the 2016 presidential elections…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Must Watch Interview – Iraq War Whistleblower Banned from Twitter Tells His Story

Must Watch Interview – Iraq War Whistleblower Banned from Twitter Tells His Story

During my time in Iraq working for the State Department, a time that I initially was a red, white and blue government official, I frequently lied to the media. I lied to them about how things were going, I lied to them about how successful we were. My colleagues and I were contemptuous of them, most of the people we talked to in the media didn’t know enough to ask important questions, most of them didn’t care enough to ask questions and simply jotted down whatever we told them, and it was just remarkably easy to fool them. It’s almost as if they wanted to play along with us.

At one point I described it as they weren’t looking for “the story,” just “a story.” I made some remarks about how many of them were more concerned about looking good in their stand-ups, getting their makeup on straight than looking for details or questioning the lies that the government put forward. 

– Peter Van Buren, Iraq War Whistleblower, banned from Twitter a few days ago

The above quote is from an extraordinary discussion between Daniel McAdams, Scott Horton and Peter Van Buren that occurred yesterday.

Stop whatever you’re doing right now and watch this, it’s that important.

Let’s now get right into why this is so incredibly problematic. Mr. Van Buren claims that he was deleted from Twitter after making a mainstream journalist named Jonathan Katz uncomfortable with what was an obvious joke that no honest person would ever take as a real threat of violence.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S. Tech Giants Are Too Big, Too Powerful and Now Are Running Into Serious Trouble

U.S. Tech Giants Are Too Big, Too Powerful and Now Are Running Into Serious Trouble

Within Google, knowledge about Dragonfly has been restricted to just a few hundred members of the internet giant’s 88,000-strong workforce, said a source with knowledge of the project. The source spoke to The Intercept on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to contact the media. The source said that they had moral and ethical concerns about Google’s role in the censorship, which is being planned by a handful of top executives and managers at the company with no public scrutiny.

“I’m against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people, and feel like transparency around what’s being done is in the public interest,” the source said, adding that they feared “what is done in China will become a template for many other nations.”

From The Intercept article: Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal

Today’s post will explain why I think the U.S. tech giants are in the early stages of destroying themselves. It will focus on two of the biggest names in the space, Facebook and Google. Both face serious issues that are only now truly coming to a head and rooted in two primary factors, size and politics.

Facebook is further along in the process of being in serious trouble, so let’s start there. The social media company currently has 2.2 billion active users worldwide, which amounts to well over half of all human beings online at the moment (estimated at 3-4 billion). In other words, the company already has a tremendous share of global potential users. Since everybody already knows what Facebook is, you have to assume those who aren’t using it (like me), aren’t using it for a reason.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Centrism is Dead (And It Never Really Existed)

Centrism is Dead (And It Never Really Existed)

It’s a common refrain these days to hear people lament a decline of the so-called “center” in American politics. We’re supposed to look on in horror as “moderate” Republicans and Democrats become an engaged species of liberty-fighting patriots steamrolled by frothing, insane hordes of populist barbarians on their left and right flanks. They’re the voice of reason, lovers of apple pie and staunch defenders of our constitution and all that’s good and right in the US of A. We’re encouraged to run back into the blood soaked arms of establishment politicians like John McCain and Hillary Clinton — the only ones standing between us and the Donald Trumps and Bernie Sanders of the world. The center cannot hold, so we’re told.

It’s a nice story, the only problem is it’s complete and total nonsensical garbage. This mythical “center” is nothing more than a failed status quo attempting to rebrand itself in the wake of being outed as the corrupt charlatans they are. Russia, Trump and  Bernie Sanders didn’t destroy healthcare, bailout criminal bankers and invade Iraq based on fake news. No, moderate Republicans and Democrats did that. The so-called celebrated center did that.

Nevertheless, it’s crucial not to accept their phony terms. What these professional con artists are now marketing as centrism is in reality just entrenched donor-based politics. If you want to call endless imperial wars and the transformation of the U.S. into a rigged neo-feudal hunger games economy centrism, be my guest. I’d call it the result of decades of political apathy during which rapacious donors purchased the political process while nobody was looking. Well we’re looking now, and we’re not too happy about what we see.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lunatic Politics (Part 2) – It’s Becoming Impossible to Have a Conversation

Lunatic Politics (Part 2) – It’s Becoming Impossible to Have a Conversation

More and more people are becoming aware of and concerned about the level of political dialogue going on right now. We’ve gotten to a point where I’m seeing almost no intelligent debate about any serious issue. Russiagate now consumes such a massive amount of our collective energy, it feels we’ve become nearly incapable of discussing anything else. Even worse, Russiagate has morphed into a creepy D.C. establishment religion where merely demanding evidence for the wild claims being made gets you labeled a traitor or Putin agent. Ironically, average Americans don’t care about the issue.

When Gallup recently asked Americans what the most important (non-economic) problem facing the country today is, the amount of people saying Russia was so low they couldn’t even attribute a number to it.

Think about that. We’re being divided into two camps of increasingly insane and angry people because of hysteria surrounding an issue nobody even cares about. As usual, we can thank mass media for turning this topic into its singular obsession as well as promoting an environment of cultural insanity and stupidity.

As a result, people aren’t having intelligent conversations with one another. They’re just yelling at each other. The dialogue feels more like a political hunger games where people see everything as a linguistic competition of kill or be killed. Language itself has become debased as individuals try to one up each other with name calling and hyperbole. Demonizing and dehumanizing the other side appears to be the primary goal, which will only lead to a very bad place if we don’t take a collective deep breath.

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase