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How Contagious Is The Coronavirus?

How Contagious Is The Coronavirus?

The latest data points to “very”

This is the latest in our ongoing coverage of the fast-developing coronavirus outbreak originating in Wuhan, China. Our goal is to provide timely and science-based clarity on the situation for those overwhelmed by the many confusing & conflicting reports swirling in the media. If this is the first article of ours you’re reading on the subject, we recommend also reviewing our primer on the coronavirus.

There’s currently a bit of a kerfuffle on Twitter. It’s over an R0 study on ‘2019-ncov’, which is the official designation for the Wuhan coronavirus (as a reminder, R0 is a measure of how contagious a virus is).

The study is creating a stir because it initially reported an R0 of 3.8, but then was swiftly downgraded to 2.5.

First, it’s important to know that an R0 of 2.5 is still very bad.  That’s at the top end of previously reported ranges that were in my video alert from yesterday.

This specific Tweet garnered a lot of attention because a Harvard trained epidemiologist used some very inflammatory language:

So who is Dr Ting?

He’s a Harvard trained epidemiologist:

Dr. Ting was reacting to a new study that estimated the coronavirus’ R0 using available data.  Here’s the Twitter thread he posted:

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

VIDEO: The Risk Of A True Pandemic Is Higher Than We’re Being Told

VIDEO: The Risk Of A True Pandemic Is Higher Than We’re Being Told

Exactly what’s going on & how worried should we be?

OK, there’s a LOT of uncertainty and confusing/conflicting information currently circulating right now about the new coronavirus outbreak that has suddenly erupted out of Wuhan, China.

What’s really going on? What exactly is the ‘coronavirus’?

And most important: How worried do we need to be?

Given the poor communication so far by government health organizations and the media, the severity of the situation and the risk to public health, Chris Martenson filmed this important explanatory video hours ago.

Dr. Martenson’s PhD is in the field of pathogenic biology, so he understands the nature of this virus more than your average scientist.

In the video below, Chris explains the virus in layman’s terms, why the contagion we’re seeing is likely to spread substantially from here, and why the actions being taken so far by public health officials to contain the threat are woefully insufficient.

It’s important, maybe soon critical, to be well-informed on this outbreak. The ten minutes you spend watching this video may be the most important thing you do today:

After viewing, be sure to take prudent steps to secure the safety of your family’s health. Most measures are straightforward and inexpensive — there’s a huge upside to preparing now and a huge downside to delaying, so get busy.

Those interested can continue to follow our updated coverage on the coronavirus here.

Hopefully, authorities manage to contain this outbreak faster than it currently appears they will. But don’t bet your life on it.

VIDEO: The Fed’s Evil Juggernaut

VIDEO: The Fed’s Evil Juggernaut

Don’t let it crush your future

Juggernaut: (n) massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path

The US Federal Reserve is once again force-feeding liquidity into the system. At its fastest rate ever.

The result? Record high stock prices whose valuations defy all logic.

What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t we just enjoy the party and be grateful for our rising 401ks?

What’s wrong is that the Fed’s actions are dooming us. Their poisonous cocktail of endless cheap money and rock-bottom interest rates is hastening a terminal breakdown of the economy, while deliberately enriching a tiny cadre of elites to the ruin of everyone else.

Though most remain blind to this, Fed policy (and the similar ones pursued by the other major world central banks) is directly responsible for, or a major contributor to, many of the biggest challenges society is facing.

Tens of millions of Boomers who can’t afford to retire. Tens of millions of Millennials who can’t afford to purchase a home. History’s largest wealth gap between the 1% and everyone else. Relentless increases in the cost of living while real wages remain stagnant. Depletion and degradation of our key natural resources by zombie companies run without profits. We can thank the Fed for all of these ills, plus many more.

All we’re offered in return is the fake reassurance that “everything is awesome” because stocks are higher today than they were yesterday. As if that really makes a difference when the top 1% owns 50% of all stocks and the top 10% owns over 90%.

And when today’s epicly distorted markets reach their breaking point — which may be imminent given the truly manic action recently — not only will the resulting damage be commensurately epic, but it will injure the 99% FAR more than the 1% who benefitted from it.

Mass layoffs. Bankruptcies. Destroyed retirement portfolios and pensions. State and city budget crises. Higher taxes. More fees. Cancelled social services. Hollowed-out communities.

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

Surf’s Up!

Surf’s Up!

The wave of change is finally here. Are you prepared to ride it?

Nothing seems right anymore.

In whichever direction we choose to look, things are unraveling at a quickening pace.

Welcome to the Fourth Turning; and with it, a profound loss of trust in institutions and government.

Such lack of social cohesion is a hallmark of a Fourth Turning. Sadly, it’s happening at a time when society desperately needs to pull together, set aside our differences, and make some really big decisions.

Dirty Hands Everywhere

For my own part, my loss of trust in what is termed the ‘mainstream media’ (MSM) is nearly complete.  Its sins of omission and commission have piled up too high to forgive – the bank of trust I once had in it has lost every penny and is now in deep overdraft.

In my opinion its gravest sin is the willful and deliberate fracturing of society into many disparate warring camps. The MSM has a lot to answer for in that regard.

Similarly guilty is our political system.  The core power players are unable to hold each other accountable, revealing that we don’t have two parties after all, but rather a uniparty organized around power and money.

The rules are increasingly re-written to benefit a smaller and smaller group of elites at the expense of everyone else — and that’s now becoming increasingly crystal clear to the 99.9% who are getting screwed. The corrosive effects of that are going to take decades to resolve.

As a result, the social fabric is rending apart.  Stress is epidemic with more people than ever reporting being unhappy, unfulfilled, isolated and alone.  Suicide is the second leading cause of death.  It’s worse than just depression, it’s something far more insidious — it’s demoralization. There’s no hope left any more for too many of us.

A Dying Ecosphere

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

2020 Begins With A Bang (Literally)

2020 Begins With A Bang (Literally)

A heck of a lot happened this week

It sure didn’t take long for 2020 to get interesting.

Iran

The biggest development of the new year happened Thursday when the US military assassinated Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful figure after its Supreme Leader, in a surgical drone strike.

This is an extremely serious action; one that Iran is highly likely to respond forcefully against. As the world anxiously awaits what will happen next, #wwwiii suddenly is a top twitter trend.[Update: since this original publication of this article, the US has conducted further airstrikes on Iranian targets located in Iraq, Bagdad’s ‘Green Zone’ which contains the US Embassy has come under attack, and there are unconfirmed reports that US aircraft have hit Iranian targest in Syria.]

Chris has been furiously processing the news flow on this on an hour-by-hour basis in his latest post on the topic here.

If you want to better understand the context behind the current US-Iran tension as well as breaking developments from last night’s bombing and the likely repercussions, read the post and follow Chris’ updatesin its Comments section.

Gold

On Sunday, Chris released this prediction that gold was poised for a big price move. Sure enough, gold closed the week up $40/ounce, certainly helped today by the geopolitical worries escalating between the US and Iran.

The yellow metal is now up nearly $100/oz from a month ago, and over $200/oz from a year ago.

It seems to be finally emerging from its 7-year slumber. Even the long-beaten mining shares are up nicely over the past year.

The start of a new bull market in the precious metals may indeed be upon us.

WTF?! (What The Fed?!)

The first trading day of the year saw the S&P 500 close at an all-time high, suggesting that Fed liquidity was still driving the show as it did for the entirety of 2019.

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

Understanding The Keys To Power

Understanding The Keys To Power

Will be a survival requirement for the coming decade

The past decade was undoubtedly shaped by the policy adopted by the global central banking cartel to flood the world with massive amounts of liquidity (over $15 trillion) to “rescue” markets following the Great Financial Crisis.

It’s becoming increasingly clear who benefitted most from this: the ultra-rich

US wealth gap

As $trillions flowed into financial assets pushing them higher every year throughout the twenty-teens, those who owned those assets — disproportionately the very rich — saw their wealth soar.

We’re now at the point where the richest 1% owns nearly half of the world’s assets, while the bottom 60% have (often much) less than $10,000 to their name:

Global Wealth Pyramid

How has the distribution of wealth become this distorted?

Distribution of family wealth

The harsh simple truth is that those who run the system manipulate it to their benefit.

This is true in both government and industry. Those in power do ‘whatever it takes’ to remain in power and enjoy the fruits of their advantage. Any sort of social ‘duty’ is secondary (at best), and will be sacrificed if necessary.

Perhaps one of the best analyses and explanations of this is put forth by the book The Dictator’s Handbook, by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith. For politicians and CEOs alike, maintaining control of the “keys to power” — those who support and enable your rule — is essential.

This is why we’ve ended up with the bastardized crony form of capitalism now in place. Those running the system work hard to reward/punish anyone who aids/threatens their power base.

Like it or not, this is the world in which we live. And it’s critical to understand its nature if we want to avoid becoming unwitting serfs to it.

The most important tenets to be aware of are laid out very effectively in this short video called The Rules For Rulers, created under the supervision of Bueno de Mesquita and Smith:

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

What’s Possible?The key question to ask when looking to replace the status quo

What’s Possible?The key question to ask when looking to replace the status quo

As we look at the multiplying signs of failure across our economy and the environment, society is slowly realizing that we need to start doing things very differently.  At least if we want a positive future in which we can believe. Those awakening to this are asking: What should we do?

I think a better question to ask is: What’s possible?

That’s the question that has been waking me up early in the morning for the past few weeks.

It springs from Ben Falk’s book on whole systems design and permaculture entitled The Resilient Farm and Homestead.  It’s a great book, packed with lots of useful ideas and systems to consider.

It’s opening line reads:

“Regeneration involves seeing things as they could be, while resiliency requires dealing with things as they are.”

I like that pairing a lot.  It’s ‘what is’ AND ‘what could be’  Resilient AND regenerative.  It’s combining what you already have with what’s possible.

Why Regeneration Matters

Regeneration is about the future.  In working with living systems, the soil, the microclimate, the sun and a dozen other major variables all come into play.   To be of a regenerative mindset, one must be able to see both what’s there AND what isn’t there yet, but could be.

Each acre of land or water source is more capable of doing certain things than others.  The same is true with people, communities and cultures.

Where Joel Salatin found a farm with ruined soils (listen to our podcasts with Joel on regenerative farming and on ‘rogue farming’), he knew it was possible to rebuild the soils to incredible depth and abundance without using any outside inputs.  He showed that a whole new approach could yield results that had entirely escaped the previous owners of that land.  He saw what they didn’t, or perhaps, couldn’t (all hail the blinding power of belief systems!).

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

Art Berman: Houston, We Have A Problem

Art Berman: Houston, We Have A Problem

The surplus energy that powers the world is declining

Every week in our Off The Cuff Series, we interview expert minds on the premium side of PeakProsperity.com. These discussions are unscripted and informal, where my partner Chris Martenson and his guest react to recent macro developments and predict the likeliest repercussions.

Every once in while, when we have an exceptionally timely conversation, we’ll make it available to the public. And we’re doing that this week.

Chris caught petroleum geologist Art Berman right before he went on stage to deliver a presentation on the limitations of shale oil (his excellent slides can be found here). The world is finally starting to realize that the profit-making potential of this space was drastically over-hyped.

But more important, warns Art, is that the souring sentiment on shale oil is a reflection on the bigger challenge ahead of us: How we will power the world in a future of declining net energy?

When we reflect upon the material progress of humankind over the hundred and fifty years, it seems very clear to me that much, if not most, of it happened because humankind moved basically from wood to coal to oil/natural gas. To increasingly more dense sources of energy.

And the result is that we get a whole lot more work out of whatever energy we expend. Less and less of that is done by manual labor.

Everything works to live. Look at the African savanna: it’s all about energy. The animals spend all day long getting food one way or another.  That’s the way life on earth works.

But not so much for us, because we’re fortunate — we humans have all this fossil energy at our disposal. You and I can sit and chat on Skype here without having to do very much.

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

The Phantom Mania

The Phantom Mania

There’s nothing of substance underlying the current market melt-up

Well, stocks are back at all-time highs. Ignited by the Fed’s “Not-QE” program and endless Trump administration teases of an “imminent” China deal, the S&P 500 has been propelled above its upward Bollinger band — a hyperextension only seen one other time since 2007:

Every week since Not-QE was announced has seen the S&P close green (this week finally ending the streak, barely). We’re officially in a melt-up, where both good news and bad news are accepted as valid reasons to push stocks even higher.

But what’s notable about this melt-up is that it’s missing a compelling narrative. Every past asset price mania required a feel-good mantra that convinced the masses “This time is different!”.

The South Sea bubble promised access to the untapped riches of the vast Asian sub-continent. Dotcom companies were going to unlock tremendous value previously trapped by the inefficiency of the old analog way of doing business. In 2017, Bitcoin looked like it just might replace fiat currencies overnight.

During the price melt-ups accompanying each of these manias, the public fell for the siren song of a radically better future, available RIGHT NOW if you just jump on the party train before it’s too late.

But today? What’s the radically better future being promised? Where’s the party train headed to?

A Parade Of Horribles

As best I can tell, it seems the rationale (I’m using that term very generously) for the current market melt-up is that:

  1. The Fed is backstopping the market again
  2. A trade deal with China is going to happen, likely soon

Let’s dig into each of these. But before we do, let’s be clear that neither of these promises a “radically better” future.

The Fed, and its central bank brethren around the globe, have been backstopping the market for the past decade. There’s really nothing new in that.

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

Should You Relocate To A More Resilient Area?

Should You Relocate To A More Resilient Area?

 What factors to look for when considering relocating

Likely a symptom of growing social unease, we’re seeing a surge in interest amongst our readership in relocation.

Many are folks living in urban and suburban areas worried that local resources and/or rule of law will not hold up well during a serious economic crisis, civil disorder or natural disaster.

Others have watched Peak Prosperity readers successfully transition to more resilient destinations or even build their own self-sufficient homesteads.

Specifically, we’re seeing a hunger for guidance on the key factors to assess when asking:

  • How resilient is my current location?
  • Should I relocate?
  • If so, where to? And what criteria should I prioritize in making my decision?

Several years ago, we recorded an interview with SurvivalBlog founder and former US Army intelligence officer James Wesley Rawles addressing these exact questions.

It remains one of the best discussions we know of on the topic of relocation, and it’s this week’s recommended listening for anyone wondering if a fresh start in an area with better natural and community resources might be one of the single best ways to improve their future prospects:

(Full transcript available here)

For those motivated to action by this podcast, Peak Prosperity is now offering Consultations specifically-designed to help you think through & execute on the relocation process. 

Given your specific situation, does it make sense? Given your unique goals and needs, what requirements matter most when targeting communities and properties? How should you be structuring your search efforts?

As an output of the planned cohousing project he’s leading, Chris is now exceptionally knowledgeable on both the strategic and tactical realities of intentionally relocating to an area richer in resilience.

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

Essential Bug-Out Resources

Essential Bug-Out Resources

Solutions that have proved surprisingly essential during California’s wildfires

In my post yesterday Survival Learnings From A California Fire Evacuee, I promised to share the specific resources that have proved especially valuable during my family’s emergency evacuation due to the Kincade fire. So I’d better get to it…

Gas & Cash

Having now been surprised by two massive fires within the past two years, in both instances, the preparation I was most immediately grateful for — hands down — was having sufficient on-property stores of gasoline and cash.

The moment your community realizes that flight may be necessary, forget going to the gas station. In my area, the lines were 20+ cars deep.

Waiting in those kind of lines (when there’s no guarantee there will be gas left when your turn finally comes) can easily cause you to miss your window of safety. As I mentioned yesterday, my friends who tried to evacuate just 45 minutes after I did eventually had to turn back home because the roads out of town had become hopelessly gridlocked.

So get in the habit of keeping your cars’ fuel tanks topped off, especially during times of seasonal risk (fire season, hurricane season, flood season, etc). Make it a point never to return home with the gauge below half-full.

Also, keep at least a tank’s-worth of gasoline stored on your property. In my case, I have four 5-gallon gas cans. This ensures I can get to safety even if I’ve forgotten to keep the car tank full. And if I’ve remembered, I can throw the cans in the car for an extra 300+ miles of range.

Similarly, once the electricity goes out, the ATMs stop working. Having $500-$3,000 of emergency cash on hand to take with you makes a huge difference.

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

Could Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) Actually Save Us?

Could Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) Actually Save Us?

Spoiler alert: no. But that doesn’t mean we won’t try it.

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is presented as a means to painlessly fund the large-scale infrastructure / alternative energy spending the nation desperate needs to rebuild and modernize.

While most people support the goal of useful fiscal stimulus (as opposed to paying people to dig holes and fill them), the question remains: Will MMT work as advertised?

Rather than dismiss it out of hand, I’m trying to approach the subject without ideological bias.

What Exactly Is MMT?

The basic idea of MMT (as I understand it) is that the economy is not running at 100% capacity–there is capital, equipment, people and resources which could be put to work to better society, and the chief impediment to making full use of our capacity is a lack of funding for projects that would benefit society.

In other words, the only thing standing in the way of broad-based, socially beneficial spending / progress is a lack of money (funding).

In the view of MMT advocates, a blindingly obvious source of funding is already available: the federal government can issue however much new currency it wants, and so the government could fund large-scale socially useful projects if the political will to do so was present.

We have to pause at this point and distinguish between borrowing money to fund projects, which is the current model, and issuing (printing) new currency.

In the current model, the federal government sells Treasury bonds and uses the proceeds to fund government spending. The Treasury pays interest on the bonds, and this mechanism — interest due on borrowed money — creates a “governor” on spending: as borrowing rises, so do interest payments, and as interest payments rise, this crimps other government spending.

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

Did Everything Just Change?How material are this week’s QE & China deal announcements?

Did Everything Just Change?How material are this week’s QE & China deal announcements?

It’s hard to imagine a more euphoric end to the week for bulls.

Two weeks ago I issued a report titled Realistically, What’s Left To Power Asset Prices Higher? which claimed the bulls only hope was for a near-term resumption of QE (quantitative easing, aka “money printing”) or a China trade deal.

Well, this week they got both.

Jerome Powell announced Wednesday that the U.S. Federal Reserve will resume expanding its balance sheet to the tune of $60 billion per month. And just a few hours ago, the Trump administration announced it had reached a partial trade agreement with its Chinese counterparts.

And to put a cherry on top of things, word from across the Pond is that somehow a Brexit deal just might happen by the end of the month.

When I began typing this article earlier today, the markets were fiercely building towards an orgiastic climax. They ended with a slight post-coital breather, closing modestly off the day’s highs.

In short, the bulls are suddenly having the time of their lives.

So, does this mean happy days have returned? Have we been rescued from the rising tide of data warning of an economic slowdown and lower asset prices? Does the Fed — and now China, too — have our back again?

Is it time for investors to become optimistic once more?

“”Markets”” No More

Before we answer that, though, let’s address the elephant in the room. We no longer have functioning financial markets.

The central banking cartel has killed price discovery. The $15+ TRILLION in liquidity injected by the Fed, EBC, BoJ, BoE and PBoC over the past decade has ‘risen all boats’ when it comes to asset prices.

Whether great, mediocre, or horrible, the price of nearly every company/property/investment has been on a one-way 45-degree ramp upwards since global co-ordinated quantitative easing began in 2009.

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

Getting Real About Green Energy: An honest analysis of what it CAN’T promise

Getting Real About Green Energy: An honest analysis of what it CAN’T promise

I want to be optimistic about the future. I really do.

But there’s virtually no chance of the world transitioning gently to an alternative energy-powered future.

These Are The ‘Good Old Days’

I’m often asked where I stand on wind, solar and other alternative energy sources.

My answer is: I love them. But they’re incapable of enabling our society to smoothly slip over to powering itself by other means.

They’re not going to “save us”.

Some people are convinced otherwise. If we can just fight off the evil oil companies, get our act together, and install a national alternative energy system infrastructure, we’ll be just fine.  Meaning that we”ll be able to continue to live as we do today, but powered fully by clean renewable energy.

That’s just not going to happen. At least, not without a lot of painful disruption and sacrifice.

The top three reasons why are:

  1. Math
  2. Human behavior
  3. Time, scale, & cost

I walk through the detail below. I’m doing so to debunk the magical thinking behind the current “Green Revolution” because I fear it offers a false promise.

Look, I’m a huge fan of renewable energy. And I’m 1,000% in favor of weaning the world off of its toxic addiction to fossil fuels.

But we have to be eyes wide open about our future prospects. Deluding ourselves with “feel good” but unrealistic expectations about green energy will result in the same sort of poor decisions, malinvestment, and crushed dreams as fossil-based system has.

As we constantly repeat here at Peak Prosperity: Energy is everything.  

Without as much available, the future is going to be exceptionally difficult compared to the present. Which is why I call the time we’re living in now The Good Old Days.

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

The Future Of Better FarmingSustainable practices + smart technology = thriving soils

The Future Of Better FarmingSustainable practices + smart technology = thriving soils

While it’s *soooo* tempting to write about the stomach-churning drop/spike/dive thrill ride the financial markets have embarked on after this week’s Federal Reserve rate cut, I will resist and instead direct your attention to a topic much more important to our future.

Here at PeakProsperity.com, we’ve long warned about the dangers of inflation and of devaluation of the purchasing power of fiat currency over time. And the past decade has done nothing but validate our concerns, as the world’s central banks nearly quadrupled the money supply by printing roughly $14 Trillion out of thin air since 2008.

We’ve long encouraged investors both big and small to invest in tangible wealth (aka “hard assets”). These are assets that have intrinsic value that can’t be inflated away to nothing by a runaway printing press.

One of most desirable forms of tangible wealth is productive farmland. No matter what happens to the dollar, the Euro, the yen, or the yuan, people will always need to eat; and will trade cash, goods, services or labor for the farmer’s output.

But farmland, especially quality farmland, isn’t easy to own.

Not many folks can realistically purchase a farm. Few have the (substantial) capital to buy one, and way fewer have the expertise, energy and temperament to manage and operate one.

There aren’t many other options for investors besides purchasing shares of the publicly traded mega-producers.

But for those deeply troubled by the extractive and rapacious nature of most modern conventional farming practices — which are ruining our priceless topsoils, depleting aquifers, killing off the insects, creating toxic algal blooms and dead zones in our rivers and oceans, and producing unhealthy foods, to boot — how can you avoid supporting the evils of Big Ag?

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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