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Rabobank: Is Judge Dredd A Vision Of What Awaits Our Society

Rabobank: Is Judge Dredd A Vision Of What Awaits Our Society

Elon and Eloi

It was just a few short weeks ago that governments in Australia and the UK were congratulating themselves on how they had performed under Covid-19, and both were enthusiastically looking ahead to getting life back to normal. Today Victoria, Australia is under new lockdown and Melbourne faces six weeks of virus curfews, while in the UK a state of emergency has been declared in Manchester, a trial balloons have been floated to cut-off London from the rest of the country if needs be –which we were recently told would never happen– and for the over 50s to have to stay at home to allow everyone younger to get back to normal – which were again told would never happen. Oh, for a time machine back to when all was well with the world! (Which was a time when the virus was still out of control in the US, and Brazil, and Mexico, and India, and South Africa, but never mind.)

On which note, the dwindling band of US-China optimists who can remember how recently “Chimerica” was the future should note that the US has placed new Magnitsky sanctions on China over the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang. This time it is not just individuals but the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a paramilitary organization that employs almost 12% of Xinjiang’s total population, is involved in the production of one-third of China’s cotton, and which data show back in 2014 comprised 17% of the Xinjiang’s economy. That’s a move with huge implications – and potentially even for Hong Kong, where the September LegCo election has been cancelled, a move dubbed possibly illegal by its bar association.

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

David Stockman on Fiscal Disaster, Social Unrest, and the Presidential Election

David Stockman on Fiscal Disaster, Social Unrest, and the Presidential Election

Fiscal Disaster

International Man: Recently, massive riots have broken out in many cities across the US.

Despite the unrest—and the economic damage from the shutdowns—the stock market continues to rally.

It seems that markets don’t reflect earnings, economic prosperity, or growth. What is going on here?

David Stockman: It’s quite simple. The Fed has unleashed the greatest torrent of liquidity ever, and it’s finding its way into a relentless, massive bid for risk assets.

Since the eve of the Lockdown Nation disaster on March 11, the Fed’s balance sheet has erupted from $4.3 trillion to nearly $7.2 trillion. That’s $32 billion per day—including weekends, Easter, and nationwide riot days.

Worse still, at their June meeting, the mad money printers domiciled in the Eccles Building promised to keep printing $120 billion per month to buy US Treasuries and other assets for an indefinite period. That should get us to a $10 trillion balance in less than two years’ time.

What this means, of course, is that honest price discovery in the canyons of Wall Street is deader than a doornail. We now have a putative capitalist economy in which the most important prices in all of capitalism—the prices of financial assets—are pegged, rigged, and manipulated by the central banking agents of the state.

The result, of course, is speculation and malinvestment on a biblical scale.

As to the former, we are now being treated to the preposterous spectacle of an IBO—or Initial Bankruptcy Offer—of the stock of bankrupt Hertz.

Hertz’s stock is worthless. It’s pinned under a pile of $20 billion of debt—senior debt securities, which are trading at 40 cents on the dollar—and a vastly overvalued fleet of vehicles.

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

Tragedies of Our Time: Pandemic, Planning, and Racial Politics

TRAGEDIES OF OUR TIME: PANDEMIC, PLANNING, AND RACIAL POLITICS

An old adage says that tragedies often come in threes. Certainly, the first half of 2020 has seen a version of this. First, the coronavirus that has infected millions of people and killed hundreds of thousands. Second, the response by most governments to the virus by commanding near universal business lockdowns and stay-at-homes that have wrecked economic havoc on the world economy. And, third, the horrific killing of George Floyd, an unarmed and handcuffed black man in Minneapolis by a policeman, that has served as the catalyst for demonstrations against police abuse and charges of racism all around the world.

They are tragedies that, for the most part, have been man-made. Yes, the coronavirus has been a “force of nature,” though the verdict is still out on the actual origin of the virus and how it first entered the general population in Wuhan, China and then began to spread from one continent to another. But what has become fairly clear is the “human factor” in analyzing and forecasting its likely impact on the world population, which, in turn, highly influenced government responses to it.

Human “Error” in the Coronavirus Projections

British Professor Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College in London, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), offered modeling projections about the likely spread and effect of the virus on the world population that greatly influenced the British and many other governments’ decisions to order business shutdowns and stay-at-home “social distancing” lockdowns. Partly because of this advice, much of the world’s social and economic life came to a halt.

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

“They Want Their Monies Out” – Baltimore Residents ‘Storm Bank’ Amid Fears Of Social Unrest

“They Want Their Monies Out” – Baltimore Residents ‘Storm Bank’ Amid Fears Of Social Unrest

The evolution of panic hoarding started with 3M N95 masks, then hand sanitizers, non-perishable foods, guns and ammo, and now cash?

video surfaced on Instagram on Saturday, showing a possible bank run in Baltimore City at the MECU Credit Union, located at 2337 E Northern Pkwy.  

Baltimore MECU Bank on April 4 h/t Teresa Davis 

The area is considered low/middle class working families (predominantly African American community). The video shows a large line of cars on Saturday afternoon and a line at the ATM. People weren’t cashing in their paychecks because many people were laid off, as we noted, more than 14 million people in the last several weeks have lost their jobs across the county, and what we could be looking at is the beginnings of a bank run.

Street comes together for socially distanced dancing

Baltimore MECU Bank ATM line on April 4 h/t Teresa Davis 

“As soon as the National Guard rolled into Baltimore City – many folks asked themselves – is this a revisit of the Freddy Gray unrest back in 2015,” said Teresa Davis, owner and operator of Teresa Davis Productions.

National Guard Tent City in Baltimore Metro Area h/t Teresa Davis 

Davis said for weeks the National Guard had staged military tent cities across the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. She said military Humvees had been spotted in East Baltimore (down the street from MECU bank), more specifically on East Monument Street, near the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which she adds is a low-income/high-crime area.

She said the last time Humvees were spotted on East Monument Street was back during the 2015 riots.

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

“This Could Turn Violent” – Italian Officials Fear South Turning Into A Powder Keg

“This Could Turn Violent” – Italian Officials Fear South Turning Into A Powder Keg

Signs of social unrest in major Western cities could be developing over the next few weeks, and as we previously warned last Friday, a global depression with high unemployment could unleash a “social bomb” in European countries and or North America. 

At the moment, Italy is the most high-risk country in the West to experience a potential breakdown in society. The country is suffering from an explosion in COVID-19 cases and deaths, a collapsed hospital system, an economic depression, and high unemployment. Sounds a lot like Venezuela… 

Italy has called up the military in recent weeks to enforce lockdowns across the country. There have also been reports of organized gangs operating in the Southern part of the country that are using social media to plot raids on businesses, reported Bloomberg.

It’s a race against time for Italian officials to prevent social unrest: 

“We need to act fast, more than fast,” Mayor Leoluca Orlando of Palermo, a city of Southern Italy, told daily La Stampa. “Distress could turn into violence.”

Lockdowns in the country have entered the fourth week, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement on Monday recommending that the government must extend the countrywide lockdown through Easter. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has been injecting stimulus into the economy to prevent a complete economic crash, and the next round could hit as early as mid-April, worth $33 billion.

Italy is the epicenter of COVID-19 in Europe. As of Monday afternoon, 101,739 confirmed cases had been reported, with 11,591 deaths. The growth rates in deaths in Northern Italy is still on an exponential curve. 

“Discomfort and malaise are growing, and we are recording worrying reports of protest and anger that is being exploited by criminals who want to destabilize the system,” said Orlando.

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

Retailers Prepare For Civil Unrest; Boarded-Up Stores Seen From SoHo To Beverly Hills

Retailers Prepare For Civil Unrest; Boarded-Up Stores Seen From SoHo To Beverly Hills

High-end stores across the country have been boarding up their stores in anticipation of civil unrest due to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

In Beverly Hills, the Pottery Barn and West Elm stores near Rodeo Drive were spotted with boards across the windows according to TMZ.

Meanwhile, stores in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Paris, Vancouver and elsewhere were similarly boarded up.

Thanks, China. 

West Faces “Social Bomb” As Pandemic Sparks Unrest Among Poorest

West Faces “Social Bomb” As Pandemic Sparks Unrest Among Poorest

The next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic could be a flare-up of social unrest across major Western cities as millions have lost their jobs, economies have crashed into depressions, and the military is being called up to maintain order.

The Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned that riots could be imminent in low-income neighborhoods as extreme wealth inequality has left households unprepared and without a cash buffer to weather the economic downturn.

As we’ve noted before, many Western households were already stretched thin before the shutdowns began, with little savings, insurmountable debts, and the lack of access to proper healthcare. Now, these folks, which many have been laid off from gig-economy and service sector jobs, have zero income and could be emotionally motivated to hit the streets and protest.

IFRC president Francesco Rocca warned on Friday during a press conference that social unrest could be imminent in Italy, reported Reuters.

“We have a lot of people who are living very marginalized, in the so-called black hole of society… In the most difficult neighborhoods of the biggest cities, I am afraid that in a few weeks, we will have social problems,” Rocca said.

This is a social bomb that can explode at any moment, because they don’t have any way to have an income,” he said, whose agency deploys volunteers across Europe, including in Italy, Spain, and France.

He warned that the largest Western cities have only a ‘few weeks’ before social unrest is seen.

As for the US, President Trump has been deploying National Guard units across the country to fight the virus, or a perfect cover to prepare for Martial law-style shutdowns across some areas where the virus is hard-hitting.

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

The 11th Hour: 8 Examples Of Mainstream Media Sources Warning Us Of Imminent Economic Disaster

The 11th Hour: 8 Examples Of Mainstream Media Sources Warning Us Of Imminent Economic Disaster

Are we on the verge of another great financial crisis, a devastating recession and a horrific implosion of the global debt bubble?  On my website I have been relentlessly warning my readers about the inevitable consequences of our very foolish actions, but now the mainstream media is beginning to sound just like The Economic Collapse Blog.  The coming crisis is so close now that a lot of them are starting to see it, and of course economic disaster is already a reality for much of the rest of the planet.  For years, the mainstream media told us that things would get better, and in a lot of ways we did see some improvement.  But now the tone of the mainstream media has become quite ominous, and that is definitely not a positive sign.  The following are 8 examples of mainstream media sources warning us of imminent economic disaster…

#1 Forbes: “Disaster Is Inevitable When America’s Stock Market Bubble Bursts”

As shown in this report, the U.S. stock market is currently trading at extremely precarious levels and it won’t take much to topple the whole house of cards. Once again, the Federal Reserve, which was responsible for creating the disastrous Dot-com bubble and housing bubble, has inflated yet another extremely dangerous bubble in its attempt to force the economy to grow after the Great Recession. History has proven time and time again that market meddling by central banks leads to massive market distortions and eventual crises. As a society, we have not learned the lessons that we were supposed to learn from 1999 and 2008, therefore we are doomed to repeat them.

The purpose of this report is to warn society of the path that we are on and the risks that we are facing.

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

The 11th Hour: 8 Examples Of Mainstream Media Sources Warning Us Of Imminent Economic Disaster

The 11th Hour: 8 Examples Of Mainstream Media Sources Warning Us Of Imminent Economic Disaster

Are we on the verge of another great financial crisis, a devastating recession and a horrific implosion of the global debt bubble?  On my website I have been relentlessly warning my readers about the inevitable consequences of our very foolish actions, but now the mainstream media is beginning to sound just like The Economic Collapse Blog.  The coming crisis is so close now that a lot of them are starting to see it, and of course economic disaster is already a reality for much of the rest of the planet.  For years, the mainstream media told us that things would get better, and in a lot of ways we did see some improvement.  But now the tone of the mainstream media has become quite ominous, and that is definitely not a positive sign.  The following are 8 examples of mainstream media sources warning us of imminent economic disaster…

#1 Forbes: “Disaster Is Inevitable When America’s Stock Market Bubble Bursts”

As shown in this report, the U.S. stock market is currently trading at extremely precarious levels and it won’t take much to topple the whole house of cards. Once again, the Federal Reserve, which was responsible for creating the disastrous Dot-com bubble and housing bubble, has inflated yet another extremely dangerous bubble in its attempt to force the economy to grow after the Great Recession. History has proven time and time again that market meddling by central banks leads to massive market distortions and eventual crises. As a society, we have not learned the lessons that we were supposed to learn from 1999 and 2008, therefore we are doomed to repeat them.

The purpose of this report is to warn society of the path that we are on and the risks that we are facing.

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

Bankers And Tech Executives Know The Collapse Of Society Is Coming And Are Feverishly Prepping For It

Bankers And Tech Executives Know The Collapse Of Society Is Coming And Are Feverishly Prepping For It

While most of the general population has been lulled into a false sense of security, bankers and tech executives are spending millions upon millions of dollars to prepare for the collapse of society.  Do they know something that the rest of us do not?  Apparently talk of doomsday scenarios has become very popular at Silicon Valley dinner parties, and as you will see below, having a plan to escape to New Zealand appears to be a very popular “Plan B” among the tech elite.  Of course this is not just a west coast phenomenon.  Many bankers on the east coast have similar concerns and have also been developing contingency plans.  Ladies and gentlemen, they know what is coming and they are feverishly getting prepared for it.  In fact, J.P. Morgan Chase’s head quant just publicly declared that the next financial crisis is going to result in “social unrest not seen in the U.S. in half a century”.  The following comes from CNBC

Sudden, severe stock sell-offs sparked by lightning-fast machines. Unprecedented actions by central banks to shore up asset prices. Social unrest not seen in the U.S. in half a century.

That’s how J.P. Morgan Chase‘s head quant, Marko Kolanovic, envisions the next financial crisis. The forces that have transformed markets in the last decade, namely the rise of computerized trading and passive investing, are setting up conditions for potentially violent moves once the current bull market ends, according to a report from Kolanovic sent to the bank’s clients on Tuesday. His note is part of a 168-page mega-report, written for the 10th anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis, with perspectives from 48 of the bank’s analysts and economists.

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

Will the Center hold?

Will the Center hold?

The photo above is William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

“The Second Coming”

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

the falcon cannot hear the falconer;

things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

the ceremony of innocence is drowned;

the best lack all conviction, while the worst

are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

when a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;

a shape with lion body and the head of a man,

a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know

that twenty centuries of stony sleep

were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

and what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

I find there is something visceral about Yeat’s poem “The Second Coming”, his  words and phrases reach into my gut, grab hold, and demand my attention.  His poem has been often quoted when people write about social change.  “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold… The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”  These lines seem to perfectly describe events unfolding today.  Yeats wrote this poem after the end of the First World War, a time of great social and civil unrest.  The poem captures more than just political unrest and violence of his time.

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

“The People Live In Terror” – Military Intervention Imposed In Rio As Unrest Worsens

Brazil’s Senate has overwhelmingly approved a military intervention in Rio de Janeiro that was first proposed by President Michel Temer last week – the latest step in the president’s crackdown on crime and social unrest ahead of a hotly contested local election coming later this year.

As we noted last week, Temer is ordering the military to restore order in the drug-ravaged streets of Rio in the largest intervention since Brazil’s return to Democracy in the mid-1980s. A collapse in public spending on social services has caused crime to reemerge in Brazil’s slums, spiking to levels unseen since 2009.

The decree, which was issued on Friday, had already passed the House, and the Senate vote was the final obstacle to a military takeover of the local police. However, per the AFP, while support for the crackdown is broad-based, it also has its critics: There is particular controversy over government calls for the army-led police to be able to serve mass search and arrest warrants in favelas.

In fact, the prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, who ran infamous anti-corruption operation car wash – which nearly ensnared Temer – said there’s no legal precedent or justification for such mass searches of favelas.

“The penal code does not authorize serving collective or generic search warrants. On the contrary, it demands the greatest possible precision in the homes being searched,” he tweeted.

Furthermore, there’s concern that the crackdown – which was inspired by a series of street robberies during Carnevale festivities in the city – will lead to abuse of the poorest most vulnerable citizens while doing little to address systemic problems like pervasive poverty and poor access to education.

However, the horrifying stories of the crime wave have helped rally popular support for the crackdown.

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

Bastiat Knew the Proper Limits of Government Force

Bastiat Knew the Proper Limits of Government Force

If you don’t violate the life, liberty, or property of someone else, you should not see the arm of the law.

High school students in the United States are usually required to take a course in government. They learn about the structure of government but rarely discover the appropriate role of government or the justifiable limits for the use of force in our society. If they did, one of their required readings would be Frédéric Bastiat’s treatise The Law, a seminal mid-Nineteenth-century work that describes eternal truths about life and how we pursue justice. These truths are just as valid today as they were then.

Natural Rights and the Role of Government

Bastiat states that individuals are born with the natural rights of life, liberty, and property. From this notion, the only proper function of the use of force or the law is the collective organization of the natural right to self-defense of these rights.

“Every individual has the right to use force for lawful self-defense. It is for this reason that the collective force — which is only the organized combination of the individual forces — may lawfully be used for the same purpose; and it cannot be used legitimately for any other purpose.”

He then defines any illegitimate use of force or of the law as legal plunder. This is an all-encompassing term which includes any unjustified violation of the life, liberty, or property of others. Many examples abound today with regulations on labor (e.g. minimum wage laws), products (e.g. subsidies and tariffs), health care, education, or even the use of marijuana or any other drugs.

Legal plunder has two primary motivations:

  1. The first is stupid greed. For example, you would never think of robbing your neighbor, but are complacent if the government uses legal plunder to rob him on your behalf.

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

The Pie Is Shrinking So Much The 99% Are Beginning To Starve

Melissa E Dockstader/Shutterstock

The Pie Is Shrinking So Much The 99% Are Beginning To Starve

How much longer until the pitchforks come out?

Social movements arise to solve problems of inequality, injustice, exploitation and oppression. In other words, they are solutions to society-wide problems plaguing the many but not the few (i.e. the elites at the top of the wealth-power pyramid).

The basic assumption of social movements is that Utopia is within reach, if only the sources of the problems can be identified and remedied.  Since inequality, injustice, exploitation and oppression arise from the asymmetry of power between the few (the financial and political elites) and the many, the solution is a reduction of the asymmetry; that is a tectonic realignment of the social structure that shifts some power—economic and/or political—from the few to the many.

In some instances, the power asymmetry is between ethnic or gender classes, or economic classes (for example, labor and the owners of capital).

Social movements are characterized by profound conflict because the beneficiaries of the power asymmetry resist the demands for a fairer share of the power and privileges, while those who’ve held the short end of the stick have tired of the asymmetry and refuse to back down.

Two dynamics assist a social, political and economic resolution that transfers power from those with too much power to those with too little power: 1) the engines of the economy have shifted productive capacity definitively in favor of those demanding their fair share of power, and 2) the elites recognize that their resistance to power-sharing invites a less predictable and thus far more dangerous open conflict with forces that have much less to lose and much more to gain.

In other words, ceding 40% of their wealth-power still conserves 60%, while stubborn resistance might trigger a revolution that takes 100% of their wealth-power.

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

Chinese Insurer Warns Of “Mass Defaults, Social Unrest” Due To “Mass Redemption” Run

Chinese Insurer Warns Of “Mass Defaults, Social Unrest” Due To “Mass Redemption” Run

One month ago, China came “this close” to the one event which terrifies Beijing more than anything: a run on China’s shadow banks.

As a quick reminder, 150 customers of China’s Mingsheng Bank, the country’s largest private bank, were furious in mid-April when they learned that some 3 trillion yuan invested in Wealth Management Products, the backbone of China’s shadow banking system, had vaporized after bank employees had engaged in fraud and embezzled the funds without ever investing it (later it emerged that Mingsheng employees had put the money into “cultural relics” and jewelry, for their own use).

And while fraud and embezzlement are both endemic in China, the bigger concern raised by the article was the threat of a bank run across China’s massive and unregulated, nearly $10 trillion shadow banking system. Indeed, while there have been numerous allegations and warnings that China’s entire shadow banking facade, dominated by WMPs and other “investment products”, is nothing but a giant ponzi scheme in which  recoveries – should there be a bank run, a topic recently discussed on Bloomberg – would be non-existent if there is ever a bank run, defaults of WMPs issued by big banks – and this case an unapproved WMP – are rare, as are shadow bank runs.

For now.

However, in a stunning announcement made by one of China’s largest insurers, Foresea Life has warned of “mass defaults and social unrest” unless China’s regulator lifts a recent ban on its issuance of new products. In a letter to China’s insurance regulator, first reported by the Financial Times, Foresea Life Insurance which is a heavy investor in WMPs, has warned  that the company expects “redemptions” of 60 billion yuan, or $8.7 billion, this year and might be unable to meet payouts unless it is able to sell new products.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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