Monday, March 30, 2020

Canadian Households Vulnerable to Income Interruption- Two Crisis Unfold: Corona and Consumer Debt Bubble Bursting

Continuing on the financial theme:
This fear is very real as the COVID-19 pandemic has many losing their income overnight. While delinquencies in the past have been low, we know some Canadians are living paycheque-to-paycheque, with little wiggle in household budgets for this sort of major income disruption.
And my fear is it’s only going to get worse.
“Our results underscore how vulnerable Canadian households are to income interruption. Over the next few months we’ll likely see an unfolding of two crises: the global pandemic and the bursting of the Canadian consumer debt bubble,” said MNP President Grant Bazian in a release.
This is a very scary time and sadly there is not a quick fix. If you can avoid it, don't resort to high-cost payday loans or high-interest credit cards.
Instead, consider the following:
  • Pay the minimum for now on outstanding debt
  • Pay the most expensive debt first
  • Cut back on everything but necessities. Don't panic buy.
  • Consolidate your debt. You may even consider financing your mortgage or explore a consolidation loan.
  • Consider speaking with a credit counsellor. There are programs and options available that the government has now put into place to assist you through a challenging financial situation. 
But the most important step is acknowledging you might be in over your head and you can’t do it alone. There’s no shame in that. It takes courage and strength to get through this difficult time.

The Ties That Bind Bankers and Government Tighten During Covid Crisis

From the past
  Canadian government bailed the banks out by providing liquidity
“At its peak in March 2009, support for Canadian banks reached $114-billion. To put that into perspective, that would have made up seven per cent of the Canadian economy in 2009 and was worth $3,400 for every man, woman and child in Canada.”
The Harper government stepped in and used a number of measures to free up money for Canada’s banks during the financial crisis — including buying mortgage-backed securities and providing short-term loans.
In 2013 Banking legislation was changed to favour, you got it, banks.
 2020 and the Covid Crisis:

Close ties between big banks and government get even closer during Coronavirus Crisis
 Historic collaboration to support businesses and individuals through difficult times shows Canada’s banking industry is political — and always has been   
Such close collaboration would be a curious sight at any other time. (It's actually the norm) Yet during the current crisis, the federal government and the banking industry have been working together, by hook or by crook, to try to support consumers and businesses. And as the crisis has continued, it has served as a reminder that Canada’s banking industry is political — and always has been.

The very first session of Canada’s parliament saw an “Act Respecting Banks” passed (the norm very clearly) noted Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber in their 2014 book, Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit. The new Canadian government then tried to strike a deal with the Bank of Montreal, offering “to create a privileged position for the bank in exchange for its providing finance” for the fledgling regime.
Over the protests of other banks and merchants, it didn’t happen, but one of the main themes of Fragile By Design is “that chartered banks represent a partnership between the parties in control of the government and the founders and shareholders of the banks,” Calomiris and Haber write.
“Bank chartering in the Dominion of Canada was no exception,” they added.
The partnership has held up in more modern times, such as during the global financial crisis a decade ago, which Canada’s banks weathered better than most. Lines of communication remain open as well, as evidenced when the prime minister tweeted thanks to the CEOs of the Big Five for their advice during recent North American free-trade talks.

Deferring mortgage payments came out of a “two-way conversation” between the regulators and the banks, which can provide cash to the real economy in ways that may be difficult for regulators to do directly, according to Andrew Moor, the president and chief executive officer of Toronto-based Equitable Bank.
The banks are doing you no favour by allowing the deferral of mortgage payments
The Canadian Bankers Association has noted banks are offering “flexibility on credit cards and lines of credit, including deferrals and low minimum payments,” albeit with no mention of outright rate cuts, which is something Trudeau raised on Thursday, and that the government then walked back.
Canadian Bankers made NO Concession on credit card rates- NONE.
“the government then walked back” from asking for cuts. 
Trudeau understand who gives the orders.
Granted, it could be to the banks’ mutual advantage to go along with governments. Debt ratings agency DBRS Morningstar said Friday that there are “two crucial elements” that will determine how COVID-19 affects banks’ creditworthiness around the world: the economic fallout and the level of government and central bank support.   
The banks are working to their own advantage. “Banks mutual advantage”
“The details and implementation of many of these packages are still being finalized, but they will mitigate some of the impact of the economic shutdown, reducing pressure on banks,” DBRS Morningstar analysts wrote. “Many of the measures directly involve the banking sector and confirm the importance of the role banks are being asked to play in ensuring individuals and corporates can eventually recover from this shutdown and that credit continues to flow through to the economy.”
“It’s not at all unusual for the banks to cooperate on sort of broad macroeconomic issues, that individually they might benefit but in aggregate they’d lose,” he added. “And it’s symptomatic of the very close relationships between the banks and the central bank. They’re constantly talking to each other.”

Canada’s central bank, the Bank of Canada, has been in close contact with the country’s biggest commercial banks. Governor Stephen Poloz said Friday, after the Bank of Canada announced its third rate-cut this month, lowering its policy benchmark to 0.25 per cent, that both he and Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins were meeting twice a week with the chief executives of the Big Six.

“We have a high level of collaboration, even in peacetime,” Poloz said. “We can’t do all this by ourselves, that’s for sure.”
They have a high level of collaboration all the time. War time. Peace time. Makes no difference.

Covid Cash Vaccine Needs A Booster- U.S. Stimulus Package Is Biggest Ever, But May Not Be Big Enough

Reuters Monday March 30, 2020 01:43 via Kitco News

Perhaps this is why Trump has changed his tune?
The stimulus package is not enough- Gotta give the powers that shouldn't be more and keep the pandemic hype going as a distraction
BOSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve has offered more than $3 trillion in loans and asset purchases in recent weeks to stop the U.S. financial system from seizing up, but it has not yet directly helped large swaths of the real economy: companies, municipalities and other borrowers with less than perfect credit.

That is partly because America’s central bank is not allowed to take much credit risk itself, and loans to lower-rated borrowers have a higher chance of losses. (Oh, the irony...)The risk is exacerbated by efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus which have brought economic activity to a screeching halt.

To alleviate that constraint, the U.S. Treasury - whose job it is to manage the government’s finances and help the Fed keep the economy steady - has taken on some of the risk that Fed loans will not be paid back.

It has contributed about $50 billion from a pool of money called the Exchange Stabilization Fund. That money will be used to absorb losses from Fed loans that go bad. Assuming only a fraction of loans will default, the Treasury contribution has allowed the Fed to lend much more without taking on additional risk.

On Friday, the Treasury got about $450 billion more from Congress as part of a $2.2 trillion U.S. stimulus package, greatly increasing its ability to support the economy. Before the bill passed, the stabilization fund had about $93 billion in assets as of the end of February.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News on Sunday he believed the additional funds could help the Fed and Treasury provide about $4 trillion in loans.
But investors and economists said even this additional money may be insufficient, and Congress will likely need to pony up trillions of dollars more before the Fed and Treasury can make a significant dent in the real economy. If it does not, many U.S. companies and local governments are at risk of defaulting on debt or even going under.
That is because of the sheer size of the world’s largest economy, the unprecedented scale of economic disruption caused by attempts to contain the virus and higher credit losses if the government has to step in to support weaker borrowers, according to these experts.

Scott Minerd, chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners and member of an investor committee that advises the New York Federal Reserve on financial markets, told Reuters he believes the government needs to give the Treasury about $2 trillion to help prop up the economy.

Using expected losses from companies in the lowest tier of investment grade, Minerd estimates that the money approved last week might be only enough to absorb losses on loans of about $900 billion. 

That is just a fraction of the roughly $9.5 trillion in outstanding U.S. corporate debt, much of which is either in the lowest-tier investment grade rating or already rated as junk, with a higher risk of default. Other areas that need support - such as the commercial paper market where borrowers go for short-term funding or the municipal market that local governments use to raise money for roads and schools – total trillions of dollars more.
That is just a fraction of the roughly $9.5 trillion in outstanding U.S. corporate debt.....
“I think we’ll be back at the table with another program before this is over,” Minerd said in an interview.
 “I think we’ll be back at the table with another program before this is over,” Minerd said in an interview.
With the $2 trillion that he recommends, he said, “you’re on your way to have something of a big enough scale to get things propped up.”

In a research note last week, Bank of America analysts said the aid package passed last week was the “bare minimum.” They estimated the government will need a total of $3 trillion in fiscal stimulus and more if the recession deepens.
 Bank of America analysts said the aid package passed last week was the “bare minimum.” 
The Fed declined to comment. The Treasury did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
The Fed has so far kept its pledge to lend to companies with investment-grade ratings, and to buy other high-quality assets such as Treasury securities.

The aim of the Fed’s support is to encourage banks and investors to lend to weaker, and therefore more risky, companies and local governments, where they can earn higher returns, giving them access to the funding they need to continue operating and paying staff.

In some of the Fed’s funding facilities, the Treasury put up $10 billion as loss-absorbing capital for every $100 billion of loans. Mnuchin’s comment that the Fed and Treasury can now lend $4 trillion suggests he expects the rate of losses on the new loans to be similar, less than 10%. 

Investors said losses would likely increase, however, if the government has to reach deeper into the economy. And they are betting the Fed will have to do so - junk bonds rallied last week, for example.

“‘We’re only going to lend money to really good credits’ is a good model if you’re a bank,” said Charles Lemonides, founder of New York-based investment firm ValueWorks LLC. “But if you’re trying to rescue businesses that are otherwise failing, it’s not a very good strategy.”

Fed officials have signaled they are not ruling anything out in their efforts.

In its support for the commercial paper market, for example, the Fed allows for companies that are downgraded after March 17 to return at least once more to the trough for funding.
"companies that are downgraded after March 17 to return at least once more to the trough for funding"
In its facility to make loans to investment-grade companies through a special purpose vehicle, the Fed said, “The scope of eligible issuers may be expanded in the future.”

But officials know that reaching lower down the credit-quality spectrum entails greater risk and might require a larger contribution from Treasury to account for it.

In time, as they see how the programs for higher-quality borrowers play out, they may grow more comfortable with casting a wider net and explore ways to get cash to shakier corporate borrowers while limiting their risk.

Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser to the German insurer Allianz SE (ALVG.DE), said backstopping non-investment grade credit would be a much harder decision for the Fed, given the degree of corporate credit and default risks involved.

“I suspect that any move in that direction would need to come with a massive fiscal backstop to protect the integrity of the Fed’s balance sheets,” El-Erian said.

The Fed’s initial steps into the corporate bond market, limiting its scope to investment grade issuers, essentially avoids rewarding or bailing out badly run companies.

The Fed is justifying its move as help to companies that are caught in a situation not of their making, said Nellie Liang, former head of the Fed’s financial stability office and now at the Brookings Institution think-tank.

“It is a question of limiting losses,” Liang said in a webinar last week organized by Princeton University.

But the pressure on the Fed and Treasury to lend to riskier borrowers is only likely to increase if quarantines, stay-at-home orders and other economy-killing restrictions persist.

In the weeks ahead, the pool of high-grade borrowers currently allowed in the program will likely shrink.

The three major credit ratings agencies - Moody’s, S&;P and Fitch - are certain to cut a number of companies now at the lowest tiers of investment grade into junk territory, as happened last week to Ford Motor Co .
Ford was downgraded to junk territory but they can have two turns at the trough!
That could become an issue, said Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. economist at forecasting and analysis firm Oxford Economics.

“You can argue there is a need and the Fed has a lot more insurance backing from the U.S. Treasury” to delve into the riskier part of the bond market, Bostjancic said.

“However, it could entail significant losses and so risky for the Fed and they might stay away from it,” she said.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Mathematics of Life and Death - The Trouble With "Modelling" Epidemics .........

 .....Is the Same as "Modelling" Man Made Climate Change. (Modelling -Since I'm not American)

 Way too many real world variables that may or may not be intentionally included or excluded.
Sometimes the variables are unknown and can't, therefore, be considered.
And sadly sometimes it just comes down to garbage in and garbage out. 
Despite the many, known issues or shortcomings  with modelling,  we are witnessing in real time the damaging effects on society, the spreading of fear,  the tyranny of so called democratic governments, the loss of our liberties and freedoms based on computer "epidemic modelling"

Coronavirus modelers factor in new public health risk: Accusations their work is a hoax

The attacks from Trump supporters against epidemiologists ratcheted up several bars on Thursday as pundits on the political right took aim at one of the world’s leading epidemiologists, Neil Ferguson of Imperial College in Britain.

Hate the partisan game being played by NYT's- It's idiotic. But, what else can be expected?

Ferguson had co-written a paper this month estimating 510,000 deaths in England and 2.2 million in the United States — if those countries did not take drastic actions. The paper’s conclusions were so chilling that they launched leaders in both countries into action. The next day, Trump abruptly stopped encouraging Americans to go on with their lives and began urging them instead to work from home and not meet in groups of more than 10.

March 16/2020


A Wall Street Journal columnist wrote that the revision “raises serious questions about the radical countermeasures inspired by public-health experts like Mr. Ferguson.” Even one of Trump’s coronavirus task force coordinator, Deborah Birx, seemed to lean into the questioning of Ferguson. “I’m sure many of you saw the recent report out of the U.K. about them adjusting,” Birx said. “If you remember, that was the report that said there would be 500,000 deaths in the U.K. and 2.2 million deaths in the United States. They’ve adjusted that number in the U.K. to 20,000. So half a million to 20,000. We’re looking into this in great detail to understand that adjustment.”
 Birx said:
“When people start talking about 20 percent of a population getting infected, it is very scary but we don’t have data that matches that based on the experience,” Birx said.
Birx, an HIV/AIDS expert from the State Department who was brought on to coordinate the federal government’s response to the coronavirus, noted that 19 of the 50 U.S. states are showing a persistently low level of coronavirus cases despite reporting early infections. These 19 states each have fewer than 200 cases, Birx said, and are still working to actively contain the virus rather than mitigate its spread.
“That’s almost 40 percent of the country with extraordinarily low numbers and they are testing,” Birx said.
Perhaps if 20 percent of the population were to get infected, as had been modelled, one would have the resulting deaths, or not?

 Mathematics of life and death: How disease models shape national shutdowns and other pandemic policies
COVID-19 isn’t the first infectious disease scientists have modeled—Ebola and Zika are recent examples—but never has so much depended on their work. Entire cities and countries have been locked down based on hastily done forecasts that often haven’t been peer reviewed. “It has suddenly become very visible how much the response to infectious diseases is based on models,” Wallinga says. For the modelers, “it’s a huge responsibility,” says epidemiologist Caitlin Rivers of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, who co-authored a report about the future of outbreak modeling in the United States that her center released yesterday.
The use of infectious disease modeling to support public health decision making, referred to in this report as “outbreak science,” has increased in prominence in the past decade. It has been used in the responses to several major outbreaks, from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, to H1N1 influenza in 2009, to the 2 most recent Ebola outbreaks in West Africa (2014-2016) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2018-current).
Epidemic modelers are the first to admit their projections can be off. “All models are wrong, but some are useful,” statistician George Box supposedly once said—a phrase that has become a clichĂ© in the field.
Still, models can produce vastly different pictures. A widely publicized, controversial modeling study published yesterday by a group at the University of Oxford argues that the deaths observed in the United Kingdom could be explained by a very different scenario from the currently accepted one. Rather than SARS-CoV-2 spreading in recent weeks and causing severe disease in a significant percentage of people, as most models suggest, the virus might have been spreading in the United Kingdom since January and could have already infected up to half of the population, causing severe disease only in a tiny fraction. Both scenarios are equally plausible, says Sunetra Gupta, the theoretical epidemiologist who led the Oxford work. “I do think it is missing from the thinking that there is an equally big possibility that a lot of us are immune,” she says. The model itself cannot answer the question, she says; only widespread testing for antibodies can, and that needs to be done urgently.
Different models giving us vastly different pictures of what might be occurring. 
As admitted above "both scenarios are equally plausible"
Why choose the most terrifying scenario as the model of choice?
 One can conclude that the terror scenario was chosen. Opted for. Decided upon. To give cover to the bailouts and keep the masses so deeply mired in fear, that the powers that shouldn't be could have their way. No questions. No problems.  
That seems the highly likely reason for the choice of scenarios.
 In the meanwhile we are denied our right to live our lives. To work. To assemble. To exercise outdoors freely. To be out, anywhere, without being confronted by scarred, terrorized people. Who won't make eye contact or smile at another human being. To watch neighbours afraid to come out. To fear that your neighbour will snitch to the 'authorities' on your or  other neighbours. Is that how communities should function? I don't think so.

Greencrow reports on the problems with modelling as well
Recent previous reports:

The Greatest Depression: James Corbett - Globalism's Crowning (Corona) Moment:

 Corona = Crown

Show Us the Money: Bailout Cash Vaccine for Covid Pandemic- History Repeats

 An excellent, very excellent, episode from Mr Corbett:

Steven Bikofsky’s WTC7 9/11 Footage
Event 201 Pandemic Exercise: Segment 3, Finance Discussion
Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories about 9/11
Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories about coronavirus
Feb 1 – More than half of China extends shutdown over virus
Feb 11 – China is struggling to get back to work after the coronavirus lockdown
Feb 12 – Coronavirus could start to empty shelves in some U.S. stores by mid-April
February 24 – The Dow tumbled more than 1,000 points on Monday and marked its third-worst point drop in history
February 25 – Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China
Feb 27 – Dow falls 350 points Friday to cap the worst week for Wall Street since the financial crisis
The Rollercoaster Ride Has Begun
March 2 – Dow surge is the biggest-ever point gain
March 3 – Dow drops nearly 800 points after the Fed’s surprising news about the economy
March 4 – The Biden Bounce: Dow Futures Up 666 As Traders Forget About Panicking Fed
March 5 – Global Markets Follow U.S. Stocks Higher
March 12 – The Dow Jones had its biggest point drop in history Monday
March 15 – Fed Panics: Powell Cuts Rates To Zero, Announces $700BN QE5, Unveils Enhanced Global Swap Lines
March 15 – Federal Reserve Actions to Support the Flow of Credit to Households and Businesses
March 17 – Federal Reserve launches crisis-era commercial paper funding facility
March 22 – Morgan Stanley Joins Goldman, JPM In Predicting A Depressionary Crash; Expects Q2 GDP To Plunge 30%
March 22 – Fed will make up to $4 trillion in loans to businesses to rescue the U.S. economy, Mnuchin says
March 23 – This was the fastest 30% sell-off ever, exceeding the pace of declines during the Great Depression
March 24 – Dow Soars More Than 11% In Biggest One-Day Jump Since 1933
March 25 – Here’s what’s in the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus deal for businesses
March 25 – Negative rates come to the US: 1-month and 3-month Treasury bill yields are now below zero
What Are All the Fed’s Corporate & Investor Bailout Programs and SPVs? Here’s the Whole Shitload of Them
Covid-19 Bill WOuld Give Liberal Government Power to Raise Taxes Without Parliamentary Approval Until End of 2021
Japan to spend 15 trillion yen
Coronavirus Stimulus Offered By House Financial Services Committee Creates New Digital Dollar
EARN IT, Digital Dollars, Covid Tracking – New World Next Week
Why COVID-19 Stimulus Should Incorporate Digital Dollars
We Sent a Man to the Moon. We Can Send the Dollar to Cyberspace
Digital Dollar Project
Davos Discusses Digital Dollar
Gates on vaccine certificates
Bill Gates, MIT Develop New ‘Tattoo ID’ to Check For Vaccinations
James Corbett on the Pandemic of Social Control (17m46s – 21m49s)
Solutions, Solutions, Solutions!
Solutions: Building Communities
Solutions: Freedom Cells
Complementary Currencies: A Beginner’s Guide
Interview 638 – Paul Glover on How to Create a Community Currency
Solutions: Pirate Internet

Saturday, March 28, 2020

"Coronavirus and Autocrats: Never Let A Pandemic Go to Waste"


For authoritarian-minded leaders world-wide, health emergency presents opportunity to weaken democracy

With much of the world on lockdown, the coronavirus pandemic has chipped away at individual liberties everywhere. (Authoritarian minded leaders are everywhere)
 In more places, however, it is also being used as an excuse to weaken democratic institutions and oversight—an authoritarian slide that could endure once the current health emergency subsides.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin this month pushed through parliament the removal of term limits, ensuring he could remain in power for life, just as the fear of the coronavirus has rendered public protests against these constitutional changes impossible.
And in Canada our federal and provincial leadership rendered millions of us unemployed amid mass lock downs. Including the padlocking of parks and the fencing off of play grounds.  Oh and encouraging snitching on neighbours...đź‘€
But, ya know "Putin" is an autocrat? Really? Just Putin? Cause right about now Trudeau and Doug Ford are lookin' pretty dang autocratic to me and many others.
Autocratic: relating to a ruler who has absolute power
taking no account of other people's wishes or opinions; domineering
"In Bolivia, the interim and unelected government has canceled presidential elections slated for May. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is moving ahead with legislation that would allow him to rule by decree and imprison people spreading “falsehoods.”  
And in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party this week used the coronavirus crisis to prevent the opposition, which gained a majority of seats in the March 2 elections, from taking control of parliamentary proceedings. The gambit Thursday resulted in the opposition’s breakup, with part of it opting for a unity government. A separate decision by the Israeli government to shut down courts also scuttled Mr. Netanyahu’s corruption trial, which had been set to begin March 17.
Haven't we been repeatedly told, I mean over and over that Israel is the "only democracy in the Middle East" 
"According to the Democracy Index 2016 study, Israel (#29 worldwide) is the only democracy in the Middle East"
Obviously there is a very fine line between Autocracy and  Democracy. The line is so fine, its no longer discernible.
To authoritarian-minded politicians world-wide, the coronavirus emergency is turning into a godsend, said Kati Piri, a Hungarian-born Dutch member of the European Parliament.

“These people never let a good crisis to be wasted,” she said. “We have only been in this crisis for about 10 days, and we know that, unfortunately, this will last not weeks but perhaps many months. With an anxious public in already very polarized countries, anything can happen.”

Indeed, the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic—which just in the past two weeks killed several thousand people in Europe and in the U.S.—has already generated unprecedented restrictions on fundamental liberties in much of the West.
 Europe, Canada and the US can't let a good crisis go to waste, quite obviously.
Following China’s apparently successful example in containing the virus through shutting down public life, Italy and then other European nations, as well as state and local governments in the U.S. in recent weeks banned citizens from leaving homes except for basic necessities. Countries such as South Korea and Israel have used intrusive surveillance and phone-tracking technology to find and isolate suspected coronavirus carriers. “End of Freedom,” went the banner headline in London’s Daily Telegraph when the U.K. became the latest European nation to go on lockdown earlier this week.
Autocrats and Totalitarianism often walk hand in hand:
Totalitarianism is a system where the state strives to control every aspect of life and civil society.[2] It can be headed by a supreme leader, making it autocratic, but it can also have a collective leadership such as a commune, junta, or single political party
The State is certainly striving to control every aspect of life and civil society in Canada, the US, Europe and many others places... Just something to think about. Things that need considering.
"These restrictions, even if they lead to the postponement of elections in some countries, don’t by themselves alter nations’ democratic nature. ( Didn't this article open with the insinuation the Bolivia's interim leadership was being an Autocrat? Yes, it did! ) that the The U.K., after all, remained a democracy through World War II even though its draconian wartime legislation was used to imprison suspected subversives without trial, said François Heisbourg, a former French national-security official and a scholar at the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris. “In wartime, freedom goes down the tube, but democracy doesn’t go down the tube.” (that's contradictory)

With the world on a war footing these days, national leaders will be judged primarily by whether they are able to contain the disease, he added. “The relevant question is, are we going to win or lose in the face of an enemy, and the enemy happens to be the virus,” Mr. Heisbourg said. “Some politicians will want to do it to preserve our way of life and our democracy, and others—the autocrats—will do it to increase their power. But what will determine who profits is who will be more effective in beating the virus.”

The problem, of course, is that the coronavirus pandemic swept the world at a time when democracy was already under attack—both because of the rise of authoritarian politicians in nations from the Philippines to Turkey to Brazil, and because of China’s effort to present itself as an alternative model to the Western liberal order.
Freedom House, an organization that tracks political freedoms and individual liberties world-wide, has noted that 2019 marked the 14th consecutive year of the global freedom decline.

“We were already at the precipice. The fears and the anxieties were already there, and now you inject the virus on top of that,” said Alina Polyakova, president of the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington-based research institute. “We now find ourselves in a really dangerous place for maintaining a democratic future. I can see us coming out of the public-health crisis that we are currently in with many more people buying into the notion that authoritarian states are better equipped to deal with future crises.”

China’s propaganda apparatus (?) has already launched an all-out effort at home and abroad to portray its ability to contain the virus as testament to the superiority of its party-state system—and is sending planeloads of medical supplies and doctors to virus-stricken European nations. (So, it's autocratic to help other nations?)
The Kremlin has joined the bandwagon, with Russian military trucks laden with supplies parading through the streets of Italy this week. The initial wavering and slow decision-making that allowed the virus to spread in Europe and the U.S. have been described with near-glee on Russian TV. Moscow insists that it is able to keep the infection at relatively low levels—despite reports of many hidden cases—and hasn’t imposed a lockdown so far."
Russia hasn't imposed a lockdown, but Canada did. The US did. And those two nations are supposedly democracies???  And speaking of sending medical supplies. Hasn't the US, in fact, been quite the dictatorship, autocratic like, with regard to helping Iran and Venezuela.

Britain, China and Russia, among others, have called on the United States to ease sanctions so that Iran can respond more effectively, but the Trump administration has displayed no signs of heeding such pleas. Instead, last week the United States announced a new round of sanctions.
“As far as the Russian leadership is concerned, this crisis confirms its worldview that the Western systems are inefficient, and that the liberal political model simply can’t cope,” said Andrey Kortunov, director-general of the Russian International Affairs Council, a government think tank in Moscow.

Other authoritarian regimes are drawing similar conclusions. In Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev last week labeled his political opposition as national traitors endangering public health. “During the existence of the disease,” Mr. Aliyev said, “isolation of the representatives of the fifth column will become a historical necessity.”

Though Azerbaijan is an extreme example, the coronavirus pandemic potentially threatens democracy in many other places.
“In a moment of crisis, when people are fearful, they are looking to authorities to reassure them, and they are willing to give leaders additional tools to manage chaos and limit risk,” said Daniel Shapiro, a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel. “The danger is that these tools that exceed the limits of the normal democratic system may not be returned after the crisis is over. That’s the balance that every democracy faces in a moment of crisis like this.”

 The limits have been well exceeded. And the tools we've allowed these leaders to use had better be returned in better shape then they were given! While I'm shocked to see Israel shown in an unflattering way the Wall Street Journal piece was heavily skewed to demonize Russia and China, while failing to really address and acknowledge the heavy handed tactics being wielded against citizens in the  so called "free world"

Friday, March 27, 2020

Greeda, the Globalist, Thunberg Claims "Extremely Likely" She Had Coronavirus

Who, other then a total attention seeking, self promoting, ego maniac  would make a completely unsubstantiated claim in order to get attention and keep her BRAND at the forefront?

Undoubtedly she's still desirous of that Nobel Prize!
Greeda Globalist Thunberg

"Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist, announced on Tuesday that she and her father, Svante, had symptoms of Covid-19 and that while hers were mild, it was “extremely likely” that she had contracted the virus"
 Greeda, the globalist, Thunberg can make any bizarre claim she wants. Of course she has. And it's entirely meaningless.
 I was under the weather at the start of the New Year... As was my husband. We're both fine. That said it would never occur to either of us to make such a wild claim. But then wild claims and Greeda walk hand in hand.

Where was Globalist Greeda when she claimed such nonsense? 
At an EU lawmakers meeting in Brussels, of course! Just like us regular folk, right?

Globalist Greeda's Words To Live By
"Ms. Thunberg spoke to European Union lawmakers at a meeting in Brussels in early March.
In an effort to protect her mother and her sister at home in Stockholm, Ms. Thunberg said she and her father, who accompanies her on her travels, had isolated themselves in a separate apartment."

 Wow, how fortuitous for Greeda that her and Daddy could "isolate" themselves in a separate apartment!  How f'n elitist is that? Certainly the masses cannot afford such luxuries.  Nor can they afford first class travel on trains and yachts...

Hubby and I are  presently in "quarantine" together.  Or should I use the term "lock down" like the prisoners we've all been turned into?!

  Greeda is outrageous. Her spin is outrageous. Her absurd utterances are insults to everyone.
And her followers? Those that "believe" in her proclamations are clearly dimwits.
If that insults you or your feelings are hurt, too bad!

Disgusted, truly.  

Would you consider it too shocking to call her an "attention whore"?
It certainly entered my mind.
By definition, the label  does fit:
 a person who behaves in a provocative, outrageous, or reprehensible manner in order to attract attention.

hattip to Martin and Gwen: I will call Arnold Schwarzenegger and Madonna both attention whores! Go away all of you


The Oil Price War Won’t Dethrone The Dollar

Needing a reprieve from covering the pandemic of fear &terror inflicted on the populace let's have some different news

oped from Oil
read in full at above link as their are several paragraphs omitted.
With the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia showing no signs of relenting, some analysts are now warning that the standoff could extend much longer.  Saudi policy now appears to revolve around inflicting pain on both OPEC and non-OPEC producers over the short term, with a long-term view to returning to its former role as the swing producer and price setter.  With the Arab nation recently claiming that it's 'very comfortable' with $30 oil, it might make good on its threat to maintain a 12 million bpd output clip for a whole year with minimal increase in spending by drawing upon its considerable reserves.
Given this backdrop, some pundits are now beginning to seriously consider the specter of a collapse by the decades-old petrodollar system. With Saudi Arabia--a key U.S. ally upon which the petrodollar was founded--having thrown the gauntlet on the U.S., a collapse by the petrodollar system could mean mass devaluations across major oil-producing regions.
But what are the odds that this could become a reality any time soon?
Short Overview of the Petrodollar
Defined simply, petrodollars are dollars paid to oil-producing countries in exchange for their oil. Being a global currency, most international transactions, including energy products, are priced in U.S. dollars. The petrodollar system traces its roots back to the early 1970s when it replaced yet another monetary system--the gold standard.
>>>>>  omitted paragraphs available at opening link

The system also put the U.S. under undue pressure regarding the balance of payments--in 1971, stagflation in the U.S. prompted many nations, including the United Kingdom, to redeem most of their U.S. dollars for gold. On August 15, 1971, President Richard M. Nixon shocked the world when he officially ended the international convertibility from U.S. dollars into gold, effectively bringing an end to the gold standard.
Worried about the resultant trade deficit by having to pay vast amounts for necessary imports, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia soon returned to the negotiating table. The petrodollar system was created in 1973, whereby the United States and Saudi Arabia struck a deal that would see every barrel of oil purchased from Saudi Arabia denominated in U.S. dollars. 
 Under this new arrangement, any country that bought Saudi oil could only do so using USD. In exchange, the U.S. offered weapons and military protection for Saudi oil fields from neighboring nations. By 1975, all OPEC nations had agreed to U.S. deals identical to Saudi's-- pricing their own oil supplies in U.S. dollars in exchange for weapons and military protection.
There is stringent security present around these facilities!  How did they not see the drones? How did the American military miss the drones flying in from more then 1000 kms away?  The American military is based in Saudi Arabia alongside Saudi forces. Possibly near the oil facilities? How did the drones get past them?
Back to
Thus, the petrodollar system was born, which created an immediate artificial demand for U.S. dollars across the globe. As global oil demand increased, so did the demand for U.S. dollars.
Petrodollar Recycling
The petrodollar system was escalated in 1979 when the United States and Saudi Arabia negotiated the United States-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation, wherein the two nations agreed to use only U.S. dollars for oil contracts. In effect, the U.S. dollars would be recycled back to America by doing business with U.S. companies in a system known as petrodollar recycling.
Since then, most oil-exporting countries started recycling their petrodollars through sovereign wealth funds. Through these funds, these nations invest in non-oil related businesses that lower their dependence on oil. The largest petrodollar recyclers ranked by assets are:
  1. Norway Government Pension Fund Global  $1.186 trillion
  2. China Investment Corporation $940.604 billion
  3. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority $696.660 billion
  4. Kuwait Investment Authority $592.000 billion
  5. Hong Kong Monetary Authority Investment Portfolio $539.865 billion
  6. GIC Private Limited $440.000 billion
  7. SAFE Investment Company $417.844 billion
  8. Temasek Holdings $375.383 billion
  9. Qatar Investment Authority $328.000 billion
  10. National Council for Social Security Fund $324.996 billion
Data Source: Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute
These oil-producing countries use these funds to provide a cushion to fall back on during hard times and can help lower volatility in their own economies as well as the global economy. 
There's a dark side to it, though.
According to the Bureau of International Settlements, up to 70% of OPEC's investable reserve funds could be unaccounted for. Mind you, BIS only reports on OPEC members, so non-OPEC funds are fully unaccounted for. 
The U.S. Treasury suspects that the unaccounted-for funds are invested in regional stock markets, construction loans, regional stock markets, hedge funds, and private equity funds. Some could also be finding their way into the U.S. market where they are invested through foreign intermediaries, which are untraceable.
These hidden petrodollars can increase global volatility due to their sheer size. For instance, dumping of U.S. Treasuries by a large holder can trigger a significant decline by the dollar--as was feared during the U.S.-China trade war.
Collapse of the Petrodollar?
RT Keiser Report believes that Russia's got the upper hand in the current geopolitical oil game while U.S. shale and the American dollar are going to suffer greatly.
"Today is the end of the petrodollar. We are going to see the rise of the ruble-dollar or the Chinese-Russian oil-based dollar."
Keiser contends that "…the era of the U.S. holding the world's reserve currency is finished". 
There's no doubt in anyone's mind that U.S. shale producers could be among the first victims of the ongoing oil price war (Chevron Corp. recently cut its Permian Shale production by 20%); but neither Saudi Arabia nor Russia will come out unscathed, either. 
But more importantly, reports about the impending collapse of the petrodollar are greatly exaggerated.
The United States has repeatedly used the power of petrodollars to enforce its foreign policy but is largely none the worse for wear because of it.
In 2014, Russia and Iran signed a five-year trade deal with each other worth $20 billion which involves the sale of Iranian oil and is not priced in dollars.
Iran and Venezuela have inked oil contracts in their own currencies instead of petrodollars in defiance due to Washington sanctions.
China and Russia have repeatedly called for a replacement of the U.S. dollar as a global currency, with China launching yuan-denominated oil futures in 2018.
These rogue nations have not exactly caused a dollar collapse; on the contrary, the dollar index has been routinely taking out multi-year highs in recent years.

There appears to be some profound misconceptions about the importance of oil as a commodity; that oil somehow underwrites the global financial system and is directly responsible for the dollar's hegemony. But the truth is that since the 1980s, the dollar has become the global reserve currency mainly because of the strength and dynamism of the U.S. economy. 
Dynamism: the quality of being characterized by vigorous activity and progress.
So lots of military activity? 
Exporters sometimes accept payment in other mediums -- planes, tanks, construction services, etc. -- but their central banks nearly always demand dollars for reasons entirely unconnected to oil because the U.S. dollar is underwritten by the U.S. taxpayer, founded upon decades of broadly consistent macro-economic policy management and easily exchangeable.
In fact, a bigger threat to the petrodollar's dominance is the rapid shift to renewable energy. Europe appears to be largely winning in the rush to clean energy with the United States lagging behind the E.U. and China. Less fossil fuel consumption might weaken demand for the dollar, but probably not cause its collapse until a suitable substitute is found.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

It Is More Then Right, It Is Required, That Authority is Questioned. Fight the Mindless Obedience Virus

 I’d hope readers here understand the most basic reason it is necessary to question experts? 

Link: Very simply it is because appealing to authority is logically fallacious. For many reasons.
Link : Whether the person is actually an authority or not, the logic of presenting their authority as evidence is unsound.  No authority is infallible.  No authority is as pure as the driven snow. 
Not every authority can resist a good pay cheque. An abundance of research grants? 
Possible celebrity status? Appeals to vanity? And other, shall we say, perks?
These very facts, these realities, should make very clear that evidence which can stand up to  scrutiny is the best authority. 

Question authority -- or become the authority that people look to for answers.
In other words educate yourself. Ask questions.  Require evidence.

How do you avoid appeal to authority fallacy?

Be aware that even if you're appealing to a relevant authority, it's still possible to engage in fallacious logic. To avoid doing so remember to keep an open mind, ask probing, sensible questions that get to the heart of the issue, as objectively as possible. 


Albert Camus, The Plague (1947): The only way to fight the plague is honesty.“

And honesty has been in short supply regarding Covid-19, but fear,  yes fear has been abundant. I’ll give you an example of ramping up the fear.  
 Today in Ontario, Canada it was reported that Covid cases surged.
  And you might think, oh my goodness, the sky is falling!  What happened? There must be a whole pile of sick people in emergency rooms with ventilators right? That’s the image you might have in your head given all the hype. However the increase in numbers came about as the province has massively increased testing. It was inevitable that a whole bunch of new cases would arise and sure enough, they did. Doesn’t mean these people are sick. Or that they require hospitalization. Or that they are contagious. It just means this virus, in their system, wasfound  due to the massive increase in testing! (I won't even get into the problem with false positives other then to say inform yourself- It's an issue)

Let's look at the numbers...
"Ontario reported 170 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday morning, the largest single-day increase in the province since the outbreak began"

Keep on reading and you come to this information:

"Some 2,439 tests were completed in the past 24 hours" 

 The  just completed mass testing resulted in the new numbers of infected. The province is intending to continue testing until they clear the backlog which should take on average 4 days..
"There are approximately 10,965 people awaiting test results. Some 2,439 tests were completed in the past 24 hours, and there remains a backlog of at least, on average, four days"
So far, a total of 38,550 people have been approved for testing, the province has said.
38,550 people have been approved for testing? That's interesting.
*How or why did these people get approved for testing? 
*Was certain criteria required to be met before testing? 
I'd sure like to know!

Flattening the Curve- 

The province will flatten the curve through the magic of massaging the numbers:
The number of resolved cases is likely to increase considerably in coming days, with public health officials changing the criteria for how cases are recorded. Until now, a case was not considered resolved until the infected person had two negative tests, performed at least 24 hours apart.
Instead, a case will be marked resolved if the infected person feels fine after a two-week isolation period. 
 Is that clear enough to you? 

The province will mass test for the next few days to clear the backlog. And after two weeks of "self quarantine" if you feel fine you're case will be resolved. Check your calendar? This takes you to Easter week end. Approximately April 11-13/20.  

The authorities will "flatten the curve" by massaging the numbers through a simple change of test parameters.

Hopefully it isn't lost on you that by requiring the second and third tests (two consecutive negatives)  the "authority" could ramp up the anxiety inducing fear by labeling the cases as "not resolved" 
Honesty hasn't been the means or the method of fighting the Covid "plague"

We'll all know in short order how 'successful' the mass quarantine was. True or not, it won't matter.
"There are three kinds of lies:lies, dam lies and statistics. 

A virus is sweeping Europe: the virus of obedience. 

Dr Norman Lewis is a writer and managing director of Futures Diagnosis.
Some select, very good points he made are included below:
"A new intolerance is spreading. It is a kind of bigotry that suggests that those of us who are not epidemiologists should just shut the fuck up and accept and act upon what we are being told by those who are. As non-experts, we are exhorted to submit humbly to those who apparently know what is best for us – to defer to expertise and stop second-guessing uncertainty.                                     
The sneering tone of contempt for ordinary people’s attempts to make sense of the coronavirus crisis on social media is redolent of 19th-century elitist prejudices about a natural order and the need for deference.

It is not just the malice and deeply condescending tone of these champions of expertise that should spark anger. It is their attempt to close down debate that is most troubling. Because that is precisely the opposite of what should be happening right now.
The first point we need to keep in mind is that no one, including real epidemiologists and ‘armchair epidemiologists’, has a monopoly on the truth.
The demand for obedience, the intolerance towards ordinary people’s efforts to get a handle on reality, is an indulgence that might flatter the egos of self-appointed experts. But it does a disservice to society, and to experts too, in fact.
One thing we should do is challenge inconsistencies. For example, two weeks ago we were told that people assembling in large gatherings in open sports stadiums was not a major threat. Today, we are being told that walking in a park with someone without observing the two-metre distance rule is an act of irresponsibility. If we accept, and perhaps we should, that new data has come to light that shows such measures are now needed, then this would make sense. But no such explanation has been made. 
As Erwin Schrödinger, the great Austrian physicist, put it: ‘If you cannot – in the long run – tell everyone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless.’"

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

MUST LISTEN THC Interview: David Crowe Coronovirus/Covid19- The Risks, Testing and Treatment

My opinion? This is an excellent, informative interview.

Thanks to Greg Carlwood @ Higher Side Chats, for presenting this guest

Below is David Crowe's publicly available pdf:

Is the 2019 Corona virus really A Pandemic?

Find the interview at this link  

Coming in at just over an hour and a half. Give it a listen and share some thoughts?

For Canadians, David is Canadian, he talks about the SARS outbreak in Toronto. As it relates to this latest 'pandemic" 

Yes, I remember SARS well. It was going to kill us all!

Below is York U pdf discussing "saturation media coverage" during the SARS outbreak- There was no social media at that time. And yet, the terror spread via the main stream media was real and palpable.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Show Us the Money: Bailout Cash Vaccine for Covid Pandemic- History Repeats

Started on this post last week. But, couldn't get it done. Such is life. 

In a nutshell, it's been pretty obvious to me that this "pandemic" was merely the excuse to bail out banksters and big business yet again. The only difference this time 'round is the state is going to throw a bone or two to the mindless masses

This is where the "novel" virus really helped muddy the waters

  Yes, there is more still. Targeting China is definitely part of this psyop. But, for this report, let's focus on the big business/banker, desired all along, bailout.
Not when there is a scary virus.
 Pretty much anyone who's been paying attention knew the market was out of whack. The economy was teetering. All of it skewed by the bailouts in '08. The payouts in 2001. And probably further back still. Just recalling the past 20 years of previous bailouts should help with the basic understanding. We'll have a brief refresher on the previous bailouts a bit later in this report,

Go back to March 15. Two weeks ago.
Hey Penny!

I just read this post to my husband, and he explained what his speculation is regarding these moves. Since you asked what it's about, I asked him to summarize it for me, and I'm putting it here:

There is no desperation. This is the safest, face-saving way to do this. They needed a "deflated" market (the markets have been way over inflated), so why not use this "crisis"? Between the QE and the circuit breakers on the Exchange, they can get it down to where they feel comfortable and then pull all this away. Et voila! End of crisis!
Gwen and Hubby- thanks :)

"There is no desperation. This is the safest, face-saving way to do this. They needed a "deflated" market (the markets have been way over inflated), so why not use this "crisis"? Between the QE and the circuit breakers on the Exchange, they can get it down to where they feel comfortable and then pull all this away. Et voila! End of crisis!"
So this kind of "face saving" makes sense to me
And they created the pandemic panic to cover up for their manipulations-
I'm good with that explanation and thank you both again!
That said the initial offering wasn't good enough! 
What to do? What to do? 
Turn up the panic. On two fronts. 
The stock market and the "novel" virus.

Pertinent digression

Notice panic and pandemic are words with slightly different but related qualities? Think about this latest incident as double dose of fear presented via the two words being employed.

 Panic: Early 17th century: from French panique, from modern Latin panicus, from Greek panikos, from the name of the god Pan, noted for causing terror, to whom woodland noises were attributed.
Pandemic means fear or terror spread across a wide region or many people
: occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population

Though not generally used in such a manner- Stock market turmoil and economic collapse can cause a pandemic or viral panic. You know when something "goes viral"(spreads quickly and widely)  Stock market turmoil spreads terror/fear over a wide region and/ or many people.
A "novel virus" sure helps to spread still more  panic!  Always keeping in mind that language creates the reality!

  As stated, I'd been as certain as was possible. that the market fundamentals were further disconnected from reality. Any sort of reality that you and I live in. 

We’ve all been here before..... let's recollect briefly

The airlines got a big bailout then and they will because of the pandemic.
 Of course they weren't the only ones in '01, but, you're getting the idea right?
"Over the course of just two days, introduced, passed, and got presidential approval for a $15 billion bailout. Of that sum, $5 billion was earmarked for direct payments to stabilize the nation's air transportation system."
  • 2008: The Great Recession- Precipitated by the Subprime Mortgage Crisis
"financial institutions acquired thousands of these risky mortgages in bulk (typically in the form of mortgage-backed securities) as an investment, in hopes of a quick profit.
These decisions, however, would soon prove catastrophic."

This time it's a couple of bones
 The Great Recession was a global economic downturn that devastated world financial markets as well as the banking and real estate industries. The crisis led to increases in home mortgage foreclosures worldwide and caused millions of people to lose their life savings, their jobs and their homes. It’s generally considered to be the longest period of economic decline since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Although its effects were definitely global in nature, the Great Recession was most pronounced in the United States—where it originated as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis—and in Western Europe.

2020- Hindsight and Foresight should be clear regarding this latest mass money extortion

Hindsight : we've seen this before
Foresight: should have seen it coming again. Based on past experiences.

When 700 Billion and QE didn't suffice, maximum pressure was applied.
And now.... The US is offering up a bail out package of at least 2 Trillion dollars.

March 22/ 20: GOP’s $2 Trillion Bill Adds Cash for Bailouts, States, Transit

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a $2 trillion economic rescue package Sunday with money for middle-class taxpayers, the unemployed and even local governments.

 This morning's headline (March 24/20)
 Finally flying....

The Stock Market flew today! The Dow was up more then 11%

  • Dow  20,704.91  2,112.98    11.37%

 Dow posts best percent gain since 1933..on hope for plan to rescue economy from coronavirus?

March 20/20- It's admitted the market was on shaky ground as had been expected- no novel virus fear required
The intensity of the moves in markets, though, haven't simply reflected a pricing in of a recession brought about by a lockdown of the global economy. Market depth has disappeared and volatility has surged, leading to computer traders pulling their liquidity, which creates even more violent markets.
“Many aspects of this crisis have played out in-line with our prediction: severe liquidity disruptions, forced deleveraging of systematic strategies, record speed of equity declines, and failure of bonds to offset equity losses,” says Marko Kolanovic, quantitative strategist at JPMorgan.
The "intensity" of the market moves haven't reflected pricing in a recession due to the "global lock down"-  The market moves were predicted. And, anticipated.  The "lock down" was unnecessary other then to give cover/obfuscate that yet another bailout was going to be given to the banksters and business.
Think about the ability to use the predictable market instability for extortion?