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Dissecting A Modern Vaccine Propaganda Piece

Dissecting A Modern Vaccine Propaganda Piece

Authored by ‘A Midwestern Doctor’ via ‘The Forgotten Side Of Medicien’ Substack,

Recently, I published…



Dissecting A Modern Vaccine Propaganda Piece

Authored by 'A Midwestern Doctor' via 'The Forgotten Side Of Medicien' Substack,

Recently, I published an article which discussed how science been hijacked by corporate interests and turned into a dogma no one is allowed to question. After Pierre Kory shared it, it ended up going viral on Twitter.

It got enough traction that even Hotez himself “responded” to it (normally he hides from every chance to debate) by retweeting a zealous adherent of his narrative.

Note: one of the most remarkable things about these tweets is that they disprove themselves, as they deny Hotez believes any of that, but simultaneously states that he does indeed believe it. As this article will show, that type of “logic” is a recurring theme with Peter Hotez.

Based on the feedback I received, I realized a lot of people were interested in knowing what was inside the book and why Hotez is such a frequent target of criticisms. Additionally, given Hotez’s “response,” I felt it was important to share exactly what he proposed doing to those who disagree with him and how the WHO is working behind the scenes to make that happen.

Why Is Peter Hotez Dangerous?

Hotez has long drawn the ire of the vaccine safety community because he will relentlessly defend the narrative and attack anyone who questions vaccine safety.

For example, many parents believe vaccines cause autism because they had a child who was completely normal who then received their vaccines, had a bad reaction to them and then rapidly regressed into permanent autism. Conversely, I do not know of any cases of a child rapidly regressing into autism immediately before their vaccination appointment (which one would expect to happen if the autistic regression “happened by chance”).

Note: I personally believe vaccines cause autism because I and colleagues have seen countless children who:

  • Have similar adverse reactions to vaccination (e.g., high fevers or a non-stop piercing cry) which is then followed by rapid autistic regression.

  • Have numerous signs that microstrokes occurred (e.g., impaired function of the nerves that innervate the face) along with a variety of biomarkers indicating they are trapped in the cell danger response or a hyper inflammatory state—all of which has also been observed by many other clinicians and are a common side effect of vaccination.

  • Improve once the blood flow to the brain is restored, the cell danger response is resolved, or the inflammation in their system is reduced. While this rarely results in a 100% recovery (due to the brain tissue that is permanently lost), we have many cases where we’ve observed remarkable improvements, even in cases that were treated decades after the initial injury.

Peter Hotez (a pediatrician) in turn has spent years speaking on the mainstream media to debunk any link between autism and vaccines, which eventually led him to write a book about his autistic daughter to “definitively” prove vaccines don’t cause autism that he then brandished around each time he spoke in public.

Note: Hotez’s book doesn’t actually disprove the link between vaccines and autism. Rather, it shares his own subjective trains of logic which predictably led him to conclude that it doesn’t make any sense vaccines could cause autism. Conversely, he reveals the limits of his pediatric knowledge (as he had to take his autistically regressing daughter to a specialist to get a diagnosis) and reveals that his daughter had numerous signs of a debilitating vaccine injury (e.g., the piercing cry) that Hotez to this day has not recognized.

While many things in it were quite cruel, some of the most noteworthy included:

  • Denouncing parents who wanted to consider the possibility vaccines caused autism because…it diverts some of the funding away from the social support offered to autistic individuals (which cannot come close to meeting the demand for it as caring for autistic individuals is expensive and more and more people are developing autism).

  • Insisting the only reason parents consider the autism vaccine link was because of a retracted paper Andrew Wakefield wrote (rather than because a lot of people witnessed severe injuries immediately following vaccination). This brief clip illustrates why I don’t support this gaslighting:

Note: for context, Wakefield’s infamous 1998 Lancet paper was simply a case study where 12 children who had experienced both neurological regression (i.e., autism) and gastrointestinal issues (e.g., abdominal pain) shortly after MMR vaccination then had their bowels examined where it was shown they did indeed have bowel inflammation. I have often thought the reason why this paper is still viciously attacked decades later is to both to dismiss the idea people might have a legitimate reason for believing vaccines cause autism and to send a harsh warning to the medical journals to never publish anything which threatens the narrative. I am mentioning that here because Hotez frequently utilizes a similar tactic to dismiss any notion severely injured patients might have that the COVID vaccine was responsible for their illness.

Due to his experience in “combatting vaccine misinformation” as public resistance grew towards the slew of mandates that were enacted across the nation during Obama’s presidency, Hotez became much more vocal in both denouncing the antivaccine movement. In turn, Hotez went on a speaking tour across the country calling for Silicon Valley to censor all criticisms of vaccination online.

During Trump’s presidency, Hotez began actively denouncing each science related policy Trump put forward, but once the Pandemic began, Hotez (an avowed left-wing partisan) became a constant cheerleader for Biden’s vaccine program.

In May of 2020, he published an article about COVID-19 and the antivaccine movement which concluded:

To mitigate the consequences of a reinvigorated antivaccine movement in America it will be essential for the White House, together with the NIH and other elements of our science infrastructure, to shape a well-crafted vaccine communication plan. They must also designate a trusted spokesperson who can articulate and carry the message.

While Hotez repeatedly criticized the coronavirus vaccination development efforts during Trump’s presidency (including doing so before Congress), once the administrations transitioned, Hotez quickly worked to become that spokesman and before long was seen on every network zealously promoting whatever the current vaccine messaging was.

Note: After George W. Bush won the nomination, he assigned Dick Cheney to determine who his vice president should be, who as we know was ultimately chosen for that role. I have often wondered if Cheney inspired Hotez to assume the role Hotez worked to create.

Remarkably (as shown later in this article), in addition to contradicting his previous warning against the vaccines, he quickly began contradicting what he had previous said on television (as the vaccines continually failed to meet their promise and the goal posts had to be moved again and again).

During his previous vaccine tour, like many, I erroneously assumed Hotez was a clown (as much of what he said was so absurd I didn’t see how anyone could take it seriously) and the best thing that could be done was to ignore him. This was a big mistake as Hotez’s speaking tour paved the way for the deadly mass censorship of lifesaving COVID-19 treatments and reports severe vaccine injuries we saw throughout the pandemic.

In his current tour, Hotez has continually advanced the idea that anyone who disagrees with the narrative (e.g., by questioning the safety or efficacy of the vaccines) is a danger to society and must be censored. Before long, that turned into for calls for the government to be mobilized against anyone who challenged the corporate “scientific” narrative):

Many of us recognized how dangerous Hotez's message was and a successful grassroots campaign was conducted which took the wind out of this PR campaign.

Unfortunately, they haven’t given up. Hotez has been given a lot of media time to relentlessly promote a new book which argues “not trusting the science” will bring catastrophic death and the destruction, while the WHO in tandem is pushing for a treaty which will give them the ability to outlaw any dissent against their next pandemic response: (fwd to around 26:00)

Note: this video is really important to watch and it cuts to the heart of why Hotez’s book (which represents the tip of the spear to push the WHO’s provisions forward) is so important to expose.

From reviewing Hotez’s book, it’s quite clear it was targeted to an uninformed audience who are not aware of the broader context which immediately refutes most of his points. For this reason, I believe it’s important to provide that context.

Note: the degree of gaslighting in this book is astounding, and I would in turn advise against reading it if you were seriously harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic policies and are sensitive to someone saying all of that was in your head (this is also why so many parents of autistic children hold great disdain for Peter Hotez).

First Order Thinking

In medical education, one of the primary metrics everyone (e.g., both the students and schools) are judged on is their performance on board examinations, so a “subculture” exists which revolves around the intricacies of those examinations.

One of its foundational concepts are first order vs. second order vs. third order questions. In first order questions, you simply have to recall a testable factoid (e.g., which of the following is a side effect of ciprofloxacin), while in second order questions, you need to be able to link two memorized facts together (which of the following would be an expected side effect of the first line antibiotic to treat this infection), while in third order questions, you need to link three chains of memorized facts together (e.g., based on the patients symptoms, for the condition those symptoms suggest [with the condition not being stated in the question], what is the most common side effect of the drug that would be used to treat it).

Initially medical students receive more first order questions. Then, later in their training as they have more medical knowledge (e.g., they can instantly identify the infection being described by the question stem) their examinations test a great proportion of second or third order questions (you have to pass quite a few to get a medical license).

In the previous article, I argued that the main reason the vaccine propagandists won’t ever agree to public debate is because much of what they espouse has a high enough discordance with reality that it instantly falls apart under cross examination and second order thinking.

Note: in another article I provided numerous examples where the press allowed an open debate on a national vaccination campaign program and in each case public opinion rapidly turned agains the campaign. This predictably led to all discussions which did not wholeheartedly endorse the mantra “safe and effective,” being phased out of the media after Clinton enacted regulations in 1997 that allowed the pharmaceutical industry to buy out the press.

More than anyone else in America, Peter Hotez exemplifies this strategy as he constantly is brought on by compliant news hosts who echo everything Hotez says, but simultaneously, Hotez will never even go in front of a neutral audience who exposes his statements to a basic degree of scrutiny.

After I read his book, I had a realization; the majority of Hotez’s “arguments” are first order statements which immediately are invalidated if you know the related context. Furthermore, Hotez often provided the context that disproves his first order argument in another part of his book. This is remarkable and something I very rarely see authors do.

For example, he justifies the need for everyone to get a polio vaccination by…the fact people are catching polio from the polio vaccine.

Poliovirus strains continue to circulate in the environment primarily because gaps in vaccination facilitate ongoing transmission. In the US and UK cases, the poliovirus discovered was derived from a strain that originated from the live oral vaccine (vaccine-derived poliovirus, or VDPV) but mutated until it acquired characteristics that resembled a wild-type poliovirus. It can then propagate among the unvaccinated. Therefore, the presence of VDPV is a biomarker for “significant numbers of unvaccinated people.

Likewise, Hotez denounces RFK Jr. for falsely claiming that Hotez pushed to make criticizing Anthony Fauci a felony “I never said criticizing Dr. Fauci should constitute a felony.” Beyond failing to mention that RFK Jr. was simply referencing Hotez’s recent publication which called for criticizing scientists to become a hate crime, Hotez actually repeats that call that later in his book.

Note: this duplicity is analogous to how Hotez frequently says public statements which are disproven by previous public statements he’s made.

When this ridiculous style of rhetoric is used, it’s very easy to pick it apart. As a result, it can only work on an audience if they are put placed into a tunnel which emotionally hammers that narrative to the viewer (which sadly aptly describes much of the mainstream media), and likewise illustrates why those venues can never host a scientific debate.

Note: many medical students have shared with me how frustrating they find it that many of their supervising doctors will tell them something they are expected to perfectly memorize and fully believe, but simultaneously those doctors never do the work to provide the full context to their medical factoid and share the nuances behind it. Remarkably, those doctors often feel they “did an excellent job ‘teaching’ the material,” despite them having done nothing except repeat their own soundbites. This is very similar to Dr. Hotez’s method of “educating the public,” as he frequently refers to it as a heroic effort to educate the public, but all he actually does is repeat and repeat the first-order statements which conform to the current narrative.

Remarkably, in many cases, what Hotez proposes is so absurd, both sides of the political spectrum oppose it. For example, this is what an LGBTQ organization said in response to Hotez’s hate crime proposal (which Hotez of course refused to comment on):

Why the Hypocrisy?

No one is perfect, so to some extent everyone is hypocritical and because of this I frequently try to avoid having hypocrisy be a basis for attacking someone’s position.

In general, I find that subtle hypocrisy can only be recognized with second or third order thinking, whereas blatant hypocrisy is often evident to a first order thinker. For this reason, I typically only critique the most egregious examples.

In turn, one of the remarkable themes throughout the book is how often Hotez accuses the other side of doing what he is doing. For example he:

  • Laments the fact people are “persecuting” him by challenging or mocking his less than truthful statements, yet Hotez simultaneously calls for those he disagrees with to be silenced, cancelled and punished and omits to mention the professional, economic or criminal consequences those who oppose the narrative have faced (e.g., consider what Washington’s medical board just did to Ryan Cole because he saved people’s lives by prescribing ivermectin to them).

  • Falsely accuses the vaccine safety community of using the default approach he and the mass media use to defend the narrative:

Its propaganda campaigns employ multiple channels and media approaches in a blitz that is sometimes referred to as a “firehose of falsehood.” The messaging is described as high volume, multichannel, repetitive, and without consistency or even reality”

  • Attributes many of the well-known side effects of the vaccines to not enough people vaccinating:

Especially worrisome are the findings from Oxford University researchers showing gray matter brain degeneration from long COVID, with associated cognitive impairments. Such neurologic damage across large segments of the US population might also have been prevented if vaccines were accepted. There is an increasing body of evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccinations not only keep individuals out of hospitals and ICUs and prevent deaths but also reduce the frequency and impact of long COVID. The bottom line: We have not even begun to imagine the scope and scale of the mental health devastation that will result from long COVID, loss of parents and other caregivers, and heightened levels of anxiety from a traumatized American public. This occurred in no small measure because a critical mass of Americans refused COVID-19 vaccinations.

This conduct has of course led many to question what is motivating Hotez to do this. Presently, I believe three plausible explanations exist.

First, Hotez has fallen into such a deep hypnosis around his ideology (i.e., a “mass formation”) that he has lost the capacity to recognize how hypocritical and discordant with reality many of his positions are.

Second, Hotez’s business model revolves around branding himself as a champion of “science” and “neglected tropical diseases” (he even wrote a paper bragging about this) so he can get grants to develop vaccines for those diseases of poverty. This in turn requires him to get as much free advertising as possible (e.g., being brought on every day to speak about the COVID vaccines while simultaneously always being sure to mention his grift). His grift in turn has been remarkably successful as over the decades, he has diverted at least 100 million of grant money to his projects—much of which went into funding the creation of his hookworm vaccine which has still gone nowhere.

Note: I have often wondered if Hotez’s left-wing leanings have been influenced by the fact rapidly partisan liberal news networks were happy to give a platform to anyone who criticized Trump during his presidency.

Third, he (and likely the WHO) are aware that the public is waking up to what they pulled throughout COVID-19, and as a result, has realized the only option Hotez has is to double down on his audacious lies.

Note: it was repeatedly observed in the USSR that as their governments began to collapse (e.g., due to the communist economy imploding), the propaganda used to sustain the government became increasingly absurd and at odds with reality.

While I disagree with the overall message of Hotez’s book, I think many of the individual points he makes are valid. One of those is that there have been many previous periods in history where the public (or the government) eventually turned against its doctors or scientists. Hotez understandably pleads for this not to happen, but simultaneously fails to recognize that the dishonesty from many members of his profession is what’s actually causing that to happen and that if wants to prevent the public from rebuking his profession, honesty and humility rather than hypocrisy and manipulation is what’s needed to restore the public’s trust in science. People don’t like being gaslighted and no amount of propaganda can change that.

Demonizing the Opposition

One of the most frequent tactics used to defend an argument you can’t defend is to attack the other side’s character rather than their argument (which is known as an ad-hominem attack).

This tactic is the most common approach in Hotez’s book, and continually reminded of a well-known internet meme:

Hotez’s primary approach has been to associate much of the modern conservative movement with the term “far right,” a term that has become so broad it has become nothing more than a meaningless slander (e.g., I used to be “liberal” but now I’m “far right” because I always opposed catastrophic wars occurring overseas which squander our national budget to enrich war profiteers). Hotez in turn tries to make the “far right” sound as evil as possible while simultaneously associating “not trusting the science” with belonging to the “far right.” For example:

  • He continually tries to associate “anti-semitism” with any criticism of the COVID science.

  • He continually tries to associate individuals opposed to the January 6th protests with anti-vaccine sentiments, and hence argues that individuals with anti-vaccine views are also dangerous insurrectionists.

  • He continually emphasizes that certain Conservative groups like the Proud Boys (which have been labeled as being “far right”) are sometimes seen protesting in concert with anti-vaccine groups, and hence tries to juxtapose all the nasty labels the media has given to those groups onto everyone else there too.

Note: my own experience was that the only groups I saw behave in a fascist manner throughout the last 8 years were left-wing ones. However, since the media selectively focused on the right-wing ones, those without the complete context (e.g., first-order thinkers) were left with a very negative impression of the immense danger these right wing groups represented.

  • He chose to depict Canada’s trucker convey as a horrible act on the people of Canada (which I would argue was quite misleading). Additionally, Hotez emphasized that Swastikas were there in order to argue the protest was infested with Nazis, while neglecting to mention (which even Snopes acknowledged) that a small number on Nazi symbols were there and were clearly directed at protesting Canada’s Nazi-like behavior, not to be an endorsement of Nazism.

  • He continually repeats the trope that anti-vaccination content is Russian propaganda being flooded to destabilize the United States and implies anyone who doesn’t support the vaccine narrative is a traitor to the country (likewise Hotez repeatedly claims he and his fellow scientists are the “true patriots”).

Likewise, he used many other made-up slanders, which are non-sensical, but leave an uninformed reader with a very bad impression of what’s happening:

Berenson and other prominent vaccine skeptics, including those connected to the “Intellectual Dark Web,” who challenge liberal ideologies while in some cases openly espousing anti-vaccine viewpoints, have appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience, one of the most popular podcasts around the world, with more than 100 million downloads per month.

Note: one of my favorite Hotez-isms was how he “addressed” the fact that people who hold opposing views to him have a much better case for their position by saying the following:

Oftentimes, the arguments of the contrarian intellectuals are extremely clever, using real facts woven together in devious ways to spin false narratives about the ineffectiveness or harmful outcomes of COVID-19 vaccinations and other prevention measures.

In parallel to this, Hotez repeatedly asserts that many people died as a result of their choice not to follow the COVID-19 mitigation policies (e.g., he repeatedly cites the claim 200,000 people died because they weren’t vaccinated during the Delta Wave), and in turn uses this relentlessly argue that “antiscience” can’t be ignored because it’s killing a lot of people.

The problem with this argument is that there’s a great deal of data showing the exact opposite of everything Hotez claims (additionally, keep in mind how many times Hotez stopped claiming much of what he previously said about the vaccines when he tried to sell them to America over the News Networks—and in many cases then denied ever having said his original statements).

For example, across the world, after the vaccines were introduced, deaths significantly increased, which was the opposite of what had been expected to transpire with the virus over time (as we’d already developed a degree natural herd immunity to the virus, the most vulnerable members of society had already died, more was known about treating it, and over time viruses typically mutate to less deadly variants). Yet, instead COVID became much more deadly once the COVID-19 vaccines hit the market (something quite a few people had sadly predicted would happen).

Note: to some extent Hotez acknowledges this by stating—"In 2021, the third year of the pandemic [and the year the vaccines hit the market], the deaths from COVID-19 really began to climb. Initially it was a terrible wave from the Alpha variant in the winter, followed by a summer–fall Delta wave."

Furthermore, in each case where it was possible to track the change in excess deaths once the vaccines was received by a large group of people, the same pattern was seen:

Note: current estimates are that the vaccine has killed around 1 in 800 people, or around 17 million people world wide. Tragically, this does not even account for the far more common debilitating but not life threatening injuries many have experienced after vaccination (e.g., one large survey found 34% of Americans believed they experienced a minor side effect from the vaccines while 7% believed they’d experienced a major one).

Additionally, in the one case where it was studied in a large group over time, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that vaccination made you more likely to catch COVID not less likely (which may explain why repeatedly boosted individuals are now getting COVID far more than the unvaccinated):

Hotez’s 200,000 deaths estimate was based on the assumption that the unvaccinated were 16.3 times as likely to die from COVID as the vaccinated and that at least 80% of the 245,000 deaths which were attributed to COVID during the Delta Wave [May 1 2021-Dec 31 2021] occurred in the unvaccinated. There are a variety of issues with these assumptions (e.g. what I mentioned above and the fact that many hospitalized vaccinated individuals were mislabeled as “unvaccinated” in the official statistics). Of the sources I’ve seen refuting his claims however, I believe they are best shown by this graph:

From looking at this, it should be quite clear it’s intellectually dishonest to say the vaccine almost completely eliminates your risk of dying of COVID and hence that 80% of all COVID deaths must be attributed to vaccine refusal.

However, Hotez of course does not do that, and then proceeds to argue again and again that this “200,000” death toll proves the far-right activity which gave rise to “antiscientism” and hence must be stopped at any cost. Additionally, he made a point to use every opportunity available to slander anything associated with conservatism while claiming the high ground for doing so:

Moreover, I felt that many politicians who endorsed an anti-vaccine agenda did so not out of ignorance but for reasons of partisan expediency. When I began expressing my disgust and anger toward those willing to sacrifice American lives for political gain, that too caused many viewers (judging by the e-mails and notes on social media I received) and journalists (judging by the interview requests following a cable news appearance) to take notice.

A meme I saw shared after the previous article aptly describes the new normal Hotez has pushed for:


Since Hotez has a very weak case for his narrative, like many gaslighters before him, he has to continually:

  • Completely rewrite the history of what happened.

  • Cite the opinions of rapid partisans as proof of his points.

  • Claim he is a faultless victim everyone is just being mean to.

Note: many internet memes exist to describe individuals who continually poke at hornet’s nest and then complain about getting stung.

This aptly describes Hotez, who is happy to fling very dangerous accusations against anyone who does not support his narrative and simultaneously laments how terrible and unjustified it is that people then tell him they don’t like him.

Indeed, during our calls, Peter [another individual directly involved in creating COVID-19] confirmed his distress and expressed concerns for the safety of his family. What also came through in our conversations was his righteous indignation. He became a scientist to help humankind, only to be vilified as an enemy of the state. For me as well, this aspect of the situation is especially demoralizing. We became scientists to help the nation and the world; as I have explained to Peter on several occasions, we are the true patriots, not the phony ones who attack us.

Some of these same groups even tried to draw me into GOF or lab leak accusations by falsely asserting that our coronavirus vaccine development efforts somehow supported GOF-related work.

Note: this tweet, seen by over a million people concisely describes how Hotez, did in fact do just that and then worked tirelessly to cover it up.

More remarkably, he frequently equated these “unfounded” criticisms against him and Fauci to being treated as an enemy of the state by the totalitarian regimes of the past (e.g., the USSR)—even though most of the press bends over backwards to defend Hotez and his colleagues.

As I explained earlier, attacking science itself rarely suffices in a rising authoritarian regime, whose leaders soon find it necessary to go after individual scientists. We had become enemies of the state.

In parallel to repeatedly dramatizing the suffering he’s experienced from people disagreeing with him, Hotez also makes numerous absurd arguments to support his contention that the pushback he’s gotten (for being the national vaccine spokesman) are completely unfair and unjustified.

For example, Hotez continually claims the animosity he’s received was simply because of the terrible scourge of anti-semitism.

On many occasions I lost my concentration at work or woke up in the middle of the night because I was so upset by these unfounded accusations. In addition to sadness, my other emotion was righteous indignation. After all, I obtained my MD and PhD and worked all my life to develop lifesaving interventions for diseases of the poor. Now a segment of American society sought my public execution in a manner befitting a Nazi doctor. The fact that I am Jewish and had family members suffer in the Holocaust made this period especially demoralizing. Increasingly, I began to notice a connection between anti-science and anti-Semitism. I was targeted in this manner in part because I am a Jewish scientist, and many elements of the far-right embrace attacks on and harassment of the Jewish people.

Yet, Fauci (who is not Jewish) has received far more pushback than Hotez (which Hotez even admits). This hence suggests the pushback they received is the result of something besides bigotry, such as the immensely harmful policies Fauci and Hotez relentlessly promoted and shoved down the public’s throat throughout the pandemic.

Note: like Hotez I am Jewish. One of the major issues I and many in my circle hold towards Hotez is that whenever someone uses “anti-semitism” an excuse to dismiss criticisms of their egregious conduct, it creates genuine animosity towards Jewish people, especially if the individual continually does so on a large public platform.

Similarly, Hotez continually says science should not be politicized and constantly laments that the “far right” is persecuting America’s scientists, but simultaneously, Hotez continually attacks conservatives (and comes up with a variety of rationales to support him politicizing science).

In my case, it is not so much that I care to enter into political disputes, but rather, what I desperately seek is to find ways to convince far-right groups to shun the anti-science element. Because anti-science is such a killer and destroyer of lives in America, my message is to say: This is not ”“your fight. You are entitled to your conservative political views, even extremist views in many cases, but please distance yourself from the anti-science. Too often, however, my efforts to uncouple the anti-science from political extremism are interpreted as something other than my best efforts to save lives. Particularly if I say this on CNN or MSNBC, considered by the mainstream GOP and far-right groups to represent liberal views, my efforts to defeat anti-science are misinterpreted as political theater.

Note: If you explore Hotez’s twitter feed, there are countless examples of him demonstratig that he is very left wing and committed to his political ideology.

Much of this partisan divide emerged during Obama’s presidency, after he made the choice to ally his party with the pharmaceutical industry and support a WHO plan to push childhood vaccine mandates across the country (which at the time Sherri Tenpenny told us was being done to pave the way for adult vaccines in the future). Since much of the public opposed these mandates (e.g., because there were many parents with vaccine injured children), they were met with significant protest. In turn, in each state where it was debated, Democratic legislators voted in unison for the mandates while the Republican legislators (who were not bought out) were eventually persuaded by their constituents to veto the mandates.

This caused vaccination to become a political issue (previously almost everyone in both parties agreed with it). At the time, the pharmaceutical industry was very worried about the issue becoming politicized and turned into a debate. In turn, numerous articles came out (e.g., see this one and this one) that chastised anyone politicizing vaccination and cautioning against legislative actions which could further politicize the issue. Remarkably, it seems that this position was abandoned during COVID-19, which I suspect was the result of the industry concluding the mRNA vaccines were so dangerous the only way they could be pushed on the public was through blind partisan loyalty.

Silencing the Opposition

As health freedom propaganda accelerated in the United States during the previous decade, it became clear that the counteroffensive to halt its progress was insufficient. Private nonprofit and government-led vaccine advocacy groups made heroic efforts to promote positive vaccine messages and provide timely and accurate vaccine information to the public. However, such pro-vaccine advocacy needed parallel efforts to confront anti-vaccine and anti-science aggression and its political ties to conservative politicians, news outlets, and other far-right elements. Health freedom politics proceeded mostly without strong opposition. Then there was the community of professional scientists. While the biomedical scientific community was not exactly invisible, it often lacked the drive and capacity to work aggressively and strategically to dismantle anti-vaccine and anti-science activities.

After arguing “antiscience” was a grave threat to society, Hotez proposed a predictable solution to this “problem”—silence everyone who challenges the scientific narrative, which he quantified through this diagram.

Note: leaked documents recently revealed the Federal Government has begun working with private contractors to censor all dissent online (e.g., by destroying the character of people who speak out so there is an excuse to overtly censor them and by removing their access to the financial system). This approach is done so that the government can bypass the constitutional restrictions prohibiting it from directly censoring speech (e.g., Biden vs. Missouri, the largest government censorship case in modern history, resulted in an injunction being placed against the government working behind the scenes to censor content on social media). When you review Hotez’s suggestions, you’ll notice much of what he is calling for the government to do is what those contractors are already doing behind the scenes and the WHO is trying to publicly enact across the world.

Some of Hotez’s (and presumably the WHO’s) suggestions included:

The fact that the DHHS and US surgeon general have responded at all and that they now work with the major social media platforms is a positive development and one that should continue to be encouraged. However, these actions do not address those generating the content from the far-right, the role of the disinformation dozen in monetizing the Internet, or the Russian government’s weaponized health communication. Given the 20 years of relative neglect by the US government in tackling anti-science aggression [anti-vaccine content], I believe we must realize that this issue goes way beyond the health sector. We need input from other branches of the federal government such as the Departments of Homeland Security, Commerce, Justice—and even State, given the Russian involvement.

Until now, such agencies have been employed to combat more conventional and globalizing threats [e.g., terrorism]. Anti-science aggression now warrants this level of engagement and a counterresponse.

We must seek ways to demonetize the use of the Internet by the disinformation dozen or halt the anti-science aggression emanating from Fox News and elected officials, but in ways that do not violate the Bill of Rights or the US Constitution.

The type of risk-management help should range from legal advice to managing online threats and even assistance with law enforcement. Another opportunity might be to expand the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, adopted in 2021 to protect Asian-Americans against political violence, to protect American scientists as well.”

Along those lines, the White House should consider establishing an interagency task force to examine such possibilities and to make recommendations for action to slow the progression of anti-science.

In the meantime, the US government response to anti-science aggression remains modest. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) focuses its energies on Facebook and the social media companies, encouraging them to adjust their computer algorithms to reduce the tidal wave of disinformation. While helpful, this approach by itself does very little to stop the far-right from generating dangerous Internet content or the elected officials who campaign on their successes in attacking science and scientists. The Biden administration is concerned, but so far it has not tapped expertise outside the health sector and sought advice from cabinet departments ranging from Homeland Security to Justice and State. Similarly, the UN agencies wring their hands about the “infodemic” but do not raise this issue with authoritarian leaders in the UN Security Council or General Assembly. Halting anti-science aggression both within their borders or internationally remains a second-tier priority. Regarding GOP extremism, an umbrella under which falls this new anti-science, the Nobel laureate in economics, Paul Krugman, writes, “it cannot be appeased or compromised with. It can only be defeated.” He may be correct.

Finding strategies to slow the spread of anti-science by authoritarian regimes or entities has become one of our great challenges. While the US government and Office of the Surgeon General focus on Facebook or the other social media companies in spreading misinformation, few governments or United Nations agencies wish to confront the source. Therefore, anti-vaccine or health disinformation generated by Russia and other authoritarian governments now proceeds without significant interference…As the State Department and major US intelligence agencies work to diffuse Russian bots and trolls, there is still no national plan to confront anti-science aggression from the far-right and authoritarian regimes. We now face our own internal authoritarian ecosystem whose leaders portray scientists as threats. Some political scientists express concerns that such activities, especially in the context of the January 6, 2021, storming of the US Capitol, threaten the future of democracy in the country.

In parallel, I have suggested to the Biden administration the creation of an interdisciplinary task force of experts from departments such as Homeland Security, Commerce, Justice, and others in recognition of the fact that the loss of human life on this scale, as a result of partisan politics and defiance, is far bigger than what can be managed only by the Department of Health and Human Services. To date, there are no efforts planned to hold congressional hearings on the origins of vaccine refusal leading to this American tragedy. Certainly, there is no enthusiasm for creating an entity that resembles a truth-and-reconciliation commission at the national level similar to efforts made in post-Apartheid South Africa during the 1990s, in order to identify those individuals or groups who encouraged vaccine defiance.

Note: Hotez is effectively saying not only does he want to win, but he wants everyone who disagreed with him to be put through struggle sessions where they are forced to prostrate themselves and apologize for ever not supporting vaccination. That is evil.

This media and political empire is causing unprecedented losses of human life. The pervasive role of disinformation from this segment of society has not gone unnoticed by the Biden administration. In 2021, they proposed forming a new disinformation advisory board through the Department of Homeland Security to begin tackling issues related to not only COVID-19 prevention but also the 2020 US presidential election and other key issues. However, these efforts met with significant opposition from the Senate GOP. As one former intelligence official in Homeland Security pointed out, “You can’t even use the word ‘disinformation’ today without it having a political connotation.” For now, the advisory board has been tabled, and the anti-science political ecosystem continues largely unchallenged.


Now that you have read this entire article, I hope you can appreciate the full context behind the videos I showed at the beginning and I sincerely hope you were able to watch: (fwd to 26:00)

It is my belief that if Hotez can be seen for the deranged individual he is, that will be the most effective way to show the absurdity of what his book puts forth and halt the much darker plans the WHO has been working on behind the scenes.

Fortunately, as the last few years have shown, much of what the vaccine zealots push is so absurd that if we simply use humor to show what they are doing, that is enough to destroy their credibility and derail their plans (and arguably the most effective approach).

Lastly, I need to mention that fellow substacker Maryl Nass MD has been doing a lot of incredible work behind the scenes to stop the totalitarian WHO pandemic treaty. If you would like to know more about her critical work, please consider visiting her non-profit’s website.

*  *  *

I sincerely thank each of you for your support of this publication (sharing critical stories really helps) and how much each of you has done to help shift a narrative I originally thought was an insurmountable mountain could never be challenged.

The Forgotten Side of Medicine is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/15/2024 - 23:35

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The War Between Knowledge And Stupidity

The War Between Knowledge And Stupidity

Authored by Bert Olivier via The Brownstone Institute,

Bernard Stiegler was, until his premature…



The War Between Knowledge And Stupidity

Authored by Bert Olivier via The Brownstone Institute,

Bernard Stiegler was, until his premature death, probably the most important philosopher of technology of the present. His work on technology has shown us that, far from being exclusively a danger to human existence, it is a pharmakon – a poison as well as a cure – and that, as long as we approach technology as a means to ‘critical intensification,’ it could assist us in promoting the causes of enlightenment and freedom.

It is no exaggeration to say that making believable information and credible analysis available to citizens at present is probably indispensable for resisting the behemoth of lies and betrayal confronting us. This has never been more necessary than it is today, given that we face what is probably the greatest crisis in the history of humanity, with nothing less than our freedom, let alone our lives, at stake. 

To be able to secure this freedom against the inhuman forces threatening to shackle it today, one could do no better than to take heed of what Stiegler argues in States of Shock: Stupidity and Knowledge in the 21st Century (2015). Considering what he writes here it is hard to believe that it was not written today (p. 15): 

The impression that humanity has fallen under the domination of unreason or madness [déraison] overwhelms our spirit, confronted as we are with systemic collapses, major technological accidents, medical or pharmaceutical scandals, shocking revelations, the unleashing of the drives, and acts of madness of every kind and in every social milieu – not to mention the extreme misery and poverty that now afflict citizens and neighbours both near and far.

While these words are certainly as applicable to our current situation as it was almost 10 years ago, Stiegler was in fact engaged in an interpretive analysis of the role of banks and other institutions – aided and abetted by certain academics – in the establishment of what he terms a ‘literally suicidal financial system’ (p. 1). (Anyone who doubts this can merely view the award-winning documentary film of 2010, Inside Job, by Charles Ferguson, which Stiegler also mentions on p.1.) He explains further as follows (p. 2): 

Western universities are in the grip of a deep malaise, and a number of them have found themselves, through some of their faculty, giving consent to – and sometimes considerably compromised by – the implementation of a financial system that, with the establishment of hyper-consumerist, drive-based and ‘addictogenic’ society, leads to economic and political ruin on a global scale. If this has occurred, it is because their goals, their organizations and their means have been put entirely at the service of the destruction of sovereignty. That is, they have been placed in the service of the destruction of sovereignty as conceived by the philosophers of what we call the Enlightenment…

In short, Stiegler was writing about the way in which the world was being prepared, across the board – including the highest levels of education – for what has become far more conspicuous since the advent of the so-called ‘pandemic’ in 2020, namely an all-out attempt to cause the collapse of civilisation as we knew it, at all levels, with the thinly disguised goal in mind of installing a neo-fascist, technocratic, global regime which would exercise power through AI-controlled regimes of obedience. The latter would centre on ubiquitous facial recognition technology, digital identification, and CBDCs (which would replace money in the usual sense). 

Given the fact that all of this is happening around us, albeit in a disguised fashion, it is astonishing that relatively few people are conscious of the unfolding catastrophe, let alone being critically engaged in disclosing it to others who still inhabit the land where ignorance is bliss. Not that this is easy. Some of my relatives are still resistant to the idea that the ‘democratic carpet’ is about to be pulled from under their feet. Is this merely a matter of ‘stupidity?’ Stiegler writes about stupidity (p.33):

…knowledge cannot be separated from stupidity. But in my view: (1) this is a pharmacological situation; (2) stupidity is the law of the pharmakon; and (3) the pharmakon is the law of knowledge, and hence a pharmacology for our age must think the pharmakon that I am also calling, today, the shadow. 

In my previous post I wrote about the media as pharmaka (plural of pharmakon), showing how, on the one hand, there are (mainstream) media which function as ‘poison,’ while on the other there are (alternative) media that play the role of ‘cure.’ Here, by linking the pharmakon with stupidity, Stiegler alerts one to the (metaphorically speaking) ‘pharmacological’ situation, that knowledge is inseparable from stupidity: where there is knowledge, the possibility of stupidity always asserts itself, and vice versa. Or in terms of what he calls ‘the shadow,’ knowledge always casts a shadow, that of stupidity. 

Anyone who doubts this may only cast their glance at those ‘stupid’ people who still believe that the Covid ‘vaccines’ are ‘safe and effective,’ or that wearing a mask would protect them against infection by ‘the virus.’ Or, more currently, think of those – the vast majority in America – who routinely fall for the Biden administration’s (lack of an) explanation of its reasons for allowing thousands of people to cross the southern – and more recently also the northern – border. Several alternative sources of news and analysis have lifted the veil on this, revealing that the influx is not only a way of destabilising the fabric of society, but possibly a preparation for civil war in the United States. 

There is a different way of explaining this widespread ‘stupidity,’ of course – one that I have used before to explain why most philosophers have failed humanity miserably, by failing to notice the unfolding attempt at a global coup d’etat, or at least, assuming that they did notice it, to speak up against it. These ‘philosophers’ include all the other members of the philosophy department where I work, with the honourable exception of the departmental assistant, who is, to her credit, wide awake to what has been occurring in the world. They also include someone who used to be among my philosophical heroes, to wit, Slavoj Žižek, who fell for the hoax hook, line, and sinker.

In brief, this explanation of philosophers’ stupidity – and by extension that of other people – is twofold. First there is ‘repression’ in the psychoanalytic sense of the term (explained at length in both the papers linked in the previous paragraph), and secondly there is something I did not elaborate on in those papers, namely what is known as ‘cognitive dissonance.’ The latter phenomenon manifests itself in the unease that people exhibit when they are confronted by information and arguments that are not commensurate, or conflict, with what they believe, or which explicitly challenge those beliefs. The usual response is to find standard, or mainstream-approved responses to this disruptive information, brush it under the carpet, and life goes on as usual.

‘Cognitive dissonance’ is actually related to something more fundamental, which is not mentioned in the usual psychological accounts of this unsettling experience. Not many psychologists deign to adduce repression in their explanation of disruptive psychological conditions or problems encountered by their clients these days, and yet it is as relevant as when Freud first employed the concept to account for phenomena such as hysteria or neurosis, recognising, however, that it plays a role in normal psychology too. What is repression? 

In The Language of Psychoanalysis (p. 390), Jean Laplanche and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis describe ‘repression’ as follows: 

Strictly speaking, an operation whereby the subject attempts to repel, or to confine to the unconscious, representations (thoughts, images, memories) which are bound to an instinct. Repression occurs when to satisfy an instinct – though likely to be pleasurable in itself – would incur the risk of provoking unpleasure because of other requirements. 

 …It may be looked upon as a universal mental process to so far as it lies at the root of the constitution of the unconscious as a domain separate from the rest of the psyche. 

In the case of the majority of philosophers, referred to earlier, who have studiously avoided engaging critically with others on the subject of the (non-)‘pandemic’ and related matters, it is more than likely that repression occurred to satisfy the instinct of self-preservation, regarded by Freud as being equally fundamental as the sexual instinct. Here, the representations (linked to self-preservation) that are confined to the unconscious through repression are those of death and suffering associated with the coronavirus that supposedly causes Covid-19, which are repressed because of being intolerable. The repression of (the satisfaction of) an instinct, mentioned in the second sentence of the first quoted paragraph, above, obviously applies to the sexual instinct, which is subject to certain societal prohibitions. Cognitive dissonance is therefore symptomatic of repression, which is primary. 

Returning to Stiegler’s thesis concerning stupidity, it is noteworthy that the manifestations of such inanity are not merely noticeable among the upper echelons of society; worse – there seems to be, by and large, a correlation between those in the upper classes, with college degrees, and stupidity.

In other words, it is not related to intelligence per se. This is apparent, not only in light of the initially surprising phenomenon pertaining to philosophers’ failure to speak up in the face of the evidence, that humanity is under attack, discussed above in terms of repression. 

Dr Reiner Fuellmich, one of the first individuals to realise that this was the case, and subsequently brought together a large group of international lawyers and scientists to testify in the ‘court of public opinion’ (see 29 min. 30 sec. into the video) on various aspects of the currently perpetrated ‘crime against humanity,’ has drawn attention to the difference between the taxi drivers he talks to about the globalists’ brazen attempt to enslave humanity, and his learned legal colleagues as far as awareness of this ongoing attempt is concerned. In contrast with the former, who are wide awake in this respect, the latter – ostensibly more intellectually qualified and ‘informed’ – individuals are blissfully unaware that their freedom is slipping away by the day, probably because of cognitive dissonance, and behind that, repression of this scarcely digestible truth.

This is stupidity, or the ‘shadow’ of knowledge, which is recognisable in the sustained effort by those afflicted with it, when confronted with the shocking truth of what is occurring worldwide, to ‘rationalise’ their denial by repeating spurious assurances issued by agencies such as the CDC, that the Covid ‘vaccines’ are ‘safe and effective,’ and that this is backed up by ‘the science.’ 

Here a lesson from discourse theory is called for. Whether one refers to natural science or to social science in the context of some particular scientific claim – for example, Einstein’s familiar theory of special relativity (e=mc2) under the umbrella of the former, or David Riesman’s sociological theory of ‘inner-’ as opposed to ‘other-directedness’ in social science – one never talks about ‘the science,’ and for good reason. Science is science. The moment one appeals to ‘the science,’ a discourse theorist would smell the proverbial rat.

Why? Because the definite article, ‘the,’ singles out a specific, probably dubious, version of science compared to science as such, which does not need being elevated to special status. In fact, when this is done through the use of ‘the,’ you can bet your bottom dollar it is no longer science in the humble, hard-working, ‘belonging-to-every-person’ sense. If one’s sceptical antennae do not immediately start buzzing when one of the commissars of the CDC starts pontificating about ‘the science,’ one is probably similarly smitten by the stupidity that’s in the air. 

Earlier I mentioned the sociologist David Riesman and his distinction between ‘inner-directed’ and ‘other-directed’ people. It takes no genius to realise that, to navigate one’s course through life relatively unscathed by peddlers of corruption, it is preferable to take one’s bearings from ‘inner direction’ by a set of values which promotes honesty and eschews mendacity, than from the ‘direction by others.’ Under present circumstances such other-directedness applies to the maze of lies and misinformation emanating from various government agencies as well as from certain peer groups, which today mostly comprise the vociferously self-righteous purveyors of the mainstream version of events. Inner-directness in the above sense, when constantly renewed, could be an effective guardian against stupidity. 

Recall that Stiegler warned against the ‘deep malaise’ at contemporary universities in the context of what he called an ‘addictogenic’ society – that is, a society that engenders addictions of various kinds. Judging by the popularity of the video platform TikTok at schools and colleges, its use had already reached addiction levels by 2019, which raises the question, whether it should be appropriated by teachers as a ‘teaching tool,’ or whether it should, as some people think, be outlawed completely in the classroom.

Recall that, as an instance of video technology, TikTok is an exemplary embodiment of the pharmakon, and that, as Stiegler has emphasised, stupidity is the law of the pharmakon, which is, in turn, the law of knowledge. This is a somewhat confusing way of saying that knowledge and stupidity cannot be separated; where knowledge is encountered, its other, stupidity, lurks in the shadows. 

Reflecting on the last sentence, above, it is not difficult to realise that, parallel to Freud’s insight concerning Eros and Thanatos, it is humanly impossible for knowledge to overcome stupidity once and for all. At certain times the one will appear to be dominant, while on different occasions the reverse will apply. Judging by the fight between knowledge and stupidity today, the latter ostensibly still has the upper hand, but as more people are awakening to the titanic struggle between the two, knowledge is in the ascendant. It is up to us to tip the scales in its favour – as long as we realise that it is a never-ending battle. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/15/2024 - 23:00

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“I Can’t Even Save”: Americans Are Getting Absolutely Crushed Under Enormous Debt Load

"I Can’t Even Save": Americans Are Getting Absolutely Crushed Under Enormous Debt Load

While Joe Biden insists that Americans are doing great…



"I Can't Even Save": Americans Are Getting Absolutely Crushed Under Enormous Debt Load

While Joe Biden insists that Americans are doing great - suggesting in his State of the Union Address last week that "our economy is the envy of the world," Americans are being absolutely crushed by inflation (which the Biden admin blames on 'shrinkflation' and 'corporate greed'), and of course - crippling debt.

The signs are obvious. Last week we noted that banks' charge-offs are accelerating, and are now above pre-pandemic levels.

...and leading this increase are credit card loans - with delinquencies that haven't been this high since Q3 2011.

On top of that, while credit cards and nonfarm, nonresidential commercial real estate loans drove the quarterly increase in the noncurrent rate, residential mortgages drove the quarterly increase in the share of loans 30-89 days past due.

And while Biden and crew can spin all they want, an average of polls from RealClear Politics shows that just 40% of people approve of Biden's handling of the economy.


On Friday, Bloomberg dug deeper into the effects of Biden's "envious" economy on Americans - specifically, how massive debt loads (credit cards and auto loans especially) are absolutely crushing people.

Two years after the Federal Reserve began hiking interest rates to tame prices, delinquency rates on credit cards and auto loans are the highest in more than a decade. For the first time on record, interest payments on those and other non-mortgage debts are as big a financial burden for US households as mortgage interest payments.

According to the report, this presents a difficult reality for millions of consumers who drive the US economy - "The era of high borrowing costs — however necessary to slow price increases — has a sting of its own that many families may feel for years to come, especially the ones that haven’t locked in cheap home loans."

The Fed, meanwhile, doesn't appear poised to cut rates until later this year.

According to a February paper from IMF and Harvard, the recent high cost of borrowing - something which isn't reflected in inflation figures, is at the heart of lackluster consumer sentiment despite inflation having moderated and a job market which has recovered (thanks to job gains almost entirely enjoyed by immigrants).

In short, the debt burden has made life under President Biden a constant struggle throughout America.

"I’m making the most money I've ever made, and I’m still living paycheck to paycheck," 40-year-old Denver resident Nikki Cimino told Bloomberg. Cimino is carrying a monthly mortgage of $1,650, and has $4,000 in credit card debt following a 2020 divorce.

Nikki CiminoPhotographer: Rachel Woolf/Bloomberg

"There's this wild disconnect between what people are experiencing and what economists are experiencing."

What's more, according to Wells Fargo, families have taken on debt at a comparatively fast rate - no doubt to sustain the same lifestyle as low rates and pandemic-era stimmies provided. In fact, it only took four years for households to set a record new debt level after paying down borrowings in 2021 when interest rates were near zero. 

Meanwhile, that increased debt load is exacerbated by credit card interest rates that have climbed to a record 22%, according to the Fed.

[P]art of the reason some Americans were able to take on a substantial load of non-mortgage debt is because they’d locked in home loans at ultra-low rates, leaving room on their balance sheets for other types of borrowing. The effective rate of interest on US mortgage debt was just 3.8% at the end of last year.

Yet the loans and interest payments can be a significant strain that shapes families’ spending choices. -Bloomberg

And of course, the highest-interest debt (credit cards) is hurting lower-income households the most, as tends to be the case.

The lowest earners also understandably had the biggest increase in credit card delinquencies.

"Many consumers are levered to the hilt — maxed out on debt and barely keeping their heads above water," Allan Schweitzer, a portfolio manager at credit-focused investment firm Beach Point Capital Management told Bloomberg. "They can dog paddle, if you will, but any uptick in unemployment or worsening of the economy could drive a pretty significant spike in defaults."

"We had more money when Trump was president," said Denise Nierzwicki, 69. She and her 72-year-old husband Paul have around $20,000 in debt spread across multiple cards - all of which have interest rates above 20%.

Denise and Paul Nierzwicki blame Biden for what they see as a gloomy economy and plan to vote for the Republican candidate in November.
Photographer: Jon Cherry/Bloomberg

During the pandemic, Denise lost her job and a business deal for a bar they owned in their hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. While they applied for Social Security to ease the pain, Denise is now working 50 hours a week at a restaurant. Despite this, they're barely scraping enough money together to service their debt.

The couple blames Biden for what they see as a gloomy economy and plans to vote for the Republican candidate in November. Denise routinely voted for Democrats up until about 2010, when she grew dissatisfied with Barack Obama’s economic stances, she said. Now, she supports Donald Trump because he lowered taxes and because of his policies on immigration. -Bloomberg

Meanwhile there's student loans - which are not able to be discharged in bankruptcy.

"I can't even save, I don't have a savings account," said 29-year-old in Columbus, Ohio resident Brittany Walling - who has around $80,000 in federal student loans, $20,000 in private debt from her undergraduate and graduate degrees, and $6,000 in credit card debt she accumulated over a six-month stretch in 2022 while she was unemployed.

"I just know that a lot of people are struggling, and things need to change," she told the outlet.

The only silver lining of note, according to Bloomberg, is that broad wage gains resulting in large paychecks has made it easier for people to throw money at credit card bills.

Yet, according to Wells Fargo economist Shannon Grein, "As rates rose in 2023, we avoided a slowdown due to spending that was very much tied to easy access to credit ... Now, credit has become harder to come by and more expensive."

According to Grein, the change has posed "a significant headwind to consumption."

Then there's the election

"Maybe the Fed is done hiking, but as long as rates stay on hold, you still have a passive tightening effect flowing down to the consumer and being exerted on the economy," she continued. "Those household dynamics are going to be a factor in the election this year."

Meanwhile, swing-state voters in a February Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll said they trust Trump more than Biden on interest rates and personal debt.


These 'headwinds' have M3 Partners' Moshin Meghji concerned.

"Any tightening there immediately hits the top line of companies," he said, noting that for heavily indebted companies that took on debt during years of easy borrowing, "there's no easy fix."

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/15/2024 - 18:00

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Copper Soars, Iron Ore Tumbles As Goldman Says “Copper’s Time Is Now”

Copper Soars, Iron Ore Tumbles As Goldman Says "Copper’s Time Is Now"

After languishing for the past two years in a tight range despite recurring…



Copper Soars, Iron Ore Tumbles As Goldman Says "Copper's Time Is Now"

After languishing for the past two years in a tight range despite recurring speculation about declining global supply, copper has finally broken out, surging to the highest price in the past year, just shy of $9,000 a ton as supply cuts hit the market; At the same time the price of the world's "other" most important mined commodity has diverged, as iron ore has tumbled amid growing demand headwinds out of China's comatose housing sector where not even ghost cities are being built any more.

Copper surged almost 5% this week, ending a months-long spell of inertia, as investors focused on risks to supply at various global mines and smelters. As Bloomberg adds, traders also warmed to the idea that the worst of a global downturn is in the past, particularly for metals like copper that are increasingly used in electric vehicles and renewables.

Yet the commodity crash of recent years is hardly over, as signs of the headwinds in traditional industrial sectors are still all too obvious in the iron ore market, where futures fell below $100 a ton for the first time in seven months on Friday as investors bet that China’s years-long property crisis will run through 2024, keeping a lid on demand.

Indeed, while the mood surrounding copper has turned almost euphoric, sentiment on iron ore has soured since the conclusion of the latest National People’s Congress in Beijing, where the CCP set a 5% goal for economic growth, but offered few new measures that would boost infrastructure or other construction-intensive sectors.

As a result, the main steelmaking ingredient has shed more than 30% since early January as hopes of a meaningful revival in construction activity faded. Loss-making steel mills are buying less ore, and stockpiles are piling up at Chinese ports. The latest drop will embolden those who believe that the effects of President Xi Jinping’s property crackdown still have significant room to run, and that last year’s rally in iron ore may have been a false dawn.

Meanwhile, as Bloomberg notes, on Friday there were fresh signs that weakness in China’s industrial economy is hitting the copper market too, with stockpiles tracked by the Shanghai Futures Exchange surging to the highest level since the early days of the pandemic. The hope is that headwinds in traditional industrial areas will be offset by an ongoing surge in usage in electric vehicles and renewables.

And while industrial conditions in Europe and the US also look soft, there’s growing optimism about copper usage in India, where rising investment has helped fuel blowout growth rates of more than 8% — making it the fastest-growing major economy.

In any case, with the demand side of the equation still questionable, the main catalyst behind copper’s powerful rally is an unexpected tightening in global mine supplies, driven mainly by last year’s closure of a giant mine in Panama (discussed here), but there are also growing worries about output in Zambia, which is facing an El Niño-induced power crisis.

On Wednesday, copper prices jumped on huge volumes after smelters in China held a crisis meeting on how to cope with a sharp drop in processing fees following disruptions to supplies of mined ore. The group stopped short of coordinated production cuts, but pledged to re-arrange maintenance work, reduce runs and delay the startup of new projects. In the coming weeks investors will be watching Shanghai exchange inventories closely to gauge both the strength of demand and the extent of any capacity curtailments.

“The increase in SHFE stockpiles has been bigger than we’d anticipated, but we expect to see them coming down over the next few weeks,” Colin Hamilton, managing director for commodities research at BMO Capital Markets, said by phone. “If the pace of the inventory builds doesn’t start to slow, investors will start to question whether smelters are actually cutting and whether the impact of weak construction activity is starting to weigh more heavily on the market.”

* * *

Few have been as happy with the recent surge in copper prices as Goldman's commodity team, where copper has long been a preferred trade (even if it may have cost the former team head Jeff Currie his job due to his unbridled enthusiasm for copper in the past two years which saw many hedge fund clients suffer major losses).

As Goldman's Nicholas Snowdon writes in a note titled "Copper's time is now" (available to pro subscribers in the usual place)...

... there has been a "turn in the industrial cycle." Specifically according to the Goldman analyst, after a prolonged downturn, "incremental evidence now points to a bottoming out in the industrial cycle, with the global manufacturing PMI in expansion for the first time since September 2022." As a result, Goldman now expects copper to rise to $10,000/t by year-end and then $12,000/t by end of Q1-25.’

Here are the details:

Previous inflexions in global manufacturing cycles have been associated with subsequent sustained industrial metals upside, with copper and aluminium rising on average 25% and 9% over the next 12 months. Whilst seasonal surpluses have so far limited a tightening alignment at a micro level, we expect deficit inflexions to play out from quarter end, particularly for metals with severe supply binds. Supplemented by the influence of anticipated Fed easing ahead in a non-recessionary growth setting, another historically positive performance factor for metals, this should support further upside ahead with copper the headline act in this regard.

Goldman then turns to what it calls China's "green policy put":

Much of the recent focus on the “Two Sessions” event centred on the lack of significant broad stimulus, and in particular the limited property support. In our view it would be wrong – just as in 2022 and 2023 – to assume that this will result in weak onshore metals demand. Beijing’s emphasis on rapid growth in the metals intensive green economy, as an offset to property declines, continues to act as a policy put for green metals demand. After last year’s strong trends, evidence year-to-date is again supportive with aluminium and copper apparent demand rising 17% and 12% y/y respectively. Moreover, the potential for a ‘cash for clunkers’ initiative could provide meaningful right tail risk to that healthy demand base case. Yet there are also clear metal losers in this divergent policy setting, with ongoing pressure on property related steel demand generating recent sharp iron ore downside.

Meanwhile, Snowdon believes that the driver behind Goldman's long-running bullish view on copper - a global supply shock - continues:

Copper’s supply shock progresses. The metal with most significant upside potential is copper, in our view. The supply shock which began with aggressive concentrate destocking and then sharp mine supply downgrades last year, has now advanced to an increasing bind on metal production, as reflected in this week's China smelter supply rationing signal. With continued positive momentum in China's copper demand, a healthy refined import trend should generate a substantial ex-China refined deficit this year. With LME stocks having halved from Q4 peak, China’s imminent seasonal demand inflection should accelerate a path into extreme tightness by H2. Structural supply underinvestment, best reflected in peak mine supply we expect next year, implies that demand destruction will need to be the persistent solver on scarcity, an effect requiring substantially higher pricing than current, in our view. In this context, we maintain our view that the copper price will surge into next year (GSe 2025 $15,000/t average), expecting copper to rise to $10,000/t by year-end and then $12,000/t by end of Q1-25’

Another reason why Goldman is doubling down on its bullish copper outlook: gold.

The sharp rally in gold price since the beginning of March has ended the period of consolidation that had been present since late December. Whilst the initial catalyst for the break higher came from a (gold) supportive turn in US data and real rates, the move has been significantly amplified by short term systematic buying, which suggests less sticky upside. In this context, we expect gold to consolidate for now, with our economists near term view on rates and the dollar suggesting limited near-term catalysts for further upside momentum. Yet, a substantive retracement lower will also likely be limited by resilience in physical buying channels. Nonetheless, in the midterm we continue to hold a constructive view on gold underpinned by persistent strength in EM demand as well as eventual Fed easing, which should crucially reactivate the largely for now dormant ETF buying channel. In this context, we increase our average gold price forecast for 2024 from $2,090/toz to $2,180/toz, targeting a move to $2,300/toz by year-end.

Much more in the full Goldman note available to pro subs.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/15/2024 - 14:25

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