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Futures Drift With US Markets Closed For President’s Day

Futures Drift With US Markets Closed For President’s Day

With US cash markets closed for the President’s Day holiday, US equity futures traded…



Futures Drift With US Markets Closed For President's Day

With US cash markets closed for the President's Day holiday, US equity futures traded in a tight range amid non-existant volumes, as did European stocks, while Asian stocks pushed higher as China’s mainland shares rebounded from a three-day slump after a Goldman report that penciled in a rebound on the back of an earnings recovery. Calls for further stimulus via lower rates also built up, prompting the nation’s banks to keep their lending rates unchanged. Emini S&P futures were down 0.2% to 4,080, near session lows after closing Friday at the highs.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv and met with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy, declaring “unwavering support” in a show of solidarity as Russia’s invasion nears the one-year mark.

European stocks struggled for direction as the prospect of higher-for-longer interest rates counters optimism derived from a solid earnings season. The Stoxx 600 was up 0.1% with miners, chemicals and insurance the best-performing sectors while tech and media fall. Here are some of the biggest movers on Monday:

  • Bank of Ireland shares rise as much as 2.7% and AIB Group gains as much as 1% after Credit Suisse initiates the pair with outperform ratings
  • Sulzer shares climb 4.9% as its outlook suggests potential upside to estimates, says Vontobel, noting the Swiss industrial engineering firm’s strong order momentum
  • Vicat shares rise as much as 5.5%, hitting the highest since April 2022, as Barclays raises its PT on the French cement company and says it continues to see upside potential for the stock
  • Faurecia rallies as much as 6% to the highest intraday level since the end of June; analysts highlight the automotive parts supplier’s cash flow for last year
  • Viaplay shares rise as much as 4.2% after Redburn initiates coverage with a buy rating, saying the Swedish streaming service provider’s share price is yet to reflect strong revenue growth
  • Raiffeisen Bank shares fall as much as 8.6% after the Austrian lender said it has received a request from the US around its Russia-related business, which prompted a downgrade
  • Telefonica SA falls as much as 1.4% in early trading after being cut to hold from buy at Deutsche Bank, with the broker seeing little scope for further upgrades
  • Telecom Italia shares fall as much as 3.6% after daily Il Messaggero reported that state lender CDP could require more time to submit a bid to rival KKR’s non-binding offer
  • B&S shares slide as much as 11% after the Dutch wholesaler said it will delay the publication of full-year results as the company initiates a review of its control framework and governance

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose as China’s mainland shares rebounded from a three-day slump and investors assessed the outlook for US interest rates.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 0.7%, led by financial and communication shares. Benchmarks gained in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan. China’s CSI 300 had its best day in almost three months on rising optimism that an economic recovery will sustain the reopening rally. Goldman Sachs Group said it expects Chinese stocks to reverse their slide since late January, as businesses reap windfall profits after the country emerges from its Covid restrictions.

A chorus of investors including Goldman is betting on Chinese equities to resume a rally as the world’s second-biggest economy deepens stimulus and relaxes pandemic restrictions. While this has sparked inflows into global assets tied to the Chinese economy, the broader sentiment in markets remains impaired, with the Fed resolute on its fight against inflation. Growing geopolitical tensions are also preventing investors from turning more bullish.

“The only place where the central bank will remain soft enough is China, to recover from a series of absurd Covid measures that pushed the economy into an unnecessary depressed zone,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, wrote in a note. “The geopolitical tensions aren’t going in the right direction for restoring confidence.”

“Current conditions suggest Asia could outperform if the US corrects in coming months,” Goldman Sachs strategists including Timothy Moe wrote in a note. The US brokerage is “constructive” on the outlook for Asia given 16% earnings growth in 2024 and “still-reasonable” valuations. Investors are still digesting last week’s commentary from two of the Federal Reserve’s most hawkish policymakers. The officials signaled they may favor returning to bigger interest-rate hikes in the future. While a bull-market rally in Asian stocks has petered out this month, the region’s shares are still more than 20% above a low reached in October.   

In FX, the Dollar Index is up 0.1% while the Swedish krona is the best-performer among the G-10’s after core CPI surprised to the upside. The New Zealand dollar is the weakest.

In rates, UK 10-year yields fall 4bps on the day while the German equivalent is unchanged.  Cash Treasuries are closed.

Oil futures advanced with WTI rising 0.6% trade near $76.80. Demand from China will climb by 800,000 barrels a day in 2023, according to the median estimate of 11 China-focused consultants surveyed by Bloomberg News. That would take consumption to an all-time high of about 16 million barrels a day, the survey showed. Spot gold is little changed around $1,843.

Investors also awaited clues on US consumer demand as Walmart Inc. and Home Depot Inc. were set to kick off a slew of retail earnings reports this week.

DB's Jim Reid concludes the abbreviate wrap

We survived half term. My wife will be bouncing with joy when she drops them off this morning. However our poor dog Brontë has an upset stomach and for the last 2 nights has asked to go outside almost every hour. So I'm a bit of a zombie typing this as we've taken it in turns to go with her but have both woken up every time. In fact, I'm finishing this off at 4am while Brontë is outside trying to find the appropriate spot for her latest endeavours. It's bringing bad memories back of having babies in the house. So if you want to know why the EMR is a bit early this morning (assuming it is by the time it clears) this is it.

Prior to the weekend, in the days where sleep was something I took for granted, DB's Matt Luzzetti followed up his street topping 5.6% US terminal rate forecast with an update of his US growth profile on Friday. The timing of the recession has been pushed back to Q4 from Q3 but the title "No landing is not an option for the Fed" says it all. See the note here.

After today’s US holiday (Presidents’ Day), the PCE report in the US (Friday) and global flash PMIs (Tuesday) will be the key data releases this week. Friday's one year anniversary of the war in Ukraine will also be closely watched, if for no other reason that to see whether it marks an escalation. A reminder that tomorrow at 1pm London time DB have a webinar on the conflict with expert Michael Kofman, the Research Director of the Russia Studies Program at the CAN, and will be discussing the latest developments in the conflict, the likely next steps in the war effort, the implications of recent sanctions, the prospects of a peace agreement, and the risks of escalation. The link to sign up is here.

Elsewhere we have the latest Fed minutes (Wednesday) and Japanese CPI (Thursday), with the earnings line-up including key US retailers (Walmart, Home Depot), major miners (BHP, Rio Tinto) and China's tech giants (Baidu, Alibaba).

So we'll have to wait until Friday for the main event this week as the latest core PCE deflator (DB and consensus at +0.5% mom vs. +0.3% last month) come out as part of the personal income (a strong +1.1% mom consensus, DB +0.6% vs. +0.2% previously) and consumption (DB and consensus +1.3% mom vs. -0.2%) report. The core PCE will likely continue to confirm the near-term inflation pressures. Last week's CPI showed that they were still relatively broad based with the trimmed mean and median CPI gauges rising the most since September. Median YoY CPI was the highest in the 40 year history of the calculation. Core goods prices rose while used cars fell. However used cars have been climbing in recent months and note that on Friday Manheim’s mid-month update showed used car growing +4.1% MoM in February which is the highest rate since October 2021. As page 7 of Justin Weidner's US inflation chartbook shows here, there is generally a 2-month lag between this series and the used car component in CPI.

If DB's forecast for core PCE is correct the YoY rate will be sticky at 4.4% and could edge up to 4.5% with the three-month (3.9% vs. 2.9%) and six-month (4.6% vs. 3.7%) annualised growth rates going back up.

Elsewhere in the US we have existing home sales (today) and new home sales (Friday) which may have been positively boosted by a warm January. The Fed minutes on Wednesday might be dated given the array of hawkish data and Fed speak since, but it will be interesting to see if the minutes were as dovish as the market interpreted the overall FOMC at the time.

Aside from the very important global flash PMIs tomorrow, an array of confidence metrics in Europe, including the ZEW and Ifo surveys (tomorrow and Wednesday) for Germany and consumer confidence for Germany and the UK on Friday, are also due.

Major data releases in Asia include the CPI report in Japan on Thursday and our Chief Japan Economist expects core ex. fresh food to come in at 4.2% YoY (vs +4.0% in December) and core-core ex. fresh food and energy to print 3.2% (+3.0%).

In corporate earnings, commodity companies will continue being in the spotlight with results due from key metals companies like BHP (today), Rio Tinto (Wednesday), Anglo American and Newmont (Thursday) and oil & gas players like Pioneer (Wednesday), EOG and Cheniere (Thursday), among others. In utilities, we will hear from Engie (Tuesday), Iberdrola (Wednesday) and PG&E (Thursday).

Amid the blowout retail sales report and upside beat for the CPI this week, all eyes will be on reports and commentary from large US retailers, with over 400 of S&P 500 firms having already released results. Key highlights include Walmart, Home Depot (Tuesday), TJX and eBay (Wednesday).

Finally, we will hear from some of China's most prominent firms when results are due from Baidu (Wednesday) and Alibaba (Thursday). Elsewhere, notable tech reporters include NVIDIA (Wednesday), Intuit, Autodesk and Block (Thursday). In Europe, we will also hear from Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Rolls-Royce (Thursday) and BASF (Friday).

Overnight in Asia, Chinese stocks are leading the rally with the CSI 300 (+1.18%), the Shanghai Composite (+0.99%) and the Hang Seng (+0.81%) all up by nearly a percentage point despite headlines about souring diplomatic relations between the US and China and North Korea’s missile test. A US/China meeting (the first since ballongate) in Munich between US Secretary of State Blinken and China's State Councillor Wang Yi doesn't seem to have gone well with little to agree about. Blinken also told US TV yesterday that "we are very concerned that China is considering providing lethal support to Russia in its aggressive against Ukraine".

Elsewhere other key markets in the region, including the Kospi (+0.38%) and the Nikkei (+0.03%), are modestly in the green and US stock futures are flat.

Looking back on last week now and markets have become noticeably more pessimistic on inflation after data releases pointed to better economic growth and continued price pressures. This was affirmed by the hawkish sentiment coming from central bank speakers on Friday. Fed Governor Bowman stated that the recent data releases have been ‘surprising’ and that she has not seen indications hikes are slowing the economy. Separately, Richmond Fed President Barkin was less hawkish favouring a 25bps hike at the March meeting, but he was emphatic that he was “still not ready to declare victory on inflation”.

Looking at the fed funds futures market, +28bps worth of hikes remains priced in for March, whilst the terminal rate priced in for July edged up to 5.282% on Friday, the highest rate for this hiking cycle. That left it up +10bps over the week. This hawkish sentiment was echoed in Europe, where the ECB’s Schnabel hinted at a 50bps increase in May and emphasised the risk markets were underestimating inflation. Against this backdrop, overnight index swaps at one point intraday moved to price in +125bps of rate hikes by the ECB’s September meeting, which would take the terminal deposit rate up to 3.75%. By the close, markets were pricing in +119bps, up +9.5bps over the week (+1bps on Friday).

Equities saw more two-way risk as markets reassessed how high central banks will need to go to regain their grip on inflation. However they held in well considering the moderate volatility. The S&P 500 fell -0.28% on Friday, and over the week the index was down by the same amount. The NASDAQ performed well considering the rates climb, closing up +0.59% on the week (-0.58% on Friday). European equities performed strongly relative to the US, with the STOXX 600 up +1.4% over the week (-0.20% on Friday). France’s CAC 40 was a significant outperformer, up +3.06% last week, its largest up move since the start of 2023 (-0.25% on Friday).

On Friday, US fixed income markets posted modest gains after erasing significant intraday losses. The US 10yr Treasury yield reached its highest level of 2023, up to 3.93%, before falling back over 10bps from the highs and -4.5bps on the day on Friday. In weekly terms, yields were up +8.3bps to 3.815%. The 10yr bund initially retreated with yields climbing +5bps, before falling back to finish down -3.7bps on Friday. However, the weekly move reflected the growing expectation of more rate hikes from the ECB, with 10yr bund yields up +7.6bps.

In commodity markets, oil saw a weekly drop as rising US inventories and prospect of further rates tightening outweighed Chinese energy demand improving. WTI crude fell -4.24% over the week to $76.34/bbl (-2.15% on Friday). European gas futures likewise retreated, down -9.63% over the week to €48.58, their lowest level since August 2021 (-6% on Friday). Finally, gold fell -1.24% on the week at $1839.37x/oz (flattish Friday).

Day-by-day calendar of events

Monday February 20

  • Data: Eurozone February consumer confidence, December construction output
  • Central banks: BoE's Woods speaks
  • Earnings: BHP

Tuesday February 21

  • Data: US, UK, Japan, Germany, France and Eurozone February PMIs, US February Philadelphia Fed non-manufacturing activity, January existing home sales, UK January public finances, Japan January PPI services, Germany and Eurozone February ZEW survey, France January retail sales, EU27 January new car registrations, Canada January CPI, December retail sales
  • Earnings: Walmart, Home Depot, HSBC, Medtronic, Palo Alto Networks, Engie, Capgemini

Wednesday February 22

  • Data: Germany February ifo survey, France February business and manufacturing confidence
  • Central banks: Fed's FOMC minutes, Fed's Williams speaks, BoJ's Tamura speaks
  • Earnings: NVIDIA, Rio Tinto, TJX, Iberdrola, Pioneer, Stellantis, Baidu, Lloyds, eBay

Thursday February 23

  • Data: US February Kansas City Fed manufacturing activity, January Chicago Fed national activity index, initial jobless claims, Japan January CPI
  • Central banks: Fed's Bostic and Daly speak, BoE's Cunliffe and Mann speak
  • Earnings: Alibaba, Intuit, American Tower, Deutsche Telekom, Booking, EOG Resources, AXA, Moderna, Eni, Autodesk, Block, Anglo American, Newmont, Cheniere, Warner Bros Discovery, PG&E, BAE Systems, Telefonica, Grab, Domino's, Rolls-Royce, Carvana

Friday February 24

  • Data: US February Kansas City Fed services activity, January personal income and spending, PCE, new home sales, UK February GfK consumer confidence, Japan January nationwide department store sales, Germany March GfK consumer confidence, France February consumer confidence
  • Central banks: Fed's Mester, Bullard, Waller, Collins and Jefferson speak, BoE's Tenreyro speaks
  • Earnings: BASF, Holcim


Tyler Durden Mon, 02/20/2023 - 09:56

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Gaslighting: The American People Are Trapped In A Textbook Abusive Relationship

Gaslighting: The American People Are Trapped In A Textbook Abusive Relationship

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,




Gaslighting: The American People Are Trapped In A Textbook Abusive Relationship

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

Imagine this.

A woman, for the sake of my story, is in a marriage with a partner who does not respect her. He insults her regularly, belittles her efforts to improve herself or her situation, and minimizes her feelings.

In fact, when she tries to stand up for herself, things get even worse. The partner calls into question her memories of the event. He dismisses the way things made her feel, calling the emotions “ridiculous” or “stupid.” He convinces her she’s overreacting and that he was only trying to do what was best for her. When she brings something up, he completely rewrites the event, causing her to doubt what actually happened because she’s in a vulnerable state due to the constant abuse.

In a situation like this, the abused partner often feels powerless, confused, and unable to leave the situation. They are at a disadvantage because they’ve been influenced to doubt their own reality. This leaves them trapped deeper and deeper in the abusive scenario. They feel unable to escape because they’re really not sure what actually happened. Were they blowing things out of proportion? Are they, in fact, stupid, forgetful, and inept?

Abusive relationships follow a pattern. There’s a period of breaking the victim down, isolating them from their support systems, and making them dependent on the abuser. Then, the abused partner is maneuvered into the belief that she can’t get by on her own.

This master manipulation is how people become trapped in abusive relationships.

And, as I’m about to show, not all abusive relationships are one-on-one romantic relationships.

What is gaslighting?

Medical News Today defines gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a person or group causes someone to question their own sanity, memories, or perception of reality. People who experience gaslighting may feel confused, anxious, or as though they cannot trust themselves.

The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1944 classic film (and before that, the play), Gaslight. In the story, a husband tries to make his wife believe she is suffering from a mental illness. Starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, it’s well worth a watch.

Gaslighting is a form of narcissistic abuse. For a quick refresher on the definition of a narcissist and the techniques they use, go here.

Forbes offers the following signs you are being gaslit:

Signs to watch for include:

The “Twilight Zone” effect. Victims of gaslighting often report feeling like a situation is surreal—like it’s happening on a different plane from the rest of their life.

Language describing you or your behavior as crazy, irrational or overemotional. “When I asked women about their partners’ abusive tactics, they often described being called a ‘crazy bitch,’” Sweet writes in “The Sociology of Gaslighting” in American Sociological Review. “This phrase came up so frequently, I began to think of it as the literal discourse of gaslighting.”

Being told you’re exaggerating.

Feeling confused and powerless after leaving an interaction.

Isolation. Many gaslighters make efforts to isolate victims from friends, family and other support networks.

Tone policing. A gaslighter may criticize your tone of voice if you challenge them on something. This is a tactic used to flip the script and make you feel that you’re the one to blame, rather than your abuser.

A cycle of warm-cold behavior. To throw a victim off balance, a gaslighter may alternate between verbal abuse and praise, often even in the same conversation.

Gaslighting is a deliberate attempt to provoke self-doubt, confusion, and dependence.

How does someone gaslight another person?

Again, let’s look to the experts. Medical News Today provides these examples of how gaslighting might take place:

  • Countering: This is when someone questions a person’s memory. They may say things such as, “Are you sure about that? You have a bad memory,” or “I think you are forgetting what really happened.”
  • Withholding: This involves someone pretending they do not understand the conversation, or refusing to listen, to make a person doubt themselves. For example, they might say, “Now you are just confusing me,” or “I do not know what you are talking about.”
  • Trivializing: This occurs when a person belittles or disregards how someone else feels. They may accuse them of being “too sensitive” or overreacting in response to valid and reasonable concerns.
  • Denial: Denial involves a person refusing to take responsibility for their actions. They may do this by pretending to forget what happened, saying they did not do it, or blaming their behavior on someone else.
  • Diverting: With this technique, a person changes the focus of a discussion by questioning the other person’s credibility. For example, they might say, “That is just nonsense you read on the internet. It is not real.”
  • Stereotyping: An article in the American Sociological Review says that a person may intentionally use negative stereotypes about someone’s gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, or age to gaslight them. For example, they may say that no one will believe a woman if she reports abuse.

After a period of time, this emotional barrage results in the target of the gaslighting suffering from confusion, doubt, and self-blame.

  • feeling uncertain of their perceptions
  • frequently questioning if they are remembering things correctly
  • believing they are irrational or “crazy”
  • feeling incompetent, unconfident, or worthless
  • constantly apologizing to the abusive person
  • defending the abusive person’s behavior to others
  • becoming withdrawn or isolated from others

The Forbes article offered these specific examples of gaslighting in romantic relationships.

“Ebony’s partner would steal her money and then tell her she was ‘careless’ about finances and had lost it herself.”

“Adriana’s boyfriend hid her phone and then told her she had lost it, in a dual effort to confuse her and prevent her from communicating with others.”

“Jenn described her ex-boyfriend as a ‘chameleon’ who made up small stories to confuse her, like lying about what color shirt he had worn the day before to make her feel disoriented.”

“Emily described her ex-husband stealing her keys so she could not leave the house and then insisting she had lost them ‘again.’”

But if you think this phenomenon is limited to women being abused by their husbands or boyfriends, you’d be wrong.

Gaslighting doesn’t just happen in romantic relationships.

Gaslighting is a complicated thing. While it’s common in abusive romantic relationships, it can also occur in unhealthy parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, or even workplaces. But that’s not all. It can also occur on a much broader scale.

Racial gaslighting

According to an article in Politics, Group, and Identities, racial gaslighting is when people apply gaslighting techniques to an entire racial or ethnic group in order to discredit them. For example, a person or institution may say that an activist campaigning for change is irrational or “crazy.”

Political gaslighting

Political gaslighting occurs when a political group or figure lies or manipulates information to control people, according to an article in the Buffalo Law Review.

For example, the person or political party may downplay things their administration has done, discredit their opponents, imply that critics are mentally unstable, or use controversy to deflect attention away from their mistakes.

Institutional gaslighting

Institutional gaslighting occurs within a company, organization, or institution, such as a hospital. For example, they may portray whistleblowers who report problems as irrational or incompetent, or deceive employees about their rights.

This often occurs to cover up a mistake that could result in the person who erred facing punitive consequences or to keep people “in their place.” It’s a control mechanism, pure and simple.

Have we been gaslit by our own government?

I don’t think it’s farfetched to say that we, the people of the United States of America, have been gaslit.

Does this sound familiar? Lockdowns that keep you away from friends and loved ones? Losing your income and becoming dependent on handouts doled out by the government? Being censored and mocked when you say anything that is not in line with the official narrative? Being treated like a crazy conspiracy theorist who should be punished because of the harm you’re causing to others if you refuse to go along?

When you look at it this way, it feels like the entire US government and media have colluded to abuse the people. Many of the Covid-related “truths” that were promoted by the government and the media that we were not allowed to dispute have now been proven to be false. Stories we couldn’t question about the origins of the pandemic have been proven false. In another incident of broad-scale gaslighting unrelated to the pandemic, a lot of evidence has been produced that shows the Biden family may have received money from influence-peddling, but the media tells us not to believe it.

And like good little victims, it seems like a hefty portion of the country is refusing to believe the evidence, instead believing in the good intentions of their abusers. They’ve been gaslit, brainwashed, and are unable to break free of the manipulation.

And it’s still going on.

Recently Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a scathing opinion of the US government’s handling of the Covid pandemic, saying that we “have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country.”

“Executive officials across the country issued emergency decrees on a breathtaking scale. Governors and local leaders imposed lockdown orders forcing people to remain in their homes. They shuttered businesses and schools, public and private. They closed churches even as they allowed casinos and other favored businesses to carry on. They threatened violators not just with civil penalties but with criminal sanctions too. They surveilled church parking lots, recorded license plates, and issued notices warning that attendance at even outdoor services satisfying all state social-distancing and hygiene requirements could amount to criminal conduct. They divided cities and neighborhoods into color-coded zones, forced individuals to fight for their freedoms in court on emergency timetables, and then changed their color-coded schemes when defeat in court seemed imminent,” he said.

At the federal level, he highlighted not only immigration decrees but vaccine mandates, the regulation of landlord-tenant relations and pressure on social media companies to suppress “misinformation.”

The gaslighting blowback was immediate, with breathlessly outraged headlines.

Slate eloquently opined, “Neil Gorsuch’s List of “Civil Liberties Intrusions” Is, Uh, Missing a Few Things.” making sure to throw plenty of insulting talking points into their introductory paragraph in their attempt to liken a Supreme Court Justice who was educated at Harvard Law, Oxford, Georgetown, and Columbia, to an ignorant relative one merely tolerates. And they insinuated he was a racist.

Gorsuch has long railed against such policies, and his opinions have taken on an increasingly shrill tone, like the Fox News–poisoned uncle who hectors you about the plandemic in 3,000-word Facebook comments. The justice’s rant in Arizona v. Mayorkas, however, hits a new low, moving beyond the usual yada-yada grievance parade to issue a thesis statement of sorts…

…As Vox’s Ian Millhiser quickly pointed out, this sweeping claim leaves out two “intrusions on civil liberties” that any person with a basic grasp of history and sanity would surely rank as worse than pandemic policies: slavery and Jim Crow.

An opinion piece published in the NY Times gasped, “Neil Gorsuch Has Given Himself Away,” made it seem as if the Justice was belittling every other civil rights mishap in the history of America while also blithely disregarding the folks who died during the pandemic.

The New Republic condescendingly liberal-splained to the rest of us “What Neil Gorsuch Got Wrong About the Pandemic,” stating that “The justice’s vision of the judiciary’s role in public health may be more dangerous than any Covid-era restriction.”

The site Above The Law literally said Gorsuch was stupid in the piece, “For An Originalist, Gorsuch Is Clearly Slacking On His Definitions And Their Historical Meanings.” The subheading reads, “Is what he said stupid? Yes. But let’s be technical here.”

Law and Crime website also played the race card and did so right in the headline: Neil Gorsuch implies COVID restrictions were worse than slavery and Jim Crow, and the internet noticed.

Let’s look at that definition of political gaslighting again…

For example, the person or political party may downplay things their administration has done, discredit their opponents, imply that critics are mentally unstable, or use controversy to deflect attention away from their mistakes.

Oof. If that textbook case of gaslighting isn’t embarrassing, it should be.  Then again, narcissists are rarely embarrassed.

The gaslighting will escalate.

Another thing about narcissists: they just get angry when they’re called out. They will respond by gaslighting you harder or seeking to “ruin” you. (source) They’ll punish you with a loss of “privileges,” money, material goods, and freedom. We’ve watched it happen again and again in our cancel culture media. Some of us have been unfortunate enough to have personal relationships with narcissists and learned this the hard way.

The only way to end narcissistic abuse and gaslighting is to recognize it and remove yourself from the situation as much as you can. Obviously, when it’s our entire government and society, that becomes complicated. You may be stuck with just recognizing it. But that in itself gives you a certain amount of freedom and personal power. It helps you get off the hamster wheel, and you begin to spot the manipulations more easily.

One thing we can be sure of is that this will escalate as more and more people say, “No, that’s not what happened.” This is something we can expect, and in some small way, maybe we can take comfort in the response. Perhaps we can smile to ourselves because we know those who were trying to manipulate us all are on the defensive.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/29/2023 - 18:20

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The Great Silence

The Great Silence

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via,

The kids are two years behind in education. Inflation still rages. White-collar…



The Great Silence

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via,

The kids are two years behind in education. Inflation still rages. White-collar jobs are disappearing thanks to the reversal of Fed policy. Household finances are a wreck. The medical industry is in upheaval. Trust in government has never been lower.

Major media too is discredited. Young people are dying at levels never seen. Populations are still on the move from lockdown states to where it is less likely. Surveillance is everywhere, and so is political persecution. Public health is in a disastrous state, with substance abuse and obesity all at new records.

Each one of these, and many more besides, are continued fallout from the pandemic response that began in March 2020. And yet here we are 38 months later and we still don’t have honesty or truth about the experience.

Officials have resigned, politicians have tumbled out of office and lifetime civil servants have departed their posts, but they don’t cite the great disaster as the excuse. There is always some other reason.

This is the period of the great silence. We’ve all noticed it. The stories in the press recounting all the above are conventionally scrupulous about naming the pandemic response much less naming the individuals responsible.

Maybe there is a Freudian explanation: things so obviously terrible and in such recent memory are too painful to mentally process, so we just pretend it didn’t happen. Plenty in power like this solution.

Everyone in a position of influence knows the rules. Don’t talk about the lockdowns. Don’t talk about the mask mandates. Don’t talk about the vaccine mandates that proved useless and damaging and led to millions of professional upheavals.

Don’t talk about the economics of it. Don’t talk about collateral damage. When the topic comes up, just say, “We did the best we could with the knowledge we had,” even if that is an obvious lie.

Above all, don’t seek justice.

Where’s the National Commission?

There is this document intended to be the “Warren Commission” of COVID slapped together by the old gangsters who advocated for lockdowns. It is called Lessons from the Covid War: An Investigative Report.

The authors are people like Michael Callahan (Massachusetts General Hospital), Gary Edson (former deputy national security adviser), Richard Hatchett (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), Marc Lipsitch (Harvard University), Carter Mecher (Veterans Affairs), and Rajeev Venkayya (former Gates Foundation and now Aerium Therapeutics).

If you have been following this disaster, you might know at least some of the names. Years before 2020, they were pushing lockdowns as the solution for infectious disease. Some claim credit for having invented pandemic planning. The years 2020–2022 were their experiment.

As it was ongoing, they became media stars, pushing compliance, condemning as disinformation and misinformation anyone who disagreed with them. They were at the heart of the coup d’etat, as engineers or champions of it, that replaced representative democracy with quasi-martial law run by the administrative state.

The first sentence of the report is a complaint:

We were supposed to lay the groundwork for a National COVID Commission. The COVID Crisis Group formed at the beginning of 2021, one year into the pandemic. We thought the U.S. government would soon create or facilitate a commission to study the biggest global crisis so far in the 21st century. It has not.

That is true. There is no National COVID Commission. You know why? Because they could never get away with it, not with legions of experts and passionate citizens who wouldn’t tolerate a coverup.

The public anger is too intense. Lawmakers would be flooded with emails, phone calls and daily expressions of disgust. It would be a disaster. An honest commission would demand answers that the ruling class is not prepared to give. An “official commission” perpetuating a bunch of baloney would be dead on arrival.

This by itself is a huge victory and a tribute to indefatigable critics.

‘We Didn’t Crack Down Hard Enough’

Instead, the “COVID Crisis Group” met with funding from the Rockefeller and Charles Koch foundations and slapped together this report. Despite being celebrated as definitive by The New York Times and The Washington Post, it has mostly had no impact at all.

It is far from obtaining the status of being some kind of canonical assessment. It reads like they were on deadline, fed up, typed lots of words and called it a day.

Of course it is whitewash.

It begins with a bang to denounce the U.S. policy response: “Our institutions did not meet the moment. They did not have adequate practical strategies or capabilities to prevent, to warn, to defend their communities or fight back in a coordinated way, in the United States and globally.”

Mistakes were made, as they say.

Of course the upshot of this kvetching is not to criticize what Justice Neil Gorsuch calls “the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country.” They hardly mention those at all.

Instead they conclude that the U.S. should have surveilled more, locked down sooner (“We believe that on Jan. 28 the U.S. government should have started mobilizing for a possible COVID war”), directed more funds to this agency rather than that and centralized the response so that rogue states like South Dakota and Florida could not evade centralized authoritarian diktats next time.

The authors propose a series of lessons that are anodyne, bloodless and carefully crafted to be more-or-less true but ultimately structured to minimize the sheer radicalism and destructiveness of what they favored and did. The lessons are clichés such as we need “not just goals but road maps,” and next time we need more “situation awareness.”

There is no new information in the book that I could find, unless something is hidden therein that escaped my notice. It’s more interesting for what it does not say. Some words that never appear in the text: Sweden, ivermectin, ventilators, remdesivir and myocarditis.

‘Look, Lockdowns and Mandates Worked!’

Perhaps this gives you a sense of the book and its mission. And on matters of the lockdowns, readers are forced to endure claims such as “all of New England — Massachusetts, the city of Boston, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine — seem to us to have done relatively well, including their ad hoc crisis management setups.”

Oh really! Boston destroyed thousands of small businesses and imposed vaccine passports, closed churches, persecuted people for holding house parties, and imposed travel restrictions. There is a reason why the authors don’t elaborate on such preposterous claims. They are simply unsustainable.

One amusing feature seems to me to be a foreshadowing of what is coming. They throw Anthony Fauci under the bus with sniffy dismissals: “Fauci was vulnerable to some attacks because he tried to cover the waterfront in briefing the press and public, stretching beyond his core expertise—and sometimes it showed.”

Ooooh, burn!

“Trump Was a Comorbidity”

This is very likely the future. At some point, Fauci will be scapegoated for the whole disaster. He will be assigned to take the fall for what is really the failure of the national security arm of the administrative bureaucracy, which in fact took charge of all rule-making from March 13, 2020, onward, along with their intellectual cheerleaders. The public health people were just there to provide cover.

Curious about the political bias of the book? It is summed up in this passing statement: “Trump was a comorbidity.”

Oh how highbrow! How clever! No political bias here!

Maybe this book by the Covid Crisis Group hopes to be the last word. This will never happen. We are only at the beginning of this. As the economic, social, cultural, and political problems mount, it will become impossible to ignore the incredibly obvious.

The masters of lockdowns are influential and well-connected but not even they can invent their own reality.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/29/2023 - 16:00

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Pandemic babies’ developmental milestones: Not as bad as we feared, but not as good as before

Research findings are mostly reassuring for parents — despite the disruptions to nearly every aspect of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, most children…

Scientists and physicians raised concerns early in the pandemic that increased parental stress, COVID infections, reduced interactions with other babies and adults, and changes to health care may affect child development. (Shutterstock)

The COVID-19 pandemic created conditions that threatened children’s healthy development.

Scientists and physicians raised concerns early in the pandemic, pointing out that increased parental stress, COVID infections, reduced interactions with other babies and adults and changes to health care could affect child development. Furthermore, some children could be especially vulnerable to the pandemic circumstances.

With these concerns in mind, we started a longitudinal study of pregnant Canadians to understand how pandemic stressors might influence later child development.

Our initial findings were alarming: the rates of anxiety and depression among pregnant individuals were two to four times higher during the early phase of the pandemic compared to numerous pregnancy studies prior to the pandemic. This worrisome increase in mental health problems was seen worldwide.

Impact on children’s development

To determine how the pandemic might be affecting children’s development, we measured developmental milestones in 3,742 12-month-old infants born during the first 18 months of the pandemic. We then compared these infants to a similar group of 2,898 Canadian infants born between 2015 and 2018.

A pregnant woman and a doctor both wearing face masks in the doctor's office
Rates of anxiety and depression among pregnant individuals were two to four times higher during the early phase of the pandemic compared to numerous pregnancy studies prior to the pandemic. (Shutterstock)

The study evaluated developmental milestones using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire-3. The ASQ-3 is a parent report of child behaviour that can help identify children at risk of developmental delays in five separate domains: Communication, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Personal-Social and Problem Solving.

In a study to be published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, we found that most children born during the pandemic were doing fine, with almost 90 per cent meeting their key developmental milestones in each area. This should be reassuring for parents, caregivers and communities, because it suggests that most children are developing normally despite adverse early circumstances.

However, a slightly higher proportion of children born during the pandemic were at risk of developmental delay in Communication, Gross Motor and Personal-Social domains, compared to children born before the pandemic. Our findings are consistent with prior smaller studies showing only small increases in the risk for poor verbal, motor and cognitive performance among 12-month-old infants born during the pandemic.

A woman smiling and playing with her baby in her lap
Engaging an infant in conversation or song (even a pre-verbal infant) is a powerful way to encourage language learning. (Shutterstock)

The largest effects we observed were in the Communication and Personal-Social domains. Infants born during the pandemic were almost twice as likely to score below cutoffs compared to pre-pandemic infants.

This represents an increase of about one to two additional children in 100 who are at risk, but highlights some potentially concerning effects of the pandemic on early child development. Across Canada, this could result in service demands for 20,000-40,000 additional preschool children.

Although small in absolute terms, these increases have important implications, since already limited resources will need to increase to meet the needs of more children. Certainly, it will be important to continue monitoring infants/children born during the pandemic to determine how long-lasting these effects are.

Reassuringly, early interventions can be highly effective for children who are struggling.

Concerns about child development

A smiling baby crawling towards the camera in the foreground, and a young man smiling in the background
Provide your child with many opportunities for one-on-one interaction with a caring and responsive adult. (Shutterstock)

Parents should be mostly reassured by these findings. Despite the disruptions to nearly every aspect of life during the pandemic, the majority of children continue to show healthy development. Parents with concerns about their child’s development may find these suggestions helpful:

  1. Provide your child with many opportunities for one-on-one interaction with a caring and responsive adult. The Harvard Center on the Developing Child describes the back-and-forth interactions that form the key processes of child development as “serve and return.”

  2. Believe in “ordinary magic.” This is the phrase that child development expert Ann Masten uses to describe how resilience emerges from ordinary, everyday processes and interactions. Children develop resilience when they have access to the right environments, the right relationships and the right chances to be able to safely explore themselves and the world around them.

  3. Talk and sing with your child. Engaging an infant in conversation or song (even a pre-verbal infant) is a powerful way to encourage language learning.

  4. There is a wide range of development that is considered “normal.” It is okay for your child to be at a different stage than other children their age, as long as your child is still showing signs of development.

  5. If you are concerned about your child’s development after some time of monitoring, discuss your concerns with a qualified health professional to determine if further investigation is needed.

Overall, the findings of our study (and others) suggest that the effects of the pandemic on infant development (at least to one year of age) have not been as bad as we feared. However, a greater number of children will likely require further evaluation and support compared to pre-pandemic.

Gerald Giesbrecht receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation.

Catherine Lebel receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Brain Canada, the Azrieli Foundation, Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation, and the Canada Research Chairs program.

Lianne Tomfohr-Madsen receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Brain Canada, Calgary Health Trust, the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation and the Weston Foundation.

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