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How To Play The Bezos vs. Musk Space Feud

On September 1, 2016, Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 rocket burst into flames under mysterious circumstances.
Musk called it “the most difficult and complex failure we had in 14 years,” and it triggered an internal investigation into what caused the massive…

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On September 1, 2016, Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 rocket burst into flames under mysterious circumstances.

Musk called it “the most difficult and complex failure we had in 14 years,” and it triggered an internal investigation into what caused the massive explosion.

Elon Musk even went as far as to have his team shoot a rifle at his own rockets to determine whether a SpaceX competitor like Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, may have sabotaged this critical launch.

The investigation revealed that Bezos didn’t play a hand in the explosion, but it was instead traced back to a failure related to an increasingly rare substance.

While this rare gas nearly unleashed a storm between the world’s richest men 5 years ago…

A global shortage now threatens Bezos, Musk, and every other Big Tech giant today.

This element is critical to the success of Elon Musk and his SpaceX rockets.

In fact, it’s estimated that just one space rocket launch alone uses up to $12 million worth of this substance.

But it stretches far beyond just space travel.

The rare gas touches every single corner of the tech landscape, even playing into the global chip shortage which has captured headlines more and more over the last year

 

That’s because it’s needed to create the tiny computer chips we find in every electronic device.

That includes everything from smart toasters to important medical equipment like MRIs and pacemakers.

It even powers the internet itself through the production of the fiber optic cables we need in order to build the information superhighway.

A shortage of this gas could soon threaten the entire tech industry, as demand has spiked for helium at a time when the largest supplier just pulled its name from the race.

The New York Times recently reported, “The global helium shortage is real.”

And the BBC reported, “The prices just keep going up and up.”

That’s one reason why Avanti Energy Inc. (TSX:AVN.V; OTCMKTS:ARGYF) a small helium exploration company, has seen shares jump for 249% gains since just the beginning of the year.

With a 12-month target price at $3.80, analysts at Beacon Securities have been predicting this could be just the start though as they are now preparing to break ground on the most exciting point in their upcoming project.

Now, the race is on as Avanti just signed the contract to begin drilling, scheduled to start just weeks from now in early December.

From 30 Top Prospects to the #1 Play

Avanti Energy’s (TSX:AVN.V; OTCMKTS:ARGYF) team has been hard at work in preparation, reviewing over 30 properties on their quest to find the next big helium discovery.

After narrowing that down to the 10 biggest opportunities, they moved to acquire the Greater Knappen project just a few months back.


Avanti’s Greater Knappen project spans ~69,000 acres, straddling the border of northern Montana and southern Alberta.

The team has already identified 10 structures for possible drill targets, and early estimates put the undiscovered, unrisked resource potential under the surface at between 1.4 billion and 8.9 billion cubic feet of helium.

To put that into context, if Avanti scaled up to 5 billion cubic feet, the net present value (NPV10) at the property would work out to about $1 billion.

That’s incredible upside potential for a company sitting at a market cap of around $70 million at the moment.

Those familiar with the space, already know how easy it is for exploration companies to report on potential alone.

But in Avanti Energy’s (TSX:AVN.V; OTCMKTS:ARGYF) case, a competitor located less than 10 km north of the property helps give us a glimpse into what could lie in store starting next month.

Avanti’s competitor is currently producing up to 55,000 cubic feet of helium per day.

To do the math, 55,000 cubic feet per day at $150/1,000 cubic feet adds up to roughly $3 million per year.

If they could keep producing at that rate for 5 years at its peak, and even continue to produce another 10 years at a lesser rate, that would put potential revenue in the tens of millions.

If this holds true for Avanti, they could produce those kinds of potential profits in a single zone.

Those kinds of returns are simply unheard of at a time when the helium shortage has sent prices soaring.

The Billion Dollar Team Flocks to a New Up-and-Comer

With the potential being proved up just 10 km away from their property, the real reason for excitement comes from examining the team behind Avanti Energy (TSX:AVN.V; OTCMKTS:ARGYF) itself.

For starters, the team’s pedigree stems back to the $10 billion oil and gas giant, Encana (now Ovintiv).

CEO, Chris Bakker, and VP of Subsurface, Genga Nadaraju, were both instrumental in identifying and developing a multi-billion dollar project there in the Montney Formation.

Plus, add to that the two geologists joining Avanti with an additional 50+ years of experience, and you’ve built a veritable dream team guiding the operations.

For those not familiar, the Montney Formation is North America’s largest natural gas play.

The natural gas from the property currently makes up 45% of Western Canada’s gas supply, according to analyst Wood Mackenzie, and that could rise to an estimated 65% by 2030.

The Montney has seen at least 9 major deals worth roughly C$2.3 billion in the past year.

Take that back to the past 15 years since beginning development, and that number quickly moves into the tens of billions.

With Avanti’s CEO, VP of Subsurface, and two geologists being critical pieces of developing a multi-billion project, that’s brought about an obvious question.

Why did a team with a multi-billion-dollar track record and decades of experience leave the oil and gas giant to join this small company with a market cap of about $70 million?

It’s hard to be sure, but that could help explain why analysts at Beacon Securities set their 12-month target price for Avanti at $3.80.

From current prices of under $1.50 per share, there could be even more potential if they make a discovery at Greater Knappen that’s even a small percentage of the size of the Montney.

Finding a team with their level of experience and success is extremely rare, and that gives good reason to be excited about the prospect that Avanti may be onto something major here.

What Comes Next?

As excitement has continued building in recent months, Avanti is now within weeks of breaking ground on the ~69,000 acres in Greater Knappen.

They have their sights set on drilling up to 6 wells between December 2021 and May 2022.

 

Results from the first well are expected to come sometime early in the New Year.

As Avanti Energy plans to continue drilling another well each month through the spring, that spells a flurry of activity and news coverage over at least the next 6 months.

However, that could be just the beginning as they’ve identified no fewer than 17 potential drill targets.

Now, as Avanti Energy Inc. (TSX:AVN.V; OTCMKTS:ARGYF) prepares to spud their first well in the coming weeks, eyes will be on them when they break ground amidst a helium shortage with implications for the biggest players in the tech world.

Other companies to watch capitalizing on the “new” resources:

As a global leader in hydrogen fuel cell technology, Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLPD) a Canadian company, with headquarters in Montreal is pushing for progress on the hydrogen car front. They design and manufacture fuel cell products that have helped make their mark across several industries including transportation where they are making strides towards greening our cities by helping reduce emissions from both private vehicles as well public transit buses to help save money at home or abroad!

In a recent release, the company stated, “In the starting phase of work under the framework agreement, a demonstration platform with a fuel cell powertrain solution will be co-developed, with Ballard providing the fuel cell subsystem and Linamar providing the rolling chassis, tanks, enclosures, cradles and other balance of plant. Following successful testing of the demonstration platform, Ballard and Linamar expect to form a joint venture”

For those looking for an alternative energy source, Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH has been leading the industry with its innovative power monitoring technology. The company was founded by four engineers from Silicon Valley who were trying to create a more efficient and affordable solar panel system that could be used by all sorts of people across America - not just techies like them! Nowadays they don't even need rooftops anymore: their products are tiny enough so you can put one on your desk at work or in any room as needed without blocking access points where other equipment might go

Enphase has remained a favorite on Wall Street throughout the year. Year-to-date, Enphase has seen its share price rise by leaps and bounds. And it’s only just getting started. As the renewable push kicks into high gear, and with the United States expected to spend over $1.7 trillion on green energy initiatives over the next decade, Enphase might just emerge as one of the biggest winners.

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) a global renewable energy company headquartered in Tempe Arizona with over 27 years of experience and expertise designing photovoltaic products for residential use or large scale power plants, is now one of the most recognizable brands across all industries within their industry. The FirstSolar headquarters are where they manufacture thin-film modules made from cadmium telluride which can be used as an alternative to traditional silicon based cells on rooftops around America's cities allowing homeowners more options when it comes time to decide how much dough they want to put into solar panels themselves!

FirstSolar has been removed from Goldman Sachs; Conviction List mainly due to lower exposure to fast-growing solar markets in China, India, and Asia(75% of the company’s orders come from the United States). Others like Raymond James have moved to the sidelines on fears that First Solar might come under pressure if Biden repeals Section 201 tariffs that Trump placed on imported solar modules from China, while Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan have downgraded the stock after its recent run-up to multiyear highs.

DuPont Corporation (NYSE:DD)is a global science company with more than 60,000 employees. DuPont’s motto of “Better Living Through Chemistry” was applied to the development of products that help make agriculture sustainable and improve our daily lives. The company has introduced nylon, Lycra (spandex), Kevlar fiber, Tyvek home insulation and other new fibers as well as innovative solutions for existing materials such as color TV tubes, paints and coatings. DuPont developed some of the world's most important innovations in chemistry – like Teflon®, Corian® solid surfacing material, Kevlar®, Tyvek®, Nomex® protective clothing fabric and Sulfinol® fuel cells.

Over 20 years ago, DuPont was already knee-deep in the fuel cell game, forming an entire division dedicated to hydrogen fuel cell technology. Richard J. Angiullo, then-VP of DuPont Fluoroproducts explained, ``Increasing global energy requirements and the desire for new, alternative energy sources in many markets make fuel cells an exciting new growth opportunity for DuPont.” adding, “Fuel cells are a natural fit for DuPont technology and capabilities. More than 50 percent of a PEM fuel cell stack, the real transactional center of a fuel cell, can be made from DuPont materials.”

Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) is a company that has been working on clean energy solutions for the world. The company was founded in 2001 and their mission statement is to "bring affordable, renewable power to homes and businesses everywhere." Their main product is called Bloom Box, which converts natural gas into electricity with a cleaner process than traditional methods. They have recently signed contracts with major companies such as Google, Wal-Mart, FedEx and Staples.

Bloom Energy's goal is to provide cheaper rates for both residential and commercial customers while also being environmentally friendly by using less fossil fuels. Their next steps are expanding globally so they can help as many people as possible get access to affordable power sources.

Another thing to consider in the fuel cell race is that Bloom Energy is targeting different markets than some of its competitors. They make large fuel cells for commercial buildings, whereas Plug and Ballard are mainly materials-handlers who supply forklifts, buses, trucks - similar vehicles with small transportation needs. This is key because it’s still a largely untapped market that Bloom can get in on early.

Even old-school fossil fuel producers are getting in on the clean energy race. Suncor (TSX:SU) might be known mostly for its oil production. But it’s one of the few majors really pushing the boundaries. In fact, it has pioneered a number of high-tech solutions for finding, pumping, storing, and delivering its resources. When the rebound in crude prices finally materializes, giants like Suncor are sure to do well out of it. While many of the oil majors have given up on oil sands production – those who focus on technological advancements in the area have a great long-term outlook. And that upside is further amplified by the fact that it is currently looking particularly under-valued compared to its peers.

Though that’s just one part of its business. Suncor is also a world leader in renewable energy innovations. Recently, the company invested $300 million in a wind farm located in Alberta. Additionally, as Canada moves away from oil, Suncor is well-positioned to take advantage of another one of the country’s resource reserves; Lithium. The best part? It doesn’t even have to move very far. In fact, Alberta’s oil sands are a major hotspot for lithium production.

As demand for energy continues to explode in a post-pandemic China, CNOOC Limited (TSX:CNU) will likely be one of the biggest winners in this boom. It’s the country’s most significant producer of offshore crude oil and natural gas and may well be one of the most controversial oil stocks for investors on the market. A label that has nothing to do with its operations, however.

Recently, U.S. regulators announced their intention to de-list Chinese companies from the New York Stock Exchange, going back on their announcement just a few days later. The sustained negative press surrounding Chinese companies, however, has put CNOOC in an uncomfortable position for investors. While many analysts see the company as significantly undervalued, it is still struggling to gain traction in U.S. markets. Though that could be changing as Biden works to ease tensions with China

The Descartes Systems Group Inc. (TSX:DSG) is a Canadian multinational technology company specializing in logistics software, supply chain management software, and cloud-based services for logistics businesses. Recently, Descartes announced that it has successfully deployed its advanced capacity matching solution, Descartes MacroPoint Capacity Matching. The solution provides greater visibility and transparency within their network of carriers and brokers. This move could solidify the company as a key player in transportation logistics which is essential-and-often-overlooked in the mitigation of rising carbon emissions.

Mogo Finance Technology Inc. (TSX:MOGO) is a new spin on unsecured credit, which is a burgeoning sub-segment of FinTech. Providing loan management, the ability to track spending, stress-free mortgages, and even credit score tracking, Mogo is at the forefront of an online movement to assist users with their financial needs.

Mogo’s software analyzes borrowers instantly and greatly reduces the traditionally cumbersome underwriting process for loans. It’s online only, so there’s very low overhead and a ton of cash to spend on marketing. Labeled as “the Uber of finance” by CNBC, Mogo is definitely turning heads. With increasing membership growth and revenue lines continuing to improve, and a platform which many banks have failed to offer, Mogo could well become an acquisition target in the near future.

Canada’s renewable energy push is gaining speed, as well. Boralex Inc. (TSX:BLX) is one of Canada’s premier renewable energy firms. It played a major role in kickstarting the country’s domestic renewable boom. The company’s main renewable energies are produced through wind, hydroelectric, thermal and solar sources and help power the homes of many people across Canada and other parts of the world, including the United States, France and the United Kingdom.

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PAID ADVERTISEMENT. This article is a paid advertisement. OpeningTrades.com and its owners, managers, employees, and assigns (collectively “the Publisher”) is often paid by one or more of the profiled companies or a third party to disseminate these types of communications. In this case, the Publisher has been compensated by Avanti Energy Inc. (“Avanti” or “AVN”) to conduct investor awareness advertising and marketing. Avanti paid the Publisher to produce and disseminate five similar articles and additional banner ads at a rate of Twenty Eight thousand US dollars per article. This compensation should be viewed as a major conflict with our ability to be unbiased.

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SHARE OWNERSHIP. The Publisher owns shares and / or options of the featured company and therefore has an additional incentive to see the featured company’s stock perform well. The Publisher does not undertake any obligation to notify the market when it decides to buy or sell shares of the issuer in the market. The Publisher will be buying and selling shares of the featured company for its own profit. This is why we stress that you conduct extensive due diligence as well as seek the advice of your financial advisor or a registered broker-dealer before investing in any securities.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS. This publication contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this publication include that prices for helium will significantly increase due to global demand and use in a wide array of industries (including key technology sectors) and that helium will retain its value in the future due to the demand increases and overall shortage of supply; that the Avanti team will be able to develop and implement helium exploration models, including their own proprietary models, that may result in successful exploration and development efforts; that historical geological information and estimations will prove to be accurate or at least very indicative of helium; that high helium content targets exist in the Alberta and both Montana projects; and that Avanti will be able to carry out its business plans, including timing for drilling and exploration. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include that demand for helium is not as great as expected; that alternative commodities or compounds are used in applications which currently use helium, thus reducing the need for helium in the future; the degree of success of the coming drilling campaign; the accuracy of the initial estimates of helium on the land; the commercial viability of any obtainable helium, the ability to get any helium obtained to market; the accuracy of the production timeline estimates; that the Avanti team may be unable to develop any helium exploration models, including proprietary models, which allow successful exploration efforts on any of the Company’s current or future projects; that Avanti may not be able to finance its intended drilling programs to explore for helium or may otherwise not raise sufficient funds to carry out its business plans; that geological interpretations and technological results based on current data may change with more detailed information, analysis or testing; and that despite promise, there may be no commercially viable helium or other resources on any of Avanti’s properties. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.

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Easyjet share price down 3% as pandemic losses hit £2.2 billion

The EasyJet share price shed over 3% today to give up a chunk of…
The post Easyjet share price down 3% as pandemic losses hit £2.2 billion first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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The EasyJet share price shed over 3% today to give up a chunk of the gains the budget airline had made earlier in the week. The new slide came after it announced a £213 loss for the last quarter of the year covering the Christmas period, taking losses for the Covid-19 pandemic period to £2.2 billion. The airline also told investors it is still burning through £150 million in cash every month as it struggles to build capacity back up.

The short-haul airline that makes most of its income shuttling holidaymakers and business travellers around Europe said it is still only operating at around half of its pre-pandemic capacity. However, it is hopeful that pent-up demand and an end to travel restrictions mean it will return to pre-pandemic levels by summer and enjoy much brisker trade than of late over the Easter and spring period.

easy jet plc

But before then the airline company will again have to absorb deep losses over the current quarter, which is traditionally its weakest of the year. Even a strong summer period, think most analysts, will be insufficient to see the company return to profit this year. EasyJet’s value is still less than half of what it was in February 2020 before the coronavirus-induced market sell-off that hit later that month and saw markets dive into March before starting to recover. The share prices of rival budget airlines Ryanair and WizzAir have recovered much more strongly in comparison to EasyJet’s and are now close to their pre-pandemic levels. There have been concerns around whether EasyJet could survive the pandemic but investors contributed £1.2 billion last autumn to bolster its balance sheet.

The EasyJet share price is closing the week at around £6.15 compared to over £15 before the pandemic. However, there is now hope the worst may be behind the airline and it can begin its, potentially long, journey back to health. Chief executive John Lundgren attempted to soften the announcement of another hefty loss with a bullish statement on where things go from here for his company:

“Booking volumes jumped in the UK following the welcome reduction of travel restrictions announced on January 5, which have been sustained and given a further boost from the UK government’s decision this week to remove all testing requirements.”

“We believe testing for travel across our network should soon become a thing of the past. We see a strong summer ahead, with pent-up demand that will see easyJet returning to near-2019 levels of capacity, with UK beach and leisure routes performing particularly well.”

For now, however, forward guidance for the immediate quarter remains cautious with the company admitting it has fallen short of its expectations to be at 80% capacity by this quarter, sitting at just 67%. However, with most analysts confident the company will eventually return to strength, and profit in the 2022-23 financial year, EasyJet shares could offer a good buying opportunity at current levels.

The post Easyjet share price down 3% as pandemic losses hit £2.2 billion first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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Government

Xi Jinping Seeking “Global Domination”: Mike Pompeo

Xi Jinping Seeking "Global Domination": Mike Pompeo

Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times,

Mike Pompeo said Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants “global domination—hegemony for the Chinese Communist Party,” warning that the…

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Xi Jinping Seeking "Global Domination": Mike Pompeo

Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times,

Mike Pompeo said Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants “global domination—hegemony for the Chinese Communist Party,” warning that the rise of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could destroy the rules-based international order in place since the end of World War II.

“It’s not about putting a Chinese tank division in Taiwan. It’s about accreting political power and influence throughout the world,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo, who served first as CIA director and later as Secretary of State under President Donald Trump, made the statement in an appearance at the Argus Americas Crude Summit 2022.

He said his tenure as CIA director came at a time when U.S. attention had to shift from terrorism to other threats, foremost among them the CCP.

He added that a “global awakening” is taking place about what he sees as the ambitions of the CCP.

“Most of the credit goes to Xi Jinping. He foisted a virus on the world, for goodness’ sake, and refuses to let anybody go figure out where it came from,” Pompeo said.

The CCP has met with international criticism for blocking access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and related facilities in Wuhan by the United Nations. Many scientists and journalists suspect the CCP virus that causes COVID-19 originated at the WIV.

Pompeo also commented on ongoing trade-related conflict between the United States and China, raising questions about the United States’ initial decision to open up to China in the context of its primary Cold War conflict with China’s then-rival, the Soviet Union.

“The trade war began maybe in 1972,” he said, referring to Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon’s visit to the People’s Republic of China in the context of restoring diplomatic ties.

“Maybe it was the right thing to do in 1972—but the trade war long predates the Trump administration.”

“We encouraged business together. I don’t fault the businesses who went there. Notice the past tense of this. America’s policy encouraged connectivity with the Chinese Communist Party. Today, that is an enormous liability for the world, and Xi Jinping knows that,” Pompeo said.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/28/2022 - 23:00

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Authoritarian Madness: The Slippery Slope From Lockdowns To Concentration Camps

Authoritarian Madness: The Slippery Slope From Lockdowns To Concentration Camps

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwal

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Authoritarian Madness: The Slippery Slope From Lockdowns To Concentration Camps

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“All the Dachaus must remain standing. The Dachaus, the Belsens, the Buchenwald, the Auschwitzes—all of them. They must remain standing because they are a monument to a moment in time when some men decided to turn the Earth into a graveyard. Into it they shoveled all of their reason, their logic, their knowledge, but worst of all, their conscience. And the moment we forget this, the moment we cease to be haunted by its remembrance, then we become the gravediggers.”

- Rod Serling, Deaths-Head Revisited

In the politically charged, polarizing tug-of-war that is the debate over COVID-19, we find ourselves buffeted by fear over a viral pandemic that continues to wreak havoc with lives and the economy, threats of vaccine mandates and financial penalties for noncompliance, and discord over how to legislate the public good without sacrificing individual liberty.

The discord is getting more discordant by the day.

Just recently, for instance, the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board suggested that government officials should mandate mass vaccinations and deploy the National Guard “to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere.”

In other words, lock up the unvaccinated and use the military to determine who gets to be “free.”

These tactics have been used before.

This is why significant numbers of people are worried: because this is the slippery slope that starts with well-meaning intentions for the greater good and ends with tyrannical abuses no one should tolerate.

For a glimpse at what the future might look like if such a policy were to be enforced, look beyond America’s borders.

In Italy, the unvaccinated are banned from restaurants, bars and public transportation, and could face suspensions from work and monthly fines. Similarly, France will ban the unvaccinated from most public venues.

In Austria, anyone who has not complied with the vaccine mandate could face fines up to $4100. Police will be authorized to carry out routine checks and demand proof of vaccination, with penalties of as much as $685 for failure to do so.

In China, which has adopted a zero tolerance, “zero COVID” strategy, whole cities—some with populations in the tens of millions—are being forced into home lockdowns for weeks on end, resulting in mass shortages of food and household supplies. Reports have surfaced of residents “trading cigarettes for cabbage, dishwashing liquid for apples and sanitary pads for a small pile of vegetables. One resident traded a Nintendo Switch console for a packet of instant noodles and two steamed buns.”

For those unfortunate enough to contract COVID-19, China has constructed “quarantine camps” throughout the country: massive complexes boasting thousands of small, metal boxes containing little more than a bed and a toilet. Detainees—including children, pregnant women and the elderly— were reportedly ordered to leave their homes in the middle of the night, transported to the quarantine camps in buses and held in isolation.

If this last scenario sounds chillingly familiar, it should.

Eighty years ago, another authoritarian regime established more than 44,000 quarantine camps for those perceived as “enemies of the state”: racially inferior, politically unacceptable or simply noncompliant.

While the majority of those imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps, forced labor camps, incarceration sites and ghettos were Jews, there were also Polish nationals, gypsies, Russians, political dissidents, resistance fighters, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals.

Culturally, we have become so fixated on the mass murders of Jewish prisoners by the Nazis that we overlook the fact that the purpose of these concentration camps were initially intended to “incarcerate and intimidate the leaders of political, social, and cultural movements that the Nazis perceived to be a threat to the survival of the regime.”

As the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum explains:

“Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were political prisoners—German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats—as well as Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and persons accused of ‘asocial’ or socially deviant behavior. Many of these sites were called concentration camps. The term concentration camp refers to a camp in which people are detained or confined, usually under harsh conditions and without regard to legal norms of arrest and imprisonment that are acceptable in a constitutional democracy.”

How do you get from there to here, from Auschwitz concentration camps to COVID quarantine centers?

Connect the dots.

You don’t have to be unvaccinated or a conspiracy theorist or even anti-government to be worried about what lies ahead. You just have to recognize the truth in the warning: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This is not about COVID-19. Nor is it about politics, populist movements, or any particular country.

This is about what happens when good, generally decent people—distracted by manufactured crises, polarizing politics, and fighting that divides the populace into warring “us vs. them” camps—fail to take note of the looming danger that threatens to wipe freedom from the map and place us all in chains.

It’s about what happens when any government is empowered to adopt a comply-or-suffer-the-consequences mindset that is enforced through mandates, lockdowns, penalties, detention centers, martial law, and a disregard for the rights of the individual.

The slippery slope begins in just this way, with propaganda campaigns about the public good being more important than individual liberty, and it ends with lockdowns and concentration camps.

The danger signs are everywhere.

Claudio Ronco, a 66-year-old Orthodox Jew and a specialist in 18th-century music, recognizes the signs. Because of his decision to remain unvaccinated, Ronco is trapped inside his house, unable to move about in public without a digital vaccination card. He can no longer board a plane, check into a hotel, eat at a restaurant or get a coffee at a bar. He has been ostracized by friends, shut out of public life, and will soon face monthly fines for insisting on his right to bodily integrity and individual freedom.

For all intents and purposes, Ronco has become an undesirable in the eyes of the government, forced into isolation so he doesn’t risk contaminating the rest of the populace.

This is the slippery slope: a government empowered to restrict movements, limit individual liberty, and isolate “undesirables” to prevent the spread of a disease is a government that has the power to lockdown a country, label whole segments of the population a danger to national security, and force those undesirables—a.k.a. extremists, dissidents, troublemakers, etc.—into isolation so they don’t contaminate the rest of the populace.

The world has been down this road before, too.

Others have ignored the warning signs. We cannot afford to do so.

As historian Milton Mayer recounts in his seminal book on Hitler’s rise to power, They Thought They Were Free:

“Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people‑—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the 'national enemies', without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.”

The German people chose to ignore the truth and believe the lie.

They were not oblivious to the horrors taking place around them. As historian Robert Gellately points out, “[A]nyone in Nazi Germany who wanted to find out about the Gestapo, the concentration camps, and the campaigns of discrimination and persecutions need only read the newspapers.”

The warning signs were there, blinking incessantly like large neon signs.

“Still,” Gellately writes, “the vast majority voted in favor of Nazism, and in spite of what they could read in the press and hear by word of mouth about the secret police, the concentration camps, official anti-Semitism, and so on. . . . [T]here is no getting away from the fact that at that moment, ‘the vast majority of the German people backed him.’”

Half a century later, the wife of a prominent German historian, neither of whom were members of the Nazi party, opined: “[O]n the whole, everyone felt well. . . . And there were certainly eighty percent who lived productively and positively throughout the time. . . . We also had good years. We had wonderful years.”

In other words, as long as their creature comforts remained undiminished, as long as their bank accounts remained flush, as long as they weren’t being locked up, locked down, discriminated against, persecuted, starved, beaten, shot, stripped, jailed or killed, life was good.

Life is good in America, too, as long as you’re able to keep cocooning yourself in political fantasies that depict a world in which your party is always right and everyone else is wrong, while distracting yourself with bread-and-circus entertainment that bears no resemblance to reality.

Indeed, life in America may be good for the privileged few who aren’t being locked up, locked down, discriminated against, persecuted, starved, beaten, shot, stripped, jailed or killed, but it’s getting worse by the day for the rest of us.

Which brings me back to the present crisis: COVID-19 is not the Holocaust, and those who advocate vaccine mandates, lockdowns and quarantine camps are not Hitler, but this still has the makings of a slippery slope.

The means do not justify the ends: we must find other ways of fighting a pandemic without resorting to mandates and lockdowns and concentration camps. To do otherwise is to lay the groundwork for another authoritarian monster to rise up and wreak havoc.

If we do not want to repeat the past, then we must learn from past mistakes.

January 27 marks Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a day for remembering those who died at the hands of Hitler’s henchmen and those who survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.

Yet remembering is not enough. We can do better. We must do better.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, the world is teetering on the edge of authoritarian madness.

All it will take is one solid push for tyranny to prevail.

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/28/2022 - 23:40

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