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Pento: Rising Rates Will Crash The Over-Leveraged Economy

Pento: Rising Rates Will Crash The Over-Leveraged Economy

Via PentoPort.com,

The effective overnight interbank lending rate is now 3.08%….

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Pento: Rising Rates Will Crash The Over-Leveraged Economy

Via PentoPort.com,

The effective overnight interbank lending rate is now 3.08%. It was just 0% a little over six months ago. According to the Fed’s current plans, the Fed Funds Rate (FFR) is heading to at least 4% by the end of this year; and perhaps all the way to 4.5-5% by early 2023. Is that going to cause a problem, you ask? Well, rising rates have already caused stocks, bonds, gold, crypto–and just about everything else–to plunge. Even the commodity sector, which worked well in the first half of this year, has fallen sharply. Indeed, virtually nothing has worked on the long side except for cash and the USD. Sadly, for most, the carnage isn’t over yet, and the pace of the decline is only going to intensify. Here’s why that should be the case.

The previous cyclical high water mark for the FFR was 2.5%. It occurred back in December of 2018. Powell and company are now threatening to nearly double the same borrowing rate that broke the economy four years ago.

Likewise, the cyclical high for the Benchmark U.S. Treasury yield was 3.22% in November of 2018. It stands at 3.8% as of this writing. A 2.5% FFR and 3.22% 10-year Note were the rates that proved to be just too great for the economy and markets to bear in 2018. The debt burden back then was just too onerous to withstand those higher borrowing costs. In addition, asset prices were so overextended that the competition offered from fixed income caused investors to dump riskier stocks and flee to the relative safety of government bonds.

As a matter of fact, the level of borrowing costs it takes to break the economy has been reduced over time, just as the level of economic fragility has increased. It took a FFR of 6.5% to break the NASDAQ bubble in 2000. It was a slightly lower FFR of 5.25% that ended up collapsing the Housing bubble of 2006. In 2018, the FFR inched up to just 2.5% over the course of three years; but that was all it took for the economy and markets to falter.

The facts show that the economic conditions extant in 2018 placed it in a much better position to handle rising borrowing costs than what we see today. What is completely ridiculous is that the Fed has the temerity to bloviate about a soft landing for the economy during this current cycle of monetary tightening, even though the economic scenario is much worse than it was four years ago. And, of course, Wall Street is promulgating the Fed’s soft-landing myth with alacrity.

Let’s take a closer look at the debt burdens, asset price levels, and GDP growth in 2018 and compare that data to the situation today.

GDP growth back in 2018 displayed a rather healthy reading of 2.9% for the full year. Economic growth so far in 2022 has come in at SAAR of -1.6% for Q1, -0.6% for Q2, and the consensus estimates for Q3 are below 1%. In essence, the economy is much weaker today than it was in 2018.

Despite the carnage we have witnessed so far this year in the equity market, the valuation of stocks compared to the underlying economy is still greater today than it was four years ago. The TMC/GDP was 123% at the end of 2018; today, it stands at 145%.

We often hear that the American consumer and corporations are in much better shape due to the amount of deleveraging that has taken place. Hence, they claim, it is simply a much better environment for the economy to tolerate those rising interest rates.

However, total U.S. debt to GDP was 775% in 2018. In 2022 it has soared to 810% and is currently extremely high relative to historical levels.

Total U.S. Debt/GPD

But it’s not just sovereign debt that has exploded higher. Household debt was $15.6 trillion at the end of 2018. It has jumped by over $3 trillion since then. While it is true that Household debt as a percentage of GDP is off its highs set it the Great Recession of 2008, this ratio is still higher than it was in 2018. And it is far greater than it was prior to the Fed’s massive interest rate suppression regime beginning in the year 2000.

Household Debt to GDP Ratio

The corporate debt to GDP ratio is higher than at any other time in history prior to the COVID pandemic. Non-financial Corporate Business Debt/GDP was 45% in 2018. As of Q2 2022, this ratio stands at over 50%. For historical reference, this ratio topped out at 45% at the peak of the NASDAQ bubble in 2000 and also in the Real Estate/Great Recession bubble in 2008.

There just is no evidence that the economy has gone through any deleveraging at all since 2018. Indeed, the nominal levels of debt have skyrocketed. Most importantly, this debt is extremely high even when measured as a percentage of the Q.E. and ZIRP-juiced economy. Hence, there is no reason to believe that either the public or private sectors will be able to withstand the onslaught of spiking borrowing costs and monetary destruction that is happening now.

The only other time in history the Fed was raising the FFR and in the act of Q.T. was in 2018. The market went into freefall; until Powell promised to stop raising interest rates.

Today we find that the FFR is more than 50 bps higher than in 2018 and is quickly heading much higher. In addition, the Benchmark 10-year Note yield is also about 50bps greater than the cycle high of four years ago. The other significant difference between 2018 and 2022 is inflation. It was simply much easier for the Fed to come to the rescue of asset prices and the economy when inflation was below 2%–it was only 1.9% at the end of 2018. However, when the CPI is near a 40-year high, such a pivot becomes untenable.

Higher interest rates offered by U.S. Treasuries are providing a great alternative for stocks. And higher corporate borrowing costs are also destroying margins and revenues for these businesses. Sharply declining consumer demand from a faltering economy is adding to the pressure. Throw in a skyrocketing USD, and odds are corporate earnings are not only going to fall well short of the 8% growth forecasted by Wall Street for 2023, but will instead end up posting a negative number.

Ironically, the economic data has been mostly unalarming—at least for now, with the exception of GDP, which Wall Street claims is only a temporary quirk in the data. Just ask any perma-bull, and they will tell you that the job market, consumers, and corporate earnings are still very strong and can withstand this hawkish Fed. Nevertheless, the truth is the economy and markets have never been more fragile. Therefore, the upcoming economic and earnings recession should be profoundly acute.

*  *  *

Michael Pento is the President and Founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies, produces the weekly podcast called, “The Mid-week Reality Check”  and Author of the book “The Coming Bond Market Collapse.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/11/2022 - 13:05

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Exchange Rate Pass Through into Import Prices, CPI

Justin Ho of Marketplace discussed the implications of the import/export price release Thursday. My view was that pass through into import prices was low…

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Justin Ho of Marketplace discussed the implications of the import/export price release Thursday. My view was that pass through into import prices was low in the short run, and even in the long run was not very large, while pass through into the broader price index was unlikely to be large. Not sure I was alone in this view, but here’re my thoughts.

Figure 1: Import price ex-fuel (blue), nominal trade weighted US dollar exchange rate (up is depreciation) (tan), both in logs, 2020M02=0. NBER defined peak-to-trough recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS, Federal Reserve Board via FRED, NBER, and author’s calculations.

The variables are defined so that one anticipates the two variables to comove positively. In fact, there is not much of a correlation apparent in (log) levels. Since both series are nonstationary, it makes sense to estimate in log first differences. Sampling the data as end-of-quarter, and estimating the regression from 2002Q1-2023Q4 (with four lags of exchange rate), one gets the long run pass through coefficient at about 0.3 (ignoring any other factors like domestic slack and measures for exporting country costs). The adjusted R2 is 0.41. Note that, as in previous studies, the estimated pass through is much less than unity, which makes sense given that most imports are invoiced in US dollars.

Figure 2: First log difference in Import price ex-fuel (blue), nominal trade weighted US dollar exchange rate (up is depreciation) (tan). NBER defined peak-to-trough recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS, Federal Reserve Board via FRED, NBER, and author’s calculations.

For comparison, Bussiere, della Chiaie and Peltuonen (2014) estimate the long run pass through at about 0.35 for the United States, over the 1990-2011 period. Results from the earlier 2006 Fed survey, discussed here.

What about for broader indices? For the PPI for tradable industries, the estimate is about 0.3 for 2013-20 in Amiti et al. (2022), but  0.7  for 2021, suggesting the pandemic era exhibits different behavior.

What about the impact on the broader indices? Mattschke and Sattiraju (2022) argue dollar appreciation/depreciation have very little impact on PCE inflation. Pointing out that only about 10% of a core consumer basket involves imported goods. (Oil prices denominated dollars, when they rise, are another matter.)

A caveat is in order. In the above literature, the exchange rate is taken as largely exogenous, not completely implausible given the large unpredictable component of nominal exchange rates. That being said, as Forbes, Hjortsoe and Nenova (2018) and Ha, Stocker and Yilmazkuday (2020) notes, the types of shocks (demand, monetary, supply) matter as well. For advanced economies, Ha et al. find the average exchange rate pass through into the CPI to be about 0.10.

 

 

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RFK Jr: The Wuhan Cover-Up & The Rise Of The Biowarfare-Industrial Complex

RFK Jr: The Wuhan Cover-Up & The Rise Of The Biowarfare-Industrial Complex

Authored by Debbie Lerman via The Brownstone Institute,

The…

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RFK Jr: The Wuhan Cover-Up & The Rise Of The Biowarfare-Industrial Complex

Authored by Debbie Lerman via The Brownstone Institute,

The Wuhan Cover-Up and the Terrifying Bioweapons Arms Race (Skyhorse Publishing, December 3, 2023) is a crucial book for understanding how the Covid catastrophe happened. 

I would even go so far as to argue that RFK, Jr.’s new book is the most important Covid chronicle to date, although it ends at the beginning of 2020, before most of us were even aware that a “novel coronavirus” was circulating among us. 

The book explains the CAUSES of the global disaster, which all happened before March 2020. Everything after that are the downstream EFFECTS of what The Wuhan Cover-Up exposes.

Here’s how RFK, Jr. summarizes those effects:

Everyone has now seen that pandemics are another way for the military, intelligence, and public health services to expand their budgets and their power. In 2020, public health, defense, and intelligence agencies weaponized a [Covid-19] pandemic, resulting in unprecedented profits to Big Pharma and the dramatic expansion of the security/surveillance state, including a systemic abandonment of constitutional rights—effectively a coup d’état against liberal democracy globally.

(Kindle edition, p. 385)

Putting Covid in the Biowarfare Context

Interestingly, in the publicity blurb on the book and in interviews about it, RFK, Jr. focuses on “the etiology of the gain-of-function research” and everything that led up to a virus being engineered in a US-funded lab in Wuhan by a group of Chinese and Western scientists.

At the core of this story is RFK, Jr.’s desire to warn readers about the dangers of gain-of-function research, which he shows in the book to be irrefutably a biowarfare – not a public health – endeavor.

But in the process of constructing the argument and supplying the proof for his dire warning, and for his assertion that this type of research should be stopped immediately and forever, RFK, Jr. provides what I find to be an even more compelling story.

The story in the Wuhan Cover-Up that interests me is the rise of the biowarfare-industrial-complex – the global behemoth comprising military/intelligence alliances, Big Pharma, Big Tech, academic and medical institutions, and NGOs – that both created the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 and ran the global response to it.

In this article, I will highlight key parts of The Wuhan Cover-Up that pertain to this storyline – which I believe are downplayed in its publicity materials and are one of the main reasons it has been practically banned from polite society: The book has been so heavily censored that I cannot find a single actual review on Google. Newsweek reported that independent bookstores do not want to carry it. 

A lot of the censorship has to do with mainstream animosity toward RFK, Jr’s presidential campaign. But the explosive content of the book, as reviewed in this article, is also likely a factor.

Top-Level Summary of the Rise of the Biowarfare Industrial Complex, as Told by RFK, Jr.

  • The biowarfare industry started to grow after WWII, when Western intelligence agencies imported Japanese and German scientists to help develop weapons against Communist enemies. This was, in fact, the first task of the newly formed CIA.

  • After 9/11, funding for bioweapons research exploded, and so did the power and reach of the military and intelligence agencies in charge of such research. The research, presented to the public as “pandemic preparedness and response (PPR),” encompassed mostly attempts to engineer deadly pathogens and simultaneously to create countermeasures to them, predominantly vaccines. 

  • So much money was pouring into PPR/bioweapons research that the public health agencies and academic institutions involved in government research all became dependent on it – or, perhaps more accurately, addicted to the money and power this type of research bestowed. Multinational public-private partnerships and “non-governmental organizations” (e.g., The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Wellcome Trust) were created to fund and promote the need for such research.

  • In the fall of 2019 an engineered pathogen from one of the bioweapons labs in China found its way into the population. All the military, intelligence, and public health officials from China, the US, UK, and other countries, with their pharma and academic partners, conspired to cover up the lab leak, while simultaneously preparing to unleash their countermeasures on the world.

How the Nature of Biowarfare Research Has Not Changed

As RFK, Jr. tells it, the history of today’s biowarfare industry starts after WWII, when German and Japanese scientists were secretly repatriated to assist the intelligence community and military in developing chemical and biological weapons programs. 

It is no coincidence, he argues, that many sinister features of those earlier programs carried forward to the present. These features include:

  • tight alliances with the pharmaceutical industry and the media; 

  • the complicity of academia and medical schools; 

  • the co-opting of journals; 

  • intense secrecy; 

  • pervasive experimentation on human subjects; 

  • liberal use of the word “volunteers;”

  • open-air testing on large unwilling populations; 

  • ethical elasticity; 

  • the normalization of lies; 

  • the use of microbiology to alter and weaponize bugs; 

  • the use of vaccine development as a mask for bioweapons research; 

  • the corruption of the entire medical establishment 

(p. 48)

Even just this list is enough to explain what happened with Covid: Take all these ingredients, add billions of dollars and multinational public-private partnerships involving top research institutions and thousands of scientists, and how could you not get a global disaster? 

Deep CIA-Biowarfare Ties

The Wuhan Cover-Up spends a lot of time documenting the correspondence between the rise of the CIA and the emergence of the modern biowarfare program. 

 RFK, Jr. writes:

…it’s worth reviewing the agency’s seventy-five-year preoccupation with bioweapons, pandemics, and vaccines. Bioweapons development was the CIA’s first love, and has remained its relentless passion. The CIA’s natal obsession with bioweapons pitted the agency against all the idealistic underpinnings of both American democracy and the healing arts of medicine. 

(p. 46)

An important related point emphasized in the book is that bioweapons research is not an obscure, niche industry. Rather, according to The Wuhan Cover-Up, it is a top national defense concern, driving the national security agenda:

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the military and intelligence apparatus erected the biosecurity agenda as the new spear tip of American foreign policy. These agencies deftly replaced the fear of the Soviet monolith and creeping communism with a fear of infectious disease, which they have successfully stoked to justify vast expansions in power…

(p. 44)

Shockingly Broad Participation by Academics and Scientists

Because the biosecurity agenda – which focuses on biochemical and medical research – is so central to foreign policy and national security, it controls large swaths of research funding. Thus, as RFK, Jr. documents, it has come to encompass many top academic institutions and thousands of doctors and scientists:

Among the most alarming side effects of the federal preoccupation with bioweapons has been the systematic diversion of vast resources and armies of academic and government scientists away from public health and healing. 

(p. 46)

Today, some thirteen thousand death scientists labor on bioweapons technology on behalf of US military, intelligence, and public health agencies in some four hundred government and university bioweapons labs. 

(p. 83)

Moral Bankruptcy

When faced with Covid “conspiracy theories” – such as those put forth in The Wuhan Cover-Up – people often argue that so many doctors and scientists could not possibly have knowingly agreed to civilization-killing ideas like lockdowns and injections of unsafe medical products into billions of people. They must have believed they were actually saving humanity, right?

Wrong, according to RFK, Jr.:

History has shown again and again the bioweapons agenda’s awesome power to transform compassionate, brilliant, idealistic doctors into monsters. 

(p. 47)

They have, as a class, demonstrated thoroughly warped judgment and a reliable penchant for dishonesty and terrible ideas. 

(p. 87)

Bioweapons Research = Vaccine Research

Another crucial idea bearing on our understanding of the Covid response is that vaccine research is a primary concern for the biowarfare-industrial complex, although it is publicly presented as a public health endeavor.

The book quotes Professor Frances Boyle, author of the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, with this explanation:

You can’t use a bioweapon against your enemy without having in your possession an antidote with which to shield your own team from blowback. For this reason, bioweapons and vaccines are always developed in tandem with each other.

(p. 121)

Moreover, because vaccine research funding goes to both biodefense and public health agencies, they have become inextricably linked:

The military and public health agencies work in close coordination to develop vaccines for military applications, sharing information and working side by side in labs. Vaccine research often serves as a cover or rationale for illegal bioweapons development.

(p. 129)

From an Obsession of US National Security to a Tool of Globalism

As RFK, Jr. writes, after 9/11, Islamic terrorism became the focus of US national defense. After the anthrax attacks, the focus of antiterrorist activities coalesced around the need to predict, prevent, and create countermeasures to biological terrorism. 

This more reliable and terrifying enemy would soon replace the war against Islamic terror—justifying a “forever war” against germs. “Biosecurity,” a.k.a. Pandemic Preparedness and Response (PPR), provided a rationale for US presence in every developing nation.

(p. 149)

And, as further explained by RFK, Jr., the focus on bioterrorism, which first served the American imperialist impulse, then became incorporated into the program of globalism:

The emerging medical/military-industrial complex would soon be citing biosecurity as a pretext for centralized control, coordinated response among nations, a sprawling construction project for new US bioweapons laboratories, the archiving of every germ with weapons potential under the pretext of pandemic protection, the control of the media, the imposition of censorship, the erection of an unprecedented surveillance infrastructure ostensibly needed to “track and trace” infections, universal digital IDs, digital currencies to reduce disease spread, and the ceding of power by national governments to the WHO—in short, globalism. 

(p. 149)

China Becomes a Dominant Biowarfare Research Player

Concurrently, China’s leaders were working on a mission to make China a world leader in science, research, and innovation. According to The Wuhan Cover-Up, the Chinese have been using the West’s march toward globalism to infiltrate “Western academia, businesses, media, cultural groups, and government agencies that speak the language of cooperation, globalism, and public health.” (p. 257)

As part of their infiltration process, the Chinese lavished funding on Western research institutions and scientific publishing houses. And because biomedical/biowarfare research was so central to Western governments and research institutions, the Chinese were able to eventually dominate that space as well.

Thus, the book explains, China was able to “co-opt US academic institutions and US public health agencies into performing backdoor bioweapons research for the Chinese military.” (p. 274)

Why Would the US Do Bioweapons Research in/for China?

This is, perhaps, the most oft-raised question in response to the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 was an engineered bioweapon from a lab funded by the Chinese military, the US, and other Western governments.

As RFK, Jr. explains, with the Chinese as major funders of Western institutions, journals and projects related to biomedical research, this strange collaboration was not just unsurprising, but in fact, inevitable:

The Chinese campaign to co-opt leading scientists and the river of Chinese funding to researchers at US and British medical research universities and to the leading scientific journals had, by then, bought China powerful friends across the Western scientific establishment. 

(p. 280)

Furthermore, the interests of China intersect with the interests of major global corporations and NGOs that comprise the biowarfare-industrial-complex – many of which enriched themselves considerably through the Covid response. As RFK, Jr. writes:

There is a natural intersection of interests between Western business titans and a former communist government [the Chinese Communist Party] that has made itself the global model for seamlessly merging corporate with government power, and promoting business growth by suppressing democracy, labor, and human rights. 

(p. 572)

For its part, the US intelligence community has all kinds of reasons – all ultimately geared toward increasing its own power and influence – to engage in sensitive scientific research projects with the Chinese:

The deliberate transfer of our superior bioweapons knowledge to the Chinese—a potential enemy—makes little sense to citizens who think in terms of conventional rivalries between nations. Espionage was clearly among the complex motivations for the US intelligence community supporting Chinese bioweapons research in China. Knowing what the Chinese are up to is the mission of the US intelligence community. But quietly sharing cutting-edge technologies may also serve institutional self-interest. After all, the intelligence community expands its power by reporting the enemy’s expanding capabilities; more frightening capabilities abroad justify increased budgets and increased power at home. 

(p. 388)

Bioweapons expert Dr. Francis Boyle is quoted stating that:

Opportunities to expand institutional power and corporate profits always seem to trump patriotism and duty within the CIA’s bioweapons teams. Patriotism is a polite fiction among the bioweapons set.

(p. 383)

RFK, Jr. adds that the public health agencies, which are heavily involved in, and funded by, biowarfare research, share the CIA’s self-interested non-patriotism:

NIH and NIAID operate under the same perverse incentives that drive destructive conduct across the whole bioweapons field.

(p. 383)

A Convergence of Personal, Political, Financial and Global Interests

In the final chapters of The Wuhan Cover-Up, RFK, Jr. focuses on several key figures in the biowarfare-industrial-complex, including Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust (now at the WHO), Anthony Fauci of the NIH, and Bill Gates. 

RFK, Jr. uses these figures to show how the Covid pandemic emerged from the toxic stew of ethically compromised biowarfare research standards; military, intelligence, public health, and academic institutions/organizations dependent on biowarfare funding; the involvement of China and global interests in the booming business of “pandemic preparedness and response;” and, of course, the endless pursuit of political power and personal enrichment.

Here’s a great summary of how they all came together, through personal and institutional greed and power-mongering, to unleash the Covid catastrophe on the world:

The evidence suggests that instead of relentlessly protecting public health, Farrar exploited the pandemic to promote the venal financial agendas of his WEF [World Economic Forum] patrons, to transform Western democracies into surveillance states, to expand his personal power and paycheck, and to pander to high-level Chinese officials. Achieving these objectives required Farrar to hide [Covid’s] laboratory origins, a project in which he enlisted a cadre of his medical cartel cronies—those who, thanks to years of funding by Fauci, Farrar, and Gates, now occupy the highest echelons of virology in academia, the regulatory agencies, and pharmaceutical companies. 

(p. 539)

If for nothing else, I would recommend adding The Wuhan Cover-Up to your library as an invaluable resource on leading figures, organizations, and power brokers involved in the biowarfare-industrial-complex.

Conclusions and Comments

It was especially gratifying to me to read The Wuhan Cover-Up (all 600 pages of it), because it validated my own research, showing that the pandemic response was led by the national security/intelligence arms of government, not public health agencies. 

In fact, after reading the first few chapters – the ones that go into the history of chemical and biological warfare and the rise of the biowarfare-industrial-complex – I paradoxically felt an enormous sense of relief. 

Finally, we have a detailed account that shows – beyond what I would consider a reasonable doubt – that the entire Covid catastrophe was caused, and led, by a multinational military-intelligence-academic-pharma-tech-NGO cabal.

RFK, Jr.’s conclusion is that we should look to a future “in which the bio-elites are held responsible for their actions, people regain their rights, and the Constitution is restored to its intended preeminence.”

But how do we do that? 

I am afraid, based on the information in his own book, and the fact that RFK, Jr. himself is being censored and banned so extensively from the public square, that the solution to the problems he exposes is much more difficult and complex than just “holding the bio-elites responsible” which will somehow lead to people regaining their rights.

What we need to do is to shut down, or extract ourselves from, the global biowarfare-industrial-complex that is able to convince (or coerce?) our governments into declaring states of emergency over supposed pandemic threats, and then curtail civil rights and impose massive surveillance, censorship, and propaganda that would not be permitted in non-emergency situations. Not to mention garnering enormous wealth while forcing the world’s population to accept novel, untested, and potentially lethal medical “countermeasures.”

The Wuhan Cover-Up does a better job than any other book or article I have read at exposing the trends, forces, and institutions that brought us the Covid catastrophe – with hundreds of pages of notes and references. What’s frightening is that the enormity of the problem is beyond the scope of the book, not just to solve, but even to fully acknowledge.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/16/2024 - 23:40

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How Progressive Policies Are Designed For Civilizational Suicide

How Progressive Policies Are Designed For Civilizational Suicide

Authored by John D. O’Connor via American Greatness,

We all understand,…

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How Progressive Policies Are Designed For Civilizational Suicide

Authored by John D. O'Connor via American Greatness,

We all understand, in the timeless words of the poet Robert Burns, that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Most Americans are accustomed to assessing the various failed initiatives of our country’s leaders as well-intended actions that turned out badly. The Vietnam, Afghan, and Iraq wars, the 2008 financial meltdown, and the COVID pandemic overreaction, all in hindsight, can be viewed as simply the unfolding of human stupidity in the contingency of time.

In accordance, it is understandable that many are inclined to believe that our country’s current serious problems are, once again, merely the failed result of well-intentioned policies.

But what if, we ask, seemingly fumbled programs were intended to be the initial throes of civilizational suicide? What if apparent missteps were actually directed at the purposeful destruction of a prosperous, free, safe, and secure society?

As we examine the policies pushed by the Biden administration progressives regarding climate, national security, crime, and the border, we can rationally conclude that they are being purposely implemented to render our society unsuccessful, not successful, in its traditional aims, causing what could be the ultimate destruction of a thriving, liberal enlightenment society.

Let us begin with escalating climate mandates, now reaching gas stoves and tires, seeking the total elimination of fossil fuels. Because our mainstream media, more out of reflexive conformity than malevolence, constantly amplify climate alarmism, most Americans believe climate programs are designed in good faith to protect us from planetary disasters. Climate subsidies are aimed, they are led to believe, at increasing prosperity through good “green” jobs in emerging “green” industries, all part of the supposedly improved “Bidenomics” economy, however counterintuitive many think them to be.

When Biden, immediately upon assuming office, stopped issuing new drilling leases, canceled the Keystone Pipeline, and issued EPA regulations effectively shutting down multiple power plants in the near future, was he, however idealistically, trying to wean our country off of fossil fuels in favor of clean, “renewable” energy? If so, what could be wrong with that?

If the administration had calculated that lost energy from stifling fossil fuel sources could actually be replaced, these initiatives, even if overly optimistic, could be viewed as well-intended.

However, within the climate camp, it has been well known that fossil fuels, which power 82% of world energy needs, cannot conceivably be replaced by renewable energy to any substantial degree. So, as these policies take effect over the coming years, our hospitals and medical centers, relying on petroleum-based plastic furniture, fixtures, and equipment, energy-dependent stainless-steel implements, and high-power physical plants, will be hit hard. Health care costs will soar, while treatment will decrease to emerging society levels. Our food costs, already rising dramatically, will skyrocket as petroleum fertilizer, now tripling yields, becomes economically impractical. Housing costs, dependent on fuel-powered equipment and concrete and steel needing massive energy inputs to manufacture, will put homeownership out of reach for all but the rich and reduce housing to cramped, third-world levels. And, of course, transportation will become an expensive luxury for both people and products.

But isn’t this all meant well? For trusting, uncritical moderates and traditional liberals, yes. For the progressives pulling the strings, no.

Maurice Strong, the Canadian socialist responsible for steering the United Nations into the bureaucratic sinecures of the climate alarmist IPCC, has stated from the outset that his intention is the diminishment of the wealth of the Western industrialized nations, making them more like less-advantaged societies.

Although they tout their certainty, climate warriors conceal that for decades, their computerized GCMs (General Circulation Models) have overpredicted global warming by 300%. Well, they respond when confronted by the knowledgeable, the increased heat was swallowed by the oceans, or perhaps tamped down by those pesky aerosols. They know better, but gullible, well-intentioned believers do not.

Documents from a key IPCC research center in East Anglia, the GRU, reveal the fear of climate activists that the public will learn of the Medieval Warm Period and that its temperatures were warmer than today without any claimed assistance from carbon dioxide. Progressive climatologists, in essence, know they are pushing a canard.

Progressive border policies need little discussion. When Biden was elected, the country was led to believe that he would aim to control the southern border, but do so in a humane, non-Trump manner, no longer putting children in cages (which in truth and in fact were Obama-inspired).

Of course, to any rational observer, it is now clear that the massive invasion at our southern border was intended by progressives. The “great replacement” theory is not needed to prove this invasion intentional, obvious to any observer. Three-star New York hotels and thousand-dollar-a-month payments to migrants? Free health care? These are among the positive incentives to illegally migrate, revealing intentionality after the maligned Trump proved that the border was substantially controllable.

The intended result of mass migration is not just new Democratic voters; the most obvious result. It is, more significantly, a deliberately overwhelming burden on our social welfare system, heretofore supported sufficiently by taxes on a powerful economy. With more unemployment and more burdens on social welfare, the progress of the aspiring poor, primarily minorities, will be crushed. Our society is headed, as intended by progressives, to socialism, which, as Winston Churchill noted, has “as its greatest virtue the equal sharing of misery.”

Moving to national security, the tinderbox of the Middle East was not caused by Trump’s irrational temperament, which, in hindsight, has proven its deterrent value. Rather, putting Obama’s progressive policies on steroids, Biden both directly sent cash to Iran and also removed oil sanctions, giving the country financial power to fund Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and, of course, Iran’s own depredations on U.S. troops. Biden’s special Iran envoy, the pro-Hamas Rob Malley, and other pro-Iran and pro-Hamas officials influence our Middle East policy to intentionally favor our enemies.

But what could be the progressive motive for Iran’s hegemony in the Middle East? Clearly, it is to cause the demise of “right-wing” leadership in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, all American allies, so that the region will be controlled by anti-American repressive regimes. Interestingly, progressives revealed their anti-democratic, authoritarian roots by supporting Mullahs who kill members of the LGBT community and subdue women. Again, Iran’s terrorism is not an unfortunate artifact of balanced statesmanship. Rather, it is intended to exterminate a democratic Jewish society and a Saudi regime seeking to modernize itself. In a remarkable exercise in projection, progressives at the same time deem Trump to be a Hitler stand-in.

Similarly, the cause of increasing crime in our cities is no mystery. Progressives applauded, not decried, the George Floyd mayhem, largely an exercise in looting. Beautiful cities such as San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles, all run by progressives, have become dystopian hellholes.

So, sincere, well-meaning liberals should, but generally do not, see that they are being led like lemmings to the sea, toward civilizational suicide, by the progressives they have long trusted as being in the liberal leadership, not the socialist vanguard.

In the nineteenth century, the brilliant French observer of American culture, Count Alexis de Tocqueville, said that democratic despotism would be effectuated, if at all, not by overt state terror but by the infantilization of a trusting population.

The evidence is now clearly established that moderate liberals should face reality and reject the policies of the progressive vanguard, leading them into civilizational suicide.

*  *  *

John D. O’Connor is a former federal prosecutor and the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the author of the books, Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat, Covered Up Watergate and Began Today’s Partisan Advocacy Journalism and The Mysteries of Watergate: What Really Happened.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/16/2024 - 23:00

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