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Rickards: Towards A New Great Depression

Rickards: Towards A New Great Depression

Authored by James Rickards via DailyReckoning.com,

First Down Payment on a Boondoggle

Thirteen Republican congressmen crossed the aisle late Friday night to help pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure..

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Rickards: Towards A New Great Depression

Authored by James Rickards via DailyReckoning.com,

First Down Payment on a Boondoggle

Thirteen Republican congressmen crossed the aisle late Friday night to help pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The original proposal was $2.3 trillion, so some Republicans consider it a victory.

But it creates programs that will likely remain in place once the bill’s spending authorization expires in five years. Like Ronald Reagan said, “Nothing lasts longer than a temporary government program.”

And at 2,700 pages, you can be sure there’s plenty of wasteful pork in it. Only about one-third of that money goes toward actual infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels, roads and airports.

The rest is for vague causes like “human infrastructure,” which includes training, oversight and other government intrusion favored by the Democrats.

Still, there was enough real infrastructure in the bill to gain bipartisan support. But this so-called bipartisan infrastructure bill is only one part of a more ambitious “infrastructure” package.

“Don’t Move, or I’ll Shoot”

The other legislation is a $1.75 trillion welfare bill (this figure used to be $3.5 trillion, but it was scaled back at the insistence of moderate Senate Democrats).

Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats were holding the infrastructure bill hostage as leverage to get the Senate to agree to their priorities on the welfare bill.

This strategy backfired both because the Senate does not like to be played by the House and some Democrats would have been happy if the welfare bill failed entirely.

The House hostage strategy was like holding a gun to your head and saying, “Don’t move, or I’ll shoot.”

Senators say, “Go ahead.” This muddle is entirely procedural. But what about the actual substance of the bills?

103,000 Lost Jobs!

There are expert or nonpartisan panels such as the Tax Foundation and the Congressional Budget Office that render verdicts on these issues to help members of Congress understand what they’re actually doing.

The Tax Foundation estimates that the Democrat welfare bill will destroy 103,000 jobs over the next 10 years.

Many of these job losses are due to tax increases, increased regulatory burdens and energy inefficiency introduced by the Green New Deal.

The job losses projected by the Tax Foundation are in addition to hundreds of thousands of job losses facing the economy in the short run because of vax mandates and the firing of employees who refuse to be injected with the gene-modification treatments called “vaccines.”

For example, New York City has had to close 20 FDNY fire companies because of suspensions, retirements and layoffs of firefighters who chose not to be vaccinated.

The same personnel losses are being reported in the NYPD, emergency medical workers, nurses, teachers, sanitation workers and others performing critical tasks needed to keep society running.

Politicians don’t care. For them, it’s vax or be fired. For the rest of us, it means more fires, unsafe streets, rats feeding on garbage and reduced medical care.

No Temporary Blip

The economic cost of this is huge on top of the social costs. It’s one reason economic growth almost stalled out in the third quarter.

Mortgage foreclosures in the third quarter of 2021 jumped 32% compared with the second quarter and 67% compared to the third quarter of 2020. There was a high correlation between this surge in foreclosures and the termination of government moratoriums on foreclosures.

This means that the economy was weak all along and that government programs in response to the pandemic only papered over the weakness. Now that the programs have ended, the weakness has emerged.

This is more than a temporary blip.

The foreclosure wave has just begun because many state and local moratoriums were continued even as federal relief ended. One by one those other moratoriums will be ended also, and the foreclosure wave will grow.

On the whole, the pandemic may be ending, but the economic aftermath of the pandemic has only just begun.

No Full Recovery Until 2045

This new wave of weakness will impact stock markets, which rose based on a “reopening” meme of increasing sales and spending as the economy gets back to normal.

But there is no normal. We’re living in a new post-pandemic world and signs of sustainable growth are hard to find. The effects of the pandemic on the economy will be intergenerational.

The behavioral changes induced by the Great Depression did not fade until 30 years after the Depression was over. Such is the staying power of social trauma whether it be war, depression or pandemic.

Accordingly, we will not likely recover from this pandemic fully until 2045 or later in terms of savings, consumption, disinflation, low interest rates and low growth.

In the shorter term, the Biden administration will slow U.S. and global growth with a combination of higher taxes, more regulation and wasteful spending on programs such as the Green New Deal.

“Stimulus”

Biden administration deficit spending, such as the “infrastructure” bills, is continually claimed as stimulus.

But in fact, there is no stimulus from such spending because the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio is now approaching 130%. There is good evidence that debt-to-GDP ratios in excess of 90% produce less growth than the amount of new debt itself.

In other words, there is no stimulus and only an increasing debt-to-GDP ratio that makes the situation worse. It’s just digging a deeper hole. At some point you have to stop digging.

The U.S. was already facing slower growth in the years ahead with or without the Biden administration’s policies because of high debt and a central bank that does not understand monetary economics.

Now that Biden’s policies are fully revealed and becoming law, it is clear that growth will be even worse than would otherwise be expected. If Biden’s trying to destroy the U.S. economy, he’s off to a very good start.

The New Depression, Continued

As I’ve argued before, this is all characteristic of a new great depression. A depression is not technically defined but is understood as a prolonged period of growth that is either below the long-term trend or below potential growth.

That’s the reality we’re facing.

Meanwhile, inflation has hit a 30-year high. For the month of September, inflation rose at an annual rate of 4.4%, the highest since 1991.

Wholesale prices increased 8.6% since last October, the highest annual pace in nearly 11 years.

Yesterday, the Labor Department released October’s Consumer Price Index, which was at its highest in almost 40 years.

Economists debate whether this recent rise in inflation is temporary or here to stay, but in the short run it doesn’t matter. Inflation is here today and your purchasing power is going down.

It’s hopeless to expect the government to cut down on deficit spending or money printing anytime soon. It’s all they know how to do.

Unfortunately, things will probably get worse.

Tyler Durden Sun, 11/14/2021 - 08:10

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Science

University of Kentucky researchers develop online portal to show how biases in RNA sequences affect gene expression

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 29, 2022) — A recent publication from researchers at the University of Kentucky explains the importance of identifying and understanding…

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 29, 2022) — A recent publication from researchers at the University of Kentucky explains the importance of identifying and understanding how differences between tissues and cells alter gene expression without changing the underlying genetic code.

Credit: Pete Comparoni | University of Kentucky Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 29, 2022) — A recent publication from researchers at the University of Kentucky explains the importance of identifying and understanding how differences between tissues and cells alter gene expression without changing the underlying genetic code.

Introductory biology classes teach that DNA is transcribed into RNA, which is then translated into proteins. However, many cellular processes affect how quickly transcription and translation occur. Gene expression looks at the differences in RNA concentrations within a cell, and it can help scientists know which genes are active within that tissue or cell.

“Changes in gene expression can significantly affect various diseases and disease trajectories,” said Justin Miller, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UK College of Medicine’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Miller, who is also affiliated with the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Biomedical Informatics, says he and his colleagues previously developed the first algorithm to identify ramp sequences from a single gene sequence. Through their recent work, Miller and fellow UK co-authors Mark Ebbert, Ph.D., and Matthew Hodgman created an online version of that algorithm and showed that ramp sequences change between tissues and cells without changing the RNA sequence.

A ramp sequence is part of the RNA sequence that slows translation at the beginning of the gene by using codons (sequences of three DNA or RNA nucleotides) that are not easily translated. Ramp sequences counterintuitively increase overall gene expression by evenly spacing the translational machinery and preventing collisions later in translation.

In their recent publication in NAR Genomics and Bioinformatics, the researchers present the first comprehensive analysis of tissue- and cell type-specific ramp sequences and report more than 3,000 genes with ramp sequences that change between tissues and cell types, which correspond with increased gene expression within those tissues and cells.

“This research is the first time that variable ramp sequences have been described. Our comprehensive web interface allows other researchers to creatively explore ramp sequences and gene expression,” said Miller.

The research team says this work is important because while there are multiple ways for our RNA to encode the same proteins, the specific RNA sequence is important to regulate protein and RNA levels.

“Essentially, a ramp sequence works like an on-ramp to a freeway so that ribosomes do not crash into each other, but the length and speed limit of that onramp can change depending on the cell and the available resources within that cell,” Miller explained.

He says he enjoyed working on this project not only with his colleagues at UK but as well as his former colleagues at Brigham Young University and his brother, Kyle Miller, at Utah Valley University. Together, the group created a web interface for people to see how ramp sequences correspond with human and COVID-19 gene expression in different tissues and cells.

Miller says he believes this work will eventually impact patient care. “We created an online interface for researchers to query all human genes and see if a specific gene has a ramp sequence in a given tissue and how that gene is expressed within that tissue,” said Miller. “We also show that various COVID-19 genes and human entry factors for COVID-19 have ramp sequences that change between different tissues. Ramp sequences are much more likely to occur in tissues where the virus is known to proliferate.”

So, the researchers believe that COVID-19 genes have genetic biases (ramp sequences) that allow them to use the available cellular machinery to increase their expression. “Our research may help us better predict which tissues and cells new viruses will infect and also provides a potential therapeutic target to regulate tissue-specific gene expression without changing the translated protein,” said Miller.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers P30AG072946 and R01AG068331, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R35GM138636. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

This work was also funded by the BrightFocus Foundation, under awards A2020118F and A2020161S, and the Alzheimer’s Association, under award 2019-AARG-644082.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for” three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Employers.”  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.


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White House Is Quietly Modeling For $200 Oil “Shock”

White House Is Quietly Modeling For $200 Oil "Shock"

While the Biden administration is hoping and praying that someone – anyone – will watch…

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White House Is Quietly Modeling For $200 Oil "Shock"

While the Biden administration is hoping and praying that someone - anyone - will watch the comical "Jan 6" kangaroo hearsay court taking place in Congress and meant to somehow block Trump from running for president in 2024 while also making hundreds of millions of Americans forget that the current administration could very well be the worst in US history, it is quietly preparing for the worst.

As none other than pro-Biden propaganda spinmaster CNN reports, when it comes to what really matters (at least according to Gallup), namely the economy, and specifically galloping gasoline prices, the White House is in a historic shambles.

For an administration that ended last year forecasting a leveling off of 40-year high inflation and eager to tout a historically rapid recovery from the pandemic-driven economic crisis, there is a level of frustration that comes with an acutely perilous moment. Asked by CNN about progress on a seemingly intractable challenge, another senior White House official responded flatly: "Which one?"

The suspects behind the historic implosion are well known: "soaring prices, teetering poll numbers and congressional majorities that appear to be on the brink have created no shortage of reasons for unease. Gas prices are hovering at or around $5 per gallon, plastered on signs and billboards across the country as a symbolic daily reminder of the reality -- one in which White House officials are extremely aware -- that the country's view of the economy is growing darker and taking Biden's political future with it."

"You don't have to be a very sophisticated person to know how lines of presidential approval and gas prices go historically in the United States," a senior White House official told CNN.

A CNN Poll of Polls average of ratings for Biden's handling of the presidency finds that 39% of Americans approve of the job he's doing. His numbers on the economy, gas prices and inflation specifically are even worse in recent polls. What CNN won't tell you is that Biden is now polling well below Trump at this time in his tenure.

The CNN article then goes into a lengthy analysis of what is behind the current gasoline crisis (those with lots of time to kill can read it here) and also tries to explains, without actually saying it, that the only thing that can fix the problem is more supply, but - as we first explained - this can't and won't happen because green fanatics and socialist environmentalists will never agree to boosting output.

Which brings us to the punchline: as CNN's Phil Mattingly writes, "instead of managing an economy in the midst of a natural rotation away from recovery and into a stable period of growth, economic officials are analyzing and modeling worst-case scenarios like what the shock of gas prices hitting $200 per barrel may mean for the economy."

Well, in an article titled "Give us a plan or give us someone to blame", this seems like both a plan, and someone to blame.

But unfortunately for Biden - and CNN which is hoping to reset expectations - it's only going to get worse, because as we noted moments ago, while nobody was paying attention, Cushing inventories dropped to just 1 million away from operational bottoms at roughly 20MM barrels. This means that the US is officially looking at tank bottoms.

But wait, there's more... or rather, it's even worse, because as even Bloomberg's chief energy guru Javier Blas notes, over the last 2 weeks, the US gov has drained 13.7 million barrels from the SPR, "and yet, commercial oil stockpiles still fell 3 million barrels over the period."

Just imagine, Blas asks rhetorically, "if the SPR wasn't there. Or what would happen post-Oct when sales end."

And here is the punchline: at the current record pace of SPR drainage, one way or another the Biden admin will have to end its artificial attempts to keep the price of oil lower some time in October (or risk entering a war with China over Taiwan with virtually no oil reserve). This means that unless Putin ends his war some time in the next 5 months, there is a non-trivial chance that oil will hit a record price around $200 - precisely the price the White House is bracing for - a few days before the midterms. While translates into $10+ gasoline.

And while one can speculate how much longer Democrats can continue the "Jan 6" dog and pony show as the entire economy implodes around them, how America will vote in November when gas is double digits should not be a mystery to anyone.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 13:05

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European Commission says it doesn’t have texts between president Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla

Under fire from the European ombudsman, the Commission said on Wednesday that it hasn’t found any text messages between president Ursula von der Leyen…

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Under fire from the European ombudsman, the Commission said on Wednesday that it hasn’t found any text messages between president Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer chief Albert Bourla regarding the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.

The messages became of interest last April, when the New York Times reported that a series of texts and calls between von der Leyen and Bourla led to Pfizer’s largest vaccine deal — 900 million doses of the current vaccine and a vaccine adapted to variants, with the option to purchase an additional 900 million doses through 2023.

Emily O’Reilly

Upon a public access request made by a journalist, the EC responded that it had no record of them. However, it was later revealed by ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, the EU’s internal watchdog, that the EC never explicitly asked the cabinet to look for the texts.

Instead, the EC requested other documents that fall under its internal criteria for recording, which doesn’t include text messages.

O’Reilly accused the Commission of “maladministration,” and urged the administration to conduct a more thorough search.

“When it comes to the right of public access to EU documents, it is the content of the document that matters and not the device or form,” she said in a statement back in January. “If text messages concern EU policies and decisions, they should be treated as EU documents.”

On Wednesday, the EC claimed to side with O’Reilly: “The Commission and the Ombudsman agree that what matters is the content of a document,” a spokesperson said in an email to Endpoints News. 

However, the Commission maintained that the texts were not registered as documents “due to their short-lived and ephemeral nature.”

“Text and instant messages in general do not contain important information relating to policies, activities and decisions of the Commission, nor are they in the possession of the institution,” the EC shared in a letter.

The administration added that it intends to issue further guidance on the use of “modern communication tools” such as text and instant messages to clear up any confusion.

“The Ombudsman could equally be invited to participate in those discussions, if she wishes to do so,” the statement said.

Pfizer declined to comment on the content of the text messages.

Stella Kyriakides

The EC struck its third vaccine deal with Pfizer and BioNTech last May, after its other major supplier AstraZeneca ran into production issues and announced it would significantly reduce deliveries.

The contract, which called for up to 1.8 billion doses through 2023, also reserved the EU right to resell or donate doses to countries in need.

“We need to be one step ahead of the virus. This means having access to adapted vaccines to protect us against the threat of variants, booster vaccines to prolong immunity, as well as protecting our younger population,” commissioner for health and food safety Stella Kyriakides said at the time.

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