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US Jobs, EMU CPI, Japan’s Tankan, and China’s PMI Highlight the Week Ahead

This year was supposed to be about the easing of the pandemic and the normalization of policy. Instead, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threw a wrench in…



This year was supposed to be about the easing of the pandemic and the normalization of policy. Instead, Russia's invasion of Ukraine threw a wrench in the macroeconomic forecasts as St. Peter’s victories broke the brackets of the NCAA basketball championship pools. The war has pushed up the price of energy, metals, and foodstuffs, which seemed to be advancing prior to the conflict.  

High-frequency economic data are important because of the insight generated about the economy and the possible impact on policy.  However, in the current context, Fed, ECB, and BOJ policy seems to be looking past the upcoming reports.  Fed Chair Powell's recent comments underscore the risk of a 50 bp hike as early as the next FOMC meeting (May 4). A consensus appears to be forming, and the market recognizes this.  The Fed funds futures have nearly an 80% chance of a 50 bp move discounted. The market appears to be heavily favoring a 50 bp hike in June as well. The ECB is on hold until at least later this year.  The BOJ's efforts are likely to become more complicated as inflation is going to surge soon, but the economy is weak.  It may be forced to defend its Yield-Curve control cap of 0.25% on its 10-year bond.  

US:  Before we get to the March jobs report on April 1, the US has a full slate of economic releases.  They include a preliminary estimate of the February goods trade balance, likely to remain near a record shortfall set in January ($107.6 bln).  Investors may be more sensitive to the February personal income and consumption reports and the associated deflator.  The Fed targets the headline PCE deflator, and it is expected (median forecast in Bloomberg's survey) to rise to 6.4% from 6.1%.  The core measure, which officials talk about but do not formally target, is expected to rise to 5.5% from 5.2%. 

Another strong US employment report is expected.  The labor market has met the Fed's objectives and, if anything, is too strong for the central bank as wage growth is running ahead of estimates of productivity gains (but not keeping pace with CPI or the PCE deflator). For example, average hourly earnings rose 5.1% year-over-year in February.  The pace is likely to accelerate 5.4%-5.5%.  However, the base effect will make for difficult comparisons in the second quarter, and earnings growth may stabilize.

US jobs growth is expected to be robust, but the median (Bloomberg survey) forecast of 485k would be only the second report below 500k since last May. In 2021, nonfarm payrolls grew by an average of 562k a month.  As the public health crisis subsides, the service sector growth is accelerating.  In February, of the 678k increase of jobs estimated, nearly 550k were in the private service sector.  Manufacturing added 36k jobs in February as some supply chain disruptions appear to be easing.  Momentum in the sector is consistent with another increase of 30k-40k.  

The unemployment rate is derived from the household survey, while the nonfarm payrolls are determined by a survey of businesses.  The median Fed forecast saw the unemployment rate, which was 3.8% in February, finishing this year and next at 3.5%.   What is striking is that the median Fed forecast cut this year's growth projection (2.8% vs. 4.0%) and boosted the Fed funds target by 100 bp, but the median forecast for unemployment did not change in 2022 or 2023.  The Fed's slight concession was that the median projection for 2024 edged up to 3.6% from 3.5%.  Recall too that pre-pandemic, the unemployment rate troughed at 3.5%. However, that was achieved with a 63.3%-63.4% participation rate.  It stood at 62.3% in February. 

The capital markets are typically sensitive to the jobs report, but perhaps due to how they trickle in, the auto sales tend to get short shrift.  Yet they tell us something about US consumers, purchases of durable goods, retail sales, and personal consumption expenditures.  The auto sector accounts for around 3% of the US GDP.  They were softer than expected in February (14.07 mln seasonally adjusted annual rate vs. 14.4 mln expected by the median forecast in the Bloomberg survey).  That is also about 10% below February 2021 sales.   The median forecast is for a 13.95 mln unit pace in March, which, if accurate, would represent around a 21.5% decline from last March.   

Europe:   A few hours before the US jobs data, the preliminary estimate of the eurozone's March CPI will be reported.  The market expects a surge of 1.9% in March alone, which would loft the year-over-year pace to 6.7% (from 5.8%). This is mostly due to food and energy.  The core rate is expected to increase to 3.1% from 2.7%.

Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the ECB will not change rates in Q2 nearly regardless of the actual report.  The head of the Dutch Central Bank Knot continues to press with the idea that a rate hike can be delivered before the bond-buying is complete.  Even if it made sense to tighten via the interest rate channel while easing via the bond purchase channel, ECB President Lagarde has laid out a more orthodox, if it can be called that, sequencing.  Knot and his allies may be better served to argue for an earlier end of bond purchases, which presently extended through Q3. The swaps market has about 45 bp of tightening priced in before the end of the year.  To put that in context, consider that on the day before the US warned that a Russian attack could happen at any moment (February 11), the swaps market was discounting about 50 bp in hikes, similarly backloaded toward the end of the year. 

Also, on April 1, the EU and Chinese officials held a summit.  What a bad year for the chess players in Beijing.  In retaliation for the EU's first sanctions since the Tiananmen Square attack in 1989, China sanctioned several EU officials, including members of the EU parliament: a blunder of huge proportions.  It effectively killed the investment agreement that had been painstakingly negotiated over several years.  In addition, the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine are also against Beijing's strategic interests.  The railroad conduit of trade from China to Europe has been disrupted, and Europe is pulling closer to the US in energy and defense.  NATO is reinvigorated and may grow.  Countries like Australia, Japan, and South Korea that want to check Chinese aggressiveness in the Pacific are inspired by the bravery in Ukraine. Meanwhile, some Republicans in the US Congress are calling for further decoupling from China. The US-centric flawed international order is stronger, we have argued, when a bad actor is punished. 

China:   In the middle of March, Vice Premier Liu He seemed to signal a dramatic switch of Beijing's policy thrust.  There had been a sense in the markets that it was becoming more supportive for growth, but Liu seemed to confirm the multiprong adjustment.  The crackdown on the tech platforms would ease, the real estate market would not be abandoned, the economic impact of the Covid lockdowns would be addressed, and more economic support measures would be announced.  Even without any clear action to back up the assurances, the Golden Dragon Index that tracks Chinese companies that trade in the US rallied nearly 45% since Liu spoke.  

In the bond market, the Chinese 10-year premium has collapsed.  It last finished above 100 bp on March 7.  Last week fell to nearly 30 bp.  It narrowed by 22 bp in the last two sessions.   At the same time, the yuan has been falling against the dollar, and the four-week decline is the longest since last July. The dollar's high so far this year is around CNY6.3860.  We suspect it can head toward the CNY6.40 area, which marks previous congestion and houses the 200-day moving average.  

With the Covid-related lockdowns still being experienced in several key production areas, we fear the risk is on the downside.  The "official" and Caixin manufacturing PMI was already near the 50 boom/bust level (50.2 and 50.4, respectively) in February.   The non-manufacturing PMI is also vulnerable as Covid is battled.  It stood at 51.6 in February.  Caixin's service PMI was at 50.2 in February, so it would not take much for it to fall below 50 into contraction territory.  

Japan: Bedeviled by Covid and natural disasters, the Japanese economy may be contracting in Q1.  Consumer spending jumped 10% in Q4 21 as earlier Covid restrictions were eased before being re-imposed.  Japan's composite PMI fell to near last year's lows in February and recovered a bit in March.  Yet, its remains below 50 for the third consecutive month.  Rising energy and food prices, coupled with last year's cut in mobile charges last year, are expected to see what will appear as a surge in Japanese inflation.  The BOJ's quarterly Tankan Survey is likely to show sentiment deteriorated. Small businesses have been particularly hard hit and did not benefit as much as the large businesses in Q4 22. 

The ink from the budget for the new fiscal year has not even dried, and there is much talk about the supplemental budget in the April-June period.  Some in Tokyo may think there is a political advantage before July's elections when about half the upper chamber goes before the voters.  The speculation is for a JPY10 trillion (~$82.7 bln). 

The dollar has risen by about 6% against the yen this month.  If sustained, it would be the best month for the greenback since November 2016.  At the press conference following the recent BOJ meeting, Governor Kuroda said that the yen's depreciation was benefitting the Japanese economy. He repeated this at the end of last week before the Diet. At some point, this will cease to be the case.  The natural question that arises is where the official pain threshold is.  Some suggest it is around JPY125 based on some comments Kuroda made in 2015.   That was the last major dollar high (~JPY125.85, June 2015).  It culminated in a rally from the record low (~JPY75.35) in October 2011 (~67%). 

Conventional wisdom holds that Japan's monetary policy is not going to change ahead of the end of Kuroda's term a year from now. Yet, pressures are building.  Global yields are rising, and the yen has been depreciating.  Both developments are lifting Japan's 10-year yield toward the top of the approved range under the BOJ's Yield-Curve Control.  It may become less tenable if global yields continue to trend higher.  

A 0.25% cap on the yield arguably makes sense when inflation is low, but it seems less defensible when inflation is running closer to 2%, as it will likely do in the coming months. Its tolerance for a depreciating yen in the face of rising food and energy prices may also be challenged.  The IMF has previously advised targeting a short-term rate instead of the 10-year.  The window of opportunity to take the initiative was lost, but even in a reactive posture, it will likely face increasing pressure.  



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Germany: AfD Reaches New Record High, Gains Unprecedented 8-Point Lead Over Ruling SPD

Germany: AfD Reaches New Record High, Gains Unprecedented 8-Point Lead Over Ruling SPD

Authored by John Cody via Remix News,

At the same…



Germany: AfD Reaches New Record High, Gains Unprecedented 8-Point Lead Over Ruling SPD

Authored by John Cody via Remix News,

At the same time the governing left-liberal coalition crashes in the polls, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is surging ahead, reaching a new record high in a major state-run poll.

AfD leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla.

According to the most recent ARD Deutschlandtrend poll, all parties of the ruling traffic light coalition only have 33 percent of the vote, while the AfD is now stronger than the SPD and the Free Democrats (FDP) combined, reaching 23 percent of the vote.

According to Infratest dimap, the three-party ruling coalition has reached a new low among Germans. Only 15 percent back the SPD, while 13 percent would vote for the Greens and 5 percent for the FDP. Given that 5 percent is needed to enter parliament, the FDP is under threat of being removed entirely, which is putting the coalition on increasingly shaky ground.

AfD party co-leader Alice Weidel celebrated the new record high, writing: “New record also in the ARD Germany trend: The AfD is now at 23% here too! In addition, 50% of citizens would like the AfD to be in government where it has performed strongly. A great confirmation of our work!”

The poll showed all three governing parties dropping one point compared to polling from a week ago. For the Social Democrats, this is the worst result during this legislative period; in the federal election approximately two years ago, SPD had 25.7 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, FDP has seen its vote cut in half since 2021, when it received 11.5 percent of the electoral vote.

The AfD is enjoying a record lead over the SPD, coming in at an unprecedented eight points. Meanwhile, the Christian Democrats and Christian Socialists (CDU/CSU) continue their run on top of the polls, coming in at 29 percent, a bump of one point compared to last week. The Free Voters and the Left Party would each have 4 percent.

Voters’ top concern is immigration, while climate change becomes a non-issue

Voters also say their top concern is mass immigration, with 44 percent of voters naming this as the most important political problem that politicians should address. This issue towers over the other problems facing the country, with armed conflicts/peace/foreign policy only coming in at 18 percent, while the economy comes in at 11 percent and inflation and taxes at 10 percent.

Regarding the environment and climate change, only 1 percent of Germans list this as the most pressing issue.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/17/2023 - 02:00

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New recipe for efficient, environmentally friendly battery recycling

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, are now presenting a new and efficient way to recycle metals from spent electric car batteries….



Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, are now presenting a new and efficient way to recycle metals from spent electric car batteries. The method allows recovery of 100 per cent of the aluminium and 98 per cent of the lithium in electric car batteries. At the same time, the loss of valuable raw materials such as nickel, cobalt and manganese is minimised. No expensive or harmful chemicals are required in the process because the researchers use oxalic acid – an organic acid that can be found in the plant kingdom.

Credit: Chalmers University of Technology | Anna-Lena Lundqvist

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, are now presenting a new and efficient way to recycle metals from spent electric car batteries. The method allows recovery of 100 per cent of the aluminium and 98 per cent of the lithium in electric car batteries. At the same time, the loss of valuable raw materials such as nickel, cobalt and manganese is minimised. No expensive or harmful chemicals are required in the process because the researchers use oxalic acid – an organic acid that can be found in the plant kingdom.

“So far, no one has managed to find exactly the right conditions for separating this much lithium using oxalic acid, whilst also removing all the aluminium. Since all batteries contain aluminium, we need to be able to remove it without losing the other metals,” says Léa Rouquette, PhD student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers. 

In Chalmers’ battery recycling lab, Rouquette and research leader Martina Petranikova show how the new method works. The lab has spent car battery cells and, in the fume cupboard, their pulverised contents. This takes the form of a finely ground black powder dissolved in a transparent liquid – oxalic acid. Rouquette produces both the powder and the liquid in something reminiscent of a kitchen mixer. Although it looks as easy as brewing coffee, the exact procedure is a unique and recently published scientific breakthrough. By fine-tuning temperature, concentration and time, the researchers have come up with a remarkable new recipe for using oxalic acid – an environmentally friendly ingredient that can be found in plants such as rhubarb and spinach.  

“We need alternatives to inorganic chemicals. One of the biggest bottlenecks in today’s processes is removing residual materials like aluminium. This is an innovative method that can offer the recycling industry new alternatives and help solve problems that hinder development,” says Martina Petranikova, Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.

Reversing order and avoiding the loss

The aqueous-based recycling method is called hydrometallurgy. In traditional hydrometallurgy, all the metals in an EV battery cell are dissolved in an inorganic acid. Then, you remove the “impurities” such as aluminium and copper. Lastly, you can separately recover valuable metals such as cobalt, nickel, manganese and lithium. Even though the amount of residual aluminium and copper is small, it requires several purification steps and each step in this process can cause lithium loss. With the new method, the researchers reverse the order and recover the lithium and aluminium first. Thus, they can reduce the waste of valuable metals needed to make new batteries. 

The latter part of the process, in which the black mixture is filtered, is also reminiscent of brewing coffee. While aluminium and lithium end up in the liquid, the other metals are left in the “solids”. The next step in the process is to separate aluminium and lithium.

“Since the metals have very different properties, we don’t think it’ll be hard to separate them. Our method is a promising new route for battery recycling – a route that definitely warrants further exploration,” says Rouquette. 
“As the method can be scaled up, we hope it can be used in industry in future years,” says Petranikova.

Petranikova’s research group has spent many years conducting cutting-edge research in the recycling of metals found in lithium-ion batteries. The group is involved in various collaborations with companies to develop electric car battery recycling and is a partner in major research and development projects, such as Volvo Cars’ and Northvolt’s Nybat project. 

Video: Demonstration of the new and efficient method for recycling metals from electric car batteries. Léa Rouquette explains the process in the lab at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.

More about the research

The scientific article Complete and selective recovery of lithium from EV lithium-ion batteries: Modeling and optimization using oxalic acid as a leaching agent was published in the journal Separation and Purification Technology. The study was conducted by Léa Rouquette, Martina Petranikova and Nathália Vieceli at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. 
The research was funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (52009-1), BASE Batteries Sweden, Vinnova (2019-00064) and the experiments were conducted with spent electric car batteries from Volvo Cars, processed by Stena Recycling and Akkuser Oy.

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The Greatest Hoax Of All Time

The Greatest Hoax Of All Time

Authored by ‘Mr. E’ via,

Follow Mr. E on Substack and Twitter!

It should come as no surprise…



The Greatest Hoax Of All Time

Authored by 'Mr. E' via,

Follow Mr. E on Substack and Twitter!

It should come as no surprise to anyone following my work when I say that both mainstream and alternative media are, to a very large extent, part of the controlled dialectic put forth by the ruling class. It helps to maintain a division of society, promulgated by useful idiots and true believers of either side’s dogma.

Malcolm X’s famous quote applies:

The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.

It behooves everyone to have a healthy skepticism of whatever they hear no matter the outlet. But even more concerning to you is when they all begin to push the same narrative. In this report you’re going to see just how much effort some are willing to exert in the maintenance of a popular scapegoat – the Freemasons.

In the days following the breakout of violence in Israel and Gaza Greg Reese, producer of the popular Reese Report, published a video outlining the contents of a letter allegedly written by Freemason Albert Pike on August 15, 1871. The very same letter was reported on in rapid succession by mainstream outlets The Daily Star, Daily Mail,, and in 2016. A South African newspaper also reported on it in 2013.

All these reports make mention that this letter “allegedly” exists, but none went so far as to even attempt to confirm this. They didn’t investigate the sources, and merely uncritically repeated something that appeared too good to be true.

The Devil in the Nineteenth Century

We must go back over 130 years to get to the bottom of this story, and it all begins in France with a man named Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès, better known as Léo Taxil. Born in 1854 he was placed in Jesuit seminary school, where he came to be disillusioned with the Catholic faith and religion in general.

Léo Taxil circa 1880, from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Eventually becoming a writer, he targeted Christianity with scathing critiques such as The Holy Pornographers: Confession and Confessors and The Pope’s Mistresses. He even ventured into satirical pieces like The Life of Jesus, making a mockery of the immaculate conception, and The Amusing Bible. In 1884 he wrote The Secret Loves of Pope Pius IX, which is exactly what the salacious title suggests and eventually led to accusations of libel.

Also in 1884, Pope Leo XIII published an encyclical on Freemasonry where he declared:

The race of man, after its miserable fall from God … separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth … The other is the kingdom of Satan … At every period of time each has been in conflict with the other, with a variety and multiplicity of weapons and of warfare, although not always with equal ardour and assault. At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Perhaps swayed by this polemic, Taxil announced he had converted back to Catholicism in 1885 and set to work on an entirely different literary endeavor with a new target, the Freemasons. Over the next several years he published Les Mystères de la Franc-Maçonnerie, a four-volume history of Freemasonry containing curious-but-unsourced accounts of eyewitness’s participation in strange rites. The books were sensational and Taxil even had an audience with Pope Leo XIII himself to congratulate him on all his good works exposing the dastardly plans of the Freemasons.

The best was yet to come, however, when he teamed up with Dr. Karl Hacks to write the two-volume Le Diable au XIXe Siècle, published in 1892 and 1894, telling the insider tale of one Diana Vaughan in the words of Doctor Bataille. The lurid details of her account boggle the mind. She was a member of the Palladium Rite, under the command of Albert Pike, where she was involved in ritual orgies and blood sacrifices. They would summon demons in physical form, and she was even betrothed to one of them.

Chapter 25 of the second volume is entitled “Plan of the Secret Chiefs,” and it purportedly contains the text of a plan written on August 15, 1871, by Albert Pike and the leadership of the Palladium Rite, detailing their plan for the destruction of Roman Catholicism. The description of the final coup-de-grace contains a paragraph that has gone on to be legend:

Therefore, when the autocratic Empire of Russia will become the citadel of papist adonaism, we shall unleash the revolutionary nihilists and atheists, and provoke a formidable social cataclysm, which will demonstrate clearly to the nations, in all its horror, the effect of absolute unbelief, mother of savagery and of the bloodiest disorder. Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the mad minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate these destroyers of civilization; and the countless disillusioned adonaites, whose deist soul have up until that time remained without a compass, thirsting for an ideal, but not knowing which God is worthy of tribute, will receive the True Light, by the universal manifestation of the pure Luciferian doctrine, at last made public, an event that will arise from a reactionary movement following the destruction of atheism and adonaism, together at the same time vanquished and exterminated.

Catholics fell in love with Taxil’s work, and a Catholic journalist by the name of Abel Clarin de la Rive became friends with Taxil, believing unreservedly in his revelations about the Masonic threat the Church faced. Taxil authorized de la Rive to publish a quote by Albert Pike alleged by Diana Vaughan, Taxil’s whistleblower, in his 1894 book La Femme et l’Enfant Dans la Franc-Maçonnerie Universelle:

That which we must say to the world is that we worship a god, but it is the god that one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees: The masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the higher degrees, maintained in the Purity of the Luciferian doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay and his priests calumniate him?

Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods; darkness being necessary for light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive.

Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy, and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil.

The assault upon Freemasonry drew intense criticism from their ranks, as well as from other esoteric societies. In 1896 Arthur Edward Waite, a British poet and mystic who wrote extensively on the occult, published Devil Worship in France, a comprehensive refutation of Taxil’s allegations.

By 1897 everyone was becoming impatient with Taxil, whose stories had been growing ever more radical and grotesque. They wanted to meet Diana Vaughan, in person, and Taxil eventually obliged.

The Confession

On the evening of April 19, 1897, Taxil held a press conference at the Hall of the Geographic Society in Paris. Many reporters, Catholic priests, Freemasons, monks, and other illustrious figures from around the world were in attendance. After raffling off a typewriter used by Diana Vaughan (the winner being M. Ali Kental, Editor of Ikdam, at Constantinople), Léo Taxil finally addresses his audience.

He reveals there is no Dr. Karl Hacks, there is no Dr. Bataille, there is no Diana Vaughan, there is no Palladium Rite.

“There wasn’t the least masonic plot in this story,” he says, and denies that his conversion to Catholicism was in earnest – all part of the prank, to win the Church’s trust and approbation. Diana Vaughan was a real person, but she was only his typist and collaborator in this colossal fraud designed to deeply embarrass the Catholic Church and become the crown jewel of his anti-clerical work.

Slandering Freemasons was the best way to establish the foundations of the colossal prank of which I savored all the suave happiness in advance. – Léo Taxil

After explaining in immense detail how everything he published on Freemasonry over the last 12 years was a monumental hoax, Taxil concludes his press conference saying, “You were told that Palladism would be knocked down today, better still, it is annihilated, it is no more,” and that “Palladism is now dead for good. Its father just murdered it.” The audience erupts calumniously, with Catholics hissing and screaming, a priest mounts a chair to try and maintain order, and it becomes obvious why Taxil had the attendees check their walking sticks at the door – some would certainly have beaten him to death on the spot.

They ought to have known better, though, as Taxil’s extensive use of the Baphomet throughout the entirety of his hoax was a dead giveaway that not all was as it seemed. Created several decades prior by another Frenchman, Éliphas Lévi, it was clearly stated in the book in which it first appeared that it was not a representation of a demon or the devil, but something far more complex and esoteric. Ultimately, it was Lévi’s attempt at rehabilitating the image of the extinct Knights Templar, who were massacred by the Catholic Church in the year 1312 after a campaign of blood libel, and false confessions obtained by gruesome tortures. Nevertheless, it found great use being circulated by others like Taxil and de la Rive as a demonic idol.

The shock of Taxil’s confession, the entirety of which was published in Parisian newspaper Le Frondeur on April 25, 1897, rocked the world. The same day Le Père Peinard, a weekly Parisian journal for anarchists, published a detailed recounting of the event.

Here is but a sampling of other stories published about Taxil’s infamous confession:

Taxil further elaborated on the intentions behind his grand hoax in a 1906 interview in Volume XXIV of The National Magazine:

The public made me what I am; the arch-liar of the period, for when I first commenced to write against the Masons my object was amusement pure and simple. The crimes I laid at their door were so grotesque, so impossible, so widely exaggerated, I thought everybody would see the joke and give me credit for originating a new line of humor. But my readers wouldn’t have it so; they accepted my fables as gospel truth, and the more I lied for the purpose of showing that I lied, the more convinced became they that I was a paragon of veracity.

Then it dawned upon me that there was lots of money in being a Munchausen of the right kind, and for twelve years I gave it to them hot and strong, but never too hot. When inditing such slush as the story of the devil snake who wrote prophecies on Diana’s back with the end of his tail, I sometimes said to myself: “Hold on, you are going too far,” but I didn’t. My readers even took kindly to the yarn of the devil who, in order to marry a Mason, transformed himself into a crocodile, and, despite the masquerade, played the piano wonderfully well.

One day when lecturing at Lille, I told my audience that I had just had an apparition of Nautilus, the most daring affront on human credulity I had so far risked. But my hearers never turned a hair. “Hear ye, the doctor has seen Nautulius,” they said with admiring glances. Of course no one had a clear idea of who Nautilus was, I didn’t myself, but they assumed that he was a devil.

Ah, the jolly evenings I spent with my fellow authors hatching out new plots, new, unheard of perversions of truth and logic, each trying to outdo the other in organized mystification. I thought I would kill myself laughing at some of the things proposed, but everything went; there is no limit to human stupidity.

Taxil would die ten months later in March 1907. In November of the same year the Sydney-based Catholic Press published an anonymous letter eulogizing Taxil as “The World’s Worst Liar,” and that he had “died despised by those who had known him and by the great world he had cheated,” while calling him a “horrible buffoon,” whose “thrilling fairy tale under the guise of fact took the Catholic world by storm.” More accurately, however, they also called his hoax “the most successful fraud of the nineteenth century,” something Taxil certainly would have taken as a compliment.

It was Taxil’s intent to exploit people’s tendency towards confirmation bias in his hoax, which had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. However, what he didn’t foresee was that the egos of his victims were so big that they would carry on pushing his fabrications as if nothing had happened. Confession or not, it had to be true.

The World in Chaos

With World War I kicking off in 1914, followed by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, people were scrambling for a coherent explanation of why so much chaos was being sown around the world. In 1920 a book called The Cause of World Unrest emerged attempting to explain it all. It was an anonymous compilation of essays originally published in the London Morning Post in July of the same year.

In one of the essays we find Taxil’s magisterial hoax cited as truth, describing the chapter already mentioned above from Le Diable au XIXe Siècle about the written plan drawn up on August 15, 1871 by the fictitious Palladian Rite for global destruction. A familiar paragraph from the so-called plan is reproduced in The Cause:

That is why, when the autocratic Empire of Russia will have become the citadel of Papal Christianity (adonaisme papiste), we shall unchain the revolutionary Nihilists and Atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm, which will demonstrate clearly to the nations, in all its horror, the effect of absolute unbelief, mother of savagery and of the most bloody disorder. Then, everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the mad minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate these destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned of Christianity, whose deist soul will up to that moment be without compass, thirsting for an ideal, but not knowing where to bestow their worship, will receive the True Light, by the universal manifestation of the pure Luciferian doctrine, at last made public, a manifestation which will arise from the general movement of reaction following the destruction of Atheism and Christianity, both at the same time vanquished and exterminated.

There is no mention of Taxil’s sensational confession in the pages preceding or following the reproduction of this part of the hoax. It does say in The Cause that this quote and the document it allegedly comes from could be a hoax, but that it nevertheless is quite prophetic.

But was it really? The rising tide of revolutionary socialism in the late 19th century was surely no stranger to Taxil. Marx and Engel’s Communist Manifesto had been in circulation for decades prior to Taxil creating the hoax, and bloody revolution was already being openly discussed. It was only a matter of where it would first emerge, and popular locations for that had already been determined to be Russia or Germany.

The Cause would go on to be used in the 1925 book called The Mystery of Freemasonry Unveiled, published by Cardinal Caro y Rodriguez of Chile. In it, the Cardinal uncritically repeats what he found in The Cause, reproducing verbatim the same paragraph from Taxil’s hoax. How a Catholic Cardinal would not know this was a fabrication is surprising seeing that he would have been nearly thirty years old at the time of Taxil’s confession and by then already an ordained priest.

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Tyler Durden Mon, 10/16/2023 - 23:55

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