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    The Phantom Mania

    There's nothing of substance underlying the current market melt-up
    by Adam Taggart

    Friday, November 22, 2019, 5:00 PM

Well, stocks are back at all-time highs. Ignited by the Fed’s “Not-QE” program and endless Trump administration teases of an “imminent” China deal, the S&P 500 has been propelled above its upward Bollinger band — a hyperextension only seen one other time since 2007:

Every week since Not-QE was announced has seen the S&P close green (this week finally ending the streak, barely). We’re officially in a melt-up, where both good news and bad news are accepted as valid reasons to push stocks even higher.

But what’s notable about this melt-up is that it’s missing a compelling narrative. Every past asset price mania required a feel-good mantra that convinced the masses “This time is different!”.

The South Sea bubble promised access to the untapped riches of the vast Asian sub-continent. Dotcom companies were going to unlock tremendous value previously trapped by the inefficiency of the old analog way of doing business. In 2017, Bitcoin looked like it just might replace fiat currencies overnight.

During the price melt-ups accompanying each of these manias, the public fell for the siren song of a radically better future, available RIGHT NOW if you just jump on the party train before it’s too late.

But today? What’s the radically better future being promised? Where’s the party train headed to?

A Parade Of Horribles

As best I can tell, it seems the rationale (I’m using that term very generously) for the current market melt-up is that:

  1. The Fed is backstopping the market again
  2. A trade deal with China is going to happen, likely soon

Let’s dig into each of these. But before we do, let’s be clear that neither of these promises a “radically better” future.

The Fed, and its central bank brethren around the globe, have been backstopping the market for the past decade. There’s really nothing new in that.

And resuming friendly trade with China will largely be a restoration of past conditions. While, yes, the drag of the recent trade constraints will be removed and perhaps the US will receive some nice concessions, it’s not like we’ll be gaining a major new trading partner that we didn’t have before.

In short: neither new QE or a China deal is transformative. Manias typically require a transformative narrative as their fuel.

Now, looking at the Fed’s new QE program: how material is it? Well, since the outbreak of the GFC, we know that the central banks have more than tripled the world’s money supply (from roughly $6 trillion in 2008 to $20 trillion today):

And how has that worked out?

Well — hurray! — asset prices (stocks, bonds, real estate, fine art, etc) have shot the moon. Mind you, at the cost of creating the worst-ever wealth disparity in the US, and many other countries as well.

And the main expressed reason for all this liquidity — to goose the global economy back to robust growth, how are we doing there?

Not well. Mission definitely *not* accomplished.

Despite the tens of $trillions created from thin-air over the past decade, of sacrificing prosperity from the future (and not just ours, but our children’s and grandchildren’s) in exchange for growth today, here’s where things stand:

On top of the sour GDP outlook, US companies are officially in an earnings recession, with every quarter of 2019 now projected to be lower than 2018’s.

In theory at least, stocks are supposed to valued based on their prospects for future profits. Do shrinking earnings and an increasingly recessionary global outlook scream “buy stocks now at record prices!” to you? They sure don’t to me.

Now looking over at the China trade talks, what’s realistic to hope for here? The much-touted lets-start-with-the-easy-stuff Phase 1 ‘agreement’ still remains unsigned. And even if it becomes so, it doesn’t address the principal issues at the heart of the trade dispute.

Worse, it’s increasingly being regarded as meaningless. Yale’s Stephen Roach derides it as “hollow”, “flawed” and “ridiculous” with no real value beyond the superficial.

And being honest with ourselves, why would China strike a trade agreement with a president up for re-election in less than a year? He may not be around to hold up his end of the deal. It just makes sense to wait until the dust settles after next November.

And this goes triply when that president is currently mired in impeachment hearings. Trump needs the deal done soon much more than China does. Time is on their side, giving the Chinese the lion’s share of the bargaining power here.

Toss in the likely passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act — which is massively offensive to China’s Politburo and already approved by both chambers of the US Congress — and the odds of the Chinese happily agreeing to anything substantive in the near future is about as low as Epstein having hanged himself.

So… ineffectual QE and pitiful odds of anything material happening with China anytime soon. These are the promises of a “radically better” future responsible for driving the current market melt-up? This is the rationale for stocks being the most overvalued they’ve ever been?

This doesn’t smell right. All asset price manias end badly. But at least you can understand the psychology that created the mania in the first place.

This time, you can’t even do that. Which leads us to believe that not only will this end badly, but sooner vs later. There’s just not a strong enough party-vibe to power the delusion.

Actions To Take Before 2020 Arrives

Given all the above, the prudent among us should regard today’s hyperextended prices with healthy skepticism. Both history and common sense show us that what can’t sustainably continue — won’t.

Now is the time to prioritize defense and to position your portfolio for safety. And for those with the means and constitution, perhaps to place a few managed bets on lower prices ahead.

Specifically, we recommend everyone reading this ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Is my portfolio sufficiently protected should the market drop 20%+ from here? (our primer on How To Hedge Against A Market Correction will help you assess this)
  2. Do I want to bet against the current melt-up mania? (our recent report Resuming The Crash Position reveals the speculative positions we’re taking to profit should prices reverse from here)

The above questions are timely given today’s extreme market distortion. As usual, we recommend exploring both seriously with your professional financial advisor.

But there are other important questions that are just as timely given the approaching year end.

Every one of us should be in conversation with a professional advisor asking: What smart end-of-year steps should I be taking before Jan 1st arrives?

The “right” answers will depend on your unique personal situation and goals. But common tactics include:

  • Offsetting taxable gains across your portfolio, including the thoughtful harvesting of any unrealized losses and/or use of “carryforward” losses from prior years
  • Deferring tax liabilities
  • If you’re older than 70, are you meeting your Required Minimum Distribution obligations?
  • Charitable giving (and tax-advantaged ways to do this using your retirement accounts)
  • Evaluating whether it may make sense to electively distribute monies out of a retirement account to optimize tax considerations (e.g., to take advantage of a low income tax bracket if your taxable income is uncharacteristically low for the year) and/or to free up funds for more tactical deployment (e.g., in real assets or other investments)

If you don’t have a professional financial advisor whom you feel comfortable discussing these important questions with, consider scheduling a free consultation with our endorsed advisory firm. They have decades of experience helping investors just like you navigate the decision-making process and position your portfolio appropriately given your goals.

Just don’t delay. The end of the year will be here before you know it.

And the inevitable market correction could well arrive even sooner.

 

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44 Comments

  • Sat, Nov 23, 2019 - 7:08am

    #1

    lambertad

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 31 2013

    Posts: 186

    3+

    bridgewater bearish bet

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/bridgewater-bets-big-on-market-drop-11574418601

    $1 billion bet that markets will drop by March 2020 seems like a fairly significant wager. Anyone have access to the full article and willing to provide a synopsis. The paywall prevents the plebs who are non-subscribers like me from accessing more than the first two paragraphs.

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  • Sat, Nov 23, 2019 - 8:22am

    #2

    sand_puppy

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 2001

    5+

    Bridgewater's "bearish bet" only a hedge of portfolio, not a net position

    I’m not a WSJ subscriber either.  But ZH posted this summary a day later:

    Ray Dalio Denies He Is Betting On A Market Crash: “You Can Believe Me Or You Can Believe The Wall Street Journal”

    After sparking much apocalyptic speculation following the previously reported WSJ article according to which Bridgewater has a $1.5 billion short position on the S&P which implies a sharp market drop before March 2020, the fund’s founder, Co-Chairman and Co-CIO has come out refuting the WSJ article.

    … Dalio published a brief LinkedIn comment in which he claims that the WSJ article’s conclusion that Bridgewater is betting on a market drop is “wrong”, and wants to “make clear that we don’t have any such net bet that the stock market will fall.” ….

    What Dalio is in effect saying is that the short position is merely a hedge to its existing portfolio….

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  • Sat, Nov 23, 2019 - 7:59pm

    #3

    charleshughsmith

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 15 2010

    Posts: 700

    1+

    phantom "fourth mini-cycle"

    It seems the speculative money has front-run a phantom”fourth mini-cycle of expansion” that’s supposed to have started: https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/conundrum-2019-equity-outflows-are-biggest-ever-yet-stocks-are-all-time-highs-what-happens

    Not much of a grand narrative but enough for an era devoid of any secular expansion… until it isn’t.

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  • Sun, Nov 24, 2019 - 1:58pm

    #4

    Snydeman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 560

    7+

    I see what you did there...

    and the odds of the Chinese happily agreeing to anything substantive in the near future is about as low as Epstein having hanged himself.

     

    Well played. Well played indeed. 😉

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  • Sun, Nov 24, 2019 - 2:06pm

    Reply to #4

    Adam Taggart

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 25 2009

    Posts: 2683

    6+

    Playing to the house

    Well played. Well played indeed. 😉

    I figured that line would be well received by this crowd…

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  • Sun, Nov 24, 2019 - 6:20pm

    Reply to #4

    Adam Taggart

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 25 2009

    Posts: 2683

    5+

    Further validation

    This just came out today, providing further validation to my assessment of the China trade deal status:

    The news follows a previous Reuters report last Wednesday, according to which the signing of the Phase 1 deal could slide into 2020 as the two countries have hit an impasse over Beijing’s demand for more extensive tariff rollbacks. Officials in Beijing say they don’t anticipate sitting down to discuss a phase two deal before the U.S. election, in part because they want to wait to see if Trump wins a second term.

    “It’s Trump who wants to sign these deals, not us. We can wait,” one Chinese official told Reuters, refuting a daily refrain from Trump who in turn has claimed that it is China that is looking to sign a deal quickly.

    At the end of the day, with neither side willing to compromise and show weakness, a deal may never actually happen.

    To be sure, as we drag closer to the Nov 2020 elections, China’s leverage seems to grow

    (source: Reuters)

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 2:01am

    Reply to #4

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3248

    5+

    tariff increases

    I’m mostly in agreement about the chances of a deal getting done – in that, it probably won’t be.

    The dynamic I’m seeing play out is this: China’s buckets-o-money soft power (“Hunter Biden”, Nike & the NBA, etc) versus the situation in Hong Kong, which gives the Dems the chance to embarrass Trump from the right, along with the defense-cartel Reps.  Add to this the new Committee on the Present Danger, and you have Trump himself and his desire to get a “good deal” for the US, and I’m not sure that buckets-o-money will continue to prevail.  That approach may be past its prime.

    Beijing is in a rush, for some reason.  They want to seize Hong Kong too much, and they want to do it right freaking now.  Winter is coming.  Or something.  And they seem to feel they are running out of time.

    So while logic and experience and our popular wisdom that “Xi is dictator for life so he can wait forever” just doesn’t tie in with what we see them doing.  They are not showing any patience at all.  Not in Hong Kong, not in Xinjiang, not in the “sinicization” campaign, not in the crackdowns on Pooh and other sorts of really mild dissent, not in the “social credit system”, and not in the steady flight of capital out of the country.  Xi himself warned his people that they were going to have to embark on a “Long March” – a scary reference to a terrible time in China’s past.

    Taken together, it all smacks of desperation, of the gang in charge seeing that the wheels might be about to come off their wagon.

    So given all that, it will be very interesting to see what happens on that Dec 15th deadline.  If they can’t head off the next tariff increase, how many more US businesses will just give up and leave?  I’m not sure they can afford to wait until 2020.

    Certainly they haven’t shown themselves to be even a little bit patient.  Not with Hong Kong anyway.  They were before – but not anymore.

    I think they really, really, really don’t want to do any sort of deal at all.  But the tariffs may give them no choice.

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 6:55am

    Reply to #4

    sand_puppy

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 2001

    Would love to hear more about perceptions on China

    DaveF, I would love to hear more about your perceptions on what is happening in China.  I’m not familiar with the buckets-o-money soft power term, nor the historical events you are pointing to in Xinjiang, the “sinicization” campaign, nor  the crackdowns on Pooh.

    I’m not even sure where to look to come up to speed on these topics easily.

    More information please.

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 7:07am

    #5

    Chris Martenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4796

    3+

    Economic Growth -

    From the article above:

    Well — hurray! — asset prices (stocks, bonds, real estate, fine art, etc) have shot the moon. Mind you, at the cost of creating the worst-ever wealth disparity in the US, and many other countries as well.

    And the main expressed reason for all this liquidity — to goose the global economy back to robust growth, how are we doing there?

    Not well. Mission definitely *not* accomplished.

    So here’s the data…the most money printing ever coincident with one of the worst ever decades for global economic growth.

    It’s worth noting that the dotted lines after 2019 are the hopeful projections of the OECD.  I would gladly take the “under” on that bet.

    It’s almost as if pumping more and more credit into a credit saturated system doesn’t create the economic growth that the central banks bleat on so much about.

    It’s almost as if this sort of data isn’t reaching the “data dependent” Fed.

    It’s almost as if the appearance of economic health (and the reality of a raging wealth gap) are what the Fed cares about most.

    Almost.

    I know the maxim is “never ascribe to malicious intent that which can be assigned to stupidity”  but – c’mon – nobody is that stupid.

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 8:03am

    #6
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 03 2014

    Posts: 532

    Oh, Ya!

    Examples abound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tldGgGFe194

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 8:04am

    Reply to #4
    Edwardelinski

    Edwardelinski

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 23 2012

    Posts: 334

    1+

    If You are Interested in Cultural Genocide

    Check out Vice.com.They sent in undercover reporters.The AP released confidential documents yesterday.Google Chinese organ harvesting to the tune of at least a billion a year in profit.The youth of Hong Kong understands.So does our government….

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 9:03am

    Reply to #4

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3248

    9+

    more information

    SP-

    Heh.  I think you are just baiting me.  “I don’t know what search terms to use.”  Really?  You??

    Nevertheless, I will dutifully bite:

    First: soft power definition: seeking to increase influence using non-kinetic means.  A friend of mine who is in the belly of the beast right now asserts that (historically) China isn’t so good at kinetic operations.  Over the millenia, China’s wins doesn’t come from winning military conflicts.  Unlike (say) Rome, or Germany, China does not have a tradition of being good at warfare.  So the CCP made a strategic decision to avoid kinetic confrontations and instead use “other means” (i.e. bribery and coercion) to advance their agenda.

    US corporations have become adept at buying government in the West.  The CCP has noticed, and they are just following in their footsteps.

    Example: bribing US politicians (Hunter Biden gets to “manage” 1.5 billion -> Joe Biden: “Oh, those Chinese, we don’t need to worry about them”) just as one small example.  Here’s an old article by Peter Navarro from 2016 – you might recognize him from Trump’s current team:

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-non-kinetic-three-warfares-against-america-14808

    Likewise, when that NBA coach tweeted “stand with Hong Kong”, the CCP instructed the NBA to fire the guy.  LeBron “Black Lives Matter” James dutifully opined that this coach was uninformed, and shouldn’t comment on stuff he didn’t know about.  (Apparently, Black Lives Matter – but not Asian Lives – if they get in the way of selling Nike shoes in China).

    Soft power is how China more or less bribes US corporate interests to stand in for China in lobbying the US population and the US government.  Soft Power (i.e. bribery & extortion) almost got that NBA coach fired for a single tweet.

    “If you want to play in the Chinese market, you will kowtow to the CCP.”  That’s China’s soft power.  And it is why the West has largely ignored Xinjiang, and industrial-strength organ harvesting from political prisoners.

    This, from the country where half of the population goes literally apeshit over the issue of transgender bathrooms.  Take 1-3 million Muslim people, imprison them and subject them to horrific conditions?  Yawn.  But fail to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple?  Don’t have a third bathroom for 0.4% of the population?  Its the end of the freaking world.  (Why is that?  That’s a question for another time.)

    And of course if your organization even mentions this stuff, you can no longer sell into the Chinese market.

    Executive summary: Xinjiang: from 1M – 3M people in concentration camps.  We have testimony from an escapee.  Hers is a remarkable story:

    https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-a-million-people-are-jailed-at-china-s-gulags-i-escaped-here-s-what-goes-on-inside-1.7994216

    Organ harvesting.  If you are a heart transplant customer for a Chinese organ transplant, you can schedule your transplant one month in advance.  Think for a moment: what must the structure be that allows a patient to schedule a heart transplant one month in advance?  A lay person won’t understand what this means – but I know you will:

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/china-forcefully-harvests-organs-detainees-tribunal-concludes-n1018646

    The CCP has effectively monetized the political prisoner system.  Cui bono?

    Search terms:

    * china soft power

    * xinjiang escapee

    * organ harvesting tribunal falun gong

    The only reason #2 and #3 haven’t become bigger news?  Well, that would be item #1.  China has used its soft power (i.e. bribery & coercion) to “dissuade” western media from talking too much about #2 and #3.

    We’re too busy with transgender bathrooms, gay wedding cakes, and “racism” to notice.

    The stuff we have to deal with in the West?  Truly First World Problems.

    Hope that helps.

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 10:24am

    #7
    treebeard

    treebeard

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 18 2010

    Posts: 554

    4+

    First World Problems

    We’re too busy with transgender bathrooms, gay wedding cakes, and “racism” to notice.

    The stuff we have to deal with in the West?  Truly First World Problems.

    First world problems, we wish.  A gutted middle class, third world infrastructure, wealth distribution of a gangster state, completely dismantled industrial infrastructure, completely dysfunctional political system, one of the largest purveyors international corruption and violence, massively corrupt financial system, privatized prison system with more incarcerated than China in total and a completely bought and sold media.  Soft power, we designed and engineered it globally.

    My understanding is the tariffs affect in the single digit percentage of total China/US trade.  More then half of the stuff coming out of China is from off shored American companies selling back into the home market (don’t know how that can be actually characterized as trade, forced on companies by wall street). Big issue is the global slowdown, which central banks are ineffectively trying paper over.

    Pointing at someone else doesn’t work for me anymore, we have enough of our own problems.

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 11:06am

    #8

    newsbuoy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 204

    Hong Kong launches new micro gold trading platform GoldZip

    https://www.scmp.com/business/commodities/article/2185299/what-do-lai-see-windfall-how-about-whirl-hong-kongs-new-micro

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 11:06am

    Reply to #5
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 103

    2+

    Desperation seems the likely Fed motive, not stupidity or malicious intent

    Where I stand, desperation is the likely Fed motive, not stupidity or malicious intent, and has been ever since 2008. Like a drowning man thrashing about for air, I doubt the Fed is worried about appearances, fairness, nor even growth, but just trying to get one last breath before drowning in debt.

    I guess I have more sympathy than anger regarding the current Fed actors. In the Paul Volcker era the US had considerable political & demographic firepower. Today, what else is there to do but pile up more debt in clever ways to delay drowning in our debt? What’s the realistic alternative, politically? I’m open minded, but I’m just not smart enough to see any. 2008 was probably the last chance to act in a democratic system but it would have taken a heroic and iconoclastic national leader (not a Bush or Obama) to get everyone (read: boomers) to sacrifice. Can’t see it. We get the leaders we deserve.

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 11:10am

    #9

    newsbuoy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 204

    Ray Dalio and central banks turn to gold, prepare for crisis

    https://www.kitco.com/news/video/show/Kitco-NEWS/2619/2019-11-25/Ray-Dalio-and-central-banks-turn-to-gold-prepare-for-crisis#_48_INSTANCE_puYLh9Vd66QY_=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kitco.com%2Fnews%2Fvideo%2Flatest%3Fshow%3DKitco-NEWS

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 2:09pm

    Reply to #4

    thc0655

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 1555

    1+

    Rickards on China

    Go to about 47:00 to 1:01:00.

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 2:50pm

    #10

    newsbuoy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 204

    POLITICAL ECONOMICS AND THE WEIMAR DISASTER

    POLITICAL ECONOMICS AND THE WEIMAR DISASTER
    by
    Roger B. Myerson

    first version: July 1998 final version: January 2004

    Abstract. The treaty of Versailles and the Weimar constitution were written in 1919 with expert advice from John Maynard Keynes and Max Weber respectively. This paper considers how advances in political and economic theory since then could help to better understand the problems of Weimar and Versailles. The Weimar constitution’s combination of a strong presidency with a proportional-representation legislature may be responsible for the breakdown of German parliamentary government, and may have facilitated the careers of extremist authoritarian politicians. The Versailles treaty’s huge reparations bill created a war of attrition that encouraged Germans to cultivate the Depression and Nazism. http://home.uchicago.edu/~rmyerson/research/weimar.pdf

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 3:43pm

    Reply to #4

    sebastian

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 08 2010

    Posts: 15

    1+

    Jim Rickards

    I love Jim Rickards analysis, I haven’t heard him speak about exponential resource depletion but I`m positive he is well aware of it. My favorite part of the video is from 103:5-103:16 the look on the interviewer on the left at the 103:16 mark is priceless!

    Thanks for the link THC,

    Seb.

     

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 8:09pm

    #11

    sand_puppy

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 2001

    3+

    Dave's China story

    Thank you for further explaining your more connected perspective on China.  Whew!

    Those two stories that are truly terrifying:  Organ harvesting from jailed (still living) political dissidents, and the mass incarceration and torture of minorities.

    This activity is directly linked to the increased 2A activity Robie is reporting from Amelia, Virginia.

    All present at that meeting are friends and community over generations. Still, no one mentions the elephant in the room. The rural don’t trust Gov. or urban folk. Few will admit that their AR-10 or AR-15 isn’t for hunting or sport. They own those for defense from enemies domestic.

    I printed out and re-read Rector’s 3 part article on “the inevitable gun confiscation” posted at survivalblog.com.

    And ordered another box of ammo.

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  • Mon, Nov 25, 2019 - 10:06pm

    Reply to #7

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3248

    6+

    false equivalence

    treebeard-

    We have lots of problems.  What’s the difference?  We can talk about them without repercussion.  We go on, and on, and on about all the problems.  I do this all the time too.  Yet – we remain free to do so.  That makes all the difference in the world.  You can’t make any sort of change if you can’t first talk about the problem.

    As for drawing a false equivalence between prison population size between the two nations – we don’t rip organs out of pre-selected, healthy prisoners (many of whose only “crime” is to meditate, avoid tobacco and alcohol) in order to supply a multi-billion dollar “healthcare” business.  Nor do we send millions of people to “re-education camps” for having specific religious beliefs, only releasing them once they have been shown to relinquish said beliefs.

    Scale and severity really do matter.

    As for “pointing at others” – that was in the context of the massive moral outrage that a large segment of the US political structure seems to feel about what in truth are relatively minor issues.  First World Issues.

    Perhaps the problem is, most of the media (servants of our fine corporations) that want us to be upset at stupid things, so we don’t come together on the really outrageous stuff – like sickcare at 18% of GDP.  We have the resources to be so much better off.  But maybe if they can get us to focus on “faux outrage” issues such as transgender bathrooms (or prayer in schools) we won’t notice the harvesting and do something about it.

    And when some really morally outrageous things happen (do Asian Lives matter?  Apparently not so much), the “outrage machines” largely ignore these things because of said soft power.

    So should we allow these “other places” to control our dialog with soft power?  I think that’s a bad thing.  Do you think that’s a bad thing too?  I’m not making a “moral outrage” case against their use of soft power; it is purely a self-interest case.  I don’t want them controlling my speech.  Period.

    As for the behavior of the US on the international scene – my claim is that whatever evil things the US has done around the world, I believe that if other powers had been in our position, the outcome would have been far more horrific.  I base this on how they treat their own people.  If you treat your own people with so little humanity, what sympathy would you have for “the other” from whom you simply need resources?

    Take for example the Third Reich, Soviet Russia, or the CCP.

    What would they have done if they had been the sole superpower?  The mind boggles.  Consider: if you show no apparent qualms about turning a large group of your own people into an organ bank, what would you do to the population of (say) Africa if they had stuff, and you needed it, and there was literally nobody there to stop you from doing whatever you wanted?

    Or if you worried about climate change and overpopulation

    Or if you worried about peak oil.  Or peak resources of any kind.

    Yeah.  So I am concerned about soft power from a place with belief systems like that affecting us and our dialog.  I reject your attempt at drawing an equivalence between them and us.  We may be bad, but – it sure could be a whole lot worse.

    Or maybe you can make an alternate case – say that the Third Reich would have shown the world a whole new benevolent face once they had defeated their enemies.

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  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - 1:11am

    #12

    thatchmo

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 13 2008

    Posts: 332

    4+

    the Plan....

    …as I see it: US govt confiscates US Citizens firearms and ammo (good luck…but, follow me here…) to eliminate the “domestic threat”.  US Airdrops the armaments to Xinjiang to give the Uighurs the means to keep the CCP occupied in the west…..Well, probably wouldn’t work as planned anyway…..Aloha, Steve.

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  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - 8:00am

    Reply to #4

    Chris Martenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4796

    1+

    The Look....

    the look on the interviewer on the left at the 103:16 mark is priceless!

    And here it is:  🙂

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  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - 8:25am

    #13

    newsbuoy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 204

    Fake News, not a real photo. Nice tank!

    Welcome Comrades, today Wilkes-Barry tomorrow the World!

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  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - 8:26am

    #14

    Adam Taggart

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 25 2009

    Posts: 2683

    11+

    A history of the "close" China trade deal

    Fool us once, shame on you.

    Fool us twice, shame on us.

    Fool us daily for a year…..what the hell is wrong with us???

     

    January

    February

    March

    April

    May

    June

    July

    August

    September

    October

    November

     

    Just keep believin’……..

     

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  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - 8:40am

    #15

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3248

    1+

    we're a heartbeat away

    For the past 10 months!

    I’m guessing if Trump wants to rollback all those tariffs, a deal will get made almost instantly.

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  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - 9:36am

    Reply to #14
    Doug

    Doug

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    Joined: Oct 01 2008

    Posts: 1375

    5+

    Damn lies

    Most of those assurances of an imminent trade deal came out of Trump’s mouth.  With something over 13,000 lies in his presidency, when indeed are you going to stop believing his bullshit?

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  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - 9:40am

    #16
    kbmke

    kbmke

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    Posts: 1

    3+

    Shift the conversion

    Perhaps one of the Democratic candidates should steal the goalpost before he can move it, and shift the conversation to HOW LONG it took to get done.  It doesn’t matter if a deal is close to being done if it is already too late for dairy farmers, etc.

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  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - 10:20am

    #17
    karenf

    karenf

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    Joined: Oct 02 2010

    Posts: 40

    5+

    a bit on Chinese genocide

    and one more:

    https://www.democracynow.org/2019/11/26/headlines/leaked_documents_reveal_china_s_brainwashing_of_uyghur_muslims

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  • Tue, Nov 26, 2019 - 1:55pm

    Reply to #4
    borderpatrol

    borderpatrol

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    Posts: 16

    4+

    In a hurry cause more people of aware of what's really going there?

    As more and more people are looking to alternate news sources even thou they are being censored, the crimes in China are being exposed. How long can that go on?  In China they would think forever, but the backlash might be severe if there was some integrity elsewhere but I personally doubt it.  There seems no group organized fighting for the good of all, just the illusion that there are some in the political arena who pretend to be.  Is the impeachment thing theater? I don’t know, I’m more in the camp that the global elite control the media, pretty much all governments and are dictating the narrative and they let governments do what they want as long as it doesn’t upset their plan.

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  • Wed, Nov 27, 2019 - 7:43pm

    Reply to #4

    sebastian

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 08 2010

    Posts: 15

    1+

    the look

    I`m not sure what that look could be described as… perhaps cognitive dissonance breakout?

    I`m sure Chris sees it a lot when presenting the crash course to new audiences.

    I’ve gotten it from a few friends and neighbors  🙂

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  • Sun, Dec 01, 2019 - 5:23am

    #18

    sand_puppy

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 2001

    Lynching Trump

    From Matt Bracken’s Website.

     

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  • Sun, Dec 01, 2019 - 12:00pm

    Reply to #18

    newsbuoy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 204

    1+

    13 Articles of Impeachment of Donald Trump

    This special edition of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour is a series, Ralph and Constitutional scholar, Bruce Fein, will lay out the articles of impeachment of President Donald J. Trump.

    13 Articles of Impeachment of Donald Trump

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  • Sun, Dec 01, 2019 - 12:17pm

    #19
    Nate

    Nate

    Status Silver Member (Online)

    Joined: May 05 2009

    Posts: 337

    4+

    for newsboy

    At yesterday’s Thanksgiving table, fifteen adults present, there was not one word uttered about impeachment, Russia, Ukraine, and, most notably, a certain Golden Golem of Greatness, whose arrival at the center of American life three years ago kicked off a political hysteria not witnessed across this land since southern “fire eaters” lay siege to Fort Sumter.

    I wonder if some great fatigue of the mind has set in among the class of people who follow the news and especially the tortured antics of Rep. Adam Schiff’s goat rodeo in the House intel Committee the past month. I wonder what the rest of congress is detecting among its constituents back home during this holiday hiatus. I suspect it is that same eerie absence of chatter I noticed, and what it may portend about the nation’s disposition toward reality.

    The dead white man Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) famously observed that “all truth passes through three stages: first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; and third, it is accepted as self-evident.” America has been stuck in stage two lo these thirty-six months since Mr. Trump shocked the system with his electoral victory over She-Whose-Turn-Was-Undoubted, inciting a paroxysm of rage, disbelief, and retribution that has made the Left side of the political transect ridiculous, and repeatedly, ignominiously so, as their fantasies about Russian “collusion” and sequential chimeras dissolve in official proceedings.

    The astounding failure of Mr. Mueller’s report did nothing to dampen the violent derangement. There was no rethinking whatsoever about the terms-of-engagement in the Left’s war against the populist hobgoblin. The solidarity of delusion remained locked in place, leading to Mr. Schiff’s recent antics over his false “whistleblower” and the enfilade of diplomatic flak-catchers tasked to ward off any truthful inquiry into events in Ukraine.

    But then, with the Thanksgiving shut-down, something began to turn. It was signaled especially in the Left’s chief disinformation organ, The New York Times, with a week-long salvo of lame stories aimed at defusing the Horowitz report, forthcoming on December 9. The Times stories were surely based on leaks from individuals cited in the IG’s report, who were given the opportunity to “review” the briefs against them prior to the coming release. The stories gave off an odor of panic and desperation that signaled a crumbling loss of conviction in the three-year narrative assault on the truth — namely, that the US Intel Community organized a coup to overthrow the improbable President Trump.

    From this point forward, the facts of the actual story — many of them already in the public record, one way or another, and sedulously ignored by the news media — will be officially detailed by federal authorities outside the orbit of the coupsters, and finally beyond the coupsters’ control. The facts may include the uncomfortable truth that Mr. Mueller and his helpers were major players in the bad-faith exercises of the Intel Community against the occupant of the White House.

    I’m not so sure that the Resistance can keep up the fight, since their enemy is reality as much as reality’s mere personification in Mr. Trump. The violent opposition Schopenhauer spoke of in his three-stage model was just procedural in this case, moving through the courts and committees and other organs of the state. I don’t think the Left can bring the fight to the streets. They don’t have it in them, not even the ANTIFA corps. The hard truths of perfidy and treachery in the upper ranks of government will rain down in the weeks ahead, and when they do, there’s an excellent chance that they will be greeted as self-evident. The Times, the WashPo and the cable news networks will have no choice but to report it all. My guess is that they will display a kind of breathlessly naïve wonder that such things are so. Most remarkably, they might just assert that they knew it all along — a final twitch of bad faith as the new paradigm locks into place.

    I expect that we will see something else happen along with that: a loud repudiation of the Democratic Party itself, a recognition that it betrayed the mental health of the nation in its lawless and demented inquisitions. I expect that sentiment will extend to the party’s current crop of candidates for the White House, to the delusional proposals they push, and perhaps even to the larger ethos of the Wokester religion that has programmatically tried to destroy the common culture of this country — especially the idea that we have a duty to be on the side of truth.

    https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-turnaround/

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  • Sun, Dec 01, 2019 - 4:44pm

    Reply to #19
    Laurie Drinkwater

    Laurie Drinkwater

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 21 2008

    Posts: 6

    dream on

    good luck with this.

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  • Mon, Dec 02, 2019 - 12:49am

    Reply to #19
    Sparky1

    Sparky1

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    Joined: Jul 21 2016

    Posts: 64

    4+

    Papering PP comments with "Clusterf*ck" content

    Nate, I appreciate that Jim Kunstler writes well and has a special talent for advancing the left/right paradigm that, IMO, keeps people divided and distracted from addressing the three E’s.  I read through your lengthy post above thinking that you were the author, and only realized at the end that it was a re-post in its entirety from Kunstler’s “Clusterf*ckNation” website. I recall at least one other time when you’ve re-posted similar lengthy content in its entirety from Kunstler’s site.

    I don’t agree with Kunstler’s perspectives on many counts, but I recognize and appreciate the value in hearing differing perspectives. My preference, however, is to have PP members’ posts clearly marked when content is selectively excerpted from another site/author, with a link to the full content from the author’s website. Personally, I’d rather not see the PP site devolve into a mouthpiece or debate platform for “Clusterf*ck Nation” or other sites/authors.

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  • Mon, Dec 02, 2019 - 5:07am

    #20
    Jaimeteddy

    Jaimeteddy

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 15 2019

    Posts: 2

    Things to say

    What does it say?

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  • Mon, Dec 02, 2019 - 6:46am

    Reply to #19

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3248

    5+

    kunstler vs newsboy

    Well Sparky, I get the sense that Nate is getting more than a little annoyed with “newsboy” and his analysis-free shovelware.  “Newsboy” has posted this specific “Orange Man: Bad” reference now twice in two different groups, with no original content added.

    Apparently this particular content was so interesting, he had to show it to us twice.

    One wonders just how many sites “newsboy” directs his propaganda firehose at.  I’m sure we aren’t the only lucky ones.  He is clearly on a mission.  Lucky us, to be included in his spray.

    Perhaps “newsboy” might consider directing his botlike-propaganda-flow to the daily digest instead?

    [Sparky: sorry for the tone.  None of it is directed at you.]

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  • Mon, Dec 02, 2019 - 8:02am

    #21

    sand_puppy

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 2001

    3+

    I also posted this JHK piece yesterday

    When a republican criticizes a democrat it is hard to listen too closely.  It is very easy to dismiss this as the bickering between factions aimed at power, not truth.

    But when a liberal Jewish democrat (like JHK) criticizes a liberal (largely Jewish) democratic operation like the impeachment operation being carried out in both government and media, I take note and read the words carefully.  He reports on how the impeachment is being received in his cohort: by explaining the lack of discussion and interest at his extended family gathering.    This is not partisan bickering.    While every person comes from their own perspective including JHK, I don’t have the impression that JHK is consciously seeking to deceive me, making his synopsis and analysis valuable.

    Plus, I cannot bear to personally invest the time needed to review the MSM to sort through all of the words, suspecting that many are lies.

    Like everyone here, I exercise my magical superpower of being able to skip posts that rub me the wrong way or come from people I do not trust.

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  • Mon, Dec 02, 2019 - 8:49am

    Reply to #19

    newsbuoy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 204

    1+

    Please specify

    You have said I’m posting propoganda. Now you can point out where exactly the propoganda lays. Otherwise you ought to spend some time in front of a mirror and argue with the Constitution all you want.

    I’m surprised that Ralph Nader and a Constitutional scholar (and no liberal) discussing the crimes of the current POTUS is being ignored by this cohort, substituted by attacks on my sharing the information. Yeah, mirrors all around.

    But thanks for the attention.

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  • Mon, Dec 02, 2019 - 9:11am

    Reply to #19

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3248

    2+

    not propaganda

    newsboy-

    I didn’t say you posted propaganda.  I called your posts an “analysis-free bot-like propaganda stream.”  Those two things aren’t the same.  At least a propaganda artist uses some personal creativity.  Not you.  You just regurgitate.

    You never summarize the articles.  You never include content of your own.  You could easily be replaced by a 40-line python script.  Maybe I exaggerate.  It would probably be fewer lines than that.

    In my book, that’s just cut & paste spam.  At this point, you’re a spammer, no more, no less.  It woud be awesome if you either went away, or showed some personal creativity.

    Hope that helps clarify.

    [Just to be clear: I do not speak for the site.  I’m just one voice among many.]

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  • Mon, Dec 02, 2019 - 10:10am

    Reply to #19

    newsbuoy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 204

    Analysis of the analysis

    Most of my posts ARE analysis or opinion pieces for your viewing if you so choose Re Sandpuppy. Do your own due diligence. Where is it written that this website is for “Original” analysis in the comments section? Who the F are you to be setting the rules. Your posts are just you vomiting out the contents of your thoughts and repeating what you’ve read or heard. How is that not a complete waste of our time? Your analysis in only worthwhile in a comments section of a blog. If your so good at critical thinking where’s your website. Can’t you write your own original code? Stop using Chris and Dave as your wagon to hitch to.

    https://youtu.be/ycM3eULgFiA

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  • Mon, Dec 02, 2019 - 10:51am

    Reply to #19

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3248

    1+

    perfect

    Newsboy-

    Glad to see you posting some original thoughts and engaging with the rest of us.

    Thanks!

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  • Tue, Dec 03, 2019 - 6:54am

    Reply to #14
    Steve

    Steve

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 27 2009

    Posts: 36

    You can now add to your list - Dec. 3, Does this give Trump a springboard to drive the market up when he puts the deal back on the table?

    Dow drops 300 points after Trump says he may wait to strike China trade deal

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