US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in the UK yesterday, blaming China for the spread of the coronavirus and suggesting it was a purposeful move on the part of Beijing. Further, in an incredible escalation, the US State Department has demanded that China evacuate its consulate in Houston, TX. Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Esper is threatening more US military for the South China Sea. Also in today's Report: Ron Paul's headlines and new Covid updates...
A couple in St. Louis will face felony charges in their much-photographed defense of their home in a private, gated and locked community as BLM and other protesters broke through the gates and moved toward the couple's home. Justice...or an attack on property rights and the Second Amendment. Plus in today's Report: More threats to jail Covid-19 positive cases if they resist house arrest. Also - what happened on June 14th that led to the massive spike in "cases"?
By Ron Paul
Motorcycle accidents ruled Covid deaths? In the rush to paint Florida as the epicenter of the “second wave” of the coronavirus outbreak, government officials and their allies in the mainstream media have stooped to ridiculous depths to maximize the death count. A television station this weekend looked into two highly unusual Covid deaths among victims in their 20s, and when they asked about co-morbidities they were told one victim had none, because his Covid death came in the form of a fatal motorcycle accident.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. In fact the “spike” that has dominated the mainstream for the last couple of weeks is full of examples of such trickery.
Washington state last week revised its Covid death numbers downward when it was revealed that anyone who passed away for any reason whatsoever who also had coronavirus was listed as a “Covid-19 death” even if the cause of death had nothing to do with Covid-19.
In South Carolina, the state health agency admitted that the “spike” in Covid deaths was only the result of delayed reporting of suspected Covid deaths.
An analysis of reported daily Covid deaths last week compared to actual day-of-death in Houston revealed that the recent “spike” consisted largely of deaths that occurred in April through June. Why delay reporting until now?
We do know that based on this “spike” the Democrat mayor of Houston cancelled the convention of the Texas Republican Party. Mission accomplished?
Doesn’t it seem suspicious that so many states have experienced “delayed” reporting of deaths until Fauci and his gang of “experts” announced that we are in a new nightmare scenario?
Last week in Florida – which is perhaps not coincidentally the location of the Republican Party’s national convention – another scandal emerged when hundreds of Covid test centers reported 100 percent positive results. Obviously this would paint a far grimmer picture of the resurgence of the virus. Orlando Health, for example, reported a positivity rate of 98 percent – a shocking level – but a further investigation revealed a true positivity rate of only 9.4 percent. Those “anomalies” were repeated throughout the state.
“Cases” once meant individuals who displayed sufficient symptoms to be treated in medical facilities. But when the scaremongers needed a “second wave” they began reporting any positive test result as a “Covid case.” No wonder we have a “spike.”
Politics demands that politicians be seen doing “something” rather than nothing, even if that something is more harmful than doing nothing at all. That is why Washington is so addicted to sanctions.
The same has been true especially in Republican-controlled states in the US in response to the coronavirus. Faced with a virus that has killed about one-third as many people as the normal, seasonal flu virus in 2018, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has endorsed a partial shutdown of the economy resulting in millions tossed into the despair of unemployment. Then he arbitrarily shut down bars because massively increased testing showed more people have been exposed to the virus. And he mandated that people wear face masks. Neither shutting down bars (instead of restaurants or Walmarts) nor forcing people to wear masks will have any effect on the progression of the virus through society. But at least he looks like he’s doing “something.”
We are facing the greatest assault on our civil liberties in our lifetimes. The virus is real, but the government reaction is political and totalitarian. As it falls apart, will more Americans start fighting for their liberty?
Everybody is talking about yesterday's Chris Wallace interview with President Trump. Many in the mainstream media are praising Wallace's forceful, even combative tone. And Fox News did "real time" fact checking of Trump's claims. But beyond the blows exchanged, is Trump starting to understand how his opponents are using Covid as a tool of political warfare? Plus in today's program: even with his wings clipped, Anthony Fauci is still spouting off in the media - did New York really do the best of any state on Covid? Plus more Covid updates - has the Sun Belt spike burned itself out?
Government propaganda is super-abundant in America. When it comes to money, Americans are expected to never contemplate a single thought about gold as the ultimate money. For thousands of years, countless civilizations around the world have used gold and silver for their economic transactions. Gold is the money of the marketplace that always ends up trumping the fiat money of governments. Gold will outlast The Fed, and the time to start thinking about it is now!
By Sean McCardell
Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul issued the following statement supporting the amendment offered by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2021. The Schatz-Paul Amendment prevents local police departments from obtaining military weapons like grenade launchers, tanks, and armed drones.
“Arming local police officers with the weapons of war encourages them to act like an occupying force and treat American citizens as enemy combatants. This not only leads to incidents of police violating the rights of American citizens but undermines the very foundations of a free society. Therefore, I am happy that my Campaign for Liberty is working to mobilize grassroots liberty activists in support of the bipartisan Schatz-Paul Amendment prohibiting local police from obtaining offensive military weapons.”
The who oppose the militarization of the police should contact their U.S. Senators and urge them to support the Schatz-Paul Amendment to the NDAA. You can find contact info for your senators here.
Explosive new information has revealed how President Trump in 2018 signed a presidential intelligence finding that gave the CIA unprecedented leeway to conduct secret warfare against Washington's declared enemies. Then-CIA director Mike Pompeo was handed a blank check to attack even foreign charities and news outlets. Plus in today's program: The ongoing US war against the Nordstream pipeline and coronavirus hysteria raised to unprecedented levels.
By Chris Rossini
Why does every single attempt at authoritarianism and collectivism end in failure? Why do communism, socialism, and fascism always end up falling flat, without a single exception? Why do they always go down in flames, leaving only destruction in their wake?
It's definitely not rocket science to figure it out. You just need to ask the right questions.
So let's do that. Let's play authoritarian for a few minutes.
What should your spouse be doing right now? What should he or she be thinking? What should his or her opinion be about the weather? How about beer vs. wine? ... Wicker vs. plastic? ... Vinyl siding or Wood? ...
Let's go, you have to cover everything!
What should your spouse think and do right this second? How about now? ... And now? ... And now? ... And now?
Come on, keep up!
You're the authoritarian!
Not only do you have to live your own life, you're micromanager of another life too. Move it!
Now add your kids to the mix.
What should they each think right now? How about their opinions?...actions?...How about now! .... and now!
Now add in your neighbors because you're an imperialist authoritarian. Everyone must do it your way.
It was impossible right from the very start. You never had a chance even with just one other individual.
As I wrote last week:
Life is only experienced on an individual level. We each have our own individual and unique adventure. No one can see through the eyes of another, or think the thoughts of another, walk in the shoes of another, or make choices for another. All choices and actions are made by each individual mind.
Because of individual liberty, we each have within us the magic word that has sunk every authoritarian scheme to ever exist.
Are you ready for that word?
The word is --- "No."
Behind the word "Love," it's hard to think of a more powerful word in the English language than "No."
The word "Love" stands for one's individual essence, and the word "No" signifies that the nature of one's essence is individual liberty.
The word "No" signifies choice. Individual choice.
Man is not like an inanimate stone that will react in a definite and specific way to external stimuli. Man can, and does, choose how to react to external stimuli.
Man reacts to stimuli is some of the most unexpected ways imaginable. Man can even react to the same exact stimuli in a totally different way, at a different time.
Say "Boo" to a man one time, and he may jump out of fear. Say it the exact same way a second time, and he stands perfectly still!
Choice - the eternal truth of individual liberty - is the reason why every central planning, authoritarian, and dictatorial scheme ever concocted has always resulted in failure.
Central planners and so-called "social engineers," are always trying to treat man as if he were a stone. They think that everything is action/reaction.
Dictate this, and man will do that. Create this regulation ... and that law ... nudge him like this ... prod him like that ... tax him here ... censor him there ... and on and on.
Man is not like a stone, or like mixing two chemicals in a test tube. Man's future actions are, by nature, unpredictable.
Man is free!
You can try to pin him down with dictates, and he may go along, but only up to a point. He will eventually tell you that magic word --- "No." He will eventually defy your orders, no matter the threats. He will speak even if you try to silence him.
None of this is new. These are not new ideas that have just fallen from the skies.
But, one of the important provisos of individual liberty is the freedom to keep making the same mistakes over-and-over.
There are always new generations of individuals, of which there are bound to be some who fall into the trap of believing they are the gifted ones. Those who believe that they are here to "organize" everyone into a nicely packaged utopia.
Time will freeze when they are done making humanity over. No one will ever have to make a choice again. Just give them the guns of the state, and obey their dictates.
What a waste.
Individual Liberty is equivalent to 2+2=4
Every form of authoritarianism that seeks to wipe out Individual Liberty is like 2+2=5
How long would it take you to make 2+2=5?
If all the authoritarians that came before "didn't do it right," how long would you need?
How much propaganda would you require?
The truth is, you can have the media, you can have the schools, you can have the movies and TV. You can blare your authoritarianism out of every megaphone that can be made. You can have super-computers, algorithms, and the oxymoron known as "artificial intelligence."
But you cannot change human nature, which means you cannot wipe out individual liberty.
2+2 will never equal 5 because nothing can stop the ultimate power of the word "No."
When it comes to foreign policy and war (among other things) there are not two opposing political parties in Washington. Both Republicans and Democrats desperately cling to the warfare state as their ideological and economic lifeblood. That is why Congress is using a bizarre trick to attempt to block President Trump's plan to remove US troops from its longest war in history (Afghanistan). Plus in today's program: The HUGE scandal in Florida's Covid testing!!!
By David Stockman
The eruption of government red ink literally defies imagination. The deficit figure topped $863 billion during the month of June alone.
Indeed, the number is so massive that it’s hard to put it in context. But consider this: When your editor joined the Reagan campaign in the summer of 1980, the public debt was also $863 billion and it had taken 192 years and 39 presidents to get there.
So during the last 30 days, the clown brigade which passes for a government in Washington has actually borrowed nearly two centuries worth of debt!
Indeed, the numbers for June are so bad as to give ugly an entirely new definition:
But the issue is far more than the humongous numbers. There is now at work a trifecta of baleful forces that is literally destroying any semblance of fiscal discipline in Washington.
The first of these, of course, is the Fed. It has so completely and recklessly monetized the ballooning public debt that Washington officialdom and politicians are getting zero honest price signals from the bond market. In any practical sense the Brobdingnagian amounts of money they are borrowing is perceived as free, and rightly so.
After all, as of this morning, 90-day, 2-year and 10-year money costs the Treasury only 0.14%, 0.17% and 0.58%, respectively.
Secondly, there has been what amounts to a highly improbable “doctors plot” to take down the already debt-entombed US economy with an unprecedented regime of quarantines, economic lockdowns and drastic social regimentation in response to a virus that is really only an abnormal medical threat to the old and infirm.
The fact that the lockdowns are so wildly disproportionate to the 5%-of-population threat posed by the Covid is attributable to the rampant Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) among the Dems, the MSM and the permanent Washington ruling class. They are so rabid with TDS that they have mindlessly cheered on the health care apparatchiks, mayors and governors in a blunderbuss attack on the US economy that pales all prior recessions in severity.
And, thirdly, the elected politicians – beginning with the Donald – have stood idly by during this economy-wrecking campaign, deluded by the belief that Washington has the responsibility and means to fund a virtual make-whole for every worker and business in America that has suffered a loss of income and cash flow.
That is to say, America has fallen under the dictatorship of an unaccountable and unconstitutional Virus Patrol. But there has been almost zero political resistance to its insanities such as closing schools, bars, gyms and air travel because the fiscally incontinent policy-makers of Washington have stood up multi-trillion coast-to-coast soup-lines to ameliorate the damage and pain.
But for crying out loud, this jerry-built trifecta of madness cannot possibly be sustained. Your can’t print $3 trillion of fiat credit in just four months as the Fed has done and get away with it. Nor can you spend $7 trillion and collect only $3 trillion as Uncle Sam will do this year and not expect dire repercussions down the road.
And, for that matter, you can’t run-up the NASDAQ to an all-time high in the face of this fiscal, monetary and economic mayhem, and on the strength of just ten stocks, and not expect that a thundering financial collapse lies just around the corner.
Indeed, as David Rosenberg pointed out this AM, the top 10 stocks in the NASDAQ Composite (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Nvidia, Tesla, Intel, Netflix, Adobe) now make up 48% of the index’s market cap, and an incredible 58% of the NASDAQ 100.
So what you see in the chart below is an accident waiting to happen. The NASDAQ’s all-time high is being propped up by a massive bubble in a few stocks, while what is happening down below is more like a foretaste of things to come. To wit-
More crazy still, during the three years in which the index of America’s main street small and mid-cap stocks has gone nowhere, the total return (price plus coupon) on the 30-year UST has been a staggering 43%; and in the case of the zero-coupon 30-year UST, the return has been 56%.
Now that’s just nuts. Given the egregious fiscal breakdown and the near $80 trillion of public and private debt weighing down upon the nation’s faltering economy, owners of long-term bonds should be facing severe capital losses, not insanely massive capital gains on top of essentially nonexistent coupons.
Likewise, you have Tesla trading at 288X its pittance of free cash flow and valued more highly than Toyota for the same reason that bond prices are soaring irrationally: Namely, unhinged speculation on Wall Street that is being fueled by grotesque infusions of central bank liquidity.
That’s also why in the face of a quarter in which GDP is slated to plunge by upwards of 40%, the Dow booked its best quarter in 33 years; the S&P 500 posted its best performance since 1998; and the NASDAQ had its biggest increase since 1999 – jumping 39 percent in just three months.
Indeed, the chart below is truly grotesque by any other name. The 4-week moving average of continuing unemployment claims now stands at 19 million or at 6.1X its level at the start of 2013, when the NASDAQ composite stood at just 3,000.
Today it closed at 10,617 or 254% higher and because, why?
Netflix is worth $241 billion or 111X net income or an infinite multiple of free cash flow, of which it has generated negative $11 billion during the last 5 years?
In fact, the above chart actually understates the case because – surprise – the financial press doesn’t even report the correct figures for the number of US workers on the unemployment dole at the present time.
In addition to the 18.56 million of continuing claims reported yesterday under the standard state programs, there is another 14.36 million of so-called uncovered employees – gig workers, free lancers, temp agency contractors etc. – now getting the Federal pandemic unemployment assistance benefit (PUA) . That means at the time we are supposed to be sharply ascending the other side of the “V”, there are actually 32.92 million workers lounging at home and collecting unemployment benefits in lieu of a paycheck.
As Wolf Richter recently demonstrated, there are now nearly 2X more workers getting UI checks than the 17.75 million unemployed workers the BLS reported for June.
That’s right. We have repeatedly reminded that the BLS does not arrive at its jobs and unemployment numbers by counting; it generates them by modeling, and when the economy is at a big inflection point, to say nothing of the unprecedented turmoil of the moment, its models are not worth the digital ink they are printed on.
Stated differently, it do make a difference that 15.2 million workers no longer on the job are not accounted for in the BLS ballyhooed monthly jobs report.
In short, the whole shebang is on a razor’s edge and there is nothing much immediately ahead except opportunities for the whole system to go tilt.
For instance, the SBA payroll protection program (PPP), which has already shelled out an incredible $521 billion to nearly 5 million US businesses will expire next month, while the $600 per week Federal supplement to average state UI checks of $500 per week will expire at the end of July.
What this means is that the whole economy is floating on a massive air mattress of government subsidies and transfer payments which could suddenly evaporate if Washington becomes politically paralyzed; and, in any event, can’t be sustained much longer as a matter of sheer fiscal math.
For want of doubt, here again is the craziest upheaval of income flows to the household sector in all of economic history. To wit, paychecks (brown line) are now running $524 billion below year ago levels, while transfer payments (purple line) are running an incredible $2.13 trillion higher.
Self-evidently, without this massive injection of borrowed money, which in turn was 100% monetized by the Federal Reserve, household spending and confidence would have imploded weeks ago. In fact, it is only the likes of June’s $863 budget deficit that has prevented the outbreak of economic and social chaos.
So what happens next?
We’d say nothing very pleasant. Congress will be in recess until the last week of July, and the two parties have not yet begun to reconcile the Everything Bailout 4.0 passed by the House Dems with a price tag of $3.0 trillion and the GOP/White House position, where the Great Capitulator, Senate Leader McConnell, has drawn a wobbly line in the sand at just another, well, $1.0 trillion (on top of the $3.3 trillion that has already been approved).
But consider just one of the thorny issues that will take until at least Labor Day to solve, if at all. Namely, extension of the greatest incentive for unemployment ever conceived in the form of the $600 per week Federal supplement to regular state UI benefits.
Together, the state plus Federal dole now amounts on average to a $57,000 wage at annualized rates.
Of course, there are 80 million jobs in America or 50% of the total which pay under $45,000 per year – so when we say perverse moral hazard that’s exactly what we mean.
Apparently, Stevie Mnuchin, the Donald’s hapless “watchdog” at the US Treasury has finally sobered-up, recently insisting that the impending Everything Bailout 4.0 must ” limit the UI top up”:
Any extension would ensure that jobless benefits would be “no more than 100%” of what workers were earning, Mnuchin said.
“We knew there was a problem with enhanced unemployment in that certain cases people were paid more than they made in their jobs,” he said. “We’ll fix that and we’ll figure out an extension to it that works for companies and works for those people who will still be unemployed.”
Well, goodness me, yes.
A National Bureau of Economic Research working paper by researchers at the University of Chicago found that
68% of unemployed workers who are eligible for unemployment insurance will get benefits exceeding their lost earnings;
Then you have the collapse of state and local revenues, thank you Lockdown Nation, where the Dems want to toss $1 trillion of money Uncle Sam doesn’t have into the kitty to help tide them over and preserve the mostly higher paying 18 million jobs dependent on state and local payrolls.
The run-rate of state and local receipts was $1.907 trillion during Q1 2020, but is slated to drop by at least 20% or $400 billion during the current quarter, and continue to bleed profusely for many more quarters to follow. Again, the Red State/Blue State mud-wrestling match over the amount of and allocation formula for the proposed Federal bailout will be one for the ages, which also won’t make the finish line by Labor day or even Election day.
And then comes a food fight over extending the rottenest boondoggle ever conceived in Washington – the PPP programs that has already showered helicopter money on 4.9 million businesses. Notable recipients include:
In short, this thing smells so bad that our Capitol Hill legislators will have to wear oxygen masks to the negotiating table, and not because of the Covid.
And yet, and yet, the robo-machines and boys and girls on Wall Street keep buying the dip because, apparently, all will be well if the Fed just keeps on printing, Washington keeps on borrowing and speculators keep on pretending that the Virus Patrol is actually battling the Covid.
We’ll take the unders. Big Time.
This article was reprinted with permission from David Stockman's Contra-Corner.
David Stockman began his career in Washington as a young man and quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. Stockman is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.