News for progressives

@NPR Tries and Fails To Connect ‘Slow Moving Hurricanes’ Like #Dorian to

Lew Rockwell - Thu, 2019-09-05 11:01

Since Dorian didn’t cause any significant U.S. death and devastation that the MSM was looking forward to covering in the vein of “See, climate change!”. NPR had a go at it though, citing a NOAA study that is nothing more than an exercise in cherry picking data. The slow movement of Hurricane Dorian prompted the search for connections.

Is Climate Change Contributing To Slower Moving Hurricanes?

NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to atmospheric scientist Jim Kossin of NOAA about why more hurricanes like Dorian are moving at slower speeds, and if that has anything to do with climate change. Link to audio interview.

The study cited has data that produces this graph, prepared by “Inside Climate News” one of Tom Steyer’s well funded PR outlets if I recall correctly. They wrote:

Hurricane Dorian’s slow, destructive track through the Bahamas fits a pattern scientists have been seeing over recent decades, and one they expect to continue as the planet warms: hurricanes stalling over coastal areas and bringing extreme rainfall.

Recent research shows that more North Atlantic hurricanes have been stalling as Dorian did, leading to more extreme rainfall. Their average forward speed has also decreased by 17 percent—from 11.5 mph, to 9.6 mph—from 1944 to 2017, according to a study published in June by federal scientists at NASA and NOAA.

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/03092019/hurricane-dorian-climate-change-stall-record-wind-speed-rainfall-intensity-global-warming-bahamas

Note the starting point, 1944. Also note that the majority of “slow moving hurricanes” are during the satellite era, when hurricane tracking improved by at least an order of magnitude.

“Climate Denial Crock of the Week” producer, Peter Sinclair jumped all over this of course on Twitter “See, climate change!” But atmospheric scientist Wei Zhang would have none of it.

Read the Whole Article

The post @NPR Tries and Fails To Connect ‘Slow Moving Hurricanes’ Like #Dorian to appeared first on LewRockwell.

15 Reasons You Should Be Drinking Lemon Water Every Morning

Lew Rockwell - Thu, 2019-09-05 11:01

If you are looking for an easy trick to improve your life and overall health, than look no further. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning is a pretty simple routine to get into and will have tremendous effects on your overall health.

Since I started this simple and surprisingly healthy habit a few years ago, I definitely noticed the difference. Not only does the refreshing taste wake me up in the morning, it helps to kick start digestion and finalizes my body’s natural detoxification processes… And lemons are packed with vitamin C, B, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, enzymes, antioxidants, and fibers.

According to the Ayurvedic philosophy, choices you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to diseases or tear it down.

So what are you waiting for to jump start your day with this incredible easy morning routine. Its benefits are endless and I listed the 15 most important ones for you in this article.

1.    Improves Digestion

Lemon juice has a similar structure to your stomach’s juices and helps to loosen and flush out toxins from the digestive tract. Lemon juice can help ease indigestion, heartburn, and bloating. It also helps to move your bowels in the morning, hydrates your colon, stimulate bile production, and infuses water in your stool.

2.    Boost Immune System.

Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immunes system and fights cold and flu. But not only vitamin C is important for a good working immune system, iron is another important nutrient, and lemons improve the ability to absorb more iron from the food you eat.

3.    Hydrates Your Body

It is important to stay hydrated. Especially during the summer months. Plain water is best, but many people find this boring and are not drinking enough of it. That’s where lemon comes into play to make things more interesting. So feel free to not only start your day with lemon water, but drink as many glasses as you wish during the day to stay hydrated.

4.    Boost Energy

Lemon water gives you an instant boost of energy and improves your mood right at the start of your day.

5.    Promote Healthy And Rejuvenated Skin

Lemons are a rich sources of antioxidants that prevent free radical damage. These free radicals are responsible for pre-mature aging of your skin. Vitamin C helps to maintain your skin’s elasticity to prevent the formation of wrinkles and decrease blemishes.

6.    Reduce Inflammation

Lemons have the ability to remove uric acid from your joints. Uric acid built-ups are one of the major causes of inflammation.

7.    Weight Loss Aid

Although lemon water on its own is no weight loss miracle, it can definitely help you to achieve faster and long term results. Lemons assist in fighting hunger cravings, boost metabolism, and give you a stuffed feeling, making it less likely to snack in between meals.

8.    Alkalize Your Body

Although lemons have a sour taste, they are one of the most alkalizing food sources on Earth. Too much acids can cause inflammation, obesity, and major diseases like cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. to learn more about the importance of alkalizing your body.

Read the Whole Article

The post 15 Reasons You Should Be Drinking Lemon Water Every Morning appeared first on LewRockwell.

Did CBD Shrink This Woman’s Ovarian Cancer?

Lew Rockwell - Thu, 2019-09-05 11:01

Doctors claim a woman has been virtually ‘cured’ her ovarian cancer – after shunning traditional treatment and taking CBD oil and apricot extract instead.

The ‘dramatic response’ has been documented by surgeons at the University of California, San Diego.

Most doctors warn against eschewing traditional treatments for alternative therapies, but are open to complementary alternative medicine, often referred to as CAM.

But after being diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer that responds poorly to treatment, one 81-year-old woman elected to have surgery, but forego standard chemo.

Instead she started on a regimen of cannabidiol (CBD) and amygdaline, a bitter substance found in fruits that turns to a form of cyanide thought to kill cancer cells.

By November 2018, to the doctors’ amazement, the unnamed woman’s tumors had all but disappeared, they reported last month in the journal Gynecologic Oncology Reports. 

For most patients with most cancers, it would be ill-advised to use alternative therapies in the place of standard treatment, but this unique scenario could provide unique insights into potentials for CBD in oncology.

UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES MEANT CHEMO WAS UNLIKELY TO HELP  

The woman went to see her GP in March 2017, initially suspecting a hernia.

By April 2017 she’d been diagnosed with ‘low grade serous ovarian cancer’, aka LGSOC, a relatively rare form of ovarian cancer that often doesn’t respond well to chemotherapy.

She had ‘multiple’ tumors, ranging from 7 mm to 7cm in size and referred to the UC San Diego School of Medicine.

But Dr Ramez Eskander says: ‘After extensive counseling, the patient declined all interventions due to concerns regarding quality of life and treatment toxicity.’

Instead she, ‘elected to pursue alternative therapy’ and started taking CBD oil – aka ‘cannabidiol’ – each evening, as well as ‘Laetrile’ or amygdalin tablets – which contain a compound found in the seeds of certain fruits, such as apricots, and thought by some to have cancer-fighting properties.

And what happened next stunned the medics.

Read the Whole Article

The post Did CBD Shrink This Woman’s Ovarian Cancer? appeared first on LewRockwell.

Last update on Hurricane Dorian

Vineyard of the Saker - Thu, 2019-09-05 10:57
Dear friends It’s over, Dorian never made landfall (at least not in Florida) and we are now out of danger. We are pretty exhausted though, so while I will be

The Future Of The Spectacle... Or How The West Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Reality Police

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 10:55

Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins via Off-Guardian.org,

If you want a vision of the future, don’t imagine “a boot stamping on a human face — for ever,” as Orwell suggested in 1984. Instead, imagine that human face staring mesmerized into the screen of some kind of nifty futuristic device on which every word, sound, and image has been algorithmically approved for consumption by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”) and its “innovation ecosystem” of “academic, corporate, and governmental partners.”

The screen of this futuristic device will offer a virtually unlimited range of “non-divisive” and “hate-free” content, none of which will falsify or distort the “truth,” or in any way deviate from “reality.”

Western consumers will finally be free to enjoy an assortment of news, opinion, entertainment, and educational content (like this Guardian podcast about a man who gave birth, or MSNBC’s latest bombshell about Donald Trump’s secret Russian oligarch backers) without having their enjoyment totally ruined by discord-sowing alternative journalists like Aaron Maté or satirists like myself.

“Fake news” will not appear on this screen. All the news will be “authentic.” DARPA and its partners will see to that. You won’t have to worry about being “influenced” by Russians, Nazis, conspiracy theorists, socialists, populists, extremists, or whomever.

Persons of Malicious Intent will still be able to post their content (because of “freedom of speech” and all that stuff), but they will do so down in the sewers of the Internet where normal consumers won’t have to see it.

Anyone who ventures down there looking for it (i.e., such “divisive” and “polarizing” content) will be immediately placed on an official DARPA watchlist for “potential extremists,” or “potential white supremacists,” or “potential Russians.”

Once that happens, their lives will be over (ie, the lives of the potentially extremist fools who have logged onto whatever dark web platform will still be posting essays like this, not the lives of the Persons of Malicious Intent, who never had any lives to begin with, and who by that time will probably be operating out of some heavily armed, off-the-grid compound in Idaho).

Their schools, employers, and landlords will be notified. Their photos and addresses will be published online. Anyone who ever said two words to them (or, God help them, appears in a photograph with them) will have 24 hours to publicly denounce them, or be placed on DARPA’s watchlist themselves.

Meanwhile, up where the air is clean, Western consumers will sit in their cubicles, or stagger blindly down the sidewalk like zombies, or come barrel-assing at you on their pink corporate scooters, staring down at the screens of their devices, where normal reality will be unfolding.

They will stare at their screens at their dinner tables, in restaurants, in bed, and everywhere else. Every waking hour of their lives will be spent consuming the all-consuming, smiley, happy, global capitalist Spectacle, every empty moment of which will be monitored and pre-approved by DARPA.

What a relief that will finally be, not to have to question anything, or wonder what is real and what isn’t.

When the corporate media tell us the Russians hacked an election,...or the Vermont power grid, ...or are blackmailing the president with an FSB pee-tape,

...or that the non-corporate media are all “propaganda peddlers,”

...or that the Labour Party is a hive of anti-Semites,

...or that some boogeyman has WMDs, or is yanking little babies out of their incubators, or gratuitously gassing them, or attacking us with crickets,

...or that someone secretly met with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy,

...or that we’re being attacked by Russian spy whales, and suddenly self-radicalized Nazi terrorists,

...or it’s time for the “International Community” to humanitarianly intervene because “our house is burning,” and our world is on fire, and there are “concentration camps,” and a “coup in Great Britain”…

...or whatever ass-puckering apocalyptic panic the global capitalist ruling classes determine they need to foment that day, we will know that this news has been algorithmically vetted and approved by DARPA and its corporate, academic, and government partners, and thus, is absolutely “real” and “true,” or we wouldn’t be seeing it on the screen of our devices.

If you think this vision is science fiction, or dystopian satire, think again. Or read this recent article in Bloomberg, “U.S. Unleashes Military to Fight Fake News, Disinformation.”

Here’s the lede to get you started …

Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel ‘large-scale, automated disinformation attacks’…the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips. If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society…”

What could be more reassuring than the knowledge that DARPA and its corporate partners will be scanning the entire Internet for content created with “malicious intent,” or which has the potential to “polarize” society, and making sure we never see that stuff? If they can’t do it, I don’t know who can.

They developed the Internet, after all.

I’m not exactly sure how they did it, but Yasha Levine wrote a book about it, which I think we’re still technically allowed to read.

Anyway, according to the Bloomberg article, DARPA and its corporate partners won’t have the system up and running in time for the 2020 elections, so the Putin-Nazis will probably win again.

Which means we are looking at four more years of relentless Russia and fascism hysteria, and fake news and divisive content hysteria, and anti-Semitism and racism hysteria, and … well, basically, general apocalyptic panic over anything and everything you can possibly think of.

Believe me, I know, that prospect is exhausting … but the global capitalist ruling classes need to keep everyone whipped up into a shrieking apoplectic frenzy over anything other than global capitalism until they can win the War on Populism and globally implement the New Normality, after which the really serious reality policing can finally begin.

I don’t know, call me crazy, or a Person of Malicious Intent, but I think I’d prefer that boot in the face.

Japanese Beer Exports To South Korea Plunge 97% As Trade Tensions Intensify

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 10:35

In the latest sign that the trade spat between Japan and South Korea is intensifying, South Korean imports of Japanese beer have fallen 97% in August, according to a local newspaper report that was picked up by Bloomberg.

South Korea imported only $223,000 worth of Japanese beer in the month, down from $7.57 million a year earlier, according to the Maeil Business Newspaper, which cited preliminary data from Korea Customs Service.

During every year since 2010, Japan has occupied the No. 1 spot for South Korea, with sales surging more than 6x by 2018 to $78.3 million.

The boycott of Japanese goods has spread since Tokyo first imposed export restrictions on key chip materials in July, and worsened as the spat grew to include South Korea’s preferential trade status and an intelligence-sharing agreement.

Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., Kirin Holdings Co. and Sapporo Holdings Ltd., Japan's largest publicly-traded breweries, all export beer to South Korea. And all have identified the South Korean market as having major growth potential.

Consumer-facing brands have been hit particularly hard, with consumers boycotting clothing from Fast Retailing Co.’s Uniqlo, and sales of Japanese cars also falling. Tourism to Japan, a key economic driver of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, has also been impacted as Korean tourists cancel travel plans and airlines scale back flights.

Some contend that trade wars have no winners. However, shares in South Korean brewer Hite Jinro Co. have risen to their highest level in more than a year as its new year has sold remarkably well.

Non-Elite Humans Are Daring To Create Their Own Narratives

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 10:15

Authored by Michael Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Somewhere between the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein and his extremely suspicious death in a Department of Justice operated prison, the public learned that an FBI intelligence bulletin published by the bureau’s Phoenix field office mentioned for the first time that conspiracy theories pose a domestic terrorism threat. This was followed up last week by a Bloomberg article discussing a new project by the U.S. military (DARPA) to identify fake news and disinformation.

We learned:

Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks,” as the top Republican in Congress blocks efforts to protect the integrity of elections.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, videos and audio clips. If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society.

Recall that after the 2016 election, focus was on social media companies and we saw tremendous pressure placed on these platforms by national security state politicians and distressed Democrats to “do something” about the supposed fake news epidemic. Fast forward three years and it’s now apparently the U.S. military’s job to police human content on the internet. This is the sort of natural regression a society will witness so long as it puts up with incremental censorship and the demonization of any thought which goes against the official narrative.

Before we dissect what’s really going on, allow me to point out the glaringly obvious, which is that politicians, pundits, mass media and the U.S. military don’t actually care about the societal harm of fake news or conspiracy theories. We know this based on how the media sold government lies in order to advocate for the Iraq war, and how many of the biggest proponents of that blatant war crime have gone on to spectacularly lucrative careers in subsequent years. There were zero consequences, proving the point that this has nothing to do with the dangers of fake news or conspiracy theories, and everything to do with protecting the establishment grip on narrative creation and propagation.

The worst kinds of crimes are those which impact millions of people, but we never properly prosecute those crimes because it's billionaires and governments who commit them.

— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) August 28, 2019

The above tweet summarizes what’s really going on. It’s a provable fact that the harm caused by some crazy person reacting to viral “fake news” on social media doesn’t compare with the destruction and criminality perpetrated by oligarchs like Jeffrey Epstein, or governments which destroy entire countries and murder millions without flinching. It’s the extremely wealthy and powerful, as a consequence of their societal status and influence, who are in a position to do the most harm. This isn’t debatable, yet the U.S. military and media don’t seem particularly bothered by this sort of thing. What really keeps them up at night is a realization that the powerless masses of humanity are suddenly talking to one another across borders and coming to their own conclusions about how the world works. You’re supposed to be told what to think, not to think for yourself.

This is what the power structure’s really worried about.

It’s terrified that billions of people are now in direct, instantaneous communication with one another and thinking independently about world events. The mass media’s freakout over the election of Donald Trump was never rooted in concerns about the man and his specific policies. What really bothered them was his election proved they no longer matter. Enough people simply ignored the media’s instructions to suck it up and go vote for Hillary Clinton. This repudiation and loss of control was devastating and terrifying for U.S. media personalities and their bosses.

At this point, it’s important to note that what’s happening is exactly what you’d expect after half the people on earth come online and start talking to one another in the midst of an oligarch-fueled epidemic of gangsterism masquerading as democratic government. The advent of the internet created the conditions for cross-border, near instantaneous, peer-to-peer human communication for the first time in history.

We’re still in the very early stages of discovering what it means to live in such a world, but what you’d expect to emerge is precisely what we’ve seen. We see countless streams of diverse narratives emerging to explain what’s happening around us and how power really operates. Humans are no longer accepting the narratives force-fed to them via mass media channels, and are instead talking directly to one another and creating their own narratives. This is exactly how it should be.

Meanwhile, into this increasingly disruptive environment comes the Epstein affair, which I consider another major inflection point in the public’s increased and justified cynicism about the establishment. While the mass media swallows the increasingly clownish official story hook, line and sinker, the public simply isn’t buying it according to recent polls. The most recent one from Emerson College showed that more people think he was murdered than think he committed suicide.

“For most of the last 50 years, 60-80% of the country believe in some form of JFK conspiracy theory.”

Similarly, more people think Epstein was murdered than think he committed suicide, yet mass media pretends these are fringe views. They are not fringe, they are mainstream. pic.twitter.com/a4kDBVucbH

— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) September 2, 2019

Alternative narratives are openly, and often successfully, competing with the spoon-fed narratives of mass media. Increased numbers are coming to understand that those who craft official narratives (government, mass media, billionaires) have their own interests, and those interests are typically not aligned with the interests of most people. There’s no reason to trust anything mass media or government says, because both groups are dominated by proven liars and war mongers. This obviously doesn’t mean you should believe everything you read online, but we must maintain perspective. Fake news from powerless citizens doesn’t compete with fake news from the government when it comes to disastrous consequences, yet the focus is always centered on the former and never the latter.

There’s a reason the U.S. military is suddenly talking about fighting fake news and disinformation, and the reason is the power structure is terrified of humans talking to each another and coming to their own conclusions. Moreover, this isn’t limited to an interpretation of world events. The emergence and success of Bitcoin represents a global movement of humans propagating an alternative narrative about money, how it could and how it should work. The longer human beings are allowed to freely talk to one another, the more likely they are to reject official narratives and shape society in a more sane manner. This represents an existential threat to the power structure. And they know it.

It’s also why CNN anchor Chris Cuomo instructed his viewers to not pay attention to those who were closest to Jeffrey Epstein.

Most of you understand CNN is status quo protecting garbage, but I need to highlight the following clip. This is by @ChrisCuomo, watch as he instructs viewers not to focus on who was close friends with Epstein. You cannot make this up:https://t.co/r02kK9wSrr

— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) August 28, 2019

Now the good news. I think the cat’s already out of the bag. People aren’t going back to simply swallowing official narratives regurgitated by some television mannequin with makeup and an expensive suit who’s being paid by a billionaire. This doesn’t mean there won’t be a fight, in fact, we’re already in it.

Going forward, I suspect the narrative managers will more aggressively label anyone who doesn’t toe the official line as somehow linked to or sympathetic with foreign governments. They won’t offer any proof, but they’ll claim it authoritatively. This will become an increasingly potent weapon as governments begin to more intensely scapegoat foreign nations as the root of all our problems. We’ve already seen this since the 2016 election, but I expect it to increase in frequency and force.

As such, it’s going to be increasingly important for all of us to retain control of our minds and emotions as much as possible. We must never forget the importance of critical thinking, and must adamantly defend the right of humans to talk to one another freely and come to our own conclusions. We must never forget how preposterous it is to assume media giants owned by billionaires have any interest in telling us the truth about anything.

So keep writing, keep talking, keep thinking and never lose sight of the big picture. We have the power to create our own narratives, and with it, a much better future for generations to come.

*  *  *

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Trump Bombs New Silk Road with Tariffs

Greanville Post - Thu, 2019-09-05 10:11
GLEN FORD—Now comes Trump, demanding that those fantastic fortune-making supply lines be dismantled, forthwith. Trump may truly believe he is dealing a crushing blow to China – who knows what facsimiles of thoughts infest his race-corroded brain? -- but it is far too late. China’s economy is already 25 times bigger than the U.S., based on purchasing power parity, the favored measuring standard of international economists, and is predicted to become twice as large as the U.S. economy in the next decade.

Bitcoin Miners Are Headed To This Siberian Town For Cheap Electricity 

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 09:55

Bitcoin miners are flocking to abandoned Soviet-era factories in Eastern Siberia to take advantage of cheap hydroelectricity, reported Coindesk.

Several miners have already established operations in Bratsk, an industrial city in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, located on Angara River near the vast Bratsk Reservoir. These miners are taking advantage of cold temperatures and inexpensive hydroelectricity. 

Bratsk is centered on an industrial region that was intended for the Soviet Union to produce weapons. But since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the area has remained unproductive, without sustainable industry until now. 

"The surplus of electric power in Russia is huge, due to the closure of some of the Soviet plants and to the fact that energy consumption, in general, became much more efficient over time," said Dmitry Ozersky, CEO of Eletro.Farm, a mining firm in Kazakhstan.

Coindesk said international mining firms have already established operations in Bratsk. Among them is BitRiver, a large scale mining data center, which has a total capacity of 100 megawatts per hour (MW/h) of electricity for its mining facility. 

BitRiver's presentation video on YouTube indicates that its power is generated by the Bratsk hydroelectric power station five miles away. 

A competitor of Bitriver called Minery also opened up mining operations in the area. The miner told Coindesk, "Siberia's climate makes it a no-brainer for choosing a mining host, providing natural cooling for most of the year." 

"The average temperature in winter in Bratsk is around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. In summer, it can get as hot as 77 degrees but mostly stays around the 60s, and the warm season (meaning when it's not freezing) lasts four or five months a year. The average annual temperature here is 28," said Coindesk.

There are over 18,000 application-specific integrated circuits (abbreviated as ASIC), otherwise known as miners, at Bitriver's facility in August, according to Dmitri Ushakov, its chief commercial officer. Ushakov said most of the machines belong to owners from two countries, Russia and the US.

Bitriver and Minery aren't the only miners in the region. The third notable miner is Cryptoreactor.

Crypto miners are taking full advantage of the city's light regulatory strategy, along with no federal laws that oversee miners. 

Hydroelectric power in Siberia is some of the cheapest in the world, about 3.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, less expensive than the US, China, Norway, and Canada. 

Bratsk mayor Sergey Serebrennikov told Coindesk that crypto mining is revitalizing the local economy. Serebrennikov said:

"It's an absolutely new part of the economy and commerce in Bratsk, and for us, this project is interesting in every regard. It's providing new jobs and new big taxes paid to the city budget." 

Besides Iran, Iceland, and Venezuela, who all have cheaper per kilowatt-hour rates than Bratsk, it sure seems that Eastern Siberia could be one of the top regions in the world to mine. 

Gundlach Indicator: Treasury Yields And Copper-Gold Ratio Plummet

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 09:35

Authored by Richard Baker via Kitco,

Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine Capital LP (DoubleLine), noted in his 2017 forecast that the copper-to-gold ratio was a "fantastic" indicator of interest rates. I have since written a number of Kitco commentaries on the stunning relation of the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield with copper and gold prices. High-fidelity yield models are often possible on a short- and even longer-term basis. During times when the copper-gold ratio diverges from the 10-year yield, the rise or fall of the former usually portends a rise or fall of the latter. (Kitco commentary July 1, 2019).

Source: Bloomberg

Since this spring, Treasury yields and the copper-to-gold ratio have plummeted. How is the Gundlach indicator performing now?

Jeffrey Mayberry, Co-Portfolio Manager of the DoubleLine Strategic Commodity Fund, has studied the relationship in great depth and makes this important observation:

The ratio’s absolute level is irrelevant. What matters is its direction – and whether the yield on the 10-year Treasury moved in the same direction or diverged. In past episodes of divergence, the 10-year yield has eventually tended to follow suit of copper-gold ("The Power of Copper-Gold: A Leading Indicator for the 10-year Treasury Yield," Jeffrey Mayberry, DoubleLine Funds)

Loren Fleckenstein, one of the crew at DoubleLine®, invited me to Los Angeles last month to further discuss and explore the copper-gold ratio tie to interest rates. Their two-level office space on the 18th floor of the Wells Fargo Building has sweeping views of the faraway Hollywood sign to the northwest and Los Angeles City Hall to the northeast. Located atop Bunker Hill, it is across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art and the famous “Angel’s Flight” funicular railway. A creative and innovative environment with a top-of-the-line trading floor on the second tier.

I met with Jeffrey Sherman, Deputy Chief Investment Officer of DoubleLine, Jeffrey Mayberry and Loren Fleckenstein to show them my latest models and analysis tools applied to the copper-gold indicator. Below is an update of two of the charts in that presentation.

Correlation Map Indicates Strong Persistence

A correlation map is a powerful technique for detecting changing directional behavior between two market variables. Figure 1 is the 3-month (Y-axis) and 1-month (X-axis) rolling Pearson correlations of the copper-to-gold ratio (CGR) and the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield.

Figure 1 – Copper-to-Gold Ratio & 10-year U.S. Treasury yield Correlation

The correlation trajectory of Figure 1 begins April 18, 2019 during a period of divergence between the ratio and yields. Starting in the lower-right quadrant, 3-month correlations are negative; and 1-month, positive. The positive short-term correlations eventually pull the longer-term positive as the trajectory enters the upper-right quadrant on May 10.

From this point forward, the correlations of each time period increase positively (arrow #1) until both exceed +0.8. When short- and longer-term correlations have the same sign, we say the relation exhibits “persistent” correlation (shaded upper-right quadrant indicates positive persistence). Data concentrated in the +0.8 by +0.8 box indicates “high persistence density” (darker shaded area).

Construction of a high-fidelity yield model is possible for cases of positive correlation persistence with improving accuracy given high persistence density.

Figure 1 indicates weakening of the 1-month correlation (arrow #2) which briefly turned negative until a July 26th reversal. A quick return to the +0.8 box in late-August (arrow #2) follows.

In terms of Mr. Mayberry’s definition, the relationship has moved from weak divergence to a strong directional behavior between interest rates and the copper-gold ratio – a correlation journey from mid-April to late-August.

High-Fidelity 3-Month Yield Model

Figure 2 is a 3-month regression model of 10-year U.S. Treasury yields based on the ratio of copper and gold prices as of Friday's close, August 30.

Figure 2 – U.S. 10-year Treasury yield model based on Comex copper & gold prices

Reassuringly, the high correlation persistence shown in Figure 1 results in the high-fidelity model of Figure 2. The R2, or “goodness-of-fit,” is a respectable 0.905 with a statistical error less than 7 basis points (bps). The model also provides upper and lower 2-standard deviation (2-s) bounds for yields. The lower bound of 1.427% is a sobering reminder of how far yields have fallen and may continue to drop.

Ongoing geopolitical concerns, slowing global growth and uncertainty about U.S./China trade relations have caused a decrease in the CGR and decline in U.S. Treasury yields. As market participants run to safe havens like gold and U.S. Treasurys, they typically retreat from “risk-on” assets like copper. Rising gold and declining copper prices lower the CGR while higher bond prices produce lower yields. At last week’s close, the CGR was at a lowly 0.01668 or, in reciprocal, an historically elevated 599 pounds per ounce. The 10-year Treasury plumbed 1.506%, only 6 bps above the August 28 three-year low.

Hats off to the DoubleLine team for discovering a leading market indicator with proven performance in troubled markets. The market events since spring provide further testament to that record.

WaPo Warns USA Needs More Narrative Control As Pentagon Ramps Up Narrative Control

Greanville Post - Thu, 2019-09-05 09:29
CAITLIN JOHNSTONE—A recent Bloomberg article titled “U.S. Unleashes Military to Fight Fake News, Disinformation” reports that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding a new project called the Semantic Forensics program with which “the military research agency hopes it can spot fake news with malicious intent before going viral.” “If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society,” Bloomberg reports. DARPA (formerly ARPA) is a top contender among some very stiff competition for the absolute creepiest of all US government agencies. Journalist Yasha Levine has done a lot of work documenting the way the agency has been intimately involved in internet surveillance since before the internet was even really a thing.

Futures Soar, Yields Jump After China, US Agree To Resume Trade Talks In October

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 09:16

S&P futures surged and 10Y yields jumped after China's CCTV reported that its top trade negotiators will travel to Washington in early October for talks with U.S. counterparts, to resume trade war negotiations. The decision came after an early Thursday phone call Beijing time between Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and the USTR Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, according to a statement from China’s commerce ministry.

Other Chinese officials, including Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, central bank governor Yi Gang and Ning Jizhe, the deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, also joined the phone call, CCTV reported.

In the lead up to the talks, lower-level officials will have "serious" discussions this month to prepare for the talks, which incidentally were expected to begin in September.

However, for headline-scanning algos, October is even more bullish than September as equity futures went vertical on the news, spiked the Emini by 26 points to 2,965, just 2% away from all time highs, and the Dow was some 250 point higher.

Treasury yields spiked as well, with the 30Y US Treasury rising back over 2.00%

Meanwhile, the offshore Chinese yuan jumped as low as 7.12, its highest level since last week's sharp drop on the escalation in tariffs...

... while gold slumped even though the dollar barely budged on the news.

So is this just more posturing by both sides, when both Washington and Beijing know very well that a real deal is impossible? The answer is most likely yes, although the CCTV report said both sides agreed to make concrete efforts to create positive conditions to continue dialogue.

That said, prepare for more deja vu disappointment: after their previous phone call, Donald Trump said the two sides would meet in September. Instead, since then, both countries have increased tariffs on imports of each other’s products, and China has said it would not make concessions because of US pressure.

New US Embassy's Massive 20-foot 'Defense Wall' Has Enraged Jerusalem Residents

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 09:15

As if the US embassy's move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in recognition of the US designating the ancient city Israel's capital wasn't contentious enough, a local controversy has exploded after the soon to be completed embassy compound's perimeter wall began to be constructed. 

Both Arab and Jewish residents in the area are outraged at the mammoth 5.8 meter high 'defense wall' going up (or nearly 20 feet) in the south Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona. 

19-foot wall being erected along the future US Embassy complex, current site of the consulate. Image source: Haaretz/Emil Salman.

Residents say the giant structure in their midst has marred the neighborhood and obstructed surrounding views. According to a report in Haaretz, the wall was originally slated to be 3.2 meters high, but weeks ago the US embassy petitioned Israel's Defense Ministry to double the height, which was granted. 

Neighborhood activists are also outraged at the ease of the wall's approval, given the normally very strict standards in place limiting any construction or upgrade to residential buildings, given the area is zoned for conservation. 

Haaretz further reports that every request of the Americans seems to have been granted based on special 'exemption' status: "The Americans demanded that an escape road be built, with a concrete wall around it, and queried the Foreign Ministry, which in turn approached the Finance Ministry" — all of which was approved, according to the report.

The quiet, upscale neighborhood of Arnona in south Jerusalem. Image source: Reuters

Community leaders have reportedly issued angry formal complaints to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Ambassador David Friedman and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, over the obtrusive wall. American diplomatic officials have said such a protective wall is standard for US embassy compounds in many countries, especially in high security risk regions.  

“We, residents of Talpiot Arnona, were shocked to discover that on Kfar Etzion Street in our neighborhood a 5-meter-high (!) wall is to go up that will completely block our access to the view that is part of our lives in the area,” local Israeli community leaders wrote in a widely circulated petition.

Work on the complex is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, however, a search for permanent future embassy site is expected to continue. Last year the New York Times described of the current site where the wall is being erected:

The ambassador’s new quarters — really, a provisional office until a full-fledged embassy building is erected — will be located in what is now the consular services section of the United States Consulate General, a low-lying, fortresslike compound. It is half-hidden down a steep incline off a quiet, residential street a few miles south of the Old City. Not much can be seen from the road, apart from a large American flag flying from the rooftop.

The quiet, upscale neighborhood of Arnona in south Jerusalem, via Wiki Commons.

Locals currently petitioning against the wall said the US embassy and Israeli authorities were “using the pretext of ‘defense,’ but any rational person knows that to the south the building is completely exposed to an Arab village, while we’re required to pay a heavy price in quality of life for something that has no purpose or logic.”

However, we doubt Netanyahu or high officials will bat an eye given Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital was among the Israeli PM's biggest achievements of his multiple terms in office. No Israeli leader is going to jeopardize that based on a wall or changes to the skyline. 

Mighty Israeli Army Abandoned Military Facility After Hezbollah ATGM Strike

Vineyard of the Saker - Thu, 2019-09-05 09:03
https://southfront.org/war-report-mighty-israeli-army-abandoned-military-facility-after-hezbollah-atgm-strike/ The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) abandoned their military facility at Avivim in Upper Galilee, which had been targeted by Hezbollah anti-tank guided missile strike. According to a released video,

Dissent Is Being Criminalized Right Under Our Noses

Greanville Post - Thu, 2019-09-05 08:56
MIKE SIEGEL—The proposed bill would create a broad definition of “domestic terrorism” to include any attempt to “affect” or “influence” government policy or actions. And it would include property damage—even attempted property damage—as a terrorist act subject to a 25-year prison sentence. In other words, if you opposed the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock and wanted the government to revoke the pipeline permit, you might be considered a terrorist. If you painted “Black Lives Matter” on a wall to advocate against police violence, that could be terrorism, too.

Social Credit System: Facial Recognition Cameras Monitor Chinese Students' Behavior In Class

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 08:55

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A university in China has installed facial recognition cameras in classrooms that monitor students’ behavior such as nodding off or playing with their cellphones.

China Pharmaceutical University in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province, is piloting the system in two classrooms and eventually plans to install it in every classroom.

“The system can access every student’s personal information and monitor their behavior in class such as nodding off and playing with their mobile phones,” reports Global Times.

The cameras can also record truancy, whether students are listening or not, how often they look up and down, and whether they leave early.

Students complain the system is an invasion of their privacy, but school officials insist the cameras are necessary to encourage discipline.

Under China’s Orwellian social credit system, all such systems are eventually planned to be centralized and linked to each citizen’s individual credit score, resulting in rewards and punishments for good and bad behavior.

As we reported last month, the Chinese government bragged about preventing 2.5 million “discredited entities” from purchasing plane tickets and 90,000 people from buying high speed train tickets in the month of July alone.

The recent phenomenon of conservatives and dissidents being prevented from using paid services and having their bank accounts closed for their political opinions is a chilling reflection of how a similar system is being rolled out in the west.

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UAW Authorizes Union Leaders To Strike During Contract Negotiations With GM, Ford, & Fiat

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 08:35

The United Auto Workers have "overwhelmingly" authorized union leaders to strike during contact negotiations with GM, Ford and Fiat this year - a move that would likely throw a massive wrench in the already grinding gears of the auto industry, which is mired in global recession, according to CNBC

On Tuesday, the union announced that roughly 96% of members at each of the automakers supported the action. This number is down from negotiations four years ago, when workers at GM and Fiat supported a strike by 97% and 98%, respectively. 

GM is expected to lead the negotiations, which are being called "the most contentious in at least a decade" due to industry slowdowns and the ongoing trade war. Negotiations are also expected to be tough due to GM's plans to potentially shutter four U.S. facilities in Michigan and Ohio. 

At the same time, there is an ongoing (and widening) Federal probe into union corruption that resulted in UAW President Gary Jones' home being searched last week by federal officials. 

The probe has already resulted in convictions of eight union and company officials associated with Fiat. Charges were also filed against Michael Grimes, a former UAW official that was assigned to GM's department and who allegedly took $2 million in kickbacks from UAW vendors. Jones has not been charged. 

Any type of strike could be extremely detrimental to the industry, given its precarious state. For example, in 2007, a two day strike against GM stopped production at more than 80 facilities and cost the automaker more than $300 million a day. 

Negotiations this year will affect the wages and benefits for 158,000 auto workers and will lay out investment plans in coming years for the companies. Current contracts are set to expire on September 14, but this deadline is often pushed back weeks or months. 

Jones called the vote a "key tool in the toolbelt as our bargaining team sits across from the company."

Authorizing a strike through a vote is one of the "rudimentary" steps in the negotiating process and is part of the union's constitution. Results of the strike vote are almost always unanimous and don't mean that there is, or will be, a strike.

China And Iran Flesh Out Strategic Partnership

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Thu, 2019-09-05 08:15

Authored by Simon Watkins via Petroleum-Economist.com,

Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Zarif paid a visit to his Chinese counterpart Wang Li at the end of August to present a road map for the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership, signed in 2016.

The updated agreement echoes many of the points contained in previous China-Iran accords, and already in the public domain. However, many of the key specifics of this new understanding will not be released to the public, despite representing a potentially material shift to the global balance of the oil and gas sector, according to a senior source closely connected to Iran's petroleum ministry who spoke exclusively to Petroleum Economist in late August.

The central pillar of the new deal is that China will invest $280bn developing Iran's oil, gas and petrochemicals sectors. This amount may be front-loaded into the first five-year period of the deal but the understanding is that further amounts will be available in every subsequent five-year period, subject to both parties' agreement.

There will be another $120bn investment in upgrading Iran's transport and manufacturing infrastructure, which again can be front-loaded into the first five-year period and added to in each subsequent period should both parties agree.

Chinese presence

Among other benefits, Chinese companies will be given the first refusal to bid on any new, stalled or uncompleted oil and gasfield developments. Chinese firms will also have first refusal on opportunities to become involved with any and all petchems projects in Iran, including the provision of technology, systems, process ingredients and personnel required to complete such projects.

"This will include up to 5,000 Chinese security personnel on the ground in Iran to protect Chinese projects, and there will be additional personnel and material available to protect the eventual transit of oil, gas and petchems supply from Iran to China, where necessary, including through the Persian Gulf," says the Iranian source.

"China will also be able to buy any and all oil, gas and petchems products at a minimum guaranteed discount of 12pc to the six-month rolling mean price of comparable benchmark products, plus another 6pc to 8pc of that metric for risk-adjusted compensation."

Under the terms of the new agreement, Petroleum Economist understands, China will be granted the right to delay payment for Iranian production up to two years. China will also be able to pay in soft currencies that it has accrued from doing business in Africa and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) states, in addition to using renminbi should the need arise—meaning that no US dollars will be involved in these commodity transaction payments from China to Iran.

"Given the exchange rates involved in converting these soft currencies into hard currencies that Iran can obtain from its friendly Western banks—including Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank [in Germany], Oberbank [in Austria] and Halkbank [in Turkey]—China is looking at another 8-12pc discount [relative to the dollar price of the average benchmarks], which means a total discount of up to 32pc for China on all oil, gas and petchems purchases," the source says.

Another positive factor for China is that its close involvement in the build-out of Iran's manufacturing infrastructure will be entirely in line with its One Belt, One Road initiative. China intends to utilise the low cost labour available in Iran to build factories, designed and overseen by large Chinese manufacturing companies, with identical specifications and operations to those in China, according to the Iranian source.

Transport infrastructure

The resulting products will be able to enter Western markets via routes built or enhanced by China's increasing involvement in Iran's transport infrastructure. When the draft deal was presented in late August to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei by Iran's vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri—and senior figures from the Economic and Finance Ministry, the Petroleum Ministry and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—he announced that Iran had signed a contract with China to implement a project to electrify the main 900km railway connecting Tehran to the north-eastern city of Mashhad. Jahangiri added that there are also plans to establish a Tehran-Qom-Isfahan high-speed train line and to extend this upgraded network up to the north-west through Tabriz.

Tabriz, home to a number of key oil, gas and petchems sites, and the starting point for the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline, will be a pivot point of the 2,300km New Silk Road that links Urumqi (the capital of China's western Xinjiang Province) to Tehran, connecting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan along the way, and then via Turkey into Europe, says the Iranian source.

The pipeline plan will require the co-operation of Russia, as it regards the FSU states as its backyard. And, because, until recently, Russia was weighing a similarly all-encompassing standalone deal with Iran. So, according to the source, the agreement includes a clause allowing at least one Russian company to have the option of being involved, also on discounted terms, alongside a Chinese operator.

Benefits for Iran

The Iranians expect three key positives from the 25-year deal, according to the source.

The first flows from China being one of just five countries to hold permanent member status on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Russia, tangentially included in the new deal, also holds a seat, alongside the US, the UK and France.

“[The deal] will include up to 5,000 Chinese security personnel on the ground in Iran to protect Chinese projects”

"In order to circumvent any further ramping up of sanctions—and over time encourage the US to come back to the negotiating table—Iran now has two out of five UNSC votes on its side. The fact that [Iran foreign minister Mohammad] Zarif showed up unexpectedly at the G7 summit in August at the invitation of France may imply it has another permanent member on side," he adds.

A second Iranian positive is that the deal will allow it to finally expedite increases in oil and gas production from three of its key fields. China has agreed to up the pace on its development of one of Iran's flagship gas field project, Phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field (SP11). China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), one of China's 'big three' producers, added to its 30pc holding in the field when it took over Total's 50.1pc stake, following the French major's withdrawal in response to US sanctions. CNPC had since made little progress developing SP11—a 30pc+ discount to the global market price on potential condensate and LNG exports could change that.

China has also agreed to increase production from Iran's West Karoun oil fields—including North Azadegan, operated by CNPC, and Yadavaran, operated by fellow 'big three' firm Sinopec—by an additional 500,000bl/d by the end of 2020. Iran hopes to increase projected recovery rates from these West Karoun fields, which it shares with neighbour Iraq, from a current 5pc of reserves in place to at least 25pc by the end of 2021 at the very latest. "For every percentage point increase, the recoverable reserves figure would increase by 670mn bl, or around $34bn in revenues even with oil at $50/bl," the Iranian source says.

A final Iranian benefit is that China has agreed to increase imports of Iranian oil, in defiance of a US decision not to extend China's waiver on imports from Iran in May. China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) figures released in late August show that, far from reducing its Iranian imports, China imported over 925,000bl/d from the country in July, up by 4.7pc month-on-month, from an already high base.

The actual figure is still higher, according to the Iranian source, with excess barrels being kept in floating storage in and around China; without having gone through customs they do not show up on customs data, but are effectively part of China's Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The US economic war on France

Greanville Post - Thu, 2019-09-05 08:00
TERJE MALOY—Alstom had achieved significant technological advantages over its main competitors, German Siemens or Japanese Hitachi (which later merged with General Electric). Not only the «Arabelle» turbines, which will equip future nuclear power plants using French reactors, but also power plants based on Russian VVR reactor technology, thanks to at a joint venture with Rosatom. These turbines are essential to enable France to continue to be able to offer comprehensive nuclear power plant deals based on French technology for export, without having to ask for Washington’s approval.

Last Night in the House…

Off-Guardian - Thu, 2019-09-05 07:45
Philip Roddis I enjoy schadenfreude as much as the next guy and for the millions of us who detest Boris, last night brought the stuff in spades. I was quite taken by Jeremy Corbyn’s comment. Too much the gentleman to refer to BoJo in person, Jezza’s was as neat a slice of alliteration as you’re …

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