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Tue, 28 Mar 2023
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Tremors before an earthquake: on the coming financial crisis

© Brendan Lynch/Axios
The Coming Financial Earthquake
Note: we haven't reached peak money printing yet, but that's coming.

With the current financial uncertainty, I wanted to take a few minutes and give you my take on what's happening with the banking industry, the financial crisis, the recession, and where I believe we're headed.

Bottom Line Up Front:
  • This financial crisis will end the short-term boom-bust cycle and, more importantly, end the long-term boom-bust cycle with catastrophic consequences. This is the event you should be preparing for.
Here's why I think this.

First, right now, banks can park their cash at the Federal Reserve risk-free at nearly a 5% yield, which reduces the incentive for them to approve loans heading into a period of financial uncertainty.

The net result is that we're likely to see credit rationing as banks improve their reserve ratios by pulling back on loans. This will decrease economic activity.

Second, this is accelerating the end of the short-term boom-bust cycle as credit availability dries up and commercial banks are less willing to provide loans.

Credit and loan deterioration are early warning indicators of a recession.


I am the "US-based Kremlin intermediary" that tried to help Tucker Carlson book an interview with Putin

© FOX News
Tucker Carlson • Vladimir Putin
Tucker Carlson accused the NSA of spying on his personal communications when he tried to schedule an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I can corroborate his story.

On March 10, Fox News host Tucker Carlson told the Full Send podcast that the US government "broke into [his] text messages" in the summer of 2021, just months before the launch of Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Carlson claimed the spying occurred as he was planning a trip to Russia, where he hoped to record a conversation with the country's president. According to Carlson, he learned of the surveillance after a US government source arranged to meet him in Washington and proceeded to share information with him that only someone with access to his private, personal text messages could have known.

"This person's like... 'Are you planning a trip to go see Putin?' This was the summer before the war started. And I was like, 'how would you know that? I haven't told anybody,'" Carlson recalled.

"I was intimidated," he added. "I'm embarrassed to admit, but I was completely freaked out by it."

Comment: The 'free press' has become a tool to kill the messenger and the message.


Trump moves to crush 'flawed' Georgia election inquiry

trump georgia election fraud lawsuit
Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump's lawyers moved on Monday to quash the report from a special grand jury in Georgia's 2020 election inquiry.

The legal team also seeks to "preclude the use of any evidence derived" from the report and the recusal of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis's office, according to The New York Times.

"The results of the investigation cannot be relied upon and, therefore, must be suppressed given the constitutional violations," Trump's attorneys wrote in their motion in Georgia court. The attorneys asked that the motion get a hearing by a different judge than the one who oversaw the special grand jury.


Biden admin glosses over State Department's Ukrainian abuses in human rights report

ukraine crackdown orthodox churches

Ukraine armed forces confront Orthodox priests
The State Department's annual assessment ultimately blames Russia for Kiev's transgressions

An annual human rights report, published by the US State Department on Monday, adopts a light touch in assessing human rights abuses in Ukraine.

The study blames the censorship of media, bans on political parties and extrajudicial executions in Ukraine on Russia, though some of these processes had begun before Moscow launched its military assault, in early 2022.

Kiev's crackdown on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is not mentioned at all.

The report notes that businessman Denis Kireev was "allegedly killed during his arrest by the Security Service of Ukraine [SBU] after it obtained a recording of Kireyev allegedly implicating himself in treason." It goes on to quote the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) saying "the circumstances of [Kireev's] death remain unclear."


Observations on the Ukrainian War, no. 3

Putin Biden Zelensky Ukraine Russia US
© The Cradle
As the balance of power shifts again in Ukraine, its reverberations will impact the very unity of the EU project
Ukraine Is Winning?

Westerners like Joe Biden and Michael McFaul continue to assert that Ukraine is winning the NATO-Russia Ukrainian War. The reality is far different. The war could end this year with a complete collapse of the Ukrainian army and Maidan regime. This is not a certain outcome as yet but is possible if not this year then certainly in 2024 — in lieu of some negotiated end to war or at least the fighting — when Russian, Ukrainian and American presidential elections are scheduled. The election offing raises the stakes of the Ukrainian outcome, which is bleak for Kiev and Washington. Ukraine is running out of artillery shells and firing systems are suffering high attrition. The US has announced plans to produce 50,000 shells next year for Ukraine, but Ukraine is using 90,000 per month, ten times less than Russian and allied forces are using. Moscow has still to commit its newly mobilized troops in an all-out counteroffensive, but nevertheless Russian, Donbass, and Wagner forces are making major headway in three key areas, while Ukraine still is proving incapable of pushing back Russian forces, outside of the strategic retreats undertaken by Moscow in Kharkov and Kherson last year, with minimal casualties, even fighting.


Trump posts late-night video to supporters

trump supporter
© Getty Images / Alexi Rosenfeld
The former US president posted footage on Truth Social, warning Americans it would be in their best interests to stand up for him

Former US President Donald Trump rallied his supporters with a video posted on Monday night to his Truth Social platform, condemning the "four horrible, radical left Democratic investigations" that have not yet managed to sink his political career.

The video came days after Trump warned he would soon be arrested on charges stemming from the Stormy Daniels scandal, in which his former lawyer Michael Cohen allegedly paid hush money to the porn actress.

In the video, the 2024 presidential candidate described how previous lengthy, well-funded investigations against him had failed to prise him from the White House. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's "Russian collusion" probe, the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, and the "Stormy Horseface Daniels extortion plot" were all "sick" and "fake news," he said.

Comment: Jan 6 was a wakup call to the real state of the American "justice system" and a lesson Trump supporters won't soon forget.

Card - VISA

Indonesian President Jokowi wants local governments to ditch Visa, Mastercard

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo
© BPMI Setpres/Rusman
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo speaks during the Mandiri Investment Forum in Jakarta, Feb. 2, 2023.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has urged regional administrations in the country to wean themselves off foreign payment networks like Mastercard and Visa and start using credit cards issued by domestic banks to shield any transactions from possible geopolitical fallout that could disrupt economic transactions.

Jokowi said that the war in Ukraine with the attendant economic sanctions imposed by the United States could create problems as economic tools, including payment systems, could be used against countries perceived to have any involvement in the conflict.

"Be very careful. We must remember the sanctions imposed by the US on Russia. Visa and Mastercard could be a problem," President Jokowi told a national meeting to promote the use of Indonesian-made products and services.

Light Saber

Russia-China ties have no limits - Putin

Putin Xi Jinping
© Sputnik / Sergey Guneev
Beijing and Moscow are working together to shape "a more just multipolar world," and ties between the two countries are now "at the highest level in their history," President Vladimir Putin said in an article released on the eve of a visit by his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to the Russian capital.

The piece, penned by Putin for China's People's Daily, was released late on Sunday by the Kremlin's press service.

"The progress made in the development of bilateral ties is impressive. The Russia-China relations have reached the highest level in their history and are gaining even more strength; they surpass Cold War-time military-political alliances in their quality, with no one to constantly order and no one to constantly obey, without limitations or taboos," Putin wrote, praising the "level of trust in our political dialogue, our strategic cooperation."

The two nations are busy shaping "a more just multipolar world," Putin noted, lauding Beijing's Eurasian international efforts under the One Belt, One Road Initiative, as well as China's Global Security Initiative, envisioning comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security.

Comment: See also: The China and Russia 'no limits friendship' 2.0


Macron narrowly survives crucial no-confidence votes in parliament

Emmanuel Macron
© Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images
Emmanuel Macron's government survived today's no confidence vote
Emmanuel Macron's government narrowly survived a no-confidence vote in the French parliament Monday, after it pushed through a deeply unpopular pensions overhaul without a vote last week, sparking outrage and spontaneous protests across the country.

In a high-stakes vote in France's lower house of parliament, 278 MPs, mostly from the left and the far right, voted in favor of a cross-party motion of no confidence, falling just short of the 287 votes needed to topple the government. A second motion, backed only by the far-right National Rally, did not garner enough votes.

The outcome of the first vote was much tighter than anticipated and increases the pressure on Macron to withdraw his reform. It may also give a boost to the protest movement led by trade unions against the measures. The French president will also be under pressure to respond either by addressing the country or reshuffling his government.

Speaking ahead of the votes, the centrist MP Charles de Courson, one of the authors of the cross-party motion, accused Macron's government of lacking "courage" during the parliamentary debates.


The US is stocking vaccines for a hypothetical smallpox bio-attack

© Florentine Codex
FILE PHOTO: A 16th century illustration depicting smallpox victims.
In the event of a bio-terrorism smallpox attack, at least 2 million Americans will be able to get treatment, though we can all receive vaccinations
Planning for a bio-terrorism smallpox attack, the U.S. government just bought up enough smallpox medication supplies to treat two million people. But given that smallpox was eradicated in 1980 and that the only known remaining samples of the disease are kept under lock and key in the U.S. and Russia, the New York Times points out, some critics are crying foul over the $463 million the government shelled out for the vaccines.

Experts fear, though, that terrorists may have secret stockpiles of the virus or could figure out how to reengineer smallpox in the lab. Two million doses of treatment, the Times writes, could contain an outbreak in a large city in the event of terrorists dousing an airport or stadium with pathogens. But around 12 million doses would be needed to combat a nation-wide epidemic.

Comment: From November 2021: 'SMALLPOX found in Merck lab in Philadelphia, FBI launch urgent probe

Below is some research showing the US' research into small pox; outbreak simulations; as well as Wikileaks documents regarding America's ongoing research into smallpox: