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ECONOMY

Mar 21 15:13

The lesson US shale refuses to learn

In 2014, shale drillers were pushed to the brink of oblivion by low oil prices, and today with prices nearing similar levels it seems the sector has not learned its lesson.

It feels like 2014 for the oil industry all over again, except this time, things could get even worse. Most US shale wells have a breakeven well above today’s current oil prices. The result will be that the shale industry in the United States will be hit - and hard. Why is US shale not prepared for this low-price environment?

If someone would have conducted a survey among US shale producers about whether they expected the price of oil to sink below $30 a barrel just five years after the last crash, most of them likely would have said “no way”. But this is today’s ugly reality:

Mar 21 12:56

COVID-19: WELCOME TO THE NEW DARK AGES

The response by the government to COVID-19 will turn America into a third world country in short order. Destroying the economy, throwing millions of people out of work, creating air money and thus inflation, and draconian measures to head off a virus that kills far less than the ordinary flu will have serious and unprecedented ramifications.

Mar 21 11:15

Banks are going down!

Can't find out how much is in my account and limited to $250 purchases. Bank says this problem is nation wide!

Mar 21 09:47

Panic Pandemic – Why Are People Who Should Know Better Buying the Controlavirus Hype?

Editor’s note: Good stuff from the Off Guardian. I agree, one of the more disappointing things about this hysteria has been seeing parts of the alt-media buy into it. And I’m not even talking about views on how bad the disease is. We can have an honest disagreement about that, that’s fine. But however much of a threat you think this virus is, should you really go from being a dissident one day to demanding government mandated-lockdowns of entire populations the next?

I think not, I think even if you think this is the worst thing since the Spanish Flu you should still retain a measure of skepticism as relates to government incentives, intentions, and competence.

Mar 21 08:19

Tesla, the WTF Chart of the Year

Mar 21 05:46

Belgian Gov't Expects 1 Million People to Lose Jobs Due to Coronavirus – Reports

The Belgian government is preparing for an unemployment spike with some one million people losing jobs as a result of the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, Belgian media reported, citing Minister of Employment Nathalie Muylle.

The Sudinfo news outlet said that half a million people have already lost jobs and an approximate one million Belgians in total might end up unemployed as the nation struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Many companies went out of business temporarily as part of an effort to contain the pandemic, prompting a sharp upward increase of unemployment rates. The Belgian government in this regard has pledged to facilitate unemployment application procedures.

Mar 21 05:39

Germany to block foreign takeovers, protect domestic companies – top politicians

Germany will protect domestic firms from foreign takeovers, two leading politicians said on Friday, after company valuations in Europe’s largest economy have been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic. Ministers have already promised liquidity support to businesses, and introduced measures making it easier to reduce working hours rather than lay off workers.

Germany’s blue-chip DAX index, which comprises the country’s 30 largest listed corporations, has plunged by more than a third over the past month. This has increased the risk of foreign companies snapping up rivals at a discount.

“We will avoid a sell-out of German economic and industrial concerns. There cannot be any taboos. Temporary and limited state support as well as participation and takeovers need to be possible,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said.

Mar 21 05:18

Army to deploy to New York after Trump declares major disaster: Troops to turn hotels and sports arenas into hospitals as lines form outside hospitals, ventilators run low and one person an hour dies in pandemic in NYC

President Trump declared New York State a major disaster area Friday as coronavirus cases skyrocket
The declaration allows New York State to access federal aid via FEMA's $42billion Disaster Relief Fund
The US military is now working on plans to takeover hotels, college dormitories and sports arenas and turn them into ICU-like medical facilities
The emergency declaration comes as New York State and city hospitals run out of face masks and ventilators
In New York City, 14 people died between 10am and 6pm Friday - the equivalent of one person an hour
Trump's declaration was issued Friday night, four days after New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo asked for it
This is the first time in US history a president has declared a major disaster over a public health threat

Donald Trump has declared New York State a major disaster area as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases skyrockets and New York City becomes the epicenter of the US outbreak.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

OK, even though mathematics and music are supposed to be very close, spatially, in the human brain, that is not the case for me, so I will go to my trusty cell-phone calculator to run the numbers on this, and will run them a couple of times, just to make sure I haven't messed up.

So, if one divides the 246 deaths diagnosed in the US from Covid 19 (246) into the total number of known cases of Covid 19 cases in the US(19, 624 cases), the number I have come up with, several times, is the following percentage: 1.2%.

To my math-centric friends out there, please repeat this for me, to insure that I have done it correctly.

So what, I was curious, were the deaths from garden-variety influenzas from last year?!?

We get some clue from the following article, from cidrap, (Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy, dated 19 April, 2019, out of the University of Minnesota:

US flu still elevated but dropping; deaths as high as 57,000

This article goes on to state: "Levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) in the United States remain elevated for the 21st consecutive week—the longest season in recent years—but the disease is on the decline, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its weekly update.

Still, the agency says influenza has caused up to 57,300 deaths and sickened up to 41.3 million people, according to new estimates. And the CDC reported five new flu-related deaths in children, raising the total confirmed this season to 91."

So, again, let's do the math: 57,300 deaths, divided by 41.3 million sickened, gives us a percentage of .138%

Now, I am not trying to downplay how serious covid 19 can be, ut I have to wonder; where was the massive medical/military response to last year's flus?!?

The short answer is, nowhere; this leads me to speculate, if these current "shut downs, coupled with military complement and confinement, are not a "dress rehearsal" for some kind of national "martial law" to be invoked, should social instability, resulting from a massive economic depression, (which is almost upon us), actually ensue?!?

Right now, were I a betting woman, I would not bet against it.

Mar 21 04:18

SILVER & GOLD PRICES HAVE DISCONNECTED FROM “SPOT” PRICE WHICH IS CONTRIVED FROM THE PAPER GOLD & SILVER MARKET!

At this writing, gold is getting a 12% Premium over “spot”, and silver a 45% premium over “spot” (the historic and traditional premium is 3 – 4%). The manipulators have lost control of the market! In the last couple of weeks, the Federal Reserve and their too big to fail member banks sold gold short to the tune of tens of billions of dollars! Selling short means they made a paper bet on paper gold that it would go down in the future. That was a bad bet on their part, and it’s worked in the past, but now it’s out of their control!

Mar 21 04:10

Distressed Debt In The US Doubles In 2 Weeks To $500BN As BofA Expects Surge In Defaults

Last week, in the aftermath of the historic oil price collapse, we warned that the long-awaited "fallen angel" day has arrived, as $140 billion in oil producer (and up to $360 if one includes the mid-stream companies) investment grade debt was on the verge of being downgraded to junk and throwing the entire high yield market in turmoil.

Fast forward to today when Bloomberg calculates that since we published out article, the amount of distressed debt - a term that describes borrowings likely to default - in the U.S. alone has doubled to a half-trillion dollars as the collapse of oil prices and the fallout from the coronavirus shutters entire industries.

Mar 21 04:09

Never let a crisis go to waste: US lawmakers bask in coronavirus panic while quietly building the police state of their dreams

By Helen Buyniski, RT

As the coronavirus epidemic monopolizes the attention of the American people, government is taking the opportunity to sneak through all manner of restrictive legislation, including a law that could end the internet as we know it.
Killing the internet… to save the children?

The ominously-named EARN IT Act (short for “Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act”) that quietly debuted in the Senate earlier this month is a carefully crafted weapon for crushing encryption without explicitly banning, industry professionals have warned. While this particular bill purports to be all about ending child sexual exploitation, the industry is concerned it will make their business model unsustainable - while doing nothing to protect children.

Mar 21 04:08

Historic Day: Fed To Buy A Record $107 Billion In Securities Today Alone As Fed Balance Sheet Explodes

Back in December we predicted that at the rate "Not QE" (RIP) was going, the Fed balance sheet would surpass it all time high by late April. It turns out that we were overly optimistic: with the Fed relaunching QE over the weekend as part of what is now global helicopter money, it announced plans to purchase $700BN in Treasury securities and expanding it to MBS earlier this week. However, that was not enough, and in the past week the Fed scrambled to stabilize the Treasury market buying TSYs feverishly hands over fist in addition to soaking up as much securities as Dealers had in its repo facilities, and as of this moment the Fed's balance sheet has soared to a new all time high of $4.668 trillion.

Mar 21 04:07

14 Million Americans Have Been Laid Off So Far Due To COVID-19

A staggering 9% of working Americans, or 14 million people, have been laid off as a result of the Chinese coronavirus panic, while 25% of workers have had their hours reduced according to extrapolated polling by Survey USA.

Mar 21 04:07

Putin Won't Blink First: Putin Rejects Potential US 'Intervention' In Russia-Saudi Oil War

"We do not think that anyone should intervene in these relations," the Russian presidency's office stated Friday of its "good relationship" and "partnership" with the Saudis, hitting back at Trump's comments on the emerging oil-price war. Yesterday President Trump described the Saudi-Russia oil price war as "very bad" for Saudi Arabia but ultimately "devastating" to Russia, but with the consolation of lower prices at the pump for American consumers.

Trump assured the public that “we have a lot of power over the situation,” adding that that Washington will attempt mediate the dispute “at the appropriate time.” This after US oil prices collapsed by a staggering 24% Wednesday to just $20, before clawing back Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning to $25 on Trump's comments and especially reports that the US will buy up to 30 million barrels of crude for its emergency stockpile by the end of June.

Mar 21 04:05

US hopes both sanctions & Covid-19 in Iran will force regime change. But it’s a MASS MURDER that will only strengthen Tehran govt

Scott Ritter
is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

Iran is facing an existential crisis, brought on by a combination of economic, political and social emergencies which, when combined, threaten to bring the nation to its knees. The United States has, over the years, sought to destabilize Iran in hopes that it would collapse from within, clearing the way for a new pro-Western government. The current ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, built around stringent economic sanctions targeting virtually every aspect of the Iranian economy, is designed to not only bring Iran to the negotiating table, but to drive its leadership from power.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Just because something is the most ham-fistedly, pig-headedly stupid thing the Us government could possibly do, is utterly no guarantee that it will not do just that thing; the current policy on Iran, is demonstration of that, in spades.

Mar 21 03:59

At least someone’s doing well: Goldman Sachs gives CEO 20% raise as it forecasts crash for America

Even as the US stock market continued its free-fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, the top banker at Goldman Sachs got a pay raise of $2 million a year, a $7.65 million cash bonus, plus stock options worth $17.85 million.

David Solomon “led our development of the firm’s three-year business plan and a clear long-term strategy that leverages our foundational advantages, enhances the firm’s long-term mindset and instills a culture of innovation,” Goldman said in a federal filing disclosing the compensation.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

From the WRH Department of Irony, the "You can't make this sh*t up!!" Division.

Mar 21 03:57

Norway Loses One-Fifth of Its Oil Wealth as Krone Collapses, Analysts Say

According to experts' calculations, Norway's Oil Fund has decreased in value by 23 percent since New Year, suffering the "biggest drop" in its decades-long history.

Norway's Oil Fund has taken a serious dent amid plummeting oil prices and an ongoing fall of the krone, broadcaster NRK reported.

Despite the Oil Fund currently being listed as worth NOK 300 billion more than at the turn of the year, this is merely an illusion, as none of its assets are in kroner, experts estimated.

“Rarely have developments been more misleading than now. In reality, we have lost more than one fifth of our oil wealth”, Nordea investment director Robert Næss told NRK.

Mar 21 03:51

Lockdowns, curfews. Troops on the streets. Governments handing out free cash. This utter madness was entirely avoidable

What happens when governments confuse worst-case scenarios with reality? They transform a health crisis into a social crisis and an economic tsunami, with consequences more severe than the virus could produce in the first place.

As I write, hundreds of thousands of people across Europe and the world have already lost their jobs, in the leisure and entertainment sectors in particular. As sector after sector is impacted by global lockdowns, mass unemployment is not a possibility, it is definite. And the social costs are going to be severe. How severe no one really knows. But past experiences show that when people lose jobs, they can also lose homes, their marriages, their health – and our social fabric is pulled apart.

However, we should be careful not to obsess with trying to second-guess what the huge costs to society will be of the panic. Otherwise there is a danger of one form of apocalyptic scaremongering being replaced by another.

Mar 21 03:51

Russia's gold & near-zero debt give it best chance of thriving in post-coronavirus apocalypse – Max Keiser

The coronavirus pandemic has popped a quadrillion-dollar financial bubble and we can expect a very deep and prolonged period of adjustment, RT's veteran business commentator Max Keiser believes.

The financial crisis, which many believe we have just entered, stems from the times of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, with the establishment of 'neoliberal' policies "that enriched bankers and destroyed workers by giving bankers free reign to borrow and speculate without oversight or accountability," Keiser told RT. Now, governments will have to adjust to a new reality, and having a low debt and massive reserves could be the trump card, according to the former Wall Street stockbroker.

"Russia has the best hand at the geopolitical poker table. The Kremlin, for 20 years, has been doing the opposite of everyone else by reducing their national debt to near zero, and buying thousands of tons of gold while simultaneously raising living standards," he said.

Mar 21 03:46

Stocks Suffer Worst Week Since Lehman Despite Biggest Fed Bailout Ever

This has been the sharpest market selloff in history...

Mar 21 03:44

"Employees Are Ready To Riot": A BofA Trader Erupts After Being Ordered To Stay On An Infected Trading Floor

With Gov. Cuomo ordering virtually every New Yorker to go home and only non-essential businesses to stay open, one would think Wall Street trading desks would be a ghost town right about now. After all, shuffling pieces of digital paper with an arbitrary value back and forth can hardly be considered essential work, even in the financial capital of the world, especially when most of this shuffling can be conducted from any computer.

Maybe, but for thousands of Wall Street professionals it's not that simple. For one, there is the dramatic slowdown in trade as an infrastructure geared for speed, where billions have been spent on microwave towers and laser signaling, goes unused. And then there are all the other complications arising from telling a head PM to trade out of his bedroom.

Mar 21 03:40

The Crash Of 2020 Is Now Worse Than The Great Depression

Back in December, someone in China made bat soup (at least according to the officially accepted narrative that doesn't get you banned on Facebook, Twitter, etc), and the rest is history: in the next three months, the global equity market has lost $24 trillion in value, more than the $22 trillion in US GDP. And here is a staggering chart from BofA putting the crash of 2020 in its historic context: in the past month, the US stock market has crashed faster than both the Great Depression and Black Monday, and in terms of the total drawdown, the crash of 2020 is now worse than 1929 and is fast approaching 1987.

Mar 21 03:36

A Revolving Panic: Here Are The Companies That Have Fully Drawn Down Credit Lines This Week

In the aftermath of the great Commercial Paper panic of 2020, which erupted over the past two weeks when initially the Fed failed to launch a Commercial Paper backstop facility, something it did with a two day delay on Tuesday, countless blue chip (and less than clue chip) companies found themselves with gaping liquidity shortfalls, and to bridge their funding needs, they rushed to draw on their existing credit facilities (also a hedge in case the banking system imposes a lending moratorium similar to what happened in the 2008 crash).

As a result, corporate borrowers worldwide, including Boeing, Hilton, Wynn, Kraft Heinz and dozens more, drew about $60 billion from revolving credit facilities this week in a frantic dash for cash as liquidity tightens.

Mar 21 03:35

The Inevitable Outcome Of The Oil Price War

In purely basic oil economics terms, Russia has a budget breakeven price of US$40 per barrel of Brent this year: Saudi’s is US $84. Russia can produce over 11 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil without figuratively breaking sweat; Saudi’s average from 1973 to right now is just over 8 mbpd. Russia’s major oil producer, Rosneft, has been begging President Putin to allow it to produce and sell more oil since the OPEC+ arrangement was first agreed in December 2016; Saudi’s major oil producer, Aramco, only suffers value-destruction in such a scenario. This includes for those people who were sufficiently trusting of MbS to buy shares in Aramco’s recent IPO. Russia can cope with oil prices as low as US$25 per barrel from a budget and foreign asset reserves perspective for up to 10 years; Saudi can manage 2 years at most.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

As usual, Putin is about one thousand chess moves ahead of DC, as he is in this case.

Mar 21 03:34

After Trading Limit-Up Overnight, Nasdaq Has Crashed Into The Red

Despite The Fed's biggest asset-purchase week ever, US equity markets refuse to hold a bid.

After trading limit-up overnight )on what we have no idea), Nasdaq is now down almost 1% on the day...

Mar 21 03:29

From Quarantine To Tyranny To Rebellion: Where Is The Line In The Sand?

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

America is in a haze right now. It seems like half the country is in denial of the danger while the other half is awaking from apathy and frantically trying to prepare. This is creating a fog of confusion as one side screams “it's nothing but the flu, stop buying up the grocery store...!”, and the other side just keeps stocking goods, though in an inexperienced way that prioritizes comfort over practicality.

Mar 21 03:20

Before Economy Totally Disintegrates – Will Anyone Else Notice WHO Director Made BASIC MATH ERROR in Causing Global Coronavirus Panic?

Before Economy Totally Disintegrates – Will Anyone Else Notice WHO Director Made BASIC MATH ERROR in Causing Global Coronavirus Panic?

Mar 21 03:18

Boeing Suspends Buybacks And Dividends; CEO Will Work For Free Until End Of The Year

Boeing thought it could be tricky - again - and after it repurchased tens of billions in stock in the past 7 years...

Mar 21 03:03

Defense Contractors Can Go To Work Amid State & Local Lockdowns, Pentagon Says

The U.S. government declared defense companies and their suppliers part of the country’s “critical infrastructure sector,” a designation that will allow employees to continue reporting to work even if local and state governments order citizens to stay home amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The decision, which defense executives and trade association officials have argued for over the past week, allows assembly line workers, engineers, mechanics, security personnel and others to maintain normal work schedules.

“We need your support and dedication in these trying times to ensure the security of this nation,” Ellen Lord, the defense undersecretary of acquisition and sustainment, wrote in a Friday memo. “I understand that this national emergency presents a challenge and we are dedicated to working closely with you to ensure the safety of the workforce and accomplishments of the national security mission.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Imagine my (complete absence of surprise) at this development.

Mar 21 02:22

U.S. to Iran: Coronavirus won't save you from sanctions

WASHINGTON/DUBAI (Reuters) - The United States sent Iran a blunt message this week: the spread of the coronavirus will not save it from U.S. sanctions that are choking off its oil revenues and isolating its economy.

Iran is the Middle Eastern nation worst hit by coronavirus, with its death toll climbing to 1,284 and one person dying from it every 10 minutes and 50 becoming infected every hour, the health ministry said.

The United States, which argues that its “maximum pressure” campaign to curb Iran’s nuclear, missile and regional activities does not stop the flow of humanitarian goods, imposed new sanctions this week.

The Trump administration blacklisted five companies based in the United Arab Emirates, three in mainland China, three in Hong Kong and one in South Africa for trade in Iran’s petrochemicals.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

These US economic sanctions are deliberately being engineered, designed, and executed in order to wreak the maximum amount of havoc on innocent Iranians.

Mar 21 02:15

BAILOUT NATION: US MOVIE THEATERS JOIN AIRLINES, HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS IN DEMANDING A TAXPAYER BAILOUT

SOURCE: ZERO HEDGE
Back in 2008, when the US government bailed out the US banking sector, it became clear that virtually any industry in America's $18 trillion economy could pass off for "too big to fail." So fast forward to today when the longest expansion in history has mutated in under a month into the biggest market crash since the Great Depression, and sure enough, virtually any industry is trying to get bailed out.

Consider this - until today, the US government and by implication US taxpayers, had received bailout requests both direct or indirect from:

The Airline Industry
The Public transportation industry
The Hotel and lodging industry
The Restaurant Industry
And, of course, Boeing.
And now, demonstrating just how fucked up everything has become once the government has opened the Pandora's Box of government bailouts, US movie theaters are also demanding a bailout.

Mar 20 23:00

Leaders Of Western Nations Misled Over Quarantine/Social Distancing

Death rates will predictably fall as temperatures and the solar UV index rise with the arrival of the Spring equinox (March 19).

Solar ultraviolet radiation produces vitamin D in exposed skin and is the overriding factor in infectious disease control.

Mar 20 17:52

President Trump Waives Interest On Federal Student Loans: “Good news for the students”

Better idea! Declare a Golden Jubilee and forgive ALL Debt.

President Trump’s administration is waiving interest on federal student loans for a period of at least 60 days, with President Trump saying that this is “good news for the students.”

Mar 20 17:47

The Metal Trump Wants More Than Gold

By Charles Kennedy

China has a monopoly on one of the most strategic metals on the planet, and Washington is anxious to change that.

Mar 20 17:43

U.S. Oil Industry Could End Up Losing More Than 200,000 Jobs

With West Texas Intermediate below $30 a barrel and Saudi Arabia’s plans to keep pumping as much as it can for as long as it can, the U.S. oil industry is bracing for job losses that could end up in five-figure territory. “A sustained drop in oil prices would cost the sector 50,000-75,000 jobs if employment returned to its low from a few years ago,” the chief economist of PGIM Fixed Income, Nathan Sheets, told CNBC this week.

Mar 20 13:40

What You Can and Cannot Do During a Stay-at-Home or Shelter-in-Place Order

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the U.S., questions have been circling about shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders.

California's governor on Thursday ordered the states 40 million residents to stay home indefinitely and venture outside only for essential jobs, errands and some exercise, warning that the coronavirus threatens to overwhelm the state's medical system. Illinois' governor is expected to announce a similar order Friday.

Mar 20 13:38

Gov. J.B. Pritzker to issue order requiring residents ‘shelter in place’ starting Saturday, sources say

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to issue a “shelter-in-place” order for the entire state starting Saturday, essentially commanding residents to stay in their homes as the officials take drastic measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, sources told the Tribune.

Mar 20 13:35

Is it to be QE for everyone and everywhere?

Mar 20 13:18

Photos: New Orleans drive-thru coronavirus testing center opens for first responders, health care workers

The testing sites, in the parking lots of the Mahalia Jackson Theater and the University of New Orleans' Lakefront Arena, have the ability to do up to 100 tests per day each due to limits on the number of tests that can be processed, New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Collin Arnold said at a press briefing Friday(March 20) morning.

Mar 20 10:30

'Flog your private island and pay your staff': Richard Branson among billionaire business owners and shareholders facing furious demand to open their OWN wallets to help staff survive as the coronavirus epidemic batters the economy

Huge firms including the likes of Virgin Atlantic, owned by Sir Richard Branson, and Stelios Haji-Ioannou's Easyjet have demanded staff take weeks of unpaid leave or asked for huge state aid to help avoid making hundreds of people redundant.

The economy is in free-fall in the face of the pandemic, with airlines, retail and the hospitality sectors among the worst affected as the globe grinds to a halt.

EasyJet this week begged its pilots and cabin crew to take three months of unpaid leave and said 3,000 faced losing their jobs.

But last night it confirmed plans for a £174million dividend payout to shareholders, including £60million for Mr Haji-Ioannou, the Times reported.

Enraged politicians and trade union leaderssuggested that people with billion-pound fortunes could and should be leading by example and stumping up cash they can afford in solidarity with their staff.

Mar 20 10:26

Coronavirus causes carnage on the High Street: London's iconic Harrods and Selfridges are forced to close due to coronavirus while Michael Kors, Reiss and IKEA shut all their UK shops

London's iconic Harrods has become the latest High Street victim of the coronavirus crisis as it will shut its doors to try to stem the outbreak.

The glamorous department store in Knightsbridge will temporarily close from 7pm in a move which shadows Selfridges on Oxford Street.

Retail giant Ikea as well as designer chains Michael Kors, Reiss and Abercrombie & Fitch have also shut as UK deaths from the virus hit 144.

Mar 20 08:14

Margin Call: You Were Warned Of The Risk

Mar 20 07:34

Surveillance State Seizes Coronavirus Pandemic as Opportunity to Expand

Following the advice of Rahm Emanuel to “never let a serious crisis go to waste,” the Surveillance Hawks in both government and Big Tech are seizing the “opportunity” provided by the coronavirus pandemic to increase surveillance of citizens.

The Washington Post is reporting:

The U.S. government is in active talks with Facebook, Google and a wide array of tech companies and health experts about how they can use location data gleaned from Americans’ phones to combat the novel coronavirus, including tracking whether people are keeping one another at safe distances to stem the outbreak.

Mar 20 07:31

Will Coronavirus-Weary Americans Start to Rebel in ‘Wartime’ ?

How long will we suffer in social isolation, perhaps for months, while a state-induced Great Depression takes over?

A prediction: The longer the orders to shelter in place and self-isolate remain in force, the greater the probability they will begin to be ignored and people will take the risks to end their isolation and be with friends.

Will Americans suffer in social isolation, inside their own homes for months, while a state-induced Great Depression washes over the land?

My guess is that many will rebel.

Mar 20 07:26

The Coronavirus, Fear, and Elitist Driven Market Insanity

Fear is contagious: Fear is more contagious than any virus could ever be, and the media has really fed the fear factor when it comes to the coronavirus.

I am by no means playing down the deadly Covid-19 coronavirus. It is a killer. Depending on the reporting nation, it appears that on average 3.4 percent of every 100 who catch the coronavirus die. Those are not good odds.

Adding to the problem, the Center for Disease Control allowed the virus to spread in the United States out of an act of pure stupidity. The CDC refused to allow testing of those with coronavirus symptoms unless they had visited certain areas of China. And what about those who were exposed at airports, restaurants and stores? People died of the coronavirus in the United States before the CDC diagnosed a single case.

Mar 20 07:23

This Year’s Influenza-Pneumonia-Corona Virus Cocktail Hit No Worse Than Any Other Year

It’s safe to say these days the media wants your eyeballs on one thing and one thing only: the coronavirus numbers. But why? Why to the exclusion of everything else?

And I don’t mean just to the exclusion of everything else there is going on right now (bailouts, repression…), but even stripped of its proper context necessary to understand how much of a threat it is or isn’t.

We’re supposed to be acting as if SARS-CoV-2 dropped down from the sky yesterday and was totally new and isolatable, and not just one more virus in a virus cocktail that hits us every year.

That isn’t how it works:

Mar 20 07:19

Italy coronavirus: new explosive information

Bloomberg News has the story: 3/18, “99 percent of those whose died from virus had other illness, Italy says”:

“More than 99% [!] of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study by the country’s national health authority.”

“The Rome-based institute has examined medical records of about 18% of the country’s coronavirus fatalities [so far, because it’s slow work], finding that just three victims [!!], or 0.8% of the total, had no previous pathology [disease]. Almost half of the victims suffered from at least three prior illnesses and about a fourth had either one or two previous conditions.”

“More than 75% had high blood pressure, about 35% had diabetes and a third suffered from heart disease.”

Mar 20 07:16

Stanford Professor: Data Indicates We’re Severely Overreacting To Coronavirus

In an analysis published Tuesday, Stanford’s John P.A. Ioannidis — co-director of the university’s Meta-Research Innovation Center and professor of medicine, biomedical data science, statistics, and epidemiology and population health — suggests that the response to the coronavirus pandemic may be “a fiasco in the making” because we are making seismic decisions based on “utterly unreliable” data. The data we do have, Ioannidis explains, indicates that we are likely severely overreacting.

Mar 20 07:15

Pandemic Masks Communist Power GRAB

POWER GRAB

A naked grab for more power would meet with resistance. That is why it is disguised as
a pandemic. But what is the difference between martial law and medical martial law based on a phoney pandemic? None.

gates-assembly.jpeg
Yet medical martial law closely mirrors Communist/Orwellian tyranny. People are confined to their homes. They cannot travel or assemble to discuss their predicament. Mass surveillance to enforce "social distancing." Drones ensure no one even goes for a walk. Outside in France? Show your papers!
Food becomes scarce. Empty shelves. Lineups at supermarkets. They snitch on each other if they hear coughing. They are carted away and confined. They lose their livelihood and depend on government handouts. Convicts are freed. Borders are sealed except to migrants.

Talk about total control. People can't even go to the cinema or sports events. They can't swim or play hockey because even recreation centers are closed.

Mar 20 05:30

The Dow is set to open 600 points higher, a second day of gains; Nasdaq futures hit ‘limit up’

U.S. stock futures jumped on Friday, pointing to a second day of gains. Nasdaq futures hit ‘limit up’ levels on exchanges.

As of 6:44 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up about 700 points, implying a gain of more than 600 points at the open on Friday. S&P 500 futures were up about 3%.

Nasdaq-100 futures jumped nearly 5% and were “limit up,” meaning no trades could take place above those levels. CME Group halts futures at certain bands in overnight trading in order to curb panic trading. Futures have hit these extreme levels multiple times during this volatile month, mostly to the downside.

Mar 20 05:30

The Fed will be buying $75 billion in Treasurys Thursday and Friday as part of stimulus effort

The Federal Reserve will be buying $75 billion in Treasurys on Thursday and Friday as the central bank ramps up its efforts to keep markets flowing smoothly amid the coronavirus crisis.

In the latest in a frenzied series of developments, the New York Fed laid out a schedule for its purchases across a series of maturities.

In all, the purchases will total $75 billion, an acceleration from the $40 billion total the Fed had originally set when it announced its latest operations to expand its balance sheet.

The schedule looks like this:

Mar 20 05:29

For The First Time Since The 1970s, Texas Is Considering Curtailing Oil Production

Following the 2014 Thanksgiving massacre, Saudi Arabia effectively broke up OPEC to try to kill the US shale sector by overproducing oil and sending its price plunging. It failed largely thanks to the extreme generosity of "yield-starved" junk bond buyers.

Six years later, and another, far more harrowing price water later which dragged the price of oil to nearly two decade lows, Saudi Arabia appears to have finally won.

Mar 20 05:27

The Median US Stock Is Now Down 50% From Its Highs As World Loses $25 Trillion In A Month

Global stock and bond markets have seen $25 trillion of 'paper' wealth erased in the last month, wiping out all the gains from the Dec 2018 crash lows....

Mar 20 05:26

Trump To Intervene In Russia-Saudi Price War At "Appropriate Time" After Crude Hit $20

As Congressional voices and US oil companies have grown louder in urging President Trump to mount a muscular pushback against the Russians and Saudis flooding the market following their spat early this month that triggered an ongoing oil-price war — which lately witness crude falling to $20 yesterday — the administration has said it plans to get involved at "the appropriate time" and hopes to find a "middle ground". Trump said Thursday at a White House briefing: "They are in a fight on price, on output," and indicated that "At the appropriate time I will get involved."

Early this month the Saudis were caught completely off-guard when Putin said Russia would ignore Riyadh and OPEC+ plans to significantly cut production, effectively and dramatically overturning the balance of power in the oil world while declaring war on US shale, sending crude prices crashing and leaving dozens of American producers teetering on bankruptcy.

Mar 20 05:25

Senator Calls On Trump To Embargo Russia, OPEC Crude

“We will not be bullied” is the message Senator Kevin Cramer would like President Donald Trump to send to Saudi Arabia and Russia about the unsettled oil markets that the two nations, along with the UAE are presently flooding.

Mar 20 04:44

The Pandemic Will Cause A Global Depression - We Need Demand Side Measures To Counter It

Last week's post on Boeing ended with this line:

The pandemic, and the global depression it will cause, now make it certain that Boeing will have to ask for a gigantic government bailout or go into bankruptcy.
With most flights grounded due to the pandemic Boeing is now thinking about cutting its production and laying off workers.

In the quoted sentence I used the words "the global depression it will cause" with care. I do indeed believe that a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in many countries will be one of the results of this pandemic.

Mar 20 04:17

What an Incredibly Useful Little Virus This Has Been for the Power Elite

Instead of taking the blame for the global economic crash they get to play martial law

Mar 19 21:59

Chart: The Downward Spiral in Interest Rates

Mar 19 21:24

A Contagion Of Fear

Tens of thousands of people die from the flu every year, and no one panics. Over 60,000 Americans died of the flu in the 2019 flu season and over 80,000 Americans died of the flu during the 2018 flu season. That computes to more people dying from the flu—just in America in one month alone—than have died from corona in the entire world to date.

Think of it another way: Every year, as many or more Americans die of the flu than were killed in all of the Vietnam War. And no panic! No closed restaurants. No empty shelves in stores. No presidential plea to stay home. No closed churches. No businesses shutting down. No panic!

Mar 19 21:15

Ducey calls out National Guard, halts surgeries, closes some businesses

Facing increased pressure, Gov. Doug Ducey activated the National Guard to restock grocery store shelves, halted all elective surgeries and closed all bars, gyms and movie theaters in any county with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The order issued late Thursday also bars dine-in service in restaurants in the same counties by close of business on Friday, March 20. But Ducey said restaurants will be able to deliver alcoholic drinks to patrons who get food to go.

Mar 19 21:11

Gov. Gavin Newsom orders all Californians to stay at home

By Taryn LunaStaff Writer
March 19, 2020
6:49 PM
SACRAMENTO —

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered all Californians to stay at home, marking the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents in the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus.

The governor’s order comes at a critical time in California, where 19 people have died and an additional 958 have tested positive for the disease.

Mar 19 21:06

Flagstaff restricts restaurants, closes other businesses

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Flagstaff restaurants will be to-go service only, and bars, theaters, fitness centers and indoor recreation facilities will be closed starting Tuesday night, the city's mayor ordered in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Mar 19 19:31

Keep Calm, Bear Markets Are Temporary

Mar 19 15:32

This is not a black swan...

Mar 19 14:30

Markets Trying to Find a Near-Term Bottom

Mar 19 12:50

Italy’s Embrace of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Is a Snub to Washington

Anybody wonder why Italy has been hit so hard by the virus?

More than seven centuries after a 17-year-old Marco Polo set off from Venice on a voyage that would culminate at the court of Kublai Khan, the Italian city continues to tout itself as the westernmost point of the ancient Silk Road, China’s gateway into Europe. Now it faces some competition from Trieste, an increasingly busy port city on the northeastern edge of Italy, whose contributions to commerce and culture included popularizing coffee by importing, roasting, and shipping the beans northward, to Vienna’s cafes and beyond.

Mar 19 12:28

How the Kushner Family Is Cashing In on COVID-19

Sarah Okeson

The Kushner family is trying to cash in on the pandemic that could kill millions of us.

Oscar Health, the health insurance company co-founded by Jared Kushner’s younger brother, announced Friday it has launched a testing center locator for COVID-19. It shows where more than 100 centers are in the United States. The company is also offering a risk assessment survey and means to talk to a doctor online.

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