Posted originally on the conservative treehouse on November 23, 2022 | Sundance
Comrades, Dear Leader wants to help you with correct thoughts this Thanksgiving.
The administration cares about you. With magnanimous intent Dear Leader provides the correct guidance for your discussions. Please follow the transcript as outlined for your family gathering this year. All the best comrade citizens will be reciting it. [Source]
Good citizenship begins at the family table by honoring Dear Leader’s accomplishments.
Dear Leader provides appropriate instructions for the way all good citizens should thank him. It is no longer your burden to say, “this holiday we celebrate and are thankful for friends and family.” Instead, Dear Leader is providing thoughtful guidance, so you do not have to worry about appropriate thinking.
Posted originally on the conservative tree house on November 21, 2022 | Sundance
The American Farm Bureau price estimation for the Thanksgiving Day basic foodstuffs seems underestimated every year. However, this year with grocery store prices jumping dramatically the basic Thanksgiving Dinner as calculated is up 20% [Data Here]
(AFB) – Spending time with family and friends at Thanksgiving remains important for many Americans and this year the cost of the meal is also top of mind. Farm Bureau’s 37th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10, which is $64.05 or less than $6.50 per person. This is a $10.74 or 20% increase from last year’s average of $53.31.
The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs more than last year, at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird. That’s $1.81 per pound, up 21% from last year, due to several factors beyond general inflation. (read more)
On the positive side of things, we note two points: #1) the third wave of food inflation should crest the beginning of December; and #2) a lot of readers here were proactive and purchased holiday ingredients long before the massive price increases showed up. Great job.
Although, as WeeWeed has noticed, this year is making everyone a little spicy…
Posted originally on the conservative tree house on November 15, 2022 | Sundance
The White House is urging Nancy Pelosi to utilize the lame duck congressional session and construct a massive omnibus spending bill that will wrap Ukraine funding, COVID spending and a federal budget extension via continuous resolution. The request for Ukraine funding is an additional $38 billion.
Federal funds to support FEMA and hurricane recovery efforts will likely be part of the bargaining chips. Essentially, the sausage ingredients are: if congress doesn’t give Zelenskyy more money, then DeSantis will not get federal financial assistance.
If you don’t support Ukraine, you’re a Russian operative.
WASHINGTON DC – The Biden administration sent a letter to Congress on Tuesday outlining nearly a $38 billion request to help Ukraine continue fending off Russian attacks.
The administration is also asking for $10 billion in emergency health funding, with more than $9 billion going toward Covid vaccine access, next-generation Covid vaccines, long Covid research and more. About $750 million would be spent on efforts to control the spread of monkeypox, hepatitis C and HIV.
Congress has so far provided about $66 billion for Ukraine and other war-related needs. The administration argues that about three-quarters of that funding has either been spent or is committed to specific purposes.
An administration official said the White House plans to request additional disaster relief in the coming weeks to help with hurricane and wildfire recovery but didn’t provide any tentative figure.
The administration’s request for emergency money comes as appropriators aim to clinch a year-end government funding deal that would stave off a partial government shutdown on Dec. 16 and increase agency budgets for the current fiscal year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already promised to provide more money for Ukraine in a government funding package, while some conservatives are arguing that the U.S. should cut off financial assistance and assess how funding for the country has been spent to date. (read more)
Posted originally on the conservative tree house on November 14, 2022 | Sundance
The Senate Leadership Fund is the Political Action Committee (PAC) controlled by Mitch McConnell. Within the quarterly FEC filings of the Senate Leadership Fund, we discover that in addition to funding Joe Biden and Democrats, the ponzi scheme known as the FTX cryptocurrency exchange was also funding Mitch McConnell with $2.5 million. [Document Source]
There is a lot of speculation about U.S. taxpayer funds going to Ukraine, then transferring into the FTX crypto exchange program, then exiting back out with FTX donations to the DC politicians who provided the Ukraine funds. If this ends up being accurate, then the FTX crypto currency operation was being used as a laundry system to funnel money from congress through Ukraine and back into the pockets of politicians.
Do not look for DC politicians to investigate or expose themselves in this potential laundry operation.
Most people think when they vote for a federal politician -a House or Senate representative- they are voting for a person who will go to Washington DC and write or enact legislation. This is the old-fashioned “schoolhouse rock” perspective based on decades past. There is not a single person in congress writing legislation or laws.
In modern politics not a single member of the House of Representatives or Senator writes a law or puts pen to paper to write out a legislative construct. This simply doesn’t happen.
Over the past several decades a system of constructing legislation has taken over Washington DC that more resembles a business operation than a legislative body. Understand this dynamic and you understand how politicians become multi-millionaires on much lesser salaries; and why ‘We The People’ are insignificant and annoying gnats to their business model. Here’s how it works right now.
Outside groups, often called “special interest groups”, are entities that represent their interests in legislative constructs. These groups are often representing foreign governments, Wall Street multinational corporations, banks, financial groups or businesses; or smaller groups of people with a similar connection who come together and form a larger group under an umbrella of interest specific to their affiliation.
Sometimes the groups are social interest groups, activists, climate groups, environmental interests etc. The social interest groups are usually non-profit constructs who depend on the expenditures of government to sustain their cause or need.
The for-profit groups (mostly business) have a purpose in Washington DC to shape policy, legislation and laws favorable to their interests. They have fully staffed offices just like any business would – only their ‘business‘ is getting legislation for their unique interests.
These groups are filled with highly paid lawyers who represent the interests of the entity and actually write laws and legislation briefs.
In the modern era this is actually the origination of the laws that we eventually see passed by congress. Within the walls of these buildings within Washington DC is where the ‘sausage’ is actually made.
Again, no elected official is usually part of this law origination process.
Almost all legislation created is not ‘high profile’, they are obscure changes to current laws, regulations or policies that no-one pays attention to. The passage of the general bills within legislation is not covered in media. Ninety-nine percent of legislative activity happens without anyone outside the system even paying any attention to it.
Once the corporation or representative organizational entity has written the law they want to see passed – they hand it off to the lobbyists.
The lobbyists are people who have deep contacts within the political bodies of the legislative branch, usually former House/Senate staff or former House/Senate politicians themselves.
The lobbyist takes the written brief, the legislative construct, and it’s their job to go to congress and sell it.
“Selling it” means finding politicians who will accept the brief, sponsor their bill and eventually get it to a vote and passage. The lobbyist does this by visiting the politician in their office, or, most currently familiar, by inviting the politician to an event they are hosting. The event is called a junket when it involves travel.
Often the lobbying “event” might be a weekend trip to a ski resort, or a “conference” that takes place at a resort. The actual sales pitch for the bill is usually not too long and the majority of the time is just like a mini vacation etc.
The size of the indulgence within the event, the amount of money the lobbyist is spending, is customarily related to the scale of benefit within the bill the sponsoring business entity is pushing. If the sponsoring business or interest group can gain a lot of financial benefit from the legislation, they spend a lot on the indulgences.
Recap: Corporations (special interest group) write the legislation. Lobbyists take the law and go find politician(s) to support it. Politicians get support from their peers using tenure and status etc. Eventually, if things go according to norm, the legislation gets a vote.
Within every step of the process there are expense account lunches, dinners, trips, venue tickets and a host of other customary financial waypoints to generate/leverage a successful outcome. The amount of money spent is proportional to the benefit derived from the outcome.
The important part to remember is that the origination of the entire process is EXTERNAL to congress.
Congress does not write laws or legislation; special interest groups do. Lobbyists are paid, some very well paid, to get politicians to go along with the need of the legislative group.
When you are voting for a Congressional Rep or a U.S. Senator you are not voting for a person who will write laws. Your rep only votes on legislation to approve or disapprove of constructs that are written by outside groups and sold to them through lobbyists who work for those outside groups.
While all of this is happening the same outside groups who write the laws are providing money for the campaigns of the politicians, they need to pass them. This construct sets up the quid-pro-quo of influence, although much of it is fraught with plausible deniability.
This is the way legislation is created.
If your frame of reference is not established in this basic understanding you can often fall into the trap of viewing a politician, or political vote, through a false prism. The modern origin of all legislative constructs is not within congress.
“we’ll have to pass the bill to, well, find out what is in the bill” etc. ~ Nancy Pelosi 2009
“We rely upon the stupidity of the American voter” ~ Johnathan Gruber 2011, 2012.
Once you understand this process you can understand how politicians get rich.
When a House or Senate member becomes educated on the intent of the legislation, they have attended the sales pitch; and when they find out the likelihood of support for that legislation; they can then position their own (or their families) financial interests to benefit from the consequence of passage. It is a process similar to insider trading on Wall Street, except the trading is based on knowing who will benefit from a legislative passage.
The legislative construct passes from K-Street into the halls of congress through congressional committees. The law originates from the committee to the full House or Senate. Committee seats which vote on these bills are therefore more valuable to the lobbyists. Chairs of these committees are exponentially more valuable.
Now, think about this reality against the backdrop of the 2016 Presidential Election. Legislation is passed based on ideology. In the aftermath of the 2016 election the system within DC was not structurally set-up to receive a Donald Trump presidency.
If Hillary Clinton had won the election, her oval Office desk would be filled with legislation passed by congress which she would have been signing. Heck, she’d have writer’s cramp from all of the special interest legislation, driven by special interest groups that supported her campaign, that would be flowing to her desk.
Simply because the authors of the legislation, the originating special interest and lobbying groups, were spending millions to fund her campaign. Hillary Clinton would be signing K-Street constructed special interest legislation to repay all of those donors/investors.
Congress would be fast-tracking the passage because the same interest groups also fund the members of congress.
President Donald Trump winning the2016 election threw a monkey wrench into the entire DC system…. In early 2017 the modern legislative machine was frozen in place.
The “America First” policies represented by candidate Donald Trump were not within the legislative constructs coming from the K-Street authors of the legislation. There were no MAGA lobbyists waiting on Trump ideology to advance legislation based on America First objectives.
As a result of an empty feeder system, in early 2017 congress had no bills to advance because all of the myriad of bills and briefs written were not in line with President Trump policy. There was simply no entity within DC writing legislation that was in-line with President Trump’s America-First’ economic and foreign policy agenda.
Exactly the opposite was true. All of the DC legislative briefs and constructs were/are antithetical to Trump policy. There were hundreds of file boxes filled with thousands of legislative constructs that became worthless when Donald Trump won the election.
Those legislative constructs (briefs) representing tens of millions of dollars’ worth of time and influence were just sitting there piled up in boxes under desks and in closets amid K-Street and the congressional offices. Legislation needed to be in-line with an entire new political perspective, and there was no-one, no special interest or lobbying group, currently occupying DC office space with any interest in synergy with Trump policy.
Think about the larger ramifications within that truism. That is also why there was/is so much opposition.
No legislation provided by outside interests means no work for lobbyists who sell it. No work means no money. No money means no expense accounts. No expenses mean politicians paying for their own indulgences etc.
Politicians were not happy without their indulgences, but the issue was actually bigger. No K-Street expenditures also means no personal benefit; and no opportunity to advance financial benefit from the insider trading system.
Without the ability to position personal wealth for benefit, why would a politician stay in office? The income of many long-term politicians on both Republican and Democrat sides of the aisle was completely disrupted by President Trump winning the election. That is one of the key reasons why so many politicians retired immediately thereafter.
When we understand the business of DC, we understand the difference between legislation with a traditional purpose and modern legislation with a financial and political agenda.
Additionally, while looking for the FTX donations, it’s worth noting that Citadel Investment CEO Ken Griffin also gave Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund, $20 million in 2022. This is the same Ken Griffin that is a major donor funding the Ron DeSantis 2024 effort. (SOURCE)
Armstrong Economics Blog/Politics Re-Posted Nov 14, 2022 by Martin Armstrong
Now that politicians have secured their positions in the elections prepare for the promises to fade. These people will say anything for our vote with no intention of following through. Biden has already announced that they will no longer accept student loan forgiveness applications. A Texas court barred future applications a day after the election – coincidence?
In fact, there is a website tracking Biden’s political promises, albeit not the most accurate. So far, he has kept only 22% of promises made during his campaign – at most. Many of these promises benefit absolutely no one, such as nominating the first black woman to the US Supreme Court, new fuel standards, increasing COVID testing, and rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s where his administration has placed their energy as if the entire world isn’t crumbling under their rule.
The website downplayed his broken promises after listing them at only 1%. He certainly broke his promise to “Build Back Better” – well… actually, he is following that plan accordingly. He has handed over America to the World Economic Forum on a silver platter. International objectives far outweigh domestic policies. The domestic policies in place and asinine spending packages have only made America less competitive and have hurt the pockets of not only the American people but the global economy.
Posted originally on the conservative tree house on November 13, 2022 | Sundance
It’s just coincidental happenstance they say. Both George W Bush and Barack H Obama have scheduled conferences to highlight concerns over disinformation in the wake of the U.S. midterm election. Democracy is at stake if people do not blindly trust the constructs of the election systems that are now in place.
With a demand to accept the new normal…. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are hosting back-to-back conferences about disinformation in the days following Donald Trump’s ‘big announcement.’
Bush, 76, will host his The Struggle for Freedom conference in Dallas on November 16, while Obama’s democracy conference will be held in New York City on the 17th.
Trump’s big announcement – largely rumored to be his 2024 presidential campaign announcement – is set for Tuesday.
Organizers said the conferences were not planned together, but will focus on the rising threats from authoritarianism and disinformation.
David J. Kramer, of the Bush Institute, said it was ‘terrific’ the two presidents would be focusing on similar topics, saying: ‘We’re very mindful of what’s happening in the United States, and we have to make sure we stay on a democratic path. (read more)
All just a coincidence…. nothing to see here, move along… move along.
Ignore any remembering that George Bush created the U.S. surveillance state (Patriot Act) and that Barack Obama weaponized it. However, also remember, the most dangerous time for a victim is that moment when the abuser realizes their battered victim has become numb to the continued psychological effort.
Armstrong Economics Blog/Interest Rates Re-Posted Nov 13, 2022 by Martin Armstrong
This interview with FXStreet is from 2015. Some are surprised at the consecutive rate hikes, but our models have been indicating for a very long time that rates would rise rapidly. There would be no soft landing. Central banks maintained artificially low rates for far too long and were backed into a corner. They created a problem long ago, and it will cause pain for “some time,” as Powell usually states, for the situation to be under control.
Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 18, 2022 | Sundance
I do not know how to describe this with the Through The Looking Glass absurdity it deserves.
The ability of financial media and national economists to suspend accepting current reality, while making claims about the possibilities for next year, is ridiculous. Ask me why this era of great economic pretending is underway, and I have no answer. The intellectual dishonesty is beyond my comprehension.
The first and second quarters of the U.S. economy showed negative Gross Domestic Product valuations (GDP). We just finished the third quarter (July, Aug, Sept) and the likelihood of another negative GDP is high. Production is down, demand is down, consumer spending is down, inventories are climbing, and the economy is contracting. We are in a literal, technical and structural recession. Considering the Q1 and Q2 outcomes, we have been in a recession all year.
The Wall Street Journal publishes an article citing several notable economists who are putting the likelihood of a 2023 recession at 63%.
(WSJ) – […] On average, economists put the probability of a recession in the next 12 months at 63%, up from 49% in July’s survey. It is the first time the survey pegged the probability above 50% since July 2020, in the wake of the last short but sharp recession.
Their forecasts for 2023 are increasingly gloomy. Economists now expect gross domestic product to contract in the first two quarters of the year, a downgrade from the last quarterly survey, whereby they penciled in mild growth.
[…] Forecasters have ratcheted up their expectations for a recession because they increasingly doubt the Fed can keep raising rates to cool inflation without inducing higher unemployment and an economic downturn. Some 58.9% of economists said they think the Fed will raise interest rates too much and cause unnecessary economic weakness, up from 45.6% in July. (read more)
They are analyzing a pending recession in 2023 without even admitting we are in a recession right now. AT THIS VERY MOMENT. We have two consecutive negative quarters of economic growth behind us (another Q3 result pending), and these economists are discussing a recession “next year“?
I feel like I’m behind a mirror in a parallel universe looking at financial pundits and economists pretending our reality is something completely different from what it is. This is madness.
♦ “Managing the transition,” is a phrase we have heard often – but what does it mean?
This is the only explanation I can fathom for this era of great pretending.
As you are well aware the various western nation central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve, have raised interest rates into a global economic contraction, a drop in demand. Raising interest rates into a contracting economy is counterintuitive, it runs against the expressed interest of government to grow economic conditions. However, there is a purposeful design to the contradiction. [A TLDR Version Here]
The central bankers are trying to support western government policy. Unfortunately, the government policy they are under obligation to support is the fundamental shift in energy development, or what the World Economic Forum (Davos Group) has called the “Build Back Better” climate change agenda.
Monetary policy can only impact one side of the inflation challenge. The western bankers (EU central bank, U.S. federal reserve bank, and various banking groups) are raising interest rates in order to “tame inflation” by “taming demand.” However, as you know the global economic demand has been declining for several quarters. There is no excess demand, and there hasn’t been demand side pressure all year.
Raising interest rates into an already contracting economy does one thing, it speeds up the rate of economic contraction.
Economic contraction is the lowering of economic activity. Raise interest rates -in a general sense- and businesses invest less, borrowers borrow less, consumers purchase less, employers expand less, and the economy overall slows down. When the economy turns negative, meaning less products and services are produced, we enter a recession. Some businesses and employers do not survive a recession and subsequently unemployment rises.
During recessionary periods people buy less stuff, people have less income stability, and economic activity drops. When the banks raise interest rates into an economy that is already stalled or contracting, unemployment and general pain on Main Street increases. Workers are laid-off, incomes shrink, consumer spending drops and that leads to less employment. Recessions are bad for middle-class and working-class people. This is what the Wall Street Journal is describing for 2023.
“Employers are expected to respond to lower growth and weaker profits by cutting jobs in the second and third quarters. Economists believe that nonfarm payrolls will decline by 34,000 a month on average in the second quarter and 38,000 in the third quarter. According to the last survey, they expected employers to add about 65,000 jobs a month in those two quarters.” (link)
From the perspective of the western politicians and central banks, there is one benefit from a recession…. Energy use drops.
People travel less; businesses operate shorter work schedules; manufacturing stops; overall fewer goods are produced because less consumer spending is taking place. From the perspective of the groups who want to see overall energy consumption drop, a recession is a good thing.
A recession also brings along a natural drop in energy prices as less overall energy is used inside an economy that is slowing, stalled or contracting.
Oil prices drop as less oil is needed for the manufacturing of goods. Energy use in transportation also drops and generally gasoline prices drop because less transportation fuel is needed, because fewer goods are being transported. When the economy goes into a recession, energy use and prices always drop.
Put these factors together and you start to see how the transition to a new western energy policy, the Build Back Better agenda, benefits from a recession.
This is the essential understanding needed to reconcile why central banks would intentionally create an economic contraction. This is the great pretending. The bankers are supporting the governmental objective of transitioning the western economy into a new energy system away from oil, coal and natural gas.
The banks are supporting the policy makers. However, the central banks cannot openly admit what they are doing to support the politicians and policy makers.
In this weird new era, the banks are being instructed to support the policy makers without actually admitting they have changed their monetary mission. The central bankers will continue to say their job is to manage and/or balance employment and inflation. However, what they will not admit is their unspoken agenda to support the political decisions.
Instead, almost all the central banks are saying their interest rate hikes are intended to cool inflation by lowering demand.
However, it is not excess demand that is driving inflation; it is the policy making behind the energy transition that is driving higher costs on everything. The origin of inflation is on the supply side.
The supply-side of the inflation dynamic is being overwhelmed by massive increases in energy costs which are the results of intentional western policy. Extreme increases in consumer prices are the outcome of these energy price increases. The overwhelming majority of consumer price inflation is being caused by energy policy, not demand.
The various central banks and monetary policymakers know this. In fact, they are lying about their motives. They have to lie, because if they were to tell the truth there would be an uprising, and the success of the energy agenda would be put at risk.
In order to support the energy objectives of the various governments’, the central banks are trying -and succeeding- to lower economic activity.
Less economic activity means lower energy needs. This is what they call “managing the transition” to the new economy based on “sustainable energy.”
The banks and policy makers are ultimately managing the economic decline in order to Build Back Better in the future. This is why the originating charter of the central banks is being ignored, and the banks are raising interest rates into an already contracting economy.
None of this is being done accidentally. All of this is being done with forethought and implicit intention.
Unfortunately, for the average person this means the banks and policy makers have entered a phase where it is in their interests to shrink the global economy. They are trying to control the collapse of the various economies by working together. This is what they mean by “managing the transition.”
Managing the transition means less jobs, less work, a lower standard of living, and a period of extreme financial pressure for the average person.
Eventually, we will reach a point where the government(s) will need to step in and fill the gap from the declined economic activity. Bailouts and subsidies will be needed as they were in the COVID lockdowns. Unemployed workers and the people being impacted by a prolonged economic recession will need subsidies in order to survive.
The government policy makers are planning to do just that, spend more. They practiced during the COVID economic lockdowns, now they seem to be positioning to execute a similar policy path as they manage the energy transition.
We have only just entered the beginning phase of this Build Back Better agenda. No one, including the banks and policy makers, have any idea how long this is going to take.
We could be in this period of severe economic contraction for several years, perhaps decades, until their grand design of a new energy future is complete. This has been the discussion at the World Economic Forum (WEF), as the instructions were passed out.
The entire time the western government architects are doing this, they must keep the demand for traditional energy products like coal, oil and gas at the lowest level possible. That is why the central banks and politicians must keep economic activity at the lowest -yet survivable- rate possible.
Financial analysts and economists are pretending not to know this is our reality. All the pretending in the world will not change the reality on Main Street; pretending will only create a divide between those who admit and those who deny.
The next President will be the political leader who admits the reality and affirms the proper cause.
Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 14, 2022 | Sundance
You often hear me talk about how financial pundits and economic analysts are disconnected from Main Street. Today we get a prime example of that from the Wall Street Journal.
The topline of the WSJ article is essentially that people are not spending money on anything except essential goods (housing, energy, fuel, food, etc), which is somewhat of a ‘duh tell us something we don’t know‘ type article. However, the analytical part of the article is where you find the insufferable disconnect. Here’s one example:
[Data Point 1] “Gasoline prices dropped in September for the third month in a row, falling 4.9% from August.” [Data Point 2] Sales at gasoline stations, a proxy for spending by car owners, declined 1.4% last month.”
If gasoline dropped 4.9% in price, but sales only declined 1.4% that would indicate more physical gasoline was purchased at a lower price than the month before. It’s not a hard concept to understand.
This is a retail sales reality even identified in the article itself, “Unlike many government reports, retail sales aren’t adjusted for inflation, so some swings reflect price changes rather than shifts in the amounts purchased.”
However, now look at this: “Spending at restaurants and bars grew 0.5% in September from the prior month. But prices at restaurants grew 0.9% in the same month, according to a separate Labor Department report released Thursday, meaning that consumers are getting less for their spending.”
No, that’s not what this means.
If restaurant prices increase 0.9%, but restaurant sales only increase 0.5% it means you are selling/serving fewer customers. It doesn’t mean consumers getting less food, it means fewer consumers are eating at restaurants…. Which is caused by consumers having to prioritize their spending.
(WSJ) – […] Spending declined in categories linked to big purchases like cars, televisions, beds and golf clubs. Purchases at electronics and appliance stores declined 0.8% in September while spending at furniture stores fell 0.7%.
[…] Scott Brave, the head of economic analytics for Morning Consult, said consumers have started to pull back on optional purchases while still spending on the essentials. “They are having to make tough decisions,” he said. (more)