The Crypto Contagion – More Lows into 2023


Armstrong Blog/Cryptocurrency

Posted Nov 15, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

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This FTX scandal is the death nil for cryptos. At first, I assumed that perhaps they lost a ton of money because of the implosion of the bond market. But this was not the case. In fact, this is perhaps the worst I have ever seen and it comes from trading losses from kids that had no experience whatsoever with regard to trading. They obviously did not even understand fiduciary responsibility.  MF Global was taking client money to trade in London and got the market wrong. Bernie Madoff remains a mystery wrapped up in a political enigma.  From 1991 to 2008, Bernie and Ruth Madoff contributed only about $240,000 to federal candidates, parties, and committees. Madoff was not trying to buy influence as was taking place at FTX. Maxwell mysteriously died in 1991 when his trading scandal surfaced, but he was also secretly backing the communist coup against Gorbachev in 1991.

Then there were the accounting scandals of ENRON and Worldcom whereby to hide their losses and failures, they engaged in accounting fraud to cover up the true story. But there were not using other people’s money to trade, they were hiding their bad performance from shareholders hoping to make a comeback.

That is the common denominator. I have been called into many crises. The one thing that always runs through the problem is the refusal to admit a mistake. That seems to lead to losing trades continuing to be held in hope of the infamous COMEBACK. The motive seems to be the same and many of the problems I have been called into to help solve have been in corporations where some strategy went wrong. In these cases of ENRON, Worldcom that were allowed to fester. The trading scandals are perpetuated in the hope that the next trade will win it all back.

Crypto contagion instigated by FTX, has only gotten more interesting since Sam Bankman-Fried sent a series of cryptic tweets spelling out the words “What HAPPENED” after his wealth wipeout. After the collapse of FTX, we are looking at a collapse in confidence in all digital assets.

With this degree of collapse in even Bitcoin, there will be more bankruptcies lining up. Inexperience dominates this young field and facing a stiff recession ahead going into 2023, this meltdown is not over yet. The low in Bitcoin from 2021 high is not likely before 2023. Thus – as they say – it ain’t over until the fat lady sings (a reference to Opera).

Too Poor to Continue Living with Dignity – Canadian Eugenics


Armstrong Economics Blog/Canada Re-Posted Nov 15, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Canada is not hiding its depopulation and eugenics efforts. The Trudeau Administration recently expanded the MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) program to include those with treatable illnesses or those suffering from poverty. Almost anyone, including children, can request a medically assisted death in Canada with a quick turnaround. Families are unable to protect their loved ones from the law. The MAID program was originally designed for those living in unbearable chronic pain and/or a terminal illness. Poverty or temporary hardship is now considered a terminal illness for which there is no cure besides death.

The Canadian health system is coercing people at their lowest point to end their lives. Canada could prioritize health care and expand assistance to disabled Canadians who are unable to work. Instead, they are clearly discriminating against those suffering from poverty or mental health issues, and doctors are no longer required to treat their patients. The system is encouraging suicide over treatment as it is the most cost-effective option. There is no guarantee those murdered while under medical supervision are capable of making an informed decision; the law will be used to depopulate the undesirables.

The Netherlands and Belgium, where assisted suicide is offered on a medical basis, forbid doctors from suggesting the method unless all other options are exhausted. Canadian doctors are encouraged to offer the option to those deemed too poor to live. “Euthanasia” will not appear on the victim’s death certificate, depending on the province in which they were murdered by their government. In 2021, the number of those requesting MAID in the country rose by over 32% from the year prior, and that number will rise. As the economy turns down, those “too poor to continue living with dignity” will feel obligated to choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

“[MAID is] probably the biggest existential threat to disabled people since the Nazis’ program in Germany in the 1930s,” stated Tim Stainton, director of the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia. Pope Francis condemned the treatment of the elderly, mentally ill, and poor in Canada. “Patients who, in place of affection, are administered death,” the pope warned.

Adolf Hitler killed off “useless eaters” who did not contribute to his ideal version of society. They were forcibly taken to camps or executed on the spot. Canada is attempting to murder “useless eaters” under the guise of health care and compassion. The general public is turning a blind eye to what could become a genocide of the poor.

FTX & Crypto-Implosion


Armstrong Economics Blog/Cryptocurrency Re-Posted Nov 14, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

The collapse of the FTX Exchange is pretty straightforward insofar as this is the same lesson that constantly repeats in finance time and time again. Basically, FTX lent US$10bn of client funds to their trading arm Alameda, which used it for leveraged their own crypto speculation because the crypto market has been collapsing. Typically, someone like Sam Bankman-Fried had his whole life wrapped up in this venture. Lacking financial controls operating from the Bahamas, moving the money from client funds to his trading arm Alameda was possible. Historically, someone in this position sees his world collapsing but is not prepared to see that unfold for it requires admitting that he was wrong on crypto, to begin with. Consequently, such a person is not trying to actually rob clients’ money, they most likely see it as a temporary loan to save the company and the market will bounce back – or so they believe.

Our computer had picked the high in Bitcoin perfectly and has been projecting the collapse all along the way. But crypto has become a religion and in so doing it clouds the judgment of people who want to believe the story. Alameda blew up in a crypto meltdown because it did not want to accept that the crypto boom was over. The loan he probably thought would be temporary, vanished in the implosion. At first, I would have assumed they had actually invested the money and lost it on the bond market collapse. But that was perhaps too traditional. Here, it appears they were trying to defend their own cryptocurrency and trying to buy the low that kept moving lower. It appears he was allegedly simply using clients’ funds to trade keeping gains for his firm and the clients now suffer the risk.

It appears that they allegedly were trying to defend the crypto market and did not understand that the boom was over. The loans could not then be repaid. As crypto was crashing, some people needed to cash out. The attempt to pull out US$5bn from FTX exposed the fact that the cash was all gone. This is not so unusual. It has happened before. This time, the prosecutors are clamoring to be the one to charge him so they can become famous over his dead body.

FTX was a partner with Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum (WEF). Of course, the WEF has suddenly removed the page and is desperately trying to hide their involvement with FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried. Naturally, eliminating paper currency has been the goal of the WEF because they support the end of not just capitalism, but also democracy. Schwab’s push has been his Great Reset and to control society to impose his economic philosophy inspired by Marx and Lenin.

Corsine-2

This is by no means the first violation of fiduciary responsibility that presents a custodial risk. MF Global Holdings Ltd., you might recall, was a firm formerly run by New Jersey ex-Gov. Jon Corzine was accused in 2013 of unlawfully using customer money to meet his firm’s funding needs. When MF Global went bust because of trading by ex-Goldman Sach’s Jon Corzine’s trading using his client’s money in London also outside the regulatory eye of the USA, he was NEVER prosecuted for illegally using $1.6 billion of 26,000 client’s money. That is not going to be the case this time. So what is the difference between Corzine and Bankman-Fried? Corzine was ex-Goldman Sachs.

Indeed, Corzine was well-connected right into the White House with Obama. Nobody went to jail and clients had to wait in bankruptcy to get their money – even cash in the accounts was taken. There are clear risks with the broker and clearer. As long as the SEC is run with former Goldman Sachs staff, there will NEVER be an honest regulator. Even when all the banks pled criminally guilty, the SEC exempted everyone from losing their licenses. They would NEVER do that with anyone outside of New York City. The SEC will never prosecute the banks – EVER!!!!

Indeed, several federal investigations had been launched into MF Global, including probes by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (its main regulator), the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Justice Department prosecutors in both Chicago and New York. The brokerage has also been the focus of several congressional hearings. Not a single one charged Corzine with trading with his client’s money. The losses that eventually drove MF Global into bankruptcy stemmed from high-risk bets on European sovereign bonds that Corzine made as he swung for the fences. Corzine bet big that the bond issuers would not default.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission simply fined Jon Corzine only $5 million over MF Global’s rapid descent into bankruptcy on Oct. 31, 2011, as an estimated $1.6 billion of customer money went missing. Anyone else would have been in prison for a minimum of 20 years.

Glenn

It was Martin Glenn who was the judge in New York on M.F. Global bankruptcy. He was the first one to engage in FORCED LOANS by abandoning the rule of law to help the bankers by protecting them from losses taking client accounts to cover M.F. Global’s losses. He simply allowed the confiscation of client funds when in fact the rule of law should have been that the bankers were responsible and M.F. Global’s losses should have been reversed as they did even when Robert Maxwell’s companies failed in London from his illegal trading taking employee pension funds.

Yes, that was Ghislaine Maxwell’s father and the guy who was in control of the company that Bill Browder worked for before Edmond Safra. Never should the client’s funds be taken for M.F. Global’s losses to the NY Bankers. It was Judge Martin Glen who placed the entire financial; system at risk by trying to protect the bankers. Martin Glenn pampered these bankers making them the new UNTOUCHABLES. We have to be concerned that there really is no rule of law that will protect you in a crisis.

On Bloomberg TV, Sam Bankman-Fried explained why he even created FTX. He said he was experiencing his own frustration at Alameda Research, which was his crypto-focused proprietary trading firm. He was frustrated with the execution he was receiving at various crypto exchanges so he claimed that inspired FTX’s creation in May 2019. FTX grew rapidly to become the third largest crypto exchange in the world, with approximately $16 billion of customer assets under custody over 43 months.

Bankman-Fried stated that Alameda was making lots of money, but it could have been making more and he did not have access to venture capital. Claims of 100% annualized returns are not uncommon in a boom, but any experienced trader knows what goes up, also comes down. Alameda was relying on “cobbling together lines of credit” to expand its capital base. He then created FTX to solve his funding problem creating his own exchange that even the WEF cheered as a partner. He actually created a platform that was tailored for his own company, Alameda, to facilitate its trading needs. FTX coined the phrase “built by traders, for traders.”

There was an obvious conflict of interest questions regarding the close relationship between FTX and Alameda. Being operated from the Bahamas raised questions among those of us who are seasoned financial market observers whether the two were truly arm’s length from each other. However, people were so pumped up on adrenalin with crypto being the end of the dollar and central banks that this new free-wheeling crypto world believed what they wanted to believe and never looked too closely. FTX operated outside the reach of the US regulatory domain and there was a lack of any fiduciary confirmation. When the founder of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, Changpeng Zhao, openly questioned the soundness of the FTX/Alameda nexus on Twitter saying he would sell over $500 million worth of FTX’s token FTT, that was the kiss of death weather or not he realized he would unleash a crypto panic that would engulf the entire industry in a matter of days.

The collapse of FTX will now become a contagion for the crypto world. This 20-something group of inexperienced traders has signaled the demise of an industry that was getting all the hype with no substance. This crypto world will be seen as the DOT COM Bubble of 2000. With a recession on the horizon, the collapse of sovereign debt, and the monetary system as a whole, people will be looking for more of the safe bets rather than roll the dice on crypto. Nothing ever goes straight down. But by year-end, the volatility should perk up everyone’s view of the world.

The UK is Not Prepared for a Prolonged Recession


Armstrong Economics Blog/Central Banks Re-Posted Nov 11, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

People are simply not prepared for a sharp economic downturn. The Money and Pensions Service conducted a poll in the UK in which it found around 25% of adults have under £100 in savings. The 3,000-person survey found that 17% reported having absolutely nothing set aside. Around 5% reportedly had under £50, while 4% had between £50 and £100.

The drastically increased cost of living has many living paycheck to paycheck. The Building Societies Association (BSA), as reported by the BBC, conducted a separate survey that found that 35% of people in the UK simply stopped saving due to inflation. Around 36% said they are already dipping into their savings accounts to pay the bills.

The Bank of England is anticipating a long recession ahead. The central bank sees economic conditions contracting through the first half of 2024. The central bank’s prediction of five consecutive quarters of contraction would mark the longest recession in UK history. The people have not experienced the full effects of this recession, and most are simply not prepared for what lies ahead.

CPI Report – Inflation on Food, Fuel, Home Heating and Essentials Continues Growing – Overall Inflation Moderation Now Claimed as Calendar Cycles


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on November 10, 2022 | Sundance

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) provides the latest data on consumer prices (inflation) [DATA HERE].  We explained in 2021 how inflation would grow on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis until the calendar became more friendly and the government officials could claim “diminished inflation growth.”  Well, we are now entering that phase of economic parseltongue.

October consumer prices increased 0.4% over September.  However, we are now comparing year-over-year (Y0Y) inflation to the period where last year’s prices had already skyrocketed, so YoY inflation seems to be moderating at 7.7%, it’s a false premise. {Go Deep}

As expected, the energy-driven consumer inflation in the food sector has arrived.  The proverbial field inflation is arriving at the fork, and the October CPI now shows the third wave of food price increases we had previously discussed.

Table 2 Details: Egg prices increased +10.1% last month and now 43% higher than last year.  Butter +1.9% last month, 26.7% for year.  Margarine +1.3% for month, 47.1% for year.  Coffee +1.3% for the month, 15.6% for the year.

Heading into baking season we find flour +0.2% for the month, +24.6% for year.  Essentially, as expected, all of the holiday foodstuffs are now rising in price as the increased field and commodity prices hit the store shelves.

Some row crops are starting to moderate in price growth, while dairy products continue rising throughout the fall season.  It is going to be painful on the checkbook grocery shopping this holiday season.

On the energy front, home heating oil increased 19.8% in October and is now a whopping 68.5% higher than last October.  Unleaded gasoline increased another 3.5% and now is now 20.9% higher than last year (Oct ’21), which was already 40% higher than January 2021.

Food, fuel, electricity, home heating and housing costs continue growing monthly, but give the illusion of moderating when compared to last year.

Food away from home (restaurants etc.) are starting to show the cumulative price impacts for restaurants, hotels and cafeterias.  Additionally, as the kids returned to school the lunchroom prices have skyrocketed a jaw-dropping +3.8% for October and +95% compared to last year [Table 2].  Packing lunches for kids is going to become an even more important aspect for the family food budget.

The stock market is happy with the news because the lowered 7.7% (YoY) inflation number, a product of the calendar and nothing else, gives optimism the Fed may moderate the increased federal reserve rate hikes.  However, don’t count on it because inflation is easily identified as embedded now.  Lemons at the grocery store are now $0.99/each.

Think about that.  $1 for a single lemon and roughly 50¢ per egg at the supermarket.  A full shopping cart of groceries now easily exceeding $200.  This is devastating for those on fixed incomes and blue-collar workers.

Wages are nowhere near keeping up with this level of price increase.

(CNBC) The consumer price index rose less than expected in October, an indication that while inflation is still a threat to the U.S. economy, pressures could be starting to cool.

The index, a broad-based measure of goods and services costs, increased 0.4% for the month and 7.7% from a year ago, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics release Thursday. Respective estimates from Dow Jones were for rises of 0.6% and 7.9%.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, so-called core CPI increased 0.3% for the month and 6.3% on an annual basis, compared with respective estimates of 0.5% and 6.5%.

A 2.4% decline in used vehicle prices helped bring down the inflation figures. Apparel prices fell 0.7% and medical care services were lower by 0.6%.

“The report overstates the case that inflation is coming in, but it makes a case inflation is coming in,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “It’s pretty clear that inflation has definitely peaked and is rolling over. All the trend lines suggest that it will continue to moderate going forward, assuming that nothing goes off the rails.” (read more)

The Biden energy policy is the root of the consumer inflation. Nothing will happen to moderate overall consumer inflation on Main Street until energy policy changes.

Additionally, with the 2022 election in the rear-view mirror, we should start to see layoffs and unemployment increasing now.  The bureaucrats will now let the recession become evident.

Multinational Advertisers Begin Pulling Out of Twitter


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on November 3, 2022 | Sundance

In the prediction section of the recent Twitter discussion {Go Deep} CTH mentioned the reason and unspoken motive behind a prediction that multinational corporations would start to pull their advertising money from Elon Musk.

We are simply in an era where there is no distinction between the WEF guidance for multinational corporations and the instructions toward governments’ they support.  Free speech and freedom of expression are against both their interests.

Multinational corporations are political entities.  The former distinctions between the private and public sector have been purposefully erased.  Evidence can be found in the vaccination mandate and within corporate responses to voter outcomes during elections. {Go Deep}

As predicted, it begins….

(Via Wall Street Journal) – Food company General Mills Inc., Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Volkswagen/Audi are among a growing list of brands that have temporarily paused their Twitter advertising in the wake of the takeover of the company by Elon Musk, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some advertisers are concerned that Mr. Musk could scale back content moderation, which they worry would lead to an increase in objectionable content on the platform. Others are temporarily halting their ads because of the uncertainty at the company as top executives exit and Mr. Musk considers a raft of changes, some of the people said.

Kelsey Roemhildt, a spokeswoman for General Mills, whose brands include Cheerios, Bisquick and Häagen-Dazs, confirmed the company has paused Twitter ads. “As always, we will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend,” she said.

A Twitter representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

General Motors Co. paused its spending on the social-media platform last week.

Several ad buyers say they expect the number of brands pausing Twitter ads to rise. They say that the platform isn’t considered a must-buy for many advertisers, with far larger budgets going to tech giants such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc., and that pausing makes sense during the bumpy transition under Mr. Musk.

Many executives on Madison Avenue are uneasy with the rash of sudden executive departures from Twitter’s advertising sales and marketing units. Among those who have exited are Chief Customer Officer Sarah Personette, Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Berland, and Jean-Philippe Maheu, Twitter’s vice president of global client solutions. Those executives helped reassure advertisers that their ad dollars were being spent wisely and appropriately on Twitter. (read more)

Fascism was traditionally defined as an authoritarian government working hand-in-glove with corporations to achieve objectives. A centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, using severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

That system of government didn’t work in the long-term, because the underlying principles of free people reject government authoritarianism.  Fascist governments collapsed, and the corporate beneficiaries were nulled and scorned for participating.  Then, along came a new approach to achieve the same objective.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) was created to use the same fundamental associations of government and corporations.  Only this time, it was the multinational corporations who organized to tell the government(s) what to do.

The WEF was organized for multinational corporations to assemble and tell the various governments how to cooperate with them, in order to be rewarded by them.   Corporatism was/is the outcome.  The government is now doing what the multinationals tell them to do, and in return the multinationals install the compliant politicians.

Fascism, the cooperation between government and corporations, is still the underlying premise; the World Economic Forum simply flipped the internal dynamic putting the corporations in charge of handing out the instructions.

What results is a slightly modified definition of fascism:

A massive multinational corporate conglomerate; telling a centralized autocratic government leader what to do; and using severe economic and social regimentation as a control mechanism; combined with forcible suppression of opposition by both the corporations and government.

Doesn’t that define our current reality, especially visible in the era of COVID?

The instructions from the multinational corporations to government would be called the “Great Reset“, or as commonly transposed by the government officials receiving the instructions, “Build Back Better”.

 ~ Go Deep ~

Retail Sales Growth Drops Below Rate of Inflation, What Does That Tell You?


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)