The Pin to Pop This Mother of All Bubbles?

Global macro economic data has been weak for many years, but there's now a very real chance of a world-wide recession happening in 2017.

Why? A dramatic and worsening shortfall in new credit creation.

The world's major central banks have, again, done the world an enormous disservice. Instead of admitting that maybe/perhaps/possibly the practice of issuing debt at more than twice the rate of underlying economic growth was a very bad idea over the past several decades, they instead doubled down and created an even larger debt monster to be dealt with.

The resulting global asset price bubble -- or, more accurately, set of nested and incestuously intertwined bubbles -- can collectively be called the Mother Of All Bubbles (MOAB). None has ever been larger in history.

As with all prior bubbles, it shares the collective delusion that there's such a thing as a free lunch. History has seen many attempts to eat this elusive meal, with each generation convinced that they were the chosen ones who could finally crack that nut.

So, dutifully, our central bankers have tried, and tried again, to deliver that free lunch -- i.e. to print up prosperity.

But, alas, prosperity cannot be printed out of thin air. All that can be accomplished by central bank slight of hand is a transfer of wealth. Central banks steal from the many to give to the few. They are the reverse Robin Hoods of our day.

They also encourage everyone to steal from the future, which is what excessive borrowing really represents. It's future consumption taken today at the expense of tomorrow.

The most charitable thing that can be said about the central banks is that perhaps they actually believed their own BS, but I seriously doubt it. Even the most dense of observers has noticed by now that we are 9 years into the 'emergency measures' and nothing even remotely close to healthy economic growth has emerged.

One year of emergency measures is already a bit too long. 3 years is embarrassing. 9 years tells you that the Fed isn't in this for the reasons they state. Instead, they are orchestrating the largest wealth transfer in all of history, from the many to the few.

Once you realize this is their goal, then they've succeeded amazingly. Mission accomplished!

We have the widest wealth and income gaps in all of history. The big banks have complete control of the political and financial machinery of every country of the world. And the corporate controlled media simply cheerleads the whole thing, convincing most people it's all been for their own good.

Honestly, from a planning and execution standpoint, I have to give the central banking cartel very high marks for pulling off such a magnificent heist almost completely undetected by the average person.

Of course, they needed lots of assistance from a complaint media.

Economic Propaganda

Propaganda noun - information, especially of a biased, emotionally charged or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.

Let's turn now to exploring the ways that the media serves to deliver propaganda instead of providing useful context and essential information.

People are anxious these days. One explanation for this is that their personal lives are getting harder and more difficult on multiple fronts. Wages are flat (to down) and expenses are skyrocketing. There's no sense of safety, and everybody can sense the massive injustice of the reverse Robin Hood policies of the central banks and governments.

Injustice, of course, makes us very unhappy. That's true of all social creatures, ranging from primates to dogs. Fairness matter -- a lot. And when systems or individuals operate unfairly, then the other participants tend to withdraw and/or give up. If things become bad enough, however, the victims get angry and will eventually retaliate.

To keep this unfairness from boiling over, a couple of tricks of the government's trade are to first get the afflicted parties blaming the wrong people -- preferably each other, as opposed to the actual perpetrators of the unfairness. This works great; we see it in police pitted against protesters, even though they both are being unfairly treated in similar ways by the system. Ditto for the left vs. right protests that have been erupting all over the world.

A second trick is to simply confuse everyone, to try and convince them that nothing unfair has actually happened in the first place. This is achieved through lies, either by omission or commission, and this is now daily fare in the leading mainstream news outlets. And I use the term 'news' very, very loosely.

What results when we are told (and/or believe) one thing but our experiences indicate another, is cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance -- noun - the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

The creation of 'inconsistent thoughts or beliefs' is now an entrenched industry with hundreds of billions of advertising dollars at its disposal. It's now so thoroughly part of the societal fabric that many of its most advanced practitioners have no idea that they are even carrying out a sophisticated program of deception with savant-like precision.

Born, bred and raised within the system of delusion, they're unaware of their own role, or why they're playing it.

Let's pull an example I found, easily enough, in this morning's news cycle (6-16-17).

Today's propaganda headline from Bloomberg is a classic:


This U.S. expansion may be moving like a tortoise, but it's on its way to win the race.
Widely disdained for its relatively weak growth and pay gains, the expansion is about to complete its eighth year -- and it's headed to become the longest on record, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Respondents put a 60 percent probability, based on the median estimate, on the growth streak running through at least July 2019 and thereby reaching 121 months, topping the 10 years of gains during the 1990s.
The U.S. economy looks pretty healthy right now when you think in terms of sectors that could blow up," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at New York-based Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC. Having avoided any “violent bounceback" during the recovery, “most sectors seem to have room to run," signaling continued moderate growth, he said.
A strong job market, subdued inflation, low borrowing costs and healthier finances will be a tailwind for consumer spending while business investment, a laggard so far, is expected to join the drivers of growth. Even trade may become less of a drag.
(Source)

This Bloomberg article is a really strong effort by the media to spin things as being much rosier than they are. Many people's direct experiences will be completely counter to the happy-talk put forth in this article, which basically readsl like the intro to Garrison Keillor's Lake Woebegone radio program, which told of a magical place where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

In other words, a fantasy land where the supporting data provided cannot possibly be correct.

So let's review the amazing list of data, shall we?

  • Economists agree, this expansion will become the longest on record
  • The US economy looks pretty healthy right now
  • Most sectors have room to run
  • There's a strong job market
  • Inflation is subdued
  • There's also something called 'healthier finances'

Given all that, you'd be a total loser to think anything other than "Everything is awesome!"

But is that true?

Well, once you take a closer look at each of these authoritative claims, they are anything but clear-cut and certain. If you question any of them, or even just dig slightly into them, questions swirl up like flies from a knocked-over garbage pail.

To begin, if we choose to question the “strong jobs market", we quickly come across charts such as this one:

(Source)

In this less-than-"amazing" chart we see that the “strong job market" is actually the most horrifically weak one in the entire data series. The illusion of “strength" has been manufactured by the hocus-pocus of excluding people off of the unemployment rolls, so they simply aren't counted in the “strong" number.

It's an old trick. If you're counting the unemployed, then the best way to have a rosier number is to not count people who don't have a job as 'unemployed.' You call them something else ("out of the labor force") and revise them away.

If you don't count them, they don't exist, right? That then allows the media to trumpet the Fed's victory in creating today's “strong job market."

If this wasn't so patently, ridiculously Orwellian, and didn't create so much human misery, it would be funny.

How anyone can, with a straight face, claim that this is a “strong job market" is beyond me. It's not. And the record number of homeless people showing up in every major and minor city in the US validates the data in the chart above.

So that's cognitive dissonance area #1: Being told we have a strong job market while your own eyes see homeless people everywhere, and people looking for jobs report extreme difficulty landing anything beyond a part-time, minimum wage gig.

Next we turn to the idea that “inflation is subdued." While we've shredded this idea mercilessly in such areas as our Crash Course chapters on Fuzzy Numbers and Inflation, as well as in our podcast with Ed Butowski, the creator of the Chapwood Index, you can just as easily use your own personal observations and a few pieces of data to destroy this farce of 'subdued inflation.'

Let's start with car prices. According to the BLS, new cars have not gone up in price at all over the past ten years. In fact, according to their calculations, a new car costs exactly the same today as it did back in 1997, a full twenty years ago:

But your own eyes and personal experience may have noticed something different. If you've made a car purchase over the past 20 years, you've probably observed that actual out-of-pocket costs to purchase a new vehicle have steadliy risen from just over $19,000 in 1997 to over $33,000 today:

(Source)

Where the US government is convinced that cars costs exactly as much as they did 20 years ago, your personal experience might be that they are not terribly far away from costing 100% more.

The explanation for the difference is that the BLS has decided that today's automobile is vastly improved compared to that of 20 years ago. It believes that your dollar buys you nearly 100% more "car" than it did before, so the whole thing is a wash.

This is the magic of “hedonic improvements" which I am not entirely unsympathetic to. If things improve and we pay the same amount for them, then that's a gain in living standards, of a sort.

But the idea that “inflation is too low" is anchored in the idea that we are paying the same for things today as we were yesterday. The very essence of cognitive dissonance is being told that things cost twice as much but they haven't gone up in price.

That the issue at play here. While the Fed frets about inflation being too low -- you struggle to afford rising new car costs, as well as the skyrocketing associated fees like maintenance and insurance.

Another prime area for "fuzzy numbers" is in living expenses related to housing. According to the government ,housing costs have been modestly rising by an average of less than 3% per year for a decade:

However, these charts from Charles Hughes Smith show that the experience of homebuyers in many major metropolitan areas is anything but subdued:

(Source)

Add all this up and what do you get?

A very different impression of the state of 'the economy' than Bloomberg is working hard to present.

And even more egregious than the misinformation is the complete inappropriateness for the media to praise economic 'strength' while ignoring the role of debt in bringing about the growth being celebrated. If the 'prosperity' is simply due to a drunken debt-binge, it should be criticized, not lauded.

The Pin To Pop This Mother Of All Bubbles?

Which brings us to a very important risk factor to the over-leveraged global economy: declining credit impulse.

Unfamiliar with the term? You won't be for long.

Defined as net new credit to GDP, credit impulse is one of the best statistical predictors of recession. As of today, credit impulse has gone negative across the world for the first time since the start of the Great Recession.

In Part 2: Everything You Need To Know About The Credit Impulse, we lay out the evidence for why there's a credit impulse-driven recession on the way. It will come whether or not the underlying economy is recovering or not.

Why? Because the amount of debt creation was absolutely massive across the globe, particularly in China. The excessive debt service will simply overwhelm the economy -- it won't even be a close fight.

Click here to read the report(free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

How did Trump's would-be assassin get past Secret Service?

PATRICK T. FALLON / Contributor | Getty Images

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday was targeted in an assassination attempt during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. It occurred just after 6:10 p.m. while Trump was delivering his speech.

Here are the details of the “official” story. The shooter was Thomas Matthew Crooks. He was 20 years old from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. He used an AR-15 rifle and managed to reach the rooftop of a nearby building unnoticed. The Secret Service's counter-response team responded swiftly, according to "the facts," killing Crooks and preventing further harm.

Did it though? That’s what the official story says, so far, but calling this a mere lapse in security by Secret Service doesn't add up. There are some glaring questions that need to be answered.

If Trump had been killed on Saturday, we would be in a civil war today. We would have seen for the first time the president's brains splattered on live television, and because of the details of this, I have a hard time thinking it wouldn't have been viewed as JFK 2.0.

How does someone sneak a rifle onto the rally grounds? How does someone even know that that building is there? How is it that Thomas Matthew Crooks was acting so weird and pacing in front of the metal detectors, and no one seemed to notice? People tried to follow him, but, oops, he got away.

How could the kid possibly even think that the highest ground at the venue wouldn't be watched? If I were Crooks, my first guess would be, "That’s the one place I shouldn't crawl up to with a rifle because there's most definitely going to be Secret Service there." Why wasn't anyone there? Why wasn't anyone watching it? Nobody except the shooter decided that the highest ground with the best view of the rally would be the greatest vulnerability to Trump’s safety.

Moreover, a handy ladder just happened to be there. Are we supposed to believe that nobody in the Secret Service, none of the drones, none of the things we pay millions of dollars for caught him? How did he get a ladder there? If the ladder was there, was it always there? Why was the ladder there? Secret Service welds manhole covers closed when a president drives down a road. How was there a ladder sitting around, ready to climb up to the highest ground at the venue, and the Secret Service failed to take it away?

There is plenty of video of eyewitnesses yelling that there was a guy with a rifle climbing up on a ladder to the roof for at least 120 seconds before the first shot was fired. Why were the police looking for him while Secret Service wasn't? Why did the sniper have him in his sights for over a minute before he took a shot? Why did a cop climb up the ladder to look around? When Thomas Matthew Cooks pointed a gun at him, he then ducked and came down off the ladder. Did he call anyone to warn that this young man had a rifle within range of the president?

How is it the Secret Service has a female bodyguard who doesn't even reach Trump's nipples? How was she going to guard the president's body with hers? How is it another female Secret Service agent pulled her gun out a good four minutes too late, then looked around, apparently not knowing what to do? She then couldn't even get the pistol back into the holster because she's a Melissa McCarthy body double. I don't think it's a good idea to have Melissa McCarthy guarding the president.

Here’s the critical question now: Who trusts the FBI with the shooter’s computer? Will his hard drive get filed with the Nashville manifesto? How is it that the Secret Service almost didn't have snipers at all but decided to supply them only one day before the rally because all the local resources were going to be put on Jill Biden? I want Jill Biden safe, of course. I want Jill Biden to have what the first lady should have for security, but you can’t hire a few extra guys to make sure our candidates are safe?

How is it that we have a Secret Service director, Kimberly Cheatle, whose experience is literally guarding two liters of Squirt and spicy Doritos? Did you know that's her background? She's in charge of the United States Secret Service, and her last job was as the head of security for Pepsi.

This is a game, and that's what makes this sick. This is a joke. There are people in our country who thought it was OK to post themselves screaming about the shooter’s incompetence: “How do you miss that shot?” Do you realize how close we came to another JFK? If the president hadn't turned his head at the exact moment he did, it would have gone into the center of his head, and we would be a different country today.

Now, Joe Biden is also saying that we shouldn't make assumptions about the motive of the shooter. Well, I think we can assume one thing: He wanted to kill the Republican presidential candidate. Can we agree on that at least? Can we assume that much?

How can the media even think of blaming Trump for the rhetoric when the Democrats and the media constantly call him literally worse than Hitler who must be stopped at all costs?

These questions need to be answered if we want to know the truth behind what could have been one of the most consequential days in U.S. history. Yet, the FBI has its hands clasped on all the sources that could point to the truth. There must be an independent investigation to get to the bottom of these glaring “mistakes.”

POLL: Do you think Trump is going to win the election?

Kevin Dietsch / Staff, Chip Somodevilla / Staff, Kevin Dietsch / Staff | Getty Image

It feels like all of the tension that has been building over the last four years has finally burst to the surface over the past month. Many predicted 2024 was going to be one of the most important and tumultuous elections in our lifetimes, but the last two weeks will go down in the history books. And it's not over yet.

The Democratic National Convention is in August, and while Kamala seems to be the likely candidate to replace Biden, anything could happen in Chicago. And if Biden is too old to campaign, isn't he too old to be president? Glenn doesn't think he'll make it as President through January, but who knows?

There is a lot of uncertainty that surrounds the current political landscape. Trump came out of the attempted assassination, and the RNC is looking stronger than ever, but who knows what tricks the Democrats have up their sleeves? Let us know your predictions in the poll below:

Is Trump going to win the election?

Did the assassination attempt increase Trump's chances at winning in November?

Did Trump's pick of J.D. Vance help his odds?

Did the Trump-Biden debate in June help Trump's chances?

Did Biden's resignation from the election hand Trump a victory in November? 

Do the Democrats have any chance of winning this election?

What is the Secret Service trying to hide about Trump's assassination attempt?

KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / Contributor, Anadolu / Contributor | Getty Images

This past weekend we were mere inches away from a radically different America than the one we have today. This was the first time a president had been wounded by a would-be assassin since 1981, and the horrific event has many people questioning the competency and motives of the supposedly elite agents trusted with the president's life.

The director of the Secret Service apparently knew about the assassin's rooftop before the shooting—and did nothing.

Kimberly Cheatle has come under intense scrutiny these last couple of weeks, as Secret Service director she is responsible for the president's well-being, along with all security operations onsite. In a recent interview with ABC, Cheatle admitted that she was aware of the building where the assassin made his mark on American history. She even said that she was mindful of the potential risk but decided against securing the site due to "safety concerns" with the slope of the roof. This statement has called her competence into question. Clearly, the rooftop wasn't that unsafe if the 20-year-old shooter managed to access it.

Glenn pointed out recently that Cheatle seems to be unqualified for the job. Her previous position was senior director in global security at America's second-favorite soda tycoon, PepsiCo. While guarding soda pop and potato chips sounds like an important job to some, it doesn't seem like a position that would qualify you to protect the life of America's most important and controversial people. Even considering her lack of appropriate experience, this seems like a major oversight that even a layperson would have seen. Can we really chalk this up to incompetence?

Former Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / Contributor | Getty Images

The Secret Service and DHS said they'd be transparent with the investigation...

Shortly after the attempted assassination, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the Secret Service, launched an investigation into the shooting and the security protocols in place at the rally. The DHS promised full transparency during the investigation, but House Republicans don't feel that they've been living up to that promise. Republican members of the House Oversight Committee are frustrated with Director Cheatle after she seemingly dodged a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. This has resulted in calls for Cheatle to step down from her position.

Two FBI agents investigate the assassin's rooftop Jeff Swensen / Stringer | Getty Images

Why is the Secret Service being so elusive? Are they just trying to cover their blunder? We seem to be left with two unsettling options: either the government is even more incompetent than we'd ever believed, or there is more going on here than they want us to know.

Cheatle steps down

Following a horrendous testimony to the House Oversight Committee Director Cheatle finally stepped down from her position ten days after the assassination attempt. Cheatle failed to give any meaningful answer to the barrage of questions she faced from the committee. These questions, coming from both Republicans and Democrats, were often regarding basic information that Cheatle should have had hours after the shooting, yet Cheatle struggled with each and every one. Glenn pointed out that Director Cheatle's resignation should not signal the end of the investigation, the American people deserve to know what happened.

What we DO and DON'T know about Thomas Matthew Crooks

Jim Vondruska / Stringer | Getty Images

It has been over a week since 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks narrowly failed to assassinate President Trump while the president gave a speech at a campaign rally in Butler, Pennslyvania. Despite the ongoing investigations, we still know very little about the would-be assassin, which has left many wondering if the agencies involved are limiting the information that Congress and the public are receiving.

As Glenn has pointed out, there are still major questions about the shooter that are unanswered, and the American people are left at the whim of unreliable federal agencies. Here is everything we know—and everything we don't know—about Thomas Matthew Crooks:

Who was he?

What we know:Thomas Crooks lived in Bethel Parks, Pennsylvania, approximately an hour south of Butler. Crooks went to high school in Bethel Parks, where he would graduate in 2022. Teachers and classmates described him as a loner and as nerdy, but generally nice, friendly, and intelligent. Crooks tried out for the school rifle team but was rejected due to his poor aim, and reports indicate that Crooks was often bullied for his nerdy demeanor and for wearing camo hunting gear to school.

After high school, Crooks began work at Bethel Park Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center as a dietary aide. In fact, he was scheduled to work on the day of the rally but requested the day off. He passed a background check to work at the facility and was reportedly an unproblematic employee. Crooks was also a member of a local gun club where he practiced shooting the day before the rally.

It was recently revealed that sometime before his attempted assassination, Crooks posted the following message on Steam, a popular computer application used for playing video games: "July 13 will be my premiere, watch as it unfolds." Aside from this, Crooks posted no warning or manifesto regarding his attack, and little other relevant information is known about him.

What we don't know:It is unclear what Crook's political affiliations or views were, or if he was aligned with any extremist organizations. Crooks was a registered Republican, and his classmates recall him defending conservative ideas and viewpoints in class. On the other hand, the Federal Election Commission has revealed he donated to a progressive PAC on the day Biden was inaugurated. He also reportedly wore a COVID mask to school much longer than was required.

Clearly, we are missing the full picture. Why would a Republican attempt to assassinate the Republican presidential nominee? What is to gain? And why would he donate to a progressive organization as a conservative? This doesn't add up, and so far the federal agencies investigating the attack have yet to reveal anything more.

What were his goals?

What we know: Obviously we know he was trying to assassinate President Trump—and came very close to succeeding, but beyond that, Crooks' goals are unknown. He left no manifesto or any sort of written motive behind, or if he did, the authorities haven't published it yet. We have frustratingly little to go off of.

What we don't know: As stated before, we don't know anything about the movies behind Crooks' heinous actions. We are left with disjointed pieces that make it difficult to paint a cohesive picture of this man. There is also the matter that he left explosives, ammo, and a bulletproof vest in his car. Why? Did he assume he was going to make it back to his car? Or were those supplies meant for an accomplice that never showed up?

The shocking lack of information on Crooks' motives makes it seem likely that we are not being let on to the whole truth.

Did he work alone?

What we know: Reportedly, Crooks was the only gunman on the site, and as of now, no other suspects have been identified. The rifle used during the assassination attempt was purchased and registered by Crooks' father. However, it is unlikely that the father was involved as he reported both his son and rifle missing the night of the assassination attempt. Crooks' former classmates described him as a "loner," which seems to corroborate the narrative that he worked alone.

What we don't know: We know how Crooks acquired his rifle, but what about the rest of his equipment? He reportedly had nearly a hundred extra rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, and several homemade bombs in his car. Could these have been meant for a co-conspirator who didn't show? Did Crooks acquire all of this equipment himself, or did he have help?

There's also the matter of the message Crooks left on the video game platform Steam that served as his only warning of the attack. Who was the message for? Are there people out there who were aware of the attack before it occurred? Why didn't they alert authorities?

We know authorities have access to Crooks' laptop and cellphone that probably contain the answers to these pertinent questions. Why haven't we heard any clarity from the authorities? It seems we are again at the mercy of the federal bureaucracy, which begs one more question: Will we ever know the whole truth?