Why Are Searches For ‘Trailer Park Near Me’ Erupting? 

Why Are Searches For ‘Trailer Park Near Me’ Erupting? 

The eruption in Google searches for “RV lot near me” has hit a five-year high. The reason for the surge remains unclear but could be attributed to the worsening housing affordability crisis ushered in by the failure of ‘Bidenomics.’

Earlier this year, we noticed in several RV Industry Association’s industry reports (read here) that new monthly shipments for “Park Model RVs,” otherwise known as trailers, were outpacing last year’s levels.

None of this comes as a surprise, as the worst housing affordability crisis in a generation has killed the ‘American Dream’ for many folks. 

The most vocal folks complaining about the era of unaffordability of everything have been Gen-Zers on the Chinese social media platform TikTok. These youngsters are experiencing voter regret after a president who could be their great-great-great grandfather pushed failed policies that have been nothing more than a financial disaster for them. 

They’re also mad about owning nothing

“The thing about being in Gen Z is that, generally, we quite literally own nothing,” PJ Yancey told Bussiness Insider. He said, “We’re not homeowners; we don’t own a ranch, a vacation home, any kind of property at all. If we’re living on our own, it’s in someone else’s house or apartment.”

So, the kid went out into the desert in California and bought a $200 plot of land. 

@peejstead I love my dirt #offroad #crazy ♬ 3 Stars – Jair Archive

The lesson youngsters need to learn is the government and central bank are responsible for your financial woes. And the search data plus mobile home industry data only confirms that Gen-Zer’s standard of living has quickly deteriorated. Welcome to third-world style living. 

Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/01/2023 – 19:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/gaLFnU5 Tyler Durden

The Urgency Of Strengthening America’s Electric Grid Cybersecurity

The Urgency Of Strengthening America’s Electric Grid Cybersecurity

Authored by Paul Steidler via RealClear Wire,

The U.S. electric grid continues to face a bevy of foreign and domestic cyberattack threats. Therefore, it makes more sense than ever before for utilities and transmission operators to aggressively fortify their cyber defenses. In fact, failure to do so is a classic case of being penny wise and pound foolish. 

The evidence includes the following: 

  • On November 16, following two days of cybersecurity scenario testing by more than 250 organizations, Manny Cancel, Senior Vice President of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) said, “The threat landscape in which we are operating is unprecedented – we are facing challenges that are increasingly difficult to detect and protect against.”
  • NERC added that evolving cyber threats to the grid are “guided by geopolitical events, new vulnerabilities, changes in technologies, and increasingly bold cyber criminals and hackers.”
  • China, Russia, and other countries continue to impose cybersecurity threats to the U.S. electric grid, as discussed in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Annual Threat Assessment.
  • Cybersecurity insurance premiums continue to rise sharply, making preventative actions more compelling from a cost-benefit standpoint. 
  • The shift to renewable energy and distributed resources opens additional vulnerabilities for electric utilities. As Bruce Walker, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance for Critical Infrastructure Security said in July 18 Congressional testimony, “Importantly, the risk associated with cyber is exacerbated by the rapid transformational changes happening in the electric sector. The transition away from a centralized generation and command and control model to a decentralized model, has increased the surface area for cyber penetration.  

The grid’s Operational Technology (OT) vulnerabilities are particularly notable. OT refers to the remote monitoring and control of components in the electric system. This encompasses supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and industrial control systems (ICS) networks. 

An October 2022 U.S. Department of Energy study found, “Another industry trend is increased attacker experimentation and exploitation targeting OT systems.” 

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a similar warning: “Grid distribution systems – which carry electricity from transmission systems to consumers – have grown more vulnerable, in part because their operational technology increasingly allows remote access and connections to business networks.”

One way to simplify critical infrastructure protection and keep OT secure is to place a device that only allows pre-defined, legitimate signals to be sent to the OT on a network. This reduces the costs of more holistic network changes. It also prevents non-specific commands from passing through a protected device. 

One such system, Binary Armor, places an in-line barrier to cyber intrusion, while monitoring all communications to a piece of OT. The device is small, approximately five by three inches, and weighs less than a pound. It can be deployed throughout the distribution grid, including on main substation data lines and within substations. 

Legitimate commands can pass through. Those that would cause the device to behave in dangerous, destructive ways are thwarted. 

Binary Amor cannot be modified or reconfigured without physical access to the system, thereby providing robust security for remote facilities and critical infrastructure. The system allows the system operator to define the rules for SCADA/ICS traffic and to inspect every byte of information. 

The scope of threats that the U.S. electric grid will continue to face are likely to rise in complexity and severity. Rather than waiting for dictates from regulators, utilities and transmission grid operators should identify important areas for cybersecurity protection, especially where there are efficient, cost-effective solutions. In this environment, OT protection is especially important and likely to be even more so soon. 

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/01/2023 – 18:40

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/G0rLZ9V Tyler Durden

You Thought Murder Hornets Were Bad? The “Super Pig” Invasion Looms

You Thought Murder Hornets Were Bad? The “Super Pig” Invasion Looms

Fans of fearmongering classics such as “murder hornets” , “monkey pox” and “take this experimental vaccine or you’ll kill grandma” will love this one…

According to new reports, a population of badass “super pigs” is about to descend on North America from Canada, prompting northern US states such as Montana, Minnesota and North Dakota to take measures against the invasion.

The wild pigs, currently roaming Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, are often crossbreeds that combine the survival skills of wild Eurasian boars with the size and fertility of domestic swine to create so-called “super pigs” that one expert called “the most invasive animal on the planet,” and “an ecological train wreck,” according to CBS News.

Via Reddit user /u/Kalicoa

What caused this?

According to the report, Canadian farmers just cut pigs loose after the market collapsed in 2001. The pigs persevered – with the strong surviving harsh Canadian winters, and the weak dying off. The result was highly destructive packs of pigs are roaming around, eating anything – including crops and wildlife.

They tear up land when they root for bugs and crops. They can spread devastating diseases to hog farms like African swine fever. And they reproduce quickly. A sow can have six piglets in a litter and raise two litters in a year.

That means 65% or more of a wild pig population could be killed every year and it will still increase, Brook said. Hunting just makes the problem worse, he said. The success rate for hunters is only about 2% to 3% and several states have banned hunting because it makes the pigs more wary and nocturnal — tougher to track down and eradicate.

Wild pigs already cause around $2.5 billion in damage to U.S. crops every year, mostly in southern states like Texas. And they can be aggressive toward humans. A woman in Texas was killed by wild pigs in 2019. -CBS News

Feral pigs already in the United States have caused some $100 million in property damage in Texas, where lawmakers have authorized hot air balloon hunts to eradicate the porcine menace.

Feral pigs roam near a Mertzon, Texas, ranch on Feb. 18, 2009.

Ryan Brook, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan and one of Canada’s leading authorities on the problem, has documented 62,000 wild pig sightings in Canada, and have seen them on both sides of the Canada-North Dakota border.

“Nobody should be surprised when pigs start walking across that border if they haven’t already,” said Brook. “The question is: What will be done about it?”

The only path forward is you have to be really aggressive and you have to use all the tools in the toolbox,” Brook said.

Murdalize em!

Options for eradication include guns, traps such as the “BoarBuster,” and nets fired from helicopters.

Looks like bacon is on the menu, boys!

Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/01/2023 – 18:20

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Trump Claims ‘Cheating’ In Wisconsin Election Case: ‘Republicans Must Do Something’

Trump Claims ‘Cheating’ In Wisconsin Election Case: ‘Republicans Must Do Something’

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, on Aug. 9, 2022. (David ‘Dee’ Delgado/Reuters)

Former President Donald Trump issued a response after the Wisconsin State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case targeting state election maps.

Last week, Democrats urged the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn Republican-drawn legislative maps. The lawsuit was first brought by voters the day after the court flipped to what some say is a majority 4-3 liberal control in August. They want all 132 state lawmakers to stand for election under new, more favorable maps in 2024.

The state Legislature’s district maps were first drawn under former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, allowing the GOP to keep their majority in both chambers of the state Legislature.

Earlier this week, the former president offered criticism of the challenge, condemning the Wisconsin Supreme Court for taking up the challenge. He also shared a Wall Street Journal editorial that raised questions about the timing of the lawsuit after Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz, who was backed by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, started serving.

Tremendous cheating going on in a State that I love, Wisconsin. Republicans must do something to stop it!” President Trump said in a Truth Social post.

The Wall Street Journal article, meanwhile, wrote that Democrats fought to get Judge Protasiewicz elected earlier this year so “she could help them retake control of the state Legislature through a rewrite of the state’s political maps. Now the court’s liberal majority is going through contortions to deliver on that anti-democratic judicial promissory note,” describing the scenario as a “looming judicial coup.”

The fight comes ahead of the 2024 election in a battleground state where four of the six past presidential elections have been decided by fewer than 23,000 votes, and Republicans have built large majorities in the legislature under maps they drew over a decade ago.

President Trump won Wisconsin in the 2016 vote, while the state was certified in favor of President Joe Biden in 2020. Analysts have said it remains a key battleground state in 2024, coming after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) won his reelection bid last year.


Last week, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley most aggressively questioned the motives of Democrats and repeatedly referenced newly elected Judge Protasiewicz saying during her campaign that the current maps are “rigged.”

“Everybody knows that the reason we’re here is because there was a change in the membership of the court,” Judge Bradley said. She said ordering elections for all 132 lawmakers, including half of the Senate midway through their current terms, was “absolutely extraordinary.”

“I can’t imagine something less democratic than unseating most of the Legislature that was duly elected last year,” she added.

During a candidate forum last year, Judge Protasiewicz said that the legislative “maps are rigged, bottom line. Absolutely, positively rigged. They do not reflect the people in this state.”

“They do not reflect accurate representation, neither the state Assembly or the state Senate. They are rigged, period. Coming right out and saying that. I don’t think you could sell to any reasonable person that the maps are fair,” Judge Protasiewicz continued.

Attorney Mark Gaber, from the Campaign Legal Center, said the timing of the lawsuit had nothing to do with the election result. He said the challenge over whether the districts are unconstitutionally not contiguous would have been filed, regardless of the makeup of the court. “I don’t see that as a partisan issue,” Mr. Gaber said.

Taylor Meehan, attorney for the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature, said the lawsuit was meritless, brought too late, and that Democrats only filed it because control of the court flipped. “They are a wolf in sheep’s clothing designed to backdoor a political statewide remedy,” Mr. Meehan said.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz attends her first hearing as a justice, in Madison, Wis., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Morry Gash/AP)

Due to her comments on the “rigged” maps, Republicans in the Legislature have publicly floated impeaching the judge if she didn’t recuse herself from the case and other redistricting cases.

On Tuesday, a judge dismissed a left-wing group’s lawsuit that claimed a panel researching the possible impeachment of the judge violated the state’s laws. Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington ruled that the group, American Oversight, filed its lawsuit too early, coming after Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos asked former state Supreme Court justices in September to advise on whether it’s legal to impeach the justice.

The legal fight in Wisconsin comes after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state of Alabama’s bid to use a Republican-drawn congressional map. Months before that, the top U.S. court issued a ruling against the state that argued Alabama violated the Voting Rights Act, although Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, a Republican, said the court erred in its decision.

“It is now clear that none of the maps proposed by Republican supermajorities had any chance of success. Treating voters as individuals would not do. Instead, our elected representatives and our voters must apparently be reduced to skin color alone,” he said at the time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/01/2023 – 18:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/hlMqpiT Tyler Durden

Hezbollah Rejoins Fight, Lebanese Civilians Killed, After Gaza Truce Ended

Hezbollah Rejoins Fight, Lebanese Civilians Killed, After Gaza Truce Ended

The resumption of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip after the truce ended Friday morning has quickly translated into rocket and artillery fire in Israel’s north, where emergency sirens have sent residents running for shelter across several towns. 

Hezbollah, which over the past week has respected the Hamas truce during which time it by and large silenced its weapons, has rejoined the conflict. Already there have been deaths in Lebanon after Israel responded by shelling the town of Hula. Hezbollah-affiliated television channel al-Manar said that a mother and her son were killed in the attack.

Previously in the day Al Jazeera reported that “Hezbollah claimed a strike on Israeli soldiers in the first cross-border attack on Israel since the resumption of the fighting in Gaza.”

Last weekend, the government of Iraq warned that if the Gaza ceasefire doesn’t become permanent, there’s a strong chance the conflict turns into broader regional war.

The Pentagon has forces on high alert at US bases in Syrian and Iraq. Prior the truce of last Friday, American bases in the region had come under some 60 or more total drone and rocket attacks. The US responded with airstrikes several times against ‘Iran-backed militias’. 

Whether these attacks will start up again is a big question the West will be watching closely. The Biden administration has repeatedly threatened to strike against Iran-linked targets and assets if Americans come under threat.

Below: Israeli artillery shelling parts of southern Lebanon

As for Hezbollah, despite that before the truce there were daily attacks on southern Israel, its role has been limited thus far after eight weeks of conflict. Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has previously stated that the group’s intent is to keep Israeli forces bogged down enough in the north to where the IDF can’t focus its entire arsenal and tanks on the Gaza theatre. 

But a big fear in Tel Aviv and Washington remains the possibility that Hezbollah could launch a full war. Its rockets and manpower are considered much bigger than that of Hamas, and a scenario like the 2006 war is something Israeli military leaders likely hope to avoid.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/01/2023 – 17:40

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Our National Bankruptcy: Moral, Economic, And Political

Our National Bankruptcy: Moral, Economic, And Political

Authored by Mark Hendrickson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The National Debt Clock in Washington on Nov. 13, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)


Last month I got a call from a friend who works in Congress. He was distressed by the absurd condition of the federal finances. How could the wealthiest country in the world be almost $34 trillion in debt while charging ahead into ever-deeper debt? It seems like a horror movie come to life.

Congress is gridlocked with the spigot of federal spending seemingly locked permanently into the wide-open position.

The conversation with my friend touched on three points: how did this untenable situation come about, how can we reverse course, and what model of government would protect us from endless debt?

How Did We Get Into This Untenable Predicament?

What has brought the federal government of the United States of America to the edge of a fiscal abyss? It boils down to two main factors: the perverse incentives of electoral democracy accompanied by a gradual moral decay.

The fundamental underlying cause of our catastrophic debt is a decay of morality. Over the decades, the traditional American respect for the sanctity of private property has eroded and diminished. Under the influence of progressive and socialist ideas and other sophistries, the American people came to believe that they were entitled to receive benefits that others would be made to pay for. This is the self-destructive nature of democracy. By popular demand as expressed at the ballot box, voluntary exchange and charity have been progressively replaced by compulsory government-mandated transfers of wealth (transfers of wealth that would be considered theft if done by non-government actors).

In a democracy, politicians seeking elective office always need more votes. They have found that they can buy votes, not with their own money, but with money from the federal treasury, by conferring ever-larger benefits on ever-more beneficiaries. The political incentive is for Congress and presidents to spend, spend, spend. And since voters hate taxes, another political incentive is to not antagonize voters by raising taxes. Running up the national debt is the inevitable outcome of these incentives.

Government over-spending is the Achilles’ heel of democracy. In words often attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship …”

Twentieth-century American economist Howard Kershner put it less eloquently: “When a self-governing people confer upon their government the power to take from some and give to others, the process will not stop until the last bone of the last taxpayer is picked bare.”

How Can We Pull Out of This Fiscal Tailspin?

The short answer is: We can’t. Theoretically, it would be possible if a majority of voting Americans recognized the dangers inherent in national bankruptcy and elected presidents and a Congress that would undo the vast web of wealth-transfer programs, but this isn’t realistic. Few voters are willing to relinquish the particular government programs that benefit them, and so dismantling the welfare state voluntarily is a non-starter.

Instead, the most likely scenario is to continue on our present self-destructive course until the point in time when there won’t be enough suckers who believe in “the full faith and credit of the federal government” to buy its debt, and the Federal Reserve is forced to create additional trillions of dollars, thereby torpedoing the purchasing power of the people and precipitating an economic cataclysm causing massive social upheaval and a likely political revolution.

A Blueprint for a Fiscally Responsible Government

Yes, and it’s a blueprint sitting in plain sight. It’s our Constitution.

The Constitution enumerates a relatively small number of functions that the federal government is to perform. There’s no explicit authorization in the Constitution for the federal government to get involved in directing, influencing, or managing such areas of our economy as agriculture, housing, health care, energy, education, transportation, retirement, etc.

It’s clear from the writings of the founding generation that they never expected the federal government to extend into the economic affairs of citizens.

Thomas Jefferson (letter to Albert Gallatin, 1817): “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall (McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819): “This government is acknowledged by all, to be one of enumerated powers.”

James Jackson (member of the First Congress): “We must confine ourselves to the powers described in the Constitution, and the moment we pass it, we take an arbitrary stride towards a despotic Government.”

What happened to our founders’ vision of limited government? Again, the moral decay of “We, the people” bears the primary responsibility. President John Adams hit the nail on the head: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

What President Adams understood is crucial. Any constitution—even one that expresses the most noble ideals and enlightened ideas—is little more than a piece of worthless paper if the people don’t value it enough to accept its authority and lack the commitment to consistently accept, uphold, and defend its strictures and rules.

We need a blueprint like our original constitution. But more than that, we need a moral revival so that we can again live as free people under a federal government limited to the task of defending our lives, liberty, and property.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times of ZeroHedge.

Fri, 12/01/2023 – 17:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/lQ7K5JA ZeroPointNow

Chrysler Building’s EU Co-Owner Goes Bankrupt 

Chrysler Building’s EU Co-Owner Goes Bankrupt 

Europe may be experiencing its most significant real estate meltdown since the global financial crisis. The abrupt ending of easy monetary policies and soaring interest rates have led the property and retail conglomerate Signa Holding GmbH to declare bankruptcy following its inability to secure funding. 

Bloomberg reports that Signa, also the co-owner of New York’s Chrysler building, has assets upwards of $25 billion as of the end of 2022. It filed for insolvency in Vienna on Wednesday. 

“Despite considerable efforts in recent weeks, the necessary liquidity for an out-of-court restructuring could not be sufficiently secured,” the company said.

Signa’s current debt load totaled around $5.5 billion, according to creditor representative KSV1870. There are over 273 creditors impacted by the proceedings. 

“From today’s standpoint, it’s impossible to predict whether further companies of the Signa Group will file for insolvency and whether it will lead to a domino-effect,” said Karl-Heinz Götze, the head of insolvencies at the group.

Austrian tycoon Rene Benko heads Signa, which has commercial real estate properties across Europe and is a co-owner of New York’s Chrysler building. 

Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer played down the collapse of Signa. He said, “What’s really important is that all those who invested here, especially the banks, stay stable.” 

Earlier this week, analysts at Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International, one of Signa’s top creditors, warned that the fallout might spark further CRE turmoil if properties must be offloaded. 

“The aim is to continue business operations within the framework of self-administration,” Signa said.

Bloomberg sources said Signa has been ‘frantically’ searching for $650 million in short-term liquidity, reaching out to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Elliott Investment Management, among others. 

The crash of Signa comes as global central banks have likely concluded the most aggressive interest rate tightening cycle in a generation to tame hot inflation. Fed swaps show interest rate cuts are forecasted to begin as early as May. 

Furthermore, we don’t need to expand on the CRE crisis as readers are well-informed about the rumblings this year. We leave you with a recent interview featuring Goldman’s Allison Nathan and Scott Rechler, Chairman and CEO of RXR Realty. 

Rechler told Nathan that the crisis in the CRE space was just beginning.

Recall in March, when several regional banks imploded, we noted “Why Small Banks Are In Big Trouble: As Hedge Funds Pile Into The New “Big Short,” The Next’ Credit Event’ Emerges.” 

So what are the contagion risks with the implosion of Signa? 

Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/01/2023 – 16:40

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Back To 2-And-A-Half Wars?

Back To 2-And-A-Half Wars?

Authored by John Mills via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A plaque of the Department of Defense seal is seen at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 26, 2012. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)


An overarching tenet for decades in the American national security planning environment was the ability for the U.S. military to simultaneously conduct two-and-a-half major regional conflicts (MRCs).

Translated, this meant that the United States had the military size to generate and project military force for a major conflict in the European area, a major conflict in the Asian area, and a smaller “brushfire” conflict somewhere else. Going back 30 years, the 1993 “Bottom Up Review” was the seminal Department of Defense planning document that defined the beginning of the pivot away from this classic Cold War viewpoint to a new, post-Soviet era one.

The budget process descended into decades of arguing that to pay for new systems, force structure had to be diminished. The flip side of the argument was that peacekeeping requirements (Bosnia, Rwanda, etc.), as well as the massive increase in deployment cycles brought on by the War on Terror, prevented the diminishment of the number of military units.

This led to an unsolvable impasse on the topic. New systems had a bill that could only be paid by cutting units and military personnel. Units and military personnel couldn’t be cut because of the demands of the deployment cycle.

And now the world seems to have descended into a real situation of two-and-a-half conflicts without seeking permission from the force structure planning community.

China Threat Re-awakening This National Security Imperative

The war in Ukraine drags on, but with some momentum perceptible as Ukrainian forces appear to have established a firm beachhead across the Dnipro River in a drive toward Crimea. After decades of relative peace, now the Middle East is inflamed as Israel strikes into the Gaza Strip to destroy Hamas terrorists while holding additional Iranian-backed proxies in southern Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Houthi missile fire from Yemen in check. Meanwhile, there’s the specter of even greater conflict in the possibility of strategic strikes as Iran threatens Israel (and America).

In the two-and-a-half MRC calculus, it’s not clear whether these contagions are the “two-and-a-half,” or even possibly the “two-and-a-half-plus,” of the retro MRC worldview.

Hamas and the Houthis are proxies for Iran; Iran is a proxy for China. Russia, mired in the death and destruction it created, is a proxy for China. In December 2021, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin met virtually, weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, and agreed to a “no limits” partnership to topple American leadership of the world system.

Tensions in the Pacific have increased as China has greatly elevated its military exercises—demonstrations toward Taiwan and the Philippines. The Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act and related appropriations greatly increased American military spending while making numerous declarative statements of support for Taiwan, which has significantly displeased China.

Air Force and Navy in the Lead

With the upward trajectory of the American defense budget and the existence of an ongoing or building two-and-a-half-plus MRC world whether we like it or not, the question is, what force structure strategy and policy should be in effect?

The common outcome of the national security budget debate is what’s called “salami slicing,” where all military services and requirements take equal cuts or equal plus-ups. This is often the normalcy of the defense debate within and between the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government.

With the surging two-and-a-half-plus MRC world, intuitive priorities come to the forefront. The American border should be the first priority, and, beyond that, capabilities and force structure that can project deterrence and, if necessary, war-winning capabilities should receive the highest priorities for a unified joint operational concept. These are more resident in air, naval, space, cyber, and special operations domains, with a special emphasis on artificial intelligence-enabled autonomous systems.

The Army and Marines will have a key role in the burgeoning two-and-a-half-plus MRC world, and they need to find where they create the best value as “supporting” services to the primary “supported” services who should be in the lead. The Army has made bold moves toward this in its multi-domain doctrine development, which emphasizes long-range fires, rejuvenated air and missile defense capabilities, and a return to strong operational experience and capabilities in maritime and amphibious operations.

The Army and the Marine Corps have similar interests and should work closely together in partnership to develop a larger and more capable maritime transport capability of smaller vessels that complement the Navy’s larger amphibious warfare ship structure and robust special operations capabilities. The Army should retain a world-class armored force capability but ensure it’s postured for maximum ability to be in the right place at the right time. The rest of the conventional “Big” Army may have to shrink somewhat to ensure the priorities are properly resourced.

Countering Unrestricted Warfare

The Chinese Communist Party is achieving some success in its worldwide campaign of unrestricted warfare to include civil-military fusion, Belt and Road influence operations, and pernicious and deadly adjuncts such as fentanyl production in northern Mexico that is introduced into American society on a broad scale in an “Opium War” initiative to destabilize American society. This implies that the American solution must be whole-of-government and inclusive of key strategic partners.

The historic challenges of military recruiting and retention need to be addressed in an open and honest dialogue that addresses all core causal factors that can no longer be dismissed. Even the U.S. Coast Guard is achieving a striking inability to deploy ships: It has the budget and equipment, but it doesn’t have the personnel—an extremely perplexing inverse of the world they have lived in for years.

The two-and-a-half MRC world is only growing, and the best response is to build the right capabilities to deter the developing storm as fast as possible.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/01/2023 – 16:20

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Powell’s Dovish Comments Send Everything Soaring, Gold Hits All Time High As Dollar Plummets

Powell’s Dovish Comments Send Everything Soaring, Gold Hits All Time High As Dollar Plummets

After November’s furious meltup, which saw the S&P rise by 9% (the Nasdaq was up an even more ludicrous 11%), which was the best November for the stock market since 1980…

… all eyes were on Jerome Powell today to see if the Fed chair would say something to stem the surging stock market tide following the month which saw the biggest easing in financial conditions on record, equivalent to nearly 4 rate cuts.

We got the answer shortly after 11am ET, when after what seemed to be otherwise balanced remarks with a dose of hawkish comments…

“It would be premature to conclude with confidence that we have  achieved a sufficiently restrictive stance, or to speculate on when  policy might ease. We are prepared to tighten policy further if it becomes appropriate to do so.”

… offset by some clearly dovish statements…

“The strong actions we have taken have moved our policy rate well into restrictive territory, meaning that tight monetary policy is putting downward pressure on economic activity and inflation. Monetary policy is thought to affect economic conditions with a lag, and the full effects of our tightening have likely not yet been felt.”

… and generally sounding rather optimistic while answering student questions, saying that the US is on the path to 2% inflation without large job losses – i.e., a soft landing – which helped the market to convince itself that Powell had just given the green light for a continued market meltup (thanks to the blackout period, there will be no more Fed comments until the Dec 13 FOMC) as Bloomberg put it…

“Powell points to how the Fed’s past tightening moves will continue to have an impact on the economy — the full impact hasn’t been felt yet. If anybody thought the Fed wasn’t finished raising rates, his prepared remarks today sure put a fork in it. They are done.”

…. and what happened next was a violent repricing in easing odds, with March rate cut odds hitting a lifetime high of 80%, effectively doubling overnight and up from 10% just 5 days ago…

… which then immediately cascaded across assets and sent everything exploding higher, led by stocks which surged above 4,600 for the first time since the July FOMC (aka the “final rate hike”)…

…passing through the bond market, and especially 2-Year yields, which tumbled a whopping 12bps to 4.56%…

… and on course for the biggest weekly slide since the regional banking crisis in March, down almost 40bps.

Yet neither stocks, nor bonds, had quite as much fun as either “digital gold”, with Bitcoin briefly hitting a fresh 2023 high, briefly surging to $39,000 before easing back with Ether rising to $2100 …

… but the biggest winner by far from today’s market conclusion that a renewed dollar destruction is on deck, was gold which briefly rose above its all time high of $2,075…

… and that’s just the start: now that a new record is in the history books, a frenzy of gold calls was bought, both for futures and the biggest ETF tied to the metal, and as shown in the chart below, the buildup of open interest between $2,000 and $2,500 has been relentless over the past week on growing optimism that rates are primed to decline. Next up for gold? $2500 or higher.

Yet not everyone had a great day: the dollar predictably tumbled, extending it losses for a third straight week, the longest streak since June, and comes after the dollar saw its worst month in a year this November.

One dollar pair trade where the convexity is especially high is USDJPY, which after soaring for much of the past year suddenly finds itself in a Wile E Coyote moment, trading just below the 100DMA. Should the selling persist, we may see the pair quickly tumble down to 140, or lower.

To be sure, not all the moves made sense: as Bloomberg noted, bonds have a better reason to rally than stocks, which have to factor in the growth concerns that underpin Powell’s remarks. Evidence is gathering that the economy is slowing and stocks will have to reconcile that with their bullish rate views. Today’s ISM Manufacturing data is case in point that the stagflationary slowing that started in October — and Bloomberg Economics says it’s observing typical early signs of recession — extended last month.

The ISM commentary was generally downbeat, equally split between companies hiring and others reducing their labor forces “a first since such comments have been tracked” according to Bloomberg.

But it gets worse: the latest update to the Atlanta GDPNOW tracker slipped to 1.2% from 1.8% yesterday and over 2% just last week.

And after diverging for much of the year, all three regional Feds that do GDP nowcasts have converged on 2% –  a far cry from the “5.2%” GDP print the Biden department of seasonal adjustments goalseeked last month.

Bottom line: the onus is now on the payrolls report next week to further guide markets into next year. The continued rise in ongoing jobless claims pose a risk that unemployment could rise further. But so far, this isn’t a consensus view, with economists projecting the unemployment rate to stay unchanged at 3.9% (and more see a 3.8% rate than 4%).

And while that may only add more fuel to the rate-cut speculation, at some point the softening in economic data will have to be squared with its impact on profits. As a reminder, while much of the interval between the last rate hike and the first rate cut is favorable for risk assets, the weeks right before the cut usually send stocks anywhere between 10% and 30% lower as the market realizes just why the Fed is panicking.

However, judging by today’s action, we still have some time before that particular rude awakening kicks in.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/01/2023 – 16:07

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/GFYjJhT Tyler Durden

Watch: Boat Full Of Suspected Migrants Invades Malibu Beach

Watch: Boat Full Of Suspected Migrants Invades Malibu Beach

A panga boat full of suspected migrants landed on the beach in Malibu, California earlier this week, after which a group of people can be seen exiting the vessel and trudging across the sand, according to video sent to Fox News‘ Bill Melugin by a resident.


Melugin notes that “Malibu is 100+ miles away from the border,” and that it’s “Unclear if anyone caught.”


The incident happened the same week that LA media reported a sunken panga boat found off the same area on Wednesday, prompting an investigation from federal authorities.

The US Coast Guard was alerted to the 25-foot-long vessel at around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, and found a debris field with life jackets and gas cans, but no people.

On Sunday, surfers at Black’s Beach in San Diego County walk past a boat believed to have been used in a human smuggling incident.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

In March, eight people died after two suspected human smuggling boats capsized near Black’s Beach in San Diego.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 12/01/2023 – 15:50

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/hX0vQLs Tyler Durden