Upcoming Speaking Engagements

Unlike Ilya, I have been delinquent in posting information on upcoming speaking engagements. I forgot to let readers know about my talk to the University of Michigan Law School Federalist Society chapter on climate change policy (with a response by Prof. Rachel Rothschild), my presentation of my paper, “Standing without Injury” at the University of Chicago Constitutional Law Institute’s Standing Doctrine Conference, and my participation in a panel on “Can Corporations Be Sued for Global Warming?” at the annual Cox Center for Internatinal Law Conference on “Climate Change and International Law at a Crossroad.”

Perhaps most importantly, I neglected to note my participation in this year’s “IronConLawProf” event sponsored by CWRU’s Federalist Society chapter. This is a particularly fun event, in which professors are recruited to stage a mock oral argument for a case pending before the Supreme Court. What makes the event particularly fun (and inspired the name) is that the participating professors do not know which side they will have to argue until the start of the event. This year’s case was Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimando (the Chevron case), and I drew the government, so I had to do my best Elizabeth Prelogar impersonation. My colleague Prof. Jessie Hill was stuck arguing that Chevron should be overturned.

Here is a brief listing of public speaking engagements I have scheduled for the balance of the semester. (I’ll update this list if additional events arise.)

On October 5, I’ll be speaking at a Federal Bar Association, Northern District of Ohio Chapter CLE program at the, “Administrative Procedures Act Seminar: History, Interpretations, and Latest Rulings from the Bench.” Other speakers include Profs. Emily Bremer of Notre Dame and Christopher Walker of Michigan. The event is 9am-1pm at the Carl B. Stokes Courthouse in Cleveland. Registration info is here.

On October 10, I will be speaking to the Federalist Society student chapter at Harvard Law School on “Environental Federalism: States as Laboratories of Environmental Policy.” Prof. James Salzman will provide critical commentary. Details here.

On October 17, I will be speaking at mid-day to the Federalist Society student chapter at the University of Chicago on “Why the EPA Will Not Save Us from Climate Change.”

On October 24, I will be making two Federalist Society chapter talks in Washington, D.C. First, at noontime, I will be speaking to the student chapter at George Washington University Law School again on “Why the EPA Will Not Save Us from Climate Change.”

At 5pm that day, I will speak to the student chapter at the Georgetown University Law Center on the Roberts Court and my claim that the Court is (by historical measures) relatively restrained. Prof. Josh Chafetz will be on hand to heartily disagree.

On October 27, I will be a panelist on “State Constitutions and Climate Change” sponsored by the State Democracy Research Initiative at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Other speakers include Retired Justice Michael Wilson of the Hawaii Supreme Court, Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner (S.J. Quinney College of Law), Professor Shelley Welton (Penn Carrey Law School), and Professor Miriam Seifter (Wisconsin).

The post Upcoming Speaking Engagements appeared first on Reason.com.

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Putin Signs Decree To Draft 130K Young Men In Fall Conscription

Putin Signs Decree To Draft 130K Young Men In Fall Conscription

In a fall call-up, Russia is drafting 130,000 more young men for compulsory service, based on a decree signed by President Putin on Friday. Men aged 18-27 will be recruited for a one-year period from Oct.1 and Dec.31, however, this latest conscription drive will not involve sending this new batch to fight in Ukraine, the Kremlin said

Deputy head of the military’s mobilization department, Rear Admiral Vladimir Tsimlyansky, sought to assure in a briefing, “There are no plans for additional mobilization measures.”

Conscripts are seen at a railway station. Source: Sergei Malgavko via Zuma

The defense ministry previously said they are taking long-term steps to reach Putin’s goal of increasing the national armed forces’ combat personnel from 1.15 million to 1.5 million.

The last draft came in the spring, which conscripted 147,00 men, and thus with this new fall drive a total of 277,000 will have been conscripted in 2023.

While new conscripts will not be sent to fight in Ukraine, for the first time they will be drawn from the newly “reunited” regions of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson oblasts:

Conscription for military service in what Moscow describes as Russia’s new regions is regulated by a so-called constitutional law on admission to the Russian Federation, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

According to the law, the autumn 2023 conscription round will include the newly annexed territories for the first time.

Russia is meanwhile celebrating one year since these territories were declared ‘legally’ part of the Russian Federation, according to remarks of Putin Saturday.

“A year ago, on September 30, a defining and truly historic event took place when agreements were signed to incorporate four new constituent entities into the Russian Federation,” he said in a video address, according to TASS.

He hailed the occasion on which “millions of residents of Donbass and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions made their choice to be with their Fatherland,” saying further: “This conscious, long-awaited, hard-won and genuinely popular decision was made collectively through referendums in full compliance with international norms.”

One year ago it was noted by media sources that Russia was annexing lands roughly the size of Portugal

“People showed courage and integrity in the face of attempts to intimidate and deprive them of their right to determine their own future, their destiny, and to take away something every person values, namely, culture, traditions, and mother tongue, in a word, everything that was loathed by nationalists and their Western patrons who orchestrated a coup in Kiev in 2014 and then unleashed a full-scale civil war and terror against dissenters and organized blockades, constant shelling, and punitive actions in Donbass,” Putin described, reiterating his rationale for the “special military operation”.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 13:15

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Turley: Ten Reasons Why The Biden Impeachment Inquiry Is Justified

Turley: Ten Reasons Why The Biden Impeachment Inquiry Is Justified

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

There have been repeated references to the ten facts that I alluded to in my congressional testimony as establishing an ample basis to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. I have received emails asking about those ten developments so I wanted to post them. They are found in my written testimony, but I did not have time to go through them all in the course of my oral statement before the Committee.

While many have noted that I stated that I do not view the current evidence as sufficient for articles of impeachment, that is hardly surprising. This was the first hearing of the inquiry and was called to address why the threshold for an inquiry had been established. I was also asked to address the constitutional standards and best practices going forward. Indeed, I criticized the last two impeachments for prematurely declaring impeachable conduct without fully developing a record to support such articles. This hearing returned the impeachment process to a type of regular order in reserving judgment until all of the evidence could be acquired by the three committees.

Here are the ten developments that I cited as justifying an impeachment inquiry (a view with which my fellow witness University of North Carolina Professor Michael Gerhardt disagreed):

The record currently contains witness and written evidence that the President

(1) has lied about key facts in these foreign dealings,

(2) was the focus of a multimillion-dollar influence peddling scheme, and

(3) may have benefitted from this corruption through millions of dollars sent to his family as well as more direct possible benefits.

The President may be able to disprove or rebut these points, but they raise legitimate concerns over his role based on the accounts of key figures in the matter.

Consider just ten of the disclosures from the prior investigation:

  1. Hunter Biden and his associates were running a classic influence peddling operation using Joe Biden as what Devon Archer called “the Brand.”[1] While this was described as an “illusion of access,” millions were generated for the Bidens from some of the most corrupt figures in the world, including associates who were later accused of or convicted of public corruption.[2]

  2. Some of the Biden clients pushed for changes impacting United States foreign policy and relations, including help in dealing with Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin investigating corruption.[3]

  3. President Biden has made false claims about his knowledge of these dealings repeatedly in the past, including insisting that he had no knowledge of Hunter’s foreign dealings which Archer has declared “patently false.”[4] The Washington Post and other media outlets have also declared the President’s insistence that his family did not take money from China as false.[5]

  4. The President had been aware for years that Hunter Biden and his uncle James were accused of influence peddling, including an audiotape of the President acknowledging a New York Times investigation as a threat to Hunter.[6]

  5. President Biden was repeatedly called into meetings with these foreign clients and was put on speakerphone.[7] He also met these clients and foreign figures at dinners and meetings.[8]

  6. Emails and other communications show Hunter repeatedly invoking his father to secure payments from foreign sources and, in one such message, he threatens a Chinese figure that his father is sitting next to him to coerce a large transfer of money.[9]

  7. A trusted FBI source recounted a direct claim of a corrupt Ukrainian businessman that he paid a “bribe” to Joe Biden through intermediaries.[10]

  8. Hunter Biden reportedly claimed that he had to give half of his earnings to his father[11] and other emails state that intermingled accounts were used to pay bills for both men, including a possible credit account that Hunter used to allegedly pay prostitutes.[12]

  9. At least two transfers of funds to Hunter Biden in 2019 from a Chinese source listed the President’s home in Delaware where Hunter sometimes lived and conducted business.[13]

  10. Some of the deals negotiated by Hunter involved potential benefits for his father, including office space in Washington.[14] At least nine Biden family members reportedly received money from these foreign transfers, including grandchildren.[15] For Hunter Biden, this included not just significant money transfers but gifts like an expensive diamond and a luxury car.[16]

These are only some of the serious corruption allegations facing the President, but each could raise impeachable conduct if a nexus is established to the President.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 12:40

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Supporting Ukraine Is ‘Tough & Painful’ Amid Growing War Fatigue, UK Foreign Secretary Admits

Supporting Ukraine Is ‘Tough & Painful’ Amid Growing War Fatigue, UK Foreign Secretary Admits

In a fresh interview, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has acknowledged “growing anti-Ukrainian sentiment” among Western allies and the public, but has urged leaders to not waiver in their support, despite the current situation being “tough and painful”

Interestingly, the words came in an interview where a big focus was the potential for another Trump presidency in the US. When asked about Western reluctance in some corners to stop aiding and supplying Ukraine, he asserted that the situation “will just get worse” if Kiev doesn’t receive the support needed against Russia. Cleverly conceded that the war is “putting pressure on countries all over the world.”

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, via BBC

“If we don’t stick with our support to Ukraine, if we send the signal that aggressors can prosper, then all the problems that we are currently facing: those inflationary pressures on food and on fuel, the political pressure that comes from having a conflict like this, they will just get worse,” Cleverly said

“Which is why the UK’s government position is resolute. We make that point to all our international partners. This is tough and this is painful,he acknowledged. “But it will only be more tough and more painful if we falter.”

Fatigue, he underscored, “is something we have got to deal with,” and is a “big thing”.

The interviewer had opened this segment of questioning by calling attention to the “growing anti-Ukrainian sentiment being used in election campaigning like that in Poland, which has seen the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party ban Ukrainian grain imports (with similar bans in place in Slovakia and Hungary)…” In Poland, this has further involved the government ordering the “end of benefits for refugees fleeing the war” and even halting future weapons supplies.

The Saturday published interview comes on the heels of Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko having recently admitted those allies still willing to give Kiev money is “growing smaller and smaller.”

Additionally, billions more for Ukraine is now in doubt as Republicans in the House of Representatives fight over whether to include it in next year’s government funding bill, making a govt shutdown imminent. 

In Canada, the ‘NaziGate’ fiasco in parliament is also a big setback for Ukraine and its supporters, proving a public embarrassment which is likely to result in waning public support for the whole Ukraine cause.

Still, even if Western military hardware and advanced missiles and tanks continue to be handed over the Kiev, some Ukrainian officials have admitted it’s “too little, too late” now that Russian forces are dug in over broad swathes of the east, also behind miles of mine fields.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 12:05

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Now Hiring: The Ministry Of Failure

Now Hiring: The Ministry Of Failure

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Those expecting some centralized, political-administrative “solution” will be disappointed, as the political-administrative “solution” is actually the problem.

The Ministry of Failure is hiring, as their decades-long expansion is accelerating. You probably don’t know about the Ministry, but you see its handiwork everywhere. The principle behind the Ministry’s existence and its raison d’etre is simple: failure is more profitable than efficiency.

The greater the inefficiency and the higher the failure rate, the fatter the budgets and profits. Consider the permit process: the longer it takes, the more revisions and hoops the applicant must go through and the higher the late fees and penalties for non-compliance, the fatter the budget of the agency and the fatter the compensation of the administrative staff. Inefficiency is more profitable than efficiency.

Consider the immense profitability of planned and quasi-planned obsolescence. The Ministry of Failure doesn’t take any chances; it requires manufacturers to use the cheapest, lowest-quality electronic components so the failure of the controller board is essentially guaranteed. And since the cost of the replacement board and the labor to install it is so outrageous, the consumer is forced to buy a new product. Failure is more profitable than durability.

The Ministry is also tasked with eliminating competition while masking this behind a phony facade of faux competition. Consider insulin, a pharmaceutical product that is essential to diabetics. Here is a snippet from the Yale School of Medicine website:

Insulin is seven to 10 times more expensive in the U.S. compared with other countries around the world. The same vial of insulin that cost $21 in the U.S. in 1996 now costs upward of $250. But it takes only an estimated $2 to $4 to produce a vial of insulin.

The Ministry of Failure has spent decades perfecting various cover stories for quasi-monopolies and cartels to justify their blatant profiteering. The Ministry tirelessly works to eliminate competition, grease the revolving doors of regulatory capture and add more compliance thorns to the regulatory thicket that keeps oh-so-unprofitable competition safely suppressed.

So insulin costs 10X in the U.S.? Fantastic! Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Failure, this abject failure is incredibly profitable.

The Ministry understands that any efficiency or reduction in administrative friction steps on somebody’s toes by disrupting the profitability of failure and administrative churn. All those toes crushed by efficiency and reducing administrative dead weight belong to powerful interests, and so everything continues to be done the way it’s been done because any increase in efficiency / durability and any reduction in administrative bloat hurts somebody with political clout.

One of the greatest successes of the Ministry of Failure has been the rise to dominance of administrative bloat. Consider the example of the healthcare sector, which has experienced an explosive rise in the number of administrators and in the salaries of these administrators (see charts below).

This doesn’t reflect the staggering increase in administrative burdens placed on doctors and nurses. The Ministry of Failure has worked tirelessly to exhaust frontline workers everywhere with needless, pointless admin duties.

All of this bloat and inefficiency has been papered over with an equally explosive rise in borrowed money. All the gross inefficiencies, skims, scams and administrative bloat have pushed costs higher, and so the Ministry has worked with the political class and the Federal Reserve to flood the economy with “free money” borrowed into existence by the Fed and the federal government.

Since efficiency and reducing administrative bloat are impossible because somebody’s toes will be stepped on, the only “solution” is to slosh more money into the failed system. If insulin costs 10X what it costs in other developed nations, no problem, let’s just borrow another trillion dollars (oh heck, make it $10 trillion) so the costs of failure disappear into the background.

One of the outstanding successes of the Ministry of Failure in the past two decades has been the expansion of student loan debt from near-zero to $1.77 trillion. These trillions paid for the expansion of administrative bloat in higher education, and nice salaries and benefits for the administrators. Everybody wins, right?

That all this failure is a net loss to our society and economy is masked by the borrowed trillions. Need more money to pay for failure? Just borrow more. So total debt, public, private and corporate, skyrockets from $20 trillion to $95 trillion, so what? The Fed can always create as much as we need to afford the profitability of failure.

But this “solution” is illusion: the costs of failure have simply been transferred to the citizenry, society and the economy, all of which are now staggering under a crushing weight of debt, money borrowed to keep failure profitable.

Those expecting some centralized, political-administrative “solution” will be disappointed as the political-administrative “solution” is actually the problem.

The default path is to take a job in the Ministry of Failure and borrow boatloads of money to paper over the costs of systemic failure in our own lives.

The only real solution available is to develop solutions for yourself and your household: pursue Self-Reliance and learn how to accredit yourself, a process I describe in my book Get a Job and Build a Real Career. Solutions and workarounds abound, but they’re not centralized or administrative in nature.

*  *  *

My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, $18 print): Self-Reliance in the 21st Century. Read the first chapter for free (PDF)

Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

Subscribe to my Substack for free

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 11:30

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The Costco Gold Indicator

The Costco Gold Indicator

Submitted by QTR’s Fringe Finance

Can we all agree that once it becomes common knowledge just how ridiculous Modern Monetary Theory is, it’ll be a treacherous day for the confidence that Americans place in the Fed?

All I do is write about the Federal Reserve. I’ve been talking about them for the last 15 years nonstop and have constantly been skeptical of monetary policy in this country. This policy can best be described as a combination of Sam Bankman-Fried’s and Bernie Madoff’s management styles—combined and on a sovereign scale.

Putting aside whether or not I’ll eventually be proven right with my skepticism, or if I am engaging in a lifelong, fruitless campaign against the world’s most successful monetary policy (like I give a sh*t), the one catalyst I have always considered devastating to the central banking model is the public’s awareness of just how it works.

Make no mistake about it: inflation and corporate bailouts that widen the inequality gap are definitely horrifying. What makes it more nefarious, I have argued, is the fact that most people don’t understand how it happens. This takes place in the “dark machinery of the night,” to borrow some imagery from Ginsberg.

And if there’s one thing I’ve given Bitcoin credit for over the last decade, it has been empowering the younger generation to understand how central banking and fiat currency work. Regardless of whether or not Bitcoin turns out to be a successful investment, I have not witnessed such an effective tool for empowering people with the knowledge of how central banking works as I have with Bitcoin.

I would also argue that the nation has never been in such a precarious and questionable spot with its monetary policy decisions as it is right now. Make no mistake about it: this is uncharted territory. We are dealing right now with the consequences of two decades of easy-money policies that should have been corrected years, if not decades, ago. There are multiple forces at work here, like a rip current underneath a raging storm tide, pulling in multiple directions.

First, we have a $7 trillion liquidity bomb pumped into the system as a result of Covid and its related stimulus. Then, we have the fastest acceleration of interest rates to the highest federal funds rate we have seen in decades. Rates across the board, including mortgage rates, have hit multi-decade highs in record time.

In addition, we have a stock market that appears to me to be insanely overvalued and priced purely for speculation.

50% OFF ALL SUBSCRIPTIONS: Subscribe and get 50% off and no price hikes for as long as you wish to be a subscriber.

So what’s the point of all this? Am I going to once again tell you that the entire system is going to come crashing down and all life as we know it will stop at the speed of light, like when they crossed the streams in “Ghostbusters”? No. But I do think it is noteworthy that people understand that central banking policies are being called into question publicly a little bit more than they have in the past. For example, in Congress days ago, Matt Gaetz made the following joke:

“We are devaluing American money so rapidly that in America today, you can’t even bribe Democrat senators with cash alone. You need to bring gold bars to get the job done, just so the bribes hold value.”

Putting aside what you think about him or the Republican party, the soundness of our money is an infrequently discussed topic in the halls of Congress. The issue has also been brought up repeatedly by presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who is running on a platform of reducing the amount of power granted to the Federal Reserve.

But finally, there has been a true test of consumer demand for skepticism of monetary policy with Costco recently selling gold bars. That’s right—a retail outlet is actually selling real money.

Just think about this for a moment: people are buying gold from Costco. This tells us that the average American has grown so weary of our government’s reckless spending and the Fed’s irresponsible monetary policy that they literally want to fill their shopping cart — online or in person — with something they know is real money. From People:

The retail giant has recently been selling 1 oz. bars of authentic 24-karat gold from South African mining company Rand Refinery and Swiss precious metal supplier PAMP Suisse on their website for $1,949.99 and  $1,979.99, respectively, according to Insider.

According to the product details on Costco’s page, Rand Refinery’s gold bars are individually stamped with a unique serial number and arrive in a sealed black assay card, while PAMP Suisse’s gold bars are individually “controlled, registered, and secured” within CertiPAMP™ packaging with an official Assay Certificate and a digital certificate accessed with a QR Code. 

Both items are non-refundable, provide air shipping via UPS and currently have a 4.9 out of 5 average rating on the company’s website, with one member writing on Rand Refinery’s gold bar customer rating that it was a “beautiful piece of gold” and “brand new.”

It’s an incredible commentary on the average American citizen. Americans are literally choosing to transact U.S. dollars for gold.

Just because it’s happening on a website that says “Costco” and the transaction is being consummated by housewives named Florence doesn’t change the fact that enough people thought converting U.S. dollars into hard assets was a high enough priority that these bars sold out at Costco. These aren’t shoppers heading over to Kitco — these are people casually picking up some gold when they buy dog food and toilet paper.

And if you think that’s crazy now, wait until we hit a period of volatility. So far, markets have been pretty orderly, but it’s a mathematical certainty that this won’t continue to be the case. These gold bar purchases will look like when I was early on Covid and buying face masks at stores like Sherwin-Williams and hand sanitizer at my local Aldi. Just weeks later, people were beating each other up in grocery store aisles for toilet paper.

If you think the same “oh sh*t” moment can’t happen with gold and other types of real money, you’re sorely mistaken. ‘

To gauge the average American citizen’s trust in our fiscal and monetary policy, look no further than what’s going on at Costco.

QTR’s Disclaimer: I am an idiot and often get things wrong and lose money. I may own or transact in any names mentioned in this piece at any time without warning. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any stocks or securities, just my opinions. I often lose money on positions I trade/invest in. I may add any name mentioned in this article and sell any name mentioned in this piece at any time, without further warning. None of this is a solicitation to buy or sell securities. These positions can change immediately as soon as I publish this, with or without notice. You are on your own. Do not make decisions based on my blog. I exist on the fringe. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this page. These are not the opinions of any of my employers, partners, or associates. I did my best to be honest about my disclosures but can’t guarantee I am right; I write these posts after a couple beers sometimes. Also, I just straight up get shit wrong a lot. I mention it twice because it’s that important.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 10:30

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GM, Ford CEOs Blast UAW Boss As Strikes Expand  

GM, Ford CEOs Blast UAW Boss As Strikes Expand  

The CEOs of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. blasted United Auto Workers boss Shawn Fain for expanding strikes on Friday – now in its third week. Fain said meaningful progress on a new four-year labor contract with Chrysler-parent Stellantis would allow the automaker to avoid additional strikes. 

GM CEO Mary Barra was furious with Fain: “It’s clear that there is no real intent to get to an agreement.” Ford CEO Jim Farley said, “UAW is holding the deal hostage over battery plants.” 

Farley warned UAW pay hike demands “have a devastating impact on our business,” adding that the disagreement on wages centers around future electric vehicle battery plants. 

“What’s really frustrating is, I believe we could have reached a compromise on pay and benefits, but so far, the UAW is holding the deal hostage over battery plants,” Farley said. He added, “Keep in mind these battery plants don’t exist yet.”

Fain quickly responded to Farley’s comments about the union: “I don’t know why Jim Farley is lying about the state of negotiations. It could be because he failed to show up for bargaining this week, as he has for most of the past ten weeks. If he were there, he’d know we gave Ford a comprehensive proposal on Monday and still haven’t heard back.”

Barra repeated much of Farley’s criticisms of Fain: “It’s clear that there is no real intent to get to an agreement. It is clear Shawn Fain wants to make history for himself, but it can’t be to the detriment of our represented team members and the industry.”

Comments from Farley and Barra came hours after Fain announced expanding strikes at their respective auto plants while he said Stellantis made meaningful progress on a new four-year labor contract and would avoid further strikes.

UAW currently has 25,000, or about 17% of the union, on strike at the three automakers. 

A Bloomberg report earlier this week said Fain had reduced pay hike demands from 40% to 30% with automakers. Still, negotiators at the three carmakers are around 20%, which means both parties are far apart from an imminent deal. 

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 09:55

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10 Numbers Which Prove That The US Economy Has Hit A Major Pivot Point

10 Numbers Which Prove That The US Economy Has Hit A Major Pivot Point

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

During the summer, many of the experts repeatedly assured us that the U.S. economy would be able to avoid a recession, but now reality is setting in. 

Credit conditions continue to tighten, home sales are falling, credit card losses are exploding, stores are closing all over the country, and the number of bankruptcies is rising to very alarming levels.  Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to become more and more suffocating.  If you have a gut feeling that very hard times are on the horizon, you are definitely not alone.  As you will see below, a staggering 71 percent of all Americans currently believe that America is on the wrong track, and our economy is one of the biggest reasons why they feel this way. 

The following are 10 numbers which prove that the U.S. economy has hit a major pivot point…

#1 Consumer confidence was down more than expected this month…

The confidence of American consumers slipped this month, particularly about the future, as expectations persist that interest rates will remain elevated for an extended period.

The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 103 in September from 108.7 in August. Analysts were expecting a smaller decrease, to a reading of 105.

#2 The Conference Board’s index that measures future expectations has actually dropped below a level that historically signals “a recession within a year”

Most troubling was the decline in the index measuring future expectations, which tumbled to 73.7 in September from 83.3 in August. Readings below 80 for future expectations historically signal a recession within a year.

#3 With mortgage rates at suffocating levels, sales of new homes in the U.S. fell 8.7 percent last month

New home sales dropped in August from the month before, as mortgage rates topped 7% and rose to the highest levels in more than 20 years.

Sales of newly constructed homes fell 8.7% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 675,000 from a revised rate of 739,000 in July, according to a joint report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau.

#4 A record high percentage of U.S. consumers are indicating that credit conditions are getting tighter

American consumers are worried about access to credit amid persistently higher interest rates and tighter standards at banks, according to a New York Federal Reserve survey released Monday.

Respondents indicating that the ability to get loans, credit cards and mortgages is harder now than it was a year ago rose to nearly 60%, the highest level in a data series that goes back to June 2013. The results were part of the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations for August.

#5 Credit card losses are increasing at the fastest pace in 30 years

Credit card companies are racking up losses at the fastest pace in almost 30 years, outside of the Great Financial Crisis, according to Goldman Sachs.

Credit card losses bottomed in September 2021, and while initial increases were likely reversals from stimulus, they have been rapidly rising since the first quarter of 2022. Since that time, it’s an increasing rate of losses only seen in recent history during the recession of 2008.

It is far from over, the firm predicts.

#6 At this point, things are getting so bad that even the Federal Reserve is laying off about 300 workers

At a time when mainstream economists and FOMC policymakers are betting the farm on a “soft landing” for the US economy, an unexpectedly hard signal was just issued by none other than the Fed itself: for the first time in over a decade, the US central bank announced it would cut about 300 people from its payroll this year, a rare reduction in headcount for an organization that has grown steadily since 2010 – after all, it takes if not a village (with its own police force), then certainly thousands of workers to come up with catastrophically wrong economic forecasts and to keep the money printer primed and ready to pump out a few trillion at a moment’s notice.The nu

#7 The number of bankruptcy cases in the United States has increased on a year over year basis for 13 months in a row

Data released Tuesday showed that Americans filed more than 39,000 bankruptcy cases in Aug. 2023, an 18 percent increase from the same time last year.

The data released by Unusual Whales details how, along with personal bankruptcy filings, there were more than 41,600 new bankruptcy cases recorded in August, including for businesses. This marks the thirteenth consecutive month that bankruptcy filings have shown a year-over-year increase under the Biden administration’s embarrassing and dangerous economic policies.

#8 Goldman Sachs is warning that America’s strategic oil reserve has hit a 40 year low

America’s emergency oil stockpile has plunged to 40-year lows. The shrinking Strategic Petroleum Reserve is limiting Washington’s ability to shield consumers from the fallout of Saudi Arabia’s aggressive supply cuts, according to Goldman Sachs.

“At this point, US energy policy has fewer bullets left. It has less levers left in its policy toolkit,” Daan Struyven, head of oil research at Goldman Sachs, told CNN in a phone interview.

That’s one reason Goldman Sachs expects oil prices to stay high, averaging $100 a barrel this time next year. Triple-digit oil would boost already-high prices at the pump, worsening inflation and potentially influencing the 2024 race for the White House.

#9 It is being projected that the price of oil could eventually reach 150 dollars a barrel.  Needless to say, such a development would radically change our economic outlook…

That’s Doug Lawler, chief executive of Continental Resources, the shale-drilling giant controlled by billionaire Harold Hamm, telling Bloomberg News on Monday that crude prices are set to remain elevated and could press to the $120- to $150-a-barrel range without new production.

#10 A new NBC News poll has found that 71 percent of Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track…

The 71% of Americans in our latest NBC News poll saying the country is headed in the wrong direction is the eighth time in the last nine NBC News surveys dating back to Oct. 2021 when the wrong track has been above 70%.

And the one exception was in Sept. 2022, when it was 68%.

We have never before seen this level of sustained pessimism in the 30-year-plus history of the poll.

For more than a year, there has been speculation about when the next wave of our economic crisis would arrive.

Well, it appears that it is here.

The months ahead promise to be very challenging, and the long-term outlook is even worse.

2024 is certainly shaping up to be quite a year.

Economic conditions will be deteriorating just as we head into the most tumultuous election season that we have ever witnessed.

Stay safe out there, because things will soon start getting really crazy in this country.

*  *  *

Michael’s new book entitled “End Times” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com, and you can check out his new Substack newsletter right here.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 09:20

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/OKdML0Q Tyler Durden

Escobar: The Abuse Of Europe Is Never-Ending While Hegemon Is Making A ‘Killing’

Escobar: The Abuse Of Europe Is Never-Ending While Hegemon Is Making A ‘Killing’

Authored by Pepe Escobar,

In the Kremlin’s strategy the ultimate aim is to demilitarize and smash NATO. We’re getting there, slowly but surely…

We may always dream that following an Ariadne’s thread we might, just might, extricate ourselves from the current, incandescent geopolitical labyrinth by applying an exceedingly overhyped commodity: logic.

Yet the post-everything, cancel culture West has also cancelled logic.

When in doubt, at least we can go back to foundation myths.

So let’s go back to the birth of the West, as in Europe.

Legend tells us that one fine day Zeus happened to set his roving eye on a beautiful girl with big, bright eyes, a daughter from a thalassocratic civilization in the Levant: Europa.

A while later, on a pristine beach in the Phoenician coast, an extraordinary white bull showed up. Europa, intrigued, got closer and started to caress the bull; of course, that was Zeus in disguise. The bull duly annexed Europa and darted towards the sea.

Zeus had three sons with Europa — and left her a spear that never missed its target. One of these sons,
as we all know, was Minos, who built a labyrinth.

But most of all what legend taught us was that the West was born out of a girl – Europa – who came from the East.

Enter the toxic Medusa

Now cue to a trashy Medusa maneuvering her toxic tentacles in Brussels, using a self-congratulatory Atlanticist fest to praise the head of the Japanese government for supporting the neo-nazi gang in Kiev and fighting Russia.

That was the preamble for a linguistic twist from hell: “Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons again,” that blamed Russia, by implication, for the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, when the whole planet knows who did it.

Astonishing lying is the Medusa’s standard modus operandi: yet what’s even more startling is that this Eurotrash stock in trade is fully normalized. And of course merrily accepted by the Rising Sun neo-colony.

This is how History is now being taught in “elite” universities across the collective West. And this is also the reason why Russia has given up on finding even minimally qualified interlocutors across the collective West.

And it gets worse. Such emanations from a cultural swamp are supposed to represent “Europe”. We are light years away from the late, great Gianni Vatimo – one of the last towering European intellects, who proposed several nuances of compassionate nihilism and an understanding of politics as forms of consensus that communities deliver inside historical and cultural horizons.

The abuse of Europe is never-ending.

In geoeconomics, German industrial exports – which were a key factor in its positive balance of payments – are going down the drain. Germany and assorted EU nations are now dependent on ultra-costly American LNG.

An enslaved EU was forced by the American “ally” to simply give up on the Russian market for its own auto and other exports that paid for cheap energy imports. In a matter of months, balanced trade Looking East was turned into deficit trade with the Hegemon.

That is the key legacy of the tactical victory obtained by the Hegemon with the bombing of Nord Stream 1 and 2 – exactly a year ago.

Seymour Hersh’s sources inside the U.S. Deep State revealed who did it. The whole Global Majority with an IQ over room temperature knows who did it – and who ordered it. And still the current Straussian neo-con psychos controlling U.S. foreign policy are able to get away with it.

The bombing of the Nord Streams was the Rape of Europe Remixed – now performed by an American bull.

As the indispensable Michael Hudson has detailed, domestic budgets of Germany and other EU/NATO nations are already in deficit territory – with the added “incentive” of the non-stop militarization of the EU.

That will “force cutbacks in domestic government programs – just as Germany and its NATO neighbors are moving into a post-industrial depression in which families and businesses need subsidies to cover their rising heating and energy costs, and unemployment insurance.”

Moreover, the euro will continue to plunge against the U.S. dollar, and may soon fall to 90 cents, or lower.

Prof. Hudson’s conclusion is stark: “So what seemed to be a U.S./NATO war against Russia in Ukraine has been a stunning U.S. military victory to lock European NATO members into the U.S. orbit and block their plan to turn East for trade and investment with Russia and China.”

Enjoy the “laboratory for military innovation”

Meanwhile, the Hegemon is making a killing – literally – with its proxy war in Ukraine.

The basics: over half of agro-Ukraine is now owned by Monsanto, Cargill and Dupont, bought for a pittance and profiting from the most corrupt environment in any country in the world.

Ukraine seeds were destroyed: Monsanto now runs the whole GMO racket. Ukraine cereals going to raped Europa equal full control of the EU’s agriculture and food market.

On the military front, the U.S. weapons matrix and its satellites continue to profit immensely from what is in effect money laundering of public funds.

Ukraine simultaneously became:

1. The graveyard for outdated weapons in need of recycling.

2. A privileged “laboratory for military innovation” (like Afghanistan and Iraq, previously) – as admitted by the Pentagon’s number two, Mara Carlin, at the Ronald Reagan University.

3. A show room for global exports (well, Abrams tanks about to be incinerated by the Russians don’t exactly qualify as a strong selling point).

On the energy front, it’s all about the Nord Streams, all over again.

The remixed Rape of Europa comes complete with ancillary financial bulls BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street totally controlling the spot market for anything the EU wants to buy, with prices occasionally 20 times higher than before.

This is just the short version of what “helping Ukraine” is really about.

And still the wunderwaffen keep coming: F16s are next in line.

Andrei Martyanov summed it all up, concisely: “The combined West failed at war”. As in NATO’s utter humiliation will be cosmic. And that comes with a – possible – punchline – for which obviously one cannot have direct confirmation in the corridors of power in Moscow: “Russians did plan for that, they just couldn’t anticipate that the West would self-annihilate itself that fast”.

It’s firmly established that in the Kremlin’s strategy the ultimate aim is to demilitarize and smash NATO. We’re getting there, slowly but surely. What is already established is that the Serial Rape of Europa by the American bull has totally broken it – physically, economically, culturally and psychologically.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 08:10

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/huRP1e5 Tyler Durden

These Are The World’s Largest Oil Producers

These Are The World’s Largest Oil Producers

In 2022 oil prices peaked at more than $100 per barrel, hitting an eight-year high, after a full year of turmoil in the energy markets in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Oil companies doubled their profits and the economies of the biggest oil producers in the world got a major boost.

But which countries are responsible for most of the world’s oil supply? Using data from the Statistical Review of World Energy by the Energy Institute, Visual Capitalist’s Pallavi Rao and Christina Kostandi visualized and ranked the world’s biggest oil producers.

Ranked: Oil Production By Country, in 2022

The U.S. has been the world’s biggest oil producer since 2018 and continued its dominance in 2022 by producing close to 18 million barrels per day (B/D). This accounted for nearly one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.

Almost three-fourths of the country’s oil production is centered around five states: Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Alaska, and Colorado.

We rank the other major oil producers in the world below.

Rank Country 2022 Production
(Thousand B/D)
YoY Change Share of
World Supply
1 🇺🇸 U.S. 17,770 +6.5% 18.9%
2 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia 12,136 +10.8% 12.9%
3 🇷🇺 Russia 11,202 +1.8% 11.9%
4 🇨🇦 Canada 5,576 +3.0% 5.9%
5 🇮🇶 Iraq 4,520 +10.2% 4.8%
6 🇨🇳 China 4,111 +2.9% 4.4%
7 🇦🇪 UAE 4,020 +10.4% 4.3%
8 🇮🇷 Iran 3,822 +4.6% 4.1%
9 🇧🇷 Brazil 3,107 +3.9% 3.3%
10 🇰🇼 Kuwait 3,028 +12.0% 3.2%
11 🇲🇽 Mexico 1,944 +0.9% 2.1%
12 🇳🇴 Norway 1,901 -6.3% 2.0%
13 🇰🇿 Kazakhstan 1,769 -2.0% 1.9%
14 🇶🇦 Qatar 1,768 +1.8% 1.9%
15 🇩🇿 Algeria 1,474 +8.9% 1.6%
16 🇳🇬 Nigeria 1,450 -11.2% 1.5%
17 🇦🇴 Angola 1,190 +1.1% 1.3%
18 🇱🇾 Libya 1,088 -14.3% 1.2%
19 🇴🇲 Oman 1,064 +9.6% 1.1%
20 🇬🇧 UK 778 -11.0% 0.8%
21 🇨🇴 Colombia 754 +2.4% 0.8%
22 🇮🇳 India 737 -3.8% 0.8%
23 🇻🇪 Venezuela 731 +8.1% 0.8%
24 🇦🇷 Argentina 706 +12.4% 0.8%
25 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan 685 -5.6% 0.7%
26 🇮🇩 Indonesia 644 -6.9% 0.7%
27 🇪🇬 Egypt 613 +0.8% 0.7%
28 🇲🇾 Malaysia 567 -1.7% 0.6%
29 🇪🇨 Ecuador 481 +1.7% 0.5%
30 🇦🇺 Australia 420 -5.2% 0.4%
31 🇹🇭 Thailand 331 -17.5% 0.4%
32 🇨🇩 Congo 269 -1.7% 0.3%
33 🇹🇲 Turkmenistan 244 +1.0% 0.3%
34 🇻🇳 Vietnam 194 -1.2% 0.2%
35 🇬🇦 Gabon 191 +5.4% 0.2%
36 🇸🇸 South Sudan 141 -7.6% 0.2%
37 🇵🇪 Peru 128 +0.5% 0.1%
38 🇹🇩 Chad 124 +6.2% 0.1%
39 🇬🇶 Equatorial
119 -9.2% 0.1%
40 🇸🇾 Syria 93 -2.7% 0.1%
41 🇮🇹 Italy 92 -7.9% 0.1%
42 🇧🇳 Brunei 92 -13.8% 0.1%
43 🇾🇪 Yemen 81 -2.4% 0.1%
44 🇹🇹 Trinidad
& Tobago
74 -3.6% 0.1%
45 🇷🇴 Romania 65 -6.2% 0.1%
46 🇩🇰 Denmark 65 -1.6% 0.1%
47 🇺🇿 Uzbekistan 63 -0.9% 0.1%
48 🇸🇩 Sudan 62 -3.3% 0.1%
49 🇹🇳 Tunisia 40 -12.9% 0.0%
50 Other CIS 43 +4.4% 0.0%
51 Other Middle East 210 +1.2% 0.2%
52 Other Africa 283 -3.4% 0.3%
53 Other Europe 230 -20.5% 0.2%
54 Other Asia Pacific 177 -10.6% 0.2%
55 Other S. &
Cent. America
381 +68.5% 0.4%
  Total World 93,848 +4.2% 100.0%

Behind America’s considerable lead in oil production, Saudi Arabia (ranked 2nd) produced 12 million B/D, accounting for about 13% of global supply.

Russia came in third with 11 million B/D in 2022. Together, these top three oil producing behemoths, along with Canada (4th) and Iraq (5th), make up more than half of the entire world’s oil supply.

Meanwhile, the top 10 oil producers, including those ranked 6th to 10th—China, UAE, Iran, Brazil, and Kuwait—are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s oil production.

Notably, all top 10 oil giants increased their production between 2021–2022, and as a result, global output rose 4.2% year-on-year.

Major Oil Producing Regions in 2022

The Middle East accounts for one-third of global oil production and North America makes up almost another one-third of production. The Commonwealth of Independent States—an organization of post-Soviet Union countries—is another major regional producer of oil, with a 15% share of world production.

Region 2022 Production
(Thousand B/D)
YoY Change Share of
World Supply
Middle East 30,743 +9.2% 32.8%
North America 25,290 +5.3% 27.0%
CIS 14,006 +0.9% 14.9%
Africa 7,043 -3.5% 7.5%
Asia Pacific 7,273 -1.4% 7.8%
South & Central
6,361 7.2% 6.8%
Europe 3,131 -8.6% 3.3%

What’s starkly apparent in the data however is Europe’s declining share of oil production, now at 3% of the world’s supply. In the last 20 years the EU’s oil output has dropped by more than 50% due to a variety of factors, including stricter environmental regulations and a shift to natural gas.

Another lens to look at regional production is through OPEC members, which control about 35% of the world’s oil output and about 70% of the world’s oil reserves.

When taking into account the group of 10 oil exporting countries OPEC has relationships with, known as OPEC+, the share of oil production increases to more than half of the world’s supply.

Oil’s Big Balancing Act

Since it’s the very lifeblood of the modern economy, the countries that control significant amounts of oil production also reap immense political and economic benefits. Entire regions have been catapulted into prosperity and wars have been fought over the control of the resource.

At the same time, the ongoing effort to pivot to renewable energy is pushing many major oil exporters to diversify their economies. A notable example is Saudi Arabia, whose sovereign wealth fund has invested in companies like Uber and WeWork.

However, the world still needs oil, as it supplies nearly one-third of global energy demand.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 09/30/2023 – 07:35

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/oURSr7I Tyler Durden