Athletes from professional sports teams across the country have bowed to the liberal mob and kneeled for the national anthem. Orlando Magic player Jonathon Isaac apparently does not want to be associated with the radical marxist mob and decided to stand for the anthem and he refused to wear a BLM T shirt. 59 weitere…Courage! NBA Player Goes Against the Mob and Stands for the National Anthem; Also Refuses to Wear BLM Shirt [Video] — magAMedia
What can be more repressive than telling people they can’t breathe fresh air, that they must rebreathe their own respiratory waste? From Mark Chapman at off-guardian.org: Julius Caesar’s crossing the Rubicon River in 49 BC in defiance of Roman law placed him and his army on a direct collision course with Rome, leading to the […]Crossing the Rubicon: The UK Slips into a Repressive State, by Mark Chapman — STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC
Don’t support totalitarians just because they’re tyrannizing people you don’t like. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com: Back in 2014, hundreds if not thousands of conservatives and liberty movement activists converged on a farm in rural Clark County, Nevada. The purpose was to protest the incursion of federal government agents onto the property of the Bundy […]Martial Law Is Unacceptable Regardless Of The Circumstances, by Brandon Smith — STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC
Susan Rice was a second-rate Obama apparatchik, known for her brazen lies about the Benghazi attack, who is probably best left ignored, but she may be third-rate Joe Biden’s nominee for vice president (having the two most relevant qualifications—she’s a woman and she’s black) so her part in the Russiagate coup may be important. From […]Susan Rice’s Testimony on Being Out of Russiagate Loop Doesn’t Add Up, by Eric Felten — STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC
When the Ronald Reagan and Nimitz carrier strike groups recently engaged in “operations” in the South China Sea, it did not escape to many a cynic that the US Pacific Fleet was doing its best to turn the infantile Thucydides Trap theory into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The pro forma official spin, via Rear Adm. Jim Kirk, commander of the Nimitz, is that the ops were conducted to “reinforce our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, a rules-based international order, and to our allies and partners”.
Nobody pays attention to these clichés, because the real message was delivered by a CIA operative posing as diplomat, Secretary of State Mike “We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal” Pompeo: “The PRC has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region”, in a reference to the Nine-Dash Line. For the State Dept., Beijing deploys nothing but “gangster tactics” in the South China Sea.
Once again, nobody paid attention, because the actual facts on the sea are stark. Anything that moves in the South China Sea – China’s crucial maritime trade artery – is at the mercy of the PLA, which decides if and when to deploy their deadly DF-21D and DF-26 “carrier killer” missiles.
There’s absolutely no way the US Pacific Fleet can win a shooting war in the South China Sea.
A crucial Chinese report, unavailable and not referred to by Western media, and translated by Hong Kong-based analyst Thomas Wing Polin, is essential to understand the context.
The report refers to US Growler electronic warplanes rendered totally out of control by electronic jamming devices positioned on islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
According to the report, “after the accident, the United States negotiated with China, demanding that China dismantle the electronic equipment immediately, but it was rejected. These electronic devices are an important part of China’s maritime defense and are not offensive weapons. Therefore, the US military’s request for dismantling is unreasonable.”
It gets better:
“On the same day, former commander Scott Swift of the US Pacific Fleet finally acknowledged that the US military had lost the best time to control the South China Sea. He believes that China has deployed a large number of Hongqi 9 air defense missiles, H-6K bombers, and electronic jamming systems on islands and reefs. The defense can be said to be solid. If US fighter jets rush into the South China Sea, they are likely to encounter their ‘Waterloo.’”
The bottom line is that the systems – including electronic jamming – deployed by the PLA on islands and reefs in the South China Sea, covering more than half of the total surface, are considered by Beijing to be part of the national defense system.
I have previously detailed what Admiral Philip Davidson, when he was still a nominee to lead the US Pacific Command (PACOM), told the US Senate. Here are his Top Three conclusions:
1) “China is pursuing advanced capabilities (e.g., hypersonic missiles) which the United States has no current defense against. As China pursues these advanced weapons systems, US forces across the Indo-Pacific will be placed increasingly at risk.”
2) “China is undermining the rules-based international order.”
3) “China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”
Implied in all of the above is the “secret” of the Indo-Pacific strategy: at best a containment exercise, as China continues to solidify the Maritime Silk Road linking the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean.
Remember the nusantao
The South China Sea is and will continue to be one of the prime geopolitical flashpoints of the young 21st century, where a great deal of the East-West balance of power will be played.
I have addressed this elsewhere in the past in some detail, but a short historical background is once again absolutely essential to understand the current juncture as the South China Sea increasingly looks and feels like a Chinese lake.
Let’s start in 1890, when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.
That is the embryo of the US Empire of Bases – which remains in effect.
It was Western – American and European – colonialism that came up with most land borders and maritime borders of states bordering the South China Sea: Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam.
We are talking about borders between different colonial possessions – and that implied intractable problems from the start, subsequently inherited by post-colonial nations.
Historically, it had always been a completely different story. The best anthropological studies (Bill Solheim’s, for instance) define the semi-nomadic communities who really traveled and traded across the South China Sea from time immemorial as the Nusantao – an Austronesian compound word for “south island” and “people”.
The Nusantao were not a defined ethnic group. They were a maritime internet. Over centuries, they had many key hubs, from the coastline between central Vietnam and Hong Kong all the way to the Mekong Delta. They were not attached to any “state”. The Western notion of “borders” did not even exist. In the mid-1990s, I had the privilege to encounter some of their descendants in Indonesia and Vietnam.
So it was only by the late 19th century that the Westphalian system managed to freeze the South China Sea inside an immovable framework.
Which brings us to the crucial point of why China is so sensitive about its borders; because they are directly linked to the “century of humiliation” – when internal Chinese corruption and weakness allowed Western “barbarians” to take possession of Chinese land.
A Japanese lake
The Nine Dash Line is an immensely complex problem. It was invented by the eminent Chinese geographer Bai Meichu, a fierce nationalist, in 1936, initially as part of a “Chinese National Humiliation Map” in the form of a “U-shaped line” gobbling up the South China Sea all the way down to James Shoal, which is 1,500 km south of China but only over 100 km off Borneo.
The Nine Dash Line, from the beginning, was promoted by the Chinese government – remember, at the time not yet Communist – as the letter of the law in terms of “historic” Chinese claims over islands in the South China Sea.
One year later, Japan invaded China. Japan had occupied Taiwan way back in 1895. Japan occupied the Philippines in 1942. That meant virtually the entire coastline of the South China Sea being controlled by a single empire for the fist time in history. The South China Sea had become a Japanese lake.
Well, that lasted only until 1945. The Japanese did occupy Woody Island in the Paracels and Itu Aba (today Taiping) in the Spratlys. After the end of WWII and the US nuclear-bombing Japan, the Philippines became independent in 1946 and the Spratlys immediately were declared Filipino territory.
In 1947, all the islands in the South China Sea got Chinese names.
And in December 1947 all the islands were placed under the control of Hainan (itself an island in southern China.) New maps duly followed, but now with Chinese names for the islands (or reefs, or shoals). But there was a huge problem: no one explained the meaning of those dashes (which were originally eleven.)
In June 1947 the Republic of China claimed everything within the line – while proclaiming itself open to negotiate definitive maritime borders with other nations later on. But, for the moment, there were no borders.
And that set the scene for the immensely complicated “strategic ambiguity” of the South China Sea that still lingers on – and allows the State Dept. to accuse Beijing of “gangster tactics”. The culmination of a millennia-old transition from the “maritime internet” of semi-nomadic peoples to the Westphalian system spelled nothing but trouble.
Time for COC
So what about the US notion of “freedom of navigation”?
In imperial terms, “freedom of navigation”, from the West Coast of the US to Asia – through the Pacific, the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean – is strictly an issue of military strategy.
The US Navy simply cannot imagine dealing with maritime exclusion zones – or having to demand an “authorization” every time they need to cross them. In this case the Empire of Bases would lose “access” to its own bases.
This is compounded with trademark Pentagon paranoia, gaming a situation where a “hostile power” – namely China – decides to block global trade. The premise in itself is ludicrous, because the South China Sea is the premier, vital maritime artery for China’s globalized economy.
So there’s no rational justification for a Freedom of Navigation (FON) program. For all practical purposes, these aircraft carriers like the Ronald Reagan and the Nimitz showboating on and off in the South China Sea amount to 21st century gunboat diplomacy. And Beijing is not impressed.
As far as the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is concerned, what matters now is to come up with a Code of Conduct (COC) to solve all maritime conflicts between Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and China.
Next year, ASEAN and China celebrate 30 years of strong bilateral relations. There’s a strong possibility they will be upgraded to “comprehensive strategic partner” status.
Because of Covid-19, all players had to postpone negotiations on the second reading of the single draft of COC. Beijing wanted these to be face to face – because the document is ultra-sensitive and for the moment, secret. Yet they finally agreed to negotiate online – via detailed texts.
It will be a hard slog, because as ASEAN made it clear in a virtual summit in late June, everything has to be in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).
If they can all agree on a COC by the end of 2020, a final agreement could be approved by ASEAN in mid-2021. Historic does not even begin to describe it – because this negotiation has been going on for no less than two decades.
Not to mention that a COC invalidates any US pretension to secure “freedom of navigation” in an area where navigation is already free.
Yet “freedom” was never the issue. In imperial terminology, “freedom” means that China must obey and keep the South China Sea open to the US Navy. Well, that’s possible, but you gotta behave. That’ll be the day when the US Navy is “denied” the South China Sea. You don’t need to be Mahan to know that’ll mean the imperial end of ruling the seven seas.
Well, the Virus Patrol sure has done it. In a fit of reckless overkill they have managed to vaporize six years of economic growth during the last 90 days. And that’s just by the mechanical reckoning of the GDP accounts, where total output in Q2 weighed in at essentially the same level as Q4 2014.
The real damage is far deeper, however, and is reflected in millions of small businesses permanently destroyed, tens of millions of households wiped-out financially and the vicious daisy chain of delinquencies, deferrals and defaults just beginning to rip through the $78 trillion edifice of debt which entombs the US economy.
Real GDP Level
Of course, most of the Wall Street talking heads were nonplussed by this morning’s release because, well, Q2 results are claimed to be ancient history: Reality is purportedly the “V”-shaped recovery on their spreadsheets, which really can’t fail to happen because it’s always two quarters out regardless of conditions at the moment.
So let’s get something straight. What is happening is an economic catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen before, even during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
In fact, the worst annual decline back then was a 14.8% drop in 1932, while the entire peak-to-trough real GDP decline between 1929 and the 1933 bottom was 30.5%.
So it would be fair to say that measured at an annualized rate, the idiotic Dr. Fauci and his Virus Patrol have now delivered a 32.9% GDP plunge, which single-handedly tops the entire contraction of the Great Depression.
Needless to say, the Q2 result also leaves the recessionary drops since 1950 way back in the dust. Even the auto industry induced plunge of Q1 1958 didn’t make the double-digit threshold. It clocked in at a 9.986% annualized decline or less than one-third of today’s cliff dive.
What was especially notable, however, was the vaporization of personal consumption spending on services, which ordinarily accounts for upwards of 70 percent of total PCE; and which is also ballyhooed by the paint-by-the-numbers Wall Street economist as the ballast the keeps GDP moving ever higher.
Not this time!
Services spending literally fell through the trapdoor, contracting at a 43.4% annualized rate. That compares with the 11 recessions since 1950 where real spending on services never went negative, save for the pinprick decline of -1.6% annualized during the Q1 2009 bottom of the Great Recession.
By every account, the economic plunge in the winter of 2008-2009 was the worst since the 1930s, but today the Commerce Department reported a PCE-services drop that was 28X deeper!
Our purpose here is not to marshal scary numbers, even as they surely are. Rather, our point is that what is coursing through the Q2 numbers is not anything that resembles a normal chain-of-reactions macroeconomic cycle. For instance, where job losses cascade through to shrinking incomes, thereby causing consumer confidence and spending wherewithal to diminish and household spending to be curtailed.
To the contrary, what is depicted below is essentially economic marshal law. Agencies of the state commanded airports, restaurants, bars, hair salons, gyms, movies, dentist offices, theme parks, sporting events etc. to close or operate at drastically reduced capacity, which meant, in turn, that day-in-and-day out commerce and economic output vanished instantly.
Stated differently, this 43% plunge in services spending didn’t happen for the ordinary reason that people were short on cash. As we show below, personal income during the quarter – thanks to the massive flow of free stuff from Washington (aka government transfer payments) – clocked in at a record level!
Consequently, there will be no rebound in the plunging red line below no matter how much fiscal and monetary “stimulus” Washington pumps into the main street economy.
The services sector accounts for nearly 66% of total PCE, which, in turn, accounts for 68% of measured GDP. So the latter will not recover until the Virus Patrol gets its foot off the neck of what we call the social congregation activities of daily economic life; and also until it and its MSM collaborationist desist from fanning the false claim that the Covid is the equivalent of the Black Plague, thereby causing people to voluntarily quarantine out of misplaced fear.
Of course, you don’t have to listen to Dr. Fauci and the Scarf Lady for long – yes, they have not yet been locked up in padded cells where they belong – to realize that the Virus Patrol is on a once-in-a lifetime power trip.
In ultra-busy body/Nanny State fashion they are virtually regimenting the comings and goings of a $20 trillion economy – even as they keep the US economy on indefinite idle waiting for the vaccines and antivirals from their allies in Big Pharma and the Gates Complex to ride to the (mandatory) rescue.
Annualized Change In Personal Consumption Expenditures, Services, 1950-2020
We don’t expect the Virus Patrol to be put out of business any time soon because the Donald is too confused and weak to shut them down.
Moreover, if he keeps shooting himself in the kneecaps via tweets like today’s “lets-postpone-the-election” numbskullery, he will guarantee an even worse scenario: Namely, that while Sleepy Joe is being oxygenated and propped-up behind the Resolute Desk for daily Oval Office photo ops, the left-wing health Nazis who surround him will really go to town on Lockdown Nation.
Nor is that any kind of unhinged trashing of the camarilla of out-and-out statists who will form the core of the Biden Administration. The fact is, the Donald’s malpacticing doctors, the MSM and the Blue State mayors and governors have now unleashed a full-on public hysteria that is self-fueling.
It is now transforming ordinary sheeples into obedient and unquestioning brown-shirts. Even in the purportedly enlightened, socialist republic of Aspen, where we are sheltering for the duration, we see them “mask-up” even with no one in sight, while pumping strenuously up the mountain side on a fat-tired bike.
On manifestation of the Covid-Hysteria is the soaring level of “testing” going on as people either try to get a hall pass in order to return to work or just plain run to the nearest testing station every time the media sends off new alarm bells.
During April, for instance, which was the very worst month of the contagion in terms of serious illnesses and deaths, 5.2 million new tests were reported or 175,000 per day.
By contrast, in July to date (thru the 29th), there have been 21.5 million new tests reported or an average of 745,000 per day.
In a population that has been thoroughly exposed to the virus after five months, it is a given that with the number of tests soaring, the number of positive cases will rise proportionately. But that’s a misdirection because the real issue is the true medical severity of the new cases, and that has dropped precipitously.
The death rate has dropped from 1,800 per day in April to 780 in July; and whereas 15-20% of new cases were being hospitalized in most states during April, that figure has now fallen to 2-4%.
That is, after the Grim Reaper’s original romp through the most vulnerable populations – especially the nursing homes and long-term care facilities in March/April – the preponderant share of the remaining populations being infected and testing positive appear to have stronger immune defenses, and are mainly either asymptomatic or treating and recovering at home in the normal flu-season manner.
So on the facts, the Hysteria should be dying out, but, alas, the facts are of small moment in the context of a runaway public hysteria that is being turbocharged by a severely aggravated anti-Trump partisanship that has no modern precedent, or any at all.
We are constantly reminded that there are less than 100 days until the election, but probably of even more salience is that the next flu season will be arriving even sooner in October. And it won’t matter whether the obvious herd immunities building up against the SARS-Cov-2 cause the next flu season to be unusually mild or not.
That’s because the Virus Patrol will be at shrill alert for the “second wave” in the run-up to October, keeping the suffocated economy evident in today’s GDP report on its back foot for the balance of the year, at least. That means the ballyhooed V is now surely dead-as-a-door nail.
In this context, it needs be recalled that the services sector of the US economy is bearing the brunt of the Lockdown orders, but that it now counts for fully $8.7 trillion or 45% of GDP. That compares to a mere 26% back in the days of America’s industrial might in the mid-1950s.
In the big picture context, therefore, national policy – especially at the Eccles Building – caused the off-shoring and hollowing-out of the US industrial economy over the last three decades. In turn, that has left main street especially vulnerable to a state-orchestrated attack on its new services sector center of gravity such as outpatient surgery clinics, Pilates studios and tapas bars.
Again, an economic marshal law attack on the new epicenter of the US economy means that the issue is not traditional stimulus, but clearing the decks and clearing the air of the Virus Patrol orders and Covid-Hysteria, which was the real culprit behind the Q2 GDP disaster.
Nominal GDP (light brown) Versus Service Sector PCE (dark brown), 1955-2020
Perhaps nowhere is the impact of economic marshal law more evident, ironically, than in the health care sub-sector of the services economy.
The former, of course, has been the workhorse of US GDP growth for decades. However, after peaking at $2.50 trillion in Q4 2019, it weighed in at just $1.89 trillion in Q2 2020. That’s a $608 billion decline, reflecting an astounding -24% contraction.
And this is supposed to be the worst medical crisis to hit America since the Spanish Flu of 1918!
But, actually, the government’s data mill is telling an absolutely opposite, nay crazy, story. Namely, that the single largest sector of the US economy plunged at a 61.6% annualized rate in Q2 – meaning that the figure gives the notion of being “off the charts” of history an altogether new definition.
Needless to say, health care spending is not now and never has been amenable to Washington’s vaunted stimulus machines. The overwhelming share of spending is government funded directly through Medicare/Medicaid et al or through the $300 billion per year tax shelter for employer health plans; and whether public or private, consumer health payments are overwhelming made by third-parties, thereby further limiting the efficacy of the cheap money from the Fed and free money from Uncle Sam.
The plunging red line below, therefore, is the doing of the Virus Patrol and its orders to shutdown most so-called discretionary healthy care services, such as cancer screenings? So until it is put out of business and the public Covid-Hysteria is substantially abated, the rebound of the health services sector is likely to the contained and protracted.
In short, what we have is a government-ordered depression, not a macroeconomic recession that is purportedly remediable by a huge dose of monetary and fiscal stimulus. So the truth is, the Virus Patrol, not the Fed and Washington’s everything bailout brigade, is in charge of the recovery from the Q2 disaster, and they are not much interested in letting it happen.
To take another salient example, the go-to strategy of the Virus Patrol has been to shutdown large scale public gatherings entirely, but that’s obviously the venue of the recreation sector.
So it is not surprising that the PCE spending rate for this sector has given “cliff-diving” a run for its money. Compared to the $590 billion annualized rate of spending in Q4 2019, the current quarter clocked in at just $272 trillion.
The amounted to a 53.4% decline from Q4 and an out-of-this-world contraction of 61% annualized in the current quarter. Or alternatively, recreation spending in Lockdown Nation during Q2 reverted to the level first crossed in Q2 2002.
That’s 18 year’s worth of growth gone in a virtual economic heartbeat.
Of course, there was one thing that was way up in Q2 – transfer payments and personal income. And every dime of the massive increase in transfer payments shown below was borrowed by Uncle Sam and monetized by the Fed.
Yet the only thing it accomplished was to further balloon the public debt because the current depression does not flow from the want of means or desire to spend: It’s the product of economic marshal law ordered up by the Virus Patrol.
Still, it is worth noting that wage and salary income (brown line) was down by $680 billion at an annual rate in Q2, while the Washington spending machine boosted transfer payments at a $2.4 trillion annual rate, or by nearly four times more!
Once upon a time, that would have been considered insane overkill, and at least caused Republicans to screech at the top of their lungs about fiscal profligacy.
Alas, as they put up their $1.2 trillion Everything Bailout 5.0 against the House Dems’ $3.3 trillion alternative in the days just ahead, the chart below will be nowhere seen in the porkers’ lounges of Capitol Hill.
Change From Prior Quarter In Billions: Transfer Payments (purple line) Versus Wages and Salaries (brown line)
Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.
The Best of David StockmanFormer Congressman David A. Stockman was Reagan’s OMB director, which he wrote about in his best-selling book, The Triumph of Politics. His latest books are The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and Peak Trump: The Undrainable Swamp And The Fantasy Of MAGA. He’s the editor and publisher of the new David Stockman’s Contra Corner. He was an original partner in the Blackstone Group, and reads LRC the first thing every morning.
Copyright © David Stockman
If you are receiving all your information from the Mainstream Media, The Mouthpiece Of the Globalist Luciferian Cabal, Then You Are A Part Of The Psyop.You’re Being Manipulated And Don’t Even Know It! — Truth To Power
THERE IS NO PANDEMIC THERE NEVER WAS!! The whole Hoax is designed to destroy the global economy using a fake virus and lockdowns to cripple the economy. That Has almost been accomplished! The next phase is to usher in an Orwellian One World Order. CHINESE VIROLOGIST BEING USED TO LIE AND SPREAD MORE PANIC FEAR […]Chinese Virologist Claiming The Hoax Covid19 Is Transmitting Between People Is A Communist Plant Being Used To Spread Fear And Disinformation — Truth To Power