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Daily Archives: September 4, 2022

Sunday Humour: News in Cartoon

Could Your Blood Type Raise Your Odds for Stroke?

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

The risk of suffering a stroke at an early age may depend partly on a person’s blood type, a large study suggests.

When it comes to the risk of ischemic stroke — the kind caused by a blood clot — studies have hinted that blood type plays a role. People with type O blood generally have a somewhat lower risk than those with types A, B or AB.

Now the new study suggests that blood type is more strongly tied to the risk of ischemic stroke at a younger age (before age 60) compared to later in life. And type A blood, specifically, stood out as a risk factor.

The researchers stressed that blood type is not a strong influence: On average, they found, people with type A blood had a 16% higher risk of having a stroke before age 60, versus people with other blood types. Meanwhile, type O blood was tied to a 12% decrease in the risk.

“People with blood type A should not be worried,” said researcher Braxton Mitchell, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in Baltimore.

Many things affect a person’s stroke risk, he said, including factors that, unlike blood type, can be changed.

People can avoid smoking, get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, and gain control over high blood pressure, diabetes and other health conditions that raise stroke risk, he advised.

Why would blood type make a difference in stroke risk? Ischemic strokes — which account for most strokes — occur when a clot blocks blood flow to the brain. And it’s known that non-O blood types have higher levels of certain proteins, called von Willebrand factor (VWF) and factor VIII, that contribute to clot formation.

Mitchell said the new findings suggest that a propensity toward blood-clotting may play a larger role in younger people’s strokes compared to those later in life.

Some other findings from the study support that idea: Blood type A was also linked to a heightened risk of venous thromboembolism — where clots form in the veins. And again, blood type made a bigger difference for people younger than 60, versus older adults.

Type O is the most common blood group. According to the American Red Cross, about 45% of white Americans have type O blood, while the rate is higher among Black and Hispanic Americans — at 51% and 57%, respectively. Type A is the second-most common blood group.

The new findings — published in the journal Neurology — come from 48 studies across the globe. They included roughly 17,000 people who had suffered an ischemic stroke before age 60, along with a group who suffered a stroke at an older age and a comparison group of healthy individuals.

Looking at the participants’ genetic profiles, the researchers searched for gene variants that were linked to the risk of early stroke. The only strong hit they turned up was a chromosome region that includes the ABO gene, which determines blood type.

People with type O blood had a decreased risk of stroke, with the link being stronger for early-onset than later: a 12% lower risk of early stroke, but only a 4% lower risk of stroke at age 60 or older.

Similarly, people with type A blood had a 16% higher risk of stroke before age 60, but only a 5% increase in risk at older ages.

Dr. Bharti Manwani is a vascular neurologist with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and a volunteer with the American Heart Association (AHA).

She called the study “very interesting,” and agreed it suggests that a propensity toward blood-clotting may play a more important role in stroke at a younger age.

But, Manwani stressed, the findings do not mean that type A blood will “doom you.”

Regardless of blood type, she said, people should focus on the stroke risk factors they can control.

But, both she and Mitchell said, it’s possible that people with type A blood could be more vulnerable to the effects of other factors that can promote blood clots, like oral contraceptives or smoking.

Mitchell and his colleagues found evidence of that in a preliminary study presented in March of last year at an American Stroke Association meeting: Women who used birth control pills and smoked were at increased risk of suffering a stroke before age 50, versus women who neither smoked nor used the Pill. And that risk was further increased when they had a non-O blood type.

Strokes are not common among young people, but they do happen. Of the nearly 800,000 Americans who suffer a stroke each year, 10% to 15% are adults aged 45 or younger, according to the AHA.

And over the past few decades, the group says, the stroke rate among Americans under 50 has been rising — possibly because conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes have become more common among younger people.


Source: healthDay

Understanding The Tyrannical Mind And How It Operates

Understanding The Tyrannical Mind And How It Operates

Brandon Smith wrote . . . . . . . . .

All people seek to control their environment to a certain degree. They want a reliable level of management over their world, and to remove whatever doubts they might have about their survival in the future. If they can, people will take measures to remove any potential pain or struggle and establish a life of perpetual comfort. The easy road is the dream for most, and in order to get it human beings see power as a formidable tool.

I’m exploring this common condition because I want to make it clear that almost ALL PEOPLE desire power to a degree. Sometimes this even means controlling the actions of others to prevent them from disrupting the oasis of comfort we construct around us. Sometimes there are destructive people that we feel we are forced to inhibit and cage in self defense. And still other times, we try to control those around us out of irrational fear.

The tyrannical mindset is not exclusive to the Stalins, Maos and Hitlers of history, it is a deep rooted shadow that lurks in the majority of us at times. It is this condition that political tyrants try to exploit to their advantage, because no authoritarian government can ever be successful without the help of millions of little tyrants supporting them. They find a way to feed our desire for control and predictability while simultaneously enslaving us.

The point is, tyrants need us. We all have a little dash of tyranny in our souls; we are linked, but we are different.

This is not to say that order in itself is evil or that social structures are inherently oppressive. People need boundaries because not all people are good or sane; some are vicious, some are lazy, some are crazy, some are incompetent and some are dishonest and they drag the rest of us down. Anarchy is not the solution, but neither is totalitarianism. It’s all about who sets the boundaries and how.

This is where we uncover a specific human element that is obsessively attracted to control, not because they are afraid, and not because they want comfort, but because they enjoy the feeling of power. They are addicted to it. I’m speaking specifically about narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths; they are members of our species but they are lacking the key psychological traits that make us human, such as empathy, conscience, imagination, love and shame. In almost every case of government gone wrong it is because these types of people were able to slither into positions of authority and take advantage.

Despite the exaggerated depictions in movies and TV, your average psychopath is not all that complex or interesting – The fact of their existence is interesting, but as people they tend to be boring. The idea of them is fascinating because they are a biological anomaly, an evolutionary mistake or maybe a spiritual deformity. Around 1% of any given population is prone to psychopathy and an even smaller percentage are high functioning psychopaths that are adept at hiding their monstrous natures.

Most average psychopaths eventually end up in prison or involved in an endless succession of life failures. They can’t get it together and maintain relationships and build a normal life because they are too self obsessed and dangerous and eventually the people around them notice. These types of people are what I would call the “little tyrants.” They seem to rise to the surface of society when times are desperate; when people are distracted by crisis is when psychopaths feel it’s safe to show their true natures.

For example, during the covid pandemic lockdowns and the government attempts to introduce draconian vax mandates the little tyrants were everywhere. They just appeared out of the ether and swirled around the authoritarian vortex like it was a feeding frenzy. They took pleasure in the opportunity to order others around about masks and vaccines and “social distancing,” even though none of these measures made ANY difference whatsoever to the spread of covid or the rather minor median Infection Fatality Rate of 0.23%.

They were being tossed scraps from the table of power and they savored every minute of it. The real science wasn’t on their side, but they didn’t care; the media and the government were on their side and that’s all that mattered. They were happy to be used as weapons against other citizens that just wanted to be free.

Beyond the symbiotic (or maybe parasitic) relationship between big tyrants and little tyrants, there are a set of standards that have to be met for tyranny to be successful:

Destruction Of Choice

At the core of tyranny is the removal of choice. Centralization is all about eliminating options for the public while telling them their lives will be streamlined, easier and safer. If people have options outside the establishment system or ideology then they might question the validity of the power structure. They might ask themselves “What if there is a better way than this?”

And, since there is always a better way than fear and slavery, tyrants have to engage in a constant war with all alternative ideas and principles. The only way they can be sure that people won’t rebel someday is to erase the existence of choice. Not only that, but they have to convince the masses that to even suggest another choice is sacrilegious and dangerous. The system must become absolute in all things and in every area of daily life.

Create A False Moral Paradox

Freedom is slavery – Ignorance is strength. It’s the old Orwellian paradox that perverts the meaning of words and deeds to justify tyranny. An extension of this twisted way of thinking is the religion of the “greater good”; the idea that all evils are justified as long as the “greater good” is accomplished. But what is the greater good? It’s anything the tyrants say it is; usually anything that helps them to gain more power. One would think that a “good” that is “greater” would entail more freedom and less fear, not less freedom and more fear.

As a part of the tactic of removal of choice, tyrants often create a fake moral conundrum in which people are told that their freedom is actually harmful to others, therefore their freedoms must be taken away “for the greater good.” Again, the covid medical tyranny experiment was built completely around this argument. What if your choice to not wear a mask, to not stay locked in your house and to not take a questionable vaccine harmed hundreds or thousands of others? Doesn’t that justify taking your choices away? These claims are complete fantasy, of course, but in the heat of a national panic people can be led to believe that the false paradox is real.

Obsessive Compulsive Expansion

As noted, tyrants are usually psychopathic personalities, and a part of this mindset is the compulsion to expand and devour. Like a growing amoeba, or that creature from the movie ‘The Blob.’ Their hunger for control is never sated, they will always want more.

People will be told that they are only losing one freedom, or two freedoms, or that their freedoms will be restricted “for a short time.” This is always a lie. Once tyrants gain new power they will hold onto it obsessively as if it is oxygen and without it they might die. And, then they will seek more powers because what they have is never enough. A friend of mine once described it this way:

Piled before the tyrant is a feast of kingly proportions, like a Thanksgiving Day feast flowing across his dinner table. You sit quietly without access to the table, but in your hands you do hold a little crust of bread. This is all you have and you cradle it carefully because it must be made to last. And even though the tyrant’s belly is full and he has more than he could possibly ever eat in a lifetime, all he can think about is YOUR little crust.

All he wonders about day and night is why you have that crust when it should be his. He grinds his teeth frothing in desperation for your meager meal. Then one day he decides he will not stop until your bread crust is in his hands while you starve. This is now his mission in life – To take your crust and crumbs and leave you with nothing. Any other outcome would be unimaginable.

He not only wants to steal your crust, but he wants to see your despair when he does it. He wants you to know he has your last meal, and he wants to see the pain in your face when he takes it away. Then, he wants you act like you love him for it.

This is how the mind of a psychopath works. Why do their brains function this way? There are many theories but no one really knows for certain. Evidence suggests that they are actually born the way they are; with no conscience and no counterbalance to the madness.

The bread crust story is a metaphor, but it illustrates how psychopathic authoritarians view various freedoms – They are pieces of life that tyrants cannot tolerate you having in your possession. It drives them insane to know you have that little piece of light and joy in your hands and they scheme and plot and scream and wail and claw until they get it away from you.

Tyranny Cannot Be Defeated Unless It Is Understood

There will be people out there that make the common ignorant argument that all of this is an exercise in futility because it doesn’t “address solutions.” There are many solutions to authoritarian systems, I have been writing about them for over 16 years now. We can talk all day about decentralization and localism and organization and revolution, but none of this matters unless we understand how our enemies think and the tactics they use. If we do not know them we cannot defeat them.

They are not complex and they are not necessarily ingenious but they are relentless. Underestimating their obsession with control would be disastrous. That said, the one thing they value more than power is their own lives, and until these people are made to understand that their lives could be the cost of their compulsions they will never stop. There is no reasoning with them. There is no diplomacy or compromise. There is no middle ground. They will continue to take, or they will be disrupted. Knowing their mindset brings us several steps closer to shutting them down.


Source : Alt-Market

World Slowly/Openly Turning Away from the USD

Matthew Piepenburg wrote . . . . . . . . .

With the USD losing influence, it would be the understatement of the year to say that we live in interesting times, for we certainly do.

But despite the inevitable attacks of appearing sensational, un-American or just plain cynical, I feel a more appropriate phrase boils down to this:

“We live in dishonest times.”

Below, I bluntly address the “Fed pivot debate,” the “inflation debate” and the USD’s slow global decline in the setting of a now multi-FX new normal in which gold’s historical bull market has yet to even begin.

These views are not based on biased politics, but honest economics, which for some odd reason, ought to still matter.

Let’s dig in.

The New Normal: Open Dishonesty

I recently authored a report showcasing a string cite of empirically open lies which now pass for reality on everything from the CPI inflation scale to the Cleveland Fed’s +1 real interest rate myth, or from official unemployment data to the now comical (revised) definition of a recession.

But a more recent lie from on high comes directly from the highest of all, U.S. President Joe Biden.

Earlier this month, Biden waddled to his podium and prompt-read to the world that the US just saw 0% inflation for the month of July.

Oh dear…

It’s sad when our national leadership lacks basic economic, math or even ethical skills, but then again, and in all fairness to a President in open (and in fact sad) cognitive decline, Biden is by no means the first President, red or blue, to just plain fib for a living.

A History of Fibbing

We all remember Clinton’s promise that allowing China into the WTO would be good for working class Americans, despite millions of them seeing their jobs off-shored to Asia seconds thereafter.

And let us not forget that little war in Iraq and those invisible weapons of mass destruction.

Nor should we ignore both Bush and Obama’s (as well as Geithner’s, Bernanke’s and Paulson’s) assurance that a multi-billion-dollar bailout (quasi-nationalization) of the TBTF banks and years of printing inflationary money (Wall St. socialism) out of thin air was, “a sacrifice of free market principles” needed to “save the free market economy.”

In reality, however, we haven’t seen a single minute of free market price discovery since QE1.

Thus, Biden’s announcement that there was NO inflation for July is just another clear and optically (i.e., politically) clever lie among a long history of lies.

That is, he failed to clarify that although there may have been LESS inflation in July, this hardly means “no” inflation, as any American who has a bill to pay already knows.

Setting the Stage (Narrative) for a Fed Pivot

What the July CPI decline does achieve, however, is yet another headline myth to justify an inevitable Fed pivot to more easy money by year-end (i.e., mid-term elections) or early 2023.

As we see below, the fiction writers, data-gatherers and fork-tongued policy makers in DC have already been gathering more official “data” to justify a Fed pivot toward more dovish money printing and hence more currency debasement ahead.

In addition to a decelerating CPI report for July, DC has also been checking the following, pre-pivot boxes to allow the Fed to get back to doing what it was truly designed to do, which is print debased money out of thin air to save the US Treasury market rather than working class citizens.

Specifically, DC is pushing hard on the following “data points” and narrative:

  • Decelerating inflation expectations
  • Declining online pricing
  • Declining PPI (Producer prices)
  • Declining oil prices (from their highs)

So, has inflation peaked? Are the above declines proof that inflation creates deflation by crushing consumer strength and hence price demand? Is the Fed’s work nearly done in defeating inflation?

My short answer is no, and my longer answer is that when it comes to market, currency and economic conditions, there’s…

…More Pain Ahead

One clear sign that there’s more pain ahead, and hence more reasons for the Fed to pivot from temporary hawk to permanent dove, is the credit tightening now taking place in the US.

As I’ve said too many times to recall, the credit—and bond—market is the most important market and economic indicator of all.

Earlier this month, the Fed’s quarterly Loan Officer Survey came out with some scary and telling news, namely that the credit markets are tightening.

It’s important to know that in the last 30 years, a tightening of credit has always preceded a recession, even if DC wants to pretend that we are not in a recession.

The hawks may argue, of course, that during the inflationary 1970’s, tightening bank credit did NOT stop Volcker’s Fed from a hawkish rate hike policy.

But let me remind again that 2022 USA (with a 125% debt to GDP ratio) isn’t the Volcker era, which had a 30% ratio.

So, I’ll say it once more: The US can’t afford a sustained (Volcker-like) hawkish (rate-rising) policy–unless you believe the Fed is under direct orders from Davos to destroy America, which, I suppose is a fair belief, but one I’m not ready to embrace (yet)…

Despite Powell’s fear of becoming another Arthur F. Burns who let inflation run too hot, and despite his failed attempts throughout 2018, and again now, to be the tough-guy at the Fed, I still feel the Fed, for all the narrative points/reasons set forth above (including falling US tax receipts in July), is waiting for more weak economic data to justify a dovish pivot toward more QE rather than less inflation.

Why?

Because the Fed’s Only Job is to Keep Uncle Sam’s IOUs from Drowning

The only way to keep US Treasuries from tanking (and hence bond yields and interest rates from fatally spiking), is for the Fed to print more money to buy Uncle Sam’s otherwise unloved debt.

And this can only be done with more, not less, QE down the road.

Of course, money created with a mouse-click is inherently inflationary and inherently fatal to the purchasing power of the USD, which is why gold is inherently poised to out-perform every fiat currency in play today, including the world reserve currency.

But as for gold’s rise, in addition to the dis-inflationary recessionary forces (which require a weaker dollar and lower rates to fight), there’s a lot going on outside the US which further points to gold’s pending rise.

Little Trouble in Big China?

Investors may have noticed that money is fleeing China in droves. Capital outflows are reaching levels not seen since 2015, which sent the Yuan to the basement by 2016.

Does this mean the FX jocks should start shorting the heck out of the Chinese Yuan (CNY)?

I think not.

In fact, the CNY is holding its own despite massive capital outflows.

But how?

China: Openly Mocking the U.S. Dollar and the Back-Firing Putin Sanctions

The openly back-firing, financially-inept and politically-arrogant Western sanctions against Putin’s war amounted to the biggest game-changer in the global currency system since Nixon closed the gold window in 71.

More to the point, and despite massive capital outflows, the CNY is remaining strong because its FX reserves (i.e., its national savings account denominated in foreign assets) are actually rising not falling.

Huh? Why? Where’s the money coming from?

Answer: Just about everywhere except for the dollar-led West.

That is, nations like China and Russia, who have been chomping at the bit for the last decade to de-dollarize, are now doing precisely that in the wake of recent moves by the West to weaponize the USD by freezing Russia’s FX reserves.

Myopic sanction chest-puffing by the West has given the East the perfect pretext to fight back financially and monetarily, and they are fighting to win a heating currency war.

No Dollars, Thank You

Specifically, countries wishing to purchase Chinese imports (i.e., commodities) now have to pre-convert and/or settle those purchases from local currencies into CNY rather than the once SWIFT-and-world-dominated USD.

In short, the USD is no longer the toughest guy in the room nor prettiest girl at the dance.

This is becoming more evident as headlines confirm Indian companies swapping USDs for Asian currencies, China and Saudi Arabia concluding energy deals outside the slowly dying (and forewarned) petrodollar, and the Russian Central Bank considering buying the currencies of friendly nations like Turkey, India and China.

As commodities like oil (priced-up 30% since 2018) leave places like China and Russia, they can now be purchased with local national currencies (Indian, Brazilian, Turkish) which are then converted into CNY.

This procedure adds massively to China’s FX reserves (especially when oil prices have been rising), thereby allowing its currency to stay strong despite massive capital outflows.

From Mono-Currency to Multi-Currency

In short, and despite Western attempts to flex its currency muscle via USD-driven sanctions, nations like Russia and China are now leading the charge from a one-currency world to a multi-currency world of import payments.

With its FX reserves frozen by the West, Russia, for example, can take its energy profits and Rubbles to purchase the currencies of friendly countries like China, India and Turkey to rebuild its reserves outside of the USD.

In this manner, and as I’ve repeatedly warned (in articles and interviews) since February of 2022, the West has shot itself and the world reserve currency in the foot.

The old world is slowly but surely turning irreversibly away from a USD-dominated currency system toward a multi-currency and multi-FX pricing model.

And as we head into winter, nations like the UK, Japan, Austria and Germany, who blindly towed the US line, will be feeling the cold pinch of backing the wrong policy as other nations stay warm/heated with oil and gas that can be bought outside of the old, USD-led system.

As energy prices continue to cripple the West, especially here in the EU, will such nations like the UK, Austria or Germany bend or stay firm?

Either way, the USD is the open loser over time, and will never be trusted as neutral currency again.

But agree or disagree, you may still be asking: What does any of this have to do with gold?

It Has Everything to do with Gold

As more nations turn away from the West (and the USD) and closer to the East (i.e., Russia) to meet their energy needs, how will they find the Rubles or Yuan to buy their oil, gas and other commodities?

After all, in the new, post-sanction, multi-FX importing model described above, Turkey can’t just buy Russian oil in Lira; it needs to first settle the trade in Rubles.

So, again, what currency will Turkey use?

From Petro-Dollar to Petro-Gold

John Brimelow, a consistently brilliant gold analyst, has given us a pretty obvious hint/answer: YTD Turkish gold imports are up 44% to nearly 70 tonnes, and can easily reach prior levels of 300 tonnes per annum.

In other words, Turkey could be dumping US dollars to buy gold at what we all know is a deliberately rigged (i.e., low) COMEX/LBMA price.

Turkey can then sell that gold to Russia’s central bank in exchange for Rubles “at a negotiated price” otherwise needed to purchase Putin’s oil.

Given that the physical oil market is nearly 15X the physical gold market, one can only imagine what further oil-for-gold transactions as per above will do for the rising price of a scarce asset like gold.

See the Sea of Change?

See how the USD is slowly losing its shine?

See why gold is slowly gaining in shine?

See how the US-led sanctions were the biggest political and financial policy gaffe since Kamala Harris tried to locate the Ukraine on a map?

See why the BIS/COMEX/OTC price fixing of gold earlier this year was the perfect (and artificial, legalized fraud) timing needed to keep gold cheap for other nations to buy?

Rhetorical Questions

Perhaps all this interest in gold rather than the USD explains Saudi Arabia’s recent push to refine gold within its own borders?

Perhaps this also explains why less-favored nations to the US (i.e., Nigeria and India) are launching a bullion exchange and opening gold trading?

Perhaps gold’s new roles are why the BIS, the biggest player (legalized scammer) in the paper price fixing of gold, has unwound nearly 90% of its gold swaps over the course of a year (from 502 to 56 tonnes)?

And perhaps gold’s stubborn significance further explains why the two biggest US gold price manipulators in the futures pits, JP Morgan and Citi, have been grotesquely expanding their gold derivative book (they own 90% of all US derivative bank gold) at the same time the BIS was unwinding their swaps?

Why?

Simple: To keep a boot to the neck of the natural gold price just a bit longer as they accumulate more of the same before the very currency system they helped ruin finally implodes?

Honest not Sensational: Gold’s Bull Market Has Yet to Even Begin

Given the dishonest times in which we live, and given all the mechanizations sited above, it would not be sensational to remind conventional investors what most gold investors already know: Gold is most honest and loyal when dishonest and disloyal markets implode.

Hedge fund managers and other candid analysts are collectively and already foreseeing massive market pain ahead, as Egon and I have been warning for years.

The big boys are now net-short US Equity futures:

Bond bets signal a weaker USD

Whether re-valued by oil, or simply re-valued by fiat currencies which have increasingly no value, gold can easily reach levels which current investors can’t imagine.

After Nixon’s debacle in 1971, gold surged 400% in just one year between 1973-74.

Watch the Foxes, not the Hen House

The TBTF banks have no morality in my mind. I’ve written of their open fraud for years.

Ever since folks like Larry Summers repealed Glass Steagall and turned banks into casinos and bankers into speculators (with depositor money), nothing the big banks do is either fair or fiduciary.

Ironically, however, it is fair to say that even these banks will be hoarding more physical gold (at currently repressed/rigged prices) as the world they created implodes under its own systemic sins.

And if JP Morgan or Citi is getting prepared, shouldn’t you?

After all, better a fox than a hen, no?


Source : Gold Switzerland

Chart: America’s Fastest Drive-Thrus

Source: Statista