While fair trade should always be a goal, tit for tat tariff measures are not the answer. Such actions drive up input costs and slow economic growth. It’s been tried before. Everyone loses.
2018 has been a year marked by teacher strikes, first starting in West Virginia and then spreading to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Colorado, and Arizona. Union bosses are now taking this tactic to North Carolina, even though the GOP-led NC legislature is set to approve its 5th consecutive teacher pay raise.
“The energy industry is moving from a capital-intensive industry to a knowledge-based industry,” says World Energy Council Chairman Younghoon David Kim. He foresees major shifts in the industry over the next few decades, as revealed in this exclusive interview.
It is often said that “other-izing” people overall can be dangerous and other-izing your enemies specifically can be tactically detrimental. For one, it can lead to a false sense of superiority over those people as you assert some kind of imagined genetic advantage. It can also lead to dangerous generalizations of vast groups as you categorize and pigeonhole millions as being exactly the same when this is rationally impossible. However, other-izing is perhaps the only option when faced with a very particular type of person embracing a very particular brand of ideology; other-izing can become a matter of survival.
I am of course talking about globalists.
Not the low level cronies and useful idiots within the globalist push or “movement,” because many of them simply represent a underlying gullibility or stupidity among people attracted to the inbred world of academia. Instead, I’m talking about the people behind the curtain; self proclaimed “globalists” or internationalists that have positioned themselves into strategic power centers.
I am talking about the people that influence or outright control government policy as they stand over the shoulders of supposedly freely elected officials. I am talking about the people that influence economic security or insecurity through unaccountable central banking conglomerates. I am talking about the men and women that desire to dictate the fate of billions.
These people are not easily identified by anything other than their rhetoric and actions. They are made up of multiple ethnic groups. They herald from all corners of the planet. They do not subscribe to any one spiritual doctrine, but they do publicly devote themselves to many different religions as a means to “fit in” with the common citizen. Globalism IS their religion. And their god? Well, they see themselves as gods.
To be a globalist, though, one has to do more than merely subscribe to the tenets of globalism; there is a matter of character traits and actions which must be examined.
After studying the behavior of globalists and their organizations for quite some time, I have noticed that their psychological patterns tend to match with a narrow band of people that are best described as “criminally insane.” More accurately, globalists behave like high-functioning narcissistic sociopaths and psychopaths. But what are the traits of such people? Let’s take a look at some of them…
False Sense Of Superiority – Self-Aggrandizement
Every person wants to be seen as important or unique. But, narcissistic sociopaths believe themselves to be entitled to special treatment and see themselves as above the laws and niceties of normal society. They sometimes seek to prop up this attitude through “accomplishment;” scratching for positions of power and influence in order to reinforce the notion that they are special compared to others.
Of course, power is usually an artificial construct because the only power we have over others is the power they give us, knowingly or unknowingly. Power does not make one special. The narcissistic sociopath does not make such distinctions, however. He/she only distinguishes between the people who strive for dominance and everyone else. In their minds, people that covet power are a superior subspecies, while people who do not covet power are considered bugs.
Frankly, I see no reason why we should not make the same absolute statement, only in reverse.
Narcissistic sociopaths and psychopaths are stricken with visions of assumed greatness. They do not view the content of their accomplishments as necessarily important. Meaning, they think they were born great, therefore, it is not for them to accomplish anything that serves to help others or advance the knowledge of humanity. They don’t care about proving their greatness through legitimate achievement, they only care that people BELIEVE they are special, that they are anointed.
Manipulation And Coercion
A narcissistic sociopath usually prefers to get what they want easily. They expect people to hand them adoration and control automatically. But if they don’t get what they want as a matter of course, they will use any means at their disposal.
This usually includes the threat of force or the use of force, the use of torture, the use of elaborate lies and schemes to push their target into a corner (to make them behave in a specific manner), the use of psychological conditioning (molding behavior, usually through fear responses) and also the use of “gaslighting” (accusing the target of being “crazy” if they do not subscribe to the narcissist’s twisted view of the world).
Of course, this kind of disturbed person is never actually satisfied, even when they do get what they want. They always want more, there is always something else they need to fill the endless void within.
Lack Of Empathy For Others
Not all narcissists are sociopaths, but most sociopaths are narcissists. When we speak of narcissists, it is important to remember that there are varying degrees of this psychological cancer. When I mention globalists in particular as being “narcissistic,” I am referring to their propensity to be high functioning narcissists with sociopathic tendencies. In other words, they are narcissists that not only have an inflated sense of self worth, but they are also devoid of empathy and conscience. They are willing to harm others to any degree to get what they want in the moment as long as they think can avoid consequences for doing so.
There is also the matter of distinction between sociopaths and psychopaths. This is a little hard to describe being that they are so similar in many respects. I would put it this way — while sociopaths chase a goal and are willing to step on people to get to it, psychopaths step on people even when they don’t have a goal in mind. That is to say, the psychopath enjoys the act of destruction; what they want most of all is other people’s pain.
Sociopaths and psychopaths both appear to permeate the ranks of globalist institutions. Some of them want to build an idol to themselves and don’t care who they harm in the process. Some of them derive great enjoyment from simply hurting as many people as possible.
Desperate Need For Adoration
It is not enough for the narcissistic sociopath to attain a level of respect through coercion. Ultimately, what they want is for the lowly masses to voluntarily ACCEPT their greatness as absolute, as an obvious and undeniable fact of life. What they want is reverence and devotion. As mentioned earlier, they want to be treated as gods by the people around them, and if they are particularly ambitious, by everyone in the world.
This is a strange dynamic indeed, for it requires a highly elaborate set of schemes and manipulations. If one is not a great person, let alone god-like, the amount of psychological conditioning needed to convince people otherwise is substantial. This makes the narcissistic sociopath a potential slave to his/her own incessantly engineered conspiracies; lies pile upon lies and schemes upon schemes in the search for something they will never truly achieve.
Globalists Are Psychologically Broken Non-Humans
In the world of alternative analysis and investigative journalism it is not uncommon to run into people who attribute an otherworldly status to globalists. Some people see them as a representation of biblical Apocalypse — minions from the depths of hell. Others see them as literally alien — interdimensional beings posing as human. And while many will laugh at such people as fringe conspiracy freaks, I think it is important to understand why they see the globalists this way.
When faced with true and organized evil empty of all care or remorse, one may be tempted to apply supernatural explanations. I’m not sure that I am against the idea.
Globalists exhibit most if not all the telltale signs of narcissistic sociopaths, including being devoid of conscience and moral compass. While there are many definitions of what it is that makes us human, there is a kind of universal requirement regardless of culture; namely the requirement of something like a soul.
What makes a soul? How about a basic desire to do right by others even if that means not getting what we want all the time? This is a good starting point, but there is more to it than that.
Psychologists and scientists have over many decades found a pattern of inherent character traits hardwired in the human psyche, traits present in humans from the moment of birth that stand outside of the influences of social environment. Carl Jung was the foremost expert in this field of “archetypal qualities,” with a vast catalog of case studies from around the world including studies in tribal Africa. An important part of archetypal or inborn knowledge and traits is the notion of good and evil; we are born understanding that certain behaviors are constructive while others are destructive and abhorrent. This is most likely the source of what we call “conscience.”
Unfortunately, not all people are born with a conscience. In some people, the difference between good and evil or constructive and destructive behavior is treated as blurry or frivolous. Jung and other psychologists mark this subset of our species as “latent” sociopaths and psychopaths. Together they make up around 10% of any given culture or group. Many of them remain “latent” and more or less harmless for their entire lives unless certain unstable environmental conditions provide fuel for their malfunction. Around 1% are born as full blown sociopaths and psychopaths. These are what I would call the “non-humans.”
This is because high level narcissism and sociopathy are not traditional “mental illnesses,” but ingrained character traits. A narcissistic sociopath cannot be “cured” of his ailment because it is not an ailment, it is who they are. If you were to take the narcissism and sociopathy away from them, there would be nothing left to their personality.
When a normal person comes in contact with someone that has no inherent conscience there is an immediate recoil; a sense that they have just stumbled across a monster. This is not an exaggeration, this is entirely accurate.
High level narcissists and sociopaths are physically human of course, but if we were to peer in at a visual representation of their psyche, we would find a barren wasteland — a place where ghouls lurk. They do not dream as normal people dream. They do not feel joy in the manner normal people do. They do not feel fulfillment in the things that commonly lift up the rest of us. They are incapable of love for others. They are incapable of regret for their actions, and only ever feel regret over failing to get what they want. They do not see other people as individuals, they see them as tools to be exploited.
Being sociopathic though does not mean that they are ignorant of what makes the rest of us function. On the contrary, sociopaths are very good at identifying the personal desires and drives of others, and mimicking people in a way that makes them seem “human.” They are parasites by nature,and thus they have to be able to get close to their host victims if they are to survive.
The globalist dynamic is interesting in that it is an example of organized narcissistic sociopathy. Globalists have stood at the forefront of numerous wars, economic collapses and tyrannies over the years, all ending in great suffering for the masses. Contrary to popular belief, sociopaths and psychopaths DO work together towards a common goal as long as there is a sense of mutual benefit. In fact, these people seem to gravitate to each other in odd ways. It is my belief that globalist hierarchies actually seek out people with narcissistic and sociopathic personalities; that they do this deliberately when they wish to expand their ranks. These seem to be the only aspects that they all have in common.
It is quite a ‘conspiracy theory’, I know. But look at it this way, how else can we explain their tendencies and behaviors? If organized annihilation was an intrinsic value of humanity then we would have died out long ago. The globalists are not human, though. They are something opposite, and if you do not understand this core truth, they can be bewildering and terrifying.
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Karlie Kloss is on a mission to celebrate women working in STEAM. “The saying, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ is so true,” says Kloss. “I want to bring light to these women because it shows all that can be possible with these skills or with an understanding or passion around science.”
Over the last two years, academic researchers have identified various methods that they can transmit hidden commands that are undetectable by the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant.
According to a new report from The New York Times, scientific researchers have been able “to secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, making them dial phone numbers or open websites.” This could, perhaps, allow cybercriminals to unlock smart-home doors, control a Tesla car via the App, access users’ online bank accounts, load malicious browser-based cryptocurrency mining websites, and or access all sort of personal information.
In 2017, Statista projected around 223 million people in the U.S. would be using a smartphone device, which accounts for roughly 84 percent of all mobile users. Of these 223 million smartphones users, around 108 million Americans are using the Android Operating System, and some 90 million are using Apple’s iOS (operating system). A new Gallup poll showed that 22 percent of Americans are actively using Amazon Echo or Google Assitant in their homes.
With much of the country using artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, a new research document published from the University of California, Berkeley indicates inaudible commands could be embedded “directly into recordings of music or spoken text,” said The New York Times.
For instance, a millennial could be listening to their favorite song: ‘The Middle’ by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey. Embedded into the audio file could have several inaudible commands triggering Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa to complete a task that the user did not instruct — such as, buying merchandise from the music performer on Amazon.
“We wanted to see if we could make it even more stealthy,” said Nicholas Carlini, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in computer security at U.C. Berkeley and one of the paper’s authors.
At the moment, Carlini said this is only an academic experiment, as it is only a matter of time before cybercriminals figure out this technology. “My assumption is that the malicious people already employ people to do what I do,” he added.
The New York Times said Amazon “does not disclose specific security measure” to thwart a device from an ultrasonic attack, but the company has taken precautionary measures to protect users from unauthorized human use. Google told The New York Times that security development is ongoing and has developed features to mitigate undetectable audio commands.
Both companies’ [Amazon and Google] assistants employ voice recognition technology to prevent devices from acting on certain commands unless they recognize the user’s voice.
Apple said its smart speaker, HomePod, is designed to prevent commands from doing things like unlocking doors, and it noted that iPhones and iPads must be unlocked before Siri will act on commands that access sensitive data or open apps and websites, among other measures.
Yet many people leave their smartphones unlocked, and, at least for now, voice recognition systems are notoriously easy to fool.
There is already a history of smart devices being exploited for commercial gains through spoken commands,” said The New York Times.
Last year, there were several examples of companies and even cartoons taking advantage of weaknesses in voice recognition systems, including Burger King’s Google Home commercial to South Park‘s episode with Alexa.
While there are currently no American laws against broadcasting subliminal or ultrasonic messages to humans, let alone artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warns against the practice, calling it a “counter to the public interest,” and the Television Code of the National Association of Broadcasters bans “transmitting messages below the threshold of normal awareness.” However, The New York Times points out that “neither says anything about subliminal stimuli for smart devices.”
Recently, the ultrasonic attack technology showed up in the hands of the Chinese. Researchers at Princeton University and China’s Zhejiang University conducted several experiments showing that inaudible commands can, in fact, trigger voice-recognition systems in an iPhone.
“The technique, which the Chinese researchers called DolphinAttack, can instruct smart devices to visit malicious websites, initiate phone calls, take a picture or send text messages. While DolphinAttack has its limitations — the transmitter must be close to the receiving device — experts warned that more powerful ultrasonic systems were possible,” said The New York Times.
DolphinAttack could inject covert voice commands at 7 state-of-the-art speech recognition systems (e.g., Siri, Alexa) to activate always-on system and achieve various attacks, which include activating Siri to initiate a FaceTime call on iPhone, activating Google Now to switch the phone to the airplane mode, and even manipulating the navigation system in an Audi automobile. (Source: guoming zhang)
DolphinAttack Demonstration Video
While the number of smart devices in consumers’ pockets and at their homes is on the rise, it is only a matter of time before the technology falls into the wrong hands, and unleashed against them. Imagine, cybercriminals accessing your Audi or Tesla via ultrasonic attacks against voice recognition technology on a smart device. Maybe these so-called smart devices are not smart after all, as the dangers of these devices are starting to be realized. Millennials will soon be panicking.
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The ongoing eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano has opened up over twenty fissures in a residential neighborhood and resulting lava flows have destroyed dozens of homes and structures, but the threat to the Big Island extends beyond just the reach of emerging magma.
Submitted by Gordon Johnson of The Vertical Research Group
QUICK TAKE: In short, our thesis is that city-level and regional macroprudential tightening policies in China currently will render economic growth in 2Q18, but more importantly 2H18, dismal; we believe this will spread to emerging markets, rendering the “global coordinated growth” bulls out of sync with reality. This, we believe, in turn, will weigh on metals prices, pushing many of the commodity pundits (i.e., Jeffery Gundlach) to reassess their bullishness. As this happens, we expect steel/bulk exports out of China to rise (as profitability domestically falls with weakening domestic demand) pushing global bulk commodities prices lower.
Exhibit 1: China Total Credit Growth versus Bank Asset Growth, %Y/Y
Exhibit 2: It Appears Emerging Markets are no Longer “Feeling the China Love”
So how do things look at this juncture? Well, below we highlight the key takeaways from China’s April 2018 data dump. However, in short, looking at the below data in aggregate, we believe our thesis remains firmly intact; furthermore, in checks “on the ground” in China this week, we learned that the Consensus among domestic traders is that steel prices in China have “peaked” for the year as of this week.
GROWTH INTERNALS. As detailed below, while Y/Y industrial production growth edged higher to +6.9% in April 2018 (from +6.8% in March 2018), the all-important Fixed Asset Investment metric in China hit lows not seen in nearly two decades (at +7.0% Y/Y for April 2018 vs. +7.5% Y/Y in March 2018), while retail sales also dipped lower in the month of April at +9.4% Y/Y (vs. +10.1% Y/Y in March 2018). At risk of stating the obvious, at the margin, this suggests to us that China’s key growth internals are indeed slowing.
Exhibit 3: Growth Internals – China (FAI, Industrial Production, & Retail Sales)
CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY. Taking a closer look under the hood, we notice real estate floor area sales slowed incrementally in April 2018 up just +1.3% YTD (vs. +3.6% YTD Y/Y in March 2018), and fell a concerning -4.1% Y/Y for the month of April 2018.
Exhibit 4: China Residential + Commercial + Office Space Sold
However, when looking to new starts, while growth did slow to +7.3% Y/Y in April 2018 from +9.7% Y/Y in March, this rate of progress remains comfortably above the +2.9% Y/Y growth seen in Feb. 2018 (although, with credit growth in China on the decline, we see this metric disappointing throughout the remainder of 2018).
Exhibit 5: China Residential + Commercial + Office Construction Starts
Total floor area under construction saw YTD Y/Y growth edge higher to +1.6% from +1.5% in March 2018. However, we feel this metric will move towards 0% by year end (floor area under construction typically follows sales growth; and sales growth is currently consolidating at an accelerated clip – Exhibit 4).
Exhibit 6: China Residential + Commercial + Office Space Under Construction
What is the culprit for this slowing? Well, as our readers know, in addition to weakening overall credit growth (Exhibit 1), city-level and regional macroprudential policies have tempered mortgage lending in the world’s second largest economy – this tends to bode ill for overall real estate activity.
Exhibit 7: Household Loans, Y/Y%
More to the above, first tier cities are in a slow melt while lower tiers are growing at sustainable levels; so from the PBoC’s perspective, there’s really no real reason to shift policy either way yet; and if it comes, adjustment will much more likely be the removal of local lending restrictions than interest rate cuts.
The third key signal is deficit spending, and especially infrastructure. You’ll see lots of announcements from the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) and spikes in credit drivers… not in bank or shadow-bank lending, but the bond markets. So how are the bond market fairing? Well, China government bond issuance saw growth slow to +23.0% Y/Y in April vs. +24.0% Y/Y in March, and China corporate bond issuance fell from -1.7% Y/Y to -3.9% Y/Y over the same timeframe.
Exhibit 8: Chinese Bond Issuance, Y/Y%
What about Open-Belt-Open-Road (“OBOR”)? Well, here’s a look at infrastructure investment, where it seems China has really slowed things down (manufacturing and real estate are not fairing that well either).
Exhibit 9: China Fixed Asset Investment, Y/Y%
OTHER INDICATORS. On the positive side, it seems construction activity did indeed pickup in April (albeit, Y/Y growth slowed from the records seen last April – April marks the peak of China’s construction season, so this data point could be a bit backward looking).
Exhibit 10: China Construction Vehicle Sales, Y/Y%
What about the other data points?
Exhibit 11: Evidence of Seasonality in China’s Manufacturing PMI Survey
Exhibit 12: Industrial Output Volumes, Y/Y% (cement lagging + steel leading = potential for steel price correction)
Exhibit 13: China Li Keqiang Index
Note: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang once remarked to a U.S. diplomat that China’s GDP data was “man made”. To track growth he preferred to look at change in bank lending, rail freight, and electricity consumption. This ticker takes a weighted average of annual growth rates in outstanding bank loans CNLNTTLY Index DES
Exhibit 14: Inflation Gauge – Consumer & Producer Price Indexes
Exhibit 15: Average Price Change of New Residential Buildings, by Tiered-Cities, Y/Y%
Exhibit 16: JPM Global PMI – just off Mar. ’18 five month low
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CONCLUSION: China will likely continue to slow, yet it seems the PBoC has a good handle on its targeted slowdown, making the need to rush in with “bazooka” stimulus unnecessary right now (in our view, that is). Will it happen? Based on history, of course it will (as it always does). But are we there yet? We think not. Translation… more pain to come before Xi Jinping “rides to the rescue of bulk commodity bulls”, meaning as the summer slow-down sets in, steel/iron-ore prices likely have acute downside risk (this is not Consensus at the moment – see Jeffery Gundlach’s comments from the Sohn conference several weeks ago).