Martin Armstrong: Napoleon, War, Sunspots, & Human Excitability

Authored by Martin Armstrong via ArmstrongEconomics.com,

When you correlate everything, you see the patterns.

Sure, at Waterloo, the French used CANNONS while the British used CANISTERS. On the day of the battle, it rained a lot. The ground was very muddy, soft and wet mud. In that weather and ground conditions, cannons were not as effective.  It was more than just the weapons. In those weather conditions, Napoleon delayed and that cost him the battle. But had the weather been dry, things may have been different. The cold clearly beat Napoleon on his attempted invasion of Russia.

There is also the Human Excitability Study where war was correlated to sunspot activity.

The sunspot cycle is roughly every eleven years. However, this time it’s different. The sun is headed for a very rare, super-cooling period that threatens to topple civilization itself as it has throughout history roughly following a 300-year cycle.

For most of its history, science believed the sun’s output was constant. They finally realized that a thermal dynamic cycle beats like your heart so the sun could not exist if it was a steady outflow of energy. One degree less and it would blow itself out. Hence, it is cyclical rising and falling in intensity.

The eleven-year cycle in sunspots itself builds in intensity like the Economic Confidence Model (ECM) reaching “grand maxima” and “grand minima” over the course of 300 years. The last grand maximum peaked circa 1958, after which the sun has been steadily quieting down. Today, the drop in activity is at its steepest in 9,300 years, which is being ignored by the Global Warming propaganda.

The last Maunder Minimum, during which the sun languished for seventy years, took place from 1645 to 1715 when the sun’s brightness declined and the number of sunspots collapsed to almost zero. We are seeing almost zero so far in 2018.

Alexander Leonidovich  Tchijevsky (1897-1964) did a study on sunspot and human activity. He found that humans responded even creating wars with the swings in sunspot activity. He may be most notable for his use of historical research (historiometry) techniques to link the 11-year solar cycle, Earth’s climate and the mass activity of peoples.  Just after World War I, Tchijevsky published a book on cycle theory. Perhaps the title was not destined to make the book a smash hit, but it might take a big breath away before you finish reading the last word. The title was: “Investigation of the Relationship Between the Sunspot Activity and the Course of the Universal Historical Process from the V Century B.C. to the Present Day.”

The title is a bit of a long-winded oddity suggesting that human nature becomes more excited during the increased periods of sunspot activity. Whether or not Tchijevsky proved his theory that we are all driven by sunspots, much in the same manner as the moon drives the tides of the seas is another subject which I am not too certain about. Tchijevsky’s work is an interesting collection of knowledge that does illustrate a pattern within human activity.

Tchijevsky did prove that man became more excited every 11 years which did correspond to the known 11-year cycle of sunspot activity. He gathered data from 72 nations from 500 B.C. to 1922. Throughout the 2,422 years, he included such factors of human excitability as war, riots, revolutions, expeditions, and migrations. He took into consideration the magnitude of the event, the size of the area affected, and the number of people involved. The charts that are reproduced here give a very interesting cyclical view of man’s activity which you can call emotion or excitability.

The Tchijevsky cycle clearly indicates that every 11 year cycle period can be broken down into four distinct periods.

  • Period #1 has a duration of three years which is marked by peace, passiveness, and general rule by minorities.

  • Period #2 has a duration of two years in which general excitability grows from political unrest. New ideas or concepts emerge which tend to challenge the party in controL These ideas become popular answers to present day problems but there is a definite lack of a uniting force.

  • Period #3 again has a duration of three years. Under this period the public’s voice is heard. Under a dictatorship, this has been the strongest period of mass riots and revolutions in which major problems are solved. At times, anarchy does prevail but generally democratic reforms are gained.

  • Period #4 has a duration again of about three years. The general excitability declines, and the people go along contented in a state of apathetic moods. Peace movements usually are generated during this period. The masses prosper and go about their normal course of life awaiting the sun to set and the new light of dawn which brings the beginning of a new cycle.

Reflect for a moment about these four distinct periods. Looking at our own recent political history, we see a similarity between this cycle and our preference towards political parties. For example. we had a cycle of peace and passiveness following World War II culminating in the peak of Period #3 during the Johnson term. We entered Period #4 bringing in President Nixon as everyone went about their business. Gradually we entered Period #1 which brought about the Watergate affair resulting in the Ford administration and Period #2 which has a duration of 2 years. Jimmy Carter arrived in town ushering in Period #3 which is the peak on the 11-year cycle that normally contains revolution of political unrest. This brought about Period #4 when we revolted against the Inflationary policies of the Democrats by voting in President Reagan with a sense of returning back to passiveness and old standards and goals.

Who knows if these events indeed were caused by sunspot activity? Perhaps the sunspots do affect our emotions in much the same manner as the moon can move the ocean from side to side. But the fact that remains is this: a cycle does exist. You can find no century on this chart that was ever lacking such human excitability.

We are indeed “only human” to capture a saying normally invoked for human error. We have all heard that history repeats itself. Perhaps it is not history that repeats so much as human error. We are not immortal. We have not lived constantly throughout time. We die and are replaced by new generations. Each generation tends to believe that they are smarter than the last, failing to accurately study the errors made by previous generations; they will make the same mistakes.

Perhaps the events might differ but the result is always the same. Just as the Crusaders charged off to the Middle East to free the holy land from pagan Arabs, as they viewed it, we charged off into Europe to set the world free from the madness of Hitler; both resulted in worldwide wars so the events may have been different but the motives, passions, and outcomes were the same.

Tchijevsky’s attempt to relate man’s excitability to sunspot activity did accomplish one thing significant. His life’s work may not have proved or disproved his sunspot theory, however, it did provide us with evidence that man’s excitability, or emotions as I prefer to call it, moves within a cyclical pattern that can be identified.

UK public finances are among weakest in the world, IMF says

Health check shows almost £1tn wiped off wealth of public sector since 2008 crash

Britain’s public finances are among the weakest in the world following the 2008 financial crash, according to a fresh assessment of government assets and liabilities by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Washington-based lender said a health check on the wealth of 31 nations found almost £1tn had been wiped off the wealth of the UK’s public sector – equivalent to 50% of GDP – putting it in the second weakest position, with only Portugal in a worse state.

Related: World economy at risk of another financial crash, says IMF

Continue reading…

The Casualty List From The Kavanaugh Battle

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Unz.com,

After a 50-year siege, the great strategic fortress of liberalism has fallen. With the elevation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court seems secure for constitutionalism – perhaps for decades.

The shrieks from the gallery of the Senate chamber as the vote came in on Saturday, and the sight of that bawling mob clawing at the doors of the Supreme Court as the new justice took his oath, confirm it.

The Democratic Party has sustained a historic defeat.

And the triumph is President Trump’s.

To unite the party whose nomination he had won, Donald Trump pledged to select his high court nominees from lists prepared by such judicial conservatives as the Federalist Society. He kept his word and, in the battle for Kavanaugh, he led from the front, even mocking the credibility of the primary accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

Trump has achieved what every GOP president has hoped to do since the summer of ’68, when a small group of GOP senators, led by Bob Griffin of Michigan, frustrated and then foiled a LBJ-Earl Warren plot to elevate LBJ crony Abe Fortas to chief justice in order to keep a future President Nixon from naming Warren’s successor.

Sharing the honors with Trump is Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Throughout 2016, McConnell took heat for refusing to hold a hearing on Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, to fill the chair of Justice Antonin Scalia, who had died earlier that year.

In 2017, McConnell used Harry Reid’s “nuclear option” to end filibusters for Supreme Court nominations, and then got Judge Neil Gorsuch confirmed 54-45.

Last week, in one of the closest and most brutal court battles in Senate history, McConnell kept his troops united, losing only Sen. Lisa Murkowski, to put Kavanaugh on the court by 50-48. McConnell will enter the history books as the Senate architect of the recapture of the Supreme Court for constitutionalism.

This was a huge victory for conservatism and for the Republican Party. And the presence on the court of octogenarian liberals Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, both appointed by Bill Clinton, suggests that McConnell may have an opportunity to ensure the endurance of his great achievement.

The ferocity and ugliness of the attacks on Kavanaugh united Republicans to stand as one against what a savage Senate minority was trying to do to kill the nomination. And at battle’s end, the GOP is more energized than it has been all year for this fall’s election.

How united is the GOP? Conservatives are hailing the contributions of Sens. Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, who delivered a masterful summation of the Kavanaugh case Saturday afternoon.

For the Democratic Party, the Kavanaugh battle was the Little Bighorn, as seen from General Custer’s point of view.

Unable to derail the judge during the regular confirmation process, they lay in the weeds until it was over, and then sandbagged the judge by leaking to The Washington Post a confidential letter Dr. Ford did not want released.

They thus forced a public hearing of charges of attempted rape against a nominee, demanded the FBI investigate all charges of sexual misconduct when Kavanaugh was a teenager, and ended up losing anyway.

Then the Dems watched protesters dishonor the Senate in which they serve by screaming from the gallery. It was among the lowest moments in the modern history of the Senate, and it was the Democratic minority that took it down to that depth.

Understandably, they are a bitter lot today.

And the #MeToo movement has been set back. For many of its champions were, in Kavanaugh’s case, demanding a suspension of the principle of “innocent until proven guilty,” and calling for the judge’s rejection in disgrace, based solely on their belief in a wholly uncorroborated 36-year-old story.

So where are we going now?

While Republicans are united and celebrating a great victory, the left and its media auxiliary are seething with rage and doubly determined to deliver payback in the elections four weeks away, where Democrats could pick up the two dozen seats needed to recapture the House.

Should they do so, however, they will face two years of frustration and failure. For the enactment of any major element of their liberal agenda – a $15 minimum wage, “Medicare-for-all” – would die in a Republican Senate, or in the Oval Office where it would face an inevitable veto by Trump.

So, what does 2019 look like, if Democrats capture the House?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A House Judiciary Committee headed by New York’s Jerrold Nadler who is already howling for impeachment hearings on both Kavanaugh and Trump.

And, by spring, a host of presidential candidates, none of whom looks terribly formidable, led by Cory (“I am Spartacus”) Booker, trooping through Iowa and New Hampshire, trashing President Trump (and each other), and offering themselves as the answer to America’s problems.

Bring it on!

Workplace by Facebook launches Safety Check for business users

Workplace, Facebook’s communications platform for enterprises, is launching its own version of Safety Check today. Safety Check itself is obviously not a new feature. Indeed, Facebook has now activated this tool, which lets you report your status during a crisis, thousands of times. For business users, though, Facebook is now offering a number of new tools that allow them to activate this feature at will, run drills with their workforce and get an accurate headcount of their employees’ status.

“Safety Check for Workplace is essentially the enterprise version of the Safety Check that we have in the big blue app [Facebook’s name for its flagship mobile app],” Facebook CIO Atish Banerjea told me. He noted that a few years ago, Facebook first built a version of this for its own employees. “Then the idea came of extending this to the customers of Workplace, primarily because given the global expansion of companies, with people traveling all over the world, keeping track of employees during times of crisis and during a natural disaster has become a very difficult challenge,” he explained.

Safety Check lets businesses locate their employees and notify them through Workplace Chat and other avenues when they are in harm’s way. The tool also allows these companies to regularly ping those who haven’t confirmed themselves as safe yet.

Facebook notes that Workplace doesn’t use any mobile geolocation technologies here to identify where employees are. That data has to come from the companies that use the tool and the travel services they use to know when they are on the road and the employee data they have to know who works in which location. Banerjea noted that this is very much on purpose and in line with the way Workplace handles data. This is not the Facebook app, after all, so none of the employee data is ever shared with Facebook.

What’s interesting here is that this is the first time Facebook has taken a tool that its own internal Enterprise Engineering group built for its employees and brought it to a wider audience. Typically, this group only builds tools for Facebook’s own growing employee base, but the team decided to take this one public. The challenge was then to ensure that this tool, which was meant to handle the demands of Facebook’s more than 30,000 employees and run on its own proprietary stack, could scale up to work for companies that are far larger. “As you can imagine, the scaling challenges are significantly different,” Facebook’s VP of Enterprise Engineering Anil Wilson told me. “Where we are talking about going from tens of thousands of employees at Facebook and going to supporting hundreds of thousands of employees in many companies.”

To get Safety Check for Workplace up and running, the company organized an internal hackathon in February of this year. “We had to completely rebuild the product,” Wilson said. “We had to switch out the backend technology to help with scale.” The team also redid its data models to accommodate new features and redesigned the user experience to be more in line with the rest of the Workplace experience. In the process, the team also added support for new features, including multi-language support.

Unsurprisingly, the Enterprise Engineering group is now also looking at bringing to a wider audience other tools that Facebook first developed for its internal usage. “There’s tons of opportunity,” Wilson said. “We don’t have the specific products mapped out yet.” Most of the tools that his team builds are very much meant for Facebook’s own specific use cases, no matter whether those are HR applications, or tools for the finance group or the marketing and sales teams. But he believes there is plenty of room for taking some of those and making them available to Workplace customers as premium offerings.

Wilson also noted that this move to bringing more of these internally developed tools to the public is going to help his group with hiring. “We’re already a pretty interesting organization to come and work for,” he said. “But the fact that some of our products are now potentially going to be launched externally adds an additional dimension of interest for engineers who are coming to work on our team.”