U.S. Debt Crisis Comes into View as Fed’s Balance Sheet Explodes Past $7 Trillion

On May 29, 2019, the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet stood at $3.9 trillion. As of this past Wednesday, May 27, 2020, the Fed’s balance sheet had skyrocketed to $7.145 trillion, an increase of 83 percent in one year’s time.

But the explosion in the Fed’s balance sheet cannot be attributed solely to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The math and the timeline simply do not support that argument. According to the timeline at the World Health Organization, on December 31, 2019, China first reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia which were identified in early January to be the coronavirus now known as COVID-19. These were the first known cases anywhere in the world.

But on December 31, 2019, the Federal Reserve was already deep into a debt crisis in the United States. We know that from the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee. The Fed minutes for the meetings on December 10-11, 2019 state that the Fed’s emergency repo loans (that it had started making on September 17, 2019 for the first time since the financial crisis of 2008) had  “totaled roughly $215 billion per day” as of the date of that meeting.

Using the Fed’s own Excel spread sheet data for its emergency repo loans, Wall Street On Parade reported on January 27 that the Fed had made $6.6 trillion cumulatively in emergency revolving repo loans to Wall Street since September 17. The first death in the U.S. from COVID-19 did not come until February 28 and was reported by CNN one day later.

Repo loans (repurchase agreements) are typically routine overnight loans between banks, mutual funds and other financial institutions. The institution borrowing the money provides high quality bonds (typically Treasury securities) as collateral and signs an agreement to buy back the securities at a specified price. The difference in the price is effectively the interest charged on the loan.

The Fed started out on September 17 offering overnight loans of $75 billion daily. Three days later, on September 20, it added 14-day term loans. On October 23 the Fed announced that its daily repo loans would be increased from $75 billion to $120 billion while its term loans would continue. On December 12, the Fed announced that it would supplement its repo loans by adding a 32-day loan of $50 billion to its ongoing, twice per week term loans of 14-days and it would increase its overnight loans from $120 billion to $150 billion on December 31, 2019 and January 2, 2020. The Fed said it would also add an extra $75 billion overnight loan, thus bringing an extra $185 billion of liquidity over the turn of the year on top of its ongoing repo loans.

The Fed has subsequently added an alphabet soup listing of Wall Street bailout programs, many of which have been resurrected from the days of the 2008 crisis.

Today, the Fed’s balance sheet shows that its repo loan program is still ongoing with a $181 billion balance outstanding. Emergency lending from the Fed’s Discount Window stands at $18 billion. Emergency loans to the trading houses on Wall Street under its Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF) stands at $6 billion. Buying up undesirable debt from money markets under the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMMFLF) shows a balance of $33 billion. Scooping up unwanted commercial paper under the Fed’s Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) stands at $12.79 billion. Making outright purchases of investment grade and junk-rated corporate bonds under its Corporate Credit Facilities (which is targeted to expand to $750 billion by September 30) was just launched three weeks ago and currently stands at $34.85 billion.

All of the above programs, which provide assistance to the Wall Street banks and their trading units, total $267.64 billion currently outstanding. But the assistance is far greater than that. The repo loans are currently being made at an interest rate of 0.10 percent – a tiny fraction of what Wall Street’s trading houses would pay for these loans in the open market. If the trading houses simply loaned that money out as margin loans to hedge funds and day traders, they could make astronomical profits. The Fed is making its Discount Window loans and Primary Dealer Credit Facility loans at 0.25 percent – again, a preposterously low rate with no relationship to where these trading firms could borrow in the open market.

Think of it in these terms: imagine if every American who is paying interest of 9 percent or higher on their credit cards to these same Wall Street banks (e.g. Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, etc.) were offered money from the Fed to pay off these credit cards at an interest rate of 0.10 or 0.25 percent. Americans could get their financial houses in order rather easily. But no such deal is being offered to struggling Americans – 40 million of whom are now unemployed.

In addition to the overt Wall Street bailout programs listed above, the Fed has more programs that are more subtle in how they bail out Wall Street. The Fed is buying staggering amounts of U.S. Treasury securities and Mortgage-Backed Securities each month. Those combined balances of securities currently stand at an astonishing $5.9 trillion on the Fed’s balance sheet. Before the onset of the crisis in 2008, securities held by the Fed as of December 26, 2007 stood at $755 billion and consisted solely of U.S. Treasuries. By scooping up all of this debt from Wall Street over the past 13 years, the Fed has artificially rigged interest rates lower for a decade while allowing Wall Street to underwrite trillions of dollars in additional corporate debt that should not have been issued because the markets were going to puke it back up (to use Wall Street jargon) at the onset of the next economic downturn. That puke is what you’re now seeing on the Fed’s balance sheet. The Fed has become both the lender and buyer of last resort.

The Federal Reserve was created in 1913. Before January of 2009, the Federal Reserve had never before purchased Mortgage-Backed Securities. Before September 14, 2008, the Fed had never in its history made loans against stocks as collateral. Before May 12, 2020, the Federal Reserve had never before purchased corporate bonds or junk bonds. Today, the Fed is doing all of these things and numerous aspects of what it is doing are likely illegal under its statutory legislation known as the Federal Reserve Act.

The Fed also has a new program called the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF). The Fed is not providing money directly to small businesses as is being done under the Small Business Administration’s PPP program. The Fed is reimbursing banks for the money they have already loaned under the PPP program in order to provide liquidity to the banks. That program currently has $49 billion outstanding on the Fed’s balance sheet.

Then there are the Central Bank Liquidity Swaps that stand at $449 billion on the Fed’s balance sheet. The Fed provides dollars to foreign central banks and takes their foreign currency in exchange. This allows foreign central banks to have adequate liquidity to buy U.S. dollar-denominated assets and help prop up markets. There could well be other uses for the dollar swap lines. According to the Government Accountability Office audit of the Fed that was conducted after the 2008 financial crisis, this is one additional use that was made of the swap lines:

“In October 2008, according to Federal Reserve Board staff, the Federal Reserve Board allowed the Swiss National Bank [the central bank of Switzerland] to use dollars under its swap line agreement to provide special assistance to UBS, a large Swiss banking organization. Specifically, on October 16, 2008, the Swiss National Bank announced that it would use dollars obtained through its swap line with FRBNY [Federal Reserve Bank of New York] to help fund an SPV [Special Purpose Vehicle] it would create to purchase up to $60 billion of illiquid assets from UBS.”

UBS is a major investment bank and trading house and a major player on Wall Street. It purchased the large U.S. retail brokerage firm, PaineWebber, in 2000. The UBS Dark Pool, the equivalent of a thinly regulated stock exchange operating internally within UBS, has been one of the largest traders in Wall Street bank stocks.

The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, promised months ago to report to the American people on what caused the need for the Fed’s intervention in the repo loan market on September 17 and what necessitated it to remain as the lender of last resort in that market for all these past months. The Fed has failed to release any such report.

The Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Randal Quarles, has repeatedly promised to reveal the names of the Wall Street borrowers and the amounts they have borrowed under the Fed’s growing list of emergency loan facilities. The Fed has now filed three monthly reports to Congress on those facilities and there is not one name of a borrower or the individual amounts borrowed. All the public has been given are lump tallies – which paint a dystopian picture of the state of the debt markets in the United States but tell us nothing about which publicly traded banks are in trouble.

The Unfolding Catastrophe. What Can Hegel Teach Us Today?

This year marks 250 years since the philosopher G. W. F. Hegel was born in 1770 in Stuttgart, Germany. In light of this anniversary I reassess what Hegel’s philosophy of nature can contribute to our contemporary understanding – what it has to say to us as we face a time of unprecedented environmental degradation.

We are in the midst of a mass extinction; losing species – plants and animals – somewhere between 100 and 1,000 times the naturally occurring background rate of extinction. Clearly, estimates vary widely – but there is a general consensus that anthropogenic climate change “at least ranks alongside other recognized threats to global biodiversity,” and is in all likelihood the “greatest threat in many if not most regions.”

What can Hegel’s philosophy teach us given this unfolding catastrophe? For most philosophers and scholars (not to mention scientists), if there is any area of Hegel’s thought that is antiquated and irrelevant it is his Naturphilosophie. Indeed, even in Hegel’s own day this part of his philosophy was ridiculed if not ignored, mainly because of his reliance upon a priori (as opposed to empirical) reasoning in constructing an account of the natural world. Consequently, it receives relatively little scholarly attention compared to his other monumental contributions to modern thought. This is unfortunate; for Hegel’s approach to nature is anything but a mere curiosity in the museum of ideas, even if parts of it seem dated or worse. Rather, what he has to say is centrally relevant to environmental concerns today.

The root causes of anthropogenic climate change – which has led to the endangering of countless species across the globe – cannot be adequately grasped in isolation from the technological application of modern science. While Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was certainly justified in calling upon American legislators to “unite behind the science,” neither can we overlook the culpability of science in bringing about the environmental crisis.

Alison Stone’s Petrified Intelligence (2004) offers one of the few sustained and sympathetic studies of Hegel’s philosophy of nature. She points out that the problem with the scientific approach is that it rests on inadequate metaphysical assumptions: “Empirical scientists work from a metaphysical assumption according to which natural forms cannot in any sense be considered agents whose behavior has meaning, but rather are bare things whose behavior makes up a mass of intrinsically meaningless events.”

In the Introduction to the Philosophy of Nature, Hegel writes that “The wealth of natural forms, in all their infinitely manifold configuration, is impoverished by the all-pervading power of thought, their vernal life and glowing colours die and fade away.”

This draining of nature of its inherent richness, its intrinsic qualities occurs paradigmatically in René Descartes’ famous analysis of the piece of wax in his Mediations on First Philosophy. Descartes effectively dissolves the “sensuously resplendent piece of wax into properties (extension and malleability) graspable by the mind’s eye alone.” Qualitative distinctions are replaced by quantitative ones; so that what we witness is indeed nothing less than the dematerialization of nature and its reduction to a mechanical system which can be fully articulated through the immaterial forms of theoretical mathematics.

Scientific and classical enlightenment views of nature represent it as lacking the qualities – including value qualities – which we generally understand to be present within it. Sensibility embodies a basic understanding of nature as intrinsically valuable, as having its own right and its own voice. The metaphysics of empirical science, by contrast, assumes that the behavior of natural forms is inherently meaningless and exhaustively explained by external causal factors.

Hegel wants to reenchant nature, but not by retrieving an outdated and unacceptable medievalism – rather, the approach that he favors is distinctly modern; and involves reasserting nature’s interiority or inwardness: “Matter interiorizes itself to become life,” as Hegel puts it. In terms of ethics Hegel’s conception of nature is preferable to the rival scientific metaphysics because he recognizes and insists upon the intrinsic value of every natural form. Nature’s forms and entities are intrinsically good – which is to say, they are good regardless of any human interests in or feelings regarding them. Indeed, Hegel postulates goodness everywhere in nature – not only in sounds and colors, but in chemical and electrical processes, elemental qualities, and even the passage of time and the immensity of space.

While individual natural forms have intrinsic value, they do so to varying degrees: nature is structured hierarchically, according to Hegel – and the organic is privileged over the non-organic. Hegel is also prepared to say that this hierarchy culminates in the appearance of human beings; so that one criticism of Hegel that environmental thinkers are likely to make is that he adopts a narrowly anthropocentric viewpoint. What this charge fails to appreciate however is that while humanity may represent the highest realization of Spirit (Geist), spirit is already there implicitly in the animal organism.

Animal life is, for Hegel, the truth of the organic sphere: the plant is a subordinate organism whose destiny is to sacrifice itself to the higher organisms and be consumed by them. The animal organism is the microcosm which has achieved an existence for itself, and in which the whole of inorganic nature is ‘recapitulated and idealized.’ What distinguishes the animal organism is its subjectivity – the animal is ensouled, “having a feeling of itself, whereby it acquires enjoyment of itself as an individual.” The plant lacks precisely this feeling of itself, this soulfulness.

To consider this more concretely, look at what Hegel has to say about voice, which he describes as “a high privilege of the animal which can appear wonderful… The animal makes manifest that it is inwardly for-itself, and this manifestation is voice.” Hegel draws special attention, in fact, to birdsong – for “the voice of the bird when it launches forth in song is of a higher kind;  and this must be reckoned as a special manifestation in birds over and above that of voice generally in animals… birds utter their self-feeling in their own particular element… Voice is the spiritualized mechanism which thus utters itself.”

It is noteworthy that what Hegel has to say about birdsong has in fact been reiterated by more recent ornitho-musicology. Charles Hartshorne – one of the twentieth century’s great philosopher-theologians – was also an expert in birdsong. In his book, Born to Sing: An Interpretation and World Survey of Birdsong, he observes that the song “conveys no single crude emotion but something like what life is to that bird at that season.” In fact, birdsong expresses feeling, “according to principles partly common to the higher animals… That a bird sings because it is happy is not entirely foolish.”

As our knowledge of living Nature grows, we will likely find that those aspects of ourselves which we take to be most distinctly human – such as aesthetic appreciation – may be regarded as an extension and refinement of abilities already present among nonhuman animals. Hegel’s philosophy of nature may provide the basis for a more environmentally sustainable way of life, in part by helping us to see how it is our intellectual duty to view living things “within the widest of intellectual and spiritual horizons,” as the great Swiss zoologist Adolf Portmann put it.

To treat the natural world – and especially living beings – as a mere aggregate of things to be ruthlessly exploited according to our narrow interests cannot but entirely miss the deeper, genuine and philosophical comprehension which views Nature as “in itself, a living Whole.”  This implies that we must view and treat the animal organism as an irreducible way of being in the world, which cannot be understood solely through the physio-chemical or molecular analysis of life.

The loss of biodiversity is not only an environmental crisis, but an ontological crisis as well – for with the extinction of a species the very interiority of Nature has been diminished, as the world is no longer experienced in the way specific to the life form in question. To avoid this catastrophe we must be prepared to draw on all the resources at our disposal, and that may well include the philosophy of nature.

Will Trump Wage More Wars to Distract From COVID-19 and Economic Collapse?

Trump is the latest in a long line of belligerent US presidents, throughout his tenure waging war on multiple fronts at home and abroad.

His priorities are self-enrichment, serving Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Military, and other corporate favorites, along with getting reelected.

War by the Trump regime and Congress rages domestically —SARS-Cov-2 (the virus producing COVID-19 illness) used as a weapon by power elites to consolidate to greater market dominance by eliminating competition.

An already begun unprecedented surge of bankruptcies approaches, mostly affecting hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses.

Weak larger ones are also vulnerable to be bought by strong competitors at fire sale prices.

The toll is an unacceptable new (ab)normal, the US more greatly resembling Guatemala, Somalia, or Bangladesh, millions of lost jobs not coming back.

Most employed Americans will work for poverty or sub-poverty  wages with few or no benefits — a permanent state of war to exist abroad against multiple invented enemies, new ones perhaps to be attacked belligerently.

In early January, who could have imagined that most Americans would willingly accept house arrest, that major sports competition would cease for the interim, that real unemployment would approach 40%, that a protracted main street Greater Depression may have begun!

Worse still, dare I suggest that US dark forces planned what’s happening for their own self-interest and cronies —by unleashing SARS-Cov-2 on humanity with a diabolical follow-up plot in mind.

A relentless campaign is underway for Americans and others abroad to accept mass vaxxing ahead with toxic vaccines able to do far greater harm than good — including substances able to cause the disease they’re supposed to protect against.

Along with all of the above domestically, are DJT and Pompeo-led Trump regime hardliners spoiling for confrontation with China, Iran, Venezuela, and even Cuba.

A US war of words rages against these countries, Big Lies drowning out hard truths and reason.

On Thursday, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that “China-US diplomatic backchannels (are) dry(ing) up, making it harder to communicate…”

Sino-US relations are the most dismal in decades. Bilateral communications “ground to a halt as a result of the rising hostility and travel restrictions caused by the pandemic…”

Anti-China Trump regime and congressional actions threaten to rupture bilateral relations.

Trump’s reelection strategy includes falsely blaming China for his mishandled public health and economic policies.

Nothing positive can come for both countries from the hardline US approach.

Separately, the Trump regime may be heading toward confrontation with Iran and Venezuela.

On Wednesday, Pompeo slammed both countries, tweeting:

“The United States condemns (Iran’s) Supreme Leader Khamenei’s disgusting and hateful anti-Semitic remarks (sic)” — how US hardliners describe truth-telling rhetoric that touches the right nerves.

Pompeo targeted democratically elected and reelected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, turning truth on its head, tweeting:

“Two years ago today, Maduro showed the Venezuelan people and the world that there can be no free and fair election while he occupies Miraflores Palace (sic).”

“The Democratic Transition Framework provides a roadmap for peaceful democratic transition for Venezuela (sic).”

Venezuela under Hugo Chavez and Maduro is the hemisphere’s model democracy, a notion increasingly totalitarian USA tolerates nowhere, especially not at home.

Cuba was also on Pompeo’s target list, falsely accusing its ruling authorities of “trampl(ing) (on) the rights of the Cuban people” — a longstanding US specialty at home and abroad.

Ahead of November elections, will the Trump regime instigate confrontation against one or all of the above countries on the US target list for regime change?

On Wednesday, Iranian Defense Minister General Amir Hatami warned the Trump regime that “(w)e will definitely give a firm and decisive response if harassments continue or escalate.”

His comments referred to possible Pentagon interdiction of Iranian tankers with gasoline en route to Venezuela — an act of high seas piracy if occurs.

“Our policies are crystal clear, and we announced explicitly that we will tolerate no act of harassment,” Hatami stressed.

By letter to UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif slammed “the illegal, dangerous and provocative US threats” against Iranian tankers en route legally to Venezuela, warning of consequences if the Trump regime goes this far.

Scheduled to arrive in Venezuelan waters in late May or early June, Bolivarian Republic military vessels will meet them when entering the country’s economic zone to escort them to port to unload their cargo.

Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said the country’s navy and air force will welcome the Iranian tankers when reach the nation’s maritime territory.

During a Security Council session, Bolivarian Republic UN envoy Samuel Moncada slammed Trump regime hostility, saying actions it may undertake to block Iranian tankers “from reaching their destination would thus constitute a crime against humanity.”

Separately, Iran’s ambassador to Venezuela Hojjatollah Soltani defended the legal right of both nations to engage in international trade and other normal relations, adding:

“This relationship between Iran and Venezuela doesn’t threaten anybody. It’s not a danger to anyone.” It’s the legal right of all nations to deal with others politically, economically, and through trade.

Trump regime hardliners consider internationally recognized legal relations between countries on the US target list for regime change a threat to its national security.

It’s one of countless Big Lies and distortions used by both right wings of the US one-party state to advance its imperial agenda.

Wars by hot and other means, state terrorism, and other hostile actions are its favorite strategies — why the US remains humanity’s greatest threat.

This economic depression was always going to happen, the virus just accelerated the downfall

On Tuesday May 12th, it was announced that the stay at home order in Los Angeles County, California due to the coronavirus would be extended for another three months.

As the virus continues to spread and the economic downfall the likes of which the nation hasn’t seen since the Great Depression continues to touch lives all across the nation, countless people are undoubtedly reeling at the thought of not being able to generate an income for months longer. But as we continue to feel the widespread web of stress and trauma this virus has caused, I can’t help reflecting on how little it took for everything to crumble. It’s difficult not to come to the honest conclusion that coronavirus didn’t kill the American economy, it just sped up the dying process.

In an economic system with a staggering seventy four percent of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, forty percent unable to afford a $400 dollar emergency last year, and with many working multiple jobs to provide for themselves and their families, the American economy has been a ticking time bomb for years, just waiting to go off. But an economy as morally bankrupt as our own was never meant to weather a crisis like this. A system that would rather starve its citizens in to submission than supply them a small return of the wealth their labor generated so that they might find stability during this crisis will always crumble eventually.

In the midst of a pandemic where over thirty million people have been forced to file unemployment, many of them are losing healthcare, over 80 thousand people are dead, and small businesses all over the country are on the precipice of collapse, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is apparently on track to potentially become the world’s first trillionaire. While even in normal times he is making more each second than a minimum wage worker can hope to earn in a month, his ex wife is worth 37 billion dollars simply for owning a 4 percent stake in the company.

If the coronavirus was truly what brought on the death of the American economy, it was the unparalleled, unsustainable greed of the Jeff Bezos’ of the country and the politicians who they’ve bought that allowed it to do so. In all honesty how can we really identify the coronavirus as the cause of all this economic devastation, when it was the instability lying beneath the surface for so long that truly prompted in all pain and trauma?

There’s no denying that web of trauma this virus continues to inflict on the American people grows more tangled and intricate by the day, and it’s difficult to even put in to words the difference that having a strong safety net would have made. It wasn’t the coronavirus that deprived Americans of universal healthcare, rent freezes, robust and responsive state unemployment offices and websites, or politicians willing to do what’s necessary with policies to protect them. Policies similar to Canada’s, where their citizens are being sent $2,000 a month for the duration of the crisis. Money — it’s worth noting — that came from and belongs to the citizens in the first place, just like it does here.

Above all else, this pandemic served as a mask off moment for the American economy more than anything else. With tens of thousands dead and more getting sick each day, watching our politicians and corporations slowly begin to pressure us to get back to work and in essence become sacrificial lambs for the stock market has been as surreal and barbaric as it is predictable. But of course, all that being said at the same time there has never been a better moment in recent history for the American people to become more conscious of the nation’s shortcomings, and how so much of what we deserve has been structurally deprived from us for so long. As we live the consequences of that deprivation, I’m all too mindful of the fact that history has taught us that the masses will only tolerate so much.

Day by day, we are rapidly approaching the breaking point. What happens when we get there, for better or worse, remains to be seen.

Donald Trump is Pushing to End Healthcare Coverage for Millions

Even Obamacare’s biggest haters wouldn’t end it during the largest global health crisis in a century

To get us out of the Depression, FDR’s New Deal created a safety net for Americans and got people working again. In 2020, 1 in 4 Americans will be out of work. By pushing to end health coverage for millions — and limit it for tens of millions more — Trump is creating a Reverse New Deal, taking away our safety net as we loss employment.

Last week Trump doubled down on a meritless Supreme Court case to nullify the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) due to be heard this Fall. If successful,  and pre-existing condition protection would disappear for all.

It would also raise drug costs on millions of seniors, allow lifetime limits, end Medicaid expansion, raise prices on older people and people with pre-existing conditions, end out of pocket cost limits, end the public health and prevention fund, and end required preventive benefits:

  • Public Health and Prevention Fund: GONE
  • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for ~10 million people: GONE
  • Medicaid expansion currently covering ~17 million people: GONE
  • Protections for 133 million people with preexisting conditions when they buy coverage on their own: GONE
  • Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26: GONE
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits: GONE
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women: GONE
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs: GONE
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs: GONE
  • Essential Health Benefits: GONE
  • Required improvements to employer-sponsored coverage: GONE
  • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable: GONE
  • Small business tax credits: GONE

At a time of a global pandemic, when tens of millions more will be added to the list of people with preexisting conditions — and many will lose their jobs and require preexisting protections — this is an assault on older, poorer, and sicker Americans when they are getting ravaged by Covid-19.

During a pandemic, what puts me at risk puts you at risk.

At a time when some Americans are worried about their rights being infringed upon, Trump is asking Americans to give up rights so insurance companies can label people and deny them care.

Just as we’re trying to contain outbreaks in this pandemic, Trump’s actions will only add fuel to the fire when hot spots break out.

National, state, and city uninsured rates would skyrocket.

  • The national uninsured rate would increase by 65%
  • In Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, the number of uninsured people would climb by more than 133%
  • In Florida, an additional 1.5 million uninsured people would drive up the state’s uninsured rate by 67%
  • The uninsured populations in Baltimore, Cleveland, Louisville, Philadelphia, Sacramento, and San Francisco would swell by between 130 and more than 170 percent
  • The uninsured populations in Albuquerque, Denver, Detroit, Portland, Seattle, Washington DC, and several California cities, including Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, San Diego, and San Jose, would roughly double, expanding by about 100 to 120 percent

All while Americans are losing access to health care in droves. . Trump is trying to keep it that way by trying to overturn the ACA.

Trump’s decision would be a massive blow to health care providers. At a time when we are bailing hospitals out with hundreds of billions of dollars, uncompensated care costs would increase by $50 billion.

It’s not as if this Reverse New Deal doesn’t benefit anyone. .

As  and I wrote about the original case, the case itself is a baseless cynical ploy that counts on judges acting on their politics:

Health care will define the midterms. Donald Trump’s move to gut Obamacare guarantees it.

Donald Trump and the Republican Party just put America’s health care squarely on the November ballot. After a year of…

Today, friend of the court briefs opposing this effort were filed by nearly everybody in health care — patients, clinicians, scientists, public health experts, conservatives, liberals. Over 70 leading health organizations and 56 leading legal and health experts filed amicus briefs. This would “plunge millions of Americans into an abyss of prolonged uncertainty.”

What’s next: Throughout the summer more briefs will be filed. Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, the case was scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court in October. Now it may be pushed off. We should know when in August.

Trump’s team of course is hoping for a delay. They don’t want this heard before the election. They would like to be able to pick more conservative Justices. It’s cynical.

I understand that the ACA has been a lightning rod issue for the last decade. As I came in to turn around and implement it, we had to spend nearly half our time defending it from attacks.

Trump has been no friend to Medicaid, Medicare or the ACA and his stance hasn’t been popular. Ripping out people’s health coverage and leaving them bare is hard to justify. But a global pandemic and manmade depression showed how much the ACA and more more are needed.

Still the pandemic was the perfect opportunity for Trump to back away from a fringe and radical effort to tear down the ACA. Who would end access to health care coverage during a time when 27 million new people have lost their coverage?

Even the greatest ACA haters wouldn’t get rid of it now. One would have to hate something far more than the ACA to pursue this now. The decision not only imperils the country, but Trump’s political future. The hatred and jealousy of Obama is all consuming.

Even in a global pandemic, some tribal habits run deeper: deeper than economic recovery, deeper than lives lost.

Those of us working across party lines to try to save lives know the favor would never be returned by this Administration if the roles were reversed. Yet we do it anyway. Too much is at stake. There is plenty of rhetoric that aims to divide the country right now. Most of it doesn’t amount to much. Some of it does but are natural tensions. Taking health care away in a pandemic rises to a special level.

Trump’s Reverse New Deal, taking health care coverage, liability shields for business, no front line protection, eliminated nursing home regulations, refusal to coordinate the Defense Production Act — they are all self-inflicted on top of the largest global health crisis of the century.

Why Crackpots, Lunatics, and Extremists Rule American Life — Even in a Lethal Pandemic

 

When I look around the world today, it strikes me that we’re living in the age of the sociopath. I don’t just mean that in the technical psychological sense of the word — a certain head of state and his goons come to mind — but first, in a deeper, truer, broader sense. Sociopathic: hostile to the idea, the notion, the purpose, of society. Not just “their” society or “mine” or “yours” — but the great and historic ideal of society itself. Sociopathy to the point that nations like Britain and America were simply unable to lock down in time, to protect society’s most vulnerable. Sociopathy to the point that Americans sunbathe on beaches while the death rate is the equivalent of a 9/11 every day. Sociopathy to the point that despite the fact that the infection hasn’t peaked yet, Trump is still trying to “reopen” the economy.

When you look at a generation of leaders failing ruinously to deal with any of the great challenges of the 21st century — inequality, climate change, mass extinction, stagnation, and now, a pandemic— it’s because most of them are profoundly, immovably hostile that there is such a thing as a society we should and must care for to begin with. When you look at fractured, riven countries, one after the other plunging into authoritarianism, it’s because large numbers of people have become deeply hostile to the notion of living in or being part of a society — not just theirs, but living beside anyone and caring for them, investing in them, nurturing them, period. When you see Americans protesting lockdown, armed with rifles— that, my friends, is textbook sociopathy, a kind of sneering contempt towards the idea that society exists, matters, counts, or is even necessary.

We are living in the age of the sociopath. Wherever I look, I see sociopathy at work. We often say that countries are divided today — but that’s not quite true, at least in the old sense of left versus right. What we should really see is that that many, many people have developed a deep enmity, hostility, antipathy to society itself. The idea of society. Its principles and values. Its founding notions, which I’ll come to. Its very essence. More and more people are simply rejecting “society” itself — not theirs, per se, but the concept itself.

The world is divided now into people that believe in society — and people that don’t, who believe in something more like tribalism, Darwinism, authoritarianism, hate, violence, and rage. That they should be supreme, above all others, that they are the center of the world, that nobody else and nothing else matters but them and their gratification. There is a kind of deep social nihilism at work in the world today — a kind of bitter disbelief that any kind of “we” exists. And from this hostility, this enmity, comes a surging aggression, bitterness, rage, animus — that’s tearing the world apart today, knocking back to turbo-charged regress. And it is this force at work in Britain and America’s responses to Coronavirus.

You don’t have to look much further than America — the world’s reigning champion of sociopathy — to see all this in action. America’s long championed the idea that, as Margaret Thatcher once famously said, “there’s no such thing as society.” You might not — but generations of American leaders advanced bizarre and strange notions that basically rested upon the idea of society not needing to exist. Hence, Americans privatized everything from energy grids to schools, hospitals and medicine, universities and roads. Generations of Americans came to be staunchly “conservative” — not genuinely interested in conserving anything, really, but only in tearing down whatever remained of a functioning society. They succeeded — to the point that today teachers are being armed in schools, suicide is skyrocketing, the average person’s life has fallen apart, all while billionaires are becoming trillionaires.

Of course, Americans didn’t believe in society because they couldn’t — America was founded on the notion that some people aren’t human at all, so society, in the modern sense, could never exist at all. Only something more like a caste system could, which is why the American elite and what’s left of the middle class (not much) still rejects the idea of society today. “I won’t stay home to save their lives! Those dirty, filthy people!” But much of the rest of the world doesn’t have this strange and grim history. And yet instead of having learned anything from all this, many nations are beginning to follow suit. What the…? And there’s Europe — slashing investment instead of spending.

America’s cautionary tale — its weird, foolish journey of sociopathy — contains many lessons for the future, for the world, even for Americans. Some of them are simple.

There’s a certain kind of American, now legendary the world over, who thinks that carrying a gun to Starbucks, not vaccinating their kids, denying their neighbors retirement, and denying their own families decent healthcare, is the pinnacle of intelligence, civilization, decency, and progress. The rest of the world, and the rest of America, has come to know such people as the American Idiot. The American Idiot, it seems, knows no bounds. Today, for example, their latest and greatest cause is to protest against lockdown, reopen a pandemic-ridden society where the infection rate hasn’t even fallen yet, thus ensuring that death on a mass scale becomes death on an historic one. The question therefore arises: are such people (for whom the idea of a society of equals, who people are to respect, care for, nourish, and protect) simply… sociopaths?

I mean that in this sense: to the American Idiot, society doesn’t really exist. Everyone is an enemy, a rival, an adversary, cannon fodder. Come down with a deadly pandemic? Too bad for you. You must have been weak, and only the strong survive. This kind of attitude, which betrays a stunning indifference to everyone else’s life or death, is surely the essence of sociopathy. So: are we living in the age of the sociopath? And isn’t that one of the things the pandemic proves, despite all the feel-good stories of doctors and nurses? That many of us have become hardened to the point of indiffierence about life and death? But can you have a functioning society made of sociopaths — and if you can’t, what percentage of sociopaths does it take to destabilize a functioning society for everyone else?

One of the things that has gone badly wrong in America is that the idea of freedom itself seems to have turned sociopathic. I carry a gun to Starbucks, so kids have to do “active shooter drills,” and pretend to die, traumatizing them for life. I deny everyone else decent healthcare, access to medicine, a visit to the doctor. I withhold retirement and safety nets, and supports from everyone else. I’m “free” of obligations and responsibilities to care for, protect, and invest in anyone — including myself. But is that really freedom? Or is it something more like irresponsibility, negligence, and self-destruction? In America, freedom now means the right to inflict serious and injurious harm on a whole society. In the rest of the world, these actions are considered uncivilized. But when a society consists of people fighting for freedom as the right to injure everyone else, where can it really go except backwards and downwards, like America has?

If a people believe “society doesn’t need to exist,” they are also going to end up going without all the things that a society provides. Public goods will never develop — like public healthcare, affordable education, safety nets, and so on. As a result, inequality will skyrocket, because people will have to pay capitalists monopoly prices for the things they should have simply given each other. Because there’s little social investment in such a society, it will soon enough grow impoverished — after all, capitalists are hardly interested in sharing the wealth, and the gains they accumulate will simply go to yachts, mansions, and shares. All that describes America perfectly, doesn’t it?

Those economic effects are also accompanied by equally damaging sociocultural effects. No notion of a common wealth, a public interest, shared values can emerge if people don’t believe in society to begin with.That’s exactly what happened in America, too — there is literally no functioning notion of public interest or common good at work left in its institutions, which is why, for example, hedge funds are allowed to “raid pensions” (or, put in plain English, steal your money.)

In the end, these three effects — runaway inequality, growing poverty, which means the collapse of a middle class, and the erosion, the disappearance, of the notion of a public interest — what do they culminate in? They culminate, quite naturally, in the corrosion and eventual collapse of a democracy. After all, a democracy can hardly function when people don’t have anything left in common — when they are at each others’ throats, for the simple stuff of survival, whether money, food, healthcare, or education. Bang! You can see that lesson illustrated in the last catastrophic three years of America, during which democracy essentially imploded into fascist-authoritarianism (and if you think I’m kidding, go ahead and tell me who else puts kids in camps.)

But I think these basic lessons still don’t go nearly deep enough to really come to the heart of the matter. Why does “society” matter? Why should we believe in this thing, this project, this great ideal, this historic endeavour, called “society”?

One of the greatest lessons we’ve forgotten is what a “society” really is. The word “society” comes from “societas,” which means a kind of companionship, a certain association with others, or at least the hunger, the willingness to. But companionship also implies things which are crucial. It says we don’t act in bad faith. It says we regard others as our equals. It says we don’t try to stab them in the back. It says we aren’t just playing games with them, toying with them, for our own advantage — grinning, but only hoping to get one over on them.

All of these things seem to be vanishing, don’t they? And in fact, it’s exactly these things which seem to have vanished in our dislocated, zombified, post-modern age. We aren’t companions any more. We’re something more like adversaries, enemies, opponents. We are constantly battling one another, aren’t we? Our lives have become more and more defined by combat, by opposition, by difference.

But in what? For what are we constantly battling one another? Just the stuff of survival. In America, you are made to battle everyone else for…everything. Nothing is your right, really. You must fight bitterly for education, for healthcare, for a little bit of money, for food to eat, for a roof over your head. How can such people really be “companions” — when they are busy being enemies, opponents, adversaries? And when you look at the world this way, why would you want to stay home to keep others safe? And yet if a society is an organization of companions, of fellow travellers, of pilgrims all wearing humble cloth walking the same road — how can such a thing made of competition ever be a society?

And yet that is what the growth of capitalism to global proportions did. A few brave nations fought it — Canada, Europe, and so on — but in the end, even their resistance is crumbling. They too are slowly giving up on the idea of society as an organization of companions, of genuine equals. People in them too are becoming Americanized — being made to fight each other for the basics.

This kind of gladiatorial mode of organization isn’t a society, in the true sense. It’s just something more like a jungle, an arena, take your pick. I think the most accurate term is Social Darwinism — only the strong survive! Capitalism’s fundamental principle. But it’s profoundly incompatible with the essence of a what a society is. Capitalism says that we’re all greedy, stupid individuals, who have nothing but self-interest, after all, and that our only purpose in life is to blindly obey it, every nanosecond, so that we can maximize our own profits. But this starkly and absolutely incompatible with the following ideas: a public interest, a common interest, shared values, joint investment, public goods, me caring about you, virtue in any sense whatsoever. If the only person I am allowed, encouraged, rewarded to care about is me — then what room is there for a society to exist? If a million such people exist, do they make a society — or something more like its opposite, a ruthless Darwinist machine?

But isn’t that just what our institutions, from companies to schools to thinking itself do — reward people, train them, indoctrinate them, to only care about themselves, or at least care about themselves first and most? It’s no surprise, then, that every single kind of social institution you can imagine, from unions to marriage to friendship is in severe and ruinous decline. If we don’t believe in society, what need is there for any social bonds, really? Ah, but that’s exactly what capitalism wants. What do you call a group of people without social bonds? Prey.

We are going to have to rediscover — and reimagine — this great and beautiful idea of society if we want to survive the 21st century as societies. One of the biggest reasons that our societies are collapsing now is also one of the most obvious, hiding in plain sight — many of us don’t believe in society anymore. Not just in “ours” — but in the idea that there is anything beyond ourselves, our own appetites, our own advantage, our own aggressive, naked self-interest at all. That’s hardly a surprise. This century, middle classes are growing poorer — and people growing people struggle just to subsist.

And yet this sharp turn away from society, and towards narrow self-interest, is having catastrophic effects. It has corroded the idea of the public interest, of the common good, of shared values. It has breaking the back of democracy. It is causing a volcanic surge of white-hot rage to explode around the globe, as little entitled self-interesteers don’t win the power and control and status they need to feel secure. It is legitimating the worst of us, all over again, everything from the supremacism and fascism of Trumpism to the extreme nationalism of Brexit. It is causing the dislocation of technologically depressed generations, who, unable to form real bonds with one another anymore, are turning to drugs and suicide. The turn towards self-interest is especially ruinous in an age in which humanity needs to pull together if it wants to survive in any real sense of the word.

We are not going to make it as little groups of competitive, antagonistic individuals, battling for dwindling resources — playing out games of pointless, meaningless status competition for little capitalist baubles — while the capitalists laugh at our folly, stupidity, weakness, and powerlessness. The fascists and authoritarians that fill their pockets will pick us off one by one — after the tides and seasons have famished and starved us. We are only going to make it through this century as societies. In the end, as a society of the human race for the first time — as one band of companions, walking beside one another, not climbing atop one another, not dragging one another down, all on the same difficult and strange and beautiful road home. The one that leads us through the valleys of stardust and midnight, to our truest and deepest selves.

Coronavirus will accelerate and finalize America’s grim transformation into poverty, paralysis, and collapse — the lack of response to it will probably finish off what’s left of the American economy

Another 3 million people filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to a staggering 33 million. How much is that, in context? The US labour force is 165 million people. 33 million people means a full 20% of the labour force is now unemployed.

But even that’s an understatement. Here’s another, truer way to think about it. These numbers mean that, since the the employment to population ratio has crashed to just fifty percent. That means: just half of the American population is now employed.

These are numbers so catastrophic they make economists like me shudder. They have no modern parallel whatsoever. They point to an emerging depression — call it the Coronavirus Depression — that’s probably going to be greater and worse than the Great Depression. That’s because even the Great Depression had a New Deal. America, instead, has Donald Trump.

Coronavirus — or more accurately — the lack of response to it will probably finish off what’s left of the American economy. America will end up a country with permanently lower levels of all the following: employment, income, savings, trust, happiness, assets, and so forth. America was already in the process of becoming something very much like a poor country, with the failed politics of one, too — but Coronavirus will accelerate and finalize America’s grim transformation into poverty, paralysis, and collapse.

I know that sounds improbable, maybe even absurd, to some. I don’t much like writing in such terms myself. So let me spell out just how and why.

These shocking, unreal unemployment numbers are like the shockwave of a great tsunami, or the tremors that signal an earthquake spiking off the Richter scale. They’re a beginning, something like a plume of smoke to be followed by a deafening explosion.

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Why? The logic of depression is simple — Keynes discovered it a century ago. It involves two things: money, and confidence. An economy undergoes a shock — a stock market crash, a natural calamity, or, in this case, a pandemic. I lose my job. I stop spending. So do my neighbours. Our local businesses — who usually exist on the margin, with little in reserve — begin to go shutter their doors, as a small but crucial number of customers stays away. That causes yet another wave of unemployment, which causes yet another wave of bankruptcy, and so on. Until, at last, the vicious spiral has engulfed the whole economy.

By that point, five transformations have happened — that usually spell ruin for a generation or more.

First, because waves of businesses have closed, the nature of unemployment changes: it goes from a short term challenge to find work, to a long term lack of jobs at all. You can already see that happening in America. Many of the jobs lost now aren’t coming back — ever. Those businesses, small and medium sized ones, are gone for good. Their owners will spend years in liquidation — if they’re lucky. How many will ever start businesses again?

Bang! The few jobs that are left are “low-income service jobs” offered by mega-monopolies, which means delivering groceries and driving cars and walking pets. But they don’t provide stable incomes, benefits, guarantees, much less raises, career paths, and so on But when economy’s labour force…goes nowhere…what future can it really have?

That brings me to the second transformation depressions wreak. Economies grow permanently poorer. Yes, as in “forever.” That’s already happening in America, too. yesterday’s if not great but somewhat decent jobs were already being substituted away by the new, gruesome “gigs” that modern-day American techno-capital offers — driving an Uber, delivering an Instacart, selling a pallet on Amazon — but Coronavirus has accelerated that transition, massively. Megacorporations aren’t going to magically hire huge numbers of people once they’ve found out they can make do with permanently lowers levels of hiring. But lower levels of hiring across the economy mean that workers have less bargaining power. Bang! Incomes fall — the share of the economy going to working people craters. What’s the net result? Society grows poorer.

What happens to poorer societies? They’re left in a kind of terrible paradox, which is my third transformation: they can’t afford the very things they need to survive most. Why is it that the average American is the only person in the rich world by now who votes against their own healthcare, retirement, education, childcare, and so on? Because they can’t afford it. 80% of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck before Coronavirus. Who can afford to pay an extra 5% or 10% in taxes for decent social systems? Nobody, really, except the already rich — who don’t need them. Hence, the famous paradox of the American Idiot: people who vote against their self-interest. It’s not their fault, really: they have no choice. They can’t afford to vote for things like public healthcare.

America was already becoming too poor a society to have functioning public goods, like healthcare or retirement for all. Coronavirus is going to seal that fate. America will be poor now — far too poor to ever really make the transition to having decent public goods. Think of that full half of the American population who’s now not employed. How exactly are they going to afford the higher taxes it takes to have a European or Canadian style social contract? They struggled to before — and after Coronavirus, it’s going to be flatly impossible.

That’s another of depression’s vicious cycles: it makes nations poor, and they end up being unable to afford decent being modern societies at all, places in which people support one another with expansive social contracts, in the end — because when people can barely even afford self-preservation, how can they support anyone else’s quest for a better life, too?

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That brings me to my fourth transformation: as a result of depression, an economy’s whole structure tends to change. As groups, classes, segments. Think of America not so long ago. It’s structure resembled a bell curve. A broad middle class, a small number of rich, and a larger — but still small — number of poor. And then around 2010, for the first time, America’s middle class became a minority. The gentle bell curve was on its way to becoming something more like a U-shape: a caste society of very rich, and everyone else: the imploded middle and the old working class who became the left-behinds, all of whom became the new poor, that 80% living paycheck to paycheck.

Coronavirus will accelerate that change, too. America’s already dying middle and working class will finally crumble and coalesce into one vast permanent underclass. America will have effectively a massive pool of something very much like easily, algorithmically exploited technofeudal neoserfs — people who’ve reverted to servitude to make a living, only their overseer is an app. Those “low income service jobs” are economists’ jargon for “people becoming servants again.” To whom? To a kakistocracy, if you like — a class that’s the opposite of aristocrats, who were supposed, at least, to the best and brightest. America’s ruling class is now visibly made of predators, the kinds of men who put men in cages, or addict a whole society to painkillers, just to make more money they’ll never spend.

That brings me to my fifth and final transformation. What happens to societies with imploded structures? The gentle bell curve of a modern society — a broad middle — is so crucial because it underpins and anchors democracy. Democracy is a luxury. It takes time, money, effort. To be a democratic society. A society of servants is rarely a truly democratic one — think historically for a moment — for the simple reason that, well, servants are too busy being exploited around the clock to really engage with the res publica, the body politic. So when a society’s structure implodes from a gentle bell curve into a U-shape — it’s usually accompanied by political implosion, too. Into authoritarianism, theocracy, fascism, or any number of tyrannies.

Modern history’s full of examples. In the Arab world, in Latin America, or take the canonical example, Russia. As the Soviet Union failed, what emerged wasn’t a wise and gentle democracy — but Putin’s Neo-authoritarian dystopia. But that was inevitable — because Russia never really evolved much the past the U-shape of inequality, unable to develop the bell curve of moderation that democracy requires.

America’s social structure collapsing foretold the rise of Trumpism. If you understood what the implosion of the middle class meant in 2010, you could have predicted Trumpism a mile out — I did. And what I see today is…more, only worse. Societies growing poorer can’t just not afford functioning social systems — they can’t afford democracy, either. America was on that trajectory — but Coronavirus is like adding a rocket engine to it. How democratic a nation do you think America will be when a full half of its population is now not in employment? You can already see that Americans hover between despising each other, and being totally indifferent to each other. When self-preservation is an everyday struggle, that’s the result. But the struggle for American self-preservation is about to get a whole lot harder, more intense, more painful, more tragic. And that spells the end of America’s time as a democracy, too, most likely.

Furthermore, because in America, lockdown is being lifted prematurely — before the infection rate has even peaked — the emerging depression is going to linger. If the pandemic lasts another three months, six months, year — how long will the depression last? The answer is: every day of pandemic is going to add up to weeks, maybe months, of depression, as people lose confidence in visiting shops, spending money, or hiring anyone else. Just as in any relationship, once confidence is lost throughout an economy — it doesn’t magically spring back the next day: it takes far, far longer to regain confidence than it does to destroy it, and it’s much, much more expensive, too.

This is what a dying economy looks like. Yes, a dying economy is a nation plunging into poverty — like America. But what people often fail to understand is that it’s much more than that, too. A dying economy takes systems and institutions and public goods with it. A dying economy takes a functioning society with it — it’s gentle bell curve, it’s norms of trust and acceptance and coexistence and tolerance. And a dying economy, ultimately, takes a sane, decent, sensible politics with it — the basic elements of democracy — too.

When an economy dies, everything we cherish and treasure is dying. Jobs, yes — but so much more than that. What is really withering is human potential itself. What can a nation of people who’ve become servants, being exploited to the bone, accomplish, really? Discover, create, build, share, nurture? They will be too busy driving cars and cleaning homes and delivering gadgets — just to pay off that crushing mountain of unpayable debt — to create tomorrow’s great breakthroughs, whether books, films, vaccines, experiments. That’s the tragedy. See many breakthroughs happening in Russia these days? See much civilization, many great films or books or art or science? Even much democracy? Nope. That’s because it’s now a poor society, where the struggle for self-preservation has taken over — making anything nobler or greater or truer flatly impossible, an unaffordable luxury. That is where America is headed now as the Coronavirus Depression emerges as the first Greater Depression of the 21st century.

The economy may not be the roots of a society — call that something more like values, aspirations, ideals — but it is the trunk. And when the trunk is sundered or split by lightning — which is what this pandemic is — then no matter how strong the roots, often, the tree never grows full and strong again. That, my friends, is America’s probable future. Not “recovery.” But an accelerating descent into poverty, powerlessness, self-destruction, and chaos, by way of a depression, that will easily last a decade. It’s not pretty. And if you think all the above is what Americans so often call “negative”, then I invite you to consider this. Do you think that we can change the future without understanding the present?

The economy may not be the roots of a society — call that something more like values, aspirations, ideals — but it is the trunk. And when the trunk is sundered or split by lightning — which is what this pandemic is — then no matter how strong the roots, often, the tree never grows full and strong again. That, my friends, is America’s probable future. Not “recovery.” But an accelerating descent into poverty, powerlessness, self-destruction, and chaos, by way of a depression, that will easily last a decade. It’s not pretty. And if you think all the above is what Americans so often call “negative”, then I invite you to consider this. Do you think that we can change the future without understanding the present?

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The physical book has 300 pages, with 3 colored pictures for every plant and for every medicine.It was written by Claude Davis, whose grandfather was one of the greatest healers in America. Claude took his grandfather’s lifelong plant journal, which he used to treat thousands of people, and adapted it into this book.

Lost Book of Remedies cover

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The Harsh Future of American Cities – How the pandemic will alter our urban centers, now and maybe forever

History has unfolded in waves of profound depths followed by the relief of buoyant times, only for the depths to return with unsentimental speed. The French Revolution and the Reign of Terror gave way to Paris’ jolly Incroyables and Merveilleuses, young men and women who dressed ostentatiously and had a cathartic frolic — for about four years until Napoleon took power. After World War I and the pandemic Spanish Flu, the Roaring ’20s carried Berlin, London, and New York into a new age of hilarity. But then came the global Great Depression.

The hope in U.S. cities is that Covid-19 and the economic downturn will end with another delirious release — a rash of buying by exultant consumers, a new economic boom, and a return to work. They might. Certainly, the passing of the pandemic, along with social distancing, will elicit enormous relief along with parties galore. Pent up for so long, people will rush to the shops.

But alongside the displays of liberation, and for years after, American cities and towns seem likely to see untold scars of both the pandemic and the depression-like recession. On the nation’s current trajectory, one of the most probable post-Covid future scenarios in our cities is stark austerity, with empty coffers for the very services and qualities that make for an appealing urban life — well-paying jobs, robust public transportation, concerts, museums, good schools, varied restaurants, boutiques, well-swept streets, and modern office space. There will be hopping pockets of the old days with adjustments for pandemic safety, but for years, many businesses could be shuttered and even boarded up, unable to weather Covid-19 and the economic downturn. Joblessness will be high, and many of the arts may go dark.

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What kind of calendar are we looking at? The U.S. is a can-do nation, but don’t be surprised if we are still having this conversation late next year and even in 2022 and are observing a very different urban look and tone then and beyond.

For decades, economists, demographers, and urban experts have spoken of the technological marvels to come in the age of the megacity. But just as urban areas have become the dominant feature on the planet, for the first time containing more than half the world population, they are facing the potential for “substantial damage to the social and political fabric in many regions,” write Mathew Burrows and Peter Engelke in a paper for the Atlantic Council. Few thinkers as yet appear to be paying attention to this new, brewing predicament as cities contend with the aftermath of Covid-19. But at a minimum, it seems clear that glossy megacity blueprints will need serious modification.

“In the Midwest, we have been pushing density — the rehabilitation of downtowns, smaller apartments in the core, the joy of being in a city,” Quinton Lucas, mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, said in an interview. “This completely arrests that development.”

Cities are ground zero for the Covid-19 crisis, where young people, professionals, older workers, and families actually live, get sick, are treated, and die—and who pay for police, ambulances, fire departments, parks, parades, judges, sewers, fireworks, jobs fairs, and often schools. Throughout history, city dwellers have usually produced the most important creations of human society, including the Mona Lisa, the light bulb, and Apollo 11. Some of the biggest practical advances have been in health and longevity. In the 1850s, the cities of New York, Paris, and London rebuilt their sewage systems in response to a century-long global cholera pandemic that killed more than 1.5 million people and ushered in a new age of urban sanitation that spread across the globe. In 1900, to rid Chicago of typhoid, engineers reversed the flow of the Chicago River, thus halting the daily contamination of Lake Michigan, the source of the city’s drinking water.

The 2010s started with a surge in city living, especially for millennials. They flocked to urban cores after the financial crash and injected them with vigor. But even before the coronavirus, the rush had tapped out. For the last couple of years, the top cities have been losing population, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, according to Brookings. The exodus has struck even San Francisco County, the capital of Silicon Valley. Who has been leaving, and where have they been going? A lot have been the same millennials now a little older and taking up residence on the outskirts of smaller metropolises like suburban and exurban Atlanta, Dallas, and Denver, where new jobs and affordable homes can be found.

The speed of the coronavirus’ attack on the cities has been brutal. In a recent survey of 2,463 cities and towns, half said they plan to cut public services to compensate for the loss of tens of billions of dollars in sales and income tax revenue; more than a quarter said they will lay off employees. New York suddenly has a 9% budget shortfall of about $8.1 billion. Ohio is a disaster zone all on its own, according to Brookings, with four of the country’s most cash-strapped cities.

Over the last six weeks, Congress and the Fed have allocated some $7 trillion in relief for businesses, hospitals, and workers. To call cities an afterthought would be an insult to the distracted many. The nation’s largest three dozen cities received 5% of the total voted by Congress, or $150 billion, to be doled out by the states where they are located. Afterward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell advised cities and states that if they are in financial distress, they should declare bankruptcy. Senate and House Democrats say cities and states will be in the next tranche of relief, but McConnell has signaled there will be strings attached.

But the flurry of emergency money is now. When the coronavirus crisis finally ends, the U.S. is likely to remain in the midst of its other crisis — the deep recession, whose roots precede the coronavirus, and economists say it is likely to linger far longer, perhaps for years. The worry is that, after spending trillions just getting by and buried in debt, Congress will resist a multiyear future of heavy urban aid. McConnell has had to retreat from his hardline posture. But his resistance at this stage — in the midst of the pandemic — is a signpost for the tightfistedness that’s probably coming when the pandemic is over. And the degree to which the character of cities are affected, “people start leaving,” said Tony Fratto, a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies. “What they expected to be there is no longer there.”

Inthe Middle Ages, European city dwellers had one way of avoiding their centuries-long waves of plagues: stay inside and hope for them to go away. Today, countries that have begun to open up amid Covid-19 — Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and South Korea among them — have started with a similar lockdown but have meanwhile moved to take control of the virus. The shared core of all their approaches has been the creation of vast SWAT teams, hundreds of specially trained workers who, clad in protective gear, swoop in to test for Covid-19, trace anyone with whom a discovered carrier has been in contact, and enforce a quarantine on the whole lot.

It is estimated that the U.S. needs 100,000 to 300,000 tracers, up from about 2,200 employed currently between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials. But no national mobilization is currently planned nor is there any sign that one will be later.

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The hunger pandemic reminds of the movie the Hunger Games, as it is premised on similar circumstances of a dominant few commanding who can eat and who will die

By the end of 2020 more people will have died from hunger, despair and suicide than from the corona disease. We, the world, is facing a famine-pandemic of biblical proportions. This real pandemic will overtake the “COVID-19 pandemic” by a long shot. The hunger pandemic reminds of the movie the Hunger Games, as it is premised on similar circumstances of a dominant few commanding who can eat and who will die – by competition.

This hunger pandemic will be under-reported or not reported at all in the mainstream media. In fact, it has started already.

In the west the attention focuses on the chaos created by the privatized for-profit mismanagement of the health system. It slowly brings to light the gross manipulation in the US of COVID-19 infections and death rates – how allegedly hospitals are encouraged to “admit”  COVID19 patients – for every COVID19 patient the hospital receives a US$13,000 “subsidy” (under Medicare), and if the patient is put on a ventilator (average death rate 40% to 60%), the “bonus” amounts to US$ 39,000. According to Dr. Senator Scott Jensen, Minnesota in a Fox News interview with Laura Ingraham:

“Right now Medicare is determining that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital you get $13,000. If that COVID-19 patient goes on a ventilator you get $39,000, three times as much. Nobody can tell me after 35 years in the world of medicine that sometimes those kinds of things impact on what we do.”

(Dr. Sen. Scott Jensen, from Fox Interview)

In real life, poor people cannot live under confinement, under lockdown. Not only have many or most already lost their meager living quarters because they can no longer pay the rent – but they need to scrape together in the outside world whatever they can find to feed their families and themselves. They have to go out and work for food and if there is no work, no income – they may resort to ransacking supermarkets in the city or farms in the country side. Food to sustain life is essential. Taking the opportunity to buy food away from people is sheer and outright murder.

“Every child who dies from famine in the world – is a murder” – Jean Ziegler, former UN-Rapporteur on Food in Africa.

Whoever the architects behind this COVID-19  pandemic –who have the universal order to instruct national governments to follow strict total lockdown– are wittingly or unwittingly responsible for “crimes against humanity”.

This presentation PROOVES WITHOUT DOUBT that America is in for a major fight that will put you and your family in the firing line, literally… So make sure you watch this presentation while it’s still online…

This process is committed on a worldwide scale.  It is unprecedented in the history of humanity. Only few countries have not or only partially following the total lockdown tyranny, and thereby saving a considerable segment of their social wellbeing and economy.  Is the objective to dominate the world under a New World Order, aiming at a totally controlled and massively reduced world population?

Who will live and who will die? The stated objective of the depopulation agenda is to reduce world poverty. How? through tainted toxic vaccinations, rendering African women infertile. (The Gates Foundation with support of WHO and UNICEF have a track record of doing so in Kenya and elsewhere, see here  Kenya carried out a massive tetanus vaccination program, sponsored by WHO and UNICEF); or letting the “under-developed”, the already destitute, die by famine – preventing them from access to sufficient food and drinking water. Privatizing water, privatizing even emergency food supplies – is a crime that leads exactly to this: lack of access due to unaffordable pricing.

Should this not be enough, “Lock Step” has other solutions to trigger food shortages. HAARP can help. HAARP has been perfected and weaponized. According to US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report, weather modification can be used defensively and offensively, i.e. to create droughts or floods, both of which have the potential of destroying crops – destroying the livelihood of the poor.

And if that is not enough, the 2010 Rockefeller Report also foresees food rationing, selectively, of course, as we are talking about eugenics. Let’s not forget Henry Kissinger’s infamous words he uttered in 1970: “Who controls the food supply controls the people – the quote goes on saying,

“Who controls the energy can control whole continents;    

who controls the money can control the world.” .

A recent Facebook entry (name and location not revealed for personal protection) reads as follows:

“….. In the poorer country, where I live, the entire village is on lockdown since March 16. Here the people have nothing to eat … The wife of my main worker was raped and beaten to death. She was of Chinese descent. In spite of not being allowed to go outside, the people were starving and rampaged walking miles from farm to farm destroying everything. I have lost my entire livestock, fruits, vegetables. The houses were burned and the vehicles, tools etc. stolen. I am bankrupt with nobody around who can give money to rebuild. My workers cannot be paid. Their families are also starving. More malnutrition and undernourishment which will lead to a higher starvation rate or death from other diseases. How many will commit suicide through landing on the streets completely impoverished? – How many died in India trying to walk literally up to thousands of miles to get back home in the hope of finding refuge, after all public transportation was shut down and all had to go into lockdown. I am sure that these numbers will be a lot higher than the number who have died from the virus as well as will increase the numbers for those dying of next year’s flue due to a weakened immune system.”

And as an afterthought …. “Maybe the elites are planning depopulation. It sure looks like it.”

This happened somewhere in the Global South. But the example is representative for much of the Global South, and developing countries in general. And probably much worse is to come, as we are seeing so far only a tiny tip of the iceberg.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) reports that worldwide unemployment is reaching never-seen mammoth proportions, that nearly half of the world’s workforce – 1.6 billion people -may be out of work. That means no income to pay for shelter, food, medication – it means starvation and death. For millions. Especially in the Global South which has basically no social safety nets. People are left to themselves.

The New York Times (NYT) reports (1 May 2020) that in the US millions of unemployed go uncounted, as the system cannot cope with the influx of claims. Add these millions to the already reported more than 27 million unemployed, the tally becomes astronomical. The same NYT concludes that the millions who have risen out of poverty since the turn of the century, are likely to fall back into destitution along with millions more.  Latest FED forecasts predict unemployment could reach up to 50% by the end of 2020.

Dying of famine – mostly in the Global South, but not exclusively – is an atrocious death for millions, maybe hundreds of millions. Dying in the gutters of mega-cities, forgotten by society, by the authorities, too weak to even beg, infested with parasites due to lack of hygiene – rotting away alive. This is already happening today in many metropolitan areas, even without the corona disaster. These people are not picked up by any statistics. They are non-people. Period.

Imagine – such situations in large cities as well as in rural areas, under the Rockefeller “Lock Step”, the death toll could be even higher.

The current lockdown – brings everything to halt. Practically worldwide. The longer it lasts the more devastating the social and economic impact will be. Irretrievable.

How much is it worth to you to literally have an unlimited water supply for your family? The Water Freedom System Will Completely Change Our World

Not only production of goods, services and food – comes to a halt, but vital supply chains to bring products from  A to B, are interrupted. Workers are not allowed to work. Security. For your own protection. The virus, the invisible enemy could hit you. It could kill you – and your loved-ones too. Fear-Fear-Fear – that’s the motto that works best – it works so well that people start screaming – gimmi, gimmi, gimmi- gimmia vaccine! – which brings a happy grin on Bill Gates’ face. As he sees the billions rolling and his power rising.

Bill Gates along with WHO “he bought” will become famous. They will save the world from new pandemics – never mind, their side effects – 7 billion people vaccinated (Bill Gates’ dream
)  and nobody has time to care or report about the side effects, no matter how deadly they may be. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) may be slated for the Peace Nobel Prize – and, who knows, Bill Gates may become one of the next Presidents of the dying empire. Wouldn’t that be an appropriate reward for the world?

Meanwhile the rather cold-blooded IMF maintains its awfully unrealistic prediction of a slight “economic contraction” of the world economy of a mere 3% in 2020, and a slight growth in the second half of 2021. The IMF’s approach to world economics and human development – to social crisis, is  fully monetized and lacks any compassion – and thus, becomes utterly irrelevant in the age of corona.  Institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, mere extension of the US treasury, they are passé in the face of an economic collapse, for which they are also in part responsible.

“Debt Jubilee”

What they should do – perhaps IMF and WB combined – is call for a capital increase of up to 4 trillion SDRs (as was suggested by some of the IMF Board Members) and use the funds as a special debt relieve fund, a “Debt Jubilee Fund” for Global South Nations. Handed out as grants. This would allow these nations to get back on their feet, back to their sovereign national monetary and economic policies, recovering their internal economy, with a national currency, public banking and a government-owned central bank, creating jobs and internal autonomy in food, health and education.

Why is this not happening? – It would require a change in their constitution and a redistribution of voting rights according to new economic strength of nations. China would become a much more important player – with a more important share and decision-making role. Of course, that’s what the US does not want to happen. But the unwillingness to adapt to new realities, makes these institutions irrelevant to the point that they should and might fade away.

Interestingly, though, two of the three economic projection scenarios of the IMF, foresee another pandemic, or a new wave of the old pandemic in 2021. What does the IMF know that we don’t?

Juxtaposed to the insensitive approach of the global financial institutions and the globalized private banking system, the World Food Program warns (25 April 2020) that the COVID19 pandemic will cause “famines of biblical proportions”; that without urgent action and funding, hundreds of millions of people will face starvation and millions could die as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As it is, every year about 9 million people die from famine in the world.

The WFP Executive Director, David Beasley, told the UN Security Council that in addition to the threat to health posed by the virus, the world faces “multiple famines within a few short months,” which could result in 300,000 deaths per day—a “hunger pandemic.”

Beasley added that even before the outbreak, the world was “facing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II” this year due to many factors. He cited the wars in Syria and Yemen, the crisis in South Sudan and locust swarms across East Africa. He said that coupled with the coronavirus outbreak, famine threatened about three dozen nations.

According to the WFP’s “2020 Global Report on Food Crises” released Monday (20 April ), 135 million people around the world were already threatened with starvation. Beasley said that as the virus spreads, “an additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. That’s a total of 265 million people.”

The famine pandemic is further exacerbated by the ongoing refugee crisis – which is also a catastrophe of misery – hunger, disease, lack of shelter – total lack of hygiene in most of the refugee camps.

Professor Jean Ziegler, Sociologist (University of Geneva and Sorbonne, Paris), Vice-President of the UN Human Rights Committee, recently visited the refugee camp of Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos. He described a situation where 24,000 refugees are cramped into military barracks that were built for 2,800 soldiers, live under calamitous circumstances – lack of potable water, insufficient and often inedible food, clogged and much too few stinking toilets…. diseases no end. COVID19 would just be a sideline.

These people who fled Europe-and-western-caused warzones, destroyed livelihoods – are being pushed back by the very European Union, as most countries do not want to host them and give them a chance for a new life. This atrocious xenophobic behavior of Europe is against the Human Rights that all EU countries signed and against internal EU rules. They are a sad reminder of what Europe really is – a conglomerate of countries with a history of hundreds of years of colonization, of merciless exploitation, plundering and raping of the Global South.

This abjectly atrocious characteristic – shamelessly continuing to this day – seems to have become an integral part of the European DNA. These wars and conflicts are willfully US-NATO made, for power, greed – to maintain the US military industrial complex alive and profitable – and as a stepping stone towards total world hegemony.

The refugees emanating from these conflict zones, their fate and famine will be added to those starving from the also man-imposed corona crisis. The death toll from sheer hunger and famine-related causes, may become astronomical by the end of 2020, way-way outweighing and dwarfing the doctored and manipulated COVID-19 figures.

Is there hope? Yes, there is hope, as long as we live.

The world has to wake up.

Seven billion people under lockdown- wake up! Realize, what is happening to you, all under false pretenses to control humanity, to digitize and robotize your very lives.

What better way to do this than under the pretext of locking you away “for your own safety”? – Defy these rules, stand up against these invisible omni-powerful self-appointed rulers, who only have the power, we, the People, give them, or allow them to take from us. Because all they have is money, and corrupted media that spread fear and more fear to keep locking you down.

My final words: follow you heart. Open your heart to love and beyond your five given and media-manipulated senses and enter a higher consciousness.

Get out of FEAR, get out of the lockdown, stand up for your rights, for your freedom. Because freedom and liberty cannot be bought with money, nor trampled by the media. They are inherently within us all. If enough of us open our hearts to LOVE, to an all-englobing love, we will overcome this small psychopathic elite.

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Lost Book of Remedies pages

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Lost Book of Remedies cover

Learn More…

AS IF YOU DID NOT KNOW NO ONE WANTS TO UTTER THE POSSIBLE TRUTH WHEN IT COMES TO THE COVID-19 VIRUS.

The outbreak of Covid-19 has the potential to cause not just millions of deaths but a global depression that will resemble a global war.

Ultimately both will be determined not by the spread of the virus in wealthy countries but how it evolves (which is almost impossible to predict ) in what is called third world countries.

Dare I say it if no vaccine is found with such a contagious virus unimaginable devastation is becoming a very real possibility.

Sure, if the current level of disruption is manageable our way of life will return drip by drip until the virus hits ill-equipped countries when it will return with a vengeance.

Then we won’t be worried then about the potential cascading economic effects.

It could end up for lack of better terminological words like Donal Dump’s might voice it, ” It’s going to be great. Really big and really really serious.”

What can be done?

The UN is too cumbersome.

The big powers of the financial world are exhausted from a decade of fighting anemic growth.

With global debt three times, the size of the global economy coordination of any global response is unlikely in an increasingly fractured world.

Multinational institutions have little or no teeth when it comes to day to day issues.

So we the people of the world (While vaccines are in development and initial treatments are showing some signs of success, the potential human impact of the disease is immense and a cause for global concern.) need to start thinking about it now and not just muddle through, hoping to put it all back together with sticking plaster over the next few years.

Broadly speaking, the economy will cease to function. Capitalism will be suspended.

At the outset, politicians will tend to prefer maintaining the current system – even though it will have been completely broken by Covid-19.

Globalization will go into reverse.

The speed of any reversal will depend on the type of government that emerges from the crisis. There is a higher likelihood of more nationalist, protectionist, and less cosmopolitan politicians emerging in countries traumatized by the virus.

The world is mired in the worst disaster of our times.

Unpalatable as it may sound, we must anticipate the even bigger problems of climate danger.

I fear they will be unimaginably catastrophic in countries with fragile infrastructures, economies, and medical services.

Of the 195 countries in the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that virtually all have confirmed cases.

Despite compelling evidence of this danger, the climate crisis, too many, still feels futuristic.

The much-needed stimulus packages that governments are readying to revive their economies and lessen the suffering must ameliorate rather than aggravate the even more deadly climate crisis.

Should COVID-19 cases skyrocket in regions of extreme poverty, conflict zones and refugee camps the effects will be deadly and will jeopardize decades of global health progress and efforts to eradicate poverty for generations to come.

It is in these very places that the coronavirus can infect not thousands, but millions of people.

According to the World Bank, 10% of the world’s population lives on less than $1.90 a day. That’s 700 million or 7 billion fingers that can buy a bar of soap.

How we respond to this pandemic will reshape humankind.

No one is safe until we’re all safe

There are few times in collective memory that call us to a united human

community as now.

Our duty calls us to stop the third wave.