A Step Back From Crisis
The Wild West of Wall Street
A Clear Path to Societal Death
I D E A S T H A T M A T T E R
E D I T E D B Y P . J . O ’ R O U R K E
CAN AMERICA GET BACK TO BUSINESS?
MAY 2 0 2 0
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
M ost of the nation has been locked down for two months now... and a few states are finally starting to open back up. But is America ready to get back to business? That’s the question we try to answer in this issue... Editor in chief P.J. O’Rourke shares why he’s philosophically at odds with the pandemic. He writes in his letter from the editor... My libertarian principles are rankled by federal, state, and local government stay- at-home orders. On the other hand, I’m 72 years old, I smoke, I drink, and I’ve spent almost six decades on the Hunter S. Thompson health and fitness plan. Don’t miss our short piece about the new upside-down mirror world we’ve found ourselves in and what the death of trust means... while Pat Buchanan wonders what will be the new American cause? And to balance out our pessimism, our own Laura Greaver finds a few small joys in the long quarantine days. Professor Joel Litman, the man who knows what Wall Street doesn’t want to tell you, details a section of the market with extraordinary upside... but many investors never understand how to invest in the Wild West of Wall Street. Nearly half the 100 largest companies in the U.S. could have been bought when they were more than 50 times smaller... which means they could have provided more than 5,000% upside. Kim Iskyan profiles a face-mask broker in Hong Kong who has bought and sold more than 100 million masks.
Financial analyst Dan Ferris details why failure in this one industry shows a clear path to societal death. Dr. Ron Paul explains why the Federal Reserve is far more lethal to us all than coronavirus. And Dr. David Eifrig takes a step back from crisis... It’s one of the most level-headed essays we’ve read on how reasonable Americans should think about the world and stock market today. Then we turn to lighter matters... P.J. writes about his experience playing Mr. Mom after his wife was exposed to COVID-19. Make sure you don’t miss our Viral Humor section. And as always, we’re watching Twitter, so you don’t have to. Professor Nada R. Sanders notes the three characteristics of today’s supply chains to blame for out-of-stock flour, toilet paper, and prescription drugs. And we share an investigation from ProPublica into how profiteering and incompetence delayed N95 masks for Veterans Affairs hospitals. Finally, executive editor Buck Sexton shows why we may all be in for a rude awakening as America starts its long uphill battle to reopen and return to normal. We’ve uploaded a PDF suitable for printing our archive page. And tell us what you think at feedback@ americanconsequences.com. Regards, Steven Longenecker Publisher, American Consequences
Four Billionaires Poured a Fortune Into This One Medical Stock
Joel Greenblatt invested over $40 million. Ken Fisher, around $28 million. Richard Pzena put in around $15 million in shares. Even Buffett’s Berkshire pumped just shy of $200 million into this single stock. Why? Maybe it’s because the medical announcement of the decade is coming soon from one company. And it could send the share price of this company higher than its ever soared before. The best part is this surge in price is likely to happen regardless of what the markets do. And a major announcement could
send it soaring within months or less. This situation reminds me of when my research firm’s readers saw 130% gains in barely three months on a similar medical breakthrough. The difference is – that involved a relatively narrow medical problem. This brand-new drug discovery is MUCH bigger. It's the first ever to fight one of the deadliest diseases in the world – affecting 44 million people. Fortunately, one of the best biotech stock experts in the world explains every step of this unfolding deal... and why the biggest upside is still ahead. You can watch this full explanation, right here…
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CONTENTS MAY 2020 : ISSUE 35 LOST? CLICK HERE
Inside This Issue BY STEVEN LONGENECKER
46 A Clear Path to Societal Death BY DAN FERRIS
Letter From the Editor BY P.J. O'ROURKE
54 Far More Lethal than Coronavirus BY DR. RON PAUL
Editor in Chief: P.J. O’Rourke Editorial Director: Carli Flippen Publisher: Steven Longenecker Executive Editor: Buck Sexton Managing Editor: Laura Greaver Creative Director: Erica Wood Contributing Editors: Pat Buchanan, Dr. David Eifrig, Dan Ferris, Kim Iskyan, Joel Litman, J. David McSwane, Dr. Ron Paul,
12 From Our Inbox
58 A Step Back From Crisis BY DR. DAVID EIFRIG
18 Our Upside-Down Coronavirus World
BY STEVEN LONGENECKER
68 Mr. Mom
BY P.J. O'ROURKE
22 What Will Be the New American Cause? BY PAT BUCHANAN
70 Temporarily (Constantly) Our of Stock BY NADA R. SANDERS
26 Silver Linings
BY LAURA GREAVER
74 How Profiteering and
Nada R. Sanders General Manager: Jamison Miller Advertising:
Incompetence Delayed N95 MasksWhile People Died at theVA BY J. DAVID MCSWANE
30 The Wild West of Wall Street BY JOEL LITMAN
38 Buying and Selling 100 Million Face Masks BY KIM ISKYAN
84 The Final Word
Ricky D'Andrea, Jill Peterson Editorial feedback: feedback@ americanconsequences.com
BY BUCK SEXTON
88 Featured Contributors
From Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
A friend of mine said, This is like being 16 again – gas is cheap, and I’m grounded . Two months into the coronavirus pandemic, I remain confused and perplexed. I’d say “I’m lost,” but that doesn’t seem like the right metaphor. I’ve spent 60 days going nowhere except from the couch to the kitchen, and by now I’m pretty good at finding my way. However, although I know all too well where I am physically, I have no idea where I am philosophically. My libertarian principles are rankled by federal, state, and local government stay-at-home orders. On the other hand, I’m 72 years old, I smoke, I drink, and I’ve spent almost six decades on the Hunter S. Thompson health and fitness plan. DEEP THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
CLICK HERE TO READ THE WEB VERSION
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Anthony Fauci thinks I should obey the government guidelines. He seems to be the smartest person in the room, at least as far as rooms at the White House are concerned. Also, he’s got this accent... I mean, not to stereotype Brooklyn Italians or anything because Fauci is a brilliant scientist and all that, but... He does have the kind of accent that makes you think that if you don’t go along with his social-distancing demands, you’ll wind up with a horse head in your bed sheets. Plus, there’s my wife to be considered. She just got out of self-quarantine, which she put herself into for my sake because what our teenage kids call COVID-19 (when they think Dad can’t hear them) is a “Boomer Remover.” My wife hasn’t actually said that I’ll leave the house over her dead body. She doesn’t have to. I haven’t stayed happily married for 25 years by underestimating her willpower and capabilities. I’ll leave the house over my dead body. So I’m home, thinking deep thoughts. Will I discover that I really didn’t like going anywhere anyway? Leaving the house – that’s getting way too far away from the refrigerator... Will a 21st century Jack Kerouac publish a controversial novel called On the Couch ?... Will a millennial Shakespeare write plays like... O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? I’m home watching ‘Tiger King!’
And why do economists keep confusing me with their “letter” descriptions of the economic recovery? They talk about a V-shaped recovery in which the economy quickly rebounds to where it was in 2019. But then they warn that we might have a U-shaped recovery with a much slower return to prosperity. Then they say we could have a W-shaped recovery if there’s another spike in virus cases. I’m afraid the economists will start using the rest of the letters of the alphabet. Selfishly, I’m thinking we could have an I-shaped recovery where the economy comes back... but only for me. However, it’s more likely that we’ll have a T-shaped recovery, where the economy returns just for the very top layer of the economic strata, meaning nobody but Jeff Bezos. Or we could have an L-shaped recovery... that’s no recovery at all. Perhaps an O-shaped recovery, like the old rhyme that goes... When in danger or in doubt, Run in circles, scream and shout! How about a Z-shaped recovery after we all get bored listening to economists’ predictions and go to sleep? Will I discover that I really didn’t like going anywhere anyway? Leaving the house – that’s gettingway too far away from the refrigerator...
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Or an X-shaped recovery, where we all die. No matter what kind of economic recovery we have – if any – this crisis seems sure to make everyone feel more dependent on government. Will American citizens turn into little birdies in their nests looking up with open beaks waiting for mother government to fly down and feed them? We’re going to get worms for dinner. Speaking of animals, ASPCA shelters are empty. Everyone is adopting a dog. Is this a sign that the pandemic has renewed our sense of compassion for the lonely and abandoned? Or is it something different? Is it like the current all-time high in gun sales? Has there been a run on pit bulls? Pet shelter attendant: “These dogs used to belong to Michael Vick.” General public: “I’ll take three!” Memo to newbie gun owners: Do not look down the muzzle to see if the thing works. Memo to newbie pit bull owners: Ditto. No matterwhat kind of economic recoverywe have – if any – this crisis seems sure to make everyone feel more dependent on government. Will American citizens turn into little birdies in their nests looking upwith open beaks waiting for mother government to fly down and feed them?
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Another pernicious result of sheltering in place is that we’re all spending far too much “screen time.” This can have a bad effect on in-person communication. For example, my 16-year-old son told me about a classmate of his who, at the dinner table with his parents, blurted out, “Have you noticed how much the basement where Joe Biden is doing his campaign videos looks like the set for an amateur porn movie?” Mom: [Tuna casserole spit take] And the kid’s dad did not improve the dinner table atmosphere by saying, “Nonsense, son. Amateur porn sets hardly ever have an American flag in the background.” On the upside... Many of us may discover that we look better in a face mask. I do. Maybe strict Muslims are onto something here. Perhaps this is the secret to the burka. Although they really ought to use it on the guys. And I’m thinking that for many guys this could be beneficial to their online dating experience. There are beautiful women out there seeking an attractive match, and maybe they’ll start going, “Oooo... look ... He’s got a N95 mask! Swipe right!” With the use of Zoom, we could go beyond online dating. We could achieve online marriage , which would have certain advantages, such as “Internet in-laws.” Spam- block that brother-in-law ! Plus, guys would get to raise their kids via videoconference. You can mute them any time you like...
But where will babies come from? Probably where a lot of them come from already – the UPS man. Maybe, along with a change in the status of marriage and family, the pandemic will bring a change in social status. People who used to be the upper crust are looking more and more like nothing but a bunch of crumbs who stick together, hunkered down in their summer houses learning to live without domestic help. Former Wall Street “Masters of the Universe” are boning up on the Chapter 11 chapter in their old business school textbook. If you’re used to having people bow and scrape to you, now is not the time to be an oil baron, CEO of J.Crew, or the captain of a Carnival Cruise Line ship. A new elite is emerging, a different kind of aristocracy that we all look up to and to whom we all owe the greatest respect and deference... “We’re so proud of our son at Yale – he’s studying to be a grocery store checkout clerk.” One more deep thought: I suppose we get the crisis we deserve. Before the coronavirus outbreak, our nation was deeply divided. Americans were becoming painfully separated by ideology and culture. It seemed as if we were losing touch with each other. A crisis is supposed to bring people together... And now we get a crisis that keeps people six feet apart. Guys would get to raise their kids via videoconference. You can mute them any time you like.
EXPOSED: The REAL Reason Why the Rich are Getting Wealthier in America -- While Everyone Else is Being Left Behind
Today, most Americans are being left behind in a way we’ve never--ever--seen before. Sure, the gap between the rich and everyone else has always existed--but never on this level. And never has it increased at this speed. Every year, thousands of people in our country are ascending into millionaire status. On the other side, surveys show nearly 60% of Americans don’t even have $1,000 in savings. That’s why, for the first time ever, Porter Stansberry (an ultra-successful, multi-millionaire businessman), has gone on camera to explain the REAL reason for America’s huge and growing wealth gap. As Porter explains, we don’t need socialism in America. We need a better understanding of how this new economy works. And if you want to truly understand the REAL reason why the rich are getting richer… and the most important step you can take, to be on the right side of this trend, all you have to do is watch the first 10 minutes of Stansberry’s remarkable new video, filmed in his corner office.
Stansberry explains what politicians either don’t understand or simply won’t tell you… and he reveals the one investment he recommends you make (it’s not a stock, bond, ETF, mutual fund, or precious metals), to help make sure you don’t fall behind. Porter is one of the most controversial figures in America today—but he’s also one of the smartest, most successful, and most generous men you’ll ever meet. I guarantee you’ve never heard these ideas discussed in quite this way before. Just watch the first 10 minutes of Stansberry’s new video. You will think about what is happening in America in a completely different way. And you could even have the chance to make money, if you follow his recommendations. You can watch Stansberry’s new video, filmed at our firms’ headquarters, for free here:
FROM OUR INBOX
do you remember the unpaved parking lot? Parking was $1 a day on the honor system, paid in little envelopes tucked under your windshield wiper. And, if you put a “Fly Manchester” bumper sticker on your car, you could park for half-price. As an obedient housebound denizen due to China’s generous sharing of this tool against overcrowding, I have regularly engaged in exchanges of uplifting verbal badinage to accompany my daily prolific criticism of our political mess. So, going stale, I was jubilant to receive P.J. O’ROURKE’S AMERICAN CONSEQUENCES in my e-mail. I almost “morphed” gelatinous with P.J.’s induced laughing spasm, thoroughly enjoying his treatise on boredom. I sure don’t want to miss any future editions and will pass them on to my throng of Conservative acquaintances, (Not Leftist Liberals as they have No sense of humor). – Anon. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Thank you! I’m always glad to make people laugh – something I seem to be capable of doing whether I mean to or not. That is, I started as a serious writer and... people laughed. At first this hurt my feelings, but then I decided to take the hint. “If enough people call you a horse’s ass, saddle up and ride out of town.” And you bring up an interesting point. What do Leftist Liberals laugh at? It must be tough to take everything so seriously. I’ve been trying to write a Leftist Liberal joke but, so far, I haven’t had much luck:
Re: Our Newest Readers Weigh In Love your mag and have passed it on to many friends. – Hugh S. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Hugh, count us among those many friends. Although you don’t have to pass our magazine on to us. We already have a copy. PJ, I always read you. You got me at Parliament of Whores . Hell we flew together on a twin engine out of Manchester just talking... Is Trump the end of the world as we know it? – Ric R. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Ric, I think Trump is more like the middle of the world as we know it – a world where politicians have become even more silly, self-involved, and preposterous than they ever were. I’d like to think that this will lead to the beginning of a world we’ve never known before – a libertarian world where politicians take their rightful place as comical minor functionaries in a free society. But what am I smoking? Meanwhile, thanks for the memories of that old twin-prop out of Manchester. Flying was still a fun and comradely experience in those days when local airports were local . The Manchester, New Hampshire terminal was about the size of a small town post office. Security consisted of one retired cop from the Manchester PD. Everybody there, including the pilots, knew the regulars by name. And
I have to do is look in the mirror. (Although googling “Hillary Clinton” works, too.) In my tawdry youth (1980) when I dated a woman with two kids (ages 4 and 7), I would go to her porch and throw 500 pennies into the yard and say, “Kids, I have thrown 1,000 pennies into the yard, do not come in and bother your mother and I until you find them all.” Mom and I were never disturbed. – Scott H. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Scott, you’re a genius! Wish I’d thought of that. Unfortunately, by now my kids are too old for pennies to work. And what with inflation and the increasing
How many Leftist Liberals does it take to change a light bulb? A racially diverse and gender-inclusive committee is being formed to study compact fluorescents and light-emitting diodes and determine which conserves more of the earth’s resources, produces the least toxic waste, and best addresses global climate concerns. And even making supposedly humorous remarks about replacing one traditional incandescent bulb with another is hurtful speech. Re: Killing Time As usual P.J. O’Rourke is clever and funny, the COVID-19 home games are a good example. The last one, “Trump Bridge – played without a full deck and everything is Trumps,” is so clever that it makes me wonder why Trump is president and not P.J. O’Rourke. – Roger M. P.J. O’Rourke comment: Alas, Roger, every time I ask myself the question, “Who could be a worse president than Trump?” all
sophistication of modern children, these days you’d
probably have to use 500 half- ounce American Gold Eagles. Re: What if the National Lockdown Was a Huge Mistake Great article Buck. You simply left out the most obvious endgame and that is that when COVID-19 plays out... ALL of the politicians will be self-pontificating and running around singing their own highly overrated praises for their “quick thinking” and “nation
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FROM OUR INBOX
the risks and dangers of cash are worth it for two reasons... First of all, you need cash so that you’re not stuck in a bad situation and don’t have cash. Yes, we’re moving toward a more virtual, fintech-y, contactless (or less contact, at any rate) world... But no matter what, it will be a while before a Ben Franklin (crisp or otherwise) does not speak louder than “Oh, what’s your Venmo account so that I can transfer... “ Secondly, I’m not a fan of every single financial transaction that I ever make being trackable and traceable. One of the nice things about cash is that it leaves no trail (which is an ironic thing to say given that we’re talking about germs, but bear with me). I can give someone $20 cash, they can do something for me, and it’s done... There’s no record of anything. Even if I’m not anxious to hide something, it doesn’t mean I want a record of everything. And that’s where cash is unbeatable. Many thanks for the article on the importance of cash. The excerpt from the 2003 Esquire magazine article brought something to mind for me. The late Dan Jenkins was a sportswriter, Texan, and golf nut all wrapped up into one funny human being. I first read his term for cash in his classic novel about professional football: Semi-Tough. The term “up-front whip-out” prettymuch covers everything cash is! – Jim G. Kim Iskyan comment: Jim, thank you for your
saving” actions, and the Media will sing their praises the loudest because their own moneygrubbing, fearmongering reporting throughout... Your next article may well be about how to destroy the world’s economies, obliterate the middle class, and walk away with a Nobel Prize for it! – Mark V. Buck Sexton comment: Mark, I think your cynical view is generally warranted here. Governor Cuomo, for example, has presided over the single largest COVID-19 disaster in the whole world (New York City) and somehow this has elevated him in the national press. Journalists were even talking about him as a possible last-minute replacement for Biden on the Democrat ticket (how this would have worked in practice, nobody knows). The exception to their praise for politicians is, of course, Trump... No matter what comes of this crisis in the end, there will be an enormous concerted effort to pile all the blame on his shoulders as the November election looms. Re: Take the Money In my opinion, in this era of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus impacting all globally, to advise piling up filthy, germ laden, cesspool paper money in any form is risky, dangerous, and downright stupid. – Dale H. Kim Iskyan comment: Dale, thanks for your thoughts. Handled correctly, and with the appropriate safeguards and care, I think that
government mandating your business to shut down... and decimating your future prospects. We wish you the best in the coming months. Congress is on our side. They don’t want us to get sick or die. I mean, who would spend over a million dollars to get a job that only pays $174,000 a year? Anyone can see that they aren’t in it for the money, because it doesn’t pay that much. They must be spending that much money on their election for their love of America, and the American people. That must be why they made everybody stay home for a month, because they didn’t want any of us to get sick. – Ray F. Steven Longenecker comment: Ray, we take your point as it was intended and have to chuckle... Though it gets even better, of course, since only rarely is it their money that politicians are spending to get elected. P. J. O’Rourke comment: And even more rarely is it their money that politicians are spending on all the spending that they vote for. Re: The ‘Big Lie’ Behind COVID-19 Just letting you know I enjoyed the article. I have and always will follow my grandmother’s advice: Get lots of rest. Eat fresh fruits, veggies, and watch your starches (sugars she used to call them). Drink lots of water, tea is good just watch your sugars. In the spring (I live in the mid- Atlantic region), come in before it gets damp or you’ll catch the croup. Get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Bathe after being outside in the spring to rid yourself of pollen. And wash your hands! – Tina M.
e-mail. Cash can speak louder than any kind of virtual transfer of value. It’s visceral, it’s real, and it has an impact that zapping your phone in one direction or another never will. Re: Our Upside-Down Coronavirus World The death of trust... As a fairly new reader, this resonates with me. I’m a Nurse Manager in a hospital, so I am seeing the epidemic firsthand – no one can tell me it’s just the flu or a fake illness. However, my husband and I own a business that we literally started in our garage 15 years ago. Last year was our most profitable year ever, although it will never make us wealthy, it does provide an income for my talented spouse and three employees. We live in the tourism-dependent Sonoma Valley wine country in California. Now, we likely will go bankrupt... Events and gatherings here in the Wine Country will not come back for at least 18 months. Need I mention that I am 67 and my husband is 66. Not a lot of time to waste... My 401k shrank, we have savings but will have to use them to pay the taxes on what we made last year, property taxes on our home, etc. We have my job... But hospitals will now start to lay off staff as well. – Claire G. Steven Longenecker comment: Claire, we hope that the eventual reopening treats you and your business well. Simply by having some savings, you’re ahead of most Americans. But, of course, no matter how big of a “rainy day fund” you have, it’s not a panacea against the
FROM OUR INBOX
The spirit of Americanism is the root issue here, and Porter hits that nail directly on the head. Can you imagine a Dr. Fauci at Plymouth Rock? Telling those early settlers that they should stay in their homes, or return to England? Heck, they lost a far greater percentage of their numbers in that first winter, and still more of their families and friends came over to join them. I am convinced they’d tell him that they want to live free, even it meant that death was more likely here than in the “safety” they had left behind. They weren’t going back for any reason because they had tasted true freedom and wanted nothing to do with the alternative. – Alan O. Steven Longenecker comment: We agree. No health expert would have recommended the Pilgrims sail 66 days across the Atlantic in a cramped ship with 130 other folks... struggling through a bitter winter... and then dealing with an outbreak of scurvy, pneumonia, and tuberculosis that ended up killing almost half of the settlers. Yet today, 400 years after the Mayflower’s sailing, there are an estimated 10 million living Americans descended from those early Pilgrims. Porter Stansberry comment: It’s been over a month since I wrote “The Big Lie,” and guess what...? There’s still no evidence that shutting down our economy worked or was ever necessary. Our per capita infection rate isn’t materially different than Sweden’s — which didn’t order anyone to stay home. Likewise, more and more evidence proves that by the time the lockdown started, something
Steven Longenecker comment: Makes more sense than what’s coming out of D.C. lately, Tina. It took me weeks to begin to wonder when we became such cowards. Combined with the observation that there are no coincidences, the frailty of our current political circumstance, driven as it is by content broadcasting, had catastrophic implications. As an independent restaurateur, who has yet to receive a penny from any of the touted bailouts, I respond with LBJ’s observation, “Big hat, no cattle”. – Chip B. It would be interesting to go back and review all the predictions from the experts from the time this started. I suspect a blind monkey throwing darts at a board would have been just as accurate. No one had any inkling what the future would bring, but that didn’t stop the pronouncements and the fear-inducement. Lord, protect us from the experts. – David C. Steven Longenecker comment: You’re absolutely right, David. We suspect that no matter what happens with this pandemic, the end result will look obvious in retrospect. If a vaccine comes sooner than expected, folks won’t be surprised... After all, practically every major pharmaceutical company isw working to find a treatment. If it takes years, folks still won’t be surprised... After all, the fastest- ever approved vaccine, for mumps, took four years.
wealth, and improve society in the midst of a socialist nightmare that seeks to depreciate or subjugate almost anything of value. The root problem is that political control of the economy is for sale, particularly during the “Presidential Auction Cycle” that occurs every four years. The solution is to remove the government from control of the economy. If politicians have no control, bribing them buys no favors. It took about 1,000 years to separate religion from government, so people who claimed to speak to God and wanted to control everyone could not enforce their frauds with guns. Let’s hope the next stage, the separation of government and the economy, will come much faster. – John S. P.J. O’Rourke comment: John, as to your analysis of capitalism as it is being un - practiced today, I am reduced to a single word of response: “Yes.” As to your wish for the future, however, I find myself less affirmative. Not that I don’t share your desire for a “separation of cash and state.” As you pointed out, it took a long, long time to get the political elite to quit dragging God into their politicking. But I think it will take even longer to get them to quit dragging money in. I refer you to a comment made by H. L. Mencken 84 years ago in his column in the Baltimore Sun , “Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.”
between 10 percent and 20 percent of Americans had already been exposed to the virus, which doesn’t even cause symptoms in up to half of the people who carried it. And most stupidly of all, while telling us to stay home, the government did virtually nothing to stop the biggest conductor of this airborne virus in the world: the NYC subway. But hey, they did arrest surfers and golfers ... and hair dressers ... and shut down every national park. These are the morons we are supposed to listen too? Just watch what happens next to the U.S. dollar, our free markets, and the middle class. A real disaster is coming and it’s got nothing to do with the virus. It’s the boneheads who believe that printing trillions will prevent the economic consequences of these decisions. Apparently they’ve never shared a pizza. Cutting more slices doesn’t make more pie… Gee, I wonder why Bitcoin has doubled this month...? Probably a Chinese conspiracy. Re: The Great Cessation I enjoyed much of Todd Buchholz’ “The Great Cessation.” But one needs to address the first Great Cessation... the cessation of capitalism itself. No one who understands capitalism would agree that today’s economic morass is remotely capitalist. That said, it is a testament to the human spirit that a few people still find a way to achieve, grow
OUR UPSIDE-DOWN CORONAVIRUS WORLD
By Steven Longenecker
LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
The upside-down, “mirror world” we’ve been warning about is here...
CLICK HERE TO READ THE WEB VERSION
Across the nation, jails and prisons are releasing tens of thousands of hardened criminals to the streets. From a face-tattooed fellow in Florida previously arrested on 35 charges who murdered a rival the day after he was released... to a violent offender who attacked his girlfriend’s grandmother after being released for $50 (rather than the $50,000 the prosecutor requested). Expect dozens, if not hundreds, of these stories in the coming days. And keep in mind that many of these released prisoners already have COVID-19 and are now free to spread it in your community. Yet, even as courts across the nation let these convicted criminals loose, they’re conducting sting operations on “social distancing offenders”...
Two women were recently arrested for the crime of running a nail salon out of their house. Texas police went undercover to pose as customers before charging them with a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail. Yes, the same COVID-infested, dangerous jails that they’re releasing inmates from. A paddleboarder alone in the ocean is chased down by police boats... A mother is dragged off a playground... In Washington, D.C., members of the national guard wear bulletproof vests as they patrol a local park to enforce social distancing. We can only wonder at the dangers they face from the twenty- something doing yoga by herself. The world has gone mad...
LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
We called it the “gluttonous feast behind the curtain” in the days after the market bottomed. And we were right... Today on Main Street, there is nothing to see but pain. The mirrors in the real world do not distort. They simply show what is... personal tragedies reflected in dozens of unique, terrible ways. Domestic violence around the world has soared... Child abuse is surely up by similar numbers... Small businesses are failing by the hundreds of thousands. More than 30 million Americans are already out of work... and millions more are simply unable to register thanks to clogged phone lines and unworkable websites. Yet, most journalists and TV personalities sit at home... tapping out words of support for the government’s most inane restrictions, laughing at an Oklahoma redneck, and singing along with tone-deaf celebrities in 12,000-square-foot mansions. The real world is a harsh place. It does not get easier when it collapses to the size of a one- bedroom apartment. WHAT THE DEATH OF TRUST MEANS This pandemic is exposing the fault lines in our nation. The foundation of modern civilization is trust. Trust in community. Trust in government and its many agencies. Trust in hospitals, schools, and banks...
WALL STREET GAINS VERSUS MAIN STREET PAINS Pot shops are open... as long as you wear a mask that doesn’t actually protect you from a virus. But in Michigan, stores were required to rope off their seed sections so you couldn’t grow a vegetable garden for yourself. In the time of COVID-19, cannabis is an essential purchase. Radish seeds are not. The governor only rolled back some of these insane and arbitrary restrictions after massive protests and a letter from several sheriffs that said they wouldn’t enforce these rights violations. Still, the governor of Michigan wants to extend her emergency powers by another 28 days. This pandemic and the mass compliance to inane government orders has woken up every Big Government supporter out there... After all, if Americans will simply go along with being locked up in their homes for months at a time, what other decrees will we comply with? Nothing is normal. And it won’t be again for some time. Over on Wall Street, the carnival funhouse of mirrors continues – where what you expect to see is reflected back in odd and horrible ways. In the six weeks since the market bottomed on March 23, the S&P 500 Index is up nearly 30%. Lobbyists are feasting on their share of trillions in government aid. The government and the Federal Reserve have crushed small businesses and given tens of billions to the largest companies in America.
As trust fails, ordinary people like yourself assume the entire system is corrupt. And you are absolutely, 100% correct. Never has that been truer than today. But for others... for those willing to take the time to prepare... this major shift in American institutions represents an incredible opportunity. Because the fact is, what you and I think of as the American way of life is dying... Yet today, all of these institutions have squandered the public’s trust. For many, this erosion of trust will be an unrecoverable disaster. The folks who count on the government to take care of them... to keep them safe at night. They are in for quite an awakening. It has been going on behind the scenes for some time. But this latest crisis has shown the true face of government, of our central banks, and indeed, of the average American. Where does this all lead? The final stage of the death of trust is as simple as it is inevitable. Without trust, there is no money. The value of the dollar depends entirely on all of us continuing to believe in it. Without trust, paper currency is nothing more than worthless colored rags.
When trust dies, there is also no accessible credit. The plastic cards in your wallet won’t work like you expect. You won’t be able to get a mortgage or a business loan at a reasonable rate. Without trust, all the things that we believe in here in America start to fall apart. Without trust, there is no fair rule of law. There is no safe community. There is no prosperous Main Street. There is no opportunity on Wall Street. And there is no investment in the future. As trust fails, ordinary people like yourself assume the entire system is corrupt. And you are absolutely, 100% correct. Never has that been truer than today. As we mentioned earlier, divergence between Wall Street and Main Street has never been greater. Stocks are up nearly 30%... while more than 30 million Americans are newly out of work. Since we launched American Consequences , our advice has been the same – rely on yourself, not the government. As we have written time after time... We recommend that you do what the government won’t... pay off any debt you might have, save rather than spend, and invest in strong businesses that will survive the next crisis. Because personally, we think trust is already dead. The world hasn’t realized it yet. But when a corpse twitches, we suspect maggots – not a miracle.
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By Patrick J. Buchanan
After the Great Pandemic has passed and we emerge from Great Depression II, what will be America’s mission in the world? What will be America’s cause?
We have been at such a turning point before.
After World War II, Americans wanted to come home. But we put aside our nation- building to face the challenge of a malevolent Stalinist empire dominant from the Elbe River to the Barents Sea. And after persevering for four decades, we prevailed. What, then, did we do with our epochal victory? We alienated Russia by moving our NATO military alliance into the Baltic and Black Seas. We launched bloody, costly crusades for democracy in the Middle East that, invariably, failed. We exported a huge slice of our manufacturing capacity and economic independence to a coddled China. Historically, blunders of such magnitude have undone great powers. Even before COVID-19, Americans had begun to realize the folly of decades of mindless interventionism over matters irrelevant to our vital interests. “Unsustainable” was the word commonly associated with our foreign policy. But if our foreign policy was unsustainable during President Trump’s economic boom, with unemployment at record lows and a bull market to rival the Roaring ‘20s, can an interventionist foreign policy be sustained after the losses of this major depression we have induced to kill the pandemic? If the Democrats win in November, we know their priorities: national health insurance,
carbon taxes, the Green New Deal, open borders, amnesty, reparations, and wealth redistribution to reduce social and economic inequality – an agenda costing trillions of dollars. And Democrats will be looking at the defense budget as a slush fund to finance this new progressive era. If the Republicans win, given the influence of hawks and neocons among the party elite, interventionismmay get another run in the yard. Having been exposed as naive beyond belief for their indulgence of China from the Bush I days to 2016, some Republicans are looking to make amends by casting China in the Soviet role in Cold War II. There is talk on Capitol Hill of refusing to pay off U.S. bonds that Beijing holds and of suing China for the damages done by the coronavirus, as China failed to alert the world the pathogen was loose. Americans should think long and hard before defaulting on U.S. government debt and consider the consequences if we open a door to claims against sovereign nations for past sins. Iraq was invaded in 2003 to force it to give up illicit weapons of mass destruction it did not have. Baghdad could have a case in international court against America for the unprovoked war waged against that country. While the U.S. appears determined to bring back manufacturing – especially of products critical to the health, safety, and defense of
our nation – there seems to be no stomach among the public for a war with China. But again, with the democracy crusades now repudiated, what is America’s cause? What is America’s mission in the world? “Preventing climate change,” say our liberal elites. Yet even before the pandemic, global warming ranked near the bottom of national concerns. The situation in which America will find herself after the virus passes and depression lifts will be almost unprecedented. We will have the same treaty obligations to go to war on behalf of dozens of nations in Europe and Asia and at the same time, we will be running deficits on the order of $3 trillion a year with a shrunken economic base. If Trump wins, borders will be tightened. The U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East will continue. U.S. manufacturing will begin to be repatriated. Transnational institutions will be downgraded, ignored, and superseded. The watchword will be what it has lately been: “America First.” In a second Trump presidency, there would likely be even less concern for how other nations rule themselves. Does it matter to us if Russia is led by an autocrat not unlike a Romanov czar? That Hindu nationalism wields the whip hand in India, or that Hungarians have rejected Earl Warren’s ideas about liberal democracy? In recent decades, the U.N. General Assembly has seemed to resemble the bar scene in “Star
Wars.” But is how other nations choose to rule themselves any business of ours, if those nations do not threaten us? In the 19th century, when the Hungarians had risen up against the Habsburg Empire and sought U.S. intervention, Henry Clay opposed it: “Far better is it for ourselves... and for the cause of liberty... that we should keep our lamp burning brightly on this western shore, as a light to all nations, than to hazard its utter extinction amid the ruins of falling or fallen republics in Europe.” Not only President Trump’s preferences, but also events seem to be driving us toward such a destiny. To borrow from the title of historian Walter A. McDougall’s classic work, America’s future is as a promised land, not a crusader state. © The Creators Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . Even before COVID-19, Americans had begun to realize the folly of decades of mindless interventionism over matters irrelevant to our vital interests. "Unsustainable" was the word commonly associated with our foreign policy.
By Laura Greaver
FINDING SMALL JOYS IN THESE LONG DAYS
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I haven’t used my alarm clock in eight weeks... It used to sound religiously at 6 a.m. every weekday, the shrill iPhone ring startling me out of sleep. Mornings were a whirlwind of packing lunches, getting the kids up and fed and dressed, last-minute homework and permission slips shoved in backpacks, scrambling out the door to make the bus... And then I’d sit in rush-hour traffic trying to get to my office on time.
Rush, rush, rush... Evenings were no better. With my husband and I both working full-time, and my two boys active in sports and Cub Scouts and after-school activities, my calendar looked like the scrawlings of a madman. I’d squeeze in the gym on my way home in a carefully crafted 45-minute slot. Dinners were often takeout or frozen pizzas.
Time used to be a sought-after commodity in my house. Now, we have nothing but time. The hours blend and the days blur together. Is it Tuesday or Wednesday? Does it really matter? The coronavirus and its ensuing global pandemic have caused tragic deaths and deplorable economic fallout we haven’t even begun to see the depths of yet. But, being an optimist, I’d argue we can find some silver linings even in this situation... The lockdown orders have slashed air pollution levels across the globe... Dramatic before-and- after photos show clear blue skies in Delhi, India and crisp city skylines in Beijing, China. Teachers and nurses are being praised instead
Time used to be a sought-after commodity in my house. Now, we have nothing but time. The hours blend and the days blur together. Is it Tuesday or Wednesday? Does it really matter? Before, if I had a few free hours, I felt a nagging guilt that I should be at the gym or store, or socializing, or just doing something productive. If nothing else, the stay-at-home orders have relieved that pressure. Of course, like most, I can’t wait for life to go back to normal... I’m in desperate need of a pedicure, and I’d love a haircut. I can’t wait for the kids to return to school and I can go back to my distraction-free, oh-so-quiet office. With warmer weather here, I crave to be in a lawn chair listening to live music with hundreds of other fans. I miss hugging my mom. But until this ends, let’s try to find small joy in these crazy times. And let’s not leave out our four-legged family member. The dog is living his best life ever... His favorite people in the world are home 24/7. Some days he gets not just one, but two long walks, and the humans constantly eating at home means more table scraps for him. I’ve always loved reading, but now I’ve had time to do even more... carving out hours to sway in my hammock with a book and notice the understated beauty of a red maple tree’s leaves. I wrote an actual letter (pen and paper in a sealed envelope!) and mailed it the old-fashioned way using a stamp. It was much more gratifying than hitting send on a text or e-mail.
of professional athletes and celebrities. A recent study found that California
lockdown restrictions reduced crashes that kill or seriously injure people to 200 a day, down from 400 in the same period last year – saving lives and money. More people are bicycling and hiking, spending time outdoors with their families. Homeowners are landscaping and gardening. Here at my house, the kids used to compete for their dad’s precious attention. Now he leisurely plays chess with them and shoots hoops, and when they beg “watch me do (fill in the blank),” he watches. I make spaghetti sauce from scratch. The tomatoes and garlic simmer for hours on the stove, their smell wafting through my house – an aroma usually reserved for a special Sunday supper that now can be made whenever I feel like it.
The Wall Street legend who picked Apple in 2003—and Bitcoin in 2016—shares his #1 pick for the 2020s… “The Investment of The Decade” Right now, there is a mad rush in corporate America. It involves Amazon. Google. Microsoft. Facebook. And they're all betting on a new technology the World Economic Forum projects will soar 295,762% over 7 years. But it's not AI, the Internet of Things, or 5G… Now playing for a limited time only. Press Play to Begin.
“A foundational technology, like the Internet and electricity.” —Wall Street Journal
F E AT U R I NG… Teeka Tiwari, America’s #1 Investor ➜ At age 16, moved to America with $150 to pursue Wall Street dream. ➜ At age 20, became youngest Vice President ever at Shearson Lehman. ➜ Became a millionaire at age 23. ➜ In 2010, retired as a successful hedge fund manager. ➜ In 2016, named editor of The Palm Beach Letter. #1 audited track record with 154% per year average gain. That’s 10x better than the S&P 500. And 5x better than investing legends Warren Buffett, Bill Gross, and Carl Icahn… combined.
WALLS The WILD WEST of
And others there didn’t want the eye of law enforcement looking down on them. So as much as the Wild West was viewed for its opportunity, it also became known as a land of thieves, hucksters, snake-oil salesmen, and outlaws. Still, people kept going west for a reason. While there was risk, there was phenomenal opportunity, too... • If you could protect your claim to a gold or silver mine, you could become another George Hearst, a Missouri farm boy turned gold, silver, and copper mining tycoon.
In 1880, nearly half of the territory of the United States of America was an ungoverned free-for-all. You could make it rich. You could lose the shirt off your back. You could die trying. Nine out of 10 Americans lived either east of the Mississippi River or in a state bordering it, or in the states along the Pacific coast. The Plains states and Mountain West region were populated with people looking to make a name for themselves in a land not already picked over by society. Others moved to the region looking to be as far away from society as possible.
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