International Man: Six Reasons Why the Wrong Party Will Win the Most Important US Election Since 1860

Doug Casey at International Man writes his thoughts on the 2020 election in Six Reasons Why the Wrong Party Will Win the Most Important US Election Since 1860

The upcoming election may be the most important in US history. At least as important as that of 1860, which led directly to the War Between the States. In 2016 I believed Trump would win and placed a money bet on him. This time I’m not so sure, despite Trump’s “incumbent advantage” and the fact the Democrats could hardly have picked two worse candidates.

I see at least six reasons why this is true, namely:

  • The Virus
  • The economy
  • Demographics
  • Moral collapse of the old order
  • The Deep State
  • Cheating

The consequences of a Democrat victory will be momentous. Let’s look at why it’s likely.

1. The Virus

Despite the fact COVID is only marginally more deadly than the annual flu, and the fact it’s only a danger to the very old (median death age 80), the hysteria around it is changing the nature of life itself. It’s proven much less serious than the Asian flu of the late ’60s or the Hong Kong flu of the late ’50s. And not even remotely comparable to the Spanish flu of 1918-19. None of those had any discernable effect on the economy or politics. COVID is a trivial medical event but has created a gigantic psychological hysteria.

The virus hysteria is, however, a disaster from Trump’s point of view for several reasons. None of them have anything to do with his “handling” of the virus—apart from the fact that medical issues should be a matter between a patient and his doctor, not bureaucrats and politicians.

First, the virus hysteria is severely limiting the number and size of Trump’s rallies, which he relies on to keep enthusiasm up.

Second, more people are staying at home and watching television than ever before. However, unless they glue their dial to Fox, they’ll gravitate towards the mainstream media, which is stridently anti-Trump. People who are on the fence (and most voters are always in the wishy-washy middle) will mostly hear authoritative-sounding anti-Trump talking heads on television, and they’ll be influenced away from Trump.

Third, older people have by far the heaviest voter turnout, but roughly 80% of the casualties of the virus are elderly. And over 90% of those deaths are related to some other condition. Be that as it may, fear will make older people less likely to vote in this election. The COVID hysteria will still be with us in November. Older people tend to be culturally conservative and are most likely Trumpers.

Fourth, in today’s highly politicized world, the government is supposed to be in charge of everything. Despite the fact there are thousands of viruses, and they’ve been with us thousands of years, this one is blamed on the current government. Boobus americanus will tend to vote accordingly.

2. The Economy

Keeping his voters at home is one thing. But the effects the hysteria is having on the economy are even more important. The effect of COVID on the economy should be trivial since only a small fraction of the relatively few Covid deaths are among people who are economically active.

Presidents always take credit when the economy is good and are berated when it’s bad on their watch, regardless of whether they had anything to do with it. If the economy is still bad in November—and I’ll wager it’s going to be much worse, despite the Fed creating trillions of new dollars, and the government handouts—many people will reflexively vote against Trump.

In February, before the lockdown, there were about 3.2 million people collecting unemployment. Now, there are about 30 million. So it seems we have over 30 million working-age people who are . . . displaced. That doesn’t count part-time workers, who aren’t eligible for unemployment but are no longer working.

The supplementary benefits have ended. If they return, it will be at lower levels. The artificial good times brought on by free money will end too. It will be blamed on the Republicans.

Worse, the public has come to the conclusion that a guaranteed annual income works. This virus hysteria has provided a kind of test for both Universal Basic Income and Modern Monetary Theory—helicopter money. So far, anyway, it seems you really can get something for nothing.

An important note here: Trump—whatever his virtues—is an economic ignoramus. He’s supported both helicopter money and artificially low-interest rates since he’s been in office. But especially now, because he knows it’s all over if today’s financial house of cards collapses on his watch.

I’ll wager that, out of the 160 million work-force Americans, 30 million will still be out of work by voting day. The recognition that the country is in a depression will sink in. The virus hysteria was just the pin—or sledgehammer, perhaps—that broke the bubble. But that’s another story. What’s for sure is that the average American will look for somebody to blame. As things get seriously bad, people will want to change the system itself, as was true in the 1930s.

The only economic bright spot for Trump is the stock market. But it’s at bubble levels. Not because the economy is doing well, but because of the avalanche of money being printed. Where it is in November is a question of how much more money the Fed will print, and how much of it flows into the stock market. Even then, there’s an excellent chance it could collapse between now and the election.

For reasons I’ve detailed in the past, the economy is now entering the trailing edge of a gigantic financial and economic hurricane. The Greater Depression will be much different, longer-lasting, and nastier than the unpleasantness of 1929-1946. And people vote their pocketbook. Bill Clinton was right when he said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” If stocks fall, it will compound this effect. A high stock market just gives the illusion of prosperity. And, at least while stocks are up, contributes to the atmosphere of class warfare. Poor people don’t own stocks.

3. Demographics

Since the gigantic political, economic, and social crisis we’re in will be even more obvious come November, people will want a radical change. Since that—plus lots of free stuff—is what the Democrats are promising, they’re likely to win. But there are other factors.

The last election was close enough, but now, four years later, there are four more cohorts of kids that have gone through high school and college and have been indoctrinated by their uniformly left-wing teachers. They’re going to vote Democrat overwhelmingly.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), and people like her, are both the current reality and the future of the Democratic Party—and of the US itself. She knows how to capitalize on envy and resentment. The Black Lives Matter and Antifa movements have added the flavor of a race war to the mix. Racial antagonism will become more pronounced as whites lose their majority status over the next 30 years.

Nobody, except for a few libertarians and conservatives, is countering the purposefully destructive ideas AOC represents. But they have a very limited audience and not much of a platform. Arguing for sound money and limited government makes them seem like Old Testament prophets to Millenials. Collectivism and statism are overwhelming the values of individualism and liberty.

It’s exactly the type of thing the Founders tried to guard against by restricting the vote to property owners over 21, going through the Electoral College. Now, welfare recipients who are only 18 can vote, and the Electoral College is toothless.

For the last couple of generations, everybody who’s gone to college has been indoctrinated with leftist ideas. Almost all of the professors hold these ideas—as well as high school and grade school instructors. They place an intellectual patina on top of emotional, fantasy-driven leftist ideas.

When the economy collapses in earnest, everybody will blame capitalism. Because Trump is rich, he’s incorrectly associated with capitalism. The country—especially the young, the poor, and the non-white—will look to the government to “do something.” They see the government as a cornucopia.

A majority of Millennials are in favor of socialism, as are so-called People of Color. By 2050, whites will be a minority in the US. A straw in the wind is that a large majority of the people who commit suicide each year are middle-class white males—essentially, Trump supporters. The demographic handwriting is on the wall. Trump’s election in 2016 was an anomaly. No more than a Last Hurrah.

4. Moral Collapse

There’s now a lot of antagonism toward both free minds and free markets. A majority of Americans appear to actually support BLM, an openly Marxist movement. Forget about free minds—someone might be offended, and you’ll be pilloried by the mob. Forget about free markets—they’re blamed for all the economic problems, even though it’s the lack of them that caused the problem. The idea of capitalism is now considered undefendable.

Widespread dissatisfaction with the system is obviously bad for the Republicans and good for the Democrats, who promote themselves as the party of change.

It used to be pretty simple—the Republicans and the Democrats were just two sides of the same coin, like Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Traditionally, one promoted the warfare state more, the other the welfare state. But it was mostly rhetoric; they were pretty collegial. Now, both the welfare and the warfare state have been accepted as part of the cosmic firmament by both parties. The difference between them is now about cultural issues. Except that polite disagreement has turned into visceral hatred.

The Dems at least stand for some ideas—although they’re all bad ideas. The Republicans have never stood for any principles; they just said the Dems wanted too much socialism, too fast, which is why they were always perceived—correctly—as hypocrites. Antagonism between the right and the left is no longer political or economic—it’s cultural. That’s much more serious…(continues)

Stars and Stripes: Hunger Is Threatening to Kill More People than COVID this Year

Volunteers distribute food packets people in need after a week-long restrictions were imposed by district officials to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Kathmandu on August 31, 2020. PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES/TNS

Via Stars and Stripes, Hunger is threatening to kill more people than COVID this year details global hunger concerns because of supply chain problems and lockdowns.

The world is hurtling toward an unprecedented hunger crisis.

As many as 132 million more people than previously projected could go hungry in 2020, and this year’s gain may be more than triple any increase this century. The pandemic is upending food supply chains, crippling economies and eroding consumer purchasing power. Some projections show that by the end of the year, COVID-19 will cause more people to die each day from hunger than from virus infections.

What makes the situation unmatched: The massive spike is happening at a time of enormous global food surpluses. And it’s happening in every part of the world, with new levels of food insecurity forecast for countries that used to have relative stability.

In Queens, New York, the lines snaking around a food bank are eight hours long as people wait for a box of supplies that might last them a week, while farmers in California are plowing over lettuce and fruit is rotting on trees in Washington. In Uganda, bananas and tomatoes are piling up in open-air markets, and even nearly give-away prices aren’t low enough for out-of-work buyers. Supplies of rice and meat were left floating at ports earlier this year after logistical jams in the Philippines, China and Nigeria. And in South America, Venezuela is teetering on the brink of famine.

“We’ll see the scars of this crisis for generations,” said Mariana Chilton, director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University. “In 2120, we’ll still be talking about this crisis.”

COVID-19 has exposed some of the world’s deepest inequalities. It’s also a determining force in who gets to eat and who doesn’t, underscoring global social divides as the richest keep enjoying a breakneck pace of wealth accumulation. Millions of people have been thrown out of work and don’t have enough money to feed their families, despite the trillions in government stimulus that’s helped send global equities to all-time highs.

On top of the economic malaise, lockdowns and broken supply chains have also created a serious problem for food distribution. The sudden shift away from restaurant eating, which in places like the U.S. used to account for more than half of dining, means farmers have been dumping milk and smashing eggs, with no easy means to redirect their production to either grocery stores or those in need.

Don Cameron of Terranova Ranch in California took a hit of about $55,000 this year on his cabbage crop. Almost half the loss – $24,000 – came because Cameron decided to donate to local food banks after demand from his usual customers dried up. He had to pay for the labor needed to do the harvesting and truck loading. He even needed to cover the cost of some bins and pallets to get supplies moved. It would’ve been a lot cheaper to just let the crops rot in the field.

“We know other parts of the country need what we have here. But the infrastructure has not been set up, as far as I’m aware, to allow that. There are times when there is food available and it’s because of logistics that it doesn’t find a home,” said Cameron, who still ended up destroying about 50,000 tons of the crop since nearby food banks “can only take so much cabbage.”

Initial United Nations forecasts show that in a worst-case scenario, about a tenth of the world’s population won’t have enough to eat this year. The impact will go beyond just hunger as millions more are also likely to experience other forms of food insecurity, including not being able to afford healthy diets, which can lead to malnutrition and obesity.

The effects will be long lasting. Even in its best-case projections, the UN predicts that hunger will be greater over the next decade than forecast before the pandemic. By 2030, the number of undernourished people could reach as high as 909 million, compared with a pre-COVID scenario of about 841 million.

The current crisis is one of the “rarest of times” with both physical and economic limitations to access food, said Arif Husain, chief economist with the UN’s World Food Programme.

By the end of the year, as many as 12,000 people could die a day from hunger linked to COVID-19, potentially more than those perishing from the virus itself, charity Oxfam International estimates. That’s calculated based on a more than 80% jump for those facing crisis-level hunger.

Projections for increased malnutrition also have a profound human toll. It can weaken the immune system, limit mobility and even impair brain functioning. Children who experience malnutrition early in life can see its impact well into adulthood.

“Even the mildest forms of food insecurity have lifelong consequences,” said Chilton of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities. Problems with physical and cognitive development in children and adolescents can hamper the chances of staying in school or getting a job, continuing a cycle of poverty.

Government programs, food charities and aid organizations have mobilized across the globe, but the need far outstrips their reach. The UN’s WFP aid group alone needs a record $13 billion for the year to deliver food in 83 countries, and at the start of the second half faced a shortfall of $4.9 billion to meet the goal.

Hunger can spark seismic shifts in the political landscape. Going back to the days of the French Revolution, food insecurity has sent people into the streets demanding better conditions. Surging food prices were part of the economic crisis that helped fuel recent protests in Lebanon and demonstrations over shortages erupted in Chile earlier this year.

Deep-seated inequalities along gender and racial lines also correspond to disproportionate impacts from hunger. In the U.S., for example, Black Americans are two-and-a half times as likely as their White counterparts to have low or very low access to enough food for an active and healthy life. Globally, women are 10% more likely to be food insecure than men.

“We have to make sure that we’re addressing gender inequality – if the international community is not doing that, we will fail to avoid the worst of the hunger crisis,” said Tonya Rawe, a director at hunger relief and advocacy group Care.

Data from the UN show that throughout the world, there are more than enough calories available to meet every individual’s needs. But even in the U.S., the richest country in the world, almost 2% of the population, or more than 5 million people, can’t afford a healthy diet (one that protects against all forms of malnutrition). More than 3 million Americans can’t afford to even meet basic energy needs. In India, 78% of people can’t afford healthy diets – that’s more than 1 billion people. Those figures don’t even take into account the pandemic and its lasting effects.

Costs and logistics prevent food surpluses from being easily shifted to areas without. That’s the dilemma faced by potato farmers in Belgium. When freezers filled during the pandemic, most of their spuds weren’t fit for food banks or grocers. The main variety that’s grown to meet demand from places like the country’s famous fry shops get black and blue spots after just a few days, said Romain Cools of industry group Belgapom. Sales to supermarkets quickly stopped after complaints, and a bulk of the region’s 750,000-ton surplus was instead used for animal feed or biogas.

“It’s hard to take surplus milk in Wisconsin and get it to people in Malawi – it’s just not realistic or practical,” said William Moseley, a geography professor at Macalester College who serves on a global food-security panel.

Despite the abundant supplies, food is growing more expensive because of bungled supply chains and currency devaluations. Costs are up in parts of Africa and the Middle East and they’re also rising in developed countries, with Europeans and Americans paying extra to stock their fridges.

Even within major food-producing countries, being able to afford groceries is never a given.

Latin America, an agriculturally rich region that exports food to the world, is leading this year’s surge in hunger, according to the UN’s WFP.

In Brazil, a huge cash-distribution program has helped millions and driven poverty rates to historic lows. But that hasn’t met all the need. In the country’s northeast, Eder Saulo de Melo worked as a guard at parties until the virus arrived. With events suspended, he hasn’t been paid in months. He’s been locked out of the emergency cash program and the 130 reais ($25) he gets in regular monthly aid goes to energy, water and gas bills, leaving little to feed his three children. Baskets of non-perishables, vegetables, bread and eggs from a non-governmental organization are the family’s main sustenance.

“I needed to stop buying fruit and meat,” he said. “Instead of a slice of chicken, I buy offal to make a soup.”

The hunger estimates for this year have a “high degree of uncertainty,” and the disease’s devastation is largely unknown, the UN cautioned about its figures.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization began tracking global hunger in the mid-1970s. Current data can’t be compared past 2000 given revisions in methodology, said Carlo Cafiero, team leader for food security statistics. But general trends can be observed, and they show that hunger moved lower over the past several decades until a recent reversal started in 2015, spurred by by climate change and conflicts.

The increases in the last few years are nothing like what is forecast now – even the best-case of the UN’s tentative scenarios would see hunger surge in 2020 more than the past five years combined. And when looking at other notable periods of need in the world, such as the Great Depression, the level of food surplus that exists today is without comparison thanks to the advent of modern agriculture, which has seen crop yields explode.

“It’s impossible to look at the situation and not think we have a problem,” said Nate Mook, chief executive officer of food-relief group World Central Kitchen. “This pandemic has really exposed the cracks in the system and where it starts to break down.”

Doom and Bloom: Covid Fatigue and the Second Wave

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up about Covid Fatigue and the Second Wave. A second spike in cases is coming.

COVID-19 cases may again be on the rise as a second wave of infections coincide with the reopening of many businesses throughout the United States.

Perhaps the first thing I should mention is that a second wave is going to occur as society reopened. I repeat: Regardless of the timing or the measures taken, at one point or another there is going to be a second spike in cases. This is to be expected; It’s what many pandemics do. Health officials and political policies can do little to stop it.

If we look at previous infectious disease outbreaks, like the Spanish Flu of a century ago, it’s clear that there were, not two, but three waves in Spring and Fall of 1918 and winter of 1918-19. Each wave claimed its share of victims.

Most health officials have long stated that more cases are expected. Social distancing, face coverings, and other important measures to prevent spread of infection may be breaking down. In some cases, it’s because of what I call “COVID fatigue”. People are weary of staying home, donning personal protection equipment, and avoiding the restaurants, movie theaters, malls, and other staples of normal American society. The New Normal compares poorly to the “good old days”.

Not an example of social distancing

Even for those who have adjusted to pandemic prevention guidelines, current headlines have sparked nationwide mass protests which are spilling over internationally. As you can imagine, large demonstrations don’t follow the rules of social distancing and hamper efforts to stop the spread of infection.

Public policy may also play a part. Reopening too quickly due to COVID fatigue-fueled anger may cause large numbers of new cases, while staying in semi-permanent lockdown must eventually throw the nation into a major economic depression. The balance is so delicate that a perfect solution is almost impossible to achieve. Either option is fraught with risk.

All of the above factors make it more likely that a second wave will be significant, but how significant? Will we see just a ripple in the pond or a massive tidal wave?

One expert, Dr. Lawrence Kleinman of Rutgers University, says: “I think people mistake the idea of society reopening with the idea that society is safer, but things are no safer today than they were weeks ago when we were in full lockdown,” said Dr. Lawrence Kleinman, MD MPH of Rutgers University. He goes on to say that the recipe for personal safety doesn’t change even as society opens up.

Others aren’t as pessimistic.  Columbia University virologist Dr. Vincent Racaniello said, “I’m hoping we can continue our lives without having to go back into quarantine in the fall, because we’ve learned that distancing and face masks can really make a difference.”

Indeed, we have learned much about SARS-CoV2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides social distancing, we have come to realize the importance of mass testing, and keeping close track of contacts. With a contagious disease, we have to know who is capable of spreading it. With workplaces beginning to reopen, this information becomes essential.

We have also realized the importance of having personal protection items in our medical kits. Surgical and N95 masks are considered to be for medical workers only, leaving the average citizens with a limited array of less-effective cloth coverings. These were endorsed by health officials, but only because of the lack of standard supplies.

Yet, many folks ended up becoming “medical workers” when someone in the family came down with a mild to moderate case of COVID-19. You can bet that there will be more face masks to go around in future outbreaks; many of these will be made in the U.S.A…(continues)

Gold Telegraph: Global Food Supply Chains Beginning to Erode, Crisis Looms?

From The Gold Telegraph – Global Food Supply Chains Beginning to Erode, Crisis Looms?

…One would begin to believe history might not be repeating itself, but it is undoubtedly starting to rhyme. During the great depression of the 1930s, the hardest-hit industry was farming. Farm incomes dropped by nearly two-thirds at the beginning of the 1930s. Dairy farmers dumped countless gallons of milk into the street instead of accepting a penny a quart.

During World War 1, farmers had produced record crops and livestock to keep everyone fed. However, when prices started to fell, they tried to harvest even more to pay their debts and living expenses. In the early 30s, prices dropped so low that many farmers went bankrupt and lost their farms. In some cases, the price of a bushel of corn fell to just eight to ten cents. Some farmers even began burning corn rather than coal in their stoves because corn was cheaper.

However, there is a dramatic difference today. Prices are not dropping; in fact, grocery bills are getting more expensive by the day. Supply chains are being disrupted due to the transportation and of course processing of a vast selection of foods.

As we are beginning to learn, the country where the coronavirus started, China, may now be facing a food crisis. The country has just reopened its economy as the communist regime has even claimed a coronavirus victory.

However, there was a leaked government document made public last Thursday that shows that government officials have been planning for a shortfall in food supplies.

The document, dated March 28, was drafted following a meeting which was called to make special arrangements for food security.

“The State Party Committee and the state governments and counties and cities must do everything possible to transfer and store all kinds of living materials such as grain, beef, mutton, oil and salt through various channels,” the document said, according to a report from Radio Free Asia

The document also calls for the “mobilization of the masses to consciously store grain and ensure that each household reserves between 3 and 6 months of grain for emergencies…”

Click here to read the entire article at The Gold Telegraph.