Daily Digest 8/31 – Charting The Market’s Descent Into Insanity, How Extremes Become More Extreme

Economy

Bank of England is considering negative interest rates – it doesn’t need to yet (000)

Major central banks around the world have used QE, including the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, as an effective way to boost liquidity and confidence in markets, while allowing financial institutions to rebalance their portfolios. It has helped central banks to prevent deflation – a negative spiral of falling prices, increasing debt burdens and insolvencies.

Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump’s Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say (tmn)

A bipartisan report by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee released this month came the closest to an examination of the president’s links to Russia. Senators depicted extensive ties between Trump associates and Russia, identified a close associate of a former Trump campaign chairman as a Russian intelligence officer and outlined how allegations about Mr. Trump’s encounters with women during trips to Moscow could be used to compromise him. But the senators acknowledged they lacked access to the full picture, particularly any insight into Mr. Trump’s finances.

“This Might Be The Weirdest Market I’ve Ever Seen” – Charting The Market’s Descent Into Insanity (CleanEnergyFan)

In other words, we have become a reflexive market of derivatives, where option flow dictates the action of underlying securities. We first noted the flood of option activity in July when we showed a Goldman chart which observed a “historic inversion”: for the first time ever, the average daily value of options traded exceeded shares with July single stock options volumes tracking 114% of shares volumes. This trend has only accelerated since.

Between Crypto, Libra, Stablecoins, And Digital Dollars, Congress Introduced 35 ‘Blockchain’ Bills (Sparky1)

Meanwhile, China seemed to accelerate its vision and ongoing projects toward developing its own central bank digital currency. As Covid-19 sparked not only a pandemic but an economic crisis, the notion of helping people with relief in the form of stimulus checks became popular. With Congress still stinging from the impression in 2008-2009 during the Global Financial Crisis that taxpayer money was used to bail out the very same large financial institutions who caused the crisis, the direction in early 2020 culminated in the CARES Act, which created a taxpayer rebate check of $1,200 for all Americans.

Police reforms face defeat as California Democrats block George Floyd-inspired bills (tmn)

This crucial bill by Steve Bradford, D-Gardena, would allow California to decertify police officers who break the law or engage in serious misconduct. Forty-five states already have the power to do this, but not “progressive” California, where dangerous or criminal officers can simply take their badge and gun and move to another police force. “Criminal Cops,” an investigation conducted by a consortium of California media outlets including McClatchy, highlighted the problem last year.

Bradford blasted fellow lawmakers who hesitated to support his bill despite their public expressions of support for police reform during George Floyd protests.

‘Three little pigs’: Musk’s Neuralink puts computer chips in animal brains (Sparky1)

Musk did not provide a timeline for those treatments, appearing to retreat from earlier statements that human trials would begin by the end of this year. Neuralink’s first clinical trials with a small number of human patients would be aimed at treating paralysis or paraplegia, the company’s head surgeon Dr. Matthew MacDougall said.

Rob Kirby: The End Of The Central Bank Has Come (pinecarr)

Central Bank System Should Change Now

Stephen Miller’s Dystopian America (000)

Language is a tool for shaping minds, and Mr. Miller knows how to weaponize it. It’s why he draws from books like Mr. Raspail’s to shape rhetoric. It’s why, in 2015, he asked writers at Breitbart to produce an article about the parallels between the book and real life that painted the book as prophetic. It’s also why he inserts vivid, gory descriptions of crimes ostensibly committed by migrants into Mr. Trump’s speeches.

Portland Shooting Amplifies Tensions in Presidential Race (tmn)

Mr. Trump on Sunday morning posted or reposted a barrage of tweets about the clashes in Portland, with many of them assailing the city’s Democratic mayor, Ted Wheeler. The president retweeted a video showing his supporters shooting paintballs and using pepper spray on crowds in Portland before the fatal shooting. Mr. Trump wrote that “the big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected,” a remarkable instance of a president seeming to support confrontation rather than calming a volatile situation.

Forecasting Intellingence: After The Conventions (James W.)

According to this pollster, Lee Carter, who ran focus group polling throughout the two conventions, independent/swing voters connected with the Republicans in a way they didn’t with the Democrats. See here and here.

In particular, the Republican attempt to soften Trump’s image worked well with independent voters, along with GOP messaging on the economy and crime. I expect the Republicans to continue to hammer the Democrats on the perception that they are weak on law and order, lack patriotism and are a risk to a post-Covid recovery in the economy.

Leonard Cohen’s estate slams Republicans’ use of ‘Hallelujah’ as bid to politicize (Sparky1)

Cohen’s estate said in a statement that it was “surprised and dismayed” the song had been used, saying it had specifically denied the RNC’s request to do so.

It said it was exploring legal options and called the RNC’s decision a “rather brazen attempt to politicize and exploit in such an egregious manner ‘Hallelujah’, one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue.”

How Extremes Become More Extreme, Triggering Collapse (CleanEnergyFan)

Feedback loops are one such dynamic. Somewhat counter-intuitively, when feedback arises to moderate the intensity of a trend, that’s negative feedback. When feedback intensifies the trend, it’s positive feedback.

Why is this counter-intuitive? If a bad trend is moderated by negative feedback, that’s good (positive). If a bad trend gathers momentum due to positive feedback, that’s bad (negative).

Glen Greenwald: Is the US Social Fabric Unraveling? (yogmonster)

This week on System Update, host Glenn Greenwald examines the crumbling of the US social fabric. Glenn explores the rise in so-called Deaths of Despair, and examines the symptoms of deep unhappiness across in America – from suicide to drug overdoses – and how this long-term trend has acutely intensified with the Covid pandemic.

New Trump pandemic adviser pushes controversial ‘herd immunity’ strategy, worrying public health officials (tmn)

Sweden’s handling of the pandemic has been heavily criticized by public health officials and infectious-disease experts as reckless — the country has among the highest infection and death rates in the world. It also hasn’t escaped the deep economic problems resulting from the pandemic.

But Sweden’s approach has gained support among some conservatives who argue that social distancing restrictions are crushing the economy and infringing on people’s liberties.

Boeing testing new sanitation technology on SC-made plane (000)

“What we’re trying to do really is provide that confidence to the flying public that it is safe to fly on our airplanes,” technical leader for Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program Doug Christensen said. “We look at the critical, high-value technologies that need to be demonstrated on airplanes and that’s what we are lining up for the next round of testing.”

Boeing is also testing an anti-microbial coating which is sprayed on surfaces to kill bacteria.

Hair Loss an Unexpected COVID Misery for Many (Jan U.)

The American Academy of Dermatology says hair loss can be caused by genetics, age, hormonal imbalances, other health conditions, medication and, of course, stress. Experts say the type most COVID-19 patients are having is called telogen effluvium, a temporary form caused by a physical or emotional stress, high fever, illness or weight loss of more than 20 pounds — symptoms common with the virus. Telogen effluvium involves shedding all over the head — not just on the crown like male pattern baldness — and it’s far more than the 50 to 100 hairs people typically lose daily.

Statins Linked to Reduced Mortality in COVID-19 (Heather)

Treatment with statins was associated with a reduced risk of a severe or fatal course of COVID-19 by 30%, a meta-analysis of four published studies has shown.

A second Trump term would mean severe and irreversible changes in the climate (MS)

Hitting the 1.5° target would require the world to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. Doing so would require industrial mobilization beginning immediately. Even hitting 2° would be desperately difficult at this point. There is no longer any time for delay; this is the last decade in which it is still possible.

We know that the US doing its part to reach net zero by 2050 would not be enough, in itself, to limit global temperature rise. By the same token, we know it is wildly unlikely that the rest of the world will be able to organize to meet that goal without US leadership. And in the face of active US undermining and opposition, it will be all but impossible.

Brazil’s Pantanal, world’s largest wetland, burns from above and below (Sparky1)

Firefighters across Brazil are battling raging towers of flames from the Amazon rainforest to the Cerrado savannah, but the fires beneath their feet are a particular challenge in the Pantanal. The only way to combat an underground fires is to dig a trench around it, said state firefighter Lieutenant Isaac Wihby.

“But how do you do that if you have a line of fire that’s 20 kilometers long? It’s not viable,” he said.

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