"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist opinion reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The Resurrection sometimes loses its powerful meaning with us. We forget that Jesus rising from the dead was more than a mere miracle from God. Jesus’ resurrection was the beginning of the fulfillment of all God’s promises to us.
This was not simply an event to change the minds of a few doubting men and women in that day. It was an event God used to change the hearts of men and women forever. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we realize that God’s promises are real, not manipulative double-talk to keep us hoping that one day our lives will change. God’s Word is true. Everything He has said about Himself is undeniably the truth.
Following Jesus’ resurrection, the early church began to see how all of God’s promises had been—and still were being—fulfilled. They began to understand that Jesus was indeed the Savior, regardless of what they expected the Messiah to be. They saw that a personal relationship with God the Father was possible. And they began a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would be the help they needed after He left earth.
Through Jesus’ resurrection, we discover that God’s promises are the basis by which we can live our lives. Faith in His promises guarantees a changed life forever.
Jesus, with Your resurrection, we caught our first glimpse of what Messiah means. Thank You that You are still showing us. Please help my heart to understand.
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
All day long he had barked orders at his detachment of soldiers. If there was a job lower than this one, he couldn’t name it. No one volunteered for this detail; they were sentenced to it. A cold rain washed over the centurion’s face as an intense storm swept over Jerusalem. The earth rolled and shook in response to each bolt of lightning. There amid the wind and rain, he found himself face-to-face with the cross of Jesus Christ.
Earlier he had witnessed the jeers of the crowd and the hate that had poured out of their mouths. And though he didn’t show it, his heart mourned for the crucified man’s family. How helpless and vulnerable they appeared. Then in a loud outcry, begging God to forgive those who had harmed Him, Jesus died.
The centurion knew what anger looked like. He had seen it often among his fellow soldiers. He also knew the contempt of betrayal and what it felt like to be rejected. But he saw none of that on Christ’s face. There were only love and forgiveness.
Looking up to the cross, the centurion proclaimed in a loud voice: “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27:54 nasb). Whether or not he understood all that had happened, he recognized the identity of the Man on the cross.
The greatest decision you will ever make has to do with the cross of Christ, where the Son of God gave Himself for you. Acknowledge Him and receive eternal life.
Precious Lord, I acknowledge the Cross and what You did for me there. You gave Your life for me. Thank You for Your love.
 Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 103). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
What makes someone a follower of Jesus? Going to church? Donating money to good causes? Trying to be a good person? The answer is actually much simpler: all we have to do is follow the Leader. In this message, Dr. Stanley outlines exactly how to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, surrendering our lives and mirroring His life of prayer, service, and sacrifice.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.
The elderly couple had lived modestly for years on their small farm. The land was not the best, but they always had raised enough to survive. They eventually sold the farm to a developer. Working on a hunch, the new owner drilled for and discovered oil—a well worth millions of dollars. For years, the couple had lived on top of untold wealth and never knew what they had been missing.
Many believers do not understand the vast riches they already possess in Jesus Christ, an infinite treasury of wisdom and knowledge and all good things. The moment you accept Him as your Savior you receive everything God is, everything God does, and everything God provides. You lack nothing; God’s immeasurable, overflowing love and power are available to you by His grace for every trial, every decision, every challenge.
The apostle Peter explained how God gives you these astounding resources: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:2–3). Today, you can embrace the fullness of His grace and live the abundant life He has planned.
Lord, I embrace the fullness of Your grace today. I choose to live the abundant life You have planned for me.
Chick-fil-A is keeping its crown as teenagers’ favorite restaurant chain.
The chicken chain nabbed the No. 1 spot in Piper Jaffray’s biannual survey of teenagers across the US.
Chick-fil-A took over as teenagers’ favorite restaurant a year ago, following the chain’s steady rise as an obsession among young people. The chicken chain first made Piper Jaffray’s top-five list in spring 2012, and it spent the next five years edging up the list one spot at a time.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour wasn’t happy that James Comey’s FBI never took action against one very vocal group. She wants to have Trump Supporters rights taken away. Here is what she claims was hate speech.
Many of the same Democrat hopefuls who boycotted AIPAC could be found yucking it up with infamous race-baiter Al Sharpton this week.
Rev. Al Sharpton’s fortunes have been on the upswing. A few years ago, in a Politico whitewashing of his career, we learned that Sharpton had been transformed into the go-to civil rights guru for the Obama administration. “If anything,” Glenn Thrush noted at the time, “the Ferguson crisis has underscored Sharpton’s role as the national black leader Obama leans on most, a remarkable personal and political transformation for a man once regarded with suspicion and disdain by many in his own party.”
The former president claimed that Sharpton was “the voice of the voiceless and a champion for the downtrodden.” In the real world, of course, the only downtrodden Americans helped by Sharpton’s activities are the ones who find themselves on the payroll benefitting from his numerous corporate shakedowns.
Yet apparently Obama’s resuscitation of Sharpton (who, since 2011, has been at MSNBC, a cable news network that interminably lectures uncouth Americans on proper tone) has worked. Many of the very same Democratic Party hopefuls who boycotted the tepid bipartisanship of an AIPAC conference last month, could be found speaking at Sharpton’s National Action Network Convention in New York this past week, pandering to a charlatan with a history of inciting violence and racism.
There was Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who this week accused 12-year Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being a “racist” and a false leader of Israelis, was there, obsequiously telling Sharpton he would support a study on reparations. He wasn’t alone. Many of the people who had recently defended anti-Semite Ilhan Omar—Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, among others—were yucking with a guy who once said, “We taught philosophy and astrology [sic] and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”
Sharpton most famously threw an entire city into turmoil in 1987 when he cynically exploited the hoax of a black teen named Tawana Brawley—who claimed to have been raped, kidnapped, smear with feces, and left wrapped in a plastic bag by a group of white men in Dutchess County, New York—for attention. To the surprise of absolutely no one, a state grand jury would find that her claims had been fabricated, perhaps as a way of avoiding punishment from her dad for staying out late.
When Sharpton and Brawley lost their defamation suits, it would not be the founder and president of National Action Network Convention who would struggle. After 26 years, Brawley was the one who couldn’t pay her debt.
Then again, ruined lives are strewn across Sharpton’s career. Maybe Democrats need to be reminded that Sharpton used a 1991 tragic car accident to incite a four-day race riot in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Or maybe they just don’t care. It was Sharpton who stoked anger over the imaginary nexus between “Tel Aviv” and “South Africa” and the “diamond merchants right here.” After the Jewish community protested, Sharpton said, “Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”
But, of course, Sharpton’s bedazzled and rotund frame was, as always, hiding behind bodyguards. It was his mob that took over. And one man who forgot to pin back his yarmulke was Yankel Rosenbaum, a 29-year old Orthodox Jew visiting from Australia, who, after turning down a wrong street, was dragged from his car to the shouts of “Kill the Jews!” by throngs of angry protesters and stabbed to death. Never once has Sharpton shown any remorse for his role in this bloodletting.
When, in 1995, Fred Harari, a Jewish sub-tenant who operated a store called Freddie’s Fashion Mart, evicted his own sub-tenant, a black-owned record store owner, Sharpton, who told the protesters, “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business,” saw another opportunity to provoke chaos.
Never mind that it had been a black Pentecostal Church that had asked the Harari to evict the record store owner. If you’re inclined you can listen to his ceaseless race-baiting and anti-Semitism that Sharpton allowed, and engaged in, on his show, day in and out. The venomous protests, fueled in part by his show and his presence, soon began to resemble a mob. And when Roland Smith Jr. went in with a gun, he asked all the black patrons to leave before killing everyone else. The “white interloper,” as Sharpton perceptively predicted, “did not expand his business in Harlem.”
Never once, as far as I can tell, has any of his didactic colleagues on cable news asked him about these career highlights. Not once did a reporter ask any of the presidential candidates about Sharpton’s history.
As a native New Yorker, I hold a grudge. That doesn’t mean others can’t forgive Sharpton for the horrible things he’s done. It’s something else, however, when a remorseless man with a history of hucksterism and cruelty is not only being flattered as national moral leader by presidential candidates but that those same politicians are being given a free pass as they kowtow to a reprehensible character.
Former Senator Harry Reid lost his civil case against TheraBand last week. Reid was seriously injured in 2015 while exercising with the band in his bathroom. He later sued the manufacturer claiming its product was unsafe for use by elderly people like himself. But during the trial, attorney Laurin Quiat who represented the company that manufacturers ThereBand, showed clips of Reid telling various stories about his injury, some of which contradicted things he said on the stand during the trial. Quiat argued that Harry Reid seemed to have difficulty telling the truth, which won’t surprise anyone who is familiar with Harry Reid. Let’s count the shifting statements with some help from the Associated Press. First, his reason for not running for office again:
Reid testified last week his injuries were “the main factor” why he decided not to seek a sixth Senate term in 2016. Quiat, however, showed the jury a 2015 video news release in which Reid said his decision not to run had “absolutely nothing to do with my injury.”
Here’s an interview where he says the inijury “wasn’t the decision-maker” with regard to running for office again.
Second, Reid initially claimed the band broke then later claimed it slipped from his hand. And third, the location where the band was attached changed from a hook to a shower door:
He noted that Reid at first said the band broke, not that it slipped his grasp, and that it had been attached to a metal hook in the wall of the bathroom in his suburban Las Vegas home.
On the witness stand, Reid testified he looped a band through a shower door handle, not a hook, and that he spun around and fell face-first against hard-edged bathroom cabinets when it slipped from his grip on New Year’s Day 2015.
I walked through his shifting explanations on the band breaking here a couple of weeks ago.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, after playing the clips showing Reid telling various stories that differed from his testimony in the case, Quiat concluded, “The one thing we do know is he struggles with telling the truth.” Well, duh.
But it seems the biggest problem with Reid’s case wasn’t his shifting stories, it was the fact that he couldn’t even prove the band he’d been using that day was manufactured by the people he had sued. That’s because his son threw it away after the accident.
Reid’s family threw out the band after he was hurt. Months later, he and [his wife Landra] Gould lodged a product liability lawsuit against three defendants: Hygenic Intangible Property Holding Co., the Hygenic Corp. and Performance Health LLC.
But jurors decided that the defendants did not manufacture the exercise band involved in Reid’s accident…
Asked whether the verdict may have been different if the band had not been discarded, Wilkes replied, “That’s called speculation. There’s no way I can say.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that even if he’d kept the band, he’d have lost this case. For one thing, the band would not have been broken as he initially claimed in media interviews. That would prove that the band itself hadn’t failed. What failed was Reid’s grip. But the defense had evidence that physical therapists had been working with Reid for months to get him to use a proper stance when using the band. Also, he should never have been exercising in a bathroom full of hard surfaces. There’s a reason gyms have wide spaces and rubberized floors.
Quiat, the attorney for the defendants, really summed up this case when he said, “This case is about taking responsibility for one’s own actions.” It’s unfortunate that after his long career as a leading Democrat, Harry Reid still hasn’t learned that lesson.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) gave House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) a round of applause for his efforts to uncover alleged FBI bias against President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election and the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Speaking with “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning, Grassley thanked Nunes for his “great service.”
“He got into this thing very, very deeply and actually did a great service for the American people by making sure that a lot of facts that otherwise would have been covered up or if Hillary Clinton had been elected president, none of this stuff would have been known,” he said.
“And I just congratulate him on being a patriotic person and following through, even though now he is in the minority, to make sure that justice is done,” he added.
Grassley’s praise comes after Nunes announced he’s preparing to send eight criminal referrals to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to Attorney General William Barr in regard to individuals he believes lied to Congress, misled Congress, and leaked classified information during the Russia probe, as IJR Red reported.
“We have eight referrals that we are prepared to send over to the attorney general this week,” he told Fox News on Sunday night.
Nunes has been actively looking into whether DOJ or FBI officials acted with bias during the investigation into alleged Russian collusion. He also shares a concern many Republicans have over the origin of the Russia investigation, which sparked from the now infamous Steele dossier.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has also called for a look into the beginnings of the Russia probe and former President Barack Obama’s role in the matter.
“I’m very concerned that it’s becoming more clear that the Obama administration was able to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on our campaign based on phony opposition research from the Clinton campaign,” he said last month, as IJR Red reported.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes his own platform, and the internet at large, should follow the European model for regulating internet companies and data. In a Washington Post op-ed, he called for baselines on forbidden content and systems to minimize harmful content, through a “more standardized approach.” Of course, the immediate concern for many internet users is whether this “standardized approach” would include political censorship, and whether the idea of “harmful” content includes the nearly endless array of topics people online now find offensive.
Jordan Peterson spoke at a Heritage Foundation event in New York City. We discussed the rise of socialism in America, the importance of personal responsibility, and why his message is resonating with so many people. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist, and author of the book “12 Rules for Life.” A lightly edited transcript is below, or you can listen to the interview on The Daily Signal Podcast.
Genevieve Wood: People are interested in what you have to say.
Jordan Peterson: It seems that way, somewhat of a shock.
Wood: Or maybe it’s because you aren’t a politician, you are a psychologist and you understand more about what’s going on in the world than many of our lawmakers actually do.
I know we’ve got so many ways that we could go with this interview tonight. We have questions, thank you to all of you in the audience who sent in your questions. I’ve got some of them right here, and we’re going to get into those. But … let’s just start with the socialism piece. Do you think Americans truly understand the history of socialism, and actually what it is?
… You speak to, not just college campuses, you’ve been to events around the world. I think 250,000 people you’ve spoken in front of.
Peterson: People are unbelievably ignorant about history. I would include myself in that. I know what I know about history, say, proceeding the 20th century is very sketchy. It’s embarrassingly sketchy.
What young people know about 20th century history is nonexistent, especially about the history of the radical left. I mean, how would they know? They’re never taught anything about it, so why would they be concerned about it?
And then, for many of the people in the audience, you’re old enough so that the fall of the Berlin Wall was part of your life. That was really the end of the Second World War … and it was very meaningful. But that’s a long time ago. There’s been a lot of people born since then, and it’s ancient history.
We don’t have that many good bad examples left. There’s North Korea, there’s Venezuela, but we’re not locked tooth and nail in … in a proxy war and a cold war with the Soviet Union.
It’s easy to understand why people are emotionally drawn to the ideals of socialism, let’s say the left, because it draws its fundamental motivational source from a primary compassion. That is always there in human beings, and so that proclivity for sensitivity to that political message will never go away. It’s important to understand that. You have to give the devil his due, unfortunately.
Wood: You’ve also said that people aren’t as resentful at the success of others as we might think. And I think as you watched a lot of people being interviewed today and you watched some of the students being interviewed, … you hear people talking a lot about inequality, but you say they really aren’t as resentful as we might think as long as they don’t think the game is fixed.
Peterson: Yes, that’s certainly the case. First of all, if you look at the psychological literature to the degree that it’s accurate, which is difficult to ascertain often, people report far more prejudice against their group than against themselves. That’s quite an interesting phenomenon, as far as I’m concerned.
There’s a tendency for people to exaggerate the degree to which the group they belong to is currently suffering from generalized oppression. They’ve been relatively free of it themselves.
I also think that fairness is an absolutely essential, and perceived fairness is an absolutely essential component of peace. Because people can tolerate inequality, so to speak, or even revel in it, if they believe that the unequal outcome is deserved.
Look at how people respond to sports heroes. … No one goes to a sports event and boos the star, even though he or she is paid much better and attracts the lion’s share of the attention, hopefully not in a narcissistic manner. People can celebrate success, but they do have to believe that the game is fair. And the game needs to be fair because otherwise the hierarchy becomes tyrannical.
The problem with the radical left is that it assumes that all hierarchies are tyrannical, and it makes no distinction between them. And that’s an absolute catastrophe because there’s plenty of sins on the conscience of the West as a civilization. But we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and there are far worse places. … People also don’t understand that, and they also don’t understand this is something that’s of particular importance.
They also don’t understand … the knowledge of how rapidly we’re making economic improvements around the world, in the developing world, for example, how fast that’s happening. That is not well distributed knowledge, that between the year 2000 and the year 2012, the rate of absolute poverty in the world fell by 50%.
Now, it’s a U.N. figure. One dollar and 90 cents a day, that was their cutoff for absolute poverty. So, the cynics have said, “Well, that’s a pretty low barrier. It’s not such an achievement to obtain that.” I can tell you it’s an achievement to obtain that if you were living on less than $1.90 day to begin with. But if you look at, if you double the amount to $3.80, or you double it again to $7.60, you find the same pattern.
The poor in the world are getting rich at a rate that is absolutely unparalleled in all of human history. I think a large part of that is happening in Africa. By the way, here’s another lovely piece of news, the child mortality rate in Africa is now the same as it was in Europe in 1952. That’s an absolute miracle. It’s insane that that’s not front-page news, right? That within a lifetime. And the fastest-growing economies in the world are also there.
Wood: But, as you’re saying, why isn’t it front-page news? And when you’re considering social media, and how fast news, and photos, and all that can travel, and that young people are aficionados of all this technology, why don’t they know these things? Or why aren’t they computing what they see as being progress?
Peterson: I think part of it is that things are changing so fast that none of us can keep up. It’s hard to keep the story updated. I had no idea, for example, that most of the world’s economic news and even a substantial proportion of its ecological news was positive until I started to work on a U.N. committee about five years ago on sustainable economic development.
I read very widely, economically, and also ecologically and realized that things were way better than I had any sense of. That these improvements had come at a tremendous rate. But you see partly, it is just that it’s so new that we don’t know and we don’t have a story about it.
And who would be driving the communication of such things? Especially given two other things. One is that human beings are tilted toward negative emotion in terms of its potency. For example, people … are much less happy to lose $5 than they are happy to gain $5. We’re loss averse. We’re more sensitive to negative emotion than we are to positive emotion, and there’s a reason for that.
The reason is, you can only be so happy but you can be dead and right. And I mean dead, that’s not good. And there can be a lot of misery on the way to that end, so we’re tilted to protect ourselves and that makes us more interested, in some sense, and more easily captivated by the negative than by the positive. That’s a hard bias to fight.
And then when you also take into account … and I think this is something that worth seriously considering because the other thing we don’t understand is the technological revolution that’s occurring in every form of media. No one understands it. But one of the consequences is that the mainstream media, so to speak, is increasingly desperate for attention. They exist in a shrinking market with shrinking margins, all of the leading newspapers and magazines are feeling the pinch. Television is dead because YouTube has everything the television has, and then an incredible array of additional features.
And radio is being replaced by podcasts, so it’s a very unstable time for the mainstream media and what would you expect them to do except to do whatever they can to attract attention in whatever manner they can manage?
… One very good example of this is you may or may not know that the rates of violent crime in the United States and actually in most places have plummeted in the last 50 years. It’s really quite remarkable. The United States is now safer in terms of violent crime than it has been since the early ’60s. And that was probably the safest time there ever was. But the degree to which violent crime has been reported has increased.
It’s funny, the curves are almost completely opposite to one another. This is the decline in violent crime, this is the increase in the reporting of violent crime. And the reason for that is people read stories about violent crime, and then of course, they’re much more likely to believe that it’s on the increase.
The people who are most likely to believe that it’s on the increase are also those who are least likely to be affected by it because to be a victim of a violent crime, it helps to drink too much, but it also helps a lot to be young and male. And those aren’t the people who are particularly afraid of violent crime even though they’re the ones most likely to be implicated in it.
So there’s technological reasons for our concentration on the negative and they’re complex. It’s not easy to figure out how to combat the spiral of outrage and attention-seeking that I think is accompanying the depth of our previous means of communication. No one knows how to handle that, and that’s a big problem.
Wood: … I know so many in this audience—and not just here in New York, but we hear from our members all over the country—they’re so concerned about what their children and what their grandchildren are both being taught. But also what they’re coming back home from college and talking about and saying, “Where are they learning this?” And they know where they’re learning them, but how does this get seeped into them?
You obviously have spoken not just at the University of Toronto, but colleges all over the world. What is it you see today on the campus, or among young people today that’s new? Or is it new? I’ve heard you say that we’re no more polarized today than we were maybe even under Richard Nixon, and the campuses were more on fire then than even they are today. So what are the similarities and differences that you’re seeing?
Peterson: I don’t see any real evidence that your society is more polarized, generally speaking, than it has been many times in the past. And I think the next scenario is a good example. If you think about it, merely statistically, you’ve been split 50/50, Republican/Democrat, for what? Five elections now. And it’s almost perfect 50/50 split, that really hasn’t changed.
Trump, of course, is somewhat of a wild card and so that complicates things. But I don’t think it changes the underlying dynamic. What I do think has arisen again—because it’s made itself manifest many times in the last 100 years—is the rise of this group identity-associated, quasi-marxist viewpoint with this additional toxic mixture and paradoxical mixture of postmodernism.
The postmodernists are famous for being skeptical of meta narratives that might be a defining—that was Lyotard, I believe, who coined that, although I might be wrong. It was one of the French postmodernists.
And that means that they’re skeptical about the idea that large uniting narratives are valid. And it’s a huge problem, that claim, because the first question is, “How big does the narrative have to be before it’s a meta narrative?” Is the narrative that holds your family together falsehood? Is the narrative that holds your community together a falsehood? How big does it have to be before it becomes a falsehood?
So it’s a very vague claim, and it’s a very dangerous claim, in my estimation … and I believe the psychological research is clear on this. What we have, our cognitive abilities are nested inside stories. We’re fundamentally narrative creatures, that’s how our brains are organized. And to deny the validity of large-scale narratives is to deny the validity of the manner in which we organize our psyches, and that’s unbelievably destabilizing for people.
First of all, the simplest story in some sense is that I’m at point A, and I’m going to point B. That’s not as simple a story as it might sound because it implies that you are somewhere and that you know it, you have a representation of it geographically, let’s say, socially, psychologically, you have some sense of who you are. But more importantly, you have some sense of who you are transforming yourself into. So that gives you a direction. The direction gives you meaning.
… I don’t mean that in a cliched sense. What I mean is that the way that our brains are constituted is that almost all the positive emotion that people feel—and it’s also true of animals—it emerges as a consequence of observing that you’re making your way to a valued endpoint.
So you think what makes you happy is the attainment of something, and there is a form of reward that is associated with that that’s called consummatory reward. It’s the satisfaction that you feel say after you have a delightful Thanksgiving meal, but that isn’t the hope and the meaning that people thrive on.
The hope and the meaning that people thrive on is the observation that they’re moving toward something worthwhile and that might be individually, although it really can’t be because we live in collectives. But it should be collective and that isn’t optional.
If you don’t have a goal, a transcendent goal, say something that’s beyond you, then you don’t have any positive emotion and that’s not good because you have plenty of negative emotion.
That’s the problem with fundamental claims of meaninglessness, too, in life. That it’s the philosophical error that’s made by nihilists who say life is meaningless. It’s like, well, if you’re a nihilist genuinely, you’ve lost all hope your life isn’t meaningless, it’s just unbearably miserable and that’s a form of meaning.
Suffering is a form of meaning and you can try to argue yourself out of that with your nihilistic rationalizations, but that is not going to work. You need a transcendent goal in order to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and the destruction of the narratives that guide us individually, physiologically, and that also unite us socially, familiarly and socially. It’s an absolute catastrophe. The question then is, why is it being undertaken?
That’s a complex question and I don’t know if we can even discuss that. That has something to do with this unholy marriage of the postmodern nihilism with this Marxist utopian notion, which makes no sense at all because the postmodernists are skeptical of metanarratives, yet Marxism is a grant metanarrative. …
Wood:It doesn’t have to make sense.
Peterson: In fact, the idea that things make sense is part of the oppressive patriarchy. … People teach that in a dead serious manner that the requirement for logical consistency is an arbitrary and positional and cognitive structure. It’s not something necessary for rational cognition, even if there is such a thing.
You don’t know how deep this war goes in some sense. I can give you an example. There’s a debate about free speech on campus. But what you don’t understand is it isn’t a debate about who can speak, it’s a debate about whether there is such a thing as free speech and the answer from the radicals is that there isn’t because for there to be free speech, there has to be sovereign individuals, right?
Those sovereign individuals have to be defined by that sovereign individuality. They have to have their own locus of truth. In some sense, that’s a consequence of that sovereignty. And then they have to be able to engage in rational discursive negotiation with people who aren’t like them, which means they have to stretch their hands across racial or ethnic divides.
They have to be able to communicate and they have to be able to formulate, and negotiated, and practical agreement, and none of that is parcel of the postmodern doctrine. All of that’s up for grabs.
There’s no sovereign individuals. Your group identity is paramount. You have no unique voice. You’re a mouthpiece of your identity group. You can’t speak across group lines because you don’t understand the lived experience of the other. So it’s not who gets to speak, it’s whether the entire notion is a very classic Western notion and a very deep one of free and intelligible speech is even valid.
This intellectual war that’s going on in the universities is way deeper than a political war. It’s way more serious than a political war. It manifest itself politically but, no, politics is way up the scale from where this is actually taking place.
Wood: So when you’re talking with students both one on one or taking their questions … these are not all conservative students that are coming up to you and they’re downloading your videos and listening to your podcast. Though it is a lot of young men, it’s not all men.
Wood: What do you think drives people to the message and to the things that you talk about?
Peterson: I think I’m believable. That’s why. … I’ve done about 150 public lectures or so in the last year, all over the world and to large audiences, the audiences in Australia were starting to approach. We had audiences of 5,500 people in Australia, which is quite remarkable that 5,500 people would come to listen to a serious discussion about philosophical, theological, and psychological issues and participate in that.
I don’t pull any punches, I’m not speaking down, I would never speak down to an audience. I think that’s a dreadful error of arrogance. But the reason I think people believe what I say is that I’m very pessimistic.
Most times when you listen to someone who’s a motivational speaker, … it fills you with a temporary optimism, but you go home and the wiser part of you knows that mostly it’s the painting over of rotten wood with a fresh coat of paint.
I tell my audiences very clearly that their life is going to be difficult and sometimes difficult beyond both imagining and tolerance. That is definitely in your future, if it isn’t in your present, and for many people it’s in their present.
That can be unbearable enough to turn you against life itself. To corrupt you, to drive you to nihilism, to drive you to suicide, and worse, to drive you to thoughts of vengefulness of infinite scope. To not only be turned against yourself and your fellow men but to be turned against being itself because of its intrinsically brutal, in some sense, nature. That it’s worse than that actually because it’s not only that we suffer and that that will necessarily occur, but that we all make our suffering worse because of our ignorance and our malevolence and everyone knows that to be true.
So the discussions start on an unshakable foundation, but then I can tell people … that despite that we’re remarkable creatures. We’re capable of taking up the burden of that suffering and facing the reality of that malevolence voluntarily.
We can actually do that and all of the psychological evidence suggests—and this is independence of your school of psychology, if you’re a practical psychologist. A clinical psychologist of any sort, the evidence is crystal clear that if people voluntarily confront the problems that face them and the malevolence that surrounds them, they can make headway against it. And not only psychologically.
So it’s not only meaningful to do that psychologically, which it is to confront the problems that torment you voluntarily. That’s meaningful psychologically, but it’s also practically useful in that you can actually solve some of the problems that beset you.
God only knows how good we can get at that. I don’t know what percentage of human effort is spent in counterproductive activity. I’m not an absolute cynic about that. But when I talk to undergraduates, I ask them, “How much time do you waste every day by your own reckoning?” It’s somewhere between five and eight hours. It’s a lot of time.
I usually walk … the students through an economic analysis of that. I said, “Well, why don’t you value your time at $50 an hour and calculate for yourself just exactly what you’re doing to your future by your inability to discipline yourself?” It’s worth thinking through.
In any case, people do waste a lot of time and they also act counter productively a lot of the time. Regardless, we do make progress and we can thrive under the difficult conditions that make up our lives and we can resist the malevolence that entices us. That’s within our power.
We don’t know the limits to that and we also know that it’s better to … live courageously than cowardly. Everyone knows that. That’s what you teach people that you love. We know that it’s better to live truthfully than in deceit and you can tell that, too, because that’s also what you tell people that you love and we know that you should pick up your damn responsibility and move forward.
Everyone knows that. It’s part of our intrinsic moral nature and that nature is there. It’s not difficult to communicate to people about this. Everyone knows that you wake up at three in the morning when you’ve let your life go off the rails and that you berate yourself for your uselessness and your cruelty and your failure to take the opportunities that are in front of you.
If you are the master in your own house, in some sense, the captain of your own destiny, if there was no intrinsic nature, that would never happen. You’d just let yourself off the hook. There’d be no voice of conscious tormenting you. But no one escapes from that and what that indicates to me is that at least psychologically we live in a universe that’s characterized by a moral dimension and we understand that well.
Moral failings have consequences and they’re not trivial, they destroy you. They destroy your family, they destroy your community. You can tell people that and they listen because they know. They don’t know they know. That’s the thing and maybe that’s the thing about being an intellectual. You have the opportunity to articulate ideas that other people know, they embody, but they can’t articulate and that’s what people tell me.
They say, “Well, you help me give words to things that I always knew to be true but couldn’t say.” Or they say, “I would be trying to put some of your precepts into practice, responsibility being a main one, vision another, honesty.” … It’s the remarkable part of doing all this.
I have people tell me constantly wherever I go—it’s so delightful that they were in a pretty dark place and they tell me why, and there are plenty of dark places in the world, and they decided, well, maybe they were going to develop a bit of a vision and take a bit more responsibility and start telling the truth and putting some effort into something and they come up and they say, “Wow you can’t believe how much better things are.”
It’s like I got three promotions. I had one guy tell me—this was a lovely story. Fifteen seconds. He came up after a talk, he said, “Two years ago, I got out of jail, I was homeless.” He said, “I own my own house. I have a six-figure income, I got married, and I have a daughter, thank you.” And that was the whole conversation. It’s like he decided he was going to put his life together.
So you can look at that pessimism that constitutes … I think, the core religious message, really is the tragic nature of the world, the reality of suffering. It’s part of the core religious message. But what emerges out of that properly conceptualized is a remarkable appreciation for what human beings are capable of. We are unbelievably resilient and able creatures. We do not have any conception of our upper limits.
Wood: … Is that hope that you’re talking about, that you’re giving people hope, young people hope, is that one of the secrets to reaching them?
Peterson: It’s a funny kind of hope and it’s such a perverse sort of hope because I would say for the last 45 years we’ve told—psychologists have been certainly to blame for this, at least in part—”You’re OK the way you are,” that’s what we tell young people. “Oh, you’re OK the way you are.” … There’s nothing worse … you can tell someone who’s young than that, especially if they’re miserable.
Lots of them, if they’re miserable and aimless, it’s like, “Oh, I’m miserable and aimless and sometimes I’m suicidal and I’m nihilistic and I don’t have any direction … in my life.” It’s like, “Well, you’re OK the way you are.” It’s like they don’t want to hear that. They want to hear, … “You’re useless. You know nothing, you haven’t got started. You’ve got 60 years to put yourself together and God only knows what you could become.”
That message is so … funny because it’s such an attack but it’s so positive because there’s faith there in the potential that makes up the person rather than the miserable actuality that happens to be manifesting itself at the moment. Young people respond extraordinarily well to that.
… If you’re a parent and you love your child, your son, your daughter, what you’re trying to foster is the best in them. You want that to manifest itself across the course of their life. You want them to become continually more than they are to see what they could be.
And I think that’s part of the great message of the West is that that’s the ethical requirement of individual being, in the proper sense, is to constantly know that you’re not what you could be, to take responsibility for that, and to commit yourself, body and soul, to the attainment of that ideal.
Wood: We’re going to get a question here from our members, right here in the front row. Bob Grantham had a couple good questions right here. He asked, “Much of your effort today is trying to help people improve their lives.” You’ve just been talking about that. “Why does the establishment attack you, rather than try to support your efforts?”
Peterson: We should be nuanced about that. A group of newspapers in Canada called Postmedia—that’s 200 newspapers strong—they supported me. I’ve had a lot of support from journalists, and I would say I’ve had more support from the higher quality journalists, which I’m quite happy about. So, it’s polarized.
I have a dedicated coterie of people who regard me as an enemy. There’s no doubt about that. And I think it’s because I am absolutely no fan whatsoever of the radical left. I think the fact that you can actively present yourself on campus as a communist … the fact that that’s allowable is as mysterious as it would be if it was allowable to present yourself as a Nazi.
I am not a fan of the radical left. And I understand the motivations on the radical left, both on the postmodernist end and on the more Marxist end. Because of that, I’m a relatively effective critic, and that makes me very unpopular. And that’s fine because … because what people are being taught, that’s emerged from that brand of absurd and surreal philosophy, is of no utility as a guiding light to anyone.
It’s a catastrophe to take young people in their formative years, when they’re trying to catalyze their adult identity, and to tear the substructure out from underneath them and leave them bereaved. I do believe that that’s what the universities—on the humanities end, and to some degree on the social science end—fundamentally manage to achieve.
I don’t admire that. I think there’s something deeply sadistic about that. There’s something deeply anti-human about that, and it presents itself in the guise of moral virtue, which makes it even worse. Well, that’s why people don’t like me.
Wood: All right. … So, this was [Adam from Vassar College’s] question. He said, “Given the liberal political order bends toward automatization of individuals, e.g. automation and urbanization, how can meaningful community be assured?”
Peterson: You build that for yourself, in part. I mean, Adam, get a girlfriend. People aren’t doing that. That’s falling by the wayside, right? And it’s because it’s trouble … Life is trouble. And it’s trouble to establish a permanent relationship.
We’ve told young people for far too long that they should be happy in their relationships. And it’s like, that’s weak. … God, most of you are married. To be married for 40 years, that’s not a triumph of happiness. It’s a triumph of character. It’s a triumph of negotiation, right? It’s a triumph of will to do that. And that should be celebrated.
But to children today, it should also be pointed out, that no matter who you find, they’re no better than you. And that’s not so good. So, there’s going to be problems.
But that shouldn’t stop you. Find someone. If you’re lucky, you’re going to have the opportunity to sort of sift through about five people in your life. That’s about it. And then you’re going to have to stake yourself on one of those people. It’s a hell of a risk, but with any luck, it’ll make you a better person, that wrestling.
… I did a series of biblical lectures in 2017, which have turned out to be crazily popular of all the insane things to be.
Wood: And I was supposed to ask you, why do you think that is?
Peterson: … Well, one of the things I learned in those lectures—and should’ve known before—was that the word Israel, so the chosen people of God, the people of Israel, are those who wrestle with God. And that’s such an interesting idea. It’s a fascinating idea because it indicates at least—even in our deepest religious texts—that there’s something about existential conflict and engaging in that that’s actually part of the moral substructure of life.
That simple belief, let’s say, whatever that might mean in a deity, isn’t sufficient. There’s an active engagement with the infinite. And it’s a battle in some sense. And I think that’s the proper way to conceptualize. And I think it’s the proper way to conceptualize a relationship. It’s a battle. It’s a battle toward a positive end. It’s a battle toward the transformation of both of you into more than you could’ve otherwise been.
So, you need that. And you need your friends. And you need to develop a network of friendship. And you need to put your family together and to act responsibly toward them. And then you need to move out from that into the broader community. And that’s on you.
That’s how you foster it. You make it a part of the ideal that you’re pursuing, and then you realize that that’s up to you to do. And maybe then you realize that you can do it as well, if you’re willing to make the right sacrifices—which usually means burning off a fair bit of dead wood. And that’s not something that people are particularly excited about doing. And no wonder.
Wood: … Thinking of our theme of standing up against socialism, what have I not asked you about? What have other interviewers not asked you about that would be beneficial for us all to know?
Peterson: Well, you asked a little bit about these biblical lectures, and what was interesting was I rented a theater in Toronto. I rented it 15 times. It was theater of about 500 and sold out every time. And I lectured about Genesis. It was mostly young men who came. They weren’t all young, but they were mostly men, which was very surprising because that’s just not what happens.
The reason that the lectures worked was because I put together something that I don’t think liberals or conservatives have done a good job of putting together. The liberals are more on the happiness and freedom end of things, and the conservatives are more on the duty end of things. And those both have their place.
But I’ve been attempting to develop an argument that’s centered on meaning. And I believe that our most central religious symbols—like the symbol of the cross itself, for example, the bearing of the cross, is an embodiment or a symbolic representation of this idea that you have to have a meaning in life that sustains you. Life is a serious business. You’re all in.
It’s a fatal business, right? Everyone’s in it up to their neck, and it’s dreadful in some sense, in the classic sense. And you need a meaning that can sustain you through that, and that’s to be found in responsibility. And that’s something that we have not communicated, I don’t think, well to ourselves. But we certainly haven’t communicated it to young people. It’s like, “Well, you’re lost? There’s reasons that you could be lost, and they’re real.”
God only knows what terrible things happened to you in your life. It’s like, “How are you going to get out of that?” Well, not by pursuing impulsive happiness. That is not going to work. Not by thinking in the short term. Not by thinking in a narrowly selfish manner, either. But by taking on the heaviest load of responsibility that you can conceptualize and bear. That will do it. It’ll do it for you.
It’ll give you a reason to wake up in the morning. It’ll give you a bomb for you conscience when you wake up at night and ask yourself what you’re doing with your life. It’ll make you a credit to yourself and to your family, and it’ll make you a boon to your community. And more than that. There’s more than that.
It’s said in Genesis that every person is made in the image of God. And there’s an idea in Genesis that God is that which confronts the chaos of potential with truth and courage. That’s the logos. If we’re made in the image of God, that’s us. That’s what we do, we confront the potential of chaos, the future, the unformed future.
We confront that consciously, and we decide with every ethical choice we make what kind of world we’re going to bring into being. We transform that potential into actuality. And we do that as a consequence of our ethical decisions.
So, it’s not only a matter of putting yourself together and putting your family together, putting your community together. It’s a matter of bringing the world in its proper shape into being.
I truly believe that that’s the case. I believe that we all believe that. We hold ourselves responsible. You know, that if you’ve made a mistake with your family because you were selfish or narrow-minded or blind in some manner that you regard yourself as culpable. You could have done otherwise. And now you’ve brought something into the world that should not be there. And it’s on you.
We hold ourselves responsible in that manner. So, what that indicates to me is that in a deep sense, we believe that we are the agents that transform the potential of being into reality. … If anything, [that] links us with divinity. It’s our capability to transform what is not yet into what is.
The other thing that happens … is that as God conducts himself through this enterprise of the transformation of potential into actuality, he stops repeatedly and says, “And it was good.” And that’s a mystery. Why is it good?
The answer is something like, “Well, if you conduct yourself with the courage that enables you to accept your vulnerability—which is no trivial matter—and if you’re truthful, then what you bring out of potential is what’s good.” And that sets the world right. And that’s up to us.
To me, that’s the great story of the West. That’s why we regard ourselves as sovereign individuals of value, is that’s what we are. And we need to know that to take ourselves seriously and to act properly in the world.
That’s what I said in the biblical lectures in many hours. And that’s what’s made them popular because people, at the level of the soul, people know these things to be true.
Wood: Ladies and gentleman, please help me thank Jordan Peterson.
I write to you because I’m seeing something unfold that concerns you, and I have no way of knowing if you’re aware of it, nor have I seen anyone else mention it. That is, sir, you are being set up, a trap is being set for you, and unless you are aware of it, you may well walk into that trap eyes wide open.
It may not be in your briefing this morning, but the WikiLeaks organization has reported that high-ranking Ecuadorean state officials have told them Julian Assange will be expelled from their London embassy in a matter of “hours to days”. Now, I don’t know what your personal opinion is of Mr. Assange, maybe you think he deserves punishment for leaking secret files to the public.
Your personal opinion of Mr. Assange, however, is not the most important issue here, no offense. What’s most important to your own situation, as well as that of Mr. Assange, is that the people who are after him are the very same people who have been after you for 3 years, and who will double their efforts after suffering a huge loss due to Robert Mueller’s No Collusion report.
What the trap set for you consists of is that if you let these -largely anonymous- deep state actors get their hands on Mr. Assange, you will greatly empower them (even further). But, sir, his enemies inside US intelligence are the same as yours, and empowering one’s enemies is not the way to do battle.
We know they are the same people because of Robert Mueller. Mr. Assange was the only way Mr. Mueller could think of to link you to “the Russians”. This is a narrative built upon the -false- notion that “Russians” hacked the DNC servers and sent the contents to Mr. Assange. The narrative has been fully discredited by multiple voices multiple times, but Mr. Mueller has never retracted it.
For good reason: this way he -and others- can leave the story, and suspicion, open that there is a link between you, Mr. Assange and the Russians, despite the Mueller report’s no collusion conclusion. And do note: it not only maintains the popular and media suspicion of Mr. Assange, it also leaves suspicion of you alive.
Robert Mueller repeats the assertion from the US security services that it was Russian hackers who obtained the DNC emails and passed them on to Wikileaks. I am telling you from my personal knowledge that this is not true. Neither Mueller’s team, not the FBI, nor the NSA, nor any US Intelligence agency, has ever carried out any forensic analysis on the DNC’s servers. The DNC consistently refused to make them available. The allegation against Russia is based purely on information from the DNC’s own consultants, Crowdstrike.
William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA (America’s US$40 billion a year communications intercept organisation), has proven beyond argument that it is a technical impossibility for the DNC emails to have been transmitted by an external hack – they were rather downloaded locally, probably on to a memory stick. Binney’s analysis is fully endorsed by former NSA systems expert Ed Loomis. There simply are no two people on the planet more technically qualified to make this judgement. Yet, astonishingly, Mueller refused to call Binney or Loomis (or me) to testify. Compare this, for example, with his calling to testify my friend Randy Credico, who had no involvement whatsoever in the matter, but Mueller’s team hoped to finger as a Trump/Assange link.
The DNC servers have never been examined by intelligence agencies, law enforcement or by Mueller’s team. Binney and Loomis have written that it is impossible this was an external hack. Wikileaks have consistently stressed no state actor was involved. No evidence whatsoever has been produced of the transfer of the material from the “Russians” to Wikileaks. Wikileaks Vault 7 release of CIA documents shows that the planting of false Russian hacking “fingerprints” is an established CIA practice. Yet none of this is reflected at all by Mueller nor by the mainstream media. “Collusion” may be dead, but the “Russiagate” false narrative limps on.
Mr. Trump, sir, I don’t doubt you have realized by now that you are not rid yet of Robert Mueller. But Mr. Mueller is but one cog in the large wheel of intelligence running against you. Yes, the same wheel that runs against Mr. Assange. I’m sure you recognize that it’s hugely ironic, but there is a for now unbreakable bond between the two of you.
Not because of anything you did yourselves, but because Russiagate conspirators in the media, the Democratic party and the intelligence community have created it. And you need to be careful on account of that bond, because they’re going to -try to- use it against you.
I may be a lot more sympathetic to Mr. Assange than you are, but as I said before, this has nothing to do with personal opinion. This is about a trap being set for you. And Mr. Assange is an important part of that trap.
Through him, and especially if they keep him incommunicado, they can keep Russiagate alive, which allows for hundreds of billions of dollars in annual arms expenditures and the 24/7/365 threat of war.
Without the empty allegations against Mr. Assange, Robert Mueller would have had to drop his probe much earlier, but in keeping the allegations alive by silencing Mr. Assange, Russiagate can live on, because the link between Russian hackers and WikiLeaks can be left hanging in the air. And that, Mr. President, will be bad news for you, whether you like it or not, whether you acknowledge it or not.
We haven’t talked about the media yet, but there’s another giant irony in the US media clamoring about press freedom, and using it to smear you for 3 years, but not saying a single word to defend that same freedom when it comes to Mr. Assange. They, too, will continue to haunt you, using Mr. Assange as their bait. Don’t let them.
I don’t know what you intend to do about Russiagate and its main perpetrators, but I do know you can make things much easier for yourself if you solve the Assange conundrum first. And you can’t do that by allowing your own enemies to get their hands on him and rendition him; that will backfire on you.
You could pardon him, but that may be a step too far for you at this point. It might be better to simply allow him to go home to Australia.
What would amuse me to no end is if you would personally nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize. That would piss off so many of your enemies it would be a sight to see. The biggest bird you can flip them all. And then after that, you know, go talk to Vladimir Putin and tell him you’re sorry for all this bad theater.
There’s this scene in the Godfather where Marlon Brando as the ageing Don tells Al Pacino how to recognize the traitor in his own midst: the one who suggests setting up a meeting. This is very similar: whoever comes to you to suggest the harshest treatment of Julian Assange, will be the one(s) intent on coming after you too.
One last thing, Mr. President: Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden are among the best, brightest and bravest people our world has to offer. We need people like them, and we need them badly. And it’s a lot more stupid than it is simply ironic, that they are the ones we are locking up and silencing. That way America will never be great again, guaranteed.
And you, sir (I know, more irony) may be their -and our- best and even last hope. You have the power to set free our best. Please use it wisely. And Mr. President, sir, be careful out there.
The amount of mental acrobatics that Wall Street analysts have to perform to justify continued buying of stocks even as bonds scream deflation, the yield curve screams contraction, Europe and China are already one foot in a recession, and earnings are set for their first profit contraction in 3 years, is simply staggering.
One week ago, we reported that in keeping with its now traditional “good quant, bad quant” strategy (profiled most recently here), just hours later, JPMorgan’s “other” quant, Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou published a report in which he said that while he maintains a risk-on and pro-cyclical stance (the alternative is risking being dubbed “fake news” by Kolanovic), he warned that “investors should start building up hedges against the risk of a repeat of the past two weeks’ yield curve inversion episode.”
Picking up on what he said two weeks ago, the JPMorgan strategist noted that “yield curve inversion has been generally a bad omen for growth and recession risk, though with variable lags to risky asset prices historically.” And while not news to those who read our latest recap of Panigirtzoglou recent report, at the macro level the “other” JPM quant warns that “despite the improvement in the Chinese and Asian PMIs in this week’s releases the global growth picture is not out of the woods yet” adding that “these cyclical risks are still manifesting in our global manufacturing PMI, which has failed to rise in the latest release despite better Asian PMIs”.
Then over the weekend, in order to dispel fears that stocks have levitated too high, one strategist came out with a “novel” interpretation, claiming that there is no reason to worry as, drumroll, equity investors have been worried about the wrong yield curve. That strategist: Mislav Matejka who works for JPMorgan, and is a co-worker of the far more skeptical Panigirtzoglou.
That’s right, one bank, two diametrically opposing takes on what the yield curve means for investors.
According to the “other” JPM strategist, while there’s concern that the recent inversion of the yield curve is a sell signal for the market, he notes there’s an average 18-month lag between such a move and the onset of a recession, Matejka said in a note to investors Monday.
His solution? Ignore the “bad omen” for stocks highlighted by JPMorgan’s Panigirtzoglou, and inatead please just look at the spread between the 10-year and 2-year Treasury yields – which is about 18 basis points away from inversion – instead of using the inverted 10-year and 3-month Treasury yield difference that has stock traders – and his own JPMorgan co-worker – on edge.
But while disagreements between different strategists at the same bank is hardly new, what is remarkable is what a third – and even more bullish – JPMorgan strategist told Barron’s to further stoke the bullish narrative.
In order to justify JPMorgan’s 3,000 price target in the S&P, in an interview with Barron‘s, the bank’s chief U.S. equity strategist Dubravko Lakos-Bujas said that while many strategists and investors try to predict the end of the business current cycle, he boldly claimed that it may be time to reconsider its very existence.
That’s right: with the US poised to enter its longest expansion on record in June (absent a recession in the next month or so, which looks unlikely except in retrospect) and with rising concerns that the economy is now extremely “late cycle”, JPMorgan’s solution is to ignore the business cycle entirely, as central banks have now effectively taken over micromanaging the global economy.
“We are all used to using the word ‘cycle’; we’re all used to looking at historical charts and graphs and equations and relationships,” Lakos-Bujas told Barron’s. “The reality is that maybe the word ‘cycle’ is no longer even relevant, given that we have so much unconventional central-bank involvement.”
Why does the JPM chief equity strategist feel comfortable with making such a ludicrous statement? It has everything to do with the lack of inflation (because on Wall Street, as well as in the Federal Reserve HQ, there is no such thing as surging housing, healthcare, education and food prices and all the focus is on deflating, and edible, iPads).
“The fact that we’re not seeing really significant inflation pressure—it remains positive but tame—suggests that there’s no reason for central-bank policy to rush,” he said, pitching central planning with the passion and fervor of a Communist Party undersecretary speaking in front of Leonid Brezhnev in 1968 Moscow.
Of course, as Barron’s noted, central banks have done more than just keep rates low: central banks have put their balance sheets to work like never before, with large-scale asset purchases injecting liquidity into economies around the world. The ECB has gone even further than the Fed, buying up both sovereign and corporate bonds. The Bank of Japan took it to yet another level, purchasing equities in addition to bonds; its balance sheet is now above 100% of Japan’s GDP.
“This is not a normal cycle just left to itself to run. It is continually fiddled with by these central-bank injections,” he says, as if that were a good thing. And apparently it is, because the positive spin on the entire world becoming a 1960s version of the USSR is that “rather than nearing the end of one decadelong cycle, perhaps it’s just the beginning of a fourth mini-cycle.”
The first cycle he identifies ran from 2009 to 2012, when the European debt crisis forced the ECB to be creative in its measures to support debt-burdened euro-zone economies. The next phase lasted until 2016, when some emerging markets slipped into recession and U.S. corporate profits declined for two quarters. It ended when the Fed paused interest-rate increases and other central banks turned more accommodative. Another mini-cycle ended in the fourth quarter of 2018, when the Fed pivoted to a dovish stance and China began fiscal stimulus.
That brings us to the start of 2019, when a fourth cycle might have begun. “We have these little mini-cycles that are continuously occurring, and they seem to coincide with central-bank policy,” Lakos-Bujas says.
Unlike his more bearish JPM colleague, Panagirtzoglou who has been skeptical for the better part of the past 4 months, Lakos-Bujas – just like Marko Kolanovic – sees the S&P 500 going to 3000 this year, as investors steadily become willing to take on more risk and overhangs like the U.S.-China trade dispute are resolved.
Perhaps there is something about Croatian genes predisposing analysts to be especially bullish, we don’t know and it doesn’t really matter. But what struck us, is the lack of any critical observation or rational analysis of the dangers of central banks constantly stepping in to push stocks higher at any downside inflection points, something Bank of America pointed out over a year ago.
After all, in a world in which the economy is increasingly the market (where easy central banks and record buybacks are all that matter), all that is happening is that this increasingly artificial “market” is creating a world with record “zombie companies”, and staggering economic imbalances whose day of reckoning is not being resolved but merely delayed, guaranteeing that when the market finally does crack, not only will what little central bank credibility is left be crushed, but the world will fall into a depression the likes of which will make the 1920s and 1930s seems like a walk in the park.
“I don’t think God gives a rip about the labels, but I’m convinced he cares a great deal for the heart behind the labels. What we wear on the outside has an interesting way of revealing what we really value on the inside. Our clothing reveals who we want to be known by and what we want to be known for.”
(Tim Challies) Everyone is talking about PreachersNSneakers. Well, not everyone, I’m sure, but enough that it has ended up in my inbox plenty of times over the past few days. PreachersNSneakers is an Instagram account that simply shares photos of preachers in their sneakers. No big deal, right?…
It wouldn’t be, except that these are not just any preachers in any sneakers—these are mega-church pastors in mega-expensive sneakers (or, occasionally, other designer garb). It’s just the kind of thing that’s sure to catch the eye of BuzzFeed and, through it, to reverberateacross the Internet. And, sure, enough, it is growing by thousands of subscribers each day.
John Gray of the Relentless Church in Greenville—who, you may remember, was recently in the news for gifting his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini—is shown wearing one pair of shoes that sells for $3,700 and another that rings in at close to $6,000. Chad Veach and Judah Smith (of ZOE church in Los Angeles and City Church in Seattle, respectively) show up again and again, always with shoes or other bits of swag that cost in the hundreds of dollars. On and on it goes. View article →
In this episode, Frank talks about the movie Unplanned, based on the dramatic true story of a former Planned Parenthood leader who, after participating in an actual abortion procedure for the first time, walked down the street to join the Coalition for Life. He also interviews the great Dr. Mike S. Adams about his debate with Dr. Willie Parker, an abortion doctor who has performed thousands of abortions and claims to be a Christian. We don’t shy away from the truth, you shouldn’t either, listen to this important episode of the Cross Examined Official Podcast.