By J Mulraj
March 8-15, 2024

Shaping the narrative using doublespeak

The priorities of political leaders are malleable, and can change, depending on current exigencies. One of the top priorities for the Biden administration was climate change. Towards this end, one of Biden’s first acts upon assuming the Presidency, was to shut the Keystone Pipeline, stop the further leasing of Federal land for fracking, and to mandate stricter fuel efficiency norms for the auto industry.

Watch this video. In April 2023 the US Government imposed stricter emission standards for US auto makers. The purpose was to force a change in favor of electric vehicles (EVs), and the ambitious goal was to have 60% of new auto sales as EVs by 2030, and 66% by 2032. Helping save the environment from harmful carbon emissions was, then, the primary objective.

In mid Sep 2023 the United Auto Workers (UAW) organized a strike at all 3 major legacy auto manufacturers GM, Ford and Stellantis. Biden leaned in favor of UAW, and the strike was called off end Oct, after the 3 manufacturers agreed to a 25% wage increase, adjusted for inflation, over a 4 1/2 year period.

The legacy automakers, unable to compete with Tesla, especially after the wage hike, pressured the Biden administration to dilute the strict emission standards. As per the video referred to above, bowing to pressure, he did! The commercial necessity of the automakers, who would be compelled to make some employees lose jobs, combined with the political necessity for Biden to save votes, led to the necessity of watering down emission standards. Necessity is the mother of intervention, so he intervened to save legacy automakers, and a part of his vote bank.

Or take the steps taken, and the narrative spun, in tackling the Covid crisis in America. Read and watch this where Dr Pierre Kory, interviewed by Tucker Carlson, explains why Covid could have been treated using things like Vitamin D or ivermectin, and the intervention by Government, including lockdowns and vaccination could have been avoided. The use of these did not suit the narrative that vaccines were needed, and through the manufacture of which some companies made huge profits. Sadly, says Dr Kory, vaccines resulted in excess mortality, (higher deaths than normal). To provide a perspective, in the first 9 months of 2023, there were 150,000 excess mortality cases, which was far far more than the 58000 American deaths in the 1955-75 Vietnam war!

As per this article, a study reported in the Journal of Infection, found that those treated with ivermectin were better off. Yet, anyone expressing different opinions were silenced, especially on social media.

Necessity became the mother of intervention in the Ukraine conflict. Biden’s ‘deep state’ advisors misled him into ignoring the appeals of Russian President Putin, not to admit Ukraine into NATO, as that would not only violate the agreement accepted by Reagan, that NATO would not expand eastwards, (though it did), but that it posed an existential threat for Russia. That arises from the possibility that NATO can place its missiles on the territory of a member state, and if such were placed in Ukraine, Moscow had insufficient time to ward off an attack launched from there.

The very least Biden could have done was to study the history of the Cuban missile crisis, which almost led to a nuclear war! Like Ukraine, the genesis of that crisis was in placement of American missiles in Turkey, a NATO member, and the ignoring of pleas of then Russian President, Khrushchev, to remove them, as they posed an existential threat to Russia, for reasons of proximity. It was only after Khrushchev countered by placing Russian missiles in Cuba, in close proximity to Florida, that both sides agreed to withdraw offending threats, though not after quite a few nails had been chewed.

Biden’s ‘deep state’ advisors also advised him that sanctions placed on Russia for invading Ukraine (which he instigated by ignoring valid concerns) would work-  they haven’t; that there would be no buyers for Russian oil/gas if EU stops importing it – other buyers emerged, and EU high energy prices are crippling their economies with Germany, the strongest economy, entering recession; and that Russia would become militarily enfeebled- it hasn’t, but, on the other hand, it is USA that has a severely depleted stock of artillery shells after sending most to Ukraine, and USA has also severely depleted its Treasury, becoming the most indebted nation in the world.

But necessity is the mother of intervention and, looking at the depleted stocks of weaponry and of funds, it’s a matter of time before America will pursue a negotiated end to the senseless war. Perhaps after the November US Presidential election.

In interesting news of last week, both China and Norway have announced large discoveries of valuable reserves. China has announced a large find of metamorphic rock oil reserves in the Bohai Sea which would help it reduce dependence, and transportation risk, on imports of oil. And Norway has discovered huge reserves of phosphate, used in a variety of things like fertilizers, animal feeds, cosmetics, electronics and others. The Western world is relying on ‘unfriendly’ countries like China, Russia and Morocco, though the US is a large producer itself, but will welcome supply from  a ‘friendly’ country.

In India, after a ruling by the Supreme Court, names of purchasers of Electoral Bonds were revealed, though the direction of the funding support was not. Strangely, some purchasers bought several times more bonds than the profits they made, suggesting their unselfish generosity in supporting parties whose policies they espouse.

The Indian small and medium market cap stocks have started declining. Once the large cap stock prices have risen substantially, individual investors try to find ‘bargains’ in small and medium caps, mistakingly equating price and value. Since these companies have, by definition, low floating stock, the change in sentiment tends to make them illiquid, leading to a sharper fall.

Last week the BSE Sensex dropped 1476  points to close at 72643 .

The world #1 economy, USA, is $34 trillion in debt and debt servicing poses a problem. The #2 economy, China, has huge problems of adverse demographics, youth unemployment and over construction of houses. The #3, Germany, and #4, Japan, have entered recession. India, #5, is the only silver lining.

Dark clouds, though, are plenty, and ominously hovering over Ukraine, Israel, Sudan, Yemen, Taiwan and, maybe, Korea.

Bulls are ignoring the dark clouds and focussing on the silver lining.  Let’s pray the dark clouds don’t burst.


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