Health Care: Total Costs

Middle-Class Families Confront Soaring Health Insurance Costs

Middle-Class Families Confront Soaring Health Insurance Costs

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Consumers here at first did not believe the health insurance premiums they saw when they went shopping for coverage this month on HealthCare.gov. Only five plans were available, and for a family of four with parents in their mid-30s, the cheapest plan went typically for more than $2,400 a month, nearly $30,000 a year.

With the deadline for a decision less than a month away, consumers are desperately weighing their options, dismayed at the choices they have under the Affordable Care Act and convinced that political forces in Washington are toying with their health and well-being.

“I believe in the Affordable Care Act; it worked for me under the Obama administration,” said Sara Stovall, 40, who does customer-support work for a small software company. “But it’s not working as it was supposed to. It’s being sabotaged, and I feel like a pawn.”

Ms. Stovall said she might try to reduce her hours and income, so her family could qualify for subsidies on offer to poorer families to help pay for premiums.

Heather Griffith, a 42-year-old real estate broker, said she would put aside much less money for her retirement and the education of her two young children so she could pay the premiums.

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Why health care costs are making consumers more afraid of medical bills than an actual illness?

  • Health care costs are spiraling higher, but patient visits to a doctor have been on the decline.
  • A growing number of consumers are staying away out of fear of big bills.
  • However, “untimely visits or delay of visits to the physician ultimately leads to the increased cost of care,” the Cleveland Clinic’s CEO told CNBC.

As health care costs keep rising, more people seem to be skipping physician visits.

It’s not fear of doctors, however, but more of a phobia about the bills that could follow. Higher deductibles and out-of-network fees are just some of the out-of-pocket costs that can hit a consumer’s pockets.

U.S. health care costs keep rising, and hit more than $10,000 a year per person in 2016. According to a recent national poll, over the past 12 months, 44 percent of Americans said they didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick or injured because of financial concerns. Meanwhile, 40 percent said they skipped a recommended medical test or treatment.

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Your total costs for health care: Premium, deductible & out-of-pocket costs

Your total costs for health care

When choosing a plan, it’s a good idea to think about your total health care costs, not just the bill (the “premium”) you pay to your insurance company every month.

Other amounts, sometimes called “out-of-pocket” costs, have a big impact on your total spending on health care – sometimes more than the premium itself.

Beyond your monthly premium: Deductible and out-of-pocket costs

  • Deductible: How much you have to spend for covered health services before your insurance company pays anything (except free preventive services)
  • Copayments and coinsurance: Payments you make each time you get a medical service after reaching your deductible
  • Out-of-pocket maximum: The most you have to spend for covered services in a year. After you reach this amount, the insurance company pays 100% for covered services.

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Millennials: Agrihoods – Investing – Retirement

Agrihoods: The newest trend in millennial living

Agrihoods: The newest trend in millennial living

Millennials are harkening back to simpler days and creating communities on farms, surrounded by nature’s bounty and benefits. There are now more than a hundred of these neighborhoods — called Agrihoods — across the country, Full Story

This living in the nature type development is in its infancy and it’s too early to determine if it will become a trend. However, what this data reveals is that Millennials don’t have fixed values and have they are not loyal to any given brand or ideology. The next generation is going to be even more unpredictable for marketers seeking to make long-term projections.  However, unpredictability is fantastic especially for those who put the principles of mass psychology into use.  This is the reason many companies that look solid today will not be around in the years to come as they will either refuse to adapt or refuse to look at the situation from a different angle.  One area that is  going to experience a sea of change is the financial services industry.

 

Here’s why millennials would rather save than invest

Here’s why millennials would rather save than invest

Millennials are wary of entering the stock market.

New data from the latest Merrill Edge Report shows that, when asked what they’d be able to rely on in 20 years, millennials’ top response was their savings account, according to 66 percent of respondents.

When Merrill Edge asked older generations the same question, the majority of Gen-Xers (71 percent) said they’d be able to rely on their 401(k). The top response among boomers (54 percent) was their pension.

“In stark contrast to older generations who are relying on outside sources for their future financial security, millennials are looking to their self-created savings years down the line,” Aron Levine, head or Merrill Edge at Bank of America, writes in the report. “Millennials place even greater trust in their own stewardship than they do in their personal relationships with their significant other and friends.”

The report shows that young people today are taking a “do-it-yourself” approach to finance and investing, choosing to rely primarily on their own savings in place of vehicles like a 401(k) or IRA. Though many millennials do utilize these tools as well, there’s still an underlying feeling that their own efforts are more dependable.

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Will you have enough to retire?

Will you have enough to retire?

Methodology

This calculator estimates how much you’ll need to save for retirement. To make sure you’re thinking about the long haul, we assume you’ll live to age 92. But you could live to be 100 or incur large medical bills early on in retirement that may raise your costs even further. Social Security is factored into these calculations, but other sources of income, such as pensions and annuities, are not. All calculations are pre-tax.

The results offer a general idea of how much you’ll need and are not intended to be investment advice. The results are presented in both future dollars (at retirement) and today’s dollars, which is calculated using an inflation rate of 2.3%.

How we calculate your savings goal?

First, we determine what your income will be at the time you retire by growing your current income at an annual rate of 3.8% (the inflation rate of 2.3%, plus the salary growth rate of 1.5%). We then assume you can live comfortably off of 85% of your pre-retirement income. So if you earn $100,000 the year you retire, we estimate you will need $85,000 during the first year of retirement. For each subsequent year, we increase your income need by 2.3% to keep up with inflation. We then factor in Social Security by subtracting your estimated benefits (more on that below) since that income will reduce the amount you will need to save.

The second step is to calculate the total savings you will need at the time you retire, in order to generate enough income for each year of retirement. To do this, we determine what it would cost to purchase a fixed income annuity, with inflation-adjusted payments, using a discount rate (or rate of return) of 6%. The cost to purchase this hypothetical annuity is your target savings goal.

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Bearish vs Bullish outlook: The Trend favours higher Market prices

Bearish vs Bullish

Bearish vs Bullish; outlook for a stock market bull is much stronger

Flashback; Dow today looks like Dow yesteryear. The pattern the Dow is tracing is jarringly similar to that of 2011.  If history is going to serve as a guidepost, then the Dow could be ready to roar as opposed to being down for the count.  When the markets were plunging in 2011, the same question was posed. Is the Dow going to crash, is the bull over? Turns out that the so-called crash was nothing but a hiccup in what turned out to be one of the most massive Bull Runs of all time. Now we are faced with the same paradigm, and once again the talking heads (many who actually have the audacity to call themselves experts) are marching to the same drumbeat and chanting the same song of doom.

Central banks created an Alternate reality

We have repeatedly stated over the years that we are living in an era of lies and deceit, where the laws of reality have been suspended and master of deception (A.K.A central bankers) have helped create an alternate reality. In this reality, savers are punished and speculators are rewarded. Markets have been manipulated for an extraordinary period of time by artificially holding down interest rates for a record period of time.

As we live in an era of lies and deceit, where rampant manipulation is the order of the day; worse still, no one is contesting this manipulation.  The masses have embraced that this is their destiny and surrendered to this new market norm.

Hot money rewards speculators punishes savers

This new norm rewards speculators and punishes savers. Under such circumstances, it makes no sense to focus on Bull vs bear market argument. Instead, focus on the Stock Market bull aspect only.

The laws of reality have been suspended (courtesy of the masters of deception, otherwise known as the friendly Fed), the markets will only crash if access to easy money is eliminated. This hot money is the main driving force behind these markets and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Against this backdrop of trickery and dishonesty, normal market rules cease to apply.

Sentiment not bullish; all strong corrections should be treated as buying opportunities

our contention has been that every major correction for the past several years is nothing but the market letting out a well-deserved dose of steam; a massive crash is not the makings; at least not yet. One day the markets will crash, but as this market is being propped up a by hot money, anything and everything will be done to prevent the markets from crashing. If there was any dose of freedom left in these markets, they would have crashed long ago. Therefore, once again, do not waste time on the  Bull vs bear market theme; instead, pay attention to the trend. As the trend is bullish the markets are expected to trend much higher.

There is a stark difference between thinking you know what will happen and from knowing what is going to happen. Mass psychology clearly states that markets usually run into a brick wall when the Crowd is Euphoric and chanting “Kumbaya my love”. This is not the case yet and sentiment is far from the euphoric zone.  This is one of the most hated bull markets in history.

Bearish vs Bullish; It’s 2011 all over again

The predictions that Dow was destined for destruction during the correction of 2011 might have appeared erudite in nature. Those predictions, now in retrospect, sound more like the ravings of a lunatic. Be wary when the masses are joyous and Joyous when they are not, that in essence is the most basic tenet of mass psychology.

Dow Index Pattern in 2011

  • In 2011, the from high to low the Dow shed roughly 16.2% or 2,070 points. Now, depending on your entry point the experience could have ranged from being mild to crash like in nature.  If you purchased right at the top, then the word crash was probably flashing through your mind.    Just because you think it’s a crash does not necessarily signify that your perceptions, that are being overwhelmed by fear are correct.
  • All media outlets were busy flooding the waves with stories that extremely pessimistic in nature. Misery loves company and stupidity demands it. Consumer confidence was not strong, the U.S. credit rating was downgraded, manufacturing was slowing down, and the list goes on.  The 3rd quarter ended and the 4th quarter began and all those bogeyman stories well proved to be just that.

Markets climb a wall of worry

In 2011, the Dow ended the year on a positive note, defying all the predictions of disaster.  Three months into the new year (20120, the Dow soared to a series of new highs. Like cockroaches, the naysayers vanished into the woodwork waiting for another day to sing the same old monotonous song, buoyant that time would make the masses forget the old proclamations and embrace the new ones; this falls dangerously close to the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.  So far the outcome appears to be the same and if the pattern is repeated, then these chaps are going to get clobbered.

Outlook for the Dow 2017 and beyond

During the so-called market crash phase that started in August, the Dow from high to low shed approximately 16.3%. Strikingly close to the 16.2% that the Dow gave up during the 3rd quarter of 2011.  So far, in the 4th quarter, all the major market indices are faring much better as was the case back in 2011.  In the 4th quarter, the Dow has tacked on almost 5%.

Bearish vs Bullish; there is no case for a Bear market; take a look at this chart 

The VIX, which is an index that measures fear blasted as it was being chased by the hounds of hell. ItX surged to a new five-year high, pointedly illustrating that the masses were hysterical.  Panic is the secret code name for opportunity.  Mass psychology clearly indicates that when the crowds panic, the astute investor should be ready to jump in.

The bullish case for the Dow index in 2017
  • A host of technical indicators is still trading in the extremely oversold ranges.
  • Our trend indicator is dangerously close to triggering a new buy signal. The fact that it did not move into the sell zone validated that the correction was nothing but a market letting out some well-deserved steam.
  • Inflation continues to come in at the low end

Bearish vs Bullish outlook; here is our game plan

Fear has to be avoided under any circumstance when it comes to investing. It is a detestable emotion that just sucks you dry. It takes and gives nothing back in return. When the crowd panics, one should resist the urge to become one with fear and the crowd. We are not in the jungle and fear is a useless emotion when it comes to making money in the markets. Get rid of it or it will get rid of you. Fear is a parasitic emotion; the only good parasite is a dead parasite. So shoot to kill when it comes to fear

To break even for the year, the Dow only needs to trade approximately 600 points higher. If examines the entire journey (up and down) the Dow traversed from August to Oct,  the count comes in at roughly  5000 points. Examined from this angle, 600 points does not amount to that much; the Dow still has roughly three months to achieve this objective.

The Trend supports a bull market but ride up is expected to be volatile. 

The  V-indicator is trading well above the danger zone; 1100 points higher to be precise.  This means that extreme volatility is going to be the order of the day. One should not expect the ride up to be smooth.  We have a fair amount of resistance in the 17300-17400 ranges.  The ideal set up would be for the Dow would trade in these ranges, with a possible overshoot to 17,600 and then proceed to test 16,500-16,600 ranges.

Bear in mind that the above targets should serve as rough guideposts.  We never focus on trying to identify the exact bottom or top, a task we think is best left to fools with an inordinate appetite for pain. The game plan should be to view all strong pullback as buying opportunities.  Line up the stocks you love, and then use strong pullbacks to open new positions in them.

Dow Dejavu? When one examines both the patterns (2011 and 2015); the answer appears to be “yes”

What will you do? Wait for this event to pass and then reminisce over what you should have or could have done, or will you muster the courage to act decisively.

 

Focus on the Trend and not the noise

Published courtesy of the Tactical Investor

Is The Most Hated Bull Market Ready to Crash?

Bull Market

This Bull Market is universally disliked because it’s being artificially Propped

Throughout this bull-run, a plethora of reasons have been laid out to indicate why this bull should have ended years ago. Mind you most of those reasons are valid, but that is where the bucket stops. Being right does not equate to making money on Wall Street. In fact, the opposite usually applies.  The Fed recreated all the rules by flooding the markets with money and creating and maintaining an environment that fosters speculation.

This is the most hated bull market in history is because logic states it should crash.  In the 2008-2009 volume on the NYSE was in the 8-11 billion ranges and sometimes it surged to 12 billion. Before that, every year, the volume continued to rise, this indicates market participation. From early 2010 volume just vanished, it dropped to the 2-3 billion ranges and even lower on some days.   Hence, all market technicians and students of the markets assumed that the markets would tank as markets cannot trend higher on low volume and that is where they erred.

No sellers around

The US government stepped in and started to support the market directly that is why volume dropped so dramatically. However as there were no sellers, the markets drifted upwards. Later on, they got the corporate world in on the scam.   They set up the environment that propelled corporations to buy back their shares by borrowing money for next to nothing and then using this trick to inflate their EPS, without doing any work or even increasing the profitability of the company. Mass Psychology states that the masses are destined to lose; do not follow the crowd for they will always lead you

Article of Interest: Why most investors lose money in the stock market

Mass Psychology states that the masses are destined to lose; do not follow the crowd for they will always lead you astray.In between a few minor corrections were allowed to transpire almost all of which took place on ever lower volume, to create the illusion that there was some semblance of free market forces at play.

Dark Pools helping this Bull Market Trend Higher

We also have something known as Dark Pools, this, in essence, allows big companies to purchase large blocks of shares without the trade showing up on the NYSE or any other major exchanges. In essence, it gives the government an avenue to manipulate the markets without actually leaving a footprint.  As the US can print as much money as it wants, this is a perfect backdrop to do whatever it wants.  By the way, don’t believe the hogwash that our debt is only 18.9 trillion.  There is no real mechanism in place to check how much money the US creates.  Nobody is allowed to audit the Feds books.

Fed’s objective is to devalue the US dollar

The Fed is hell bent on forcing everyone to speculate, and that is why we have moved into the next stage of the currency war games and the era of negative interest rates.  Negative rates will eventually force the most conservative of players to take their money out of the banks and speculate.  This process will be akin to another massive stimulus and will provide the bedrock for another huge rally.

Make a list of stocks that you would like to own and use strong pullbacks to add to or open new positions in.  Some examples are OA, AMZN, BABA, GOOG, CALM, CHL, etc.

Video illustrates why this Hated Bull Market is destined to  trend higher 

Published Courtesy of the Tactical Investor

Fear and Greed; main reasons most investors to lose money in the Stock Market

Stock Market Fear

Stock Market Fear and Greed are the primary driving force behind all markets

Introduction to Market sentiment Analysis

Stock Market Investing is all about not allowing one’s emotions to do the Talking; once your emotions start talking your money starts walking away from you. The financial crisis of 2008 scarred many individuals and scared away even more; add in the Great Recession, and one can see that the average Joe can come up with many reasons to avoid the stock market. However simple market sentiment analysis could have saved many a person from losing a significant portion of their wealth.   To make matters worse, the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, and wages in most instances are dropping instead of rising which means that many Americans have little to no disposable income left after expenses. Don’t for one second believe the twisted statistics issued by the BLS (Bureau of labour department); those statistics are on par with toilet paper.

Most  individuals assume that they need a lot of money to invest in the markets 

Stock Market Fear: Individuals making $30,000 or less per year are more likely to avoid the stock market, citing insufficient funds as one of the main reasons. There appears to be a misconception in thinking that one needs a lot of money to invest in the markets. Nothing could be further from the truth.  One can start off with small amounts and slowly add to this base over the years.; the power of compounding is amazing. If you start young enough even putting away $50-$100 a month can add up to a sizable bundle by the time you retire.

The average person thinks that investing in the markets is very risky

This is just another misconception that has grown especially after the devastating crisis of 2008.  If one is investing for the long haul and in quality stocks, then investing is one of the surest ways of making money and building a sustainable nest egg. However, one needs to understand what one is getting into and not plunge into the markets blindly as is the case with most individuals.

People assume  that investing is hard to learn or master

Market sentiment analysis reveals that People assume  that investing is hard to learn or master

We are referring to financial education and not higher education from institutes such as colleges or universities. We would even go as far as to suggest what these institutes teach regarding the stock market is useless. As with everything in life, if one wants to master a new skill, one needs to set some time aside for this endeavour.  If you are going to talk the talk, then be ready to walk the walk. Don’t expect some expert to guide you to the promised land, for you will find that instead of finding paradise you are more likely to be welcomed into Hell.

Regarding the stock markets it would be wise to look at the history of the markets; study past stock market crashes; the events that lead to the crash and events that set the foundation for the next bull run.  Then paper trade before deploying your hard earned cash?

If you are going to rely on a financial advisor; how are you going to know if he is not selling you sack of sawdust if you know next to nothing. In most cases people set themselves up to lose in the markets or to be taken advantage of; it takes two to tango. Surveys done by bank rate shows that Millennials were twice as likely as any other group to cite lack of financial knowledge as their main reason for avoiding the markets.  If this trend persists, they are going to be ten times more likely to ask the government for handouts when they retire.

 

Most Investors Distrust the Financial Markets

Yes, one could say there is a valid reason to fear the markets as many Millennials have grown up in an era of financial disasters; two of the most painful ones were the dot.com bubble and the Financial Crisis of 2008, which later came to be known as the Great Recession.  However, again, lack of financial knowledge and the wrong perspective is what provides the foundation for this fear.  Fear is a useless emotion when it comes to the stock markets; the best time to buy is when blood is flowing freely; translation, so-called disasters always provide opportunities for the astute investor.   Additionally, one could have easily sidestepped both disasters by paying attention to market sentiment; in both instances the masses were euphoric, and they thought the bull market could last forever. Nothing lasts forever and when the masses are ecstatic it is time to leave the party. Disaster can be viewed as an opportunity or as a tragedy; it all comes down to one’s perspective. Alter the angle of observance and the perspective changes.

The Concept of retirement planning is nonexistent for many

Bankrate states that only 25% of Americans check their investments and retirement accounts more than once a month. These same individuals can spend countless of hours on their phones texting each other or on Facebook or otherwise known as Face Crack.  One does not need to look at one’s investments every day, however, spending time on finding out what’s trending or where the crowd is leaning could make the difference between banking your profits or trying to catch a falling dagger.

Ideally, individuals should have a rough idea of how much they would like to have by the time they retire and then come out with a feasible plan. Otherwise, they are bound to come up with some harebrained scheme that is fuelled by fear when they suddenly realise that the years have passed away, but the account is looking as miserable as it did on the day of its inception.

 

Fear and Greed drive the masses; they are Euphoric before a market crashes and panic close to market bottoms

Disaster is usually opportunity knocking in disguise, instead of running, stop and give it a massive a hug. The chart below clearly indicates that stock market crashes and other negative financial events are nothing but mouthwatering long-term buying opportunities.

The financial world often refers to black Monday (the crash of 1987) when they want to ratchet up the fear factor; on a long-term chart, it is just another blip that more aptly represents an opportunity rather than a disaster. In every instance before the market pulled back firmly, the sentiment was extremely bullish; in other words, the crowd was euphoric. If you used just followed the emotion you would have managed to avoid almost every disaster and this dates back to the tulip bubble. We are not talking about timing the exact top; those that try to time the exact top usually have plenty of time on their hand and an enormous appetite for pain.

For the masses, sharp pullbacks feel like a crash because they have the uncanny ability to buy exactly at the wrong time; they buy high and sell low.  We will examine the concept of opportunity being masked as a disaster in a future article.

How Fear and Greed  to your advantage 

The word disaster represents an opportunity for the astute investor. It is only the uneducated investor that views a market pullback through a negative lens, and this is usually done because they have not taken the time to study the markets.  One would be well served if one spent some time in examining the history of stock market crashes and what was taking place before the markets crashed. In every instance, one will find out that the crowd was bullish and every Tom, Dick and Harry was busy giving out financial advice.  When the crowd is happy, you should leave the party.

Spending a little time on history and market psychology could prove to be priceless. If you take the time to do this, you will have a better understanding of the markets than most so-called financial experts.  The phrase “knowledge is power” was not coined for no reason, but there is a difference between knowledge and rubbish. When it comes to the stock markets, most of the stuff that is marketed as valuable is nothing but garbage and in many cases what the experts make fun of is what you should be paying attention to.

For instance, market sentiment is far from bullish even though the stock market is trading close to its highs. Hence, all sharp pullbacks have to be viewed as buying opportunities. When the crowd embraces this bull market, it will be time to leave the party.

Articles Of Interest

What is quantitative easing?
The Boom And Bust Cycle: Fiat
Long Term Trends: stock market bull vs bear
Stock Market Correction
Bearish vs Bullish outlook: The Trend favours higher Market prices

Indoctrination Definition

Indoctrination Definition - aka Brainwashing

Indoctrination Definition: Are Your Perceptions Really Yours?

To understand this topic, what indoctrination means, let’s start with a question. If two men are arguing and one guy has data to back up his stance, and the other does not have data to back up his stance but irrefutably believes his view is the right one.  Who is correct and who is wrong?

The obvious answer would be to state that the guy that has the data to back his point, but if one digs deeper one would have to ask whether this data is indeed valid, has it been independently verified are the sources legit, etc.  But even that does not matter, for no matter what data either individual provides to the other, they will both stick to their guns.

The right answer is that they are both right, for nothing anyone can say will move them to change their position.  Welcome to the world of indoctrination.  Being conservative or liberal or open-minded or closed-minded, or whatever label you want to come up, is in most cases nothing but a form of indoctrination. You think the way you do because of your parents, the school you went to, the friends you have and your religious bent and so on.

Taking things even further, one can state that the liberals are not wrong for the way they see the world because they believe in that line of thinking and the same applies to the conservatives. Alt-right and Alt-left are nothing but forms of indoctrination and the extreme right and left have just received a super dose of brainwashing.

The masses are Indoctrinated Into Believing Experts Know it all

This is the main reason we have stated over and over again, that one should not wear their emotions on their sleeves, for no good can come from it.  What has made things worse today is that very few people agree to disagree and move on to a new topic. Today opposing groups want to beat their views into the other group, regardless of whether they agree or not.

This is how the trend of polarisation started. Once you start telling a group that does not agree with you, that they are wrong, that they are stupid and start calling them names, a dangerous sequence of events is triggered and nothing the other camp says or no matter what evidence is provided, the opposing camp will refuse to budge. Look around today for that is where we are and the trend is still in its infancy.

Noam Chomsky Provides A Nice Overview On the Field of Indoctrination

This is a long topic and thankfully, Noam Chomsky provides a nice overview of this subject. We will cover this topic in more detail but if you are interested in understanding more about the inner working of the mindset, then this is a topic one should familiarise themselves with and this video provides a good starting point

Random notes on other topics besides indoctrination

The idea is to incept the seeds of doubt; if you want more clarification on this topic, just watch the movie Inception.  The top players have been incepting ideas into the masses for millennia; it works brilliantly and the results are highly rewarding so this process is not going to stop soon.  Once the seeds are sown, it is easy to use mass media to provide this seed with a nourishing environment and from seedling,  this doubt grows into a massive tree.

In the guise of trying to provide individuals with information, the medias main goal is to brainwash individuals. One of the main ploys is misdirection; this technique revolves around the ploy of creating a mountain out of a molehill to redirect the masses focus. Sadly, this technique works like a charm. The two most effective  Brainwashing institutions are public schools and the mass media

Brainwashing Techniques: Using paid experts to support a false narrative

This is another technique that works like a charm and it is blatantly used in the financial sector. Expert after expert spouts an opinion and often the opinions are in direct opposition to each other. The idea is twofold, first to load you with so much information that you don’t quite remember all the details. Secondly, the idea is to cover both ends of the story and when the outcome comes to pass, they make it look like that was the main outcome they were broadcasting all along. In other words,  when it comes to the markets, the experts cover both ends of the game, therefore there is no way they can lose.

However, what the masses fail to understand is that they are guessing just like the crowd is, but the only difference is that they control the media, while the people in the crowd are nothing but passive observers, waiting to be taken for a ride. Brainwashing Techniques Institutions & The Media Utilize

How Brainwashing Works

Dur­ing the Korean War, Korean and Chinese captors reportedly brainwashed American POWs held in prison camps. Several prisoners ultimately confessed to waging germ warfare — which they hadn’t — and pledged allegiance to communism by th­e end of their captivity. At least 21 soldiers refused to come back to the United States when they were set free. ­It sounds impressive, but skeptics point ­out that it was 21 out of more than 20,000 prisoners in communist countries. Does brainwashing really work in any reliable way?

In psychology, the study of brainwashing, often referred to as thought reform, falls into the sphere of “social influence.” Social influence happens every minute of every day. It’s the collection of ways in which people can change other people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. For instance, the compliance method aims to produce a change in a person’s behavior and is not concerned with his attitudes or beliefs. It’s the “Just do it” approach. Persuasion, on the other hand, aims for a change in attitude, or “Do it because it’ll make you feel good/happy/healthy/successful.” The education method (which is called the “propaganda method” when you don’t believe in what’s being taught) goes for the social-influence gold, trying to affect a change in the person’s beliefs, along the lines of “Do it because you know it’s the right thing to do.” Brainwashing is a severe form of social influence that combine­s all of these approaches to cause changes in someone’s way of thinking. Full Story

 

The True Story of Brainwashing and How It Shaped America

Journalist Edward Hunter was the first to sound the alarm. “Brain-washing Tactics Force Chinese Into Ranks of Communist Party,” blared his headline in the Miami Daily News in September 1950. In the article, and later in a book, Hunter described how Mao Zedong’s Red Army used terrifying ancient techniques to turn the Chinese people into mindless, Communist automatons. He called this hypnotic process “brainwashing,” a word-for-word translation from xi-nao, the Mandarin words for wash (xi) and brain (nao), and warned about the dangerous applications it could have. The process was meant to “change a mind radically so that its owner becomes a living puppet—a human robot—without the atrocity being visible from the outside.” It wasn’t the first time fears of Communism and mind control had seeped into the American public. In 1946 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was so worried about the spread of Communism that it proposed removing liberals, socialists and communists from places like schools, libraries, newspapers and entertainment. Hunter’s inflammatory rhetoric didn’t immediately have a huge impact—until three years into the Korean War, when American prisoners of war began confessing to outlandish crimes.

When he was shot down over Korea and captured in 1952, Colonel Frank Schwable was the highest ranking military officer to meet that fate, and by February 1953, he and other prisoners of war had falsely confessed to using germ warfare against the Koreans, dropping everything from anthrax to the plague on unsuspecting civilians. Full Story

Mass Hysteria Definition – Overreaction To The Coronavirus

Mass Hysteria definition

Mass Hysteria definition: Current Overreaction Is The Perfect Example

According to Wikipedia, the definition of Mass Hysteria is

In sociology and psychology, mass hysteria (also known as mass psychogenic illness, collective hysteria, group hysteria, or collective obsessional behaviour) is a phenomenon that transmits collective illusions of threats, whether real or imaginary, through a population in society as a result of rumours and fear (memory acknowledgement).

In medicine, the term is used to describe the spontaneous manifestation (production of chemicals in the body) of the same or similar hysterical physical symptoms by more than one person. A common type of mass hysteria occurs when a group of people believe they are suffering from a similar disease or ailment, sometimes referred to as mass psychogenic illness or epidemic hysteria. Wikipedia

Consider the following data and decide for yourself

  • Over 22K people will die today from hunger; this probably one of the most horrible of ways to die
  • 110K have died so far from this year’s flu and roughly 650K die a year from respiratory-related diseases
  • 70K mothers have already died this year giving birth
  • They have been over 242K suicides this year
  • 7 million children under the age of five have died this year http://bit.ly/32wVaQA
  • 25 million people die every year in road crashes https://bit.ly/2vId4UJ
  • more than 270K pedestrians die each https://bit.ly/2QEW7BN
  • 88K will die from alcohol-related causes only in the USA https://bit.ly/2QEW7BN
  • 22K Brits will die because of prescriptions mix-ups https://bit.ly/2QDMm6U
  • Between 250K to 440K will die as a result of medical errors in America https://cnb.cx/33DF9cg
  • two decades worth of analysis reveals that over 100K Americans will die because of taking prescription drugs. A recent study states that the figure is close to 128K. https://bit.ly/39cYtOw
  • This article from the NCBI database states that 100K Americans died as a result of medical errors and it’s dated 1999. https://bit.ly/3dxoRGy
  • 5K Americans died from drug overdoses in 2018 https://cnn.it/2xhpEL6

So the coronavirus epidemic supersedes all this and deserves the attention it is getting? We have not mentioned Cancer, smoking and cardiovascular diseases, all of which kill millions per year. What about the innocent children dying every day? They don’t matter. What’s shocking is that the other viruses that were deadlier did not even receive the same amount of attention. One has to ask the question of what is wrong with the retarded media.  Are reporters today nothing but mindless bots?

The disinformation campaign is now in full swing

In the short-term technical analysis cannot identify support levels because we are dealing with madness and that is the reason, we added the new level in the anxiety index.  What exacerbates the situation is that there is very little liquidity, look at the bid and ask price on some options they are unreal, for example, a bid of 1.40 and ask of 5.00.  This provides a few big players with the opportunity to move the markets in whatever direction they see fit.

The disinformation campaign is so rampant, I felt that this something I needed to investigate directly to offer Tactical Investors a better look at what is really going. So I decided to take the risk and go to solo to Asia without announcing it.  I wanted to see for myself if the US and the West, in general, was overreacting and if Asia was doing a better job on the psychological frontier. So far, I have visited Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, and Indonesia and I can honestly state that they are doing a much better job of controlling the panic factor then we are doing in the US.

Hysteria overcomes Logic and that’s when things run Amok

People are not emptying shelves left, right and centre, in fact, the only thing seems to be selling like hotcakes are face masks.  One of the reasons for this lack of hysteria is possibly due to the fact that most third world/developing nations are used to dealing with hardships that developed nations like the US are not. The contrast in the way the Asians are dealing with from a psychological standpoint of view is humungous.

For example, Jakarta is about to declare a state of emergency and yet people are not running around in panic. Malaysia is closing down its borders and the biggest reaction was that Malaysians working in Singapore raced back home to pack up extra supplies and then headed back to Singapore, where they will stay for an extended period. Many Malaysians commute daily from Singapore to Malaysia. If the border is closed, they won’t be able to go back so they wanted to make sure they had enough clothing etc. for their extended stay in Singapore.

If the leaders of the West but in particular the US could act in the same way to instil calm in the populace the reaction would be different. There are no lockdowns here, at least not yet (other than in China) and the rate of infection is not going ballistic. Fear increases stress and stress actually weakens the immune system.

Videos Illustrating How China & South Korea are Handling Coronavirus outbreak

How China is Handling Corona Virus 1

China Using Drones To Assist With Coronavirus Outbreak

South Korea Using Army To deal With Coronavirus

Stock Market Outlook

 

We have moved deeper into the madness zone, and neutral sentiment has dropped to levels not seen for years. It is trading at 13, but bullish sentiment while below its historical average is still quite high, it would be ideal for it to drop below 24. Bearish sentiment continues to trend higher, and that’s a good sign.  As things stand right now, we are close to another “mother of all buy signals” that would match that of 1987 and 2008. Our indicators just need to dip slightly lower into the oversold ranges.

For the “father of all buy signals”, the indicators would need to drop deeply into the oversold ranges, and the gauge on the anxiety index needs to move almost towards the end of the madness zone. Finally, bullish sentiment should drop below 22%. Remember this is a generational type signal so one should not expect it to occur with ease.

Subscribers who were with us back before Dec 2018 will remember how delighted we were when the number of new highs dropped to -10%. While everyone was panicking, we stated this was a fantastic development as the trend was positive. Now=look at the current readings; they are close to hitting minus 20%, something they did not even do in 2008.  Given that the trend has not turned negative, this is a monstrous development. When the tide turns, we suspect that the Dow could rally 3600 points in one day with an overshoot to 4200 points.   While everyone is focussing on the downward plunge, the melt-up is going to be so spectacular that it will catch all everyone and we mean everyone by surprise.

Courtesy of Tactical Investor

Coronavirus Mass Hysteria: buying toilet paper, canned food…

What explains?

First it was the masks, then hand sanitisers. Now it seems the novel coronavirus outbreak has people rushing to stock up, among other things, an essential item: toilet paper.

Shelves have been emptied across the world. In Australia, a newspaper helpfully printed out an extra eight pages as a “backup loo roll”. Fights have broken out, trolleys piled high, and across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, most supermarkets imposed a cap to limit the number of rolls a person could buy.
Dubbed #ToiletPaperPanic and #ToiletPaperApocalypse online, there is no shortage of videos capturing the mass hysteria that has swept up globally as shelves are cleared. Canned goods, water bottles and pasta shelves have similarly been emptied out.

So, why are we seeing panic buying across the globe?

“Panic buying and hoarding of supplies is obviously not desirable, but it’s understandable, particularly when people see images of cities, regions and even whole countries in lockdown,” Michael Baker, professor of public health at the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, told Al Jazeera.

While panic buying was not seen in response to the most recent influenza pandemic in 2009, Baker said the ongoing crisis is similar to a behavioural response during a natural disaster.

“The difference this time is that people now see COVID-19 as a real threat, one that will last for months, and they may not have confidence in the authorities to contain it.” Full Story

 

How mass hysteria happens (and how to avoid the COVID-19 panic)?

Mass hysteria, also known as epidemic hysteria, occurs between two or more people who share beliefs related to symptoms suggestive of organic illness.
Research suggests that real pandemics can lead to mass hysteria.
A key factor that creates hysteria around pandemics is that the population’s ability to remain calm and react logically to the situation at hand is blurred and unfocused due to the anxiety and fear felt by large groups of people.
A pandemic, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is defined as a “global outbreak of a new virus”. When dealing with a pandemic such as COVID-19, we need to be extremely cautious in the information we share. Pandemics (such as the Swine Flu pandemic of 2008) can very easily turn into mass hysteria cases, even though the threat is very real.

Mass hysteria, also known as epidemic hysteria, is a constellation of symptoms suggestive of organic illness but without an identifiable cause. It occurs between two or more people who share beliefs related to those symptoms, and has been described as a “social phenomenon involving otherwise healthy people.”

Mass hysteria has been well-documented throughout history, below are two separate cases from the 1900s that better explain what it’s like to be in the midst of mass hysteria. Full Story

Denmark finally passes Law banning both Burqa and Niqab

Denmark finally passes Law banning both Burqa and Niqab

Denmark has joined several other European countries in banning garments that cover the face, including Islamic veils such as the niqab and burqa, in a move condemned by human rights campaigners as “neither necessary nor proportionate”.  In a 75-30 vote with 74 absentees on Thursday, Danish lawmakers approved the law presented by the centre-right governing coalition. The government said it is not aimed at any religions and does not ban headscarves, turbans or the traditional Jewish skull cap.

But the law is popularly known as the “burqa ban” and is mostly seen as being directed at the dress worn by some Muslim women. Few Muslim women in Denmark wear full-face veils.The justice minister, Søren Pape Poulsen, said it would be up to police officers to use their common sense when they see people violating the law, which comes into force on 1 August.The legislation allows people to cover their face when there is a “recognisable purpose” such as cold weather or complying with other legal requirements, for example using motorcycle helmets under Danish traffic rules.

Those violating the law risk a fine of 1,000 kroner (£118). Repeat offenders could be fined up to 10,000 kroner or jailed for up to six months. Austria, France and Belgium have similar laws.

Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Europe director, said of the Danish decision: “All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa. “While some specific restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates the rights to freedom of expression and religion. Full Story

Roughly two hours after commenting on the previous story, this news article surfaced.  If you have ever been to Denmark or had Danish friends, you will understand how easy going and nice these individuals (generally) are. http://studyindenmark.dk/why-denmark/quality-of-life-1/what-are-the-danes-like

 Hence, when you factor this into the equation what’s taking place now is occurring at a very fast rate.  The statement we boldfaced is very telling. On a scale of 1-10, we are between 3 and 4, so this trend has plenty of room to run before it tops out. In other words, what’s taking place will appear mild in the future?

Sweden Democrats the Anti-immigration party set to score big in Upcoming elections

Sweden Democrats the Anti-immigration party set to score big in Upcoming elections

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s top three parties are running almost level four months ahead of a general election, with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats polling a record 20 percent, according to poll in daily Dagens Nyheter. Support for the Sweden Democrats has surged since they first won seats in parliament in 2010, with the party on track to record its best ever election result after getting 13 percent in 2014. A surge in asylum numbers in 2015, when Sweden took in 160,000 refugees, has heightened worries about a creaking welfare state and that crime is increasing, boosting the party, which wants to close Sweden’s doors and crack down on gangs. The ISPOS poll put the Sweden Democrats hot on the heels of the governing Social Democrats, who got 24 percent, and the biggest opposition party, the center-right Moderates, who scored 22 percent.

At the last election the center-left Social Democrats got 31 percent and the Moderates 23.3 percent. The current government is a minority coalition of the Social Democrats and Greens. They are supported in parliament by the Left Party. Together, the parties polled 37 percent. The Moderates, Centre, Christian Democrats and Liberals cooperate and will fight the election as a group. They polled 39 percent Full Story

The Viking blood still runs strong in many of the Scandinavian nations and while time has cultured the fierce Vikings, the current state of affairs is starting to stir things up and as this trend gathers momentum we fear that these once quite people will reveal a side of them that the world has not seen for a long time. The Vikings were extremely ruthless and note that the Russians also have Viking blood.   We mention this because it takes a lot to provoke the Russian bear, but once provoked the bear will not rest until it has destroyed its enemy.  Vikings were twice as volatile; they were not afraid to fight; they actually relished a good and bloody fight.   Given the strength of this trend there is a fairly high probability that some leader will emerge in this area with strong Viking roots and start talking about days gone by; if this comes to pass, all hell could break loose.  The main target of this rage will be Muslim immigrants as they are being labelled as invaders with increasing frequency and the attacks are gradually  becoming more violent.

If someone comes to power and starts talking about how strong the Vikings were and how the Norwegians, Danes, etc. need to stand up to the invaders (this is the term that is often used today), it will be an indication that the above outlook is coming to fruition. The rhetoric at first will be rather mild, but don’t confuse this mild rhetoric for inaction.  Focus on whether the Viking factor is mentioned, if it is, then the odds of it turning violent are quite high. 

We are not rooting for the above outcome, nor do we favour such an outcome but we would be doing our subscribers a disservice if we did not talk about a potential trend that appears to be gaining momentum.

Deutsche Bank set to cut 10K Jobs to reduce costs’ about time those lazy bankers were fired

Deutsche Bank set to cut 10K Jobs to reduce costs’ about time those lazy bankers were fired

The Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that job cuts were likely to extend into 2019.Separately, Bloomberg News reported the bank was planning to withdraw from a number of equities markets across the globe.

The Bloomberg report, which also cited unidentified people, said that Deutsche would sharply scale back its presence in the United States, and had started cutting activities in Central Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.Deutsche Bank, which holds its annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, declined to comment. The loss-making bank said last month that it was planning to scale back its global investment bank and that equities was one of the areas it was looking at for possible cuts.A person familiar with the matter told Reuters last month Deutsche Bank was expected to cut around 1,000 jobs or 10 percent of its workforce in the United States.

It has also said that it would cut back U.S. bonds trading and the business that services hedge funds.The bank has been expected to announce further details of its reorganisation plans ahead of its AGM on Thursday. hareholders, fed up with a languishing share price and dwindling revenue, will call on the bank’s management to speed up the recovery process at the AGM.

Hans-Christoph Hirt, head of shareholder adviser Hermes EOS at Hermes Investment Management, told Reuters on Wednesday he wanted to see a “credible strategy with achievable targets.” Full story

Now they are firing to balance the books, in the near future they will be firing to get rid of the “expensive human element”. Sadly most of today’s high paid individuals get way too much for doing way too little, and AI is going to dramatically alter the landscape. Remember the equation must always balance, and the more skewed things become the stronger the blowback as the market moves back to the point of equilibrium.