One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2021, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as "the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments" made 2021 the most memorable year yet in our brief history, and that it would be an extremely tough act to follow. And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2022, not only did the year not disappoint but between the constant news barrage, the regime shifts, narrative volatility, market rollercoasters, oh and the world being on the verge of a nuclear Armageddon for much of the year, the past year was the most action, excitement, and news (including fake news)-packed yet.
Where does one even start?
While covid - which was the story of 2020 - finally faded away from the front page and the constant barrage of fearmongering coverage (with recent revelations courtesy of Elon Musk's "Twitter Files" showing just how extensively said newsflow was crafted, orchestrated and -y es - censored by the government, while a sudden U-turn by China in its Covid Zero policy prompting a top Chinese research to admit that the "fatality rate from the omicron variant of the virus is in line with the flu"), and the story of 2021 was the scourge of soaring inflation (which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory" just kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s)...
... then the big market story of 2022 was the coordinated central bank crusade to put the inflation genie back into the bottle and to contain soaring prices (which were no longer transitory, especially after Putin launched his "special military operation" in Ukraine which we will discuss shortly)...
... even if it meant crushing the housing market...
... sparking a global recession, or as Goldman calls it a "broad-based but necessary slowdown in global growth"...
... and leaving millions out of work (the BLS still pretends hundreds of thousands of workers are being added to payrolls even though as we all know - as does the Philadelphia Fed - that is a lie, and the real employment number has not changed since March)...
... not to mention triggering the worst bear market in both stocks and bonds since the global financial crisis. Yes, less than a year after the S&P hit a record just above 4800 in January of this year, both global stock and bond markets have cratered, and in a profound shock to an entire generation of "traders" who have never lived through a hiking cycle and rising inflation, for the first time since 2008 no central banks are riding to the market's rescue. Meanwhile, with a drop of more than 20% in 2022 translating into a record $18 trillion wipeout, the MSCI All-Country World Index is on track for its worst performance since the 2008 crisis, amid the Fed's relentless rate hiking campaign.
Add bond market losses - because in 2022 everything was sold - and you get a staggering $36 trillion in value vaporized, which in absolute terms is nearly double the damage from the Lehman failure and the global financial crisis.
None of this should come as a surprise: the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and extended into the first half of 2022 before gently reversing as QT finally returned; the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to "stabilize the world", the Fed injected another $2 trillion in the subsequent period, most of which in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring (this, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money). And then, when a modest $500 billion in Fed balance sheet liquidity was withdrawn... everything crashed.
This reminds us of something we said two years ago: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." Well, last year we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months after the covid pandemic hit, the richest 1% of US society saw their net worth increase by over $30 trillion, which in turn officially made the US into a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, for the first time ever, the 1% owned more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics.
But as the Fed finally ended QE and started draining its balance sheet in 2022, the party ended with a thud, and this tremendous wealth accumulation by the top 1% went into reverse: indeed, just the 500 richest billionaires saw their fortunes collapse by $1.4 trillion with names such as Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Masa Son and Larry Page and Sergey Brin all losing more than a third (in some cases much more) of their net worth.
This also reminds us of something else we said a year ago: "this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street - relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x."
In other words, for all its faults, 2022 was a year in which inequality finally reversed - if only a little - and as Michael Hartnett said in one of his final Flow Shows, "Main St finally outperformed Wall St significantly in 2022" as the value of financial assets relative to the economy slumped from 6.3x to 5.4x.
Sadly, we doubt that this will cheer anyone up - be it workers - who have seen their real, inflation-adjusted earnings decline for a record 20 consecutive months (or virtually all of Joe BIden's presidency)...
... or investors who have seen crushing losses across all industries, with the exception of the one sector we have been pounding-the-table-on bullish on since the summer of 2020: energy (with our favorite stock, Exxon, blowing away the competition with its nearly triple digit return YTD).
There is some good news for jittery bulls looking ahead at 2023: statistics show that two consecutive down years are rare for major equity markets — the S&P 500 index has fallen for two straight years on just four occasions since 1928, and they usually marked market crashes or social cataclysms - the Great Depression, World War II, the 1970s oil crisis and the bursting of the dot-com bubble. The scary thing though, is that when they do occur, drops in the second year tend to be deeper than in the first. And with Joe Biden at the helm, betting on a second great depression may be prudent. Even if that sounds hyperbolic, when it comes to markets the big question for 2023 is simple: have markets bottomed or is there much more room to fall, in other words, are we facing a hard or soft landing.
And speaking of Joe Biden at the helm, another glaring risk factor for 2023 is - of course- nuclear war. Because while the great inflation fight and Biden bear market were the defining features of 2022 from an economic and capital markets standpoint, the biggest event in terms of geopolitical and social importance was the war between Russia and Ukraine.
While one could write - pardon the pun - the modern day equivalent of "war and peace" on the causes behind the war in Ukraine, for the sake of brevity we will merely note that a conflict that had been simmering for years if not decades...
... finally got its proverbial spark in February when - encouraged by NATO to join the military alliance in an act that Russia had repeatedly warned would be casus belli against Ukraine - Putin ordered a "special military operation" against Ukraine, sending Russian troops to invade the country because, as he subsequently explained, "if Russia did not do this now, it itself would be invaded by neighboring NATO countries a few years later." And speaking of what else Putin said in the lead up to the Ukraine war, the following snapshots reveal much of the Russian leader's thinking about the biggest geopolitical conflict since World War II.
And while the geopolitical implications of the war are staggering and long-reaching, the single most important consequence to the world, and especially Europe, is the threat of persistent energy shortages over the coming years as Russian energy output has been sanctioned and curtailed for the foreseeable future...
... in the process sending energy prices in Europe and elsewhere soaring, and pushing inflation sharply higher. Which is especially ironic, because the same central banks we showed above that are hiking rates like crazy in hopes of containing inflation are doing precisely nothing to address the elephant in the room, namely that inflation is not demand-driven (which the Fed can control by adjusting the price of money) but entirely on the supply-side. And since the Fed can't print oil or gas, all that central banks are doing is executing Vladimir Putin's indirect bidding and pushing the world into a global recession if not all out depression as they hope to crush enough energy demand to lower prices in a world where energy supply is also much lower. What they forget is that this will lead to tens of millions of unemployed people, and while that is not a major issue yet, something tells us that the coming mass layoffs - both in the US and around the globe - and not just in tech but across all industries, will be the story of 2023.
One final thing worth mentioning in the context of the Ukraine war is what it means strategically for the future of the world, and here we would argue that some of the best analysis belong to former NY Fed repo guru, Zoltan Pozsar whose periodic dispatches throughout 2022 (all of which are available to professional subscribers), and whose year-end report on the fate of Bretton Woods III, the petrodollar, the petroyuan and petrogold, are all must-read for anyone who hopes to be ahead of the curve in today's rapidly changing world.
Away from Inflation and the Ukraine war, the next most important topic in the past year, were the revelations from the Twitter Files, exposed by the social medial company's new owner, Elon Musk, who paid $44 billion so that the world can finally see first hand just how little free speech there really is in the so-called land of the free and the home of the First Amendment, and how countless three-lettered, deep-state alphabet agencies - and the military-industrial complex - will do anything and everything to control both the official discourse and the unofficial narrative to keep their preferred puppets in the White House, and keep those they disapprove of - censored and/or locked up, both literally and metaphorically... or simply designate them "conspiracy theorists." None other than Matt Taibbi wrote the best summary of what the Twitter Files revealed, namely America's stealthy conversion into a crypto-fascist state where some unelected government bureaucrat tells corporations what to do:
This last week saw the FBI describe Lee Fang, Michael Shellenberger and me as “conspiracy theorists” whose “sole aim” is to discredit the agency. That statement will look ironic soon, as we spent much of this week learning about other agencies and organizations that can now also be discredited thanks to these files.
A group of us spent the last weeks reading thousands of documents. For me a lot of that time was spent learning how Twitter functioned, specifically its relationships with government. How weird is modern-day America? Not long ago, CIA veterans tell me, the information above the “tearline” of a U.S. government intelligence cable would include the station of origin and any other CIA offices copied on the report.
I spent much of today looking at exactly similar documents, seemingly written by the same people, except the “offices” copied at the top of their reports weren’t other agency stations, but Twitter’s Silicon Valley colleagues: Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, LinkedIn, even Wikipedia. It turns out these are the new principal intelligence outposts of the American empire. A subplot is these companies seem not to have had much choice in being made key parts of a global surveillance and information control apparatus, although evidence suggests their Quislingian executives were mostly all thrilled to be absorbed. Details on those “Other Government Agencies” soon, probably tomorrow.
One happy-ish thought at month’s end:
Sometime in the last decade, many people — I was one — began to feel robbed of their sense of normalcy by something we couldn’t define. Increasingly glued to our phones, we saw that the version of the world that was spat out at us from them seemed distorted. The public’s reactions to various news events seemed off-kilter, being either way too intense, not intense enough, or simply unbelievable. You’d read that seemingly everyone in the world was in agreement that a certain thing was true, except it seemed ridiculous to you, which put you in an awkward place with friends, family, others. Should you say something? Are you the crazy one?
I can’t have been the only person to have struggled psychologically during this time. This is why these Twitter files have been such a balm. This is the reality they stole from us! It’s repulsive, horrifying, and dystopian, a gruesome history of a world run by anti-people, but I’ll take it any day over the vile and insulting facsimile of truth they’ve been selling. Personally, once I saw that these lurid files could be used as a road map back to something like reality — I wasn’t sure until this week — I relaxed for the first time in probably seven or eight years.
Well said Matt, and we say this as one of the first media outlets that was dubbed "conspiracy theorists" by the authorities, long before everyone else joined the club. Oh yes, we've been there: we were suspended for half a year on Twitter for telling the truth about Covid, and then we lost most of our advertisers after the Atlantic Council's weaponized "fact-checkers" put us on every ad agency's black list while anonymous CIA sources at the AP slandered us for being "Kremlin puppets" - which reminds us: for those with the means, desire and willingness to support us, please do so by becoming a premium member: we are now almost entirely reader-funded so your financial assistance will be instrumental to ensure our continued survival into 2023 and beyond.
The bottom line, at least for us, is that the past three years have been a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. Two years ago, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us for good. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year.
Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past three years showed conclusively why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, now that any future big stimulus plans are off the table until at least 2024 thanks to a divided Congress, and the Fed is still planning on hiking until it finally crushing inflation, we would like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening, and something always breaks.
Which brings us to the simplest forecast about the coming year: 2023 will be the year when something finally breaks.
As for more nuanced predictions about the future, as the past three years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure, dramatic changes in 2022 persisted and new sources of global shocks emerged, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China deciding that the US is finally weak enough and the time has come to invade Taiwan.
As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from either Putin or the KGB either, sorry CIA) and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine.
Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website.
In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to only accelerate in the coming year - Elon Musk's Twitter Files revelations notwithstanding, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2022 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch with a ten foot pole, both out of fear of repercussions and because the MSM has now become a PR agency for either a political party or some unelected, deep state bureaucrat, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an information vacuum (in less than a decade, Elon Musk's $44 billion purchase of Twitter will seem like one of the century's biggest bargains) and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which established media outlets refuse to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation.
We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2022 - have realized that it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news."
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And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 14-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year.
In 20th spot with just over 510,000 views, was one of the seminal market strategy reports of 2022 by the man who has become the most prescient and accurate voice on Wall Street, former NY Fed repo guru Zoltan Pozsar, whose periodic pieces previewing the post-war world - one where Bretton Woods III makes a stunning comeback, where the petrodollar dies, and is replaced by the Petroyuan - have become must-read staple fare for Wall Street professionals. In "Wall Street Stunned By Zoltan Pozsar's Latest Prediction Of What Comes Next", Zoltan offered his first post-Ukraine war glimpse of the coming "Bretton Woods III" world, "a new monetary order centered around commodity-based currencies in the East that will likely weaken the Eurodollar system and also contribute to inflationary forces in the West." Subsequent events, including the growing proximity of Russia, China and various other non-G7 nations, coupled with stubborn inflation, have gone a long way to proving Zoltan's thesis. The only thing that's missing is the overhaul of the world reserve currency.
In 19th spot, some 526,000 learned that amid the relentless crackdown against free speech by a regime which Elon Musk's Twitter Files have definitively revealed is borderline fascist (as in real fascism, not that clownish farce which antifa thugs pretend to crusade against) Zero Hedge was among the first websites to be targeted by the CIA when that deep state mouthpiece, the Associated Press, said that "intelligence officials accused a conservative financial news website [Zero Hedge] with a significant American readership of amplifying Kremlin propaganda." As we explained in "Now We've Done It: We Pissed Off The CIA" - the 19th most viewed article of 2022 - we have done no such thing but as the AP also revealed, the real motive behind the hit piece is that "Zero Hedge has been sharply critical of Biden and posted stories about allegations of wrongdoing by his son Hunter." Of course, only a few weeks later we would learn that reports of wrongdoing by "his son Hunter" as unveiled in the infamously censored laptop story fiasco, were indeed accurate (despite dozens of "former intel officials" saying it is Russian disinfo) but since only "Kremlin propaganda" sites dare to attack Joe Biden while the MSM keeps deathly silent, nobody in the so-called "free press" bothered to mention it. Incidentally, since the CIA did a full background check on us and republishing some pro-Russian blogs was the best they could find, we are confident that On the other hand, since being designated a pro-Russian operation meant that we have been blacklisted by most advertisers, we are increasingly reliant on you, dear readers (and not Vladimir Putin) for support, and we would be extremely grateful to everyone who can sign up for our premium product to support us into 2023 and onward.
In 18th spot, and suitably right below our little tete-a-tete with the CIA, was the disclosure of a huge trove of corruption Hunter Biden's "laptop from hell." In April, with over 568,000 page views, readers learned that "450GB Of 'Deleted' Hunter Biden Laptop Material To Be Released Within Weeks." The ultimate result was the long overdue confirmation by the mainstream press (NYT and WaPo) that the Biden notebook was indeed real (again, despite dozens of "former intel officials" saying it is Russian disinfo) but since the state-corporatist apparatus had already achieved its goal, and suppressed and censored the original NYPost reporting just ahead of the 2020 presidential election and Biden had been elected president, few cared (just a few months later, thanks to Elon Musk and the Twitter files would we learn just how deep the censorship hole went, and that it involved not only the US government, the Democratic Party, the FBI, but also the biggest tech and media companies, all working together to censor anything that they found politically unpalatable).
Yes, 2022 was also a midterm year, and with more than 617,000 views, was our snapshot of what happened on Nov 8 when in a carbon copy of 2020 it initially seemed like Republicans would sweep Congress as we described in the 17th most popular article of 2022, "Election Night Results: FL "Catastrophic" For Dems, Vance Takes OH, Fetterman Tops Oz"... but it was not meant to be and as the mail-in votes crawled in days and weeks later, the GOP lead not only fizzled (despite a jarring loss among Florida Hispanics), but in the end Democrats kept the Senate. Ultimately the result was anticlimatic, and with Congress divided for the next two years, governance will be secondary to what the Fed will do, which in our humble view, will be the big story of 2023.
For all the political, market and central bank trials and tribulations of 2022, one could make the argument that the biggest story of the past year was Elon Musk's whimsical takeover of twitter, which started off amicably enough as laid out in the 16th most popular article of 2022 (with more than 627,000 page views) "Buffett Says "Musk Is Winning...It's America" As TWTR Board Ponders Poison Pill", then turned ugly and hostile, transitioned into a case of buyer's remorse with Musk suing to back out of the deal only to find out he can't, and culminated with the release of the shocking Twitter Files, Musk's stunning expose of the dirt and secrets of how the world's most popular news outlet had effectively become a subsidiary not only of the Democratic party but also of the FBI, CIA and various other deep state alphabet agencies, validating once again countless "conspiracy theories" and confirming once and for all that any outlet that still dares to oppose the official party line is the biggest enemy of the deep state.
And speaking of the deep state, we had a glaring reminder in September why one should be very careful when crossing the US
secret policeFBI when pro-Trump celeb pillow entrepreneur Mike Lindell was intercepted by the Feds during a hunting trip and had his cell phone seized as described in "FBI Tracks Down Mike Lindell On Hunting Trip, Surrounds His Car And Seizes Cell Phone". That this happened to one of the most vocal critics of the 2020 election just two months before the midterms, was surely a coincidence, as over 625,000 readers obviously concluded.
2022 was not a good year for markets, and certainly wasn't good for retail investors whose torrid gains from the meme stock mania of 2021 melted down almost as fast as the Fed hiked rates (very fast). But not everyone was a loser, and one story stood out: that of 20-year-old student Jake Freeman (who together with his uncle) bought up a substantial, 6.2% stake in soon-to-be-broke retailer Bed Bath and Beyond, and piggybacking on the antics of one Ryan Cohen, quietly cashed out after making a massive $110 million by piggybacking on one of the most vicious short/gamma squeezes in recent history. The "Surreal Story Of A 20-Year-Old Student Who Acquired 6% Of Bed Bath & Beyond, And Made $110 Million In 3 Weeks" was the 14th most read article of 2022.
The 13th most read story of 2022 with over 668,000 reads was the bizarre interlude involving superstar-trader and outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul, and his bizarre attack by a "right wing" progressive as described in "Paul Pelosi Undergoing Brain Surgery Following 'Brutal' Attack; Suspect Identified." While authorities have struggled to craft a narrative that the attacker, nudist transient David Depape of Berkeley, was a pro-Trumper and the attack was politically motivated, the evidence has indicated that he suffered from serious mental illness and drug addiction and lacked any coherent political ideology; some have even claimed that there was a sexual relationship between him and Pelosi, a theory that could be easily disproven if only the police would release the bodycam footage from the moment of the arrest. Unfortunately, San Fran PD has vowed to keep it confidential. Depape's trial is set to be 2023's business, so expect more fireworks.
2022 was also a year in which Europeans realized how brutally expensive electricity can be when the biggest commodity, nat gas and oil supplier to Europe, Russia, is suddenly cut off. And judging by the 668,500 people who read "How In The Name Of God": Shocked Europeans Post Astronomical Energy Bills As 'Terrifying Winter' Approaches" and made it into the 12th most popular article of the year, the staggering number were also news to our audience: indeed, the fact that Geraldine Dolan, who owns the Poppyfields cafe in Athlone, Ireland, and was charged nearly €10,000 for just over two months of energy usage, was shocking to everyone. To be sure, there were countless other such stories out of Europe and with the Russia-Ukraine war unlikely to end any time soon, Europe's commodity hyperinflation will only continue. Adding insult to injury, Europe is on a fast track to a brutal recession, but the ECB remains stuck in tightening mode, perhaps because it somehow believes that higher rates will ease energy supplies. Alas that won't happen and instead the big question for 2023 will be whether Europe is merely hit with a recession or if instead the ECB's actions escalates the local malaise into a full-blown depression.
Earlier we said that one of the most prophetic voices on Wall Street in 2022 (and prior) was that of Zoltan Pozsar, who laid out his theory of a Bretton Woods III regime in the days immediately following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Well, just one month later we saw the first tentative steps toward just such a paradigm shift when in April the Russian central bank offered to buy gold from domestic commercial banks at a fixed price of 5000 rubles per gram; by doing so the Bank of Russia both linked the ruble to gold and, since gold trades in US dollars, set a floor price for the ruble in terms of the US dollar. We described this in "A Paradigm Shift Western Media Hasn't Grasped Yet" - Russian Ruble Relaunched, Linked To Gold & Commodities", an article red 670,000 times making it the 11th most popular of the year. This concept of "petrogold" was also the subject of extensive discussion by Pozsar who dedicated one of his most recent widely-read notes to the topic; if indeed we are witnessing the transition to a Bretton Woods 3 regime, 2023 will see a lot of fireworks in the monetary system as the dollar's reserve status is challenged by eastern commodity producers.
The 10th most popular article of 2022, with 686K views was a reminder of just how much "the settled science" can change: as described in "You Murderous Hypocrites": Outrage Ensues After The Atlantic Suggests 'Amnesty' For Pandemic Authoritarians, many were shocked when after pushing for economy-crushing lockdowns, seeking to block children from going to school (and stunting their development), and even calling for the incarceration or worse of mask, vaccine and booster holdouts, the liberal left - realizing that it was completely wrong about everything to do with covid, a virus with a 99% survival rate - suddenly and politely was hoping to "declare a pandemic amnesty." Brown Professor Emily Oster - a huge lockdown proponent, who now pleads from mercy from the once-shunned - wrote "we need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID. Let’s acknowledge that we made complicated choices in the face of deep uncertainty, and then try to work together to build back and move forward." The response from those who lost their small business, wealth, or worse, a family member (who died alone or from complications from the experimental gene therapy known as "vaccines" and "boosters") was clear and unanimous; as for those seeking preemptive pardons from the coming tribunals, their plea was clear: “We didn't know! We were just following orders."
And from one covid post we segue into another, only this time the focus is not on the disease but rather the consequences of mandatory vaccines: over 730K readers were shocked in February when a former finance professional discovered a surge in "excess mortality", or unexplained deaths among otherwise healthy young adults, yet not linked directly to covid (thus leaving vaccines as the possible cause of death), as we showed in "Long Funeral Homes, Short Life Insurers? Ex-Blackrock Fund Manager Discovers Disturbing Trends In Mortality." This wasn't the first time we had heart of a surge in excess mortality: a month earlier it was the CEO of insurance company OneAmerica to observe that the death rate for those aged 18-64 had soared by 40% over pre-pandemic levels (this was another post that received a lot of clicks). While the science is clearly not settled here - on either covid or the vaccines - the emerging trend is ominous: at this rate the excess deaths associated with covid (and its vaccines) will soon surpass the deaths directly linked to covid. And anyone who dares to bring this up will be branded a racist, a white supremacists, or a fascist, or all three.
One of the defining features of 2022 was the record surge in the price of food. And while much of this inflation could be attributed to the trillions in helicopter money injected over the past three years, as well as the snarled supply chains due to the war in Ukraine, a mystery emerged when one after another US food processing plant mysteriously burned down. And with almost 800,000 page views, a majority of our readers wanted to know why "Another US Food Processing Plant Erupts In Flames", making it the 8th most read post of the year. While so far no crime has been alleged, the fact that over 100 "accidental fires" (as listed here) have taken place across America's food facilities since the start of 2021, impairing the US supply chain, remains one of the biggest mysteries of the year.
While some will argue that runaway inflation was the event of 2022, we will counter that the defining moment was the war between Ukraine and Russia, which broke out in February after what the Kremlin said was a long-running NATO attempt to corner Russia (by pushing Ukraine to seek membership in the military alliance), forcing it to either launch an invasion now, or wait several years and be invaded by all the neighboring NATO countries. Still, many were shocked when Putin ultimately gave the order to launch the "special military operations", as most had Russia to merely posture. But it was not meant to be and nearly 840K readers followed the world-changing events on February 2 when "Putin Orders "Special Military Operation" In Ukraine's Breakaway Regions." The war continues to this day with no prospects of peace or even a ceasefire.
And from one geopolitical hotspot we go to another, namely China and Taiwan, which many expect will be the next major military theater at some time in the near future when Beijing finally invades the "Republic of China" and officially brings it back into the fold. Thing here got extra hot in early August when Democrat Nancy Pelosi decided to make an unexpected trip to the semiconductor-heavy island, sparking an unprecedented diplomatic escalation, with many speculating that China could simply fire at Nancy's unsanctioned airplane. In the end, however, as nearly 950,000 found out, the situation fizzled as "China Summoned US Ambassador Overnight, Says Washington "Must Pay The Price"." Since then Pelosi's political career has officially ended, and while China has not yet invaded Taiwan, it is only a matter of time before it does.
While Covid may have been a 2021 story, that was also the year when nobody was allowed to talk about the Chinese pandemic. Things changed in 2022 when liberal censorship finally crashed under its own weight, and long overdue discussions of Covid became mainstream. nowhere more so than on Twitter where Elon Musk fired all those responsible for silencing the debate over the past three years, and of course, the show of the always outspoken Joe Rogan, where mRNA inventor Robert Malone, gave a fascinating interview to Joe Rogan which aired on New Year's Eve 2022 and which took the world by storm in the first days of the new year. It certainly made over 908,000 readers click on "COVID, Ivermectin, And 'Mass Formation Psychosis': Dr. Robert Malone Gives Blistering Interview To Joe Rogan." The doctor, who had been suspended by both LInkedIn and Twitter, for the crime of promoting "vaccine hesitancy" argued that if the risks of vaccines are not discussed, informed consent is not possible. As Malone concluded "Informed consent is not only not happening, it's being actively blocked." Luckily, now that Elon Musk has made it possible to discuss covid - and so much more - on twitter without fears of immediate suspension, there is again hope that not only is informed consent once again possible, but that the wheels of true justice are starting to steamroll liberal censorship.
A tragic and bizarre interlude took place in early July when "Former Japanese PM Abe Shot Dead During Speech, "Frustrated" Assassin Arrested", a shocking development which captured the attention of some 927,000 readers. While some expected the assassination to be a Archduke Ferdinand moment, coming at a time of soaring inflation around the globe and potentially catalyzing grassroots anger at the ruling class, the episode remained isolated as it did not have political motives and instead the killer, Yamagami, said that he killed the former PM in relation to a grudge he held against the Unification Church, to which Abe and his family had political ties, over his mother's bankruptcy in 2002. That's the good news. The bad news is that with the fabric of society close to tearing across most developed nations, it is only a matter of time before we do get a real Archduke 2.0 moment.
Just days after Rogan's interview with Malone (see above), another covid-linked "surprise" emerged when Projected Veritas leaked military documents hidden on a classified system showing how EcoHealth Alliance approached DARPA in March 2018, seeking funding to conduct illegal gain of function research of bat borne coronaviruses. But while US infatuation with creating viral bioweapons is hardly new (instead it merely outsourced it to biolabs in China), one of the discoveries revealed in "Ivermectin 'Works Throughout All Phases' Of COVID According To Leaked Military Documents" - the third most popular post of 2022 with 929K page views, is that the infamous "horse paste" Ivermectin was defined by Darpa as a "curative" which works throughout all phases of the illness because it both inhibits viral replication and modulates the immune response. Of course, had that been made public, it would have prevented Pfizer and Moderna from making tens of billions in revenue from selling mRNA-based therapies (not vaccines) whose potentially deadly side effects we are only now learning about (as the 9th most popular post of 2022 noted above confirms).
The fake news apparatus was busy spinning in overtime this past year (and every other year), and not only when it comes to covid, inflation, unemployment, the recession, but also - or rather especially - the Ukraine fog of propaganda war. A striking example was the explosion of both pipelines connecting Russia to Europe, Nord Stream I and II, which quickly escalated into a fingerpointing exercise of accusations, with Europe blaming Putin for blowing up the pipelines (even though said pipelines exclusively benefit the Kremlin which spent billions building them in the recent past), while the Kremlin said it was the US' fault. This we learned in "EU Chief Calls Nord Stream Attack "Sabotage", Warns Of "Strongest Possible Response", which was also the 2nd most read article of the year with just over 1,050,000 page views. In the end, there was no "response" at all. Why? Because as it emerged just two months later in that most deep state of outlets, the Washington Post, "Evidence In Nord Stream Sabotage Doesn't Point To Russia." In other words, it points to the US, just as professor Jeffrey Sachs dared to suggest on Bloomberg, leading to shock and awe at the pro-Biden media outlet. The lesson here, inasmuch as there is one, is that the perpetrators of every false flag operation always emerge - it may take time, but the outcome is inevitable, and "shockingly", the culprit almost always is one particular nation...
Finally, the most read article of 2022 with nearly 1.1 million page views, was "White House Says Russian Forces 20 Miles Outside Ukraine's Capital." It cemented that as least as far as ZH readers were concerned, the biggest event of the year was the war in Ukraine, an event which has set in motion forces which will redefine the layout of the world over the next century (and, if Zoltan Pozsar is right, will lead to the demise of the US dollar as a reserve currency and culminate with China surpassing the US as the world's biggest superpower). Incidentally, while Russian forces may have been 20 miles outside of Kiev, they were repelled and even though the war could have ended nearly a year ago and the world would have returned to some semblance of normalcy, it was not meant to be, and the war still goes on with little hope that it will end any time soon.
And with all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2023, and the next decade?
We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try, despite repeat baseless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2022 (when the entire world realized just how clueless the Fed had been when it called the most crushing and persistent inflation in two generations "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of both the scientific method and the "expert class" with their catastrophically bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it.
We do know, however, that with central banks now desperate to contain inflation and undo 13 years of central bank mistakes - after all it is the trillions and trillions in monetary stimulus, the helicopter money, the MMT, and the endless deficit funding by central banks that made the current runaway inflation possible, the current attempt to do something impossible and stuff 13 years of toothpaste back into the tube, will be a catastrophic failure.
We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 14, we will be there to document every aspect of it.
Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2023, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2022 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile (and with the CIA clearly on our ass now) - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken economic, political and financial system.