In the first half, investment advisor Michael "Mish" Shedlock offered analysis of the economic landscape including jobs, debt, inflation, the US dollar, the stock market, gold, bitcoin, and the rapidly eroding middle class. 50% of America's population has just 1% of the overall wealth, he cited, while the top 1% maintains 30% of the wealth, and the top 10% has around 70%. The new tariffs were supposed to save US Steel and start new plants, he reported, but two plants have actually closed, and US Steel didn't benefit from them at all. As a free-market advocate, Shedlock isn't in favor of tariffs and said they generally don't work in a global economy. If we start slashing interest rates, he continued, "gold will be the beneficiary rather than the stock market."
Regarding cryptocurrencies, if they ever get big enough to challenge the Fed or large international banks, "the central banks will come in and find a way to shut them down," he remarked, even if they have to make up a rationale. While not a supporter of Bitcoin, he acknowledged that it's a free market construct, and its blockchain technology has a lot to offer. There is currently $4 trillion in consumer credit debt out there, he noted, "and I keep wondering how this is all going to get paid back...I think we're going to have an asset crash" and there will be massive defaults similar to what we saw in the 2008 crash. Mish also mentioned his work as a photographer, which can be viewed at mishmoments.com.
Anthropologist and activist, Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami. He spoke about the evidence that he and his partner Julie M. Brown uncovered of the role of visionary plants in Christianity, medieval art and biblical scripture, as well as the new resurgence in interest for psychedelics to treat such intractable conditions as depression and PSTD. When the Browns traveled to Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, they observed the "Green Men" (carved faces with foliage) that are common in medieval churches. Later, looking at a replica, he noticed it had an amanita muscaria psychoactive mushroom sculpted upside down in the head, and this began their journey investigating the psychedelic plant component in Christian art.
As part of the current therapeutic "psychedelic renaissance," MDMA (Ecstasy) has entered Phase 3 clinical trials for severe PTSD for military vets, first responders and other trauma victims, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression among people living with severe or terminal illnesses, and Imperial College in London has neuro-imaged the brain on LSD. When Brown himself was in the midst of a long-standing depression after he and his wife moved to Portugal, a single ayahuasca trip (in which he had the vision of a long black snake being pulled out of his mouth) restored his mental balance. He also addressed the recent trend of microdosing, in which people take very small doses of LSD or psilocybin every four days. Researcher James Fadiman has informally collected reports from microdosers, who say their regimen brought about a reduction in negative moods, increased energy, better work effectiveness and focus, and even relief from medical problems such as migraines.