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Rickards: "We Are On The Precipice"

Rickards: "We Are On The Precipice" Authored by James Rickards via DailyReckoning.com, I don’t believe many people grasp the enormity of the global food crisis we’ll be facing in the months ahead. But the world could be on the verge of a massive humanitarian crisis. Let’s dive in… The supply chain collapse preceded the war in Ukraine, but the war has only intensified the problems. You can see it with your own eyes when you walk into a supermarket and find long stretches of empty shelves in stores that used to be chock-full of food and other merchandise. Even goods that are available such as gasoline are being sold at much higher prices. Prices for gasoline (and diesel, which is critical for goods transportation) have more than doubled in the past nine months. All of this is clear. The question is will it get worse from here? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Bob Unanue is the CEO of Goya Foods, which is one of the largest food distributors in the world. Few people are better positioned to assess the global food situation than Unanue, who deals with raw food deliveries on the one hand and retail customers on the other. Unanue is now warning, “We are on the precipice of a global food crisis.” Other experts are quoted making a similar point. That’s not hyperbole or fearmongering, but a serious analysis. Here’s why… 29% of All Wheat Exports in Jeopardy In the Northern Hemisphere, the planting season for 2022 is well underway. Crops were planted (or not) in March and April. Based on that, you can already form estimates of output next September and October during the harvest season (subject to some variability based on weather and other factors). Plantings have been far below normal in 2022, either due to a lack of fertilizer or to much higher costs for fertilizer where farmers simply chose to plant less. This predictable shortage is in addition to the much greater shortages due to the fact that Russian output is sanctioned and Ukrainian output is nonexistent because it’s at war. Russia and Ukraine together account for 29% of global wheat and 19% of global corn exports. Russia and Ukraine together produce 29% of all the wheat exports in the world. That doesn’t mean they grow 29% of the wheat in the world. It means they grow 29% of the wheat exports. The U.S., Australia, Canada and others grow a lot of wheat but consume most of it themselves. They export relatively little. Importantly, they don’t simply eat it. They feed it to their farm animals. People don’t often make the connection between grain and animal products, but it’s critical. Many countries get 70–100% of their grains from either Russia or Ukraine or both. Lebanon gets 100%. Egypt is over 70%. Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, many central African countries and Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries receive much of their grain from Russia or Ukraine. No Planting, No Crops But it’s worse than that because not only are many Ukrainian exports shut down now, but the planting season is nearly over. And you’re not going to get any grain in October if you didn’t plant it in April or May. And they didn’t for obvious reasons. What that means is you project ahead to October, November, December of this year, those countries I mentioned are not going to be able to get their grain supplies. There simply aren’t going to be any, or they’ll be greatly reduced. The combined population of countries that get between 70% and 100% of their imports from Russia or Ukraine is 700 million people. That’s 10% of the global population. So you’re looking at mass starvation. You’re looking at a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions, probably the worst since the Black Death of the 14th century. That’s coming down the road, even if most people can’t see it coming or fully fathom the depths of the coming crisis. In short, we know enough now to predict much higher prices, empty shelves and, in some cases, mass starvation in the fourth quarter of this year and beyond. Beyond the humanitarian aspect of the coming food shortages, there are also potentially serious social and geopolitical ramifications. Another Arab Spring? You remember the “Arab Spring” starting in 2010. It started in Tunisia and spread from there. Well, it was triggered by a food crisis. There was a shortage of wheat, which triggered the protests. There were underlying problems in these societies, but a food crisis was the catalyst for the protests. Now, many poorer countries in the Middle East and Africa are facing a much greater crisis as the impact of shortages manifests itself later this year and into next year. Will we see even more social unrest than in 2011? It’s very possible, and it could be even more destabilizing than the Arab Spring. We could also see waves of mass migration from Africa and the Middle East as desperate and hungry people flee their homelands. Europe endured a wave of mass immigration in 2015. Many migrants were attempting to flee the war in Syria, but there were great amounts of people who weren’t affected by the war. They were just seeking better lives in the welfare states of Europe. Mass starvation could trigger an even greater migration, which would present Europe with enormous challenges. The United States could also witness another wave of migration at the southern border, which is currently being inundated by migrants. A global food crisis could send the numbers spiraling to uncontrollable limits. What if the War Drags On? And what if the war in Ukraine drags on well into next year? Next year’s growing season would also be disrupted and the shortages could extend into late 2023 and beyond. Well, maybe some would argue that other nations could pick up the slack and grow additional grain. That’s nice in theory, but it’s not that simple. Russia is the largest exporter of fertilizer, and sanctions are cutting off supplies. Many farmers cannot get fertilizer at all, and those who can are paying between twice and three times last year’s price. That means that crops actually produced will have much higher prices because of the higher price of inputs such as fertilizer, and the higher transportation costs due to higher prices for diesel and gasoline. Like I said earlier, we’re looking at a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions, probably the worst since the black death of the 14th century. And we’re not prepared to handle it. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 21:20.....»»

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68% Of CEOs Say Fed Policy Is About To Trigger A Recession

68% Of CEOs Say Fed Policy Is About To Trigger A Recession No matter how many Tom Lees and Marko Kolanovics CNBC wants to roll out to try and play things off like everything is fine, most CEOs - who spend their time in the real world instead of "analyzing" it - are bracing for a recession.  In fact, "CEO confidence has tumbled to the weakest level since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic", a new report from CNN, citing The Conference Board, said this week. CEO confidence is now negative for the first time during the economic expansion, the report notes. The C suite is bracing for a turndown as a result of Fed policy, the report notes.  68% of CEOs expect that Fed policy is going to trigger a recession, according to a survey fielded between April 25 and May 9 which looked at the responses of 133 CEOs. Despite this, only 11% of these CEOs are predicting a "hard landing". Most CEOs said they expect a "very short, mild" recession. We'll make sure to keep an eye on this figure as we progress further into 2022, especially if the Fed decides to hold course.  Dana Peterson, The Conference Board's chief economist, said: "Businesses are being challenged on so many fronts right now and CEOs have elevated expectations of a recession." 61% of CEOs surveyed also said that economic conditions have worsened over the last 6 months. This compares to 35% who said the same in Q1. Only 14% of CEOs said they see "improving economic conditions".  Mike Sommers, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, commented: "Recessionary-concerns are real." He added that recessions often follow interest rate hikes.  Despite this, there are some "economists" who continue to argue that recession isn't necessarily imminent. RSM chief economist Joe Brusuelas concluded: "Concerns about an immoderate near term recession are generally overblown. The Fed is attempting to thread the needle while wearing boxing gloves and a mouth guard which reduces its degrees of freedom to act without causing damage to the real economy." Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 21:40.....»»

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$18 For A Michelob Ultra: "Beer-Flation" Hits PGA Championship

$18 For A Michelob Ultra: "Beer-Flation" Hits PGA Championship.....»»

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Japan Probably Needs To Move To The Pro-China Camp

Japan Probably Needs To Move To The Pro-China Camp By Russell Clark of the Capital Flows and Asset Markets Substack Japan has benefited massively from the free trade world that the US conjured into existence 40 years ago. Japanese industry and particularly its auto industry benefited hugely from access to the US auto market. For this reason, I expected US new car CPI moved higher (car prices rising after years of stagnation) that this would be Yen bullish. Instead the Yen has weakened considerably. From a macro and micro perspective, the idea of a stronger Yen with surging automobile prices makes sense. However, from a political point of view, I think this is probably wrong. Japan has for many years had a huge imbalance in auto markets with the US. Nissan, Toyota and Honda all have huge operations in the US, but you barely see a US auto brand in Japan. In a competitive democracy like the US, how could politicians possibly be elected pushing policies that expose domestic labour to foreign competition? I suspect after the inflationary 70s, politically there seems to me to be a coalition of consumers who wished to see inflation tamed, as well as business and capital owners that wanted to see union power crushed. Allowing first Japanese, and then other producers destroy the unionized US auto makers was a political win. That is the Japanese automakers were the spear tip of a policy to destroy US unions. However, the rise of “populism” everywhere in the West has shown is that the electorate has tired of “pro-capital” policies. For someone my age, pro-capital policies, or Washington Consensus policies were implemented by governments of all stripes, regardless of any political promises that were made. And I learned to ignore politics when investing, but 2016 I think has changed that calculation. Perhaps the best graph I can find to show the political change manifesting in real world change is US tax collections from Customs (ie tariffs). This is still a small number, but the political implications are huge. The US now cares when its imports come from, after decades of not caring, and will use tariffs to achieve political ends. Why is this a negative for Japan? Well of the three big economic blocs, Japan only runs a trade surplus with the US. At what point do political calculations, lets say for Candidate Trump, move to the idea of supporting US unionised workers in electorally competitive North East? As this map of unionisation in the US shows, unions members are more prevalent in the north east and California. Republicans candidates running on socially conservative issues, while protecting US businesses from foreign competition looks like an election winner to me, as it has been in the UK. On this analysis, Japan has real problem. The market it generates its trade surplus with looks to be changing politically. The current economic policy of weak yen and export lead growth looks to be an economic and politically dead end to me. The question is whether Japan will change policies? The biggest possible change they could embrace would be to come to a détente with China. The biggest sign that such a change was in the offing would be Japan beginning to build up gold reserves instead of treasuries, as this would allow them to facilitate trade with China, while avoiding any possible US sanctions. Maybe the small increase in gold holdings in Japan are a sign of this change? Japan is often considered Western, but culturally it is much closer to China than the US. The US/Japan military and economic alliance made Japan Western. If the US is unable to defend the Asia Pacific, which is increasingly likely, and US politics is turning against free trade, Japan is going to have to come to an “understanding” with China. If Japan builds gold reserves instead of treasuries, the financial effects will be profound. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 20:00.....»»

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"Build Blackouts Better": Half Of America Faces Power Blackouts This Summer, Regulator Warns 

"Build Blackouts Better": Half Of America Faces Power Blackouts This Summer, Regulator Warns  Tens of millions of Americans could be thrown into a summer of hell as a megadrought, heatwaves, and reduced power generation could trigger widespread rolling electricity blackouts from the Great Lakes to the West Coast, according to Bloomberg, citing a new report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a regulatory body that manages grid stability.  NERC warned power supplies in the Western US could be strained this summer as a historic drought reduces hydroelectric power generation due to falling reservoir levels and what's expected to be an unseasonably hot summer. Compound the hellacious weather backdrop with grids decommissioning fossil fuel power plants to fight climate change and their inability to bring on new green power generation, such as solar, wind, and batteries, in time, is a perfect storm waiting to happen that will produce electricity deficits that may force power companies into rolling blackouts for stability purposes. The regulatory body pointed out that supply-chain woes are delaying major Southwest solar projects, while some coal plants have trouble procuring supplies because of increased exports. They said there's also an increasing threat of cyberattacks from Russia.  By region, the Midwest power grid will be extremely tight. Across the Western US, power generation capacity has declined 2.3% since last summer, even as demand is expected to increase. Grids in the region may have to source power from neighboring grids as extreme heat will cause people to crank up their air conditioners. A situation of low wind speeds could trigger blackouts, according to NERC. They outlined how the Midwest could face power shortfalls due to the removal of power capacity from retiring fossil fuel power plants.  NERC issued a similar warning last year, stating power grids that serve 40% of the US population were at risk of blackouts. One year later, there was only one notable blackout last June during a heatwave in the Pacific Northwest that left 9,000 customers without power. But with reduced electricity generation capacity outpacing new green power sources, the risks of blackouts are increasing this year.  In Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)has already warned multiple times of grid stress as early summer-like heatwaves sent temperatures in certain parts of the state into triple-digit territory.  California's grid operators have also warned of rising blackout threats --for the next three summers -- as the state transitions to greener forms of energy. The drought and shrinking reservoir levels have reduced hydroelectric power generation on top of decommissioned fossil fuel power plants. "We know that reliability is going to be difficult in this time of transition," said Alice Reynolds, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, during a May 6 press conference.  NERC's report is an eye-opener for those living in the Western US. Many households face out-of-control inflation, soaring fuel prices, and food shortages ahead of what could be a summer of unrest as the Biden administration is bracing for a wave of violence upon the Supreme Court's overturn of Roe V. Wade.  America is slipping into the abyss as households get a taste of what it's like to live in Venezuela. It's not that far off from what people are experiencing today: soaring inflation, shortages, a ruling regime which so many claim was not elected by the majority and soon, rolling blackouts.  Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 20:20.....»»

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Biden"s Big Lie: "Green" Energy Doesn"t Save Money, It"s 4-6 Times More-Expensive

Biden's Big Lie: 'Green' Energy Doesn't Save Money, It's 4-6 Times More-Expensive Op-Ed authored by Stephen Moore via The Epoch Times, President Joe Biden keeps claiming that wind and solar energy are going to save money for consumers. But more government subsidies to “renewable energy” is a key feature of the White House anti-inflation strategy recently announced by Biden. U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) (R) speak during a press conference to announce Green New Deal legislation to promote clean energy programs outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 7, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images) He probably got that idea from John Kerry, the administration’s climate czar, who recently claimed that “solar and wind are less expensive than coal or oil or gas.” Pete Buttigieg, the Biden Transportation secretary, makes the same claims about the thousands of dollars that motorists can save if they buy electric cars. This couldn’t be more wrong. Proponents of “green” energy boondoggles are often masters at playing with the numbers, because that is the only way that wind and solar electricity generation make any sense. Advocates such as Kerry love to focus on the low operating costs of solar and wind since they don’t require constant purchases of fuel. Ignoring the relatively short lifespan of solar and wind components, as well as the high initial investment, can make it appear as though solar and wind operate at lower costs than fossil fuels or nuclear power. Let’s get the facts straight. The cost isn’t just what you pay at the retail level for gas or power. It also includes the taxes you pay to subsidize the power. A 2017 study by the Department of Energy found that for every dollar of government subsidy per BTU unit of energy produced from fossil fuels, wind and solar get at least $10. That’s anything but a money saver. The reason the subsidies are so high is that solar and wind have additional costs compared to their more reliable competition. “Green” energy sources are non-dispatchable, meaning their output can’t be changed to match demand. The wind doesn’t blow harder, and the sun doesn’t shine brighter, just because electricity use is peaking. Conversely, fossil fuel entities—such as a coal plant—can ramp up generation when we need it most and ramp down when demand falls. Widespread adoption of solar and wind generation would necessitate expensive batteries on a large scale to ensure that people still have power when the wind stops blowing or when the sun stops shining—like it does every single night. So, unlike reliable and flexible natural gas, solar and wind require large-scale storage solutions: massive banks of batteries that are hardly environmentally friendly but are also extremely expensive. And since batteries don’t last forever, they add to both the initial expense and maintenance costs during the life of a solar or wind energy generating station. The same problem exists with electric cars. The sticker price on EVs is considerably higher than for conventional gas-operated cars, and the so-called savings over time assume that the electric power for recharging is free. But it isn’t and power costs are rising almost as fast as gas prices. Factors such as these are consistently ignored by Kerry and other “green” energy activists. To genuinely evaluate dissimilar energy sources and provide an apples-to-apples comparison, the U.S. Energy Information Administration uses the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) and the Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS). These measures consider the initial costs, the lifespan of generation and storage systems, maintenance and fuel costs, decommissioning expenses, subsidies, etc., and compare that to how much electricity is produced over a power plant’s lifetime. The numbers don’t lie: “green” energy is a complete waste of resources. The LCOE and LCOS for solar and on-shore wind farms are four times as expensive as natural gas. But offshore wind takes the cake—it’s six times as expensive as natural gas. Imagine paying four to six times as much every month for the same electricity! That’s the green paradise world that the Biden administration wants for America. Yet, it’s even worse than that because electric power costs greatly affect the cost of producing nearly everything else. In the case of producing aluminum, for example, a third of the total production cost is electricity alone. Imagine what quadrupling electricity prices would do to the prices of all the goods and services that people buy. If you think inflation is bad now, just wait until the nation is dependent on wind and solar—then you’ll see REAL price increases. And despite official government data contradicting their own claims, the Biden administration—including Kerry—continues spouting simple untruths on wind and solar. They hope that no one will check their fantastic facts. To the left, wanting it to be true, makes it true. All the while, the middle class is being crushed by $4-a-gallon gasoline and businesses everywhere are buckling under $5-per-gallon diesel. The Wall Street Journal warns that electric power blackouts could be coming because of overreliance on wind and solar power. At some point, if this push for green energy continues, the whole nation will start to look like California, where gas is $6 a gallon, the lights go out, and electric cars are stranded because of rolling blackouts.  If that’s our “green” future, then Americans should want nothing to do with it. Stephen Moore is a distinguished fellow in economics at the Heritage Foundation, and E.J. Antoni is a research fellow in Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis. Moore is a co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, where Antoni is a senior fellow. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or Zero Hedge. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 20:40.....»»

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"76" Gas-Station Chain Repograms Washington State Pumps For $10 A Gallon 

'76' Gas-Station Chain Repograms Washington State Pumps For $10 A Gallon  Gas station pumps in Washington state are being reprogrammed to accommodate $10 a gallon and even higher as the summer driving season begins amid tight fuel supplies, according to a report.  The Post Millennial has learned gas station chain "76" has reprogrammed its pumps to include double-digit numbers in "price per gallon" at Washington state gas stations. A 76 spokesperson confirmed to The Post Millennial they added an extra digit to pumps, noting the change doesn't necessarily imply the company was anticipating prices above $10 a gallon.  The 76 gas station in Auburn, Washington, located at 1725 Auburn Way North, is one of the stations that has had reprogrammed pumps. It also sells high-octane race fuel, which tends to be more expensive, though the special fuel is sold at separate pumps than regular, plus, premium, and diesel.  A photo was taken on May 16 that shows double-digit pricing at regular pumps.  The Post Millennial also reports Washingtonians in the eastern part of the state, specifically in Kennewick, Pasco, and West Richland, are experiencing fuel shortages.  According to AAA, the average price of gas at a pump in Washington State is $5.18 -- above the national average of $4.59 as of Thursday morning. Some of the most expensive gas in the US can be found just south of the state in California, where prices outside of San Francisco range between $6-7 a gallon for regular.  76's move for double-digit prices comes as JPMorgan's commodity strategist Natasha Kaneva warns the national average for gas can rise another 37% by August to around $6.20. Since much of the West Coast is priced above the national average, this may suggest double-digit prices could be seen in some areas.  Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 21:00.....»»

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Calls Emerge For China To Deploy Digital "Helicopter Money"

Calls Emerge For China To Deploy Digital "Helicopter Money".....»»

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Pennsylvania County Bans Ballot Drop Boxes

Pennsylvania County Bans Ballot Drop Boxes Authored by Beth Brelje via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A standing room-only crowd made up mostly of organized, left-leaning, political activists shouted, “Shame! Shame!” when commissioners in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County voted to remove a ballot drop box placed at the county building on Monday, the day before the primary election. Ballot drop box before it was removed from the Lancaster County building in Penn. on May 16, 2022. (Beth Brelje/The Epoch Times) Now, instead of placing absentee ballots in the drop box located just three steps inside the door of the county building, voters will have to walk about 30 steps into the building, from the same door, to get to the Board of Elections office where they will hand their ballot directly to one of the workers. Anyone entering the building beyond the drop box must go through a metal detector manned by the sheriff department. Opponents say this makes voting “too difficult and complex” for voters. At the time of the commissioners’ vote on Monday, the county’s lone drop box had only been in place since Friday. Around the nation, the use of unmanned drop boxes has met with scrutiny amid evidence of suspected fraud. The Dinesh D’Souza film “2000 Mules” features government surveillance footage showing people stuffing drop boxes with multiple ballots in multiple locations in numerous states. Another investigation by Pennsylvania’s Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office, in which detectives reviewed hours of video of the county’s drop boxes for the October 2021 elections, found hundreds of people putting multiple ballots into unmanned drop boxes. Pennsylvania law requires a voter to send an absentee ballot by mail or deliver it personally. Yet, Gov. Tom Wolf’s wife, Frances Wolf, broke this law in the October 2021 election, when she deposited her own ballot along with her husband’s ballot in a York County ballot drop box. The governor later called it an honest mistake. Lancaster County had not intended to provide a drop box for the primary election, but the county was sued last week by the American Civil Liberties Union, claiming that it had failed to meet in the sunshine to decide not to use drop boxes. But a judge ruled on May 13 that the decision not to used drop boxes was administrative and did not need to be discussed in a public meeting, Lancaster County Commissioner Ray D’Agostino told The Epoch Times. The judge ordered the county to return to status quo, which he considered to be with drop boxes. He also allowed for the commissioners to meet on Monday and vote on the use of ballot boxes in the county. Lancaster County Commissioners in Penn. vote to ban ballot drop boxes on May 16, 2022. (Beth Brelje/The Epoch Times) With one commissioner out of town, two of the three commissioners met at 11 a.m. on May 16 and passed a resolution banning ballot drop boxes from being used in Lancaster County for this primary or any future election, unless compelled by Pennsylvania statute or by an official legal authority. Before the vote, commissioners took about an hour of public comment. In a group email, Duncan Hopkins, an organizer with the advocacy group Lancaster Stands Up, rallied Democrats to attend the meeting. In the email, he alleged that commissioners “are working so hard to confuse voters and make it more difficult for many to cast a ballot so close to an election.” Representatives from the NAACP, League of Women Voters, Lancaster Democratic Party, Lancaster City Democrats, Pennsylvania CASA, and Lancaster Stands Up implored the commissioners to expand drop boxes to every community in the county instead of removing the county’s only drop box. “It is a sense of privilege to say everyone can get here to vote,” said one woman, whose mother is 96 and uses oxygen. Often, activists would snap fingers in unison or murmur support when one of their group spoke. “I don’t understand why you want to make it harder to vote,” another person told the commissioners. LaRock Hudson, political action chair for the local NAACP, challenged commissioners to provide data proving that drop boxes cause voter fraud, as preventing possible fraud was a reason mentioned in the resolution for banning drop boxes. The introduction of drop boxes was a decision made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancaster County used a drop box in 2020 and 2021 for COVID-19 mitigation. The drop box was placed near sheriffs handling security for the building, they had an election person watching the box at all times, and it was surveilled by camera. “Things have changed, COVID is no longer such an issue, we are short staffed,” D’Agostino said. “We can’t have sheriffs doing a job of election staff, and election staff have better things to do than sitting at a box when people aren’t there. They could be sitting at their desk and as people come in, take the ballot. But when they’re not taking ballots, they can be doing other work, so there’s no need, quite frankly, to have that box there anymore.” Several people spoke in favor of removing the drop box. Kirk Radanovic, chairman of the Lancaster County Republican Club, said he was representing the 176,000 Republicans of Lancaster County who expect the commissioners to remove the ballot drop boxes to keep election integrity safe. Another speaker said our parents and forefathers managed to get to the polls to vote, even when they worked or lived far away from the polls, and they expected to get election results on election day. She reminded attendees that verified absentee ballots have always been available for those who are too sick to get to the polls. Dan Medbury, a Lancaster County resident and member of the John Birch Society, said the difficulty of voting is not in getting to the polls, but investing the time as a voter to research the positions of candidates. “Too many people want extreme ease when they don’t take time to study the issues,” Medbury said. After the resolution was passed, the ballot drop box was removed from the front door. The nearby election office will remain open until 8 p.m. until election day to receive any hand delivered ballots. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 18:40.....»»

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Economic Optimism Has Collapsed Under Biden: Poll

Economic Optimism Has Collapsed Under Biden: Poll While the Biden administration continues to congratulate itself for the 'strongest job creation economy in modern times' (which isn't difficult when your y/y baseline was caused by economy-killing lockdowns), most people aren't buying it. In fact, as people face $100 tanks of gas and skyrocketing grocery prices, the Economic Optimism Index poll from IBD/TIPP plunged 9.5% in May, dropping to 41.2 - which, as Issues & Insights' editorial board notes, puts it firmly in the pessimism zone. This marks the worst reading since the height of the COVID pandemic, which bottomed out at 44 in July 2020. Meanwhile, the PBD/TIPP Financial Stress Index has skyrocketed - hitting 69.3 (above 50 indicates 'high stress') - or around where it was during the 2008 financial crisis. Under Biden's watch it's climbed 22%. As I&I notes: For Biden to say the economy “is on the move” is truly delirious. GDP was down 1.4% in the first quarter, and nearly half of adults think we are already in a recession, the IBD/TIPP poll found.  DOOCY: "Americans are now spending $5,000 a year on gasoline. That’s almost double what they did a year ago. Where are people supposed to go to get all that extra cash?" JEAN-PIERRE: "To get the extra cash to pay for gas?” DOOCY: “Yeah.” JEAN-PIERRE: “Well, I mean..." pic.twitter.com/KPzvhGxx78 — Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 18, 2022 I&I also points out that while Biden brags about creating "8.3 million jobs in my first 15 months in office - a record," there were 12.5 million jobs created during the last nine months of the Trump administration - with more than half of those having been lost during the lockdowns. More via I&I: Biden also likes to boast about wage growth, without pointing out that inflation has climbed faster than wages, leaving workers worse off – real wages are down 3% since he took office. This, too, is a dramatic turnaround from the Trump years, when real wages climbed 10%.   The IBD/TIPP Poll found that only 18% of the adults surveyed say their earnings have kept pace with inflation.   ...  In his remarks last week, Biden said “when you look at the economy today, it’s clear that we’ve made enormous strides.”   He’s right about that. Unfortunately, those enormous strides have all been in the wrong direction. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 19:00.....»»

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US Says Iran Deal "Far From Certain" After EU Scrambled To Save Nuclear Talks

US Says Iran Deal "Far From Certain" After EU Scrambled To Save Nuclear Talks The Iran nuclear talks in Vienna have largely dropped from the news given they've been stalled for months, after delegations returned to their capitals. Iran said there was nothing more to do and that a finalized restored JCPOA deal was within reach, only that it was up to Washington - which it accused of stalling. The Biden administration has meanwhile stopped just short of declaring the negotiation dead altogether, while also lately issuing vague statements that it hadn't shut the door. The European Union has meanwhile scrambled to save the process while emphasizing it's back on. Via Reuters EU officials have held extensive meetings in Tehran: "Enrique Mora, the senior EU official coordinating the nuclear talks, traveled to Iran in an effort to overcome a seven-week stalemate in talks between the U.S., Iran and Western powers. Senior Western officials told Politico that the discussions, which spanned Wednesday and Thursday, created new progress, but that an agreement remained far from certain." The latest out of the State Department is that the US remains committed to seeing a deal come through. Spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday still stressed that a deal is "far from certain." "We and our partners are ready. We have been for some time. We believe it is now up to Iran to demonstrate its seriousness," Price stated, in what was the first official admin comment since the EU meetings with Iranian officials to salvage the deal. But currently the Washington and Tehran sides still see the ball in the other's court, suggesting a stalemate is still on. "At this point a deal remains far from certain. Iran needs to decide whether it insists on extraneous conditions and whether it wants to conclude a deal quickly, which we believe would serve all side's interests. We and our partners are ready, and have been for some time. It's now up to Iran," a US admin official told Reuters. One key incentive for the Biden administration is a return to Iranian oil supplies on the global market. Currently the US is even seeking to bring Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro 'in from the cold' at a moment the EU is mulling a Russian oil embargo, which the White House is encouraging. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 17:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT6 hr. 40 min. ago Related News

Massive Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Fraud Still Being Stonewalled By State Of Illinois

Massive Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Fraud Still Being Stonewalled By State Of Illinois Authored by Mark Glennon via Wirepoints.org, How unemployment claims were mismanaged during the COVID pandemic is shaping up as a historic fiasco. It’s therefore no surprise that the State of Illinois is stonewalling the facts about its share of the problem so aggressively. Nationwide, the scope of unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic is stunning. Estimates of how much state governments wrongly paid out during the pandemic reach as high as $400 billion, which is fully half of the total $800 billion paid out, as reported by NBC. The latest official estimate is $163 billion lost to fraud, which is from the U.S. Department of Labor in March. Illinois’ share of that loss to fraud is unknown because the state won’t tell us, but it could easily be $6.5 billion, which would be its share of the Labor Department’s estimated loss. As far back as June 2021, the Chicago Tribune reported that “if the amount tracks with national estimates, it could involve billions of dollars.” For months, some Illinois reporters have hounded the responsible Illinois agency for answers. That’s the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). But neither it nor the Pritzker Administration has provided any useful answers on how much was lost, why or how it can be stopped in the future. The most recent chapter came last week in a Freedom of Information Act response by IDES  reported by CBS Chicago. “The agency has historically refused to publicly disclose the scope of pandemic-related unemployment fraud,” CBS said, and it FOIAd for tracer reports on one particular slice of the fraud story, which is known payments to legitimate recipients that somehow got intercepted by fraudsters. CBS had to go to the Illinois Attorney General to force an answer out of IDES, and the response showed at least 1,000 records of intercepted payments. That’s as if IDES merely threw CBS a bone. It tells us little because we have no idea how many other instances of intercepted payments occurred or how much fraud in other forms occurred, such as by claimants who were fictitious to begin with. And the CBS Chicago FOIA request only covered the period from March 1, 2021 through Nov. 30, 2021 — a timeframe in which in which CBS says “IDES sources said they began to see fraud numbers spike.” Why CBS would trust IDES on that is a mystery since the entire point is that IDES either doesn’t know or is hiding fraud numbers. Some other states have been far more open about efforts together to get to the bottom of pandemic unemployment fraud. In Ohio, for example, the state’s top auditor estimates their fraud losses at about $5 billion and says openly, “The system failed at almost every conceivable level.” California publicly posts its data on estimated losses and other unemployment fraud data. But in Illinois, we get almost nothing. About the only number IDES and the Pritzker Administration have provided is their unverified claim that they stopped some one million fraudulent claims. That’s nice, but what matters is how many they didn’t stop, how it happened and how to fix it. The biggest reward that will come to states that have been open and honest about the fraud problem is that they likely will better control it the next time an emergency demands massive unemployment assistance. In Illinois, we can expect mistakes to be repeated. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 17:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT6 hr. 40 min. ago Related News

"My Patience Is Wearing Thin": Citadel"s Ken Griffin Is At His Breaking Point With Chicago

"My Patience Is Wearing Thin": Citadel's Ken Griffin Is At His Breaking Point With Chicago Hedge funds are running out of U.S. cities to defect to - just ask Ken Griffin. He is among the many managers contemplating leaving his home city due to crime.  Griffin is getting close to leaving Chicago, where he has been threatening to leave for a while, a mid-day Thursday report from Bloomberg noted. Instead of leaving, Griffin had previously donated millions of dollars toward policing efforts.  “We’re getting to the point that if things don’t change, we’re gone. Things aren't changing," he said this week. Currently, his hedge fund and market making businesses are headquartered on South Dearborn Street, blocks from the Willis Tower.  Griffin has long said that he would consider leaving due to rising violence and inept political leadership in the city. He even announced a $25 million donation to help fund the University of Chicago Crime Lab’s new program on policing and public safety training, Bloomberg noted.  But the city's rising crime over the last few years, which worsened during social unrest related to the George Floyd incident and during Covid, has become an issue that Mayor Lori Lightfoot isn't competent enough to solve.  We have documented extensively how many former city residents have felt the urge to leave Chicago - a scene that has also played out in major American cities like New York and San Francisco.  One resident said of Lightfoot back in 2020: "She hasn't done her job. Her job is to protect me and protect the city. And I just don't see that she's doing it. I can't go out at nighttime anymore. I'm afraid to. That's not normal, that's not the way Americans are supposed to live." Griffin has also donated millions to Illinois’ Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin, who is seeking to beat current Governor J.B. Pritzker.  He has called the violence in the city "senseless" while his firm seeks additional office space in Manhattan.  “My patience is wearing thin,” Griffin said. Maybe if Mayor Lightfoot spent more time fighting crime and less time dressing up as someone who is fighting Covid, Griffin wouldn't be having this problem Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 15:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT8 hr. 38 min. ago Related News

Von Greyerz: Gold As "Cheap" Today As In 1971

Von Greyerz: Gold As 'Cheap' Today As In 1971 Authored by Egon von Greyerz via GoldSwitzerland.com, “Specie (gold and silver coin) is the most perfect medium because it will preserve its own level, because having intrinsic and universal value, it can never die in our hands, and it is the surest resource of reliance in time of war.”  – Thomas Jefferson Since no current President or Prime Minister nor any Central Bank Chairman understands what money is or the relevance of gold, we turn above back to history and Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president for a proper definition. Jefferson also understood that “Paper is Poverty, It is only the Ghost of Money, and not Money itself.” As the world economy goes towards an inflationary depression exacerbated not only by epic debts and deficits but now also by war, the significance of gold takes on a whole different dimension. So let’s dissect Jefferson’s statement: “(GOLD) Will preserve its own level” Gold is Constant Purchasing Power. As such, gold doesn’t go up in real terms. An ounce of gold today buys a good suit for a man just like it did in Roman times. The graph below shows gold as constant purchasing power at the 100 line whilst all the currencies are crashing to the bottom. All currencies are continuing to lose value against real money although it never takes place in a straight line. With higher interest rates & inflation, higher deficits & debts, poverty, cost of wars and increasing pressures in the financial system, the currency debasement will now accelerate. Gold is not an investment. Gold is eternal money. As such gold maintains its REAL value whereas paper money loses all its value over time. For 5000 years gold has outlived all other forms of money including paper money. We must remember that every paper currency in history has gone to ZERO, with no exception. The current monetary system is currently taking its last breaths. With the dollar and most currencies having lost 99% since the Fed was founded in 1913  and 98% since Nixon closed the Gold Window in 1971, it is guaranteed that the remaining 1-2% will be lost in the next few years. But as I often point out, a loss of the remaining 1-2% means a 100% fall from today. Anyone who doesn’t understand that is guaranteed to lose all his paper wealth within the next 5-10 years and possibly sooner. “Intrinsic and universal value, it can never die in our hands”  Throughout history, Gold has never and will never become worthless. Gold is nature’s money and eternal. Crypto currencies have for many become a religion or cult. For the ones who got in early, there were spectacular gains to be made. I do see that the blockchain could be useful technology but it could never be real money. So cryptos have nothing to do with real money – gold. Also, they do not serve as a true form of wealth preservation. Bitcoin halving and Luna “dying in investors’ hands” and crashing to zero is certainly not conducive to protecting your wealth. I am sure that central banks around the world will introduce Central Bank Digital Currencies – CBDCs. But these new currencies are just another form of Fiat money. As such they can and will be created in unlimited amounts and lose most of their value over time just like paper money. The one advantage for governments is of course the ability to track all transactions in their desire to control us all in a dystopian 1984 scenario. But totalitarian societies do not survive since they are both against the laws of nature and human nature. Nevertheless they can create a very unpleasant period for many people. The WEF’s (World Economic Forum) objective to create a society in which everybody will be poor and happy is total nonsense which would fail miserably just as a totalitarian society. Yes, the WEF has a lot of billionaires and political leaders who love mixing with each other under the command of their leader Klaus Schwab, also a billionaire. But the WEF will collapse as the billionaires lose most of their wealth and the Trudeaus of this world are thrown out in the greatest wealth transfer in history. “Surest resource of reliance in time of war” In every crisis in history, gold has always been money, both for nations and individuals. Since gold is universal money, it is the best medium of exchange for people fleeing from a war torn country. Since wars also often produce inflation and debasement of paper money, gold is the “surest resource” and is accepted in all countries. So why is gold not going up and why don’t more people buy gold if it is so cheap? I get these questions regularly. All the ingredients are certainly in place for gold to go up: INFLATION Inflation is increasing rapidly and most certainly soon reaching into the teens in many countries. Having experienced inflation in the 1970s in the UK, I know how quickly it can accelerate. Between 1974 and 1981 UK inflation stayed above 10%,  peaking at 24%. The average during that period was around 15%. At an annual inflation rate of 15%, prices double every 5 years.   I would be surprised if inflation in many countries in the West doesn’t reach the 15% level. Commodity Shortages There is a global shortage of commodities. Prices already started to rise in April 2020. The GSCI Commodity Index has gone up 232% since April 2020. Since the Ukrainian crisis started on February 20 this year, commodity prices are up 18%. The UN Food Agency stated already in the autumn of 2021 that the situation of food shortages was catastrophic and that was before the cut off of major supplies from Ukraine and Russia. Growth of Global Debt & Money Supply Global debt is growing exponentially and has trebled in this century. Growth in debt and money supply above GDP growth has over time a direct impact on inflation rates. Most of the money created since the Great Financial Crisis 2006-9 has not reached consumers but gone into asset markets like stocks, bonds and property. That has kept the velocity of money at very low levels and until recently not affected consumer prices. But that is all about to change with rapid inflation increases to follow. Nobody Owns Gold! So if gold is the best performing asset class in this century why are only 0.5% of world financial assets invested in physical gold? The simple answer is that most investors neither understand nor follow gold, which is why it is so cheap. Virtually no investor is aware that gold has been the best performing asset class in the last 22 years. But as inflation continues to rise, institutional investors in particular will be required to buy inflation protection. Stocks, bonds and property have become bubble assets with a massive downside risk and offering ZERO inflation protection. Many investors will therefore turn to physical gold and precious metals mining stocks. The total value of the 33 biggest mining stocks is only $210 billion with only 6 worth more than $10 billion. Global stock market capitalisation is just over $90 trillion so gold mining stocks represent only 0.2% of that. And if we add the total value of physical gold for private investment,  total investable gold assets amount to $2.5 trillion. With global financial investment assets at $220 trillion, the physical gold investment market is only just over 1% of global assets. What is clear is that the total sums in gold mining stocks or physical gold is minuscule compared to global financial investments. So when institutional and other investors move into the gold market and increase their holdings from 0.5% to 1% of world financial assets, that would involve a $1.1 trillion investment in gold and gold mining stocks which at today’s prices would represent 50% of that market globally. And if the gold investments went from 0.5% to 1.5% of global assets, that would mean buying all the gold available in the world for investment. It is self-evident that those quantities would not be available. The only way to satisfy increasing demand in the gold sector would be at a much higher price which could easily be 10x higher than current prices. Gold on the Cusp of a Major Move Gold went up 25x in the 1970s and then paused for almost 20 years as stock markets moved up substantially. Gold then bottomed in 1999-2000 at $250. Since then gold has outperformed stocks and most other asset markets. Measured against paper money, gold went up around 8x since between 1999 and the 2011-12 peak.  It feels like gold has corrected for a very long time since the 2011-2 peak.  But if we look at the annual chart of gold in dollars below, we find that the correction only lasted for 3 years in 2013 to 2015. Studying the chart closely we find that between 2001 and today, there have only been three down years (red bars). So what we are looking at is a very strong performance already and that is before we will see the effect of all the positive factors for gold mentioned above. To measure gold in debasing fiat money does not serve much purpose. If I say that gold will go to $25,000, it is meaningless if we don’t relate the price to inflation or purchasing power. I stated many years ago that gold will go to at least $10,000 in today’s money and that is still a realistic forecast bearing in mind all the positive factors for gold currently. Or expressed more correctly, the negative factors for fiat money and for the world. So when will Gold go up then? Having been properly invested in physical gold for ourselves and our investors since early 2002, we never worry about the shorter term. Gold is for long term wealth preservation and not for short term gratification. Still, I know that many gold investors as opposed to wealth preservationists are still impatient. Short term gold could be finishing a corrective move this week or in the next few weeks. $1,800 is support but as we know, support lines are often tested in order to drive out the longs. So whatever happens in the short term is of little significance. Long term I have not changed my mind that gold will reach levels which few can imagine. GOLD AS CHEAP AS IN 1971 AND 2000 Finally my favourite chart which shows that gold is a cheap today relative to US money supply as in 1971 when the price was $35 and in 2000 when gold was $290... Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 06:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT17 hr. 39 min. ago Related News

Brits "Most Miserable" In 30 Years As Inflation Soars To Thatcher-Era High

Brits 'Most Miserable' In 30 Years As Inflation Soars To Thatcher-Era High UK headline inflation hit 9% in April, marking its highest level in 40 years thanks in large part to the rising costs of gas and electricity which has driven the average bill close to £2,000 (US$2,484), according to the Office for National Statistics. Average petrol prices rose to a record 161.8p a litre in April 2022 from 125.5p a year earlier. Diesel was another factor behind the increase in the consumer prices index from 7% in February after the average cost at the pumps hit a record high of 176.1p a litre, leading to an average increase over the last 12 months in motor fuels of 31.4%. -The Guardian Meanwhile, food banks are reporting an increase in demand for food packages, while small business owners say a combination of higher taxes and increased costs have pushed them to the edge of bankruptcy, according to the report. Adding to the problem is the end of a temporary VAT cut for the hospitality industry from 20% to 12.5%, as hotels and restaurants say they can't shield customers from the increase. According to the Resolution Foundation cited by The Guardian, the poorest 10% of households faced an inflation rate of 10.2% in April, significantly higher than the 8.7% felt by the top 10% of earners. The pain is being felt across all sectors of industry and commerce, putting pressure on the government and central bank to take action as we noted earlier Wednesday. Meanwhile, investors pared back bets on BOE rate hikes in anticipation of the scorching inflation, with money markets pricing around 120bps from the previous day. And of course, a steep fall in the pound is not helping the cost of imports, with sterling slumping from $1.30 last month to $1.24 after dipping to $1.22 last week, making it the worst G-10 performer. Consequently, the Misery Index - which adds inflation and unemployment, is also back to Thatcher-era levels. Interestingly, according to Goldman, the UK core CPI increase from +5.71% in March to +6.19% in April vs their respective levels one year ago is "in line with consensus expectations." The increase in the year-over-year headline rate was driven by the 54% increase in Ofgem's price cap, and a sharp increase in sequential food inflation (+1.66%mom vs +0.05%mom in March and +0.84%mom in April last year). Within core inflation, there were upwards price pressures in restaurants and hotels due to the increase in VAT from 12.5% to 20% in April and due to more volatile categories, such as games and toys. The bank expects UK inflation 'to remain elevated throughout 2022 due to supply chain disruptions, strong wage growth and higher energy prices." Yet, while Goldman expects 'strong wage growth,' labor market figures released on Tuesday showed that growth in real wages has lagged behind the surge in inflation. In an attempt to mitigate the effects of inflation, the British Chambers of Commerce has called for the chancellor to hold an emergency mini-budget, according to The Guardian. "The scale at which inflation is damaging key drivers of UK output, including consumer spending and business investment, is unprecedented and means there is a real chance the UK will be in recession by the third quarter of the year," said Suren Thiru, the head of economics at the BCC. Chancellor Rishi Sunak indicated he may try to find solutions to boost the incomes of those with the lowest pay, however the cabinet is reportedly split on how to fund billions of pounds in extra welfare. Some have suggested a windfall tax on oil and gas companies. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 04:15.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT18 hr. 40 min. ago Related News

African Nations Resisting Bitcoin Only Delay The Inevitable

African Nations Resisting Bitcoin Only Delay The Inevitable Authored by 'BEAUTYON' via BitcoinMagazine.com, Countries in Africa have the opportunity to become global leaders by adopting Bitcoin and providing a pathway for innovation. All fiat leads to Bitcoin. There are two forward-looking countries on Earth when it comes to Bitcoin: El Salvador and the Central African Republic. These two very different countries on different sides of the globe have both come to the same conclusion: Bitcoin is the best money ever invented and embracing it early will be beneficial both for the people of the adopting nation and to the benefit and preservation of the concept of the nation-state itself. There are other countries on the other hand, that are not led by gifted and insightful people. Uganda may be one such example, the central bank of which has just made this very ill-advised announcement, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of all the matters to do with money and the great changes that are coming to how it is accounted for. (Source) Their first error is to believe there is such a thing as a “crypto asset.” This term does not describe a real thing and their insertion of this phrase into their announcement shows that their thinking is not original at all, but gleaned from what they’ve read on the internet or what they've been told to say by the Bank of International Settlement or the International Monetary Fund. Compare and contrast with the statements, plans and laws passed by El Salvador, demonstrating a complete understanding of Bitcoin and what it means to the future of that country. There is a clear divide here; on the one hand, profound ignorance and, on the other, deep insight, responsible stewardship, future-oriented thinking and ethics. Future-oriented governments will be desperate to fully embrace Bitcoin and its dynamics, knowing that the probability that it will become the world’s reserve currency is one. (That means an absolute certainty, math-challenged readers.) Bitcoin was designed to protect everyone on Earth from stupid people, but before Bitcoin can protect you from stupid people, it needs to be adopted by those same stupid people that are the threat to you. This is the conundrum. How can you get stupid people to buy and hold and use bitcoin? And what happens when they’re running the government? The answer for people living in ethically-run countries is that people like President Nayib Bukele and President Faustin-Archange Touadéra must take the reins of power and use them responsibly to free their countries from the yoke of penury-entrenching Western fiat currencies. The Central African Republic is symbolically placed on the continent to become the center of African bitcoin-based ecommerce, being roughly equidistant from all points on the continent. That country could be transformed from being one of the poorest to one of the richest in very short order, should it harness the transformation made possible by adopting Bitcoin and then become a continental hub for Bitcoin. This is no more strange than El Salvador becoming a focus for Bitcoin, for those of you with a goldfish memory who believe this is unimaginable. Doing business on the continent of Africa is very difficult. It is difficult to get payments in and very difficult to get payments out. For example, there is a black market exchange rate, and the government-sanctioned exchange rate in Nigeria, meaning that there are two economies running in parallel, on top of the difficulty of moving money out. Bitcoin fixes all of this because anyone can send and receive bitcoin in any amount at any time, without permission, and its price is determined by the market, not the State. Saying “without permission” or “permissionless” as Bitcoiners do, is a phrase loaded with so much benefit that it is hard to describe to Westerners who have no idea of what it is like to do business on the continent of Africa. They take for granted that doing business and sending and receiving fiat money is a matter of pressing a button. In Nigeria, for example, real life is not so. Moving money is fraught with difficulties and multiple ways of making a loss on a transfer. These piled-up losses can make it impossible to earn a profit, and if you do, impossible to spend or recycle it where you need to spend or recycle it. Bitcoin makes all of this go away, as well as adding extraordinary speed to all transactions that are without precedent for Nigerians and many people living on the African continent. Given all of the advantages of Bitcoin, an intelligent person would ask, “Why then hasn’t Nigeria officially embraced bitcoin as a means of payment?” This is the correct question, and there are many answers to this, some cultural, that are preventing the Nigerian government from embracing reality and acting boldly like a leader nation as El Salvador and the Central African Republic has. Trying to do any sort of Bitcoin business in Nigeria very often involves the invocation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which has a stranglehold on all businesses and bank accounts in Nigeria. Bitcoin would abolish their societal status and the reign of terror that they’ve unleashed on the great people of Nigeria. It is a sure bet that this is one of the key reasons why they’re trying so hard to stamp out Bitcoin, rather than do their duty to serve the Nigerian people by embracing this new tool. That the most populous country on the continent of Africa is the number two nation on Earth for Bitcoin adoption (one-third of all Nigerians use it) in the face of withering and unethical restrictions is a testament to the powerful and resourceful character of the Nigerian people who are born futurists, natural capitalists and extraordinary entrepreneurs: highly intelligent, capable and motivated. What is holding back the Nigerian people is the totally corrupt, protectionist and anti-Nigeria CBN, which is preventing the flow of money and flourishing of innovation there, for no good reason other than a nauseating lust for power and a cargo cult mentality about the role of the State and necessity for a central bank. In Nigeria, more than any other country “Bitcoin fixes this” by removing the need for the naira from people’s lives as they switch to bitcoin. Nigeria could become the African capital of Bitcoin if the Nigerian people used it without permission en masse, squeezing out the naira as the people’s money, exposing their businesses and personal finances to the free flow of money bitcoin facilitates. It could become the African capital of Bitcoin with an El Salvador-style embracing of reality if Nigeria made bitcoin legal tender. Were the Nigerian government to do this, it would be the most powerful signal imaginable, and establish them as the absolute leader nation on the continent. It would not only signal that Bitcoin is changing the world, but that the so called “third-world countries” are taking their destinies into their own hands, opting for sound money over sycophancy, for reliability over rapaciousness, for transparency over tyranny, for clarity over corruption, for freedom over fiat. The choice is simple. Nigeria must go full Bitcoin by law. The Nigerian people desire and deserve it. But it appears that the backwards actors and cargo cultists in Nigeria may not presently be prepared to hear these words. The Nigerian government’s version of a Securities and Exchange Commission, a cargo cult imitation of the American SEC, has just released a totally absurd document on the offering and custody of “Digital Assets.” In it, is one of many hilarious sections on the issuance of initial coin offerings (ICOs) which are already dead everywhere else on earth, and were they not, would never be issued in Nigeria by anyone. This shows that the people who authored this “regulation” are simply copying text from the internet or have been spoon-fed it; in fact, everything about them is copied all the way down. They even have a totally insane section mandating the publishing of white papers. It is obvious by this that they don’t know the origin of the white paper phenomenon in “the space” and are simply making things up as they go along, regulating and mandating anything that moves without any understanding of how anything works or why it exists. Remember also, that every novel offering made available over the internet is now fully accessible by every Nigerian citizen, whether the Nigerian government likes it or not, because these offers are freely accessible and usable on commodity mobile phones. All these ridiculous copycat regulations do is ensure that Nigerians are excluded from writing and releasing software inside their own country. And the Nigerian government doesn’t have the technical capability to prevent Nigerians from using Bitcoin or any other communication tool. In effect, this means that Nigerians (presently one-third of them) are openly rejecting the system there and voluntarily opting into a nongovernmental system of money and finance because it is better and more suited to the Nigerian character of innovation. To a foreigner, the idea that Nigerians have a character of innovation may seem odd, but there is no other explanation for that great country being number two in the world for Bitcoin adoption. It is the Nigerian government that is Luddite and getting in the way of Nigerians and their inevitable joining of the global network as leaders and peers. Finally (and thankfully), the position of the Nigerian government appears to be open to change. It is attending the extraordinary meeting in El Salvador with the governments of central bankers from Angola, Armenia, Bangladesh, Burundi, Congo, Costa Rica, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, India, Namibia, Senegal, Sundan, Uganda, Zambia and 25 other developing countries flying in to find out how to embrace Bitcoin. Nigeria being on this list of countries is highly significant. As a group, countries on this list are bigger than BRICS. If they all “go Bitcoin,” it will be one of the most significant events in modern history and the removal of the yoke of the dollar from the necks of billions of people. Bringing them together outside the U.N./U.S. context is a stroke of genius. Now, together with common cause, common complaints and common animus, Bitcoin will serve as the basis for a new pole in the emerging multipolar world: one where financial coordination doesn't require trust and there is no leader, just the absolutely fair, transparent and totally ethical Bitcoin. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 05:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT18 hr. 40 min. ago Related News

Biden Admin Bracing For Wave Of Summer Violence Over Roe v. Wade

Biden Admin Bracing For Wave Of Summer Violence Over Roe v. Wade The Biden administration is bracing for a wave of violence this summer, assuming the US Supreme Court follows through in June on a leaked opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, according to Fox News. According to a May 13 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo, threats have been made to "burn down or storm" the Supreme Court building. The threats come as protesters have spent weeks outside the homes of conservative justices, who have been relocated along with their families for their protection. The DHS memo carefully explains that rhetoric supporting violent extremism does not itself constitute extremism. "The mere advocacy of political or social positions, political activism, use of strong rhetoric, or generalized philosophic embrace of violent tactics does not constitute domestic violent extremism or illegal activity and is constitutionally protected," it reportedly reads. A DHS spokesperson told Fox News that the agency is "committed to protecting Americans' freedom of speech and other civil rights and civil liberties, including the right to peacefully protest," adding "DHS is also committed to working with our partners across every level of government and the private sector to share timely information and intelligence, prevent all forms of violence, and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe." Last week the Senate voted unanimously to increase security for USSC justices following the leak. It allows Supreme Court police to arrest individuals who interfere with the court's duties. "Attempts to intimidate Supreme Court Justices by the Radical Left are sadly nothing new, but dangerous nonetheless," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) who instroduced the legislation. "We must protect the Justices and their families in case these protests do turn violent." We're sure this summer's protests will be 'mostly peaceful.' Tyler Durden Wed, 05/18/2022 - 19:05.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYTMay 18th, 2022Related News

30 blue-collar jobs with the highest salaries

We used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to see which working-class jobs had the biggest salaries. It pays to work at nuclear power plants. Insider looked at the highest-paying blue-collar jobs, including different construction and extraction occupations.Cineberg/Shutterstock Some traditionally blue-collar jobs pay very well. BLS has data for jobs typically viewed as blue-collar, such as construction and extraction occupations. Here are the 30 blue-collar jobs that have the highest median salaries as of May 2021. 30. Rail-track laying and maintenance equipment operators had a median annual salary of $61,690 and 21,030 were employed in the US.Graham Bilbie / EyeEm/Getty Images28 (tie). Commercial and industrial equipment electrical and electronics repairers had a median annual salary of $61,730 and 50,780 were employed in the US.morfous/Getty Images28 (tie). Occupational therapy assistants had a median annual salary of $61,730 and 41,980 were employed in the US.BSIP/Getty Images27. First-line supervisors of production and operating workers had a median annual salary of $61,790 and 629,420 were employed in the US.Getty Images26. First-line supervisors of correctional officers had a median annual salary of $62,220 and 54,470 were employed in the US.Halfdark/Getty Images25. Control and valve installers and repairers (except mechanical door) had a median annual salary of $62,760 and 44,870 were employed in the US.LifestyleVisuals/Getty Images24. Stationary engineers and boiler operators had a median annual salary of $63,500 and 29,820 were employed in the US.nimis69/Getty Images23. Boilermakers had a median annual salary of $64,290 and 12,920 were employed in the US.MEDITERRANEAN/Getty Images22. Fire inspectors and investigators had a median annual salary of $64,600 and 14,600 were employed in the US.Associated Press/Lisa Rathke21. Police and sheriff's patrol officers had a median annual salary of $64,610 and 665,380 were employed in the US.Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty20. Transit and railroad police had a median annual salary of $64,930 and 3,590 were employed in the US.Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock19. Aircraft mechanics and service technicians had a median annual salary of $65,380 and 125,440 were employed in the US.EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER/Getty Images18. Avionics technicians had a median annual salary of $69,280 and 18,910 were employed in the US.Reuters17. Chemical plant and system operators had a median annual salary of $70,200 and 21,740 were employed in the US.Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock16. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers had a median annual salary of $71,260 and 526,240 were employed in the US.REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski15. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers had a median annual salary of $72,010 and 665,870 were employed in the US.Matt Cardy/Getty Images14. Pile-driver operators had a median annual salary of $76,260 and 3,760 were employed in the US.Sean Gallup / Getty Images13. Electrical transportation equipment installers and repairers had a median annual salary of $77,250 and 10,710 were employed in the US.Paul A. Souders/Getty Images12. Gas plant operators had a median annual salary of $77,850 and 15,110 were employed in the US.Gleb Garanich/Reuters11. First-line supervisors of firefighting and prevention workers had a median annual salary of $78,230 and 80,890 were employed in the US.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images10. Electrical power-line installers and repairers had a median annual salary of $78,310 and 123,940 were employed in the US.Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images9. Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers had a median annual salary of $79,540 and 34,230 were employed in the US.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images8. Signal and track switch repairers had a median annual salary of $80,570 and 8,090 were employed in the US.APChanel/Shutterstock7. Power plant operators had a median annual salary of $80,850 and 28,960 were employed in the US.Ashley Pon/Getty Images6. Detectives and criminal investigators had a median annual salary of $83,640 and 107,890 were employed in the US.BrandonKleinVideo/Shutterstock5. Powerhouse, substation, and relay electrical and electronics repairers had a median annual salary of $93,420 and 22,490 were employed in the US.US Airforce/flickr4. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers had a median annual salary of $97,860 and 22,510 were employed in the US.Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock3. Power distributors and dispatchers had a median annual salary of $98,530 and 9,660 were employed in the US.Bruno Vincent/Getty Images 2. First-line supervisors of police and detectives had a median annual salary of $99,330 and 128,230 were employed in the US.Kevin Hagen/AP1. Nuclear power reactor operators had a median annual salary of $104,260 and 4,820 were employed in the US.Mark Zaleski/APMethod and data sourceThe Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program releases annual estimates for employment and earnings for hundreds of detailed occupational groups. Using data from May 2021, the most recent period available, we found 30 traditionally blue-collar jobs with high median annual earnings.All of the jobs on the above list earned more than $60,000 in 2021, more than the overall median annual wage of $45,760. Some of the jobs are operators and first-line supervisors.There isn't really a formal definition for what makes a job "blue collar," so to make our list, we looked at seven of the major groups defined by the BLS that are predominantly made up of traditionally working-class or blue-collar occupations: Healthcare support, protective service, food preparation and serving, building and grounds cleaning and maintenance, construction and extraction, installation, maintenance, and repair, and production occupations.The above slides are the 30 occupations from those groups that had the highest median annual earnings in 2021, along with the number of people employed in the US in each job.Andy Kiersz previously contributed to this story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYTMay 18th, 2022Related News

The NBA playoffs are down to 4 teams — you can watch every game through a live TV streaming service like Sling

The NBA Playoffs began April 16. Games are spread across TNT, ESPN, and ABC through cable and live TV streaming services. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is playing in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in his fifth NBA season.Charles Krupa/AP Images The 2022 NBA playoffs began April 16 and the conference finals began on May 17. Remaining NBA playoff games are broadcast across TNT, ESPN, and ABC. You can stream playoff games without cable using services like YouTubeTV and Sling TV. Sling TV$35.00 FROM SLINGThe 2022 NBA postseason started with a play-in tournament on April 12 and the playoffs reached the conference finals on May 17. Four teams remain in contention for the NBA Finals, and this year's competition is guaranteed to feature a new champion following the elimination of last year's winner, the Milwaukee Bucks.In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics play the top-seeded Miami Heat. Erik Spoelstra will coach Miami in their sixth Eastern Conference Finals appearance since 2011.In the Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks face the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are all looking to reach their sixth NBA Finals.Remaining NBA playoff games are spread across TNT, ESPN, and ABC. If you don't have cable, you can watch those channels through live TV streaming services like YouTube TV.Below, we broke down everything you need to know about streaming the NBA playoffs without a cable subscription.How to watch the 2022 NBA playoffsYou can watch the remaining games in the 2022 NBA playoffs on ESPN, ABC, and TNT through cable or a live TV streaming service. ABC games are also typically simulcast on ESPN3. If you already have a pay-TV provider with access to those channels, you can stream each network's NBA content via their respective apps. If you don't have a cable or satellite subscription, you can sign up for a live TV streaming service to watch NBA playoff games. Services with packages that support every channel you need to stream every NBA playoff game include Sling TV and YouTube TV.Sling TVSling TV features ESPN and TNT as part of its Orange plan for $35 a month. Sling doesn't include ABC, but NBA games airing on that network are typically simulcast on ESPN3, which is included with Sling. New Sling subscribers can get their first month of service for 50% off, which helps make Sling one of the cheapest options for streaming the NBA playoffs. Sling TV$35.00 FROM SLINGYouTube TVYouTubeTV includes ABC, ESPN, and TNT as part of its base plan for $65 a month, offering complete access to all of the major channels that broadcast remaining NBA playoff games. New members can get their first three months for $55 a month.Youtube TV$64.99 FROM YOUTUBEHulu + Live TVHulu + Live TV has ESPN, TNT, and ABC for $70 a month. That's more expensive that Sling and YouTube TV, but Hulu does have the added bonus of offering a huge library of popular on-demand shows and movies. The live TV service even includes Disney Plus and ESPN+ for no extra cost.Hulu + Live TV$69.99 FROM HULU2022 NBA playoffs scheduleDallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is playing in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in his fourth NBA season.Jeff Chiu/AP ImagesThe 2022 NBA playoffs officially began on April 16. The conference finals started on May 17, and the Finals are set to start on June 2.Below, we rounded up schedule details for the first four games of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. We'll update this article with new schedule details if additional games are required.May 18Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors (Game 1), 9 p.m. ET, TNTMay 19Boston Celtics at Miami Heat (Game 2), 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPNMay 20Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors (Game 2), 9 p.m. ET, TNTMay 21Miami Heat at Boston Celtics (Game 3), 8:30 p.m. ET, ABCMay 22Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks (Game 3), 9 p.m. ET, TNTMay 23Miami Heat at Boston Celtics (Game 4), 8:30 p.m. ET, ABCMay 24Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks (Game 4), 9 p.m. ET, TNT2022 NBA playoffs: key datesThe 2021-22 NBA postseason began on April 12. Here's a rundown of key dates:April 15 — Play-in tournament concludedApril 16 — NBA playoffs officially beganJune 2 - NBA Finals beganJuly 19 — NBA Finals Game Seven, if necessaryJune 23 — NBA DraftRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYTMay 18th, 2022Related News

Goldman Sachs" CEO says there"s a "reasonable" chance the US is heading into recession - and urges caution for big businesses

"If you're running a significant enterprise, you have to be looking through a lens with a little bit more caution right now," David Solomon told CNBC. Danny Moloshok/Reuters  There's a "reasonable" chance the US economy will enter a recession, the CEO of Goldman Sachs said.  Economic activity may shrink as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates this year.  Solomon said Goldman's "house view" is a 30% chance of recession.  Businesses and investors should be prepared to see a contraction in activity in the world's largest economy as the Federal Reserve works to tighten conditions in a highly inflationary environment, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon told CNBC on Wednesday.Solomon's comments came alongside a swing lower in US stocks after retail heavyweight Target's earnings were hit by a surge in costs, sending its share price tumbling roughly 25%. The house view from researchers at Goldman Sachs is a 30% chance of recession and higher interest rates over the next 12-24 months, said Solomon."What I would say when I'm advising clients is we're going to tighten economic conditions," he said, referring to the Federal Reserve's raising of interest rates to tame hot inflation that reached 8.3% in April.["You] have to think about the fact that we probably at some point –  that there's a reasonable chance at some point – that we have a recession or we have … very, very slow sluggish growth," said Solomon who has been Goldman Sachs' CEO since 2018. "That doesn't mean that that's definitely going to happen. But certainly, I think that if you're running a significant enterprise, you have to be looking through a lens with a little bit more caution right now than you might have been when we were sitting here a year ago." Solomon said businesses should be gauging their risk appetite and planning how to maneuver through a slowdown. Investors have sent US stocks sliding this year on concerns that the Fed's fast and large pace of rate hikes will pull the economy into a recession. The central bank has already raised interest rates by 75 basis points since March to a top benchmark rate of 1%, and the Fed is eyeing the potential to raise rates to more than 2% this year. The S&P 500 has lost about 16% in 2022. Gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2022 shrank by 1.4% before the Fed kicked off its latest cycle of  rate hikes. Confidence among consumers and CEOs alike has waned somewhat and the velocity of M&A activity is not the same as it was 12-18 months ago, the Goldman boss said. But "the dialogue level inside our organization with companies large and small is very, very robust," he said.  As "the economic landscape is changing significantly, people are thinking a lot about how to best position themselves competitively," and companies that thought that they were going to have easy access to capital are looking at executing on their plans," he said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYTMay 18th, 2022Related News