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What Caused China"s Quant Quake

What Caused China's Quant Quake While it has gone largely underreported in western media, in the past week China launched a war against both quant funds and High Frequency Traders, claiming they were responsible for the market crash observed at the start of February. But maybe Beijing does have a point, after all long-term readers will recall that one of our first crusades was against none other than US HFT funds, which first we and then others (Michael Lewis) exposed for manipulating markets. So what exactly happened, and what caused China's quant quake? As SocGen strategist Puneet Singh explains, China did indeed go through a quant quake but this hiccup was mostly concentrated in the small- and mid-cap space. Indeed, while the CSI 1000 the CSI 2000 were down ~30% and ~34% respectively, the large cap heavy CSI 300 only lost 7.3%. The chart below left below shows that small- and mid-caps exacerbated price movements in Chinese equities. Looking at factor correlations (chart above right) clearly underscores the moves in Reversals and Risk factors (which includes vol and size). SocGen's charts plot 5d moving average rank correlations between daily factor performance. As Singh explains, "stable correlations are inevitably required for quant strategies to work, but changes like what we saw destabilised quant models, and added to the underperformance." Factor performance for reversals and size in the small-mid and large cap spaces underscored the thesis: we saw small caps severely underperform large caps over the beginning of the year, with the reversal factor getting affected as well. Just as was observed in the US during the August 2007 quant quake, moves of the magnitude discussed here inevitably result in spikes in volatility. Instead of using a close-to-close estimator, Socgen uses its preferred proprietary high frequency OHLC estimator (chart below left). This clearly shows how sudden the volatility pickup was in the small- and mid-cap space. This volatility spike becomes even more stark when compared to the large cap benchmarks. Rising risks also lead to limits being triggered and risk-based unwinding of positions. In a market which is then working on a fear motive rather than profit, liquidity dries up leading to larger jumps in prices even from small trades. This is what the bank's proxy illiquidity indicator captures (chart right below). Once again, the spike in illiquidity in the small- and mid-cap space, versus the relative calm in the large cap space potentially added to this quant quake. As Singh concludes, even as this illiquidity measure remains elevated in the CSI1000, it appears to have ticked up over the last couple of days in the CSI2000, suggesting lingering risks and perhaps more pain to come. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 23:25.....»»

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Obama"s CIA Asked Foreign Intel Agencies To Spy On Trump Campaign

Obama's CIA Asked Foreign Intel Agencies To Spy On Trump Campaign Authored by Robert Chernin via RealClear Wire, The revelation that the U.S. intelligence community, under the Obama administration, sought the assistance of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance to surveil Donald Trump’s associates before the 2016 election is a chilling reminder of the lengths to which the Deep State will go to protect its interests and challenge its adversaries. (The Five Eyes countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.) This bombshell, reported by a team of independent journalists, exposes a dark chapter in American political history, where foreign intelligence services were reportedly mobilized against a presidential candidate. The alleged operation against Trump and his associates, which predates the official start of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, is a stark example of political weaponization of intelligence. The involvement of foreign allies in surveilling American citizens under the pretext of national security raises serious questions about the integrity of our democratic processes and the autonomy of our nation’s intelligence operations. The narrative that has been pushed for years, that the investigation into Trump’s campaign began with an Australian tip about a boastful Trump aide, now appears to be a cover for a more extensive and coordinated effort to undermine Trump. If reports are accurate, British intelligence began targeting Trump on behalf of American intelligence agencies as early as 2015, long before the official narrative claims. The implications of this are profound. It suggests an unprecedented level of collusion between U.S. intelligence agencies and their foreign counterparts to influence the outcome of an American presidential election. The use of foreign intelligence to circumvent American laws and surveillance limitations represents a grave threat to our nation’s sovereignty and the principles of democracy. The fact that this operation was reportedly initiated at the behest of high-ranking officials within the Obama administration, including CIA Director John Brennan, only adds to the severity of the situation. Brennan’s alleged identification of Trump associates for surveillance by the Five Eyes alliance, and the directive to “bump” or make contact with them, illustrates a deliberate strategy to entangle the Trump campaign in a web of suspicion and intrigue. Moreover, the reported involvement of foreign intelligence in crafting the Russia collusion narrative not only delegitimizes the subsequent investigation but also highlights the willingness of certain elements within the U.S. government to exploit international partnerships for domestic political gain. This revelation demands a thorough and transparent examination to ensure that such abuses of power are brought to light and severely punished to discourage them from being repeated. As more details emerge, it is imperative that the American public demand accountability from those who orchestrated and executed this operation. The sanctity of our electoral process and the trust in our intelligence agencies are at stake. We must not allow the politicization of intelligence to go unchecked, nor can we tolerate the involvement of foreign powers in our democratic processes. Robert Chernin is chairman of the American Center for Education and Knowledge. He is a longtime entrepreneur, business leader, fundraiser, and political confidant, and has consulted on federal and statewide campaigns at the gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential levels. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 23:45.....»»

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Panera is exempt from California"s fast-food wage increase. A billionaire franchisee previously donated to Gov. Newsom.

Chains that sell bread don't have to follow a new law for fast food restaurants in California, and one of Newsom's major donors is a Panera franchisee. Governor Gavin Newsom is getting heat because of his ties to Panera restaurant owner. Gado/GettyPanera was exempted from California's new minimum wage increase for fast-food chains in September. Gov. Gavin Newsom is getting heat because Panera franchise owner Greg Flynn is a campaign donor.The clause exempts fast-food chains that sell bread as a stand-alone item.California's minimum wage increase from $16 to $20 an hour for fast-food restaurant workers, set to go into effect in April, caused a stir among fast-food chains — but not Panera.Now, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is getting heat following revelations of his connection to billionaire restaurant owner Greg Flynn — who happens to be a campaign donor.Flynn is the founder and CEO of Flynn Group, which has over 2,600 US locations for Applebee's, Taco Bell, Panera, Arby's, Pizza Hut, and Wendy's.He owns 12 Panera locations in California. There are 188 locations in the state, according to Panera's website.Flynn Group's also owns Applebee's locations in California, but the law does not apply to full-service restaurants.The news — first reported by Bloomberg on Wednesday — has already prompted calls for an investigation by top Republicans in the state, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and lots of angry posts on social media.The two have known each other for years and apparently attended the same high school, Bloomberg reported.Flynn has been donating to Newsom's campaigns since 2014, and Flynn Properties Inc. gave about $164,800 in 2021 and 2022 toward causes for Newsom, campaign finance records show. That includes $64,000 toward his reelection and $100,000 toward the "stop the Republican recall of Governor Newsom" campaign.Flynn's Panera locations enjoy a narrow exemption from California's wage increase in September because of a clause that excludes any establishment that sells bread as a stand-alone menu item — not bagels, not croissants, just bread as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration.Nor does the exemption apply if the bread is available for sale as part of another menu item, say as a footlong Subway sandwich.Nor can sub shops start selling loaves or burger shops baking their buns in-house in order to get their labor costs down — the rule only applies to restaurants that have been doing so as of September 15 last year.When asked last year about the bread exemption that baffled many, Newsom said, "That's part of the sausage-making," declining to elaborate further.In a response to Bloomberg, Newsom's office said the law was the "result of countless hours of negotiations with dozens of stakeholders over two years."Flynn, in a conversation with Bloomberg, denied having a hand in the bread exemption.Newsom's office, Flynn Group, and Panera did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.In short, that excludes basically many major fast-food chains besides Panera. A few smaller brands appear to benefit from the carve-out, including Paris Baguette and Great Harvest Bread Co, Bloomberg reported.The new minimum wage rate is set to increase to $20 an hour in April for fast-food workers in California. Restaurants with 60 or more locations will have to implement the new pay rate and chains like McDonald's, Chipotle, and Jack In the Box have already planned for an $250,000 extra annual cost and say they will raise menu prices at their California stores.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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Oprah"s WeightWatchers departure proves she still has the power to move the needle

WeightWatchers' stock plummeted after Oprah announced she was leaving the board, proving she still has the cultural power to give — and take away. Oprah Winfrey is best known for her talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Talk Show."Gianluigi Guercia/Getty ImagesOprah Winfrey announced Wednesday that she's leaving WeightWatchers.The company's stock quickly plummeted, proving Winfrey still has massive cultural influence. The media mogul has long been heralded for her powerful "golden touch."Oprah Winfrey's long-standing "golden touch" — and its reciprocal power — remain fully intact, evidenced by the Thursday morning plunge of WeightWatchers stock after the TV personality announced she was leaving the company on Wednesday night.For decades, Winfrey has been heralded for her Midas-like influence. Since launching The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986, she has kept her finger on and helped create the cultural pulse, endorsing products and services that subsequently skyrocketed in popularity.Books chosen for her book club grace bestseller lists and land movie deals time and time again. Her TV show guests and proteges regularly go on to future fame, such as Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, and Suze Orman, all of whom landed their own shows after making appearances on Winfrey's. And her candidacy is frequently discussed as a potential political salve for a fractured nation.But Winfrey's incredible influence works both ways.The media mogul announced Wednesday evening that she was stepping down from her position at WW International, known as WeightWatchers, after nine years on its board of directors.WeightWatchers shares plummeted 25% after the news broke. On Thursday, WeightWatchers stock was worth $3.12 — down from a 2021 high of $40. Winfrey is leaving a year earlier than anticipated; her contract went until 2025.Winfrey's involvement had the opposite effect on WeightWatchers in October 2015 when she purchased 10% stake in the company and cemented her place as its public face.WeightWatchers' value jumped by $700 million in just two days after Winfrey joined the company in 2015, with shares more than doubling.But WeightWatchers and other weight loss companies have struggled in the recent Ozempic-era, as GLP1 medications become more accessible and commonplace.Winfrey said last year that she uses weight-loss medications to maintain her weight, declining to say which specific drug she takes."I'm absolutely done with the shaming," Winfrey told People Magazine.(Evidence suggests Winfrey's endorsement of GLP-1 medications sparked a spike in demand for them, as well. )WeightWatchers has tried to keep pace with the influx of weight loss medications, recently purchasing a telehealth provider that gives access to the drugs and launching its own subscription program for people using GLP-1 medications.Winfrey said she would donate her stake in WeightWatchers to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.In a joint statement released Wednesday, Winfrey said she looked forward to continuing to advise and collaborate with WeightWatchers, while chairman of the board Thilo Semmelbauer praised Winfrey's "inspiring presence" and passionate advocacy on behalf of the company for nearly a decade.The statement said WeightWatchers' board of directors is supportive of Winfrey's proposal to donate her stock to the museum. "On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank her for her energy, dedication, and for continuing to play a role as collaborator and thought partner going forward," Semmelbauer said. "What I know for sure, we will dearly miss her presence on the Board."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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The $40 martini is in, and it"s giving loud luxury

Martinis are popping up in New York and San Francisco for $40 a pop, exemplifying the "loud luxury" trend of spending a lot and owning it. Martinis are having a moment.Peter Dazeley/Getty ImagesMartinis costing anywhere from $30 to $150 are popping up in places like New York and San Francisco.The maximalist martinis encapsulate the "loud luxury."Loud luxury, in contrast to quiet luxury, is about spending a lot and owning it.Martinis are having a moment — so, naturally, that means someone has to start charging exorbitant prices for them.Enter: The $40 martini.Recent stories from Eater SF and Punch have dug into the rise of "maximalist" martinis popping up in cities like San Francisco and New York at wildly high prices.In Manhattan, there's a $45 Citrus Martini at Ilis and a $34 martini at Monkey Bar. Across the country, in San Francisco, you can find a $150 martini at Empress by Boon, and in Miami a $55 martini at Cote."The Martini is about minimalist perfection—there are few places to hide, no juices or spices to mask an unbalanced drink," Jaya Saxena wrote for Punch — so then, why is the souped-up, premium version catching on?"Call it loud luxury," she wrote.2023 was the year of "quiet luxury," a trend that generally refers to wearing fancy and expensive clothes that don't necessarily flaunt the fact that they are fancy and expensive. Think the $625 cashmere, logo-less black baseball cap worn by Kendall Roy on HBO's "Succession."Loud luxury, in contrast, isn't afraid to show off.It's a $6,950 rhinestone-encrusted mesh bag by Balenciaga, a $125 custom Hermes envelope, or a $520 leather belt with a big Gucci logo. It's not necessarily the logo that makes something loud luxury, but anything that stands out and signals "this is expensive."The martini, turns out, was the perfect vehicle for the trend.Head-turning martinis are the epitome of loud luxury"This is the kind of cocktail that turns heads as it travels through the bar's glass-encased dining room and makes you feel exceptionally fancy as you take tiny sips of your drink and nibble on olives and truffle," Lauren Saria wrote for Eater SF, describing a $40 martini sold by Bar Sprezzatura that is made with truffle-infused vodka and served with a sidecar on a special tray with olives."It's a luxury, a boozy reprieve after a hard week, or a celebratory treat," she added.Turns out most of these places aren't simply overcharging for a classic martini, which is typically made with just two simple ingredients: gin or sometimes vodka (gin is the correct answer, please and thank you) and vermouth.Punch reported many of the pricy martinis were made with specialty ingredients or gins that go anywhere from $73 to $750 a bottle — meaning, they were actually luxurious, and they weren't afraid to own it.The bar manager at Ilis told the outlet their Citrus Martini had about a 22% pour cost — the amount spent on ingredients relative to the drink's retail price — which is higher than the usual 15% to 20%. In other words, one could argue they were undercharging."I was hesitant to put a martini of that caliber and price range on the menu, but that was quickly quelled when I saw five ordered on opening night," the beverage director behind Bar Sprezzatura's martini told Punch, chalking it up to demand for "an indulgent showpiece."Not only do the drinks draw eyes, but the menu obviously has the literal price spelled out for all to see, so you're also broadcasting to everyone exactly what you are willing to spend on a single cocktail.Not sure spending can get much louder than that.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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Trump used note cards. So did W. Bush and the presidents before him. Should we worry that Biden uses them, too?

Biden's use of note cards has some donors worried. But presidents have long relied on prepared notes to address the public, historian says. President Joe Biden holds a note card before delivering remarks. His use of cheat sheets has recently sparked some concerns from donors, according to a report.Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty ImageDonors have expressed concerns with President Joe Biden's reliance on note cards, per Axios.They viewed the cheat sheets as another sign of Biden's old age, per the report.Presidents have long relied on prepared notes to address their constituents, historian says.At a recent closed-door fundraiser, President Joe Biden had to rely on note cards prepped by his staff to provide donors with detailed answers on his policy.This, according to Axios, had some donors concerned: Is Biden's age showing again?Media gaffes and, more recently, a damning report from special counsel Robert Hur that questioned the president's memory have fueled speculation about Biden's ability to lead at the age of 81 — and for another four years if he is elected in November. Considering that context, sure, the cheat sheets likely don't help.But since the advent of mass communication technology and, as a result, an increasing expectation of US leaders to make public addresses, presidents have long relied on note cards and teleprompters to face their constituents.President Calvin Coolidge reads from a piece of paper as he addresses a group of people gathered at the White House steps.Library of CongressPeter Kastor, a history professor at the Washington University in St. Louis whose research focuses on the American presidency, told Business Insider that he argues this practice began at least a century ago when President Calvin Coolidge made the first presidential broadcast over the radio in 1923, marking the first time an entire nation heard the sound of its president."There's a long tradition of presidents doing this, and I would actually argue that it is, in the grand history of the presidency, a relatively recent tradition of presidents finding themselves in front of large audiences — certainly in front of the press — in which they deliver comments," Kastor said.Even US presidents who had the public reputation of being robust and nimble needed note cards, Kastor said.John F. Kennedy, who was able to keep his medical problems, including persistent back pain, hidden from the public, used note cards.Note cards for John F. Kennedy's remarks in Berlin, Germany, on June 26, 1923.National Archives and Records AdministrationAnd before the teleprompter, presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, John Adams, and Theodore Roosevelt, who was the youngest person to take office at the age of 42, worked off written words on a page, Kastor said.But Ronald Reagan may serve as the closest parallel in US history to the public scrutiny Biden gets for his cognition, Kastor argued."Especially in the final two years of his presidency, there were critics who had regularly observed that it was only because Reagan was a skilled actor and because he had a teleprompter that he was able to communicate effectively," Kastor said. "And there were people saying … get him off the teleprompter, and we know he's not all there."Reagan, of course, famously announced his diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease several years after he left office.Presidents from recent US history, including Barack Obama and Donald Trump, are no exception.David Frum, former President George W. Bush's former speechwriter, recently wrote for The Atlantic about how he often prepared "cheat sheets" for the president, who was 54 when he took office and often flexed his athleticism."President Bush had — and has — phenomenal recall of names and faces. Contrary to some negative reports, he had a deep mastery of policy detail. But like everybody in a highly demanding job, sometimes stress and exhaustion overpowered his active mind," Frum wrote, recalling an instance when Bush "blanked" when the president was trying to explain the benefits of cutting top tax rates.Former President Donald Trump, who is now 77, has received flack for relying on note cards albeit for different reasons.Shortly after the deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, Trump met with survivors of gun violence at the White House during which photographers captured an image of the president's notes.President Donald Trump holds a note card during a listening session with survivors of mass shootings.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesThe note card showed five bullet points instructing Trump on how he could express sympathy and attentiveness to the survivors, including one note that said, "I hear you.""With Trump, that snapshot was something that, in the moment, was used as evidence that he was callous and uncaring," Kastor said, noting that the image's controversy was less so about the fact that Trump was caught with a physical note card.Kastor told BI that he wouldn't make any claims on Biden's cognition. However, the conversation around his health and age, he argues, appears to stem from a more recent shift in the public's idea of a US president that has largely been shaped by the three administrations that preceded Trump: the Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama presidencies. "The three of them together established a certain notion of presidential health that presidents are supposed to be young, fit, outdoorsy, athletic, and physically healthy. They're supposed to speak in a way that suggests this kind of energy of body and mind," Kastor said, noting that all three of them were in the same age bracket when they took office. "When I first started teaching the presidency, my students had spent their entire lives in a world where presidents were young, athletic, and fit."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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An ex-Googler retired at age 40 on a Friday. By Monday, she regretted it.

Nupur Dave joined the FIRE community at 40. But she quickly realized how socially isolating and unstructured retiring early could be. Nupur Dave retired at 40, but decided to rejoin the corporate world the same year.Nupur DaveNupur Dave retired at 40 after working jobs in Google and startups.Days later, she realized the early retirement lifestyle wasn't for her.Many in the FIRE community, like Dave, return to work for a variety of reasons.Nupur Dave thought her decision to retire at age 40 in 2022 was an easy one.At the time, she was living in Bangalore, India. She had worked at Google for 10 years in the company's Atlanta, Mountain View, and Bangalore offices. In addition to that, she had worked for startups, was secure about her finances, and was confident a corporate 9-to-5 was no longer for her."I quit my job on a Friday," Dave told Business Insider."By Monday evening I was just bawling," she continued. "I was crying my eyes out because I realized that I need to be with people."Coworking spaces weren't inspiringDave during her time working in Google.Nupur DaveDave had her post-retirement life planned out: She would write her third book, hang out with her old colleagues, and network with founders and artists at coworking spaces.But the reality of retiring early turned out quite different.She quickly realized she would no longer have the same relationship with her former colleagues."The loneliness of the coworking space actually hit me when I physically went in there and sat down — it was completely empty," Dave said about her first day as a retiree.She spent the next few weeks "coworking-space hopping." While some of the coworking spaces she visited were sold out, some hardly saw any traffic because they were used as placeholders for companies that are largely remote, Dave said."I was not making friends and I didn't feel inspired by the physical surroundings of the coworking space,'" she said.Too much independence was also scary."Even though people say 'I like that I'm on my own terms,' sometimes being completely untethered is scary," Dave said about her retirement. "It felt like doing a space walk."Savings and financial independenceDave on her last day at a financial services company, where there is an early retirement advertisement.Nupur DaveBy retiring at 40, Dave became part of the FIRE — "Financial Independence, Retire Early" — community.For her, the decision to retire early came from a place of financial security.Working in the US for 11 years allowed her to build savings that went a long way in India, where the cost of living is lower. Dave was earning about $100,000 a year in San Francisco when she left her job.Before retiring, she worked with a financial advisor to ensure that her savings were enough to cover her expenses, and sales from her previous books and consultancy would help pay day-to-day bills. The critical part, however, was her location."The whole idea of FIREing was possible because I'm in India," Dave said. "There's no way I could have FIREd in the US.""Everything is much more doable in India, and you can still maintain a life of luxury," she added. Dave said she has a helper come in to help with cooking and cleaning, which costs between $100 and $200 a month.Challenges of retiring earlyWhile Dave's problems with retired life were social in nature, some in the FIRE community chose to rejoin the corporate world for other reasons."Early retirement is not for everyone," financial planner Jovan Johnson previously wrote for BI. Those who plan to retire before the age of 60 fall into the minority of workers, he wrote, and those keen to pursue the lifestyle should have a clear sense of what they'll do in retirement, be aware that the lifestyle can be isolating, and create passive income streams to make their money last.Gwendolyn Merz went back to her corporate job nine months after retiring, she previously told Business Insider. For her, it was financial.Merz retired at 28 in northern Illinois after tracking her expenses and savings to the penny. But she ran into unanticipated problems soon into her retirement. She couldn't access parts of her savings that were tied to retirement accounts, she was not earning enough from her side hustles, and she was paying a lot more for health insurance.Michelle Jackson was once enticed by the FIRE movement but realized she didn't want to wait years to live her best life, she previously wrote for BI. She was in debt and was professionally exhausted, and it didn't make sense to invest over 50% of her income.As for Dave, her early retirement lasted four months.Not long after retiring, she landed a role as the head of special projects at an EV infrastructure firm in Bangalore."I am in corporate right now, but my goals are different," Dave said. "It is not to build a career or make wealth out of this, but to see people every day and make sort of a predictable routine for myself."Are you part of the FIRE community in Asia? If you've got a story to share, get in touch with this reporter: sgoel@businessinsider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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This tense showdown between Hunter Biden and Matt Gaetz over drug use is quite something

"Mr. Gaetz, look me in the eye. You really think that's appropriate to ask me?" Biden said after Gaetz asked if he had been on drugs while at work. Rep. Matt Gaetz (left) and Hunter Biden (right).Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images; Samuel Corum via Getty ImagesFlorida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Hunter Biden crossed swords over drug use during a deposition.Gaetz asked Hunter if he'd been on drugs while serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company."Mr. Gaetz, look me in the eye. You really think that's appropriate to ask me?" Hunter replied.A new transcript shows the tense moment Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida decided to go after Hunter Biden with probing questions about drugs — and what happened next. Biden was testifying at a closed-door session with the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday when the GOP congressman raised the issue of drug use. Congress has been investigating Hunter Biden's business relationships as part of a GOP-led impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden."Were you on drugs when you were on the Burisma board?" Gaetz asked, referencing the Ukrainian energy company that Hunter Biden had served as a board member for."Mr. Gaetz, look me in the eye. You really think that's appropriate to ask me?" Biden replied."Absolutely," Gaetz said."Of all the people sitting around this table, do you think that's appropriate to ask me?" Biden asked Gaetz.The tense moment comes on the heels of numerous news reports about Gaetz's partying. In April 2021, CNN reported that Gaetz had attended parties where people would share drugs like ecstasy and cocaine.And in October, Oklahoma Sen. Markwayne Mullin said Gaetz had boasted to other lawmakers about taking erectile dysfunction drugs with sports drinks so that "he could go all night.""This is obviously before he got married," Mullin told CNN's Manu Raju.Gaetz previously denied Mullin's claims in a statement to BI, calling it "a lie from someone who doesn't know me."To be sure, Hunter hasn't shied away from talking about his battle with drug addiction. In his 2021 memoir "Beautiful Things," Hunter revealed that he was smoking crack cocaine every 15 minutes back in 2018."I will answer it this way: I have been absolutely transparent about my drug use," Hunter told Gaetz on Wednesday."Was I an addict? Yes, I was an addict," Hunter said. "What does that have to do with whether or not you're going to go forward with an impeachment of my father other than to simply try to embarrass me?"Representatives for Gaetz and Biden did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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Technocensorship: When Corporations Serve As A Front For Government Censors

Technocensorship: When Corporations Serve As A Front For Government Censors Authored by John & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. We must, therefore, be on our guard against extremists who urge us to adopt police state measures. Such persons advocate breaking down the guarantees of the Bill of Rights in order to get at the communists. They forget that if the Bill of Rights were to be broken down, all groups, even the most conservative, would be in danger from the arbitrary power of government.” - Harry S. Truman, Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States (August 8, 1950) Nothing good can come from allowing the government to sidestep the Constitution. Unfortunately, the government has become an expert at disregarding constitutional roadblocks intended to protect the rights of the citizenry. When these end-runs don’t suffice, the government hides behind the covert, clandestine, classified language of national security; or obfuscates, complicates, stymies, and bamboozles; or creates manufactured diversions to keep the citizenry in the dark; or works through private third parties not traditionally bound by the Constitution. This last tactic is increasingly how the government gets away with butchering our freedoms, by having its corporate partners serve as a front for its nefarious deeds. This is how the police state has managed to carry out an illegal secret dragnet surveillance program on the American people over the course of multiple presidential administrations. Relying on a set of privacy loopholes, the White House (under Presidents Obama, Trump and now Biden) has been sidestepping the Fourth Amendment by paying AT&T to allow federal, state, and local law enforcement to access—without a warrant—the phone records of Americans who are not suspected of a crime. The government used a similar playbook to get around the First Amendment, packaged as an effort to control the spread of speculative or false information in the name of national security. As the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on Weaponization of the Federal Government revealed, the Biden administration worked in tandem with social media companies to censor content related to COVID-19, including humorous jokes, credible information and so-called disinformation. Likening the government’s heavy-handed attempts to pressure social media companies to suppress content critical of COVID vaccines or the election to “an almost dystopian scenario,” Judge Terry Doughty warned that “the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’” Restricting access to social media has become a popular means of internet censorship. Dare to voice politically incorrect views in anything louder than a whisper on social media and you might find yourself suspended on Twitter, shut out of Facebook, and banned across various social media platforms. This authoritarian intolerance masquerading as tolerance, civility and love is what comedian George Carlin referred to as “fascism pretending to be manners.” Social media censorship runs the gamut from content blocking, throttling, and filtering to lockouts, shutdowns, shadow banning and de-platforming. In fact, these tactics are at the heart of several critical cases before the U.S. Supreme Court over who gets to control, regulate or remove what content is shared on the internet: the individual, corporate censors or the government. Yet what those who typically champion the right of corporations to be free from government meddling get wrong about these cases is that there can be no free speech when corporations such as Facebook, Google or YouTube become a front for—or extensions of—government censors. This is the very definition of technocensorship. On paper—under the First Amendment, at least—we are technically free to speak. In reality, however, we are now only as free to speak as a government official—or corporate entities such as Facebook, Google or YouTube—may allow. Clothed in tyrannical self-righteousness, technocensorship is powered by technological behemoths (both corporate and governmental) working in tandem to achieve a common goal: to muzzle, silence and altogether eradicate any speech that runs afoul of the government’s own approved narrative. This is political correctness taken to its most chilling and oppressive extreme. This authoritarian impulse to censor and silence “dangerous” speech masquerading as tolerance, civility and a concern for safety (what comedian George Carlin referred to as “fascism pretending to be manners”) is the end result of a politically correct culture that has become radicalized, institutionalized and tyrannical. You see, the government is not protecting us from “dangerous” disinformation campaigns. It is laying the groundwork to insulate us from “dangerous” ideas that might cause us to think for ourselves and, in so doing, challenge the power elite’s stranglehold over our lives. Thus far, the tech giants have been able to sidestep the First Amendment by virtue of their non-governmental status, but it’s a dubious distinction at best when they are marching in lockstep with the government’s dictates. As Philip Hamburger and Jenin Younes write for The Wall Street Journal: “The First Amendment prohibits the government from ‘abridging the freedom of speech.’ Supreme Court doctrine makes clear that government can’t constitutionally evade the amendment by working through private companies.” It remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court can see itself clear to recognizing that censorship by social media companies acting at the behest of the government runs afoul of the First Amendment. Bottom line: either we believe in free speech or we don’t. The answer to the political, legal and moral challenges of our day should always be more speech, not less. Any individual or group—prominent or not—who is censored, silenced and made to disappear from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for voicing ideas that are deemed politically incorrect, hateful, dangerous or conspiratorial should be cause for alarm across the entire political spectrum. To ignore the long-term ramifications of such censorship is dangerously naïve, because whatever powers the government and its corporate operatives are allowed to claim now will eventually be used against the populace at large. These social shunning tactics borrow heavily from the mind control tactics used by authoritarian cults as a means of controlling its members. As Dr. Steven Hassan writes in Psychology Today: “By ordering members to be cut off, they can no longer participate. Information and sharing of thoughts, feelings, and experiences are stifled. Thought-stopping and use of loaded terms keep a person constrained into a black-and-white, all-or-nothing world. This controls members through fear and guilt.” This mind control can take many forms, but the end result is an enslaved, compliant populace incapable of challenging tyranny. As Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, once observed, “We’re developing a new citizenry, one that will be very selective about cereals and automobiles, but won’t be able to think.” The problem is that we’ve allowed ourselves to be persuaded that we need someone else to think and speak for us, and we’ve bought into the idea that we need the government and its corporate partners to shield us from that which is ugly or upsetting or mean. The result is a society in which we’ve stopped debating among ourselves, stopped thinking for ourselves, and stopped believing that we can fix our own problems and resolve our own differences. In short, we have reduced ourselves to a largely silent, passive, polarized populace incapable of working through our own problems and reliant on the government to protect us from our fears. As Nat Hentoff, that inveterate champion of the First Amendment, once observed, “The quintessential difference between a free nation, as we profess to be, and a totalitarian state, is that here everyone, including a foe of democracy, has the right to speak his mind.” What this means is championing the free speech rights of those with whom we might disagree. That’s why James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, fought for a First Amendment that protected the “minority” against the majority, ensuring that even in the face of overwhelming pressure, a minority of one—even one who espouses distasteful viewpoints—would still have the right to speak freely, pray freely, assemble freely, challenge the government freely, and broadcast his views in the press freely. He understood that freedom for those in the unpopular minority constitutes the ultimate tolerance in a free society. The government has no tolerance for freedom or free speech of any kind that challenges its chokehold on power. At some point or another, depending on how the government and its corporate allies define what constitutes “disinformation,” “hate” or “extremism, “we the people” might all be considered guilty of some thought crime or speech transgression or other. Yet as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, it’s a slippery slope from censoring so-called illegitimate ideas to silencing truth. Eventually, as George Orwell predicted, telling the truth will become a revolutionary act. Ultimately, the government’s war on free speech—and that’s exactly what it is—is a war that is driven by a government fearful of its people. As President John F. Kennedy observed, “[A] nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 16:20.....»»

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Bank of America, Wells Fargo Offer Spot Bitcoin ETFs To Clients

Bank of America, Wells Fargo Offer Spot Bitcoin ETFs To Clients After sitting out the first round of bitcoin ETF frenzy, and quietly watching the mind-blowing pace of inflows into the various investing vehicles... ... Wall Street is ready to jump in: according to Bloomberg, Bank of America's and Wells Fargo’s brokerage units have begun offering access to exchange-traded funds that directly invest in Bitcoin. The move by these banks reflects the growing interest among investors in gaining exposure to Bitcoin. Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo are providing access to approved Bitcoin ETFs to select wealth management clients with brokerage accounts upon request, Bitcoin Magazine reported. This development comes after spot Bitcoin ETFs had a record-setting week in the US, with inflows of BlackRock's ETF hitting $612 million yesterday. The decision by Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo to offer these ETFs demonstrates their recognition of the increasing demand for Bitcoin investment options among their affluent clientele. By providing access to Bitcoin ETFs, these banks are catering to the evolving investment preferences of their clients, who are seeking opportunities to diversify their portfolios and capitalize on the growth potential of Bitcoin. The availability of Bitcoin exposure through mainstream financial institutions like Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo further legitimizes the Bitcoin market and underscores its integration into traditional finance. But as more financial intermediaries open up to bitcoin, some oldschool money managers refuse to join the frenzy: Vanguard is among the handful of firms holding off, saying in a Jan. 24 blog post that “crypto is more of a speculation than an investment.” Sure, whatever: since then bitcoin is up 60%, outperforming such bubble stocks as NVDA and SMCI. So call it what you want, but investors will only care about one thing: what profits they can generate, and so far in 2024, crypto is the best performing asset by a huge margin. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 16:40.....»»

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NYCB Re-Crashes After Finding "Material Weaknesses" In Internal Controls, Delays Filing

NYCB Re-Crashes After Finding "Material Weaknesses" In Internal Controls, Delays Filing Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the regional bank waters... Remember New York Community Bank - the embattled bank that made the surprise decision to slash its dividend to stockpile cash (in case commercial real estate loans go bad) amid mounting pressure from a top US watchdog (read here, here, and here)? Well theeeyyyy're back! According to a regulatory filing this evening, NYCB disclosed that it identified material weaknesses in its internal controls related to internal loan review as part of an assessment. “Management identified material weaknesses in the company’s internal controls related to internal loan review, resulting from ineffective oversight, risk assessment and monitoring activities,” the bank said in the filing. Due to this, the bank will delay its annual report. "'NYCB' has determined that it is unable to file, without unreasonable effort or expense, its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023 NYCB also took a $2.4 BN hit to 4Q and annual net (loss) income, as GAAP accounting required a "goodwill impairment" charge for the quarter and fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2023. Separately, New York Community Bancorp said it appointed executive chairman Alessandro (Sandro) DiNello as president and CEO, effective immediately. Thomas Cangemi has stepped down from this role, but will remain a member of the board. “It is my mandate as president and CEO, alongside our Board, to continue our transformation into a larger, more diversified commercial bank,” DiNello said. “While we’ve faced recent challenges, we are confident in the direction of our bank and our ability to deliver for our customers, employees and shareholders in the long term.” The company also named Marshall Lux presiding director of the board, effective immediately, after Hanif Dahya stepped down from the role (in opposition to DiNello's appointment). NYCB Shares are down over 10% in the after-market, having stabilized (albeit at lower levels) after early Feb's debacle (that wiped over 50% of the bank's value away)... Full filing details below: On January 31, 2024, NYCB filed a Current Report on Form 8-K furnishing under Items 2.02 and 9.01 the Company’s press release announcing its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2023 (the “Original Filing”). The full text of the press release was included as Exhibit 99.1 to the Original Filing. On February 29, 2024, NYCB filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) an Amendment (the “Amendment”) to the Original Filing to reflect, among other things, (a) an adjustment related to a goodwill impairment with respect to 2007 and prior transactions, as more fully described therein, (b) certain measurement period adjustments impacting the Company’s bargain purchase gain from the Company’s acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of the former Signature Bank through a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation facilitated transaction and (c) an adjustment for a type 1 subsequent event (as more fully described in the Amendment). Each of these adjustments were identified by NYCB’s management after the date of the Original Filing and as part of the Company’s customary procedures to finalize its financial statements for inclusion in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023 (the “2023 Form 10-K”). Separately, as part of management’s assessment of the Company’s internal controls, management identified material weaknesses in the Company’s internal controls related to internal loan review, resulting from ineffective oversight, risk assessment and monitoring activities. Although assessment of the Company’s internal controls is not yet complete, the Company expects to disclose in the 2023 Form 10-K that its disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting were not effective as of December 31, 2023. The Company’s remediation plan with respect to such material weaknesses is expected to be described in the 2023 Form 10-K. The Company has been working diligently to finalize the 2023 Form 10-K; however, the Company must complete its work related to the evaluation and planning for remediation of the material weaknesses described above and other items included in the Amendment. Accordingly, the Company has determined that it is unable to file, without unreasonable effort or expense, the 2023 Form 10-K by the prescribed due date. The Company expects to file its 2023 Form 10-K within the fifteen calendar day grace period provided by Form 12b-25. The Company does not currently anticipate that its statement of operations contained in the 2023 Form 10-K will differ materially from those reported for the full fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, in the Amendment dated February 29, 2024. Does anyone trust any of the valuations in the loan book after this? Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 16:51.....»»

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Why Didn"t "Healthy, Robust" Biden Take A Cognitive Test During Medical Exam?

Why Didn't "Healthy, Robust" Biden Take A Cognitive Test During Medical Exam? Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Modernity.news, Questions are mounting as to why Joe Biden was not given a cognitive test during his medical examination yesterday. Biden underwent a physical exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center yesterday, with Dr Kevin O’Connor asserting there were no new concerns about Biden’s health. Mr Biden “is a healthy, active, robust, 81-year-old male who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency,” wrote O’Connor in his report. However, the exam did not include a cognitive test despite innumerable examples of Biden getting lost on stage, thinking he had talked to dead political leaders and falling prey to embarrassing verbal gaffes in recent months. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre ludicrously said Dr O’Connor and Biden’s neurologist “don’t believe he needs” a cognitive exam, and added: “He passes a cognitive test every day, every day as he moves from one topic to another topic, understanding the granular level of these topics.” Before the results were released, which contained no information whatsoever about Biden’s cognitive health, Dr. Marc Siegel said that the president’s mental acuity should have been the top priority. “What I’m concerned about and what the American public is concerned about is what are they gonna say about his neurological exam,” said Dr. Siegel, drawing attention to Biden’s “stiffened gait”. “To a lot of neurologists who I have talked to, it’s a shuffling gate that looks like it could come from some kind of neurological problem,” he added. “What does the MRI of the brain show?” asked Siegel, adding that there have been “a lot of lapses going on that would want us to see an MRI of the brain.” Siegel said that a lot of people who showed as much difficulty with walking as Biden would be using a cane. “If he falls on his head on blood thinners, that’s an enormous problem, it’s not just an 81-year-old falling, it’s an 81-year-old falling on blood thinners,” noted the doctor. As we previously highlighted, after Special counsel Robert Hur concluded in his report that Biden did not remember when he was vice-president or within “several years” when his son Beau died, Canadian neurologist Dr. Ziad Nasreddine, who invented the ‘gold standard’ of cognitive tests, told the New York Post that all ageing politicians should take it. Democrats are panicking to replace Biden after he twice claimed to have recently spoken to political leaders who have been dead for decades. The White House tried to dismiss the mistake as “normal,” but one ally told the Telegraph that his recent press conference performance was “the worst day” of Biden’s entire presidency. *  *  * Your support is crucial in helping us defeat mass censorship. Please consider donating via Locals or check out our unique merch. Follow us on X @ModernityNews. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 17:05.....»»

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Putin Warns Of Nuclear War If West Sends Troops To Fight In Ukraine

Putin Warns Of Nuclear War If West Sends Troops To Fight In Ukraine Russian President Vladimir Putin used the occasion of his much anticipated annual state of the nation address to directly warn NATO that sending Western troops to fight in Ukraine could result in nuclear war. He explained that allegations from Western officials saying Russia intends to attack Europe are "nonsense"—after on Monday French President Emmanuel Macron really escalated the rhetoric by telling a security forum in Paris that sending Western troops to Ukraine "cannot be ruled out".  Putin's annual state of the nation address, Reuters "Everything that they are coming up with now, with which they threaten the entire world – all this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons, and therefore the destruction of civilization – don’t they understand this, or what?" Putin said. "They must ultimately understand that we also have weapons – and they know about it, just as I now said  – we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory," he warned. On the battlefield, the Ukrainians have continued their retreat amid defeat in several villages and towns outside of Avdiivka. As we previously analyzed, it seems the more that evidence of Russia's 'winning' the war becomes obvious, the more desperate the actions and rhetoric out of NATO officials becomes. Putin acknowledged that the Russian military is "confidently advancing in a number of operational areas and liberating more and more territories" and currently "firmly holds the initiative" in Ukraine. He also warned over Sweden's recent approved accession into NATO, saying Russia is building up extra forces along its Western border to "neutralize the threats" of ongoing NATO expansion. "The West has provoked conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East, and other regions around the world while consistently propagating falsehoods. Now they have the audacity to say that Russia harbours intentions of attacking Europe. Can you believe it? We all know that their claims are utterly baseless," Putin said.  Putin suggested that years of Western aggression and foreign meddling and disastrous interventions have only served to unite "numerous" countries and a "multi-ethnic people: The so-called West, with its colonial practices and penchant for inciting ethnic conflicts around the world, not only seeks to impede our progress but also envisions a Russia that is a dependent, declining, and dying space where they can do as they please. In fact, they want to replicate in Russia what they have done in numerous other countries, including Ukraine: sowing discord in our home and weakening us from within. But they were wrong, which has become abundantly clear now that they ran up against the firm resolve and determination of our multi-ethnic people. This is very dark. Putin gets to nuclear threats vs. the west quickly. "We also have weapons that can strike targets on their territory [...] We remember what happened to those who sent their forces to our country. Now consequences for interventionists will be far more tragic." pic.twitter.com/oEFPBzZ7o1 — max seddon (@maxseddon) February 29, 2024 According to more from the speech via state media on his comments pertaining to ramped-up NATO involvement in Ukraine: At the same time, those same nations are “selecting targets to conduct strikes on our territory,” the Russian head of state claimed, adding that there is now talk of “deploying NATO military contingents to Ukraine.” Putin reminded would-be aggressors that all previous attempts to conquer Russia have ended in failure, warning that “now the consequences for potential invaders would be far more tragic.” He pointed out that Russia has a massive nuclear arsenal, which is in a state of “complete readiness for guaranteed deployment.” The past two months have seen the Kremlin specifically accuse France of sending its mercenaries to northern cities like Kharkiv, in order to conduct cross-border drone and mortar attacks on Russian territory. Russia's military says it has successfully targeted places where foreign fighters are staying, but Kiev has of course not confirmed this. * * * More from Putin's speech: "Russia ready for dialogue" "Russia is ready for dialogue with the United States on issues of strategic stability. However, it is important to clarify that in this case we are dealing with a state whose ruling circles are taking openly hostile actions towards us. So, they seriously intend to discuss strategic security issues with us while simultaneously trying to inflict strategic defeat on Russia on the battlefield, as they themselves say... ...Indeed, just like any other ideology promoting racism, national superiority or exceptionalism, Russophobia is blinding and stupefying. The United States and its satellites have, in fact, dismantled the European security system which has created risks for everyone. Clearly, a new equal and indivisible security framework must be created in Eurasia in the foreseeable future. We are ready for a substantive discussion on this subject with all countries and associations that may be interested in it. At the same time, I would like to reiterate (I think this is important for everyone) that no enduring international order is possible without a strong and sovereign Russia." Putin's response allegations of 'nukes in space' "Here is a good example of their hypocrisy. They have recently made unfounded allegations, in particular, against Russia, regarding plans to deploy nuclear weapons in space. Such fake narratives, and this story is unequivocally false, are designed to involve us in negotiations on their conditions, which will only benefit the United States. ...At the same time, they have blocked our proposal which has been on the table for over 15 years. I am referring to the agreement on preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space, which we drafted back in 2008. There has been zero reaction to it. It is totally unclear what they are talking about." With the horrifying death toll in Ukraine, it's past time for the West to push Kiev toward serious peace negotiations, and for a final end to this war, now having entered its third year. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 17:25.....»»

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Gavin Newsom Faces Criticism For Minimum Wage "Bread" Carveout That Benefited Top Donor

Gavin Newsom Faces Criticism For Minimum Wage 'Bread' Carveout That Benefited Top Donor Authored by Eric Lendrum via American Greatness, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) is facing greater scrutiny after it was discovered that a minimum wage carveout he is pushing for would benefit one of his top campaign donors. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the newly-passed law that will go into effect in April will raise the minimum wage at fast-food chains from $16 to $20 an hour. However, the law includes an exception for restaurants that bake and sell bread; one of the chains that would thus be excluded from the new $20 minimum wage would be Panera Bread, which is owned by Democratic megadonor Greg Flynn. Flynn had previously donated $100,000 to oppose the recall election against Newsom in 2021, then donated another $64,800 to support the governor’s re-election campaign in 2022. Flynn has even admitted to knowing Newsom so personally that he can text him directly. Newsom claimed that the new law, known as the FAST Act, was negotiated after “countless hours of negotiations with dozens of stakeholders over two years.” Flynn denied having anything to do with the exception for Panera, although other sources have claimed that it was indeed Flynn who pressured Newsom into supporting the carveout. The exception drew criticism even from figures who wouldn’t necessarily be political enemies of Newsom. Michelle Korsmo, the head of the National Restaurant Association, said that “everyone’s scratching their heads” in reaction to the exception, adding that “you may be celebrating or you may be lamenting the bakery exemption. But remember, all of that comes through relationships.” Newsom’s push for the exception even drew criticism from the original author of the FAST Act, Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Calif.), who said “we don’t know how that came about.” Other fast-food chains lashed out at the law itself, regardless of the bizarre exception. A spokesman from McDonald’s said that the new law would cost each of the company’s locations at least $250,000 a year due to the forced pay raise. This reflects the ongoing trend of California passing laws that are increasingly hostile to businesses, thus forcing many companies to relocate to other states to escape such high costs. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 17:45.....»»

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Hunter Finally Admits Joe Biden Is "The Big Guy"

Hunter Finally Admits Joe Biden Is "The Big Guy" Hunter Biden on Wednesday testified to Congress that his father, Joe, was indeed "the big guy" referenced in an email pertaining to a business deal with a Chinese state-linked energy company that made the Biden family and friends millions of dollars. He denied, however, that Joe Biden ever received a 10% stake as was indicated in the text message. "At one point, we asked Hunter about the 10% for the ‘big guy,’" Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told Breitbart News following the first son's six-hour, closed-door deposition. "We showed him the email … And he said, ‘Oh, that was after my father left office.’" she told the outlet. Hunter then tried to downplay the 10% idea: What’s wrong with having a pie-in-the-sky idea? When he [Joe Biden] left office in 2017, it thought he was done. I had no idea was gonna run for president. What’s wrong with just some pie?’ … thinking that he [Joe Biden] could be in the business. -Breitbart Greene said that Hunter insisted that "there was no percentage for my father in the business," and that the 20 speakerphone calls Joe Biden joined was considered normal. "He was saying it’s totally normal for your parents to call you," said Greene. "He just totally kept on saying, ‘Oh, this is normal. This is normal.'" Greene also confirmed Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-KY) statement that Hunter testified he joined the board of Burisma Holdings to counter Russian aggression. “He said he was picked to serve on Burisma ‘s board to defend democracy and Burisma was stopping Russian aggression,” Greene said. Hunter’s stated purpose for joining Burisma’s board is a new claim that indicates bizarre reasoning never before revealed. In 2015, Burisma was under suspicion of money laundering and public corruption. Prosecutor Victor Shokin investigated the case before his termination due to pressure from then-Vice President Joe Biden, who threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid from Ukraine if the Ukrainian government did not fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma. Joe Biden later bragged about the firing during a 2018 appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations. -Breitbart According to Greene, Republicans need to "get ready" for Democrats to fabricate another Russian disinformation hoax related to Hunter and the 2024 election - and that it would likely fit the media's existing narrative against both Trump and protecting the Biden family. "I have a prediction that they’re gonna move it on to members of Congress like me and others, Jim Jordan, Jamie Comer, any of us that got hot and heavy on this Ukraine Burisma stuff, that they’re somehow going to say that Republicans are Russian sympathizers. They’re gonna call me that anyway, because I won’t fund the Ukraine war. They’re probably going to accuse us of being Russian sympathizers and falling for Russian disinformation and its election meddling. And then Democratic members of Congress here already saying they will not certify Trump’s election if he wins." -MTG "It was there’s a really weird theme in there with the whole Russian thing," said Greene.  In November, the House Oversight Committee revealed that President Biden received $40,000 in Chinese funds which were "laundered" through his brother, James Biden, in a "complicated financial transaction" marked as a 'loan,' which took place just weeks after Hunter Biden threatened the Chinese with his father's wrath in a July 30, 2017 text message to a CEFC China Energy employee. The alleged 2017 transfer from first brother James Biden to the future president involves the same business deal in which Joe Biden was called the “big guy” and penciled in for a 10% cut — and would be the first proven instance of the commander-in-chief getting a piece of his family’s foreign income. ... The money ended up in Joe Biden’s bank account on Sept. 3, 2017, via a check labeled “loan repayment” from his younger brother, who partnered with Hunter in the venture. -NY Post "Remember when Joe Biden told the American people that his son didn’t make money in China?" asked Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) in a video posted to X. "“Well, not only did he lie about his son Hunter making money in China, but it also turns out that $40,000 in laundered China money landed in Joe Biden’s bank account in the form of a personal check." pic.twitter.com/WKwuRzmYUy — Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) November 1, 2023 This of course came on the heels of another "loan" repayment from James to Joe for $200,000. pic.twitter.com/tJUMLMD5iu — Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) October 20, 2023 The aristocrats! Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 18:05.....»»

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MAGA House candidate JR Majewski"s disparagement of Special Olympics athletes is reverberating in the high-stakes Ohio Senate race

MAGA House candidate JR Majewski"s disparagement of Special Olympics athletes is reverberating in the high-stakes Ohio Senate race.....»»

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Rite Aid is planning to close 77 stores in 2024. See if yours is on the list.

Rite Aid said it would close 77 more stores in 2024, adding to hundreds it already said it would shutter since its October bankruptcy. Rite Aid is planning to close 77 more stores in 2024.Reuters/Noah BergerRite Aid is planning to close 77 stores in 2024 as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.That makes 431 stores that the drugstore chain has decided to close since October.Rite Aid has been shrinking its store count for years, losing ground to rivals Walgreens and CVS.More Rite Aid stores are closing around the US as part of the retailer's voluntary bankruptcy.Court filings so far this year have named 77 more stores that the company has put on the chopping block. That adds to locations that the company previously said it would shutter, including about 150 Rite Aid stores that closed last fall.Since the drugstore chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, Rite Aid said it would close 431 stores, Masslive.com reported."Rite Aid regularly assesses its retail footprint to ensure we are operating efficiently while meeting the needs of our customers, communities, associates and overall business," a Rite Aid spokesperson said. "In connection with the court-supervised process, we notified the Court of certain underperforming stores we are closing to further reduce rent expense and strengthen overall financial performance."Rite Aid has been shrinking its store base over the past decade. The chain had about 4,600 stores in 2013. It sold about 2,000 of those to rival Walgreens in 2017 after federal regulators blocked Rite Aid's proposed sale to Walgreens.The company says that it has about 1,700 stores — a fraction of the networks that rivals CVS and Walgreens have built.Here's the list of planned Rite Aid store closures for 2024:California:Lakewood: 5520 Woodruff AvenueSan Diego: 8694 Lake Murray BoulevardNeedles: 1020 East Broadway StreetNorth Hollywood: 11350 Victory BoulevardFontana: 9940 Sierra AvenueLivermore: 968 Murrieta BoulevardHemet: 260 North Sanderson AvenueWestminster: 6767 Westminster BoulevardStudio City: 10989 Ventura BoulevardLa Crescenta: 2647 West Foothill BoulevardLos Angeles: 3230 West Slauson Avenue, 11750 Wilmington AvenueTustin: 630 East 1st StreetSusanville: 1615 Main StreetRedlands: 700 East Redlands Boulevard, Suite AMoreno Valley: 24991 Alessandro BoulevardSimi Valley: 1159 East Los Angeles AvenueColton: 2025 East Washington StreetFresno: 4224 East Shields AvenueRancho Cucamonga: 9650 Baseline RoadFountain Valley: 17904 Magnolia StreetTemecula: 39782 Winchester RoadConnecticut:Milford: 1360 Boston Post RoadDelaware:Harrington: 17069 South Dupont HighwayIdaho:Boise: 10600 Fairview AvenueMaryland:Baltimore: 250 West Chase StreetCambridge: 798 Sunburst HighwayMassachusetts:New Bedford: 824 Purchase StreetRevere: 467 BroadwayMichigan:Detroit: 4612 Woodward AvenueMidland: 2006 N. Saginaw RoadHowell: 1002 East Grand River AvenueNew Hampshire:Milford: 586 Nashua Street, Unit 8-9Franklin: 951 Central StreetNew Jersey:Clementon: 1360 Blackwood Clementon RoadHaddon Township: 249 Cuthbert BoulevardNewark: 104 12th AvenueBayonne: 1097 BroadwayNewton: 237 Spring StreetLogan Township: 335 Village Center DriveNew York:Brooklyn: 249 7th Avenue, 7812 Flatlands AvenueAuburn: 153 Grant AvenueHartsdale: 196 East Hartsdale AvenueBronx: 901 East Gun Hill Road, 2426-34 Eastchester Road, 1179 East 233rd StreetElmira: 119 West 2nd StreetLe Roy: 151 West Main StreetPoughkeepsie: 40 Vassar RoadBuffalo: 2474 Bailey AvenueMount Vernon: 47 East Prospect AvenueOhio:Marion: 1081 Mount Vernon AvenueLorain: 2709 Broadway AvenueMiddlefield: 15596 West High StreetBrookpark: 15149 Snow RoadMaple Heights: 21800 Libby RoadCleveland: 11702 Lorain AvenueWarren: 2154 Elm Road NEGeneva: 633 South BroadwayAmherst: 100 South Leavitt RoadBryan: 1221 West High StreetOregon:Portland: 600 NW 10th AvenueGresham: 1555 N.E. Division StreetPennsylvania:Greencastle: 200 North Antrim WayAllentown: 6822 Hamilton BoulevardDoylestown: 472 N. Main StreetPhoenixville: 200 Kimberton RoadAltoona: 1600 9th Ave. Suite 35Harrisburg: 501 South 29th St. Suite ASharon: 60 South Water StreetVirginia:Hayes: 2460 George Washington MemorialSuffolk: 1517 Holland RoadWashington:Everett: 1825 BroadwayWalla Walla: 2028 East Isaacs AvenueBelfair: 23940 NE State Route 3Seattle: 1820 N 45th StreetDo you work at Rite Aid and have a story idea to share? Reach out to this reporter at abitter@businessinsider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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7 movies and TV shows to stream this weekend, from "Survivor" to "Shōgun"

Here's where to stream the buzziest shows like "Survivor" and "Shōgun" and where to watch newly streaming movies like "Napoleon" and "Spaceman." Netflix, Apple TV, Tyler Le/BIA critically-acclaimed new drama called "Shōgun" premiered this week.Movies like "Napoleon" and "Spaceman" are newly streaming.You can also catch up on the new seasons of "The Tourist" and "Survivor.'"Several TV favorites returned this week — and one new show has everyone talking.The second season of Jamie Dornan's mystery-thriller "The Tourist" hit Netflix on Thursday. And reality competition fans, rejoice: "Survivor" is back for its 46th season with a new crop of contestants clawing their way to a win.There are also new docuseries out this week, like "American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders." "Pathological: The Lies of Joran van der Sloot," which gives a new look into Natalee Holloway's accused killer, is another true-crime offering out now.Here's a complete rundown of all the best movies, shows, and documentaries to stream this weekend, broken down by what kind of entertainment you're looking for.If you're looking for an epic historical drama, tune in to "Shōgun"Critics are loving "Shōgun."Colin Bentley/FXThe FX historical drama set in 1600s Japan is being hailed by critics as the next "Game of Thrones"-level epic. It's the second adaptation of James Clavell's 1975 novel of the same name after a 1980 miniseries.Streaming on: HuluIf you want a movie-length historical epic, check out "Napoleon"Joaquin Phoenix stars as the legendary conqueror.Apple TVRidley Scott's epic historical drama, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the legendary conqueror and Vanessa Kirby as his first wife Joséphine Bonaparte, hit theaters in November 2023. It's finally streaming on March 1.Streaming on: Apple TV+For a sci-fi fix, watch "Spaceman"Adam Sandler's new movie is based on the book "Spaceman of Bohemia."Larry Horricks/NetflixThe sci-fi drama, based on the 2017 novel "Spaceman of Bohemia," stars Adam Sandler as an astronaut named Jakub who encounters an extraterrestrial creature during a long solo mission to the edge of the solar system. The ancient being helps him confront the problems he's facing with his wife (Carey Mulligan).Streaming on: NetflixIf you're craving a mystery thriller, watch season 2 of "The Tourist"Jamie Dornan stars in "The Tourist."NetflixSeason two of "The Tourist" was already released in the UK, where it aired weekly after premiering in January. The entire six-episode season of Jamie Dornan's mystery thriller is now available to stream in the US, thanks to Netflix picking it up after Max dropped it.Streaming on: NetflixReality fans can dive into the new season of "Survivor"Jeff Probst is the longtime host of "Survivor."Robert Voet/CBSThe long-running American version of the international reality competition show, which first premiered almost 24 years ago, premiered its 46th season this week on CBS. Longtime host Jeff Probst returns alongside a new crop of contestants.Streaming on: Paramount+"American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders" will give true-crime fans something to obsess over Danny Casolaro.Courtesy of Netflix"American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders" is about Danny Casolaro's death. Casolaro, a journalist, had been investigating a mysterious political conspiracy he'd dubbed "The Octopus" at the time he died, leading his family and colleagues to believe he'd actually been murdered.Streaming on: NetflixFor a new look at a famous unsolved mystery, watch "Pathological: The Lies of Joran van der Sloot"Joran van der Sloot admitted to killing Natalee Holloway in a letter in 2023.PeacockThe disappearance of Natalee Holloway, whose body has never been found, is one of true crime's greatest mysteries. Holloway, 18, vanished during a post-high school graduation trip to Aruba in 2005. Joran van der Sloot, then 17, was one of the men last seen with Holloway and quickly became a primary suspect in her disappearance.The new documentary, which features original interviews with family members, delves into van der Sloot's crimes and his extortion trial.Streaming on: PeacockRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT8 hr. 28 min. ago Related News

The best PS5 headsets in 2024

A great PS5 gaming headset will allow you to chat with friends online and get the most out of the console's 3D audio technology. When you buy through our links, Business Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn moreThe best PS5 headsets include wireless, wired, and earbud models from brands like SteelSeries, Razer, Turtle Beach, and Wyze.Business InsiderA dedicated gaming headset for your PS5 can help elevate your gameplay experience by offering convenient voice chat support for online multiplayer. The best PS5 headsets will also pair well with the console's Tempest 3D audio tech, which can surround you with sound from all directions. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P is our top pick thanks to its affordable price and comfortable fit. It also delivers 40 hours of battery life and simultaneous support for wireless 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connections. But if you want to spend less and don't mind using a wired headset, we recommend the Turtle Beach Recon 70 as a basic yet reliable option.Below, you'll find all of our picks for the best PS5 headsets you can buy right now. Our recommendations are based on hundreds of hours of personal experience and testing.Our picks for the best PS5 headsetsBest overall: SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P  - See at AmazonBest high-end: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless - See at AmazonBest entry-level wireless: Wyze Wireless Gaming Headset - See at WyzeBest budget: Turtle Beach Recon 70 - See at AmazonBest earbuds: Razer Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeed - See at AmazonBest overallThe SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P is our top pick for the best PS5 headset, and it's also compatible with the Nintendo Switch and PC. It even supports simultaneous 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connections, so you can pair your phone while still hearing audio from your PS5.The Arctis Nova 7P has a standard design with a metal frame wrapped in plastic. The ear cushions use a memory foam fabric that feels light and breathable. You can also swap the ear cup covers and fabric headband with colored replacements for an additional price, though there aren't many choices.On-board controls include a power button, Bluetooth button, a volume dial, and a handy sidetone dial. Sidetone lets you hear what your microphone picks up so you can monitor the volume and quality of your voice. However, controlling the balance between in-game audio and chat must be done through the PS5 itself. The microphone is fully retractable, which we prefer compared to other headsets with swivel or removable mics. Voice pickup is clear, and the microphone does a nice job of eliminating noises like breathing.The Arctis Nova 7 is perfect for consoles like the PS5. (7X edition pictured above)Kevin Webb / InsiderWhen it comes to sound quality, the Nova 7P delivers great performance. It handles spatial audio formats well and does a solid job isolating sounds. Like most gaming headsets, the 7P's audio profile offers deeper bass than regular headphones, which can be effective for adding some extra oomph to games. The headset comes with a USB-C dongle that can plug right into the front of a PS5. However, if you use the console's front USB-C port, the dongle will block the PS5's second front-facing port. If this becomes a problem, you can simply use the included USB extender to connect the dongle to one of the PS5's rear USB-A ports instead.The battery lasts 35 to 40 hours on a single charge, which is above average for wireless headsets. In practice, you should be able to use the Arctis Nova 7P for more than a week on each charge if you play for around four hours a day.Though we're recommending the Arctis Nova 7P here, remember that SteelSeries sells a few versions of this headset. The "7P" is geared toward PlayStation consoles and features the aforementioned sidetone dial built in. However, this version can't connect wirelessly to Xbox consoles. If you want dual PS5 and Xbox support, you should opt for the Arctis Nova 7X, which adds Xbox compatibility but swaps out the sidetone dial for a ChatMix dial that only functions with Xbox systems.Check out our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 review.Best high-endThe Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is easily one of the best gaming headsets you can buy, whether you're using a PS5 or another console. It takes everything we like about the Arctis Nova 7P and adds a few extra features for buyers willing to pay more. Key additions include active noise cancellation (ANC), leatherette ear cushions, and a dedicated wireless hub that can also serve as a charging base for the headset's swappable batteries.The overall build is nearly identical to the Nova 7P, with a metal frame encased in plastic, a retractable microphone, and even the same replaceable ear cup covers. The Nova Pro also has the same power button, volume dial, and Bluetooth control, but it doesn't have a sidetone dial like the 7P since you can adjust features like that via the included base station instead.The wireless base station is easily the biggest feature of the Nova Pro Wireless; it has an OLED display and allows you to control the headset's settings on the fly, along with standard controls like volume, noise cancellation, and audio input. The receiver also doubles as a battery charging station.The base station features an OLED screen that displays various settings and playback details.Kevin Webb / InsiderTwo batteries come with the headset; the spare should be left charging in the wireless receiver when unused. Batteries can be hot-swapped in about 30 seconds by removing the right ear cover. The individual batteries last for about 15-20 hours on a single charge, which is about half as much as the Nova 7P, but when you add them together, you get around the same total playtime.This might be inconvenient for some, as you'll have to swap batteries more often than you'd need to charge the Arctis Nova 7P. However, as long as you always keep your spare battery in the base station, there's never a worry that your headset will run out of power. Also, if the battery life starts to decrease over time, you'll be able to replace the batteries themselves rather than the entire headset.As with the Arctis Nova 7, SteelSeries sells different versions of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless geared toward Xbox or PlayStation consoles. The main difference between each version is that the PlayStation edition can't wirelessly connect to Xbox systems, but the Xbox edition can support both. The Xbox edition's wireless receiver has one port for PlayStation/PC and one that's Xbox only. Meanwhile, the PlayStation edition's receiver has two PlayStation/PC ports. If you plan to use your headset with a PlayStation and PC, the PlayStation edition is more convenient, but we think the added benefit of Xbox support is a better tradeoff for most gamers. Check out our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review.Best entry-level wirelessThis straightforward headset from Wyze is one of the best wireless gaming headsets you can get on a budget, offering great features and a solid build for $60. Wyze uses a no-frills, all-black design with a removable microphone, leatherette ear cushions and headband, and a metal frame.The ear cushions aren't quite as comfortable as the memory foam on the Arctis Nova 7P, but they feel fine and the overall fit is standard. Typical on-board controls for volume and mute are present, but there's no dial for balancing the voice chat and game audio. The flexible boom mic can be fully removed when not in use.Wyze's first wireless headset offers great value and essential features.Kevin Webb / InsiderIn testing, the Wyze lasted longer than the expected 20-hour battery life with up to 32 hours of use. The range and consistency of the wireless signal were also on par with competing headsets. However, there's no 3.5mm headphone jack to plug directly into the DualSense controller or any other device, like a Nintendo Switch or tablet, so you can't use a wired connection as a backup.Regarding sound quality, the Wyze gaming headset isn't quite as good at eliminating outside noise as other headsets, but playback quality is on par with most models we tried. Again, like most headsets, the sound profile has heavier bass than regular headphones. The microphone also does a solid job of eliminating background and ambient noise, but your voice can sound distant compared to other models.Note: As of writing, this model is temporarily out of stock but is expected to be available soon.Best budgetThe PS5 can use nearly any pair of wired headphones, so you're not limited to a gaming headset if you prefer a wired connection to the DualSense controller. The controller even includes a microphone, so you can still voice chat with headphones that don't have a mic built in.However, if you're looking for a dedicated wired headset on a budget, we recommend the Turtle Beach Recon 70. It's an entry-level headset with a swivel microphone and plastic shell. The headset offers nine color options, which helps make it a solid choice for younger gamers who want a variety of looks to choose from.Wired headsets like the Recon 70 are a reliable, affordable choice for multi-platform use.Kevin Webb / InsiderThe Recon 70 connects to the PS5 via the DualSense controller and is fully compatible with 3D audio, but you'll have to use the console's on-screen settings to manage volume and audio balance. The microphone automatically mutes when swiveled up away from your face.The wired sound quality matches what we expect to hear when using the PS5's 3D audio tech, and the microphone quality is also up to par in voice chat. While the audio profile boosts bass, the sound is not quite as deep as the more expensive headsets we recommend.The plastic build also makes the Recon 70 feel less durable than pricier headsets; it's sturdy enough to last through hours of regular play at home, but it may not be the best option to take on the go.Best earbudsThe Razer Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeed are one of the few pairs of wireless gaming headphones that use an earbud-style design. While the case and form factor may make them look similar to something like Apple's AirPods Pros, the Hammerheads are larger and include support for a 2.4GHz wireless connection, which is better than Bluetooth for delivering a high-quality, stable audio signal while gaming.With the help of the PS5's 3D audio tech, the Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeeds generally match the audio performance we've heard from larger over-ear headsets. The earbuds include an active noise cancellation feature but aren't much better at filtering out sound than over-ear headphones, which provide a natural seal against extra noise.The Hammerhead Pro earbuds offer Bluetooth audio support in addition to 2.4GHz wireless, but you can't use both signals simultaneously. Swapping between audio modes is relatively simple with the touch controls. While Bluetooth makes it easy to take the Hammerhead Pros on the go, their limited battery life and larger size make them below average for use outside gaming compared to the best wireless earbuds that we recommend.The Hammerhead Pros hold up well during regular PS5 play sessions, though. The earbuds will last about four hours in a single sitting before you need to charge them in their included case. The case can provide around 20 hours of extra power.Customizable lighting is also supported, but this feature has a noticeable impact on battery life. The lighting on the earbuds can only be adjusted via the Razer Audio app, so you'll need to use your phone for full control. The Razer Audio app also includes EQ settings for Bluetooth playback.Though the Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeeds are our current pick in this category, buyers should keep in mind that Sony just released its own pair of PS5 gaming earbuds called the Pulse Explore. We'll be testing this model soon for consideration in our guide to the best PS5 headsets.How we test PS5 headsetsOur PS5 headset picks all went through hands-on testing.Kevin Webb / InsiderTo select the best PS5 headsets, we evaluated models based on key performance areas, including audio performance, build quality, features and connectivity, and value. Here's how each category is tested.Audio performance: Sound quality is the most important reason to buy a PS5 headset, whether you want to experience 3D audio or improve your microphone pickup. We run a series of tests for playback quality with games like Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Gran Turismo 7, and Call of Duty Warzone. We also test microphones in third-party recording apps like Zoom and Discord to see how well the mic filters out background noise.Build quality: The physical build of a PS5 headset is important for its longevity, so we check for overall comfort, battery life, sturdiness, and the materials used. Other design factors are important, too, like microphone placement, storage, RGB lighting, and alternate colors.Features and connectivity: While the PS5 supports lots of headsets and even standard headphones, they don't all offer the same range of features. We look for features like simultaneous Bluetooth and noise cancellation and prioritize range and cross-compatibility when it comes to connectivity.Value: The best PS5 headsets can cost as much as $350, but you don't have to spend that much to take home a great headset. We judge headsets by comparing the overall performance and quality against the asking price; feature-rich headsets with competitive prices are more likely to make our list.PS5 headset FAQsKevin Webb / InsiderDo wireless gaming headsets have disadvantages compared to wired ones?Though wireless headphone technology used to have bigger limitations, modern 2.4GHz wireless signals no longer present meaningful drawbacks compared to wired connectivity. However, some competitive gamers may still prefer a wired connection to eliminate any possibility of audio delay or interference.What's the difference between Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless?Instead of Bluetooth, wireless gaming headsets for the PS5 use a 2.4GHz signal sent between a USB receiver and the headset. A 2.4GHz signal has less audio delay, better sound quality, and a more stable connection than Bluetooth.Some of the best PS5 headsets may also include Bluetooth as an extra feature so you can pair them with additional devices, but the PS5 itself doesn't support Bluetooth audio. The last PlayStation console to allow Bluetooth headsets was the PS3.Can I use my wireless PS5 headset with other consoles?Many of the best PS5 headsets with wireless support will also work with the Nintendo Switch and a Windows PC via the same 2.4GHz dongle. If it's a wired model, it can also connect with an Xbox console via a 3.5mm cable.However, not all wireless PS5 headsets will be wirelessly compatible with Xbox consoles. Xbox systems use a proprietary wireless signal that must be licensed separately. Only certain headset models are cross-compatible with Xbox and PlayStation systems. Check out our guide to the best Xbox headsets for more recommendations with Microsoft's systems in mind. Best overallThe SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7P is our top pick for the best PS5 headset and it's also compatible with the Nintendo Switch and PC. It even supports simultaneous 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connections so you can pair your phone while still hearing audio from your PS5.The Arctis Nova 7P has a standard design with a metal frame that's wrapped in plastic. The ear cushions use a memory foam fabric that feels light and breathable. You can also swap the ear cup covers and fabric headband with colored replacements for an additional price, though there aren't many choices.On-board controls include a power button, Bluetooth button, a volume dial, and a handy sidetone dial. Sidetone lets you hear what your microphone picks up so you can monitor the volume and quality of your voice. However, controlling the balance between in-game audio and chat must be done through the PS5 itself. The microphone is fully retractable which we prefer compared to other headsets with swivel or removable mics. Voice pickup is clear and the microphone does a nice job of eliminating noises like breathing.When it comes to sound quality, the Nova 7P delivers great performance. It handles spatial audio formats well and does a solid job isolating sounds. Like most gaming headsets, the 7P's audio profile offers deeper bass than regular headphones, which can be effective for adding some extra oomph to games. The headset comes with a USB-C dongle that can plug right into the front of a PS5. However, if you use the console's front USB-C port, the dongle will block the PS5's second front-facing port. If this becomes a problem you can simply use the included USB extender to connect the dongle to one of the PS5's rear USB-A ports instead.The battery lasts 35 to 40 hours on a single charge, which is above average for wireless headsets. In practice, you should be able to use the Arctis Nova 7P for more than a week on each charge if you play for around four hours a day.Though we're recommending the Arctis Nova 7P here, you should keep in mind that SteelSeries sells a few different versions of this headset. The "7P" is geared toward PlayStation consoles and features the aforementioned sidetone dial built in. However, this version can't connect wirelessly to Xbox consoles. If you want dual PS5 and Xbox support, you should opt for the Arctis Nova 7X, which adds Xbox compatibility but swaps out the sidetone dial for a ChatMix dial that only functions with Xbox systems.Check out our SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 review.Best high-endThe Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is easily one of the best gaming headsets you can buy, whether you're using a PS5 or another console. It takes everything we like about the Arctis Nova 7P and adds a few extra features for buyers willing to pay a bit more. Key additions include active noise cancellation (ANC), leatherette ear cushions, and a dedicated wireless hub that can also serve as a charging base for the headset's swappable batteries.The overall build is nearly identical to the Nova 7P, with a metal frame encased in plastic, a retractable microphone, and even the same replaceable ear cup covers. The Nova Pro also has the same power button, volume dial, and Bluetooth control, but it doesn't have a sidetone dial like the 7P since you can adjust features like that via the included base station instead.The wireless base station is easily the biggest feature of the Nova Pro Wireless; it has an OLED display and allows you to control the headset's settings on the fly, along with standard controls like volume, noise cancellation, and audio input. The receiver also doubles as a battery charging station.Two batteries come with the headset; the spare should be left charging in the wireless receiver when not in use. Batteries can be hot-swapped in about 30 seconds by removing the right ear cover. The individual batteries last for about 15-20 hours on a single charge, which is about half as much as the Nova 7P, but when you add them together you get around the same total playtime.For some, this might be an inconvenience, as you'll have to swap batteries more often than you'd need to charge the more affordable Arctis Nova 7P. However, as long as you always keep your spare battery in the base station, there's never a worry that your headset will run out of power. Also, if the battery life starts to decrease over time, you'll be able to replace the batteries themselves rather than the entire headset.Just like it does with the Arctis Nova 7, SteelSeries also sells different versions of the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless geared toward Xbox or PlayStation consoles. The main difference between each version is that the PlayStation edition can't wirelessly connect to Xbox systems, but the Xbox edition can support both. The Xbox edition's wireless receiver has one port for PlayStation/PC and one that's Xbox only. Meanwhile, the Playstation edition's receiver has two PlayStation/PC ports. If you plan to use your headset with a PlayStation and PC, the PlayStation edition is more convenient, but we think the added benefit of Xbox support is a better tradeoff for most gamers. Check out our SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review.Best entry-level wirelessThis straightforward headset from Wyze is one of the best wireless gaming headsets you can get on a budget, offering great features and a solid build for $60. Wyze uses a no-frills, all-black design with a removable microphone, leatherette ear cushions and headband, and a metal frame.The ear cushions aren't quite as comfortable as the memory foam on the Arctis Nova 7P, but they feel fine and the overall fit is standard. Typical on-board controls for volume and mute are present, but there's no dial for balancing the voice chat and game audio. The flexible boom mic can be fully removed when not in use.In testing, the Wyze lasted longer than the expected 20-hour battery life with up to 32 hours of use. The range and consistency of the wireless signal were also on par with competing headsets. However there's no 3.5mm headphone jack to plug directly into the DualSense controller, or any other device, like a Nintendo Switch or tablet, so you can't use a wired connection as a backup.In terms of sound quality, the Wyze gaming headset isn't quite as good at eliminating outside noise as other headsets, but playback quality is on par with most models we tried. Though again, like most headsets, the sound profile has heavier bass than regular headphones. The microphone also does a solid job of eliminating background and ambient noise, but your voice can sound distant compared to other models.Best budgetThe PS5 can make use of nearly any pair of wired headphones, so you're not limited to a gaming headset if you prefer a wired connection to the DualSense controller. The controller even includes a microphone, so you can still voice chat with headphones that don't have a mic built in.However, if you're looking for a dedicated wired headset on a budget, we recommend the Turtle Beach Recon 70. It's an entry-level headset with a swivel microphone and plastic shell. The headset offers nine color options, which helps make it a solid choice for younger gamers who want a variety of looks to choose from.The Recon 70 connects to the PS5 via the DualSense controller and is fully compatible with 3D audio, but you'll have to use the console's on-screen settings to manage volume and audio balance. The microphone automatically mutes when swiveled up away from your face.The wired sound quality matches what we expect to hear when using the PS5's 3D audio tech, and the microphone quality is up to par in voice chat as well. While the audio profile boosts bass, the sound is not quite as deep as the more expensive headsets we recommend.The plastic build also makes the Recon 70 feel less durable than pricier headsets; it's sturdy enough to last through hours of regular play at home, but it may not be the best option to take on the go.Best earbudsThe Razer Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeed are one of the few pairs of wireless gaming headphones that use an earbud-style design. While the case and form factor may make them look similar to something like Apple's AirPods Pros, the Hammerheads are larger and include support for a 2.4GHz wireless connection, which is better than Bluetooth for delivering a high-quality, stable audio signal while gaming.With the help of the PS5's 3D audio tech, the Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeeds generally match the audio performance we've heard from larger over-ear headsets. The earbuds include an active noise cancellation feature but ultimately aren't much better at filtering out sound than over-ear headphones, which provide a natural seal against extra noise.The Hammerhead Pro earbuds offer Bluetooth audio support in addition to 2.4GHz wireless, but you can't use both signals at the same time. Swapping between audio modes is relatively simple with the touch controls. While Bluetooth makes it easy to take the Hammerhead Pros on the go, their limited battery life and larger size make them below average for use outside of gaming compared to a typical pair of everyday earbuds.The Hammerhead Pros do hold up well during regular PS5 play sessions though. The earbuds will last about four hours in a single sitting before you need to charge them in their included case. The case can provide around 20 hours of extra power.Customizable lighting is also supported, but this feature has a noticeable impact on battery life. The lighting on the earbuds can only be adjusted via the Razer Audio app, so you'll need to use your phone for full control. The Razer Audio app also includes EQ settings for Bluetooth playback.Though the Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeeds are our current pick in this category, buyers should keep in mind that Sony just released its own pair of PS5 gaming earbuds, called the Pulse Explore. We'll be testing this model soon for consideration in our guide to the best PS5 headsets.How we test PS5 headsetsOur PS5 headset picks all went through hands-on testing.Kevin Webb / InsiderTo select the best PS5 headsets, we evaluated models based on key performance areas, including audio performance, build quality, features and connectivity, and value. Here's how each category is tested.Audio performance: Sound quality is the most important reason to buy a PS5 headset, whether you want to experience 3D audio or improve your microphone pickup. We run a series of tests for playback quality with games like Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Gran Turismo 7, and Call of Duty Warzone. We also test microphones in third-party recording apps like Zoom and Discord to see how well the mic filters out background noise.Build quality: The physical build of a PS5 headset is important for its longevity, so we check for overall comfort, battery life, sturdiness, and the materials used. Other factors of the design are important too, like microphone placement, storage, RGB lighting, and alternate colors.Features and connectivity: While the PS5 supports lots of headsets and even standard headphones, they don't all offer the same range of features. We look for features like simultaneous Bluetooth and noise cancellation and prioritize range and cross-compatibility when it comes to connectivity.Value: The best PS5 headsets can cost as much as $350, but you don't have to spend that much to take home a great headset. We judge headsets by comparing the overall performance and quality against the asking price; feature-rich headsets with competitive prices are more likely to make our list.PS5 headset FAQsKevin Webb / InsiderDo wireless gaming headsets have disadvantages compared to wired ones?Though wireless headphone technology used to have bigger limitations, modern 2.4GHz wireless signals no longer present meaningful drawbacks compared to wired connectivity. However, some competitive gamers may still prefer a wired connection to eliminate any possibility of audio delay or interference.What's the difference between Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless?Instead of Bluetooth, wireless gaming headsets for the PS5 use a 2.4GHz signal that gets sent between a USB receiver and the headset. A 2.4GHz signal has less audio delay, better sound quality, and a more stable connection than Bluetooth.Some of the best PS5 headsets may also include Bluetooth as an extra feature so you can pair them with additional devices, but the PS5 itself doesn't support Bluetooth audio. The last PlayStation console to allow Bluetooth headsets was the PS3.Can I use my wireless PS5 headset with other consoles?Many of the best PS5 headsets with wireless support will also work with the Nintendo Switch and a Windows PC via the same 2.4GHz dongle. If it's a wired model, it can also connect with an Xbox console via a 3.5mm cable.However, not all wireless PS5 headsets will be wirelessly compatible with Xbox consoles. Xbox systems use a proprietary wireless signal that must be licensed separately. Only certain headset models are cross-compatible with Xbox and PlayStation systems. Check out our guide to the best Xbox headsets for more recommendations with Microsoft's systems in mind. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT8 hr. 28 min. ago Related News

Merrill and Wells Fargo are taking Bitcoin ETFs even more mainstream

Bank of America's Merill and Wells Fargo are offering some of their clients bitcoin exchange-traded funds, which have recently seen a surge in demand. Bank of America's Merrill and Wells Fargo are offering spot bitcoin ETF's to some of their clients as the investment vehicle surges in demand, Bloomberg ReportedHannes P Albert/picture alliance via Getty ImagesWells Fargo and Bank of America's Merill will be offering bitcoin ETFs to clients, per Bloomberg.Bitcoin ETFs recently saw record-high trading volumes as the cryptocurrency's price surged.Morgan Stanley is another large firm looking into offering spot bitcoin ETFs, Coindesk reported.Bitcoin ETFs are breaking through the mainstream as some of the largest investment firms start to offer the funds to their clients.Bank of America's Merrill and Wells Fargo are starting to offer some of their wealth management clients spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds that were recently approved by the SEC in January, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg."Spot bitcoin ETFs are available for unsolicited purchases through an advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors or through our online WellsTrade platform," Sarah Kerr, a Wells Fargo spokesperson, confirmed to Business Insider.A spokesperson for Merrill did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment.Morgan Stanley also has been doing due diligence to offer bitcoin ETF products, Coindesk reported earlier on Wednesday.The acceptance of bitcoin ETFs by mainstream brokerage platforms reflects how large firms are increasingly looking at cryptocurrency as legitimate, accessible investment opportunities rather than mere speculative assets.With bitcoin ETFs, retail investors can get exposure to the cryptocurrency's price movements without having to directly buy bitcoin through a less regulated exchange.In the weeks since US regulators approved 11 spot bitcoin ETFs in January, the investment vehicles saw record-high trading volumes. On Wednesday, 10 ETFs reached $7.69 billion in trading volume, Bloomberg's James Seyffart said on X.Bitcoin's price also has seen a recent resurgence, briefly breaking $63,000 on Wednesday — just shy of its all-time high of nearly $69,000 in 2021.But not all mainstream brokerages are sold on crypto.Following the announcement of bitcoin ETFs' SEC approval, Vanguard said in a January statement that it would not yet offer the products on its platform."In Vanguard's view, crypto is more of a speculation than an investment," Janel Jackson, Vanguard's global head of ETF capital markets, said in the January 24 press release. "This is at the root of our decision to not offer crypto products, whether our own or others."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: NYT8 hr. 28 min. ago Related News