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You can now ask Google to stop your child"s pictures from showing up in searches

The policy change is part of what the company says is its larger shift towards protecting younger users on its platforms. Chesnot/Getty Images Google is allowing anyone under the age of 18 to remove their images from search results. Google originally announced increased protections for children and teens in August, promoting internet safety. Google hopes this change will give younger people more control over their digital footprint. Google is allowing anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, to remove their images from search results.This policy change was enacted on Wednesday and is part of what the company says is its larger shift towards protecting younger users on its platforms. Google originally announced increased protections for children and teens in August, allowing younger internet users to have safer avenues on the internet. For example, YouTube, which is owned by Google, is making its "take a break" and bedtime reminders default for all users ages 13 to 17 and limiting the visibility of videos posted by its younger users.All requests will be reviewed by Google and its team may reach out for additional information for verification if needed. Once the image removal request is approved, it will no longer appear in the images tab or as thumbnails in any feature in Google Search and submitters will receive a notification, according to a Google blog post explaining the feature.Google did not respond to Insider's request to comment."We believe this change will help give young people more control over their digital footprint and where their images can be found on Search," the company's post said.However, images that are removed from Google search results are not fully removed from the internet, Google warns. If users need an image removed online completely, Google recommends that users contact the site's webmaster where the image is hosted for removal. Google offers other features for its younger users to protect them "from shocking or harmful content." Some of these features include SafeSearch that limits explicit and inappropriate inquiries, content filters, and educational resources.On Tuesday, lawmakers met with representatives from Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube to discuss child safety online. The Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety, and data security asked questions about how the platforms have been misused by teenagers to promote dangerous and reckless behavior. None of the tech companies committed to any legislative proposals. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider4 hr. 28 min. ago Related News

Facebook employees said its ability to detect vaccine hesitancy and misinformation is "bad in English and basically nonexistent" in other languages, reports show

Internal Facebook documents suggest the tech company struggles to identify posts containing COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and hesitancy online. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen. Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images/Andrew Harnik/AP Facebook is struggling to manage COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, internal documents suggest. Facebook's "ability to detect vaccine hesitancy comments is bad in English and basically non-existent elsewhere," according to reports. Facebook claims vaccine hesitancy on the platform declined by 50%, but experts remain skeptical. Facebook is struggling to manage COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and misinformation despite previously boasting the platform as a vital pandemic resource, internal documents suggest.According to internal Facebook documents from February and March 2021, the tech company's internal systems failed to identify, remove, or prevent anti-vaccine comments from appearing on the site. The reports, which were obtained by CNN, state that Facebook's "ability to detect vaccine hesitancy comments is bad in English and basically non-existent elsewhere." "We have no idea about the scale of the [Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy] problem when it comes to comments," said a report posted to Facebook's internal site in February 2021, a year into the pandemic, according to CNN. "Our internal systems are not yet identifying, demoting and/or removing anti-vaccine comments often enough." The report is part of a set of leaked internal documents referred to as "The Facebook Papers," which were reviewed by 17 major US news organizations on Monday. The documents are part of the redacted files shared with Congress by the legal counsel of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who testified earlier this month after filing at least eight complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that the company is hiding research about its shortcomings from investors and the public, according to Insider.The "most active" Facebook groups in the US "have been the hundreds of anti-quarantine groups in addition to the standard set that have been most active for months/years (Trump 2020, Tucker Carlson, etc.)," a May 2020 post to Facebook's internal site said, according to CNN.According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company has since added additional safety controls to manage groups on its platforms."There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to stopping the spread of misinformation, but we're committed to building new tools and policies that help make comments sections safer," the spokesperson told Insider.In March of 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted that Facebook would work closely with the World Health Organization and local health authorities to stop "hoaxes and harmful misinformation" related to COVID-19. In his message, Zuckerberg committed Facebook to "removing false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations" as dangerous posts that violate the platform's community guidelines.However, data scientists at Facebook asked for resources to monitor COVID-19 misinformation on the platform, but were ignored by company leadership, according to a report from The New York Times. In July, Facebook rejected President Joe Biden's claim that the spread of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic on its platforms was "killing people.""We will not be distracted by accusations which aren't supported by the facts," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Insider in July. "The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet. More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine."In a rebuttal blog post in July titled "Moving Past the Finger Pointing," Facebook Vice President of Integrity Guy Rose wrote that vaccine hesitancy on the platform declined by 50%.According to a 2020 report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, COVID-19 misinformation communities online can easily take advantage of engagement-driven algorithms to spread their messages on social media. Less than 1 in 20 false posts were removed across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, even after users had reported the content, Insider reported. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider5 hr. 0 min. ago Related News

The $62 billion company behind "Call of Duty" just canceled its huge annual fan event amid a major misconduct investigation

Instead of cancelling BlizzCon due to COVID, Activision is cancelling next year's event amid ongoing sexual misconduct allegations. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. Blizzard is a subsidiary of Activision. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick The game company behind "Call of Duty" and "Diablo" is being sued by the state of California. A two-year investigation into the company found a pervasive "frat boy" culture. Amid the investigation, a major annual fan event named "BlizzCon" has been cancelled. "Call of Duty" publisher Activision is cancelling its annual BlizzCon fan event next February amid ongoing sexual harassment and misconduct investigations."We've decided to take a step back and pause on planning the previously announced BlizzConline event scheduled for early next year. This was a tough decision for all of us to make, but it's the right one," the company said in a blog post. "Whatever the event looks like in the future, we also need to ensure that it feels as safe, welcoming, and inclusive as possible."Activision, which is the parent company of "World of Warcraft" and "Overwatch" maker Blizzard Entertainment, is being sued by the state of California for fostering a "pervasive frat boy" culture where women are paid less for the same jobs that men perform, regularly face sexual harassment, and are targeted for reporting issues, the suit said.Many of the accusations in the suit focus on Blizzard Entertainment, and some of the misconduct described by current and former employees is said to have happened at prior years of BlizzCon.The event, held annually in California, has drawn tens of thousands of Blizzard fans together for several days of game reveals, exclusive opportunities to play unreleased games, and panels with Blizzard's game makers.It has been seen as a chance for uber-fans of Blizzard's wildly popular games to get together, cosplay as their favorite characters, and directly interact with the people who make the games they love. It was also, according to a Bloomberg report from August, an opportunity for Blizzard's "rock star" male developers to potentially turn their fans into sexual partners."They will wrangle up the cosplayers or the girls or whoever they see at BlizzCon," Christina Mikkonen, a six-year veteran of Blizzard who left in 2019, told Bloomberg. In the weeks following the announcement of the lawsuit, Activision employees staged a walkout and demanded changes at the company. Dozens of employees have since been let go, Activision said.Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider9 hr. 44 min. ago Related News

The True Feasibility Of Moving Away From Fossil Fuels

The True Feasibility Of Moving Away From Fossil Fuels Authored by Gail Tverberg via Our Finite World blog, One of the great misconceptions of our time is the belief that we can move away from fossil fuels if we make suitable choices on fuels. In one view, we can make the transition to a low-energy economy powered by wind, water, and solar. In other versions, we might include some other energy sources, such as biofuels or nuclear, but the story is not very different. The problem is the same regardless of what lower bound a person chooses: our economy is way too dependent on consuming an amount of energy that grows with each added human participant in the economy. This added energy is necessary because each person needs food, transportation, housing, and clothing, all of which are dependent upon energy consumption. The economy operates under the laws of physics, and history shows disturbing outcomes if energy consumption per capita declines. There are a number of issues: The impact of alternative energy sources is smaller than commonly believed. When countries have reduced their energy consumption per capita by significant amounts, the results have been very unsatisfactory. Energy consumption plays a bigger role in our lives than most of us imagine. It seems likely that fossil fuels will leave us before we can leave them. The timing of when fossil fuels will leave us seems to depend on when central banks lose their ability to stimulate the economy through lower interest rates. If fossil fuels leave us, the result could be the collapse of financial systems and governments. [1] Wind, water and solar provide only a small share of energy consumption today; any transition to the use of renewables alone would have huge repercussions. According to BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data, wind, water and solar only accounted for 9.4% 0f total energy consumption in 2017. Figure 1. Wind, Water and Solar as a percentage of total energy consumption, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy. Even if we make the assumption that these types of energy consumption will continue to achieve the same percentage increases as they have achieved in the last 10 years, it will still take 20 more years for wind, water, and solar to reach 20% of total energy consumption. Thus, even in 20 years, the world would need to reduce energy consumption by 80% in order to operate the economy on wind, water and solar alone. To get down to today’s level of energy production provided by wind, water and solar, we would need to reduce energy consumption by 90%. [2] Venezuela’s example (Figure 1, above) illustrates that even if a country has an above average contribution of renewables, plus significant oil reserves, it can still have major problems. One point people miss is that having a large share of renewables doesn’t necessarily mean that the lights will stay on. A major issue is the need for long distance transmission lines to transport the renewable electricity from where it is generated to where it is to be used. These lines must constantly be maintained. Maintenance of electrical transmission lines has been an issue in both Venezuela’s electrical outages and in California’s recent fires attributed to the utility PG&E. There is also the issue of variability of wind, water and solar energy. (Note the year-to-year variability indicated in the Venezuela line in Figure 1.) A country cannot really depend on its full amount of wind, water, and solar unless it has a truly huge amount of electrical storage: enough to last from season-to-season and year-to-year. Alternatively, an extraordinarily large quantity of long-distance transmission lines, plus the ability to maintain these lines for the long term, would seem to be required. [3] When individual countries have experienced cutbacks in their energy consumption per capita, the effects have generally been extremely disruptive, even with cutbacks far more modest than the target level of 80% to 90% that we would need to get off fossil fuels.  Notice that in these analyses, we are looking at “energy consumption per capita.” This calculation takes the total consumption of all kinds of energy (including oil, coal, natural gas, biofuels, nuclear, hydroelectric, and renewables) and divides it by the population. Energy consumption per capita depends to a significant extent on what citizens within a given economy can afford. It also depends on the extent of industrialization of an economy. If a major portion of industrial jobs are sent to China and India and only service jobs are retained, energy consumption per capita can be expected to fall. This happens partly because local companies no longer need to use as many energy products. Additionally, workers find mostly service jobs available; these jobs pay enough less that workers must cut back on buying goods such as homes and cars, reducing their energy consumption. Example 1. Spain and Greece Between 2007-2014 Figure 2. Greece and Spain energy consumption per capita. Energy data is from BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy; population estimates are UN 2017 population estimates. The period between 2007 and 2014 was a period when oil prices tended to be very high. Both Greece and Spain are very dependent on oil because of their sizable tourist industries. Higher oil prices made the tourism services these countries sold more expensive for their consumers. In both countries, energy consumption per capita started falling in 2008 and continued to fall until 2014, when oil prices began falling. Spain’s energy consumption per capita fell by 18% between 2007 and 2014; Greece’s fell by 24% over the same period. Both Greece and Spain experienced high unemployment rates, and both have needed debt bailouts to keep their financial systems operating. Austerity measures were forced on Greece. The effects on the economies of these countries were severe. Regarding Spain, Wikipedia has a section called, “2008 to 2014 Spanish financial crisis,” suggesting that the loss of energy consumption per capita was highly correlated with the country’s financial crisis. Example 2: France and the UK, 2004 – 2017 Both France and the UK have experienced falling energy consumption per capita since 2004, as oil production dropped (UK) and as industrialization was shifted to countries with a cheaper total cost of labor and fuel. Immigrant labor was added, as well, to better compete with the cost structures of the countries that France and the UK were competing against. With the new mix of workers and jobs, the quantity of goods and services that these workers could afford (per capita) has been falling. Figure 3. France and UK energy consumption per capita. Energy data is from BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy; population estimates are UN 2017 population estimates. Comparing 2017 to 2004, energy consumption per capita is down 16% for France and 25% in the UK. Many UK citizens have been very unhappy, wanting to leave the European Union. France recently has been experiencing “Yellow Vest” protests, at least partly related to an increase in carbon taxes. Higher carbon taxes would make energy-based goods and services less affordable. This would likely reduce France’s energy consumption per capita even further. French citizens with their protests are clearly not happy about how they are being affected by these changes. Example 3: Syria (2006-2016) and Yemen (2009-2016) Both Syria and Yemen are examples of formerly oil-exporting countries that are far past their peak production. Declining energy consumption per capita has been forced on both countries because, with their oil exports falling, the countries can no longer afford to use as much energy as they did in the past for previous uses, such as irrigation. If less irrigation is used, food production and jobs are lost. (Syria and Yemen) Figure 4. Syria and Yemen energy consumption per capita. Energy consumption data from US Energy Information Administration; population estimates are UN 2017 estimates. Between Yemen’s peak year in energy consumption per capita (2009) and the last year shown (2016), its energy consumption per capita dropped by 66%. Yemen has been named by the United Nations as the country with the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Yemen cannot provide adequate food and water for its citizens. Yemen is involved in a civil war that others have entered into as well. I would describe the war as being at least partly a resource war. The situation with Syria is similar. Syria’s energy consumption per capita declined 55% between its peak year (2006) and the last year available (2016). Syria is also involved in a civil war that has been entered into by others. Here again, the issue seems to be inadequate resources per capita; war participants are to some extent fighting over the limited resources that are available. Example 4: Venezuela (2008-2017) Figure 5. Energy consumption per capita for Venezuela, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates. Between 2008 and 2017, energy consumption per capita in Venezuela declined by 23%. This is a little less than the decreases experienced by the UK and Greece during their periods of decline. Even with this level of decline, Venezuela has been having difficulty providing adequate services to its citizens. There have been reports of empty supermarket shelves. Venezuela has not been able to maintain its electrical system properly, leading to many outages. [4] Most people are surprised to learn that energy is required for every part of the economy. When adequate energy is not available, an economy is likely to first shrink back in recession; eventually, it may collapse entirely. Physics tells us that energy consumption in a thermodynamically open system enables all kinds of “complexity.” Energy consumption enables specialization and hierarchical organizations. For example, growing energy consumption enables the organizations and supply lines needed to manufacture computers and other high-tech goods. Of course, energy consumption also enables what we think of as typical energy uses: the transportation of goods, the smelting of metals, the heating and air-conditioning of buildings, and the construction of roads. Energy is even required to allow pixels to appear on a computer screen. Pre-humans learned to control fire over one million years ago. The burning of biomass was a tool that could be used for many purposes, including keeping warm in colder climates, frightening away predators, and creating better tools. Perhaps its most important use was to permit food to be cooked, because cooking increases food’s nutritional availability. Cooked food seems to have been important in allowing the brains of humans to grow bigger at the same time that teeth, jaws and guts could shrink compared to those of ancestors. Humans today need to be able to continue to cook part of their food to have a reasonable chance of survival. Any kind of governmental organization requires energy. Having a single leader takes the least energy, especially if the leader can continue to perform his non-leadership duties. Any kind of added governmental service (such as roads or schools) requires energy. Having elected leaders who vote on decisions takes more energy than having a king with a few high-level aides. Having multiple layers of government takes energy. Each new intergovernmental organization requires energy to fly its officials around and implement its programs. International trade clearly requires energy consumption. In fact, pretty much every activity of businesses requires energy consumption. Needless to say, the study of science or of medicine requires energy consumption, because without significant energy consumption to leverage human energy, nearly every person must be a subsistence level farmer, with little time to study or to take time off from farming to write (or even read) books. Of course, manufacturing medicines and test tubes requires energy, as does creating sterile environments. We think of the many parts of the economy as requiring money, but it is really the physical goods and services that money can buy, and the energy that makes these goods and services possible, that are important. These goods and services depend to a very large extent on the supply of energy being consumed at a given point in time–for example, the amount of electricity being delivered to customers and the amount of gasoline and diesel being sold. Supply chains are very dependent on each part of the system being available when needed. If one part is missing, long delays and eventually collapse can occur. [5] If the supply of energy to an economy is reduced for any reason, the result tends to be very disruptive, as shown in the examples given in Section [3], above. When an economy doesn’t have enough energy, its self-organizing feature starts eliminating pieces of the economic system that it cannot support. The financial system tends to be very vulnerable because without adequate economic growth, it becomes very difficult for borrowers to repay debt with interest. This was part of the problem that Greece and Spain had in the period when their energy consumption per capita declined. A person wonders what would have happened to these countries without bailouts from the European Union and others. Another part that is very vulnerable is governmental organizations, especially the higher layers of government that were added last. In 1991, the Soviet Union’s central government was lost, leaving the governments of the 15 republics that were part of the Soviet Union. As energy consumption per capita declines, the European Union would seem to be very vulnerable. Other international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, would seem to be vulnerable, as well. The electrical system is very complex. It seems to be easily disrupted if there is a material decrease in energy consumption per capita because maintenance of the system becomes difficult. If energy consumption per capita falls dramatically, many changes that don’t seem directly energy-related can be expected. For example, the roles of men and women are likely to change. Without modern medical care, women will likely need to become the mothers of several children in order that an average of two can survive long enough to raise their own children. Men will be valued for the heavy manual labor that they can perform. Today’s view of the equality of the sexes is likely to disappear because sex differences will become much more important in a low-energy world. Needless to say, other aspects of a low-energy economy might be very different as well. For example, one very low-energy type of economic system is a “gift economy.” In such an economy, the status of each individual is determined by the amount that that person can give away. Anything a person obtains must automatically be shared with the local group or the individual will be expelled from the group. In an economy with very low complexity, this kind of economy seems to work. A gift economy doesn’t require money or debt! [6] Most people assume that moving away from fossil fuels is something we can choose to do with whatever timing we would like. I would argue that we are not in charge of the process. Instead, fossil fuels will leave us when we lose the ability to reduce interest rates sufficiently to keep oil and other fossil fuel prices high enough for energy producers. Something that may seem strange to those who do not follow the issue is the fact that oil (and other energy prices) seem to be very much influenced by interest rates and the level of debt. In general, the lower the interest rate, the more affordable high-priced goods such as factories, homes, and automobiles become, and the higher commodity prices of all kinds can be. “Demand” increases with falling interest rates, causing energy prices of all types to rise.   Figure 6.   The cost of extracting oil is less important in determining oil prices than a person might expect. Instead, prices seem to be determined by what end products consumers (in the aggregate) can afford. In general, the more debt that individual citizens, businesses and governments can obtain, the higher that oil and other energy prices can rise. Of course, if interest rates start rising (instead of falling), there is a significant chance of a debt bubble popping, as defaults rise and asset prices decline. Interest rates have been generally falling since 1981 (Figure 7). This is the direction needed to support ever-higher energy prices. Figure 7. Chart of 3-month and 10-year interest rates, prepared by the FRED, using data through March 27, 2019. The danger now is that interest rates are approaching the lowest level that they can possibly reach. We need lower interest rates to support the higher prices that oil producers require, as their costs rise because of depletion. In fact, if we compare Figures 7 and 8, the Federal Reserve has been supporting higher oil and other energy prices with falling interest rates practically the whole time since oil prices rose above the inflation adjusted level of $20 per barrel! Figure 8. Historical inflation adjusted prices oil, based on data from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, with the low price period for oil highlighted. Once the Federal Reserve and other central banks lose their ability to cut interest rates further to support the need for ever-rising oil prices, the danger is that oil and other commodity prices will fall too low for producers. The situation is likely to look like the second half of 2008 in Figure 6. The difference, as we reach limits on how low interest rates can fall, is that it will no longer be possible to stimulate the economy to get energy and other commodity prices back up to an acceptable level for producers. [7] Once we hit the “no more stimulus impasse,” fossil fuels will begin leaving us because prices will fall too low for companies extracting these fuels. They will be forced to leave because they cannot make an adequate profit. One example of an oil producer whose production was affected by an extended period of low prices is the Soviet Union (or USSR). Figure 9. Oil production of the former Soviet Union together with oil prices in 2017 US$. All amounts from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. The US substantially raised interest rates in 1980-1981 (Figure 7). This led to a sharp reduction in oil prices, as the higher interest rates cut back investment of many kinds, around the world. Given the low price of oil, the Soviet Union reduced new investment in new fields. This slowdown in investment first reduced the rate of growth in oil production, and eventually led to a decline in production in 1988 (Figure 9). When oil prices rose again, production did also. Figure 10. Energy consumption per capita for the former Soviet Union, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates. The Soviet Union’s energy consumption per capita reached its highest level in 1988 and began declining in 1989. The central government of the Soviet Union did not collapse until late 1991, as the economy was increasingly affected by falling oil export revenue. Some of the changes that occurred as the economy simplified itself were the loss of the central government, the loss of a large share of industry, and a great deal of job loss. Energy consumption per capita dropped by 36% between 1988 and 1998. It has never regained its former level. Venezuela is another example of an oil exporter that, in theory, could export more oil, if oil prices were higher. It is interesting to note that Venezuela’s highest energy consumption per capita occurred in 2008, when oil prices were high. We are now getting a chance to observe what the collapse in Venezuela looks like on a day- by-day basis. Figure 5, above, shows Venezuela’s energy consumption per capita pattern through 2017. Low oil prices since 2014 have particularly adversely affected the country. [8] Conclusion: We can’t know exactly what is ahead, but it is clear that moving away from fossil fuels will be far more destructive of our current economy than nearly everyone expects.  It is very easy to make optimistic forecasts about the future if a person doesn’t carefully examine what the data and the science seem to be telling us. Most researchers come from narrow academic backgrounds that do not seek out insights from other fields, so they tend not to understand the background story. A second issue is the desire for a “happy ever after” ending to our current energy predicament. If a researcher is creating an economic model without understanding the underlying principles, why not offer an outcome that citizens will like? Such a solution can help politicians get re-elected and can help researchers get grants for more research. We should be examining the situation more closely than most people have considered. The fact that interest rates cannot drop much further is particularly concerning. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 22:10.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt21 hr. 44 min. ago Related News

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations Authored by David Hay via Everegreen Gavekal blog, “You see what is happening in Europe. There is hysteria and some confusion in the markets. Why?…Some people are speculating on climate change issues, some people are underestimating some things, some are starting to cut back on investments in the extractive industries. There needs to be a smooth transition.” - Vladimir Putin (someone with whom this author rarely agrees) “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of its citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes (an interesting observation for all the modern day Keynesians to consider given their support of current inflationary US policies, including energy-related) Introduction This week’s EVA provides another sneak preview into David Hay’s book-in-process, “Bubble 3.0” discussing what he thinks is the crucial topic of “greenflation.”  This is a term he coined referring to the rising price for metals and minerals that are essential for solar and wind power, electric cars, and other renewable technologies. It also centers on the reality that as global policymakers have turned against the fossil fuel industry, energy producers are for the first time in history not responding to dramatically higher prices by increasing production.  Consequently, there is a difficult tradeoff that arises as the world pushes harder to combat climate change, driving up energy costs to painful levels, especially for lower income individuals.  What we are currently seeing in Europe is a vivid example of this dilemma.  While it may be the case that governments welcome higher oil and natural gas prices to discourage their use, energy consumers are likely to have a much different reaction. Summary BlackRock’s CEO recently admitted that, despite what many are opining, the green energy transition is nearly certain to be inflationary. Even though it’s early in the year, energy prices are already experiencing unprecedented spikes in Europe and Asia, but most Americans are unaware of the severity. To that point, many British residents being faced with the fact that they may need to ration heat and could be faced with the chilling reality that lives could be lost if this winter is as cold as forecasters are predicting. Because of the huge increase in energy prices, inflation in the eurozone recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices on the Continent that are the equivalent of $200 oil. It used to be that the cure for extreme prices was extreme prices, but these days I’m not so sure.  Oil and gas producers are very wary of making long-term investments to develop new resources given the hostility to their industry and shareholder pressure to minimize outlays. I expect global supply to peak sometime next year and a major supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand returns to normal. In Norway, almost 2/3 of all new vehicle sales are of the electric variety (EVs) – a huge increase in just over a decade. Meanwhile, in the US, it’s only about 2%. Still, given Norway’s penchant for the plug-in auto, the demand for oil has not declined. China, despite being the largest market by far for electric vehicles, is still projected to consume an enormous and rising amount of oil in the future. About 70% of China’s electricity is generated by coal, which has major environmental ramifications in regards to electric vehicles. Because of enormous energy demand in China this year, coal prices have experienced a massive boom. Its usage was up 15% in the first half of this year, and the Chinese government has instructed power providers to obtain all baseload energy sources, regardless of cost.  The massive migration to electric vehicles – and the fact that they use six times the amount of critical minerals as their gasoline-powered counterparts –means demand for these precious resources is expected to skyrocket. This extreme need for rare minerals, combined with rapid demand growth, is a recipe for a major spike in prices. Massively expanding the US electrical grid has several daunting challenges– chief among them the fact that the American public is extremely reluctant to have new transmission lines installed in their area. The state of California continues to blaze the trail for green energy in terms of both scope and speed. How the rest of the country responds to their aggressive take on renewables remains to be seen. It appears we are entering a very odd reality: governments are expending resources they do not have on weakly concentrated energy. And the result may be very detrimental for today’s modern economy. If the trend in energy continues, what looks nearly certain to be the Third Energy crisis of the last half-century may linger for years.  Green energy: A bubble in unrealistic expectations? As I have written in past EVAs, it amazes me how little of the intense inflation debate in 2021 centered on the inflationary implications of the Green Energy transition.  Perhaps it is because there is a built-in assumption that using more renewables should lower energy costs since the sun and the wind provide “free power”.  However, we will soon see that’s not the case, at least not anytime soon; in fact, it’s my contention that it will likely be the opposite for years to come and I’ve got some powerful company.  Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, a very pro-ESG* organization, is one of the few members of Wall Street’s elite who admitted this in the summer of 2021.  The story, however, received minimal press coverage and was quickly forgotten (though, obviously, not be me!).  This EVA will outline myriad reasons why I think Mr. Fink was telling it like it is…despite the political heat that could bring down upon him.  First, though, I will avoid any discussion of whether humanity is the leading cause of global warming.  For purposes of this analysis, let’s make the high-odds assumption that for now a high-speed green energy transition will continue to occur.  (For those who would like a well-researched and clearly articulated overview of the climate debate, I highly recommend the book “Unsettled”; it’s by a former top energy expert and scientist from the Obama administration, Dr. Steven Koonin.) The reason I italicized “for now” is that in my view it’s extremely probable that voters in many Western countries are going to become highly retaliatory toward energy policies that are already creating extreme hardship.  Even though it’s only early autumn as I write these words, energy prices are experiencing unprecedented increases in Europe.  Because it’s “over there”, most Americans are only vaguely aware of the severity of the situation.  But the facts are shocking…  Presently, natural gas is going for $29 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) in Europe, a quadruple compared to the same time in 2020, versus “just” $5 in the US, which is a mere doubling.  As a consequence, wholesale energy cost in Great Britain rose an unheard of 60% even before summer ended.  Reportedly, nine UK energy companies are on the brink of failure at this time due to their inability to fully pass on the enormous cost increases.  As a result, the British government is reportedly on the verge of nationalizing some of these entities—supposedly, temporarily—to prevent them from collapsing.  (CNBC reported on Wednesday that UK natural gas prices are now up 800% this year; in the US, nat gas rose 20% on Tuesday alone, before giving back a bit more than half of that the next day.) Serious food shortages are expected after exorbitant natural gas costs forced most of England’s commercial production of CO2 to shut down.  (CO2 is used both for stunning animals prior to slaughter and also in food packaging.)  Additionally, ballistic natural gas prices have forced the closure of two big US fertilizer plants due to a potential shortfall of ammonium nitrate of which “nat gas” is a key feedstock.  *ESG stands for Environmental, Social, Governance; in 2021, Blackrock’s assets under management approximated $9 ½ trillion, about one-third of the total US federal debt. With the winter of 2021 approaching, British households are being told they may need to ration heat.  There are even growing concerns about the widespread loss of life if this winter turns out to be a cold one, as 2020 was in Europe.  Weather forecasters are indicating that’s a distinct possibility.   In Spain, consumers are paying 40% more for electricity compared to the prior year.  The Spanish government has begun resorting to price controls to soften the impact of these rapidly escalating costs. (The history of price controls is that they often exacerbate shortages.) Naturally, spiking power prices hit the poorest hardest, which is typical of inflation whether it is of the energy variety or of generalized price increases.  Due to these massive energy price increases, eurozone inflation recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices that are the equivalent of $200 per barrel oil.  This is consistent with what I warned about in several EVAs earlier this year and I think there is much more of this looming in the years to come. In Asia, which also had a brutally cold winter in 2020 – 2021, there are severe energy shortages being disclosed, as well.  China has instructed its power providers to secure all the coal they can in preparation for a repeat of frigid conditions and acute deficits even before winter arrives.  The government has also instructed its energy distributors to acquire all the liquified natural gas (LNG) they can, regardless of cost.  LNG recently hit $35 per million British Thermal Units in Asia, up sevenfold in the past year.  China is also rationing power to its heavy industries, further exacerbating the worldwide shortages of almost everything, with notable inflationary implications. In India, where burning coal provides about 70% of electricity generation (as it does in China), utilities are being urged to import coal even though that country has the world’s fourth largest coal reserves.  Several Indian power plants are close to exhausting their coal supplies as power usage rips higher. Normally, I’d say that the cure for such extreme prices, was extreme prices—to slightly paraphrase the old axiom.  But these days, I’m not so sure; in fact, I’m downright dubious.  After all, the enormously influential International Energy Agency has recommended no new fossil fuel development after 2021—“no new”, as in zero.  It’s because of pressure such as this that, even though US natural gas prices have done a Virgin Galactic to $5 this year, the natural gas drilling rig count has stayed flat.  The last time prices were this high there were three times as many working rigs.  It is the same story with oil production.  Most Americans don’t seem to realize it but the US has provided 90% of the planet’s petroleum output growth over the past decade.  In other words, without America’s extraordinary shale oil production boom—which raised total oil output from around 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 13 million barrels per day in 2019—the world long ago would have had an acute shortage.  (Excluding the Covid-wracked year of 2020, oil demand grows every year—strictly as a function of the developing world, including China, by the way.) Unquestionably, US oil companies could substantially increase output, particularly in the Permian Basin, arguably (but not much) the most prolific oil-producing region in the world.  However, with the Fed being pressured by Congress to punish banks that lend to any fossil fuel operator, and the overall extreme hostility toward domestic energy producers, why would they?  There is also tremendous pressure from Wall Street on these companies to be ESG compliant.  This means reducing their carbon footprint.  That’s tough to do while expanding their volume of oil and gas.  Further, investors, whether on Wall Street or on London’s equivalent, Lombard Street, or in pretty much any Western financial center, are against US energy companies increasing production.  They would much rather see them buy back stock and pay out lush dividends.  The companies are embracing that message.  One leading oil and gas company CEO publicly mused to the effect that buying back his own shares at the prevailing extremely depressed valuations was a much better use of capital than drilling for oil—even at $75 a barrel. As reported by Morgan Stanley, in the summer of 2021, an US institutional broker conceded that of his 400 clients, only one would consider investing in an energy company!  Consequently, the fact that the industry is so detested means that its shares are stunningly undervalued.  How stunningly?  A myriad of US oil and gas producers are trading at free cash flow* yields of 10% to 15% and, in some cases, as high as 25%. In Europe, where the same pressures apply, one of its biggest energy companies is generating a 16% free cash flow yield.  Moreover, that is based up an estimate of $60 per barrel oil, not the prevailing price of $80 on the Continent. *Free cash flow is the excess of gross cash flow over and above the capital spending needed to sustain a business.  Many market professionals consider it more meaningful than earnings.  Therefore, due to the intense antipathy toward Western energy producers they aren’t very inclined to explore for new resources.  Another much overlooked fact about the ultra-critical US shale industry that, as noted, has been nearly the only source of worldwide output growth for the past 13 years, is its rapid decline nature.  Most oil wells see their production taper off at just 4% or 5% per year.  But with shale, that decline rate is 80% after only two years.  (Because of the collapse in exploration activities in 2020 due to Covid, there are far fewer new wells coming on-line; thus, the production base is made up of older wells with slower decline rates but it is still a much steeper cliff than with traditional wells.)  As a result, the US, the world’s most important swing producer, has to come up with about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of new output just to stay even.  (This was formerly about a 3 million bpd number due to both the factor mentioned above and the 2 million bpd drop in total US oil production, from 13 million bpd to around 11 million bpd since 2019).  Please recall that total US oil production in 2008 was only around 5 million bpd.  Thus, 1.5 million barrels per day is a lot of oil and requires considerable drilling and exploration activities.  Again, this is merely to stay steady-state, much less grow.  The foregoing is why I wrote on multiple occasions in EVAs during 2020, when the futures price for oil went below zero*, that crude would have a spectacular price recovery later that year and, especially, in 2021.  In my view, to go out on my familiar creaky limb, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  With supply extremely challenged for the above reasons and demand marching back, I believe 2022 could see $100 crude, possibly even higher.  *Physical oil, or real vs paper traded, bottomed in the upper teens when the futures contract for delivery in April, 2020, went deeply negative.  Mike Rothman of Cornerstone Analytics has one of the best oil price forecasting records on Wall Street.  Like me, he was vehemently bullish on oil after the Covid crash in the spring of 2020 (admittedly, his well-reasoned optimism was a key factor in my up-beat outlook).  Here’s what he wrote late this summer:  “Our forecast for ’22 looks to see global oil production capacity exhausted late in the year and our balance suggests OPEC (and OPEC + participants) will face pressures to completely remove any quotas.”  My expectation is that global supply will likely max out sometime next year, barring a powerful negative growth shock (like a Covid variant even more vaccine resistant than Delta).  A significant supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand recovers and exceeds its pre-Covid level.  This is a view also shared by Goldman Sachs and Raymond James, among others; hence, my forecast of triple-digit prices next year.  Raymond James pointed out that in June the oil market was undersupplied by 2.5 mill bpd.  Meanwhile, global petroleum demand was rapidly rising with expectations of nearly pre-Covid consumption by year-end.  Mike Rothman ran this chart in a webcast on 9/10/2021 revealing how far below the seven-year average oil inventories had fallen.  This supply deficit is very likely to become more acute as the calendar flips to 2022. In fact, despite oil prices pushing toward $80, total US crude output now projected to actually decline this year.  This is an unprecedented development.  However, as the very pro-renewables Financial Times (the UK’s equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) explained in an August 11th, 2021, article:  “Energy companies are in a bind.  The old solution would be to invest more in raising gas production.  But with most developed countries adopting plans to be ‘net zero’ on carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, the appetite for throwing billions at long-term gas projects is diminished.” The author, David Sheppard, went on to opine: “In the oil industry there are those who think a period of plus $100-a-barrel oil is on the horizon, as companies scale back investments in future supplies, while demand is expected to keep rising for most of this decade at a minimum.”  (Emphasis mine)  To which I say, precisely!  Thus, if he’s right about rising demand, as I believe he is, there is quite a collision looming between that reality and the high probability of long-term constrained supplies.  One of the most relevant and fascinating Wall Street research reports I read as I was researching the topic of what I have been referring to as “Greenflation” is from Morgan Stanley.  Its title asked the provocative question:  “With 64% of New Cars Now Electric, Why is Norway Still Using so Much Oil?”  While almost two-thirds of Norway’s new vehicle sales are EVs, a remarkable market share gain in just over a decade, the number in the US is an ultra-modest 2%.   Yet, per the Morgan Stanley piece, despite this extraordinary push into EVs, oil consumption in Norway has been stubbornly stable.  Coincidentally, that’s been the experience of the overall developed world over the past 10 years, as well; petroleum consumption has largely flatlined.  Where demand hasn’t gone horizontal is in the developing world which includes China.  As you can see from the following Cornerstone Analytics chart, China’s oil demand has vaulted by about 6 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2010 while its domestic crude output has, if anything, slightly contracted. Another coincidence is that this 6 million bpd surge in China’s appetite for oil, almost exactly matched the increase in US oil production.  Once again, think where oil prices would be today without America’s shale oil boom. This is unlikely to change over the next decade.  By 2031, there are an estimated one billion Asian consumers moving up into the middle class.  History is clear that more income means more energy consumption.  Unquestionably, renewables will provide much of that power but oil and natural gas are just as unquestionably going to play a critical role.  Underscoring that point, despite the exponential growth of renewables over the last 10 years, every fossil fuel category has seen increased usage.  Thus, even if China gets up to Norway’s 64% EV market share of new car sales over the next decade, its oil usage is likely to continue to swell.  Please be aware that China has become the world’s largest market for EVs—by far.  Despite that, the above chart vividly displays an immense increase in oil demand.  Here’s a similar factoid that I ran in our December 4th EVA, “Totally Toxic”, in which I made a strong bullish case for energy stocks (the main energy ETF is up 35% from then, by the way):  “(There was) a study by the UN and the US government based on the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gasses Induced Climate Change (MAGICC).  The model predicted that ‘the complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.’  Say again?  If the world’s biggest carbon emitter on a per capita basis causes minimal improvement by going cold turkey on fossil fuels, are we making the right moves by allocating tens of trillions of dollars that we don’t have toward the currently in-vogue green energy solutions?” China's voracious power appetite increase has been true with all of its energy sources.  On the environmentally-friendly front, that includes renewables; on the environmentally-unfriendly side, it also includes coal.  In 2020, China added three times more coal-based power generation than all other countries combined.  This was the equivalent of an additional coal planet each week.  Globally, there was a reduction last year of 17 gigawatts in coal-fired power output; in China, the increase was 29.8 gigawatts, far more than offsetting the rest of the world’s progress in reducing the dirtiest energy source.  (A gigawatt can power a city with a population of roughly 700,000.) Overall, 70% of China’s electricity is coal-generated. This has significant environmental implications as far as electric vehicles (EVs) are concerned.  Because EVs are charged off a grid that is primarily coal- powered, carbon emissions actually rise as the number of such vehicles proliferate. As you can see in the following charts from Reuters’ energy expert John Kemp, Asia’s coal-fired generation has risen drastically in the last 20 years, even as it has receded in the rest of the world.  (The flattening recently is almost certainly due to Covid, with a sharp upward resumption nearly a given.) The worst part is that burning coal not only emits CO2—which is not a pollutant and is essential for life—it also releases vast quantities of nitrous oxide (N20), especially on the scale of coal usage seen in Asia today. N20 is unquestionably a pollutant and a greenhouse gas that is hundreds of times more potent than CO2.  (An interesting footnote is that over the last 550 million years, there have been very few times when the CO2 level has been as low, or lower, than it is today.)  Some scientists believe that one reason for the shrinkage of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is due to the prevailing winds blowing black carbon soot over from Asia.  This is a separate issue from N20 which is a colorless gas.  As the black soot covers the snow and ice fields in Northern Canada, they become more absorbent of the sun’s radiation, thus causing increased melting.  (Source:  “Weathering Climate Change” by Hugh Ross) Due to exploding energy needs in China this year, coal prices have experienced an unprecedented surge.  Despite this stunning rise, Chinese authorities have instructed its power providers to obtain coal, and other baseload energy sources, such as liquified natural gas (LNG), regardless of cost.  Notwithstanding how pricey coal has become, its usage in China was up 15% in the first half of this year vs the first half of 2019 (which was obviously not Covid impacted). Despite the polluting impact of heavy coal utilization, China is unlikely to turn away from it due to its high energy density (unlike renewables), its low cost (usually) and its abundance within its own borders (though its demand is so great that it still needs to import vast amounts).  Regarding oil, as we saw in last week’s final image, it is currently importing roughly 11 million barrels per day (bpd) to satisfy its 15 million bpd consumption (about 15% of total global demand).  In other words, crude imports amount to almost three-quarter of its needs.  At $80 oil, this totals $880 million per day or approximately $320 billion per year.  Imagine what China’s trade surplus would look like without its oil import bill! Ironically, given the current hostility between the world’s superpowers, China has an affinity for US oil because of its light and easy-to-refine nature.  China’s refineries tend to be low-grade and unable to efficiently process heavier grades of crude, unlike the US refining complex which is highly sophisticated and prefers heavy oil such as from Canada and Venezuela—back when the latter actually produced oil. Thus, China favors EVs because they can be de facto coal-powered, lessening its dangerous reliance on imported oil.  It also likes them due to the fact it controls 80% of the lithium ion battery supply and 60% of the planet’s rare earth minerals, both of which are essential to power EVs.     However, even for China, mining enough lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminum and the other essential minerals/metals to meet the ambitious goals of largely electrifying new vehicle volumes is going to be extremely daunting.  This is in addition to mass construction of wind farms and enormously expanded solar panel manufacturing. As one of the planet’s leading energy authorities Daniel Yergin writes: “With the move to electric cars, demand for critical minerals will skyrocket (lithium up 4300%, cobalt and nickel up 2500%), with an electric vehicle using 6 times more minerals than a conventional car and a wind turbine using 9 times more minerals than a gas-fueled power plant.  The resources needed for the ‘mineral-intensive energy system’ of the future are also highly concentrated in relatively few countries. Whereas the top 3 oil producers in the world are responsible for about 30 percent of total liquids production, the top 3 lithium producers control more than 80% of supply. China controls 60% of rare earths output needed for wind towers; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 70% of the cobalt required for EV batteries.” As many have noted, the environmental impact of immensely ramping up the mining of these materials is undoubtedly going to be severe.  Michael Shellenberger, a life-long environmental activist, has been particularly vociferous in his condemnation of the dominant view that only renewables can solve the global energy needs.  He’s especially critical of how his fellow environmentalists resorted to repetitive deception, in his view, to undercut nuclear power in past decades.  By leaving nuke energy out of the solution set, he foresees a disastrous impact on the planet due to the massive scale (he’d opine, impossibly massive) of resource mining that needs to occur.  (His book, “Apocalypse Never”, is also one I highly recommend; like Dr. Koonin, he hails from the left end of the political spectrum.) Putting aside the environmental ravages of developing rare earth minerals, when you have such high and rapidly rising demand colliding with limited supply, prices are likely to go vertical.  This will be another inflationary “forcing”, a favorite term of climate scientists, caused by the Great Green Energy Transition. Moreover, EVs are very semiconductor intensive.  With semis already in seriously short supply, this is going to make a gnarly situation even gnarlier.  It’s logical to expect that there will be recurring shortages of chips over the next decade for this reason alone (not to mention the acute need for semis as the “internet of things” moves into primetime).  In several of the newsletters I’ve written in recent years, I’ve pointed out the present vulnerability of the US electric grid.  Yet, it will be essential not just to keep it from breaking down under its current load; it must be drastically enhanced, a Herculean task. For one thing, it is excruciatingly hard to install new power lines. As J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest has written: “Grid expansion can be a hornet’s nest of cost, complexity and NIMBYism*, particularly in the US.”  The grid’s frailty, even under today’s demands (i.e., much less than what lies ahead as millions of EVs plug into it) is particularly obvious in California.  However, severe winter weather in 2021 exposed the grid weakness even in energy-rich Texas, which also has a generally welcoming attitude toward infrastructure upgrading and expansion. Yet it’s the Golden State, home to 40 million Americans and the fifth largest economy in the world, if it was its own country (which it occasionally acts like it wants to be), that is leading the charge to EVs and seeking to eliminate internal combustion engines (ICEs) as quickly as possible.  Even now, blackouts and brownouts are becoming increasingly common.  Seemingly convinced it must be a role model for the planet, it’s trying desperately to reduce its emissions, which are less than 1%, of the global total, at the expense of rendering its energy system more similar to a developing country.  In addition to very high electricity costs per kilowatt hour (its mild climate helps offset those), it also has gasoline prices that are 77% above the national average.  *NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard. While California has been a magnet for millions seeking a better life for 150 years, the cost of living is turning the tide the other way.  Unreliable and increasingly expensive energy is likely to intensify that trend.  Combined with home prices that are more than double the US median–$800,000!–California is no longer the land of milk and honey, unless, to slightly paraphrase Woody Guthrie about LA, even back in the 1940s, you’ve got a whole lot of scratch.  More and more people, seem to be scratching California off their list of livable venues.  Voters in the reliably blue state of California may become extremely restive, particularly as they look to Asia and see new coal plants being built at a fever pitch.  The data will become clear that as America keeps decarbonizing–as it has done for 30 years mostly due to the displacement of coal by gas in the US electrical system—Asia will continue to go the other way.  (By the way, electricity represents the largest share of CO2 emission at roughly 25%.)  California has always seemed to lead social trends in this country, as it is doing again with its green energy transition.  The objective is noble though, extremely ambitious, especially the timeline.  As it brings its power paradigm to the rest of America, especially its frail grid, it will be interesting to see how voters react in other states as the cost of power leaps higher and its dependability heads lower.  It’s reasonable to speculate we may be on the verge of witnessing the Californication of the US energy system.  Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, please be aware the IEA (International Energy Agency) has estimated it will cost the planet $5 trillion per year to achieve Net Zero emissions.  This is compared to global GDP of roughly $85 trillion. According to BloombergNEF, the price tag over 30 years, could be as high as $173 trillion.  Frankly, based on the history of gigantic cost overruns on most government-sponsored major infrastructure projects, I’m inclined to take the over—way over—on these estimates. Moreover, energy consulting firm T2 and Associates, has guesstimated electrifying just the US to the extent necessary to eliminate the direct consumption of fuel (i.e., gasoline, natural gas, coal, etc.) would cost between $18 trillion and $29 trillion.  Again, taking into account how these ambitious efforts have played out in the past, I suspect $29 trillion is light.  Regardless, even $18 trillion is a stunner, despite the reality we have all gotten numb to numbers with trillions attached to them.  For perspective, the total, already terrifying, level of US federal debt is $28 trillion. Regardless, as noted last week, the probabilities of the Great Green Energy Transition happening are extremely high.  Relatedly, I believe the likelihood of the Great Greenflation is right up there with them.  As Gavekal’s Didier Darcet wrote in mid-August:  ““Nowadays, and this is a great first in history, governments will commit considerable financial resources they do not have in the extraction of very weakly concentrated energy.” ( i.e., less efficient)  “The bet is very risky, and if it fails, what next?  The modern economy would not withstand expensive energy, or worse, lack of energy.”  While I agree this an historical first, it’s definitely not great (with apologies for all the “greats”).  This is particularly not great for keeping inflation subdued, as well as for attempting to break out of the growth quagmire the Western world has been in for the last two decades.  What we are seeing in Europe right now is an extremely cautionary case study in just how disastrous the war on fossil fuels can be (shortly we will see who or what has been a behind-the-scenes participant in this conflict). Essentially, I believe, as I’ve written in past EVAs, we are entering the third energy crisis of the last 50 years.  If I’m right, it will be characterized by recurring bouts of triple-digit oil prices in the years to come.  Along with Richard Nixon taking the US off the gold standard in 1971, the high inflation of the 1970s was caused by the first two energy crises (the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and the 1979 Iranian Revolution).  If I’m correct about this being the third, it’s coming at a most inopportune time with the US in hyper-MMT* mode. Frankly, I believe many in the corridors of power would like to see oil trade into the $100s, and natural gas into the teens, as it will help catalyze the shift to renewable energy.  But consumers are likely to have a much different reaction—potentially, a violently different reaction, as I noted last week.  The experience of the Yellow Vest protests in France (referring to the color of the vest protestors wore), are instructive in this regard.  France is a generally left-leaning country.  Despite that, a proposed fuel surtax in November 2018 to fund a renewable energy transition triggered such widespread civil unrest that French president Emmanuel Macron rescinded it the following month. *MMT stands for Modern Monetary Theory.  It holds that a government, like the US, which issues debt in its own currency can spend without concern about budgetary constraints.  If there are not enough buyers of its bonds at acceptable interest rates, that nation’s central bank (the Fed, in our case) simply acquires them with money it creates from its digital printing press.  This is what is happening today in the US.  Many economists consider this highly inflationary. The sharp and politically uncomfortable rise in US gas pump prices this summer caused the Biden administration to plead with OPEC to lift its volume quotas.  The ironic implication of that exhortation was glaringly obvious, as was the inefficiency and pollution consequences of shipping oil thousands of miles across the Atlantic.  (Oil tankers are a significant source of emissions.)  This is as opposed to utilizing domestic oil output, as well as crude from Canada (which is actually generally better suited to the US refining complex).  Beyond the pollution aspect, imported oil obviously worsens America’s massive trade deficit (which would be far more massive without the six million barrels per day of domestic oil volumes that the shale revolution has provided) and costs our nation high-paying jobs. Further, one of my other big fears is that the West is engaging in unilateral energy disarmament.  Russia and China are likely the major beneficiaries of this dangerous scenario.  Per my earlier comment about a stealth combatant in the war on fossil fuels, it may surprise you that a past NATO Secretary General* has accused Russian intelligence of avidly supporting the anti-fracking movements in Western Europe.  Russian TV has railed against fracking for years, even comparing it to pedophilia (certainly, a most bizarre analogy!).  The success of the anti-fracking movement on the Continent has essentially prevented a European version of America’s shale miracles (the UK has the potential to be a major shale gas producer).  Consequently, the European Union’s domestic natural gas production has been in a rapid decline phase for years.  Banning fracking has, of course, made Europe heavily reliant on Russian gas shipments with more than 40% of its supplies coming from Russia. This is in graphic contrast to the shale output boom in the US that has not only made us natural gas self-sufficient but also an export powerhouse of liquified natural gas (LNG).  In 2011, the Nord Stream system of pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from northern Russia began delivering gas west from northern Russia to the German coastal city of Greifswald.  For years, the Russians sought to build a parallel system with the inventive name of Nord Stream 2.  The US government opposed its approval on security grounds but the Biden administration has dropped its opposition.  It now appears Nord Stream 2 will happen, leaving Europe even more exposed to Russian coercion.  Is it possible the Russian government and the Chinese Communist Party have been secretly and aggressively supporting the anti-fossil fuel movements in America?  In my mind, it seems not only possible but probable.  In fact, I believe it is naïve not to come that conclusion.  After all, wouldn’t it be in both of their geopolitical interests to see the US once again caught in a cycle of debilitating inflation, ensnared by the twin traps of MMT and the third energy crisis? *Per former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasumssen:  Russia has “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”. Along these lines, I was shocked to listen to a recent podcast by the New Yorker magazine on the topic of “intelligent sabotage”.  This segment was an interview between the magazine’s David Remnick and a Swedish professor, Adreas Malm.  Mr. Malm is the author of a new book with the literally explosive title “How To Blow Up A Pipeline”.   Just as it sounds, he advocates detonating pipelines to inhibit fossil fuel distribution.  Mr. Remnick was clearly sympathetic to his guest but he did ask him about the impact on the poor of driving energy prices up drastically which would be the obvious ramification if his sabotage recommendations were widely followed.  Mr. Malm’s reaction was a verbal shrug of the shoulders and words to the effect that this was the price to pay to save the planet. Frankly, I am appalled that the venerable New Yorker would provide a platform for such a radical and unlawful suggestion.  In an era when people are de-platformed for often innocuous comments, it’s incredible to me this was posted and has not been pulled down.  In my mind, this reflects just how tolerant the media is of attacks on the fossil fuel industry, regardless of the deleterious impact on consumers and the global economy. Surely, there is a far better way of coping with the harmful aspects of fossil fuel-based energy than this scorched earth (literally, in the case of Mr. Malm) approach, which includes efforts to block new pipelines, shut existing ones, and severely restrict US energy production.  In America’s case, the result will be forcing us to unnecessarily and increasingly rely on overseas imports.  (For example, per the Wall Street Journal, drilling permits on federal land have crashed to 171 in August from 671 in April.  Further, the contentious $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” plan would raise royalties and fees high enough on US energy producers that it would render them globally uncompetitive.) Such actions would only aggravate what is already a severe energy shock, one that may be worse than the 1970s twin energy crises.  America has it easy compared to Europe, though, given current US policy trends, we might be in their same heavily listing energy boat soon. Solutions include fast-tracking small modular nuclear plants; encouraging the further switch from burning coal to natural gas (a trend that is, unfortunately, going the other way now, as noted above); utilizing and enhancing carbon and methane capture at the point of emission (including improving tail pipe effluent-reduction technology); enhancing pipeline integrity to inhibit methane leaks; among many other mitigation techniques that recognize the reality the global economy will be reliant on fossil fuels for many years, if not decades, to come.  If the climate change movement fails to recognize the essential nature of fossil fuels, it will almost certainly trigger a backlash that will undermine the positive change it is trying to bring about.  This is similar to what it did via its relentless assault on nuclear power which produced a frenzy of coal plant construction in the 1980s and 1990s.  On this point, it’s interesting to see how quickly Europe is re-embracing coal power to alleviate the energy poverty and rationing occurring over there right now - even before winter sets in.  When the choice is between supporting climate change initiatives on one hand and being able to heat your home and provide for your family on the other, is there really any doubt about which option the majority of voters will select? Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 26th, 2021Related News

Elon Musk rips Democrats" billionaire-tax plan that could slap him with a $10 billion annual bill

"Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," Musk tweeted at the senator who drafted a billionaire-tax proposal. Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images Elon Musk slammed a new Democratic tax proposal that would target him. "Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," he wrote on Twitter. Musk could face up to $50 billion in taxes for the first five years under the plan, if implemented. Tesla founder Elon Musk on Monday evening criticized a Democratic tax proposal that would target American billionaires to fund a safety-net expansion, saying it represented the start of a new campaign from Democrats to redistribute wealth from the richest Americans."Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," he wrote on Twitter.-Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 26, 2021In a separate tweet, Musk said any government-induced reallocation of wealth would be better managed by the private sector."Who is best at capital allocation - government or entrepreneurs - is indeed what it comes down to," he wrote on Twitter. "The tricksters will conflate capital allocation with consumption."Musk is focusing on a proposal chiefly authored by Sen. Ron Wyden, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which may be unveiled as soon as Wednesday. The plan is meant to impose taxes on tradable assets like stocks held by about 700 billionaires to fund an expansion of healthcare, childcare, and renew President Joe Biden's beefed-up child tax credit.Democrats say they are moving to tilt the economic scales of wealth away from the richest people and toward the middle class after years of growing inequality. Billionaires often pay lower tax rates compared with everyone else because they build up their wealth from the increasing value of their stock shares. Those aren't subject to capital-gains taxes until they are sold.A new analysis conducted by the economist Gabriel Zucman for The Washington Post indicated that Musk could face up to $50 billion in taxes in the first five-year stretch of the tax's implementation.Musk's wealth soared on Monday. His net worth surged $36 billion in only one day after the rental-car company Hertz announced it was buying 100,000 Teslas for its rental fleet, Insider's Tim Levin reported.Some experts say the Wyden plan could be difficult to implement, since it would set up another layer of the tax code for billionaires. Steve Rosenthal, a tax expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, wrote in a blog post that prospective problems include how asset losses are treated and whether billionaires could use the measure to shrink their tax bills."We always felt that billionaires' income tax needed to have some symmetry," Wyden told Insider. "If you get gains, there should be an appropriate opportunity for losses."Senate Republicans are slamming the proposal, saying it would stifle innovation and entrepreneurship. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called it a "harebrained scheme" on Monday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021Related News

Democrats are set to unveil a new billionaire"s tax and some of the wealthiest Americans are glad. Here are some of the ultrawealthy who want higher taxes.

The group includes Mark Cuban, George Soros, Ray Dalio, Abigail Disney, members of the Pritzker and Gund families, and a Facebook cofounder. 'Shark Tank' star Mark Cuban Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images To pay for Biden's social spending agenda, Democrats are considering a new tax targeting billionaires. Billionaires including Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff, Ray Dalio, and George Soros have publicly called for higher taxes on the wealthy. A wealth tax would make ultrawealthy Americans pay the government a small percentage of their net worth each year. In 2020, Bill Gates' New Year's resolution was to get the federal government to raise taxes on the ultrawealthy - including himself. Now, that wish might come true, as Democrats eye higher taxes on America's billionaires."We've updated our tax system before to keep up with changing times, and we need to do it again, starting with raising taxes on people like me," Gates wrote on his blog at the time.That's exactly what Democrats are planning to propose this week. A plan authored by Sen. Ron Wyden would target the unrealized gains - value that assets like stock accrue - of billionaires every year. It's not quite an outright wealth tax, but it comes close. And it would pay for the social safety net bill Democrats hope to vote on this week that includes expansions to healthcare and childcare for Americans.While Elon Musk ripped the plan on Twitter, other billionaires from Warren Buffett to George Soros have proposed a wealth tax as a way to combat America's growing wealth gap and fund healthcare and education initiatives. In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, a group of 18 ultrawealthy Americans, including Abigail Disney and members of the Pritzker and Gund families, published an open letter asking presidential candidates to support a moderate wealth tax.Politicians, too, rolled out proposals on this front: A wealth tax like the one proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren would make ultrawealthy Americans pay the federal government a small percentage of their net worth each year. Bernie Sanders unveiled a wealth-tax plan that is even more aggressive than Warren's.Inequality exacerbated by the pandemic has more strenuously renewed calls for a wealth tax, as America's billionaires added $2.1 trillion to their fortunes as millions dealt with with pandemic-induced unemployment and poverty. Mounting inequality isn't a new issue: In 2018, income inequality in the US reached its highest level in more than half a century. The ultrawealthy actually paid a smaller portion of their income in taxes than average Americans in 2018, an analysis of tax data by the University of California at Berkeley's Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman found.While the idea of using a wealth tax to solve America's inequality problem has gained traction in recent years, proposals have been hampered by questions over the effectiveness and the constitutionality of such a tax, Business Insider previously reported.Keep reading to learn more about some of the most high-profile billionaires and multimillionaires who have publicly supported raising taxes on the 1%, listed in chronological order. The founder of Jimmy John's says it's "bullshit" that wealthy people are taking out loans to live on that are free of taxes. Irene Jiang / Business Insider Jimmy John Liautaud told The Daily Beast that he knows a lot of people have "accumulated massive, massive wealth" — and then borrow money. As ProPublica reported, taking out loans against large fortunes is one method that the ultra-wealthy employ to reduce how much they owe in taxes, since loans aren't taxed."That's tax free. And I think it's bullshit," Liautaud told the Daily Beast.When it comes to gains for assets, he said: "Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, every year this shit's compounding. I paid more tax than Warren Buffett. And I'm worth 2 billion fucking dollars." Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban proposed taxing the wealthy to offset cutting payroll taxes in a November 2017 tweet. Getty/Michael Kovac —Mark Cuban (@mcuban) November 24, 2017Now best known for his appearances on ABC's "Shark Tank," Cuban built a $4.5 billion fortune through a lifetime of business deals, including the $5.7 billion sale of Broadcast.com, and his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks, Business Insider reported. Bill Gates has said he's paid over $10 billion in taxes over his lifetime - but he doesn't think that's enough. Bill Gates speaks ahead of former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017 in New York City. Yana Paskova/Getty Images "I need to pay higher taxes," Gates said in a 2018 interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "I've paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes."In a December 30, 2019, post on his blog, Gates Notes, Gates proposed raising the estate tax and removing the cap on the amount of income subject to Medicare taxes. He also suggested closing the carried interest loophole that allows fund managers to pay lower capital gains rates on their incomes and making state and local taxes fairer, Market Insider's Theron Mohamed previously reported."That's why I'm for a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage in taxes," Gates wrote. "And I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me." On CNBC's Squawk Box, Warren Buffett said raising billionaires' taxes is the best way to help "a guy who is a wonderful citizen" but "just doesn't have market skills." Bill Pugliano/Getty "The wealthy are definitely undertaxed relative to the general population," Buffett said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" in February 2019. Buffett has suggested that Congress expand income tax credits for low-income Americans, raising taxes on high earners in the process, CNBC reported. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he "should be paying higher taxes" at a CNN town hall in February, but called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposed 70% marginal tax rate for millionaires "punitive." Howard Schultz. Owen Hoffmann / Contributor / Getty Images Schultz built a $3.8 billion fortune running the coffee chain, Business Insider previously reported. While Schultz left Starbucks in 2018, he still held onto more than 37.7 million shares — or roughly 3% — of the company's stock. When asked if the wealthy should pay more in taxes on "60 Minutes," billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio replied: "Of course." Hollis Johnson/Business Insider In the "60 Minutes" segment, Dalio said he thinks the American dream is lost and referred to the wealth gap as a "national emergency." Dalio, 70, founded his hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, in his apartment in 1975, Business Insider reported. It now has $150 billion in assets under management. Dalio has a net worth of $20 billion, Forbes estimates. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of The Walt Disney Company cofounder Roy Disney, has made a name for herself as one of the biggest advocates for closing America's wealth gap. Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images The granddaughter of The Walt Disney Co. cofounder Roy Disney has made a name for herself as one of the company's most outspoken critics. The 59-year-old heiress has criticized the salary of Disney CEO Bob Iger and defended Meryl Streep after she called Walt Disney a "bigot," according to CNN Business.Disney has a net worth of $120 million, she said in July 2019. "The internet says I have half a billion dollars and I might have something close to that if I'd been investing aggressively," Disney told the Financial Times.She testified in support of Elizabeth Warren's proposed wealth tax in April 2021, and called out the methods the ultra-wealthy use to evade taxes in a June essay for the Atlantic.Disney was one of 18 ultrawealthy Americas to sign an open letter in June asking presidential candidates to support a moderate wealth tax. The letter isn't the first time that Disney has spoken out about tax reform. Disney criticized the 2017 Republican tax bill in a NowThis video, saying the bill unfairly benefited the wealthy. Heiress Agnes Gund and her daughter Catherine Gund also signed the wealth tax letter. Catherine Gund, left, with her mother, Agnes Gund, and Stanley Whitney Getty Images / Sean Zanni / Contributor In 2015, Forbes estimated that the Gund family had a net worth of $3.4 billion and ranked them among the 100 wealthiest families in America.Agnes Gund, 83, used the fortune she inherited from her father, the president of an Ohio-based bank, to become a philanthropist in arts and social justice, according to The New York Times. Agnes Gund received the National Medal of the Arts in 1997 from President Bill Clinton for her work, which included serving as the president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.Catherine Gund, 56, is an Emmy-winning film director and producer. Gund founded nonprofit production studio Aubin Pictures in 1996, according to her previous biography on the studio's website. The Gunds weren't the only family who signed the letter together. So did Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes and his husband, political activist Sean Eldridge. Chris Hughes Facebook Page Hughes is a cofounder of Facebook. He left the social network in 2007 to become the online organizer for Barack Obama's first presidential campaign. Despite calling for Facebook to be broken up in May 2019, Hughes had a stake in the company worth $850 million, Newsweek reports. In 2016, Forbes put Hughes' net worth at $430 million.In April 2021, Hughes told CNBC that Americans are "throwing out the idea that markets were ever free" and that it's time for a new capitalism.Eldridge is a political activist and former congressional candidate in New York, according to Vanity Fair. Eldridge was born in Canada. Ian and Liesel Pritzker Simmons signed the letter together. Ian Simmons, Co-Founder and Principal of Blue Haven Initiative, poses at his office in Cambridge, Mass., Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. A handful of billionaires and multimillionaires are making a renewed push for the government to raise their taxes and siphon away some of their holdings. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer "This is really a conservative position about increasing the stability of the economy in the long term and having an efficient source of taxation," Simmons told the Associated Press.Simmons, 44, serves as the cofounder and principal of impact investing firm Blue Haven Initiative alongside his wife and fellow signatory, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, according to the firm's website. Simmons is the heir to a family fortune that stems from the construction of locks on the Erie Canal, according to Forbes.Pritzker Simmons, an heir to the Pritzker family fortune, has a net worth of $600 million, according to a 2013 Forbes article. Simmons, now 35, is also a cofounder and principal of Blue Haven Initiative.As a child, she starred in several big-name Hollywood productions, including "A Little Princess" and "Air Force One," alongside Harrison Ford. In 2002, Forbes reports, she sued her father and the Pritzker family and came away from it with a $500 million payout. Simmons called retired Massachusetts real-estate developer Robert Bowditch and convinced him to sign the letter, too. Shutterstock "Charitable giving by itself simply cannot provide enough money to support public goods and services, such as public education, roads and bridges, clean air," Bowditch told the Associated Press in October 2019. "It has to be done by taxes."Bowditch has previously advocated for raising taxes on the wealthy: In 2010, he signed an open letter to President Obama asking him to allow tax cuts for millionaires to expire, according to a CBS affiliate in Boston. Billionaire financier George Soros signed the letter with his son, Alexander Soros. Manny Carabel/WireImage According to his personal website, Alexander Soros, 35, serves as deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations, a nonprofit founded by his father. George Soros told The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin he supports a wealth tax even though it creates "a moral problem" for him. Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images "I am in favor of taxing the rich," George Soros, 89, told The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin in October 2019, "including a wealth tax. A financier makes people suspicious ... and it does create a moral problem for me. As I became so successful, it basically put a self-imposed constraint on me that actually interfered with making money."The philanthropist made his fortune running Quantum Fund, which was once the largest hedge fund in the world. Soros has a net worth of $8.3 billion, Business Insider reported. Investor Nick Hanauer believes a wealth tax would be good for America's economy. Courtesy of Nick Hanauer "A wealth tax would not just be fair — it would be pro-growth," Hanauer wrote in an essay advocating for a wealth tax published on Business Insider. "And don't let the trickle-downers tell you otherwise."Hanauer, 62, was an early investor in Amazon, according to his personal website. Business Insider previously reported that Hanauer is a longtime critic of America's income inequality.Business Insider's Rich Feloni reported that Hanauer has said he's not a billionaire, but that, as both he and his wife have signed The Giving Pledge, their combined net worth at least approaches the $1 billion threshold. Heiress and attorney Molly Munger told the Associated Press that seeing empty Newport Beach mansions from her family's boat on Memorial Day made her consider a wealth tax. Lacy O'Toole/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images "It's just too much to watch that happen at the top and see what is happening at the bottom," Munger told the Associated Press in October 2019. "Isn't it a waste when beautiful homes on the beach are empty for most of the summer?"Munger, 71, is the oldest daughter of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger. Munger is a Harvard Law graduate who works as a civil rights attorney in Pasadena, California, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2012, she advocated for a tax hike in California to boost funding for the state's public schools. Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in June 2019 advocating for a wealth tax, saying American capitalism "isn't working." AP Broad doesn't believe that his philanthropic work and other policies including a $15 minimum wage, expanding access to health care, and reforming public education are doing enough to help low-income Americans, he wrote in The New York Times."It's time to start talking seriously about a wealth tax," Broad wrote in The Times. "I simply believe it's time for those of us with great wealth to commit to reducing income inequality, starting with the demand to be taxed at a higher rate than everyone else."Broad built a $6.9 billion fortune after cofounding home builder Kaufman & Broad, according to Forbes. Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff proposed a wealth tax in an October New York Times essay. Kimberley White/Getty Images "Local efforts — like the tax I supported last year on San Francisco's largest companies to address our city's urgent homelessness crisis — will help," Benioff wrote in The New York Times in October 2019. "Nationally, increasing taxes on high-income individuals like myself would help generate the trillions of dollars that we desperately need to improve education and health care and fight climate change."Benioff built a $6.5 billion fortune after founding software developer Salesforce. Benioff currently serves as the company's CEO. Michael Bloomberg has made raising taxes on the wealthy a key part of his 2020 presidential campaign. FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg addresses a news conference after launching his presidential bid in Norfolk, Virginia Reuters Bloomberg has included promises to support "taxing wealthy people like me" in ads since launching his campaign in November, Bloomberg News reported at the time.As Politico reported, Bloomberg ultimately proposed a 5% surtax for people earning over $5 million annually — as well as an increase to the capital gains rate and corporate tax rate. But Bloomberg said during his campaign that he believes that Warren and Sanders' wealth tax "just doesn't work," he said at campaign stop in Phoenix in November. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021Related News

New pictures show how Apple kept the design of the first iPod a secret by making prototypes look ridiculous

This early iPod prototype looks nothing like an iPod, and the device's inventor said the boxy design prevented staff from leaking the final product. Getty Apple's wildly popular iPod first launched in October 2001. A rare prototype of a near-final iPod model was recently shown off. The device is massive and looks nothing like the final product - that was intentional, to hide the design from Apple's own staff. Before former Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled what would become the world's most popular portable music player, Apple's iPod was a massive, unwieldy device that looked nothing like the final product.It featured the iconic click wheel, and it was able to play music. It even had a tiny screen for scrolling through a library of songs!But in almost no other way did it resemble what would launch in October 2001.Behold, an iPod prototype from September 2001 that was revealed this week:-Panic (@panic) October 23, 2021The Oregon-based indie software and hardware maker Panic pulled the device from "the Panic Archives," which it described in a blog post as "a closet," to commemorate the iPod's 20 year anniversary.The iPod prototype is massive, which wasn't a measure of its internals being large so much as a means of hiding the product's final design from Apple's own staff."This is a P68/Dulcimer iPod prototype we (very quickly) made before the true form factor design was ready," former Apple designer and "father of the iPod" Tony Fadell said on Twitter of the prototype. "Didn't want it look like an iPod for confidentiality - the buttons placement, the size - it was mostly air inside - and the wheel worked (poorly)." Indeed, in other photos posted on Panic's blog, the iPod prototype's internals are shown. The vast majority of the inside of the prototype is empty space, with the near-final iPod internals nestled in a corner. Apple no longer sells an iPod that resembles the original models. The company currently offers an iPod Touch that looks and operates much like an iPhone, albeit without cellular functionality.Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021Related News

Democrats are set to unveil a new billionaire"s tax. Here"s a look at the wealthiest Americans who want to pay more.

The group includes Mark Cuban, George Soros, Ray Dalio, Abigail Disney, members of the Pritzker and Gund families, and a Facebook cofounder. 'Shark Tank' star Mark Cuban Christopher Willard/ABC via Getty Images To pay for Biden's social spending agenda, Democrats are considering a new tax targeting billionaires. Billionaires including Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff, Ray Dalio, and George Soros have publicly called for higher taxes on the wealthy. A wealth tax would make ultrawealthy Americans pay the government a small percentage of their net worth each year. In 2020, Bill Gates' New Year's resolution was to get the federal government to raise taxes on the ultrawealthy - including himself. Now, that wish might come true, as Democrats eye higher taxes on America's billionaires."We've updated our tax system before to keep up with changing times, and we need to do it again, starting with raising taxes on people like me," Gates wrote on his blog at the time.That's exactly what Democrats are planning to propose this week. A plan authored by Sen. Ron Wyden would target the unrealized gains - value that assets like stock accrue - of billionaires every year. It's not quite an outright wealth tax, but it comes close. And it would pay for the social safety net bill Democrats hope to vote on this week that includes expansions to healthcare and childcare for Americans.While Elon Musk ripped the plan on Twitter, other billionaires from Warren Buffett to George Soros have proposed a wealth tax as a way to combat America's growing wealth gap and fund healthcare and education initiatives. In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, a group of 18 ultrawealthy Americans, including Abigail Disney and members of the Pritzker and Gund families, published an open letter asking presidential candidates to support a moderate wealth tax.Politicians, too, rolled out proposals on this front: A wealth tax like the one proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren would make ultrawealthy Americans pay the federal government a small percentage of their net worth each year. Bernie Sanders unveiled a wealth-tax plan that is even more aggressive than Warren's.Inequality exacerbated by the pandemic has more strenuously renewed calls for a wealth tax, as America's billionaires added $2.1 trillion to their fortunes as millions dealt with with pandemic-induced unemployment and poverty. Mounting inequality isn't a new issue: In 2018, income inequality in the US reached its highest level in more than half a century. The ultrawealthy actually paid a smaller portion of their income in taxes than average Americans in 2018, an analysis of tax data by the University of California at Berkeley's Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman found.While the idea of using a wealth tax to solve America's inequality problem has gained traction in recent years, proposals have been hampered by questions over the effectiveness and the constitutionality of such a tax, Business Insider previously reported.Keep reading to learn more about some of the most high-profile billionaires and multimillionaires who have publicly supported raising taxes on the 1%, listed in chronological order. The founder of Jimmy John's says it's "bullshit" that wealthy people are taking out loans to live on that are free of taxes. Irene Jiang / Business Insider Jimmy John Liautaud told The Daily Beast that he knows a lot of people have "accumulated massive, massive wealth" — and then borrow money. As ProPublica reported, taking out loans against large fortunes is one method that the ultra-wealthy employ to reduce how much they owe in taxes, since loans aren't taxed."That's tax free. And I think it's bullshit," Liautaud told the Daily Beast.When it comes to gains for assets, he said: "Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, every year this shit's compounding. I paid more tax than Warren Buffett. And I'm worth 2 billion fucking dollars." Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban proposed taxing the wealthy to offset cutting payroll taxes in a November 2017 tweet. Getty/Michael Kovac —Mark Cuban (@mcuban) November 24, 2017Now best known for his appearances on ABC's "Shark Tank," Cuban built a $4.5 billion fortune through a lifetime of business deals, including the $5.7 billion sale of Broadcast.com, and his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks, Business Insider reported. Bill Gates has said he's paid over $10 billion in taxes over his lifetime - but he doesn't think that's enough. Bill Gates speaks ahead of former U.S. President Barack Obama at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017 in New York City. Yana Paskova/Getty Images "I need to pay higher taxes," Gates said in a 2018 interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "I've paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes."In a December 30, 2019, post on his blog, Gates Notes, Gates proposed raising the estate tax and removing the cap on the amount of income subject to Medicare taxes. He also suggested closing the carried interest loophole that allows fund managers to pay lower capital gains rates on their incomes and making state and local taxes fairer, Market Insider's Theron Mohamed previously reported."That's why I'm for a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage in taxes," Gates wrote. "And I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me." On CNBC's Squawk Box, Warren Buffett said raising billionaires' taxes is the best way to help "a guy who is a wonderful citizen" but "just doesn't have market skills." Bill Pugliano/Getty "The wealthy are definitely undertaxed relative to the general population," Buffett said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" in February 2019. Buffett has suggested that Congress expand income tax credits for low-income Americans, raising taxes on high earners in the process, CNBC reported. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he "should be paying higher taxes" at a CNN town hall in February, but called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposed 70% marginal tax rate for millionaires "punitive." Howard Schultz. Owen Hoffmann / Contributor / Getty Images Schultz built a $3.8 billion fortune running the coffee chain, Business Insider previously reported. While Schultz left Starbucks in 2018, he still held onto more than 37.7 million shares — or roughly 3% — of the company's stock. When asked if the wealthy should pay more in taxes on "60 Minutes," billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio replied: "Of course." Hollis Johnson/Business Insider In the "60 Minutes" segment, Dalio said he thinks the American dream is lost and referred to the wealth gap as a "national emergency." Dalio, 70, founded his hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, in his apartment in 1975, Business Insider reported. It now has $150 billion in assets under management. Dalio has a net worth of $20 billion, Forbes estimates. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of The Walt Disney Company cofounder Roy Disney, has made a name for herself as one of the biggest advocates for closing America's wealth gap. Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images The granddaughter of The Walt Disney Co. cofounder Roy Disney has made a name for herself as one of the company's most outspoken critics. The 59-year-old heiress has criticized the salary of Disney CEO Bob Iger and defended Meryl Streep after she called Walt Disney a "bigot," according to CNN Business.Disney has a net worth of $120 million, she said in July 2019. "The internet says I have half a billion dollars and I might have something close to that if I'd been investing aggressively," Disney told the Financial Times.She testified in support of Elizabeth Warren's proposed wealth tax in April 2021, and called out the methods the ultra-wealthy use to evade taxes in a June essay for the Atlantic.Disney was one of 18 ultrawealthy Americas to sign an open letter in June asking presidential candidates to support a moderate wealth tax. The letter isn't the first time that Disney has spoken out about tax reform. Disney criticized the 2017 Republican tax bill in a NowThis video, saying the bill unfairly benefited the wealthy. Heiress Agnes Gund and her daughter Catherine Gund also signed the wealth tax letter. Catherine Gund, left, with her mother, Agnes Gund, and Stanley Whitney Getty Images / Sean Zanni / Contributor In 2015, Forbes estimated that the Gund family had a net worth of $3.4 billion and ranked them among the 100 wealthiest families in America.Agnes Gund, 83, used the fortune she inherited from her father, the president of an Ohio-based bank, to become a philanthropist in arts and social justice, according to The New York Times. Agnes Gund received the National Medal of the Arts in 1997 from President Bill Clinton for her work, which included serving as the president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.Catherine Gund, 56, is an Emmy-winning film director and producer. Gund founded nonprofit production studio Aubin Pictures in 1996, according to her previous biography on the studio's website. The Gunds weren't the only family who signed the letter together. So did Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes and his husband, political activist Sean Eldridge. Chris Hughes Facebook Page Hughes is a cofounder of Facebook. He left the social network in 2007 to become the online organizer for Barack Obama's first presidential campaign. Despite calling for Facebook to be broken up in May 2019, Hughes had a stake in the company worth $850 million, Newsweek reports. In 2016, Forbes put Hughes' net worth at $430 million.In April 2021, Hughes told CNBC that Americans are "throwing out the idea that markets were ever free" and that it's time for a new capitalism.Eldridge is a political activist and former congressional candidate in New York, according to Vanity Fair. Eldridge was born in Canada. Ian and Liesel Pritzker Simmons signed the letter together. Ian Simmons, Co-Founder and Principal of Blue Haven Initiative, poses at his office in Cambridge, Mass., Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. A handful of billionaires and multimillionaires are making a renewed push for the government to raise their taxes and siphon away some of their holdings. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer "This is really a conservative position about increasing the stability of the economy in the long term and having an efficient source of taxation," Simmons told the Associated Press.Simmons, 44, serves as the cofounder and principal of impact investing firm Blue Haven Initiative alongside his wife and fellow signatory, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, according to the firm's website. Simmons is the heir to a family fortune that stems from the construction of locks on the Erie Canal, according to Forbes.Pritzker Simmons, an heir to the Pritzker family fortune, has a net worth of $600 million, according to a 2013 Forbes article. Simmons, now 35, is also a cofounder and principal of Blue Haven Initiative.As a child, she starred in several big-name Hollywood productions, including "A Little Princess" and "Air Force One," alongside Harrison Ford. In 2002, Forbes reports, she sued her father and the Pritzker family and came away from it with a $500 million payout. Simmons called retired Massachusetts real-estate developer Robert Bowditch and convinced him to sign the letter, too. Shutterstock "Charitable giving by itself simply cannot provide enough money to support public goods and services, such as public education, roads and bridges, clean air," Bowditch told the Associated Press in October 2019. "It has to be done by taxes."Bowditch has previously advocated for raising taxes on the wealthy: In 2010, he signed an open letter to President Obama asking him to allow tax cuts for millionaires to expire, according to a CBS affiliate in Boston. Billionaire financier George Soros signed the letter with his son, Alexander Soros. Manny Carabel/WireImage According to his personal website, Alexander Soros, 35, serves as deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations, a nonprofit founded by his father. George Soros told The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin he supports a wealth tax even though it creates "a moral problem" for him. Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images "I am in favor of taxing the rich," George Soros, 89, told The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin in October 2019, "including a wealth tax. A financier makes people suspicious ... and it does create a moral problem for me. As I became so successful, it basically put a self-imposed constraint on me that actually interfered with making money."The philanthropist made his fortune running Quantum Fund, which was once the largest hedge fund in the world. Soros has a net worth of $8.3 billion, Business Insider reported. Investor Nick Hanauer believes a wealth tax would be good for America's economy. Courtesy of Nick Hanauer "A wealth tax would not just be fair — it would be pro-growth," Hanauer wrote in an essay advocating for a wealth tax published on Business Insider. "And don't let the trickle-downers tell you otherwise."Hanauer, 62, was an early investor in Amazon, according to his personal website. Business Insider previously reported that Hanauer is a longtime critic of America's income inequality.Business Insider's Rich Feloni reported that Hanauer has said he's not a billionaire, but that, as both he and his wife have signed The Giving Pledge, their combined net worth at least approaches the $1 billion threshold. Heiress and attorney Molly Munger told the Associated Press that seeing empty Newport Beach mansions from her family's boat on Memorial Day made her consider a wealth tax. Lacy O'Toole/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images "It's just too much to watch that happen at the top and see what is happening at the bottom," Munger told the Associated Press in October 2019. "Isn't it a waste when beautiful homes on the beach are empty for most of the summer?"Munger, 71, is the oldest daughter of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger. Munger is a Harvard Law graduate who works as a civil rights attorney in Pasadena, California, according to the Los Angeles Times. In 2012, she advocated for a tax hike in California to boost funding for the state's public schools. Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in June 2019 advocating for a wealth tax, saying American capitalism "isn't working." AP Broad doesn't believe that his philanthropic work and other policies including a $15 minimum wage, expanding access to health care, and reforming public education are doing enough to help low-income Americans, he wrote in The New York Times."It's time to start talking seriously about a wealth tax," Broad wrote in The Times. "I simply believe it's time for those of us with great wealth to commit to reducing income inequality, starting with the demand to be taxed at a higher rate than everyone else."Broad built a $6.9 billion fortune after cofounding home builder Kaufman & Broad, according to Forbes. Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff proposed a wealth tax in an October New York Times essay. Kimberley White/Getty Images "Local efforts — like the tax I supported last year on San Francisco's largest companies to address our city's urgent homelessness crisis — will help," Benioff wrote in The New York Times in October 2019. "Nationally, increasing taxes on high-income individuals like myself would help generate the trillions of dollars that we desperately need to improve education and health care and fight climate change."Benioff built a $6.5 billion fortune after founding software developer Salesforce. Benioff currently serves as the company's CEO. Michael Bloomberg has made raising taxes on the wealthy a key part of his 2020 presidential campaign. FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg addresses a news conference after launching his presidential bid in Norfolk, Virginia Reuters Bloomberg has included promises to support "taxing wealthy people like me" in ads since launching his campaign in November, Bloomberg News reported at the time.As Politico reported, Bloomberg ultimately proposed a 5% surtax for people earning over $5 million annually — as well as an increase to the capital gains rate and corporate tax rate. But Bloomberg said during his campaign that he believes that Warren and Sanders' wealth tax "just doesn't work," he said at campaign stop in Phoenix in November. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021Related News

Tuesday links: shorting ignorance

StrategyCan you tell the difference between 'fast' and 'slow' risk? And why it matters. (ofdollarsanddata.com)Mark Hulbert, "Pick whatever risk level is appropriate for your financial situation, and then stick with it through thick and thin." (marketwatch.com)The vast majority of people don't track their portfolio's performance. (humbledollar.com)CryptoBitcoin is in a self-reinforcing cycle. (morningstar.com)Bitcoin mining is highly concentrated. (fortune.com)It you want to own Bitcoin, just buy Bitcoin. (morningstar.com)CompaniesStripe has entered a strategic partnership with “buy now, pay later” company Klarna. (ft.com)Rent the Runway ($RENT) is set to go public. (news.crunchbase.com)What online dating apps people actually pay for. (secondmeasure.com)VentureSequoia Capital is upending their investing model. (axios.com)Tiger Global just raised a $8.8 billion venture fund. (nytimes.com)GlobalWhat's life like in Portugal where some 90% of those eligible have been vaccinated. (wsj.com)Four things Germany has gotten right lately including 'getting rid of cloth masks.' (theatlantic.com)Brits have been quick to let their guards down including, reduced masking. (ft.com)EconomicsHow the pandemic distorted new homes sales figures. (calculatedriskblog.com)Why home price increases are likely decelerating. (bonddad.blogspot.com)Why you should be careful using simple TIPS spreads to forecast inflation. (econbrowser.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsResearch links: shifting benchmarks. (abnormalreturns.com)What you missed in our Monday linkfest. (abnormalreturns.com)Adviser links: well positioned for the future. (abnormalreturns.com)Are you a financial adviser looking for some out-of-the-box thinking? Then check out our weekly e-mail newsletter. (newsletter.abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaA Q&A with Adam Tooze author of "Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World’s Economy." (strategy-business.com)A Q&A with Stacey Vanek Smith author of “Machiavelli for Women: Defend Your Worth, Grow Your Ambition, and Win the Workplace.” (wsj.com)A Q&A with Nick Offerman author of "Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside." (npr.org).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsOct 26th, 2021Related News

Crossbeam raises $76M Series C led by Andreessen Horowitz

Philadelphia software-as-a-service startup Crossbeam raised a $76 million Series C round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Additional investors are Redpoint Ventures, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital and Uncork Capital, along with Salesforce Ventures, Slack Fund, HubSpot Ventures and Okta Ventures. Crossbeam CEO Bob Moore announced the investment in a blog post on Tuesday. Crossbeam runs a platform that lets companies share data between firms to build or improve….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsOct 26th, 2021Related News

Elon Musk rips Democrats" billionaire tax plan that could slap him with a $10 billion annual bill

"Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," Musk tweeted at the senator who just drafted a new billionaire tax. Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images Elon Musk slammed a new Democratic tax proposal that would target him, if implemented. "Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," he wrote on Twitter. Musk could face up to $50 billion in taxes the first five years of the plan's implementation. Tesla founder Elon Musk on Monday evening criticized a Democratic tax proposal that would target American billionaires to fund a safety net expansion."Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," he wrote on Twitter.-Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 26, 2021In a separate tweet, Musk insisted that any government-induced reallocation of wealth would be better managed by the private sector."Who is best at capital allocation - government or entrepreneurs - is indeed what it comes down to," he wrote on Twitter. "The tricksters will conflate capital allocation with consumption."Musk is taking aim at a proposal chiefly authored by Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which could be unveiled as soon as Wednesday. The plan is meant to levy new taxes on tradable assets like stocks held by roughly 700 billionaires to fund an expansion of healthcare, childcare, and renew President Joe Biden's beefed-up child tax credit.Billionaires often pay lower tax rates compared to everyone else because they build up their wealth from the increasing value of their stock and shares. Those aren't subject to capital gains taxes until they are sold.A new analysis conducted by economist Gabriel Zucman for The Washington Post indicated that Musk could face up to $50 billion in taxes in the first five-year stretch of the tax's implementation.But some experts say the plan could be difficult to implement, since it would set up another layer of the tax code for billionaires. Steve Rosenthal, a tax expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, wrote in a blog post that potential problems include how asset losses are treated and whether billionaires could use it to shrink their tax bills.Senate Republicans are already slamming the proposal. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP minority leader, called it a "hare-brained scheme" on Monday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021Related News

Elon Musk fires back at Democrats" billionaire tax plan that could slap him with a $10 billion annual bill

"Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," Musk tweeted at the senator who just drafted a new billionaire tax. Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images Elon Musk slammed a new Democratic tax proposal that would target him, if implemented. "Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," he wrote on Twitter. Musk could face up to $50 billion in taxes the first five years of the plan's implementation. Tesla founder Elon Musk on Monday evening criticized a Democratic tax proposal that would target American billionaires to fund a safety net expansion."Eventually, they run out of other people's money and then they come for you," he wrote on Twitter.-Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 26, 2021In a separate tweet, Musk insisted that any government-induced reallocation of wealth would be better managed by the private sector."Who is best at capital allocation - government or entrepreneurs - is indeed what it comes down to," he wrote on Twitter. "The tricksters will conflate capital allocation with consumption."Musk is taking aim at a proposal chiefly authored by Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which could be unveiled as soon as Wednesday. The plan is meant to levy new taxes on tradable assets like stocks held by roughly 700 billionaires to fund an expansion of healthcare, childcare, and renew President Joe Biden's beefed-up child tax credit.Billionaires often pay lower tax rates compared to everyone else because they build up their wealth from the increasing value of their stock and shares. Those aren't subject to capital gains taxes until they are sold.A new analysis conducted by economist Gabriel Zucman for The Washington Post indicated that Musk could face up to $50 billion in taxes in the first five-year stretch of the tax's implementation.But some experts say the plan could be difficult to implement, since it would set up another layer of the tax code for billionaires. Steve Rosenthal, a tax expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, wrote in a blog post that potential problems include how asset losses are treated and whether billionaires could use it to shrink their tax bills.Senate Republicans are already slamming the proposal. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP minority leader, called it a "hare-brained scheme" on Monday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021Related News

Doing 90mph On Deadman"s Curve: A Few Thoughts On Risk

Doing 90mph On Deadman's Curve: A Few Thoughts On Risk Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, When the wreck is recovered, witnesses will wonder why they took such heedless, foolish risks. You're in the back seat wedged between tipsy revelers, the driver is drunk and heading into Deadman's Curve at 90 miles per hour. Nobody's worried because the driver has never crashed. Before they slid into euphoric incoherence, the other passengers answered your doubts with statistics and pretty charts showing that the driver had never had an accident, so there was nothing to worry about. They also said that the driver's Uncle Fed had rigged the vehicle with an anti-accident device, so a crash was impossible. One passenger blurted out that a fellow named Goldy Sacks said the driver could easily "melt up" and take Deadman's Curve at 120 miles per hour without any trouble. You see the problem here: the risk of crashing and expiring is soaring but the giddy occupants are completely confident there's no risk, and this confidence is the source of the danger. If you're sure Uncle Fed's device can protect the vehicle from any crash, then why not take Deadman's Curve at 90 miles per hour? And if Goldy Sacks says you could actually take it at 120 miles per hour, then taking it at 90 MPH is actually quite prudent and cautious. This confidence inspires tremendous risk-taking that eventually ends very badly for all the revelers. The irony is rich: the greater the confidence, the greater the risk, the greater the risk, the greater the odds of a crash. The greater the risks being taken, the greater the odds that the crash will be fatal to all occupants. The confidence in Uncle Fed's safety device is delusional because it's never been tested. The fact that the driver hasn't crashed doesn't mean the risk is low or Uncle Fed's device works perfectly, it simply means luck has been on the driver's side. It also doesn't mean the driver can take Deadman's Curve at 90 MPH without any risk. It simply means the driver hasn't taken on more risk than he can handle until now. When the wreck is recovered, witnesses will wonder why they took such heedless, foolish risks. What they couldn't know is the occupants were all giddily confident that a crash was impossible no matter how great the risks. So why not take more risk? Indeed. This makes perfect sense: if a crash is impossible, then by all means take Deadman's Curve at 120 MPH. *  *  * If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. My recent books: A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF). Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World (Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF). Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF). The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF) Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF). Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 08:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 26th, 2021Related News

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen says it"s cheaper to run "hateful" ads on the platform than other kind of adverts. "We are literally subsidizing hate."

Frances Haugen said Facebook's ad pricing was partially based on how likely users are to interact with it, making "angry" ads "substantially" cheaper. Frances Haugen leaves the Houses of Parliament on October 25, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen appeared before UK lawmakers on Monday. Haugen said it was cheaper to place "hateful" ads on Facebook because they get more engagement. Haugen said Facebook's pricing was partially based on how likely users are to interact with an ad. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told British lawmakers Monday that placing "hateful, angry, divisive" ads on the company's platform worked out cheaper than placing other kinds of adverts.Haugen, who worked on Facebook's civic integrity team before departing the company in May, appeared at a parliamentary select committee meeting about three weeks after she testified in front of the US Congress. She said that ads on Facebook were priced "partially based on the likelihood that people like them, reshare them, do other things to interact with them - click through on a link.""An ad that gets more engagement is a cheaper ad," she said.This made it "substantially" cheaper to run an "angry, hateful, divisive ad than it is to run a compassionate, empathetic ad," she said."We have seen that over and over again in Facebook's research it is easier to provoke people to anger than to empathy or compassion. And so we are literally subsidizing hate on these platforms," she said.Haugen repeated what she told US lawmakers during her senate hearing earlier this month: that she thinks engagement-based ranking on Facebook - optimizing content for what will get the most interaction from users - drives a lot of safety problems on the platform.Haugen said in her testimony to Congress that Facebook's own research showed this kind of engagement-based ranking leads the company's algorithms to favor harmful content. On Monday, Haugen said this applies to ads on the platform as much as it applies to user-generated content.A Facebook spokesperson directed Insider to this company blog post on ad quality and highlighted a section that reminds readers that ads on Facebook must abide by its community standards and advertising policies. These include policies that prohibit sensational ads and ads that "contain content that exploits crises or controversial political or social issues for commercial purposes."Facebook has previously accused Haugen of mischaracterizing the company, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said some of her previous claims are "nonsensical."Numerous news organizations published stories about Facebook on Monday after reviewing company documents, known as the "Facebook Papers," leaked by Haugen.The tech giant is expected to announce a rebrand as early as Thursday this week, focusing on its ambition of becoming a "metaverse" company.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 26th, 2021Related News

"Transitory" Shortages & Inflation Are Actually Your Quality Of Life Being Stolen Right Before Your Eyes

"Transitory" Shortages & Inflation Are Actually Your Quality Of Life Being Stolen Right Before Your Eyes Submitted by Quoth the Raven at QTR's Fringe Finance, There’s no doubt our country has all of a sudden slipped into the most precarious state we’ve been able to readily confirm with our own two eyes in decades. We are suffering from runaway inflation, we have a monstrous labor shortage, and products we normally would have abundant access to are missing from store shelves. The country doesn’t produce anything anymore, we have doubled our Central Bank’s balance sheet in under two years and the money supply has gone parabolic.  Source: Minn PostAnd engineering solutions for these issues requires correctly identifying where the problem is coming from to begin with. It appears we can either go one of two directions when we try to deduce the cause of these issues. The first direction we can go in is to point to monetary and fiscal policy and look at their direct effects on the state of the country and our economy. This, I believe, is the pragmatic approach to solving the issues our nation faces. The second direction, according to a new Washington Post op-ed, is apparently to blame and shame ourselves for being greedy and assuming that we ever deserved such a quality of life to begin with. The Post recently published a piece called "Opinion: Don’t rant about short-staffed stores and supply chain woes”, which put this argument on the table, basically telling people to shut up and be thankful for the little they have. While normally I embrace the idea of being humble and thankful no matter how much or how little you have access to, the Post’s opinion piece brings an interesting concept into the foreground that I want to examine: what I am calling “the quality of life con”. Let’s have a look at what the op-ed, written by award winner Micheline Maynard, argues. Maynard’s website notes that prior to working at the Washington Post, she worked for The New York Times and NPR. Micheline Maynard, via michelinemaynard.comIn the op-ed, a photo of empty store shelves - very similar to the ones I used to effectively make my argument that the U.S. is turning into a third world country - accompanies an argument that it’s “time for some new, more realistic expectations,” as “Americans’ expectations of speedy service and easy access to consumer products have been crushed like a Styrofoam container in a trash compactor.” "American consumers, their expectations pampered and catered to for decades, are not accustomed to inconvenience," the op-ed states. Its a convenient argument to make now, since when I make this “anti-comfort” argument about the importance of having a recession/depression and the Fed not stepping in the way every time those very same pampered consumers feel a little bit of financial unease, it is the left that casts me away as a conspiracy theorist and lunatic for advocating ushering in discomfort. Now, all of a sudden, because their policies brought on discomfort, the narrative changes to “lets all stop being so pampered all the time”. "Rather than living constantly on the verge of throwing a fit, and risking taking it out on overwhelmed servers, struggling shop owners or late-arriving delivery people, we’d do ourselves a favor by consciously lowering expectations," the piece says. While I agree with not taking out our rage on service workers, like bartenders and servers - I was one for more than a decade and can tell you firsthand it doesn’t accomplish anything - this continues to fall under the “simply don’t be a dick” ruleset, and has nothing to do with “consciously lowering expectations” for our quality of life across the board. Source: New Westminster RecordAnd this segues nicely into my discussion about what I have called “the quality of life con.” Seeing the left finally address our quality of life marks an interesting paradox for them. Often, I have argued that our quality of life deteriorating is one of the hidden gears that turns in the background as a result of rising inflation and poor monetary policy in our country. Quality of life needs to be talked about loudly because it can (and will) be whittled away at without being noticed until, one day, you wake up and your quality of life is much poorer than it was years ago. This is akin to the “weighted blanket theory” case against the Federal Reserve I made on YouTube earlier this year: it falls on you slowly, and you don’t notice it until it’s too late. On a day by day basis, quality of life can be washed away by things like shrinkflation, higher prices, and exactly what Maynard is arguing for in her op-ed: lowered expectations. The convenient thing about lowered expectations is it makes it easier to not notice when your quality of life is being stolen from you. And I say “stolen” because if you are a normal productive, taxpaying member of the country, you would assume that your quality of life should improve or at least hold steady. After all, that is what most of the point of productivity as a part of capitalism is. It is what has gotten us from black and white televisions with two channels to 100 inch plasma screen TVs playing whatever we want, on demand from the internet, in the course of just a couple of decades. And it seems to be that everyone can agree in unison - both the left and the right - that we all want our quality of life to improve. We measure the success of our country by things like GDP, infant mortality rate and life expectancy, all numbers that tend to improve as our quality of life improves. I have made the argument that quality of life is a very subjective measure that is difficult to wrap our heads around, and this is why cultural Marxists in our country think that they can implement time-tested destructive ideologies, but will still be able to walk around with their iPhones and their Starbucks lattes in the years following their successful overthrow of capitalism. They don’t understand that their quality of life will not remain the same under such policies. Source: Socialist AppealBut because there is no real way to measure or model quality of life on a minute-by-minute basis in most households, and because the left doesn’t seem interested in looking at history for the answer, quality of life becomes this subjective gray area that can be used as a dumping ground for ideological screw-ups when convenient and, in the case of this WaPo op-ed, as a lever to try to get the American public to accept the consequences of the failed policies that led us to inflation and product shortages to begin with. Again, I think it is appropriate to always be thankful and humble about what we have, but we should stand firm in the expectation that we want our quality of life to continue to progress instead of regress. The left swears that socialism and Marxism are the best ways to help those in our country and outside of our country who are in need. But the truth is we can best help the rest of the world - and humanity as a whole - by ensuring that our own two feet are firmly planted in the ground first, and that our quality of life remains, at worst, steady. This is why, on an airplane, they ask you to put on your mask first before helping others with their masks. And so, without even knowing that she was doing it, the author of this op-ed is using quality of life as a dumping ground to try and divert the consequences of insane monetary and fiscal policy. She’s also bringing to the foreground a concept that, if we paid more attention to it, could help us understand far more deeply why our policies are flawed to begin with. The point is we should not be happy about the fact that the country is devolving before our eyes, we should not accept the theft of our savings via inflation and we should keep a keen eye on our collective quality of life as a country. After all, quality of life is what decades of rugged productive individuals in this country fought for at war and worked for back home. I think my point is best made through Maynard’s own words. Very likely unaware of some of the historical analogues she was making, she wrote: "The other day I found myself carrying home a loaf of bread in my bare hands because the bakery had run out of bags. Back when we didn’t know how good we had it — circa 2019 — I might have been annoyed by the inconvenience. Now I was just glad the bakery was still in business." *  *  * This is a free look at paid subscriber content from QTR’s “Fringe Finance”. You can access all of my archives by subscribing. Zerohedge readers get 10% off an annual subscription to my blog by using this special link here. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 06:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 26th, 2021Related News

Workers Are Furious. Their Unions Are Scrambling to Catch Up

James Geiger, a 53-year-old John Deere machinist in Waterloo, Iowa, is fed up with two things. The first is how newer workers are treated by the agricultural machinery manufacturer compared to older ones. After 19 years of service, he says his pay and pension benefits don’t stack up against those of his coworkers hired before… James Geiger, a 53-year-old John Deere machinist in Waterloo, Iowa, is fed up with two things. The first is how newer workers are treated by the agricultural machinery manufacturer compared to older ones. After 19 years of service, he says his pay and pension benefits don’t stack up against those of his coworkers hired before 1997 and he’s often required to work mandatory overtime. As the clock struck midnight on Oct. 14, he and 10,000 other John Deere workers walked out of 14 plants nationwide in protest. The other thing getting under Geiger’s skin is how his union, United Auto Workers (UAW), is handling this moment. After all, it was UAW that agreed to the contract of the two-tiered system back in the 1990s. “We don’t trust the international [union],” says Geiger. “They brought that lousy contract for us to vote on.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Geiger’s frustration with his union is not unique. In recent weeks, as tens of thousands of workers from Colorado to Georgia have gone on strike to demand better pay and work conditions, much of the organizing has been driven by workers themselves. The dynamic has left national and international union leadership scrambling to keep up with their own members’ decisions to strike, their shifting goals, and how to support the social media-driven communications strategies workers are employing. “There is this grassroots push,” says David Madland, senior adviser to the American Worker Project at the Center for American Progress, “and leaders have to catch up.” A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, in which most blue-collar workers risked their health and safety to go to work while their white-collar colleagues largely worked from home, some top union brass and union members are at a disconnect. Union leadership is sometimes so focused on state and federal power structures that they’re missing the tectonic shifts among workers on the ground, labor experts and striking workers say. “There is a danger and a concern that some of the heads of unions tend to be DC-focused. [They are] too interested in, ‘What are the debates on reconciliation? Who’s working with the administration? Are we invited to the meetings in DC?’ Yes, there’s an important role to play there,” argues Faiz Shakir, the founder of advocacy journalism startup More Perfect Union and former Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign manager. “But right now, especially at this moment in history, the worker fights are out there around the country.” Read more: U.S. Workers Are Realizing It’s the Perfect Time to Go on Strike The real problem, some say, is that unions are not seizing on this moment to capitalize on workers’ demands. “The international and the local union kept telling us, ‘You guys will never see a [full] pension and never see medical benefits when you retire,’” says Geiger of the UAW. “I always ask, ‘Why not? That’s what we want. Take it to the bargaining table and fight for it.’” After all, the iron is hot. Current labor conditions give U.S. workers extraordinary leverage over their employers: There are 10.4 million open jobs and just 7.7 million people looking for work, according to October figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while a record-breaking number of people have been voluntarily quitting their jobs. “It’s kind of a perfect storm, and it allows the unions to be more aggressive than they have been for a long time,” says Ruth Milkman, chair of the Labor Studies Department at the City University of New York. Unionized workers are seizing on the opening. Roughly 1,400 employees at four factories for Kellogg’s are striking against a two-tier wage system, in addition to the 10,000 John Deere workers that have walked out over similar frustrations. Over 24,000 Kaiser Permanente health workers voted to authorize a strike in mid-October. IATSE, a union representing roughly 60,000 behind-the-scenes film and television employees, was also on the precipice of a strike earlier this month, before the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers proposed a tentative agreement with more humane work hours. (It is not yet clear IATSE workers will agree to the contract proposal.) And in mid-September, more than 1,000 Nabisco workers across five states exacted pay increases after a five-week strike. Union leadership, meanwhile, has been handed a golden opportunity. This recent surge of labor activity—dubbed “Striketober”—has garnered national headlines, excited rank-and-file laborers, and pushed employers onto their heels. While private-sector union membership remains low, just above 6% nationally, unions are in a position now to agitate, amass wins, and recruit much-needed new membership. But to do so, they may have to update their approach. “In order to have a resurgence,” says Milkman, “you’d have to organize that 94%.” ‘Do not try to package that script’ Rob Eafen, the President of Local 252G at the Memphis Kellogg’s facility, says he and other local union leaders didn’t originally want to strike; they wanted to continue negotiating for a better contract. But ultimately, the will of the workers prevailed. “The movement to strike was a groundswell, from the people,” Eafen says. “We heard the call to strike at all the union meetings that we had, and in conversations with employees in the plant… We had to listen to what the people wanted.” But helping workers facilitate a strike isn’t enough, workers say. Union leadership also has to empower them to extend their message from picket-lines to headlines. In the absence of effective communication strategies from his international union, Geiger says he’s taken it upon himself to talk to tell the world what he and his coworkers at John Deere are fighting for—and why. “We’re told by the union not to talk to the media, to just refer them to the union hall. That’s wrong,” he says. “Talk to the people that are doing the work. That’s where you get the real story.” Jenifer Veloso/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesSigns by a fire during a union workers strike outside the Kellogg plant in Battle Creek, Michigan, U.S., on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Permitting striking workers to share their own experiences with the masses can be critical to a modern labor strike’s success, says Shakir. When unions disseminate information about strikes through press releases or carefully edited statements—the safe strategies of yesteryear—they risk suppressing the passion of the people working on the front lines. If you compare grassroots, worker-generated videos with one produced by union leadership, the latter is “going to be canned,” Shakir says. “It’s going to look like talking points. It’s going to look like you set them up to say things,” Shakir says. “I firmly believe in letting [workers] tell you their story. Do not try to package that script.” The Kellogg’s strikes are one example. At the Omaha, Nebraska plant, packing troubleshooter Jeff Jens, 49, is leading the local union’s social media efforts, capitalizing on Facebook and a blog to keep supporters informed about how the strike is going. “There’s been a shift in the labor movement right now in two ways,” says Jens. “One is that power is being recognized by all the unions themselves, but also in the laborers themselves, realizing what their worth and what the power of their voice is.” Read more: Pandemic Fuels Union Interest Among Frontline Workers At the Memphis Kellogg’s plant, the strategy is similar. “Pretty much everyone” at the Kellogg’s plant in Memphis, especially workers in their 20s, 30s and 40s, are using social media to express their personal motivations for striking to garner national support, says Eafen. “Social media is the devil,” he adds, “but it’s been very, very successful.” Liz Shuler, the president of AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union federation, says national and international unions could do a better job of forging connections between other, tangentially related grassroots movements, like the Sunrise Movement’s climate organizing and Black Lives Matters’ racial equity demonstrations. Collective bargaining can be used to negotiate better pay and working conditions, like John Deere and Kellogg’s employees are striking for, but it can also be used to negotiate employer policies on issues like carbon usage; sexual harassment; and diversity, equity and inclusion. “These are some of the things that folks in our society and our economy care deeply about, but they don’t necessarily see unions as the path forward,” she told TIME in an October interview. “Our challenge is to make that case to more working people outside of unions to see us as the path forward.” Mary Kay Henry, the president of Service Employees International Union and a leader of Fight For $15, a group lobbying for a national $15 minimum wage, also points at the need for union leaders to reach out to other movements. “The union isn’t just about wages, hours and working conditions,” she says. “It’s about everybody’s total life, and us exercising the power of our militancy to change work, but also change society.” ‘That silver tsunami is about to hit us’ That unions’ membership rolls are anemic is hardly news. Union membership has been on the skids for decades, largely as a result of increasing globalization and the rise of right-to-work laws that make forming unions more difficult. In 1983, unions represented roughly one out of five workers; now they represent just one in ten. But it’s about to get a lot worse: current union members tend to skew older. Membership rates are highest among workers ages 45 to 64, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and lowest among the younger crowd. Roughly 13% of workers in the 45-54 and 55-64 age cohorts were members of unions in 2020, versus just 4.4% of workers ages 16-24. “This is the challenge of our time. Something like 10,000 people a day are retiring,” Shuler says, “and that silver tsunami is about to hit us.” That demographic challenge raises the stakes this month, multiple experts say. To prove to workers that membership is worth it—that it pays dividends in the form of better pay, benefits and work conditions—unions have to chalk up real, contractual wins. If union brass fails to provide workers with the support, megaphone, and hardline negotiations now, they risk compromising their ability to recruit more members and unionize more workplaces in the future. After nearly two decades of hard work at John Deere, Geiger says it’s time to throw cautious labor organizing approaches to the wind. “I have no qualms about speaking out against the union, because they can’t fire me,” he says. “They can make my life miserable, but how much more miserable can it get?”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 25th, 2021Related News

CFPB Issues Statement on Discontinuation of LIBOR

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) joined four other federal financial regulatory agencies and state bank and credit union regulators in issuing a statement highlighting the risks posed by the discontinuation of LIBOR (originally an acronym for London Interbank Offered Rate). The CFPB is urging banks and nonbanks alike to continue their efforts to transition […] The post CFPB Issues Statement on Discontinuation of LIBOR appeared first on RISMedia. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) joined four other federal financial regulatory agencies and state bank and credit union regulators in issuing a statement highlighting the risks posed by the discontinuation of LIBOR (originally an acronym for London Interbank Offered Rate). The CFPB is urging banks and nonbanks alike to continue their efforts to transition to alternative reference rates to mitigate consumer protection, financial, legal and operational risks. The financial services industry uses LIBOR as a reference interest rate for many consumer financial products, including mortgage loans, reverse mortgages, home equity lines of credit, credit cards and student loans. The approaching discontinuation of most LIBOR tenors in June 2023 presents financial, legal, operational and consumer protection risks. Additionally, consumers may not know when the transition from LIBOR will occur or how institutions will calculate their interest rates if they do not issue required disclosures to consumers On June 4, 2020, the CFPB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and FAQs relating to the LIBOR transition. The CFPB is continuing work on a final rule to address the anticipated expiration of LIBOR and expects to issue it in January 2022. The FAQs pertain to compliance with existing CFPB regulations for consumer financial products and services impacted by the anticipated LIBOR discontinuation and resulting need to transition to other indices. The CFPB is also committed to helping creditors transition affected consumers from LIBOR in a transparent and orderly manner. In October 2019, the CFPB published a blog post discussing the transition away from LIBOR to help consumers understand this market-wide change. In June, 2020, the CFPB released an updated consumer handbook on adjustable-rate mortgages to help consumers better understand these products and how their payments can change over time. Banks and nonbanks alike should have risk management processes in place to identify and mitigate risks to consumers that commensurate with the size and complexity of their exposure and third-party servicer arrangements. The interagency statement identifies specific actions financial institutions can consider in preparation for the elimination of LIBOR based loans. Among those actions include developing and implementing a transition plan for communicating with consumers and including fallback language that defines a fallback reference rate. Finally, the interagency statement includes clarification on the meaning of certain key terms, factors industry should consider when selecting alternative rates, and expectations for fallback language. Read the full statement here. Source: CFPB The post CFPB Issues Statement on Discontinuation of LIBOR appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaOct 25th, 2021Related News

Monday links: relief is coming

MarketsAlibaba ($BABA) has lost $344 billion in market capitalization over the past year. (finance.yahoo.com)Market breadth has finally broken out. (sentimentrader.com)StrategyThere is no uniform relationship between inflation and the stock market. (awealthofcommonsense.com)Why diversification feels bad this year. (humbledollar.com)CryptoMastercard ($MA) has partnered with crypto exchange Bakkt ($BKKT) to broaden the cryptocurrency services it offers to partners. (theblockcrypto.com)How much will the futures roll cost fund holders? (wsj.com)Tesla-HertzHertz ($HTZ) is buying a fleet of Teslas ($TSLA). (npr.org)Of course it was Hertz ($HTZ) to make such a deal. (ft.com)A Hertz-Tesla deal will help normalize EVs. (bloomberg.com)FacebookYounger users have been moving away from Facebook ($FB). (bloomberg.com)Eight things learned from the Facebook ($FB) Papers. (theverge.com)VentureFred Wilson, ”The words I would use to describe the current environment in early-stage VC are “fast and furious.” (avc.com)It's not all hype, there really is a surge in Florida VC activity. (news.crunchbase.com)How goes the SoftBank Opportunity Fund? (protocol.com)FinanceWhat it would take to move to T+1 clearing in the stock market. (marketwatch.com)It's not just ETFs that are putting pressure on mutual funds. (morningstar.com)EconomyStop saying hyperinflation when you mean inflation. (pragcap.com)The economy slowed in Q3, but not that much. (bonddad.blogspot.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsAdviser links: well positioned for the future. (abnormalreturns.com)What you missed in our Sunday linkfest. (abnormalreturns.com)What everyone was reading last week on the site. (abnormalreturns.com)Are you a financial adviser looking for some out-of-the-box thinking? Then check out our weekly e-mail newsletter. (newsletter.abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaDan Moren, "Twenty years on from the iPod’s introduction, it’s odd to think of a time where Apple’s biggest product was mostly for listening to music." (macworld.com)The iPod and iPhone were not successes right out of the gate. (om.co).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsOct 25th, 2021Related News

Facebook ranks countries into tiers of importance for content moderation, with some nations getting little to no direct oversight, report says

Facebook looks very different depending on where you live, new documents reveal, as moderation resources focus on the US, India, and Brazil. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images Facebook isn't moderated equally in every country, new documents reveal. Facebook reportedly divides countries into tiers to decide how moderation is handled per country. The US, India, and Brazil are all given highest priority, while most of the world receives few resources. With nearly 3 billion people using its service, Facebook has to make some major choices when it comes to content moderation.Rather than applying resources equally across the planet, company leaders reportedly decide where to focus the most resources - and have repeatedly focused on a few countries where Facebook is most popular.In one example from internal Facebook documents reviewed by The Verge, a group at Facebook met in late 2019 to discuss how best to focus moderation resources around the world ahead of several major elections. The documents were part of the Facebook Papers, a series of reports published by a consortium of 17 US news organizations that said they had reviewed leaked internal documents obtained by whistleblower Frances Haugen.The United States, Brazil, and India were all given so-called "tier zero" consideration - the most resources, and the most proactive, continuous oversight. Countries including Israel, Iran, Italy, and Germany all occupied a step down on "tier one," according to the report.According to The Verge, 30 countries are provided extra resources through Facebook's tier-based moderation system, while the rest of the world is left with comparatively paltry oversight. The only way for Facebook to see any issues for countries in tier three would be for moderators to surface it directly, the documents reportedly said. Facebook has faced criticism for years over issues with moderation, most recently for the service's use as a tool in organizing the attempted insurrection on January 6. Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6. Brent Stirton/Getty Images In 2018, Facebook admitted it didn't do enough to stop the spread of hate speech and violence in Myanmar."I think it is clear that people were trying to use our tools in order to incite real harm," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Vox in April 2018. Worse: In countries like Myanmar, where Facebook is the main form of internet, those issues are amplified."Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar," the UN's Myanmar investigator, Yanghee Lee, told the UN Human Rights Council in March 2018. "The ultra-nationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities ... I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended."For its part, Facebook said it is more flexible with moderation resources than the documents indicated."In a crisis, we will determine what kind of support and teams we need to dedicate to a particular country or language, and for how long we need to keep them in place," Facebook director of human rights policy Miranda Sissons and international strategic response director Nicole Isaac wrote in a Monday morning blog post responding to the report.Separately, when reached for comment, a Facebook spokesperson provided Insider the following statement: "We have dedicated teams working to stop abuse on our platform in countries where there is heightened risk of conflict and violence. We also have global teams with native speakers reviewing content in over 70 languages along with experts in humanitarian and human rights issues. They've made progress tackling difficult challenges - such as evolving hate speech terms - and built new ways for us to respond quickly to issues when they arise. We know these challenges are real and we are proud of the work we've done to date."Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 25th, 2021Related News