Canada Has A Food Affordability Problem

Canada Has A Food Affordability Problem Authored by Sylvain Charlebois via The Epoch Times, Did you know that there is a global food security index? The well-known magazine The Economist has just published its 11th edition. The Global Food Security Index comprises a set of indices from more than 120 different countries. Since 2012, the index has been based on four main pillars: food access, safety, sustainable development, and affordability. The approach is quite comprehensive and robust. Index indicators include nutritional standards, urban absorptive capacity, food consumption as a percentage of household expenditure, food loss and waste, protein quality, agricultural import tariffs, dietary diversification, agricultural infrastructure, volatility of agricultural production, public spending on agricultural resource and development, corruption, risks to political stability, and even the sufficiency of supply. In short, anything goes. Finland ranks first this year, followed by Ireland and Norway. Canada is well-positioned compared to other countries around the world since we are ranked seventh globally, the same as last year. Not bad. The United States is 13th. In terms of food access—which measures agricultural production, farm capacities, and the risk of supply disruption—Canada ranks sixth, which is not too surprising. Despite our recent episodes of empty shelves and stockouts, Canada can boast about its food abundance. We produce a lot and are part of a fluid North American economy focused on cross-border trade, which allows for better food access. Another pillar focuses on sustainable development, the environment, and climate adaptability. This pillar assesses a country’s exposure to the impacts of climate change, its sensitivity to risks related to natural resources, food waste management, and how the country adapts to these risks. In this regard, Canada is ranked 29th, far behind Norway and Finland, who are first and second in this category. Food waste remains Canada’s Achilles’ heel, as we waste more than just about anyone else on the planet. But with higher food prices, more than 40 percent of Canadians, according to a recent study, are wasting less than they were 12 months ago. When it comes to food safety and quality, Canada ranks first in the world. Canada is ahead of everyone, even Denmark and the United States, both renowned for their proactive approaches to food safety. Food safety in Canada is perhaps the facet most underappreciated by consumers. Despite a few momentary failures and periodic reminders, sanitation practices in the country are exemplary. Canada has consistently ranked well for years, except perhaps when traceability is measured. We have a long way to go, but the industry and public safety regulators are performing relatively well. But the area where Canada’s performance is of some concern is food affordability. This measure is dedicated to consumers’ ability to purchase food, their vulnerability to price shocks, and the presence of programs and policies to support consumers when shocks occur. Canada fell one spot again this year and sits at 25th in the world. Australia, Singapore, and Holland top the list for affordability. Given the resources and food access we have, Canada should do better. Since July 2021, food inflation has always exceeded general inflation in the country, and everything is already costing more these days. Higher food prices at the grocery store over the past year have been difficult for many of us to accept. Canada needs a food autonomy policy, a more robust food processing sector, and better logistics domestically. And with winter coming and our dollar visibly weakening against the U.S. dollar, we could see significant price jumps again, especially in the produce and non-perishables sections. As wages stagnate and food prices rise, it’s hard to predict when Canada will do better in terms of affordability. Specific fiscal measures such as tax reductions to help consumers would be more than timely. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 20:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge1 min. ago Related News

Durham Prosecutes FBI Informants, While Protecting Their Handlers: Sperry

Durham Prosecutes FBI Informants, While Protecting Their Handlers: Sperry Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClear Investigations, Since being named special counsel in October 2020, John Durham has investigated or indicted several unscrupulous anti-Trump informants. But he has spared the FBI agents who handled them, raising suspicions he's letting investigators off the hook in his waning investigation of misconduct in the Russiagate probe. In recent court filings, Durham has portrayed the G-men as naive recipients of bad information, tricked into opening improper investigations targeting Donald Trump and obtaining invalid warrants to spy on one of his advisers. But as the cases against the informants have gone to trial, defense lawyers have revealed evidence that cuts against that narrative. FBI investigators look less like guileless victims and more like willing partners in the fraudulent schemes Durham has brought to light. Notwithstanding his reputation as a tough, intrepid prosecutor, Durham has made excuses for the misconduct of FBI agents, providing them a ready-made defense against any possible future prosecution, according to legal experts.  "Durham was supposed to clean up the FBI cesspool, but it doesn't look like he's going to be doing that," said Paul Kamenar, counsel to the National Legal and Policy Center, a Washington watchdog group. "He started with a bang and is ending with a whimper." In the latest example, critics point to a flurry of pretrial motions in Durham's case against former FBI informant Igor Danchenko, the primary source for the false claims regarding Trump and Russia advanced by the opposition research paid for by Hillary Clinton's campaign known as the Steele dossier. Next month, Danchenko faces charges he lied to FBI investigators multiple times about the sourcing of the information in the dossier, which the bureau used to secure wiretap warrants to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser. Relying on Danchenko's reporting, the FBI claimed that the adviser, Carter Page, was a Russian agent at the center of "a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation" between Trump and the Kremlin to steal the 2016 presidential election. Igor Danchenko, dossier fabulist: Trial upcoming. "The defendant was providing them with false information" as part of "a concerted effort to deceive the FBI," Durham alleged in a recent filing with the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., where the trial is scheduled to be held Oct. 11. Had agents known Danchenko made up the allegations, Durham asserted, they might have asked more questions about the dossier and not relied on it to swear out the ultra-invasive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to electronically monitor Page, a U.S. citizen who was never charged with a crime. But Danchenko's legal team points out that he turned over an email to the FBI during a January 2017 meeting with agents and analysts that indicated a key dossier subsource may have been fictionalized. Stuart Sears, one of Danchenko's attorneys, argued earlier this month in a motion to dismiss the charges that investigators "essentially ignored" any concerns they may have had about Danchenko's sourcing, because they continued to renew the FISA warrants based upon it. Therefore, he argued, any lies his client allegedly told them were inconsequential, making them un-prosecutable under federal statutes requiring such false statements to have a "material" impact on a federal proceeding. While Durham did not dispute the FBI's apparent complicity in the fraud, he waved it aside as immaterial to the case at hand. "The fact that the FBI apparently did not identify or address these inconsistencies is of no moment," he said in his filing. At the same time, Durham acknowledged agents allowed the fabrications to contaminate their wiretap warrants – noting they were "an important part of the FISA applications targeting Carter Page." But he stopped short of blaming the FBI, even for incompetence. According to Durham, the nation's premiere law enforcement agency was misled by a serial liar and con man. "He's painting it as though the FBI was duped when the FBI was more than willing to take the initiative and go after Trump," Kamenar said, adding that though Danchenko may have been a liar, he was a useful liar to FBI officials and others in the Justice Department who were pursuing Trump. The special prosecutor's indifference to the FBI's role in the scandal is more remarkable in light of what Danchenko admitted in his January 2017 interviews with the FBI. He told investigators that much of what he reported to Steele was "word-of-mouth and hearsay," while some was cooked up from "conversation that [he] had with friends over beers," according to a declassified FBI summary of the interviews, which took place over three days. He confessed the most salacious allegations were made in "jest." Still, the FBI continued to use Danchenko's claims of a "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation" between Russia and Trump to convince the FISA court to allow investigators to continue to surveil Page, whom the FBI accused of masterminding the conspiracy based on Danchenko's bogus rumors. Agents even swore in FISA court documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations that Danchenko was "truthful and cooperative." Carter Page, junior Trump campaign aide: Spied on without justification. The combination of Danchenko reporting a "conspiracy" and the FBI vouching for his credibility persuaded the powerful FISA court to continue to authorize wiretapping Page as a suspected Russian agent for almost a year. In addition to collecting his emails and text messages in 2017, agents were able to sweep up all his prior communications with Trump officials from 2016. If the FBI were skeptical of Danchenko, it didn't show it. The next month, the bureau put him on its payroll as a confidential human source, or CHS, making him part of the bureau's untouchable "sources and methods" sanctum and thereby protecting him and any documents referencing him from congressional and other outside scrutiny. It made him a paid informant in spite of knowing Danchenko was a potential Russian spy threat who could be feeding federal agents disinformation. The FBI had previously opened a counterespionage probe of Danchenko from 2009 to 2011, and as his lawyers pointed out in a recent court filing, agents who were part of the case probing Trump/Russia ties, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, "were well aware of the prior counterintelligence investigation" when they were supposedly conned by their informant. "It stretches credibility to suggest that anything else would have caused the FBI to be more suspicious of Mr. Danchenko's statements and his potential role in spreading disinformation than the very fact that he was previously investigated for possibly engaging in espionage on behalf of Russia," Sears said. "Armed with that knowledge, however, the FBI nevertheless persisted" in using him as a source – while never informing the FISA court of the prior investigation. The FBI didn't terminate Danchenko until October 2020, the month after the Senate declassified documents revealing the FBI had investigated him as a Russian agent. It also happened to be the same month Durham was appointed special counsel. On Oct. 19, 2020, then-Attorney General Bill Barr tapped Durham "to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence, or law-enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, individuals associated with those campaigns, and individuals associated with the administration of President Donald J. Trump, including but not limited to Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III."  So far, Durham has focused on the "any other person" part of his mandate. Federal officials and employees appear to be getting a pass. Kevin Clinesmith, FBI lawyer: Doctored exculpatory evidence. Though Durham prosecuted former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020, when he was acting as a U.S. attorney, he did not initiate the case. Rather, it was referred to him by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who first exposed how Clinesmith had doctored exculpatory evidence in the Page warrant process. Even though Clinesmith admitted forging a CIA email to make it look like Page never helped the agency monitor Russia, when in fact he did and clearly wasn't acting as a Russian agent, Durham failed to put him behind bars. Clinesmith was sentenced to 12 months' probation and 400 hours of community service, which as RCI first reported, the registered Democrat satisfied by researching and editing articles for his favorite liberal weekly newspaper in Washington.  Kamenar said the Clinesmith case was a "bad omen" for how Durham would handle dirty FBI agents. He pointed out that the prosecutor could have charged Clinesmith with the more serious crime of altering a CIA document, but instead negotiated a deal letting him plead to the lesser offense of lying to a government agency, which Kamenar called "a garden variety process crime." And "now he's got his law license back." Clinesmith worked closely on the case with FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten, who was singled out by Horowitz in a 2019 report for cutting a number of corners in the dossier verification process and even allowing information he knew to be incorrect slip into the FISA affidavits and mislead the court. Auten met with Danchenko at the bureau's Washington field office and helped debrief him about the dossier in January 2017. And he wrote the official FBI summary of those meetings, which noted Danchenko "contradicted" himself several times. Auten learned firsthand that the information Danchenko passed to Steele was nothing more than bar gossip, and that his "network of subsources" was really just a circle of drinking buddies. Also at those meetings, the analyst received an Aug. 24, 2016, email revealing that Danchenko never actually communicated with Sergei Millian, the Belarusian-born American businessman whom he had identified as his main source of Trump/Russia connections – the all-important, albeit apocryphal, "Source E" and "Source D" of the dossier. It turns out Danchenko attributed the critical "conspiracy of cooperation" allegation the FBI cited as probable cause for all four FISA warrants to this made-up source, meaning the cornerstone evidence of suspected Trump-Russia espionage was also made up. What's more, Auten learned that though Danchenko was born in Russia, he was not based there and had no access to Kremlin insiders. On the contrary, he confirmed that Danchenko had been living in Washington and had previously worked for the Brookings Institution, a Democratic Party think tank whose president at the time was tied to Clinton. Yet Auten and his Crossfire team led the FISA court to believe Danchenko was "Russian-based" – and therefore presumably more credible. They used this same description in all four FISA affidavits, including the two renewals that followed the January 2017 meetings with Danchenko. Internal FBI emails from two months later revealed that Auten knew that using the term "Russian-based" was deceptive. While tasked with helping review Crossfire documents requested by Congress, including FISA applications, he worried about the description and whether it should be corrected. He discussed the matter with Clinesmith. But the falsehood reappeared in subsequent FISA applications. It was also in January 2017 that Danchenko revealed to Auten and his FBI handlers that one of his subsources was his childhood friend Olga Galkina, whom he said supplied him the rumor that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague during the campaign to hatch a plot with Kremlin officials to hack Clinton campaign emails.  Michael Cohen, Trump lawyer: Baseless rumor victim. The FBI already knew from intelligence reports that Cohen had not, as the dossier claimed, traveled to Prague to conspire in the alleged Russian hacking of Democrats, or for any other reason. On Jan. 12, 2017, Auten and his Crossfire teammates received a CIA report that warned the Cohen rumor was likely part of a Russian disinformation campaign. The agency had discovered no such Prague meeting took place after querying foreign intelligence services, shooting a major hole in the dossier. The CIA report should have led the Crossfire team to treat any allegations sourced to Galkina with caution. But on the same day, the FBI got its FISA wiretap on Page renewed based on another groundless claim by Galkina – this one alleging the Trump aide secretly met with top Kremlin officials in Moscow to discuss removing U.S. sanctions. The falsehood showed up in two more FISA applications, which alleged "Russia's efforts to influence U.S. policy were likely being coordinated between the RIS [Russian Intelligence Services] and Page, and possibly others." Galkina also had a relationship with Charles Dolan, a Clinton adviser who figures prominently in the Danchenko case Durham is prosecuting. It turns out Dolan was one of the sources for the infamous "pee-tape" allegation about the Kremlin supposedly having blackmail evidence of Trump consorting with prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow, which has been debunked as another dossier hoax. But according to Durham, Danchenko tried to conceal Dolan's role in the dossier from the FBI. The special prosecutor argued that the deception deprived FBI agents and analysts information that would have helped them evaluate "the credibility, reliability and veracity" of the dossier. He said if they had known Dolan was a source, they might have, among other things, sought emails Dolan and Danchenko exchanged exposing their Ritz-Carlton hoax.  "Had the defendant truthfully told the FBI that Dolan played a role in providing certain information for the Steele reports the FBI might well have interviewed and/or collected such emails from Dolan," Durham speculated. In addition, the prosecutor said, investigators might have learned of Dolan's "involvement in Democratic politics" and "potential bias as a source for the Steele reports." Except that they already knew about Dolan and his politics – as well as his involvement in the dossier. It's also likely they already had his emails. In another interview with Danchenko about his dossier sources, which took place June 15, 2017, FBI agents asked Danchenko if he knew Dolan and whether he was "contributing" to the Steele reports. Though Danchenko acknowledged he knew Dolan, he denied he was a source. Agents didn't ask any follow-up questions. (They also never sought to charge him with making false statements to federal agents.) How did the FBI know to ask about Dolan? Because he was well-known to the bureau's Russia counterintelligence agents as a businessman who frequently traveled to Moscow and met with Kremlin insiders. But more importantly, his friend Galkina was under FISA surveillance as a suspected Russian spy at the time, according to declassified records. The FBI was collecting not only Galkina's emails, but also those of Dolan and Danchenko, all of whom regularly communicated in 2016 – which suggests that at the time the FBI asked Danchenko about Dolan, it had access to those emails and was reviewing them. This may explain why, as defense lawyer Sears noted, "the FBI never asked Mr. Danchenko about emails or any other written communications with Dolan" – and why it never interviewed Dolan. While Durham acknowledged that the FBI knew about Dolan's troubling ties at the time and neglected to dig deeper, he said he's not bothered by the oversight. "The fact that the FBI was aware that Dolan maintained some of these relationships and failed to interview Dolan is of no moment," he maintained dismissively in a court filing. All that matters, he suggested, is that the FBI was lied to. One of those emails was particularly alarming. In an Aug. 19, 2016, email to Dolan, Danchenko made it clear he was compiling dirt on Trump and his advisers and sought any rumor, no matter how baseless and scurrilous. He solicited Dolan, specifically, for "any thought, rumor, allegation" on former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Such emails called into question the veracity of the whole dossier and further tainted the credibility of Danchenko's "network of subsources." But on June 29, 2017 – two weeks after the FBI asked about Dolan – the FBI renewed the FISA wiretap on Trump adviser Page based on, once again, the dubious dossier. From its wiretapping of Galkina, moreover, Auten and others at the FBI who sorted through such FISA collections would have seen communications showing her strong support for Hillary Clinton, and how Galkina was expecting political favors in exchange for spreading dirt on Trump. In an August 2016 email to a friend, Galkina expressed hopes that Dolan would help her score a State Department job if Clinton won election. It was a major red flag. But like all the others, the FBI blew right past it. Agents continued to vouch for Danchenko as "truthful" and his subsources as reliable, and continued to cite Galkina's fabrications in FISA renewals. Under FISA rules, the FBI had a duty to "immediately inform" the secret court of any misstatements or omissions, along with any "necessary corrections" of material facts sworn in affidavits for warrants. But the FBI failed to correct the record, even after it became obvious it had told the court falsehoods and hid exculpatory evidence. In August 2017, agents finally got around to interviewing Galkina, who confessed the dossier allegations attributed to her were "exaggerated," according to the Horowitz report.  Scammed by the Alfa Bank Scam? Last year, Durham also painted the FBI as a victim of the 2016 political machinations of two other anti-Trump informants – Michael Sussmann and Rodney Joffe, who conveyed to investigators false rumors about Trump allegedly setting up a secret hotline with the Kremlin through Russia-based Alfa Bank. Michael Sussmann, Clinton lawyer: Acquitted. Durham charged Sussmann, a Washington lawyer who represented the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, with lying to the FBI's top lawyer James Baker when he told him he was coming in with the tip – outlined in white papers and thumb drives – all on his own and not on behalf of Democrats and Clinton, whom he was billing for the Trump-Alfa "confidential project." "Sussmann's false statement misled the FBI general counsel and other FBI personnel concerning the political nature of his work and deprived the FBI of information that might have permitted it more fully to access and uncover the origins of the relevant data and technical analysis, including the identities and motivations of Sussmann's clients," Durham maintained in the indictment. But evidence emerged at the trial of Sussmann, who was acquitted, that bureau officials already knew the "political nature" of the tip and where the data came from, but withheld the information from field agents so they would continue investigating Trump through the election. For example, in a Sept. 22, 2016, email describing the "special project," an FBI official in Washington stated that "Counsel Baker provided [Supervisory Special Agent] Joe Pientka with 2 thumb drives and identified they were given to him by the DNC." "Everybody at the FBI actually thought the data came from a political party," Sussmann lawyer Sean Berkowitz argued, according to the trial transcript. "The (case) file is littered with references to the DNC." But Durham kept offering explanations for why FBI brass bit on the politically tainted tip, opening a full field investigation based on it.  "Had Sussmann truthfully disclosed that he was representing specific clients [the Clinton campaign], it might have prompted the FBI general counsel to ask Sussmann for the identity of such clients, which, in turn, might have prompted further questions," Durham argued. James Baker, top FBI lawyer: Close friend of Sussmann. "In addition, absent Sussmann's false statement, the FBI might have taken additional or more incremental steps before opening an investigation," he added. "The FBI also might have allocated its resources differently, or more efficiently, and uncovered more complete information about the reliability and provenance of the purported data at issue." Headquarters, however, did know the identity of the clients. Problem was, they blinded agents in Chicago, where a cyber unit was assigned to the case, to the fact that the source for the information was Sussmann and Joffe – a federal cyber-security contractor who was angling for a job in a Clinton administration. (A longtime FBI informant, Joffe was terminated last year after he was exposed as the ringleader of the Alfa Bank scam.) "You were not allowed to speak to either the source of the information, the author of the white paper, or the person who provided the source of the information and the data?" Berkowitz asked Chicago-based FBI agent Curtis Heide during the trial, according to transcripts. "Correct," Heide replied. Another Chicago investigator was led to believe the tip came into the bureau as a referral from the "U.S. Department of Justice." Rodney Joffe, cybersecurity contractor: "Remains a subject." Still, field agents were able to debunk it within two weeks. The FBI was not fooled by the hoax, yet nonetheless went along with it for the next four months. The case wasn't formally closed until Jan. 18, 2017, just two days before Trump was inaugurated. But then it was soon reopened after Clinton operatives again approached the FBI – as well as the CIA – with supposedly new evidence, which also proved false. "Comey and crew kept the hoax alive," former FBI counterintelligence lawyer Mark Wauck said, referring to then-FBI Director James Comey. They welcomed any predication that allowed them to open investigations on Trump, he added. Pientka testified that Comey was "fired up" about the tip, despite the fact nothing had been corroborated. Comey even held senior-level meetings on the Alfa investigation in his 7th floor office. (Pientka, who led the "close-hold" investigation from headquarters, also helped supervise the Crossfire Hurricane probe.) Ironically, no one knew better that Sussmann was a Democratic operative with an agenda than Baker – the official Durham claimed was the direct victim of the scam. Baker, a fellow Democrat, was a close friend of Sussmann, who had his own badge to get past security at the Hoover Building. Sussmann had Baker's personal cell number and Baker cleared his busy schedule to meet with him within hours of Sussmann calling to discuss his tip. Baker was well aware that Sussmann was representing the DNC, because Sussmann entered the building numerous times during the 2016 campaign to talk with top FBI officials about the alleged DNC hack by Russia. In fact, Sussmann had just visited headquarters with a delegation from the DNC on Aug. 12, 2016 – several weeks before he approached Baker with the bogus Alfa tip. They were there to pressure the FBI into concluding Russian intelligence was behind the "hacking" of DNC emails. "I understood he had been affiliated with the Democratic Party, but that he had come representing himself," Baker testified during the trial. Why didn't he tell investigators about Sussmann? "I didn't want to share his name because I didn't want to color the investigation," he said. "I didn't want to color it with politics." In his closing argument, Durham prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis told jurors the FBI's conduct was "not relevant." "Ladies and gentlemen, you've seen that the FBI didn't necessarily do everything right here. They missed opportunities. They made mistakes. They even kept information from themselves," he said. "That is not relevant to your evaluation of the defendant's lie." Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton complained Durham and his team have been acting more like apologists for the FBI than potential prosecutors of the FBI. "The FBI leadership knew full well the Clinton gang was behind the Alfa Bank-Russia smears of Trump," he said. "Durham tried to pretend (the) FBI was a victim (when) it was a co-conspirator." Wauck agreed. "The FBI-as-victim narrative was a bit of a legal fiction that Durham deployed for the purposes of the trial," he said. "The reality that emerged is that the FBI's top management was complicit in the Russia hoax that Sussmann was purveying." Folding Up His Tent Durham was first tasked with looking into the origins of the Russiagate probe in May 2019, before his formal appointment as special counsel in 2020. Trump and Republicans have expressed disappointment that after a total of more than three years of investigation, he has not prosecuted any top former FBI officials, including Comey and Andrew McCabe, who signed some of the FISA affidavits, or Peter Strzok, the biased leader of the Crossfire Hurricane probe who assured McCabe's lawyer in an August 2016 text that "we'll stop" Trump from becoming president. None has received a target letter. In recent months, McCabe and Strzok have gone on CNN, where they work as paid contributors, and smugly bashed Durham for running a "partisan" investigation, while at the same time gloating he's held the FBI up to be more of a victim than a culprit. "Comey and Strzok and McCabe have gotten a free ride out of all this," Kamenar said. James Comey, FBI director: Not prosecuted. Also, Durham went easy on Baker, another top FBI official, even after he held back key evidence from the special prosecutor before the Sussmann trial, a blatant lack of cooperation that may have cost Durham a conviction in the case. Comey's general counsel has received "favorable treatment," Wauck observed. Baker, who reviewed and OK'd the FISA applications, never told Durham about a damning text message he received from Sussmann on his cellphone. Durham had already indicted Sussmann for lying to Baker, and he could not use Sussmann's smoking-gun message – "I'm coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company" – during the trial to convince jurors he was guilty of lying about representing the Clinton campaign. Legal analysts said it was slam-dunk evidence that would have sealed his case. Baker testified he didn't turn over the text to Durham because no one asked for it. He proved a reluctant witness on the stand against his old pal Sussmann.  Andrew McCabe, deputy director: Not prosecuted "I'm not out to get Michael and this is not my investigation. This is your investigation," he told DeFilippis during questioning. DeFilippis has since stepped down to take a job in the private sector. (Demonstrating the incestuous nature of the Beltway, Baker also happens to be an old friend of Bill Barr, who hired Durham. Barr hired Baker as his deputy when he ran Verizon's legal shop in 2008.) In another sign Durham has not lived up to his billing as an aggressive prosecutor, FBI Director Christopher Wray suggested in recent Senate testimony that Durham's team has not interviewed all of the Crossfire members still employed at the bureau. In lieu of face-to-face interviews, he said Durham's investigators have reviewed transcripts of interviews of the agents previously conducted by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the FBI's in-house disciplinary arm. Recent published reports say Durham is in the process of closing up shop and completing a final report on his findings by the end of the year. Republicans have promised to seize on the report if they win control of the House in November and take back the gavel to key oversight committees on the Hill, along with subpoena power. Peter Strzok, Crossfire Hurricane leader: Not prosecuted. Some former colleagues who have worked with Durham and are familiar with his inquiry blame COVID-19 for his relatively few prosecutions and lackluster record. They say pandemic-related shutdowns in 2020 and 2021 set back his investigation by limiting travel, interviews, and grand jury hearings. As a result, they say, the clock ran out on prosecuting a number of potential crimes. The last FISA warrant, which according to the court was illegally obtained, was approved June 29, 2017, which means the five-year federal statute of limitations for that crime expired months ago. Though Durham hinted in the Sussmann case about investigating a broader "conspiracy" or "joint venture," there are few signs pointing to such a massive undertaking. Bringing a "conspiracy to defraud the government" charge, naming multiple defendants, would require Durham adding staff and office space and beefing up his budget by millions of dollars, the former colleagues said. According to expenditure statements, Durham continues to operate on a shoestring budget with a skeletal staff compared with his predecessor Mueller's robust operation, which indicted 34 people. And one of the two grand juries Durham used to hear evidence has expired. It recently wrapped up work, apparently without handing down new indictments (though some could be under seal). "If Durham were building toward an overarching indictment alleging a corrupt conspiracy between the Clinton campaign and the FBI to deceive the court, he would not be charging people with lying to the FBI," former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said. If there are any investigations still open after Durham retires, they could be handled by U.S. attorneys, the sources said. At least one of Durham's prosecutors works as a trial lawyer in the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. According to a court exhibit, Joffe "remains a subject" in the Sussmann-related investigation into alleged attempts by federal contractors to defraud the government with false claims about Trump and Russia. Joffe invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify after receiving a grand jury subpoena and has not cooperated with requests for documents. His lawyer did not return phone calls and emails. The Special Counsel's Office did not respond to requests for comment. The FBI declined comment for this article, but issued a statement last year saying it "has cooperated fully with Special Counsel Durham's review."  Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 21:15.....»»

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Five Top European States Young Americans Are Thriving

Despite the current economic climate, and the eye-watering cost of living that has already affected millions of American households, a portion of younger adults are still finding it manageable to thrive financially even as financial anxiety persists. It’s not completely possible to ignore the major economic headwinds many Americans have experienced throughout the year. Skyrocketing […] Despite the current economic climate, and the eye-watering cost of living that has already affected millions of American households, a portion of younger adults are still finding it manageable to thrive financially even as financial anxiety persists. It’s not completely possible to ignore the major economic headwinds many Americans have experienced throughout the year. Skyrocketing inflation has sent consumer prices soaring, leaving consumers baffled over whether they will be able to cope with the increasing cost of living. In June 2022, the Consumer Price Index hit a red-hot 9.1%, the highest recorded in more than four decades. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   During the same time inflation was sending warning signs across the economy, motorists were paying on average $4.96 per gallon of regular gas, in some places such as California, gas prices hit a staggering $6.39 per gallon. Fortunately, since then, gas prices have substantially come down in recent months, but have seen going up by a couple of cents in the last few weeks. Pricier goods and expensive gas isn’t the only thing that’s been hurting American households. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) recently hiked its prime interest rate by another 75 basis points, marking the highest interest rates have climbed since the financial crisis back in 2007. Jerome Powell, Chair of the FOMC commented that the Federal Reserve will continue to increase the cost of borrowing until they have managed to push inflation down to its target 2% range. The aggressive rate hikes have been a major headwind for not just more financially secure adults, but more so for the younger generations of Americans who were hoping to purchase their first or second home this year. On the back of this, recent indicators have also revealed that the median rental price has also jumped by 4.8% in the past year. Increased consumer demand as people returned to cities, and higher operating costs have sent rental prices spiraling in the last few months. A Redfin rental report from May 2022 revealed that the median price rental price in the country surpassed the $2000 per month threshold for the first time, with the outlook showing possibilities of further increases in the near future. Americans, young and old are paying more for nearly everything these days, and it’s likely to remain this way for the next few years. As economic conditions uncontrollably deteriorate faster than experts predicted, younger Americans are finding it easier and more affordable to relocate abroad in the hopes of enjoying a more affordable lifestyle. While there are several top countries Americans are considering moving to, for many millennials in the U.S. allied European nations are providing them with more attractive jobs and financial opportunities. Recent statistics indicate that among non-European citizens that currently reside within the European Union (EU) 17% relocated for work purposes, 3% for education, and 39% for family-related reasons. Although there is no direct indication of how many of these non-EU citizens were American-born, it, however, paints a vivid picture of how European nations are allowing migrants better opportunities economically. Where in Europe Are Millennials Thriving? While there are countless well-known cities in the U.S.that can offer millennials a place to call home, many are choosing EU nations that allow them an affordable cost of living, financial security, and access to affordable housing. The onset of remote working and work-from-home jobs has only further pivoted many to consider moving abroad. While the odds may be stacked against them in a foreign country, the stronger dollar to Euro is also slightly helping play more in their favor as they settle abroad. On top of that, some of these countries on our list have favorable tax regulations, and overall can offer a better quality of life, something which many younger Americans are seeking amid the cost of living crisis. Let’s see which European states are the top places where young Americans are thriving. Switzerland For decades Switzerland has topped many lists as one of the most livable countries in the world, offering citizens a high quality of life and first-rate public services. While Switzerland isn’t part of the European Union, it still offers a unique European experience like no other with its picturesque scenery, and easy access to neighboring countries including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Liechtenstein. Popular cities for expats include Basel, Lausanne, and Zurich, which have been found to be among the best-performing hubs for political stability and urban development. While expats can enjoy better education and healthcare services often subsidized by the government, the cost of living is still more than what the average American could afford. Despite this financial challenge, the multicultural and diverse cities give American millennials a better opportunity to settle and perhaps start a family. Portugal As one of the smaller Western European states, Portugal has been ranked 48th among the 50 major economies in the world. The country has been slowly rebuilding its economy after experiencing major downturns during the first half of the 21st century, and in 2021, inflation was around 1.27%, while the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) registered a 4.7% inflation rate. Like other countries across the world that currently offer remote workers a chance at applying for an Expat Visa, a similar visa allows expats to apply and reside within the country for up to two years. The program allows expats to apply for permanent residency within five years of living in the country, making it one of the easiest routes to European citizenship. Although the country has a lot to offer in terms of public services, such as affordable healthcare and education, the COVID-19 pandemic saw an additional 400,000 Portuguese residents being impoverished due to financial uncertainty. Although there are some challenges that the country will still need to resolve in the coming years, it’s undoubtedly one of the more affordable EU nations which have captured the attention of millennial expats. Iceland Although Iceland is not considered one of the most affordable countries in the world, the country has a lot to offer its residents in terms of public services and recreational attractions. The Nordic nation, which is also known as the land of Fire and Ice, partially due to its active volcanoes, and snow-topped mountain ranges has attracted a small community of expats who are able to afford their way around. Most recent figures revealed that in January 2020, roughly 15.2% of the country’s population was made up of legal immigrants and expats. While the country has a small population of just under 400,000, in recent times it’s become a lot more expat-friendly due to the free movement of people coming from continental Europe and other developed nations. If universal state-sponsored healthcare isn’t something that piques your interest, perhaps the 557 hiking trails, backpacking routes, and numerous camping sites will help decide to relocate a bit easier. Large-scale remote working has also meant that since 2020, the country now offers working-from-home professionals the opportunity to legally reside in the country before having to re-apply for the right to remain. Spain  Ranked as the fourth largest economy in the EU, and 14th globally, Spain has become an international hub for business, tourism, and expats looking to take advantage of the numerous economic benefits the country has to offer. Aside from having a substantially developed economy, the country recently witnessed a surge in international firms being headquartered within its borders, seeing more than 14,600 foreign firms setting up their business in the last few years. On top of this, foreign investors have also found that investment opportunities provide better and more lucrative financial well-being, as the government seeks to provide them with an innovative and progressive workforce. Millennials who reside here enjoy affordable housing, among other economic benefits. There is also a well-functioning healthcare system, and most recent government efforts have seen the country move to improve its tax regulations to attract middle-tier working professionals. Germany Being one of the largest and most progressive economies in the European Union, Germany has ample to offer its residents including universal healthcare, tuition-free schools, and some of the best public transportation the continent has to offer. Industry is one of the country’s strongholds, including automotive, mechanical engineering, chemical, and electrical industries. Like other countries around the world, Germany has been struggling to control soaring inflation which hit a piping hot 10% in September. In an effort to control the rampant running rate at which prices have been increasing, the government has unveiled a €200 billion plan to assist consumers in the fight against the cost of living crisis. Although economic conditions have been tumultuous, the government has been actively working to control uncertainty for residents. The country has a strong workforce and offers ample job opportunities for those in their respective professional fields. If you’re lucky enough to obtain a work or residence permit, it’s definitely worth the effort as many expats have found. The Changing Tide On the bright side, it’s starting to look as if consumers are changing their sentiment in terms of current economic conditions. Recent preliminary data compiled by the University of Michigan showed that the consumer sentiment index increased from 58.2 in August, to 59.5 for the first half of September. While a marginal increment, it remains higher than the 50 recorded in June of this year when the economy started to erode on itself. Although it may still take some time before conditions improve, there is a small enclave of Americans who have been able to thrive in current conditions, as these states not only offer better paying jobs with higher wages, but also a more affordable cost of living. Making a living as an American millennial means that a majority of jobs now offer more competitive salaries, work benefits, and the possibility of working from home or remotely. Although this sounds enticing, millennials are still found to be the most in debt generation in the country, as nearly 73% of them have some form of non-mortgage debt, with the average millennial owing close to $117,000. The high amounts of debt have only further burdened many younger millennials, making it harder for them to properly save for retirement, or put money aside for bigger ventures such as buying a house or property. Again, it comes to show that although millennials may be in a comfortable financial position to some extent, they’re still carrying major debt burdens that will take decades to finish repaying. The Bottom Line While countless factors have made the financial outlook increasingly challenging for millions of Americans, it’s clear that some countries offer them an opportunity to thrive under the current economic climate. With better-paying jobs, booming industries, and evergreen tax provisions, several foreign countries are allowing residents to enjoy a better quality of life even as the cost of living has sent shockwaves across the world. In due time, these and other nations may look to make dramatic changes to the way they attract and retain younger and more skilled workers to help uplift the local economy. Although this may take some time before successfully initiated, it just comes to show that younger Americans are continuously looking for better and more lucrative opportunities, even if this means they need to relocate to a different country. Perhaps this is all temporary, but the future outlook is presenting itself in a completely different way, leaving many young Americans to seek out new ventures that provide them with the financial and social security their older counterparts enjoyed in the decades before......»»

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What Is Money Maturity And How Does It Impact Your Finances

What is Money Maturity? This process of becoming more financially responsible is called money maturity. Money maturity is a gradual process that happens over time. It is often associated with age but can also be influenced by factors such as life experiences and education. Nevertheless, money maturity typically leads to better financial decision-making and habits. […] What is Money Maturity? This process of becoming more financially responsible is called money maturity. Money maturity is a gradual process that happens over time. It is often associated with age but can also be influenced by factors such as life experiences and education. Nevertheless, money maturity typically leads to better financial decision-making and habits. For example, financially mature people are more likely to save money regularly and make wise investment choices. Financial maturity can lead to a more secure financial future and peace of mind. It is an important goal for many people and can be achieved through careful planning and disciplined spending habits. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   How Does Money Maturity Impact Your Finances? Money maturity can have a positive impact on your finances. As you become more financially responsible, you may find that you can save more money and make better investment choices. This can lead to a more secure financial future and peace of mind. Here are some critical ways money maturity can impact your finances. Be More Disciplined With Your Spending Habits One meaningful way to become more disciplined with your spending habits is to develop money maturity. Money maturity is delaying gratification, planning for long-term goals, and resisting impulsive purchases. Money mature people understand that they cannot buy everything they want immediately and that they need to save up for big-ticket items. They also recognize that impulse buying often leads to regret and financial stress. So instead of succumbing to every temptation, they take a measured approach to spending. As a result, people with money maturity are more likely to stick to a budget and make sound financial decisions. Help You Save Money and Build Wealth Over Time When you are financially mature, you will have the ability to save money and build wealth over time. As a result, you will be less likely to make impulsive purchases and be more strategic about your spending. You will also be less likely to fall into debt, and you will be better able to handle financial emergencies. In short, money maturity can help you achieve financial security and peace of mind. So if you are ready to take control of your finances, it is time to start on the path to money maturity. Give You More Financial Stability and Security Money maturity’s most significant benefits are financial stability and security. You are less likely to fall into debt or experience financial emergencies when financially responsible. You will also have more money to save and invest, leading to a more secure financial future. Money maturity can give you the peace of mind of knowing you are in control of your finances. In addition, it can provide you with the financial security you need to weather life’s storms. Help You Make Wiser Investment Decisions Money maturity is the key to making wiser investment decisions. When young, we tend to cash in on spur-of-the-moment opportunities without considering the long-term consequences. We also tend to underestimate risk, thinking that we are invincible. As we get older and our priorities change, we become more conservative with our money. We start to think about retirement and our future financial security. We also become more aware of the risk and the importance of diversifying our portfolios. The result is that we are more likely to make wiser investment decisions when we are mature. Money maturity is not only about age. It is also about experience and understanding. The more we know about investing, the better we can make informed decisions. There is no substitute for learning from our mistakes; as we get older, we tend to be more cautious with our money. This can lead to better investment decision-making in the long run. Benefits of Money Maturity There are many benefits of money maturity. These benefits can have a positive impact on your finances. Here are some of them. Improved Decision-Making Ability One of the benefits of money maturity is that it can give you the ability to make better decisions about money. In addition, with more life experience under your belt, you’re likely to understand your financial needs and limitations better. You’re also likely to be more comfortable taking risks and making decisions that could impact your financial future. If you combine these things with a willingness to learn from your mistakes, you’ll be in an excellent position to make smart financial choices throughout your life. Greater Peace of Mind As you get older, you realize that money doesn’t buy happiness. Of course, it can buy things that make you happy, but true happiness comes from within. That’s not to say that money doesn’t matter – it does. But it’s not the be-all and end-all of life. Once you reach a certain level of financial maturity, you see money differently. It’s not just about buying the latest gadget or getting the newest car. It’s about security, safety, and peace of mind. Knowing that you have enough money to cover your basic needs and then some give you a sense of calm and contentment that is worth more than any material possession. So if you’re looking for greater peace of mind, focus on achieving financial maturity rather than amassing a fortune. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel. More Wealth Accumulation Potential One of the main benefits of money maturity is that it can increase wealth accumulation potential. When you are financially mature, you are more likely to make sound decisions with your money and invest it in opportunities that can provide you with long-term growth. For example, you may choose to invest in stocks or real estate or start your own business. These solid investments can help you build your wealth over time. Additionally, financial maturity can help you avoid making impulsive decisions with your money that could end up costing you in the long run. With money maturity, you are more likely to be patient and disciplined with your finances, which can lead to more significant wealth accumulation over time. How To Achieve Money Maturity Money maturity is something that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that takes time, patience, and discipline. Here are some tips to help you get where you want to be. Be Mindful of Your Expenses Money maturity is when your relationship with money is healthy, and you’re mindful of your spending. This doesn’t mean you never spend money on things you want, but that you’re aware of your spending patterns and make choices that align with your goals and values. To achieve money maturity, start by getting clear on your goals. What do you want to save for? What kind of lifestyle do you want to live? Once you know your goals, you can start to make choices about your spending that will help you achieve them. For example, if you want to save for a down payment on a house, you might cut back on eating out and put that money into savings instead. Or, if you want to travel more, you might look for ways to cut costs so you can save up for airfare and accommodation. Money maturity is about being aware of your spending and making choices that align with your goals. By doing this, you can achieve financial stability and freedom. Learn About Money Management and Investment Strategies Achieving money maturity is not about how much money you have in the bank. It’s about learning to manage your finances and make wise investment choices. And it’s never too late to start. If you’re unsure where to begin, plenty of resources are available to help you get started. You can start by reading books or articles about personal finance and investment strategies. You can also take classes or participate in online courses. And there are even financial advisers who can help you develop a plan that fits your unique needs and goals. The most important thing is to get started on the path to financial literacy. The more you learn about money management and investing, the more likely you will achieve money maturity. And that’s a goal worth pursuing. Stay Disciplined With Your Spending Habits Most people never achieve financial maturity because they are not disciplined with their spending habits. It is crucial to be disciplined when it comes to spending your money. Many people think they can save money, which will be enough. However, you need to be able to control your spending to save money. You need to have a plan for your money, and you need to stick to it. Otherwise, you will never achieve financial maturity. Unfortunately, many people are not disciplined with their spending, and they always seem to end up in debt. They max out their credit cards and never seem to be able to pay off their debts. To achieve financial maturity, you need to be disciplined with your spending. You need to have a plan for your money and stick to it. Otherwise, you will never achieve financial maturity. Create a Savings Plan and Stick To It One fundamental way to achieve money maturity is by creating and following a savings plan. A savings plan can help you reach your short- and long-term financial goals and make it easier to weather unexpected expenses. To create a savings plan, start by setting a realistic goal. Then, calculate how much you need to save each month to reach that goal. Once you have a plan, the next step is to stick to it. This means making sacrifices in other areas of your budget and being disciplined about not dipping into your savings account except in an emergency. Obstacles to Achieving Money Maturity There are a few obstacles that can prevent you from achieving money maturity. Unfortunately, obstacles can derail your progress and make it difficult to reach your financial goals. Here are a few of the most common barriers. Lack of Financial Literacy One of the primary obstacles to achieving money maturity is a lack of financial literacy. This term refers to understanding and using financial concepts, including budgeting, investing, and credit management. Without a basic understanding of these concepts, it is difficult to make sound financial decisions. For example, someone who does not understand compound interest may be more likely to choose a high-interest credit card over a low-interest savings account. Similarly, someone who lacks financial literacy may be more likely to make impulsive purchases instead of investing in the future. The good news is that financial literacy can be learned at any age. By educating yourself about personal finance, you can overcome this obstacle and start on the path to money maturity. Poor Spending Habits Many struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with money due to poor spending habits. Often, these habits are learned from adults during childhood. For example, a child who watches their parents constantly spend beyond their means may believe this is normal behavior. As they grow older and begin to earn their own money, they may find it challenging to stick to a budget or save for long-term goals. Poor spending habits can be a significant obstacle to achieving financial maturity. It can be difficult to achieve financial stability and security without knowing how to manage money properly. To overcome this obstacle, educate yourself on healthy spending habits and develop a plan for your finances. Lack of Savings Discipline One obstacle that can prevent people from achieving financial maturity is a lack of savings discipline. It can be challenging to break out of spending everything you earn, but it is essential to begin setting aside money for future goals. One way to start saving is to set up a budget and stick to it. This can help you to track your spending and make cuts in areas where you are spending more than you need to. Another helpful tip is to automate your savings so that a certain amount of money is transferred into your savings account each month. This can help to ensure that you are always putting money away for the future. By developing a disciplined approach to saving, you can begin to achieve financial maturity and reach your long-term financial goals. Inability to Resist Temptation When it comes to managing money, the temptation can be a significant obstacle. Whether spending money on unnecessary items or making impulsive decisions, the inability to resist temptation can quickly lead to financial problems. While it may be difficult to resist the urge to splurge, it’s important to remember that every purchase has an opportunity cost. When you spend money on one thing, you automatically choose not to spend that money on something else. For example, if you buy a new pair of shoes, you’re choosing not to save that money for a future goal. Therefore, it’s essential to be mindful of short-term and long-term consequences when tempted to purchase. Money Maturity and Financial Success Money maturity is not simply about having a large bank balance or earning a high income. It is about having a positive relationship with money and making sound financial decisions. Those who are financially mature understand the importance of budgeting, saving, and investing for the future. They make well-informed decisions about how to spend their money and are mindful of the long-term consequences of their financial choices. Financial planning is an essential part of financial maturity. By setting clear financial goals and developing a plan to achieve them, you can put yourself on the path to financial success. It may not be easy, but it is worth it. With financial maturity comes greater peace of mind, security, and freedom. So if you want to achieve financial success, start by working on your money maturity. Article by Anthony Martin, Due About the Author Anthony Martin is the founder and CEO of Choice Mutual, Official Member at Forbes Finance Council, a nationally licensed final-expense insurance agency located in Reno, Nevada......»»

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Nuclear weapons expert says we should be "extraordinarily concerned" about Putin nuking Ukraine

Hans Kristensen, a nuclear expert at the Federation of American Scientists, said he's increasingly concerned that Vladimir Putin could go nuclear. Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on a screen set at Red Square as he addresses a rally and a concert marking the annexation of four regions of Ukraine Russian troops occupy - Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, in central Moscow on September 30, 2022.ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images Nuclear expert Hans Kristensen said he's "extraordinarily concerned" Putin could use nukes in Ukraine. In an interview, Kristensen said he is alarmed by Putin's increasingly threatening rhetoric. Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. In a speech on Friday, an increasingly unhinged Vladimir Putin, facing battlefield setbacks abroad and growing dissent at home, railed against what he portrayed as a hypocritical and gender-mad West — his address included a transphobic rant about sex-change operations and "outright Satanism" — as he announced the formal annexation of occupied eastern Ukraine, territory he said that Russia would defend with "all the means at our disposal."The Russian president is no stranger to colorful attacks on liberalism and, indeed, nuclear threats. Days after he ordered the Feb. 24 invasion, Putin tried to intimidate Ukraine's allies by announcing that he was putting his country's nuclear forces on a heightened state of alert and warning that those who continued supporting Ukrainian armed resistance would face "consequences they have never seen."But that threat was almost subtle compared to those made in the months since. Earlier this week, Putin warned that Russia's potential use of nuclear weapons was "not a bluff."Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's security council and always eager to demonstrate his loyalty to Putin and his "special military operation," echoed the remarks days later, saying that Russia could use nuclear weapons in Ukraine — "without asking anyone's permission, without long consolations" — if it felt "the very existence of our state," now expanded to include the Donbas region, were threatened.NATO would not dare respond, Medvedev added, and risk a broader nuclear conflagration over "a dying Ukraine that no one needs."The rhetoric could be dismissed as simple tough-guy posturing from a country that's current at risk of losing a war of choice. But long-time observers are alarmed, with Russia's long-time reliance on nuclear blackmail to get its way now more explicit than ever. Putin, indeed, on Friday pointed to the United States' dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II as "setting a precedent" for the use of nuclear arms in a conflict.Hans Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists who has been monitoring Russia's nuclear rhetoric. In an interview, he spoke to Insider about signs the US and others are looking for that might point to Putin pulling the trigger on a battlefield nuke — and why his latest speech is cause for alarm. Some questions and answers have been edited for brevity.Q. President Putin gave a speech just today marking the annexation of occupied eastern Ukraine. And in it he reiterated that he would use "all the means at our disposal" to defend Russian territory. Does that, to you, imply nuclear weapons? Did anything he say diverge from what we understand to be Russian nuclear doctrine? Anything alarming?A. Yeah, it confirms, what he said, earlier, last week, where he was more explicit. It's his style, if you will — he likes to rattle this sword and be very dramatic, but of course, the generic term, "all means at our disposal," could also mean many other things. It remains to be seen. I think the key here is that obviously he's trying to create a new condition, in Russian declaratory nuclear policy, where just someone upsetting the integrity of Russian territory somehow, potentially, is a recipient of a nuclear attack. And that goes beyond anything that is in the current declaratory policy. That certainly requires much more significant steps here. Obviously he's trying to create a situation where there's additional coercion — pressure — on Ukraine and the West to stop fighting and seek some kind of negotiated settlement here.Q. As you said, his rhetoric goes beyond Russian doctrine, which is, as I understand it, not so dissimilar to US doctrine: if there's an existential threat to the state, they might resort to nuclear weapons. So when you see Putin going a little bit more inflammatory, do you, as an expert, see that as just playing politics and — despite his protests that he isn't in fact bluffing — playing tough guy? Or do you think that does reflect a change in their doctrine?A. It reflects a change in the way that the president of Russia talks about this; whether it reflects an actual change in Russia's planning for these scenarios is another matter. Frankly, I think the Russian military is probably a little less excited about throwing nuclear weapons around because they know full well what the consequences of doing that will be.I think one could read it to sort of say this is what Putin does. This is his chest-thumping style — he likes to use big words to scare other people. But whether it's reflected in the actual planning they're doing is another matter and I think that'll take some time actually before we see that. But there are a number of steps they would have to take before they could use a tactical nuclear weapon in the Ukraine conflict. It's not like he has a red button on his desk and he could just press that when he feels like it. Q. I'm curious if there was anything that Putin could say that you would interpret as more alarming than just rhetoric? Whether there are kind of code words that, if you saw the introduction of them into Putin's speeches, you would take that as more than just posturing.A. Well, I thought I heard that. One of the lines in his speech was that the United States had already set a precedent for the use of nuclear weapons in war by referring to the use of nuclear weapons against Japan in World War II. I would say that's a new signal where he could begin to sort of argue, "We're not the first doing this, the Americans have already done this kind of stuff." And that could add another level of indicator that he's thinking about this in a new way.Q. Max Seddon, the Moscow bureau chief for the Financial Times, was commenting on this speech today and he was just saying, in general, it's the most blistering attack on the West as a whole that he's ever heard from Putin. And he said that, if he were a Western policymaker wondering if Putin would really use nuclear weapons, "I'd be very concerned."Do you share that concern or should we kind of take a step back and not get wrapped up in hysteria over nuclear weapons?A. No, I think we should be extraordinarily concerned. And I think that concern has to translate into very deliberate efforts to convince Putin and the Russian leadership that this would take the conflict to a whole new level. We've heard some statements from US officials, of course, that they've been trying to convey that for a long time and that urgency seems to have been deepened by Putin's latest speeches and his annexation of these territories into Russia.Q. As you probably saw, Dmitry Medvedev was basically saying that "the degenerate west" — they're not gonna want to get in a war of annihilation. That Ukraine doesn't matter, it's a failing state, if we use a tactical nuclear weapon, they're not going to risk the existence of London, Brussels, New York City over poor little Ukraine. How could the West respond to that, without laying all its cards out, to say that, "Well, no, we're not gonna tolerate that."A. Well, Medvedev might be right about that — that the West would not want to use nuclear weapons even if Putin used a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. The point is, the use of a nuclear weapon by Russia and Ukraine is not an attack on NATO. It is not an attack on the United States. Can NATO — can the United States — decide suddenly to attack Russia with nuclear weapons if they have not been attacked first? And that's a real tough issue and I don't think that is a likely outcome.I think the outcome is much more some intensifying of sanctions and diplomatic isolation, political isolation, maybe some cyber attacks, and in the most extreme form, probably some kind of military action. But again here, even that is hard to think about because, again, NATO has not been attacked. The United States has not been attacked. So can you start attacking Russia? That is a real hard dilemma here. So I think Medvedev, to some extent, is correct when he's saying that. Of course, the danger is that suppose Russia really thinks that it can just pop a nuke there — or several — and the West really is sort of armstrung; it can't really act, certainly not at the nuclear level.Q. I'm certainly not chomping at the bit myself to see a war between two nuclear-armed powers. But when you talk about things like sanctions and diplomatic isolation, it's hard not to roll one's eyes and be like, okay, so essentially what you are saying is that, "Yes, they could get away with using a nuclear weapon."A. One wildcard scenario you can imagine, of course, is that if he did do it that NATO would then — or the United States, more likely — would conduct strikes against Russian forces inside Ukraine. And that would be sort of, not quite be an attack on Russia — but of course it would be considered an attack on Russia because they are Russian forces — but it would be sort of at a half step, if you will. You could still say to the Russians, "We're doing this not to threaten Russia, as such, but to tell you that if you continue to do this then the next phase would be a lot more serious."Q. Just to get into the more nitty gritty here, when you used the term "tactical" nuclear weapon earlier, what is the difference between a tactical nuclear weapon and a non-tactical nuke?A. Well, tactical, or non-strategic — these are terms from the Cold War, where tactical to a large extent referred to battlefield weapons, where they were developed for wars involving nuclear weapons in a small region. Those were the type of scenarios that were very much at the center of planning during the Cold War and also because arms control treaties have looked at long-range strategic offensive forces, and never — except for the INF Treaty — looked at sort of medium- or shorter-range systems.Today, tactical nuclear weapons are essentially anything that's not covered by the strategic arms control treaties. It tends to generally just be shorter-range systems, most of which are also dual capable: they serve both conventional and nuclear roles. They tend to be shorter range, have a wider spectrum of explosive yield options, ranging all the way from one kiloton, perhaps even less, but certainly from one kiloton to tens of kilotons even up to 100, 150, 200 kilotons in some tactical systems.A Russian Tu-95 bear bomber and its escort fighter during an event in Russia.Photo by Elizaveta Becker/ullstein bild via Getty ImagesQ. When people talk about nuclear weapons, and the treaties that you're talking about that govern them, we tend to think about something that would trigger an existential war — the destruction of Earth as we know it — whereas these are to gain, to be obvious, a tactical advantage on the battlefield by hitting, say, a bunker that's deep underground. Or perhaps the reason Russia would be thinking about it is just simply the message that it would send, right?A. Yeah, I mean all of those missions could be accomplished with strategic weapons as well. It's more about what kind of attack are you doing. What's the intensity of the attack? And here the Russians, because of their geographic position. They're surrounded by potential adversaries in their near region, right? They have the Brits, they have the French, and of course NATO forces, and then they have the Chinese. So they need, in their military planning, they need sort of regional nuclear forces, to engage those adversaries in those regions.We could really think about them as strategic, because any use of a nuclear weapon would be strategic in nature. The "tactical" just comes in in the sense about the range of it and the intensity of the attack.The United States does not rely on tactical nuclear weapons as much as Russia does and that's partly because the United States doesn't have regions rights next to it where it has to fight nuclear wars. It used to have more tactical nuclear weapons when it had a lot of them deployed in Europe and in South Korea, but most of those were retired and pulled out after the Cold War. It has a few hundred nuclear tactical bombs left for fighter jets, and some of them are in Europe right now, but it's not something it relies heavily on for its nuclear war planning. So the US would choose instead, if it had to respond lightly — so like a small strike in response to something — they would rely more on strategic, for example, most prominently in that scenario, strategic bombers with either gravity bombs or long-range cruise missiles.Q. What would be the thinking behind using a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine? Is it kind of a situation where the worse Russia is doing on the battlefield increases the likelihood that they would use a nuclear weapon to say, "Look, just back off, NATO, stop arming this force that we're considering a proxy army against Russia"? What would be the strategic thinking — getting into the Russian mindset — of potentially using a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine?A. Well, there could be several, or a combination of them. One, for example, could be to try to turn the the tide of the war — to try to knock out some Ukrainian forces or key military facilities that they need to sustain their offensive. That would be a real battlefield use, if you could say that, but that takes more than probably one weapon because you would have to hit a number of areas and a number of facilities to have a real impact on the battle, if you will. And that's also a little complicating because if you start detonating nuclear weapons in the area you potentially get radioactive fallout that you can't control — it could rain over your own troops as well, so it might not be an advantage to do that in the field.Before the Gulf War in 1991, the Pentagon did a study on whether the use of tactical nuclear weapons against Saddam Hussein's forces there in the desert was an option. But they discovered that they would have to use a large number of tactical nuclear weapons to have a real impact — a real effect — on those forces. "Tactical" nuclear use is not as necessarily as limited and benign as some people sometimes think.That's one option, battlefield interest. The other one is of course related, in terms of psychological effect, but it would be more sort of a more clean terror attack where they use it against, for example, Kyiv — or a couple of cities — just to break the Ukrainian will to resist. But that would also be considered a much more significant attack — much more significant use — because of the human casualties involved.That could backfire in another way, politically, by motivating the West go in much more directly, so they really have to be careful about how they think about this. I think the big problem is with people both inside the Russian system, but also in the public in general, if they think about tactical nuclear weapons as something small; something less severe or something almost okay. That's the big danger here — that to treat that as sort of something that is doable.Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), accompanied by Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, oversees the 'Vostok-2022' military exercises at the Sergeevskyi training ground outside the city of Ussuriysk on the Russian Far East on September 6, 2022.MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty ImagesQ. There's been a lot of talk of concern among US officials that Russia could potentially use nuclear weapons, and the US has been at least talking about stepping up its surveillance of Russian forces. What exactly does that mean? What are the US and its allies looking for that would signal a potential use of a tactical nuclear weapon?A. Well, there are several steps that the Russians have to go through that they will be looking for. One has to do with the process of the decision itself. Putin would be involved in a conversation with his military leadership about this and they will have to agree. That's the most common theory about how the command decision will be made. It's not just that Putin has a red button on his desk. There are thought to be three people involved in this: Putin, the minister of defense, and the chief of the armed forces, and each of them has a vote. Presumably, if just one of them doesn't agree, then it can't happen. But it's very iffy if that is indeed the case. We don't quite know the details of this, but even if they make a decision, that decision has to be communicated down through the command and control system to the units that have to carry it out. That traffic is potentially detectable. And then you get to the units that are then activated. So for example, before you can even fire a tactical nuclear weapons system, you have to bring the warhead for it out of central storage. So that would be activity at the bunkers — the special units that are the custodial units and the security units, they would be activated. And then they would have to either transport it by truck or fly by helicopter out to the front line to the units that would actually have to launch it. And there you would have another team that would have to install it.So there are a number of these steps that would have to be sort of set in motion that would give away that something is happening. Whether the US is turning up its surveillance of this? I think it's been pretty busy surveilling this for a long time, actually. Satellite observations, both the visible spectrum of satellites, like normal images we can find on Google Earth, but also infrared and signal detection and then, of course, also intel. You see these spy planes that are flying along the borders all the time. They've been busy. They've been busy for a long, long time. This is a normal level of activity, I would say. And then there's spies on the ground. You have people in the system or maybe even out with some of the units that will relay information.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider1 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Opioids At Work: Hidden Scourge Sapping The Economy

Opioids At Work: Hidden Scourge Sapping The Economy Authored by James Varney via RealClear Wire, Strung out on drugs half her life, Brandi Edwards, 29, said the longest she held a job before getting sober four years ago was “about two and a half months.” “I worked at an AT&T call center, a day-care center for a month, fast food places, but I had to take drugs to get out of bed in the morning and when I did show up, I wasn’t productive,” the West Virginia mother of three told RealClearInvestigations. “The first paycheck came along and I was out of there.” Fentanyl. Image 4 of 17. United States Drug Enforcement Administration In jail for the ninth time on drug-related charges, and separated from her children, Edwards had an awakening in “looking hard at what I’d lost.” Now clean for four years after rehab, she is married and back in her children’s lives with a home in Princeton, W. Va., and a steady job. But such success stories are too infrequent to offset the massive cost of the opioid epidemic to the American workforce. Only a couple of people in her former addict circle have returned to productive life, she says, while most are dead or incarcerated. That toll on labor, haunting America’s working present and future probably for years -- if not decades -- to come, is largely invisible and underreported because it is difficult to measure, according to physicians, counselors, economists, workers and public officials. But its staying power is suggested by other lasting national challenges, including the porous southern border -- a major conduit for smuggled, Chinese-made fentanyl -- and economic and social traumas set in motion by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to untold years of productivity lost from fatal overdoses, the nation’s labor participation rate has shrunk steadily since 2000. Precise correlation is elusive, but any graph of that decline would stand in sharp contrast to the rise of opioid addiction in the U.S. And while it is difficult to calculate just how much drug use has caused absenteeism, tardiness and stretches of disability, the connection is strong, as Brandi Edwards’ experience suggests. “We’ve been writing about this for years but it doesn’t seem to get a lot of traction,” said Dr. Gary Franklin, a research professor at the University of Washington who served as the medical director of the state’s Department of Labor and Industries. “People have not realized how much opioids contribute to disability and lost productivity, and I don’t know if anyone has been able to put a number on that.”  Headline figures on lives lost in the opioid epidemic have been fairly clear for years. In 2021, more than 107,000 people died from drug overdoses, a nearly 15% increase from the year before and more than double the grim tally recorded in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control. All told, overdose deaths are seven times higher than they were in 1999. Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which law enforcement has tracked from labs in China along trafficking routes through Mexico on the southern border, are now driving the overdose epidemic. The CDC attributed 69,000 overdose deaths to synthetic opioids in 2020, 82% of the nation's total that year. Heroin overdoses, meanwhile, went up 7% in 2020 to 13,000, according to CDC figures. That means synthetic opioids and heroin dwarf cocaine and methamphetamines, although totals for both of those have been rising for a decade and often cause overdose deaths in combination with opioids. The National Institutes of Health shows fewer than 5,000 people killed by cocaine alone and fewer than 10,000 by what it dubs "psychostimulants," which includes methamphetamines, in 2020.  Less precisely, economists since at least 2017 have pegged at over $1 trillion the epidemic’s annual dollar cost in terms of deaths, law enforcement and “lost productivity.”  But the amount attributable to deaths - $550 billion of the $1 trillion - is largely conjecture because it is derived from actuarial estimates for lost years; for example, the decades cut from what would have been a normal working life for someone who fatally overdoses at age 45. Then there is the less lethal side of the equation -- one that workers and employers grapple with daily. Roughly 8% of workplace fatalities in 2020 - 388 of 4,786 - were attributed to "unintentional overdose from nonmedical use of drugs," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the agency said it is unclear "how many of these deaths involved opioids specifically."  A post on a neighborhood social media platform asking about opioids’ dire impact in the workforce unleashes a barrage of firsthand horror stories. Homeowners speak of an inability to hire handymen, painters, landscape workers and the like. “If I’m lucky enough to have an employee that can pass a [urine analysis] the chances of them doing so after the first check is slim,” wrote a tree surgeon in suburban New Orleans. “Tree men get a terrible rap. People think we are all crazy, wild, no fear having, hard working dopeheads.” But he acknowledged some truth to the stories of workplace abuse of prescription opioids, mentioning laborers’ common habit of relying on increasingly higher-milligram dosages of pain pills like Percocet. Workers “didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘Hmmm, great day to go down a road that will cost me it all,’ " he wrote. "Then it’s inevitable. We get hurt. Usually pretty badly. So we start out getting a few .5 [mg] maybe 7.5. Later, as our careers go so does the pain, so do the amounts needed to consume to keep it at bay.” A National Safety Council study reported that more than 75% of U.S. employers have been affected by employees’ prescription drug use, according to congressional testimony, and the National Institutes of Health estimates some 3 million Americans, including workers, are addicted to opioids.  Edwards managed to break her addiction and return to the workforce with the help of Jobs & Hope, a statewide West Virginia placement initiative launched in 2019 that claims more than 1,500 success stories. But with a budget of $3.1 million it cannot handle all of the 200-250 addicts referred to it each month, said Deb Harris, the group’s lead transition agent.  Businesses have been largely receptive to such programs, but the state is still trying to regain its footing from the “flood of pills” that hit it early in the 21st century, according to Dr. Matthew Christiansen, director of West Virginia’s Office of Drug Control in the Department of Health and Human Services. “We don’t keep a running tally at the state level, but the numbers have probably stayed pretty consistent or maybe gotten a little bit worse because of an increase in overdose deaths due to fentanyl,” Christiansen said. The Centers for Disease Control does keep a tally, although it hasn’t publicly updated the grim numbers on its “opioid dashboard” since 2017. The figures from that year show that the biggest economic hit has come in the Appalachian states around the Ohio Valley and in New England, two regions where opioids and synthetics have torn a hole through the workforce. For example, West Virginia, long considered ground zero in the opioid epidemic, had the biggest annual per capita loss due to opioids at $7,247, according to the CDC figures that include overdose deaths. That tops Ohio, where the per capita cost in 2017 was $6,226, and New Hampshire at $5,953. Ohio saw the highest overall economic cost, at $72.58 billion, followed by Massachusetts at $36.91 billion, according to the CDC.  Fixing opioid disorder costs is complicated by the fact much of it is now driven by black-market synthetic drugs like fentanyl and thus can no longer be tracked through prescriptions. Nor is substance abuse a topic that workers - or many employers - are comfortable quantifying. All those involved in coping with the epidemic, however, peg the cost as staggering. “It’s difficult to measure these things but it’s likely a substantial part of the labor decline,” said Michael Betz, an economist at The Ohio State University who researches opioid disorder issues. “You’re piecing together different pieces of evidence, but when you look at the decline in labor participation rates and opioid disorder figures, they match up pretty similarly.” Franklin’s team did calculate the odds opioids influenced the disability bills Washington state taxpayers foot each year for roughly 100,000 workers, a relatively uncomplicated tally since Washington is one of four states with a centralized government system and not a private workers’ compensation insurance market. “We found that two prescriptions of opioids for more than 7 days in the first six weeks after an injury doubled the risk of a worker being on disability one year later,” he said. Answers to broader questions on opioids’ baleful economic impact, however, are scarce. “Productivity losses due to anything is an extremely complex analysis and is not routinely tracked,” Franklin said. To date, the nation's prime age labor workforce has not recovered to where it was at the beginning of 2020 and is now the lowest it has been in 45 years. The hit has been especially pronounced among older adults, according to the Government Accountability Office. Between 2015 and 2019, adults 50 years old or older "were an estimated 22 percent less likely to be in the labor force (either employed or actively seeking work),” a GAO report found. In addition, people in that age group "were an estimated 40 percent less likely to be employed; and employed older workers who misused opioids were twice as likely to have experienced periods of unemployment."  Once again, however, pinpointing the precise connection between opioids and lost productivity remained elusive, as "the data did not allow GAO to determine causality." Middle-aged white men have long comprised the single biggest group of annual overdose deaths, but between 2015 and 2020 the rate among black men skyrocketed to 54.1 per 100,000, topping white men’s 44.2 per 100,000, according to the Pew Research Center.  “Local economic conditions play some part in all this but they aren’t the key role; the main driver is the increase in supply,” Betz said. That leads some experts on the topic to conclude that opioids’ catastrophic hit to the United States’ workforce has been misconstrued. For a time, as deaths rose early on, particularly among middle-aged white men, and labor participation rates began their decline, the phrase “deaths of despair” took hold among some researchers. Under this theory, the opioid epidemic fed on declining economic prospects, particularly for middle-aged white men facing unemployment or shrinking incomes. But the “deaths of despair” theory reverses cause and effect, according to some physicians and people dealing with the fallout from opioids, including their more deadly synthetic cousin fentanyl. “We’ve debunked that,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a faculty member at Brandeis University whose practice has specialized in opioid addiction. “Rather than economic conditions leading to overdose deaths it’s really the other way around - it’s not the economy driving them to death, it’s the opioid crisis affecting the economy.” Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge2 hr. 17 min. ago Related News

Lindsay (LNN) Rides on Solid Irrigation, Infrastructure Demand

Lindsay (LNN) banks on the rising farm income, which will drive demand for its irrigation equipment. Solid momentum in its infrastructure business also bodes well. Lindsay Corporation LNN is well-poised to gain from improving farm dynamics in the United States on the back of higher commodity prices. Its Infrastructure segment is benefiting from higher sales of road-safety products and Road Zipper System project sales. A strong balance sheet, focus on introducing technologically-advanced products, and investment in organic growth and acquisitions will drive growth.Irrigation Demand to Remain RobustLindsay is witnessing robust demand for its irrigation equipment in North America, driven by strong agricultural commodity prices. The USDA (U.S Department of Agriculture) projects a net farm income of $147.7 billion for 2022, the highest since 2013 and up 5.2% year over year. Cash receipts for agricultural commodities are expected at record levels.Receipts for soybeans are expected to be up 30.6%, corn 16.7% and wheat 33.7% from the respective prior-year levels, all led by higher prices. Combined receipts for corn, soybeans and wheat are forecast to increase $30.7 billion, accounting for most of the rise in crop cash receipts. The upbeat outlook for corn and soybeans, the most important grains for cash-crop farming, bodes well for farmer sentiment and will likely translate into improved order levels for Lindsay.Increased food-security concerns due to the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict are driving growth in LNN’s international markets. Lindsay is benefiting from a combination of increased selling prices and higher unit sales volumes in most international irrigation markets, including Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe and Brazil. Brazil remains a very competitive market, with strong prospects in terms of volume and price realization.Infrastructure Business Shows Solid ProspectsThe Infrastructure segment is benefiting from higher sales of road-safety products and Road Zipper System project sales.  LNN began delivering a $9-million Road Zipper project in Australia in the third quarter of fiscal 2022. Another $24-million barrier replacement project in Massachusetts is already approved and expected to be awarded in the fiscal fourth quarter.The Road Zipper System is expected to be a key catalyst for the segment. It is a highly differentiated product that positively addresses key infrastructure needs, such as reducing congestion, lowering carbon emission and increasing driver safety, which led to its global popularity.Demand for Lindsay’s transportation-safety products is highly dependent on government spending on road construction. The signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law on Nov 15, 2021, will act as a tailwind for the infrastructure business. This legislation introduced $110 billion in incremental federal funding to repair roads and bridges and support other transformational projects, which will fuel higher demand for LNN’s transportation-safety products. The IIJA includes a five-year $370-billion reauthorization of Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (Fast Act).Investment in Technology to Boost Competitive EdgeFocus on bringing technologically-advanced products to the market will bolster Lindsay’s top line. In April 2020, LNN completed the buyout of Net Irrigate, LLC, which expanded the number of irrigated acres managed under LNN’s FieldNET platform. This acquisition strengthened LNN’s market position in remote-monitoring capabilities. LNN is witnessing strong growth in technology penetration, which will drive performance in the days ahead.Solid Balance SheetBacked by balance sheet strength, Lindsay continues to invest in organic growth, makes synergistic acquisitions and enhances shareholder returns. At the end of the fiscal third quarter, LNN has available liquidity of $146 million, with $96 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, and another $50 million available under the revolving credit facility.Lindsay’s total-debt-to-total-capital ratio was 0.23 as of May 31, 2022, lower than the industry’s total-debt-to-total-capital ratio of 0.71. The times interest earned ratio is 17, much better than the industry's 9.8.Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchLindsay’s shares have decreased 7% in the past year compared with the industry’s decline of 3.1%.Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to ConsiderAt present, Lindsay carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other top-ranked stocks in the Industrial Products sector are Tenaris TS, CECO Environmental CECE and W.W. Grainger Inc. GWW. While TS flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), CECE and GWW carry a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Tenaris delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 34%, on average. Earnings estimates have increased 8% for fiscal 2022 in the past 60 days. The TS stock has risen 18% in the past year.CECO Environmental delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 29.1%, on average. Earnings estimates have increased 17% for fiscal 2022 in the past 60 days. The CECE stock has gained 23% in the past year.Grainger’s earnings surprise in the last four quarters was 7.9%, on average. In the past 60 days, its earnings estimates have increased 4% for 2022. The GWW stock has gained 22% in the past year. This Little-Known Semiconductor Stock Could Be Your Portfolio’s Hedge Against Inflation Everyone uses semiconductors. But only a small number of people know what they are and what they do. If you use a smartphone, computer, microwave, digital camera or refrigerator (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg), you have a need for semiconductors. That’s why their importance can’t be overstated and their disruption in the supply chain has such a global effect. But every cloud has a silver lining. Shockwaves to the international supply chain from the global pandemic have unearthed a tremendous opportunity for investors. And today, Zacks' leading stock strategist is revealing the one semiconductor stock that stands to gain the most in a new FREE report. It's yours at no cost and with no obligation.>>Yes, I Want to Help Protect My Portfolio During the RecessionWant the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Lindsay Corporation (LNN): Free Stock Analysis Report W.W. Grainger, Inc. (GWW): Free Stock Analysis Report CECO Environmental Corp. (CECE): Free Stock Analysis Report Tenaris S.A. (TS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacks2 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

State makes a $150M commitment to the arts

A record infusion of capital funding will become available to arts organizations across New York state in a move that puts the state’s commitment to the arts in line with New York City’s emphasis on the sector, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced. Hochul said the state will make $150 million available through the Council on the Arts’ Capital Projects Fund. The council will direct two-thirds of the money to multiyear funding intended to allow organizations to work on large-scale projects, the governor said. “New York’s powerful creative economy is a crucial driver in our state’s recovery as a global cultural leader,” council Executive Director Mara Manus said, adding that the money was instrumental in underscoring “the critical role these projects play in our economy, our local ecologies and the health of all New Yorkers.”The funding will enable two different grant programs. First, small and midsize capital improvement grants will pay for up to $2 million on projects that “prioritize accessibility, artistry, cultural development, sustainability, health and safety, and structural and historical improvements,” the governor’s office said. The second program is for larger capital-improvement grants, ranging from $2 million to $10 million, to benefit projects that cost at least $4 million. Recipients have to commit to social-equity initiatives and access plans as a way of advancing the state’s diversity and equity goals. The announcement follows two years of relief funding for the arts, from the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, intended to help arts organizations make up for lost 2020 revenue during the early parts of the Covid-19 pandemic. In New York, a $200 million tax credit for musical and theater production is still in effect, as a way to assist theaters in their comeback. The new funding, by contrast, is focused on expansion and sustainability, the state said. “For the past several years, arts and cultural organizations have navigated challenge after challenge, and many are still struggling,” said Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, who represents portions of Manhattan. “It's time for an arts renaissance in New York state.” The application portal opened Friday on the state Council on the Arts website. The deadline for applying is Jan. 12......»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyork3 hr. 44 min. ago Related News

Dogness Reports Financial Results for Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2022

Highlights for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2022 11.5% Revenue Increase YoY to $27.1 Million 73% Increase YoY in Sales of Intelligent Pet Products 100% Increase YoY in Income Per Basic and Diluted Share 241% Increase YoY in Balance of Cash and Short-Term Investments PLANO, Texas, Sept. 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Dogness (International) Corporation ("Dogness" or the "Company") (NASDAQ:DOGZ), a developer and manufacturer of a comprehensive line of Dogness-branded, OEM and private label pet products, today announced its audited financial results for the fiscal year ended June 30 2022. Silong Chen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dogness, commented, "We continue to benefit from our priority focus of resources on the production and promotion of sales of our higher margin intelligent pet products. With both our existing models and the newly launched models of our smart products, we delivered a 73% increase in sales of our intelligent pet products in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022, compared to the year ago period. We also continue to upgrade our production lines for traditional pet products to improve the productivity and lower the production costs. This has allowed us to lower our average unit selling price for our traditional pet products, while still maintaining desirable profit margins. Our sales strategy for traditional pet products has helped us to successfully retain our customers and attract new customers, which we have leveraged to increase awareness for our intelligent pet products. To mitigate the impact caused by COVID-19, we expanded our sales channels to more proven online shopping platforms, such as Amazon, Chewy, JD, Tmall,, and the live streaming sales platforms hosted by influencers, as well as maintaining the existing online and instore channels. These ecommerce sales normally have higher profit margin than traditional sales channels." "With the continued strong demand and pet culture growth in China and worldwide, more and more young consumers have become pet owners. Dogness is well positioned to benefit from this growth, which is serving as a sales catalyst for our intelligent pet products, including App-controlled smart pet food feeders, pet water fountains, pet tracking devices and smart pet toys. In addition, our sales and distribution channel has been further diversified due to the rapid change of technology and lifestyle. Younger generations are more tech savvy and more willing to purchase products from popular online shopping sites, including Amazon, Chewy, JD, Tmall and Taobao, and from live streaming sales platforms hosted by influencers. As a result, we strategically increased our marketing activities and sales efforts in the domestic market, especially on those online shopping sites and channels." "As we look forward we are even more excited about our growth potential led by our continued development of innovative, differentiated pet products and services, which allow us to build strong relationships with our customers, build brand loyalty, enhance our market position, increase transaction size and further enhance operating margins. Taken together, we believe Dogness is on track to further improve our sales, profitability and return on investment for our stockholders in the near future." Financial Results for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2022 Revenues increased by approximately $2.8 million, or 11.5%, to approximately $27.1 million for the year ended June 30, 2022, compared to $24.3 million in the year ended June 30, 2021. The increase in revenue was primarily attributable to the increased sales of the Company's intelligent pet products, which have much higher average selling price than our traditional pet products. Revenue from the Company's intelligent pet products increased by approximately $5.7 million or 73.0%, from approximately $7.8 million in fiscal 2021 to approximately $13.5 million in fiscal 2022, primarily reflecting a higher selling price and increased sales volume. Revenue from traditional pet products decreased by approximately $2.9 million or 20.2% from approximately $14.3 million in fiscal 2021 to approximately $11.4 million in fiscal 2022, primarily reflecting a decreased average selling price per unit. Total sales in international markets increased by approximately $3.9 million or 36.8% to $14.5 million in the year ended June 30, 2022 from approximately $10.6 million in the year ago period. Domestic sales decreased by approximately $1.1 million or 8.3% from approximately $13.7 million in the year ended June 30, 2021 to approximately $12.6 million in the year ended June 30, 2022. The Company has seen a sharp increase in consumer demand in the U.S., Australia, Japan and other Asian countries because of the stimulus plan and the strong recovery of the economy. Sales to the U.S. increased by approximately $2.0 million or 32.4% to approximately $8.0 million in the year ended June 30, 2022 from approximately $6.0 million for the year ended June 30, 2021. Sales to Japan and other Asian countries and regions market increased by approximately $1.7 million or 131.0% to approximately $3.0 million for the year ended June 30, 2022 from approximately $1.3 million for fiscal 2021. Cost of revenues increased by approximately $1.8 million, or 11.8%, from approximately $15.2 million in the year ended June 30, 2021 to approximately $17.0 million in the year ended June 30, 2022. Gross profit increased by approximately $1.0 million or 10.7%, to approximately $10.1 million in the year ended June 30, 2022 from approximately $9.2 million in the year ago period due to the continued upgrading of the Company's production lines for both traditional and intelligent pet products, which led to improved productivity and lower production costs. Overall gross profit margin was 37.4% for the year ended June 30, 2022, as compared to 37.6% for the year ended June 30, 2020. Net income attributable to Dogness increased to $3.2 million or $0.10 per basic and diluted share for the year ended June 30, 2022 , compared to $1.5 million or $0.05 per basic and diluted share for the year ended June 30, 2021. The Company recognized a $3.2 million foreign currency translation loss for the year ended June 30, 2022, compared to a gain of $4.9 million in the year ago period. The Company had a balance of cash and short-term investments of approximately $16.7 million as of June 30, 2022, compared to approximately $4.9 million as of June 30, 2021. About Dogness Dogness (International) Corporation was founded in 2003 from the belief that dogs and cats are important, well-loved family members. Through its smart products, hygiene products, health and wellness products, and leash products, Dogness' technology simplifies pet lifestyles and enhances the relationship between pets and pet caregivers. The Company ensures industry-leading quality through its fully integrated vertical supply chain and world-class research and development capabilities, which has resulted in over 200 patents and patents pending. Dogness products reach families worldwide through global chain stores and distributors. For more information, please visit: Forward Looking Statements No statement made in this press release should be interpreted as an offer to purchase or sell any security. Such an offer can only be made in accordance with the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and applicable state securities laws. Certain statements in this press release concerning our future growth prospects are forward-looking statements regarding our future business expectations intended to qualify for the "safe harbor" under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties relating to these statements include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties regarding lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our customers' businesses and end purchasers' disposable income, our ability to raise capital on any particular terms, fulfillment of customer orders, fluctuations in earnings, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, our ability to manage growth, our ability to realize revenue from expanded operation and acquired assets in China and the U.S., our ability to attract and retain highly skilled professionals, client concentration, industry segment concentration, reduced demand for technology in our key focus areas, our ability to successfully complete and integrate potential acquisitions, and unauthorized use of our intellectual property and general economic conditions affecting our industry. Additional risks that could affect our future operating results are more fully described in our United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These filings are available at Dogness may, from time to time, make additional written and oral forward-looking statements, including statements contained in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and our reports to shareholders. In addition, please note that any forward-looking statements contained herein are based on assumptions that we believe to be reasonable as of the date of this press release. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that may be made from time to time by or on behalf of the Company unless it is required by law.   DOGNESS (INTERNATIONAL) CORPORATION CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME (LOSS) 2022 2021 2020 For the Years Ended June 30, 2022 2021 2020 Revenues- third party customers $ 24,882,618 $ 23,112,435 $ 18,261,707 Revenues – related parties 2,212,579 1,207,686 909,651 Total Revenues 27,095,197 24,320,121 19,171,358 Cost of revenues – third party customers (15,654,952) (14,501,166) (16,146,856) Cost of revenues – related parties (1,301,180) (663,742) (633,132) Total cost of revenues (16,956,132) (15,164,908) (16,779,988) Gross Profit 10,139,065 9,155,213 2,391,370 Operating expenses: Selling expenses 2,077,174 1,815,771 2,336,229 General and administrative expenses 6,742,687 4,941,036 5,746,812 Research and development expenses 917,227.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzinga4 hr. 1 min. ago Related News

Starfish Finance Proposes DeFi-NFT Convergence on Polkadot

Paris, France, 30th September, 2022, Chainwire Starfish Finance, the DeFi project running on Astar Network, has shared its vision of how NFTs and decentralized finance will coalesce on Polkadot. The community-driven project predicts the worlds of DeFi and NFTs will eventually fuse and form a brighter star, with Starfish Finance ($SEAN) serving as the fortress […] Paris, France, 30th September, 2022, Chainwire Starfish Finance, the DeFi project running on Astar Network, has shared its vision of how NFTs and decentralized finance will coalesce on Polkadot. The community-driven project predicts the worlds of DeFi and NFTs will eventually fuse and form a brighter star, with Starfish Finance ($SEAN) serving as the fortress that hosts this union. Starfish Finance is one of many planets orbiting the Astar Network ecosystem, one of the brightest parachains in the Polkadot galaxy. Living on its primary planet is a starfish named Sean, who has vowed to venture into the galaxy and build new castles. The Starfish protocol is based on Balancer v2. It gives users the freedom to create liquidity pools of up to eight different crypto assets on top of a full stack DeFi product suite. Beyond its DeFi capabilities, users can stake NFTs on their native chain through Celer Network’s IM framework, an inter-chain messaging mechanism, to enjoy cross-chain collateralized NFT lending and borrowing. The Starfish Finance protocol has been audited by CertiK and the Starfish team has stressed that the community’s security is their number one priority. The team is now in the process of entering into collaboration with renowned NFT projects to provide liquidity that will empower owners to access capital without relinquishing ownership of their cherished collectibles. Starfish Finance is already listed on Huobi, a major top tier centralized exchange, and the team aspires for more listings which might be announced as the protocol develops. From the beginning, Starfish Finance has positioned itself as a one-stop shop that offers multi-token stable and weighted swaps and embraces a multi-chain future. Starfish started the year with conception, fundraising, forming strategic partnerships, building an inclusive community, and testnet launch. For the rest of 2022, the team will roll out their DeFi suite and refine their NFT collateralized lending and borrowing launch in the roadmap. The eventual formation of Starfish DAO, dubbed The Aquarium, will pave the way for everything that comes next. The community council will be tasked with nurturing different parts of the project, from product to art, and from technology to marketing. Community members will play a big part in onboarding and whitelisting new NFT projects as eligible collateral for Starfish’s NFT-Fi, in addition to managing events and activities to grow the multi-chain Web3 economy. Learn more about Starfish Finance Contact Partnership Lead»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalk4 hr. 1 min. ago Related News

Putin"s annexation of Ukrainian land raises the risks a nuclear weapon will be used and tanks the possibility of talks to end the war

Putin sees this moment as one of "civilizational conflict with the West," a former senior intelligence officer told Insider. Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on a screen set at Red Square as he addresses a rally and a concert marking the annexation of four regions of Ukraine Russian troops occupy - Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, in central Moscow on September 30, 2022.ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images Putin's annexation of four regions of Ukraine raises the risk of a nuclear weapon being used in the long-term, experts warn. "Russia is committing to an escalation," one Russia expert told Insider.  Putin sees this moment as one of "civilizational conflict with the West," a former senior intelligence officer told Insider. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions into Russia on Friday in a bombastic speech filled with anti-Western rhetoric, nuclear threats, and historical revisionism. He also warned that Russia "will defend our land with all the powers and means at our disposal."Russia watchers and military experts told Insider that these aggressive moves and statements show Putin is "losing" in Ukraine and wants the US and its NATO allies to "back off." They warn that Putin has effectively eliminated the possibility of negotiations and stressed that these annexations raise the risk of nuclear weapons being used in the long-term. Putin sees this moment as one of "civilizational conflict with the West," and he made this clear in his speech, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former senior intelligence officer who led strategic analysis on Russia for the National Intelligence Council from 2015 to 2018, told Insider. The Russian president is "raising the stakes in so many different ways," said Kendall-Taylor, now the director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.During his speech, Putin said that use of nuclear weaponry by the US against Japan during World War II set a "precedent."That Putin went out of his way to make such a point is "extremely unnerving," Kendall-Taylor said, adding that it almost seems as if the Russian leader is "talking himself into it and looking for ways to justify his potential use of a nuclear weapon if he needs to do so at a later date."The risks of Putin employing a nuclear weapon in the immediate future are "still low," she said, but she emphasized that the annexation "increased those risks.""I do worry now that as the Ukrainians reclaim territory that Russia has now annexed and that [Putin] claims as Russian, given that he now is so personally invested in this, that the risk of his use of a tactical nuke on the battlefield in Ukraine has gone up," Kendall-Taylor said.'Committing to an escalation'The Moscow-appointed heads of Kherson region Vladimir Saldo and Zaporizhzhia region Yevgeny Balitsky, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin and Lugansk separatist leader Leonid Pasechnik join hands after signing treaties formally annexing four regions of Ukraine Russian troops occupy, at the Kremlin in Moscow on September 30, 2022.GRIGORY SYSOYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images"Russia is committing to an escalation," Cynthia Hooper, a history professor and Russia expert at the College of the Holy Cross, told Insider. Putin is using the illegal annexations of Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts to reframe the war for Russian citizens, Hooper said, adding that "now he and his advisors can tell a story, going forward, of how the Kremlin wants peace but Ukraine and its US supporters are insisting on war and attacking Mother Russia.""This is scary. It is a false narrative, constructed by a person who absolutely knows his actions will prompt further conflict. It is a strategy designed in expectation of military escalation," Hooper said. The pressing issue for Putin at the moment is that he's "been losing," Jeffrey Edmonds, a CNA Russia expert and former CIA military analyst, told Insider, and the "annexation, the mobilization — these are all measures he's trying to take to fix the problem."The Ukraine war has been disastrous for the Russian military so far. Strategically, military experts say that Russia has essentially already been defeated. Putin launched the war with the goal of subjugating the whole of Ukraine. But Russia failed to take Kyiv and was effectively forced to turn its attention to the eastern Donbas region — a far less ambitious objective.Russian forces are estimated to have suffered as many as 80,000 casualties, if not more, since the war began, and they've struggled with myriad equipment issues.Meanwhile, Ukraine has in recent weeks managed to recapture a significant chunk of territory as part of a blistering counteroffensive. These losses are widely believed to be the reason behind Putin's decision last week to announced a military mobilization plan, calling up tens of thousands of reservists to help address Russia's manpower problems. There have been a number of signs that the mobilization is highly unpopular, with thousands of Russian men fleeing the country amid nationwide protests and even instances of violence. Putin realizes that Russia is "really on a negative trajectory at this point," Edmonds said. "The counteroffensive and the fact that he wasn't able to take these territories like he thought, that was a big turning point for him and the Russian population in which he really felt like he needs to escalate — or at least rhetorically escalate and warn of nuclear weapons."Putin knows the US and NATO do not want to go to war with Russia and is trying to send a message that if they keep providing Ukraine with weapons and security assistance, then that's "exactly what we'll have, with all the nuclear trappings that go with it," Edmonds said, "That's really where the rhetoric comes from. He's always used nuclear rhetoric, but it it is picking up."Indeed, the mobilization and annexations come at a desperate moment for Putin. In formally annexing the four Ukrainian regions — a move that came after referendums decried as a sham by leaders across the globe — Putin is vying to hold on to what little progress Russian forces have made. But as Ukraine's counteroffensive continues, Russia may find it difficult to hold on to the territory it now claims as its own and vows to defend. Putin announced the annexations "even as Ukrainian forces encircled Russian troops in the key city of Lyman, Luhansk Oblast, immediately demonstrating that Russia will struggle to hold the territory it claims to have annexed," according to a Friday report from the Institute for the Study of War, which has provided timely battlefield updates on the Ukraine conflict. "Putin likely intends annexation to freeze the war along the current frontlines and allow time for Russian mobilization to reconstitute Russian forces," the report added. 'There's not a negotiated settlement to this'A Ukrainian serviceman shoots at a Russian drone with an assault rifle from a trench at the front line east of Kharkiv, March 31, 2022.FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty ImagesThe annexation of Ukraine's territory, which came eight years after Russia annexed Crimea, also greatly diminishes the possibility of any negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv. "The ceremony today was presented, on Russian television and to a domestic Russian audience, as a Russian victory. Putin said himself that now that these four regions have been, in his words, reunited with Russia, he is prepared to negotiate for peace — but then in the same breath, he added that any peace deal would have to respect these new territorial acquisitions and that their status was not up for future negotiation," Hooper said. Ukraine has been clear that it will not accept any peace deal that involves ceding territory to Russia."Russia has been and remains an aggressor illegally occupying parts of Ukrainian land. Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet earlier this month. Along these lines, analysts say that Putin has helped ensure that the Ukraine war won't end any time soon. The annexations solidify for "the Ukrainians that they have to defeat the Russians in Ukraine," Edmonds said, "There's not a negotiated settlement to this.""I don't think there's room for negotiation for quite some time because the Ukrainians have been winning and the Russians just demand Ukrainian surrender. Why would you surrender when you're winning?" Edmonds added.And if Russia continues to lose ground, particularly in territories in now claims as its own yet does not fully occupy, this could reduce the threshold for further escalation and possibly even the use of a nuclear weapon. "In some ways the mobilization itself lowered the probability of nuclear use in the near-term," Edmonds said, explaining that Putin announced the draft to help address the issues Russian forces have been facing and that he wants to see how it all plays out. "Now, let's say in some scenario, it doesn't fix the problem. The Russian military collapses over the winter, and he starts losing big — then I think the chances for non-strategic nuclear use go up. But I think right now he's really trying to step up the rhetoric to get the US and NATO to back off," Edmonds added. Similarly, Kendall-Taylor said that the "unfortunate reality" is that the better the Ukrainians do on the battlefield, the higher the risk of Russia using a tactical nuclear weapon. "The stakes are higher for Putin," Kendall-Taylor said, because mobilization and annexation were "quite clearly his decisions."Putin will give mobilization a "little bit of time to play out and to see how effective it can be in turning the tide, or at least stemming Ukrainian advances," Kendall-Taylor said, but the use of a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine is "directly tied to Russia's fate on the battlefield."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider4 hr. 1 min. ago Related News

Elon Musk"s trove of private text messages is a bad look for him — and another win for Twitter, experts say

Hundreds of texts between Elon Musk and big names in media and finance were released on Thursday as a part of the discovery process for Twitter's lawsuit. Experts say Musk's teflon-like ability to evade repercussions is due to a complex interplay of exceptionalism, a fierce cult-like fandom, and a culture of "billionaire worship."Gotham/Getty Images Hundreds of Elon Musk's texts could work against him in his court battle with Twitter, experts say. The texts were released Thursday as a part of the pretrial discovery process for Twitter's lawsuit. The messages appear to show Musk was aware of issues with bots ahead of offering to buy the company. A trove of private text messages released Thursday between Elon Musk and big names in media and finance could pose a problem for the billionaire as he heads into a court battle with Twitter, several industry watchers told Insider."It's not a good look and likely puts Musk in a weaker legal stance," Wedbush Securities tech analyst Dan Ives said. "This adds more agita to the Musk camp."The billionaire is set to square off with Twitter in a five-day trial beginning on October 17. The social media company is attempting to force Musk to follow through on his $44 billion purchase offer after he announced plans to back out in July.The hundreds of texts between Musk and some of Silicon Valley's most powerful players offer fresh insight into Musk's plans for Twitter. The texts also highlight several of Twitter's primary arguments against Musk — pointing to a "weakness" in the billionaire's case, said Matthew Schettenhelm, senior litigation analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.Up until recently, Musk's legal team has centered its argument on claims the company intentionally misled Musk and investors as to the number of active users on the platform.But Musk's private texts appear to tell a story that is "in tension with his lead argument," Schettenhelm told Insider. In a message to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor on April 9 — the day Musk told the board of his plans to buy Twitter — the billionaire said it would be "hard" to fix the social company and address issues with scam accounts without taking it private."Purging fake users will make the numbers look terrible, so restructuring should be done as a private company," he texted Taylor, according to the cache of documents released Thursday.Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross Business School, said Musk "won't win in court with a claim that he was misled by the number of fake users."Twitter has also argued that Musk might steal its internal data and create a competing company. The billionaire's private texts seem to indicate he was indeed bouncing around plans for creating another social media platform at the same time he was shoring up investors to buy Twitter. In texts to his brother Kimbal from April, Musk shared his idea for a blockchain-based social media platform.Ann Lipton, a business law professor at Tulane University Law School, said Musk's text about developing a competing platform could also play into Twitter's hands."To the extent Musk is armed with confidential internal Twitter data that he could use to harm the company in the future – perhaps by establishing a competitor – that might weigh in favor of granting Twitter specific performance" and forcing him to follow through on the deal, Lipton said.While the texts show that at one point Musk appeared to be serious about buying Twitter, the messages also show the billionaire was slow to communicate his plans with Taylor and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal.Jasmine Enberg, an analyst at research firm Insider Intelligence, said the texts seem to illustrate Musk realized that "transforming Twitter was a bigger undertaking than he initially thought." Insider Intelligence is part of Insider, Inc., Insider's parent company.Still, Gerard Filitti, senior counsel at The Lawfare Project, an international non-profit legal think tank and litigation fund based in New York City, said it's difficult to understand the true sway of the texts without relevant depositions to fill in the gaps."It does not appear that any of them alone is explosive in content," Filitti said. "As with all evidence these messages will be used to tell a story and they will be shaped to whichever side is telling that story."Have a tip to share? Email the reporter from a non-work email at gkay@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider4 hr. 1 min. ago Related News

In Ian"s wake, worried families crowdsource rescue efforts

Desperate to locate and rescue their loved ones, social media users are sharing personal details of their family members and friends online hoping for help from strangers......»»

Category: topSource: foxnews4 hr. 1 min. ago Related News

We Will Now Find Out What Putin Does When It Is "Sovereign Russia" That Is Being Attacked

We Will Now Find Out What Putin Does When It Is "Sovereign Russia" That Is Being Attacked By Michael Every of Rabobank Really Trussing Up Yesterday saw stocks slump and key bond yields rise slightly, the US dollar remain on the back foot, and commodities --or at least oil-- fail to go anywhere. We also got some market-moving events and statements: we just haven’t seen the matching moves happen yet. Russia announced it will annex parts of Ukraine today. This will then introduce a global split between the likely small number of states that will recognise this decision, given the doors it opens to other contested borders being changed by force, and the entire western world, which will reject the move. Then we find out what Russia will do when it is “sovereign Russia” that is being attacked. Risk is unlikely to be on as a result, especially into a weekend. Far from unrelated, the EU saw major developments in its energy crisis. Even if the Twitterfication of it might have been unfairly reductive, how about: “EU official: President of the EU Council Michel believes the EU needs to tackle high gas prices and electricity prices; it’s up to the experts to figure out the details.” Such royal hand-waving unlinked to how reality works is how we got into this mess in the first place. But things were figured out. Not, as former BOE Governor Carney said of the UK, a needed rush for nuclear power. Rather, Germany --where inflation hit 10.9%, and the government warned the energy crisis is becoming a broader social crisis-- offered a EUR200bn “protective shield” to keep the price of electricity down. That means massive state subsidies and debts; for years; with no energy rationing in place; as the country starts to run dreaded twin deficits; and as the ECB raises rates. Those Europeans talking about Schadenfreude looking at the UK should be aware that while Nos. 10 and 11 are acting like the Mad Hatter and March Hare at the Tea Party, Europe is also living in Wünderland. In fact, it’s hard to make an argument that the EU is not risking becoming the UK with a lag. To hammer home the point, the ESRB regulators report the EU faces ‘severe risks’ to its financial system, with the Ukraine war possibly (only possibly?!) creating a combination of slow growth, falling prices, and market stress. I don’t think the dollar will be down, or the EUR up, for long. Of course, the same is true for GBP. More so when Pill yesterday claimed the BOE did not intervene in the Gilts market to push yields lower (as 30-years collapsed 106bp!), and will not do QE or Yield Curve Control; and neither will it fund the government, or MMT. The only logical function left is a bailout: except that is supposed to be on Bagehot terms: “Lend without limit, to solvent firms, against good collateral, at high rates.” I didn’t see that – did you? As if that was not enough UK “More Tea! More Tea!”, and as suggested earlier this week, PM Truss is now going to push for aggressive state spending cuts to show markets that she is serious about fiscal discipline. So, tax cuts for the rich remain and bankers’ bonuses are back, etc., but we will see huge real-terms declines in social spending across the board into a recession, and even on “geoliberalism” UK soft power like the BBC World Service. In the ultimate marketplace of ideas, democracy, Labour is now up between 17 and 33 points up in the polls, which would imply the Tories will be entirely wiped off the political map. Following the lead of using Macron as a verb in Russian (“Macronit” meaning to talk a lot and then do nothing useful), yesterday saw market chatter of how “to Truss” or to “Truss up” might be used in idiomatic English. (“They really Trussed that up, didn’t they?”) All I would add is that it also works with a Germanic “Truß” – with a lag.   Meanwhile, the Fed sent the message rates are going to keep rising regardless, even if we see a recession, that UK wobbles have as little to do with it as the UK claims its budget has to do with its wobbles, and whispers are that may include only a hairshirt “the discount window is available if you need it” Bagehot safety net ahead. This is revolutionary stuff for markets coddled with liquidity since Greenspan. Are they Trussing up too? Larry Summers, who is being mentioned so often it surely cannot be a coincidence, is saying he sees the present backdrop looking like August 2007. Some think August 2008. In either case, the PBOC is now leaning back towards bubbles again regardless, allowing nearly two dozen cities to lower mortgage rates for purchases of a primary property. The problem is that everyone can see that aside from a few hotspots, property is over-priced and over-supplied, and prices are going to fall anyway now the mania has faded – so why rush to buy? The other problem is that if the PBOC succeed, it means inflation for everyone else. The PMI reading of 50.1 today, up from 49.4, is neither here nor there, but the private Caixin PMI at 48.1 vs. 49.5 expected was there not here. As Mexico just hiked rates 75bp to 9.25%, Bloomberg also notes the RBA faces an uphill battle to not be as hawkish as everyone else. (And does not note “because housing.”) It quotes there are “some lingering issues around credibility and communication,” which reminds me of the quip from Gandhi: “What do you think of Western civilisation?” “I think it would be a good idea.” Of course, the BOJ is still doing its own sweet thing, boosting regular bond purchases this morning to try to cap upwards pressure on yields – which can only mean downwards pressure on JPY. I would write more, but it’s been a hell of a week for me personally, and I am too Trussed up to do so. End of the month, end of the quarter, end of our tethers. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 15:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge4 hr. 33 min. ago Related News

Facebook Owner Meta Announces Hiring Freeze, Warns Employees of Restructuring

The move puts an end to the social media giant’s years of rapid growth and expansion Meta Platforms Inc., the owner of Facebook and Instagram, said it will freeze hiring and restructure some teams in an effort to cut costs and shift priorities, putting an end to the social media giant’s years of rapid growth and expansion. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s freeze on Thursday during a weekly Q&A session with employees, according to a person in attendance. He added that the company would reduce budgets across most teams, even those that are growing, and that individual teams will sort out how to handle headcount changes. That could mean not filling roles that employees depart, shifting people to other teams, or working to “manage out people who aren’t succeeding,” according to remarks reviewed by Bloomberg. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “I had hoped the economy would have more clearly stabilized by now, but from what we’re seeing it doesn’t yet seem like it has, so we want to plan somewhat conservatively,” Zuckerberg said. A Meta spokesperson declined to comment. Read More: ‘Only the Paranoid Survive.’ Some CEOs Are Cutting Staff Even as the Labor Market Booms Meta stock, which was already trading down to start the day, fell further on the news, down 4% from Wednesday’s close. The shares are down more than 40% so far this year. The further cost cuts and hiring freeze are Meta’s starkest admission that advertising revenue growth is slowing amid mounting competition for users’ attention. It’s not an ideal time to be cutting; besides economic pressures, the company’s advertising business is less efficient due to new privacy restrictions from Apple Inc. on tracking iPhone users. TikTok is attracting a younger demographic away from Instagram. And Zuckerberg is making an expensive bet on the metaverse, an immersive virtual reality future where he imagines people will eventually communicate, an effort he has said will lose the company money for many years. Read More: What Mark Zuckerberg Revealed About His Metaverse Plans Meta said earlier this year that it was planning to slow hiring for some management roles, and had postponed handing out full-time jobs to summer interns. The freeze was necessary because “we want to make sure we’re not adding people to teams where we don’t expect to have roles next year,” Zuckerberg explained Thursday. Zuckerberg had warned in July that that Meta would “steadily reduce headcount growth,” and that “many teams are going to shrink so we can shift energy to other areas.” Priorities internally include Reels, Meta’s TikTok competitor, and Zuckerberg’s metaverse. Meta had more than 83,500 employees as of June 30, and added 5,700 new hires in the second quarter. Zuckerberg said Thursday that the company would be “somewhat smaller” by the end of 2023. “For the first 18 years of the company, we basically grew quickly basically every year, and then more recently our revenue has been flat to slightly down for the first time,” he told staff. Read More: Why Frances Haugen Is ‘Super Scared’ About Facebook’s Metaverse During its first-quarter earnings call, Meta said annual expenses would be roughly $3 billion lower than initially projected, trimming an estimated range that had been as high as $95 billion. In prior moves to reduce spending, a dual-camera watch the company was building to compete with the Apple Watch was shuttered. Meta is not the only advertising company to be hit by broader economic challenges. Twitter Inc. enacted its own hiring freeze back in May, and has been asking employees to watch their expenses and reduce travel and marketing costs. Alphabet Inc.’s Google, too, said that it would slow hiring during the back half of the year, and Snap Inc. cut 20% of its workforce in August......»»

Category: topSource: time5 hr. 17 min. ago Related News

Eurozone Inflation a ‘Grave Concern,’ Jumps to Record 10%

Energy prices were the main culprit, rising 40.8% over a year ago, according to September's reading by Eurostat. FRANKFURT, Germany — Inflation in the European countries using the euro currency has broken into double digits as prices for electricity and natural gas soar, signaling a looming winter recession for one of the globe’s major economies as higher prices undermine consumers’ spending power. Consumer prices in the 19-country eurozone rose a record 10% in September from a year earlier, up from an annual 9.1% in August, EU statistics agency Eurostat reported Friday. Only a year ago, inflation was as low as 3.4%. Price increases were beyond what market analysts had expected and are at their highest level since record-keeping for the euro started in 1997. Energy prices were the main culprit, rising 40.8% over a year ago. Food, alcohol and tobacco prices jumped 11.8%. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “I’m already looking a lot more for special offers,” said Myriam Maierhofer, a 64-year-old trainer and coach for staff development, who was shopping Thursday at weekly outdoor market in Cologne, Germany. “I don’t throw away so much so quickly, so I’ve become more economical with food. And this morning, I also turned down the heating in the rooms again.” Inflation has been fueled by steady cutbacks in supplies of natural gas from Russia and bottlenecks in getting supplies of raw materials and parts as the global economy bounces back from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Russian cutbacks have sent gas prices soaring to the point where energy-intensive businesses such as fertilizer and steel say they can no longer make some products at a profit. Meanwhile, high prices for utility bills, food and fuel are leaving consumers with less money to spend on other things. That is the main reason economists are predicting a recession, or a severe and long-lasting downturn in economic activity, for the end of this year and the first months of next year. The European Central Bank is raising interest rates to combat inflation by keeping higher prices from being baked into people’s expectations for wages and prices, it but can’t by itself lower energy prices. Friday’s inflation reading was likely to be a matter of “grave concern” for the ECB, said Jessica Hinds, senior Europe economist at Capital Economics. She said the central bank’s rate-setting council was likely to raise its benchmark rates by an outsized three-quarters of a percentage point at its next meeting Oct. 27. Higher interest rates make it more expensive for people and businesses to borrow, invest and spend, dampening demand for goods and thus restraining inflation. Inflation is far above the ECB’s goal of 2% considered best for the economy. Central banks around the world are rapidly raising rates, led by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is aiming to bring down inflation that hit 8.3% in August. Eurozone inflation has eclipsed the United Kingdom’s 9.9% registered last month. European officials call the natural gas cutbacks from Russia energy blackmail aimed at pressuring and dividing European governments over Western sanctions and their support for Ukraine. Russia blames technical problems. The rising gas prices that have resulted mean higher heating bills and higher electricity costs because natural gas is used to generate power, heat homes and run factories. European Union energy ministers on Friday adopted a windfall levy on profits by fossil fuel companies and other measures to ease the energy crisis, while individual countries also have allocated hundreds of billions to provide relief to households and businesses. With consumer prices in Germany rising by 10.9%, hitting double digits for the first time in decades, the government announced plans to spend up to 200 billion euros ($195 billion) to help with surging gas bills in Europe’s largest single economy. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Thursday that the government was reactivating an economic stabilizing fund previously used during the global financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. Christian Schrader, 35, who was shopping at the market in Cologne, was less worried about food prices but said that “you start to think about which rooms need to be heated in the flat and try to explain to the children that we only play in one room.” A bigger worry was “the social dimension,” he said. “Inflation has often been a driver for social division, for extreme tendencies, for populism. This dimension worries me more.” ___ AP reporter Daniel Niemann contributed from Cologne, Germany......»»

Category: topSource: time5 hr. 17 min. ago Related News

The Big Takeaways From Elon Musk’s Twitter Texts

Hundreds of Elon Musk’s private text messages about Twitter were made public Hundreds of Elon Musk’s private text messages about Twitter were made public Thursday in a Delaware court filing, part of a stack of evidence in Twitter’s forthcoming legal case against the Tesla CEO. Musk’s texts offer a rare insight into the private conversations of the man at the center of a business deal that captivated the world. The messages were mostly sent in March and April this year, a period when Musk began regularly criticizing Twitter publicly, announced he had acquired a minority stake in the company, agreed to join its board, then backed out and made a $44 billion hostile takeover bid before attempting to pull out of the deal. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Twitter is now suing Musk in an attempt to force him to go through with his agreement, finalized in April, to buy Twitter. In his attempt to get out of the deal, Musk argues that Twitter misled him over the number of fake accounts on its platform. The trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 17. Read More: Whether or Not He Buys Twitter, Elon Musk Has Thrown the Company Into Turmoil The texts reveal how Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder, cheered Musk’s effort to buy and reform the platform from behind the scenes, and attempted to heal Musk’s deteriorating relationship with Parag Agrawal, Dorsey’s successor as Twitter CEO. They also show how, at the same time as he was soliciting financing for his Twitter deal, Musk was contemplating a “Plan B” to turn the platform into a blockchain-based social network. The messages suggest Musk soured on that plan after concluding it would be unfeasible. The texts reveal Musk’s contact list is a who’s who of business titans and media personalities, many of whom clambered to offer him their two cents as his plans for Twitter became public knowledge. Here are the big takeaways from Elon Musk’s Twitter text messages. Jack Dorsey’s behind-the-scenes role The texts reveal how Dorsey had pushed for months at Twitter to grant Musk a seat on the company’s board. On March 26, after Musk sent a series of tweets criticizing Twitter’s approach to free speech and asking whether a new platform was needed, Dorsey sent Musk a series of messages urging Musk to “help” turn the company around. “You care so much, get its importance, and could def help in immeasurable ways,” Dorsey wrote to Musk. Dorsey told Musk that in 2021, while he was still CEO, he had tried to convince Twitter’s board to give Musk a seat, but decided to quit after the directors declined. The board considered giving Musk a seat too risky, Dorsey’s texts say. “That’s about the time I decided I needed to work to leave [Twitter], as hard as it was for me,” Dorsey told Musk in the messages. (Dorsey resigned as Twitter CEO in November 2021, and stepped down from its board in May 2022.) Meanwhile, Musk’s tweets about the future of Twitter appeared to have spurred the company’s board to reevaluate their opposition to the billionaire taking a seat. Days later, according to the texts, Musk met Agrawal and Bret Taylor, chair of the Twitter board, for dinner at a quirky AirBnB in San Jose, California, surrounded by tractors, donkeys, and abandoned trucks. “Great dinner :)” Musk texted a group chat afterward. “Really great,” Taylor replied. “The donkeys and dystopian surveillance helicopters really added to the ambiance.” “Memorable for multiple reasons. Really enjoyed it,” Agrawal said. Two days later, Dorsey texted Musk. “I heard good things are happening,” he said. Read More: Elon Musk Is Convinced He’s the Future. We Need to Look Beyond Him The next day, April 4, Musk announced publicly he had been buying Twitter stock since January and had amassed an almost 10% stake in the company. The day after that, Agrawal tweeted out a statement saying Musk had agreed to join the Twitter board. After the news was announced, Dorsey criticized the board in a message to Musk. “Thank you for joining!” he wrote. “Parag is an incredible engineer. The board is terrible. Always here to talk through anything you want.” “I couldn’t be happier you’re doing this,” Dorsey added. “I’ve wanted it for a long time. Got very emotional when I learned it was finally possible.” Musk’s relationship with Parag Agrawal sours The texts provide a behind-the-scenes look at how Musk’s conversations with the Twitter CEO quickly deteriorated. The pair had a cordial exchange where they bonded over a shared love of coding and engineering. “I have a ton of ideas, but [let me know] if I’m pushing too hard,” Musk wrote to Agrawal on April 7. “I just want Twitter to be maximum amazing.” But two days later, after more tweets from Musk criticizing Twitter publicly, Agrawal sent him a terse message. “You are free to tweet ‘is Twitter dying?’ or anything else about Twitter – but it’s my responsibility to tell you that it’s not helping me make Twitter better in the current context,” Agrawal wrote. “Next time we speak, I’d like to […] provide you perspective on the level of internal distraction right now and how it’s hurting our ability to do work.” “What did you get done this week?” Musk wrote back. “I’m not joining the board,” Musk added in a followup message. “This is a waste of time. Will make an offer to take Twitter private.” As Musk began soliciting bankers and other tech billionaires for cash to finance his takeover, the court document shows Dorsey attempting to repair the damage between Musk and Agrawal. “I just want to make this amazing and feel bound to it,” Dorsey wrote to Musk on April 26, after getting him to agree to join a group call with Agrawal. “I won’t let this fail and will do whatever it takes. It’s just too critical to humanity.” Read More: The Twitter Whistleblower Needs You to Trust Him The subsequent messages suggest that the attempt failed. “You and I are in complete agreement,” Musk wrote to Dorsey after the call. “Parag is just moving far too slowly and trying to please people who will not be happy no matter what he does.” “At least it became clear that you can’t work together,” Dorsey replied. “That was clarifying.” How Musk soured on blockchain Another big takeaway from the text messages is that Musk was weighing an ill-fated plan to turn Twitter into a blockchain-based platform, even after he had decided to mount a hostile takeover of the company. “I have an idea for a blockchain social media system that does both payments and short text messages/links like Twitter,” Musk texted his brother, Kimbal Musk, on April 9. “You have to pay a tiny amount to register your message on the chain, which will cut out the vast majority of spam and bots. There is no throat to choke, so free speech is guaranteed.” Musk said he had a “Plan-B” for Twitter based on the blockchain. “My Plan-B is a blockchain-based version of Twitter, where the “tweets” are embedded in the transaction as comments,” he wrote in an April 14 message to Steve Davis, the CEO of Musk’s tunnel-drilling Boring Company. “So you’d have to pay maybe 0.1 Doge per comment or repost of that comment.” Dogecoin, or Doge, is a spoof cryptocurrency, named after a meme about a dog. Musk repeatedly tweeted about investing in the digital currency in 2021, which briefly sent its value surging before it crashed. But just 11 days later, Musk appeared to have changed his mind. Musk received a text from an intermediary who said he represented the billionaire CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried. The intermediary said Bankman-Fried could offer Musk up to $5 billion in financing for his Twitter takeover if Musk agreed to let him “do the engineering for social media blockchain integration.” “Blockchain Twitter isn’t possible,” Musk shot back. “The bandwidth and latency requirements cannot be supported by a peer to peer network, unless those ‘peers’ are absolutely gigantic, thus defeating the purpose of a decentralized network.” Musk still agreed to meet with Bankman-Fried, but on one condition: “So long as I don’t have to have a laborious blockchain debate.” (Bankman-Fried did not end up contributing money to Musk’s Twitter bid.) Musk’s inbox blows up with big-name messages As Musk’s plans for Twitter began to dominate the news cycle, his inbox began to blow up with messages from public figures—including interview requests from high-profile journalists, outreach from fixers claiming to represent politicians, and informal commitments from some of Silicon Valley’s biggest investors to help fund the Twitter takeover. Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning, texted Musk on April 14. “ELON! You buying Twitter or offering to buy Twitter … Wow!” her message reads. “Now don’t you think we should sit down together face to face? This is, as the kids of today say, a ‘gangsta move’.” The message went on: “I don’t know how shareholders turn this down. Like I said, you are not like the other kids in the class.” Read More: A Complete Timeline of Elon Musk’s Business Endeavors The court filing shows Musk soliciting billions of dollars in financing directly, via informal messages with tech CEOs. On April 20, Musk texted Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to ask if he would be interested in contributing funding toward his Twitter takeover. An hour later, Ellison had offered him a billion dollars. (Ellison followed through, according to Bloomberg.) Other heavyweights from the business world whose messages appear in the filing include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, media investor James Murdoch, and Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff. (Benioff is the owner and co-chair of TIME). Musk’s inbox also filled with messages from people on the overt political right, who appeared enthused by his public statements criticizing Twitter for being too left-wing. “Are you going to liberate Twitter from the censorship happy mob?” podcast host Joe Rogan asked in a message dated April 4. “I will provide advice, which they may or may not choose to follow,” Musk replied. And Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida tipped for a run at the presidency in 2024, appeared to reach out through an intermediary. “Governor DeSantis just called me just now with ideas how to help you,” wrote Joe Lonsdale, a venture capitalist, in a message to Musk on April 16. “Let me know if you or somebody on your side wants to chat [with] him.” “Haha cool,” Musk replied......»»

Category: topSource: time5 hr. 17 min. ago Related News

How wild and baseless claims that Biden blew up the Nord Stream pipelines moved seamlessly between Tucker Carlson and the Kremlin

The spread of the conspiracy theory from Russian networks, through US far-right influencers, is emblematic of their close ties. Fox News host Tucker Carlson.Fox News Tucker Carlson pushed a Russian conspiracy theory suggesting the US blew up the Nord Stream pipeline.  The claim was then recycled by Russian state TV, and other far-right influencers.  Kremlin and US far-right propaganda often mirror each other.  Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday seized on the news that that the Nord Stream pipelines, which were built to channel gas from Russia to Western Europe, appeared to have been sabotaged. Officials in Germany and other EU nations said the undersea pipeline — built by a consortium of European companies and Russia's state-run gas giant Gazprom — appeared to have been deliberately damaged. Western officials pointed to Russia as the likely culprit. Their predominant theory is that the Kremlin was signaling that this vital line carrying energy to Europe is vulnerable to attack — a means to warn the EU over its support for Ukraine. But Carlson had a different view. "If you are Vladimir Putin, you'd have to be a suicidal moron to blow up your own energy pipeline," he said.He pointed to remarks, by President Joe Biden from February, where he opposed activation of the pipeline.Biden had said if Putin invades, "there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2, we will bring an end to it." Those remarks came as the US sought to tighten economic pressure on Russia before the war started. Nord Stream 2 is not in service. Distorting the president's remarks and ignoring that context, Carlson said they could be construed to mean: "We will blow it up."Within hours, the claim was being promoted by far-right influencers in the US, and pushed by the network of Russian state media networks, despite a lack of credible evidence that US warships or operatives had taken part.Russian lawmakers on Wednesday called for Biden to address the allegations at the UN. The case is another example of the lightning-fast reciprocity between far-right influencers in the US and Europe, and the Kremlin's propaganda machine. Matt Gertz, a researcher with Media Matters, which monitors right-wing media, told Insider that Carlson's rhetoric and the Kremlin's propaganda have long mirrored one another. "Carlson's coverage of the war in Ukraine has consistently aligned with that of Russia's government. He is part of a segment of the American right that is blithely uninterested in the suffering of Ukrainians, credulous of Vladimir Putin's stated motivations, and generally more interested in denouncing the US government than the Russian one," he told Insider. Fox News did not respond to Insider's request for comment. 'Wish fulfillment'Defense and security expert Michael Clarke, a professor at the University of Exeter, told Insider that the clip of Biden speaking in February was "neither here nor there" as a form of evidence that the US masterminded the attack. "What Tucker Carlson says is completely at variance with all the known factors," he said.There is no publicly available evidence proving Russia was behind the attack. But Russian warships and submarines were spotted in the area and have the capability, via divers or mini subs, needed to place and detonate what's estimated to be hundreds of pounds of explosives to create pipeline breaks of this size. Clarke added: "America would have far, far more to lose by doing something so stupid as this. The only government for whom it would make any sense would be the Russian government."Carlson's take on the issue is merely "wish fulfillment," he said. Isolationist, "America First" commentators like Carlson oppose US involvement in foreign conflicts, and have long harbored an admiration for Putin's Christian nationalist Russia, say experts.  Russia has been keen to exploit the admiration, tailoring conspiracy theories designed to appeal to the Western far-right.Gertz, from Media Matters, pointed to a Russian government document obtained by Mother Jones in March telling state media outlets "it is essential to use as much as possible fragments of" Carlson's show because he "sharply criticizes the actions of the United States."Since then, Carlson's attacks on US and western policy in Ukraine have been a weekly staple on Russian TV networks, and are praised by pro-Kremlin Russian pundits who say they show ebbing support for the war in the US.And they may be right. One recent poll found that a majority of Americans want the war to come to a negotiated end.Danish Defence CommandHow the Nord Stream claim spread The journey taken by the Nord Stream pipeline Biden conspiracy theory is emblematic of the way pro-Russian propaganda travels. A Wednesday tweet by Polish EU parliamentarian Radek Sidorski, which has since been deleted, triggered intense scrutiny from Russian state media and diplomats. It included a picture of the ruptured pipeline, with the caption: "Thank you, USA."Sidorski's follow-up tweets appeared to attempt to clarify that the original tweet was a criticism of US support for the pipeline being built in the first place, but it was too late. Russia's UN representative Dmitry Polyansky instantly amplified it, saying it made it "crystal clear who stands behind this terrorist-style targeting of civilian infrastructure."—Dmitry Polyanskiy (@Dpol_un) September 27, 2022Sidorski's spokesperson declined to comment or to clarify the lawmaker's meaning to Insider.Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for Russia's foreign ministry, demanded that the EU answer to the tweet, per Russian state media agency TASS.The claim was then picked up by Carlson, who combined it with the footage of Biden in February. This was then shared by US far-right influencers including Turning Point USA's Charlie Kirk, before being recycled by Russian state media, claiming its traction in the US gave it another layer of credibility.In a particularly absurd laundering of the speculation, Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti then wrote an article compiling credulous and largely anonymous reader comments on UK conservative news outlet The Daily Mail. "Daily Mail readers accuse US of attacking Nord Stream," wrote the outlet. The Washington Post noted that clips of Carlson's show were on continual rotation on Russia's main TV news networks Wednesday.  —Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) September 29, 2022As the war enters its seventh month, one of the key questions is whether the Western alliance, on which Ukraine's military and financial support depends, will hold. A strategy to split the West The Kremlin and elements of the US far-right share the broader goal of undermining Western support for Ukraine, which has so far amounted to an estimated $15 billion. The rhetorical attacks have the additional advantage of forcing the US to respond; State Department spokesman Ned Price called the claims "preposterous.And the claims about Nord Stream could not come at a moment of higher tension between Russia and the West. Europe faces a painful winter as it attempts to wean itself off the supply of Russian energy, of which the Nord Stream pipelines were both a potent symbol and a flagship piece of infrastructure.The West's economic sanctions of Russia have caused fuel inflation to spike in Europe, which has already led to protests in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, this week. The US is less dependent on Russian energy, but the Republican Party, whose "America First" wing remains powerful, is increasingly forecast to regain control of the House of Representatives in the November mid-terms.Key members of the party have signaled they may seek to place obstacles in front of future multi-billion military aid packages to Ukraine.It is these factions whose profile the Kremlin is likely seeking to boost, as it steps up its propaganda war and seizes on Western commentators to bolster its campaign. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider5 hr. 17 min. ago Related News

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Is Your Firm Cybersecure?

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. A collaboration between government and private industry, this month is dedicated to raising awareness about data security and empowering businesses and individuals to protect themselves from cybercrime. Cybersecurity Awareness Month represents an excellent opportunity for all real estate agents to make sure they are aware of cyber risks and take… The post October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Is Your Firm Cybersecure? appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismedia6 hr. 1 min. ago Related News

Elon Musk"s vacation buddy, famed Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, has reportedly tried to arrange a potential settlement ahead of the Tesla CEO"s Twitter trial

Ari Emanuel reportedly contacted Twitter director Egon Durban earlier this month and said the two sides should settle before the case goes to trial. Ari Emanuel and Elon MuskAmy Sussman and Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Ari Emanuel has recently pushed for a settlement between Elon Musk and Twitter, Bloomberg reported. It's unclear whether either side is open to settling the case before it goes to trial in October. Spokespeople for Twitter and Musk did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication. Elon Musk's friend Ari Emanuel has recently attempted to broker a potential settlement between Twitter and the billionaire Tesla CEO, according to a report from Bloomberg.Emanuel is one of Hollywood's most powerful agents and the CEO of William Morris Endeavor (WME). He. was also the basis for the character of Ari Gold on the HBO show "Entourage."Musk is set to face off against Twitter in court on October 17. The social media company is attempting to force Musk to buy the company for the original purchase price of $44 billion.Spokespeople for Twitter, Musk, and Emanuel did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.Bloomberg reported that Emanuel contacted Twitter director Egon Durban within the past few weeks and said the two sides should settle before the court case goes to trial. Durban is also a board member at Emanuel's company William Morris Endeavor (WME).Durban notified Twitter's board regarding his conversation with Emanuel, but it's unclear if Twitter is amenable to a settlement, Bloomberg reported. It is also unclear whether Emanuel is acting on Musk's behalf or if the billionaire is even open to a settlement.Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross Business School, told Insider Emanuel is unlikely to have a major sway on the dispute."Musk and Twitter don't need another emissary to shuttle diplomacy between them," Gordon said. "They have bankers and attorneys who have decades of experience mediating legal disputes."The billionaire and Twitter's CEO, Parag Agrawal, were both scheduled to sit down for a deposition this week, but the interviews were rescheduled.Emanuel has been spotted with Musk on several occasions while yachting or lunching. Most recently, the two men were photographed in the summer vacationing on a superyacht off the coast of Greece.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt6 hr. 45 min. ago Related News