Advertisements



: Do Americans trust others to be honest about their COVID vaccine? It all depends on who they are

Democrats are less likely than their Republican counterparts to trust others regarding vaccination status, according to a new survey......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchMay 26th, 2021

"It All Depends On One Word - Trust" - John Rubino Warns "Worst-Case Scenario Too Horrible" To Consider

"It All Depends On One Word - Trust" - John Rubino Warns "Worst-Case Scenario Too Horrible" To Consider Via Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com, It looks like we are on track for yet another global financial meltdown.  This time it is coming out of China in the form of a failed property development company called Evergrande.  It’s five times bigger than Lehman Brothers, whose failure cratered the global economy in 2008.  Will central banks, including the Fed, just let it all fail or will they print massive amounts of money trying to stop the fall?   If history is a guide, we should get ready for the most money creation ever.  In May, financial writer John Rubino said, “This is beyond the ability of any individual to fix.  We can’t save the system.” We sure can print a lot of money to try though. Massive global money printing is what is coming, and it will come with huge consequences for all fiat currencies.  Rubino explains, “Stocks are tanking, cryptos are tanking, currencies of the world are getting volatile, politics are volatile and gold is going up while all this is happening, which it is supposed to do.  Gold is supposed to be the safe haven where you hide out when nothing else seems trustworthy... That hasn’t been the case in prior bear markets.  When stocks tanked, they pulled down gold and silver... It’s a good sign when markets start to behave rationally again.  When high risk assets don’t seem worth it anymore, capital flows into real assets that hold their value no matter what the government is doing to the currency.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work, and that is the way it is working... Trust is probably the key word in this whole discussion.  Fiat only exists because we trust the people who are managing them to maintain their value.  You take the trust away and there is nothing there.  A fiat currency is not a real thing.  It doesn’t actually exist other than little pieces of paper that have no intrinsic value or computer code, which also has no intrinsic value.  So, you take away the trust that we had in the Fed, Treasury, Congress and the President to do the right thing, and be honest, when it comes to the financial markets, you take that away and there really isn’t anything there.  Nobody would want to hold a currency managed by people they can’t trust.  Pay attention to that because the less we trust the guys in charge, the less we trust the currency.  The less we trust the currency, the less we trust the financial markets and the less valuable these financial assets are.  So, it all ties together, and it all depends on that one word—Trust.” What’s Rubino’s biggest fear?  Rubino warns, “My biggest fear is that we screw up our finances, we screw up geopolitics, and we get into a big war because we are close to that now.   The U.S., Russia and China are bumping up against each other, and we are like scorpions in a bottle on this little planet with all these high tech weapons. . . . My biggest fear is we take it well beyond the world of finance to no holds barred military action.  There’s no way to predict anything when you start doing something like that.  The worst case scenario is too horrible to even think about.” Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with John Rubio, founder of the popular website DollarCollapse.com.  To Donate to USAWatchdog.com Click Here Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 16:25.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director"s Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters "Available To Anyone Who Wants One"

As Advisory Panel Warned, CDC Director's Anti-Science Decision Makes Boosters 'Available To Anyone Who Wants One' Now that CDC chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky - possibly working on behalf of her political puppet masters - has overridden her agency's advisory panel to expand the eligibility for Pfizer booster jabs to high-risk workers (a group that ACIP, the advisory panel, had decided to exclude given a paucity of efficacy and safety data), many employers are confused about whether the new guidance applies to them - and whether they might be left in a difficult situation with employees who didn't get the first two vaccines. At the end of the day, the big worry is that hundreds of thousands of shots allocated for workers might simply go unused, left to expire while dozens of poorer countries would be overjoyed to have them. According to the Hill, chaotic and at times contradictory messaging from federal health officials has culminated in a confusing set of recommendations about who should, and shouldn't receive booster jabs, and why? Panel members initially said they had excluded approving jabs on an employment basis because there wasn't enough evidence those people were losing protection. That decision was clearly a disappointment to the Biden Administration, which is possibly why Dr. Walensky interceded. The depth of Dr. Walsensky's contradiction of the science can be found in the exact wording of her decree: Starting immediately, anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 who is at increased risk of COVID-19 "exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting" can get a third dose. Legal experts told the Hill that those words are so vague, practically anyone could qualify. Already, many local level officials appear to be leaning toward simply giving boosters to anyone who asks. "There's going to be confusion. If we are going to create guidelines that are essentially making the vaccine available to almost everyone, the simplest solution is, make it available to everyone," said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at NYU and Bellevue Hospital. "The best public health programs are the ones that are simple and easy to understand and clear, and the more complexity you build into it, the more difficult it is to roll out." That statement above about not creating obstacles to the third shot - that's coming from a scientist who doubted whether they were even necessary. Gounder, who advised the Biden transition team on COVID-19, has been critical of the administration's fervent push for boosters, and said the evidence for a third dose based on occupation was mixed at best. "You have to step back and ask the question, why is it that we're vaccinating people in high risk settings? Is it because they as individuals are at high risk, or is it because it would be disruptive to the workplace," Gounder said. As far as the dramatic conclusion to what was supposed to be a 'staid' scientific process - the CDC director overruling her advisory panel on the issue of occupancy-based eligibility in a late night statement - that should be enough to alert Americans that something strange is happening. Despite the panel's claims, Dr. Walensky took to the White House press briefing on Friday to claim that she did not "overrule" the advisory committee and that she had listened to both sides on the issue of whether to approve boosters by occupational risk. Amusingly, the assiduously pro-Democratic the Washington Post was willing to dismiss this usurpation of "the science" as simply another communications breakdown from the doddering Dems. “Everyone is kind of confused,” he said. The current discontent has deep roots. In April, Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said a third coronavirus dose was “likely” to be needed. In late July, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that their vaccine’s efficacy waned over time. Data from Israel confirmed a drop. Then, last month, as the delta variant of the coronavirus surged and the World Health Organization decried the distribution of third shots in wealthy countries while poor countries were lacking first doses, President Biden announced that most Americans could begin getting boosters of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines Sept. 20 — subject to the government’s regulatory processes, which unfolded in recent days and focused only on Pfizer. Regulators already allowed third shots for the immunocompromised who have received Pfizer or Moderna shots but have not yet made recommendations for all recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The deluge of phone calls about booster shots to Primary Health clinics in Southwestern Idaho began weeks ago. On Friday morning, the group’s Garden City clinic, where Maddie Morris fields inquiries, saw an increase in calls, mostly from senior citizens. “The calls seem pretty nonstop,” the customer service representative said. “It seems like a lot of people are anxious to get a booster.” Doctors say confusion clouds patients’ willingness to receive boosters. In Idaho, the problem coincides with the primary health-care system’s struggle to meet the demands of the latest covid-19 crush, which earlier this month plunged the state into crisis standards of care — essentially the rationing of health care as demand overwhelms resources. Unfortunately for them, it looks like the whole thing is back-firing... Maybe they'll think twice next time around (though we doubt it, since 'next time' is literally happening in the coming weeks when they do this all again with Moderna). Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 13:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt11 hr. 44 min. ago

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Future of Surveillance And Control

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Future of Surveillance And Control Submitted by Ronan Manly, BullionStar.com One of the most potentially far-reaching trends in the financial landscape right now is the imminent roll-out of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and the parallel attacks which central bankers are waging on private digital currencies and tokens as they tee up the launch of their CBDCs. First some clarifications. While the majority of central bank issued currencies (fiat currencies) in existence around the world are already in digital form, a fiat currency held in digital form is not the same as a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). What is a CBDC? A CBDC generally refers to electronic or virtual central bank (fiat) money that is created in the form of digital tokens or account balances which are digital claims on the central bank. CBDCs will be issued by central banks and will be legal tender. Many CBDCs that are being researched and developed employ Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), with the recording of transactions on a blockchain.  However unlike private cryptocurrencies which use a permissionless and open design, CBDCs that use DLT will use permissioned variants (deciding who has access to the network and who can view and update records in the ledger). See here for a discussion of permissionless vs permissioned blockchains. CBDCs - The antithesis to decentralized private cryptocurrencies and tokens Critically, as the name suggests, CBDCs will be centralized and governed by the issuing authority (i.e. a central bank). So, in their design and structure, CBDCs can be viewed as the very antithesis to decentralized private cryptocurrencies and tokens. Central banks have already working on two types of CBDCs, ‘wholesale’ digital tokens that would have access restricted to banks and financial entities to be used for activities like interbank payments and wholesale market transactions, and ‘general purpose’ (retail) CBDC for the general public to be used in retail transactions. It is this ‘general purpose’ CBDC which most people are referring to when they discuss central bank digital currencies, and it is these ‘general purpose’ CBDCs that will be most important to watch when  central banks and governments begin to attempt their roll-outs to distribute CBDCs to billions of people across the world either through account-based CBDCs or ‘digital cash’ tokens. As you can guess, account-based CBDCs will be tied to user identities and Digital IDs, and straight off the bat they allow for total surveillance by the State and torpedo any chance of anonymity. For this reason, they are already a favourite among central banks. Given that CBDCs will be centralized ledgers and can be programmable, the ‘digital cash’ token option is not much better in terms of privacy and freedom. The Bank for International Settlements - The Dark Tower of Basel Many central banks will probably opt for a hybrid model of both account-based and token based digital cash. As an example, Canada, the one time liberal democracy, perhaps illustrates the account-based vs token based choices best, where Canada’s central bank, the Bank of Canada, in it’s design documentation for CBDCs shows that at the end of the day, it's about surveillance and control, saying that: “anonymous token-based options would be allowable for smaller payments, while account-based access would be required for larger purchases.” Central banks are also experimenting with various models for distribution of CBDCs to the masses, including using private commercial banks and payment providers who will intermediate on the central banks’ behalf, and also direct distribution of payments by a central bank to a population. Either way, you can see that CBDCs greatly facilitate the statists to advance their Orwellian plans for Universal Basic Income (UBI) and dependency on the state.    Accelerating rollout CBDCs are not just a buzzword or a hazy innovation that may appear sometime in the distant future. They are actively being developed now, and in widespread fashion. In January 2020, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) issued the results of a survey on CBDCs that it had conducted in the second half of 2019, and to which 66 central banks had responded. Strikingly, 10% of central bank respondents (which represented a fifth of the world’s population) said that they were likely to issue a ‘general purpose’ CBDC (for the general public) in the near future (within the next 3 years). Another 20% of central bank respondents said they would likely issue a ‘general purpose’ CBDC in the medium term (within 6 years). In August 2020, the BIS published a comprehensive working paper on CBDCs titled “Rise of the central bank digital currencies: drivers, approaches and technologies” one part of which analysed the BIS database of central banker speeches and found that between December 2013 and May 2020, there had been 138 central banker speeches mentioning CBDCs, with a dramatic increase in CBDC related speeches since 2016, a timeframe which coincided with central banks launching research projects on CBDCs. The same BIS report also highlighted that, (totally coincidentally) the Covid-19 'pandemic'  "accelerated work on CBDCs in some jurisdictions."  BIS slide on CBDC global project status - August 2021. Source. Fast forward to right now, and on the website of the globalist Atlantic Council (headquartered in Washington D.C.), there is an interesting Central Bank Digital Currency Tracker which lists all the countries that have either launched or piloted a CBDC or are developing or researching a CBDC. Here we find that 5 central banks have already launched a CBDC, 14 have a CBDC in pilot, 16 have a CBDC in development, and another 32 central banks are at the research stage with their CBDC. That makes 67 central banks (countries in total). While the 5 currency areas that have already launched a CBDC are all islands in the Caribbean, the central banks at the pilot stage include heavy weights such as China, South Korea, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.   Those at the development stage include the central banks of Canada, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, France and Nigeria. Those at the research stage include the central banks of the US, UK, Australia, Norway, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. So as you can see, this is not some theoretical issue. Centrally controlled digital currencies are coming down the pipe in a big way, and some will be appearing, if not imminently, then very soon. And given the ease with which governments have imposed lockdowns and restrictions on their compliant populations during 2020 and 2021, it is not hard to envisage that these same pliable masses will be easily influenced to embrace CBDCs as being in their 'best interests'. BIS Switzerland - The Usual Suspect    In fact, one third of the entire BIS annual report 2021 is focused on CBDCs in a section titled “CBDCs: an opportunity for the monetary system”. Here, the BIS predictably trumpets the benefits of introducing central bank issued centralized digital currencies while at the same time attempting to undermine private cryptocurrencies. The BIS wording reveals the fact that central banks are in panic over the competitive threat of private cryptos and have accelerated the development of CBDCs partially due to this fear, with the BIS stating that: “Central bank interest in CBDCs comes at a critical time. Several recent developments have placed a number of potential innovations involving digital currencies high on the agenda. The first of these is the growing attention received by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies; the second is the debate on stablecoins; and the third is the entry of large technology firms (big techs) into payment services and financial services more generally.” The BIS then attempts to dismiss each of these 3 threats: Cryptocurrencies, claims the BIS “are speculative assets rather than money, and in many cases are used to facilitate money laundering, ransomware attacks and other financial crimes”. Bitcoin comes in for some special mention with the BIS saying that “Bitcoin in particular has few redeeming public interest attributes when also considering its wasteful energy footprint’. Stablecoins, says the BIS “attempt to import credibility by being backed by real currencies” that are “ultimately only an appendage to the conventional monetary system and not a game changer.” The entry of large tech firms that dominate social networks, search, messaging, and e-commerce into the realm of financial services and payments provision infrastructure seems to especially bother the BIS, and it spins it’s criticism into the argument that although these platforms have large network affects, this creates “further concentration” in the market for payments. The irony is not lost on the fact that it’s the BIS, as the central bank of central banks and one of the most concentrated power centres in the world, that is criticizing others’ “concentration” of power.   Throughout this CBDC pitch, the BIS report refers at numerous points that digital currencies should be “in the public interest”, which really means that digital currencies should be controlled by the BIS and its central bank members, as well as perpetuate their centralized monetary power structure. The BIS even has the gall to claim that CBDCs should respect privacy rights, when in fact the whole architecture, rationale and design of central bank digital currencies will allow central banks and national authorities to invade totally on privacy rights.  But sometimes the BIS let's it's guard down, and reveals it's authoritarian plans for CBDCs. A case in point is a recent interview with Agustín Carstens general manager of the BIS, where he chillingly said:  "We don’t know who’s using a $100 bill today and we don’t know who’s using a 1,000 peso bill today. The key difference with the CBDC is the central bank will have absolute control on the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that expression of central bank liability, and also we will have the technology to enforce that.” See video segment below for Carstens' remarks: Singing from the Same Song Sheet With the BIS is Basel Switzerland as the conductor and orchestrator, it's not surprising that central bank governors and country heads are now singing from the same song sheet, the song being ‘private digital currencies bad, central bank digital currencies good’. Earlier this month (September 2021) at a banking conference in Stockholm, the governor of Sweden’s central bank (Riksbank), Stefan Ingves, commented that ‘private money usually collapses sooner or later’, while conveniently failing to mention the hundreds of government and central bank issued paper currencies that have collapsed throughout history due to overprinting, depreciation and hyperinflation. Nor did Ingves mention Voltaire’s famous quote that “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value - zero”. Ingves, whose country is one of the leaders in promoting a cashless society, also took a derogatory swipe at Bitcoin saying “sure, you can get rich by trading in bitcoin, but it’s comparable to trading in stamps.” All the while the Riksbank is pushing ahead with it’s central bank digital currency, called the e-krona, a CBDC which uses distributed ledger technology, and which the Swedish central bank is currently testing in conjunction with Handelsbanken, one of Sweden’s largest retail banks. In the same week as Ingves’s comments in Sweden, the governor of Mexico’s central bank, Alejandro Diaz de Leon, was also taking a shot at private cryptocurrencies and for good measure he also put the boot into precious metals. Diaz de Leon said that Bitcoin is more like a method of barter than ‘evolved’ fiat money, and continued “in our times, money has evolved to be fiat money issued by central banks. Bitcoin is more like a dimension of precious metals than daily legal tender.” That comment, which attacks two birds with one stone (crypto and precious metals), will definitely please his central bank governor colleagues at thee BIS, and may even earn Diaz de Leon a nomination as the next BIS general manager, to succeed his fellow countryman Agustín Carstens.    Speaking of the BIS, Benoit Coeure, head of the BIS Innovation Hub, also gave a WEF style speech about CBDCs in early September, acknowledging the convenient catalyst of the covid 'pandemic', and the accelerated development of CBDCs by central banks:  "the world is not returning to the old normal. Payments are a case in point. The pandemic has accelerated a longer-running move to digital .... the world's central banks are stepping up efforts to prepare the ground for digital cash – central bank digital currency (CBDC): "A CBDC's goal is ultimately to preserve the best elements of our current systems while still allowing a safe space for tomorrow's innovation. To do so, central banks have to act while the current system is still in place – and to act now." Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also recently joined in the attack on private digital currencies, while simultaneously promoting Turkey’s CBDC. At an event on 18 September, the Turkish president stated that:  “we have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies” “on the contrary, we have a separate war, a separate fight against them. We would never lend support to [cryptocurrencies]. Because we will move forward with our own currency that has its own identity.” PBOC SAYS ALL CRYPTO-RELATED TRANSACTIONS ARE ILLEGAL So the digital yuan is a complete disaster eh? — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 24, 2021 China: Digital Yuan - An Ominous Blueprint  A huge red flag over CBDCs and user privacy is that these central bank digital currencies are programmable, as details on China’s ‘Digital Yuan’ already show. For example, the Digital Yuan can be programmed to be activated on a certain date, programmed to expire on a certain date, programmed to be only valid for certain purchases, and ominously, programmed to be only available to citizens who meet certain pre-conditions. As a potential blueprint for other CBDCs, people across the world need to sit up and take notice, because the issuing authorities of these CBDCs coming down the pipe can therefore decide who gets access to CBDCs, what they can transact using those currencies, and how long the purchasing power remains valid. Central Banks can thus influence and control the behaviour of the recipients of this centralised digital cash,  as well as exclude those who they want to penalize or who don’t comply with the State's rules or parameters. And right on cue as this article was just published, Chinese authorities have now announced (on 24 September)  a total ban on all cryptocurrency transactions. Except of course, it's upcoming authoritarian Digital Yuan.    The future according to WEF's Klaus Schwab and his Elite private banker handlers Conclusion - Slavery or Monetary Freedom Although central banks will claim that they are introducing CBDCs for reasons such as improving payments efficiency, boosting financial inclusion for the unbanked and tackling illicit transactions, their real motivations, as always, are for surveillance and control. Surveillance of a population via complete visibility into financial transaction flow and user identities, and centralized control of the money supply within a cashless financial system. Think China’s social credit system on a global dystopian scale, where vax passes evolve into digital IDs and digital IDs link to CBDC issuance and use. In fact, the entire coercion around implementing vaccine passports and digital IDs looks to be a pre-planned stepping stone for the roll-out of central bank digital currencies and global social credit systems. The timing of the accelerated emergence of CBDCs may partially be an attempt by central banks to outflank the numerous private cryptocurrencies, tokens and decentralized finance ecosystems that have emerged and that are a threat to the power of the centralized banking system at whose apex sits the BIS. But it would be naïve to think that central banks that knew in advance about the initiation of a‘WEF’ global technocratic and corpocratic takeover that would begin in 2020, are not now orchestrating the rollout of CBDCs as part of a long-term global agenda, that agenda being the global socialist Agenda 2030, and a future in which, according to the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy”. BIS and central bank attacks against private cryptocurrencies are to be expected. After all, the same central banks and the BIS have waged a very long war against physical gold and silver. And precious metals have been money since 4000 B.C.. With the launch of CBDCs by central banks and their elitist private banking controllers, that war looks set to intensify. So, do you want a future of monetary freedom, or a future of perpetual slavery to central banker CBDCs?  If you want monetary freedom, then ownership of physical precious metals and private and anonymous digital currencies are now some of the only ways to counter and protect against the ominous CBDC plans which the BIS and its central bank members are intent with imminently rolling out. *  *  * This article originally appeared on the BullionStar.com website under the same title "Central Bank Digital Currencies – A Future of Surveillance and Control" Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 15:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt11 hr. 44 min. ago

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org, You asked for it, so we made it. A collection of all the arguments you’ll ever need. We get a lot of e-mails and private messages along these lines “do you have a source for X?” or “can you point me to mask studies?” or “I know I saw a graph for mortality, but I can’t find it anymore”. And we understand, it’s been a long 18 months, and there are so many statistics and numbers to try and keep straight in your head. So, to deal with all these requests, we decided to make a bullet-pointed and sourced list for all the key points. A one-stop-shop. Here are key facts and sources about the alleged “pandemic”, that will help you get a grasp on what has happened to the world since January 2020, and help you enlighten any of your friends who might be still trapped in the New Normal fog: “Covid deaths” – Lockdowns – PCR Tests – “asymptomatic infection” – Ventilators – Masks – Vaccines – Deception & Foreknowledge *  *  * PART I: “COVID DEATHS” & MORTALITY 1. The survival rate of “Covid” is over 99%. Government medical experts went out of their way to underline, from the beginning of the pandemic, that the vast majority of the population are not in any danger from Covid. Almost all studies on the infection-fatality ratio (IFR) of Covid have returned results between 0.04% and 0.5%. Meaning Covid’s survival rate is at least 99.5%. * 2. There has been NO unusual excess mortality. The press has called 2020 the UK’s “deadliest year since world war two”, but this is misleading because it ignores the massive increase in the population since that time. A more reasonable statistical measure of mortality is Age-Standardised Mortality Rate (ASMR): By this measure, 2020 isn’t even the worst year for mortality since 2000, In fact since 1943 only 9 years have been better than 2020. Similarly, in the US the ASMR for 2020 is only at 2004 levels: For a detailed breakdown of how Covid affected mortality across Western Europe and the US click here. What increases in mortality we have seen could be attributable to non-Covid causes [facts 7, 9 & 19]. * 3. “Covid death” counts are artificially inflated. Countries around the globe have been defining a “Covid death” as a “death by any cause within 28/30/60 days of a positive test”. Healthcare officials from Italy, Germany, the UK, US, Northern Ireland and others have all admitted to this practice: Removing any distinction between dying of Covid, and dying of something else after testing positive for Covid will naturally lead to over-counting of “Covid deaths”. British pathologist Dr John Lee was warning of this “substantial over-estimate” as early as last spring. Other mainstream sources have reported it, too. Considering the huge percentage of “asymptomatic” Covid infections [14], the well-known prevalence of serious comorbidities [fact 4] and the potential for false-positive tests [fact 18], this renders the Covid death numbers an extremely unreliable statistic. * 4. The vast majority of covid deaths have serious comorbidities. In March 2020, the Italian government published statistics showing 99.2% of their “Covid deaths” had at least one serious comorbidity. These included cancer, heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, kidney failure and diabetes (among others). Over 50% of them had three or more serious pre-existing conditions. This pattern has held up in all other countries over the course of the “pandemic”. An October 2020 FOIA request to the UK’s ONS revealed less than 10% of the official “Covid death” count at that time had Covid as the sole cause of death. * 5. Average age of “Covid death” is greater than the average life expectancy. The average age of a “Covid death” in the UK is 82.5 years. In Italy it’s 86. Germany, 83. Switzerland, 86. Canada, 86. The US, 78, Australia, 82. In almost all cases the median age of a “Covid death” is higher than the national life expectancy. As such, for most of the world, the “pandemic” has had little-to-no impact on life expectancy. Contrast this with the Spanish flu, which saw a 28% drop in life expectancy in the US in just over a year. [source] * 6. Covid mortality exactly mirrors the natural mortality curve. Statistical studies from the UK and India have shown that the curve for “Covid death” follows the curve for expected mortality almost exactly: The risk of death “from Covid” follows, almost exactly, your background risk of death in general. The small increase for some of the older age groups can be accounted for by other factors.[facts 7, 9 & 19] * 7. There has been a massive increase in the use of “unlawful” DNRs. Watchdogs and government agencies have reported huge increases in the use of Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNRs) over the last twenty months. In the US, hospitals considered “universal DNRs” for any patient who tested positive for Covid, and whistleblowing nurses have admitted the DNR system was abused in New York. In the UK there was an “unprecdented” rise in “illegal” DNRs for disabled people, GP surgeries sent out letters to non-terminal patients recommending they sign DNR orders, whilst other doctors signed “blanket DNRs” for entire nursing homes. A study done by Sheffield Univerisity found over one-third of all “suspected” Covid patients had a DNR attached to their file within 24 hours of hospital admission. Blanket use of coerced or illegal DNR orders could account for any increases in mortality in 2020/21.[Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART II: LOCKDOWNS 8. Lockdowns do not prevent the spread of disease. There is little to no evidence lockdowns have any impact on limiting “Covid deaths”. If you compare regions that locked down to regions that did not, you can see no pattern at all. “Covid deaths” in Florida (no lockdown) vs California (lockdown) “Covid deaths” in Sweden (no lockdown) vs UK (lockdown) * 9. Lockdowns kill people. There is strong evidence that lockdowns – through social, economic and other public health damage – are deadlier than the “virus”. Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organization special envoy for Covid-19 described lockdowns as a “global catastrophe” in October 2020: We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of the virus[…] it seems we may have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition […] This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe.” A UN report from April 2020 warned of 100,000s of children being killed by the economic impact of lockdowns, while tens of millions more face possible poverty and famine. Unemployment, poverty, suicide, alcoholism, drug use and other social/mental health crises are spiking all over the world. While missed and delayed surgeries and screenings are going to see increased mortality from heart disease, cancer et al. in the near future. The impact of lockdown would account for the small increases in excess mortality [Facts 2 & 6] * 10. Hospitals were never unusually over-burdened. the main argument used to defend lockdowns is that “flattening the curve” would prevent a rapid influx of cases and protect healthcare systems from collapse. But most healthcare systems were never close to collapse at all. In March 2020 it was reported that hospitals in Spain and Italy were over-flowing with patients, but this happens every flu season. In 2017 Spanish hospitals were at 200% capacity, and 2015 saw patients sleeping in corridors. A paper JAMA paper from March 2020 found that Italian hospitals “typically run at 85-90% capacity in the winter months”. In the UK, the NHS is regularly stretched to breaking point over the winter. As part of their Covid policy, the NHS announced in Spring of 2020 that they would be “re-organizing hospital capacity in new ways to treat Covid and non-Covid patients separately” and that “as result hospitals will experience capacity pressures at lower overall occupancy rates than would previously have been the case.” This means they removed thousands of beds. During an alleged deadly pandemic, they reduced the maximum occupancy of hospitals. Despite this, the NHS never felt pressure beyond your typical flu season, and at times actually had 4x more empty beds than normal. In both the UK and US millions were spent on temporary emergency hospitals that were never used. *  *  * PART III: PCR TESTS 11. PCR tests were not designed to diagnose illness. The Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test is described in the media as the “gold standard” for Covid diagnosis. But the Nobel Prize-winning inventor of the process never intended it to be used as a diagnostic tool, and said so publicly: PCR is just a process that allows you to make a whole lot of something out of something. It doesn’t tell you that you are sick, or that the thing that you ended up with was going to hurt you or anything like that.” * 12. PCR Tests have a history of being inaccurate and unreliable. The “gold standard” PCR tests for Covid are known to produce a lot of false-positive results, by reacting to DNA material that is not specific to Sars-Cov-2. A Chinese study found the same patient could get two different results from the same test on the same day. In Germany, tests are known to have reacted to common cold viruses. A 2006 study found PCR tests for one virus responded to other viruses too. In 2007, a reliance on PCR tests resulted in an “outbreak” of Whooping Cough that never actually existed. Some tests in the US even reacted to the negative control sample. The late President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, submitted samples goat, pawpaw and motor oil for PCR testing, all came back positive for the virus. As early as February of 2020 experts were admitting the test was unreliable. Dr Wang Cheng, president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences told Chinese state television “The accuracy of the tests is only 30-50%”. The Australian government’s own website claimed “There is limited evidence available to assess the accuracy and clinical utility of available COVID-19 tests.” And a Portuguese court ruled that PCR tests were “unreliable” and should not be used for diagnosis. You can read detailed breakdowns of the failings of PCR tests here, here and here. * 13. The CT values of the PCR tests are too high. PCR tests are run in cycles, the number of cycles you use to get your result is known as your “cycle threshold” or CT value. Kary Mullis said: “If you have to go more than 40 cycles[…]there is something seriously wrong with your PCR.” The MIQE PCR guidelines agree, stating: “[CT] values higher than 40 are suspect because of the implied low efficiency and generally should not be reported,” Dr Fauci himself even admitted anything over 35 cycles is almost never culturable. Dr Juliet Morrison, virologist at the University of California, Riverside, told the New York Times: Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive…I’m shocked that people would think that 40 [cycles] could represent a positive…A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35″. In the same article Dr Michael Mina, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said the limit should be 30, and the author goes on to point out that reducing the CT from 40 to 30 would have reduced “covid cases” in some states by as much as 90%. The CDC’s own data suggests no sample over 33 cycles could be cultured, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute says nothing over 30 cycles is likely to be infectious. Despite this, it is known almost all the labs in the US are running their tests at least 37 cycles and sometimes as high as 45. The NHS “standard operating procedure” for PCR tests rules set the limit at 40 cycles. Based on what we know about the CT values, the majority of PCR test results are at best questionable. * 14. The World Health Organization (Twice) Admitted PCR tests produced false positives. In December 2020 WHO put out a briefing memo on the PCR process instructing labs to be wary of high CT values causing false positive results: when specimens return a high Ct value, it means that many cycles were required to detect virus. In some circumstances, the distinction between background noise and actual presence of the target virus is difficult to ascertain. Then, in January 2021, the WHO released another memo, this time warning that “asymptomatic” positive PCR tests should be re-tested because they might be false positives: Where test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation, a new specimen should be taken and retested using the same or different NAT technology. * 15. The scientific basis for Covid tests is questionable. The genome of the Sars-Cov-2 virus was supposedly sequenced by Chinese scientists in December 2019, then published on January 10th 2020. Less than two weeks later, German virologists (Christian Drosten et al.) had allegedly used the genome to create assays for PCR tests. They wrote a paper, Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR, which was submitted for publication on January 21st 2020, and then accepted on January 22nd. Meaning the paper was allegedly “peer-reviewed” in less than 24 hours. A process that typically takes weeks. Since then, a consortium of over forty life scientists has petitioned for the withdrawal of the paper, writing a lengthy report detailing 10 major errors in the paper’s methodology. They have also requested the release of the journal’s peer-review report, to prove the paper really did pass through the peer-review process. The journal has yet to comply. The Corman-Drosten assays are the root of every Covid PCR test in the world. If the paper is questionable, every PCR test is also questionable. *  *  * PART IV: “ASYMPTOMATIC INFECTION” 16. The majority of Covid infections are “asymptomatic”. From as early as March 2020, studies done in Italy were suggesting 50-75% of positive Covid tests had no symptoms. Another UK study from August 2020 found as much as 86% of “Covid patients” experienced no viral symptoms at all. It is literally impossible to tell the difference between an “asymptomatic case” and a false-positive test result. * 17. There is very little evidence supporting the alleged danger of “asymptomatic transmission”. In June 2020, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said: From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” A meta-analysis of Covid studies, published by Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in December 2020, found that asymptomatic carriers had a less than 1% chance of infecting people within their household. Another study, done on influenza in 2009, found: …limited evidence to suggest the importance of [asymptomatic] transmission. The role of asymptomatic or presymptomatic influenza-infected individuals in disease transmission may have been overestimated…” Given the known flaws of the PCR tests, many “asymptomatic cases” may be false positives.[fact 14] *  *  * PART V: VENTILATORS 18. Ventilation is NOT a treatment for respiratory viruses. Mechanical ventilation is not, and never has been, recommended treatment for respiratory infection of any kind. In the early days of the pandemic, many doctors came forward questioning the use of ventilators to treat “Covid”. Writing in The Spectator, Dr Matt Strauss stated: Ventilators do not cure any disease. They can fill your lungs with air when you find yourself unable to do so yourself. They are associated with lung diseases in the public’s consciousness, but this is not in fact their most common or most appropriate application. German Pulmonologist Dr Thomas Voshaar, chairman of Association of Pneumatological Clinics said: When we read the first studies and reports from China and Italy, we immediately asked ourselves why intubation was so common there. This contradicted our clinical experience with viral pneumonia. Despite this, the WHO, CDC, ECDC and NHS all “recommended” Covid patients be ventilated instead of using non-invasive methods. This was not a medical policy designed to best treat the patients, but rather to reduce the hypothetical spread of Covid by preventing patients from exhaling aerosol droplets. * 19. Ventilators killed people. Putting someone who is suffering from influenza, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or any other condition which restricts breathing or affects the lungs, will not alleviate any of those symptoms. In fact, it will almost certainly make it worse, and will kill many of them. Intubation tubes are a source of potential a infection known as “ventilator-associated pneumonia”, which studies show affects up to 28% of all people put on ventilators, and kills 20-55% of those infected. Mechanical ventilation is also damaging to the physical structure of the lungs, resulting in “ventilator-induced lung injury”, which can dramatically impact quality of life, and even result in death. Experts estimate 40-50% of ventilated patients die, regardless of their disease. Around the world, between 66 and 86% of all “Covid patients” put on ventilators died. According to the “undercover nurse”, ventilators were being used so improperly in New York, they were destroying patients’ lungs: This policy was negligence at best, and potentially deliberate murder at worst. This misuse of ventilators could account for any increase in mortality in 2020/21 [Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART VI: MASKS 20. Masks don’t work. At least a dozen scientific studies have shown that masks do nothing to stop the spread of respiratory viruses. One meta-analysis published by the CDC in May 2020 found “no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks”. Another study with over 8000 subjects found masks “did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections nor against clinical respiratory infection.” There are literally too many to quote them all, but you can read them: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Or read a summary by SPR here. While some studies have been done claiming to show mask do work for Covid, they are all seriously flawed. One relied on self-reported surveys as data. Another was so badly designed a panel of experts demand it be withdrawn. A third was withdrawn after its predictions proved entirely incorrect. The WHO commissioned their own meta-analysis in the Lancet, but that study looked only at N95 masks and only in hospitals. [For full run down on the bad data in this study click here.] Aside from scientific evidence, there’s plenty of real-world evidence that masks do nothing to halt the spread of disease. For example, North Dakota and South Dakota had near-identical case figures, despite one having a mask-mandate and the other not: In Kansas, counties without mask mandates actually had fewer Covid “cases” than counties with mask mandates. And despite masks being very common in Japan, they had their worst flu outbreak in decades in 2019. * 21. Masks are bad for your health. Wearing a mask for long periods, wearing the same mask more than once, and other aspects of cloth masks can be bad for your health. A long study on the detrimental effects of mask-wearing was recently published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Dr. James Meehan reported in August 2020 he was seeing increases in bacterial pneumonia, fungal infections, facial rashes . Masks are also known to contain plastic microfibers, which damage the lungs when inhaled and may be potentially carcinogenic. Childen wearing masks encourages mouth-breathing, which results in facial deformities. People around the world have passed out due to CO2 poisoning while wearing their masks, and some children in China even suffered sudden cardiac arrest. * 22. Masks are bad for the planet. Millions upon millions of disposable masks have been used per month for over a year. A report from the UN found the Covid19 pandemic will likely result in plastic waste more than doubling in the next few years., and the vast majority of that is face masks. The report goes on to warn these masks (and other medical waste) will clog sewage and irrigation systems, which will have knock on effects on public health, irrigation and agriculture. A study from the University of Swansea found “heavy metals and plastic fibres were released when throw-away masks were submerged in water.” These materials are toxic to both people and wildlife. *  *  * PART VII: VACCINES 23. Covid “vaccines” are totally unprecedented. Before 2020 no successful vaccine against a human coronavirus had ever been developed. Since then we have allegedly made 20 of them in 18 months. Scientists have been trying to develop a SARS and MERS vaccine for years with little success. Some of the failed SARS vaccines actually caused hypersensitivity to the SARS virus. Meaning that vaccinated mice could potentially get the disease more severely than unvaccinated mice. Another attempt caused liver damage in ferrets. While traditional vaccines work by exposing the body to a weakened strain of the microorganism responsible for causing the disease, these new Covid vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccines theoretically work by injecting viral mRNA into the body, where it replicates inside your cells and encourages your body to recognise, and make antigens for, the “spike proteins” of the virus. They have been the subject of research since the 1990s, but before 2020 no mRNA vaccine was ever approved for use. * 24. Vaccines do not confer immunity or prevent transmission. It is readily admitted that Covid “vaccines” do not confer immunity from infection and do not prevent you from passing the disease onto others. Indeed, an article in the British Medical Journal highlighted that the vaccine studies were not designed to even try and assess if the “vaccines” limited transmission. The vaccine manufacturers themselves, upon releasing the untested mRNA gene therapies, were quite clear their product’s “efficacy” was based on “reducing the severity of symptoms”. * 25. The vaccines were rushed and have unknown longterm effects. Vaccine development is a slow, laborious process. Usually, from development through testing and finally being approved for public use takes many years. The various vaccines for Covid were all developed and approved in less than a year. Obviously there can be no long-term safety data on chemicals which are less than a year old. Pfizer even admit this is true in the leaked supply contract between the pharmaceutical giant, and the government of Albania: the long-term effects and efficacy of the Vaccine are not currently known and that there may be adverse effects of the Vaccine that are not currently known Further, none of the vaccines have been subject to proper trials. Many of them skipped early-stage trials entirely, and the late-stage human trials have either not been peer-reviewed, have not released their data, will not finish until 2023 or were abandoned after “severe adverse effects”. * 26. Vaccine manufacturers have been granted legal indemnity should they cause harm. The USA’s Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) grants immunity until at least 2024. The EU’s product licensing law does the same, and there are reports of confidential liability clauses in the contracts the EU signed with vaccine manufacturers. The UK went even further, granting permanent legal indemnity to the government, and any employees thereof, for any harm done when a patient is being treated for Covid19 or “suspected Covid19”. Again, the leaked Albanian contract suggests that Pfizer, at least, made this indemnity a standard demand of supplying Covid vaccines: Purchaser hereby agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Pfizer […] from and against any and all suits, claims, actions, demands, losses, damages, liabilities, settlements, penalties, fines, costs and expenses *  *  * PART VIII: DECEPTION & FOREKNOWLEDGE 27. The EU was preparing “vaccine passports” at least a YEAR before the pandemic began. Proposed COVID countermeasures, presented to the public as improvised emergency measures, have existed since before the emergence of the disease. Two EU documents published in 2018, the “2018 State of Vaccine Confidence” and a technical report titled “Designing and implementing an immunisation information system” discussed the plausibility of an EU-wide vaccination monitoring system. These documents were combined into the 2019 “Vaccination Roadmap”, which (among other things) established a “feasibility study” on vaccine passports to begin in 2019 and finish in 2021: This report’s final conclusions were released to the public in September 2019, just a month before Event 201 (below). * 28. A “training exercise” predicted the pandemic just weeks before it started. In October 2019 the World Economic Forum and Johns Hopkins University held Event 201. This was a training exercise based on a zoonotic coronavirus starting a worldwide pandemic. The exercise was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI the vaccine alliance. The exercise published its findings and recommendations in November 2019 as a “call to action”. One month later, China recorded their first case of “Covid”. * 29. Since the beginning of 2020, the Flu has “disappeared”. In the United States, since Februart 2020, influenza cases have allegedly dropped by over 98%. It’s not just the US either, globally flu has apparently almost completely disappeared. Meanwhile, a new disease called “Covid”, which has identical symptoms and a similar mortality rate to influenza, is supposedly sweeping the globe. * 30. The elite have made fortunes during the pandemic. Since the beginning of lockdown the wealthiest people have become significantly wealthier. Forbes reported that 40 new billionaires have been created “fighting the coronavirus”, with 9 of them being vaccine manufacturers. Business Insider reported that “billionaires saw their net worth increase by half a trillion dollars” by October 2020. Clearly that number will be even bigger by now. *  *  * These are the vital facts of the pandemic, presented here as a resource to help formulate and support your arguments with friends or strangers. Thanks to all the researchers who have collated and collected this information over the last twenty months, especially Swiss Policy Research. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt18 hr. 43 min. ago

The "Great Game" Moves On

The 'Great Game' Moves On Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership. The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region. This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of green energy, the importance of trade in the Pacific region, and China’s current deflationary strategy relative to that of declining western powers aggressively pursuing asset inflation. There is little doubt that the world is rebalancing as Mackinder described nearly eighty years ago. To appreciate it we must look beyond the West’s current economic and monetary difficulties and the loss of its hegemony over Asia, and particularly note the improving conditions of the Asia’s most populous nations. Introduction Following NATO’s defeat in the heart of Asia, and with Afghanistan now under the Taliban’s rule, the Chinese/Russian axis now controls the Asian continental mass. Asian nations not directly related to its joint hegemony (not being members, associates, or dialog partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) are increasingly dependent upon it for trade and technology. Sub-Saharan Africa is in its sphere of influence. The reality for America is that the total population in or associated with the SCO is 57% of the world population. And America’s grip on its European allies is slipping. NATO itself has become less relevant, with Turkey drawn towards the rival Asian axis, and its EU members are compromised through trading and energy links with Russia and China. Furthermore, France is pushing the EU towards establishing its own army independent of US-led NATO — quite what its role will be, other than political puffery for France is a mystery. It is against this background that three of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership have formed AUKUS – standing for Australia, UK, and US — and its first agreement is to give Australia a nuclear submarine capability to strengthen the partnership’s naval power in the Pacific. Other capabilities, chiefly aimed at containing the Chinese threat to Taiwan and other allies in the Pacific Ocean, will surely emerge in due course. The other two Five Eyes, Canada and New Zealand, appear to be less keen to confront China. But perhaps they will also have less obvious roles in due course beyond pure intelligence gathering. The US, under President Trump, had failed to contain China’s increasing economic dominance and its rapidly developing technological challenge to American supremacy. Trump’s one success was to peel off the UK from its Cameron/Osbourne policy of strengthening trade and financial ties with China by threatening the UK’s important role in its intelligence partnership with the US. For the UK, the challenge came at a critical time. Brexit had happened, and the UK needed global partners for its future trade and geopolitical strategies, the latter needed to cement its re-emergence onto the world stage following Brexit. Trump held out the carrot of a fast-tracked US/UK trade deal. The Swiss alternative of neutrality in international affairs is not in the UK’s DNA, so realistically the decision was a no-brainer: the UK had to recommit itself entirely to the Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes partnership with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and turn its back on China. But gathering intelligence and building naval power in the Pacific won’t defeat the Chinese. All simulations show that the US, with or without AUKUS, cannot win a military conflict against China. But AUKUS is not a formal model on NATO lines which commits its members by treaty to aggression against a common enemy. While Taiwan remains a specific problem, the objective is almost certainly to discourage China from territorial expansion and protect and give other Pacific nations on the Asian periphery the security to be independent from the SCO behemoth. The trade benefits of closer relationships with these independent nations are also an additional reason for the UK to join the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It qualifies for membership through its sovereignty over the Pitcairn Islands. And that is why China has also applied to join. Therefore, AUKUS’s importance is in the signal sent to China and the whole Pacific region, following the abandonment of land-based operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The maritime threat to China is a line which must not be crossed. We are entering a new era in the Great Game, where the objective has changed from dominance to containment. Having lost its position of ultimate control in the Eurasian land mass America has selected its partners to retain control over the high seas. And the UK has found a new geopolitical purpose, re-establishing a global role now that it is independent from the EU. The French cannot join the CPTPP being bound into the common trade policies of the EU. Seeing the British escape the strictures of the EU and rapidly obtain more global influence than France could dream of has touched a raw nerve. Mackinder vindicated The father of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, is frequently quoted and his theories are still relevant to the current situation. Much has been written about Mackinder’s prophecies. His concept of the World Island was first mentioned in his 1904 presentation to the Royal Geographic Society in London: “a pivot state, resulting in its expansion over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia”. In 1943 he updated his views in an article for the Council on Foreign Relations, adding to his heartland theory. Written during the Second World War, his commentary reflected the combatants and their positions at that time. But despite this, he made a perceptive comment relative to the situation today and AUKUS: “Were the Chinese for instance organised by the Japanese to overthrow the Russian Empire and conquer its territory they might constitute the yellow peril to the world’s freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent.” When Mackinder wrote his article the Japanese had already invaded Manchuria, but their subsequent defeat removed them from an active geopolitical role, and in place of a Soviet defeat China has entered a peaceful partnership with Russia that extends to all its old Central Asian soviet satellites. It is the focus on the ocean frontage that matters, upon which the maritime silk road depends. The article brings into play another aspect mentioned by Mackinder, and that is the Heartland’s tremendous natural resources, “…including enough coal in the Kuznetsk and Krasnoyarsk basins capable of supplying the requirements of the whole world for 300 years”. And: “In 1938 Russia produced more of the following food stuffs than any other country in the world: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and sugar beets. More manganese was produced in Russia than in any other country. It was bracketed with United States in the first place as regards iron and it stood second place in production of petroleum”. Through its partnership with Russia all these latent resources are available to the Chinese and Russian partnership. And the real potential for industrialisation, held back by communism and now by Russian corruption, has barely commenced. After presciently noting that one day the Sahara may become the trap for capturing direct power from the sun (foreseeing solar panels), Mackinder’s article ended on an optimistic note: “A thousand million people of ancient oriental civilisation inhabit the monsoon lands of India and China [today 3 billion, including Pakistan]. They must grow to prosperity in the same years in which Germany and Japan are being tamed to civilisation. They will then balance that other thousand million who live between the Missouri and the Yenisei [i.e., Central and Eastern America, Britain, Europe and Russia beyond the Urals]. A balanced globe of human beings and happy because balanced and thus free.” Both China and now India are rapidly industrialising, becoming part of a balanced globe of humanity. While the West tries to hang on to what it has got rather than progressing, China and India along with all of under-developed Asia are moving rapidly in the direction of individual freedom of economic choice and improvements in living conditions, to which Mackinder was referring. Obviously, there is some way for this process yet to go, displacing western hegemony in the process. America particularly has found the political challenges of change difficult, with its deep state unable to come to terms easily with the implications for its military and economic power. We must hope that Mackinder was right, and the shift of economic power is best to be regarded as the pains of geopolitical evolution rather than conditions for escalating conflict. But in pursuing its green agenda and eschewing carbon fuels, the West is unwittingly handing a gift to Mackinder’s Heartland, because despite diplomatic noises to the contrary China, India and all the SCO membership will continue to use cheap coal, gas, and oil which Asia has in abundance while Western manufacturers are forced by their governments to use expensive and less reliable green energy. Green obsessions and global trade Meanwhile, the West has gone green-crazy. Banning fossil fuels without there being adequate replacements must be a new definition of insanity, for which the current fuel crises in Europe attest. With over 95% of European logistics currently being shifted by diesel power, switching to battery power or hydrogen by 2030 by banning sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles is a hostage to fortune. While it is hardly mentioned, presumably the Western powers think that by banning carbon fuels they will take the wind out of Russia’s energy quasi-monopoly, because including gas Russia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world. Instead, the West is creating an energy shortage for itself, a point driven home by Gazprom withholding gas flows through its pipelines to Europe, thereby driving up Europe’s energy costs sharply and ensuring a far more severe energy crisis this winter. Even if Russia turns on the taps tomorrow, there is insufficient gas storage in reserve for the winter months. And Europe and the UK have got ahead of themselves by decommissioning coal and gas-fired electricity. In the UK, a massive undersea gas storage facility off the Yorkshire coast has been closed, leaving precious little national storage capacity. As we have seen with the post-covid supply chain chaos, energy problems will not only become acute this winter, but are likely to persist through much of next year. And even that assumes Russia relents and moderates its energy stance to European customers. By way of contrast, though its partnership with Russia China is gifted unlimited access to all carbon fuels. She is still building coal-fired electricity power stations at an extraordinary rate — according to a BBC report there are 61 new ones being commissioned. A further 51 outside China are planned. As a sop to the West China has only said she won’t finance any more outside her territory. And India relies on coal for over two-thirds of its electrical energy. While Europe and America through their green obsessions are denying themselves the availability and technologies that go with carbon fuels, the Russian/Chinese axis will continue to reap the full benefits. The West’s response is likely to be to decry Chinese pollution and its contribution to global warming, but realistically there is little it can do. Demand for Chinese-manufactured goods will continue because China now has a quasi-monopoly on global manufacturing for export. In the unlikely event western consumers become avid savers while their governments continue to run massive budget deficits, their trade deficits will rise even more, allowing Chinese exporters to increase prices for consumers and intermediate goods without losing export sales. While there is nothing it can do about China’s production methods, AUKUS members will undoubtedly lean on other exporting CPTPP members to comply with global green policies. But they will be competing with China, and while they may pay lip service to the climate change agenda, in practice they are unlikely to implement it without holding out for unrealistic subsidies from the western nations driving the climate change agenda. Under current circumstances, it seems unlikely that China’s CPTPP application will lead to membership, given the CPTPP requirement for China’s central government to relinquish ownership of its SOEs and to permit the free flow of data across its borders. In any event, China is focused on developing its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement with ratification signed so far by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It will come into effect when ratified by ten out of the fifteen signatories, likely to be in the first half of 2022, and in terms of population will be two and a half times the size of the EU and the US/Mexico/Canada (USMCA) trade agreements combined. With four out of five of the signatories being American allies, RCEP demonstrates that the AUKUS defence partnership is an entirely separate issue from trade. While the US may not like it, if RCEP goes ahead freer trade will almost certainly undermine a belligerent stance in due course. Despite hiccups, the progression of trade dealing in the Pacific region promises to prove Mackinder right about the prospect of a more balanced world. All being well and guaranteed by a balance of naval capabilities between AUKUS and China, a free-trading Pacific region will render the European and American trade protectionist policies an anachronism. But the threat is now from another direction: financial instability, with western nations pulling in one direction and China in another. Since the Lehman collapse and the ensuing financial crisis, China has been careful to prevent financial bubbles. Figure 1 shows that the Shanghai Composite Index has risen 82% since 2008, while the S&P500 rose 430%. While the US has seen financial asset values driven by a combination of QE and investor speculation, these factors are absent and discouraged in China. Government debt to GDP is about half that of the US. It is true that industrial debt is high, like that of the US. But the difference is that in China debt is more productive while in America there has been a growing preponderance of debt zombies, only kept solvent by zero interest rate policies. China’s policy of ensuring that the expansion of bank credit is invested in production and not speculation differs fundamentally from the US approach, which is to deliberately inflate financial assets to perpetuate a wealth effect. China avoids the destabilising potential of speculative flows unwinding because it lays the economy open to the possibility that America will use financial instability to undermine China’s economy. In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in April 2015, Major-General Qiao Liang, the People’s Liberation Army strategist, identified a cycle of dollar weakness against other currencies followed by strength, which first inflated debt in foreign countries and then bankrupted them. Qiao argued it was a deliberate American policy and would be used against China. In his words, it was time for America to “harvest” China. Drawing on Chinese intelligence reports, in early 2014 he was made aware of American involvement in the “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong. After several delays, the Fed announced the end of QE the following September which drove the dollar higher, and “Occupy Central” protests broke out the following month. To Qiao the two events were connected. By undermining the dollar/yuan rate and provoking riots, the Americans had tried to crash China’s economy. Within six months the Shanghai stock market began to collapse with the SSE Composite Index falling from 5,160 to 3,050 between June and September 2015. One cannot know for certain if Qiao’s analysis was correct, but one can understand the Chinese leadership’s continued caution based upon it. For this and other reasons, the Chinese leadership is extremely wary of having dollar liabilities and the accumulation of unproductive, speculative money in the economy. It justifies their strict exchange control regime, whereby dollars are not permitted to circulate in China, and all inward capital flows are turned into yuan by the PBOC. Furthermore, domestic monetary policy appears deliberately different from that of America and other western nations. While everyone else has been inflating their way through covid, China has been restricting domestic credit expansion and curtailing shadow banking. The discount rate is held up at 2.9% with market rates slightly lower at 2.2%, and the only reason it is that low is because alternative dollar rates are at zero and EU and Japanese rates are negative. It is this restrictive monetary policy that has led to the current crisis in property developers, with the very public difficulties of Evergrande. Far from being a surprise event, with cautious monetary policies it could have been easily foreseen. Moreover, the government has a sensible policy of not rescuing private sector businesses in trouble, though it is likely to take steps to limit financial contagion. In their glass houses, Western critics continually throw stones at China. But at least her policy makers have attempted to avoid contributing to the global inflation cycle. With prices beginning to rise at an accelerating pace in western currencies, a new global financial crash is in the making. China and her SCO cohort would be adversely affected, but not to the same extent. The fruits of China’s policies of restricting credit expansion are showing in the commodity prices she pays, which in her own currency have increased by ten per cent less than for dollar-based competition, judging by the exchange rate movements since the Fed reduced its funds rate to the zero bound and instigated monthly QE of $120bn on 19-23 March 2020 (see Figure 2). And while both currencies have moved broadly sideways since January, there is little doubt that the fundamentals point to an even stronger yuan and weaker dollar. The domestic benefits of a relatively stronger yuan outweigh the margin compression suffered by China’s exporters. It is worth noting that as well as moderating credit demand, China is attempting to increase domestic consumer spending at the expense of the savings rate, so consumer demand will begin to matter more than exports to producers. It is in line with a long-term objective of China becoming less dependent on exports, and exporters will benefit from domestic sales growth instead. Furthermore, with China dominating global exports of intermediate and consumer goods and while western budget deficits are increasing and leading to yet greater trade deficits, Chinese exporters should be able to secure higher prices anyway. There can be little doubt that the budget deficits financed by monetary inflation in America, the EU, Japan and the UK, plus central bank stimulus packages are now undermining the purchasing power of all the major currencies. The consequences for their purchasing powers are now becoming apparent and attempts to calm markets and consumers by describing them as transient cuts little ice. In terms of their purchasing powers, these currencies are now in a race to the bottom. Not only are the costs of production rising sharply, but following a brief pause of three months, commodity and energy prices look set to rise sharply. Figure 3 shows the Invesco commodity tracker, which having almost doubled since March 2020 now appears to be attempting a break out on the upside. Since global competitiveness is no longer a priority, China would be sensible to let its yuan exchange rate rise against western currencies to help keep a lid on domestic prices and costs. It is, after all, a savings driven economy, with the sustainable characteristics of a strong currency relative to the dollar. Conclusions Having failed in their land-based military objectives, America’s undeclared tariff and financial wars against China are also coming to an end, to be replaced by a policy of maritime containment through the AUKUS partnership. Attempts to stem strategic losses in Asia have now ended with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and from other interventions.The change in geopolitical policy is not yet widely appreciated. But the parlous state of US finances, dollar market bubbles, persistent and increasing price inflation and the inevitability of interest rate increases will make a policy backstop of maritime containment the only geostrategic option left to America. By pursuing more cautious monetary policies, China is less exposed to the inevitable consequences of global monetary inflation. While yuan currency rates are managed instead of set by markets, it is now in China’s interest to see a stronger yuan to contain domestic price and cost inflation. Even though fiat currencies could be destroyed by imploding asset bubbles, these factors contribute to a set of circumstances that appear to lead to a more peaceable outcome for the world than appeared likely before America and NATO withdrew from Afghanistan. There’s many a slip between cup and lip; but it was an outcome forecast by Halford Mackinder nearly eighty years ago. Let us hope he was right. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt18 hr. 43 min. ago

I traveled to Iceland as a vaccinated American and the entry and exit process was tedious, but easy if you understand the rules

Vaccinated travelers from the US need to present their vaccine card, a negative COVID test, and a pre-arrival form. Icelandair ticket counter at New York-JFK Taylor Rains/Insider I traveled to Iceland as a vaccinated American and the process was easy, yet tedious. Vaccinated travelers from the US need to present their vaccine card, a negative COVID test, and a pre-arrival form. Reykjavik has a number of testing sites for Americans to get a COVID test before re-entering the US. See more stories on Insider's business page. Americans are itching for a vacation, and the vaccine rollout has given travelers more freedom to go overseas. TSA checkpoint at JFK Taylor Rains/Insider Iceland is one of the many European countries that allow vaccinated Americans to enter without quarantine, so I made the hop across the pond in early September. Luggage for Iceland Taylor Rains/Insider The entry and exit processes were tedious and there were specific steps I had to follow, including getting a negative covid test, having my vaccine card, and filling out pre-arrival paperwork. Vaccine card and negative covid test Taylor Rains/Insider Accepted vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, and Sinopharm BIBP and covid tests must be either PCR or rapid antigen. Travelers who do not present a negative covid test will be fined 100,000 ISK ($781) at the border.Source: Island.is I flew Icelandair from New York's JFK International Airport to Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik. Icelandair is very transparent about the entry requirements for Iceland on its website. Signs at JFK Terminal 7 Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images Source: Icelandair To enter Iceland as a vaccinated American, visitors must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least 14 days past the final dose, receive a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours before the first leg of the journey, and pre-register their arrival. Passport, COVID vaccine card, and mask Evgenia Parajanian/Shutterstock Certification of previous infection dated between 14 and 180 dates from arrival into Iceland is also acceptable at the border. These travelers do not need to present a negative covid test to enter without quarantine.Source: Island.is The pre-arrival form must be done online. I was required to fill out my departure and return date, my personal information, and certify I would get a COVID test before travel. Once submitted, I received a barcode in my email to verify it was complete. Barcode received after completing pre-arrival form Taylor Rains/Insider Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I was unable to check in online or on the mobile app and was instructed by Icelandair to collect my boarding pass at the desk. Icelandair check-in email Taylor Rains/Insider When I arrived at JFK, I made my way to the Icelandair check-in counter where signs reminded passengers to fill out the online pre-arrival form. You could not check in without it. Reminders to fill out pre-arrival form Taylor Rains/Insider The pre-arrival form can be found online. At the counter, I was asked to present my negative COVID test, vaccine card, and pre-arrival form. The agent checked the date of my test and the result and verified my vaccine card was legitimate before handing me my boarding pass. Icelandair check-in counter Taylor Rains/Insider For those who forgot or did not know to get a COVID test, JFK has a few options, including Adams Medical in Terminal 1, Xpresscheck in Terminal 4, and NYC Test & Trace Corps in Terminal 5. The test must be PCR, not rapid antigen. COVID testing site at JFK Terminal 5 Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock I did not have to show any COVID-related entry documents again until I landed in Iceland. Icelandair Boeing 757 cabin Peter Gudella/Shutterstock Upon arrival in Reykjavik, I deplaned and headed to customs where airport employees split passengers into two lines - one for those entering Iceland and a second for those connecting to onward flights. Two lines to enter customs at Keflavik Airport Taylor Rains/Insider The line looked long but only took about 15 minutes to clear. The customs agent only checked my passport but told me COVID documents would be verified later in the entry process. Customs sign at Keflavik Airport Roberto La Rosa/Shutterstock After passing customs, I made my way through the arrivals hall before coming to a large "Exit to Iceland" sign and a roped-off section for travelers entering the country. Exit to Iceland sign Taylor Rains/Insider I made my way downstairs to a second counter where I was asked to present the barcode I received after filling out the pre-arrival form. Travelers at Keflavik Airport Wolfgang Kaehler/Getty Images Once the agents checked the barcode, I was directed to a third desk where my vaccine card, pre-arrival form, and negative COVID test were checked for a second time. Passengers a Keflavik Airport arrival area Kollawat Somsri The agent scanned my barcode and verified my vaccine card and test results before allowing me to exit the airport. About five minutes later, I received a text saying I was free to enter Iceland without quarantine Text saying I don't need to quarantine Taylor Rains/Insider If I was unvaccinated, I would need to take a test at the border and undergo quarantine.Source: Island.is Getting back into the US was a simpler process and only required a negative COVID test taken no earlier than three days before departure from Iceland. Fortunately, Reykjavik had a handful of testing centers available. Downtown Reykjavik Taylor Rains/Insider Source: CDC I booked my test and received a barcode verifying my payment and appointment. The test cost me $60 and guaranteed I would have the results within 48 hours, which was perfect timing for my flight. Fortunately, I received my negative result in less than 24 hours with a QR code certifying its validity. Negative COVID test result Taylor Rains/Insider For the return flight, I was once again unable to check in online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Icelandair check-in counter at Keflavik Airport Taylor Rains/Insider When the check-in counter opened at Keflavik, I only needed to show my negative COVID test to receive a boarding pass. After that, I was able to pass through security, passport control, and board the aircraft with only my passport. Icelandair check-in counter at Keflavik Airport Taylor Rains/Insider Upon arrival in JFK, I was not asked again for my negative COVID test and simply re-entered the US with just my passport. CBP Global Entry kiosk Taylor Rains/Insider Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt19 hr. 28 min. ago

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con Authored by Julius Ruechel via Julius Ruechel.com, The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service) If a plumber with a lifetime of experience were to tell you that water runs uphill, you would know he is lying and that the lie is not accidental. It is a lie with a purpose. If you can also demonstrate that the plumber knows in advance that the product he is promoting with that lie is snake oil, you have evidence for a deliberate con. And once you understand what's really inside that bottle of snake oil, you will begin to understand the purpose of the con. One of the most common reasons given for mass COVID vaccinations is the idea that if we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we can starve the virus out of existence and get our lives back. It's the COVID-Zero strategy or some variant of it. By now it is abundantly clear from the epidemiological data that the vaccinated are able to both catch and spread the disease. Clearly vaccination isn't going to make this virus disappear. Only a mind that has lost its grasp on reality can fail to see how ridiculous all this has become.  But a tour through pre-COVID science demonstrates that, from day one, long before you and I had even heard of this virus, it was 100% inevitable and 100% predictable that these vaccines would never be capable of eradicating this coronavirus and would never lead to any kind of lasting herd immunity. Even worse, lockdowns and mass vaccination have created a dangerous set of circumstances that interferes with our immune system's ability to protect us against other respiratory viruses. They also risk driving the evolution of this virus towards mutations that are more dangerous to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. Lockdowns, mass vaccinations, and mass booster shots were never capable of delivering on any of the promises that were made to the public.  And yet, vaccination has been successfully used to control measles and even to eradicate smallpox. So, why not COVID? Immunity is immunity, and a virus is a virus is a virus, right? Wrong! Reality is far more complicated... and more interesting. This Deep Dive exposes why, from day one, the promise of COVID-Zero can only ever have been a deliberately dishonest shell game designed to prey on a lack of public understanding of how our immune systems work and on how most respiratory viruses differ from other viruses that we routinely vaccinate against. We have been sold a fantasy designed to rope us into a pharmaceutical dependency as a deceitful trade-off for access to our lives. Variant by variant. For as long as the public is willing to go along for the ride.  Exposing this story does not require incriminating emails or whistleblower testimony. The story tells itself by diving into the long-established science that every single virologist, immunologist, evolutionary biologist, vaccine developer, and public health official had access to long before COVID began. As is so often the case, the devil is hidden in the details. As this story unfolds it will become clear that the one-two punch of lockdowns and the promise of vaccines as an exit strategy began as a cynical marketing ploy to coerce us into a never-ending regimen of annual booster shots intentionally designed to replace the natural "antivirus security updates" against respiratory viruses that come from hugs and handshakes and from children laughing together at school. We are being played for fools.  This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other opportunists taking advantage of this crisis to pursue other agendas and to tip society into a full-blown police state. One thing quickly morphs into another. But this essay demonstrates that never-ending boosters were the initial motive for this global social-engineering shell game ― the subscription-based business model, adapted for the pharmaceutical industry. "Immunity as a service".  So, let's dive into the fascinating world of immune systems, viruses, and vaccines, layer by layer, to dispel the myths and false expectations that have been created by deceitful public health officials, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and media manipulators. What emerges as the lies are peeled apart is both surprising and more than a little alarming. “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”  - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Table of Contents:     Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication     SARS: The Exception to the Rule?     Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity     Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses     Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection     Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly     Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu     Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect     Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure     The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity     Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters     The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses     Introducing Immunity as a Service - A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)     The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again. *  *  * Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication Eradication of a killer virus sounds like a noble goal. In some cases it is, such as in the case of the smallpox virus. By 1980 we stopped vaccinating against smallpox because, thanks to widespread immunization, we starved the virus of available hosts for so long that it died out. No-one will need to risk their life on the side effects of a smallpox vaccination ever again because the virus is gone. It is a public health success story. Polio will hopefully be next ― we're getting close.  But smallpox is one of only two viruses (along with rinderpest) that have been eradicated thanks to vaccination. Very few diseases meet the necessary criteria. Eradication is hard and only appropriate for very specific families of viruses. Smallpox made sense for eradication because it was a uniquely human virus ― there was no animal reservoir. By contrast, most respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. COVID) come from animal reservoirs: swine, birds, bats, etc. As long as there are bats in caves, birds in ponds, pigs in mud baths, and deer living in forests, respiratory viruses are only controllable through individual immunity, but it is not possible to eradicate them. There will always be a near-identical cousin brewing in the wings. Even the current strain of COVID is already cheerfully jumping onwards across species boundaries. According to both National Geographic and Nature magazine, 40% of wild deer tested positive for COVID antibodies in a study conducted in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. It has also been documented in wild mink and has already made the species jump to other captive animals including dogs, cats, otters, leopards, tigers, and gorillas. A lot of viruses are not fussy. They happily adapt to new opportunities. Specialists, like smallpox, eventually go extinct. Generalists, like most respiratory viruses, never run out of hosts to keep the infection cycle going, forever. As long as we share this planet with other animals, it is extremely deceitful to give anyone the impression that we can pursue any scorched earth policy that can put this genie back in the bottle. With an outbreak on this global scale, it was clear that we were always going to have to live with this virus. There are over 200 other endemic respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus, many of which circulate freely between humans and other animals. Now there are 201. They will be with us forever, whether we like it or not. SARS: The Exception to the Rule? This all sounds well and good, but the original SARS virus did disappear, with public health measures like contact tracing and strict quarantine measures taking the credit. However, SARS was the exception to the rule. When it made the species jump to humans, it was so poorly adapted to its new human hosts that it had terrible difficulty spreading. This very poor level of adaptation gave SARS a rather unique combination of properties: SARS was extremely difficult to catch (it was never very contagious) SARS made people extremely sick. SARS did not have pre-symptomatic spread. These three conditions made the SARS outbreak easy to control through contact tracing and through the quarantine of symptomatic individuals. SARS therefore never reached the point where it circulated widely among asymptomatic community members.  By contrast, by January/February of 2020 it was clear from experiences in China, Italy, and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (more on that story later) that the unique combination of conditions that made SARS controllable were not going to be the case with COVID. COVID was quite contagious (its rapid spread showed that COVID was already well adapted to spreading easily among its new human hosts), most people would have mild or no symptoms from COVID (making containment impossible), and that it was spreading by aerosols produced by both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people (making contact tracing a joke). In other words, it was clear by January/February 2020 that this pandemic would follow the normal rules of a readily transmissible respiratory epidemic, which cannot be reined in the way SARS was. Thus, by January/February of 2020, giving the public the impression that the SARS experience could be replicated for COVID was a deliberate lie - this genie was never going back inside the bottle. Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity Once a reasonably contagious respiratory virus begins circulating widely in a community, herd immunity can never be maintained for very long. RNA respiratory viruses (such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses) all mutate extremely fast compared to viruses like smallpox, measles, or polio. Understanding the difference between something like measles and a virus like COVID is key to understanding the con that is being perpetrated by our health institutions. Bear with me here, I promise not to get too technical. All viruses survive by creating copies of themselves. And there are always a lot of "imperfect copies" — mutations — produced by the copying process itself. Among RNA respiratory viruses these mutations stack up so quickly that there is rapid genetic drift, which continually produces new strains. Variants are normal. Variants are expected. Variants make it virtually impossible to build the impenetrable wall of long-lasting herd immunity required to starve these respiratory viruses out of existence. That's one of several reasons why flu vaccines don't provide long-lasting immunity and have to be repeated annually ― our immune system constantly needs to be updated to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of countless unnamed "variants."  This never-ending conveyor belt of mutations means that everyone's immunity to COVID was always only going to be temporary and only offer partial cross-reactive protection against future re-infections. Thus, from day one, COVID vaccination was always doomed to the same fate as the flu vaccine ― a lifelong regimen of annual booster shots to try to keep pace with "variants" for those unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of a natural infection. And the hope that by the time the vaccines (and their booster shots) roll off the production line, they won't already be out of date when confronted by the current generation of virus mutations.  Genetic drift caused by mutations is much slower in viruses like measles, polio, or smallpox, which is why herd immunity can be used to control these other viruses (or even eradicate them as in the case of smallpox or polio). The reason the common respiratory viruses have such rapid genetic drift compared to these other viruses has much less to do with how many errors are produced during the copying process and much more to do with how many of those "imperfect" copies are actually able to survive and produce more copies.  A simple virus with an uncomplicated attack strategy for taking over host cells can tolerate a lot more mutations than a complex virus with a complicated attack strategy. Complexity and specialization put limits on how many of those imperfect copies have a chance at becoming successful mutations. Simple machinery doesn't break down as easily if there is an imperfection in the mechanical parts. Complicated high-tech machinery will simply not work if there are even minor flaws in precision parts. For example, before a virus can hijack the DNA of a host cell to begin making copies of itself, the virus needs to unlock the cell wall to gain entry. Cellular walls are made of proteins and are coated by sugars; viruses need to find a way to create a doorway through that protein wall. A virus like influenza uses a very simple strategy to get inside ― it locks onto one of the sugars on the outside of the cell wall in order to piggyback a ride as the sugar is absorbed into the cell (cells use sugar as their energy source). It's such a simple strategy that it allows the influenza virus to go through lots of mutations without losing its ability to gain entry to the cell. Influenza's simplicity makes it very adaptable and allows many different types of mutations to thrive as long as they all use the same piggyback entry strategy to get inside host cells. By contrast, something like the measles virus uses a highly specialized and very complicated strategy to gain entry to a host cell. It relies on very specialized surface proteins to break open a doorway into the host cell. It's a very rigid and complex system that doesn't leave a lot of room for errors in the copying process. Even minor mutations to the measles virus will cause changes to its surface proteins, leaving it unable to gain access to a host cell to make more copies of itself. Thus, even if there are lots of mutations, those mutations are almost all evolutionary dead ends, thus preventing genetic drift. That's one of several reasons why both a natural infection and vaccination against measles creates lifetime immunity ― immunity lasts because new variations don't change much over time.  Most RNA respiratory viruses have a high rate of genetic drift because they all rely on relatively simple attack strategies to gain entry to host cells. This allows mutations to stack up quickly without becoming evolutionary dead ends because they avoid the evolutionary trap of complexity.  Coronaviruses use a different strategy than influenza to gain access to host cells. They have proteins on the virus surface (the infamous S-spike protein, the same one that is mimicked by the vaccine injection), which latches onto a receptor on the cell surface (the ACE2 receptor) ― a kind of key to unlock the door. This attack strategy is a little bit more complicated than the system used by influenza, which is probably why genetic drift in coronaviruses is slightly slower than in influenza, but it is still a much much simpler and much less specialized system than the one used by measles. Coronaviruses, like other respiratory viruses, are therefore constantly producing a never-ending conveyor belt of "variants" that make long-lasting herd immunity impossible. Variants are normal. The alarm raised by our public health authorities about "variants" and the feigned compassion of pharmaceutical companies as they rush to develop fresh boosters capable of fighting variants is a charade, much like expressing surprise about the sun rising in the East. Once you got immunity to smallpox, measles, or polio, you had full protection for a few decades and were protected against severe illness or death for the rest of your life. But for fast-mutating respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, within a few months they are sufficiently different that your previously acquired immunity will only ever offer partial protection against your next exposure. The fast rate of mutation ensures that you never catch the exact same cold or flu twice, just their closely related constantly evolving cousins. What keeps you from feeling the full brunt of each new infection is cross-reactive immunity, which is another part of the story of how you are being conned, which I will come back to shortly.  Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses But let's pretend for a moment that a miraculous vaccine could be developed that could give us all 100% sterilizing immunity today. The length of time it takes to manufacture and ship 8 billion doses (and then make vaccination appointments for 8 billion people) ensures that by the time the last person gets their last dose, the never-ending conveyor belt of mutations will have already rendered the vaccine partially ineffective. True sterilizing immunity simply won't ever happen with coronaviruses. The logistics of rolling out vaccines to 8 billion people meant that none of our vaccine makers or public health authorities ever could have genuinely believed that vaccines would create lasting herd immunity against COVID. So, for a multitude of reasons, it was a deliberate lie to give the public the impression that if enough people take the vaccine, it would create lasting herd immunity. It was 100% certain, from day one, that by the time the last dose is administered, the rapid evolution of the virus would ensure that it would already be time to start thinking about booster shots. Exactly like the flu shot. Exactly the opposite of a measles vaccine. Vaccines against respiratory viruses can never provide anything more than a temporary cross-reactive immunity "update" ― they are merely a synthetic replacement for your annual natural exposure to the smorgasbord of cold and flu viruses. Immunity as a service, imposed on society by trickery. The only question was always, how long between booster shots? Weeks, months, years?  Feeling conned yet? Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection The current crop of COVID vaccines was never designed to provide sterilizing immunity - that's not how they work. They are merely a tool designed to teach the immune system to attack the S-spike protein, thereby priming the immune system to reduce the severity of infection in preparation for your inevitable future encounter with the real virus. They were never capable of preventing infection, nor of preventing spread. They were merely designed to reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you are infected. As former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is on Pfizer’s board, said: "the original premise behind these vaccines were [sic] that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials.” Every first-year medical student knows that you cannot get herd immunity from a vaccine that does not stop infection.  In other words, by their design, these vaccines can neither stop you from catching an infection nor stop you from transmitting the infection to someone else. They were never capable of creating herd immunity. They were designed to protect individuals against severe outcomes if they choose to take them - a tool to provide temporary focused protection for the vulnerable, just like the flu vaccine. Pushing for mass vaccination was a con from day one. And the idea of using vaccine passports to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated was also a con from day one. The only impact these vaccine passports have on the pandemic is as a coercive tool to get you to roll up your sleeve. Nothing more. Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly There are multiple interconnected parts to why immunity to COVID, or any other respiratory virus, is always only temporary. Not only is the virus constantly mutating but immunity itself fades over time, not unlike the way our brains start forgetting how to do complicated math problems unless they keep practicing. This is true for both immunity acquired through natural infection and immunity acquired through vaccination. Our immune systems have a kind of immunological memory ― basically, how long does your immune system remember how to launch an attack against a specific kind of threat. That memory fades over time. For some vaccines, like diphtheria and tetanus, that immunological memory fades very slowly. The measles vaccine protects for life. But for others, like the flu vaccine, that immunological memory fades very quickly. On average, the flu vaccine is only about 40% effective to begin with. And it begins to fade almost immediately after vaccination. By about 150 days (5 months), it reaches zero. Fading immunity after flu shot (Science, April 18th, 2019) The solution to this strange phenomenon lies in the different types of immune system responses that are triggered by a vaccine (or by exposure to the real thing through a natural infection). This has big implications for coronavirus vaccines, but I'll get to that in a moment. First a little background information... A good analogy is to think of our immune system like a medieval army. The first layer of protection began with generalists - guys armed with clubs that would take a swing at everything - they were good for keeping robbers and brigands at bay and for conducting small skirmishes. But if the attack was bigger, then these generalists were quickly overwhelmed, serving as arrow fodder to blunt the attack on the more specialized troops coming up behind them. Spearmen, swordsmen, archers, cavalry, catapult operators, siege tower engineers, and so on. Each additional layer of defense has a more expensive kit and takes ever greater amounts of time to train (an English longbowman took years to build up the necessary skill and strength to become effective). The more specialized a troop is, the more you want to hold them back from the fight unless it's absolutely necessary because they are expensive to train, expensive to deploy, and make a bigger mess when they fight that needs to be cleaned up afterwards. Always keep your powder dry. Send in the arrow fodder first and slowly ramp up your efforts from there. Our immune system relies on a similar kind of layered system of defense. In addition to various non-specific rapid response layers that take out the brigands, like natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, and so on, we also have many adaptive (specialized) layers of antibodies (i.e. IgA, IgG, IgM immunoglobulin) and various types of highly specialized white blood cells, like B-cells and T-cells. Some antibodies are released by regular B-cells. Others are released by blood plasma. Then there are memory B-cells, which are capable of remembering previous threats and creating new antibodies long after the original antibodies fade away. And there are various types of T-cells (again with various degrees of immunological memory), like natural killer T-cells, killer T-cells, and helper T-cells, all of which play various roles in detecting and neutralizing invaders. In short, the greater the threat, the more troops are called into the fight. This is clearly a gross oversimplification of all the different interconnected parts of our immune system, but the point is that a mild infection doesn't trigger as many layers whereas a severe infection enlists the help of deeper layers, which are slower to respond but are much more specialized in their attack capabilities. And if those deeper adaptive layers get involved, they are capable of retaining a memory of the threat in order to be able to mount a quicker attack if a repeat attack is recognized in the future. That's why someone who was infected by the dangerous Spanish Flu in 1918 might still have measurable T-cell immunity a century later but the mild bout of winter flu you had a couple of years ago might not have triggered T-cell immunity, even though both may have been caused by versions of the same H1N1 influenza virus. As a rule of thumb, the broader the immune response, the longer immunological memory will last. Antibodies fade in a matter of months, whereas B-cell and T-cell immunity can last a lifetime. Another rule of thumb is that a higher viral load puts more strain on your immune defenses, thus overwhelming the rapid response layers and forcing the immune system to enlist the deeper adaptive layers. That's why nursing homes and hospitals are more dangerous places for vulnerable people than backyard barbeques. That's why feedlot cattle are more vulnerable to viral diseases than cattle on pasture. Viral load matters a lot to how easily the generalist layers are overwhelmed and how much effort your immune system has to make to neutralize a threat. Where the infection happens in the body also matters. For example, an infection in the upper respiratory tract triggers much less involvement from your adaptive immune system than when it reaches your lungs. Part of this is because your upper respiratory tract is already heavily preloaded with large numbers of generalist immunological cells that are designed to attack germs as they enter, which is why most colds and flus never make it deeper into the lungs. The guys with the clubs are capable of handling most of the threats that try to make through the gate. Most of the specialized troops hold back unless they are needed. Catching a dangerous disease like measles produces lifetime immunity because an infection triggers all the deep layers that will retain a memory of how to fight off future encounters with the virus. So does the measles vaccine. Catching a cold or mild flu generally does not.  From an evolutionary point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense. Why waste valuable resources developing long-lasting immunity (i.e. training archers and building catapults) to defend against a virus that did not put you in mortal danger. A far better evolutionary strategy is to evolve a narrower generalist immune response to mild infections (i.e. most cold and flu viruses), which fades quickly once the threat is conquered, but invest in deep long-term broad-based immunity to dangerous infections, which lasts a very long time in case that threat is ever spotted on the horizon again. Considering the huge number of threats our immune systems face, this strategy avoids the trap of spreading immunological memory too thin. Our immunological memory resources are not limitless - long-term survival requires prioritizing our immunological resources. The take-home lesson is that vaccines will, at best, only last as long as immunity acquired through natural infection and will often fade much faster because the vaccine is often only able to trigger a partial immune response compared to the actual infection. So, if the disease itself doesn't produce a broad-based immune response leading to long-lasting immunity, neither will the vaccine. And in most cases, immunity acquired through vaccination will begin to fade much sooner than immunity acquired through a natural infection. Every vaccine maker and public health official knows this despite bizarrely claiming that the COVID vaccines (based on re-creating the S-protein spike instead of using a whole virus) would somehow become the exception to the rule. That was a lie, and they knew it from day one. That should set your alarm bells ringing at full throttle. So, with this little bit of background knowledge under our belts, let's look at what our public health officials and vaccine makers would have known in advance about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines when they told us back in the early Spring of 2020 that COVID vaccines were the path back to normality. From a 2003 study [my emphasis]: "Until SARS appeared, human coronaviruses were known as the cause of 15–30% of colds... Colds are generally mild, self-limited infections, and significant increases in neutralizing antibody titer are found in nasal secretions and serum after infection. Nevertheless, some unlucky individuals can be reinfected with the same coronavirus soon after recovery and get symptoms again." In other words, the coronaviruses involved in colds (there were four human coronaviruses before SARS, MERS, and COVID) all trigger such a weak immune response that they do not lead to any long-lasting immunity whatsoever. And why would they if, for most of us, the threat is so minimal that the generalists are perfectly capable of neutralizing the attack. We also know that immunity against coronaviruses is not durable in other animals either. As any farmer knows well, cycles of reinfection with coronaviruses are the rule rather than the exception among their livestock (for example, coronaviruses are a common cause of pneumonia and various types of diarrheal diseases like scours, shipping fever, and winter dysentery in cattle). Annual farm vaccination schedules are therefore designed accordingly. The lack of long-term immunity to coronaviruses is well documented in veterinary research among cattle, poultry, deer, water buffalo, etc. Furthermore, although animal coronavirus vaccines have been on the market for many years, it is well known that "none are completely efficacious in animals". So, like the fading flu vaccine profile I showed you earlier, none of the animal coronavirus vaccines are capable of providing sterilizing immunity (none were capable of stopping 100% of infections, without which you can never achieve herd immunity) and the partial immunity they offered is well known to fade rather quickly. What about immunity to COVID's close cousin, the deadly SARS coronavirus, which had an 11% case fatality rate during the 2003 outbreak? From a 2007 study: "SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years... SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."  (Bear in mind that, as with all diseases, re-infection does not mean you are necessarily going to get full-blown SARS; fading immunity after a natural infection tends to offer at least some level of partial protection against severe outcomes for a considerable amount of time after you can already be reinfected and spread it to others - more on that later.) And what about MERS, the deadliest coronavirus to date, which made the jump from camels in 2012 and had a fatality rate of around 35%? It triggered the broadest immune response (due to its severity) and also appears to trigger the longest lasting immunity as a result (> 6yrs) Thus, to pretend that there was any chance that herd immunity to COVID would be anything but short-lived was dishonest at best. For most people, immunity was always going to fade quickly. Just like what happens after most other respiratory virus infections. By February 2020, the epidemiological data showed clearly that for most people COVID was a mild coronavirus (nowhere near as severe than SARS or MERS), so it was virtually a certainty that even the immunity from a natural infection would fade within months, not years. It was also a certainty that vaccination was therefore, at best, only ever going to provide partial protection and that this protection would be temporary, lasting on the order of months. This is a case of false and misleading advertising if there ever was one. If I can allow my farming roots to shine through for a moment, I'd like to explain the implications of what was known about animal coronaviruses vaccines. Baby calves are often vaccinated against bovine coronaviral diarrhea shortly after birth if they are born in the spring mud and slush season, but not if they are born in midsummer on lush pastures where the risk of infection is lower. Likewise, bovine coronavirus vaccines are used to protect cattle before they face stressful conditions during shipping, in a feedlot, or in winter feed pens. Animal coronavirus vaccines are thus used as tools to provide a temporary boost in immunity, in very specific conditions, and only for very specific vulnerable categories of animals. After everything I've laid out so far in this text, the targeted use of bovine coronavirus vaccines should surprise no-one. Pretending that our human coronavirus vaccines would be different was nonsense.  The only rational reason why the WHO and public health officials would withhold all that contextual information from the public as they rolled out lockdowns and held forth vaccines as an exit strategy was to whip the public into irrational fear in order to be able to make a dishonest case for mass vaccination when they should have, at most, been focused on providing focused vaccination of the most vulnerable only. That deception was the Trojan Horse to introduce endless mass booster shots as immunity inevitably fades and as new variants replace old ones.  Now, as all the inevitable limitations and problems with these vaccines become apparent (i.e. fading of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccines proving to only be partially effective, the rise of new variants, and the vaccinated population demonstrably catching and spreading the virus ― a.k.a. the leaky vaccine phenomenon), the surprise that our health authorities are showing simply isn't credible. As I have shown you, all this was 100% to be expected. They intentionally weaponized fear and false expectations to unleash a fraudulent bait-and-switch racket of global proportions. Immunity on demand, forever. Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu At this point you may be wondering, if there is no lasting immunity from infection or vaccination, then are public health officials right to roll out booster shots to protect us from severe outcomes even if their dishonest methods to get us to accept them were unethical? Do we need a lifetime regimen of booster shots to keep us safe from a beast to which we cannot develop durable long-term immunity? The short answer is no.  Contrary to what you might think, the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses actually has several important benefits for us as their involuntary hosts, which protects us without the benefit of broad lifelong immunity. One of those benefits has to do with the natural evolution of the virus towards less dangerous variants. The other is the cross-reactive immunity that comes from frequent re-exposure to closely related "cousins". I'm going to peel apart both of these topics in order to show you the remarkable system that nature designed to keep us safe... and to show you how the policies being forced on us by our public health authorities are knowingly interfering with this system. They are creating a dangerous situation that increases our risk to other respiratory viruses (not just to COVID) and may even push the COVID virus to evolve to become more dangerous to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. There are growing signs that this nightmare scenario has already begun.  “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."  - President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Let's start with the evolutionary pressures that normally drive viruses towards becoming less dangerous over time. A virus depends on its host to spread it. A lively host is more useful than a bedridden or dead one because a lively host can spread the virus further and will still be around to catch future mutations. Viruses risk becoming evolutionary dead ends if they kill or immobilize their hosts. Plagues came, killed, and then were starved out of existence because their surviving hosts had all acquired herd immunity. Colds come and go every year because their hosts are lively, easily spread the viruses around, and never acquire long-lasting immunity so that last year's hosts can also serve as next year's hosts ― only those who have weak immune systems have much to worry about. In other words, under normal conditions, mutations that are more contagious but less deadly have a survival advantage over less contagious and more deadly variations. From the virus' point of view, the evolutionary golden mean is reached when it can easily infect as many hosts as possible without reducing their mobility and without triggering long-term immunity in most of their hosts. That's the ticket to setting up a sustainable cycle of reinfection, forever. Viruses with slow genetic drift and highly specialized reproductive strategies, like polio or measles, can take centuries or longer to become less deadly and more contagious; some may never reach the relatively harmless status of a cold or mild flu virus (by harmless I mean harmless to the majority of the population despite being extremely dangerous to those with weak or compromised immune systems). But for viruses with fast genetic drift, like respiratory viruses, even a few months can make a dramatic difference. Rapid genetic drift is one of the reasons why the Spanish Flu stopped being a monster disease, but polio and measles haven't. And anyone with training in virology or immunology understands this!  We often speak of evolutionary pressure as though it forces an organism to adapt. In reality, a simple organism like a virus is utterly blind to its environment — all it does is blindly produce genetic copies of itself. "Evolutionary pressure" is actually just a fancy way of saying that environmental conditions will determine which of those millions of copies survives long enough to produce even more copies of itself.  A human adapts to its environment by altering its behaviour (that's one type of adaptation). But the behaviour of a single viral particle never changes. A virus "adapts" over time because some genetic copies with one set of mutations survive and spread faster than other copies with a different set of mutations. Adaptation in viruses has to be seen exclusively through the lens of changes from one generation of virus to the next based on which mutations have a competitive edge over others. And that competitive edge will vary depending on the kinds of environmental conditions a virus encounters. So, fear mongering about the Delta variant being even more contagious leaves out the fact that this is exactly what you would expect as a respiratory virus adapts to its new host species. We would expect new variants to be more contagious but less deadly as the virus fades to become just like the other 200+ respiratory viruses that cause common colds and flus.  That's also why the decision to lock down the healthy population is so sinister. Lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing rules reduced spread among the healthy population, thus creating a situation where mutations produced among the healthy would become sufficiently rare that they might be outnumbered by mutations circulating among the bedridden. Mutations circulating among the healthy are, by definition, going to be the least dangerous mutations since they did not make their hosts s.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

Asheville boasts one of the longest foliage seasons in the US - these 10 central hotels offer striking views

These are the best hotels in Asheville, NC including Grand Bohemian, the Biltmore, Cambria, the Renaissance, Kimpton, and Omni Grove Park Inn. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Omni Hotels Asheville is a big city with a small-town feel in North Carolina. Asheville is near national parks and is known for vibrant dining, breweries, art, and music. Asheville's best hotels are also varied, from boutique inns to B&Bs and brand name luxury. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyWith unbelievable mountain views, a thriving food and drink scene, an emphasis on nature, and a penchant for the arts, Asheville is a must-visit destination. Sitting on "America's Prettiest Drive," the Blue Ridge Parkway, it has mild seasons year-round and one of the longest, most vibrant fall foliage seaons in the US.I've been visiting Asheville for the past decade, and throughout the pandemic, it made it my go-to road trip for its accessible location, outdoor activities, and how safely it's handled COVID-19. Follow my lead and plan a trip to Asheville with a stay at one of the following standout hotels that range from cozy bed and breakfast in a historic neighborhood to trendy downtown high rise, and the lap of luxury at a five-star spa hotel. Browse the best Asheville hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area here:The best hotels in AshevilleFAQ: Asheville, NC hotelsHow we selected the best hotels in AshevilleMore of the best hotels on the East CoastThese are the best hotels in Asheville, sorted by price from low to high. Cambria Downtown Ashville Floor-to-ceiling windows offer direct views of Pisgah Mountain. Booking.com Book Cambria Downtown AshevilleCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $128/$515Best for: Couples, friends, families, solo travelers, business travelers On-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, convenience store, meeting roomsPros: Every room is thoughtfully designed with wide foyers, Bluetooth mirrors in the bathroom, and desks and beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views.Cons: TVs only have a few channels and don't connect to streaming services, so don't count on a lot of in-room entertainment.Located next to historic Grove Arcade, the Cambria Downtown Asheville places you in an ideal location to explore Downtown's revered restaurants, bars, breweries, and galleries on foot.The rooms are loft-style, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering direct views of Pisgah Mountain and more space to spread out than most standard hotel rooms. As you walk in, a foyer gradually widens, opening up to a space marked by crisp white beds, a desk, plenty of electrical outlets and USB ports, wood floors, and exposed red brick walls with eye-catching splashes of blue. The bathroom is spacious with a large vanity, walk-in showers, bathtubs in some rooms, and the coolest part, Bluetooth mirrors that can play your music while you get ready.A sundry in the lobby is packed with healthy meals to prepare in your in-room microwave, or head to Hemingway's, a Cuban restaurant and bar on the fourth-floor with a terrace and fire pits. Locals pack this rooftop on weekend nights, so make a reservation to grab a seat. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Renaissance Asheville Hotel Rooms are comfortable, clean, and have mountain views. Marriott Book Renaissance Asheville HotelCategory: Mid-rangeNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $131/$512Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, fitness room, pool, meeting rooms, marketPros: This Renaissance has the largest Junior Olympic saltwater swimming pool in Asheville.Cons: The restaurant is only open for breakfast, and the only other food served at the hotel are the snacks and packaged meals available at the on-site market. When you need a nice, but moderate Downtown Asheville hotel with a full list of modern amenities from a trusted brand, choose the Renaissance.I stayed here on a whim as I was passing through Asheville in the height of COVID-19 in 2020, and wanted a hotel brand I knew I could trust to handle the pandemic safely. The Renaissance, a Marriott Bonvoy property, did this exceptionally well and impressed me with their levels of safety and cleanliness.The Renaissance is on the edge of Downtown Asheville and every room has floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to wake up to see the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with plush beds, textured black headboards, a desk, and a sitting area.Asheville was nicknamed "Bee City USA" in 2012 for its honey bee population and commitment to educating the public about how important bees are for the environment. Staying true to this oath, this hotel houses "bee boxes" from the Bee Institute on its roof to promote sustainability.COVID-19 procedures are available here. 1900 Inn on Montford The lavish, spa-like Cloisters Suite is a top pick for romance and relaxation. Booking.com Book 1900 Inn On MontfordCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $145/$605Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, daily breakfast and social hour, live music, games, all-day snacksPros: Book the luxurious 1,300-square-foot Cloisters suite, which has a private garden and a large spa room with a two-person Whirlpool, shiatsu massage, air bath, and walk-in shower.Cons: This hotel is not great for families as children under the age of 12 are not permitted.Perched on a hill in a historic residential neighborhood, just eight blocks from the edge of Downtown Asheville, the Inn on Montford is charming, cozy, and well-placed.This Arts and Crafts style bed and breakfast has eight rooms, each with King beds, gas fireplaces, bathrooms with fiber-optic starry floors, Roman baths, and color-changing, LED-lit vanities.Don't miss the daily cookie selection; one of the innkeepers, Shawnie, makes them herself and prepares a mix of mouthwatering flavors like salted chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or chocolate-orange.If you're on vacation with your special someone, make it extra romantic and book the Cloisters suite, in the Carriage House, which has 1,300 square feet of space, a private garden, a huge living room, a kitchenette, a bar, a fireplace, and a luxurious 68-square-foot spa room with a two-person Whirlpool tub, shiatsu massage, air bath, and a huge walk-in shower. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph Collection Art and design feature prominently, with statement decor in guest rooms. Marriott Book Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph CollectionCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $158 /$600Best for: Couples, families, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, art gallery, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Grand Bohemian Asheville is located directly across the street from the entrance to the famed Biltmore Estate, and the on-site art gallery has local and regional art and jewelry for sale.Cons: In some room categories, the bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a thin curtain rather than an actual door, which isn't ideal for privacy or modesty. Request one with a door if you're traveling with mixed company.This art-driven hotel is the best hotel in Biltmore Village, directly across the street from the entrance to famous Biltmore Estate, known as "America's Largest Home," which was built by George Vanderbilt in 1889 and has a world-class winery, historic gardens, popular restaurants, a farm and over 20 miles of nature trails.Like all Kessler boutique properties, this hotel is innately luxurious, but with a vibe that's creative, relaxing, and comfortable enough to make you feel at home. Art also features prominently, with an on-site art gallery filled with paintings, sculptures, glass art, and jewelry by local artists that are also available for sale.As such, the atmosphere is rich and enticing, with an entrance flanked by a Tudor-style driveway, dramatic candelabras, and heavy burgundy drapes.Inside, stylish, but quirky rooms and common areas juxtapose oil and contemporary paintings and historic busts with surprising sculptures, like a wild hog wearing a tacky tourist hat, and bright purple low lighting that matches velvet chairs alongside fixtures that look like antlers. The rooms are big and enticing, with tufted teal headboards, lamps with tree branch bases, brown and teal-patterned carpeting, and sleek bathrooms with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the soaking tub.COVID-19 procedures are available here.Read our full hotel review of Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville Village Hotel Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate. Booking.com Book Village HotelCategory: Mid-RangeNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $170 /$705Best for: Families, couples, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, pool, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Village Hotel is located in Antler Hill Village, on Biltmore Estate, right next to a slew of family-friendly restaurants, activities, a petting zoo, a winery, and over 20 miles of nature trails. Cons: Transportation around the estate is currently unavailable due to COVID-19, so guests will need to factor a rental car into the cost of their trip.Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, and it's the best pick for families. Located in Antler Hill Village, just steps from the winery, the famed Cedric's Tavern (named after the Vanderbilt family dog), a petting zoo, the outdoor adventure center, and over 20 miles of nature trails, the hotel offers tons to do.The entry-level Village Double Rooms are simple, without fancy bells and whistles, but are modern and spacious with a minimalist black, white and gray color scheme, comfortable double beds, a walk-in shower, and a charming window seat for a vantage point over the beautiful grounds.In addition to all of the aforementioned perks of staying at Biltmore Estate, guests can also dine at Village Social for kid-friendly breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, or go to The Creamery for "Winky Bar sundaes," which is a waffle cone filled with black cherry ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Kimpton Hotel Arras Kimpton Hotel Arras has a prime downtown location and impressive perks, especially for pets. Booking.com Book Kimpton Hotel Arras Category: Boutique Neighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $171/$760Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, travelers with pets, IHG loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, fitness center, seasonal book program, free essential toiletriesPros: This hotel boasts a super central location in downtown Asheville, right on Pack Square. Animals may stay at no extra charge and receive special pet amenities.Cons: With its prime downtown location and resident and local foot traffic, this hotel can be loud and crowded.When in Downtown Asheville, look up and you'll spot the Kimpton Hotel Arras; it's the tallest building in all of Asheville.The 128 rooms, suites, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom luxury condos are bright, airy, and filled with natural woods, white and neutral fabrics, textured walls, art by local Asheville artist Catherine Murphy, a desk, and floor-to-ceiling windows facing Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains.In even the most basic Queen Room, the vanity and bathroom area feels luxurious with a huge walk-in glass shower, marble accents, warm lighting, a dark wood vanity, a large mirror, and a separate toilet.Indulge in drinks and a Mediterranean meal at District 42, and when the sun goes down on a pretty evening, grab a seat by the glass fire pits on the terrace and watch life in Downtown Asheville buzz by. All Kimpton hotels are pet-friendly, too, so bring your dog, cat, bird, iguana or any other animal for no charge. All pet companions are also pampered with perks like stylish feeding bowls, pet beds, treat bags, a ball, and more for free.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Foundry Hotel Asheville Exposed brick and contemporary furnishings give off an industrial-chic vibe. Hilton Book The Foundry Hotel AshevilleCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $182/$684Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, families, Hilton loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, meeting rooms, courtyard with fire pitsPros: It's just two blocks walking distance from the heart of downtown Asheville, and offers Tesla car service and a Southern soul food restaurant by a six-time James Beard Award nominee.Cons: The internet connection was unreliable when I visited, which is hard for business travelers or those who like to be overly connected.Once the foundry and warehouse that forged steel for Asheville's famous Biltmore Estate, The Foundry Hotel Asheville is now a luxury boutique Hilton property next to Pack Square Park.An ode to the city's Black history, it's located in a historical enclave called "The Block," that was once a hub of African American community and business in the late 19th and 20th centuries.After sipping a glass of Champagne at check-in, make your way up to your room, which feels industrially luxe with exposed brick walls, all-white beds with cream tufted leather headboards, floor-to-ceiling mountain views, and eclectic wall art featuring period paintings and newspaper clippings in mixed oval and rectangular frames.Paying homage to its Black heritage, the on-site Benne on Eagle is a Southern soul food restaurant led by six-time James Beard Award nominee John Fleer. The hotel is just a five-minute walk from Downtown Asheville, but if you'd rather drive, The Foundry's Tesla car service can drop you off. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Abbington Green This charming B&B feels plucked from the English countryside. Booking.com Book Abbington GreenCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $229/$469Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, spa, English gardens, daily breakfast and social hour, games, all-day snacksPros: Every room has a King bed (which is unique for most historic bed and breakfasts in Asheville) and TVs you can watch from the bathtub.Cons: Children under the age of 12 are not permitted, which isn't ideal for young families.The English-inspired Abbington Green is an award-winning bed and breakfast, sitting atop a hill with whimsical landscaping and prize-winning manicured gardens.The property has both a main and carriage house, seven rooms, one two-bedroom suite, a spa room, a dining room, and a living room with games, a piano, and a guitar.Every guest room has a King bed, which is unique for historic homes like these, as well as towel warmers, a fireplace, and luxury bathtubs with a view of the TV — perfect for a bubble bath with a glass of wine and your favorite movie.There's an on-site charging station for electric cars, daily breakfast, a social hour, and a beautiful veranda where you can watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge mountains. The warmth of innkeepers Dean and Cherie brings it all together, as they love to talk to their guests, swap travel stories, and make everyone feel right at home.For COVID-19 procedures, call (828) 251-2454. Sourwood Inn The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry, and their knowledge filters down to the overall experience of staying here. Booking.com Book Sourwood InnCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Greater AshevilleTypical starting/peak prices: $235/$390Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, nature lovers, foodies, oenophilesOn-site amenities: Dining room, library, loop trails, wine and flower packages, gamesPros: The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry and brought that culinary experience to the hotel, giving guests farm-to-table dining, curated wine lists, in-room wine programs, and pairing dinners.Cons: The inn is a 20-minute drive from downtown Asheville on remote mountain roads, so you'll have to factor a rental car into your trip.This romantic bed and breakfast is a true hidden gem that sits largely under the radar in Asheville. Located right off the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, it's just 20 minutes from downtown, positioned on 100 acres of hilly landscapes that make it feel as if you're staying in a national park.There are 12 guest rooms in the cedar and stone-trimmed main house, with a separate Sassafras Cabin, all of which underwent a recent head-to-toe renovation. Rooms are airy and bright, welcoming sunlight through tall windows, plus light-colored walls, wood-burning fireplaces, balconies overlooking Reems Creek Valley, and soaking tubs with scenic Bullhead Mountain views.The owners spent a combined 25+ years in the wine industry, and brought that culinary knowledge to the inn through well-executed farm-to-table cuisine, curated wine lists, food pairings, as well as wine of the month and wine and dine packages that add value for serious oenophiles. COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Omni Grove Park Inn Sprawling grounds feel regal and are exceedingly beautiful. Tripadvisor Book The Omni Grove Park InnCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Grove ParkTypical starting/peak prices: $239/$1,049Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, business travelers, families On-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, fitness room, pools, spa, meeting rooms, sports complex, outdoor center, golf course, tennis courts, food foraging experiencesPros: Perfect for a honeymoon or couples getaway, this romantic hotel guarantees five-star service, a renowned subterranean spa, and an iconic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset from its restaurant, Sunset Terrace.Cons: As this is a luxury property, expect to pay premium prices for everything.Few resorts can say they've hosted 10 US presidents and every celebrity you can think of, from Gene Hackman and Helen Carter to Nick Carter and Barack Obama, but The Omni Grove Park Inn is one of them. Additionally, this historic resort, which opened in 1913 is famous for being a World War II internment camp for German diplomats, and served as the hotel and inspiration of choice for author F. Scott Fitzgerald over the course of two summers. Five-star service is unparalleled, with an exterior resembling a majestic stone palace that appears as if it's built right into the mountains. Overlooking 300 acres of hills, woodlands, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the hotel also sits on a Donald Ross-designed championship golf course.From its famous terrace viewpoint, wander down the stone steps to the subterranean spa (it's so popular that you have to book six or eight weeks in advance to get an appointment) and discover hidden waterfalls along the way. Be sure to drink a glass of wine by one of two huge lobby fireplaces, and look up to see original light fixtures from the first day it opened.You'll likely pinch yourself watching the sunset over the mountains from dinner at Sunset Terrace. It's such an iconic view that, whether you stay at the Omni or not, everyone will ask if you saw it.COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Asheville, NC hotels What is the best area to stay in Asheville?Asheville is a revered food and drink destination and staying in downtown Asheville puts you within walking distance from many award-winning restaurants and breweries.If you're only in town to visit Biltmore Estate, you could stay in Biltmore Village, which is right across the street from the estate entrance, or at the Biltmore itself. Biltmore Village and Downtown Asheville are the two main attraction areas in Asheville and, luckily for visitors, they are only a 10-minute drive apart.Don't worry about not having a car; Uber and Lyft are everywhere in Asheville's popular areas, and it's easy to catch one to get to and from each. When is the best time of year to visit Asheville?Ask the locals, and they'll tell you there's no such thing as a "low season" in Asheville anymore. As such, the best time of year to visit Asheville is anytime. The award-winning restaurant and brewery scene is always available and the famous Biltmore Estate is a top attraction.If you're planning a fall visit, Asheville's 100+ deciduous trees give it one of the nation's longest fall foliage seaons, making it truly spectacular to visit in September and October. At this time of year, the leaves start to change along the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, apple-picking season is in full swing, and temperatures drop to the 40s and 50s.Prices get slightly cheaper in January and February when snow and ice make driving in the mountains less appealing, and in March when it's cold and rainy. What are COVID-19 protocols in Asheville?Asheville has been very proactive about COVID-19 risk since the beginning of the pandemic, and stores, restaurants, and businesses strictly enforce local mandates. Currently, there are no restrictions on capacity and social distancing in restaurants, bars, and meeting spaces. Masks are required in all indoor locations in Buncombe County based on advice from medical experts and scientists. What is the best hotel in Asheville?I believe that The Omni Grove Park Inn is by far the best hotel in Asheville. It feels like staying in a palace built into the mountain, right on a championship golf course, with five-star service, a subterranean spa, and unbelievable views of 300+ acres of rolling green hills and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Staying here is the ultimate getaway, whether you're on your honeymoon, planning a girls spa weekend, or looking for a memorable place to spend the holidays. But with rooms hitting peak prices at $1,049 a night, it might not be an option for everyone. However, Asheville is filled with a range of wonderful boutique properties and larger hotels. For the best boutique hotel in Asheville, stay at the Abbington Green, an England-inspired bed and breakfast in the Montford Historic District with large and modern King rooms, daily breakfast, social hours, and beautiful English gardens.For the best hotels in downtown Asheville, the Kimpton Hotel Arras is a dog-friendly hotel right on Pack Square with beautiful and spacious rooms. And across from Grove Arcade, the Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville offers stylish loft-style rooms with panoramic mountain views, Bluetooth bathroom mirrors, and a terrific terrace restaurant serving authentic Cuban food. What is better in Asheville—a boutique inn or bed and breakfast, or a larger hotel or resort?Both options are wonderful, and the one you choose depends on what your group needs or prefers. Boutique inns or bed and breakfasts are usually in historic residential neighborhoods and offer a cozy and comfortable feel of staying in someone's house. They typically have between six and 16 rooms, so if you're traveling with a small or mid-sized group, you could even rent the entire property.A larger hotel comes with more amenities and usually a more central location within walking distance of great restaurants, bars, breweries, shopping, and entertainment. There are also no age restrictions at larger hotels in Asheville, while most bed and breakfasts don't allow children under the age of 12 so as not to disturb other guests. What is the most romantic hotel in Asheville?With its beautiful stone building, iconic views, luxury service, and intimate feel, there is nowhere more romantic in Asheville than The Omni Grove Park Inn. Make your honeymoon extra special by booking a couples massage at the spa, ordering a tasty steak dinner and a bottle of wine at Sunset Terrace, book a Premium Club Floor Room on the adults-only Club Floor, and end each night with a drink by the lobby fireplace. What is the best hotel for families in Asheville?Village Hotel in Biltmore Estate's Antler Hill Village is great for families. Its basic Village Room starts at $170 and comes with two double beds. If you need more room, upgrade to the Village Double with Living Room, which starts at $320 per night and comes with a bedroom with two double beds, a separate living room with a couch, two twin sleeper sofas, and two full bathrooms.The location is also a huge benefit for families as it is steps away from family-friendly restaurants, the Farmyard petting zoo, 20+ miles of easy nature trails, falconry, and the Biltmore Gardens Railway, which has model trains that kids will love.How cheap or expensive is it to plan a trip to Asheville?Asheville is definitely a top tourist destination in the United States, so prices are constantly rising. That said, there is so much to do and see in Asheville, from hiking, biking, and kayaking to award-winning restaurants, breweries, and the Biltmore. These activities run from free or cheap to quite expensive. Hotels and resorts also run the gamut from $128 to $1,049 per night, and there are also tons of Airbnbs at a variety of price points. If you'd prefer one, we rounded up the best vacation rentals in Asheville as well. How we selected the best hotels in Asheville I chose the properties on this list based on my own deep knowledge of Asheville, supplemented by the research points listed below. I extensively researched and visited each hotel and selected properties with excellent recent reviews and ratings of 4 or higher on trusted traveler sites like Tripadvisor or Booking.com.All properties offer a variety of accommodation types, from boutique bed and breakfasts to brand-name hotels and luxury resorts.They range in starting price from $128 to $1,049 per night to suit a range of budgets. Hotels are located in Asheville's top neighborhoods and historic districts, and are near popular restaurants, breweries, shops, and attractions.All hotels offer COVID-19 safety policies, which we've linked for each property, or provided contact information where you can find out more. More of the best hotels on the East Coast Tripadvisor The best hotels in BostonThe best hotels in New York CityThe best hotels in PhiladelphiaThe best hotels in Washington, DCThe best hotels in Ocean City, MarylandThe best hotels on Hilton Head IslandThe best hotels in Myrtle BeachThe best hotels in CharlestonThe best hotels in SavannahThe best hotels on Tybee IslandThe best hotels in Florida Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

Brandon Smith: Organizing Patriots In The Face Of Government Informants And False Flags

Brandon Smith: Organizing Patriots In The Face Of Government Informants And False Flags Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, There is a simple fact that must be understood when it comes to the fight for liberty: Such a fight cannot be won by lone individuals. Freedom requires organized resistance and it does not matter how many millions of people stand against an authoritarian regime, if they are completely isolated from each other they WILL lose. It’s a guarantee. This is why a considerable portion of establishment money, energy and propaganda is directed at defusing or sabotaging any semblance of conservative organization. This includes engineering false flag events and creating potential terror attacks from thin air so that they can be blamed on constitutionally minded groups. The strategy is called “4th Generation Warfare” and it is not conspiracy theory, this is conspiracy fact. For example, as we now know according to court documentation, the supposed scheme by a Michigan “militia” made up of anarchists to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and “try her as a tyrant” was heavily infiltrated by at least a dozen FBI agents and informants. The group was so infiltrated, in fact, that the entire plot for the kidnapping was essentially planned out by the FBI. This is the very definition of a false flag. The corruption and entrapment involved in the operation was so egregious that even the leftist media has reported on it. I recall a very similar situation occurred during the Malheur incident when Ammon Bundy (son of Cliven Bundy) and a group of patriots decided to annex the wildlife refuge and its obscure ranger buildings as a launching point for a revolution. Though I was a supporter of the efforts at Bundy Ranch, I was vehemently against Malheur because the whole situation seemed grossly suspect. The strategy made no sense, the rationale made no sense, the site of the standoff made no sense and the public optics were terrible. It was an anti-Bundy Ranch; a situation in which all of the dynamics were in favor of the feds and against the liberty movement. And, not surprisingly, Malhuer had also been influenced and in some cases was arranged by federal informants and agents. These people were whispering in the ear of Ammon Bundy the entire time while the FBI authorized them to commit criminal acts. There were so many paid employees of the FBI at Malheur that jurors decided to drop all charges against most of the defendants involved. And what about the latest “J6” rally in Washington DC, which was planned by a virtually unknown former Trump aid and was quickly exposed as a potential “honeypot” designed to lure in conservatives? The army of plain clothes undercover feds was so prevalent that riot cops accidentally arrested an armed FBI agent thinking he was a protester. Now, there are many people in the alternative media that are breathing a sigh of relief that almost no one showed up for the J6 protest or “fell into the trap”. In fact, there were far more reporters and feds there than actual activists. However, I think we need to look at the bigger picture of why the government is staging such events in the first place, and it’s not just to entrap a few conservatives . If you think about it, the entire strategy is high cost/minimum reward if we only look at it in terms of actual arrests. If the idea is to catch and prosecute patriots, then they could infiltrate groups and engineer criminal actions for decades and achieve little to nothing. Obviously, this is not the purpose of informants. Rather, the strategy is not to invade groups unnoticed; the strategy is to BE NOTICED, to make sure the whole of the liberty movement believe that if they ever try to organize in any way the feds will be there to set them up. In other words, the primary goal of the FBI is to instill paranoia and fear among patriots and ensure they never effectively organize to resist. When we cheer the “failure” of J6, we need to keep in mind that the establishment does not care. Getting people to show up was not their main intent; making people afraid to show up for any other events in the future is what they want. The issue presents a Catch-22. If conservatives organize there is the chance that some groups will be infiltrated or set up and used to make the entire movement look bad. If we don’t organize, then we have lost the fight. It will be over before it even truly begins (and no, the real fight has not started yet). So what is the solution? I think it’s odd but maybe not surprising that the standoff at Bundy Ranch has been memory-holed by the media and is rarely mentioned even among conservative activists these days. Yet, it was probably one of the most successful patriot actions in the past couple of decades. There are a number of reasons for this: 1) The action was spontaneous, not pre-planned and was in response to criminal activity by the FBI (including assaulting women that were protesting and the use of sniper positions to surround the Bundy property similar to Ruby Ridge). The movement took action to remedy a government trespass rather than creating a standoff out of nothing. 2) There was no single person in charge. Groups showed up from all over the country; some of them squared away and some of them screw-ups. This might sound like a bad thing, but in terms of rebellion it is often better to avoid streamlined top-down leadership. Frankly, I am usually suspicious of anyone that tries to anoint themselves the “leader” of the liberty movement or the sole leader of a protest action. Cult of personality is the most useless thing I can think of when it comes to battling tyranny, and top-down leadership can be easily manipulated or controlled. 3) Because of the decentralized nature of the response to Bundy Ranch, the feds had no way to influence or predict the outcome, and they really hate that. Without informants in key positions, the feds did not have the ability to adapt to the quickly changing circumstances. Contrast this with Malheur, where the feds were basically in control from the very beginning. The site itself was so isolated and ill conceived that the FBI was able to dictate every movement of patriots in and out of the area. It was pointless for any militia to occupy it, but it was a great spot for the feds. 4) Patriots arrived at Bundy Ranch peacefully, but with the will to fight if necessary. The Bundy Ranch response had a clear objective – To stop the FBI from harming the Bundy family and to retrieve the stolen cattle if possible. Both of these objectives were accomplished and with no shots fired. A complete success. The group was motivated and unified by the objective, NOT a singular leadership. Without a clear objective there is no purpose to any action. It is important to understand the difference between a Lexington Bridge moment and a Fort Sumter moment – During Lexington Bridge, the revolutionaries took action to stop a British detachment from arresting colonial leaders and confiscating rifles and powder stores. The British were in the midst of an undeniable attempt to disarm and snuff out the resistance. At Fort Sumter, the Confederate attack was in response to an attempted resupply of the fort itself; which made sense strategically but looked like an act of pure aggression to the wider public. The concept of states rights (more prominent in the minds of the confederates than the issue of slavery) fell by the wayside. Eventually tyranny has to put boots on the ground. A totalitarian system can function for a time on color of law and implied threats, but it will crumble unless it is able to establish a physical presence of force. Once those jackboots touch soil in a visible way and the agents of the state try to expand oppressive measures, rebels then have a free hand to disrupt them or bring them down. But this only works if there are objectives and enough decentralization to prevent misdirection of the movement. Some organization is essential. It cannot be avoided. All the “Gray Men” and secret squirrel preppers out there that think they are going to simply weather the storm in isolation and pop out of their bug-out locations to rebuild are suffering from serious delusions. I can’t help but think of that moment in ‘Lord Of The Rings’ when the Ents refuse to organize to fight against the invading orcs. Pippen suggests to Merry that the problem is too big for them and that they should go back to the Shire to wait out the war. Merry laments: “The fires of Isengard will spread. And the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. And all that was once green and good in this world will be gone. There won’t be a Shire, Pippin.” If this fight is not pursued now, there will be no world worth coming back to, even if one was able to successfully hide from it. There will be a “new world order” as the globalists like to call it. There will be nothing left of freedom. So, organization must be accomplished, and it should be built at the local level. This is far more important than any dreams of a national organization, at least for now. There is no one we can trust to lead such a nationwide revolt, and that includes political leaders like Donald Trump. Will federal intrusions happen? Of course, but at the local level it is much easier to vet people according to their behaviors and root out bad actors. Hold your local meetings to discuss current events and create a place for people to network and get to know each other. Talk to local businesses or your county sheriff to see where they stand on issues like the vaccine passports and Biden mandates. Put things in motion now or you will regret it later when your community is completely disjointed and paralyzed by fear during crisis or government subjugation. And, what about the first guy at your meetings that starts talking about building bombs, drafting “kill lists” or kidnapping governors? Kick his ass out promptly and make sure everyone knows why you did it. Most likely he is a fed or he is on an informant payroll. As our national composure breaks down and the manure hits the fan, fed informants and agents will suddenly disappear from these groups without a trace. They are not going to stick around for what happens next; the government doesn’t pay them enough for that. And knowing who the patriots are will not help the federal government if the patriots are organized to defend themselves. This is the reality which they do not want us to wake up to. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

CDC Panel Approves Pfizer Boosters For Older Americans Despite More Pushback

CDC Panel Approves Pfizer Boosters For Older Americans Despite More Pushback Update (1622ET): ACIP has also approved boosters for people aged 18-49 with underlying issues. This vote was 9-6. CDC ACIP BACKS BOOSTER FOR 18-49 WITH UNDERLYING CONDITIONS The next vote should define "at-risk" occupations. * * * Update (1600ET): Despite some disagreement about the necessity of booster shots (which we also saw at the FDA panel''s meeting late last week), the CDC's advisory panel has voted 15-0 and 13-2 to approve authorization for booster jabs for people over 65, and immuno-compromised adults between the ages of 50 to 64. As the CDC's advisory panel prepared to vote on their final set of guidelines for Pfizer booster jabs, some members of the panel have raised more objections to authorizing booster jabs, though they're not the same objections shared by members of the FDA's advisory panel. Members worried that the pandemic would likely be prolonged no matter what thanks to vaccine holdouts. In fact, with so many Americans refusing to get the jab, using booster shots would be tantamount to slapping lipstick on a pig. “My concern is that we’re just going to keep give booster doses to the vaccinated as different variants come onto the scene, and we’re not going to be able to move forward in truly mitigating the pandemic,” Lynn Bahta, a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices from the Minnesota Department of Health, said. During the meeting, which started earlier, none of the ACIP panelists spoke against recommending boosters for senior citizens, and debate focused on whether a third shot is warranted for younger people at high-risk of severe Covid and if so, how to target them. With more than 30% of the population refusing the jab, "it feels like we are putting lipstick on hogs," said Helen Talbot of Vanderbilt University. "This is not going to solve the pandemic." One participant noted that the data supporting boosters, including real-world evidence from Israel, have relied on shorter term follow-up, meaning the data isn't very credible. But at the very least, one Israeli study has shown that natural immunity is more than 13x more resilient than artificial inoculation. Per CNBC, the vote is still a "a win for President Joe Biden, whose administration has said it wants to give booster shots to all eligible Americans 16 and older as early as this week. While the CDC panel’s recommendation doesn’t give the Biden administration everything it wanted, boosters will still be on the way for millions of Americans." While CNBC may have actually reported that, from what we remember, President Biden initially pushed for boosters for the entire adult population, which provoked a backlash in the scientific community who argued there wasn't enough evidence to approve the boosters, and that they would be put to better use in emerging economies. The panel - officially, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP - has a few more votes to get through, including on whether to extend boosters to other groups including at-risk workers. Dr. Rochelle Walensky visited the panel earlier and acknowledged that while the data wasn't "perfect", "they do offer guidance" about whether to make a decision, she said. *  *  * Last night, the FDA - as expected - authorized the emergency use of booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jab for patients over the age of 65, the immuno-compromised, and the occupationally vulnerable. Now, it's the CDC's turn. The panel is preparing to wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, where it is deliberating a more specific set of guidelines regarding the booster jab and who will initially be eligible, and when. Before we get into specifics, it's worth noting that after the first day of discussion, some of the advisors were so befuddled by the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off the CDC's decision for a month to wait for more evidence. Such a decision would probably have driven the Biden Administration crazy. According to the AP, "the uncertainties were yet another reminder that the science surrounding boosters is more complicated than the Biden administration suggested when the president and his top aides rolled out their plan at the White House last month." On Wednesday, "the CDC panelists heard a series of presentations Wednesday outlining the knotty state of science on boosters. On one hand, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. On the other hand, there are signs of more low-grade infections among the vaccinated as immunity wanes." Ultimately, the function of the CDC panel is to "refine exactly who will be eligible" as Politico put it. For the booster jab, the focus will be on defining who's at "high risk". The discussions are expected to conclude Thursday afternoon. Politico has five key takeaways from day one, and what to expect on day two (text courtesy of Politico): The goals of vaccination might be changing: Data from the large clinical trials used to authorize Covid-19 vaccines in the United States suggested they offered strong protection against even mild infection, raising hopes that the shots would confer so-called sterilizing immunity — preventing vaccinated people from spreading the virus. But over time, scientists have realized that the vaccines' ability to ward off mild infection is waning, although protection against severe disease and death remains strong overall. CDC panel member Sarah Long, a pediatrics professor at Drexel University's College of Medicine, urged her colleagues to differentiate between ensuring the vaccines prevent hospitalizations versus all infection. "I don't think there's any hope that a vaccine, such as the ones we have, will prevent infection after the first maybe couple of weeks that you have those extraordinary immediate responses," she said. The elderly show the clearest need for boosters at this point: Antibodies from vaccination decrease over time among all age groups. But vaccine recipients 80 and older develop lower levels of neutralizing antibodies post-vaccination than younger adults do, said Natalie Thornburg, a respiratory virus immunology specialist at the CDC. That means that older people's antibodies may drop to undetectable levels faster, at which point their memory immune cells play a larger role in protecting them against Covid-19. But older people also may produce fewer memory cells than younger people whose immune systems are stronger — suggesting that older people would benefit from a third vaccine dose. Ruth Link-Gelles of the U.S. Public Health Service said current data shows significant drops in the efficacy of both the Pfizer and Moderna shots in people 65 and older in the time the Delta variant has dominated the domestic infection landscape. But Thornburg cautioned against viewing vaccines' protection as an on-off switch. "Immunity is not simply a binary" in which individuals are either protected or not against the coronavirus, she said. Most people are able to maintain some level of cellular immunity, which is likely enough to protect vaccine recipients from severe disease even after antibody levels drop off. Nursing-home residents face special risks, even with a boost Boosters may not be enough to fully protect residents of nursing homes, according to modeling data presented by Rachel Slayton of the U.S. Public Health Service. While boosters may help reduce the number of cases in long-term care facilities, she said, that depends on their inherent efficacy and on the vaccination coverage among facility staff. High community transmission will likely lead to more infections in nursing homes because staff can more easily import the virus, Slayton said. It's unclear whether booster doses could help curb transmission of the virus among vaccinated individuals. Experts are worried about confusing the public Members of the CDC's vaccine advisory committee expressed concerns Wednesday about green-lighting boosters from one brand over others with authorized Covid vaccines available to Americans, noting the potential for public perception and logistical issues. The panel is tasked with recommending to the CDC how the FDA's vaccine policy should be implemented in real-world settings. Long suggested that the group wait for more information on so-called mix-and-match doses — the ability to vaccinate someone with one brand's primary series with the option for a different manufacturer's booster later — before signing off on just the Pfizer booster, asking “whether we’re willing to panic half the recipients of Moderna." “I don’t want to jeopardize anyone," she said of delaying a booster decision. "At the same time, it’ll be very, very difficult to have a little less than half of the population who would be eligible to receive" a booster if people can only get the brand that matches their initial series. Moderna has asked FDA to authorize its booster shot, and Johnson & Johnson has begun submitting booster data to the agency with an eye to filing an application. Amanda Cohn of the CDC urged committee members to consider the recommendations they're making now as "interim policies" that will change as more data surfaces. The National Institutes of Health is conducting a study on mixing vaccine doses, with results expected later this year. "This is a rapidly moving target," she said. The booster rollout could be messy Still, there are a number of challenges to approving only one brand's vaccine for boosting. Immunocompromised Americans have already been permitted to seek out third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because of concerns they may not have mounted a sufficient immune response to the first two shots. While they've been told they can receive the other brand's shot if they can't access the one they initially got, FDA isn't expected to allow mixing brands for people outside that category, which could sow further confusion. More than 98 percent of Americans participating in a CDC safety monitoring program who have gotten additional doses stuck with the same brand they originally received. But it's unclear how many of those studied actually fell under the CDC's definition of immunocompromised since patients only have to attest to their eligibility — no doctor's note required — meaning there are few obstacles keeping people interested in boosters from acquiring them, anyway. Declining to allow mixing Pfizer and Moderna doses beyond the immunocompromised could make administering boosters in long-term care facilities difficult if residents received different brands, said Molly Howell, an immunization program manager at the North Dakota Department of Health. “I don’t know that it’s realistic to keep going back with different brands," she said. * * * Ironically, the deliberations on the booster jabs are happening during the slowest week for first-dose vaccinations since July (despite NY's mandate looming on Monday). Remember, all of the deliberation so far have  focused on the Pfizer jab. Regulators will decide on boosters for people who have received the Moderna or J&J jabs in the coming weeks. One thing we already know: Pfizer boosters won't be recommended for patients who received a different brand the first time around (though exceptions to this have already and will likely continue to be made). Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 16:12.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

CDC Panel Considers Delaying Booster Jabs Decision By 1 Month To "Wait For More Evidence"

CDC Panel Considers Delaying Booster Jabs Decision By 1 Month To "Wait For More Evidence" Last night, the FDA - as expected - authorized the emergency use of booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jab for patients over the age of 65, the immuno-compromised, and the occupationally vulnerable. Now, it's the CDC's turn. The panel is preparing to wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, where it is deliberating a more specific set of guidelines regarding the booster jab and who will initially be eligible, and when. Before we get into specifics, it's worth noting that after the first day of discussion, some of the advisors were so befuddled by the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off the CDC's decision for a month to wait for more evidence. Such a decision would probably have driven the Biden Administration crazy. According to the AP, "the uncertainties were yet another reminder that the science surrounding boosters is more complicated than the Biden administration suggested when the president and his top aides rolled out their plan at the White House last month." On Wednesday, "the CDC panelists heard a series of presentations Wednesday outlining the knotty state of science on boosters. On one hand, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. On the other hand, there are signs of more low-grade infections among the vaccinated as immunity wanes." Ultimately, the function of the CDC panel is to "refine exactly who will be eligible" as Politico put it. For the booster jab, the focus will be on defining who's at "high risk". The discussions are expected to conclude Thursday afternoon. Politico has five key takeaways from day one, and what to expect on day two (text courtesy of Politico): The goals of vaccination might be changing: Data from the large clinical trials used to authorize Covid-19 vaccines in the United States suggested they offered strong protection against even mild infection, raising hopes that the shots would confer so-called sterilizing immunity — preventing vaccinated people from spreading the virus. But over time, scientists have realized that the vaccines' ability to ward off mild infection is waning, although protection against severe disease and death remains strong overall. CDC panel member Sarah Long, a pediatrics professor at Drexel University's College of Medicine, urged her colleagues to differentiate between ensuring the vaccines prevent hospitalizations versus all infection. "I don't think there's any hope that a vaccine, such as the ones we have, will prevent infection after the first maybe couple of weeks that you have those extraordinary immediate responses," she said. The elderly show the clearest need for boosters at this point: Antibodies from vaccination decrease over time among all age groups. But vaccine recipients 80 and older develop lower levels of neutralizing antibodies post-vaccination than younger adults do, said Natalie Thornburg, a respiratory virus immunology specialist at the CDC. That means that older people's antibodies may drop to undetectable levels faster, at which point their memory immune cells play a larger role in protecting them against Covid-19. But older people also may produce fewer memory cells than younger people whose immune systems are stronger — suggesting that older people would benefit from a third vaccine dose. Ruth Link-Gelles of the U.S. Public Health Service said current data shows significant drops in the efficacy of both the Pfizer and Moderna shots in people 65 and older in the time the Delta variant has dominated the domestic infection landscape. But Thornburg cautioned against viewing vaccines' protection as an on-off switch. "Immunity is not simply a binary" in which individuals are either protected or not against the coronavirus, she said. Most people are able to maintain some level of cellular immunity, which is likely enough to protect vaccine recipients from severe disease even after antibody levels drop off. Nursing-home residents face special risks, even with a boost Boosters may not be enough to fully protect residents of nursing homes, according to modeling data presented by Rachel Slayton of the U.S. Public Health Service. While boosters may help reduce the number of cases in long-term care facilities, she said, that depends on their inherent efficacy and on the vaccination coverage among facility staff. High community transmission will likely lead to more infections in nursing homes because staff can more easily import the virus, Slayton said. It's unclear whether booster doses could help curb transmission of the virus among vaccinated individuals. Experts are worried about confusing the public Members of the CDC's vaccine advisory committee expressed concerns Wednesday about green-lighting boosters from one brand over others with authorized Covid vaccines available to Americans, noting the potential for public perception and logistical issues. The panel is tasked with recommending to the CDC how the FDA's vaccine policy should be implemented in real-world settings. Long suggested that the group wait for more information on so-called mix-and-match doses — the ability to vaccinate someone with one brand's primary series with the option for a different manufacturer's booster later — before signing off on just the Pfizer booster, asking “whether we’re willing to panic half the recipients of Moderna." “I don’t want to jeopardize anyone," she said of delaying a booster decision. "At the same time, it’ll be very, very difficult to have a little less than half of the population who would be eligible to receive" a booster if people can only get the brand that matches their initial series. Moderna has asked FDA to authorize its booster shot, and Johnson & Johnson has begun submitting booster data to the agency with an eye to filing an application. Amanda Cohn of the CDC urged committee members to consider the recommendations they're making now as "interim policies" that will change as more data surfaces. The National Institutes of Health is conducting a study on mixing vaccine doses, with results expected later this year. "This is a rapidly moving target," she said. The booster rollout could be messy Still, there are a number of challenges to approving only one brand's vaccine for boosting. Immunocompromised Americans have already been permitted to seek out third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because of concerns they may not have mounted a sufficient immune response to the first two shots. While they've been told they can receive the other brand's shot if they can't access the one they initially got, FDA isn't expected to allow mixing brands for people outside that category, which could sow further confusion. More than 98 percent of Americans participating in a CDC safety monitoring program who have gotten additional doses stuck with the same brand they originally received. But it's unclear how many of those studied actually fell under the CDC's definition of immunocompromised since patients only have to attest to their eligibility — no doctor's note required — meaning there are few obstacles keeping people interested in boosters from acquiring them, anyway. Declining to allow mixing Pfizer and Moderna doses beyond the immunocompromised could make administering boosters in long-term care facilities difficult if residents received different brands, said Molly Howell, an immunization program manager at the North Dakota Department of Health. “I don’t know that it’s realistic to keep going back with different brands," she said. * * * Ironically, the deliberations on the booster jabs are happening during the slowest week for first-dose vaccinations since July (despite NY's mandate looming on Monday). Remember, all of the deliberation so far have  focused on the Pfizer jab. Regulators will decide on boosters for people who have received the Moderna or J&J jabs in the coming weeks. One thing we already know: Pfizer boosters won't be recommended for patients who received a different brand the first time around (though exceptions to this have already and will likely continue to be made). Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 09:34.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Temporary Fixes Push The FTSE 100 Over 7,000 Mark

“A series of temporary fixes to ominous global problems has pushed the FTSE 100 back over the psycologically important 7,000 mark but there’s a chance the nuts and bolts may weaken again, and the wheels could fall off the recovery. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Mining Stocks: The Top Risers Today On […] “A series of temporary fixes to ominous global problems has pushed the FTSE 100 back over the psycologically important 7,000 mark but there’s a chance the nuts and bolts may weaken again, and the wheels could fall off the recovery. 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 .af-body.af-standards 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 Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Mining Stocks: The Top Risers Today On The FTSE 100 The deal to settle a domestic bond payment due to be made by the crisis hit Chinese property group Evergrande, seems to have calmed nerves among investors and stopped immediate contagion to other sectors. Mining stocks, which were among the worst hit on Monday when fears mounted that a collapse of the firm was imminent, are among the top risers today on the FTSE 100. Worries about the immediate impact on demand for raw materials for construction have subsided but with another debt payment due to be made by Evergrande on an overseas bond tomorrow, the myriad problems facing the group are far from over. In the UK, the latest supply chain crisis has been patched up, with the government stepping in to pay the operating costs for a major CO2 producter. CF industries shut two sites that produce 60% of the UK's commercial carbon dioxide supplies, because of soaring gas prices. Again this may just be a kludge with only three weeks of financial support guaranteed and now the energy regulator OFGEM is warning that more energy suppliers could go to the wall. It’s clear the crisis in the energy sector is far from over, and companies will be forced to absorb costs, hitting margins or pass rises onto customers, fuelling inflation concerns. With weaknesses in supply chains exposed, and concerns rising that a possible property price meltdown in China could spread, all eyes are on the Federal Reserve, with hopes that the central bank will soften the blow of any monetary tightening. Although the Federal Open Markets Committee is forecast to say it’s discussed easing off from the pedal of quantitative easing towards the end of the year, no firm decision is expected. There is a growing consensus that inflation may not be as transitory as first thought, but a sluggish jobs situation, stubbornly high covid infection rates and concerns about dragging economic growth are likely to stop a fast acceleration away from the era of ultra cheap money.’’ About Hargreaves Lansdown Over 1.64 million clients trust us with £135.5 billion (as at 30 June 2021), making us the UK’s largest digital wealth management service. More than 98% of client activity is done through our digital channels and over 600,000 access our mobile app each month. Updated on Sep 22, 2021, 9:02 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 22nd, 2021

Three Sure-fire Ways to Lose Money Investing in SPACs

On its face, the special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, would seem to be one of the safest investment products ever invented by the money spinners of Wall Street. An investor ponies up $10 to purchase a “unit” that includes one share of common stock plus a fraction of a warrant, a “right,” or some […] On its face, the special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, would seem to be one of the safest investment products ever invented by the money spinners of Wall Street. An investor ponies up $10 to purchase a “unit” that includes one share of common stock plus a fraction of a warrant, a “right,” or some other derivative freebie. Rather than handing that cash over to some wild-eyed visionary to invest in robo-helicopters or houses in the Hamptons, the investor’s capital is safely locked in a vault earning interest where it cannot be touched. Once the SPAC has raised a few hundred million through an IPO (or a couple billion if you are Bill Ackman), then the SPAC team scours the globe searching for the world’s most fantastic robo-copter designer, interplanetary tourism company, or cure for cancer. Or whatever. Once they secure their prize, SPAC investors get to vote yea or nay if the deal should go forward. Separately, each investor can elect whether to receive stock in the new corporate confection or redeem to get back their share of cash held in an ironclad trust. Either way, investors get to hang onto the warrants and sell those at a profit should the stock later soar skywards. Sounds close to foolproof, right? That’s what many hedge funds certainly thought, as they gorged on SPAC IPOs in 2020 and early 2021, using leverage to goose returns on what was essentially a treasury bill with an embedded option to convert to equity. But as the SPAC party started to get going, and more and more bold-faced names started to swan through with glittering SPACs on their arms, the SEC became nervous that things were getting out of hand. It is one thing when a balding, jowly private equity jockey pontificates about EBITDA synergies. But when Serena Williams gets amped about building rocket engines and Shaquille O’Neal contemplates nuptials with IPO-gone-wrong WeWork, there may be some headier intoxicants wafting through the air. For this reason, the SEC has unfurled more red flags than a Chinese Army parade about risks retail investors should consider with SPACs here, here, and here. Despite the apparent safety of the SPAC structure, there are still several ways that investors can get their fingers burnt with this product. Some of the more popular ways to get wiped out result from a lack of understanding of the basic structure or a compulsion to run with the herd right before it heads off a cliff. Wait for the SPAC to run up on rumors and then purchase the common stock. Theoretically, negotiations between a SPAC and a potential merger partner should be conducted in absolute confidence. Unfortunately, consummating one of these corporate marriages is not as simple as hiring a coach and a country priest. There are multiple investment banks and advisors involved. The potential deal is marketed “confidentially” to dozens of fund managers and industry players to ladle more cash into the coffers through a PIPE. And all these people are in the business of sharing information and incentivized to see the share price move up. In the case of Churchill Capital Group IV, the stock went parabolic to $58 per share on rumors of a merger with luxury electric car maker Lucid Motors but then tumbled back again to the low 20s as soon as the deal was announced. Why? Perhaps investors questioned if ascribing a valuation in the tens of billions to an auto company that has yet to produce a car was a smart thing to do? Or maybe they noticed that the institutions investing in the PIPE were picking up their shares for $15? Hard to say. But the lesson on how to invest in SPACs is clear. If you bought the IPO unit and sold anywhere between the height of $58 and the mid-$20s where it trades today, Lucid has been an extremely profitable trade. But a momentum investor who piled into the stock based on rumors in the weeks before it was announced probably got wiped out – even though the rumors, in this case, turned out to be true! Lessons learned: You are almost always better off investing in SPACs by purchasing the unit at the IPO. Avoid buying SPACs that trade at a significant premium to trust value before the company has even announced a deal that can be evaluated on its merits. Invest “alongside” famous people. Let’s be honest: stock picking is not all about dispassionately analyzing returns. There is an electric thrill about feeling part of the “smart money” and an exclusive club. What could be more exciting than telling your neighbors or, more realistically, fellow Reddit bros that you are “in business” with a star-studded name on the latest SPAC merger? When Subversive Capital Acquisition Corp. announced it was merging with JAY-Z’s vertically integrated cannabis company, the stock blazed up to $12.85 as investors visualized blasting returns alongside Rhianna, Roc Nation, and DJ Khaled. But as that buzz wore off, the stock traded down to under $4 as The Parent Company (with the apt ticker, GRAMF) smoked a considerable portion of its cash in its first quarter of operations. Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s SPAC, Executive Network Partnering Corp., soared to $50 a share in its IPO debut last November, but then quickly declined back to the $10 range and has yet to announce a deal. Even investing with a storied stock picker like Bill Ackman of Pershing Square is no guarantee of success. His Pershing Square Tontine Holdings ran up to the mid-30s as rumors swirled among Reddit “tontards” that he was wooing prize assets from Bloomberg to Stripe. But the stock traded back down to $20 once Ackman announced and then subsequently unwound a convoluted deal with Universal Music Group that no one seemed to like. The supreme master of leveraging a celebrity following to send stocks soaring is Chamath Palihapitiya. He brought a series of high-flying SPAC mergers to the market while positioning himself as a populist advocating for outsider individual investors. Virgin Galactic Holdings rocketed to $60 before succumbing to gravity and spiraling under $20, while Chamath sold out his entire position. To be fair, most of Chamath’s SPACs are still trading above the IPO price. Even Clover Health, accused of deceptive disclosures and investigated by the SEC, staged a recent rally to $22 on the prospect of a short squeeze — before collapsing again to $8. The most important thing to be aware of is that most of these celebrities are not investing in anything like the same terms as you. In the Virgin Galactic deal, Chamath had purchased his 13% stake of the combined company for $0.002 per share – which was how he converted an investment of $25,000 into hundreds of millions in wealth. SPAC sponsors and promoters have an asymmetric incentive where nearly any deal is better than no deal at all. While there is nothing wrong with buying SPACs associated with celebrities, be aware that they are probably on the “comp list” to this party and won’t be on the hook if the joint gets trashed. Buy SPAC warrants without reading the fine print. For more speculative investors, SPAC warrants can seem like a tantalizing way to take advantage of the inherent volatility of the high growth, high risk “moon shot” companies with which many SPACs merge. Typically, a SPAC warrant will provide the holder with the right to purchase shares in the combined company at $11.50 per share once the merger is completed. SPAC warrants have a life of five years, giving plenty of time for the fledgling company to show its mettle. And soon after the IPO, the warrants begin trading separately, often at relatively low prices. For investors with a high degree of enthusiasm for a SPAC story but limited funds, purchasing a warrant provides far more upside leverage than buying the common stock. As with many things SPAC-related, there is a catch, however. First, investors can only exercise SPAC warrants after the merger is consummated. For this reason, they often trade below intrinsic value due to the risk that investor enthusiasm will fade in the months between deal announcement and closing. Second, SPAC warrants come with a “call” feature, which allows the company to force holders to exercise their warrants if the stock trades above a specific price for a set amount of time. In most cases, this threshold is $18, and companies have a powerful incentive to redeem the warrants to clean up their capital structure. The call feature limits the upside that SPAC warrants provide if the stock takes off. In some cases, as in Clover Health’s recent redemption announcement, the stock needs only to be trading above $10 for 20 days within 30 days — meaning that the warrants may have no intrinsic value at all! Clover’s warrants had traded as high as $11 a few weeks before the announcement. Investors who purchased those warrants in June believing that a massive short squeeze was imminent have lost most of their stake. An even greater risk is that the company calls the warrants, and the holder fails to take action, in which case the warrants expire worthlessly. So, warrants provide a valuable kicker when investing in a SPAC IPO and can be a rewarding way to bet on high conviction SPAC merger deals. But those who ignore the fine print of these complex instruments are likely to be disappointed. In the past few years, SPACs have evolved to provide ordinary investors with access to potentially industry-changing, high-growth investments — formerly the exclusive preserve of late-stage venture and crossover funds. The backers of SPACs now include a selection of the most successful names from the worlds of private equity, M&A, and venture investing. While SPAC sponsors have a “blank check” to source a deal of their choosing, investors retain the valuable right to have their capital returned if they don’t like what sponsors present. By understanding the SPAC format’s essential structure and potential pitfalls, investors can dramatically reduce the potential for a catastrophic loss of this sometimes lucrative and infallibly entertaining asset class. Crocker Coulson is CEO of AUM Media, which advises SPAC sponsors and private companies considering going public through a SPAC merger. Updated on Sep 22, 2021, 6:03 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 22nd, 2021

"He Raped Me Every Morning": Snopes Co-Founder Accused Of Sexual Abuse By Most Recent Wife

'He Raped Me Every Morning': Snopes Co-Founder Accused Of Sexual Abuse By Most Recent Wife The saga of Snopes co-founder David Mikkelson just keeps getting worse.  Mikkelson, who made headlines in 2016 for cheating on his co-founder wife and marrying an escort - only to be suspended by Snopes last month for mass plagiarism - has been accused of raping his now-ex escort wife 'every morning' and playing mind games with her, according to Newspunch. In a September 9 Facebook post, Elyssa Young - who split with Mikkelson at some point in 2020, wrote: “The worst thing about covid-19 for me personally is how complete my comprehension is that if i were to contract it I would die utterly alone." (Fact check: False. Elyssa has just a 1% chance of dying, assuming she's under 50 years-old.) Pre-vaccine Covid-19 case fatality rate through May 30, 2020 - including comorbidities (Statista) My parents are completely self absorbed narcissistic pieces of work only concerned with their emotional blackmailing and thier narcissistic supply (My own mother who was once the director of peirce county rape relief, and now is “lay leader of the world for the methodist church doesn’t want to disrupt her happiness with my “rich husband” who quite honestly, raped me every morning. (By engaging with me ONLY while i was asleep and clothed for tearful years. And yes i regularly sobbed to him to stop and his therapist what was going on. I went to multiple therapists and told them what was happening but they decide upon speaking with david mikkelson that i was”on drugs” and that I was the problem. Not the raping… I went to multiple lawyers all of which were happy to take my savings and then tell me how wonderful david was and that i should not persue domestic violence charges. He refuses all communication because of course he knows i will not keep quiet so villifying me is of course the logical answer. And villifying is his specialty… i would worry about posting this but really why? David always said facebook wasn’t a good medium to distribute info on.” In 2016, the Daily Mail reported that Alyssa - a former Snopes.com administrator, was a part-time porn actress and sex worker. David, meanwhile, was suspended by Snopes after BuzzFeed uncovered massive plagiarism - including instructing other Snopes writers to 'cut-and-paste' mainstream breaking news stories without attribution, and then alter them after the fact. In total, Mikkelson 'wrote and published 54 articles with plagiarized material,' under his own name as well as a pseudonym, and the Snopes byline. In addition, an internal review by the 'fact-checking' company identified 140 articles with possible problems. Meanwhile, Snopes raised $1.7 million in July to fight a series of lawsuits from a former tech vendor. Fact check: what an absolute mess. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 15:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Offshore Creditors Remain In Limbo As Evergrande Agrees To Pay Thursday"s Interest On Local Bonds Only

Offshore Creditors Remain In Limbo As Evergrande Agrees To Pay Thursday's Interest On Local Bonds Only Update (1015ET): US futures are giving back their kneejerk gains as the penny starts to drop that this is not the euphoric 'all clear' after all. As we detailed below - and traders are starting to realize -  Beijing may have just found a brilliant solution to the Evergrande problem, effectively rescuing the company and averting a systemic crisis all at the same time: it will pay local bondholders and soft nationalize/bailout Evergrande, but will avoid allegations of backsliding on tightening/deleveraging promises and improving "common prosperity" by stuffing foreign creditors. And that is not what the market wants to hear... Chinese stocks are fading back too (after reopening from the holiday)... The question is - will Beijing use this as a strawman to judge the impact of such a restructuring strategy? And what will be the impact on the foreign dollar bond market after this? We suspect Larry Fink wishes he had listened to George Soros now. *  *  * US equity futures markets and cryptos are surging higher as headlines from China that Evergrande Onshore Property Unit - Hengda Real Estate - would pay the bond coupon on Thursday September 23rd. This headline sparked panic buying in futures... And bitcoin spiked too... But the buy first, think later mantra may be in full play here as shortly after the first flashing red headline, Bloomberg reported that the September 23rd yuan coupon payment on local, yuan-bonds had been negotiated with bondholders (without clarifying the terms of the arrangement) but it was unclear what the fate of the upcoming Offshore bond coupon payment is. Morgan Stanley had previously suggested this plan of action, forecasting that Beijing may initiate a managed debt restructuring of “a troubled property developer” in the coming week, followed by policy easing in October to contain spillover to the broader economy. The world’s most indebted developer is supposed to pay bond interest totaling about $119.5 million on Thursday. Interest comes due Thursday on two Evergrande notes, even as it falls behind on payments to banks, suppliers and holders of onshore investment products: There’s $83.5 million of interest due that day on an 8.25%, five-year dollar bond - i.e., EVERRE. Any missed payment would have a 30-day period before it’s considered a default, according to the bond covenants. So far we don't know what the fate of this particular payment is. But Evergrande also needs to pay a 232 million yuan ($36 million) coupon on an onshore note - i.e., EVERCN- the same day - this is the note in question whose interest is being paid. In other words, Evergrande’s onshore property unit, Hengda Real Estate, will make interest payment for its 5.8% 2025 bond Thursday, according to exchange filing, while the 8.25% offshore, dollar-denominated bond remains in limbo. Or shown via the company's org chart, the TIANHL coupon payment is being made by the onshore unit Hengda Real Estate, so as to preserve the Keepwell agreement, while the EVERRE bonds, issued by China Evergrande Offshore, remain in limbo. So, to repeat, Evergrande has managed to negotiate the coupon payment of the onshore note - though we do not know what kind of haircut was applied if any - but more improtantly, we do not know about the coupon on the dollar bond. Also remember this comes after the firm missed interest payments due Monday to at least two of its largest bank creditors. But that wasn't all: in a show of monetary forice, PBOC boosted its daily liquidity injection to 120 billion yuan - the biggest liquidity injection since January - and follows two 100 billion injections. “The PBOC kept its net injection against a possible market plunge,” said Zhaopeng Xing, senior China strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. “This will soothe the tightness and keep liquidity loose. Next week will see big fiscal spending flows, which will solve the quarter-end liquidity issue.” So the question is did Xi just convince Evergrande and its domestic creditors to work out a solution, in effect restructuring the company's domestic bonds, and will the Evergrande plan leave foreign/dollar bondholders (and bank debtholders) in the hole while the domestic bonds are made whole? More importantly, Beijing may have just found a brilliant solution to the Evergrande problem, effectively rescuing the company and averting a systemic crisis all at the same time: it will pay local bondholders and soft nationalize/bailout Evergrande, but will avoid allegations of backsliding on tightening/deleveraging promises and and "common prosperity" by stuffing foreign creditors. For those confused, here is an explainer we published previously using data from Goldman on the difference between the offshore (EVERRE) and onshore (TIANHL) bonds: EVERRE bonds recovery prospects Assessing holding company level indebtedness. The $14.0bn of EVERRE offshore bonds are issued by the parent company, with a number of offshore subsidiaries acting as guarantors (see org chart above). Therefore, to assess the potential recovery, one needs to assess the amount of indebtedness at the parent company level and the value of the parent companys investments. Alas, as Goldman notes, that cannot be accurately ascertained, as Evergrande provides financial results on a consolidated basis, with the most recent financial results from June 2021. However, we are able to obtain financial results from a number of their consolidated subsidiary companies, including Hengda Real Estate (the 59.4% owned onshore property development company, which is also their main operating entity) and two of their listed consolidated subsidiaries (China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle and Evergrande Property Services Group). This allows us to map out the distribution of Evergrandes total debt, which totaled RMB 571.8bn ($88.6bn) at the end of June 2021. Assuming potential $21.5bn of debt at the holdco level. Exhibit 2 provides an estimated breakdown of Evergrandes total debt. In additional to the $14.0bn of EVERRE bonds, there is an RMB 8.2bn ($1.3bn) onshore bond issued by Hengda Real Estate (EVERCN 6.98% 8 Jul 2022) that has a repurchase agreement by the parent company. The rest of the indebtedness can be attributed to the various subsidiary companies, with the exception for an amount totaling $6.2bn of debts, which we term Other debts. If we conservatively assume that the $6.2bn of other debts and the RMB 8.2bn onshore bond are both parent company level debts, we arrive at a potential total amount of indebtedness at the parent company level at $21.5bn. Note that we do not assume any of the Hengda bank and trust loans have guarantees by the parent company. Based on Hengda Real Estates latest financial report, it does not state any of their indebtedness as guaranteed by the parent company. Lots of unknowns, therefore caution is warranted. Given the complexity of Evergrande Group, and the lack of sufficient information on the companys assets and liabilities, it is difficult to ascertain a more precise picture of the recovery prospects. On the positive side, there are other assets that could provide additional value, and the chart below provides a basic breakdown of the assets of China Evergrande Group and their major consolidated subsidiaries. On the negative side, there is the all too realistic possibility of additional liabilities we have not incorporated, such as off balance sheet items. For example, on a fully consolidated basis, the company has provided financial guarantees (excluding mortgage facilities) totaling RMB 29.5 at the end of 2020, of which RMB 23.7 were provided by Hengda Real Estate. This suggests there could potentially be guarantees provided at the parent company level. All in all, given the uncertainties, much caution is warranted. TIANHL bond recovery depends on Hendga Real Estate operations... One aspect of the recovery prospects for the $5.2bn of TIANHL bonds outstanding is the strength of the operations of Hengda Real Estate. In terms of book leverage (i.e., total debt divided by total debt plus book equity), Hengda Real Estate was at 56.0% at the end of June 2021, which is near the median level for China Property HY issuers. That said, the balance sheet is likely far more levered than indicated by the book leverage. The chart below lays out the balance sheet for Hengda Real Estate at the end of June 2021, and it indicates the company having RMB 755.9bn of trade payables and other current liabilities, rising from RMB 651.7bn at the end of December 2020. That tightness in onshore liquidity and in the credit markets meant that the company may have had to extend payment terms to their suppliers. Therefore, if one incorporates part of the payables as debt, the book leverage would increase substantially. For example, if 100% of the trade payables and other current liabilities are incorporated as debt, the book leverage would increase to 77.8%, and if 50% are included then it would rise to 70.5%. ...as well as the strength of the keepwell agreement. In addition to the uncertainties surrounding the leverage at Hengda Real Estate, there are uncertainties regarding the structure of the TIANHL bonds. As shown in the org chart above, the TIANHL bonds are issued by an offshore special purpose vehicle (SPV), with credit support from a keepwell agreement and equity interest purchase undertaking (EIPU) from Hengda Real Estate. Yes, when analysts figure out that they've put their money into yet another Chinese SPV, their heads will spin come Monday when they actually start reading this stuff. The strength of the keepwell and EIPU structure is unclear, and in our previous report, we assumed recovery prospects for keepwell structure bonds to be 50% below that for senior unsecured debt of the same entity. Much will depend on the debt structure for Hengda. At the end of June 2021, Hengda Real Estate had RMB 405.5bn ($62.8bn) of debt outstanding, of which RMB 270.8bn ($42.0bn), or 66.8% of the debts, are secured borrowings (Exhibit 6). Another RMB 39.3bn of debts are guaranteed debt, which are debts that have guarantees provided by Hengda Real Estate, its subsidiary companies, or third parties, according to their latest financial results. The remainder consists of unsecured borrowings (RMB 10.9bn), onshore bonds (RMB 50.9bn) and offshore bonds (RMB 33.6bn). The company has also provided guarantees, possibly to non-consolidated subsidiary companies and to suppliers, which was RMB 31.8bn at the end of Jun 2021 Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 21:33.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

Futures, Crypto Surge: Evergrande To Make Thursday Interest Payment, PBOC Injects Most Liquidity Since January

Futures, Crypto Surge: Evergrande To Make Thursday Interest Payment, PBOC Injects Most Liquidity Since January US equity futures markets and cryptos are surging higher as headlines from China that Evegrande Onshore Property Unit - Hengda Real Estate - would pay the bond coupon on Thursday September 23rd. This headline sparked panic buying in futures... And bitcoin spiked too... But the buy first, think later mantra may be in full play here as shortly after the first flashing red headline, Bloomberg reported that while the September 23rd yuan coupon payment on local bonds had been negotiated with bondholders (without clarifying the terms of the arrangement), it was unclear what the fate of the upcoming Offshore bond coupon payment is. Morgan Stanley had previously suggested this plan of action, forecasting that Beijing may initiate a managed debt restructuring of “a troubled property developer” in the coming week, followed by policy easing in October to contain spillover to the broader economy. The world’s most indebted developer is supposed to pay bond interest totaling about $119.5 million on Thursday. Interest comes due Thursday on two Evergrande notes, even as it falls behind on payments to banks, suppliers and holders of onshore investment products: There’s $83.5 million of interest due that day on an 8.25%, five-year dollar bond - i.e., EVERRE. Any missed payment would have a 30-day period before it’s considered a default, according to the bond covenants. So far we don't know what the fate of this particular payment is. But Evergrande also needs to pay a 232 million yuan ($36 million) coupon on an onshore note - i.e., TIANHL - the same day - this is the note in question whose interest is being paid. In other words, Evergrande’s onshore property unit will make interest payment for its 5.8% 2025 bond Thursday, according to exchange filing, while the 8.25% dollar-denominated bond is TBD. Or shown via the company's org chart, the TIANHL coupon payment is being made by the onshore unit Hengda Real Estate, so as to preserve the Keepwell agreement, while the EVERRE bonds, issued by China Evergrande Offshore, remain in limbo. So, to repeat, Evergrande has managed to negotiate the coupon payment of the onshore note - though we do not know what kind of haircut was applied if any - but more improtantly, we do not know about the coupon on the dollar bond. Also remember this comes after the firm missed interest payments due Monday to at least two of its largest bank creditors. But that wasn't all: in a show of monetary forice, PBOC boosted its daily liquidity injection to 120 billion yuan - the biggest liquidity injection since January - and follows two 100 billion injections. “The PBOC kept its net injection against a possible market plunge,” said Zhaopeng Xing, senior China strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. “This will soothe the tightness and keep liquidity loose. Next week will see big fiscal spending flows, which will solve the quarter-end liquidity issue.” So the question is did Xi just convince Evergrande and its domestic creditors to work out a solution, in effect restructuring the company's domestic bonds, and will the Evergrande plan leave foreign/dollar bondholders (and bank debtholders) in the hole while the domestic bonds are made whole? For those confused, here is an explainer from Goldman on the difference between the offshore (EVERRE) and onshore (TIANHL) bonds: EVERRE bonds recovery prospects Assessing holding company level indebtedness. The $14.0bn of EVERRE offshore bonds are issued by the parent company, with a number of offshore subsidiaries acting as guarantors (see org chart above). Therefore, to assess the potential recovery, one needs to assess the amount of indebtedness at the parent company level and the value of the parent companys investments. Alas, as Goldman notes, that cannot be accurately ascertained, as Evergrande provides financial results on a consolidated basis, with the most recent financial results from June 2021. However, we are able to obtain financial results from a number of their consolidated subsidiary companies, including Hengda Real Estate (the 59.4% owned onshore property development company, which is also their main operating entity) and two of their listed consolidated subsidiaries (China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle and Evergrande Property Services Group). This allows us to map out the distribution of Evergrandes total debt, which totaled RMB 571.8bn ($88.6bn) at the end of June 2021. Assuming potential $21.5bn of debt at the holdco level. Exhibit 2 provides an estimated breakdown of Evergrandes total debt. In additional to the $14.0bn of EVERRE bonds, there is an RMB 8.2bn ($1.3bn) onshore bond issued by Hengda Real Estate (EVERCN 6.98% 8 Jul 2022) that has a repurchase agreement by the parent company. The rest of the indebtedness can be attributed to the various subsidiary companies, with the exception for an amount totaling $6.2bn of debts, which we term Other debts. If we conservatively assume that the $6.2bn of other debts and the RMB 8.2bn onshore bond are both parent company level debts, we arrive at a potential total amount of indebtedness at the parent company level at $21.5bn. Note that we do not assume any of the Hengda bank and trust loans have guarantees by the parent company. Based on Hengda Real Estates latest financial report, it does not state any of their indebtedness as guaranteed by the parent company. Lots of unknowns, therefore caution is warranted. Given the complexity of Evergrande Group, and the lack of sufficient information on the companys assets and liabilities, it is difficult to ascertain a more precise picture of the recovery prospects. On the positive side, there are other assets that could provide additional value, and the chart below provides a basic breakdown of the assets of China Evergrande Group and their major consolidated subsidiaries. On the negative side, there is the all too realistic possibility of additional liabilities we have not incorporated, such as off balance sheet items. For example, on a fully consolidated basis, the company has provided financial guarantees (excluding mortgage facilities) totaling RMB 29.5 at the end of 2020, of which RMB 23.7 were provided by Hengda Real Estate. This suggests there could potentially be guarantees provided at the parent company level. All in all, given the uncertainties, much caution is warranted. TIANHL bond recovery depends on Hendga Real Estate operations... One aspect of the recovery prospects for the $5.2bn of TIANHL bonds outstanding is the strength of the operations of Hengda Real Estate. In terms of book leverage (i.e., total debt divided by total debt plus book equity), Hengda Real Estate was at 56.0% at the end of June 2021, which is near the median level for China Property HY issuers. That said, the balance sheet is likely far more levered than indicated by the book leverage. The chart below lays out the balance sheet for Hengda Real Estate at the end of June 2021, and it indicates the company having RMB 755.9bn of trade payables and other current liabilities, rising from RMB 651.7bn at the end of December 2020. That tightness in onshore liquidity and in the credit markets meant that the company may have had to extend payment terms to their suppliers. Therefore, if one incorporates part of the payables as debt, the book leverage would increase substantially. For example, if 100% of the trade payables and other current liabilities are incorporated as debt, the book leverage would increase to 77.8%, and if 50% are included then it would rise to 70.5%. ...as well as the strength of the keepwell agreement. In addition to the uncertainties surrounding the leverage at Hengda Real Estate, there are uncertainties regarding the structure of the TIANHL bonds. As shown in the org chart above, the TIANHL bonds are issued by an offshore special purpose vehicle (SPV), with credit support from a keepwell agreement and equity interest purchase undertaking (EIPU) from Hengda Real Estate. Yes, when analysts figure out that they've put their money into yet another Chinese SPV, their heads will spin come Monday when they actually start reading this stuff. The strength of the keepwell and EIPU structure is unclear, and in our previous report, we assumed recovery prospects for keepwell structure bonds to be 50% below that for senior unsecured debt of the same entity. Much will depend on the debt structure for Hengda. At the end of June 2021, Hengda Real Estate had RMB 405.5bn ($62.8bn) of debt outstanding, of which RMB 270.8bn ($42.0bn), or 66.8% of the debts, are secured borrowings (Exhibit 6). Another RMB 39.3bn of debts are guaranteed debt, which are debts that have guarantees provided by Hengda Real Estate, its subsidiary companies, or third parties, according to their latest financial results. The remainder consists of unsecured borrowings (RMB 10.9bn), onshore bonds (RMB 50.9bn) and offshore bonds (RMB 33.6bn). The company has also provided guarantees, possibly to non-consolidated subsidiary companies and to suppliers, which was RMB 31.8bn at the end of Jun 2021 Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 21:33.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

10 Critical Behaviors That Build Employee Trust In CEOs

Many CEOs know that a lack of trust is a threat to their organization’s growth. But most have done little to increase trust, primarily because they aren’t sure where to start. To make trust a mainstay of their organization, leaders need to reinforce it into their company culture. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and […] Many CEOs know that a lack of trust is a threat to their organization’s growth. But most have done little to increase trust, primarily because they aren’t sure where to start. To make trust a mainstay of their organization, leaders need to reinforce it into their company culture. 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 .af-body.af-standards 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 Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Behaviors That Build Employee Trust In CEOs David Friedman, lists 10 critical behaviors that build employee trust in CEOs:  Honor Commitments When people don’t do what they’ve promised, others lose confidence in them. Leaders should coach people throughout an organization to do what they say they’ll do when they say they’ll do it. This includes big commitments as well as simply being on time for meetings or calls. A companywide pattern of dependability elevates trust. Listen To Understand We build trust in those who take the time to carefully listen to what we have to say. When employees feel “heard,” they develop a stronger sense of belonging to their organization and more comfortable voicing their views. This behavior includes giving others undivided attention, suspending judgment, and not jumping to conclusions. Assume Positive Intent People could avoid so much workplace conflict if they worked from the assumption that others were good, fair, and honest. It’s hard to have confidence in someone who assumes the worst about us or outright accuses us of wrongdoing. When staff members give others the benefit of the doubt, they demonstrate that they trust them. People who feel trusted almost always live up to that trust. Embrace Diverse Perspectives Organizational trust develops when everyone feels confident that they have a seat at the table. It won’t happen if inclusion and respect aren’t equitable across the board. Individuals feel valued, and the team is strengthened, when everyone’s perspective is welcomed and celebrated. Speak Straight Staff members who trust their coworkers and management feel comfortable speaking up. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. In a high-trust workplace, people are willing to ask questions, share ideas, or raise tough issues to help move things forward. When problems arise, they speak directly with those involved and don’t talk behind people’s backs. Trust is essential for people to have the confidence to speak straight. Invest In Relationships You can’t trust someone you don’t really know. Organizations built on trust have a strong network of relationships. For this behavior to take root, employees should be coached to connect more personally—even if they work remotely. People’s confidence in their coworkers grows the more they get to know and understand one another. Act With Integrity When people unwaveringly do the right thing, they win the trust and respect of others. Acting with integrity means always telling the truth, not cutting corners, standing up for others, and being ethical. Perhaps more than any other behavior, leaders must embody integrity for it to become non-negotiable throughout the organization. Show Meaningful Appreciation Acknowledgement is most effective when it is timely, specific, and includes an explanation of its impact. According to Paul Zak, neuroscience shows that this kind of recognition also has the largest effect on trust. People feel they can depend on organizations where meaningful appreciation is extended regularly in all directions. Share Information Few things erode trust faster than when people believe information is being withheld from them. If leaders are open about company goals, strategies, and tactics, they eliminate uncertainty among their staff. In this kind of atmosphere, workers are more prone to entrust what they know with their teammates. Transparency bolsters everyone’s confidence in the workplace, enabling more successful collaboration. Practice Blameless Problem-Solving Mistakes will happen in any business. The way they’re handled signals to staff whether they can feel emotionally safe in that environment. The core of this behavior is a relentless solution-focus that targets the “why,” not the “who,” when errors occur. As a result, staff will feel supported in a blame-free atmosphere and inspired to be more innovative problem-solvers. About David Friedman  David Friedman is author of Culture by Design: How to Build a High-Performing Culture Even in the New Remote Work Environment. He also is founder/CEO of CultureWise®, a turnkey operating system for small to midsize businesses to create and sustain a high-performing culture. He is the former president of RSI, an award-winning employee benefits brokerage and consulting firm that was named one of the best places to work in the Philadelphia region seven times. Friedman has taught more than 6,000 CEOs about work culture and led more than 500 workshops on the subject. With Sean Sweeney, Friedman formed High Performing Culture, LLC, based on the culture methodology Friedman created at RSI. Updated on Sep 21, 2021, 10:43 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 21st, 2021

7 improv tricks to ease social anxiety and make work conversations less awkward

Active listening, building on others' ideas, and finding common ground can help uncomfortable conversations become productive. Being aware of coworkers nonverbal cues and body language is key to being a good listener. fizkes/Shutterstock Conversations with coworkers can be awkward, especially when returning to in-person work. Comedian Megan Gray says applying the basics of improv to workplace interactions can help. Active listening, building on others' ideas, and finding common ground can help ease tension. See more stories on Insider's business page. Talking to people at work can be challenging and stressful. Whether you're attending meetings, conversing with clients, or just making small talk in the hallway, nerves can start to take over. What do you do with your hands? How long should you hold eye contact? What do you even talk about? And if you're used to working from home - let's say, if a global pandemic forces you and all your colleagues to go remote for many many months - face-to-face interactions can feel even more overwhelming.Improvisation can help.Improv is a form of unscripted theater where the actors don't know in advance what they'll say or do - or what other actors will say or do. There are no costumes or props, only a bare stage and chairs. The show often begins with a random word suggested by the audience. In order to create something out of nothing, improv performers have developed a whole range of techniques to keep themselves focused and in the moment.For the past 14 years I've taught improvisation to people of all ages in theaters, at schools, on cruise ships, and online. I've also worked with companies including TikTok, Google, and YouTube to use improv techniques to improve collaboration, communication, and confidence. With everyone from kids to CEOs, I've found that improv principles can help. We'll take a look at some of these techniques and break down how they can be applied specifically to the workplace and work-related interactions.1. Practice active listeningListening is an improviser's main tool. In order to respond to your partner and build off of what they said, you have to actually listen to what they're saying! Not just listen, but actively listen. Most of the time we're passively listening, focused on what we'll say next or imagining what the person we're talking to is going to say, and we miss key elements of the conversation. We're so busy anticipating that we end up listening to only half of what is said.I've seen many scenes derailed because an improviser only heard the beginning of a sentence, or completely ignored their partner's offer. For example:Improviser A: "I've had the worst day on this ship. I got seasick, dropped the map in the ocean, and a seagull took my hat. It's hard being pirates like us."Improviser B: "Welcome to space! We're astronauts."Clearly, Improviser B didn't listen beyond the first few words, assumed the "ship" was a "spaceship," and has now forced Improviser A to justify why these pirates are in space.Instead of interrupting or thinking about what you'll say next, try waiting until the person you're talking to is done talking, and then respond. For example, here's what might happen if you're too eager to jump in and aren't listening:Coworker: "I've been thinking about trying something new for lunch-"You: "Oh, there's a new sushi place that opened around the corner. Let's go there!"But if you allow your coworker to finish, the exchange might sound like this:Coworker: "I've been thinking about trying something new for lunch - maybe that new taco place? I'm allergic to fish, so I'd like to avoid sushi."You (once you've noticed that they're done speaking): "Yeah, tacos sound great."Waiting for someone to complete their thought is only the beginning. You should also aim to listen beyond their words to try to gauge their intent. If someone knows that they're being listened to and not just spoken to, they feel validated. When we're actively listening, we're communicating effectively and clearly understanding each other's goals and objectives-whether those are about today's lunch or that really important project.2. Be aware of body languageBody language helps improvisers communicate what they're thinking or feeling without having to say what they're thinking or feeling. Nonverbal cues like posture, facial expressions, and length of eye contact can be extremely helpful when they're trying to work together quickly and efficiently. If you know that your partner is on the same page as you, you will be more likely to keep going with a specific line of thought. If you know that your partner is in disagreement, you'll try another tactic.For example, if an improviser walks onstage to find their fellow actor facing them with a big smile, they might pick up on those nonverbal cues and kick off the scene with, "It's good to see my best friend after so many years!" But if instead their fellow actor is glaring at them, they might initiate with, "When we last saw each other it ended badly. But I still consider us best friends." The improviser still uses the same idea, but recognizes the emotion that their colleague is projecting.The same is true of any interaction you have at work. Paying attention to people's body language, in addition to the words they say, is crucial. If you're talking to someone and you see their gaze wander or their body start to stiffen, for example, find a way to change the topic or end the conversation. Let's say you see a coworker in the hallway and say, "Hi! I haven't seen you in forever. How are you? What's going on?" If they cross their arms, look at the ground, and say, "Oh, nothing," you might recognize that it's not the best time to talk. You'll also be able to glean how people are feeling about an idea suggested in a meeting, a project deadline, or anything else you're working on together.Your own body language is important, too. It can help signal that you're open to ideas and enthusiastic about collaboration - or the opposite. So be aware of the messages you're sending. Start with your face by holding eye contact, relaxing your features, and smiling or nodding to what is being said. Then move to your shoulders, drop them down, and make sure they're not tense. Uncross your arms. When our body looks closed off, it can signal that we're closed off to ideas. But an open stance can let someone know that you're approachable and receptive.3. Accept and build on others' ideas ("Yes, and…")A golden rule in improvisation is the idea of "Yes, and..." Not that you have to say these words exactly; it's more of a guiding principle that you accept your partner's idea ("yes"), and then build on that idea ("and…"). "Yes, and" starts you off with positivity and possibility, which can help the scene flow and continue. In improv, it might look like this:Improviser A: "I got this cake for you."Improviser B: "You remembered my birthday!" [yes, that is a cake and it's my birthday]Improviser A: "How could I forget? You're 100 years old." [yes, it is your birthday and it's a big one]Improviser B: "I am and I look great for my age." [yes, I am 100 and good looking]Improviser A: "Thank goodness you found that fountain of youth." [yes, you look great and here's the reason why]"Yes, and" is great for off-stage conversations, too. Simple agreement can let a coworker know that you're on the same page. If we immediately start with a negative reaction (either verbally or physically), the person we're talking to goes on the defensive. Try saying, "Yeah, I know," or simply "Yes," to get started and build trust, even when you're making small talk. At work, this might sound like:Coworker: "I hear we're getting a new copier."You: "I know, I saw them take the old one away."Coworker: "That old copier never worked right."You: "Yeah, I've lost so much time clearing out those jams."This isn't to say that you have to agree to everything or become a "yes machine." But agreement at the beginning of a conversation - about a shared goal or intent for a project or even just the meeting itself - can give you a harmonious start and help you relax into wherever the topic leads. For example, maybe you're walking back to your team's desks after a meeting with folks from various departments:Coworker: "I think that meeting went really well."You: "Yeah I know, everyone seemed to be on the same page."Coworker: "Finally. I feel like Jim shoots everything down."You: "Well, he's just being cautious."If you agree up top that the meeting went well, it's easier to express disagreement about Jim without letting the conversation devolve or losing sight of your shared goals.4. Find common groundImprovisers use relatable situations - not jokes - to start their scenes. If you open with a joke and your partner doesn't know the punchline, the scene falls flat. It might sound like this:Improviser A: Did you hear about the dog that walked into a bar?Improviser B: Uh, yes and…But when you start on common ground with a location or circumstance your partner can relate to, it's easier to build on:Improviser A: I'm glad we could finally meet. You look just like your profile picture.Improviser B: Yeah, you too. I've heard this is a good restaurant.Improviser A: It is! The waiters sing to you.You've probably been on a first date before, so you'd be in a better position to know what to say. It might be harder to imagine what that dog would say to a bartender.The same goes for a chat in a break room or small talk at the beginning of a meeting. Talk about things you know (such as shared hobbies or interests) or familiar experiences (like commutes, meetings, and other "work stuff"). Being relatable and honest lets your colleagues feel at ease and allows you to forge deeper connections. This can be a vulnerable place, so only share what you're comfortable sharing.If you're discussing a particular project, you can also start with something that shows you recognize a shared experience. For example:You: How's your team dealing with the new challenges of this project? We've found them a little tough.Colleague: Yeah, we weren't expecting the latest developments.Like an improv scene, it is easier to know what to say and respond when the conversation begins on common ground.5. Try to be confident in the face of the unknownWhen improvising, performers never know what's going to come next. If they show fear, uncertainty, or panic, the audience and the other performers are going to lose trust in the performance and disconnect. In order to stay engaged and make scenes entertaining, improvisers put on a show of confidence. Even if they're scared or don't know what to do, they remain cool and collected. This skill develops over years of practice and a gradual process of getting used to the uncertainty.I've seen experienced improvisers make hilarious speeches and sing impromptu songs in shows. When I would compliment them after the show, most would say, "Thanks, I had no idea what I was doing."Whether you're discussing ideas in a meeting, making a presentation, projecting the goals of a longer-term strategy, or having a quick exchange, you have to realize and accept that you don't know how things will play out. Try to get comfortable with not knowing, recognize that others probably feel the same way, and trust that if you work together, you'll figure out the path forward.6. Be resilientImprovisers are constantly adapting to every new piece of information in a scene. And if they're thrown off, they're resilient about it. How a performer recovers can build trust with the audience and fellow performers, and prove that they can adapt to a new situation. For example, a scene might go like this:Improviser A: "As you can see, there are hardwood floors throughout the first level. Three bedrooms, two baths."Improviser B: "Mom, I know what our house looks like."Improviser A: "Scott, I need to practice if I'm going to be the best real estate broker in this town!"Improviser B: "Ugh, OK. Tell me about the breakfast nook again."Improviser A was acting like a real estate agent and Improviser B made them their mom. Improviser A had to go with the flow and be flexible when the scene wasn't going the way they thought.Sometimes a conversation or meeting can take you in a direction you didn't expect. In moments like these, take a pause and breathe. Don't shut down or retreat. If we approach the situation as something we can work through and overcome, we become stronger for the next time it happens. For example, let's say your coworker approaches you in the breakroom:Coworker: "Hey, what did you do this weekend?"You: "I watched the new Marvel movie. It was great."Coworker: "Oh, I hate superhero movies."You might be taken aback by their comment, but you can bounce back with:You: "Yeah, they're not for everyone. What movies do you like?"Now you have a new topic and a new opportunity to find a common interest. The same attitude can help you in more high-stakes situations. Let's say you've just presented to a client and don't get quite the response you were hoping for:Client: "That's great, but do you have anything else?"You: "Did you have something in mind? We've had a couple of ideas in the works, but we want to give you what you really want."You can recover by clarifying with the client and opening up the conversation for further collaboration. And no matter what the situation, try not to get defensive.7. Don't judgeIf you're in an improv scene and immediately judge your own idea, or your partner's, the situation comes to a standstill. Judgement quickly leads to criticism, negative thinking, and distrust. Here are three versions of the same back and forth - in the first two, judgement gets in the way, whereas in the third, there's no judgement and a much smoother path forward:Improviser A: This cruise is surely going to help our marriage. Wait, no that's stupid. What I mean is that this cruise is great.Improviser B: Uh, yes?Improviser A: This cruise is surely going to help our marriage.Improviser B: Ugh, we're on a cruise? OK ...Improviser A: This cruise is surely going to help our marriage.Improviser B: I know, I'm glad we're taking Dr. Monroe's advice.Your improv partner has no incentive to invest in an idea that you hate. And if you judge your partner's idea, they'll feel attacked. It's important to go along with the situation and see where it leads you.Similarly, if a colleague suggests an idea, try not to jump to an immediate judgement. Instead, acknowledge their suggestion, ask questions, and try to understand the full picture before you reach a conclusion. For example:Colleague: What if we try using the slides from last year's presentation?You: That might work. What was it about those slides that stood out to you compared to this year's?Starting with a possibility, "That might work," or "Interesting," lets your colleague know that you're open to finding out more. Ultimately, you don't have to go with the idea, but hearing someone out makes them feel valued.And if you suggest an idea, be confident in your choice. When you believe in what you're saying, others will too. By reserving judgement in the moment, we're in a mode of acceptance and flexibility for what might come.Connecting in person is hard and can feel daunting or awkward. But using these simple improv techniques can help you become a more confident communicator. And as you work on your communication skills, take it easy, trust yourself, and try to have some fun.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2021

Stocks Post Weekly Gains Despite Flat Friday Session

Stocks Post Weekly Gains Despite Flat Friday Session The market didn’t have any energy in this lazy summer session, which left each of the major indices little changed on Friday. However, they still managed weekly gains. The Dow significantly outperformed its counterparts over the past five days by rising 1.8%. The S&P rose a little more than 0.6%, while the NASDAQ barely stayed positive this week by advancing .08%. It only advanced 8 points since last Friday’s close. The big news of late has been the S&P, which spent the whole week attempting to close at a new high. The index broke through the Feb 19 record at 3386.15 a few times, but it just couldn’t stay above the mark. It closed lower by 0.02% on Friday to 3372.85. Given such a small decline, it remains a little more than 13 points away from making history. So this will likely be a big story again next week. The NASDAQ slid 0.21% (or about 23 points) to 11019.30 as tech was as lazy as everything else today. The only FAANG with a positive close was Netflix (NFLX, +0.28%). The Dow stood alone in the green today, which underscored its strong weekly advance. However, the index was only higher by 0.12% (or about 34 points) to 27,931.02. Retail sales were a mixed bag, as an advance of 1.2% was only about half of expectations. But if you stripped out auto, the rise of 1.9% easily topped forecasts. The market is still feeling pretty good about yesterday’s jobless claims report, which came in below 1 million for the first time in 20 weeks. That’s a covid era milestone. Unfortunately, there’s no good news when it comes to coronavirus relief. Congress actually went home… without a deal! They won’t be back in town until around Labor Day. Hey, what can you say? It’s Washington. A few of the editors have mentioned that these slow summer sessions of late have made the market feel more normal… and ‘normal’ is in short supply these days. Let’s hope we can stay calm and mostly optimistic until a vaccine really gets us back on track. Today's Portfolio Highlights: Blockchain Innovators: The earnings trend for International Money Express (IMXI) has “strengthened considerably” since the last time this fintech company was in the portfolio. Dave added this name last year because it utilized blockchain technology early on in its payments business. The stock didn’t do much for the service back then, but the editor thinks it will be different this time. IMXI is now a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with year-over-year growth of 18.75% expected this quarter and 38.89% for next. Meanwhile, Dave also sold SecureWorks (SCWX) for a small gain. Read the full write-up for more. In other news, this portfolio also had the top two performers of the day among all ZU services with Net Element (NETE, +10.56%) and WISeKEY International (WKEY, +7.89%).  Counterstrike: "Another slow day in the markets, with low volume and tight ranges. It is what we should expect on a Friday in August, but considering what we have been used to, it is hard to adjust. Talking to some traders, it was a tough week of adjustment and today was a session most of us should take off or just watch. "Don’t get me wrong, there is money out there. Tesla is one of the best day trading stocks ever created and continues to be a worthwhile play. Stocks like Apple, Amazon and Nvidia also give a lot of opportunity to make money every day. However, if you are a swing trader, or venture outside the big stocks, it can be difficult in this environment. "Summer is a time of low volatility and with the VIX at 22 it’s a hard adjustment after a few months above 30. If you struggled over the last few weeks, look at next week as an opportunity to adjust. "The S&P closed up about half a percent on the week, with the low at 3326 and the high was 3387. I thought the rug would be pulled this week, but that was wrong. Now it seems like a push higher is inevitable and perhaps we get that next week." -- Jeremy Mullin Value Investor: "The weekly jobless claims fell under 1 million for the first time since the pandemic started last week. That's a good sign as it's fewer people filing for new claims. "We need to continue to see the numbers drop, week over week, in order for a true recovery to be underway. "The stock market will keep rallying on the "recovery" trade as long as it's really happening. We'll see what happens over the next several weeks. "Remember, our mantra is still "don't fight the Fed or the Congress." "They WILL do another aid package. It's just a matter of when." -- Tracey Ryniec Have a Great Weekend! Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Dow Goes Green for 2020 To Finish a Solid Week of Gains

Dow Goes Green for 2020 To Finish a Solid Week of Gains It’s about time the Dow had something to brag about! The other guys have been setting new records all week (including today), but now this index can boast of being positive for 2020. The Dow gained 0.57% (or about 161 points) on Friday to finish at 28,653.87. That puts it less than 900 points from a new high… and we know how quickly this market (and this index for that matter) can make up lost ground.    And the highs just keep on coming for the other indices. The S&P climbed 0.67% to 3508.01. The index made history each day this week. In fact, its record-breaking winning streak is now 6 days.   Can you handle another milestone? This was the first close above 3500 ever. The NASDAQ took a break yesterday from all the fun, but was back at it on Friday. It rose 0.60% (or around 70 points) to a new high of 11,695.63. It was a great end to a fabulous week, which saw the NASDAQ rise 3.4%, the S&P improve 3.3% and the Dow advance 2.6%. The market has been enjoying good news on two important fronts lately: the Fed and the fight against the coronavirus. Yesterday, Chair Jerome Powell let us know that these historically low rates will probably be around even longer than we thought… and we already expecting a nice long stay down here. Basically, they’re going to let inflation move moderately above 2% for “some time” before making any moves. Recent days have also seen good news on a vaccine candidate from Moderna (MRNA) and a coronavirus test from Abbott Labs (ABT). And this all comes at a time when cases have moderated. August is going to be the market’s fifth straight month of gains! Actually, its going to be the best monthly performance since April, when the market bounced back from the initial shock of the pandemic shutdowns. The NASDAQ and the Dow go into the final day of August on Monday with advances of more than 8% each. And the S&P is up approximately 7.2%. Today's Portfolio Highlights: Value Investor: The housing market is one the hottest areas of the economy right now, so Tracey added a name on Friday that serves the space. She picked up American Woodmark (AMWD), which is one of the largest kitchen cabinet companies in North America. It’s two business segments are homebuilders and home remodeling businesses. Earlier this week, the company reported $1.66 per share for its fiscal first quarter, topping the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7.1%. Sales were down 8.7%, but that’s better than expected given a 2-week disruption in Mexico. In addition to solid value characteristics, AMWD has soared nearly 36% in the past three months though is still down 15.7% year to date, so there’s plenty of running room here. And rising earnings estimates have made the stock a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Read the complete commentary for a lot more on this new buy. Counterstrike: Usually, Jeremy waits for a nice, fat pullback to pick up stocks before their next turn higher. However, this market isn’t cooperating as the epic runup continues. Therefore, he added Dicks Sporting Goods (DKS) on Friday with a small 4% allocation since the Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) hasn’t declined that much. The portfolio will add more on any further weakness. DKS recently reported a “blowout quarter” with an earnings surprise of 158% and same-store sales growth of 20.7%. Meanwhile, this ever-increasing market is making it near impossible to short anything, so the editor also covered Chewy (CHWY) and ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ (SQQQ) today. Read the full write-up for more.  TAZR Trader: Shares of Quidel (QDEL) have gotten shellacked in recent days, but all Kevin can see is a bargain price for an innovative medical diagnostics innovator. The company has several covid tests that have been fast-tracked by the FDA, so pullbacks are opportunities in this stock while we still have to deal with this pandemic. In its recent quarter, QDEL beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 66%. And full-year 2020 projections are calling for earnings growth of more than 250% and revenue growth over 100%. The editor added the stock on Friday with a 5% allocation and would add more on any dips to approximately $140. Read the full write-up for tons more info on QDEL, including bullet points on the company’s potential and statements from management after a recent conference. Have a Great Weekend! Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021