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"Dumb And Disrespectful": Katie Couric "Protected" RGB By Editing Anti-Kneeling Comments From 2016 Interview

'Dumb And Disrespectful': Katie Couric 'Protected' RGB By Editing Anti-Kneeling Comments From 2016 Interview Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that athletes kneeling for the national anthem were being 'dumb and disrespectful,' and showed 'contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life,' when asked what she thought about former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others protesting before games. "Would I arrest them for doing it? No," said Ginsburg. "I think it's dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it's a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn't lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act." But the American public never knew about this controversial opinion from the liberal icon, because Katie Couric edited it out of a 2016 interview with the late Supreme Court justice, according to the Daily Mail. "If they want to be arrogant, there's no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that," Ginsburg added. The next day, the Supreme Court's head of public affairs emailed Couric to say that Ginsburg had "misspoken" and demanded its removal. So, like a good establishment lapdog not interested in doing actual journalism, Couric complied. RGB's opinion - which perhaps could have quelled the racial division brewing in America during the 2016 US election, is revealed in Couric's upcoming book, set for release on October 26. ... she faced a 'conundrum' when Ginsburg made comments about Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL player who became the controversial figurehead behind the national anthem protest against racial injustice.  Couric felt that when Ginsburg said that people like Kaepernick were 'dumb and disrespectful' they were comments that were 'unworthy of a crusader for equality' like the liberal Supreme Court justice.  The day after the sit-down, the head of public affairs for the Supreme Court emailed Couric to say the late justice had 'misspoken' and asked that it be removed from the story. Couric writes that she was 'conflicted' because she was a 'big RBG fan', referring to Ginsburg's moniker. -Daily Mail Aiding Couric's decision not to report Ginsburg's opinion was NYT journalist David Brooks, who advised Couric that Ginsburg - who was rendering opinions on matters of national importance at the time - 'probably didn't understand the question.' On the other hand, David Westin, former head of ABC News, suggested Couric keep Ginsburg's comments in. "She's on the Supreme Court. People should hear what she thinks," he said. Couric claims she simply 'wanted to protect' Ginsburg - and that the topic of racial justice was a 'blind spot' for her. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

"Dumb And Disrespectful": Katie Couric "Protected" RGB By Editing Anti-Kneeling Comments From 2016 Interview

'Dumb And Disrespectful': Katie Couric 'Protected' RGB By Editing Anti-Kneeling Comments From 2016 Interview Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that athletes kneeling for the national anthem were being 'dumb and disrespectful,' and showed 'contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life,' when asked what she thought about former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others protesting before games. "Would I arrest them for doing it? No," said Ginsburg. "I think it's dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it's a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn't lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act." But the American public never knew about this controversial opinion from the liberal icon, because Katie Couric edited it out of a 2016 interview with the late Supreme Court justice, according to the Daily Mail. "If they want to be arrogant, there's no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that," Ginsburg added. The next day, the Supreme Court's head of public affairs emailed Couric to say that Ginsburg had "misspoken" and demanded its removal. So, like a good establishment lapdog not interested in doing actual journalism, Couric complied. RGB's opinion - which perhaps could have quelled the racial division brewing in America during the 2016 US election, is revealed in Couric's upcoming book, set for release on October 26. ... she faced a 'conundrum' when Ginsburg made comments about Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL player who became the controversial figurehead behind the national anthem protest against racial injustice.  Couric felt that when Ginsburg said that people like Kaepernick were 'dumb and disrespectful' they were comments that were 'unworthy of a crusader for equality' like the liberal Supreme Court justice.  The day after the sit-down, the head of public affairs for the Supreme Court emailed Couric to say the late justice had 'misspoken' and asked that it be removed from the story. Couric writes that she was 'conflicted' because she was a 'big RBG fan', referring to Ginsburg's moniker. -Daily Mail Aiding Couric's decision not to report Ginsburg's opinion was NYT journalist David Brooks, who advised Couric that Ginsburg - who was rendering opinions on matters of national importance at the time - 'probably didn't understand the question.' On the other hand, David Westin, former head of ABC News, suggested Couric keep Ginsburg's comments in. "She's on the Supreme Court. People should hear what she thinks," he said. Couric claims she simply 'wanted to protect' Ginsburg - and that the topic of racial justice was a 'blind spot' for her. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

The New York Post: In new book, Katie Couric reveals how she chose not to fully report Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comments on national-anthem kneeling

Couric quoted the Supreme Court justice in 2016 as calling the protest pioneered by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick ‘disrespectful’ and ‘dumb’ but left out a Ginsburg comment that kneeling showed contempt for a country that had made professional athletes' advantaged lives possible......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchOct 13th, 2021

The Trump-endorsed challenger to Rep. Liz Cheney once called the former president "racist and xenophobic" and worked to stop his nomination

Harriet Hageman, who former President Trump has endorsed to take on Liz Cheney, once worked to try to deny Trump the Republican nomination. Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Harriet Hageman (left) and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming (right) Mead Gruver and Andrew Harnik/AP Former President Trump endorsed Hageman because Cheney is insufficiently loyal to him. In 2016, Hageman said Trump was "racist and xenophobic" and plotted to deny him the GOP nomination. Hageman says she blames "the lies the Democrats and Liz Cheney's friends in the media were telling." See more stories on Insider's business page. Harriet Hageman, a former RNC official from Wyoming endorsed by former President Donald Trump to run against Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, was once part of an effort to deny Trump the nomination at the 2016 Republican convention. The New York Times reported on Monday that Hageman believed Trump was a weak candidate who had become the nominee only through the support of Democrats voting in Republican primaries. She also said the former President was "somebody who is racist and xenophobic."Hageman, now running with Trump's endorsement in a bid to unseat Cheney, was also once close to the congresswoman herself, serving as an advisor for Cheney's aborted 2014 Senate bid.The Times reported that Hageman participated in an effort to "unbind" delegates at the 2016 convention via a "conscience provision," freeing them to vote for Ted Cruz rather than Trump, the eventual nominee."Vote your conscience," Cruz famously declared in his speech at the 2016 convention, receiving a mixture of cheers and booing. But in a statement to the Times, Hageman ultimately blamed Cheney for her previous actions."I heard and believed the lies the Democrats and Liz Cheney's friends in the media were telling at the time, but that is ancient history as I quickly realized that their allegations against President Trump were untrue," she told the New York Times. "He was the greatest president of my lifetime, and I am proud to have been able to renominate him in 2020. And I'm proud to strongly support him today."But Cheney backed Trump in 2016, doubling down on her support for him even after the emergence of the "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women."Trump's comments were appalling. Hillary's actions have been far worse," she told Wyoming-based K2 radio that year. "I will be voting for Donald Trump. A vote for anyone other than Trump is a vote for Hillary."But since then, Cheney has become among the most prominent anti-Trump Republicans in the country. After she voted to impeach the president for inciting an insurrection following the January 6 assault on the US Capitol, she has continued to speak out publicly about her belief that Trump poses a threat to democracy. House Republicans eventually booted her from leadership over it, and Trump himself is now backing Hageman in a bid to remove Cheney from Congress altogether."It's going to be the most important House race in the country in 2022," Cheney said in a "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 27th, 2021

The Virginia governor"s race is shaping up as a test of the state"s Democratic strength and Biden

A GOP candidate who is uniting the business class and pro-Trump voters, along with Biden's sagging poll numbers, have put the leans-blue state in play. Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin participate in a debate at Northern Virginia Community College, in Alexandria, Va., on September 28, 2021. AP Photo/Cliff Owen Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe once wrestled a 280-pound alligator to secure a $15,000 campaign donation for President Jimmy Carter's 1980 reelection campaign. In 2009, the former Democratic National Committee Chairman ran unsuccessfully for his party's gubernatorial nomination, but came back to win the nomination - and the governorship - four years later. During his time in the Executive Mansion from 2014 to 2018, McAuliffe faced a solidly-conservative GOP legislature that was resistant to many of his legislative proposals. However, as the longtime Democratic power broker seeks to win his old job back in the November general election, he faces a test unlike any that he's encountered in the past - with his race serving as a barometer of the current political alignment of the Old Dominion.Democrats have been ascendant in the state for over a decade now - with key wins that included former President Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 victories, Ralph Northam's 2017 gubernatorial victory against former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, the party taking full control of the state legislature after the 2019 elections, and now-President Joe Biden's double-digit triumph against then-President Donald Trump last fall.Republicans - who in recent years have nominated a string of candidates that struggled with the ever-growing suburban vote - have not won a statewide race in Virginia since 2009. But this year, GOP delegates nominated Glenn Youngkin, a former private equity executive and first-time political candidate who has so far been able to speak to conservative issues in way that has united the party's business class and its dominant Trump wing. The Republican approach, along with Biden's slumping numbers in the state, have made the Virginia election a real race in the closing weeks of the campaign.Despite the state's recent Democratic-leaning orientation, Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., told Insider that there still remains a strong GOP base of reliable supporters. "Republicans consistently turn out a million or a little over a million voters consistently, even when they've lost massively," he said.With the dominant Democratic Party facing an energized GOP, what do the dynamics of the electorate reveal about Virginia's political identity? A voter heads to cast his ballot during the US presidential primary in Henrico County, Va., on March 1, 2016. AP Photo/Steve Helber The importance of the suburban vote can't be overstatedFrom the 1970s through the 1990s, Republican presidential victories in Virginia were powered by the state's fast-growing suburban areas in northern Virginia, the Richmond metropolitan area, and Hampton Roads, which form the core of the vote-rich "Golden Crescent." However, from the late 2000s through the last decade, many suburban localities, including populous Loudoun, Prince William, and Henrico counties, began to support Democrats on the presidential level. This shift, which was already ongoing as the GOP became more ideologically conservative, was exacerbated by Trump's deep unpopularity in these suburbs, which are filled with college-educated moderates and independent voters who have become more receptive to Democratic messaging. Minority voters, notably Black, Latino, and Asian residents, are also increasingly becoming a part of the suburban electoral calculus.In northern Virginia, where McAuliffe and Youngkin both reside, Democrats have had striking success in recent election cycles. In 2019, northern Virginia boasted a population of 2.8 million residents and the region's votes made up 32% of the total statewide count in last year's presidential election, according to The Washington Post. The party handily carried the region by 32% in the 2017 gubernatorial election won by Northam, who is term-limited and ineligible to run for reelection. By running for a second, nonconsecutive term in office, McAuliffe is hoping to pull off a rare feat in Virginia - the last governor elected to two terms was Mills Godwin, who served in office from 1966 to 1970 as a Democrat and from 1974 to 1978 as a Republican.A recent poll released by the Wason Center on Oct. 8 showed McAuliffe ahead of Youngkin 49%-45% with likely voters - the survey had a margin of error of 4.2%. In the same poll, Youngkin led among independents by a 50%-41% margin.J. Miles Coleman, the associate editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, which currently classifies the race as "leans Democratic," told Insider that Youngkin has a compelling personal story as a native Virginian who earned a basketball scholarship to play at Rice University and went on to earn an MBA at Harvard before eventually amassing a fortune of over $300 million at the helm of the Carlyle Group. "The Republicans have a fairly attractive candidate in Youngkin," he said. "He's not hated as much Trump is here, that's for sure. He kind of has an uplifting life story, and I think he's probably better positioned to appeal to some of those suburban voters who used to be Republicans but now vote for Democrats. He has tried to touch on some themes of law and order with a softer edge than Ed Gillespie ... at this time four years ago we were talking about MS-13," a reference to the violent street gang. Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin speaks with members of the press alongside his wife Suzanne, left, after voting early in Fairfax, Va., on September 23, 2021. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky McAuliffe has been unable to cast Youngkin as unacceptable to swing votersRepublicans are bullish on their support among some of the very same independents who have backed Democrats like Northam and Biden, along with lawmakers like Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. McAuliffe has consistently sought to tie Youngkin to Trump, as well as raise concerns about access to abortion in the wake of the implementation of a highly restrictive Texas law that effectively bans the procedure after the sixth week of pregnancy. The former governor has also chided Youngkin for opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates in an appeal to independents who back such measures. Youngkin, who has been vaccinated, disagrees with the mandates and said last month that getting inoculated is a personal decision.The former governor has also criticized Youngkin for invoking critical race theory, which examines how America's history of racism continues to reverberate through laws and policies that exist today; it is a discipline that is generally not taught in K-12 schools, but Youngkin has pledged "ban" it on his first day in office.McAuliffe, who is known for being a disciplined campaigner, has had a tough time linking Youngkin to the former president in the minds of many swing voters. Kidd, the Wason director, told Insider that even if Youngkin comes up short in his campaign, he could provide a roadmap for the Virginia GOP as they seek an escape from the political wilderness. "Glenn Youngkin may not win, but Republicans may have found a way to thread the needle between Trumpism and economic conservatism, which they have struggled to do," he said. "Youngkin seems to be walking a tightrope pretty effectively in some ways. He embraces Trump just enough, but not too much, and he distances himself from Trump just enough, but not too much." Former state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli addresses a rally sponsored by Catholic Vote and Fight for Schools in Leesburg, Va., on October 2, 2021. AP Photo/Cliff Owen The conservative vote in the state remains influentialDespite Democrats currently holding all major statewide offices in Virginia, the GOP still holds 45 out of 100 seats in the House of Delegates and 19 out of 40 seats in the Senate. This year, every House seat is up for grabs, with Democrats angling to retain the majority that they clawed back in 2019. In addition to partisan gerrymandering, a major reason why Democrats struggled to regain control of many suburban-based House districts in the last decade prior to Trump's election was low turnout.In 2009, the last year that Democrats lost a gubernatorial election in Virginia, Republicans were eager to elect former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell and he won in a 59%-41% landslide over state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds. Overall turnout that year was 40.4%, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. In 2013, when McAuliffe was elected governor, turnout hit 43%, which provided the lift he needed to defeat then-GOP state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli by a 48%-45% margin. In 2017, Northam beat Gillespie by a 54%-45% spread, with a 47.6% turnout rate fueled by Democratic dissatisfaction with the Trump administration.Kidd told Insider that inconsistent Democratic turnout has been a lingering issue for the party. "Democrats flex all over the place with their numbers," he said. "They either turn out 1.4 or 1.5 million voters, or they turn out 800,000. Democratic losses since Obama's election in 2008 have been because they don't show up, and close wins have happened because they don't show up. In 2014, Mark Warner pulled it out [US Senate race] by the skin of his teeth, and it's because Democrats were sort of chagrined about the state of everything going on in the country."While Republicans have faltered in northern Virginia in recent cycles, they still have a solid base of support in many exurban communities in the state, especially in the Richmond area and Hampton Roads, and they continue to dominate in the rural countryside, which includes Southwest Virginia. Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event for McAuliffe at Lubber Run Park in Arlington, Va., on July 23, 2021. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik The election is inextricably linked to Washington, DCLast fall, Biden captured Virginia and its 13 electoral votes, winning the state by 10 points (54%-44%) in a year where Democrats were especially mobilized against Trump. However, months after the president took office, unexpected turbulence with the administration's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and a stalled domestic agenda in Congress have removed much of the luster from his numbers.In the Washington Post-Schar poll, Biden's approval rating in Virginia sat at 46%, with 51% disapproving. During a virtual meeting with supporters last week, CNN reported that McAuliffe mentioned Biden's sagging approval figure in the state. "We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know," he said on the call. "The President is unpopular today unfortunately here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through." While the former governor brushed off the comments, the legislative inaction prompted him to state that the $3.5 trillion price tag for the Democratic-led infrastructure bill was "too high."During a Tuesday interview with The Associated Press, McAuliffe called on Democratic lawmakers in Washington, DC, to "do your job" and do "whatever it takes" to pass substantive legislation. "They got to get their work done," he told the news agency. "People are counting on them."In a state filled with federal workers and military veterans, residents are very much attuned to what emanates from the nation's capital, and McAuliffe clearly wants to see results, Coleman told Insider. "From his perspective, he just wants something passed," he said. "He wants to at least have the perception that Biden is able to pass his priorities. I think you'll see some Democrats across the country kind of trim their sails like him and say, 'We just want something that we can show the voters and say that this was what we've done.'"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Transcript: Chamath Palihapitiya

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Chamath Palihapitiya on Venture Investing, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the… Read More The post Transcript: Chamath Palihapitiya appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Chamath Palihapitiya on Venture Investing, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, man, strap yourself in. This is really one of the old-time greats. Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder of Social Capital, very successful venture capitalist, part-owner of the Golden State Warriors, and all-around insightful investor social critic, and tech wonk. If you’re interested in anything from technology to social media, to venture investing, startups, entrepreneurship, I don’t know what else to say other than strap yourself in. This is a great one. With no further ado, my conversation with Chamath Palihapitiya. VOICE-OVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’re listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. My extra special guest this week is Chamath Palihapitiya. He is the Founder of Social Capital, one of the more interesting and successful venture capitalist out in Palo Alto. He is also an Engineer and Team Leader working at places like AOL, Facebook, and Slack. He has been known as the SPAC King for his numerous successful deals in that space. And he is also a 10 percent owner of the Golden State Warriors. Chamath Palihapitiya, welcome to Bloomberg. PALIHAPITIYA: Barry, thanks. RITHOLTZ: I’ve been looking forward to having this conversation for a while. Let’s — normally, I start with people’s backgrounds and we go chronologically, but you have some quotes that I love, and I want to ask you about them and let you run wild with them, “Starting with venture capital properly deployed can solve the biggest problems filling the void left by the shrinking scientific ambitions of governments, foundations, and international organizations. Explain. PALIHAPITIYA: Well, if you look at what’s happening in California or what’s happening at the federal level of the United States currently, there’s a really interesting thing that’s happened, which is we have effectively single-party rule. You have a, you know, elected leader that’s of one party. You have a Senate that’s of that same party, a House and then, you know, in the case of California, mayors as well, all democratic in this case. And what’s interesting is it also happens to be a moment in time where the societal problems that we’ve been facing are the worst they’ve ever been. Climate change is worse than it’s ever been. We have a water crisis. We have an impending food crisis, homelessness, crime. And you have to ask yourself, well, if a single party like — you know, when you have a typical normal, you know, political set-up, you have these two opposing forces and you have to find common ground. And each party says the exact thing, which is, well, if we had complete control, this would all be fixed. And it turns out that two examples where you have complete control, in fact, nothing gets fixed, even less gets fixed than what got fixed before. So why is that? It’s that the toolkit of policy and the toolkit of societies has changed. It’s no longer as much about laws necessarily, but it’s about technology. It’s about code. It’s about very specific inventions of science. And the problem with that then, well, then you would say, “Well, great. Well, that’s the solution to all of our problems. If we go in and figure out how to actually, you know, just have more of all of that stuff, everything will be solved.” OK, well, then — then you go in and you decompose that problem to first principles. And what you find is, for example, in places like core scientific research, people care more about citations, and papers, and research, and it’s also highly politicized and infested with all kinds of infighting. And so, foundations can’t fund the work that they used to. Universities aren’t nearly as good and actually promoting massive breakthroughs. So more and more of this responsibility gets put on for-profit enterprises, but to be very specific, they have to be for profit and they have to be technical. And when you see it that way, the venture capitalist all of a sudden has this critical role in society that they didn’t have before because they are a translator. They are, you know, in a technical meeting the smartest business person, but in a business meeting the smartest technical person. And they’re able to put these things together to solve problems. And so, that’s what I was trying to get across, which is we need more people building for-profit technical businesses, organizing resources against problems. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s stay with the concept of — of venture capital being organized to solve problem and talk a little bit about Social Capital. Tell us about your first couple of venture investments and who were your first limited partners. PALIHAPITIYA: So, I was a Facebook at the time, and I had been doing a bunch of angel investing. And this is maybe 2008 or ’09, but I was the first solo G.P., I think, in many ways. I was putting some money to work of my own money, small checks, Barry, $10,000, $15,000. RITHOLTZ: Early seed round, right? PALIHAPITIYA: Early seed rounds in, you know, 2007 and ’08, basically all the money that I had. And I had to win. I met a guy named Rick Thompson, an amazing entrepreneur, who started a gaming company. And I jumped in with two feet. I invested my money. I spent a little bit of time there helping him, you know, sort of — I mean, as a — as a part-timer, obviously, because I was working at Facebook at the time. And the company gets bought by Disney for like 750 million bucks and I made a few million bucks. And I thought, “This is it.” I have my — I have my escape velocity. And at the time at Facebook, they were all these people that were trying to invest in the company. And Zuck basically said to me, “Hey, can you help sort out whose money we should take?” I mean, I was running Facebook platform, I was building Facebook Mobile, I was doing all of these products so — but I was like, “Yeah, sure, I guess.” And I met the guys at Tiger Global, Chase Coleman specifically, and we built a relationship and then, you know, Tiger ended up investing in the business. And along the way, you know, I said, “Hey, I’m thinking of, you know, investing a little bit of capital on the side.” And he goes, “Well, if you organize a little LLC, you know, I’m happy to kick in a, you know, a few shovels.” And so, all of a sudden, I had this little group of me and my friends, and I just organized about 11 million bucks, you know, and I was like three or four of it and like, you know, other couple of folks jumped in for 50K there, 500K there, a million there, whatever. And so, while I was a full-time employee at Facebook, I was a part-time investor. And that’s how I started and so those are my first LPs, wonderful guys, Reid Hoffman, you know, a whole list of kind of like … RITHOLTZ: Who — who’s the rest of that list because already I am loving this group? PALIHAPITIYA: The list was pretty impressive. I want to say it was like Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, Chase Coleman. I’d have to look at the slides, I can’t … RITHOLTZ: But it’s a murderous row pretty much. PALIHAPITIYA: Yeah, Dave Goldberg, you know, Zander Lurie who is the CEO of Momentum A.I., so a bunch of really great entrepreneurs, and CEOs, and investors. Anyways, I put the money to work and, you know, it was non-obvious that that fund was good. I was learning. And most of the investments I made were way too ambitious, and I was deeply undercapitalized, right? So, you — in 2008 and ’09, in hindsight, it was really dumb to make a bunch of deep tech investments. Now, some of them have come home to roost, and that fund has now (inaudible), but we got very lucky and it did very well, but it took an enormously long period of time. So, I put the money to work and I learned. I learned, hey, portfolio construction is important. I didn’t get that right. I was way undercapitalized, like, hey, wait a minute, like I needed way more reserves to defend these companies. And I had to think about duration, meaning I can’t solve 20 of your problems in a 10-year fund. I need to solve five of your problems in a 10-year fund if I want to be in the fund business. And, you know, that obviously changed in 2016 and ’17 when I just basically consolidated with my own money. But so – then I left Facebook in 2011 and I went back to these same folks. And I said, “Guys, let’s go much bigger. I think I know what I’m doing.” And we created — my first fund was 250 or 60 million bucks. I put up 60, and then it was really like, you know, John Doerr, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, Li Ka-shing, you know, just — I ran the table of Jorge Paulo Lemann like incredible people. And a handful of really great institutions, Mayo Clinic, you know, folks that I was really proud to make money for. And I said, “This is like a great intersection of entrepreneurs and, you know, investors, and philanthropists, and foundations.” And, you know, I’m going to go and try to find great businesses, and that’s how it started. RITHOLTZ: So, from there, what was the subsequent funds that came out of that because that, you know, funds that run a seven or a 10-year lifespan. And some companies, some VCs will just do Fund 2, Fund 3, Fund 4, you didn’t exactly go in that direction. PALIHAPITIYA: You know, I can tell you — so like the returns as of this last quarter because I just — I had a — I had a little advisory board meeting, you know, I put about a billion one in the ground. That is worth today just a little under $5 billion. RITHOLTZ: And this was the 2016? PALIHAPITIYA: No. So, yeah, this was … RITHOLTZ: Or 2011? PALIHAPITIYA: I — I raised about $1 billion over four funds — over five funds, sorry, in the first five years basically, so a $260 million fund, another $260 million, a $500 million, and then I had a small $100 million fund and then a $30 million opportunities fund kind of — so about $1.1 billion. And, you know, so far, we’ve returned a little — almost a little under 2X of capital, so cash-on-cash, we’ve returned about two some odd billion. The curing value is a little under $5 billion. And I think that, you know, when I look in the next — in the next few years that will turn one more time. So basically, you know, one billion will turn into $10 billion and the returns are, you know, probably — well, right now they’re in the high 20’s nets. RITHOLTZ: That’s great. PALIHAPITIYA: And it’ll be in the — probably the low 30’s. That’s when it’s all … RITHOLTZ: So, as all that comes up, are you just going to roll that over into another fund or … PALIHAPITIYA: So … RITHOLTZ: … are you looking to spread this into different spaces because I am aware you are a man of many interests. You’re not just — I — I find the world … PALIHAPITIYA: Right. RITHOLTZ: … really fascinating and curious. And — and looking at what you invest in, I can tell you approach the universe the same way. PALIHAPITIYA: Right. So, along the way, I think in 2016 what I realized was running funds doesn’t accomplish my goal. And it took me some number of years to figure that out. I loved working inside of these companies. I loved trying to make some of these businesses work. I loved taking really big moon shots on technical problems that I wanted to solve. I didn’t like the constraints of a fund. I didn’t like managing L.P. relations because by that point, you know, as you know, Barry, when you’re in the fund to business, then it’s all about quantity of LPs. And so, the LPs had grown beyond my cohort of people, right, because it’s not as if their money is infinite either. RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: Right? And so, then we have fund of funds and other organizations who are in the business of, you know, being investors in these organizations. And it became very administrative. And a lot of my time was spent fundraising and managing those relationships as opposed to investing or starting companies. And so, that was one big error of judgment that I felt I needed to fix. The other one was I was looking at myself thinking like, well, am I going to be able to defend the ownership of these best companies? And think about what happens in a fund. If you make an investment and it’s working, you have all this pressure to double down. But when there’s something smaller and more technical where there’s way more asymmetric risk, it’s much harder to convince others that you should continue to invest in that as well. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stay with that a second because that’s — there’s some really interesting things. When I hear someone like you say double down, what I’m usually thinking of is, hey, we made a small investment in the seed round and now it’s the A or the B round, and we’re going to have to step-up. And $500,000 is now a $50 million or $2 million becomes $100 million. Is that what you mean by double down versus … PALIHAPITIYA: No, I mean, the following decision, which is very hard. So, let’s just say — and — and we use explicit examples because it’s easier. So, let’s just say we invested in the crypto business and the software-as-a-service start up on the same day. $10 million in each. The SaaS business has a much higher probability of short-term progress. I sold, you know, X amount of software, here’s my bookings, here’s my revenue. RITHOLTZ: High probability of modest success. PALIHAPITIYA: High probability of modest success. Most people are, you know, enraptured with that. RITHOLTZ: That’s what — well, that’s what the S&P 500 is for. If you want a high probability amount of success, go by the spiders. But I … PALIHAPITIYA: Sure. RITHOLTZ: … imagine people come to venture because — hey, I have all my … PALIHAPITIYA: No. RITHOLTZ: … conservative stuffs. PALIHAPITIYA: No, not true. RITHOLTZ: I’m looking for you to … PALIHAPITIYA: Not true. RITHOLTZ: … hit me the 100X. PALIHAPITIYA: It’s not true. It … RITHOLTZ: Really? PALIHAPITIYA: … it may be — listen. So there — there are two conundrums here. The conundrum number one is if you’re a limited partner. If you’re a limited partner right now sitting inside of a foundation or a pension fund and you have to return capital, and you have to get over your hurdle, you need an allocation into venture, but those allocations are minuscule. Nobody is getting, you know, huge allocations into Sequoia, right? RITHOLTZ: Because the capacity is that’s limited as it is. PALIHAPITIYA: Nobody — nobody is getting huge allocations in the benchmark. You know, these are $500 million funds, you know. And I — you know, in my example, I was 30 percent of all the capital, so there’s just not a lot of room for other. RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: Number one. And then the more insidious problem is actually the human capital inside the funds themselves. And what I mean by that is not that they’re bad people, they are wonderful people, but they are products of a very specific and very rigid hierarchy. You know, they typically went to a handful of schools. RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: They typically are educated in exactly the same way. They typically, you know, have the exact same kind of risk tolerance as a result of all those things. And so, when the rubber meets the road, this Harvard MBA or the Stanford MBA, they want to treat the venture capital organization as their version of the S&P 500. Very predictable, Steady Eddie. Let me make, you know, a good salary. Don’t rock the boat. So, what happens? Crypto stuff gets underfunded until it’s obvious. You know, hard tech and — and, you know, life sciences get underfunded until it’s obvious. SaaS gets overfunded until it’s obvious. And that’s the whipsaw that you face now. Now, there are a handful of organizations that have fought against that and have done it brilliantly. So, when you look, for example, like Founders Fund, I’ll pick an example. Incredible set of investors who are iconoclasts to the one. Atypical in every dimension. There’s not a single drop of real pedigree amongst them, except they are all incredible entrepreneurs. If you look at Coastal Ventures, same situation. Incredibly atypical in their intellectual makeup, and the way they think, and what they value. And to a one, they’re generally great entrepreneurs, so you see this recurring theme. So, you know, for me, what I’ve tried to do is recalibrate my time around that realization. I have a fixed amount of capital. If I surround myself with these good — they’re good people, it will lead me astray because I will get risk off. And the whole goal of this business, as you exactly well put it, is to be 100 percent massively risk on. And so, that’s how I live my life. I have a small allocation of capital in case all of this goes to zero, but otherwise 99 percent of my net worth and wealth is massive risk on. RITHOLTZ: That’s quite, quite fascinating. I — I keep wanting to go to some of my questions, but you keep saying things that make me have to respond. I’m still kind of struck by your LPs, meaning management. And what I mean by that is someone runs a successful fund. There’s a very limited amount of slots for money to come in. I just imagine it’s like here’s the deal. I have a slot for 100 for you. I’ll send you the annual updates, we’ll have an annual meeting, and I don’t want to hear from you the rest of the year. PALIHAPITIYA: You can’t take — it’s not … RITHOLTZ: It’s the approach. It doesn’t work that way? PALIHAPITIYA: … it’s not that — well, it’s not that easy even for the best organizations. You know, when you’re dealing with these large pools of capital, they are large bureaucracies. And in fairness to these bureaucracies, there’s — there’s really important guardrails of risk management, right, and legal and operational due diligence that they have to do because again, it’s the fireman’s pension, it’s the teachers’ pension, it’s the … RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: … you know, it’s the foundation. It’s the — they’re all doing good work, right? So, it’s not like, you know, they have a right to be cavalier, but it creates an infrastructure of folks that approach their job in a very specific way that, for me, didn’t make sense. For others, I think it does make a ton of sense because, you know, they — look, there’s a tradeoff. Today, that tradeoff, by the way, has rewarded them more than me. And what is the tradeoff? When you’re a successful investor, you’ll get to a fork in the road at a certain level of assets where you have to go on the path well-traveled or the path less traveled. The path less traveled is what I’ve taken. You’re alone … RITHOLTZ: Meaning …by yourself, more risk … PALIHAPITIYA:  you’re by yourself … all your own money, all risk gone. The path well-traveled says syndicate the risk, let the — let the returns decay, build an AUM machine, monetize the fee income, sell a percentage to dial or to whomever, and then eventually sell the G.P. to somebody and you’re done. And, you know, if you have enough capital at some point, you’re like, well, what do I need any more money? This is a safer route to take. RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: I am of this different view, which is I want very specific kinds of progress that will not happen unless I am a tip of the spear on a bunch of things that I want to change. And I’m using my money as a mechanism of showing the change that I want to see in the world with the idea that if free markets are ultimately efficient, other money will follow. And it will unlock and create change. SPACs are a perfect example. RITHOLTZ: We’re going to talk about SPACs in a little bit. I’m fascinated by the path less traveled. And I — I’m kind of reminded of an old joke a friend used to say, what’s the difference between having $1 billion or having $2 billion? And the answer is really nothing. PALIHAPITIYA: Nothing. RITHOLTZ: Right, there’s not — what is the difference? PALIHAPITIYA: Nothing. RITHOLTZ: So — so once you wrap your head around that, why build an AUM machine? Why take a G.P. and do all the things you don’t want to do just so you can sell it in the road? PALIHAPITIYA: Well, look, I mean — I think there’s something very valiant in building a company of any kind. I don’t care what it is because you end up hiring people, you end up creating your own little economy. You know, by hiring good people and paying them, you’re giving them a path. You’re giving them, you know, some amount of purpose in their lives. So, you know, any form of company building, I think, is heroic, the person that uses to build a company. I don’t care what it is. It could be a garbage business, an AUM business. You know, they’re all to me where I look at the founders of those things like you, and you’re in a class of hero for me. Everybody may not be with the same, you know, sometimes now founders, unfortunately, sometimes can get vilified for being an entrepreneur. But in general, I think they’re heroic. But again, that’s not what I was trying to do. My returns in society, I wanted to be expressed by a different kind of change and a different kind of purpose, which was a practical problem solved. You know, I want reforestation to be, you know, done differently. I want a gene editing solution to be so cheap and so fast the available we can eradicate, you know, the 32,000 inherited Mendelian diseases. You know, I want to figure out how to get, you know, sub $100 solar on everybody’s roof and to build a massive distributed energy utility in America. It turns out I’m doing all those things. Now, I can do that with my capital and that’s really great. That capital may go to zero … RITHOLTZ: But you’re saying … PALIHAPITIYA: … but it may not … RITHOLTZ: … you couldn’t do that if you had these institutional endowments and other … PALIHAPITIYA: Maybe not. RITHOLTZ: … large more conservative investors who are more concerned about IRR than moving the needle. PALIHAPITIYA: Short-term IRR because, you know, again they have a job to do. They have pension obligations to make. They have, you know, other things that they’re funding. They have the lifestyle they want to pay for. They have their own annual reviews and bonuses and things. So, you know, it’s not to debate the validity of it, it just exists, and I’m not willing to sign up for that because duration. And, by the way, you can see that certain funds have realized that that durational limitation doesn’t work in tech anymore, right, so now you’re seeing these 15-year funds, right? Some of these climate funds are really long-dated so that they can take huge long risk with very sticky money. I think that’s moving.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 12th, 2021

Netflix has suspended 3 employees but says it wasn"t for criticism of its Dave Chappelle special

Dave Chappelle and Netflix have come under fire for his new special in which he makes transphobic comments. Chappelle in "The Closer." Netflix Netflix has suspended three employees for crashing an executive meeting, The Verge and Variety reported. One of the staffers was Terra Field, who criticized Dave Chappelle's new Netflix special on Twitter last week. In the special, called "The Closer," Chappelle makes transphobic comments. Netflix has suspended three employees for attending an executive meeting they were not invited to, including a trans staffer who recently criticized the company's new Dave Chappelle standup special called "The Closer," The Verge and Variety reported on Monday.The trans employee, senior software engineer Terra Field, tweeted a thread on Wednesday that went viral in which she said that Chappelle "attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness - all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups."In a statement, Netflix said the employees were not suspended because of anything they tweeted about the special."It is absolutely untrue to say that we have suspended any employees for tweeting about this show," a Netflix spokesperson said. "Our employees are encouraged to disagree openly and we support their right to do so."Field did not return requests for an interview.During the meeting, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos took questions about how Netflix should address employees and talent being upset about Chappelle's special, according to Variety.Sarandos then sent an internal memo to executives addressing concerns in which he said that Netflix would not be removing the special, The Verge and Variety reported. "Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long standing deal with him," Sarandos wrote, in part. "His last special, 'Sticks & Stones,' also controversial, is our most watched, stickiest, and most award winning stand-up special to date. As with our other talent, we work hard to support their creative freedom - even though this means there will always be content on Netflix some people believe is harmful, like 'Cuties,' '365 Days,' '13 Reasons Why,' or 'My Unorthodox Life.'"He added: "Distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean-spirited but our members enjoy it, and it's an important part of our content offering."Netflix declined to comment on the memo.Other Netflix employees also spoke out against the special on Twitter, as did Jaclyn Moore, who is trans and is an executive producer on Netflix's "Dear White People."Moore tweeted that she would "not work with [Netflix] as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content."In the special, Chappelle said that "gender is a fact" and defended "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling - who has been criticized for anti-trans comments - by saying "Team TERF!," which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

Some Blue Origin employees say Jeff Bezos" space company has an "authoritarian bro culture" that demoralized workers, a new report says

The Washington Post reported that Blue Origin executives, including CEO Bob Smith and Bezos, were repeatedly warned the workplace had become "toxic." Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin Blue Origin / Getty Images A new report from The Washington Post details a dysfunctional "bro culture" at Blue Origin. Workers told The Post that they felt demoralized by a lack of response to complaints of a "toxic" workplace. Last month, an open letter accused Blue Origin of ignoring employee concerns about safety and sexism. Blue Origin employees say Jeff Bezos' space company has fostered a "dysfunctional" and "demoralizing" work culture that caused many to lose faith in the company, according to a recent report from The Washington Post.The publication said it interviewed 20 current and former employees at Blue Origin, as well as industry officials that work closely with the space venture. The workers, who spoke anonymously, said that Blue Origin executives, including Bezos and CEO Bob Smith, have been repeatedly warned by employees that the company's workplace culture has become "toxic."One former employee said the work culture led to widespread "loss of trust in Blue [Origin] leadership," according to a 2016 memo reviewed by The Post. Several workers said executives failed to address the issues, choosing to "silence" employees instead.A Blue Origin spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Insider, but told The Post the company takes harassment claims very seriously. The Post's report comes after an open letter from individuals identifying themselves as "21 current and former Blue Origin employees" was released alleging that the space venture had ignored numerous safety concerns and created a sexist work culture. At the time, a Blue Origin spokesperson told Insider that the company does not tolerate harassment and was actively investigating the claims.One former employee told The Post, which is owned by Bezos, that Blue Origin's management fostered an "authoritarian bro culture." Several employees detailed moments were the venture's workplace culture led to condescension, humiliation, and harassment toward female workers.In the initial open letter, the workers identified two executives they alleged who contributed to the sexist culture and had been repeatedly reported for sexual harassment - allegations the company had mostly ignored, according to the report. Earlier this month, The Post identified one of the executives as Walt McCleery, the company's vice president of recruiting. The executive was reportedly fired in 2019 following an investigation into the sexual harassment claims. McCleery did not respond to a request for comment, but denied the allegations to the Post.In the latest report, employees identified two more executives they alleged contributed to sexism at Blue Origin. Multiple employees told The Post that another executive received guidance from human resources after he repeatedly referred to female workers as "mean girls," but that he eventually stopped after counseling.Another former engineer said that in 2016 her manager made derogatory comments when she was kneeling at a co-worker's desk, reportedly telling her that she didn't have to "get on your knees yet."While some female workers said they were warned to stay away from the company because of the workplace culture, another employee said Blue Origin was very responsive when she reported another worker for "inappropriate behavior" this year and the company investigated immediately. The worker's employment was terminated as a result, the employee told the publication.Workers also felt Blue Origin's CEO contributed to dissatisfaction with the company through fostering a "bureaucracy that hampered innovation," as well as a micromanaging leadership style, according to The Post. Earlier in October, CNBC reported that Blue Origin's human resource department brought in an outside management consultant to work on improving Smith and other executives' leadership style - a move that Smith reportedly resented. Smith did not respond to a request for comment. Though, the CEO sent a company-wide email after the open letter was released saying the criticisms require "reflection and humility."The news comes just as Blue Origin is only a few days away from its second launch. The company is slated to send six private citizens, including Hollywood actor William Shatner into space on Thursday.Read The Washington Post's full story here.Do you work for Blue Origin? Reach out to the reporter from a non-work email at gkay@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

Taibbi: The Cult Of The Vaccine

Taibbi: The Cult Of The Vaccine Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News, Yesterday, I ran a story that had nothing to do with vaccines, about the seeming delay of the development of a drug called molnupiravir (see the above segment with the gracious hosts of The Hill: Rising for more). In the time it took to report and write that piece, conventional wisdom turned against the drug, which is now suspected of ivermectinism and other deviationist, anti-vax tendencies, in the latest iteration of our most recent collective national mania — the Cult of the Vaccine. The speed of the change was incredible. Just a week ago, on October 1st, the pharmaceutical giant Merck issued a terse announcement that quickly became big news. Molnupiravir, an experimental antiviral drug, “reduced the risk of hospitalization or death” of Covid-19 patients by as much as 50%, according to a study. The stories that rushed out in the ensuing minutes and hours were almost uniformly positive. AP called the news a “potentially major advance in efforts to fight the pandemic,” while National Geographic quoted a Yale specialist saying, “Having a pill that would be easy for people to take at home would be terrific.” Another interesting early reaction came from Time: Vaccines will be the way out of the pandemic, but not everyone around the world is immunized yet, and the shots aren’t 100% effective in protecting people from getting infected with the COVID-19 virus. So antiviral drug treatments will be key to making sure that people who do get infected don’t get severely ill. This is what news looks like before propagandists get their hands on it. Time writer Alice Park’s lede was sensible and clear. If molnupiravir works — a big if, incidentally — it’s good news for everyone, since not everyone is immunized, and the vaccines aren’t 100% effective anyway. As even Vox put it initially, molnupiravir could “help compensate for persistent gaps in Covid-19 vaccination coverage.” Within a day, though, the tone of coverage turned. Writers began stressing a Yeah, but approach, as in, “Any new treatment is of course good, but get your fucking shot.” A CNN lede read, “A pill that could potentially treat Covid-19 is a ‘game-changer,’ but experts are emphasizing that it's not an alternative to vaccinations.” The New York Times went with, “Health officials said the drug could provide an effective way to treat Covid-19, but stressed that vaccines remained the best tool.” If you’re thinking it was only a matter of time before the mere fact of molnupiravir’s existence would be pitched in headlines as actual bad news, you’re not wrong: Marketwatch came out with “‘It’s not a magic pill’: What Merck’s antiviral pill could mean for vaccine hesitancy” the same day Merck issued its release. The piece came out before we knew much of anything concrete about the drug’s effectiveness, let alone whether it was “magic.” Bloomberg’s morose “No, the Merck pill won’t end the pandemic” was released on October 2nd, i.e. one whole day after the first encouraging news of a possible auxiliary treatment whose most ardent supporters never claimed would end the pandemic. This article said the pill might be cause to celebrate, but warned its emergence “shouldn’t be cause for complacency when it comes to the most effective tool to end this pandemic: vaccines.” Bloomberg randomly went on to remind readers that the unrelated drug ivermectin is a “horse de-worming agent,” before adding that if molnupiravir ends up “being viewed as a solution for those who refuse to vaccinate,” the “Covid virus will continue to persist.” In other words, it took less than 24 hours for the drug — barely tested, let alone released yet — to be accused of prolonging the pandemic. By the third day, mentions of molnupiravir in news reports nearly all came affixed to stern reminders of its place beneath vaccines in the medical hierarchy, as in the New York Times explaining that Dr. Anthony Fauci, who initially told reporters the new drug was “impressive,” now “warned that Americans should not wait to be vaccinated because they believe they can take the pill.” Since the start of the Trump years, we’ve been introduced to a new kind of news story, which assumes adults can’t handle multiple ideas at once, and has reporters frantically wrapping facts deemed dangerous, unorthodox, or even just insufficiently obvious in layers of disclaimers. The fear of uncontrolled audience brain-drift is now so great that even offhand references must come swaddled in these journalistic Surgeon General’s warnings, which is why whenever we read anything now, we almost always end up fighting through nests of phrases like “the debunked conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was created in a lab” in order to get to whatever the author’s main point might be. This lunacy started with the Great Lie Debate of 2016, when reporters and editors spent months publicly anguishing over whether to use “lie” in headlines of Donald Trump stories, then loudly congratulated themselves once they decided to do it. The most histrionic offender was the New York Times, previously famous for teaching readers to digest news in code (“he claimed” for years was Times-ese for “full of shit”) but now reasoned a “more muscular terminology,” connoting “a certain moral opprobrium,” was needed to distinguish the “dissembling” of a politician like Bill Clinton from Trump’s whoppers. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” could be mere falsehood, but “I will build a great great wall” required language that “stands apart.” The key term was moral opprobrium. Moralizing was exactly what journalists were once trained not to do, at least outside the op-ed page, but it soon became a central part of the job. When they used they word “lie,” the Times explained, they wanted us to know that was because “from the childhood schoolyard to the grave, this is a word neither used nor taken lightly.” Put another way, the Times didn’t want people reading about something Donald Trump said, grasping that it was a lie, and, say, chuckling about how ridiculous it was. If the New York Times sent the word “lie” up the flagpole, they now expected an appropriately solemn salute. This was the beginning of an era in which editors became convinced that all earth’s problems derived from populations failing to accept reports as Talmudic law. It couldn’t be people were just tuning out papers for a hundred different reasons, including sheer boredom. It had to be that their traditional work product was just too damned subtle. The only way to avoid the certain evil of audiences engaging in unsupervised pondering over information was to eliminate all possibility of subtext, through a new communication style that was 100% literal and didactic. Everyone would get the same news and also be instructed, often mid-sentence, on how to respond. At first this expressed itself via regurgitation of Approved Unambiguous Phraseology™ handed down from official or law enforcement sources, like “Russia’s election interference activities,” e.g. “Page’s alleged coordination with Russia’s election interference activities.” However, it wasn’t long before the stage-direction factor in coverage went berserk, as I noted last year after this question by Anderson Cooper in a presidential debate: COOPER: Mr. Vice President, President Trump has falsely accused your son of doing something wrong while serving on a company board in Ukraine. I want to point out there’s no evidence of wrongdoing by either one of you. The phrase, “no evidence of wrongdoing,” was a mandatory add last year in all coverage involving Ukraine, Joe Biden, and Hunter Biden, from the Guardian (“No evidence the younger Biden did anything illegal”) to CNBC (“There is no evidence that Trump or Giuliani has produced which shows that Hunter Biden was engaged in wrongdoing”) to Newsweek (“Although there is no evidence of illegal wrongdoing by the Bidens in those dealings”) to NBC (“No evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either Biden”) to AP (“There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either the vice president or his son”) to the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Axios, and countless others. The language was absurd on multiple levels, beginning with its incorrectness — unless they were talking purely about a legal definition, the issue of whether or not there was “wrongdoing” in Hunter Biden accepting a no-show $50,000-a-month job from a crooked Ukrainian energy firm was a matter for readers to decide, not an issue of fact. Still, a lot of people not only swallowed it, but vomited these and other terms back up again, over and over, on social media, or to their friends and family, or to anyone at all, in what became a new way for a certain kind of person to relate to the world. As a student in the Soviet Union I noticed subscribers to what Russians called the sovok mindset talked in interminable strings of pogovorki, i.e goofball proverbs or aphorisms you’d heard a million times before (“He who takes no risk, drinks no champagne,” or “Work isn’t a wolf, it won’t run off into the woods,” etc). This was a learned defense mechanism, adopted by a people who’d found out the hard way that anyone caught not speaking nonstop nonsense could be suspected of harboring original thoughts. Voluble stupidity is a great disguise in a society where silence is suspect. We’re similarly becoming a nation of totalitarian nitwits, speaking in a borrowed lexicon of mandatory phrases and smelling heresy in anyone who doesn’t. This cult reflex was bad during the Russiagate years, but it’s gone into overdrive since the arrival of COVID. The CNN writer who thinks it’s necessary to put a disclaimer in the lede of a story about molnupiravir, of all things, is basically claiming he or she is afraid a theoretical unvaccinated person might otherwise read the story and be encouraged to not take the vaccine. Except, if that theoretical unvaccinated person could be convinced by anything CNN said or did, they’d have already gotten the shot, because the network runs ten million stories a day directly imploring people to get vaccinated or die. News flash: the instinct to armor-plate even unrelated news subjects with layer after layer of insistent vaccine dogma is not for the non-immunized, who mostly don’t watch outlets like CNN or read the New York Times. Outlets apply that neurotic messaging for their own target audiences, who’ve been trained to live in terror of un-contextualized content, which everyone knows leads to Trump, fascism, and death. I’d be the last person to claim there aren’t dumb people out there in America, but at least the audiences of channels like Fox and OAN know that content has been designed for them. The people gobbling down these pieces by Bloomberg and the Times that have the journalistic equivalent of child-proof caps on every paragraph that even parenthetically mentions COVID really believe that content has been dumbed down for some other person. They think it’s someone else who can’t handle news that vaccines work and that there also might be a pill that treats the disease, without freaking out or coming to politically unsafe conclusions. So they put up with being talked to like children — demand it, even. Which is nuts. Right? It is nuts, isn’t it? Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 17:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 8th, 2021

Why Whitney Isn’t Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I’m Not Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense 1) In yesterday’s e-mail, I shared Facebook’s (FB) defense to the […] Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. 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 The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I'm Not Persuaded By Facebook's Defense 1) In yesterday's e-mail, I shared Facebook's (FB) defense to the latest charges of bad behavior by whistleblower and former employee Frances Haugen, as articulated by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as a friend who knows the company well. My take: I'm not buying what they're selling... Zuckerberg's post is laughably bad. In the face of Haugen's compelling testimony and her release of thousands of pages of damning internal company documents – which has led to overwhelming, bipartisan criticism – Zuckerberg's 16-paragraph, 1,316-word post doesn't once acknowledge any problem, much less any contrition, much less any indication that he and his company might need to do even a few things differently. His tone deafness is matched only by his arrogance. My friend, on the other hand, at least acknowledges that "there is a huge problem," but says, "I disagree Facebook is blind to it." (Quick correction: I misquoted him yesterday here: "This extends to idiots on Facebook's board as well by the way." Here's what he wrote: "I have no opinion on FB's board – I was referring to board members at other companies who try to tell the CEO how to run a company when they have no idea what is really happening. That is why a board's role is to hire and fire the CEO, not to run the company.") In most of his response, however, he criticizes Haugen, saying that she: ... had no direct reports, never met a senior executive at Facebook, started with extreme bias, and then only found/extracted information that confirmed it. She never worked in the areas she is "so knowledgeable about" – like teens – so has no idea what Facebook is trying to do... ... she is basically as knowledgeable as a tabloid – at best. It's like the janitor telling Zuckerberg how to run Facebook... She's an idiot looking for five minutes of fame. Industry veterans are cringing. I couldn't disagree more. First, Haugen was hardly the "janitor." She's a Harvard Business School graduate with more than 10 years of experience in the social media sector, nearly two years of which was at Facebook (from 2019 to 2021 – see her LinkedIn profile) – plenty of time to see what was going on. As for the argument that she wasn't a C-suite executive and therefore wasn't in the loop for high-level decisions, I'd argue the opposite... She was perfectly positioned to be a whistleblower both because of the group she was in – the Civic Integrity unit, which was responsible for preventing the spread of election misinformation and addressing other bad behavior – as well as her level: as a Product Manager, she was senior enough to see what was really happening, but not so high up that she wouldn't know the details. Moreover, Haugen's testimony, to both 60 Minutes and Congress, was compelling. I've been watching 60 Minutes since I was a kid in the 1970s, and she was one of the most impressive people I've ever seen on the show. And my opinion is widely shared: Senators on both sides of the aisle praised her, as did Mike Isaac of the New York Times, who wrote: We're moving into hour three of Ms. Haugen's testimony and she hasn't shown any signs of flagging. Confident, poised, and accurate, for my money she is one of the most impressive critics of Facebook I've seen appear on Capitol Hill. Lastly, Haugen's testimony is corroborated by: a) thousands of pages of internal company documents she copied... b) the long, sordid history of Zuckerberg and Facebook, dating back to the very founding of this company (for more on this, read this shocking article: How Facebook Was Founded) – also, note that my friend wrote that Haugen "said nothing we all didn't already know"... and c) many other former company insiders. For example, here's an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times by Roddy Lindsay, a former Facebook data scientist: I Designed Algorithms at Facebook. Here's How to Regulate Them. Excerpt: Washington was entranced Tuesday by the revelations from Frances Haugen, the Facebook product manager-turned-whistle-blower. But time and again, the public has seen high-profile congressional hearings into the company followed by inaction. For those of us who work at the intersection of technology and policy, there's little cause for optimism that Washington will turn this latest outrage into legislative action. Even more damning are the comments of Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and a former head of security at Facebook: Brazen Is the Order of the Day at Facebook. Excerpt: I think the overall theme of the leaked documents and the Wall Street Journal series is that since 2016 Facebook has built teams of hundreds of data scientists, social scientists and investigators to study the negative effects of the company's products. Unfortunately, it looks like the motivational structure around how products are built, measured and adjusted has not changed to account for the evidence that some Facebook products can have a negative impact on users' well-being, leading to a restive group of employees who are willing to leak or quit when the problems they work on aren't appropriately addressed. I agree with Stamos' recommendation: I think Zuckerberg is going to need to step down as CEO if these problems are going to be solved. Having a company led by the founder has a lot of benefits, but one of the big problems is that it makes it close to impossible to significantly change the corporate culture. It's not just Zuckerberg; the top ranks of Facebook are full of people who have been there for a dozen years. They were part of making key decisions and supporting key cultural touchstones that might have been appropriate when Facebook was a scrappy upstart but that must be abandoned as a global juggernaut. It is really hard for individuals to recognize when it is time to change their minds, and I think it would be better if the people setting the goals for the company were changed for this new era of the company, starting with Zuckerberg. With new leadership, you could see the company adopting safety countermetrics on the same level as engagement and satisfaction metrics, and building a product management culture where product teams are not only celebrated for their success in the marketplace but held accountable for the downstream effects of their decisions. Zuckerberg is, of course, never going to step down voluntarily, and given that he controls 58% of the voting shares, how could he ever be removed? Here's how: the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") – which, thanks to Haugen, is now investigating Facebook for misleading investors – could force him out. I don't think it's likely – but it's not impossible. I think there's a 25% chance that Zuckerberg is no longer CEO within two years... Responses To My Letter To Sheryl Sandberg 2) I received huge amounts of feedback in response to my open letter to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Below is some of it, with my responses in some cases... "Instead of lambasting Sheryl and Mark (unfairly in my eyes), you should have sent your letter to Congress. Congress (and then the courts) has full responsibility for regulating our communication systems. All best (& I love reading your newsletter – I really do & enjoy pics also)." – Paul B. My reply: Thanks for your feedback, Paul. In fact, I sent my letter to a dozen members I know in the House and Senate, one of whom replied: "Wow, wow, wow. Thanks for sharing. I hope it is read." Another replied: "A powerfully written letter. I agree with every word of it, although I doubt that Facebook will find the wisdom to follow your advice. I am going to sign up for your newsletter "I agree with your assessment of Facebook (and your letter to Sheryl Sandberg), but your recommendation for them to rehire Haugen will never happen. She is considered a traitor by Facebook and they will never rehire a traitor. Based on Zuckerberg's reply, I'm skeptical that they are willing to address and fix the issues until the government force them to do so." – Sid My reply: I agree. "I'm so glad you compared them to the Sacklers. I hope this wakes them up." – Alex B. [But another reader disagreed...] "Good email but would recommend not equating people with Sacklers in the future unless they are literally killing people by knowingly promoting something dangerous (like Oxycontin). To me, the Sacklers fall into a group of historical miscreants that can only be used narrowly for an analogy – otherwise, it's overkill and can dilute from your point. Sandberg may read your email and dismiss it, saying to herself, 'We are not the Sacklers.' You could also substitute Hitler for the Sacklers and you can see my point. I'd only use Hitler as an analogy for a leader who is mass killing people, like Pol Pot. My two cents. Always enjoy your daily email!" – Bruce Z. My reply: Hi Bruce, to be clear, I didn't say they currently are equivalent to the Sacklers, but rather they "are on a trajectory to have legacies that rival the Sacklers." To understand why I say this, read the following articles: Facebook Admits It Was Used to Incite Violence in Myanmar Sri Lanka: Facebook apologizes for role in 2018 anti-Muslim riots Hate Speech on Facebook Is Pushing Ethiopia Dangerously Close to a Genocide NGO: Facebook approved ads inciting violence in N Ireland Bangladesh: Fake news on Facebook fuels communal violence When Social Media Fuels Gang Violence Civil rights leaders condemn Zuckerberg, Facebook for fueling racial hatred and violence Domestic violence and Facebook: harassment takes new forms in the social media age "I really do not understand what the fuss is about. If I hear or see something on radio or TV that I find to be dangerous or offensive I turn the channel. Nobody is forced to use Facebook or Instagram, or Snapchat or any of the other social media platforms. Just delete the apps. If you don't want your children to use them, then delete them from their phones. Take some personal or parental responsibility. I truly do not want someone else deciding what I can listen to or watch. Let me decide." – T. H. My reply: Hi T.H., in a perfect, rational world, I'd agree with you. But in the real, messy world, I can't. "I have found it very hard to get anyone who works at Facebook to engage openly about anything at the company, even in a social/casual off the record context. I can't think of another company whose employees are so unwilling to speak off the record. It makes me wonder if they really know deep down how bad what they are doing is." – B.B. "Thank you Whitney for sharing a BIG story of our time. I agree with some of the defensive remarks – the issue of 'bad actors,' misinformation, and hate speech on social media is not unique to FB, but FB is certainly guilty of providing a platform that has allowed all of the above to be promoted on its platform. "It took the World Jewish Congress five years of complaining to FB to finally get them via Sheryl Sandberg to put in more strict algorithms regarding Holocaust denial and misinformation on FB – five years of effort! Now, FB users are directed to factual information when they make up falsehoods about it. But this only pertains to the U.S. and U.K., so the fight continues with FB to get them to implement this in Arabic and other languages and countries. This is incredibly frustrating and hurtful. "Why are the Mullahs in Iran permitted to use Twitter (TWTR) to spread Islamist and hate speech, for example? So as much as I dislike government interference into business practices, I do see a necessity given the extent of damage being done. "Thanks for all you do to share carefully researched information that provide opportunities to empower our lives." – Andrea L. "I spent 15 years in the Valley, much of it in the same orbits as the leadership at Facebook (I'm being vague purposefully). I actually can't say for sure they are well-intentioned." – Matty G. "Thanks Whitney on behalf of the multitudes who have truly mixed feelings about Facebook. We're thrilled about the connections we relish with wonderful people, but deplore the damage it has done to our society and body politic." – Andrew S. "I'm on board with [your] evaluation and solution 100%. Let's hope they both have the courage to right the ship. The country that I love and have fought for is losing its grip. Let's show some respect. Thank you very much." – Ken J., former Ranger "Zuck and the rest knew what they were doing. They were complicit in all of it in order to rake in ad revenue. Wall Street Capitalism only measures 'good' in terms of money. I think you are right: they will do a PR apology tour and that's all." – Grant P. "Isn't Zuck a bit too narcissistic to care? The company was born in betrayal. Ironic that such a complete asocial person is in charge of the way we socialize in this country. I think he'll do anything he can get away with and is too arrogant to think there will be consequences." – Leigh S. "Hello Whitney... I am one of those folks who believes when someone does something good, it should be recognized. You and I are very different in our perspectives about most subjects. I read your letter to Facebook just a few minutes ago. "Your letter to the COO was simply and completely what they needed to hear. Although I still have a FB account, I have not actively used FB in over three years. It seemed the vitriol just got worse and worse, regardless of the subject matter, but especially politically. I decided I would not be a part of that, as it can consume you, if you allow it to take up your time. You have to realize that every person has a viewpoint, and it is not likely you will be successful in changing someone's mind, although it does happen on an infrequent basis. "I commend you for reaching out to them, as I am sure others will do. I have a concern that the size of this organization will make government intervention likely. I am not a fan of big government, big brother, as it were, but this situation, if they do not turn it around on their own, government may be the only answer. All the best." – Larry F. "You said everything I was thinking, but ever so much better. I will hope the letter is taken to heart and sweeping changes made so FB can continue to be the great business that it COULD be but has failed so badly to be." – Stacey G "I think you nailed it, my friend! Well, reasoned and direct, to the point, your letter will hopefully bring the FB team and Ms. Haugen together again to make a better, stronger company that serves our social interactions in an honest and forthright manner." – Chuck M. "After reading Zuckerberg's lengthy response I am more convinced that he and the FB team know exactly what they are doing and the harm they are causing. A CEO that wants to be regulated rather than taking the necessary steps to clean up their business strategies is only creating cover for themselves. Unfortunately FB is not only damaging to young girls but to our society as a whole. Through their technology and algorithms they easily manipulate the masses of uniformed customers to be persuaded in any direction they chose. Unfortunately this is like leading blind sheep to slaughter. Yes FB needs to be regulated but not in a way Zuckerberg would approve of. He knows Congress isn't capable of passing any type of regulation to make FB clean up its act and this gives him plenty of cover to continue their unethical business practices." – David L. Other Reader Feedback 3) Lastly, here is one reader's response to Zuckerberg's post: Here are some questions that came to mind when I read Zuckerberg's message: He wrote: Many of the claims don't make any sense. My reply: Which ones don't make any sense? And which ones do make sense? He wrote: If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? My reply: Because you need to do the research to maximize 'engagement.' This is clearly consistent with profit maximization. He wrote: If we didn't care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space – even ones larger than us? My reply: Is this demonstrably true? What companies in your space are larger? He wrote: If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we're doing? My reply: What is this "industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting?" Where can I learn more about these standards? If FB transparency standard is so high, then where are the reports of your research? He wrote: And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the U.S. while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world? My reply: Which countries are not becoming more polarized? Excluding authoritarian regimes, are there any? Just saying things doesn't make them true – though if we've learned anything in recent years, it's that saying things over and over again can convince large numbers of people that they are true. Prime examples – claiming rampant election irregularities when none exist; vaccines are the government's plots to control the population; pizza-gate. – Randy J. Thank you, as always, to my readers for sharing their insightful and provocative thoughts! Best regards, Whitney P.S. I welcome your feedback at WTDfeedback@empirefinancialresearch.com. P.P.S. My colleague Enrique Abeyta is looking to hire a junior analyst to help him launch his upcoming newsletter, Empire Elite Crypto, later this fall. If you geek out on cryptos and enjoy writing, we'd like to hear from you. Send us your résumé and a one-page write-up of your favorite crypto investment idea right here. Updated on Oct 7, 2021, 2:11 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: valuewalkOct 7th, 2021

Fox News CEO refuses to comment on Tucker Carlson"s anti-vaccine rhetoric: "I am loyal first"

"I will never discuss those conversations. That's not who I am. I am loyal first,"Suzanne Scott said when asked if Carlson's rhetoric alarms her. People pass by a promo of Fox News host Tucker Carlson on the News Corporation building in New York, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid In a rare interview, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott addressed her most controversial employee. "I will never discuss those conversations," Scott, who is vaccinated, said of Tucker Carlson. Scott did not praise nor condemn the host, who has been on an anti-vaccine tear this year. Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott granted a rare interview to The Hollywood Reporter and refused to weigh in on her most-viewed host's anti-vaccine rhetoric.Scott, who said she's vaccinated, touted Fox PSAs for the vaccine and personal testimony of several anchors who've shared their experience getting the jab.Yet when it came to whether Carlson's rhetoric alarms her, she drew an iron curtain and presented a united front."I have a regular cadence of conversations with a wide variety of talent here, including our primetime talent," she told THR. "I will never discuss those conversations. That's not who I am. I am loyal first. I am loyal to everyone on the team, whether they are someone on the news side or the opinion side. To me, they are all people who work for Fox News Media, and I respect the privacy of those conversations."Even as the network made an all-out blitz to promote the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines back in July, Carlson contradicted his colleagues and continued his months-long pattern of making baseless claims about the shots' safety and personally attacking medical experts advocating for the inoculations, telling his average of 3 to 4 million viewers to ignore "medical advice on television."Carlson has also frequently invited novelist and former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson on his show, despite his claims about COVID-19 and vaccines being thoroughly debunked.After repeated requests from Insider, Fox News still will not say if Tucker Carlson has been vaccinated or if he plans to be.In line with Fox's PR messaging around the pro-free speech and anti-cancel culture ethos of their cable and streaming programming, Scott compared the powerful 25-year-old network to a regular American family."When Trump was running [in 2016], my brother was a Bernie supporter, my other brother was a Hillary supporter, my mom was a Trump supporter, my extended family was all over the place," she said. "And you know what? We all love each other. And we could all debate it, and we could all talk about things and we could all have different opinions. And like The Five or other shows, we could all sit around a table and debate it and it didn't become an ugly situation. And my life is still that way."I have a diverse group of friends with varying political backgrounds and interests," she continued. "I think there is an intolerance to different points of view and opinions. But I celebrate different points of view. I celebrate diverse thought. I think we all learn from each other. It doesn't mean at the end of the day you're going to agree."Carlson maintains the record for the most-watched show in the history of cable news.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 7th, 2021

Netflix employees speak out against Dave Chappelle"s new special in which he makes transphobic comments

Some Netflix employees and an executive producer on a Netflix series have spoken out against the company for giving Chappelle a platform. Chappelle in "The Closer." Netflix Dave Chappelle and Netflix are under fire for his sixth standup special, "The Closer." Some Netflix employees criticized the company for giving Chappelle a platform to make transphobic comments. An executive producer on Netflix's "Dear White People" said that she is done working with the streamer. See more stories on Insider's business page. Dave Chappelle and Netflix are coming under fire for Chappelle's sixth standup special for the streamer, "The Closer," which debuted on Tuesday.Jaclyn Moore, who is trans and is an executive producer on Netflix's "Dear White People," tweeted that she would "not work with [Netflix] as long as they continue to put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content."Some Netflix employees also spoke out against the company, criticizing it for giving Chappelle a platform to make transphobic comments."Gender is a fact," Chappelle said during the special. "Every human being in this room, every human being on earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth."Chappelle also supported "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling, who has been criticized for anti-trans comments, by saying "Team TERF!," which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist.One Netflix employee tweeted on Wednesday, "Yesterday we launched another Chappelle special where he attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness - all while trying to pit us against other marginalized groups.""Promoting TERF ideology (which is what we did by giving it a platform yesterday) directly harms trans people, it is not some neutral act," she added.Another Netflix employee tweeted on Tuesday, "I didn't expect my job to include supporting the platforming of hate speech when I woke up today, yet here we are."A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment.Chappelle has been criticized for transphobic and anti-LGBTQ+ comments in his Netflix specials before. In 2016, Chappelle landed a $60 million deal for three specials, The New York Post's Page Six reported at the time. It's unclear if he was paid more for the other specials. It's not just Netflix employees who are speaking out against Chappelle and Netflix. "Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities," GLAAD tweeted on Wednesday. "Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don't support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 7th, 2021

Futures Surge On Debt Ceiling Reprieve, Slide In Energy Prices

Futures Surge On Debt Ceiling Reprieve, Slide In Energy Prices The nausea-inducing rollercoaster in the stock market continued on Thursday, when US index futures continued their violent Wednesday reversal - the biggest since March - and surged with Nasdaq futures up more than 1%, hitting a session high, as Chinese technology stocks rebounded from a record low, investors embraced progress on the debt-ceiling impasse in Washington, a dip in oil prices eased worries of higher inflation and concerns eased about the European energy crisis fueled a risk-on mood. At 7:30am ET, S&P futures were up 44 points or 1.00% and Dow futures were up 267 points or 0.78%. Oil tumbled as much as $2, dragging breakevens and nominal yields lower, while the dollar dipped and bitcoin traded around $54,000. Wednesday's reversal started after Mitch McConnell on Wednesday floated a plan to support an extension of the federal debt ceiling into December, potentially heading off a historic default, a proposal which Democrats have reportedly agreed to after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested an agreement would be in place by this morning. While the deal is good news for markets worried about an imminent default, it only kicks the can to December when the drama and brinksmanship may run again. Markets have been rocked in the past month by worries about the global energy crisis, elevated inflation, reduced stimulus and slower growth. Meanwhile, the prospect of a deal to boost the U.S. debt limit into December is easing concern over political bickering, while Friday’s payrolls report may shed light on the the Federal Reserve’s timeline to cut bond purchases. “We have several things that we are watching right now -- certainly the debt ceiling is one of them and that’s been contributing to the recent volatility,” Tracie McMillion, head of global asset allocation strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we look for these 5% corrections to add money to the equity markets.” Tech and FAAMG stocks including Apple (AAPL US +1%), Nvidia (NVDA +2%), Microsoft (MSFT US +0.9%), Tesla (TSLA US 0.8%) led the charge in premarket trading amid a dip in 10-year Treasury yields on Thursday, helped by a slide in energy prices on the back of Putin's Wednesday announcement that Russia could ramp up nat gas deliveries to Europe, something it still has clearly not done. Perhaps sensing that not all is at Putin said, after plunging on Wednesday UK nat gas futures (NBP) from 407p/therm to a low of 209, prices have ominously started to rise again. As oil fell, energy stocks including Chevron, Exxon Mobil and APA led declines with falls between 0.6% and 2.1%. Here are some of the other big movers today: Twitter (TWTR US) shares rise 2% in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to sell MoPub to AppLovin for $1.05 billion in cash Levi Strauss (LEVI US) rises 4% in U.S. premarket trading after it boosted its adjusted earnings per share forecast for the full year; the guidance beat the average analyst estimate NRX Pharmaceuticals (NRXP US) drops in U.S. premarket trading after Relief Therapeutics sued the company, alleging breach of a collaboration pact Osmotica Pharmaceuticals (OSMT US) declined 28% in premarket trading after launching an offering of shares Rocket Lab USA (RKLB US) shares rose in Wednesday postmarket trading after the company announced it has been selected to launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System, or ACS3, on the Electron launch vehicle U.S. Silica Holdings (SLCA US) rose 7% Wednesday postmarket after it started a review of strategic alternatives for its Industrial & Specialty Products segment, including a potential sale or separation Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT US) climbed 2.6% in Wednesday after hours trading while Sage Therapeutics (SAGE US) dropped 3.9% after Jefferies analyst Akash Tewari kicked off his biotech sector coverage On the geopolitical front, a senior U.S. official said President Joe Biden’s plans to meet virtually with his Chinese counterpart before the end of the year. Tensions are escalating between the two countries, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticizing China’s recent military maneuvers around Taiwan. European equities rebounded, with the Stoxx 600 index surging as much as 1.3% boosted by news that the European Central Bank was said to be studying a new bond-buying program as emergency programs are phased out. Also boosting sentiment on Thursday, ECB Governing Council member Yannis Stournaras said that investors shouldn’t expect premature interest-rate increases from the central bank. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Iberdrola shares rise as much as 6.8% after an upgrade at BofA, and as Spanish utilities climbed following a report that the Ministry for Ecological Transition may suspend or modify the mechanism that reduces the income received by hydroelectric, nuclear and some renewables in relation to gas prices. Hermes shares climb as much as 3.8%, the most since February, after HSBC says “there isn’t much to worry about” from a possible slowdown in mainland China or questions over trend sustainability in the U.S. Edenred shares gain as much as 5.2%, their best day since Nov. 9, after HSBC upgrades the voucher company to buy from hold, saying that Edenred, along with Experian, offers faster recurring revenue growth than the rest of the business services sector. Valeo shares gain as much as 4.9% and is Thursday’s best performer in the Stoxx 600 Automobiles & Parts index; Citi raised to neutral from sell as broker updated its model ahead of 3Q results. Sika shares rise as much as 4.2% after company confirms 2021 guidance, which Baader said was helpful amid market concerns of sequentially declining margins due to rising raw material prices. Centrica shares rise as much as 3.6% as Morgan Stanley upgrades Centrica to overweight from equalweight, saying the utility provider will add market share as smaller U.K. companies fail due to the spike in wholesale energy prices. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rallied, boosted by a rebound in Hong Kong-listed technology shares and optimism over the progress made toward a U.S. debt-ceiling accord. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 1.3%, on track for its biggest jump since Aug. 24. Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan were among the biggest contributors to the benchmark’s advance. Equity gauges in Hong Kong and Taiwan led a broad regional gain, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 also rebounded from its longest losing run since 2009. Thursday’s rally in Asia came after U.S. stocks closed higher overnight on a possible deal to boost the debt ceiling into December. Focus now shifts to the reopening of mainland China markets on Friday following the Golden Week holiday, and also the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due that day. READ: China Tech Gauge Posts Best Day Since August After Touching Lows “Risk off sentiment has persisted due to a number of negative factors, but worry over some of these issues has been alleviated for the near term,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Tokyo. “One is that concern over stagflation has abated, with oil prices pulling back.” Sentiment toward risks assets was also supported as a senior U.S. official said President Joe Biden plans to meet virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping before the end of the year. Of note, holders of Evergrande-guaranteed Jumbo Fortune bonds have yet to receive payment; the holders next step would be to request payment from Evergrande. The maturity of the bond in question was Sunday October 3rd, with a Monday October 4th effective due data, though the bond does have a five-day grace period only in the event that payment failure is due to an administrative/technical error. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7% to close at 7,256.70. All subgauges finished the day higher, with the exception of energy stocks as Asian peers tumbled with a retreat in crude oil prices.  Collins Foods was among the top performers after the company signed an agreement to become KFC’s corporate franchisee in the Netherlands. Whitehaven tumbled, dropping the most for a session since June 17.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 13,104.61. Oil extended its decline from a seven-year high as U.S. stockpiles grew more than expected, and European natural gas prices tumbled on signals from Russia it may increase supplies to the continent. The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury was 1.526%, little changed on the day after erasing a 2.4bp increase; bunds outperformed by ~1.5bp, gilts by less than 1bp; long-end outperformance flattened 2s10s, 5s30s by ~0.5bp each. Treasuries pared losses during European morning as fuel prices ebbed and stocks gained. Bunds and gilts outperform while Treasuries curve flattens with long-end yields slightly richer on the day. WTI oil futures are lower after Russia’s offer to ease Europe’s energy crunch. Negotiations on a short-term increase to U.S. debt-ceiling continue.    In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the greenback was weaker against most Group-of-10 peers, though moves were confined to relatively tight ranges. The U.S. jobs report Friday is the key risk for markets this week as a strong print could boost the dollar. Options traders see a strong chance that the euro manages to stay above a key technical support, at least on a closing basis. Risk sensitive currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars as well as Sweden’s krona led G-10 gains, while Norway’s currency was the worst performer as European natural gas and power prices tumbled early Thursday after signals from Russia it may increase supplies to the continent. The pound gained against a broadly weaker dollar as concerns over the U.K. petrol crisis eased and focus turned to Bank of England policy. A warning shot buried deep in the BoE’s policy documents two weeks ago indicating that interest rates could rise as early as this year suddenly is becoming a more distinct possibility. Australia’s 10-year bonds rose for the first time in two weeks as sentiment was bolstered by a short-term deal involving the U.S. debt ceiling. The yen steadied amid a recovery in risk sentiment as stocks edged higher. Bond futures rose as a debt auction encouraged players to cautiously buy the dip. Looking ahead, investors will be looked forward to the release of weekly jobless claims data, likely showing 348,000 Americans filed claims for state unemployment benefits last week compared with 362,000 in the prior week. The ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday showed private payrolls increased by 568,000 jobs last month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a rise of 428,000 jobs. This comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data due on Friday. It is expected to cement the case for the Fed’s slowing of asset purchases. We'll also get the latest August consumer credit print. From central banks, we’ll be getting the minutes from the ECB’s September meeting, and also hear from a range of speakers including the ECB’s President Lagarde, Lane, Elderson, Holzmann, Schnabel, Knot and Villeroy, along with the Fed’s Mester, BoC Governor Macklem and PBoC Governor Yi Gang. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1% to 4,395.5 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.03% to 455.96 MXAP up 1.2% to 193.71 MXAPJ up 1.8% to 633.78 Nikkei up 0.5% to 27,678.21 Topix down 0.1% to 1,939.62 Hang Seng Index up 3.1% to 24,701.73 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex up 1.2% to 59,872.01 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7% to 7,256.66 Kospi up 1.8% to 2,959.46 Brent Futures down 1.8% to $79.64/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,762.96 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.19 German 10Y yield fell 0.6 bps to -0.188% Euro little changed at $1.1563 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Democrats signaled they would take up Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s offer to raise the U.S. debt ceiling into December, alleviating the immediate risk of a default but raising the prospect of another bruising political fight near the end of the year The European Central Bank is studying a new bond-buying program to prevent any market turmoil when emergency purchases get phased out next year, according to officials familiar with the matter Market expectations for interest-rate hikes “are not in accordance with our new forward guidance,” ECB Governing Council member Yannis Stournaras said in an interview with Bloomberg Television Creditors have yet to receive repayment of a dollar bond they say is guaranteed by China Evergrande Group and one of its units, in what could be the firm’s first major miss on maturing notes since regulators urged the developer to avoid a near-term default Boris Johnson’s plan to overhaul the U.K. economy is a 10-year project he wants to see out as prime minister, according to a senior official. The time frame, which has not been disclosed publicly, illustrates the scale of Johnson’s gamble that British voters will accept a long period of what he regards as shock therapy to redefine Britain The U.K.’s surge in inflation has boosted the cost of investment-grade borrowing in sterling to the most since June 2020. The average yield on the corporate notes climbed just past 2%, according to a Bloomberg index A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded positively as the region took impetus from the mostly positive close in the US where the major indices spent the prior session clawing back opening losses, with sentiment supported amid a potential Biden-Xi virtual meeting this year, and hopes of a compromise on the debt ceiling after Senate Republican Leader McConnell offered a short-term debt limit extension to December. The ASX 200 (+0.7%) was led higher by strength in the tech sector and with risk appetite also helped by the announcement to begin easing restrictions in New South Wales from next Monday. The Nikkei 225 (+0.5%) attempted to reclaim the 28k level with advances spearheaded by tech and amid reports Tokyo is to lower its virus warning from the current top level. The Hang Seng (+3.1%) was the biggest gainer owing to strength in tech and property stocks, with Evergrande shareholder Chinese Estates surging in Hong Kong after a proposal from Solar Bright to take it private. Reports also noted that the US and China reportedly reached an agreement in principle for a Biden-Xi virtual meeting before year-end and with yesterday’s talks in Zurich between senior officials said to be more meaningful and constructive than other recent exchanges. Finally, 10yr JGBs retraced some of the prior day’s after-hours rebound with haven demand hampered by the upside in stocks and after the recent choppy mood in T-notes, while the latest enhanced liquidity auction for longer-dated JGBs resulted in a weaker bid-to-cover. Top Asian News Vietnam Faces Worker Exodus From Factory Hub for Gap, Nike, Puma Japan’s New Finance Minister Stresses FX Stability Is Vital Korea Lures Haven Seekers With Bonds Sold at Lowest Spread Africa’s Free-Trade Area to Get $7 Billion in Support From AfDB Bourses in Europe hold onto the gains seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.5%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) following on from an upbeat APAC handover, albeit the upside momentum took a pause shortly after the cash open. US equity futures are also firmer across the board but to a slightly lesser extent, with the tech-laden NQ (+1.0%) getting a boost from a pullback in yields and outperforming its ES (+0.7%), RTY (+0.6%) and YM (+0.6%). The constructive tone comes amid some positive vibes out of the States, and on a geopolitical note, with US Senate Minority Leader McConnell offered a short-term debt ceiling extension to December whilst US and China reached an agreement in principle for a Biden-Xi virtual meeting before the end of the year. Euro-bourses portray broad-based gains whilst the UK's FTSE 100 (+1.0%) narrowly lags the Euro Stoxx benchmarks, weighed on by its heavyweight energy and healthcare sectors, which currently reside at the foot of the bunch. Further, BoE's Chief Economist Pill also hit the wires today and suggested that the balance of risks is currently shifting towards great concerns about the inflation outlook, as the current strength of inflation looks set to prove more long-lasting than originally anticipated. Broader sectors initially opened with an anti-defensive bias (ex-energy), although the configuration since then has turned into more of a mixed picture, although Basic Resource and Autos still reside towards the top. Individual movers are somewhat scarce in what is seemingly a macro-driven day thus far. Miners top the charts on the last day of the Chinese Golden Week Holiday, with base metal prices also on the front foot in anticipation of demand from the nation – with Antofagasta (+5.1%), Anglo American (+4.2%) among the top gainers, whist Teamviewer (-8.2%) is again at the foot of the Stoxx 600 in a continuation of the losses seen after its guidance cut yesterday. Ubisoft (-5.1%) are also softer, potentially on a bad reception for its latest Ghost Recon game announcement. Top European News ECB’s Stournaras Reckons Investor Rate-Hike Bets Are Unwarranted Shell Flags Financial Impact of Gas Market Swings, Hurricane Johnson’s Plans for Economy Signal Ambitions for Decade in Power U.K. Grid Bids to Calm Market Saying Winter Gas Supply Is Enough In FX, the latest upturn in broad risk sentiment as the pendulum continues to swing one way then the other on alternate days, has given the Aussie a fillip along with news that COVID-19 restrictions in NSW remain on track for being eased by October 11, according to the state’s new Premier. Aud/Usd is eyeing 0.7300 in response to the above and a softer Greenback, while the Aud/Nzd cross is securing a firmer footing above 1.0500 in wake of a slender rise in AIG’s services index and ahead of the latest RBA FSR. Conversely, the Pound is relatively contained vs the Buck having probed 1.3600 when the DXY backed off further from Wednesday’s w-t-d peak to a 94.102 low and has retreated through 0.8500 against the Euro amidst unsubstantiated reports about less hawkish leaning remarks from a member of the BoE’s MPC. In short, the word is that Broadbent has downplayed the prospects of any fireworks in November via a rate hike, but on the flip-side new chief economist Pill delivered a hawkish assessment of the inflation situation in the UK when responding to a TSC questionnaire (see 10.18BST post on the Headline Feed for bullets and a link to his answers in full). Back to the Dollar index, challenger lay-offs are due and will provide another NFP guide before claims and commentary from Fed’s Mester, while from a technical perspective there is near term support just below 94.000 and resistance a fraction shy of 94.500, at 93.983 (yesterday’s low) and the aforementioned midweek session best (94.448 vs the 94.283 intraday high, so far). NZD - Notwithstanding the negative cross flows noted above, the Kiwi is also taking advantage of more constructive external and general factors to secure a firmer grip of the 0.6900 handle vs its US counterpart, but remains rather deflated post-RBNZ on cautious guidance in terms of further tightening. EUR/CHF/CAD/JPY - All narrowly mixed against their US peer and mostly well within recent ranges as the Euro reclaims 1.1500+ status in the run up to ECB minutes, the Franc consolidates off sub-0.9300 lows following dips in Swiss jobless rates, the Loonie weighs up WTI crude’s further loss of momentum against the Greenback’s retreat between 1.2600-1.2563 parameters awaiting Canada’s Ivey PMIs and a speech from BoC Governor Macklem, and the Yen retains an underlying recovery bid within 111.53-23 confines before a raft of Japanese data. Note, little reaction to comments from Japanese Finance Minister, when asked about recent Jpy weakening, as he simply said that currency stability is important, so is closely watching FX developments, but did not comment on current levels. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are on the backfoot, in part amid the post-Putin losses across the Nat Gas space, with the UK ICE future dropping some 20% in early trade. This has also provided further headwinds to the crude complex, which itself tackles its own bearish omens. WTI underperforms Brent amid reports that the US was mulling a Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) release and did not rule out an export ban. Desks have offered their thoughts on the development. Goldman Sachs says a US SPR release would likely be of up to 60mln barrels, only representing a USD 3/bbl downside to the year-end USD 90/bbl Brent forecast and stated that relief would only be transitory given structural deficits the market will face from 2023 onwards. GS notes that any larger price impact that further hampers US shale activity would lead to elevated US nat gas prices in 2022, and an export ban would lead to significant disruption within the US oil market, likely bullish retail fuel price impact. RBC, meanwhile, believes that these comments were to incentivise OPEC+ to further open the taps after the producers opted to maintain a plan to hike output 400k BPD/m. On that note, sources noted that the OPEC+ decision against a larger supply hike at Monday's meeting was partly driven by concern that demand and prices could weaken – this would be in-fitting with sources back in July, which suggested that demand could weaken early 2022. The downside for crude prices was exacerbated as Brent Dec fell under USD 80/bbl to a low of near 79.00/bbl (vs 81.14/bbl), whilst WTI Nov briefly lost USD 75/bbl (vs high 77.23/bbl). Prices have trimmed some losses since. Metals in comparison have been less interesting; spot gold is flat and only modestly widened its overnight range to the current 1,756-66 range, whilst spot silver remains north of USD 22.50/bbl. Elsewhere, the risk tone has aided copper prices, with LME copper still north of USD 9,000/t, whilst some also cite supply concerns as a key mining road in Peru (second-largest copper producer) was blocked, with the indigenous community planning to continue the blockade indefinitely, according to a local leader. It is also worth noting that Chinese markets will return tomorrow from their Golden Week holiday. US Event Calendar 7:30am: Sept. Challenger Job Cuts YoY, prior -86.4% 8:30am: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 348,000, prior 362,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.76m, prior 2.8m 9:45am: Oct. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 54.7 11:45am: Fed’s Mester Takes Part in Panel on Inflation Dynamics 3pm: Aug. Consumer Credit, est. $17.5b, prior $17b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap On the survey, given how fascinating markets are at the moment I think the results of this month’s edition will be especially interesting. However the irony is that when things are busy less people tend to fill it in as they are more pressed for time. So if you can try to spare 3-4 minutes your help would be much appreciated. Many thanks. It was a wild session for markets yesterday, with multiple asset classes swinging between gains and losses as investors sought to grapple with the extent of inflationary pressures and potential shock to growth. However US equities closed out in positive territory and at the highs as the news on the debt ceiling became more positive after Europe went home. Before this equities had lost ground throughout the London afternoon, with the S&P 500 down nearly -1.3% at one point with Europe’s STOXX 600 closing -1.03% lower. Cyclical sectors led the European underperformance, although it was a fairly broad-based decline. However after Europe went home – or closed their laptops in many cases – the positive debt ceiling developments saw risk sentiment improve throughout the rest of New York session. The S&P rallied to finish +0.41% and is now slightly up on the week, as defensive sectors such as utilities (+1.53%) and consumer staples (+1.00%) led the index while US cyclicals fell back like their European counterparts. Small cap stocks didn’t enjoy as much of a boost as the Russell 2000 ended the day -0.60% lower, while the megacap tech NYFANG+ index gained +0.82%. Risk sentiment improved following reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was willing to negotiate with Democrats to resolve the debt ceiling impasse and allow Democrats to raise the ceiling until December. This means President Biden and Congressional Democrats would be able to finish their fiscal spending package – now estimated at around $1.9-2.2 trillion – and include a further debt ceiling raise into one large reconciliation package near year-end. Senate Majority Leader Schumer has not publicly addressed the deal yet, but Democrats have signaled that they’ll accept the deal, although they’ve also indicated they’d still like to pass the longer-term debt ceiling bill under regular order in a bipartisan manner when the time came near year-end. Interestingly, if we did see the ceiling extended until December, this would put another deadline that month, since the government funding extension only went through to December 3, so we could have yet another round of multiple congressional negotiations in just a few weeks’ time. The news of a Republican offer coincided with President Biden’s virtual meeting with industry leaders, where the President implored them to join him in pressuring legislators to raise the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Yellen also attended the meeting, and re-emphasised her estimate for the so-called “drop dead date” to be October 18. Potentially at risk Treasury bills maturing shortly thereafter rallied a few basis points, signaling investors took yesterday afternoon’s debt ceiling developments as positive and credible. This was a far cry from where markets opened the London session as turmoil again gripped the gas market. UK and European natural gas futures both surged around +40% to reach an intraday high shortly after the open. However, energy markets went into reverse following comments from Russian President Putin that the country was set to supply more gas to Europe and help stabilise energy markets, with European futures erasing those earlier gains to actually end the day down -6.75%, with their UK counterpart similarly reversing course to close -6.96% too. The U.K. future traded in a stunning 255 to 408 price range on the day. We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here though, since even with the latest reversal, prices are still up by more than five-fold since the start of the year, and this astonishing increase over recent weeks has attracted attention from policymakers across the world as governments look to step in and protect consumers and industry. In the EU, the Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson, said that the price shock was “hurting our citizens, in particular the most vulnerable households, weakening competitiveness and adding to inflationary pressure. … There is no question that we need to take policy measures”. However, the potential response appeared to differ across the continent. French President Macron said that more energy capacity was required, of which renewables and nuclear would be key elements, while Italian PM Draghi said that joint EU gas purchases had wide support. However, Hungarian PM Orban took the opportunity to blame the European Commission, saying that the Green Deal’s regulations were “indirect taxation”, which shows how these price spikes could create greater resistance to green measures moving forward. Elsewhere, blame was also cast on carbon speculators, with Spanish environment minister Rodriguez saying that “We don’t want to be hostages of external financial investors”, and outside the EU, Serbian President Vucic said that his country could ban power exports if there were further issues, which just shows how energy has the potential to become a big geopolitical issue this winter. Those declines in natural gas prices were echoed across the energy complex, with both Brent Crude (-1.79%) and WTI (-1.90%) oil prices subsiding from their multi-year highs the previous day, just as coal also fell -10.20%. In turn, that served to alleviate some of the concerns about building price pressures and helped measures of longer-term inflation expectations decline across the board. Indeed by the close, the 10yr breakeven in the US had come down -1.4bps, and the equivalent measures in Germany (-4.6bps), Italy (-6.1bps) and the UK (-4.2bps) had likewise seen declines of their own. In spite of those moves for inflation expectations, this proved little consolation for European sovereign bonds as higher real rates put them under continued pressure, even if yields had pared back some of their gains from the morning. Yields on 10yr bunds (+0.6bps), OATs (+0.9bps) and BTPs (+3.2bps) were all at their highest levels in 3 months, whilst those on Polish 10yr debt were up +13.7bps after the central bank there unexpectedly became the latest to raise rates, with the 40bps hike to 0.5% marking the first increase since 2012. However, for the US it was a different story, with yields on 10yr Treasuries down -0.5bps to 1.521%, having peaked at 1.57% earlier in the London morning. There was a late story in Europe that could bear watching in the coming weeks as Bloomberg reported that the ECB is studying a new bond-buying tool that could help ease market volatility if a “taper tantrum”-esque move were to happen when the PEPP purchases end in March. The plan would reportedly target purchases selectively if there were to be a larger selloff in more heavily indebted economies, which differs from the existing programs that buys debt in relation to the size of each member’s economy. Asian stocks overnight have performed strongly, with the Hang Seng (+2.28%), Nikkei (+1.68%) and KOSPI (+1.61%) all advancing after the positive news on the debt-ceiling, as well on news that US President Biden was set to meeting with Chinese President Xi by the end of the year. All the indices were lifted by the IT and consumer discretionary sectors, and the Hang Seng Tech index has rebounded by +3.29% this morning. Separately, Evergrande-related news has been subsiding in recent days, but China Estates, a company controlled by a backer of Evergrande, rose 30% after the company disclosed an offer to take it private for $245mn. Otherwise, US futures are pointing to a positive start later, with those on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and DAX (+1.19%) both advancing. Turning to Germany, exploratory talks will be commencing today between the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the Liberal FDP, who together would make up a so-called “traffic-light” coalition. That marks a boost for the SPD, who beat the CDU/CSU bloc into first place in the September 26 election, although CDU leader Armin Laschet said that his party were “still ready to hold talks”. However, the CDU/CSU have faced internal tensions after they slumped to their worst-ever election result, whilst a Forsa poll out on Tuesday said that 53% of voters wanted a traffic-light coalition, versus just 22% who favoured the Jamaica option led by the CDU/CSU. So momentum seems clearly behind the traffic light option for now. Looking at yesterday’s data, in the US the ADP’s report at private payrolls came in at an unexpectedly strong +568k (vs. +430k expected), which is the highest in their series for 3 months and comes ahead of tomorrow’s US jobs report. However in Germany, factory orders in August fell by -7.7% (vs. -2.2% expected) amidst various supply issues. To the day ahead now, and data releases include German industrial production and Italian retail sales for August, whilst in the US we’ve got the weekly initial jobless claims and August’s consumer credit.From central banks, we’ll be getting the minutes from the ECB’s September meeting, and also hear from a range of speakers including the ECB’s President Lagarde, Lane, Elderson, Holzmann, Schnabel, Knot and Villeroy, along with the Fed’s Mester, BoC Governor Macklem and PBoC Governor Yi Gang. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/07/2021 - 07:57.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 7th, 2021

Social media was once a neutral battleground. Now, both Republicans and Democrats have demonized them to drive political agendas.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have become punching bags on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers accusing them of both censorship and turning a blind eye to hate speech and lies. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have become targets on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers using them to push their agendas. Google; Twitter; Instagram; Facebook; Samantha Lee/Insider Lawmakers have weaponized tech firms and their content moderation decisions to drive agendas. It's the culmination of a slew of factors, like the post-2016 techlash and the Trump administration. Experts say tech animosity has become "a core Republican tenet," and progressives want more rules. See more stories on Insider's business page. Tech companies haven't had an easy time lately, with lawsuits and critique lobbed at them.But the platforms have also been dragged into a new war in recent years: lawmakers using them and the decisions they make as punching bags to drive their political agendas. Experts told Insider it's the product of the post-2016 election realization that online platforms were not all benign, a Trump-era political marketing test, internet platforms' shift from their historical hands-off approach to content moderation, and mounting polarization in a country where a political tug-of-war was growing ever nastier."We've always seen polarization in the US," Ari Lightman, professor of digital media at Carnegie Mellon and social media expert, told Insider. "Social media companies just escalate that."Republicans and Democrats want Big Tech reined in - for very different reasons Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a Senate hearing in 2018. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images One of the first major instances of Trump accusing a tech company of anti-conservative bias was in August 2018, when he said Google was promoting former President Barack Obama's speeches ahead of his own in search results."Politicians are always looking for successful marketing, and he was testing the idea," John Samples - a vice president of the CATO Institute and a member of Facebook's Oversight Board - told Insider.It worked, and from that point on, every decision that companies made around what to flag, remove, or keep up on their sites became another data or talking point to support a cause.For conservatives, that cause was the belief that internet platforms are hellbent on silencing them. And for progressives, the argument that tech platforms don't do enough to crack down on false facts and hate speech dates back to Obama-era scholars, Samples said.Once the 2016 US presidential election came around, it didn't just spawn the "techlash" - it produced a president whose favorite messengers were the very internet platforms he would end up crusading against, and "antipathy toward social media elites became a core Republican tenet," Samples said.The divisive tone on social media became even more pronounced by the 2020 election cycle. Republicans repeated Trump's unfounded claims that the election was stolen, riling up a base that was already heated after a year of pandemic-driven safety protocols. Democrats had to use their platforms to repeat that it was the most secure election in history. Both sides were shouting into a void of followers who already believed what they were saying.And through it all, members of Congress began pouncing on opportunities to grill tech CEOs, which often devolved into political theater, even though some of tech's biggest critics in Washington happily use the platforms to their advantage to win elections. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Sen. John Kennedy at a November hearing in 2020. Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images After Zuckerberg reportedly said he'd "go to the mat and fight" threats to break up the company, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that his comments signaled he was against keeping corporate power and monopolies in check.Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted last month that "no company should be too big to be held accountable for spreading misinformation" after the Wall Street Journal reported an algorithm change favored divisive false content.-Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 17, 2021Republican Reps. Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are some of the loudest voices posting about alleged censorship.Cruz in January tweeted that "Big Tech's PURGE, censorship & abuse of power is absurd & profoundly dangerous," after platforms began suspending Trump following the January 6 Capitol insurrection.-Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 9, 2021 "Some of that is just politics, some of that is a general reaction," Paul Barrett, a deputy director at NYU's Stern Center, told Insider. Barrett was among the NYU researchers who published a report that disproved conservatives' claims of anti-right discrimination online.Social media companies and the rules they enforce are now inextricably subject to vicious political judgment.Zuckerberg "went from being angelic to being Satan, and it happened in three or four years," Samples said. "But it's really tied up in the politics of the country."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

Greenwald: Democrats, Media Do Not Want To Weaken Facebook, Just Commandeer Its Power To Censor

Greenwald: Democrats, Media Do Not Want To Weaken Facebook, Just Commandeer Its Power To Censor Authored by Glenn Greenwald via Substack, "Whistleblower" Frances Haugen is a vital media and political asset because she advances their quest for greater control over online political discourse... Much is revealed by who is bestowed hero status by the corporate media. This week's anointed avatar of stunning courage is Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager being widely hailed as a "whistleblower” for providing internal corporate documents to the Wall Street Journal relating to the various harms which Facebook and its other platforms (Instagram and WhatsApp) are allegedly causing. The social media giant hurts America and the world, this narrative maintains, by permitting misinformation to spread (presumably more so than cable outlets and mainstream newspapers do virtually every week); fostering body image neurosis in young girls through Instagram (presumably more so than fashion magazines, Hollywood and the music industry do with their glorification of young and perfectly-sculpted bodies); promoting polarizing political content in order to keep the citizenry enraged, balkanized and resentful and therefore more eager to stay engaged (presumably in contrast to corporate media outlets, which would never do such a thing); and, worst of all, by failing to sufficiently censor political content that contradicts liberal orthodoxies and diverges from decreed liberal Truth. On Tuesday, Haugen's star turn took her to Washington, where she spent the day testifying before the Senate about Facebook's dangerous refusal to censor even more content and ban even more users than they already do. There is no doubt, at least to me, that Facebook and Google are both grave menaces. Through consolidation, mergers and purchases of any potential competitors, their power far exceeds what is compatible with a healthy democracy. A bipartisan consensus has emerged on the House Antitrust Committee that these two corporate giants — along with Amazon and Apple — are all classic monopolies in violation of long-standing but rarely enforced antitrust laws. Their control over multiple huge platforms that they purchased enables them to punish and even destroy competitors, as we saw when Apple, Google and Amazon united to remove Parler from the internet forty-eight hours after leading Democrats demanded that action, right as Parler became the most-downloaded app in the country, or as Google suppresses Rumble videos in its dominant search feature as punishment for competing with Google's YouTube platform. Facebook and Twitter both suppressed reporting on the authentic documents about Joe Biden's business activities reported by The New York Post just weeks before the 2020 election. These social media giants also united to effectively remove the sitting elected President of the United States from the internet, prompting grave warnings from leaders across the democratic world about how anti-democratic their consolidated censorship power has become. But none of the swooning over this new Facebook heroine nor any of the other media assaults on Facebook have anything remotely to do with a concern over those genuine dangers. Congress has taken no steps to curb the influence of these Silicon Valley giants because Facebook and Google drown the establishment wings of both parties with enormous amounts of cash and pay well-connected lobbyists who are friends and former colleagues of key lawmakers to use their D.C. influence to block reform. With the exception of a few stalwarts, neither party's ruling wing really has any objection to this monopolistic power as long as it is exercised to advance their own interests. And that is Facebook's only real political problem: not that they are too powerful but that they are not using that power to censor enough content from the internet that offends the sensibilities and beliefs of Democratic Party leaders and their liberal followers, who now control the White House, the entire executive branch and both houses of Congress. Haugen herself, now guided by long-time Obama operative Bill Burton, has made explicitly clear that her grievance with her former employer is its refusal to censor more of what she regards as “hate, violence and misinformation.” In a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night, Haugen summarized her complaint about CEO Mark Zuckerberg this way: he “has allowed choices to be made where the side effects of those choices are that hateful and polarizing content gets more distribution and more reach." Haugen, gushed The New York Times’ censorship-desperate tech unit as she testified on Tuesday, is “calling for regulation of the technology and business model that amplifies hate and she’s not shy about comparing Facebook to tobacco.” Agitating for more online censorship has been a leading priority for the Democratic Party ever since they blamed social media platforms (along with WikiLeaks, Russia, Jill Stein, James Comey, The New York Times, and Bernie Bros) for the 2016 defeat of the rightful heir to the White House throne, Hillary Clinton. And this craving for censorship has been elevated into an even more urgent priority for their corporate media allies, due to the same belief that Facebook helped elect Trump but also because free speech on social media prevents them from maintaining a stranglehold on the flow of information by allowing ordinary, uncredentialed serfs to challenge, question and dispute their decrees or build a large audience that they cannot control. Destroying alternatives to their failing platforms is thus a means of self-preservation: realizing that they cannot convince audiences to trust their work or pay attention to it, they seek instead to create captive audiences by destroying or at least controlling any competitors to their pieties. As I have been reporting for more than a year, Democrats do not make any secret of their intent to co-opt Silicon Valley power to police political discourse and silence their enemies. Congressional Democrats have summoned the CEO's of Google, Facebook and Twitter four times in the last year to demand they censor more political speech. At the last Congressional inquisition in March, one Democrat after the next explicitly threatened the companies with legal and regulatory reprisals if they did not immediately start censoring more. A Pew survey from August shows that Democrats now overwhelmingly support internet censorship not only by tech giants but also by the government which their party now controls. In the name of "restricting misinformation,” more than 3/4 of Democrats want tech companies "to restrict false info online, even if it limits freedom of information,” and just under 2/3 of Democrats want the U.S. Government to control that flow of information over the internet: The prevailing pro-censorship mindset of the Democratic Party is reflected not only by that definitive polling data but also by the increasingly brash and explicit statements of their leaders. At the end of 2020, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), newly elected after young leftist activists worked tirelessly on his behalf to fend off a primary challenge from the more centrist Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), told Facebook's Zuckerberg exactly what the Democratic Party wanted. In sum, they demand more censorship: This, and this alone, is the sole reason why there is so much adoration being constructed around the cult of this new disgruntled Facebook employee. What she provides, above all else, is a telegenic and seemingly informed “insider” face to tell Americans that Facebook is destroying their country and their world by allowing too much content to go uncensored, by permitting too many conversations among ordinary people that are, in the immortal worlds of the NYT's tech reporter Taylor Lorenz, “unfettered.” When Facebook, Google, Twitter and other Silicon Valley social media companies were created, they did not set out to become the nation's discourse police. Indeed, they affirmatively wanted not to do that. Their desire to avoid that role was due in part to the prevailing libertarian ideology of a free internet in that sub-culture. But it was also due to self-interest: the last thing social media companies wanted to be doing is looking for ways to remove and block people from using their product and, worse, inserting themselves into the middle of inflammatory political controversies. Corporations seek to avoid angering potential customers and users over political stances, not courting that anger. This censorship role was not one they so much sought as one that was foisted on them. It was not really until the 2016 election, when Democrats were obsessed with blaming social media giants (and pretty much everyone else except themselves) for their humiliating defeat, that pressure began escalating on these executives to start deleting content liberals deemed dangerous or false and banning their adversaries from using the platforms at all. As it always does, the censorship began by targeting widely disliked figures — Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones and others deemed “dangerous” — so that few complained (and those who did could be vilified as sympathizers of the early offenders). Once entrenched, the censorship net then predictably and rapidly spread inward (as it invariably does) to encompass all sorts of anti-establishment dissidents on the right, the left, and everything in between. And no matter how much it widens, the complaints that it is not enough intensify. For those with the mentality of a censor, there can never be enough repression of dissent. And this plot to escalate censorship pressures found the perfect vessel in this stunningly brave and noble Facebook heretic who emerged this week from the shadows into the glaring spotlight. She became a cudgel that Washington politicians and their media allies could use to beat Facebook into submission to their censorship demands. In this dynamic we find what the tech and culture writer Curtis Yarvin calls "power leak.” This is a crucial concept for understanding how power is exercised in American oligarchy, and Yarvin's brilliant essay illuminates this reality as well as it can be described. Hyperbolically arguing that "Mark Zuckerberg has no power at all,” Yarvin points out that it may appear that the billionaire Facebook CEO is powerful because he can decide what will and will not be heard on the largest information distribution platform in the world. But in reality, Zuckerberg is no more powerful than the low-paid content moderators whom Facebook employs to hit the "delete” or "ban” button, since it is neither the Facebook moderators nor Zuckerberg himself who is truly making these decisions. They are just censoring as they are told, in obedience to rules handed down from on high. It is the corporate press and powerful Washington elites who are coercing Facebook and Google to censor in accordance with their wishes and ideology upon pain of punishment in the form of shame, stigma and even official legal and regulatory retaliation. Yarvin puts it this way: However, if Zuck is subject to some kind of oligarchic power, he is in exactly the same position as his own moderators. He exercises power, but it is not his power, because it is not his will. The power does not flow from him; it flows through him. This is why we can say honestly and seriously that he has no power. It is not his, but someone else’s. . . . Zuck doesn’t want to do any of this. Nor do his users particularly want it. Rather, he is doing it because he is under pressure from the press. Duh. He cannot even admit that he is under duress—or his Vietcong guards might just snap, and shoot him like the Western running-dog capitalist he is…. And what grants the press this terrifying power? The pure and beautiful power of the logos? What distinguishes a well-written poast, like this one, from an equally well-written Times op-ed? Nothing at all but prestige. In normal times, every sane CEO will comply unhesitatingly with the slightest whim of the legitimate press, just as they will comply unhesitatingly with a court order. That’s just how it is. To not call this power government is—just playing with words. As I have written before, this problem — whereby the government coerces private actors to censor for them — is not one that Yarvin was the first to recognize. The U.S. Supreme Court has held, since at least 1963, that the First Amendment's "free speech” clause is violated when state officials issue enough threats and other forms of pressure that essentially leave the private actor with no real choice but to censor in accordance with the demands of state officials. Whether we are legally at the point where that constitutional line has been crossed by the increasingly blunt bullying tactics of Democratic lawmakers and executive branch officials is a question likely to be resolved in the courts. But whatever else is true, this pressure is very real and stark and reveals that the real goal of Democrats is not to weaken Facebook but to capture its vast power for their own nefarious ends. There is another issue raised by this week's events that requires ample caution as well. The canonized Facebook whistleblower and her journalist supporters are claiming that what Facebook fears most is repeal or reform of Section 230, the legislative provision that provides immunity to social media companies for defamatory or other harmful material published by their users. That section means that if a Facebook user or YouTube host publishes legally actionable content, the social media companies themselves cannot be held liable. There may be ways to reform Section 230 that can reduce the incentive to impose censorship, such as denying that valuable protection to any platform that censors, instead making it available only to those who truly allow an unmoderated platform to thrive. But such a proposal has little support in Washington. What is far more likely is that Section 230 will be "modified” to impose greater content moderation obligations on all social media companies. Far from threatening Facebook and Google, such a legal change could be the greatest gift one can give them, which is why their executives are often seen calling on Congress to regulate the social media industry. Any legal scheme that requires every post and comment to be moderated would demand enormous resources — gigantic teams of paid experts and consultants to assess "misinformation” and "hate speech” and veritable armies of employees to carry out their decrees. Only the established giants such as Facebook and Google would be able to comply with such a regimen, while other competitors — including large but still-smaller ones such as Twitter — would drown in those requirements. And still-smaller challengers to the hegemony of Facebook and Google, such as Substack and Rumble, could never survive. In other words, any attempt by Congress to impose greater content moderation obligations — which is exactly what they are threatening — would destroy whatever possibility remains for competitors to arise and would, in particular, destroy any platforms seeking to protect free discourse. That would be the consequence by design, which is why one should be very wary of any attempt to pretend that Facebook and Google fear such legislative adjustments. There are real dangers posed by allowing companies such as Facebook and Google to amass the power they have now consolidated. But very little of the activism and anger from the media and Washington toward these companies is designed to fracture or limit that power. It is designed, instead, to transfer that power to other authorities who can then wield it for their own interests. The only thing more alarming than Facebook and Google controlling and policing our political discourse is allowing elites from one of the political parties in Washington and their corporate media outlets to assume the role of overseer, as they are absolutely committed to doing. Far from being some noble whistleblower, Frances Haugen is just their latest tool to exploit for their scheme to use the power of social media giants to control political discourse in accordance with their own views and interests. Correction, Oct. 5, 2021, 5:59 pm ET: This article was edited to reflect that just under 2/3 of Democrats favor U.S. Government censorship of the internet in the name of fighting misinformation, not just over. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/05/2021 - 19:25.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 5th, 2021

Messenger Apps Signal and Telegram Benefit After Facebook Outage

According to Signal, “millions” flocked to its app after a Facebook outage. Messenger apps like Signal and Telegram received a surge in interest after a Facebook Inc. outage left Whatsapp users in the lurch. At least 2.7 billion social network users around the world were plunged into digital darkness on Monday as Faceboo’s suite of apps and services, including Whatsapp and Instagram, went down. For six hours, from around 11:40am EDT, millions of communication channels were unusable. The company attributed the outage to a “faulty configuration change” and promised there was “no evidence that user data was compromised as a result.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, whose net worth dropped by $6bn as a result of the outage, apologized for the disruption as the apps came back online. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] According to Signal, an end-to-end encrypted messaging app favored by activists and organizers concerned about data privacy, “millions” flocked to its app after the outage. “Signups are way up on Signal (welcome everyone!),” the company tweeted on Monday. Signal declined to disclose more specific user numbers. Other alternative message apps, such as Telegram and Discord, enjoyed a surge of signups. Telegram currently ranks fifth on the U.S. Apple App Store’s top free apps chart. The sheer scale of Monday’s Facebook outage highlighted the company’s monopoly over social media worldwide. Whatsapp has more than 2 billion users across 180 countries, and is the market leader in all but 25 countries globally. It is also heavily relied on by many people in countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, India and Argentina to communicate. Read more: From Instagram’s Toll on Teens to Unmoderated ‘Elite’ Users, Here’s a Break Down of the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Revelations Signal uses end-to-end encryption, similar to Whatsapp and iMessage. In fact, Whatsapp integrated Signal’s protocol into its encryption software in 2016. What sets Signal apart is the extra level of security it provides: messages’ metadata are encrypted, blocking out hackers and law enforcement agencies alike. Moreover, Signal is owned and operated by a non-profit foundation, rather than a multinational corporation. Whatsapp, on the other hand, stores user data to share with Facebook, even if messages themselves are protected. NSA whistleblower and privacy activist Edward Snowden tweeted his support for Signal on Monday. “Facebook-owned Whatsapp being down is a reminder that you and your friends should probably be using a more private, non-profit alternative like @Signalapp anyway (or another open-source app of your choice),” he wrote in a tweet. This is not the first time users have ditched Facebook-run platforms for Signal and other platforms in recent months due to data protection and privacy concerns. In January, a privacy update on Whatsapp asked users to consent to businesses sharing their data with Facebook for marketing purposes. A spokesperson for Signal claimed that move prompted a “super, super exodus” of users from the platform to Signal. Whatsapp ended up delaying the proposed update, from Feb. 8 to May 15, due to “confusion” and “misinformation” over “our principles and the facts.” Read more: Here’s How to Fix Facebook, According to Former Employees and Leading Critics In an interview with TIME last year, Whatsapp co-founder Brian Acton, who had defected to Signal, said, “Any time there is some form of unrest or a contentious election, there seems to be an opportunity for us to build our audience.” Drew Angerer—Getty ImagesFormer Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifies during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing entitled ‘Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower’ on Capitol Hill Oct. 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. The outage was the latest in a series of headaches for the social media company. A series of reporting by the Wall Street Journal known as the Facebook Files, based on internal documents leaked by a Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, exposed the company’s awareness of harms caused by its products and decisions. Haugen went public on CBS’s 60 Minutes program on Oct. 3 and testified before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday. She told the committee the social network puts “astronomical profits before people’ and its products “harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 5th, 2021

Stephanie Grisham said working for Trump gave her a "sick sense of pride" that she"s "not proud of"

"If people say they don't love the powerful feeling in there, they're lying," Grisham told New York Magazine. "It's kind of gross." National Security Advisor John R. Bolton and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham listen as President Donald J. Trump participates in a meeting at the White House on July 9, 2019. Jabin Botsford/Getty Images Stephanie Grisham said working for Trump gave her "a sick sense of pride." "I'm not proud of that," she told New York Magazine. Grisham's new book about her time in Trump's White House came out on Tuesday. See more stories on Insider's business page. Stephanie Grisham, a veteran of Trump's White House who published a bombshell memoir on Tuesday, said in a new interview that being in the former president's orbit made her feel important.Grisham, who served on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and later landed multiple gigs at the White House, told New York Magazine that when he won the Republican nomination, "a bunker mentality set in.""For people like me - and I'm not proud of this - you have a sick sense of pride," she told the news outlet in a report published on Tuesday. "All the people who told you how terrible he was? You're like, Oh? He's the nominee, buddy! I'm not proud of that."Before Trump, Grisham was involved in GOP politics and dreamed of working at the White House one day, New York Magazine reported. "I thought that they were the only ones who would ever get me there," Grisham said of Trump's circle.Grisham described a "lack of confidence in myself as a single mother" and said she accepted working with Trump because it seemed like her "only shot.""Nobody's gonna ever want me, really, but these people did. So I'll stick around," Grisham told New York Magazine.Soon after Trump took office in 2017, Grisham became former first lady Melania Trump's press secretary until July 2019. She then moved on to serve as White House press secretary and communications director. In her nine months in the public-facing post, she never held a press briefing. Grisham then returned to work for Melania Trump as chief of staff before she resigned in the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection on January 6.Grisham told New York Magazine that being in the White House made her "feel important" and "power hungry.""If people say they don't love the powerful feeling in there, they're lying. It's kind of gross. I'm not saying something nice about myself right now," she continued. "I was so proud that I was surviving over everyone else, and I had such a complex that I hadn't been let into the inner circle in the beginning, so once I was there, I took a lot of joy out of it."Grisham has recently expressed regrets over working for Trump, telling ABC News on Monday that it was a mistake.Grisham's comments come as her new book, "I'll Take Your Questions Now, details a slew of explosive allegations about the former president and first lady. Spokespersons for the Trumps have dismissed and pushed back on her claims. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021

Fiona Hill says autocrats like Erdogan got mad when Trump "had no idea what they were talking about" on calls: book

"Everyone knew that Trump never paid attention to his brief," Fiona Hill wrote in a new book. She says that ignorance worked to foreign autocrats' advantage. Fiona Hill testifies before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, on Nov. 21, 2019. Liu Jie/Xinhua/Getty Images Former NSC official Fiona Hill's new memoir sheds new light on her time in the Trump White House. Hill says foreign autocrats would become angry when Trump displayed his lack of knowledge. "Everyone knew that Trump never paid attention to his brief," Hill said. See more stories on Insider's business page. Former Trump advisor Fiona Hill says that autocratic foreign leaders often became agitated with former President Donald Trump when his lack of knowledge on major issues became apparent during meetings - despite often using his ignorance to their advantage.Hill, who served as the Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council before departing in July 2019, recounted the exchanges in her new memoir "There Is Nothing for You Here: Finding Opportunity in the Twenty-First Century." Hill later served as a key witness during the House impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine and efforts to pressure the Ukrainian president into launching inquiries into the Bidens. "Some leaders, like President Erdogan of Turkey, would get angry in meetings or on calls when Trump obviously had no idea what they were talking about," Hill wrote in the book.Hill also said that "everyone knew that Trump never paid attention to his brief," which emboldened autocratic foreign leaders like Vladimir Putin of Russia, Viktor Orbán of Hungary, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to make inaccurate claims during their engagements with Trump."Trump's failure to read his briefs or to stick to the policy plan (even if he had come up with it in the first place) was a major liability in every aspect of national security affairs," she wrote. "Whenever he got to meetings and the conversation started, it seemed like the first time he was hearing things from world leaders."This lack of preparation, she said, was an opportunity for foreign autocrats to get the better of Trump and denigrate his staff. Erdogan would intentionally call Trump when he thought his "bad American advisers" weren't around, bypassing the NSC and other White House staff to engage with the president directly."Trump gave Putin or whoever was with him the opportunity to promote his own version of history and events and seize the policy advantage," she wrote. "If his foreign visitor of caller was one of his favored strongmen, he would always give him the benefit of the doubt over his advisors."Hill recounted one exchange with Orbán in which Trump cut off his own defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, in order to accept an argument the Hungarian leader had already made, part of a pattern of deferring to foreign leaders."The autocratic leader simply had more authority than the people who worked for Trump. The leader was his equal, his staff members were not," she wrote. "He would listen only to someone he considered to be at his level, or close to it."She said this approach was particularly disastrous at the former president's July 2018 summit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, where Trump asked "Vladimir" to "repeat what you just told me to my guys" in a delegation after the two leaders' private sit-down. Trump during a press conference at the Helsinki summit appeared to accept Putin's word that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election, and effectively sided with the Russian leader over the US intelligence community in the process.At the time, Trump said he didn't see "any reason" why Russia would interfere in the US electoral process and that Putin was "extremely strong and powerful in his denial" of any meddling. He faced bipartisan criticism back in Washington over the Helsinki summit, which reportedly sent the CIA into "panic mode," and later attempted to walk back on his comments.During an interview with the BBC back in February, Hill said she considered doing something dramatic to disrupt the disastrous press conference. "My initial thought was just 'How can I end this?' I literally did have in my mind the idea of faking some kind of medical emergency and throwing myself backwards with a loud blood-curdling scream into the media," Hill said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021

Fauci Flop-Flops Again: Christmas Is Back On... For The Vaxx"d

Fauci Flop-Flops Again: Christmas Is Back On... For The Vaxx'd Late last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the highest paid bureaucrat in the entire federal government said during a weekend interview that it's "too early to tell" whether Americans should be allowed to gather with their family members on Christmas this year, potentially opening the door to another holiday of isolation. The comment - despite Dr. Fauci's frazzled insistence that he had once again been "taken out of context" - unsurprisingly shocked millions of Americans, who have already sacrificed one holiday season (last year's) to government-imposed COVID restrictions. At the time, Dr. Fauci was speaking on Face the Nation, telling  CBS News host Margaret Brennan that whether "we can gather for Christmas, or it's just too soon to tell." This came just one day after Fauci was asked by whether “we can gather for Christmas, or it’s just too soon to tell." "You know Margaret; it’s just too soon to tell," Fauci responded. "We’ve just got to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time. Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down. And we can do it by people getting vaccinated and also, in the situation where boosters are appropriate, to get people boosted." And so, unsurprisingly, Dr. Fauci did another interview late Monday, spent the time desperately backpedaling his comment about the possibility of another ZOOM Christmas, while chiding the media for taking his comments (which seemed clear enough to us) "out of context". So let's let the audience be the judge. Here's Dr. Fauci's Face the Nation interview from last week. Speaking Monday during an interview on CNN, Dr. Fauci backpedaled his prior remarks, insisting his prior remarks on holiday gatherings were "misinterpreted" and "taken completely out of context". Right now, Americans can fully expect to spend the holidays with their families, Dr. Fauci said (of course, this presumably precludes the emergence of another "hyper-threatening" COVID strain). "I will be spending Christmas with my family, and I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected." Yet, Dr. Fauci of course added a giant caveat on to all of this: if COVID numbers start to climb again - an inevitable result (according to Dr. Fauci) of not enough people getting vaccinated - then the restrictions on movement and freedom could always be reinstated. He concluded by saying "I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good, normal Christmas with your family. But … the way all of the other disinformation goes around, you say something talking about a landmark of a time, and it gets misinterpreted that I’m saying you can’t spend family Christmas time, which is nonsense. You can." Here's that clip below: Fauci walks back Christmas comments. Tells Americans to have a “good, normal Christmas” with their families. pic.twitter.com/HnaM2uYKAH — The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) October 4, 2021 Assuming the virus continues to wane, Dr. Fauci would probably be correct about a low-maintenance holiday. But as with everything else, the next scary variant headline, or surge in cases across one or two states with lower vax penetration, could cause all of that to change. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/05/2021 - 12:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 5th, 2021

Economic Theory & Long-Wave Cycles

Economic Theory & Long-Wave Cycles Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Investors and others are confused by the early stages of accelerating price inflation. One misleading belief is in cycles of industrial production, such as Kondratieff’s waves. The Kondratieff cycle began to emerge in financial commentaries during the inflationary 1970s, along with other wacky theories. We should reject them as an explanation for rising prices today. This article explains why the only cycle that matters is of bank credit, from which all other cyclical observations should be made. But that is not enough, because on their own cycles of bank credit do not destroy currencies - that is the consequence of central bank policies and the expansion of base money. The relationship between base money and changes in a currency’s purchasing power is not mechanical. It merely sets the scene. What matters is widespread public perceptions of how much spending liquidity is personally needed. It is by altering the ratio of currency-to-hand to anticipated needs that purchasing power is radically altered, and in the earliest stages of a hyperinflation of prices it leads to imbalances between supply and demand, resulting in the panic buying for essentials becoming evident today. Panics over energy and other necessities are only the start of it. Unless it is checked by halting the expansion of currency and credit, current dislocations will slide rapidly into a wider flight from currency into real goods - a crack-up boom. Introduction For eighteen months, the world has seen a boom in commodity prices, which has inevitably led to speculation about a new Kondratieff, or K-wave. Google it, and we see it described as a long cycle of economic activity in capitalist economies lasting 40—60 years. It marks periods of evolution and correction driven by technological innovation. Today’s adherents to the theory describe it in terms of the seasons. Spring is recovery, leading into a boom. Summer is an increase in wealth and affluence and a deceleration of growth. Autumn is stagnating economic conditions. And winter is a debilitating depression. But these descriptions did not feature in Kondratieff’s work. Van Duijan construed it differently around life cycles: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. We must discard the word growth, substituting for it progress. Growth as measured by GDP is no more than an increase in the amount of currency and bank credit in circulation and therefore meaningless. Most people who refer to growth believe they are describing progress, or a general improvement in quality of life. Instead, they are sanctioning inflationism. There is little doubt that economic progress is uneven, but that is down to innovation. Kondratieff’s followers argue that innovation is a cyclical phenomenon, otherwise as a cyclical theory it cannot hold water. An economic historian would argue that the root of innovation is the application of technological discoveries which by their nature must be random, as opposed to cyclical, events. Furthermore, a decision must be made about how to measure the K-wave. Is it of fluctuations in the price level and of what, or of output volumes? Bear in mind that GDP and GNP were not invented until the 1930s, and all prior GDP figures are guesswork. Is it driven by Walt Rostow’s contention that the K-wave is pushed by variations in the relative scarcity of food and raw materials? Or is it a monetary phenomenon, which appeared to cease after the Second World War, when currency expansion was not hampered by a gold standard? It was an argument consistent with that put forward by Edward Bernstein, who was a key adviser to the US delegation at Bretton Woods, when he concluded that the war need not be followed by the deep post-war depression which based on historical precedent was widely expected at the time. Kondratieff’s wave theories were buried by the lack of a post-war slump, until price inflation began to increase in the 1970s and Kondratieff became fashionable again. Kondratieff maintained that his wave theory is a global capitalist phenomenon, applicable to and detected in major economies, such as those of Britain, America, and Germany. But there is no statistical evidence of a long wave in Britain’s industrial production in the first half of the nineteenth century, when Britannia ruled the economic waves. And while there were financial crises from time to time, the downward phase to complete Kondratieff’s cycle never materialised. Today, with K-waves being fundamental to so much analysis of cyclical factors and their extrapolation, the lack of evidence and rigour in Kondratieff theory should be concerning to those who believe in it. That there are variations in the pace of human progress is unarguable, and that there is a discernible cycle of them beyond mundane seasonal influences cannot be denied. But that is a cycle of credit, a factor which was at least partially understood by Bernstein, when he correctly surmised that the way to bury a post-war depression was by expanding the quantity of money. Bank credit cycles and inflation When the inflation of money supply is mostly that of bank credit, it is cyclical in nature. Its consequences for the purchasing power of the currency conforms with the cycle, but with a time lag. Furthermore, the effect is weaker in a population which tends to save than with one which tends to spend more of its income on immediate consumption. No further comment is required on this effect, other than to state that over the whole cycle of bank credit prices are likely to be relatively stable. This was the situation in Britain, which dominated the global economy for most of the period between the introduction of the gold sovereign following the 1816 Coinage Act until the First World War. Figure 1 confirms that despite fluctuating levels of bank credit, from 1822—1914 the general level of prices was broadly unchanged. The price effect of the expansion of coin-backed currency between the two dates and the increase in population offset the reduction of costs in production through a combination of improvements in production methods, technological developments, and increased volumes. What cannot be reflected in the graph is the remarkable progress made in improving the standards of living for everyone over the nineteenth century. The gold standard was abandoned at the start of the First World War, and the general level of prices more than doubled. Having seen prices rise during the war, in December 1919 the Cunliffe Committee recommended a return to the gold standard and the supply of currency was restricted from 1920 with this objective in mind. A gold bullion standard instead of a coin standard was introduced in 1925, tying sterling at the pre-war rate of $4.8665, which remained in place until 1931.[iv] From thereon, the purchasing power of the currency began its long decline as central bank money supply expanded. There is no long-term cyclicality in these changes. Following the abandonment of the gold standard, and in line with other currencies which abandoned gold convertibility in the 1930s sterling simply sank. The key to this devaluation is not fluctuations in bank credit, but the expansion of base currency. And there is no evidence of a Kondratieff, or any other long-term cycle of production. It can only be a monetary effect. The role of money in long waves It is worth bearing in mind that the so-called evidence discovered by Kondratieff was in the mind of a Marxist convinced that capitalism would fail. The downturn of a capitalist winter, or decline in growth — whatever definition is used, was baked in the anti-capitalist cake. The Marxists and other socialists were and still are all too ready to claim supposed failings of capitalism, evidenced in their eyes by periodic recessions, slumps, and depressions. Kondratieff’s economic bias may or may not have coloured his analysis — only by digging deeply into his own soul could he have answered that. But in the absence of firm evidence supporting his wave theory we should discard it. After all, there is a rich history of the religious zeal with which spurious theories in the fields of economics and money arise. The consequences of sunspot cycles and the supposed importance of anniversary dates are typical of this ouija board theme. Non-monetary cycle themes such as that devised by Kondratieff have socialism at their core. It is assumed that capitalists, bourgeois businessmen seeking through the division of labour to manufacture and supply consumer goods for profit, in their greed are reckless about commercial risks from overinvestment. This is nonsense. Fools are quickly discovered in free markets, and they are also quickly dismissed. Successful entrepreneurs and businessmen are very much aware of risk and do not embark on projects in the expectation they will be unprofitable, and it is therefore untrue to suggest that the capitalist system fails for this reason. To the contrary, markets that are truly free have been entirely responsible for the rapid improvement in the human condition, while it is government intervention that leads to periodic crises by interfering in the relationships between producers and consumers and setting in motion a cycle of interest rate suppression and currency expansion. Markets which are truly free deliver economic progress by anticipating consumer demands and deploying capital efficiently to meet them. It is no accident that economies with minimal government intervention deliver far higher standards of living than those micro-managed by governments. Hong Kong under hands-off British administration, with no natural resources and enduring floods of impoverished refugees from Mainland China stood in sharp contrast with China under Mao. Post-war East and West Germany, populated by the same ethnic people, the former communist and the latter capitalist, provides further unarguable proof that capitalism succeeds where socialism fails. Marxist socialism kills cycles by the most brutal method. It cannot entertain the economic calculations necessary to link production with anticipated demand. There is no mechanism for the redistribution of capital for its more efficient use. Consumption is never satisfied, and consumers must wait interminably for inferior products to be supplied. Any pretence at a cycle is simply suppressed out of existence. Almost all long-wave literature assumes that prices change due to supply and demand for commodities and goods alone, and never from variations in the quantity of money and credit. But even under a gold standard, the quantities of money and credit varied all the time. In Britain, and therefore in the rest of the financially developed world which adopted its banking practices, gold was merely partial backing for currency and bank deposits, which since the days of London’s goldsmiths also lubricated the creation of debt outside the banking system. While originally gold was used as coin money, since 1914 when Britain went off the gold coin standard even this role in transactions ceased. Having explained the random nature of free market capitalism, the difference from capitalistic banking must be explained. It owes its origin to London’s goldsmiths, who took in deposits to use for their own benefit, paying six per cent out of the profits they made by dealing in money. This evolved into fractional reserve banking which became the banking model for the British Empire and the rest of the world. As well as renewing the Bank of England’s charter, the Bank Charter Act of 1844 further legitimised fractional reserve banking by giving in to the Banking School’s argument that the amount of credit in circulation is adequately controlled by the ordinary processes of competitive banking. If banks acted independently from one another competing for customers and business, we might reasonably conclude that there would be from time-to-time random bank failures without cyclicality, as the Banking School argued. In capitalistic commerce, it is this process of creative destruction that ensures consumers are best served and an economy progresses to their advantage. But with banks, it is different. Each bank creates deposits which are interchanged between other banks, and imbalances are centrally cleared. Therefore, every bank has financial relations with its competitors and is exposed to its competitors’ counterparty risks, which if acted upon creates losses for themselves and other banks, risking in extremis a system-wide crisis. Banking is therefore a cartel whose members acting in their own interests tend to act in unison. In the nineteenth century his led to systemic crises, the most infamous of which were the Overend Gurney and Baring failures. It was to address this systemic risk that central banking took upon itself the role of lender of last resort, so that in future these failures would be contained. But this mitigation of risk merely strengthened the banking cartel even further, leading to the possibility of a complete banking and currency failure. And since bankers have limited liability and personally risk little more than their salary in the knowledge that a central bank will always backstop them, reckless balance sheet expansion is richly rewarded — until it fails. Fred “the shred” Goodwin, who grew a staid Royal Bank of Scotland to become the largest bank in Europe before it collapsed into government ownership was a recent example of the genre. It is these differences between banking and other commercial activities that drive a cycle of bank credit expansion and contraction while non-financial business activities cannot originate cycles. The state-sponsored structure of the banking system attempts to control it. Governments through their central banks also trigger a boom in business activity by suppressing interest rates as the principal means of encouraging the growth of currency and credit. The distortions created by these interventions and their continuence inevitably lead to a terminating crisis. As Ludwig von Mises put it: “The wavelike movement affecting the economic system, the recurrence of periods of boom which are followed by periods of depression, is the unavoidable outcome of the attempts, repeated again and again, to lower the gross market rate of interest by means of credit expansion. There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." A long period of credit expansion with relatively minor hiccups ending in such a crisis could easily be confused with a Kondratieff 40—60-year cycle. But the error is to mistake its origins. Kondratieff tried to persuade us that the boom and bust was a feature of capitalist business failings when it is a currency and credit problem. The irony is that Stalin refused to admit even to an expansionary phase in capitalism, condemning Kondratieff to the gulags, and then a firing squad in 1938. He lived as a Marxist-Leninist and was executed by the system he venerated. Having identified the source of cycles as being a combination of state action and fluctuations in currency and credit in a state-sponsored banking system and not capitalistic production for profit, we can admit that there are further cyclical consequences. Whether they exist or not is usually a matter of conjecture. Purely financial cycles, such as Elliott Wave Theory, will also owe their motive forces to cycles of credit and not business activity. The effect on commodity and consumer prices Kondratieff wave followers claim that commodity bull and bear markets are the consequence of a K-wave spring and summer followed by autumn, when it tops out, and winter when it collapses before rising into the next K-wave cycle. But we have demonstrated that the K-wave is not supported by the evidence. Instead, changes in the general level of commodity prices are a function of changes in the quantity of money. And as we have seen, there is a base component and a cyclical component of bank credit. We must now refocus our attention from the long-run UK statistics shown in Figure 1 to the contemporary situation for the US dollar, in which commodities have been priced almost exclusively since the early 1970s. The chart from the St Louis Fed below is of an index of industrial materials from 1992. We can see why the Kondratieff myth might be perpetuated, with industrial material prices more than halving between 2011 and 2016. But these swings came substantially from the dollar side of prices, whose trade-weighted index rose strongly between these dates. Between 2016—2018 the dollar weakened, before strengthening into 2020. Clearly, it was the purchasing power of the dollar driving speculative as well as commercial flows in international commodity markets. In March 2020, the Fed reduced its fund rate to the zero bound and announced QE (money-printing) of an unprecedented $120bn every month. Figure 2 below shows the consequences for the general level of commodity prices. Since late-March, the components of this ETF have almost doubled in price, and after a period of consolidation appear to be increasing again. K-wave followers might conclude that it is evidence of a new Kondratieff spring or summer, with the global economy set for a new spurt of economic “growth”. But this ignores the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet reflected in base money, which is the next FRED chart. The monetary base has approximately doubled since the Fed’s March 2020 stimulus, additional to the post-Lehman crisis expansion. The last expansion undermined the purchasing power of the dollar to a similar extent in terms of the commodity prices shown in Figure 2. Evidential consequences of price inflation Sudden increases in the money quantity have disruptive effects on markets for goods and services and the behaviour of individuals. As well as undermining a currency’s purchasing power, supplies of essential goods become disordered by unexpected shifts in demand. Throughout history there has been evidence of these inflationary consequences, often exacerbated by statist attempts to impose price controls. The Roman emperor Diocletian with his edict on maximum prices caused starvation for citizens, who were forced to leave Rome to forage for food in the surrounding countryside. The edict made the provision of food uneconomic, leading to extreme scarcity. During the reign of Henry I in England there was a monetary crisis in 1124 from the debasement of silver coins, which combined with a poor harvest drove up the prices of staples, causing widespread famine. The French revolution has been attributed to the insensitivity of royalty and the aristocracy to the masses; but it occurred at the time of the assignat inflation, which led to aggravated discontent among the lower orders and the storming of the Bastille. And today, we have widespread disruption of essential supplies, ranging from energy to carbonated foodstuffs. The lesson from history is it has only just started. Why today’s logistics and energy disruptions have only just started The problems arise because individuals’ knowledge of the relationship between money and goods comes from the immediate past. They use that knowledge to decide what to buy for future consumption, and if they are in business, for production. In the latter case, they might change inventory policies from today’s just-in-time practices to ensure an adequate stock of components is available, driving up demand for them and creating shortages of vital factors of production. Consumers faced with shortages will alter the balance between their money liquidity and goods for which they may not have an immediate need but expect to consume at a future date. Bank account balances and credit available on credit cards will be drawn down, for example, to fill their car tanks with fuel, even though no journey is planned. And as we see in the UK today, it rapidly leads to fuel shortages and rationing at the petrol pumps. While the authorities try to calm things down, either by denying there is a supply problem or by imposing price controls, consumers are likely to see these moves as propaganda and justification for reducing money liquidity even further by purchasing yet more goods. The flight out of currency liquidity has a disproportionate effect on prices, particularly for essentials. They will simply drive prices higher until no further price rises are expected. Or put more accurately, the value of the currency continues to fall. It is worth illustrating the problem for its true context. If on the one hand everyone decides they would rather have as much cash in hand money as possible rather than goods, prices will collapse. It is, as a matter of fact, a situation which cannot occur. If alternatively, everyone decides to dispose of all their liquidity by buying everything just to get rid of the currency, then the purchasing power of the currency sinks to zero. Unlike the former case, this can and does happen, when it becomes widely recognised that the currency might become worthless. In other words, a state-issued unbacked currency then collapses. Almost no one, so far, attributes today’s logistical and economic dislocations to monetary inflation, yet as pointed out above, empirical evidence points to a clear connection. Governments and central banks also seem unaware. But they appear to sense that there is an undefinable risk of consumer panic, making fuel and other shortages even worse. So far, the blame lies with logistic failures, which seem to be getting worse. Comments from leading central bankers, currently meeting in Portugal and organised by the ECB, confirm the official position of playing popular tunes while the ship goes down. The heads of the Fed, the ECB, the Bank of England, and the Bank of Japan are quoted in the Daily Telegraph as agreeing that staff shortages, shipping chaos and surging fuel costs are likely to cause further disruption as winter draws near. Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, warned “…that the UK’s GDP will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until early next year”. But besides the Bank keeping a close watch on inflation, he commented that monetary policy can’t solve supply side shocks. Jay Powell admitted that at the margin apparently bottleneck and supply chain problems are getting marginally worse. But all the central bankers agreed that price pressures will be temporary. We can see from these comments a desire not to rock the boat and cause further panic among consumers. More worrying is the insistence that inflation remains a temporary problem. Unless there is a move to stop the monetary printing presses, they must believe it. It is confirmation that there is no intention to change monetary policy. But these problems are not restricted to the West. This week we learn that even China, which has followed a policy of restricting monetary growth, faces an energy crisis with coal at power plants critically low, and coal prices up fourfold. Energy is being rationed with production of everything from food and animal feedstuffs to steel and aluminium plants supplying other factories, which in turn face power outages. China is the world’s manufacturing hub. The United States relies on China’s exports. There were some seventy container ships at anchor or at drift areas off San Pedro earlier this week, but after dropping slightly the numbers are expected to rise again. And in China, there are delays at ports of more than three days in Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo and Yantian. Ship charter rates have rocketed from $10,000 a day to as much as $200,000.[ix] There can be no doubt as the northern hemisphere enters its winter that the consuming nations in America and Europe will see yet more product shortages, more price rises, and continuing logistics disruption. Central banks will become increasingly desperate to discourage consumers’ from hoarding items by claiming that shortages and price increases are transitory. What they fail to realise is that the consequences of currency debasement have led to consumption goods being wrongly priced, fuelling the shortages. These shortages can only be addressed by yet higher prices, even in the absence of further monetary debasement — until no further price increases are expected by consumers. But with massive and increasing government deficits to finance, central banks have no mandate to restrict the expansion of currency. An acceleration of monetary debasement as each unit of it buys less is therefore inevitable because consumers and businesses alike will begin to understand there is no limit to prices increasing. Left to its logical conclusion, the purchasing power of a currency falls exponentially until it has no value left. The speed at which it happens depends on the time taken for acting humans to realise what is happening. Unless it is stopped, an economy experiences what in the 1920s was described as a flight into real goods, or a crack-up boom. Economists today seem unable to comprehend the instability caused by monetary inflation. They adopt their models to ignore it. As von Mises put it, “The mathematical economists are at a loss to comprehend the causal relation between the increase in the quantity of money and what they call ‘velocity of circulation’". The confusion in the minds of central bank economists renders it unlikely that they will take the actions necessary to stop their currencies sliding towards worthlessness sooner rather than later. Central to resolving the problem is maintaining confidence that the currency will retain its purchasing power. But with the advent of cryptocurrencies, there is a growing proportion of the public who understand in advance of inflationary consequences that fiat currencies are being debauched at an accelerating rate. This represents a major change from the past, when, as Keynes put it supposedly quoting Lenin, “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction and does it in a manner which not one man in one million is able to diagnose”. The fact that millions now do understand the currency is being debauched is likely to make it more difficult for the state to maintain confidence in the currency in these troubled times. We should know that what is happening to commodity prices is not some long-term Kondratieff wave, or any other wave with origins in production beyond purely seasonal factors. We can say unequivocally that the cause is in changing quantities of currency and bank credit. We can also see that there are yet further effects driving prices higher from the expansion of currency so far. We can expect currency expansion to continue, so prices of commodities and consumer goods will continue to rise. Or put in a way in which it is likely to become more widely understood as the current hiatus continues, the purchasing power of the currencies in which prices are measured will continue to fall. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 4th, 2021

How tech platforms were dragged into America"s polarized political tug-of-war

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have become punching bags on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers using them to drive their own political agendas. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have become targets on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers using them to push their agendas. Google; Twitter; Instagram; Facebook; Samantha Lee/Insider Lawmakers have weaponized tech firms and their content moderation decisions to drive agendas. It's the culmination of a slew of factors, like the post-2016 techlash and the Trump administration. Experts say tech animosity has become "a core Republican tenet," and progressives want more rules. See more stories on Insider's business page. Tech companies haven't had an easy time lately, with lawsuits and critique lobbed at them.But the platforms have also been dragged into a new war in recent years: lawmakers using them and the decisions they make as punching bags to drive their political agendas. Experts told Insider it's the product of the post-2016 election realization that online platforms were not all benign, a Trump-era political marketing test, internet platforms' shift from their historical hands-off approach to content moderation, and mounting polarization in a country where a political tug-of-war was growing ever nastier."We've always seen polarization in the US," Ari Lightman, professor of digital media at Carnegie Mellon and social media expert, told Insider. "Social media companies just escalate that."Republicans and Democrats want Big Tech reined in - for very different reasons Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a Senate hearing in 2018. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images One of the first major instances of Trump accusing a tech company of anti-conservative bias was in August 2018, when he said Google was promoting former President Barack Obama's speeches ahead of his own in search results."Politicians are always looking for successful marketing, and he was testing the idea," John Samples - a vice president of the CATO Institute and a member of Facebook's Oversight Board - told Insider.It worked, and from that point on, every decision that companies made around what to flag, remove, or keep up on their sites became another data or talking point to support a cause.For conservatives, that cause was the belief that internet platforms are hellbent on silencing them. And for progressives, the argument that tech platforms don't do enough to crack down on false facts and hate speech dates back to Obama-era scholars, Samples said.Once the 2016 US presidential election came around, it didn't just spawn the "techlash" - it produced a president whose favorite messengers were the very internet platforms he would end up crusading against, and "antipathy toward social media elites became a core Republican tenet," Samples said.The divisive tone on social media became even more pronounced by the 2020 election cycle. Republicans repeated Trump's unfounded claims that the election was stolen, riling up a base that was already heated after a year of pandemic-driven safety protocols. Democrats had to use their platforms to repeat that it was the most secure election in history. Both sides were shouting into a void of followers who already believed what they were saying.And through it all, members of Congress began pouncing on opportunities to grill tech CEOs, which often devolved into political theater, even though some of tech's biggest critics in Washington happily use the platforms to their advantage to win elections. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Sen. John Kennedy at a November hearing in 2020. Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images After Zuckerberg reportedly said he'd "go to the mat and fight" threats to break up the company, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that his comments signaled he was against keeping corporate power and monopolies in check.Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted last month that "no company should be too big to be held accountable for spreading misinformation" after the Wall Street Journal reported an algorithm change favored divisive false content.-Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 17, 2021Republican Reps. Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are some of the loudest voices posting about alleged censorship.Cruz in January tweeted that "Big Tech's PURGE, censorship & abuse of power is absurd & profoundly dangerous," after platforms began suspending Trump following the January 6 Capitol insurrection.-Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 9, 2021 "Some of that is just politics, some of that is a general reaction," Paul Barrett, a deputy director at NYU's Stern Center, told Insider. Barrett was among the NYU researchers who published a report that disproved conservatives' claims of anti-right discrimination online.Social media companies and the rules they enforce are now inextricably subject to vicious political judgment.Zuckerberg "went from being angelic to being Satan, and it happened in three or four years," Samples said. "But it's really tied up in the politics of the country."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 2nd, 2021