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"It"s a game changer": Clearwater doctor uses AI to identify dementia in patients

Geriatric-focused Dr. Kimberley Evans has long given patients simple “pen and paper” tests to gauge their potential diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other memory loss. Often, they were given to an 80-year-old patient who had been experiencing memory loss for over a decade. The straightforward test confirmed what family members had feared: their loved one had dementia. “It’s been a source of frustration because I haven’t had a great option for them besides, ‘Come back, and….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 23rd, 2022

Casedemic: The Hideous Scandal Of The Irredeemably Flawed PCR Test

Casedemic: The Hideous Scandal Of The Irredeemably Flawed PCR Test Authored by Ian McNulty via The Brownstone Institute, Investigating the cause of a disease is like investigating the cause of a crime. Just as the detection of a suspect’s DNA at a crime scene doesn’t prove they committed the crime, so the detection of the DNA of a virus in a patient doesn’t prove it caused the disease. Consider the case of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) for example. It can cause serious diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cancer. A Japanese study in 2003 found that 43% of patients suffering from Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus (CAEBV) died within 5 months to 12 years of infection. Yet EBV is one of the most common viruses in humans and has been detected in 95% of the adult population. Most of those infected are either asymptomatic or show symptoms of glandular fever, which can have similar symptoms to ‘long Covid.’ If an advertising agency attempted to create demand for an EBV treatment with daily TV and radio ads representing positive EBV tests as ‘EBV Cases’ and deaths within 28 days as ‘EBV Deaths,’ they’d be prosecuted for fraud by false representation so quickly their feet wouldn’t touch the ground. How Viruses Are Detected Before the invention of PCR, the gold standard for detecting viruses was to grow them in a culture of living cells and count damaged cells using a microscope. The disadvantage of cell cultures is they need highly skilled technicians and can take weeks to complete. The advantage is they only count living viruses that multiply and damage cells. Dead virus fragments that do neither are automatically discounted. The invention of PCR in 1983 was a game changer. Instead of waiting for viruses to grow naturally, PCR rapidly multiplies tiny amounts of viral DNA exponentially in a series of heating and cooling cycles that can be automated and completed in less than an hour. PCR revolutionised molecular biology but its most notable application was in genetic fingerprinting, where its ability to magnify even the smallest traces of DNA became a major weapon in the fight against crime. But, like a powerful magnifying glass or zoom lens, if it’s powerful enough to find a needle in a haystack it’s powerful enough to make mountains out of molehills. Even the inventor of PCR, Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993, vehemently opposed using PCR to diagnose diseases: “PCR is a process that’s used to make a whole lot of something out of something. It allows you to take a very miniscule amount of anything and make it measurable and then talk about it like it’s important.“ PCR has certainly allowed public health authorities and the media around the world to talk about a new variant of Coronavirus like it’s important, but how important is it really? The Dose Makes The Poison Anything can be deadly in high enough doses, even oxygen and water. Since the time of Paracelsus in the 16th century, science has known there are no such things as poisons, only poisonous concentrations: “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes the poison.” (Paracelsus, dritte defensio, 1538.) This basic principle is expressed in the adage “dosis sola facit venenum“ – the dose alone makes the poison – and is the basis for all Public Health Standards which specify Maximum Permissible Doses (MPDs) for all known health hazards, from chemicals and radiation to bacteria, viruses and even noise. Public Health Standards, Science and Law Toxicology and Law are both highly specialised subjects with their own highly specialised language. Depending on the jurisdiction, Maximum Permissible Doses (MPDs) are also known as Health Based Exposure Limits (HBELs), Maximum Exposure Levels (MELs) and Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs). But, no matter how complicated and confusing the language, the basic principles are simple. If the dose alone makes the poison then it’s the dose that’s the biggest concern, not the poison. And if Public Health Standards in a liberal democracy are regulated by the rule of law then the law needs to be simple enough for a jury of reasonably intelligent lay people to understand. Although the harm caused by any toxin increases with the dose, the level of harm depends not only on the toxin, but the susceptibility of the individual and the way the toxin is delivered. Maximum Permissible Doses have to strike a balance between the benefit of increasing safety and the cost of doing it. There are many Political, Economic and Social factors to consider besides the Technology (PEST). Take the case of noise for example. The smallest whisper may be irritating and harmful to some people, while the loudest music may be nourishing and healthy for others. If the Maximum Permissible Dose was set at a level to protect the most sensitive from any risk of harm, life would be impossible for everyone else. Maximum Permissible Doses have to balance the costs and benefits of restricting exposure to the level of No Observable Effect (NOEL) at one end of the scale, and the level that would kill 50% of the population at the other (LD50). Bacteria and viruses are different from other toxins, but the principle is the same. Because they multiply and increase their dose with time, maximum permissible doses need to be based on the minimum dose likely to start an infection known as the Minimum Infective Dose (MID). Take the case of listeria monocytogenes for example. It’s the bacteria that causes listeriosis, a serious disease that can result in meningitis, sepsis and encephalitis. The case fatality rate is around 20%, making it ten times more deadly than Covid-19. Yet listeria is widespread in the environment and can be detected in raw meat and vegetables as well as many ready-to-eat foods, including cooked meat and seafood, dairy products, pre-prepared sandwiches and salads.  The minimum dose in food likely to cause an outbreak of listeriosis is around 1,000 live bacteria per gram. Allowing a suitable margin of safety, EU and US food standards set the maximum permissible dose of listeria in ready-to-eat products at 10% of the minimum infective dose , or 100 live bacteria per gram. If Maximum Permissible Doses were based solely on the detection of a bacteria or virus rather than the dose, the food industry would cease to exist. Protection of the Vulnerable The general rule of thumb for setting maximum permissible doses used to be 10% of the MID for bacteria and viruses, and 10% of the LD50 for other toxins, but this has come under increasing criticism in recent years: first with radiation, then Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), then smoke in general, then viruses. The idea that there is no safe dose of some toxins began to surface in the 1950s, when radioactive fallout from atom bomb tests and radiation from medical X-rays were linked with the the dramatic post-war rise in cancers and birth defects. Although this was rejected by the science at the time, it wasn’t entirely unfounded. There are many reasons why radiation may be different from other pollutants. Chemicals like carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen are recycled naturally by the environment, but there is no such thing as a Radiation Cycle. Radioactivity only disappears gradually with time, no matter how many times it’s recycled. Some radioactive substances remain dangerous for periods longer than human history. All life forms are powered by chemical processes, none by nuclear energy. The last natural nuclear reactor on earth burned out more than 1.5 billion years ago. The nearest one now is isolated from life on earth by 93 million miles of vacuum.  As evidence mounted to show there was no safe dose of radiation, maximum permissible doses were lowered drastically, but limited doses were still allowed. If public health standards were based purely on the detection of radiation rather than the dose, the Nuclear Industry would cease to exist. The susceptibility of any individual to any health risk depends on many factors. Most people can eat sesame seeds and survive bee stings without calling an ambulance, for others they can be fatal. In the US bees and wasps kill an average of more than 60 people each year, and food allergies cause an average of 30,000 hospitalisations and 150 deaths. If public health standards were based solely on the detection of a toxin rather than the dose, all bees would be exterminated and all food production closed down. Food allergies set the legal precedent. Where minuscule traces of something might be harmful for some people, the law demands that products carry a clear warning to allow the vulnerable to protect their own health. It doesn’t demand everyone else pay the price, no matter what the cost, by lowering maximum permissible doses to the point of no observable effect. Minimum Infectious Doses (MIDs) have already been established for many of the major respiratory and enteric viruses including strains of coronavirus. Even though SARS-CoV-2 is a new variant of coronavirus, the MID has already been estimated at around 100 particles. Whilst further work is needed, nevertheless it could serve as a working standard to measure Covid-19 infections against. Are PCR Numbers Scientific? As the philosopher of science, Karl Popper, observed: “non-reproducible single occurrences are of no significance to science.” To be reproducible, the results of one test should compare within a small margin of error with the results of other tests. To make this possible all measuring instruments are calibrated against international standards. If they aren’t, their measurements may appear to be significant, but they have no significance in science. PCR tests magnify the number of target DNA particles in a swab exponentially until they become visible. Like a powerful zoom lens, the greater the magnification needed to see something, the smaller it actually is. The magnification in PCR is measured by the number of cycles needed to make the DNA visible. Known as the Cycle Threshold (Ct) or Quantification Cycle (Cq) number, the higher the number of cycles the lower the amount of DNA in the sample. To convert Cq numbers into doses they have to be calibrated against the Cq numbers of standard doses. If they aren’t they can easily be blown out of proportion and appear more significant than they actually are. Take an advertisement for a car for example. With the right light, the right angle and the right magnification, a scale model can look like the real thing. We can only gauge the true size of things if we have something to measure them against. Just like a coin standing next to a toy car proves it’s not a real one, and a shoe next to a molehill shows it’s not a mountain, the Cq of a standard dose next to the Cq of a sample shows how big the dose really is. So it’s alarming to discover that there are no international standards for PCR tests and even more alarming to discover that results can vary up to a million fold, not just from country to country, but from test to test. Even though this is well-documented in the scientific literature it appears that the media, public health authorities and government regulators either haven’t noticed or don’t care: “It should be noted that currently there is no standard measure of viral load in clinical samples.” “An evaluation of eight clinically relevant viral targets in 23 different laboratories resulted in Cq ranges of more than 20, indicative of an apparently million-fold difference in viral load in the same sample.” “The evident lack of certified standards or even validated controls to allow for a correlation between RT-qPCR data and clinical meaning requires urgent attention from national standards and metrology organisations, preferably as a world-wide coordinated effort.” “Certainly the label “gold standard” is ill-advised, as not only are there numerous different assays, protocols, reagents, instruments and result analysis methods in use, but there are currently no certified quantification standards, RNA extraction and inhibition controls, or standardised reporting procedures.” Even the CDC itself admits PCR test results aren’t reproducible: “Because the nucleic acid target (the pathogen of interest), platform and format differ, Ct values from different RT-PCR tests cannot be compared.” For this reason PCR tests are licenced under emergency regulations for the detection of the type or ‘quality’ of a virus, not for the dose or ‘quantity’ of it. “As of August 5, 2021, all diagnostic RT-PCR tests that had received a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for SARS-CoV-2 testing were qualitative tests.” “The Ct value is interpreted as positive or negative but cannot be used to determine how much virus is present in an individual patient specimen.” Just because we can detect the ‘genetic fingerprint’ of a virus doesn’t prove it’s the cause of a disease: “Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms.” So, while there’s little doubt that using PCR to identify the genetic fingerprint of a Covid-19 virus is the gold standard in molecular science, there’s equally no doubt that using it as the gold standard to quantify Covid-19 ‘cases’ and ‘deaths’ is “ill-advised.” The idea that PCR may have been used to make a mountain out of a molehill by blowing a relatively ordinary disease outbreak out of all proportion is so shocking it’s literally unthinkable. But it wouldn’t be the first time it has happened. The Epidemic That Wasn’t In spring 2006 staff at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire began showing symptoms of respiratory infection with high fever and nonstop coughing that left them gasping for breath and lasted for weeks. Using the latest PCR techniques, Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s laboratories found 142 cases of pertussis or whooping cough, which causes pneumonia in vulnerable adults and can be deadly for infants. Medical procedures were cancelled, hospital beds were taken out of commission. Nearly 1,000 health care workers were furloughed, 1,445 were treated with antibiotics and 4,524 were vaccinated against whooping cough. Eight months later, when the state health department had completed the standard culture tests, not one single case of whooping cough could be confirmed. It seems Dartmouth-Hitchcock had suffered an outbreak of ordinary respiratory diseases no more serious than the common cold! The following January the New York Times ran the story under the headline “Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t.” “Pseudo-epidemics happen all the time,” said Dr. Trish Perl, past president of the Society of Epidemiologists of America. “It’s a problem; we know it’s a problem. My guess is that what happened at Dartmouth is going to become more common.” “PCR tests are quick and extremely sensitive, but their very sensitivity makes false positives likely” reported the New York Times, “and when hundreds or thousands of people are tested, as occurred at Dartmouth, false positives can make it seem like there is an epidemic.” “To say the episode was disruptive was an understatement,” said Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, deputy epidemiologist for the New Hampshire Department of Health, “I had a feeling at the time that this gave us a shadow of a hint of what it might be like during a pandemic flu epidemic.” Dr. Cathy A. Petti, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah, said the story had one clear lesson. “The big message is that every lab is vulnerable to having false positives. No single test result is absolute and that is even more important with a test result based on PCR.” The Swine Flu Panic of 2009 In the spring of 2009 a 5-year old boy living near an intensive pig farm in Mexico went down with an unknown disease that caused a high fever, sore throat and whole body ache. Several weeks later a lab in Canada tested a nasal swab from the boy and discovered a variant of the flu virus similar to the H1N1 Avian flu virus which they labelled H1N1/09, soon to be known as ‘Swine Flu.’ On 28 April 2009 a biotech company in Colorado announced they had developed the MChip, a version of the FluChip, which enabled PCR tests to distinguish the Swine Flu H1N1/09 virus from other flu types. “Since the FluChip assay can be conducted within a single day,” said InDevR’s leading developer and CEO, Prof Kathy Rowlen, “it could be employed in State Public Health Laboratories to greatly enhance influenza surveillance and our ability to track the virus.” Up until this point the top of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Pandemic Preparedness homepage had carried the statement: “An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.” Less than a week after the MChip announcement, the WHO removed the phrase “enormous numbers of deaths and illness,” to require only that “a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity” before a flu outbreak to be called a ‘pandemic.’ No sooner had the laboratories started PCR testing with MChip than they were finding H1N1/09 everywhere. By the beginning of June almost three-quarters of all influenza cases tested positive for Swine Flu. Mainstream news reported the rise in cases on a daily basis, comparing it with the H1N1 Avian Flu pandemic in 1918 which killed more than 50 million people. What they neglected to mention is that, although they have similar names, Avian Flu H1N1 is very different and much more deadly than Swine Flu H1N1/09 . Even though there had been less than 500 deaths up to this point compared to more than 20,000 deaths in a severe flu epidemic people flocked to health centres demanding to be tested, producing even more positive ‘cases,’  In mid-May senior representatives of all the major pharmaceutical companies met with WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, to discuss delivery of swine flu vaccines. Many contracts had already been signed. Germany had a contract with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to buy 50 million doses at a cost of half a billion Euros which came into effect automatically the moment a pandemic was declared. The UK bought 132 million doses – two for every person in the country. On 11 June 2009 WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, announced: “On the basis of expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met. The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.” On 16 July the Guardian reported that swine flu was spreading fast across much of the UK with 55,000 new cases the previous week in England alone. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, warned that in the worst case scenario 30% of the population could be infected and 65,000 killed. On 20 July a study in The Lancet co-authored by WHO and UK government adviser, Neil Ferguson, recommended closing schools and churches to slow the epidemic, limit stress on the NHS and “give more time for vaccine production.” On the same day WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan announced that “vaccine makers could produce 4.9 billion pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario.” Four days later an official Obama administration spokesman warned that “as many as several hundred thousand could die if a vaccine campaign and other measures aren’t successful.” The warnings had the desired effect. That week UK consultation rates for influenza-like illnesses (ILIs) were at their highest since the last severe flu epidemic in 1999/2000, even though death rates were at a 15-year low. On 29 September 2009 the Pandemrix vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was rushed through European Medicines Agency approval, swiftly followed by Baxter’s Celvapan the following week. On 19 November the WHO announced that 65 million doses of vaccine had been administered worldwide. As the year drew to a close it became increasingly obvious that swine flu was not all it was made out to be. The previous winter (2008/2009) the Office for National Statistics (ONS) had reported 36,700 excess deaths in England and Wales, the highest since the last severe flu outbreak of 1999/2000. Even though the winter of 2009 had been the coldest for 30 years, excess deaths were 30% lower than the previous winter. Whatever swine flu was, it wasn’t as deadly as other flu variants. On 26 January the following year, Wolfgang Wodarg, a German doctor and member of parliament, told the European Council in Strasbourg that the major global pharmaceutical corporations had organised a “campaign of panic” to sell vaccines, putting pressure on the WHO to declare what he called a “false pandemic” in “one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century.” “Millions of people worldwide were vaccinated for no good reason,” said Wodarg, boosting pharmaceutical company profits by more than $18 billion. Annual sales of Tamiflu alone had jumped 435 percent, to €2.2 billion. By April 2010, it was apparent that most of the vaccines were not needed. The US government had bought 229 million doses of which only 91 million doses were used. Of the surplus, some of it was stored in bulk, some of it was sent to developing countries and 71 million doses were destroyed. On 12 March 2010 SPIEGEL International published what it called “Reconstruction of a Mass Hysteria” that ended with a question: “These organizations have gambled away precious confidence. When the next pandemic arrives, who will believe their assessments?” But it didn’t take long to find an answer. In December the Independent published a story with the headline “Swine flu, the killer virus that actually saved lives.” The latest ONS report on excess winter deaths had shown that instead of the extra 65,000 swine flu deaths predicted by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, deaths in the winter of 2009 were actually 30% lower than the previous year. Instead of the low death rate proving that swine flu had been a fake pandemic, confidence in the organisations that had “gambled away precious confidence” was quickly restored by portraying swine flu as something that “actually saved lives” by driving out the common flu. PCR and Law Portraying something as something it isn’t is deception. Doing it for profit is fraud. Doing it by first gaining the trust of the victims is a confidence trick or a con.  In England, Wales and Northern Ireland fraud is covered by the Fraud Act 2006 and is divided into three classes – ‘fraud by false representation,’ ‘fraud by failing to disclose information’ and ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ A representation is false if the person making it knows it may be untrue or misleading. If they do it for amusement, it’s a trick or a hoax. If they do it to make a gain, or expose others to a risk of loss, it’s ‘fraud by false representation.’ If someone has a duty to disclose information and they don’t do it, it might be negligence or simple incompetence. If they do it to make a gain, or expose others to a risk of loss, it’s ‘fraud by failing to disclose information.’ If they occupy a position where they are expected not to act against the interests of others, and do it to make a gain or expose others to a risk of loss, it’s ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ In Dartmouth Hitchcock’s case there’s no doubt that using PCR to identify a common respiratory infection as whooping cough was ‘false representation,’ but it was an honest mistake, made with the best of intentions. If any gain was intended it was to protect others from risk of loss, not to expose them to it. There was no failure to disclose information and nobody abused their position. In the case of swine flu things aren’t so clear. By 2009 there were already plenty of warnings from Dartmouth Hitchcock and many other similar incidents that using PCR to detect the genetic fingerprint of a bacteria or virus may be misleading. Worse still, the potential of PCR to magnify things out of all proportion creates opportunities for all those who would gain by making mountains out of molehills and global pandemics out of relatively ordinary seasonal epidemics. The average journalist, lawyer, member of parliament or member of the public may be forgiven for not knowing about the dangers of PCR, but public health experts had no excuse. It may be argued that their job is to protect the public by erring on the side of caution. It may equally be argued that the massive amounts of money spent by global pharmaceutical corporations on marketing, public relations and lobbying creates enormous conflicts of interest, increasing the potential for suppression of information and abuse of position across all professions, from politics and journalism to education and public health. The defence is full disclosure of all information, particularly on the potential of PCR to identify the wrong culprit in an infection and blow it out of all proportion. The fact this was never done is suspicious. If there were any prosecutions for fraud they weren’t widely publicised, and if there were any questions raised or lessons to be learned about the role of PCR in creating the 2009 Swine Flu panic they were quickly forgotten. The First Rough Draft of History The first rough attempt to represent things in the outside world is journalism. But no representation can be 100% true. ‘Representation’ is literally a re-presentation of something that symbolises or ‘stands in for’ something else. Nothing can fully capture every aspect of a thing except the thing itself. So judging whether a representation is true or false depends on your point of view. It’s a matter of opinion, open to debate in other words. In a free and functioning democracy the first line of defence against false representation is a free and independent press. Where one news organisation may represent something as one thing, a competing organisation may represent it as something completely different. Competing representations are tried in the court of public opinion and evolve by a process of survival of the fittest. Whilst this may be true in theory, in practice it isn’t. Advertising proves people choose the most attractive representations, not the truest. News organisations are funded by financiers who put their own interests first, not the public’s. Whether the intention is to deliberately defraud the public or simply to sell newspapers by creating controversy, the potential for false representations is enormous. Trial By Media Despite the CDC’s own admission that PCR tests “may not indicate the presence of infectious virus,” its use to do exactly that in the case of Covid was accepted without question. Worse still, the measures taken against calling PCR into question have become progressively more draconian and underhanded since the very beginning. The mould was set with the announcement of the first UK death on Saturday 29 February 2020. Every newspaper in Britain carried the same front page story: “EMERGENCY laws to tackle coronavirus are being rushed in after the outbreak claimed its first British life yesterday,” screamed The Daily Mail. The first British victim contracted the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, not Britain, but it didn’t matter. With less than 20 cases in the UK and one ‘British’ death in Japan, the media had already decided it justified rushing in emergency laws. How did they know how dangerous it was? How were they able to predict the future? Had they forgotten the lessons of the 2009 Swine Flu panic? After almost 2 weeks of newspaper, TV and radio fearmongering, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it official at the Downing Street press conference on Thursday 12 March 2020 when he said: “We’ve all got to be clear. This is the worst public health crisis for a generation. Some people compare it to seasonal flu, alas that is not right. Owing to the lack of immunity this disease is more dangerous and it’s going to spread further.” None of that statement stood up to scrutiny, but none of the hand-picked journalists in the room had the right knowledge to ask the right questions. After 20 minutes blinding the press and public with science, Johnson opened the floor to questions. The first question, from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, set the mould by accepting the Prime Minister’s statement without question:  “This is, as you say, the worst public health crisis for a generation.” Any journalist who remembered the 2009 Swine Flu panic, might have asked how the PM knew, after just 10 deaths, that it was the worst public health crisis in a generation? He didn’t say it may be or could be but definitely ‘is.’ Did he have a crystal ball? Or was he following the same Imperial College modelling that had predicted 136,000 deaths from mad cow disease in 2002, 200 million deaths from bird flu in 2005 and 65,000 deaths from swine flu in 2009, all of which had proved completely wrong? As the BBC’s chief political correspondent Kuenssberg wouldn’t be expected to know any more about science, medicine, or PCR than any other member of the general public. So why did the BBC send their chief political correspondent to a press conference on public health and not their chief science or health correspondent? And why did the PM choose her to ask the first question? But the BBC wasn’t alone. Six other correspondents from leading news outlets asked questions that day; all were chief political correspondents, none were science or health correspondents. So none of the journalists allowed to ask questions had the necessary knowledge to subject the PM and his Chief Scientific and Medical Officers to any degree of real scrutiny  With the rise in the number of coronavirus ‘cases’ and ‘deaths’ reported on a daily basis and the Prime Minister’s solemn warning that “many more families, are going to lose loved ones before their time” filling the headlines the following morning, questioning what the numbers actually meant became more and more impossible. If the press and the public had forgotten the 2009 Swine flu panic, and those who helped calm it down had dropped their guard, those whose intention was to make a gain had learned their lesson. Subject the Corona Crisis of 2020 to close scrutiny and it begins to look more like a carefully orchestrated advertising campaign for vaccine manufacturers than a genuine pandemic. But that scrutiny has been made impossible for all kinds of reasons. ‘Follow the money’ was once the epitome of investigative journalism, popularised in the movie of the Watergate scandal, ‘All The President’s Men’ which followed the money all the way to the top. Now following the money is called ‘Conspiracy Theory’ and is a sackable offence in journalism, if not yet in other professions. The idea that there may be real conspiracies to make false representations with the intention of making a gain or exposing others to a risk of loss has now been driven so far beyond the pale it’s literally unthinkable.  If PCR has been tried by media in the court of public opinion, the case for the prosecution was demonised and dismissed at the outset and prohibited by emergency legislation soon after. The Last Best Hope The last line of defence against false representation in both science and the media is the law. It’s no coincidence that Science and Law use similar methods and similar language. The foundations of the Scientific Method were laid by the Head of the Judiciary, the Lord Chancellor of England Sir Francis Bacon, in the Novum Organum, published exactly 400 years ago last year. Both are based on ‘laws,’ both rely on hard physical evidence or ‘facts,’ both explain the facts in terms of ‘theories,’ both test conflicting facts and theories in ‘trials’ and both reach verdicts through juries of peers. In science the peers are selected by the editorial boards of scientific publications. In law they’re selected by judges. In both law and science trials revolve around ‘empirical’ evidence or ‘facts’ – hard physical evidence that can be verified through the act of experiencing with our five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. But facts by themselves are not enough. They only ‘make sense’ when they are selected and organised into some kind of theory, narrative or story through which they can be interpreted and explained. But there’s more than one way to skin a cat, more than one way to interpret the facts and more than one side to every story. To reach a verdict on which one is true, theories have to be weighed against each other rationally to judge the ratios of how closely each interpretation fits the facts. Trial By Law The ability of PCR to detect the genetic fingerprint of a virus is proven beyond reasonable doubt, but its ability to give a true representation of either the cause, severity or prevalence of a disease hasn’t. To say the jury is still out would be an understatement. The jury has yet to be convened and the case yet to be heard. Testing coronavirus particles in a swab is no different to testing apples in a bag. A bag of billiard balls rinsed in apple juice would test positive for apple DNA. Finding apple DNA in a bag doesn’t prove it contains real apples. If the dose makes the poison then it’s the quantity we need to test for, not just its genetic fingerprint. Grocers test the amount of apples in bags by weighing them on scales calibrated against standard weights. If the scales are properly calibrated the bag should weigh the same on any other set of scales. If it doesn’t, local trading standards officers test the grocer’s scales against standard weights and measures. If the scales fail the test the grocer can be prohibited from trading. If it turns out the grocer deliberately left the scales uncalibrated to make a gain they can be prosecuted for ‘false representation’ under section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006. Testing the quantity of viral DNA in a swab, not the quantity of live viruses, is like counting billiard balls rinsed in apple juice as real apples. Worse still, in the absence of standards to calibrate PCR tests against results, tests can show a “million-fold difference in viral load in the same sample.” If a grocer’s scales showed a million-fold difference in the load of apples in the same bag they’d be closed down in an instant. If it can be shown that the grocer knew the weight displayed on the scales may have been untrue or misleading, and they did it to make a gain or expose customers to a loss, it would be an open-and-shut case, done and dusted in minutes. If the law applies to the measurement of the quantity of apples in bags, why not to the measurement of coronavirus in clinical swabs? By the CDC’s own admission, in its instructions for use of PCR tests: Detection of viral RNA may not indicate the presence of infectious virus or that 2019-nCoV is the causative agent for clinical symptoms. From that statement alone it’s clear that PCR tests may give a false representation that is untrue or misleading. If those using PCR tests to represent the number of Covid cases and deaths know it may be misleading and do it to ‘make a gain,’ either monetary or just to advance their own careers, it’s ‘fraud by false representation.’ If they have a duty to disclose information and they don’t do it it’s ‘fraud by failing to disclose information.’ And if they occupy positions where they’re expected not to act against the interests of the public but do it anyway it’s ‘fraud by abuse of position.’ If the law won’t prosecute those in authority for fraud, how else can they be discouraged from doing it? As Dr. Trish Perl said after the Dartmouth Hitchcock incident, “Pseudo-epidemics happen all the time. It’s a problem; we know it’s a problem. My guess is that what happened at Dartmouth is going to become more common.”The potential of PCR to cause problems will only get worse until its validity to diagnose the cause and measure the prevalence of a disease is tested in law. The last word on PCR belongs to its inventor, Kary Mullis: “The measurement for this is not exact at all. It’s not as good as our measurement for things like apples.” Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 7th, 2021

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma"s Political Reach

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma's Political Reach Authored by Rebecca Strong via Medium.com, They keep telling us to “trust the science.” But who paid for it? After graduating from Columbia University with a chemical engineering degree, my grandfather went on to work for Pfizer for almost two decades, culminating his career as the company’s Global Director of New Products. I was rather proud of this fact growing up — it felt as if this father figure, who raised me for several years during my childhood, had somehow played a role in saving lives. But in recent years, my perspective on Pfizer — and other companies in its class — has shifted. Blame it on the insidious big pharma corruption laid bare by whistleblowers in recent years. Blame it on the endless string of big pharma lawsuits revealing fraud, deception, and cover-ups. Blame it on the fact that I witnessed some of their most profitable drugs ruin the lives of those I love most. All I know is, that pride I once felt has been overshadowed by a sticky skepticism I just can’t seem to shake. In 1973, my grandpa and his colleagues celebrated as Pfizer crossed a milestone: the one-billion-dollar sales mark. These days, Pfizer rakes in $81 billion a year, making it the 28th most valuable company in the world. Johnson & Johnson ranks 15th, with $93.77 billion. To put things into perspective, that makes said companies wealthier than most countries in the world. And thanks to those astronomical profit margins, the Pharmaceuticals and Health Products industry is able to spend more on lobbying than any other industry in America. While big pharma lobbying can take several different forms, these companies tend to target their contributions to senior legislators in Congress — you know, the ones they need to keep in their corner, because they have the power to draft healthcare laws. Pfizer has outspent its peers in six of the last eight election cycles, coughing up almost $9.7 million. During the 2016 election, pharmaceutical companies gave more than $7 million to 97 senators at an average of $75,000 per member. They also contributed $6.3 million to president Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. The question is: what did big pharma get in return? When you've got 1,500 Big Pharma lobbyists on Capitol Hill for 535 members of Congress, it's not too hard to figure out why prescription drug prices in this country are, on average, 256% HIGHER than in other major countries. — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 3, 2022 ALEC’s Off-the-Record Sway To truly grasp big pharma’s power, you need to understand how The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) works. ALEC, which was founded in 1973 by conservative activists working on Ronald Reagan’s campaign, is a super secretive pay-to-play operation where corporate lobbyists — including in the pharma sector — hold confidential meetings about “model” bills. A large portion of these bills is eventually approved and become law. A rundown of ALEC’s greatest hits will tell you everything you need to know about the council’s motives and priorities. In 1995, ALEC promoted a bill that restricts consumers’ rights to sue for damages resulting from taking a particular medication. They also endorsed the Statute of Limitation Reduction Act, which put a time limit on when someone could sue after a medication-induced injury or death. Over the years, ALEC has promoted many other pharma-friendly bills that would: weaken FDA oversight of new drugs and therapies, limit FDA authority over drug advertising, and oppose regulations on financial incentives for doctors to prescribe specific drugs. But what makes these ALEC collaborations feel particularly problematic is that there’s little transparency — all of this happens behind closed doors. Congressional leaders and other committee members involved in ALEC aren’t required to publish any records of their meetings and other communications with pharma lobbyists, and the roster of ALEC members is completely confidential. All we know is that in 2020, more than two-thirds of Congress — 72 senators and 302 House of Representatives members — cashed a campaign check from a pharma company. Big Pharma Funding Research The public typically relies on an endorsement from government agencies to help them decide whether or not a new drug, vaccine, or medical device is safe and effective. And those agencies, like the FDA, count on clinical research. As already established, big pharma is notorious for getting its hooks into influential government officials. Here’s another sobering truth: The majority of scientific research is paid for by — wait for it — the pharmaceutical companies. When the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published 73 studies of new drugs over the course of a single year, they found that a staggering 82% of them had been funded by the pharmaceutical company selling the product, 68% had authors who were employees of that company, and 50% had lead researchers who accepted money from a drug company. According to 2013 research conducted at the University of Arizona College of Law, even when pharma companies aren’t directly funding the research, company stockholders, consultants, directors, and officers are almost always involved in conducting them. A 2017 report by the peer-reviewed journal The BMJ also showed that about half of medical journal editors receive payments from drug companies, with the average payment per editor hovering around $28,000. But these statistics are only accurate if researchers and editors are transparent about payments from pharma. And a 2022 investigative analysis of two of the most influential medical journals found that 81% of study authors failed to disclose millions in payments from drug companies, as they’re required to do. Unfortunately, this trend shows no sign of slowing down. The number of clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry has been climbing every year since 2006, according to a John Hopkins University report, while independent studies have been harder to find. And there are some serious consequences to these conflicts of interest. Take Avandia, for instance, a diabetes drug produced by GlaxoSmithCline (GSK). Avandia was eventually linked to a dramatically increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure. And a BMJ report revealed that almost 90% of scientists who initially wrote glowing articles about Avandia had financial ties to GSK. But here’s the unnerving part: if the pharmaceutical industry is successfully biasing the science, then that means the physicians who rely on the science are biased in their prescribing decisions. Photo credit: UN Women Europe & Central Asia Where the lines get really blurry is with “ghostwriting.” Big pharma execs know citizens are way more likely to trust a report written by a board-certified doctor than one of their representatives. That’s why they pay physicians to list their names as authors — even though the MDs had little to no involvement in the research, and the report was actually written by the drug company. This practice started in the ’50s and ’60s when tobacco execs were clamoring to prove that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer (spoiler alert: they do!), so they commissioned doctors to slap their name on papers undermining the risks of smoking. It’s still a pretty common tactic today: more than one in 10 articles published in the NEJM was co-written by a ghostwriter. While a very small percentage of medical journals have clear policies against ghostwriting, it’s still technically legal —despite the fact that the consequences can be deadly. Case in point: in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Merck paid for 73 ghostwritten articles to play up the benefits of its arthritis drug Vioxx. It was later revealed that Merck failed to report all of the heart attacks experienced by trial participants. In fact, a study published in the NEJM revealed that an estimated 160,000 Americans experienced heart attacks or strokes from taking Vioxx. That research was conducted by Dr. David Graham, Associate Director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, who understandably concluded the drug was not safe. But the FDA’s Office of New Drugs, which not only was responsible for initially approving Vioxx but also regulating it, tried to sweep his findings under the rug. "I was pressured to change my conclusions and recommendations, and basically threatened that if I did not change them, I would not be permitted to present the paper at the conference," he wrote in his 2004 U.S. Senate testimony on Vioxx. "One Drug Safety manager recommended that I should be barred from presenting the poster at the meeting." Eventually, the FDA issued a public health advisory about Vioxx and Merck withdrew this product. But it was a little late for repercussions — 38,000 of those Vioxx-takers who suffered heart attacks had already died. Graham called this a “profound regulatory failure,” adding that scientific standards the FDA apply to drug safety “guarantee that unsafe and deadly drugs will remain on the U.S. market.” This should come as no surprise, but research has also repeatedly shown that a paper written by a pharmaceutical company is more likely to emphasize the benefits of a drug, vaccine, or device while downplaying the dangers. (If you want to understand more about this practice, a former ghostwriter outlines all the ethical reasons why she quit this job in a PLOS Medicine report.) While adverse drug effects appear in 95% of clinical research, only 46% of published reports disclose them. Of course, all of this often ends up misleading doctors into thinking a drug is safer than it actually is. Big Pharma Influence On Doctors Pharmaceutical companies aren’t just paying medical journal editors and authors to make their products look good, either. There’s a long, sordid history of pharmaceutical companies incentivizing doctors to prescribe their products through financial rewards. For instance, Pfizer and AstraZeneca doled out a combined $100 million to doctors in 2018, with some earning anywhere from $6 million to $29 million in a year. And research has shown this strategy works: when doctors accept these gifts and payments, they’re significantly more likely to prescribe those companies’ drugs. Novartis comes to mind — the company famously spent over $100 million paying for doctors’ extravagant meals, golf outings, and more, all while also providing a generous kickback program that made them richer every time they prescribed certain blood pressure and diabetes meds. Side note: the Open Payments portal contains a nifty little database where you can find out if any of your own doctors received money from drug companies. Knowing that my mother was put on a laundry list of meds after a near-fatal car accident, I was curious — so I did a quick search for her providers. While her PCP only banked a modest amount from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, her previous psychiatrist — who prescribed a cocktail of contraindicated medications without treating her in person — collected quadruple-digit payments from pharmaceutical companies. And her pain care specialist, who prescribed her jaw-dropping doses of opioid pain medication for more than 20 years (far longer than the 5-day safety guideline), was raking in thousands from Purdue Pharma, AKA the opioid crisis’ kingpin. Purdue is now infamous for its wildly aggressive OxyContin campaign in the ’90s. At the time, the company billed it as a non-addictive wonder drug for pain sufferers. Internal emails show Pursue sales representatives were instructed to “sell, sell, sell” OxyContin, and the more they were able to push, the more they were rewarded with promotions and bonuses. With the stakes so high, these reps stopped at nothing to get doctors on board — even going so far as to send boxes of doughnuts spelling out “OxyContin” to unconvinced physicians. Purdue had stumbled upon the perfect system for generating tons of profit — off of other people’s pain. Documentation later proved that not only was Purdue aware it was highly addictive and that many people were abusing it, but that they also encouraged doctors to continue prescribing increasingly higher doses of it (and sent them on lavish luxury vacations for some motivation). In testimony to Congress, Purdue exec Paul Goldenheim played dumb about OxyContin addiction and overdose rates, but emails that were later exposed showed that he requested his colleagues remove all mentions of addiction from their correspondence about the drug. Even after it was proven in court that Purdue fraudulently marketed OxyContin while concealing its addictive nature, no one from the company spent a single day behind bars. Instead, the company got a slap on the wrist and a $600 million fine for a misdemeanor, the equivalent of a speeding ticket compared to the $9 billion they made off OxyContin up until 2006. Meanwhile, thanks to Purdue’s recklessness, more than 247,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2009. And that’s not even factoring in all the people who died of heroin overdoses once OxyContin was no longer attainable to them. The NIH reports that 80% of people who use heroin started by misusing prescription opioids. Former sales rep Carol Panara told me in an interview that when she looks back on her time at Purdue, it all feels like a “bad dream.” Panara started working for Purdue in 2008, one year after the company pled guilty to “misbranding” charges for OxyContin. At this point, Purdue was “regrouping and expanding,” says Panara, and to that end, had developed a clever new approach for making money off OxyContin: sales reps were now targeting general practitioners and family doctors, rather than just pain management specialists. On top of that, Purdue soon introduced three new strengths for OxyContin: 15, 30, and 60 milligrams, creating smaller increments Panara believes were aimed at making doctors feel more comfortable increasing their patients’ dosages. According to Panara, there were internal company rankings for sales reps based on the number of prescriptions for each OxyContin dosing strength in their territory. “They were sneaky about it,” she said. “Their plan was to go in and sell these doctors on the idea of starting with 10 milligrams, which is very low, knowing full well that once they get started down that path — that’s all they need. Because eventually, they’re going to build a tolerance and need a higher dose.” Occasionally, doctors expressed concerns about a patient becoming addicted, but Purdue had already developed a way around that. Sales reps like Panara were taught to reassure those doctors that someone in pain might experience addiction-like symptoms called “pseudoaddiction,” but that didn’t mean they were truly addicted. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support that this concept is legit, of course. But the most disturbing part? Reps were trained to tell doctors that “pseudoaddiction” signaled the patient’s pain wasn’t being managed well enough, and the solution was simply to prescribe a higher dose of OxyContin. Panara finally quit Purdue in 2013. One of the breaking points was when two pharmacies in her territory were robbed at gunpoint specifically for OxyContin. In 2020, Purdue pled guilty to three criminal charges in an $8.3 billion deal, but the company is now under court protection after filing for bankruptcy. Despite all the damage that’s been done, the FDA’s policies for approving opioids remain essentially unchanged. Photo credit: Jennifer Durban Purdue probably wouldn’t have been able to pull this off if it weren’t for an FDA examiner named Curtis Wright, and his assistant Douglas Kramer. While Purdue was pursuing Wright’s stamp of approval on OxyContin, Wright took an outright sketchy approach to their application, instructing the company to mail documents to his home office rather than the FDA, and enlisting Purdue employees to help him review trials about the safety of the drug. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that the FDA have access to at least two randomized controlled trials before deeming a drug as safe and effective, but in the case of OxyContin, it got approved with data from just one measly two-week study — in osteoarthritis patients, no less. When both Wright and Kramer left the FDA, they went on to work for none other than (drumroll, please) Purdue, with Wright earning three times his FDA salary. By the way — this is just one example of the FDA’s notoriously incestuous relationship with big pharma, often referred to as “the revolving door”. In fact, a 2018 Science report revealed that 11 out of 16 FDA reviewers ended up at the same companies they had been regulating products for. While doing an independent investigation, “Empire of Pain” author and New Yorker columnist Patrick Radden Keefe tried to gain access to documentation of Wright’s communications with Purdue during the OxyContin approval process. “The FDA came back and said, ‘Oh, it’s the weirdest thing, but we don’t have anything. It’s all either been lost or destroyed,’” Keefe told Fortune in an interview. “But it’s not just the FDA. It’s Congress, it’s the Department of Justice, it’s big parts of the medical establishment … the sheer amount of money involved, I think, has meant that a lot of the checks that should be in place in society to not just achieve justice, but also to protect us as consumers, were not there because they had been co-opted.” Big pharma may be to blame for creating the opioids that caused this public health catastrophe, but the FDA deserves just as much scrutiny — because its countless failures also played a part in enabling it. And many of those more recent fails happened under the supervision of Dr. Janet Woodcock. Woodcock was named FDA’s acting commissioner mere hours after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president. She would have been a logical choice, being an FDA vet of 35 years, but then again it’s impossible to forget that she played a starring role in the FDA’s perpetuating the opioid epidemic. She’s also known for overruling her own scientific advisors when they vote against approving a drug. Not only did Woodcock approve OxyContin for children as young as 11 years old, but she also gave the green light to several other highly controversial extended-release opioid pain drugs without sufficient evidence of safety or efficacy. One of those was Zohydro: in 2011, the FDA’s advisory committee voted 11:2 against approving it due to safety concerns about inappropriate use, but Woodcock went ahead and pushed it through, anyway. Under Woodcock’s supervision, the FDA also approved Opana, which is twice as powerful as OxyContin — only to then beg the drug maker to take it off the market 10 years later due to “abuse and manipulation.” And then there was Dsuvia, a potent painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine and 10 times more powerful than fentanyl. According to a head of one of the FDA’s advisory committees, the U.S. military had helped to develop this particular drug, and Woodcock said there was “pressure from the Pentagon” to push it through approvals. The FBI, members of congress, public health advocates, and patient safety experts alike called this decision into question, pointing out that with hundreds of opioids already on the market there’s no need for another — particularly one that comes with such high risks. Most recently, Woodcock served as the therapeutics lead for Operation Warp Speed, overseeing COVID-19 vaccine development. Big Pharma Lawsuits, Scandals, and Cover-Ups While the OxyContin craze is undoubtedly one of the highest-profile examples of big pharma’s deception, there are dozens of other stories like this. Here are a few standouts: In the 1980s, Bayer continued selling blood clotting products to third-world countries even though they were fully aware those products had been contaminated with HIV. The reason? The “financial investment in the product was considered too high to destroy the inventory.” Predictably, about 20,000 of the hemophiliacs who were infused with these tainted products then tested positive for HIV and eventually developed AIDS, and many later died of it. In 2004, Johnson & Johnson was slapped with a series of lawsuits for illegally promoting off-label use of their heartburn drug Propulsid for children despite internal company emails confirming major safety concerns (as in, deaths during the drug trials). Documentation from the lawsuits showed that dozens of studies sponsored by Johnson & Johnson highlighting the risks of this drug were never published. The FDA estimates that GSK’s Avandia caused 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007. Internal documents from GSK prove that when they began studying the effects of the drug as early as 1999, they discovered it caused a higher risk of heart attacks than a similar drug it was meant to replace. Rather than publish these findings, they spent a decade illegally concealing them (and meanwhile, banking $3.2 billion annually for this drug by 2006). Finally, a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study linked Avandia to a 43% increased risk of heart attacks, and a 64% increased risk of death from heart disease. Avandia is still FDA approved and available in the U.S. In 2009, Pfizer was forced to pay $2.3 billion, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in history at that time, for paying illegal kickbacks to doctors and promoting off-label uses of its drugs. Specifically, a former employee revealed that Pfizer reps were encouraged and incentivized to sell Bextra and 12 other drugs for conditions they were never FDA approved for, and at doses up to eight times what’s recommended. “I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives,” the whistleblower said. When it was discovered that AstraZeneca was promoting the antipsychotic medication Seroquel for uses that were not approved by the FDA as safe and effective, the company was hit with a $520 million fine in 2010. For years, AstraZeneca had been encouraging psychiatrists and other physicians to prescribe Seroquel for a vast range of seemingly unrelated off-label conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, anger management, ADHD, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleeplessness. AstraZeneca also violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute by paying doctors to spread the word about these unapproved uses of Seroquel via promotional lectures and while traveling to resort locations. In 2012, GSK paid a $3 billion fine for bribing doctors by flying them and their spouses to five-star resorts, and for illegally promoting drugs for off-label uses. What’s worse — GSK withheld clinical trial results that showed its antidepressant Paxil not only doesn’t work for adolescents and children but more alarmingly, that it can increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts in this group. A 1998 GSK internal memo revealed that the company intentionally concealed this data to minimize any “potential negative commercial impact.” In 2021, an ex-AstraZeneca sales rep sued her former employer, claiming they fired her for refusing to promote drugs for uses that weren’t FDA-approved. The employee alleges that on multiple occasions, she expressed concerns to her boss about “misleading” information that didn’t have enough support from medical research, and off-label promotions of certain drugs. Her supervisor reportedly not only ignored these concerns but pressured her to approve statements she didn’t agree with and threatened to remove her from regional and national positions if she didn’t comply. According to the plaintiff, she missed out on a raise and a bonus because she refused to break the law. At the top of 2022, a panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, and GE Healthcare, which claims they helped finance terrorist attacks against U.S. service members and other Americans in Iraq. The suit alleges that from 2005–2011, these companies regularly offered bribes (including free drugs and medical devices) totaling millions of dollars annually to Iraq’s Ministry of Health in order to secure drug contracts. These corrupt payments then allegedly funded weapons and training for the Mahdi Army, which until 2008, was largely considered one of the most dangerous groups in Iraq. Another especially worrisome factor is that pharmaceutical companies are conducting an ever-increasing number of clinical trials in third-world countries, where people may be less educated, and there are also far fewer safety regulations. Pfizer’s 1996 experimental trials with Trovan on Nigerian children with meningitis — without informed consent — is just one nauseating example. When a former medical director in Pfizer’s central research division warned the company both before and after the study that their methods in this trial were “improper and unsafe,” he was promptly fired. Families of the Nigerian children who died or were left blind, brain damaged, or paralyzed after the study sued Pfizer, and the company ultimately settled out of court. In 1998, the FDA approved Trovan only for adults. The drug was later banned from European markets due to reports of fatal liver disease and restricted to strictly emergency care in the U.S. Pfizer still denies any wrongdoing. “Nurse prepares to vaccinate children” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 But all that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to dive a little further down the rabbit hole — and I’ll warn you, it’s a deep one — a quick Google search for “big pharma lawsuits” will reveal the industry’s dark track record of bribery, dishonesty, and fraud. In fact, big pharma happens to be the biggest defrauder of the federal government when it comes to the False Claims Act, otherwise known as the “Lincoln Law.” During our interview, Panara told me she has friends still working for big pharma who would be willing to speak out about crooked activity they’ve observed, but are too afraid of being blacklisted by the industry. A newly proposed update to the False Claims Act would help to protect and support whistleblowers in their efforts to hold pharmaceutical companies liable, by helping to prevent that kind of retaliation and making it harder for the companies charged to dismiss these cases. It should come as no surprise that Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and a flock of other big pharma firms are currently lobbying to block the update. Naturally, they wouldn’t want to make it any easier for ex-employees to expose their wrongdoings, potentially costing them billions more in fines. Something to keep in mind: these are the same people who produced, marketed, and are profiting from the COVID-19 vaccines. The same people who manipulate research, pay off decision-makers to push their drugs, cover up negative research results to avoid financial losses, and knowingly put innocent citizens in harm’s way. The same people who told America: “Take as much OxyContin as you want around the clock! It’s very safe and not addictive!” (while laughing all the way to the bank). So, ask yourself this: if a partner, friend, or family member repeatedly lied to you — and not just little white lies, but big ones that put your health and safety at risk — would you continue to trust them? Backing the Big Four: Big Pharma and the FDA, WHO, NIH, CDC I know what you’re thinking. Big pharma is amoral and the FDA’s devastating slips are a dime a dozen — old news. But what about agencies and organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)? Don’t they have an obligation to provide unbiased guidance to protect citizens? Don’t worry, I’m getting there. The WHO’s guidance is undeniably influential across the globe. For most of this organization’s history, dating back to 1948, it could not receive donations from pharmaceutical companies — only member states. But that changed in 2005 when the WHO updated its financial policy to permit private money into its system. Since then, the WHO has accepted many financial contributions from big pharma. In fact, it’s only 20% financed by member states today, with a whopping 80% of financing coming from private donors. For instance, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is now one of its main contributors, providing up to 13% of its funds — about $250–300 million a year. Nowadays, the BMGF provides more donations to the WHO than the entire United States. Dr. Arata Kochi, former head of WHO’s malaria program, expressed concerns to director-general Dr. Margaret Chan in 2007 that taking the BMGF’s money could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences” including “stifling a diversity of views among scientists.” “The big concerns are that the Gates Foundation isn’t fully transparent and accountable,” Lawrence Gostin, director of WHO’s Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, told Devex in an interview. “By wielding such influence, it could steer WHO priorities … It would enable a single rich philanthropist to set the global health agenda.” Photo credit: National Institutes of Health Take a peek at the WHO’s list of donors and you’ll find a few other familiar names like AstraZeneca, Bayer, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck. The NIH has the same problem, it seems. Science journalist Paul Thacker, who previously examined financial links between physicians and pharma companies as a lead investigator of the United States Senate Committee, wrote in The Washington Post that this agency “often ignored” very “obvious” conflicts of interest. He also claimed that “its industry ties go back decades.” In 2018, it was discovered that a $100 million alcohol consumption study run by NIH scientists was funded mostly by beer and liquor companies. Emails proved that NIH researchers were in frequent contact with those companies while designing the study — which, here’s a shocker — were aimed at highlighting the benefits and not the risks of moderate drinking. So, the NIH ultimately had to squash the trial. And then there’s the CDC. It used to be that this agency couldn’t take contributions from pharmaceutical companies, but in 1992 they found a loophole: new legislation passed by Congress allowed them to accept private funding through a nonprofit called the CDC Foundation. From 2014 through 2018 alone, the CDC Foundation received $79.6 million from corporations like Pfizer, Biogen, and Merck. Of course, if a pharmaceutical company wants to get a drug, vaccine, or other product approved, they really need to cozy up to the FDA. That explains why in 2017, pharma companies paid for a whopping 75% of the FDA’s scientific review budgets, up from 27% in 1993. It wasn’t always like this. But in 1992, an act of Congress changed the FDA’s funding stream, enlisting pharma companies to pay “user fees,” which help the FDA speed up the approval process for their drugs. A 2018 Science investigation found that 40 out of 107 physician advisors on the FDA’s committees received more than $10,000 from big pharma companies trying to get their drugs approved, with some banking up to $1 million or more. The FDA claims it has a well-functioning system to identify and prevent these possible conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, their system only works for spotting payments before advisory panels meet, and the Science investigation showed many FDA panel members get their payments after the fact. It’s a little like “you scratch my back now, and I’ll scratch your back once I get what I want” — drug companies promise FDA employees a future bonus contingent on whether things go their way. Here’s why this dynamic proves problematic: a 2000 investigation revealed that when the FDA approved the rotavirus vaccine in 1998, it didn’t exactly do its due diligence. That probably had something to do with the fact that committee members had financial ties to the manufacturer, Merck — many owned tens of thousands of dollars of stock in the company, or even held patents on the vaccine itself. Later, the Adverse Event Reporting System revealed that the vaccine was causing serious bowel obstructions in some children, and it was finally pulled from the U.S. market in October 1999. Then, in June of 2021, the FDA overruled concerns raised by its very own scientific advisory committee to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm — a move widely criticized by physicians. The drug not only showed very little efficacy but also potentially serious side effects like brain bleeding and swelling, in clinical trials. Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a Harvard Medical School professor who was on the FDA’s scientific advisory committee, called it the “worst drug approval” in recent history, and noted that meetings between the FDA and Biogen had a “strange dynamic” suggesting an unusually close relationship. Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told CNN that he believes the FDA started working in “inappropriately close collaboration with Biogen” back in 2019. “They were not objective, unbiased regulators,” he added in the CNN interview. “It seems as if the decision was preordained.” That brings me to perhaps the biggest conflict of interest yet: Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID is just one of many institutes that comprises the NIH — and the NIH owns half the patent for the Moderna vaccine — as well as thousands more pharma patents to boot. The NIAID is poised to earn millions of dollars from Moderna’s vaccine revenue, with individual officials also receiving up to $150,000 annually. Operation Warp Speed In December of 2020, Pfizer became the first company to receive an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for a COVID-19 vaccine. EUAs — which allow the distribution of an unapproved drug or other product during a declared public health emergency — are actually a pretty new thing: the first one was issued in 2005 so military personnel could get an anthrax vaccine. To get a full FDA approval, there needs to be substantial evidence that the product is safe and effective. But for an EUA, the FDA just needs to determine that it may be effective. Since EUAs are granted so quickly, the FDA doesn’t have enough time to gather all the information they’d usually need to approve a drug or vaccine. “Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Event” by The White House is licensed under CC PDM 1.0 Pfizer CEO and chairman Albert Bourla has said his company was “operating at the speed of science” to bring a vaccine to market. However, a 2021 report in The BMJ revealed that this speed might have come at the expense of “data integrity and patient safety.” Brook Jackson, regional director for the Ventavia Research Group, which carried out these trials, told The BMJ that her former company “falsified data, unblinded patients, and employed inadequately trained vaccinators” in Pfizer’s pivotal phase 3 trial. Just some of the other concerning events witnessed included: adverse events not being reported correctly or at all, lack of reporting on protocol deviations, informed consent errors, and mislabeling of lab specimens. An audio recording of Ventavia employees from September 2020 revealed that they were so overwhelmed by issues arising during the study that they became unable to “quantify the types and number of errors” when assessing quality control. One Ventavia employee told The BMJ she’d never once seen a research environment as disorderly as Ventavia’s Pfizer vaccine trial, while another called it a “crazy mess.” Over the course of her two-decades-long career, Jackson has worked on hundreds of clinical trials, and two of her areas of expertise happen to be immunology and infectious diseases. She told me that from her first day on the Pfizer trial in September of 2020, she discovered “such egregious misconduct” that she recommended they stop enrolling participants into the study to do an internal audit. “To my complete shock and horror, Ventavia agreed to pause enrollment but then devised a plan to conceal what I found and to keep ICON and Pfizer in the dark,” Jackson said during our interview. “The site was in full clean-up mode. When missing data points were discovered the information was fabricated, including forged signatures on the informed consent forms.” A screenshot Jackson shared with me shows she was invited to a meeting titled “COVID 1001 Clean up Call” on Sept. 21, 2020. She refused to participate in the call. Jackson repeatedly warned her superiors about patient safety concerns and data integrity issues. “I knew that the entire world was counting on clinical researchers to develop a safe and effective vaccine and I did not want to be a part of that failure by not reporting what I saw,” she told me. When her employer failed to act, Jackson filed a complaint with the FDA on Sept. 25, and Ventavia fired her hours later that same day under the pretense that she was “not a good fit.” After reviewing her concerns over the phone, she claims the FDA never followed up or inspected the Ventavia site. Ten weeks later, the FDA authorized the EUA for the vaccine. Meanwhile, Pfizer hired Ventavia to handle the research for four more vaccine clinical trials, including one involving children and young adults, one for pregnant women, and another for the booster. Not only that, but Ventavia handled the clinical trials for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. Jackson is currently pursuing a False Claims Act lawsuit against Pfizer and Ventavia Research Group. Last year, Pfizer banked nearly $37 billion from its COVID vaccine, making it one of the most lucrative products in global history. Its overall revenues doubled in 2021 to reach $81.3 billion, and it’s slated to reach a record-breaking $98-$102 billion this year. “Corporations like Pfizer should never have been put in charge of a global vaccination rollout, because it was inevitable they would make life-and-death decisions based on what’s in the short-term interest of their shareholders,” writes Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. As previously mentioned, it’s super common for pharmaceutical companies to fund the research on their own products. Here’s why that’s scary. One 1999 meta-analysis showed that industry-funded research is eight times less likely to achieve unfavorable results compared to independent trials. In other words, if a pharmaceutical company wants to prove that a medication, supplement, vaccine, or device is safe and effective, they’ll find a way. With that in mind, I recently examined the 2020 study on Pfizer’s COVID vaccine to see if there were any conflicts of interest. Lo and behold, the lengthy attached disclosure form shows that of the 29 authors, 18 are employees of Pfizer and hold stock in the company, one received a research grant from Pfizer during the study, and two reported being paid “personal fees” by Pfizer. In another 2021 study on the Pfizer vaccine, seven of the 15 authors are employees of and hold stock in Pfizer. The other eight authors received financial support from Pfizer during the study. Photo credit: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) via Unsplash As of the day I’m writing this, about 64% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 76% have gotten at least one dose. The FDA has repeatedly promised “full transparency” when it comes to these vaccines. Yet in December of 2021, the FDA asked for permission to wait 75 years before releasing information pertaining to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, including safety data, effectiveness data, and adverse reaction reports. That means no one would see this information until the year 2096 — conveniently, after many of us have departed this crazy world. To recap: the FDA only needed 10 weeks to review the 329,000 pages worth of data before approving the EUA for the vaccine — but apparently, they need three-quarters of a century to publicize it. In response to the FDA’s ludicrous request, PHMPT — a group of over 200 medical and public health experts from Harvard, Yale, Brown, UCLA, and other institutions — filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act demanding that the FDA produce this data sooner. And their efforts paid off: U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman issued an order for the FDA to produce 12,000 pages by Jan. 31, and then at least 55,000 pages per month thereafter. In his statement to the FDA, Pittman quoted the late John F. Kennedy: “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” As for why the FDA wanted to keep this data hidden, the first batch of documentation revealed that there were more than 1,200 vaccine-related deaths in just the first 90 days after the Pfizer vaccine was introduced. Of 32 pregnancies with a known outcome, 28 resulted in fetal death. The CDC also recently unveiled data showing a total of 1,088,560 reports of adverse events from COVID vaccines were submitted between Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. 28, 2022. That data included 23,149 reports of deaths and 183,311 reports of serious injuries. There were 4,993 reported adverse events in pregnant women after getting vaccinated, including 1,597 reports of miscarriage or premature birth. A 2022 study published in JAMA, meanwhile, revealed that there have been more than 1,900 reported cases of myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart muscle — mostly in people 30 and under, within 7 days of getting the vaccine. In those cases, 96% of people were hospitalized. “It is understandable that the FDA does not want independent scientists to review the documents it relied upon to license Pfizer’s vaccine given that it is not as effective as the FDA originally claimed, does not prevent transmission, does not prevent against certain emerging variants, can cause serious heart inflammation in younger individuals, and has numerous other undisputed safety issues,” writes Aaron Siri, the attorney representing PHMPT in its lawsuit against the FDA. Siri told me in an email that his office phone has been ringing off the hook in recent months. “We are overwhelmed by inquiries from individuals calling about an injury from a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. By the way — it’s worth noting that adverse effects caused by COVID-19 vaccinations are still not covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Companies like Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are protected under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which grants them total immunity from liability with their vaccines. And no matter what happens to you, you can’t sue the FDA for authorizing the EUA, or your employer for requiring you to get it, either. Billions of taxpayer dollars went to fund the research and development of these vaccines, and in Moderna’s case, licensing its vaccine was made possible entirely by public funds. But apparently, that still warrants citizens no insurance. Should something go wrong, you’re basically on your own. Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine business model: government gives them billions, gives them immunity for any injuries or if doesn't work, promotes their products for free, and mandates their products. Sounds crazy? Yes, but it is our current reality. — Aaron Siri (@AaronSiriSG) February 2, 2022 The Hypocrisy of “Misinformation” I find it interesting that “misinformation” has become such a pervasive term lately, but more alarmingly, that it’s become an excuse for blatant censorship on social media and in journalism. It’s impossible not to wonder what’s driving this movement to control the narrative. In a world where we still very clearly don’t have all the answers, why shouldn’t we be open to exploring all the possibilities? And while we’re on the subject, what about all of the COVID-related untruths that have been spread by our leaders and officials? Why should they get a free pass? Photo credit: @upgradeur_life, www.instagram.com/upgradeur_life Fauci, President Biden, and the CDC’s Rochelle Walensky all promised us with total confidence the vaccine would prevent us from getting or spreading COVID, something we now know is a myth. (In fact, the CDC recently had to change its very definition of “vaccine ” to promise “protection” from a disease rather than “immunity”— an important distinction). At one point, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) and former Governor Andrew Cuomo prepared a social media campaign with misleading messaging that the vaccine was “approved by the FDA” and “went through the same rigorous approval process that all vaccines go through,” when in reality the FDA only authorized the vaccines under an EUA, and the vaccines were still undergoing clinical trials. While the NYS DOH eventually responded to pressures to remove these false claims, a few weeks later the Department posted on Facebook that “no serious side effects related to the vaccines have been reported,” when in actuality, roughly 16,000 reports of adverse events and over 3,000 reports of serious adverse events related to a COVID-19 vaccination had been reported in the first two months of use. One would think we’d hold the people in power to the same level of accountability — if not more — than an average citizen. So, in the interest of avoiding hypocrisy, should we “cancel” all these experts and leaders for their “misinformation,” too? Vaccine-hesitant people have been fired from their jobs, refused from restaurants, denied the right to travel and see their families, banned from social media channels, and blatantly shamed and villainized in the media. Some have even lost custody of their children. These people are frequently labeled “anti-vax,” which is misleading given that many (like the NBA’s Jonathan Isaac) have made it repeatedly clear they are not against all vaccines, but simply making a personal choice not to get this one. (As such, I’ll suggest switching to a more accurate label: “pro-choice.”) Fauci has repeatedly said federally mandating the vaccine would not be “appropriate” or “enforceable” and doing so would be “encroaching upon a person’s freedom to make their own choice.” So it’s remarkable that still, some individual employers and U.S. states, like my beloved Massachusetts, have taken it upon themselves to enforce some of these mandates, anyway. Meanwhile, a Feb. 7 bulletin posted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicates that if you spread information that undermines public trust in a government institution (like the CDC or FDA), you could be considered a terrorist. In case you were wondering about the current state of free speech. The definition of institutional oppression is “the systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group.” It is defined as occurring when established laws and practices “systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups.” Sound familiar? As you continue to watch the persecution of the unvaccinated unfold, remember this. Historically, when society has oppressed a particular group of people whether due to their gender, race, social class, religious beliefs, or sexuality, it’s always been because they pose some kind of threat to the status quo. The same is true for today’s unvaccinated. Since we know the vaccine doesn’t prevent the spread of COVID, however, this much is clear: the unvaccinated don’t pose a threat to the health and safety of their fellow citizens — but rather, to the bottom line of powerful pharmaceutical giants and the many global organizations they finance. And with more than $100 billion on the line in 2021 alone, I can understand the motivation to silence them. The unvaccinated have been called selfish. Stupid. Fauci has said it’s “almost inexplicable” that they are still resisting. But is it? What if these people aren’t crazy or uncaring, but rather have — unsurprisingly so — lost their faith in the agencies that are supposed to protect them? Can you blame them? Citizens are being bullied into getting a vaccine that was created, evaluated, and authorized in under a year, with no access to the bulk of the safety data for said vaccine, and no rights whatsoever to pursue legal action if they experience adverse effects from it. What these people need right now is to know they can depend on their fellow citizens to respect their choices, not fuel the segregation by launching a full-fledged witch hunt. Instead, for some inexplicable reason I imagine stems from fear, many continue rallying around big pharma rather than each other. A 2022 Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports survey of Democratic voters found that 59% of respondents support a government policy requiring unvaccinated individuals to remain confined in their home at all times, 55% support handing a fine to anyone who won’t get the vaccine, and 48% think the government should flat out imprison people who publicly question the efficacy of the vaccines on social media, TV, or online in digital publications. Even Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up. Photo credit: DJ Paine on Unsplash Let me be very clear. While there are a lot of bad actors out there — there are also a lot of well-meaning people in the science and medical industries, too. I’m lucky enough to know some of them. There are doctors who fend off pharma reps’ influence and take an extremely cautious approach to prescribing. Medical journal authors who fiercely pursue transparency and truth — as is evident in “The Influence of Money on Medical Science,” a report by the first female editor of JAMA. Pharmacists, like Dan Schneider, who refuse to fill prescriptions they deem risky or irresponsible. Whistleblowers, like Graham and Jackson, who tenaciously call attention to safety issues for pharma products in the approval pipeline. And I’m certain there are many people in the pharmaceutical industry, like Panara and my grandfather, who pursued this field with the goal of helping others, not just earning a six- or seven-figure salary. We need more of these people. Sadly, it seems they are outliers who exist in a corrupt, deep-rooted system of quid-pro-quo relationships. They can only do so much. I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should get the vaccine or booster doses. What you put in your body is not for me — or anyone else — to decide. It’s not a simple choice, but rather one that may depend on your physical condition, medical history, age, religious beliefs, and level of risk tolerance. My grandfather passed away in 2008, and lately, I find myself missing him more than ever, wishing I could talk to him about the pandemic and hear what he makes of all this madness. I don’t really know how he’d feel about the COVID vaccine, or whether he would have gotten it or encouraged me to. What I do know is that he’d listen to my concerns, and he’d carefully consider them. He would remind me my feelings are valid. His eyes would light up and he’d grin with amusement as I fervidly expressed my frustration. He’d tell me to keep pushing forward, digging deeper, asking questions. In his endearing Bronx accent, he used to always say: “go get ‘em, kid.” If I stop typing for a moment and listen hard enough, I can almost hear him saying it now. People keep saying “trust the science.” But when trust is broken, it must be earned back. And as long as our legislative system, public health agencies, physicians, and research journals keep accepting pharmaceutical money (with strings attached) — and our justice system keeps letting these companies off the hook when their negligence causes harm, there’s no reason for big pharma to change. They’re holding the bag, and money is power. I have a dream that one day, we’ll live in a world where we are armed with all the thorough, unbiased data necessary to make informed decisions about our health. Alas, we’re not even close. What that means is that it’s up to you to educate yourself as much as possible, and remain ever-vigilant in evaluating information before forming an opinion. You can start by reading clinical trials yourself, rather than relying on the media to translate them for you. Scroll to the bottom of every single study to the “conflicts of interest” section and find out who funded it. Look at how many subjects were involved. Confirm whether or not blinding was used to eliminate bias. You may also choose to follow Public Citizen’s Health Research Group’s rule whenever possible: that means avoiding a new drug until five years after an FDA approval (not an EUA, an actual approval) — when there’s enough data on the long-term safety and effectiveness to establish that the benefits outweigh the risks. When it comes to the news, you can seek out independent, nonprofit outlets, which are less likely to be biased due to pharma funding. And most importantly, when it appears an organization is making concerted efforts to conceal information from you — like the FDA recently did with the COVID vaccine — it’s time to ask yourself: why? What are they trying to hide? In the 2019 film “Dark Waters” — which is based on the true story of one of the greatest corporate cover-ups in American history — Mark Ruffalo as attorney Rob Bilott says: “The system is rigged. They want us to think it’ll protect us, but that’s a lie. We protect us. We do. Nobody else. Not the companies. Not the scientists. Not the government. Us.” Words to live by. Tyler Durden Sat, 04/09/2022 - 22:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

Dr. Oz is running for US Senate in Pennsylvania. Here are 8 times he"s made false or baseless medical claims.

Dr. Oz has an Ivy-League medical degree, the trust of President Donald Trump, and a history of supporting misleading or downright false claims. Dr. Mehmet Oz attends a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey, July 2, 2019.Onur Coban/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Dr. Mehmet Oz, one of the US' best-known celebrity doctors, is running for US Senate in Pennsylvania.  But his health recommendations are not always supported by scientific evidence. Here are eight times Oz made false, baseless, or misleading scientific claims. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Among Dr. Mehmet Oz's achievements are ten Emmy awards, a syndicated television show, an Ivy-League medical degree, and a rapport with Donald Trump, who appeared on his show in 2016.Oz, like Trump, is seeking to follow his success on television with a career in Washington, D.C. The celebrity doctor announced on Tuesday that he's running for US Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican for the open seat currently held by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, who is retiring in 2022. Oz also served on the President's Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition under the Trump administration and was been thrust into the spotlight once again during the COVID-19 pandemic, appearing frequently on programs like "Fox and Friends," one of Trump's favorite shows.Though Oz has received some plaudits, he's also garnered plenty of controversy in the medical community for pushing unproven medical treatments and diets.In a 2015 letter to Columbia University, where Oz is a professor, 10 doctors said he promoted "quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain." A 2014 study in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal found that of 40 randomly selected episodes from Oz's television show, his health recommendations were based on evidence just 46% of the time. Here are eight times Oz made misleading or downright false scientific claims.A representative for Oz didn't immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.Oz pushed hydroxychloroquine to fight the coronavirus, even though its effects were still unproven.Oz visits "Outnumbered Overtime with Harris Faulkner" at Fox News Channel Studios in New York City, New York, on March 9, 2020.Roy Rochlin/Getty ImagesIn April 2020, Oz told "Fox and Friends" that hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, could be an effective treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Trump is a fan of the drug, calling it "the biggest game-changer in the history of medicine.""There's no question it's not proven to be beneficial in the large clinical trials we expect in America, and certainly the FDA and medical societies would desire," he said. "But these have been supported with case studies."Oz cited one French doctor's research on the drug, which found that of 24 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine, 75% were no longer sick after six days.The French doctor's research was not a peer-reviewed study published in an academic journal. He released the results on YouTube.According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States' top infectious disease expert, there is nothing but anecdotal evidence that the drug works against the coronavirus, Axios reported.At the time, experts were wary of the limited studies that have already been published about the effects of hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19, since they have shown mixed results, and the drug can also cause eye and heart damage.Oz repeatedly claimed that raspberry ketones are 'the No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat.'Oz walks the runway at The Blue Jacket Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week, February 5, 2020, in New York City.Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Blue Jacket Fashion ShowIn a February 2012 episode of his show, Oz touted raspberry ketones, the compound that gives the fruit their smell, as "the No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat." One study typically used to justify raspberry ketones as a weight-loss supplement tested eight substances at once, making it "impossible to tell which substances actually contributed to the extra fat loss, and which did nothing," according to the Public Affairs Council, a consumer-awareness resource.Another test, conducted on rats, found evidence supporting the compound. But the results of a test on laboratory rodents will not necessarily be the same for those done on humans, Melinda Manore, then-professor of nutrition at Oregon State University, told the Los Angeles Times.   "Rats are not humans," the Public Affairs Council said in a statement. "There is a total lack of research on raspberry ketones' effects on fat loss."Oz has said astrological signs "may reveal a great deal about our health."Oz attends the 2019 Forbes Healthcare Summit at the Jazz at Lincoln Center on December 5 in New York City.Steven Ferdman/Getty ImagesIn a now-deleted tweet, Oz said astrology could help people understand their personal health."For centuries, we have used astrological signs to examine our personality and how we interact with those around us," he said. "However, these signs may reveal a great deal about our health as well."Astrology is a pseudoscience, and scientists consider the link between it and medicine to be a relic of the time before the scientific revolution.Oz told viewers that green coffee extract "has scientists saying they've found the magic weight-loss cure."Oz testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 17, 2014.Associated PressDuring an episode of his television show in 2012, Oz suggested that viewers partake in magic beans."You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they've found the magic weight-loss cure for every body type: It's green coffee extract," he said.But green coffee extract is not a "magic" cure. It's not a cure at all, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which brought a lawsuit against a Texas-based company that used a "hopelessly flawed" study to support its weight-loss claims about the coffee extract. That study was later cited by Oz on his television show."The Dr. Oz Show has since removed nearly any hint of support for Green Coffee Extract from its website," according to Popular Science, "including the full episode devoted to its benefits and Oz's own study of its effects."The company behind the study agreed in 2014 to pay the FTC $3.5 million and ensure scientific substantiation for any future weight-loss claims it makes.That same year, Oz testified before the Congressional Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance about his advertisement of weight-loss products like the coffee extract."The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called 'miracles,'" former Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the subcommittee at the time and a Missouri Democrat, told him.Oz said most countries require genetically-modified foods to have special labels.Oz attends The Hollywood Reporter's Most Powerful People In Media 2018, April 12, 2018, in New York City, New York.Ben Gabbe/Getty ImagesOz has expressed concerns about genetically modified foods, though scientific studies agree that they're safe."I do not claim that GMO foods are dangerous, but believe that they should be labeled like they are in most countries around the world," he wrote in a Facebook post.But a majority of countries do not require labels, according to the Genetic Literacy Project.More importantly, the Food and Drug Administration says foods should only be labeled if they threaten health or the environment. Legally mandating labeling, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), "can only serve to mislead and falsely alarm consumers."Genetically modified foods "are not likely to present risks for human health any more than their conventional [non-modified] counterparts," the World Health Organization says, and the AAAS maintains that they "pose no greater risk than the same foods made from crops modified by conventional plant-breeding techniques."  He's also said umckaloabo root extract "has been incredibly effective at relieving cold symptoms" even though it isn't.Oz visits "Extra" at Burbank Studios in Burbank California, September 17, 2019.Noel Vasquez/Getty ImagesOz has touted the health benefits of a little-known root extract from umckaloabo, a plant endemic to South Africa."It has been incredibly effective at relieving cold symptoms, and a new study shows it helps the flu," he said in a video city by Live Science.But "there's a lack of reliable studies on the benefits of these products," the National Center for Biotechnology Information said. "Some studies have shown that ... [herbal products including umckaloabo] can at best slightly relieve a cough." Oz recommended using lavender soap to cure leg cramps.Dr. Mehmet Oz attends a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey, July 2, 2019.Onur Coban/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images"I know this sounds crazy," Oz said on his television show in 2010, "but people put it under their sheets. We think the lavender is relaxing and maybe itself beneficial." A lavender soap bar may be relaxing, but scientific research does not support Oz's claim that it is "itself beneficial" for leg cramps.  A strawberry-and-baking-soda mixture can whiten teeth, Oz said.Oz speaks during a panel organized by the Turkish Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research on September 24, 2018, in New York.Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesOn his television show, Oz proposed an unconventional teeth-whitening method: strawberries and baking soda. The mixture may be effective at removing plaque, but it does not whiten teeth and may in fact harm tooth health, according to two studies by Dr. So Ran Kwon, a professor of dentistry at the University of Iowa."The only benefit of the do-it-yourself method [strawberries and baking soda] is while it seems to make your teeth look whiter, they look whiter because you're just removing plaque accumulation on your teeth," she said in a statement."You really want something that penetrates into your teeth and breaks down the stain molecules," she continued. "If you don't have that, you get just the superficial, and not the whitening from the inside, which was what you really want."Isaac Scher contributed to a previous version of this article. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 30th, 2021

BTFDers Unleashed: Futures, Yields, Oil Jump As Omicron Panic Eases

BTFDers Unleashed: Futures, Yields, Oil Jump As Omicron Panic Eases As expected over the weekend, and as we first noted shortly after electronic markets reopened for trading on Sunday, S&P futures have maintained their overnight gains and have rebounded 0.7% while Nasdaq contracts jumped as much as 1.3% after risk sentiment stabilized following Friday’s carnage and as investors settled in for a few weeks of uncertainty on whether the Omicron variant would derail economic recoveries and the tightening plans of some central banks. Japan led declines in the Asian equity session (which was catching down to Friday's US losses) after the government shut borders to visitors. The region’s reopening stocks such as restaurants, department stores, train operators and travel shares also suffered some losses.  Oil prices bounced $3 a barrel to recoup some of Friday's rout, while the safe haven yen, Swiss franc and 10Y Treasury took a breather after its run higher. Moderna shares jumped as much as 12% in pre-market trading after Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said he suspects the new omicron coronavirus variant may elude current vaccines, and if so, a reformulated shot could be available early in the new year. Which he would obviously say as his company makes money from making vaccines, even if they are not very efficient. Here are some of the other notable premarket movers today: BioNTech (BNTX US) advanced 5% after it said it’s starting with the first steps of developing a new adapted vaccine, according to statement sent by text. Merck & Co. (MRK US) declined 1.6% after it was downgraded to neutral from buy at Citi, which also opens a negative catalyst watch, with “high probability” the drugmaker will abandon development of its HIV treatment. A selection of small biotechs rise again in U.S. premarket trading amid discussion of the companies in StockTwits and after these names outperformed during Friday’s market rout. Palatin Tech (PTN US) +37%, Biofrontera (BFRI US) +22%, 180 Life Sciences (ATNF US) +19%. Bonds gave back some of their gains, with Treasury futures were down 11 ticks. Like other safe havens, the market had rallied sharply as investors priced in the risk of a slower start to rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, and less tightening by some other central banks. Needless to say, Omicron is all anyone can talk about: on one hand, authorities have already orchestrated a lot of global panic: Britain called an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss developments on the virus, even though the South African doctor who discovered the strain and treated cases said symptoms of Omicron were so far mild. The new variant of concern was found as far afield as Canada and Australia as more countries such as Japan imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off. Summarizing the fearmongering dynamic observed, overnight South African health experts - including those who discovered the Omicron variant, said it appears to cause mild symptoms, while the Chinese lapdog organization, WHO, said the variant’s risk is “extremely high”. Investors are trying to work out if the omicron flareup will a relatively brief scare that markets rebound from, or a bigger blow to the global economic recovery. Much remains unanswered about the new strain: South African scientists suggested it’s presenting with mild symptoms so far, though it appears to be more transmissible, but the World Health Organization warned it could fuel future surges of Covid-19 with severe consequences. "There is a lot we don't know about Omicron, but markets have been forced to reassess the global growth outlook until we know more," said Rodrigo Catril, a market strategist at NAB. "Pfizer expects to know within two weeks if Omicron is resistant to its current vaccine, others suggest it may take several weeks. Until then markets are likely to remain jittery." "Despite the irresistible pull of buying-the-dip on tenuous early information on omicron, we are just one negative omicron headline away from going back to where we started,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “Expect plenty of headline-driven whipsaw price action this week.” The emergence of the omicron strain is also complicating monetary policy. Traders have already pushed back the expected timing of a first 25-basis-point rate hike by the Federal Reserve to July from June. Fed Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic played down economic risks from a new variant, saying he’s open to a quicker paring of asset purchases to curb inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speak before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We know that central banks can quickly switch to dovish if they need to,” Mahjabeen Zaman, Citigroup senior investment specialist, said on Bloomberg Television. “The liquidity playbook that we have in play right now will continue to support the market.” European stocks rallied their worst drop in more than a year on Friday, with travel and energy stocks leading the advance. The Stoxx 600 rose 0.9% while FTSE 100 futures gain more than 1%, aided by a report that Reliance may bid for BT Group which jumped as much as 9.5% following a report that India’s Reliance Industries may offer to buy U.K. phone company, though it pared the gain after Reliance denied it’s considering a bid. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde put a brave face on the latest virus scare, saying the euro zone was better equipped to face the economic impact of a new wave of COVID-19 infections or the Omicron variant Japanese shares lead Asian indexes lower after Premier Kishida announces entry ban of all new foreign visitors. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index closed down 0.9% at the lowest level since October 2020, led by Galaxy Entertainment and Meituan. The index followed regional peers lower amid worries about the new Covid variant Omicron. Amid the big movers, Galaxy Entertainment was down 5.4% after police arrested Macau’s junket king, while Meituan falls 7.1% after reporting earnings. In FX, currency markets are stabilizing as the week kicks off yet investors are betting on the possibility of further volatility. The South African rand climbed against the greenback though most emerging-market peers declined along with developing-nation stocks. Turkey’s lira slumped more than 2% after a report at the weekend that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a probe into foreign currency trades. The Swiss franc, euro and yen retreat while loonie and Aussie top G-10 leaderboard after WTI crude futures rally more than 4%. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index hovered after Friday’s drop, and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers; commodity currencies led gains. The euro slipped back below $1.13 and Bunds sold off, yet outperformed Treasuries. The pound was steady against the dollar and rallied against the euro. Australian sovereign bonds pared an opening jump as Treasuries trimmed Friday’s spike amid continuing uncertainty over the fallout from the omicron variant. The Aussie rallied with oil and iron ore. The yen erased an earlier decline as a government announcement on planned border closures starting Tuesday spurred a drop in local equities. The rand strengthens as South African health experts call omicron variant “mild.” In rates, Treasuries were cheaper by 4bp-7bp across the curve in belly-led losses, reversing a portion of Friday’s sharp safe-haven rally as potential economic impact of omicron coronavirus strain continues to be assessed. The Treasury curve bear- steepened and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped as much as 7 basis points to 1.54%; that unwound some of Friday’s 16 basis-point plunge -- the steepest since March 2020.  Focal points include month-end on Tuesday, November jobs report Friday, and Fed Chair Powell is scheduled to speak Monday afternoon. Treasuries broadly steady since yields gapped higher when Asia session began, leaving 10-year around 1.54%, cheaper by almost 7bp on the day; front-end outperformance steepens 2s10s by ~3bp. Long-end may draw support from potential for month-end buying; Bloomberg Treasury index rebalancing was projected to extend duration by 0.11yr as of Nov. 22 In commodities, oil prices bounced after suffering their largest one-day drop since April 2020 on Friday. "The move all but guarantees the OPEC+ alliance will suspend its scheduled increase for January at its meeting on 2 December," wrote analyst at ANZ in a note. "Such headwinds are the reason it's been only gradually raising output in recent months, despite demand rebounding strongly." Brent rebounded 3.9% to $75.57 a barrel, while U.S. crude rose 4.5% to $71.24. Gold has so far found little in the way of safe haven demand, leaving it stuck at $1,791 an ounce . SGX iron ore rises almost 8% to recoup Friday’s losses. Bitcoin rallied after falling below $54,000 on Friday. Looking at today's calendar, we get October pending home sales, and November Dallas Fed manufacturing activity. We also get a bunch of Fed speakers including Williams, Powell making remarks at the New York Fed innovation event, Fed’s Hassan moderating a panel and Fed’s Bowman discussing central bank and indigenous economies. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 4,625.00 MXAP down 0.9% to 191.79 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 625.06 Nikkei down 1.6% to 28,283.92 Topix down 1.8% to 1,948.48 Hang Seng Index down 0.9% to 23,852.24 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,562.70 Sensex up 0.4% to 57,307.46 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.5% to 7,239.82 Kospi down 0.9% to 2,909.32 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.7% to 467.47 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1283 Brent Futures up 3.8% to $75.49/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,797.11 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.13% to 96.22 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The omicron variant of Covid-19, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in locations from Australia to the U.K. and Canada, showing the difficulties of curtailing new strains While health experts in South Africa, where omicron was first detected, said it appeared to cause only mild symptoms, the Geneva-based WHO assessed the variant’s risk as “extremely high” and called on member states to test widely. Understanding the new strain will take several days or weeks, the agency said All travelers arriving in the U.K. starting at 4 a.m. on Nov. 30 must take a PCR coronavirus test on or before the second day of their stay and isolate until they receive a negative result. Face coverings will again be mandatory in shops and other indoor settings and on public transport. Booster shots may also be approved for more age groups within days, according to Health Secretary Sajid Javid The economic effects of the successive waves of the Covid pandemic have been less and less damaging, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau says Italian bonds advance for a third day, as investors shrug off new coronavirus developments over the weekend and stock futures advance, while bunds are little changed ahead of German inflation numbers and a raft of ECB speakers including President Christine Lagarde A European Commission sentiment index fell to 117.5 in November from 118.6 the previous month, data released Monday showed Spanish inflation accelerated to the fastest in nearly three decades in November on rising food prices, underscoring the lingering consequences of supply-chain bottlenecks across Europe. Consumer prices jumped 5.6% Energy prices in Europe surged on Monday after weather forecasts showed colder temperatures for the next two weeks that will lift demand for heating ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel took to the airwaves to reassure her fellow Germans that inflation will slow again, hours before data set to show the fastest pace of price increases since the early 1990s Russia’s ambassador to Washington said more than 50 diplomats and their family members will have to leave the U.S. by mid-2022, in the latest sign of tensions between the former Cold War enemies China sent the biggest sortie of warplanes toward Taiwan in more than seven weeks after a U.S. lawmaker defied a Chinese demand that she abandon a trip to the island A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded cautiously and US equity futures rebounded from Friday’s hefty selling (S&P 500 -2.3%) as all focus remained on the Omicron variant after several countries announced restrictions and their first cases of the new variant, although markets took solace from reports that all cases so far from South Africa have been mild. Furthermore, NIH Director Collins was optimistic that current vaccines are likely to protect against the Omicron variant but also noted it was too early to know the answers, while Goldman Sachs doesn’t think the new variant is a sufficient reason to adjust its portfolio citing comments from South Africa’s NICD that the mutation is unlikely to be more malicious and existing vaccines will most likely remain effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. ASX 200 (-0.5%) is subdued after Australia registered its first cases of the Omicron variant which involved two people that arrived in Sydney from southern Africa and with the government reviewing its border reopening plans. Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) whipsawed whereby it initially slumped at the open due to the virus fears and currency-related headwinds but then recouped its losses and briefly returned flat as the mood gradually improved, before succumbing to a bout of late selling, and with mixed Retail Sales data adding to the indecision. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch) weakened with Meituan the worst performer in Hong Kong after posting a quarterly loss and with casino names pressured by a crackdown in which police detained Suncity Group CEO and others after admitting to accusations including illegal cross border gambling. However, the losses in the mainland were cushioned after firm Industrial Profits data over the weekend and with local press noting expectations for China to adopt a more proactive macro policy next year. Finally, 10yr JGBs shrugged off the pullback seen in T-note and Bund futures, with price action kept afloat amid the cautious mood in stocks and the BoJ’s presence in the market for over JPY 900bln of JGBs mostly concentrated in 3yr-10yr maturities. Top Asian News Hong Kong Stocks Slide to 13-Month Low on Fresh Virus Woes Li Auto Loss Narrows as EV Maker Rides Out Supply-Chain Snarls Singapore Adds to Its Gold Pile for the First Time in Decades China Growth Stocks Look Like Havens as Markets Confront Omicron Bourses in Europe are experiencing a mild broad-based rebound (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.0%; Stoxx 600 +0.9%) following Friday's hefty COVID-induced losses. Desks over the weekend have been framing Friday's losses as somewhat overstretched in holiday-thinned liquidity, given how little is known about the Omicron variant itself. The strain will likely remain the market theme as scientists and policymakers factor in this new variant, whilst data from this point forth – including Friday's US labour market report - will likely be passed off as somewhat stale, and headline risk will likely be abundant. Thus far, symptoms from Omicron are seemingly milder than some of its predecessors, although governments and central banks will likely continue to express caution in this period of uncertainty. Back to price action, the momentum of the rebound has lost steam; US equity futures have also been drifting lower since the European cash open – with the RTY (+0.9%) was the laggard in early European trade vs the ES (+0.8%), NQ (+1.0%) and YM (+0.7%). European cash bourses have also been waning off best levels but remain in positive territory. Sectors are mostly in the green, but the breadth of the market has narrowed since the cash open. Travel & Leisure retains the top spot in what seems to be more a reversal of Friday's exaggerated underperformance as opposed to a fundamentally driven rebound – with more nations announcing travel restrictions to stem the spread of the variant. Oil & Gas has also trimmed some of Friday's losses as oil prices see a modest rebound relative to Friday's slump. On the other end of the spectrum, Healthcare sees mild losses as COVID-related names take a mild breather, although Moderna (+9.1% pre-market) gains ahead of the US open after its Chief Medical Officer suggested a new vaccine for the variant could be ready early next year. Meanwhile, Autos & Parts reside as the current laggard amid several bearish updates, including a Y/Y drop in German car exports - due to the chip shortage and supply bottlenecks – factors which the Daimler Truck CEO suggested will lead to billions of Euros in losses. Furthermore, auto supbt.aplier provider Faurecia (-5.9%) trades at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after slashing guidance – again a function of the chip shortage. In terms of Monday M&A, BT (+4.7%) shares opened higher by almost 10% following source reports in Indian press suggesting Reliance Industries is gearing up for a takeover approach of BT – reports that were subsequently rebuffed. Top European News U.K. Mortgage Approvals Fall to 67,199 in Oct. Vs. Est. 70,000 Johnson Matthey Rises on Report of Battery Talks With Tata Gazprom Reports Record Third-Quarter Profit Amid Gas Surge Omicron’s Spread Fuels Search for Answers as WHO Sounds Warning In FX, the Buck has bounced from Friday’s pullback lows on a mixture of short covering, consolidation and a somewhat more hopeful prognosis of SA’s new coronavirus strand compared to very early perceptions prompted by reports that the latest mutation would be even worse than the Delta variant. In DXY terms, a base above 96.000 is forming within a 93.366-144 band amidst a rebound in US Treasury yields and re-steepening along the curve following comments from Fed’s Bostic indicating a willingness to back faster QE tapering. Ahead, pending home sales and Dallas Fed business manufacturing along with more Fed rhetoric from Williams and chair Powell on the eve of month end. AUD/CAD/NZD - No surprise to see the high beta and risk sensitive currencies take advantage of the somewhat calmer conditions plus a recovery in crude and other commodities that were decimated by the prospect of depressed demand due to the aforementioned Omicron outbreak. The Aussie is back over 0.7150 vs its US counterpart, the Loonie has pared back losses from sub-1.2750 with assistance from WTI’s recovery to top Usd 72/brl vs a Usd 67.40 trough on November 26 and the Kiwi is hovering above 0.6800 even though RBNZ chief economist Ha has warned that a pause in OCR tightening could occur if the fresh COVID-19 wave proves to be a ‘game-changer’. JPY/EUR - The major laggards as sentiment stabilses, with the Yen midway between 112.99-113.88 parameters and hardly helped by mixed Japanese retail sales data, while the Euro has retreated below 1.1300 where 1.7 bn option expiry interest resides and a key Fib level just under the round number irrespective of strong German state inflation reports and encouraging pan Eurozone sentiment indicators, as more nations batten down the hatches to stem the spread of SA’s virus that has shown up in parts of the bloc. GBP/CHF - Both narrowly divergent vs the Dollar, as Cable retains 1.3300+ status against the backdrop of retreating Gilt and Short Sterling futures even though UK consumer credit, mortgage lending and approvals are rather conflicting, while the Franc pivots 0.9250 and meanders from 1.0426 to 1.0453 against the Euro after the latest weekly update on Swiss bank sight deposits showing no sign of official intervention. However, Usd/Chf may veer towards 1.1 bn option expiries at the 0.9275 strike if risk appetite continues to improve ahead of KoF on Tuesday and monthly reserves data. SCANDI/EM - Although Brent has bounced to the benefit of the Nok, Sek outperformance has ensued in wake of an upgrade to final Swedish Q3 GDP, while the Cnh and Cny are deriving support via a rise in Chinese industrial profits on a y/y basis and the Zar is breathing a sigh of relief on the aforementioned ‘better’ virus updates/assessments from SA on balance. Conversely, the Try is back under pressure post-a deterioration in Turkish economic sentiment vs smaller trade deficit as investors look forward to CPI at the end of the week. Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan provides no reprieve for the Lira as he once again defending his unorthodox view that higher interest rates lead to higher inflation. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures consolidate following an overnight rebound – with WTI Jan back on a USD 71/bbl handle and Brent Feb just under USD 75/bbl – albeit still some way off from Friday's best levels which saw the former's high above USD 78/bbl and the latter's best north of USD 81/bbl. The week is packed with risks to the oil complex, including the resumption of Iranian nuclear talks (slated at 13:00GMT/08:00EST today) and the OPEC+ monthly confab. In terms of the former, little is expected in terms of progress unless the US agrees to adhere to Tehran's demand – which at this point seems unlikely. Tehran continues to seek the removal of US sanctions alongside assurances that the US will not withdraw from the deal. "The assertion that the US must 'change its approach if it wants progress' sets a challenging tone", Citi's analysts said, and the bank also expects parties to demand full access to Iranian nuclear facilities for verification of compliance. Further, the IAEA Chief met with Iranian officials last week; although concrete progress was sparse, the overall tone of the meeting was one of progress. "We remain of the opinion that additional Iranian supplies are unlikely to reach the market before the second half of 2022 at the earliest," Citi said. Meanwhile, reports suggested the US and allies have been debating a "Plan B" if talks were to collapse. NBC News – citing European diplomats, former US officials and experts – suggested that options included: 1) a skinny nuclear deal, 2) ramp up sanctions, 3) Launching operations to sabotage Iranian nuclear advances, 4) Military strikes, 5) persuading China to halt Iranian oil imports, albeit Iran and China recently signed a 25yr deal. Over to OPEC+, a rescheduling (in light of the Omicron variant) sees the OPEC and JTC meeting now on the 1st December, followed by the JMMC and OPEC+ on the 2nd. Sources on Friday suggested that members are leaning towards a pause in the planned monthly output, although Russian Deputy PM Novak hit the wires today and suggested there is no need for urgent measures in the oil market. Markets will likely be tested, and expectations massaged with several sources heading into the meeting later this week. Elsewhere, spot gold trades sideways just under the USD 1,800/oz and above a cluster of DMAs, including the 50 (1,790.60/oz), 200 (1,791.30/oz) and 100 (1,792.80/oz) awaiting the next catalyst. Over to base metals, LME copper recoups some of Friday's lost ground, with traders also citing the underlying demand emanating from the EV revolution. US Event Calendar 10am: Oct. Pending Home Sales YoY, prior -7.2% 10am: Oct. Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. 0.8%, prior -2.3% 10:30am: Nov. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 17.0, prior 14.6 Central Bank speakers: 3pm: Fed’s Williams gives opening remarks at NY Innovation Center 3:05pm: Powell Makes Opening Remarks at New York Fed Innovation Event 3:15pm: Fed’s Hassan moderates panel introducing NY Innovation Center 5:05pm: Fed’s Bowman Discusses Central bank and Indigenous Economies DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Last night Henry in my team put out a Q&A looking at what we know about Omicron (link here) as many risk assets put in their worst performance of the year on Friday after it exploded into view. The main reason for the widespread concern is the incredibly high number of mutations, with 32 on the spike protein specifically, which is the part of the virus that allows it to enter human cells. That’s much more than we’ve seen for previous variants, and raises the prospect it could be a more transmissible version of the virus, although scientists are still assessing this. South Africa is clearly where it has been discovered (not necessarily originated from) and where it has been spreading most. The fact that’s it’s become the dominant strain there in just two weeks hints at its higher level of contagiousness. However the read through to elsewhere is tough as the country has only fully vaccinated 24% of its population, relative to at least 68% in most of the larger developed countries bar the US which languishes at 58%. It could still prove less deadly (as virus variants over time mostly are) but if it is more contagious that could offset this and it could still cause similar healthcare issues, especially if vaccines are less protective. On the other hand the South African doctor who first alerted authorities to the unusual symptoms that have now been found to have been caused by Omicron, was on numerous media platforms over the weekend suggesting that the patients she has seen with it were exhausted but generally had mild symptoms. However she also said her patients were from a healthy cohort so we can’t relax too much on this. However as South African cases rise we will get a lot of clues from hospitalisation data even if only 6% of the country is over 65s. My personal view is that we’ll get a lot of information quite quickly around how bad this variant is. The reports over the weekend that numerous cases of Omicron have already been discovered around the world, suggests it’s probably more widespread than people think already. So we will likely soon learn whether these patients present with more severe illness and we’ll also learn of their vaccination status before any official study is out. The only caveat would be that until elderly patients have been exposed in enough scale we won’t be able to rule out the more negative scenarios. Before all that the level of restrictions have been significantly ramped up over the weekend in many countries. Henry discusses this in his note but one very significant one is that ALL travellers coming into (or back to) the UK will have to self isolate until they get a negative PCR test. This sort of thing will dramatically reduce travel, especially short business trips. Overnight Japan have effectively banned ALL foreign visitors. I appreciate its dangerous to be positive on covid at the moment but you only have to look at the UK for signs that boosters are doing a great job. Cases in the elderly population continue to collapse as the roll out progresses well and overall deaths have dropped nearly 20% over the last week to 121 (7-day average) - a tenth of where they were at the peak even though cases have recently been 80-90% of their peak levels. If Europe are just lagging the UK on boosters rather than anything more structural, most countries should be able to control the current wave all things being equal. However Omicron could make things less equal but it would be a huge surprise if vaccines made no impact. Stocks in Asia are trading cautiously but remember that the US and Europe sold off more aggressively after Asia closed on Friday. So the lack of major damage is insightful. The Nikkei (-0.02%), Shanghai Composite (-0.14%), CSI (-0.22%), KOSPI (-0.47%) and Hang Seng (-0.68%) are only slightly lower. Treasury yields, oil, and equity futures are all rising in Asia. US treasury yields are up 4-6bps across the curve, Oil is c.+4.5% higher, while the ZAR is +1.31%. Equity futures are trading higher with the S&P 500 (+0.71%) and DAX (+0.84%) futures in the green. In terms of looking ahead, we may be heading into December this week but there’s still an incredibly eventful period ahead on the market calendar even outside of Omicron. We have payrolls on Friday which could still have a big impact on what the Fed do at their important December 15 FOMC and especially on whether they accelerate the taper. Wednesday (Manufacturing) and Friday (Services) see the latest global PMIs which will as ever be closely watched even if people will suggest that the latest virus surge and now Omicron variant may make it backward looking. Elsewhere in the Euro Area, we’ll get the flash CPI estimate for November tomorrow (France and Italy on the same day with Germany today), and we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell as he testifies (with Mrs Yellen) before congressional committees tomorrow and Wednesday. There’s lots of other Fed speakers this week (ahead of their blackout from this coming weekend) and last week there was a definite shift towards a faster taper bias, even amongst the doves on the committee with Daly being the most important potential convert. Fed speakers this week might though have to balance the emergence of the new variant with the obvious point that without it the Fed is a fair bit behind the curve. Importantly but lurking in the background, Friday is also the US funding deadline before another government shutdown. History would suggest a tense last minute deal but it’s tough to predict. Recapping last week now and the emergence of the new variant reshaped the whole week even if ahead of this, continued case growth across Europe prompted renewed lockdown measures and travel bans across the continent. Risk sentiment clearly plummeted on Friday. The S&P 500 fell -2.27%, the biggest drop since October 2020, while the Stoxx 600 fell -3.67%, the biggest one-day decline since the original Covid-induced risk off in March 2020. The S&P 500 was -2.20% lower last week, while the Stoxx 600 was down -4.53% on the week. 10yr treasury, bund, and gilt yields declined -16.1bps, -8.7bps, and -14.5bps, undoing the inflation and policy response-driven selloff from earlier in the week. The drop in 10yr treasury and gilt yields were the biggest one-day declines since the original Covid-driven rally in March 2020, while the drop in bund yields was the largest since April 2020. 10yr treasury, bund, and gilt yields ended the week -7.3bps lower, +0.7bps higher, and -5.4bps lower, respectively. Measures of inflation compensation declined due to the anticipated hit to global demand, with 10yr breakevens in the US and Germany -6.8bps and -8.8bps lower Friday, along with Brent and WTI futures declining -11.55% and -13.06%, respectively. Investors pushed back the anticipated timing of rate hikes. As it stands, the first full Fed hike is just about priced for July, and 2 hikes are priced for 2022. This follows a hawkish tone from even the most dovish FOMC members and the November FOMC minutes last week. The prevailing sentiment was the FOMC was preparing to accelerate their asset purchase taper at the December meeting to enable inflation-fighting rate hikes earlier in 2022. Understanding the impact of the new variant will be crucial for interpreting the Fed’s reaction function, though. The impact may not be so obvious; while a new variant would certainly hurt global demand and portend more policy accommodation, it will also likely prompt more virus-avoiding behaviour in the labour market, preventing workers from returning to pre-Covid levels. Whether the Fed decides to accommodate these sidelined workers for longer, or to re-think what constitutes full employment in a Covid world should inform your view on whether they accelerate tapering in December. It feels like a lifetime ago but last week also saw President Biden nominate Chair Powell to head the Fed for another term, and for Governor Brainard to serve as Vice Chair. The announcement led to a selloff in rates as the more dovish Brainard did not land the head job. In Germany, the center-left SPD, Greens, and liberal FDP agreed to a full coalition deal. The traffic-light coalition agreed to restore the debt break in 2023, after being suspended during the pandemic, and to raise the minimum wage to €12 per hour. The SPD’s Olaf Scholz will assume the Chancellorship. The US, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and UK announced releases of strategic petroleum reserves. Oil prices were higher following the announcement, in part because releases were smaller than anticipated but, as mentioned, prices dropped precipitously on Friday on the global demand impact of the new Covid variant. The ECB released the minutes of the October Governing Council meeting, where officials stressed the need to maintain optionality in their policy setting. They acknowledged growing upside risks to inflation but stressed the importance of not overreacting in setting policy as they see how inflation scenarios might unfold. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 08:01.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 29th, 2021

Vocera (VCRA) Leverages Amazon"s Alexa to Boost Patient Experience

Vocera (VCRA) partners Amazon (AMZN) to build an intelligent solution, Vocera skill for Alexa, which will help patients to seamlessly connect with care team members and families with verbal updates. Vocera Communications, Inc. VCRA has joined forces with multinational technology company — Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN — to enhance the patient experience on the back of an avant-garde voice technology solution by leveraging the latter’s Alexa virtual assistant. Dubbed Vocera skill for Alexa, the offering capitalizes on a set of technologies from Alexa Smart Properties.Of late, the majority of people across the globe have been getting accustomed to using voice technology for day-to-day activities. As a result, healthcare facilities, too, are migrating toward leveraging the benefits of a voice assistant for establishing a simplified and enhanced clinical communications infrastructure.Against this backdrop, the latest partnership underscores Vocera’s commitment to improving patient safety and experience backed by Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant platform. The Vocera skill for Alexa offering will be specifically designed to deliver a hands-free and engaging voice experience to patients, staff members, and families.Without unnecessary interruptions, patients will be able to connect with their families and the right care teams with simple voice requests through the Amazon Echo device present in the patient’s room. In this way, the accessible nature of a voice assistant can help care teams to save time and personalize care while minimizing cognitive overload among clinicians.Further, the verbal updates or voice requests from patients will be delivered to the appropriate team member on their choice of device, which includes Vocera Badge or Vina smartphone application. The Vocera skill for Alexa will identify phrases and keywords from the patient. It will then leverage the intelligent Vocera Engage software to pass on the message to the appropriate person.This helps in streamlining the overall communication workflow, thanks to improved response times, staff collaboration, and patient care. The Vocera skill for Alexa will be HIPAA-eligible for healthcare customers. This combined offering from Vocera and Amazon is likely to be a game-changer for skilled nursing facilities and smart hospitals, revamping the way patients communicate with nurses. The solution can also be used in the hospitality industry to elevate the consumer experience.Vocera’s solutions are specifically designed to increase productivity and improve patient and staff satisfaction with minimized costs. Driven by a resilient business model, the company is widely known for offering the best platform for communication and workflow optimization.Its solutions range from a patent-protected, intelligent enterprise software platform to smartphone applications. Its communication and collaboration solution enables users to connect instantaneously, reduce alarm fatigue, and enhance workflow.It is worth mentioning that Vocera’s solutions are relied upon by care teams in nearly 1,900 healthcare facilities worldwide. With more than two decades of expertise in voice technology and hands-free communication together with a portfolio of more than 150 third-party party clinical integrations, the company continues to widen its ecosystem of technology partners to gain access to the best communication products and services.Vocera currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The San Jose, CA-based company’s shares have surged 82.4% compared with the industry’s growth of 23.9% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchHarmonic, Inc. HLIT is a better-ranked stock in the industry, sporting a Zacks Rank #1. The consensus estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 23.1% upward over the past 30 days.Harmonic delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 61.1%, on average. The stock has appreciated 72.7% in the past year. HLIT has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 15%.Arista Networks, Inc. ANET is another solid pick for investors, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The consensus estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 3.9% upward over the past 30 days.Arista Networks delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 6%, on average. It has rallied 93.9% in the past year. ANET has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 16.7%. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Harmonic Inc. (HLIT): Free Stock Analysis Report Vocera Communications, Inc. (VCRA): Free Stock Analysis Report Arista Networks, Inc. (ANET): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 17th, 2021

Quinn: Living In A Potemkin World

Quinn: Living In A Potemkin World Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” ― George Orwell, 1984 “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” ― George Orwell, 1984 I never thought I would experience the dystopian “fictional” nightmare Orwell laid out in his 1949 novel. Seventy-two years later and his warning about a totalitarian society, where mass surveillance, repressive measures against dissenters, mind control through government indoctrination and propaganda designed to convince the masses lies are truth, fake is real and the narrative can be manipulated to achieve the desired outcome of those in power, have come to fruition. Everything is fake. I don’t believe anything I’m told by the government, the media, medical “experts”, politicians, military leadership, bankers, corporate executives, religious leaders, financial professionals, and anyone selling themselves as an authority on any subject matter. We are truly living in times of mass deception, mass delusion, and mass willful ignorance. The term Potemkin Village comes from stories of a phony movable village built by Grigory Potemkin in the late 1700’s to impress his former lover, Catherine II, during her journey to Crimea in 1787. He supposedly erected fake villages along the banks of the Dnieper River, as her vessel sailed by, to impress her with the progress he was making on her behalf. After she passed, he would have the village disassembled and then reassembled further along downstream. I guess this was an early version of fake news, though I am sure there were also plenty of falsities and propaganda in the newspapers of the time. But, in our current day, oppressors have taken lies, falsities, miss-truths, and propaganda to heights never conceived by Edward Bernays, George Orwell or Joseph Stalin. Any semblance of a Constitutional Republic given to us by Franklin and his courageous fellow revolutionaries has dissipated, as decades of delusion, debt, decadence, and degeneracy have sapped any trace of revolutionary spirit, desire for freedom, love of liberty, or aspirations of self-reliance and self-responsibility among the masses. When you step back and observe how we got to this point in history, you realize it wasn’t a mistake, but a plan by those who control the levers of power, with a goal of accumulating immense riches and total dominion over those they consider nothing more than disposable chess pieces in their game of building a new world order. We are nothing more than parasites to these tyrannical power-hungry satanical fiends. They have proven they will use any means necessary to achieve their evil ends. The last two years have pulled back the curtain to reveal the oligarch globalist bloodsuckers who have been draining the lifeblood from our nation. The enemies have been exposed by their lies and misdeeds. For most of the past century the ruling class has been able to implement their methodical pillaging operation utilizing Huxley’s “soft” dystopian methods versus Orwell’s “hard” dystopian techniques. Huxley, who at one time was Orwell’s French teacher in high school, wrote a letter to Orwell shortly after the publication of 1984 where he put forth his vision of the future: “Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.” As contemporaries, Huxley (Brave New World – 1931), Bernays (Propaganda – 1928), and Orwell (1984 – 1949) all agreed those wielding the power of government, whether seen or unseen, use propaganda techniques to mold the minds of the masses in ways conducive to keeping them in power. Huxley and Bernays believed people could be controlled through mind manipulation, materialism, entertainment, and pharmaceuticals. Orwell, in the wake of 65 million deaths in the space of seven years, and the Soviet totalitarianism in Russia, foresaw a future with a boot stomping on a human face forever. From 1950 until 2000, Huxley and Bernays’ view held sway, as Americans were enthralled by consumption, sports, movies, technology, and the miracle of living far above their means through plentiful debt provided by Wall Street bankers and their Federal Reserve lackeys. We were so distracted by amusing ourselves, we allowed oligarchs and their highly compensated apparatchiks in government, the media, the military, and the corporate world to hijack and ransack our country for their enrichment. Neil Postman in his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death compares and contrasts Orwell and Huxley’s views of dystopian tyranny: “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.” Since 9/11 the tables have turned. The implementation of the pre-written Patriot Act and initiation of the surveillance state, as revealed by Snowden and Greenwald, has ushered in a new Orwellian era where a truncheon to the skull and boot on the face supplements the endless technological distractions and incessant propaganda spewed by the legacy media networks and rising social media censorship cabal. There has clearly been a coalescing of the government, Surveillance state, media, military, Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Business to seize the power, control and wealth of the planet and put it in the hands of the few. The Build Back Better marketing campaign, with the goal of a new world order, controlled by oligarchs like Gates, Soros, Bezos, Schwab, Zuckerberg, and Bloomberg, is not a wild-eyed conspiracy theory. It is a work in progress. The level of brazen dishonesty and blatant criminality among those who portray themselves as leaders and experts in our debauched society has reached astronomical levels over the last two years. There are no trustworthy politicians. No trustworthy corporate executives. No trustworthy military leaders. No trustworthy scientists or academics. They have all been captured and are financially beholden to those controlling the purse strings. It’s always about the money and power that comes from having money. If you are paid handsomely to lie, you will lie. The truth is meaningless to those who seek power and control. Suppression of the truth is more financially rewarding to those seeking world domination. This entire engineered pandemic scheme has exposed this fact. A virus, released accidentally or purposely from a Chinese bio-weapon lab, funded by Anthony Fauci, was weaponized and marketed as the greatest threat to mankind in world history, as a means to cover-up a financial system ready to implode, unseat a president through fraudulent mail-in ballots, enrich the wealthiest men on the planet, test how far totalitarian measures could be pushed, and roll out of an experimental gene altering therapy that may or may not be part of a bigger population culling operation promoted by Gates, Schwab and the rest of the Davos crowd. What we do know is this virus only kills very old, very sick, and very obese people. It’s a virus with the largest marketing campaign in world history, paid for with your tax dollars. With a 99.7% survival rate, there should have never been lockdowns, school closures, mandatory masking, vaccine mandates, or elevating criminal mass murderers like Fauci to sainthood status. The elderly in nursing homes and hospitals should have been protected. Instead, they were slaughtered by Democrat governors putting infected patients into their midst. Safe and effective early treatment with ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but the corrupt medical “experts” were bribed by Big Pharma to push these untested, ineffective, dangerous vaccines on a fearful public with promises of a cure. More lies. The “vaccines” do not keep you from catching covid, spreading covid, being hospitalized with covid, or dying from covid. In other words, it is a complete and utter failure. When you then see Fauci, Biden, Walensky and their Hollywood marketing machine demanding vaccine mandates and vaccine passports to entitle you to basic human rights, you realize this has never been about your health or the good of society. This dementia ridden joke, play acting as president, is doing the bidding of the invisible government, as documented by Bernays, in implementing a social credit system styled after the communist China totalitarians they admire. The un-vaxxed will soon be treated like the Uyghurs in China, placed in internment camps until we see the light, unless we start to fight back NOW. The WEF cadre of captured politicians positioned in countries across the planet have been activated to implement the Build Back Better plot to achieve their goal of a new world order controlled by tyrannical oligarchs and their highly compensated bureaucrat servants. They have been testing their totalitarian methods in countries with smaller populations (New Zealand, Australia) to see how far they can push their citizens before they push back. When the protests begin to get violent, they back off and pretend to reduce restrictions, then re-institute the lockdowns and restraints on freedom after hyping some new variant. As Bernays claimed, those in control of society know how to psychologically manipulate and mold the minds of the masses through the use of fear, greed, rewards, pain, threats and lies. We have entered one of the most dangerous periods in world history, as this engineered crisis is being commandeered by sociopathic totalitarians to implement their warped demented plans to destroy the existing societal structures and economic systems in order to build back better under a centralized communistic authoritarian techno-gulag configuration designed to benefit the few at the top, while keeping a boot on the face of humanity forever. When you understand their end goal, much of the seemingly incomprehensible decisions being made by Biden and his handlers come into clearer focus. It is difficult to step back and try to observe the current state of affairs in an impartial manner when those manipulating the narrative are intent on creating conflict, emotional reactions, anger, and outrage. Pitting us against each other and distracted by daily concocted outrage porn spewed by the completely captured corporate media outlets, allows the oligarchy (billionaires, bankers, politicians, mega-corps, Deep State) to continue their plunder and pillage crusade unhindered and undetected. They are counting on their decades long social indoctrination program, known as the public school system, to keep the masses from thinking, questioning, or recognizing they are being screwed over the people they believe are looking out for their best interests. Not only are the dark forces currently ruling the earth not telling the truth, but they have a far greater power in keeping silent about the truth and suppressing it when it rears its ugly head. The truth would set us free, so it is vital for the totalitarian propagandists to keep it from being heard or seen by the masses. Huxley realized during the last Fourth Turning that if you controlled the narrative and suppressed the truth, you could influence opinion much more effectively. “Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects… totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.” – Aldous Huxley The current batch of autocratic techno-propagandists have tools which make this truth suppression far easier than it was in the 1930’s and 1940’s. With six mega-corporations dominating the mainstream media outlets, they easily coordinate their messaging and can jointly ignore anything which undermines their predetermined narrative. The examples of ignoring, silencing, or censoring the truth over the last two years could fill hundreds of pages, but a few examples will suffice to make the point. In September 2019, the financial system began to shudder and quake, with overnight repo rates of 10% indicating tremendous strain. The MSM kept silent as the Fed reversed their tightening and resumed QE to infinity. The press has never questioned the trillions created out of thin air by the Fed to prop up this debt bloated carcass, even as the economy surpassed the GDP before this engineered scamdemic. Why doesn’t 60 Minutes do an expose on why the Fed continues to keep interest rates at 0% when inflation is raging in excess of 10%? Complete silence on issues which hurt the average person the most. The entire Russiagate Deep State coup against Trump was built on lies, misinformation and suppression of facts by the compliant co-conspirators in the media. Obama, Hillary, Comey, Biden, Brennan, Clapper and a myriad of other traitorous filth conspired against a sitting president and the media kept silent about the facts. The most blatant example of a complete cover-up of the truth by the MSM and the Silicon Valley social media censorship police was, and still is, crackhead Hunter Biden’s laptop during the final days of the presidential campaign. There is unequivocal proof Hunter Biden and the Big Guy were shaking down foreign governments for cash, influence peddling, and threatening foreign leaders who dared to look into their slimy traitorous dealings. All of the left-wing media outlets either ignored the story or called it Russian disinformation, because they had to get Biden elected. Twitter and Facebook censored and banned anyone putting forth the facts of this story. Then issued fake apologies afterward. But that was just the beginning. The halt to vote tabulations in the middle of the night in all the swing states, with Trump significantly ahead, was not reported by the press. Fake stories about burst pipes were promulgated. Vote counting irregularities and truckloads of missing ballots didn’t happen if the media didn’t say they happened. Video surveillance of fake ballots being added to the counts was not shown by the media outlets. The Washington Post and NY Times just applied the same language about conspiracy theories and the most secure election ever to override the substantial factual evidence showing massive voter fraud in the key swing states. Whenever evidence was presented on social media platforms, the person was banned, and their evidence disappeared. Zuckerberg needed to make sure the $420,000 he spent to swing the election to Biden was not wasted. By not reporting on the Arizona audit results, the huge irregularities found never happened. Right? Since the installation of Trojan Horse Joe, the level of silence, suppression and censorship of the truth has reached new heights. Of course, the worst attack on democracy since Pearl Harbor, and far worse than 9/11, was the armed selfie insurrection of January 6, during which no one was armed except the black cop who murdered an unarmed white woman. The media, who gleefully exposes every detail of a cop’s life when they immobilize a drug addled black criminal resisting arrest who died of an overdose, seemed completely uninterested in even trying to identify the cop who murdered Ashli Babbitt. Silence benefited Biden as they spun the false narrative about the Capitol being attacked and Capitol police being murdered. Pelosi and her sidekicks “Shit My Pants” Nadler, “Crying” Chuck Schumer, “Fartman” “Fang Fang Banging” Swallwell, and “Bug Eyes” Schiff tried their darndest to elevate this milling about by idiots dressed in buffalo regale, FBI plants, and ANTIFA CNN correspondents to an insurrection, but were laughed at and ridiculed by anyone with eyes. Only the couple thousand people in the country, who still watch MSNBC and CNN, believed them. These boobs, along with their FBI “undercover” domestic terrorists, were further discredited and ridiculed when they attempted to lure normal Americans into another trap at the J6 rally but failed miserably. These are the same people trying to make you believe the border is secure, and hundreds of thousands of third world parasites are not being shipped into swing states across the country. Just pretend it isn’t happening, don’t report on the invasion, and in the minds of the ignorant masses, it isn’t happening. In Part Two of this article, I will document the never-ending blizzard of lies used to create enough fear and panic in the world from this pandemic of ignorance to initiate the globalist Great Reset agenda and how we need to fight back now before it is too late. *  *  * The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/18/2021 - 16:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 18th, 2021

Transcript: Hubert Joly

       The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Hubert Joly, Best Buy CEO, 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.   ~~~   BARRY RITHOLTZ,… Read More The post Transcript: Hubert Joly appeared first on The Big Picture.        The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Hubert Joly, Best Buy CEO, 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.   ~~~   BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Hubert Joly is the man who helped turn around Best Buy when they were floundering about a decade ago. The stock has since returned 10X from when he joined as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He is the author of a fascinating new book, “The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism.” He’s really a fascinating guy, has an amazing background, both as a consultant for McKinsey and being on a number of different boards and running a number of different companies. Everybody who’s looked at his work always put him amongst the best CEOs, top 100 this, top 30 that, really just a tremendous, tremendous track record. And I had a fascinating time speaking with him. I think if you’re at all interested in anything involving leadership or the next era of capitalism or why the old-school Neutron Jack approach to just firing everybody and cutting costs away to restore profitability no longer works, you’re going to find this to be a fascinating conversation. So, with no further ado, my interview with Hubert Joly. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: This week, my special guest is Hubert Joly. He is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Best Buy. He is currently the Senior Lecturer on Business at Harvard Business School. He is on the boards of directors at Johnson & Johnson and Ralph Lauren and has been named one of the top 100 CEOs by Harvard Business Review, one of the top 30 CEOs by Barron’s and one of the top 10 CEOs to work for in the U.S. by Glassdoor. Hubert Joly, welcome to Bloomberg. HUBERT JOLY, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School: Well, thank you, Barry, very much looking forward to our conversation. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s start with a little bit of your background, you’ve been the CEO of three major companies. Tell us about how that came about. Take us to the beginning or early days of your career. JOLY: Yes, Barry. I started my career with McKinsey & Company in France and then also in the U.S. Essentially, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, that, I thought, it’d be a great training ground and I ending up staying a dozen years at the firm, done a great deal and had wonderful opportunities to lead great companies. At first, I left McKinsey to lead a client that was EDS, Electronic Data Systems in France and I ended up doing a number of turnaround and transformations of companies in industry sectors that were challenged by technology. So, in videogames, in travel, and then, of course, ended up with Best Buy. And I’ve ended up working a variety of industry sectors and those specializations there and every move was a move that was based on — it was – there was somebody with whom I had developed relationship that played a critical role. And so, for example, when I left Vivendi Universal to become the CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the CEO of (inaudible), which was one of the two shareholders, had been a client of mine and where we have stayed friends. So, Barry, one of the key lessons is that try to minimize the number of people you annoy or irritate along the way and try to focus on doing a great job when you are and then I hope that God provides in the end, which is, I think, the lesson for me of my career. RITHOLTZ: So, I want to spend more time talking about your career. But I have to ask, how did you find yourself moving from France to the United States, what led to that and what was that transition like? Because every time I’m in Paris, I always end up saying to myself, God, I could live here. JOLY: Yes. Thank you for that, Barry. So, the first time I moved to the U.S. in 1985, I was with McKinsey & Company. I’d gone to school in France and there had been discussion of should I do an MBA in the U.S. and after a while, McKinsey said no, you really don’t need to do that. But if you want to spend time in the U.S., we’ll send you to one of our offices. So, I ended up in the San Francisco office, quite the years where the minors were at the top of their game, right? So, that — it’s quite fascinating. And then the last time I moved to the U.S. was in ’08, 2008, when I became the CEO of Carlson Companies. So, I moved there from Paris, France to Minneapolis, Minnesota. And I love France. I think it’s a great country. I love the U.S. What I love about the U.S. is that since Jefferson, we’ve been optimistic. It’s been the dream of a better life and it’s this optimism. Let me tell you, in France, you talk about a problem that has never been solved. People will say, well, who are you to talk about it. Nobody has been able to solve it, right. But in the U.S., if a problem has never been solved, immediately, your friends is like, this is interesting, let’s see whether we can solve it. I love this optimism in this great country and I’m now a dual citizen, Barry. RITHOLTZ: Very — really, really interesting. So, let’s talk a little bit about how one becomes a good CEO. Is it effectively on-the-job training or is it a function of your experience and ability that makes you a great leader? JOLY: Yes. There’s the myth that you’re born a leader. I think that every leader was born, of course, but none of us were born leaders and I think it’s a learning journey. And for me, it’s been — yes, I’m learning by doing, learning on the job, learning from great mentors. One thing I learned the most about — with McKinsey was watching my client’s lead and I learned so much from a number of them. Learning from colleagues, at Best Buy, I learned so much from the frontliners and some of our great executives and then our coach. So, let’s slow down here. Can we agree, Barry, that exactly 100% of the top 100 tennis players in the world have a coach. RITHOLTZ: Sure. JOLY: I think the same is true for all of the NFL teams, all of the Champions League teams. What about us executives, right? And so, it’s interesting that now, for CEOs and senior executives have coaches much more popular. But 10 or 15 years ago, not so much. And I’ve benefited enormously, my first coach was the inimitable Marshall Goldsmith. I’ve learned a ton from him. He helped me deal with feedback and focus on getting better and asking for advice. And without Marshall, I would not be – it is infomercial before and after picture, it’s most improved. RITHOLTZ: Marshall Goldsmith was where? Was that at McKinsey or? JOLY: It was — the first time I worked with Marshall was in 2009. I had just became the CEO of Carlson Companies and my head of HR, Elizabeth Bastoni, told me, would you like to work with a coach and my first reaction was, am I doing anything wrong, is everything wrong with this? He said, no, no. I know Marshall, he helps in a great deal get better. His clients are – were, at that time, Alan Mullally of Ford and Jim Kim of the World Bank. I said, that’s cool, I want to be a member of that club. And Marshall was so helpful because when I was getting feedback, you do a 360 and you hear the goods and then you hear the other parts and my reaction initially was, what’s wrong with them, right? What are they talking about? And Marshall helped me — and the way he helped was — so, I did the 360. He gave me first all of the good things that people have said and says, spend the time to swallow this, digest this. And then the next day, he gave me the other stuff and he said, here’s the scoop, you don’t need to do anything with it, right? There’s no god that says that you need to get better at any of these things but you can — but you get to decide what you want to work on and get better at, right? And think about, so, here’s a question that we could ask, right, think about things that you’d like to get better at, right, and if you cannot think about anything, try humility, right, as a potential area. And then what Marshall made me do is talk to my team and said, thank you very much for all of the feedback you’ve given me and then based on what you said, I’m going to start to work on three things, number one, number two, number three, and I’m going to follow up with each of you to ask you for advice on how I can get better at these three things and then a few months from now, I’ll follow up to see how I’m doing. Now, believe me, Barry, first time I did this, this was excruciating pain having to admit to my team that I was not perfect. They knew it. They knew I was not perfect but having to say it out loud and then I wanted to get better at something. But this getting better at something makes it very positive. And then — so, later on, when I joined Best Buy, I repeated that signaling to every one of the executives that it was OK to want to get better at something. And so, later on, everybody at Best Buy had a coach and we were all helping out each other on getting better at our job, which is what I think you need to do. So, coaching — executive coaching plays a key role in my life. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And I recall seeing Marshall Goldsmith’s name on a book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” and a quick Google search shows me that like you, he also is a professor. He teaches at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and has quite an impressive CV. But I want to stick with the concept of coaching and mentors, what did you learn at McKinsey who helped you when you were there sort of develop into the CEO that you are today? JOLY: Yes. So, there was — for me, there were two phases, Barry, at McKinsey that we serve, before the partnership and then the partnership. So, in my first say six years as an associate and then a manager, I learned a lot about problem-solving, communications, serving functional matters and so forth. So, I could say I learned a bunch of technical skills. But when I became a partner, the opportunity I got was sit down next to the CEO of the clients, watch them do their thing and listen and learn from them and that makes me — I got a great deal, right, because they were paying us and I was learning from them, right? Couldn’t get a better deal than that. And so, I will always remember, there was a client in, Jean-Marie Descarpentries was the CEO of a computer company Honeywell Bull and this is the guy who told me that the purpose of the company is not to make money, right? It’s an outcome, right? In business, you have three imperatives. You have the people imperative, which are the right teams. We have the business imperatives, which are the customers or clients and then great products and services. And then there’s a financial imperative and, of course, you have to understand that excellence on the financial imperative is the result of excellence on the business imperative, which itself is the result of excellence on the people imperative. So, it’s people, business, finance and finance is an outcome. And by the way, it’s not the ultimate goal because if you think about a company as a human organization, a bunch of people working together, they’re probably in there to create something in the world, right, and we can dig into this but that was — and believe me that was 30 years before the BRT statement of 2019 that we said we need (ph) in August the second anniversary. And so then, it was — the practical implications around this is that when you do your monthly review with your team, start with people and organization. Don’t start with financial results. If you should start with financial result, you’re going to spend your entire time on financials and you want to understand what’s driving these results whereas if you start with people and organization, you have a chance to spend time on that, then business, customers, products and then the CFO will make sure that you’ll spend enough time on the financial results. So, for me, that was a game changer and I applied this throughout my career and you could say whether it was in videogames or in travel or hospitality or in Best Buy, this focus on people first and treating profit as an outcome was a big driver performance. And this has not smoked anything illegal when I say this, Barry. As you know, the share price of Best Buy went from beyond low, it was $11. Recently, it’s been between 110 and 120. So, time spent in nine years, that’s not bad. Maybe you could have done better, Barry, but it’s OK, I think. RITHOLTZ: No. I don’t think I could have done better than 10X and PES no longer illegal in New York. So, you could smoke whatever you like. We’re going to — by the way, those three steps that you just mentioned are right from the book and we’re going to talk a little more about the book in a few minutes. But before we get to that, I have one last question to ask you which has to do with the fact that Best Buy, you mentioned it’s up 10X, it’s a publicly-traded company. Before you were at Best Buy, you are also at a giant company but it was privately held. Tell us a little bit about what that transition was like having to answer to shareholders and Wall Street. How did you manage that? Very different experience from everybody I’ve spoken with over the years. JOLY: Yes. Barry, so, I’ve worked in a public company, Best Buy. I’ve worked in a family-owned company, this was Carlson Companies. I’ve worked in a partially private equity-owned company, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, one equity partner of JPMorgan with 45 different shareholders and frankly, I think it’s pretty much all the same. You have shareholders whether they are large entities like Fidelity or Wellington or it’s a private equity player or it’s a family, they have expectations and needs and, by the way, all of them are human beings, right, by the way and that’s focused on the high-intensity trading that all the longs and all the shorts, they are human beings, and I’ve had – even though I say profit is an outcome and is not the ultimate goal, shareholders, even in stakeholder capitalism, are very important stakeholders. They’re taking care of our retirement. So, we love them for that. And so, when I was a CEO of Best Buy, I so enjoyed spending time with our shareholders sharing with them what we’re doing, answering their questions, they’re smart. It was always taking things away and the key was pay attention, listen and then pay attention to the say/do ratio. Best Buy had lost its credibility because they were saying a lot but not doing much, right? So, with my wonderful CFO sharing the column with me, we’re going to say less and do more and that’s how we’re going to build our credibility and we would be very transparent, share our situation, the opportunities we saw, what we’re going to do, and then we update them in our progress. And so, I really enjoy the competition. But in many ways, Barry, I think public, private equity or a family is largely the same. It’s people, we have to respect them and take care of their needs. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Hubert Joly. He is the former Chairman and Chief Executive at Best Buy, a company that he helped turn around over the course of his tenure there. Let’s talk a little bit about that. If you would have asked me a decade ago what the future look like for Best Buy, I would have said they were toast that Amazon was going to eat their lunch and they were heading to the garbage pile. Tell us what the key was to turning the company around so successfully. JOLY: You’re, right. Everybody thought we’re going to die. There was zero buy recommendation on the start in 2012 and what I found as I was examining the opportunity to become the CEO because my first reaction when I was approached was this is crazy, right? This is the same reaction as you described. But what I found is that there was nothing wrong with the markets or the business outside. All of the problems were self-inflicted. In fact, the customers needed Best Buy because we needed a place where to see and touch and feel the products and ask questions. And the vendors ultimately needed Best Buy. They needed a place where to showcase their products, the fruit of their billions of dollars of R&D investments. The problems were self-inflicted. Prices were not competitive. The online shopping experience was terrible. Speed of shipping was bad. The customer experiences in the stores have deteriorated. The cost structure was bloated and, and, and. That’s great news because if a problem is self-inflicted, you can fix it. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: And so the first phase was all about fixing what was broken and the advice I had been getting, Barry, was cut, cut, cut. We’re going to have to close stores, cut headcounts. We did the opposite. All of the stores were profitable. So, frankly, there was no point of closing stores in a significant fashion. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: It was very — the first phase was a very people centric approach, listening to the frontliners. My first week on the job, I spent it in the store in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I think in France, we would say St. Cloud but over there it’s St. Cloud so there you go. And really listening to the frontliners, they had all of the answers about what needed to be done. And so, my job was pretty easy, it was do what they have to — what they said we needed to do like fix the website, make sure the prices were competitive and so forth. The second on the people centric approach, build the right team at the top and then instead of focusing on headcount reduction, focus on growing the top line by meeting the customer needs and fixing what was broken in the customer experience and treating headcount reduction really as a last resort. And then focus on mobilizing the team on what we need to do for the customers. That sounds soft but that was our opportunity and that’s what we need to do in the first two or three or four years. And then once we have saved the company, it was about how do we — where do we go from here, how — what kind of company do we want to build for the future. And that’s why we focused on designing our purpose as a company. We said we’re actually not a consumer electronics retailer. We are a company in the business of enriching life through technology by addressing key human needs, which we’ll talk more about this. But this was transported because it’s expanded our addressable market and have to mobilize everybody. And as a company, we have to work on making this come to life in all of our activities and really creating an environment where – I think the summary at that time was we unleashed human magic. We had a hundred thousand people plus, I think spring in their step, connecting would drive them in life with their job and doing magical things for customers. And frankly, Barry, I learned so much along the way and, again, all of this sound soft but go back to — we went from $11 to 110 or 120. That was the key. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. So, let’s talk a little bit about what you guys had done in the physical stores. The big threat to Best Buy was people showrooming, meaning showing up to look it up products and then buying it for a little cheaper at Amazon. How did you — and this is the line from the book, quote, “How did you kill showrooming and turned it into showcasing?” unquote. JOLY: Yes. So, everybody was talking about showrooming at that time. The frequenct was not that high actually but of course, it was incredibly frustrating for the blue shirt associates in our store to spend time with you, Barry, we love you but we spent 30 minutes with you answering all of your questions about the TV and then you buy it online. So, after 30 days at the company, we actually decided that we were going to take price off the table by lining up places with Amazon and giving the blue shirts the authority on the spot to match Amazon prices. And so, I took price off the table … RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: … and the customers, once they were in our stores, they were ours to lose. RITHOLTZ: Right. When you want to drive home with the TV in the back of the car instead of waiting a couple of days from it to come from Amazon, immediate gratification has to be a huge benefit you guys have as the physical store. JOLY: Exactly. And then, yes, of course, the (inaudible) but you’re still going to die because your cost structure is too high, it’s higher than Amazon or Walmart. So, we did take $2 billion of cost out. RITHOLTZ: Wow. JOLY: But the way we won in the end was we just had aha moment of, as I said, showcasing. If you are a Samsung or HP or Amazon and Google products, you need a place where to showcase your products, right, because you spend billions of dollars on R&D and if it’s just I’d say vignette on a website or box on a shelf, you’re not going to excite the customers. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: You need a place where to showcase your products. And so, we did deals. The first one was with Samsung where we had a meeting in December of 2012, Barry. J.K. Shin, the then CEO of Samsung Electronics came to visit us in Minneapolis in December of 2012 and over dinner, we did a deal where in a matter of months, you would have 1,000 Samsung stores within our stores where you could showcase these products. It was just across the aisle from — we already had an Apple store within the store and it was good for the customers because they could see the products, they could compare with Apple. It was good for Samsung, right, because the alternative for them first was to build 1,000 stores in the U.S., it takes time, it’s difficult, and. of course, we have this great location and great traffic. And good for us because it was part of our OPM strategy, other people’s money strategy, right, because there were some good economics for us. And so, that allowed us to offset the cost advantage in Walmart or Amazon we have and then over time, we did deal with all of the world’s foremost almost tech companies, including Amazon for crying out loud, and that was the game changer. And we look — if you look at our stores today, they are shiny because — we have all of these shiny objects and you can see and experience all of these products. So, that was really a game changer. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about both Samsung and Amazon. First, I’m always surprised that people don’t realize what a giant product company Samsung is. It’s not just phones but it’s phones, its TVs, it’s washers, dryers. I mean, Samsung basically anything in your house is a product that Samsung makes and not just entry-level washer, dryers or refrigerators. I think was it last year or two years ago, they bought Dacor, which is like a subzero, high-end manufacturer of kitchen appliances. So, when you set up the store within a store with Samsung, tell us about what that did and how did that impact Samsung’s sales at Best Buys? JOLY: Sure. Yes. I mean, you’re right to highlight this great company. The first deal we did with them was focused on phones and tablets and cameras. So, in a matter of months, they had these stores within our stores and it really put them on the map. It is I think — if you go back to the ’90s, Samsung was not the same company. They were really low end and the chairman at that time, so, the father of the current — of J.Y. Lee now, came to the U.S. and said, at some point, I want Best Buy to carry us and it would be the ultimate goal. And now, they’re one of our top five vendors, probably better than top five. And so, it really gives them the physical presence and to prove that it’s worth for them was then we did the same in the TV department and then in the appliance department. So, it’s been a series of wins for them. And once we have announced the deal with Samsung, other — we had similar conversation with Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, we had a conversation at CES and then two months later, we did the Microsoft stores within Best Buy and then it went on and on. And Tim Cook at Apple told me that he didn’t really like what we were doing, he understood it but he didn’t really like it and Apple has been a very important vendor to Best Buy. So, what we decided to do with them is do more. And so, it was stronger partnership. So, Best Buy is not simply carrying products and partners with the world’s foremost tech companies and with some of these companies and partners on product development, new product introduction and because there’s so much innovation that drives the business, it’s a critical role we play. We also partner in service, Best Buy sells AppleCare, an authorized Apple service provider. So, these partnerships really changed the game. And in the U.S., I think it’s not arrogant to say that Best Buy is the only player which these large companies can do these meaningful deals. So, it really changed the trajectory. RITHOLTZ: I have to ask you about the Geek Squad. Whose idea was that and how significant is it to the company? JOLY: Sure. Robert Stephens was a student at the University of Minnesota, was the — is the founder of Geek Squad in 1994. Very creative guy. The name itself is good — is cool, the logo and so forth, and then Best Buy acquired the company in 2002 when it was quite — still quite small and now, of course, it’s become really big, it’s 20,000 employees. And it’s the key elements of Best Buy’s differentiation because Best Buy is not just in the business of selling you something. We’re — our target customer — people who are excited about technology need technology but also need help with it. And so, with the Geek Squad and the blue shirts, we’re able to advise you when you’re looking at what to do but also help you implement in your home, helps you figure out if something is not working across, right? Of course, let’s take an example. If Netflix is not working tonight at your house, Barry, is it because of Netflix, is it piping to the home, is it the router, is it the streaming device, is it the TV, honey, what is it, right? And we’re honey, right, and we’re going to be able to help you across all of these vendors. And so, that’s a big differentiator for the company. So, really genius. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Hubert Joly. His new book is called, “The Heart of Business.” Let’s talk a little bit about writing a book which is quite an endeavor. What motivated you to sit down and say, sure, I’ll write a book? JOLY: Well, this is not a traditional field book. So, this is not a memoir. This is not about the story of the Best Buy turnaround per se. It was reflection, Barry, and it’s really been something I’ve been thinking about for the last 30 years that so much of what I’ve learned at business school, what McKinsey or the early years of my career is wrong, dated or incomplete. And when sit back today or in the last couple of years, even though I’m the eternal (ph) optimist, I have to say it out loud, the world as we know it is not working, right? We’re in this multifaceted crisis, you have, of course, the health crisis and economic crisis, suicidal issues, racial issues, environmental problems, geopolitical tension, it simply is not working. And what’s the definition of madness, right? It’s doing the same thing and hoping for different outcome. And for me, on my FBI’s most wanted list, is two people. One is Milton Friedman, shareholder primacy, and two is Bob McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense and executive at Ford who’s the — almost the inventor top-down scientific management. These approaches don’t work and I think they got us in trouble and there’s a growing number of us, right, and certainly, I’m not the only one, who believe that there’s a better formula that business can be a force for good that — it’s the idea that business should pursue a noble purpose and take care of all of the stakeholders that you put people at the center. You embrace all stakeholders in some kind of declaration of future dependents. There’s no need to choose between employees and customers and shareholders. It’s by taking care of customers and employees and the community that generate great returns for shareholders. We treat profit as an outcome and this formula, people call it stakeholder capitalism or purposeful leadership, I think everybody now talks about it and embrace it, most people. There’s still a few who don’t agree. But the challenge then is how do you do this, how do you make this happen and, Barry, I felt that with my experience and the credibility of the Best Buy turnaround, I could add my voice and my energy to call this necessary foundation of business and capitalism around purpose and humanity and provide like a guide for any leader at any level frankly who is keen to move in that direction but like the rest of us, we would help. And so, that was the genesis of the book and the subtitle of the book is leadership principles, right, for the next era of capitalism and the book is full of very concrete examples and stories and illustrations. There’s questions at the end of each chapter that people can use to reflect and act at their company. So, that’s the book. RITHOLTZ: Speaking of the book, it got a terrific review from all — of all people, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. How did that come about, how did Bezos give you a review and what’s the relationship like between Best Buy and Amazon these days? JOLY: Sure. Best Buys has always sold Amazon products because we think about Amazon as the retailer, of course, as a cloud company but Amazon is also a product company, right? They have the Kindle and, of course, all of their Echo products. And Best Buy have always sold Amazon’s products in the stores. Other retailers say it otherwise but we felt these were great products and we’re here to serve customers. I got to know Jeff firstly through the business council. Both of us were members there on the executive committee and once, I was invited to discuss our turnaround and how we had approached that transformation and Jeff was in the first row and being very kind. But then we did this significant partnership where I think it was in 2018. Amazon gave Best Buy exclusive rights to Fire TV platform, which is their smart TV platform, to be embedded into smart TVs. So, any smart TV with the Fire TV embedded in it, Best Buy is going to control that. It’s only going to be sold at Best Buy or by Best Buy and Amazon. And when we did the announcement for this deal, we did it in a store in Beverly, Washington, and Jeff came and we had some media there and Jeff said, TV is a considerate purchase. You got to see the TV. Best Buy is the best place in the world we you can do this. That’s why we’re doing the partnership and we built this stress-based relationship. And, of course, the media was — this was a jaw-dropping moment and Jeff is a very generous man. It’s interesting because it raises another question which is how do you think about competition. As you lead a company, do you obsess about competition or do you obsess about your customers and what you can become. And that’s one of the things that Jeff and and I share which is you obsess about your customers and becoming the best version of yourself you can be. Of course, at Best Buy, we look at Amazon. We wanted to — actually, in the sense, we neutralize them, right, because same prices, same great shopping experience and we ship as fast as they do. So, let’s call it a draw on the online business and then we have unique asset. And so, you’re not obsessed about your competition. In fact, in some cases, you partner with them and I think the world — other than the COVID pandemic, there’s another pandemic in the world which is the fear or the obsession about zero-sum games. The only way that Amazon could win is if Best Buy loses or vice versa. The only way this podcast can be successful, Barry, is if you win and I lose. That’s crazy, right? You get to collaborate and create great outcomes and I think in this world as leaders, we have to think about how we can create when win, win, win outcomes for our customers, our employees, our vendors, the community and ultimately, their shareholders. RITHOLTZ: And to put some flesh on those bones, some numbers on it, in 2007, before the financial crisis, Best Buy had done about $35 billion in revenue. In 2020, they were somewhere in the neighborhood of 47 billion and this year, I think the company is looking for an excess of 50 billion. So, clearly, that’s been heading in the right direction. Let’s talk a little bit about your experience on other boards. You’re in the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson and you’re on the board of directors at Ralph Lauren. What have you learned from those firms that were applicable to Best Buy and what do you bring to the table for those companies? JOLY: Yes. So, I joined — the first board I joined was Ralph Lauren in 2009 and I was the CEO of Carlson Companies, which was Carlson Wagonlit Travel, TGI Fridays and then a bunch of hotels, Regent and Radisson. The reason why I was interested in joining another board was to try to become a better CEO in the relationship with my board and sitting on somebody else’s board, you can see the needs of the board and then you can see how the CEO and their team are dealing with you. So, that was a great experience because when you become CEO and you deal with the board, you have zero experience, right, dealing with the board. So, that’s one of the things you learn on the job. So, that was a great way for me to learn. And these two companies, J&J and Ralph Lauren, they’re two amazing companies. J&J, I joined recently. I joined about 18 months ago. And so, watching Alex Gorsky and his team navigate the pandemic, their Credo-based approach. I mean, they’re the inventor of stakeholder capitalism before (inaudible), right, with their Credo that they created in 1943 that’s focused on all of the stakeholders. They’re one of the most innovative companies. So, they show the value of doing meaningful innovation for the benefit of, in their case, their patients. This is a wonderful entrepreneur. The company was founded in ’67 and it’s a great company, one of the most iconic brands on the planet. So, how do drive this and how do you balance left brain and right brain and, of course, enjoying cooperating with Patrice Louvet, the CEO, who is a terrific guy. And so, learning — I’m like a sponge, I love learning (ph) from others. What I bring, I would frame it along the lines of what I was looking for my board to do when I was CEO and I was not looking for the board to give me all of the answers and do my job, right? But I use the board — I wanted — I build a board that would give me complementary skills. So, I wanted to have the best people on the board that would have skills that would be additive to our management team and use the board as a sounding board to — I would get 80 percent of the value of the board meeting in preparation to the board meeting. And then getting reaction at the sounding board. When you are in the weed, sometimes, you’re missing something and then being able to access unique expertise from my board. So, what I try to bring on these boards is I try to be a resource for the management team, a sounding board, and helping them with their most important issues. I really enjoyed that. I’m in the state now where I started a new chapter as you highlighted, I’m no longer a CEO but it’s a matter of giving back and helping the next generation of leaders be the — become the best version of themselves they can be. So, I do that through boards and through executive education at Harvard Business School, also coach and mentor of a number of CEOs and executives. So, it’s — I just love doing that. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing now. Tell us about the class you’re teaching at Harvard. JOLY: So, on Monday, August 30th, that is the first day of school for the incoming MBA class. So, I’m one of the professors in the first year. I teach marketing, which is about — it’s focused really on how do you grow a company focusing on the customers. So, that’s one of the things I do. I’m also part of the faculty that’s — as a program for new CEOs. So, twice per year with a small bunch of new CEOs, I did this when I became CEO, that come here for three days and we try to help them out. I’m also part of the faculty that’s doing a program called Leading Global Businesses and last but not the least, I’m really passionate about this, we’re designing and we’re going to pilot program for companies and then also in the MBA program called Putting Purpose to Work and Unleashing Human Magic. So, many companies on this purpose journey today. And so, there’s going to be a series of workshops for the top 30 people, custom programs, one company at a time, and we’re going to try to support them in their journey. We’re doing our first pilot this fall and to look forward to learning from that experience. And I think we’re just in the early innings of that new era of capitalism. So, so much to learn. I’m super excited to be part of that journey with a number of companies. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. I have to ask you the obvious question, is your book a book you assigned to your students? What do you have them read? JOLY: So, HBS is a school where there’s really not, for the most part, mandatory reading of any books. So, I know that last year, before the book was established, my wonderful Section E from the MBA program, they all got a copy of the manuscript and they had great conversations, too. Sometimes, the book gets distributed to the participants of the executive education programs. But in the MBA, there’s little mandatory reading. It’s all about, as you know, the case study methodology, which is a wonderful way to learn because it’s hard to learn just from reading. Reading, I mean, I encourage people to read the books for sure but it’s by practicing that you really learned, right? So, that’s the HBS way. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. And one of the things that Bezos specifically mentioned was that he thought your turnarounds at Best Buy was going on eventually become a Harvard Business School case study. What are your thoughts on that? JOLY: Well, we’re actually working on that with Professor Gupta and it’s going to be taught for the first time. This is going to be fun, right? It’s going to be the last case of the marketing class in December. And so, of course, in my section, it’s going to be ironic. I’m going to be Professor Joly and I’m going to be one of the protagonists. There’s been other cases on Best Buy but this one is going to be much on the turnaround and transformation. So, that’s going to be fun. I’ve also taught it — we’ve also taught it in some of the executive education programs. So, Jeff – I know Jeff is right, there’s a Best Buy case now at Harvard Business School. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite interesting. So, you mentioned purposeful leadership. Let’s delve into that a little bit. How does one become a purposeful leader who’s focused on creating the sort of environment where others can flourish and perform at their best? JOLY: Yes. This is, for me, such an important information and I grew up believing that as the leader, what was important was to be smart, right, where I went to school and to — some of the best schools and in the early years of my career, this is the left brain would highlight being the smartest person in the room. I’ve learned over the years that this is not what drives great outcome over time. I had an entire reflection and we slowed down. One of the things that is important to do is reflect on why do we work. Is work markedly a mixed reputation, right? We work — is work a punishment because some dude send in paradise, right, or is work something we do so that we can do something else that’s more fun or is work part of our fulfillment as a human being, part of our quest for meaning, right, to talk about Victor Frankl. And one of the things that I really invite myself to do and every leader to do is reflect on this. What’s going to be the meaning of my life professionally? How do I want to be remembered? One of the things we ask the CEOs to do in the CEO program in Harvard is write your retirement speech or with my wife when I — when we coach or mentor CEOs, we ask them to write their eulogy. What would you like other people to say on that day when you’re not here to listen? And I think this is so meaningful because people talk about the purpose of the corporation. I think it starts with our individual purpose, right, because motivation is intrinsic, right? And so, how can you lead others if you cannot lead your life and yourself? For me, that’s the beginning. And very practical, one of the turning points in our journey at Best buy, Barry, was every quarter, we would get together as an executive team for an offsite and one day, I asked every one of the executive team members to come to the offsite with a picture of themselves when they were little, maybe two or three years old. We got some really cute pictures, Barry, I can tell you that and over dinner, we spent the evening sharing with each other our life story and what drives us in life, what’s the meaning of our life. And what came out of that discussion, several things, one is we realized that all of us were human beings, not just a CFO or CMO or CHO, and that, with a couple of exceptions, all of us had the same kind of goals in life, which is it is the golden rule, do something good to other people. And that was transformational because we said, well, we’re the executive team of Best Buy. At that time, Best Buy — we had saved Best Buy and it was — where do we go from here? Why don’t we use Best Buy as a platform to do something good in the world and become a company that customers are going to love, employees are going to love, community is going to love and, of course, shareholders are going to continue to love. And so, there’s a similar idea in my mind which is connecting what drives us as individuals with the purpose of the company and the thing for companies that are embarked on the purpose journey, they write down their purpose but if they just try to cascade it down and communicate it to everybody and say, why don’t you — why aren’t you excited about this new purpose, right, it doesn’t work. We really have to start with what drives every individual and the company and then you realize that, yes, what is your role. So, in the book, I talked about the five Bs of purposeful leadership. The first B is be clear about your — what we are talking about, be clear about your own purpose, be clear about the purpose of people around you and how it connects with what you’re doing at the company. The second one is be clear about your role as a leader. It’s not to be the smartest person in the room but to create the environment in which others can be the best version of themselves. And, of course, if you’re leading a significant company and Best buy has more than 100,000 people, the only thing that happens is the thing that you decide that you come up with, you know it’s going to go far, right? So, it’s all about creating this environment which is significant mind shift. It’s also about — yes, Barry? RITHOLTZ: I was going to say, I’m struck by your comments and this comes through the book about showing vulnerability, inspiring people, embracing your humanity. I think back to the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, whose nickname was Neutron Jack for how frequently he would lay off people and close divisions and fire other executives. When you were putting your philosophy to work at Best Buy, were you aware that this is a radical break from what had come before you? JOLY: Yes. And to quote — so, to go back to France in 1789, at the moment of the Storming of Bastille, there is Louis XVI asked La Rochefoucauld, is this a revolt, and La Rochefoucauld’s response says, no, sire, this is a revolution. And I think that’s what it is and it’s really shifting things. People are not the problem. They’re the source and they’re also the ultimate goal. And I think that most people agree with this, Barry, the challenge is not agreeing with this now, I think it’s really doing it and it’s — I can speak from experience. If you were to look at my face, you would see all of these scars on my face. Learning from experience and trying to get better at this is a lifelong journey of learning to be vulnerable. I was raised — being taught that I — you couldn’t say I don’t know and now, in the world we live, did you have a manual for the COVID pandemic, did you have a manual for back-to-the-office, Barry? No. So, it’s clear that we don’t know. So, we have to be able to say my name is Hubert and I need help and we’re going to work together to figure it out. So, there’s a C change in leadership, meaning from a place of purpose and with humanity and a great deal of humility. RITHOLTZ: So, I want to talk about the pandemic in a moment. I want to stick with this revolution that you mentioned. There’s a quote from the book that I really like, quote, “The Milton Friedman version of capitalism got us here. But now, this model is failing.” Explain to us how it got us here, why it’s failing now and what comes next. JOLY: I used this to highlight the idea which mainly has been Milton Friedman’s, only I get was the context when he spoke. But the obsession with profits being the only thing that matters is proven to be poisonous and excessive focus on profit is poisonous and there’s several reasons for this. One is when we look at the reported profit of the company — by the way, if anybody believes that U.S. GAAP really tries to equate economic performance, study your accounting again, it’s not even trying, it’s a set of principles. There’s many things that GAAP profit does not capture, including your negative impact on the environment or how well your sales force is trained. The other thing is that it focuses on an outcome. So, in medicine, the (inaudible) analogous is my MD was focused on my temperature, right, and I don’t want a doctor that’s purely focused on my temperature because maybe he’s going to put the thermometer in the fridge or in the oven, right, depending. I want somebody who’s going to be interested in what’s driving my health and try to help me get healthy. And so, we got confused by this obsession and that was (inaudible) and, of course, there’s extreme cases. Enron is one of them but — where we lost track of why we’re on this planet and responsibility with doing the right thing. So, this new model, the reinvention of business probably going back to some of our roots, right, with the idea that business is here to purse enabled (ph) purpose. And this is not about socialism, this is about doing something good in the world that could be responding to needs of customers in a way that’s responsible. It’s about putting people at the center embracing all of the stakeholders in a harmonious fashion, refusing zero-sum games and treating profit as an outcome. I think that’s the formula that’s employed by some of the best companies on the planet. And as leaders, we need to go back to that and to learn new things because we’re so influenced by some of the techniques we learned last century, including this top-down management approach and using it extensively. So, that’s something you’re going to learn over time. There’s research by the MIT that shows that financial incentive deteriorates performance, which is the opposite of what we’ve learned, right? But if you feed somebody with carrots and sticks, beware because you’re going to get a donkey, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: And in a world where you need creativity and people to be their best, motivation is going to be intrinsic. So, that’s what you need to be able to touch and get to the environment where people want to be their best and make a meaningful contribution in their work. So, I think this is a very exciting phase. This is an urgent phase because I’m concerned probably like you and many others that we have a few ticking timebombs and I have three wonderful granddaughters. I want to do my best to try to, quote-unquote, “make the planet” be a better world, right, than the current trajectory. RITHOLTZ: And this is very consistent, I have a fuller understanding of your philosophy that profit should be an outcome and not just the goal in and of itself. You’ve really put some meat on those bones. JOLY: Yes. Thank you, Barry, and there’s practical implications of that again and starting your monthly business meetings or even your board meetings with people and organization and then customers and business and then basically (ph) with with financial results. You should take care of the first two, the profits will follow. So, it’s a significant practical and philosophical transformation. Talking about quotes here, we quoted Milton Friedman, but I love this quote from the Lebanese prophet, Kahlil Gibran, who said that work is love made visible. RITHOLTZ: That’s a wonderful quote. And let’s talk a little bit about visibility of some of the changes you did. By the time you stepped down from the board of directors in June of last year, Best Buy’s board of 13 directors had, for the first time ever, a majority of women and three African-American directors. Tell us how you brought about this increase of diversity. What about diversity throughout the rest of the company and what was the impact of so much inclusion and a shift away from the older homogenous types of boards? JOLY: I think, Barry, it’s clear for every one of us today that having diversity is going to get to a better business outcome and I do believe that has there been Lehman brothers and sisters instead of Lehman brothers, we would have had a different outcome. But if you also take it a very practical fashion, in one of our stores in Chicago that’s in the Polish neighborhood, if the blue shirts don’t speak Polish, they’re not going to sell much. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: Or when we had Brazilian tourists in Orlando, the blue shirts didn’t speak Portuguese, they were not going to sell much. So, having diversity of every dimension, talent, skills, profiles, gender, race, the country’s color is changing very rapidly, it’s becoming black and brown, we have to represent — it’s very simple, we have to represent the diversity of the customers we serve. If we don’t, bad things happen. And so, there’s a business imperative, there’s also a moral imperative when we see the state of the country. So, from a gender standpoint, as I said, I have three granddaughters, I want them to have the best opportunities, and why would it make sense to only recruit from a quarter of the population, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: The board’s — I’ll say the board’s composition was a great place to focus now. It’s not the only one. When we rebuilt the board study in 2013, we want to have the best skills. We were determined to be diverse. So, we had an early focus on gender diversity and when I started to focus more on ethnic diversity, probably starting in 2016, 2017, I met — I had a great meeting with Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments and … RITHOLTZ: Sure. JOLY: … she’s now the Chair of Starbucks, everyone knows Mellody, she’s amazing, one of the things she told me is that people cannot be who they cannot see. And so, starting at the top and having a board that would signal the direction was important. So, what’s really — and changing the composition of the board is not that hard with only 10 or 12 or 13 people, how hard can it be? So, we told the headhunter don’t bother giving us resumes of non-black directors, right, and if you believe that you are unable to find great black candidates, well, say that’s OK, we won’t have a problem with that. We’ll just work with another firm. It’s not a problem. And so, we recruited three amazing directors and we got them on the board that they’ve concluded (ph) in this direction and I think it makes a huge difference. And, of course, Best Buy is headquartered in Minneapolis and following the killing — the murder of George Floyd, it’s pretty simple, if you — if the city is on fire, right, if the community is on fire, you just can’t open stores, right? You can’t run a business. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: So, in this country, we have this big racial issue that has been going on for centuries. I think generation has the opportunity to end systemic racism and that’s something we, I think, business can play a big role in this. So, that was determined and that’s what we did. RITHOLTZ: Let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all our guest starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days, give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime, what’s keeping you entertained during the pandemic? JOLY: I have so much electronic equipment in our place that I’m doing a lot of streaming. I love — I always listen to music. I’m a movie buff. I have a collection of probably 800 movies on my (inaudible) setup. Our favorite I would say recently has been “Good Doctor.” I think that’s Season 5, it’s starting at the end of September. We’re very excited about this. And then from a podcast standpoint, I like listening to HBR’s Idea Cast. That’s a weekly – a great weekly podcast. Whitney Johnson has a great leadership podcast called “Disrupt Yourself.” And then I have to mention, there’s a young teenager, well, teenager would be young anyway, right, but let’s call him a teenager, Logan Lin has got a FinanZe podcast that focused on the Z generation. My God, the guy is so cool. So, everybody joins and downloads FinanZe spelled F-I-N-A-N-Z-E and that’s Logan Lin. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. We hinted at some of your mentors but let’s jump into that in more depth. Tell us some of the people who helped to shape your career. JOLY: There’s so many, Barry. Jean-Marie Descarpentries, a client of mine, had this big influence on me teaching me so much about how to put people first and treating profits as an outcome. There were two great friends, yes, who happened to be monks in a religious congregation in the early ’90s. That was a turning point. They asked me to write a couple of articles with them on the theology and philosophy of work which is where I got a lot of my roots in terms of work as part of our search for meaning as individuals, as human beings. It changed my perspective on work. Another turning point, too, in my early 40s, you could say throughout the book, it was at the top of my first mountain, right, had been a partner at McKinsey & Company. I was on the executive team of Vivendi Universal, by many measures., I’ve been successful, right, except I think the top of that first mountain was very dry which was not fulfilling. There was no real meaning. So, I call it my midlife crisis, right? So, instead of going on to an island, I did — I stepped back and I did the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. So, you could say the founder of the Jesuits, of course. You could say he was one of my mentors that was really helpful to help me discern my calling in life, which today or since then has been to try to make a positive difference on people around me and use the platform I have to make a positive difference in the world which is what I’m doing now teaching and mentoring and so forth. And then we mentioned Marshall Goldsmith, my first coach and a good friend. Later on, I also worked with Eric Pliner at YSC. When the board — so, Marshall was doing my annual — having that board with my annual evaluation and the board realized that Marshall and I were such good friends and said, we need somebody more objective now. And we got Eric Pliner, who is now the CEO of YSC, worked with me but also his firm works with every one of our executives and helps us with executive team’s effectiveness and that was quite transformative. You should have spent more time earlier on not just on building the right team but enhancing our team effectiveness and I learned a lot working with Eric in that journey. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about everybody’s favorite question, tell us about some of your favorite books and what are you reading right now. JOLY: I read three books this summer. The first one is by Rakesh Khurana who’s now the President of Harvard College and it’s called “From Higher Aims to Hired Hands” which is the history — exactly for me, the history of business education in the U.S. over the last 120 years and how the business school curriculum were saved and how — and why he believes and I do believe as well that we need to evolve it not just learning techniques but also with — it’s not just about learning something or learning to do something, it’s also learning to be, which is I think an entire journey. I also read “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson and a book by my colleague, Tsedal Neeley, “Remote Work Revolution” which is, of course, a very timely book. Best book ever read, I have to mention Marcel Proust being French, “In Search of Lost Time.” It’s only 3,000 pages. So, if you have a minute or two, I encourage you to get to it. Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is another favorite. And you mentioned the Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” And finally, I have to mention my wife’s book called “Aligned: Becoming the Leader You’re Meant To Be” and her name is Hortense Le Gentil. It’s one of the best leadership books that I’ve ever read and, of course, a little bias maybe. RITHOLTZ: Maybe you’re a little bit bias. So, you work with grad students and college students, what sort of advice would you give to a recent college graduate who is interested in a career either as an executive or leadership or even in retail? JOLY: I think the advice is the same as we give the new CEOs is write your retirement speech or even better, write your eulogy. And I know my good friend John Donahoe, who’s now the CEO of Nike, did this when he graduated and he’s always kept it. And I understand he goes back to it every year and it’s hard. (Inaudible) between the ages of 26 and 34, early in your adult life, you don’t necessarily know everything but try to write it and see what journey you want to be on and how you want to be remembered. That would be one plot. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world’s of leadership and executive management today that you wish you knew a couple of decades ago when you were first getting started? JOLY: Well, there’s so much over the years. I think it has to do with profits being an outcome not the goal. It’s about importance of looking at drivers of performance. It’s about my role as a leader is not to be the smartest person in the room but to create the right environment. Not about being perfect. Nobody’s perfect. And I think the quest for — maybe I’ll finish with this, the quest for perfection can be very dangerous, can be evil, right, because if you’re trying to be perfect, guess what, you’re not going to be successful. You’re going to be incredibly demanding and harsh with people around you because you expect them to be perfect. And so, you have to be laxed and be kind with yourself and others around you and be able to open up and share what you are struggling with, understand what they’re struggling with and help each other out. That’s the — I think to me, that’s — it’s such an important consideration. The quest of perfection can be very dangerous. Be kind to yourself. During the pandemic, we learned so much, right? We used to fly around Barry, long time ago on planes, right, and we were told by the steward or the stewardess, if the oxygen mask comes down, put it on yourself first before you help others. So, as we continue to go through challenging time, taking care of yourself as a leader, making sure you meditate, you reflect, you exercise, you ask for help either from your personal board of directors, your best friends, that’s the key thing, that’s going to be the way that we can then help others. So, take care of yourself first. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. We have been speaking with Hubert Joly, former Chairman and CEO at Best Buy and currently a lecturer at Harvard Business School. Thank you, Hubert, for being so generous with your time. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out any of our previous 376 former discussions that we’ve had. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, Acast, wherever you feed your podcast fix. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads, you can find those at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @Ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack staff that helps put these conversations together each week, Charlie Vollmer is my audio engineer extraordinaire, Atika Valbrun is my project manager, Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my researcher. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio   ~~~   The post Transcript: Hubert Joly appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureSep 27th, 2021

Jan. 6 Prisoner Who Was Denied Cancer Treatment Now "In Dire Straits"

Jan. 6 Prisoner Who Was Denied Cancer Treatment Now 'In Dire Straits' Authored by Patricia Tolson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A Jan. 6 prisoner who was released by a federal judge after being denied cancer treatment for eight months is now “in dire straights,” according to his girlfriend. After a federal judge ordered his release and held jail staff in contempt of court, Jan. 6 defendant Chris Worrell receives the medical treatment that was denied to him while incarcerated for over eight months. (Courtesy of Trish Priller) On March 10, 2021, Chris Worrell was arrested and charged with alleged offenses related to his presence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. According to the March 10, 2021, criminal complaint, Worrell is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. According to the statement of facts (pdf), the FBI received a tip alleging that Worrell had participated in the breach at the Capitol, but there is no evidence that Worrell entered the Capitol building. The statement includes photos of Worrell spraying pepper gel while standing in a crowd outside the Capitol, with police nearby. An arrest warrant (pdf) was issued for Worrell on March 10, 2021, charging him with the aforementioned alleged offenses, as well as charges for allegedly engaging in acts of physical violence in a restricted building or grounds and obstruction of Congress. Priller’s Story Worrell’s girlfriend, Trish Priller, was also in Washington that day. In an exclusive interview with The Epoch Times, Priller shared her story of what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, and the disturbing events that have transpired over the subsequent 17 months. “We were just there,” Priller insisted. “We were there with family members and friends. We had some ladies in their 70s that were with us. The ladies wanted to go down and hear President Trump speak at the ellipse and I had never been to anything like that so I went with them.” As Priller explained, there was a large crowd there that day and once you were in a spot at the ellipse, you could not move out of it—even to go to the restroom—because you would never find your people again or be allowed back in through the crowd. They stood there for several hours, waiting to hear President Donald Trump speak. “I was at the ellipse with Chris and we were separated for seven and a half hours because the crowd was so enormous we couldn’t meet up with each other,” Priller recalled, adding that while the cell towers weren’t working and they couldn’t communicate by phone, they could get the occasional text “here and there.” Chris Worrell, a Jan. 6 defendant who was released from pretrial detention to undergo cancer treatment, is with his girlfriend Trish Priller. (Courtesy of Trish Priller) “I don’t know what he did during that time because we weren’t in the same area,” she said. Two months later, on March 11, Worrell and some of his friends headed off for a weekend canoeing trip in northern Florida. It was a Friday, and Priller was home alone when the FBI raided the house. “They flash banged me and held me at gunpoint,” Priller recalled. “When I went outside I had all of the lasers on me. They held me in my home for seven and a half hours. During that time they were rifling through everything in the house and I had to sit in a chair and watch them. I couldn’t go anywhere. If I wanted something to drink, they would bring it to me. When I had to go to the restroom I had to go with two agents with me into the bathroom. I was held prisoner in my home for all that time.” Five hours into the ordeal, Priller said she was allowed to call Worrell and give the phone to the FBI. The agents agreed that Worrell could come home. During the 3-hour drive back home, Worrell checked in about every 30 minutes to let the FBI know where he was, Priller said. When Worrell arrived, he was immediately handcuffed, searched, and brought into the house. Documents (pdf) show Worrell was taken to Fort Meyers, Florida. He was originally granted pretrial release on bond, but a second judge ordered a stay on Worrell’s release, and Worrell was instead transferred to Charlotte County, Florida, where he was held for three weeks. Worrell has a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, and had been managing the illness since he was diagnosed in 2007. He remained at stage one of the illness for several years. But Priller said that when Worrell was being held in Charlotte County, he didn’t have access to his medications during that time. “They wouldn’t allow the doctor to bring them in,” Priller asserted. “They said I should go get them, but you can’t do that. You can’t bring medicines into a prison. They won’t let you do that. So our doctor wrote a prescription and sent it to them and they didn’t process it. It took almost the whole three weeks. At that point he was transferred to Oklahoma by Con-Air, I guess, where he stayed for another couple of days, still with no meds.” As Priller explained, Worrell was then transferred to Northern Neck, Virginia, where he stayed for another couple of days. It was there that Worrell contracted the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. At the time, it was already known the facility had many COVID cases. Then he was transported to the Correctional Treatment Facility in Washington (pdf), referred to by Priller and many Jan. 6 prisoners as “the gulag.” At that point, Worrell had gone 75 days without his medications. “They basically said his physician wasn’t qualified, even though he had been in the practice and treated cancer patients,” Priller charged. “They didn’t feel like he was qualified so he continued on with no meds. They would send him to doctors for visits but they falsified that.” As Priller explained, Worrell would be taken from the prison and taken to the university hospital where he would see a doctor. The guards who went with him had paperwork they needed to have filled out, so the doctor would fill out the paperwork and hand it to the guards to return it to the prison where it was given to their medical team, she said. “The notes from the doctor were then transcribed by jail personnel, who fabricated things, changed notes switched it up and then gave it to the medical facility in the jail,” Priller asserted. “They kept using the word ‘treatment.’ But the word ‘treatment’ means you’re actually receiving some sort of medicine. He didn’t have any ‘treatment.’ He had a consultation, not a ‘treatment’ for his cancer.” Priller said Worrell Chris filed hundreds of grievances through the jail, not just for the lack of medical care for his cancer and broken hand but for the deplorable conditions he and other Jan. 6 prisoners were forced to live under. “They told him if he keeps putting in grievances they were going to put him in the hole,” Priller said. “and they did. They kept him there for 16 days.” As described by Liberty Nation, “the hole”—solitary confinement—is where detainees are allegedly sent to be punished for daring to talk to the media about what is really going on inside the prison. Lawyers John Pierce and Steven Metcalf II, who represent several of the defendants, told EpochTV’s “The Nation Speaks” that among the nearly people 500 arrested so far in connection with Jan. 6, more than 50 are being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, in conditions that are “unconstitutional” and violate “every single basic human right.” “Anything that they do, or if anybody speaks up on their behalf, all of a sudden, they get targeted even further and then get put into a dangerous, unsanitary condition,” Metcalf said. The Epoch Times has reached out to corrections officials in Charlotte County, Florida, and in Washington, requesting comment about these allegations. The Legal Fight On May 26, 2021, Worrell’s attorney filed a reply to the government’s supplemental brief pursuant to the district court’s order (pdf), stating that “the essential undisputed fact of this case is that Mr. Worrell has cutaneous follicular b-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and has been held by the Government without treatment for his white blood cell cancer for seventy-five days.” It further asserted that the government was intentionally refusing “to issue the prescription authorized by Dr. Rucker, a licensed medical doctor in the state of Florida” and has “failed to issue an alternative medication.” On Sept. 24, 2021, Worrell’s attorney John Pierce was replaced by Alex Stavrou. As the second attorney, Stavrou noted the numerous prior steps taken to seek conditions of release for Worrell. “Of course, from a legal perspective,” Stavrou told The Epoch Times in an exclusive interview, “the government and the courts were extremely reluctant to grant any of those conditions and I think that’s pretty evident by the fact you can see the number of individuals who are still incarcerated in various jails across the country waiting to be sent to the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Virginia or the Washington D.C. jail. Mr. Worrell, of course, received what could be argued as horrendous medical care while at the jail, and there were numerous attempts to thwart that medical care or to thwart the physicians of Mr. Worrell in regards to what treatment was needed.” Aside from the cancer, one of the biggest issues Stavrou cited in Worrell’s case was the fact that his hand was broken while in jail and there was a surgical recommendation in writing. While jail officials tried to argue that they never recommended surgery, it had been in writing and the doctor changed his original position, saying he never recommended surgery. “Of course, there was no follow-up care for several months,” Stavrou said (pdf). “And at the end of the day, the judge was not overly impressed with the overall care that Mr. Worrell was not receiving and then started to force the issue, which culminated with Chris receiving conditions of release.” More importantly, Stavrou said what came out of Worrell’s plight was the exposure of “borderline medical malpractice” and caused the judge to order an inspection regarding the conditions inside the jail. “The long and short of it was, not only were these conditions subhuman in the Jan. 6 pods but they were equally and even more so in other parts of the jail,” Stavrou asserted. Stavrou described how there was rampant availability of drugs, primarily marijuana. While they knew inmates were buying drugs, they could only be coming in through staff. Jail staff would also allegedly turn off the water in the Jan. 6 pods for days at a time. “Without water, you can’t flush a toilet,” Stavrou noted. “You can’t have drinking water. You can’t bathe. So you can imagine the beyond-subhuman conditions when in an 8-by-10 or a 6-by-6 [foot] cell. The smell of unflushed, clogged toilets and the smell of marijuana, fecal matter, urine and unbathed, unshaved gentlemen. These are completely atrocious conditions, especially in a country that supposedly prides itself on human rights.” In response to the repeated complaints and reports regarding the deplorable “subhuman” conditions at the Washington jail, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia “directed the Clerk of the Court to transmit the civil contempt order to the Attorney General for appropriate inquiry into potential civil rights violations of January 6 defendants, as exemplified in this case.” (pdf) The judge also held the prison warden and the director of the D.C. Department of Corrections in contempt for failure to promptly produce Worrell’s medical records On Nov. 3, a statement by the U.S. Marshals Service (pdf) said that their inspection of the Central Treatment Facility (CTF)—where some of the Jan. 6 prisoners are being held—”did not identify conditions that would necessitate the transfer of inmates from that facility.” However, the U.S. Marshals did admit that “based on the results of the unannounced inspection” of the Central Detention Facility, where an additional 400 detainees were held in the custody of the United States Marshals Service (USMS), it was determined “that conditions there do not meet the minimum standards of confinement as prescribed by the Federal Performance-Based Detention Standards. Therefore, working with the Lewisburg Bureau of Prisons, the USMS agreed to transfer those detainees to United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.” Stavrou said he would argue that the conditions and treatment of inmates was being swept under the rug and that the “same kind of nonsense” was still taking place. “While they may have cleaned up the deplorable conditions, now they will do things like claim the internet is down for two to five days so the inmates can’t communicate with loved ones through email messages or there is something wrong with the phones. So now there are gentlemen in the prison who haven’t received release who can’t get in touch with their families.” It was further noted in the U.S. Marshals’ statement that “the Lewisburg Bureau of Prisons facility provides attorney and visitor areas, medical care, and video teleconferencing capabilities.” When Worrel was released from prison, he hadn’t had any medications for eight months. At that point, he had gone from stage one cancer to stage three. The Fight for His Life “Chris just finished five rounds of chemotherapy and has a follow-up appointment in July for further diagnostic tests,” Priller said, noting that some of his symptoms are already returning. “His medical condition has deteriorated dramatically. His teeth, his skin, so many issues that could have been prevented. Chris is in dire straights.” Trish Priller sits with her boyfriend, Jan. 6 defendant Chris Worrell, while he goes through chemotherapy for cutaneous follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. (Courtesy of Trish Priller) As Priller explained, Worrell now needs multiple surgeries on his mouth and teeth due to radiation treatments “and further complications due to the fact he was using a very specific type of toothpaste that he could not get while incarcerated.” The cost is estimated at about $30,000. Then there is the additional chemotherapy to treat the returning symptoms. For that, he will need at least another $50,000. There is a GiveSendGo account to raise money for Worrell’s treatment. In the meantime, Priller said their daily lives are stressed with the constant threat of another visit from the government. “The marshals and pretrial services can just show up any time they want and do a search,” Priller said, “and they do, and you have to let them in. They’re looking to violate you, to see what you’ve done wrong. We have parameters, we have to call in every single day. There’s a lot of rules we have to follow. We have to submit a weekly schedule and call in every Tuesday.” She described how there was one instance where she was on the phone with the pretrial officer trying to get their schedule filed on time. Shortly after, the pretrial service officer filed an order (pdf) claiming Worrell violated the conditions of his conditions of release “because he heard keystrokes,” Priller said. Stavrou filed a response (pdf) explaining that it was Priller typing in an effort to submit the weekly schedule on time while “on the phone simultaneously with Pre-trial services Officer Tad Parks.” Judge Royce Lamberth accepted the explanation (pdf). “I’m being watched and monitored and I wasn’t even the one arrested,” Priller said. “So I am basically imprisoned also.” Tyler Durden Tue, 06/14/2022 - 08:44.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 14th, 2022

Escobar: Sit Back & Watch Europe Commit Suicide

Escobar: Sit Back & Watch Europe Commit Suicide Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Cradle, If the US goal is to crush Russia's economy with sanctions and isolation, why is Europe in an economic free fall instead? The stunning spectacle of the EU committing slow motion hara-kiri is something for the ages... Like a cheap Kurosawa remake the movie is actually about the Empire of Lies-detonated demolition of the EU, complete with subsequent rerouting of some key Russian commodities exports to the US at the expense of the Europeans. It helps to have a 5th columnist actress strategically placed, in this case astonishingly incompetent European Commission head Ursula von der Lugen, with a brand new vociferous announcement of an extra sanctions package: Russian ships banned from EU ports; road transportation companies from Russia and Belarus prohibited from entering the EU; no more coal imports (over 4.4 billion euros a year). That translates in practice into the Empire of Lies shaking down its wealthiest – Western – clients/puppets. Russia of course is too powerful militarily. The Empire badly needs some of its key exports – especially minerals. Mission Accomplished in this case amounts to nudging the EU into imposing more and more sanctions and willfully collapsing their national economies, allowing the US to scoop everything up. Cue to the coming catastrophic economic consequences felt by Europeans in their daily life (but not by the wealthiest 5%): inflation devouring salaries and savings; next winter energy bills packing a mean punch; products disappearing from supermarkets; holiday bookings almost frozen; Le Petit Roi Macron in France – maybe up to a nasty electoral surprise – announcing “food stamps like in WWII are possible”. We have Germany facing the returning ghost of Weimar hyperinflation; BlackRock President Rob Kapito saying, in Texas, “for the first time, this generation is going to go into a store and not be able to get what they want”; farmers in Africa not able to afford fertilizer at all this year, reducing agricultural production by an amount capable of feeding 100 million people. Zoltan Poszar, former NY Fed and US Treasury guru, current Credit Suisse grand vizir, has been on a streak, stressing how commodity reserves – and here Russia is unrivaled – will be an essential feature of what he calls Bretton Woods III (yet, in fact, what’s being designed by Russia, China, Iran and the Eurasia Economic Union is a post-Bretton Woods). Poszar remarks that wars, historically, are won by those who have more food and energy supplies, in the past to power horses and soldiers, today to feed soldiers and fuel tanks and fighter jets. China, incidentally, has amassed large stocks of virtually everything. Poszar notes how our current Bretton Woods II system has a deflationary impulse (globalization, open trade, just-in-time supply chains) while Bretton Woods III will provide an inflationary impulse (de-globalization, autarky, hoarding of raw materials) of supply chains and extra military spending to be able to protect what will remain of seaborne trade. The implications are of course overwhelming. What’s implicit, ominously, is that this state of affairs may even lead to WWIII. Rublegas or American LNG? The Valdai Club has conducted an essential expert discussion on what we at The Cradle have defined as Rublegas – the real geoeconomic game-changer at the heart of the post-petrodollar era. Alexander Losev, a member of the Russian Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, offered the contours of the Big Picture. But it was up to Alexey Gromov, Chief Energy Director of the Institute of Energy and Finance, to come up with crucial nitty gritty details. Russia so far was selling gas to Europe to the amount of 155 billion cubic meters a year. The EU rhetorically promises to get rid of it by 2027, and reduce supply by the end of 2022 by 100 billion cubic meters. Gromov asked “how”, and remarked, “any expert has no answer. Most of Russia’s natural gas is shipped over pipelines. This cannot simply be replaced by LNG.” The risible European answer has been “start saving”, as in “prepare to be worse off. Reduce the temperature in households”. Gromov noted how, in Russia, “22 to 25 degrees in winter is the norm. Europe is promoting 16 degrees as ‘healthy’, and wearing sweaters at night.” The EU won’t be able to get the gas it needs from Norway or Algeria (which is privileging domestic consumption). Azerbaijan would be able to provide at best 10 billion cubic meters a year, but “that will take 2 or 3 years” to happen. Gromov stressed how “there’s no surplus in the market today for US and Qatar LNG.” And how prices for Asian customers are always higher. The bottom line is that “by end of 2022, Europe won’t be able to significantly reduce” what is buys from Russia: “they might cut by 50 billion cubic meters, maximum.” And prices in the spot market will be higher – at least $1,300 per cubic meter. An important development is that “Russia changed the logistical supply chains to Asia already”. That applies for gas and oil as well: “You can impose sanctions if there’s a surplus in the market. Now there’s a shortage of at least 1.5 million barrels of oil a day. We’ll be sending our supplies to Asia – with a discount.” As it stands, Asia is already paying a premium, from 3 to 5 dollars more per barrel of oil. On oil shipments, Gromov also commented on the key issue of insurance: “Insurance premiums are higher. Before Ukraine, it was all based on the FOB system. Now buyers are saying ‘we don’t want to take the risk of taking your cargo to our ports’. So they are applying the CIF system, where the seller has to insure and transport the cargo. That of course impacts revenues.” An absolutely key issue for Russia is how to make the transition to China as its key gas customer. It’s all about Power of Siberia 2 – which will reach full capacity only in 2024. And first the interconnector through Mongolia must be built – “we need 3 years to build this pipeline” – so everything will be in place only around 2025. On the Yamal pipeline, “most of the gas goes to Asia. If the Europeans don’t buy anymore we can redirect.” And then there’s the Arctic LNG 2 – which is larger than Yamal: “the first phase should be finished soon, it’s 80% ready.” An extra problem may be posed by the Russian “Unfriendlies” in Asia: Japan and South Korea. LNG infrastructure produced in Russia still depends on foreign technologies. That’s what leads Gromov to note that, “the model of mobilization- based economy is not so good.” But that’s what Russia needs to deal with at least in the short to medium term. The positives are that the new paradigm will allow “more cooperation within the BRICS”; the expansion of the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC); and more interaction and integration with “Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iran”. Only in terms of Iran and Russia, swaps in the Caspian are already in the works, as Iran produces more than it needs, and is set to increase cooperation with Russia in the framework of the strenghtened strategic partnership. Hypersonic geoeconomics It was up to Chinese energy expert Fu Chengyu to offer a concise explanation of why the EU drive of replacing Russian gas with American LNG is, well, a pipe dream. Essentially the US offer is “too limited and too costly”. Fu Chengyu showed how a lengthy, tricky process depends on four contracts: between the gas developer and the LNG company; between the LNG company and the buyer company; between the LNG buyer and the cargo company (which builds vessels); and between the buyer and the end user. “Each contract”, he pointed out, “takes a long time to finish. Without all these signed contracts no party will invest – be it investment on infrastructure or gas field development.” So actual delivery of American LNG to Europe assumes all these interconnected resources are available – and moving like clockwork. Fu Chengyu’s verdict is stark: this EU obsession on ditching Russian gas will provoke “an impact on global economic growth, and recession. They are pushing their own people – and the world. In the energy sector, we will all be harmed.” It was quite enlightening to juxtapose the coming geoeconomic turbulence – the EU obsession in bypassing Russian gas and the onset of Rublegas – with the real reasons behind Operation Z in Ukraine, completely obscured by Western media psyops. So I submitted a few questions to a US Deep State old pro, now retired, and quite familiar with the inner workings of the old OSS, the CIA precursor, all the way to the neocon dementia. His answers were quite sobering. He started by pointing out, “the whole Ukraine issue is over hypersonic missiles that can reach Moscow in less than four minutes. The US wants them there, in Poland, Romania, Baltic States, Sweden, Finland. This is in direct violation of the agreements in 1991 that NATO will not expand in Eastern Europe. The US does not have hypersonic missiles now but should – in a year or two. This is an existential threat to Russia. So they had to go into the Ukraine to stop this.  Next will be Poland and Romania where launchers have been built in Romania and are being built in Poland.” From a completely different geopolitical perspective, what’s really telling is that his analysis happens to dovetail with Zoltan Poszar’s geoeconomics: “The US and NATO are totally belligerent. This presents a real danger to Russia. The idea that nuclear war is unthinkable is a myth. If you look at the firebombing of Tokyo against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, more people died in Tokyo than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These cities were rebuilt. The radiation goes away and life can restart. The difference between firebombing and nuclear bombing is only efficiency. NATO provocations are so extreme Russia had to place their nuclear missiles on standby alert. This is a gravely serious matter. But the US ignored it.” Tyler Durden Sat, 04/09/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

Citing Racial Discrimination, Black Leaders Target Roe v Wade

Citing Racial Discrimination, Black Leaders Target Roe v Wade Authored by Alex Newman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A major lawsuit on behalf of unborn black babies making its way through the courts in Alabama has legal abortion in the crosshairs, alleging that the abortion industry is deliberately targeting black Americans and other minorities. A pro-life activist holds a model fetus during a demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 29, 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) If successful, the attorneys and activists behind the case told The Epoch Times that it might ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court opinion that struck down state laws against abortion. Even if the case does not succeed in court, legal analysts and experts in the field say the implications for the court of public opinion are hard to overstate. The lawsuit was filed by pro-life leader Amie Beth Shaver, named Miss Alabama in 1994, on behalf of “Baby Q,” an African American baby in Alabama who was unborn when the case began. Baby Q represents all other similarly situated black babies in the womb across the state. According to the complaint, Baby Q and other members of the “class” are being unlawfully discriminated against and targeted for abortion by the industry. Abortion giant Planned Parenthood acknowledges its roots in the eugenics movement, but says it is working to rectify that legacy. “About 80 members of Baby Q’s class, which is African American babies in the womb, lose their lives in abortion every week in Alabama,” Sam McClure, the lead lawyer representing the babies, told The Epoch Times in a phone interview. “Enough is enough. This has to stop.” Several leaders involved in the case told The Epoch Times that Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry more broadly have a long history of racism and support for eugenics, the highly controversial idea that humanity should be “improved” by weeding out allegedly inferior genes from the population. “This case really boils down to the question of whether states have the right to prohibit eugenics abortion,” added McClure. Many of the black leaders involved in the case were also behind the Equality Proclamation, signed in 2020 on the 158th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, to shine the spotlight on what they describe as the systematic targeting of black babies. Why Alabama? Conservative Alabama is the best jurisdiction in America to wage this fight, McClure said. Thanks to a measure approved by around 60 percent of voters in 2018, Alabama has one of the strongest protections for the unborn in its state Constitution. It says the policy of the state is “to recognize and support the importance of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.” The Alabama Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized the personhood of unborn babies in other cases not directly involving abortion, McClure and other attorneys involved in the case told The Epoch Times. The Baby Q case also hinges on a state law known as the Human Life Protection Act, which makes committing an abortion a felony punishable by up to life in prison. Signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey in May of 2019, the measure bans all abortions in the state except to protect the health and life of the mother. That law is widely seen as one of the strongest in the nation prohibiting abortion. It is even stronger than the Mississippi statute currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case many legal experts on both sides of the debate believe could overturn or at least scale back Roe v. Wade. In October of 2019, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction against the Alabama law, arguing that it violates existing Supreme Court precedent. As a result, Ivey and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall have declined to enforce it, for now, as the U.S. Supreme Court once again takes up the issue of abortion. Legal filings and attorneys in the Baby Q case also point to the Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects unenumerated rights, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment providing for equal protection under the law. Finally, plaintiffs in the case cite the U.S. Constitution’s Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states or the people all powers not specifically surrendered to the federal government, as authorizing or even requiring state action in defense of the right to life. Intervening in the case on behalf of Baby Q are almost 50 state lawmakers and a supermajority of the state Senate, as well as dozens of black leaders from across America alleging that the abortion industry is targeting people based on race. State GOP leaders are also active on the issue, with the executive committee calling on all Republican officials to use every tool at their disposal to stop abortion in Alabama, including shutting down clinics. The Objective The Baby Q case, originally filed in October of 2020, is aimed at forcing the government “to protect preborn African-American children from discrimination and to ensure their equal protection under the law,” according to court filings. “The abortion industry has systematically targeted the African American community for extermination by abortion, and this history is undisputed,” said attorney McClure, citing historical evidence and even recent statements. Over 20 million black babies have been aborted in America so far, and are three to five times more likely to be aborted than white babies, continued McClure. This sort of racial targeting is clearly prohibited under state and federal law, he added. “In New York City, more black babies are killed in abortion than are born alive,” he continued. “In Alabama, black Americans make up 27 percent of the population, and yet they make up more than 60 percent of the abortion cases. Nobody can argue that this is not deliberate.” The plaintiffs in the case are asking the court to order Gov. Ivey to enforce the Human Life Protection Act and protect unborn children in the state from abortion and discrimination based on their race. Eventually, the goal is to completely overturn Roe v. Wade and restore protections for the unborn that the landmark Supreme Court case undermined nearly 50 years ago. Because equal protection and prohibitions on racial discrimination are so firmly established in American jurisprudence, the activists and attorneys behind the case believe it could be a game changer in the abortion debate. The next major milestone will come on April 20, when the judge will hold a hearing on the issue after more than a year of no action on it. “Finally, on April 20th, these African American babies are going to get their day in court,” said McClure. The previous hearing, which took place on Zoom, dealt with whether the case should be public. The abortion industry is seeking to keep it behind closed doors, but the state judge expressed a willingness to having it in the open. Attorney Brent Helms, who is representing the legislators seeking to intervene in the case, explained part of the rationale in a phone interview with The Epoch Times. “If the judge denies this case, that offers us the opportunity to get to the Alabama Supreme Court,” he said. “When the legislature looks at this case, Alabama’s law is more strict and says that the unborn child is a person with constitutional rights,” Helms continued. “Those rights cannot be denied without due process and equal protection.” Helms added: “That means the child’s right to life would supersede or at least compete with the mother’s alleged right to privacy, as the right to life is an enumerated right, while the mother’s privacy rights to obtain an abortion were discovered in the penumbras as opposed to actually being written down.” Regardless of how the state circuit court judge rules, the losing side is expected to immediately appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. The court is known as one of the nation’s more conservative state supreme courts. From there, it is practically certain that the losing side will appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Role of the US Supreme Court Numerous legal experts told The Epoch Times that the courts involved in the Alabama case may wait until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks before making any major decisions. However, the Mississippi statute only protects unborn babies after 15 weeks, while Alabama is seeking to protect them from the time of conception. The Baby Q case also deals with racial discrimination, while the Mississippi case does not. The plaintiffs and intervenors hope the apparent conflict between the Alabama State Supreme Court’s positions and the federal district court’s rulings will be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of protecting the right to life of the unborn in Alabama and beyond. McClure, the lead attorney for Baby Q, said justices from the Supreme Court have been leaving “breadcrumbs” in their opinions regarding what elements they would like to see in a major abortion case. In his concurring opinion issued in the case of Box v. Planned Parenthood, for example, Justice Clarence Thomas raised the issue of racial targeting as an important component. “We think the type of case the U.S. Supreme Court wants to take on to return abortion issues back to the states involves eliminating the abortion industry’s history of racial targeting, a purely state law claim, and a reliance on the Ninth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” McClure said, noting that the Baby Q case had all of those. “Obviously, we care about all life in the womb, but this case in particular deals with the racial targeting of children of African descent and this is a key issue,” he added. The U.S. Supreme Court’s own 1973 ruling on abortion acknowledged that if the “suggestion of [a fetus’] personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] amendment.” The people of Alabama, as well as many medical and scientific experts, have concluded that unborn children are indeed persons, attorneys and leaders involved in the case said. Thus, under the reasoning in Roe v. Wade, the high court must act. The hope is that, through the courts, the abortion industry can be prevented from targeting unborn persons based on race, and eventually, state governments can regain the authority to protect all unborn lives, McClure said. Racism in Planned Parenthood and Abortion Dozens of prominent black leaders from across America are involved in the case, arguing that Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have been deliberately targeting the nation’s African American population and other minorities. It started at the very beginning with Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, black leaders told The Epoch Times. In her writings and her speeches to groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Sanger openly advocated for eugenics to control the reproduction of populations she believed were less desirable. Indeed, in 1939, Sanger launched the infamous “Negro Project” to pay and train black leaders to promote birth control and other measures in the black community. Eventually, when Alan Guttmacher took the helm of Sanger’s organization, abortion became a major element of the campaign, Georgia gubernatorial candidate and Baby Q intervenor Catherine Davis told The Epoch Times in a phone interview. After Guttmacher and his allies were able to get the Supreme Court to strike down state laws protecting the unborn, “Planned Parenthood established their abortion clinics primarily in communities of color across America,” Davis said. Among other evidence, she pointed to an investigation using 2010 Census data showing that about 80 percent of the organization’s abortion clinics were located in minority neighborhoods. Planned Parenthood would claim that their clinics are located where there is “the greatest need,” said Davis. “But if you look at their marketing, they are regularly targeting black Americans,” she added. “On Halloween they even tweeted out that it was safer for a black woman to have an abortion than to carry the baby to term. This is outrageous.” According to Davis and the dozens of other black leaders involved in the case, this is racist population control and eugenics. “The closest example of this is what Hitler did in Nazi Germany,” she added. “Look at Planned Parenthood: this is exactly what Hitler was doing to Jews, but Sanger’s program was more successful because they take care to disguise their agenda as ‘helping’ women and protecting their ‘right’ to abortion.” Another prominent leader involved in the case, Martin Luther King’s niece and pro-life leader Alveda King, called this battle “the civil rights issue of our time.” “No racial group in America has ever been more left out of societal protection nor suffered more deliberate discrimination, dehumanization, agonizing dismemberment, and death legally imposed upon them than black children,” said King. “The Baby Q case is a gauntlet,” King told The Epoch Times in an email. “Pray that the hammer of justice will rule in favor of life.” The controversial racial component of abortion was also highlighted nationally in the 2009 documentary “Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America,” which argued that the targeting of black Americans in abortion constitutes a genocide. Planned Parenthood Confesses, Data Speaks Too In recent years, as the Black Lives Matter movement gained prominence, almost 20 Planned Parenthood affiliates with operations across 3 out of 4 states have issued public admissions of racism within the organization. Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, for instance, condemned Planned Parenthood founder Sanger’s “racist legacy” while announcing that her name would be removed from its building. “There is overwhelming evidence for Sanger’s deep belief in eugenic ideology,” the group said. “Removing her name is an important step toward representing who we are as an organization and who we serve.” Planned Parenthood of Pacific Southwest, meanwhile, acknowledged “white supremacy of the past and present,” including “our own organization” and the “implicit bias” that it said still exists within Planned Parenthood today. “Planned Parenthood has been complicit in upholding systemic racism,” the group’s Illinois affiliate said. Similar statements confessing to “present participation in white supremacy” and acknowledging that Sanger’s “racist ideals” have “shaped Planned Parenthood today” were issued by numerous other affiliates. And yet the massive disparities continue, advocates say. According to a legal filing by black leaders in the Baby Q case citing state health statistics, 63 percent of the 7,538 “unborn children killed by abortion providers in Alabama” in 2019 were black. This shows abortion providers “intentionally target African American children,” the black leaders said in the legal filing. And this “violence” based on race would never be tolerated in any other context, they argued. Where the Case Goes Now Later this month, a hearing on the case will be held in state court in Alabama to hear arguments from the various parties involved. In its response to the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood Southeast asked the court to dismiss the case based on lack of jurisdiction and Baby Q supporters’ alleged failure to identify a claim where the court would be able to provide relief. Neither the national Planned Parenthood office nor the Southeast office responded to requests for comment from The Epoch Times on the allegations of racism or the ongoing litigation. The governor’s office is taking the same position as the abortion industry, urging the court to dismiss Baby Q’s case and refuse to allow legislators behind the Human Life Protection Act to intervene. Gov. Ivey’s office did not respond to requests for comment on why the governor has declined to enforce the Human Life Protection Act or why she is asking the court to dismiss the case. Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office also did not respond by press time. Colonel John Eidsmoe, a prominent constitutional scholar in Alabama who has worked closely with multiple state Supreme Court justices, told The Epoch Times that he did not anticipate a ruling by the Alabama courts until after the U.S. Supreme Court issues its opinion in the Mississippi case. That ruling is expected by this summer. “The general feeling is that the Supreme Court will uphold the Mississippi law, but it is not clear yet whether it will overturn or simply modify Roe v. Wade,” added Eidsmoe, a professor of Constitutional Law at Oak Brook College of Law & Government Policy as well as senior counsel for the Alabama-based Foundation for Moral Law. Alabama’s Supreme Court, he said, would likely want to wait for a favorable decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the Mississippi law before moving on this. Eidsmoe also believes that, with its current makeup, the U.S. Supreme Court would be likely to uphold Alabama’s law protecting the unborn as well. Potentially even more important than the legal issues is what this case could do in the court of public opinion, said Eidsmoe. If Americans broadly recognize the facts in the abortion controversy and especially the racial targeting, the political and cultural implications would be beyond profound. Multiple experts and leaders involved in the case told The Epoch Times that these may be the last days for Roe v. Wade, legal abortion, and racial targeting of minorities by the industry. The outcome of the Baby Q case may play a key role in that historic shift. Tyler Durden Wed, 04/06/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 6th, 2022

Florida Family Fighting For Ivermectin: Appeals Court Expedites Case

Florida Family Fighting For Ivermectin: Appeals Court Expedites Case Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Florida’s First District Court of Appeal has expedited the process to decide a lawsuit filed by the family of a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator at a Jacksonville hospital. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against taking ivermectin for COVID-19, because it is "horse medication." However, ivermectin packaged for human use (as shown here) has been widely prescribed for decades for a range of maladies, including for treatment of lice, other parasites and viruses. (Nanette Holt/The Epoch Times) Attorneys for Mayo Clinic Florida have until 10 a.m. Jan. 13 to respond to the appeal filed by the family of 70-year-old Daniel Pisano. Then the family’s attorneys will have until Jan. 14 to file additional arguments. At that time, a three-panel judge could be appointed to decide the case. Mayo Clinic has said Pisano, who has been on a ventilator 22 days, has a slim chance of survival. But an outside doctor, who is not affiliated with Mayo Clinic, testified in an emergency hearing Dec. 30 that there’s still a good chance to save him—although there’s no time to delay, the physician said. Chris and Lauren Pisano (R) were elated when his parents Daniel and Claudia decided to move from North Carolina to Florida in early December, and bought a lot where they planned to build a home nearby to be close to their only two grandsons. (Courtesy of Chris Pisano) In a desperate attempt to save their loved one, the Pisano family has begged Mayo Clinic to try a protocol widely used by independent physicians around the country and developed by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance. Mayo Clinic officials have refused and attorneys have fought the family’s wishes vigorously in court. Claudia Pisano, Daniel Pisano’s wife of 51 years, and their son, Chris, have power of attorney and legally have the right to ask for the treatment of their choice, their attorneys have argued. But Daniel Pisano is declining fast and running out of time, they say. The family’s trusted doctor, Dr. Eduardo Balbona of Jacksonville, testified that in order to save him the hospital must quickly allow treatment—with ivermectin and other drugs and supplements—he’s used to help dozens of critically ill COVID-19 patients recover. Being on the ventilator is doing harm to Pisano and other patients fighting COVID-19, Balbona testified. After considering the testimony in the three-hour hearing, Judge Marianne Aho, of Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit, denied the family’s plea to force Mayo Clinic doctors to step aside and let Balbona treat their dying loved one. Aho wrote, “An individual’s right to privacy is one of self-determination, the right to accept or refuse. It is not a right to demand a particular treatment. It is not a right to substitute one’s judgment as to which treatments must be made available by others. There is no right, constitutional or otherwise, of a patient to substitute one’s judgment for a medical professional.” The family disagrees saying the Florida Patient’s Bill of Rights gives them the right to choose between treatment options and they’ve offered to release Mayo Clinic from all liability in following through with that care. They filed an appeal Jan. 9. After Mayo Clinic submits a response by Jan. 13, attorneys for the family will have until 3 p.m. on Jan. 14 to add to their arguments. Meanwhile, on Jan. 12 Daniel Pisano clung to life in a drug-induced coma, on a ventilator, and on his sixth day of dialysis for kidneys that have shut down. Doctors monitoring his chart for the family through an online portal say his lab work suggests internal bleeding, says attorney Nick Whitney, of the AndersonGlenn law firm in Jacksonville. For days, Chris and Claudia Pisano have begged Mayo Clinic to do a CT scan to identify the cause of the bleeding. “Mayo has refused, saying the CT scan is not medically appropriate,” Whitney says. Mayo Clinic officials have not responded to requests for comment. Attorneys for the hospital have asked for their filings in the case be sealed from pubic view, citing privacy concerns. The Mayo Clinic logo at Mayo Clinic Square, Minneapolis, Minn., on June 24, 2018. (Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons) The family’s search to find a hospital able to take Daniel Pisano has led only to dead-ends, Whitney said. Still the Pisanos hope to continue raising money through donations to keep their legal fight going and to be able to pay$40,000 to $50,000 for air ambulance transport. As of Jan. 12, 142 donors had given more than $28,000 toward the effort. Since news of the case began spreading other families facing similar heartbreak have reached out to Whitney and to Jeff Childers, of Childers Law in Gainesville, another attorney on the Pisano legal team. And on Jan. 12, a patient was driving from Chicago to Florida to meet with Balbona. Whitney said it’s not easy for patients to find a doctor like Balbona willing to step up and make an alternative treatment plan for a patient hospitalized with COVID-19. And that’s the first step, he’s told those who have contacted him. Families desperate for help say they don’t know where to turn, he said. When they reach out for help through independent doctors, they’re told that the person can’t take on more cases, he added. “The bottleneck, in my opinion, is that physicians who are willing to do this are overwhelmed,” Whitney said. “There’s a need for intensive care physicians to come forward and say they’re willing to treat with ivermectin.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has posted strict warnings against using ivermectin to treat COVID-19. More than 90 peer-reviewed studies have been published, which supporters say demonstrates the drug’s efficacy at treating patients suffering from COVID-19. Claudia Pisano is fighting to try to save the life of her husband of 51 years, Daniel, by asking a judge to order Mayo Clinic to allow treatment with ivermectin. (Photo courtesy of Chris Pisano) Part of the frustration families face when they’re seeking alternative treatments for COVID-19 surrounds the Right to Try Act signed into law May 30, 2018. It gives patients access to some unapproved treatments, if they have been diagnosed with life-threatening diseases or conditions, have tried all approved treatment options, and are unable to participate in a clinical trial to access certain unapproved treatments, according to the FDA. But ivermectin and other drugs used as part of the FLCCC protocol for treating COVID-19 have already been approved by the FDA for some uses, so they don’t qualify to be used under the Right to Try Act. “Right to Try only applies to experimental medications,” says Childers. “It says nothing about FDA-approved meds like fluvoxamine, ivermectin, or hydroxychloroquine.” The Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit American academic medical center employing more than 4,500 physicians and scientists and 58,400 other staff members across campuses in Florida, Minnesota, and Arizona. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 21:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 13th, 2022

32 cool tech gifts for teens, from Bluetooth speakers to gaming controllers

Teens love tech, so we rounded up the best gadget gifts out there. From smart speakers to cameras and earbuds, there's something for everyone. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Amazon; Best Buy; Gilbert Espinoza/Business Insider We rounded up the best tech gifts for teens with something for every budget. From headphones to cameras, we have gift ideas for all interests. Shopping for someone else? Check out our best tech gifts for women and our best picks under $25. Teens are tough to shop for, but useful tech products can make great gifts for even the most difficult recipient. Whether the teen on your shopping list is into video games, photography, music, or fitness, there's a recommendation on this list for everyone. Our tech gifts also cover a variety of budgets, with some items costing less than $15.Here are the 32 best tech gifts for teens:A controller for mobile gamingAmazonRazer Kishi Mobile Game Controller for Android, available at Amazon, $55Smartphones can do it all these days, even serve as a full-on gaming device. The Razer Kishi connects to your phone through its charging port to add buttons and analog sticks for even better mobile gaming. It's a great gift for Fortnite, Genshin Impact, and other multi-platform titles — just make sure to check if they use Android or iPhone.Long, durable charging cablesAmazon10-foot iPhone Charger 5-pack, available at Amazon, $10Every iPhone owner of any age could use more charging cables. This set includes five 10-foot long cables, so your recipient can keep one in every room. Long cables like these are also super handy for when an outlet is inconveniently far away. A drawing tablet for digital art beginnersB&H PhotoWacom Intuos Creative Pen Tablet, available at B&H, $39.95Travel-sized, affordable, and versatile, this Wacom Intuos pen tablet makes a great gift for the aspiring digital artist in your life. It's suitable for both left- and right-handed users, and even comes with customizable ExpressKeys at the top. A subscription service with access to thousands of digital comic booksMarvelMarvel Unlimited, $10 a month or $70 a yearComixology Unlimited, $6 a monthIf your teen is a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or superheroes in general, you can give them access to thousands of comic books with a subscription to Marvel Unlimited. The digital service offers more than 29,000 comics, spanning from the classic origin stories of characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men, to recent comic book events like "Venom: King in Black." You can access Marvel Unlimited on iPhone, Android, iPad, and your web browser, and download books for offline viewing. If your teen is a more adventurous reader, you can get them a subscription to Comixology Unlimited, an Amazon owned comic reading service that features a wider range of content, including DC Comics like "Batman" and Image Comics like "The Walking Dead." Comixology Unlimited costs $6 a month making it cheaper than Marvel Unlimited, but it offers fewer complete series. Comixology Unlimited subscribers also receive up to 15% off Marvel, DC, Image, and Dark Horse comic book purchases, making it easier to build a personal collection.A customized gaming controllerThis is just a small selection of the colors available in the Xbox Design Lab.MicrosoftXbox design Lab Custom Controller, available at Microsoft, $69.99Microsoft's Xbox controller has a classic design and is compatible with a wide range of devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android products, Mac, and PC. But people might not be aware of Microsoft's Xbox Design Lab, which lets you customize the colors on every part of the controller and add a laser engraving. The custom controller will arrive within 28 days, usually taking about two weeks.If you're worried about choosing a design for your teen, you can give them an $80 Xbox gift card and let them choose between a custom design, or just buying a new game with the store credit.A webcam perfect for streaming your own videosLogitechLogitech c920x, available at Amazon, $59.99This webcam is one of the most recommended for people getting started with YouTube videos or Twitch livestreams, and it's become even more popular with professionals working from home.While lots of laptops come with built-in cameras, the Logitech c920 offers better video quality with resolutions up to 1080p, a wide viewing angle, streaming at 60 frames per second at 720p, and an adjustable base that can be easily attached to tripods and other stands.A streaming subscription for music loversAn Android smartphone with the Spotify Music logo visible on screen, alongside a pair of earphones.Olly Curtis/Future via Getty ImagesSpotify Premium Subscription, available at Spotify, $9.99 a monthTeens love listening to music, and streaming services offer unlimited access to their favorite tunes. Spotify offers a huge music library and is compatible with Apple, Android, and Windows devices.  The premium subscription gets rid of ads, allows  your teen  to download songs for offline listening, and lets them skip songs as they please. Plans start at $10 per month and are a great way to satisfy the music lover in your family.Wireless earbuds that easily pair with an iPhoneCrystal Cox/Business InsiderApple AirPods Pro,  available at Amazon, $189.99Apple's AirPods Pro offer a great way for your teen to listen to music, take calls, and tune out the world. These true wireless earbuds feature seamless pairing with Apple devices, active noise cancellation, and a transparency mode so they can still hear you when you remind them to do their homework. They come with three sizes of removable eartips for a perfect fit, and boast up to 24 hours of listening time with multiple charges in the included wireless charging case.A subscription that's like Netflix for video gamesMicrosoftXbox Game Pass Ultimate, $44.99 for 3 months Playstation Plus Subscription, $24.99 for 3 monthsWhy buy just one game when you can get dozens? That's the premise behind Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft's Netflix-style subscription gaming service.  Microsoft offers over 100 games, including blockbusters like "Grand Theft Auto V," "Destiny 2," and "FIFA 21" among many others.  Game Pass Ultimate isn't cheap – it costs around $40 for three months – but offers a tremendous value considering that one new game costs $60. For Playstation fans there's Playstation Plus, which is cheaper than Microsoft's service at $25 for three months, but offers far fewer games. Subscribers get access to a handful of titles each month that they can download and keep as long as they remain a member of the service.The service also comes with other perks like online gameplay and discounts. Which subscription you should get depends on the console your teen owns, but they'll appreciate either one.A gaming headset with audiophile-level soundAmazonSteelSeries Arctis Pro, available at Amazon, $133.06If you're going to get your PC gamer a gaming headset, you might as well invest in one that produces audiophile-level sound. That way, they can listen to music and watch movies without having to switch to a different pair of headphones.The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is a good choice for gamers who care about top-notch audio, as it comes with several input options, virtual surround sound, and a bass that can be pushed. Plus, teens will love the fact that they can customize its look with SteelSeries' range of headbands and ear cups.If you're willing to splurge, the $349.99 wireless version makes it easier for your teen to seamlessly transition between playing games on their PC and taking a call on their phone.An Instax printer to print all those selfies onAmazonFujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer, available at Amazon, $99.99Instant cameras are so yesterday! With most teens relying on their camera phones to take photos, a mobile photo printer that lets them print all those friend selfies saved on their phone on 1.81 x 2.44 Instax film is just what the fun doctor ordered. Pair that with the photo clip fairy string lights, and you might just inspire your teen to decorate and declutter their room to make it visitor-friendly.A unique electronic musical instrument that's big in JapanAmazonOtamatone Deluxe Electronic Musical Instrument, available at Amazon, $79.99Music is one of the biggest outlets teens turn to channel their creativity and angst, and this musical synthesizer lets your budding musician create music in a fun and quirky way. Pressing the middle part of the Otamatone and sliding your fingers up and down it will produce higher and lower tones while opening and closing its mouth creates a "wah" sound. It can even connect to speakers, amps, and (preferably to the rest of your household) headphones. A 3D pen with plastic refills in 15 different colorsFacebook3Doodler Create + 3D Printing Pen, available at Amazon, $79.99Today's 3D printers may be pricey, but that doesn't mean that your artistic teen can't enjoy and master the art. With this 3D pen, they can even do so in a more analog way, stirring their creativity and allowing them to appreciate the value of working with one's hands. Plug this pen into a wall outlet, load up the plastic color, and once the pen heats the plastic, your teen is ready to create. It comes with an app with interactive step-by-step instructions on custom art projects.A smartwatch that tracks activity and fitness goalsLisa Eadicicco/Business InsiderApple Watch SE, available at Amazon, $249Your athletic or health-conscious teen will definitely appreciate the Apple Watch SE. This smartwatch can do most of the things Apple's flagship smartwatch can, while keeping things more affordable. It's still on the pricey side, but it's worth it to keep teens on the healthy, active path. As for the fun factor, your teen can customize it with different faces, bands and memojis, as well as use it to play music and stay in touch with friends via iMessage, social media apps, and phone capabilities.Bluetooth trackers that keep your teen from losing their, well, everythingTileTile Limited Edition Bluetooth trackers, available at Tile, starting at $16.99You want to be able to entrust them with important things, from necessities like house and car keys to devices that cost money like laptops. But, let's face it: teenagers are basically bigger versions of kids, and they still tend to lose their stuff. This is why Tile's Bluetooth trackers are super handy. Attach one to their keys or wallet, connect it with their phone, and that's one last question you'll have to field. With their range of Limited Edition trackers that come in several fun designs, they'll be proud to show these off to friends.If your teen owns an iPhone, you can also consider purchasing AirTags, Apple's official tracking device that works with the Find My app. They're a bit more expensive than Tile trackers at $29 each, but offer more features for iPhone users. They also come with a free engraving for personalization.A handheld gaming system with multiplayer capabilitiesNintendoNintendo Switch Lite, available at Amazon, $199If you're on a limited budget (times have been tough, after all) but want to reward your teen with a handheld gaming console, you cannot go wrong with a Nintendo Switch Lite. This pocket-friendly device may not be able to connect to the TV, but it's got a few advantages over the standard Switch beyond the price. It plays all but a few of the same games while being more portable. And, for color-loving teens, it comes in three fun shades plus gray.A PC gaming controller with wireless connectivityAmazonLogitech Gamepad F310, available at Target, $17.59This is a must-have for any teen who enjoys PC and console gaming. With the Logitech Gamepad F310, they can play their favorite Steam and other PC games from the comfort of a couch without the need for a mouse or keyboard — partly thanks to the 6-foot long cable. This will give them better control and a more seamless gaming experience during long sessions as well. If your teen hasn't experienced PC gaming from the couch, this will be a game-changer.Affordable wireless earbudsBest BuyJLab Audio JBuds Air, available at Amazon, $23.43These true wireless earbuds don't boast the same feature set as Apple's AirPods but they do have Bluetooth 5.0, quality sound, a microphone for calls, and basic water resistance. The battery lasts for six hours, and the case holds an additional 18 hours of charge, giving them comparable battery life to AirPods.A drone with high-quality video capabilitiesAmazonDJI Mini SE, available at Amazon, $299Whether you've got a future influencer or a budding content creator in the family, you've got an ace gift in this mini drone from DJI. This is an impressive drone for the price point, with a battery life of 30 minutes and a camera touting great stabilization and 2.7K Quad HD video capability. This drone even has automatic motion presets and a smooth motion mode, allowing beginner videographers such as your teen to utilize pro-level shooting techniques effortlessly. Just remember to teach them proper drone etiquette before they let their new toy fly.Winter gloves with touchscreen-capable fingertipsAmazonAchiou Winter Knit Gloves, available at Amazon, from $9.99Teens aren't going to stop using their phones just because it's freezing outside. They need to stay in touch, and a lot of the time, they'll take off their gloves so they can rub and tap on a touchscreen. With these gloves, they can protect their digits while catching up on social media. And, at this price, you might want to buy a few pairs – and in different colors, if you want – for when they inevitably lose them.A portable Bluetooth speaker with a hardshell carrying caseAmazonJBL Flip 5 Portable Speaker, available at Amazon, $129.99Teens love blasting music away, and this speaker from JBL will let them do so wherever they are — including at the beach or even while floating in the pool. To keep things portable, it boasts up to 12 hours of playtime and comes with a gSport Deluxe Hardshell Case. Best of all, it features IPX7 waterproof protection so it can go in up to three feet of water. With this, they'll have something to look forward to next summer.A power bank with enough juice to charge a phone 2 timesAmazonAnker Portable Charger, available at Amazon, $22 It's not surprising for a teen to spend all day and night draining their phone's battery, but if their phone is frequently dying while they're out, consider buying them a portable charger to provide some extra juice on the go. Anker's PowerCore Slim portable charger holds more than two full charges for the latest iPhone, and should work with any USB device. If you're willing to spend a bit more, you can buy a portable battery with wireless charging, to eliminate the need for cords.A handheld gimbal for shooting cinematic videos with friendsAmazonZhiyun Smooth 4 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal, available at Amazon, $99Whether it's for shooting TikTok content to making full-fledged YouTube videos, a handheld gimbal will let your teen produce better, smoother-looking content. But, while many options out there will set you back more than $100, this gimbal from Zhiyun costs less, which makes it the perfect gift for teens. And, while most teens seem to be naturally tech savvy, this one is especially effortless to figure out, complete with different shooting modes and pro-level shooting techniques turned automated.A beanie with headphones that pair with their phoneAmazonSoundBot SB210 Bluetooth Smart Beanie Headset, available on Amazon, $19.99We all agree – beanies are some of the comfiest accessories out there. But, this nifty one from SoundBot takes it to a new level, with built-in speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and up to five hours of music listening. Now, your teen can stay warm and listen to music at the same time, without having to wear or carry two things at once. Best yet, it comes in several different colors, some even with poms, so you can get it in their favorite color or design.A smart light strip that changes colorsPhilipsPhilips Hue White & Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus, available at Philips-Hue, $79.99Fairy or string lights are among the top accessories teens love to decorate their rooms with, and Hue's light strip takes that to a new level with its smart light capabilities, ability to display 16 million colors, and Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility. It's terrific for sprucing up every teen's room, whether they're gamers, Bohemians, nature-lovers, or those with an eclectic taste. They can even change the colors depending on their mood, what they're into, or what they're currently doing.A subscription to the best audiobook serviceAmazonAudible Subscription, available at Amazon, $15 a monthGive teens the gift of knowledge with this audiobook subscription. This gives them an audiobook and two Audible originals each month. They will also get 30% off any other audiobooks they choose to buy, which they will own even after their subscription expires. This is an excellent solution for students who learn better by listening than reading.An alarm clock that doubles as a Bluetooth speakerAmazonAnker Soundcore Wakey Bluetooth Speakers with Alarm Clock, available at Amazon, $89.99This alarm clock is packed full of features. It pairs with your teen's phone via Bluetooth and plays audio from any of the apps, as well as FM radio or any combination of the 10 sleep-inducing ambient sounds. There are 10 different alarm sounds, and it wirelessly charges Qi-compatible devices as well.A Bluetooth speaker that teens can use in the showerAmazoniFox iF012 Bluetooth Shower Speaker, available at Amazon, $29.66Teens need to have their music everywhere at all times – that's right, even in the shower. Sure, the JBL Flip 5 mentioned above will work in the shower. For a quarter of the price, however, you can get your teen a dedicated shower speaker, one with a 33-foot range and up to 10 hours of battery life. iFox backs this with a 12-month, no-risk, money-back guarantee. What have you got to lose?A microphone that plugs into a USB portAmazonBlue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone, available at Amazon, $40We bet you haven't considered giving your teen a microphone before. It is a bit of an unconventional gift, but one that teens will love whether they have their own Twitch or YouTube channel, or produce their own podcast. It's an outstanding plug-and-play microphone solution that delivers crystal clear audio to your recordings, all while looking cool and retro.An action camera that will record their adventuresLes Shu/InsiderGoPro Hero 10 Black, available at B&H, $429.99Teens, especially active and adventurous ones, are always up to something new and exciting, whether it's taking an electric skateboard out for a spin or taking on the latest TikTok trends. And, a GoPro action camera will let them record those exploits with friends hands-free. This latest one is obviously the best with 5.3K Ultra HD recording, 23MP still images, and improved HyperSmooth stabilization.A smart speaker that helps keep them organizedAmazonEcho Dot (4th Gen), available at Amazon, $34.99 With the help of Alexa, this mini smart speaker is capable of doing a host of things, from playing your teen's favorite tunes on Spotify or Amazon Music to controlling other smart devices and setting reminders and schedules hands-free. It'll even tell jokes and play trivia games. Teens have a lot going on in their lives, and this gadget is among the best tools they can use to stay organized.A laptop with great durability and battery lifeAppleApple MacBook Air with Apple M1 Chip, available at Amazon, $949If you're looking to splurge on your kid, then the latest MacBook Air will go a long way. This thin and light 13-inch comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage, as well as Apple's M1 chip, should get them through daily homework, projects and papers, while letting them play games and enjoy some streaming post-school work. And, since Apple's laptops are practically built like a tank, you'll have the peace of mind that it'll survive some beatings.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Futures Tread Water With Traders Spooked By Spike In Yields

Futures Tread Water With Traders Spooked By Spike In Yields After futures rose to a new all time high during the Tuesday overnight session, the mood has been decided more muted after yesterday's sharp rates-driven tech selloff, and on Wednesday U.S. futures were mixed and Nasdaq contracts slumped as investors once again contemplated the effect of expected rate hikes on tech stocks with lofty valuations while waiting for the release of Federal Reserve minutes at 2pm today. At 730am, Nasdaq 100 futures traded 0.3% lower amid caution over the impact of higher yields on equity valuations, S&P 500 Index futures were down 0.1%, while Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge traded near a record high. The dollar weakened, as did bitcoin, while Brent crude rose back over $80. “The sharp rise in U.S. yields this week has sparked a move from growth to value,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific. “Wall Street went looking for the winners in an inflationary environment and as a result, loaded up on the Dow Jones at the expense of the Nasdaq.” Concerns related to the pandemic deepened as Hong Kong restricted dining-in, closed bars and gyms and banned flights from eight countries including the U.S. and the U.K. to slow the spread of the omicron variant. Meanwhile, a selloff in technology stocks extended to Asia, where the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbled as much as 4.2%, sending the gauge toward a six-year low. Traders are now caught in a quandary over deepening fears on global growth combined with a faster tightening by the Federal Reserve. “Earlier we thought that rate hikes wouldn’t be on the table until mid-2022 but the Fed seems to have worked up a consensus to taper faster and hike sooner rather than later,” Steve Englander, head of global G-10 FX research at Standard Chartered, said in a note. “But we don’t think inflation dynamics will support continued hiking. We suspect the biggest driver of asset markets will be when inflation and Covid fears begin to ebb.” Data on Tuesday showed mixed signs on U.S. inflation. Prices paid by manufacturers in December came in sharply lower than expected. However, figures showing a faster U.S. job quit rate added to concerns over wage inflation. With 4.5 million Americans leaving their jobs in November, compared with 10.6 million available positions, the odds increased the Fed will struggle to influence the employment numbers increasingly dictated by social reasons. The data came before Friday’s monthly report from the Labor Department, currently forecast to show 420,000 job additions in December. In premarket trading, tech giants Tesla, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices were among the worst performers. Pfizer advanced in New York premarket trading after BofA Global Research recommended the stock. Shares of Chinese companies listed in the U.S. extended their decline after Tencent cut its stake in gaming and e-commerce company Sea, triggering concerns of similar actions at other firms amid Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the technology sector. Alibaba (BABA US) falls 1.2%, Didi (DIDI US) -1.8%. Here are the other notable premarket movers: Shares in electric vehicle makers fall in U.S. premarket trading, set to extend Tuesday’s losses, amid signs of deepening competition in the sector. Tesla (TSLA US) slips 1.1%, Rivian (RIVN US) -0.6%. Beyond Meat (BYND US) shares jump 8.9% premarket following a CNBC report that Yum! Brands’ KFC will launch fried chicken made with the company’s meat substitute. Recent selloff in Pinterest (PINS US) shares presents an attractive risk/reward, with opportunities for the social media company largely unchanged, Piper Sandler writes in note as it upgrades to overweight. Stock gains 2.3% in premarket trading. Senseonics Holdings (SENS US) shares rise 15% premarket after the medical technology company said it expects a U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision in weeks on an updated diabetes- monitoring system. MillerKnoll (MLKN US) shares were down 3.1% in postmarket trading Tuesday after reporting fiscal 2Q top and bottom line results that missed analysts’ estimates. Annexon (ANNX US) was down 23% postmarket Tuesday after results were released from an experimental therapy for a fatal movement disorder called Huntington’s disease. Three patients in the 28- person trial discontinued treatment due to drug-related side- effects. Wejo Group (WEJO US) shares are up 34% premarket after the company said it’s developing the Wejo Neural Edge platform to enable intelligent handling of data from vehicles at scale. Smart Global (SGH US) falls 6% postmarket Tuesday after the computing memory maker forecast earnings per share for the second quarter. The low end of that forecast missed the average analyst estimate. Beyond Meat (BYND) shares surge premarket after CNBC KFC launch report UBS cut the recommendation on Adobe Inc. (ADBE US) to neutral from buy, citing concerns over the software company’s 2022 growth prospects. Shares down 2% in premarket trading. Oncternal Therapeutics (ONCT US) shares climb 5.1% premarket after saying it reached consensus with the FDA on the design and major details of the phase 3 superiority study ZILO-301 to treat mantle cell lymphoma. In Europe, the energy, chemicals and car industries led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index up 0.2% to near an all-time high set on Tuesday. The Euro Stoxx 50 rises as much as 0.6%, DAX outperforms. FTSE 100 lags but rises off the lows to trade up 0.2%. Nestle dropped 2.4%, slipping from a record, after Jefferies cut the Swiss food giant to underperform. Utilities were the worst-performing sector in Europe on Wednesday as cyclical areas of the market are favored over defensives, while Uniper and Fortum fall following news of a loan agreement.  Other decliners include RWE (-2.4%), Endesa (2.1%), Verbund (-1.3%), NatGrid (-1.2%), Centrica (-1.2%). Earlier in the session, technology shares led a decline in Asian equity markets, with investors concerned about the prospects of higher interest rates and Tencent’s continued sale of assets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 0.6%, the most in two weeks, dragged down by Tencent and Meituan. The rout in U.S. tech spilled over to Asia, where the Hang Seng Tech Index plunged 4.6%, the most since July, following Tencent’s stake cut in Singapore’s Sea. Declines in tech and other sectors in Hong Kong widened after the city tightened rules to curb the spread of the omicron variant. Most Asian indexes fell on Wednesday, with Japan an exception among major markets as automakers offered support. The outlook for tighter monetary policy in the U.S. and higher Treasury yields weighed on the region’s technology shares, prompting a rotation from growth to value stocks.   Read: China Tech Selloff Deepens as Tencent Sale Spooks Traders Asian equities have underperformed U.S. and European peers amid slower recoveries and vaccination rates in the past year. With omicron rapidly gaining a foothold in Asia, there is a risk of “any further restriction measures, which could cloud the services sector outlook, along with disruption to supply chains,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a strategist at IG Asia Pte.  Philippine stocks gained as trading resumed following a one-day halt due to a systems glitch. North Korea appeared to have launched its first ballistic missile in about two months, just days after leader Kim Jong Un indicated that returning to stalled nuclear talks with the U.S. was a low priority for him in the coming year. India’s key equity gauges posted their longest run of advances in more than two moths, driven by a rally in financial stocks on hopes of revival in lending on the back of capex spending in the country. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.6% to 60,223.15 in Mumbai, its highest since Nov. 16, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 0.7%. Both benchmarks stretched their winning run to a fourth day, the longest since Oct. 18. All but six of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. climbed, led by a gauge of banking firms. “I believe from an uncertain, volatile environment, the Nifty is now headed for a directional move,” Sahaj Agrawal, a head of derivative research at Kotak Securities, writes in a note. The Nifty 50 crossed a significant barrier of the 17,800 level and is now expected to trade at 19,000-19,500 level in the medium term, Agrawal added. HDFC Bank contributed the most to the Sensex’s gain, increasing 2.4%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex, 18 rose, while 12 fell In FX, Bloomberg Dollar Spot index slpped 0.2% back toward Tuesday’s lows, falling as the greenback was weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers, SEK and JPY are the best performers in G-10, CAD underperforms. Scandinavian currencies and the yen led gains, though most G-10 currencies were trading in narrow ranges. Australia’s dollar reversed an Asia-session loss in European trading. The yen rebounded from a five-year low as investors trimmed short positions on the haven currency and amid a decline in Asian stock markets. Treasuries were generally flat in overnight trading, with the curve flatter into early U.S. session as long-end outperforms, partially unwinding a two-day selloff to start the year with Tuesday witnessing a late block sale in ultra-bond futures. 10-year yields traded as high as 1.650% ahead of the US open after being mostly flat around 1.645%; yields were richer by up to 2bp across long-end of the curve while little change from front-end out to belly, flattening 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 0.5bp and 1.8bp; gilts outperformed in the sector by half basis point. Focus expected to continue on IG issuance, which has impacted the market in the past couple of days, and in U.S. afternoon session FOMC minutes will be released. IG dollar issuance slate includes EIB $5B 5-year SOFR and Reliance Ind. 10Y/30Y/40Y; thirteen borrowers priced $23.1b across 30 tranches Tuesday, making it the largest single day volume for U.S. high-grade corporate bonds since first week of September. European peripheral spreads widen to core. 30y Italy lags peers, widening ~2bps to Germany with order books above EU43b at the long 30y syndication. Ten-year yields shot up 8bps in New Zealand as its markets reopened following the New Year holiday. Aussie yields advanced 4bps. A 10-year sale in Japan drew a bid-cover ratio of 3.46. In commodities, crude futures were range-bound with WTI near just below $77, Brent nearer $80 after OPEC+ agreed to revive more halted production as the outlook for global oil markets improved, with demand largely withstanding the new coronavirus variant. Spot gold puts in a small upside move out of Asia’s tight range to trade near $1,820/oz. Base metals are mixed. LME nickel lags, dropping over 2%; LME aluminum and lead are up ~0.8%.  Looking at the day ahead, data releases include the December services and composite PMIs from the Euro Area, Italy, France, Germany and the US. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s December report of private payrolls from the US, the preliminary December CPI report from Italy, and December’s consumer confidence reading from France. Separately from the Federal Reserve, we’ll get the minutes of the December FOMC meeting. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,783.25 MXAP down 0.4% to 193.71 MXAPJ down 0.9% to 626.67 Nikkei up 0.1% to 29,332.16 Topix up 0.4% to 2,039.27 Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 22,907.25 Shanghai Composite down 1.0% to 3,595.18 Sensex up 0.7% to 60,300.47 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,565.85 Kospi down 1.2% to 2,953.97 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.1% to 494.52 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.09% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1304 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $79.72/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,819.73 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.13% to 96.13 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The U.S. yield curve’s most dramatic steepening in more than three months has little to do with traders turning more optimistic on the economy or betting on a more aggressive timetable for raising interest rates The surge in euro-area inflation that surprised policy makers in recent months is close to its peak, according to European Central Bank Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau Some Bank of Japan officials say it’s likely the central bank will discuss the possible ditching of a long-held view that price risks are mainly on the downward side at a policy meeting this month, according to people familiar with the matter Turkish authorities are keeping tabs on investors who are buying large amounts of foreign currency and asked banks to deter their clients from using the spot market for hedging-related trades as they struggle to contain the lira’s slide Italy is trying to lock in historically low financing costs at the start of a year where inflationary and political pressures could spell an end to super easy borrowing conditions North Korea appears to have launched its first ballistic missile in about two months, after leader Kim Jong Un indicated he was more interested in bolstering his arsenal than returning to stalled nuclear talks with the U.S. A More detailed breakdown of overnight news from Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities traded mostly in the red following the mixed handover from Wall Street, where the US majors maintained a cyclical bias and the NDX bore the brunt of another sizeable Treasury curve bear-steepener. Overnight, US equity futures resumed trade with mild losses and have since been subdued, with participants now gearing up for the FOMC minutes (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite) ahead of Friday’s US jobs report and several scheduled Fed speakers. In APAC, the ASX 200 (-0.3%) was pressured by its tech sector, although the upside in financials cushioned some losses. The Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was kept afloat by the recent JPY weakness, whilst Sony Group rose some 4% after its chairman announced EV ambitions. The KOSPI (-1.2%) was dealt a blow as North Korea fired a projectile that appeared to be a ballistic missile, but this landed outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Hang Seng (-1.6%) saw its losses accelerate with the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbling over 4% as the sector tackled headwinds from Wall Street alongside domestic crackdowns. China Huarong Asset Management slumped over 50% as it resumed trade following a nine-month halt after its financial failure. The Shanghai Comp. (-1.0%) conformed to the mostly negative tone after again seeing a hefty liquidity drain by the PBoC. In the debt complex, the US T-note futures held a mild upside bias since the resumption of trade, and the US curve was somewhat steady. Participants also highlighted large short-covering heading into yesterday’s US close ahead of the FOMC minutes. Top Asian News Asian Stocks Slide as Surging Yields Squeeze Technology Sector China’s Growth Forecast Cut by CICC Amid Covid Outbreaks BOJ Is Said to Discuss Changing Long-Held View on Price Risks Gold Holds Gain With Fed Rate Hikes and Treasury Yields in Focus European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.1%) trade mixed in what has been a relatively quiet session thus far with the final readings of Eurozone services and composite PMIs providing little in the way of fresh impetus for prices. The handover from the APAC region was predominantly a soft one with Chinese bourses lagging once again with the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbling over 4% as the sector tackled headwinds from Wall Street alongside domestic crackdowns. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Comp. (-1%) conformed to the mostly negative tone after again seeing a hefty liquidity drain by the PBoC. Stateside, the ES and RTY are flat whilst the NQ lags once again after yesterday bearing the brunt of another sizeable treasury curve bear-steepener. In terms of house views, analysts at Barclays expect “2022 to be a more normal yet positive year for equities, looking for high single-digit upside and a broader leadership”. Barclays adds that it remains “pro-cyclical (Industrials, Autos, Leisure, reopening plays and Energy OW), and prefer Value to Growth”. Elsewhere, analysts at Citi stated that “monetary tightening may push up longer-dated nominal/real bond yields, threatening highly rated sectors such as IT or Luxury Goods. Alternatively, higher yields could help traditional value trades such as UK equities and Pan-European Financials”. Sectors in Europe are mostly higher, with auto names leading as Renault (+3.4%) sits at the top of the CAC, whilst Stellantis (+0.6%) has seen some support following the announcement that it is planning for a full battery-electric portfolio by 2028. Elsewhere, support has also been seen for Chemicals, Oil & Gas and Banking names with the latter continuing to be supported by the current favourable yield environment. To the downside, Food and Beverage is the clear laggard amid losses in Nestle (-2.6%) following a broker downgrade at Jefferies. Ocado (+5.5%) sits at the top of the Stoxx 600 after being upgraded to buy at Berenberg with analysts expecting the Co. to sign further deals with new and existing grocery e-commerce partners this year. Finally, Uniper (-2.4%) sits near the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after securing credit facilities totalling EUR 10bln from Fortum and KfW. Top European News U.K. Weighs Dropping Covid Test Mandate for Arriving Travelers German Energy Giant Uniper Gets $11 Billion for Margin Calls European Gas Extends Rally as Russian Shipments Remain Curbed Italian Inflation Hits Highest in More Than a Decade on Energy In FX, notwithstanding Tuesday’s somewhat mixed US manufacturing ISM survey and relatively hawkish remarks from Fed’s Kashkari, the week (and year) in terms of data and events really begins today with the release of ADP as a guide for NFP and minutes of the December FOMC that confirmed a faster pace of tapering and more hawkish dot plots. As such, it may not be surprising to see the Buck meandering broadly and index settling into a range inside yesterday’s parameters with less impetus from Treasuries that have flipped from a severe if not extreme bear-steepening incline. Looking at DXY price action in more detail, 96.337 marks the top and 96.053 the bottom at present, and from a purely technical perspective, 96.098 remains significant as a key Fib retracement level. JPY/EUR/AUD/GBP/NZD - All taking advantage of the aforementioned Greenback fade, and with the Yen more eager than others to claw back lost ground given recent underperformance. Hence, Usd/Jpy has retreated further from multi-year highs and through 116.00 to expose more downside potential irrespective of latest reports via newswire sources suggesting the BoJ is expected to slightly revise higher its inflation forecast for the next fiscal year and downgrade the GDP outlook for the year ending in March. Similarly, the Euro is having another look above 1.1300 even though EZ services and composite PMIs were mostly below consensus or preliminary readings and German new car registrations fell sharply, while the Aussie is retesting resistance around 0.7250 and its 50 DMA with some assistance from firm copper prices, Cable remains underpinned near 1.3550 and the 100 DMA and the Kiwi is holding mainly above 0.6800 in the face of stronger Aud/Nzd headwinds. Indeed, the cross is approaching 1.0650 in contrast to Eur/Gbp that is showing signs of changing course following several bounces off circa 0.8333 that equates to 1.2000 as a reciprocal. CHF/CAD - The Franc and Loonie appear a bit less eager to pounce on their US peer’s retrenchment, as the former pivots 0.9150 and latter straddles 1.2700 amidst a downturn in crude pre-Canadian building permits and new house prices. SCANDI/EM - Little sign of any fallout from a slowdown in Sweden’s services PMI as overall risk sentiment remains supportive for the Sek either side of 10.2600 vs the Eur, but the Nok is veering back down towards 10.0000 in line with slippage in Brent from Usd 80+/brl peaks reached on Tuesday. Elsewhere, the Zar is shrugging off a sub-50 SA PMI as Gold strengthens its grip on the Usd 1800/oz handle and the Cnh/Cny are still underpinned after another PBoC liquidity drain and firmer than previous midpoint fix on hopes that cash injections might be forthcoming through open market operations into the banking system from the second half of January to meet rising demand for cash, according to China's Securities Journal. Conversely, the Try has not derived any real comfort from comments by Turkey’s Finance Minister underscoring its shift away from orthodox policies, or insistence that budget discipline will not be compromised. In commodities, crude benchmarks are currently little changed but have been somewhat choppy within a range shy of USD 1/bbl in European hours, in-spite of limited fresh newsflow occurring. For reference, WTI and Brent reside within USD 77.26-76.53/bbl and USD 80.25-79.56/bbl parameters respectively. Updates for the complex so far include Cascade data reporting that gas flows via the Russian Yamal-Europe pipeline in an eastward direction have reduced. As a reminder, the pipeline drew scrutiny in the run up to the holiday period given reverse mode action, an undertaking the Kremlin described as ‘operational’ and due to a lack of requests being placed. Separately, last nights private inventories were a larger than expected draw, however, the internals all printed builds which surpassed expectations. Today’s EIA release is similar expected to show a headline draw and builds amongst the internals. Elsewhere, and more broadly, geopolitics remain in focus with Reuters sources reporting that a rocket attack has hit a military base in proximity to the Baghdad airport which hosts US forces. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are once again fairly contained though the yellow metal retains the upside it derived around this point yesterday, hovering just below the USD 1820/oz mark. US Event Calendar 7am: Dec. MBA Mortgage Applications -5.6%, prior -0.6% 8:15am: Dec. ADP Employment Change, est. 410,000, prior 534,000 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 56.9 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Services PMI, est. 57.5, prior 57.5 2pm: Dec. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap As you may have seen from my CoTD yesterday all I got for Xmas this year was Omicron, alongside my wife and two of our three kids (we didn’t test Bronte). On Xmas Day I was cooking a late Xmas dinner and I suddenly started to have a slightly lumpy throat and felt a bit tired. Given I’d had a couple of glasses of red wine I thought it might be a case of Bordeaux-2015. However a LFT and PCR test the next day confirmed Covid-19. I had a couple of days of being a bit tired, sneezing and being sniffly. After that I was 100% physically (outside a of bad back, knee and shoulder but I can’t blame that on covid) but am still sniffly today. I’m also still testing positive on a LFT even if I’m out of isolation which tells me testing to get out of isolation early only likely works if you’re completely asymptomatic. My wife was similar to me symptom wise. Maybe slightly worse but she gets flu badly when it arrives and this was nothing like that. The two kids had no real symptoms unless being extremely annoying is one. Indeed spending 10 days cooped up with them in very wet conditions (ie garden activity limited) was very challenging. Although I came out of isolation straight to my home office that was still a very welcome change of scenery yesterday. The covid numbers are absolutely incredible and beyond my wildest imagination a month ago. Yesterday the UK reported c.219k new cases, France c.272k and the US 1.08 million. While these are alarming numbers it’s equally impressive that where the data is available, patients on mechanical ventilation have hardly budged and hospitalisations, while rising, are so far a decent level below precious peaks. Omicron has seen big enough case numbers now for long enough that even though we’ve had another big boost in cases these past few days, there’s nothing to suggest that the central thesis shouldn’t be anything other than a major decoupling between cases and fatalities. See the chart immediately below of global cases for the exponential recent rise but the still subdued levels of deaths. Clearly there is a lag but enough time has passed that suggests the decoupling will continue to be sizeable. It seems the main problem over the next few weeks is the huge number of people self isolating as the variant rips through populations. This will massively burden health services and likely various other industries. However hopefully this latest wave can accelerate the end game for the pandemic and move us towards endemicity faster. Famous last words perhaps but this variant is likely milder, is outcompeting all the others, and our defences are much, much better than they have been (vaccines, immunity, boosters, other therapeutic treatments). Indeed, President Biden directed his team to double the amount of Pfizer’s anti-covid pill Paxlovid they order; he called the pill a game changer. So a difficult few weeks ahead undoubtedly but hopefully light at the end of the tunnel for many countries. Prime Minister Boris Johnson noted yesterday that Britain can ride out the current Omicron wave without implementing any stricter measures, suggesting that learning to live with the virus is becoming the official policy stance in the UK. The head scratcher is what countries with zero-covid strategies will do faced with the current set up. If we’ve learnt anything from the last two years of covid it is that there is almost no way of avoiding it. Will a milder variant change such a stance? Markets seem to have started the year with covid concerns on the back burner as day 2 of 2022 was a lighter version of the buoyant day 1 even if US equities dipped a little led by a big under-performance from the NASDAQ (-1.33%), as tech stocks got hit by higher discount rates with the long end continuing to sell off to start the year. Elsewhere the Dow Jones (+0.59%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (+0.82%) both climbed to new records, with cyclical sectors generally outperforming once again. Interestingly the STOXX Travel & Leisure index rose a further +3.11% yesterday, having already surpassed its pre-Omicron level. As discussed the notable exception to yesterday’s rally were tech stocks, with a number of megacap tech stocks significantly underperforming amidst a continued rise in Treasury yields, and the rotation towards cyclical stocks as investors take the message we’ll be living with rather than attempting to defeat Covid. The weakness among that group meant that the FANG+ index fell -1.68% yesterday, with every one of the 10 companies in the index moving lower, and that weakness in turn meant that the S&P 500 (-0.06%) came slightly off its record high from the previous session. Showing the tech imbalance though was the fact that the equal weight S&P 500 was +0.82% and 335 of the index rose on the day. So it was a reflation day overall. Staying with the theme, the significant rise in treasury yields we saw on Monday extended further yesterday, with the 10yr yield up another +1.9bps to 1.65%. That means the 10yr yield is up by +13.7bps over the last 2 sessions, marking its biggest increase over 2 consecutive sessions since last September. Those moves have also coincided with a notable steepening in the yield curve, which is good news if you value it as a recessionary indicator, with the 2s10s curve +11.3bps to +88.7bps over the last 2 sessions, again marking its biggest 2-day steepening since last September Those moves higher for Treasury yields were entirely driven by a rise in real yields, with the 10yr real yield moving back above the -1% mark. Conversely, inflation breakevens fell back across the board, with the 10yr breakeven declining more than -7.0bps from an intraday peak of 2.67%, the highest level in more than six weeks, which tempered some of the increase in nominal yields. The decline in breakevens was aided by the release of the ISM manufacturing reading for December, since the prices paid reading fell to 68.2, some way beneath the 79.3 reading that the consensus had been expecting. In fact, that’s the biggest monthly drop in the prices paid measure in over a decade, and leaves it at its lowest level since November 2020. Otherwise, the headline reading did disappoint relative to the consensus at 58.7 (vs. 60.0 expected), but the employment component was above expectations at 54.2 (vs. 53.6 expected), which is its highest level in 8 months and some promising news ahead of this Friday’s jobs report. Staying with US employment, the number of US job openings fell to 10.562m in November (vs. 11.079m expected), but the number of people quitting their job hit a record high of 4.5m. That pushed the quits rate back to its record of 3.0% and just shows that the labour market continues to remain very tight with employees struggling to hire the staff needed. This has been our favourite indicator of the labour market over the last few quarters and it continues to keep to the same trend. Back to bonds and Europe saw a much more subdued movement in sovereign bond yields, although gilts were the exception as the 10yr yield surged +11.7bps as it caught up following the previous day’s public holiday in the UK. Elsewhere however, yields on bunds (-0.2bps), OATs (-1.1bps) and BTPs (+0.9bps) all saw fairly modest moves. Also of interest ahead of tonight’s Fed minutes, there was a story from the Wall Street Journal late yesterday that said Fed officials are considering whether to reduce their bond holdings, and thus beginning QT, in short order. Last cycle, the Fed kept the size of its balance sheet flat for three years after the end of QE by reinvesting maturing proceeds before starting QT. This iteration of QE is set to end in March, so any move towards balance sheet rolloff would be a much quicker tightening than last cycle, which the article suggested was a real possibility. As this cycle has taught us time and again, it is moving much faster than historical precedent, so don’t rely on prior timelines. Balance sheet policy and the timing of any QT will be a major focus in tonight’s minutes, along with any signals for the timing of liftoff and path of subsequent rate hikes. Overnight in Asia markets are trading mostly lower with the KOSPI (-1.45%), Hang Seng (-0.85%), Shanghai Composite (-0.81%) and CSI (-0.67%) dragged down largely by IT stocks while the Nikkei (+0.07%) is holding up better. In China, Tencent cut its stake in a Singapore based company yesterday by selling $ 4 billion worth shares amidst China's regulatory crackdown with investors concerned they will do more. This has helped push the Hang Seng Tech Index towards its lowest close since its inception in July 2020 with Tencent and companies it invested in losing heavily. Moving on, Japan is bringing forward booster doses for the elderly while maintaining border controls in an effort to contain Omicron. Futures are indicating a weaker start in DM markets with the S&P 500 (-0.25%) and DAX (-0.11%) both tracking their Asian peers. Oil prices continued their ascent yesterday, with Brent Crude (+1.20%) hitting its highest level since the Omicron variant first emerged on the scene. Those moves came as the OPEC+ group agreed that they would go ahead with the increase in output in February of 400k barrels per day. And the strength we saw in commodities more broadly last year has also continued to persist into 2022, with copper prices (+1.12%) hitting a 2-month high, whilst soybean prices (+2.49%) hit a 4-month high. Looking at yesterday’s other data, German unemployment fell by -23k in December (vs. -15k expected), leaving the level of unemployment at a post-pandemic low of 2.405m in December. Finally, the preliminary French CPI reading for December came in slightly beneath expectations on the EU-harmomised measure, at 3.4% (vs. 3.5% expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases include the December services and composite PMIs from the Euro Area, Italy, France, Germany and the US. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s December report of private payrolls from the US, the preliminary December CPI report from Italy, and December’s consumer confidence reading from France. Separately from the Federal Reserve, we’ll get the minutes of the December FOMC meeting. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/05/2022 - 08:07.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 5th, 2022

19 underrated part-time jobs that pay well and how to get them

If you can't find a full-time job, want to make extra income, or need schedule flexibility, part-time work is a promising option. The number of people employed part-time has skyrocketed in the past year.Getty Part-time jobs have become a popular to bring in extra cash with a low commitment. Accountants, physician assistants, and programmers are among the highest paid part-time roles. Writing, tutoring, fitness instructing, and graphic designing are also in-demand options. In recent years, it has felt outdated to think about a career in terms of working long hours for many years in a single job and climbing the career ladder in the same profession you chose as a teenager or 20-something. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic really exploded stereotypes around how and when we do our work.Part-time jobs have expanded since the pandemic hit, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons (because employers downgraded full-time jobs, laid people off, or otherwise had to alter their workforce) more than doubled from 4.4 million in February 2020 to 10.9 million in April 2020. And even a year into the global health crisis that number remained higher than it was pre-pandemic. As of September 2021, over 20 million people were working part-time for noneconomic reasons such as balancing school or family — an increase of more than 1.3 million year over year.Below, you'll find 19 high-paying part-time jobs covering a mix of functions, industries, and levels of experience — along with the median hourly rates and links to help you find current job openings. Each rate, pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2020 data, is at least $20 an hour (with one exception). It's worth noting that since these are median wages, half of earners in these roles fall below and half fall above this rate. In other words, entry-level positions may pay less, but there are also opportunities to make significantly more.Why work part-time?Almost every industry has part-time jobs. These opportunities, typically requiring less than 30 hours of work per week, can give you some consistency without the demands of a full-time job. You might be able to work remotely and, depending on context and employment status, you may earn paid time off or holidays off, too.You might pursue part-time work because you can't find a full-time job, need or want to make extra income on top of your existing employment, or enjoy the flexibility or variety these positions offer. "More and more people are pursuing their passions, and this means multiple roles," said Muse career coach Jennifer Sukola. Working part-time in a competitive field also lets workers "get their foot in the door, gain experience, and find out if they will eventually want to do [the role] full-time."As someone who's been working as a freelancer for a decade, I've taken on many, many part-time jobs — sometimes simultaneously — in order to work the equivalent of one full-time job. I currently work part-time as a writer since it's a competitive field and I live in a city with few staff jobs. But I've previously held part-time roles in tutoring, administration, and marketing.I love having free time during the day, pursuing work I find interesting, working from home (as many of my part-time roles have allowed me to do), seeking out clients, being able to take on — and say no to! — assignments as I see fit, and having a multifaceted career that's not tied to one role or employer.1. WriterMedian hourly rate: $32.27A writer creates communication materials: in print, online, or both. Short-form content might include social media or blog posts, pamphlets, and email copy, while long-form content could mean articles, web content, newsletters, reports, white papers, and even books. You might be assigned to a topic, or you might pitch and create content on your own. Regardless, you may also have to conduct interviews and research and will usually work with an editor or someone who oversees the quality of your work. Some writers specialize in a particular topic or form — science or finance journalist, technical or medical writer, or grant writer, for example — while others might write more broadly. Entry-level writing gigs usually require at least one year of experience, which could be in the form of an internship.Increasingly, media companies have listed part-time writing jobs that can be done remotely — though they usually request that work be done during business hours. In 2021, I obtained a 20-hour a week writing position at Bustle, which is located in New York, and worked 20 hours a week from Boston. Don't limit yourself to just media, though; lots of organizations — from nonprofits to financial institutions and everything in between — need writers.Find writer jobs on The Muse2. Tutor(Note: BLS groups tutors with other teachers and instructors and does not provide hourly wage information.)Tutors help students — children or adults — learn a subject or skill. The material could range from more fundamental subjects like basic math to high-level content like the SAT or college-level physics. Tutoring doesn't always take place during "normal" business hours, with many clients preferring to meet after work or school hours or on the weekends. Unlike teachers, tutors don't need formal accreditation, but they do need a deep knowledge of the subject they're teaching; that usually translates to at least an undergraduate degree in the subject.Rates can vary pretty widely depending on the subject, your experience, and the location: Tutors in cities like DC and New York City can charge $50 an hour and up, for example. If you work on your own, you can charge more, but working with a tutoring agency means they help find students and take care of some of the employment paperwork. When I worked with an agency in DC, I made $33 an hour, but when I worked on my own I made at least $60 an hour and usually more.Find tutor jobs on The Muse3. Marketing specialistMedian hourly rate: $31.64A marketing specialist is responsible for promoting or selling products or services to new or existing customers — which might be individuals and/or organizations. Specialties include email marketing, market research, social media, ecommerce, and search engine marketing (SEM), but the work fundamentally centers around understanding a target audience and knowing how to reach and persuade them to take action. You may need an undergraduate degree in marketing, communications, or even journalism.Companies sometimes hire part-time marketing specialists to help with particular campaigns or to provide expertise in a particular type of marketing. Smaller organizations might only need — or have the budget for — 10 or 20 hours of marketing and communications work per week. In my case, I offered my copywriting and editing skills on a per-project basis, bidding for work based on my availability and the rate I would charge for the work ($40 and above).Find marketing specialist jobs on The Muse4. Graphic designerAverage hourly rate: $25.66A graphic designer supports a business by creating illustrations, graphics, and other visual concepts and content. Projects can vary from a short-term deliverable like a flyer that needs to be visually appealing to a large-scale project like a book or magazine. According to BLS, a college degree or equivalent coursework is usually essential for developing the necessary skill set, which may include web management if they're putting these designs online. Graphic designers can be hired with a year or less of experience, which students can bridge with an internship, summer job, or pro bono work with a club or faculty member.Part-time graphic designers can work consistently with one organization or with many clients by the project as part of an agency or as freelancers, but they usually need to have more significant experience before striking out on their own.Find graphic designer jobs on The Muse5. Exercise trainer or group fitness instructorMedian hourly rate: $19.48Fitness instructors work with individuals or groups on developing their strength, fitness, flexibility, and related skills. They can work with a variety of ages and experience levels and teach various types of classes (such as kickboxing, Zumba, pilates, or spin), depending on their own experience and training.A personal trainer certification can take several months to complete, but you only need to be 18 and have completed high school to be eligible. You may not need credentials to teach group classes, but some employers will require or encourage certifications in the specific type of fitness (for example, a yoga studio might only hire instructors who've completed a yoga teacher training program). Instructors usually teach classes or train clients part-time at gyms, studios, camps, community centers, and other locations. As a trainer, you might also work directly with clients, scheduling by the session.Find exercise trainer and fitness instructor on The Muse6. Massage therapistMedian hourly rate: $20.97A massage therapist works with clients on the muscles and soft tissues of the body to decrease pain and tightness, relieve pressure, and improve health. They can work with a variety of client types in a variety of settings, from salons to doctors' offices to hospitals. Usually massage therapists complete a program with 500 or more hours of study and hands-on training and most states require a certification or license (the exact requirements vary by location).There may be the opportunity to focus on a specialty like sports massage or deep tissue massage. Depending on the workplace, a massage therapist may work in shifts or as scheduled with clients, but there's often flexibility based on the workload and clientele.Find massage therapist jobs on The Muse7. Insurance sales agentMedian hourly rate: $25.08An insurance sales agent sells policies to prospective customers. The policies mitigate against certain types of risk: Life insurance provides financial compensation to an insured person's beneficiaries in the event of the policy holder's death, for example. Like a number of sales jobs, this type of role requires you to talk to strangers every day, identify their needs, and work with them as they complete a detailed application.The actual position could range from working a call center to meeting clients in person. You only need to have completed high school according to BLS, though employers often look for a bachelor's degree, and in any case, you'd be required to obtain a license. There might be flexibility around working from home, especially if you're selling over the phone, and working non-traditional hours.Find insurance sales agent jobs on The Muse8. Executive assistantMedian hourly rate: $30.34An assistant might be expected to handle administrative tasks in and outside of the office: managing calendars and meetings, handling expenses, greeting visitors, answering the phone, and dealing with other clerical tasks. But an executive assistant, who usually supports one or more leaders in an organization, might also do higher-level work including pulling together research, sales material, and other important information for one or more executives.Usually the more senior the executive you work for, the higher the salary. Employers usually look for an undergraduate degree in a business-related field like marketing or accounting, especially if the candidate has no prior experience.Find executive assistant jobs on The Muse9. AccountantMedian hourly rate: $35.37An accountant prepares, reviews, and files financial documents and maintains and organizes detailed tax and other records. In some cases, they might also weigh in on business decisions, suggest strategies to reduce costs or increase revenue, and make other recommendations. They can work for individuals who have complex financial needs or larger organizations, either in-house or at an accounting firm that works with multiple external clients.An accountant needs an undergraduate degree to work, and becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or getting another relevant certification can make an accountant look more attractive to employers. Many accountants do work full time, but smaller businesses might only require assistance during tax season or at the end of every quarter. If you pursue the part-time route, you may need more than one client or job to maintain regular work.Find accountant jobs on The Muse10. Real estate agentMedian hourly rate: $24.63A real estate agent is a professional who helps clients sell, buy, or rent a property. This could include a house, an apartment, a residential building, or a commercial property (and less frequently industrial or agricultural properties). Agents keep track of what's on the market, show properties, facilitate interactions and negotiations between parties, and help clients complete relevant paperwork and records to close deals. They also stay on top of trends in the market so they can advise on how much a property might be worth.You do need your real estate license to become an agent, which requires some pre-licensing courses, but besides that, you only need a high school degree. Many real estate professionals do have bachelor's degrees, so sometimes it helps, but employers look for your ability to close on a sale first and foremost. Real estate agents work odd hours (since many people can only go to open houses or viewings at night and on the weekends) but they also have a lot of flexibility to set their own schedules.Find real estate jobs on The Muse11. Physician assistantMedian hourly rate: $55.48 per hourA physician assistant (PA) works in a variety of medical settings (including hospitals and outpatient clinics) and can diagnose and treat patients as well as assist — as the name implies — doctors and other medical professionals. They can work with a doctor doing surgery, help a patient manage a treatment plan as the provider they see most often, order tests, write prescriptions, and handle a long list of other responsibilities. PAs could work in emergency medicine, trauma surgery, transplants, family medicine, pediatrics, and other specialties — meaning you can choose the area of healthcare that interests you once you decide that this career path is of interest.You'll need a master's degree to become a physician assistant. Though most PAs work full time, smaller practices can use part-time PAs, and sometimes larger clinics and hospitals only require part-time shift work (but bear in mind those shifts could be overnight or on weekends).Find physician assistant jobs on The Muse12. Computer programmerMedian hourly rate: $42.88A computer programmer makes sure that an application or software runs correctly by writing code for new software and features and/or testing and fixing code on a regular basis as bugs are discovered. A bachelor's degree is helpful, but some programmers can obtain positions with an associate's degree or no degree at all. Some companies hire part-time programmers, or you can pursue freelance or contract opportunities.Find computer programmer jobs on The Muse13. Software developerMedian hourly rate: $52.95A software developer designs applications and programs — unlike programmers, who typically execute on a plan or optimize a program, developers are more involved in the creative ideation and problem-solving when an app is in its early stages. They might analyze user needs, brainstorm ways to address those needs via an application or feature, design the various elements of that software, lay out different pieces of the project for programmers to execute on, and handle documentation.Developers are in high demand: BLS projects developer jobs will grow 22% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the 8% average growth for all occupations. Some companies require an undergraduate degree, although it isn't essential. A developer can potentially work remotely and part-time — it just depends on the context and workload. Developers can sometimes work more flexible hours, too.Find software developer jobs on The Muse14. Occupational therapistMedian hourly rate: $41.48When someone is struggling to complete everyday tasks due to injury, illness, pain, and/or disability, an occupational therapist (OT) helps that person adapt their movement and behavior to manage those tasks more effectively. They might focus on helping people do professional work or on enabling them to simply get out of bed and dress themselves. They could work in a person's home or in a professional setting like a hospital or school.This position requires a master's degree as well as licensing. If a school only needs assistance for a few children, for example, an occupational therapist may only need to work part-time hours in that environment. Like some other medical professionals on this list, they can also manage their own businesses and set their own hours.Find occupational therapist jobs on The Muse15. Physical therapistMedian hourly rate: $43.75Like an OT, a physical therapist (PT) can help someone with an illness or injury, but in this case they're working on pain management and mobility. They're an integral part of someone's recovery after a stroke, for example, or in the wake of surgery. A PT might work with a variety of patients — from senior citizens to professional athletes — wherever those patients are, from nursing homes to hospitals to outpatient settings like sports teams or physical therapy clinics.PTs need to be licensed and complete their doctor of physical therapy degree, and some go on to do residencies or fellowships to further specialize. They can work part-time during regular business hours, on evenings and weekends, or a combination of both.Find physical therapist jobs on The Muse16. Dental hygienistMedian hourly rate: $37.06A dental hygienist assists a dentist in cleaning teeth, assessing patients for teeth and gum disease, and communicating best practices around oral health. A dental hygienist often interacts with the patient more frequently than the dentist, which means they need strong customer service and interpersonal skills as well.This role requires completion of a three-year associate's degree (instead of a bachelor's degree) as well as a licensing program. A lot of dental hygienists work part-time, coming in a few days a week, according to BLS, and some may work for more than one dentist or office.Find dental hygienist jobs on The Muse17. Speech-language pathologistMedian hourly rate: $38.69A speech-language pathologist (sometimes called a speech pathologist) helps both children and adults with communication issues. If someone has a challenge, whether it be a speech, language, swallowing, or other communication disorder — which might result from a stroke, hearing loss, developmental delay, Parkinson's disease, autism, or other causes—the pathologist can work with them to mitigate or overcome it.Some speech-language pathologists work in schools or other places where children might be present — before or after school as well as during free periods and as an alternative to their regular classwork. Others work in settings such as hospitals, assisted living centers, private practices, corporations, and the military.It varies by state, but a master's degree is essential and licensing may be required too. On the bright side, the number speech-language pathologist roles is projected to grow 29% from 2020 to 2030, so those who've completed their training and licensing are in high demand.Find speech pathologist jobs on The Muse18. Translator or interpreterMedian hourly rate: $25.16Translators and interpreters convert one language into another — translators via the written word and interpreters via spoken languages. They might assist non-English speaking patients in a hospital or work at a conference center or meeting place where individuals speaking different languages are congregating. They could also work to translate written work such as a manual or book from one language to another.It's essential to have a deep knowledge of languages in this role — with complete fluency in both (whether you grew up bi- or multilingual, majored in a foreign language in college, or otherwise gained competency). An undergraduate degree can sometimes be enough, according to BLS, but sometimes organizations look for continuing education or certifications in the case of court or medical interpreters or translators. Many translators can work remotely. Those who are self-employed tend to have variable hours.Find translator and interpreter jobs on The Muse19. PlumberMedian hourly rate: $27.08Plumbers are the professionals who install, maintain, clean, and repair water, gas, septic and other systems as well as fixtures from toilets to dishwashers. You could be working in a person's home or in a commercial or municipal building, depending on the context and your specialty. As companies work to be more sustainable, plumbers may also help with conserving water.To become a plumber, you would only need a high school degree but there's often vocational training, apprenticeship, and licensing involved. Plumbers are very much dependent on client work, so depending on your boss (and especially if you're self-employed) you can set a limit on how many clients you take on or the hours you're available to work.Find plumber jobs on The MuseEven though they're increasing in popularity, part-time jobs can sometimes be hard to find. It's estimated that up to 85% of all jobs are obtained through networking, and part-time work is no exception.So how do workers go about finding and procuring a high-paying, part-time job? "They can first identify the industries or type of work they want, and then make a list of companies within those industries," Sukola said. Then network actively and often, both with employees at the companies they're interested in to see if part-time work is available and with other part-time workers who hold the kinds of roles they'd like to get into.The key, says Sukola, is having an entrepreneurial spirit: Sometimes positions only materialize because you asked if part-time work was available and a role was adapted or created for you.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

Biden Wants To "Woke" Up Your Doctor

Biden Wants To 'Woke' Up Your Doctor Authored by Wesley Smith,  op-ed via The Epoch Times, The Biden Administration wants to pay doctors to create office “anti-racism plans” that could soon bring full blown critical race theory into your examining room... What’s that you say? You didn’t hear about Congressional legislation to that effect? That’s because there is no such law. Rather, the idea was pushed quietly into implementation by the blob-like federal bureaucracy that exercises primary control over the details and minutia of federal law. Despite what you may have been taught in high school government class, federal statutes do not provide the specifics that will apply once a bill becomes law. Instead, legislation merely establishes a skeleton outline, usually directing the Secretary of this or that Department to write the details after the bill has passed through the arcane rule making process. In other words, the contemporary administrative state run by the executive branch has substantial quasi-legislative authority never dreamed of by our Founding Fathers. There are few limitations to rule making other than that the regulation must be relevant to, and consistent with, the governing statue. But laws are often so vaguely written, that isn’t difficult. Moreover, the promulgated rules are where the devil in the details of federal law is to be found. How do we know what has been proposed or promulgated by the bureaucrats? All rules—whether preliminary or finalized—are published in a gargantuan volume called the Federal Register. Oh good. That means we can just look them up, right? Well, sure: In theory. But good luck trying. Each year more than 70,000 pages of very small print are published in the FR. Imagine digging through that eye-glazing text! Talk about needles and haystacks. Yes, there is a modicum of societal input in rule making. But it is very indirect. When a new rule is proposed, time is allowed for public comments that—in theory and sometimes in fact—influence the bureaucrats who write and promulgate the rule. Bureaucrats may also attend meetings with “stake holders” about the contents of proposed rules. But like everything else in Washington, D.C., this administrative process is highly political. Whether commenters have any impact on the final rule usually depends on their political clout and/or whether they are allies of the sitting administration, not policy acumen. Needless to say, individual citizens rarely know what is going on, much less, have a meaningful chance to directly participate in the process. Alright, enough dismal civics. Here is what the new rules on Medicare payments to doctors—that begins on page 64996 of the 2021 FR and ends on page 66031—states about the anti-racism plan bonus: In Appendix 2—are your eyes rolling back in your head yet?—doctors are offered a percentage of their Medicare income “to create and implement an anti-racist plan.” Among other consequences, this means establishing an anti-racist bureaucracy within physicians’ offices (my emphasis):  “The plan should include a clinic-wide review of existing tools and policies, such as value statements or clinical practice guidelines, to ensure that they include and are aligned with a commitment to anti-racism and an understanding of race as a political and social construct, not a physiological one.” In other words, the rule states quite specifically that the plan isn’t about medicine. And it isn’t about science. Rather, it furthers naked ideology and insinuating very woke politics into the clinical setting. That isn’t all: “The plan should also identify ways in which issues and gaps identified in the review can be addressed and should include target goals and milestones for addressing prioritized issues and gaps …. The … eligible clinician or practice can also consider including in their plan ongoing training on anti-racism and/or other processes to support identifying explicit and implicit biases in patient care and addressing historic health inequities experienced by people of color.” Think of the money to be made by leftist anti-racist trainers and organizers, which is part of the point. Moreover, the call for “anti-racism” could be interpreted as calling for discrimination in medical settings against people who are not of color. For example, Ibram X. Kendi, the intellectual leader of the Anti-Racist Movement wrote in his book “How to Be an Anti-Racist,” “The only remedy to racial discrimination is antiracist discrimination.” This invidious thinking has seeped into the medical establishment. Consider a relevant advocacy column entitled “Advancing President Biden’s Equity Agenda,” published last April in the New England Journal of Medicine. “To promote equity,” psychiatrist Neil K. Aggarwal wrote, “the Biden administration should distribute resources differentially in order to benefit groups that are persistently disadvantaged.” That would be to pit some of us against others of us in our own doctor’s office. This obsession with differences—ever more thinly sliced—isn’t healthy. And it isn’t right. All patients should be treated equally. No patient should be considered “favored” or “disfavored.” Everyone should receive optimal care. But such equality isn’t within the value system that “anti-racism” generally—and the new rule, specifically—promotes. It is no surprise that the Biden administration has gone woke. But the real danger against true equality isn’t in the president’s speeches but in the power of the bureaucracy swamp. Indeed, what other “equity” landmines are being laid quietly within the hundreds of thousands of pages of the Federal Register? Today, the bureaucrats are offering doctors a bonus to enlist in the “anti-racism” cause. Tomorrow, they may make critical race theory mandatory in the medical office. And we probably won’t know until the deed is done. This much is sure: Pushing “equity” in healthcare is a prescription for tearing this country apart. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 14:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 2nd, 2022

Supply Chain Woes Catalyzing A New Era Of Retail Logistics Transparency

The “just in time” supply chain worked well enough to paper over the cracks, but since COVID-19, retailers have been grappling with a supply chain crisis. The pandemic closed ports, caused goods and containers to pile up, and crippled air freight. Since the economy started reopening, demand has shot up, and the flaws yawned into […] The “just in time” supply chain worked well enough to paper over the cracks, but since COVID-19, retailers have been grappling with a supply chain crisis. The pandemic closed ports, caused goods and containers to pile up, and crippled air freight. Since the economy started reopening, demand has shot up, and the flaws yawned into gaping chasms. 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 Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Containers left on the wrong side of the world caused a shortage that drove prices sky high. A shortage of truck drivers, train drivers, and port workers added to the delays, with unloaded containers creating blockages at ports. There’s reportedly only one driver for every nine job postings, and 77% of the major ports are experiencing “abnormally long” turnaround. As a result, online shoppers saw more than 2 billion out-of-stock messages in October. Headlines warning about major shipping delays heading into the holiday shopping season led consumers to order early, which disrupted the normal shipping rhythms even more. The impact on retailers is significant. Independent sellers are getting squeezed out because they can’t compete with big chains who pay over the odds to get their goods. “It’s very unpredictable. I don’t know what I’m getting, or when,” says Kim Mitchell, an independent toy shop owner, while an outfitters’ business in Pennsylvania hadn’t received around 25% of its holiday orders as of early November. The big names are also suffering. Clothing retailer Gap saw share prices crash in November due to product shipment delays, reporting losses of $152 million in Q3 2021, compared with a profit of $95 million for Q3 2020. While the supply chain crisis could be finally ending, there’s still anxiety about supply chain crisis 2.0, as a new variant rises and more people are unable to come in to work, which could leave ports and routes closed again due to lacanpower. Niko Polvinen, CEO of logistics tech company Logmore, says that there are steps retailers can take to minimize the damage of ongoing delays. “This is a global shipping problem that’s going to take months to sort out,” he acknowledges. “But we’re also seeing retailers and the logistics companies that serve them taking steps to change their management approaches in ways that could result in a better, smoother, and more reliable supply chain for the long term.” Polvinen is adamant that the right tools, together with the right attitude, can mitigate the impact of the supply chain crisis, make retailers more resilient to future disasters, and help the supply chain run more smoothly even when there’s no crisis. “We believe that the changes in shipping that can help retailers cope with the crisis, can also make them more resilient and help them improve the customer experience that they offer,” he tells me. Smoother Supply Chains Start With Visibility Retailers need real time data, to track each shipment across the entire route. Logistics companies need to deliver visibility into the conditions, progress and potential upcoming bottlenecks of each package on a minute by minute basis – and to their credit, they are stepping up to the plate. “We’re seeing a real change in the way that retailers and logistics teams relate to data. There’s been a significant uptake in the number of queries we’ve had from retail suppliers who see the need to offer their clients complete data and insights about their shipments,” reports Polvinen. Logistics companies need to be able to rely on shipment data, which requires trackers that keep working in all temperatures and conditions and can be read easily without expensive or error-prone equipment. Data needs to be not just collected from multiple sources, but also shared with upstream and downstream partners. Retailers should have access to reports about progress, conditions, etc. in real time, so they are informed, aligned with other stakeholders, and able to make decisions from a position of strength. That, Polvinen points out, is why logistics data collection and sharing should be automated — because manual processes are unreliable. It’s easy for someone to forget to check a tracker, or an update to be delayed, etc. “I often say, let the packages tell their story,” says Polvinen with a smile. “When data gathering and sharing is automated, nothing gets overlooked.” Transparency Breeds Trust And Loyalty Customers naturally get frustrated when their orders don’t arrive on time, with 58% of respondents to an Oracle survey saying they’d stop buying from a brand after one to three delays or disruptions. But the way you handle it can make a big difference to their loyalty. When asked what would improve their purchase experience at a time of frequent delays and shortages, 63% of consumers said they want more regular updates about shipping status, 59% want more transparency about inventory, and 54% want more information about potential supply chain issues. What’s more, 78% would be more willing to buy from a company if they knew it used advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to manage its supply chain. There’s a vast difference between telling a customer that their new gaming console has been delayed, and telling them that it will arrive three weeks late due to a bottleneck at the Port of Los Angeles. Everyone is happier when they feel like someone’s in control, so retailers who are upfront and honest about current and potential delays enjoy more trust and loyalty from their customers. Logistics Reliability Requires The Full Picture “As much as real time, reliable data is a game-changer, it’s not enough on its own,” observes Polvinen. “You need the wider picture. Not just where this shipment is at the moment, but what’s coming up ahead, what is happening to all your shipments over time, where there’s bad weather brewing, where the normal ‘best route’ is closed because of natural events or geopolitics or even a local holiday.” Companies with smart data analytics capabilities know how to slice data into the insights that underpin better decisions. You’re in far better shape if you can, for example, identify which vendors or regions are plagued with more delays, so you can change routes and/or vendors as necessary; see if high delays are seasonal for certain areas so you can avoid them; and compare logistics service providers’ relative efficiency, to select the best option at each time. Accessing this information with dynamic dashboard visualizations means you can see the best choice for each shipment at a glance, removing friction from decision-making. Deeper insights reveal opportunities to provide better CX. For example, one route might be free from bottlenecks at the moment, but the price is high. With this information, you can offer your customers the option of paying more for on-time delivery, something for which 81% say they would pay a premium, according to Oracle. Opportunities For Retailers To Build Back Better Nobody welcomed the supply chain crisis, but the way that retailers respond could lay the groundwork for a more efficient and resilient supply chain for a long time to come. By improving visibility, transparency, and agility across the entire supply chain, and keeping customers fully informed, retailers and logistics providers can stop being slaves to the unexpected and optimize supply across the board. Updated on Dec 27, 2021, 1:52 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: valuewalkDec 27th, 2021

Vaxxinity Reports Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results and Provides Corporate Updates

DALLAS, Dec. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vaxxinity, Inc. (NASDAQ:VAXX), a U.S. company pioneering the development of a new class of immunotherapeutic vaccines, today reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2021. "The completion of our recent initial public offering is an important milestone in Vaxxinity's mission to democratize health," said Mei Mei Hu, CEO of Vaxxinity. "With the goal to disrupt the existing antibody therapy paradigm and improve the quality of chronic disease treatments while increasing their convenience and meaningfully lowering their cost, we believe we have the opportunity to profoundly impact the lives of countless patients across the globe. The funds raised in our recent IPO are critical to advancing our potentially transformative vaccine candidates toward approval." Recent Pipeline Developments UB-311 targets toxic forms of aggregated amyloid-β in the brain to fight Alzheimer's disease (AD). Phase 1, Phase 2a and Phase 2a Long Term Extension trials have shown UB-311 to be well tolerated in mild-to-moderate AD patients over three years of repeat dosing, with a safety profile comparable to placebo, and immunogenic, with a high responder rate and antibodies that bind to the desired target. We currently expect to initiate the Phase 2b portion of the study in the second half of 2022. UB-312 targets toxic forms of aggregated α-synuclein in the brain to fight Parkinson's disease (PD) and other synucleinopathies, such as dementia with Lewy Body and multiple system atrophy. Part A of a Phase 1 trial has shown UB-312 to be well tolerated in healthy volunteers, with no significant safety findings or serious adverse events, and immunogenic, with a high responder rate and antibodies that cross the blood-brain barrier. We have initiated enrollment of Parkinson's patients for Part B of the Phase 1 trial; however, due to the requirement of booster shots against COVID-19 before participating in the clinical trial, initial dosing is now expected to occur in Q1 2022. UB-313 targets calcitonin gene-related peptide to fight migraines. Investigational new drug application (IND)-enabling studies are ongoing and we anticipate submitting a clinical trial application ("CTA") or an IND in 2022. UB-612 employs a "multitope" approach to neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials of UB-612 have shown UB-612 to be well tolerated with no significant safety findings to date, while observing UB-612 generated antibodies that can bind to the S1-RBD protein and neutralize SARS-CoV-2, in addition to driving a T-lymphocyte response. Following immunogenicity data from Phase 1 trial subjects who received two prime doses plus one booster dose of UB-612, we are exploring paths for authorization for UB-612 as a heterologous boost and a three-dose regimen. Our anti-PCSK9 vaccine candidate will target hypercholesterolemia to reduce the risk of cardiac events. We plan to select a lead candidate and initiate IND-enabling studies in 2022. Recent Corporate Updates Completed Initial Public Offering (IPO). On November 15, 2021, the Company closed its IPO of Class A common stock at a public offering price of $13.00 per share. Including shares issued pursuant to the exercise of the underwriters' option, the Company issued 6,537,711 shares of Class A common stock, and received aggregate proceeds, net of underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses, of approximately $71.1 million. Vaxxinity's class A common stock began trading on The Nasdaq Global Market on November 11, 2021, under the ticker symbol "VAXX." Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results As of September 30, 2021, cash and cash equivalents were $89.4 million. Research and development (R&D) expenses for the three months ended September 30, 2021 were $23.6 million, compared with $7.8 million for the three months ended September 30, 2020. The $15.8 million increase consisted primarily of an increase of $12.7 million related to our UB-612 clinical trial in Taiwan (primarily consisting of materials and manufacturing costs as well as increases in CRO costs), increased personnel costs of approximately $1.8 million, and increased UB-311 costs (primarily production related) of approximately $0.9 million. General and administrative expenses for the three months ended September 30, 2021 were $6.7 million, compared with $5.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2020. The $1.6 million increase was related to our continued organizational growth to support our ramp-up in research and development efforts, as well as increased costs for preparations for being a public company. Net loss for the three months ended September 30, 2021 was $30.4 million, compared with $16.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2020. About Vaxxinity Vaxxinity, Inc. is purpose-driven biotechnology company committed to democratizing healthcare across the globe. The company is pioneering a new class of synthetic, peptide-based immunotherapeutic vaccines aimed at disrupting the existing treatment paradigm for chronic disease, increasingly dominated by monoclonal antibodies, which suffer from prohibitive costs and cumbersome administration. The company's proprietary technology platform has enabled the innovation of novel pipeline candidates designed to bring the efficiency of vaccines to the treatment of chronic diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, migraine, and hypercholesterolemia. The technology is also implemented as part of a COVID-19 vaccine program. Vaxxinity has optimized its pipeline to achieve a potentially historic, global impact on human health. Forward-looking Statement This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The use of certain words, including "believe," "may," "continue," "advancing," and "will" and similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties, including statements that are based on the current expectations and assumptions of Vaxxinity's management about the development of a new class of immunotherapeutic vaccines and the innovation and efficacy of Vaxxinity's product candidates. Various important factors could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those that may be expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. Additional important factors to be considered in connection with forward-looking statements are described in the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 23, 2021. The forward-looking statements are made as of this date and Vaxxinity does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.   VAXXINITY, INC.   Statement of Operations   (In Thousands)               Three Months Ended September 30,   Nine months ended September 30,     2020     2021     2020     2021                       Revenue $ 117     $ 50     $ 557     $ 67     Cost of revenue   (178 )     9       52      .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaDec 23rd, 2021

Big Marijuana Stock Profits in Surprising Places

You can still get in on the ground floor of the marijuana market, which will only get hotter as more states and countries move toward legalization. Ben Rains shows several ways to invest before the floodgates open. Legal marijuana is a smoking hot growth industry in the U.S., Canada, and beyond. The global cannabis market is projected to soar from $20.5 billion back in 2020 to $90.4 billion by 2026.¹ And these estimates are likely conservative, as the U.S. moves closer to wide-ranging federal legalization and European nations, including economic powerhouse Germany, prepare to do the same in 2022.The best part about investing in legal marijuana right now is that despite all of the progress, there are ample opportunities to get in right near the ground floor given where we are in the legal lifecycle. Plus, many top pot stocks are trading near all-time lows heading into the new year, after they were beaten down in 2021, along with other former covid high-flyers and growth stocks.Still in the Early InningsThe legal recreational cannabis market has come a long way in the last few years. Yet the growth runway remains massive. Eighteen states have legalized adult-use marijuana as of December—up from zero in 2011. Meanwhile, Canada is one of only a couple countries to legalize marijuana nationally and it did so in 2018.Luckily, more U.S. states are poised to join the legal ranks in 2022, while others could add to the number of medical marijuana states to help take the country well above the current 36 states. Crucially, multiple bills are circulating around Washington, D.C. right now that aim to introduce sweeping Federal marijuana legalization, which will be an overnight game-changer and supercharge the space and the stocks.Even Republicans, the party historically opposed to legal weed, have started to roll out their own legalization proposals including one high-profile effort introduced in November. All of this is to say that Washington appears ready to enact some form of Federal legalization soon.The heightened political drive follows increased bipartisan support that matches the polling data—68% of U.S. adults are in favor of legal marijuana, including 50% of Republicans. Legalization at the national level will open the floodgates for U.S. growers to list on the NYSE and the Nasdaq, and for money to pour in from established players far outside the current pot space looking to cash in and make a big splash.Before those floodgates open, savvy investors are starting to focus on companies that are direct plays within the booming marijuana industry. These stocks are primed to continue growing and receiving institutional investment both before and after federal legalization.Continued . . .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Marijuana Stocks? There’s Never Been a Better TimeToday we’re on the verge of bipartisan marijuana legislation at the Federal level. Once the bill is passed, money is likely to flow into current and brand-new stocks at a rate that has never been seen in this industry.Thirty-six states plus D.C. have already legalized medicinal marijuana and 18 states plus D.C. made recreational use legal. There’s no stopping this trend, and now is the time to join the rush for profits. Global sales are predicted to skyrocket from $20.5 billion back in 2020 to $90.4 billion by 2026.Zacks recently closed marijuana trades of +39.7%, +94.5%, even +147.0% in as little as 4-1/2 months. Plus, new stocks are being lined up that could greatly surpass these gains.²See Zacks' latest pot stocks now >>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Don’t Touch the Plant Only Canadian marijuana growers can list on U.S. exchanges given the current standing of cannabis at the Federal level. Fortunately, outside of growers and pure-play pot companies, an array of stocks and industries provide access to legal marijuana because they maintain just enough distance from cannabis.Don’t touch the plant stocks also theoretically provide greater stability amid the current legal grey area in the U.S. The growing niche within pot investing includes real estate investment trusts, suppliers and equipment makers, tech firms, product safety and testing operations, pharmaceutical giants, and beyond.Hydroponics & High-Tech Farming Marijuana, even with all of the complicated new ways to consume it, is a plant. Therefore, the companies that directly support the growing of cannabis are some of the most straightforward and essential of the don’t touch the plant stocks.Today’s cannabis companies run grow operations that more often resemble high-tech, spotless computer chip factories than anything close to a farm. Hydroponic gardening or farming, which simply means growing without the use of soil, by utilizing formulated, mineral nutrient solutions in water, is front and center of modern cannabis cultivation.Marijuana is planted in an inert growing media and constantly supplied with nutrient-rich solutions, oxygen, and water, while light, temperature, and carbon dioxide levels are carefully controlled through various gadgets and other devices. Hydroponics allows for year-round growing, larger yields, and nearly complete control of the process.The global hydroponics market, which spans from multi-billion dollar operations to home grows, reportedly hit around $10 billion in 2020, and it's expected to reach well over $20 billion before the end of the decade. Many public hydroponics and indoor farming companies have posted 60% or higher revenue growth over the last several years.Plus, large institutional investors are pouring money into hydroponics stocks, with most holding at least 50% institutional ownership, compared to pure-play pot stocks that are closer to 15% or less.Real Estate Expansion Huge, high-tech marijuana growers require tons of capital and cash to start and operate. Yet, marijuana’s classification under federal law makes running successful U.S. pot businesses complex and cumbersome, especially when it comes to money. Most local and national banks don’t want anything to do with the legal marijuana market because of all the various state laws and expensive compliance standards.A few companies have helped fill the void for firms that don’t have access to traditional banking services. This backdrop enables cannabis-focused real estate investment trusts or REITs to essentially lend millions of dollars to cannabis companies that don’t have easy access to other sources of capital and collect extremely high interest rates for doing so, on long-term agreements. And like all REITs, they are required to distribute 90% of their taxable income to shareholders.Cannabis Tech Technology dominates our lives and the market, so of course, it plays a vital role in legal pot. There are multiple companies that sell cannabis-specific software to help growers, dispensaries, and others operate more effectively and efficiently in the highly-regulated space.Various publicly traded companies offer solutions for compliance, data, taxation, payments, plant tracking, and much more. The opportunity for expansion is huge in the marijuana tech world and a few companies are in the midst of rapid consolidation to try to capture more market share ahead of U.S. federal legalization that will likely require increasingly stringent guidelines.Extracting Profits from Plants The transition from the black market to labs and hydroponics ushered in the age of endless, hyper-specific marijuana strains. Outside of traditional flower that’s smoked, tons of growth is coming from edible products, oils, and other highly concentrated forms of cannabis.In order to transform cannabis plants and marijuana buds into new-age consumption methods, from concentrates to topical creams, detailed and varied extraction processes must be completed. There are various extraction methods that must be performed repeatedly and precisely, often on a massive scale.Extraction is growing more crucial given the global scope and the increasing demand for non-flower products, which includes widely popular non-psychoactive CBD products.Marijuana Testing  Medical-grade and adult-use cannabis products sold in legal markets are required by law to be clearly labeled with ingredients, cannabinoid levels, dosage recommendations, and tons of other information. Like all industries, from food to medicine, tons of testing is involved at various stages of the cultivation process.Cannabis testing is a potentially huge segment and it will garner even more attention at the national level, especially amid a rise in laced black market drugs. The broader field includes regulatory compliance, quality control, research, and beyond. There are currently multiple cannabis testing companies out there, and a few publicly traded names stand out through their exposure to other areas outside of marijuana.Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Far outside of medical marijuana exists the nascent world of cannabis-based medicine. There are a few stocks making waves in this growing field. One such public company sells the first prescription, plant-derived cannabis-based medicine approved by the FDA and the European Commission.The drug is used in the treatment of seizures associated with various syndromes in patients one year or older. Another more home-run style stock has attracted investment for its potential first-in-class therapeutics targeting the endocannabinoid system that aims to address needs in multiple diseases and conditions, including anorexia, cancer, pain, and inflammation.Multiple Opportunities for Investors As mentioned, this space looks to explode from $20.5 billion in 2020 to $90.4 billion by 2026. Yet only a few growers, pharmaceuticals, financial firms, suppliers - both established and start-ups - are the true innovators and offer historic profit potential.So if you don't want to devote constant attention and painstaking analysis to find these often little-known tickers, we can find them for you.Today, as the legalized marijuana floodgates are about to open, you’re invited to take part in our portfolio service Zacks Marijuana Innovators.This approach is responsible and vigilant, but we look for aggressive growth. Recently, we closed gains of +39.7%, +94.5%, even +147.0% in as little as 4-1/2 months.²Right now you can follow the live buys and sells inside Marijuana Innovators, and be among the first to get in on new buys that I’m lining up.Bonus Report: Speaking of industries with explosive growth potential, when you check our marijuana recommendations you are also invited to download our Special Report, One Semiconductor Stock Stands to Gain the Most. From 35 semiconductor stocks, you can get an early look at Zacks’ top pick during today’s chip shortage crisis.We can’t let everyone in on our marijuana portfolio, so your chance to gain access must end at midnight this Sunday, December 26. Sorry, no extensions.See Zacks' Marijuana Innovators Trades and Bonus Semiconductor Report Now >>Good Investing,Ben RainsEditorBen Rains develops strategies that enable investors to profit from the growing legal market in the U.S. and beyond. Ben uses his extensive experience and concentrated industry study to direct our unique portfolio service, Zacks Marijuana Innovators.¹ Source for marijuana industry growth estimate: Research and Markets ² The results listed above are not (or may not be) representative of the performance of all selections made by Zacks Investment Research's newsletter editors and may represent the partial close of a position.  Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 23rd, 2021

7 Trends in Car Markets

    Today’s automobile market is filled with all sorts of anomalies: Delays in getting semiconductors, supply chain snafus impacting mechanical parts,1 shortage of new cars leading to rising prices2 for used cars. These headlines sometimes obscure more interesting trends in the auto market that are bubbling below the surface. I was reminded of this… Read More The post 7 Trends in Car Markets appeared first on The Big Picture.     Today’s automobile market is filled with all sorts of anomalies: Delays in getting semiconductors, supply chain snafus impacting mechanical parts,1 shortage of new cars leading to rising prices2 for used cars. These headlines sometimes obscure more interesting trends in the auto market that are bubbling below the surface. I was reminded of this while reading an informative NYT column by Peter Coy: “Why It’s Easier Than Ever to Buy a Used Car.” Coy reminds us that George Akerlof (who won an economics Nobel in 2001) “correctly diagnosed the problem as one of asymmetric information: Sellers knew more than buyers. Fearing being ripped off, buyers would bid low.” But things soon began to change for the better, as state laws prohibited odometer rollbacks and required the reporting of all accidents. Lemon Laws helped, as did Carfax, which began in 1984, was also a game-changer. Here is a little pre-holiday food for thought from a self-proclaimed car guy, a few of the underlying trends, roughly in the order of their current market size: 1. Car Buying: The days of the new car salesman pretending to speak to their manager as they negotiate prices are thankfully coming to an end. One of the great innovations of Tesla was simply posting their prices online and allowing people to make their purchases without dealing with a salesperson. CONSUMERS LOVE THIS. We also see this showing up in companies like Carvana and CarMax with their “No-Haggle” sales policies or via online purchases from dealerships with direct delivery to home. Saturn may have failed as a brand, but they were decades ahead of the curve with no-haggle pricing. The asymmetrical information imbalance has shifted in the direction of the consumer (at least its become much fairer). Dealerships better adapt fast or die. Car purchasing has been changed by the pandemic for the better and it is likely permanent; expect car buying in the future to look nothing like the past. 2. Used Car Market: Modern cars are incredibly well-equipped, filled with safety features that used to be expensive options. They have become astonishingly reliable, cheap to maintain, well equipped for use in a modern household. The same is true for cars that are 3 to 7 years old. Used car buyers are no longer playing roulette with potential lemons, but instead, are purchasing solid vehicles that enjoy extended lifespans. Better still, this is after that giant new car depreciation has already occurred. One of my favorite purchases is to identify a pricey well-maintained car coming off of a 36-month lease and purchasing it for half or less of MSRP. This works especially well with luxury brands like BMW and Porsche. The used car market will eventually mean-revert in price as the supply chain snafus become untangled. The current shortfall of new cars should resolve over the next 12 months, but this means there will still be an inventory shortage of used cars over the ensuing 24 to 48 months. With so many people discovering the advantages of purchasing gently used cars, mean reversion might be somewhat shallower than expected. 3. Electric Vehicles: (EVs) are simply a superior drivetrain versus internal combustion engines (ICE) – what they lack in exhaust note they make up for in many ways: They are not only cleaner, but faster, smoother, more reliable, and cheaper to maintain. Whatever range anxiety you might have should be soon disappearing: Lucid‘s new cars have 500+ mile range; Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQS are over 400; new tech promises a 750-mile range. The world is moving rapidly to electric-powered cars. By 2030, I expect more than half of all new cars sold will be electric; of the other half, many will be hybrid. This is the future. 4. Driving Enthusiasts: The possibility of something going away really makes people suddenly appreciate it.3 Perhaps it’s been the lockdown or just a little bit of availability bias but I cannot help but notice the huge upswing in enthusiasm for automobiles among surprisingly young drivers. This stands inapposite to the fewer driver’s licenses we see among youth and the rise of Uber and (eventually) self-driving cars. So many videos and YouTube channels — Top Gear/Grand Tour to Doug Demuro to Harry’s Garage — reveal an intense automobile culture worldwide. Meet and greets like Cars & Coffee have sprung up all over. Automobiles do not represent the freedom to the young today as they did to my generation (epitomized in Springsteen’s Born to Run) but they do resonate with this generation on many levels. 5. Auction Sites: I have been a fan of sites like Bring A Trailer or Cars & Bids for years, but only started making auction purchases/sales during lockdowns. If I could not go eyeball a car or take one for a test drive, auctions were the next best thing. I’ve bought and sold several cars for what I thought were fair prices, and I have enjoyed the experience. There are some risks here, and I do have some useful advice (0perhaps a future blog post or column). I expect these sites will maintain much of their traffic and especially their hard-core audiences even after the market normalizes. 6. Collectibles: Let’s break the collectible car universe into a few specific groups: A) The car kid, who fell in love with some magical car when they were younger – Corvette or Camaro, Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Aston Martin – eventually reaching a stage in life where they can purchase that unrequited nostalgic love. B) The DIYers, who are comfortable with a wrench and OEM diagnostic tool who will either rebuild or repair or even do a complete frame-off restoration on that special car they have dreamed of for so long; C) Enthusiasts of means, who are comfortable buying and driving automobiles from a different era for the sheer pleasure of it. If this generates a return on investment, hey that’s great, but that is not their focus; D) The pure speculators, who look at automobiles the way they would look at real estate or Bitcoin or art or any other item that can be purchased today and resold at a higher price at some date in the future; What will be interesting to see is how these buyers shift over time as the automotive world changes — as manual transmissions go away and the internal combustion engine comes to the end of its lifespan. Forecasts range from the collectible car market collapsing to exploding in price and everything in between. 7. Self-Driving: of all the aspects of automobiles I suspect this is the one that’s most overhyped. Yes, eventually it’s coming: There will be a day when the steering wheels and pedals disappear, and you will sit in your orb to be transported by your own personal robotic vehicle. Maybe it even turns into a drone and flies you to your destination. I suspect this era will involve greater volumes of traffic moving about more quickly, but the joy of driving will be lost on all but a handful of old-timers keeping their vehicles in working order, sticking to the back roads where possible. ~~~ Me? I just like to drive…     _______________ 1. I’ve been trying to order a set of eight injectors for an Audi V8, they should cost ~$75 each, but I am currently being quoted nearly $400 per. This turns a 40,000 mile servicing that should cost $1200 with $600 parts into a debacle where the parts alone are $3200. Fortunately, I have 12,000 miles before its required, so I can postpone this, but not everyone is so fortunate. 2. Indeed, highly inflated used car prices are a key component of the record high CPI inflation. 3. I suspect this may be already happening with movie theaters…   The post 7 Trends in Car Markets appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureDec 23rd, 2021

ER doctors say this COVID-19 wave is forcing them to deny treatment to other patients who can die as a result: "Every shift I"m working these days is like the worst shift in my career"

"This is not the time to be in a motor-vehicle accident because the care that we would love to give you, it is severely hindered," one doctor said. A team of critical-care nurses and assistants treat a COVID-19 patient on December 8 at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via Getty Images Top ER doctors in several states say they're being forced to refuse life-saving care to patients. About 30 to 40% of their beds are tied up with COVID-19 cases. "We say no day after day," one ER doctor said. "And that's led to preventable deaths." There is not enough room for all the sick and injured people in Minnesota to receive the emergency care they need.Hundreds are waiting, some on the floor, in hopes that a bed or operating table might open up. On Tuesday morning, 246 patients statewide had been waiting for more than four hours for a bed.It's a backlog created by yet another surge of COVID-19 cases. Doctors and nurses say there's no end in sight, and people are likely dying in the shadows of this wave of infections."I'm examining people's ankles who are sitting on the floor because we have literally run out of any space to put them," Dr. John Hick, the medical director for emergency preparedness at Hennepin County Medical Center, told Insider.Medical teams from the Department of Defense have been brought into his hospital to help deal with the overflow. These days, all 50 beds in the department are filled, with up to 70 more patients waiting for care in the triage area at any given time. "Every shift I'm working these days is like the worst shift in my career," the 25-year emergency-room veteran told a group of journalists last week."We're electing to have to leave patients in rural hospitals" and discharging patients "that I normally would've admitted," Hick told Insider, calling it a "first-come, first-served" system, which is not how emergency medicine is supposed to work.It doesn't have to be like this anymore, Hick said. Last week, his hospital system, along with eight others across the state, took out a full-page newspaper ad urging people in Minnesota to get vaccinated. Almost all of his hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, he said. Like other providers across the country, he has seen the effect vaccines can have on disease severity, and he knows that severe sickness and hospitalization from COVID-19 is by and large preventable today."We're very worried about the potential that we're going to have lives that'll be lost," Hick said.This COVID-19 wave 'has led to preventable deaths,' doctors say — and it's not all from the diseaseIt's a problem playing out in spots around the country as COVID-19 patients spend weeks, if not months, in their hospital beds.While the average hospital patient might use a bed for two to five days, hospitalized COVID-19 patients require at least a week or two of care, Dr. Nathalie Dougé, a traveling hospitalist who has worked in both New York City and Montana, said. Often, COVID-19 stays can stretch far beyond that, topping well over a month in the intensive-care unit as a patient's lungs and body recover from the viral illness."Getting those extra beds to help other people isn't happening," Dougé said.Across Rhode Island, upstate New York, and in Iowa (where elective surgeries are on pause through Christmas), hospitals are stretched to the breaking point. In states including Montana, Minnesota, and Nebraska, that routinely means critical care is being denied to rural patients at smaller hospitals. "When a doctor from a small town in Nebraska calls and says, 'I need some help' ... in many instances, now we've had to say, 'I'm sorry, but we just don't have the capacity to care for that patient,'" Dr. Mark Rupp, the medical director of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's department for infection control, told Insider.Rupp said, "It runs very much counter to our culture here.""We've always served as a backup, caring for the sickest of the sick," he said. Today, the hospital is so overfilled that they can't, he added. Dr. Matthew Prekker, a critical-care and lung specialist who works alongside Hick in Minnesota, put it more bluntly. He said there was no doubt in his mind that people have died because his hospital simply didn't have enough space for them."We have historically been the place where people that have nowhere else to go can come," Prekker said, adding that critically injured patients from all over the state requiring specialized care would normally "be on a helicopter to our facility within an hour." "Now, we say no day after day," Prekker said. "And that's led to preventable deaths."Hick said he worried about whether any life-saving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) heart and lung machines would be available this winter if someone fell through the ice or got stuck in the snow. When that happens, people can freeze to death within hours. But ECMO machines can help prevent those deaths — if they're not all being used on COVID-19 patients."As long as it hasn't been hours and hours, we can often get those people back and discharge them neurologically intact using ECMO," Hick said. "But we don't have the option to do that when we don't have any circuits."In 2019, at least 62 Minnesotans died cold-related deaths, but the figure would likely be much worse without ECMO machines. There are only four adult ECMO centers in Minnesota, and they're often at or near capacity these days, the Minnesota Department of Health said.'People still think, "It won't be me"'A COVID-19-positive patient in the intensive-care unit on February 1.Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesIn Minnesota, about 43% of state ICU beds were filled with COVID-19 patients as of Monday morning. At this point in the pandemic, many being admitted are relatively young and unvaccinated."The great majority of patients I see have been vaccine refusers," Prekker said. On his shift Tuesday, he said he saw "a half dozen young adults that had chosen not to be vaccinated and came in with COVID."Their admittance quickly creates a backlog in ER departments — as more new patients need care, there are no inpatient beds left to send them to. On top of that, gunshot and stab-wound victims are surging toward record numbers in Minnesota this year."There's a level of anger and frustration in the community that I've never seen before," Hick said. "And if people get angry, and they've got a gun, the guns are going off." At Hennepin County Medical Center, even some of the pediatric beds are filling up with adult patients, Prekker said. It's created a situation where if a rural child needed to be flown in for help, the hospital wouldn't necessarily be able to take them "because sick adults are taking those beds," Prekker added.It's both heartbreaking and exhausting for the doctors. A doctor gives a bleak update on the state of her patients on December 8 at North Memorial Health Hospital.Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via Getty Images"People still think, 'It won't be me,'" Prekker said. "They're willing to play the odds and can think of a whole lot of rationale why they don't need to take the personal responsibility to get fully vaccinated."Often these days, he said, "one of the last things they say before we have to intubate them and put them on a ventilator is, 'Can I get the vaccine?'"Meanwhile, other patients wait. "You have to tell the family that we just have to play the waiting game and hope and pray that somehow some way, we can find a place for them," Dougé said, describing the process of calling up larger hospitals across Washington, Idaho, and Utah, none of them with any room for critical patients from Montana. "You do feel betrayed to some degree by the community," Rupp said. "We've been working overtime for so long in order to try to preserve their health. And they're not taking the simple step of getting vaccinated." Be careful 'because the care that we would love to give you, it is severely hindered by exhaustion'The winter COVID-19 wave has not hit everywhere as hard.In New York City, the pace of COVID-19 hospitalizations is manageable, Dr. Bruce Farber, the chief of public health and epidemiology at New York's largest hospital system, Northwell Health, told Insider. Elective surgeries continue in the city, and beds are readily available.But the Omicron variant is taking off fast.With more than 80% of New Yorkers vaccinated, Farber said he didn't expect the hospital to be overwhelmed with severely sick people. Instead, he said he anticipated a lot of people — including frontline workers — would test positive and have to isolate at home. That, in turn, would mean fewer staffers available to treat patients who are in the hospital."I do think it's going to be a real rough six weeks for sure," Farber said. For Dougé, whose experience working in New York City during the dawn of the pandemic was recently chronicled in the documentary film "The First Wave," the hours and pay as a staff doctor became untenable during this crisis. Now, she said she earned as much in a week as a traveling doctor as she used to make in a month on staff at Northwell."I don't see myself going back to a full-time employee," she added. "I know that's going to get exploited."Her advice to would-be patients is simple: Be very, very careful."Honestly, what I tell people: This is the best time to be in the best shape of your life," she said. "Don't do anything risky."This is not the time to be in a motor-vehicle accident because the care that we would love to give you, it is severely hindered by exhaustion, by understaffing, limited resources. No matter what we can do as an individual, collectively, the system is on the brink."This story has been updated with the latest information from the Minnesota Department of Health on ECMO capacity.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 20th, 2021