American Water Works" (AWK) Arm to Buy Sewer Assets for $28M

American Water Works' (AWK) Pennsylvania unit enters into an agreement to acquire the wastewater assets of Elizabeth Borough Municipal Authority for $28 million to further expand its service areas. American Water Works AWK announced that its subsidiary Pennsylvania American Water has signed an asset purchase agreement worth $28 million for the wastewater system assets of the Elizabeth Borough Municipal Authority. This wastewater system presently serves nearly 2,200 customers.The aging of crucial water and wastewater infrastructure is concerning for the United States water industry. Pennsylvania American Water’s prime concern is to deliver safe, reliable and affordable wastewater services to its customers.The company is devoted to making the required capital investments while keeping the rates stable. It has committed to invest more than $20.4 million by 2028 in improving the system’s reliability and security of the acquired assets. Subject to necessary approval, this acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2023 or early 2024.Water Industry Needs ConsolidationAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 50,000 community water systems and 16,000 community wastewater systems in the United States are currently providing water solutions to customers. Due to a large number of small operators in the industry and a lack of adequate funds, essential upgrades and repairs of infrastructure get delayed at times.The acquisition of small units by larger utilities ensures necessary investments in infrastructure upgrades and the continuation of high-quality services to customers. American Water Works is the largest and most geographically diverse publicly traded water and wastewater utility company, which continues to widen its market footprint through strategic acquisitions.Utilities Continue to ConsolidateAmerican Water Works is expanding its customer base through organic initiatives and acquisitions. It continues to focus on the acquisition of utilities that provide services to 5,000-50,000 customers. The company added 51,000 customers to its existing customer base through 15 closed acquisitions.AWK’s pending acquisitions (as of Sep 30, 2022), when completed, will add another 21,600 customers to the customer base. As of Sep 30, 2022, through 15 closed acquisitions, the company added 65,300 customers to its existing customer base.Other water utilities like SJW Group SJW, Consolidated Water Co. CWCO and Essential Utilities WTRG in the water utility space are expanding operations through systematic acquisitions.SJW Group completed more than 25 acquisitions in the 2010-2021 time frame and expanded its operations. The company made systematic acquisitions in 2022 to further expand its operations. In January 2023, SJW’s Texas subsidiary entered into an agreement to acquire KT Water Development Ltd. and KT Water Resources L.P., which will add 550 customers to the company’s existing base.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SJW Group's 2022 and 2023 earnings implies year-over-year growth of 15.3% and 6.4%, respectively. The current dividend yield of the company is 1.9%.Consolidated Water has recently exercised its right to acquire the remaining 39% of PERC Water Corporation's ("PERC") equity, for nearly $7.8 million. PERC’s strong operating performance, revenue growth and profitability, as well as its synergies with other areas of CWCO’s business and future growth prospects, are going to boost CWCO’s performance.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CWCO's 2022 and 2023 earnings implies year-over-year growth of 143.5% and 62.5%, respectively. The current dividend yield of the company is 2.4%.In 2022, Essential Utilities acquired three water and wastewater systems, added nearly $120 million in rate base and added more than 23,000 new customers to its existing customer base. At present, WTRG has signed seven purchase agreements on closure, which will expand its customer base by nearly 218,000.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for WTRG's 2022 and 2023 earnings implies year-over-year growth of 6.6% and 6.5%, respectively. The current dividend yield of the company is 2.5%.Price PerformanceOver the last three months, American Water Works’ stock has returned 10.7%, outperforming the industry average of 6.4%. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankAmerican Water Works currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.  Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 American Water Works Company, Inc. (AWK): Free Stock Analysis Report Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (CWCO): Free Stock Analysis Report SJW Group (SJW): Free Stock Analysis Report Essential Utilities Inc. (WTRG): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 25th, 2023

How dry ice is used to deep clean cars

Scott from Dryce Nation shows us the step-by-step process to fully restore a dirty vehicle back to factory-level cleanliness. Dry ice cleaning is an extremely effective way to deep clean your car Cold temperature, pressure, and thermal expansion all work together to remove oily muck and build up The process requires technique, knowledge, and patience but is worth it for next level cleaning Following is a transcript of the video.Scott Ales: It's Scott Ales with Dryce Nation. So, today I'd like to show you the step-by-step process that we go through in dry-ice cleaning.So, there's a number of things that are unique about dry-ice cleaning. No. 1, we're not using water, so when we're done, we're not cleaning up water spots, we're not trying to dry things. If you can see the dirt, we can clean it. So there's a lot of places where you might be able to see that dirt but you can't physically get to it with any tools or brushes or devices, and we can. We can clean that in the deep recesses of your car that you might not have been able to before. It's like when the car rolled off the factory line. You've cleaned it back to that condition.So, when we're just getting started, we're trying to identify the method of what we're going to attack first. When we put a car on the lift, we always want to make sure and pull the wheels off so we can inspect the inner wheelhouse area. We use a torque wrench to break the lug nuts loose. We also like to consider, depending on the customer, if they want us to remove the inner wheelhouse liners, which are typically plastic, to see if they want us to clean behind there.So once we have the car on the lift and we're prepped, we're then moving our attention toward the compressed-air system to make sure that we've got all of our drying and cleaning systems for the air system in order, and then we're going to load the machine with the dry ice so that we're prepared to blast. And so the first thing we try to do is try to get the wheels out of the way. We have four wheels, and we'll just take those one at a time. We'll look for tar, we'll look for adhesion, remnants from old wheel weights, which are totally a pain to remove, and we make that pretty easy. And then we'll just clean the wheels inside and out. The three settings are, you've got pressure, which is psi that you're all familiar with; there's pounds per minute; and then you've got size of particle. So those are the three things that you can adjust. But for the first time we can actually choose the size of the particle, so it enables us to be able do delicate things in the same area of things that might be aggressive. Previously you were putting those delicate items at risk with the large particle size.When we're starting the project, we're always looking for the dirtiest area first. We like to get the hard stuff out of the way, so that when we get to those surfaces or those coatings that we're trying to remove that are easy, then it makes everything go smoother because you're not double cleaning. So, you'll notice as I'm cleaning that the gun is never static. It's always moving. It's always constantly moving. And the reason for that is we have the risk of a concentrated -109 degrees on a particular substrate or part of the car that you could damage in one spot. So, I'd like to take a minute and explain how this actually works. There's really three things that are occurring. You've got kinetic energy, which is driven by the psi of the air system. You've got cold temperature, -109 degree, that causes things to shrink so they lose adhesion. And then you've got the actual thermal expansion of a solid chemical going to a gas, so that's 800 times its original solid size. Those three things work very well together to remove this dirt in a way that you've probably never seen before. There's a lot of technique opportunity here, right? 'Cause in a sense, this is a bit of an artist's effort at an industrial job, if you will. I've found it to be helpful for me to function in a circular pattern so that I never have any hard lines. The circular pattern gives me the control that I feel comfortable with. There's really nothing that's more fun in this process than doing bare aluminum. You really can't hurt bare aluminum, and so in that case, you can crank it up, it's more efficient, you feel better about it, and it's very satisfying to the eye.So, once we've removed those really difficult grimy surfaces, we do move into a combination of handwork and fine-detail dry-ice cleaning. People presume that what we're doing is a magic wand and we just wave it once and we're done, and that's not true. When we have surface rust, we do integrate a fair amount of handwork. Whether it be all-purpose cleaners, white erasers, Ospho, 0000 steel wool, definitely we do use handwork. At the point in time that we believe we're finished with the underside, we'll bring the car down three or four feet, and then we'll look at the top of the suspension and the wheelhouse areas and then we'll notice, "OK, we've got some more work to do here."So once we've cleaned the underside of the car, we bring the car down on the lift, and we have an extra-wide lift so that we can open the doors, get the floor mats out, we can do the interior vents, the door jams, the engine bay, the trim. And we don't abrade the surface, and we'll do what takes somebody two hours in 10 minutes. So, we were fortunate enough to receive this '55 Porsche Speedster, and it literally is a barn find. What you're seeing here is me trying to see if I can remove this crazy-thick mold that's 30, 40 years old off 60-year-old vinyl. That mold was so thick it would stop your fingernail. This was a big moment for us, and the end result is we will apply some all-purpose cleaner at the end. and we'll wipe off the final film from this panel. But it just turns out spectacular.So, we don't add to or remove any CO2 from the environment, so we're neutral. And we don't use water, which means that we don't rinse chemicals down a drain into any sewer systems or into drain fields. So from an environmental standpoint, by far it is absolutely a better cleaning solution than using water and chemicals. The dry-ice-cleaning world could be considered the highest-level OCD crowd. Think about the underside of a car and the intricacies of every component. There's a lot of surface area to all of these parts and pieces. Don't think that it's going to be easy, but the satisfaction factor for those that care about the way their assets or their artifacts look is at the highest level. So it's worth the energy.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

American Water Works" (AWK) Arm to Buy Water & Sewer Systems

American Water Works' (AWK) unit Virginia American Water has signed an agreement to acquire water and sewer assets, which will help in expanding its customer base. American Water Works AWK announced that its subsidiary Virginia American Water has signed an asset purchase agreement worth around $15 million for drinking water and wastewater assets of the Town of Cape Charles in Virginia. Currently, Virginia American Water serves about 320,000 people in Virginia.The aging of crucial water and wastewater infrastructure is concerning for the United States water industry. Virginia American Water’s prime concern is to deliver clean, safe, reliable and affordable water and wastewater services. It is devoted to make the required capital investments, while keeping the rates stable. It has committed to invest more than $10 million over the next eight years in improving the system’s reliability and security of the acquired assets.Water Industry Needs ConsolidationAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 50,000 community water systems and 16,000 community wastewater systems in the United States are providing water solutions to customers at present. Due to a large number of small operators in the industry and lack of adequate funds, essential upgrades and repairs of infrastructure get delayed at times.The acquisition of small units by larger utilities ensures necessary investments for infrastructure upgrade and continuation of high-quality services to customers. American Water Works is the largest and most geographically diverse, publicly traded water and wastewater utility company, which continues to widen its market footprint through strategic acquisitions.Utilities Continue to ConsolidateAmerican Water Works is expanding its customer base through organic initiatives and acquisitions. It continues to focus on the acquisition of utilities that provide services to 5,000-50,000 customers. The company added 51,000 customers to its existing customer base through 15 closed acquisitions.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for American Water Works' 2022 and 2023 earnings suggests year-over-year growth of 4.94% and 7.04%, respectively. The current dividend yield of the company is 1.7%.Other water utilities like SJW Group SJW, Consolidated Water Co. CWCO, and Essential Utilities WTRG in the water utility space are expanding operations through systematic acquisitions.SJW Group completed more than 25 acquisitions in the 2010-2021 time frame and expanded its operations. In January 2022, it closed the acquisition of Texas Country Water in Comal, TX. The deal added more than 1,900 water and wastewater customers to its existing customer base. This was the fourth Texas acquisition by the SJW Group in the past 12 months. The company plans to invest $1.5 billion in the next five years to further strengthen its infrastructure.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SJW Group's 2022 and 2023 earnings implies year-over-year growth of 15.3% and 6%, respectively. The current dividend yield of the company is 1.8%.Consolidated Water has recently exercised its right to acquire the remaining 39% of PERC Water Corporation's ("PERC") equity ownership for nearly $7.8 million. PERC’s strong operating performance, revenue growth and profitability, as well as its synergies with other areas of CWCO’s business and future growth prospects, are going to boost CWCO’s performance.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CWCO's 2022 and 2023 earnings implies year-over-year growth of 143.4% and 62.5%, respectively. The current dividend yield of the company is 2.3%.In 2022, Essential Utilities acquired three water and wastewater systems, and added nearly $120 million in rate base and more than 23,000 new customers to its existing customer base. At present, WTRG has signed seven purchase agreements on closure, which will expand its customer base by nearly 218,000.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for WTRG's 2022 and 2023 earnings implies year-over-year growth of 6.59% and 6.46%, respectively. The current dividend yield of the company is 2.4%.Price PerformanceOver the last three months, the American Water Works’ stock has returned 16.7%, outperforming the industry average of 13.2%. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankAmerican Water Works currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.  5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>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 American Water Works Company, Inc. (AWK): Free Stock Analysis Report Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (CWCO): Free Stock Analysis Report SJW Group (SJW): Free Stock Analysis Report Essential Utilities Inc. (WTRG): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 18th, 2023

American Water (AWK) Unit to Acquire Sewer Assets for $1M

American Water's (AWK) unit, Pennsylvania American Water, is set to acquire sewer assets for $1 million and invest $1.3 million to improve the infrastructure of the acquired assets. American Water Works Company AWK has announced that its subsidiary, Pennsylvania American Water, will acquire the Sadsbury Township Municipal Authority Sanitary Sewer Collection System for $990,000. The sewer collection system serves 250 properties.The aging of crucial water and wastewater infrastructure is concerning for the water industry of the United States. After completing the acquisition, Pennsylvania American Water plans to invest $1.3 million in the first five years of ownership to improve the overall wastewater infrastructure of the acquired assets. The acquisition of wastewater assets will extend American Water Works’ high-quality services to its new customers.Fragmented Industry Needs ConsolidationAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 50,000 community water systems and 16,000 community wastewater systems in the United States are providing water solutions to customers at present. Due to a large number of small operators in the industry and a lack of adequate funds, at times, essential upgrades and repairs of infrastructure get delayed.Per the findings of the American Society of Civil Engineers, water main breaks occur every two minutes in the United States due to the aging of the existing water infrastructure. The breaks in the pipeline result in the wastage of 6 billion gallons of potable water each day and add to the losses of water utility operators. Aging and a lack of timely maintenance are major contributors to pipeline breaks.The acquisition of small units by larger utilities ensures necessary investments for the upgrade of infrastructure and the continuation of high-quality services to customers. American Water Works continues to widen its market footprint through strategic acquisitions.Utilities Continue to ConsolidateOther water utilities like California Water Service Group CWT, SJW Group SJW and Essential Utilities WTRG in the water utility space are expanding operations through systematic acquisitions.California Water Service recently received approval to acquire the water system assets of Skylonda Mutual Water Company. The buyout is scheduled to close later this year, subject to customary closing conditions. Also, in June 2022, CWT announced that its unit, Texas Water Service, closed the acquisition of Railyard Utility’s wastewater system by collaborating with BVRT Utility Holding Company.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for California Water Service's 2023 earnings suggests year-over-year growth of 21.7%. The current dividend yield of the company is 1.63%.SJW Group completed more than 25 acquisitions in the 2010-2021 time frame and expanded operations. In January 2022, it closed the acquisition of Texas Country Water in Comal, TX. The deal added more than 1,900 water and wastewater customers to the existing customer base. This has been the fourth Texas acquisition by SJW Group in the past 12 months. In the next five years, the company plans to invest $1.5 billion to further strengthen its infrastructure.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SJW Group's 2022 and 2023 earnings implies year-over-year growth of 15.3% and 6.6%, respectively. The current dividend yield of the company is 1.8%.In the six years ended Dec 31, 2021, Essential Utilities expanded utility operations by completing many water and wastewater acquisitions, which, in turn, added 94,000 customers. In the first nine months of 2022, WTRG completed two acquisitions, which added 19,175 customers. Essential Utilities plans to invest $3 billion from 2022 through 2024 to fortify operations and efficiently serve the expanding customer base.Essential Utilities’ long-term earnings growth is pegged at 6.2%. The current dividend yield of the company is 2.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for WTRG's 2022 and 2023 earnings implies year-over-year growth of 6.6% and 6.5%, respectively.Price PerformanceShares of AWK have gained 21.4% in the past three months compared with the industry’s 16.1% growth. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Zacks RankAmerican Water Works currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 American Water Works Company, Inc. (AWK): Free Stock Analysis Report California Water Service Group (CWT): Free Stock Analysis Report SJW Group (SJW): Free Stock Analysis Report Essential Utilities Inc. (WTRG): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 6th, 2023

Why "Gardening" Can Help You Manage Your Portfolio Better

Why 'Gardening' Can Help You Manage Your Portfolio Better Authored by Lance Roberts via, Managing your portfolio has more to do with gardening than you might imagine. Over the last decade, behavioral finance studied investor psychology and identified the repeated behaviors investors make throughout market cycles. As you can probably surmise, investors tend to develop many “bad” behaviors, which are the biggest reason for underperformance over time.+ Such was the topic of an article from ARS Technica: “There’s extensive academic literature on the risks faced by investors who are overly confident of their ability to beat the market. They tend to trade more often, even if they’re losing money doing so. They take on too much debt and don’t diversify their holdings. When the market makes a sudden lurch, they tend to overreact to it. Yet, despite all that evidence, there’s no hard data on what makes investors overconfident in the first place.” As we discussed in “Bull Markets & Why We Repeat Our Mistakes:” “Behavioral biases that lead to poor investment decision-making is the single largest contributor to underperformance over time. Dalbar defined nine of the irrational investment behavior biases specifically:” Loss Aversion – The fear of loss leads to a withdrawal of capital at the worst possible time. Also known as “panic selling.” Narrow Framing – Making decisions about one part of the portfolio without considering the effects on the total. Anchoring – The process of remaining focused on what happened previously and not adapting to a changing market. Mental Accounting – Separating the performance of investments mentally to justify success and failure. Lack of Diversification – Believing a portfolio is diversified when it is a highly correlated pool of assets. Herding– Following what everyone else is doing. This leads to “buy high/sell low.” Regret – Not performing a necessary action due to the regret of a previous failure. Media Response – The media is biased to optimism to sell products from advertisers and attract view/readership. Optimism – Overly optimistic assumptions tend to lead to rather dramatic reversions when met with reality. “During bull market advances, ‘herding,’ ‘lack of diversification,’ and ‘anchoring’ are the most common problems. These behaviors tend to function together and compound investor mistakes. ‘Bull markets hide investment mistakes. Bear markets expose them.'” As shown, “reversions to mean” remain one of the most powerful forces in investing. So, what does this have to do with gardening? Why Investing Is Like Gardening Over time, the most prominent mistake investors make is failing to manage investment risk. Individuals tend to do an excellent job of “buying” stocks. However, they are terrible at “selling” them. Of course, since the media only tells you to “buy,” such should not be surprising. However, “buying stocks” is only one-half of the investment transaction. Unfortunately, individuals tend to “sell stocks” only after accumulating significant losses. Such is the very nature of the “buy high, sell low” syndrome. Over the years, I have found that the concept of “gardening” tends to resonate with individuals in portfolio and risk management. In the “Spring,” it is time to till the soil and plant your seeds for your summer crops. Of course, one must water, fertilize, and pull the weeds; otherwise, the garden won’t grow. As the “Spring turns into Summer,” it’s time to harvest the garden’s bounty and rotate crops for the “Fall” cycle. Eventually, even those crops must be harvested before the “Winter” snows set in.  While many investors are good at planting the garden, they often forget to harvest the bounty it produces. Such leads to the benefits of the garden rotting on the vine. Being a good gardener, or “having a green thumb,” is not a function of “luck,” but rather carefully planned actions to ensure the garden grows, the bounty gets harvested, and the garden is replanted. Steps To Follow For A “Green Thumb” Therefore, to have a successful and bountiful garden, we must: Prepare the soil (accumulate enough cash to build a properly diversified allocation) Plant according to the season (build the allocation based on the current market cycle.) Water and fertilize (add cash regularly to the portfolio for buying opportunities) Weed (sell losers and laggards, weeds will eventually “choke” off the other plants) Harvest (take profits regularly; otherwise, “the bounty rots on the vine”) Plant again according to the season (add new investments at the right time) Like everything in life, there is a “season” and a “cycle.” When it comes to the markets, “seasons” are dictated by the “technical and economic constructs,” and the “cycles” are dictated by “valuations.” The seasons are shown in the chart below. Currently, as noted above, the “technical and economic constructs” are warning us we are late into the “Fall,” and “Winter” is approaching. Such is why we are taking action to “tend to our garden” now so that we will prepare for the first “cold snap” of winter, or rather, a recession. So, what actions should you take to prepare your garden for 2023? Tending The Portfolio For 2023 As noted above, the first step in preparing your portfolio for what happens in 2023 is to clean up the things hindering you. Step 1) Clean Up Your Portfolio Tighten up stop-loss levels to current support levels for each position. Hedge portfolios against significant market declines. Take profits in positions that have been big winners. Sell laggards and losers. Raise cash and rebalance portfolios to target weightings. The next step is to rebalance your portfolio to the allocation that will most likely weather a “cold snap.” In other words, think about what sectors and markets do better in whatever economic environment you believe we will experience in 2023. Step 2) Compare Your Portfolio Allocation To The Model Allocation. Determine areas requiring new or increased exposure. Calculate how many shares need to be purchased to fill allocation requirements. Determine cash requirements to make purchases. Re-examine portfolio to rebalance and raise sufficient cash for requirements. Determine entry price levels for each new position. Evaluate “stop-loss” levels for each position. Establish “sell/profit taking” levels for each position. (Note: the primary rule of investing that should NEVER be broken is: “Never invest money without knowing where you are going to sell if you are wrong, and if you are right.”) Lastly, with a game plan, it is time to pull the weeds, till the soil, plant seeds, and water the soil. Step 3) Have positions ready to execute accordingly, given the proper market set-up. In this case, we are looking for positions that have either a “value” tilt or have pulled back to support and provide a lower-risk entry opportunity.  The Benefits Of Portfolio Management These actions have TWO specific benefits depending on what happens in the market next year. If the market corrects further, these actions clear out the “weeds” and protect capital against a further decline. If the market rallies, the portfolio is stable, and new positions can be added to participate in the advance. As we discussed in “Valuation Math Suggests Difficult Markets,” there is a wide range of potential outcomes for next year. Much will depend on the Fed’s monetary policy changes and whether the economy slips into a recession. “Our best guess is that reality lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, there is a bullish scenario where earnings decline, and a monetary policy reversal leads investors to pay more for lower earnings. But that outcome has a limited lifespan as valuations matter to long-term returns.” No one knows with any certainty how the markets will perform next week, much less over the next several months or an entire year. We know that not managing “risk” to hedge against a decline is more detrimental to achieving long-term investment goals. It doesn’t take tremendous effort to tend to your portfolio garden. The mistake investors make is assuming that planting a garden today will produce its bounty tomorrow. That is not how portfolio management works. Taking action in your portfolio today may lead to short-term underperformance. However, in the long term, managing the portfolio to mitigate the risk of catastrophic losses will lead to a bountiful garden to support you in retirement. While we continue to maintain some long equity exposure in our portfolios, we have “harvested” winners (took profits) and raised substantial cash levels in “winter preparation.”  In the short term, this will provide some drag between our portfolio and the major market index if the market rallies. However, when winter’s next “cold snap” washes across the markets, our preparation should protect our garden from “frostbite.” We remain “bullish” on the markets long term. The current “bear market” cycle will most likely end next year. Just as any farmer is keenly aware of the signs “Winter” is approaching, we are taking some precautionary actions to be prepared to replant for the next “Spring” cycle. Tyler Durden Tue, 12/20/2022 - 11:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 20th, 2022

How the Waltons — America"s wealthiest family and heirs to the Walmart empire — live their lives

The Walmart heirs own lavish homes and work with the Walton Family Foundation to give back to their community. The siblings all together.AP/April L. BrownThe Walmart heirs' combined worth is roughly $229 billion, according to Bloomberg.The family grants money and resources to support education, environmental efforts, and their home community through the Walton Family Foundation.In public, the Waltons live pretty modest lifestyles despite their wealth. Here's how they spend their fortune.The combined wealth of the Walmart heirs — which includes Rob, Jim, and Alice, as well as John's wife, Christy, and their son Lukas — is roughly $229 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index.While some work in the family business — whether that's serving on the company board or working to manage the family's wealth — others chose to pursue areas of personal passion.Sam Walton, the original man behind the company that now encompasses both Walmart and Sam's Club, set his family up for financial success when he divided the ownership before he died.He wasn't a man of flashy luxury, but you can see how his children are living a slightly more lavish life now. Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Arkansas in 1962.Sam Walton wearing an original Wal-Mart name tag.Associated PressHe married Helen Robson on Valentine's Day in 1942, and together they had four children: Rob, John, Jim, and Alice.The couple had a romantic Valentine's Day wedding.April L. Brown/Associated PressBy the time Sam died in 1992, he had set up the company ownership in a way that minimized the estate taxes anyone on the receiving end of his will had to pay.Sam was very organized with his finances.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: FortuneHe set up his ownership of Walmart's stock in a family partnership — each of his children held 20% of Walton Enterprises, while he and Helen each held 10%. Helen inherited Sam's 10% tax-free when he died.The stocks were carefully divided among the family.Courtesy of WalmartSource: FortuneSamuel Robson "Rob" Walton is the oldest Walton child.Rob served as chairman of Walmart for many years.ReutersHe served as chairman of Walmart until 2015.He retired in June 2015 but remained a director.Rick T. Wilking / Stringer / Getty ImagesRob recently made a splash by leading an ownership group to buy the Denver Broncos.The team is having a rough 2022 season.Joe Mahoney/APHis ownership group, which includes his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and son-in-law, Greg Penner, purchased the NFL team for a record $4.65 billion in summer 2022.Empower Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.Getty ImagesRob has a house in Paradise Valley, Arizona, near the base of Camelback Mountain.The beautiful Paradise Valley, Arizona.Tim Roberts Photography/ShutterstockIn the past, protesters have rallied outside of his Arizona home to advocate for better wages and benefits for Walmart workers.Protesters at a Walmart in Boynton Beach, Florida.J Pat Carter/Associated PressRob also has a large collection of vintage cars.Walton's personal collection not pictured.Ben Pruchnie/Getty ImagesIn 2013, he ran his Daytona Coupe, which was worth $15 million at the time, off the tracks and wrecked it. The car was one of only five ever made.The car was totaled in the crash.AP Photo/Tom MihalekJohn was the second-oldest child. He died in a plane crash in 2005.John (right) with his mother (center) and brother, Rob (left).April L. Brown/Associated PressHe was married to Christy Walton and had one son, Lukas.Lukas is now 36 years old.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeJohn left about 17% of his wealth to his wife, and he gave the rest to charity and to his son.John was very charitable.APSource: Business InsiderJohn served in Vietnam as a Green Beret. When he returned from the war he held a series of jobs — like the Walmart company pilot, a crop duster, and the owner a few yachting companies — before becoming a Walmart board member.John (second from left) pictured with members of his family.AP Photo/Spencer TireySource: FortuneIn 2013, Christy decided to sell their Jackson Hole mansion. She also sold the family's ranch for an undisclosed price in 2016 after listing it for $100 million in 2011.The family's Jackson Hole mansion.Jackson Hole Real EstateSource: Curbed and Ranch Marketing AssociatesThe 8,606-square-foot home was put on the market for $12.5 million.An aerial view of the mansion.Google MapsSource: CurbedJames "Jim" Walton is the youngest son.Jim Walton is now 73 years old.WalmartHe is chairman of the board of the family's Arvest Bank, which has assets that total more than $26 billion.One of many Arvest Bank locations in Bentonville, Arkansas.Google MapsSource: BloombergHe also served on the Walmart board before being replaced by his son Steuart in 2016.Jim served on the board for more than a decade.Rick T. Wilking /Stringer/GettyNow, he presides over Walton Enterprises — the private company that deals with the investments and finances of the Walton family only — from modest offices in Bentonville, Arkansas.Jim now manages the family's finances.Google MapsSource: FortuneThe youngest sibling, Alice Walton, is worth $63.8 billion, according to Bloomberg. She has been divorced twice and has no children.Alice is passionate about collecting art.AP/April L. BrownAlice has never taken an active role in running the family business.Alice Walton with Jim Walton in 2013.REUTERS/Rick WilkingInstead, she became a patron of the arts, which she fell in love with at a young age.Alice followed her passion and devoted her life to collecting art.D Dipasupil/Getty ImagesWhen she was 10, she bought her first work of art: a reproduction of Picasso's "Blue Nude" for about $2, she told The New Yorker.Picasso's "The Blue Room."Evan Vucci/Associated PressSource: The New YorkerShe has an immense private art collection, with original works from Andy Warhol and Georgia O'Keeffe.Alice has built a massive collection.AP Images/Kirsty WigglesworthAlice opened a museum in Bentonville called Crystal Bridges in 2011 to house her $500 million private art collection.The museum displays both paintings and sculptures, like this one by Alexander Calder (center).Danny Johnston/Associated PressThe collection includes a Georgia O'Keeffe painting that Alice spent $44.4 million on in 2014 — the biggest sale for a woman's piece of art in history.Georgia O’Keeffe, "Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1" (1932), Sotheby's.Courtesy of Sotheby'sSource: The ObserverWhen it opened, Crystal Bridges had four times the endowment of the famous Whitney Museum in New York.A view of the Whitney Museum from the High Line.Eduardo Munoz/ReutersThe museum's grounds are filled with flora ...The lucious gardens outside the museum.Danny Johnston/Associated Press... and surrounded by streams that make it look like the buildings float on water.The serene setting of the museum.Jacob Slaton/ReutersIt's so beautiful that people use it as a wedding and special-events venue.It can host both indoor and outdoor ceremonies.Weddings at Crystal Bridges/YouTubeSource: Crystal BridgesAlice is also a breeder of horses.Besides art, she loves spending time with horses.Associated PressHer Millsap, Texas, property, Rocking W Ranch, sold to the Three Amigos Investment Group of Kermit, Texas, in September 2017 for an undisclosed amount.Her property was elegantly decorated.Courtesy of WilliamsTrewSource: Star-TelegramIt had an initial asking price of $19.75 million, which was reduced to $16.5 million. The working ranch had over 250 acres of pasture and outbuildings for cattle and horses.It was also next to a large lake.Courtesy of WilliamsTrewSource: WilliamsTrewHer other, 4,416-acre Texas ranch was previously listed at a reduced price of $22 million.A huge firepit was built in the backyard.Courtesy of WilliamsTrewSource: FortuneThe modest, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home overlooks the Brazos River.A sunset near Brazos River.Dave Mosher/Business InsiderAlice also owns a two-floor condo on New York's Park Ave., which she bought for $25 million in 2014.Park Avenue pictured above at night.Getty Images/Arata PhotographySource: Business InsiderIt has more than 52 large windows overlooking Central Park plus a media room, a winding staircase, and more than 6,000 total square feet of space.View of Central Park from the southeast.evenfh/ShutterstockSource: Business InsiderIn January 2016, Alice donated 3.7 million of her Walmart shares — worth about $225 million at the time — to the family's nonprofit, the Walton Family Foundation.The Walton Family Foundation website.Facebook/Walton Family FoundationSam and Helen started the foundation as a way to teach their children how to give back and how to work together.The children learned from an early age to be generous with their money.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeThe charity awards millions of dollars in grants, each helping a cause that aligns with the foundation's values. According to its website, the foundation awarded $749.5 million in grants in 2020.Alice Walton.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeThe foundation has three main areas of focus:A project put on by the Walton Family Foundation.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeThe foundation's focus on education was led by John. His brother Jim said John was really interested in being able to give parents choices when it came to their child's schooling.The foundation was dedicated to supporting children's education.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeSource: Walton Family FoundationRob spearheaded the foundation's venture into environmental outreach. One of the first grants they gave helped develop a sustainable fisheries label.Rob launched the environmental and sustainability branch of the foundation.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeSource: Walton Family FoundationA commitment to the family's home of Arkansas is another large part of the foundation. Whether it's creating a system of mountain-bike trails through the Ozarks or developing the grounds around Crystal Bridges, the Waltons are celebrating the community that helped their family get to where they are.The Bentonville town square.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeSource: Walton Family FoundationWalmart Inc., which owns Walmart and Sam's Club, is the largest retailer in the US in terms of revenue, with sales of roughly $573 billion per year.The storefront of a Walmart.Business Insider/Jessica TylerSource: FortuneWhen Walmart has a good quarter, the Waltons make hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends.The siblings all together.AP/April L. BrownSource: Forbes and The GuardianThe company reported in November 2022 that third-quarter same-store sales in the US had risen 8.2% compared with the year prior.Shoppers leaving Walmart with lots of gifts.AP/Gunnar RathbunSource: WalmartEven though the Walton family is raking in billions as a result of the company's success, they remain relatively under-the-radar in terms of flashing their wealth — much like their patriarch, Sam, did in the early years.JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: FortuneRead more:Walmart is testing higher starting salaries for some employees in 500 stores as the war for talent heats upWhat Walmart, Costco, and other famous retailers looked like when they first openedThe average Amazon shopper still earns more than Walmart's, and it reveals a key challenge for the e-commerce giantWalmart's ad execs to know, hot DTC companies, iHeartMedia breaks heartsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 9th, 2022

Crypto Contagion: Avoid these 3 Crypto-Exposed Stocks Until the Dust Settles"

There has been few places to hide during the recent crypto meltdown. The crypto space is known for its high levels of volatility and wide-ranging fluctuations. Even before the FTX debacle, the crypto landscape was a challenging and complex area to navigate. Understanding the technical aspects of blockchain technology and each unique coin can be cumbersome. Furthermore, thousands of different coins exist today with different protocols aimed at achieving different goals. As a result, cryptocurrencies can be risky, and investors should conduct extensive research before getting involved.Before the birth of numerous cryptocurrencies, the industry started with one simple yet game-changing idea - decentralization. Cryptocurrencies gained popularity with the advent of the original cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. The pioneering cryptocurrency became prominent because individuals searched for a type of money that could not be controlled by government or a financial institution. Thanks to a pseudonymous character named Satoshi Nakamoto, the internet, blockchain technology, and a proof-of-work validation system, Bitcoin made it happen. While Bitcoin has taken a hit recently, it is hard to argue with its staggering returns since its inception. Even so, the recent downturn in the crypto market has brought to light other issues beyond falling prices. Ironically, lately, centralized cryptocurrency related firms have been getting in the most trouble. Today, we will cover three crypto-related companies to avoid for now: Silvergate Bank SISilvergate Bank offers infrastructure solutions and services to the digital currency industry. The unique “crypto bank” was a beneficiary of the last equity and crypto bear market, seeing shares rise more than ten-fold in late 2020. From a fundamental perspective, the bank’s earnings have been stellar, with earnings sales rising and seeing double digit growth for several quarters in a row.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPictured: SI Debt/EquityHowever, the underlying fundamental picture presents some issues.·      Leverage is increasing, as can be seen on the debt-to-equity chart above.·      Zacks Consensus EPS Estimates have been falling rapidly in recent months. ·      Silvergate recently lent $200 million to Microstrategy MSTR·      The now-bankrupt FTX was a client of Silvergate. Lawmakers such as Senator Elizabeth Warren are demanding answers about the company’s dealings with FTX.Investors are skittish over how deeply involved Silvergate was with FTX. Since FTX’s bankruptcy, little information has emerged from regulators investigating the situation. Famed short seller Marc Cohodes, who is well known for exposing the fraud at mortgage lender Novastar Financial, is sounding the alarm about the firm’s risk management practices. Prior to FTX’s bankruptcy, Cohodes attempted to warn investors about FTX. Marathon Digital MARAMarathon Digital is one of a handful of publicly traded crypto mining companies. In other words, the firm invests in mining rigs to solve complex mathematical equations to validate crypto transactions and gets paid to do so. As one could imagine, the company’s business has deteriorated along with most crypto-related stocks in the recent “crypto winter”.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPictured: MARA return on assets for the trailing twelve month periodFor shares of Marathon Digital, the math is simple. When crypto falls like as it has, the company’s margins get squeezed. EPS has gone from $0.36 for the December 2021 quarter to $-0.65 in the last reported quarter. To make matters worse, Marathon revealed to investors that the firm had some $80 million in exposure to bankrupt data center Compute North Holdings. With crypto spiraling downward and no end in sight, there are better areas to bottom fish. Microstrategy (MSTR)Microstrategy was born as a software company but has transformed into a Bitcoin bag holder proxy. The strategy works well when Bitcoin goes up and not so well when it goes down. See chart below:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchPictured: MSTR 5-year performanceFor now, Bitcoin is steeped in a downtrend that has dragged on for months. Even more concerning is that the firm owns some 130,000 coins at an average price of around $30,000. In other words, the position is deeply under-water. Investor Outlook for CryptoAn old Wall Street adage warns, “don’t try catch a falling knive.” The sentiment seems to hold now for the crypto space and crypto-related entities. In 2022 alone we have seen:·      Crypto lenders such as Celsius blow up.·      Assets like FTT and Luna lose most of their value in under a week.·      Money mangers like Three Arrows Capital fold.·      Exchanges such as FTX go bankrupt under suspicious circumstances.Luckily most investors have autonomy over what they wish to invest in. Due to the extreme moves to the downside in publicly traded crypto names, the space is no longer a juicy short candidate, however investors should wait for more clarity in the form of investigations and regulation before jumping back in. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock And 4 Runners UpWant 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 Silvergate Capital Corporation (SI): Free Stock Analysis Report MicroStrategy Incorporated (MSTR): Free Stock Analysis Report Marathon Digital Holdings, Inc. (MARA): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 8th, 2022

The Goldilocks War

The Goldilocks War Authored by Dmitry Orlov, Are you happy with the way the war in the former Ukraine is going? Most people aren’t - for one reason or another. Some people hate the fact that there is a war there at all, while others love it but hate the fact that it hasn’t been won yet, by one side or the other. Bounteous quantities of both of these kinds of haters are found on both sides of the new Iron Curtain that is hastily being built across Eurasia between the collective West and the collective East. This seems reasonable; after all, hating war is standard procedure for most people (war is hell, don’t you know!) and by extension a small war is better than a big one and a short war is better than a long one. And also such reasoning is banal, trite, platitudinous, vapid, predictable, unimaginative and… bromidic (according to the English Thesaurus). Seldom is to be found a war-watcher who is happy with the progress and the duration of the war. Luckily, Russian state television shows a very significant one these almost daily. It is Russia’s president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Having paid attention to him for over twenty years now, I can confidently state that never has he been so imbued with calm, self-assured serenity leavened with droll humor. This is not the demeanor of someone who feels at any risk of losing a war. The brass at the Ministry of Defense appear dour and glum on camera—a demeanor befitting men who send other men to fight and possibly to be wounded or to die; but off-camera they flash each other quick Mona Lisa smiles. (Russian men don’t give stupid American-style fish-eyed toothy grins, rarely show their teeth when smiling, and never in the presence of wolves or bears). Given that Putin’s approval rating stands firm at around 80% (a number beyond reach of any Western politician), it is reasonable to assume that he is just the visible tip of a gigantic, 100-million-strong iceberg of Russians who calmly await the successful conclusion of the special military operation to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (so please don’t even call it a war). These 100 million Russians are seldom heard from, and when they do make noise, it is to protest against bureaucratic dawdling and foot-dragging or to raise private funds with which to remedy a shortage of some specialty equipment requested by the troops: night vision goggles, quadrocopters, optical sights, and all sorts of fancy tactical gear. A great deal more noise is being made by the one or two percent whose entire business plan has been wrecked by the sudden appearance of the New Iron Curtain. The silliest of these thought that fleeing west, or south (to Turkey, Kazakhstan or Georgia) would somehow magically fix their problem; it hasn’t, and it won’t. The people we would expect to scream the loudest are the LGBTQ+ activists, who thought that they were going to use Western grant money to build East Sodom and East Gomorrah. They’ve been hobbled and muzzled by new Russian laws that label them as foreign agents and prohibit their sort of propaganda. In fact, the very term LGBTQ+ is now illegal, and so, I suppose, they will have to use PPPPP+ instead (“P” is for “pídor”, which is the generic Russian term for any sort of sexual pervert, degenerate or deviant). But I digress. It can be observed rather readily that those who are the least happy with the course of the Russian campaign are also the least likely to be Russian. Least happy of all are the good folks at the Center for Informational and Political Operations of the Ukrainian Security Service who are charged with creating and maintaining the Phantom of Ukrainian Victory. These are followed by people in and around Washington, who are quite infuriated by Russian dawdling and foot-dragging. They have also been hard-pressed to show that the Ukrainians are winning while the Russians are losing; to this end, they have portrayed every Russian tactical repositioning or tactical withdrawal as a huge, humiliating defeat personally for Putin and every relentless, suicidal Ukrainian attack on Russian positions as a great heroic victory. But this PR tactic has lost effectiveness over time and now the Ukraine has become a toxic topic in the US that most American politicians would prefer to forget about, or at least keep out of the news. To be fair, the Russian tactical cat-and-mouse games in this conflict has been nothing short of infuriating. The Russians spent some time rolling around Kiev to draw Ukrainian troops away from the Donbass and prevent a Ukrainian attack on it; once that was done, they withdrew. Great Ukrainian victory! They also spent some time tooling around the Black Sea coastline near Odessa, threatening a sea invasion, to draw off Ukrainian forces in that direction, but never invaded. Another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied a large chunk of Kharkov region that the Ukrainians left largely undefended, then, when the Ukrainians finally paid attention to it, partially withdrew behind a river to conserve resources. Yet another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied/liberated the regional capital of Kherson, evacuated all the people who wanted to be evacuated, then withdrew to a defensible position behind a river. Victory again! With all these Ukrainian victories, it is truly a wonder that the Russians have managed to gain around 100km2 of the former Ukraine’s most valuable real estate, over 6 million in population, secured a land route to Crimea and opened up a vital canal that supplies irrigation water to it and which the Ukrainians had blocked some years ago. That doesn’t seem like s defeat at all; that looks like an excellent result from a single, limited summer campaign. Russia has achieved several of its strategic objectives already; the rest can wait. How long should they wait? To answer this question, we need to look outside the limited scope of Russia’s special operation in the Ukraine. Russia has bigger fish to fry, and frying fish takes time because eating undercooked fish can give you nasty parasites such as tapeworm and liver fluke. And so, I would like to invite you to Mother Russia’s secret kitchen, to see what’s on the cutting board and to estimate how much thermal processing will be required to turn it all into a safe and nutritious meal. Mixing our food metaphors, allow me to introduce Goldilocks with her three bears and her porridge not to hot and not too cold. What Russia seems to be doing is keeping their special military operation moving along at a steady pace - not to fast and not too slow. Going too fast would not allow enough time to cook the various fish; going too fast would also increase the cost of the campaign in casualties and resources. Going too slow would give the Ukrainians and NATO time to regroup and rearm and prevent the proper thermal processing of the various fish. In an effort to find the optimal pace for the conflict, Russia initially committed only a tenth of its professional active-duty soldiers, then worked hard to minimize the casualty rate. It opted to start turning off the lights all over the former Ukraine only after the Kiev regime tried to blow up the Kerch Strait bridge that linked Crimea with the Russian mainland. Finally, it called up just 1% of reservists to relieve the pressure from the frontline troops and potentially prepare for the next stage, which is a winter campaign—for which the Russians are famous. With this background information laid out, we can now enumerate and describe the various ancillary objectives which Russia plans to achieve over the course of this Goldilocks War. The first and perhaps most important set of problems that Russia has to solve in the course of the Goldilocks War is internal. The goal is to rearrange Russian society, economy and financial system so as to prepare it for a de-Westernized future. Since the collapse of the USSR, various Western agents, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, various Soros-owned foundations and a wide assortment of Western grants and exchange programs have made serious inroads into Russia. The overall goal was to weaken and eventually dismember and destroy Russia, turning it into a compliant servant of Western governments and transnational corporations that would supply them with cheap labor and raw materials. To help this process along, these Western organizations did whatever they could to drive the Russian people toward eventual biological extinction and replace them with a more docile and less adventurous race. Starting well over 30 years ago, Western NGOs set to corrupting the minds of Russia’s young. No effort was spared to denigrate the value of Russian culture, to falsify Russian history and to replace them both with Western pop culture and propaganda narratives. These initiatives achieved limited success, and the USSR, and Soviet-era culture, has remained ever-popular even among those who were too young to have experienced life in the USSR firsthand. Where the damage has been most severe is in education. Excellent Soviet-era textbooks that taught students how to think independently were destroyed and replaced with imports. These were at best useful for training experts in narrowly defined fields who can follow previously defined procedures and recipes but can’t explain how these procedures and recipes were arrived at or to create new ones. Russian teachers, who saw their job not just in educating but in bringing up their students to be good Russians who love and cherish their country, were replaced by Western-trained educationalists who saw their mission as providing a competitive, market-based service in bringing up qualified, competent… consumers! Who are these people? Well, luckily, the Internet remembers everything, and there are plenty of other jobs for these people such as shoveling snow and stoking furnaces. But identifying and replacing them takes time, as does finding, updating and reproducing the older, excellent textbooks. But what of the young people left behind by this wave of destruction? Luckily, not all is lost. The special military operation is providing them with some very valuable lessons that their ignorant educationalists left out: that Russia—a unique, miraculous agglomeration of many different nations, languages and religions—has been preserved and expanded over the centuries through the efforts of heroes whose names are not just remembered but venerated. What’s more, some of them are alive today, fighting and working in the Donbass. It is one thing to visit museums, read old books and hear stories about the great deeds of one’s grandfathers and great-grandfathers during the Great Patriotic War; it is quite another to watch history unfold through the eyes of your own father or brother. Give it another year or two, and Russia’s young people will learn to look with disdain on the products of Russia’s Western-oriented culture-mongers. Their elders do already: opinion polls show that a large majority of Russians see Western cultural influence as a negative. And what of these Russian culture-mongers who have been worshiping all things Western for as long as they can remember? Here, a most curious thing happened. When the special military operation was first announced, they spoke out against it and in favor of the Ukrainian Nazis—a stupid thing to do, but they thought it good and proper to keep their political opinions harmonized with those of their Western patrons and idols so as to stay in their good graces. Some of them protested against the war (ignoring the fact that it had been going on for eight long years already). And then quite a few of them fled the country in unseemly haste. Keep in mind that these are neither brain surgeons nor rocket scientists: these are people who prance around on stage while making noises with their hands and mouths; or they are people who sit there while makeup artists do things to their faces and hair, then endlessly repeat lines written for them by someone else. These are not people who have the capacity to analyze a tricky political situation and make the right choice. In an earlier, saner age their opinions would be steadfastly ignored, but such is the effect of the Internet, social media and all the rest, that any hysterical nincompoop can shoot a little video and millions of people, having nothing better to do with their time, will watch it on their phones and make comments. The fact that these people are voluntarily cleansing the Russian media space of their presence is a positive development, but it takes time. If the special military operation were to end tomorrow, there is no doubt that they would attempt to come back and pretend that none of this ever happened. And then Russian popular culture would remain a Western-styled cesspool full of vacuous personae who seek to glorify every single deadly sin for the sake of personal notoriety and gain. Russia has plenty of talented people eager to take their place—if only they would keep out long enough for everyone to forget about them! Particularly damaging to Russia’s future has been the emergence and preeminence of pro-Western economic and financial elites. Ever since the haphazard and in many cases criminal privatization of state resources in the 1990s, there was brought up an entire cohort of powerful economic agents who does not have Russia’s interests in mind. Instead, these are purely selfish economic actors who until quite recently thought that their ill-gotten gains would allow them to enter into posh Western society. These people usually have more than one passport, they try to keep their families in some wealthy enclave outside of Russia, they send their children to schools and universities in the West, and their only use for Russia is as a territory they can exploit in creating their wealth extraction schemes. When in response to the start of Russia’s special military operation the West mounted a speculative attack on the ruble, forcing Russia’s central bank to impose strict currency controls, these members of the Russian elite were forced to start thinking about making a momentous choice. They could stay in Russia, but then they would have to cut their ties to the West; or they could move to the West and live off their savings, but then they would be cut off from the source of their wealth. Their choice was made easier by Western governments which worked hard to confiscate the property of rich Russian nationals, freeze their bank accounts and subject them to various other indignities and inconveniences. Still, it’s a hard choice for them to make—realizing that, in spite of their sometimes fabulous wealth, for the collective West they are just some Russians that can be robbed. Many of them are mentally unprepared to throw in their lot with their own people, whom they have been taught to despise and to exploit for personal gain. A quick victory in Russia’s special military operation would allow them to think that their troubles were temporary in nature. Given enough time some of them will run away for good while others will decide to stay and work for the common good in Russia. Next in line are various members of the Russian government who, having been schooled in Western economics, are incapable of understanding the economic transformation that is occurring in Russia, never mind helping it along. Most of what passes for economic thought in the West is just an elaborate smokescreen over this fundamental dictum: “The rich must be allowed to get richer, the poor must be kept poor and the government shouldn’t try to help them (much).” This worked while the West had colonies to exploit, be it through good old-fashioned imperial conquest, plunder and rapine, or through financial neocolonialism of Perkins’s “economic hit men,” or, as has recently been grudgingly admitted by several top EU officials, by taking advantage of cheap Russian energy. That doesn’t work any more—not in the West, not in Russia or any place else, and mindsets have to adjust. There is a great deal of inertia in appointments to government positions, where there are many vested interests vying for power and influence. It takes time for such basic ideas to percolate through the system as the fact that the US Federal Reserve no longer has a planet-wide monopoly on printing money. Therefore, it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to have dollars in reserve to cover their ruble emissions to defend it against speculative attack since it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to allow foreign currency speculators to run rampant and stage speculative attacks. But some results have already been achieved, and they are nothing short of spectacular: over the past few months, just a few well-chosen departures from Western economic orthodoxy have made the ruble the world’s strongest currency, have allowed Russia to earn more export revenue by exporting less oil, gas and coal, and have allowed it to drive inflation down to almost zero. Since the start of the special military operation, Russia has been able to reduce its national debt by a large amount and increase government revenues. A swift end to Russia’s special military operation may spell the end of such miracles and a most unwelcome return to the untenable status quo ante. Beyond the intangible world of finance, equally significant changes have been occurring throughout the physical Russian economy. Previously, many economic sectors, including car sales, construction and home improvement, software development and many others, were foreign-owned and the profits from these activities left the country. And then a decision was made to block the expatriation of dividends. In response, foreign companies sold off their Russian assets, taking a huge loss and depriving themselves of access to the Russian market. The change has been quite stunning. For example, at the beginning of 2022, Western car companies owned a large share of the Russian auto market. Many of the cars that were sold had been assembled within Russia at foreign-owned plants and the profits from these sales were expatriated. Now, less than a year later, European and American automakers are pretty much gone from Russia, replaced by a swiftly reborn domestic auto industry. Chinese automakers have immediately grabbed a large market share for themselves, while South Korea continued to trade with Russia and has held on to its market share. Equally stunning have been changes in the aircraft industry. Previously, Russian airlines were flying Airbuses and Boeings, most of them leased. After the start of the special operation Western politicians demanded that these leases be rescinded and the aircraft returned to their owners, neglecting to take into account the fact that this would be ruinous financially (glutting the market for used aircraft for years to come and destroying demand for new aircraft) and, furthermore, physically impossible, given that there was no way to effect the transfer of the aircraft. In response, the Russian airlines nationalized the aircraft registry, stopped flying to hostile destinations where their aircraft might be arrested, and started making lease payments in rubles to special accounts at the Russian central bank. Then came the news that Aeroflot is panning to buy over 300 new passenger jets, all Russian МС-21s, SSJ-100s and Tu-214s, all before 2030, with the first deliveries slated for 2023. There has been a scramble to replace almost all Western-sourced components, such as composites for the carbon fiber wing of the MC-21 and jet engines, avionics and much else for all of the above. Over this period many of the previously leased Boeings and Airbuses will be phased out, but these companies’ market share in the largest country on Earth will be gone forever. Damage to Western aircraft manufacturers will be matched by the damage to Western airlines. At the outset of hostilities, the collective West closed its airspace to Russia, and Russia reciprocated. The problem is that Europe is small and easy to fly around while Russia is huge and flying around it takes a whole day. European airlines suddenly found that theу can’t compete on routes to Japan, China or Korea. Following the closing of the airspace came other sanctions, from both the European Union and from the United States, all of them illegal, since the UN Security Council is the only body empowered to impose sanctions. Right now the European Union is working on the ninth packet of sanctions, all of which have been dubbed “sanctions from hell”. Speaking of hell, Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” there are nine circles of hell, so perhaps the sanctions juggernaut is about to run its course. These sanctions were supposed to have swiftly destroyed the Russian economy and have caused so much social upheaval and suffering that the people would gather on Red Square and overthrow the dread dictator Putin (or so thought Western foreign policy experts). Clearly, nothing of the sort has happened and Putin’s approval rating is as high as ever. On the other hand, the good people of the European Union are indeed starting to suffer. They can no longer afford to heat their homes or to take regular hot showers, food has become outrageously expensive for them, and so much else is going wrong that huge crowds of protestors have been gathering all across Europe and demanding, among other things, an end to anti-Russian sanctions, normalization of relations with Russia and a return to business as usual. Their demands are unlikely to be met, since this would mean a major loss of face for the European leaders. But there is a more important reason why the sanctions will stay: a return to business as usual would mean that Russia would once again provide energy and raw materials to Europe cheaply while allowing European companies to profit from the labor of Russians. This is quite unappealing and is therefore unlikely to happen. Russia is using the sanctions as an opportunity to rebuild its domestic industry and reorient its trade away from hostile nations and toward friendly nations that are fair and sympathetic in their dealings with Russia. It is also working hard to phase out the use of currencies that Dmitry Medvedev called “toxic”; namely, the US dollar and the euro. Add to this list a wonderful new Russian innovation called “parallel import.” If some company, in complying with anti-Russian sanctions, refuses to sell its products to Russia or to service or upgrade its products in Russia, then Russia will buy these products and upgrades from a third or fourth or fifth party without permission from the US, the EU or the manufacturer. If a certain brand-name product becomes unavailable, the Russians simply rename the brand and make the same product themselves, or have the Chinese or another trade partner do it for them. And if the West refuses to license its intellectual property to Russia, then that intellectual property becomes free in Russia. This works particularly well with software: free copies of brand-name software are just as good as the paid-for copies, and if tech support, training or other associated services become unavailable from the West, the Russians simply organize their own. Intellectual property of various sorts makes up a large portion Western notional wealth, and Western sanctions are having the effect of letting Russia make use of it free of charge. Thanks to modern digital technology, it works rather well with hardware too. Instead of painstakingly reverse-engineering products, now the same effect can be achieved by buying the 3D models on a thumb drive and 3D-printing them or automatically generating the mill and drill paths to create them on an NC mill. Putin likes to use the expression “tsap-tsarap” to describe this process. It is hard to translate directly but pertains to the act of a cat snatching its prey with its claws. The short of it is, what Russia previously had to pay for is now, thanks to sanctions, free to it. Since the Goldilocks War is, after all, a sort of war, we need to briefly discuss its military aspects. Here, too, a steady-as-she-goes approach seems to be the most copacetic. The stated goal is to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukraine, and to some extent this has already been achieved: most of the armor and artillery that the Ukraine had inherited from the USSR has already been destroyed; most of the diehard Nazi battalions are either dead or a shadow of their former selves. Gone too are most of the volunteers that once fought on the Ukrainian side. After over 100000 Ukrainian soldiers “have been killed” since February 2022 (as forthrightly stated, then sheepishly denied, by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen), and after perhaps as many as half a million casualties, scores of service-age men bribing their way out of the country and several rounds of the draft, it is slim pickings. With well over a hundred Ukrainian casualties a day the pickings are bound to get even slimmer over time. Foreign mercenaries have been used to fill the gap—Anglos, Poles, Romanians—but there is a major problem with them: as Julius Caesar pointed out, lots of people are willing to kill for money but nobody wants to die for money—except an idiot, I would add. And on NATO’s Russian front an idiot and his life are soon parted. Up-to-date information on Russian casualties is a state secret and the only number divulged by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in late September 2022 was 5937 killed since the start of the campaign. Casualty rates are said to have been significantly lower since then. At present, there is still no shortage of idiots on the Ukrainian side—yet—and neither is there a shortage of donated Western weaponry. First came used Soviet-era tanks and other weapons systems donated from all over Eastern Europe; then came actual Western weapons systems. And now throughout NATO one hears plaintive cries that they have nothing left that they can give to the Ukrainians: the cupboard is empty. Nor can they manufacture more weapons in a hurry. To start churning out weapons at the same rate as Russia is doing, these NATO members would first need to reindustrialize, and there are neither the human resources, nor the money to do so. And so the Russian army grinds away, demilitarizing the Ukraine, and the rest of NATO with it. In the process, it is perfecting the art of fighting a land war against NATO—not that a single NATO country would even entertain such an idea. Perhaps this is mission creep, or perhaps this has been the plan all along, but what Russia is doing at this point is destroying NATO. You may recall that a year ago Russia demanded that the US honor certain security guarantees it made as a condition for allowing the peaceful reunification of Germany; namely, that NATO would not expand eastward. “Not an inch to the east” was how the official record of the meeting reads. Gorbachev and Shevardnadze failed to get this deal on paper and signed, but a verbal deal is a deal. A year ago Russia’s offer was quite moderate: that NATO withdraw to its pre-1997 borders, when it expanded to Eastern Europe. But, as usually happens when negotiating with the Russians, their initial offer is usually the best. For all we know, based on how things are going in the Ukraine, Russia’s best and final offer may require NATO to disband altogether. After all, the Warsaw Pact disbanded 31 years ago but NATO is still around and bigger than ever; what for? To fight Russia? Well, then, what are they waiting for? Come and get it! This may not even take the form of a negotiation. For example, Russia could say, take a quick whack at Latvia (it richly deserves a whack or two for abusing its large native Russian population Nazi-style) and then stand back and say, “Come on, NATO, come and die heroically on our doorstep for poor little Latvia!” At this, NATO officials will stand united but very quiet, thoughtfully examining their own and each others’ shoes. Once it becomes clear that there will be no offers to launch World War III to avenge Latvia, NATO will quietly dry up and blow away. Finally, we come to what is perhaps the least important reason for the Goldilocks War: the former Ukraine itself. In view of Russia’s other strategic goals, it seems more of the nature of a sacrificial piece in a chess gambit. Given what Russia has already achieved over the past nine months—four new Russian regions, six million new Russian citizens, a land bridge to Crimea, irrigation water supply to Crimea—there isn’t much left for Russia to achieve militarily before its military campaign reaches the stage of diminishing returns. The addition of Nikolaev and Odessa regions and full control of the Black Sea coastline would, of course, be most valuable; control of Kharkov and Kiev somewhat less so. Control of the entire Dniepr hydroelectric cascade is a definite nice-to-have. As for the rest, it could be left to languish for ages as a deindustrialized, depopulated wasteland, labeled “Mostly harmless.” Let me divulge a personal detail or two. Two of my grandparents were from Zhitomir, my father was born in Kiev, my first romantic interest was a girl from Odessa, and over the years I’ve had as many friends from Odessa, Kharkov, Lvov, Kiev, Donetsk, Vinnitsa and elsewhere as anywhere else in Russia. Russia? You read that right: there is no way to convince me that so-called “Ukrainian territory” somehow isn’t Russia or that the people who live there somehow aren’t Russian—regardless of what some of them have been recently brainwashed to think. What’s more, none of these people I have known over the years ever thought of themselves as the least bit Ukrainian and they would probably view the very idea of a Ukrainian nationalist identity as symptomatic of a mental condition. The label “Ukrainian” was to them some Bolshevik nonse; since then, Ukrainianness has been turned into a Western method for exploiting minor ethnic variations in order to make one group of Russians fight another group of Russians. In case you are doubtful, let’s apply the good old duck test: Do the people there walk, quack and look like Russians? All of that territory, with one minor exception in the far west, was part of Russia for anywhere between ten and three centuries; most of the people there, and virtually the entire urban population, speaks Russian as their native language; their religion is predominantly Russian Orthodox; they are genetically indistinguishable from the rest of the Russian population. So, what happened to them? Unfortunately, a small piece of this Russian land spent three centuries in captivity to the Austro-Hungarian Empire or as part of Greater Poland, and this poisoned their minds with foreign ideas such as Catholicism and ethnic nationalism. Unlike Russia, which is a multinational, multi-ethnic, religiously diverse monolith, the West is a mosaic of ethnic nationalisms, and where there are nationalists there may be Nazis, ethnic cleansing and genocide. As one drop of poison infects the whole tun of wine, these Western Ukrainians, with lots of help and funds from the German Nazis, then the Americans and the Canadians, managed to infect a large part of the formerly Ukrainian territory with a fake nationalism based on a forged history and a haphazardly concocted culture. Official bans on the teaching and, eventually, the use of Russian have brought up a generation of young people who are essentially illiterate in their native Russian. They are taught in Ukrainian, but Ukrainian literacy is close to an oxymoron, since nothing of any great consequence has ever been written or published in that language and the vast majority of Ukrainian literary works are, you guessed it, in Russian. The Russian special military operation that’s been ongoing since February 2022 has polarized the entire population. Those who had decided to be with Russia back in 2014 were, obviously, overjoyed to finally get some help from Russia. The now Russian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson gladly voted to join Russia. But as far as the rest of the former Ukrainian territory, the polarization is mostly in the opposite direction. Those who wanted to be with Russia mostly voted with their feet and are now living somewhere in Russia. This is something that time alone can fix. Eventually the population of the former Ukraine will be forced to make a choice: they can be Russian, or they can be refugees somewhere in Europe, or they can die fighting Russians at the front. Note that even Donetsk and Lugansk didn’t make this choice right away, the way Crimea did. At that time, only some 70% of their population was in favor of leaving the Ukraine and rejoining Russia. It took eight years of relentless Ukrainian bombing to convince them to make this choice. Over these intervening years, the diehard “Ukrainians” filtered out, leaving behind a population that was close to 100% pro-Russian. It was only then that the Kremlin granted them official recognition, sent in troops to defend them from imminent invasion and, soon after, accepted them into the Russian Federation. And now the same sort of sorting operation has to take place throughout the rest of the former Ukraine. How long will it take? Only time will tell, but it is already clear that, as far as Russia is concerned, there is no compelling reason to rush. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/07/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 7th, 2022

EU Is Erecting Russian War Crimes Tribunal: "Russia Must Pay"

EU Is Erecting Russian War Crimes Tribunal: "Russia Must Pay" Authored by Kurt Nimmo via The Ron Paul Institute For Peace & Prosperity,  On November 30, the European Commission, the executive of the European Union, proposed "options to Member States to make sure that Russia is held accountable for the atrocities and crimes committed during the war in Ukraine." Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, in selective condemnation, tweeted "Russia must pay for its horrific crimes." The hypocrisy displayed by von der Leyen and the EU is nothing short of remarkable. Russia must pay for its horrific crimes. We will work with the ICC and help set up a specialised court to try Russia’s crimes. With our partners, we will make sure that Russia pays for the devastation it caused, with the frozen funds of oligarchs and assets of its central bank — Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) November 30, 2022 It would seem the EU collective of unelected bureaucrats suffers from amnesia. Twenty-four years ago, Bill Clinton and NATO mercilessly bombed Yugoslavia, targeting civilian infrastructure. Rick Rozoff enumerates the war crimes: A passenger train, a religious procession, a refugee column, Radio Television of Serbia headquarters, a vacuum cleaner factory, bridges, marketplaces, apartment courtyards, the Swiss embassy in Belgrade and the Chinese embassy as well, with three journalists killed and 27 other Chinese injured. Cluster bombs, graphite bombs and depleted uranium ordnance were used widely. No one, not a single individual, has been held accountable for those war crimes. Nor for what should be a war crime and one of the most grave at that: intentionally fabricating and exaggerating atrocity stories to agitate for and escalate a war. Few Western politicians and journalists would have escaped that charge over their roles in 1999. "There were aspects of the NATO campaign against Yugoslavia that were in breach of accepted norms of warfare, the greatest example being the bombing of the TV station. NATO deliberately targeted unarmed civilian non-combatants, that's the bottom line," Duncan Bullivant, author of a report on Kosovo for London's Centre for European Reform, told the Irish Times in 2000. No tribunal was organized for the psychopaths responsible for terrorizing and murdering Serbs. Bill Clinton, also responsible for attacking Iraq and killing civilians, in addition to making sure Iraqi children starved to death under a medieval sanctions regime, was not held responsible. In fact, he was described in "Churchillian tones" by aides and the corporate media. Clinton’s illegal and immoral bombing of the former Yugoslavia made George W. Bush’s criminal invasion of Iraq easier. Because politicians and most of the media portrayed the war against Serbia as a moral triumph, it was easier for the Bush administration to justify attacking Iraq, for the Obama administration to bomb Libya, and for the Trump administration to repeatedly bomb Syria. All of those interventions sowed chaos that continues cursing the purported beneficiaries. Ursula von der Leyen and the EU have blood on their hands. European countries inserted Eurofighters, Tornados, MK 80 series bombs, and other munitions and death machines into the Yemen conflict. "Are European arms companies therefore aiding and abetting alleged war crimes committed by the military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Yemen?" asks the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. Despite documented attacks on civilian homes, markets, hospitals and schools – conducted by the Saudi/UAE-led military coalition – transnational companies based in Europe continue to supply Saudi Arabia and the UAE with weapons, ammunition and logistical support. European government officials authorized the exports by granting licenses. Despite ample evidence of war crimes, NATO and the USG received a free pass. "The United Nations' chief war crimes prosecutor said today that there was no basis for a formal investigation into whether NATO committed war crimes during the bombing of Yugoslavia," the New York Times reported on June 3, 2000. NATO is the preferred executioner. Amnesty International, in 2014, criticized the USG and NATO for ignoring its numerous war crimes against civilians in Afghanistan. NATO was also accused of committing war crimes in Libya. A report issued in 2012 by the Arab Organization for Human Rights, together with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and the International Legal Assistance Consortium, detailed wanton violation of human rights by NATO. "Among civilian sites visited by the mission that had been struck by NATO bombs and missiles were schools and colleges, a Zliten regional food warehouse, the Office of the Administrative Controller in Tripoli, and private homes," the report notes. In November of 2011, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, stated that "there are allegations of crimes committed by NATO forces (and) these allegations will be examined impartially and independently." The crimes include the "lynching" of Moammar Gaddafi, a brutal act that prompted a chortle from then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. No special commission was empaneled to look into these war crimes, although the ICC did order the arrest of Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, and other supporters. NATO refused to admit civilians were killed after 7,642 air-to-surface weapons were used. "Shock and awe" in Iraq "Although the prosecutor of the ICC said that he would investigate war crimes by both sides, the eagerness with which he seized on allegations of a policy by Gaddafi to encourage rape, with hundreds of victims, and the provision of ‘viagra-type medicaments’ to his forces, did nothing to enhance a perception of objectivity when they went unsubstantiated," writes Ian Martin, the director of the UN’s support mission in Libya from 2011-12 and the former head of Amnesty International. The war crimes of the EU and NATO cannot compare to those of the United States Government, an aggressive and repeat offender of international law. Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1977 states quite explicitly: It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away or for any other motive. Russia is indeed in violation of this specific protocol. However, here in the "West," we are only given half of the story. In fact, we are given less than half and are expected to believe a passel of lies, daily cranked out by the corporate war propaganda media. No mention of the neo-Nazis in Ukraine dedicated to abducting, torturing, and killing ethnic Russians in Lugansk, Donetsk, and elsewhere in eastern and southern Ukraine. For an example of the brutal punishment these ultranationalists inflict on their enemies, look no further than the arson of the labor building in Odesa. Corporate media mention of war crimes is highly selective and biased. No mention of the USG-orchestrated illegal coup overthrowing the elected leader of Ukraine for his crime of seeking a better deal with Russia than the neoliberal-espousing EU. No mention of Neo-Nazi thugs setting fire to a labor building in Odesa, killing around 50 or more anti-Maidan activists (this largely ignored news item is buried beneath stories depicting alleged Russian crimes). No mention of the ignored Minsk I and II agreements hammered out in 2014 and 2015 to end the "civil war" between the Neo-Nazi brigades embedded in the Ukrainian military and "separatists" in Donbas. NATO bombing of Belgrade The USG and its European "partners" (in crime) count on the amnesiac perception of a perpetually lied to and manipulated public to support or remain disconnected and apathetic to its bloody neoliberal wars and resource-grabbing predations. Iraq serves as the primary example, although what the USG did there is largely forgotten and not considered relevant to the conflict in Ukraine. "The intention and effort of the bombing of civilian life and facilities was to systematically destroy Iraq's infrastructure leaving it in a preindustrial condition," the 1992 Report to the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal charged. Iraq's civilian population was dependent on industrial capacities. The US assault left Iraq in a near apocalyptic condition as reported by the first United Nations observers after the war. Among the facilities targeted and destroyed were: electric power generation, relay and transmission; water treatment, pumping and distribution systems and reservoirs; telephone and radio exchanges, relay stations, towers and transmission facilities; food processing, storage and distribution facilities and markets, infant milk formula and beverage plants, animal vaccination facilities and irrigation sites; railroad transportation facilities, bus depots, bridges, highway overpasses, highways, highway repair stations, trains, buses and other public transportation vehicles, commercial and private vehicles; oil wells and pumps, pipelines, refineries, oil storage tanks, gasoline filling stations and fuel delivery tank cars and trucks, and kerosene storage tanks; sewage treatment and disposal systems; factories engaged in civilian production, e.g., textile and automobile assembly; and historical markers and ancient sites. However, there is a difference between Putin’s SMO and Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Russia faces an antagonistic enemy on its border, installing missile systems and conducting military exercises while supporting rabid ultranationalist neo-Nazis busy bombing ethnic Russian civilians in Donbas. Iraq, on the other hand, did not have troops and missiles on the border of the United States, and it did not pose a threat to USG "interests" in the Middle East. It was a neoliberal hit job to take down an Arab nation that was at the time the most advanced in the Middle East (Libya, the most advanced nation in Africa, with the possible exception of South Africa, was also taken out under false "humanitarian" pretense). The neocons lied about weapons of mass destruction, the same as they are now lying about Russia wanting to reclaim its lost Soviet territory. Ursula von der Leyen presides over a criminal organization responsible for the death and destruction of manufactured "enemies" that do not threaten Europe. She is, in essence, calling for the freezing of Europeans dependent on natural gas from Russia at bargain basement prices and war without end or a perceivable exit. Read more at the Ron Paul Institute For Peace & Prosperity... Tyler Durden Mon, 12/05/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 5th, 2022

Morgan Stanley"s 2023 Outlook: Growth Cools, Bonds Rule

Morgan Stanley's 2023 Outlook: Growth Cools, Bonds Rule By Andrew Sheets, Chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley We’ll publish our year-ahead outlook later today. In the global economy, my colleague Seth Carpenter and our global economics team see a story of weaker growth, less inflation, and the end of rate hikes. Let’s take those in turn. Weaker growth is about continued deceleration of the global economy in 2022 into 2023. This slowing has several drivers, including some payback from excessive post-Covid consumer demand and bloated inventories in the retail sector. But the thrust of the slowing is driven by the (lagged) impact of policy tightening. The last 12 months have seen the fastest 12-month increase in the fed funds rate since 1981 and the fastest increase in ECB rates since the establishment of the eurozone. Tightening usually works with a lag, and 2023 should be no different. The US barely avoids recession. The UK and eurozone do see recession, thanks to fiscal tightening (UK) and a large energy shock (eurozone). China growth recovers with our expectation that the Covid-zero policy is relaxed in the spring, but the rebound is muted, as deleveraging in the country's real estate sector remains a challenge. Slower growth should (finally) cool inflation. We understand the skepticism, given the persistent surprises this year, but we think that several forces are working to change the narrative: Global demand should be weaker; Supply chains are showing much less stress; Inventories look increasingly elevated, inviting discounting for core goods; Risk in shelter prices is much more balanced; and Base effects shift materially (US gas prices are up 11%Y, but will be down 11%Y by March at current prices). US CPI is currently 7.7%Y, but we forecast it to be under 2.0%Y by the end of next year. Cooling growth and inflation should lead central banks to pause and assess. They’ve just delivered significant tightening, tightening that works with a considerable lag. As growth and inflation cool, we think that the Fed pauses after a January rate hike at 4.625%, while the ECB pauses in March at 2.50%. EM central banks, which were well out in front of their DM counterparts, see some significant easing, especially in Hungary, Brazil, and Chile. Any outlook is uncertain, but that’s especially true this year. We see risks to growth skewed to the downside, driven by more persistent inflation that drives a more forceful policy response. Significant uncertainty also exists around QT; we believe that central banks will show flexibility if it leads to systemic stress, but both central banks and investors are in uncharted waters with a balance sheet reduction of this scale. For markets, this presents a very different backdrop. 2022 was marked by resilient growth, high inflation, and hawkish policy. 2023 sees weaker growth, disinflation, and rate hikes end/reverse, all with very different starting valuations. It seems reasonable to think that we’ll see different outcomes, especially in high grade bonds. We forecast US 10-year Treasury yields to end 2023 lower, the US dollar to decline, and the S&P 500 to tread water (with material swings along the way). Indeed, we think that high grade bonds, one of the biggest losers of 2022, will be one of the biggest winners of 2023. Real and nominal yields have risen materially across a wide range of high grade markets. Less growth, inflation, and tightening make stable returns more attractive. We see attractive returns through end-2023 in Bunds, BTPs, EUR IG credit, US Treasuries, US IG credit, US municipals, agency MBS, and AAA securitized paper. And we think that the 'income' theme extends further. Across many of our recommendations we have a bias toward the higher-yielding parts of the market, whether that’s US equities (where we’re overweight staples, healthcare, and utilities) or commodities (where we prefer oil to metals). If 'embracing income' is one key theme, 'respecting sequencing' is another. Markets face two great uncertainties for next year – will inflation/tightening moderate, and will growth bottom? We expect clarity on the first before the second. In turn, we generally prefer assets more sensitive to rate uncertainty than those more sensitive to DM growth. This should support high grade bonds, which often do well after the last Fed hike regardless of whether a recession follows. But it should also support EM equities and debt. Early to underperform (EM equities peaked in February 2021), we think that they’ll be early to recover, similar to the early 2000s and 2008- 2022 has been a historically bad year for cross-asset returns. Next year won’t be easy, but it should look different. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/13/2022 - 16:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 13th, 2022

Multipolar World Order – Part 4

Multipolar World Order – Part 4 Authored by Iain Davis via, Part 1 of this series looked at the various models of world order. Part 2 examined how the shift towards the multipolar world order has been led by some surprising characters. Part 3 explored the history of the idea of a world ordered as a “balance of power,” or multipolar system. Those who have advocated this model over the generations have consistently sought the same goal: global governance. In Part 4 we will consider the theories underpinning the imminent multipolar order, the nature of Russia and China’s public-private oligarchies and the emergence of these two nations’ military power. THE WIDER CONTEXT OF THE UKRAINE WAR There is no evidence to suggest that the war in Ukraine is, in any sense, “fake.” The political and cultural differences among the populace of Ukraine are older than the nation-state, and the current conflict is rooted in long-standing and very real tensions. People are suffering and dying, and they deserve the chance to live in peace. Yet, beyond the specific factors that led to and have perpetuated the conflict in Ukraine, there is a wider context that also deserves discussion. The so-called leaders in the West and in the East have had ample opportunity and power to bring both sides in the Donbas war to the negotiating table. Their attempts to broker ceasefires and to implement the various Minsk agreements over the years were weak and half-hearted. Both sides, it seems, chose instead to play politics with Ukrainian lives. And both sides ultimately fuelled the conflict. The West has done little but exacerbate the situation. And, though it faced a tough economic choice, the Russian government could certainly have leveraged its commanding position in the European energy market to better effect. If, that is, avoiding war were the objective. Whatever else it is, the war in Ukraine is the fulcrum for a transition in the balance of geopolitic power. Like the pseudopandemic that immediately preceded it, the war is accelerating the polarity shift. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was right to observe that the Ukraine war is “a gift to NATO.” Just as the West has delivered the Russian government’s monetary policy to them, so Putin’s administration has rescued NATO from vanishing relevance. Both poles are strengthened, if for different reasons. At the same time the European Union (EU) is capitalising on both the war and the sanctions it imposed in order to reinvigorate its push towards EU military unification. The UK is involved in this push, even though in 2016 its population elected, via referendum, to leave the EU, specifically because a majority of voters did not want to give “national sovereignty” away to the union leadership. But, as we can see, it doesn’t matter what the people vote for or against. Despite having supposedly left the EU, the UK’s newly unelected Prime Minister has just signed up the UK as a “Third State,” bound by Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) agreements, under the direct military command of Brussels. As the UK partly hands its independent defence capability to the EU, it is playing its part in assisting the emergence of another pole. The International Monetary and Financial System (IMFS), which has thus far underwritten unipolar domination, is being transformed now that it’s reaching the end of its life cycle. Economic growth is being deliberately stifled in the West via sanctions but encouraged in the East. Energy flows and consumption patterns are being redirected eastward. Simultaneously, effective military power is being “rebalanced.” During the pseudopandemic, we saw much evidence of global coordination. Most unusually, almost every government acted in lockstep. China, the US, Russia, Germany, Iran, the UK and many other nations followed the same false narrative. All participated in shutting down global supply chains and limiting world trade. Most countries assiduously heeded the World Economic Forum’s preferred path of global “regionalisation.” The few that resisted were considered international pariahs. What has happened since then? We’re told the war in Ukraine has reintroduced the same old East-vs-West division that most of us are more familiar with. Yet in nearly every other significant way nations remain strangely in total agreement. It seems The war in Ukraine is practically the only dispute. MULTIPOLAR THEORY The proposed multipolar world order does not constitute a defence of the nation-state. We have already discussed how the multipolar model dovetails quite precisely with the “Great Reset” (GR) agenda, so it should come as little surprise that multipolar theory also rejects the suggested Westphalian concept of national sovereignty. Russia has numerous think tanks and GONGOs (government organized non-governmental organizations). Just as in the West, these are funded and influenced by both the public and private sectors, working in partnership. As noted by the Swedish Defense Research Agency, Russian think tank funding “part comes from the government and the rest from private actors and clients, usually big business.” Katehon is the “independent” think tank established by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofyev (Malofeev), who has been sanctioned by the US since 2014 for his support of Ukrainian Russians, first in Crimea and then in the Donbas. The Katehon board includes Sergey Glazyev, the economist and politician who is the current Commissioner of Macroeconomic Integration for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). In 2018, Katehon pointed out that, despite all talk to the contrary, multipolarity had largely been defined as opposition to unipolarity. That is, expressed in terms of what it isn’t rather than what it is. Katehon sought to rectify this, offering its Theory of the Multipolar World (TWM): Multipolarity does not coincide with the national model of world organization according to the logic of the Westphalian system. [. . .] This Westphalian model assumes full legal equality between all sovereign states. In this model, there are as many poles of foreign policy decisions in the world as there are sovereign states [. . .] and all of international law is based on it. In practice, of course, there is inequality and hierarchical subordination between various sovereign states. [. . .] The multipolar world differs from the classical Westphalian system by the fact that it does not recognize the separate nation-state, legally and formally sovereign, to have the status of a full-fledged pole. This means that the number of poles in a multipolar world should be substantially less than the number of recognized (and therefore, unrecognised) nation-states. Multipolarity is not a system of international relations that insists upon the legal equality of nation-states[.] The unipolar world doesn’t protect the nation-state any more than the multipolar model does, Katehon observed. According to Katehon, the Westphalian model, in its application, has always been a myth. We might say it is just another “idea” political leaders peddle to delude us into accepting the policy goals they create. They occasionally exploit “nationalism” because it is useful. EURASIANISM In their efforts to cast Vladimir Putin as a comic book villain, the Western mainstream media (MSM) has attempted to personally link him to the controversial Russian political-philosopher and strategist Aleksandre Dugin. They have labelled Dugin Putin’s Rasputin or Putin’s “brain” and have alleged that Putin considers Dugin a close ally and his favourite philosopher. There was never any foundation to these stories, however. Speaking in 2018, Dugin said “I do not hold an official position within the state apparatus. I don’t have a direct line with Putin, I’ve never even met him.” In 2022, the Western MSM’s allegations prompted Alain de Benoist, Dugin’s political and philosophical collaborator and friend of more than 30 years, to observe: Putin’s “brain!” The fact that Dugin and Putin have never met once face-to-face is a good measure of the seriousness of those who use this expression. [. . .] Dugin undoubtedly knows Putin’s entourage well, but he was never one of his intimates or his “special advisers.” [. . .] The book he wrote a few years ago on Putin is far from being an exercise in admiration: Dugin on the contrary explains both what he approves of in Putin and what he dislikes. Although Dugin has no special relationship with the Kremlin, this doesn’t mean his ideas aren’t influential there. He has acted as an advisor to the Chairman of the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin, and to the Chairman of the State Duma, Gennadiy Seleznyov, so he certainly has political connections and is heard by the Russian political class. Dugin is perhaps the leading modern voice for Eurasianism. In a 2014 interview, he explained his interpretation of both Eurasianism and its place within multipolarity this way: Eurasianism is based on the multipolar vision and on the rejection of the unipolar vision of the continuation of American hegemony. The pole of this multipolarism is not the national state or the ideological bloc, but rather the great space (Grossraum) strategically united within the borders of a common civilization. The typical great space[s] [are] Europe, the unified USA, Canada and Mexico, or united Latin America, Greater China, Greater India, and in our case Eurasia.[. . .] The multipolar vision recognizes integration on the basis of a common civilization. [. . .] Putin’s foreign policy is centred on multipolarity and the Eurasian integration which is necessary to create a truly solid pole. Neither the oligarchs nor the global political class are deluded enough to believe that they can simply commend one political philosophy or another, or one cultural ideology or another, and thereby control the behaviour and beliefs of humanity. There will always be the need for some Machiavellian skulduggery. Putin has frequently espoused Eurasianist ideas. Conversely, Dugin is among those who have criticised Putin for his lack of a clear ideology: He must translate his individual intuition into a doctrine intended to secure the future order. He just doesn’t have a declared ideology, and that’s becoming more and more problematic. Every Russian feels that Putin’s hyper-individual approach poses a huge risk. In 2011, Putin announced his plan to create the Eurasian Union, much to the delight of Dugin and other the Eurasianists like Malofyev and Glazyev. Putin published an accompanying article: We suggest a powerful supranational association capable of becoming one of the poles in the modern world and serving as an efficient bridge between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. [. . . .] It is clear today that the 2008 global crisis was structural in nature. We still witness acute reverberations of the crisis that was rooted in accumulated global imbalances. [. . .] Thus, our integration project is moving to a qualitatively new level, opening up broad prospects for economic development and creating additional competitive advantages. This consolidation of efforts will help us establish ourselves within the global economy and trade system and play a real role in decision-making, setting the rules and shaping the future. Alexander Dugin Putin pointed towards a global crisis that led to the claimed need for a supranational body that could act as a pole for decision-making in a global system based upon a balance of power. What he said follows a pattern; all those who extol global governance have used the same rhetorical trick. This pattern is currently being repeated again. Irrespective of any other beliefs he may hold, Putin’s commitment to resetting the global polity is clear. Eurasianism renders the Russian Federation a “partner” within a wider union. Currently the Eurasian Union only exists in the economic sense, and Russia is overwhelmingly dominant within it. Similarly, Russia’s permanent position in the UN Security Council affords Russia relative dominance within the UN. Nonetheless, while the Russian government may hope to benefit from such unions and councils, by forming “poles” in a multipolar system and setting policies influenced by ideas like Eurasianism, it has diluted and declared a plan to eventually cede Russian “national sovereignty” to the union—to the pole. Putin’s pursuit of Eurasianism and multipolarity doesn’t necessarily indicate anything other than pragmatism. Nor does it represent a defence of the Russian nation-state. We can only guess, but Putin’s preference for Eurasianism and multipolarity is unlikely to be rooted in any particular ideology. Rather, it serves a purpose, providing his government and its partners a bigger stake in “the game.” TIANXIA Putin’s notion of “Eurasian integration” jibes with the Chinese ideology of “tianxia,” which can be translated as “everything under heaven.” In Chinese antiquity, tianxia placed the empire at the pinnacle of a global moral hierarchy. Confucian universal care dictates that a civilised state cares for its own, first and foremost, but cannot consider itself civilised if it doesn’t care for others, too. Other states are considered civilised if they care for their citizens and barbaric if they don’t. Therefore, all civilised states should care more for the interests of other peaceful and civilised states than they do for the needs or desires of barbaric states. Consequently, bonds are naturally formed between caring states, creating a kind of organic geopolitical order, as each state places its own people at the centre of a network of civilised relationships. In tianxia, the practice of Confucian universal care also operates within all institutions that comprise a state. For instance, civilised individuals naturally care for their families and their immediate communities more than they care for people outside those circles. However, no one is to act selfishly at the expense of other citizens, no matter where they reside, without falling into barbarism themselves. This is a model of state that is not based upon ethnic or “blood” ties or even national borders, but rather upon a hierarchical system of morality. Tianxia has been promoted by a few Western commentators as a “beautiful” idea. Like a philosophical Mandelbrot set it suggests a perfect moral symmetry at both at the micro and the macro scale. The multipolar world order, supposedly with tianxia at its heart, is therefore recommended as a wonderful new model of global governance and is frequently described as “win, win cooperation.” Academics like Professors Zhao Tingyang and Xiang Lanxin have said that the global adoption of tianxia would establish a “post-Westphalian world.” This view stems from their assessment that the Westphalian order is ideologically stagnant, limited to nothing more than an expedient balance of power system wherein “might is right.” The criticism from these tianxian scholars is not a fair reflection of the moral precepts expressed by the Peace of Westphalia—treaties that extolled the Christian values of forgiveness, tolerance and peaceful cooperation. The scholars’ assessment is, however, a reasonable appraisal of the actual conduct of Western states that only pretend to honour Westphalian principles. Professor Lanxin points out that China “has no ontological tradition.” That is, philosophically tianxia doesn’t ask “what is this?” but rather “what path does this suggest?” If tianxia were applied to China’s strategic foreign policy, it would be ambivalent to ideas like national sovereignty. Much like the moral foundations of Westphalian international relations, tianxia is professed but not practised. Currently, for example, China is arming the UAE and the Saudi regimes to wage war in Yemen and is also stealing Yemen’s natural resources. Is this tianxia? Where is the “win” for the Yemeni people in China’s behaviour? The drawback of noble ideas is that they can be exploited by hard-nosed geostrategists to sell any policy agenda they like. The theories of tianxia and Eurasianism provide a grounding for multipolarity. The philosophy isn’t the problem, it is its exploitation by the engineers of multipolar global governance. They don’t care what the intent of an idea is. They care only how they can use that ideology or philosophy to justify their actions if anyone asks. If philosophical thought suggests some useful strategies, all the better. When global governance over a multipolar system is the goal, then tianxia, like Eurasianism, certainly is “beautiful.” Consider the words of Professor Zhou: [Some are] concerned that tianxia would lead to “Pax Sinica” replacing “Pax Americana.” However, this concern is misplaced because under tianxia, there would be no place for a king — the system itself is king. In this sense, it would be a bit like Switzerland, where various language groups (French, German, Italian, Romansh) and local cantons all coexist in a commonwealth of roughly equal parts where the center in Bern is essentially a coordination point with a rotating president whose power is so constrained that some Swiss citizens can’t even name the person occupying the post. Tianxia relegates the political voice of the people to an irrelevance. It is multipolar, defining political power as a networked system that is not limited by national sovereignty or unipolar authority but rather operates “constrained” centres of power. For those who manipulate geopolitics covertly, it is perfect: the system itself is king. Tianxia may be a serene philosophy, but what really matters is how the theory is applied to policy. The 2017 authorised publication titled Forge Ahead under the Guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi gives us a glimpse of the kind of thing China’s political class and others call “win, win cooperation.” Xi Jinping […] puts forward new propositions on security, development and global governance. […] Xi Jinping […] has underscored China’s role and contribution to world peace and development and to upholding the international order. […] China has […] played a leading role in the Asia-Pacific cooperation, the G20’s transformation and the course of economic globalization[.] […] China has promoted the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the BRICS New Development Bank, and has taken an active part in the formulation of rules governing such emerging areas as marine and polar affairs, cyberspace, nuclear security and climate change. […] The [Belt and Road] initiative has been widely commended for lending impetus to global growth and boosting confidence in economic globalization. […] We have taken an active part […] and worked with other countries to tackle global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cyber security and refugees. […] We advocated the formulation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and became the first country to release its national plan on implementation. It turns out that the alleged application of tianxia means upholding the international order, international financial and monetary system reform, Agenda 2030, counterterrorism, controlling human capital, exercising global cybersecurity, economic globalization and, of course, global governance. It seems Xi Jinping’s tianxia-inspired “thoughts” are just the same as the thoughts of the Rockefellers, Vladimir Putin, Klaus Schwab and all other members of the multipolar sales team. RUSSIA – THE FUSION OF THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE OLIGARCHY The Russian government and its think tanks and and oligarchs are not alone in advocating a “regionalized” world of poles. With its five “groups,” a nascent multipolar world order already exists in the form of the G20. The G20’s enthusiasm for a single global tax system demonstrates the intention to move toward a much firmer system of global governance. Previously we noted that Putin purged the oligarch collaborators of the West in fairly short succession after becoming President. Much has been written about his war against the “5th columnists.” This often infers that Putin is somehow opposed to the power of oligarchs. That isn’t true at all. The Russian government has no problem with people making huge amounts of money and then using it to exercise political power. It is just that political power must promote the Russian government’s aspirations. In fact, one of the perks of being in Putin’s circle is the opportunity to become fabulously wealthy. We have already discussed the obscene levels of wealth inequality in Russia, particularly in terms of its concentration in the hands of the oligarchs. Putin hasn’t put an end to this elitism; he has facilitated it on a grand scale. To put the matter in perspective: when Putin became President in 1999—that is, “elected” in 2000—there were a handful of Russian billionaires and oligarchs. Today, according to Forbes, there are more than 100. Perhaps it is just another coincidence, but the sanctions have provided an impetus for Russian oligarchs living overseas to return to the motherland, a trend that has effectively strengthened the Kremlin’s bond with its oligarch “partners.” In 1999, Putin inherited a Russian economy that had been holed out. Between 1999 and 2014, he oversaw a remarkable Russian economic recovery. Living standards improved significantly, GDP rose from $200 billion in 1999 to $2.2 trillion in 2014. Putin led Russia from the 20th largest economy in the world to the 7th (now 11th). It seems that luck—or price fixing!—may have played a part in this apparent economic miracle. Russia’s GDP growth tracks the global oil price quite precisely. While the Russian people benefited from some of this growth, fuelling a consumer boom, the same period also saw a huge increase in wealth inequality. A new class of Russian oligarchs hoovered up a disproportionate share of Russia’s national wealth. During his 2000 campaign to be formally anointed as President, when a radio journalist asked Putin how he would define “oligarch” and what he thought of them, he said: [The] fusion of power and capital — there will be no oligarchs of this kind as a class. Once secured in power, though, Putin’s team constructed a crony capitalist regime that is the epitome of the “fusion of power and capital.” He and his entourage effectively inverted the Western model of oligarch control, where capital is converted into political power. In Russia, political power enables the accumulation of capital, creating an almost unique class of oligarchs. Gazprom, the world’s largest publicly listed gas company, provides a case study demonstrating how the Russian oligarchy functions. Dmitry Medvedev and Alexei Miller worked in St Petersburg alongside Putin during the 1990s. Medvedev was the mayoral campaign manager for Anatoly Sobchak, who subsequently co-authored the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Putin was an advisor and then deputy to Sobchak. Miller served on the mayor’s Committee for External Relations. When Putin became President, he gave Medvedev the highest civil service rank in Russia and made Miller the Deputy Minister of Energy. Meanwhile, Putin decreed that Gazprom was a “national champion”—meaning a “private” corporation the Russian government considers essential to the Russian economy. Through various funds, the Russian government retained its 50.2% controlling interest in Gazprom, which makes Gazprom a public-private partnership. Putin appointed Medvedev and Miller to the Gazprom board. Medvedev acted as chairman until 2008, when he was selected as the nominal President of the Russian Federation, while Putin temporarily acted as Prime Minister for a few years. Miller was appointed as Gazprom CEO in 2001 and is still in that post. In 2006, Gazprom released the construction cost of its Altay pipeline from West Siberia to China. The same year it also released the expenditure figures for its Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline. The per-kilometer cost of the Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline was four times higher than the comparable Altay pipeline or similar pipelines, such as the OPAL pipeline in Germany. In 2008, the Russian firm PiterGaz Engineering estimated the total construction cost of the Sochi pipeline to be $155 million—at the current exchange rate. Yet Gazprom paid the present-day equivalent of $395 million. This inflated price prompted the East European Gas Analysis (EEGA) to note: Russian pipeline engineering institutions, including the corresponding divisions of Gazprom, give realistic estimations of pipeline construction costs, comparable with those of western projects. However, it looks like, on the way to the top management of Gazprom, these cost estimations get at least tripled. [. . .] Apparently, after getting a realistic cost estimation, Gazprom executives add a generous margin for contractors and brokers, so the total project cost gets 3-4 times higher. Such slush funds are found in every sector of the Russian economy, most notably in defence, infrastructure development and healthcare. The proceeds are then doled out to loyal oligarchs. They are “oligarchs” in the fullest sense of the word. Their wealth is dependent upon their partnership with the political state. In return, they use their wealth to forward the policies of the state. Their capital couldn’t be more “political.” For example, Alexey Mordachov owns the steel giant Servestal that supplies gas pipeline to Gazprom for its development projects, such as the Yakutia-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok pipeline (aka the China–Russia East-Route). Other oligarchs profiting from the scheme include Putin’s personal friends Gennady Timchenko, who owns the OAO Stroytransgaz construction company, and Arkady Rotenberg, whose Stroygazmontazh (S.G.M. Group) forms Russia’s largest gas pipeline and power grid construction company. The oligarchs are profiting from the construction of the Arctic Silk Road. They deploy their resources to ensure that the Russian government’s foreign policy objectives are realised. The Russian oligarchs and the Russian political class are in a symbiotic relationship: a public-private partnership constructing the multipolar world order. In so doing, they are engaging in the Great Reset, implementing the Rockefellers’ vision and fulfilling the dreams of Carroll Quigley’s Anglo-American network. The Russian state is more than just a public-private partnership. Moving beyond mere contractual arrangements and shared strategic goals, Russia’s government has fused the corporate and the political into a single public-private nation-state. Despite the slaughter going on in the Ukraine war and all sides’ refusal to unconditionally negotiate, Russia’s “state-owned” private energy corporation Gazprom has apparently settled its dispute with Ukrainian “state-owned” energy corporation Naftogaz and is pumping 42.4 million cubic meters of natural gas a day through Ukraine to Western Europe energy markets. The Russian Federation is paying the Ukrainian government substantial transit fees. It is effectively funding Ukraine’s war effort. The war is only for the little people. CHINA – THE FUSION OF THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE OLIGARCHY The only major developed economy in the world to have gone further than Russia in fusing the public and private sectors is China. China is a neo-fuedal capitalist state operating as a technocracy under the leadership of an oligarch dynasty. The great military and political leaders of Mao Zedong’s revolution who later successfully evaded Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) were collectively referred to as the “eight immortals.” When the Rockefellers and the Trilateral Commission dispatched Henry Kissinger to prepare the ground for US President Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, seven of the immortals decided to throw their collective political weight behind fellow immortal Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms. Deng Xiaoping The process of opening up China’s economy began in earnest following Mao’s death in 1976. Prominent Trilateralists such as then-US President Bill Clinton, global investment firms, Western-based multinational corporations and private investors stepped up foreign direct investment to assist China’s immortals in modernising the country’s economy, financial sector, military, industrial and technological capability. The modernisation enabled the rise of China’s oligarchy. For example, the immortal General Wang Zhen supported Deng’s economic liberalism but also sliced off huge chunks of China’s state assets and placed them in trust to his son, Wang Jun. Subsequently, Wang Jun collaborated with Deng’s economic advisor, Rong Yiren, to seed his now private capital into Citic Group Corp, which then became China’s “state-owned” investment company. Citic Group is a public-private partnership that today has significant influence over China’s financial services, advanced manufacturing technology, production of modern materials and urban development. In this way the immortals effectively created a public-private dynasty in China. Their immensely wealthy offspring are now collectively referred to as the “Princelings.” The Princelings can broadly be divided into three groups, each influencing important Chinese sectors and industry: political Princelings, such as Xi Jinping, manage the public sector military Princelings manage the defence and national security sectors entrepreneur Princelings manage the private sector. As a group, they have huge influence over China’s domestic and foreign policy. China is a one-party state but has not abandoned politics. The selection of Xi Jinping as Paramount Leader in 2012 marked an effective power-shift toward the Princelings, who many consider to represent the “elite.” They are “opposed” by the “Tuanpai,” whose power base stems from the Communist Youth League movement established by former president Hu Jintao. The Tuanpai are broadly popularist and more focused on the issues of working Chinese people. Other factions, such as the “Shangai Gang” and the “Tsinghua Clique,” add to the political mix. Technocracy controls citizens through the allocation of resources. China leads on the technocratic aspects of the Great Reset. It is the world’s first operational Technate, wherein the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) oversees the surveillance and control of the population through its social credit system: The establishment of a social credit system is an important foundation for comprehensively implementing the scientific viewpoint of development. [. . .] Accelerating and advancing the establishment of the social credit system is an important precondition for promoting the optimized allocation of resources. The idea is that citizens can be rewarded for good behaviour and penalised for bad. Speaking to French Television, one of the lead developers of China’s social credit system was asked how French adoption of it might have impacted the Yellow Vest protests in France. Lin Jinyue replied: I really hope that we will manage to export it in a capitalist country. [. . .] I believe that France should quickly adopt our system of social credit, to regulate their social movements. [. . .] If you had had the system of social credit, the Yellow Vests would never have been. Coincidentally, social credit-style surveillance has been greatly enhanced as a result of the pseudopandemic that began in China. To travel on public transport, enter civic buildings, be admitted to the workplace and so on, it is necessary for China’s citizens to scan their COVID Pass QR code. Green allows them to move freely; Red prevents their free movement. Biometric identification via facial recognition scanning is required to register a sim card in China. The biometric data system allows the NDRC to track the movements of every citizen and allows biosecurity to be enforced nationally. Covid QR codes, combined with digital ID, means that China’s Technate is on its way to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 16. SDG 3 reads: Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks And SDG 16 says: By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration “Legal identity” is UN code for digital identity. The Chinese technocratic oligarchy is also ahead of other countries in its development and implementation of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Bo li recently vacated his position as the Deputy Governor of the Bank of China to join the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as its Deputy Managing Director. Speaking at the IMF’s Central Bank Digital Currencies for Financial Inclusion: Risks and Rewards symposium, Bo Li discussed the claim that CBDC would improve so-called “financial inclusion”: CBDC can allow government agencies and private sector players to program [CBDC] to create smart-contracts, to allow targetted policy functions. For example[,] welfare payments [. . .], consumptions coupons, [. . .] food stamps. By programming, CBDC money can be precisely targeted [to] what kind of [things] people can own, and what kind of use [for which] this money can be utilised. For example[,] for food. So this potential programmability can help government agencies precisely target their support to those people who need support. So, in that way we can also improve financial inclusion. Perhaps so—although the improvement will only be afforded tothe citizen who obeys the”government agencies and private sector players”—the Princelings. Engage in “bad” behaviour and and CBDC will be used to target you for financial “exclusion.” With CBDC in place, there would be no need to switch people’s QR code to red to stop them from attending a protest. Simply program their CBDC to prevent train ticket purchases or the use of money more than a mile from home. Physical lockdowns of Covid days are replaced by CBDC lockouts, which are much easier to enforce. Bo Li speaking at the IMF symposium THE MULTIPOLAR MILITARY DIMENSION Global economic and financial power is backed up by military force. So if the powers-that-be are serious about building a new system of super-powered poles, they need to have the muscle to hold their respective positions. After all, a multipolar world order cannot be stabilised and enforced unless each pole presents a genuine military threat to the other. For most of the post-WWII period, the US-led unipolar NATO alliance possessed the most advanced military technology. Not only did the West dominate monetarily, financially and economically, it had the military advantage to go with it. Yet, just like every other aspect of former Western dominance, that, too, has disappeared, and military power has blossomed elsewhere. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, Russia is claiming technological military supremacy. It is now ahead in the arms race. The US has confirmed that Russia used a functioning hypersonic missile in Ukraine, a fact that Joe Biden called “consequential” and frankly admitted “is almost impossible to stop.” China, too, has fired a hypersonic missile. It apparently circled the globe. It then dispatched a hypersonic glide missile that struck its target in China. Again, confirmation came from senior US military officials, who called the technological advance “stunning.” Now China says it may soon be able to arm its navy with these superior weapons. Meanwhile, the West’s dunderheads, who until relatively recently dominated militarily, simply can’t wrap their minds around the ramjet engine technology (or scramjet) that powers this new breed of missiles. While China has confirmed global flight tests and pinpoint hypersonic accuracy and Russia has actually used them in the battlefield, the Pentagon and the US Defence Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and its private-sector partners like Raytheon are still fumbling about with limited tests, hoping they might be able to develop the same operational capability sometime soon. If you can believe that! The British can’t build ships that function in warm water, and their aircraft carriers can’t sail more than a few nautical miles without breaking down. The US Navy can’t sail its ships at all. And no one in the West can build a fighter aircraft that actually works. Yet Russia has taken submarine technology to a new level, and everyone is pretty sure China has developed AI “intelligentized” fighting capability. The West’s sudden inability to stay in, let alone lead, the technological arms race certainly seems to mark a polar shift in the global military balance of power. It is likely that the Western military-industrial complex is kicking itself after spending the last 30 years handing its military technology over to the East. Now look what they’ve done! CONCLUSION The Russian government and the Chinese government are not “worse” than the US, the UK or the French government. They are just governments doing what governments do. They represent the interests of those who can keep them in power—or remove them. The multipolar world order ends the last vestiges of national sovereignty. It is the geopolitical Great Reset: the culmination of the oligarch’s longstanding plan to establish a system of global governance that affords them dominion over all. If the multipolar system proceeds, which seems likely, the 193 nations—give or take—of the world will eventually be incorporated into a few global poles. Who knows how many, but probably no more than half a dozen or so. There are some potential benefits to multipolarity. Perhaps tianxia will break out, thus reducing the risk of conflict. A “balance of power” between global poles of states could limit aggression. But if we consider how this might be achieved and who is supposedly leading it, there is reason for concern. Assuming that the Pax Americana, Pax Europa, Pax Eurasia and Pax Sinica poles, or whatever, don’t intend to disarm, wouldn’t this logically infer a proliferation of armaments globally, including hypersonic nuclear weapons? How will these poles maintain internal security? What is to stop warfare from breaking out within each pole as disputes emerge? Will other poles have to, or choose to, intervene? Let’s be honest. The omens don’t look too encouraging. We are accelerating towards the multipolar world order due in large part to a war currently being waged by one of multipolarity’s leading proponents. Similarly, the activities of the other leading proponent—in places like Yemen, for instance—hardly inspire confidence. There is no evidence to suggest that the conduct of either Russia or China is or will be intrinsically “better” than the conduct of the leading nations of the previous “order.” By far the most concerning aspect of the multipolar world order is that fewer “poles” will empower global governance. The consistent trajectory, throughout history, toward the centralisation of power hasn’t just happened by accident. The strategy of diminishing the clique of people who exercise control over the global population is a purposeful one. Were it not, it wouldn’t have been engineered in the first place. The goal of these technocrats is to possess unopposed power. We know what they desire to do with that power should they ever achieve it: enhanced biosecurity population control population surveillance digital IDs social credit systems AI automated censorship Universal Basic Income control of the food supply, of water, of energy, of housing, of education ultimately, the total control and enslavement of humanity through Central Bank Digital Currency, or some variation of it. The nation-states advocating the new multipolar world order don’t reject these control mechanisms. On the contrary, they are leading in of their development. The multipolar system is one giant leap toward global technocratic tyranny, a system they fully endorse. In Part 1, we noted that US geostrategist Zbigniew Brzezinski had identified Eurasia—”extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok”—as the setting for what he called “the game.” He observed: America must absolutely take over Ukraine, because Ukraine is the pivot of Russian power in Europe. Once Ukraine is separated from Russia, Russia will no longer be a threat. US-led Western powers, having orchestrated the 2014 Euromaidan Coup and having failed to seize control through the Ukrainian ballot box, have since then demonstrated their intent to incorporate Ukraine into the West’s strategic orbit by any means. Conflict of some sort became inevitable from that point onwards. The next eight years saw an escalating proxy conflict unfold, with virtually no serious attempts to stop it, which has led to this entirely predictable Ukraine War. The people of Ukraine and the people in the new Russian republics and oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson are viewed as expendable pawns. The conflict is all too real for them, as they fight and die and long to live in peace without the perpetual threat of violence. Yet neither the “great powers” nor their puppet leaders care about the lives of the people beyond their strategic value. The war in Ukraine is a deadly tactical ploy. The point is to fight it out, down to the last Ukrainian, if necessary, in order to facilitate the transition to the multipolar world order, thus enabling the abhorrent Great Reset and finally delivering full-blown global governance. The vulnerable ones who will freeze to death in Europe this winter—and they could number in the thousands—are mere collateral damage in “the game.” Yet war needn’t get in the way of business as usual: Russia continues to supply gas to Europe, if in greatly reduced quantities and at elevated prices, through Ukrainian pipelines. The mainstream media and much of the alternative media, in both the West and the East, market the Ukraine war as a battle for “freedom,” “sovereignty” or some such drivel. As the death toll mounts among those forced to fight for their existence, we in the wider international community, taking one side or the other, fall for the same old monstrous lies. We plant our little flags, online and off, and argue about our respective delusions, imagining that we are participating in the war, in our own small way. We act like jeering football crowds who cheer on our side to win. Globalist think tanks have long considered war a strategic catalyst for change, a point we should have learned from Norman Dodd’s investigation and report for the Reece Committee on Foundations in 1954. We are being hopelessly naive if we imagine the war in Ukraine couldn’t possibly lead to a horrific global conflict. We have no reason to “trust” the lunatics whom we allow to remain in charge. Equally, we should recognise that we are being manipulated by tactics designed to produce fear. Nuclear brinkmanship should always be seen in its fear-inducing context. The oligarchs of the world are united as they seek to establish a regionalized, multipolar system of global governance that will rule the nation-states we live in. Our political leaders, wherever they exert their claimed authority, are wholly complicit with the oligarchs’ agenda. They are selling us all out as they vie for a better seat at the table while breaking our backs in their obsequious desire to polish it. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/25/2022 - 23:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 26th, 2022

Tverberg: Why Financial Approaches Won"t Fix The World"s Economic Problems This Time

Tverberg: Why Financial Approaches Won't Fix The World's Economic Problems This Time Authored by Gail Tverberg via Our Finite World blog, Time and time again, financial approaches have worked to fix economic problems. Raising interest rates has acted to slow the economy and lowering them has acted to speed up the economy. Governments overspending their incomes also acts to push the economy ahead; doing the reverse seems to slow economies down. What could possibly go wrong? The issue is a physics problem. The economy doesn’t run simply on money and debt. It operates on resources of many kinds, including energy-related resources. As the population grows, the need for energy-related resources grows. The bottleneck that occurs is something that is hard to see in advance; it is an affordability bottleneck. For a very long time, financial manipulations have been able to adjust affordability in a way that is optimal for most players. At some point, resources, especially energy resources, get stretched too thin, relative to the rising population and all the commitments that have been made, such as pension commitments. As a result, there is no way for the quantity of goods and services produced to grow sufficiently to match the promises that the financial system has made. This is the real bottleneck that the world economy reaches. I believe that we are closely approaching this bottleneck today. I recently gave a talk to a group of European officials at the 2nd Luxembourg Strategy Conference, discussing the issue from the European point of view. Europeans seem to be especially vulnerable because Europe, with its early entry into the Industrial Revolution, substantially depleted its fossil fuel resources many years ago. The topic I was asked to discuss was, “Energy: The interconnection of energy limits and the economy and what this means for the future.” In this post, I write about this presentation. The major issue is that money, by itself, cannot operate the economy, because we cannot eat money. Any model of the economy must include energy and other resources. In a finite world, these resources tend to deplete. Also, human population tends to grow. At some point, not enough goods and services are produced for the growing population. I believe that the major reason we have not been told about how the economy really works is because it would simply be too disturbing to understand the real situation. If today’s economy is dependent on finite fossil fuel supplies, it becomes clear that, at some point, these will run short. Then the world economy is likely to face a very difficult time. A secondary reason for the confusion about how the economy operates is too much specialization by researchers studying the issue. Physicists (who are concerned about energy) don’t study economics; politicians and economists don’t study physics. As a result, neither group has a very broad understanding of the situation. I am an actuary. I come from a different perspective: Will physical resources be adequate to meet financial promises being made? I have had the privilege of learning a little from both economic and physics sides of the discussion. I have also learned about the issue from a historical perspective. World energy consumption has been growing very rapidly at the same time that the world economy has been growing. This makes it hard to tell whether the growing energy supply enabled the economic growth, or whether the higher demand created by the growing economy encouraged the world economy to use more resources, including energy resources. Physics says that it is energy resources that enable economic growth. The R-squared of GDP as a function of energy is .98, relative to the equation shown. Physicists talk about the “dissipation” of energy. In this process, the ability of an energy product to do “useful work” is depleted. For example, food is an energy product. When food is digested, its ability to do useful work (provide energy for our body) is used up. Cooking food, whether using a campfire or electricity or by burning natural gas, is another way of dissipating energy. Humans are clearly part of the economy. Every type of work that is done depends upon energy dissipation. If energy supplies deplete, the form of the economy must change to match. There are a huge number of systems that seem to grow by themselves using a process called self-organization. I have listed a few of these on Slide 8. Some of these things are alive; most are not. They are all called “dissipative structures.” The key input that allows these systems to stay in a “non-dead” state is dissipation of energy of the appropriate type. For example, we know that humans need about 2,000 calories a day to continue to function properly. The mix of food must be approximately correct, too. Humans probably could not live on a diet of lettuce alone, for example. Economies have their own need for energy supplies of the proper kind, or they don’t function properly. For example, today’s agricultural equipment, as well as today’s long-distance trucks, operate on diesel fuel. Without enough diesel fuel, it becomes impossible to plant and harvest crops and bring them to market. A transition to an all-electric system would take many, many years, if it could be done at all. I think of an economy as being like a child’s building toy. Gradually, new participants are added, both in the form of new citizens and new businesses. Businesses are formed in response to expected changes in the markets. Governments gradually add new laws and new taxes. Supply and demand seem to set market prices. When the system seems to be operating poorly, regulators step in, typically adjusting interest rates and the availability of debt. One key to keeping the economy working well is the fact that those who are “consumers” closely overlap those who are “employees.” The consumers (= employees) need to be paid well enough, or they cannot purchase the goods and services made by the economy. A less obvious key to keeping the economy working well is that the whole system needs to be growing. This is necessary so that there are enough goods and services available for the growing population. A growing economy is also needed so that debt can be repaid with interest, and so that pension obligations can be paid as promised. World population has been growing year after year, but arable land stays close to constant. To provide enough food for this rising population, more intensive agriculture is required, often including irrigation, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Furthermore, an increasing amount of fresh water is needed, leading to a need for deeper wells and, in some places, desalination to supplement other water sources. All these additional efforts add energy usage, as well as costs. In addition, mineral ores and energy supplies of all kinds tend to become depleted because the best resources are accessed first. This leaves the more expensive-to-extract resources for later. The issues in Slide 11 are a continuation of the issues described on Slide 10. The result is that the cost of energy production eventually rises so much that its higher costs spill over into the cost of all other goods and services. Workers find that their paychecks are not high enough to cover the items they usually purchased in the past. Some poor people cannot even afford food and fresh water.   Increasing debt is helpful as an economy grows. A farmer can borrow money for seed to grow a crop, and he can repay the debt, once the crop has grown. Or an entrepreneur can finance a factory using debt. On the consumer side, debt at a sufficiently low interest rate can be used to make the purchase of a home or vehicle affordable. Central banks and others involved in the financial world figured out many years ago that if they manipulate interest rates and the availability of credit, they are generally able to get the economy to grow as fast as they would like. It is hard for most people to imagine how much interest rates have varied over the last century. Back during the Great Depression of the 1930s and the early 1940s, interest rates were very close to zero. As large amounts of inexpensive energy were added to the economy in the post-World War II period, the world economy raced ahead. It was possible to hold back growth by raising interest rates. Oil supply was constrained in the 1970s, but demand and prices kept rising. US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker is known for raising interest rates to unheard of heights (over 15%) with a peak in 1981 to end inflation brought on by high oil prices. This high inflation rate brought on a huge recession from which the economy eventually recovered, as the higher prices brought more oil supply online (Alaska, North Sea, and Mexico), and as substitution was made for some oil use. For example, home heating was moved away from burning oil; electricity-production was mostly moved from oil to nuclear, coal and natural gas. Another thing that has helped the economy since 1981 has been the ability to stimulate demand by lowering interest rates, making monthly payments more affordable. In 2008, the US added Quantitative Easing as a way of further holding interest rates down. A huge debt bubble has thus been built up since 1981, as the world economy has increasingly been operated with an increasing amount of debt at ever-lower interest rates. (See 3-month and 10 year interest rates shown on Slide 14.) This cheap debt has allowed rapidly rising asset prices. The world economy starts hitting major obstacles when energy supply stops growing faster than population because the supply of finished goods and services (such as new automobile, new homes, paved roads, and airplane trips for passengers) produced stops growing as rapidly as population. These obstacles take the form of affordability obstacles. The physics of the situation somehow causes the wages and wealth to be increasingly be concentrated among the top 10% or 1%. Lower-paid individuals are increasingly left out. While goods are still produced, ever-fewer workers can afford more than basic necessities. Such a situation makes for unhappy workers. World energy consumption per capita hit a peak in 2018 and began to slide in 2019, with an even bigger drop in 2020. With less energy consumption, world automobile sales began to slide in 2019 and fell even lower in 2020. Protests, often indirectly related to inadequate wages or benefits, became an increasing problem in 2019. The year 2020 is known for Covid-19 related shutdowns and flight cancellations, but the indirect effect was to reduce energy consumption by less travel and by broken supply lines leading to unavailable goods. Prices of fossil fuels dropped far too low for producers. Governments tried to get their own economies growing by various techniques, including spending more than the tax revenue they took in, leading to a need for more government debt, and by Quantitative Easing, acting to hold down interest rates. The result was a big increase in the money supply in many countries. This increased money supply was often distributed to individual citizens as subsidies of various kinds. The higher demand caused by this additional money tended to cause inflation. It tended to raise fossil fuel prices because the inexpensive-to-extract fuels have mostly been extracted. In the days of Paul Volker, more energy supply at a little higher price was available within a few years. This seems extremely unlikely today because of diminishing returns. The problem is that there is little new oil supply available unless prices can stay above at least $120 per barrel on a consistent basis, and prices this high, or higher, do not seem to be available. Oil prices are not rising this high, even with all of the stimulus funds because of the physics-based wage disparity problem mentioned previously. Also, those with political power try to keep fuel prices down so that the standards of living of citizens will not fall. Because of these low oil prices, OPEC+ continues to make cuts in production. The existence of chronically low prices for fossil fuels is likely the reason why Russia behaves in as belligerent a manner as it does today. Today, with rising interest rates and Quantitative Tightening instead of Quantitative Easing, a major concern is that the debt bubble that has grown since in 1981 will start to collapse. With falling debt levels, prices of assets, such as homes, farms, and shares of stock, can be expected to fall. Many borrowers will be unable to repay their loans. If this combination of events occurs, deflation is a likely outcome because banks and pension funds are likely to fail. If, somehow, local governments are able to bail out banks and pension funds, then there is a substantial likelihood of local hyperinflation. In such a case, people will have huge quantities of money, but practically nothing available to buy. In either case, the world economy will shrink because of inadequate energy supply. Most people have a “normalcy bias.” They assume that if economic growth has continued for a long time in the past, it necessarily will occur in the future. Yet, we all know that all dissipative structures somehow come to an end. Humans can come to an end in many ways: They can get hit by a car; they can catch an illness and succumb to it; they can die of old age; they can starve to death. History tells us that economies nearly always collapse, usually over a period of years. Sometimes, population rises so high that the food production margin becomes tight; it becomes difficult to set aside enough food if the cycle of weather should turn for the worse. Thus, population drops when crops fail. In the years leading up to collapse, it is common that the wages of ordinary citizens fall too low for them to be able to afford an adequate diet. In such a situation, epidemics can spread easily and kill many citizens. With so much poverty, it becomes impossible for governments to collect enough taxes to maintain services they have promised. Sometimes, nations lose at war because they cannot afford a suitable army. Very often, governmental debt becomes non-repayable. The world economy today seems to be approaching some of the same bottlenecks that more local economies hit in the past. The basic problem is that with inadequate energy supplies, the total quantity of goods and services provided by the economy must shrink. Thus, on average, people must become poorer. Most individual citizens, as well as most governments, will not be happy about this situation. The situation becomes very much like the game of musical chairs. In this game, one chair at a time is removed. The players walk around the chairs while music plays. When the music stops, all participants grab for a chair. Someone gets left out. In the case of energy supplies, the stronger countries will try to push aside the weaker competitors. Countries that understand the importance of adequate energy supplies recognize that Europe is relatively weak because of its dependence on imported fuel. However, Europe seems to be oblivious to its poor position, attempting to dictate to others how important it is to prevent climate change by eliminating fossil fuels. With this view, it can easily keep its high opinion of itself. If we think about the musical chairs’ situation and not enough energy supplies to go around, everyone in the world (except Europe) would be better off if Europe were to be forced out of its high imports of fossil fuels. Russia could perhaps obtain higher energy export prices in Asia and the Far East. The whole situation becomes very strange. Europe tells itself it is cutting off imports to punish Russia. But, if Europe’s imports can remain very low, everyone else, from the US, to Russia, to China, to Japan would benefit. The benefits of wind and solar energy are glorified in Europe, with people being led to believe that it would be easy to transition from fossil fuels, and perhaps leave nuclear, as well. The problem is that wind, solar, and even hydroelectric energy supply are very undependable. They cannot ever be ramped up to provide year-round heat. They are poorly adapted for agricultural use (except for sunshine helping crops grow). Few people realize that the benefits that wind and solar provide are tiny. They cannot be depended on, so companies providing electricity need to maintain duplicate generating capacity. Wind and solar require far more transmission than fossil-fuel-generated electricity because the best sources are often far from population centers. When all costs are included (without subsidy), wind and solar electricity tend to be more expensive than fossil-fuel generated electricity. They are especially difficult to rely on in winter. Therefore, many people in Europe are concerned about possibly “freezing in the dark,” as soon as this winter. There is no possibility of ever transitioning to a system that operates only on intermittent electricity with the population that Europe has today, or that the world has today. Wind turbines and solar panels are built and maintained using fossil fuel energy. Transmission lines cannot be maintained using intermittent electricity alone.   Basically, Europe must use very much less fossil fuel energy, for the long term. Citizens cannot assume that the war with Ukraine will soon be over, and everything will be back to the way it was several years ago. It is much more likely that the freeze-in-the-dark problem will be present every winter, from now on. In fact, European citizens might actually be happier if the climate would warm up a bit. With this as background, there is a need to figure out how to use less energy without hurting lifestyles too badly. To some extent, changes from the Covid-19 shutdowns can be used, since these indirectly were ways of saving energy. Furthermore, if families can move in together, fewer buildings in total will need to be heated. Cooking can perhaps be done for larger groups at a time, saving on fuel. If families can home-school their children, this saves both the energy for transportation to school and the energy for heating the school. If families can keep younger children at home, instead of sending them to daycare, this saves energy, as well. A major issue that I do not point out directly in this presentation is the high energy cost of supporting the elderly in the lifestyles to which they have become accustomed. One issue is the huge amount and cost of healthcare. Another is the cost of separate residences. These costs can be reduced if the elderly can be persuaded to move in with family members, as was done in the past. Pension programs worldwide are running into financial difficulty now, with interest rates rising. Countries with large elderly populations are likely to be especially affected. Besides conserving energy, the other thing people in Europe can do is attempt to understand the dynamics of our current situation. We are in a different world now, with not enough energy of the right kinds to go around. The dynamics in a world of energy shortages are like those of the musical chairs’ game. We can expect more fighting. We cannot expect that countries that have been on our side in the past will necessarily be on our side in the future. It is more like being in an undeclared war with many participants. Under ideal circumstances, Europe would be on good terms with energy exporters, even Russia. I suppose at this late date, nothing can be done. A major issue is that if Europe attempts to hold down fossil fuel prices, the indirect result will be to reduce supply. Oil, natural gas and coal producers will all reduce supply before they will accept a price that they consider too low. Given the dependence of the world economy on energy supplies, especially fossil fuel energy supplies, this will make the situation worse, rather than better. Wind and solar are not replacements for fossil fuels. They are made with fossil fuels. We don’t have the ability to store up solar energy from summer to winter. Wind is also too undependable, and battery capacity too low, to compensate for need for storage from season to season. Thus, without a growing supply of fossil fuels, it is impossible for today’s economy to continue in its current form. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/22/2022 - 15:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 22nd, 2022

How to survive a nuclear bomb attack: Minute-by-minute steps to protect yourself

If a nuclear bomb attack was imminent, Americans would have 30 minutes or less to prepare. Knowing what to do could save your life. A US Navy nuclear test on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.FPG/Getty Images Some experts are concerned about President Vladimir Putin and whether he may be willing to use nuclear force to achieve his aims. If a nuclear bomb were headed toward the US, residents would have 30 minutes or less to shelter. Actions immediately following a blast, like showering or staying indoors, could save your life. As Russian forces take losses on the battlefield in Ukraine, fears are growing that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has made repeated threats, could resort to nuclear force. US leadership, among others, has warned of the risk of nuclear war and pushed for de-escalation.Putin said he would use "all available means" to defend Russian territory — which he claims includes parts of eastern Ukraine — in the same breath baselessly accusing the West of "nuclear blackmail." He has said that his willingness to escalate is "not a bluff."Though US officials say they have no evidence that Russia is moving any nuclear assets, on October 6 President Joe Biden raised the possibility of a nightmare scenario: an all-out nuclear war. He doubled down in a CNN interview on October 11, saying that while he didn't think it would happen, "mistakes" and "miscalculations" could "end in Armageddon."Some expert observers see Putin's rhetoric as an attempt to scare away Western support for Ukraine, while others take it as a significant increase in the risk of nuclear attacks. One historian called this moment more threatening than the Cuban missile crisis.In this image made from video released by the Russian Presidential Press Service, Vladimir Putin gestures as he addresses the nation in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, September 21, 2022.Russian Presidential Press Service via APA nuclear attack remains highly unlikely, but it's not out of the question, experts say.Russia's nuclear arsenal is capable of striking just about anywhere on the planet. Were Russia to launch a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile at the US, residents would have roughly 30 minutes, or less, to find shelter, assuming they were immediately warned of the attack. Some weapons, such as submarine-launched missiles, could potentially have shorter delivery times. If Russia launched a weapon from international waters just off the East Coast, people in cities like New York, Boston, and Washington, DC, might have just 10 to 15 minutes to prepare."You wouldn't even have time to go get your kids from school," Irwin Redlener, a public-health expert at Columbia University who specializes in disaster preparedness, told Insider earlier this year.The minutes to hours after a nuclear blast are a critical window. The potential for radiation exposure decreases 55% an hour after an explosion and 80% after 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.Immediate actions during those first few hours, like covering your eyes or hunkering down in an indoor shelter, could mitigate your risk of death or serious injury. Here's how to protect yourself in a worst-case scenario.First 30 minutes: Avert your eyes and shield your face A fan shields their eyes during sunset at Glastonbury Festival in the UK.Mick Hutson/RedfernsThe US doesn't have a sufficient warning system for nuclear threats, Redlener said.Hawaii learned this lesson in 2018, when the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent out an erroneous push alert to people's smartphones, warning of an inbound ballistic-missile threat."Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill," the warning read. An employee at the agency had sent the alert by mistake.A combination photograph shows screenshots from a cell phone displaying an alert for a ballistic missile launch and the subsequent false alarm message in Hawaii January 13, 2018.Hugh Gentry/Reuters"It caused chaos," Redlener said, adding: "Some people just totally ignored it, and some people went into panic mode and were jumping down sewer drains with their children."Redlener said the best way to learn of an impending nuclear attack would probably be TV or radio. Those without immediate access to news reports could hear sirens, he said, but the noise might be confusing. By the time you googled the sirens or called the police department, your time would have run out, he said.The best course of action is simply to avert your eyes. When a nuclear bomb strikes, it sets off a flash of light and a giant orange fireball. A 1-megaton bomb (about 80 times larger than the "Little Boy" atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan) could temporarily blind people up to 13 miles away on a clear day and up to 53 miles away on a clear night.People demonstrate taking shelter with their hands covering their eyes and ears while keeping their mouth open, during a drill in Taipei, Taiwan, July 22, 2022.Ann Wang/ReutersThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends dropping to the ground with your face down and your hands tucked under your body to protect from flying debris or sweltering heat that could burn your skin. If you have a scarf or handkerchief, cover your nose and mouth.But make sure to keep your mouth open, so your eardrums don't burst from pressure.First 45 minutes: Seek shelter indoors away from windowsPeople attend an excursion at the Underground Sevastopol museum at a functioning nuclear bunker in Sevastopol, Crimea, on October 16, 2018.Sergei Malgavko/TASS/Getty ImagesA single nuclear weapon could result in tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of immediate deaths in a major city like New York or Washington. The number of casualties depends on the size of the weapon, where it's detonated, and how many people are upwind of the blast.Survivors of a nuclear attack would have about 15 minutes before sandlike radioactive particles, known as nuclear fallout, reached the ground. Exposure to fallout can result in radiation poisoning, which can damage the body's cells and prove fatal.A sign for a nuclear fallout shelter on a residential block in Brooklyn.Epics/Getty ImagesPeople should ideally look for shelter in the opposite direction of fallen buildings."You'd want to go in the direction away from the wind," Redlener said, adding: "Get as far away as you can in the next 10 to 15 minutes, and then immediately seek shelter before the radiation cloud descends."The best shelters are buildings like schools or offices with few to no windows and a basement for camping out. If there aren't sturdy buildings nearby, it's still better to be indoors than outside.If you take cover in a multistory building, choose a central location and steer clear of the top and bottom floors. If the building has windows, stand in the center of a room. Shock waves can shatter windows up to 10 miles away from an explosion, resulting in flying glass that could injure people nearby.First 24 hours: Rinse off in the shower and stay inside until further noticePeople who were outside during an explosion should shower as soon as possible.Paula Bronstein/Getty ImagesThe hours after a blast are critical for reducing radiation exposure.Doctors can often treat radiation damage with substances such as potassium iodide, though "there are certain dose levels that you can't do anything about," Kathryn Higley, a professor of nuclear science at Oregon State University, told Insider. But in a disaster scenario, there may not be enough physicians or hospital beds to care for everyone."There are not enough empty burn beds in all of the United States to deal with even a single nuclear attack on one city in the US," Tara Drozdenko, the director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program, told Insider.People who were outside during an explosion should shower as soon as possible, making sure the water is warm and soap is applied gently. Scrubbing too hard could break your skin, which acts as a natural protective barrier. You should also cover any cuts or abrasions while rinsing off.Don't use conditioner, body lotion, or face cream after exposure to a nuclear blast, since these products can bind to radioactive particles and trap them in your skin and hair.Rescuers take care of a wounded person during a simulation exercise of a nuclear accident at the Areva nuclear plant in Beaumont-Hague, France, on December 8, 2011.Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty ImagesBlow your nose and wipe your ears and eyelids, since debris could get stuck in these places. The CDC also recommends sealing outer layers of clothing in a plastic bag, along with any tissues or cloths used to wipe your body or face.It's safe to consume food from sealed containers such as packages, bottles, or cans, according to the CDC. You can also eat items from your pantry or refrigerator, as long as you wipe off containers, cookware, counters, and utensils. But anything left uncovered, such as fruits or veggies from a garden, would be unsafe to eat.Unless you're told to go outside, it's best to stay put until the risk of contamination has gone down. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends staying indoors for at least 24 hours after a nuclear explosion.This story, which was originally published in March 2022, has since been updated and republished amid Russia's continued nuclear threats.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 19th, 2022

Kim Kardashian will pay $1.26 million in a crypto-related fine to the SEC. Here are other high-profile celebrities who have backed recent crypto ventures.

Kardashian settled charges for promoting a crypto asset on Instagram. See other celebs who have publicly touted crypto like Tom Brady and Larry David. Kim Kardashian at the World Trade Center on June 21, 2022.Raymond Hall/GC Images Kim Kardashian agreed to pay the SEC $1.26 million related to an Instagram post promoting crypto. While most celebs have gone silent on crypto assets as prices collapse, Kardashian isn't the only star who touted it in recent years. See other celebrities who have publicly backed crypto, from Lebron James to Larry David.  Kim Kardashian will pay a hefty fine linked to a crypto promotion that the SEC said broke its rules.Kardashian settled with the agency for $1.26 million after she promoted EthereumMax on Instagram in June 2021 and failed to disclose that she was paid $250,000. "This case is a reminder that, when celebrities or influencers endorse investment opportunities, including crypto asset securities, it doesn't mean that those investment products are right for all investors," SEC Chair Gary Gensler said The price of bitcoin and other crypto assets, including NFTs, has collapsed since surging to new highs in 2021. While most celebrities have fallen silent on their support for crypto in recent months, Kardashian was not the only mega-celebrity who publicly backed a crypto-related asset over the past two years. Check out some other notable examples. Matt DamonMatt Damon commercialMatt Damon's first foray into cryptocurrency came with a Super Bowl commercial for earlier this year.The commercial went viral for comparing cryptocurrency to some of humankind's greatest achievements, like the invention of the airplane or space exploration. If people invested in crypto after seeing Damon's commercial when it first aired, their investment would be down significantly today.   Reese WitherspoonNBC / Getty ImagesIn December 2021, the actress tweeted, "crypto is here to stay. I'm committed to supporting creators who have pioneered the NFT space and encouraging more women to be a part of the conversation." Earlier this year, Witherspoon's media company, Hello Sunshine, announced a partnership with World of Women, an NFT collective with artwork from women creators. As part of the partnership, Hello Sunshine will use NFT characters in films and TV series, Variety reports. Tom BradyFTX crypto commercial featuring Tom BradyFTXTom Brady regularly promotes cryptocurrency projects, even changing his profile picture on Twitter to the laser eyes meme, a symbolic way to show support for Bitcoin. Brady co-founded an NFT agency called Autograph, which raised $170 million in Series B funding. In April this year, Brady purchased a Bored Ape NFT, a favorite amongst celebrities, for $430,000. Naomi OsakaNaomi Osaka wears an FTX patch at the US OpenMatthew Stockman/Getty ImagesIn May of this year, FTX announced that Naomi Osaka would become an ambassador for the crypto exchange, joining other famous athletes like Tom Brady and Steph Curry. Osaka now wears a patch with the company's name while playing professional tennis as part of the partnership. Jimmy FallonJimmy Fallon shows off his Bored Ape NFTThe Tonight ShowJimmy Fallon has been an enthusiastic backer of Bored Ape NFTs, even briefly changing his profile picture on Twitter to his Bored Ape avatar and discussing the NFTs on his NBC late-night talk show, "The Tonight Show." Fallon owns at least two other NFTs, as well. Post MalonePost Malone performs at the Rock in Rio music festival in Brazil on September 4, 2022.MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty ImagesPost Malone is another backer of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. Last fall, the musician purchased two Bored Apes for $700,000. He featured the two Apes in the music video for his song "One Right Now" with The Weeknd. Larry DavidFTX commercial starring Larry DavidFTXThis year, Larry David starred in a Superbowl commercial for FTX that hinted to viewers to invest in cryptocurrency. After the price of crypto started collapsing, Jeff Schaffer, David's longtime collaborator and the director of the commercial, told the New York Times that neither he nor David knew much about crypto. "Unfortunately, I don't think we'd have anything to add as we have no idea how cryptocurrency works (even after having it explained to us repeatedly), don't own it, and don't follow its market," he said. "We just set out to make a funny commercial!" he said. Floyd Mayweather Jr.Floyd Mayweather.ReutersMayweather Jr. has promoted crypto for years, but more than once, he found himself in hot water for his promotional methods. CNN reports that the pro-boxer was sued along with Kim Kardashian for his promotion of EthereumMax, though a settlement for his participation has not yet been announced. In 2018, Mayweather Jr. agreed to pay the SEC more than $600,000 in fines for failing to disclose payments he received for promoting several ICOs, or Initial Coin Offerings. Stephen CurryFTX commercial with Stephen CurryFTXSteph Curry has starred in commercials for FTX as an ambassador for the exchange. Last year, Curry told Bloomberg that he believed crypto could be leveraged for economic opportunity and social mobility. Curry also owns a Bored Ape NFT, which he bought for $180,000 last summer. Lebron JamesLebron James in a commercialCrypto.comLeBron James and the LeBron James Family Foundation announced a multi-year partnership with earlier this year. James starred in a commercial for the company, in which he had a conversation with his younger self about the future. Mila KunisPaul A. Hebert/Invision/APMila Kunis has expressed her desire to push women to invest in NFTs, calling crypto a "very masculine area" on a podcast with Conan O'Brien. Kunis produced a show called "Stoner Cats," which can only be viewed by people who buy one of the show's NFTs. Vitalik Buterin, who co-founded one of the largest cryptocurrencies, Ethereum, voices one of the characters on the show. Snoop DoggSnoop DoggNoam Galai/Getty Images for SiriusXMSnoop Dogg entered the world of crypto early. He embraced Bitcoin back in 2013, tweeting, "My next record available in bitcoin n delivered in a drone."  Earlier this year, the musician announced that he planned to turn Death Row Records, a record label he bought earlier this year, into an "NFT label." MadonnaMadonnaMondadori Portfolio / Contributor / Getty ImagesEarlier this year, Madonna teamed up with Beeple, the digital artist whose NFT sold for $69 million in an auction, to release a graphic NFT collection that includes NSFW images of the Queen of Pop giving birth to a tree. The images, which were auctioned in May amid the collapse in crypto prices, sold for significantly less than expected, according to the New York Post.  Paris HiltonParis Hilton on the Tonight Show taking about NFTsThe Tonight ShowParis Hilton went all in on NFTs during the past two years, but she has invested in crypto for years. In April 2021, Hilton launched her own NFT collection, with one selling for over $1.11 million, according to CNBC.  Hilton once told The Guardian that she owns more than 150 NFTs. Mindy KalingMindy Kaling attends the 2022 Met Gala.Mike Coppola/Getty ImagesIn January, Fortune reported that Kaling signed on to become an "entertainment advisor" to notable cryptocurrency investor Katie Haun. Kaling also invests in bitcoin mining company TeraWulf. Justin BieberJustin Bieber attends the 2022 Grammys.Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagicIn January of this year, Bieber purchased a Bored Ape NFT for $1.29 million, well higher than the asking price, according to Bieber is also an investor in crypto fintech startup MoonPay, which also counts Gwyneth Paltrow, Snoop Dogg, and Ashton Kutcher as stakeholders. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 5th, 2022

NOVAGOLD Reports Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results

Advancing Donlin Gold to Prepare the Project for the Next Phase of Development; Robust Treasury of $132 Million in Cash and Term Deposits, with $25 Million of Receivables in 2023 The 42,334-meter drill program is wrapping-up for the year. The joint release issued by NOVAGOLD, Barrick and Donlin Gold on July 28, 2022 reported further encouraging assays, with more high-grade gold intercepts that demonstrated good grade continuity. Additional results will be issued in the coming weeks. With Donlin Gold's largest budget in over a decade, our focus is on the path forward, subject to Donlin Gold LLC Board approval, toward the preparation of an updated feasibility study. To this end, the drill program is providing the data for the geologic modelling and interpretation work for the updated resource model while we engage in engineering studies, as well as pursue our comprehensive environmental and community relations activities. NOVAGOLD's strong cash position of $132 million as of August 31, 2022, with additional funds of $25 million due in July 2023 from Newmont Corporation, should be sufficient to advance Donlin Gold to a construction decision. VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NOVAGOLD RESOURCES INC. ("NOVAGOLD" or "the Company") ((NYSE American, TSX:NG) today released its 2022 third quarter financial results and an update on its Tier One1 gold development project, Donlin Gold, which NOVAGOLD owns equally with Barrick Gold Corporation ("Barrick"). Details of the financial results for the quarter ended August 31, 2022 are presented in the consolidated financial statements and quarterly report filed on Form 10-Q on October 4, 2022 that is available on the Company's website at, on SEDAR at, and on EDGAR at All amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated. In the third quarter 2022, the following milestones were achieved at Donlin Gold: The drill program wrapped-up with 141 holes and 42,334 meters completed for the year. The drilling focused on tight-spaced grid drilling and also included in-pit and ex-pit exploration. Additional assay results will be issued in the coming weeks, with the final results expected to be released by early 2023. On July 14, 2022, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC)'s Commissioner granted the request for an adjudicatory hearing review on the State's Clean Water Act Section 401 certification of the Federal CWA Section 404 permit. The briefing process is underway, and we expect the hearing process to be completed in the next six months. Donlin Gold worked with our dedicated community partners in Alaska and in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) region to execute the largest drill program at Donlin since 2007, while protecting the health and safety of Donlin Gold's employees and contractors. Most of the site crew for the program have been local hires from 24 different communities in the Y-K region. Donlin Gold continued its collaboration with Calista Corporation ("Calista") and The Kuskokwim Corporation ("TKC") in all aspects of outreach and engagement throughout the Y-K region in areas spanning education, health and safety, cultural traditions, and environmental initiatives, including: Creating a subsistence committee comprised of independent regional stakeholders with varying views on development initiatives in recent years; Signing two additional Shared Value Statements with villages in the Y-K region for a total of 11 to date (Akiak, Sleetmute, Kalskag, Napaimute, Crooked Creek, Napaskiak, Nikolai, Tuluksak, Stony River, Pilot Station, and Toksook Bay). These agreements comprise educational, environmental, and social initiatives to help support villages; Contributing to and participating in the fifth annual "In It for the Long Haul" Backhaul Project to collect, remove, and safely dispose of household hazardous and electronic waste from 30 remote villages throughout the Y-K region; Promoting and sponsoring youth education and health-focused activities in the Y-K region through "Alaska EXCEL", a non-profit organization providing life-changing educational and professional opportunities for rural Alaska students and young adults, as well as the Alaska School Activities Association; and Encouraging community well-being and cultural awareness across Alaska through the Bethel Community Services Foundation partnership and sponsorship of the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Calista and Donlin Gold continued their proactive, bipartisan outreach in Alaska and Washington, D.C. to highlight the thoroughness of the project's environmental review and permitting processes, as well as the benefits that the project would deliver to Native Alaskans. ________________1 NOVAGOLD defines a Tier One gold development project as one with a projected production life of at least 10 years, annual projected production of at least 500,000 ounces of gold, and average projected cash costs over the production life that are in the lower half of the industry cost curve. President's Message Donlin Gold's Outstanding Drill Results and Engagement Activities Lay a Solid Foundation for the Path Forward The NOVAGOLD management team's commitment to the Donlin Gold project has been unwavering for more than 10 years because we — and all our stakeholders — recognize the unique potential of this future operation. The extensive and cumulative work invested in the Donlin Gold project has substantially enhanced its value to Alaskans as well as our shareholders. It has also consistently validated the attractiveness of continuing to responsibly advance this excellent gold asset up the value chain. This year alone, the combination of an ambitious drill program with our geological modelling and interpretation work for the updated resource model, engineering studies, environmental activities, and vast community relations and government affairs efforts with our Native Corporation partners, Calista and TKC, have all contributed toward multiple achievements to date. We refer to Donlin as "the gift that keeps on giving". Unsurprisingly, therefore, we continue to be most encouraged by the outstanding drill results of the ACMA and Lewis pits. The assay results released to date have returned significant high-grade intercepts and demonstrated good grade continuity. They shall further inform and support the global resource estimate, recent modelling concepts, and strategic mine planning work. Examples of high-grade drill-hole intercepts include DC22-2040 that intersected 52.27 m grading 14.63 g/t gold; drill-hole DC22-2040 that intersected 18.65 m grading 10.78 g/t gold; and drill-hole DC22-2056 that intersected 73.98 m grading 4.21 g/t gold. For a more extensive description of recent drill results, please refer to the joint release from NOVAGOLD, Barrick and Donlin Gold dated July 28, 2022. With the receipt of these excellent results, the Donlin Gold LLC Board approved an increase in the 2022 drill program in the third quarter from 34,000 meters to 42,000 meters. The drilling at site recently wrapped-up with a total of 141 holes, which included an additional 43 holes and some 8,000 meters more than the original 2022 planned work. To date, the Donlin Gold project reported assay results for approximately 9,870 meters of the 2022 drilling program with additional assays expected to be released in the coming weeks and the final results by early 2023. The drill program included tight spaced grid drilling in structural domains, in-pit and below-pit exploration in sparsely drilled areas, platform mapping to further confirm mineralization continuity and key geological controls in representative areas of the deposit, waste rock facility condemnation drilling, and 14 geotechnical drill holes for the Alaska Dam Safety certificates. With this additional drilling, the Donlin Gold 2022 expenditures are now anticipated to stand at $64 million (of which NOVAGOLD's portion is 50%). The budget also supports the advancement of numerous environmental activities, and finances community and external affairs efforts. The success of our drill program in the third quarter — and for the first nine months of the year — is due to the exceptional dedication of the Donlin Gold team in Anchorage and at site, the majority of which are local hires from 24 different communities in the Y-K region, who all share the goal of protecting the health and safety of their colleagues. That goal, both at NOVAGOLD and at Donlin Gold, is indeed our top priority. As part of Donlin Gold's largest budget in over a decade, efforts in 2022 have focused on drilling to wrap-up the geologic modelling and interpretation work for an updated resource model, updating and advancing engineering studies, and continuing our extensive environmental and community relations activities, as together we determine the path forward toward an updated feasibility study, subject to a formal approval by the Donlin Gold LLC Board. A Federally Permitted Project on Private Land with Excellent and Longstanding Native Corporation Partnerships Permitting in Alaska has represented a substantial undertaking over several years — and in fact a tremendous achievement — to ensure a diligent, thorough, transparent, and inclusive process for all involved, including stakeholders from the Y-K region. Donlin Gold, working closely with its Native Corporation partners, provides support to the State of Alaska as authorities advance various permits and certificates required for the project. For instance, Donlin Gold continues to support the ADEC in its efforts regarding the State's Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 certification (the "401 Certification") of the Federal CWA Section 404 permit. On July 14, 2022, the ADEC Commissioner granted the request for an adjudicatory hearing review related to potential water temperature effects in Crooked Creek. The briefing process is underway, and we expect the hearing process to be completed in the next six months. The inherent value of having a federally permitted project on private land designated by law for mining should not be overlooked. As with all mining projects in the developed world, we have always prepared and organized ourselves for challenges. Our management team is intimately familiar with the processes that need to be followed. Donlin Gold and its owners, alongside the steadfast advocacy of Calista and TKC, shall continue to support the State in its defense of what constitutes an exceptionally thorough and diligent permitting process. It should also be noted that all appeals challenging Donlin Gold permits to date have been unsuccessful, often multiple times. And we have confidence in the process. Nevertheless, objecting to mining happens to be a business in itself. On September 20, 2021, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources' (ADNR) issuance of the Right-of-Way (ROW) lease for the portions of the natural gas pipeline on State lands was separately appealed in Alaska Superior Court by two parties: (1) Earthjustice representing Orutsararmiut Native Council (ONC), the native villages of Eek, Chevak, and Kwigillingok, and Cook InletKeeper; and (2) Robert Fithian, an adventure business owner who operates near the ROW. The two appeals have now been consolidated into a single case that is pending before the Alaska Superior Court based in Anchorage, Alaska. Legal briefings are being prepared by the parties and we anticipate a decision on both appeals in 2023. In 2021, the State of Alaska's issuance of water rights for the mine and transportation facilities was appealed to the Commissioner of the ADNR. On April 25, 2022, the ADNR Commissioner denied the appeal; however, Earthjustice, ONC and five villages appealed the Commissioner's decision in Alaska Superior Court on May 25, 2022. ADNR filed the Administrative Record with the Court on September 12, 2022, and the appellants are preparing their initial brief. A decision is expected in 2023. Donlin Gold applied for a new air quality permit from ADEC, which is expected to be in place when the current permit expires in mid-2023. The Donlin Gold air quality permit renewal is required in order to ascertain that emissions controls reflect best technology and to re-confirm that air quality standards will be met. A draft permit is expected to be issued for public comment by the end of 2022. Donlin Gold is also preparing an updated Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System application for a regularly scheduled renewal by ADEC, for which we anticipate a decision by mid-2023. Furthermore, Donlin Gold is working with Calista, TKC, ADNR, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on re-locating easements and public ROWs in the project area. ADNR issued the proposed re-location plan for public comment in the summer of 2022 and a final decision is expected to be announced by the end of the year. Lastly, the field work related to the issuance of the Alaska Dam Safety certificates resumed during the third quarter of 2022. Extensive Engagement in Partnership with Regional Stakeholders… With Consistent, Long-Term Support from Alaska's U.S. Senators for the Donlin Gold Project Donlin Gold is enormously fortunate to enjoy time-tested partnerships with Calista and TKC, owners of the mineral and surface rights, respectively. Donlin Gold's location on private land specially designated for mining activities following the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) represents a key differentiating factor from most other mining assets in Alaska. We deeply appreciate the critical value of having engaged Native Corporation partners and meaningful Tribal input that provide valuable insight about their land and support efforts for responsible and sustainable economic development through every phase of the Donlin Gold project. Donlin Gold continues to work with Calista and TKC in all aspects of outreach and engagement throughout the Y-K region in the areas of education, health and safety, cultural traditions, and environmental initiatives, including creating a subsistence committee comprised of independent regional stakeholders reflecting diverse views on development initiatives, among other activities. In the third quarter, Donlin Gold and NOVAGOLD contributed to and participated in the Backhaul Project – "In It for the Long Haul". This was the fifth annual backhaul project to collect, remove, and safely dispose of household hazardous and electronic waste from 30 remote villages throughout the Y-K region. Over the past five years, nearly 400,000 lbs. of waste was removed that would otherwise have ended up in landfills and waterways. Sustained efforts are also underway to promote youth education and healthy activities in the Y-K region through programs such as Alaska EXCEL, which provides life-changing educational and professional opportunities for rural Alaska students and young adults, and the Alaska School Activities Association. Other important initiatives that took place during the third quarter included sponsoring the Alaska Native Heritage Center which encourages cultural awareness across Alaska and our partnership with the Bethel Community Services Foundation which is dedicated to the development, growth, continuance and enhancement of community-based programs and services. In the third quarter, Donlin Gold signed two additional Shared Value Statements with villages in the Y-K region for a total of 11 (Akiak, Sleetmute, Napaimute, Crooked Creek, Napaskiak, Nikolai, Tuluksak, Upper Kalskag, Stony River, Pilot Station, and Toksook Bay). These agreements formalize current engagement with key local communities, expand upon the long-term relationships already established with them, and address specific community needs including: water, sewer, and solid waste projects; the ice road that connects remote villages in the Y-K region; salmon and other aquatic life studies; and suicide and public safety prevention programs. Calista and Donlin Gold also continued their proactive, bipartisan outreach in Alaska and Washington, D.C. to highlight the thoroughness of the project's environmental review and permitting processes, in addition to ...Full story available on»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 4th, 2022

Some ultra-wealthy are buying high-end art for their yachts as a recession hedge while stocks, real estate, and crypto tank on global uncertainty

The ultra-wealthy are adding luxury art to their portfolios as a recession hedge — and they're increasingly displaying it on their megayachts. Russian Billionaire Andrei Menichenko's super yacht.Enrico Spanu/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images Demand for luxury art has been "insane" over the past decade, an art adviser told Insider. For some wealthy collectors, art can be a valuable investment as a recession looms. This art is increasingly on display not in buyers' homes — but on their megayachts. As real estate values dip and the stock market's direction remains uncertain, many of the ultra-wealthy are putting their money into luxury art. And increasingly, it's not being displayed in one of their homes, but on their multi-million-dollar megayachts. Demand for luxury art has been "insane" over the past decade as the tech, private equity, and hedge fund industries join the mix, art advisor and collector Elizabeth Margulies told Insider.  And as a recession looms, this art may do more than impress guests — it could provide some resiliency to the wealthy's investment portfolios. "Art lags equity markets by six to eighteen months, but is faster in its recovery," Magnus Resch, an art market economist and a professor of art economics at Yale University, told Insider. Resch points to the Great Recession, which saw financial markets fall in 2007 and not return to pre-crisis levels until 2013. In comparison, auction sales in the art market didn't see a sharp decline until 2009 and fully recovered by 2011. In today's challenging economic environment, the art market could provide the long-term returns one-percenters are looking for. From 2000 to 2018, blue-chip art — work from the most recognized artists that tends to carry the highest price tags — outperformed the S&P 500 by 180%, according to the art database Artprice.In the short term, Resch expects many sellers to delay selling their work until economic conditions improve, a dynamic that could reduce supply and help luxury art values "remain stable," he said. During the 2020 downturn for instance, many art collectors seeking liquidity didn't sell their art, but used it as collateral for loans. For most people, however, Resch says that art is generally a "bad investment, particularly in times of crisis," and it's not only because it's difficult to turn into cash in a pinch. Indexes that point to the art market's outperformance of the S&P 500 for instance, are a "poor representation" of the global art market, he says, as they only include data from works that have "sold repeatedly." "Considering that more than 99% of all artworks are never re-sold, these indexes only look at the creme de la creme," he said. While ultra-wealthy collectors might come out of an economic downturn unscathed with respect to their art investments, he says that artists, galleries, and art fairs — "almost everyone in the art market" — could be negatively impacted. That's partially because "one-time buyers," which Resch says is the largest demographic, would be more hesitant to purchase luxury art during tough financial times.The ultra-wealthy are turning their megayachts into "floating art galleries"The ultra-rich's art portfolios are being taken out to sea. Demand for yachts surged when the pandemic began, as they provided one-percenters the opportunity to escape lockdowns, see the world, and social distance. All this time spent on the water has made yachts "an extension of someone's brand, an extension of their home and somewhere where they want to showcase their collection," Margulies said. "Yachts are like floating art galleries and museums, and it's a reflection of someone's taste, someone's life, someone's wealth," she said, adding that yachts — not houses — are increasingly where the ultra-rich are entertaining guests. So it makes sense they'd want to show off their art there as well."They're spending more time, sometimes, on these yachts than they are in their homes," she adds. "And they want to be around their art."Marguiles says these megayachts have crews and amenities that can include spas, saunas, gyms, bars, basketball courts, pickleball courts, and helicopter pads. For the ultra-wealthy looking to one up each other, it can be the art that "sets one $100 million yacht apart from another."She points to Leonardo Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi, which became the most expensive painting sold in history when the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman paid $450 million for it in 2017. The painting was reportedly on display on the crown prince's 439-foot yacht until late 2020.Given that wealthy art collectors want to preserve their collections, one might question whether the sea is the best place to do so. But not only are many of these yachts temperature-controlled, they are generally so large, Marguiles says, "that the weather doesn't really affect the art as much as one would think."The new generation of wealth still demands luxury artWhile some new-age wealth has gravitated to non-physical assets like NFTs, many are still drawn to the traditional art world."They see other people who have a lot of money and they see that these people have substantial collections," said Marguiles, who happens to be the daughter of the world-renowned art collector Martin Marguiles. "So I think it's more like being part of the cool club."With these new buyers in the fold, the competition for luxury art is expected to remain particularly fierce. Many renowned artists are dead, the rising stars are still building their portfolios, and buyers sometimes stray from artists that produce too much, says Marguiles.These factors have produced an art market where there is limited supply, and as a result, prices have gone through the roof. Looking ahead, Marguiles says everyone in the art world is "trying to find the next Picasso." In the meantime, however, she expects the world's richest to continue shelling out on art, even as economic conditions remain uncertain.Resch agrees. "The handful of billionaires will still want to add what's missing in their collections and fight over the few available works," he said. "The super wealthy are always buying art," Marguiles said. "The highest level you can really get in wealth is spending $10 million on a painting."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 2nd, 2022

Sky-High Prices Create New Age Of Energy Awareness

Sky-High Prices Create New Age Of Energy Awareness Authored by Dan Doyle via, Following years of ‘Green Enlightenment, decision-makers are waking up to the fact that blindly following an ESG agenda has led to sky-high energy prices. Europe must not overlook domestic gas resources in its scramble to find new energy sources. The renewable energy rollout needs much more time than it is being given. An age of awareness looks to be upon us. Personal pronouns, the green movement, the swamp, ESG, DEI, CRT, LGBTQ, regressive therapy, equity, defund the PoPo, and now, perplexingly, oil and gas.   Let’s call it a New Energy Awareness or just Energy Awareness (“EA” if you go in for initialisms).  Consider it a natural progression, a fallout from the previous Age of Enlightened and Entitled Complaint (“EEC”)—a swinging of the pendulum from the farcical to factual. It’s like the new peak oil. But more cultural, less depletion. How could this be, that oil and gas should suddenly be gaining favor? It seems so unreal, so unexpected, as much so as an honest review of Jared Kushner’s new book.   But there it is, oil and gas are trending positively in the hearts and minds of German politicians. Natural gas is being met with whispered acceptance by green-minded bureaucrats. These are the same government types who spent the last decade shutting down coal-fired utilities and planting the green flag through the hearts of their nuclear plants.  There has become a reordering of priorities, possibly even an admission that the green energy revolution has gone too far, too fast, and that blind acceptance has outrun capacity.  What should have been a thoughtful rollout instead transcended probity to become religious fervor. But this, this is almost too much!  How is it that one bumps around in the dark, looking for the manual to restart a nuclear plant (Madam Angela, what were you thinking!?) Her successor, Chancellor Scholz, just proclaimed natural gas to be green (did he just say that part our loud?), Macron just called an end to energy abundance (Translation: “Will someone please call Schlumberger!) and EU President Ursula von der Leyen is in Azerbaijan making gas deals!  How could it be!?  Natural gas once so reviled, so filthy, so degenerate, so deplorable, now so…welcome…so green. Like any good come-back story, this one also begins with hatred. Start by looking no further than Joe Biden and his old DC crony John Kerry. Add to this dumb duo the third leg, the ex-KGB agent Vladimir.   Good God, Vladimir? Vladimir Putin? Anybody but Vlad! “He wants to be my neighbor!?”   Suddenly, as though a decade of warnings didn’t pre-exist, the Bundestag went nuts.  Apoplectic!   Now he’s shutting in Nord Stream 1, the same pipeline renewables were sure to make obsolete. But wasn’t this a favor, a boost to the new world order, to a climate activist’s way of thinking?  Fast-track the grand switch by punishing, then killing oil and gas.  Do that first—that’s right, first!—then build those windmills and solar farms fast, right? Use old tax receipts, create new tax receipts, add in debt issuances and damned be to anyone getting in the way of starving and freezing an entire continent.  Who’s got the time or, frankly, the patience to listen to those cloddy naysayers? Who’s got time for such drivel when there are all those parties, the chance celebrity encounters, the environmental awards, and the self-congratulatory speeches? Green enlightenment became all the rage, the ticket to the best parties, and the acceptance so elusively cruel in high school. Rich people getting to call each other smart! Just believe; if you don’t believe, just pretend or be banished! Canceled. Ridiculed. Take a mocking turn against us out in the mud, the fools pulling energy from the ground, or leave.  Be like us, or be zeroed.  Do as we say, not as we do, damnit!  Then, suddenly, this turn is upon us, this Energy Awareness.  One can almost hear the pleadings all the way out on the grounds of the manors, the county homes, the chateaus. “There’s no heat in this kitchen.”  “These crepes are cold!”  And most galling, “What the hell are we going to do with all these private jets?” Blame the Russians  They killed the party. The Biden Administration will be down with that, especially after lifting sanctions on Nord Stream 2, right after Trump sanctioned it. Or was that just a do the opposite kind of thing, a reversal of all things Trump? But damn it all! This %#&@* Energy Awareness thing! With winter coming the hot or cold, gas or no gas argument turns into the life-or-death argument.  Equally adept at speaking out of both sides of their mouths, the Europeans must make the choice.  Keep punishing oil and gas as the Biden administration does or eat out of Vlad’s oil-stained hands?  After all, Mother Russia is looking for Ukrainian capitulation as much as it is for Europeans. “High energy prices is the price to pay for freedom,” stated an overwhelmed Macron recently. Or, possibly, he was referring to the price of stupidity. He had ample time to warn of threats, to seek alternative sources, and build out a better, more secure LNG presence.  Maybe if he had only listened.  Merkel too. But the offer was turned down with her arch-nemesis out there (Trump, not Putin) telling her he’d gladly sell her American gas. With two Nord Streams, she’d be giving away twice the revenues needed to support Russia’s war. I guess this all just wasn’t apparent. Another requisite of Energy Awareness is full disclosure. Dirty laundry must be aired. Truths must be told, particularly that Europe has its gas reserves, and not just under the tired old North Sea fields.  They have shale, a lot of organically rich, gas-producing shale, right under their feet, right under the Champs D Elysée.  Also true and unfortunate for the masses is that they, like the Biden administration, prefer buying it from other nations. Germans can’t quit the Russians, and Biden loves the Saudis. It is true, though. The EIA reports that the EU is sitting on gargantuan reserves of natural gas. Estimates run as high as 13 trillion cubic meters. That’s a lotta gas. That’s generational gas. Poland, France, Romania, Denmark, the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Bulgaria would be the top producers. Outside of the EU, Ukraine has the Lubin and Donets Basins and enormous reserves. Some drilling has already been done, and some disappointments have been logged, but there were disappointments in George Mitchel’s pursuit of unconventional gas in the Barnett, too—until he figured it out and changed the world.   Fun Fact:  Mitchel did not win a Noble Peace Prize.  Obama did.  Nine months into his presidency. These European shales are thicker than most in the U.S., but most European countries except for Britain and Poland (to a very limited extent) have kept them off limits. Holding up their noses in prideful defiance, the French have outlawed fracking. High energy prices are the “price of freedom,” their leader has proclaimed.  Fun Fact:  California just advised its residents to stop charging their electric vehicles due to energy shortages.  This was shortly after telling its residents they are mandated to purchase electric vehicles.   Another Fun Fact:  California’s Governor may be running for President. All those elites are willing to export the jobs needed to produce energy, just like the Biden Administration and the anti-U.S. pipeline lobby.  But production continues elsewhere, mostly unabated.  It is then shipped to the States in tankers burning bunker fuel. Fun Fact:  The global shipping industry comprises approximately 60,000 ships.  Collectively it is responsible for 3% of all carbon emissions and 8% of all global sulfur dioxide emissions.   Today, eight billion people live on Planet Earth. In 1960, three billion people lived here. That’s five billion more people in 62 years. Homo sapiens, the current iteration of man, evolved 250,000 years ago from Homo erectus. 12,000 years ago, Homo sapiens began to grow their food and change their surroundings to protect themselves from a harsh environment. Early human colonies were sparse until they spread across continents and eventually island chains. Then the ball started rolling, and by the end of the century, the UN predicts that the earth’s population will be eleven billion. That’s eight billion more souls over a span of 140 years since 1960.  That’s staggering.  So, pardon me for asking, but are we really going to do this without fossil fuels? And no nuclear besides—according to the most hardened Energy Deniers? That leaves just wind and solar unless we do something with the all-elusive fusion, but because we hate fission, will we also not hate fusion?   What about renewables’ other dark corners, the unreportable stuff?  No, I’m not talking about battery production and disposal waste stream. Nor am I talking about acid rain from nickel smelting or further indebting ourselves to the Chinese who are front-running us on mineral acquisitions and solar panel production. I’m talking about land consumption. Wind and solar need large plots of land. They do not play well with others like oil and gas. With oil and gas, crops are grown right up against oil wells.  Corn and soybeans grow right into the pully assemblies on pumpjacks. Small fences around an oil well’s perimeter keep the livestock out. But otherwise, the well coexists with plant, animal and man. Surely our green friends understand renewables are displacing farm and ranch land.  Isn’t that the same land needed to feed our enormous and growing population?  Is that why Bill Gates is buying up farmland?  Because he likes farming?  Or maybe it’s part of his utopian/dystopian dream?  Something discussed in Seattle coffee shops? Fun Fact:  By 2040, the IEA predicts that global citizens will require 104 million barrels of oil per day and 5.22 TCM/day.  That’s a 4% increase in oil consumption between then and now, and a 27% increase in gas.   To me, this sounds like the bulwarks of the green revolution, our own Washington-based EIA and France’s IEA, are both stating that we will need more oil and gas and not less—not openly, never openly—say the truth out loud and they’ll through you off the cocktail party circuit.  But it’s in their numbers.  So are wind, solar, hydro and nuclear outputs. All are in the numbers and we still need more oil and gas 20 years out. So why is it that if I can read that, our activist journalists cannot?  Maybe because it feels lacking that by 2040 we will be burning more hydrocarbons, not less. Fun fact:  Because of inefficiencies and energy conversion, solar panels radiate heat. Typically, they run about 35 degrees hotter than the surrounding ambient temperature.   Every year since 1952, British Petroleum has published its BP Statistical Review of World Energy. 2022’s report shows oil, gas and coal at 82% of global energy consumption. Wind and solar are at 6.7%, hydroelectric is at 6.8% and nuclear is 4.3%. The best year-over-year growth rates come from wind and solar, but now the bottlenecks come. Already in short supply are cobalt, nickel and lithium, all core components of batteries. Lithium has seen a 10x price increase since 2020. Nickel is up 2x over the past two years and cobalt is up 6.5x. All require extraction, just like oil and gas. All of it is messy and polluting (acid rain and gargantuan water usage), and a good amount of it is either in unfriendly countries or controlled by our friends, the Chinese. This is all welcome news if you are a miner, particularly a strip miner. If you are not, buy Caterpillar stock (NYSE: CAT) because whole mountains must be moved, lakes bled dry and towns evacuated. But damnit! This is progress. Build those smoke stacks tall, 120 stories tall, as they did with the Superstacks up in Sudbury, Canada.  When smelting ores created acid rain, forests were denuded, and lakes were poisoned, we came up with a catchy phrase: “the solution to pollution is dilution.”  Spread the smelt across North America instead of just over little Sudbury. Poison everyone just a little at a time instead of just a few all of the time. This is just like global thinking—the smelters in the Canadian Shield Province were among our first Globalists! Maybe I’m just a pacifist, but I’m not altogether convinced why those plucky greens want to pick a fight with my industry, not after all of this. The math is crystal clear and it’s not even my math. It seems to me that climate activists are substituting one extraction industry for another, making all these not-so-green outcomes too big to hide behind.   Today’s energy shortages are not happening because the wind has stopped blowing, the sun stopped shining, oil and gas wells are no longer pumping, or fission is no longer fizzing. Stupidity, ideology, and a lack of preparedness did this. And all of it came from our elected leaders and the loudest of the loudmouths screaming for a new world order that is just as debased as it is new.   This is a political crisis, not an energy crisis.  It’s the result of a dismally low quotient for energy awareness. It’s years of poor energy policy. It’s our leaders shutting down pipelines, stranding assets, banning fracking, squeezing federal lands leasing to a fraction of previous administrations, not developing our own resources, blocking offshore wind installations, buying energy from politically unstable countries and making new nuclear reactors onerous to impossible to build. Fun Fact:  The U.S. has two reactors under construction, France one, Germany zero, India eight and China fifteen. Instead of sorting through our personal pronouns, microaggressions, and cultural misappropriations, rather than spending so much time and capital on hatred and opposition, why don’t we just get to work?  Us.  The little people.  Don’t look to politicians to solve this energy problem, as they are not serious. Let’s start with a simple, beyond-debate fact. All energy sources are problematic. Period. There is no Holy Grail. Oil saved the whales from extinction and kept mankind from deforesting and torching the earth. But oil and gas pollute.  Extracting materials needed for renewables scars the earth. It robs us of water resources. Ores needed for batteries and fission require mining. They are dirty when processed and a headache to dispose of. They also come from politically unstable countries To think that heat and light come without harm is foolishness. They cannot. Not yet, anyway. Maybe never.   Moving onto another undebatable fact is that false prophets relentlessly pushing the green narrative at all costs are driving up the cost of energy. Because of this, they will fail. Too much too fast and people will recoil as we are now seeing in Europe. Yesterday’s unthinkable, coal and nuclear, are today’s acceptable. Politically and legally fabricating an energy shortage is wrong. People will push back. They will make other choices, and elect other leaders, ones with foresight. This rush to greenify will only hamstring renewables.   The rollout needs much more time than it is being given.  Too much, too quick with too many cold nights and dark days will only bury the progress needed to achieve a functioning rather than dysfunctional all-of-the-above outcome.  Yes, this simple-minded oilman knows that all forms of energy are essential, just like any other driller or fracer would feel if anyone cared to ask us.   Energy Awareness acknowledges that there is only one truly green activity. That is conservation.  Starvation and freezing to death or driving gas prices so high as to be unaffordable are not conservation.  Conservation is awareness. It is unregulated, unmandated freedom of choice to give up what you can. It is completely devoid of the government and the activists. It is just as simple as filling your tires with air (I got that from Obama), buying a smart thermostat, and learning at what RPMs your boat or car or private jet runs at its most efficient. It is self-empowerment that is good for the planet. It is not self-aggrandizing, phonies. It is not the do as I say, not as I do big shots. It is not pontificating, holier than thou know-it-alls. Stop the alarmism. Stop punishing oil and gas. Fight against the bans on fracking because it is safe.  Ignore the anti-frac crowd. They’ve done nothing to clean our air like natural gas has—ask the EPA if you don’t believe me.  top the bullies who are stopping natural gas in New York. If we could get more of it out of the Marcellus we could get more of the Northeast off the heavy, highly polluting oil they’re still burning in their boiler rooms.  Discover the facts in the numbers and not in the nuance. Focus on building solar in areas where solar works best. Stop the bullies who are stopping offshore wind. Build LNG terminals in Europe and drill and frack European shales while we continue to build out our renewable footprint. Build more reactors, even smaller traveling wave reactors like Bill Gates’ TerraPower is attempting. Don’t replace oil and gas until oil and gas are factually replaceable. Its use isn’t clean like renewables, but you’re on the wrong side of the argument if you believe that mankind can do without the carbon atom.   Will the world see it? Will enough of the left understand that moderation is the way to go?  Will they finally wake up to see the damage activists have done to their cause? Probably not. But this time—for the sake of our Ukrainian and European friends—maybe, just maybe. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/12/2022 - 13:45.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 12th, 2022

4 Water Utility Stocks to Watch in a Prospering Industry

Water Utility companies like AWK, WTRG, SJW and YORW are poised to benefit from stable demand for water and wastewater services across the United States. Their systematic investments will enable them to serve customers efficiently. Water utilities work day in and day out to ensure an uninterrupted supply of clean potable water and reliable sewer services to millions of customers in the United States, which are essential for healthy and hygienic living.The aging of pipelines is concerning, but water utilities continue with their upgrade and maintenance projects to minimize disruptions in operations. American Water Works Company AWK, with its widespread operations, systematic capital expenditure, and organic and inorganic initiatives to further expand operations, offers an excellent opportunity to stay invested in the water utility space. Other utilities worth retaining in one's portfolio are Essential Utilities WTRG, SJW Group SJW and The York Water Company YORW.About the IndustryThe Zacks Utility - Water Supply industry includes companies providing drinking water and wastewater services to industrial, commercial, residential customer classes and numerous military bases across the country. Water utility operators own more than two million miles of pipelines gradually getting old. Utilities continuously replace old pipelines and add new ones to expand operations. Utility operators own storage tanks, treatment plants and desalination plants to supply uninterrupted potable water across customer classes. Despite the ample presence of water across the globe, less than 1% of the total water volume is fit for human use.  Given the scenario, the water utilities, apart from ensuring proper infrastructure to supply water, utilize technology to treat saline water and make it fit for consumption.3 Trends Pivotal for Shaping the Water Supply Industry's FutureAging Infrastructure Needs Huge Investments: The water and wastewater infrastructure is aging and is gradually nearing the end of its effective service life. Per the findings of the American Society of Civil Engineers (“ASCE”), water main breaks occur every two minutes in the United States due to the aging of the existing water infrastructure. The ASCE has provided a C-grade to the overall U.S. water and wastewater infrastructure. Per U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), an estimated $744-billion investment is necessary to maintain, and expand the drinking water and wastewater service to meet the demand over the next 20 years.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided $50 billion to EPA to strengthen the drinking water and wastewater systems of the United States. A major portion of the investment will be directed to upgrading water infrastructure serving disadvantaged communities.Efficient Use is Saving Precious Water: An interesting trend in the water industry is reducing per-capita water usage. The reasons behind the drop are the use of water-efficient techniques, raising awareness among customers by the water utilities, the use of advanced water-efficient appliances and actions taken to fix pipeline leaks. Lower use per person allows water utilities to meet the need of an expanding customer base without increasing capacity to a great extent.  In a way, efficient usage and a reduction in wastage allow water utilities to keep their service rates unchanged for a longer period for consumers and assist water utility operators in increasing their earnings by serving a larger population with the same water supply capacity.Fragmented Water Industry Needs Consolidation:  Since the U.S. water utility industry is highly fragmented, upgrading aging assets to provide quality services is the need of the hour. Per EPA, at present, more than 51,000 community water systems and 16,000 community wastewater systems in the United States are providing water solutions to customers. Per the ASCE finding, due to the delay in essential pipeline repairs and maintenance, 2.1 trillion gallons of treated water is lost every year in the United States. The highly fragmented industry creates operational challenges in meeting the requirement for replacement, and adding to aging water and wastewater infrastructure. Large water utility companies continue to acquire small companies to ensure the extension of high-quality services to customers and the investment required to upgrade old acquired assets. Water conservation and initiatives taken by large water operators in educating their consumers on efficient use and appliances to detect leakage should help to prevent wastage.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe Zacks Utility Water Supply industry is a 12-stock group within the broader Zacks Utilities sector. The industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #84, which places it in the top 33% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates strong near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of a positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are optimistic about this group’s earnings growth potential. The Water Utility industry’s 2022 earnings estimates have improved 0.5% since June 2022 to $2.15.Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock market performance and valuation. Industry Lags Sector but Outperforms S&P 500The Zacks Utility Water Supply industry has lagged its sector but outperformed the Zacks S&P 500 composite over the past 12 months. The industry has lost 10.6% compared with the Zacks S&P 500 Composite’s decline of 14.7%. The Utility sector has rallied 3.6% in the said time frame.One Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of the trailing 12-month enterprise value to EBITDA (EV/EBITDA), which is a commonly used multiple for valuing water utility stocks, the industry is currently trading at 20.05X compared with the S&P 500’s 12.09X. It is trading above the sector’s trailing 12-month EV/EBITDA of 18.62X.Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 23.26X, as low as 9.96X and at the median of 12.63X.Water Supply Industry vs S&P 500 (Past 5 yrs)Water Supply Industry vs Utility Sector (Past 5 yrs) 4 Water Utility Industry Stocks to Keep an Eye OnAmerican Water Works Company: Camden, NJ-based American Water, along with its subsidiaries, provides water and wastewater services to millions of Americans. The company continues to expand operations through acquisitions and organic means. American Water Works plans to invest $13-$14 billion in the 2022-2026 period and $28-$32 billion in 2022-2031. AWK is also active in making acquisitions and benefits by expanding operations in the United States through the inorganic route.Over the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings has been unchanged. The long-term (three to five years) earnings growth of the company is currently pegged at 8.08%. The company reported an average surprise of 5.19% in the last four quarters. American Water currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Price and Consensus: AWKEssential Utilities: The Bryn Mawr, PA-based company, along with its subsidiaries, provides water, wastewater and natural gas services to customers.  WTRG has a well-spread water infrastructure to deliver quality services to its expanding customer base. Essential Utilities has diversified operations through the acquisition of Peoples Gas, a natural gas distribution utility. WTRG’s long-term plan is to invest $3 billion through 2023 to rehabilitate and strengthen water and natural gas pipeline systems.Over the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings has been unchanged. The long-term (three to five years) earnings growth of the company is currently pegged at 6.14%. The current dividend yield of the company is 2.34%. Essential Utilities currently has a Zacks Rank #3.Price and Consensus: WTRG SJW Group: The San Jose, CA-based company, along with its subsidiaries, provides water services to customers in the United States. SJW Group makes consistent investments to upgrade and maintain its existing infrastructure and plans to invest $1.3 billion to upgrade its infrastructure, subject to regulatory approvals. The company makes strategic acquisitions to further expand its operation across the United States.Over the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 earnings has moved up by 0.4%. SJW Group’s current dividend yield is 2.25%. SJW currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Price and Consensus: SJWThe York Water Company: The York, PA-based company provides drinking water and wastewater services. The company is investing systematically to upgrade infrastructure and provide quality services to its customers.Over the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 and 2023 earnings has moved up 3% and 0.7%, respectively. The company reported an earnings surprise of 2.23% in the last four quarters. The current dividend yield of the company is 1.79%. York Water currently has a Zacks Rank #2.Price and Consensus: YORW   5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>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 American Water Works Company, Inc. (AWK): Free Stock Analysis Report The York Water Company (YORW): Free Stock Analysis Report SJW Group (SJW): Free Stock Analysis Report Essential Utilities Inc. (WTRG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 6th, 2022

Deglobalization Is Inflationary

Deglobalization Is Inflationary Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, Price cutting is being replaced with price gouging, a substitution that consumers recognize as inflation... Globalization was deflationary, Deglobalization is inflationary. The entire point of globalization is to 1) lower costs as a means of maximizing profits and 2) find markets for surplus domestic production. Both serve to export deflation as offshoring production keeps prices stable (and profits high) and dumping surplus production in high-cost developed-nations suppresses their domestic producers' pricing power. Deglobalization is inflationary because reshoring production increases costs. Securing production from the threats of geopolitical blackmail, civil/economic disorder in the producing nations or broken supply chains requires moving essential supply chains back to the security of the domestic economy. This move costs money, and production costs are higher in developed economies for all the reasons that drove corporations to move production overseas: labor costs, healthcare, environmental compliance, social benefits and taxes are higher. Now that resources have been depleted in many producer countries, the costs of producing essential materials is rising. China, a major exporter of rare earth minerals essential to the renewable energy sector, is now exploiting neighbor Myanmar's resources: Myanmar's poisoned mountains. As developing-world nations prospered from manufacturing exports, their workforces have demanded higher pay and improved financial security. Poisoning the water, soil and air is highly profitable but the public pays the price, and eventually the public demands some environmental limits on the toxic dumping of globalization. The warm and fuzzy narrative of how wonderful globalization was for everyone was always bogus. As I explained back in 2009, importing deflation to the developed world and maximizing profits by turning the developing world into a toxic waste dump was neoliberal capitalism's "fix" for stagnation: Globalization and China: Neoliberal Capitalism's Last "Fix" (June 29, 2009). Globalization enabled mobile capital to swoop in, buy up local assets, create new markets for credit and imported goodies and then sell at the top before all the external costs of globalization came due and the credit bubble burst. Now that the global credit bubble is bursting, the mobile capital exploitation party is over. Now the game is to exit Periphery nations and move the winnings of globalization to the Core for safekeeping. Globalization lowered costs at the expense of quality, another "win" for Neoliberal Capitalism as planned obsolescence is now the implicit backdrop of globalization: poor quality goods soon fail, requiring the hapless consumer herd to buy a replacement. Since developed-world consumers already have everything (rent a larger storage unit for all your stuff), the only way to goose demand is to crapify everything so replacing low-quality goods with new low-quality goods keeps production lines and profits humming. This works great until supply chains break down and consumers run out of discretionary income. Globalization only works if every part works perfectly, as redundancy and buffers (inventory, multiple suppliers, etc.) have been stripped to maximize cost-cutting and profits. Now globalized perfection is breaking down and costs rise. Price cutting is being replaced with price gouging, a substitution that consumers recognize as inflation. Deglobalization is not a quick or painless process. The ride down will be bumpy and cost increases have many sources. Profits will become harder to come by and scarcities will knock down global rows of dominoes in unexpected ways. External costs that piled up for the past 30 years have come due and must be paid. Inflation isn't transitory or within the control of central banks. The forces at work are far beyond the reach of central bankers. Cost of credit matters, but so does the real world. *  *  * My new book is now available at a 10% discount this month: When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via Tyler Durden Tue, 08/16/2022 - 10:35.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 16th, 2022

Ivana Trump"s Money Lessons for Older Americans

Ivana Trump's Money Lessons for Older Americans Authored by Richard Rosso via, Ivana Trump, the first wife of Donald Trump, was recently found dead in her Manhattan residence. She was 73. Known throughout her life as a dynamo socialite and dealmaker in heels, her death from a blunt trauma from a fall down the stairs in her multi-story townhome, was a shock to residents who perceived her as vibrant and full of life. So, her passing got me thinking about Ivana Trump’s money lessons for older Americans. Listen, it’s tough to age, but don’t let the process get you down. It’s too hard to get back up! Get it? Seriously, a great challenge is an acceptance of growing older. Aging can be a tough pill to swallow. Especially for those who are known for the travails of their younger days. I have friends who explain as they age, they ‘disappear.’ I hate to hear this. Personally, I’m living my best self and wouldn’t change a thing. However, Ageism is a real societal challenge. Based on numerous surveys, white papers, and reports from health organizations, those who are 60 and older are subject to negative stereotyping and discrimination in the workplace. Also, to younger generations, they do disappear in a manner of speaking. But I have news for you. I think that’s about to change for you ‘seasoned’ folks. During the pandemic, the Labor Force Participation Rate collapsed and has yet to recover. For those who need a reminder, the LFPR represents the people age 16 and older employed or seeking employment. Older Americans decided to accelerate retirement. Younger cohorts decided to go out on their own or sit back – satiated by government stimulus. I think many older Americans will seek to unravel their retirement decision and return to the workforce. Also, I believe they’ll be welcomed with open arms by employers eager for a generation that is timely, responsible, and willing to work! Let’s kick Ageism where it hurts. Right in the work ethic! One money lesson I’ve learned from Ivana Trump about older Americans is that the entire world is wrinkling. According to Peter Zeihan in his latest book – The End of The World is just the Beginning, population, and spending shrinkages are realities the entire globe must embrace. Demographics outline that mass-consumption-driven economies have already peaked. By 2030, the world will be populated with twice as many retirees. Therefore, we all better internalize the fact that we’re getting older and financially and emotionally prepare accordingly. Long-term, poor demographics are deflationary. In my opinion, Ivana Trump refused to accept aging. Thus, I consider Ivana Trump’s money lessons for older Americans applicable to all of us.  Regardless of her immense wealth, she must have encountered anguish when it comes to getting older. Sure having money doesn’t hurt. Suffering in luxury isn’t bad. However, aging doesn’t care about a net worth statement. Denial of aging is real and one of Ivana Trump’s best money lessons for older Americans. Who needs comprehensive studies to understand that denial of getting older is a reality? I see it in myself as I dramatically changed my diet and amped up my physical workouts years ago to fight or slow the inevitable. Frankly, my graying hairline stresses me out.  I engage with people regularly who aren’t ready to deal with how someday they may move slower, forget things often and work through periodic illness or injury. Older clients and their adult children have a tough time facing that mom and dad are grayer, smaller, and frailer than they used to be. Per a July 2022 analysis from the Center for Retirement Research, older Americans and retirees poorly assess the risks they face in retirement. Health and longevity risks (the risk of living longer than expected and exhausting financial resources) are underestimated. Per the study: Perceived longevity risk and health risk rank lower because retirees are pessimistic about their survival probabilities and often underestimate their health costs in late life. I cannot tell you how many clients inform me how sure they are about dying early. How do they know? So, I always ask the following question – “What if you don’t?” Ivana Trump’s friends were concerned about her home’s beautiful but dangerous staircase. They were worried about her falling. She had an elevator and rarely used it. The stairs at her home were steep, the carpet was worn. Although she had trouble walking, she regularly took the stairs. She had the money to remove or replace the carpet; the elevator would have been perfect, but she rarely used it. Why? In her halcyon days, Ivana was New York royalty. Young, vibrant. She could accomplish anything. How can someone like that stare into the mirror and face vincibility? How can you? Can I? Acceptance is the first step to a rich life as we age, to feel comfortable in different but richer skins. That acceptance opens the door to preparation – eating right, exercising regularly, and preparing for the risks of aging through comprehensive planning and open communication with family and friends. If I deny aging, then I’ll force everyone around me to deny it too. Or, at the least, family members and friends will discuss issues concerning me behind my back. Who wants that? Older Americans must be open to listening. This leads to my next financial lesson for older Americans from Ivana Trump. Communication. Another one of the money lessons Ivana Trump has for older Americans. I wonder how many times Ivana was advised (perhaps delicately) by Ivanka and the other kids to update her place for aging, move to a one-story, or take the damn elevator. Whatever it is, would Ivana listen or just carry on like it was the 1980s? In her mind, it may have been decades ago, but her aging body lived in the here and now. There’s a nuance and empathy to communicating with older loved ones. Remember, they were young like you once. Listen to your special older Americans. Never be condescending. A good idea may be to bring in an objective third party such as your financial advisor to assist with the discussions. I’ve witnessed adult children infantilize their parents, and that never works. Imagine approaching Ivana with that tone! Not good! Remember, even mild cognitive impairment can drive a communication wedge between you, and your aging loved one. However, don’t give up sparking conversation. I work with clients who consistently need to nuance their speech with their parents. They get their points across eventually. Impaired older relatives eventually take action, but the process is like chipping away at an iceberg with a butter knife. Don’t give up! Genworth, a leader in long-term care insurance and research, maintains an impactful Conversation Starters page with helpful tips about what to talk about and how to maintain a dialogue. Check it out.   Use your financial plan to motivate others. How can you discuss long-term care issues with loved ones if you’re personally in denial about aging? A risk mitigation plan as part of a comprehensive financial strategy validates your commitment to preparation. Actions forge your conversations with credibility. According to AARP’s most recent Home and Community Preference Survey, 77% of adults 50 and older want to remain in their homes or age in place. The number has been consistent for over a decade. Aging in place requires planning – whether it’s to eventually downsize to a one-story home, renovate kitchen and baths or install easy access ramps for items of mobility such as wheelchairs. It would be worth practicing financial openness and sharing this information with aging parents. In other words, if you’re preparing for these expenses, they should be too. Don’t forget long-term care insurance as one of Ivana Trump’s money lessons for older Americans. Ivana didn’t need long-term care insurance. You probably need to consider it. Unfortunately, nearly half of individuals who apply for traditional long-term care insurance after age 70 have their applications declined by an insurer, according to Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. However, loved ones in good health in their 50s and 60s can still consider long-term care insurance. The sweet spot for looking into long-term care coverage is generally between ages 55 and 65, per Jesse Slome. Three out of every five financial plans I create reflect deficiencies in meeting long-term care expenses. Medical insurance like Medicare does not cover long-term care expenses – a common misperception. Nearly 60% of people surveyed in various studies falsely believe that Medicare covers long-term care expenses. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey has been tracking long-term care costs across 440 regions across the United States since 2004. Genworth’s results assume an annual 3% inflation rate. In today’s dollars, a home-health aide who assists with cleaning, cooking, and other responsibilities for those who seek to age in place or require temporary assistance with daily living activities can cost over $54,912 a year in the Houston area. We use a 4.25-4.5% inflation rate for financial planning purposes to reflect recent median annual costs for assisted living and nursing home care. Candidly, I fear that I’ll need to increase this inflation rate in 2023. As I examine long-term care policies issued recently vs. those 10 years or later, it’s glaringly obvious that coverage isn’t as comprehensive, and costs are more prohibitive. One option is to consider a reverse mortgage, specifically a home equity conversion mortgage. The horror stories about these products are overblown. The most astute planners and academics understand how incorporating the equity from a primary residence in a retirement income strategy can help with the burden of long-term care costs. Those who talk down these products are speaking out of lack of knowledge and falling easily for pervasive false narratives. Reverse mortgages have several layers of costs (nothing like they were in the past), and it pays for consumers to shop around for the best deals. Also, to qualify for a reverse mortgage, the homeowner must be 62, the home must be a primary residence, and the debt limited to mortgage debt. There are several ways to receive payouts. One of the smartest strategies is to establish a reverse mortgage line of credit at age 62, leave it untapped, and allow it to grow along with the home’s value.  The line may be tapped for long-term care expenses if needed or to mitigate the sequence of poor return risk in portfolios. Simply, in years where portfolios are down, the reverse mortgage line is used for income while portfolios recover. Once assets recover, rebalancing proceeds or gains may be used to repay the reverse mortgage loan, restoring the line of credit. RIA’s approach to helping older Americans age comfortably in place. Our planning software allows our team to consider a reverse mortgage in the analysis. Those plans have a high probability of success. We explain that income is as necessary as water regarding retirement. For many retirees, converting the glacier of a home into the water of income using a reverse mortgage will be required for retirement survival and especially long-term care expenses. Ivana Trump’s money lessons for older Americans are lessons for us all, regardless of age. Planning to age gracefully and healthfully will lead to a prosperous retirement attitude. As George Burns said: You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old. The longer I live, the more I realize how true that quote is. Tyler Durden Thu, 08/11/2022 - 09:17.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 11th, 2022

Democratic Party Playbook Exposed: The Cloward-Piven Strategy

Democratic Party Playbook Exposed: The Cloward-Piven Strategy Via, Cloward and Piven is the Playbook of the Democrat Party. It is the second part of this two-pronged approach: When you don’t have logic or reason on your side, use power. If you don’t have enough power, flood the system to acquire more. Cloward and Piven Flooding the system was the Cloward and Piven strategy to bring down this country. Create real or phony problems that “require” government actions that begin the process of shifting freedoms from individuals to the State. (For a more layman’s insight, see here.) Rahm Emmanuel, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, said that “no good crisis should ever go to waste.” That implied an opening for more government, a Cloward and Piven (CP) opportunity. (To visualize one asserted implementation of this, involving Acorn, see here.) The strategy is not a Democrat monopoly. Republicans use it also, although do not brag about it or depend upon it almost exclusively. The process is like rust eroding liberty, slowly and steadily. It replaces freedom with dependency and controls. There are two problems with the strategy: It must be slow and steady (boil the frog beginning with unheated water, slowly increasing the temperature [a wonderful metaphor but physically erroneous] so that the frog doesn’t notice until it is too late). It must be stealth, that is citizen “frogs” must not realize what is happening. The CP strategy was developed in and for a world very different from today. The Internet changed this world. Conventional media was all that needed to be controlled in the CP world. By controlling this source, government created its own “Pravda.” Controlling the  media was possible because it was owned by corporations. It consisted of known and immovable assets, which are easy targets for government. The message was simple: Obey or we will put you out of business!  Legal action against government is a “fool’s errand.” They own the courts and have unlimited funds to fight. If threatened, you will comply or they will bankrupt you! Tax issues and anti-trust cases are the bludgeoning weapons of choice. Fighting charges, regardless of how false, is akin to a minor suing his parents. That is why media, other companies and wealthy individuals generally settle government claims for enormous sums of money, but without the admission of guilt. There is no better job than that of blackmailer when you are also the sheriff or the Department of  Justice! Why are Things Different Then came the internet! While it didn’t stop extortion of corporations, it exposed the media as “captured” propagandists. Bloggers began telling different “truths.” The first reaction was to shut them down. Unfortunately for government, this group is so diverse geographically and otherwise, that traditional threats of “putting you out of business” were meaningless. Asset confiscation threats are meaningless when there are no physical assets. To be a blogger only requires electricity and the internet (and perhaps some intellectual capital to enhance success). The only way to shut these sources down is to control the Internet and its content. The first was impossible. The second was tried. Unfortunately for government, silencing free speech is frowned upon in free countries, especially those where Free Speech is the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Definitions of speech that didn’t qualify for protection were tried (“hate speech,” “lies,” “dangerous rhetoric,” “racism,” “inciting danger,” etc.) in an effort to obviate the First Amendment. Threats of imprisonment were tried, but the First Amendment was too broad and too sacred for these efforts to succeed. Government then went after the platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). It was the same corrupt strategy employed against traditional media — You impose our “bans” (censorship) or we will put you out of business! But, “muscling” these corporate platforms only caused new competitors to sprout. Most were smaller and not asset-heavy. Suppressed views and voices began to move to these venues where free speech was allowed. Censorship works, but only where government can exert leverage via harm. It was easy to cow Facebook and Twitter. Ditto for established institutions like public schools, colleges and corporations. These entities had to decide whether they wanted the hassle and threats of being “un-woke.” Most submitted, presumably determining that losing some customers would be less costly than getting into a legal or other battle with Leviathan. Some probably thought this “new inclusiveness” would gain them additional customers. The Wrong War Generals are always prepared to fight the next war in the same manner they fought the last one. They are rarely prepared to fight the next one if it requires different strategies and tactics. So it appears to be here! Government believed prior tactics and strategies would suffice. The prior war was against traditional media with fixed positions and assets. The Internet changed “warfare.” It created media guerrilla war! This new enemy moves quickly and has no assets to threaten or destroy. Take away a bloggers website address and he easily gets a new one. Government wins against corporate internet players but loses against the “guerrillas.” Vietnam and Afghanistan showed US military weaknesses in non-conventional wars. Traditional bloggers or start-up sharing sites are guerrillas. Conventional war strategies do not win guerrilla battles! Arguably the demented Joe Biden and his Obama staff are to thank for ultimately saving this country. Someone inside that Administration realized the “slow boil” strategy was not convincing the American public fast enough and had to be sped up. They put Cloward and Piven into overdrive! Time was likely not on their side, but escalating the war was a fatal mistake! Marty Bent summarized it nicely: They tried to do too much too quickly and people have started to develop pattern recognition on the go that allows them to recognize when the unproductive class is attempting to manipulate their minds.  This pattern recognition is accelerated and enhanced by our ability to communicate directly with each other in real time over the internet. Instant communications were not possible when Cloward and Piven designed their strategy. Nor was there a means to present an opposing view. That all changed with the Internet. Now you see why governments around the world want to control the Internet. They can’t and they must not be allowed to change that! For all its negatives, the Internet has at least one positive — it obsoleted traditional and controllable sources of information. The fragmentation of the internet makes it impossible to control (unless you wish to go full Communist Korea or China). This country is not ready for that step, at least not yet. Thank God for the private sector, technology and the Internet. Together they voided the Cloward and Piven strategy, censorship and a complete government take-over of society. So long as the Internet exists in its present form (warts and all), freedom cannot be extinguished. Big guns do not silence big truths! Only big censorship can do that and we must not allow that to happen! Tyler Durden Wed, 08/10/2022 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 11th, 2022