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Baltimore Business Journal captures two "Best of Show" awards in MDDC Press Association contest

The Baltimore Business Journal's series on the city's "Digital Divide," which highlighted the inequities of home internet access during the pandemic, won a first place award in the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association Trust in News Contest, one of 22 awards the newspaper captured overall in the annual competition. The BBJ also picked up two Best of Shows — an award that spans across all divisions — for news page design and business advertising. The BBJ and news outlets across the region….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 13th, 2022

Transcript: Boaz Weinstein

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Boaz Weinstein, Saba Capital, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast,… Read More The post Transcript: Boaz Weinstein appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Boaz Weinstein, Saba Capital, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Boaz Weinstein is the founder of Saba Capital, a $5 billion hedge fund that specializes in some really interesting types of trading, credit default swaps, tail protection, volatility trading. Saba is one of the five largest investors globally in SPACs, but not in the way you think. They’ve done really well with it despite all of the troubles that SPACs have seen. Previously, he was co-head of Global Credit Trading at Deutsche Bank. And ultimately, he and Deutsche just spun out Saba, along with his whole team, as a standalone fund. Man, I don’t even know where to begin. This was just an absolutely fascinating conversation. Not only is he a quant with some real insight into capital market structures and valuation and mispricing, but he has put together an amazing track record on not just in terms of his trading, but his consistent ability to find parts of the markets that are completely mispriced because people fundamentally misunderstand what’s going on there. Really just a fascinating guy, an amazing conversation. With no further ado, my conversation with Boaz Weinstein of Saba Capital. WEINSTEIN: Hi, Barry. It’s great to be here. RITHOLTZ: And am I pronouncing your first name correctly, Boaz? WEINSTEIN: It depends where you’re from. In these parts, that would work. And it’s really a typical Israeli name, and it would be Boaz. RITHOLTZ: Boaz. All right. So — so let’s start with your background, beginning with you started to play chess when you were 5 and eventually became pretty highly ranked. How did you get into chess, and how long did it take to become a ranked player here in the U.S.? WEINSTEIN: Sure. So I had those parents that would drive us on weekends. My — I have a sister who actually has been — been on Bloomberg many times, Ilana. But we — my parents would take us to Saturday morning workshops to learn about model rocketry or chess, or what have you. But I didn’t actually play in tournaments till I was 13. I got to junior high school and I was interested in the game. And there was a kid a year above me and I saw that he was ranked in the Top 50 in the United States, and I thought, “That’s amazing. How do I — how do I get there?” RITHOLTZ: And so how long did it take you from when you started playing in tournaments to becoming ranked? WEINSTEIN: So I — I became really obsessed with it. And so in three years, I went from a beginner to number 2 in the country for age 15, 16. RITHOLTZ: Wow. That’s pretty — pretty impressive. And that’s thousands and thousands of hours. WEINSTEIN: Yeah, at least. RITHOLTZ: And — and so from chess, you moved to poker and blackjack, which seems more of a fit with — with finance. What led you from poker and blackjack to credit and derivatives? WEINSTEIN: I knew I wanted to be on Wall Street well before I knew how to play poker. In fact, I didn’t really learn poker until I was in my mid 20s. Blackjack I learned a bit earlier, maybe we’ll get there. But Wall Street was always something I was interested in. I — my parents would listen to — watch Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser. I can tell you the postcode for Owings Mills, Maryland. It’s 21117 because that’s — they would always do that right in the middle of the show. And so I was able to parlay that interest into getting an after-school job when I was a high school student in New York City, at Merrill Lynch, and then summer internships at Goldman Sachs, which were really among the most fun times in my career on Wall Street. RITHOLTZ: We’ll — we’ll talk a little bit about Goldman in a bit. You mentioned blackjack, I understand you got pretty good at blackjack, eventually getting kicked out of the Bellagio as a card counter. WEINSTEIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about that. WEINSTEIN: So it’s — they’re very polite. It’s — you know, kicked out is more of the 1960s. But you know, Ed Thorp is a — is a hero. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEINSTEIN: And — RITHOLTZ: Beats the dealer. WEINSTEIN: And “A Man for All Markets” also is, I think, a fantastic book. And so I learned how to count cards when I was a summer intern on the risk arb desk at Goldman from the partner in charge Frank Brosen, (Amos Marrone), some of these legendary hedge fund managers. And — and I got pretty good at it. And — and I went — I was sent over to London when I graduated college, with Merrill Lynch. And I found that the games in London had a weakness that the games in the U.S. didn’t. They had a certain side bet that was very crackable, and I had to kind of figure it out. There was no Internet, you know, to look up everything back then. And I became quite a skilled card counter. RITHOLTZ: That’s really — that’s really quite fascinating. So — so from counting cards, how do you end up at Deutsche Bank? WEINSTEIN: So the — the people at Merrill Lynch that I first worked with out of college had moved really in mass to — to Deutsche. Edson Mitchell, legendary Merrill Lynch’s head of Global Markets, wanted to recreate that at Deutsche Bank without having the deep institutional capital markets relationships. And so, he really wanted to build up trading quickly, and credit derivatives was a new market. And he had someone named Anshu Jain, who’s really been an amazing mentor to me — RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEINSTEIN: — pour a huge amount of resources into making Deutsche if not the best, the Top 2 year in and year out. RITHOLTZ: And at Deutsche Bank, you become the youngest person to be a managing director. Tell us about that path. WEINSTEIN: Yeah. So I — I think it’s either youngest or second youngest, let me — let me not overstep it. But still, I was 27 and usually it’s not until you’re in your 30s. And I have to say there’s so many aspects to one’s career that have to do with luck and timing, that have to go along with skill almost all the time. Sometimes you can even avoid the skill part, just be ultra-lucky. But my — my luck was that this, market credit derivatives, basically started when I started and even a year or two after. And I was waiting for it. It was like I was waiting for it to be created because I was never going to be the credit investor that can read through the 10-K and do the deep, you know, fundamental work and accounting work that was going to — I was not going to make my mark in credit that way. I needed something more quantitative, more tactical, and credit derivatives started really in ‘97. And — and so there was no one — there were no adults to learn from. I got to — I got to learn — learn from experience. In ‘98 with Russia defaulting and LTCM blowing up, gave an incredible path to that — those lessons. And so, Deutsche Bank kept giving me more and more responsibilities. And so, each year they promoted me. And I think another bit of luck was not just being at a place that wanted to expand in this new area, but also Goldman Sachs had hired away my boss, an amazing guy, Ron Tanemura. And I think Deutsche was a little afraid that — that I might move over to Goldman. And so, you know, earlier than — than one would have expected, they made me an MD. RITHOLTZ: So — so good timing, right place, right time, plus the right set of skills in — in derivatives trading. Before we move to spinning out Saba from Deutsche Bank, I have to follow up your conversation about being an intern at Goldman Sachs. You’ve kind of worked with a murderers’ row there, and you said it was the most fun you’ve ever had. Tell us about your time at Goldman, who did you work for? And what did they have you doing? WEINSTEIN: Sure. So, look, anyone who comes to Wall Street needs to read “Liars Poker.” It doesn’t matter we’re talking now, 10 years ago, or 50 years from now. And there was a minor character in that book, David Delucia, who Goldman hired from Salomon to set up the junk bond desk. And he had an incredible love of chess. He actually is the world’s greatest — I’m going to say something that’s not going to sound so great, world’s greatest chess book collection. Hopefully, no one is gasping at that. But he has, you know, 15 century books in busts of the hand of the world champion from the 18th century. And so, he was obsessed with chess. I had met him at a — at a chess club. And I came to Goldman Sachs to interview for a summer internship, and I had a very perfunctory meeting with the HR person. They’ve even met me, I think, only because my sister was working in Private Client Services then. So they — so I have this 25-minute meeting. The woman says, “Thanks for coming. You’re a college freshman. Why don’t you come back in three years,” and shows me to the door. And I said, “OK, can I use the men’s room?” And on my way out, I went into the men’s room and who’s standing washing his hands at the sink is David Delucia. He says, “What are you doing here? Come on back.” And that began five rounds, five interviews per round. And finally, after 25 interviews, he calls me back and he says, “We tried to do everything we could. There’s no program for you. There’s a — there’s a program called SEO to give minorities a chance to come to Wall Street. There’s a program for sons and daughters. We just couldn’t fit you in.” And I said, it’s — you know, one thing is never give up. So I said to him, “It’s really too bad you have a program for sons and daughters, but not brothers or sisters.” And he said, “Let me try that one.” And he came back and I had another two — two sets of meetings. And they — they — they jammed me in with the summer MBA. So I’m a college freshman and I’m there with the HBS and Wharton MBAs doing training, and then all sorts of things. And the desk I was assigned to, his desk was — we had a 3 by 2 row, so six seats. He was directly facing me and it was a murderers’ row. On my — on my left was a Bill Troy, who was really an amazing mentor to me. He was a co-founder of a fund called Greywolf Capital. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEINSTEIN: Next to him was Jim Zelter, who’s one of the heads of Apollo. And then on the other side, Jonathan Kolatch, the founder of Redwood. And then last but not least, a guy who was named David Tepper. But he was not the David Tepper we all know and love now, larger than life. He was — he was a distressed analyst that was working for — for a group. He wasn’t this — I can’t even imagine him, you know, the way he was then versus now. He’s — he’s an incredible superstar, one of the greatest investors of all time, and I got to work with the five of them every day for — you know, for months. RITHOLTZ: And what sort of work did they give you? Because I’ve read that Tepper used to bust your chops a little bit, WEINSTEIN: A lot, not a little bit. So he would say, “What are we paying you for? You’re here to play chess with Delucia. That’s why Goldman Sachs is paying you?” as if it was any of his business. So what — what did he do? He didn’t teach me much about the market. That I learned from some of the other guys on the desk. But I would have to get broker quotes in the morning, Murphy and Durieu or (Garvin). I’d write down where all the bond prices were. And I barely knew anything at the time. But what he would do during the course of the day, and remember this was Wall Street in the early ‘90s, he — they would make bets. So he would yell over at Jim Zelter, “How many — how many synagogues do you think there are in Montana?” And Zelter would say, “Not more than three.” And he would say, “I’m — I’m going to buy three. Boaz, go to the library and figure it out.” And this was — this was pre-Internet. So you want to know how many synagogues there are in Montana, it’s going to be a lot of work. And so I would settle that bet. I would settle where interest rates ever negative. They were briefly during World War II. I would settle, you know, bets of all kinds. And in the meantime, I would also learn a lot through osmosis and by asking questions. So it was just a marvelous experience. And I have a million stories about it, so we’ll see if we have time for it. RITHOLTZ: So — so the Salomon Brothers version of gambling was “Liar’s Poker” played with dollar bills. At Goldman, it was a trivia contest for random, unknown facts? WEINSTEIN: You know, traders like to bet and — RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEINSTEIN: And some of the obscure bets need to be settled, and there was no Internet. So — RITHOLTZ: And you were the final word. They — they trusted you to say — what — what Boaz says, that’s what goes. WEINSTEIN: I — I don’t even remember if I had to show evidence or not. But I was — I was asked to do all sorts of things. And along the way, I asked dozens of questions a day. And I think that’s really important for anyone who was going to have an internship on Wall Street is that there are things you can do to annoy the people around you. But one of them is not asking too many decent questions about markets. That’s — that’s the only way you’re going to get to where you want to be. And actually, I think it will impress the people around you. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about your time trading at Deutsche Bank. Before the great financial crisis, you allegedly made profits in 40 out of 44 quarters. How did you manage to be so consistent? WEINSTEIN: I think there are a lot of investors who if you look at how they did in that timeframe, so let’s say the late ‘90s to the Lehman Brothers, the markets really were a lot easier than they — and less competitive. There were thousands of fewer hedge funds. And we were — we were relatively consistent because there also was a lot of edge in credit derivatives, credit derivatives being synthetic bonds or insurance contracts. You can refer to them any number of ways. But how to think about how to price them, mispricing in credit derivatives against equity derivatives, some of those things were really again not well understood. And I think Deutsche allowing me to trade those relationships trading out of the money puts on a stock, compared to hedging them with a bond, which is not as crazy as it sounds, is something that I think gave us a big leg up and an ability to look across markets and find relative value. And so, we were — we were consistent. We were particularly profitable when markets were volatile, up until Lehman Brothers, which is where we had two of our four down quarters. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: That’s volatility writ large. So you’re looking for medium — low to medium amount of volatility. Once it spikes to very high levels, suddenly, all the correlations start to fail. Or why does that degree of volatility affect trading? WEINSTEIN: It was really so specific to Lehman failing as a counterparty. So because I was inside of a bank, if you were — whether it’s interest rate swaps, or credit swaps, you were part of a daisy chain, where you buy protection on General Electric or IBM from Morgan Stanley, who buys it from Lehman. And these hundreds of thousands of swaps would remain on the books. So even if you bought and sold something, instead of being out of the trade, you would have two swaps on. And so, when Lehman Brothers failed, we had enormous exposure to them as a counterparty, just like all the other desks at Deutsche Bank. So that made it more challenging than being at a hedge fund. But the more volatility for our strategy is really the better. And we saw that in 2020 and we’ve seen it again this year. But Lehman Brothers was very specific because if you couldn’t trust not just Lehman to pay you — RITHOLTZ: On anybody, right? WEINSTEIN: — Merrill Lynch, you know. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEINSTEIN: And — and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were trading like, you know, nearly bankrupt entities, trading at credit spreads that were a thousand basis points or higher. So — so that was very specific. And I think the market has done a great job to reduce counterparty risk in the intervening 15 years. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about the strategies that Saba employs. One of your funds is a closed-end fund arbitrage, where companies were either trading at a substantial discount or premium to NAV, to net asset value. Tell us a little bit about trading closed-end funds. WEINSTEIN: Yeah. This is an amazing space. It’s one where the product has been around a hundred years. Berkshire Hathaway, in a sense, is a closed-end fund. And Warren Buffett, in particular, has talked to me and showed me how enamored he was with them right before he took Benjamin Graham’s class. So we’re going back to 1950, where he had two-thirds of his holdings in closed-end funds. Why are they interesting? Because you get to buy a dollar of assets for less than a dollar, and there are ways to turn it back into a dollar. So the there’s 500 of them on the New York Stock Exchange. The most venerable managers all have tons of them, whether it’s Blackrock or Blackstone or PIMCO, and Templeton. And they — sometimes because they’re not cared for, because the fees are high, because the manager is not thinking about the investor, they can slip into trading for – at discounts to NAV. So objective dollar of assets valued properly in the same way that ETFs and mutual funds are valued. You can buy a dollar for at 80, 85 cents. And if you accumulate enough of it, and if you take on an institutional approach to reading the documents, understanding the rules, as a shareholder, your rights to — to vote for a board of trustees and/or overthrow the board if they’re not doing the right thing for investors, if you buy up enough of the shares, you have a chance to make change. And we only started doing that in 2013, when they started to go to deep discounts. Some of these, Barry, had been at discounts seven, eight, nine years. They never had a day where they were not at a discount. And we’ve been able in dozens of cases to – for thousands and thousands of investors, tens of thousands, to get the discount to converge back to NAV. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s talk about that approach. When I think of activist campaigns, I think of investors like Carl Icahn or Dan Loeb or Bill Ackman, how is your approach similar or different to their sort of activist investing campaigns? WEINSTEIN: Right. So they’re finding a company where they can make change. And that change, maybe on average, is — is quite valuable. But you can debate it. And certainly, there are examples where the impact of the activist was terrible. It may, in some cases, even led to the bankruptcy of the — of the company. In closed-end funds, it’s totally different because the medicine, the plan for how to get the fund trading to NAV works every single time. And I’ll tell you why. Because we’re not trying to remake JCPenney in the image of Apple Computer, which might or might not work or, you know, we could pick some that were fantastic successes, General Growth, to follow on with one of Ackman’s amazing longs. On the close-end fund side, if the managers were just thinking about the investor, they could literally press a button, turn it into an ETF, which they also — those same managers, Blackrock is selling ETFs by the cartload. If they change their closed-end fund into an open-ended fund, because it didn’t give investors an exit at NAV for five, six, seven years, it would immediately go to NAV, just like all ETFs are arbitrageable if they’re trading different than NAV. So they could change it to an open-ended fund. They could tender for shares at no discount. They could liquidate the fund and offer investors the chance to go into almost the exact same products, whether it’s New York munis or — or junk loans or — or energy equities, MLPs. There’s 500 closed-end funds. And there’s thousands of mutual funds and thousands of ETFs. So the ability to go from 84 to 100, you’re talking about a 20% return and maybe it’s the recapture of a loss that the investor, of course, if they knew enough, would want it every time. And the only thing standing in your way is the manager that feels like they have some God-given right for that capital to be permanent capital. And if they tender for shares, that means less AUM and less fees for them. And so there’s a huge — there’s really a huge problem where the manager is putting their own interests and the board is putting the manager’s interests ahead of the shareholders, and that’s where we come in. RITHOLTZ: So why can’t close-end funds be arbitraged the same way ETFs can? WEINSTEIN: So ETFs have a mechanism where you can create new shares if — or redeem old shares. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEINSTEIN: And so if it’s ever trading below, you could buy it and then redeem it. If it’s trading above, you could sell it and then create it and add — always add NAV. So there’s that mechanism that tethers ETFs to NAV. Closed-end funds, it’s like a stock. You know, you may think IBM is worth $200 a share. But you’ve got to find somebody to sell to you. You can’t call Armonk, New York and ask IBM to give you the 200 bucks. So — so the — things can trade at a big discount for very, very long time and even at a big premium. And so — but there’s a very simple fix, which is they don’t have to figure out some newfangled way to run the company. They just need to offer liquidity like a mutual fund or an ETF that would get it back to NAV. And so, we’ve basically won all of the challenges we’ve had because we’re on the side of right. We get letters from octogenarian saying, “I was in this fund for 15 years. I never thought I would see the light of day to get out in NAV.” And we’re not doing it for them, but at the same time we’re doing it for our investors. It is a great joy to be able to, in certain market environments, pick through the closed-end fund space and find literally dollars trading for 82 cents, that you can pick up the 82 cents and turn it back into a dollar. And that’s true even today. RITHOLTZ: So markets are efficient, they’re just not that efficient. WEINSTEIN: Well, yeah, you need someone to come along and say, “I’m going to change that.” And the closed-end fund space really was lacking an institutional manager to do that in size. Because institutions are also – that our activists are also beholden to those same managers. They need BlackRock’s votes when they’re an activist. So they — so they might say, “I’m not going to upset the Apple Cart and annoy BlackRock to the benefit of thousands of investors. And our investors, if I need to come to BlackRock on my regular way, activism, when they’re a big shareholder. So you have a little bit of, you know, people don’t necessarily want to fight the big asset managers, but we were very happy to. We’re not — we’re not activist in any other place. And this is one of the best arbs that — that you can find. And there’s only one entity that suffers. It’s the asset manager that goes from managing $7 trillion to managing $6.99 trillion. Thousands of investors get to make 15%, 20% gains that they would never otherwise get. RITHOLTZ: Really, really interesting. Let’s talk about one of the most popular investment vehicles out there, SPACs, Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. Saba has about $5.5 billion in that space, is that right? That sounds like a lot of money. You’re the fifth largest SPAC holder, along with peers like Citadel, Millennium. D.E. Shaw. Your approach is different than how retail investors look at SPACs. Tell us a little bit about what you guys do. WEINSTEIN: Yeah. SPACs are this amazing thing and that it’s all over the press whenever there’s an acquisition. It’s also critiqued, sometimes maligned for being a product that — that ought not to exist in the — in the number of offerings that exist. So — so in the last year, there’s generally been a negative 10 tinge to the — to the coverage about SPACs. And they’ve performed poorly. They’ve performed poorly when they de-SPAC. So what’s important to understand with SPAC is the lifecycle, that they start by being extraordinarily safe. And by that, I mean, when the IPO happens, the money is taken into trust. The manager doesn’t touch it. And the trust must buy U.S. T-bills. So from time zero to the day that they are converting into the company that they’re taking public, you have the risk of T-bills, but you have some mark-to-market risk as sentiment goes up and down. That sometimes that $10 that you pay for at IPO, you know, back in the heady days of, let’s say, ARK, when ARK was trading at 150, and flying cars were — you know, were exciting people’s imaginations. Even before the SPAC manager would find someone, that $10 traded $11 or $12, or even higher. Today, you can find — and for the last year, you can find many billions offered at a discount. Instead of $10, you get to pay something like $9.75. And one year later, or even 10 months later, that $9.75, for certain, will be worth $10. So on top of that, you also get the yield that is in T-bills, which right now is another 140 basis points. And so you could put together something, where if you screened for SPACs and you looked for high quality managers, you can still find a 4.5% return, which is a certain return. But on top of that, in case they find a company to buy, and the market gets very excited about it, whether it’s electric vehicles, or media companies, or whatever it may be, you are a stockholder and you don’t have to take only $10 back if it goes to $15, or to the moon. That’s — that’s your profit. And so I — I really look at SPACs like an incredibly valuable product in these times we’re worried about inflation, because it’s a guaranteed return in the fours, plus an equity option for free. And it’s really hard to find something that’s safe. In the history of SPACs, back way before, you know, the environment today where they’re actually quite a bit safer, not one time in history could you not get back trust value. You always have trust value to look to, and trust value is U.S. T-bills. RITHOLTZ: What happens if the announcement comes out of the acquisition and the public doesn’t like it, and the SPAC trades at a discount? There is a subsequent vote about that eventually, isn’t there? WEINSTEIN: There is a vote. You can vote for the SPAC to — to do the deal or against, but that is even a separable question from can you vote to get your money back? So you could say, “I support the deal, but give me my trust value back,” which would be your $10, let’s say, plus the yield that you made on the T-bills. So you always have the ability to get your money back. And so then, as an investor, I have to think about, well, how – the market is not just driven by the way things ought to be. Even though it’s T-bills, if there’s 600 of these running around trying to find companies to buy, there can be a period where because of losses one is suffering in their portfolio, you might dump your SPACs and put pressure on that market. So you to think about how cheap could SPACs get. Even if they’re basically the safest investment I know of, T-bills in a box and with a 10 — 10-month, 11-month average life, you know you’re going to get your money back. But in the meantime, you have to be ready for some mark-to-market pain. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about tai.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureMay 16th, 2022

Baltimore Business Journal captures two "Best of Show" awards in MDDC Press Association contest

The Baltimore Business Journal's series on the city's "Digital Divide," which highlighted the inequities of home internet access during the pandemic, won a first place award in the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association Trust in News Contest, one of 22 awards the newspaper captured overall in the annual competition. The BBJ also picked up two Best of Shows — an award that spans across all divisions — for news page design and business advertising. The BBJ and news outlets across the region….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 13th, 2022

The Tucker Carlson origin story

Tucker Carlson's journey from prep school provocateur to Fox News flamethrower, according to his friends and former classmates. Tucker Carlson during a CNN National Town Meeting on coverage of the White House sex scandal, on January 28, 1998.Richard Ellis/Getty Images Tucker Carlson is remembered as a provocateur and gleeful contrarian by those who knew him in his early days. His bohemian artist mother abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will. At a Rhode Island prep school and at Trinity College, classmates remember him as a skilled debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audiences. On Oct. 29, 1984, New York police killed an elderly Black woman named Eleanor Bumpurs in her own home. Bumpers, who lived in a public housing complex in the Bronx, had fallen four months behind on her rent. When officials from the city housing authority tried to evict her, she refused, and they called the police. Five officers responded by storming into her apartment. Bumpurs, who had a history of mental illness, grabbed a butcher knife as two officers pushed her against a wall with their plastic shields and a metal pole. A third officer fired two shots from his 12-gauge shotgun, striking Bumpurs in her hand and chest.Eleanor Bumpurs' death dominated the city's news for two months and led the NYPD to revise its guidelines for responding to emotionally disturbed individuals.At St. George's prep school, some 175 miles away in Rhode Island, the incident deeply haunted Richard Wayner. He was one of the school's few Black students and had grown up in a residential tower not far from where Bumpurs had lived. He earned straight As and was so admired that in 1984 his peers elected him senior prefect, the prep equivalent of student body president, making him the first Black class leader in the school's 125-year history. Harvard soon beckoned.Wayner was frustrated with how the St. George's community seemed to ignore the conversations about racial justice that were happening outside the cloistered confines of Aquidneck Island. It bothered Wayne that almost no one at St. George's seemed to know anything about Bumpurs' killing. "You had your crew, you put your head down, and you tried to get through three or four years of prep school with your psyche intact," Wayner said of those days.As senior prefect, one of the duties was to deliver an address each week at the mandatory Sunday chapel service. One Sunday, perched from the chapel podium, Wayner described the shooting as a sea of white faces stared back at him. He concluded with the words: "Does anyone think that woman deserved to die?"Near the front of the chapel, a single hand went up for a few brief seconds. It was Tucker Carlson.Eleanor Bumpurs was shot and killed by the New York Police Department on October 29, 1984APThen a sophomore, Tucker had a reputation as a gleeful contrarian – an indefatigable debater and verbal jouster who, according to some, could also be a bit of a jerk. "Tucker was just sort of fearless," said Ian Toll, a St. George's alumnus who would go on to be a military historian. "Whether it was a legitimate shooting may have been a point of debate but the fact was that Tucker was an underclassmen and the culture was to defer to the seniors." Wayner himself never saw Tucker's hand go up, and the two kept in touch over the years. (Note on style: Tucker Carlson and the members of his family are referred to here by their first names to avoid confusion.)  Four decades later, glimmers of that prep school provocateur appear on Tucker's Prime Time show on Fox, which garners an average of between 3 to 4 million viewers a night. His furrowed visage and spoiling-for-a-fight demeanor are all too familiar to those who have known him for decades. In the words of Roger Stone, a Republican political operative, frequent guest, and longtime friend of Tucker's: "Tucker Carlson is the single most influential conservative journalist in America… It is his courage and his willingness to talk about issues that no one else is willing to cover that has led to this development."Tucker's name has even been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. "I mean, I guess if, like, I was the last person on earth, I could do it. But, I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy." he said on the "Ruthless" podcast in June, dismissing this possibility.Tucker's four decades in Washington, and his transition from conservative magazine writer to right-wing television pundit, have been well documented. But less well known are his early years and how they shaped him: his bohemian artist mother, who abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will; the Rhode Island prep school where he met his future spouse; and his formation into a contrarian debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audience with his attention-getting tactics.Tucker declined to participate in an interview with Insider, saying in a statement. "Your level of interest in the boring details of my life is creepy as hell, and also pathetic," he wrote. "You owe it to yourself and the country to do something useful with your talents. Please reassess."California roots Tucker Carlson's West Coast roots burrow as deep as a giant redwood. He was born in San Francisco in May 1969 as the excesses of the Sixties peaked and the conservative backlash to the counterculture and the Civil Rights movement started to take shape. Tucker's mother, Lisa McNear Lombardi, born in San Francisco in 1945, came from one of the state's storied frontier families. Lisa's mother, Mary Nickel James, was a cattle baron heiress. Her great-great-grandfather had owned 3 million acres of ranchland, making him among the largest landowners west of the Mississippi. Her father Oliver Lombardi was an insurance broker and descendant of Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants. Lisa enrolled at UC Berkeley, where she majored in architecture. She met Richard Carlson, a San Francisco TV journalist from a considerably less prosperous background, while still in college. Lisa and Richard eloped in Reno, Nevada in 1967. The couple didn't notify Lisa's mother, who was traveling in Europe with her new husband at the time. "Family members have been unable to locate them to reveal the nuptials," a gossip item published in the San Francisco Examiner dished.Tucker arrived two years later. A second son, Buckley, was born two years after that. As Richard's career began to flourish, the family moved first to Los Angeles and then, in 1975, to La Jolla, a moneyed, beach-front enclave about 12 miles north of San Diego. When Lisa and Richard divorced a year later, in 1976, Richard got full custody of their sons, then 6 and 4. According to three of Tucker's childhood classmates, Lisa disappeared from her sons' lives. They don't recall Tucker talking about her, or seeing her at school events. Marc Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate who went on to be executive producer of the Tony Kornheiser Show, says the two didn't talk much about Tucker's relationship with his mother and he got the impression that Tucker and Richard were exceptionally close. When Sterne's own parents split up that year, he said Tucker was supportive and understanding. Lisa spent the next two decades as an artist – moving first to Los Angeles, where she befriended the painter David Hockney, and later split her time between France and South Carolina with her husband, British painter Michael Vaughan. In 1979, Richard Carlson married Patricia Swanson, heiress to the Swanson frozen foods empire that perfected the frozen Salisbury steak for hassle-free dinners. She soon legally adopted Tucker and Buckley.  When Lisa died in 2011, her estate was initially divided equally between Tucker, his brother Buckley, and Vaughan. But in 2013, Vaughan's daughter from another marriage found a one-page handwritten document in Lisa's art studio in France that left her assets to her surviving husband with an addendum that stated, "I leave my sons Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson and Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson one dollar each." A protracted battle over Lombardi's estate involving Vaughan and the Carlson brothers wound up in probate court. The Carlsons asserted the will was forged but a forensic witness determined that Lisa had written the note. The case eventually went to the California Appellate Court, which allowed the Carlson brothers to keep their shares in 2019."Lisa was basically sort of a hippie and a free spirit," said one attorney who  represented the Vaughan family and recalled having conversations about the case. "She was very liberal and she did not agree with Tucker's politics. But she stuck the will in the book, everyone forgot about it, and then she passed away."In a 2017 interview with The New Yorker, Tucker described the dissolution of his family as a "totally bizarre situation — which I never talk about, because it was actually not really part of my life at all." Several pieces of art produced by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderLisa When Lisa left her husband and two young sons, she was escaping suburban family life in favor of the more bohemian existence as an artist. One of Tucker and Buckley's former teachers said their mother's absence "left some sour grapes." "I felt they sided with the father," Rusty Rushton, a former St. George's English teacher said. After the divorce, Lisa returned to Los Angeles and tried to break into the city's thriving contemporary art scene. She befriended Mo McDermott, an LA-based British sculptor, model, and longtime assistant to David Hockney, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. A few years before he met Lisa, the scene was captured in Jack Hazan's 1974 groundbreaking documentary "A Bigger Splash," which followed Hockney and his coterie of gay male friends idly lounging around the pool in his Hollywood Hills home."When love goes wrong, there's more than two people who suffer," said McDermott, playing a slightly exaggerated version of himself, in a voiceover in the documentary.Lisa and McDermott became a couple and Lisa won admission into Hockney's entourage. Hockney lived a far more reclusive lifestyle than his pop art compatriot Andy Warhol but some four dozen or so artists, photographers, and writers regularly passed through his properties."She was more like a hippie, arty kind of person. I couldn't ever imagine her being a mother," said Joan Quinn, the then-West Coast editor of Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, who knew Lisa during those years and still owns several of her works. "She was very nervous all the time… She was ill-content."The pair were often seen at Hockney's Hollywood Hills home and at Friday night gallery openings on La Cienega Boulevard. They collaborated on playful, large-scale wood sculptures of animals, vegetables, and trees. A handful of their pieces could be seen around Hockney's hillside ranch."Hockney had me over to meet them. He wanted a gallery to handle their work," said Molly Barnes, who owns a gallery in West Hollywood and gave the pair shows in 1983 and 1984. "They were brilliant and David loved Mo. He thought they were the best artists around.""She was quiet and intellectual and somewhat withdrawn," Barnes said. "She had come from a lot of money and that reflected on her personality. She wasn't a snob in any way but she had the manners of a private school girl and someone who was fighting the establishment."A sculpture by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderNone of them recall Lisa discussing her two sons. McDermott died in 1988. After his death, Hockney discovered that McDermott had been stealing drawings from him and selling them. Hockney said the betrayal helped bring on a heart attack. "I believe I had a broken heart," Hockney told The Guardian in 1995. (Hockney did not answer multiple inquiries about Lisa or McDermott.)In 1987, Lisa met Vaughan, one of Hockney's peers in the British art scene known as the "Bradford Mafia." They married in February 1989 and for years afterward they lived in homes in the Pyrenees of southwest France and South Carolina's Sea Islands.Lisa continued to make art, primarily oversized, wooden sculptures of everyday household items like peeled lemons and dice, but she exhibited her work infrequently. She died of cancer in 2011, at which point Carlson was a decade into his media career and a regular contributor on Fox News. Richard In contrast to Lisa's privileged upbringing, Richard's childhood was full of loss. Richard's mother was a 15-year-old high school girl who had starved herself during her pregnancy, and he was born with a condition called rickets. Six weeks later, his mother left him at an orphanage in Boston called The Home for Little Wanderers. Richard's father, who was 18, tried to convince her to kidnap the infant and marry him, but she refused. He shot and killed himself two blocks from her home.A Massachusetts couple fostered Richard for two years until he was adopted by a wool broker and his wife, which he described in a 2009 reflection for the Washington Post. His adoptive parents died when he was still a teenager and Richard was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He later enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in an ROTC program at the University of Mississippi to pay for college.In 1962, Richard developed an itch for journalism while working as a cop in Ocean City, Maryland at the age of 21, and the future NBC political correspondent Catherine Mackin, helped him get a copy boy job at the Los Angeles Times. Richard moved to San Francisco three years later and his career blossomed. He started producing television news features with his friend, Lance Brisson, the son of actress Rosalind Russell. They filmed migrant farm workers in the Imperial Valley living in cardboard abodes in 110 degree weather, traipsed the Sierra Nevada mountains to visit a hermit, and covered the Zodiac Killer and Bay Area riots (during one demonstration in 1966, they sent television feeds from their car where they trapped for four hours  and a crowd roughed up Brisson, which required four stitches under his left eye). Another time, they rented a helicopter in search of a Soviet trawler but they had to jump into the Pacific Ocean when the chopper ran low on fuel near the shore and crashed.In 1969, Richard and Brisson co-wrote an article for Look Magazine that claimed San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto had mafia ties. Alioto sued the magazine's owner for libel and won a $350,000 judgment when a judge determined the article's allegations were made with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for whether they were true or not." (Richard was not a defendant in the case and has stood by his story. Brisson declined an interview.)Richard moved back to Los Angeles to join KABC's investigative team two years later. One series of stories that delved into a three-wheeled sports car called the Dale and the fraudulent marketing practices of its founder, Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, won a Peabody award in 1975. The series also outed Carmichael as a transgender woman. (Richard's role in Carmichael's downfall was explored in the HBO documentary "The Lady and the Dale.") Soon after arriving as an anchor for KFMB-TV, San Diego's CBS affiliate, Richard ran a story revealing that tennis pro Renee Richards, who had just won a tournament at the La Jolla Tennis Club, was a transgender woman."I said, 'You can't do this. I am a private person,'" Richards, who years later would advise Caitlyn Jenner about her transition, urged the television journalist to drop his story, according to a 2015 interview. "His reply? 'Dr. Richards, you were a private person until you won that tournament yesterday.'" By the time he left the anchor chair in 1977 to take a public relations job with San Diego Savings and Loan, Richard had soured on journalism. "I have seen a lot of arrogance and hypocrisy in the press and I don't like it," he told San Diego Magazine in 1977. "Television news is insipid, sophomoric, and superficial… There are so many things I think are important and interesting but the media can be counted on to do handstands on that kind of scandal and sexual sensation."Years later, Richard said that he never tried to encourage his eldest son in politics or journalism, but that Tucker had a clear interest in both from an early age. "I never thought he was going to be a reporter or a writer. I never encouraged him to do that," Richard told CSPAN of his eldest son in 2006. "I actually attempted not to encourage him politically, either. I decided those are the things that should be left up to them."A LaJolla, California post card.Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty ImagesA La Jolla childhoodAfter the divorce, Richard and his boys stayed in La Jolla in a house overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Friends of Tucker's would later say that the trauma of their mother's absence brought the three of them closer together.  "They both really admired their dad. He was a great source of wisdom. He's one of the great raconteurs you'll ever meet. They loved that glow that came from him," said Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate. "They both looked up to him, it was clear from my eyes."In an essay included in his book "The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism," Tucker described Richard as a kind parent who imbued family outings with a deeper message.One of Tucker's earliest memories, he writes, was from just after the divorce, when Tucker was seven and Buckley was five: the brothers gripping the edge of a luggage rack on the roof of his family's 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon, while their father gunned the engine down a dirt road."I've sometimes wondered what car surfing was meant to teach us," Tucker wrote. "Was he trying to instill in us a proper sense of fatalism, the acknowledgement that there is only so much in life you can control? Or was it a lesson about the importance of risk?... Unless you're willing to ride the roof of a speeding station wagon, in other words, you're probably not going to leave your mark on the world."More often, the boys were left unsupervised and found their own trouble. Tucker once took a supermarket shopping cart and raced it down a hill in front of their house with Buckley in its basket. The cart tipped over, leaving Buckley with a bloody nose. He also recalled building makeshift hand grenades with hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil – using a recipe from their father's copy of "The Anarchist Cookbook"  and tossing them onto a nearby golf course."No one I know had a father like mine," Tucker wrote. "My father was funnier and more outrageous, more creative  and less willing to conform, than anyone I knew or have known since. My brother and I had the best time growing up."Richard sent Tucker to La Jolla Country Day, an upscale, largely white private school with a reputation as one of the best in Southern California, for elementary and middle school. In his book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution," Tucker described his first grade teacher Marianna Raymond as "a living parody of earth-mother liberalism" who "wore long Indian-print skirts," and sobbed at her desk over the world's unfairness. "As a conservative, I had contempt for the whiny mawkishness of liberals. Stop blubbering and teach us to read. That was my position," he wrote. "Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.""I beg to differ," Raymond countered in an interview, saying that she was also Tucker's tutor during the summer after first grade and was even hired again. "I'm a great teacher. I'm sure he liked me." For her part, she remembered Tucker as a fair-haired tot who was "very sweet" and "very polite." (When The Washington Post reached out her her, she said Carlson's characterization had been "shocking.")  Friends from La Jolla remember that Tucker loved swimming the mile-and-a-half distance between La Jolla Shores Park and La Jolla Cove, jumping off cliffs that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, riffing on the drums, and playing Atari and BB gun games at the mall with his friends. "He was a happy kid. We were young, so we used to go to the beach. We did normal kid stuff," said Richard Borkum, a friend who is now a San Diego-based attorney. When they weren't at the beach or the mall, Borkum and another friend, Javier Susteata, would hang out at the Carlson home listening to The Who, AC/DC, and other classic rock bands. Borkum said the adults at the Carlson household largely left them alone. "I'm Jewish and Javier was Mexican and I'm not sure they were too happy we were going to their house," Borkum said.Another friend, Warren Barrett, remembers jamming with Tucker and going snow camping at Big Bear and snorkeling off Catalina Island with him in middle school."Tucker and I literally ate lunch together every day for two years," Barrett said. "He was completely the opposite of now. He was a cool southern California surfer kid. He was the nicest guy, played drums, and had a bunch of friends. And then something must have happened in his life that turned him into this evil diabolical shithead he is today."LaJolla is a upscale beach community outside of San Diego. Carlson and his family moved their in 1975.Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSan Diego's next mayorRichard, meanwhile, was exploring a second career in public service. By 1980, he had risen to vice president of a bank headed by Gordon Luce, a California Republican power broker and former Reagan cabinet official. The following year, Richard's public profile got a boost when he tangled with another veteran television journalist, CBS's Mike Wallace. The 60 Minutes star had interviewed Richard for a story about low-income Californians who faced foreclosures from the bank after borrowing money to buy air conditioners without realizing they put their homes up for collateral. Richard had his own film crew tape the interview, and caught Wallace saying that people who had been defrauded were "probably too busy eating their watermelon and tacos." The remark made national headlines and Wallace was forced to apologize.Pete Wilson, the U.S. Senator and former San Diego mayor, encouraged Richard to run for office. In 1984, Richard entered the race to challenge San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's re-election. "He was a very well-regarded guy," Hedgecock told Insider. "He had an almost Walter Cronkite-like appearance, but because he was in local news he was all about not offending anybody. He didn't have particularly strong views. He was nice looking, articulate, and made good appearances, but what he had to say was not particularly memorable other than he wanted me out of office."Sometimes Tucker tagged along for campaign events. "He would always show up in a sport coat, slacks and a bowtie and I thought that's really nice clothing for someone who is a kid," Hedgecock remembers. He was a very polite young man who didn't say much."Five days before voters went to the polls, Hedgecock went on trial for 15 counts of conspiracy and perjury, an issue that Richard highlighted in his television campaign ads. Richard still lost to Hedgecock 58 to 42 percent despite pouring nearly $800,000 into the race and outspending Hedgecock two to one. (Hedgecock was found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and resigned from office in 1985 but his convictions were overturned on appeal five years later.)People are seen near a beach in La Jolla, California, on April 15, 2020.Gregory Bull/AP PhotoPrep school In the fall of 1983, a teenaged Tucker traded one idyllic beachfront community for another.At 14, Tucker moved across the country to Middletown, Rhode Island, to attend St. George's School. (Buckley would follow him two years later.) The 125-year-old boarding school sits atop a hill overlooking the majestic Atlantic Ocean, and is on the other side of Aquidneck Island where Richard Carlson went to naval school. The private school was known as a repository for children of wealthy East Coast families who were not as academically inclined as those who attended Exeter or Andover. Its campus had dorms named after titans of industry, verdant athletic fields, and a white-sand beach.Senators Claiborne Pell and Prescott Bush graduated, as did Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and poet Ogden Nash. Tucker's class included "Modern Family" actor Julie Bowen; Dede Gardner, the two-time Oscar-winning producer of "12 Years a Slave" and "Moonlight"; and former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson. Billy Bush – "Extra" host, and cousin to George W. Bush – was three years behind him.Tuition at St. George's cost $13,000 per year in the 1980s (it's now up to $67,000 for boarding school students) and student schedules were tightly regimented with breakfast, classes, athletics, dinner, and study hall encompassing each day. Students were required to take religion classes, and attend chapel twice a week. Faculty and staff would canvass the dorms on Thursdays and Sundays to ensure no one skipped the Episcopal service. Tucker impressed his new chums as an hyper-articulate merrymaker who frequently challenged upperclassmen who enforced dorm rules and the school's liberal faculty members."He was kind of a California surfer kid. He was funny, very intelligent, and genuinely well-liked," said Bryce Traister, who was one year ahead of Tucker and is now a professor at the University of British Columbia. "There were people who didn't like Tucker because they thought he was a bullshitter but he was very charming. He was a rascal and a fast-talker, as full of shit as he is today."Back then Tucker was an iconoclast more in the mold of Ferris Bueller than preppy neocon Alex P. Keaton, even if his wardrobe resembled the "Family Ties" star. Students were required to wear jackets, ties, and khakis, although most came to class disheveled. Tucker wore well-tailored coats and chinos, pairing his outfit with a ribbon-banded watch and colorful bowtie which would later become his signature. "He was always a very sharp dresser. He had a great rack of ties. He always knew how to tie a bowtie but he didn't exclusively wear a bowtie," said Sterne, Tucker's freshman year roommate. "He always had great clothes. It was a lot of Brooks Brothers." Their crew crew held court in each others' dorm rooms at Auchincloss, the freshman hall, kicking around a Hacky Sack and playing soccer, talking about Adolph Huxley, George Orwell, and Hemingway, and dancing to Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead, and U2 on the campus lawn. Televisions weren't allowed so students listened to their Sony Walkman swapping cassette recordings of live concerts. Tucker introduced several bands to his friends."He loved classic rock and he was and still is a big fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead," said Sterne, who saw a Dead show with Tucker at RFK Stadium in 1986.Sometimes the clique got slices at Aquidneck Pizza and played arcade games in town, hung out in history instructor William Schenck's office, and smoked pot and Marlborough Red cigarettes on a porch in the main building's common room that faced the ocean, according to multiple sources. When the school administrators banned smoking indoors the following year so they congregated behind the dumpster behind the dining hall. Vodka (often the brand Popov) mixed with Kool-Aid was the drink of choice and students stockpiled bottles under their beds.Tucker was an enthusiastic drinker, half a dozen classmates recall. In his book, "The Long Slide," Tucker credits Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for enticing him to try drugs in 10th grade, The experience gave him "double vision and a headache." By the time he got to college, Tucker writes, "I switched to beer."By the late 1990s Tucker stopped smoking. He eventually cut alcohol too in 2002 after drinking so much while covering George W. Bush in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary that he accidentally got on the wrong plane, according to a friend.Most of Tucker's fellow students remember him best as a skilled speaker."He was always eager to take the less palatable side of the argument and argue that side," said Mahlon Stewart, who attended prep school and college with Tucker and is now a geriatric specialist at Columbia University. "Back then it was comedic. I thought it was an act.""His confidence was just amazing. He could just put out some positions and be willing to argue anything no matter how outlandish," Keller Kimbrough, a former classmate who's now a professor at the University of Colorado. "We were talking about politics and religion one time Tucker pulled this card out of his wallet and said, 'Well actually I'm an ordained minister, I'm an authority on the subject.' This was a stunt. He could literally play the religion card." "When he got the job at Fox I just thought 'Wow that's perfect for him, that's exactly what he can do.'"Their dorm room discourses were never serious. Tucker would pick a side in a debate between whether the color red or blue were better, and the crowd would erupt whenever he made a good point, friends said.  "Even at age 15 he was verbally dexterous and a great debater," Ian Toll said. "His conservative politics was fully formed even back then. He believed in strong defense and minimal government."His teachers saw a pupil who was primed for law school."Language and speaking came naturally to him. He took pleasure in it," said Rusty Rushton, Tucker's former English teacher. Tucker's politics, though, "seemed fluid to me," Rushton said. "I don't think of him as a deeply ensconced ideologue."He ditched soccer after sophomore year to act in a school theater production of Ayn Rand's courtroom thriller "Night of January 16th" (Julie Bowen starred as the prosecuting attorney. Tucker played a juror). But Tucker found his voice in competitive debate when he eventually joined the school's debate club. The team traveled to other private school campuses to compete against schools like Andover, Exeter, and Roxbury Latin in tournaments."He won some debate and basically did a victory lap afterward and got in the face of all the faculty there," one alum from a rival school who debated against Tucker said. "After defeating the student team, he started challenging the faculty, and said, 'Do any of you want to take me on? Are any of you capable of debating me?'"SusieIn the fall of Tucker's sophomore year, a new headmaster arrived at St. George's, Rev. George Andrews II. Andrews' daughter, Susie – who Tucker would eventually marry – was in Tucker's class. According to school tradition, a rotating group of underclassmen was charged with serving their classmates dinner and, one night in late September, Tucker and Susie had the shift at the same time. "They were sitting at a table at the far end of Queen Hall just leaning in, talking to each other," Sterne recalled. "You could see the sparks flying, which was cool."Susie floated between the school's friend groups easily. When she was seen mingling with Tucker, some questioned what she saw in him."People were saying, 'Come on Susie, why are you dating Tucker?' He's such a loser slacker and she was so sweet," Traister said. The pair started dating at the age of 15 and quickly became inseparable. Tucker gained notoriety on campus for repeatedly sneaking into Susie's room on the second floor of Memorial Schoolhouse, the school's stately administrative office that housed the headmaster's quarters. He had less time for his dumpster buddies now that the couple hung out on the campus lawn, attended chapel and an interdenominational campus ministry organization called FOCUS. His senior yearbook included a photo of Tucker squinting in concern to a classmate, with the caption "What do you mean you told Susie?While Susie was universally liked within the St. George's community, her father was polarizing.Andrews led the school during a turbulent period – it was later revealed – when its choirmaster Franklin Coleman was accused of abusing or having inappropriate conduct with at least 10 male students, according to an independent investigation by the law firm Foley Hoag in 2016. (Two attorneys representing several victims said 40 alumni contacted them with credible accounts of molestation and rape accusations at the hands of St. George's employees between 1974 and 2004 after a 2015 school-issued report detailed 26 accounts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. (Coleman was never criminally charged and he has not responded to Insider's attempts to reach him.) Over his eight-year tenure as school music director, from 1980 to 1988, Coleman invited groups of boys to his apartment for private parties. Sometimes he shared alcohol and pot with some of them, gave them back and neck rubs, showed pornographic videos, traveled with them on choral trips and stayed in their hotel rooms, and appeared nude around some of them, the report found. Several of Tucker's classmates and former faculty said they had no reason to believe he would have been aware of the accusations. "There were rumors circulating wildly that Coleman was bad news. The idea was he would cultivate relationships with young men," Ian Toll, a St. George's alum, said. "Anyone who was there at that time would have likely been aware of those rumors."Andrews told Foley Hoag investigators he was not aware of any complaints about Coleman until May 1988 (by then, Tucker had finished his freshman year in college) when school psychiatrist Peter Kosseff wrote a report detailing a firsthand account of misconduct. But Andrews acknowledged to investigators the school could have been aware of "prior questionable conduct" before then, the report said. Andrews fired Coleman in May 1988 after the school confronted Coleman with allegations of misconduct and he did not deny them. According to the investigation, Andrews told students Coleman resigned due to "emotional stress" and that he had the "highest regard and respect for him." On the advice of a school attorney, Andrews did not report the music teacher to child protective services. He also knew that his faculty dean wrote Coleman a letter of recommendation for a job at another school, according to investigators. Andrews left the school a few weeks after Coleman departed. By September 1989, he was named headmaster at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Florida which he led for 18 years. (Andrews declined to speak about Tucker or his tenure at either school.) St. George's, meanwhile, reached an undisclosed settlement with up to 30 abuse survivors in 2016. Coleman found work as a choir director at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa Bay, Florida before he retired in 2008. Tucker Carlson attended St. George’s School, a boarding school starting at age 14.Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesTrinity In the fall of 1987, Tucker enrolled at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where Rev. Andrews had also attended.Nearly two-thirds of Trinity's student body back then originated from private schools and many came from wealthy backgrounds. Tuition in 1987 cost $11,700 plus an additional $3,720 for room and board—around $27,839 in today's dollars."When the Gulf War broke out" in 1990, one Trinity alum who knew Tucker recalled, "there was a big plywood sign in front of the student center that read, 'Blood for Oil,' and someone else threw a bucket of paint on it."The posh campus was situated in the middle of Hartford, Connecticut, the state's capital and one of its poorest cities. Discussions about race and inequality were sometimes at the forefront of campus politics, but many students avoided engaging in them entirely."There were issues about whether black students should only date other black students, that kind of thing," said Kathleen Werthman, a classmate of Tucker's who now works at a Florida nonprofit for people with disabilities. "My sophomore year, for new students, they had a speaker talking about racism, and one of the students said, 'I never met a black student, how are you supposed to talk to them?' And the idea that only white people can be racist was challenged too."Susie was at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. His brother remained in Rhode Island and other prep school friends had fanned out across the East Coast. Tucker moved into a four-bedroom dormitory overlooking the main quad. One suitemate, Neil Patel, was an economics major from Massachusetts who played intramural softball. (They would co-found the Daily Caller together two decades years later.) Other roommates played on the varsity soccer team and they formed a tight-knit group."I remember being struck by him. He was the same way he is now," said Rev. Billy Cerveny, a college friend of Tucker's who's now a pastor at Redbird Nashville. "He was a force of nature. He had a sense of presence and gravitas. You might get into an argument with him, but you end up loving the guy."Tucker often went out of his way to amuse his friends. Once during the spring semester, several activists set up a podium and microphone beneath his dorm window to protest the CIA's on-campus recruitment visits. The demonstration was open-mic so Tucker went up to the stage and told the crowd of about 15 people, "I think you're all a bunch of greasy chicken fuckers.""I think people laughed. He did," Cerveny said. "There was always a small collection of people any time there was an issue who tried to stir the pot in that way. Some people were dismissive and other people loved it, thinking 'Oh we're getting a fight here.'"As a sophomore, Tucker and his friends moved into a dingy three-story house on Crescent Street on the edge of the campus. He ditched his tailored jackets, khakis, and bowties for oversized Levi jeans, t-shirts, and untucked oxford shirts. Tucker commandeered a low-ceilinged room above the front porch with so many windows he had to hang up tapestries to keep out the sun. The tiny alcove had barely enough space for an eight-foot futon and several bookshelves Tucker built himself stacked with books he collected. Friends remember Tucker receiving an 8-by-10 manilla envelope that his father sent through the mail once or twice a month containing dozens of articles from newspapers and magazines.One of Tucker's friends, Cerveny, remembered stopping by Richard's home in Washington, D.C. and finding evidence of his hobbies, including the world's second largest collection of walking sticks."His house was filled with rare canes he collected from all over the world," Cerveny said. "The hallways had really amazing rows of canes hung on hooks that were specially made to mount these things on the house. One used to be a functional shotgun, another one was made out of a giraffe. His dad would pull out newspaper clippings of WWII Navy aircraft carriers. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I had never seen anything like that. Who collects canes?"During sophomore year, Tucker's friends decided to rush Delta Phi, a well-to-do fraternity also known as St. Elmo's. The Greek scene had a large presence on campus — about 20 percent of men joined them even though Trinity was a liberal arts school — and St. Elmo's had a reputation as freewheeling scamps. Once a year, a St. Elmo's brother would ride his motorcycle naked through the campus cafeteria. (Faculty voted in 1992 to abolish Greek life saying they were sexist and racist, and school administrators instead forced fraternities to become co-ed.)But Tucker refused to come aboard. Some classmates thought it was because he didn't want to be hazed."Tucker was not a joiner like that," Mahlon Stewart said. "He wouldn't have set himself up for whatever humiliation would have been involved. He would not have put up with that." But Cerveny, who pledged the fraternity, said it was a matter of faith."I remember explicitly him saying 'Look, I want to focus on what my faith is about and I thought this would be a big distraction,'" Cerveny said. "But he was very much in the mix with us. When we moved to a fraternity house [on Broad Street], we asked him to live with us."Tucker occasionally dropped in on his friends' fraternity events and occasionally brought Susie when she visited or Buckley when he drifted into town. Other times they hung out at Baker's Cafe on New Britain Avenue. Mostly Tucker stayed in his room."He was basically a hermit. It wasn't like he was going to a ton of parties" one Trinity St. Elmo's brother said. "He was not a part of the organizational effort of throwing big parties, or encouraging me to join the fraternity." Susie, who didn't drink or smoke, was a moderating influence. "Tucker and Susie had their moral compass pointing north even back then," Sterne said. "Tucker's faith was not something he was focused on in his early years but when he met Susie and he became close to her family, that started to blossom and grow in him. Now it's a huge part of his life."By the time his crew moved to another house on Broad Street, they each acquired vintage motorcycles and tinkered with them in their garage. Tucker owned a 1968 flathead Harley Davidson that barely ran and relied on a red Jeep 4X4 to transport friends around town (the Volkswagen van he had freshman year blew up). He smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes, sipped bourbon, and occasionally brewed beer in the basement, including a batch he named "Coal Porter," according to GQ.When he wasn't reading outside of his courses or tinkering with his carburetor, Tucker took classes in the humanities and ultimately majored in history. Tucker dabbled in other fields including Russian history, Jewish history, Women's Studies, and Religious Studies, sitting in the back of lecture halls with his friends. Ron Kiener, who taught an introductory level course in Judaism, recalled Tucker performing "poorly" but earning a credit. "He did not get a stellar grade from me," Kiener said. "Based on what he says now he surely didn't get very much out of my courses."But Leslie Desmangles, who led courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Myth, Rite, and Sacrament, said Tucker was engaged and likely did just enough to pass his courses even if he wasn't very studious or vocal in class discussions."He was interested in understanding the nature of religious belief and studying different cultures and religions but I'm not sure if he had an interest in diversity," Desmangles said. "He was genuinely interested in ritual since a lot of the Episcopal church is highly ritualistic."Tucker's fascination with religion extended to his extracurricular activities too. He and several friends joined Christian Fellowship, a Bible study group that met weekly and helped the school chaplain lead Sunday services. Some members even volunteered with ConnPIRG, a student advocacy group on hunger and environmental issues, and traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the Gulf War. But Tucker steered clear of campus activism. He spent his free time reading and seeing Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Sting perform when they came through Connecticut. Sometimes he skipped school to follow his favorite band, the Grateful Dead, on tour.He took an interest in Central American politics too. At the end of freshman year, Tucker and Patel traveled to Nicaragua. "We did not have a place to stay or any set plans," Tucker told the Trinity Tripod, his college paper, in March 1990. "It was very spontaneous. We are both extremely political and we felt that getting to know the country and some of its citizens would give us a better perspective on the situation." In February 1990, Tucker returned with three friends to Managua for 10 days to observe Nicaragua's elections. The National Opposition Union's Violetta Chamoro, which was backed by the U.S. government, defeated the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front Daniel Ortega who had been in power since 1979. A month later Tucker and his classmate Jennifer Barr, who was separately in Nicaragua to observe elections and distribute medical supplies to the Sandinistas, shared their perspectives about their visits to a small crowd at the Faculty Club for the school's Latin America Week. Tucker thought press coverage of the election was too left-leaning and criticized the media for skewing a conservative victory, according to Barr."I don't think it was necessarily true," Barr said. "He was dismissive [about my views]. I did get a sense that he believed in what he was saying, and it was very different from my experience and my understanding of the race."Tucker's stance on U.S. politics at the time was less didactic. As the 1992 presidential election loomed his senior year, Tucker touted the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, a Texas business magnate, to his friends although it did not appear that Tucker was an ardent supporter."Tucker would go on and on about how Ross Perot was the answer to this or that, as a joke, and every one would participate" one St. Elmo's brother said. "He liked the way Ross Perot was basically throwing a wrench into the system. He wasn't a serious Ross Perot proponent. He was cheering on somebody who was screwing up the system."In Tucker's college yearbook, below his tousle-haired, bowtie wearing thumbnail photo, was a list of his extra-curricular activities: "History; Christian Fellowship 1 2 3 4, Jesse Helms Foundation, Dan White Society." Neither of the latter two – named, respectively, after the ultra-conservative North Carolina Senator, and a San Francisco supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978 – ever existed. Tucker admired Helms for being a "bull in the china shop" of Congress, one classmate said. Some friends believed Tucker slipped in the off-color references as a lark."It's like a joke you and a friend would put in a series of anagrams that only you and two friends would remember and no one else would," the St. Elmo's friend said. "It's so niche that only someone like Tucker is thinking things like that or would even know the name of the person who killed Harvey Milk. He paid attention to things like that."Others claimed Tucker was the victim of a prank."It would not at all surprise me if one of the other guys in the [fraternity] house filled it in for him, and not just an inside joke, but pegging him with something that he got grief for," another close friend said. Protesters rally against Fox News outside the Fox News headquarters at the News Corporation building, March 13, 2019 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesAn outsider among insidersBy the spring of 1991, Tucker's academic performance had caught up with him. He had accumulated a 1.9 grade point average and may have finished with a 2.1 GPA, according to one faculty member who viewed a copy of his transcript. Tucker would eventually graduate from Trinity a year late. Falling behind was not uncommon. About 80 percent of Trinity students completed their degrees in four years, according to Trinity College records. (A Trinity spokeswoman would not comment on Tucker's transcript due to FERPA laws, which protect student privacy.Tucker's post-collegiate plans fell through too. Tucker applied to the CIA that spring. The spy agency passed."He mentioned that he had applied and they rejected him because of his drug use," another college friend said, while declining to be named. "He was too honest on his application. I also probably should say I don't know whether he was telling the truth or not." Once the school year was over, Tucker and Neil Patel hit the road on a cross-country motorcycle ride. After that: Washington DC.  Tucker's family left Southern California for Georgetown after President Reagan named his father head of Voice of America. In June 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Richard ambassador to the Seychelles and the Carlson family upgraded to a nicer house in Georgetown with a pool in the basement. That summer, with Tucker's father and stepmother often out of town, the Carlson household was the center of Tucker's social lives, the place they retired to after a night drinking at Georgetown college dive bars like Charing Cross and Third Edition, and pubs like Martin's Tavern and The Tombs, immortalized in St. Elmo's Fire. In August, Tucker and Susie got married in St. George's chapel and held a reception at the Clambake Club of Newport, overlooking the Narragansett Bay. Back in Washington, Tucker's prep school, college, and his father's Washington-based networks began to mesh. Tucker took a $14,000-a-year job as an assistant editor and fact checker of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published at the time by the Heritage Foundation, the nation's leading conservative think tank. For the next three decades, Tucker thrived in the Beltway: He joined The Weekly Standard and wrote for several magazines before appearing on cable news networks as a right-of-center analyst and host at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. His father embarked on a third career as a television executive where he ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and his brother became a political operative and a pollster. By the time Tucker reached the core of the conservative media sphere, a slot on Fox News's primetime opinion lineup, he shed friends from his youth who couldn't grapple with the hard-right turn he veered once he became the face of the network.One friend was not surprised with Tucker's act. In the spring of 2016, during the heat of Donald Trump's presidential campaign against Hilary Clinton and a few months before "Tucker Carlson Tonight" premiered on Fox, Tucker had lunch with his old prep school classmate Richard Wayner who made the speech about Eleanor Bumpurs all those years ago. Wayner believed Tucker's gesture from his pew was never serious. "As a 9th or 10th grader in a chapel full of people in a conversation, he was trying to get attention," Wayner said.The two stayed in touch over the years and Tucker at one point suggested he write a handful of pieces for the Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion site that Tucker co-founded and ran in the 2010s. As they settled into their table at a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse, the two chatted about Wayner's experience on the board of St. George's (which Susie was about to join) and their respective careers. Tucker was floating around at Fox, and Wayner, now an investor and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, said the conversation drifted toward salaries."He was asking, 'How much do you make on Wall Street' and was like, 'Wow, Wall Street guys make a lot.'" Wayner said. When they left the restaurant and headed back toward the Fox News headquarters, several people recognized Tucker on the street even though he had jettisoned his trademark bowtie years ago. Wayner saw Tucker making the pragmatic decision to follow a business model that has made his conservative media counterparts a lot of money."I don't think he has a mission. I don't think he has a plan," Wayner said. "Where he is right now is about as great as whatever he thought he could be.""Tucker knows better. He does. He can get some attention, money, or both." he added. "To me, that's a shame. Because he knows better." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

Previewing The Fed"s Decision To Kick Off A Record Tightening Cycle Right Into A Recession

Previewing The Fed's Decision To Kick Off A Record Tightening Cycle Right Into A Recession At the conclusion of tomorrow's FOMC meeting, consensus expects the Committee to raise the target range for the federal funds rate by 50bp to 0.75% to 1.0%, the first "double" rate hike since May 2000 (when the Fed definitively burst the dot com bubble)... ... and to announce the start of the reduction of the size of the Fed’s balance sheet, in line with the parameters set out in the March FOMC minutes, somewhere to the tune of $95BN-$100BN per month in bond maturities without active sales (for now). As shown below, while a 50bps rate hike is fully priced in (and in fact, markets are pricing in a modest probability of a 75bps rate hike), rates traders price a roughly 35% chance of a 75bps rate hike in the June meeting. Overall, markets are expecting just over 10 rate hikes by year-end and just under 11 rate hikes through February 2023, at which point the Fed is expected to halt its tightening cycle and start easing. In its FOMC preview, JPMorgan expects the most relevant part of the FOMC statement — the forward guidance on rates — to indicate an expectation that “ongoing increases” in the funds rate will be appropriate; in the post-meeting press conference the bank looks for Powell to convey the need to expeditiously return the funds rate to neutral, and the high likelihood that the funds rate will need to go into restrictive territory. Notably, JPM believes that it is possible we could see a dissent or two for a larger 75bp move, and while the bank thinks there’s an outside chance (perhaps one-in-five) that the hawks persuade their colleagues to support this bigger move, it sees most of the Committee preferring moves in 50bp increments until they finally get the desired tightening in financial conditions. Turning to the fundamentals, JPM notes that it’s pretty clear that this economy doesn’t need stimulative monetary policy. However, less clear are the speed at which this stimulus should be removed, and the reasons for choosing that speed. Whatever the reasons, almost all FOMC policymakers who spoke since the last meeting indicated varying degrees of comfort with hiking by 50bp at next week’s meeting. Notably, Bullard suggested 75bp might be more appropriate (and more “expeditious” than 50bp), though this seemed to receive little buy-in among other Fed officials. According to JPM, "the near-unanimity of this view suggests that perhaps this option has already been tacitly agreed upon, through either a conference call or bilateral calls." Indeed, the Powell Fed has displayed a strong preference to telegraph its intentions ahead of meeting day, and for that reason 50bps is the most likely outcome . But if there is a time to break from habit it’s when the Fed’s inflation credibility is being called into question 0 like right now -  and so don’t fully write off the possibility of a larger rate move. The statement’s forward guidance will be another critical channel by which to influence financial conditions. The Committee is expected to copy the guidance from the last meeting, that it “anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate.” If this phrase is used at meetings at which the FOMC hikes by 25bp (March) and 50bp (May, presumably), then it wouldn’t lock in expectations for a given size of future rate increases, only that more hikes are needed. The risks to this guidance skew very hawkish. However, something like “continue to expeditiously remove accommodation” might imply 50s until the funds rate gets to neutral, which may be too much for the majority of the Committee to stomach. Other changes to the FOMC statement should be fairly modest. Given the contraction in GDP in 1Q, the upbeat phrase about economic activity could be replaced with an upbeat phrase about domestic demand (more particularly about consumer and business spending). Turning to QT, the statement will almost certainly indicate the start of balance sheet reduction (QT), though most of the details of that decision will be relegated to an accompanying "implementation note." Those details will stick closely to the plan spelled out in the March FOMC meeting minutes: monthly runoff caps of $60bn for Treasuries and $35bn for mortgages, and will likely be phased in over a period of three months. As per recent public remarks, actual asset run-off will likely begin at the start of June. Fed officials have indicated that they expect the balance sheet reduction will be a set-it-and-forget-it process, although that's what Yellen said back before the previous QT and we all know how that ended. JPM thinks there is a chance in coming months that the Committee could revisit their decision to subject T-bill runoff to the monthly caps for Treasuries. That said, don’t expect to hear anything further on asset sales in the implementation note. Needless to say, QT matters: as these charts from Crossborder Capital's from Mike Howell show, the S&P 500 reacts in real time to rises and falls in the balance sheet. The Fed has already made some liquidity reductions since the turn of the year, and they coincided more or less exactly with the beginning of the trouble for the stock market: As Bloomberg's John Authers adds, a further factor is QT’s effect on collateral, or on the ability to roll over or refinance investments: it leaves less cash in markets, and make it harder to find collateral when it is needed (this is what triggered the infamous repo crash of Sept 2019 which then led to the even more infamous "NOT QE" QE episode of late 2019. Sharp QT implies a drastic tightening of conditions and the risk of financial accidents. For an analogy, Authers writes, "remember the subprime debacle. That was based on the assumption that adjustable-rate mortgages with low teaser rates could swiftly be refinanced before higher rates bit. It was when borrowers found that they couldn’t refinance, and then started to default, that the crisis set in." It is the the risk of such accidents, which will first and foremost hit the same tech stocks that benefited greatly from the Fed's balance sheet expansion in the past decade... ... that leaves many in the market still deeply skeptical that QT will happen as scheduled. The following comment from Bear Traps Report author Larry McDonald captures this reality best: The beast inside the market has Chair Powell in his sights for the 2nd time since Q 4 2018. Once again it was the Fed whispering into the ear of a journalist over the weekend: “The Fed is set to start shrinking its 9 trillion asset portfolio Their plan rhymes with the 2017-19 version. But this time will be different They’re going sooner and faster all while preparing a speedier pace of rate increases because inflation is high." WSJ Sunday. Hilarious. The Fed went to 50BN a month in September of 2018 and had to stop five minutes later in December this was after promising Wall St economists they were on Auto pilot all the way up to a 2T reduction. Now, they are going to give it a try at 90B a month in May with back to back 50 bp hikes? Who are they kidding? It's the worst start to a year for stocks in decades, consumer savings is down to the bone, GDP prints negative, and the Fed is going to kick off a record tightening cycle? It´s all a show. With conviction we see a near term top in the US dollar and another leg up for hard assets, value vs growth and emerging markets. Humor aside, JPM concludes by noting that while the statement will be agnostic as to the size of future rate moves, Powell can use the press conference to refine this message and will likely indicate that hikes of 50bp or larger are fair game in coming meetings. More generally, both JPM - and the broader market - expects a sternly hawkish tone from the Chair. That said, considering the recent negative GDP print, even a modest trace of dovishness will send risk assets soaring. Speaking of which, JPM is leaning on the dovish side, and the bank's chief economist Mike Feroli thinks the Fed will only deliver two 50bps rate hikes, well below the four 50bps rate hikes currently priced by the market; for those who agree, JPM urges putting on some long risk particularly in the Tech segment: "Our Derivatives team has seen some interest in bullish cash spreads on Nasdaq/QQQs... Separately, our Delta-One team has seen client interest in switching out of SPX/SPY hedges into something that shows more material downside if we have an extended rally that is similar to what we saw on Thursday." To be sure, JPM admits that the above is the “glass is half full” argument. What would prevent this to coming to fruition? Well, according to Andrew Tyler from JPM's flow trading desk, "the reaction to Financials and MegaCap Tech tell us that investors have a base case that the Fed will tightening us into a recession which is exacerbated by commodity-based inflation that will increasingly hurt consumption." Further, these risks are (i) magnified by China’s COVID-Zero policy, which has yet to be fully incorporated into economic forecast and could trigger another wave of earnings downgrades; and, (ii) Russia/Ukraine. The RU/UKR situation seems likely to extend longer than anticipated with the largest risks to the US coming via the Ags complex, driven by both a lack of fertilizer inducing a global redux in crop yield and reduced commodity exports from both countries. As a result, the JPM trader warns that "it may be the case that any rally will be sold until the aforementioned risks are closer to being solved. If so, then remain tactical, remain market-neutral, and consider taking some swings using derivatives if your investment style permits." In conclusion, all we can say is that what the Fed plans to do is one thing. What the market will let it do, is something else, and inflation or no inflation (expect the definition of CPI to be fully revised in a few months to exclude anything that is surging in price) we expect Powell will abort the Fed's tightening process early, just like it did in Q4 2018, with stocks cratering to drive the point home, and forcing the Fed to not only end its tightening but to fast forward to easing and even more QE. Tyler Durden Tue, 05/03/2022 - 15:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 3rd, 2022

Gordon Chang: What To Do About China

Gordon Chang: What To Do About China Authored by Gordon Chang via The Gatestone Institute, Since about 2018, Chinese officials have been talking about the moon and Mars as sovereign Chinese territory, part of the People's Republic of China. This means that China considers those heavenly bodies to be like the South China Sea. This also means that China will exclude other nations from going to the moon and Mars if they have the capability to do so. We do not have to speculate about that: Chinese officials say this is what they are going to do. [W]hen Biden says, "Oh, the Chinese just want to compete with us," he is wrong. They do not want to "compete" within the international system. They do not even want to change that system... They want to overthrow it altogether, period. Is Xi Jinping really that bold... to start another war? ... First, China considers the United States to be its enemy. Second the United States is no longer deterring China. China feels it has a big green light to do whatever it wants. We Americans don't pay attention to propaganda... After all, these are just words. At this particular time, these words... [suggest] to me that China is laying the justification for a strike on the United States. We keep ignoring what Beijing is saying. We kept ignoring what Osama bin Laden was saying. We have to remember that the Chinese regime, unlike the Japanese, always warn its adversaries about what it is going to do The second reason war is coming is that America's deterrence of China is breaking down. Di's message was that with cash, China can do anything it wants, and that all Americans would take cash. He mentioned two words in this regard: Hunter Biden. In February, [Biden] had a two‑hour phone call with Xi Jinping. By Biden's own admission, he didn't raise the issue of the origins of COVID‑19 even once. If you are Xi Jinping, after you put down the receiver, your first thought is, "I just got away with killing hundreds of thousands of Americans." We have news that China is building something like 345 missile silos in three locations: in Gansu, Xinjiang, and in Inner Mongolia. These silos are clearly built to accommodate the DF‑41. The DF‑41 has a range of about 9,300 miles, which means that it can reach any part of the United States. The DF‑41 carries 10 warheads. This means that China could, in about two years..., have a bigger arsenal than ours. ...we have to assume the worst because Chinese leaders and Chinese generals, on occasion, unprovoked, have made threats to nuke American cities. In July, 2021 China tested a hypersonic glide warhead, which circled the world. This signals China intends to violate the Outer Space Treaty, to which China is a party. As of today, more than eight million people have died outside China. What happened? No one imposed costs on China. For at least a half‑decade, maybe a little bit longer, Chinese military researchers have been openly writing about a new type of biological warfare....They talk about a new type of biological warfare of "specific ethnic genetic attacks." In other words, pathogens that will leave the Chinese immune but sicken and kill everybody else, which means that the next disease from China can be a civilization killer. A lot of military analysts talk about how the first seconds of a war with China are going to be fought in outer space. They are going to blind our satellites, take them down, do all sorts of stuff. Those statements are wrong. The first day of war against the United States occurs about six months earlier, when they release pathogens in the United States. Then we are going to have that day in space. The war starts here, with a pathogen ‑‑ a virus, a microbe, a bug of some kind. That is where it begins. The One‑China policy is something many people misunderstand. Probably because Beijing uses propaganda to try to fuzzy up the issue.... China has a One‑China principle: that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China, full stop. We have a One‑China policy..., that the status of Taiwan is unresolved.... that the resolution of the status of Taiwan must be with the consent of people on both sides of the Strait. We need a policy of "strategic clarity," where we tell China that we will defend Taiwan. We also say we will extend a mutual defense treaty to Taiwan if it wants it, and we will put American troops on the island as a tripwire. We are Americans. We naturally assume that there are solutions, and good solutions, to every problem. After three decades of truly misguided China policy, there are no ... solutions that are "undangerous." ...The current trend of policy is unsustainable. There will be no American republic if we continue to do what we are currently doing and if we continue to allow China to do what it does. I do not think that enforcing a trade deal will start World War III. China has not met its obligations. As of a few months ago, China had met about 62% of its commitments..... We should be increasing the tariffs that President Trump imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Remember, those tariffs are meant to be a remedy for the theft of US intellectual property. China has continued to steal US IP. As matter of fact, it has gotten worse... I do not think that we should be trying to foster integration of Wall Street into China's markets.... Do not take it from me, just look at their failure to comply with very simple, easy‑to‑comply-with requirements. It was a mistake. The best response would be if we hit them with everything at once because China right now is weak. If we were going to pick the number one thing to do, I would think trade. China now has a debt crisis, so they are not going to invest their way out of this crisis, which means the only way they can save their economy is net exports. We should stop buying their stuff. China has bought the political establishment in the Solomon Islands, except for one brave man named David Suidani. Recently, somebody got the bright idea of publishing all of the specific payments that Beijing has made to Solomon Islands politicians.... We should be doing this with payments to American politicians, we should be doing this across the board. What bothers me is that, although their assumptions about China have demonstrably been proven wrong, American policymakers still continue with the same policies. There is, in some people's mind, an unbreakable view that we have to cooperate with China.... This is what people learn in international relations school when they go to Georgetown, and they become totally stupid. Clearly, Nike and Apple and other companies are now, at this very moment, trying to prevent Congress from enacting toughened rules on the importation of forced‑labor products into our country. Moreover, the Chinese regime is even more casualty‑averse than we are. Even if Beijing thinks it can take Taiwan by force, it is probably not going to invade because it knows an invasion would be unpopular with most people in China. It is not going to risk hundreds of thousands of casualties that would result from an invasion. Unfortunately..., we taught the Chinese that they can without cost engage in these dangerous maneuvers of intercepting our planes and our ships. That is the problem: because as we have taught the Chinese to be more aggressive, they have been. [W]e should have made it clear to the Chinese leadership that they cannot kill Americans without cost. Hundreds of thousands Americans have been killed by a disease that China deliberately spread. From October 2020 to October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died from fentanyl -- which China has purposefully, as a matter of state and Communist Party policy -- sold to Americans... we have to change course. I would close China's four remaining consulates. I would also strip the Chinese embassy down to the ambassador and his personal staff. The thousands who are in Washington, DC, they would be out. I would also raise tariffs to 3,600%, or whatever. This is a good time to do it. We have supply chain disruptions. We are not getting products from China anyway. We can actually start to do this sort of stuff. I would... just hammer those guys all the time verbally. People may think, "Those are just words." For communists, words are really important, because they are an insecure regime where propaganda is absolutely critical. I would be going after the Communists on human rights, I would be going after them on occupying the South China Sea, on Taiwan, unrelentingly -- because I would want to show the world that the United States is no longer afraid of China.... State Department people, they are frightened. We need to say to the Chinese regime, like Dulles, "I'm not afraid of you. I'm going after you, and I'm going to win." Is Xi Jinping really that bold... to start another war?... First, China considers the United States to be its enemy. Second the United States is no longer deterring China. China feels it has a big green light to do whatever it wants. All the conditions for history's next great war are in place. Jim Holmes, the Wiley Professor at the Naval War College, actually talks about this period as being 1937. 1937 was the year in which if you were in Europe or America, you could sense the trouble. If you were in Asia in 1937, you would be even more worried, because that year saw Japan's second invasion of China that decade. No matter where you lived, however, you could not be sure that the worst would happen, that great armies and navies around the world would clash. There was still hope that the situation could be managed. As we now know, the worst did happen. In fact, what happened was worse than what anyone thought at the time. We are now, thanks to China, back to 1937. We will begin our discussion in Afghanistan. Beijing has had long‑standing relations with the Afghan Taliban, going back before 9/11, and continuing through that event. After the US drove the Taliban from power and while it was conducting an insurgency, China was selling the group arms, including anti‑aircraft missiles, that were used to kill American and NATO forces. China's support for killing Americans has continued to today. In December 2020, Indian Intelligence was instrumental, in Afghanistan, in breaking up a ring of Chinese spies and members of the Haqqani Network. The Trump administration believed that the Chinese portion of that ring was actually paying cash for killing Americans. What can happen next? We should not be surprised if China gives the Taliban an atomic weapon to be used against an American city. Would they be that vicious? We have to remember that China purposefully, over the course of decades, proliferated its nuclear weapons technology to Pakistan and then helped Pakistan sell that Chinese technology around the world to regimes such as Iran's and North Korea's. Today, China supports the Taliban. We know this because China has kept open its embassy in Kabul. China is also running interference for the Taliban in the United Nations Security Council. It is urging countries to support that insurgent group with aid. It looks as if the Taliban's main financial backers these days are the Chinese. Beijing is hoping to cash in on its relationship in Central Asia. Unfortunately, there is a man named Biden, who is helping them. In early August, Biden issued an executive order setting a goal that by 2030, half of all American vehicles should be electric‑powered. To be electric‑powered, we need rare earth minerals, we need lithium. As many people have said, Afghanistan is the Saudi Arabia of rare earths and lithium. If Beijing can mine this, it makes the United States even more dependent on China. It certainly helps the Taliban immeasurably. Unfortunately, Beijing has more than just Afghanistan in mind. The Chinese want to take away our sovereignty, and that of other nations, and rule the world. They actually even want to rule the near parts of the solar system. Yes, that does sound far‑fetched, but, no, I'm not exaggerating. Chinese President Xi Jinping would like to end the current international system. On July 1, in a landmark speech, in connection with the centennial of China's ruling organization, he said this: "The Communist Party of China and the Chinese people, with their bravery and tenacity, solemnly proclaim to the world that the Chinese people are not only good at taking down the old world, but also good in building a new one." By that, China's leader means ending the international system, the Westphalian international system. It means he wants to impose China's imperial‑era notions of governance, where Chinese emperors believed they not only had the Mandate of Heaven over tianxia, or all under Heaven, but that Heaven actually compelled the Chinese to rule the entire world. Xi Jinping has been using tianxia themes for decades, and so have his subordinates, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who in September 2017 wrote an article in Study Times, the Central Party School's influential newspaper. In that article, Wang Yi wrote that Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy ‑‑ a "thought" in Communist Party lingo is an important body of ideological work ‑‑ Wang Yi wrote that Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy made innovations on and transcended the traditional theories of Western international relations of the past 300 years. Take 2017, subtract 300 years, and you almost get to 1648, which means that Wang Yi, with his time reference, was pointing to the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, which established the current system of sovereign states. When Wang Yi writes that Xi Jinping wants to transcend that system, he is really telling us that China's leader does not want sovereign states, or at least no more of them than China. This means that when Biden says, "Oh, the Chinese just want to compete with us," he is wrong. They do not want to "compete" within the international system. They do not even want to change that system so it is more to their liking. They want to overthrow it altogether, period. China is also revolutionary with regard to the solar system. Since about 2018, Chinese officials have been talking about the moon and Mars as sovereign Chinese territory. In other words, as part of the People's Republic of China. This means that China considers those heavenly bodies to be like the South China Sea: theirs and theirs alone. This also means that China will exclude other nations from going to the moon and Mars if they have the capability to do so. We do not have to speculate about that: Chinese officials say this is what they are going to do. Let us return to April 2021. Beijing announced the name of its Mars rover. "We are naming the Mars rover Zhurong," the Chinese said, "because Zhurong was the god of fire in Chinese mythology, " How nice. Yes, Zhurong is the god of fire. What Beijing did not tell us is that Zhurong is also the god of war—and the god of the South China Sea. Is Xi Jinping really that bold or that desperate to start another war? Two points. First, China considers the United States to be its enemy. The second point is that the United States is no longer deterring China. China feels it has a big green light to do whatever it wants. On the first point, about our enemy status, we have to go back to May 2019. People's Daily, the most authoritative publication in China, actually carried a piece that declared a "people's war" on the US. This was not just some isolated thought. On August 29th 2021, People's Daily came out with a landmark piece that accused the United States of committing "barbaric" acts against China. Again, this was during a month of hostile propaganda blasts from China. On the August 29th, Global Times, which is controlled by People's Daily, came right out and also said that the United States was an enemy or like an enemy. We Americans don't pay attention to propaganda. The question is, should we be concerned about what China is saying? After all, these are just words. At this particular time, these words are significant. The strident anti‑Americanism suggests to me that China is laying the justification for a strike on the United States. We keep ignoring what Beijing is saying. We kept ignoring what Osama bin Laden was saying. We have to remember that the Chinese regime, unlike the Japanese, always warn its adversaries about what it is going to do. Jim Lilley, our great ambassador to Beijing during the Tiananmen Massacre, actually said that China always telegraphs its punches. At this moment, China is telegraphing a punch. That hostility, unfortunately, is not something we can do very much about. The Chinese Communist regime inherently idealizes struggle, and it demands that others show subservience to it. The second reason war is coming is that America's deterrence of China is breaking down. That is evident from what the Chinese are saying. In March of 2021, China sent its top two diplomats, Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi, to Anchorage to meet our top officials, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Yang, in chilling words, said the US could no longer talk to China "from a position of strength." We saw the same theme during the fall of Kabul. China then was saying, "Look, those Americans, they can't deal with the insurgent Taliban. How can they hope to counter us magnificent Chinese?" Global Times actually came out with a piece referring to Americans: "They can't win wars anymore." We also saw propaganda at that same time directed at Taiwan. Global Times was saying, again, in an editorial, an important signal of official Chinese thinking, "When we decide to invade, Taiwan will fall within hours and the US will not come to help." It is probably no coincidence that this propaganda came at the time of incursions into Taiwan's air-defense identification zone. We need to be concerned with more than just the intensity and with the frequency of these flights, however. We have to be concerned that China was sending H‑6K bombers; they are nuclear‑capable. Something is wrong. Global Times recently came out with an editorial with the title, "Time to warn Taiwan secessionists and their fomenters: war is real." Beijing is at this moment saying things heard before history's great conflicts. The Chinese regime right now seems to be feeling incredibly arrogant. We heard this on November 28th in 2020, when Di Dongsheng, an academic in Beijing, gave a lecture live-streamed to China. Di showed the arrogance of the Chinese elite. More importantly, he was showing that the Chinese elite no longer wanted to hide how they felt. Di, for instance, openly stated that China could determine outcomes at the highest levels of the American political system. Di's message was that with cash, China can do anything it wants, and that all Americans would take cash. He mentioned two words in this regard: Hunter Biden. Unfortunately, President Joe Biden is reinforcing this notion. China, for instance, has so far killed nearly one million Americans with a disease that it deliberately spread beyond its borders. Yet, what happened? Nothing. We know that China was able to spread this disease with its close relationship with the World Health Organization. President Trump, in July of 2020, took us out of the WHO. What did Biden do? In his first hours in office, on January 20th, 2021, he put us back into the WHO. In February, he had a two‑hour phone call with Xi Jinping. By Biden's own admission, he didn't raise the issue of the origins of COVID‑19 even once. If you are Xi Jinping, after you put down the receiver, your first thought is, "I just got away with killing hundreds of thousands of Americans." Then there's somebody named John Kerry. Our republic is not safe when John Kerry carries a diplomatic passport, as he now does. He is willing to make almost any deal to get China to sign an enhanced climate arrangement. Kerry gave a revealing interview to David Westin of Bloomberg on September 22, 2021. Westin asked him, "What is the process by which one trades off climate against human rights?" Climate against human rights? Kerry came back and said, "Well, life is always full of tough choices in the relationship between nations." Tough choices? We Americans need to ask, "What is Kerry willing to give up to get his climate deal?" Democracies tend to deal with each other in the way that Kerry says. If we are nice to a democracy, that will lead to warm relations; warm relations will lead to deals, long‑standing ties. Kerry thinks that the Chinese communists think that way. Unfortunately, they do not. We know this because Kerry's successor as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in February 2009, said in public, "I'm not going to press the Chinese on human rights because I've got bigger fish to fry." She then went to Beijing a day after saying that and got no cooperation from the Chinese. Even worse, just weeks after that, China felt so bold that it attacked an unarmed US Navy reconnaissance vessel in the South China Sea. The attack was so serious that it constituted an act of war. The Chinese simply do not think the way that Kerry believes they do. All of this, when you put it together, means that the risk of war is much higher than we tend to think. Conflict with today's aggressor is going to be more destructive than it was in the 1930s. We have news that China is building something like 345 missile silos in three locations: in Gansu, Xinjiang, and in Inner Mongolia. These silos are clearly built to accommodate the DF‑41. The DF‑41 has a range of about 9,300 miles, which means that it can reach any part of the United States. The DF‑41 carries 10 warheads. This means that China could, in about two years, as some experts think, have a bigger arsenal than ours. China has built decoy silos before. We are not sure they are going to put all 345 missiles into these facilities, but we have to assume the worst because Chinese leaders and Chinese generals, on occasion, unprovoked, have made threats to nuke American cities. This, of course, calls into question their official no‑first‑use policy, and also a lot of other things. China will not talk to us about arms control. We have to be concerned that China and Russia, which already are coordinating their military activities, would gang up against us with their arsenals. In July, 2021 China tested a hypersonic glide warhead, which circled the world. This signals China intends to violate the Outer Space Treaty, to which China is a party. It also shows that in hypersonic technology, which was developed by Americans, China is now at least a decade ahead of us in fielding a weapon. Why is China doing all this now? The country is coming apart at the seams. There is, for instance, a debt crisis. Evergrande and other property developers have started to default. It is more than just a crisis of companies. China is basically now having its 2008. Even more important than that, they have an economy that is stumbling and a food crisis that is worsening year to year. They know their environment is exhausted. Of course, they also are suffering from a continuing COVID‑19 epidemic. To make matters worse, all of this is occurring while China is on the edge of the steepest demographic decline in history in the absence of war or disease. Two Chinese demographers recently stated that China's population will probably halve in 45 years. If you run out those projections, it means that by the end of the century, China will be about a third of its current size, basically about the same number of people as the United States. These developments are roiling the political system. Xi Jinping is being blamed for these debacles. We know he has a low threshold of risk. Xi now has all the incentive in the world to deflect popular and regime discontent by lashing out. In 1966, Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic, was sidelined in Beijing. What did he do? He started the Cultural Revolution. He tried to use the Chinese people against his political enemies. That created a decade of chaos. Xi Jinping is trying to do the same thing with his "common prosperity" program. The difference is that Mao did not have the means to plunge the world into war. Xi, with his shiny new military, clearly does have that ability. So here is a 1930s scenario to consider. The next time China starts a conflict, whether accidentally or on purpose, we could see that China's friends -- Russia, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan -- either in coordination with China or just taking advantage of the situation, move against their enemies. That would be Ukraine in the case of Russia, South Korea in the case of North Korea, Israel in the case of Iran, India in the case of Pakistan, and Morocco in the case of Algeria. We could see crises at both ends of the European landmass and in Africa at the same time. This is how world wars start. *  *  * Question: Why do you believe China attacked the world with coronavirus? Chang: I believe that SARS‑CoV‑2, the pathogen that causes COVID‑19, is not natural. There are, for example, unnatural arrangements of amino acids, like the double‑CGG sequence, that do not occur in nature. We do not have a hundred percent assurance on where this pathogen came from. We do, however, have a hundred percent assurance on something else: that for about five weeks, maybe even five months, Chinese leaders knew that this disease was highly transmissible, from one human to the next, but they told the world that it was not. At the same time as they were locking down their own country ‑‑ Xi Jinping by locking down was indicating that he thought this was an effective way of stopping the disease -- he was pressuring other countries not to impose travel restrictions and quarantines on arrivals from China. It was those arrivals from China that turned what should have been an epidemic confined to the central part of China, into a global pandemic. As of today, more than eight million people have died outside China. What happened? No one imposed costs on China. For at least a half‑decade, maybe a little bit longer, Chinese military researchers have been openly writing about a new type of biological warfare. This was, for instance, in the 2017 edition of "The Science of Military Strategy," the authoritative publication of China's National Defense University. They talk about a new type of biological warfare of "specific ethnic genetic attacks." In other words, pathogens that will leave the Chinese immune but sicken and kill everybody else, which means that the next disease from China can be a civilization killer. Remember, Xi Jinping must be thinking, "I just got away with killing eight million people. Why wouldn't I unleash a biological attack on the United States? Look what the virus has done not only to kill Americans but also to divide American society." A lot of military analysts talk about how the first seconds of a war with China are going to be fought in outer space. They are going to blind our satellites, take them down, do all sorts of stuff. Those statements are wrong. The first day of war against the United States occurs about six months earlier, when they release pathogens in the United States. Then we are going to have that day in space. The war starts here, with a pathogen ‑‑ a virus, a microbe, a bug of some kind. That is where it begins. Question: You mentioned 1939. Taiwan is the Poland of today. We get mixed signals: Biden invites the Taiwanese foreign minister to his inauguration, but then we hear Ned Price, his State Department spokesman, say that America will always respect the One‑China policy. Meaning, we're sidelining defending Taiwan? Chang: The One‑China policy is something many people misunderstand. Probably because Beijing uses propaganda to try to fuzzy up the issue. China has a One‑China principle: that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China, full stop. We have a One‑China policy, which is different. We recognize Beijing as the legitimate government of China. We also say that the status of Taiwan is unresolved. Then, the third part of our One‑China policy is that the resolution of the status of Taiwan must be with the consent of people on both sides of the Strait. In other words, that is code for peace, a peaceful resolution. Our policies are defined by the One‑China policy, the Three Communiques, Reagan's Six Assurances, and the Taiwan Relations Act. Our policy is difficult for someone named Joe Biden to articulate, because he came back from a campaign trip to Michigan, and he was asked by a reporter about Taiwan, and Biden said, "Don't worry about this. We got it covered. I had a phone call with Xi Jinping and he agreed to abide by the Taiwan agreement." In official US discourse, there is no such thing as a "Taiwan agreement." Some reporter then asked Ned Price what did Biden mean by the Taiwan agreement. Ned Price said, "The Taiwan agreement means the Three Communiques the Six Assurances, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the One‑China policy." Ned Price could not have been telling the truth because Xi Jinping did not agree to America's position on Taiwan. That is clear. There is complete fuzziness or outright lying in the Biden administration about this. Biden's policies on Taiwan are not horrible, but they are also not appropriate for this time. decades, we have had this policy of "strategic ambiguity," where we do not tell either side what we would do in the face of imminent conflict. That worked in a benign period. We are no longer in a benign period. We are in one of the most dangerous periods in history. We need a policy of "strategic clarity," where we tell China that we will defend Taiwan. We also say we will extend a mutual defense treaty to Taiwan if it wants it, and we will put American troops on the island as a tripwire. Question: You think he is not saying that because he has no intention of actually doing it, so in a way, he is telling the truth? Chang: The mind of Biden is difficult to understand. We do not know what the administration would do. We have never known, after Allen Dulles, what any administration would do, with regard to Taiwan. We knew what Dulles would have done. We have got to be really concerned because there are voices in the administration that would give Taiwan, and give other parts of the world, to China. It would probably start with John Kerry; that is only a guess. Question: You mentioned earlier the growing Chinese economic problems. Would you use taking action on the enormous trade deficits we run with China to contribute to that problem? Chang: Yes, we should absolutely do that. Go back to a day which, in my mind, lives in infamy, which is January 15th, 2020, when President Trump signed the Phase One trade deal, which I think was a mistake. In that Phase One trade deal, it was very easy for China to comply, because there were specific targets that China had to meet in buying US goods and services. This was "managed trade." China has not met its obligations. As of a few months ago, China had met about 62% of its commitments. That means, they have dishonored this deal in a material and significant way. If nothing else, China has failed to meet its Phase One trade deal commitments. We should be increasing the tariffs that President Trump imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Remember, those tariffs are meant to be a remedy for the theft of US intellectual property. China has continued to steal US IP. As matter of fact, it has gotten worse: for instance, these Chinese anti‑lawsuit injunctions, which they have started to institute. We need to do something: China steals somewhere between $300 to $600 billion worth of US intellectual property each year. That is a grievous wound on the US economy, it is a grievous wound on our society in general. We need to do something about it. Question: As a follow‑up on that, Japan commenced World War II because of the tariffs Roosevelt was strapping on oil imports into Japan, do you think that might well have the same effect on China, where we do begin to impose stiffer tariffs on American imports? Chang: That is a really important question, to which nobody has an answer. I do not think that China would start a war over tariffs. Let me answer this question in a different way. We are Americans. We naturally assume that there are solutions, and good solutions, to every problem. After three decades of truly misguided China policy, there are no good solutions. There are no solutions that are "undangerous." Every solution, going forward, carries great risk. The current trend of policy is unsustainable. There will be no American republic if we continue to do what we are currently doing and if we continue to allow China to do what it does. I do not think that enforcing a trade deal will start World War III. The point is, we have no choice right now. First, I don't think the Chinese were ever going to honor the Phase One agreement . This was not a deal where there were some fuzzy requirements. This deal was very clear: China buys these amounts of agricultural products by such and such date, China buys so many manufactured products by such and such date. This was not rocket science. China purposefully decided not to honor it. There are also other issues regarding the trade deal do not think that we should be trying to foster integration of Wall Street into China's markets, which is what the Phase One deal also contemplated. Goldman Sachs ran away like a bandit on that. There are lot of objections to it. I do not think we should be trading with China, for a lot of reasons. The Phase One trade deal, in my mind, was a great mistake. Do not take it from me, just look at their failure to comply with very simple, easy‑to‑comply-with requirements. It was a mistake. Question: Concerning cybersecurity, as we saw in the recent departure of a Pentagon official, ringing the alarm on how we are completely vulnerable to China's cyberattacks. From your perspective, what would an attack look like on China that would hurt them? What particular institutions would be the most vulnerable? Is it exposing their secrets? Is it something on their financial system? Is it something on their medical system or critical infrastructure? What does the best way look like to damage them? Also, regarding what you mentioned about Afghanistan, we know that China has been making inroads into Pakistan as a check on American hegemony in relationships with India and Afghanistan. Now that the Afghanistan domino is down, what do you see in the future for Pakistan's nuclear capability, in conjunction with Chinese backing, to move ever further westward towards Afghanistan, and endangering Middle East security? Chang: Right now, India has been disheartened by what happened, because India was one of the main backers of the Afghan government. What we did in New Delhi was delegitimize our friends, so that now the pro‑Russian, the pro‑Chinese elements in the Indian national security establishment are basically setting the tone. This is terrible. What has happened, though, in Pakistan itself, is not an unmitigated disaster for us, because China has suffered blowback there. There is an Afghan Taliban, and there is a Pakistani Taliban. They have diametrically‑opposed policies on China. The Afghan Taliban is an ally of China; the Pakistani Taliban kill Chinese. They do that because they want to destabilize Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. Beijing supports Islamabad. The calculation on part of the Pakistani Taliban is, "We kill Chinese, we destabilize Islamabad, we then get to set up the caliphate in Pakistan." What has happened is, with this incredible success of the Afghan Taliban, that the Pakistani Taliban has been re‑energized -- not good news for China. China has something called the China‑Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of their Belt and Road Initiative. Ultimately that is going to be something like $62 billion of investment into Pakistani roads, airports, electric power plants, utilities, all the rest of it. I am very happy that China is in Pakistan, because they are now dealing with a situation that they have no solutions to. It's like Winston Churchill on Italy, "It's now your turn." We should never have had good relations with Pakistan. That was always a short‑term compromise that, even in the short term, undermined American interests. The point is that China is now having troubles in Pakistan because of their success in Afghanistan. Pakistan is important to China for a number of reasons. One of them is, they want it as an outlet to the Indian Ocean that bypasses the Malacca Strait -- a choke point that the US Navy ‑‑ in their view ‑‑ could easily close off, which is correct. They want to bypass that, but their port in Gwadar is a failure in many respects. Gwadar is in Pakistan's Baluchistan. The Baluchs are one of the most oppressed minorities on earth. They have now taken to violence against the Chinese, and they have been effective. Pakistan is a failure for China. The best response would be if we hit them with everything at once because China right now is weak. If we were going to pick the number one thing to do, I would think trade. Trade is really what they need right now. Their economy is stalling. There are three parts to the Chinese economy, as there are to all economies: consumption, investment, and net exports. Their consumption right now is extremely weak from indicators that we have. The question is can they invest? China now has a debt crisis, so they are not going to invest their way out of this crisis, which means the only way they can save their economy is net exports. We should stop buying their stuff. We have extraordinary supply chain disruptions right now. It should be pretty easy for us to make the case that we must become self‑sufficient on a number of items. Hit them on trade. Hit them on investment, publicize the bank account details of Chinese leaders. All these things that we do, we do it all at the same time. We can maybe get rid of these guys. Question: In the Solomon Islands, they published China's under-the-table payments to political figures. Should we do the same thing with China's leaders? Chang: Yes. There is now a contest for the Solomon Islands, which includes Guadalcanal. China has bought the political establishment in the Solomon Islands, except for one brave man named David Suidani. Recently, somebody got the bright idea of publishing all of the specific payments that Beijing has made to Solomon Islands politicians. This was really good news. We should be doing this with payments to American politicians, we should be doing this across the board. Why don't we publish their payments to politicians around the world? Let's expose these guys, let's go after them. Let's root out Chinese influence, because they are subverting our political system. Similarly, we should also be publishing the bank account details of all these Chinese leaders, because they are corrupt as hell. Question: Could you comment, please, on what you think is the nature of the personal relationships between Hunter Biden, his father, and Chinese financial institutions. How has it, if at all, affected American foreign policy towards China, and how will it affect that policy? Chang: There are two things here. There are the financial ties. Hunter Biden has connections with Chinese institutions, which you cannot explain in the absence of corruption. For instance, he has a relationship with Bohai Harvest Partners, BHR. China puts a lot of money into the care of foreign investment managers. The two billion, or whatever the number is, is not that large, but they only put money with people who have a track record in managing investments. Hunter Biden only has a track record of being the son of Joe Biden. There are three investigations of Hunter Biden right now. There is the Wilmington US Attorney's Office, the FBI -- I don't place very much hope in either of these – but the third one might actually bear some fruit: the IRS investigation of Hunter Biden. Let us say, for the moment, that Biden is able to corrupt all three of these investigations. Yet money always leaves a trail. We are going to find out one way or another. Peter Schweizer, for instance, is working on a book on the Biden cash. Eventually, we are going to know about that. What worries me is not so much the money trail -- and of course, there's the art sales, a subject in itself, because we will find out. What worries me is that Hunter Biden, by his own admission, is a troubled individual. He has been to China a number of times. He has probably committed some embarrassing act there, which means that the Ministry of State Security has audio and video recordings of this. Those are the things that can be used for blackmail. We Americans would never know about it, because blackmail does not necessarily leave a trail. This is what we should be most concerned about. Biden has now had two long phone calls with Xi Jinping. The February call, plus also one a few months ago. We do not know what was said. I would be very worried that when Xi Jinping wants to say something, there will be a phone call to Biden, and it would be Xi doing the talking without note takers. Question: Please tell us about the China desk over the 30 years, the influence of the bureaucracy on politics; what can they affect? Chang: I do not agree with our China policy establishment in Washington, in general, and specifically the State Department and NSC. This a complicated issue. First, there is this notion after the end of the Cold War, that the nature of governments did not matter. You could trade with them, you could strengthen them, and it would not have national security implications. That was wrong for a number of reasons, as we are now seeing. What bothers me is that, although their assumptions about China have demonstrably been proven wrong, American policymakers still continue with the same policies. There is, in some people's mind, an unbreakable view that we have to cooperate with China. You hear this from Blinken all the time: "We've got to cooperate where we can." It is this formulation which is tired, and which has not produced the types of policies that are necessary to defend our republic. That is the unfortunate thing. This is what people learn in international relations school when they go to Georgetown, and they become totally stupid. We Americans should be upset because we have a political class that is not defending us. They are not defending us because they have these notions of China. George Kennan understood the nature of the Soviet Union. I do not understand why we cannot understand the true nature of the Chinese regime. Part of it is because we have Wall Street, we have Walmart, and they carry China's water. There are more of us than there are of them in this country. We have to exercise our vote to make sure that we implement China policies that actually protect us. Policies that protect us are going to be drastic and they will be extreme, but absolutely, we have now dug ourselves into such a hole after three decades of truly misguided views on China, that I don't know what else to say. This is not some partisan complaint. Liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, all have truly misguided China policies. I do not know what it takes to break this view, except maybe for the deaths of American servicemen and women. Question: Is the big obstacle American businesses which, in donations to Biden, are the ones stopping decoupling of commerce, and saying, "Do not have war; we would rather earn money"? Chang: It is. You have, for instance, Nike. There are a number of different companies, but Nike comes to mind right now, because they love to lecture us about racism. For years they were operating a factory in Qingdao, in the northeastern part of China, that resembled a concentration camp. The laborers were Uighur and Kazakh women, brought there on cattle cars and forced to work. This factory, technically, was operated by a South Korean sub‑contractor, but that contractor had a three‑decade relationship with Nike. Nike had to know what was going on. This was forced labor, perhaps even slave labor. Clearly, Nike and Apple and other companies are now, at this very moment, trying to prevent Congress from enacting toughened rules on the importation of forced‑labor products into our country. One of the good things Trump did was, towards the end of his four years, he started to vigorously enforce the statutes that are already on the books, about products that are made with forced and slave labor. Biden, to his credit, has continued tougher enforcement. Right now, the big struggle is not the enforcement, but enhancing those rules. Apple and all of these companies are now very much trying to prevent amendment of those laws. It's business, but it's also immoral. Question: It is not just big Wall Street firms. There are companies that print the Bible. Most Bibles are now printed in China. When President Trump imposed the tariffs, a lot of the Bible printers who depended on China actually went to Trump and said, "You cannot put those tariffs in because then the cost of Bibles will go up." Chang: Most everyone lobbies for China. We have to take away their incentive to do so. Question: What are the chances that China's going to invade Taiwan? Chang: There is no clear answer. There are a number of factors that promote stability. One of them is that, for China to invade Taiwan, Xi Jinping has to give some general or admiral basically total control over the Chinese military. That makes this flag officer the most powerful person in China. Xi is not about to do that. Moreover, the Chinese regime is even more casualty‑adverse than we are. Even if Beijing thinks it can take Taiwan by force, it is probably not going to invade because it knows an invasion would be unpopular with most people in China. It is not going to risk hundreds of thousands of casualties that would result from an invasion. The reason we have to be concerned is because it is not just a question of Xi Jinping waking up one morning and saying, "I want to invade Taiwan." The danger is the risk of accidental contact, in the skies or on the seas, around Taiwan. We know that China has been engaging in hostile conduct, and this is not just the incursions into Taiwan's air-defense identification zone. There are also dangerous intercepts of the US Navy and the US Air Force in the global commons. One of those accidents could spiral out of control. We saw this on April 1st, 2001, with the EP‑3, where a Chinese jet clipped the wing of that slow‑moving propeller plane of the US Navy. The only reason we got through it was that George W. Bush, to his eternal shame, paid China a sum that was essentially a ransom. He allowed our crew to be held for 11 days. He allowed the Chinese to strip that plane. This was wrong. This was the worst incident in US diplomatic history, but Bush's craven response did get us through it. Unfortunately, by getting through it we taught the Chinese that they can without cost engage in these dangerous maneuvers of intercepting our planes and our ships. That is the problem: because as we have taught the Chinese to be more aggressive, they have been. One of these incidents will go wrong. The law of averages says that. Then we have to really worry. Question: You don't think Xi thinks, "Oh well, we can sacrifice a few million Chinese"? Chang: On the night of June 15th, 2020, there was a clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers in Ladakh, in the Galwan Valley. That was a Chinese sneak attack on Indian-controlled territory. That night, 20 Indian soldiers were killed. China did not admit to any casualties. The Indians were saying that they killed about 45 Chinese soldiers that night. Remember, this was June 15th of 2020. It took until February of 2021 for China to admit that four Chinese soldiers died. TASS, the Russian news agency, recently issued a story reporting that 45 Chinese soldiers actually died that night. This incident shows you how risk‑averse and casualty‑averse the Chinese Communist Party is. They are willing to intimidate, they are willing to do all sorts of things. They are, however, loath to fight sustained engagements. Remember, that the number one goal of Chinese foreign policy is not to take over Taiwan. The number one goal of Chinese foreign policy is to preserve Communist Party rule. If the Communist Party feels that the Chinese people are not on board with an invasion of Taiwan, they will not do it even if they think they will be successful. Right now, the Chinese people are not in any mood for a full‑scale invasion of Taiwan. On the other hand, Xi Jinping has a very low threshold of risk. He took a consensual political system where no Chinese leader got too much blame or too much credit, because everybody shared in decisions, and Xi took power from everybody, which means, he ended up with full accountability, which means -- he is now fully responsible. In 2017, when everything was going China's way, this was great for Xi Jinping because he got all the credit. Now in 2021, where things are not going China's way, he is getting all the blame. The other thing, is that Xi has raised the cost of losing a political struggle in China. In the Deng Xiaoping era, Deng reduced the cost of losing a struggle. In the Maoist era, if you lost a struggle, you potentially lost your life. In Deng's era, if you lost a struggle, you got a nice house, a comfortable life. Xi Jinping has reversed that. Now the cost of losing a political struggle in China is very high. So there is now a combination of these two developments. Xi has full accountability. He knows that if he is thrown out of power, he loses not just power. He loses his freedom, his assets, potentially his life. If he has nothing to lose, however, it means that he can start a war, either "accidentally" or on purpose. He could be thinking, "I'm dying anyway, so why don't I just roll the dice and see if I can get out of this?" That is the reason why this moment is so exceedingly risky. When you look at the internal dynamics inside China right now, we are dealing with a system in crisis. Question: China has a conference coming up in a year or so. What does Chairman Xi want to do to make sure he gets through that conference with triumph? Chang: The Communist Party has recently been holding its National Congresses once every five years. If the pattern follows -- and that is an if -- the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party will be held either October or November of next year. This is an important Congress, more so than most of them because Xi Jinping is looking for an unprecedented third term as general secretary of the Communist Party. If you go back six months ago, maybe a year, everyone was saying, "Oh, Xi Jinping. No problem. He's president for life. He's going to get his third term. He will get his fourth term. He will get his fifth term, as long as he lives. This guy is there forever." Right now, that assumption is no longer valid. We do not know what's going to happen because he is being blamed for everything. Remember, as we get close to the 20th National Congress, Xi Jinping knows he has to show "success." Showing "success" could very well mean killing some more Indians or killing Americans or killing Japanese or something. We just don't know what is going to happen. Prior to the National Congress, there is the sixth plenum of the 19th Congress. Who knows what is going to happen there. The Communist Party calendar, as you point out, does dictate the way Xi Jinping interacts with the world. Question: Going back to the wing-clip incident, what should Bush have done? Chang: What Bush should have done is immediately demand the return of that plane. What he should have done was to impose trade sanctions, investment sanctions, whatever, to get our plane back. We were fortunate, in the sense that our aviators were returned, but they were returned in a way that has made relations with China worse, because we taught the Chinese regime to be more aggressive and more belligerent. We created the problems of today and of tomorrow. I would have imposed sanction after sanction after sanction, and just demand that they return the plane and the pilots. Remember, that at some point, it was in China's interests to return our aviators. The costs would have been too high for the Chinese to keep them. We did not use that leverage on them. While we are on this topic, we should have made it clear to the Chinese leadership that they cannot kill Americans without cost. Hundreds of thousands Americans have been killed by a disease that China deliberately spread. In one year, from 2020 to 2021, nearly 80,000 Americans died from fentanyl, which China has purposefully, as a matter of state and Communist Party policy -- sold to Americans. China is killing us. We have to do something different. I'm not saying that we have good solutions; we don't. But we have to change course. Question: Biden is continuing this hostage thing with Huawei, returning the CFO of Huawei in exchange for two Canadians. Have we taught the Chinese that they can grab more hostages? Chang: President Trump was right to seek the extradition of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies. Biden, in a deal, released her. She did not even have to plead guilty to any Federal crime. She signed a statement, which I hope we'll be able to use against Huawei. As soon as Meng was released, China released the "two Michaels," the two Canadians who were grabbed within days of our seeking extradition of Meng Wanzhou. In other words, the two Michaels were hostages. We have taught China that any time that we try to enforce our own laws, they can just grab Americans. They have grabbed Americans as hostages before, but this case is high profile. They grabbed Americans, and then they grabbed Canadians, and they got away with it. They are going to do it again. We are creating the incentives for Beijing to act even more dangerously and lawlessly and criminally in the future. This has to stop. Question: On the off-chance that the current leader does not maintain his position, what are your thoughts on the leaders that we should keep an eye on? Chang: There is no one who stands out among the members of the Politburo Standing Committee. That is purposeful. Xi Jinping has made sure that there is nobody who can be considered a successor; that is the last thing he wants. If there is a change in leadership, the new leader probably will come from Jiang Zemin's Shanghai Gang faction. Jiang was China's leader before Hu Jintao, and Hu came before Xi Jinping. There is now a lot of factional infighting. Most of the reporting shows that Jiang has been trying to unseat Xi Jinping because Xi has been putting Jiang's allies in jail. Remember, the Communist Party is not a monolith. It has a lot of factions. Jiang's faction is not the only one. There is something called the Communist Youth League of Hu Jintao. It could, therefore, be anybody. Question: Double question: You did not talk about Hong Kong. Is Hong Kong lost forever to the Chinese Communist Party? Second question, if you could, what are the three policies that you would change right away? Chang: Hong Kong is not lost forever. In Hong Kong, there is an insurgency. We know from the history of insurgencies that they die away -- and they come back. We have seen this in Hong Kong. The big protests in Hong Kong, remember, 2003, 2014, 2019. In those interim periods, everyone said, "Oh, the protest movement is gone." It wasn't. China has been very effective with its national security law, but there is still resistance in Hong Kong. There is still a lot of fight there. It may not manifest itself for quite some time, but this struggle is not over, especially if the United States stands behind the people there. Biden, although he campaigned on helping Hong Kong, has done nothing. On the second question, I would close China's four remaining consulates. I would also strip the Chinese embassy down to the ambassador and his personal staff. The thousands who are in Washington, DC, they would be out. I would also raise tariffs to 3,600%, or whatever. This is a good time to do it. We have supply chain disruptions. We are not getting products from China anyway. We can actually start to do this sort of stuff. The third thing, I would do what Pompeo did, just hammer those guys all the time verbally. People may think, "Those are just words." For communists, words are really important, because they are an insecure regime where propaganda is absolutely critical. I would be going after the Communists on human rights, I would be going after them on occupying the South China Sea, on Taiwan, unrelentingly -- because I would want to show the world that the United States is no longer afraid of China. We have taught the world that we are afraid of dealing with the Chinese. State Department people, they are frightened. We need to say to the Chinese regime, like Dulles, "I'm not afraid of you. I'm going after you, and I'm going to win." Tyler Durden Sun, 05/01/2022 - 23:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 2nd, 2022

10 Things in Tech: Big Tech salaries

In today's edition: SEC disclosures reveal which tech company pays typical employees the most, and we tested the electric Kia EV6's coolest feature. Top of the morning. New SEC disclosures reveal which Big Tech company pays typical employees the most (and the least), and we tested out the electric Kia EV6's coolest feature.Let's get started.If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app – click here for iOS and here for Android.Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaking during a Google event in California in 2016.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images1. The typical Google employee earns the most of all Big Tech companies. Annual disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show how much tech workers made in 2021 — a metric that also reveals how much more the companies' CEOs earn.The median, or "typical," Google worker made just under $300,000 last year — though others make much more, and some make less. Facebook, which last year became even more generous with equity awards for top talent, is not far behind, with the typical employee also earning close to $300,000. Meanwhile, workers at Apple and Amazon lag far behind their peers, with median workers earning $68,254 and $32,855, respectively. That's mostly down to its high percentage of retail staff.See a complete list of median pay for Big Tech workers.In other news:Elon Musk.Patrick Pleul/AP2. A Twitter shareholder is suing Elon Musk. The lawsuit alleges that by not disclosing his stake in the social media company soon enough, the Tesla CEO kept Twitter's share price down. Everything we know about the lawsuit.3. PayPal laid off its emerging technologies research team. With market pressures squeezing the payments giant, PayPal has laid off its team responsible for quantum computing, cryptography, and distributed ledger technology — and one source believes it won't be the only unit affected. Inside PayPal's layoffs.4. Uber will refund customers who were charged surge pricing after the NYC subway shooting. Twitter users said they noticed surge charges on the Uber app while trying to leave the area where at least ten people were shot and over a dozen were injured Tuesday morning. Here's the latest.5. Engineers at Google's Russian rival are fleeing — leaving spouses and salaries behind. Current and former employees at Yandex, Russia's biggest tech firm, recount leaving the country on short notice after the invasion of Ukraine and becoming IT "refugees": "I bought a plane ticket and left 12 hours later."6. Meta spent $27 million on Mark Zuckerberg's security and private jets in 2021. A company filing with the SEC showed the cost has jumped from $25 million in 2020 and $23 million in 2019. More on the rising cost of keeping Zuck safe.7. See the résumé that got this freelance writer a Microsoft job (without a relevant degree or tech experience). Tara Larsen was a student, dance teacher, math teacher, and the Lead Poetry Editor for her school's literary journal before being hired as an executive business administrator at Microsoft. She breaks down how she wrote her résumé to land the job.8. Serious injuries at Amazon warehouses rose 15% last year. In the year since Amazon pledged to become "Earth's Safest Place to Work," workers instead became more likely to get injured on the job, according to a new report. See the report's full findings here.Odds and ends:The 2022 Kia EV6.Tim Levin/Insider9. We tested out one of the electric Kia EV6's coolest features. The 2022 electric Kia SUV allows its owners to use it as a mobile power source to charge computers and plug in appliances (or, if you're like this writer, make breakfast outside). Here's how it went.10. Apple is planning new features for its iPhone Health app. Bloomberg first reported the company is working on a handful of new health-forward capabilities including more sleep tracking — but that one long-awaited feature has hit a roadblock. Take a look at what's coming.What we're watching today:Delta Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, and others are reporting earnings. Keep up with earnings here."Our Great National Parks," a five-part documentary series narrated by former President Barack Obama, becomes available on Netflix.Part of the Apollo 11 contingency sample is being offered at auction for the first time.Paris Blockchain Week Summit begins today.Keep updated with the latest tech news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Shona Ghosh in London.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 13th, 2022

D2L Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2022 Financial Results

Total revenue grows 22% for Q4 to US$41.4 million and 20% for full year to US$151.9 million Subscription and support revenue increases by 19% for Q4 to US$36.2 million and by 19% for full year to US$134.7 million TORONTO, March 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --  D2L Inc. (TSX:DTOL) ("D2L" or the "Company"), a global learning technology leader, today announced financial results for its fiscal 2022 fourth quarter and year ended January 31, 2022. All amounts are in U.S. dollars and all figures are prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) unless otherwise indicated. "We had a strong fourth quarter to close out an excellent year, which saw us complete our public offering, achieve our target of 20% top-line growth, add roughly $25 million in new annual recurring revenue, and significantly grow our base of customers across our key verticals," said John Baker, President and CEO of D2L. "Our record results speak to increasing new customer momentum and the sustained tailwinds in our markets." Mr. Baker added: "As we look ahead to a new fiscal year, our outlook for sustained growth is supported by increasing demand for better learning experiences as evidenced by robust RFP activity both in North America and internationally. With a strong balance sheet, we are pursuing a strategy to press our advantage by making significant investments in both direct and indirect go-to-market strategies and enhancements to our platform that will bring even greater value to educators, employers, and learners." Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2022 Financial Highlights Total revenue of $41.4 million, up 22% from the comparative period in the prior year. Subscription and support revenue of $36.2 million, an increase of 19% over the prior year. Annual Recurring Revenue2 increased by $25.0 million or 19% year-over-year to $154.5 million as at Jan 31, 2022, compared with $129.5 million as at January 31, 2021. Continued success retaining and expanding revenue from the existing customer base, with Net Revenue Retention2 of 107% at year end, consistent with the prior year. Gross Profit of $26.5 million (64.0% of revenue), an increase of 34% from Gross Profit of $19.8 million (58.5% of revenue) in the prior year. Adjusted Gross Profit1 of $26.5 million (Adjusted Gross Margin1 of 64.1%), an increase of 34% from Adjusted Gross Profit of $19.9 million (Adjusted Gross Margin of 58.5%) in the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA1 loss of $0.4 million, compared to Adjusted EBITDA loss of $1.0 million for the comparative period in the prior year. Loss for the period decreased to $3.9 million, compared with a loss for the period of $11.2 million in the same quarter of the prior year. The year-over-year improvement was mainly attributable to an increase in gross profit and the fact the prior year period included an $8.1 million loss on redeemable convertible preferred shares. Cash flow used in operating activities of $4.0 million, versus $1.3 million in the prior year, and negative Free Cash Flow1 of $4.1 million, compared with negative $1.6 million in the prior year. In November 2021, completed initial public offering (IPO) for total gross proceeds of $120.1 million (C$150.0 million), $69.8 million (C$88 million) to D2L after factoring the secondary offering and underwriter commissions. Strong balance sheet at year end, with cash of $114.7 million and no debt. 1 A non-IFRS financial measure or non-IFRS ratio. Please refer to "Non-IFRS Financial Measures and Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Financial Measures" section of this press release.2 Please refer to "Key Performance Indicators" section of this press release. Fourth Quarter Business & Operating Highlights D2L's customer list grew to 1,150 at January 31, 2022 (from over 970 as at January 31, 2021) representing a broad cross-section of colleges, universities, K-12 school districts and companies in more than 40 countries. Appointed seasoned technology executive Stephen Laster as Chief Operating Officer, to lead D2L's product and services teams focusing on building an extraordinary client experience and a learning platform that helps people achieve more than they dreamed possible. Built on progress with the agreement signed in fall 2021 with the State University of New York (SUNY) to make D2L Brightspace available to its full network of campuses, with 57 campuses already electing to migrate, allowing faculty and approximately 370,000 students with access to a single, flexible and streamlined learning innovation platform. Signed a new customer agreement with the University of Phoenix to help support their upcoming direct-assessment, competency-based education programs. Signed a new customer agreement with Pittsburgh Technical College to deliver D2L Brightspace to more than 1,500 learners across more than 30 associate, bachelor's and certificate programs. Signed a new customer agreement with University of Cape Town, the oldest higher education institution in South Africa, to deliver D2L Brightspace to nearly 29,000 students who come from over 100 countries across the globe. Signed a new customer agreement with British Columbia's Ministry of Education to help deliver D2L Brightspace's exceptional, flexible learning experiences for up to 670,000 K-12 learners across the province.  Signed a new customer agreement with the University of Florida's Lastinger Center to improve outcomes across three K-12 education milestones and grow its US professional learning reach. Renewed existing customer agreements with the University System of Georgia and Minnesota State University to continue delivering exceptional learning experiences across these systems. Signed a new customer agreement with the International Sports Sciences Association, a leading fitness and exercise certification association, to train and certify professional fitness trainers, personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, and nutritionists. Signed a new customer agreement with Supporting Families Together Association, an organization that provides services and supports to member agencies positively impacting children, parents and childcare providers, to help deliver employee training and continuing education programs. Received the following awards and recognition: the Glassdoor Employees' Choice Award, which recognizes the Best Places to Work in 2022 in Canada; the 2021 Candidate Experience Award for employers in the small employee category and the number four employer overall in North America – ahead of other major brands and companies; and named as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People in 2021. Fourth Quarter and Full Year Fiscal 2022 Financial Results         Selected Financial Measures                       Three months ended January 31,   Fiscal year ended January 31,   2022   2021   Change Change   2022   2021   Change Change   $ $ $ %   $ $ $ % Subscription & Support Revenue 36,191   30,290   5,901   19.5 %   134,688   112,916   21,772   19.3 % Professional Services & Other Revenue 5,215   3,646   1,569   43.0 %   17,192   13,456   3,736   27.8 % Total Revenue 41,406   33,936   7,470   22.0 %   151,880   126,372   25,508   20.2 %                     Gross Profit 26,516   19,841   6,675   33.6 %   87,947   77,080   10,867   14.1 % Adjusted Gross Profit 1 26,544   19,864   6,680   33.6 %   96,146   77,158   18,988   24.6 % Adjusted Gross Margin1 64.1 % 58.5 %       63.3 % 61.1 %     Loss for the period (3,860 ) (11,167 ) 7,307   65.4 %   (97,653 ) (41,496 ) (56,157 ) -135.3 % Adjusted EBITDA (loss)1 (433 ) (1,021 ) 588   57.6 %   136   6,020   (5,884 ) -97.7 % Cash Flows from (used in) Operating Activities (3,965 ) (1,343 ) (2,622 ) -195.2 %   112   16,808   (16,696 ) -99.3 % Free Cash Flow1 (4,061 ) (1,604 ) (2,457 ) -153.2 %   (684 ) 15,132   (15,186 ) -100.4 % 1 A non-IFRS financial measure or non-IFRS ratio. Please refer to the "Non-IFRS Financial Measures and Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Financial Measures" section of this press release for more details. Financial Outlook D2L is initiating financial guidance for fiscal 2023 (12 months ended January 31, 2023) as a supplement to the target operating model in the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the year ended January 31, 2022, which reflects the operating levels the Company expects to achieve by fiscal 2025 and maintain thereafter. Consistent with the expectations outlined during its IPO, D2L plans to make significant growth investments in fiscal 2023, including investing in sales and marketing go-to-market activities, and product development, to capitalize on the growth opportunity available in its addressable market. Specifically, for fiscal 2023 the Company is issuing the following guidance: Total revenue in the range of $179 million to $182 million, implying growth of 18% to 20% over fiscal 2022; and Adjusted EBITDA loss in the range of $12 million to $14 million. Conference Call & WebcastD2L management will host a conference call on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at 8:30 am ET to discuss its fourth quarter fiscal 2022 financial results. Date:   Tuesday, March 29, 2022 Time:   8:30 a.m. (ET) Dial in number:   Canada: 1 (226) 828-7575 or 1 (833) 950-0062     United States: 1 (844) 200-6205     Access code: 856621 Webcast:   A live webcast will be available at ir.d2l.com/events-and-presentations/events/ Replay:   Canada: 1 (226) 828-7578 or US: 1 (866) 813-9403     (replay code: 992139)     Available until April 5, 2022 Forward-Looking Information This press release includes statements containing "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. In some cases, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "outlook", "target", "forecasts", "projection", "potential", "prospects", "strategy", "intends", "anticipates", "seek", "believes", "opportunity", "guidance", "aim", "goal" or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain future conditions, actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "should", "might", "will", "can", or negative versions thereof, "be taken", "occur", "continue" or "be achieved", and other similar expressions. Statements containing forward-looking information are not historical facts but instead represent management's expectations, estimates and projections regarding future events or circumstances. This forward-looking information relates to the Company's future financial outlook and anticipated events or results and includes, but is not limited to, information regarding: new, renewed and expanded customer relationships; and the statements under the heading "Financial Outlook". Forward-looking information, including the Company's guidance for fiscal 2023 total revenue and Adjusted EBITDA, is based on certain assumptions, expectations and projections, and analyses made by the Company in light of management's experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments and other factors it believes are appropriate, including the following: the Company's ability to win business from new customers and expand business from existing customers; the timing of new customer wins and expansion decisions by existing customers; the Company's ability to generate revenue and expand its business while controlling costs and expenses; the Company's ability to manage growth effectively; the ability to seek out, enter into and successfully integrate acquisitions, including the acquisition of Bayfield Design Inc.; business and industry trends, including the success of current and future product development initiatives; positive social development and attitudes toward the pursuit of higher education; the Company's ability to maintain positive relationships with its customer base and strategic partners; the Company's ability to adapt and develop solutions that keep pace with continuing changes in technology, education and customer needs; the ability to patent new technologies and protect intellectual property rights; the Company's ability to comply with security, cybersecurity and accessibility laws, regulations and standards; the Company's ability to retain key personnel; and that the list of factors referenced in the following paragraph, collectively, do not have a material impact on the Company. Although the Company believes that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking information were reasonable when made, they are inherently uncertain and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties and may prove to be incorrect. The Company cautions investors that forward-looking information is not a guarantee of the future and that actual results may differ materially from those made in or suggested by the forward-looking information contained in this press release. Whether actual results, performance or achievements will conform to the Company's expectations and predictions is subject to a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, including but not limited to the risks identified in the Company's annual management's discussion and analysis or in the subsequently-filed annual information form for fiscal 2022, in each case as filed under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. If any of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if assumptions underlying the forward-looking information prove incorrect, actual results might vary materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking information. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information, including any financial outlook. Any forward-looking information that is contained in this press release speaks only as of the date of such statement, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking information or to publicly announce the results of any revisions to any of those statements to reflect future events or developments, except as required by applicable securities laws. Comparisons of results for current and any prior periods are not intended to express any future trends or indications of future performance, unless specifically expressed as such, and should only be viewed as historical data. About D2L Inc. (TSX:DTOL) D2L is transforming the way the world learns—helping learners of all ages achieve more than they dreamed possible. Working closely with clients all over the world, D2L is supporting millions of people learning online and in person. Our growing global workforce is dedicated to making the best learning products to leave the world better than they found it. Learn more about D2L for K-12, higher education and businesses at www.D2L.com. For further information, please contact: Craig Armitage, Investor Relations IR@D2L.com (416) 347-8954 D2L Inc.Consolidated Balance Sheets(In U.S. dollars) As at January 31, 2022 and 2021                            January 31, 2022 January 31, 2021 Assets       Current assets:       Cash and cash equivalents $ 114,675,495   $ 45,219,561     Trade and other receivables   26,155,906     14,620,383     Uninvoiced revenue   2,253,146     3,090,154     Prepaid expenses   7,930,462     5,355,166     Deferred commissions   3,711,334     3,441,396         154,726,343     71,726,660           Non-current assets:       Restricted cash   –     84,383     Other receivables   –     207,018     Prepaid expenses   178,585     1,079,974     Deferred income taxes   139,101     237,809     Right-of-use assets   1,323,017     2,932,487     Property and equipment   2,323,708     2,917,308     Deferred commissions   7,510,242     6,174,607     Intangible assets   5,537,024     340,719     Goodwill   7,474,647     –         Total assets $ 179,212,667   $ 85,700,965           Liabilities and Shareholders' Deficiency         Current liabilities:       Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 24,340,115   $ 21,779,773     Deferred revenue   82,915,871     68,679,553     Lease liabilities   1,199,013     2,092,319     Provisions   3,265,449     –         111,720,448     92,551,645           Non-current liabilities:       Deferred income taxes   418,403     232,915     Lease liabilities   693,921     2,021,425     Redeemable convertible preferred shares   –     178,183,535         1,112,324     180,437,875         112,832,772     272,989,520.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 28th, 2022

Asure Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Results

AUSTIN, March 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Asure Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASUR), a leading provider of cloud-based Human Capital Management ("HCM") software solutions, reported results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2021. "Our fourth quarter and full year results show the many benefits of our growth strategy," said Chairman and CEO, Pat Goepel. "We continue to execute determinedly on the key priorities that we believe will drive future revenues and value creation. These priorities include a resolute focus on enhancing organic revenue growth, on executing acquisitions in our core target markets to build scale and profitability, on investments in sales and marketing to drive future revenue and on product and platform innovations that add value for our customers. Our strategy drove 29% annual growth in revenues in the fourth quarter and enabled Non-GAAP EBITDA to more than double relative to prior year." "We have accelerated the pace of product and platform innovations in key areas that help our clients enhance their engagement with their employees, which is becoming even more critical in today's labor market. In the last few months, we have introduced new benefits administration solutions with Employee Navigator, new secure check cashing solutions for unbanked employees with Certegy and have partnered with Jackson Lewis law firm to bring our clients new employment law expertise. We have also enhanced our tax, HR consulting, treasury management and core payroll user experience, including same-day-pay. We are delighted to have introduced these compelling new capabilities for our valued customers and their employees. We will continue to focus on innovation for our clients while enhancing value creation for our stakeholders and expect to have additional announcements throughout the year as we progress." Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Key Highlights Revenue of $21.1 million, up 29% from the prior year's quarter, and up 17% sequentially; Non-GAAP EBITDA of $2.4 million, up 110% from last year's quarter and up 96% sequentially; Non-GAAP net income of $498 thousand compared with a net loss of $69 thousand in the prior year's quarter; Revenues were driven by acquisitions of two payroll businesses in September 2021 as well as 5% organic growth; Total bookings were up 7% from the prior year's quarter, and up 29% for the twelve months ended compared to 2020.   Three Months Ended   Year Ended in thousands, except per share data December 31, 2021   December 31, 2020   Variance   December 31, 2021   December 31, 2020   Variance REVENUE                         GAAP Revenue $ 21,113     $ 16,430     29 %   $ 76,064     $ 65,507     16 %                             GROSS PROFIT                           GAAP Gross Profit $ 13,259     $ 9,806     35 %   $ 46,564     $ 38,093     22 % GAAP Gross Margin   63 %     60 %   n/a       61 %     58 %   n/a   Non-GAAP Gross Profit $ 14,344     $ 10,912     31 %   $ 51,337     $ 42,477     21 % Non-GAAP Gross Margin   68 %     66 %   n/a       67 %     65 %   n/a                               EARNINGS                           GAAP Net income (loss) $ (4,301 )   $ (5,841 )   26 %   $ 3,193     $ (16,311 )   NM   GAAP Net income (loss) per share $ (0.22 )   $ (0.36 )   39 %   $ 0.17     $ (1.03 )   NM   Non-GAAP Net income (loss) $ 498     $ (69 )   NM     $ 2,495     $ 3,260     (23 )% Non-GAAP Net income (loss) per share $ 0.02     $ 0.00     NM     $ 0.13     $ 0.20     (35 )%                             EBITDA                           EBITDA $ 1,456     $ (1,558 )   NM     $ 22,280     $ (232 )   NM   EBITDA Margin   7 %     (9 )%   n/a       29 %     — %   n/a   Non-GAAP EBITDA $ 2,405     $ 1,144     110 %   $ 8,119     $ 7,850     3 % Non-GAAP EBITDA Margin   11 %     7 %   n/a       11 %     12 %   n/a   NM indicates Not Meaningful Information Non-GAAP financial measures are reconciled to GAAP in the tables set forth in this release Note that first quarters are seasonally strong as recurring year-end W2/ACA revenue is recognized in this period Financial Commentary "Asure posted record fourth quarter revenues and non-GAAP EBITDA since we became a pure-play HCM solutions provider," said CFO John Pence. "Our non-GAAP Gross Margins grew consistently throughout 2021, reaching 68% for the full year versus 65% in 2020. Our non-GAAP EBITDA performance was also significant with our fourth quarter EBITDA more than doubling relative to prior year. We improved our non-GAAP EBITDA margins by 4% relative to prior year on the back of strong double-digit revenue growth. This margin expansion proves out the impact of scale and cost control as important levers for the business and shows we are executing to achieve higher levels of profitability." "We built momentum in the business throughout 2021 and we are pleased with how we ended the year," continued Mr. Pence. "Our progress provides a strong footing for 2022. We will continue to execute our key business priorities in 2022 and we feel this will enhance growth and value for our customers, their employees and our stakeholders." Asure Files for More Than $200M in Employee Retention Tax Credits Stimulus on Behalf of Clients Asure Software, Inc. announced in February 2022 that it has filed for more than $200 million in stimulus on behalf of their clients as part of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) program. "Getting this critical stimulus money in the hands of our clients is incredibly gratifying," said Pat Goepel, Chairman, and CEO of Asure. "Early in the pandemic, so much of the focus was on PPP loans and loan-forgiveness. But, because the ERTC program is more complex, many small and mid-sized businesses just didn't realize how much stimulus was available to them," added Goepel. Asure's ERTC Filing Service helps new and existing clients receive this stimulus. The program includes three key elements: Review Qualified Wages – With client's payroll data, Asure identifies eligible wages, including qualified health plan expenses. Calculate Credit Amount – Asure calculates eligible ERTC wages, taking into consideration the required offsets of wages paid with PPP funds. File Amended Returns – Asure processes the credits in our payroll system for audibility and files the necessary amended tax returns. Asure Partners With Jackson Lewis Law Firm to Help Growing Businesses Adapt to Changing Employment Laws Asure Software, Inc. announced in February 2022 that it has partnered with Jackson Lewis P.C. to provide vital HR compliance education to Asure's 80,000 client businesses via video webinars, podcasts, and articles. "Jackson Lewis is recognized as a national leader in HR and employment law," said Pat Goepel, Chairman and CEO of Asure. "Bringing their expertise to our clients is part of our vision to ‘Be the most trusted Human Capital Management resource to entrepreneurs everywhere.'" The most recent discussion, titled "Key New Employment Laws in 2022," centered on the profound legal changes impacting small and mid-sized businesses in 2022 and beyond. Brian J. Shenker, of counsel with Jackson Lewis, provided actionable updates on the topics of Non-Compete Agreements Paid Family Leave Laws Anti-Discrimination Laws (Including COVID-19 issues) Employee Privacy and Surveillance Laws Asure's Payroll Fintech Powers New Treasury System to Deliver Added Value to Business Customers Asure Software, Inc. announced in January 2022 the launch of an advanced Treasury Management System to bring world-class automation to its preparation and reconciliation of business customers' daily cash position. "Automating the ins and outs of money movement and the reconciliation of payroll funds in our new Treasury System sets us up to take advantage of the fintech megatrends shaping the future of payroll like same-day-pay, alternate currencies, and an Asure Wallet," said Pat Goepel, Chairman, and CEO of Asure. "We also now have more transparency into our business than ever before which allows us to make more strategic investment decisions with client funds." Asure's Treasury System provides real-time visibility into the Treasury function with an array of stakeholder dashboards. This new enterprise software creates a single interface that captures money movement from multiple platforms and provides instant visibility for File Transmissions, Returns, and Reconciliations that all sync with General Ledger, Balance Sheet, and Dashboards through APIs. Asure's New Technology Integration With Certegy Helps Businesses Offer Secure, Convenient, and Lower-Fee Check Cashing for Unbanked Employees Asure Software, Inc. announced in January 2022 a new partnership with Certegy, a leading provider of payment and risk management technology for retailers and financial institutions. Connecting Asure's 80,000+ Payroll and HR business customers with Certegy's Positive Pay program enables these businesses to now offer their unbanked employees more options when cashing their paper checks. In turn, this increases our business customers' ability to retain and recruit employees. Certegy's Positive Pay program enables quick approval for checks on record while preventing fraud. The information provided by check issuers is used to validate checks upon presentment at 100,000+ retailers throughout the US. This validation process greatly reduces risk for check cashing retailers, which allows these retailers to assess a lower check-cashing fee to customers of enrolled companies. Certegy's Positive Pay program protects check issuers from fraud while offering consumers hassle-free access to funds through a fast, frictionless check cashing experience. Guidance We are providing the following guidance for the first quarter of 2022 and fiscal year 2022 based on our fourth quarter results and our recent acquisitions. This outlook is offered with the backdrop of a stabilizing but still challenging environment to predict future economic results given fluctuations in employment trends, COVID-19 and the other political and economic challenges of today and considers the impact of recent acquisitions. First Quarter, 2022           Revenue $ 23.25 million — $ 23.75 million Non-GAAP EBITDA $ 3.3 million — $ 3.5 million Non-GAAP EPS $ 0.04 — $ 0.06             Fiscal Year, 2022           Revenue $ 85.0 million — $ 90.0 million We anticipate fiscal year 2022 Non-GAAP EBITDA Margin percentage to be in line with historical percentages and seasonal trends. Conference Call Details Asure management will host a conference call Monday, March 14, 2022 at 4:30pm Eastern / 3:30pm Central. Asure Chairman and CEO Pat Goepel and CFO John Pence will participate conference call followed by a question-and-answer session. The conference call will be broadcast live and available for replay via the investor relations section of the Company's website. Analysts may participate on the conference call by dialing (877) 853-5636 (U.S.) or (631) 291-4544 (outside the U.S.). The conference ID is 5470356. About Asure Software, Inc. Asure (NASDAQ:ASUR) is a leading provider of HCM software solutions. We help small and mid-sized companies grow by assisting them in building better teams with skills to stay compliant with ever-changing federal, state, and local tax jurisdictions and labor laws, and better allocate cash so they can spend their financial capital on growing their business rather than back-office overhead expenses. Asure's Human Capital Management suite, named Asure HCM, includes cloud-based Payroll, Tax Services, and Time & Attendance software as well as HR services ranging from HR projects to completely outsourcing payroll and HR staff. We also offer these products and services through our network of reseller partners. Visit us at asuresoftware.com. Non-GAAP Financial Measures This press release includes information about Non-GAAP Net Income (Loss), Non-GAAP Net Income (Loss) per share, Non-GAAP tax rates, Non-GAAP gross profit, Non-GAAP gross profit margin, EBITDA, EBITDA margin, Non-GAAP EBITDA, and Non-GAAP EBITDA margin (collectively the "Non-GAAP financial measures"). These Non-GAAP financial measures are measurements of financial performance that are not prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles and computational methods may differ from those used by other companies. Non-GAAP financial measures are not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for comparable GAAP measures and should be read only in conjunction with the Company's Consolidated Financial Statements prepared in accordance with GAAP. Non-GAAP financial measures are reconciled to GAAP in the tables set forth in this release. EBITDA differs from GAAP Net Income (Loss) in that it excludes items such as interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization. Asure is unable to predict with reasonable certainty the ultimate outcome of these exclusions without unreasonable effort. Non-GAAP EBITDA differs from EBITDA in that it excludes share-based compensation, and one-time expenses. Asure is unable to predict with reasonable certainty the ultimate outcome of these exclusions without unreasonable effort. Non-GAAP Net Income (Loss) per share differs from GAAP Net Income (Loss) per share in that it assumes a 0% Non-GAAP tax rate, uses diluted share counts, and excludes items such as amortization, share-based compensation, and one-time expenses. Non-GAAP gross profit differs from GAAP gross profit in that it excludes amortization, share-based compensation, and one-time items. All Non-GAAP measures presented as "margin" are computed by dividing the applicable Non-GAAP financial measure by total revenue. Management uses both GAAP and Non-GAAP measures when planning, monitoring, and evaluating the Company's performance. The primary purpose of using Non-GAAP measures is to provide supplemental information that may prove useful to investors and to enable investors to evaluate the Company's results in the same way management does. Management believes that supplementing GAAP disclosure with Non-GAAP disclosure provides investors with a more complete view of the Company's operational performance and allows for meaningful period-to-period comparisons and analysis of trends in the Company's business. Further, to the extent that other companies use similar methods in calculating Non-GAAP measures, the provision of supplemental Non-GAAP information can allow for a comparison of the Company's relative performance against other companies that also report Non-GAAP operating results. Specifically, management is excluding the following items from its Non-GAAP earnings per share, as applicable, for the periods presented in the fourth quarter and year ended 2021 financial statements:   Share-Based Compensation Expenses. The Company's compensation strategy includes the use of share-based compensation to attract and retain employees and executives. It is principally aimed at aligning their interests with those of our stockholders and at long-term employee retention, rather than to motivate or reward operational performance for any particular period. Thus, share-based compensation expense varies for reasons that are generally unrelated to operational decisions and performance in any particular period.Amortization of Purchased Intangibles. The Company views amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets, such as the amortization of the cost associated with an acquired company's research and development efforts, trade names, customer lists and customer relationships, and acquired lease intangibles, as items arising from pre-acquisition activities determined at the time of an acquisition. While these intangible assets are continually evaluated for impairment, amortization of the cost of purchased intangibles is a static expense, one that is not typically affected by operations during any particular period.Income Tax Effects and Adjustments. Beginning in first quarter 2018, the Company started using a fixed projected Non-GAAP tax rate in order to provide better consistency across the interim reporting periods by eliminating the effects of items such as changes in the tax valuation allowance and non-cash tax effects of acquired goodwill and amortization, since each of these can vary in size and frequency. This tax rate could be subject to change for a variety of reasons, such as significant changes in the acquisition activity or fundamental tax law changes in major jurisdictions where the Company operates. The Company re-evaluates this tax rate on an annual basis or when any significant events that may materially affect this rate occur. The Non-GAAP tax rate is currently projected to be approximately zero (0.0) percent.Amortization of Capitalized Internal-Use Software, Acquisition-Related, and One-Time Expenses. The Company's Non-GAAP financial measures exclude amortization of internal-use capitalized software costs and acquisition-related expenses as well as one-time expenses, such as material tax credits, material interest-expense credits, severance, recruitment, proforma adjustments of the impact of post-sale HCM restructuring, and relocation. Use of Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements about our financial results, which may include expected GAAP and Non-GAAP financial and other operating and non-operating results, including revenue, net income, diluted earnings per share, operating cash flow growth, operating margin improvement, deferred revenue growth, expected revenue run rate, expected tax rates, share-based compensation expenses, amortization of purchased intangibles, amortization of debt discount and shares outstanding. The achievement or success of the matters covered by such forward-looking statements involves risks, uncertainties and assumptions, over many of which the Company has no control. If any such risks or uncertainties materialize or if any of the assumptions prove incorrect, the Company's results could differ materially from the results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements we make. The risks and uncertainties referred to above include—but are not limited to—risks associated with possible fluctuations in the Company's financial and operating results; the Company's rate of growth and anticipated revenue run rate, including impact of the current environment, the spread of major epidemics (including COVID-19) and other related uncertainties such as government-imposed travel restrictions, interruptions to supply chains and extended shut down of businesses, political unrest, including the current issues between Russia and Ukraine, reductions in employment and an increase in business failures, specifically among our clients, the Company's ability to convert deferred revenue and unbilled deferred revenue into revenue and cash flow, and ability to maintain continued growth of deferred revenue and unbilled deferred revenue; errors, interruptions or delays in the Company's services or the Company's Web hosting; breaches of the Company's security measures; domestic regulatory developments, including changes to or applicability to our business of privacy and data securities laws, money transmitter laws and anti-money laundering laws; the financial and other impact of any previous and future acquisitions; the nature of the Company's business model, including risks related to government contracts; the Company's ability to continue to release, gain customer acceptance of and provide support for new and improved versions of the Company's services; successful customer deployment and utilization of the Company's existing and future services; changes in the Company's sales cycle; competition; various financial aspects of the Company's subscription model; unexpected increases in attrition or decreases in new business; the Company's ability to realize benefits from strategic partnerships and strategic investments; the emerging markets in which the Company operates; the Company's ability to hire, retain and motivate employees and manage the Company's growth; changes in the Company's customer base; technological developments; litigation and any related claims, negotiations and settlements, including with respect to intellectual property matters or industry-specific regulations; unanticipated changes in the Company's effective tax rate; regulatory pressures on economic relief enacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that change or cause different interpretations with respect to eligibility for such programs; factors affecting the Company's term loan; fluctuations in the number of Company shares outstanding and the price of such shares; collection of receivables; interest rates; factors affecting the Company's deferred tax assets and ability to value and utilize them; the potential negative impact of indirect tax exposure; the risks and expenses associated with the Company's real estate and office facilities space; and general developments in the economy, financial markets, credit markets and the impact of current and future accounting pronouncements and other financial reporting standards. Further information on these and other factors that could affect the Company's financial results is included in the reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K, and in other filings we make with the SEC from time to time. These documents are available on the SEC Filings section of the Investor Information section of the Company's website at investor.asuresoftware.com. Asure Software assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law. The forward-looking statements, including the financial guidance and 2021 outlook, contained herein represent the judgment of the Company as of the date of this press release, and the Company expressly disclaims any intent, obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in the Company's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based. © 2022 Asure Software, Inc. All rights reserved. ASURE SOFTWARE, INC.CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS(in thousands)   December 31, 2021   December 31, 2020     ASSETS       Current assets:       Cash and cash equivalents $ 13,427     $ 28,577   Accounts receivable, net   5,308       3,848   Inventory   246       449   Prepaid expenses and other current assets   13,475       2,866   Total current assets before funds held for clients   32,456       35,740   Funds held for clients   217,376       321,069   Total current assets   249,832       356,809   Property and equipment, net   8,945       8,281   Goodwill   86,011       73,958   Intangible assets, net   78,573       64,552   Operating lease assets, net   5,748       6,450   Other assets, net   4,136       3,952   Total assets $ 433,245     $ 514,002   LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY       Current liabilities:       Current portion of notes payable $ 1,907     $ 12,310   Accounts payable   565       1,288   Accrued compensation and benefits   3,568       2,916   Operating lease liabilities, current   1,551       1,833   Other accrued liabilities   2,436       1,380   Contingent purchase consideration   1,905       3,880   Deferred revenue   3,750       4,416   Total current liabilities before client fund obligations   15,682       28,023   Client fund obligations   217,144       320,578   Total current liabilities   232,826       348,601   Long-term liabilities:    .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 14th, 2022

The Questionable Ethics Of Anti-Bitcoin ESG Junk-Science

The Questionable Ethics Of Anti-Bitcoin ESG Junk-Science Authored by 'Level39' via Bitcoin Magazine, Bitcoin environmental concerns are often portrayed in misleading and exaggerated ways contrary to proper research... Bitcoin receives disproportionate media coverage over its tiny fraction of a percent of global emissions and relatively inconsequential environmental impact. Why this happens requires following the money into environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) accounting. ESG accountants appear to be using Bitcoin’s open, transparent ledger — that can be audited by anyone in the world in real time — to exaggerate Bitcoin’s impact on the environment, with shoddy science, while profiting from the very fears they provoke. In February 2022, an op-ed, titled “Revisiting Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint,” was published in the scientific journal “Joule,” authored by four researchers: Alex de Vries, Ulrich Gallersdörfer, Lena Klaaßen and Christian Stoll. Their written commentary, which admits limitations in their estimates, states that as bitcoin miners migrated from China to Kazakhstan and the United States in 2021, the network’s carbon footprint increased to 0.19% of global emissions. What went unnoticed by the media was that the researchers have professional motives to overstate Bitcoin’s relatively tiny environmental impact. The op-ed’s lead author, Alex de Vries, failed to disclose that he is employed by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the Dutch central bank. Central banks are no fans of open, global payment rails, which bypass monopolistic government settlement layers. De Vries first released his “Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index” in November 2016, which coincides with his first round of employment with DNB, giving the appearance that DNB encouraged his critique of Bitcoin’s energy consumption. In November 2020, de Vries was rehired by the Dutch central bank as a data scientist in its financial economic crime unit and has been on a worldwide media tour for his “hobby” research ever since. As DNB is now promoting his research, he is effectively a paid opposition researcher for DNB. Source: LinkedIn As an employee of a central bank, de Vries has an incentive to exaggerate Bitcoin’s environmental impact to protect the interests of his employer. Hating on #bitcoin tells me one of two things about you. Either you haven’t learned enough about it, or its success threatens yours. — Evan Prim (@EvanPrim) March 5, 2022 Embedded tweet. His collaborators, however, have different motives altogether. Gallersdörfer, Klaaßen and Stoll are cofounders of the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute (CCRI), a company that provides data on the carbon exposure of cryptocurrency investments and business activities. Source: Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute Collectively, the three CCRI researchers have authored almost a dozen academic papers on the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies. Source: Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute CCRI’s modus operandi is to exaggerate Bitcoin’s environmental impact through a technique the Cambridge Centre of Alternative Finance (CCAF) describes as presenter bias. This entails making apples-to-oranges comparisons — such as comparing Bitcoin to small countries — in order to elicit outrage, rather than making apples-to-apples comparisons with other industries. CCRI’s best-guess estimates on carbon emissions are then packaged and sold to financial institutions who are under pressure to disclose ESG accounting due to the investor outrage promoted by the presenter bias that CCRI itself used to provoke that outrage. Source: ETC Group It doesn’t matter that the small countries Bitcoin is compared to have a GDP that is half of the value secured by Bitcoin. It doesn’t matter if the published papers are of a low standard or lack rigorous peer review (“Joule”’s peer review process is kept secret and does not require peer review for commentary articles). Nor does it matter that Bitcoin’s emissions are too small to have a meaningful impact on climate change. All that matters is that the media is willing to publish articles highlighting their junk science narratives, along with cherry-picked examples, and the financial industry becomes pressured to contract with the CCRI to utilize their research and data. ESG researchers are able to profit, by leveraging the media to stoke public outrage, over what amounts to such an inconsequential amount of carbon emissions that actual environmentalists should be disturbed that the public’s attention is being distracted from larger issues that have real and substantial consequences for humanity. EXAGGERATING BITCOIN’S ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT Ironically, on Cambridge University’s Comparisons page, where it describes the tricks of ESG presenter bias, it publishes a graphic that exaggerates Bitcoin’s power consumption to look larger than it is. Here is Cambridge’s original artwork: Source: Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Notice how Bitcoin is almost the same size as industries that have significantly higher values. If the Cambridge researchers had drawn the bubbles to proper scale, it would look like this: Source: Data from Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance These kinds of comparisons don’t even tell the full story, given that Bitcoin uses more renewable energy than any of these other industries. Despite what academia and the media would have us believe, Bitcoin’s environmental impact is too small to have any meaningful impact on a global scale. This is not to say that bitcoin miners don’t have a responsibility to be good stewards of the environment in their communities. However, those are local concerns and not particularly a good use of outsized international attention if protecting the global environment is the true goal. When environmental researchers, the media and government devote greater than a fraction of a percent of their content discussing Bitcoin’s emissions, it becomes a disservice to environmentalism. Undue diversions only serve to virtue signal, distract from more important issues and make people less trustful of legitimate environmental causes. Source: Figure 11 from Hass McCook’s “Bitcoin's Energy Use Compared To Other Major Industries” CCRI isn’t solving impactful environmental issues when it admonishes Bitcoin. The company mines open blockchain data for its media-driven narratives and shames the market into buying its own data, for profit. This data allows institutional investors to claim carbon neutrality, and entice environmentally conscious investors into their products, while nothing of particular substance is achieved. “‘ESG investing’ in its current form is similar to people who take selfies of themselves in fancy locations to show they were there, while barely experiencing it for real. Mostly theater, little substance. For example, we pollute, but buy offsets to make it someone else's problem. We outsource our manufacturing base to another country to reduce headline energy consumption, but then buy products they make while blaming them for polluting. This is deflection, not reform…People sell their Chinese shares, buy Apple shares instead, and pat themselves on the back. Meanwhile their phone, computer, chair, sneakers, cookware, electronic devices, and kids' toys are all partly Chinese made. A lot of it is window dressing. ‘ESG’ as currently used is corporate, sanitized, and nearly meaningless. It's like the word ‘synergy.’ It's a TPS report. If anything, pretending we are doing good to check off certain boxes as perceived by others, while still doing whatever we were doing before, slows real progress. One of the worst things we can do is to feel like we are doing something constructive, without actually doing so.” — Lyn Alden SELLING PROOF-OF-STAKE INVESTMENTS The CCRI publishes an annual report to promote proof-of-stake networks as environmentally friendly while promoting a highly misleading “energy per transaction” metric. What isn’t acknowledged in the CCRI’s report is that proof of stake is not a replacement for proof of work, as the two consensus mechanisms achieve completely different goals. Proof of work is a consensus mechanism that ensures pools of miners can collectively challenge bad actors — ensuring no one party can assert control over other users, all while providing a fair and meritocratic distribution of new coins. Proof of stake doesn’t accomplish this as it resembles a corporate security structure, where the wealthiest holders have all the voting power and founders pre-mine unimpeachable control authority over users, while receiving compounding dividends. With proof of stake, users have to trust the founders not to denial-of-service (DoS) attack them. In proof of work, miners buy energy on an open market to make DoS attacks too expensive, which in turn allows Bitcoin to protect minority user rights. Proof of work’s energy consumption is a feature, not a bug. Environmental researchers who claim proof of stake to be a more efficient consensus mechanism are like a policy think tank promoting plutocratic authoritarianism as a more efficient kind of government. To equate proof of stake with proof of work entirely misses the point of how decentralization works and what it intends to achieve. But, why does the CCRI produce a report? Institutional investors commission the CCRI’s research, in order to promote centralized altcoins, while using the CCRI’s data to sell ESG-friendly “crypto” investments. By overstating Bitcoin’s global impact and promoting proof of stake as an alternative, the CCRI is effectively driving demand for institutional ESG products and its own ESG services. This isn’t about helping the environment — it’s a money-making scheme. BITCOIN IS AN EASY TARGET Bitcoin’s open and transparent accounting makes it an easy target for those who benefit from exaggerating Bitcoin’s environmental impact for profit. An interesting thought experiment is to consider how environmental accountants would characterize other industries if they were as transparent about their energy consumption as Bitcoin is. A 2020 report by the Rapid Transit Alliance estimated that the global sports industry is responsible for 0.6% of global emissions — more than three times the emissions of Bitcoin. The report uses the same presenter bias of comparing the sports industry’s emissions to that of Spain or Poland. The report states that the global sports industry generates around $500 billion a year, which is considerably less than the amount of value secured by Bitcoin. If the sports industry had open and transparent power consumption data, like Bitcoin does, would ESG accountants shame the sports community for causing an environmental disaster? Would it be a good use of everyone’s time when there are much more important environmental issues that need to be solved? BITCOIN AS A GREEN INVESTMENT It might not be evident from media reports, but Bitcoin is already a relatively green investment. A 2021 paper stated that, “adding Bitcoin to a diversified equity portfolio can both enhance the risk–return relationship of the portfolio and reduce the portfolio's aggregate carbon emissions.” If institutions feel pressured to make their bitcoin holdings carbon neutral, it doesn’t take much effort. According to a January 2022 report by CoinShares, “Each bitcoin would require offsetting 2.2 tonnes of CO2 per year, or roughly the same as one return flight on business class between New York to Tokyo … At a bitcoin price of 42,000 USD, this would amount to an annual cost of 0.48%.” Even bitcoin miners that are demonized in the press, like Greenidge Generation Holdings, have made their entire mining operations 100% carbon neutral without considerable effort. Greenidge uses offset project registries that fund projects to sequester and reduce emissions. And yet, Bitcoin is a powerful, location-agnostic, buyer of last resort of renewable energy, that balances grid loads, can fund renewables stymied by lengthy interconnection queues to congested grids, and helps mitigate flared methane gas. When one realizes that Bitcoin is a solution to help monetize inefficiencies in the renewable energy sector — and as a zero-sum game increasing green mining disincentivizes carbon-intensive mining — some interesting ideas begin to take shape. INCENTIVE OFFSETS In a paper authored by Troy Cross and Andrew M. Bailey, “incentive offsets” are proposed as a way for investors to make bitcoin holdings carbon neutral by investing just 0.5% of their holdings in green bitcoin mining operations. Unlike other proposals to green bitcoin, theirs promotes Bitcoin adoption, preserves the fungibility of bitcoin and costs nothing, while providing a return. Cross recently discussed the idea with Peter McCormack on an episode of “What Bitcoin Did” as well as during a follow-up conversation with Nic Carter. ESG MISINFORMATION ESG advocates are perhaps unlikely to endorse any form of green bitcoin mining, as it would effectively neutralize their conflicted narrative. Already de Vries et al. went out of their way to peddle misleading arguments, in their op-ed, to criticize green mining and downplay its role in environmental solutions. For example, they suggest flared gas mitigation through mining offers limited benefits but ignore the fact that wind and diminishing stack flow rates make bitcoin mining significantly more efficient and ecological than allowing methane to flare and potentially vent into the atmosphere. Environmentalists have recently acknowledged that methane is much a larger problem than was previously realized. Or when de Vries showed Bitcoin’s energy consumption rising after China banned bitcoin mining, which resulted in a well-publicized 50% drop in hash rate. De Vries declined to include it in his estimates and dismissed it by saying, “Because of the previous challenges in determining the most likely energy consumption impact, any adjustment would be arbitrary. For this reason, no adjustments were made to reflect immediate impact of the ban.” This is effectively an admission his own estimates are spurious. De Vries has made an ESG career on top of a debunked “energy per transaction” metric, while 100% double counting the same footprint onto investors. In a paper written by de Vries and Stoll, in 2021, the two erroneously estimated that the average service life of a Bitcoin ASIC miner was only 16 months. This is blatantly false and easily disproved by on-chain data which shows Bitmain S7s, that are seven years old, are still actively used by miners. By weaponizing academia, fraudulent assertions are repeated by the media without fact-checking. In reality, Bitcoin accounts for an estimated 0.05% of global e-waste and since ASIC miners don’t have batteries or complex systems, the parts are easily recyclable. When misleading arguments are used to dismiss Bitcoin’s environmental efforts, while simultaneously overstating its footprint, it becomes evident that critics are not acting in good faith. How can they be when they have glaring conflicts of interest? The ESG community has an ethics problem where its own architects profit off of the hysterics they generate and often fail to disclose those conflicts of interests to the public as their junk science narratives are amplified by the media. Exaggerated comparisons, deceptive arguments and profit-driven motives leaves the public with the perception that criticizing Bitcoin’s relatively miniscule footprint does not stem from a selfless and courageous act of environmentalism. Rather, it appears that Bitcoin critics have professional motives in mind, and a desire to maintain the status quo, that make their claims ethically questionable. Bitcoin, of course, does not care. Renewables need Bitcoin more than Bitcoin needs renewables. The ESG industry can extract Bitcoin’s data, exaggerate its externalities and downplay any progress to profit through green institutional investment products. Bitcoin will keep on producing blocks and paving the way for open payment rails with honest, incorruptible proof of work. All the while, miners will buy up every stranded and wasted megawatt of renewable energy and give it a fighting chance to make headway in the market. The future of energy production is bright and Bitcoin will use it to incentivize innovation and human flourishing. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/14/2022 - 03:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 14th, 2022

Greenwald: NBC News Uses Ex-FBI Official Frank Figliuzzi To Urge Assange"s Extradition, Hiding His Key Role

Greenwald: NBC News Uses Ex-FBI Official Frank Figliuzzi To Urge Assange's Extradition, Hiding His Key Role Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com, Two of the television outlets on which American liberals rely most for their news — NBC News and CNN — have spent the last six years hiring a virtual army of former CIA operatives, FBI officials, NSA spies, Pentagon chiefs, and DOJ prosecutors to work in their newsrooms. The multiple ways in which journalism is fundamentally corrupted by this spectacle are all vividly illustrated by a new article from NBC News that urges the prosecution and extradition of Julian Assange, claiming that the WikiLeaks founder, once on U.S. soil, will finally provide the long-elusive proof that Trump criminally conspired with Russia. Twitter profile of former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figliuzzi, now of NBC News The NBC article is written by former FBI Assistant Director and current NBC News employee Frank Figliuzzi, who played a central role during the Obama years in the FBI's attempt to investigate and criminalize Assange: a rather relevant fact concealed by NBC when publishing this. But this is how U.S. security state agents now directly control corporate news outlets. During the Cold War and then in the decades following it, the U.S. security state constantly used clandestine measures to infiltrate U.S. corporate media outlets and shape U.S. media coverage in order to propagandize the domestic population. Indeed, intelligence agencies have a long, documented record of violating their charter by interfering in domestic politics through formal programs to manipulate U.S. media coverage. In 1974, The New York Times’ Seymour Hersh exposed that “the [CIA], directly violating its charter, conducted a massive, illegal domestic intelligence operation” which included “assembling domestic intelligence dossiers” and “recruiting informants to infiltrate some of the more militant dissident groups.” The Senate's Church Committee report in 1976 concluded that “intelligence excesses, at home and abroad, were not the 'product of any single party, administration, or man,”; rather, “Intelligence agencies have undermined the constitutional rights of citizens primarily because checks and balances designed by the framers of the Constitution to assure accountability have not been applied.” A 1977 Rolling Stone exposé by Carl Bernstein — entitled “The CIA and the Media” — revealed “more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the CIA" — including the most influential news executives in the country: William Paley of CBS, Henry Luce of Time Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times. Bernstein laid out how sweeping the CIA's commandeering of mainstream media outlets was: Some of these journalists' relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services -- from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements America's leading news organizations. The history of the CIA's involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception. . . . By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with The New York Times, CBS, and Time Inc. In 1996, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a lengthy report entitled “CIA's Use of Journalists and Clergy in Intelligence Operations" after “the House of Representatives [took] a vote on the subject as to the prohibition of use of journalists and others by the CIA." In 2008, The New York Times’ David Barstow won a Pulitzer for exposing the Pentagon's secret plot to disseminate Defense Department talking points by placing former officials as “analysts" at each news network who, in secret, coordinated their claims. In 2014, The Intercept obtained the CIA's communications with journalists through a FOIA request and discovered that national security reporter Ken Dilanian routinely submitted his drafts about the CIA to agency officials before publication; his newspaper at the time, The Los Angeles Times, pronounced itself “disappointed” and said he may have violated the paper's rules, but he was promptly hired by the Associated Press and now covers the intelligence community for . . . NBC News. Revealingly, none of those multiple Congressional and media exposés deterred the CIA and related agencies from contaminating domestic media coverage. Over the last six years, the opposite happened: this tactic has accelerated greatly. U.S. security state services now not only shape but often control news coverage — not by clandestine tactics but right out in the open. Many of the top security state officials over the last two decades have been hired to deliver "news” for these two major corporate networks: former CIA Director John Brennan (NBC), former Homeland Security Secretary James Clapper (CNN), former Assistant FBI Director Frank Figliuzzi (NBC), former Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend (CNN), disgraced former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (CNN), former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden (CNN), and countless others. This career path from the Deep State to NBC/CNN is now so common that those who are fired in disgrace or resign immediately show up on their payroll. As but one illustrative example: on February 2, 2018, FBI official Josh Campbell wrote a self-serving op-ed in The New York Times flamboyantly announcing his resignation over alleged interference by Trump officials; two days later, CNN announced it had hired Campbell as a "law enforcement analyst,” where he continues to "report the news.” In 2018, the DOJ's Inspector General concluded that McCabe, while serving as former FBI Deputy Director, had lied to the Bureau about his role in the leaks; CNN then hired him. The reasons this is so dangerous are self-evident. Allowing the U.S. security state to shape the news converts media outlets into a form of state TV. As Politico's Jack Shafer wrote in 2018 under the headline "The Spies Who Came Into the TV Studio": Standard journalistic contributors—reporters, anchors, editors, producers—pursue the news wherever it goes without fear or favor, as the famous motto puts it. But almost to a one, the TV spooks still identify with their former employers at the CIA, FBI, DEA, DHS, or other security agencies and remain protective of their institutions. This makes nearly every word that comes out of their mouths suspect. These security state agencies were created to lie and spread disinformation; allowing them to place their top operatives at news outlets obliterates even the pretense that there is any separation between them and corporate journalism. Worse, it requires these media outlets to pretend they are adversarially reporting on agencies which their own colleagues recently helped run. And, worst of all, it creates a massive conflict of interest whereby news “analysts” are commenting on stories in which they played central roles in their prior, often-very-recent life as a security state operative — as happened repeatedly during Russiagate when people like John Brennan were “analyzing” investigations for NBC News which they helped launch or of which they are targets. The New York Times, Dec. 23, 2019 To call all of this a conflict of interest is to gravely understate the case. It is an all-but-explicit merger between the security state and the corporate media. This latest NBC News article on Assange by former FBI Assistant Director Figliuzzi features all of these corrupt dynamics. MSNBC has been repeatedly promoting it. That is remarkable on its own: a so-called "news outlet” is cheering — indeed, salivating over — the Biden administration's attempt to criminalize Assange under “espionage” laws for the sin of reporting genuine documents showing all sorts of improper conduct by the agencies whose former operatives now staff that network. Given that press freedom groups in the West have uniformly condemned the prosecution of Assange as a grave threat to a free press, it is stunning to watch a corporation that claims to be in the news business cheering rather than denouncing it. But for the U.S. media, that is just ordinary corruption and subservience to the CIA: it is hardly rare to find "journalists” giddy over the prospect of Assange's ongoing imprisonment. What makes this new article particularly notable is that the FBI — when Figliuzzi was a senior official there — was directly involved in the attempt to investigate, frame and prosecute Assange. Yet the article, while identifying its analyst as “the assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, where he served 25 years as a special agent and directed all espionage investigations across the government,” makes no mention of his direct personal interest in the Assange prosecution. The primary claim of this article is an unhinged conspiracy theory. Figliuzzi asserts that extraditing Assange onto U.S. soil could endanger Donald Trump. The former FBI official barely conceals his glee over the prospect that Assange could somehow offer up dirt on Trump in exchange for a promise of leniency from prosecutors: If the Department of Justice plays its cards right, it can make the case precisely about those Russian government hacks and WikiLeaks' dissemination of the content of those hacks by offering a deal to Assange in return for what he knows. That’s what should worry Trump and his allies. . . . Assange may be able to close the gap between collusion and criminal conspiracy. Assange got the Democratic National Committee data dump from an entity long suspected to be a front for the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service. . . Assange may be able to help the U.S. government in exchange for more lenient charges or a plea deal. Prosecutions can make for strange bedfellows. A trade that offers a deal to a thief who steals data, in return for him flipping on someone who tried to steal democracy sounds like a deal worth doing. So, DOJ, if you’re listening… That Assange "stole data” is an absolute lie — not even the U.S. Government claims this — but NBC News has previously shown that it has no qualms about disseminating that particular lie. As for Figliuzzi’s belief that Assange possesses secret information about Trump's collusion with Russia over the 2016 election: that is nothing short of madness. Robert Mueller did not even attempt to interview Assange, precisely because the Special Counsel (Figliuzzi's former boss) obviously recognized that Assange had no information that would assist Mueller's investigation to determine whether Trump or his associates criminally conspired with Russia. If Assange really has information showing Trump criminally worked with the Kremlin, how can Figliuzzi justify that Mueller, during eighteen months of investigating that question, never even sought to speak to Assange? Moreover, if — as Figliuzzi fantasizes — Assange were in possession of some sort of smoking gun that Mueller never found but which would finally prove Trump's guilt on various crimes, why did Trump not pardon Assange? After all, if this twisted fantasy that NBC News is promoting had any validity — namely, Trump will be in big trouble once the U.S. succeeds in extraditing Assange to the U.S. to stand trial — why was it the Trump administration that brought these charges against Assange in the first place, and why would Trump not have pardoned Assange in order to prevent such a deal from taking place? None of what Figliuzzi is claiming has any evidence to support it or even makes any minimal sense. But as usual, that is no bar to NBC News and MSNBC publishing and aggressively promoting it. As I will never tire of pointing out, it is the corporate media outlets that most vocally denounce disinformation which are the ones guilty of spreading it most frequently and destructively. What makes this NBC article by Figliuzzi worse than standard media disinformation is that the former FBI official is writing about events in which he had direct personal involvement, without any disclosure of this fact. In 2011, Iceland’s Minister of the Interior, Ogmundur Jonasson, discovered that FBI agents had been deployed to his country under false pretenses. The FBI's counterintelligence unit, led by Figliuzzi, had claimed they were there because they wanted to help the Icelandic government stop an “imminent attack” by hackers into Iceland's government databases. That was a lie. As The New York Times reported two years later, the FBI went to Iceland in order to dig up dirt on Assange and WikiLeaks that would enable their prosecution. At the time, Assange was spending significant time in Iceland; he concluded that the country's broad press freedom and privacy protections, as well as support from several politicians, enabled him to work there safely. The FBI unit under Figliuzzi focused its counterintelligence efforts in Iceland on recruiting a very young WikiLeaks insider with a history of criminality and mental illness, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, in order to provide incriminating information about Assange. When Jonasson, the Interior Minister, discovered the truth, he expelled the FBI from his country, as The Times recounted: But when “eight or nine” F.B.I. agents arrived in August, Mr. Jonasson said, he found that they were not investigating an imminent attack, but gathering material on WikiLeaks, the activist group that has been responsible for publishing millions of confidential documents over the past three years, and that has many operatives in Iceland. . . . The F.B.I.’s activities in Iceland provide perhaps the clearest view of the government’s interest in Mr. Assange. A young online activist, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson (known as Siggi), told a closed session of Iceland’s Parliament this year that he had been cooperating with United States agents investigating WikiLeaks at the time of the F.B.I.’s visit in 2011. . . The F.B.I. efforts left WikiLeaks supporters in Iceland shaken. “The paranoia,” [Parliament member Birgitta] Jonsdottir said, “is going to kill us all.” The FBI's counterintelligence efforts under Figliuzzi in Iceland succeeded. Thordarson became a key witness for the FBI in its efforts to prosecute Assange. Indeed, the pending indictment against the WikiLeaks founder — which is the basis for the Biden DOJ's demand that he be extradited from the U.K. — heavily relies on accusations from Thordarson (the indictment refers to him as "Teenager” and to Iceland as "NATO Country-1"). Even a cursory review of the indictment shows how central to the case against Assange are the allegations which the FBI induced Thordarson to make: "In September 2010, ASSANGE directed Teenager to hack into the computer of an individual formerly associated with WikiLeaks and delete chat logs containing statements of ASSANGE.” But in June of this year, Thordarson recanted his allegations against Assange. Speaking to the Icelandic newspaper Stundin, Thordarson confessed how he had been caught stealing money from WikiLeaks by forging an email in Assange's name and directing WikiLeaks’ funds to be sent to his personal account. He “saw a way out” of the pending criminal problem by helping the FBI in its hunt against Assange. Thus, "on August 23d, [Thordarson] sent an email to the US Embassy in Iceland offering information in relation to a criminal investigation,” and he then became the FBI's star witness. Providing the FBI with false allegations against Assange helped the FBI but did not help Thordarson much: he was shortly thereafter convicted on charges of “massive fraud, forgeries and theft on the one hand and for sexual violations against underage boys he had tricked or forced into sexual acts on the other.” Yet “Thordarson was sentenced in 2013 and 2014 and received relatively lenient sentences” as the judge reviewed his cooperation activities as well as his formal psychiatric diagnosis that he is a sociopath. Even after that lenient punishment, Thordarson continued to commit crimes, piling up numerous other criminal charges. That was when the FBI, eager to indict Assange, again saw an opportunity in Thordarson: In May 2019 Thordarson was offered an immunity deal, signed by [U.S. Deputy Attorney General Kellen S.] Dwyer, that granted him immunity from prosecution based on any information on wrongdoing they had on him. The deal, seen in writing by Stundin, also guarantees that the DOJ would not share any such information to other prosecutorial or law enforcement agencies. That would include Icelandic ones, meaning that the Americans will not share information on crimes he might have committed threatening Icelandic security interests – and the Americans apparently had plenty of those but had over the years failed to share them with their Icelandic counterparts. With Assange now behind bars based on the indictment he helped the FBI secure, Thordarson decided to come clean. He had lied to the FBI and fed them false incriminating information against Assange because he knew that would help shield him from accountability for his own crimes. In other words, at the heart of the FBI's case against Assange — one compiled by the FBI's counterintelligence operations under Figliuzzi before he went to NBC News — is a chronic criminal with a history of fraud, sexual assault against minors, and serious psychiatric illness. And he has now recanted his claims. If NBC News were a legitimate news operation, it would obviously bar Figliuzzi from “reporting on” or “analyzing” a major press freedom case in which the FBI was so intricately involved, and implicated, during his tenure there. But the opposite is true. Figliuzzi is obsessed with Assange's prosecution and extradition, talking about it often both on his social media account and on NBC and MSNBC platforms. Beyond the issue of journalistic ethics — which nobody should expect of NBC and MSNBC at this point — something more sinister is going on here. The Biden administration's aggressive pursuit of Assange's extradition, along with its demand that he be kept imprisoned while the judicial process is pending, has been denounced with increasing fervor by press freedom and civil liberties groups that are usually allies of the Democrats. That even includes the ACLU. Leaders from around the world, including on the left, have been strongly condemning the Biden administration. Other countries are now frequently holding up Biden's assault on press freedom, along with the British government, as a reason why those two countries lack credibility to sermonize about press freedom. This new argument pushed by NBC News and its former FBI operative Frank Figliuzzi — liberals should cheer Assange's prosecution because we can squeeze him once he is here to turn on and implicate Trump — seems like a barely disguised political ploy to protect the Biden White House from criticism. NBC News knows that liberals crave Trump’s prosecution above all, so trying to convince them that Assange's extradition could advance that — as false as that obviously is — would likely benefit the White House which NBC serves, by fortifying support among Trump-obsessed liberals or at least diluting opposition. But taken on its own terms, the argument now being promoted by NBC to justify Assange's extradition is deeply disturbing. What they are essentially arguing is that the entire prosecution is a pretext. Though justified based on Assange's alleged lawbreaking in connection with the 2010 publication by WikiLeaks of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, the real benefit, according to NBC, is the opportunity to pressure Assange to turn on Trump in connection with the 2016 election. In other words, they are keeping Assange imprisoned for years, and working to bring him to the U.S., because they believe they can force him with promises of leniency to offer up information they can use against Trump — just as the FBI manipulated the young, mentally unwell Icelandic teenager to offer false accusations against Assange. And that would also create the added incentive to treat Assange as abusively as possible to turn the pressure as high up as possible for him to implicate Trump. Indeed, on the day Assange was arrested in London, a smiling Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) all but proclaimed this to be the real purpose of the extradition ("he'll be our property and we can get the truth and the facts from him"): That the U.S.'s corporate newsrooms are now filled with former agents of the U.S. security state on their payrolls is one of the most significant and disturbing media developments in recent years. It means that dirty, scheming operatives like Frank Figliuzzi can now do their dirty work not in the shadows or in agencies known to be guilty for decades of this sort of treachery and lies, but under the cover of “respectable” media outlets. When Figliuzzi speaks — or when John Brennan or James Clapper or Andrew McCabe do — the lips of these media outlets are moving but the CIA and the FBI and the DOJ are the ones actually speaking. That has been true for decades, but at least they had the decency to maintain the pretense. That security state agencies have now dispensed with the formalities and control these news outlets so directly reveals the utter impunity with which they now operate, particularly in establishment liberal circles. That an FBI official who played a key role in concocting false accusations against Assange now "reports” or “analyzes” that very same case under the logo of NBC News says more about the institutional corruption of these news outlets than thousands of articles could ever get close to. To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 18:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio "blindsided" business leaders by announcing his private employer vaccine mandate on MSNBC"s "Morning Joe"

With the employer mandate taking effect five days before he leaves office, it's unclear if Mayor-elect Eric Adams will end up enforcing it. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a major vaccine mandate announcement Monday morning. de Blasio will require all in-person private sector workers to be vaccinated. The only way to catch the announcment was on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," which drew criticism from City Hall observers. Early Monday morning, outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that all private sector employees who work in-person will need to be vaccinated by Dec. 27.Mayor de Blasio described the move as a "preemptive strike" against the Omicron variant and a "first-in-the-nation measure," but the only place to catch his announcement was on the cable news talk show, not at a public event or on a local TV outlet.The move raised eyebrows and drew swift backlash among some business leaders and City Hall observers."We were blindsided," Kathryn Wilde, the president and CEO of The Partnership for New York City, an influential business group, told a New York Times reporter. "There's no forewarning, no discussion, no idea about whether it's legal or who he expects to enforce it."—Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) December 6, 2021 After his term expires at the end of the year, de Blasio is reportedly thinking about joining the 2022 New York governor's race.With his private employer vaccine mandate taking effect just five days before Mayor-elect Eric Adams takes over, some in the City Hall press corps wondered aloud online if de Blasio's MSNBC announcement was more about building his political brand for the statewide contest than it was about informing the public across the five boroughs.—Sally Goldenberg (@SallyGold) December 6, 2021Politico City Hall Bureau Chief called out the mayor for making "a major announcement that impacts all NYers on morning cable, which is too expensive & inaccessible for many [people]." "Makes you wonder if it's really about improving the health and safety of New Yorkers or more about burnishing a political legacy," replied Julia Marsh, the New York Post's City Hall bureau chief.The mayor's press office did not return Insider's request for comment.Adams, for his part, has not committed to enforcing the de Blasio mandate."The Mayor-elect will evaluate this mandate and other COVID strategies when he is in office and make determinations based on science, efficacy and the advice of health professionals," Evan Thies, Adams' spokesperson, said in a statement following de Blasio's announcement.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 6th, 2021

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

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

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 30th, 2021

Five Trump-Russia "Collusion" Corrections We Need From The Media Now

Five Trump-Russia 'Collusion' Corrections We Need From The Media Now Authored by Aaron Maté via RealClearInvestigations.com, Five years after the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded collection of Trump-Russia conspiracy theories known as the Steele dossier was published by BuzzFeed, news outlets that amplified its false allegations have suffered major losses of credibility. The recent indictment of the dossier's main source, Igor Danchenko, for allegedly lying to the FBI, has catalyzed a new reckoning. In response to what the news site Axios has called "one of the most egregious journalistic errors in modern history," the Washington Post has re-edited at least a dozen stories related to Steele. For two of those, the Post removed entire sections, changed headlines, and added lengthy editor's notes. Rosalind Helderman: Bylined reporter on two of the Post's most corrected stories. Twitter/@PostRoz Tom Hamburger: Other bylined reporter on two of the Post's most corrected stories. Twitter/@thamburger But the Post's response also exhibits the limits of the media's Steele-induced self-examination. First, the reporters bylined on those two articles, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, and their editors have declined to explain how and why they were so egregiously misled. Nor have they revealed the names of the anonymous sources responsible for deceiving them and the public over months and years. Perhaps more important, the Post, like other publications, has so far limited its Russiagate reckoning to work directly involving Steele – and only after a federal indictment forced its hand. But the Steele dossier has been widely discredited since at least April 2019, when Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller and his team of prosecutors and FBI agents were unable to find evidence in support of any of its claims. The dossier was also only one aspect of the Trump-Russia misinformation fed to the public. Even when not advancing Steele's most lurid allegations, the nation's most prominent news outlets nonetheless furthered his underlying narrative of a Trump-Russia conspiracy and a Kremlin-compromised White House. Along the way, some journalists won their profession's highest distinction for this flawed coverage. While co-bylining stories that the Post has all but retracted, Helderman and Hamburger also share a now increasingly awkward honor along with more than a dozen other colleagues at the Post and New York Times: a Pulitzer Prize. In 2018, the Pulitzer awards committee honored the two papers for 20 articles it described as "deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation's understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect's transition team and his eventual administration." Above, Washingon Post and New York Times reporters whose 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting on the Trump-Russia affair is tainted by evidence in the public record that significant reporting was erroneous or misleading -- reporting that still has not been corrected by their publications, even though the Post recently made numerous corrections regarding the long-discredited Steele dossier. Journalist identifications are here. (Credit: YouTube/The Pulitzer Prizes) Although neither newspaper has given any indication that it is returning the Pulitzer, the public record has long made clear that many of those stories – most of which had nothing to do with Steele – include falsehoods and distortions requiring significant corrections. Far from showing "deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage," the Post's and the Times' reporting has the same problem as the Steele document that these same outlets are now distancing themselves from: a reliance on anonymous, deceptive, and almost certainly partisan sources for claims that proved to be false. Many other prestigious outlets published a barrage of similarly flawed articles. These include the report by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon of McClatchy that the Mueller team obtained evidence that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had visited Prague in 2016; Jane Mayer's fawning March 2018 profile of Steele in the New Yorker; the report by Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier of BuzzFeed that President Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress -- explicitly denied by Mueller at the time; and Luke Harding of The Guardian's bizarre and evidence-free allegation that Julian Assange and Paul Manafort met in London's Ecuadorian embassy. McClatchy and BuzzFeed have added editors' notes to their stories but have not retracted them.  In this article, RealClearInvestigations has collected five instances of stories containing false or misleading claims, and thereby due for retraction or correction, that were either among the Post and Times' Pulitzer-winning entries, or other work of reporters who shared that prize. Significantly, this analysis is not based on newly discovered information, but documents and other material long in the public domain. Remarkably, some of the material that should spark corrections has instead been held up by the Post and Times as vindication of their work. RCI sent detailed queries about these stories to the Post, the Times, and the journalists involved. The Post's response has been incorporated into the relevant portion of this article. The Times did not respond to RCI's queries by the time of publication. Falsehood No. 1: Michael Flynn Discussed Sanctions With Russia and Lied About It Flynn faces the press in his only White House Briefing Room remarks as national security adviser. YouTube/C-SPAN Officials say Flynn discussed sanctions By Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen NakashimaWashington Post, February 9, 2017 Less than a month after BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier, the Washington Post significantly advanced the then-growing narrative that the Trump White House was beholden to Russia. A Feb. 9, 2017, Post article claimed that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn "privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia" with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak "during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials." The Post sourced its reporting to nine "current and former officials" who occupied "senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls" between Flynn and Kislyak following the Nov. 8, 2016 election. The Post's sources – who were revealing classified information, presumably from taps on Kislyak's phone – left no room for doubt: "All of those officials said Flynn's references to the election-related sanctions were explicit." They also added their own spin to the meaning of the conversations: Flynn's calls with Kislyak "were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election." Adding some mind-reading to the narrative, a former official told the Post that Kislyak "was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time." The Post and its sources fueled innuendo that Flynn had floated a payback for Russia's alleged 2016 election help and lied to cover it up. Facing a barrage of anonymous officials contradicting him, Flynn walked back an initial denial and told the Post that "while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up." Four days later, he was forced to resign. The following December, Special Counsel Mueller seemingly vindicated the Post's narrative when Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, including about his discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. Flynn would later backtrack and reverse that guilty plea, sparking a multi-year legal saga. When the transcripts of his calls with Kislyak were finally released in May 2020, they showed that Flynn had grounds to fight: It wasn't Flynn who made a false statement about discussing sanctions with Kislyak; it was all nine of the Post's sources — and, later, the Mueller team — who had misled the public. Sergei Kislyak: Transcripts of Flynn's calls with the Russian Ambassador do not square with the Washington Post's reporting. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File In all of Flynn's multiple conversations with Kislyak in December 2016 and January 2017, the issue of sanctions only gets one fleeting mention – by Kislyak. The Russian ambassador tells Flynn that he is concerned that sanctions will hurt U.S.-Russia cooperation on fighting jihadist insurgents in Syria. The sum total of Flynn's response on the matter: "Yeah, yeah." The pair did have a longer discussion about a separate action Obama had ordered at the time: the expulsion of 35 Russian officials living in the United States. The expulsions, which were carried out by the State Department, were a distinct action from the sanctions, which targeted nine Russian entities and individuals under a presidential executive order. In discussing the expulsions, Flynn never addressed what Trump might do; his only request was that the Kremlin's response be "reciprocal" and "even-keeled" so that "cool heads" can "prevail." "[D]on't go any further than you have to," Flynn told Kislyak. "Because I don't want us to get into something that has to escalate, on a, you know, on a tit for tat." In its rendering of the call, the Mueller team cited these comments from Flynn – but inaccurately claimed that he had made them about sanctions. The Special Counsel's Office appeared to be following the lead of the Post's sources, who had claimed, falsely, that Flynn's references to sanctions were "explicit." Both the Post and the special counsel used Flynn's explicit comments about expulsions to erroneously assert that he had discussed sanctions. Yet the release of the transcripts did not prompt the Post to come clean. Instead, both the Post and the New York Times doubled down on the deception. The Post's May 29, 2020, story about the transcripts' release was headlined "Transcripts of calls between Flynn, Russian diplomat show they discussed sanctions." The Times claimed that same day that "Flynn Discussed Sanctions at Length With Russian Diplomat, Transcripts Show." In reality, the transcripts showed the exact opposite. In response to RCI, the Post acknowledged that the Feb. 9, 2017 story had conflated "sanctions" with "expulsions." "We appropriately used the word 'sanctions' in reference to the punitive measures announced by President Obama, including Treasury penalties on Russian individuals, expulsions of Russian diplomats/spies and the seizure of two Russia-owned properties," Shani George, the Post's Vice President for Communications, wrote. In other articles, however -- including a Dec. 29, 2016 article linked in the Feb. 9 story's second paragraph – the Post made a clear distinction between the two. Asked about dropping the distinction between sanctions and expulsions for the article discussed here, the Post did not respond by the time of publication.  Falsehood No. 2: Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence Left to right, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone: Repeated contacts with Russian spies? Doubtful. FNC/AP Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence By Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt ApuzzoNew York Times, February 14, 2017 On Feb. 14, 2017 – just one day after Flynn resigned – the New York Times fanned the flames of the growing Trump-Russia inferno. "Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials," the Times reported. The story, written by three members of the paper's Pulitzer Prize-winning team, Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo, also suggested that these suspicious "repeated contacts" were the basis for the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's potential conspiracy with Russia: "American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election." The article even threw in a plug for Christopher Steele, who, the Times said, is believed by senior FBI officials to have "a credible track record." The story helped build momentum for the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller, and then quickly unraveled. Four months after the Times' report – and just weeks after Mueller's hiring – FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress about the story, saying that "in the main, it was not true." When the Mueller report was released in April 2019, it contained no evidence of any contacts between Trump associates and Russian intelligence officials, senior or otherwise. And in July 2020, declassified documents showed that Peter Strzok, the top FBI counterintelligence agent who opened the Trump-Russia probe, had privately dismissed the article. The Times reporting, Strzok wrote upon its publication, was "misleading and inaccurate … we are unaware of ANY Trump advisers engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials." Comey on Times story: "In the main, it was not true." It's still uncorrected. To date, the Times has appended two minor corrections. The most recent one reads: "An earlier version of a photo caption with this article gave an incorrect middle initial for Paul Manafort. It is J., not D." Rather than address its glaring errors, the Times left the story otherwise intact. When the Strzok notes disputing its claims emerged, the Times responded: "We stand by our reporting." Earlier this year, the Times even claimed vindication. The occasion was an April 15, 2021, press release from the Treasury Department. The Treasury statement alleged that Konstantin Kilimnik, a former aide to Trump's one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is a "known Russian Intelligence Services agent" who "provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy" during the 2016 election. Writing that same day, Times reporters Mark Mazzetti and Michael S. Schmidt declared that Treasury's evidence-free press release — coupled with an evidence-free Senate Intelligence claim in August 2020 that Kilimnik is a "Russian intelligence officer" — now "confirm" the Times' report from February 2017. The Treasury announcement did not explain how the department, which conducted no official Russiagate investigation, was prompted to lodge an explosive allegation that a multi-year FBI/Mueller investigation found no evidence for. It also does not name the position Kilimnik allegedly held in Russian intelligence – much less say whether he was a senior official. It also failed to address ample countervailing evidence: that Kilimnik had shared this same, publicly available polling data with Americans; that the FBI still does not deem him a Russian intelligence officer, instead claiming that he has unspecified "ties"; that he had long been a valued State Department source; that he traveled to the U.S. on a civilian Russian passport, not the suspicious diplomatic one Mueller alleged without producing it; and that even the Senate Intelligence Committee was "unable to obtain direct evidence of what Kilimnik did with the polling data and whether that data was shared further."  Wanted in the U.S., Kilimnik shared his civilian (not diplomatic) passport with RCI. Konstantin Kilimnik via RealClearInvestigations In addition, no U.S. government or congressional investigator ever contacted him for questioning, Kilimnik told RCI in an April 2021 interview when he produced images of the civilian passport. To declare victory, Mazzetti and Schmidt not only relied on one sentence of a press release but distorted the claims of their original story. Even if Kilimnik somehow proved to be a Russian intelligence officer, the Times' 2017 story had reported that the Trump campaign had engaged in "intercepted calls" with multiple "senior Russian intelligence officials" – not just one person, and at a "senior" level. To elide that, Mazzetti and Schmidt abandoned the plural Russian "intelligence officials" to spin the Treasury press release as proof that "there had been numerous interactions between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the year before the election." It then returned to the use of the plural to further claim that Treasury's statement is "the strongest evidence to date that Russian spies had penetrated the inner workings of the Trump campaign." RCI sent Mazzetti and Schmidt detailed questions about their February 2017 article and their claim, four years later, that a Senate report and a Treasury press release confirm it. They did not respond. Falsehood No. 3: George Papadopoulos's 'Night of Heavy Drinking' With the Australian Envoy The Times mischaracterized George Papadopoulos's supposed Russiagate-launching barroom chat. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin Unlikely Source Propelled Russian Meddling Inquiry By Sharon LaFraniere, Mark Mazzetti and Matt ApuzzoNew York Times, December 30, 2017 By late 2017, the Russiagate saga was engulfing the Trump presidency. The indictments of several figures connected to Trump fueled a media-driven narrative that Mueller was closing in on a Trump-Russia conspiracy. But a roadblock emerged in late October. After a year of evasions, the Hillary Clinton campaign and its law firm Perkins Coie admitted that they had funded the Steele dossier and that a lawyer for the firm, Marc Elias, had commissioned it. The disclosure was forced by House Republicans, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, who had subpoenaed the bank records of Fusion GPS in a bid to identify its secret funder. (Fusion GPS was the opposition-research firm hired by Perkins Coie that in turn hired Steele.) For those wedded to the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, the admission was problematic: After months of anonymous media claims that Steele's dossier was "credible" and even "bearing out," the heralded document was exposed as a paid partisan hit job from Trump's political opponents. If the FBI was found to have relied on the dossier, the Clinton campaign's key role could discredit the entire investigation. Just before the 2017 year-end deadline for 2018 Pulitzer eligibility, the New York Times produced a new origin story for the probe that would temper these concerns and help the newspaper win the prize. The FBI's decision to open the Trump-Russia probe had nothing to do with Steele, the Times claimed. Instead, the instigator was George Papadopoulos, a low-level campaign volunteer indicted by Mueller two months prior. "During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016," the Times' piece began, Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer that Russia had "political dirt on Hillary Clinton," including "thousands of emails." Papadopoulos, the Times said, had learned of the Russian scheme the previous month from Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic who claimed to be in touch with "high-level Russian officials." Mifsud's claim signaled inside knowledge of Russia's alleged hack of the Democratic National Committee, the Times said, because at that point the "information was not yet public." Alexander Downer: The Australian diplomat's account of his conversation with George Papadopoulos conflicts with the Times' reporting. Twitter/@AlexanderDowner When Downer, via the Australian government, relayed this information to the U.S. in July, the FBI decided to open its Trump-Russia probe, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, the Times reported. "The [DNC] hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," the Times claimed. The article pointedly asserted that the Steele dossier "was not part of the justification to start a counterintelligence inquiry, American officials said." (In a possible contradiction, it also claims, without specifics, "that the investigation was also propelled by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British.") Several key aspects of the article have been challenged by the principals involved — leaving aside a key question the Times appears never to have asked: Why would the FBI launch a counterintelligence probe of a presidential campaign based on a barroom conversation involving a volunteer? Moreover, the Times or its sources mischaracterized the barroom conversation, according to both of its participants. Speaking to a Sydney-based newspaper a few months later about the fateful London exchange, Downer said Papadopoulos had never mentioned "dirt" or "thousands of emails" — which the FBI would have linked to the DNC hack. Instead, Downer told The Australian, Papadopoulos "mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging." Contrary to the specificity of the Times' rendering, Downer recalled that Papadopoulos "didn't say what it was." He also said Papadopoulos made no mention of Mifsud, a mysterious figure with rumored ties to Western intelligence who vanished after a cursory FBI interview. A declassified FBI document would later confirm Downer's account of a vague conversation. In May 2020, the Justice Department released the July 31, 2016, FBI electronic communication (EC) that officially opened its Russia investigation. The EC states that Downer had told the U.S. government that Papadopoulos had "suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist" the Trump campaign by anonymously releasing damaging information about Clinton and President Obama. The EC made no mention of any "dirt," "thousands of emails," or Mifsud. It also acknowledged that the nature of the "suggestion" was "unclear" and that the possible Russian help could entail "material acquired publicly," as opposed to hacked emails by the thousands. Another declassified document, the December 2017 testimony from Andrew McCabe — the former FBI deputy director who helped launch and oversee the Russia probe — also undermined the Times' premise. Asked why the FBI never sought a surveillance warrant on the Trump volunteer who supposedly sparked the investigation, McCabe replied that "Papadopoulos' comment didn't particularly indicate that he was the person … that was interacting with the Russians." Despite the countervailing claims of Downer, McCabe, and the FBI document that opened the investigation (not to mention the recollections of both Papadopoulos and Downer that they only had one drink, belying the Times claim of "a night of heavy drinking"), the Times has never run a single update or correction. Falsehood No. 4: Russia Launched a Sweeping Interference Campaign That Posed a ‘National Security Threat' Social media posts from Russia's effort to "assault American democracy," as the Times put it. HPSCI Minority Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked By Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Philip RuckerWashington Post, December 14, 2017 To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans By Scott ShaneNew York Times, September 8, 2017 As the Pulitzer-winning media outlets relied on anonymous intelligence officials to fuel innuendo about Trump-Russia collusion, they turned to these same sources to imply that a compromised president was unwilling to confront the existential threat of "Russian interference." "Nearly a year into his presidency," a Pulitzer-winning December 2017 Washington Post story declared, "Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House." As a result, Trump has "impaired the government's response to a national security threat." The Post's article was sourced to "more than 50 current and former U.S. officials" including former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who "described the Russian interference as the political equivalent of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks." Another Pulitzer-winning story, written by Scott Shane of the New York Times two months earlier, offered a revealing window into the merits of the Russian interference allegations, and the appropriateness of equating them to attacks like 9/11. "To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans," the Times' headline blared. Aside from the Pulitzer board, Shane's article also impressed the New York Times' editors, who proclaimed in a follow-up editorial that their colleague's "startling investigation" had revealed "further evidence of what amounted to unprecedented foreign invasion of American democracy." But from the details in Shane's article, it is difficult to see why anonymous U.S. intelligence officials, Pulitzer judges, and Times editors saw the alleged Russian "cyberarmy" as such a seismic danger. Melvin Redick, suspected Russian operator. The proof? Articles "reflecting a pro-Russian worldview," the Times reported. New York Times Shane's piece opened by describing a June 2016 Facebook post by an account user named Melvin Redick, who promoted the website DC Leaks, alleged by the U.S. to be a Russian intelligence cutout. Redick's posts, Shane writes, were "among the first public signs" of Russia's "cyberarmy of counterfeit Facebook and Twitter accounts" that turned the platforms into "engines of deception and propaganda." To Clint Watts, a former FBI agent turned MSNBC commentator, Russia's infiltration of Facebook and Twitter was so dangerous that social media, he said, is now afflicted by a "bot cancer." But these explosive conclusions, Shane's own piece later acknowledged, were undermined by a lack of evidence. The online users who manipulated social media, Shane quietly notes near the bottom, were in fact only "suspected Russian operators" [emphasis added]. Shane's uncertainty extends to Melvin Redick, the alleged Russian bot who begins the story. Redick is one of several identified accounts that "appeared to be Russian creations," Shane concedes. The only proof tying Redick to Russia? "His posts were never personal, just news articles reflecting a pro-Russian worldview." Robert Mueller's final report two years later also tried to raise alarm about what he called a "sweeping and systematic" Russian interference campaign. But as with the Pulitzer-winning outlets before him, the contents of his report failed to support the headline assertion. The Russian troll farm blamed for a sweeping social media campaign to install Trump spent about $46,000 on pre-election posts that were juvenile, barely about the election, and mostly appeared during the primaries. After suggesting that the troll farm was tied to the Kremlin, the Mueller team was forced to walk back that innuendo in court, and later dropped the case altogether. The other main claim regarding Russian interference – that the GRU (Russia's foreign intelligence agency) hacked the DNC's email servers and gave the material to Wikileaks – was quietly undermined by Mueller's qualified language and key evidentiary gaps, as RCI reported in 2019. The Russian hacking claim suffered an additional setback in May 2020, when testimony from the CEO of CrowdStrike — the Clinton-contracted firm that was the first to publicly accuse Russia of infiltrating the DNC — was declassified. Speaking to the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017, CrowdStrike's Shawn Henry disclosed that his company "did not have concrete evidence" that alleged Russian hackers had stolen any data from the servers. Despite its once exhaustive and alarmist interest in the operations of Russia's cyber army, neither the Times nor the Post has ever reported Henry's explosive admission. This includes Pulitzer-winning Post national security reporter Ellen Nakashima, who effectively kicked off the Russiagate saga by breaking the news on CrowdStrike's Russian hacking allegation in June 2016. Other than Henry, Nakashima's main source was Michael Sussmann – the Clinton campaign attorney recently indicted for lying to the FBI. Falsehood No. 5: The Justice Department Pulled Its Punches on Trump Ex-Justice official Rod Rosenstein was blamed for handcuffing Mueller -- a charge much doubted. AP Photo/Evan Vucci Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump's Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say By Michael S. SchmidtNew York Times, Aug. 30, 2020 (Updated June 9, 2021) When Mueller ended his investigation in 2019 without charging Trump or any other associate for conspiring with Russia, a collusion-obsessed media formulated more conspiracy theories to explain away this unwelcome ending. First came the belief that Attorney General William Barr had forced Mueller to shut down, misrepresented his final report, and hid the smoking-gun evidence behind redactions. When Mueller failed to support any of these allegations in his July 2019 congressional testimony, a new culprit was needed. One year later, the New York Times found its fall guy: Mueller's overseer, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, had handcuffed the special counsel. "The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump's decades-long personal and business ties to Russia," Michael Schmidt reported on Aug. 30, 2020. Rosenstein, Schmidt said, "curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere" and preventing the FBI from "completing an inquiry into whether the president's personal and financial links to Russia posed a national security threat." To buttress his case, Schmidt cited the Democrats' leading collusion advocate, Rep. Adam Schiff, who feared that "that the F.B.I. Counterintelligence Division has not investigated counterintelligence risks arising from President Trump's foreign financial ties." But as Schmidt's article tacitly acknowledged, that outcome did not come from Rosenstein but the Mueller team itself. After Rosenstein appointed Mueller, Schmidt reported, members of the special counsel's team "held early discussions led by the agent Peter Strzok about a counterintelligence investigation of the president." But these "efforts fizzled," Schmidt added, when Strzok "was removed from the inquiry three months later for sending text messages disparaging Mr. Trump." If Rosenstein had indeed "curtailed" a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller's team, why did the special counsel staffers discuss it, and why did it only "fizzle" upon Strzok's exit three months later? Strzok himself disputed the premise of Schmidt's article. "I didn't feel such a limitation," Strzok told the Atlantic. "When I discussed this with Mueller and others, it was agreed that FBI personnel attached to the Special Counsel's Office would do the counterintelligence work, which necessarily included the president." The only problem, Strzok added, was that by "the time I left the team, we hadn't solved this problem of who and how to conduct all of the counterintelligence work." Strzok's "worry," he added, was that the counterintelligence angle "wasn't ever effectively done" – not that it was ever curtailed. Another key Mueller team member, lead prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, also rejected Schmidt's claim. NYT story today is wrong re alleged secret DOJ order prohibiting a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller, “without telling the bureau.” Dozens of FBI agents/analysts were embedded in Special Counsel's Office and we were never told to keep anything from them. 1 of 2 — Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) August 31, 2020 Also erroneous is NYT claim "Rosenstein concluded the F.B.I. lacked sufficient reason to conduct an investigation into the president’s links to a foreign adversary.” See DOJ Special Counsel Appointment Order, para. (b)(i). 2 of 2 — Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) August 31, 2020 Rosenstein's May 2017 scope memo, which established the parameters of Mueller's investigation, indeed contained no such limitations. It broadly tasked Mueller to examine "any links and/or co-ordination" between the Russian government and anyone associated with the Trump campaign, as well as – even more expansively – "any matters that arose or may arise directly from that investigation." In his July 2019 congressional appearance, Mueller had multiple opportunities to reveal that his probe had been impeded or narrowed. Asked by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) whether "at any time in the investigation, your investigation was curtailed or stopped or hindered," Mueller replied "No." When Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) tried to lead Mueller into agreeing that he "of course … did not obtain the president's tax returns, which could otherwise show foreign financial sources," Mueller did not oblige. "I'm not going to speak to that," Mueller replied. With no curtailing or interference in the probe, perhaps Mueller never turned up any Russia-tied counterintelligence or financial concerns about Trump because there was simply none to find. For a media establishment that had spent years promoting a Trump-Russia collusion narrative and sidelining countervailing facts, that was indeed a tough outcome to fathom. But it's no time for excuses or false claims of vindication: The tepid accounting spurred by the Steele dossier's collapse should be just the start of a far more exhaustive reckoning. Broadly misleading journalism that plunged an American presidency into turmoil demands much more than piecemeal corrections. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 17:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 24th, 2021

Constitution City, Est. 2021

Constitution City, Est. 2021 Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via DailyReckoning.com, Brownwood, Texas, today is bustling like never before. The old hotel downtown is being renovated after sitting in decay for decades. The restaurants are packed. Houses are selling for 20% more than their Zillow values. The banks are experiencing a big influx of funds. New residents are pouring in from around the country. Everyone is making money. It’s a charming and happy place, except that everyone complains about the car traffic. That’s a nice problem. One year and a half ago, life was different. It was like a ghost town. The mall was empty. The shops were closed. You could not see anyone on the streets. Maybe a straggler or two. The hotels were empty. Local businesses were struggling to stay afloat using various takeout techniques and deliveries. It seemed like a town in its death throes. What a difference between the two! An Oasis in a World Gone Mad I, in fact, attended a downtown street party there just a few months ago. The lust for living was on full display. No one, not one person, wore a mask. The bars were packed. Street vendors were selling their goods. It felt like some mecca of real life in a world gone crazy. Brownwood, Texas, was determined to live again. Clearly the experience of death and life burned deeply in the hearts of many of the city’s primary stakeholders. It’s like they said: Never again. Now the town is not only back, but bustling, happy and beautiful again. The city council has just made history, as the first city in Texas to declare itself to be a “Constitutional City.” Constitutional City, USA What do they mean by “Constitution City”? It means that the government cannot and will not pass any laws that violate the Bill of Rights. This is clearly motivated as a response to the lockdowns that nearly wrecked the place. As a local news outlet wrote: The resolution does not mention COVID or the COVID vaccine but states the commissioners court “is determined to stand as a constitutional county” and recited the rights including freedom of expression, speech, association, religion, press and petition, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to protection from government overreach and the right not to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The resolution states the Brown County “recognizes, respects and upholds the First and Second Amendment rights and will use “all legal means at its disposal to oppose, within the limits of the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas” any efforts to “unconstitutionally restrict” those rights. Lose Freedom to Gain It It was F.A. Hayek who wrote in 1947 that no people love freedom more than those who have more recently lost all of it. He continued that his hope was that Americans did not have to lose theirs entirely before they woke up and realized the dangerous trends of rising state power and finally stand up and say: enough. Sadly, we did have to lose massive amounts of freedom before that day arrived. But it is arriving. Not as quickly as we might like. Not fast enough to save the economy and the dollar, both of which are going down fast. We are headed to a recession again, not having even recovered from the last one, and the dollar is tanking relative to what we can buy with it. Even so, Americans are standing up for freedom finally. Here are some signs of hope: The Biden administration is down 10 points underwater and the trend of his approval ratings look very bad for the White House School boards all over the country are being overthrown due to tolerating lockdowns and forced masking and testing New polls show a dramatic turnaround in attitudes toward government It’s clear that many industries and workers are standing up to vaccine mandates The airline “sickouts” have caused Southwest Airlines to back down somewhat People are in the streets in Sacramento protesting the mandates Alternative news sources are booming while polls show less trust for the mainstream than ever before We are starting to win in the courts Bitcoin just reached a new high — a clear repudiation of mainstream financial opinion. Wait for the Media Outcry Now, with this new movement toward Constitutional Cities we are seeing a real form of declaring independence. If the federal government doesn’t care, and state governors don’t care, at least cities can stand up for what we are supposed to believe in as a country. It’s a beautiful idea. We can hope this model will be copied all over the country. But let’s watch: In a matter of a few weeks, the attacks on the Constitutional Cities movement will start hitting hard. CNN will discover that some activist somewhere has a sketchy background or even attended the Jan. 6 protest in D.C. The movement will be declared “far right” and “extremist” and probably “racist” and who knows what else. Know this: It’s utter bunk. These are good citizens who care about liberty and freedom and swear to never again allow their cities and towns to be torn apart by fools, charlatans, liars and thieves, even if they say it has to happen because they are smart scientists who know how to handle disease. These cities are imposing a real restraint at least in rhetoric. And also there is a strong economic incentive to declare one’s city to be a Constitutional City. It attracts tourists and investment dollars. If you are thinking of opening a business, wouldn’t it be a safer bet to choose such a city over a place like Chicago or San Francisco? At least you could pretty much count on some resistance to lockdowns or sudden tax increases or speech controls. Building Back Better I’m particularly impressed at the movement around the First Amendment. It’s become almost banned on Facebook even to post inflation numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The other day, Zuckerberg even censored a respected economist who pointed to the known data. Just because government has outsourced its violations of the Bill of Rights to private companies doesn’t make it kosher. It’s nothing but a sneaky trick to get around the courts. Most of us have felt trapped for two years. This is what they wanted. They wanted us confused, separated, silenced and unable to find a way out. But we’ll figure it out. We are figuring it out right now. This is one promising path. It won’t stop the coming economic chaos but it lays a good foundation for rebuilding in the future. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/04/2021 - 22:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 4th, 2021

46 work-appropriate gifts for your boss that"ll make you stand out from the team

From desk accessories and food deliveries to adult coloring books, these gifts will make your boss feel appreciated. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. If you're looking for great work-appropriate gifts, we've listed dozens of good work gift options below, from high-quality olive oil to home office upgrades. Thomas Northcut/Getty Images Show a great boss your appreciation with a thoughtful (but office-friendly) gift. Below, we rounded up some of our favorite work-appropriate gifts, from tech to coloring books. Looking for more gifts from Insider Reviews? Shop gift ideas for everyone in your life here. Whether virtually or in person, you likely spend the majority of your day with your coworkers. If you like them enough, you might even plan on getting them a gift as a thank you for all the good times in and out of the office. Giving a gift to a great boss, someone who makes a big difference in how you approach daily work activities and helps you grow professionally can feel a little trickier. Since they're your manager, it's important that your gift maintains professionalism - but still gets the message across that you appreciate their hard work. Below, we've rounded up 46 great gifts for your boss, from useful desk accessories to beautiful notebooks.The 46 best affordable, work-appropriate gifts for your boss:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Crowd Cow. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.* A three-month subscription that delivers the best teas or coffees from around the world to their door Atlas Tea Club Atlas Tea Club, Three-Month Subscription, from $60, available at Atlas Tea ClubAtlas Coffee Club, Three-Month Subscription, from $60, available at Atlas Coffee ClubThis subscription sends them delicious, unique single-origin teas or coffees from the best regions in the world for three months. It'll make each day just a little more pleasant. The best socks they'll ever wear Bombas Women's Solids Ankle Sock 4-Pack, from $47.50, available at BombasMen's Solids Ankle 4-Pack, from $47.50, available at BombasBombas makes the best socks in our closets. We've been vocal supporters of the brand for years thanks to its durability, comfort, and superior materials.Another part of Bombas' appeal is that the company donates a specifically designed pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair purchased. If you're not sold on those, we also like these $20 tube socks from the Parks Project — which helps fund projects in national parks.  A handmade, plantable card Etsy Plantable Seed Cards With Envelopes, $20, available at EtsySometimes the most thoughtful and appropriate gift is a handwritten card that they know you didn't just pick up in a rush. These beautiful handmade cards on Etsy support a small business and are made of seed paper, so they can plant their card and watch wildflowers grow.If you want to add something extra to show your appreciation, a Starbucks gift card is as safe as it gets.  A towel designed like their favorite city or hometown West Elm Claudia Pearson City Tea Towels, $20, available at West ElmIf they're a big fan of their current home or the town they grew up in, you can pay homage to that aspect of them with a cool, functional, and sentimental tea towel illustrated with city maps.  A small plant or bouquet for their desk The Sill Calathea Vittata, $43, available at The SillEarth & Sky Small Bouquet, $39, available at The Sill  If they've expressed an appreciation for greenery, a small plant for their workspace could help brighten a bit of each day. (Note: If they have pets, you may want to steer towards pet-friendly options).If they're less into caring for plants, The Sill also carries beautiful, unique bouquets.  A beautiful frame for their desk Framebridge The Little Gift, available at Framebridge, from $45Whether it adorns their desk in the office or their WFH station, a small frame filled with an image of their favorite memory, place, people, or pets is always appreciated. If you'd rather let them personalize it — and choose their own photo — go with a gift card. A comfortable travel-sized pillow Casper Nap Pillow, $17.50, available at CasperNot that we're encouraging sleeping on the job, but this mini pillow does make spontaneous naps very tempting. It's the smaller but equally comfortable and supportive version of one of our favorite pillows and even has its own pillowcase and travel bag.  A non-pretentious field guide to good wine Amazon The New Wine Rules: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know, available on Amazon, $14.99If your boss enjoys the finer things (like a nice glass of wine) they'll probably like this book. In lieu of complicated or stuffy tips, "The New Wine Rules" by Jon Bonné is full of beautiful illustrations and useful, digestible tips — like a wine's expensive price tag not necessarily being indicative of its quality. Trendy olive oil that elevates any meal Brightland Alive Olive Oil, $37, available at BrightlandIf they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, they probably already know the merits of high-quality olive oil. A drizzle of Alive from Brightland adds a vibrant, zesty flavor to any dish. Plus, the beautiful bottle will look great on display in their kitchen. A relaxing adult coloring book Amazon The Art of Mandala, $4.99, available at AmazonStudies focused on the benefits of adult coloring books often reveal mandalas are the most effective designs for relaxation and induction of a meditative state. Their complex geometric patterns can be traced back to both ancient Buddhist and Hindu traditions.This affordable book contains 50 mandalas that vary in complexity and detail, so they can slowly work their way up to the most challenging patterns or work on a simple design when time is limited.  A fun desk toy Speks Speks Magnet Balls, $29.95, available at SpeksThe makers of our favorite magnetic desk toy have a new way to reduce stress and keep your boss entertained. These tiny magnetic balls make for a good mental break as well as help us stay concentrate in meetings.  A virtual helper Walmart Google Nest Mini, from $39, available at WalmartThe Google Nest Mini offers a compact, affordable smart speaker with Google Assistant built-in. They'll love being able to dim lights, control the volume on their TV, check the weather, and more, all with just the sound of their voice. Read our full review of the Google nest Mini here.This option is best for people who prefer Google's tech ecosystem. You may also want to consider the Amazon Echo Dot for Amazon users. A debut cookbook from a Michelin-starred chef Amazon "My Korea" by Hooni Kim, $22.49, at AmazonMichelin-starred chef Hooni Kim's debut cookbook is a crash course in the essentials of Korean cuisine. The book's tagline of "traditional flavors, modern recipes" is exactly what you should expect — from its take on Dolsot Bibimbap to Budae Jjigae to Hanjan's Spicy Rice Cakes.  A personalized video message from their favorite celebrity Cameo/Facebook Cameo video, from $1, available on CameoIf your workplace is less formal, you could get them a personalized message from their favorite celebrity. Whether they love a certain musician, reality TV star, comedian, or actor in a show you've both bonded over, there's a good chance you can find them on Cameo. The price will depend on the star, but there are plenty of options. A desk-friendly succulent garden The Sill/Facebook Hoya Heart Plant, $32, available at The SillThis heart-shaped succulent provides the perfect touch of greenery to any space. The miniature plant is pet-friendly and thrives in bright direct light.  Comfortable house slippers Everlane The ReNew Slipper, $65, available at EverlaneMost of us are spending a lot more time at home these days. And it's more enjoyable to do that when you're wearing some of the most comfortable slippers on the planet. We are big fans of the ReNew Slippers from Everlane — and they're relatively inexpensive. A face mask they can work out in Under Armour UA Sportmask, $30, available at Under ArmourUnder Armour's Sportmask was designed with athletes in mind, as reflected in its breathability, water resistance, and UPF 50+ sun protection. Thanks to the Sportsmask, they won't have to sacrifice their workout routine or their comfort. The best pens for their office Amazon Muji Gel Ink Ball Point Pens, $5.98, available at AmazonMuji's fine 0.38mm tip pen is a cult favorite — including among our teammates. According to the company, the water-based ink enables smooth writing, minimal bleeding, and a mechanism that helps keep the ink from drying out. If they write handwritten notes for work, they may have an outsized appreciation for this small but impactful upgrade. They're sold out on Muji, but you can still find them on Amazon. A set of notebooks with a bullet journaling system Amazon Word. 3 Pack Lined Pocket Notebooks, $12.99, available at AmazonThese small books are the perfect size for jotting down quick notes and to-do lists. Each page is printed with circles to help them set up an efficient, organized bullet journal.  A custom book embosser Etsy Custom Stamp, from $15, available at EtsyThis unique, thoughtful gift embosses books with "from the library of [their name]" by pressing down on it like a hole-puncher — it's the kind of thing most people would never buy themselves but will genuinely cherish if they receive it as a gift. They can use it on books as well as envelopes.  Three months of great hardcover books delivered to their door Book of the Month A Book of the Month subscription, from $49.99, available at Book of the MonthBook of the Month has been around for more than 90 years — and it's credited with hand-selecting and helping popularize books that range from Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" to J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye." With your gift, your boss will get to choose between five new hardcover options the book club suggests every month. Their favorite food from across the US Goldbelly A meal from Goldbelly, prices varyNo matter where they've spent the year, you can send them their favorite foods from across the US by using Goldbelly — the company will deliver everything from Junior's cheesecake to Lou Malnati pizza to their doorstep. Or, give them a gift card so they can pick out a treat for themselves. A kit built for the work-from-home lifestyle Macy's Pinch Provisions Work From Home Survival Kit, $20, available at Bloomingdale'sIf they're getting tired of their office being in their living room, they'll appreciate this kit that takes a bit of the strain out of working from home. A conference call bingo card, desk yoga guide, and fidget cube are just a few of the quirky (yet useful) items they'll find in this set. A desk sign with a hint of humor Uncommon Goods Desk Name Plates, from $14.99, available at EtsyIf you and your boss have a humorous rapport going, they could get a kick out of this witty take on the everyday office signage. Plus, the sleek wooden and gold design let the sign speak for itself without appearing as overly kitschy.  A healthy snack subscription Love With Food/Instagram Gift a Love With Food subscription, from $7.99/monthLove with Food delivers organic, all-natural, or gluten-free snacks that serial snackers won't feel guilty about eating. The better-for-you chips, candy, and bars come from new and trending food brands, so they'll always be excited to fuel their work day.  A leather business card holder Leatherology Business Card Case, $45, available at LeatherologyFirst impressions matter, which is why they should be pulling out business cards from a handsome leather case. It has a no-fuss, invisible magnetic closure and can hold up to 20 cards. Choose from pebbled or smooth leathers in a variety of colors, or upgrade to premium leather. You can also add a monogram for an additional $10.  A soft throw to fight freezing office temperatures Amazon Eddie Bauer Sherpa Throw, $26.24 available at Kohl'sOwners of this large, cozy throw only have good things to say about it. It's plush and warm, with one side made of micro-fleece and the other made of sherpa fleece. A gift card to a popular women's workwear shop MM.LaFleur Gift Card, from $50, available at MM.LaFleurPopular women's workwear brand MM.LaFleur makes excellent pants and blazers that are definitely an investment, but totally worth the price. Its Bento Box contains these stylish and comfortable wardrobe staples to take the headache out of getting dressed in the morning.  A phone dock that also holds flowers UncommonGoods Bedside Smartphone Vase, $32, available at Uncommon GoodsIt's a pretty vase that pulls double-duty, holding both the fresh bouquet that brightens their day and the electronics that keeps them productive. There's a groove at the bottom of the stand to keep unsightly charging cords out of the way, too.  A lightweight portable keyboard Best Buy Logitech K480 Bluetooth Multidevice Keyboard, $34.99, available at Best BuyWith a slim Bluetooth keyboard, your boss can leave the laptop at home and still get work done while traveling. We like this one because it's quiet and comfortable to type on.  Their new favorite way to make delicious cold brew Blue Bottle Hario Cold Brew Bottle, $35, available at Blue BottleIf there's anything that can power them through a long workday, it's cold brew. Just combine water and ground coffee (not included), and stick the bottle in the fridge for a refreshing caffeinated treat.  A box of Korean sheet masks Facetory/Instagram Seven Lux 1 Month Gift Subscription, $19.90, available at FaceToryThe Korean sheet masks in this box are sure to bring some much-needed relief to any stressed-out boss. The brands, which often use out-of-the-ordinary ingredients, are usually difficult to find outside of Korea, but FaceTory makes them both accessible and affordable.  A delicious and unique food gift Harry & David/Instagram Make-Your-Own Four Preserve and Butter Sampler, $31.99, available at Harry & DavidMix and match jars of fig preserves, triple berry preserves, apple butter, pumpkin butter, and more to create a sweet breakfast starter kit. The size is also perfect for their desk if they ever want a small and sweet afternoon pick-me-up.  A key cable they can bring anywhere Amazon Native Union Key Cable, from $29.99, available at AmazonThis portable cable charges up Apple devices quickly and claims to be six times stronger than the standard lightning cable, boasting a 10,000-bend lifespan. The knotted cable also looks great and makes it easy to fish out the charger from their bag.  A versatile toiletry bag to bring on their travels Dagne Dover Small Hunter Toiletry Bag, $40, available at Dagne DoverDagne Dover's durable and quick-drying neoprene is most notably featured in the brand's popular backpacks and gym bags, but it's also well-suited for this small bag that organizes your boss's life on the go. It includes a removable air mesh pouch and is available in a range of dusky colors and camo patterns.  A durable suitcase Away The Mini, from $45, available at AwayAway's highly popular mini versions of its internet-famous suitcase are back. The light and stylish polycarbonate accessory can store and protect your boss' essentials like jewelry and accessories — and it's nowhere near as expensive as a real suitcase.  A beautiful vase West Elm Barro Vases, available at West Elm, from $36A vase is a pretty foolproof gift — it's just as good for the recently engaged (or recently promoted) person as it is for someone who would always prefer a practical gift over a knick-knack.And if you're looking for something more minimalist, we recommend this version.  Enjoyable, sustainable seafood and meat Crowd Cow Check out Crowd Cow's gift bundlesCrowd Cow specializes in environmentally conscious seafood and meat that doesn't sacrifice quality, all the way down to its 100% carbon-neutral packaging. If you're not sure which gift bundle is best based on your boss' dietary preferences, stocking stuffers like jerky and rubs also make great choices.*Sponsored by Crowd Cow Desk cable clips that keep cords neat and organized Amazon Shintop 6-Piece Cable Clips Set, $4.99, available on AmazonThis small but practical gift will sort out their jumble of cords for good. If you're worried that the set doesn't look significant enough, you can pair a few of these cable clips with a nice card and some candy.  An insulated tumbler Amazon Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Travel Tumbler Cup, $34.95, available at Hydro FlaskThe ergonomic comfort of a classic tall cup plus Hydro Flask's signature double-wall vacuum insulation makes this a coffee or tea vessel they'll always keep on hand. It keeps their beverage hot for up to six hours and includes a press-in lid to prevent spills.  A luxurious candle Otherland Otherland Candles, $36, available at OtherlandWith its beautiful packaging, unique scents, and special matchbox messages, Otherland turns the otherwise ordinary candle into a cherished gift. Take advantage of its limited-edition scents while they last, or find a suitable match in its diverse Core Collection.  A way to celebrate the end of Q1 Harry & David Moose Munch Premium Popcorn Classic Tin, $44.99, available at Harry & DavidSend them this assortment of sweet and savory popcorn to get the new quarter started. This particular edition contains four decadent flavors of Moose Munch: classic caramel, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate s'mores.  A decorative trinket tray Bloomingdale's Jonathan Adler Hollywood Tray, $58, available at Bloomingdale'sA sturdy and stylish stoneware tray from Jonathan Adler comes in handy for holding jewelry, accessories, and stray trinkets.  A protective cover for their AirPods case Amazon PodSkinz AirPods Case Protective Silicone Cover, $4.95, available at AmazonApple AirPods: incredibly convenient, but also incredibly easy to lose and scratch up. A silicone cover is a cheap and attractive way to protect the case protecting their beloved earbuds.  The newest smart home device Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), $34.99, available at TargetAmazon's newest version of its bestselling smart speaker has an improved sound and look. Whether they want to coordinate a smooth-sailing smart home experience or enjoy music out loud, the Echo Dot can keep up.  A reusable utensil kit that helps them cut down on waste United by Blue Utensil Kit, $24, available at United by BlueWhen they leave the office to grab lunch (or if they're into camping and hiking), they can use these stainless steel utensils instead of plastic or paper options. It folds up conveniently so it can go with them anywhere.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 28th, 2021

Celestica Announces Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results

(All amounts in U.S. dollars.Per share information based on dilutedshares outstanding unless otherwise noted.) TORONTO, Oct. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Celestica Inc. (TSX:CLS) (NYSE:CLS), a leader in design, manufacturing and supply chain solutions for the world's most innovative companies, today announced financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2021 (Q3 2021)†. "Celestica's strong third quarter performance reflects our consistent execution and the resiliency of our business, as we continue to successfully navigate challenges related to the pandemic and the global supply chain. Our non-IFRS operating margin* of 4.2% marks our seventh consecutive quarter of year-to-year improvement, and represents the highest operating margin in Celestica's history as a publicly-traded company," said Rob Mionis, President and CEO, Celestica. "Our performance in recent quarters serves as a validation of our long-term strategy and transformation actions in the face of a challenging and constantly evolving business environment." "The fourth quarter of 2021 serves as an important inflection point in our business, as our focus now turns squarely to growth and maintaining the momentum we've built in recent quarters. We remain on track to complete our acquisition of PCI in November. Achievement of our revenue guidance for the fourth quarter of 2021 will represent a return to top-line growth, and achievement of our non-IFRS operating margin* mid-point guidance of 4.5% will set a new high-water mark for our business. As we approach the final months of 2021, we believe we are well positioned to continue building on our success, and we reaffirm our strong outlook for 2022." Q3 2021 Highlights Revenue: $1.47 billion, decreased 5% compared to $1.55 billion for the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020); Revenue of our non-Cisco business** increased 6% compared to Q3 2020. Operating margin (non-IFRS)*: 4.2%, compared to 3.9% for Q3 2020. ATS segment revenue: increased 12% compared to Q3 2020; ATS segment margin was 4.3%, compared to 3.7% for Q3 2020. CCS segment revenue: decreased 14% compared to Q3 2020; CCS segment margin was 4.1%, compared to 4.0% for Q3 2020; Non-Cisco CCS revenue*** increased 2% compared to Q3 2020. Lifecycle Solutions portfolio revenue (combined ATS segment and HPS revenue): increased 15% compared to Q3 2020, and represented 60% of total revenue, compared to 50% of total revenue for Q3 2020. IFRS earnings per share (EPS): $0.28, compared to $0.24 per share for Q3 2020. Adjusted EPS (non-IFRS)*: $0.35, compared to $0.32 for Q3 2020. Adjusted return on invested capital (non-IFRS)*: 15.2%, flat compared to Q3 2020. Free cash flow (non-IFRS)*: $27.1 million, compared to $15.8 million for Q3 2020. Repurchased and cancelled 2.1 million subordinate voting shares for $17.2 million under our normal course issuer bid (NCIB). Q4 2021 Guidance Our fourth quarter of 2021 (Q4 2021) guidance assumes consummation of the acquisition of PCI Private Limited (PCI) (described below) in November 2021, and incorporates our estimated impact of supply chain constraints. IFRS revenue: $1.425 billion to $1.575 billion Operating margin (non-IFRS)*: 4.5% at the mid-point of our revenue and non-IFRS adjusted EPS guidance ranges Adjusted SG&A (non-IFRS)*: $62 million to $64 million Adjusted EPS (non-IFRS)*: $0.35 to $0.41 For Q4 2021, we expect a negative $0.11 to $0.17 per share (pre-tax) aggregate impact on net earnings on an IFRS basis for employee SBC expense, amortization of intangible assets (excluding computer software), and restructuring charges, and an non-IFRS adjusted effective tax rate of approximately 19% (which does not account for foreign exchange impacts or any unanticipated tax settlements). Full-Year 2021 Commentary We believe that 2021 is on track to be a successful year for Celestica, and one where we make meaningful progress towards the achievement of our long-term strategic objectives. Achievement of the mid-point of our guidance ranges for Q4 2021 (see above), would represent the following financial accomplishments for 2021: Adjusted EPS (non-IFRS)* of $1.24, compared to $0.98 for 2020, a growth rate of 27% Operating margin (non-IFRS)* of 4.0%, compared to 3.5% for 2020, an improvement of 50 basis points Non-Cisco business revenue** growth of 7% compared to 2020 Lifecycle Solutions portfolio revenue concentration of approximately 60%, compared to 51% for 2020 The foregoing commentary represents operating measures that would result if the mid-point of our Q4 2021 guidance ranges are achieved, and are not intended to be projections or forecasts of future performance. Our future performance is subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to differ materially those described in this section. 2022 Outlook As we look to 2022, we expect the markets to remain dynamic. However, we believe that secular tailwinds in several of our end markets, strong operational performance and the ramping of new programs bode well for Celestica. Assuming the severity of supply chain constraints expected for the remainder of 2021 do not significantly worsen, and consummation of the PCI acquisition (see below) in November 2021, we anticipate the following for 2022: IFRS revenue to grow to at least $6.3 billion Operating margin (non-IFRS)* in the range of 4.0% to 5.0% Adjusted EPS (non-IFRS)* to increase by at least 20% compared to 2021 We do not provide reconciliations for forward-looking non-IFRS financial measures, as we are unable to provide a meaningful or accurate calculation or estimation of reconciling items and the information is not available without unreasonable effort. This is due to the inherent difficulty of forecasting the timing or amount of various events that have not yet occurred, are out of our control and/or cannot be reasonably predicted, and that would impact the most directly comparable forward-looking IFRS financial measure. For these same reasons, we are unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information. Forward-looking non-IFRS financial measures may vary materially from the corresponding IFRS financial measures. See Schedule 1 for the definitions of the foregoing non-IFRS financial measures, and a reconciliation of historical non-IFRS financial measures to the most directly comparable IFRS financial measures. Also see "Non-IFRS Supplementary Information" below. † Celestica has two operating and reportable segments - Advanced Technology Solutions (ATS) and Connectivity & Cloud Solutions (CCS). Our ATS segment consists of our ATS end market, and is comprised of our Aerospace and Defense (A&D), Industrial, Energy, HealthTech and Capital Equipment (semiconductor, display, and power & signal distribution equipment) businesses. Our CCS segment consists of our Communications and Enterprise (servers and storage) end markets. Segment performance is evaluated based on segment revenue, segment income and segment margin (segment income as a percentage of segment revenue). See note 26 to our 2020 audited consolidated financial statements, included in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2020 (2020 20-F), available at www.sec.gov and www.sedar.com, for further detail. * Non-International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) financial measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and therefore may not be comparable to similar financial measures presented by other public companies that use IFRS or U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). See "Non-IFRS Supplementary Information" below for information on our rationale for the use of non-IFRS financial measures, and Schedule 1 for, among other items, non-IFRS financial measures included in this press release, as well as their definitions, uses, and a reconciliation of historical non-IFRS financial measures to the most directly comparable IFRS financial measures. We do not provide reconciliations for forward-looking non-IFRS financial measures, as we are unable to provide a meaningful or accurate calculation or estimation of reconciling items and the information is not available without unreasonable effort. See the paragraph after "2022 Outlook." ** total revenue from programs with customers other than Cisco Systems, Inc. (Cisco). *** aggregate CCS segment revenue from programs with customers other than Cisco. Summary of Selected Q3 2021 Results For information on the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 and related mutations (COVID-19) on our business in Q3 2021, see "Segment Updates" below and footnote (1) to the following table. Also see the "Recent Developments" section of each of our Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) for Q3 2021, to be filed at www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov, and in Item 5 of our 2020 20-F.   Q3 2021 Actual (1)   Q3 2021 Guidance (2) IFRS revenue (in billions) $1.47   $1.40 to $1.55 IFRS EPS (1) $0.28   N/A IFRS earnings before income taxes as a % of revenue 3.0%   N/A Non-IFRS operating margin 4.2%   4.0% at the mid-point of ourrevenue and non-IFRS adjustedEPS guidance ranges IFRS SG&A (in millions) $62.0   N/A Non-IFRS adjusted SG&A (in millions) $56.5   $56 to $58 Non-IFRS adjusted EPS $0.35   $0.30 to $0.36 (1) IFRS EPS of $0.28 for Q3 2021 included an aggregate charge of $0.10 (pre-tax) per share for employee stock-based compensation (SBC) expense, amortization of intangible assets (excluding computer software), and restructuring charges. See the tables in Schedule 1 and note 8 to our September 30, 2021 unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements (Q3 2021 Interim Financial Statements) for per-item charges. This aggregate charge was within our Q3 2021 guidance range of between $0.09 and $0.15 per share for these items. IFRS EPS for Q3 2021 included a $0.04 per share positive impact attributable to a deferred tax recovery recorded in connection with the revaluation of certain temporary differences using the future effective tax rate of our Thailand subsidiary related to the forthcoming reduction of the income tax exemption rate in 2022 under an applicable tax incentive (Revaluation Impact) (see note 9 to our Q3 2021 Interim Financial Statements), and a $0.03 per share positive impact attributable to net other recoveries (consisting most significantly of a $0.07 per share positive impact attributable to legal recoveries, offset in part by a $0.05 per share negative impact attributable to Acquisition Costs, as described in note 8 to our Q3 2021 Interim Financial Statements), all offset in part by a $0.05 per share negative impact attributable to estimated COVID-19 Costs, net of $1 million of recognized COVID Subsidies (each defined below). IFRS EPS of $0.24 for Q3 2020 included a $0.06 per share negative impact attributable to estimated COVID-19 Costs and a $0.03 per share negative impact attributable to restructuring charges, more than offset by a $0.085 per share positive impact attributable to approximately $11 million of recognized COVID-19-related government subsidies, grants and credits (COVID Subsidies) and $0.3 million of customer recoveries related to COVID-19 (Customer Recoveries), and a $0.05 per share positive impact to reflect SBC expense reversals recorded in Q3 2020 to reflect a reduction in the estimated number of certain share-based awards that were expected to vest in January 2021 (SBC Reversal). IFRS EPS of $0.57 for the first three quarters of 2021 (YTD 2021) included a $0.17 per share negative impact attributable to estimated COVID-19 Costs, and a $0.02 per share negative impact attributable to net other charges (consisting most significantly of a $0.06 per share negative impact attributable to net restructuring charges and a $0.04 per share negative impact attributable to Acquisition Costs, offset in part by an $0.08 per share positive impact attributable to legal recoveries, as described in note 8 to our Q3 2021 Interim Financial Statements), all offset in part by a $0.09 per share positive impact attributable to approximately $11 million of recognized COVID Subsidies and $1 million of Customer Recoveries, as well as the $0.04 per share positive Revaluation Impact. IFRS EPS of $0.31 for the first three quarters of 2020 (YTD 2020) included a $0.22 per share negative impact attributable to estimated COVID-19 Costs, and a $0.15 per share negative impact attributable to restructuring charges, offset in part by a $0.21 per share positive impact attributable to approximately $26 million of recognized COVID Subsidies and $1 million in Customer Recoveries, as well as the $0.05 per share positive impact of the SBC Reversal. See Schedule 1 for the exclusions used to determine non-IFRS adjusted EPS for Q3 2021, Q3 2020, YTD 2021 and YTD 2020. COVID-19 Costs consist of both direct and indirect costs, including manufacturing inefficiencies related to lost revenue due to our inability to secure materials, idled labor costs, and incremental costs for labor, expedite fees and freight premiums, cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment, and/or IT-related services to support our work-from-home arrangements. (2) For Q3 2021, our revenue was at the mid-point of our guidance range, our non-IFRS adjusted EPS was towards the high end of our guidance range, and our non-IFRS operating margin exceeded the mid-point of our revenue and non-IFRS adjusted EPS guidance ranges. Non-IFRS adjusted SG&A for Q3 2021 was within our guidance range and our non-IFRS adjusted effective tax rate for Q3 2021 was 19% (compared to our anticipated estimate of approximately 20%). Q3 2021 non-IFRS operating margin and adjusted EPS benefited from strong performance in both of our segments, despite adverse revenue impacts attributable to materials shortages. See "Non-IFRS Supplementary Information" below for information on our rationale for the use of non-IFRS financial measures, and Schedule 1 for, among other items, non-IFRS financial measures included in this press release, as well as their definitions, uses, and a reconciliation of historical non-IFRS financial measures to the most directly comparable IFRS financial measures. Segment Updates ATS Segment: ATS segment revenue increased 12% in Q3 2021 compared to Q3 2020, driven by strong revenue growth in our Capital Equipment and HealthTech businesses, and the continuing recovery in our Industrial business. These increases more than offset continued softness in the commercial aerospace portion of our A&D business related to COVID-19. Also see "Supply Chain and Workforce Constraints" below for a description of the estimated adverse impact of such matters on ATS segment revenue in Q3 2021 and the prior year period. We remain on track to achieve our target of 10% revenue growth in our ATS segment in 2021 as compared to 2020. ATS segment margin increased to 4.3% in Q3 2021 compared to 3.7% in Q3 2020, primarily due to profitable growth in our Capital Equipment business, which more than offset the impact of lower revenues in our A&D business. This marks the sixth consecutive quarter of sequential ATS segment margin expansion. We anticipate our ATS segment margin will enter our target range of 5% to 6% in Q4 2021. Revenue from our semiconductor Capital Equipment customers increased in Q3 2021 compared to Q3 2020. The growth was driven by continued strong end market demand, in combination with new program wins and market share gains. We expect continued strength in our Capital Equipment business in Q4 2021 and into 2022, and anticipate that revenue from our Capital Equipment business for 2021 will exceed $700 million, which would represent at least 30% growth over 2020. While A&D revenue in Q3 2021 was lower than in Q3 2020, primarily due to soft demand driven by the ongoing impact of COVID-19, headwinds have stabilized, resulting in modest sequential growth. Although we do not expect our commercial aerospace business to return to pre-COVID-19 levels in the near term, we expect modest sequential growth to continue in Q4 2021 and into 2022, supported by new program wins. During Q3 2021, revenue from our Industrial business increased compared to Q3 2020. Demand in our Industrial business continues to recover after being significantly impacted by COVID-19 in 2020. We expect year-over-year revenue and sequential growth in Q4 2021 supported by strong bookings and a general recovery in demand, as well as the addition of PCI assuming consummation of the acquisition in November 2021 as anticipated (see "PCI Acquisition" below). We expect PCI's portfolio, as well as our existing Industrial business, to achieve solid organic growth in 2022. HealthTech revenue increased in Q3 2021 compared to Q3 2020. While we expect to see some moderation in revenue growth in Q4 2021 due to softening demand in our COVID-19-related programs, we continue to expect our overall HealthTech business to grow in 2022, supported by the ramping of new non-COVID-related programs. CCS Segment: CCS segment revenue decreased in Q3 2021 compared to Q3 2020, primarily due to our disengagement from programs with Cisco Systems, Inc. (Cisco Disengagement), completed in the fourth quarter of 2020, as well as program-specific demand softness from certain server customers in our Enterprise end market. Also see "Supply Chain and Workforce Constraints" below for a description of the estimated adverse impact of such matters on CCS segment revenue in Q3 2021 and the prior year period. These decreases were partially offset by strong demand from service provider customers, including in our HPS business, as well as strength in demand from certain storage customers in our Enterprise end market. We expect that year-to-year Enterprise revenue declines will begin to stabilize in Q4 2021. Our HPS business recorded strong revenue growth in Q3 2021, increasing 22% to approximately $300 million compared to Q3 2020. CCS segment revenue from programs with customers other than Cisco increased 2% in Q3 2021 compared to Q3 2020, and increased 5% YTD 2021 compared to YTD 2020. Although total CCS segment revenue for 2021 is anticipated to decline compared to 2020, we currently expect approximately 20% revenue growth in our HPS business in 2021 compared to 2020, as HPS revenue is expected to exceed $1 billion for 2021. We also expect HPS revenue to increase by at least 10% in 2022 compared to 2021. Despite lower revenue levels, CCS segment margin improved to 4.1% in Q3 2021 compared to 4.0% in Q3 2020, primarily due to a more favorable mix, driven by our portfolio reshaping activities, and an increased concentration of revenue from our HPS business. This represents our sixth consecutive quarter with CCS segment margin above our target range. We expect CCS segment margin to exceed our 2% to 3% target range in Q4 2021, and to be at the high end of the target range, or slightly higher, for 2022. Supply Chain and Workforce Constraints: Global supply chain constraints, including as a result of COVID-19, continued to impact both of our segments in Q3 2021, resulting in extended lead times for certain components, and impacting the availability of materials required to support customer programs. However, our advanced planning processes, supply chain management, and collaboration with our customers and suppliers helped to partially mitigate the impact of these constraints on our revenue. We expect this pressure to persist in Q4 2021 and throughout 2022, particularly in our CCS segment. While we have incorporated these dynamics into our Q4 2021 guidance and 2022 annual outlook to the best of our ability, their adverse impact (in terms of duration and severity) cannot be estimated with certainty, and may be materially in excess of our expectations. As a result of recent resurgences of COVID-19 outbreaks, the governments of various jurisdictions have mandated periodic lockdowns or workforce constraints. However, because Celestica's operations have been considered an essential service by relevant local government authorities to date, our manufacturing sites have generally continued to operate in impacted countries (including Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand and Laos in Q3 2021), albeit at reduced capacities (due to reduced attendance, shift reductions or temporary shutdowns). Although these lockdowns and workforce constraints present a challenge to our business performance when in force, due to effective resource management and planning, we have been able to largely mitigate the impact of these actions to date on our manufacturing capacity and our revenues. We estimate that we had an aggregate adverse revenue impact of approximately $30 million in Q3 2021 as a result of supply chain constraints and, to a lesser extent, lockdowns/workforce constraints, consistent with Q2 2021. Such constraints adversely impacted revenue in our ATS segment by approximately $21 million and our CCS segment by approximately $9 million in Q3 2021 (Q3 2020 — approximately $16 million (ATS segment — approximately $7 million; CCS segment — approximately $9 million)). We also incurred approximately $7 million of estimated COVID-19 Costs during Q3 2021 (Q3 2020 — $8 million), and recognized approximately $1 million of COVID Subsidies and no Customer Recoveries (Q3 2020 — approximately $11 million in COVID Subsidies and $0.3 million in Customer Recoveries), each as defined in footnote 1 to the "Summary of Selected Q3 2021 Results" above. PCI Acquisition On September 21, 2021, we entered into a definitive agreement to acquire PCI, a fully-integrated design, engineering and manufacturing solutions provider with five manufacturing and design facilities across Asia. The purchase price is estimated to be approximately $306 million (subject to a working capital adjustment). We expect to finance the acquisition with a combination of cash and borrowings of up to $220 million under our current credit facility (described below). The transaction is expected to close in November 2021, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. There can be no assurance, however, that this transaction will be consummated, in a timely manner, or at all. We intend to use borrowings under our revolver to finance this portion of the PCI acquisition at closing. However, we are currently pursuing the addition of a new term loan under our credit facility with the Administrative Agent thereunder, which if obtained, will be used to repay the amounts borrowed under the revolver for the acquisition. Although we believe that such term loan will be provided on acceptable terms, there can be no assurance that this will be the case. Intention to Launch New NCIB We intend to file a notice of intention with the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) to commence a new NCIB in Q4 2021, after our current NCIB expires in November 2021. If this notice is accepted by the TSX, we expect to be permitted to repurchase for cancellation, at our discretion during the 12 months following such acceptance, up to 10% of the "public float" (calculated in accordance with the rules of the TSX) of our issued and outstanding subordinate voting shares. Purchases under the new NCIB, if accepted, will be conducted in the open market or as otherwise permitted, subject to applicable terms and limitations, and will be made through the facilities of the TSX and the New York Stock Exchange. We believe that a new NCIB is in the interest of the Company. Q3 2021 Webcast Management will host its Q3 2021 results conference call on October 26, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The webcast can be accessed at www.celestica.com. Non-IFRS Supplementary Information In addition to disclosing detailed operating results in accordance with IFRS, Celestica provides supplementary non-IFRS financial measures to consider in evaluating the company's operating performance. Management uses adjusted net earnings and other non-IFRS financial measures to assess operating performance and the effective use and allocation of resources; to provide more meaningful period-to-period comparisons of operating results; to enhance investors' understanding of the core operating results of Celestica's business; and to set management incentive targets. We believe investors use both IFRS and non-IFRS financial measures to assess management's past, current and future decisions associated with our priorities and our allocation of capital, as well as to analyze how our business operates in, or responds to, swings in economic cycles or to other events that impact our core operations. See Schedule 1 below. About Celestica Celestica enables the world's best brands. Through our recognized customer-centric approach, we partner with leading companies in Aerospace and Defense, Communications, Enterprise, HealthTech, Industrial, Capital Equipment, and Energy to deliver solutions for their most complex challenges. As a leader in design, manufacturing, hardware platform and supply chain solutions, Celestica brings global expertise and insight at every stage of product development - from the drawing board to full-scale production and after-market services. With talented teams across North America, Europe and Asia, we imagine, develop and deliver a better future with our customers. For more information on Celestica, visit www.celestica.com. Our securities filings can be accessed at www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov. Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, those related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business; our priorities, goals and strategies; trends in the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry and our segments (and/or constituent businesses), and their anticipated impact; the anticipated impact of current market conditions on each of our segments (and/or constituent businesses) and near term expectations (positive and negative); our anticipated financial and/or operational results and outlook, including our anticipated Q4 2021 non-IFRS adjusted effective tax rate; our anticipated acquisition of PCI, the expected timing, cost, and funding thereof, and the expected impact of such acquisition, if consummated, on our Q4 2021 and 2022 financial results; our intention to launch a new NCIB and anticipated terms; our pursuit of a new term loan under our credit facility; materials, components and supply chain constraints; our credit risk; our liquidity; anticipated charges and expenses, including restructuring charges; the potential impact of tax and litigation outcomes; mandatory prepayments under our credit facility; interest rates; and our financial statement estimates and assumptions. Such forward-looking statements may, without limitation, be preceded by, followed by, or include words such as "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "intends," "plans," "continues," "project," "target," "potential," "possible," "contemplate," "seek," or similar expressions, or may employ such future or conditional verbs as "may," "might," "will," "could," "should," or "would," or may otherwise be indicated as forward-looking statements by grammatical construction, phrasing or context. For those statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, where applicable, and applicable Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking statements are provided to assist readers in understanding management's current expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements, including, among others, risks related to: customer and segment concentration; challenges of replacing revenue from completed, lost or non-renewed programs or customer disengagements; our customers' ability to compete and succeed using our products and services; price, margin pressures, and other competitive factors and adverse market conditions affecting, and the highly competitive nature of, the EMS industry in general and our segments in particular (including the risk that anticipated market improvements do not materialize); changes in our mix of customers and/or the types of products or services we provide, including negative impacts of higher concentrations of lower margin programs; the cyclical and volatile nature of our semiconductor business; delays in the delivery and availability of components, services and/or materials; managing changes in customer demand; rapidly evolving and changing technologies, and changes in our customers' business or outsourcing strategies; the expansion or consolidation of our operations; volatility in the commercial aerospace industry; the inability to maintain adequate utilization of our workforce; the nature of the display market; defects or deficiencies in our products, services or designs; integrating and achieving the anticipated benefits from acquisitions and "operate-in-place" arrangements; compliance with customer-driven policies and standards, and third-party certification requirements; challenges associated with new customers or programs, or the provision of new services; the impact of our restructuring actions, divestitures and/or productivity initiatives, including a failure to achieve anticipated benefits therefrom; the incurrence of future restructuring charges, impairment charges, other write-downs of assets or operating losses; managing our business during uncertain market, political and economic conditions, including among others, geopolitical and other risks associated with our international operations, including military actions, protectionism and reactive countermeasures, economic or other sanctions or trade barriers; disruptions to our operations, or those of our customers, component suppliers and/or logistics partners, including as a result of events outside of our control, including, among others: policies or legislation instituted by the former or current administration in the U.S., U.S. and global tax reform, the potential impact of significant tariffs on items imported into the U.S. and related countermeasures, and/or the impact of (in addition to COVID-19) other widespread illness or disease; the scope, duration and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its continuing adverse impact on the commercial aerospace industry; changes to our operating model; changing commodity, materials and component costs as well as labor costs and conditions; execution and/or quality issues (including our ability to successfully resolve these challenges); non-performance by counterparties; maintaining sufficient financial resources to fund currently anticipated financial actions and obligations and to pursue desirable business opportunities; negative impacts on our business resulting from current outstanding third-party indebtedness; negative impacts on our business resulting from any significant uses of cash, securities issuances, and/or additional increases in third-party indebtedness (including increased third-party indebtedness for the acquisition of PCI, and/or as a result of an inability to sell desired amounts under our uncommitted accounts receivable sales program); the failure to obtain an additional term loan in connection with our acquisition of PCI on acceptable terms, in a timely manner, or at all, and if obtained, that such term loan includes additional restrictive financial or operational covenants, significantly increased interest rates and/or additional significant fees; the failure to satisfy the closing conditions required for our purchase of PCI; a material adverse change at PCI; operational impacts that may affect PCI's ability to achieve anticipated financial results; the purchase price for PCI varying from the expected amount; the inability to use cash on hand and/or borrowings under our credit facility to fund the acquisition as anticipated; the failure to consummate the purchase of PCI when anticipated, in a timely manner, or at all, and if the acquisition is consummated, a failure to successfully integrate the acquisition, further develop our capabilities and/or customer base in expected markets or otherwise expand our portfolio of solutions, and/or achieve the other expected synergies and benefits from the acquisition; foreign currency volatility; our global operations and supply chain; competitive bid selection processes; customer relationships with emerging companies; recruiting or retaining skilled talent; our dependence on industries affected by rapid technological change; our ability to adequately protect intellectual property and confidential information; increasing taxes, tax audits, and challenges of defending our tax positions; obtaining, renewing or meeting the conditions of tax incentives and credits; computer viruses, malware, ransomware, hacking attempts or outages that may disrupt our operations; the inability to prevent or detect all errors or fraud; the variability of revenue and operating results; unanticipated disruptions to our cash flows; compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and government subsidies, grants or credits; the management of our information technology systems; our pension and other benefit plan obligations; changes in accounting judgments, estimates and assumptions; our ability to maintain compliance with applicable (or any new) credit facility covenants; interest rate fluctuations and changes to LIBOR; deterioration in financial markets or the macro-economic environment; our credit rating; the interest of our controlling shareholder; current or future litigation, governmental actions, and/or changes in legislation or accounting standards; negative publicity; that the TSX will not accept a new NCIB; that we will not be permitted to, or do not, repurchase subordinate voting shares (SVS) under any NCIB; and our ability to achieve our environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiative goals, including with respect to climate change. The foregoing and other material risks and uncertainties are discussed in our public filings at www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov, including in our most recent MD&A, our 2020 Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with, and subsequent reports on Form 6-K furnished to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and as applicable, the Canadian Securities Administrators. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based on various assumptions, many of which involve factors that are beyond our control. Our material assumptions include those related to the following: the scope and duration of materials constraints and the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our sites, customers and suppliers; fluctuation of production schedules from our customers in terms of volume and mix of products or services; the timing and execution of, and investments associated with, ramping new business; the success of our customers' products; our ability to retain programs and customers; the stability of general economic and market conditions and currency exchange rates; supplier performance, pricing and terms; compliance by third parties with their contractual obligations; the costs and availability of components, materials, services, equipment, labor, energy and transportation; that our customers will retain liability for product/component tariffs and countermeasures; global tax legislation changes; our ability to keep pace with rapidly changing technological developments; the timing, execution and effect of restructuring actions; the successful resolution of quality issues that arise from time to time; the components of our leverage ratio (as defined in our credit facility); our ability to successfully diversify our customer base and develop new capabilities; the availability of cash resources for, and the permissibility under our credit facility of, repurchases of outstanding SVS under NCIBs, acceptance of a new NCIB and compliance with applicable laws and regulations pertaining to NCIBs; receipt of an additional term loan under our credit facility on acceptable terms and in a timely manner; that we will maintain compliance with applicable (or any new) credit facility covenants; anticipated demand strength in certain of our businesses; anticipated demand weakness in, and/or the impact of anticipated adverse market conditions on, certain of our businesses; and that: the closing conditions to our purchase of PCI will be satisfied in a timely manner; no material adverse change will have occurred at PCI; anticipated financial results by PCI will be achieved; our purchase of PCI will be consummated in a timely manner and on anticipated terms; our ability to use available cash on hand and incur further indebtedness under our credit facility will be as expected in order to finance the PCI acquisition as anticipated; once acquired, we are able to successfully integrate PCI, further develop our ATS segment business, and achieve the other expected synergies and benefits from the acquisition; all financial information provided by PCI is accurate and complete, and all forecasts of PCI's operating results are reasonable and were provided to Celestica in good faith; and we will continue to have sufficient financial resources to fund currently anticipated financial actions and obligations and to pursue desirable business opportunities. Although management believes its assumptions to be reasonable under the current circumstances, they may prove to be inaccurate, which could cause actual results to differ materially (and adversely) from those that would have been achieved had such assumptions been accurate. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. All forward-looking statements attributable to us are expressly qualified by these cautionary statements. Schedule 1Supplementary Non-IFRS Financial Measures The non-IFRS financial measures included in this press release are: adjusted gross profit, adjusted gross margin (adjusted gross profit as a percentage of revenue), adjusted selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A), adjusted SG&A as a percentage of revenue, operating earnings (or adjusted EBIAT), operating margin (operating earnings or adjusted EBIAT as a percentage of revenue), adjusted net earnings, adjusted EPS, adjusted return on invested capital (adjusted ROIC), free cash flow, adjusted tax expense and adjusted effective tax rate. Adjusted EBIAT, adjusted ROIC, free cash flow, adjusted tax expense and adjusted effective tax rate are further described in the tables below. In calculating our non-IFRS financial measures, management excludes the following items where indicated in the table below: employee stock-based compensation (SBC) expense, amortization of intangible assets (excluding computer software), Other Charges, net of recoveries (defined below), Finance Costs (defined below), and acquisition inventory fair value adjustments, all net of the associated tax adjustments (quantified in the table below), and non-core tax impacts (tax adjustments related to acquisitions, and certain other tax costs or recoveries related to restructuring actions or restructured sites). We believe the non-IFRS financial measures we present herein are useful to investors, as they enable investors to evaluate and compare our results from operations in a more consistent manner (by excluding specific items that we do not consider to be reflective of our core operations), to evaluate cash resources that we generate from our business each period, and to provide an analysis of operating results using the same measures our chief operating decision makers use to measure performance. In addition, management believes that the use of a non-IFRS adjusted tax expense and a non-IFRS adjusted effective tax rate provide improved insight into the tax effects of our core operations, and are useful to management and investors for historical comparisons and forecasting. These non-IFRS financial measures result largely from management's determination that the facts and circumstances surrounding the excluded charges or recoveries are not indicative of our core operations. Non-IFRS financial measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and therefore may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies that report under IFRS, or who report under U.S. GAAP and use non-GAAP financial measures to describe similar financial metrics. Non-IFRS financial measures are not measures of performance under IFRS and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for any IFRS financial measure. The most significant limitation to management's use of non-IFRS financial measures is that the charges or credits excluded from the non-IFRS financial measures are nonetheless recognized under IFRS and have an economic impact on us. Management compensates for these limitations primarily by issuing IFRS results to show a complete picture of our performance, and reconciling non-IFRS financial measures back to the most directly comparable IFRS financial measures. The economic substance of the exclusions described above (where applicable to the periods presented) and management's rationale for excluding them from non-IFRS financial measures is provided below: Employee SBC expense, which represents the estimated fair value of stock options, restricted share units and performance share units granted to employees, is excluded because grant activities vary significantly from quarter-to-quarter in both quantity and fair value. In addition, excluding this expense allows us to better compare core operating results with those of our competitors who also generally exclude employee SBC expense in assessing operating performance, who may have different granting patterns and types of equity awards, and who may use different valuation assumptions than we do. Amortization charges (excluding computer software) consist of non-cash charges against intangible assets that are impacted by the timing and magnitude of acquired businesses. Amortization of intangible assets varies among our competitors, and we believe that excluding these charges permits a better comparison of core operating results with those of our competitors who also generally exclude amortization charges in assessing operating performance. Other Charges, net of recoveries, consist of, when applicable: Restructuring Charges, net of recoveries (defined below); Transition Costs (defined below); net Impairment charges (defined below); consulting, transaction and integration costs related to potential and completed acquisitions, and charges or releases related to the subsequent re-measurement of indemnification assets or the release of indemnification or other liabilities recorded in connection with our acquisition of Impakt Holdings, LLC (such releases were first recorded in the first quarter of 2021) (collectively, Acquisition Costs (Recoveries)); legal settlements (recoveries); credit facility-related charges; and post-employment benefit plan losses. We exclude these charges, net of recoveries, because we believe that they are not directly related to ongoing operating results and do not reflect expected future operating expenses after completion of these activities or incurrence of the relevant costs. Our competitors may record similar charges at different times, and we believe these exclusions permit a better comparison of our core operating results with those of our competitors who also generally exclude these types of charges, net of recoveries, in assessing operating performance. Restructuring Charges, net of recoveries, consist of costs relating to: employee severance, lease terminations, site closings and consolidations; write-downs of owned property and equipment which are no longer used and are available for sale; and reductions in infrastructure. Transition Costs consist of: (i) costs recorded in connection with the relocation of our Toronto manufacturing operations, and the move of our corporate headquarters into and out of a temporary location during, and upon completion, of the construction of space in a new office building at our former location (all in connection with the 2019 sale of our Toronto real property) and (ii) costs recorded in connection with the transfer of manufacturing lines from closed sites to other sites within our global network. Transition Costs consist of direct relocation and duplicate costs (such as rent expense, utility costs, depreciation charges, and personnel costs) incurred during the transition periods, as well as cease-use costs incurred in connection with idle or vacated portions of the relevant premises that we would not have incurred but for these relocations and transfers. We believe that excluding these costs permits a better comparison of our core operating results from period-to-period, as these costs will not reflect our ongoing operations once these relocations and manufacturing line transfers are complete. Impairment charges, which consist of non-cash charges against goodwill, intangible assets, property, plant and equipment, and right-of-use (ROU) assets, result primarily when the carrying value of these assets exceeds their recoverable amount. Finance Costs consist of interest expense and fees related to our credit facility (including debt issuance and related amortization costs), our interest rate swap agreements, our accounts receivable sales program and customers' supplier financing programs, and interest expense on our lease obligations, net of interest income earned. We believe that excluding these costs provides useful insight for assessing the performance of our core operations. Acquisition inventory fair value adjustments relate to the write-up of the inventory acquired in connection with our acquisitions, representing the difference between the cost and fair value of such inventory. We exclude the impact of the recognition of these adjustments, when incurred, because we believe such exclusion permits a better comparison of our core operating results from period-to-period, as their impact is not indicative of our ongoing operating performance. Non-core tax impacts are excluded, as we believe that these costs or recoveries do not reflect core operating performance and vary significantly among those of our competitors who also generally exclude these costs or recoveries in assessing operating performance. The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the various non-IFRS financial measures discussed above, and a reconciliation of non-IFRS financial measures to the most directly comparable IFRS financial measures (in millions, except percentages and per share amounts):   Three months ended September 30   Nine months ended September 30   2020   2021   2020   2021     % ofrevenue     % ofrevenue     % ofrevenue     % ofrevenue IFRS revenue $ 1,550.5       $ 1,467.4       $ 4,361.5       $ 4,122.6                             IFRS gross profit $ 124.2   8.0 %   $ 125.4   8.5 %   $ 323.8   7.4 %   $ 344.9   8.4 % Employee SBC expense 1.1       3.1       8.9       9.4     Non-IFRS adjusted gross profit $ 125.3   8.1 %   $ 128.5   8.8 %   $ 332.7   7.6 %   $ 354.3   8.6 %                         IFRS SG&A $ 56.9   3.7 %   $ 62.0   4.2 %   $ 171.3   3.9 %   $ 179.6   4.4 % Employee SBC expense (0.6 )     (5.5 )     (11.8 )     (14.8 )   Non-IFRS adjusted SG&A $ 56.3   3.6 %   $ 56.5   3.9 %   $ 159.5   3.7 %   $ 164.8   4.0 %                         IFRS earnings before income taxes $ 40.3   2.6 %   $ 43.9   3.0 %   $ 63.8   1.5 %   $ 94.4   2.3 % Finance Costs 8.9       7.8       28.6       23.4     Employee SBC expense 1.7       8.6       20.7       24.2     Amortization of intangible assets (excluding computer software) 5.5       4.9       16.9       14.7     Other Charges (recoveries) 3.7       (3.9 )     19.0       2.9     Non-IFRS operating earnings (adjusted EBIAT) (1) $ 60.1   3.9 %   $ 61.3   4.2 %   $ 149.0   3.4 %   $ 159.6   3.9 %                         IFRS net earnings $ 30.4   2.0 %   $ 35.2   2.4 %   $ 40.5   0.9 %   $ 72.0   1.7 % Employee SBC expense 1.7       8.6       20.7       24.2     Amortization of intangible assets (excluding computer software) 5.5       4.9       16.9       14.7     Other Charges (recoveries) 3.7       (3.9 )     19.0       2.9     Adjustments for taxes (2) (0.4 )     (1.4 )     (3.8 )     (4.7 )   Non-IFRS adjusted net earnings $ 40.9       $ 43.4       $ 93.3       $ 109.1                             Diluted EPS                       Weighted average # of shares (in millions) 129.1       125.5       129.1       127.3     IFRS earnings per share $ 0.24       $ 0.28       $ 0.31       $ 0.57     Non-IFRS adjusted earnings per share $ 0.32       $ 0.35       $ 0.72       $ 0.86     # of shares outstanding at period end (in millions) 129.1       124.7       129.1       124.7                             IFRS cash provided by operations $ 42.0       $ 55.7       $ 189.9       $ 161.0     Purchase of property, plant and equipment, net of sales proceeds (9.9 )     (13.2 )     (32.2 )     (35.3 )   Lease payments (3) (9.9 )     (10.0 )     (27.9 )     (30.0 )   Finance Costs paid (excluding debt issuance costs paid) (3) (6.4 )     (5.4 )     (22.3 )     (16.5 )   Non-IFRS free cash flow (3) $ 15.8       $ 27.1       $ 107.5       $ 79.2                             IFRS ROIC % (4) 10.2 %     10.9 %     5.3 %     7.8 %   Non-IFRS adjusted ROIC % (4) 15.2 %     15.2 %     12.5 %     13.2 %   (1)   Management uses non-IFRS operating earnings (adjusted EBIAT) as a measure to assess performance related to our core operations. Non-IFRS adjusted EBIAT is defined as earnings (loss) before income taxes, Finance Costs (defined above), employee SBC expense, amortization of intangible assets (excluding computer software), Other Charges (recoveries) (defined above), and in applicable periods, acquisition inventory fair value adjustments. See note 8 to our Q3 2021 Interim Financial Statements for separate quantification and discussion of the components of Other Charges (recoveries). (2)   The adjustments for taxes, as applicable, represent the tax effects of our non-IFRS adjustments and non-core tax impacts (see below). The following table sets forth a reconciliation of our IFRS tax expense and IFRS effective tax rate to our non-IFRS adjusted tax expense and our non-IFRS adjusted effective tax rate for the periods indicated, in each case determined by excluding the tax benefits or costs associated with the listed items (in millions, except percentages) from our IFRS tax expense for such periods:   Three months ended   Nine months ended   September 30   September 30   2020 Effectivetax rate   2021 Effectivetax rate   2020 Effectivetax rate   2021 Effectivetax rate                     IFRS tax expense and IFRS effective tax rate $ 9.9   25 %   $ 8.7   20 %   $ 23.3   37 %   $ 22.4   24 %                         Tax costs (benefits) of the following items excluded from IFRS tax expense:                       Employee SBC expense 0.2       1.4       1.2       2.9     Other Charges (recoveries) 0.2       —       2.2       0.7     Non-core tax impacts related to tax uncertainties* —       —       0.4       —     Non-core tax impact related to restructured sites** —       —       —       1.1     Non-IFRS adjusted tax expense and non-IFRS adjusted effective tax rate $ 10.3   20 %   $ 10.1   19 %   $ 27.1   23 %   $ 27.1   20 % * Consists of the reversal of certain tax uncertainties related to a prior acquisition that became statute-barred in the first quarter of 2020. ** Consists of the reversals of tax uncertainties related to one of our Asian subsidiaries that completed its liquidation and dissolution during the first quarter of 2021. (3)   Management uses non-IFRS free cash flow as a measure, in addition to IFRS cash provided by (used in) operations, to assess our operational cash flow performance. We believe non-IFRS free cash flow provides another level of transparency to our liquidity. Non-IFRS free cash flow is defined as cash provided by (used in) operations after the purchase of property, plant and equipment (net of proceeds from the sale of certain surplus equipment and property), lease payments and Finance Costs paid (excluding any debt issuance costs and when applicable, waiver fees related to our credit facility). We do not consider debt issuance costs (nil paid in Q3 2021 and YTD 2021; $0.3 million and $0.6 million paid in Q3 2020 and YTD 2020, respectively) or such waiver fees (when applicable) to be part of our ongoing financing expenses. As a result, these costs are excluded from total Finance Costs paid in our determination of non-IFRS free cash flow. Note, however, that non-IFRS free cash flow does not represent residual cash flow available to Celestica for discretionary expenditures. (4)   Management uses non-IFRS adjusted ROIC as a measure to assess the effectiveness of the invested capital we use to build products or provide services to our customers, by quantifying how well we generate earnings relative to the capital we have invested in our business. Non-IFRS adjusted ROIC is calculated by dividing non-IFRS adjusted EBIAT by average net invested capital. Net invested capital (calculated in the table below) is defined as total assets less: cash, ROU assets, accounts payable, accrued and other current liabilities, provisions, and income taxes payable. We use a two-point average to calculate average net invested capital for the quarter and a four-point average to calculate average net invested capital for the nine-month period. A comparable measure under IFRS would be determined by dividing IFRS earnings (loss) before income taxes by average net invested capital (which we have set forth in the charts above and below), however, this measure (which we have called IFRS ROIC), is not a measure defined under IFRS. The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, our calculation of IFRS ROIC % and non-IFRS adjusted ROIC % (in millions, except IFRS ROIC % and non-IFRS adjusted ROIC %).   Three months ended   Nine months ended   September 30   September 30   2020   2021   2020   2021                 IFRS earnings before income taxes $ 40.3     $ 43.9     $ 63.8     $ 94.4   Multiplier to annualize earnings 4     4     1.333     1.333   Annualized IFRS earnings before income taxes $ 161.2     $ 175.6     $ 85.0     $ 125.8                   Average net invested capital for the period.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 26th, 2021

The best wildlife photos of the year show a curious grizzly, dueling reindeer, and fish swimming through a cloud of sperm

Climate change is transforming the landscapes around predators, fish, and birds, but they all still spawn, fight for mates, and care for their young. Laurent Ballesta/Wildlife Photographer of the Year The London Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest awards images that showcase the diversity and fragility of life. This year, the contest drew a record of more than 50,000 entries from photographers in 95 countries. The winning photos show reindeer fighting over mates, seals giving birth, and a mountain gorilla enjoying the rain. The camouflage grouper is declining due to overfishing, but each July, beneath a full moon, the fish begin to multiply.For five years, biologist Laurent Ballesta has returned to a lagoon in Fakarava, French Polynesia every July to photograph the groupers spawning. He and his team dove night and day to capture photos of the fish darting through clouds of eggs and sperm, which mix and fertilize in the warm tropical waters.The above photo, which Ballesta calls "Creation," is the result of that effort, and it won the prestigious Grand Title award in the 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest. The competition, developed and produced by the Natural History Museum in London, aims to showcase the diversity and fragility of the planet's wildlife. The museum announced its winners on Tuesday.This year, the contest drew more entries than ever before - more than 50,000 photos from photographers in 95 countries. But "Creation" stood out."The image works on so many levels. It is surprising, energetic, and intriguing and has an otherworldly beauty," Roz Kidman Cox, who chaired the judges panel, said in a statement. "It also captures a magical moment - a truly explosive creation of life - leaving the tail-end of the exodus of eggs hanging for a moment like a symbolic question mark."Other winning photos across 19 categories reveal the devastation of climate change and environmental destruction. They show dead coral, melting sea ice, and dwindling animal populations. But many are also snapshots of persistence: creatures procreating, fighting for mates, and caring for their young.A photo of an inconspicuous spider won the contest's Grand Title for youth photographers Vidyun R Hebbar/Wildlife Photographer of the Year Vidyun Hebbar, age 10, was exploring a theme park near his home in Bengaluru, India, when he spotted a tent spider in a gap in a wall. The tiny creature was perched upside down in a dome-shaped web it had woven across the wall.He held up his camera and clicked as a tuk tuk passed by. The motorized rickshaw made a colorful background for the spider and its intricate silk web."The jury loved this photo from the beginning of the judging process. It is a great reminder to look more closely at the small animals we live with every day, and to take your camera with you everywhere," Dr. Natalie Cooper, a researcher at the Natural History Museum who sat on the judges panel, said in a statement.A hungry grizzly bear made eye contact with the camera before trashing it Zack Clothier/Wildlife Photographer of the Yea US photographer Zack Clothier thought these wild elk remains might attract a grizzly bear. So he set up his camera nearby and retreated. When he came back, he found his setup trashed.This image, with the grizzly eyeballing the camera, was the last one snapped."Your eye goes to the rib cage, moves to the antlers and then gets a jolt from the great grizzly head looming into view," Cox said. "It is a story picture - the harsh winter environment, the bear emerging from its hibernation den to make use of what food it can find. But what gives it the edge is the bear's expression. You cannot help smiling."An aerial image of seals giving birth on melting ice shows blood, new life, and impending doom Jennifer Hayes/Wildlife Photographer of the Year US photographer Jennifer Hayes spent hours on a helicopter searching for these harp seals' birthing grounds. As they came into view, her camera captured the scattered seals and the smears of blood their births had left on the ice."It was a pulse of life that took your breath away," Hayes said in a statement.But the ice beneath the seals is fragmenting. As Arctic air and oceans get warmer, northern sea ice is becoming more scarce. That's likely to cause major disruptions and population crashes for animals that rely on the ice."What an impactful picture - a record of both birth and imminent disaster," Cox said. "Adult harp seals give scale to this frozen sea stained with the blood of new life that is cracking apart too early, indicating the likely carnage to come as the ice melts and the pups, in their fluffy white coats, drown - a drama representative of the climate emergency."For those reasons, Hayes's photo won the contest's Oceans category.A venomous spider guarded its brood beneath a photographer's bed Gil Wizen/Wildlife Photographer of the Year Gil Wizen noticed tiny spiders swarming in his bedroom one day. When the photographer peeked under his bed, he found the culprit: a Brazilian wandering spider the size of his hand. One of the world's most venomous spiders had laid and hatched its eggs right below his place of rest.Wizen captured the scene before relocating the spider outside.One photographer returned to an old subject, only to find it dead David Doubilet/Wildlife Photographer of the Year David Doubilet has been taking his camera diving among corals for 30 years. In those decades, the reefs around him have changed. Many are dying as the oceans absorb the carbon dioxide humans are pumping into the atmosphere. That makes oceans more acidic, and the warming climate raises the water temperature at the same time.The coral colonies in this photo didn't survive. When the tiny animals that make up the coral - called polyps - died, that left the coral bleached.Doubilet returned to this coral skeleton with a photograph of its living form from nine years earlier.A white-tailed kite tried to teach its offspring how to woo a mate Jack Zhi/Wildlife Photographer of the Year The younger California bird was trying to take a live mouse from the claws of its father while hovering in mid-air, according to photographer Jack Zhi. This is how the juvenile must eat until it can hunt for itself. The exchange is also practice for future courtship, when a male bird offers prey to a female.This gold-speckled youngster had only been flying for two days. It clumsily tried to reach its claws up to take the mouse, but didn't quite get the prize. It learned quickly, though, and circled around to grab its prey from behind the older bird.Other creatures were fighting for the right to woo Angel Fitor/Wildlife Photographer of the Year The colorful pair of male cichlid fish in this image are facing off, jaw to jaw, over a female hiding in a snail shell, ready to lay eggs. Photographer Angel Fitor spent three weeks diving to the bottom of Lake Tanganyika, an enormous freshwater lake at the center of Africa, looking for such cichlid fish fights. This one lasted just seconds.Dueling reindeer also battled over females Stefano Unterthiner/Wildlife Photographer of the Year During the rutting season in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, male reindeer clash antlers over harems of females. These two fought until the dominant male, on the left, chased his rival away.Photographer Stefano Unterthiner said in a statement that he felt immersed in "the smell, the noise, the fatigue, and the pain."The Svalbard subspecies of reindeer is unique to that area. But on the island, climate change has led to increased rainfall, which can freeze on the ground and block reindeer from eating the plants that are usually accessible through soft snow.On an island within an island, a red fox scavenged for dead salmon Jonny Armstrong/Wildlife Photographer of the Year This animal is one of two foxes living on a small island in Karluk Lake, which is nested in Alaska's Kodiak Island. Photographer Jonny Armstrong followed the fox for several days as she pounced at birds, ate berries, and even nipped at the heels of a young brown bear.Then a storm began to roll in, bringing a somber backdrop. As the vixen scanned the shallows for sockeye salmon that had died after spawning, Armstrong laid on his stomach at the water's edge to capture her focused gaze.The winner in the portraits category shows a mountain gorilla at peace in the rain Majed Ali/Wildlife Photographer of the Year The gorilla, named Kibande, is almost 40 years old. He's a member of a dwindling subspecies of eastern gorilla. Just two populations of these mountain gorillas remain in the wild - one in the Virunga volcanoes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and one in Uganda's Bwindi forest. They're threatened by poaching, habitat destruction, and disease.Photographer Majed Ali trekked four hours uphill in his attempt to photograph Kibande."The more we climbed, the hotter and more humid it got," Majed said in a statement.As rain began to fall and cool the air, Kibande closed his eyes and let the droplets fall over his face.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

Frances Haugen: The Facebook Whistleblower

    Now that’s a rock star. You remember rock stars, don’t you? Probably not if you’re a millennial or younger. Rock stars were musicians who channeled the truth, who stood up to corporations and bad behavior around the world. They were explicit, not complicit. And they and their messages were so powerful that money… Read More The post Frances Haugen: The Facebook Whistleblower appeared first on The Big Picture.     Now that’s a rock star. You remember rock stars, don’t you? Probably not if you’re a millennial or younger. Rock stars were musicians who channeled the truth, who stood up to corporations and bad behavior around the world. They were explicit, not complicit. And they and their messages were so powerful that money rained down upon them. But it hasn’t been that way for a very long time. First we had MTV. Which soon made looks more important than the music. Good luck getting signed if you weren’t beautiful. They had whole teams of people to help write your songs, to groom you, because there was big money at stake, and the executives wanted it. That big money was based on technology, i.e. the CD, which sold for two times viny and cassettes, yet to “help the format” artists halved their royalties, with promises they would be raised once the CD got traction, and this never happened. It was a game, the major labels, MTV, radio and print media were in cahoots. They built beautiful stars, who became more and more vapid. And then came the internet. The paradigm was blown apart. But within the last decade a new order has been established, akin to the old one, but this time on steroids. Now the major labels sign very few acts, and don’t release any music from said acts until they’re sure they’re going to be hits. Furthermore, they have untold power at the streaming services, because they provide the lion’s share of their product, not only new music, but catalog, which represents in excess of 50% of streaming by everybody’s calculation. So every major label priority gets priority at the streaming service. It’s put on banners, it’s put on playlists, it’s given a chance. Good luck with your indie record. And as was proven in the movie business over the last forty-odd years, if you don’t have a library/catalog you can’t pay the bills, you end up selling or going out of business, because it’s the already paid-for assets that generate reliable income at essentially no cost while you do your best to make new hits. And now it’s even easier, it used to be impossible to get all your catalog in the retail store, you’d be lucky to get a greatest hits package, but today every one of the label’s owned songs appears on streaming services, and a lot of the past is better than what we’ve got today, but no one on the inside will say so. And don’t expect a whistleblower in the music business, where loyalty is everything. So “The Wall Street Journal” did a series on Facebook based on documents received from a whistleblower. But not only were the lengthy, detailed articles behind a paywall, they were in print, and most people don’t read, at least not beyond the headlines and captions on news or social media sites. It was big news amongst the intelligentsia, but that leaves out most Americans. But today the whistleblower went on “60 Minutes”: Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen: The 60 Minutes Interview. It’s less than fifteen minutes, you can afford the time, and it’s fascinating. First and foremost Ms. Haugen. She’s a 37 year old woman. She’s the antithesis of Elizabeth Holmes. She’s the antithesis of today’s social media influencers, the Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian paradigm, where it’s only the exterior that counts and money trumps everything. Haugen went to the not even 25 year old Olin College, an engineering specialty school, and ultimately got an MBA at Harvard. Should you listen to the uneducated nitwit in your neighborhood or Ms. Haugen? It’s no contest. “Ms. Haugen was initially asked to build tools to study the potentially malicious targeting of information at specific communities.” That’s from the one hour old “Wall Street Journal” article on Frances Haugen, now that she’s revealed herself, they’re detailing her history. You can read about it here: “The Facebook Whistleblower, Frances Haugen, Says She Wants to Fix the Company, Not Harm It – The former Facebook employee says her goal is to help prompt change at the social-media giant” But that’s behind a paywall. It took twenty five years, but that’s where the internet is going, I point you to this article centered around Patreon in “Bloomberg Businessweek”: “Patreon Battles for Creators by Investing in Original Content – Ahead of a potential IPO, the $4 billion startup is transforming itself as competition from tech giants intensifies” It used to just be Patreon. Then came Substack. Now all the usual suspect platforms want to be gateways for content provided by citizens that sits behind paywalls so the creators can get paid. So what we’ll end up with is a bunch of niche creative providers, forget whether they get paid or not, who will reach tiny slivers of the public as the big outlets get bigger, then again will the big outlets gain dominance? This is still up in the air. Sure, the “New York Times” has just under 10 million subscribers, but we live in a country of 330 million, and those subscribers aren’t all Americans. Ditto music, the big acts might be bigger than the indies, but in the aggregate, the indies are quite large. Never mind that there’s only so much money to go around. Everybody wants to get paid, they’re sick of giving it away for free, they’re going behind paywalls. And if you don’t pay, soon you’ll be in the dark. But not on Facebook or Instagram, because there you’re paying with your attention, the time you’re logged-on, during which they can serve you advertising. That’s right, Facebook changed the algorithm a couple of years back such that content that delivered a reaction was favored. Because you’d interact with said content and you’d stay on longer, it was a win for Facebook, but a loss for society. Haugen says that Facebook turned on safety systems before the 2020 election, but once the contest was over, they turned them off, end result being the 1/6 insurrection. That’s what everybody was saying on Workplace, the Facebook intranet where everything was available to everybody. So Haugen wanted to move to Puerto Rico. Facebook said she couldn’t work there. So Haugen decided to quit. But during the month she transferred her projects to new people, she downloaded as much information as she could from Workplace. She was stunned what she could see and she was stunned that no one saw her looking, especially in areas outside her purview. Bottom line, Facebook commissioned internal studies that detailed over and over again the negative effects of the service. Instagram’s negative influence on teenage girls. The trade of drugs and human beings in plain sight. How people who posted frequently or were famous were whitelisted and could say anything with impunity. And then she contacted the SEC and provided this information to “The Wall Street Journal.” Now what happens? Well, even Haugen says that breaking up Facebook wouldn’t work. She says there must be governmental regulations because the company prioritizes profits over safety. But it’s worse than that. Facebook is not a manufacturer of physical goods. Half of the world is on Facebook, and the bottom line is the service is now out of the control of the company. As bad as it is in America, it’s a free-for-all in most countries. And, once again, it’s Europe cracking down on the service, saying it’s interfering with government, not the U.S. “a betrayal of democracy.” That’s what Haugen says about Facebook turning off its restrictions after the election. And democracy does hang in the balance. It’s been three and a half years since the Cambridge Analytica story broke, but now the anti-Facebook movement is gaining momentum. But don’t expect Workplace to be available to all Facebook employees in the future, they’re gonna close that loophole posthaste, never mind already shutting down internal operations that deliver information the brass doesn’t want to hear. If you don’t hear it, it doesn’t exist, right? Wrong! But you knew that. But you also thought the power resided in the public. Like yesterday’s inane anti-abortion/women’s rights marches. I sympathize with the sentiment, but not the method. We marched all the way through Trump’s term, did it make a difference? Of course not. It’s the twenty first century, not the twentieth. Battles are fought online. That’s where you make your statements and organize, a person behind a computer is much more powerful than a person at an evanescent rally. But really, we need the big players, the government, the investors to get involved or no change happens. I wish it were otherwise, but it’s not. That’s what voting rights are all about. At least you get a say in theory, but if the rules make it too hard for many to vote, and a partisan legislature is in charge of the results, irrelevant of the public’s will, look out. This is what is happening right now. And what is everybody doing? Looking to make a buck for themselves. Everybody’s deep in their hole, trying to elbow out others to get ahead. They’ve got contempt for others, there is no common good. That’s what “Squid Game,” the most popular show in the world, is all about. It’s not a revelation, it’s reality. People will do anything to survive, to keep the world running how they want it to. Meanwhile, people are addicted to social media. At least there are alternatives to Amazon, but no boycott of the operation has ever worked. But California has instituted warehouse workplace rules targeting Amazon. Good luck working in another state. Where odds are you’re going to get hurt, with repetitive stress injuries if nothing else. Oh, Amazon provides aspirin and band-aids, but the truth is you’re just a cog in the system, disposable, while the company and Wall Street make ever more money. That’s another message of “Squid Game.” So one individual has already had a huge impact. What are the odds other major tech companies will be reaching out to hire her? NADA! She’s white hot, untouchable, let’s hope she gets a big whistleblower settlement, but even if she does, that takes years. Meanwhile, our nation, our world, is being run by a college dropout with tunnel vision. And his number two is leaning into him, not the public at large, screw the public, it’s all about money, isn’t that the essence of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos? But there’s a lot more truth in “Squid Game” than any of today’s music. And the goal of “musicians” today is to sell out to the corporation, or become a corporation, to sell crap to brain dead listeners. That’s to be lauded? No, Frances Haugen is to be lauded. She will be remembered, the Spotify Top 50 will not. Because Haugen did something important, took a stand, risking her career, her future. Who else is doing this? And if this were the pre-internet era, this “60 Minutes” story would be known by essentially every citizen, if they didn’t see it, they’d hear about it, but “60 Minutes” no longer has that kind of reach, nothing on network TV does anymore. Then again, Facebook hate knows no political boundaries, it can appeal to both right and left. But not really. Did you see that YouTube shut out anti-vaxxers? Trump wants back on Twitter. Trump had more reach than anybody in the world, now it’s been scaled back, but he’s already convinced his troops that Democrats are socialists who will ruin society and they must fight to protect their way of life, however bogus it might be. That’s what 1/6 was about. And the word was spread on Facebook. And despite all the doublespeak of Nick Clegg and the rest of the Facebook press team, we know it’s true. In reality, Mark Zuckerberg needs to lose his job. He can keep his money, but he can’t have his hands on the steering wheel of Facebook anymore. But that would require the board to have balls, which it doesn’t possess. Unlike Uber, where Travis Kalanick was exiled for bad behavior, Facebook throws off a ton of money, and since profits are everything, there is no change unless the government insists. But you can’t get agreement on anything in D.C. And not only is there no longer any trust in Congress, there’s no trust in the Supreme Court. And Ted Cruz is single-handedly holding up the appointment of 59 ambassadors, how does that help us exactly? But welcome to the modern world. Where what happens online supersedes everything else. And it happens so fast that elected officials cannot keep up with it. And the internet itself is fluid, so you end up playing a game of Whac-A-Mole. Meanwhile, China is clamping down. But Evergrande has revealed the country’s economic underpinnings are shaky. But Xi is trying to minimize the bad influences of the internet, he’s trying to tamp down celebrity culture, he’s trying to return China to the past, and ultimately that will never work. What did the Rascals say? “People everywhere just want to be free”? But things have to get really bad before they react. They’re really bad at Facebook. This is the first shoe dropping. What’s next? ~~~ Visit the archive: — Listen to the podcast: — @Lefsetz — Subscribe to the LefsetzLetter The post Frances Haugen: The Facebook Whistleblower appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 11th, 2021

Images from NASA"s Perseverance rover reveal that mysterious floods dragged boulders across Mars

The first study of Perseverance's early photos reveals signs of primordial floods and minerals that could hold evidence of ancient life. NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took this selfie on September 10, 2021. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars snapped photos of cliffs that show signs of ancient flash floods. The first study of Perseverance's data suggests that a flooding river dragged boulders for miles. The photos also pinpoint ancient river sediment in which the rover could search for fossilized life. In the dry Martian crater where NASA's Perseverance rover is searching for signs of long-gone life, torrential flash floods once dragged boulders for miles.That's what researchers concluded in the first study of Perseverance's data since the rover landed on Mars in February.Its landing site, a 28-mile-wide crater called Jezero, was filled with water more than 3.5 billion years ago. Back then, a river spilled over the crater wall, carrying minerals and clay that could have trapped and fossilized ancient microbes at the bottom of Lake Jezero.If such life ever existed on Mars, NASA scientists think they might find it in Jezero Crater, even though all the water has dried up. That's Perseverance's main mission there. As it explores the crater and the ancient river delta, it's collecting samples of rock, dirt, and ancient mineral deposits for a future mission to bring back to Earth. An illustration of Jezero Crater as it may have looked billions of years go on Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech But as the rover treks toward the cliffs of the river delta, which it's set to explore in the coming months, its photos have revealed something strange. In the steep slopes, called escarpments, or "scarps," Perseverance spotted layers of large rocks and boulders."We saw distinct layers in the scarps containing boulders up to five feet across that we knew had no business being there," Nicolas Mangold, a Perseverance scientist in France who led the study, said in a NASA press release.The cliffs were constructed over centuries, as river minerals fell to the bottom of the lake, building layer upon layer. In some of the higher layers, which correspond to periods later in the lake's history, groups of large boulders jut out from the mineral deposits. They're too large for any regular river to move - which means walls of raging water must have pushed them there. This composite image of the "Delta Scarp" in Mars' Jezero Crater was generated using data from two imagers aboard NASA's Perseverance rover. The inset zooms in on a 377-foot-wide portion. RMI: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ASU/MSSS Mastcam-Z: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS The researchers estimated that flash floods had to increase the river water to speeds as high as 20 mph in order to move such big rocks. Waters that powerful can drag boulders for tens of miles.Perseverance's first study points where to look for lifeThe study, published in the journal Science on Thursday, also analyzed Perseverance's images of a rock outcropping called Kodiak.This mound, just over a mile from the rover, is a remnant of the river delta. The Kodiak delta remnant, photographed by Perseverance on February 22, 2021. NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS Along Kodiak's sides, horizontal layers of rock and mineral deposits are exposed. That layering, called stratigraphy, reveals the geological history of the region. And the layers look a lot like those left by river deltas on Earth."Never before has such well-preserved stratigraphy been visible on Mars," Mangold said. "This is the key observation that enables us to once and for all confirm the presence of a lake and river delta at Jezero. Getting a better understanding of the hydrology months in advance of our arrival at the delta is going to pay big dividends down the road."These new findings may also help determine where Perseverance should look for fossils of ancient Martian microbes. The river carried grains that fell to the lake floor, eventually settling into sandstone or mudstone that became the bottom layers of the delta slopes. Those falling minerals could have trapped microbes."The finest-grained material at the bottom of the delta probably contains our best bet for finding evidence of organics and biosignatures," Sanjeev Gupta, a Perseverance scientist from Imperial College, London, and a co-author of the paper, said in NASA's press release. "And the boulders at the top will enable us to sample old pieces of crustal rocks. Both are main objectives for sampling and caching rocks."But the new study also raises a big question. It's not clear what caused Jezero's flash floods. The researchers speculated that it could have been intense rainfall, rapid snow melt, or glacial activity. Figuring out the source of all that water would tell scientists a lot about the ancient Martian climate."We have no proof on Mars of the origin of these floods," Mangold told TIME. "That is something we want to be able to answer."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 9th, 2021

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown US equity futures faded an overnight rally on the last day of September as lingering global-growth risks underscored by China's official manufacturing PMI contracted for the first time since Feb 2020 as widely expected offset a debt-ceiling deal in Washington and central-bank assurances about transitory inflation. The deal to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from the minds of investors, amid China risks and concerns over Federal Reserve tapering. Comments from Fed Chair Powell and ECB head Christine Lagarde about inflation being transitory rather than permanent also helped sentiment, even if nobody actually believes them any more.In China, authorities told bankers to help local governments support the property market and homebuyers, signaling concern at the economic fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande As of 7:15am ET, S&P futures were up 18 points ot 0.44%, trimming an earlier gain of 0.9%. Dow eminis were up 135 or 0.4% and Nasdaq futs rose 0.43%. 10Y TSY yields were higher, rising as high as 1.54% and last seen at 1.5289%; the US Dollar erased earlier losses and was unchanged. All the three major indexes are set for a monthly drop, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track to break its seven-month winning streak as worries about persistent inflation, the fallout from China Evergrande’s potential default and political wrangling over the debt ceiling rattled sentiment. The index was, however, on course to mark its sixth straight quarterly gain, albeit its smallest, since March 2020’s drop. The rate-sensitive FAANG stocks have lost about $415 billion in value this month after the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift on monetary policy sparked a rally in Treasury yields and prompted investors to move into energy, banks and small-cap sectors that stand to benefit the most from an economic revival. Among individual stocks, oil-and-gas companies APA Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. led premarket gains among S&P 500 members. Virgin Galactic shares surged 9.7% in premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave the company a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space. Perrigo climbed 14% after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland.  U.S.-listed Macau casino operators may get a boost Thursday after Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said the region will strive to resume quarantine-free travel to Zhuhai by Oct. 1, the start of the Golden Week holiday, if the Covid-19 situation in Macau is stable. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Retail investor favorites Farmmi (FAMI US) and Camber Energy (CEI US) both rise in U.S. premarket trading, continuing their strong recent runs on high volumes Virgin Galactic (SPCE US) shares rise 8.9% in U.S. premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave co. a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space Perrigo (PRGO US) rises 15% in U.S. premarket trading after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Jefferies over the “very favorable” resolution Landec (LNDC US) shares fell 17% in Wednesday postmarket trading after fiscal 1Q revenue and adjusted loss per share miss consensus estimates Affimed (AFMD US) rises 4.3% in Wednesday postmarket trading after Stifel analyst Bradley Canino initiates at a buy with a $12 price target, implying the stock may more than double over the next year Herman Miller (MLHR US) up ~2.8% in Wednesday postmarket trading after the office furnishings maker posts fiscal 1Q net sales that beat the consensus estimate Orion Group Holdings (ORN US) shares surged as much as 43% in Wednesday extended trading after the company disclosed two contract awards for its Marine segment totaling nearly $200m Kaival Brands (KAVL US) fell 18% Wednesday postmarket after offering shares, warrants via Maxim An agreement among U.S. lawmakers to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from a litany of risks investors are contenting with, ranging from China’s growth slowdown to Federal Reserve tapering. “Republicans and Democrats showed some compromise by averting a government shutdown,” Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Investment Funds. “By removing what felt like a significant risk for a retail audience, it helps sentiment in the equity market.” Still, president Joe Biden’s agenda remains at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown. The big overnight economic news came from China whose September NBS manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 from 50.1 in August, the first contraction since Feb 2020, likely due to the production cuts caused by energy constraints. Both the output sub-index and the new orders sub-index in the NBS manufacturing PMI survey decreased in September. The NBS non-manufacturing PMI rebounded to 53.2 in September from 47.5 in August on a recovery of services activities as COVID restrictions eased. However, the numbers may not capture full impact of energy restrictions as the NBS survey was taken around 22nd-25th of the month: expect far worse number in the months ahead unless China manages to contain its energy crisis. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index advanced 0.3%, trimming a monthly loss but fading an earlier gain of 0.9%, led by gains in basic resources companies as iron ore climbed, with the CAC and FTSE 100 outperforming at the margin. Technology stocks, battered earlier this week, also extended their rebound.  Miners, oil & gas and media are the strongest sectors; utility and industrial names lag. European natural gas and power markets hit fresh record highs as supply constraints persist. Perrigo jumped 13.8% after the drugmaker agreed to settle with Irish tax authorities over a 2018 issue by paying $1.90 billion in taxes Asian stocks were poised to cap their first quarterly loss since March 2020 as Chinese technology names fell and as investors remained wary over a recent rise in U.S. Treasury yields.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is set to end the September quarter with a loss of more than 5%, snapping a winning streak of five straight quarters. A combination of higher yields, Beijing’s corporate crackdown and worry over slowing economic growth in Asia’s biggest economy have hurt sentiment, bringing the market down following a brief rally in late August.  The Asian benchmark rose less than 0.1% after posting its worst single-day drop in six weeks on Wednesday. Consumer discretionary and communication services groups fell, while financials advanced. The Hang Seng Tech Index ended 1.3% lower as Beijing announced new curbs on the sector, while higher yields hurt sentiment toward growth stocks.  “Because there’s growing worry over U.S. inflation, we need to keep an eye on the potential risks, globally,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “Also, there’s the Evergrande issue. The market is in a wait-and-see mode now, with a focus on whether the group will be able to make future interest rate payments.”  Benchmarks in Thailand and Malaysia were the biggest losers, while Indonesia and Australia outperformed. Japan’s Topix and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped for a fourth day as investors weighed Fumio Kishida’s election victory as the new ruling party leader. Global stocks are poised to end the quarter with a small loss, after a five-quarter rally, as investors braced for the Fed to wind down its stimulus. They also remain concerned about slowing growth and elevated inflation, supply-chain bottlenecks, an energy crunch and regulatory risks emanating from China. A majority of participants in a Citigroup survey said a 20% pullback in stocks is more likely than a 20% rally. In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve, off session lows as stock futures pare gains. 10-year TSY yields were around 1.53%, cheaper by 1.2bp on the day vs 2.3bp for U.K. 10-year; MPC-dated OIS rates price in ~65bps of BOE hikes by December 2022. Gilts lead the selloff, with U.K. curve bear-steepening as BOE rate-hike expectations continue to ramp up. Host of Fed speakers are in focus during U.S. session, while month-end extension may serve to underpin long-end of the curve.   A gauge of the dollar’s strength headed for its first drop in five days as Treasury yields steadied after a recent rise, and amid quarter-end flows. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the dollar steady or weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro hovered around $1.16 and the pound was steady while Gilts inched lower, underperforming Bunds and Treasuries. Money markets now see around 65 basis points of tightening by the BOE’s December 2022 meeting, according to sterling overnight index swaps. That means they’re betting the key rate will rise to 0.75% next year from 0.1% currently. The Australian dollar led gains after it rose off its lowest level since August 23 amid exporter month-end demand and as iron ore buyers locked in purchases ahead of a week-long holiday in China. Norway’s krone was the worst G-10 performer and slipped a fifth day versus the dollar, its longest loosing streak in a year. In commodities, oil surrendered gains, still heading for a monthly gain amid tighter supplies. West Texas Intermediate futures briefly recaptured the level above $75 per barrel, before trading at $74.71. APA and Devon rose at least 1.8% in early New York trading. European gas prices meanwhile hit a new all time high. Looking at the day ahead, one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,379.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 457.59 MXAP little changed at 196.85 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 635.71 Nikkei down 0.3% to 29,452.66 Topix down 0.4% to 2,030.16 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,575.64 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex down 0.3% to 59,239.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 7,332.16 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,068.82 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $78.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,732.86 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.27 German 10Y yield fell 0.5 bps to -0.212% Euro little changed at $1.1607 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.K. gross domestic product rose 5.5% in the second quarter instead of the 4.8% earlier estimated, official figures published Thursday show. The data, which reflected the reopening of stores and the hospitality industry, mean the economy was still 3.3% smaller than it was before the pandemic struck. China has urged financial institutions to help local governments stabilize the rapidly cooling housing market and ease mortgages for some home buyers, another signal that authorities are worried about fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group. The U.S. currency’s surge is helping the Chinese yuan record its largest gain in eight months on a trade-weighted basis in September. It adds to headwinds for the world’s second- largest economy already slowing due to a resurgence in Covid cases, a power crisis and regulatory curbs. The Swiss National Bank bought foreign exchange worth 5.44 billion francs ($5.8 billion) in the second quarter, part of its long-running policy to alleviate appreciation pressure on the franc   A few members of the Riksbank’s executive board discussed a rate path that could indicate a rate rise at the end of the forecast period, Sweden’s central bank says in minutes from its Sept. 20 meeting French inflation accelerated in September as households in the euro area’s second-largest economy faced a jump in the costs of energy and services. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded somewhat varied with the region indecisive at quarter-end and as participants digested a slew of data releases including mixed Chinese PMI figures. ASX 200 (+1.7%) was underpinned by broad strength across its industries including the top-weighted financials sector and with the large cap miners lifted as iron ore futures surge by double-digit percentages, while the surprise expansion in Building Approvals also helped markets overlook the 51% spike in daily new infections for Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was subdued for most of the session after disappointing Industrial Production and Retail Sales data which prompted the government to cut its assessment of industrial output which it stated was stalling. The government also warned that factory output could decline for a third consecutive month in September and that October has large downside risk due to uncertainty from auto manufacturing cuts. However, Nikkei 225 then recovered with the index marginally supported by currency flows. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) diverged heading into the National Day holidays and week-long closure for the mainland with tech names in Hong Kong pressured by ongoing regulatory concerns as China is to tighten regulation of algorithms related to internet information services. Nonetheless, mainland bourses were kept afloat after a further liquidity injection by the PBoC ahead of the Golden Week celebrations and as markets took the latest PMI figures in their strides whereby the official headline Manufacturing PMI disappointed to print its first contraction since February 2020, although Non-Manufacturing PMI and Composite PMI returned to expansionary territory and Caixin Manufacturing PMI topped estimates to print at the 50-benchmark level. Top Asian News S&P Points to Progress as Bondholders Wait: Evergrande Update Bank Linked to Kazakh Leader Buys Kcell Stake After Share Slump Goldman Sachs Names Andy Tai Head of IBD Southeast Asia: Memo What Japan’s Middle-of-the-Road New Leader Means for Markets The upside momentum seen across US and European equity futures overnight stalled, with European cash also drifting from the best seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.4%). This follows somewhat mixed APAC handover, and as newsflow remains light on month and quarter-end. US equity futures are firmer across the board, but again off best levels, although the RTY (+0.8%) outperforms the ES (+0.4%), YM (+0.4%) and NQ (+0.5%). Back to Europe, the periphery lags vs core markets, whilst the DAX 40 (-0.3%) underperforms within the core market. Sectors in Europe are mostly in the green but do not portray a particular risk bias. Basic Resources top the chart with aid from overnight action in some base metals, particularly iron, in turn aiding the large iron miners BHP (+2.2%), Rio Tinto (+3.4%) and Anglo American (+2.9%). The bottom of the sectors meanwhile consists of Travel & Leisure, Autos & Parts and Industrial Goods & Services, with the former potentially feeling some headwinds from China’s travel restrictions during its upcoming National Day holiday. In terms of M&A, French press reported that CAC-listed Carrefour (-1.3%) is reportedly looking at options for sector consolidation, and talks are said to have taken place with the chain stores Auchan, with peer Casino (Unch) also initially seeing a leg higher in sympathy amid the prospect of sector consolidation. That being said, Carrefour has now reversed its earlier upside with no particular catalyst for the reversal. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that regulatory/competition hurdles cannot be ruled out – as a reminder, earlier this year, France blocked the takeover of Carrefour by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard. In the case of a successful deal, Carrefour will likely be the acquirer as the largest supermarket in France. Sticking with M&A, Eutelsat (+14%) was bolstered at the open amid source reports that French billionaire Patrick Drahi is said to have made an unsolicited takeover offer of EUR 12.10/shr for Eutelsat (vs EUR 10.35 close on Wednesday), whilst the FT reported that this offer was rejected. Top European News European Banks Dangle $26 Billion in Payouts as ECB Cap Ends U.K. Economy Emerged From Lockdown Stronger Than Expected In a First, Uber Joins Drivers in Strike Against Brussels Rules EU, U.S. Seek to Avert Chip-Subsidy Race, Float Supply Links In FX, The non-US Dollars are taking advantage of the Greenback’s loss of momentum, and the Aussie in particular given an unexpected boost from building approvals completely confounding expectations for a fall, while a spike in iron ore prices overnight provided additional incentive amidst somewhat mixed external impulses via Chinese PMIs. Hence, Aud/Usd is leading the chasing pack and back up around 0.7200, Usd/Cad is retreating through 1.2750 and away from decent option expiry interest at 1.2755 and between 1.2750-40 (in 1.3 bn and 1 bn respectively) with some assistance from the latest bounce in crude benchmarks and Nzd/Usd is still trying to tag along, but capped into 0.6900 as the Aud/Nzd cross continues to grind higher and hamper the Kiwi. DXY/GBP/JPY/EUR/CHF - It’s far too early to call time on the Buck’s impressive rally and revival from recent lows, but it has stalled following a midweek extension that propelled the index to the brink of 94.500, at 94.435. The DXY subsequently slipped back to 94.233 and is now meandering around 94.300 having topped out at 94.401 awaiting residual rebalancing flows for the final day of September, Q3 and the half fy that Citi is still classifying as Dollar positive, albeit with tweaks to sd hedges for certain Usd/major pairings. Also ahead, the last US data and survey releases for the month including final Q2 GDP, IJC and Chicago PMI before another raft of Fed speakers. Meanwhile, Sterling has gleaned some much needed support from upward revisions to Q2 UK GDP, a much narrower than forecast current account deficit and upbeat Lloyds business barometer rather than sub-consensus Nationwide house prices to bounce from the low 1.3600 area vs the Greenback and unwind more of its underperformance against the Euro within a 0.8643-12 range. However, the latter is keeping tabs on 1.1600 vs its US peer in wake of firmer German state CPI prints and with the aforementioned Citi model flagging a sub-1 standard deviation for Eur/Usd in contrast to Usd/Jpy that has been elevated to 1.85 from a prelim 1.12. Nevertheless, the Yen is deriving some traction from the calmer yield backdrop rather than disappointing Japanese data in the form of ip and retail sales to contain losses under 112.00, and the Franc is trying to do the same around 0.9350. SCANDI/EM - The tables have been turning and fortunes changing for the Nok and Sek, but the former has now given up all and more its post-Norges Bank hike gains and more as Brent consolidates beneath Usd 80/brl and the foreign currency purchases have been set at the same level for October as the current month. Conversely, the latter has taken heed of a hawkish hue to the latest set of Riksbank minutes and the fact that a few Board members discussed a rate path that could indicate a rise at the end of the forecast period. Elsewhere, the Zar looks underpinned by marginally firmer than anticipated SA ppi and private sector credit, while the Mxn is treading cautiously ahead of Banxico and a widely touted 25 bp hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy but trade with modest gains heading into the US open and in the run-up to Monday’s OPEC+ meeting. The European session thus far has been quiet from a news flow standpoint, but the contracts saw some fleeting upside after breaking above overnight ranges, albeit the momentum did not last long. Eyes turn to OPEC+ commentary heading into the meeting, which is expected to be another smooth affair, according to Argus sources. As a reminder, the group is expected to stick to its plan to raise output by 400k BPD despite outside pressure to further open the taps in a bid to control prices. Elsewhere, as a mild proxy for Chinese demand, China’s Sinopec noted that all LNG receiving terminals are to be operated at full capacity. WTI trades on either side of USD 75/bbl (vs low USD 74.54/bbl), while its Brent counterpart remains north of USD 78/bbl (vs low USD 77.66/bbl). Turning to metals, spot gold and silver continue to consolidate after yesterday’s Dollar induced losses, with the former finding some support around the USD 1,725/oz mark and the latter establishing a floor around USD 21.50/oz. Over to base metals, Dalian iron ore futures rose to three-week highs amid pre-holiday Chinese demand and after Fortescue Metals Group halted mining operations at a Pilbara project. Conversely, LME copper is on a softer footing as the Buck holds onto recent gains. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 2Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q GDP Price Index, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q Personal Consumption, est. 11.9%, prior 11.9% 8:30am: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 2.79m, prior 2.85m 8:30am: 2Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 6.6%, prior 6.6% 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 330,000, prior 351,000 9:45am: Sept. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 65.0, prior 66.8 Central Bank speakers 10am: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Fed’s Pandemic Response 10am: Powell and Yellen Appear Before House Finance Panel 11am: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Economic Mobility 11:30am: Fed’s Harker Discusses Sustainable Assets and Financial... 12:30pm: Fed’s Evans Discusses Economic Outlook 1:05pm: Fed’s Bullard Makes Opening Remarks at Book Launch 2:30pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Women and Leadership Event Government Calendar 10am ET: Treasury Secretary Yellen, Fed Chair Powell appear at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Treasury, Fed’s pandemic response 10:30am ET: Senate begins voting process for continuing resolution that extends U.S. government funding to December 3 10:30am ET: Senate Commerce subcommittee holds hearing on Facebook, Instagram’s influence on kids with Antigone Davis, Director, Global Head of Safety, Facebook 10:45am ET: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds weekly press briefing DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ll be getting my stitches out of my knee today and will have a chance to grill the surgeon who I think told me I’ll probably soon need a knee replacement. I say think as it was all a bit of a medicated blur post the operation 2 weeks ago. These have been a painfully slow 2 weeks of no weight bearing with another 4 to go and perhaps all to no avail. As you can imagine I’ve done no housework, can’t fend much for myself, or been able to control the kids much over this period. I’m not sure if having bad knees are grounds for divorce but I’m going to further put it to the test over the next month. In sickness and in health I plea. Like me, markets are hobbling into the end of Q3 today even if they’ve seen some signs of stabilising over the last 24 hours following their latest selloff, with equities bouncing back a bit and sovereign bond yields taking a breather from their recent relentless climb. It did feel that we hit yield levels on Tuesday that started to hurt risk enough that some flight to quality money recycled back into bonds. So the next leg higher in yields (which I think will happen) might be met with more risk off resistance, and counter rallies. The latest moves came amidst relatively dovish and supportive comments from central bank governors at the ECB’s forum yesterday, but sentiment was dampened somewhat as uncertainty abounds over a potential US government shutdown and breaching of the debt ceiling, after both houses of Congress could not agree on a plan to extend government funding. Overnight, there have been signs of progress on the shutdown question, with Majority Leader Schumer saying that senators had reached agreement on a stopgap funding measure that will fund the government through December 3, with the Senate set to vote on the measure this morning.However, we’re still no closer to resolving the debt ceiling issue (where the latest estimates from the Treasury Department point to October 18 as the deadline), and tensions within the Democratic party between moderates and progressives are threatening to sink both the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation package, which together contain much of President Biden’s economic agenda. We could see some developments on that soon however, as Speaker Pelosi said yesterday that the House was set to vote on the infrastructure bill today. Assuming the vote goes ahead later, this will be very interesting since a number of progressive Democrats have said that they don’t want to pass the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill (which contains the administration’s other priorities on social programs). This is because they fear that with the infrastructure bill passed (which moderates are keen on), the moderates could then scale back the spending in the reconciliation bill, and by holding out on passing the infrastructure bill, this gives them leverage on reconciliation. House Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer were in the Oval Office with President Biden yesterday, and a White House statement said that Biden spoke on the phone with lawmakers and engagement would continue into today. So an important day for Biden’s agenda. Against this backdrop, risk assets made a tentative recovery yesterday, with the S&P 500 up +0.16% and Europe’s STOXX 600 up +0.59%. However, unless we get a big surge in either index today, both indices remain on track for their worst monthly performances so far this year, even if they’re still in positive territory for Q3 as a whole. Looking elsewhere, tech stocks had appeared set to pare back some of the previous day’s losses, but a late fade left the NASDAQ down -0.24% and the FANG+ index down a greater -0.72%. Much of the tech weakness was driven by falling semiconductor shares (-1.53%), as producers have offered investors poor revenue guidance on the heels of the ongoing supply chain issues that are driving chip shortages globally. Outside of tech, US equities broadly did better yesterday with 17 of 24 industry groups gaining, led by utilities (+1.30%), biotech (+1.05%) and food & beverages (+1.00%). Similarly, while they initially staged a recovery, small caps in the Russell 2000 (-0.20%) continued to struggle. One asset that remained on trend was the US dollar. The greenback continued its climb yesterday, with the dollar index increasing +0.61% to close at its highest level in over a year, exceeding its closing high from last November. Over in sovereign bond markets, the partial rebound saw yields on 10yr Treasuries down -2.1bps at 1.517%, marking their first move lower in a week. And there was much the same pattern in Europe as well, where yields on 10yr bunds (-1.4bps), OATs (-1.3bps) and BTPs (-3.1bps) all moved lower as well. One continued underperformer were UK gilts (+0.3bps), and yesterday we saw the spread between 10yr gilt and bund yields widen to its biggest gap in over 2 years, at 120bps. Staying on the UK, the pound (-0.81%) continued to slump yesterday, hitting its lowest level against the dollar since last December, which comes as the country has continued to face major issues over its energy supply. Yesterday actually saw natural gas prices take another leg higher in both the UK (+10.09%) and Europe (+10.24%), and the UK regulator said that three smaller suppliers (who supply fewer than 1% of domestic customers between them) had gone out of business. This energy/inflation/BoE conundrum is confusing the life out of Sterling 10 year breakevens. They rose +18bps from Monday morning to Tuesday lunchtime but then entirely reversed the move into last night’s close. This is an exaggerated version of how the world’s financial markets are puzzling over whether breakevens should go up because of energy or go down because of the demand destruction and central bank response. Central bankers were in no mood to panic yesterday though as we saw Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda all appear on a policy panel at the ECB’s forum on central banking. There was much to discuss but the central bank heads all maintained that this current inflation spike will relent with Powell saying that it was “really a consequence of supply constraints meeting very strong demand, and that is all associated with the reopening of the economy -- which is a process that will have a beginning, a middle and an end.” ECB President Lagarde shared that sentiment, adding that “we certainly have no reason to believe that these price increases that we are seeing now will not be largely transitory going forward.” Overnight in Asia, equities have seen a mixed performance, with the Nikkei (-0.40%), and the Hang Seng (-1.08%) both losing ground, whereas the Kospi (+0.41%) and the Shanghai Composite (+0.30%) have posted gains. The moves came amidst weak September PMI data from China, which showed the manufacturing PMI fall to 49.6 (vs. 50.0 expected), marking its lowest level since the height of the Covid crisis in February 2020. The non-manufacturing PMI held up better however, at a stronger 53.2 (vs. 49.8 expected), although new orders were beneath 50 for a 4th consecutive month. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and those on European indices are pointing to a higher start later on, as markets continue to stabilise after their slump earlier in the week. Staying on Asia, shortly after we went to press yesterday, former Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida was elected as leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, and is set to become the country’s next Prime Minister. The Japanese Diet will hold a vote on Monday to elect Kishida as the new PM, after which he’ll announce a new cabinet, and attention will very soon turn to the upcoming general election, which is due to take place by the end of November. Our Chief Japan economist has written more on Kishida’s victory and his economic policy (link here), but he notes that on fiscal policy, Kishida’s plans to redistribute income echo the shift towards a greater role for government in the US and elsewhere. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though Spain’s CPI reading for September rose to an above-expected +4.0% (vs. 3.5% expected), so it will be interesting to see if something similar happens with today’s releases from Germany, France and Italy, ahead of the Euro Area release tomorrow. Otherwise, UK mortgage approvals came in at 74.5k in August (vs. 73.0k expected), and the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area rose to 117.8 in September (vs. 117.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021