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Bitcoin Is The Single Best Shot At Achieving Liberty In Our Lifetime

Bitcoin Is The Single Best Shot At Achieving Liberty In Our Lifetime Authored by Dr. Wolf Von Laer via BictoinMagazine.com, How do Bitcoin’s properties present the best opportunity to seize liberty humanity has ever seen? What do you see when you switch on the TV or scroll through your news feed on your preferred social media platform? You see a failed war ended after 20 years, hundreds of thousands of people dead, billions of dollars squandered, and the same illiberal regime in charge as before. You also see inequality, rising prices and protests. And you see pushbacks for mandates. Bitcoiners regularly reply to all the troubles in the world by saying that “Bitcoin fixes this.” Hyperbole? No, Bitcoin is the only realistic pathway to the libertarian “bon mot,” our witty remark of “fix the money, fix the world.” Indeed, Bitcoin is the best shot libertarians have to shrink the size of government, fight inflation, curtail the debt from inflation, starve the military-industrial complex, and to avoid an ever-increasing scope for government. How does Bitcoin achieve this? Bitcoin is a savings technology that is nascent money. Money historically has three functions: it must serve as a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account. Bitcoin, despite its volatility, is certainly a store of value but is thus far less prevalent as a medium of exchange or unit of account. However, Bitcoin has only been around for 12 years, and its rate of adoption is already growing faster than the internet’s did. Money is the ultimate “network good,” which means that its value and usability increases with every user joining, and every user has the incentive to encourage others to take up bitcoin since it benefits them directly. As a result, within a short amount of time, Bitcoin has emerged from being a somewhat esoteric toy for cypherpunks, to being adopted by financial institutions and the country of El Salvador, as well as becoming the savings technology for tens of millions of people around the world (Bitcoin’s current user base is estimated to be around 120 million). This is absolutely remarkable. It does not matter why people use bitcoin. It might be because it is cheaper and faster than traditional cross-border payments. It might be because it is collapsing upward and growing in value by around 200% annually. It might be because some people speculate on it. Or, it might be because it saves lives and allows people to escape some of the worst environments possible. An example of this can be seen in some great articles written by Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at Human Rights Foundation, on bitcoin usage in Afghanistan, Cuba, or Palestine. Bitcoin already empowers millions, and not just the rich elites with existing access to banks, stock markets, and other financial technologies. Bitcoin empowers the billions of people who are unbanked and promises a future that takes control of money away from the government. Bitcoin appeals to millions of people and every person joining the Bitcoin network will have the incentive to attract more users. Bitcoin presents hope for millions and presents a viable plan B to holding fiat money, which melts in your hands due to the irresponsibility of monetary central planners. Right now, the most important reason why the government can grow beyond its mandate — beyond its income through taxation — is through the power of the government to print and force everyone to use their ever-value losing money. In just the last 24 months, the U.S. Federal Reserve has printed 40 percent of all dollars in existence. Naturally, this has translated into huge levels of inequality, since the people close to the government’s trough (such as banks) benefit from the higher purchasing power compared to the people at the bottom of the food chain (like fixed income recipients, students, etc.) who only see prices rise with diminishing real purchasing power. This is known as the Cantillon effect. The Federal Reserve Board is directly monetizing the debt that the government takes on, and the Fed provides infinite demand for government debt, which would not be able to grow at the astonishing pace it does without the power of the printing press to buy all of it up. The Bitcoin network itself and the personal owning of bitcoin is an act of peaceful rebellion against the fiat money system. Every day, when someone buys bitcoin, it moves money away from the fiat system and puts it into a store of value. It is put into a system that cannot be inflated. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoin issued. Bitcoin has been tested, Bitcoin has been attacked, and the protocol has remained robust against 12 years of adversaries trying to undermine it. Many of Bitcoin’s detractors fundamentally don’t understand Bitcoin’s value proposition. And it makes sense that they don’t. We have not seen a new type of money emerge in over five millennia. Moreover, Bitcoin’s roots lie in more atypical fields such as Austrian economics, game theory, cryptography, and economic history. Thus, the frameworks through which most economists and pundits analyze Bitcoin are highly inadequate. Another new aspect is that Bitcoin gives its users absolute control over their money. They can decide when to send money, how much, and how much they pay for a transaction. Nobody needs to be asked if you can send money to a nonprofit organization six thousand miles away, and nobody needs to confirm if you can send remittances to your family in other countries. No agency or bank can prevent this. Bitcoin allows you to become your own bank. This is incredibly empowering and such technology has not existed before. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 21:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

Will 2022 Midterms Be The Next Great Crisis Backlash?

Will 2022 Midterms Be The Next Great Crisis Backlash? Authored by Andrew Busch via RealClearPolitics.com, At least twice in U.S. history, big political shakeups occurred in midterm elections that served as endpoints to periods of crisis, privation, and extraordinary government expansion and regimentation. The first was in November 1918. That election was held in the midst of the Spanish flu pandemic and just days before the armistice was signed ending World War I. The Allied breakthrough in France was well advanced and the handwriting was on the wall for the kaiser’s forces. Since entering the war in April 1917, Americans had endured extreme regimentation under the auspices of Woodrow Wilson’s “war socialism.” Rationing of consumer items was coupled with unprecedented government control over basic features of economic life, including a federal takeover of the nation’s railroads. These economic controls were combined with stringent political and social controls. With Wilson’s support, Congress passed the Sedition Act and the Espionage Act, clamping down (among other things) on publication or dissemination of arguments critical of the war effort or otherwise detrimental to national morale. Hundreds were imprisoned, including the Socialist Party’s perennial presidential candidate, Eugene Debs, who had urged young men not to comply with the draft. Spurred by war propaganda and encouraged by the administration, some exuberant patriots persecuted German Americans. Campaigning in 1918 was curtailed due to the Spanish flu, as was turnout on Election Day. Nevertheless, Republicans, including former President Theodore Roosevelt, campaigned vigorously as skeptics of Wilson’s Fourteen Points and critics of his war measures.  Republican candidates around the country demanded the end of wartime controls and regimentation. In 1920, Warren G. Harding would win the presidency on the promise of “A return to normalcy,” but it was Republicans in 1918 who first tested that theme, as they promised “a speedy victory and a return to normal conditions.” In the end, Republicans gained 25 seats in the House and five in the Senate, enough to give them majorities in both chambers for the first time since 1910. Aided by the end of the war, they used those majorities to force Wilson to release his grip on the economy. In short order, the 66th Congress repealed over 60 wartime laws.           ‘Had Enough?’ A comparable case came at the end of the Second World War. Franklin Roosevelt refrained from some of Wilson’s more extreme steps, such as takeover of the railroads. Nevertheless, FDR copied much of Wilson’s war socialism. The federal government rationed food and a wide range of consumer goods, converting much of the economy to wartime production. Bureaucracies such as the Office of War Mobilization, Office of Price Administration, National War Labor Board, and Supply and Priorities Allocation Board exerted economic control. Civil liberties again suffered, with censorship, internment of Japanese Americans, and Smith Act prosecution of the leaders of the German American Bund. In both world wars (as in the Cold War later), it was a reasonable question how far the Constitution should be stretched to defend the United States against enemies who would destroy constitutional liberty entirely if they could – but there was no question that it was stretched. Although fighting ended in 1945, President Harry Truman had not yet issued a proclamation formally ending the state of war when the 1946 campaign got underway. Rationing of items such as meat, as well as wage and price controls, remained in place, to the growing anger of Americans on the home front. The war was over, and many asked why they were still subject to these measures. Republicans, out of power since the early years of the Great Depression, sought to capitalize on the discontent. Using a slogan of “Had Enough?,” they hammered Democrats and the Truman administration for economic privation and for holding on to extraordinary powers even after the crisis had passed. It was time, they implied – though without using the phrase – to return to normalcy. Three weeks before Election Day, Truman decontrolled meat in a bid to stave off electoral disaster; still, at the end of October 1946, he registered a 27% job approval rating in the Gallup Poll. When the votes came in, Republicans had ended the Democratic hold on Congress. The GOP gained 45 seats in the House and 12 seats in the Senate, winning a majority in each chamber for the first time since 1930. The repudiation was so severe that Sen. William Fulbright of Arkansas suggested that Truman should appoint a Republican secretary of state and then resign, an act that would have made that Republican the next president, given the legal order of presidential succession in 1946 (the office of vice president had been vacant since Truman became president upon FDR’s death). Truman declined to take that step, but in short order, he ended the state of war, rescinded most wartime controls, and disbanded the Office of Price Administration. He also proposed a balanced budget. If some New Dealers had hoped that the wartime expansion of federal power over the economy could be smoothly converted into equivalent peacetime power, 1946 disabused them.  1918, 1946 – and 2022 The elections of 1918 and 1946 were not identical. One happened while war still raged, though the issue seemed decided; the other did not occur until over a year after fighting had stopped. Republican gains in 1946 were roughly twice what they had been 28 years earlier. In one case (1918), Republicans subsequently held on to congressional majorities for a dozen years; in the other, they managed to do so for only a single term. Nevertheless, 1918 and 1946 share enough with one another, and with our current situation, to make it worthwhile to ask what they might tell us about 2022. At the least, these two elections represented decisive electoral backlash against crisis policies – policies that voters tolerated while the crisis was hot but turned against when the danger had seemingly passed. Our crisis, a pandemic, is not a war, but it has been costly in lives lost. The U.S. is nearing a COVID death toll twice as great as the number of Americans who died in World War II. Like the world wars, the crisis has also been costly in terms of government spending, the bill for which is coming due in the form of higher inflation. And the crisis has occasioned a forceful intrusion of government into daily life unparalleled since World War II, from mask mandates to proposed vaccine mandates to lockdowns that closed thousands of businesses, churches, and schools. Whatever the efficacy of these measures – they will be debated for years to come – there can be little doubt that they represented an extraordinary degree of regimentation and an extraordinary challenge to civil liberties. Is a backlash building ahead of the 2022 midterms? Republican successes in the 2021 elections would seem to suggest so. Some evidence indicates that backlash against COVID restrictions was part of the story behind GOP successes in Virginia and New Jersey. In some Virginia exit polls, education was the second-most important issue; while the battle over critical race theory in schools received the most attention, some suburban women voters said that COVID-related school closures also played an important role in their swing toward Republicans. In New Jersey, truck driver Edward Durr defeated longtime state Senate President Steve Sweeney. Durr called his victory “a repudiation of the [COVID] policies that have been forced down [the people’s] throats.” Incoming Republican Senate leader Steve Oroho agreed. “I think it had to do with the message coming from people who were just annoyed at all the executive orders and all the mandates and being sick and tired of being told what they can and can’t do,” he said. At the gubernatorial level, a long-shot Republican nearly rode the backlash to victory against incumbent Phil Murphy, whose response to COVID had been one of the nation’s most draconian – and most ineffective, if measured by deaths per 100,000. In California, Gavin Newsom turned back a recall attempt in September. The recall effort itself was largely driven by dissatisfaction with the governor’s coronavirus response and violation of his own mask mandate at a private dinner for lobbyists at the swanky French Laundry restaurant. Though Newsom held on to his office by a wide margin, recall organizers’ success in getting 1.7 million valid signatures on petitions in the Golden State was itself evidence of public anger, as was Newsom’s perilous standing in polls a month before recall Election Day. More generally in the realm of public opinion, Gallup has reported that sentiment on the question of whether government should be more active or less – a question that a majority answered in favor of more action in 2020 – has reverted to form. Government, a majority now says, is too big and does too much. Not all evidence points the same way, though. Newsom and Murphy ultimately won, and exit polls showed a Virginia electorate ambivalent about the COVID response, not one that had turned decisively against the COVID regime. For example, most Virginians still said they supported mask mandates in schools, and a slight plurality said that they trusted Terry McAuliffe more than Glen Youngkin on COVID policy. At most, 2021 exposed the potential for a stronger backlash ahead.  Perhaps the biggest difference between 1918 and 1946, on the one hand, and 2021, on the other, was that in 2021 the crisis was still not in the rearview mirror. If and when it finally gets there, watch out. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 29th, 2021

Bitcoin Is The Single Best Shot At Achieving Liberty In Our Lifetime

Bitcoin Is The Single Best Shot At Achieving Liberty In Our Lifetime Authored by Dr. Wolf Von Laer via BictoinMagazine.com, How do Bitcoin’s properties present the best opportunity to seize liberty humanity has ever seen? What do you see when you switch on the TV or scroll through your news feed on your preferred social media platform? You see a failed war ended after 20 years, hundreds of thousands of people dead, billions of dollars squandered, and the same illiberal regime in charge as before. You also see inequality, rising prices and protests. And you see pushbacks for mandates. Bitcoiners regularly reply to all the troubles in the world by saying that “Bitcoin fixes this.” Hyperbole? No, Bitcoin is the only realistic pathway to the libertarian “bon mot,” our witty remark of “fix the money, fix the world.” Indeed, Bitcoin is the best shot libertarians have to shrink the size of government, fight inflation, curtail the debt from inflation, starve the military-industrial complex, and to avoid an ever-increasing scope for government. How does Bitcoin achieve this? Bitcoin is a savings technology that is nascent money. Money historically has three functions: it must serve as a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account. Bitcoin, despite its volatility, is certainly a store of value but is thus far less prevalent as a medium of exchange or unit of account. However, Bitcoin has only been around for 12 years, and its rate of adoption is already growing faster than the internet’s did. Money is the ultimate “network good,” which means that its value and usability increases with every user joining, and every user has the incentive to encourage others to take up bitcoin since it benefits them directly. As a result, within a short amount of time, Bitcoin has emerged from being a somewhat esoteric toy for cypherpunks, to being adopted by financial institutions and the country of El Salvador, as well as becoming the savings technology for tens of millions of people around the world (Bitcoin’s current user base is estimated to be around 120 million). This is absolutely remarkable. It does not matter why people use bitcoin. It might be because it is cheaper and faster than traditional cross-border payments. It might be because it is collapsing upward and growing in value by around 200% annually. It might be because some people speculate on it. Or, it might be because it saves lives and allows people to escape some of the worst environments possible. An example of this can be seen in some great articles written by Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at Human Rights Foundation, on bitcoin usage in Afghanistan, Cuba, or Palestine. Bitcoin already empowers millions, and not just the rich elites with existing access to banks, stock markets, and other financial technologies. Bitcoin empowers the billions of people who are unbanked and promises a future that takes control of money away from the government. Bitcoin appeals to millions of people and every person joining the Bitcoin network will have the incentive to attract more users. Bitcoin presents hope for millions and presents a viable plan B to holding fiat money, which melts in your hands due to the irresponsibility of monetary central planners. Right now, the most important reason why the government can grow beyond its mandate — beyond its income through taxation — is through the power of the government to print and force everyone to use their ever-value losing money. In just the last 24 months, the U.S. Federal Reserve has printed 40 percent of all dollars in existence. Naturally, this has translated into huge levels of inequality, since the people close to the government’s trough (such as banks) benefit from the higher purchasing power compared to the people at the bottom of the food chain (like fixed income recipients, students, etc.) who only see prices rise with diminishing real purchasing power. This is known as the Cantillon effect. The Federal Reserve Board is directly monetizing the debt that the government takes on, and the Fed provides infinite demand for government debt, which would not be able to grow at the astonishing pace it does without the power of the printing press to buy all of it up. The Bitcoin network itself and the personal owning of bitcoin is an act of peaceful rebellion against the fiat money system. Every day, when someone buys bitcoin, it moves money away from the fiat system and puts it into a store of value. It is put into a system that cannot be inflated. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoin issued. Bitcoin has been tested, Bitcoin has been attacked, and the protocol has remained robust against 12 years of adversaries trying to undermine it. Many of Bitcoin’s detractors fundamentally don’t understand Bitcoin’s value proposition. And it makes sense that they don’t. We have not seen a new type of money emerge in over five millennia. Moreover, Bitcoin’s roots lie in more atypical fields such as Austrian economics, game theory, cryptography, and economic history. Thus, the frameworks through which most economists and pundits analyze Bitcoin are highly inadequate. Another new aspect is that Bitcoin gives its users absolute control over their money. They can decide when to send money, how much, and how much they pay for a transaction. Nobody needs to be asked if you can send money to a nonprofit organization six thousand miles away, and nobody needs to confirm if you can send remittances to your family in other countries. No agency or bank can prevent this. Bitcoin allows you to become your own bank. This is incredibly empowering and such technology has not existed before. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 21:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

In Memory Of JFK: The First US President To Be Labeled A Terrorist & Threat To National Security

In Memory Of JFK: The First US President To Be Labeled A Terrorist & Threat To National Security Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Saker blog, In April 1954, Kennedy stood up on the Senate floor to challenge the Eisenhower Administration’s support for the doomed French imperial war in Vietnam, foreseeing that this would not be a short-lived war. In July 1957, Kennedy once more took a strong stand against French colonialism, this time France’s bloody war against Algeria’s independence movement, which again found the Eisenhower Administration on the wrong side of history. Rising on the Senate floor, two days before America’s own Independence Day, Kennedy declared: “The most powerful single force in the world today is neither communism nor capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile – it is man’s eternal desire to be free and independent. The great enemy of that tremendous force of freedom is called, for want of a more precise term, imperialism – and today that means Soviet imperialism and, whether we like it or not, and though they are not to be equated, Western imperialism. Thus, the single most important test of American foreign policy today is how we meet the challenge of imperialism, what we do to further man’s desire to be free. On this test more than any other, this nation shall be critically judged by the uncommitted millions in Asia and Africa, and anxiously watched by the still hopeful lovers of freedom behind the Iron Curtain. If we fail to meet the challenge of either Soviet or Western imperialism, then no amount of foreign aid, no aggrandizement of armaments, no new pacts or doctrines or high-level conferences can prevent further setbacks to our course and to our security.” In September 1960, the annual United Nations General Assembly was held in New York. Fidel Castro and a fifty-member delegation were among the attendees and had made a splash in the headlines when he decided to stay at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem after the midtown Shelburne Hotel demanded a $20,000 security deposit. He made an even bigger splash in the headlines when he made a speech at this hotel, discussing the issue of equality in the United States while in Harlem, one of the poorest boroughs in the country. Kennedy would visit this very same hotel a short while later, and also made a speech: “Behind the fact of Castro coming to this hotel, [and] Khrushchev…there is another great traveler in the world, and that is the travel of a world revolution, a world in turmoil…We should be glad [that Castro and Khrushchev] came to the United States. We should not fear the twentieth century, for the worldwide revolution which we see all around us is part of the original American Revolution." What did Kennedy mean by this? The American Revolution was fought for freedom, freedom from the rule of monarchy and imperialism in favour of national sovereignty. What Kennedy was stating, was that this was the very oppression that the rest of the world wished to shake the yoke off, and that the United States had an opportunity to be a leader in the cause for the independence of all nations. On June 30th, 1960, marking the independence of the Republic of Congo from the colonial rule of Belgium, Patrice Lumumba, the first Congolese Prime Minister gave a speech that has become famous for its outspoken criticism of colonialism. Lumumba spoke of his people’s struggle against “the humiliating bondage that was forced upon us… [years that were] filled with tears, fire and blood,” and concluded vowing “We shall show the world what the black man can do when working in liberty, and we shall make the Congo the pride of Africa.” Shortly after, Lumumba also made clear, “We want no part of the Cold War… We want Africa to remain African with a policy of neutralism." As a result, Lumumba was labeled a communist for his refusal to be a Cold War satellite for the western sphere. Rather, Lumumba was part of the Pan-African movement that was led by Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah (who later Kennedy would also work with), which sought national sovereignty and an end to colonialism in Africa. Lumumba “would remain a grave danger,” Dulles said at an NSC meeting on September 21, 1960, “as long as he was not yet disposed of.” Three days later, Dulles made it clear that he wanted Lumumba permanently removed, cabling the CIA’s Leopoldville station, “We wish give [sic] every possible support in eliminating Lumumba from any possibility resuming governmental position.” Lumumba was assassinated on Jan. 17th, 1961, just three days before Kennedy’s inauguration, during the fog of the transition period between presidents, when the CIA is most free to tie its loose ends, confident that they will not be reprimanded by a new administration that wants to avoid scandal on its first days in office. Kennedy, who clearly meant to put a stop to the Murder Inc. that Dulles had created and was running, would declare to the world in his inaugural address on Jan. 20th, 1961, “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.” La Resistance Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, Kennedy was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA. The Bay of Pigs set-up would occur three months later. Prouty compares the Bay of Pigs incident to that of the Crusade for Peace; the Bay of Pigs being orchestrated by the CIA, and the Crusade for Peace sabotaged by the CIA, in both cases to ruin the U.S. president’s (Eisenhower and Kennedy) ability to form a peaceful dialogue with Khrushchev and decrease Cold War tensions. Both presidents’ took onus for the events respectively, despite the responsibility resting with the CIA. However, Eisenhower and Kennedy understood, if they did not take onus, it would be a public declaration that they did not have any control over their government agencies and military. Further, the Bay of Pigs operation was in fact meant to fail. It was meant to stir up a public outcry for a direct military invasion of Cuba. On public record is a meeting (or more aptly described as an intervention) with CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard Bissell, Joint Chiefs Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer, and Navy Chief Admiral Burke basically trying to strong-arm President Kennedy into approving a direct military attack on Cuba. Admiral Burke had already taken the liberty of positioning two battalions of Marines on Navy destroyers off the coast of Cuba “anticipating that U.S. forces might be ordered into Cuba to salvage a botched invasion.”[7] (This incident is what inspired the Frankenheimer movie “Seven Days in May.”) Kennedy stood his ground. “They were sure I’d give in to them,” Kennedy later told Special Assistant to the President Dave Powers. “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well they had me figured all wrong.” Incredibly, not only did the young president stand his ground against the Washington war hawks just three months into his presidential term, but he also launched the Cuba Study Group which found the CIA to be responsible for the fiasco, leading to the humiliating forced resignation of Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell and Charles Cabell. (For more on this refer to my report.) Unfortunately, it would not be that easy to dethrone Dulles, who continued to act as head of the CIA, and key members of the intelligence community such as Helms and Angleton regularly bypassed McCone (the new CIA Director) and briefed Dulles directly. But Kennedy was also serious about seeing it through all the way, and vowed to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” * * * There is another rather significant incident that had occurred just days after the Bay of Pigs, and which has largely been overshadowed by the Cuban fiasco in the United States. From April 21-26th, 1961, the Algiers putsch or Generals’ putsch, was a failed coup d’état intended to force President de Gaulle (1959-1969) not to abandon the colonial French Algeria. The organisers of the putsch were opposed to the secret negotiations that French Prime Minister Michel Debré had started with the anti-colonial National Liberation Front (FLN). On January 26th, 1961, just three months before the attempted coup d’état, Dulles sent a report to Kennedy on the French situation that seemed to be hinting that de Gaulle would no longer be around, “A pre-revolutionary atmosphere reigns in France… The Army and the Air Force are staunchly opposed to de Gaulle…At least 80 percent of the officers are violently against him. They haven’t forgotten that in 1958, he had given his word of honor that he would never abandon Algeria. He is now reneging on his promise, and they hate him for that. de Gaulle surely won’t last if he tries to let go of Algeria. Everything will probably be over for him by the end of the year—he will be either deposed or assassinated.” The attempted coup was led by Maurice Challe, whom de Gaulle had reason to conclude was working with the support of U.S. intelligence, and Élysée officials began spreading this word to the press, which reported the CIA as a “reactionary state-within-a-state” that operated outside of Kennedy’s control. Shortly before Challe’s resignation from the French military, he had served as NATO commander in chief and had developed close relations with a number of high-ranking U.S. officers stationed in the military alliance’s Fontainebleau headquarters. In August 1962 the OAS (Secret Army Organization) made an assassination attempt against de Gaulle, believing he had betrayed France by giving up Algeria to Algerian nationalists. This would be the most notorious assassination attempt on de Gaulle (who would remarkably survive over thirty assassination attempts while President of France) when a dozen OAS snipers opened fire on the president’s car, which managed to escape the ambush despite all four tires being shot out. After the failed coup d’état, de Gaulle launched a purge of his security forces and ousted General Paul Grossin, the chief of SDECE (the French secret service). Grossin was closely aligned with the CIA, and had told Frank Wisner over lunch that the return of de Gaulle to power was equivalent to the Communists taking over in Paris. In 1967, after a five-year enquête by the French Intelligence Bureau, it released its findings concerning the 1962 assassination attempt on de Gaulle. The report found that the 1962 assassination plot could be traced back to the NATO Brussels headquarters, and the remnants of the old Nazi intelligence apparatus. The report also found that Permindex had transferred $200,000 into an OAS bank account to finance the project. As a result of the de Gaulle exposé, Permindex was forced to shut down its public operations in Western Europe and relocated its headquarters from Bern, Switzerland to Johannesburg, South Africa, it also had/has a base in Montreal, Canada where its founder Maj. Gen. Louis M. Bloomfield (former OSS) proudly had his name amongst its board members until the damning de Gaulle report. The relevance of this to Kennedy will be discussed shortly. As a result of the SDECE’s ongoing investigation, de Gaulle made a vehement denunciation of the Anglo-American violation of the Atlantic Charter, followed by France’s withdrawal from the NATO military command in 1966. France would not return to NATO until April 2009 at the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit. In addition to all of this, on Jan. 14th, 1963, de Gaulle declared at a press conference that he had vetoed British entry into the Common Market. This would be the first move towards France and West Germany’s formation of the European Monetary System, which excluded Great Britain, likely due to its imperialist tendencies and its infamous sin City of London. Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson telegrammed West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer directly, appealing to him to try to persuade de Gaulle to back track on the veto, stating “if anyone can affect Gen. de Gaulle’s decision, you are surely that person.” Little did Acheson know that Adenauer was just days away from signing the Franco-German Treaty of Jan 22nd, 1963 (also known as the ÉlyséeTreaty), which had enormous implications. Franco-German relations, which had long been dominated by centuries of rivalry, had now agreed that their fates were aligned. (This close relationship was continued to a climactic point in the late 1970s, with the formation of the European Monetary System, and France and West Germany’s willingness in 1977 to work with OPEC countries trading oil for nuclear technology, which was sabotaged by the U.S.-Britain alliance. The Élysée Treaty was a clear denunciation of the Anglo-American forceful overseeing that had overtaken Western Europe since the end of WWII. On June 28th, 1961, Kennedy wrote NSAM #55. This document changed the responsibility of defense during the Cold War from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and would have (if seen through) drastically changed the course of the war in Vietnam. It would also have effectively removed the CIA from Cold War military operations and limited the CIA to its sole lawful responsibility, the collecting and coordination of intelligence. By Oct 11th, 1963, NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy[14], was released and outlined a policy decision “to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963” and further stated that “It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel by 1965.” The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY ’65. It would be the final nail in the coffin. Treason in America “Treason doth never prosper; what is the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.” – Sir John Harrington By Germany supporting de Gaulle’s exposure of the international assassination ring, his adamant opposition to western imperialism and the role of NATO, and with a young Kennedy building his own resistance against the imperialist war of Vietnam, it was clear that the power elite were in big trouble. On November 22nd, 1963 President Kennedy was brutally murdered in the streets of Dallas, Texas in broad daylight. With the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, likely ordained by the CIA, on Nov. 2nd, 1963 and Kennedy just a few weeks later, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 on Nov. 26th, 1963 to begin the reversal of Kennedy’s policy under #263. And on March 17th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period. The Vietnam War would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy’s death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans, and 30 years if you count American covert action in Vietnam. Two days before Kennedy’s assassination, a hate-Kennedy handbill was circulated in Dallas accusing the president of treasonous activities including being a communist sympathizer. On November 29th, 1963 the Warren Commission was set up to investigate the murder of President Kennedy. The old Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana was a member of that Warren Commission. Boggs became increasingly disturbed by the lack of transparency and rigour exhibited by the Commission and became convinced that many of the documents used to incriminate Oswald were in fact forgeries. In 1965 Rep. Boggs told New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison that Oswald could not have been the one who killed Kennedy. It was Boggs who encouraged Garrison to begin the only law enforcement prosecution of the President’s murder to this day. Nixon was inaugurated as President of the United States on Jan 20th, 1969. Hale Boggs soon after called on Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell to have the courage to fire J. Edgar Hoover. It wasn’t long thereafter that the private airplane carrying Hale Boggs disappeared without a trace. Jim Garrison was the District Attorney of New Orleans from 1962 to 1973 and was the only one to bring forth a trial concerning the assassination of President Kennedy. In Jim Garrison’s book “On the Trail of the Assassins”, J. Edgar Hoover comes up several times impeding or shutting down investigations into JFK’s murder, in particular concerning the evidence collected by the Dallas Police Department, such as the nitrate test Oswald was given and which exonerated him, proving that he never shot a rifle the day of Nov 22nd, 1963. However, for reasons only known to the government and its investigators this fact was kept secret for 10 months. It was finally revealed in the Warren Commission report, which inexplicably didn’t change their opinion that Oswald had shot Kennedy. Another particularly damning incident was concerning the Zapruder film that was in the possession of the FBI and which they had sent a “copy” to the Warren Commission for their investigation. This film was one of the leading pieces of evidence used to support the “magic bullet theory” and showcase the direction of the headshot coming from behind, thus verifying that Oswald’s location was adequate for such a shot. During Garrison’s trial on the Kennedy assassination (1967-1969) he subpoenaed the Zapruder film that for some peculiar reason had been locked up in some vault owned by Life magazine (the reader should note that Henry Luce the owner of Life magazine was in a very close relationship with the CIA). This was the first time in more than five years that the Zapruder film was made public. It turns out the FBI’s copy that was sent to the Warren Commission had two critical frames reversed to create a false impression that the rifle shot was from behind. When Garrison got a hold of the original film it was discovered that the head shot had actually come from the front. In fact, what the whole film showed was that the President had been shot from multiple angles meaning there was more than one gunman. When the FBI was questioned about how these two critical frames could have been reversed, they answered self-satisfactorily that it must have been a technical glitch… There is also the matter of the original autopsy papers being destroyed by the chief autopsy physician, James Humes, to which he even testified to during the Warren Commission, apparently nobody bothered to ask why… This would explain why the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), reported in a July 1998 staff report their concern for the number of shortcomings in the original autopsy, that “One of the many tragedies of the assassination of President Kennedy has been the incompleteness of the autopsy record and the suspicion caused by the shroud of secrecy that has surrounded the records that do exist.” [emphasis added] The staff report for the Assassinations Records Review Board contended that brain photographs in the Kennedy records are not of Kennedy’s brain and show much less damage than Kennedy sustained. There is a lot of spurious effort to try to ridicule anyone who challenges the Warren Commission’s official report as nothing but fringe conspiracy theory. And that we should not find it highly suspect that Allen Dulles, of all people, was a member and pretty much leader of said commission. The reader should keep in mind that much of this frothing opposition stems from the very agency that perpetrated crime after crime on the American people, as well as abroad. When has the CIA ever admitted guilt, unless caught red-handed? Even after the Church committee hearings, when the CIA was found guilty of planning out foreign assassinations, they claimed that they had failed in every single plot or that someone had beaten them to the punch, including in the case of Lumumba. The American people need to realise that the CIA is not a respectable agency; we are not dealing with honorable men. It is a rogue force that believes that the ends justify the means, that they are the hands of the king so to speak, above government and above law. Those at the top such as Allen Dulles were just as adamant as Churchill about protecting the interests of the power elite, or as Churchill termed it, the “High Cabal.” Interestingly, on Dec. 22nd, 1963, just one month after Kennedy’s assassination, Harry Truman published a scathing critique of the CIA in The Washington Post, even going so far as to state “There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position [as a] free and open society, and I feel that we need to correct it.” The timing of such a scathing quote cannot be stressed enough. Dulles, of course, told the public not to be distressed, that Truman was just in entering his twilight years. In addition, Jim Garrison, New Orleans District Attorney at the time, who was charging Clay Shaw as a member of the conspiracy to kill Kennedy, besides uncovering his ties to David Ferrie who was found dead in his apartment days before he was scheduled to testify, also made a case that the New Orleans International Trade Mart (to which Clay Shaw was director), the U.S. subsidiary of Permindex, was linked to Kennedy’s murder. Col. Clay Shaw was an OSS officer during WWII, which provides a direct link to his knowing Allen Dulles. Garrison did a remarkable job with the odds he was up against, and for the number of witnesses that turned up dead before the trial… This Permindex link would not look so damning if we did not have the French intelligence SDECE report, but we do. And recall, in that report Permindex was caught transferring $200,000 directly to the bankroll of the OAS which attempted the 1962 assassination on de Gaulle. Thus, Permindex’s implication in an international assassination ring is not up for debate. In addition, the CIA was found heavily involved in these assassination attempts against de Gaulle, thus we should not simply dismiss the possibility that Permindex was indeed a CIA front for an international hit crew. In fact, among the strange and murderous characters who converged on Dallas in Nov. 1963 was a notorious French OAS commando named Jean Souetre, who was connected to the plots against President de Gaulle. Souetre was arrested in Dallas after the Kennedy assassination and expelled to Mexico, not even kept for questioning. What Does the Future Hold? After returning from Kennedy’s Nov. 24th funeral in Washington, de Gaulle and his information minister Alain Peyrefitte had a candid discussion that was recorded in Peyrefitte’s memoire “C’était de Gaulle,” the great General was quoted saying: “What happened to Kennedy is what nearly happened to me… His story is the same as mine. … It looks like a cowboy story, but it’s only an OAS [Secret Army Organization] story. The security forces were in cahoots with the extremists. …Security forces are all the same when they do this kind of dirty work. As soon as they succeed in wiping out the false assassin, they declare the justice system no longer need be concerned, that no further public action was needed now that the guilty perpetrator was dead. Better to assassinate an innocent man than to let a civil war break out. Better an injustice than disorder. America is in danger of upheavals. But you’ll see. All of them together will observe the law of silence. They will close ranks. They’ll do everything to stifle any scandal. They will throw Noah’s cloak over these shameful deeds. In order to not lose face in front of the whole world. In order to not risk unleashing riots in the United States. In order to preserve the union and to avoid a new civil war. In order to not ask themselves questions. They don’t want to know. They don’t want to find out. They won’t allow themselves to find out.” The American people would do well to remember that it was first John F. Kennedy, acting as the President to the United States, who was to be declared a terrorist and threat to his country’s national security. Thus is it not natural that those who continue to defend the legacy of Kennedy should be regarded today as threat, not truly to the nation’s security, but a threat to the very same grouping responsible for Kennedy’s death and whom today have now declared open war on the American people. This will be the greatest test the American people have ever been confronted with, and it will only be through an understanding of how the country came to where it is today that there can be sufficient clarity as to what the solutions are, which are not to be found in another civil war. To not fall for the trapping of further chaos and division, the American people will only be able to rise above this if they choose to ask those questions, if they choose to want to know, to want to find out the truth of things they dared not look at in the past for fear of what it would reveal. “Whenever the government of the United States shall break up, it will probably be in consequence of a false direction having been given to public opinion. This is the weak point of our defenses, and the part to which the enemies of the system will direct all their attacks. Opinion can be so perverted as to cause the false to seem true; the enemy, a friend, and the friend, an enemy; the best interests of the nation to appear insignificant, and the trifles of moment; in a word, the right the wrong, the wrong the right. In a country where opinion has sway, to seize upon it, is to seize upon power. As it is a rule of humanity that the upright and well-intentioned are comparatively passive, while the designing, dishonest, and selfish are the most untiring in their efforts, the danger of public opinion’s getting a false direction is four-fold, since few men think for themselves.” -James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) We must dare to be among the few who think for ourselves. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

Letter To A Tyrant

Letter To A Tyrant Authored by Margaret Anna Alice via 'Through The Looking Glass' Substack, I won’t bother to reason with you or appeal to your compassion - because you have none. You are a foul, fetid, festering, fiendish, fear-fomenting fecker devoid of soul, purpose, and meaning. No matter how many lives you masticate, hearts you shred, minds you menticide, and puppet strings you try to throttle us with, you will forever remain a hollow husk of a simulated human. I know you envy us our feelings. You seethe with rage, jealousy, loathing, terror, disgust, and every other malevolent emotion, but you are incapable of comprehending love, joy, friendship, warmth, and abiding peace. This letter isn’t to beg or plead or ask you to stop. This letter is to put you on notice. This letter is to tell you the people are waking, and it is you who have shaken us awake. You have sown the seeds of your own obliteration, and those seeds are germinating. None of your efforts to enshroud the sun, contaminate the soil, befoul the water, defile the oceans, toxify the air, autodarwinate seeds, sequester the food supply, extinguish species, or commodify the ecosystem can stop those seeds from bursting through the earth and winding their tendrils around your Nuremberged neck. In a way, we should thank you. You have shown your hand so recklessly because you were certain we would roll over. So confident were you in the psychological conditioning you subjected us to—following Biderman’s Chart of Coercion like a recipe—you expected us to jump in the pot voluntarily. You were half-right, sadly. But the fence-sitters are now witnessing the nuclear fallout from your detonation of The Great Democide, and they can no longer deny the torrent of reality acid-raining down upon us. Foolishly forgetting to administer the elite’s faux injections to the most visible tier instead of the commoners’ poison death shot was a clumsy fumble that’s too obvious to miss. You remembered a few celebrities like this one and this one but forgot the athletes, and now they’re collapsing in a pile on the field. And your victims, the ones you maimed, the ones you sterilized, the ones you failed to fell immediately, the ones whose loved ones you slayed, are speaking out about their suffering.1 And now you’re coming for the children. Even the wokety-woke NPC Covidians aren’t buying it anymore: And then you have an FDA shill making this reprehensible statement about the decision to inject children aged 5–11, “We’re never gonna learn about how safe this vaccine is until you start giving it.” Well, we don’t have to wait to find out. A twelve-year-old child just died two days after receiving the Pfizer injection, and the autopsy proves it. And these fourteen children died of such conditions as pulmonary embolism, intracranial hemorrhage, cardiac arrest, and myocarditis post-injection—only to be swept under the rug by BigPharma toady CDC. And deaths of male children have jumped 86 percent in the UK since the vaxx rollout. It is estimated that nearly 800 children have been killed from the injection thus far, and you and your colluders are only ramping up the pedicide program. You are commanding that children—whose immune systems are at their most robust and who face virtually zero risk of dying from COVID—put their lives and long-term health at risk by undergoing an experimental injection lacking long-term clinical trials and with substantially greater evidence of harm than good. According to this risk-benefit analysis, you will “kill 117 kids to save one kid.” And the proposition that this injection will save a single child is extraordinarily generous considering the nonexistent threat COVID poses to children and the availability of highly efficacious early treatment protocols and historically safe drugs such as ivermectin. As more and more children fall prey to your Mephistophelian machinations, you will unleash the Mama and Papa Bears—and then you will see a mass upheaval like you’ve never imagined. You and your conniving cohorts are flaccid, feeble, frail-minded Frankensteins whose transhumanism won’t immortalize you as you fantasize. It will only render you deader inside than you already are. The White Rose Society is blossoming from the gravesides of those you have massacred, and your attempt to establish the Fourth Reich is faltering. You are shaking the hive. Prepare for the swarm. The more you crack down, the greater the whiplash. This is a love letter, straight from our heart: That isn’t a threat. It is a report from the frontlines. It is the retribution YOU are unleashing. I suggest you flee to your underground bunker and let the people get busy restoring the planet you have taken a wrecking ball to in the name of saving it. You have underestimated the resilience of the human spirit. You have boiled the pot too quickly. You have forgotten what survivors do when backed into a corner. I hereby invoke Thomas Wake’s epic curse from Robert Eggers’s work of artistic genius The Lighthouse (Prime Video, blu-ray, DVD) in which Willem Dafoe delivers the crowning achievement of his lifetime (Note: I cannot find a clip that permits playing outside of YouTube, but I assure you it is absolutely worth the click-through to watch this volcanic scene): Let Neptune strike ye dead, Winslow! Haaaaark! Hark, Triton! Hark! Bellow, bid our father, the sea king, rise from the depths, full foul in his fury, black waves teeming with salt-foam, to smother this young mouth with pungent slime … … to choke ye, engorging your organs till ye turn blue and bloated with bilge and brine and can scream no more … only when he, crowned in cockle shells with slithering tentacled tail and steaming beard, take up his fell, be-finnèd arm — his coral-tined trident screeches banshee-like in the tempest and plunges right through yer gullet, bursting ye, a bulging bladder no more, but a blasted bloody film now — a nothing for the Harpies and the souls of dead sailors to peck and claw and feed upon only to be lapped up and swallowed by the infinite waters of the dread emperor himself… forgotten to any man, to any time, forgotten to any god or devil, forgotten even to the sea… for any stuff or part of Winslow, even any scantling of your soul, is Winslow no more, but is now itself the sea. In the words of Bette Davis’s immortal Margo from All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” *  *  * If you feel the work I am doing is worthwhile and want to make it possible for me to spend more time writing and researching in my aim to unmask totalitarianism and awaken the sleeping before tyranny triumphs, please consider supporting me, whether it be by subscribing, donating, buying me a coffee, or sharing my posts. I thank you for reading, thinking, sharing, and supporting my work in whichever ways you choose. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

"Forget Reality" & Keep Dancing...

"Forget Reality" & Keep Dancing... Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, Let’s Dance: Buy the credentials – Forget Reality, Baitballs and Financial Ergot! “Where The Dance is, there you will find the Devil…” Despite Global uncertainty, rising inflation, and potential slowdown, markets remain Euphoric. All irrational markets eventually pop. How much longer can the current market mood be sustained? Longer than we think… One phrase pricked my confidence in markets this weekend: I listened to a distinguished market analyst describe his premier stock pick, without a trace of irony, as “you should buy, because this has all the credentials of a top meme-stock.” Oh dear. When market pricing is determined primarily by the fashion sense of flash-mobs it’s probably time to hang up my hat and go with them… but, of course… I won’t. My spidey-senses are all-a-tingle. I sense a madness in the air, a contagion on the loose. Is it just a disease? Something wicked this way comes… and we all know what it is…. Irrational Markets… What fuels them? Call it meme, blame it on FOMO, describe it as irrational rationality, but the basis of current price action makes little apparent sense to anyone who’s spent a career trying to read the markets’ mood. Any serious market journal will warn every single indicator is screaming overbought, citing: a looming global supply chain recession, the stagflationary threat, record PE multiples still rising despite consensus earnings have peaked, markets hitting successive peaks, short-sellers being forced to bail-out, one-way record options volumes. I could go on… we all know the tide eventually goes out, but all pretend we know when. (That’s actually a very poor market metaphor: tides are completely predicable, sell offs are not!) What we do know is in such euphoric markets everyone gets caught up in the dance… Everyone buys – no matter how improbable, how unlikely, how bright the warning signals are flashing, or how borderline fraudulent unicorn poop smells. In this market… No one can hear you scream. It really has become a game… Keep dancing. Who cares about the fundamentals of a company’s future earnings potential and growth outlook, profits & margins, price, accounting, management, governance and social value-added, when all that matters is how outright speculation on how any name might appeal to the behaviour of the herd? When the determinant of market success is being in tune with the mob and being able to swim with it… then who needs market sceptics like me? (Best answer to that question gets a free subscription…) Let’s swim with the fishy metaphor a little deeper. The market is behaving like a shoal of sardines; dodging, diving and swimming in a coordinated mass to snap up the latest trend, theme or FOMO thread. However improbable the stock, SPAC or crypto might be – the mob will swim with it. But here’s the thing… 99% of the fish that swim in the sea are bait – food for something bigger. They swim in shoals as a defence. When the bigger, hungry predators arrive they form tighter and tighter bait-balls, until suddenly some massive whale comes from down deep and swallows the whole shoal in a single gulp.. Ouch! Or it might be an Orca stunning the baitball with an unforeseen but well timed slap of its flukes. Just how over-priced are markets? Who knows? Who can tell..? Are they about to pop? The combination of speculation, options madness, the irrationality of memes, artificially low rates and inflated asset prices have never combined to drive markets like this in my lifetime. But, I have seen markets behave irrationally many times before. Irrational markets inevitably pop. The question is when and what triggers the tumble. Usually, it’s a relatively small part of the overall market that succumbs when it wakes up to the madness of crowds. Often it’s the reverberations, the contagion from a collapse in say, Commercial Paper funding markets or mortgage securities valuations (2007), that then drives a cascade of consequences across the whole financial market, leading inevitably to a much wider market stumble and sell off. This time it is different. Because what is driving the madness is well known, and pretty much understood by everyone – the distortions at the core of market pricing in interest rates. As I’ve written so many times before; “In Bond Markets there is Truth.” It’s dead simple: If bond yields are too low then money is too cheap = inevitable financial asset price inflation (pushing up stock market prices). It really is that simple. Markets have been distorted and juiced by artificial bond rates since QE. When is the market going to wake up to that reality? When the distortion ends… So until rates normalise the dance will continue. I am tempted to suggest the market is afflicted with something like Ergot, the rotten fungus on rye that drove crowds into ecstatic dancing madness during the Middle Ages. Extra points if you can identify the song: “Caught in the chaos of the market square I don’t know what, I don’t know why, but somethings wrong down there, Their bodies twistin’ and turning in a thousand ways The eyes all rollin’ round and round into a distant gaze Oh, look at that crowd” Mother please… it is just a disease..? Well maybe it is. The symptoms of Ergot Investing include:  credulity in get-rich-quick schemes, an unjustifiable belief in easy riches, an infection in the part of the brain that quantifies risk to constrain speculation, intense paranoia other investors might be achieving better results, and a dangerous delusion zero experience is not a handicap. In other words, exactly what’s happening today. Financial Ergot occurs when artificially low interest rates soak the market in distorted prices, triggering the fungus of financial asset inflation, and making market participants believe a serious stupid number of things each day. Stastically gold miners never got rich. It’s the folk that sold them shovels and pans, booze and female company that did. I doubt anyone will remain rich holding HairyDog Cryptocoins, SPACS in a failed politician’s non-existent media empire, or $100 bln electric truck makers who’ve sold a couple of hundred prototypes.. but as the fervid minds of the market crowd lap it all up, the predators, from crypto-exchanges, Cyber Shucksters, Tesla Barkers, Robin Hoods and others will be milking the opportunities and making out like bandits.. And the biggest predator? The whale that’s going to swallow the  baitball of markets whole? Well that will be reality; the expectation of rising interest rates bringing back a degree of normality to markets. Historically Ergot caused your limbs to fall off from gangrene, or you danced yourself to death. Financial Ergot is a little different – the only thing that can cure it is a sharp, painful destructive shock. Many investors sincerely believe in a mythical power called the Fed Put which immediately rescue tumbling market. Their belief system says Central Banks and Governments won’t stop the party. They won’t raise interest rates for fear of causing a taper tantrum meltdown. Not that raising rates would help at this stage. How would hiking rates now solve inflation? What we can most definitely say is raising rates is not going to solve Chip and Energy supply chain meltdowns, or reduce the number of ships queuing to unload at ports around the planet. Neither will a rate hike solve wage inflation which threatens to cascade through economies: give one worker a pay rise today and the plant will strike as everyone else demands more. Nor will wage inflation be short-term. Earlier this autumn I was talking to restaurateur chum of mine and she was close to despair. She simply can’t get staff. Experienced, trained competent staff have left the catering sector in droves – attracted by higher wages, better conditions, and more social hours from the likes of Amazon. (Same thing in the haulage sector.) It’s left my chum struggling with barely trainable school leavers and “unreliables” who she knows will repeatedly let her down at the last minute. She’s contemplating cutting service to 3 or 4 days a week. She knows the only solution is to attract staff back to the industry with higher wages, shorter hours, social shifts and better conditions. But to put up staff wages and raise costs means higher prices – it’s called wage inflation. It’s happening across every single part of the economy… Whatever Central Bankers would have us believe about “transitory inflation” – wage inflation and price adjustments are going to have a very significant effect on the real economy. Normalising interest rates at this stage won’t put the already uncorked inflation genie back in the bottle. All it would likely do is precipitate the inevitable end of the irrational markets dance… so central banks and governments are unlikely to run the risk… which means…. Crank up the volume, keep dancing and keep buying! Yay! (Queue Daft Punk and One More Time) Tyler Durden Mon, 11/15/2021 - 11:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 15th, 2021

Burry Unloads At Musk: Your Success Is Only Thanks To Taxpayer Subsidies

Burry Unloads At Musk: Your Success Is Only Thanks To Taxpayer Subsidies Update (1132ET): The Big Short's Michael Burry is back tweeting this morning after an overnight rant criticizing the Fed and SEC policies for creating speculative bubbles and inflation. He took aim at the Rivian IPO, reflecting on the fact that it's now worth more than GM and Ford (without selling a single product).  Around 1024 ET, Burry quoted a Musk tweet about how his company is the first "American carmaker to reach high volume production & positive cash flow in past 100 years." The CEO of Scion Asset Management said: "No, @elonmusk , the true test is achieving that without massive government and electricity subsidies on the backs of taxpayers who don't own your cars."  Burry has since deleted the tweet.  Earlier this week, Business Insider quoted Burry as saying Musk may want to sell stocks to cover his debts. Not too long ago, Burry revealed that he was no longer betting against Tesla. He unveiled the short earlier this year but has likely been hammered after multiple gamma squeezes.  The contrarian investor is ramping up his tweets against Musk and Tesla as possible a Twitter battle between the two may shortly ensue.  * * * Having taken aim at Elon Musk earlier in the week, Famous short-seller Michael Burry of The Big Short game emerged once again from his latest self-imposed Twitter exile to lambast The Fed (and The SEC) for fiddling while Rome burns. In one tweet, reflecting on the fact that Rivian - the newest entrant into the electric vehicle market - is now worth over $100 billion and larger than GM and Ford: Burry summarizes the madness perfectly: More speculation than the 1920s. More overvaluation than the 1990s.  More geopolitical and economic strife than the 1970s. And who is to blame as this shitshow continues: "Players grabbing the barrel of Kyle Rittenhouse's rifle while The SEC and Federal Reserve nod approvingly." The infamous housing bubble spotter was not done yet, taking aim at the bubbly nature of everything Wall Street, while Main Street suffers under the 'tax' of inflation: "American real wages - adjusted for inflation - are down 2.2% since Jan 1. Seems the ONLY truly meaningful thing that’s down this manic, manic year. Inflation is a massively regressive tax. Never forget it." American real wages - adjusted for inflation - are down 2.2% since Jan 1. Seems the ONLY truly meaningful thing that’s down this manic, manic year. Inflation is a massively regressive tax. Never forget it. pic.twitter.com/tsHRoRuh1Z — Cassandra (@michaeljburry) November 12, 2021 Burry has been vocal about warning about our current stock market bubble. "People say I didn't warn last time. I did, but no one listened. So I warn this time. And still, no one listens. But I will have proof I warned," he Tweeted about markets about a year ago.  He also commented on Tesla golden child Cathie Wood, earlier in the year, Tweeting: "It is too early, she is too hot, and, today, short sellers are timid, but Wall Street will be ruthless in the end." Burry, recall, revealed a huge Tesla short earlier in 2021 but as of one month ago he was no longer betting against Tesla and said that his position was just a trade. Burry has also been vocal warning against a bitcoin bubble. Of course, if he was also short the crypto space in addition to TSLA, his losses in 2021 could be Jess Livermore-sized.... Tyler Durden Fri, 11/12/2021 - 11:32.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 12th, 2021

Why You Should Care About "Taproot", The Next Major Bitcoin Upgrade

Why You Should Care About 'Taproot', The Next Major Bitcoin Upgrade Authored by 'NAMCIOS' via BitcoinMagazine.com, By making transactions cheaper, more efficient and more private, Taproot sets the stage for extra functionality on the Bitcoin network. Much has been written about Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade, and plenty of resources exist to explain its technical concepts. However, in the author's opinion, a more comprehensive roundup of why Taproot is being implemented, what it will bring to the network, and what it might enable for the future, in plain English, is still lacking. Driven by the misconceptions that regular users have about Taproot and a certain lack of understanding, this essay leverages the technical resources that came before it to enlighten you to the broader implications of what is arguably the most significant upgrade to Bitcoin yet. WHY TAPROOT MATTERS In short and at the highest level of abstraction possible, the Bitcoin Taproot soft fork will optimize scalability, privacy, and smart contract functionality. It will bring about a new address type, allowing bitcoin spending to look similar regardless of whether the sender is making a simple payment, a complex multi-signature transaction, or using the Lightning Network. Moreover, Taproot addresses will allow users to save on transaction fees — the more complex the spending conditions, the more the user will save — compared to previous address types. By reducing the transaction size and making nearly any transaction appear like a simple, single-signature one, Taproot will also enable larger and more complex operations to be deployed on Bitcoin that were previously unfeasible or almost impossible. If you only use Bitcoin to hold coins long term and sparingly move them around between wallets, you might think Taproot will have little impact on you. But in fact, the possibilities that this soft fork will enable for Bitcoin's future are extensive, as Taproot lays the groundwork for more prominent and more significant developments to land on the network. For one, Taproot ultimately empowers the Lightning Network to unleash its full potential as a proper scaling technology for Bitcoin. Currently, the second layer protocol can be spotted in action in the Bitcoin blockchain, reducing coins' fungibility. Fungibility is vital for a monetary good to actualize the medium of exchange role because it allows for coins to be seen as equal. If transaction outputs were seen differently, they could suffer from discrimination by the receiver, preventing users from using their BTC for payments in certain conditions. In addition, the Lightning Network and other complex wallets and contracts will enjoy greater efficiency and lower transaction fees, further empowering the usage of Bitcoin as a medium of exchange. Enabled by Schnorr signatures, even the most complex transactions made between Taproot-supporting wallets will incur the same fees as simple ones. Furthermore, this reduction of costs and the increased flexibility and capabilities for smart contracts will ultimately enable very complex setups that were previously not feasible in Bitcoin. But to comprehend why Taproot is being implemented in Bitcoin, one must first understand how Bitcoin transactions work and the many upgrades that have been made up to this point, naturally leading to Taproot. A QUICK OVERVIEW OF HOW BITCOIN TRANSACTIONS WORK Bitcoin transactions work based on inputs and outputs, which are also equal since coins are not destroyed. If you want to send me 5 BTC, for instance, you would need to select precisely 5 bitcoin, else the transaction would be either incomplete, or you'd have too many funds. For the former, Bitcoin can't do much — you can't send funds you don't have — but for the latter, Bitcoin will give you the "rest" as change. Therefore, if you select 7.38 BTC to send me five, 2.38 will go back to you as change. So you'd have 7.38 as input and 2.38 + 5 as outputs, although you'd receive a little less than 2.38 because the network needs to deduct the transaction fees. When we talk about spending, we are referring to an output. Now that I have the 5 BTC you sent me, I can use it as I wish. I can send 3 BTC to Alice and 2 BTC to Bob, for instance, or I can send 5 BTC to Joe. Or I can keep the 5 BTC and HODL indefinitely. Unless I choose to hold it, I will be making a transaction regardless of the use I make of my new bitcoin. This latest transaction will get the 5 BTC output I have as input, and this transaction's output will be whatever I decide to send. Notice that since I received the 5 BTC in full, even if I want to send only 3 bitcoin, I will have to input all the 5 bitcoin into the transaction, and I'll get the rest back as change. What's essential in this dynamic is to realize the interaction of coins as inputs and outputs. When we spend, we are transferring a transaction output to another person. But to do that, we need to input it into a new transaction, and the other person will get the BTC as another transaction output. For that reason, the concept of a wallet is an abstraction intended to make things easier to acknowledge and understand by summing up all the transaction outputs you own. Because after all, that's all there is — transaction outputs (UTXOs). IMPROVING THE BITCOIN TRANSACTION MODEL The history of paying in bitcoin has changed a lot since the early days of the network. Overall, the UTXO model described above relies on scripts or contracts created using the Bitcoin Script "programming" language. This author has put “programming” in quotation marks because Bitcoin's scripting language can more accurately be seen as a verification language than one that provides computation directives. In essence, Bitcoin scripting is a way to specify conditions for spending a UTXO. There are three major constraints when considering Bitcoin Script and how its improvements are made: privacy, space efficiency, and computational efficiency — usually, improving one of these cascades into strengthening the other two. For instance, seeking to reveal less about a transaction and thereby improving privacy would entail submitting a smaller amount of data, reducing space needs for the transaction, and making it easier to be verified — it’s less computationally intensive. The community has been improving how Bitcoin transactions work by gradually introducing new script, or address, types. Ultimately, these changes have sought to enhance transactional privacy, make the transfer of funds more lightweight, and speed up the process of validating transactions. As a result, users have greater flexibility for creating scripts that increase the resilience of their savings, move funds around more efficiently and privately, and help unleash financial sovereignty. Albeit complicated for the end-user, technical tools have emerged to adopt these practices and abstract low-level technicalities, ensuring greater adoption of current best practices. One clear example of this is multisignature addresses, which once had to be done manually with Bitcoin Script but can now be effortlessly created with a smartphone or a laptop. The same is true for Lightning, Bitcoin's second-layer scaling solution for small and frequent payments. This Layer 2 is now available in mobile apps and allows for people to transact once-unfeasible amounts of BTC with each other instantly. Taproot, the latest upgrade to the Bitcoin protocol and arguably the most important one to date, is a natural evolution of the way Bitcoin transactions, and hence scripts, work. Enabled by Schnorr signatures, MAST and Tapscript, Taproot seeks to increase flexibility and privacy without compromising security. In the early days of Bitcoin, with legacy addresses, the sender of a transaction had to care about the receiver's wallet policy — its contract, or script — which was not only impractical but represented a significant privacy shortcoming. The contract had to be revealed when the transaction was sent for anyone to see; hence, the receiver's privacy was low. With the advent of pay to script hash (P2SH), Bitcoin changed that dynamic, and transactions started to be sent to the hash of the contract instead of the contract itself. This meant the contract wouldn't be revealed until the output was spent, and outputs became identical — just a hash. A hash is the output of a hashing function, which takes a variable-length input and returns an encrypted result of fixed length. Not only did this addition to Bitcoin transactions improve privacy by making all outputs look similar, but it also reduced the output size, thereby increasing efficiency. However, the contract had to become visible when spending and all of the spending conditions had to be revealed. The two downsides with this approach are privacy and efficiency, as any observer could learn about the different spending conditions — thus learning plenty of information about the spender — and the blockchain would be bloated with a large script with unnecessary logic — it only makes practical sense to verify the spending condition that was used to spend that output. The Taproot upgrade improves this logic by introducing Merklelized Abstract Syntax Trees (MAST), a structure that ultimately allows Bitcoin to achieve the goal of only revealing the contract's specific spending condition that was used. There are two main possibilities for complex Taproot spending: a consensual, mutually-agreed condition; or a fallback, specific condition. For instance, if a multisignature address owned by multiple people wants to spend some funds programmatically, they could set up one spending condition in which all of them agree to spend the funds or fallback states in case they can't reach a consensus. If the condition everyone agrees on is used, Taproot allows it to be turned into a single signature. Therefore, the Bitcoin network wouldn't even know there was a contract being used in the first place, significantly increasing the privacy of all of the owners of the multisignature address. However, if a mutual consensus isn't reached and one party spends the funds using any of the fallback methods, Taproot only reveals that specific method. As the introduction of P2SH increased the receiver's privacy by making all outputs look identical — just a hash — Taproot will increase the sender's privacy by restricting the amount of information broadcast to the network. Even if you don't use complex wallet functionality like multisignature or Lightning, improving their privacy also improves yours, as it makes chain surveillance more difficult and increases the broader Bitcoin network anonymity set. WHAT TAPROOT COULD ULTIMATELY ENABLE FOR AVERAGE BITCOIN USERS By making transactions cheaper, more efficient, and more private, the adoption of Taproot will set the stage for extra functionality to land on the Bitcoin network. As nodes upgrade and people start using Taproot addresses primarily, it will become more difficult for blockchain observers to spot and discriminate between senders and receivers, UTXOs will be treated more equally, and the broader Bitcoin network will be a more robust settlement network that enables complex functionality to be built on top. Layer 2 protocols and sidechains will be empowered to step up and leverage even more sophisticated smart contracts for coordinating funds on the base layer. The end-user might not construct these themselves, but they will benefit from more special offerings in the broader Bitcoin ecosystem with stronger assurances. Although some decentralized finance applications and use cases are already being implemented on Bitcoin, the greater smart contract flexibility and capabilities brought by the Taproot upgrade can ultimately allow even more use cases to be implemented and more complex functionality to be deployed while leveraging the strong security assurances of the Bitcoin network — which no other "cryptocurrency" can match. As bitcoin is actual money, long-term applications of decentralized finance can naturally only be built on top of it. Novelty networks such as Ethereum lack the monetary properties of the Bitcoin base layer and its security and robustness — part of the reason why most applications built on them have fallen short of accomplishing their value proposition over the long run. By patiently building up the foundations for a distributed, uncensorable, antifragile, and sovereign monetary network throughout its lifetime, Bitcoin is set to enjoy actual long term functionality and growth through a layered approach. The Taproot upgrade, which also comprises Schnorr, MAST and Tapscript, builds on that foundation by furthering the security and privacy of the base layer and enabling more complex applications to be built on top of it. Greater flexibility of the smart contract functionalities of Bitcoin brings about a new era of unthinkable possibilities, opening up the door for broader use cases to be implemented on the best monetary network humanity has ever known. Over the long term, upgrades like Taproot and Lightning might effectively render altcoins redundant and unnecessary. If a given functionality can be implemented in Bitcoin, the most robust and secure network, it is only natural that it will. While altcoins foster innovation and eventually showcase some exciting use cases, they can be more accurately seen as experimentation playgrounds. Once real use cases are found, they will likely be ported to Bitcoin –– their best bet for continued, long-term development and usage. *  *  * To learn more about Taproot, Aaron van Wirdum's technical overview is a good place to start. For a more extensive explanation, reference Kraken Intelligence's detailed report published earlier this year. If you want to jump into the specific proposals, read BIP340, BIP341 and BIP342. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/11/2021 - 20:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 11th, 2021

Fifty Years Since The End Of Bretton Woods: A Geopolitical Review

Fifty Years Since The End Of Bretton Woods: A Geopolitical Review Authored by Mauricio Metri via The Strategic Culture Foundation, On August 15th, 1971, the then-president of the United States, Richard Nixon, made an eighteen-minute speech to the country whose effects impacted the world. Among other subjects, he announced the end of the dollar-gold parity, which was a shock. First of all, that decision meant the death of the Bretton Woods Monetary System without telling what would replace it. This fact represented an abrupt change in the international economic order. Secondly, Nixon’s initiative undermined the economic development strategies used since 1947, when the Cold War had started. Those strategies were called “development by invitation” in the center countries and “national developmentalism” in the peripheral ones. Thirdly, the decision strengthened the attacks against the dollar as the main currency in the world, putting more pressure on the international currency hierarchy since then. Finally, in the history of monetary standards, the abandonment of precious metals, as a reference of value, revealed the “charter nature” of money to the detriment of the metallist one. In the debates on the Bretton Wood system, from its birth and development to its crisis and implosion, a particular narrative seems to prevail. This mainstream interpretation ascribes to the traumas of the great social-economic crisis in the thirties, the system’s origins. Besides the austerity public policies and the automatic recessive adjustments, at the heart of the twenties’ liberal economic order was the freedom of capital movements, whose behavior destabilized the exchange rates, the payments balances, and even the national economies. They were the root causes of the great depression of the thirties, mainly after the Wall Street crash of 1929 when the social and economic context got pretty worse. This scenario fostered the rise of far-right wings mainly in Europe, which created the elements of the beginning of the Second World War. According to this view, to avoid another experience such as the great economic depression of the thirties and its disastrous effects, the diplomatic representatives of forty-four countries gathered in July 1944 in Bretton Woods, aiming to negotiate a new economic order to the post-war. The talks concluded that the most relevant cause of the economic crisis was the financial capital and its liberty to act against markets, currencies, and national economies. The central proposal was to guarantee the autonomy of the national economic policies. For this reason, they agreed on some points. For instance, capital controls; a system of fixed exchange rates but manageable when necessary; and stabilization funds via IMF without counterparts of recessive policies. It was a victory of Keynesianism against liberal economic orthodoxy. The very participation of John Maynard Keynes as the British government representative in the negotiations was a symbol of it, despite his defeat in defense of a supranational currency, the Bancor, as a new monetary standard. As a result, the capitalist world, mainly Europe and Japan, achieved excellent economic outputs during the 50s and 60s in terms of product, income, and employment growth, just as international trade and foreign direct investments. Finally, the mainstream narrative alleges that, during the period, the deficits in the U.S. balance of payments led to the sprawl of the dollar liquidity in the international system without an increase in the Fed’s gold reserves. According to this argument, the military spending growth due to the Vietnam War, above all, triggered such macroeconomic imbalances. So, pressures and speculative attacks against the dollar-gold parity became inevitable. Therefore, in 1971, the situation turned out to be unsustainable. Nevertheless, from a geopolitical view, it is possible to consider another interpretation for the Bretton Wood system, from its creation to its collapse. First of all, although the authorities of different countries had signed the accords in July 1944, since Roosevelt’s death in March 1945, relevant parts of the agreements were shelved. Henry Morgenthau and Harry White, architects of the postwar new economic order, lost room in the Truman administration. In their place, the bankers constrained the president to implement the Key Currency Plan, which proposed to rebuild a liberal international financial order as it had been in the twenties. However, the new system would rest on the dollar and Wall Street instead of the Pound and the City. Regarding Germany and Japan, the new U.S. orientation aimed to wreck their large industrial conglomerates, transforming their national economies into semiperipheral ones. Indeed, the international economic order established from 1945 to 1947 operated quite differently than the Agreements of 1944, and the results were terrible. The attempts to recover the national economies stumbled upon the dollar shortage and the difficulties in the Balances of Payments. In this context, the financial capitals in Europe ran to the United States, destabilizing the exchange rates, the external accounts, and, therefore, the national economies in Western Europe. As is natural to all liberal finance orders, not considering capital controls was the core of the economic problems. Furthermore, during the war, Josef Stalin expanded the borderlines of the Soviet Union and its area of influence to a position unthinkable to any Romanov Emperor. Not to mention that Russia found itself, for the first time in its history, without a single great rival power in all of Eurasia, as said by George Kennan himself, in an official document of May 1945, entitled The International Position of Russia at the End of the War with Germany. Anyway, the change in the strategy of the Truman Administration lingered to happen. And it took place only in 1947 for two reasons: the civil war in Greece between the old monarchy supported by the British against the anti-fascist forces led by communists and upheld by the Kremlin; and the pressure of Moscow on Ankara to control territories in Anatolia and install two military bases at the straits. Since then, the U.S. president opted for occupying part of the Rimland that Nicholas Spykman had written about before, in his book of 1942, America’s Strategy in the World Politics. From a geo-historical point of view, it meant a long-standing tradition of Anglo-Saxon geopolitical thought of maintaining Russia outside of the Mediterranean Sea. Its roots had already been in the British imperial policy of the 19th century, as the Greek independence process during 1821-1830 demonstrates. The head orientation of the new security doctrine launched by Truman in 1947 pointed to the necessity of permanent and global containment of the USSR. The objective was to freeze their respective areas of influence, leaving both countries, in effect, in a continuous opposition against each other. The U.S. projection of securities lines from their Atlantic borders to the Eurasian continental mass required the stabilization of the new disputed regions, mainly in the fimbriae of Asia. Working out the social and economic problems in these regions became part of the U.S. national security strategy. And, at that moment, the main actions prioritized Europe and Japan. Then, to avoid the Soviet projection in a Europe marked by a severe economic crisis, the United States resumed rebuilding an international order focused on national product expansions, income growths, and employment improvements. The Marshall Plan and the rescue of the Bretton Woods proposals shaped the core of American economic initiatives. Therefore, both of them had a main geopolitical objective. They were an expression of the submission of the economic order to the geopolitical one. In other words, one could define both Marshall Plan and Bretton Woods system as pieces of economic geostrategy of a new kind of conflict, born around 1947, the Cold War. So, the starting point of the Bretton Woods implementation relies essentially on geopolitics, not on social-economic traumas from the thirties. It could be said, in this way, that the Soviet Union and its leader, Josef Stalin, were respectively the entity and personal genuinely responsible for the economic reconstruction of Europe and the Bretton Woods system’s birth. As a result, the United States could stabilize the national economies in the sensitive regions relative to Cold War and freeze the frontiers with the communist nations. In the limit, they promoted a quarter-century of extraordinary development in first-world countries. In short, the Cold War was the background that allowed the Bretton Woods System to work out from 1947 until the moment when the U.S. economic strategy to its geopolitical struggles changed. Concerning Bretton Woods’ contradictions, the creation of Euromarkets in 1958 within England, supported by U.S. authorities, allowed the British government to conciliate two different challenges: on the one hand, carrying out a growth-oriented economic policy; and, on the other, defending London’s position in the international financial business. However, these new markets, out of the control of any monetary authorities, expanded more and more the dollar liquidity in the system. Unlike the mainstream narrative, the U.S. external accounts weren’t unbalanced, shown in the rather unexpressive U.S. compensatory capital flows in its Balance of Payments during the Bretton Woods period. Part of the system dollar liquidity arose from what Charles Kindleberger and Hyman Minsky described as the deepening process of resources inflows and outflows from the United States to the world. While the Trade Balance and the Current Account were positives, the U.S. Capital Account was negative due to the Foreign Direct Investment. So, the pressure against the dollar-gold parity didn’t come from the supposed deficits in their external accounts. It stemmed from the financial markets, whose operations manifolded without restrictions to the dollar assets in the capitalist world, namely, Euromarkets. The problem was that it occurred without a counterpart of growth in the Fed’s gold reserves. Therefore, if the Bretton Woods implementation were geopolitical and not due to the traumas of the thirties’ economic crisis, its contradictions came from the Euromarkets and not from the North American external accounts’ imbalances. In turn, its existence depended on how useful it would be to U.S. foreign policy. In 1969, the international context changed expressively. If Bretton Woods System had already promoted the most important historical era of capitalism, the Soviet Union had also achieved substantial strategic improvements in the 60s. There had been its nuclear weapons’ progress, the strengthening of its navy, the development of edge-cutting aerospace technology, and the expansion of its oil production, among others. And this new Soviet success in the 60s had pressured not only the United States and its allies from the first world but also the Popular Republic of China. In that background, Beijing signalized to Washington a careful approach in 1969. The Nixon administration, in turn, took advantage and started the Triangular Diplomacy. Since then, the American government implemented concessions to Beijing and Moscow, such as reductions of economic sanctions. For example, in that year, the United States created new legislation, altering the Export Control Act of 1949. Later, in April 1971, only three months before the famous Nixon’s speech, the United States lifted some previous restrictions once more. It allowed the purchase of dollars by China and USSR to encourage their import of products from the capitalist world. So, a valuable triangular diplomacy result was the beginning of the entrance process of China and the Soviet Union into the dollar monetary territory on the eve of the end of the Bretton Woods System. When Nixon addressed the American people on television in August 1971, the strategy of 1947 had already achieved its economic aims. Besides, Japan and Germany had already become strong adversaries in the international economic competition. Not to mention, the Bretton Woods contradictions still required efforts and coordination with the Europeans and Japanese in financial governance, such as in the Gold Pool and the IMF due to Special Drawing Rights, which sometimes was causing tension and opposition among them. Finally, the Bretton Woods System still enforced restrictions on the U.S. managing their economic policy, as in the dollar-gold parity defense. Richard Nixon started his famous speech by mentioning: alleged advances in “achieving the end of the Vietnam War,” the “challenges of peace,” despite not specifying them, and the “prosperity without military conflicts.” Next, he connected the last of these issues directly to jobs creation in the United States, control of the internal cost of living, and dollar protection, going quickly from tricky subjects of international relations to national issues in daily life. Then, Nixon announced some economic measures with an orthodox bias to encourage the employment increase, for example, tax reductions and spending cuts. He also ordered radical heterodox economic policies to contain the rise in prices: the freeze on all prices and wages for 90 days. The population was likely astonished and pretty worried about such sort of economic measures, because it always creates graves problems of relative price imbalances. Probably, when Nixon approached the theme of “protection the position of the American dollar as a pillar of monetary stability around the world,” as he said, the attention in the country was still in the freeze on prices and salaries. After describing the speculators’ efforts in “waging an all-out war on the dollar,” he argued that the strength of a nation’s currency rests on the strength of that nation’s economy. And, then, Nixon claimed the U.S. position in the international monetary hierarchy by saying that “the American economy is by far the strongest in the world.” Next, he clarified the U.S. disposition when he ordered the Secretary of the Treasury to take any necessary action to defend the dollar. And, finally, he announced what would be unthinkable until that moment: the suspension of the dollar-gold convertibility. According to him, a bugaboo that it should lay to rest. For the domestic audience, Nixon justified the decision by the devaluation advantages to the American-made products in America. For that matter, he also imposed an additional tax of 10% on goods imported into the United States. Nixon announced the abandonment of the old economic geostrategy inaugurated in 1947 by the Truman administration. He pointed that economies of the major industrial nations of Europe and Asia had become strong competitors against the United States. Then, there was no longer any need for “the United States to compete with one hand beyond her back.” According to Nixon, the time had come for first-world nations to compete as equals. In other words, President Nixon put an end to the development by invitation, except for China, which had been engaging in a strategic rapprochement with the United States. Summarizing the argument, before 1969, as long as the foreign policy hadn’t changed, the successive U.S. administrations had carried on upholding the Bretton Woods System and its aims, despite its contradictions. To circumvent its problems, they had implemented some efforts, as Gold Pool, Special Drawing Rights, etc. Therefore, during the Cold War’s first decades, the U.S. support for the Bretton Wood order had occurred since this economic system had reached its geopolitical objectives. However, since the international context had changed expressively in the 60s, the economic order had become more and more inappropriate. It had depleted as a Cold War’s strategic instrument, and it had been inadequate and outdated for the new geopolitical struggles and geoeconomic challenges. In other words, the emergence of new economic competitors and mainly the outcomes of Soviet projection in the system brought shifts in U.S. foreign policy in 1969, originating the triangular diplomacy. And, two years later, in 1971, the United States unilaterally abandoned the Bretton Woods Agreements. It sounds ironic that the most significant historical experience of western capitalism was related to Stalin’s strategy of enlarging the Soviet frontiers in the context of the Second World War and the capacity of the Soviet Union to respond to the Cold War against the United States, mainly during the 60s. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/08/2021 - 02:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 8th, 2021

Bitcoin: A Second Chance For The Muslim World?

Bitcoin: A Second Chance For The Muslim World? Authored by Asif Shiraz via BitcoinMagazine.com, Bitcoin is the sound money that the Muslim world needs to accelerate into the future... The Ottoman suppression of the printing press is a poster child case of intellectual stagnation in the Muslim world. Although there was no outright ban, there is no denying of a massively missed opportunity here: A civilization’s failure to adopt a groundbreaking technological change happening right next door. In its golden age, this same civilization that gave the world universities and hospitals, optics and algebra, even a precursor to the printing press itself, got so left behind in the later acceptance of technology, that its very own holy book, the Quran, waited for its first mass publication almost 300 years after Johannes Gutenberg chugged out the printed Bible. THE DECLINE But Islam’s Genesis Block was entirely different in character: A spirited but sundry assemblage of women and men whose most remarkable trait was their openness to new ideas. The idea of one God in a multitude of divine contenders. The idea of one bitcoin in a multitude of shitcoins … oops... sorry... mixing up my chronology! So anyway, this fraternity of early Islam, along with its keen aspiration of ushering in a just social and economic order, is also remarkable in a novel way for its time: It represents a death cross of reason’s moving average overtaking that of intuition in religious history. Bringing intellectual inquiry at par with mystical experience, it paved the way for its scions to delve into scientific skepticism, empiricism and experimental inquiry, with Robert Briffault going so far as to say that “Roger Bacon was no more than one of the apostles of Muslim science and method.” But eventually, the music stopped, and the market corrected! There are many explanations for the downfall, most of them partially true, spanning decades and centuries, but if we want to point fingers, as human nature dictates, at some symbolic event, then it must be the Mongol destruction of the House of Wisdom, #SackOfBaghdad. In the age of manuscripts, so many books from Baghdad’s libraries were flung into the Tigris that a horse could walk across on them and the river ran black with scholars’ ink and red with the blood of martyrs. As the Muslim Ummah lost so many intellectuals and intellectual capital in this tumultuous period, its reaction has been, (understandably), like that of an intern finding herself in control of mission critical servers, where all the senior sys admins suddenly stepped down, died or disappeared. Your best reaction is this: I’m not touching this system, and the only commands I’ll ever execute are those handed down by the four illustrious system admins — founders of the established schools of jurisprudence. And so Islamic scholarship for hundreds of years has been in a maintenance mode. In Pakistan alone, over 12,000 Madrasa routinely teach the rules and regulations of exchanging gold and silver, centuries after its daily use has been replaced by fiat. SURVIVAL OF CORE TENETS But herein lies a wonderful irony. This code-freeze on innovation, which we otherwise disapprove of, did work to an extent as it was intended: It protected the core principles from being callously compromised or deliberately diluted in the hands of opportunists. Just like the extra caution and consensus in changing the U.S. constitution protected the principles of freedom and equality enshrined in it: Islamic law, too, enshrined core financial principles, that have been a thorn on the side of would-be reformers attempting to legalize fiat and modern banking in the name of Islamic Finance. The 12,000 semi-literate Madrasa students, parroting the provisions of the fair exchange of gold and silver from a 17th century syllabus citing a 9th century scholar, unwittingly become more correct than a Harvard doctorate in finance indoctrinated in the misguided larceny of fiat money! All because Muhammad ﷺ mandated sound money, just like Mises and Hayek after him, a tenet immutably crystallized in Fiqh — Islamic Jurisprudence. A business man himself, the Prophet of Islam possessed a sharp acumen for economics and finance. In modern parlance, he quickly rose the corporate ladder to become one of the youngest CEOs of his time tasked with turning around the failing business empire of the urbane female entrepreneur, Khadija. Impressed with the Prophet’s personality, Khadija quickly proposed to him, creating a power couple that changed the course of history. Just like Jesus turned out the money-lenders from the Second Temple, the Prophet of Islam, too, had a disdain for usury and outlawed most of the accompanying capitalist machinations, that contribute to the gross wealth disparities like 10% owning 76% of the assets. So he created some fundamental rules that constitute the bedrock of Islamic financial principles: Forbade usury (Riba), including interest. Still respecting the time value of money, the prohibition’s intent is to create a financial regime where profit and risk is shared between the entrepreneur and the investor. From a sound money perspective, it prohibits the core operation of issuing interest bearing bonds and T-Bills against which the central bank can inflate the money supply. Forbade uncertainty (Gharar), embodied in his famous quote, “Do not sell a fish which is still in the water.” Eliminates the possibility of fractional reserve, since outstanding debt cannot be monetized and traded further with, unless it’s paid. It also closes the tap on a myriad of derivative instruments that further inflate the money supply. Forbade speculation (Maisir), which includes outright gambling. Some scholars consider speculative market activity, like the Dogecoin phenomena, under the ambit of this ruling. Mandated sound money. The rules of obligatory charity tax in Islam are denominated in sound money. Muslim governments take the market price of gold, convert them to fiat prices, and announce the converted value to the public to pay the religious obligation of Zakat. But from a legal standpoint, it permanently establishes gold and silver (as well as a whole class of other products) as perpetual, religiously recognized money in Islam. These prohibitions are strong enough in Islamic theology that anyone who violates them is technically, “at war with Allah and his Prophet.” Which is why the Madrasa’s syllabus clings to “nature’s money” (Thaman-e-Khalqi): gold and silver. But of course, big governments, Muslim or otherwise, are a chip off the same block: Self-interest reigns supreme over ethical principles. In Pakistan alone, the religious case against fiat banking has been delayed and obstructed for over 40 years in the courts. The politics of deficit financing are so attractive that no one wants to surrender this magical money making wand. Voldemorts, all of them! In spite of these prohibitions, and in countries where religion dominates social values, Muslims still grew comfortable with paper money because it initially disguised itself as “warehouse receipts for gold” which duped the scholars into permitting it, but the jurisprudence failed to catch up with the subsequent thinning of this asset backing into its current meaningless extent. REFORM ATTEMPTS As the domino roll of national independences took place, four different threads of activity around banking spread in Muslim countries. First, the mainstream implementation of modern banking took root in every Muslim State, implemented in toto like its Western counterparts. Second, Islamic banking attempted to reshape things a little. Scholars familiar with both economics and Shariah attempted to “Islamize” banking via the new academic discipline of “Islamic finance.” But instead of faithfully creating platforms for risk-sharing and equity-based financing, it just followed the Medieval Triple Contract–like approach to practically clone existing financial products, accompanied by a plethora of research papers to justify it. Like a comedic quote from the cold war era, “Communism is the longest and most painful road from capitalism to capitalism,” contemporary Islamic finance, too, turned out to become the most painful and circuitous route from traditional banking to traditional banking, decorated with Arabic names! How the professional bankers duped these scholars and hijacked this effort is excellently explained by Harris Irfan in a podcast with our own Saifedean Ammous. Third, a large but silent majority of toothless Islamic scholars continues to exist who view all forms of banking with suspicion, but the growing chasm of knowledge gap between their education and the complexities of modern finance makes them unable to take back the narrative. Lastly, a much smaller band of Islamic scholars exist, like followers of the Sufi order of a British convert and his Basque disciple, as well as a scholar from Trinidad, who successfully identified the fundamental problem with modern banking from a Shariah perspective: its monetary foundation. You cannot “Islamize” a bank if you do not fix the money it operates on! Hence, their attempt to resuscitate the traditional Islamic gold dinar as a sound money alternative to fiat. GOLD DINAR: THE REAL ISLAMIC ALTERNATIVE Fiat money and its permissibility can be viewed through an important concept in Islamic theology, the Maqasid-e-Shariah: the goals or purpose of Shariah law. To illustrate this with a controversial example, consider a Shariah law which says you cannot punish a man or woman for adultery, unless you bring four eye witnesses to the sexual act (which is normally impossible). While Islam abhors adultery, the Maqasid is an attempt by scholars to understand why, instead of having a law that easily and swiftly punishes it, there exists one that makes it practically impossible to prosecute. They rationalized that it must be to shield people’s privacy and one-off slipups from society's nosy interference and appetite for punishment. According to Muhammad Asad, “… to make proof of adultery dependent on a voluntary, faith-inspired confession of the guilty parties themselves.” So the Maqasid points to some socially valuable goal that the law intends to achieve. The rationale of the financial laws of Shariah are similarly explained in terms of their goals: a just distribution of wealth, a money free from devaluation, a business contract free from usurious exploitation, and a regulatory regime that increases people’s wealth and well-being. Through a very elementary intuition, it is obvious that fiat currencies violate this principle of honesty and justice in the society: Money issuers steal the purchasing power of the people and devalue their money. To put a formal Quranic stamp to this reasoning, we can take verse 3:75, “There are some among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) who, if entrusted with a stack of gold, will readily return it.” The modern Islamic bank, if entrusted with money equivalent to a stack of gold, returns you only 90% of its worth in purchasing power, owing to inflationary erosion, thus it’s part of a system that clearly violates the Maqasid. Islamic banks have thus thoroughly failed to espouse the core principle of risk sharing and eliminating interest (since interest exists in the very issuance process of the money they are built on). The only real Islamic alternative ever proposed was the Gold Dinar Movement. Starting in parallel (and in many respects earlier) than Islamic banking, (with the first modern Dinar minted in 1992), it was incisively accurate in its assessment and proposed remedy to the money problem: “The Return to the Gold Dinar.” This was an earlier time, when the golden tool in the fight against fiat was literally gold, which was then popularized by Austrian economics, advocated by upright leaders like Ron Paul, and adopted by grassroots activists like Bernard von NotHaus. The Muslim world saw its own spate of activism for sound money, led by its most vocal proponent, Umar Vadillo, and associated initiatives like Wakala Nusantara, Dinar First and my own Dinar Wakala. The Kelantan State government’s launch of Gold Dinar was our own El Zonte moment, full of euphoria and promise that made waves globally. The passion and courage of this vibrant lot of Warrior Sufis represented the best of modern-day Muslims: Profoundly knowledgeable people, engaged in grassroots activism, to fix the most pressing challenges of the contemporary world. However, the primary strength of gold, its physical indestructibility, came in the way of its adoption: Logistic and regulatory hindrances prevented free flow of physical gold coins across national boundaries. In the words of its founder, Shaykh Abdalqadir, “The defense mechanisms of today’s late capitalism and its crisis management surrounding the buying, moving and minting of gold have surrounded it with prohibitive pricing and taxation.” It continues to serve as a galvanizing symbol of the fight against Riba, but making it a practical inflationary hedge, or a broader Ummah-level movement for sound money, proved an elusive goal. Without the Gold Dinar, the horizon seemed all but bleak, except that a glimmer of hope came from the most unexpected of places: Where scholars, economists and revolutionaries had failed, nerds succeeded! Enter Emir Satoshi! ADVENT OF BITCOIN For us in the Gold Dinar Movement, Bitcoiners are our brothers in arms: fighting the same enemy, securing the same goal. This is what I have always advocated to my fellow activists in the dinar movement, from as far back as 2012. Our Prophetﷺ, as well as the Rashidun Caliphs, never debased money, nor profited from seigniorage, but gave us the right to choose our own mediums of exchange. This is fundamentally antithetical to the monstrosity of legal tender laws, which Islamic scholars have been duped into legitimizing under various pretexts (highlighting the need for increased financial literacy in this lot). This freedom to choose a currency constitutes the common ground that both us and the Bitcoiners can rally around together. “The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust,” writes Satoshi. He recognized the problem with fiat and set out to fix it with Bitcoin, a miraculous epiphany that has let loose this growing, global band of fervid, somewhat bumptious Maximalists, as similar in essence and ethos to us, as they look different in appearance. I see Bitcoiners, not only in their pluck and guile, but also in the sly ingenuity of their weapon of choice, as nothing less than a modern-day David taking on the Goliath of traditional banking! From a Muslim perspective, the operating verse of the Quran in critique of the Bitcoin movement becomes 49:13, “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Aware.” In the realm of monetary matters, the most righteous and noble are those who support sound money. It is appropriate that Allah stresses his own divine attributes in the verse, as a warning that our religiously colored conception of righteousness may not necessarily be the same as that of the knowing, the aware. (The literal term Taqwa, means something that protects you from the wrath of God.) And to the best of my belief, protecting and uplifting the poor, the downtrodden from the entrapments of a prejudiced financial system is surely a winner with the God of Abraham! A SECOND CHANCE We Muslims had set out to establish a just and fair society, and for some time, to quote David Graeber, succeeded: “Once freed from its ancient scourges of debt and slavery, the local bazaar had become, for most, not a place of moral danger, but the very opposite: the highest expression of the human freedom and communal solidarity, and thus to be protected assiduously from state intrusion.” But gradually, as our political and intellectual leadership in the world waned, we now find ourselves economically bankrupt, submerged in a rigged financial system, and enslaved to the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A major reason for this impoverishment was the widening gap of modern knowledge. The following vicious cycle of three circularly dependent factors is another way of modeling our current reality: Low capital allocation for education. A generally weak economy leaves little allocation for investment in education of both scientific and humanities disciplines, which is required for a productive human capital. Low human capital. The first factor results in low quality of education in the populace then manifests politically in bad national decisions, engagement in conflicts, economic mismanagement, acquisition of debt and failure to curb corruption. Economically, this unskilled workforce has low productivity, scarce entrepreneurship and ineffective technology adoption. Religiously, it permits violence and extremism to breed along sectarian fault lines. Low economic output. The second factor results in continued economic tribulations, since the whole society is now in KTLO mode, instead of “adding new features.” Which leads us again to item one. It is the standard cycle of poverty played out at a macro scale, which many competing power bases believe they can break. The military, the Mullahs, and the Liberals, far away, even the CIA has prescriptions on how to solve our problems. But such temporary political and economic interventions bear no lasting results, since nations are built by worthy men and women, over a span of many years, who, given a free and peaceful environment, fall back on their innate drive for excellence to create a better world. It is the job of the revolutionary and his meteoric jolt, or at a smaller scale, your social entrepreneur giving a small push, that breaks a segment of society free from this vicious cycle: A closed ecosystem of wealth circulation, comprising of learned individuals, equipped with better technology and empowered with more capital, shielded from outside influence, and stabilized by a fair social contract, to launch the virtuous symbiosis of economic prosperity and human development which prop each other to newer heights. This break can start in many ways: a national independence, some strong leadership, or in case of Islam, the founding of a new religion. Islam’s own trajectory gives us a generalized three-stage pattern on which any revolution can be modeled, an excellent blueprint for our bitcoin adoption. Education: A new world view is conceived, and people are educated toward it for voluntarily placing their faith on it — Iman. Separation: The model is physically deployed, separated from existing systems, so it can grow and thrive without any negative external influences — Hijra. Protection: When the model grows strong enough to threaten the status quo, but still weak enough to be fully destructible, it needs protection, usually requiring armed conflict — Jihad. We in the Gold Dinar Movement believed that the break in this vicious cycle will come from financial empowerment: When Muslim people and governments adopt sound money, free from the shackles of the IMF, it will allow our bankrupt economies to manage enough disposable income that can be invested in other avenues in society, putting us on a path to progress and human development. Gold would bring back the Golden Age, producing men and women who are worth their weight in gold! But it could not. Let me explain why, and how bitcoin makes it possible. BITCOIN: A TOOL FOR REVOLUTION Following our three-stage model of a revolution, let’s review how bitcoin resolves the challenges of each step. 1. Education The common man, humble about his knowledge of finance, expects, like John Galbraith remarked, a “deeper mystery to the process of money creation.” But which really is so simple, he goes on, that “the mind is repelled.” But the chasm in traditional and modern education keeps our scholars from being able to religiously evaluate the fiat system, for which they need three vital credentials: a traditional Mufti qualification, specialized research in the Fiqh of Muamalat, and a study of modern economics. Only a handful achieve this, like the globally revered Usmani, who become thought leaders in Islamic finance: The rest take the easy way out and follow what they posit. I once asked a certified Shariah advisor on LinkedIn, if he knew what fractional reserve banking meant. I expected some abstruse, rule-bending justification for it but was taken aback by his honest admission that he simply didn’t know what it was! So the first challenge was to educate both the people and the scholars about the fiat system. Then to enlist serious academic and industry practitioners to devise a working alternative based on gold and silver. Then to have its demand trickle down into the masses to eventually morph into enough political pressure for the government to adopt it, much to its own detriment. Highly unlikely. Except that with bitcoin, educating the people now becomes much more focused and result oriented. The wider goal of educating people about finance and economics remains indispensable in both gold and Bitcoin-based sound money solutions. But with bitcoin, we don’t have to wait for a third-world academia and archaic-minded scholars to sell the solution to an unwilling government: We take the narrative, and the prerogative of action, back from them. We go tactical, orange pill the masses with an Urdu translation of the bitcoin standard, and focus on what is minimally essential to achieve within our means: Teaching Muggles... sorry…. No-coiners, the very basics of money mechanics, the role of bitcoin in our strategic response, and the know-how to stack satoshis in a cold wallet! The rest will follow! Coming to think of it, my initial printing press analogy is poignantly relevant. The press encapsulated years of knowledge in a simple package easily disseminated to thousands, which could have overcome our knowledge gap had we adopted it earlier. Bitcoin, too, encapsulates the quintessential wisdom of centuries of humanity’s experience in what constitutes good money and allows it to be spread easily across the world. It is both knowledge, and a tool crafted out of that knowledge. If we miss the boat on it, we will not only lose to “usury capitalism,” but the Bitcoin movement, too, will be deprived of huge potential support from a quarter of the world population. We must join the rest of humanity in a last ditch attempt at wealth equality. 2. Separation After educating people about money mechanics and bitcoin, the second step is the Hejira, our separation from the existing system. An Islamic scholar, Abdassamad Clarke defined “usury capital,” as “the use of capital that is both generated by usury and operated according to usurious principles, which permits a tiny clique of individuals, by the principle of fiat money amplified by leverage, to wield extraordinary power and accumulate unheard of wealth in such a manner as to subject the rest of humanity as menial servants in their project of self-enrichment, whether in the tyrannies of the East or the so-called free-market capitalism of the West.” The fundamental philosophical difference between Islamic and Western economics is how we view interest. Islam holds firm to the classical Judeo-Christian prohibition, believing that the time value of money is more fairly accounted for in equity finance style risk sharing of the invested capital, instead of a guaranteed return favoring the capitalist. Among other things, its side effect is prohibiting both the monetizing of our “future income” to issue fiat, and prohibiting the money-multiplier effect of fractional reserve, through the rulings of Riba, Bai-al-Dain and Bai-al-Madum. Bitcoiners and libertarians rely on an entirely different philosophical foundation to reach partially the same conclusion in regards to fiat, that it’s perverse, unjust and socially destructive. The end goal for both is the same: To separate ourselves from the fiat system and carve out an entirely new, independent financial system: The original idea of decentralized finance (DeFi)! Unfortunately, the bubble effect we so dislike in TradFi — traditional finance — is now itself widespread in the non-Bitcoin crypto world, what Ellen Farrington cites as the immense amount of “rehypothecation, leverage, and securitization,” which if misused can cause systemic risks that affect everyone. The practical reality of contemporary DeFi in the non-Bitcoin world is quite far from its theoretical goal. Looking at this aspect of “crypto,” some Islamic scholars took the liberty of invoking the gambling prohibition clause, something whose motivation we can sympathize with, even though we disagree with the conclusion. A lack of regulation at the administrative level cannot be countered by religious pronunciation of Haram status. It’s kind of like declaring cars as Islamically forbidden, merely because some people are driving them too fast and killing others. But presently, we are far less interested in how scholars view “crypto” than we are regarding bitcoin. The DeFi world’s shiny new investments offering unsustainable returns, its shady ICOs and the casino-like frenzy and get-rich-quick dreams of novice retail investors are far removed from what we advocate, from what we are daring to call a second chance for the Muslim world: A Bitcoin-based sound money adoption as a medium of exchange and store of value! But what is nevertheless commendable in the crypto world (led, of course, by Bitcoin) is the attempt to create this entirely new, independent miniverse of alternative, decentralized finance, isolated from the existing system. Building and expanding this decentralization, based on Bitcoin, is the essence of the second step of our revolutionary blueprint: the Hejira. Migrating from the old to the new. As Iqbal would have said, “Blow away this transitory world, and build a new one from its ashes” — khakastar se aap apna jahan paida karay. The only serious prior attempt for sound money among Muslims was the Dinar movement. But it only works in a physical jurisdiction: Where to mint, where to store, how to transport, how to coordinate electronic payments, how to deal with banking regulations, taxes and government interference? Theoretically, it was possible to instantiate an entirely independent ecosystem of issuance, storage, transport and trade using gold, but real progress on it was very slow. At the same time, the Bitcoin ecosystem has matured so much to be classifiable as an independent and isolated system, free from all interference from legacy finance. The Core Bitcoin Timechain, Lightning and Layer 2 smart contract solutions, and the globally distributed miner, node operator and supporter community, all combine to form a platform on which we can build and experiment with truly Islamic financial contracts of the form that are not possible with TradFi. In this ecosystem, we can resuscitate Islamic social and financial institutions like the Bait-ul-Maal, the Suq, the Waqf, the Guilds, the Hawala, the Wahdiya, the Qirad and the Musharaka, free from the restrictions of any government, securities commission or central bank. 3. Protection And once this isolated system is deployed, we need to protect it. A story is told in Islamic lore, that when Abu Dharr Ghifari came looking to meet the Prophet, Ali told him to walk a few paces behind him, and if he senses anyone suspicious he will stoop down to tie his shoelaces and Abu Dharr should continue walking ahead. Kind of like a coinjoin to obfuscate where he was actually going. When you are small, you must remain in stealth mode and operate under the radar. Later on, when the small state of early Islam was established in a nearby city, it needed a number of armed conflicts to defend itself from being nipped in the bud! Deploying a sound money system, too, may need a precarious window in which the sapling would need fierce protection before it grows into a tree. The hellacious powers issuing the yuans and dollars of the world are way too formidable for any third-world nation state to get away with a head-on collision. In fact, we cannot even withstand assaults from individual speculators, let alone a concerted effort by the global financial cabal to preserve its status quo. El Salvador and the like are definitely interesting trailblazers to watch out for here, but it is too early to tell. If a sufficient number of first-world citizens band together to defy their government in adoption of sound money, the response of fiat-powered regimes would (probably) be much more restrained in handling them versus some rogue state from a third-world country attempting to defy the dominant currency. I was told by a prominent Islamic banker that when Mahatir toyed with the idea, he was sent a very stern signal to “cease and desist” by the powers that be! So, can a Muslim government adopt and get away with either the dinar or bitcoin? I believe only in the latter. Only bitcoin has the necessary technological edge in terms of its unstoppability and indestructibility that can substitute for the need of a national military power strong enough to protect a traditional sound money built on gold. THE ISLAMIC STATE VERSUS BITCOIN But many Islamic revivalists believe otherwise and their goal is usually larger in scope than financial reform alone. It is a more holistic quest to resuscitate the political, social and legal structures of precolonial Islamic governments. Encouraged by the spectacular rise of early Islam that dared challenge superior powers like Byzantine and Sassanids, they believe it possible to recreate the traditional theocracy along similar lines, one of whose side effects would be to eradicate fiat currency also. Such ambitious projects downplay the urgency of fixing our financial system: No need to separately struggle for it if it comes as a natural corollary to the larger political renaissance. Now the specter of such pan-Islamic revival has been thoroughly demonized in Western imagination, owing from our own side to violent extremism, owing from their side to a deep-rooted Islamophobia, and owing generally to ideas (or realities?) like the clash of civilizations. But my Bitcoiner friends — whose libertarian ethos is so refined to even self-censure the slightist hint of authoritarian enforcement in El Salvador’s legal tender adoption of bitcoin — will surely agree that it is entirely within the rights of the Muslim world to voluntarily experiment, on their land, with whatever form of government they fancy: caliphates, sultanates or kingdoms! But the reality of this dream in the minds of the majority of modern Muslims is quite different from what the world perceives. The moderate Muslim just wants Islamic principles to be the guiding source of their political and social order. But the strength of this desire is often encashed by opportunists, resulting in two recent distorted models of political Islam: 1.The Iranian model: Somewhat broad-based and sustainable but toothless and symbolic. They are the political twins of Islamic banks, offering no real change to the common man, except moral policing. Financially, there even exists the oxymoronic Central Bank of the Islamic Republic. Why would you have an Islamic bank if you were truly an Islamic republic? 2. Second, is the Taliban and ISIS model: Narrow-based, extremist and unsustainable, divorced from the comity of nations. ISIS did reportedly issue the Gold Dinar but to no one’s avail, except perhaps as a recruitment propaganda. News out of Kabul promises a more restrained and balanced government this time around, but is it a genuine change of heart or just political expediency? So, while the Muslim world waits for a true Islamic reformation, and the world holds its breath on how the next such attempt turns out, my issue with this ubiquitous political quest in the Muslim imagination is just NGMI — it’s not gonna make it! We can’t stall the effort of immediate financial reform on some future promise of a bigger change happening to facilitate it. As an Urdu saying goes, na nau munn tayl hoe ga, na Radha naachay gi: Neither shall the king be able to provision nine gallons of lamp oil, and nor will the stage ever be lit enough for his dancing girl, Radha, to perform! Nevertheless, assuming for a moment that a mature, viable, modern Islamic government does get established by some geopolitical miracle, faithful to Islam’s core tenets, and broad-based in popular support, the next and more pertinent question becomes: Will it have sufficient political, and if necessary, military power, to deploy a gold-based sound monetary system in their country, and then get away with the sanctions and isolation that follow? And this is where bitcoin, once again, outshines other alternatives. The one trait that sets it apart from all “crypto”, and indeed, all monies in human history: true, sovereign-grade censorship resistance, from both your own government and foreign powers. Without needing any battalions or bombs, bitcoin enables us to fight the good fight ourselves and win. And if the broader Islamic reformation materializes, bitcoin can support it, too, for bypassing potential sanctions and increasing national wealth! God has a knack for defeating evil by the simplest of designs — the mighty Goliath with a slingshot, the persecutors of the Prophet with a humble spider — as if to compound the humiliation of defeat by the plainness of its bearer. Who could have thought that the Kremlins, Zhongnanhais and White Houses of the world would be made helpless by the confluence of two elementary ideas: proof of work and difficulty adjustment! But this simple, easily overlooked and less understood killer combination of traits makes bitcoin an undefeatable tool in the hands of us, the 99%. We do not need to wait for anyone. We can do it ourselves with bitcoin. THE WAY FORWARD While the wallet addresses, exchange accounts, market cap, and of course, the hype around crypto is constantly rising in Muslim countries, much of this activity is from the perspective of a shiny new investment vehicle, a get-rich-quick bandwagon to which everyone wants to hitch! This has engendered the animated debate of investor protection, scam avoidance and the whole academic deliberation of whether they are at all Halal owing to a perceived lack of intrinsic value and being free from government control. While all of these objections on bitcoin from the Shariah perspective have been thoroughly refuted by various scholars and are easily searchable on the internet, the continuance of this superfluous debate is dangerously distracting: In the process, we are losing sight of the higher frequencies of this amazing once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. Aye ahle-e-nazar zauq-e-nazar khoob hai laikinJoe shay ki haqeeqat koe na dekhay woe nazar kiya We need bitcoin, not because it’s a great investment (which incidentally it is), but because it’s a great store of value and a medium of exchange: A free medium of exchange, which can uplift us collectively if we just adopt it, en masse, as our money. To my fellow Muslims, here is a parting thought. We love and honor our Prophet to such an extent that even the minutest of his actions, Sunnahs, is recorded, revered and repeated, even if it be as simple as the table manners of cutting some fruit. But here is another Sunnah of bigger import: success. The change that he set out to achieve in the world, he did achieve it. As he breathed his last in the arms of Ayesha, he had already delivered on the promise he had made to his companions in the lowest ebb of their persecution: “... a traveler from Sana to Hadrarmaut will fear none but Allah.” Although bordering a little on logical fallacy, I would point out that he didn’t cite something more symbolic like the establishment of the Caliphate, or the conquests, or the subsequent power. He chose to cite, as evidence of success to what they were suffering for, the establishment of a certain social order: One in which an anonymous citizen would not fear physical or financial insecurity. I say anonymous, not a private citizen, because the choice of the word “traveler” is very telling. While you are known in your city, protected by your identity, and potential clout from a corporation or clan, it is suddenly removed when you are in a strange land. They do not even know your name, unless you tell them: You are just a wallet address. But this traveler is not afraid of loss of wealth, or being robbed, or not having the right passport, or the right vaccine passport! He can move himself, and he can move his money. We Dinarists and Bitcoiners always equate inflation with theft. Whether you snatch 50 rupees from a poor man, or the free fall of your currency leaves him with 50 rupees less of a purchasing power, it is the same. While every ill is not caused by our monetary system, there is the obvious administrative incompetence and a dismal economic performance to account for — but inflation is definitely a huge factor. And all our high talk, slogans, research papers, reform movements, activism and militarism have deviated from this one Sunnah: The success of delivering safety to this traveler again. Bitcoin can help us succeed. Like now! Not 20 years later. Not when some promised leader will part the seas for us again. But now, when the poor illiterate, helpless man on the street looks at us educated and privileged elites and asks: What did you do to level the playing field for me? The Islamic banker may say, “Oh, I developed this intricate Shariah compliant profit and loss sharing contract for you, approved by the council of scholars, and backed by the gold dinar, just wait for it to be deployed.” I will say, “Dude, here, let me help you buy a few satoshis and get you a Lightning wallet so you don’t have to revert back to the rupee when paying for your next meal!” I think you should do the same. Bitcoin deserves a fresh look from us Muslims. Let’s think about it. Let’s use it correctly. Let’s spread it. Let’s understand it. Let’s use Bitcoin. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/30/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 30th, 2021

Is The Establishment Hiding Mass Resistance To Vaccine Mandates With The "Striketober" Farce?

Is The Establishment Hiding Mass Resistance To Vaccine Mandates With The "Striketober" Farce? Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, It is perhaps a sign of the waning influence of the mainstream media that even though they have been incessantly pumping the concept of “Striketober” for the past month, the majority of Americans rarely mention it. What we do deal with on a regular basis, though, are the constant labor shortages across multiple sectors of the economy as well as the growing supply chain disruptions and stagflationary retail price hikes. The media notion of “labor regaining its power” is a background narrative that they are still struggling to plant in the public subconscious while the majority of people try to adapt to more serious concerns. That said, the establishment doesn’t really care if the propaganda takes hold, only that they have a useful cover for the very real collapse of the US economy. It’s a kind of vicious perversion of the “fake it until you make it” strategy. Striketober, like BLM, Antifa, and numerous other Marxist or Cultural Marxist movements has been created from thin air by a combination of news hype and globalist foundation funding. It’s important to first recognize that none of these leftist organizations would have ever been formed had it not been for the ample support of institutions like the Ford Foundation and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. BLM, for example, was founded by openly Marxist leaders and got its start using millions of dollars in funding from the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundation. Many of the “workers unions” involved in various elements of Striktober also enjoy direct or indirect funding from globalist foundations. The Food Chain Workers Alliance, for example, receives funding from the Ford Foundation, and the National Domestic Workers Foundation gets ample money from the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation. As I have said many times in the past, all the evil people are on the side of the political left. All the billionaire elites and corporations they claim to hate are feeding them endless cash. Leftist labor strikes only exist because globalists want them to exist. Of course, leftist strikes are actually a minimal problem. In fact, I suspect they are a deliberately fabricated theater meant to obscure the very REAL labor strikes among conservatives over the covid vaccine mandates. Let me explain… We are all familiar with sensationalist worker walkouts like the Netflix protest over Dave Chappelle’s special “The Closer” which dares to make jokes about trans activists, a highly protected minority of people at the top of the leftist oppression totem pole. Most people have also heard about the workers strike among McDonalds employees over #metoo claims even though there is little to no evidence to support the accusations. What we don’t hear much about is that the Netflix walkout was actually only a handful of real employees mixed with a mob of career activists that were bused in from elsewhere. We also don’t hear about the fact that the #metoo claims made against McDonalds are actually from back in 2018, and they are now being conveniently dredged up again as the country faces a labor shortage crisis. These high profile strikes and walkouts are starting to eclipse media coverage of the true culprits behind the labor crisis – Namely the Biden Administration and blue state governments enacting global mandates, vaccine controls and covid stimulus. The source of worker shortages, supply chain bottlenecks and a lot of our stagflationary issues can be traced directly back to the government’s covid restrictions and the covid welfare programs. Get rid of the restrictions, the mandates and the covid checks and over time the crisis will disappear. It really is that simple. However, the establishment does not want you to see it that way. Marxist/Socialist groups are working feverishly to make hay with the covid protests and employee strikes in an attempt to attribute them to “worker discontent” over low wages and “mistreatment” rather than the covid mandates. This is nonsense. First and foremost, wages have been rising exponentially in the past year for what I would call “zero skill workers” in the retail and service industries. When a potential employee with no valuable skills can walk into almost any chain restaurant or retail outlet and get $15 or more an hour on top of a signing bonus of hundreds of dollars just for showing up on the first day, there is no unfair disparity for the working class. When the average minimum wage across the states is around $9 and most service workers are making nearly double that, there is no legitimate problem for Marxists to complain about. So, they have to make things up. To be sure, $15 an hour is not enough to buy a home or start a family on a single income, but people aren’t automatically entitled to home ownership and no intelligent person expects to launch a career in food service or retail. That’s why decades ago these jobs were filled by teenagers, not people in their 20s or older. Doubling the minimum wage only accomplished one thing int he long run: Much higher prices for everyone. Workers might feel like they are being abused, but it’s not their paychecks under attack or their managers making sexual advances. These are petty concerns compared to the bigger issue at hand – Their individual civil liberties. As noted, there are two major factors in worker shortages: The Biden vaccine mandates and state and federal covid stimulus programs which pay people more to stay at home than they would make on the job. THESE are the reasons for worker shortages and anyone that claims otherwise is ignorant or has an agenda. Federal covid checks are not done yet. Contrary to popular belief the cash is still flowing through various programs including child credit programs. Also, most states continue to pump out covid financial aid on top of existing unemployment benefits. This is essentially Universal Basic Income and it’s not over by a long shot. Businesses cannot find enough labor because the government has bribed millions of workers to stay home. The socialists don’t like to address this problem because it conflicts with their Striketober fantasy, so they deny it exists. The establishment is well aware that these actions are destabilizing the labor market and I believe the goal is to destroy the small business sector specifically. Small businesses cannot compete with corporations backed by trillions in central bank stimulus. They don’t have the resources to double wage rates for zero-skill workers or to offer large signing bonuses. They also don’t have the resources to police their own employees and customers to ensure these people are complying with vaccine passports and booster shots. Within a year the solid small business foundation of the US will be a hollow shell. With the death of small businesses, all that will remain are international conglomerates that WILL enforce the mandates and threaten people with poverty and starvation if they refuse the vax. All other legal alternatives will be removed and that is exactly what the elites want. Without defiant small businesses there’s nowhere left for you to work or shop without the vax passport. Corporate monopolies are the tool governments are using to circumvent constitutional protections for individuals. But as this process plays out the resistance grows. And, as they say, the resistance will not be televised. The entire premise of Striketober and the rise of the “oppressed proletariat” is a farce, but there is a different kind of revolution brewing. The latest narrative does at least represent something new in the agenda to derail the US economy. For the most part we have been dealing with astroturf protests from Cultural Marxists in the form of crazed social justice warriors funded by globalist foundations. The focus is usually on exploiting cultural taboos or non-existent racism or sexism. The Striketober development is a much more classic rendition of old school Marxist sabotage, and it appears that it was slapped together haphazardly by establishment elites in order to diminish the VERY REAL conservative worker walkouts. That is to say, from now on expect that if you walk out of a job or get fired from a job for non-compliance on the experimental covid vax you might be lumped in with a fake leftist movement and no one will mention the real reasons for your sacrifice. But what is the point of this psy-op? Don’t the globalists want to identify and demonize the millions of conservatives refusing the vax? I am reminded of a story I read when I was a child about a conversation between an ancient Roman General and a Roman Senator. The senator tells the general that something needed to be done about separating and delineating the slave class from the free Roman citizens because often they all looked alike and were sometimes dressed alike. The senator suggested that the slaves be forced to wear black arm bands so they could be easily identified. The general disagreed, pointing out that if the slaves were given the arm bands they would finally see how many of them there were, and realizing the sheer size of their population the slaves might then be encouraged to revolt against the empire. Now, I don’t know if this tale is historically accurate but I treat it as a parable. In the case of the vaccine mandates and the massive worker strikes among airlines, hospitals, police and emergency services, etc., the more the establishment tries to squeeze the US population with forced vaccination efforts the more liberty minded people slip through their fingers and fight back. If mass walkouts and strikes are attributed to conservatives and patriots standing against the mandates, then all the other “slaves” might realize they are actually legion. This would be bad for the globalists and their Reset agenda. So, they are attempting to co-opt the vaccine walkouts and rewrite history in real time by creating a fake workers movement through Striketober. And no, it will not end in October, the media will be promoting this idea from now on. That way the resistance becomes convoluted and confused and the mainstream media can say the great number of striking workers are actually on the side of the political left battling the “capitalist machine”, not conservatives and patriots on the side of truth and freedom. We are not supposed to know our numbers. By instituting a two tier society through vax mandates the establishment has made an error. They obviously assumed there would be far less rebellion against the passports. They obviously assumed that there would be a vast majority of support and the 10% or less of the population refusing to comply would be overwhelmed and surrounded by the covid cult. They figured we would be compelled by peer pressure and the fear of standing out, and that we would naturally fall in line. Instead, 30% to 50% of the population depending on the state or city or industry is in revolt and we are starting to see how many of us there really are across the country. There are three things the covid authoritarians are predominantly afraid of: Liberty groups recognizing their true numbers. Those same groups organizing at the local and state level across the country. And, losing the mainstream narrative that they are the “good guys” and that we are the “evil insurrectionists”. Striketober is just another desperate attempt by the power elites to manage optics in the face of unexpected opposition. Their efforts to terrorize people that refuse to become guinea pigs for a barely tested mRNA cocktail is backfiring. Eventually, worker strikes due to forced vaccination will culminate in greater acts of rebellion against the system. And, with each escalation of resistance the establishment will strain their weak think-tank brains trying to create new narratives to obscure what is really happening. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE.   Tyler Durden Thu, 10/28/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 29th, 2021

Billionaire trader Paul Tudor Jones sounds the inflation alarm, touts bitcoin over gold, and warns stocks could fall in a new interview. Here are the 8 best quotes.

The Tudor Investment Corporation founder called on the Federal Reserve to tackle inflation, and cautioned investors that could weigh on stocks. Paul Tudor Jones. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz Paul Tudor Jones rang the inflation alarm in an interview this week. The billionaire trader touted crypto as a better hedge against rising prices than gold. Jones cautioned that stocks could fall if the Fed tightens its monetary policy. Paul Tudor Jones urged the Federal Reserve to tackle rising prices, trumpeted cryptocurrency as a better inflation hedge than gold, and suggested the Chinese government's recent crackdowns are hurting its economy in a CNBC interview this week.The billionaire trader and founder of Tudor Investment Corporation also warned inflation is the greatest danger to investors right now, and cautioned stocks could fall if the Fed cools the economy.Here are the 8 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:1. "The number one issue facing the man on the street, as well as investors, is inflation. It's probably the single biggest threat to financial markets and society in general."2. "There is $3.5 trillion just sitting in liquid deposits that could go into stocks, or crypto, or real estate, or be consumed. That's a huge amount of dry powder, which is why inflation's not going to be transitory."3. "We have a Federal Reserve board that are inflation creators, not inflation fighters. That is a huge, huge deal."4. "We have maybe the most inappropriate monetary policy that we've seen in my lifetime. We are adding stimulus, we are still quantitative easing when we should be doing the exact opposite. We're treating inflation with this cavalier attitude when we shouldn't be. We're ignoring it because we haven't seen it in four decades."5. "The inflation genie is out of the bottle. If we don't immediately shift to attack it, we run the risk of getting back into the '70s, where it was the single most important issue for multiple presidents, multiple Fed chairmen. It was pernicious and persistent."6. "If we actually begin to address the most important and most pressing problem we have, the dual mandate, we're going to get a P/E compression. The stock market's not gonna go up as fast, and may go down." - advising investors to be careful if the Fed moves to reduce inflation, as it would lower equity valuations.7. "We're moving into an increasingly digitized world. Clearly there's a place for crypto, and it's winning the race against gold. Crypto would be my preferred inflation hedge over gold at the moment." - Jones noted that a single-digit percentage of his portfolio is in crypto, and his fund has a small trading position.8. "The USA is the most dominant economic power in the world because we unleash our individual entrepreneurialism and creativity. You're seeing China doing the exact opposite. That place is, economically, on a slow boat to the South Pole."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 21st, 2021

Bitcoin & The US Fiscal Reckoning

Bitcoin & The US Fiscal Reckoning Authored by Avik Roy via NationalAffairs.com, Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have few fans in Washington. At a July congressional hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren warned that cryptocurrency "puts the [financial] system at the whims of some shadowy, faceless group of super-coders." Treasury secretary Janet Yellen likewise asserted that the "reality" of cryptocurrencies is that they "have been used to launder the profits of online drug traffickers; they've been a tool to finance terrorism." Thus far, Bitcoin's supporters remain undeterred. (The term "Bitcoin" with a capital "B" is used here and throughout to refer to the system of cryptography and technology that produces the currency "bitcoin" with a lowercase "b" and verifies bitcoin transactions.) A survey of 3,000 adults in the fall of 2020 found that while only 4% of adults over age 55 own cryptocurrencies, slightly more than one-third of those aged 35-44 do, as do two-fifths of those aged 25-34. As of mid-2021, Coinbase — the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States — had 68 million verified users. To younger Americans, digital money is as intuitive as digital media and digital friendships. But Millennials with smartphones are not the only people interested in bitcoin; a growing number of investors are also flocking to the currency's banner. Surveys indicate that as many as 21% of U.S. hedge funds now own bitcoin in some form. In 2020, after considering various asset classes like stocks, bonds, gold, and foreign currencies, celebrated hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones asked, "[w]hat will be the winner in ten years' time?" His answer: "My bet is it will be bitcoin." What's driving this increased interest in a form of currency invented in 2008? The answer comes from former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who once noted, "the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press...that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation...the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to...inflation." In other words, governments with fiat currencies — including the United States — have the power to expand the quantity of those currencies. If they choose to do so, they risk inflating the prices of necessities like food, gas, and housing. In recent months, consumers have experienced higher price inflation than they have seen in decades. A major reason for the increases is that central bankers around the world — including those at the Federal Reserve — sought to compensate for Covid-19 lockdowns with dramatic monetary inflation. As a result, nearly $4 trillion in newly printed dollars, euros, and yen found their way from central banks into the coffers of global financial institutions. Jerome Powell, the current Federal Reserve chairman, insists that 2021's inflation trends are "transitory." He may be right in the near term. But for the foreseeable future, inflation will be a profound and inescapable challenge for America due to a single factor: the rapidly expanding federal debt, increasingly financed by the Fed's printing press. In time, policymakers will face a Solomonic choice: either protect Americans from inflation, or protect the government's ability to engage in deficit spending. It will become impossible to do both. Over time, this compounding problem will escalate the importance of Bitcoin. THE FIAT-CURRENCY EXPERIMENT It's becoming clear that Bitcoin is not merely a passing fad, but a significant innovation with potentially serious implications for the future of investment and global finance. To understand those implications, we must first examine the recent history of the primary instrument that bitcoin was invented to challenge: the American dollar. Toward the end of World War II, in an agreement hashed out by 44 Allied countries in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the value of the U.S. dollar was formally fixed to 1/35th of the price of an ounce of gold. Other countries' currencies, such as the British pound and the French franc, were in turn pegged to the dollar, making the dollar the world's official reserve currency. Under the Bretton Woods system, foreign governments could retrieve gold bullion they had sent to the United States during the war by exchanging dollars for gold at the relevant fixed exchange rate. But enabling every major country to exchange dollars for American-held gold only worked so long as the U.S. government was fiscally and monetarily responsible. By the late 1960s, it was neither. Someone needed to pay the steep bills for Lyndon Johnson's "guns and butter" policies — the Vietnam War and the Great Society, respectively — so the Federal Reserve began printing currency to meet those obligations. Johnson's successor, Richard Nixon, also pressured the Fed to flood the economy with money as a form of economic stimulus. From 1961 to 1971, the Fed nearly doubled the circulating supply of dollars. "In the first six months of 1971," noted the late Nobel laureate Robert Mundell, "monetary expansion was more rapid than in any comparable period in a quarter century." That year, foreign central banks and governments held $64 billion worth of claims on the $10 billion of gold still held by the United States. It wasn't long before the world took notice of the shortage. In a classic bank-run scenario, anxious European governments began racing to redeem dollars for American-held gold before the Fed ran out. In July 1971, Switzerland withdrew $50 million in bullion from U.S. vaults. In August, France sent a destroyer to escort $191 million of its gold back from the New York Federal Reserve. Britain put in a request for $3 billion shortly thereafter. Finally, that same month, Nixon secretly gathered a small group of trusted advisors at Camp David to devise a plan to avoid the imminent wipeout of U.S. gold vaults and the subsequent collapse of the international economy. There, they settled on a radical course of action. On the evening of August 15th, in a televised address to the nation, Nixon announced his intention to order a 90-day freeze on all prices and wages throughout the country, a 10% tariff on all imported goods, and a suspension — eventually, a permanent one — of the right of foreign governments to exchange their dollars for U.S. gold. Knowing that his unilateral abrogation of agreements involving dozens of countries would come as a shock to world leaders and the American people, Nixon labored to re-assure viewers that the change would not unsettle global markets. He promised viewers that "the effect of this action...will be to stabilize the dollar," and that the "dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today." The next day, the stock market rose — to everyone's relief. The editors of the New York Times "unhesitatingly applaud[ed] the boldness" of Nixon's move. Economic growth remained strong for months after the shift, and the following year Nixon was re-elected in a landslide, winning 49 states in the Electoral College and 61% of the popular vote. Nixon's short-term success was a mirage, however. After the election, the president lifted the wage and price controls, and inflation returned with a vengeance. By December 1980, the dollar had lost more than half the purchasing power it had back in June 1971 on a consumer-price basis. In relation to gold, the price of the dollar collapsed — from 1/35th to 1/627th of a troy ounce. Though Jimmy Carter is often blamed for the Great Inflation of the late 1970s, "the truth," as former National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow has argued, "is that the president who unleashed double-digit inflation was Richard Nixon." In 1981, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker raised the federal-funds rate — a key interest-rate benchmark — to 19%. A deep recession ensued, but inflation ceased, and the U.S. embarked on a multi-decade period of robust growth, low unemployment, and low consumer-price inflation. As a result, few are nostalgic for the days of Bretton Woods or the gold-standard era. The view of today's economic establishment is that the present system works well, that gold standards are inherently unstable, and that advocates of gold's return are eccentric cranks. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that the post-Bretton Woods era — in which the supply of government currencies can be expanded or contracted by fiat — is only 50 years old. To those of us born after 1971, it might appear as if there is nothing abnormal about the way money works today. When viewed through the lens of human history, however, free-floating global exchange rates remain an unprecedented economic experiment — with one critical flaw. An intrinsic attribute of the post-Bretton Woods system is that it enables deficit spending. Under a gold standard or peg, countries are unable to run large budget deficits without draining their gold reserves. Nixon's 1971 crisis is far from the only example; deficit spending during and after World War I, for instance, caused economic dislocation in numerous European countries — especially Germany — because governments needed to use their shrinking gold reserves to finance their war debts. These days, by contrast, it is relatively easy for the United States to run chronic deficits. Today's federal debt of almost $29 trillion — up from $10 trillion in 2008 and $2.4 trillion in 1984 — is financed in part by U.S. Treasury bills, notes, and bonds, on which lenders to the United States collect a form of interest. Yields on Treasury bonds are denominated in dollars, but since dollars are no longer redeemable for gold, these bonds are backed solely by the "full faith and credit of the United States." Interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds have remained low, which many people take to mean that the creditworthiness of the United States remains healthy. Just as creditworthy consumers enjoy lower interest rates on their mortgages and credit cards, creditworthy countries typically enjoy lower rates on the bonds they issue. Consequently, the post-Great Recession era of low inflation and near-zero interest rates led many on the left to argue that the old rules no longer apply, and that concerns regarding deficits are obsolete. Supporters of this view point to the massive stimulus packages passed under presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden  that, in total, increased the federal deficit and debt by $4.6 trillion without affecting the government's ability to borrow. The extreme version of the new "deficits don't matter" narrative comes from the advocates of what has come to be called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), who claim that because the United States controls its own currency, the federal government has infinite power to increase deficits and the debt without consequence. Though most mainstream economists dismiss MMT as unworkable and even dangerous, policymakers appear to be legislating with MMT's assumptions in mind. A new generation of Democratic economic advisors has pushed President Biden to propose an additional $3.5 trillion in spending, on top of the $4.6 trillion spent on Covid-19 relief and the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. These Democrats, along with a new breed of populist Republicans, dismiss the concerns of older economists who fear that exploding deficits risk a return to the economy of the 1970s, complete with high inflation, high interest rates, and high unemployment. But there are several reasons to believe that America's fiscal profligacy cannot go on forever. The most important reason is the unanimous judgment of history: In every country and in every era, runaway deficits and skyrocketing debt have ended in economic stagnation or ruin. Another reason has to do with the unusual confluence of events that has enabled the United States to finance its rising debts at such low interest rates over the past few decades — a confluence that Bitcoin may play a role in ending. DECLINING FAITH IN U.S. CREDIT To members of the financial community, U.S. Treasury bonds are considered "risk-free" assets. That is to say, while many investments entail risk — a company can go bankrupt, for example, thereby wiping out the value of its stock — Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Since people believe the United States will not default on its obligations, lending money to the U.S. government — buying Treasury bonds that effectively pay the holder an interest rate — is considered a risk-free investment. The definition of Treasury bonds as "risk-free" is not merely by reputation, but also by regulation. Since 1988, the Switzerland-based Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has sponsored a series of accords among central bankers from financially significant countries. These accords were designed to create global standards for the capital held by banks such that they carry a sufficient proportion of low-risk and risk-free assets. The well-intentioned goal of these standards was to ensure that banks don't fail when markets go down, as they did in 2008. The current version of the Basel Accords, known as "Basel III," assigns zero risk to U.S. Treasury bonds. Under Basel III's formula, then, every major bank in the world is effectively rewarded for holding these bonds instead of other assets. This artificially inflates demand for the bonds and enables the United States to borrow at lower rates than other countries. The United States also benefits from the heft of its economy as well as the size of its debt. Since America is the world's most indebted country in absolute terms, the market for U.S. Treasury bonds is the largest and most liquid such market in the world. Liquid markets matter a great deal to major investors: A large financial institution or government with hundreds of billions (or more) of a given currency on its balance sheet cares about being able to buy and sell assets while minimizing the impact of such actions on the trading price. There are no alternative low-risk assets one can trade at the scale of Treasury bonds. The status of such bonds as risk-free assets — and in turn, America's ability to borrow the money necessary to fund its ballooning expenditures — depends on investors' confidence in America's creditworthiness. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve's interference in the markets for Treasury bonds have obscured our ability to determine whether financial institutions view the U.S. fiscal situation with confidence. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton's advisors prioritized reducing the deficit, largely out of a conern that Treasury-bond "vigilantes" — investors who protest a government's expansionary fiscal or monetary policy by aggressively selling bonds, which drives up interest rates — would harm the economy. Their success in eliminating the primary deficit brought yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond down from 8% to 4%. In Clinton's heyday, the Federal Reserve was limited in its ability to influence the 10-year Treasury interest rate. Its monetary interventions primarily targeted the federal-funds rate — the interest rate that banks charge each other on overnight transactions. But in 2002, Ben Bernanke advocated that the Fed "begin announcing explicit ceilings for yields on longer-maturity Treasury debt." This amounted to a schedule of interest-rate price controls. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has succeeded in wiping out bond vigilantes using a policy called "quantitative easing," whereby the Fed manipulates the price of Treasury bonds by buying and selling them on the open market. As a result, Treasury-bond yields are determined not by the free market, but by the Fed. The combined effect of these forces — the regulatory impetus for banks to own Treasury bonds, the liquidity advantage Treasury bonds have in the eyes of large financial institutions, and the Federal Reserve's manipulation of Treasury-bond market prices — means that interest rates on Treasury bonds no longer indicate the United States' creditworthiness (or lack thereof). Meanwhile, indications that investors are growing increasingly concerned about the U.S. fiscal and monetary picture — and are in turn assigning more risk to "risk-free" Treasury bonds — are on the rise. One such indicator is the decline in the share of Treasury bonds owned by outside investors. Between 2010 and 2020, the share of U.S. Treasury securities owned by foreign entities fell from 47% to 32%, while the share owned by the Fed more than doubled, from 9% to 22%. Put simply, foreign investors have been reducing their purchases of U.S. government debt, thereby forcing the Fed to increase its own bond purchases to make up the difference and prop up prices. Until and unless Congress reduces the trajectory of the federal debt, U.S. monetary policy has entered a vicious cycle from which there is no obvious escape. The rising debt requires the Treasury Department to issue an ever-greater quantity of Treasury bonds, but market demand for these bonds cannot keep up with their increasing supply. In an effort to avoid a spike in interest rates, the Fed will need to print new U.S. dollars to soak up the excess supply of Treasury bonds. The resultant monetary inflation will cause increases in consumer prices. Those who praise the Fed's dramatic expansion of the money supply argue that it has not affected consumer-price inflation. And at first glance, they appear to have a point. In January of 2008, the M2 money stock was roughly $7.5 trillion; by January 2020, M2 had more than doubled, to $15.4 trillion. As of July 2021, the total M2 sits at $20.5 trillion — nearly triple what it was just 13 years ago. Over that same period, U.S. GDP increased by only 50%. And yet, since 2000, the average rate of growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Consumers — a widely used inflation benchmark — has remained low, at about 2.25%. How can this be? The answer lies in the relationship between monetary inflation and price inflation, which has diverged over time. In 2008, the Federal Reserve began paying interest to banks that park their money with the Fed, reducing banks' incentive to lend that money out to the broader economy in ways that would drive price inflation. But the main reason for the divergence is that conventional measures like CPI do not accurately capture the way monetary inflation is affecting domestic prices. In a large, diverse country like the United States, different people and different industries experience price inflation in different ways. The fact that price inflation occurs earlier in certain sectors of the economy than in others was first described by the 18th-century Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon. In his 1730 "Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General," Cantillon noted that when governments increase the supply of money, those who receive the money first gain the most benefit from it — at the expense of those to whom it flows last. In the 20th century, Friedrich Hayek built on Cantillon's thinking, observing that "the real harm [of monetary inflation] is due to the differential effect on different prices, which change successively in a very irregular order and to a very different degree, so that as a result the whole structure of relative prices becomes distorted and misguides production into wrong directions." In today's context, the direct beneficiaries of newly printed money are those who need it the least. New dollars are sent to banks, which in turn lend them to the most creditworthy entities: investment funds, corporations, and wealthy individuals. As a result, the most profound price impact of U.S. monetary inflation has been on the kinds of assets that financial institutions and wealthy people purchase — stocks, bonds, real estate, venture capital, and the like. This is why the price-to-earnings ratio of S&P 500 companies is at record highs, why risky start-ups with long-shot ideas are attracting $100 million venture rounds, and why the median home sales price has jumped 24% in a single year — the biggest one-year increase of the 21st century. Meanwhile, low- and middle-income earners are facing rising prices without attendant increases in their wages. If asset inflation persists while the costs of housing and health care continue to grow beyond the reach of ordinary people, the legitimacy of our market economy will be put on trial. THE RETURN OF SOUND MONEY Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, was acutely concerned with the increasing abundance of U.S. dollars and other fiat currencies in the early 2000s. In 2009 he wrote, "the root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust." Bitcoin was created in anticipation of the looming fiscal and monetary crisis in the United States and around the world. To understand how bitcoin functions alongside fiat currency, it's helpful to examine the monetary philosophy of the Austrian School of economics, whose leading figures — especially Hayek and Ludwig von Mises — greatly influenced Nakamoto and the early developers of Bitcoin. The economists of the Austrian School were staunch advocates of what Mises called "the principle of sound money" — that is, of keeping the supply of money as constant and predictable as possible. In The Theory of Money and Credit, first published in 1912, Mises argued that sound money serves as "an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments" that belongs "in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights." Just as bills of rights were a "reaction against arbitrary rule and the nonobservance of old customs by kings," he wrote, "the postulate of sound money was first brought up as a response to the princely practice of debasing the coinage." Mises believed that inflation was just as much a violation of someone's property rights as arbitrarily taking away his land. After all, in both cases, the government acquires economic value at the expense of the citizen. Since monetary inflation creates a sugar high of short-term stimulus, politicians interested in re-election will always have an incentive to expand the money supply. But doing so comes at the expense of long-term declines in consumer purchasing power. For Mises, the best way to address such a threat is to avoid fiat currencies altogether. And in his estimation, the best sound-money alternative to fiat currency is gold. "The excellence of the gold standard," Mises wrote, is "that it renders the determination of the monetary unit's purchasing power independent of the policies of governments and political parties." In other words, gold's primary virtue is that its supply increases slowly and steadily, and cannot be manipulated by politicians. It may appear as if gold was an arbitrary choice as the basis for currency, but gold has a combination of qualities that make it ideal for storing and exchanging value. First, it is verifiably unforgeable. Gold is very dense, which means that counterfeit gold is easy to identify — one simply has to weigh it. Second, gold is divisible. Unlike, say, cattle, gold can be delivered in fractional units both small and large, enabling precise pricing. Third, gold is durable. Unlike commodities that rot or evaporate over time, gold can be stored for centuries without degradation. Fourth, gold is fungible: An ounce of gold in Asia is worth the same as an ounce of gold in Europe. These four qualities are shared by most modern currencies. Gold's fifth quality is more distinct, however, as well as more relevant to its role as an instrument of sound money: scarcity. While people have used beads, seashells, and other commodities as primitive forms of money, those items are fairly easy to acquire and introduce into circulation. While gold's supply does gradually increase as more is extracted from the ground, the rate of extraction relative to the total above-ground supply is low: At current rates, it would take approximately 66 years to double the amount of gold in circulation. In comparison, the supply of U.S. dollars has more than doubled over just the last decade. When the Austrian-influenced designers of bitcoin set out to create a more reliable currency, they tried to replicate all of these qualities. Like gold, bitcoin is divisible, unforgeable, divisible, durable, and fungible. But bitcoin also improves upon gold as a form of sound money in several important ways. First, bitcoin is rarer than gold. Though gold's supply increases slowly, it does increase. The global supply of bitcoin, by contrast, is fixed at 21 million and cannot be feasibly altered. Second, bitcoin is far more portable than gold. Transferring physical gold from one place to another is an onerous process, especially in large quantities. Bitcoin, on the other hand, can be transmitted in any quantity as quickly as an email. Third, bitcoin is more secure than gold. A single bitcoin address carried on a USB thumb drive could theoretically hold as much value as the U.S. Treasury holds in gold bars — without the need for costly militarized facilities like Fort Knox to keep it safe. In fact, if stored using best practices, the cost of securing bitcoin from hackers or assailants is far lower than the cost of securing gold. Fourth, bitcoin is a technology. This means that, as developers identify ways to augment its functionality without compromising its core attributes, they can gradually improve the currency over time. Fifth, and finally, bitcoin cannot be censored. This past year, the Chinese government shut down Hong Kong's pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper not by censoring its content, but by ordering banks not to do business with the publication, thereby preventing Apple Daily from paying its suppliers or employees. Those who claim the same couldn't happen here need only look to the Obama administration's Operation Choke Point, a regulatory attempt to prevent banks from doing business with legitimate entities like gun manufacturers and payday lenders — firms the administration disfavored. In contrast, so long as the transmitting party has access to the internet, no entity can prevent a bitcoin transaction from taking place. This combination of fixed supply, portability, security, improvability, and censorship resistance epitomizes Nakamoto's breakthrough. Hayek, in The Denationalisation of Money, foresaw just such a separation of money and state. "I believe we can do much better than gold ever made possible," he wrote. "Governments cannot do better. Free enterprise...no doubt would." While Hayek and Nakamoto hoped private currencies would directly compete with the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies, bitcoin does not have to replace everyday cash transactions to transform global finance. Few people may pay for their morning coffee with bitcoin, but it is also rare for people to purchase coffee with Treasury bonds or gold bars. Bitcoin is competing not with cash, but with these latter two assets, to become the world's premier long-term store of wealth. The primary problem bitcoin was invented to address — the devaluation of fiat currency through reckless spending and borrowing — is already upon us. If Biden's $3.5 trillion spending plan passes Congress, the national debt will rise further. Someone will have to buy the Treasury bonds to enable that spending. Yet as discussed above, investors are souring on Treasurys. On June 30, 2021, the interest rate for the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond was 1.45%. Even at the Federal Reserve's target inflation rate of 2%, under these conditions, Treasury-bond holders are guaranteed to lose money in inflation-adjusted terms. One critic of the Fed's policies, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, compares the value of today's Treasury bonds to a "melting ice cube." Last May, Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and a former bitcoin skeptic, said "[p]ersonally, I'd rather have bitcoin than a [Treasury] bond." If hedge funds, banks, and foreign governments continue to decelerate their Treasury purchases, even by a relatively small percentage, the decrease in demand could send U.S. bond prices plummeting. If that happens, the Fed will be faced with the two unpalatable options described earlier: allowing interest rates to rise, or further inflating the money supply. The political pressure to choose the latter would likely be irresistible. But doing so would decrease inflation-adjusted returns on Treasury bonds, driving more investors away from Treasurys and into superior stores of value, such as bitcoin. In turn, decreased market interest in Treasurys would force the Fed to purchase more such bonds to suppress interest rates. AMERICA'S BITCOIN OPPORTUNITY From an American perspective, it would be ideal for U.S. Treasury bonds to remain the world's preferred reserve asset for the foreseeable future. But the tens of trillions of dollars in debt that the United States has accumulated since 1971 — and the tens of trillions to come — has made that outcome unlikely. It is understandably difficult for most of us to imagine a monetary world aside from the one in which we've lived for generations. After all, the U.S. dollar has served as the world's leading reserve currency since 1919, when Britain was forced off the gold standard. There are only a handful of people living who might recall what the world was like before then. Nevertheless, change is coming. Over the next 10 to 20 years, as bitcoin's liquidity increases and the United States becomes less creditworthy, financial institutions and foreign governments alike may replace an increasing portion of their Treasury-bond holdings with bitcoin and other forms of sound money. With asset values reaching bubble proportions and no end to federal spending in sight, it's critical for the United States to begin planning for this possibility now. Unfortunately, the instinct of some federal policymakers will be to do what countries like Argentina have done in similar circumstances: impose capital controls that restrict the ability of Americans to exchange dollars for bitcoin in an attempt to prevent the digital currency from competing with Treasurys. Yet just as Nixon's 1971 closure of the gold window led to a rapid flight from the dollar, imposing restrictions on the exchange of bitcoin for dollars would confirm to the world that the United States no longer believes in the competitiveness of its currency, accelerating the flight from Treasury bonds and undermining America's ability to borrow. A bitcoin crackdown would also be a massive strategic mistake, given that Americans are positioned to benefit enormously from bitcoin-related ventures and decentralized finance more generally. Around 50 million Americans own bitcoin today, and it's likely that Americans and U.S. institutions own a plurality, if not the majority, of the bitcoin in circulation — a sum worth hundreds of billions of dollars. This is one area where China simply cannot compete with the United States, since Bitcoin's open financial architecture is fundamentally incompatible with Beijing's centralized, authoritarian model. In the absence of major entitlement reform, well-intentioned efforts to make Treasury bonds great again are likely doomed. Instead of restricting bitcoin in a desperate attempt to forestall the inevitable, federal policymakers would do well to embrace the role of bitcoin as a geopolitically neutral reserve asset; work to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in accumulating bitcoin-based wealth, jobs, and innovations; and ensure that Americans can continue to use bitcoin to protect themselves against government-driven inflation. To begin such an initiative, federal regulators should make it easier to operate cryptocurrency-related ventures on American shores. As things stand, too many of these firms are based abroad and closed off to American investors simply because outdated U.S. regulatory agencies — the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Treasury Department, and others — have been unwilling to provide clarity as to the legal standing of digital assets. For example, the SEC has barred Coinbase from paying its customers' interest on their holdings while refusing to specify which laws Coinbase has violated. Similarly, the agency has refused to approve Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) without specifying standards for a valid ETF application. Congress should implement SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce's recommendations for a three-year regulatory grace period for decentralized digital tokens and assign to a new agency the role of regulating digital assets. Second, Congress should clarify poorly worded legislation tied to a recent bipartisan infrastructure bill that would drive many high-value crypto businesses, like bitcoin-mining operations, overseas. Third, the Treasury Department should consider replacing a fraction of its gold holdings — say, 10% — with bitcoin. This move would pose little risk to the department's overall balance sheet, send a positive signal to the innovative blockchain sector, and enable the United States to benefit from bitcoin's growth. If the value of bitcoin continues to appreciate strongly against gold and the U.S. dollar, such a move would help shore up the Treasury and decrease the need for monetary inflation. Finally, when it comes to digital versions of the U.S. dollar, policymakers should follow the advice of Friedrich Hayek, not Xi Jinping. In an effort to increase government control over its monetary system, China is preparing to unveil a blockchain-based digital yuan at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Jerome Powell and other Western central bankers have expressed envy for China's initiative and fret about being left behind. But Americans should strongly oppose the development of a central-bank digital currency (CBDC). Such a currency could wipe out local banks by making traditional savings and checking accounts obsolete. What's more, a CBDC-empowered Fed would accumulate a mountain of precise information about every consumer's financial transactions. Not only would this represent a grave threat to Americans' privacy and economic freedom, it would create a massive target for hackers and equip the government with the kind of censorship powers that would make Operation Choke Point look like child's play. Congress should ensure that the Federal Reserve never has the authority to issue a virtual currency. Instead, it should instruct regulators to integrate private-sector, dollar-pegged "stablecoins" — like Tether and USD Coin — into the framework we use for money-market funds and other cash-like instruments that are ubiquitous in the financial sector. PLANNING FOR THE WORST In the best-case scenario, the rise of bitcoin will motivate the United States to mend its fiscal ways. Much as Congress lowered corporate-tax rates in 2017 to reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to relocate abroad, bitcoin-driven monetary competition could push American policymakers to tackle the unsustainable growth of federal spending. While we can hope for such a scenario, we must plan for a world in which Congress continues to neglect its essential duty as a steward of Americans' wealth. The good news is that the American people are no longer destined to go down with the Fed's sinking ship. In 1971, when Washington debased the value of the dollar, Americans had no real recourse. Today, through bitcoin, they do. Bitcoin enables ordinary Americans to protect their savings from the federal government's mismanagement. It can improve the financial security of those most vulnerable to rising prices, such as hourly wage earners and retirees on fixed incomes. And it can increase the prosperity of younger Americans who will most acutely face the consequences of the country's runaway debt. Bitcoin represents an enormous strategic opportunity for Americans and the United States as a whole. With the right legal infrastructure, the currency and its underlying technology can become the next great driver of American growth. While the 21st-century monetary order will look very different from that of the 20th, bitcoin can help America maintain its economic leadership for decades to come. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/19/2021 - 23:25.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 20th, 2021

Hologic (HOLX) to Expand Surgical Portfolio With Bolder Buyout

Hologic's (HOLX) recent acquisition will accelerate its growth and enhance patient outcomes by leveraging significant commercial resources and strong relationships with OB/GYN specialists. Hologic, Inc. HOLX recently signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bolder Surgical for a deal value of nearly $160 million, subject to working capital and other customary closing adjustments. The acquisition, intended to expand Hologic’s surgical franchise, is expected to close by the end of 2021 after achieving antitrust clearance and fulfilling other closing conditions.Bolder Surgical is a commercial-stage developer and manufacturer of advanced energy vessel sealing and dissection tools, providing devices to surgical gynecologists in both laparoscopic and open procedures.The recent acquisition will help Hologic expand its core GYN surgical portfolio and further diversify its product offerings.Financial SignificanceBolder Surgical is expected to generate around $10 million of product revenues in 2021.The acquisition, post-completion, is expected to be slightly dilutive to Hologic’s adjusted earnings per share in fiscal 2022, nearly break-even in fiscal 2023, and thereafter accretive.More on the NewsThe acquisition will add laparoscopic vessel sealing, dividing and dissecting devices to the Hologic portfolio and allow Hologic to expand the use of Bolder Surgical’s devices to OB/GYN specialists.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchBolder Sugical’s CoolSeal devices have slender, dual-action jaws, allowing for dissection, vessel sealing, and dividing in single devices. Additionally, Bolder Sugical’s JustRight 3 mm vessel sealer and the JustRight 5 mm stapler are intended for small surgical spaces, such as pediatric cases, which can help minimize the need for larger, overpowered instruments.Strategic ImplicationsPer Hologic’s management, the acquisition will broaden Hologic’s growing surgical portfolio by adding Bolder Sugical’s differentiated advanced vessel sealing and dissection tools used in laparoscopic procedures. The acquisition will accelerate Hologic’s growth and enhance patient outcomes by leveraging significant commercial resources and strong relationships with OB/GYN specialists.The acquisition of Bolder Surgical will add to Hologic’s surgical product line as well, including NovaSure endometrial ablation system for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding, the MyoSure tissue removal devices for the treatment of intrauterine fibroids and polyps, the Acessa laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation system for the treatment of fibroids, and the Fluent fluid management system for streamlining hysteroscopic procedures.The Bolder Surgical acquisition marks another good example of Hologic’s capital deployment strategy. It utilizes Hologic’s strong cash flow to add products that leverage existing channel strength and accelerate its growth.Recent DevelopmentsIn October 2021, Hologic launched an expanded Omni suite, a comprehensive gynecological surgical offering. The expanded Omni suite aims to optimize diagnostic and operative hysteroscopy in Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA). The expanded offering includes the Omni 30° hysteroscope, Omni Lok cervical seal and Omni 5 French seal. It adds to Hologic’s existing GYN surgical portfolio, including the MyoSure tissue removal system and the Fluent fluid management system.In August 2021, Hologic announced that Anthem ANTM -- the second-largest health plan in the United States -- updated its medical policy to cover Laparoscopic Radiofrequency Ablation (LAP-RFA), which includes the former’s Acessa procedure.  This new coverage further validates laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation for women suffering from uterine fibroids, thereby expanding access to millions of women across the country.Price PerformanceShares of the company have gained 4% in a year compared with the industry’s rise of 8.8%.Zacks Rank and Key Picks   Currently, Hologic carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).A couple of better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Alcon Inc ALC, West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. WST, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Alcon has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 18%.West Pharmaceutical Services has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 27%. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Hologic, Inc. (HOLX): Free Stock Analysis Report Alcon (ALC): Free Stock Analysis Report West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (WST): Free Stock Analysis Report Anthem, Inc. (ANTM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 18th, 2021

Signet (SIG) Focuses on Boosting Portfolio, Strong on Outlook

Signet (SIG) signs a deal to acquire Diamonds Direct. The company raises view for the third quarter and fiscal 2022 on encouraging market conditions. Well-known diamond retailer, Signet Jewelers Limited SIG, continues to offer distinct and quality products and thereby develop lasting customer relations. The company has been focused on enhancing revenue opportunities by expanding and revamping its portfolio to meet customers’ needs. Progressing on such lines, last week, the company inked an agreement to acquire Diamonds Direct USA Inc., in an all-cash transaction valued at $490 million.Along with this move, Signet also raised its view for the third quarter as well as for fiscal 2022. The elevated outlook reflects on management’s confidence in the underlying business conditions including positive customer response toward assortments.Well-Chalked Growth EndeavorsWhen it comes to high-end products, including jewelry items, retailers are seen to frequently revamp their collections to match consumers’ tastes and preferences. Signet, which prides on being the largest diamond jewelry retailer, boasts a strong portfolio of well-known brands such as Zales, Kay and Jared. The company’s move to buy Diamonds Direct is likely to further bolster its portfolio.Diamonds Direct is an off-mall destination jeweler based in the United States. It is known for unique bridal-focused collections and shopping experience. The buyout of Diamonds Direct, with its high-touch shopping experience and strong value proposition, will help attract younger, luxury-oriented bridal shoppers.Signet’s move to add Diamonds Direct to its portfolio is likely to take the company a step forward in its long-term goal of achieving $9 billion in revenues as well as building strong customer relationships. Signet expects the acquisition to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, subject to customary closing norms and other required regulatory approvals. Upon closing the deal, Diamonds Direct will invest a portion of their transaction proceeds in Signet’s shares. Management will unveil more details regarding the buyout following its completion.The buyout reflects on Signet’s focus on investing in its business to drive shareholders’ value.  As part of the Inspiring Brilliance growth strategy, the company has been expanding brand banners, boosting service revenues, broadening the Accessible Luxury and Value segments as well as accelerating digital commerce, among others.    It has also been boosting customization services as well as focusing on inventory turnover and rationalizing SKU’s.Speaking of efforts in the digital wing, the company has been integrating its physical stores with advanced digital capabilities through data-driven in-store consultations as well as buy online pickup in-store and curbside options. The company has been introducing technology tools like conversational messaging, improved text search, virtual try-on and checkout features. Such efforts form a part of the company’s connected commerce strategy.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchEncouraging ViewSignet expects to keep gaining from its prudent growth efforts and consumers’ favorable response toward its assortments. Management stated that amid easing of pandemic-led restrictions and consumers’ shift in spending toward areas like travel and entertainment are making a lower adverse impact on Signet’s business than previously anticipated. The company does not expect any material supply chain disruptions for the rest of the year. Its strong supply chain operations and vendors relations have been aiding toward the early receipt of holiday products. Moreover, Signet uses air freight for the transit of merchandise, helping it avoid the ongoing ocean freight congestion issue.Backed by such upsides, the company raised its guidance. For third-quarter fiscal 2022, management now expects revenues in the range of $1.42-$1.45 billion, up from the prior guidance of $1.26-$1.31 billion. In the year-ago quarter, the company’s revenues were $1.3 billion. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for third-quarter revenues is currently pegged at $1.45 billion. The company expects same-store sales to rise 10-12% compared with the prior view of down 3% to up 1%. Adjusted operating income is expected to be $53-$63 million compared with the previous view of $10-$25 million.For the fourth quarter, the company expects same store sales in the range of negative low-single digits to positive low-single digits.For fiscal 2022, the company now expects revenues in the bracket of $7.04-$7.19 billion compared with the prior projection of $6.80-$6.95 billion. During fiscal 2021, the company generated revenues of $5.23 billion. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal-year revenues is currently pegged at $7.16 billion. It expects same-store sales in the range of 35-38%, up from the earlier view of 30-33%. Further, adjusted operating income is anticipated in the range of $680-$735 million, suggesting a rise from the prior projection of $618-$673 million.The company anticipates gross cost savings in the range of $85-$105 million for fiscal 2022. It also continues to plan for increased marketing expenses and promotional flexibility. Capital expenditures for the fiscal year are expected in the range of $190-$200 million. In fiscal 2022, the company expects to close more than 100 stores, while opening up to 100 stores primarily in highly-efficient Banter by Piercing Pagoda formats.Shares of this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company have gained 37.5% in the past three months against the industry’s decline of 25.2%.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.3 Retail Picks You Can’t Miss Out OnAbercrombie & Fitch Company ANF, flaunting a Zacks Rank #1, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 18%.Tapestry, Inc. TPR, also sporting a Zacks Rank #1, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12.3%.Costco Wholesale Corporation COST with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.6%. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Abercrombie & Fitch Company (ANF): Free Stock Analysis Report Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report Signet Jewelers Limited (SIG): Free Stock Analysis Report Tapestry, Inc. (TPR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 18th, 2021

KBR Wins Contracts From EuroChem & Hanwha, Fortifies Technology

KBR's technology experts to support its commitment to bring energy-efficient sustainable technologies to the industry. KBR, Inc.’s KBR commitment to boost energy-efficient sustainable technologies has been driving its performance of late. The company recently received two technology contracts.KBR INSITE — a cloud-based platform that provides remote monitoring and advisory services to customers — has been selected by EuroChem for its ammonia plant in Kingisepp, Russia. KBR INSITE will offer advisory services for three years to ensure optimal plant operations for EuroChem. Per the deal, KBR will proactively analyze EuroChem's ammonia plant operations and identify opportunities for achieving sustainable improvements in production, reliability, environmental impact as well as energy efficiency.Additionally, KBR has won a dual-pressure nitric acid technology contract to provide license, design and technical support to Hanwha Corp.’s 1,200 metric tons per day nitric acid plant located at Yeosu, South Korea. Nitric acid is an intermediate chemical for the production of various products including fertilizers, plastics and dyes. KBR’s dual-pressure nitric acid technology offers tangible CAPEX and OPEX benefits including reduced net energy consumption.Sustainable Technology Business a Boon for KBRThe Sustainable Technology Solutions segment — comprising 20.3% of the company’s total revenues — includes Energy Solutions, Technology Solutions and Non-strategic Business segments. This segment is anchored by innovative, proprietary process technologies.KBR’s best-in-class technologies have been designing and building end-to-end, sophisticated digitization solutions as well as services for clients across the world. This includes high-fidelity operator training simulators, reliability-based maintenance solutions, dynamic simulation solutions, advanced process control solutions and more. These notable digitized technologies and solutions allow companies to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce costs as well as create opportunities for generating higher revenues and profitability.Since 1954, KBR has licensed 76 grassroot nitric acid plants across the globe. Additionally, the segment integrates proprietary KBR technologies, knowledge-based services and the company’s three specialty consulting brands — Granherne, Energo and GVA — under a sole customer-centric business across the world. KBR, with a focus on climate change, has developed and/or designed several sustainable as well as renewable fuel projects across the globe over the past decade.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOverall, it has been driving growth by focusing on lowering carbon emissions, product diversification, energy efficiency, and more sustainable technologies as well as solutions. Demand for the company’s technologies across ammonia for food productions, olefins for non-single-use plastics, and in refining for product diversification and more green solutions to meet tighter environmental standards has been strong. A strategic shift to IP-enabled maintenance is gaining traction and KBR continues to see increasing activity across the advisory portfolio, particularly in energy transition.Solid Backlog Level & Share PerformanceAs of Jun 30, 2021, total backlog was $19.9 billion compared with $19 billion at 2020-end. Of the total backlog, Government Solutions booked $12.4 billion. The Sustainable Technology Solutions segment accounted for $2.5 billion of the total backlog.KBR’s solid prospects are backed by continuous contract wins, strong project execution, backlog level, and potential government as well as technology businesses. KBR’s shares have gained 38.3% in the past year, outperforming the Zacks Engineering - R and D Services industry’s 28.6% growth.Zacks Rank & Other Key PicksCurrently, KBR carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Other top-ranked stocks in the same industry include Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. J, ChampionX Corporation CHX and Quanta Services, Inc. PWR, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2.Jacobs, ChampionX, and Quanta Services’ earnings for current year are expected to rise 13.5%, 421.1%, and 21.5%, respectively. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Quanta Services, Inc. (PWR): Free Stock Analysis Report KBR, Inc. (KBR): Free Stock Analysis Report Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (J): Free Stock Analysis Report ChampionX Corporation (CHX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 18th, 2021

Locked & Loaded: Supreme Court Is Ready To Take Aim At The Second Amendment

Locked & Loaded: Supreme Court Is Ready To Take Aim At The Second Amendment Authored by Jonathan Turley, Below is my column in the Hill on the makings of a blockbuster case in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the first major gun rights case before the Supreme Court in ten years.  Justices have been openly discussing a case to push back on lower courts that have been chipping away at its Second Amendment jurisprudence. They found that case with a strikingly familiar plaintiff. Here is the column: In the movie “True Grit,” federal marshal Rooster Cogburn is asked if the gun that he brandished at a crime scene was loaded. Cogburn, played by John Wayne, dryly responds, “A gun that’s unloaded and cocked ain’t good for nothing.” Something similar might be said of a Supreme Court docket, particularly when there is a Second Amendment case that could prove one of the most impactful decisions of the term. The court will soon take up New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, more than a decade after its last major gun rights decision. The case promises to be a showdown between the Supreme Court and lower courts, which have been chipping away at the high court’s prior Second Amendment rulings. In 2008, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, recognizing the Second Amendment as encompassing an individual right to bear arms. Two years after Heller, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the court ruled that this right applied against the states. The new case concerns concealed-carry restrictions under N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(2)(f) that require a showing of “proper cause.” Lower courts have upheld the New York law, but there are ample constitutional concerns over its vague standard, such as showing that you are “of good moral character.” The case presents a single short, direct question — whether New York’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment. The high court has been carefully waiting for just the right case to address states and cities that have sought to limit gun rights. Indeed, just this week, the court turned down a challenge of a Wisconsin law imposing a lifetime ban on gun ownership for former felons, including cases involving nonviolent crimes. That and other cases seemed tailor-made for Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who wrote a strong defense of the Second Amendment in a similar case as an appellate judge. It often is difficult to determine which side of the court supplied the votes to grant review in a case. That is not the situation here. The New York case was clearly accepted by conservative justices with a mind toward reversal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. The selection of a New York case is particularly poignant. Some of the justices were none too pleased with the Big Apple last year when city officials suddenly sought to withdraw a case on the court’s docket. New York politicians had passed a law that many of us viewed as unconstitutional, with its imposition of burdensome limits on the transportation of lawful guns from homes. Those politicians publicly thumped their chests about going to the Supreme Court with the law and limiting the Second Amendment precedent; professing absolute confidence, they litigated the law, and, again, the 2nd Circuit supported the dubious statute. The Supreme Court accepted the case for review and was expected to overturn the law — until New York suddenly changed the law and then quietly sought to withdraw its case before any ruling. The court ultimately dismissed the case but did so over the objections of three dissenting justices. It was a rare instance in which the court resisted such a mootness ruling after a party sought to withdraw — but, then, few litigants have had the temerity to do what New York did. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas specifically called out New York for “manipulating” the docket by withdrawing an unconstitutional law just before a final opinion. Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined in the condemnation and added menacingly that “some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald. The Court should address that issue soon, perhaps in one of the several Second Amendment cases with petitions for certiorari now pending before the Court.” The court then did precisely that, by accepting a case with the very same plaintiffs: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. On this occasion, however, the court is unlikely to tolerate another bait-and-switch by state officials trying to withdraw the case at the last minute. If those four justices are still intent on pushing back on lower courts, they need only Chief Justice John Roberts or Barrett to hand down a major ruling in favor of gun rights. The briefs filed in the case include groups such the Cato Institute, which directly confronted the court about it being legally absent without leave on gun rights for more than a decade. Cato has argued that judicial “inaction has contributed to the Second Amendment’s demise. It’s no secret that many federal courts have engaged in systematic resistance to Heller and McDonald.” Many point to the court’s statement in Heller, which acknowledged that “like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” It then listed possible “sensitive places” for denying permits to former felons. Lower courts limiting gun rights have repeated those lines like a mantra, and the high court appears poised to bring clarity to that ambiguity. Bruen has many of the same elements as Heller, including a rich historical discussion of what gun ownership has meant through history. Notably, English subjects in the American colonies were the first to receive written guarantees of the right to bear arms for self-defense; settlers of the Virginia colony in 1607 and the New England colony in 1620 were subjects under royal charters recognizing that right. In England, the right to bear arms was formally declared in the 1689 Declaration of Rights that stated that the right to arms was among the subjects’ “true, ancient and indubitable rights.” That history will weigh heavily in the court defining the right of people to carry weapons in self-defense outside of the home. In many ways, Bruen is the shot not taken last year in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York. Now the same plaintiffs are back, and New York has supplied another perfect case for the expansion of gun rights. So if you are wondering if Bruen is loaded, at least four justices are likely to agree that a Second Amendment case “that’s unloaded and cocked ain’t good for nothing.” Tyler Durden Mon, 10/18/2021 - 19:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 18th, 2021

Weiss: We Got Here Because Of Cowardice, We Get Out With Courage

Weiss: We Got Here Because Of Cowardice, We Get Out With Courage Authored by Bari Weiss via Commentary.org, A lot of people want to convince you that you need a Ph.D. or a law degree or dozens of hours of free time to read dense texts about critical theory to understand the woke movement and its worldview. You do not. You simply need to believe your own eyes and ears.  Let me offer the briefest overview of the core beliefs of the Woke Revolution, which are abundantly clear to anyone willing to look past the hashtags and the jargon. It begins by stipulating that the forces of justice and progress are in a war against backwardness and tyranny. And in a war, the normal rules of the game must be suspended. Indeed, this ideology would argue that those rules are not just obstacles to justice, but tools of oppression. They are the master’s tools.  And the master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house. So the tools themselves are not just replaced but repudiated. And in so doing, persuasion—the purpose of argument—is replaced with public shaming. Moral complexity is replaced with moral certainty. Facts are replaced with feelings. Ideas are replaced with identity. Forgiveness is replaced with punishment. Debate is replaced with de-platforming. Diversity is replaced with homogeneity of thought. Inclusion, with exclusion. In this ideology, speech is violence. But violence, when carried out by the right people in pursuit of a just cause, is not violence at all. In this ideology, bullying is wrong, unless you are bullying the right people, in which case it’s very, very good. In this ideology, education is not about teaching people how to think, it’s about reeducating them in what to think. In this ideology, the need to feel safe trumps the need to speak truthfully.  In this ideology, if you do not tweet the right tweet or share the right slogan, your whole life can be ruined. Just ask Tiffany Riley, a Vermont school principal who was fired—fired—because she said she supports black lives but not the organization Black Lives Matter. In this ideology, the past cannot be understood on its own terms, but must be judged through the morals and mores of the present. It is why statues of Grant and Washington are being torn down. And it is why William Peris, a UCLA lecturer and an Air Force veteran, was investigated for reading Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” out loud in class. In this ideology, intentions don’t matter. That is why Emmanuel Cafferty, a Hispanic utility worker at San Diego Gas and Electric, was fired for making what someone said he thought was a white-supremacist hand gesture—when in fact he was cracking his knuckles out of his car window. In this ideology, the equality of opportunity is replaced with equality of outcome as a measure of fairness. If everyone doesn’t finish the race at the same time, the course must have been defective. Thus, the argument to get rid of the SAT. Or the admissions tests for public schools like Stuyvesant in New York or Lowell in San Francisco.  In this ideology, you are guilty for the sins of your fathers. In other words: You are not you. You are only a mere avatar of your race or your religion or your class. That is why third-graders in Cupertino, California, were asked to rate themselves in terms of their power and privilege. In third grade.  In this system, we are all placed neatly on a spectrum of “privileged” to “oppressed.” We are ranked somewhere on this spectrum in different categories: race, gender, sexual orientation, and class. Then we are given an overall score, based on the sum of these rankings. Having privilege means that your character and your ideas are tainted. This is why, one high-schooler in New York tells me, students in his school are told, “If you are white and male, you are second in line to speak.” This is considered a normal and necessary redistribution of power. Racism has been redefined. It is no longer about discrimination based on the color of someone’s skin. Racism is any system that allows for disparate outcomes between racial groups. If disparity is present, as the high priest of this ideology, Ibram X. Kendi, has explained, racism is present. According to this totalizing new view, we are all either racist or anti-racist. To be a Good Person and not a Bad Person, you must be an “anti-racist.” There is no neutrality. There is no such thing as “not racist.”  Most important: In this revolution, skeptics of any part of this radical ideology are recast as heretics. Those who do not abide by every single aspect of its creed are tarnished as bigots, subjected to boycotts and their work to political litmus tests. The Enlightenment, as the critic Edward Rothstein has put it, has been replaced by the exorcism.  What we call “cancel culture” is really the justice system of this revolution. And the goal of the cancellations is not merely to punish the person being cancelled. The goal is to send a message to everyone else: Step out of line and you are next.  It has worked. A recent CATO study found that 62 percent of Americans are afraid to voice their true views. Nearly a quarter of American academics endorse ousting a colleague for having a wrong opinion about hot-button issues such as immigration or gender differences. And nearly 70 percent of students favor reporting professors if the professor says something that students find offensive, according to a Challey Institute for Global Innovation survey. Why are so many, especially so many young people, drawn to this ideology? It’s not because they are dumb. Or because they are snowflakes, or whatever Fox talking points would have you believe. All of this has taken place against the backdrop of major changes in American life—the tearing apart of our social fabric; the loss of religion and the decline of civic organizations; the opioid crisis; the collapse of American industries; the rise of big tech; successive financial crises; a toxic public discourse; crushing student debt. An epidemic of loneliness. A crisis of meaning. A pandemic of distrust. It has taken place against the backdrop of the American dream’s decline into what feels like a punchline, the inequalities of our supposedly fair, liberal meritocracy clearly rigged in favor of some people and against others. And so on. “I became converted because I was ripe for it and lived in a disintegrating society thrusting for faith.” That was Arthur Koestler writing in 1949 about his love affair with Communism. The same might be said of this new revolutionary faith. And like other religions at their inception, this one has lit on fire the souls of true believers, eager to burn down anything or anyone that stands in its way.  If you have ever tried to build something, even something small, you know how hard it is. It takes time. It takes tremendous effort. But tearing things down? That’s quick work.  The Woke Revolution has been exceptionally effective. It has successfully captured the most important sense-making institutions of American life: our newspapers. Our magazines. Our Hollywood studios. Our publishing houses. Many of our tech companies. And, increasingly, corporate America.  Just as in China under Chairman Mao, the seeds of our own cultural revolution can be traced to the academy, the first of our institutions to be overtaken by it. And our schools—public, private, parochial—are increasingly the recruiting grounds for this ideological army.  A few stories are worth recounting: David Peterson is an art professor at Skidmore College in upstate New York. He stood accused in the fevered summer of 2020 of “engaging in hateful conduct that threatens Black Skidmore students.” What was that hateful conduct? David and his wife, Andrea, went to watch a rally for police officers. “Given the painful events that continue to unfold across this nation, I guess we just felt compelled to see first-hand how all of this was playing out in our own community,” he told the Skidmore student newspaper. David and his wife stayed for 20 minutes on the edge of the event. They held no signs, participated in no chants. They just watched. Then they left for dinner. For the crime of listening, David Peterson’s class was boycotted. A sign appeared on his classroom door: “STOP. By entering this class you are crossing a campus-wide picket line and breaking the boycott against Professor David Peterson. This is not a safe environment for marginalized students.” Then the university opened an investigation into accusations of bias in the classroom. Across the country from Skidmore, at the University of Southern California, a man named Greg Patton is a professor of business communication. In 2020, Patton was teaching a class on “filler words”—such as “um” and “like” and so forth for his master’s-level course on communication for management. It turns out that the Chinese word for “like” sounds like the n-word. Students wrote the school’s staff and administration accusing their professor of “negligence and disregard.” They added: “We are burdened to fight with our existence in society, in the workplace, and in America. We should not be made to fight for our sense of peace and mental well-being” at school. In a normal, reality-based world, there is only one response to such a claim: You misheard. But that was not the response. This was: “It is simply unacceptable for faculty to use words in class that can marginalize, hurt and harm the psychological safety of our students,” the dean, Geoffrey Garrett wrote. “Understandably, this caused great pain and upset among students, and for that I am deeply sorry.”  This rot hasn’t been contained to higher education. At a mandatory training earlier this year in the San Diego Unified School District, Bettina Love, an education professor who believes that children learn better from teachers of the same race, accused white teachers of “spirit murdering black and brown children” and urged them to undergo “antiracist therapy for White educators.”  San Francisco’s public schools didn’t manage to open their schools during the pandemic, but the board decided to rename 44 schools—including those named for George Washington and John Muir—before suspending the plan. Meantime, one of the board members declared merit “racist” and “Trumpian.”  A recent educational program for sixth to eighth grade teachers called “a pathway to equitable math instruction”—funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—was recently sent to Oregon teachers by the state’s Department of Education. The program’s literature informs teachers that white supremacy shows up in math instruction when “rigor is expressed only in difficulty,” and “contrived word problems are valued over the math in students’ lived experiences.”  Serious education is the antidote to such ignorance. Frederick Douglass said, “Education means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light only by which men can be free.” Soaring words that feel as if they are a report from a distant galaxy. Education is increasingly where debate, dissent, and discovery go to die. It’s also very bad for kids.  For those deemed “privileged,” it creates a hostile environment where kids are too intimidated to participate. For those deemed “oppressed,” it inculcates an extraordinarily pessimistic view of the world, where students are trained to perceive malice and bigotry in everything they see. They are denied the dignity of equal standards and expectations. They are denied the belief in their own agency and ability to succeed. As Zaid Jilani had put it: “You cannot have power without responsibility. Denying minorities responsibility for their own actions, both good and bad, will only deny us the power we rightly deserve.” How did we get here? There are a lot of factors that are relevant to the answer: institutional decay; the tech revolution and the monopolies it created; the arrogance of our elites; poverty; the death of trust. And all of these must be examined, because without them we would have neither the far right nor the cultural revolutionaries now clamoring at America’s gates.  But there is one word we should linger on, because every moment of radical victory turned on it. The word is cowardice. The revolution has been met with almost no resistance by those who have the title CEO or leader or president or principal in front of their names. The refusal of the adults in the room to speak the truth, their refusal to say no to efforts to undermine the mission of their institutions, their fear of being called a bad name and that fear trumping their responsibility—that is how we got here. Allan Bloom had the radicals of the 1960s in mind when he wrote that “a few students discovered that pompous teachers who catechized them about academic freedom could, with a little shove, be made into dancing bears.” Now, a half-century later, those dancing bears hold named chairs at every important elite, sense-making institution in the country.  As Douglas Murray has put it: “The problem is not that the sacrificial victim is selected. The problem is that the people who destroy his reputation are permitted to do so by the complicity, silence and slinking away of everybody else.” Each surely thought: These protestors have some merit! This institution, this university, this school, hasn’t lived up to all of its principles at all times! We have been racist! We have been sexist! We haven’t always been enlightened! I’ll give a bit and we’ll find a way to compromise. This turned out to be as naive as Robespierre thinking that he could avoid the guillotine.  Think about each of the anecdotes I’ve shared here and all the rest you already know. All that had to change for the entire story to turn out differently was for the person in charge, the person tasked with being a steward for the newspaper or the magazine or the college or the school district or the private high school or the kindergarten, to say: No. If cowardice is the thing that has allowed for all of this, the force that stops this cultural revolution can also be summed up by one word: courage. And courage often comes from people you would not expect. Consider Maud Maron. Maron is a lifelong liberal who has always walked the walk. She was an escort for Planned Parenthood; a law-school research assistant to Kathleen Cleaver, the former Black Panther; and a poll watcher for John Kerry in Pennsylvania during the 2004 presidential election. In 2016, she was a regular contributor to Bernie Sanders’s campaign. Maron dedicated her career to Legal Aid: “For me, being a public defender is more than a job,” she told me. “It’s who I am.” But things took a turn when, this past year, Maron spoke out passionately and publicly about the illiberalism that has gripped the New York City public schools attended by her four children.  “I am very open about what I stand for,” she told me. “I am pro-integration. I am pro-diversity. And also I reject the narrative that white parents are to blame for the failures of our school system. I object to the mayor’s proposal to get rid of specialized admissions tests to schools like Stuyvesant. And I believe that racial essentialism is racist and should not be taught in school.” What followed this apparent thought crime was a 21st-century witch hunt. Maron was smeared publicly by her colleagues. They called her “racist, and openly so.” They said, “We’re ashamed that she works for the Legal Aid Society.”  Most people would have walked away and quietly found a new job. Not Maud Maron. This summer, she filed suit against the organization, claiming that she was forced out of Legal Aid because of her political views and her race, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  “The reason they went after me is that I have a different point of view,” she said. “These ideologues have tried to ruin my name and my career, and they are going after other good people. Not enough people stand up and say: It is totally wrong to do this to a person. And this is not going to stop unless people stand up to it.” That’s courage. Courage also looks like Paul Rossi, the math teacher at Grace Church High School in New York who raised questions about this ideology at a mandatory, whites-only student and faculty Zoom meeting. A few days later, all the school’s advisers were required to read a public reprimand of his conduct out loud to every student in the school. Unwilling to disavow his beliefs, Rossi blew the whistle: “I know that by attaching my name to this I’m risking not only my current job but my career as an educator, since most schools, both public and private, are now captive to this backward ideology. But witnessing the harmful impact it has on children, I can’t stay silent.” That’s courage.  Courage is Xi Van Fleet, a Virginia mom who endured Mao’s Cultural Revolution as a child and spoke up to the Loudoun County School Board at a public meeting in June. “You are training our children to loathe our country and our history,” she said in front of the school board. “Growing up in Mao’s China, all of this feels very familiar…. The only difference is that they used class instead of race.” Gordon Klein, a professor at UCLA, recently filed suit against his own university. Why? A student asked him to grade black students with “greater leniency.” He refused, given that such a racial preference would violate UCLA’s anti-discrimination policies (and maybe even the law). But the people in charge of UCLA’s Anderson School launched a racial-discrimination complaint into him. They denounced him, banned him from campus, appointed a monitor to look at his emails, and suspended him. He eventually was reinstated—because he had done absolutely nothing wrong—but not before his reputation and career were severely damaged. “I don’t want to see anyone else’s life destroyed as they attempted to do to me,” Klein told me. “Few have the intestinal fortitude to fight cancel culture. I do. This is about sending a message to every petty tyrant out there.” Courage is Peter Boghossian. He recently resigned his post at Portland State University, writing in a letter to his provost: “The university transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a social justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender and victimhood and whose only output was grievance and division…. I feel morally obligated to make this choice. For ten years, I have taught my students the importance of living by your principles. One of mine is to defend our system of liberal education from those who seek to destroy it. Who would I be if I didn’t?” Who would I be if I didn’t? George Orwell said that “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” In an age of lies, telling the truth is high risk. It comes with a cost. But it is our moral obligation. It is our duty to resist the crowd in this age of mob thinking. It is our duty to think freely in an age of conformity. It is our duty to speak truth in an age of lies.  This bravery isn’t the last or only step in opposing this revolution—it’s just the first. After that must come honest assessments of why America was vulnerable to start with, and an aggressive commitment to rebuilding the economy and society in ways that once again offer life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the greatest number of Americans. But let’s start with a little courage. Courage means, first off, the unqualified rejection of lies. Do not speak untruths, either about yourself or anyone else, no matter the comfort offered by the mob. And do not genially accept the lies told to you. If possible, be vocal in rejecting claims you know to be false. Courage can be contagious, and your example may serve as a means of transmission. When you’re told that traits such as industriousness and punctuality are the legacy of white supremacy, don’t hesitate to reject it. When you’re told that statues of figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass are offensive, explain that they are national heroes. When you’re told that “nothing has changed” in this country for minorities, don’t dishonor the memory of civil-rights pioneers by agreeing. And when you’re told that America was founded in order to perpetuate slavery, don’t take part in rewriting the country’s history. America is imperfect. I always knew it, as we all do—and the past few years have rocked my faith like no others in my lifetime. But America and we Americans are far from irredeemable.  The motto of Frederick Douglass’s anti-slavery paper, the North Star—“The Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and all we are brethren”—must remain all of ours. We can still feel the pull of that electric cord Lincoln talked about 163 years ago—the one “in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.” Every day I hear from people who are living in fear in the freest society humankind has ever known. Dissidents in a democracy, practicing doublespeak. That is what is happening right now. What happens five, 10, 20 years from now if we don’t speak up and defend the ideas that have made all of our lives possible? Liberty. Equality. Freedom. Dignity. These are ideas worth fighting for. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/17/2021 - 23:05.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 18th, 2021

The treacherous housing market will continue through 2022 as prices surge further, Goldman says

Builders will struggle as they fight labor shortages and supply bottlenecks. Millennial demand will keep prices soaring for years, the bank said. It's hard out there for home shoppers. AP Photo/Gregory Bull Home prices could surge another 16% in 2022 as the supply-demand mismatch continues, Goldman Sachs said. Prices have already shot up 20% this year as the housing shortage fueled bidding wars across the US. This could bleed into rentals, with shelter inflation soaring to 4.5% from 2.4%, the economists added. Goldman Sachs has some mixed news for US homebuyers who have struggled with a white-hot housing market all year.The good news: Prices won't surge as much next year as they have in 2021. The bad news: They're still going to go up a lot.Prices for US homes will climb another 16% through 2022, Goldman economists led by Jan Hatzius said in a Monday note. The forecast gives prospective buyers little to cheer as the new year looms. Prices have already surged 20% through the past year, as a dire home shortage has given way to frenzied bidding wars. Builders have moderately accelerated construction of new houses, but they're far from hitting the pace needed to match demand.The shortage will linger into next year, and it's uncertain whether the market will normalize then, the team said. "Of all the shortages afflicting the US economy, the housing shortage might last the longest," they said. "While the supply of homes for sale has increased modestly since the spring, it remains well below pre-pandemic levels and the outlook offers no quick fixes for the shortage."The mismatch between buyer demand and nationwide supply is the basis for the bank's expectation that prices will boom well into the 2020s.On the supply side, builders can't ramp up construction even if they wanted to. Firms don't just face pandemic headwinds like supply shortages and delays, but pre-crisis problems like a lack of workers and land scarcity as well, the economists said.Those obstacles will limit new home construction to roughly 1.65 million units per year, or a net increase of 1.4 million per year after demolitions, they added. That's only just above the pace seen in August, but well below the annual rate of 2 million homes the National Association of Realtors says is needed to fill the deficit caused by years of underbuilding.On the other side of the equation, demand shows no signs of letting up. Millennials are in their peak buying age and they're set to power a once-in-a-lifetime boost to household formation. And while Americans' attitudes toward buying a home are at the lowest point since the 1980s, there are still plenty of "reluctant bulls" on the sidelines, the team said. These buyers plan to buy homes in the near future, even through their sentiments toward the market have soured.With the market rife with reluctant bulls and struggling homebuilders, prices won't cool off for years, Goldman said.Renters aren't safe, either. It just won't be as bad.Much of the housing turmoil has already bled into the rental market. Prices have surged above their pre-pandemic highs in many cities, and in places where deals can still be had, they're expected to fade in a matter of months.The bank expects that price surge to continue through 2022. Goldman sees shelter inflation rising to a year-over-year rate of 4.5% by the end of next year, a sharp acceleration from the current 2.4% pace and the fastest price growth in 20 years.The forecast is concerning, especially since inflation already sits at decade-highs. The bank's shelter inflation tracker - which lumps a collection of alternative rent measures into a single forecast - has leaped from 2.1% to 4.6% in just six months.There's reason to believe the actual increase won't be as steep as that measure suggests, the economists said. For example, some of the measures track private rent indexes, and those focus more on rents that turn over to new tenants instead of continuing leases. Landlords tend to raise rents more for new tenants than existing ones, and less than 5% of rentals turn over in a given month, Goldman said. Separately, a wide range of cities and states also enacted rent freezes during the pandemic, and governments will likely regulate how fast rents can climb during reopening.Housin is in the process of cooling off from its wild pace earlier this year. But those hoping for a quick return to the pre-crisis normal are set to be disappointed.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Prepare for an even tougher housing market in 2022 as prices surge another 16% and builders play catchup, Goldman says

Builders will struggle as they fight labor shortages and supply bottlenecks. Millennial demand will keep prices soaring for years, the bank said. It's hard out there for home shoppers. AP Photo/Gregory Bull Home prices could surge another 16% in 2022 as the supply-demand mismatch continues, Goldman Sachs said. Prices have already shot up 20% this year as the housing shortage fueled bidding wars across the US. This could bleed into rentals, with shelter inflation soaring to 4.5% from 2.4%, the economists added. Goldman Sachs has some mixed news for US homebuyers who have struggled with a white-hot housing market all year.The good news: Prices won't surge as much next year as they have in 2021. The bad news: They're still going to go up a lot.Prices for US homes will climb another 16% through 2022, Goldman economists led by Jan Hatzius said in a Monday note. The forecast gives prospective buyers little to cheer as the new year looms. Prices have already surged 20% through the past year, as a dire home shortage has given way to frenzied bidding wars. Builders have moderately accelerated construction of new houses, but they're far from hitting the pace needed to match demand.The shortage will linger into next year, and it's uncertain whether the market will normalize then, the team said. "Of all the shortages afflicting the US economy, the housing shortage might last the longest," they said. "While the supply of homes for sale has increased modestly since the spring, it remains well below pre-pandemic levels and the outlook offers no quick fixes for the shortage."The mismatch between buyer demand and nationwide supply is the basis for the bank's expectation that prices will boom well into the 2020s.On the supply side, builders can't ramp up construction even if they wanted to. Firms don't just face pandemic headwinds like supply shortages and delays, but pre-crisis problems like a lack of workers and land scarcity as well, the economists said.Those obstacles will limit new home construction to roughly 1.65 million units per year, or a net increase of 1.4 million per year after demolitions, they added. That's only just above the pace seen in August, but well below the annual rate of 2 million homes the National Association of Realtors says is needed to fill the deficit caused by years of underbuilding.On the other side of the equation, demand shows no signs of letting up. Millennials are in their peak buying age and they're set to power a once-in-a-lifetime boost to household formation. And while Americans' attitudes toward buying a home are at the lowest point since the 1980s, there are still plenty of "reluctant bulls" on the sidelines, the team said. These buyers plan to buy homes in the near future, even through their sentiments toward the market have soured.With the market rife with reluctant bulls and struggling homebuilders, prices won't cool off for years, Goldman said.Renters aren't safe, either. It just won't be as bad.Much of the housing turmoil has already bled into the rental market. Prices have surged above their pre-pandemic highs in many cities, and in places where deals can still be had, they're expected to fade in a matter of months.The bank expects that price surge to continue through 2022. Goldman sees shelter inflation rising to a year-over-year rate of 4.5% by the end of next year, a sharp acceleration from the current 2.4% pace and the fastest price growth in 20 years.The forecast is concerning, especially since inflation already sits at decade-highs. The bank's shelter inflation tracker - which lumps a collection of alternative rent measures into a single forecast - has leaped from 2.1% to 4.6% in just six months.There's reason to believe the actual increase won't be as steep as that measure suggests, the economists said. For example, some of the measures track private rent indexes, and those focus more on rents that turn over to new tenants instead of continuing leases. Landlords tend to raise rents more for new tenants than existing ones, and less than 5% of rentals turn over in a given month, Goldman said. Separately, a wide range of cities and states also enacted rent freezes during the pandemic, and governments will likely regulate how fast rents can climb during reopening.Housin is in the process of cooling off from its wild pace earlier this year. But those hoping for a quick return to the pre-crisis normal are set to be disappointed.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

EV Roundup: General Motors (GM) Steals the Show With Important Updates

While General Motors (GM) generates the maximum buzz with its electrification strides, pure EV players like TSLA and NKLA also draw attention with major announcements. The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is speeding up, with companies leaving no stone unturned to establish a strong foothold in this domain. Legacy automakers are stepping up e-mobility investments and setting ambitious targets to electrify their fleet. To this end, U.S. auto giant General Motors GM hogged the maximum limelight last week with the announcement of various strategic agreements to step up its e-mobility game.It entered into a strategic agreement with Wolfspeed to develop and supply silicon carbide power device solutions for the automaker’s future EV programs. The automaker also signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with GE Renewable Energy to evaluate the opportunities for enhancing supplies of heavy and light rare earth materials as well as magnets. A secure, sustainable and resilient local supply chain for EV materials is the key to achieving General Motors’ vision of an all-electric future. (General Motors Strikes Deals With Wolfspeed and GE)General Motors also set the stage for battery tech innovation with the announcement of establishing a new research facility in Michigan. The facility — named Wallace Battery Innovation Center — will help the U.S. auto giant to speed up the manufacture, and commercialization of long-range and more affordable EVs. The capability to build large-format, prototype lithium-metal battery cells would be the main attraction of the new facility. Also, it is expected to manufacture batteries with energy density within 600-1200 watt-hours per liter. That translates to a range of around 500-600 miles on a single recharge, up from 400 miles initially claimed by the company for its Ultium battery architecture. (General Motors' New Battery Lab to Step Up EV Strides)In the Investor Day event held last week, General Motors stated that it projects annual EV revenues to scale from $10 billion in 2023 to $90 billion by the decade-end. The firm’s own modular battery platform, the Ultium Drive system, will aid in the transition to an all-electric portfolio down the road. The array of Ultium-powered EVs will include popular models, including a $30,000 Chevrolet crossover, Buick crossovers, Chevrolet trucks, GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq crossover EV. The company will also offer an electric version of GMC’s Sierra pickup truck. Other Key Stories of the Week1.Tesla TSLA increased the price of both the Model 3 Standard Range Plus and Performance. The price of the base rear-wheel drive Model 3 Standard Range Plus is hiked to $41,990 from $39,990. The starting price of the Model 3 Performance has also been increased from $56,990 to $57,990, while the price of the Model 3 Long Range remains unaltered at $49,990. The Model Y Long Range got a price bump from $52,990 to $54,990. The higher-level Model Y Performance is now priced at $61,990 compared with the earlier price of $60,990. Meanwhile, at its annual shareholder meeting on Oct 7, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the decision to shift the company’s headquarters to Austin, TX from Palo Alto, CA. (Tesla Raises Model 3 & Y Prices, Moves Headquarters to Texas)2. BYD Co., Ltd. BYDDY joined forces with Levo Mobility — a joint venture between vehicle-to-grid (V2G) specialist Nuvve, and capital investors Stonepeak and Evolve — for the deployment of 5000 electrified fleets in the United States over the next five years. The alliance seeks to integrate Nuvve’s V2G proprietary technology into a variety of BYD’s vehicle mix including transit buses and coaches, last-mile delivery vehicles, school buses, tractors as well as refuse trucks. Nuvve would also offer related charging infrastructure, and energy maintenance and other services to customers with no upfront costs. Levo plans to purchase up to 5,000 medium and heavy-duty V2G-enabled electric vehicles via a preferred financing partnership with BYD. (BYD & Levo Tie Up for Electrification of U.S. Fleets)3. Allison Transmission ALSN is ramping up the development of its electrification technology for integration into the U.S. Army’s ground combat vehicle fleet, which includes tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles and the Main Battle Tank. Allison will be working on an end-to-end development of a motor/generator and inverter system to be attached to a tracked vehicle transmission in coordination with the Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center. Allison’s portfolio of defense electrification also offers the Transmission Integral Generator, which has been developed jointly with Leonardo DRS and has qualified in the stringent testing procedures of the Ground Vehicle Systems Center. (Allison to Offer E-Transmission Solutions to US Army Fleet)4. Nikola NKLA inked a deal with TC Energy for the construction and operation of large-scale hydrogen production centers in the United States and Canada. The collaboration is aimed at creating the infrastructure necessary to supply low-cost, low-carbon hydrogen at volume. Also, both the firms intend to build hubs in major geographic regions to expedite the adoption of heavy-duty zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and hydrogen throughout industrial segments. The primary goal of the partnership is to build hubs capable of generating more than 150 tons of hydrogen daily across heavily trafficked truck corridors in order to meet Nikola's anticipated requirement of hydrogen to fuel Class 8 FCEVs over the next five years.5. Stellantis STLA announced plans to invest $229 million in three plants in Indiana in order to accelerate the development of EVs. The investment will revamp three Kokomo plants in Indiana to produce electrified, eight-speed transmissions and retain 662 jobs. The next-generation transmissions can be integrated into internal combustion, mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles. This is in sync with the automaker's strategy of producing a mix of traditional combustion engine vehicles, hybrid vehicles and all-electric vehicles in a quest to attain 40% low-emission vehicle sales in the United States by 2030. In another development, Stellantis’ Alfa Romeo intends to roll out a new model each year until 2026, starting with the Tonale SUV next year. Further, starting from 2027, all Alfa Romeo new vehicles would be electric vehicles.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major EV players over the past week and six-month period.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past six months, all stocks have decreased, apart from Tesla, XPeng and Li Auto. Lordstown bore the maximum brunt, with shares declining 54.4%. The past week also displayed a mixed price trend, with Lordstown Motors being the worst performer and Li Auto registering the maximum gains.What’s Next in the Space?Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming EV models and any important updates from the red-hot industry. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report Allison Transmission Holdings, Inc. (ALSN): Free Stock Analysis Report Byd Co., Ltd. (BYDDY): Free Stock Analysis Report Nikola Corporation (NKLA): Free Stock Analysis Report Stellantis N.V. (STLA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 12th, 2021