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California officials reject subsidies for Musk"s SpaceX over Tesla spat

A California state panel on Friday rejected a request from Elon Musk's SpaceX for $655,500 in state job and training funds, citing the chief executive's recent threats to move Tesla, the electric carmaker that he also runs, out of the state......»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

In Dramatic Escalation, European Nat Gas Prices Soar After Gazprom Warns Ukraine Flows At Risk

In Dramatic Escalation, European Nat Gas Prices Soar After Gazprom Warns Ukraine Flows At Risk In a day of constant news surrounding European gas flows, including the potential sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline, moments ago, Russia state-owned gas giant Gazprom PJSC warned that another major source of gas flows to Europe was at risk, just hours after three massive gas pipelines were hit by suspected sabotage. As Bloomberg reports, in a dramatic escalation of the energy standoff between Russia and Europe in little over 24 hours, the Nord Stream pipeline was knocked out by what German officials said looked like sabotage. Gazprom then said that one of two remaining routes bringing gas to Europe - via Ukraine - was at risk because of a legal spat. Specifically, as Reuters notes, Gazprom rejected all claims from Ukraine's energy firm Naftogaz in arbitration proceedings over Russian gas transit, and had notified the arbitration court. It also said that Russia may introduce sanctions against Naftogaz in case it further pursues the arbitration case, meaning Gazprom would be prohibited by the sanctions from paying Ukraine the transit fees. Naftogaz had initiated a new arbitration proceeding against Gazprom earlier this month, saying the Russian company did not pay for the rendered service of gas transportation through Ukraine. The company had said "funds were not paid by Gazprom, neither on time nor in full" for the gas transit. Gazprom said on Tuesday that Naftogaz had no "appropriate reasons" to reject its obligations on transit via the Sokhranovka point, a key route for Russian gas exports to Europe. In May, Ukraine suspended the flow of gas through Sokhranovka, which it said delivers almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe through Ukraine, blaming Moscow for the move and saying it would move the flows elsewhere. Following the report that Russia may soon halt natgas transit via Ukraine, gas prices quickly jumped almost 20% as traders factored in the prospect that Europe will have to live without Russian gas this winter - and beyond. Gazprom said that a legal dispute risks prompting Moscow to sanction Ukraine’s Naftogaz. If that happened, then Gazprom would be unable to pay transit fees, the company said on Telegram, putting at risk flows. “In practice, this will mean a ban on Gazprom from fulfilling obligations to sanctioned bodies under completed transactions, including financial transactions,” the company said. If, or rather when, supplies through Ukraine are shut down, it would leave Gazprom sending gas only via the TurkStream pipeline to Turkey and a handful of European countries that haven't severed business ties with Russia.   Tyler Durden Tue, 09/27/2022 - 12:19.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 27th, 2022

How Elon Musk went from being a trusted Donald Trump advisor to a bitter adversary

Former President Donald Trump once called Elon Musk "one of our great geniuses." Now he's turned on the Tesla billionaire. Donald Trump (right) on Tuesday escalated his feud with Elon Musk in a Truth Social post belittling the billionaire.Andrew Kelly and Gaelen Morse/Reuters Elon Musk and former President Donald Trump are going at it online.  Musk said Trump should "sail away into the sunset." Trump called Musk a "bullshit artist." Their relationship wasn't always so rocky. Here's how it's evolved over time.  Former President Donald Trump and Elon Musk, the world's richest person, are in the midst of a fiery online feud.Most recently, Musk said Trump shouldn't run for president again in 2024. In response, the former president bashed what he called Musk's "electric cars that don't drive long enough, driverless cars that crash, or rocketships to nowhere."But their history goes back farther than this latest spat. November 2016: Musk says Trump is 'not the right guy' for the jobYasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesJust before the 2016 presidential election, Musk told CNBC he didn't think Trump should be president. "I feel a bit stronger that he is not the right guy. He doesn't seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States," Musk said. The billionaire added that Hillary Clinton's economic and environmental policies were the "right ones."December 2016: Musk appointed to Trump's advisory councilsDonald Trump on Tuesday escalated his feud with Elon Musk in a series of Truth Social posts belittling the billionaire.Evan Vucci/AP PhotoAfter he won the presidency, Trump appointed Musk to two economic advisory councils, along with other business leaders like Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Musk got flack for working with the controversial president, but defended his choice by saying he was using the position to lobby for better environmental and immigration policies. —Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2017June 2017: Musk cut ties with the White House in protest of Trump's environmental policiesTesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and former President Donald TrumpAP Photo/Alex BrandonOn June 1, 2017, after Trump announced the US would pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, Musk resigned from his roles on presidential advisory boards. "Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk said in a tweet announcing his departure.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017Musk's goal for Tesla is to curb dependence on fossil fuels through electric vehicles, solar power, and stationary energy storage. January 2020: 'One of our great geniuses'Former President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America" rally in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 9, 2022.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesDuring a January 2020 interview with CNBC, Trump praised Musk's accomplishments and intelligence. "You have to give him credit," the former president said, referring to Tesla becoming more valuable than Ford and General Motors. "He's also doing the rockets. He likes rockets. And he's doing good at rockets too, by the way." Trump went on to call Musk "one of our great geniuses" and likened him to Thomas Edison. May 2020: Trump backs up Musk in feud with California covid rulesElon Musk meets Donald Trump at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. May 30, 2020.REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstAs the pandemic gripped the US in early 2020, Musk clashed with California public-health officials who forced Tesla to temporarily shut down its factory there. Trump voiced his support for Musk. "California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW," Trump tweeted in May 2020. "It can be done Fast & Safely!""Thank you!," Musk replied. May 2022: Musk said he would reinstate Trump's Twitter accountTesla CEO Elon Musk.Chris Saucedo/Getty Images for SXSWIn May, before Musk pulled out of his deal to buy Twitter, he said he would unban Trump as the social network's new owner. Musk called the ban a "morally bad decision" and "foolish to the extreme" in an interview with the Financial Times. Twitter kicked Trump off of its platform following the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. The Tesla billionaire has called himself a "free speech absolutist," and one of his key goals for taking Twitter private was to loosen content moderation. July 2022: Trump calls Musk a 'bullshit artist'Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America" in Anchorage, Alaska on July 9, 2022Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty ImagesLast week, Trump took aim at Musk, claiming the businessman voted for him but later denied it. "You know [Musk] said the other day 'Oh, I've never voted for a Republican,'" Trump said during a Saturday rally in Anchorage, Alaska. "I said 'I didn't know that.' He told me he voted for me. So he's another bullshit artist."On Monday, Musk tweeted that Trump's claim was "not true."July 2022: Musk says Trump shouldn't run againElon Musk.Alexi Rosenfeld / Contributor / gettyOn Monday, Musk stopped short of attacking Trump personally, but said he shouldn't run for president again. "I don't hate the man, but it's time for Trump to hang up his hat & sail into the sunset. Dems should also call off the attack – don't make it so that Trump's only way to survive is to regain the Presidency," he tweeted. He continued: "Do we really want a bull in a china shop situation every single day!? Also, I think the legal maximum age for start of Presidential term should be 69." Trump is 76 years old. July 2022: Trump lashes outFormer President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition during their annual conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesTrump went on the offensive on Tuesday, posting a lengthy attack on Musk on Truth Social, the social media company he founded. "When Elon Musk came to the White House asking me for help on all of his many subsidized projects, whether it's electric cars that don't drive long enough, driverless cars that crash, or rocketships to nowhere, without which subsidies he'd be worthless, and telling me how he was a big Trump fan and Republican, I could have said, 'drop to your knees and beg,' and he would have done it," Trump said in a post that criticized two of Musk's ventures, Tesla and the rocket company SpaceX. "Lmaooo," Musk responded on Twitter. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 15th, 2022

Even With "Defund The Police" Discredited, Some Schools May Still Shun The Police

Even With 'Defund The Police' Discredited, Some Schools May Still Shun The Police Authored by Vince Bielski via RealClearInvestigations (emphasis ours), Des Moines this week suffered its first fatal school shooting – reigniting a controversy in the city after the district removed police officers from its schools last year. Police say a group of teenagers in vehicles outside Des Moines' East High School fired multiple rounds onto school property on Monday, killing a 15-year-old boy and critically wounding two female students who were bystanders. Six teenagers, some of them current Des Moines students, have been charged with first-degree murder. The deadly drive-by shooting now hovers over the decision by Des Moines officials, along with about 30 districts across the country, to exile cops from schools. These moves were part of the "defund the police" movement that erupted after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. It’s a movement now reeling in the face of violent crime surging nationwide, punctuated by President Biden’s State of the Union vow last week to “fund the police.” But in schools, at least, a decision to bring back cops -- or “school resource officers,” as they are called -- isn’t a slam dunk in places where students of color had been arrested at higher rates than whites. Des Moines (population: 214,000) provides a case in point. So far its district, half of whose students are black or Latino, has not followed schools from Maryland to California heeding pleas to restore the SROs. Instead, Iowa’s capital city is rolling out a new community-engagement safety plan to replace the cops. And that infuriates parents alarmed by school mayhem long before Floyd’s death moved racial justice to the front burner -- parents like Lindsay LaGrange. The Des Moines mom reached her breaking point in November after a student in her son’s middle school was found with an airsoft pellet gun on campus. “My son turned in this boy to the front office, and then later this boy beats up my son after school,” she said. “Almost every day he said there’s another fight at school. The kids are not safe.” Police investigating after Monday's fatal shooting outside Des Moines' East High School. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP) The Policing of America’s Schools Des Moines joined the wave of districts that hired SROs after the rash of school shootings in the 1990s, a decade capped by the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. The killing of Sandy Hook elementary school children in Connecticut in 2012 spurred more districts to follow suit. As many as 25,000 law enforcement officers are working today in all types of schools, from rural to suburban to urban, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). In Des Moines, SRO was a coveted job. Cops went through a competitive hiring process, which vetted them for the patience and savvy to communicate with teenagers, said Sergeant Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department. Not every officer was a good fit. Those tapped went through training at NASRO, a crash course in seeing the world through the eyes of a teenager. Des Moines started its SRO program about two decades ago. The district would eventually hire 10 SROs and a supervisor – one cop for each high school and four that were shared by the middle schools. Seventy percent of SROs were white men and women. Black men made up 30%. Parizek said the public has harbored misconceptions about the approach. SROs weren’t placed in schools to jack up kids with a dime bag. Although an average of 287 Des Moines students were arrested annually in the years before the pandemic, the goal was prevention: to build relationships with students to deter them from trouble and to hear chatter about what’s going down in the schools. Who’s going to fight? Who has a gun? “The guns we recovered in 2019, we recovered them before they made it inside the school door,” Parizek said. “And this was because of the relationships that SROs had with students who provided them with information.” School resource officer Deb Vanvelzen: “Sometimes kids talked to me to keep their friends safe.” A Cop’s Story at Lincoln High Officer Deb Vanvelzen fit the SRO mold. She was a school teacher with a passion for working with students before becoming a cop and then an SRO from 2005 to 2019, mostly at Lincoln High. In addition to performing typical police duties, such as breaking up fights and disposing of drugs, Vanvelzen aimed to be part of the Lincoln community. She advised teachers on how to keep classrooms safe. She spoke with parents about how to address problems with their children. She gave students lunch money and clothing her own kids outgrew. A former high school athlete, the white cop played hoops in the gym (and in uniform) with students and ate lunch in the cafeteria with kids of color to break the ice. They talked about clothing styles. For a few years she sent every student a birthday card. At graduation, Vanvelzen shook everyone’s hand. The payoff? “Once the students saw me as trustworthy, they started talking to me and I found out things before they happened and exploded,” she said. “Sometimes kids talked to me to keep their friends safe.” A few years ago, a Lincoln student approached Vanvelzen with a tip about a weapon. The day before, a teen from a different school involved in a fight across the street from Lincoln had a gun. Vanzelzen then relayed the tip to the SRO at that student’s school. “So that SRO sees the kid in the hallway, gets him into his office, and lo and behold, he still has the gun,” she said. Portilda Sayon, a junior at Lincoln, said some students felt safer because of the SROs. Sayon got to know Dusty Chapline, Vanvelzen’s replacement, after Sayon had a verbal spat with other girls. The two talked a lot about Sayon’s emotional problems and issues at home. “Chappie helped me tremendously,” Sayon said.    Some students, however, never took to the SROs. “They don’t like cops because they had a bad experience with them before,” Sayon said. Vanvelzen said that she, in collaboration with the Lincoln staff, “absolutely” made the school safer. But she notes the challenge in assessing the effectiveness of SROs. There’s no way to count the number of incidents that did not happen because of her presence at Lincoln. The statistics are hard to interpret: there were 1,652 reported acts of physical aggression in the Des Moines middle and high schools in fiscal 2019. That number was fairly steady in the few years before SROs were removed. So perhaps the cops were keeping a lid on violence but not significantly reducing it. When officials examined the data, they couldn’t come to a definitive conclusion about SROs. “That’s the essential question, but we really couldn’t answer it with confidence that SROs were or weren’t making schools safer,” said Jake Troja, the district director of school climate transformation. How Two Students Expelled the SROs The campaign to remove the police was led by two Des Moines students at East High School, Endi Montalvo-Martinez and Lyric Sellers. While researching racial equity for a leadership class, Montalvo-Martinez, then a junior, learned about the controversy surrounding SROs in other cities. It meshed with the experience of some of his friends who believed racism had led SROs to stop them and search their bags.   So Montalvo-Martinez and Sellers, then a sophomore, wrote a sweeping anti-racist proposal in early 2020 to compel the district to remove the police, redesign its Eurocentric curriculum and hire more teachers of color. Jake Troja, school official: Statistics didn't answer whether "SROs were or weren’t making schools safer.”  When the duo met with Superintendent Thomas Ahart, he said no. “He made excuses like there’s no funding, we can’t invest in these things,” said Montalvo-Martinez. Soon after that rejection, Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis ignited protests, even in quiet Des Moines, where demonstrators clashed with cops, exchanging bricks and bottles for tear gas in May of 2020. The following month, Ahart sent a letter to families, titled “We ALL Must Be Actively ANTI-Racist.” Montalvo-Martinez said the district’s new anti-racist pledge gave the two students more political leverage, but they still needed tactical advice on how to sway administrators and board members. Jaylen Cavil, a defund the police advocate with the Black Liberation Movement and candidate for the Iowa House, became a key adviser. Montalvo-Martinez and Sellers gathered arrest data from the Des Moines human rights department and student testimonials about being traumatized by SROs before making presentations to principals, teachers and school board members individually. They encountered some resistance from school staff, but in their second meeting with the superintendent, Ahart agreed that the SROs must go. "Ahart did a 180," Montalvo-Martinez said. Thomas Ahart, superintendent: After Floyd's murder, “We ALL Must Be Actively ANTI-Racist.” But Ahart knew that most parents probably wouldn’t back his decision. In a survey by the district, a majority of parents (66%) and students (53%) had said they supported having police in schools. In the heated racial politics of the moment, the arrest data – blacks students were twice as likely to be involved with a SRO than whites – became a rallying point. Montalvo-Martinez and other activists said it showed that the cops were biased and targeted blacks for arrest. The cops, however, generally didn’t patrol the halls and playgrounds looking to make arrests. The vast majority of arrests started with calls for help to SROs from school administrators, who were identifying the incidents and misbehaving students that they wanted the cops to handle, district officials say. “I want to make clear that SROs were not the problem even though it comes off in the media that way,” Troja said. “They were summoned” to the scene. In February 2021, the school board voted unanimously to end the SRO program. “Kudos to these two students for really being intentional around the process and information and lining up support on this issue,” said Teree Caldwell-Johnson, vice chair of the school board.  Schools Take On Violence Control Following the lead of other districts, Des Moines developed a SRO replacement plan for schools to handle most of the behavior problems, other than serious crimes such as possession of a weapon. This way, students would avoid the taint of a police record that could harm their job prospects after graduation. Officials also argued that they could improve school safety if the $900,000 spent on SROs was redeployed in support of a new, community-based approach. That included bringing community organizations like Dads on a Mission – a group of local fathers who want to have a positive influence on students – into the schools. Hall monitors were hired so high schools now have five of them rather than one SRO. And the district has been rolling out a restorative justice program, where students hash out their conflicts in discussion groups in hopes of overcoming them – a practice that has had mixed results in other districts around the country. “We were calling the SROs for many incidents, like physical fights in the hallways, that we could have handled ourselves,” Troja said. “Now we are approaching safety differently by allocating funds to different resources to try to get better results.” The new approach didn’t get off to a good start. Last fall, after 16,000 middle and high school students returned to classrooms full-time in Des Moines, officials were caught off guard by the spike in fighting and disruptive behavior. The removal of the SROs didn’t cause the surge in violence, but nor were the cops readily available to tamp it down. Last September, there were 83 referrals for fighting in Des Moines’ six high schools compared with 59 in the same month in 2019 – a pattern of monthly increases that continued through December. Students posted numerous disturbing videos on Snapchat of boys and girls aggressively attacking each other at different schools, with punches to the head, kicks to the stomach and stomps on the chest. Then there’s the matter of guns. Last year, a student brought a loaded 9mm pistol into Lincoln High, alarming parents but not surprising them. From 2016 to 2020, the staff and SROs confiscated 20 lethal weapons from students, mostly loaded guns, in this school district of 32,000 students. Des Moines police say a number of gun shots have been fired near schools that have been linked to students, but without any fatalities. In addition to guns, students have access to a wide arsenal of weapons. In December, a Lincoln student who had been bullied brought a taser to school and used it when he was attacked by others bearing brass knuckles and pepper spray. Backlash at the School Board Aveantai Smith moved from Arlington, Texas, to Des Moines, where she had lived about 17 years ago, assuming the schools were as safe as she remembered. Instead, she has been horrified by the brutality that her son and daughter have encountered at Lincoln High. Smith met with the principal, who said he’s doing everything he can to control the surge in violence. But that didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. She pulled her daughter out of Lincoln and sent her back to Texas to live with her grandmother. Her son, a football player who isn’t easily intimidated, remains at the school. “It’s literally outrageous,” said Smith, herself a college nursing student. “The school is not safe and secure. The fighting is on a whole different level. I’m scared to send my kids to school every single day.” By December a backlash was underway, with Des Moines parents calling for a return of the SROs in media interviews. The controversy came to a head at a Dec. 7 school board meeting. LaGrange, whose son Jeremiah was attacked by another student, has been organizing other parents on social media behind the SRO cause. She bluntly told board members during the meeting to “wake up” to the reality of the rise in violence and restore the police program to protect students. Critics of SROs also spoke up at the meeting, repeating the story line about racist police practices. A public school employee told the board that the police were removed for “targeting black children” and that the racist practice would return with the SROs. An activist with the Young Women’s Resource Center urged the officials to reject the “dangerous narrative” pushed by local TV station KCCI in its “campaign against black children, framing them as sources of violence within our schools.” But KCCI hasn’t singled out black students in its coverage. Ten days later, Superintendent Ahart was forced to crack down on students, announcing a tougher suspension policy for fighting in a letter to families. After a first fight, students can stay in school and try to resolve the conflict. After a second, they shift to 30 school days of remote virtual learning with counseling to get to the root of the problem. A third fight means two months of virtual instruction. With the return of some old school discipline, the number of reported high school fights dropped to 47 in January compared with 67 in the same month of 2020. But Ahart, who announced his resignation on Feb. 28, was silent on the question of bringing back SROs. Would having cops on-site who can quickly respond to incidents like the brawl outside of Lincoln High in September also make a difference? “Yes, without SROs we lose that immediate access to an officer,” Troja said. “Does that have benefits? It does. But do those benefits outweigh the benefits that we gain now with our new approach? I don’t think so, or we wouldn’t have gone down this path.” Tyler Durden Thu, 03/10/2022 - 21:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 10th, 2022

The Dystopian Vision Of The Health-Information Police

The Dystopian Vision Of The Health-Information Police Authored by Laura Powell via The Brownstone Institute, When Assemblymember Evan Low, the principal author of California Assembly Bill 2098, told the California Senate Committee that his bill was “really straightforward, very straightforward,” many of us in the gallery failed to restrain ourselves from expressing our incredulity.  He delivered this statement at the conclusion of a hearing that had lasted over an hour, during which it seemed no two Senators on the committee had the same idea of how the law would operate. Assemblymember Low had struggled to respond to questions from the committee and had often resorted to simply reading the text of the bill. That June 26 hearing presented the only time any legislators questioned the bill during its entire passage through the legislative process. Assembly Bill 2098 would empower the Medical Board of California to go after the licenses of physicians who disseminate “misinformation” or “disinformation” regarding Covid-19. The bill in its latest iteration defines misinformation as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.” The inscrutability of this definition lies at the core of the bill’s opponents concerns.  No clear scientific consensus exists with respect to this novel virus, and even if it did, it may be proven incorrect later. Without clear guidance regarding what would constitute “misinformation,” physicians can only guess if they risk losing their licenses for expressing their good-faith disagreements with positions of public health officials. Even if in practice, the Medical Board only applied the law to speech that the First Amendment does not protect, the law’s vagueness would render it unconstitutional, because it would tend to cause doctors to censor themselves. The million-dollar question remains unanswered: Who would be targeted by Assembly Bill 2098? On one hand, the California Medical Association, the bill’s sponsor, cites the example of doctors who call “into question public health efforts such as masking” as creating the need for this bill. Likewise, the taxpayer-funded lobbying group County Health Executives Association of California decries “a small minority of medical professionals” who have led some Californians to “reject public health measures such as masking and physical distancing.”  The analysis of the bill from the Senate committee, in discussing the need for this bill, cited the example of the state of Florida refusing to take action against the license of Florida Surgeon General for, among other things, “question[ing] the value of face masks in preventing the spread of the pandemic.” The idea that the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of Covid is part of the “contemporary scientific consensus” confirms physicians’ fears that they would risk discipline for questioning any edict from public health on Covid. On the other hand, when critics of Assembly Bill 2098 argue that questioning the effectiveness of masks falls well within the bounds of legitimate difference of opinions, proponents poo-poo their concerns about the law being applied in an overly broad way and insist that the law would only be used against truly “bad doctors.” But imbuing bureaucrats with power while trusting they will not exercise it would be incredibly foolish.  Some, such as Assemblymember Low, bill co-author Assemblymember Akilah Weber, and a representative of the California Medical Association, imply that this bill would only apply in cases of intentional harm. There is nothing in the letter of the law that limits the bill’s reach to situations where someone was harmed or where the information was disseminated knowing it was false. (Intentionally misleading would fall under the definition of “disinformation” as opposed to “misinformation.” An earlier draft of the bill mentioned harm to a patient as a factor for the Medical Board to consider.)  Members of the Medical Board of California itself have expressed confusion about how the law would be applied and withheld its support initially. MBC President Kristina Lawson, an attorney who has been a driving force behind this bill, claims to have clarity about how it would be applied but apparently is only willing to discuss the matter in private.  While most proponents say as little as possible regarding Assembly Bill 2098’s implications, one group is more vocal and less guarded in its statements. Two self-described “frontline” California doctors, Nick Sawyer and Taylor Nichols, formed No License for Disinformation (NLFD) in September 2021.  As its name suggests, the organization’s purpose is to promote policies that use the threat of medical license revocation to discourage doctors from spreading information it believes to be false. Sawyer has twice testified before legislative committees in favor of Assembly Bill 2098. NLFD’s prolific tweets and other public statements paint a dystopian picture that reflects opponents’ worst fears of the type of authoritarian regime proponents wish to impose.  NLFD pushes the idea that there is, as Sawyer described it his testimony before the Assembly committee on April 19, a “well-coordinated and well-funded network of doctors” who promote “anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, sow distrust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government, and ultimately the Covid-19 vaccines.”  At the outset, note the irony that NLFD frequently criticizes “conspiracy theorists” while promoting its own conspiracy theories. And NLFD not only wants to silence those who undermine faith in public health measures, but anyone who “sows distrust” in the government. Let that sink in. NLFD’s tweets elaborate on its conspiracy theories, which are, like most conspiracy theories, built on weak evidence that magnify tenuous connections. A recent tweet shared a long thread posted by one of its founders that purports to uncover a web of right-wing “disinformation” purveyors funded by oil money. It implicates, among others, anyone associated with the Great Barrington Declaration or Brownstone Institute and specifically names UCSF professor and doctor Vinay Prasad, journalist and author David Zweig, and Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Stefan Baral as part of this cabal.  An August 13, 2022 tweet promotes a Substack article, written by NLFD “Research Consultant” Allison Neitzel, which calls America’s Frontline Physicians, Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, and The Unity Project the “Big 4” responsible for a “physician-led attack on public health.” NLFD has often identified these four as its primary targets, sometimes adding the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons and Urgency of Normal to its hit list. NLFD asserts, without any basis, that these groups work together.  Some of NLFD’s targets, such as the Urgency of Normal’s leadership, are mainstream physicians. NLFD dismisses them as ranging from “formerly well respected immunologists to outright frauds.” It links to a long thread from one of its founders that accuses Urgency of Normal of being part of a right-wing operation to promote an “anti-mask narrative.”  It complains that CNN gave Dr. Jeanne Noble, Associate Professor at UCSF, a platform. It retweeted a tweet calling for Dr. Lucy McBride to be reported to the medical board for opposing mask mandates in schools and responded with a link directing the public on how to do so. It dismissed every doctor who participated in a roundtable hosted by Florida Governor DeSantis, which included Dr. Tracy Høeg, as “Covid deniers” and “disinformation doctors” and warned that no one should accept medical advice from any of them. These attacks contradict any claim that NLFD claims only wants to silence doctors who peddle dangerously false medical advice rather than those who have good-faith disagreements with official Covid policy. The inclusion of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration—Sunetra Gupta, Martin Kulldorff, and Jay Bhattacharya—at the top of NLFD’s hit list is puzzling. Not only does the declaration espouse a conventional viewpoint, none of the Great Barrington Declaration’s authors is a practicing physician and therefore law like Assembly Bill 2098 would not affect them.  NLFD has called out the Great Barrington Declaration around a dozen times and frequently targets Stanford professor Bhattacharya in particular (he earned a medical degree but does not practice medicine or hold a medical license). NLFD doesn’t just accuse Bhattacharya of being wrong, it accuses him of intentionally lying, calling him a “disinformation doctor” and a “prominent purveyor of Covid-19 disinformation,” accusing him of telling lies that have killed people (along with Vinay Prasad), and insinuating he should be reported for perjury. In addition to its direct attacks, NLFD has retweeted dozens of criticisms of Bhattacharya and seemed to delight in a journalist getting Twitter to temporarily suspend his account for a minor oversight. NLFD’s messaging has an unquestionably partisan slant, despite claiming to be nonpartisan. It has posted dozens of tweets critical of the Republican Party. Some of these criticisms do not clearly relate to the organization’s mission of combating misinformation.  For example, this August 8, 2022 thread attacks Republican lawmakers for opposing a drug pricing control provision in a bill. The same day, another tweet alleges that the GOP Doctors Caucus is allied with “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli. They attempt to tie this issue in with their mission by asserting that Republicans in general are “affiliated with licensed physicians” spreading Covid misinformation.  In another recent example, NLFD posted a clip from 2017 accusing Rand Paul of being in cahoots with Putin. It had previously suggested that Paul should be reported to the medical board for reasons it doesn’t identify. NLFD has even branched out to opine on political issues totally unrelated to the practice of medicine, encouraging the public to report “harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school board members or staff to the FBI. NLFD has numerous posts elaborating on its idea of a right-wing, Republican-led conspiracy to spread disinformation. It uses the phrase “disinformation pipeline” to describe an alleged process by which Republicans in state legislatures deliberately harm public health by “institutionalizing disinformation” through, for example, passing laws that shield doctors from discipline for controversial Covid treatments. It claims that the overall Republican agenda is to “create fear/animosity/victimhood amongst supporters, whipping up anti-science/anti-government sentiment making them more likely to take up arms against the government.” It has asserted that “[a]ll COVID disinformation doctors are inextricably tied to Trump.”  Many of NLFD’s conspiracy theories are quite dark and disturbing. It recently retweeted a thread from its own Nick Sawyer, which argues that the United States is currently in the midst of a civil war, which goes unrecognized because it is an information war. Another recent tweet exhorts: “This is an information war, a battle for the truth, and [every] American is a soldier. Get up to speed and start fighting for evidence based reality. No one is going to do this for us.”  NLFD’s primary weapon in this imagined information war is censorship, but it also advocates for criminal prosecution for expressing the wrong ideas. It frequently encourages its followers to report physicians to their medical boards, even if they have no relationship with them. It also frequently calls on Twitter to deplatform accounts it feels say things that are untrue. But it goes even further, tagging the FBI and posting a link to the FBI tip line, asking its followers to report people for alleged misinformation.  It tags the United States Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in its tweets. It calls its targets a “threat to national security.” NLFD erroneously claims that under current California law, a physician can be criminally prosecuted for any untrue statement. NLFD wants to go far beyond having medical boards discipline licensed physicians—they want to see their enemies in jail. Against this backdrop of NLFD’s other public statements, it’s hard to imagine how Sawyer managed to sound sincere when he told the Senate committee: “This bill is not supposed to cause problems with physicians’ free speech around academic discussion. This bill will allow the medical board to discipline doctors who say things like the vaccines cause AIDS or that the vaccines are killing more patients than Covid, using manipulated data or that the vaccines are implanting microchips so the government can track you. I’m all for academic debate—in fact, we wouldn’t be where we are today without robust academic debate, but that’s not what this is about.” Make no mistake—Assembly Bill 2098 is not just about protecting patient safety. That is why one member of the Medical Board of California warned that the bill would be counterproductive to the Board’s mission. Assembly Bill 2098 was not the brainchild of Assemblymember Low or any other California lawmakers. It’s part of an effort to enact similar policies around the country, sparked in large part by a declaration from the Federation of State Medical Boards in July 2021.  California is often described as a bellwether: “As California goes, so goes the nation.” That saying rings especially true with respect to Assembly Bill 2098, given that this is a test case for a national movement and that Governor Gavin Newsom has obvious presidential aspirations.  The bill will become law on January 1 unless the governor vetoes by September 30, and even then, the Democrats who voted for the bill have sufficient numbers to override a veto. Then we will discover whether our high courts still uphold the principle of free speech or whether they will allow themselves to be co-opted by the soldiers fighting to be the arbiters of Truth. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2022

Liz Cheney says Mike Pence was "essentially the president" on January 6 as Trump refused to send reprieve

The Republican congresswoman on Monday delivered one of her first public speeches since losing her primary race last month. Then-US President Donald Trump arrives with then- Vice President Mike Pence for a Make America Great Again rally at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan on November 2, 2020.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images Liz Cheney in a searing Monday speech skewered Trump and members of the Republican Party. Cheney suggested that Mike Pence was "essentially" the acting president on January 6, 2021.  "White House staff knew it, and so did every Republican and Democratic leader in Washington," she said. GOP Rep. Liz Cheney delivered a searing indictment of former President Donald Trump and members of the Republican Party on Monday in one of her first speeches since her primary defeat last month. Cheney this week gave the Walter Berns Constitution Day lecture at AEI, a center-right economic think tank in Washington DC, warning that America's freedom is in a perilous position and urging the country to hold Trump accountable for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot. Cheney, as the top Republican on the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection, has long been one of the few outspoken GOP critics of Trump — a stance that ultimately cost her her congressional seat after Trump spent months propping up her Republican challenger.But Cheney on Monday did not dwell on her political woes, opting instead to further rebuke Trump's actions, or lack thereof, on January 6, 2021. "I hope you all heard the testimony in our select committee hearings of Pat Cipollone, corroborated by Cassidy Hutchinson and others on President Trump's White House staff," she said. "Testimony that President Trump was the only person who refused to respond to desperate calls for help, even from his own congressional allies. He refused to come to their aid."Several witnesses, including Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee that they were puzzled by Trump's inaction as rioters stormed the US capitol on January 6. In her speech on Monday, Cheney suggested that Trump's second-in-command, Mike Pence, stepped into his superior's role."If you watched our hearings closely, you understand that Vice President Mike Pence was essentially the president for most of that day," she said. "White House staff knew it, and so did every other Republican and Democratic leader in Washington." After Trump assailed Pence on Twitter for refusing to reject Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden, rioters throughout the Capitol began chanting "hang Mike Pence." Hutchinson testified earlier this summer that Trump defended the insurrectionists' call for violence, saying that "Mike deserves it."In his recent autobiography,  "So Help Me God," Pence wrote that he was not afraid, during the events of January 6, but angry."I was angry at what I saw, how it desecrated the seat of our democracy and dishonored the patriotism of millions of our supporters, who would never do such a thing here or anywhere else," Pence wrote.According to "The Divider," a new book by Peter Baker of The New York Times and Susan Glasser of The New Yorker, Trump has said he would not pick Pence to be his running mate if he launches a 2024 campaign. "It would be totally inappropriate" to pick Pence as his running mate, Trump said, according to the book. "Mike committed political suicide," the former told Glasser and Baker.In her speech, Cheney also urged people to rewatch testimony from the committee's summer hearings and listen to what several of Trump's former officials said about the then-president's post-2020 actions while under oath. "How could Trump's refusal to act, his betrayal or our Republic, of our Constitution, of our principles, come with no cost?" she said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 19th, 2022

Charlie Crist"s running mate compared Florida under Gov. Ron DeSantis to "The Handmaid"s Tale"

"We can't allow Commander DeSantis and Aunt Jeanette to continue down the path of turning Florida into a mini Gilead," Hernández-Mats said at a Miami Beach fundraiser. Karla Hernández-Mats, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Florida, and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.Gaston De Cardenas/AP Photo and Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images Democrat Karla Hernández-Mats referred to Florida's Republican governor and lieutenant governor as "Commander DeSantis" and "Aunt Jeanette." Hernández-Mats, who is running for lieutenant governor, was making a thinly veiled reference to dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale."  She told Insider that Florida laws on abortion, education, and voting led to the characterization.  MIAMI BEACH, Florida — Karla Hernández-Mats, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Florida, said Friday that living in the state is beginning to feel like "The Handmaid's Tale," the dystopian novel from 1985 that rocketed to the bestseller list during Donald Trump's presidency. During a speech at a fundraiser known as the Miami-Dade Democratic Party Blue Gala, Hernández-Mats — the No. 2 on the gubernatorial ticket with Charlie Crist — swiped at Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez by comparing them to characters in the Margaret Atwood novel. "We can't allow Commander DeSantis and Aunt Jeanette to continue down the path of turning Florida into a mini Gilead," she said, referring to the book's fictitious Republic of Gilead, a military and religious dictatorship that overthrows the US government.In the novel, women known as "Handmaids" are raped and forced to produce children for the male ruling class, known as "Commanders." Handmaids are not allowed to read, write, or own property, and newspapers are censored. The Aunts train and indoctrinate Handmaids. "Obviously a lot of people have read 'The Handmaid's Tale,' and I think that we're going backwards just like that," Hernández-Mats said in an interview with Insider following the event, a plated dinner featuring other Democratic speakers and held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Hernández-Mats drew comparisons to laws that have passed under DeSantis, including a 15-week abortion ban without exceptions for rape and incest, a push to redraw the state's congressional map, and the state's decision to reject certain math textbooks that didn't comply with a new education law restricting the way race is discussed in classrooms. "All these things, unfortunately, sound like they're fictitious and fantastical and that it would never happen — because that's what I thought when I read that book — and here we are in 2022," she told Insider. "We're seeing a governor that acts like a dictator, that is authoritarian, and that is taking away and depriving our freedom, which is exactly what happened in Gilead." Hernández-Mats said she hadn't used the comparison in a speech before Friday, but the comparison in Washington, DC, when Trump was president wasn't unusual.Protestors dressed as Handmaids and gathered outside the US Capitol when the GOP-controlled Senate was confirming Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and when Republicans were attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's healthcare law. Hernández-Mats told Insider she read the book but had not watched the Hulu rendition of "The Handmaid's Tale," which has won numerous Emmy Awards and stars Elizabeth Moss. Rep. Charlie Crist celebrates as he announces his running mate Karla Hernández-Mats at Hialeah Middle School in Hialeah, Florida, on Saturday Aug. 27, 2022 as he challenges Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in November.Gaston De Cardenas/AP PhotoGovernor's race homes in on defining freedomHernández-Mats, whose parents immigrated to the US from Honduras, is a former special education teacher who then went on to become president of the United Teachers of Dade, a teachers' union. "My focus as a teacher is on teaching emotionally, behaviorally disturbed children," Hernández-Mats said during her speech on Friday evening. "So I think you'll agree that by itself makes me uniquely qualified to deal with dysfunctional legislators in Tallahassee."Crist announced on August 27 that he'd picked Hernández-Mats to be on his ticket and resigned from the US House a few days later. He was governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011, though he was a Republican at the time. DeSantis rarely mentions Crist in his speeches. Instead, he regularly touts his actions during the COVID-19 pandemic to "keep Florida free" and has called the Sunshine State the "freest state." DeSantis defied federal health officials and drew a loyal base of supporters after allowing states and businesses to stay open far earlier than other states.National name recognition — and speculation that he'll be running for president in 2024 — have followed. During public events in recent weeks, DeSantis warned voters "not to take any of it for granted" that Florida would have operated similarly during the pandemic if he were not governor. DeSantis won his first term by less than half a percentage point against Democrat Andrew Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee. DeSantis has criticized Hernández-Mats for backing pandemic-induced school lockdowns when she led the teacher's union. Hernández-Mats told Insider on Friday she supported reopening but wanted to do so safely. Yet DeSantis views his education policies as one of his strongest cases for reelection. Though he was met with backlash over school reopenings for months, many blue states eventually followed suit amid parental backlash and as officials concluded virtual learning harmed social and educational outcomes. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 10th, 2022

The DOJ is about to run up against a Trump-packed appeals court as it fights the appointment of a special master in the Mar-a-Lago case

An appeals court filled with Trump appointees awaits the Justice Department's appeal of an order delaying the review of records seized from Mar-a-Lago. Former President Donald Trump.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images DOJ is appealing an order restricting the review of records seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. The trial judge's order was widely panned as an unwarranted interjection into a criminal inquiry. The appeal will go to the 11th Circuit, where six of the 11 active judges are Trump appointees. In late summer 2018, then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh was not spending much time at the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit as he met with senators in preparation for a contentious Supreme Court confirmation process.But one Tuesday that August, Kavanaugh emerged at the DC Circuit for the swearing-in of a former law clerk, Britt Grant, to the federal appeals court in Atlanta. In a ceremonial courtroom adorned with statues of Moses and Hammurabi, Kavanaugh praised his 40-year-old former clerk's quick rise through the legal ranks — from DC Circuit clerk to associate at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, to solicitor general of Georgia, to justice on the state's supreme court, to judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.The swearing-in ceremony was a celebration of just one of the six judges former President Donald Trump would appoint by the end of his term to the 11th Circuit, an appeals court where his administration left a particularly lasting mark in its frenzied push to fill the federal bench.Four years later, that court is set to hear a high-stakes dispute between the Justice Department and Trump over the FBI's search of his Mar-a-Lago home last month. On Thursday, the Justice Department formally gave notice of its plans to appeal a controversial ruling that granted Trump's request for an outside arbiter to review the more than 11,000 documents retrieved from his South Florida residence on August 8.In an order widely criticized for its dubious claims about executive privilege and unusual solicitude to Trump's demands, Judge Aileen Cannon blocked federal prosecutors from further examining the materials until the outside arbiter — known as a "special master" — completed the review.With the opinion, Cannon effectively paused a key facet of the Justice Department's criminal inquiry into whether the former president violated the Espionage Act and other federal laws that bar the concealment, alteration, and destruction of government records.Cannon, a Trump appointee confirmed in 2020, conferred on the special master broad powers that went beyond filtering records potentially subject to attorney-client privilege to also include documents that might be subject to claims of executive privilege. In her ruling, Cannon included a carve-out allowing for intelligence agencies to continue an assessment of the potential national security risks posed by Trump's hoarding of government records at his West Palm Beach estate. But in its appeal Thursday, the Justice Department said the national security assessment could not be "readily segregated" from the criminal investigation.Amid uncertainty about the ruling, intelligence agencies have temporarily paused the "critically important work" of assessing the national security threat posed by Trump's handling of government materials, the Justice Department added. "Moreover, the government and the public are irreparably injured when a criminal investigation of matters involving risks to national security is enjoined."The Justice Department asked Cannon to stay — or suspend — key parts of her ruling while its appeal is pending before the 11th Circuit. If Cannon declines to grant the stay by September 15, "the government intends to seek relief from the Eleventh Circuit," the Justice Department said.The makeup of the 11th Circuit, with its majority of Trump-appointed judges, is among the potential challenges the Justice Department will confront as it responds to Cannon's decision.Ahead of Thursday's filing, legal experts said the Justice Department would typically appeal such a far-reaching interjection into a criminal investigation without hesitation. But some pointed to practical considerations, including the current composition of the appellate court, as potentially weighing in favor of taking a path of less resistance to avoid a full-scale appeal that could further hinder the criminal investigation."There's a lot of potential for delay here in an appeal. And it's very complicated," said Joyce Vance, a former US attorney in Alabama, which falls within the 11th Circuit along with Florida and Georgia.Vance noted that Cannon is "just one district judge in Southern Florida," and that her ruling is not binding for other jurists on trial courts in the 11th Circuit."But if you're in the 11th Circuit, you're maybe not too happy having this opinion sitting out there. Opinions like this have a way of growing legs," she said ahead of the Justice Department's filing Thursday.In recent days, senior department officials reportedly considered a number of less risky moves, such as asking Cannon to reconsider part — or all — of her ruling or requesting limits on the time and scope of the special master review. The Justice Department ultimately decided to go to the 11th Circuit while also urging Cannon to revisit her initial ruling.David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor in South Florida, told Insider that an appeal was necessary to address the immediate and long-term ramifications of Cannon's ruling "for every other case, in any district, where an aggrieved party would seek to insert a special master in between law enforcement and whatever items they seize during a search."Weinstein added that although six of the appeals court's 11 active judges are Trump appointees, the 11th Circuit "is a conservative set of judges that very often rules in favor of the government and have done so in the past."As is normal practice with appellate courts, the DOJ's appeal will go before a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit. It would only go before all 11 judges in the event that the full appellate court decides to review the case in what's known as an en banc review.  TrumpBrandon Bell/Getty ImagesTrump's mark on the judiciaryFederal judges commonly reject the notion that they're politically aligned with the president responsible for their lifetime appointments. It was a point Kavanaugh made at the August 2018 swearing-in ceremony for Grant."In our constitutional system, a judge must be independent, must keep an open mind in every case, and must decide cases based on the facts and the law, not based on personal or policy views," he said. "Britt Grant understands the role of a judge."She reveres the Constitution and she will work every day to preserve the American rule of law."But in Cannon's ruling, many experts saw an exercise in legal gymnastics, with a judge contorting her reasoning to fit the needs of a president responsible for her nomination to the federal bench.And in recent years, legal experts have pointed to rulings from Kavanaugh and Grant's respective courts — the Supreme Court and 11th Circuit — as undercutting the premise that federal courts operate apart from politics and partisanship.Kavanaugh, for instance, was among the conservative justices who joined earlier this year in reversing Roe v. Wade, overturning a half-century of constitutional protection for abortion rights. For legal experts and reproductive rights advocates, it was a stunning abandonment of longstanding precedent that showed the real-world effect of Trump's judicial appointments, which deepened the high court's conservative majority to 6-3.Trump's push to fill vacancies on the federal bench extended to lower courts. In four years, he appointed 54 appellate judges — just one short of the 55 former President Barack Obama nominated and saw confirmed during his eight years in office. With his appointments, Trump named nearly a third of the 179 federal appellate judges.On the 11th Circuit, Trump's influence has resonated.His appointees and their conservative colleagues made their presence known in a September 2020 opinion that allowed Florida to make it harder for felons to vote. In a 6-4 decision, the court overturned a lower court's finding that a Florida law violated felons' voting rights by requiring them to pay fines, restitution and legal fees after serving time and before casting ballots.All of the dissenting judges were Democratic appointees."Every person who becomes a federal judge gets there because they've been appointed by a president of one party or another," Vance said.Still, she said, "I really think that, in most cases, judges aren't creatures of the party that puts them on the bench. That's sort of a broad-brush statement that I might have been more comfortable making before we confronted the realities of the post-Trump Supreme Court."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 8th, 2022

The DOJ is about to run up against a Trump-packed appeals court as it fights the appointment of a special master in Mar-a-Lago case

An appeals court filled with Trump appointees awaits the Justice Department's appeal of an order delaying the review of records seized from Mar-a-Lago. Former President Donald Trump.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images DOJ is appealing an order restricting the review of records seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. The appeal will go to the 11th Circuit, where six of the 11 active judges are Trump appointees. The trial judge's order was widely panned as an unwarranted interjection into a criminal inquiry. In late summer 2018, then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh was not spending much time at the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit as he met with senators in preparation for a contentious confirmation to the Supreme Court.But one Tuesday that August, Kavanaugh emerged at the DC Circuit for the swearing-in of a former law clerk, Britt Grant, to the federal appeals court in Atlanta. In a ceremonial courtroom adorned with statues of Moses and Hammurabi, Kavanaugh praised his 40-year-old former clerk's quick rise through the legal ranks — from DC Circuit clerk to associate at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, to solicitor general of Georgia, to justice on the state's supreme court, to judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.The swearing-in ceremony was a celebration of just one of the six judges former President Donald Trump would appoint by the end of his term to the 11th Circuit, an appeals court where his administration left a particularly lasting mark in its frenzied push to fill the federal bench.Four years later, that court is set to hear a high-stakes dispute between the Justice Department and Trump over the FBI's search of his Mar-a-Lago home last month. On Thursday, the Justice Department formally gave notice of its plans to appeal a controversial ruling that granted Trump's request for an outside arbiter to review the more than 11,000 documents retrieved from his South Florida home on August 8.In an order widely criticized for its dubious claims about executive privilege and unusual solicitude to Trump's wide-ranging demands, Judge Aileen Cannon blocked federal prosecutors from further examining the materials until the outside arbiter — known as a "special master" — completed the review.With the opinion, Cannon effectively paused a key facet of the Justice Department's criminal inquiry into whether the former president violated the Espionage Act and other federal laws that bar the concealment, alteration, and destruction of government records.Cannon, a Trump appointee confirmed in 2020, conferred on the special master broad powers that went beyond filtering records potentially subject to attorney-client privilege to also include documents that might be subject to claims of executive privilege. In her ruling, Cannon included a carve out allowing for intelligence agencies to continue an assessment of the potential national security risks posed by Trump's hoarding of government records at his West Palm Beach estate. But in its appeal Thursday, the Justice Department said the national security assessment could not be "readily segregated" from the criminal investigation.Amid uncertainty about the ruling, intelligence agencies have temporarily paused the "critically important work" of assessing the national security threat posed by Trump's handling of government materials, the Justice Department added. "Moreover, the government and the public are irreparably injured when a criminal investigation of matters involving risks to national security is enjoined."The Justice Department asked Cannon to stay — or suspend — key parts of her ruling while its appeal is pending before the 11th Circuit. If Cannon declines to grant the stay by September 15, "the government intends to seek relief from the Eleventh Circuit," the Justice Department said.The makeup of the 11th Circuit, with its majority of Trump-appointed judges, is among the potential challenges the Justice Department will confront as it responds to Cannon's decision.Ahead of Thursday's filing, legal experts said the Justice Department would typically appeal such a far-reaching interjection into a criminal investigation without hesitation. But some pointed to practical considerations, including the current composition of the 11th Circuit, as potentially weighing in favor of taking a path of less resistance to avoid a full-scale appeal that could further hinder the criminal investigation."There's a lot of potential for delay here in an appeal. And it's very complicated," said Joyce Vance, a former US attorney in Alabama, which falls within the 11th Circuit along with Florida and Georgia.Vance noted that Cannon is "just one district judge in Southern Florida," and that her ruling is not binding on other jurists on trial courts in the 11th Circuit."But if you're in the 11th Circuit, you're maybe not too happy having this opinion sitting out there. Opinions like this have a way of growing legs," she said ahead of the Justice Department's filing Thursday.In recent days, senior Justice Department officials reportedly considered a number of less risky moves, such as asking Cannon to reconsider part — or all — of her ruling or requesting limits on the time and scope of the special master review. The Justice Department ultimately decided to go to the 11th Circuit while also urging Cannon to revisit her initial ruling.David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor in South Florida, told Insider that an appeal was necessary to address the immediate and long-term ramifications of Cannon's ruling "for every other case, in any district, where an aggrieved party would seek to insert a special master in between law enforcement and whatever items they seize during a search."Weinstein added that although six of the appeals court's 11 active judges are Trump appointees, the 11th Circuit "is a conservative set of judges that very often rules in favor of the government and have done so in the past."As is normal practice with appellate courts, the DOJ's appeal will go before a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit. It would only go before all 11 judges in the event that the appellate court decides to review the case in what's known as an en banc review.  TrumpBrandon Bell/Getty ImagesTrump's mark on the judiciaryFederal judges commonly reject the notion that they're politically aligned with the president responsible for their lifetime appointments. It was a point Kavanaugh made at the August 2018 swearing-in ceremony for Grant."In our constitutional system, a judge must be independent, must keep an open mind in every case, and must decide cases based on the facts and the law, not based on personal or policy views," he said. "Britt Grant understands the role of a judge."She reveres the Constitution and she will work every day to preserve the American rule of law."But in Cannon's ruling, many experts saw an exercise in legal gymnastics, with a judge contorting her reasoning to fit the needs of a president responsible for her nomination to the federal bench.And, in recent years, legal experts have pointed to rulings from Kavanaugh and Grant's respective courts — the Supreme Court and 11th Circuit — as undercutting the premise that federal courts operate apart from politics and partisanship.Kavanaugh, for instance, was among the conservative justices who joined earlier this year in reversing Roe v. Wade, overturning a half-century of constitutional protection for abortion rights. For legal experts and reproductive rights advocates, it was a stunning abandonment of longstanding precedent that showed the real-world effect of Trump's judicial appointments, which deepened the high court's conservative majority to 6-3.Trump's push to fill vacancies on the federal bench extended to lower courts. In four years, Trump appointed 54 appellate judges — just one short of the 55 former President Barack Obama nominated and saw confirmed during his eight years in office. With his appointments, Trump named nearly a third of the 179 federal appellate judges.On the 11th Circuit, Trump's influence has resonated.His appointees and their conservative colleagues made their presence known in a September 2020 opinion that allowed Florida to make it harder for felons to vote. In a 6-4 decision, the court overturned a lower court's finding that a Florida law violated felons' voting rights by requiring them to pay fines, restitution and legal fees after serving time and before casting ballots.All of the dissenting judges were Democratic appointees."Every person who becomes a federal judge gets there because they've been appointed by a president of one party or another," Vance said.Still, she said, "I really think that, in most cases, judges aren't creatures of the party that puts them on the bench. That's sort of a broad-brush statement that I might have been more comfortable making before we confronted the realities of the post-Trump Supreme Court."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 8th, 2022

UN Education Agency Launches War On "Conspiracy Theories"

UN Education Agency Launches War On 'Conspiracy Theories' Authored by Alex Newman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris on Oct. 12, 2017. (Jacques Demarthon/AFP via Getty Images) The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known by its acronym, UNESCO, is escalating its global war on ideas and information it considers to be “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories.” According to the Paris-based U.N. education agency, which released a major report on the subject for educators this summer, conspiracy theories cause “significant harm” and form “the backbone of many populist movements.” Among other concerns, conspiracy theories “foster and reinforce harmful thinking patterns and exclusive worldviews,” the report said. They also “reduce trust in public institutions” and “scientific institutions,” which can drive people to violence or decrease their desire to “reduce their carbon footprint,” UN officials argued in the document. While “all conspiratorial thinking threatens human rights values,” the document says without elaborating, some conspiracy theories are more dangerous than others. In some cases, teachers are even encouraged to report their students to authorities. Examples of “conspiracy theories” cited in the report include everything from widely held and respectable beliefs such as “climate change denial” and “manipulation of federal elections” in the United States, to more far-fetched notions such as the “earth is flat” or “Michelle Obama is actually a lizard.” “There are plenty of crazy thoughts on the Internet, many of which are patently false,” explained Citizens for Free Speech Director Patrick Wood. “The only thoughts being ‘corrected’ are those contrary to the globalist narrative. This proves that the focus is on protecting their own narratives and nothing else.” “UNESCO joins a censorship cartel that now includes the European Union, the U.S. government, the World Economic Forum, social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, and notably, Google,” Wood told The Epoch Times. “Anyone who does not parrot the globalist narrative is by default considered to be a ‘conspiracy theorist.'” At the heart of the global program to combat these ideas and theories are teachers and schools, according to the U.N. agency. Also central is the battle online and in the media, UNESCO documents explain. The latest strategy was unveiled at UNESCO’s “International Symposium on Addressing Conspiracy Theories through Education.” Held in late June in Brussels, the summit brought together academia, governments, civil society, and the private sector to promote “joint action” against conspiracy theories and those who believe or spread them. The plan includes strategies to prevent people from believing in conspiracy theories in the first place as well as tools for dealing with those who already believe them. Several experts on propaganda and free speech, however, warned that the U.N. effort represents a “dangerous” escalation in what they portrayed as a global war on free speech, free expression, questioning official narratives, and dissent more broadly. “What they mean by ‘conspiracy theory’ is any claim or argument or evidence that differs from the propaganda pumped out by the government and media,” warned New York University Professor of Media Studies Mark Crispin Miller, who studies propaganda and government misinformation. “I can’t think of anything more dangerous to free speech and free thought—and, therefore, democracy—than this effort by the U.N., which has no business telling us what’s true and what is not,” Miller told The Epoch Times. “That distinction is not theirs to make, but ours, as free people capable of thinking for ourselves, and unafraid of civil argument.” The Global War on Conspiracy Theories Official efforts to clamp down on “conspiracy theories” and “misinformation” are not new. In fact, Western governments—including the U.S. government—have for years been leading the charge. In 2010, the U.S. State Department, with help from its “Counter Misinformation Team,” published “Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation” on America.gov claiming to debunk various “conspiracy theories.” More recently, the Biden administration has also turned its focus to “conspiracy theories.” Last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security repeatedly suggested that belief in widespread voter fraud or alternative views on COVID-19 and public health measures represented a major terrorism threat to the United States. While the Biden administration’s proposed “Disinformation Governance Board” appears to have been shelved for now following a public outcry, the U.S. government has been working closely with technology giants to suppress speech surrounding election fraud, Hunter Biden’s laptop, alternative views on COVID-19, and more. National Public Radio, a tax-funded operation, has published numerous pieces over the last month echoing UNESCO’s talking points about the alleged danger and prevalence of conspiracy theories in schools and beyond. Outgoing senior health official Dr. Anthony Fauci has chimed in recently, too. “What we’re dealing with now is just a distortion of reality, conspiracy theories which don’t make any sense at all pushing back on sound public health measures, making it look like trying to save lives is encroaching on people’s freedom,” he said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Aug. 22. The World Economic Forum, which has become a lightning rod for criticism around the world over its “Great Reset” agenda, is also working to counter ideas it labels misinformation and conspiracy theories. “Key to stopping the spread of conspiracy theories is educating people to be on the lookout for misleading information—and teaching them to be suspicious of certain sources,” senior WEF writer Charlotte Edmond wrote two years ago in a piece for the organization’s website. The U.N. has been central to the global effort. Indeed, the new program is actually an extension of a 2020 initiative by UNESCO and the European Commission dubbed #ThinkBeforeSharing to combat conspiracy theories online. That effort included urging citizens to post links to fact-checking services and even report journalists who may be engaged in conspiracy theorizing to “your local/national press council or press ombudsperson.” In an October 2020 World Economic Forum podcast on “Seeking a cure for the infodemic,” U.N. global communications chief Melissa Fleming boasts of having enlisted over 100,000 volunteers to amplify the U.N.’s views and squelch competing narratives. “So far, we’ve recruited 110,000 information volunteers, and we equip these information volunteers with the kind of knowledge about how misinformation spreads and ask them to serve as kind of ‘digital first-responders’ in those spaces where misinformation travels,” the U.N. communications chief said. The revelation came after years of U.N. and governmental efforts to quash what it describes as extremism, misinformation, and more on the internet. In 2016, the U.N. Security Council launched a “framework” to fight “extremism” online on the heels of a program from the previous year to battle “ideologies” that could lead to violence. But the fresh UNESCO efforts in education signal a dramatic escalation in the battle—especially in the targeting of school children. Combating ‘Conspiracy Theories’ at School Education and schools are at the center of the new UNESCO plan to combat conspiracy theories. “The fight against conspiracy theories, and the antisemitic and racist ideologies they often convey, begins at school, yet teachers worldwide lack the adequate training,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay about the new effort. “That is why today, UNESCO is launching a practical guide for educators, so they can better teach students how to identify and debunk conspiracy theories.” Beyond working through education, the U.N. agency also hopes to expand its efforts to combat the spread of what it refers to as conspiracy theories in the realms of press and social media. “This builds on the wider work we’re doing to strengthen media and information literacy to better prepare learners to navigate a world of algorithms, artificial intelligence and invasive data collection,” added Azoulay, who served in the French government as a member of the Socialist Party before taking over the UN education organization. The UN strategy for fighting conspiracy theories in education lists a number of major objectives for educators. These include teaching teachers how to “identify and dismantle conspiracy theories,” how to develop students’ “resilience to conspiracy theories,” and how to tell the difference between a “real conspiracy” and a “conspiracy theory.” One of the ways offered for educators to determine the veracity of information is to check fact-checking services, which have come under repeated criticism in recent years for being highly politicized and often inaccurate. Many of the services are funded by individuals, such as billionaire founder of Microsoft Bill Gates, who UNESCO says are frequently the target of conspiracy theories. The document also contains multiple strategies for combating conspiracy theories. To fight “harmful information” among students, for example, UNESCO urges teachers to engage in what the agency describes as “prebunking.” “Prebunking is also sometimes called ‘inoculation,’” the report reads. “Psychologists have proven that weakened forms of harmful information, carefully introduced and framed, can help to strengthen the resilience against wider harmful messages, much like a vaccine.” When students believe in ideas because of parental influence, teachers are instructed to seek help from school officials and consider a “mediated conversation with parents.” If a student were to express concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, teachers are instructed to “state that the vaccine has been scientifically proven to be safe” and “that it is important to get vaccinated to curb the pandemic.” It was not immediately clear whether the relevant section of the UNESCO document was written before public health authorities in the United States and around the world began acknowledging that the COVID-19 injections do not prevent infection from or transmission of the CCP virus that causes COVID-19. In some cases where conspiracy theories involve alleged hate or discrimination, teachers are urged to consider reporting students to “safeguarding authorities or safeguarding officers.” What Is a Conspiracy Theory? The document, titled “Addressing conspiracy theories – what teachers need to know,” defines a conspiracy theory as: “The belief that events are being secretly manipulated by powerful forces with negative intent. Typically, conspiracy theories involve an imagined group of conspirators colluding to implement an alleged secret plot.” The UNESCO report moves on to offer warnings about, and definitions for, misinformation, disinformation, hate speech, and fake news. One term that is not defined in the document, however, is the word “conspiracy” itself. Most dictionaries define it as an illegal or immoral plot carried out in secret involving two or more individuals. State and federal law-enforcement authorities charge large numbers of people with the crime of “conspiracy” each year. In its short guide for telling the difference between “real” conspiracies and mere “theories,” the U.N. report divides the thinking into two broad categories. The first, dubbed “conventional thinking” in the UNESCO document, uses Watergate as an example of a real conspiracy uncovered by following evidence and having “healthy” skepticism. The other mode of thinking, labeled “conspiratorial thinking,” features a “birds aren’t real” theory that concludes birds are robots spying on people and the government creates replica eggs to cover it all up. This conclusion is reached as a result of “overriding suspicion” and “over interpreting evidence,” UNESCO said. In the real world, experts say the line between conspiracy theory and conspiracy fact is far less obvious. According to a 2020 YouGov-Cambridge Globalism poll cited in the UNESCO document, strong majorities believe in overarching “conspiracy theories” in many nations. Almost eight in 10 Nigerians, for example, said they believed in “a single group of people who controlled world events.” Almost six out of 10 Mexicans, 56 percent of Greeks and 55 percent of Egyptians believed that, too, the poll showed. One of the reports at the center of the new UNESCO effort, “The Conspiracy Theory Handbook” by Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook, also acknowledges that conspiracies exist and are not uncommon. “Real conspiracies do exist,” the report admits at the start. “Volkswagen conspired to cheat emissions tests for their diesel engines. The U.S. National Security Agency secretly spied on civilian internet users. The tobacco industry deceived the public about the harmful health effects of smoking. We know about these conspiracies through internal industry documents, government investigations, or whistleblowers.” The U.N. documents also outline various reasons why people believe in conspiracy theories. These include feelings of powerlessness, coping mechanisms for handling uncertainty, or seeking to claim minority status. Evidence is not listed as a reason why people might believe in a conspiracy theory. One of the “case studies” listed in the UNESCO document refers to Mikki Willis’s documentary “Plandemic.” Among other points, the film and the experts who are interviewed argue that COVID-19 may have been created in a laboratory for sinister purposes. Reached by The Epoch Times, Willis slammed the U.N. and its effort to “indoctrinate” people. “When I hear that the U.N. is now directing its indoctrination towards teachers, I become concerned about the well-being of our future generations,” he said, adding that the U.N.’s attack on “conspiracy theories” was an effort to stop the truth. “The fact that they continue to use my film series as an example of what they’re fighting against says everything we need to know,” continued Willis, saying the vast majority of scientists now agree with key points in his film and yet “propagandists” keep trying to “perpetuate the lies.” Critics Sound the Alarm Multiple experts in the field of propaganda warned The Epoch Times that the UNESCO initiative was a major threat to free expression. Organisation for Propaganda Studies Co-Director Piers Robinson said these kinds of developments are “extremely dangerous.” “Basic principles of freedom of expression remind us that, because we can never be sure who is right and who is wrong, all ideas and arguments need to be evaluated through a process of rational scrutiny and debate,” Robinson told The Epoch Times. “Censoring arguments and opinions believed to be wrong means we risk censoring the truth.” Explaining that these dangers have long been understood, Robinson quoted the great 19th-century British philosopher John Stuart Mill. “First: the opinion which it is attempted to suppress by authority may possibly be true. Those who desire to suppress it, of course deny its truth; but they are not infallible,” Mill said. “All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.” Robinson, who also serves as co-editor of Propaganda in Focus and sits on the executive committee of Pandemics Data & Analytics (PANDATA.org), also cautioned that powerful actors with large budgets would likely be involved in deciding what is true and not. “This means allowing powerful actors to define reality and, as history shows, they will define reality in a way that serves their own interests,” he said. “This is all contradictory to democracy and, of course, the reason why freedom of expression is understood to be so important: we must be free to scrutinize and criticize those in power in order to guard against tyranny and abuse of power.” Robinson also blasted the use of the term “conspiracy theory” as “deeply problematic,” saying it was a term often used to shut down discussion on serious issues and questions about powerful actors. “If we value democracy and the ideas of freedom of expression and rational debate, UNESCO could do useful work on helping people of the world to think for themselves, and develop their own critical skills,” he concluded. “They should not be in the business of telling people what to think.” Another expert on propaganda, environmental political theory Professor Tim Hayward at the University of Edinburgh, also warned that efforts to demonize and silence “conspiracy theories” was really an effort to pathologize dissent and inconvenient lines of questioning. “Instead of reasoned arguments put forward by critics and dissidents being met with proper consideration and rebuttal, they are just dismissed out of hand; and the critics themselves are smeared with the name conspiracy theorists,” warned Hayward, who has written a number of peer-reviewed academic papers on the subject in recent years. “Worse, of course, is that the general denigration of dissent is used to whip up moral panic about ‘disinformation’ and to try and justify increased censorship,” he added. Hayward views the focus on education to combat “conspiracy theories” as particularly concerning. “It is truly worrying when those responsible for the strategic communications challenged by dissidents get to infiltrate education systems and implant prejudices in favor of ‘official stories’ which are only official because they are backed by political authority rather than actual epistemic authority,” he said. While Hayward cautioned that he was not necessarily accusing UNESCO of doing this, he warned that the organization and its programs needed to be watched as this was a troubling trend. It would be better to teach children “the fundamentals of critical reasoning” so they can detect falsehoods on their own, he told The Epoch Times. “You cannot reasonably identify disinformation or reject a ‘conspiracy theory’ unless you have a robust and defensible grip on what is reliable information,” he said, calling for “logical thinking” and “broad knowledge” to help people guard against disinformation from adversaries or even their own leaders. “That should be the focus of education.” Truth or Misinformation? The fresh push to quash “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories” online comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies increasingly admit that much of what was labeled false during the pandemic turned out to be correct. Read more here... Tyler Durden Wed, 09/07/2022 - 08:16.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 7th, 2022

Nomura: Yields Soar As Europe Unleashes Fiscal Stimulus Tsunami Which Will Require Debt Monetization

Nomura: Yields Soar As Europe Unleashes Fiscal Stimulus Tsunami Which Will Require Debt Monetization Equities are rallying, and yields are surging, with the 10Y rising above 3.30%... ... on what according to Nomura's Charlie McElligott is one clear catalyst - the same one we laid out in "Europe Unleashes Energy Hyperinflation Bailout Bazooka" - namely Europe's “moment of intervention” from various euro governments with regard to the Euro Energy crisis via mega-stimulus, while a report from MNI citing “ECB sources” and stating that President Lagarde is “likely to opt for 50” bps hike only at the upcoming meeting, which is a de facto easing relative to recent expectations which have built for 75bps hike, certainly helping. Regarding the EU / UK "Minsky Moment" Energy situation, which we profiled extensively over the weekend, McElligott writes that “the worse the crisis gets, the more asymmetric the crisis response becomes, and he we are now entering the "sovereigns take on the credit- and market- risk via stimulus and intervention" phase, as European and British leadership assume the fiscal bill (price caps, tariff deficits) and or directly engage in Energy markets. In other words, from PPP for covid, we have shifted to PPP for energy hyperinflation. Case in point on magnitude/scope of what they have to solve for, earlier we noted that the ongoing European bailout will have to pay at least $1.5 trillion in margin calls, according to Norgwegian energy giant Equinor (f/k/a Statoil): “European energy trading risks grinding to a halt unless governments extend liquidity to cover margin calls of at least $1.5 trillion, according to Norwegian energy company Equinor ASA. Aside from inflating bills and fanning inflation, the biggest energy crisis in decades is sucking up capital to guarantee trades amid wild price swings. That’s putting pressure on European Union officials to intervene to prevent energy markets from stalling. “Liquidity support is going to be needed,” Helge Haugane, Equinor’s senior vice president for gas and power, said in an interview. The issue is focused on derivatives trading, while the physical market is functioning, he said, adding that the company’s estimate for $1.5 trillion to prop up so-called paper trading is “conservative.”” … or the even bigger shock, namely what we showed last night was Goldman's estimate of a $2 trillion surge in European Energy bills by 2023, roughly 15% of Europe's GDP (more in a subsequent post). RIP Europe "At current forward prices, we estimate that energy bills will peak early next year at c.€500/month for a typical European family, implying c.200% increase vs. 2021. For Europe as a whole, this implies a c.€2 TRILLION surge in energy bills, or c.15% of GDP" pic.twitter.com/8LUpt1iEn9 — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 5, 2022 Here McElligott says that speaking pragmatically, he is "not really sure how fiscal stimulus works to address Energy supply shortage realities…but hey, I’m just a grunt laborer." In any case, with Europe now on a collision course with the hard, cold, commodity-free reality, one should get out of the way of governments according to the Nomura strategist (at least in the beginning), "because the left-tail scenario odds get slashed by “moving the goalposts,” “kicking the can” and re-writing the rules mid-game, despite likely unintended and / or second-order consequences of solutions which are normally associated with “money-printing” down-the-road." Here the x-asset strategist asks another rhetorical question, one which we - and rabobank - have been comtemplating this morning: "Honestly, how does one handicap the market impact of the reported Truss’ fiscal package upwards of £130B to cap energy bills for UK households and businesses, as it relates to Gilts and Sterling?" His answer: On one hand, the govt is planning to somehow cut taxes while simultaneously and violently expanding their deficit…big yikes And as Jordan Rochester notes, the UK / Truss plan as it relates to GBP could actually make trade flows WORSE as it supports consumption But on the other, the outlook for CPI inflation will dramatically shift if the UK govt does indeed freeze energy prices, which then seemingly risks downside to current BoE hike trajectory Being realistic regarding the eventual “footing the bill” for this largesse, Charlie says that it always “boomerangs” back to the central banks and quasi- “monetization”—so this will be an FX / Rates trade long-term, which locally then risks an unruly squeeze higher in US Dollar as the “cleanest dirty shirt.” The more nuanced message is that with yields now blowing out as governments foot the fiscal stimulus to offset the massive costs, central banks will need to resume QE in the very near future to avoid a bond market collapse! And separately, as we have seen throughout the life of this particularly idiosyncratic energy crisis, the Nomura strategist repeats what we first said yesterday, namely that nearly all of the response from governments and authorities have been forms of solutions (whether subsidies, price caps and tax unwinds) which perversely create “demand construction”... ECB: we must crush demand to stop energy hyperinflation Germany: here's another €65BN — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 5, 2022 ... which not only offset what central banks are trying to do, but also contributing to higher likelihood of further shortages, as opposed to allowing for higher prices to do the work of “demand destruction” and force behavioral “consumption” change… What does this mean for markets? Well, as McElligott notes, as this 1) “eventual monetization” relates to the current global interest rates trajectory zeitgeist, it’s just another source of negative pressure outside of 2) “higher for longer” global theme, 3) max cap US QT and 4) bearish Fall seasonality. Hence, Nomura sees G10 Bond Yields continuing higher yet-again, as “Shorts” are further emboldened, and indeed yields are surging this morning as markets now will demand central banks to start monetizing bonds again! This too risks strengthening the global FCI tightening sledgehammer that is “higher US Dollar” (what currency do you want to be “long” on the other side?!), occuring alongside the recent surge in US Real Yields, both conspiring to further “choke-out” global inancial conditions Finally, a part of this flow is likely showing-up in futures Spec positioning, with last reporting week (8/30) showing another sale of -$5.6mm / 01 and making seven consecutive weeks of selling—with the aggregate at ~-$180mm of Shorts being pressed (of course, a short squeeze is inevitable... but not yet). Tyler Durden Tue, 09/06/2022 - 10:33.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 6th, 2022

Peso Soars As Chileans Reject New "Socialist" Constitution

Peso Soars As Chileans Reject New 'Socialist' Constitution Bucking the trend of most Developing Markets' currencies, the Chilean peso has surged to three month highs against the greenback this morning after voters on Sunday rejected a progressive constitution that would have drastically changed the country. Chilean stocks also soared,,, The draft text would have replaced the current constitution, which dates to 1980, when dictator Augusto Pinochet was in power. As Caden Pearsen reports from The Epoch Times, over 13 million residents of Chile voted in a referendum either for or against the proposed changes to the South American country’s Constitution. With nearly all the votes counted, 62 percent voted to reject while 38 percent voted to approve, according to the Chile Electoral Service. Participation in the referendum was mandatory. The failed proposals would have tilted the current Constitution to the left, with text focused on social rights, environmentalism, gender equality, and indigenous rights. The path to the referendum began in late 2020, when 80 percent of Chileans voted to draft a new constitution. But polls revealed that uncertainties grew amid concerns around the constituents elected to draft it, Reuters reported. One 54-year-old Chilean, who in 2020 voted to draft a new constitution, on Sunday voted alongside her daughter to reject the proposed text. She expressed concern that certain proposals would impact her pension. “The main one is [indigenous] plurinationality and then pension funds,” Rosemarie Williamson said in comments obtained by Reuters. “I’ve worked my whole life and I’m not willing to share that.” Try, Try Again Leftist President Gabriel Boric, who voted in the southern city of Punta Arenas early on Sunday, acknowledged the results on Sunday night. “The yearning for change and dignity require our institutions and political actors to work with more commitment, dialogue, respect and affection, until we arrive at a proposal that interprets us all,” Boris said on Twitter.  “Here we go. Long live democracy and long live Chile!” Earlier on Sunday, after casting his vote, Boric had promised that the government will work with all sectors, no matter the outcome of the referendum, to “advance in justice, equality, growth, and development for everyone.” Boris had previously said that if the proposals are rejected, then officials should work on the text to fulfill the mandate given by the 2020 vote to draft a new constitution. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/05/2022 - 09:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 5th, 2022

Latest Revelations About Mar-a-Lago Raid Unlikely To Sway Midterm Voters, Strategists Say

Latest Revelations About Mar-a-Lago Raid Unlikely To Sway Midterm Voters, Strategists Say Authored by Michael Washburn via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The fresh controversy stoked by ongoing revelations about the FBI’s raid of the Mar-a-Lago home of former President Donald Trump, including the release on Sept. 2 of a detailed inventory of documents and items retrieved in the raid, is unlikely to have a significant effect on the outcome of the November midterm elections, political strategists have told The Epoch Times. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower the day after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, U.S., August 9, 2022. REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado The issues of concern to voters still struggling with massive inflation, and a bloated national debt exacerbated by President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive some $500 billion worth of federal student loans, will be much more decisive factors in the minds of voters heading to the polls, the strategists say. Reports on Friday that a small number of the thousands of documents seized by federal agents contained information labeled secret, confidential, or top secret, might appear to some observers to spell bad news for the former president and his anticipated 2024 reelection bid. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has made public an inventory of the items of property taken in the raid, the vast majority of which—11,179—were not classified as in any way secret or confidential. But, according to a tally compiled by the New York Post, 54 documents were labeled “Secret,” 31 were “Confidential,” and 18 were officially “Top Secret.” The secret and top-secret documents were found in Trump’s office and in a storage room on the property, the Post reported. Muted Impact In spite of these revelations, the investigation into documents transferred from the White House at the time of Trump’s departure in January 2021 is still at an early stage, is prone to missteps and possible backfiring, and none of the findings are likely to dissuade voters from supporting Republican candidates or drive them to cross the political aisle and vote for the incumbent party, experts say. In part, this is simply a function of the timing of the investigation and of the November elections. “I think there will be more activity by the Department of Justice, but they will be careful. If they make a misstep, it will benefit Trump. I don’t think raid will affect the midterms much unless there is an indictment of Trump, which I think is very unlikely before November,” Keith Naughton, the principal of Silent Majority Strategies, a political consultancy based in Germantown, Maryland, told The Epoch Times. Naughton acknowledged that the raid, and recent statements by Trump, such as his call for a redo of the 2020 election, may motivate voters already inclined to support Democrat candidates. But while Democrats may hope that the raid and subsequent revelations prove highly embarrassing to Trump and the GOP, the truth is that most of the electorate will still vote on the basis of the larger economic issues affecting their day-to-day lives, Naughton believes. “The student loan giveaway by Biden is backfiring badly and the economy is not really improving, even if inflation is moderating a bit. Republicans and independents will turn out to vote against Biden’s flailing policies,” Naughton said. Naughton alluded to a debt forgiveness plan that has left even former Democrat officials and left-leaning economists expressing concerns about the feasibility of the measure and its long-term impact on the economy, what with a federal deficit of $1 trillion and some $30 trillion of overall government debt. The fallout from this measure is likely to be severe for Democrat candidates as the public comes to perceive more and more that a purportedly altruistic measure works to the disadvantage of poorer citizens in the long term while pushing government debt to ever more unsustainable levels, some economists believe. “I suspect this supposed to be a first step to making taxpayers liable for all student loans, and eventually to the federal government making college ‘free.’ College education would then be a transfer from the less well-off to the wealthier, who have much higher rates of college preparation and attendance. It would also put the federal government on an even faster track to a debt crisis,” Charles Steele, Chair of the Department of Economics, Business, and Accounting at Hillsdale College in Michigan, told The Epoch Times. The question of whether Trump may or may not have violated the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which established a highly specific protocol regarding the handling of documents by outgoing presidents, is a partisan-driven distraction from the issues on people’s minds, he continued. “The New York-Washington media axis is obsessed with Trump, the raid, and the January 6 hearings, and is very much out of touch. The rest of the country is much more concerned with the cost of living and issues affecting their livelihoods,” Naughton said. The Greater Mobilizer? Some commentators believe that, regardless of public concerns about the raid or what legal consequences the FBI’s actions and the ongoing investigation may have, challenges loom for Republican candidates in an environment where significant backlash against the Supreme Court’s recent divisive ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reversed Roe v. Wade, is all but inevitable. “Democrats are motivated by the Dobbs decision in a far greater way than the raid motivates Republicans,” David Carlucci, a former New York State senator who now works as a political consultant, told The Epoch Times. In the past, the issue of legal access to abortions was not quite the dealbreaker that it has become in the months since the Dobbs ruling, Carlucci argued. The decision has changed the game, and Republicans ignore this at their peril. “Republican politicians have for years been able to be pro-life and still get pro-choice voter support. Pro-choice voters have felt secure [in the belief] that access to a safe abortion would be protected. Moderate Republicans now have to carry water for their most conservative Republican counterparts because strict abortion bans are very much a concern for moderate voters,” Carlucci said. But other observers reject this analysis and argue that federal law enforcement has already committed such severe missteps in the execution of the raid and attempts to justify it that the fallout will give Trump-endorsed candidates an edge in the midterms. Rick Wiley, a political consultant who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign, told The Epoch Times that the raid and its aftermath have “fired up” the GOP base. “The raid at Mar-a-Lago is one of those moments in history, where you remember where you were when you heard they raised the President’s private residence. And overwhelmingly, people are saying, ‘Was all this necessary?’ That’s a problem for the FBI and DOJ. They left everyone in the dark for days before they gave a half-hearted, at best, explanation for what happened, and most people were left scratching their heads,” Wiley said. Read more here... Tyler Durden Sun, 09/04/2022 - 16:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 4th, 2022

Inside Saudi Arabia’s Plan to Go Green While Remaining the World’s No. 1 Oil Exporter 

The kingdom could emerge from the global energy transition as the world’s indispensable fossil-fuel power, while boasting of an eco-friendly home After the harsh morning sunlight, the research center was dark and cool inside. There, in front of a large monitor, an engineer clicked on a slide to begin the day’s presentation for his visitor: “Towards carbon emissions net zero,” it read. This was not, as the slide suggested, an environmental organization or a climate conference. TIME had been allowed inside the normally secretive R&D hub of Saudi Aramco, a fossil-fuel behemoth that dwarfs giants like ExxonMobil and Chevron. Even as the world’s largest oil exporter busily pumps crude and pours it into the hulls of seafaring tankers, it is loudly proclaiming its ambitions to reach net-zero carbon emissions within its borders by 2060. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] For Saudis—two-thirds of whom are younger than 35—climate change is not a far-off issue. Summer heat regularly tops 120°F. Climate scientists last year said they believed the Middle East’s temperatures could become “potentially life-threatening for humans” in the years ahead. “These countries are already facing a crisis,” says Ali al-Saffar, an analyst on the region at the International Energy Agency in Paris. “They have skin in the game.” The Saudis are hardly blameless for global warming; environmentalists say Saudi Aramco has generated more than 4% of global greenhouse gases since 1965. Here on the edge of the Arabian Desert, Saudi Arabia has tapped an unfathomable quantity of oil—about 267 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, or about 15% of the world’s total—since the 1930s, when California wildcatters struck a gusher and turned a tribal kingdom into a global oil power. More than 80 years on, Saudi Arabia’s domination in the oil world has scarcely diminished. It pumps nearly 11 million barrels of oil a day—about 1 in every 10 in the world—and sells more than 7 million of those on international markets, earning vast riches for the ruling royals and their state-owned company Aramco, whose profits rocketed to about $110 billion last year. And yet, after years of lucrative production, a global crisis now hangs over the Saudis’ prized position. Almost all countries have committed to cutting their use of fossil fuels, by far the biggest source of the planet’s greenhouse gases. That could entail the most dramatic shift in energy since the car age began more than a century ago. For Saudi Arabia, the question is whether it can remain a super-power in the oil world and at the same time join the global climate fight—or whether its ability to diversify its economy away from an overwhelming dependence on oil will come too late, fall short, or otherwise prove itself to be, as some charge, lip service to its critics. Fayez Nureldine—AFP/Getty ImagesCrown Prince Mohammed bin Salman addresses the Saudi Green Initiative forum in Riyadh on Oct. 23, 2021 If Saudi Arabia’s gamble pays off, it could emerge from the global energy transition as the world’s indispensable fossil-fuel power—while ironically boasting of a clean-energy, eco-friendly country at home. “They like to have their cake and eat it,” says Jim Krane, energy geopolitics expert at Rice University in Houston. “The Saudis’ ambition is to be the last man standing in the global oil market. They want the last drop of oil drilled to come from a Saudi field.” The country has ample money for its grandiose plan. Aramco is now the second most valuable company in the world (behind Apple), with a market cap of more than $2.3 trillion. With sharp price increases at the gas pumps, its earnings have nearly doubled this year. The vast oil riches have given the kingdom of just 35 million people enough clout to effectively dictate quotas within OPEC, the international cartel of 13 major oil-producing countries, with the potential to impact stock markets across the world. That unique position could last for decades, especially since the country’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, is just 37 years old, and could rule for generations. “The demand for oil will continue growing,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman—the far older half-brother of MBS—tells TIME over tea in his office in Riyadh. “At what level, I don’t know,” he says. “Anyone who tells you that they have a good grasp of when and where and how much is certainly living in a fantasyland.” Last February, MBS transferred $80 billion from the oil company to the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, or PIF, which he chairs. The fund’s assets have risen sharply since the pandemic hit, to about $620 billion, since it bought into the lockdown dip to invest billions in Netflix, Carnival Cruises, Marriott hotels, California’s EV automaker Lucid Motors, and other stocks, when they were pummeled by global lockdowns. Those assets could help fund Saudi Arabia’s own energy transition. Just how that unfolds—how carbon emissions are “handled,” as Abdulaziz puts it—is what occupies numerous top government engineers across the country. The efforts have drawn some interest from Western investors, whose unease with the kingdom’s human-rights abuses has collided with business exigencies. On the edge of Riyadh one crisp winter morning, in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, known by its acronym KAPSARC, about 15 specialists gathered to outline the strategy for TIME. Abdulaziz calls the researchers “my young cadets, none over 30.” Many of them are women, and many are U.S.-educated. Among the plans is a network of EV charging stations, and a project to upgrade offices and homes with low-energy electricity systems—about 33 solar and wind projects are in construction. Funding all this, they say, is no problem, if authorized by the royals. “We have a mandate from the King to make all buildings retrofitted for energy efficiency,” says Mudhyan al-Mudhyan, of the National Energy Services Company. “We have our own capital to finance all our projects, so we don’t need to go to banks or any lending institutions.” Perhaps the biggest experiment under way is located in NEOM, a futuristic $500 billion city being built from scratch in the northwest of the country. In theory, it will become the testing ground for concepts like air taxis and so-called green hydrogen, created by using renewable energy, and which MBS has boasted will generate most of NEOM’s electricity. A green-fuel plant is being built in NEOM, at a cost of $5 billion. “It is a clear path towards moving from the lab to the research center, to fully deployed technology,” says Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist who previously headed Aramco’s exploration and production department and who now heads Husseini Energy Co., a forecasting and analysis consultancy in Aramco’s hometown of Dhahran. Aramco’s research includes trying to capture and reuse the carbon spewed into the atmosphere from Saudi oil fields. It’s a tactic Saudi Arabia is relying on heavily to meet its emissions targets. Although its effectiveness is still deeply uncertain, the Saudis have begun capturing carbon, shipping it from a gas field in the desert to a plant 52 miles away, to be turned into petrochemicals. Engineers are also researching a way to transport “blue” hydrogen—derived from natural gas—to far-off Europe and Asia. Saudi Arabia -delivered the first shipment of blue ammonia to Japan in 2020, for use in generating electricity, and has signed an agreement with Germany to develop green hydrogen. Aramco is also working on creating a synthetic fuel from a mix of captured carbon and hydrogen, which it claims will cut the pollution from regular cars by 80%. The company says it plans to start marketing it in 2025. The fact that Saudi Arabia has only one oil company, and that it’s owned by the state, enables it to spend freely on research. “You won’t find Exxon or Chevron or any of these companies focusing research on things like this,” Husseini says. “If you say, ‘Do a research project that won’t pay out for 20 years,’ they would say, ‘That’s not our job.’” With an open spigot of cash to spend, the engineers foresee creating new exports for the country, particularly of hydrogen. “We can develop world-class engineering companies to design hydro-carbon resources or plants in the kingdom, and also do that service for anyone else who’s interested,” says Yehia Khoja, an electrical engineer trained at Stanford University, who is an adviser to the Energy Ministry. In a green Saudi Arabia, he says, the country would cut its own fossil-fuel consumption by about 1 million barrels a day. It could then sell that oil on world markets, and earn nearly $100 million a day, at current prices. “It is how we justify the economics of this project,” Khoja says. He calls the country’s plan “holistic and inclusive of all solutions. It is our way of trailblazing a path towards a solution, rather than just being content in being part of a solution,” he says. Climate scientists reject that argument, accusing Saudi Arabia of greenwashing by declaring its commitment to carbon reductions while aiming to increase oil production to 13 million barrels a day. Aramco’s carbon reduction does not include so-called Scope 3 emissions generated by oil consumption, which scientists believe account for most fossil-fuel greenhouse gases. “Aramco’s approach to achieving emissions reductions lacks credibility,” Carbon Tracker Initiative, a financial think tank based in London and New York City, said in a July report. That is not just a problem for the planet. Oil-loving Saudi Arabia could also one day face falling revenues from its energy company as the world shifts to renewable energy. “Saudi Aramco is exacerbating, not mitigating, its exposure to transition risk,” the report says. Until recently, it would have been unimaginable that Saudi Arabia could be seen as a trailblazer in any global investments, let alone climate mitigation—and indeed, many doubt it ever will be. Foreign investment plunged after the October 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist living in Washington, who was killed and dismembered by Saudi operatives in the country’s consulate in Istanbul, his remains never recovered. Last year, the CIA concluded that MBS had surely approved the capture or murder of Khashoggi, given his “absolute control” over Saudi security services. Amid the global outrage over the grisly assassination, CEOs and Western officials boycotted that year’s Future Investment Initiative, MBS’s flagship Davos-like gathering in Riyadh. And yet, three years after Khashoggi’s death, foreign investors were back in Saudi Arabia in force, packing MBS’s Saudi Green Initiative conference last October, and drawn to the plethora of potential deals in one of the biggest energy plans anywhere. As war raged in Ukraine, Saudi officials invited top Wall Street investors to a New York City road show in early April, to pitch their new city NEOM—a key element of the country’s green plans. For both investors and politicians, there’s a growing acceptance that the prince’s tenure is likely to outlast almost every world leader—one reason President Biden finally visited Riyadh in July, even giving him a cozy fist bump. “The idea you’re going to get rid of MBS and replace him with the Canadian Parliament is naive in the extreme,” says David Rundell, a former longtime U.S. diplomat in Riyadh and author of a book on the crown prince. “The alternative is al-Qaeda.” There is palpable relief on the ground that Khashoggi’s death has had little lasting business impact. “I think you could say we have moved on,” says Husseini, the longtime Aramco executive. “People may have postured and said, ‘Oh, I will never go there,’” he says. “But there are fundamentals in the world. You have to maintain the economy moving.” That seems clear from the Saudi stock exchange, known as the Tadawul, which is owned by the government through its sovereign wealth fund. Its CEO, Khalid al-Hussan, estimates that about 14% of stocks are held by non-Saudis, who purchase shares through about 2,600 institutional investors trading on the exchange. When the Tadawul went partly public last December, it was bombarded with requests for shares from foreign investors, with subscriptions reaching 10 times the amount on offer, according to Hussan. “I have met with more than 100 international investors,” he tells me on the day the applications closed. But for Saudis to keep attracting new investors, they will increasingly need companies that (at least on paper) are committed to tackling climate change. “We see this pressure in the U.S. and Europe more and more in the future,” Hussan says. Environmental issues, he says, “will drive their investment decisions.” Maya Siddiqui—Bloomberg/Getty imagesA pipe at the Hawiyah NGL Recovery Plant captures carbon for reuse Inside Aramco’s R&D complex in Dhahran, there is a strong belief that despite the climate crisis, it will not only remain a huge oil giant but increase in size. Aramco’s engineers argue that the energy transition should focus on how to drill oil more cleanly, rather than cutting the amount of oil pumped. The company’s researchers say they are already working with automakers (which they declined to name) to switch to hydrogen-powered engines; a Nissan sedan fitted with a green-hydrogen engine sits parked outside the front door as an example. A short drive away is the company’s new center for artificial intelligence, dubbed the 4IR (fourth industrial revolution) building. One display shows mangrove plantations Aramco has planted near its huge Ras Tanura refinery on the Arabian Gulf; vegetation acts as a natural system of carbon capture, extracting emissions from the air and absorbing them in the swampy ground. But the heart of the 4IR building is a large circular control room resembling NASA’s ground control in Houston. There, engineers monitor every drop of oil Aramco pumps across hundreds of oil fields, with 60 drones and a fleet of robots sucking up 5 billion data points in real time. A screen wraps around the walls, showing a blizzard of graphs and figures—information engineers say they can use to analyze how to keep producing oil while cutting emissions. “It is all about efficiency and sustainability,” one says, guiding me through the center. To environmentalists, Aramco’s efforts seem like the last gasp of an oil giant attempting to keep the global climate campaign at bay. “Aramco has no plans to reduce oil and gas production by 2030,” says ClientEarth, an international environmental legal organization. The government, it says, “has a long history of fighting efforts to tackle climate change.” Energy analysts say the Saudis—who since the 1930s have drilled oil more cheaply than anyone else—are well positioned to find solutions to the climate crisis, and put them into effect. “They have built a lot of know-how and a lot of capacity. They have the pipeline infrastructure, the ports infrastructure,” says Saffar of the International Energy Agency. The country now needs to end its overwhelming dependence on oil revenues and transition to more clean energy—a tough two-headed challenge, Saffar says. “If you could make them work in the same direction, you would be really onto something,” he says. The question is whether Saudi Arabia’s rulers have the will to do so, even at the risk of their outsize profits. —With reporting by Solcyre Burga, Leslie Dickstein, and Anisha Kohli/New York.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 1st, 2022

Futures Head For Another Monthly Drop, As Oil Slumps, Yields And Dollar Rise

Futures Head For Another Monthly Drop, As Oil Slumps, Yields And Dollar Rise After three days of steep declines, S&P futures traded between modest gains and losses as global markets headed for the third consecutive weekly decline and another monthly drop on concerns that aggressive central bank tightening will push the global economy into a hard recession. At 7:15am ET, futures were up 0.2% and Nasdaq futures rose 0.7%, after trading both higher and lower earlier in the session. The dollar rose, Treasury yields jumped after another record CPI print in Europe, while the bizarre oil slump extended. In premarket trading, Bed Bath& Beyond plunged after the home-goods retailer filed a form to sell an unspecified number of shares. HP also fell 6.8% after the company reported quarterly sales that missed estimates and cut its annual profit forecast as demand for personal computers and printers slowed. Analysts noted that the PC maker will need a couple of quarters to correct its inventory. Here are other notable premarket movers: Robinhood (HOOD US) falls 2.3% as Barclays cut its rating to underweight from equal weight ChargePoint (CHPT US) shares rose as much as 2.1% in US premarket trading, after the electric vehicle charging network operator’s second-quarter revenue came in ahead of estimates, with analysts positive on the company’s gross margin performance amid supply-chain woes HP Enterprise (HPE US) narrowed its full-year adjusted earnings per share forecast and reported in-line revenue for the third quarter. Analysts were bracing for the worst, after Dell’s disappointing outlook last week. Shares fall 1% in premarket trading PayPal shares rise 2.9% in premarket trading after Bank of America upgraded its rating on the payments stock to buy from neutral previously Morgan Stanley resumes coverage of Welltower (WELL US) at overweight and a $90 PT with the broker bullish on a recovery for the US senior housing market “What’s clear is that predicting this market is not clean cut,” Angeline Newman, a managing director at UBS Global Wealth Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “We are living in a world where conflicting economic signals are making the path of monetary policy very difficult to determine.” Market bets on a shallower trajectory for Federal Reserve tightening are receding, raising the prospect of more losses for stocks and bonds in an already difficult year. Investors are scouring incoming data for clues on the policy path, with August US jobs figures on Friday the next key report. European shares reversed earlier gains to trade at the lowest level in more than six weeks, after Euro-area inflation accelerated to another all-time high, strengthening the case for the European Central Bank to consider a jumbo interest-rate hike when it meets next week. ECB Governing Council member Joachim Nagel urged a “strong” reaction, hinting at a 75bps hike just as Europe braces for an energy disaster with winter coming. Paradoxically this pushed the EUR to session lows. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 fell 0.7%, with the FTSE 100 lagging, dropping 1%. Energy and autos slump while utilities is the worst-performing sub-index in the European gauge on Wednesday, extending their selloff to a fourth session as investors fret over Russian gas supplies at the start of a three-day halt of the key Nord Stream pipeline. Slump is lead by Drax (-4.3%), National Grid (-4%), Italy’s Terna (-2.3%), Germany’s Uniper (-4%) and Fortum (-3%). Some renewables also take a hit, including Orsted (-2.4%) and Verbund (-1.4%). Citi says utilities had to put up more than EUR100b of additional collateral versus 2020 levels because of record levels of future power and gas prices. Here are the biggest European movers: ASML rises as much as 3.4%. It is among the “most attractive names” in the current uncertain macro environment, UBS says in a note upgrading the semiconductor-equipment company to buy from neutral. Stadler Rail shares climb as much as 6% after reporting mixed results, with 1H sales beating estimates and a strong order intake, offset by more cautious comments on margins and a negative currency impact, according to analysts. CFE shares surge as much as 23% after the Belgian construction and development company’s 1H results, with Degroof raising its estimates. Ackermans & van Haaren rises as much as 7.5% after KBC upgrades its rating on the industrial holding company to buy from hold following first-half results, which the broker describes as “resilient” in tough times. Lundbergforetagen shares rise as much as 5.5%, the most since May, after DNB reiterated its buy recommendation for the Swedish real estate investment firm, while trimming its PT to SEK485 from SEK530. Utilities are among the worst-performing sub-index in the European gauge on Wednesday, extending their selloff to a fourth session as investors fret over Russian gas supplies at the start of a three-day halt of the key Nord Stream pipeline. European energy stocks underperform for a second day after oil erased initial gains on Wednesday to head for a third monthly decline as rate hikes by major central banks and China’s Covid Zero strategy increase the likelihood of a global economic slowdown. Brunello Cucinelli shares fall as much as 7.2% after the Italian luxury fashion company reported 1H results; Deutsche Bank says the update is “largely as expected” with guidance appearing “relatively conservative.” Europe's weakness was sparked by the ongoing rout in oil, which headed for a third monthly drop - the longest losing run in more than two years - hampered by the likelihood of slower global growth, yet which as Goldman says is now the best asset to own having priced in a recession more than any other asset class. European natural gas advanced after a two-day slump, with traders weighing risks to Russian supplies against the continent’s drastic efforts to curb the energy crisis. Earlier in the session, Asian equities climbed in a mixed day that saw tech shares advance but Japan’s bourses retreat as traders digested China’s weak economic data while technology stocks rebounded. BYD Co. plunged in Hong Kong after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. trimmed its stake in the electric vehicle maker. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index erased an earlier loss to trade up as much as 0.6%. Chinese benchmarks underperformed the region after factory activity contracted on power shortages spurred by a historic drought. Stocks were also weak in Hong Kong as Warren Buffett’s sale of shares in BYD Co. fueled general risk-off sentiment, countered by advances in the city’s tech shares. Traders also weighed US job and consumer confidence numbers, which were seen backing the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike plans. “The dented risk sentiment from tighter-for-longer central bank policies is likely to weigh on sentiment in the region,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte, wrote in a note. He added that further headwinds including Covid lockdowns may weigh on Chinese equities. Taiwanese stocks rose, even amid a potential escalation of cross-strait tensions, while South Korean shares also advanced on gains in tech names. Indian and Malaysian markets were closed for holidays. Investors are also contending with mounting friction between Beijing and Taipei after Taiwanese soldiers fired shots to ward off civilian drones and evaluating the latest Chinese data, which indicated factory activity shrank for a second month. Power shortages, a property sector crisis and Covid outbreaks all took a toll. In Japan, stock dropped amid concerns over the potential for Federal Reserve tightening and data that showed weak factory activity in China.  The Topix fell 0.3% to 1,963.16 as of the market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.4% to 28,091.53. Sony Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 1.7%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 683 rose and 1,381 fell, while 105 were unchanged. “US stocks, which plummeted on the Jackson Hole meeting last week, have fallen further and Japan stocks are matching that,” said Kiyoshi Ishigane, a chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2% to close at at 6,986.80, weighed by losses in mining and energy shares.  Asia-Pacific energy-related stocks fell as oil headed for its third straight monthly decline, the longest losing run in more than two years, on prospects for slower global growth. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% to 11,601.10 In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index rose again, up 0.2%, as it reversed a loss as the greenback rebounded, with most Group-of-10 peers swinging to a loss in the European session. AUD and JPY are the strongest performers in G-10 FX, NOK and CHF underperform. The euro fell to a session low of $0.9974 as euro-area inflation accelerated to another all-time high of 9.1% from a year ago, exceeding the 9% median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Norway’s krone plunged by 1% against the euro and even more versus the dollar after news that the nation’s central bank will ramp up its purchases of foreign currency to 3.5 billion kroner ($350 million) a day in September from 1.5 billion in August as it deposits energy revenue into the $1.2 trillion sovereign wealth fund. The pound neared the lowest since March 2020 against the greenback that was touched yesterday, yet options suggest a short-squeeze could be due. The Australian and New Zealand dollars held up well amid month-end demand after earlier gains in US stock futures following China PMI data. The yen was steady. Board member Junko Nakagawa said that the Bank of Japan’s forward guidance for interest rates isn’t necessarily directly linked with its Covid funding program. In rates, Treasuries are off session lows as US trading gets under way Wednesday, selloff paced by gilts with UK yields higher by 9bp-13bp. US 2Y barely exceeded Tuesday’s multiyear high. US yields are higher by 3bp-5bp, 2- year rose as much as 5.3bp to 3.275%, Treasury 10-year yield adds 4bps to around 3.14%.  Curve spreads are little changed, inverted 5s30s around -5.7bp, near lowest level since mid June; month-end index rebalancing at 4pm New York time will extend the duration of Bloomberg Treasury index by an estimated 0.12 year. European bonds slide across the curve, led by gilts, after hotter-than-expected euro-area inflation data. Gilts 10-year yield is up 11 bps to 2.82%, while German 10-year yield rises 3.6bps to 1.55%. Peripheral spreads widen to Germany with 10y BTP/Bund adding 2.2bps to 233.4bps. Bitcoin has managed to reclaim USD 20k after slipping to a USD 19.7k low, overall the crypto remains in fairly tight sub-1k parameters. In commodities, crude futures extend declines. WTI drifts 2.6% lower to trade near $89, while Brent falls 3% to the $96 level. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 2.5% while LME nickel gains 1.4%. Spot gold falls roughly $10 to trade near $1,714/oz. Spot silver loses 1.5% near $18. Looking to the day ahead now, data releases include the flash CPI reading for the Euro Area in August, as well as the country readings for France and Italy. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s new report of private payrolls for August and the MNI Chicago PMI for August. Finally, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Mester and Bostic. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,986.25 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.6% to 417.39 MXAP up 0.2% to 158.39 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 519.46 Nikkei down 0.4% to 28,091.53 Topix down 0.3% to 1,963.16 Hang Seng Index little changed at 19,954.39 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,202.14 Sensex up 2.7% to 59,537.07 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 6,986.76 Kospi up 0.9% to 2,472.05 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.54% Euro down 0.1% to $1.0003 Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,715.78 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.14% to 108.92 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Forget about a soft landing. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is now aiming for something much more painful for the economy to put an end to elevated inflation. The trouble is, even that may not be enough. It’s known to economists by the paradoxical name of a “growth recession.” France said the nation’s natural gas storage will be full in about two weeks, enabling the country to ride out the coming winter even as Russia turns the screw on deliveries of the fuel UK statisticians decided that a £400 ($466) government grant to help households with energy won’t lower headline inflation numbers, a move that will protect the returns of some bond holders but increase payments made by both the Treasury and consumers Sweden’s Riksbank hopes to be able to avoid a recession as it is prepared to do what is necessary to bring soaring inflation back to the central bank’s 2% target, deputy governor Anna Breman said The People’s Bank of China set stronger-than-expected yuan fixings for six sessions to Wednesday and people familiar with the matter said at least two local banks pushed back against the weakness when submitting data for the reference rate. Traders still expect it to weaken past the psychological 7 per dollar level, even if the moves slowed the decline China’s retail activity flatlined in August with e-commerce demand especially weak, according to satellite data, suggesting that consumer caution due to the ongoing Covid Zero policy and elevated unemployment remain major drags on the world’s second-largest economy Russia’s seaborne crude shipments to Asia have fallen by more than 500,000 barrels a day in the past three months, with flows to the region hitting their lowest levels since late March A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks were mostly negative following the losses across global counterparts owing to recent hawkish central bank rhetoric and with geopolitical concerns stoked after Taiwan fired warning shots at a Chinese drone. ASX 200 was subdued by weakness in commodity-related stocks with the energy sector the worst hit after the recent slump in oil prices, while a surprise contraction in Construction Work added to the headwinds and feeds into next week’s GDP release. Nikkei 225 declined but held above 28k after encouraging Industrial Production and Retail Sales. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were pressured amid a heavy slate of earnings releases and with US regulators said to have selected a number of US-listed Chinese companies for audit inspections including Alibaba, while participants also reacted to the Chinese PMI data in which the headline Manufacturing PMI topped estimates but remained in contraction territory. Top Asian News Japanese PM Kishida said he has fully recovered from COVID-19 and returned to normal duty. Kishida added that they will begin administering Omicron variant targeted vaccines earlier than planned, while he announced to increase the daily upper limit of entrants to Japan to 50k on September 7th and will look into further loosening of border controls. South Korean vice-Finance Minister says they received "positive signs" during talks with FTSE Russell, FX environment has not emerged as a hurdle in discussions. Possibility is high for S. Korea's inclusion to the FTSE's WGBI watch-list in September Chinese NBS Manufacturing PMI (Aug) 49.4 vs. Exp. 49.2 (Prev. 49.0); Non-Manufacturing PMI (Aug) 52.6 vs Exp. 52.2 (Prev. 53.8) Chinese Composite PMI (Aug) 51.7 (Prev. 52.5) Japanese Industrial Production Prelim. (Jul P) 1.0% vs. Exp. -0.5% (Prev. 9.2%); Retail Sales YY (Jul) 2.4% vs. Exp. 1.9% (Prev. 1.5%) Australian Construction Work Done (Q2) -3.8% vs. Exp. 0.9% (Prev. -0.9%) Initial upside in Europe faded as broader price action took another hawkish turn amid inflation data, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.0%. Stateside, futures are mixed around the unchanged mark, ES -0.2%, though are similarly well off best levels with data and Fed speak due. Top European News UK's ONS rules that energy bill rebate does not directly affect inflation statistics directly; "concluded that payments under the scheme should be classified as a current transfer paid by central government to the households sector." i.e. the payment is being treated as a fiscal transfer as opposed to a price adjustment. UK government could reportedly fast-track nuclear power projects to help ease the energy crisis, according to The Telegraph. UK government is considering caps on rent to protect social housing tenants as part of a wider effort to ease the soaring costs of living, according to FT. Former UK Chancellor Sunak warned that Foreign Secretary Truss's campaign promises could increase inflation and borrowing costs, according to FT. German Economy Minister Habeck said they would reject the idea of 'capping' energy prices; Finance Minister Lindner says the hurdle to an excess profit tax is high (re. energy); Chancellor Scholz says the early steps on energy means we will get through the winter period, will take measures to ensure energy prices "do not go through the roof". FX A session of gains for the DXY with upside spurred by haven bids, as the broader market sentiment deteriorated shortly after the European cash open. EUR/USD sits as one of the laggards with minimal immediate reaction seen in wake of hotter-than-expected August flash CPI for the EZ, although the upside for the pair may be capped by Nord Stream 1 jitters. The antipodeans are mixed as AUD leads the gains as the outperforming G10 peer on the back of better-than-expected Chinese official PMI metrics; Petro-currencies are softer as the slide in crude oil resumes. The JPY remains somewhat resilient in the face of the USD strength, likely amid the risk aversion across the market. Fixed Income Core benchmarks experienced a fairly contained start to the session, though this proved to be shortlived and pronounced action occurred on inflation release. Bunds remain sub-147.50, though off worst, as initial French-CPI induced upside was reversed following hot Italian and subsequent EZ-wide Flash August HICP; market pricing for 75bp remains just above 50%. Gilts are the standout laggard as on the ONS treats the Energy Support as a fiscal transfer, thus Ofgem Energy adj. will be fully reflecting in CPI; Gilts sub-130 ticks in wake. USTs are directionally downbeat but comparably contained in terms of magnitudes, ADP and Fed's Bostic/Mester due. Commodities WTI and Brent futures resumed selling off in tandem with the broader risk-mood. Dutch TTF futures are on a firmer footing today following yesterday’s near-10% slump. Spot gold is pressured by the firmer Dollar and approaches USD 1,700/oz to the downside. 3M LME copper has been extending on gains with a boost from the above-forecast Chinese PMI metrics, but the contract remains under USD 8,000/t. OPEC+ JTC upgrades 2022 oil market surplus forecast by 100k BPD to 900k BPD, according to a report via Reuters; sees market surplus rising to 1.4mln BPD in November from 0.6mln BPD in October. OPEC+ JTC report says rising energy costs "may lead to a more significant reduction in consumptions towards year-end", via Reuters. US Private Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +0.6mln (exp. -1.5mln), Cushing -0.6mln, Gasoline -3.4mln (exp. -1.2mln), Distillates -1.7mln (exp. -1.0mln). Oman crude OSP calculated at USD 97.00bbl for October vs. USD 103.21bbl in September, according to DME data. Central Banks BoJ's Nakagawa says the central bank decided to maintain easy policy bias in July, and hopes to discuss at the September meeting whether it should continue doing so based on data. Must remain vigilant to downward economic pressure from pandemic. BoJ is to conduct fixed-rate purchase operations for the cheapest-to-deliver 357th JGB notes for an extended period of time as of September 1st. ECB's Rehn says the economic outlook has darkened, normalisation of monetary policy progressing consistently. Rates will increase in September, will be necessary to hike further at future gatherings. Riksbank's Bremen says it is of the utmost importance to defend the inflation target as anchor for price setting and wage formation; adds inflation is too high. Inflation outcomes have been higher than expected recently, inflation risks are on the upside. Does not rule out a 50bps or 75bps hike at the 20th September meeting. Norges Bank Currency Purchases (Sep) NOK 3.5bln (prev. NOK 1.5bln) US Event Calendar 07:00: Aug. MBA Mortgage Applications -3.7%, prior -1.2% 08:15: ADP resumes publication of jobs report with new methodology 08:15: Aug. ADP Employment Change, est. 300,000 09:45: Aug. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 52.1, prior 52.1 Central Banks 08:00: Fed’s Mester Discusses Economic Outlook 18:00: Dallas Fed Holds Event to Introduce New President Lorie Logan 18:30: Fed’s Bostic speaks on role of fintech in financial inclusion DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap Was back in the office yesterday after a two-week break but needed an extra day recovery before I started the EMR again as Monday was the twin's 5th birthday. To say they were excited would be an understatement. More is to come as they have their birthday party and 30-40 kids coming round our house on Sunday. After another dry spell Sunday brings rain again apparently! We're used to this adversity as the first day of our Cornwall holiday saw a dramatic storm and the first rain for 2-3 months. A few days of typically chilly, breezy, and slightly wet UK beach weather followed. In my second week off back home I played 5 rounds of golf so that was the proper holiday. My handicap is now the lowest it's ever been so there's life in the multiple operated on old dog yet! Back to the real world now though and not only has the world got darker since I've been off but so have work hours. I always take these two weeks off every year and it always marks a depressing reality that winter is coming. Before I go away it's just about light when I get up. However, by the time I get back from holiday it's firmly dark waking up for the EMR. It'll be a good 7-8 months before I see light again on the early EMR shift. The dark mirrors the mood in markets which has seen a rapid deterioration since Jackson Hole, with the S&P 500 shedding a further -1.10% yesterday to move back beneath the 4000 mark. The index is now -7.85% below its mid-August intra-day highs and -5.08% since last Thursday's pre Jackson Hole close. We're still +8.71% above the June lows though. Ironically, strong US data releases prompted the latest sell-off, as they showed that consumer confidence was more resilient and the labour market was tighter than expected. But in today’s high-inflation environment, good economic news is enabling the Fed to be even more aggressive on rate hikes, and the market developments yesterday were very much in keeping with that theme. We actually reached an important milestone yesterday too, as the futures-implied Fed funds rate for December ticked up +3.0bps to 3.73%, which surpasses the previous high of 3.72% seen back in June after the bumper CPI report for May came in. So for 2022 at least, markets are pricing in their most aggressive pace of hikes to date which makes a lot more sense than where we were a few weeks ago. In terms of the specifics of those data releases, an important one was the JOLTS data, which showed that job openings unexpectedly rose to 11.239m in July (vs. 10.375m expected). That marked a break in the trend of 3 consecutive declines, and shows that the Fed still have significant work to do if they want to bring labour demand and labour supply back into balance. Another indicator we’ve been tracking is the number of job openings per unemployed worker. That also bounced back up to 1.98 in July, which is just shy of its record high of 1.99 in March. So even with 225bps of Fed hikes by the July meeting, that measure of labour market tightness has barely budged. Then we got the Conference Board’s consumer confidence data for August, which came in at a 3-month high of 103.2 (vs. 98.0 expected), with rises for both the expectations and the present situation indicators. This positive news on the economy gave investors growing confidence that the Fed are set to keep hiking into 2023, and sent yields on 2yr Treasuries up +1.8bps to 3.44%. That’s their highest closing level since the GFC, and on an intraday basis they even hit 3.49% at one point. Longer-dated yields also increased, albeit to a lesser extent, with those on 10yr Treasuries flat. FOMC Vice Chair and New York Fed President Williams emphasised the point, saying that rates will need to stay in restrictive territory “for some time”, so the days of pricing rate cuts early next year are over for now. The fed funds futures curve currently has policy rates peaking around 3.90% in the second quarter of next year, with the first full -25bp cut from those highs not until November of next year, as of last night's close. The trend towards increasing hawkishness was echoed at the ECB as well yesterday, where the prospect of a 75bps move next week is being increasingly discussed by officials. In the last 24 hours alone, we heard from Estonia’s Muller, who said that “75 basis points should be among the options for September given that the inflation outlook has not improved”. Furthermore, Slovenia’s Vasle said that he favoured a hike “that could exceed 50 basis points”. Germany’s Nagel echoed the ECB chatter from last week, that they should not delay rate hikes just for fear of recession, instead arguing the call for earlier rate hikes to prevent later pain. Further, Pierre Wunsch of Belgium argued the current bout of inflation had structural roots, which called for a quick move to restrictive policy. While neither Nagel nor Wunsch explicitly endorsed a 75bp hike, their comments don't push back on it. So overall it’s clear that officials are contemplating a larger hike, and overnight index swaps continue to price a 75bps move as more likely than 50bps for the September decision, closing yesterday pricing +65.8bps worth of hiking for next week’s meeting. It's set to be a big one! We should get some additional clues on how fast the ECB might hike with the release of the flash CPI data for the Euro Area this morning. But there weren’t any big surprises in either direction from the country readings ahead of that yesterday. In Germany, the EU-harmonised reading rose to a fresh high of +8.8%, but that was as expected, and it was a similar story in Spain where the harmonised reading fell back to +10.3% as expected. A complicating factor for the ECB relative to the Fed is the stagflationary impulse coming from the ongoing energy shock, where prices have soared to new records in the last week. However, the last 24 hours brought some further declines that built on Monday’s moves lower, with natural gas futures coming down -7.21% to €253 per megawatt-hour. German power prices for next year came down by an even bigger -21.05%, on top of the -22.84% decline on Monday, although even that -39.09% total decline hasn’t erased the previous week’s gains. One other thing to keep an eye out for from today will be the start of maintenance on the Nord Stream pipeline, which is set to last for 3 days if you take the statement at face value. But as with the shutdown in July, there are concerns that gas flows won’t resume again afterwards, so that’s definitely one to watch. Oil futures took a big slide, with brent futures down -4.79% and WTI down -5.54%. The proximate cause appeared to be unsubstantiated rumours that the US and Iran had reached a deal to reinstate the nuclear deal. However, a US State Department spokesperson later denied the rumours, and we’ve already heard from OPEC+ that any supply increase from Iran would be offset by supply cuts among the cartel. So if oil prices stay around these levels, perhaps the market is pricing in more global demand slowdown than unmitigated supply expansion. For sovereign bond yields, the more hawkish noises from the ECB outweighed the effect of falling energy prices yesterday, with the 2yr German yield up +6.1bps. Similarly to the US, the increases in yields were concentrated at the more policy-sensitive front end of the curve, with longer-dated yields seeing smaller moves, including those on 10yr bunds (+0.8bps), OATs (+0.7bps) and BTPs (+1.7bps). On the equity side, the risk-off tone took the major indices lower on both sides of the Atlantic, with the S&P 500 (-1.10%) experiencing a 3rd consecutive decline. The more cyclical sectors led the moves lower, and the more interest-sensitive megacap tech stocks continued to struggle, with the FANG+ index down a further -2.04%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 was down -0.67% yesterday, although that decline was somewhat exaggerated by the fact that London equities were returning after Monday’s declines. Indeed, the DAX actually ended the day up +0.53%, although that was the exception as the CAC 40 (-0.19%) and the FTSE MIB (-0.08%) both posted modest declines. The more negative mood of the last few days has continued into today’s Asian session, with the Nikkei (-0.40%), Hang Seng (-0.39%) and the Shanghai composite (-1.18%) all losing ground this morning despite earlier better-than-expected economic data from China and Japan. Starting with the former, both manufacturing (49.4 vs 49.2 expected) and non-manufacturing PMI (52.6 vs 52.3 expected) were ahead of estimates but the manufacturing gauge stayed in contraction territory. In Japan, we got strong beats for industrial production (+1.0% vs -0.5% expected, MoM) and retail sales (+0.8% vs +0.3% expected, MoM). US Treasury yields are up across the curve, with the 2y yield (+2.1bps) gains ahead of 10y ones (+0.9bps). To the day ahead now, and data releases include the flash CPI reading for the Euro Area in August, as well as the country readings for France and Italy. On top of that, there’s German unemployment for August, Canada’s GDP for Q2, and in the US there’s the ADP’s report of private payrolls for August and the MNI Chicago PMI for August. Finally, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Mester and Bostic. Tyler Durden Wed, 08/31/2022 - 07:44.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 31st, 2022

Futures, Global Markets Tumble As Central Bankers Plan To Push World Into Coordinated Recession

Futures, Global Markets Tumble As Central Bankers Plan To Push World Into Coordinated Recession Market sentiment has only deteriorated after Friday's sharp post-Powell/ECB dump, and investors started the week with the bear market rally in tatters after the world’s biggest central banks huddled around a simple message in Jackson Hole this weekend: they are ready to fight runaway inflation with higher interest rates, even if it does some damage (in other words they want to crush demand, even as Biden's debt relief plan and Inflation Reduction Plan hopes to stimulate demand). Powell quashed the idea of an early dovish Fed pivot (ensuring a much more forceful one later once all EMs fully blow up on the back of the soaring USD) and also said on Friday that the road ahead will “bring some pain to households and businesses” in the US, an “unfortunate cost of bringing down inflation” while ECB's Isabel Schnabel said she and her colleagues had “little choice” but to continue tightening even if Europe’s economy tips into recession, which is becoming increasingly likely. As expected, Senator Liz Warren said she was worried the central bank will tilt the US economy into a recession, but for now Biden still thinks that soaring inflation polls worse than recession and/or global depression. In any case, Powell’s signal of higher-for-longer interest rates rocked market on Friday and then followed through in Asia and Europe on Monday, sinking stocks and equity futures. S&P 500 futures slipped 1% as of 715 a.m. New York time, while Nasdaq futures tumbled 1.3%, as swaps traders boosted their expectation for where the Fed rate will be a year from now to 3.82%, from 3.68% a week ago. Some more dismal data: the S&P 500 just posted its worst week since July and virtually all members tumbled Friday. Major indexes dipped below their 100-day price averages, which could indicate the potential for more losses. And the one-month percentage price change for all major indexes is negative. As Bloomberg puts it, the message is clear: interest rates will stay higher for some time, reducing the possibility of a soft landing. Amid the rate back-up, 2Y Treasury yields rose to the highest since 2007, stopping just shy of 3.50%... ... as Bonds in Europe also tumbled with Germany’s 10-year yield rising above 1.5% after a string of European Central Bank officials also stressed over the weekend the need to act more forcefully to quash record inflation, effectively assuring that Europe will be pushed into recession or worse. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index pushed toward the record hit last month as investors sought a haven from spiking volatility. Commodity-linked currencies as well as the yen, the pound and the offshore yuan were under pressure. Bitcoin broke below the $20,000 level some view as a marker of a deeper slide in investor sentiment. Gold retreated, but oil made gains on supply risks. In premarket trading, markets are honing in on the possibility of an economic slowdown: cyclical companies such as Freeport McMoran, Dow, Nucor and Ford are among the bigger decliners while shares of major US technology and internet stocks such as Tesla and Amazon.com also sharply lower with the group on track to extend a sharp selloff from Friday. Apple and Amazon each fall 1.3%, Nvidia 1.2%, Meta Platforms -1.1%, Microsoft -1%, Alphabet -1%. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks may be active on Monday after Bitcoin extended its drop below $20,000 as part of a wider market retreat, amid concern about the Federal Reserve’s rate- hike path. Keep an eye on Marathon Digital (MARA US), MicroStrategy (MSTR US), Coinbase (COIN US), Bit Digital (BTBT US), Ebang (EBON US), Riot Blockchain (RIOT US), and Silvergate Capital (SI US) VBI Vaccines (VBIV US) is down 9.7% in US premarket trading after entering into a sales agreement for possible offering of up to $125 million in shares from time to time via Jefferies on Friday. Watch Walmart (WMT US) stock as the retailer proposed to buy all of the shares in its South African unit Massmart it doesn’t already own for 62 rand apiece, a 53% premium to the last closing price. Minerva Neurosciences (NERV US) shares rise 2.6% in US premarket trading after gaining more than 150% last week as it applied to the FDA for approval of its schizophrenia drug candidate and Point72 Asset Management disclosed an 8.8% passive stake in the stock. “We maintain our view that the Fed will raise rates by another 100 basis points by year-end, with risks for more if inflation does not slow in line with our forecasts,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “With rates likely to stay higher for longer, our base case is for further volatility, earnings downgrades, and higher-than-expected default rates over the course of the next year.” European equities also tumbled on Monday, adding to last week’s selloff amid concerns about the economic impact from further central bank tightening, which officials embraced in Jackson Hole. The Stoxx Europe 600 slid 1.2% with technology stocks underperforming as bond yields rose. Utilities also fell after comments from French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne over the weekend heightened unease that a windfall tax could be imposed on “super profits.” UK markets were shut for a holiday. The benchmark has slumped to the lowest since July 21, breaking below its 50-day moving average, as worries about a downturn intensified after central bank officials said they are ready to follow through with higher interest rates, even if it does some damage. The region already faces a flurry of other headwinds, such as the prospects of gas rationing and political turmoil in Italy and the UK.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Utilities are among the worst performing sub-sectors in Europe after comments from French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne over the weekend heightened windfall tax concerns on “super profits” Technology stocks underperform all other sectors in the Stoxx 600 after central bank officials signaled they’re ready to follow through with higher interest rates, and as bond yields rose Bavarian Nordic falls as much as 15% after White House monkeypox coordinator Robert Fenton said after market close on Friday that the US has nearly all the monkeypox vaccines it needs Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks suffer on Monday after Bitcoin extended its drop below $20,000 as part of a wider market retreat, amid concern about the Federal Reserve’s rate- hike path BW LPG shares fall as much as 13.2% after the Norwegian LPG published 2Q results. Analysts note a soft report with a miss on adjusted Ebitda, and some exposure to prices on the 3Q spot market SAS shares slide as much as 17% after DNB cut its PT for the ailing Scandinavian airliner to SEK0.05 from SEK0.10, seeing “significant dilution” on the back of its Chapter 11 proceedings Tech firms led losses for Asian equities, while progress in the US-China delisting spat helped to cushion Chinese stocks. Emerging-market stocks dropped and a gauge of major developing-nation currencies slumped by the most in more than two months. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose to six-week high as the greenback advanced versus all of its Group-of-10 peers, and pushed toward the record hit last month as investors sought a haven from spiking volatility. The euro fell a second day but remained in its recent $0.99-1.00 range. The euro is trading close to its cycle lows, yet options show that bearish sentiment for the common currency is becoming steadily lower. The yen tumbled as much as 1% back toward the 140 per dollar level as the impact of hawkish Federal Reserve comments at Jackson Hole weighed on Japan’s currency. Signs from the option market suggested a renewed bias toward yen weakness on the part of asset managers, who boosted their net-short position by the most on record in the week to Aug. 23. Australia’s dollar fell for a second day as momentum accounts price in a more hawkish Fed after Jerome Powell’s speech at Jackson Hole. Sovereign bonds declined. Australian retailers powered further ahead in July, suggesting cashed-up households are coping well with rapid interest-rate increases. The yuan weakened to fresh two-year lows after Powell signaled higher-for-longer interest rates, prompting China’s central bank to set a stronger-than-expected fixing to cap the currency’s drop.  South Korea’s won led declines, falling 1.4%, while the Thai baht slipped 1%. “The market has not been hawkish enough on the Fed’s path,” says Stephen Chiu, chief Asia FX & rates strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong. “Last week’s deluge of Fed speakers including Powell basically told the market to retune their view. But we believe still not enough hawkishness is priced in. So the dollar may continue to rise versus Asian currencies.” Bank of Korea Governor Rhee Chang-yong said he would join the Fed in focusing on inflation if prices remain out of control, keeping the door open for another outsized rate hike In rates, Treasuries remained under pressure but are off the cheapest levels of the session; the US 2-Year yield, sensitive to expectations around Fed policy, hit 3.47% in Asian trading, the highest since the global financial crisis. The 10-year yield climbed to about 3.10%. UK markets are closed for bank holiday. US yields higher by 4bp-8bp, 10-year by ~6bp at 3.10%, with most euro-zone 10-year yields higher on the day by at least 9bp. 2-year rose as much as 8.4bp to 3.48%, highest since 2007, exceeding its June 14 high by about 3bp. In early US trading, swaps referencing Fed meeting dates once again give higher than 50% odds to another 75bp rate hike at September meeting. European bonds lead the selloff following hawkish rhetoric from ECB officials over the weekend. while paring odds of rate cuts in 2023. IG credit issuance remains moribund, with lull expected to last through US Labor Day holiday Sept. 6. Bitcoin tumbled below $20,000 amid broader tightening fears; in addition, Reuters reported that the Monetary Authority of Singapore is considering further measures to reduce the harm to consumers from cryptocurrency trading and MAS will issue public consultation on new measures by October. In commodities, gold retreated, but oil made gains on supply risks.  WTI and Brent contracts have been choppy on the first trading day of the week; gains are capped by risk aversion. Spot gold remains pressured under its 21 DMA (1,766/oz), 50 DMA (1,763/oz) and 10 DMA (1,749/oz). Copper declined in APAC hours, whilst the LME is closed today due to the UK bank holiday. Meanwhile, European natural gas prices plunged the most since March after Germany said its gas stores are filling up faster than planned ahead of winter. It's a quiet start to the week, with just the Dallas Fed report due at 10:30am. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.8% to 4,025.25 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.0% to 421.91 MXAP down 2.2% to 157.01 MXAPJ down 1.9% to 515.30 Nikkei down 2.7% to 27,878.96 Topix down 1.8% to 1,944.10 Hang Seng Index down 0.7% to 20,023.22 Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,240.73 Sensex down 1.2% to 58,132.18 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 2.0% to 6,965.49 Kospi down 2.2% to 2,426.89 German 10Y yield lup 13 bps to 1.52% Euro down 0.4% to $0.9924 Brent futures up 0.2% to $101.24/bbl Gold spot down 0.9% to $1,721.81 US Dollar Index up 0.53% to 109.38 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Top officials from the world’s biggest central banks coalesced around a simple message in Jackson Hole this weekend: They are ready to follow through with higher interest rates, even if it does some damage Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s stern message at Jackson Hole has made it clear for Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda that the weaker yen, a major source of concern for Japan’s economy, won’t be going away anytime soon The ECB is prepared to at least repeat the half-point increase in interest rates it delivered last month, with an even bigger move not to be excluded as inflation nears yet another record. That’s the message from ECB officials who joined the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole symposium, which wrapped up Saturday The rally that’s bolstered risk assets over the past month was just a blip in a bear market that’s likely to worsen from here. That’s the view of investors who seem to be finally getting the message that a resolutely hawkish Federal Reserve and central bank peers are planning to raise interest-rates at all costs to combat the hottest inflation in a generation German Power for next year, the European benchmark, broke through 1,000 euros ($993) for the first time as the region’s energy crisis intensifies Poland’s central bank may end or at least pause its series of interest-rate increases as early as the next week’s policy meeting, Governor Adam Glapinski said, adding that a turning point is near The Swedish Debt Office has decided to wind up a strategic position in the Swedish krona against the euro as “major changes” have occurred in the global economy, which has altered the conditions for the position in terms of cost and risk Swedish housing prices will continue falling until the middle of next year as the share of household income that goes toward mortgage interest payments is set to double, economists at the Nordic region’s largest bank said in a new forecast China is enforcing lockdown restrictions in areas around Beijing more intensively, and will mass test the nearby port city of Tianjin, stepping up its quest to wipe out Covid-19 ahead of a key meeting of the Communist Party’s top leaders A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks took their cue from Friday's sell-off on Wall St amid higher yields and following hawkish central bank rhetoric from Jackson Hole including from Fed Chair Powell. ASX 200 was pressured as underperformance in tech led the declines across all sectors and with better-than-expected Retail Sales doing little to brighten the mood. Nikkei 225 gapped beneath the 28K level and shed around 800 points despite a weaker currency and reports of a potential further easing of COVID restrictions. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp declined at the open although losses in the mainland were stemmed after Sichuan resumed power to most industries and participants digested a deluge of earnings releases, while the US and China reached a preliminary agreement on audit inspections. Agricultural Bank of China (1288 HK) - H1 2022 (CNY): net profit 128.95bln vs. prev. Y/Y 122.3bln. Will support local government efforts to complete construction of properties. Top Asian News Chinese authorities informed the US Department of Agriculture that Chinese customs will suspend meat imports transported by Tyson Fresh Meat (TSN) from Monday after its pig trotters failed inspection, according to Global Times. Huaqiangbei, China has been ordered to shut between Monday and Thursday to contain a new COVID outbreak, via SCMP. Moody's affirms China at A1, maintains Stable outlook. Driven by assessment that core strengths of the credit profile are likely to remain in the medium-term. European bourses are under pressure amid the weekend's central bank hawkishness, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.5%; note, FTSE 100 away for a Bank Holiday. US futures are similarly subdued, ES -1.0%, in tandem with Europe as specific updates are somewhat limited ahead of a packed week of data. Qualcomm (QCOM) - USD 991mln fine against the Co. which was rejected by an EU court will not be appealed by EU antitrust regulator, according to Reuters sources Top European News UK Tory leadership frontrunner Truss is reportedly mulling cutting the 20% VAT by 5% across the board to help ease the cost-of-living pressures under a nuclear option, while other options include a more modest 2.5% reduction, according to a source cited by The Telegraph. Furthermore, Truss is under renewed pressure to outline the cost-of-living support with Tory MPs voicing increasing concerns regarding the impact of higher energy prices on households and small businesses, according to FT. A senior economist warned that UK Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership front runner Truss's plan to cut tens of billions of pounds in VAT would crash public finances, according to The Times citing the Institute of Fiscal Studies Director. UK corner shops are calling for government support to offset energy costs and have warned that thousands risk going out of business if the government doesn’t provide support, according to FT. Goldman Sachs sees the UK economy entering a recession in Q4 and said the recession will be mild, while it lowered its 2022 GDP forecast to 3.5% from 3.7% and the 2023 GDP forecast to 0.6% from 1.1%. S&P affirmed Austria at AA+; Outlook revised to Stable from Positive. Central Banks ECB’s Schnabel said both the likelihood and the cost of current high inflation becoming entrenched in expectations are uncomfortably high and said that central banks need to act forcefully in this environment, according to Reuters. ECB’s Villeroy said a significant rate increase is needed in September and that they should get rates to neutral by year-end with neutral somewhere between 1.00%-2.00%, according to Reuters. ECB’s Kazaks said the ECB should discuss 50bps and 75bps hikes in September and that a 50bps rate increase is the least the bank should do, while he added that Euro zone recession risk is substantial and a technical recession is likely, according to Reuters. ECB’s Rehn said its action time for the ECB with a weak Euro a key point and that a ‘significant’ hike in interest rates is needed in September, while he added it is too early to publicly discuss quantitative tightening, according to Bloomberg. SNB’s Jordan said there is no need to adjust the definition of price stability or broaden SNB’s mandate, while he added they are prepared to act decisively if price stability is at threat and that unconventional monetary policy instruments are likely to continue to have an important part to play in Switzerland, according to Reuters. BoJ Governor Kuroda reiterated the view regarding transitory inflation in Japan in which he stated they have 2.4% inflation but is almost wholly caused by rising international commodity and food prices, while they expect inflation to approach 2% or 3% by year-end but decelerate again to 1.5% next year. BoK Governor Rhee said it is premature to say inflation has peaked and that rates will increase until it is clear that inflation is falling. Rhee also commented they will intervene in FX markets if speculative forces are seen and that the KRW’s movement is in line with EUR and other major currencies, while he noted that a weakening KRW from the rally in USD is a bad factor for inflation and that BoK policy tightening is unlikely to end before the Fed, according to Reuters. FX DXY printed a fresh YTD peak just shy of 109.50 overnight as APAC players reacted to the Jackson Hole Symposium, but the index then pulled back below 109. G10s are pressured to varying degrees but EUR/USD has been trimming losses though remains under parity as the DXY wanes. JPY is the clear laggard as the widening FOMC-BoJ pricing lifted USD/JPY to test 139.00 to the upside, ahead of the YTD peak at 139.39. The Yuan was in focus in APAC hours as USD/CNH topped 6.9000 before finding resistance around 6.9300. Fixed Income EGBs slump following weekend Central Bank updates from ECB officials which follow on from and continue the tone of Friday's hawkish sources At worst, Bunds lower by over 200 ticks while USTs have stabilised somewhat near lows of 116.26+ with yield curves elevated but somewhat mixed directionally. Commodities WTI and Brent contracts have been choppy on the first trading day of the week; gains are capped by risk aversion. Spot gold remains pressured under its 21 DMA (1,766/oz), 50 DMA (1,763/oz) and 10 DMA (1,749/oz). Copper declined in APAC hours, whilst the LME is closed today due to the UK bank holiday. Austrian Chancellor Nehammer called for an EU-wide cap on power prices and said they must decouple the price of electricity from the gas price and bring it closer to actual production costs, while he added that they must finally stop the madness that is occurring in energy markets and cannot let Russian President Putin determine the European power price, according to Reuters. US temporarily waived truck driver hours of service rules to transport fuel to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin following the unanticipated shutdown of BP’s Whiting refinery, according to Reuters. Ukraine PM Shmyhal said Ukraine will permit merchant sailors to leave Ukraine if they receive approval from their local military administrative body, according to Reuters. UN Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative said Ukrainian silos are still stocked with millions of tonnes from previous harvests and that much more grains need to shift to provide room for the new harvest, according to Reuters. US Event Calendar 10:30: Aug. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. -12.7, prior -22.6 14:15: Fed’s Brainard speaks at a FedNow workshop Tyler Durden Mon, 08/29/2022 - 07:54.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 29th, 2022

Europe Plans "Emergency Intervention" In Power Market As All Hell Breaks Loose

Europe Plans "Emergency Intervention" In Power Market As All Hell Breaks Loose With even Zoltan Pozsar warning that Europe faces an apocalypse of sorts now that the Eurussia divorce is complete and energy prices in Europe are hitting fresh daily record highs every single day - just today, German 1Year  forward baseload electricity rose above €1000, or 10x where they were a year ago, before easing after European nat gas prices plunged the most since March after Germany said its gas stores are filling up faster than planned ahead of winter... ... moments ago the European Union appears to have finally realized that it faces an armed revolt this winter, or worse, when millions face freezing cold without power and heat (see "This Is Beyond Imagination": Polish Homeowners Line Up For Days To Buy Coal Ahead Of Winter"), and announced that it was planning "urgent steps" to push down soaring power prices, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday. "The skyrocketing electricity prices are now exposing, for different reasons, the limitations of our current electricity market design,” von der Leyen said in a speech at the Bled Strategic Summit in Slovenia, pointing out what has been obvious for years to those who warned repeatedly that Europe should probably not take make its energy policy based on the idiotic ravings of a self-absorbed, petulant, Scandinavian teenager. “It was developed under completely different circumstances and completely different purposes.” Ah yes, it's the "circumstances and purposes" that are at fault, not Europe's catastrophic "green" push over the past decade that left the continent at the mercy of Putin, very much as one Donald J Trump warned would happen... and speaking of Putin, maybe Europe can impose a few more self-destructive sanctions on Russian energy exports. But we digress... Ursula then added “that’s why we are now working on an emergency intervention and a structural reform of the electricity market", one which would look roughly like this. The unprecedented spike in power prices, which have soared almost 10-fold in the past year, has fueled inflation, increased the economic burden on businesses and households recovering from the pandemic, and forced the ECB to aggressively hike rate in hopes of crushing demand into what is now a definite recession if not a depression. One could say that Putin couldn't have planned his revenge on Europe better. According to Bloomberg, more and more member states are calling for a price cap and the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, plans to convene an extraordinary meeting of energy ministers on Sept. 9. In other words, while the ECB plans to crush demand with tighter monetary conditions, European governments will ease demand and inject fiscal stimulus to avoid an angry mob descending on various local parliaments. Of course, being a harebrained European "plan" which doesn't make any sense - just like anything else out of Europe  - the exact details of an EU intervention plan are still being developed, and EU diplomats said the EU’s executive arm could offer a detailed plan as soon as this week. Don't hold your breath: after all, absent a massive ECB-funded stimulus - the proceeds of which will immediately go to Putin - unless Europe has somehow found brand new deposits of nat gas which are immediately accessible and don't require tens of billions and years of development to be extracted, what Europe is doing is just the latest jawboning. With Russia squeezing gas deliveries, power-plant outages further sapping supply, while droughts and lack of wind make a mockery of "green" energy sources, the pressure is growing on EU leaders to act quickly or risk social unrest and political upheaval. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala is seeking backing for his price-cap plan and plans to discuss possible limits with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “High energy prices are a Europe-wide problem that we need to tackle at European level,” Fiala said on his Twitter account. “Ahead of the EU Energy Council we want to find a way to help people and businesses that we can agree on with other European leaders.” Czech officials are proposing to cap prices of natural gas used for power generation, Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Sikela said on Monday. “We may open the question of emission allowances, as some other member states have done in past, that also present a major part of the total price,” Sikela said. “We may open the question of the overall market regulation, total decoupling of the prices,” adding that the bloc cannot meddle too much with the market or fuel speculation. Amusingly, EU member states have already earmarked about 280 billion euros (or roughly the same in USD now that we are at parity) in measures such as tax cuts and subsidies to ease the pain of surging energy prices for businesses and consumers, but the aid risks being dwarfed by the scale of the crisis. In other words, the ECB will be hiking rates even as it has to inject even more liquidity into the market to enable the latest helicopter money stimulus. Governments have also started to limit energy use, banning outside lighting for buildings in Germany and lowering indoor heating temperatures, to meet the EU voluntary target of cutting gas demand by 15%. On Saturday, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned that the EU can’t continue resolving the problem of sky-rocketing energy costs by cutting taxes and called for a price cap instead. Should the bloc fail to reach an agreement, Belgium will consider national measures, he told VTM television. France last week reacted skeptically to the idea of setting limits on power prices, saying its situation is different from other European countries thanks to government measures offering protection against inflation. In kneejerk response, some European commodity prices dipped from all time highs, while US nat gas dipped to session lows amid expectations Europe's "energy emergency" could mean fewer Us LNG exports. We doubt that, and in fact expect that Europe will double down begging for every last drop of US, Canadian, Qatari LNG it can find. Tyler Durden Mon, 08/29/2022 - 09:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 29th, 2022

"It"s Not Enough": A Deeper Look Inside China"s Latest 1 Trillion Yuan Stimulus

"It's Not Enough": A Deeper Look Inside China's Latest 1 Trillion Yuan Stimulus A few days ago we mocked the relentless China newsmill, saying that "Every day there are 5 stories about some new imminent stimulus out of China and every day nothing at all happens." Every day there are 5 stories about some new imminent stimulus out of China and every day nothing at all happens. — zerohedge (@zerohedge) August 17, 2022 Well, it appears that someone in Beijing heard us because just days later we got not one but two major "stimmy" developments: The first one hit early on Monday when we learned that to contain the collapse of China's critical housing sector, which at $62 trillion is the world's largest asset class... ... Beijing would offer 200 billion yuan ($29.3 billion) in "special loans" to ensure stalled housing projects are delivered to buyers. This new lending program "would make it the biggest financial commitment yet from Beijing to contain a property crisis that’s seen home prices slump and real estate sales plummet, at a time when growing housing market instability also means a growing threat to political stability during the sensitive run-up to the Communist Party’s leadership transition later this year. The second stimulus hit overnight, when China unexpectedly stepped up its economic stimulus with a further 1 trillion yuan ($146 billion) of funding focused on infrastructure spending, support which analysts quickly calculated won’t go nearly far enough to either counter the damage from repeated Covid lockdowns and a property market slump, or to reboot the struggling Chinese economy which has is on the verge of contraction. On Wedneseday, the State Council - China’s Cabinet - outlined a 19-point policy package on Wednesday, including another 300 billion yuan that state policy banks can invest in infrastructure projects, on top of 300 billion yuan already announced at the end of June. Local governments will be allocated 500 billion yuan of special bonds from previously unused quotas. At a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, the State Council vowed to make use of “tools available in the toolbox” to maintain a reasonable policy scale in a timely and decisive manner, and announced a series of growth supportive measures, including an additional 300bn yuan credit support by policy banks and RMB 200bn bond issuance by power generating central SOEs. Li also pledged to accelerate infrastructure investment project approvals, and urged local governments to better utilize the RMB500bn local government bond issuance allowance accumulated from previous years’ unused quota. The Chinese Premier also urged local governments to distribute RMB10bn subsidies to the agricultural sector, and further urged relevant government institutions to announce detailed implementation plans for these measures; and stated that policymakers would approve a batch of infrastructure investment projects (though he also required policymakers to ensure the quality of these projects). The 19 measures came on top of several recent stimulus steps: policy banks have been allocated a total of 1.1 trillion yuan of financing for infrastructure projects since June; the central bank delivered a surprise 10 basis-point interest rate cut last week; and in May, Beijing announced about 1.9 trillion yuan of support measures in a 33-point policy package, including targeting small businesses. The State Council on Wednesday also pledged to approve a batch of infrastructure projects. Local authorities are encouraged to use city-specific credit policies to support reasonable housing demand, it said. However, to counter speculation that Beijing is finally turning the tide on years of fiscal frugality, the State Council also said the economy won’t be flooded with excessive stimulus, and that China won’t “overdraw” on the room it has to take more policy action to protect longer-term growth - reiterating the cautious stance officials have taken toward stimulus in recent years. The meeting sent a signal: “Don’t expect massive additional stimulus,” according to Bruce Pang, head of research and chief economist for Greater China at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. He added that the language used in the announcement suggested “the possibility of adopting extraordinary tools such as special sovereign bonds or increasing official budget deficit has decreased.” Commenting on the stimulus, Goldman said that in its view, the RMB300bn credit support (equivalent to around 0.3% of GDP) is a new supportive measure, while the RMB 500bn potential local government special bond issuance echoes the statement in the July Politburo meeting, but was significantly smaller than the RMB 1.5tn difference between the allowed total LGSB outstanding (RMB 21.8tn) and the actual outstanding (RMB 20.4tn). Whether the RMB200bn bond issuance by power generating central SOEs represents incremental policy support remains to be seen. The bank also believes that these measures could help offset the sharp contraction in government revenue and support infrastructure investment growth to some degree in coming months. However, with a very weak property sector, and headwinds to activity growth from local Covid outbreaks and related control measures, barring major policy easing measures, we think overall growth would remain sluggish during the rest of this year (Goldman recently downgraded its 2022 full-year GDP growth to 3.0% yoy). “We’re getting easing, but it’s not quickly enough to keep up with the pace of deterioration in the broader economy,” said Andrew Tilton, chief economist for Asia Pacific at Goldman Sachs, in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “More domestic policy easing and improved growth and domestic demand is going to be key as we get into 2023.” Others agreed: Bloomberg economists Chang Shu and David Qu wrote that "China’s latest package isn’t enough to turn the economy around. It will create more public demand that will partially fill a growing hole left by a retreating private sector -- giving some support to growth. What it won’t do is deliver a confidence boost that’s needed to prompt households to spend more and companies to invest more." The 500 billion yuan in additional local government special bonds this year is smaller than what some analysts had expected, given the estimated amount of unused quota could be as high as 1.5 trillion yuan. Local authorities have accelerated their issuance of the bonds -- a major source for infrastructure investment -- this year compared with previous years, and have used up most of the 3.65 trillion yuan in official quota set early this year. Nomura economists led by Lu Ting said Thursday the measures aren’t “game-changers.” That’s partially because the property sector is still in deep trouble, they wrote in a research note, pointing out that in previous easing cycles, real estate played a major role in pumping up credit demand among households, companies and local governments. Indeed, Despite the surprise one-two stimulus punch out of China this week, economists were downbeat on the measures, while financial markets were muted. The yield on 10-year government bonds rose 2 basis points to 2.65%. China’s CSI 300 Index of stocks rose as much as 0.6% before paring gains to trade up 0.3%.   Tyler Durden Thu, 08/25/2022 - 11:28.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 25th, 2022

EU: Controlled Demolition?

EU: Controlled Demolition? Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth, As I read through the multitude of daily news articles about Russia, Ukraine, NATO and EU, it’s getting ever harder to escape the idea that there is a controlled demolition of the continent happening. And that neither its “leaders”, and certainly not its people, have any say in this. All we get from those “leaders” are NATO or World Economic Forum talking points. The only independent voice is Victor Orban. Who is either silenced in western media or painted as fully insane. But Orban’s Hungarians won’t freeze this coming winter. He just signed a new gas deal with Russia. The main reason that is provided for all the others not doing that is of course Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine. Which is as insane as Orban is, and “totally unprovoked”, say the western media. Noam Chomsky summarized that best: “Of course it was provoked. Otherwise they wouldn’t refer to it all the time as an unprovoked invasion.” And no, it wasn’t just Russia/Ukraine.Way before that Europe had already screwed up its economies beyond recognition -if you cared to look under the hood. But why make it worse? I get a very strong feeling that those EU “leaders” have alienated themselves far too much from the people they purport to serve, and they’ll regret it. For now it’s obvious among farmers, for instance, but when people start freezing, they will want to know why. And if no answer is forthcoming that is both honest and satisfactory, many “leaders” will have it coming for them. The entire energy and food crisis is being sold as “inevitable”, but it is nothing of the kind. They are the result of choices being made in Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam etc., about which nobody has asked your opinion. Something I jotted down a few days ago: Is the west using Ukraine as an excuse to commit mass economic suicide? And, you know, fulfill some WEF-related goals? Why else would they cut off all economic ties to Moscow, at a time when it’s obvious they have no alternative sources for much of what they import from Russia? Moreover, why does a country like Holland aim to close 10,000 of its farms when it’s crystal clear that that will exacerbate the coming global food crises? If you don’t like Putin, that’s fine, but why should your own people suffer from what you like or not? And of course you can ask whether it’s a good idea that a country the size of a postage stamp is the world’s no. 2 food exporter. But it is. And if you try to change that by doing a 180º, also on a postage stamp, it is very obvious that is not going to go well. And all the so-called leaders know this. But they still do it. Prices for heating, petrol, as well as food, are set to go much higher than they have already, mitigated only -perhaps- by the fact that ever fewer people will be able to afford the ever higher prices. But now it’s starting to look like this was all scripted. Because “we” could have kept communication channels with Russia open, “we” could have negotiated for peace for the past 6 months. Not doing that was a deliberate choice. A choice that you and me, another “we”- had no voice in whatsoever. The Dutch could have negotiated with their farmers, and slowly addressed their perceived problems with nitrogen oxides, while keeping food production going. And we could have found a way to keep Russian and Ukrainian crops available on world markets too. But it doesn’t feel at all like “we” wanted that. Someone made a list of what EU won’t get anymore with the Russia boycott.: “nat-gas, rare earths, inert gases, potash, sulfur, uranium, palladium, vanadium, cobalt, coke, titanium, nickel, lithium, plastics, glass, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, ships, inks, airplanes, polymers, medical and industrial gases, sealing rings & membranes, power transmission, transformer and lube oils, neon gas for microchip etching, etc., etc.” And that’s not all. Fertilizer!! Why they do it, I don’t know. Do they WANT to kill their own economies? It makes no sense. And this will not be over soon. Reuters of course seeks to blame Putin. But he’s not the one who introduced the sanctions. He’s offered to let the gas and oil exports continue. Putin Bets Winter Gas Chokehold Will Yield Ukraine Peace – On His Terms Cold winters helped Moscow defeat Napoleon and Hitler. President Vladimir Putin is now betting that sky-rocketing energy prices and possible shortages this winter will persuade Europe to strong arm Ukraine into a truce — on Russia’s terms. That, say two Russian sources familiar with Kremlin thinking, is the only path to peace that Moscow sees, given Kyiv says it will not negotiate until Russia leaves all of Ukraine “We have time, we can wait,” said one source close to the Russian authorities, who declined to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the media. “It’s going to be a difficult winter for Europeans. We could see protests, unrest. Some European leaders might think twice about continuing to support Ukraine and think it’s time for a deal.” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wants Europeans to be obedient little critters, and take the punishment for the policies he and his ilk have carved out. Because “we” are destined to win. Mr. Borrell is planing to do just fine this winter, mind you. With the best steak your money can buy, real fine wine, to be consumed in comfortably heated homes, restaurants and offices. A picture of Marie Antoinette pops up in my brain. ‘Weary’ Europeans Must ‘Bear Consequences’ Of Ukraine War As Putin Will Eventually Blink: EU’s Borrell EU high representative and foreign policy chief Josep Borrell gave a surprisingly blunt assessment of the Ukraine war and Europe’s precarious position in an AFP interview published Tuesday, admitting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting on fracturing a united EU response amid the current crisis situation of soaring prices and energy extreme uncertainty headed into a long winter. Borrell’s words seemed to come close to admitting that Putin’s tactic is working on some level, or at least will indeed chip away at European resolve in the short and long run, given he chose words like EU populations having to “endure” the deep economic pain and severe energy crunch. He cited the “weariness” of Europeans while calling on leadership as well as the common people to “bear the consequences” with continued resolve. Borrell explained to AFP that Putin sees “the weariness of the Europeans and the reluctance of their citizens to bear the consequences of support for Ukraine.” But Borrell suggested that Europe will not back down no matter the leverage Moscow might have, particularly when it comes to ‘weaponization of energy’ – and called on citizens to continue to shoulder the cost. Who will blink first? …appears to be the subtext here. He urged: “We will have to endure, spread the costs within the EU,” Borrell told AFP, warning that keeping the 27 member states together was a task to be carried out “day by day.” And yet, as some like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán have consistently argued since near the start of the Feb.24 invasion, it is inevitable that some will be forced to bear the “costs” much more than others. Already this is being seen with initiatives out of Brussels like rationing gas consumption, which has further led to scenarios like German towns and even residences being mandated to switch off lights or resources for designated periods at night. “More cold showers” – many are also being told. As we round the corner of fall and enter the more frigid months, we are likely to only see more headlines like this: “German cities impose cold showers and turn off lights amid Russian gas crisis.” Talking of Marie Antoinette. Emmanuel Macron is the little man of grand vision. He foresees the ‘End Of Abundance’, a veritable “tipping point” in history. And he’s just the man to lead you through it. I’ll give him this: he’s got good speech writers. But speech writers don’t keep the people warm and fed. Macron Warns Of ‘End Of Abundance’ France is headed toward the “end of abundance” and “sacrifices” have to be made during what is a time of great upheaval, President Emmanuel Macron told his cabinet on Wednesday upon returning from summer break. The country has faced multiple challenges lately, ranging from the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine to the unprecedented drought that has battered the whole European continent this summer. Yet, Macron believes that the crisis is actually of a much bigger scale and that structural changes are imminent.“ Some could see our destiny as being to constantly manage crises or emergencies. I believe that we are living through a tipping point or great upheaval. Firstly, because we are living through… what could seem like the end of abundance,” he said. The country and its citizens must be ready to make “sacrifices” to meet and overcome the challenges they are facing, he continued. “Our system based on freedom in which we have become used to living, when we need to defend it sometimes that can entail making sacrifices,”Macron added. “Faced with this, we have duties, the first of which is to speak frankly and very clearly without doom-mongering,” Macron stressed. The president called upon his cabinet to show unity, be “serious” and “credible” and urged ministers to avoid “demagogy.” “It’s easy to promise anything and everything, sometimes to say anything and everything. Do not give in to these temptations, it is demagoguery,” the president said, adding that such an approach “flourishes” today “in all democracies in a complex and frightening world.” There is a pattern in the messages of today’s Marie Antoinettes. Borrell wants you to take it lying down, Macron wants you to do that for a long time (like the rest of your lives), and the Belgian PM makes it more concrete: you’ll be freezing for the next 10 years. After which, supposedly, renewables will have been built to keep your kids warm. Spoiler: they won’t be. Belgian PM: “Next 5-10 Winters Will Be Difficult” As Energy Crisis Worsens Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo might have spilled the beans about the duration of Europe’s energy crisis. He told reporters Monday, “the next 5 to 10 winters will be difficult.” “The development of the situation is very difficult throughout Europe,” De Croo told Belgium broadcaster VRT. “In a number of sectors, it is really difficult to deal with those high energy prices. We are monitoring this closely, but we must be transparent: the coming months will be difficult, the coming winters will be difficult,” he said. The prime minister’s comments suggest replacing Russian natural gas imports could take years, exerting further economic doom on the region’s economy in the form of energy hyperinflation. From Greece, even more concrete: energy subsidies. €1.9 billion in one month. To keep the hordes out of the streets. Wait, that Belgian guy said this will last 5-10 years. How is the country going to pay for that? One thing that comes to mind is Greeks will vote for anyone in the next election who vows to talk to Putin ASAP, restore the countries’ good relationships and sign a gas deal. The Electricity Subsidy Shock A significant rise in the price of electricity announced by state-controlled Public Power Corporation (PPC) for September forced the government to raise its electricity subsidy for September to 1.9 billion euros, from €1.1 billion in August. The subsidy level inevitably follows the PPC’s pricing policy, since it is the dominant player in the market, with 63% of consumers choosing it. While PPC had the lowest price of all electricity providers in August (€0.48 per kilowatt-hour) it raised its September price to €0.788 for those consuming up to 500kWh per month and €0.80 for heavier consumers. In order to stick to its commitment for an actual charge to consumers between €0.14-0.17 per kWh the government had to adjust its subsidy level accordingly, raising it by over 72%. How long will this last, you said? Well, according to AP, “Washington expects Ukrainian forces “to fight for years to come.” “Included in the package are advanced weapons that are still in the development phase..” ‘Months Or Years’ Before US Arms Reach Ukraine – Media Years could pass before some of the weapons in the upcoming “largest ever” package of US military assistance to Kiev actually reach Ukraine, according to Western media reports. On Tuesday, a number of mainstream media outlets cited anonymous US officials as describing the impending announcement of a $3 billion package of military aid to Ukraine. If confirmed, it would be the largest of its kind so far. Washington is by far the biggest supplier of military hardware to Ukraine as it fights against Russia. However, some of the promised equipment “will not be in the hands of Ukrainian fighters for months or years,” according to NBC News, one of the outlets that reported the upcoming package. Included in the package are advanced weapons that are still in the development phase, it explained. The same caveat was cited by the Associated Press, which said that it may take “a year or two” for the arms to reach the battlefield, according to its sources. Washington expects Ukrainian forces “to fight for years to come,” US officials told the AP. The AeroVironment Switchblade 600 drone is an example of a weapon system that was promised to Ukraine months ago but has yet to be delivered. Defense News said this week that the Pentagon plans to sign the contract necessary for sending 10 of the so-called “kamikaze drones” within a month. Last month, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov called on foreign suppliers of arms to use his country as a testing ground for new weapons. He pledged to provide detailed reports about the experiences of Ukrainian soldiers with the prototypes provided to them. This is not going to go well. Not for the European “leaders”, not for the EU, not for Ukraine, and not for Europeans. We could start a little bet as to how many leaders will still be in place by spring, and I bet you Zelensky won’t be one of them. Putin will. As for the rest, Rutte, Macron, we’ll see. But don’t underestimate the wrath of people with hungry and cold children. It feels like almost an alien image for 99% of Europeans, but it no longer will be. And there is no logical reason for this, there is only the ideology of a few handfuls of little men with grand visions. Hate of everything Russia has kept the west going for 100 years or more. And these little men feed off of that. They can only do that by refusing to talk. Because that’s exactly what Russia does not refuse. Only, they want to talk as equals. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Tyler Durden Thu, 08/25/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 25th, 2022

Military Families Suffering As Housing Benefits Can"t Keep Up With Exploding Rent

Military Families Suffering As Housing Benefits Can't Keep Up With Exploding Rent Military families who have long-benefited from housing subsidies are finding themselves unable to afford rent amid record-breaking spikes in rent, as the Department of Defense neglects its commitment to help its service members find affordable places to live. "It’s affecting us personally but then I think about how we were a junior enlisted family at one point. I cannot imagine the struggles (they) are going through," said Kristen Marten, whose husband was transferred to Naval Base San Diego. On-base housing wasn’t an option — the waitlist for a four-bedroom home in the neighborhoods they qualified for was 14 to 16 months. Neither were the military-only hotels near base where new arrivals can pay low rates as they get their bearings — those were full, too. So Martin cast a wide net across San Diego and started applying for rental homes, all sight unseen. “I was waking up and the first thing I was doing was looking at properties,” Martin said. “I was looking at it midday, before I went to bed. I had alerts set. It became a full-time job.” -AP After sending out more than 30 rental applications - which cost hundreds of dollars in application fees, the Martins finally found a home - for $4,200 per month, nearly $700 more than the monthly basic allowance for housing (BAH) that her husband, a lieutenant, receives. "We’ll probably be here two or three years, so that could be $20,000 that we’re paying out of pocket above BAH just for rent," she said, after the family's fourth move in 15 years. The situation has forced many military families to settle for substandard homes, long commutes, and paying thousands out of pocket they didn't plan on spending. "I don’t think civilians really understand — they might think we’re living in free housing and just having a great time, making lots of money. And that’s not the case at all.," said Kate Needham, a veteran who co-founded the nonprofit Armed Forces Housing Advocates in May 2021. "We have families coming to us that are on exorbitantly lengthy waiting lists and sitting in homes that they can’t afford, like an Airbnb rental, or they’re at a hotel or camping in tents or living in RVs." Needham's group provides military families with microgrants to help them get by - some of whom have resorted to food banks because they can't make ends meet. Several members of Congress have raised the alarm - pushing legislation that would force the DoD to reconsider its BAH budget.  The primary issue, of course, is that the housing allowances are recalculated annually, and haven't kept pace with rental markets despite the fact that BAHs are intended to cover 95% of rental costs for the roughly 2/3 of active-duty personnel who have to live off base. According to a data analysis by The Associated Press of five of the most populous military bases in the U.S., housing allowances across all ranks have risen an average of 18.7% since January 2018. In that span, according to real estate company Zillow, rents have skyrocketed 43.9% in those markets: Carlsbad, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; El Paso, Texas; Killeen, Texas, and Tacoma, Washington. And because of how tough off-base markets are, on-base housing has become a hot commodity, with many bases having long waitlists. Needham argues that the discrepancy between military housing allowances and the current market should alarm officials who are already struggling to recruit the next generation. -AP "If you can’t afford your job, why the hell would you stay in the job?" said Needham. "People are feeling abused by the military in so many different areas — the sexual assault issues, the lack of attention to medical care, the lack of attention to mental health. This is just another tick in the box that’s like, ‘Why would I join the military?’ And if you don’t have enough numbers, that’s a long-term national security problem." In Tampa, Florida, housing allowances for those working at MacDill Air Force Base used to be in line with the local market - however a surge in rents which began during the pandemic has led to a crunch. In January 2020, a senior airman who had no dependents was receiving $1,560 per month for housing, vs. the average Tampa rental price of $1,457. Now, rents are $2,118 per month (as of July), while the airman's allowance is $1,647. "We are woefully underhoused," said Tampa property manager and wife of a retired serviceman, Stephanie Poynor. "The DoD needs to recognize how much our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coasties are really suffering in this market." Tyler Durden Sun, 08/21/2022 - 14:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 21st, 2022

"The Dr. Oz Show" advisory board had people with no medical training who promoted fake treatments

Dr. Mehmet Oz had a "medical advisory board" to support claims made on his show, which included people who had no medical training. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz greets supporters after the primary race resulted in an automatic re-count due to close results on May 17, 2022 in Newtown, Pennsylvania.Stephanie Keith/Getty Images Dr. Mehmet Oz had a "medical advisory board" to support claims he made on "The Dr. Oz Show." The 43-member board included people with no medical training who promoted extreme and debunked treatments. Claims they supported included drinking onion juice for the flu and subscription meal plans for curing cancer. Republican candidate for US Senate representing Pennsylvania and former talk show host Mehmet Oz relied on a medical advisory board to support claims he made on "The Dr. Oz Show."Among practicing oncologists and certified psychologists, the board included people who had no formal medical training and promoted debunked treatments.Dr. Ben Abella, an emergency physician in Philadelphia, told Insider the 43-member board projected an "aura of legitimacy" on Oz and his show, which ran for 13 seasons and was canceled last December after Oz decided to run for office.Abella helped organize an event called "Real Doctors Against Oz" in support of Oz's political opponent, Democratic candidate for US Senate John Fetterman.Abella said Oz used the show and his advisory board in ways that preyed upon viewers' desire to be healthy and instead supplied them with "misleading" home remedies and treatments. Treatments that at best, he said, were unhelpful and, at worst, dangerous. Among the board members listed for the show was a self-described "medicine hunter" who promotes the "ritual use of hallucinogens" to achieve wellness and an acupuncturist who sells herbal remedies to fight COVID-19 and an energy therapy called "Infinichi" to treat ailments from upset stomach to fibromyalgia. "The Medical Advisory Board sounds very authentic and rigorous, but not so many people are going to take the time to peel back the layers of the onion and say, 'Well, where are these people?'" Abella told Insider. "'What are their credentials? What did they do?' And perhaps even peel back further and say, 'What are their financial conflicts with maybe some of these products?'"Some of the alternative treatments promoted by the advisory board, like acupuncture or petroleum jelly in the nostrils, may not necessarily directly cause harm, Abella told Insider.Others, he said rely on flimsy or non-peer-reviewed science that may distract or prevent a patient from seeking legitimate medical treatment because they're doing something they believe is effective.Oz is running for a Senate seat representing Pennsylvania against Democratic candidate John Fetterman. The Oz campaign has faced controversies over whether he actually lives in the state and Asplundh Tree Experts' (his wife's family business, in which Oz is a shareholder) massive fine for hiring undocumented workers despite his anti-immigration stance.In April, a group of ten physicians at Columbia University, where Oz was a lecturer on campus, wrote a letter to university officials indicating they were "dismayed" that the celebrity physician was on the school's faculty. CNN reported they accused Oz of "manifesting an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain" and that he demonstrates in his show "either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgments about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both."Columbia University Medical Center cut ties with the Senate candidate in May."Every revelation that emerges about Mehmet Oz shows voters who he really is: a self-serving fraud who got rich as a TV scam artist," David Bergstein, a democratic senatorial campaign committee spokesman, told Insider. "He's shown over and over again he doesn't care about anyone but himself, and that's exactly why Pennsylvanians will reject him in November."The Oz campaign did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 19th, 2022