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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

"Zero Emissions" From Electric Vehicles? Here"s Why That Claim Has Zero Basis

'Zero Emissions' From Electric Vehicles? Here's Why That Claim Has Zero Basis Authored by John Murawski via RealClear Wire, As California, New York, and other states move to phase out the sale of gasoline-powered cars, public officials routinely echo the Biden administration’s claim that electric vehicles are a “zero emissions” solution that can significantly mitigate the effects of climate change.  Car and energy experts, however, say there is no such thing as a zero-emissions vehicle: For now and the foreseeable future, the energy required to manufacture and power electric cars will leave a sizable carbon footprint. In some cases hybrids can be cleaner alternatives in states that depend on coal to generate electricity, and some suggest that it may be too rash to write off all internal combustion vehicles just yet.  “I have a friend who drives a Kia he’s had for about 15 years,” said Ashley Nunes, a research fellow at Harvard Law School. “He called me and said, ‘Hey, I’m thinking of buying a Tesla. What do you think?’”  “I said, ‘If you care about the environment, keep the Kia,’” Nunes said.  Nunes’ advice points to the subtle complexities and numerous variables that challenge the reassuringly simple yet overstated promise of electric vehicles. Few dispute that the complete transition to EVs powered by cleaner electricity from renewable energy sources will have a less dire environmental impact than today’s gas-powered automotive fleet. But that low-carbon landscape exists on a distant horizon that’s booby-trapped with obstacles and popular misconceptions.  In the meantime, the growing efforts by governments in this country and abroad to ban people from buying a transportation technology that has shaped modern society for the past century is prompting some electric car advocates to warn against using best-case scenarios to promote unrealistic expectations about the practicalities, costs, and payoffs of EVs.  Adding up the environmental costs and benefits of electric cars requires complex computer modeling to calculate an EV’s lifetime carbon footprint, which depends on a host of assumptions and inputs. The cradle-to-grave analysis must factor in industrial processing, refining, manufacturing, recycling, and electricity generation. The upshot: More greenhouse gases are emitted in the manufacture of EVs than by the drilling, refining, smelting, and assembly for gas-powered cars, which means it can take several years of driving an EV before there is any benefit to the climate.  The linchpin of the EV revolution is California’s 100% ban on the sale of new gas-powered cars, SUVs, and light trucks, which is scheduled to go into full effect in 2035 and expected to be adopted by other states. California’s mandate includes a phased-in ban on the sale of new hybrids, which only recently were considered technological marvels. California will restrict the sale of plug-in hybrids to just 20% of total EV sales, a significant cap for low-emissions vehicles that are nearly as popular with environmentally conscious California consumers as all-electric EVs.  Within the past several years, General Motors, Volvo, and other major car makers have vowed to zero out gas-powered cars, amid a growing consensus of European nations, and with China, India, and Canada announcing plans to restrict or ban the sale of cars with gas tanks.  But public demand is lagging, and until that changes, governments will have to incentivize consumers to buy electric cars. Currently EVs appeal to a narrow demographic: affluent, educated, coastal, and liberal, with the highest enthusiasm among 35- to 45-year-olds, according to research by James Archsmith, who researches energy and environmental economics at the University of Maryland, and his co-authors. Their research concludes that under some scenarios, achieving a 50% market share for EVs in 2035 would require paying subsidies in excess of $30,000 per electric car, totaling in the trillions of dollars, and that achieving more modest penetration targets could cost public treasuries in the hundreds of billions of dollars.  The electric car’s biggest disadvantage on greenhouse gas emissions is the production of an EV battery, which requires energy-intensive mining and processing, and generates twice as much carbon emissions as the manufacture of an internal combustion engine. This means that the EV starts off with a bigger carbon footprint than a gasoline-powered car when it rolls off the assembly line and takes time to catch up to a gasoline-powered car.  One of the big unknowns is whether EV batteries will have to be replaced. While the EV industry says battery technology is improving so that degradation is limited, if that assurance proves overly optimistic and auto warranties have to replace expensive battery packs, the new battery would create a second carbon footprint that the EV would have to work off over time, partially erasing the promised greenhouse-gas benefits.  With governments now in the business of mandating electric vehicles, the battery challenge assumes a global scale. The majority of lithium-ion batteries are produced in China, where most electricity comes from coal-burning power plants.  The process of mining critical minerals is sometimes described in language that evokes strip mining and fracking, an inconvenient truth that is beginning to attract notice. “Electric cars and renewable energy may not be as green as they appear,” a 2021 New York Times article noted. “Production of raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel that are essential to these technologies are often ruinous to land, water, wildlife and people.” The Times has also warned that with global demand for electric vehicles projected to grow sixfold by 2030, “the dirty origins of this otherwise promising green industry have become a looming crisis.”  To address this disquieting dependency on a foreign power, the United States and other nations are seeking to break China’s near-monopoly on battery production. The Inflation Reduction Act states that under a phase-in starting in 2024, EVs with battery components or critical minerals sourced from “a foreign entity of concern,” which includes China, can’t qualify for the maximum allowable tax credit of $7,500. The United States is pumping in more than $100 billion to create an entire industry in this country. Just last week, President Biden announced the American Battery Materials Initiative, awarding more than $2.8 billion for 20 battery manufacturing and processing plants to develop and produce domestic lithium, graphite, nickel, silicon oxide, plus critical components and facilities.  Over time, a typical EV will catch up and outperform gas-powered cars on greenhouse gas reductions, because electric cars are cleaner to drive. But the amount of mileage that must be driven for the EV to break even on CO2 emissions depends on a host of assumptions and variables. Some researchers say that the EV’s emissions benefits are vastly overstated – by 600%, according to one study – because the variables used for comparison make an EV look better on paper than it performs in real-life situations.  All of these CO2 metrics could come into play in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recently proposed rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions they produce directly, as well emissions produced indirectly through their supply chains around the world. While the implications aren’t clear yet, the new rule could standardize CO2 disclosures and transparency on EV carbon impacts, but some say that such calculations are nearly impossible for global contractors, and automakers would have to rely on the same kinds of estimates and modeling that are used now. Echoing a common concern, EV battery maker Nikola Corp. told the SEC that “some climate data is not readily available, complete, or definitive.”  As a result of these uncertainties, many consumers don’t understand the complexity of these analyses and may assume that their electric cars are literally zero-emissions, or that what matters most is that EVs are better for the environment and the precise degree is not that important.  Zeb Hallock, president of Tesla Owners Club of NC Triangle in Raleigh, said in an email exchange that he and his wife both drive Teslas, a Model S that replaced a Nissan 350Z in 2014 and a Model 3 that replaced a Toyota Prius in 2018. The Hallocks’ Teslas are charged at home at a cost that he estimates is equivalent to paying 47 cents for a gallon of gasoline. He said by email that the public supercharger network “in some areas of the country can rival the cost of gasoline,” but this is not a concern because the Hallocks do most of their charging at home.  When asked about the greenhouse gas deficit of electric cars, Hallock speculated that most EV owners believe the carbon footprint of an EV is minimal and they don’t think much about it. “A small number of owners don't care at all about environmental benefits and purchased a Tesla for the superior performance and the fact that it's American made and uses cheap domestic fuel,” he said.  EVs: Centerpiece of the Agenda But in the universe of climate activism, purported environmental benefits make EVs the international centerpiece of meeting the 2015 Paris Climate Accords to limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with preindustrial levels. Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States, accounting for more than a quarter of all CO2 emissions, and more than half of those emissions come from passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs that are now being slated for replacement by electric vehicles.  EV advocates are optimistic that in the coming decades electric cars will become cleaner as power grids are "decarbonized" and the industrialized world reduces its reliance on CO2-spewing fossil fuels, primarily coal and natural gas. Exactly how much cleaner is not easy to pinpoint. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 60% of the nation’s electricity was generated from coal and gas in 2021. In its Annual Energy Outlook, the agency projects those two fossil fuels will generate 44% of U.S. electricity by 2050.  But those percentages can be misleading. Even as the relative fuel proportions change over time, overall electricity demand is going up, so the total amount of fossil fuels actually burned in the mid-21st century goes down by only about 5%, according to EIA estimates. Future greenhouse gas emissions will depend on the number of EVs on the road and how electricity is generated, and those forecasts swing wildly. The EIA forecasts a mere 18.9 million EVs on U.S. roads in 2050, which is very conservative compared with advocacy group EVAdoption’s prediction of more than 25 million EVs on U.S. roads by 2030, only eight years away. BloombergNEF forecasts 125 million EVs on U.S. roads in 2040, up from 1.61 million at the end of last year, which would constitute about half the cars in this country.  “They're making these forecasts that are basically licking your finger and sticking it up in the air,” David Rapson, a professor of energy economics at the University of California, Davis, who analyzes electric vehicle policy, said about California forecasts, which also applies more broadly. “Nobody knows what's going to happen."  Weaning the country to an alternative power source is an experiment that will pose a host of logistical and environmental challenges. One challenge will be installing nearly 1.2 million public and 28 private public charging stations by 2030 to accommodate the explosion of EVs to more than 48 million vehicles projected in eight years, according to McKinsey & Co. That projection would be partly covered by the 500,000 public chargers funded by $7.5 billion in the recently passed federal Inflation Reduction Act. It could also require building power plants and renewable generating projects at a truly colossal scale, not factored into EVs’ carbon footprint. One estimate places the demand at 1,700 terawatt-hours per year, or 41% of the U.S. electrical generating capacity, to meet a surge in use if there’s a complete transition and the United States has 350 million electric cars.   That power demand will be acutely felt in California, where, just days after the California Air Resources Board decreed the phaseout of internal-combustion cars, the state narrowly averted rolling blackouts during a record heat wave and the California Independent System Operator urged residents to cut back power usage by, among other things, avoiding charging their electric cars during times of peak energy demand. RealClearInvestigations has reported that California's grid is straining under the load, while The New York Times reported that California faces “the threat of rolling blackouts for years to come,” a consequence of the state’s increasing reliance on solar power and wind farms that make for unpredictable electricity production and render California dependent on importing emergency electricity from neighboring states. “To think that we are going to completely eliminate these by far dominant sources of energy and transportation services in our economy in the next 13 years is a fairy tale," said Rapson, who has authored papers challenging optimistic projections.  “They want to articulate a vision of hope and ambition that is pushing society towards a solution to climate change," Rapson said. "That vision is going to run into massive constraints."  Rapson, who believes the state’s unrealistic goals will still advance EV adoption even if they fall short of their targets, said the California Air Resources Board regulations come with a huge loophole: In their current form they don’t prevent the buying and selling of used cars, and they don’t prevent California residents from buying a new gasoline car in another state. The rules could be modified in future years to make it costly to register new cars bought out of state, but in their current form they create an escape valve for citizens who resist electric cars.  Even in the trendsetting auto market of California, which accounts for 40% of all EV purchases in this country, EVs accounted for only 12.5% of all car sales last year, and represent less than 2% of all the cars in the state, indicating that gasoline automobiles remain more popular. Banning the sale of new gas-powered cars “will likely be a boon to that industry and to used-car dealers in the state,” predicts James Sallee, an energy economist at UC-Berkeley.  He predicts that California’s mandate will only make gasoline vehicles more valuable, as people hold on to them and extend their lifetimes through care and maintenance, the unintended consequence of government policy making something scarce.  California Air Resources Board regulations would fine automakers $20,000 for each combustion engine car sold in violation of the restrictions, but residents could get around the EV mandate by buying used gasoline cars in the state and new gasoline cars out of state, unless California tightens its regulations to disincentivize its residents from buying the cars they prefer to own.  “As currently constructed,” Sallee wrote, “California residents would be free to import ICE [internal combustion engine] vehicles from out of state, even after the mandate is fully phased in.”  Despite the skeptical outlook of some EV researchers, the general tone of EV advocates is marked by enthusiasm and optimism. According to David Reichmuth, a senior engineer in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Transportation Program, the motives of EV critics are often tainted: “Some of the opposition will come from auto companies that want to delay the transition to electric vehicles, but others will be from fossil fuel interests or climate deniers.”  In his blog, Reichmuth noted: “The important thing is that you know that this is familiar and worn-out disinformation, designed to sow doubt and confusion.”  “There’s some questions about how quickly can we get there, and there’s a lot of details that will get worked out,” Reichmuth said in phone interview.  “But if you look at the big picture – if the [auto] industry says that’s where we’re going, if the climate science says that’s where we need to go, and you look at other countries around the world that are going in the same direction, too – it does seem really likely that we can make this work.”  Despite the obstacles, the Union of Concerned Scientists predicts that California’s new EV regulations will result in about half the cars in the state in 2035 being “zero-emission” models, increasing to nearly 90% of cars on California roads by 2045.  The Union’s analysis undercuts its claim of zero emissions. Running the numbers on the mileage it takes for an EV to become cleaner than a new gasoline sedan in terms of burning off its CO2 deficit and pulling ahead in greenhouse gas reductions, the organization determined this summer that an EV’s break-even point is 21,300 miles, or 22 months, based on average annual driving. For pickup trucks, the EV pickup pulls ahead at 17,500 miles, or 17 months, when compared to the average new gasoline pickup truck.  Those calculations are consistent with a Wall Street Journal analysis conducted last year by University of Toronto researchers, who determined that a 2021 Tesla Model 3, with an 82 kWh battery, would have to drive 20,600 miles to break even on greenhouse gas emissions with a 2021 Toyota RAV4 with a 30 mpg rating.  Reuters conducted a similar analysis and got much more favorable results. Reuters last year concluded that a Tesla Model 3 would need to drive just 13,500 miles to exceed the CO2 emissions benefits of a Toyota Corolla. The Reuters analysis crunched the numbers on a Tesla with a 54 kWh battery, considerably smaller than the Tesla power pack in the WSJ analysis, producing less greenhouse gas emissions during mining, processing, and assembly. Still, Reuters noted that in countries like China and Poland, where coal is the primary energy source used to generate electricity, the same Tesla 3 with the smaller battery would have to be driven 78,700 miles to reach carbon parity with the Corolla, showing how much difference a power grid’s fuel mix can make.  Not all studies are that kind to EVs. Some automakers, such as Swedish manufacturers Volvo and Polestar, have run their own numbers based on what they call conservative, precautionary estimates that suggest the payback period even under ideal conditions – 100% renewable wind energy – would be much longer: about 30,000 miles of driving. The payback would be closer to 70,000 miles in parts of the world where the power plant energy mix includes dirty fossil fuels. The expected lifespan of the Swedish cars in these studies is about 125,000 miles, which means that some drivers will reap greenhouse gas benefits for only half their electric vehicle’s expected usage.  One of the least understood factors that determine an EV’s greenhouse gas benefits is the alternative vehicle to which the EV is compared. Some researchers have noted that this “reference vehicle” is often a hypothetical car that gives the EV an illusory advantage.  “To our knowledge, there is not an awareness of the importance of these modeling choices, despite the large implied emission abatement differences,” UC-Davis energy economist Rapson and colleague Erich Muehlegger wrote in a recent paper. They contend that the EV is typically compared to the U.S. “fleet average,” a statistical composite that averages out the fuel efficiency of all cars purchased in a given year, including SUVs and pickup trucks.  But that’s not what happens in real life. Rapson and Muehlegger found that Californians who took advantage of financial incentives to buy Teslas would likely have bought plug-in hybrids or conventional hybrids without the incentive, not an average car or a gas guzzler, and comparing a Tesla to the average car skews the results. They contend that as a result of the sloppy comparison, the CO2 benefits of Teslas are overestimated by 600% in California. That overestimate would be considerably higher in parts of the country where the EVs are charged with less clean electricity derived from a higher mix of fossil fuels.  Cleaner Gasoline Cars The cleaner the car that the EV is replacing, the longer it takes the EV to catch up on CO2 emissions, and the existing gas car in the garage can be optimal because a new gas car comes with a carbon footprint from metals processing and manufacturing.  That’s why Nunes, the Harvard Law fellow, advised his friend to keep his Kia. Nunes was comparing the greenhouse gas effects of a new Tesla to a 15-year-old Kia that’s driven only about 4,000 miles a year, and concluded that at that rate it would take his friend more than a decade to burn off the Tesla’s carbon footprint.  According to research by Nunes and others, many EV owners use their electric car as a secondary vehicle, logging fewer miles and requiring more time to break even on CO2 emissions. Comparing four different scenarios, he concluded that the requisite break-even mileage for an EV with an 85 kWh battery is either 28,069 miles or 68,160 miles, and it would take the EV owner between 2.73 and 10.49 years to drive that distance, depending on a variety of circumstances. In all of Nunes’ scenarios, the alternative to buying an EV was either buying a new gasoline car or driving the old gas car.  Another major factor is the CO2 level of the electricity used to power EVs. The U.S. Department of Energy concludes that hybrids are actually cleaner than EVs in six states, but the key to that analysis is that it’s based on combining all the energy sources – such as natural gas, hydropower, wind farms – used to make electricity in those states. Another way of assessing the environmental impact of EVs is to look at the extra demand EVs put on a regional power grid, requiring power generation that comes primarily from fossil fuels. From this perspective, assuming more coal-fired and natural gas-burning electricity added to the grid, hybrids would generate less CO2 than EVs in several dozen states, according to a recent study.    “It’s long past the time to retire the phrase ‘zero emissions,’” said Tristan Burton, a computational mathematician who co-authored that study. “If you market something as a zero emissions vehicle, then people out there will think it’s really zero emissions.”  email: jmurawski@realclearinvestigations.com Twitter: @johnmurawski   Tyler Durden Fri, 10/28/2022 - 19:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 28th, 2022

Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to humiliate Biden as part of a global power play

Under Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabian is seeking to assert a more independent foreign policy that doesn't necessarily please the US. President Joe Biden (behind) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (front) arrive for a family photo in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 16, 2022.MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Relations between the US and Saudi Arabia are worsening.  Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman wants to assert himself internationally.  He humiliated the Biden administration by cancelling a secret oil deal.  This week, a diplomat spat between the US and Saudi Arabia degenerated into petty name-calling, a public sign of the dire state of relations between the two countries.The exchange, fueled by a dispute over oil production, is a further blow to an alliance which for decades has been marked by predictability: The US provides arms and security to the Saudis, and gains a key strategic partner in a volatile region in return.It is a change driven by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who is deliberately snubbing the US in an attempt to chart a more independent path, an expert told Insider.Giorgio Cafiero, the CEO of Gulf State Analytics, said: "With Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, Saudi Arabia is very determined to assert its autonomy from the US."The leadership in Riyadh has been sending many signals to Washington that the Kingdom will pursue its own national interests as perceived by Saudi officials, which includes deepening cooperation with Beijing and Moscow."Specifically, this has taken the form of Saudi Arabia joining Russia other oil-rich nations to announce a steep cut in production.This was the exact opposite of requests from the Biden administration to increase oil production, in the hope of lower prices that would help tame US inflation and deprive Russia of revenue.Per a report in The New York Times, US officials thought they had secured a deal with Saudi Arabia and were blindsided when their plan fell apart.The result has been humiliation for President Joe Biden, who has sought to build an international coalition against Russia and to build bridges with the Saudis.Biden risked the wrath of critics in his own party to visit the crown prince in Jeddah in July, embarrassingly walking back a campaign pledge to render Saudi Arabia a "pariah"."Let's be clear: The Saudi move was done with the full awareness that it would undermine Biden's political position at home and abroad," wrote former US diplomat Aaron David Miller in Foreign Policy of the oil-production cut.He noted that it came just ahead of the midterm elections, where Democratic candidates are vulnerable to criticism from Republicans over inflation. Cafiero, the analysts, said that Crown Prince Mohammed believes that drawing closer to Russia and China will secure more "leverage" internationally.The crown prince also shares with Russia's President Vladimir Putin an obsession with crushing domestic opposition, and both men are "authoritarian to their core," Cafiero said. It's not just geopolitical calculation that is drawing Americans and Saudis apart, but personal antipathy between Biden and bin Salman, reports say.The Wall Street Journal on Saturday reported that the crown prince "mocks President Biden in private, making fun of the 79-year-old's gaffes and questioning his mental acuity." Biden, for his part, has taken a stand against the assassination of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered then dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 by agents, an operation US intelligence has said was ordered directly by Crown Prince Mohammed.Former President Trump stands with his son Eric and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, left, a governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.AP Photo/Seth WenigOn the campaign trail in 2020, Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah" over the murder in rhetoric calculated to appeal to the Democratic base — but which caused fury in Riyadh."Bin Salman and others in Saudi Arabia took a tremendous amount of offense to that rhetoric. Such negative sentiments have informed Saudi officials' perspective on Biden's presidency," said Cafiero. Crown Prince Mohammed has done little to conceal that he would prefer former President Donald Trump to be in the White House, Cafiero said, assessing that the crown prince preferred his transactional style.The Saudis recently funded a high-profile golf tournament at Trump's resorts, where he has been an enthusiastic attendee.Trump offered at best minimal pushback over the Khashoggi killing, which happened during his presidency.His hardline stance against Iran, Saudi Arabia's key regional foe, also aligned with Saudi interests, unlike Biden's policy of seeking to revive the nuclear dear which the Obama White House struck with Iran.Despite the cooling of the relationship under Biden, the US and Saudis have much to lose from a deterioration of the alliance, Cafiero said.The Saudis are still reliant on US weapons and security guarantees, while the US wants the Saudis to stabilize oil markets and keep prices low at home. "Washington and Riyadh have many shared interests that are set to keep the partnership alive, [but] the bilateral relationship has become much less friendly," concluded Cafiero. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 28th, 2022

Multipolar World Order – Part 4

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

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 26th, 2022

US Futures Stabilize After Rollercoaster Session As Yuan, Chinese Stocks Crater

US Futures Stabilize After Rollercoaster Session As Yuan, Chinese Stocks Crater US stock futures steadied following a rollercoaster move earlier in the session and after Friday’s sharp rally as traders assessed moves by Chinese President Xi Jinping to tighten his grip on the nation’s leadership while keeping an eye on macro data now that the Fed is in a chatterbox blackout. Contracts on the S&P 500 edged 0.7% higher at 7:30a.m. in New York after earlier rising as much as 1.3% and dropping 0.7%, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped for a second session. Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.4% after bouncing between gains and losses earlier. Both underlying gauges are coming off their best week since June, and are entering the busiest week of the earnings season with 46% of the S&P 500’s market cap due to announce third-quarter results. A gauge of the dollar’s strength rose sharply unwinding some of Friday's losses, supported by a risk-off mood sparked by a rout across Chinese markets which saw the Hang Seng plunge 6.4%, the biggest one day drop since 2008! The offshore yen resumed its decline, tumbling by 1.3% - the biggest one-day slide since August 20019, to a record of 7.31, while the pound outperformed on bets for fiscal caution from the next UK prime minister. “Market sentiment could remain cautious near-term on China, on concerns of a shift of focus toward more state control versus a market-driven approach under the new leadership team,” said Xiaojia Zhi, the chief China economist at Credit Agricole CIB. “The exit path from zero-Covid is not yet clear.” Chinese economic data that was delayed last week and published Monday showed a mixed recovery, with unemployment rising and retail sales weakening despite a pickup in growth. Yet Xi’s Covid-zero campaign looks likely to continue to drag on the economy and there has been speculation that his “common prosperity” goal may even lead to property and inheritance taxes. “It’s clear demand is slowing but so far we’ve seen pockets of tech like software, cloud computing still being quite resilient,” said Laura Cooper, a senior investment strategist at BlackRock International Ltd., on Bloomberg TV. “We will be watching for any signs of cracks coming through that could put a dent to some of these earnings expectations.” In premarket trading, US-listed Chinese stocks tumbled, dragged lower by major internet and EV names including Alibaba, Baidu and Li Auto, which closed down more than 11%; search company Baidu was 12% lower while food delivery firm Meituan tanked more than 14%. The moves come after Chinese President Xi Jinping paved the way for an unprecedented third term as leader and packed the Politburo standing committee with loyalists. Tesla shares dropped after the company cut prices in China, reversing hikes imposed earlier this year.US stock futures steadied after Friday’s rally as traders assessed moves by Chinese President Xi Jinping to tighten his grip on the nation’s leadership. Other notable premarket movers: US-listed Macau casino stocks are also down, declining along with Chinese ADRs. Las Vegas Sands (LVS US) -7.9%, Wynn Resorts (WYNN US) -6.8%, Melco Resorts (MLCO US) -8.6% FedEx (FDX US) declines 1.9% in premarket trading after it was cut to equal-weight from overweight at Wells Fargo on concern that the revenue implications are not yet “fully captured” as the company pivots from growth and toward efficiency. Keep an eye on Williams-Sonoma (WSM US) stock as it was downgraded to underperform from hold at Jefferies, with broker saying it sees the home furnishing store operator underperforming ahead of a softer macroeconomic environment. Watch NXP Semiconductors (NXPI US) and Analog Devices (ADI US) shares as they were downgraded at Barclays, with the brokerage saying it expects cuts in the analog chip sector in the coming year and recommended “rotating out of the sub-sector sooner rather than later.” US investors have begun looking beyond the Federal Reserve’s ongoing tightening to a stage when it may begin to slow rate hikes. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and his San Francisco counterpart Mary Daly made it clear they expect discussion at the November meeting to include debate on how high to raise rates and when to ease the pace. At the same time, Morgan Stanley’s Michael Wilson expects stocks to grind higher as markets transition to expectations of falling inflation and lower interest rates. The strategist, who correctly predicted this year’s slump, sees the S&P 500 Index bouncing as much as 15% if it breaches its 200-week moving average of 3,605 points, about 4% below Friday’s close. A similar view is held by Stifel Nicolaus & Co. strategists, who said in a separate note they see the benchmark rallying to 4,300 points in the next 6 months. "With the back end of the bond market offering real value for the first time since early 2021, rates are poised to come in," Wilson in a note on Monday. “Such a move could provide the necessary fuel for the next leg of the tactical rally in stocks until we get full capitulation on 2023 earnings estimates, something we think may take a few more months.” By contrast, Goldman Sachs Inc. strategists led by David Kostin are more cautious, seeing rising rates and slowing US growth hurting cyclicals and tech stocks. They recommend being overweight defensive sectors, as well as energy. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index held an advance of about 1.3%. Media, utilities and travel are the strongest-performing sectors in Europe while miners and energy lag. IBEX outperforms peers, adding 0.9%, FTSE 100 lags, dropping 0.4% after Boris Johnson pulled out of the race to lead the UK’s ruling Conservative Party, placing Rishi Sunak closer to becoming the next prime minister.  A 12% slump in Prosus NV shares amid the China concerns pushed the technology sector into the red, while basic resources and energy stocks weighed on the benchmark amid lower commodity prices. Michelin shares rose as much as 3.7% in Paris trading and are the day’s top performers on the Stoxx 600 Automobiles & Parts Index, with the French tiremaker set to give a quarterly sales update on Tuesday. Here are the biggest European movers: Pearson shares jump as much as 7.8%, reaching the highest since January 2019, after the publishing and education company reported a 7% increase in underlying revenue in the first nine months of the year. Indivior gains as much as 7.6%, the most since February, after Morgan Stanley upgrades to overweight from equal-weight, describing the stock as a “value, growth and margin expansion story.” Auto Trader rises as much as 4.3% after announcing the disposal of Webzone Ltd. Peel Hunt upgrades to buy from hold, saying the sale shows the company’s “dedication to its key market.” Temenos climbs as much as 8.2%, the most intraday since mid-June, after Dealreporter reported that Goldman Sachs and Citi are sounding out interest in the buyout of the Swiss banking software developer. Prosus falls as much as 14% in Amsterdam and parent Naspers sinks as much as 14% in Johannesburg, with both declines the sharpest since March. Naspers holds a 28% stake in Tencent, which plunged in Hong Kong trading following President Xi Jinping’s move to stack his leadership ranks with loyalists. Galp drops as much as 6.1% after reporting third-quarter profit that missed the average analyst estimate. Philips falls as much as 4.5% to the lowest since 2011 after saying it would cut 4,000 jobs as part of a EU300 million cost-saving package, which analysts say may imply liquidity problems for the Dutch medical technology firm. Asian stocks fell, dragged by Chinese shares as President Xi Jinping’s move to tighten his leadership deepened investor worries, offsetting advances in Australia, South Korea and Japan. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index erased an earlier gain to drop as much as 1.2%, with Internet giants Tencent and Alibaba the biggest drags.  A selloff in Chinese stocks deepened in afternoon trading, as the Hang Seng plunged by more than 6%, its biggest drop since Lehman while the Hang Seng Tech Index crashed 9.7% to the lowest since February 2016, after Xi filled China’s most powerful bodies with close allies while securing a precedent-breaking third term. He installed six trusted associates alongside him on the Politburo’s supreme Standing Committee and put his former chief of staff Li Qiang in line for the premiership. Investors remained jittery as a leadership reshuffle highlighted Xi’s unquestioned grip over the ruling party, with allies set to take up key economic posts. An early loosening of Covid restrictions seemed less likely, while a set of long-delayed economic data showed a mixed recovery, further damping market sentiment. “The latest rally underlines our view that markets will remain volatile, and investors should prepare for large moves in both directions,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “Incremental improvements in inflation or labor market data, indications of economic resilience, any softening of language from the Fed, has the potential to drive a market bounce, as we have seen in recent days.” “Markets may be hoping now that the leadership transition is finalized, the focus will turn to the economy and mending the property sector,” said Marvin Chen, a strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, adding that property investment is still a weak spot for the economy. “Still, these may take time. We may not see much change to Covid policies in the near term.” The declines in Chinese shares contrasted with the upbeat mood elsewhere in Asia, buoyed by declines in US Treasury yields and Federal Reserve officials’ indications of a potential slowing of rate hikes. Markets were closed for holidays in Singapore, India, Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose, paring some of Friday’s losses and the greenback was steady or higher against all of its Group-of-10 peers. The pound jumped and gilts led Treasuries and European bonds higher as investors bet that Rishi Sunak would bring more stability to the country’s financial markets. Initial moves were however tempered, and the pound inched lower, sliding back under 1.13 after earlier rallying by as much as 0.9% to $1.1409. China’s offshore yuan led the decline in most emerging Asian currencies as traders assessed the impact of President Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power. Indonesia’s rupiah outperformed peers, supported by higher nickel prices. China’s onshore yuan weakened to a 14-year low while stocks headed for their biggest daily plunge in Hong Kong since the 2008 global financial crisis. Market setbacks following the reshuffle highlighted President Xi Jinping’s unquestioned grip over the ruling party and showed deep disappointment over a likely continuation of policies staked on Covid Zero and state- driven companies. The euro retreated after earlier rising to more than a two-week high of $0.9899. Eurozone composite PMI fell to 47.1 in October; economists had expected 47.6 The yen fell by more than 1%, to trade above 149 per dollar, after earlier surging to as much as 145.56 after suspected interventions by Japanese authorities Australian dollar declined against all of its G-10 peers after the Reserve Bank said it isn’t yet worried about the risk of imported inflation from a falling currency. Reports of fresh Covid restrictions in Guangzhou helped fuel a drop in China stocks and the yuan, pushing the Aussie even lower In rates, Treasuries trade off best levels of the session, although intermediate and long-end yields remain richer by 5bp-6bp. Gilts lead a global bond market rally, with front-end yields down nearly 40bp after Rishi Sunak emerged as the frontrunner to become new UK Prime Minister.  10-year TSY yields trade around 4.15%, richer by ~7bp on the day, trailing gilts by 18bp, bunds by 4bp in the sector; US 2s10s is ~5bp flatter on the day while gilt curve steepens. Treasuries extended their late-Friday rally during Monday’s Asia session, adding to a move sparked by comments from Fed’s Daly, who said policy makers should start planning for a reduction in the size of interest-rate increases, and a WSJ article predicting they will debate the size of future hikes in November. According to Bloomberg, dollar issuance slate includes OKB $1b 3Y and Cades 3Y; $20b of new bond sales are expected this week as companies emerge from earnings blackout periods; banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. could all come to market soon. Commodities were clipped as the USD rebounded and recessionary concerns mount (again); crude benchmarks are hampered on such factors, though similarly to US equity futures have recently eased off lows. Specifically, WTI and Brent benchmarks post downside of circa. USD 1.00/bbl compared to losses just shy of USD 2.00/bbl at worst. Both precious and base metals are broadly speaking under pressure; currently, Gold is impaired by circa. USD 10/oz and has been pushed back below the 10-DMA at USD 1650/oz. QatarEnergy head said the Co. is open to discussing working with Shell (SHEL LN) in all energy sectors, via Reuters. Looking at today's calendar, we get the US October PMIs, and September Chicago Fed national activity index, we also get PMI updates from Japan, UK, Germany, France and the Eurozone. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 3,792 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 398.32 MXAP down 1.1% to 134.36 MXAPJ down 2.0% to 431.12 Nikkei up 0.3% to 26,974.90 Topix up 0.3% to 1,887.19 Hang Seng Index down 6.4% to 15,180.69 Shanghai Composite down 2.0% to 2,977.56 Sensex up 0.2% to 59,307.15 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.5% to 6,779.36 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,236.16 German 10Y yield down 0.2% at 2.41% Euro down 0.3% to $0.9831 Brent Futures down 1.8% to $91.86/bbl Gold spot down 0.6% to $1,647.67 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.25% to 112.29 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A sense of exasperation swept across Chinese markets as President Xi Jinping moved to stack his leadership ranks with loyalists, with stocks capping their worst day in Hong Kong since the 2008 global financial crisis and the yuan weakening to a 14-year low The ECB is priming another hefty hike in interest rates this week as the attention increasingly switches to how high it will eventually push Japan’s government will set out its expectation that the central bank watches the impact of moves in financial markets while emphasizing the two sides’ cooperation on policy, according to a draft of an upcoming stimulus plan obtained by Bloomberg Most of Japan’s currency intervention, confirmed and suspected, took place outside of regular trading hours, with the exception of probable action Monday -- unlike moves in 2010 and 2011 to weaken the yen. In contrast to that period, the government has only stated it intervened once, with the reluctance to do so seen as an additional tool to deter speculators Much of continental Europe is poised for an unusually warm end to the month, with Paris seeing temperatures more common on a summer day than well into the heating season A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacififc stocks traded mixed after the initial optimism from Wall Street on Friday began to fade. ASX 200 was boosted by its commodities sector as the rise in underlying metals supported mining names in the region. Nikkei 225 was also  firmer but lagged behind peers (ex-China) following the touted FX intervention on Friday and again on Monday. KOSPI was led by gains in its IT names, but the region felt some jitters following an exchange of fire between North and South Korea after a North Korean boat crossed the South Korean maritime border. Shanghai Comp. initially traded flat after Chinese President Xi secured an unprecedented third term as the party leader, as expected. Chinese President Xi also suggested China's economy has high resilience and sufficient potential. The index also saw some brief upside after China released a myriad of delayed economic data, with Q3 GDP Y/Y topping forecasts and Trade Balance printing a larger surplus than expected, whilst exports also increased more than forecast, although these gains pared back. Hang Seng buckled as Xi’s leadership overhaul could prove to result in prolonged oversight and less autonomy for Hong Kong, with the Hang Seng Tech Index slumping over 5% and Alibaba, Tencent, JD.com, Baidu and Meituan shedding as much as 7-10%. Asia Data Recap Chinese GDP (Q3) Y/Y 3.9% (Exp. 3.3%, Prev. 0.4%); Q/Q 3.9% (Exp. 3.5%, Prev. -2.6%) Chinese Trade Balance (Sep) (USD) Y/Y 84.7bln (Exp. 80.3bln, Prev. 79.39B); Exports +5.7% (Exp. +4.0%, Prev. 7.1%), Imports +0.3% (Exp. 1.0%, Prev. 0.3%) Chinese Retail Sales (Sep) Y/Y 2.5% (Exp. 3.0%, Prev. 5.4%); YTD Y/Y 0.7% (Exp. 0.9%, Prev. 0.5%) Chinese Industrial Output (Sep) Y/Y 6.3% (Exp. 4.8%, Prev. 4.2%); YTD Y/Y 3.9% (Exp. 3.7%, Prev. 3.6%) Chinese Fixed Investments (Jan-Sep) 5.9% (Exp. 6.0%) Australian Composite PMI (Oct) 49.6 (Prev. 50.9); Services PMI (Oct) 49.0 (Prev. 50.6); Manufacturing PMI (Oct) 52.8 (Prev. 53.5) Japanese Jibun Manufacturing PMI (Oct) 50.7 (Prev. 50.8); Services PMI (Oct) 53.0 (Prev. 52.2); Composite PMI (Oct) 51.7 (Prev. 51.0) Top Asian News China suspended in-person schooling and dining-in at restaurants in a district in Guangzhou, "stoking concerns about the potential for disruption in the southern Chinese manufacturing hub that’s home to about 19mln people", Bloomberg reported. PBoC injected CNY 10bln via 7-day reverse repos at a maintained rate 2.00% for a daily injection of CNY 8bln. Japan's Top Currency Diplomat Kanda will not comment on whether they intervened in FX markets and said there is no change in stance that "we are ready to take action 24/7" and will continue to take appropriate action, via Reuters. Japan's Top Currency Diplomat Kanda offered no comments on intervention on Monday morning. Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki said no comment on FX intervention; currently trying to confront speculators; monitoring FX with a high sense of urgency. USD/JPY drop on Monday likely due to intervention, according to market participants cited by Reuters. Japanese government urges the BoJ to remain vigilant to the impact of sharp market moves, according to a draft document cited by Reuters. The Japanese government and the BoJ decided to intervene in FX on Friday by buying the Yen and selling the Dollar, according to Nikkei sources citing sources. Japan's FX intervention on October 21st is estimated at JPY 5.4-5.5tln, according to market sources and calculations cited by Reuters. BoJ Governor Kuroda said CPI growth beyond next FY likely to fall below 2%, will continue to put all effort into achieving price target along with rise in wages. Japanese gov't expects the BoJ to watch the impact of market moves, via Bloomberg citing a document; to collaborate closely with the BoJ on the policy mix; Finance Minister will not comment on FX intervention. Japan is to ease rules in relation to brokerages offering investment advice, according to reports citing Nikkei. Japanese Economy Minister Yamagiwa is planning to step down, according to NHK. South Korea is to expand its corporate-bond buying program, according to the finance minister cited by Reuters. RBA's Kent reiterated the Board expects to increase interest rates further in the period ahead; size and timing of rate increases in Australia will depend on incoming data. European bourses are mixed, though are well off lows, as initial strength faded following the open amid renewed USD strength and as PMIs flash ongoing recessionary/inflationary concerns. Sectors are a touch mixed amid the above action, Energy remains the standout laggard amid the complex's broader price action. US futures have managed to make their way back to being essentially unchanged on the session, as the initial bout of underperformance eases as US participants enter the fray pre-PMIs. Top European News UK's Boris Johnson has pulled out of the Conservative Party leadership contest, according to The Times' Swinford. UK's Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak failed to strike a deal in talks on Saturday, according to the Times. UK leadership candidate Rishi Sunak so far received support from 147 MPs vs 24 for Penny Mordaunt. The deadline to reach the 100 threshold is at 14:00BST/09:00EDT on Monday. UK leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt will stay in the race as she reportedly sees a route to 100 nominations now Boris Johnson is out, according to sources cited by Bloomberg's Wickham. UK Chancellor Hunt backs Rishi Sunak for PM, via The Telegraph. UK Chancellor Hunt is said to be mulling up to GBP 20bln of tax rises in the October 31st budget, according to The Telegraph. The October 31st fiscal statement could be delayed after PM Truss' resignation, according to the FT. UK Chancellor Hunt is expected to extend the current freeze in income tax and allowances into the next parliament, according to FT citing sources. BoE's Mann said bond purchases for financial stability were targeted and temporary, and the start of bond selling on Nov 1st shows the BoE does not feel like its hands are tied. Mann said it is the BoE's job to address financial stability risks. Moody's affirmed UK's rating at Aa3; revised outlook to "Negative" from "Stable. FX Dollar regroups after Friday's reversal on less hawkish Fed dynamic and reports of Japanese intervention, DXY above 112.500 at best vs 111.760 low. Sterling underpinned ahead of deadline in race to be next UK PM with Sunak hot favourite to succeed, Cable holding within 1.1400-1.1300 range. Yen reverses from peaks as official buying momentum wanes, USD/JPY up to 149.70 from sub-145.50 at one stage. Aussie underperforms ahead of Budget that is expected to see growth forecast downgraded, AUD/USD under 0.6300 and Kiwi down in sympathy on NZ Labour Day as NZD/USD declines through 0.5700. Offshore Yuan below 7.3000 vs Buck as China tightens COVID restrictions in key southern manufacturing hub. Euro fades from a fraction below 0.9900 towards 0.9800 after broadly weak PMIs and amidst heavy option expiry interest. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1230 vs exp. 7.1173 (prev. 7.1186); weakest fix since June 1st 2020. Commodities Commodities clipped as the USD regains poise and recessionary concerns mount; crude benchmarks are hampered on such factors, though similarly to US equity futures have recently eased off lows. Specifically, WTI and Brent benchmarks post downside of circa. USD 1.00/bbl compared to losses just shy of USD 2.00/bbl at worst. Both precious and base metals are broadly speaking under pressure; currently, Gold is impaired by circa. USD 10/oz and has been pushed back below the 10-DMA at USD 1650/oz. QatarEnergy head said the Co. is open to discussing working with Shell (SHEL LN) in all energy sectors, via Reuters. China sold 100% of wheat offered at auction of state reserves on Oct 19th, according to Reuters citing the traded centre; sold at an average price of CNY 2,829/t. CCP National Congress Chinese President Xi secured an unprecedented third term as Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader, as expected. The CCP amended its constitution to include "two establishes" and "two safeguards" to "cement" Xi Jinping's status as the core of the party, according to Reuters. Chinese President Xi is to head the communist party's central commission for discipline inspection, according to state media. The new CCP Politburo Standing Committee includes Li Qang, Li Xi, Ding Xuexiang, Cai Qi, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, according to state media. The new Central Committee (comprising of 171 alternate members) does not include Liu He, Han Zheng, Sun Chunlan, Yi Gang, Guo Shuoing, Chinese President Xi said China's economy has high resilience, sufficient potential and has room for manoeuvre. Xi said China will open its doors even wider. Xi said China must ensure the CCP continues to be the backbone people can lean on, according to state media. Geopolitics Russian Defence Minister held phone calls with the US Pentagon Chief, UK Defence Minister, and the French Armed Forces Minister, according to Interfax and Reuters. French Armed Forces Minister has confirmed Russian Defence Minister told him Russia fears that Ukraine may use a "dirty bomb" on Russian territory. Russia's Shoigu warns of 'uncontrolled escalation' in Ukraine conflict, via Reuters. Ukraine's Foreign Minister spoke with US Defence Secretary Blinken and said they both agreed the Russian rhetoric on "dirty bombs" is aimed at creating a pretext for a false flag operation. They also discussed further practical steps to boost Ukraine’s air defense. Russian forces continued to target Ukraine's energy and military infrastructure over the weekend, according to the Russia Defence Ministry cited by Interfax. Russian authorities said two pilots died in a military plane crash into a residential building in Irkutsk, Russia, according to Interfax. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said Russia completely reject any demilitarized zones in the vicinity of the Zaporozhye station, Via Al Jazeera. Russia continues to use Iranian uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) against targets throughout Ukraine, according to the UK Ministry of Defence. US Event Calendar 08:30: Sept. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. -0.10, prior 0 09:45: Oct. S&P Global US Manufacturing PM, est. 51.0, prior 52.0 09:45: Oct. S&P Global US Composite PMI, est. 49.2, prior 49.5 09:45: Oct. S&P Global US Services PMI, est. 49.5, prior 49.3 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Morning from the middle of a forest in Center Parcs. We’ve had a biblical amount of rain, flash flooding in the resort and a weekend of over excitable children. We’re off to a safari park today where monkeys jump on your car. Only 24 hours before I can escape on a plane to New York. As we start a new week where we’re now in the Fed blackout period ahead of next week’s FOMC, we’re perhaps starting the 6th attempt this year at the Fed pivot trade. This only started on Friday as well-connected Nick Timiraos (WSJ) suggested that while a 75bps hike at the Fed’s next meeting was set to go ahead, officials were also likely to discuss “whether and how to signal plans to approve a smaller increase in December.” Whether this gets any further than the previous failed attempts to reprice markets only time will tell but with markets pricing in a terminal rate of over 5% prior to this, at least this is the first one that starts from anything vaguely resembling a realistic starting point given where inflation is. San Fran Fed President Daly also said on Friday that the Fed should start planning for a shift down in the pace of hikes but added that they are not there yet. The news helped price -8.0bps less Fed tightening by year-end on Friday, whilst also triggering a significant one-day decline in the 2yr Treasury yield of -13.8bps (-16bps post Timiraos). In turn the S&P 500 completed its strongest weekly performance since June, advancing +4.74% (+2.37% Friday). Futures are +0.3% this morning. The longer end rallied 12bps off the highs but was only -1.2bps on Friday as the same article discussed how the Fed could also signal a higher dot plot for 2023. Net net this left the biggest curve steepening since the pandemic (-12.2bps) which given that its not a huge move shows how massively flatter the curve has been since then. This morning in Asia 2 and 10yr yields are -4.3bps and -6.7bps lower respectively and this continuing the momentum from Friday. In the cold light of day (and it’s cold and dark in the forests of Center Parcs this morning), these more dovish stories are all plausible but between next week’s FOMC and the December equivalent we have CPI and NFP twice. So plenty of cold or hot water to flow under the bridge before then. On balance there are few signs at the moment that core inflation is about to see a rapid about turn and the Fed will be data dependent so it'll be impossible to have high conviction on what they do next without a strong view on the data. Before we examine the week ahead we should note that overall the 10yr yield ended last week up by +19.8bps (-1.2bps Friday), which marked its 12th consecutive weekly rise, and is also its longest run since 1984 when Paul Volcker was Fed Chair. So we need to put things into some perspective. In light of all this maybe the most interesting data this week comes on Friday with the Q3 employment cost index (DB at +1.1% vs. +1.3% last month) and the September personal income (+0.1% vs. +0.3%) and consumption (+0.3% vs. +0.4%) report, including the core PCE deflator (+0.58% vs. +0.56%). With respect to core PCE, our economists expect the Fed's preferred measure of inflation to rise by 40bps to 5.3%. Our economists highlight that as the median forecast for 2022 core PCE inflation in the Fed's Summary of Economic Projections from the September 21st meeting was 4.5%, it’s going to be tough to signal a downshift in December. Elsewhere this week the main highlights are the ECB (Thursday) and the BoJ (Friday) decisions and a huge round of earnings with big Tech the highlight. We’ll also have a new UK Prime Minister by Friday with a possibility we may have one after today’s ultra compressed rounds of Parliamentary votes. After Boris Johnson pulled out late last night it is possible that only tactical voting will stop ex-Chancellor Sunak being declared PM tonight. We’ll also see US Q3 GDP (Thursday) and flash PMIs in the US and Europe (today) and October CPIs and GDP for many European countries (Friday). There are other data which are in the day by day guide at the end as usual for a Monday but let’s take a brief look at the highlights outside the already discussed PCE. The ECB's decision on Thursday will be a big event with our European economists expecting another +75bps hike (72.3bp priced in), followed by +75bps in December (c.62bps priced in), +50bps in February (c.38bps priced), and +25bps in March, reaching a terminal rate of 3%. The press conference as ever will be a focal point and there’ll be lots of attention on technical things surrounding TLTROs and excess reserves. For more on the options here see our fixed income strategists blog from Friday here. Staying with central banks, over in Japan, the BoJ announces its decision on Friday amidst continued downward pressure on the yen, which hit a 32-year low against the dollar of 151.95 on Friday before surging again to end the week at 147.65 - c.3.5% swing while the Japanese slept after Nikkei reported fresh intervention from the Japanese authorities. The Yen has again seen a wild session in Asia. After falling again to 149.67 it surged to 145.65 and now trades at 148.88 as we go to press with no clarity on if and what intervention has been done. For US Q3 GDP this week, our US economists expect real growth to rebound to +3.0% from Q2's -0.6%. Q3 GDP figures will also be out for European countries on Friday, including for Germany and France with the former likely to be slightly negative and the latter slightly positive. Overall it’s likely to be the start of growth grinding towards or below zero and then staying negative for a few quarters. On European CPI on Friday remember September readings saw Germany's CPI reaching 10% for the first time since 1950. Earnings will come thick and fast this week, featuring the big tech, oil majors and key automakers and staples. In tech alone we have Microsoft, Alphabet (tomorrow), Meta (Wednesday) and Apple and Amazon (Thursday). A huge slug (20% by market cap) of the S&P 500 in 48 hours. Other notable tech firms reporting results will include Intel, Twitter, SAP and Samsung. The other main reporters are in the day by day week ahead at the end. Asian markets are higher outside of China/HK this morning with the Nikkei (+0.62%) and the KOSPI (+0.87%) up but with the Hang Seng (-4.99%) and the Shanghai composite (-0.89%) lower as markets worry about the policy direction of travel after the ending of the 20th Party Congress. We've also finally seen the monthly data dump out of China and despite a beat on Q3 GDP (+3.9% vs +3.3% expected) and industrial production (+6.3% vs 4.8%), we saw weaker retail sales (+2.5% vs +3.0%) and jobless rate (5.5% vs 5.2%). Looking back to last week, we've already discussed the US rates and equities pricing at the top. Over in Europe, gilts outperformed other sovereign bonds over the week as a whole thanks to the government’s Monday U-turn on the mini-budget. However, they became a major underperformer again on Friday as investors contemplated the likelihood that former Prime Minister Johnson could return to office. All-in-all that left 10yr yields down -28.2bps over the week (+14.1bps Friday), and after the close we heard that Moody’s had affirmed the UK’s credit rating but cut the outlook to negative. Elsewhere in Europe though there was a similar pattern to Treasuries, with 10yr bund yields also rising for a 12th week in a row with a +7.0bps gain over the week (+1.4bps Friday). At the same time, the STOXX 600 put in its best week since July, with a +1.27% advance (-0.62% Friday). Finally last week, European natural gas futures fell -20.02% (-10.67% Friday) to €114 per megawatt-hour after EU leaders endorsed a plan to cap gas prices. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/24/2022 - 08:12.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 24th, 2022

Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams Announce Completion of $62 Million Affordable Housing Development in the Bronx

Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams today announced the completion of a $62 million affordable housing development in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. The El Borinquen Residence creates 148 new affordable apartments, including 90 with on-site supportive services for people experiencing homelessness and 29 homes reserved for seniors.   “Affordable and supportive housing is a fundamental component to addressing homelessness across the state,” Governor Hochul said. “Building on the successful... The post Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams Announce Completion of $62 Million Affordable Housing Development in the Bronx appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams today announced the completion of a $62 million affordable housing development in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. The El Borinquen Residence creates 148 new affordable apartments, including 90 with on-site supportive services for people experiencing homelessness and 29 homes reserved for seniors.   “Affordable and supportive housing is a fundamental component to addressing homelessness across the state,” Governor Hochul said. “Building on the successful opening of the El Borinquen Residence, my administration is implementing our $25 billion, five-year housing plan that will allow us to continue to make important investments in communities like the Bronx. By increasing the supply of high-quality inclusive housing, we can ensure that New Yorkers have not only an affordable place to call home, but also access to the supportive services they need to thrive.”   New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “With the completion of the El Borinquen Residence, more of our neighbors experiencing homelessness and mental illness will have a place they can call home. Our administration’s Housing Our Neighbors blueprint finally treats homelessness as a housing problem and we’re working to solve it with a housing solution, and supportive housing projects like El Borinquen are a critical part of making that solution reality. Thank you to our partners helping to ‘Get Stuff Done’ for the Bronx and New York City.” The El Borinquen Residence complements Governor Hochul’s sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the FY 2023 State Budget, the Governor introduced and successfully secured a new $25 billion, five-year, comprehensive housing plan that will increase housing supply by creating or preserving 100,000 affordable homes across New York including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes.  The El Borinquen Residence consists of a single ten-story building with 148 apartments. The colorful streetside façade along Third Avenue was designed to pay tribute to the neighborhood’s Puerto Rican heritage.  90 apartments are reserved for formerly homeless adults and youth or young adults ageing out of foster care. These residents have access to rental subsidies and on-site services funded through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative.  Supportive services include individual case management, mental health referrals, job readiness training and financial literacy workshops. Comunilife is the service provider, as well as the project’s developer.   In addition to the supportive units, 29 apartments are reserved for residents aged 62 and older with incomes at or below 30 percent of the Area Median Income. The remaining apartments are for households earning at or below 60 percent of the AMI.  Residential amenities include a community space for events, bike room, landscaped area on the ground floor, and a rooftop garden. The development is located within a mixed-use residential and commercial area with access to local amenities and within ten blocks of four subway lines.   State financing for the El Borinquen Residence includes $7.7 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $23.2 million in equity and $14.3 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development provided $14.2 million through the Supportive Housing Loan Program.   In the last five years, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested more than $1 billion to create or preserve nearly 7,500 affordable apartments in multifamily buildings in the Bronx.   New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said “The $62 million El Borinquen Residence is a concrete investment in a stronger, healthier, and more equitable Bronx for the future. Thanks to our development partner, Comunilife, 148 households now have a safe and stable home with access to the care they need to achieve their goals and improve their health outcomes. Under Governor Hochul’s housing plan, New York will continue building more supportive housing opportunities like this one to fight homelessness, expand community services and keep the Bronx moving forward.”     New York City Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. said, “We are thrilled to welcome 148 individuals and households to their new homes at El Borinquen Residence. Developed with the community in mind, El Borinquen will provide life-changing services and security to vulnerable New Yorkers. From young adults aging out of foster care to extremely low-income seniors, every new resident here will have the support they need thanks to our partners at Comunilife and our colleagues at the State.”  New York City Department of Social Services Commissioner Gary P. Jenkins said, “Through the provision of state-of-the-art affordable housing and supportive services to vulnerable New Yorkers, the El Borinquen Residence will deliver the stability, comfort, and security that New Yorkers in need deserve. We are committed to connecting New Yorkers in need to high-quality housing opportunities, and projects like this are essential to our efforts to do so. We are immensely grateful to our partners in City and State government, as well as all others who worked so hard to make this development a reality. We look forward to building on these efforts to make New York City more equitable and affordable for all residents.”  State Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “I welcome El Borinquén to our great Bronx family. Every time we are able to witness the completion of more housing in our district, it fills me with hope and joy. With this we add 148 apartments, and they will become homes for our people. I make the reference to home, because a place to live is not the same as a dignified, humane and safe place that becomes a home. With a $62 million investment, the help of public officials and private enterprise and the convention of improving the lives of our people, today El Borinquén is a reality. This name is very special to me because it speaks of my land and the land of my parents, Puerto Rico. Welcome to your new home “Borinqueños”.  Assemblymember Chantel Jackson said, “I am very happy to learn that New York State Homes and Community Renewal has completed the construction of the El Borinquen Residence, a new affordable housing complex in Morrisania. This new residence was uniquely designed to meet the needs of the local community it will serve – it features affordable housing units, special resources reserved for transient individuals, and on-site residential amenities. Its completion brings us closer to a future in which, in the Bronx, housing is not a privilege, but a right held by every member of the community.”  Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson said, “While New York City is experiencing a housing crisis, we are grateful for this day when we can welcome Comunilife’s El Borinquen Residence, a building that will provide 148 supportive and affordable apartments for people with special needs.  Not only are wrap-around social services available on-site, but tenants can also expect 24-hour security, a computer lounge, outdoor patios and gardens and other amazing amenities for our residents and families. I would like to thank President and CEO of Comunilife, Rosa M. Gil, and all the community partners for their vision and advocacy that has brought us to this day.”  City Councilmember Althea Stevens said, “I am beyond excited for the introduction of El Borinquen to Morrisania. This amazing investment is vital in the progression of the quality of life in our community. With its unique approach to fully integrate arts and culture while providing equitable mental health services will be an amazing asset for our community members.” Dr. Rosa M. Gil, Comunilife President and CEO, said, “This building is a crown jewel for integrating the arts into supportive housing development.  It is filled with joy, color, vitality, and inspiration. These are all essential components for healing and people transforming their life.  At Comunilife, we are thrilled to enter this new era of supportive housing design and development where quality of life is informed and impacted by the peace, inspiration and sensibility that art, beauty and culture can create.  Cultural sensibility has been at the core of every initiative we have ever done, but a project of this massive scale, brings it to a whole new level.”  The post Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams Announce Completion of $62 Million Affordable Housing Development in the Bronx appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyOct 23rd, 2022

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

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

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 22nd, 2022

The fate of the world economy may depend on what happens to a company most Americans have never heard of

The Taiwanese firm TSMC is the world's largest chipmaker. But if tensions boil over with China, it could have trillions of dollars of economic costs. Military helicopters flying the Taiwanese flag over Taiwan, which China claims as its own. Escalating rhetoric between China and the US over Taiwan is sparking concern over the world's largest semiconductor company.Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images The fate of the global economy may rest on the shoulders of one company: TSMC.  TSMC is the world's biggest chipmaker — its chips power everything from cars to iPhones.  But US-China tensions, and China's standoff with Taiwan, could cost the global economy trillions. On a tiny island off the coast of China, one company manufactures a product used across the globe for countless household products as varied as PCs and washing machines.And as that island — Taiwan — worries about the threat of a standoff between the US and China, the world's economy holds its breath. That's because there could be trillions of dollars' worth of economic activity tied to that one company: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world's biggest chipmaker.Industry watchers say an escalating dispute between the US and China over Taiwan could drag down the global economy, given the fact that no other company makes such advanced chips at such a high volume. If TSMC goes offline, they say, the production of everything from cars to iPhones could screech to a halt."If China would invade Taiwan, that would be the biggest impact we've seen to the global economy — possibly ever," Glenn O'Donnell, the vice president and research director at Forrester, told Insider. "This could be bigger than 1929."What is TSMC?TSMC's factory in Nanjing, in China's Jiangsu province.VCG/VCG via Getty ImagesWhile TSMC may not be a household name, you almost certainly own something that's powered by its chips.TSMC is in the foundry business, meaning it doesn't design its own chips but instead produces them at fabrication plants for other companies. The company accounts for over half of the global semiconductor market, and when it comes to advanced processors that number is, by some estimates, as high as 90%. In fact, even the best chip from China's top semiconductor manufacturer, SMIC, has been said to be about five years behind TSMC's.TSMC counts Apple as its biggest customer, supplying the California tech giant with the chips that power iPhones. In fact, most of the world's roughly 1.4 billion smartphone processors are produced by TSMC, as are about 60% of the chips used by automakers, according to The Wall Street Journal.TSMC semiconductors are also used in high-performance computing: They can quickly process reams of data and guide missiles, making the company highly valuable in the eyes of government entities.As TSMC has grown to dominate the industry, it has automatically become an oligopoly, according to William Alan Reinsch, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a national security think tank."When you have a very complex, very sophisticated, and very expensive technology where barriers to entry are very high — I mean, building a fab plant is in the billions — you can't just decide tomorrow, 'Well, I'm going to go into that business,'" he said. "It's not like making tea."How did we become so reliant on chips made in Taiwan?A chip being tested in a lab in Taiwan.Ann Wang/ReutersThe semiconductor industry has its roots in the US, as much of the research and development is done on US soil. Companies in other countries license the US-made technology.Dylan Patel, a chief analyst at the semiconductor research and consulting firm SemiAnalysis, pointed to the Dutch company ASML as an example: ASML produces high-end chipmaking equipment, but one of the technologies for which it's best known was invented in the US National Laboratories.Over the past 30 years or so, manufacturers in developed countries concluded it was in their best interest to outsource the manufacturing of the chips, according to Reinsch."You build a big factory and you crank these things out by the thousands, and you do it in a low-wage, nonunion country that probably doesn't have environmental requirements," he said. "You keep all the design and IP at home and you do all your sales, marketing, and service at home, and that's where you make the money."It's this approach that has directly led to the growth of chip foundries like TSMC and reduced production on American soil, Reinsch said.According to a 2021 report from the Semiconductor Industry Association, in 1990 the US produced 37% of the world's chip supply. These days, the US is responsible for only 12% of global chip production.Why is this a problem now?Container ships waiting off the coast of the congested ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, in California, on September 29, 2021.Mike Blake/REUTERSAs the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine have illustrated, having too much reliance on certain countries can upend supply chains when disruptions arise. It's for this reason that many US corporations are exploring "onshoring" — moving some of their manufacturing to the US — to make their supply chains more resilient.The US's access to TSMC chips, however, is especially vulnerable, because though Taiwan is self-governing, China claims the island as its own and has threatened to invade. Controlling Taiwan is central to Chinese President Xi Jinping's goal of achieving a "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.While the consequences of an invasion could be significant, many experts say it's just a matter of time before it happens, whether it's by 2030, 2025, or even by the end of next year. On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken predicted China would take steps to annex Taiwan on a "much faster timeline" than previously thought, signaling that it could be sooner rather than later. The US government is already playing out war-game scenarios to prepare for this, and in the event of a full invasion it would reportedly consider evacuating the skilled chipmaker engineers on which it's become so reliant.The spotlight has focused increasingly on Taiwan and the semiconductor industry as a whole in recent weeks following the export regulations the US government slapped on China. Those regulations limit sales of semiconductors made using US technology and are meant to curb China's ability to develop advanced technology.The US and China are now locked in what Patel described as "a full-scale bilateral economic cold war," one that's likely to have severe financial repercussions, especially given how intertwined the semiconductor supply chain is.What would happen if China invaded Taiwan?A Chinese military parade in June 2020.Alexander Vilf - Host Photo Agency via Getty ImagesTaiwan hopes its semiconductor business will protect it from Chinese aggression — government leaders have called the industry a "silicon shield" against invasion.But if China did invade, disrupting the world's access to chips, "the entire global economy comes to a screeching halt," O'Donnell from Forrester said. "Semiconductors have become almost like the oxygen of the global economy," he said. "Without the chips, you can't breathe."The effects of such a halt would be "economically devastating," says Martijn Rasser, a former senior intelligence officer at the CIA who is now a security and technology expert at the Center for a New American Security, a left-leaning think tank."You'd be looking at trillions of dollars in economic losses," he told Insider.The US National Security Council agrees, and in July the US commerce secretary said the US would face a "deep and immediate recession" if American businesses no longer had access to these chips.Some experts have speculated that, in the event of an invasion, the chip-manufacturing facilities would be intentionally destroyed so China couldn't access them. In a US Army journal article published in December, the academic Jared McKinney described this strategy as the "broken nest" — another way to put it is mutually assured destruction.The destruction of those facilities, or an inability to access their chips, could have major national security implications, Rasser said."Every military system that we rely on has a ton of semiconductors in them," he said. "It would start impacting our ability to maintain existing weapon systems, upgrade ones, build new ones."Considering that the US has committed to defending Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, these hits to the US's defense capabilities could be especially significant.But while a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would produce the most serious disruption, Rasser says it wouldn't necessarily take an invasion for the world's chip access to be blocked. As well as making investments in Taiwanese firms and poaching their workers, China could institute a blockade on the island that could cut off the world from semiconductor supplies.What's the solution?President Joe Biden holding the signed CHIPs Act in August.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesThe US is taking some steps to make itself less reliant on Taiwan. In July, for instance, Congress passed the CHIPS Act, which includes nearly $53 billion in subsidies and tax breaks in an effort to bolster chip manufacturing in the US.Some companies have already begun adding US facilities: Intel is building two $20 billion factories in Ohio, Micron has pledged to spend up to $100 billion on a massive chip factory in upstate New York, Samsung is building a $17 billion factory in Texas, and TSMC is constructing a $12 billion plant in Arizona.TSMC is also building a new facility in Japan, one that will produce the less advanced chips needed in the auto industry. The Wall Street Journal reported that Japanese officials had signaled they'd like TSMC to expand its presence there by adding capacity for advanced chips as well, another sign global powers are growing wary of the geopolitical risk to Taiwan.But O'Donnell warned it would be premature to celebrate an end to the chip shortage or to the US's reliance on Taiwanese chips. The factories themselves require equipment that's in short supply because of — ironically enough — the chip shortage. And besides, those plants take years to build and get online."Once you stick a shovel in the ground, you're not going to get chips for at least three years," he said.Plus, there remain obstacles to substantially decreasing the country's reliance on TSMC. While the subsidies and tax breaks will help, Taiwan may continue to remain the cheaper option for businesses. And, for the time being at least, TSMC's chips are likely to be higher quality as well. Given that TSMC is "really at the cutting edge," Rasser said, the chips produced in the US by Intel, for instance, "wouldn't be as sophisticated" as those made in Taiwan.While producing even these lower-quality chips would go some way to reduce the US's reliance on Taiwan, the US has a shortfall of the skilled workforce needed to ramp up production, a problem companies in this industry are facing across the globe. Rasser says enhanced training and education will be necessary to fill this gap.It's for these reasons that it could be "years and potentially decades" before the US will be able to declare independence on the chipmaking front."The CHIPS Act, it's a good step in the right direction, but it's just a little more than scratching the surface," Rasser said.In the meantime, the US may have to cross its fingers that an economy-shaking disruption doesn't come to pass.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 22nd, 2022

Jan. 6 committee formally subpoenas Trump and says it has "overwhelming evidence" that he "orchestrated and oversaw" efforts to overturn the 2020 election

The committee laid out in detail Trump's efforts to nullify Biden's win and his initial refusal to call off the mob that stormed the Capitol. Former President Donald Trump.José Luis Villegas/APThe House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot subpoenaed former President Donald Trump on Friday for documents and testimony connected to the deadly siege.In a letter to Trump, the committee said it has assembled "overwhelming evidence" that he personally "orchestrated and oversaw a multi-part effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power."The panel then laid out in detail Trump's attempts to remain in power despite losing the election to Joe Biden.Those efforts included:Spreading bogus claims of voter fraud to overturn the results in battleground states that Biden won and to boost Trump's political contributions;Pressuring Justice Department officials to "make false statements" aimed at nullifying Biden's victory;"Illegally" pressuring state officials to alter results in battleground states Trump lost;Overseeing an effort to send false slates of electors to Congress and the National Archives;Pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally reject some states' electoral counts on January 6, 2021, "despite knowing specifically that it was illegal" to do so;Pressured congressional lawmakers to object to legitimate slates of electors from battleground states;"Filing false information, under oath, in federal court";Filing false information, under oath, in federal court";Calling tens of thousands of his supporters to protest Congress' certification of the electoral vote on January 6, 2021 despite "knowing they were angry and some were armed," and "sending them to the Capitol";Putting out a message on social media as the Capitol attack was unfolding "in which [Trump] incited further violence by publicly condemning [the] Vice President";Waiting hours before calling for the pro-Trump mob to leave the Capitol, "while you watched the attack unfold on television."This story is developing. Check back for updates.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 21st, 2022

UK"s Liz Truss Resigns, Becomes Shortest-Tenured Post-War PM; Will BoJo Make A Comeback?

UK's Liz Truss Resigns, Becomes Shortest-Tenured Post-War PM; Will BoJo Make A Comeback? Update: U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced her resignation just 44 days after taking office, after a risky plan to cut taxes and boost spending caused turmoil on financial markets, forcing her to backtrack and her political authority to disintegrate. She said the Conservative Party aims to choose her successor within a week, and that she will stay on as premier until then.  She is now the shortest tenured post-war PM... As one fellow Brit commented: "4 Chancellors, 3 Home Secretaries, 2 Monarchs, and now 3 PMs in four fucking months" This didn't age well... U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss, whose popularity has cratered since taking office last month, pushes back against calls for her to resign: "I am a fighter, not a quitter!" pic.twitter.com/fXN758sncV — The Recount (@therecount) October 19, 2022 Gilt yields are dropping... Cable is rallying.... Liz Truss’ legacy is actually quite impressive. She buried the Queen, the Pound, and the Tory party — Paul Perry III, KBE (@PA_P3RRY) October 20, 2022 Candidates to replace her are likely to include former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak -- runner-up to Truss in this summer’s leadership contest. Other contenders then are also likely to be in the fray, including Penny Mordaunt, Grant Shapps and Kemi Badenoch. Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who was sacked on Oct. 19, may also be in the running. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is also often touted, though he has downplayed his interest.  But new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, promoted from the back benches after Truss sacked Kwasi Kwarteng in a bid to restore calm in the markets, ruled himself out, according to his spokeswoman. However, the leading candidate to replace Truss - according to a recent YouGov poll is (drum roll please) - Boris Johnson... Whoever it is will face a formidable task in repairing the Tory party’s reputation and the economy in time for a general election which must take place in January 2025. “It’s a shambles and a disgrace,” veteran Tory MP Charles Walker told the BBC on Oct. 19. “The damage they have done to our party is extraordinary.” Truss’s tenure has all but guaranteed post-Brexit Britain’s immediate future is one of higher borrowing costs, weak growth, tax hikes and spending cuts. pic.twitter.com/DadvyEwyA8— zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 20, 2022 *  *  * As Rabobank's Michael Every  noted this morning - It’s not dull, is it? An average Wednesday nowadays is a little like The Game of Thrones’ infamous Red Wedding. “Any man who must say ‘I am the King’ is no true King.” “We’ve had vicious kings and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king.” “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick; a shadow on the wall.” In markets, all the initial attention was on inflation: in the UK a surge to 10.1% y-o-y; a slight rounding down in final Eurozone inflation to 9.9% y-o-y; and another jump in Canadian inflation to 6.9% y-o-y. The Fed also made clear that they see potential US GDP growth as much lower than where it sits now, which implies it is still overheating now, so rates need to be higher for longer. Bullard then reiterated our house view that rates will peak much higher than they are now in Q1 2023, and will only be readjusted slightly rather than being slashed back to ridiculously low levels again. As a result, bond yields soared, with the UK the rare exception. US 10s are now at 4.15%, the highest since 2008; Japanese 10s briefly breached their 0.25% target level (as JPY moves towards 150); German 10s are at 2.37%; and Aussie 10s at 4.07%. That’s what power looks like. Or rather a lack of power to prevent inflation.   Back to thrones though, as PM Truss’s government implodes further. Yesterday saw reports of MPs being physically manhandled to vote against their manifesto pledge to their constituents; suggestions the Chief and Deputy Chief Whip manhandling them had both resigned; and Home Secretary Braverman forced to go for sending a personal email(!), replaced by Schapps, who is loyal to the new eminence grise, Chancellor Hunt, and former PM candidate Sunak. It was also reported Defence Secretary Wallace, again floated as a possible new PM, stated he would resign too if Hunt slashed the defence budget, forcing a retreat there. Both as a Brit and a global strategist this a farce; a tragicomedy; embarrassing; and a coup by any other name. Obviously it’s a political coup: resigning over an email in this day and age?! Braverman’s angry out-the-door letter made that clear, but at least contained rare dignity: “Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics. I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign.” How much those words need to be said by *many* others - especially the ones now grinning as they assume power again. Any future portrayal of this drama on Netflix will surely show King Charles muttering “Oh, dear” as the Bank of England plots. After all, The Old Lady precipitated this political crisis by triggering the market crisis by saying now was the time to step back from QE, not all the previous times it had bought Gilts when the money was effectively thrown down the drain in terms of boosting the productive potential of the UK economy. For those who protest that hypothetical, consider that despite all that past QE, the UK is exactly where we find it now: deep in an emerging-market rut. The only logical defence to be made is either ‘Brexit’, in which case look at the mess in Europe, or that the UK would have been even worse off if the BOE had not done the QE it already did. Worse, the cash-strapped UK Treasury is going to give the Bank of England £11bn to cover the operating losses made via QE! An institution that can literally print money is taking a sum of cash that could cover the cost of four aircraft carriers just when the UK needs to be building them. What will the BOE do with it? Nothing. It just needs it to maintain a balanced balance sheet. Which brings us back to the arguments about stable FX and what central banks’ true roles are within political economy. Let’s be clear, ill-founded as Thatcherism on steroids was a proposed solution to the UK structural problems, at least Truss was trying something. What we get now is a return to guaranteed technocratic institutional failure – because that was what we all agreed we had in place before Covid. Someone thinking that way too is Bloomberg commentator @izakaminska, who tweets: “This may suit you now because Liz wasn’t your cup of tea. Fine I get it. She wasn’t mine either. But all you have created is a precedent wherein no politician be they left, right, centre or populist will ever be able to wrestle power back from the markets. When the bond vigilantes + a shouty Twitter mob control political decision making (not politicians) we are basically in the hands of mob rule. The result will be the actual destruction of Britain. Obviously bond markets matter. But the same bull-headed commitment to pleasing the markets regardless of how they hurt the people of Russia is what brought us Putin. Yeltsin’s commitment to shock therapy regardless of the domestic consequences is what killed democracy there. Instead of a politician who has the actual guts to be political again (regardless of whether you like her politics, the point is you can vote her out right. That’s how democracy works) we have ended up with custodian PM who is basically there as the front man for the “markets” We have disdain for Putin being under the thumb of the siloviki or Yeltsin the oligarchs, but that is precisely what we have in Jeremy Hunt. A man who will sell out Britain to please “the markets”. Great.” The irony is that this is happening in the UK just as the global Game of Thrones is shifting elsewhere. As the Financial Times notes today, ‘Containing China is Biden’s explicit goal’. The article makes the point already underlined here, that despite the odd lack of market interest in the White House order to ban China from accessing US tech, the real economy and real world implications are staggering, and really geopolitical - of the aircraft carrier variety. Likewise, US Republicans, even more hawkish on China, are making clear if they win next month’s mid-term elections --and they are strong favourites to do so-- they will stop funding Ukraine’s fight against Russia. That’s as Putin declared martial law and economic mobilization in provinces neighbouring the newly-conquered territory to boost his war effort. The implications for Ukraine are worrying, but they are not much better for Europe, which would either have a vast amount of military spending to do, both to support Ukraine and re-arm itself, or a lot of kow-towing and eating of very cold, bloody humble pie. (To be clear, it’s going to eat humble pie either way: the only issue is whose. Indeed, will the US keep supporting Europe is the next question to ask.) Such outcomes would shatter what remains of the technocratic view of how Europe operates, as we already see nationalisations, Covid-era subsidies for years to come, rationing, and talk of emergency measures on supply chains. Regardless, there are probably technocratic EU/ECB officials out there already planning how to rein in state spending so we can get interest rates back down again and please markets. Let me conclude with a link and a quote from a rant from a furious UK Tory MP from last night: “I’ve had enough of talentless people putting their tick in the right box not because it’s in the national interest, but because it’s in their own personal interest.” Tyler Durden Thu, 10/20/2022 - 08:29.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 20th, 2022

Governor Hochul Announces Completion of $51 Mmillion Affordable Housing Development in the Bronx

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of Tremont Residences, a $50.6 million affordable housing development in the West Farms area of the Bronx. The new 119-apartment development offers onsite services for people experiencing homelessness who need support to live independently. “The completion of this 119-unit development means that dozens of Bronx... The post Governor Hochul Announces Completion of $51 Mmillion Affordable Housing Development in the Bronx appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of Tremont Residences, a $50.6 million affordable housing development in the West Farms area of the Bronx. The new 119-apartment development offers onsite services for people experiencing homelessness who need support to live independently. “The completion of this 119-unit development means that dozens of Bronx residents and families will have a safe, stable place to call home and the wraparound services they need to thrive,” Governor Hochul said. “This project complements our $25 billion housing plan by not only providing high-quality affordable housing but also creating strong, vibrant, and resilient communities.” Tremont Residences complements Governor Hochul’s sweeping plans to make housing more affordable, equitable, and stable. In the FY 2023 State Budget, the Governor introduced and successfully secured a new $25 billion, five-year, comprehensive housing plan will increase housing supply by creating or preserving 100,000 affordable homes across New York including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes. Tremont Residences has 95 studio, 14 one-bedroom, and 10 two-bedroom apartments that are affordable to households with incomes between 30 and 60 percent of the Area Median Income. The developers, Camber Property Group and Slate Property Group, partnered with Westhab, Inc. to provide on-site support services for 71 households funded through an Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative award administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health. Services include case management, job readiness, placement, retention, referrals, and mental health services. Rental subsidies for the units are also included under the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative funding from the Office of Mental Health. A vacant single-story retail building was demolished to make way for the 11-story new building. The development’s amenities include a social services office suite for residents, landscaped outdoor recreational space, full-time security, a 1,300-square-foot community room, fitness center, computer lab, reading lounge, bike storage, and laundry rooms on each floor. The ground floor houses a 6,500-square-foot commercial space that is owned by a third party and is currently available for rent. The project is in a mixed-use, transit-rich area, near medical facilities, schools, shopping, and within walking distance of Crotona Park and Bronx Park, the Botanical Garden, and Fordham University. Tremont Residences meets Enterprise Green Communities Standards and includes Energy Star appliances, solar panels, water conserving fixtures, low-VOC finishes, and coated windows. Insulation and roof coating and materials are designed to be energy efficient. State financing for Tremont Residences includes $8.4 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds, Federal Low-Income Tax Credits that will generate $17.3 million in equity, and $20.5 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. OMH Is providing nearly $1.8 million in annual ESSHI operating funding for the supportive housing and a total of $479,544 in Program Development Grant funding. In the last five years, New York State Homes and Community Renewal has invested more than $1 billion to create or preserve nearly 7,500 affordable apartments in multifamily buildings in the Bronx. New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The new $51 million Tremont Residences with its 119 affordable apartments is proof of the state’s ongoing commitment to improving quality of life in the Bronx. Every development that we invest in through Governor Hochul’s housing plan revives and strengthens neighborhoods and provides new opportunities for residents to live in affordably in the borough they call home. Thanks to our partners, the Tremont Residences offers supportive services to 71 individuals who are no longer facing homelessness and are instead on a path to a more stable and rewarding future.” New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Sullivan said, “The 71 supportive housing units in Tremont Residences will provide a welcoming home, stability and security to individuals living with mental illness. In addition to providing mental health services, trained staff will help residents find and retain employment, manage their finances, connect with support groups, and further their education. In short, residents will be given the opportunity to live full and productive lives their community. OMH is very proud to partner with HCR and provide our support to Tremont Residences.” State Senator Luis R. Sepulveda said, “Every new home in our Bronx community brings us happiness. Tremont Residences is not just housing, it is not just a building. Today I was present at their ribbon cutting ceremony and heard from some of their residents the same phrase, ‘Now I have a home.’ As a Senator I can explain all that the process of having these developments represents, I can explain how important and how it changes our communities for the better, but there is no better explanation of my joy and the impact this has on the life of a person when they say they have a home. I thank all those responsible for making this dream a reality, government offices and the private sector, and most particularly New York State Homes and Community Renewal.” Assemblymember Karines Reyes said, “Tremont Residences is a prime example of the type of housing we need more of in this city. Providing permanent and affordable housing for the formerly homeless is a vital lifeline that not enough people have access to. Camber Property Group, Slate Property Group and Westhab have created an incredible community where residents of Tremont can feel at home. As an advocate for affordable housing, I strongly believe a home, in our borough and in our city, should be a standard not a privilege.” Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson said, “Every New Yorker has a right to affordable, quality, and safe housing that enhances their lives and builds strong communities. As we work to combat our current homelessness crisis, I am grateful that the Tremont Residences will provide mixed-use supportive housing, wrap-around services, and amenities to meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents. I want to thank Governor Hochul, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the New York State Office of Mental Health, Camber Property Group, Slate Property Group, and Westhab, Inc. for their commitment to reducing housing insecurity in our borough.” New York City Councilmember Rafael Salamanca said, “At a time when the city’s need for permanent housing for the formerly homeless has reached a critical juncture, the news that the Tremont Residences will be opening its doors to vulnerable New Yorkers and low-income families is greatly welcomed by the community. With units being marketed at under 60 percent AMI and wrap-around services for those residents who need extra assistance, Tremont Residences will be an oasis for New Yorkers. I thank Camber Property Group, Slate Property Group and Westhab, Inc., for their continued partnership in building dignified affordable housing for those individuals and families who need it most.” David Schwartz, Co-Founder and Principal of Slate Property Group, said, “For New Yorkers to thrive, we need to make sure they have access to the high-quality affordable housing they deserve and the supportive services and resources that can help our most vulnerable neighbors succeed. The Tremont Residences is an impressive example of that vision. We deeply appreciate Westhab, Camber Property Group, our government partners and all the local leaders who helped make these new homes and services a reality. We’re especially grateful to the new residents of Tremont Residences who embody everything that makes the Bronx a vibrant, resilient community — welcome home.” Rick Gropper, Principal at Camber Property Group, said, “Tremont Residences is a remarkable collaboration of civic-minded developers and service providers that delivers much-needed affordable housing and wraparound supportive services to residents who need it the most,” said. “Every corner of our city must be part of the solution to the housing crisis, and I am proud to have worked with Slate, Westhab, HCR, elected officials and other community stakeholders to bring so many new affordable homes to The Bronx.” Richard Nightingale, President and CEO of Westhab, Inc., said, “Westhab is proud to be a part of the Tremont Residences development team that is delivering 119 units of high-quality permanent affordable housing to the community, including 71 units of fully integrated supportive housing for formerly homeless households. Westhab is excited to deliver ongoing support services to the tenants to ensure that all of our residents thrive in permanent housing.” The post Governor Hochul Announces Completion of $51 Mmillion Affordable Housing Development in the Bronx appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyOct 19th, 2022

Russia denied using Iranian suicide drones to attack Ukraine, even though there are pictures of it

US and UK assessments are that Russia is using Iran-made Shahed-136 drones, and the distinctive shape of the drones was photographed above Kyiv. A drone flies over Kyiv during an attack on October 17, 2022.SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images; Insider Russian on Tuesday denied deploying Iran-made suicide drones to attack Ukraine. The claim contradicted photo evidence as well as assessments by the US and UK. The drones killed multiple civilians in Ukraine, far from the battlefield, officials said. Russia on Tuesday denied using "suicide drones" supplied by Iran to attack Ukraine, the day after photos showed it doing just that.Dmitri Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, used a press briefing to reject the suggestion that Russia was deploying Iranian gear."Russian equipment with Russian nomenclature is used," he said, according to the Reuters news agency. "All further questions should be directed to the Defence Ministry."The claim sits uneasily with evidence from the strikes on Monday, as well as assessments from US and UK intelligence agencies.A Russian drone is seen during a Russian drone strike, in Kyiv, Ukraine October 17, 2022.REUTERS/Roman PetushkovPhotos of the skies over Kyiv showed the distinctive delta-shaped Shahed-136 drones heading for targets in the capital, a target far from the frontlines which Russia has nonetheless prioritized in recent days.Striking photos from the AFP news agency showed one of the drones less than 100ft from the ground before hitting a target, while other imagery presented a more distant view.A composite photo showing a drone in the sky in Kyiv and the aftermath of it hitting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022.YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images; InsiderThe White House yesterday said that the drones used were Shahed-136 models. It also dismissed efforts by Iran to deny that it had supplied the weapons to Russia, directly accusing Iran's officials of lying.State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Monday that Russia's drone operators are being trained in Iran.Britain's Ministry of Defence also said that Shahed-136 drones had been used in Ukraine, identifying them in an assessment published Tuesday.And US intelligence officials told The Washington Post in a Sunday report that Iran has agreed to send more weapons to Russia, including surface-to-surface missiles and more drones. Per Reuters, at least one wrecked drone found in Ukraine had been labelled with a Russian name, Geran-2, instead of Shahed-136, perhaps bearing out Peskov's claim of equipment with "Russian nomenclature" being used.The drones are an attractive weapon for Russia because they are simple, have a long range and are relatively cheap, as Insider's Jake Epstein reported.The drones are also slow and low flying, which makes them relatively easy to shoot down. But Russia can send many at once, leaving Ukraine's options for responding limited.The drones killed multiple civilians in Kyiv on Monday, officials said.Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, on Monday attributed one of the deaths directly to an Iranian drone, publishing a photograph of a woman called Vika.Per Zelenska, she was killed by drone strike along with her husband and their unborn child.—Олена Зеленська (@ZelenskaUA) October 17, 2022Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said five people were killed when the drones hit Kyiv on Monday, including an elderly woman found in the rubble.The EU said it will investigate Iran's role and will sanction Iran if it find that its military is backing Russia.Denmark also said that Iranian drones were used, with its foreign minister saying on Monday: "Iranian drones are used apparently to attack in the middle of Kyiv, this is an atrocity."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 18th, 2022

DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Reject Trump Request In FBI Classified Documents Case

DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Reject Trump Request In FBI Classified Documents Case Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The Justice Department (DOJ) asked the Supreme Court to reject former President Donald Trump’s bid to have the court intervene in a dispute over documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago resort two months ago. 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 on Aug. 9, 2022. (David 'Dee' Delgado/Reuters) The 45th president last week filed an emergency request asking the high court to lift an appeals court decision preventing a special master from reviewing 100 documents that were allegedly marked classified. Those documents were among some 11,000 records that FBI agents seized on Aug. 8. While urging the Supreme Court to reject Trump’s petition, DOJ officials wrote (pdf) the former president “certainly cannot establish the clear error required to justify the relief he seeks—particularly because he does not acknowledge, much less attempt to rebut, the court of appeals’ conclusion that the district court’s order was a serious and unwarranted intrusion on the Executive Branch’s authority.” On Aug. 22, Trump filed a petition to restrict the DOJ’s access to the records as it pursues an investigation into whether he retained classified documents after departing the White House in January 2021. A federal judge in Florida sided with Trump’s attorneys and appointed a special master, retired Judge Raymond Deare, to review the documents. His lawyers previously told the Supreme Court that Dearie should be able to look into the records to see whether the FBI-seized materials “bearing classification markings are in fact classified, and regardless of classification, whether those records are personal records or presidential records.” Further, they wrote that the DOJ is trying “to criminalize a document management dispute and now vehemently objects to a transparent process that provides much-needed oversight,” his lawyers added. Justices of the US Supreme Court pose for their official photo at the Supreme Court in Washington on Oct. 7, 2022. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images) The former president has maintained on social media and in interviews that he declassified those documents and accused the FBI and DOJ of acting on Democrats’ behalf to target a political opponent and a possible 2024 presidential candidate. When he was president, he enjoyed broad powers of declassification that needed no formal process, Trump argued in a Fox News interview last month. “Different people say different things but as I understand it, if you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it,” he said. “Because you’re sending it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you’re sending it. There doesn’t have to be a process. There can be a process, but there doesn’t have to be,” the former president asserted. “You’re the president … you make that decision” on whether to declassify, he said. And a former aide, Kash Patel, who hosts Epoch TV’s “Kash’s Corner,” said that the documents likely pertained to the FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation into whether Trump colluded with the Russian government. An FBI special counsel, Robert Mueller, found no collusion after a several-year-long investigation. Appeals Court Ruling The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 21 put on hold a decision by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over Trump’s lawsuit. Cannon had temporarily barred the Justice Department from examining the seized documents until the special master she appointed, Judge Raymond Dearie, had identified any that could be considered privileged. Cannon had tasked Dearie to review all of the seized records, including classified ones, to locate anything subject to attorney-client confidentiality or executive privilege, described legal doctrine that shields some White House communications from disclosure, making it off limits to investigators. The three-judge 11th Circuit panel gave the department access to the documents marked as classified for its ongoing criminal investigation, and prevented Dearie from vetting those, noting the importance of limiting access to classified information and ensuring the department’s probe would not be harmed. Cannon also blocked the DOJ from reviewing all of the seized materials in connection to its criminal investigation, and she later named Dearie to review the records. Read more here... Tyler Durden Thu, 10/13/2022 - 11:45.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 13th, 2022

A Year After Striketober, Employers and Labor Unions Aren’t Getting Along

How employers are allegedly trying to convince workers to reject unions. A year ago, a wave of workers—emboldened by a strong labor market and sick of feeling unappreciated—walked off their jobs, hastening what some in the media called Striketober. Now, as more workers organize for better conditions, they’re finding that their bosses are pushing back, trying to convince workers to reject union overtures through means that violated the law, according to decisions by administrative law judges from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Employers have fired workers who were trying to organize unions, withheld pay and benefits from stores that were in the middle of organizing campaigns, and even spied on workers to find out who supported unions—all behavior that violates the National Labor Relations Act, according to recent decisions issued by the judges with the NLRB. There were 17,988 unfair labor practice charges filed with the NLRB in the fiscal year 2022 (Oct. 1 2021-Sept. 30 2022), a 19% increase from the same time last year, the NLRB said in a release on Oct. 6. That growth speaks to the increasingly charged nature of organizing drives; both unions and employers can file these charges. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Meanwhile, law firms and consulting groups are pitching their union-avoidance services in seminars, blog posts and podcasts that advise employers on how to “union-proof” their workplaces. “Events require a new diligence from employers who wish to remain union-free,” law firm Frost Brown Todd argued in a blog post earlier this year. The employer response represents a no-holds-barred campaign to resist a wave of union victories that have swept across the U.S. over the past year with little historical precedent, including an organizing campaign by Starbucks Workers United that has won elections at 240 stores. Overall, there were 53% more union representation petitions filed in the fiscal year 2022 than in the previous year, according to NLRB data.Unions had a win rate of 77% in their elections during the first six months of 2022, according to Bloomberg Law, and they organized more workers during that period than they did over the same period of 2021. “The unions have won against all odds—we’ve never had them win against these superstar corporations before” says John Logan, a professor of labor history at San Francisco State University. “That’s really a unique achievement in U.S. labor history.” Some of the union activity has occurred at big companies that once seemed immune from organizing drives, like Starbucks, Amazon and Apple. Workers at an Apple store in Maryland voted to unionize in June and Apple workers in an Oklahoma store will vote on union representation in October. Read More: U.S. Workers Are Realizing It’s the Perfect Time to Go On Strike While the successful labor drives of the past year have caught public attention, unionization rates in the U.S. are still much lower than they were half a century ago. Just 6% of the private sector workforce belongs to unions today, even though approval of labor unions in the U.S. is at 71%, according to a Gallup poll, the highest approval rate since 1965. And as recession fears loom, there’s also the possibility of employers making layoffs, further weakening workers’ leverage. Employers argue that unions are overplaying their strength; in 2021, unions sought to represent just 46,880 of the roughly 103 million eligible private sector workers in the country, according to Congressional testimony in September by G. Roger King, a longtime labor lawyer who now works at the HR Policy Association. Despite the perceived success of Starbucks Workers United, only a fraction of a percent—0.75%—of all Starbucks in the U.S. locations have been organized, he says. Anti-union campaigns and employee surveillance Unionization rates may be low in part because employers have a variety of tools at their disposal to push back against unions, and they haven’t hesitated to use them, knowing that usually the penalties issued by the NLRB for violating labor law amount to a slap on the wrist, says Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at the ILR School at Cornell University. “The majority of workers have made clear that they would prefer to be represented by a union,” Bronfenbrenner says. “But that desire is thwarted by a combination of weak labor laws and aggressive employer anti-union campaigns—replete with threats, interrogation, surveillance, discharges, harassment, discrimination, and bribes.” Bronfenbrenner analyzed a random sample of 286 NLRB elections between January 2016 and June 2021 and found that three-quarters of employers brought in one or more management consultants to run an anti-union campaign, 45% threatened workers with plant closings or outsourcing, and 49% made promises of improvement in return for workers not supporting the union. Technology has allowed employers to get more sophisticated, she found. Employers used surveillance—including social media, cameras, and GPS devices—in nearly one-third of all workplaces where union elections were held, up from 14% in the early 2000s, her research found. Broadly, the National Labor Relations Act prohibits employers from spying on union gatherings, granting wage increases that are timed to discourage employees from forming a union, and threatening to close a plant if workers organize a union. Read More: What to Do if You Think Your Boss Is Trying to ‘Quietly Fire’ You Some complaints filed with the NLRB show just how high tensions are running between employers and employees in a time of more organizing. One such complaint, which is still being litigated, relates to a Michigan nursing home. According to NLRB filings by an employee union, Notting Hill of West Bloomfield hired a security guard to patrol its parking lot in the weeks leading up to an election in which the nursing home was trying to decertify the union, SEIU Healthcare Michigan. Notting Hill said in its response to the filing that it had hired security because union officials ignored an administrator’s request to only meet workers at an agreed-upon spot outside the facility. The union alleges that the security officer used his SUV to block union officials from talking to workers. Notting Hill alleges in filings that the union responded by picketing the facility, and an NLRB judge later said that picketing was illegal. The election took place in August 2021 and the results favored the union, but Notting Hill is arguing, in court filings, that the union unfairly swayed the election by picketing, and that the NLRB, which oversees union elections, did not provide ballots in other languages for workers who needed them. Anissa Keane, an employee trying to organize workers at a cannabis dispensary in Arizona owned by the company Curaleaf, alleged in NLRB filings that the company told employees that they’d lose their tips if they organized. She also alleged that the company told workers that union representatives would come to their houses without permission to “force” them to sign union cards. Keane had suggested that the union would ask for COVID-19 hazard pay and a raise for workers, she says; in NLRB filings, she alleged that in response, the company offered workers “better discounts” on marijuana. Less than a month after the company learned that the employee was trying to organize the workplace, it fired her, Keane says, telling her she violated the cash handling policy; she says it was her first violation, and that a supervisor had told her workers only get terminated after four cash handling violations. (Curaleaf argued, in court filings, that Keane was fired because she had three write-ups. A NLRB judge ordered Curaleaf to pay her back pay and offer her former job back. In a statement provided to TIME, Curaleaf said that Keane was not terminated for her union activity and that it is appealing the NLRB decision.) “We are committed to providing a positive corporate culture where everyone is treated with respect and dignity,” the statement said. “We respect the right of Team Members to decide if union representation is in their best interest and we believe in educating Team Members on what it means to be represented by a union.” MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty ImageDemocratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden (C), joined members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 as they fought for a first union contract in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 19, 2020 When the Culinary Workers Union tried to organize the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Nevada, casino executives allegedly ordered supervisors to prepare a “MUD list” to indicate which employees were pro-management (M), pro-union (U), or don’t know (D), and threatened workers with the loss of benefits if they supported a union, according to the administrative law judge’s decision. The judge found that the casino committed 20 unfair labor practices before the union election, including serving branded “VOTE NO” steaks to employees in advance of the union vote, and assigning a worker who served on the union committee since 2009 to clean floor drains even though she had been placed on “light duty” assignment after an injury. The judge found that Red Rock engaged in unfair labor practices and ordered the company to cease and desist from threatening employees with reprisals if they select union representation. Red Rock appealed the decision and the case is still open. In court filings, the company argues that it gave its workers much-needed benefits to improve conditions, and that any layoffs it may have made in 2020 were a response to COVID-19, not union organizing. The company declined to comment on record for this story Starbucks allegedly fired seven workers—described by unions as “The Memphis Seven”—who were involved with labor organizing in Tennessee, according to an injunction filed by a NLRB regional director in U.S. District Court, the court ordered Starbucks to reinstate the workers. The workers, represented by Starbucks Workers United, also alleged that managers of the Memphis store took down pro-union postings supplied by community members and opened the store as drive-thru only due to “short-staffing” on days the union had planned to host a sit-in, lessening the campaign’s impact. Starbucks said in a statement in September that it was appealing the order to reinstate the workers because those workers had “violated numerous policies” and failed to maintain a secure work environment. The ruling “sets a worrisome precedent for employers everywhere who need to be able to make personnel decisions based on their established policies and protocols,” the company said at the time. Starbucks also added, in a separate statement provided to TIME, that it respects its workers’ rights to organize. But “from the beginning, we’ve been clear in our belief that we are better together as partners, without a union between us, and that conviction has not changed,” the company said. Lawyers for employers—and the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board— argue that the NLRB is biased under the Biden Administration. Some employers have alleged, in NLRB filings, that the board is trying to change labor law in its decisions. The NLRB uses cases as “a mere jumping-off point to enable discussions of the issues it wants to address and the precedents it wants to overrule,” Red Rock Casino argued in a NLRB filing. In August, Starbucks accused NLRB officials of “systemic misconduct” for working with the union during a recent election and asked the agency to suspend all Starbucks mail-ballots nationwide. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce followed up in September with a letter to the Inspector General of the NLRB, David P. Barry, asking him to investigate allegations that NLRB staff were showing favoritism towards workers who support unionization, saying that other businesses had also raised concerns about NLRB staff conduct. “For Americans to have confidence in our government institutions, they must be seen as operating fairly,” Neil L. Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president, wrote in the letter. The NLRB said, in a public comment released in response to the Starbucks letter, that it does not comment on open cases, but that the agency has “well-established processes” that allow parties to raise challenges about elections, and that companies should raise their challenges through specific filings. “ The regional staff – and, ultimately, the Board – will carefully and objectively consider any challenges raised through these established channels,” the agency said. Companies say that they have a right to tell workers about the potential downsides of joining a union, just as unions can talk about the upside. Just how aggressive employers can be in educating workers is the subject of many NLRB disputes, but sometimes it can result in labor organizing efforts collapsing. When employers aggressively oppose a union drive, win rates are 10% to 40% lower than in elections in which employers take no action, according to Bronfenbrenner’s research. Few repercussions for employers The consequences for skirting the law are minimal—in many cases, an NLRB judge will only order an employer to cease and desist any unfair labor practices. Sometimes employers will be required to offer terminated employees their jobs back and reimburse them for back pay or job search expenses. The NLRB can seek temporary injunctions against employers or unions in federal courts, and the courts can order parties to pay a fee, but even those fees are minimal. In June, a district court ordered a New Jersey hotel to pay $10,000, as well as NLRB attorney fees, after it found that the hotel had failed to comply with its prior temporary injunction. Many employers know that even if they lose their case with the NLRB, they’ll have intimidated workers and subsided a union drive, says Robert Anthony Bruno, director of the Labor Education Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Bronfenbrenner says that the NLRB does not have the funding or enforcement powers it needs to deal with the influx of petitions, elections and complaints it receives. The agency has received the same Congressional funding of $274.2 million for nine straight years, it said in a press release on Oct. 6. Adjusted for inflation, the NLRB’s budget has fallen 25% since 2014. In the last two decades, the agency’s staffing has dropped 39%. Read More: Facebook Faces New Lawsuit Alleging Human Trafficking and Union-Busting in Kenya Bronfenbrenner has urged Congress to pass the PRO Act, which, among other things, would allow workers the option of bringing their cases in federal court, and which would prohibit so-called “captive audience” meetings, in which employers require workers to attend meetings about the downsides of joining a union. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that the PRO Act would harm workers, employers, and the larger economy. Even if labor law relating to how elections are held does change, the unions that have organized over the last year will face another obstacle. Employers can engage in what Bruno calls a “soft” form of resistance: dragging their feet on negotiating a contract. If a union and employer don’t have a contract a year after an election has been held, the company stands a chance of getting the union decertified before it ever gets a contract, he says, erasing the hard-fought battles that led to unionization in the first place. That’s an obstacle Starbucks workers say they are facing. Although the first of the 240 stores organized in the last year voted for a union in December, none of the stores have a contract yet. (Starbucks said in late September that it had sent letters to 234 stores asking the union to join it at the table and offering a three-week window in October for bargaining.) While some employers have managed to quell labor action, for others, failing to reach an agreement on a contract, may simply mean more unrest down the road. In the case of Starbucks workers they’re not giving up: unions in Atlanta and Maine held strikes in September over issues including their lack of a contract......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 13th, 2022

What It Would Take to Avoid a Rail Strike This Holiday Season

It’s the second time since July that there’s an impending U.S. rail strike, as workers continue to express concern over their existing labor contract. U.S. rail workers are threatening to strike just before the holidays, potentially hobbling a national economy that has yet to fully recover from pandemic-inspired supply-chain troubles. Rumblings of a possible work stoppage are growing louder after a union of track maintenance workers rejected a tentative labor agreement earlier this week. It’s the second time since July that there’s an impending rail strike, as workers continue to express concern over their existing labor contract. A strike could happen as early as Nov. 19, just before the nation’s busiest shopping season, and analysts say it could hamper passenger service and slow the flow of goods to stores and warehouses. A union strike could cost the U.S. economy up to $2 billion per day, according to an estimate from the Association of American Railroads. Roughly 40% of the nation’s long-distance trade is moved by rail—more than any form of transportation—and a union strike could stop more than 7,000 trains from operating. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] A strike would also disrupt a sizable amount of passenger traffic since Amtrak and many other commuter railroads operate on tracks owned by the freight railroads. In September, Amtrak canceled all of its long-distance trains, ahead of an earlier strike deadline out of precaution. Here’s what to know about the potential rail strike. What rail workers want Members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED), the nation’s third-largest rail union, rejected a proposed five-year contract on Monday that would have raised wages and provided an additional paid day off for rail workers. Some workers felt it didn’t go far enough, and the union vetoed the contract by a vote of 56% to 43%. Union leaders said they pushed for 15 paid sick days, but the proposed deal included only one. Rail workers are also seeking the right to take unpaid sick days, and the deal did not address this issue, among other concerns, Union President Tony Cardwell said in a public statement on Monday. “Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard. Railroaders do not feel valued,” Cardwell said. “They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.” The demands reflect a changing industry that’s been strained by pandemic-era pressures. Rail industry giants, including BNSF, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern and CSX, have been aggressively cutting costs and shifting operations to rely on fewer trains and fewer employees. Over the past six years, major railroads have cut nearly one-third of their workforce—roughly 45,000 jobs—forcing the remaining workers to often be on-call 24/7, according to the rail unions involved in contract discussions. Read More: America’s Railroads Are in Trouble–With or Without a Strike The rejection by the union members comes less than a month after the Biden Administration helped broker a tentative agreement—during a marathon 20-hour bargaining session—to avoid a worker strike set to take place in mid-September. Rail operators and the unions have agreed to resume negotiations until Nov. 19, at which point union workers could go on a strike if a deal isn’t reached by then. Railroad workers first threatened to strike in July after more than three years of failed contract negotiations. The unions have generally pushed for a pay increase, better working conditions, relaxed attendance rules, and additional paid time off without fear of punishment. “A hundred-plus years ago there were strikes over similar issues,” says Jasmine Kerrissey, an associate professor and director of the Labor Center at UMass Amherst. “Their slogan was ‘8 hours for work, 8 hours for rest, and 8 hours for what we will.’ And, while quality of life and the ability to take time off has always been a key issue for the labor movement, COVID has certainly shined a light on the importance of sick days and health.” What the Biden-brokered deal included Rail operators reached the tentative agreement with unions on Sept. 15, prompting President Biden to celebrate it as a victory for both workers and railway companies. But it still needed to be ratified and voted on by rank-and-file union members. The agreement included an immediate 14% pay raise for employees and a 24% pay increase by 2024, the biggest wage increases for railroad workers in more than four decades. The agreement also guaranteed voluntary assigned days off and a single additional paid day off. Workers would be able to take time off for routine doctor’s appointments without being penalized, and they would not lose attendance points for hospitalizations and surgical procedures, officials said. The plan also included $1,000 annual bonuses over five years and ensured there would be no increases to health care co-pays and deductibles, giving each union member roughly $11,000 more once union members ratified the deal and raising the average railroad worker’s pay to $110,000 a year by 2024. How a strike ahead of the holidays can be averted Although a strike is possible, BMWED said it agreed to delay any such activity until five days after Congress reconvenes in mid-November to allow time for additional negotiations—meaning both sides have until Nov. 19 to reach a new deal. Railroads are expected to continue operating normally in the meantime. Labor law for railroad employees does allow Congress to take action to keep workers on the job in case of a strike or a lockout of workers by management, though it’s unclear how Congress may act after a crucial midterm election. But in order to prevent a strike, all 12 unions representing a total of 115,000 workers must vote to ratify the contract. Kerrissey, the UMass Amherst professor, noted that last year, striking workers at John Deere voted to reject a contract proposal negotiated by union leaders, and they continued to strike until the company offered a better deal. “There would be a lot of incentive to quickly end a potential strike. Strikes are a last resort,” she says. “Workers don’t typically want to strike, but sometimes they exercise their right to strike because they see it as the only way to get employers to improve conditions.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 13th, 2022

Haiti Asks For International Forces To Break Gangs" Blockade Of Fuel Terminal

Haiti Asks For International Forces To Break Gangs' Blockade Of Fuel Terminal The Haitian government will ask the international community to send "a special police force" to break the blockade imposed on the country's principal fuel terminal by a powerful federation of gangs.  "It was decided in the Council of Ministers last night ... to ask the international community for a special police force to deal with such an unbelievable humanitarian crisis," a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Henry said Friday.   A State Department spokesman said the Biden administration is evaluating a request to help create a humanitarian corridor so the flow of fuel throughout the country can resume. U.S. officials are also consulting with other governments.  The coalition of nine gangs blocked the entrance to the Varreux fuel terminal in the capital city of Port-au-Prince last month in response to the government's announcement of a reduction in fuel subsidies.  While the fuel terminal blockade is the Haitian government's most pressing challenge, it's not clear just how broad an intervention against the gangs the government is seeking. Haiti has also been beset by widespread looting: "In the last two weeks alone, attacks on [World Food Program] have resulted in the loss of some 2,000 tons of food aid valued at close to $5 million, that would have collectively supported up to 200,000 of the most vulnerable Haitians over the next month,” Haitian envoy Helen La Lime told the UN Security Council last week.    WATCH: #BNNHaiti Reports: Haiti's food shortage is worsening with recent reports of warehouse and food looting in neighboring Dominican Republic zones. A cholera outbreak has been discovered, adding to the country's ongoing social, humanitarian, security, and political crisis. pic.twitter.com/LOGax456Y8 — Gurbaksh Singh Chahal (@gchahal) October 6, 2022 The weeks-long fuel blockade has taken a steep toll. In addition to paralyzing the economy and creating food shortages, it's contributing to drinking water shortages by stalling water treatment operations, and thwarting the country's battle with a cholera outbreak by forcing the closure of medical facilities.  The gang coalition -- called G9 Families and Allies and led by former police officer Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier -- is seeking to topple Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Standing at the entrance of the fuel terminal, Chérizier said:  "We are sending this message to Ariel Henry: 'Resign. Resign to give the country a chance.' For the moment, you are the one executing the plan to destroy the Haitian people. We are removing you because of that."  Haitian gang coalition leader Jimmy "Barbecue" Chérizier (Matias Delacroix - AP) Haitian gangs have grown more powerful -- and violent -- since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Outbreaks of inter-gang warfare periodically take hundreds of lives. For example, a 10-day stretch of gun battles in the slums of Cité Soleil in July reportedly killed 300 people and wounded another 160.  Despite the dire situation, many Haitians are wary of international intervention. For starters, a Nepalese UN contingent is believed to have triggered a years-long cholera epidemic in Haiti that began in 2010 and killed upwards of 10,000 people.   Also, it's important to stress that gangs aren't the only Haitians pushing for Henry's resignation. Protestors are demanding his removal too, with many calling him a U.S. puppet. Putting U.S. troops in Haiti could thus exacerbate the situation.  Another shot of massive protest in #Haiti's capital today demanding US-backed govt of Ariel Henry resign and a true Haitian govt of national unity take charge without foreign interference. pic.twitter.com/kcLLCQOV36 — HaitiInfoProj (@HaitiInfoProj) September 27, 2022 The same groups that stripped Haiti's sovereignty away, will continue to work to make it a permanent condition. The US, Canada, France, Core Group, OAS, USAID, UNSC - THESE ARE THE TRUE GANGS OF HAITI — JPierre (@grosmorne29) October 7, 2022 Former Haiti elections minister Mathias Pierre says he's worried about how foreign military forces would address the situation. “I don’t think Haiti needs another intervention,” he told the Associated Press. “It’s not an army they’re facing. ​​They’re facing gangs located in poor areas...using the population as shields to protect themselves.” Haiti's plea comes in the wake of a Thursday meeting of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Haiti Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Victor Généus and other governments' officials. The meeting was led by Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States. Almagro has routinely backed aggressive intervention by the United States throughout the region.  On Thursday, Almagro tweeted that he'd "called on Haiti to request urgent support from international community to help solve security crisis and determine characteristics of the international security force."   While the United Nations hasn't yet received an official request for intervention, spokesman Stephane Dujarric acknowledged the grim situation in the Caribbean country: "We remain extremely concerned about the security situation in Haiti, the impact it's having on the Haitian people, on our ability to do our work, especially in the humanitarian sphere."  Americans leery of another foreign commitment of U.S. troops should take note: The United Nations' last peacekeeping presence in Haiti lasted 13 years.  Brazilian members of a UN contingent under fire in a Haitian slum in 2004 (UN Photo)   Tyler Durden Sat, 10/08/2022 - 18:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 8th, 2022

US Intelligence Warning: China Escalating Influence Operations

US Intelligence Warning: China Escalating Influence Operations Authored by Judith Bergman via The Gatestone Institute, China is doubling down on its efforts to influence state and local government leaders in the United States by exploiting the existing web of regional and local US-China relations, the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) warned in July.   "Some of the goals of PRC [People's Republic of China] influence operations in the United States are to expand support for PRC interests among state and local leaders and to use these relationships to pressure Washington for policies friendlier to Beijing. The PRC understands U.S. state and local leaders enjoy a degree of independence from Washington and may seek to use them as proxies to advocate for national U.S. policies Beijing desires, including improved U.S. economic cooperation with China, and reduced U.S. criticism of China's policies towards Taiwan, Tibetans, Uyghurs, pro-democracy activists, and others. "The PRC and CCP [Chinese Communist Party] continue to seek to influence Washington directly... Yet the PRC has also stepped up its efforts to cultivate U.S. state and local leaders in a strategy some have described as 'using the local to surround the central.' For the PRC and CCP, targeting state and local entities can be an effective way to pursue agendas that might be more challenging at the national level." The US intelligence officials warned US state and local leaders that Chinese influence operations "can be deceptive and coercive, with seemingly benign business opportunities or people-to-people exchanges sometimes masking PRC political agendas." The NCSC document also stated: "Financial incentives may be used to hook U.S. state and local leaders, given their focus on local economic issues. In some cases, the PRC or its proxies may press state and local leaders to take actions that align with their local needs, but also advance PRC agendas, sometimes over national U.S. interests." There is nothing inherently new in the National Counterintelligence and Security Center's July warning; PRC operatives have been working in this way for years, if not decades. One of the organizations that the US intelligence memo explicitly warns against is the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), which describes itself as a "national people's organization engaged in people-to-people diplomacy of the People's Republic of China." In reality, the organization is actually a front for the foreign influence efforts of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It has been operating successfully in the US for decades, especially by forging numerous sister-city relationships with US cities to influence local US political, business, media and educational leaders. There are more than 200 sister city pairs and 50 sister state/province partnerships between the US and China, and such partnerships, according to US intelligence, can also include business, technical, cultural and educational exchanges between US and Chinese communities. According to "China's Influence & American Interests," a 2018 report by the Working Group on Chinese Influence Activities in the United States, published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York: "After forty years of engagement, the US-China focused foundations, educational and exchange programs, research institutes, and arts and entertainment initiatives throughout the country are too many and various to be cataloged... "While American local governments value such 'exchanges' for financial and cultural reasons, 'exchange' (交流) has always been viewed as a practical political tool by Beijing, and all of China's 'exchange' organizations have been assigned political missions." CPAFFC has been instrumental in sponsoring conferences connecting Chinese officials and others with US governors, mayors, and state and local legislators, according to US intelligence. Since 2011, for instance, CPAFFC was a sponsor of the China-U.S. Governors Forum. In 2019, this forum, which took place in Kentucky, was "billed as an 'exclusive deal making opportunity' for investors, industry, and government leaders of both nations." It was also a place where China's ambassador to the United States sought to influence the assembled governors, mayors and other local leaders to follow China's policies. According to the NCSC document: "In 2019, the PRC's U.S. Ambassador expressed concerns over Washington's trade policies towards China at the CPAFFC-sponsored China-US. Governors Forum and urged U.S. Governors "to pay serious attention to this, and not let some ill-informed, ill-intentioned people incite a 'new Cold War' at the expense of the people's interests." In 2020, however, the Trump administration withdrew the US from the China-U.S. Governors Forum. The administration said that since the US had signed the agreement, the CPAFFC had "sought to directly and malignly influence" US state and local leaders to promote China's global agenda and thereby "undermined the Governors Forum's original well-intentioned purpose." The NCSC document continues: "Individual U.S. localities may be unaware that their partnerships with cities and states in China are centrally coordinated and managed in China by CPAFFC [the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries] which... is closely tied to the CCP's political influence bureaucracy. The PRC's centralized control over such partnerships underscores the need for U.S. state and local officials to understand the roles and intentions of all those participating on the Chinese side." US intelligence is also worried that China could create dependencies to gain influence: "The PRC or its proxies may use financial rewards and punishments, such as promising or withdrawing access to Chinese markets, to cultivate and leverage business and government leaders at the U.S. state and local level. "Rewards may take the form of investments in U.S. communities or business deals that promise 'win-win' or 'mutually beneficial' development. Paid trips to China for U.S. state and local leaders or PRC delegation visits to U.S. localities may also serve as enticements." Furthermore, US intelligence warned, Chinese "rewards" always come at a price, for instance by requiring the support of policies that would benefit China. "In 2019, a U.S. Governor received a letter from a PRC Consulate threatening to cancel a Chinese investment in the Governor's state if the Governor chose to travel to Taiwan," the NCSC wrote. Additionally, China uses the same tactics when it comes to US business leaders: "In 2021, the PRC Embassy in Washington sent letters to select U.S. business leaders urging them to lobby the U.S. Congress to reject bills the PRC opposed, including bills designed to increase U.S. competitiveness vis-à-vis China: '[W]e sincerely hope you will play a positive role in urging members of the Congress to abandon the zero-sum mindset and ideological prejudice, stop touting negative China-related bills, delete negative provisions, as to create favorable conditions for bilateral economic and trade cooperation, before it's too late...' "In 2021, a senior PRC official instructed U.S. business leaders with interests in China to 'speak up and speak out, and push the US government to pursue a rational and pragmatic policy towards China, stop conducting wars in trade, industry, and technology...' The PRC official added, '[T]he business community cannot make a fortune in silence.'" While it is commendable that a US intelligence agency sets out to warn US local and state leaders against the CCP's malign influence, the warning, arriving as it does after so many decades of Chinese influence operations in the US, comes across, unfortunately, as too little, too late. The U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center appears a little too hopeful when it assumes that Americans involved in all those exchanges are suddenly going to change their minds and begin to divest from the different Chinese ventures that they are involved in, especially as so much might be gained from staying ignorant. According to Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg, in their recently book, Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World: "Local politicians typically know little about China and have no responsibility for national security, and because their Chinese interlocutors present themselves as offering people-to-people exchanges and 'opportunities for local business', these politicians have a strong incentive to remain uninformed... "The focus is typically on economic and cultural ties and it's easy to pretend that there is no political element... however, these local ties are in fact highly political, and where necessary they can be leveraged to pressure national governments. This is the tactic of 'use the countryside to surround the city'". Tyler Durden Fri, 10/07/2022 - 23:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 8th, 2022

Futures Slide As OPEC+ Cut Sparks Gas Inflation Fears And "Tighter For Longer" Fed

Futures Slide As OPEC+ Cut Sparks Gas Inflation Fears And "Tighter For Longer" Fed Two days ago, when stocks were melting up even as oil was storming higher and threatened to rerate inflation expectations sharply higher, we mused that algos were clearly ignoring this potentially ominously convergence. Stock algos still haven't noticed what oil is doing. impressive — zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 4, 2022 And while yesterday we saw the first cracks developing in the meltup narrative as oil extended gains following OPEC's stark slap on the face of the dementia patient in the White House, it was only today that the "oil is about to push inflation sharply higher" discussion entered the broader financial sphere, with JPM writing this morning that "OPEC+ presents inflation risk", Bloomberg echoing JPM that "OPEC+ alliance’s plan to cut oil supply stoked inflation fears and as traders awaited labor-market data to gauge the risk of recession" and Saxo Bank also jumping on the bandwagon, warning that OPEC+ supply cut will worsen global inflation which "raises the risk of inflation staying higher for longer” and “sends the wrong signal to the US Federal Reserve... It could send a signal that they have to keep on their foot on the brake for longer.” And sure enough, with oil rising above its 50DMA for the first time since Aug 30, futures have slumped overnight as oil kept its gains, with S&P and Nasdaq 100 futures both sliding 0.5% as of 730am, while Europe’s Stoxx 600 erased an advance and traded near session lows. US crude futures held on to weekly gains of about 11% after the oil cartel said it would cut daily output by 2 million barrels. Treasuries were steady, the 10Y trading around 3.77%, with the 2Y rate hovering about the 4.15% level. In pre-market trading, Credit Suisse jumped as much as 5.2% after JPMorgan upgraded to neutral from underweight, saying it sees $15bn as a minimum value for the lender, in-line with the estimated value of the Swiss legal entity. Shares were 2% higher by 13:20pm CET in Zurich, after Bloomberg News reported that the lender is trying to bring in an outside investor to inject money into a spinoff of its advisory and investment banking businesses, citing people with knowledge of the deliberations. Other banks did not do as well, and slumped in premarket trading Thursday, putting them on track to fall for a second straight day. Twitter shares fell as much as 1.1% to $50.75, trading nearly 7% below Elon Musk’s offer price of $54.20 as investors await progress in the revived deal. Here are the other notable premarket movers: Pinterest (PINS US) shares jump as much as 5.8% in US premarket trading after Goldman Sachs upgraded the social networking site to buy from neutral on improving user growth and better engagement trends, even as the backdrop for digital advertising remains uncertain. Biohaven Ltd. (BHVN US) shares rise 9.7% in US premarket trading, set to extend a 75% gain over the past two days as regular trading in the newly constituted drug developer began following an unusual deal with Pfizer Inc. SurgePays (SURG US) shares soar as much as 11% in premarket trading after the company gave an update on subscriber numbers for its subsidiary SurgePhone Wireless. Flutter (FLTR LN) gained 3.3% in premarket trading as it was initiated at outperform at Exane as the best-placed online gambling name, while Entain also at outperform and DraftKings started at underperform. Richardson Electronics (RELL US) rose 8.2% in extended trading after reporting year-over-year growth in net sales and earnings per share for the fiscal first quarter. While higher energy prices could stoke inflation, some have speculated that this will also divert discretionary income from core items thus pushing core inflation lower and hit company earnings -- potentially encouraging the Federal Reserve to slow monetary tightening. All else equal, as economy slows and oil/gas prices rise due to OPEC/supply constraints, there will be less disposable income for "core" purchases, pushing core PCE lower faster — zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 6, 2022 While such expectations fueled equity gains this week, several money managers are cautioning that the economic path to a less aggressive Fed could be painful: “If you want to preempt the Fed, you are playing a very high-stakes game,” said Kenneth Broux, a strategist at Societe Generale SA. “The Fed do not want financial conditions to loosen; they don’t want equity markets to take off and get too comfortable.” That said, investors are wary of placing large-scale equity bets as they await a report on US initial jobless claims later Thursday and the official nonfarm payrolls data Friday. A Bloomberg survey shows the US economy will have added 260,000 jobs last month; a higher-than-anticipated number may spook markets. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 dropped -0.3% to session lows. Stoxx 600 outperforms peers, adding 0.2%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 0.5%. Energy and insurance underperform while real estate and travel lead gains. Here are all the notable European movers: Imperial Brands shares rise as much as 4.7% after the tobacco company said it will buy back up to £1b worth of stock. The move was welcomed by analysts, with RBC calling it a “big deal” and Citigroup saying the announcement was earlier than expected. Home24 SE gains as much as 126% to EU7.53 after XXXLutz offered to buy all outstanding shares in the German online furniture retailer for EU7.50 apiece. The bid is generous and the deal is straightforward from a regulatory perspective, according to Tradition. Credit Suisse jumps as much as 5.2% after JPMorgan upgraded to neutral from underweight, saying it sees $15b as a minimum value for the lender, in-line with the estimated value of the Swiss legal entity. CMC Markets climbs as much as 6.5% after the online trading firm said it sees first- half net operating income up 21% y/y, with market volatility in August and September boosting the results. Numis upgraded the stock to add from hold following the report. Shell drops as much as 5% as analysts say the oil and gas major’s trading update looks “weak” and may mean that FY consensus proves too ambitious. Kloeckner falls as much as 12% as the company faces a “high likelihood” of an imminent profit warning, Bankhaus Metzler says, double-downgrading the stock to sell from buy. Swiss Re is among the weakest members of the Stoxx 600 insurance index on Thursday, declining as much as 4.0%, as Morgan Stanley lowers its price target ahead of third-quarter earnings. Accor drops as much as 2.5% after the hotel chain owner was downgraded to underweight from equal-weight at Barclays, which sees short-term risks as bigger for the company compared with peers and feels investors are looking more at potential negative factors heading into FY23 than 2022 upgrades. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a third day as hardware technology stocks in South Korea and Japan advanced on views they may have reached a bottom. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.9%, lifted by TSMC, SoftBank and Sony. The benchmark trimmed gains later in the day, but remains on track to advance for the week, following a seven-week losing streak that was the longest since 2015.Korea’s Kospi Index was the region’s best-performing major benchmark, jumping about 1%. The advance was helped by chipmakers extending their gains amid Morgan Stanley’s bullish view on the sector. Hong Kong stocks retreated after Wednesday’s catch-up rally. Trading volume in the region was light as mainland China remains closed for the Golden Week holiday. The MSCI’s Asian benchmark has rebounded this week from its lowest in more than two years. The move tracked a nascent revival in global equities on bets that the Federal Reserve may turn less aggressive in its tightening. In a potential harbinger of shifting market views, Morgan Stanley strategists upgraded emerging-market and Asia ex-Japan stocks to overweight from equal-weight.   Investors are also optimistic that monetary policies in China and Japan, which have bucked the global wave of tightening to remain loose, could provide further support to the nations’ equities.  “While the rest of the world is tightening, Japan and China are still easing, especially China where we are going to see more easing policies going forward,” Chi Lo, senior investment strategist for Asia Pacific at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “That makes us more positive on EM Asia.” Japanese equities gained for a fourth day as investors awaited domestic corporate earnings coming out later this month.  The Topix rose 0.5% to 1,922.47 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7% to 27,311.30. Sony Group contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 1.7%. Out of 2,168 stocks in the index, 1,564 rose and 490 fell, while 114 were unchanged. “There is relatively little concern about corporate earnings for Japanese stocks with the economy restarting and the yen weakening,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index consolidated within the recent day’s ranges, while Britain’s pound slipped 0.4% and gilt yields rose after Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook on the nation to negative. The greenback advanced against most of its G-10 peers. The euro steadied just below $0.99. Euro hedging costs are on the rise again as traders position ahead of Friday’s payrolls print and next week’s US inflation report. Commodity currencies were the worst performers along with the pound. Australian and New Zealand dollars gave up an Asia-session advance. The yen traded in a narrow range. In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve after paring declines led by gilts in London trading after a Bank of England survey found expectations for higher prices. Focal points of US session include several Fed speakers and potential for risk-reduction ahead of Friday’s September jobs report Friday. US yields cheaper by less than 2bp across the curve in bear- flattening move, 10-year by 2bp vs 17bp for UK 10-year, the downside leader in developed market sovereign bonds.  German and Italian bond curves flattened modestly as yields on shorter-dated notes rose, while those further out fell. In commodities, West Texas Intermediate futures traded near $88 a barrel, while Brent crude held near $93.30. The output-cut plan drew a warning from the White House about negative effects on the global economy. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its fourth-quarter price target for Brent to $110 a barrel. To the day ahead now, and data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the weekly initial jobless claims from the US. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll get the ECB’s account of their September meeting, as well as remarks from the Fed’s Evans, Cook, Kashkari, Waller and Mester, and the BoE’s Haskel. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 3,783.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 400.25 MXAP up 0.4% to 145.05 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 471.37 Nikkei up 0.7% to 27,311.30 Topix up 0.5% to 1,922.47 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 18,012.15 Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,024.39 Sensex up 0.6% to 58,403.02 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 6,817.52 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,237.86 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.05% Euro little changed at $0.9886 Brent Futures up 0.3% to $93.62/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,716.69 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 111.24 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg UK bond markets face a potential “cliff edge” when the Bank of England exits the market at the end of next week, leaving traders to navigate a turbulent backdrop without the support of a buyer of last resort Millions more Britons will be dragged into higher rates of income tax over the next three years, costing twice as much as Prime Minister Liz Truss’s personal tax cuts, according to calculations by the Institute for Fiscal Studies Britain’s construction industry turned more pessimistic in September after rising interest rates and the risk of recession held back new orders The European Union plans to examine whether Germany’s massive plan to shelter companies and households from surging energy costs respects the bloc’s rules on public subsidies, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said German factory orders dropped in August after the previous month was revised to show an increase, hinting at a lack of momentum as the economy stands on the brink of a recession Societe Generale SA cut its exposure to counterparties on trades in China by about $80 million in the past few weeks as global banks seek to guard against any potential fallout from rising geopolitical risks in the world’s second-largest economy A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed as the region partially shrugged off the lacklustre lead from the US where the major indices snapped a firm two-day rally and finished the somewhat choppy session with mild losses amid higher yields and as Fed rhetoric essentially pushed back against a policy pivot. ASX 200 lacked direction amid underperformance in the Real Estate and the Consumer sectors, although the downside was also limited by strength in energy after oil prices were lifted by the OPEC+ output cut. Nikkei 225 was positive with notable gains in exporter names and with Rakuten leading the advances as Mizuho looks to acquire a 20% stake in Rakuten Securities for USD 555mln. Hang Seng was lacklustre and took a breather after the prior day’s more than 5% jump with the mood also not helped after Hong Kong PMI slipped into contraction territory for the first time in 6 months. Top Asian News Haikou city in China's Hainan imposed a COVID lockdown for Thursday, according to Bloomberg. Malaysia PM May Propose Parliament Dissolution, Bernama Reports Why Polio, Once Nearly Eradicated, Is Rebounding: QuickTake Legoland Korea’s Default Flags Risks for Nation’s Developers Paris Club Seeks China Collaboration in Sri Lanka Debt Talks Yen Rout Is Over on Peak US Rate Hike Bets, Says Top Forecaster European bourses are under modest pressure as sentiment broadly takes a slight turn for the worst amid limited newsflow as participants look to Friday's NFP. Currently, European benchmarks are lower by 0.1-0.3% while US futures are posting slightly larger losses of circa 0.7 ahead of Fed speak. Top European News Fitch affirmed the UK at AA-; Outlook revised to Negative from Stable, while it stated that the fiscal package announced as part of the new UK government's growth plan could lead to a significant increase in deficits over the medium-term, according to Reuters. The UK Treasury is set to impose GBP 21bln of additional income taxes despite the "tax-cutting mini-budget", according to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. (Times) BoE Monthly Decision Maker Panel data - September 2022; looking ahead, DMP members expected CPI inflation to be 9.5% one-year ahead, up from 8.4% in the August survey, and 4.8% in three years’ time. BoE's Cunliffe says the FPC will publish its next financial policy statement and record on October 12th, liquidity conditions in the run up to the BoE gilt intervention were "very poor", MPC will make a full assessment of recent developments at its November 3rd meeting. UK government has proposed easing the fee cap for illiquid assets in pensions, according to a rule consultation publication by the government. Swedish Economy Shrinks More Than Estimated on Weak Industry UK Tech M&A Spree Pauses as Buyers Pull Out Amid Chaotic Markets FX USD benefits from the mentioned risk tone, with the DXY extending to a 111.35 peak to the modest detriment of peers. However, EUR is relatively resilient and holding around 0.99 vs the USD as we await the ECB Minutes account for near-term guidance. Cable faded sub-1.1400 and reversed through 1.1300 again amid the USD's move and prior to a letter exchange from the BoE to Treasury re. the Gilt Intervention. Antipodeans under pressure given the USD move and associated action in metals, while the Yuan initially lent a helping hand but this has since dissipated. Given the broader tone, the traditional havens are holding near unchanged levels though yield dynamics are a hinderance. Fixed Income Gilts are once again the standout laggard following rating agency action and the BoE DMP showing inflation pressures were already elevated MM before the fiscal update. As such, the UK yield has extended back above 4.10%; in the US, yields are also bid though to a much lesser extent before Fed speak and Friday's jobs. Back to Europe, Bunds are pressured though only modestly so vs UK counterparts awaiting the ECB's September account Commodities Crude benchmarks are modestly firmer at present, extending marginally above yesterday’s best levels with fresh newsflow limited as participants digest yesterday’s OPEC+ action. WTI and Brent are towards the mid-point of circa. USD 1/bbl ranges, though Brent Dec’22 briefly surpassed the 200-DMA at USD 94.11/bbl before moving back below the figure. Acting Kuwaiti Oil Minister said the OPEC+ decision to cut output will have positive ramifications for oil markets, while they understand consumers' concerns about prices increasing but added that the main motive in OPEC+ is balancing supply and demand, according to Reuters. US National Security official stated the US sanctions policy on Venezuela remains unchanged and there are no plans to change the sanctions policy without constructive steps from Maduro, according to Reuters. Norway's Budget proposes changing the temporary tax rules for the petroleum sector, entails that the uplift is reduced to 12.40% (prev. 17.69%), via Reuters. Saudi sets the November Arab Light OSP to N.W Europe at Ice Brent +USD 0.90/bbl; to the US at ASCI +USD 6.35/bbl, via Reuters citing a document; to Asia at Oman/Dubai +USD 5.85 (Unch.), via Reuters sources. Geopolitics North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles which were fired from Pyongyang and landed outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone, according to the South Korean military cited by Yonhap. Furthermore, North Korea said that its missile launches are counteraction measures against the US and South Korean military drills. North Korean jets and bombers have been seen flying in an exercise, according to Yonhap; South Korean jets take off in response, via Reuters. US State Department condemned North Korea's ballistic missile launch and said North Korea's missile launches pose a threat to regional neighbours and the international community, while it added that the US remains committed to a diplomatic approach to North Korea and called on North Korea to engage in dialogue, according to Reuters. The EU has approved the 8th round of Russian sanctions; as expected. US Event Calendar 08:30: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 1.35m, prior 1.35m 08:30: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 204,000, prior 193,000 Central bank Speakers 08:50: Fed’s Mester Makes Opening Remarks 09:15: Fed’s Kashkari Takes Part in Moderated Q&A 13:00: Fed’s Evans Takes Part in Moderated Q&A 13:00: Fed’s Cook Speaks on the Economic Outlook 13:00: Fed’s Kashkari Discusses Cyber Risk and Financial Stability 17:00: Fed’s Waller Discusses the Economic Outlook 18:30: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap After an astonishing rally at the beginning of Q4, markets reversed course yesterday as investors became much more sceptical that we’ll actually get a dovish pivot from central banks after all. The idea of a pivot has been a prominent theme over recent days, particularly after the financial turmoil during the last couple of weeks, thus sparking the biggest 2-day rally in the S&P 500 since April 2020 as the week began. But over the last 24 hours, solid US data releases have created a pushback against that narrative, since they were seen as giving the Fed more space to keep hiking rates over the coming months. And if markets had any further doubt about the Fed’s intentions, San Francisco Fed President Daly explicitly said yesterday that she didn’t expect there to be rate cuts next year, in direct contrast to futures that are still pricing in rate cuts from Q2. Indeed for a sense of just how volatile the reaction has been, 10yr bund yields were up by +16.3bps yesterday, which is their largest daily rise since March 2020 during the initial wave of the pandemic. Looking at the details of those releases, it was evident that markets are still treating good news as bad news at the minute, since they sold off even as data pointed to a more resilient performance from the US economy than had been thought. For example, the ISM services index came in above expectations at 56.7 (vs. 56.0 expected), and the employment component moved up to a 6-month high of 53.0. So that’s a noticeably different picture to the manufacturing print on Monday, when there was a surprise contraction in the employment component. Furthermore, there was another sign of labour market strength from the ADP’s report of private payrolls, which came in at +208k in September (vs. +200k expected), and the previous month’s reading was also revised upwards. We’ll see if that picture is echoed in the US jobs report tomorrow, but there was a clear reaction to the ISM print in markets, as investors moved to upgrade the amount of Fed hikes they were expecting whilst the equity selloff accelerated. Those expectations of a more hawkish Fed were given significant support by comments from Fed officials themselves. The most obvious came from San Francisco Fed President Daly, who was asked about the fact that futures were pricing in rate cuts, and said “I don’t see that happening at all”. In fact when it came to rates, she not only said that they were raising them into restrictive territory, but that they would be “holding it there” until inflation fell. Atlanta Fed President Bostic struck a similar tone, emphasising rate cuts in 2023 were not likely and that “I am not advocating a quick turn toward accommodation. On the contrary.” He said he wanted fed funds rates between 4% and 4.5% by the end of this year, “and then hold at that level and see how the economy and prices react.” That backdrop led to a sizeable cross-asset selloff yesterday on both sides of the Atlantic. The effects on the rates side were particularly prominent, with 10yr US Treasury yields bouncing back +12.0bps to 3.75%. And that move was entirely driven by real yields, which rose +15.1bps as investors moved to price in a more hawkish Fed over the months ahead. You could see that taking place in Fed funds futures too, with the rate priced in for December 2023 up by +8.9bps to 4.19%, thus partially reversing the -22.2bps move lower over the previous two sessions. This morning, 10yr yields are only down -1.0 bps, so far from unwinding those moves. The hawkish tones also proved bad news for equities, with the S&P 500 taking a breather following its blistering start to the week, retreating -0.20% after being as low as -1.80% in the New York morning. European equities did not enjoy the benefits of a New York afternoon rally, leading to a transatlantic divergence, and the STOXX 600 was down -1.02% on a broad-based decline. The energy sector outperformed in both the S&P 500 and STOXX 600 following a rally in crude oil which saw both Brent crude (+2.81%) and WTI (+2.53%) oil prices hit a 3-week high. That followed a decision from the OPEC+ group, who cut output by 2 million barrels per day. Those gains have continued in overnight trading as well, with Brent Crude now at $93.48/bbl. In Europe, the performance of sovereign bonds echoed that for US Treasuries, as yields on 10yr bunds (+16.3bps), OATs (+17.6bps) and BTPs (+29.0bps) all saw their largest daily increases since March 2020. As in the US, that reflected growing scepticism about a dovish pivot from the ECB, but another factor not helping matters was the rebound in energy prices, with natural gas futures up +7.25% on the day to close at €174 per megawatt-hour, alongside the oil rebound mentioned above. That’s been reflected in inflation expectations too, with the 10yr German breakeven up another +8.0bps yesterday to 2.15%, after having closed beneath 2% on Monday for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. Here in the UK, we also saw several key assets lose ground once again following their rally over the last week. For instance, sterling ended a run of 6 consecutive daily gains against the US Dollar to close -1.31% lower, closing back at $1.13. And that wasn’t simply a story of dollar strength, as the pound weakened against every other G10 currency as well. Gilts were another asset to struggle, with real yields in particular seeing significant daily rises of at least +30bps across most of the yield curve, including a +33.0bps rise for the 10yr real yield, and a +36.7bps rise for the 30yr real yield. That came as the Bank of England said they didn’t buy any gilts under their emergency operation for a second day running. In the meantime, there were fresh signs that the turmoil after the fiscal announcement was impacting the mortgage market, with Moneyfacts saying that the average 2yr fixed-rate mortgage had risen to 6.07%, which is the highest since November 2008. Last night that was then followed up by the news that Fitch had downgraded the UK’s outlook from stable to negative. Overnight in Asia there’s been a mixed performance from the major equity indices. Both the Nikkei (+0.94%) and the Kospi (+1.25%) have recorded solid advances, which continues their run of having risen every day this week. In addition, futures in the US and Europe are both pointing higher, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.49%. However, the Hang Seng is down -0.43% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 is down -0.05%, whilst markets in mainland China remain closed for a holiday. The dollar index has also lost ground overnight, falling -0.25%, which comes in spite of those hawkish comments from Fed officials pushing back against rate cuts next year. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the final services and composite PMIs mostly echoed the data from the flash readings. The composite PMI for the Euro Area was revised down a tenth to 48.1, and the US composite PMI was revised up two-tenths to 49.5. There was a bigger rise in the UK however, where the composite PMI was revised up seven-tenths to 49.1. To the day ahead now, and data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the weekly initial jobless claims from the US. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll get the ECB’s account of their September meeting, as well as remarks from the Fed’s Evans, Cook, Kashkari, Waller and Mester, and the BoE’s Haskel. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/06/2022 - 08:02.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 6th, 2022

Hours after being blasted for parroting Putin"s propaganda, Elon Musk says he is "obviously" pro-Ukraine and says SpaceX has spent $80 million on Starlink in the country

Ukrainian diplomats lambasting Elon Musk over a poll he posted to Twitter, in which he seemingly parroted the Kremlin's talking points. Elon Musk is embroiled in a new Twitter spat, this time with Ukrainian government officials.(Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) Elon Musk said SpaceX has spent $80 million to support Starlink in Ukraine and $0 on Russia.  "Obviously, we are pro Ukraine," he tweeted, hours after being blasted by Ukraine diplomats on Twitter. Musk polled a peace plan for the Russia-Ukraine war, which seemingly parroted Putin's propaganda. Elon Musk is embroiled in a new Twitter spat, this time with Ukrainian government officials. It started on Monday, when Musk posted a poll on Twitter about a peace plan for the war in Ukraine. The poll triggered backlash, with Ukrainian diplomats lambasting Musk over the poll, which seemingly parroted the Kremlin's talking points.Late on Monday night, Musk said he is "obviously" pro-Ukraine, writing on Twitter that SpaceX has spent $80 million running Starlink in Ukraine."SpaceX's out of pocket cost to enable & support Starlink in Ukraine is ~$80M so far. Our support for Russia is $0. Obviously, we are pro Ukraine," he wrote.Starlink is SpaceX's satellite communication system, which is being used by Ukrainian soldiers to communicate on the battlefield. Voice and internet services have been rendered useless by power outages, Russian shells, and jamming. —Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 3, 2022 Musk's initial Twitter poll had called for a vote on a list of conditions he seemed to imply could lead to peace between Ukraine and Russia, including redoing the elections in regions recently annexed by Russia and recognizing Russia's annexation of Crimea.Ukrainian government officials, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukraine's ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, responded to the poll quickly and critically. Zelenskyy tweeted out his own poll, asking people which Musk they liked better: The one who supports Russia, or the one who supports Ukraine. —Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) October 3, 2022While the Twitterverse was polling on peace plans and Musk's likeability, Musk's Starlink has been helping Ukrainian war efforts on the ground."Thank you, Elon Musk," Oleksiy, a soldier in the Ukrainian army, told Politico in June, crediting Musk's Starlink for aiding communication of the war efforts.Musk has sent thousands of Starlink satellite kits into Ukraine since the outbreak of the war. This serves both ways, as he's using the opportunity to test these satellite services, which he's also trying to sell to other countries, per the Wall Street Journal."Without Starlink, we would have been losing the war already," one platoon commander on the Izyum front in Ukraine told the Journal. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 4th, 2022

We Will Now Find Out What Putin Does When It Is "Sovereign Russia" That Is Being Attacked

We Will Now Find Out What Putin Does When It Is "Sovereign Russia" That Is Being Attacked By Michael Every of Rabobank Really Trussing Up Yesterday saw stocks slump and key bond yields rise slightly, the US dollar remain on the back foot, and commodities --or at least oil-- fail to go anywhere. We also got some market-moving events and statements: we just haven’t seen the matching moves happen yet. Russia announced it will annex parts of Ukraine today. This will then introduce a global split between the likely small number of states that will recognise this decision, given the doors it opens to other contested borders being changed by force, and the entire western world, which will reject the move. Then we find out what Russia will do when it is “sovereign Russia” that is being attacked. Risk is unlikely to be on as a result, especially into a weekend. Far from unrelated, the EU saw major developments in its energy crisis. Even if the Twitterfication of it might have been unfairly reductive, how about: “EU official: President of the EU Council Michel believes the EU needs to tackle high gas prices and electricity prices; it’s up to the experts to figure out the details.” Such royal hand-waving unlinked to how reality works is how we got into this mess in the first place. But things were figured out. Not, as former BOE Governor Carney said of the UK, a needed rush for nuclear power. Rather, Germany --where inflation hit 10.9%, and the government warned the energy crisis is becoming a broader social crisis-- offered a EUR200bn “protective shield” to keep the price of electricity down. That means massive state subsidies and debts; for years; with no energy rationing in place; as the country starts to run dreaded twin deficits; and as the ECB raises rates. Those Europeans talking about Schadenfreude looking at the UK should be aware that while Nos. 10 and 11 are acting like the Mad Hatter and March Hare at the Tea Party, Europe is also living in Wünderland. In fact, it’s hard to make an argument that the EU is not risking becoming the UK with a lag. To hammer home the point, the ESRB regulators report the EU faces ‘severe risks’ to its financial system, with the Ukraine war possibly (only possibly?!) creating a combination of slow growth, falling prices, and market stress. I don’t think the dollar will be down, or the EUR up, for long. Of course, the same is true for GBP. More so when Pill yesterday claimed the BOE did not intervene in the Gilts market to push yields lower (as 30-years collapsed 106bp!), and will not do QE or Yield Curve Control; and neither will it fund the government, or MMT. The only logical function left is a bailout: except that is supposed to be on Bagehot terms: “Lend without limit, to solvent firms, against good collateral, at high rates.” I didn’t see that – did you? As if that was not enough UK “More Tea! More Tea!”, and as suggested earlier this week, PM Truss is now going to push for aggressive state spending cuts to show markets that she is serious about fiscal discipline. So, tax cuts for the rich remain and bankers’ bonuses are back, etc., but we will see huge real-terms declines in social spending across the board into a recession, and even on “geoliberalism” UK soft power like the BBC World Service. In the ultimate marketplace of ideas, democracy, Labour is now up between 17 and 33 points up in the polls, which would imply the Tories will be entirely wiped off the political map. Following the lead of using Macron as a verb in Russian (“Macronit” meaning to talk a lot and then do nothing useful), yesterday saw market chatter of how “to Truss” or to “Truss up” might be used in idiomatic English. (“They really Trussed that up, didn’t they?”) All I would add is that it also works with a Germanic “Truß” – with a lag.   Meanwhile, the Fed sent the message rates are going to keep rising regardless, even if we see a recession, that UK wobbles have as little to do with it as the UK claims its budget has to do with its wobbles, and whispers are that may include only a hairshirt “the discount window is available if you need it” Bagehot safety net ahead. This is revolutionary stuff for markets coddled with liquidity since Greenspan. Are they Trussing up too? Larry Summers, who is being mentioned so often it surely cannot be a coincidence, is saying he sees the present backdrop looking like August 2007. Some think August 2008. In either case, the PBOC is now leaning back towards bubbles again regardless, allowing nearly two dozen cities to lower mortgage rates for purchases of a primary property. The problem is that everyone can see that aside from a few hotspots, property is over-priced and over-supplied, and prices are going to fall anyway now the mania has faded – so why rush to buy? The other problem is that if the PBOC succeed, it means inflation for everyone else. The PMI reading of 50.1 today, up from 49.4, is neither here nor there, but the private Caixin PMI at 48.1 vs. 49.5 expected was there not here. As Mexico just hiked rates 75bp to 9.25%, Bloomberg also notes the RBA faces an uphill battle to not be as hawkish as everyone else. (And does not note “because housing.”) It quotes there are “some lingering issues around credibility and communication,” which reminds me of the quip from Gandhi: “What do you think of Western civilisation?” “I think it would be a good idea.” Of course, the BOJ is still doing its own sweet thing, boosting regular bond purchases this morning to try to cap upwards pressure on yields – which can only mean downwards pressure on JPY. I would write more, but it’s been a hell of a week for me personally, and I am too Trussed up to do so. End of the month, end of the quarter, end of our tethers. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/30/2022 - 15:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 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